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

Davyd McColl davydm at
Thu Jul 23 06:13:50 UTC 2009

> Let me suggest that Ubuntu appoint an usability triager/ombudsman,
> to determine (from the Ubuntu users' perspective, not from an Ubuntu
> developers' perspective) how much attention ought to be paid to each
> and every usability-related bug report.

My 2c: I have to whole-heartedly agree. Probably the largest focus group of
the *buntu distros are the kinds of user who are intimidated enough at
posting some kind of bug / annoyance / usability issue, let alone having to
directly contact the grumpy developer(s) of the actual project (hey, I too
can be a grumpy dev; users can get a bit much). It would (imo) be a huge
boost for Ubuntu to provide a service (for lack of a better term) whereby
requests such as these are proxied to the relevant dev(s), even better with
some kind of relevance count (eg, how many people find this issue to be a

I know this is asking for even more from the free ride, but I think it would
be in the interests of the distros involved -- a lot of devs (myself
included) may overlook usability issues because the system seems intuitive
to them. Most devs that I know, however, if faced with a 99% frustration
rate from users, would change their product (if you're not in the FOSS dev
sphere to make good software for people other than yourself, then why
exactly are you here?).

Most users, on the other hand, either don't have the time, patience or 1337
5k1llz to (a) find the "correct" person to inform of the issue and (b)
convince him/her that it actually *is* an issue. The very fact that someone
had enough motivation to report something as difficult to use should be of
interest to the projects in question: it's more often the case that people
just can't be bothered.
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