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Re: The art of closing bug reports

From: Tim Cross
Subject: Re: The art of closing bug reports
Date: Sun, 10 Jul 2011 15:19:23 +1000

On Sun, Jul 10, 2011 at 12:03 PM, Lennart Borgman
<address@hidden> wrote:
> On Sun, Jul 10, 2011 at 03:31, Juanma Barranquero <address@hidden> wrote:
>> On Sun, Jul 10, 2011 at 02:56, Lennart Borgman
>> <address@hidden> wrote:
>>> I do not think that question is serious. That is my experience from
>>> before. Can you explain how saying these words will help the
>>> development of free software?
>> I'll do, as soon as you explain to me how do help the development of
>> free software (or just Emacs) bugs that say "I have this crash, for
>> which I won't send a recipe because I'm a very busy guy, which perhaps
>> happens because of my local modifications (that, by the way, I have
>> sent you *hundred of times* and you refuse to include into Emacs just
>> to make my life more difficult) and perhaps not, because I don't
>> really remember, which happened so long ago that I don't even remember
>> what was I doing at the time or how to reproduce it... and please
>> don't ask me for clarification or help in reproduce it, because, as I
>> said, I'm a very busy guy, so please do all the work yourselves and,
>> by the way, what's not clear in my report?"
>> If you think I'm being harsh or mocking you, you need to distance
>> yourself from your own bug reports and try to read them as they are,
>> not as they seem to be in your imagination.
> Not at all, Juanma. This is just exactly to the point.

Two concrete ways I think closing of bug reports could be improved are

1. Include the full bug report subject and not just the bug number in
the closure notification. I regularly see closure notices that only
include the bug number and a message which often just says the bug has
been closed.

The problem with this is that it gives no clue as to which bug it was.
We tend not to remember bug report numbers, but often will recognise
subject or description. Knowing that a particular bug (and I'm talking
about ones that you have not lodged yourself) has been closed can be
very useful.

2. Include a tag in the closure message which indicates whether the
bug was closed because it is believed to be fixed, cannot be fixed,
cannot be reproduced, is a duplicate of another bug etc.

Both of these suggestions are mainly relevant to those who monitor the
email list or newsgroup. I am assuming that if you use the bug tracker
directly, then this information is already there.

I guess the lack of details in the closure messages is possible a
reflection of lack of time or possibly a limitation with the bug
tracker mail/news gateway. However, many bug tracking systems I have
used have some sort of templating system and perhaps all that is
needed is some tweaking of these templates.


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