Fwd: Re: On closing old bugs

David Humphrey david.humphrey at senecacollege.ca
Wed Dec 4 07:33:24 PST 2013

There's a thread happening on Mozilla's dev-platform list about what to 
do with old bugs.  I wanted to raise it in our context, because we've 
suddenly become good at triage again, with our weekly triage meeting.  
In that meeting we're WONTFIX'ing or otherwise closing a lot of bugs.  
One thing we've started to do is add "icebox" to the whiteboard for 
things that are valid, but aren't in scope for us to work on any time 
soon.  I think that practice is a good one, and we should consider doing 
two things:

1) Exposing the "icebox" list more prominently in our dev docs and for 
the community and new devs to see.

2) Making sure that things going in the "icebox" are things we'd 
review/land if they had a patch.  Otherwise, we should close them.

If people have other ideas on how to keep our bug lists under control, 
please share them.


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: 	Re: On closing old bugs
Date: 	Wed, 4 Dec 2013 15:20:09 +0200
From: 	Henri Sivonen <hsivonen at hsivonen.fi>
To: 	Lawrence Mandel <lmandel at mozilla.com>
CC: 	dev-platform <dev-platform at lists.mozilla.org>, Karl Tomlinson 
<moznews at karlt.net>

On Wed, Dec 4, 2013 at 7:15 AM, Lawrence Mandel <lmandel at mozilla.com> wrote:
> I would assert that if a bug hasn't been fixed in 10 years it probably isn't important enough to spend time on now. We can always reopen or refile if the issue becomes more pressing (by anyone's judgement).

I disagree. As I said earlier, closing bugs by age is really bad for
bug reporter motivation.

Furthermore, old bugs may become worth fixing when the circumstances
change (other browsers catch up) or the level of understanding of the
issues changes. As an anecdote, within the last 7 days, I've written a
patch for a decade-old bug that's only relevant to legacy sites in
India, Armenia and potentially Georgia. That's a bug that Chrome devs
felt worth fixing in Chrome just 5 years ago. Chrome is doing better
than we are in terms of market share in those countries, so it might
well be worth a tiny bit of effort to make the long tail of legacy
sites work (for some definition of "work") so that there's no reason
not to choose Firefox because of the legacy long tail. Also, having
had the bug open for a decade provides useful information of the
relative fringe nature of the issue in question and indicates that it
doesn't make sense to put a lot of work in developing a more polished
fix than the crudest hack that's known to work for Chrome.

Henri Sivonen
hsivonen at hsivonen.fi
dev-platform mailing list
dev-platform at lists.mozilla.org

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