Why we Need to Radically Change Bugzilla, Part 3
Well, this is the meat of my series, where I stop talking about hypothetical solutions, and start to think about some real, achievable fixes. The main thing I will focus this post on is the “Staging Area”, and the most practical way to handle it. I may not cover all the bases, so please, in the comments, point out edge-cases I have missed and I’ll do my best to address them.
A New BMO Product
So far, of all the possible ways to create a staging area I have thought of, a new BMO product seems the easiest, most cost-effective, and relatively easy to implement. While there are both pros and cons, I think that we can create a very effective staging area with a new BMO product.
A Product called “Un-triaged Bugs”.
Components inside the product for every individual product that needs triaging (Firefox, Thunderbird, Seamonkey, Etc.)
A reporter without CANCONFIRM privs files a bug. They either go to BMO, or to the Staging Area Front-End (issues.mozilla.org for example, different UI, ties into the same backend). Using a redesigned Guided Bug entry form, they file their issue. Along the way they are asked if their issue has already been filed, or encouraged to go to SUMO. If they decide to file an issue, then it is automatically sent to the Un-Triaged Bugs Product.
In this product, all Bugs are reported as UNCO, all bugs are very much simplified. The Reporter is only exposed to fields they need to see. Blocking flags are gone, CC list is gone. Whiteboard, milestone, priority, product, component, importance, blocks and depends on are all hidden from the user. Users with CANCONFIRM can see the fields, users with EDITBUGS can edit all the fields. But to the first time bug reporter, a much simpler, easier to read, and friendlier bug page is used. All those fields are not likely to be needed by a first-time bug reporter, and only serve to confuse them (of course, this can be turned on and off in the preferences).
Then, Triage jumps on the bug. They know that nearly all bugs sent to the staging area are end-user bugs, so this makes their life much easier. Bugs that are actually support questions are sent to SUMO. Bugs that need to be directed to an extension developer are sent to AMO in a similar way. Feedback is sent to Hendrix. After sorting through the bugs, then Triage digs into the “try with a fresh profile” “try with a recent Firefox version” “update flash” “give a stacktrace/testcase” questions.
Once enough information has been gathered, then the bug is morphed into the proper product and component. Example, Bug XXXXXX is filed against Firefox, and concerns the location bar. After triage gathers information, they move the bug to Firefox:Location Bar. At this point, the bug is marked as NEW, and developers can jump on it and begin work. The developers can make decisions such as WONTFIX, WFM, INVALID, or fix the bug.
- Unconfirmed bugs and bugs that are not bugs are totally separated from the bugs that are really valid. This eases the tension on BMO between devs and end-users
- Eased workload on triage. Instead of having to separate developer bugs from end-user bugs, Triagers know all bugs in the Un-Triaged product need attention, while those in specific products have already been triaged and are ready for a dev.
- End-users no longer have to try to figure out products or components. They select the product on the guided bug entry, and triage takes care of the rest.
- BMO is no longer balancing end-user bug reporting and development in the same place. It is separated out without too much additional work
- Even with improvements, Bugzilla is still just not very pretty for end-users. Perhaps this post can help that somewhat.
- This will require significant changes in how triagers work, instead of being spread out, everything is dumped into one place. This will require changes and more efficiency or this pile will get out of control.
In my next post I plan on discussing what needs to be done to make this work more in detail, as well as specifics of how this component would work.