Listing tickets in order of watcher numbers

lighthouseapp_com (at netaxiom)'s Avatar

lighthouseapp_com (at netaxiom)

30 Nov, 2010 11:27 PM


I am looking for a solution that will allow us to easily evaluate how important/severe each of our software bugs is by using the number of people interested in them as the primary measure.

Would you tell me whether this is possible with Lighthouse? Your search syntax help page seems to state that it is not. I find this difficult to believe, considering work prioritisation is one of the main difficulties with running a software business.

Would someone please clarify this for me?

Thank you

  1. 1 Posted by Will Duncan on 01 Dec, 2010 12:47 AM

    Will Duncan's Avatar

    That's not possible. Lighthouse was technically designed to be a workflow without priorities. You can enable a priority feature, a 1, 2, 3 type dropdown, but that only applies to bronze or higher plans. Weighting by people watching a ticket isn't possible though as it's designed to be a development environment.

    We use the number of people watching a discussion as weight in and then elevate development issues to Lighthouse tickets.

  2. 2 Posted by lighthouseapp_c... on 01 Dec, 2010 01:48 AM

    lighthouseapp_com (at netaxiom)'s Avatar

    Thanks for responding, Will

    Our situation is that we would have 500-1000 tickets open at one time, and our customers naturally attach differing levels of importance to each of these issues. Hence, priorities are inherent in the workflow process, so I don't really understand the "workflow without priorities" philosophy. Would you explain it, please?

    Considering the long-term investment in choosing a system like yours (ie the labour involved in entering and managing the tickets, and the fact that it's not easy to migrate away once committed), I am finding it difficult to envisage it's usefulness without powerful reporting tools.

    I hope you can clarify this, because the main strengths of your system are not clear from your website.

    By the way, we are prepared to subscribe to any plan that would give us this feature, or an alternative that provides a solution to our problem.

    Thank you in advance

  3. 3 Posted by lighthouseapp_c... on 01 Dec, 2010 06:13 PM

    lighthouseapp_com (at netaxiom)'s Avatar


    Is there anything more to add on this subject, or should I consider it closed?

  4. 4 Posted by lighthouseapp_c... on 01 Dec, 2010 06:19 PM

    lighthouseapp_com (at netaxiom)'s Avatar

    By the way, in response to your statement, "We use the number of people watching a discussion as weight in and then elevate development issues to Lighthouse tickets", I can see how that facility in useful to an extent, but people can dip in and out of discussions. Conversely, with bugs, particularly those that are hampering a projects' development, there is much greater motivation for users to receive updates about them than a discussion. Thus, it follows that ticket watches are a much more accurate gauge of the severity of an issue.

  5. 5 Posted by Will Duncan on 03 Dec, 2010 12:39 AM

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    When we created Lighthouse, the core idea was to create a ticket tracker that focused more on work vs filing tickets. Most other ticket trackers you spent more time editing a ticket with the 18 fields they have than actually focusing on what the ticket is about. is a great blog post about how we feel about priorities. The idea is that a ticket is either important or it isn't. Levels of priorities are fairly irrelevant. You either do it now, or you do it later.

    What you're asking for is more of a ranking system than a priority system, basing tickets on their popularity. We don't have a feature like that in Lighthouse, but it's also not designed to be a public workflow. There are open projects, mostly open source communities using Lighthouse, and they have to be highly curated.

    I disagree about Tender. You can simply watch an issue in Tender, also you can attach multiple Tender discussions to one Lighthouse ticket, which allows you to respond to duplicate requests easily as it's all tracked in the development ticket.

    We used to use Lighthouse for public support / development. Having thousands of tickets and traffic going on within your workflow doesn't particularly work very well. Over time organization falls apart. You see duplicates, inconsistencies in organization, and topics within a ticket shift dramatically, altering what the original purpose was. A ticket tracker is a poor replacement for widespread support and high volumes of data that often overlap each other. If you have a very awesome userbase that you could trust as curators of a project it would work fine, but that's rarely the case.

  6. 6 Posted by lighthouseapp_c... on 04 Dec, 2010 10:05 PM

    lighthouseapp_com (at netaxiom)'s Avatar

    Hello, Will. Thank you for your response.

