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Re: Is bug report a contribution?

by DrHyde (Prior)
on Oct 07, 2013 at 11:11 UTC ( #1057244=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Is bug report a contribution?

Others have addressed most of the issues in your post, but not this

"It's definitely not help for project if bug report is bad. This is not help also if maintainer made a note elsewhere in documentation that project is obsolete/abandoned/no bugs fixed without patches"

Even if a bug report is wrong, or you've documented that the project is obsolete, abandoned, etc, you should still treat the reporter with courtesy and not just ignore them. Even though it costs you a few moments of time, you should do this for several reasons:

  • Rude people are less than fully human. When you are rude you destroy a little bit of yourself;
  • Your reputation. As an open source author you live or die by your reputation. If you are rude to someone when they are wrong, they are likely to tell others about your poor behaviour. And whether it be right or wrong, there is a perceived link between the quality of a person and the quality of his work.
  • Your reputation. Open source authors are also likely to be professional closed source authors. People who you are rude to aren't going to merely tell their friends, some of those friends are your potential future employers or customers.
  • If you're rude to people they won't bother to help you with correct bug reports in the future.

Something as simple as "thankyou for your bug report. However, as documented, I can not accept your report because blah blah blah" is sufficient. As for users not reporting bugs, you can help them by providing easy links in the documentation to your bug tracker. Some people will still not bother, but any small increase in people telling you about problems is useful. Also put a link in your module's META.yml so that places like metacpan will link to the bug tracker.

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re^2: Is bug report a contribution?
by Tux (Abbot) on Oct 08, 2013 at 10:32 UTC

    Many bug reports/tickets are posted in the wrong queue, because people don't/can't/won't analyze the actual *cause* of the problem.

    If module Foo::Bar is just a wrapper over Foo or a subclass of Foo, the problem might very well be hidden in Foo, way out of reach of the author to whose queue the bug was reported. Same for failures regarding system libraries malfunctioning (libxml2, libcrypto, ) or installed basic utilities with severe bugs (tar, cc, bash, ) for which the author of a module cannot be held responsible. IMHO a CPAN author may expect functional bash/cmd, tar, and cd.

    Sometime it is hard to be polite to ticket posters telling your module sucks because it doesn't work on their system, even if Makefile.PL and README specifically state that their system or configuration is not supported because of a very good reason (e.g. DBD::Oracle will not install if there are no Oracle client libraries available: that id NOT the fault of the author/maintainer of DBD::Oracle and it is very well documented. I really understand how it pisses them of if people post tickets like that.

    Enjoy, Have FUN! H.Merijn

      In case of the Foo::Bar subclassing/wrappig Foo, you as the author of Foo::Bar are in a much better position to forward the blame. You can't expect users of a "::Simple" wrapper to dissect the wrapper and guess all the preconditions and assertions you, the author of the "Foo::Simple", made about the "Foo" to find out whether there's something wrong with Foo or with the way you use it. And even if the problem is inside Foo, you usually do care. Even if the only thing you can do is to close it with "problem is in Foo, it was reported a year ago already".

      Regarding the other case ... if you can't be polite, don't be impolite. Just close the bug selecting "N/A" or similar reason.

      Enoch was right!
      Enjoy the last years of Rome.

        Regarding the other case ... if you can't be polite, don't be impolite. Just close the bug selecting "N/A" or similar reason.

        Great advice, but I think its missing the don't get mad message

        I've seen a few prolific authors who can't handle bug reports for things they've documented ... and the real problem isn't that they can't be polite , it is that they get mad -- once you're mad you're mad :)

        you don't gotta help , you don't have to be nice, but don't get mad , there is always going to be another one more anonymous somebody on the internet who won't read the docs... and they'll just keep coming, and coming, and posting OT question, and reporting bugs in other modules, and posting spam, and again, and again, and again ... and this can feel like harassment and offend the best of folks ....

        and when these "posters" receive not polite anger fueled responses -- it only results in angry impolite exchanges --- nobody profits

        When you're feeling angry and rantish, write it down and do not publish for a week, or a month, just ignore it

        Then come back to it a week or month later, and see how you feel about it

        From personal experience, I did that a dozen or so times (write the unkind words down), and it's been a long time since I felt the need

        I tried to search for this sort of ideas, and I found, its not unlike dealing with trolls, don't let them get your goat :) just don't deal with them :)

      I do understand how annoying things like that are - I get them all the time from people who seem to think that they should report bugs in Some::Module to me because I list that module's pre-requisites on CPANdeps. Nevertheless, I try to be gentle. It doesn't cost me much to point them at the right RT or github tracker.

        Reading the replies, I get the impression that my statement was showing reasons to be impolite. I never meant that: I meant to say that I would understand authors to get upset, annoyed and impolite when that happens. As all of you say, we should still be correct and polite.

        Thanks for all additions. Even the regulars (on CPAN) can learn from this discussion.

        Enjoy, Have FUN! H.Merijn

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