Opened 3 years ago

Last modified 2 years ago

#25633 reopened defect

Ctrl-D makes it too easy to create bookmarks accidentally

Reported by: cypherpunks Owned by: tbb-team
Priority: Medium Milestone:
Component: Applications/Tor Browser Version:
Severity: Normal Keywords: tbb-disk-leak
Cc: Actual Points:
Parent ID: Points:
Reviewer: Sponsor:


It used to be the case that pressing Ctrl-D would pop up a dialog box prompting you to create a bookmark (or cancel.)

A few releases ago, Firefox changed this behavior. Now, Ctrl-D creates a bookmark, then pops up a dialog prompting you to edit the bookmark (or delete it.)

This is a subtle distinction, but potentially an important one, for two reasons.

1. Pressing Escape after Ctrl-D doesn't undo the bookmarking operation as you might expect. It's very easy to press Ctrl-D by mistake when you mean to press, say, Ctrl-F. If you've just pressed a key you didn't intend to press, without knowing what it does, and an unexpected dialog appears in your peripheral vision, it's natural to react by pressing Escape ("oops, didn't mean that.") And if you do that, and the dialog disappears in response, it's quite natural to assume that you successfully cancelled whatever action it was that you inadvertently initiated.

2. Pressing Ctrl-D immediately saves the current URL to disk (namely, in places.sqlite), without any further confirmation. Even if you are paying attention, a simple slip of the finger can potentially create a persistent record of your browsing activity. (Even if you delete the bookmark immediately, it won't be purged from places.sqlite right away.)

This UI change was a bad idea, but in "normal" Firefox usage, it's usually only a minor annoyance - I end up with a bunch of random accidental bookmarks at the bottom of the menu that I need to clean out every couple of months. But in the Tor Browser context, it's potentially quite dangerous, as it violates the disk avoidance principle.

Saving bookmarks without the user's consent may or may not have any practical impact in most cases. But it can have a major impact on users' confidence in the browser. For that reason, Tor Browser can and should do better.

Child Tickets

Change History (5)

comment:1 Changed 3 years ago by cypherpunks

Resolution: invalid
Status: newclosed

This ticket is so wrong it makes my brain ache.

comment:2 in reply to:  1 Changed 3 years ago by gk

Resolution: invalid
Status: closedreopened

Replying to cypherpunks:

This ticket is so wrong it makes my brain ache.

Your brain might ache but that does not render this ticket invalid.

comment:3 Changed 3 years ago by cypherpunks

If someone programs their computer to do something, all being well, it tends to function correctly, and go ahead and do what was asked. Pressing Ctrl-D there will not be the first such mistake you made, or the last. The solution is to stop instructing your computer to do that.

If there is a sufficiently large object and you pick it up and bash yourself over the head with it, you will probably cause injury. Despite that you might insist otherwise, and despite that you might use particular terms to say so, that doesn't mean every object should be covered in foam or made illegal.

A padded cell and straitjacket may be exactly what you desire, but not everyone thinks that way. It isn't fair to impose that on everyone.

comment:4 in reply to:  description Changed 3 years ago by arma

Replying to cypherpunks:

A few releases ago, Firefox changed this behavior. Now, Ctrl-D creates a bookmark

When they changed the behavior, did they leave the old behavior in place, maybe behind an about:config option? That would sure be convenient if so, so it's worth looking into. :)

comment:5 Changed 2 years ago by cypherpunks

From looking through about:config for "bookmark", nothing seemed relevant.

This seems like a rather severe problem, especially given the fact that it is so easy to accidentally do ctrl-D in the browser when you are trying to do something like ctrl-W instead. I have personally done it probably a dozen times, although I have the configuration directory configured to exist in tmpfs.

Last edited 2 years ago by cypherpunks (previous) (diff)
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