coming attraction: comment tagging

i’ve been working on a bugzilla enhancement which allows you to tag individual comments with arbitrary strings.

it’s tracked in bug 793963, currently waiting for review, and will be back-ported to bugzilla.mozilla.org.

comment tagging features:

automatic collapsing of comments

the bugzilla administrator can configure a list of comment tags which will result in those comments being collapsed by default when a bug is loaded.

this allows obsolete or irrelevant comments to be hidden from the information stream.

comment grouping/threading

bugzilla will show a list of all comment tags in use on the bug, and clicking on a tag will expand those comments while collapsing all others.

this allows for simple threading of comments without diverging significantly from the current bugzilla user interface, api, and schema. you’ll be able to tag all comments relating to the same topic, and remove comments no longer relevant to that thread by removing the tag.

highlighting importing comments

on bugs with a lot of information, it can be time consuming for people not directly involved in the bug to find the relevant comments.  applying comment tags to the right comments assists this, and may negate the need for information to be gathered outside of bugzilla.

for example:

    • tagging a comment with “STR” (steps to reproduce) will help the qa team quickly find the information they need to verify the fix
    • writing a comment summarising a new feature and tagging it with “docs” will help the generation of documentation for mdn or similar

implementation notes

  • the “add tag” input field has an auto-complete drop-down, drawing from existing tags weighted by usage count
  • by default editbugs membership is required to add tags to comments
  • comment tags are not displayed unless you are logged in to bugzilla
  • tags are added and removed via xhr, changes are immediately visible to the changer without refreshing the page
  • tagging comments will not trigger bugmail, nor alter a bug’s last-modified date
  • tags added by other users (or on other tabs) will generally not be visible without a page refresh

7 thoughts on “coming attraction: comment tagging

  1. Very nice! I read about the idea to create separate comment “panes” (not sure it was here), but the tagging idea is even better.

    I also liked the idea to make the description (well, comment #0) editable. That’s something I miss in Bugzilla (coming from JIRA).

  2. This would be amazingly useful! One question: will anybody be able to remove tags that other people have added? I foresee this resulting “tag wars” where two users tag/untag a comment as spam, for example. (I don’t have a solution for this, though).

    • yes, anyone will be able to remove other people’s tags.

      changes to tags show up on the bug’s activity page, so that sort of abuse will be auditable, and may result in accounts being disabled.

    • not easily, no 😦 it’s always easier to add a new feature than replace an existing one.

      it’s more closely aligned with the bug keywords feature than the whiteboard, so if anything was to be (optionally) replaced with a free-form tagging system, it would be that rather than the whiteboard.

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