Pushing snap overwrites manual store listing data

A massive amount of snaps are automatically switched from “manually filled in listing” to “get listing data from snapcraft.yaml”, without any user interaction. This breaks the model laid out here: https://snapcraft.io/blog/better-snap-metadata-handling-coming-your-way-soon

This is a big deal. A ton of snaps in the store now have a one-line placeholder listing instead of the carefully crafted listing that we put so much effort into. The snap store attracts a lot of traffic and right now, a lot of high-quality snaps look like they’re hardly maintained. Search in the store is broken, SEO is broken, and the snaps look amateurish.

Some affected snaps:

@keshavnrj has the same issue with a bunch of their snaps, and other publishers are affected too such as:

This has been happening since at least 3 September 2021.

I also created an issue to track this: https://github.com/canonical-web-and-design/snapcraft.io/issues/3675

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Yes, I had the same issue with more than 8 snaps I updated few days ago. I also noticed other affected snaps by this. I will add few names and links below.

The issue changes the Title, Summary and Description of snap apps that is/was set by author using Web frontend to the one set in snapcraft.yaml file (which include one or two liner description and barely maintained or changed by publishers as they update their snaps).

Also this is Big deal as mentioned above by @galgalesh, as this directly affected the reachability of affected snaps in the store due to the poor SEO. I confirmed this by searching my affected apps in google and found that google listing of search result was updated according to the changes.

I have updated my snaps but there are hundreds of snaps which got affected by this.

  1. Sublime Text snap:https://snapcraft.io/sublime-text (notice the lower case title, one liner description) The Page used to look like this before https://web.archive.org/web/20210814144750/https://snapcraft.io/sublime-text

  2. Postman snap: https://snapcraft.io/postman (Title changed to lowercase)

  3. PyCharm CE snap: https://snapcraft.io/pycharm-community (title changed from PyCharm CE to pycharm-community )

  4. PyCharm Pro snap: https://snapcraft.io/pycharm-professional (Changed title and description) (https://web.archive.org/web/20210814083530/https://snapcraft.io/pycharm-professional)

There are many, and one can find them by looking in the store. Affected snaps will generally have lower case Titles, 1-3 liner description and are updated recently as the issue triggered few weeks ago.

I have also noticed decrease in number of installs on my affected apps.

Also @sergiusens suggested that this might be triggred due to this https://snapcraft.io/blog/better-snap-metadata-handling-coming-your-way-soon



We have confirmed this is because of the “Update metadata on release” feature discussed in the blog post referred to earlier in this thread, which was enabled in late August. This explains the behavior described in this report and matches the approximate timeline for the observed metadata changes.

We have deactivated the feature for the time being and are evaluating changes and actions that will provide the best path forward. I’ll update this thread as appropriate.

  • Daniel

The way I read the blogpost, I thought the “manual metadata” flag would’ve been transferred from the old system to the new system so that, if you’ve already changed the metadata in the store, it wouldn’t get automatically updated with the new system either.

Hi folks,

With apologies to everyone in this thread for the time it took us to craft it, we have posted a more detailed explanation of what happened and what’s being done about this problem.

Let me know if there are any questions, we’re happy to help.

  • Daniel

Thanks for the explanation!

Hey folks,

New year, new metadata update mechanism! Just a heads-up to everyone interested, after allowing for a few months for people to rescue their snap metadata as mentioned in the blog post from October, we have gone ahead and set up the “update metadata on release to stable” flag. The flag has been set to “true” for any snaps that have never had their metadata edited via the web interface and that hadn’t had the flag set manually. This means:

  1. If you’ve set the flag manually, to whichever value, we won’t touch it.
  2. If you’ve ever edited metadata via the web interface, your flag remains to “don’t update on release to stable”.

From here I’ll wait about a week for people to review their settings if needed, and we will globally enable the “update metadata on stable release” behavior in a few days. As a reminder, “globally enabling” still means that the flag is honored, and we are confident with the above rules/settings, we won’t overwrite metadata incorrectly.

Let me know if there are any concerns.

  • Daniel

Where can we see these settings?

That’s a great question :slight_smile: the UI element was in a snaps’ /settings page, but was temporarily removed to avoid confusion, I’m seeing about getting it restored. Rest assured we won’t enable the global feature until this UI element is restored and everyone’s had a chance to review their settings. It’s been 3 months, we’re not in a huge rush :slight_smile:

  • Daniel

Apologies for the longer-than-expected delay. If you go to https://snapcraft.io/YOUR_SNAP/settings you will now see “Upload metadata on release”, the toggle to enable this functionality for your snap. It should be set/ticked for snaps that haven’t had their metadata updated via web, and unset/unticked for snaps that have (to ensure they don’t get overwritten when we enable the global flag).

From here we’ll allow some time for people to verify this, then we’ll enable said global flag if there are no concerns.

Thanks again!

  • Daniel

I took a quick glance at a few of my snaps and it seems to work as it should!


I have finally enabled the global switch for “Update metadata on release to stable”. As per above, this will effectively only apply to snaps that have the corresponding per-snap flag turned on. If your snap has ever had its metadata updated via the web interface, the flag should have been turned to “off” by the process we ran on January 19th, so we expect everything to be OK.

Let me know if there are any concerns or unexpected metadata updates.

  • Daniel
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