[Cabal] Bug Reporting

Richard Laager rlaager at wiktel.com
Sun Nov 5 20:34:47 EST 2006

A recent experience of mine with a particularly obnoxious user had the
beneficial side effect of giving me the following ideas, not all of
which are new. I thought I'd mention them here so we can consider them
for Trac:

a) Users should not be able to modify bug attributes. They exist not for
the user anyway, but for us. Having them editable by the user makes them
think it's something they *should* edit. This is worth considering when
we switch to a new bug tracking system. I think we can make these
statuses more useful to the user; see my suggestions below as (c) and

b) The SF bug submission process is horrible. We only have the ability
to put a small note for users to search existing bug reports. I think we
should look more towards one like that of GNOME. They have a really nice
multi-step wizard. It's great for newbies, and as an experienced bug
submitter, I'm okay with it. My only beef with it is that there's no way
to get a full list of components; you have to know the category first,
which isn't always intuitive. This wouldn't matter for Gaim, since we
don't have that many components and the users needn't deal with that
anyway. Again, something to keep in mind for a new system.

c) It might be helpful to have some sort of note show up automatically
when something is marked a duplicate. This would say something like,
"This bug is a duplicate of [link to other bug number]. All further
comments should occur there." Then, nobody should be able to comment on
the bug again until it's either re-opened, or the resolution is changed.
I don't think there's a systemic problem with people "not getting it"
that you should take your comments to the other bug, but this would be
helpful in a few cases, such as this one.

d) We could do similar things as listed in (c) for other cases: Out of
Date ("Please try your bug with the latest version of Gaim and comment
here if it's still not fixed."), Fixed ("This bug has been marked fixed.
The fix will appear in the next release. If the bug is not fixed for you
in the next release, please comment here."), and possibly others.

e) The bug reporting wizard needs to start and end with some notice to
the effect of: "The Gaim project appreciates your bug report. It will be
triaged and evaluated by developers as their time allows. If they have
further questions, they will be posted to the bug report for you to see.
You will get an e-mail for changes to the bug report."

I have no idea how much of this Trac already does. I haven't had time to
play with it much yet. I just signed up for it. BTW, do I need to do
anything to get magical powers? I'm "rlaager".

Speaking of which, I really like the notes in bug comments on GNOME
Bugzilla. Effectively, they mark "(developer)" and "(submitter)". I know
there are times when I've gotten confused by someone other than the
submitter talking about something. I don't know if we want to mention
"(developer)" or not. It's a useful thing, but it does promote classes
of users. Anyway, not sure if Trac does this, but it's a thought.


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