How not to respond to bug reporters

This is a quote from an E-mail an Opera employee sent in response to a bug report back in year 2000. Whoever wrote it has probably long forgotten about it, and I won't "out" him here either – just publishing it for fun:

Regrettably, making computer software intelligent enough to always realize the appropriate course of action on discovering an error condition, and to display "corrective messages" as you suggest is a tall order which no software vendor has yet been able to accomplish. (There are numerous cases where large software vendors have attempted this and have in the process caused more problems than they have solved, making software too clever for its own good.) This is actually a blessing in disguise since it means that the risk of computers replacing us humans (miracles of error correction and self-healing) is slim!

Note to self: "Be happy that we're crap, it's a blessing in disguise!" may not be the right response to customers when you cause them problems. :no: :zip:

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6 thoughts on “How not to respond to bug reporters

  1. The way I see it, the customer made an inappropriate (huge) request and got told off. Citing computers replacing humans as a reason this is a good thing just means he's got style 😉

  2. Making the software perfect is different than suggesting solution when error occurs.Solution to errors can be provided to users only when it requires manual intervention (e.g. loading of files which caused the process to fail), or if the bug is known but there is no possible solution which can be programmed.Ideally if the suggested solution is known which does not require manual intervention, the bug should be fixed.Thanks God that the computers are not so intelligent to self heal, else it would self evolve and rule the humans, like in the movie IRobot.

  3. In the larger context, this E-mail response illustrates what a major shift in mindset HTML5 and the error parsing algorithm is. From saying "well, we can't possibly get computers to handle all those error conditions in meaningful ways" to saying "OK, both humans and other computers make mistakes, and software should just deal with it". And – well – that doesn't make the computer intelligent enough to be self-healing. At least not yet 😉

  4. At least he did respond. I've demonstrated in the past how to reliably crash Opera and was only met with resounding silence from you guys.

  5. Originally posted by XenoFur:

    I've demonstrated in the past how to reliably crash Opera and was only met with resounding silence from you guys.

    Ops, sorry about that. Crasher has been fixed anyway, I hope?And to be honest, there are so many bug reports that there's no way we can respond to them all. The chance of response should be slightly higher than winning the lottery 🙂 but still pretty low. The bug tracker simply isn't customer support – with more than 100 million users there's just no way to do customer support properly 😦 except pouring efforts into QA, testing, fixing and site patching and hope we get through the most important customer problems in a timely manner. I wish we could do proper, personal support, but realistically we can't.

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