Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board

E-mail From: addresses

Here as a scenario that occurred today; I am finding stuff like this increasingly common:

1. A programmer resolved an item, which assigned it back to the originator.

2. The originator reviewed the fix and had some questions; she added a comment, reactivated the item, and assigned it  back to the programmer.

3. I got an email from the programmer asking for additional information about the question.

What's wrong with this? I have nothing to do with the bug, the fix, or the inquiry.  I can't answer the question.  The notification email that the programmer got appeared to come from me because I am the FogBUGZ admin; he quite naturally responded by hitting Reply, so the reply came to me.  I had to email him and say, I dunno, ask the originator.

I've had three similar emails this week alone.

I haven't completely thought this through but perhaps when a user changes the status, and the change results in a notification, the notification message should come from the changer's address rather than the admin's?


Chris Dunford
Friday, January 25, 2002

Quick Fix: you should set the email address to something that bounces.

Pros of changing the sender: It makes logical sense.

Cons of changing the email: If you change the email address to the bug resolver, then you risk having everyone take the bug discussion offline (well not offline, but into email when it should be in the bugz database).

Michael H. Pryor
Friday, January 25, 2002

<Quick Fix: you should set the email address to something that bounces.>

Interesting idea, but I'm not sure this works consistently.  I changed the email address in Site Admin to "", opened a list of my own bugz, and sent myelf annoying email.  It still appeared to come from me.  It may work for the automatic notifications (I dunno), but it doesn't for these--it still came from the sys admin.

Chris Dunford
Friday, January 25, 2002

Well, I sent the mail to myself, not to my elf.  He's still on January vacation, and deservedly so.

Chris Dunford
Friday, January 25, 2002

"Annoying email" comes from the person who sent it, since it's supposed to be a global reminder, not a bug assignment.

Other notification email comes from whoever you set it to be from in the site settings, which should be either an address that bounces, or, if you're really clever, an address with an autoresponder that says, "you probably meant to go into FogBUGZ and do this. I'm just the FogBUGZ notification bot."

The one thing we DON'T want to implement is the oft-requested feature "make the notification email come from the person doing the assigning." This is a sure-fire way to get bug conversations veering out of FogBUGZ into email land and then you lose the paper trail and half the benefit of a bug tracking system.

Joel Spolsky
Friday, January 25, 2002

Which reminds me, now I kind of regret that we include the last bug event (description) in the notification email. The original design was that notification emails only included a link, which removed any temptation to hit REPLY while still in email.  I really want to go back to the old way but suspect The People will lynch me.

Joel Spolsky
Friday, January 25, 2002

OK, we set up an email account with an autoresponse that basically says, "uh, I'm just a bot, please use FogBUGZ if you want to talk to whoever changed the item."

It seems to work fine, and I hereby officially withdraw my suggestion.

Thanks for the idea.

Chris Dunford
Friday, February 1, 2002

It would be keen to have FogBUGZ read e-mails that were replied to and put the text in the appropraite bug.

Subject: FogBUGZ Notification #12:Foo

when replied to, FogBUGZ could read the mail, extract the bug number, and add the text of the reply.

It would be kind of a pain to implement, but kind of a cool feature.

Bob Hansen
Friday, February 8, 2002

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home