How good are our bugs?

Sumana Harihareswara, our Community Development Coordinator, is a very valuable person to have around. She’s helped me incredibly during the weekly bug triage and uses her experience and insights from the Gnome project to great effect.

On my philosophy of bugs post, she asked a couple of great questions and made some really useful suggestions:

  • How high-quality is the bug database overall? That is, what proportion of open bugs contain adequate reproducibility steps, and are currently reproducible?Sumana follows this up with a helpful anecdote of her experience from triaging Empathy bugs: I was able to clear out a big backlog by testing the repro steps in old open bugs and sending the reporter a kind boilerplate notice basically saying: “not reproducible in the current stable version; have you upgraded?” Given the number of open bugs on this project — 1620, 70% of which were opened before 1.16 came out — this sounds like a good thing for me to do, to weed out the unreproducible bugs. Guess I have my work cut out for this week!
  • What are the strategic priorities of our community and our product? The WMF product whitepaper is probably useful here. We have the ability to think of priority in a more sophisticated way than simply predicting numbers of admins and users affected; we can also weight the importance of the feature.She’s right again, of course. I’ve had reading the white paper on my TODO list for a bit. Looks like it is time to get it done.

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