Bugzilla as a discussion forum

Gervase Markham gerv at mozilla.org
Mon Mar 22 23:13:29 UTC 2004

Jack Tanner wrote:
> I tend to agree with mpt, but not on this. The problem isn't that the 
> Bugzilla UI affords discussions; the problem is the signal/noise ratio. 
> Worse, mpt makes the assumption that the s/n ratio got worse when the 
> discussion UI became easier to use. In fact, it could've done the 
> opposite -- good comments got are (and were) exactly as easy to post as 
> bad comments. (It would be interesting to check this empirically.)

I think his point is that people with signal are more likely to move 
past bad UI than people with offhand noise.

> Two approaches could be used to address the s/n problem:
> 1) make it more difficult to post noise, but easy to post signal, and
> 2) make the signal more recognizable.
> The latter could be accomplished by, say, visually distinguishing posts 
> from important stakeholders (e.g., known developers @mozilla.org and 
> elsewhere, the original reporter, etc.).

Now that's an interesting idea. We could visually distinguish comments 
from the current assignee, QA contact and reporter.

> The former could be accomplished by 1) requiring a valid e-mail address 
> of all Bugzilla users, 

We do that...

> 2) requiring that only really special people can 
> turn off bugmail (e.g., see list above), 

How does this make it more difficult to post noise?

> and 3) requiring that only 
> people CC'ed on the bug can post to the discussion. 

I don't like that idea. Non-CC comments are too useful in legitimate work.

> The hypothesis here 
> is that high-discussion, high-noise bugs (e.g., the MNG fiasco) would 
> then automatically generate so much mail to all discussants, that the 
> social cost of posting me-too's and other noise would rise quickly.

Problem is, that doesn't discourage people. The social cost is already 
high, but people feel "my opinion is important, and it needs to be heard."


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