Monday, March 5, 2012

The mixed feelings of the Joe the bug reporter

To report or not to report, that's the question. Bad start? Well, right it is :)

Today I decided to spread some feelings on bug reporting.
Don't expect some rules list or checklist for the perfect process. I think there are many other places that perfectly cover that.
This post doesn't even deal with those having bug reporting as a job. But rather those of us, who care about how comfortable they can live in the world of software (preferably free one).

No it's not to be one of those purely technical posts, but rather philosophical one. I think the title expresses it.

Bug reporting motivation
So what are the ideas I have on my mind when reporting a bug?

Sometimes I feel like a hero. Cause I'm the guy who found it, and moreover I'm the one who reported it.That matters, right?
This can be tricky as I might be so blinded by my motivation, that I don't even try to find if the bug is already reported and if so the heroic feeling disappears fast.

The most of the time, I can't wait to see the bug fixed, or at least some activity from the development community happening on it.
As for some reason I feel like: "Hey, this is the one that's the most important!" at least for me :).

OK, but is there something wrong with my expectations having too high? Probably not. The only person to get in bad mood is only me, anyway. If it didn't work the way expected.

What is the point then?
I think bug reporting, is just another way of communication. Moreover it's quite often a communication with the strange people you've never met and probably never talked to. Would you (or rather I) expect these guys to be completely focused on my statements considering them to be the top importance, if there are hundred others talking to them in parallel?

Moreover some of my requests might sound stupid or out of their focus.
None of the bugs I've ever reported included sponsoring or any other volunteer contribution :)
Why do I then expect 24/7 availability of project contributors for my ideas? Well not sure, but still I do :)
Probably the motivating part for the solvers can be if they simply care, or I'm not the only one facing an issue.

So based on all my previous experiences in bug reporting, I should try to keep my emotions as low as possible and deal on technical level.

Hey, but there aren't only the bad days.
From time to time, when you just report and forget, but keep notified, nice things happen.

I've experienced activity or even solution on some of my old timers (that can be even nostalgic) :)

Or things like this happen:
- the project maintainer expresses the situation on project clearly (in the Comment 1) => all my mis-expectations are gone :)
- but suddenly it's getting solved => hey! that was cool, I didn't expect, honestly.

In this place I'd like to express the big thanks to all those who care about bugs in their software and communicate the progress/or reality of the project to community.
And from the perspective of reporters, big thanks to those patient with the progress and cooperative or even proactive in solution.

So that's it for today.
Did anyone come this far in reading? No, I can't believe :)

Feel free to share your experiences in comments (or feel free not to :).