Posted Aug 17, 2006 18:27 UTC (Thu) by j1m+5n0w
In reply to: Bug reporting
Parent article: Google's project hosting service
Nothing says "go away" quite like bugzilla. Let's look at the firefox bugzilla for a wonderful example of how to prevent users from filing bugs, shall we?
There are four crucial steps that you should follow before filing your first bug report:
1. Use the latest nightly build of Firefox with a new profile
Translation: We don't care about bugs in the version of firefox people are actually using. We also don't care about new versions trashing an old profile.
2. Check if you can reproduce the bug in Mozilla (Application Suite)
Translation: After we just asked you to install one extra web browser aside from the one you actually use, we're going to ask you to install another. (Notice we were nice enough not to ask you to do a binary search to find the first version wherein your bug first appears, which would have required log(N) browser installations.)
3. Check if the bug is already filed
Translation: It's your job as a user to be able to navigate our database of thousands of bugs and find the one just like yours, if it exists.
4. Finally, read the official Bug Writing Guidelines
This step at least seems reasonable.
Oh, and by the way, we'll ask for your email address and then post it publicly for all to see.
Perhaps I'm being cynical, but last time I filed a firefox bug, bugzilla seemed rather more like a challenge to be overcome than a hospitable friend welcoming me into the firefox developer community.
I can understand that the Firefox developers don't wan't to read bug reports like "MY INTERNETS ARE BROKE PLZ FIX", and good reports make bug fixing easier. However, if users are deterred by the process, the developers might not ever find out when they break things.
I think that one of the biggest problems for the open source community right now is poor communication between developers and users (and many users are probably too polite to complain about broken things that they didn't pay for). Open source developers should be actively encouraging their users to complain whenever they see something about the software they don't like, no matter how frivolous.
It looks like Google is doing a good job of making user-developer communication easy, by keeping the interface simple. Requiring a gmail account to post a comment seems a bit onerous, but I guess I can't really blame them for that.
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