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Bugging People to Use Bugzilla

I spend a surprising amount of time each day lately asking people in the forums or on the mailing lists to submit to our bug database the issues they’re reporting. Today, I wanted to take a minute to explain why I’m asking people to do this themselves rather than trotting off to submit the bugs myself. There are two reasons, and neither of them is that I’m just plain lazy.

My first justification is that that a bug report is almost always going to be more accurate if submitted by the person who experienced the bug. You’re probably familiar with the old party game in which one person starts out by whispering a phrase into the ear of the person next to him, and it goes on down the line until the last person says what was whispered in his ear. “I dig blogging with the new browser Flock” turns into “Let’s go frog gigging in a new blouse or frock.” This is great at parties, but when it comes to bugs, we want nothing lost in translation, so I’m doing my best to stay out of the bug-logging-by-proxy business.

My second reason for directing people to log their own bugs is that I want to encourage our users — and not just the tech wonks (whom we love) — to become engaged in assuring the quality of the browser. If you encounter a problem, I want you to feel comfortable doing a quick search through the bug list and either adding your comments to existing bugs that have affected you or creating new bugs for issues for which you’re the first reporter. I think that owning bugs contributes to a sense of ownership of or investment in the browser, and that’s a good thing for our users to have. By reporting or confirming bugs, you’re directly helping to improve the quality of Flock, and I want our users to have the satisfying experience of seeing one of their bugs resolved.

Now, everybody who’s taken even a sidelong glance at bugzilla knows that it’s not the prettiest thing out of the box. It’s very intimidating to a lot of people, though it’s got some very nice features that make it a good choice for enterprise bug management. Part of our community effort is going to include trying to make Bugzilla more palatable to front-end users. I plan to provide quick views (maybe feeds) of popular bugs, for example, and Bart has already enumerated a few other things we’d like to contribute to the Bugzilla project. So the Flock Bugzilla experience will get better soon.

In the mean time, I hope you’ll start getting familiar with the bug database. If you’re having problems, hit me with questions and I’ll see if I can help out. I’d love to see an industrious community member post some simple documentation at the wiki on best practices for searching and creating bugs. (Do a good job of it and let me know and it’ll be worth some swag.)

No frogs, blouses, frocks, or flocks were harmed in the production of this entry.

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10 thoughts on “Bugging People to Use Bugzilla

  1. I’d like to contribute to bugzilla too, having installed and configured it once before.

    My contribution would be a complete rewrite in python.

    The name is pretty cool, that much is worth keeping!

  2. Heh, go for it. Won’t do much for our short-term needs, but if you can do better in python, great. Are you familiar with trac? I think it’s written in python, and lots of web 2.0 types swear by it. Maybe that’d be a good starting point for you.

  3. Hello, you commented about my “bookmarklets in Flock” post, thanks.
    What’s the difference between reporting a page bug in bugzilla and “report broken site” in the menu?

  4. First off, “report broken site” probably doesn’t work in our browser. I’ve never tested it, honestly. That’s historically been to report problems that some sites have with the underlying rendering engine.

  5. Pingback: Flockstars » Blog Archive » Flockstar Spotlight: Mark Swan

  6. Pingback: Daryl’s Flock Blog » Drupal/Bugzilla Integration

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