Archive for March, 2005

Reviving and fixing the easy-fix keyword

Sunday, March 6th, 2005

So, the easy-fix keyword has long needed some help. I decided to give
it some with an easy-fix
query
. You can also get modified reports, for example to
create a
product-specific lists of tasks
for potential contributors. Olav
provided a modified
version that produces RSS
instead of HTML (though he says there
are problems with it).

I think this fixes some of the problems with the easy-fix keyword, but
to fix the rest I think we’ll probably need to rename that keyword
(and then do some publicizing). Any suggestions for a new
name?
I’d like something that won’t easily be misused and that
also matches the following definition (or something close to this
definition; it may need tweaking too):

Marking a bug with this keyword means that you’re willing to help
someone fix the bug, or that it should be fixable by a beginner
without any help. This should ONLY be set by a maintainer or people
familiar with the code base, and ONLY when it looks like a project
suitable for a new developer looking for a task.

For the curious, the problems I’ve found previously with the easy fix
keyword were:

  • Misuse

    It appeared that the easy-fix keyword was being used as “This
    should be easy for you to fix. Do it.” and “Here’s a patch for
    you; that makes your job easy.” There were also a number of
    other related uses, partially due to our previous unclear
    description of the keyword and partially because many don’t read
    the real description thinking, “I know what ‘easy-fix’ means…”

  • non-removal

    Once a bug was marked as easy-fix, it wouldn’t be removed if
    someone started working on it. But in that case, it really
    shouldn’t appear in a list when someone is searching for bugs to
    fix (or at least it shouldn’t appear anywhere near the top of
    the list).

  • Lack of awareness

    Many people seem to be unaware of the easy-fix keyword. Despite
    easy-fix existing for years longer than the KDE equivalent,
    the KDE equivalent was better known
    (yes, that was just one
    email, but I think it was indicative from other experience).

  • Difficult to use

    Surprisingly, many reported being unable to find any open
    easy-fix bugs in bugzilla. Maybe bugzilla is just to hard too
    use because we have always been able to show people how there
    are several dozen whenever this is pointed out to us, but still
    we shouldn’t have to show them how to do the bugzilla query.

  • It really isn’t quite what we want

    We want people to be able to use the keyword for bugs that
    aren’t necessarily trivial but which would still be feasible for
    beginners to tackle. easy-fix just doesn’t seem to match.