Wandering Thoughts archives


Making bug reports is exhausting, frustrating, and stressful

I've danced around this subject before when I've written about bug reports (and making bug reports), but I want to come out and say it explicitly: far too often, making bug reports is an exhausting experience that is frequently frustrating and stressful.

This is not because the tools for doing it are terrible, although that doesn't help. It is because the very frequent result of trying to make a bug report is having to deal with people who don't believe you, who don't take you seriously, and who often don't read, consider, and investigate what you wrote. Some of the time it involves arguing with people who disagree with you, people who feel that what you are reporting is in fact not a bug or at best a trivial issue. The crowning frustration on top of all of these experiences is that after all of your effort and the stress of arguing with people, the bug will often not be fixed in any useful fashion. By the way, that 'deal with' is often actually 'argue with' (which is about as much fun as you'd expect).

(A contributing factor to the stress is often that you really need a fix or a workaround for the bug.)

Whether or not they can articulate it, everyone who's made enough bug reports knows this in their gut. In my opinion it's a fairly big reason why a lot of people burn out on making bug reports and stop doing it; it's not that they're making carefully considered cost/benefit calculations (no matter what I've written before about this), it's that they have absolutely no desire to put themselves through the whole exercise again. The frequently low cost/benefit ratio is a post-facto rationalization that people would reach for much less if the whole experience was actually a pleasant one.

There is a really important corollary for this: if you're tempted to urge someone to make a bug report, especially a bug report that you reasonably expect may be rejected, you should understand that you're trying to get them to put themselves through an unpleasant experience.

(I think this is a big part of why I have a very strong urge to bite the heads off of people who respond to me to suggest that I should file bug reports.)

tech/BugReportsExhausting written at 02:51:43; Add Comment

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