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Re: Bugs and Responsibilities

For the record, this is the message I sent to Trish Mudgett of Adobe on
9/11/98 regarding her announcement of the shut-down of comments@adobe.com.
You will note that the 4th paragraph below begins with the sentence she took
out of context in her reply to me, in which she stated: "Exactly! Discussion
Closed," and ignored the rest of my discussion.
Your explanation of why comments@adobe.com was shut down ignores an
important category of information received from users that is vitally needed
by Adobe, namely, bug reports. The only type of bug mentioned in your post
on the subject is crash bugs. That doesn't even begin to cover the territory.

Adobe has an urgent need to learn about bugs from users, and has an
obligation to respond appropriately to valid reports, regardless of whether
the sender has a support subscription. Users have an urgent need to know
whether the problem they're experiencing is caused by a known bug, and
whether there is a workaround if it is a bug.

My experience is that its almost always necessary to describe a bug's
symptoms in writing, and, if the report has validity, to correspond back and
forth about it via email.

Probably 80% of bug reports aren't really bugs; instead, the reporter is
doing something wrong, or is describing a feature that's not in the product.
But if user's without support descriptions can't contact Adobe to report a
bug, they will assume it is a bug, and defame the product by telling
everyone about it. 

How do you expect to discover and fix bugs without a free flow of
information from the users?

All of the known bugs (and recommended workarounds, if any) should appear in
a list on an Adobe website. No such complete list is currently available on
Adobe's website, or, if it is, no-one knows about it. Such a buglist should
allow users to download it, thus taking a large load off tech support. If a
user is experiencing a problem he/she thinks is a bug, and doesn't find a
description of it in the buglist, there should be an e-mail address
(bugs@adobe.com?) where the bug report can be sent. You could set up an
initial autoresponse to such emails, declaring that, if no further reply is
received within a week, the report is invalid, and no further correspondence
from Adobe will ensue. Again, this would take the load off tech support,
allowing them to focus on valid trouble reports.

Dan Emory
Dan Emory & Associates
FrameMaker/FrameMaker+SGML Document Design
and Database Publishing Specialists

Voice/Fax: 949-722-8971
E-Mail: danemory@primenet.com
10044 Adams Ave. #208
Huntington Beach, CA 92646

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