    To me, Merlin Mann's article is a very long-winded justification of a single, simple complaint about the improper use of language. To reiterate the same idea, as he has done, using numerous different analogies does not make the point of view any more convincing.

    Yes, I agree, to a point, that when people usually speak of "the priority" or "the highest priority", it is a little nonsensical. However, these are simply figures of speech. Natural language is littered with similar examples. Consequently, the article has left me with the impression that Mann is one of those people who is very difficult to have a discussion with, because when they run out of rational, relevant points, they inevitably look for ways to undermine the argument by taking exception to the semantics of what the other person has said. In a court of law, this may be reasonable and necessary; in any other conversation, it is tiring.

    Let me provide my own analogies; a person starting up a new company approaches their bank in the hope of obtaining the required capital. They are asked by their manager how they will make the business a success. Obviously, and in line with Mann's view, a reply such as, "The priority is to make a profit", will not be effective. However, the very least the manager will expect is a plan of action or, as it's more commonly known, "a Business Plan". Without this, the proposal will fail.

    Similarly, in housing development, a builder must schedule for the foundations and walls to be constructed before the roofers are employed. Guessing the plan of action, or using a random approach to choosing the next task, will also lead to failure.

    Incidentally, I am always suspicious of bloggers who do not provide the opportunity for their audience to respond. I feel the article would be even less convincing if there were some contrasting opinions on the page.

    In response to your statement, "There are open projects, mostly open source communities using Lighthouse, and they have to be highly curated.". Yes, I do indeed understand that tickets must be managed and that this can be time-consuming for project managers. However, this issue is trivial, when you take into account (and appreciate) the rest of the benefits gained from a community's contribution.

    So, let me correct myself; rather than "priority", I should have said, "informed plan of action". In preference to putting a finger in the air (excuse the figure of speech!), or guessing, or using some listless approach to selecting which tickets to resolve, we'd like to see which issues are most important to our users, and act accordingly.

    From what you have said, your company made a conscious decision to keep Lighthouse simple, and this is indeed one of the reasons for my interest in it. However, in order for it to be effective, we need the suitable tools in place.

    To summarise, I am certainly not suggesting that you abandon the KISS ethos on which you have founded your system. My request is for a small feature enhancement of the already-existing "watched" query parameter that, if marketed properly, could actually provide an additional selling point for the product. If you are uncomfortable with the possibility of the feature being misused, then I would understand if it was restricted to project administrators. Lastly, for those of your users that don't see the benefit of the functionality, obviously, they need not even use it.

    Thank you for considering this, and for the discussion.

  7. 7 Posted by lighthouseapp_c... on 05 Dec, 2010 12:40 AM

    lighthouseapp_com (at netaxiom)'s Avatar


    I have just realised I need to make a slight correction to the above post. To implement the proposed feature it would require an extra sort column, rather than a change to the "watched" search parameter. Again, I would imagine that this would only need to be added to the project managers' interface, and not the interface used by the public..


  8. 8 Posted by lighthouseapp_c... on 11 Dec, 2010 02:43 PM

    lighthouseapp_com (at netaxiom)'s Avatar

    Will, I am hoping for a response to this.

  9. 9 Posted by lighthouseapp_c... on 19 Dec, 2010 11:03 PM

    lighthouseapp_com (at netaxiom)'s Avatar

    It seems to me that you have disregarded this suggestion out-of-hand, even though it does not conflict with the aims of your product and despite the fact that it brings a really useful benefit.

    I can only conclude that, in your minds, lighthouseapp is complete; it is the perfect system and thus there's no need for any changes or improvements in the future.

    That may be fine for now, but it won't be long before it seems staid, and you will no doubt be scrambling to maintain your position in a competitive market.

  10. 10 Posted by Nicole on 20 Dec, 2010 02:18 PM

    Nicole's Avatar

    We are currently making updates and changes to Lighthouse, but expanding on the watcher functionality in the way you've suggested is not something we're likely to pursue at this time.

    We do appreciate customer suggestions, as well as your thoroughness in explaining how this feature is important to you.


  11. Nicole closed this discussion on 20 Dec, 2010 02:18 PM.

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