inessential by Brent Simmons

Bug Guilt Trips

Dave Hyatt reports on the tactics people use when reporting Safari bugs, “in particular the tactic of saying something inflammatory in order to goad the receiver of the bug into fixing it.”

I thought it was funny. I get those too, and if you’re a software developer you probably do too.

For me, there are three main tactics that I see:

1. I’d buy it, if...— If NetNewsWire had just this one feature I’d buy it.

2. It would be more Mac-like if...— It’s the trump card of user interface discussion. (Its brother is “it would be more intuitive if...”) The problem is, when an app gets as much feedback as NetNewsWire, you get mutually exclusive feedback. Persons A, B, and C don’t agree on what the Mac-like solution is for a given user interface problem.

3. It should be easy for you to just...— Oh no you didn’t just say that! This comes from programmers as well as people who don’t program. They know it’s good psychology, because it goes right to my pride as a programmer. The thing is, you don’t know what’s easy to implement and what isn’t. Simple-sounding things are sometimes wickedly difficult. Hard-sounding things are sometimes a piece of cake.

And one bonus tactic...

4. You don’t want to try to be Dave Hyatt— Okay, I got this one only once, but I liked it so much I have to repeat it. It came up in a discussion of how NetNewsWire uses Web Kit. (Of course, the thing was that I wanted to use Web Kit—use the great stuff Dave Hyatt and the rest of the Web Kit team has provided. Not be Dave Hyatt. Quite the opposite.)

Anyway—I hope I haven’t scared off anyone from reporting bugs or making feature requests. I rely on your feedback!

In fact, nothing would make me happier than if you replied to this post with more bug reports and feature requests. Particularly interesting would be feature requests regarding the weblog editor, which I’m working on right now.