conflicting messages | teams

Hi Observable folks:

I had a notebook that I created in a team account. I wasn’t certain whether a team member could see it due to the message on my solo icon (a person and the word ‘you’ in the picture), and I was lazy to find the teams guide page and read it. The mouseover text also told me I was the only one who could see it, so I went ahead and link shared. But the solo person icon didn’t change, and the mouseover message is still telling me I am the only one who can view (see picture). this information is no longer accurate.


Two requests:

  1. Please change the solo icon for teams to a multiparty icon and change the word ‘You’ to ‘Team’
  2. Please make it clear in mouseover after link share that anyone with link can view.

Thanks to some gentle guidance from the patient @Cobus and further reading of the main Teams notebook and the Teams Permissions, I have discovered the team ‘Share’ button an how it will toggle the icon once a notebook is shared to the team. I still find these mouseover messages confusing–especially for ‘private but link-shared’ notebooks.

Thanks for this platform!


One important distinction in the mouse-over text… notice that it says ‘working version’…
This is very different from the link shared or published versions. When you link share, and then edit the notebook, it is still only you who can see the working version (until you link share again or publish again). The same is true when you publish a notebook.

Those actions allow others to see versioned snapshots of the notebook, but not the working version.

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Hi Cobus,

Thanks again for your time, attention, and gentle guidance. To follow-up more on the sources of my confusion with these icons and in the text of the two ‘teams’ notebooks linked above:

I created a team, but didn’t initially add any members. I created notebooks within that team. I later added a member. On adding a member, all my team notebooks were ‘shared’ by default (having the team icon rather than an individual icon). This is why I read the notebook into text as confusing: my initial batch of team notebooks were in fact not ‘private by default’, but instead ‘shared by default’.

After adding a new member, all the icons, etc, work as expected / described. But because this was different than the ‘initialization + first member behavior’, I was totally thrown as to why sharing wan’t working as I expected.

Some of this is me reading too fast and missing details (which is a character flaw that you, probably Anjana, and I am sure many others reading this site and interacting with me have noticed)… but others are sorta obscure. I get your point about the subtle distinction of the working copy of a notebook, but hopefully also my point here is taken that it’s asking a lot of users to be alert to all these subtleties.

There have been a few threads[1] recently about the UI having become somewhat awkward and obtuse as the site grows. I’d be happy if your growing team has a few UI/design experts on board to help re-think and improve.

I do appreciate all the care and personal attention that I get on this site and from the Observable team. Thank you!

Hi Aaron,

We love this type of feedback and discussion! Keep it coming.

We now have a very strong Design team and they are hard at work making the UI more intuitive and lovable, and clarifying concepts on the platform. We have a pretty long list of changes in our backlog :smile:.

One of the things we needed to start clarifying was exactly the difference between sharing a working version within a team and link sharing a static version of a notebook. By introducing the notebook sharing model, we realized that it could be confused with link sharing, and needed to make it more explicit about what you are sharing (working version vs. versioned/published). We realize this could still be confusing and your feedback is much appreciated.

Now, about what happened in your case… here is my theory. I think that we launched the notebook permissions after you created your team and 1 member. When we launched, we needed to ensure that the teams’ current access to team notebooks were preserved, hence all notebooks were migrated to ‘Team shared’. However, post the launch, all new notebooks start off as Private (“you”) by default.

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Thanks Cobus. I appreciate it.

As for the timing: I only recently created the team. I’d have to check the dates, as I have no idea how this coincided with notebook permissions in teams :wink: I created the team probably only within the last month or two at most.

That sounds about right. Notebook permissions was launched on Aug 12.

From what I know, your team does a great job with checking in on people before a change, so I don’t know that this is anything you’d need to fix (and from me it’s not a request to change anything), but since we’ve arrived at this point in the discussion:

I can’t now revoke shared permission on old notebooks.

This notebook was created on the day I signed up for teams: July 16th.

Ah yes. I ran into this situation myself. If you revoke access on that notebook, there would be no-one left as an editor… so before you can revoke Team access, you should add a Team member (yourself presumably) as an editor.

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Bumping an old thread b/c possibly related:

Today I tried to change notebook permissions within my team, but was not presented the option to do so. Since we’re launching a test that is linked to a particular draft notebook, I wanted to enforce that all future edits occur on a fork. It’s possible to revert to ‘view only’ for newly created notebooks, but not for this one. I created the notebook on July 28th, so is it correct to assume this is another legacy bug?

That sounds strange. Would you mind sending the link to the notebook and also a snapshot of the notebook header and the sharing window to so we can investigate?

Thanks! Done.