[maemo-users] Reporting Bugs

From: Mark Haury wolfmane at gmail.com
Date: Wed Apr 23 18:55:11 EEST 2008
Mike Lococo wrote:
>> The fundamental error in your logic is that you think your time (and
>> effort) is more valuable than mine. It isn't.
> Not to be inflammatory... but to the community, Graham's time is in fact
> much more valuable than yours or mine because he's one of a small number
> of individuals with the knowledge and desire to write code to fix bugs
> in GPE.  As a someone has submitted GPE bugs in the past, I can say
> first-hand that Graham will go quite out of his way to diagnose and fix
> well-formed bug reports.  A naked assertion that "it doesn't work"
> doesn't help him do that in the least.
...Which is all irrelevant to someone who has time pressures of their 
own and just needs an app that works, properly, the first time. As 
someone else mentioned, it takes a lot less time to just uninstall a 
useless app and try something else than it does to go through the 
process of bug submission. The bottom line is that if you want people to 
use your app, it's up to *you*, not them, to debug it.

>  - Steps to reproduce are important.  There's nothing a developer can do
>    to fix your problem unless they can observe the failure and diagnose
>    it.
>  - Getting your problem logged in the bug tracker is important.  If
>    a developer doesn't have the cycles to deal with your issue today,
>    the tracker will remind them about it tomorrow.
>  - With regard to needing to create an account to submit bugs.  This is
>    standard across every project I've ever seen, and is done to prevent
>    the bug database from becoming a useless spam repository.  If you
>    have a better solution, speak up.  Simply removing the account
>    creation requirement will create a lot of thankless manual spam
>    filtering work and is much more likely to end up destroying the bug
>    database than improving the process end-to-end.
This link that Chris just posted:
indicates that my experience is far from unique, and there's plenty of 
information there to reproduce the problem.

As for the bug submission process, I already said how that could be made 
a lot easier without appreciably increasing spam. All the bugzilla 
process has to do is verify that the original submission is from a valid 
email address. A full account creation process is big-time overkill.

> For future reference, the mozilla bug-writing guide is a good reference
> for how to submit bugs that will get read and acted on:
I can not properly express how wrong-headed and arrogant it is to demand 
that people take that kind of time and go to that amount of effort to 
report a problem, especially when often even if they had the time and 
energy to do it they don't have the necessary background or skills. 
Coupled with the very negative experiences I've had with every single 
bug I've ever submitted in that manner, it's really not worth anyone's 
time. The reason I have so little patience with it now and have such a 
negative tone is because of how I've always been treated in the past. I 
started out very polite and agreeable. I'm done with that. This attitude 
that every user should be both an expert and a debugger is exactly why 
Linux isn't gaining much ground on the other OSs.

If you want people to submit to submit bugs, you have no choice. Either 
make it quick and easy and treat them with respect, or you won't get 
many submissions. It's really that simple.

> Finally, messages on how to submit good bugs are often misinterpreted 
> to imply that users somehow "owe" developers good bugs, which isn't 
> the case. Good bug reports often result in improved software, grousing 
> about how bad the software is generally doesn't.  It's up to you to 
> determine the outcome you want and act accordingly.
On the contrary, it's up to the developers to treat people with respect 
who are *trying* to use their product and making an effort to report 
problems. Demanding that every user be an expert
and go into excruciating detail is neither realistic nor reasonable. I'm 
going to throw your own line back at you: "It's up to you to determine 
the outcome you want and act accordingly." Negative treatment of people 
gets negative results.

The other thing you have to take into account is that if somebody is 
going to the trouble to mention a bug, it's because they've already 
experienced a negative situation and are quite justified in being upset. 
In other words, the negativity began not with them, but with *you*. If 
you can't ignore their tone and just deal with the problem, then you 
have no right at all to demand the same of them. Hypocrisy doesn't sit 
well with anyone.


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