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Re: description of "general" pseudo-package is misleading (leads people to use it as a catch-all)

On Mon, 27 Feb 2012, Jonathan Nieder wrote:
> The difficult cases are in between: carrying out the back-and-forth
> to get such details as what action precipitated the problem, what
> result was expected, what happened instead, and how the difference
> indicates a bug, with debian-devel cc-ed, does not seem particularly
> productive.

> If the "general" package did not exist, such reports would be
> quickly redirected to debian-user with a goal of finding an
> appropriate maintainer who could take responsibility for fixing the
> problem.

http://www.debian.org/Bugs/Reporting already tells people to contact
-user if they are unable to determine which package their bug report
should be filed against. I suppose text could be added to reportbug to
mimic this... perhaps changing:

   Please enter the name of the package in which you have found a problem, or type 'other' to report a more general problem.


   Please enter the name of the package in which you have found a problem, or type 'other' to report a more general problem.
   If you don't know what package the bug is in, please contact debian-user@lists.debian.org for assistance.

[and the list can be changed as needed for l10n.]

> What is an appropriate equivalent when receiving reports through the
> BTS?

You start out by taking your best guess, and then prodding the bug
submitter(s) for more information.

When a bug wrongly gets assigned to general, that just means that a
much wider audience is reached, and someone needs to look at the bug,
and take their best guess as to the right package to assign it to, and
reassign it, hopefully guiding the bug reporter to provide more

> I like to imagine that clarifying whether assigning a bug to the
> "general" means "I don't know" or "I suspect fixing this bug will
> require touching many packages" could help so these bugs are sent
> somewhere appropriate in the first place.

I suppose, but "General problems (e.g. "many manpages are mode 755")"
is pretty specific.

I suppose I could change it to general -- "Problems which affect many
packages (blah blah blah)".

Don Armstrong

When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one
by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.
 -- Edmund Burke "Thoughts on the Cause of Present Discontents"

http://www.donarmstrong.com              http://rzlab.ucr.edu

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