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schwern (1528)

schwern
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Journal of schwern (1528)

Monday March 22, 2010
06:57 PM

The Basic Unit of Bug Report Frustration

[ #40260 ]

I submitted a proposal to OSCON called "How To Report A Bug" about the social issues involved in reporting and accepting bug reports. Its still pending, but its caused me to do a little writing for it. I came up with this introduction which I feel sums up the problem well. I'm also tickled that one measures bug report frustration in bags of shit.

Developers often treat bug reports like someone dumping a bag of shit on your doorstep, ringing the bell and telling you to clean it up. That's not what they are. A bug report is someone pointing out that there's some shit on your doorstep, they stepped in it, and maybe it should be cleaned up.

Either way, nobody likes stepping in shit. And nobody likes cleaning up shit. So the whole interaction starts off on the wrong foot, perhaps the one covered in shit. Your job, as developer or as reporter, is to deliberately steer it back to being a positive one where the developer wants to fix shit and the reporter wants to continue to report shit.

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  • You may already be planning on this, but I'd just like to explicitly bring it up.

    Please also address the "barrier to enter", and consider lowering that particular bar.

    Since so many bug reporting guidelines and systems require a significant investment on the part of the user. If I'm simply evaluating some software, and I most likely will not be using it again, I won't be bothered to register, submit a bug and follow through with all the steps.

    However, if there is a *simple* and well-addressed mechanism

    --
    Killing two stones with one bird.
  • Straight off the bat.

    People would often reply to that with "If you don't want to step in shit or god-knows-what, don't step on my porch" which is sort of equivalent to the ol' "this is free software, leave me the fuck alone".

  • You have probably seen this blog article, but it does address some of the same aspects as your talk:

    http://blog.arlim.org/2010/02/28/software-is-like-plumbing/ [arlim.org]

  • Now, I was under the impression that the correct etiquette when placing a turd on someone's doorstep was to put it naked on top of some crumpled newspaper, set light to the paper, ring the doorbell and run away fast.