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Re: Filing bug reports in Debian (was Re: Debian Stole My Name!)

On Mon, 13 Oct 2008, Chris Bannister wrote:
> You have raised some interesting points. If you consider the BTS as a
> help desk, then I think you will be sorely disappointed.
> It seems that to file a bug report the submitter first has to research
> the problem, try and resolve it, and if possible, to provide a patch.
> I, too, am interested in other peoples views on this.

You are correct.  The project as a whole simply doesn't have the manpower,
and often, the inclination to deal with helpdesk-level issue reports on the
BTS (they should go to the mailinglists instead).

Oh, there might exist exceptions, and I hope that most maintainers would try
to handle any sort of BTS report, as long as there aren't too many of them
showing up or a big backlog... but if the maintainer is overworked, he is
likely to ignore such reports, or to be very terse (which people, expecting
to get attention and help on the issue their raised, will ALWAYS take the
wrong way) when replying to them.

Helpdesk-level issue reports (i.e. one where there is still a huge ammount
of non-package-specific detective work to be done to narrow down the
problem) really ought to go to the user mailinglists or to the forums.
There, it can be shaped up into a more precise issue report, and finally go
to the development mailinglists and/or the BTS.

Maybe this is not the nicer way things could work, but given the constrains
in which Debian operates, the mailing lists are where we have more attention
and "human resources" to help deal with something.

I wish we could get this information out to people better, it is clear to me
that we don't do it well enough.

  "One disk to rule them all, One disk to find them. One disk to bring
  them all and in the darkness grind them. In the Land of Redmond
  where the shadows lie." -- The Silicon Valley Tarot
  Henrique Holschuh

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