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Delete Contact #1133

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andrewbanchich opened this Issue Apr 18, 2017 · 26 comments

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@andrewbanchich
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andrewbanchich commented Apr 18, 2017

contacts that signal finds that were once in my contacts list are appear in the signal desktop app once those contacts join. however, they had been deleted from my google contacts list a long time ago. there is no way to remove them from the Signal desktop app. please update so i can remove these contacts.

@piusg

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piusg commented Apr 18, 2017

Don't hold your breath. Signal Desktop conversation and contact management has got a loooooong way to go.

I had been begging for this very issue to be looked at months ago. Only responses I've ever gotten were "Here, try this long, convoluted thing that fundamentally changes the way you manage your contacts" or, more often than not, shrug sorry.

Evidently the ability to share animated dancing kitten GIFs free from snooping was a higher priority than archiving or deleting disused conversations like, oh, EVERY OTHER CHAT CLIENT EVER. The other chat desktop client teams clearly have implemented those features in their proper order.

Just be happy you can do it on the mobile client. At least that works.

@suisea

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suisea commented May 8, 2017

+1. kinda not cool to see exes whose names start with "a" every time i open signal desktop.

@jm3

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jm3 commented Jun 1, 2017

Here's the simple workaround for this that I found:

  1. First, delete the contact from your OS address book. If your phone and desktop's address books don't sync, I assume you may need to delete the contact from both.
  2. in Signal Desktop, after clicking the offending contact, just click Delete Messages.
  3. the UI does not refresh in any intuitive way — this actually triggers a display bug where the deleted contact's avatar still appears in your contact list, but the conversation displayed now corresponds to your conversation with OFFENDING_BUDDY_PLUS_ONE.

But upon relaunch, the bad contact will be gone from your contacts list. 👻

@scottnonnenberg

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scottnonnenberg commented Jun 2, 2017

@jm3 Can you provide some screenshots and logs for that off-by-one situation?

@jm3

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jm3 commented Jun 4, 2017

@scottnonnenberg hm, i guess not! i tried to reproduce it and this time it worked as expected ¯_(ツ)_/¯

UPDATE: I've recorded a screencast of the deletion and the above bug, and sent it privately via DM, since it contains personal info via the contact list. hopefully it helps.

@dharness

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dharness commented Jun 9, 2017

I think the solution listed by @jm3 is actually reasonable for a contact you no longer want to keep. But why should my list of chat-contacts be the same as my list of OS-contacts or phone-contacts?
90% of contacts I don't wish to chat with via Signal, even if they had it.

What if we just had the ability to "hide" a contact instead? We would keep them as a contact, just not display them in the left menu? Or rather, all contacts are hidden until you engage with them or add them.

@jm3

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jm3 commented Jun 15, 2017

@scottnonnenberg @dharness oh man, it's worse than I realized — now the deleted contact is back in the Signal contacts list, again. Super annoying, and weird since they're fully deleted from my address book. If I had to guess, I'd say Signal is attempting to sync between mobile and desktop, and getting it wildly wrong, so that whenever I delete from the one, the other re-syncs it back? No idea.

One of the weirdest things is, I've never messaged this person, yet they appear in between two other contacts who I've messaged this week.

So not only is Signal incorrectly stopping me from deleting a contact, AND incorrectly re-inserting that contact after removing them, but they're sorting the (contact that should be deleted) in the wrong order. So sort of a triple fail.

@pahakalle

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pahakalle commented Jun 22, 2017

I kinda like to send messages to myself.

@jm3

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jm3 commented Jun 22, 2017

It seems like the backlog on these basic blocking-and-tackling features is pretty deep. Is there a separate thread being worked on regarding a block feature? That would solve this, so maybe this is a dupe of that?

@scottnonnenberg

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scottnonnenberg commented Jun 27, 2017

@jm3 You can block users in the mobile apps, and that blocked state will be sync'd to your linked desktop apps. It will prevent you from sending messages to them, as well as prevent any incoming messages from them from showing up.

@jm3

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jm3 commented Jun 27, 2017

@scottnonnenberg sadly that doesn't work because the user only appears in Desktop Signal. I've already deleted them from mobile. Every time I launch Desktop Signal, they appear, and then I have to select "Restart Signal" to make them disappear. Comical. Syncing also does not fix this.

@breznak

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breznak commented Nov 15, 2017

Another workaround should be to Archive the conversation (on mobile for now), that would not show up your exes

@scottnonnenberg

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scottnonnenberg commented Nov 22, 2017

v1.0.39 is released, and when you select to 'delete messages' for a conversation, that conversation will also be removed from the left pane.

@jayotto

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jayotto commented Apr 28, 2018

Really, all I need to do is get my ex-wife's name out of my signal contact list. She is not in any other contact list, not on iOS, MacOS, Google, etc. Has been deleted for years. At t his point I have a handfull of people I know who actually use Signal. At this point I dread notifications of incoming messages from any of them, because I know that that tortuous demon's name is going to show up on the top of the contact list. I would rather cut off an arm than use Signal, because of THIS ISSUE!

Please fix this bug, so I can get that monster out of my life.

None of the workarounds listed above work for me, even temporarily.

@piusg

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piusg commented Apr 30, 2018

@gasi-signal

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gasi-signal commented May 1, 2018

@jayotto & @piusg I am sorry you are still seeing people in your contacts that you do not wish to be there. Have you tried the ‘Delete messages’ workaround outlined above: #1133 (comment)? Or are you still receiving messages from that person? If so, have you tried blocking that contact on Signal iOS or Signal Android?

Please provide us with more information so we can investigate this issue.

