Reporting usability problems: please be more tolerant when you triage bugs!

Vincenzo Ciancia ciancia at
Wed Jul 22 16:47:04 UTC 2009

Dear all,

sorry for crossposting, please notice it before replying to all.

I tend to report all usability bugs I find, in the hope that ubuntu will 
become better. The hudred-papercut effort shows that I am not wrong in 
reporting those as bugs.

However, it is very easy that a developer does not recognise an 
usability-related bug report, and confuses it with a more or less 
strange support request, and I often have to discuss to have it accepted 
as a bug.

It is typical that on usability bugs I get trapped into endless 
discussions (e.g. it's always been like that, it can't be fixed, it's an 
obvious behaviour and so on).

In the future, I will try to remember to add a sentence like "this is an 
usability related bug report, please handle it as such, I am reporting 
it to ease the user experience of the whole ubuntu community" and maybe 
link this e-mail, but in the meantime, could developers try to be a bit 
more careful in rejecting bugs?

I am NOT going to link specific bugs here, because that would get 
personal, but this is becoming tiresome. Today I went to IRC and 
convinced a developer that a bug is a usability problem indeed. This 
costed me a quarter of hour, in addition to the time spent to identify 
and report the bug. He had just closed the bug, without at least 
reassigning to ubuntu, because it's not specific to the package I 
reported it in. But in that case one reassings it to ubuntu perhaps! The 
apparent problem is that he took me for a newbie not understanding an 
obvious fact. Which I understood perfectly, but is not correct. In the 
end I convinced him, but it was a waste of time and it happened a lot in 
the past.

Discussing all the time makes bug reporting an unpleasant experience, 
and discourages especially usability reports, as some people tend to 
assume a "technician" attitude in thinking these are stupid requests 
from unexperienced users. Being constantly confused with a newbie is 
also a bit irritating :) especially because I think reporting usability 
bugs is something people do not do usually, so we all really need this 
kind of things.

Thanks for listening and the work all of you do everyday on my ubuntu, 
and thanks to the developer involved in today's discussion because he 
did not discuss too much, and as soon as he recognised it as a bug, he 
kindly offered cooperation.


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