Question to WMF: Backlog on bugs

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Re: Question to WMF: Backlog on bugs

Nick Wilson (Quiddity)
Pine,
please see the exact (quite precise) definition of
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/technical_debt
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technical_debt
https://martinfowler.com/bliki/TechnicalDebt.html
I.e. Technical debt is Not at all equivalent to "bugs". The topic is a
tangential one. Software can work perfectly fine for end-users even if it
has a lot of "technical debt", it is just a pain for developers to change
anything in it or connected to it because the code has complex issues (it's
a mess, or imperfectly architected at a higher-level, or "icky", or other
factors). It is not possible to measure, and is somewhat subjective in
nature.


Overall this thread is going in circles, and I recommend dropping it here.
There are several good suggestions above if anyone wants to put effort into
actual solutions.
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Re: Question to WMF: Backlog on bugs

Gergo Tisza
In reply to this post by Pine W
On Wed, Mar 20, 2019 at 2:08 PM Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:

> :) Structured data exists regarding many other subjects such as books and
> magazines. I would think that a similar approach could be taken to
> technical debt. I realize that development tasks have properties and
> interactions that change over time, but I think that having a better
> quantitative understanding of the backlog would be good and would likely
> improve the quality of planning and resourcing decisions.
>

Focusing on metrics is something bad managers tend to do when they don't
have the skills or knowledge to determine the actual value of the work.
It's a famous anti-pattern. I'll refer you to the classic Spolsky article:
https://www.joelonsoftware.com/2002/07/15/20020715/
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Re: Question to WMF: Backlog on bugs

Pine W
In reply to this post by Nick Wilson (Quiddity)
On Wed, Mar 20, 2019, 3:32 PM Nick Wilson (Quiddity) <[hidden email]>
wrote:

> Pine,
> please see the exact (quite precise) definition of
> https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/technical_debt
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technical_debt
> https://martinfowler.com/bliki/TechnicalDebt.html
> I.e. Technical debt is Not at all equivalent to "bugs". The topic is a
> tangential one. Software can work perfectly fine for end-users even if it
> has a lot of "technical debt", it is just a pain for developers to change
> anything in it or connected to it because the code has complex issues (it's
> a mess, or imperfectly architected at a higher-level, or "icky", or other
> factors). It is not possible to measure, and is somewhat subjective in
> nature.
>

Thanks for correcting me regarding the definition. That helps. (One of
these days I will probably write something that will reveal a deep
ignorance of a Wikimedia topic, and I'm sure that I will hear about it.
Making errors is one way to learn, although it is a way that I often make
an effort to avoid.)


> Overall this thread is going in circles, and I recommend dropping it here.
> There are several good suggestions above if anyone wants to put effort into
> actual solutions.
>

It sounds like we have different perspectives. However, get the impression
that people are getting tired of the this topic, so I'll move on.


Pine
( https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Pine )
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Re: Question to WMF: Backlog on bugs

John Erling Blad
It is a strange discussion, especially as it is now about how some
technical debts are not _real_ technical debts. You have some code,
and you change that code, and breakage emerge both now and for future
projects. That creates a technical debt. Some of it has a more
pronounced short time effect (user observed bugs), and some of has a
more long term effect (it blocks progress). At some point you must fix
all of them.

On Thu, Mar 21, 2019 at 11:10 PM Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:
> It sounds like we have different perspectives. However, get the impression
> that people are getting tired of the this topic, so I'll move on.

I don't think this will be solved, so "move on" seems like an obvious choice.

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Re: Question to WMF: Backlog on bugs

Nathan Awrich
I think it was doomed to fail as soon as people argued that an organization
with an ~$80m annual budget had too many "resource constraints" to address
a backlog of bugs in its core product. That happened in the first five or
so replies to the thread!

