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Re: Fundamental flaw in bug reporting system

On Thu, Jun 29, 2006 at 11:30:33AM +0100, Ian Jackson wrote:
> Michael Wheatley writes ("Fundamental flaw in bug reporting system"):
> > I would understand a steep learning curve but this is a catch 22 overhang.
> > 
> > I am a complete newbie.  The install went great and I have my command 
> > line. Then I spend hours trying to find info on loading a GUI and the 
> > closest I get is GNOME support telling me to "Click on the session 
> > icon"  but all I have is a command line.  I decide that this could be 
> > a documentation bug or feature request and I try to submit a bug 
> > report but your system bounces it for poor info or structure.  It 
> > looks like it will take me hours to figure out how to properly format 
> > a bug report so I will not try further.
> I'm going to get flamed to a crisp here, but:
> I think that the difficulty of submitting a Debian bug report via the
> BTS (which is after all a fairly minor challenge to anyone who can
> read and understand documentation) provides a very useful barrier
> against poor-quality bug reports.
> The purpose of a bug report is to help the developers improve the
> software.  There are times when a particular user lacks the capability
> (whether background knowledge or aptitude) to write a bug report that
> can serve that purpose.  It is best for those users to seek assistance
> from their friends and colleagues, rather than to file a bug report
> (and perhaps, if there is a bug that could usefully be reported, their
> friends will help them do that, or do it for them).
> The slight inaccessibility in the bug reporting facilies is an
> appropriate part of our approach to improving bug report quality.

You raise a fair point, and it's one that I believed myself, but on the
other hand there's a recent example of an X bug that was pretty important
to fix that wasn't reported until a friend/XSF-member bugged me about it on
IRC. Tons of people in #debian had been complaining about this bug, yet no
one had submitted it.

On the other hand, I got a zillion duplicate bugs about things like manpage

If people can't report trivial bugs that need to be fixed, then it makes it
hard for us to do what we need to do. I'm not so sure that lowering the
barriers is the right answer though, but it needs to be kept in mind.

 - David Nusinow

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