Second Life JIRA Change Coming?

In early September 2012 a JIRA update was rolled out. It wasn’t just a software update. How the Lindens used the JIRA was changing and most of that change was in how Second Life™ users used the JIRA. Basically user freedom in the JIRA was severely curtailed. Most SL users can only read JIRA items in the BUG project that they create. Now that may change.

Innula Zenovka got a comment from Ebbe Altberg about the JIRA. It is being widely quoted in numerous blogs.

Funny, both engineering and product heads here also didn’t like that jira was closed and want to open it up again. Proposal for how is in the works! I hope we can figure out how to do that in a way that works/scales soon.

This comment suggests that Mr. Altberg is open to the idea of opening the JIRA up. Ciaran has an article that covers problems and benefits of having an open JIRA. See: Ebbe Holds The Jira Door Ajar. I think I will be a bit more succinct then he was.

A good example of the JIRA problem for Lindens can be seen in JIRA item STORM-1716, the Mesh Deformer item. Most people have access to the STORM project and can read and comment within it.

Imagine you are a programmer that has to fix a problem and you get a ‘fix this’ thread like that. It could take all day to analyze the thread and you still might miss things. Just try reading it and making a list of what is wanted. Then figure out what you would program in and why. I think you will find it an annoying task at best. Imagine you had a bit of a personal stake in it and people were calling you names. I imagine working with the JIRA would soon become your lest favorite task.

The thread is full of comments from those that had no clue what they were talking about. When Karl Stiefvater, former Linden and the Deformer programmer, engaged in sarcastic ridicule many thought he was being serious.

Add to that the email generated by JIRA postings. Each post and change to a post in the JIRA generates an email. The Lindens have to deal with those too. Is the comment important, containing information needed to fix a problem? Or is it someone flaming the Lindens because they have no idea what civil behavior is? You have to look to see.

The flaming and off topic discussion in the JIRA was wasting programmer time. In terms of dollars I am certain it was expensive. Also, programmers were talking about their frustration with the JIRA. It isn’t like they were all uniformly against the change. The Result was the JIRA Change, as I label it. Not popular, but better than the previous mess.

I always wondered why they did not make the items read only to all but the one filing the JIRA item. I suspected it would require reprogramming the JIRA software at a really deep level. That would not be something the Lab would want to take on, so it never happened. The people at  Atlassian, authors of the JIRA software, probably do not have many clients using the JIRA software as the Lab and SL users use it. So, the read all and write only to your posts feature is unlikely to ever be added. But, I could be wrong.

Whatever the case, the SL community lost a valuable tool. It would be nice to get it back. But, I do not think the tool is worth the cost of lost programmer production. Far too few SL Users can use the JIRA or even know about it. Consider the pace of development post JIRA Change and pre-JIRA Change. I prefer the pace we have now.

I do NOT contribute all of the difference in development speed to the JIRA Change. But, it does have a well fitting correlation.

Many of us would still like having a more open JIRA.

7 thoughts on “Second Life JIRA Change Coming?

  1. Making a JIRA issue read only to all but the reporter and developers would require a simple permissions change. The JIRA software is actually extremely flexible in how you can configure user permissions at an issue and project level.

    • Really? I tend to doubt the system uses or has any automated per-post permissions system. If you are operating an Atlassian JIRA I’ll believe you and ask if you have ever setup that type of permissions? Otherwise, because of how I know you, I’ll shift my thinking but, I don’t recall ever seeing any product with such a system I’ll keep a smidgen of doubt. That permissions can be set on any single post manually does seem to be common. So, I find such an inclusion in Atlassian exceptional.

      However, that would make it much easier to open up the JIRA to what I think would be a more useful tool for SL users.

      • I did not phrase that as well as I should have. What I meant was that you can configure issues project wide to be readable by everyone, but editing and commenting could easily be restricted to just the users relevant to the issue. Here’s a screenshot of a project permission scheme configuration page.

        • Those are pretty much as I expected. The permission for commenting appears to be an all or nothing choice per project. Which is what I was expecting. The edit one’s own comments is another that is as I expected. But, the part missing is the comment on one’s own issues, it just isn’t there. That is the problem. I see no easy fix.

  2. Using a recent example (I finally reported this week) I can illustrate the problem from a different perspective.

    The actual problem ( \Vehicles spinning out of control occasionally after region crossing\) is intermittent, was introduced about 6 months ago (We estimate). And is most definitely not a viewer extrapolating the vehicle movement (It’s an incredible violent spin), and resetting the vehicle parameters clears the problem.

    We’ve been having this Sim crossing problem in the sailing community (And aviation community I have been told) for about 6 months+, Now no one (Well none of the Content Creators have any way) has reported this as a bug (until now) Because of the intermittent nature of the problem, it’s taken us that long, using a process of trial and error to get as far as we have (Diagnosing where the problem lies). Now, we didn’t submit the problem earlier because of a fear it would just get marked as \Unable to re-produce\ so we wanted to gather a bit more information before submitting it which we are trying to do as a community and channel it through me (As I reported it) to assist locating the issue.

    Under the old system, I could have sent a circular to various creators notifying them of the issue and it would have spread, gathered much more information much quicker, the way it is currently prevents this. Also, there are residents who used to watch the Jira (I used to some times) and pick up faults and help test, which would be incredibly useful.

    I’d be interested to see what proposal they come up with. Maybe make them all read only to all residents, Have a group of \Trusted\ residents who can comment on bugs freely, and the general public who can comment on all bugs but the comment as to be approved by a Linden / Trusted resident / the original bug reporter…

    • I agree with you on the nature of the problem and how the current JIRA setting aggravates the problem. I think this is a serious problem that leaves problems unnecessarily hanging for months.

      I disagree that it keeps you from circulating information and gathering more information. That could still have been done. You would have needed to send a copy of the filed JIRA to the content makers. They would have had to file their ‘separate’ JIRA’s and refer to your JIRA. A lot of information would have been obfuscated from the user side. And it would be a lot of additional frustrating work for users.

      We need some change to mitigate the problem you point out and to mitigate the poor behavior of a minority of users that make a mess of things. I think read only permissions is as good as we are going to get and I am worried about that.

      • It’s not that it kept us from Circulation the problem (Far from it) but it has meant there’s been no communication outside of our Fighting sail community to bring a bigger pool of people in to help diagnose the problem.

        Now, it’s taking a significant portion of my time in world to try to manage this and help pin down the problem. We still don’t really know if it’s some sort of Script level bug, or a region crossing bug if we’re honest.

        (p.s. if anyone DOES want to help, drop me a notecard in world as my IM’s are getting capped pretty frequently at the moment)

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