problematic use of "Declined" in Phabricator

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problematic use of "Declined" in Phabricator

Amir E. Aharoni
Hi,

I sometimes see WMF developers and product managers marking tasks as
"Declined" with comments such as these:
* "No resources for it in (team name)"
* "We won't have the resources to work on this anytime soon."
* "I do not plan to work on this any time soon."

Can we perhaps agree that the "Declined" status shouldn't be used like this?

"Declined" should be valid when:
* The component is no longer maintained (this is often done as
mass-declining).
* A product manager, a developer, or any other sensible stakeholder thinks
that doing the task as proposed is a bad idea. There are also variants of
this:
* The person who filed the tasks misunderstood what the software component
is supposed to do and had wrong expectations.
* The person who filed the tasks identified a real problem, but another
task proposes a better solution.

It's quite possible that some people will disagree with the decision to
mark a particular task as "Declined", but the reasons above are legitimate
explanations.

However, if the task suggests a valid idea, but the reason for declining is
that a team or a person doesn't plan to work on it because of lack of
resources or different near-term priorities, it's quite problematic to mark
it as Declined.

It's possible to reopen tasks, of course, but nevertheless "Declined" gives
a somewhat permanent feeling, and may cause good ideas to get lost.

So can we perhaps decide that such tasks should just remain Open? Maybe
with a Lowest priority, maybe in something like a "Freezer" or "Long term"
or "Volunteer needed" column on a project workboard, but nevertheless Open?

--
Amir Elisha Aharoni · אָמִיר אֱלִישָׁע אַהֲרוֹנִי
http://aharoni.wordpress.com
‪“We're living in pieces,
I want to live in peace.” – T. Moore‬
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Re: problematic use of "Declined" in Phabricator

Strainu
Pe marți, 2 octombrie 2018, Amir E. Aharoni <[hidden email]>
a scris:

> Hi,
>
> I sometimes see WMF developers and product managers marking tasks as
> "Declined" with comments such as these:
> * "No resources for it in (team name)"
> * "We won't have the resources to work on this anytime soon."
> * "I do not plan to work on this any time soon."
>
> Can we perhaps agree that the "Declined" status shouldn't be used like
> this?
>
> "Declined" should be valid when:
> * The component is no longer maintained (this is often done as
> mass-declining).
> * A product manager, a developer, or any other sensible stakeholder thinks
> that doing the task as proposed is a bad idea. There are also variants of
> this:
> * The person who filed the tasks misunderstood what the software component
> is supposed to do and had wrong expectations.
> * The person who filed the tasks identified a real problem, but another
> task proposes a better solution.
>
> It's quite possible that some people will disagree with the decision to
> mark a particular task as "Declined", but the reasons above are legitimate
> explanations.
>
> However, if the task suggests a valid idea, but the reason for declining is
> that a team or a person doesn't plan to work on it because of lack of
> resources or different near-term priorities, it's quite problematic to mark
> it as Declined.
>
> It's possible to reopen tasks, of course, but nevertheless "Declined" gives
> a somewhat permanent feeling, and may cause good ideas to get lost.
>
> So can we perhaps decide that such tasks should just remain Open? Maybe
> with a Lowest priority, maybe in something like a "Freezer" or "Long term"
> or "Volunteer needed" column on a project workboard, but nevertheless Open?


Yes, please!

I usually reopen such tasks, but it is a little weird.

Strainu

>
> --
> Amir Elisha Aharoni · אָמִיר אֱלִישָׁע אַהֲרוֹנִי
> http://aharoni.wordpress.com
> ‪“We're living in pieces,
> I want to live in peace.” – T. Moore‬
> _______________________________________________
> Wikitech-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
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Re: problematic use of "Declined" in Phabricator

Alex Monk
In reply to this post by Amir E. Aharoni
I agree, tasks should not be declined in such a way when tagged with
component(s).

On Tue, 2 Oct 2018 at 17:31, Amir E. Aharoni <[hidden email]>
wrote:

> Hi,
>
> I sometimes see WMF developers and product managers marking tasks as
> "Declined" with comments such as these:
> * "No resources for it in (team name)"
> * "We won't have the resources to work on this anytime soon."
> * "I do not plan to work on this any time soon."
>
> Can we perhaps agree that the "Declined" status shouldn't be used like
> this?
>
> "Declined" should be valid when:
> * The component is no longer maintained (this is often done as
> mass-declining).
> * A product manager, a developer, or any other sensible stakeholder thinks
> that doing the task as proposed is a bad idea. There are also variants of
> this:
> * The person who filed the tasks misunderstood what the software component
> is supposed to do and had wrong expectations.
> * The person who filed the tasks identified a real problem, but another
> task proposes a better solution.
>
> It's quite possible that some people will disagree with the decision to
> mark a particular task as "Declined", but the reasons above are legitimate
> explanations.
>
> However, if the task suggests a valid idea, but the reason for declining is
> that a team or a person doesn't plan to work on it because of lack of
> resources or different near-term priorities, it's quite problematic to mark
> it as Declined.
>
> It's possible to reopen tasks, of course, but nevertheless "Declined" gives
> a somewhat permanent feeling, and may cause good ideas to get lost.
>
> So can we perhaps decide that such tasks should just remain Open? Maybe
> with a Lowest priority, maybe in something like a "Freezer" or "Long term"
> or "Volunteer needed" column on a project workboard, but nevertheless Open?
>
> --
> Amir Elisha Aharoni · אָמִיר אֱלִישָׁע אַהֲרוֹנִי
> http://aharoni.wordpress.com
> ‪“We're living in pieces,
> I want to live in peace.” – T. Moore‬
> _______________________________________________
> Wikitech-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
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Re: problematic use of "Declined" in Phabricator

Florian Schmidt
In reply to this post by Amir E. Aharoni
Declined tasks also usually do not appear in any searches by volunteers looking for tasks, which would be sad as the original reason for declining may be "no resources", declining the task effectively makes it impossible for these resources to find it, usually.

-----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
Von: Wikitech-l <[hidden email]> Im Auftrag von Amir E. Aharoni
Gesendet: Dienstag, 2. Oktober 2018 18:31
An: Wikimedia developers <[hidden email]>
Betreff: [Wikitech-l] problematic use of "Declined" in Phabricator

Hi,

I sometimes see WMF developers and product managers marking tasks as "Declined" with comments such as these:
* "No resources for it in (team name)"
* "We won't have the resources to work on this anytime soon."
* "I do not plan to work on this any time soon."

Can we perhaps agree that the "Declined" status shouldn't be used like this?

"Declined" should be valid when:
* The component is no longer maintained (this is often done as mass-declining).
* A product manager, a developer, or any other sensible stakeholder thinks that doing the task as proposed is a bad idea. There are also variants of
this:
* The person who filed the tasks misunderstood what the software component is supposed to do and had wrong expectations.
* The person who filed the tasks identified a real problem, but another task proposes a better solution.

It's quite possible that some people will disagree with the decision to mark a particular task as "Declined", but the reasons above are legitimate explanations.

However, if the task suggests a valid idea, but the reason for declining is that a team or a person doesn't plan to work on it because of lack of resources or different near-term priorities, it's quite problematic to mark it as Declined.

It's possible to reopen tasks, of course, but nevertheless "Declined" gives a somewhat permanent feeling, and may cause good ideas to get lost.

So can we perhaps decide that such tasks should just remain Open? Maybe with a Lowest priority, maybe in something like a "Freezer" or "Long term"
or "Volunteer needed" column on a project workboard, but nevertheless Open?

--
Amir Elisha Aharoni · אָמִיר אֱלִישָׁע אַהֲרוֹנִי http://aharoni.wordpress.com ‪“We're living in pieces, I want to live in peace.” – T. Moore‬ _______________________________________________
Wikitech-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l


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Re: problematic use of "Declined" in Phabricator

Joe Matazzoni
In reply to this post by Amir E. Aharoni
I agree with Amir’s understanding. "Declined” is basically for ideas whose proper timing is never.  Valid ideas that we just aren’t going to work on any time soon should go in a backlog or freezer or some such, where they can await until some future project or other development makes them relevant (at least theoretically).

All of which does raise a slightly different question: I am much less clear on what the exact difference is between “Invalid” and “Declined.” Thoughts?

Best,
Joe
_____________________

Joe Matazzoni
Product Manager, Collaboration
Wikimedia Foundation, San Francisco
mobile 202.744.7910
[hidden email]

"Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge."




> On Oct 2, 2018, at 9:31 AM, Amir E. Aharoni <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Hi,
>
> I sometimes see WMF developers and product managers marking tasks as
> "Declined" with comments such as these:
> * "No resources for it in (team name)"
> * "We won't have the resources to work on this anytime soon."
> * "I do not plan to work on this any time soon."
>
> Can we perhaps agree that the "Declined" status shouldn't be used like this?
>
> "Declined" should be valid when:
> * The component is no longer maintained (this is often done as
> mass-declining).
> * A product manager, a developer, or any other sensible stakeholder thinks
> that doing the task as proposed is a bad idea. There are also variants of
> this:
> * The person who filed the tasks misunderstood what the software component
> is supposed to do and had wrong expectations.
> * The person who filed the tasks identified a real problem, but another
> task proposes a better solution.
>
> It's quite possible that some people will disagree with the decision to
> mark a particular task as "Declined", but the reasons above are legitimate
> explanations.
>
> However, if the task suggests a valid idea, but the reason for declining is
> that a team or a person doesn't plan to work on it because of lack of
> resources or different near-term priorities, it's quite problematic to mark
> it as Declined.
>
> It's possible to reopen tasks, of course, but nevertheless "Declined" gives
> a somewhat permanent feeling, and may cause good ideas to get lost.
>
> So can we perhaps decide that such tasks should just remain Open? Maybe
> with a Lowest priority, maybe in something like a "Freezer" or "Long term"
> or "Volunteer needed" column on a project workboard, but nevertheless Open?
>
> --
> Amir Elisha Aharoni · אָמִיר אֱלִישָׁע אַהֲרוֹנִי
> http://aharoni.wordpress.com
> ‪“We're living in pieces,
> I want to live in peace.” – T. Moore‬
> _______________________________________________
> Wikitech-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l

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Re: problematic use of "Declined" in Phabricator

Yuri Astrakhan
I agree, which raises a question why so many map related legitimate used
requests were closed recently as declined, and with a comment that there is
no resources to work on them

On Tue, Oct 2, 2018, 17:51 Joe Matazzoni <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I agree with Amir’s understanding. "Declined” is basically for ideas whose
> proper timing is never.  Valid ideas that we just aren’t going to work on
> any time soon should go in a backlog or freezer or some such, where they
> can await until some future project or other development makes them
> relevant (at least theoretically).
>
> All of which does raise a slightly different question: I am much less
> clear on what the exact difference is between “Invalid” and “Declined.”
> Thoughts?
>
> Best,
> Joe
> _____________________
>
> Joe Matazzoni
> Product Manager, Collaboration
> Wikimedia Foundation, San Francisco
> mobile 202.744.7910
> [hidden email]
>
> "Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the
> sum of all knowledge."
>
>
>
>
> > On Oct 2, 2018, at 9:31 AM, Amir E. Aharoni <
> [hidden email]> wrote:
> >
> > Hi,
> >
> > I sometimes see WMF developers and product managers marking tasks as
> > "Declined" with comments such as these:
> > * "No resources for it in (team name)"
> > * "We won't have the resources to work on this anytime soon."
> > * "I do not plan to work on this any time soon."
> >
> > Can we perhaps agree that the "Declined" status shouldn't be used like
> this?
> >
> > "Declined" should be valid when:
> > * The component is no longer maintained (this is often done as
> > mass-declining).
> > * A product manager, a developer, or any other sensible stakeholder
> thinks
> > that doing the task as proposed is a bad idea. There are also variants of
> > this:
> > * The person who filed the tasks misunderstood what the software
> component
> > is supposed to do and had wrong expectations.
> > * The person who filed the tasks identified a real problem, but another
> > task proposes a better solution.
> >
> > It's quite possible that some people will disagree with the decision to
> > mark a particular task as "Declined", but the reasons above are
> legitimate
> > explanations.
> >
> > However, if the task suggests a valid idea, but the reason for declining
> is
> > that a team or a person doesn't plan to work on it because of lack of
> > resources or different near-term priorities, it's quite problematic to
> mark
> > it as Declined.
> >
> > It's possible to reopen tasks, of course, but nevertheless "Declined"
> gives
> > a somewhat permanent feeling, and may cause good ideas to get lost.
> >
> > So can we perhaps decide that such tasks should just remain Open? Maybe
> > with a Lowest priority, maybe in something like a "Freezer" or "Long
> term"
> > or "Volunteer needed" column on a project workboard, but nevertheless
> Open?
> >
> > --
> > Amir Elisha Aharoni · אָמִיר אֱלִישָׁע אַהֲרוֹנִי
> > http://aharoni.wordpress.com
> > ‪“We're living in pieces,
> > I want to live in peace.” – T. Moore‬
> > _______________________________________________
> > 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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Re: problematic use of "Declined" in Phabricator

Adam Wight-2
In reply to this post by Joe Matazzoni
+1 that we shouldn't close valid bugs.

Assuming nobody brings up objections, here's a nice place to document new
consensus:
https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Bug_management/Bug_report_life_cycle

FWIW, that page is discoverable from:
https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Phabricator/Project_management#Closing_a_task

-Adam

On Tue, Oct 2, 2018 at 9:51 AM Joe Matazzoni <[hidden email]>
wrote:

> I agree with Amir’s understanding. "Declined” is basically for ideas whose
> proper timing is never.  Valid ideas that we just aren’t going to work on
> any time soon should go in a backlog or freezer or some such, where they
> can await until some future project or other development makes them
> relevant (at least theoretically).
>
> All of which does raise a slightly different question: I am much less
> clear on what the exact difference is between “Invalid” and “Declined.”
> Thoughts?
>
> Best,
> Joe
> _____________________
>
> Joe Matazzoni
> Product Manager, Collaboration
> Wikimedia Foundation, San Francisco
> mobile 202.744.7910 <(202)%20744-7910>
> [hidden email]
>
> "Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the
> sum of all knowledge."
>
>
>
>
> > On Oct 2, 2018, at 9:31 AM, Amir E. Aharoni <
> [hidden email]> wrote:
> >
> > Hi,
> >
> > I sometimes see WMF developers and product managers marking tasks as
> > "Declined" with comments such as these:
> > * "No resources for it in (team name)"
> > * "We won't have the resources to work on this anytime soon."
> > * "I do not plan to work on this any time soon."
> >
> > Can we perhaps agree that the "Declined" status shouldn't be used like
> this?
> >
> > "Declined" should be valid when:
> > * The component is no longer maintained (this is often done as
> > mass-declining).
> > * A product manager, a developer, or any other sensible stakeholder
> thinks
> > that doing the task as proposed is a bad idea. There are also variants of
> > this:
> > * The person who filed the tasks misunderstood what the software
> component
> > is supposed to do and had wrong expectations.
> > * The person who filed the tasks identified a real problem, but another
> > task proposes a better solution.
> >
> > It's quite possible that some people will disagree with the decision to
> > mark a particular task as "Declined", but the reasons above are
> legitimate
> > explanations.
> >
> > However, if the task suggests a valid idea, but the reason for declining
> is
> > that a team or a person doesn't plan to work on it because of lack of
> > resources or different near-term priorities, it's quite problematic to
> mark
> > it as Declined.
> >
> > It's possible to reopen tasks, of course, but nevertheless "Declined"
> gives
> > a somewhat permanent feeling, and may cause good ideas to get lost.
> >
> > So can we perhaps decide that such tasks should just remain Open? Maybe
> > with a Lowest priority, maybe in something like a "Freezer" or "Long
> term"
> > or "Volunteer needed" column on a project workboard, but nevertheless
> Open?
> >
> > --
> > Amir Elisha Aharoni · אָמִיר אֱלִישָׁע אַהֲרוֹנִי
> > http://aharoni.wordpress.com
> > ‪“We're living in pieces,
> > I want to live in peace.” – T. Moore‬
> > _______________________________________________
> > 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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Re: problematic use of "Declined" in Phabricator

Brion Vibber-4
In reply to this post by Amir E. Aharoni
*nods* I think the root problem is that the phabricator task system does
double duty as both an *issue reporting system* for users and a *task
tracker* for devs.

An issue reporting system should capture all actual problems and all actual
suggestions, and is meant to provide visibility for the devs into the world
of users. A task tracker should capture only things that are, or are
planned to be, worked on and is a work planning tool for the devs.
Secondarily if open, the task tracker provides visibility for the users
into the world of devs.

This mixup of concerns is endemic in open source software development,
unfortunately, and leads to exactly the sorts of conflicts you mention.

One way to handle this in a mixed single tracker environment is to use a
state marker such as a backlog column in a workboard -- don't decline, move
it to the "backlog" or "someday" column. Another is to use separate project
tags for general issues and specific work efforts. Put it in the general
project for issues, copy it to the work project if it's being tracked in
your work group.

-- brion







On Tue, Oct 2, 2018, 9:31 AM Amir E. Aharoni <[hidden email]>
wrote:

> Hi,
>
> I sometimes see WMF developers and product managers marking tasks as
> "Declined" with comments such as these:
> * "No resources for it in (team name)"
> * "We won't have the resources to work on this anytime soon."
> * "I do not plan to work on this any time soon."
>
> Can we perhaps agree that the "Declined" status shouldn't be used like
> this?
>
> "Declined" should be valid when:
> * The component is no longer maintained (this is often done as
> mass-declining).
> * A product manager, a developer, or any other sensible stakeholder thinks
> that doing the task as proposed is a bad idea. There are also variants of
> this:
> * The person who filed the tasks misunderstood what the software component
> is supposed to do and had wrong expectations.
> * The person who filed the tasks identified a real problem, but another
> task proposes a better solution.
>
> It's quite possible that some people will disagree with the decision to
> mark a particular task as "Declined", but the reasons above are legitimate
> explanations.
>
> However, if the task suggests a valid idea, but the reason for declining is
> that a team or a person doesn't plan to work on it because of lack of
> resources or different near-term priorities, it's quite problematic to mark
> it as Declined.
>
> It's possible to reopen tasks, of course, but nevertheless "Declined" gives
> a somewhat permanent feeling, and may cause good ideas to get lost.
>
> So can we perhaps decide that such tasks should just remain Open? Maybe
> with a Lowest priority, maybe in something like a "Freezer" or "Long term"
> or "Volunteer needed" column on a project workboard, but nevertheless Open?
>
> --
> Amir Elisha Aharoni · אָמִיר אֱלִישָׁע אַהֲרוֹנִי
> http://aharoni.wordpress.com
> ‪“We're living in pieces,
> I want to live in peace.” – T. Moore‬
> _______________________________________________
> Wikitech-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
_______________________________________________
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Re: problematic use of "Declined" in Phabricator

Pine W
In reply to this post by Joe Matazzoni
Joe,

"Invalid" means something like "this is not a legitimate report; the user had mis-configured their browser". "Declined" means something like "We understand the user's request but we won't change the default font size based on the reasoning provided here."

Pine
( https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Pine )
-------- Original message --------From: Joe Matazzoni <[hidden email]> Date: 10/2/18  9:51 AM  (GMT-08:00) To: Wikimedia developers <[hidden email]> Subject: Re: [Wikitech-l] problematic use of "Declined" in Phabricator
I agree with Amir’s understanding. "Declined” is basically for ideas whose proper timing is never.  Valid ideas that we just aren’t going to work on any time soon should go in a backlog or freezer or some such, where they can await until some future project or other development makes them relevant (at least theoretically).

All of which does raise a slightly different question: I am much less clear on what the exact difference is between “Invalid” and “Declined.” Thoughts?

Best,
Joe
_____________________

Joe Matazzoni
Product Manager, Collaboration
Wikimedia Foundation, San Francisco
mobile 202.744.7910
[hidden email]

"Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge."




> On Oct 2, 2018, at 9:31 AM, Amir E. Aharoni <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Hi,
>
> I sometimes see WMF developers and product managers marking tasks as
> "Declined" with comments such as these:
> * "No resources for it in (team name)"
> * "We won't have the resources to work on this anytime soon."
> * "I do not plan to work on this any time soon."
>
> Can we perhaps agree that the "Declined" status shouldn't be used like this?
>
> "Declined" should be valid when:
> * The component is no longer maintained (this is often done as
> mass-declining).
> * A product manager, a developer, or any other sensible stakeholder thinks
> that doing the task as proposed is a bad idea. There are also variants of
> this:
> * The person who filed the tasks misunderstood what the software component
> is supposed to do and had wrong expectations.
> * The person who filed the tasks identified a real problem, but another
> task proposes a better solution.
>
> It's quite possible that some people will disagree with the decision to
> mark a particular task as "Declined", but the reasons above are legitimate
> explanations.
>
> However, if the task suggests a valid idea, but the reason for declining is
> that a team or a person doesn't plan to work on it because of lack of
> resources or different near-term priorities, it's quite problematic to mark
> it as Declined.
>
> It's possible to reopen tasks, of course, but nevertheless "Declined" gives
> a somewhat permanent feeling, and may cause good ideas to get lost.
>
> So can we perhaps decide that such tasks should just remain Open? Maybe
> with a Lowest priority, maybe in something like a "Freezer" or "Long term"
> or "Volunteer needed" column on a project workboard, but nevertheless Open?
>
> --
> Amir Elisha Aharoni · אָמִיר אֱלִישָׁע אַהֲרוֹנִי
> http://aharoni.wordpress.com
> ‪“We're living in pieces,
> I want to live in peace.” – T. Moore‬
> _______________________________________________
> Wikitech-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l

_______________________________________________
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[hidden email]
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_______________________________________________
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Re: problematic use of "Declined" in Phabricator

Brian Wolff
In reply to this post by Joe Matazzoni
Declined = WONTFIX (e.g. if some talented developer wrote a patch, and the
patch was perfect, you would still -2 it because the functionality is not
wanted/stupid/etc)

Invalid = not a real bug. That should include things like spam, stuff where
the reporter is mistaken ( can't reproduce or if someone say reports a
sharepoint bug)

I think the defining difference is its possible to write a patch for a
declined bug, even though it would be rejected, where an invalid bug by
definition is unfixable.

Just my 2 cents, others may have different definitions.

--
Brian

p.s. ive never liked the "need volunteer" term for lowest priority - I have
always felt it had offensive implications as if volunteer time isnt as
important so they get the low priority bugs.

On Tuesday, October 2, 2018, Joe Matazzoni <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I agree with Amir’s understanding. "Declined” is basically for ideas
whose proper timing is never.  Valid ideas that we just aren’t going to
work on any time soon should go in a backlog or freezer or some such, where
they can await until some future project or other development makes them
relevant (at least theoretically).
>
> All of which does raise a slightly different question: I am much less
clear on what the exact difference is between “Invalid” and “Declined.”
Thoughts?

>
> Best,
> Joe
> _____________________
>
> Joe Matazzoni
> Product Manager, Collaboration
> Wikimedia Foundation, San Francisco
> mobile 202.744.7910
> [hidden email]
>
> "Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in
the sum of all knowledge."
>
>
>
>
>> On Oct 2, 2018, at 9:31 AM, Amir E. Aharoni <[hidden email]>
wrote:

>>
>> Hi,
>>
>> I sometimes see WMF developers and product managers marking tasks as
>> "Declined" with comments such as these:
>> * "No resources for it in (team name)"
>> * "We won't have the resources to work on this anytime soon."
>> * "I do not plan to work on this any time soon."
>>
>> Can we perhaps agree that the "Declined" status shouldn't be used like
this?
>>
>> "Declined" should be valid when:
>> * The component is no longer maintained (this is often done as
>> mass-declining).
>> * A product manager, a developer, or any other sensible stakeholder
thinks
>> that doing the task as proposed is a bad idea. There are also variants of
>> this:
>> * The person who filed the tasks misunderstood what the software
component
>> is supposed to do and had wrong expectations.
>> * The person who filed the tasks identified a real problem, but another
>> task proposes a better solution.
>>
>> It's quite possible that some people will disagree with the decision to
>> mark a particular task as "Declined", but the reasons above are
legitimate
>> explanations.
>>
>> However, if the task suggests a valid idea, but the reason for declining
is
>> that a team or a person doesn't plan to work on it because of lack of
>> resources or different near-term priorities, it's quite problematic to
mark
>> it as Declined.
>>
>> It's possible to reopen tasks, of course, but nevertheless "Declined"
gives
>> a somewhat permanent feeling, and may cause good ideas to get lost.
>>
>> So can we perhaps decide that such tasks should just remain Open? Maybe
>> with a Lowest priority, maybe in something like a "Freezer" or "Long
term"
>> or "Volunteer needed" column on a project workboard, but nevertheless
Open?

>>
>> --
>> Amir Elisha Aharoni · אָמִיר אֱלִישָׁע אַהֲרוֹנִי
>> http://aharoni.wordpress.com
>> ‪“We're living in pieces,
>> I want to live in peace.” – T. Moore‬
>> _______________________________________________
>> Wikitech-l mailing list
>> [hidden email]
>> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikitech-l mailing list
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Re: problematic use of "Declined" in Phabricator

John Erling Blad
In reply to this post by Brion Vibber-4
*very much agree with both Amir and Brion*

I've seen the same thing; something is reported as a more or less general
issue, it is then picked up as a task, it is further discussed in a
specific context, then closed because it does not fit the given context.
But the new context wasn't part of the reported issue, which is part of the
production system, it is part of some specific on-going development.
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Re: problematic use of "Declined" in Phabricator

Michael Holloway
In reply to this post by Brian Wolff
I think I can provide some context here, because this really seems to be
about something specific.  The Reading Infrastructure team recently
inherited maintenance responsibility for the Wikimedia maps stack,
resourced on a very limited basis.  Along with that, we inherited a backlog
of many hundreds of tasks, many of which have seen no activity for years.
For the past couple of months, a few of us have spent an hour each week
trying to work through the backlog trying to triage all of these.  In the
course of these grooming meetings, we have closed more than a few tasks
based on a combination of not having the resources to work on them, and it
not seeming likely that anyone else will, either; the theory here is that
it can better reflect reality to openly decline a task than to let it
languish in a backlog indefinitely.

If this contravenes the relevant norms, I apologize.  If you were upset by
the closing of what you believe to be a valid maps ticket, please feel free
to reopen.  Thanks.

On Tue, Oct 2, 2018 at 10:06 PM Brian Wolff <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Declined = WONTFIX (e.g. if some talented developer wrote a patch, and the
> patch was perfect, you would still -2 it because the functionality is not
> wanted/stupid/etc)
>
> Invalid = not a real bug. That should include things like spam, stuff where
> the reporter is mistaken ( can't reproduce or if someone say reports a
> sharepoint bug)
>
> I think the defining difference is its possible to write a patch for a
> declined bug, even though it would be rejected, where an invalid bug by
> definition is unfixable.
>
> Just my 2 cents, others may have different definitions.
>
> --
> Brian
>
> p.s. ive never liked the "need volunteer" term for lowest priority - I have
> always felt it had offensive implications as if volunteer time isnt as
> important so they get the low priority bugs.
>
> On Tuesday, October 2, 2018, Joe Matazzoni <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
> > I agree with Amir’s understanding. "Declined” is basically for ideas
> whose proper timing is never.  Valid ideas that we just aren’t going to
> work on any time soon should go in a backlog or freezer or some such, where
> they can await until some future project or other development makes them
> relevant (at least theoretically).
> >
> > All of which does raise a slightly different question: I am much less
> clear on what the exact difference is between “Invalid” and “Declined.”
> Thoughts?
> >
> > Best,
> > Joe
> > _____________________
> >
> > Joe Matazzoni
> > Product Manager, Collaboration
> > Wikimedia Foundation, San Francisco
> > mobile 202.744.7910
> > [hidden email]
> >
> > "Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in
> the sum of all knowledge."
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >> On Oct 2, 2018, at 9:31 AM, Amir E. Aharoni <
> [hidden email]>
> wrote:
> >>
> >> Hi,
> >>
> >> I sometimes see WMF developers and product managers marking tasks as
> >> "Declined" with comments such as these:
> >> * "No resources for it in (team name)"
> >> * "We won't have the resources to work on this anytime soon."
> >> * "I do not plan to work on this any time soon."
> >>
> >> Can we perhaps agree that the "Declined" status shouldn't be used like
> this?
> >>
> >> "Declined" should be valid when:
> >> * The component is no longer maintained (this is often done as
> >> mass-declining).
> >> * A product manager, a developer, or any other sensible stakeholder
> thinks
> >> that doing the task as proposed is a bad idea. There are also variants
> of
> >> this:
> >> * The person who filed the tasks misunderstood what the software
> component
> >> is supposed to do and had wrong expectations.
> >> * The person who filed the tasks identified a real problem, but another
> >> task proposes a better solution.
> >>
> >> It's quite possible that some people will disagree with the decision to
> >> mark a particular task as "Declined", but the reasons above are
> legitimate
> >> explanations.
> >>
> >> However, if the task suggests a valid idea, but the reason for declining
> is
> >> that a team or a person doesn't plan to work on it because of lack of
> >> resources or different near-term priorities, it's quite problematic to
> mark
> >> it as Declined.
> >>
> >> It's possible to reopen tasks, of course, but nevertheless "Declined"
> gives
> >> a somewhat permanent feeling, and may cause good ideas to get lost.
> >>
> >> So can we perhaps decide that such tasks should just remain Open? Maybe
> >> with a Lowest priority, maybe in something like a "Freezer" or "Long
> term"
> >> or "Volunteer needed" column on a project workboard, but nevertheless
> Open?
> >>
> >> --
> >> Amir Elisha Aharoni · אָמִיר אֱלִישָׁע אַהֲרוֹנִי
> >> http://aharoni.wordpress.com
> >> ‪“We're living in pieces,
> >> I want to live in peace.” – T. Moore‬
> >> _______________________________________________
> >> 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
> _______________________________________________
> Wikitech-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
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Re: problematic use of "Declined" in Phabricator

Stas Malyshev
In reply to this post by Brion Vibber-4
Hi!

