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Re: bugzilla triage madness :-/



Hi

Following from experience with the recent Fedora Bugzilla mass-triage,
I figured that I would write a few words about the state of bugs in
open source projects, and where people's perception can tend to fall
short of reality. [Some of you will recognize where it's largely
plagiarized from]

OSS developers assume that  because there is not a dedicated paid
testing team hidden within the walls of a particular contracting
company, that there are infinite testing resources. Instead, just as
with proprietary software, the resources are finite, the amount of
hours in a day are finite, and the fact is that most of bug reporters
are contributing to an OSS community in their spare time, not being
paid to do it full-time. In fact the overwhelming majority of users is
pretty happy to rant on discussion forums and mailing lists and let
software authors go fish for problems themselves, rather than expend
the time and energy to push report through "proper" channels. In fact,
it is debatable that the number of OSS bug reporters is growing faster
than the number of OSS code authors.

Given these resource limitations, bug reporters have to be selective
in their reporting. The volume of code and the number of problems to
report is literally more than they can handle. In order to handle the
workload, they filter ruthlessly. If a project takes months to answer
a bug report, or repeatedly asks to retest or confirm a problem no one
has looked at still exists, that's unlikely to get as much attention
as a project that is quick to process reports and does not make
reporters feel they're wasting their time. I'm not saying that this is
good, bad, or indifferent, but simply a fact of life in the open
source world.

In conclusion, the open source bug reporting community is very happy
to help projects better their software. However, the people that
produce problem reports are very much inundated with issues that
should be reported. What does this mean to you, the bug handlers? That
we'd like for you to understand that every problem is not going to be
reported in a perfect way, and simply asking reporters to work more on
reports is not a guarantee that they will do it. In fact most of them
will just report their activity to channels where the bar is set
lower, and the cost/benefits ratio is better for them. The only reward
for reporting issues is having them handled. When handling is poor
this ratio gets very bad quickly.

There are humans the other side of the channel too.

-- 
Nicolas Mailhot


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