Moderating input to the bug tracker

Debbugs email input is first passed through SpamAssassin. Anything with a spam score more than 10 is discarded. Anything with a score between 5 and 10 is stored (for a time), but not delivered. Anything with a score less than 5 is delivered to a standard Mailman mailing list ("debbugs-submit"), for moderation by a human. All input ends up in a single moderation queue - there is no way to split the input up by package. This means moderators should be prepared to moderate reports for a variety of projects. The moderation burden is modest at present, though. We use the listhelper system, but more moderators are always welcome.

Any refused Mailman messages are stored. If you think you discarded something that you should not have, contact help-debbugs so that we can restore it. (This only applies to the web interface.)

Suggestions for moderators:

  1. If you like, you can ignore all the moderation messages except for the "N Debbugs-submit moderator request(s) waiting" ones that come in once a day. This is because listhelper deals with a lot of the others automatically.
  2. Obvious spam? Discard it. Do not use reject (which sends a rejection notice back to the sender). In most cases the apparent sender address is faked, and is either bogus or belongs to an innocent third party. In the rare case where it isn't faked it just confirms to the spammer that have found a valid email address to spam. If the sender address is obviously not one that will ever send a real bug report (eg "newsletter at"), add the sender address to "discard future postings".
  3. Obviously a valid bug report for a project using the tracker? Accept it. Add the sender address to "accept future postings". As more projects start using the system, it may be hard for moderators to remember all of them. Approving anything that is a valid bug report is probably fine.
  4. A message is not obviously spam, but you are not sure if it is on-topic (eg it might be a bug report for a package not using this tracker). You can either leave it for another moderator to deal with, or reject it with an explanation ("I think you might have the wrong address..."), or accept it (it can easily be deleted from the database if it is found to be inappropriate). Do not add the sender address to any accept/discard list.
  5. Accepted spam by mistake? No problem. Remove the sender address from "accept future postings", if you added it there. Obvious spam bug reports are deleted from the database, but contact help-debbugs if you think it might get overlooked. We can't do anything about the copy that went out to the maintainer email address, though.
  6. Discarded a good message by mistake? No problem. Contact help-debbugs and we can easily restore the original message. (This only applies to the web interface. Please tell me if you know how to modify Mailman so that the same applies to the email interface.)
  7. Noticed a pattern to some spam and have a SpamAssassin rule to filter it out? Send your suggestion to help-debbugs.
  8. Sometimes people report a bug, then while it is waiting for moderation, send a followup with more information. If you approve both messages at the same time, two separate reports will be created. This is not a big deal, but if you can the ideal solution is to approve the first message, then wait at least 5 minutes before approving the second. This gives the system time to register the first message, so that the second should be recognized as a reply, rather than a separate report.

Last modified: <Monday 03 November 2014, 13:47:58 EST>

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Copyright (C) 1999 Darren O. Benham, 1997 nCipher Corporation Ltd, 1994-97 Ian Jackson.