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Getting good bug reports

schrieb Russ Allbery on 2011-05-24 18:55:
> Patrick Strasser <patrick.strasser@tugraz.at> writes:

First, I want to emphasize that I do not at all advocate for a web
reporting form. IMO most contributors to this thread do so.

I regard the overall process of reporting bugs in Debian very sensible,
no need to change in general.

I see three issues mixed up here:
1) Web bug reporting facility, ala Ubuntu Launchpad
2) Helping reports writing high quality bug reports
3) Improving reportbug to mitigate bug report drafts that end up in /tmp

> Debian bugs tend to be
> of considerably higher quality than I see in other projects (like Ubuntu,
> for example, where the bug quality is remarkably worse).  And, like Ian, I
> think some of that may have to do with Debian's bug reporting system,

That's about point 1). Again, I do not think that a web-based bug submit
front end would help to improve the situation.

>> If it is about quality it needs action to educate users or help them
>> writing better bug reports.
> Which also no one has time to do.  But it turns out that not putting up a
> public web form to submit bugs is a fairly good proxy for user education.
> It doesn't *fix* the problem, but it does weed out a lot of users who
> don't know how to file good bug reports (and some users who do, which is
> indeed a drawback).

Point 2). I do not think about going out and teaching people to report
bugs. I rather think of some helping questions and information for bug
reporting newbies. I usually recommend people to read Eric S. Raymond's
"How To Ask Questions The Smart Way". reportbug tries hard to collect
good information, I think it could improve in helping reports writing
good bug reports.

>> If it is hard to report bugs you will only get the reports of advanced
>> users and only solve problems they can not get around
> This isn't my experience.  Debian users seem to be fairly good about
> reporting simple problems readily.

Point 3). Still it's too hard for a real novice which would like to help
to get a bug report not at all out. The starting suggestion for this
thread was to add an HTTP based transport path to get around the MTA
thing. In the mid 90ies I was starting with a dial up connection, which
was expensive, and I was glad that I could queue my outgoing mail and
have them shipped together. I needed a working MTA in my box. Nowadays
for me there's no point in having a non-local MTA, I have DSL and alway
access to my ISPs mail transport system, which means I have direct
access to BTS.

I just second the proposal to have a backup to the mail transport in
form of a HTTP or some other direct connection transport. Nothing more.
Mail is fine, having a backup is even better.



[1] http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html
Engineers motto: cheap, good, fast: choose any two
Patrick Strasser <patrick dot strasser at student dot tugraz dot at>
Student of Telemati_cs_, Techn. University Graz, Austria

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