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Feedback request: Priority / Severity use on Bugzilla

Hi, folks. We in the QA and Bugzappers groups have recently been 
discussing the use of the Priority and Severity fields in 

At present, the status is that these are more or less ignored by 
Bugzappers and most maintainers; some maintainers use and set 
them for their own packages according to their own system. The 
reason for their neglect, as we see it, is that there's been no 
convention for their use, and no overall responsibility in 
setting them - they're usually set arbitrarily by reporters, and 
thus convey no useful information.

We think it may be useful for the Bugzappers group to start 
setting these fields as part of the triage process. To address 
one potential issue right off the top - this would be *entirely* 
advisory, like all the other work of the Bugzappers: it's 
intended to provide a service to maintainers, nothing more. It 
would not be in any way prescriptive - we don't want any other 
group to be able to tell maintainers what they should work on. We 
simply think that setting these fields consistently as part of 
triage might prove useful to some, or all, maintainers.

It's also just proposed as a trial - if we try it and it doesn't 
seem to be working out well, we'll stop it.

We have a draft convention for how these fields should be set 
. As you can see, it basically suggests that the severity field 
be used to rate the importance of the issue in the context only 
of the affected package, and priority be used to rate the 
importance of the issue in the context of the distribution as 
a whole.

There is an alternative proposal that triagers would set only the 
severity field, which would work mostly as it does in the other 
proposal, except that the Urgent severity would be used for 
issues which, in the triager's judgement, have serious 
consequences for the distro as a whole. The priority field, in 
this proposal, is reserved for the package maintainer(s) to use, 
no-one else gets to set it at any point.

In our proposals, triagers would set these field(s) in as 
consistent a manner as possible as part of the initial triage 
process. Bug reporters could be prevented from setting the fields 
at all, at any time, to address the possibility that they might 
just set their reports to High or Urgent regardless of their 
actual importance.

There's no action required or even suggested of any maintainer 
for any value of either field - it's simply there to provide 
information. We feel that maintainers might then find it useful 
to organize their bugs by severity or priority to make it easier 
to identify the most urgent issues to address.

A few specifics: the system would happily accommodate maintainers 
who have their own systems for using these fields. Triagers would 
be specifically instructed not to touch these fields if they had 
been previously touched by the maintainer - effectively, 
maintainer's decision on these fields is final. So if you 
disagree with the triager's
opinion, or you have your own system for using these fields, you 
could simply set them to whatever you like and the Bugzappers 
will not change them back.

So, really, we just want your feedback: do you think this 
proposal might prove useful to you as a maintainer? Can you see 
any problems with it, or potential refinements or improvements?  
Which of the two slightly differing proposals would you prefer?  
Bugzappers' mission is to ease the lives of maintainers, so we 
don't want to put this in place unless it's seen as beneficial by 
at least some maintainers. Thanks!

on behalf of Fedora BugZappers

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