Discussion:
Fossil's (lack of) use of the Ticket system
(too old to reply)
Dan Barbarito
2018-08-03 18:11:30 UTC
Permalink
Hi all, I am trying to understand why Fossil itself does not use the built-in ticketing functionality. I understand that trolls + spammers may be a problem, but can't ticket changes simply be approved/denied? Using the ticketing system would give more people the opportunity to understand what bugs are being worked on, what features are being added, etc. Having a single place to document bugs and feature requests is the best way to see the status of a project at a glance. Yes, we have this mailing list and soon we will have forums, but I don't think bug reports should reside in these places. Thanks, Dan
Richard Hipp
2018-08-03 18:18:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dan Barbarito
Hi all, I am trying to understand why Fossil itself does not use the
built-in ticketing functionality. I understand that trolls + spammers may be
a problem, but can't ticket changes simply be approved/denied?
I tried that. What I found was that I was spending an inordinate
amount of time pressing the "Reject" button on new ticket moderation
because almost all tickets were of the form "How do I do ..."

Maybe the forum will turn out the same way. I won't know until we try
it. Maybe with a forum in place, we won't get so many "How do I
do..." tickets and we can turn tickets back on.

I have your request. I have a really long queue right now. I need to
spend several days (probably) working on SQLite. I'll get back to
this Fossil enhancement as I am able. Thank you for your feedback -
it is important. I will deal with it as soon as I can.
--
D. Richard Hipp
***@sqlite.org
Dan Barbarito
2018-08-03 18:26:52 UTC
Permalink
Take your time drh, this is by no means urgent. I really appreciate the clarification. ---- On Fri, 03 Aug 2018 14:18:43 -0400 Richard Hipp <***@sqlite.org> wrote ---- On 8/3/18, Dan Barbarito <***@barbarito.me> wrote: > Hi all, I am trying to understand why Fossil itself does not use the > built-in ticketing functionality. I understand that trolls + spammers may be > a problem, but can't ticket changes simply be approved/denied? I tried that. What I found was that I was spending an inordinate amount of time pressing the "Reject" button on new ticket moderation because almost all tickets were of the form "How do I do ..." Maybe the forum will turn out the same way. I won't know until we try it. Maybe with a forum in place, we won't get so many "How do I do..." tickets and we can turn tickets back on. I have your request. I have a really long queue right now. I need to spend several days (probably) working on SQLite. I'll get back to this Fossil enhancement as I am able. Thank you for your feedback - it is important. I will deal with it as soon as I can. -- D. Richard Hipp ***@sqlite.org _______________________________________________ fossil-users mailing list fossil-***@lists.fossil-scm.org http://lists.fossil-scm.org:8080/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/fossil-users
Gilles
2018-08-04 10:38:32 UTC
Permalink
A lot of "How do I
?" questions can be answered by searching the
archives of the mailing list :

https://www.mail-archive.com/fossil-***@lists.fossil-scm.org/

Since it's apparently not mentionned currently — I had to google "fossil
scm mailing list" to find it —, I suggest updating the Docs section of
www.fossil-scm.org page to add a link.

And maybe one day, move the mailing list to a web-based forum entirely
so that people can post questions directly.
Post by Dan Barbarito
Take your time drh, this is by no means urgent. I really appreciate
the clarification.
---- On Fri, 03 Aug 2018 14:18:43 -0400 *Richard Hipp
Post by Dan Barbarito
Hi all, I am trying to understand why Fossil itself does not use the
built-in ticketing functionality. I understand that trolls +
spammers may be
Post by Dan Barbarito
a problem, but can't ticket changes simply be approved/denied?
I tried that. What I found was that I was spending an inordinate
amount of time pressing the "Reject" button on new ticket moderation
because almost all tickets were of the form "How do I do ..."
Maybe the forum will turn out the same way. I won't know until we try
it. Maybe with a forum in place, we won't get so many "How do I
do..." tickets and we can turn tickets back on.
I have your request. I have a really long queue right now. I need to
spend several days (probably) working on SQLite. I'll get back to
this Fossil enhancement as I am able. Thank you for your feedback -
it is important. I will deal with it as soon as I can.
--
D. Richard Hipp
Stephan Beal
2018-08-04 11:29:58 UTC
Permalink
A lot of "How do I
?" questions can be answered by searching the archives
People don't do that, though. In every support forum in the universe, some
appreciable percentage of posts are asking the same thing which the fellow
3 posts down from them is asking. (The BoardGameGeek forums are _prime_
examples of this.)

Since it's apparently not mentionned currently — I had to google "fossil
scm mailing list" to find it —, I suggest updating the Docs section of
www.fossil-scm.org page to add a link.
Richard is in the process of replacing the mailing list, so it's unlikely
to get a link on the home page.
And maybe one day, move the mailing list to a web-based forum entirely so
that people can post questions directly.
That's exactly what Richard is currently implementing. That alone won't
stop the "how do i" posts - it's a Cosmic Rule that many people won't
bother searching a forum (beyond a casual Google effort) before posting
their own (oft-repeated) query. :/.
--
----- stephan beal
http://wanderinghorse.net/home/stephan/
"Freedom is sloppy. But since tyranny's the only guaranteed byproduct of
those who insist on a perfect world, freedom will have to do." -- Bigby Wolf
Gilles
2018-08-04 11:48:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by Gilles
And maybe one day, move the mailing list to a web-based forum entirely
so that people can post questions directly.
That's exactly what Richard is currently implementing. That alone
won't stop the "how do i" posts - it's a Cosmic Rule that many people
won't bother searching a forum (beyond a casual Google effort) before
posting their own (oft-repeated) query. :/.
It might, since forum softwares (should) provide "sticky posts" that are
displayed at the top.

