Help your Drupal projects: do not 'subscribe'

I am not the first to point this out: but subscribing to Drupal issues is one of the worst things you can do. I understand that there is no way to follow an issue in an easy way, on Drupals issuetrackers. But that should never be an excuse to frustrate the developers. You gobble up valuable development time, from the issues__If you “subscribe”, or “+1” everyone gets update for that issues in their inbox: you are effectively abusing a developers valuable time. I, as maintainer need to open up my issue-queues every so often, only to find them cluttered with non-information. Having to wade trough all the rubbishc is the most discouraging thing about maintainance. If I knew that I have a spare hour or two, and know that I can spend that fixing issues or adding/improving features, then it will be done. Very often. If I know that 90 minutes of these two hours will be spent in 300, or so emails, containing nonsense, I have only half an hour left doing fun work; doing valuable work.__You break the value of the updated issue__If I see 8 updates, and know for sure that all 7 are valuable, I will spend 15 minutes in the queues. I know that every unread mail I pick up, has the next actions to perform on them, right at the top. If I see 246 updates, and guess that over 200 are in lines of “yes I want this too”, or “+1 subscribing”, I will postpone going trough the issues untill I feel like getting my hands dirty again: very rarely. I am sure that, in my case, I would be able to solve issues a lot more often, if I knew that all updated issues in the queue were actually waiting for my attention. Now merely a few percent of them need attention. You probably know how hard it is to finally get yourself to go through that huge pile of unsorted paper you have stacked away in some box. A lot harder then picking up these three envolopes from which you know that all three of them have a quick action attached to them.__But how to get updates, if “subscribing” is considered rude?__I really don’t knwo. But you should know, that a ‘+1 subscribing’ is very selfish, even rude: it serves only you. Again: there is no good way to get followups, right now. But that should never be an excuse to be selfish. Maybe make bookmarks that you go trough every week? Or look for a firefox module, such as Update Checker. You could try to find some scraper-to-RSS thing, or whatever suits you. But please, try to solve it at your end, not at the end of the maintainer.__Still there are a few good things you can do:* Reroll the patch. If there is a patch, and it is getting behind, reroll it, so that it applies cleanly again to the version where the patch is for.* Test a patch and post your findings back. That way you add value, and subscribe yourself. Obviously you do a lot more harm then “+1 subscribing” if you fake this test: you must really test well, merely testing, or saying you did so, in order to get updates is a lot worse :)* If there is no patch yet, but you have no time, or lack the skills to create one, you can offer your thoughts and ideas on the matter. Do some investigation, read up on issues that lead to the current situation, and so forth. And post that information. This is very valuable for a future patch-maker. E.g. you might get wrong tags in a tag-cloud. instead of “subscribing”, you could read up on various threads, get some help in the forums, and find out that is due to permissions (and a not-implemented db_rewrite_sql) that this issue gets there. Posting that information is very helpful. * Creating a patch if there is none is one of the most valuable things you can do. Off course. Even if you are not a PHP-guru, future reviewers and/or a maintainer will help you with things you forgot, code that can be optimised and so on. If anyone is aware of a project/patch that allows subscriptions in Drupals issuetracking, please post a comment?

About the author: Bèr Kessels is an experienced webdeveloper with a great passion for technology and Open Source. A golden combination to implement that technology in a good and efficient way. Follow @berkes on Mastodon. Or read more about Bèr.