The bugosphere

The longer I am the bugmeister at Wikimedia, the deeper I get into the bugosphere, the social network that is the WMF’s [photocommons file=”BIEDRONA.JPG” width=”300″ align=”right”] Bugzilla. This has led to a marked decrease in blogging and status updates in other places. Today (a Saturday!) has been slow for me, so you get a blog post.

Over ten years ago, someone coined the word “blogosphere” to describe the culture and interactions that formed around weblogs. Today, I feel the need to adapt that word to describe the microcosm that evolves around a particular instance of Bugzilla (or any other public bug reporting database, I’m sure): bugosphere.

As the bugmeister, I’m sure my experience should not be considered normative — you shouldn’t expect to jump into a bug reporting tool and find any sort of community. Still, I’m sure other bugmeisters (I only know a couple) and other committed bug reporters experience their own version of the bugosphere.

This past week, the bugosphere really came into focus for me. During the preparation for this week’s collection triage, Tomasz and I found a bug reporter (Helder.wiki or mybugs on bugzilla) who had reported numerous Collection bugs) and asked xyr to join the bug triage this past week.

It was through Bugzilla that Helder.wiki and I connected. Through that connection and xyr participation in last week’s triage, I decided to have a Wikibooks triage on the 14th.

I had a hint of the social aspects of working on bugs before this week (six months ago I said “Bugzilla is my social website”), but this week the bugosphere really came into focus. These are my people, they’re not bound by any one organization, like the WMF, but they’re interested in problems we experience with this software. Social bonds, social “networks”, have been forged over less, but the goal we share, sharing the sum of human knowledge, is an especially powerful one.

Bugzilla captures our struggles to make Wikipedia (and Wikibooks, and Wikisource, etc.) better. The bugosphere is a great place.

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