Improving the handling of PR:s

Mark Linimon linimon at
Sat Jan 12 20:27:55 PST 2008

On Sat, Jan 12, 2008 at 07:24:02PM +0100, Peter Schuller wrote:
> My experience (albeight with a smaller bug database) is that generally, as 
> soon as you expect people to manually poll some web site, things move more 
> slowly.

Yeah, especially if the # of entries is overwhelming.  I'm no human
factors expert, but IIRC if you're showing someone more than ~20 entries
to start with, it all just looks like noise.

> Also related to this: it may just be me, but how does GNATS even handle 
> mailouts to begin with? I always get the initial response from GNATS that a 
> PR has been registered, but mostly I never see any automatic mailouts in 
> response to PR updates.

If you're the originator, you should get Cc:s on followups -- *assuming*
that the people responding are Cc:ing either "bug-followup@" or
"freebsd-gnats-submit@" _and_ that they are responding to the response
from GNATS that has the "Re: category/number: " magic string prepended.

The latter problem might be fixed in latter versions of GNATS.  I have
not yet investigated.  In the meantime, those emails show up in pending/
and I have to fix them :-)

> Also, individual users being able to add themselves as an interested party (cc 
> in bugzilla speak, nosy in roundup speak, etc) to PR:s and such would help, 
> or configure per-user settings for mailout, etc.

Right.  I think that's key.  There's no concept of that in the tools we
have now.

> I really don't want to start some kind of holy war on bug management software, 
> but I have to say that from the submitter POV I have always felt GNATS does 
> not seem to be the most flexible system around (except for what seems to be 
> very good E-Mail integration).

It's a very dull stone axe that a determined person can use as a PR
database.  I can deal with its foolishness (being able to work on PRs
without having to use a UI is a big win for me -- it's fast!), but I'm in
a small minority.

We need _something_, but I'm not going to run out and try one of the
others "to see if it's better".  I want to define our needs and then go
see if anything fits it.


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