How to deal with user hostile warnings

In Foreman 2.4 we’ve merged a warning banner that I consider user hostile.

IMHO a warning must be actionable. There must be something I can do to prevent them from showing up.

As a user I always see this information and there’s no way to get rid of it yet it’s very prominent. Is this really how we want to treat our users?

Another matter is the target audience. If I’m a user of Foreman but not the admin of the installation, why is the warning there? Am I supposed to inform the admin that I rely on this functionality and please install the foreman_puppet plugin once 3.0 is there? Doesn’t that mean the admin gets the same conversation with every single user?


Great points, what are your suggestions? :slight_smile:

2.4 is out, so we can’t do anything about it now, but if you have improvements suggestions what to do when deprecating heavily used funcionality, please share them! :slight_smile:

We can improve this messaging in 2.5 where it will be still present and make it better. This post is not too actionable though, so even though I hear you and get our current situation is not great, I do not know what can we do to improve it :slight_smile:

So how to get the message to all users - all admins without disturbing them all the time?


  • Would persistend hiding of this message through session be enough?
  • Should this be notification instead?

Target group:

  • Would this be enough just for admins, what if admins are not using puppet but their users are?

AFAIK 2.4 GA hasn’t been tagged yet, though it is quite late. We can also remove it in 2.4.1.

I think a notification is what we generally use. We also normally add it to the release notes as a deprecation so admins know ahead of time. The release notes for 2.4 GA are still open:

I would expect the admin to know what is used.

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If I am a sysadmin who knows some users use it and I read upgrade notes, which should mention it, I most likely install the plugin and the banner disappears. If I don’t and there’s a user seeing it, they should talk to me, since I may not be aware of the fact.

The same logic was applied to statistics and trends extraction. I don’t recall any reports about this. It may be because less users used this functionality comparing to Puppet. But based on the community survey, most instances have just a few Foreman users and they are typically admins.

As a user, I don’t mind seeing the banner that much. It does not prevent me from using the app. It can be somewhat annoying. However there’s other non-actionable non-dismissable warnings in the app.

Regarding the suggestions to improve, I think we have several actions to consider

  1. Display this to admins only
  2. Change this to notification
  3. Make this globally hideable
  4. enhance the text to link the explanatory $post with instructions to install the plugin

others which I think would make the situation worse than is right now

  1. remove this completely
  2. make it dismissable per user

I would vote for 1) and 4) even though in theory, Foreman admin user may not be the same person as the sysadmin who updated the Foreman. I think this can wait till 2.4.1 if necessary, it does not feel hostile to me. Of course, others may feel differently, I’m happy to hear more suggestions.

Oh and there’s one very important AI for 2.4, add a paragraph in 2.4 release notes, @ekohl mentioned that in the PR already.

Is the plugin already available in 2.4? Right now we publish the banner but at least I didn’t know how to get rid of it. And I think I follow this better than the average user.

At least for me, you hit the nail on the head: I didn’t use statistics and trends so I didn’t notice it.

  1. and 4) sound good.

For 2) we can take the same approach as Smart Variables. We can see in the database if the entries exist and publish a notification. It may even be better since it is active. It doesn’t require me to go to the page where I modify something.

Yes please.

Yes, that’s my understanding. It exists in 2.4 repos, the error message could mention that.

So that emphasizes my point. I didn’t get the impression that it was actionable and that made it hostile. If there are actions, they should be clearly documented and linked.

Since 2.4.0 is already tagged and release pipelines are running, I’d suggest to clearly document it in the upgrade warnings and submit a PR for 2.4.1 to link to that.

Linking back for completeness: