A modest Bugzilla keyword format proposal

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Christian Legnitto

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Oct 24, 2011, 6:24:58 PM10/24/11
to dev-planning@lists.mozilla.org planning
(If this belongs in a different list, let me know)

In bug 696898 (https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=696898) I am proposing a new keyword format. Nothing earth-shattering, but I think the upside is huge.

Please DO NOT comment in the bug and instead add comments here.


Proposal
---------------------------------------

#(namespace)/..../(leafnode keyword)

Examples:

#relman/triage/needs-info
#relman/triage/defer-to-group

#ux/papercuts/user-control
#ux/papercuts/useful-error-messages

#crashkill/watching
#crashkill/blocklist-candidate
#crashkill/3rd-party/adobe
#crashkill/3rd-party/adobe/contacted

#gfx/bugkill/too-old
#gfx/bugkill/bitrot

...etc


Why?
---------------------------------------

* "#" denotes a keyword that doesn't widely apply across the project
--> Humans and tools can skip over easily
--> Trivial bugzilla patch to make it sort at the bottom / last (I'll attach it to the bug in a bit). We can even filter them out of the autocomplete entirely if desired
--> Trivial to make a watchdog script that enforces states and makes sure only certain people are adding / removing certain groups of keywords (which can be eventually expanded to a bz extension)
--> Easy to let anyone with editbugs create them with a bugzilla patch (if desired)

* "#" denotes a keyword in this system
--> Tools can rely on the format and process it, unlike current keywords (is '-' part of the keyword or a namespace/separator? Depends!)

* Hierarchical structure of tags
--> Tools can query for keywords lists at the proper depth easily
--> Humans can easily group keywords at a glance
--> Humans can query easily through the existing bugzilla interface (e.g "show me everything Release Management is triaging")

* Keyword subsections can use whatever rules they like, only "#" in the 1st position and "/" anywhere is special (spaces obviously don't work)

* (ab)using the current keyword system. This is essentially a small step to moving keywords into a tree model, rooted via component. I need something NOW and can't wait for bugzilla improvements (and already have enough of them assigned to me).


Why not use the whiteboard?
---------------------------------------

The whiteboard is junk! I can't do historical queries for when a whiteboard substring was removed. The bugmail isn't explicitly clear and I have to take time to scan the string, fun regex stuff in scripts, etc.

If bugzilla had a decent keyword or tag system the whiteboard would go away...it's a kludge.


Future plans?
---------------------------------------

* Make anyone able to grab a "#" namespace and then create as many keywords as they want inside without having the current heavy-weight keyword access. This should actually be easy to do in bugzilla

* Release Management may migrate this sort of stuff to our web system outside Bugzilla, but for now we're (ab)using current tools

* We need to replace Bugzilla's keyword system. Yesterday.



Please let me know what you think and if you or your group would find such a change useful. The goal would be for it to be invisible to anyone who isn't using it and wildly useful to those who do.

Thanks,
Christian

beltzner

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Oct 24, 2011, 7:10:24 PM10/24/11
to Christian Legnitto, dev-planning@lists.mozilla.org planning
Hey Christian,

Having gone through various ways of doing this, I see how you got to
this proposal, and I'm completely supportive of it. There are
definitely other possibilities for customizing Bugzilla to get this
sort of effect, but I think the simplest thing to do is create new
conventions.

I might also propose that we take this opportunity to hide more of the
obsolete keywords. Several have been historically used by various
triagers and groups - asking them to come up with their own namespaces
might help us understand which are still actually in use. I would
suggest that if a keyword isn't in wide use, it should be removed from
active duty, as it just confuses the space and leads people to believe
that they're adding valuable metadata when in fact nobody is attending
to it.

cheers,
mike

Gervase Markham

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Oct 25, 2011, 4:21:09 AM10/25/11
to
On 24/10/11 23:24, Christian Legnitto wrote:
> In bug 696898 (https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=696898) I
> am proposing a new keyword format. Nothing earth-shattering, but I
> think the upside is huge.

It makes me cry that after 10 years of trying, Bugzilla still doesn't
have a web-standard tagging system :-(( Given the constraints you
outline in your proposal, I fully support using the keywords system for
this. And we should hand out the editkeywords priv more widely (with a
social control of only creating namespaced ones). The keyword list in
the past have been too static because getting a new one has been too
high-ceremony.

My bikeshed comment: can we use colons to separate rather than slashes?
Slash in this context reads to me like an alternative, such as "and/or".

I know autocomplete helps, but I also think we might do well to try and
advise people to keep it to two levels of hierarchy. As the length
increases, the number of keywords you can see in the field decreases.

Gerv
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