On 10/2/18 9:57 AM, Brion Vibber wrote:
> *nods* I think the root problem is that the phabricator task system does
> double duty as both an *issue reporting system* for users and a *task
> tracker* for devs.

This is probably the real root cause. But I don't think we are going to
make the split anytime soon, even if we wanted to (which is not
certain), and this mode of operation is very common in many organizations.

Realizing this, I think we need some mode of explicitly saying "we do
not have any means to do it now or in near-term future, but we don't
reject it completely and if we ever have resources or ways to do this,
we might revisit this".

We kinda sorta have this with "Stalled" status and "Need volunteer" tag,
but we might want to get this status more prominent and distinguish
"TODO" items outside of any planning cycle and the ones that are part of
the ongoing development. And document it in the lifecycle document.

--
Stas Malyshev
[hidden email]

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Re: problematic use of "Declined" in Phabricator

Stas Malyshev
In reply to this post by Joe Matazzoni
Hi!

> All of which does raise a slightly different question: I am much less
> clear on what the exact difference is between “Invalid” and
> “Declined.” Thoughts?

I usually use Invalid where the description of the task does not really
describe the problem (or a problem) - e.g. it was a user error,
misconfiguration, misunderstanding about how it should have worked,
transient condition that has passed and we can not do anything about it,
something that is outside of realm of possibilities for us to do (e.g.
"fix copyright laws"), a task created by mistake, etc. For TODO tasks,
Invalid would be when the task is describing something that can not be
done at all (at least by us), or would not produce any desirable result.

Declined is when it describes a valid task in general, but we are not
going to do it because of reasons.
--
Stas Malyshev
[hidden email]

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Re: problematic use of "Declined" in Phabricator

James Hare-5
In reply to this post by Stas Malyshev
On Tue, Oct 2, 2018 at 11:32 AM Stas Malyshev <[hidden email]>
wrote:

> Realizing this, I think we need some mode of explicitly saying "we do
> not have any means to do it now or in near-term future, but we don't
> reject it completely and if we ever have resources or ways to do this,
> we might revisit this".
>
> We kinda sorta have this with "Stalled" status and "Need volunteer" tag,
> but we might want to get this status more prominent and distinguish
> "TODO" items outside of any planning cycle and the ones that are part of
> the ongoing development. And document it in the lifecycle document.
>

I have found that setting the priority to "lowest" is the closest thing we
have to "this is a valid task but we are not going to invest paid time into
it."

----
James Hare
Associate Product Manager
Wikimedia Foundation
https://wikimediafoundation.org
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Re: problematic use of "Declined" in Phabricator

Pine W
I agree with this approach, and also with moving tasks to a "freezer". 

I support depreciating the use of "needs volunteer (developer)".

Pine
( https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Pine )
-------- Original message --------From: James Hare <[hidden email]> Date: 10/2/18  11:41 AM  (GMT-08:00) To: Wikimedia developers <[hidden email]> Subject: Re: [Wikitech-l] problematic use of "Declined" in Phabricator
On Tue, Oct 2, 2018 at 11:32 AM Stas Malyshev <[hidden email]>
wrote:

> Realizing this, I think we need some mode of explicitly saying "we do
> not have any means to do it now or in near-term future, but we don't
> reject it completely and if we ever have resources or ways to do this,
> we might revisit this".
>
> We kinda sorta have this with "Stalled" status and "Need volunteer" tag,
> but we might want to get this status more prominent and distinguish
> "TODO" items outside of any planning cycle and the ones that are part of
> the ongoing development. And document it in the lifecycle document.
>

I have found that setting the priority to "lowest" is the closest thing we
have to "this is a valid task but we are not going to invest paid time into
it."

----
James Hare
Associate Product Manager
Wikimedia Foundation
https://wikimediafoundation.org
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Re: problematic use of "Declined" in Phabricator

Jon Robson
We could also create a global tag called freezer / room101 (😉) to help
developers to do this filtering. It would also allow us to get a high level
overview of under resourced projects which i suspect would be helpful with
planning and finding stewards for certain projects.

Without such a tag projects are forced to create their own
tags/milestones/columns to manage these tasks (my team has done just this)

On Tue, Oct 2, 2018, 12:05 PM Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I agree with this approach, and also with moving tasks to a "freezer".
>
> I support depreciating the use of "needs volunteer (developer)".
>
> Pine
> ( https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Pine )
> -------- Original message --------From: James Hare <[hidden email]>
> Date: 10/2/18  11:41 AM  (GMT-08:00) To: Wikimedia developers <
> [hidden email]> Subject: Re: [Wikitech-l] problematic use
> of "Declined" in Phabricator
> On Tue, Oct 2, 2018 at 11:32 AM Stas Malyshev <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
>
> > Realizing this, I think we need some mode of explicitly saying "we do
> > not have any means to do it now or in near-term future, but we don't
> > reject it completely and if we ever have resources or ways to do this,
> > we might revisit this".
> >
> > We kinda sorta have this with "Stalled" status and "Need volunteer" tag,
> > but we might want to get this status more prominent and distinguish
> > "TODO" items outside of any planning cycle and the ones that are part of
> > the ongoing development. And document it in the lifecycle document.
> >
>
> I have found that setting the priority to "lowest" is the closest thing we
> have to "this is a valid task but we are not going to invest paid time into
> it."
>
> ----
> James Hare
> Associate Product Manager
> Wikimedia Foundation
> https://wikimediafoundation.org
> _______________________________________________
> 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

