Quick test followup 2: An editorial

I am well and truly overwhelmed by the responses I received. 35 in about 24 hours. I think we can all learn a little about community efforts from this example.
I gave a very simple, harmless test, without explaining why. Community response was huge. This is the essence of quality assurance work.
I went wading through a list of mail/news bugs today. The sheer number of bugs there which are not properly triaged is staggering: over five thousand from a simple search (excluding any summary searches). I’d bet 60% or more are UNCO. The mail/news developers simply cannot use Bugzilla under those circumstances. I know, because one of them said so to me earlier today

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We’re coming up on a tree closure soon. I think it’s the perfect time for a Mozilla Development Stand Down, to help out with QA & triage.
I’m serious: we need to schedule such an event. A time when we just take a breather from active dev work, and contribute an all-out effort to getting our affairs in order. One to three work days (excluding weekends) where triage is the priority. The hard-core hackers of our community, who know the codebase well, would be available to answer questions.
I know a fair number of those hackers will not heed my request. Certainly none should who are working on the Gecko 1.8 release! But if we really take even one full day for bug triage exclusively, I’m sure our developer community will appreciate it immensely. It will help them get a clear picture on the bugs that drive most of us crazy.
What if there’s not enough time for a Stand Down during the freeze? That’s always a distinct possibility. I would suggest someone write a community petition to mozilla.org’s drivers for a Stand Down in that event.
Yes, it’s a big leap from a simple test to a massive QA effort. But consider: Mozilla development has continued uninterrupted for about seven years now. Some of the problems, including QA and documentation, have grown so large that many of us feel we can’t do anything about them. That attitude has to stop. It will only stop if large numbers of people unite to make it stop. We can do this. We just need to pick times and goals, and strongly suggest to the community as a whole that we do this.
Thank you for your time.
P.S. I decided to close the comments on the original thread because my goal had been accomplished, and I didn’t want more comment spam to approve one-by-one. 🙂

2 thoughts on “Quick test followup 2: An editorial”

  1. Actually, we need the automated resolution of old UNCO bugs to finally happen. A big percentage of UNCOs are either fixed on trunk or useless, there’s no point in spending people’s time on manual triage of those.

  2. I agree that it would be nice if this could happen, but I’m not sure that we could schedule something like this with all the different agendas present in the Mozilla development community.
    However, just outside the radius of the development community lies a fairly large pool of potential testers in the form of casual users. The paid Mozilla QA team is small and very busy — we just lost Sarah Liberman, a full-time tester, in June — but we are trying to get some initiatives off the ground to leverage this large, varyingly-skilled tester base.
    So, for those (developer, casual user, whatever) interested in helping out with Mozilla QA, please check out the Mozilla Quality blog. Right now, the Mozilla QA team uses the blog as a clearinghouse for announcements and community testing help requests. For example, 1.5 is approaching quickly, and there will definitely be some testing help required there.
    If we can generate some testing momentum in the general community, and can get some tools in place to make this interaction easier, the QA team can resume doing things like bug triage that have been traditionally quite helpful for developers, but have fallen off the map due to the regular testing burden.

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