29 Nov 2002 cjwatson   » (Master)

MichaelCrawford: If I had received your bug report as a Debian bug report, I would have marked it invalid in just the same way that the Mozilla guys did. Here's why: the purpose of bug reports is to improve the software. Your bug report certainly does a lot of complaining, but there is nothing in it that comes anywhere close to helping the developers improve the software. Instead, it tells them how terrible they are, demoralizes them, and gives them no useful information that might help them resolve your complaint.

When you are submitting a bug report, no matter what the project, please follow these simple guidelines:

  • One bug report per problem.
  • Each bug report should contain enough information on how to reproduce the problem, or you should be willing to work with the developer to find a way to reproduce the problem. (Not every bug has a simple recipe, and that's OK.)
  • Each bug report should be resolvable: there should be something the developer can do to satisfy you that the problem is fixed. (In other words, "there is a problem somewhere, you have to fix it" is not an adequate bug report.)

Each project has its own guidelines, but I doubt there are many who would disagree with these. Michael, please understand that by submitting vague and unresolvable bug reports, no matter what their emotional content, you are not helping the community: you are hindering it by making its members waste time cleaning up bug reports that they have no realistic hope of ever resolving to your satisfaction. In this case, if you truly want to help, what you need to do instead is submit bug reports that say "Mozilla crashes on this page (URL) under these circumstances". Help the developers, otherwise there is nothing they can do but dismiss you as noise. And that helps no-one: not the community, not your wife, not you.

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