--
Jon Robson
twitter: @jdlrobson
linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jorobson/
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Re: problematic use of "Declined" in Phabricator

Yuri Astrakhan
In reply to this post by Stas Malyshev
I think we are misusing the term "priority" here.  Priority for whom?
Setting something to "lowest" priority implies that users do not care about
the item. Unbreak now implies users need it fixed right away. "we have no
resources" does not mean its not needed, it just means WMF does not view it
as a priority, which might align, but frequently misalign with the user's
needs.

I suggest we use dashboard columns for the planning activities, while
keeping the tasks themselves fully under "requester's" control. E.g. let
the community decide what is more important, but use dashboards for team
work planning.  This way, if a volunteer developer wants to contribute,
they would look for the highest-demanded bugs that don't have active status
in any teams.

On Tue, Oct 2, 2018 at 7:32 PM Stas Malyshev <[hidden email]>
wrote:

> Hi!
>
> On 10/2/18 9:57 AM, Brion Vibber wrote:
> > *nods* I think the root problem is that the phabricator task system does
> > double duty as both an *issue reporting system* for users and a *task
> > tracker* for devs.
>
> This is probably the real root cause. But I don't think we are going to
> make the split anytime soon, even if we wanted to (which is not
> certain), and this mode of operation is very common in many organizations.
>
> Realizing this, I think we need some mode of explicitly saying "we do
> not have any means to do it now or in near-term future, but we don't
> reject it completely and if we ever have resources or ways to do this,
> we might revisit this".
>
> We kinda sorta have this with "Stalled" status and "Need volunteer" tag,
> but we might want to get this status more prominent and distinguish
> "TODO" items outside of any planning cycle and the ones that are part of
> the ongoing development. And document it in the lifecycle document.
>
> --
> Stas Malyshev
> [hidden email]
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikitech-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
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Re: problematic use of "Declined" in Phabricator

Andre Klapper-2
In reply to this post by Brian Wolff
On Tue, 2018-10-02 at 17:05 +0000, Brian Wolff wrote:

> Declined = WONTFIX (e.g. if some talented developer wrote a patch, and the
> patch was perfect, you would still -2 it because the functionality is not
> wanted/stupid/etc)
>
> Invalid = not a real bug. That should include things like spam, stuff where
> the reporter is mistaken ( can't reproduce or if someone say reports a
> sharepoint bug)
>
> I think the defining difference is its possible to write a patch for a
> declined bug, even though it would be rejected, where an invalid bug by
> definition is unfixable.
>
> Just my 2 cents, others may have different definitions.

https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Bug_management/Bug_report_life_cycle

andre
--
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https://blogs.gnome.org/aklapper/



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Re: problematic use of "Declined" in Phabricator

Andre Klapper-2
In reply to this post by Michael Holloway
On Tue, 2018-10-02 at 22:24 +0500, Michael Holloway wrote:

> I think I can provide some context here, because this really seems to be
> about something specific.  The Reading Infrastructure team recently
> inherited maintenance responsibility for the Wikimedia maps stack,
> resourced on a very limited basis.  Along with that, we inherited a backlog
> of many hundreds of tasks, many of which have seen no activity for years.
> For the past couple of months, a few of us have spent an hour each week
> trying to work through the backlog trying to triage all of these.  In the
> course of these grooming meetings, we have closed more than a few tasks
> based on a combination of not having the resources to work on them, and it
> not seeming likely that anyone else will, either; the theory here is that
> it can better reflect reality to openly decline a task than to let it
> languish in a backlog indefinitely.
>
> If this contravenes the relevant norms, I apologize.  If you were upset by
> the closing of what you believe to be a valid maps ticket, please feel free
> to reopen.  Thanks.

Has it been considered to keep tasks open and set the Priority field to
'Lowest'? Plus potentially add the #Needs-volunteer project tag (though
nobody knows what that tag is supposed to exactly imply, I'm afraid)?
*If* separate project tags for "the software code base" vs "our team's
workboard" exist, it could also be an option to remove the "team
project tag" with a comment that the team does not have resources to
work on this. The latter completely depends on team workflows as some
teams have Herald filter rules to automatically add their "team project
tag" to tasks associated with a "software code base" tag they maintain.

In general, it is possible to exclude tasks with a certain priority or
certain tag from search results and from being displayed on workboards.


And on a high meta-level, hoping to offer some perspective:

Many people who use task tracking systems in collaborative free and
open source projects are not used to a single authority. This is
directly related to not necessarily realizing that product management
requires saying No/Wontfix/Declined to many bugs and ideas.
In theory, when the code base is public and welcomes contributions, a
random stranger could drive by and provide a patch for a low[est]
priority ticket that has been open for years. It's unlikely but not
impossible. That's why some people might expect tickets to remain open
if those tickets are not "completely out of scope" for the project.

andre
--
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https://blogs.gnome.org/aklapper/



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