[Reportbug-maint] bug reporting workflow is outdated

Patrick Strasser patrick.strasser at tugraz.at
Tue May 24 16:19:14 UTC 2011

schrieb Josselin Mouette am 2011-05-24 17:50:
> Le mardi 24 mai 2011 à 17:05 +0200, Patrick Strasser a écrit : 
>>> The fat end is a web form for users to submit bugs.
>> Would that be so bad?
> We would get more bug reports.
> We already receive more bug reports than we can handle. We need less bug
> reports, but more useful ones.
> Ergo, putting an entry barrier to reporting bugs is not that silly.

Developing software for a living based on a bug tracking system I know
that dilemma. Too much bugs is not very comfortable. Bug reports are
always of too low quality, I've seen a lot of them.

On the other side if bugs exists I'd want to fix them rather soon than
later. The problems do not go away when you do not look at them.

If it is about quality it needs action to educate users or help them
writing better bug reports. A good bug reporting system helps the
reporter giving information and the developer working with the reports
and solve the problems.

When it comes to the content, you can divide reports in at least feature
request and problems (to avoid the term bug). I consider feature request
or wishlist items not as burden, as long as I can sort them out to get a
clean view at the problems. I personally like feature requests as they
can give you insight in the users perspective of software, and often
enough a new idea.

Having a big number of open bugs is uncomfortable for sure, but I would
not worry about it if most problems are cared for and a lot of feature
requests are in the queue. Would be interesting to see the numbers for
Debian, but I could not find a statistical breakdown of bug severities
in Debian except for RC bugs. Perhaps someone has the numbers...

Artificially throttling bug reports annoys users and makes Debian a
worse OS. If it is hard to report bugs you will only get the reports of
advanced users and only solve problems they can not get around - simple
problems for basic users will persist and bug that users that do not
have the skill to help themselves.
Debian claims to be an universal operating system, for advanced users as
well as for users not skilled in computer technology. Raising a bug
reporting barrier discriminates non-advanced users, which is really a
bad thing - for the users and the makers of Debian.

That said, I know that bugs won't solve themselves. I'd like to help to
reduce the bug count, for example at the reportbug package.


Engineers motto: cheap, good, fast: choose any two
Patrick Strasser <patrick dot strasser at student dot tugraz dot at>
Student of Telemati_cs_, Techn. University Graz, Austria

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