Keepin' it real

Yesterday I wrote about our new Mozilla bugzilla keyword, student-project, and how to use it.  Today I see a very interesting post from a student at Seneca working with my colleague, Jordan, on Eclipse WTP:

We’ve received today a list of 502 “Important Bugs” from IBM:

_ “This is certainly one source of potential contributions your students can make to WTP.”_

First thing, in the email there are 5 bugs which “someone from the web services team has identified and that would be useful to have someone look at”. How and why these 5 from the thousands of bugs? I don’t know.

What’s interesting is that 2 of these 5 have been marked as ”Resolved”, 1 of which is “fixed” and the other is “WONTFIX”. Yes, that’s right: won’t fix. According to the definition, it means the problem described is a bug which will never be fixed. Now why? I will ask and hopefully get an answer. Why is it not closed then? Perhaps because it takes a year or so for someone at IBM to come across one of these bugs and update the status. Until then the developers who are trying to help in fixing bugs have to waste their time with such bugs.

So, 2 of the 5 is out of the window.
This is really interesting to me.  I've often contended that there is nothing worse than being told that there are bugs you can work on, only to go and find that many have multiple patches, are flagged as WONTFIX or INVALID, are things no one cares about but the reporter, etc.  The other important thing to note here is this:
Now how about the other 497? Might be unbelievable, but I looked over all of them. I read the details of 47 of them, and have picked 8 that I might be able to contribute to.
Notice that people who want to work on things will look at your lists.  There are a lot of people who are hungry to get started, and just looking for the right way to do it.

Here are the lessons I take from this for our own use of the student-project keyword:

  1. Do flag bugs since people are looking for things to work on.
  2. Do keep the list current, and triage the list frequently so it doesn't get stale.  What was once an important bug may not be now.  Gary has done a great job already providing targeted queries for this.
  3. Do remember that "Important" is tied to current circumstances, and needs re-evaluation
    I'm excited to see that people are already using student-project to mark things, and encourage more people to do the same.
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