Dead people could be designated authors of Atlassian Confluence docs but that can't be changed

16-year-old feature request to fix it judged so hard it doesn’t offer bang for buck – to Atlassian

After The Register covered the eleven years and counting wait for Atlassian to deliver custom domain names for its cloudy products, readers pointed out an even older open request: CONFCLOUD-7247 was filed on November 1st, 2006 and asks the software upstart to allow changes to the author of an existing page of its Confluence corporate Wiki.

As explained in the comments on the CONFCLOUD-7247 thread, changing authors matters because users assume the person listed as the creator of a document is the best contact for queries or comments.

One commentor expressed their discomfort with that arrangement as follows:

It's ridiculous to see the picture and name of a person who left the company many years ago in every page. I can even imagine some people having to see the picture of teammates that have passed away during all these years and it breaks my heart. This is unacceptable.

Others point out that when importing content into Confluence, authorship of all the documents sucked into its system is assigned to whoever added the content. That leaves some admins described as the authors of documents they have nothing to do with, and users unsure of who wrote a document.

We can't build everything at once

Which all seems very inconvenient, so we asked Atlassian why the request has not been addressed for 16 years!

"As avid users of our own products, we hear customers in their frustration with a ticket being kept open for 16 years,” an Atlassian spokesperson replied by email, adding: “Following our company value of ‘Open Company, No Bullshit’ we publicly capture our customers' voices and hold ourselves accountable for feedback on products.”

Just how Atlassian is being accountable in this instance is hard to ascertain because the spokesperson next stated” As with any software product, we can’t build everything at once. Each quarter comes with hard decisions on prioritizing development based on customer impact and effort required to build that functionality.”

“While it may seem like a simple change on the surface, the author of a page impacts page properties, notifications, and also has security and compliance considerations,” the spokesperson added.

Together with the line about development priorities being determined by the effort required to deliver, and it appears CONFCLOUD-7247 has failed to be judged a priority for over sixty quarters at least in part because it will be hard to do.

The spokesperson all-but admitted that as their missive continued.

“Regarding the specific issue of changing the author on a Confluence page, our evaluation of the effort versus value for customers has pushed it down lower on the list of priorities” the spokesperson told us.

That’s at odds with a January 2022 post by Atlassian staffer Divya Sriram who wrote “Solving the ability to change the author of an existing page is on our priority list. Currently, we are focused on critical work to improve table formatting and performance for Confluence Cloud pages - problems that are also affecting a very broad pool of users.”

Atlassian’s spokesperson pointed out many past additions to Confluence and a roadmap that promises plenty more.

Confluence users can therefore presumably be grateful they’re getting any updates, especially given the product has serious security problems

If you’re aware of a feature request older than CONFCLOUD-7247, from Atlassian or any other vendor or project, send me a mail and we’ll ask the culprits why they’re taking so long to sort things out. ®

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