What to do, with Old NEW Bugs?


Well, I knew that sometime this would have to be tackled. After closing another batch of ~1100 old UNCO bugs the other night, I decided to turn to our other forgotten bug problem, the NEW bugs. First, a bit of backstory.

NEW has been almost like the second trial of a bug. If a bug makes it through the graveyard that is Firefox General UNCO, it either is Assigned to a developer, and is fixed relatively quickly, or, it gets thrown into the NEW pile. These are bugs that are a legitimate problem (or at least, were bugs when marked NEW). However, the developers either need more information about the bug, or are waiting for time to fix them. Unfortunately, because we have so much to do and so little time, many of these bugs end up being forgotten. Almost 2000 in fact. That is almost 2000 NEW bugs in Firefox (not including enhancement requests) that have not been changed in over 500 days. That’s well over a year.

Many of these bugs may still be valid issues. Some could be meta bugs tracking other issues that are being fixed. Some might be still issues. The question is, how many of those bugs are actually fixed in recent releases of Firefox, and could legitimately be closed?

Would it be worth the time putting a comment on all very old Firefox General bugs, asking for the reporter or reproducer to retest, and then update the bug if it is still an issue? Then, those bugs which do not receive a reply, in 3 months or so, I can go back, and mark them as CLOSEME for a date a month down the road. Then if they have still not been commented on, they can be closed as INCO.

This will give three reminders to the reporter to comment on the bug. The initial request for retesting, the second marking as CLOSEME, then the actual closing. We would filter out as many known legitimate bugs as possible (bugs blocking other bugs, bugs being blocked, meta bugs, bugs that are in components that peers ask not to be touched, etc).

It is just my feeling that this backlog of NEW bugs is hurting triage as much as the UNCO bugs were. It also hurts QA by giving them too much bug noise, and developers have a hard time determining if a new bug really is legitimate anymore.