On Sun, Mar 24, 2019 at 10:05 PM John Erling Blad <[hidden email]> wrote:

> It is a strange discussion, especially as it is now about how some
> technical debts are not _real_ technical debts. You have some code,
> and you change that code, and breakage emerge both now and for future
> projects. That creates a technical debt. Some of it has a more
> pronounced short time effect (user observed bugs), and some of has a
> more long term effect (it blocks progress). At some point you must fix
> all of them.
>
> On Thu, Mar 21, 2019 at 11:10 PM Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > It sounds like we have different perspectives. However, get the
> impression
> > that people are getting tired of the this topic, so I'll move on.
>
> I don't think this will be solved, so "move on" seems like an obvious
> choice.
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikitech-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
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Re: Question to WMF: Backlog on bugs

John Erling Blad
In reply to this post by Gergo Tisza
Sorry, but this is not valid. I can't leave this uncommented.

Assume the article is right, then all metrics would be bad. Thus we
can't find any example that contradicts the statement in the article.

If we pick coverage of automated tests as a metric, then _more_ test
coverage would be bad given the article pretense. Clearly there can be
bad tests, like any code, but assume the tests are valid, would
increasing the coverage be bad as such? Clearly no.

Pick another example, like cyclomatic complexity. Assume some code
controls what or how we measure cc. If we change this code so _more_
code is covered by CC-measurements, then this would be bad given the
articles pretense. Again clearly no.

Yet another one, code duplication. Assume some code measure code bloat
by a simple duplication test. Testing more code for code bloat would
then be bad, given the article pretense. Would all code duplication be
bad? Not if you must keep speed up in tight loops. So perhaps you may
say a metric for code duplication could be wrong sometimes.

Measuring code quality is completely valid, as is measuring article
quality. The former is disputed, but the later is accepted as a
GoodThingâ„¢ by the same programmers. Slightly rewritten; "Don't count
me, I'll count you!"

On Thu, Mar 21, 2019 at 7:07 AM Gergo Tisza <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> On Wed, Mar 20, 2019 at 2:08 PM Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > :) Structured data exists regarding many other subjects such as books and
> > magazines. I would think that a similar approach could be taken to
> > technical debt. I realize that development tasks have properties and
> > interactions that change over time, but I think that having a better
> > quantitative understanding of the backlog would be good and would likely
> > improve the quality of planning and resourcing decisions.
> >
>
> Focusing on metrics is something bad managers tend to do when they don't
> have the skills or knowledge to determine the actual value of the work.
> It's a famous anti-pattern. I'll refer you to the classic Spolsky article:
> https://www.joelonsoftware.com/2002/07/15/20020715/
> _______________________________________________
> Wikitech-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l

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Re: Question to WMF: Backlog on bugs

David Barratt
In reply to this post by Nathan Awrich
Wikimedia Foundation is not even in the top 100 non-profits in the United
States:
https://www.forbes.com/top-charities/list/

Money is relative.

On Sun, Mar 24, 2019 at 10:34 PM Nathan <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I think it was doomed to fail as soon as people argued that an organization
> with an ~$80m annual budget had too many "resource constraints" to address
> a backlog of bugs in its core product. That happened in the first five or
> so replies to the thread!
>
> On Sun, Mar 24, 2019 at 10:05 PM John Erling Blad <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
>
> > It is a strange discussion, especially as it is now about how some
> > technical debts are not _real_ technical debts. You have some code,
> > and you change that code, and breakage emerge both now and for future
> > projects. That creates a technical debt. Some of it has a more
> > pronounced short time effect (user observed bugs), and some of has a
> > more long term effect (it blocks progress). At some point you must fix
> > all of them.
> >
> > On Thu, Mar 21, 2019 at 11:10 PM Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > > It sounds like we have different perspectives. However, get the
> > impression
> > > that people are getting tired of the this topic, so I'll move on.
> >
> > I don't think this will be solved, so "move on" seems like an obvious
> > choice.
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Wikitech-l mailing list
> > [hidden email]
> > https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
> _______________________________________________
> Wikitech-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
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