New reports should be handled as they come in:
- if bug is invalid just close with short explanation
if bug is valid reassign to correct package asking the submitter to follow-up using reportbug <correct-package> in order to collect addtional information.
Triagers should reply to the original report, so that all others can see that the bug has been dealt with. One can use the new Control: syntax instead of separate messages to the control server.
Going through the backlog
The first - and hardest - task is to go through the backlog. We basically want to clear that list. Most of those bugs are very old, and have might have been answered over the years.
Several classes of bugs probably require different handling:
Package not in Debian anymore
These should probably just be closed with a short message to -done and the version that was last in Debian
Generic template for the message to be sent to NNNNNN-done
Version: <last version number present in Debian> Some (long) time ago you filed this bug against the <package> package. In the meantime the package has been removed, which is why this bug is being closed. Please note that further information sent to this bug is likely to remain unread, because the bug is currently not assigned to any existing package. Thank you for taking time to report bugs found in Debian packages. Kind regards, ...
Package renamed or forked
- contact Maintainer with a list and proposed action (close or reassign, depending on age) and message template
- (if applicable) check for useful patches and reassign to the new package
- proceed as agreed with Maintainer (or just close/reassign if no feedback)
Generic template for the message to be sent to NNNNNN-done:
Version: <last version number with that name> Hello, Some (long) time ago you filed this bug against <package> or a related package. In the meantime the <package> package has been renamed to <new-pkg> and this bug was "lost". Since the bug is already quite old now it is being closed. If the issue you encountered is still present in recent <new-pkg> packages (as released with Debian 7.0 wheezy for example) the maintainers would very much appreciate a fresh report using: reportbug <new-package-name> You should also mention the number of this bug if you think it contains valuable information. Please note that further information sent to this bug is likely to remain unread, because the bug is currently not assigned to any existing package. Thank you for for trying to improve Debian by reporting bugs. Kind regards, ... (with no relation to <package> maintenance)
cupsys (renamed to cups): done AndreiPopescu
tomcat5.5: done AndreiPopescu
cdrecord -> wodim
mkisofs -> genisoimage
cdda2wav -> (removed?)
Wrong package name
Sometimes bugs are just reported against packages that don't exist.
Old bugs should probably be closed with a short explanation and pointer to Debian support channels.
Package not in Debian yet
There are also a few cases where the bug really cannot be closed, because - for example - it is a translation for a package that is not yet in Debian, but an ITP exists for it. These should probably be ignored, they will point to the correct package as soon as it is uploaded to Debian (and most would be closed by the upload anyway).