Restoring the status of automatically expired bugs

Matthew Revell matthew.revell at
Tue Oct 9 23:24:10 BST 2007

Shortly after we released Launchpad 1.1.9 (on 21 September),
Launchpad's housekeeping system - the Launchpad Janitor - expired
2,862 Incomplete bugs. We estimate that around 900 of these bugs
should not have been expired.

We're sorry for the confusion and inconvenience that this caused. We
will restore the "Incomplete" status of all bugs that the Launchpad
Janitor expired. This process will begin at 12.00 UTC on 10th October.

What went wrong

The feedback that you've given us has highlighted three flaws in the
bug expiration process we used:

1. We expired duplicate bugs: this went against our policy that
duplicate bugs should not be modified, nor should they generate email.

2. We expired bugs that were still being triaged: recent comment
activity showed that these bugs had not been abandoned but our process
didn't take account of that.

3. We expired bugs that were confirmed or fixed in another location:
once a bug is confirmed in one location, it should not be incomplete
in another. Bug contacts are responsible for managing a bug's many
statuses once it is confirmed in one location.

Understanding Launchpad's bug statuses

While we were reviewing these issues, we discovered that many people
are using the Incomplete status to mean something other than "this
report cannot be confirmed to be a bug, additional information is
needed". The comments and activity of roughly 20% of the Incomplete
reports suggest that Confirmed or Wont Fix would have been a more
appropriate status.

In light of this, we've written a blog post looking at how and when to
use the various bug statuses that Launchpad offers:

How we're going to fix this

Now that we know that many people have used the Incomplete status to
mean a number of different things, we are going to restore the
Incomplete status of all bugs that the Launchpad Janitor changed.

During this process:

 * Comments left by the Janitor will be removed from those bugs that
   have their status restored.
 * The updates will not generate email.
 * We won't alter the status of any bug if its status has been
   manually altered since the expiration.

We still believe that our original intention -- to remove abandoned
bugs from bug queues -- will be a useful enhancement to Launchpad.
We're going to fix the three flaws in the expiration process and then
email selected projects' bug contacts with a list of the bugs that we
have identified as abandoned. With your feedback, we will refine this
process. We will only resume the expiry process when the Launchpad
user community is happy with the way we identify abandoned bugs.

We will also update the Launchpad documentation to ensure it explains
the bug statuses more thoroughly and we will make that documentation
easier to find.

Thank you for your ongoing feedback and for helping us to refine this

Matthew Revell

mrevell in #launchpad on Freenode

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