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From "Dennis E. Hamilton" <>
Subject RE: [PROPOSAL] "difficulty" field for Bugzilla
Date Wed, 24 Oct 2012 20:28:59 GMT

 Yes, Wizard is a reference to the level of mastery that a solver must
possess, and is one of those "which one of these words does not belong"

There is a well-known *logarithmic* difficulty scale that has been used
over 40 years for problem difficulty.  It might be worth adapting:

 (after unknown),

  00 easy - immediately solvable by someone willing to do it
  10 simple - takes minutes
  20 medium, average - quarter hour
  30 moderate, an evening
  40 difficult, challenging, non-trivial (term project, GSoC...)
  50 unsolved, deep, requires a breakthrough, research
     (PhD dissertation)
  60 intractable (that I just made up - probably not something that
     is technically feasible regardless of skill, Nobel Prize,
     P = NP, etc.)

I suspect this scale has too much at the low end and perhaps not 
enough steps at the high end.   Perhaps there are two factors - skills and
work factor - how long for someone of the necessary skills?  Or else
work factor is suggestive of the level of skill?

     easy - minutes (fixing a typo on a web page)
     simple - hour(s)
     moderate - days
     difficult, challenging - weeks
     hard, demanding - months
     stubborn - years (aka, intractable)

All of these assume fluency with basic tools and facility with the subject matter of the issue.

For example, fixing change-tracking is at least hard.

 - Dennis

-----Original Message-----
From: Regina Henschel [] 
Sent: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 13:04
Subject: Re: [PROPOSAL] "difficulty" field for Bugzilla

Hi Rob,

Rob Weir schrieb:
> As you have probably noticed, I'm engaged in a variety of initiatives
> to grow the community, bring in more volunteers, etc.  One additional
> piece that I think would be useful is to add a new field to Bugzilla
> to indicate the difficulty level of the bug.  Of course, this will
> often not be known.  But in some cases, we do know, and where we do
> know we can indicate this.
> What this allows us to do is then have search filters that return only
> open easy bugs.  These are ideal for new developer volunteers on the
> project who are looking for items that match their lesser familiarity
> with the code.  It also allows a developer to step up to more
> challenging bugs over time.
> A similar approach, which they called "easy hacks", was successfully
> used by LibreOffice.
> If there are no objections, I'll add a new field to Bugzilla called
> "cf_difficulty_level", and which a drop down UI with the following
> choices:
> UNKNOWN (default)

WIZARD is used in AOO UI in the meaning of 'assistant' or step by step 
workflow. Therefore it might be not understood here. I need to look up 
other meanings in a dictionary. I would drop it. HARD as highest step is 

TRIVIAL sounds devaluating to me. Perhaps BEGINNER or STARTER is more 
neutral? Being able to start is not only a question, whether the task is 
easy or not from an objective point of view. Beyond that a mentor is 
needed. Perhaps a category MENTORED instead of TRIVIAL is useful. A 
senior developer would set it (and put himself in CC) if he is willing 
to guide a newcomer.

> (I'm certainly open to variations on the names)
> I'd then rely on other developers to help "seed" the database with
> some TRIVIAL and EASY bugs, so new volunteers will have something to
> work with as they familiarize themselves with the project.
> I'll wait 72 hours, etc.

In general I thing it is a good idea. Using Bugzilla has the advantage, 
that it is not necessary to hold a Wiki page in sync with Bugzilla.

Kind regards

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