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From Donald Whytock <>
Subject Re: [PROPOSAL] "difficulty" field for Bugzilla
Date Wed, 24 Oct 2012 21:15:31 GMT
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:


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

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