Topic templates

Continuing the discussion from Fairphone Bugtracker. Request for Comments:

Hey, we could have a template for new topics (Meta Discourse). There could be one for #fairphone2help or #software:bug-reports, for example.

What do you think about this? Which category needs a topic template? Which information should be asked for in such a template?


Fairphone help is a bit of mixed bag, I’m not sure whether there is a generally useful format that would apply there.

In any case, stuff that might be good to encourage people to include when something doesn’t work:

  • Fairphone OS version number from the updater app (or at least something specific - I’ve seen a lot of posts that do try to give the information, but report ‘Android 5.1’)
  • If unexpected behaviour:
    • Steps to reproduce
    • Observed behaviour
    • Expected behaviour
  • If concerning a specific app:
    • Which app specifically? (e.g. ‘my calendar app’ is ambiguous)
    • If the app was installed via a store:
      • Which store?
      • Which app version? (i.e. not the version of the store)

Though in some cases this may scare people off - which is not what we want to do…

For cases where someone doesn’t know how to do something:

  • What is the desired outcome / what do you want to achieve? Sometimes we develop tunnel vision and end up trying to fix what we think is a small bump in the road when the actual problem is that we’re on the wrong road.
  • What operating system is being used? (maybe version number isn’t too important - but FP Open or FP regular can be important)
  • Is the OS rooted (not always important, though)
  • Does the solution need to be compatible with certain other apps? (though this should ideally already be clear from the stated goal)
  • Any other restrictions? (e.g. FOSS only)

Overall, I would encourage a template for #software:bug-reports, but at best some tips for #fairphone2help (how to maximise the chances of getting an actually useful response) as it may otherwise put people off. For #software:bug-reports it would be a practise run for the bug tracker that is planned to be implemented, so we may also want to get some input from the devs.


For the record:

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There is just one thing that I’m missing in that list, which is a question you are taught to ask as a medical professional:

  • What have you tried so far? And be specific!

Sentences like “I tried everything I found on the forum” or “I searched the whole internet” are about as helpful as the sentence “I have exactly the same problem”, when posting in a collective-thread with various versions of similar issues.

This information can not only speed up things because you won’t suggest things the person already tried, but it’s also helpful to learn about the skill level of the user. If someone writes “I tried everything! Even a reboot didn’t help” I’ll definitely suggest different things than if they tried debugging and write down code and commands they tried.
Oh and also in some cases the actual current problem may be caused by a misguided attempt to solve an issue. E.g. “stuck on boot screen” is often in fact “entered fastboot mode when trying to enter recovery”.


Simple, but effective: Have users confirm that they have read your great #troubleshooting guide:

For example this way:

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