Validity of bugs whose solution involves adding an option somewhere

Vish vish at
Fri Dec 14 18:54:02 UTC 2012

On 12/14/2012 09:43 AM, Chris Wilson wrote:
> Hey,
> I've been thinking a lot lately (through my job) about adding options 
> to software. Personally, I try to avoid it, both at work and in my 
> personal projects, as feel they get in the way of the user being able 
> to understand how your app works, as well as adding more routes 
> through the code that need to be maintained.
> There's a great article here 
> <> on 
> the subject.
> This <> 
> bug report got me thinking about how this applies to paper cuts. 
> Adding an option to an app may sound like an easy fix that satisfies 
> the largest number of people, but is it really going to satisfy more 
> people then the app would if it weren't added? Wouldn't it be a better 
> solution to design a work flow that didn't require an added option? Is 
> there really a demand for these options?
> My question to you is: should requests to add options to app be 
> considered paper cuts? Personally I think they shouldn't, and we 
> should instead look at the underlying problem that got the person 
> asking for the option in the first place. I think we should also 
> remember that the paper cuts project exists to fix the issues 
> affecting the *majority of average users, *and a lot of options that 
> are requested will only be of any real interest to a minority of 
> users, not to mention the fact that average users don't usually 
> customise their computer in the first place.
> What are people's thoughts in this?
> Chris
Hi Chris,
Traditionally, requests to add new options/checkboxes were usually not 
papercuts. You got to think of them in terms of new feature requests.
But it is not just dismissing such bugs as 'not a papercut'. Sometimes, 
we have to think of the use-case for such an issue. The reporter might 
have a valid use-case, which affects a majority, that we have previously 
not thought about. Maybe the solution, that the reporter is proposing, 
would be better if it was the default behaviour.
So, for papercuts we got to think of in terms of tweaking/changing the 
default behaviour rather than adding a new option. If it is a minor 
tweak that could help improve the desktop experience for everyone, then 
we should look into pushing for that change as a papercut.

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