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From Louis Suárez-Potts <>
Subject Re: [PROPOSAL] "difficulty" field for Bugzilla
Date Wed, 24 Oct 2012 20:45:18 GMT

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.

> -----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)
> 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

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