Donation -- how to tell - Details

Jim squibblyflabbetydoo at
Mon May 16 16:36:16 UTC 2016

On Mon, May 16, 2016 at 9:24 AM, Wayne Mery (Thunderbird QA) <
vseerror at> wrote:

> If you are intend this to also cover menu items - menu items don't impact
> user workflow, are not an intrusion and adding a "No" capability would add
> unnecessary code complexity. So I disagree with the suggestion to provide a
> disable capability - with one exception: if a  mail toolbar button is
> provided it is by definition removable

It *absolutely* must be possible to disable this. It's perfectly reasonable
for organizations to hide the ability for their end users to donate, since
they may not want to encourage their users to do so on the office network.
It's also perfectly reasonable for a person who has decided not to donate
(or who has donated already) to hide the icon, although this is admittedly
an aesthetic choice. I don't think people would be particularly happy
having to install an add-on to remove a donation nag from primary UI.

A mere icon is also probably not particularly helpful, since it'll be
pretty hard to indicate that the icon means "please donate". I think it
would be a much better strategy to show a notification (a la the Telemetry
notification, but perhaps more colorful to draw the eye), saying something
like, "Thunderbird relies on your donations to continue. Please help." This
is considerably more in-your-face initially, but it lets us get a bit of
text in the user's face; however, because of the intrusiveness, I think
we'd need the ability for users to say "No thanks" so that we're not
wasting UI space (remember, some people use small monitors).

Unless we have solid evidence that disallowing users from hiding the
donation UI will meaningfully increase our donations, I think we should
allow users to hide the nag. Since I doubt we'll be able to get that
information beforehand, I urge everyone to make this change with caution.
In particular, I find the notion that a pref adds "unnecessary code
complexity" especially dubious: the burden would be quite small, and it's
always possible to remove that complexity later if we have more evidence
that it's harmful.

In any case, I'd argue that the implementation of a donation nag should be
an add-on, so that we have the ability to run the donation campaign out of
sync with the Thunderbird release schedule. With an add-on, we could turn
the donations on whenever we like, and it would be much easier to change
the ways in which we alert users in the UI. (It would also make opting out
of the donation nag simple but sufficiently disconnected from the primary
UI that I believe only particularly-motivated users would actually opt out.)

- Jim
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