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Re: Bug reporting proceedure, was Re: Bug#24066: libc6: rsh segfaults as , a result of new libc 2.0.7r2

On 30 Jun 1998, Manoj Srivastava wrote:

> Hi,
> >>"Dale" == Dale Scheetz <dwarf@polaris.net> writes:
>  Dale> On 29 Jun 1998, Manoj Srivastava wrote:
>  >> Umm, no. It would be nice if they did it, but a novce user is
>  >> perfectly free to just file a bug report. I know I often do. I find
>  >> an error, usually that by itself is a frustrating experience, also,
>  >> it is likely to be in the middle of a largish upgrade (I upgrade ever
>  >> so often). I am not into going over and looking up stuff in the
>  >> archive for a dozen pacxkages; I just send a report.
>  Dale> When you do so, without adequate investigation, you imply that
>  Dale> the understanding and repair of the bug is the sole
>  Dale> responsibility of the maintianer. I submit, in the free
>  Dale> software community, that this is a bogus position. Because of
>  Dale> the freedom we provide, the user bears some responsibility in
>  Dale> the maintainance of the products they use. I suggest that any
>  Dale> bug report that says no more than "xxx is broken" is a useless
>  Dale> report submitted by a lazy user, and, until more information is
>  Dale> forthcoming, is not likely to produce results.
> 	I agree. However; Debiasn is also for novices and newcomers to
>  Linux, and to Debian. They may well not have the skill, or the time,
>  to understand and repair bugs (heck -- most of the time even seasoned
>  veterans don't). 

Well, I disagree with this point of view. Yes, Debian wishes to support
newcomers to Linux. That is why we have debian-user. We have a
responsibility to those new users to "train" them to be "free" users.
They can only do that if they become familiar with the ins and outs of the
"Debian Way".

I am simply suggesting that we should put some additional thought into how
we "educate" these new users to be productive members of the community.

> 	I would rather have bugs reports, than none. People are
>  lazy. Mandate more work for a bug report, people won't report bugs. 
This suggests that I should start forwarding all my bugs to you, until you
change your mind ;-)

Seriously though, a bug report that says "libc6 is broken" is not a bug
report, as far as I can tell. The only way to get a better class of bug
report is to educate a better class of user (and developer).

> 	You are thinking from a "We are all contributors" mind set;
>  which is nice, but we have to address people who are casual users
>  too, I think.

And we should address them as potential contributors as well, providing
the instructions that will make them better "casual users".

You have been making the case for "why we are all about sofware freedom"
with reguard to the "DFSG" thread, what makes this position any different.
Educating members of the community, both new and old, on the social
responsibilities of the membersion is very much a part of our "job".

>  >> Make bug reporting any more onerous than it is, and peole
>  >> merely stop filing reports.
>  Dale> What is so "onerous" about checking to see if the bug has
>  Dale> already been reported? As Rob said, it could provide the "work
>  Dale> around" information that is needed to resolve the problem.
> 	In the middle of an upgrade when one gets 10 bugs, One does
>  not have time to research them. You just report this, this, and that
>  went wrong, this is all the data I have, thought you would like to
>  know. 

During upgrade or new installation, the problems that occur can be
adequately reported as "couldn't install xxx because of conflit with YYY"
without any research being done. However, I would still suggest to you (or
anyone reporting such problems) that you will be well served by looking at
the BTS for similar bug reports in hopes of finding a work around. The pay
off for the user is larger here than for the developer.

> 	And I say I like to get reports like that. I may ask for more
>  information, but I do not demand the reporter do anything more. 
I never said "demand" anything. I am talking about "higher education" for
users, not binding them to a post in the town square and giving them 20

BTW, if you don't have enough bug reports, I have some I would gladly lend
you ;-)

>  Dale> Suggesting, even strongly, that it is proper proceedure when
>  Dale> submitting a bug, to research the bug reporting system first,
>  Dale> and provide useful information second, doesn't seem onerous to
>  Dale> me, and has several practical uses for the bug submitter, as
>  Dale> well as the maintainer.
> 	Oh, suggestions are fine. 
>  >> Yes. It is a good idea. It just should not be mandatory.
>  Dale> Mandatory is a non-functional term in this group. Nothing is
>  Dale> mandatory (even though some would wish it were) in a voluntary
>  Dale> organization.
> 	Also, the users may not be quite as vested in Debian as the
>  developers are, it is even harder to tell them to do stuff. It has
>  vbeen suggested we should be grateful they take time out their busy
>  lives to even report the bug. 

Well, grateful is not the term I would always use ;-)

>  Dale> I am only suggesting that we make clear that the socially
>  Dale> correct way to report a bug involves adequate research on the
>  Dale> part of the bug reporter.  This "requirement" provides
>  Dale> additional service to the user at the same time that it
>  Dale> provides the maintainer with more chance to fix the problem.
> 	Sure. Umm, well, maybe not as strongly as that. More on the
>  lines of " we suggest that you look into the BTS to see if the
>  problem has been reported before, and see if a workaround has been
>  suggested there ....". Socially correct may sound like talking down
>  to and berating the users

Sorry, but I was only "talking down to and berating" you ;-)

Seriously, we talk about our social contract with the user community in
the DFSG. I see no reason by that contract can't have responsibilities on
both sides.

> 	Having written that, I don't think I made much of an
>  improvement in the wording. Maybe better hands than I can write the
>  gentle exhortation to check the BTS.
> 	However, no developer should take that statement and berate
>  the reporter for shirking their duty (unless, of course, it is a
>  fellow developer) ;-)

While I agree that berating a reporter is inappropriate, I do take it as
my responibility to educate members of the community that I come in
contact with. It seems perfectly appropriate to reply with a suggestion
that there is possibly information in the BTS that will be of some
assistance, and that they should look there in the future, when they are
preparing to submit a bug report.

> 	manoj
> -- 
>  "We all agree on the necessity of compromise.  We just can't agree on
>  when it's necessary to compromise." --Larry Wall in

Nobody agreed that comprimise was necessary! 


_-_-_-_-_-   Author of "The Debian Linux User's Guide"  _-_-_-_-_-_-

aka   Dale Scheetz                   Phone:   1 (850) 656-9769
      Flexible Software              11000 McCrackin Road
      e-mail:  dwarf@polaris.net     Tallahassee, FL  32308

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