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Re: How Debian should handle users requests?

Hi Holger,

On Mon, 2014-07-21 at 13:30 +0200, Holger Levsen wrote:
> Hi Abou,
> On Sonntag, 20. Juli 2014, Abou Al Montacir wrote:
> > Then I'd propose to have an other pseudo package "support" and a new
> > mailing list alias for d-u@l.d.o called for example support@d.o which
> > does not link to d-d@l.d.o and providing support for users.
> > 
> > This new pseudo package "support" can substitute to "general"
> > automatically by the tool after few messages are asked like:
> >   "I don't really know how to investigate this issue"
> >   "I'm not experienced user"
> >   ...
> oh, wow, how do you want to deal with those? What do you do if these users 
> don't follow up?
There is always a risk that a user make a mistake, but these questions
can only reduce the noise and increase the SNR on this comm channel.

> Really there are quite many many of these bugs already, against base+general, 
> but also against d-i (installation-reports) and many other packages, where 
> users file "bug reports" which are *not* bug reports (because they lack vital 
> information) but just "bug notices" which are often quite useless.
That why I think we shall add the above suggested feature to reportbug(-ng)

> Sure, you (we) could help those users, but currently we too often lack the 
> ressources to deal with useful bug reports.
I know this very well, just taking my personal case, but my point is not
about lack of support but rather about abrupt reaction to some bugs. It
is more about nice reaction when someone reports a bad bug and teaching
him how to improve his reporting. This can help him for next bugs he
will report. 

> I'd welcome you triaging the bugs against installation-reports, xorg, gnome, 
> base and general for the next year. I'd be curious to hear your opinon after 
> that. 
I trust you here, but my rule is try to clean my packages as much as
possible and try to explain to users the real issues. Some of my bugs I
know I'll never be able to fix, but I don't close them, I just keep them
maybe someone someday will be able to do what I can't do.

> Right now, I just think you have an idea ("we should help users having 
> problems") which I also share, but which I have found to be impractical to do 
> _by the means of the BTS_. The idea is good, but impractical in reality. If 
> you think otherwise, please convince me by dealing with existing bugs. The 
> list is reaaaaaaally long.
I think Debian have a very good support channel which is d-u list but
many users just ignore it exists. So having reportbug-ng suggesting to
use this help channel before reporting a bug could probably help a lot.

> Also, as a data point: I've closed, dunno, 30 or 50 bugs stating "this bug has 
> too little / no information, the BTS is no user support forum, please use 
> debian-user@l.d.o instead" over the last year or so, and almost (or was it 
> really none?) noone complained.
> A useless bug is a useless bug. If a submitter cannot come up with any useful 
> information in the report, it is very unlikey they will be able to come up 
> with that later.
Here I really disagree. User my be ignorant but never assume he is
stupid. Sometimes small hints could help.

> > The main goal of all this is to make Debian more user friendly.
> You dont make Debian more user friendly by creating a support forum which will 
> not be used... there is d-u@l.d.o and there is "ask debian" (forgot the url) 
> too. Are you active on those, helping users?
I should admit I'm not active on those due to lack of time, and I really
appreciate the energy and devotion of all active persons (not only DDs
but also users) who helped me many times on these lists.
But still, I'm not trying to replace this help channel, I'm just trying
to extend it.

Abou Al Montacir,

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