In the latest release of the Launchpad bug tracker, we have introduced a new feature: official bug tags. Tags blessed by the project team as official display using a darker colour on the bug page, and are placed prominently at the top of the tags list on project pages. Users can still add tags that are not endorsed by the project as official, but they are encouraged to use official tags where possible.
Tags are a great way to group bugs together, and their free-form nature allows all users participating in bug tracking to invent new and interesting ways to categorize bugs. Many projects, after working with bugs for a while, discover that some tags fit their process. That using a certain tag is particularly helpful, or even required, to facilitate a regular routine. With official tags, the project team can indicate to the community what tags are encouraged, and use that to steer users away from duplication and ad-hoc invention and towards standardization.
To decide which tags are official for your project, go to the project’s bugs page and click the link at the bottom of the tags list. The management screen has two columns. On the left, highlighted in yellow, is the list of official tags. The list on the right is of all tags currently in use. To make some tags official, select them in the right-hand column and click the left arrow button. The tags now appearing in the list on the left hand are official ones. You can also add a new tag to the list of official tags. When you’re done, click the Save button to record your changes. As an alternative, you can set the official tags for your project using the web service API.
We hope that official tags will help projects become better at tracking bugs consistently. We sure waited for this as Launchpad users, because until now we used to enforce the use of official tags, documented on the wiki, manually. Future work will expand and improve on this. Maris has written an amazing auto-complete widget, which will be used for tagging bugs starting in the next version and suggest to users what tags they can use as they type. We are also looking to let anyone who is a bug contact edit the official tags list, and in the longer term, also provide a way for project groups to share official tags and for allowing teams to document their chosen tags. Let us know how official tags are working for your project.