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Left field, far out suggestion

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After spending a bit of time catching up on the forum and repeating themes over the years... I wonder if something like this could help us all.

How about a built in bug reporting system.  Key features:

One that effectively crowd sources issues.  

One that users can view the list of bugs and collectively set the priority of need (not to confuse this with priority of ease, sometimes easy fixes should come first).  One where when a problem is difficult to describe, a record function can be invoked to map the users actions with the tracebacks and logs.   Think of something like how the macro recording is performed, but used instead for bug reporting.  

Up to and including optional screenshots/screencaps.  

System configuration is automatically captured

This would be *opt in, but a bare minimum of tracking of conditions and parameters that are always on (the aforementioned option*).  As some of the more spontaneous issues, I can't recall the exact steps I was performing to even test if it is a repeatable issue.

Issues databased, sorted and categorized, possibly with user input.

More?

What I am envisioning is something built into the core of fZ.  I can certainly reason why ADS would NOT want to implement such a scheme.  As they may not want to  expose the quantitative value or qualitative value of their bugs.  Or be a constant reminder to users of issues.    Me personally, I think this would have more advantages than disadvantages especially in the long run... but it would probably take time to get there.

Essentially, what I am thinking of is how SpaceX deals with things.   They monitor everything they can think of as a massive data collection effort for the sole purpose of improvement.

How many of us have pet bugs that we now ignore, or work around or, or or and simply do not report it.  We got stuff to do, so breaking out and dedicated email is just too much work.  This system could collect the frequency of specific bug events to aid ADS in priority.     e.g.   if a minor bug is experienced by 3 users infrequently, it can probably be pushed down the list.   However, if a minor bug has a high frequency amongst users and a high frequency to specific users, this would push the issue up the list.

This If active, this would be a post hoc system.   What I am trying to say here is, the user is working then notices the bug...  at that moment, the user can flag it as a bug in they system (fZ)  and the processes and actions that it took to get there is then and only then reported.  Optionally allowing the user to include their model (being sensitive to IP and etc...)   This could be set up as a data worm (as new info comes in, the oldest is discarded)  Length would have to be determined, naturally.

I always prefer an opt in model and something like this, in my opinion should follow accordingly.

What do you think?  Am I being stupid?  Would this be too hard to implement?  Would people bother?  Beta Testers only?  Is this a pill ADS should be willing to swallow (yea, probably a pretty big pill.)   Pros/Cons?

Any thoughts to my ¼ baked idea? 

 

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Feature suggestions/requests can be included in this system too, where (in both cases) the bug/suggestion recording could be annotated by the user to clarify the issues andFS/R.

 

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I don’t think this is stupid at all.  Makes me think of the Mac OS feature where it asks to send a report to Apple when something crashes, except in what you describe the user is more active in noticing the bug (which doesn’t cause the application to crash and thereby prompt the automatic report) then reporting it.

Opting in to this feature is the only way I would suggest it be implemented, that would respect a user’s decision to not be involved.  I would participate in something like this with any application I use a lot as long as it wasn’t preventing me from getting my work done.

What is the preferred method for reporting bugs to ADS now?

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Skybound13,

Yes, something like that.  But additionally, where tracking of long term issues can be somewhat managed by users as well.  Where we get to score the severity and impact to all users.  By intent, this would be a critical and arguable the most important.  I also (not mentioned above, but possibly implied) is a portion of the report need to be human readable so that the user can annotate specifics of what their intent was in trying an action or set of actions.   I would assume that lower level information would be part of it as well.    What I do not like about Apples implementation is it is hard to tell from a users point of view what it is reporting.  The relevant parts, and the memory of the user.  Usually when I am working I am in more of a flow state not really thinking about each action... just doing.  Then they depend on my perfectly lousy memory to write a single blurb to explain everything.

ADS has implemented a bug tracking system, but it is 100% email based.  You get an incident number etcetera.  You will get an update should your report get merged with another issue ADS deems to be the same thing or related enough.  But, I haven't really seen it used as a report back as to when the bug is ostensibly squashed.  So that users can go and test it directly and immediately. (I left this part out of my idea.)

As mentioned above, ultimately it is about data collection and crowdsourcing both the collection and what needs to be actionable first (from a reasonable executable point of view (ADSs))

While their bug tracking system is good for keeping a record of issues, it does lose the even crude user amplification of the issue that the forum has  (+1 or likes) to notify that other users are experiencing the issues.   Other users are also blind to emails where they could verify an issue and or clarify on an issue.

Don't get me wrong, I think this would be a bold move.  I am unaware of any other company taking bug reporting to this level outside of in-house development.  (I most certainly am wrong, I am just not aware of anything quite like this.)   If on the other hand, it were to be implemented, ADS could even license the tech to others.  Though, a patent on it may be shot, now that I suggested it in a public forum (law ins't my thing)

Regardless, Long term, I do think this could be a profound strategy for improvement.

Thank you for your input!

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Thanks for the info on the ADS bug reporting process.

Regarding how a report would be made so that other users can test it, I just checked the Blender forum and see they have a section dedicated to reporting bugs, I guess that is open to all forum users.  Ilexsoft uses their “bugbase” but access is reserved for beta testers, at least it was when I was beta testing HighDesign 2014/2015.  But these are the traditional (manual) bug reporting systems, not what you are proposing.

You propose an interesting feature where other users could kind of “vote” to “upgrade” a bug so it becomes a higher priority and gets fixed sooner so the largest number of users are helped.

