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Re: Basic questions about the triage process

From: Andrew Hyatt
Subject: Re: Basic questions about the triage process
Date: Tue, 29 Dec 2015 19:22:27 -0500
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.4 (darwin)

Eli Zaretskii <address@hidden> writes:

>> From: Andrew Hyatt <address@hidden>
>> Date: Tue, 29 Dec 2015 00:40:08 -0500
>> I've put together my notes into a file I stuck in the admin section.
> Thanks.  A few comments below.
>> +* The what and why of bug triage
>> +
>> +Bugs have to be regularly looked at and acted upon.  Not all bugs are
>> +critical, but at the least, each bug needs to be regularly re-reviewed
>> +to make sure it is still reproducible.  A large backlog of bugs is
>> +disheartening to the developers, and a culture of ignoring bugs is
>> +harmful to users, who expect software that works.
> This paragraph is probably better to move to CONTRIBUTE.  It should
> point to this file, which in turn should describe only the triage
> itself, not its importance.

OK, I've done so (see the modified patch I've attached).  This probably
needs a bit more work since we want to talk about more kinds of triage
as well (notably the triaging of new bugs), eventually.

>> +The goal of this triage is to prune down the list of old bugs, closing
>> +the ones that are not reproducible on the current release.
> I think triage is more than that: it should also strive to classify
> the bugs according to their importance.

Yes, but isn't that more about triaging new bugs?  I'm not writing about
that yet - but if someone tells me how to triage new bugs I'm happy to
write it up.

>> +  1. To start, enter debbugs mode (either debbugs-gnu or debbugs-org), and
>> +     accept the default list option of bugs that have severity serious,
>> +     important, or normal.  
>> +  2. This will also show closed bugs that have yet to be archived.  You can
>> +     filter these out in debbugs-gnu with "x" (debbugs-gnu-toggle-suppress).
> Triage can be done via a Web browser as well.  I suggest to mention
> debbugs-gnu as one possibility, perhaps the preferred one, but not the
> only one.


>> +  3. For each bug, do the following:
>> +     - Read the mail thread for the bug. Find out if anyone has been able to
>> +       reproduce this on the current release.
>> +     - If someone has been able to, then your work is finished for this bug.
> Again, having the bug reproducible is not the end of triage, at least
> not in general.  It is a good idea to use your judgment to decide
> whether the bug is really a bug (and if so, how important it is), a
> request for a new feature, or simply a rant.  debbugs.gnu.org supports
> tags for recording the results of this process; it would be good if at
> least some bugs got tagged accordingly as result of the triage.

Again, I think this right, but for new bug triage which I haven't
written up yet.  For the bug backlog, I'm assuming someone has already
taken a pass at each bug.

>> +     - If you can reproduce, then reply on the thread (either on the 
>> original
>> +       message, or anywhere you find appropriate) that you can reproduce 
>> this on
>> +       the current release.
> Here, I'd suggest to request adding relevant details.  Sometimes bug
> reports don't provide backtraces, or don't even describe the recipe in
> sufficient detail.  If the triage supplies these details, let alone if
> you can come up with a simpler reproducer, adding this information
> will be of great value to those who will come after you to try
> resolving the bug.
> Also, if the description isn't detailed enough, it might be a good
> idea to ask for more detailed description, because the stuff that was
> left out might be the reason for not being able to reproduce the bug
> in the first place.

Done (although I split this up into two parts - one new bullet point,
another as part of the text on what to do if you can reproduce the issue).

>> +     - If you can't reproduce, but the bug is newer than 2 years old, state 
>> that
>> +       you can't reproduce it on the current release, ask if they can try 
>> again
>> +       against the current release.
> There's a tag for that, I believe.

We can just use the "unreproducible" tag.  Sounds like a good idea.
I'll add that.

>> +  4. Your changes will take some time to take effect. After a period of 
>> minutes
>> +     to hours, you will get a mail telling you the control message has been
>> +     processed. At this point, you and everyone else can see your changes.
> That mail can also say there were errors, something to mention here, I
> think.

Mentioned, but I'm a bit at a loss on what to say if there were errors.

> Thanks again for working on this (and on the triage itself).

No problem.  I've also removed, by popular demand, the distinction
between pre-and-post 2 years old.  Now we'll always just ask first.
I've also fixed a few spelling and grammar errors.

Attachment: 0001-Add-a-file-detailing-how-to-triage-bugs.patch
Description: Version 2 of triage notes patch

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