Safety inquiry on critical functions

• Feb 23, 2024 - 22:15

There are functions and commands in MuseScore which, once done, are prone to mess up a whole lot of work when not instantly recognized and undone. One of those commands is "Reset all styles to default" in the "Styles" menu. Yes, cou can cancel that command instead of OK-ing. And yes, you can undo when you have OK-ed by accident (hopefully restoring really all earlier style changes). But if you overlook it and continue working, you might notice only after some period of time when you are practically unable to undo without losing a lot of work.

I know, excessive safety inquiries can be a nuisance. But at some occasions, I daresay that due diligence requires a reassurance, in particular as users are used to it.

I just stumbled over this issue and wondered whether there might be other traps for the users which I am not aware of. So, before launching an official feature request on github, I would like to learn the forum's view. Maybe you could name other functions which should get some fail-safe treatment, so I could collect them in one same request.


I'm not sure there are any "traps". How many layers of protection do you need in the "Styles" function? We all have to work the way we see fit. But we also have to pay attention and follow how the program works. I'm not at all saying MuseScore is perfect.
And you will need to prepare a separate Github request for each issue.

In reply to by bobjp

Well, clicking a button by accident, losing much work thereby, probably without noticing or being notified, makes a formidable trap in my humble eyes.

The layer of protection I was imagining was a simple dialog saying "Sure to reset any styles to default? // Yes // No // Return", where Yes and No exiting the Styles dialog, Return leaving back to the it. Just like "Sure to leave without saving". This is a layer of protection known from many software, and would be expectable on any critical function.

As how the program works, I was under the impression that MuseScore is a project that is living and evolving based on user experience and input, not a matter of take it or leave it.

As to paying attention, as well as the implied irony of the question "how many layers do you need", I'm sure you don't mean it rude but could easily be taken so, discouraging users from contributing further, which would be a pity.

Besides, I noticed the mishap when it occured at my side, and was able to undo it with no harm done. But that was only because I saw the changes instantly in the score which might not necessarily be always so. So I posted, not because of my losing of my work, but to prevent others from experiencing the like.

Anyway, thank you for your hint as to one issue at a time.

In reply to by RudoSaxx

Sorry you misunderstood my questions.
I understand about accidently hitting a key. I don't use my laptop trackpad because it is too easy for me to drag a finger on it by mistake and have all manner for odd things happen. So I use a trackball mouse instead. Safer and much faster. Even so, I can't say I've ever lost a lot of work because of accidently hitting the wrong key.

For me, the word "trap" denotes something done on purpose.

MuseScore is "open source". Which means that anyone with the knowhow is more than welcome to download the code and make changes to it. For the rest of us mere humans, there is the forum. Here, users post issues they are having. Other users (smarter than myself) help get the discussion going to see if there really is an issue. If it can be determined that there really is a problem, then the said user can make a formal request to the developer page (GitHub) to try and get a fix. But the request has to be formal and detailed. With examples of what is happening.

Your assertion that you were trapped into deleting work, is not very specific. So post a list of some steps you took and what happened. What failed. What were you expecting. Then maybe someone can help you formalize it. Or see if there really is an issue.

For this specific example, you have to consciously go to the menu and select Format, then Style and then go way down to the bottom of the dialogue box and click on the button marked "Reset all styles to default" and then you can click on "OK" or "Cancel" - Note that simply hitting the [Enter] key doesn't enact a change. And then you still have the opportunity to change your mind with [Ctrl]-Z or Edit >Undo.

As far as I can see, this is more safety-aware than Dr Kevorkian's euthanasia device. Once you have agreed to everything and have peacefully passed you can't [Ctrl]-Z. Nothing against his device or the people who choose to use it.

In reply to by underquark

The series of action you describe is correct but, in my view, even more highlights the problem I see with this function. Anyway, I am afraid you miss the point where you allege that the mistaken series of actions is made conciously. That it is not what I am talking about. I am talking about some events that lead to an unwanted - and unnoticed - result.

You may be of the opinion that such events are unlikely, which opinion may be valid or not. I would respectfully disagree with it because I think that, given certain circumstances, they are very likely, or at least human, to occur.

  1. Let me explain that case in more detail:
  • Assume that you have opened the styles menu and made some changes to some styles.

  • Optionally, and even more severely, assume that other changes have been made earlier, followed by entry of any content.

  • Assume further that any or all of the changes are not instantly visible in the score, or are visible but remain unnoticed because their taking place at some other place, or simply slip your attention because they are suble and you are in a creative phase, thinking of a musical phrase to continue or whatsoever, or a combinatino of any that reasons. Remember at this point that while the styles menu is open, you are not able to scroll through the score to check about your changes.

  • Now you wish to save the changes but inadvertently click "Reset all styles to default" instead of "OK". Here, you might not notice the reset because of any of the reasons mentioned above.

  • As a result, you might not be aware what happened, so not think "OMG I may have reset all styles to default when I now click OK" but maybe only think "ah, missed the click" or the like, taking a closer look, aim "OK", click, and ... desaster takes its run. Means that the changes, or reset of changes, remain unnoticed, you continue work, and later recognize that you have lost your style changes on your way.

Again, it may not happen all the time, but it is human to happen under the given circumestances. But it could be avoided by a simple safety question "Are you sure to reset all styles to default".

  1. BTW, even if that worst case described above does not happen so often, another case may cause much distress to a user:
  • Assume that you have opened the Styles menu, and have made a great number of style changes in one take.

  • Now assume you click on "Reset all styles to default", be it by accident or out of a sudden condition of mental derangement easily happening after hours of work. This will instantly undo any changes you have made.

  • Even if you instantly notice what happend, this reset cannot be healed because the "Undo" function is inactive while you are in the Styles menu. "OK"-ing or "Cancel"-ing will not bring you in any position that the changes are restored. So all the changes you have made before remain wiped out, and you will have to recall and apply all the changes again.

I would assume that also such an event is very human to happen, and would be extremely undesirable. Also here the simple safety question "Are you sure to reset all styles to default" might help avoiding distress.

  1. I am not sure what you want to say by referring to Dr Kevorkian's euthanasia device. I believe I have shown that there are instances where the "Reset all styles to default" is not so much safer. Anyway, I indeed appreciate that a music writing software - til now - would not irrecovably make me pass away by hitting the wrong key :-)

In reply to by RudoSaxx

I'm not saying there isn't a problem with the reset styles button. But two things occur to me.

  1. What if after making several different kinds of style changes, I look at different parts of the score and decide I don't like some of them. Some changes, like beam thickness, don't have a revert to default button. If I don't remember the original value, I have to guess or hit the revert button for all styles. So not only might there be a need for a warning like you want. There might need to be a more selective undo. Which is not what you are asking for, I know.

2a. As a result, I think the "reset all styles" button is the wrong button altogether. There might be cases where I might want to do that. I would think it very rare. I don't have an idea what it should be.
2b. Sorry but I can't imagine hitting the "reset all" button by accident no matter how many hours I've been working.

In reply to by bobjp

  1. Would very much support that, too.

2a. Agree. Reset styles to default could be a separate function. But not best placed in the Styles menu.

2b. Well, have to admit it happened to me, as written before. Was able to recognise and undo though, fortunately. So no harm done.

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