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RE: Emacs project mission (was Re: "If you're still seeing problems, pl

From: Drew Adams
Subject: RE: Emacs project mission (was Re: "If you're still seeing problems, please reopen." [
Date: Sat, 23 Nov 2019 17:57:25 -0800 (PST)

> The question was why a lot of users shy away
> from reporting bugs to us.

That's an assumption at this point, no?  What
evidence has been presented, besides anecdotal?

You said that you ask people right and left to
file bug reports, but many don't do so.  You
can legitimately ask why, I guess, if that's

But I noted the opposite, in my experience.
I do the same thing, on the same sites you
mentioned, and IME most _do_ follow up by
filing bugs.  I consider it a good way to
inform users about `M-x report-emacs-bug'
and to encourage them to get involved by
suggesting enhancements and pointing out
problems they encounter.

Granted, I think posters on Reddit are maybe
less likely than those on emacs.StackExchange
or StackOverflow.  I've had good luck with
those Q&A sites.

But my point is that your reports and my
reports about this are anecdotal.  Why do we
think that lots of people, as you say, are
really scared away by `M-x report-emacs-bug'?
Is that a fact?  If so, how do we know that?

I see hand-waving about what users are used
to and assumptions that they won't use email
to report bugs.

It might be true that younger people use email
less than older people.  But are we sure this
has _in fact_ been a problem holding younger
users back from reporting bugs and suggesting

People use all kinds of ways to communicate
now - not just email, of course, but not just
GIT either.  And Emacs users need not be

So far, this sounds a bit like a solution in
search of a problem.  Where's the evidence
that email reporting is holding users back?


On another front, I will say this, not about
a web tracker but about our web page for Emacs
bugs, debbugs.gnu.org/: I think it could use
some improvement.

It's OK, if you know a bug number or you just
want to see the latest 10 bugs or so.

I do use that web page/interface, when I want
to see all of a thread I'm interested in.

More commonly, I use it when I want to point
someone (e.g. at one of the Q&A/discussion
sites we've mentioned) to a particular bug
thread - just give 'em a URL.

But to be frank, I've never been able to _find_
bugs on that site by searching.  I find it
incomprehensible and unhelpful.  Maybe that's
just me; dunno.

Instead, if I need to search for a bug I search
emails I've saved locally in my mail client.
Seriously.  After I've found the bug I might go
to debbugs.gnu.org to see the complete thread
or to get a URL for a thread or message.

Note that this is _very_ different from the use
of GNU mailing-list archives, such as

Not that search is better there (it's not). But
for finding things in other ways (date, Subject),
and for accessing a thread tree or parts of it,
I find it superior to debbugs.gnu.org.  I can
understand it, and I can find what I need there.

Yes, I know that the purposes are very different:
mailing list archive vs bug interface.  Even so,
I think adding to debbugs.gnu.org the kind of
email-archive access/organization we have for the
mailing lists would already provide an improvement.

It's not very important to me whether what I'm
saying has an effect on this discussion.  I'm not
proposing anything - just relating my use and
impression of debbugs.gnu.org as a web interface.

One takeaway, though, from this post: Regardless
of any other value of having a web interface
(whether or not people can use it to file or
modify bugs, i.e., even if its only use is to view
them), there is value in being able to point users
to a bug thread on the web.  AFAIK, that value
hasn't yet been pointed out here.

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