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From Kay Schenk <>
Subject Re: [PROPOSAL] "difficulty" field for Bugzilla
Date Thu, 25 Oct 2012 21:23:36 GMT

On 10/24/2012 02:15 PM, Donald Whytock wrote:
> Apache Camel uses an "Estimated Complexity" custom field in the Apache
> Issues Tracker.  Current values in it are "Any", "Unknown", "Novice",
> "Moderate", "Advanced", "Guru" and "Needs James Gosling".


> Had to look him up:
> Don
> On Wed, Oct 24, 2012 at 4:45 PM, Louis Suárez-Potts <> wrote:
>> On 12-10-24, at 16:28 , "Dennis E. Hamilton" <> wrote:
>>> @Regina,
>>> 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"
>>> solutions.
>>> 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
>> One aspect that has been used and not used enough is to consider this in light of
how a student or neophyte might approach the task and whether it demands the added help a
mentor can offer.
>> Louis
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: Regina Henschel []
>>> Sent: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 13:04
>>> To:
>>> 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)
>>>> EASY
>>>> HARD
>>> 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
>>> sufficient.
>>> 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
>>> Regina


"Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never
  dealt with a cat."
                                -- Robert Heinlein

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