Wikimedia’s Bug Management

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About three months ago I started as bugmaster / bugwrangler of the Wikimedia Foundation (the non-profit organization behind Wikipedia). It’s about time to finally blog before everybody expects WMF to be the same black hole that Google is seen as when it comes to free and open source people suddenly disappearing. ;)

A Day in the Life of a Bugmaster

As part of my daily work I take a look at the latest Wikimedia bug reports and go through some of the feedback sources (like Village Pumps or Greasepits) in the many projects under the Wikimedia umbrella. I also often take a look at reports with immediate and highest priority.


Earlier in December we managed to upgrade Bugzilla from 4.0.9 to version 4.2.4. The upgrade itself did not go 102% perfectly, but still went extremely smooth and way better than I was afraid of.

As I’ve used Greasemonkey scripts for years now to save some time when triaging bug reports, I’ve published the ones that I use in Wikimedia Bugzilla here. Patches are welcome, and the code could likely use some refactoring anyway (IANAC).

And more!

I’ve retriaged a bunch of tickets that were previously marked as “RESOLVED LATER” in Bugzilla and disabled that resolution for future use (also see the related mailing list discussion), plus the huge backlog of unprioritized tickets.

I’ve improved and wrote lots of documentation related to bug triaging, for example a triage guide.

We discussed the interpretation of “Highest priority” and ended up introducing an “Immediate priority” which leaves less room for interpretation.

Plus I got in smaller fixes, e.g. fixing some regexes in Wikimedia’s Bugzilla extensions.

You can find weekly status updates that I publish.

The things around

In the last three months MediaWiki/Wikimedia bug management have seen and survived the merge of ContentHandler, a new media player (TimedMediaHandler) for better HTML5 multimedia support, and first deployments of improved user experience tools such as ArticleFeedback 5, VisualEditor and Notifications. First Wikidata deployments and moving to a new data center are on the list of potential disruptions for early 2013.
And I’ve had fun with server software upgrades, understanding our release cycles and continouos deployment, and watching and analyzing the usage (or non-usage) of the bugtracker by different development teams.


I still need to prioritize my long backlog of potential future plans and ideas. Of course some smaller drive-by cleanups have taken place already.

Among the plans for early 2013 are automatic notifications from Gerrit into Bugzilla about patch status changes (Wikimedia Germany seems to work on that), component watching via bugmail, and a new and more useful Bugzilla frontpage.

Plus for the next three months I will have the pleasure to work with Valerie as part of the Outreach Program for Women. Part of the grand plan is to start having monthly bug days to triage bug reports together – are you in?

And of course WMF is hiring – take a look if there’s a position that fits you!

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2 Responses to Wikimedia’s Bug Management

  1. Fitoschido says:

    It’s nice to see those old bugs getting some love. :)

  2. It’s great working with you and I look forward to an interesting 2013.

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