How To Report A Bug

*
Accepted Session
Short Form
Scheduled: Wednesday, June 2, 2010 from 3:45 – 4:30pm in Broadway

Excerpt

Bug reports drive Open Source, but too often it's a hostile experience. As a user, how do you report a bug without being treated like you're dumping a sack of crap on the developer's doorstep? As a developer, how do you encourage users to report bugs? This is not a tutorial, but an examination of the social aspects of bug reporting.

Description

The process of reporting a bug starts off with two strikes against it. The user is angry; they’re taking time away from doing their work to report a bug. The developers are annoyed; some freeloader is telling them they made a mistake and they have to take time to fix it. Accusations fly. Tempers get heated. Nobody is happy. Nobody wants to help anyone.

Developers often treat bug reports like the user dumped a bag of crap on their doorstep, rang the bell and told them to clean it up. That’s not what they are. A bug report is a user walking up to your door, stepping in crap, pointing out maybe it should be cleaned up.

Nobody likes stepping in crap. And nobody likes cleaning it up. So the whole interaction starts off on the wrong foot, perhaps the one covered in crap. Your job, as developer or as reporter, is to deliberately steer it back to being a positive one where the developer wants to fix your bug and the reporter wants to continue to report bugs.

As a user, and as a developer, some simple social hacks will turn bug reporting from a hateful shoutfest into a pleasant collaboration. We’ll look at some dos and don’ts when reporting and receiving a bug, how to provide enough information, avoid a hostile tone, make it easy to report and track bugs, and how to keep your head when all you really want to do is bash someone’s in.

As a developer, you’ll encourage more and better quality feedback from your users and even pick up new developers in the process. As a user, developers will find your reports so delightful they’ll enjoy patching it. And you’ll both improve the software you use and love.

Speaking experience

Speaker

  • Schwern round tuit oscon 2005

    Biography

    Schwern has a copy of Perl 6, he lets Larry Wall borrow it and take notes.

    Schwern once sneezed into a microphone and the text-to-speech conversion was a regex that turns crap into gold.

    Damian Conway and Schwern once had an arm wrestling contest. The superposition still hasn’t collapsed.

    Schwern was the keynote speaker at the first YAPC::Mars.

    When Schwern runs a smoke test, the fire department is notified.

    Dan Brown analyzed a JAPH Schwern wrote and discovered it contained the Bible.

    Schwern writes Perl code that writes Makefiles that write shell scripts on VMS.

    Schwern does not commit to master, master commits to Schwern.

    SETI broadcast some of Schwern’s Perl code into space. 8 years later they got a reply thanking them for the improved hyper drive plans.

    Schwern once accidentally typed “git pull —hard” and dragged Github’s server room 10 miles.

    There are no free namespaces on CPAN, there are just modules Schwern has not written yet.

    Schwern’s tears are said to cure cancer, unfortunately his Perl code gives it right back.

    Sessions

      • Title: How To Report A Bug
      • Track: Cooking
      • Room: Broadway
      • Time: 3:454:30pm
      • Excerpt:

        Bug reports drive Open Source, but too often it’s a hostile experience. As a user, how do you report a bug without being treated like you’re dumping a sack of crap on the developer’s doorstep? As a developer, how do you encourage users to report bugs? This is not a tutorial, but an examination of the social aspects of bug reporting.

      • Speakers: Michael Schwern
      • Title: Your Internets are Leaking
      • Track: Cooking
      • Room: Morrison
      • Time: 4:455:30pm
      • Excerpt:

        Using your computer on a public network is like having a conversation on a city bus: people you don’t know can hear everything you say. They’ll probably be polite and ignore you, but you still might not want to shout out your credit card number. Yet this is what your computer does. All the time. And you don’t know it.

      • Speakers: Reid Beels, Michael Schwern