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Revised draft of priority / severity mail to -devel list

Hi, guys. Here's a revised draft of my proposed mail on the priority /
severity issue to -devel-list. It addresses the points that have come up
since the original draft (I think, I hope I didn't miss any) and adds
Matej's alternative to the original proposal.

Does this look OK?


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 Bugzilla.

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 here:
http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/User:Beland/Bugzilla_Legend#Severity_and_Priority .
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

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!
Adam Williamson
Fedora QA Community Monkey
IRC: adamw | Fedora Talk: adamwill AT fedoraproject DOT org

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