@piusg

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piusg commented May 1, 2018

@andrewbanchich

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andrewbanchich commented May 1, 2018

@gasi-signal Is there a reason this is a very difficult bug to fix? I would not think simply being able to remove a contact from being shown would be so hard that we have to use workarounds instead of just fixing the bug.

@lschwetlick

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lschwetlick commented May 2, 2018

I also have this problem, only that in my case it was my number which was accidentally saved as a contact with a different name. Every once in a while, in a place where it should say my name, like in the new quoting feature, it sais the name of this contact that was erroneously associated with my number. Deleting the contact from my contact book has not worked, neither has deleting all messages (there are none). Does Signal have an internal record of contacts or personal information that I can edit?

@UserX404

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UserX404 commented May 2, 2018

I noticed the same issue in a group where one person had stopped using signal.
This person has also completed the unregister procedure but is still in my contacts. I'm not able to delete it. In contacts-app I get the notification read-only contacts can only be blended out.

@jayotto

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jayotto commented May 3, 2018

@gasi-signal I've deleted all messages, and deleted all contact information on iOS and MacOS. I'm not trying to block messages (I'm not receiving any), just trying to remove the mysterious erroneous ghost contact that keeps showing up in the Signal contacts list).

Thanks

@gasi-signal

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gasi-signal commented May 3, 2018

@jayotto The Signal Desktop app doesn’t pull contacts from macOS, but rather syncs them from your mobile device, i.e. iOS in your case. I created a little animation for how to delete a contact from the left-hand side of your Signal Desktop app:

delete-contact

That should remove the contact from the contact list until you or they write a new message into that conversation. If that contact reappears, please let us know as it might indicate your mobile device sent it to you again.

@andrewbanchich As for Is there a reason this is a very difficult bug to fix?: We are only two full-time developers on Signal Desktop and therefore have competing priorities in terms of keeping our features up-to-date with the other clients (quoted replies, media gallery, etc.), fixing high-impact bugs (disappearing messages not disappearing, other potential security issues etc.) that bugs like this—very annoying but not high-impact (vs. security bug) and with a workaround—often fall behind. For that we apologize. We are working on improving our process and infrastructure to make it easier to address bugs like this more easily in the future.

@gasi-signal gasi-signal changed the title no way to remove contacts Delete Contact May 3, 2018

@tyrsius

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tyrsius commented Jun 1, 2018

@gasi-signal Do you take PR's for this kind of stuff? I would love to contribute

@scottnonnenberg-signal

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scottnonnenberg-signal commented Jun 1, 2018

@tyrsius We have a really high bar for PRs, but yes we do merge them in. The difficulty with this one, of course, is that it will change the user experience, and there's no single correct solution. We'll want to be in communication with you as you consider potential designs.

@datamafia

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datamafia commented Jun 1, 2018

Can I question the commitment to privacy for a moment? Consider how my most private app is allowing unwanted people (spammers) to sneak in and potentially contact me:

I have a collection of blocked numbers, some are exes, others are people I never want to talk to again so I keep them in contacts to ALWAYS IGNORE. But the real privacy threat is robo-call phone numbers. So many robo-call phone numbers are showing up 'registered' on signal. I have over 100 recorded (and blocked) but there are many on Signal, allowed to contact me when I do everything possible to deny access.

I don't like this sitting out there. A conversation should be a 2+ person accept cycle, not a "push because I have the number" scenario as it smells right now, ripe for abuse and automation.

I use apps like Signal because I value privacy and wish to keep the greater spam of life at bay. I also support any effort to stifle or slow down the ability of my own government to spy on law abiding citizens. #justSaying

I see the use of phone number(s) as a crutch and pending security fail for apps like this where no legitimate alternative (?) is available or even in serious discussion. My phone number is 90%+ robo-calls. I don't want a phone number anymore and am ready to slide over to signal or similar type of operation. Signal is not ready to operate on that level, only a small part of the problem is solved, and until I can drop the use of a phone number (I use burner numbers to protect myself, I know what can be done) I feel that signal is still tethered negatively to a reality that is a far too insecure. Phone numbers provide a keen method to track and create unwanted meta-data breadcrumbs. I can cite many issues in the telecom infrastructure as well as current HTTPS/etc standards where meta-data is in the open. We count on services like Signal to provide privacy on all levels, phone number dependency is a smudge on what should be something pretty shiny.

I appreciate the app, features not found elsewhere, and the suite in general. I also appreciate the underlying crypto but reading the thread here I feel that the underlying development is tone deaf to the desire and need of people wanting to control communication access.

A note for @gasi-signal - I appreciate your work and am also an overworked dev. Grok this: I deleted Signal desktop and Mobile, re-authed on mobile, then re-linked on desktop today (all up to date versions). The contact list was NOT in mobile (blocked contact access) but was present (still, after deletion. re-install, and relink). The cycle I took to delete unwanted contact noise underscores a security issue. Either there is a remnant list of data on desktop I missed on uninstall, or there is a lack of proper hashing and validation of clients allowing the desktop to pick up on artifact data. I have addressed this same situation with other apps, this is a simple and easy to exploit attack on personal information. Please consider the ramifications of not securing, uninstalling, and serializing conversations and devices correctly. The operation tells me that this data is not secure or encrypted correctly and lacks the expected serialization to an installed application.To talk more on this please email me via my Git address, never discount user error or the stupidity of people using your service/app. thanks

@tyrsius

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tyrsius commented Jun 1, 2018

@datamafia That is a legitimate concern, but you should really open a separate issue for it. Its not going to be easy to have both of those discussions in this thread, especially considering the fundamental design nature of your issue.

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