New Module: Announcements
Following up on a discussion on a recent progress call.
Problem: We need a way to contact our users whenever high-priority issues occur, like the recent apt codename change issue. We don't have a way to contact our users directly; we currently rely on our users to check the forum. But we don't want a communications scheme which involves collecting any user data--we don't want to compile a list of users and email addresses.
Proposal: Create an "announcements" module in plinth and push text-based announcements as software updates within the Debian package. This helps us avoid some problems of collecting user data. All users will receive the announcement text as long as their FreedomBox is receiving automatic updates (including stable-backports). Debian packages already have a way of publishing information about their updates (NEWS.debian). Maybe we can use this as a starting point--the freedombox UI can pick up this info and display it as an "announcement."
The announcements should be written in clear language. Perhaps the announcements can just include bi-weekly updates about Plinth updates and the occasional issue requiring user intervention (e.g. the apt issue), but not NEWS from non-plinth packages. We don't want to overwhelm users with too much technical information.
Summary of the proposal:
- Create a new module called "Announcements", which can be accessed from the top menu bar.
- It will show the list of all announcements (newest to oldest).
- The Announcements module will track whether each announcement has been seen by the user.
- The Announcements module will be accessible through an icon on the top menu bar, near the Help icon.
- If there is an unread announcement, it will generate a notification in the form of a red dot near the announcement module's icon (just like the red dots that appear on android apps whenever there is a notification)