Bugzilla as a discussion forum

Christian Robottom Reis kiko at async.com.br
Thu Mar 25 18:15:11 UTC 2004

On Tue, Mar 23, 2004 at 04:33:21PM -0800, J. Paul Reed wrote:
> > Barnboy wrote:
> > >Me, I'm of the opinion that discussion on a bug is a *good* thing.
> > 
> > Up to a point. However, there are a number of Mozilla hackers who would 
> > certainly agree that you can have too much of this particular good 
> > thing. Which was the point of the discussion.
> It'd be interesting to have a feature where the bug owner/component owner
> could "turn off" discussion such that it would restrict it only to
> owner/module owner/QA contact/a certain group; this may have already been
> proposed, as I've just been skimming this thread.

Timeless once filed a bug that requested exactly that: blocking a bug on
a question or resolution. I think that would manage BMO's problem (at least
with the bugs that seem to annoy everybody, i.e. MNG etc) quite nicely,
since everybody knows that additional "yeah! count my opinion in!"
comments are useless. Timeless, am I right about this, and do you have a
bug # handy?

I'd like to point out, however, that the problem mpt's pointing out
really only happens to a minority of bugs -- I'd say currently less than
50 open bugs in BMO. I think in the vast majority of cases, we're better
off by providing better tools for communicating via Bugzilla. I'll
elaborate here.

The reason I implemented reply quoting is obvious: I wanted to make it
easy for people to do context-enhanced replies. This is really
nice, IMO, when replying to review comments, because you might want to
disagree or differ in a specific bit here or there, and having the
context is a lot more convenient and less error-prone than copying stuff
around manually or citing by reference. It's also nice when people want
to do clarifications or question parts of summaries and mini-specs
posted to the bug.

I agree there's a potential for abuse. I don't think the potential is
large for most of the Bugzilla installations out there, which is why I
actually pushed to include this in Bugzilla proper (I would have been
happy with it as a local change -- it's really trivial). Perhaps for BMO
the problem is significant enough to warrant removing it from templates
or implementing some sort of "max-context" feature, but I loath the
latter (as a bad idea) and I haven't seen grounds for the former yet.

Finally, I think that having discussion kept on the bug is a *good*
thing for *most* cases. God knows I wish some face-to-face discussions
had been recorded in Bugzilla for future reference. I'm somewhat
ambiguous to "comment moderation", since I think the meta-work may not
justify adding the feature, but there are three things that off the top
of my head I do think could improve the situation:

    - Specifying "Comment types", which would allow us to categorize
      comments -- there's a bug and patch for this open. This opens a
      lot of nice possibilities for queries and historical analysis

    - Allowing comments to be marked as "irrelevant" -- poor man's
      moderation, I guess.

    Both features would be restricted by privilege (perhaps editbugs,
    perhaps something different)

    - Timeless' proposed "block bug" feature.

Take care,
Christian Robottom Reis | http://async.com.br/~kiko/ | [+55 16] 261 2331

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