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I think it's a great idea.  Sometimes bugs just get lost in the thick of things especially when trying to address larger changes.  Rhino/McNeel does do something this.  When a bug or a suggestion is reported on the forum the devs often chime in and post a link that details that specific bug/suggestion including priority, status, and target implementation.  

Example: https://discourse.mcneel.com/t/make-blocks-unique/27841/18

https://mcneel.myjetbrains.com/youtrack/issue/RH-59420

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Skybound,

Yes, automating it, as much is reasonable is a big part of it.  It would need to be built into formZ (I think) instead of sending an email or forum.  I think a fully automated version where it just collects nerd level data would only yield a part of the story.  This idea would also allow the more subjective side of the user to the story.  It would be far more likely to catch bugs by accumulation rather than depending on users getting so frustrated that they are forced to send an email or go to the forums.  If you run across a bug, press the report button/tool, a short log of say the last 10 or 20 operations (options used also captured) is created in human readable format that can be annotated by the user (sometimes intent of the user can yield info that the tech data just can't)   as well as the tech data... Memory allocation, data in registers... blah, blah, blah.

In the forum, people do "vote" on reports, the problem here is ADSs current system doesn't properly log the bugs in the first place.  They would have to be manually entered into their tracking system and each vote over time would also have to manually be entered...  Not very practical nor effective.  Add to that, the forum appears to be less monitored/moderated these days.   Vs email, other users are completely unaware of a report and can't add input that they too experienced the issue let alone vote on it.

Snow,  "lost in the thick of things".  Exactly! or get under reported all together.  How many times have you seen a quirk but were just too busy at the moment, so you worked around it?  Or, you have reported it, but hit it over and over and over again?  This could capture the frequency, not of just one user but many (probably not all, as I would expect not every body to participate or participate fully).   But this would at least build a more complete picture.  Jetbrains (great company by the way, they make great IDE environments) tracking appears to have features, but is still external to the application.  Severity of the bug is probably by more objective measures, like does it crash the app etc...  Which absolutely needs to be there.  But as mentioned above, the subjective user experience should also be captured and be accumulated, quantized and be qualitated (sic, this should be a word) as well.

The intent would be to more holistically (I hate that word by the way) deal with bugs and suggestions.

Again, to reiterate, this is only a partially baked idea. Nascent really.  It would have to be implemented at a pretty low level of the app (to capture things like window moves and resizing, house keeping operations, not only modeling operations)  So, would be a pretty big undertaking.  And lastly, probably the most difficult would be, it would truly expose bugs (quantity, severity etc..) to users as well as ADS.  In the short term, this could and probably would be viewed as a burden.  If on the other hand, ADS would be willing to shoulder that burden in the beginning. The long term benefit, I believe, would be profound.   (BTW, I wouldn't have the programming skills to pull this off)

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I also think it's a great idea, and I hope it comes to fruition. Already, I offer myself to participate, and you can also count on me to test it during the development period if you need it. I don't have any programming experience, but I am methodical.

I hope ADS will be interested and you receive their support. I suppose you will need it.

Thanks for the propositive initiative and ideas!

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ZTEK,

Thanks!   But to be clear, this would be well outside my abilities.  I don't think an addon would work, at least not how I am currently picturing it.

If ADS were to be interested, I would gladly participate in conceptual development.  But I doubt I could do any more than that other than test during and after the fact.

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I have requested a public Open Support tracking system in the past.  I am spoiled by how Rhino handles this, and I think FormZ would ultimately improve dramatically if this were available.  However I think in the short term until ADS has more developers available to work on such as system, we will need to use the forum as our crowd source.

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Justin,

Fair insight.   As much as I want full integration of Python scripting.  I think I could wait for it to have something like this.

 

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My first response to this suggestion is that it’s a great idea, it’s nice to be informed.  It can also generate excitement and anticipation for whatever is coming up.  My only reservation would be if they can’t report progress as quickly as some people may want or expect (which may or may not be reasonable expectations.)  Then people might start asking for more detailed explanations and then ADS is distracted from actually working on improvements to the software.

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In software development, there are going to be a number of factors to which bugs are going to be squashed first.  Severity (read crash App, etc...), How many people bring it up (which is an indicator of how many people are going to be affected, ease to fix, and probably more.

I think that all they would really have to do is "cross off" fixed bugs.  But, public tracking would allow us to say, hey me too, on issues we may skip.   It could also allow us to test issues we haven't run across to see if we can find any common ground.   WIP notifications would be nice, but I wouldn't expect it.  As, if the bug is a particularly difficult one, it may take time far beyond the notice.

I assume they have internal tools to help hunt mentioned issues.  But some issues are elusive.  If we could track them along with ADS, I think it would be easier to narrow the field.

 

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The problem here, is that we don't have any clue of what is going on, I have severel problem with FMZ,  like extend tool or snapping and we don't know if they are working on it or not.

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Yes, it would be nice,  but we don’t know now either. 
 

the main point of it would be for ADS to get a sense of what would be a precedence for us users collectively. 
 

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Yes of course we could post a thread that brings up every request for importance or a poll of what people really want.

Since you start this thread no post from ADS have shown interest so I wondering if they are really interested to let us known what's in the hoven.

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True, but I am hoping for more of a ongoing accumulative function.  Just another post is going to get lost eventually.  Even if the post doesn't get lost,  the collective stream of consciousness will be not a lot less disorderly than what we already have.   Individual polls can aggregate, but how do you aggregate amongst the polls?

As much as I would love for ADS to comment.  I won't be holding my breath. This topic gets into the internal functionality of the company.  Of which, they seldom reply.

 

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