Combined with a good search feature, it should reduce the recurrent "How
do I?" posts.
Shal Farley
2018-08-06 22:04:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by Gilles
It might, since forum softwares (should) provide "sticky posts" that
are displayed at the top.
The one trick I've seen that seems most effective is to integrate the
search function with the New Topic function such that the user is
presented with a dynamic drop-down of suggested posts while typing their
subject line.

People accustomed to that behavior in Google search may find it natural
to select an existing subject text to see what's there.

Shal Farley <***@CheshireEng.com>
Cheshire Engineering Corporation
+1 626 303 1602
http://www.CheshireEng.com

Warren Young
2018-08-04 11:41:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by Richard Hipp
Post by Dan Barbarito
Hi all, I am trying to understand why Fossil itself does not use the
built-in ticketing functionality. I understand that trolls + spammers may be
a problem, but can't ticket changes simply be approved/denied?
I tried that. What I found was that I was spending an inordinate
amount of time pressing the "Reject" button on new ticket moderation
because almost all tickets were of the form "How do I do …"
There’s nothing inherently wrong with answering tech support questions via a ticket tracker as opposed to a mailing list or a web forum. A great many people are in fact trained to do this by their local IT departments, who require that every problem be reported via the local ticket tracker.

In my own public Fossil projects, I’ve found that people are preferring to post tickets anonymously rather than subscribe to my mailing lists and post there. It seems to me that we should clear obstacles from this path rather than put up barriers along it.


The actual problems are:


Problem 1: Web search crawlers apparently do not index Fossil tickets very well: I just tried a few searches for closed tickets in one of my public repos which should turn up just that one ticket, and couldn’t find them.

The consequence is that answering support questions via the ticket tracker is effectively private 1:1 support, not the distributed one-to-many form that allows FOSS projects to function well despite scant tech support resources.

Solution: Ensure that the “All Tickets” report is always discoverable by a web spider, even if /ticket is somehow unlinked from the navbar. Ensure that the report’s output is easily indexed. It looks like Fossil does not generate robots.txt, so that shouldn’t be a reason for this.


Problem 2: Fossil currently only announces new tickets via /timeline[.rss], so that the only ones likely to answer questions are those paying attention to the repo’s timeline, which means the burden mainly falls on those doing the development. In a healthy FOSS project, much of this burden is taken up by the community instead, relieving core developers of dealing with it.

Solution: Fossil.next should allow a logged-in user to subscribe to certain timeline events, including new tickets, but not limited to it. Some will also want to get an email on every checkin, for example.


Problem 3: “Tickets” in the current skin navbars is vague, so people will frequently misinterpret its nature and proper use. Also problematic would be terms like “Issues” or “Support.”

Alternate Solution 1: Split it into “Bugs” and “Wish List” by pointing to appropriate default ticket table reports. The exact terms are not important. What is important is that the terminology carry intent: if you are not filing a bug report or expressing a wish (i.e. feature request), you should be posting elsewhere.

If “Forums” precede these two links on the navbar, more people will tend to post there first unless they specifically know they have a bug to report or a wish to express.


Alternate solution 2: Fossil.next should create several default sub-forums, including Bug Reports, Feature Requests, and Support Requests. The “Tickets” navbar link should be hidden from normal users. Users with suitably high capability should be able to promote a forum post to a ticket tracker entry.
Post by Richard Hipp
I have a really long queue right now. I need to
spend several days (probably) working on SQLite. I'll get back to
this Fossil enhancement as I am able. Thank you for your feedback -
it is important. I will deal with it as soon as I can.
The other web forum technologies have a long history, with a lot of development behind them. Expectations will be high, so I would expect the wish list length to mainly increase for quite some time yet.

I think what you have already is close to a minimum viable product. I’m not sure it’s yet ready to take over for the SQLite and Fossil project mailing lists, but for small projects like mine, it’s probably nearly good enough to start using soon.
Stephan Beal
2018-08-03 18:19:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dan Barbarito
I am trying to understand why Fossil itself does not use the built-in
ticketing functionality. I understand that trolls + spammers may be a
problem, but can't ticket changes simply be approved/denied? Using the
ticketing system would give more people the opportunity to understand what
bugs are being worked on, what features are being added, etc. Having a
single place to document bugs and feature requests is the best way to see
the status of a project at a glance. Yes, we have this mailing list and
soon we will have forums, but I don't think bug reports should reside in
these places.
Fossil used to use its own ticketing system more, but experience showed
that it was simply less hassle to use the mailing list. That certainly
isn't true for all projects. In the majority of cases, reported bugs are
literally not bugs - they're misunderstandings of how to use fossil. A
large portion of the "real bugs" reported often ended up resolved within
hours of someone reporting them on the mailing list, making the
administration via a ticket system more overhead than it was worth. Yes,
there's always that minority of bugs for which tracking them in the ticket
system makes sense, but it simply fell out of fashion to do so.

i see that Richard just answered, so i'll stop there and see what he says
on the topic. If there's any conflict of opinions, he wins, of course ;).
--
----- stephan beal
http://wanderinghorse.net/home/stephan/
"Freedom is sloppy. But since tyranny's the only guaranteed byproduct of
those who insist on a perfect world, freedom will have to do." -- Bigby Wolf
Richard Hipp
2018-08-03 18:20:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by Stephan Beal
i see that Richard just answered, so i'll stop there and see what he says
I like Stephan's answer better than my own :-)
--
D. Richard Hipp
***@sqlite.org
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