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User interface to bad certificate warning -- how to use?

From: N. Jackson
Subject: User interface to bad certificate warning -- how to use?
Date: Sun, 31 Jan 2016 16:53:45 -0400
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/25.0.90 (gnu/linux)

In the pre-release for Emacs 25 (25.0.90) I get a warning message when
Gnus tries to connect to my local Dovecot IMAP server. The warning
message correctly states that "The TLS connection to localhost:993 is
insecure ..." because I have a self-signed certificate (among other
problems with it).

I'm very happy that this functionality is now in Emacs.

My question is about how the user is intended to interact with this
warning, since there are several rather confusing things about it.

The warning is shown in a help window while simultaneously there is a
prompt displayed in the minibuffer:

    Continue connecting? (No, Session only, Always)

Is the user intended to type in the full text of their choice or the
first letter or what? If the first letter, must it be capitalised as
shown? The prompt seems to disappear when _any_ key is pressed; for
example I tried to copy the prompt to the clipboard and it disappeared
when I started to select it -- I've no idea which of the three choices
it decided I had entered. This seems rather surprising behaviour for the

After the prompt is gone, the help window remains but the buffer itself
is gone. This seems to be rather the opposite of what would be useful.
Wouldn't it be better if the buffer with the details about the
problematic certificate persisted and the help window was closed?

Furthermore, the information in the help buffer is in a confusing order:

    Certificate information
    Issued by:
    Issued to:          IMAP server
    Public key:         RSA, signature: RSA-SHA1
    Protocol:           TLS1.2, key: ECDHE-RSA, cipher: AES-128-GCM, mac: AEAD
    Security level:     Low
    Valid:              From 2013-09-07 to 2014-09-07

    The TLS connection to localhost:993 is insecure for the following

    certificate signer was not found (self-signed)
    certificate host does not match hostname
    certificate has expired
    the certificate was signed by an unknown and therefore untrusted authority
    certificate could not be verified

Would it not be better if the statement of the problem "The TLS
connection ... is insecure" came first, and the detailed certificate
information came at the end.

I'm trying to understand why the interface is the way it is, and also
how the user is expected to interact with it.

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