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Maniphest advanced search project selection is hard to understand ("In Any Project"; "Not In Projects"; "In Users' Projects" etc.)
Open, Stalled, LowestPublic

Description

https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/maniphest/query/advanced/ has four fields and a checkbox to select projects (!!), and their function is extremely hard to understand.
Issues:

  • "In All Projects" and "In Any Project" sound like yes/no questions to me, so they'd have the same meaning and would be checkboxes.
  • T1377

Tentative understanding of the supposed meaning of the field labels:

  • "In All Projects" → "In all the following projects:"
  • "In Any Project" → "In one of the following projects:"
  • "Not In Projects" → "In none of the following projects:"
  • "In Users' Projects" → ??? (T1377)

(Proposed merging upstream: https://secure.phabricator.com/T7197 ; but looks like they instead mean to hide clutter under the carpet: https://secure.phabricator.com/T6943 )

Additionally, the labels are not consistent with the others, which use

  • preposition: "Assigned To"; or
  • apposition: "Authors", "Subscribers".

Labels should stick to a consistent grammatical construction. Using a verbal predicate where the subject is the task, for instance, would be:

  • Is assigned to
  • Has authors
  • Has subscribers
  • Is in projects
  • Is in a project
  • Is not in projects
  • ??? (T1377)

Usage of colons and/or consistent determiners and/or a sensible layout may help making the form simpler to understand.

In general however the form is made a mess by the inconsistent decision of having 4 fields + 1 checkbox (AND, OR, AND NOT, ???, AND NOT *) for one property, and nothing for all the other properties. All the properties should get a consistent interface.

Event Timeline

Nemo_bis created this task.Nov 20 2014, 6:02 PM
Nemo_bis raised the priority of this task from to Needs Triage.
Nemo_bis updated the task description. (Show Details)
Nemo_bis changed Security from none to None.
Nemo_bis added a subscriber: Nemo_bis.
Qgil triaged this task as Lowest priority.Nov 20 2014, 9:56 PM
Qgil added a project: Phabricator (Upstream).
Tgr added a subscriber: Tgr.Dec 10 2014, 9:25 PM

Porject search in other plugins is even more of a mess. E.g. the general search has a field for "in any project" but nor for "in all projects". Pholio cannot search for projects at all, even though Pholio items can be assigned to projects.

Qgil added a subscriber: Qgil.Feb 5 2015, 10:21 PM

Speaking about the projects related fields, I don't think they are a mess. The four options correspond to AND, OR, NOT, MY. I haven't heard other complaints about this.

All the rest belongs to other reports, if you still want to report it.

I would decline this task.

The four options correspond to AND, OR, NOT, MY.

I've never heard of "MY" as an operator. That said, if that's the expected interpretation, why not say so clearly?

I haven't heard other complaints about this.

Doesn't tell us anything. Do user even find the maniphest advanced search? Are they just used to phabricator search being useless? Is everyone using Google? Etc.

The four options correspond to AND, OR, NOT, MY.

I've never heard of "MY" as an operator. That said, if that's the expected interpretation, why not say so clearly?

Example: many OPAC forms have a dropdown "AND" vs. "OR" vs. "AND NOT" (sometimes also "phrase" etc.). http://opac.sbn.it/opacsbn/opac/iccu/avanzata.jsp The interface would certainly be much, much clearer with a dropdown.

All fields are ANDed with eachother (which, as far as I know, is pretty standard for search forms?), so the meaning is:

  • task is in all projects in field "In All Projects", AND
  • task is in at least one project in field "In Any Project", AND
  • task is not in any project in field "Not In Projects", AND
  • task is in any project of any of the users "In Users' Projects"

The latter is not immediately obvious, though (it could as well have been 'in any project that all these users are a member of').

Nemo_bis updated the task description. (Show Details)Feb 6 2015, 7:12 PM
Tgr added a comment.Feb 6 2015, 11:26 PM

The latter is not immediately obvious, though (it could as well have been 'in any project that all these users are a member of').

I doubt anyone uses that field for anything else than searching for their own projects, much less fill it with multiple users at once.

Anyway, this discussion could use more data. I filed T88863.

Nemo_bis updated the task description. (Show Details)Feb 7 2015, 7:46 AM
Qgil added a comment.Apr 20 2015, 7:38 AM

This task is in practice stalled and I don't see much point in having this discussion among ourselves here, without the Phabricator maintainers. I propose to close it. You can report it and discuss it upstream if you wish.

Tgr added a comment.Apr 20 2015, 9:02 AM

It will be hard to convince Phab maintainers or even have a useful discussion if we don't know ourselves how the search form is used. Upstreaming this is effectively blocked by T88863.

Qgil changed the task status from Open to Stalled.Apr 20 2015, 9:05 AM
Nemo_bis added a comment.EditedApr 20 2015, 10:21 AM

I don't think stats are needed to see that the current form is a total chaos without any logic.

Sure, nitpicking over polish of individual fields, positioning and so would need some factual basis. However, a simpler option is to just adopt widespread and established practices of search forms.

This has changed with today's update. Hard to tell if it's better, but it's different. Sadly you didn't take any screenshots when filing this, so it's difficult to compare.

The old form is visible at https://web.archive.org/web/20150406105343/https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/maniphest/query/advanced/
The current is https://web.archive.org/web/20150507133958/https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/maniphest/query/advanced/

If I understand correctly, they removed the inconsistency by eliminating boolean options from the field(s) which previously enjoyed them? Ah, no, when you type in the "Projects" field every option can actually an OR, AND or AND NOT. AND NOT is called "Not In", which might be ok, while "OR" is called "In Any" which makes no sense for a single item. Also, the inconsistency persists in that only one field allows boolean options.

On the other hand, grammar of the field labels was fixed. \o/

Screenshots are like, the best thing ever.

Old:


New:

Also, it looks like the default boolean for all fields is now OR, while AFAIK it used to be AND (for assignees, subscribers and authors).

As I remember it, the different fields were ANDed together, but the
different values within a field were ORes. I.e. (author = valhallasw OR
author = nemo_bis) AND project = phabricator

Updates to https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Phabricator/Help#Searching_for_items are welcome, especially mentioning the AND between two criteria.

Aklapper renamed this task from Maniphest advanced search project selection is a complete mess to Maniphest advanced search project selection is hard to understand ("In Any Project"; "Not In Projects"; "In Users' Projects" etc.).Jun 30 2015, 2:19 PM
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