How my review requests vanished

When I left for my vacation almost three weeks ago, I had several review requests for Bugzilla patches pending. And this morning when I finally set out to get them all, they had vanished. Admittedly rather easy for me, although I wouldn't have minded about doing some either. I took one from the "from the wind queue", and it was wondrously easy though :-)
Slightly related: MaxKA filed bug 286822 ("Process Problem: Review From the Wind Never Happens") recently, explaining the issue that reviews never get done unless you choose the reviewer right – and choosing the right one requires extensive knowledge not publicly available for any new Bugzilla contributor. Max's effort of compiling a list of reviewer competencies is worthy, but the list will be difficult to maintain. Still, I can hardly imagine the situation would be worse than it's now.
One thing about "From the Wind" (requesteeless) review requests is that they often represent the most unreadable patches we ever get (all this is IMO, of course). The list tends to have a load of patches from people with no Bugzilla dev experience, they've just hacked something up for their site and then post the initial patch. Rather often, when you deny review, the patch vanishes forever as the author doesn't care enough about getting the code integrated. That said, it's exactly this group of Bugzilla users we should pay more attention to, as they do provide feedback in a way more constructive manner than the people just complaining about missing features.
However, taking into account the rather high quality requirements for new Bugzilla code, it'll be a hard task for a new developer to get his code if the only support he gets is in the form of reviews (which can be great support at times, admitted). It would be great to see the efforts behind Max's list evolve into a sort of tutoring program where special attention would be paid for writing clear and instructive review comments (unlike the vague and offensive ones we sometimes do now ;-)) and providing guidance even in the writing phase of the patch.
I should've said this quite some time ago already, but here goes: My sincere thanks to the "new" (well, it's certainly relative) group of developers that have shown up on the Bugzilla scene. It's great to see the product evolve even though most of the old team has vanished from sight. It's great to cvs up one's test installation every now and then and see the changes trickle in. Many great things have been done. MaxKA, LpSolit, Travis, Wurblzap, Wicked, Glob and everybody else I forgot to mention, keep it up! Perhaps your efforts will make my conscience throb painfully enough to force me to actually code something one day. :-)

March 19, 2005 В· Jouni Heikniemi В· Comments Closed
Posted in: Bugzilla