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Most followed issues on Drupal.org - February 2012

The Drupal project uses the project module to track bugs and features on drupal.org. For a long time if you wanted to pay attention to an issue you had to comment on it resulting in the infamous "subscribe" comment. In late 2011 a feature was created to allow people to subscribe to an issue without commenting on it. The world rejoiced (see this article for history and details).

This gives us an interesting bit of metadata that is not exposed in the user interface anywhere: issues with a lot of "follows" are likely to be important to the Drupal project. I got curious and did a little query magic and found the following issues have the most followers.

The top 10 most followed issues:

Count of followers Issue
297 Field tokens
216 State of the multigroup module
194 db_rewrite_sql causing issues with DISTINCT
179 HTTP error 0
166 Port twitter to Drupal 7
154 Combo field - group different fields into one
147 'HTTP error 0 occurred' on image upload
141 PHP 5.3 issue - Attempt to modify property of non-object (Date module)
139 Port Open Atrium to Drupal 7
137 [meta] Unofficial Drupal 8 Framework initiative

But if we look at those many of them have many subscriptions because they have many comments. The first one, for example, has 520 comments and when the follow system was rolled out the previous commenters had their follow flag set to on.

So, I re-ran the query to remove any flags from people who had commented on the issue.

The top 10 issues based on followers who didn't comment:

Count of followers Issue
75 Port Open Atrium to Drupal 7
70 [meta] Proposal for features needed for a full 2.0 release of the Media module
64 File-based configuration API
54 [meta] Theme/render system problems
51 Start a Code Cleanup Initative
49 Remove chx from MAINTAINERS.txt
46 [meta] Unofficial Drupal 8 Framework initiative
46 Add unified context system to core
44 Update to use Google maps API V3
43 Add views support for providing a list of entities or bundles (views filtering, relationships, etc)

One interesting thing here is that this list makes the value of the follow button completely obvious. One example has just 22 emotion filled comments and 49 "follows." That would have been a 2-to-1 noise-to-signal ratio without the follow button. What a great improvement!

Looking at that list there are some which are old and have a lot of follows simply because they are old. So, I added a filter for flags created in the last 30 days.

The top 10 issues based on followers in the last 30 days who didn't comment:

Count of followers Issue
32 Duplicate entry of themes primary key in systems table of Drupal 6.24 (using Drush or Ægir)
30 Port Open Atrium to Drupal 7
27 [meta] Theme/render system problems
25 File-based configuration API
24 Drupal core upgrade from 7.10 to 7.12 causes menu block to fail
20 Update to 7.x-1.4 adds duplicate language prefixes, causing a redirection loop
18 Follow menu_link_get_preferred active trail handling for custom menus
18 _field_info_collate_fields() memory usage
15 Fix jQuery 1.7 for Drupal 7
15 add a generic entity processor

A lot of the issues are the same across all three tables. For example, people really want Open Atrium on Drupal 7 and that makes some sense (I wonder how many are paid Open Atrium support customers, helping directly to move the project forward).

These issues really are some of the most important and interesting issues in Drupal right now. They represent a mix of different root-causes and priorities, but 'solving' these will be key to the project.

If you'd like to see these numbers in a dynamic table I've added the queries I used to this issue: provide lists of most followed issues.


Posted on by rooby (not verified).

I'm actually surprised there aren't some larger numbers.

There are still a lot of users doing the +1/sub thing too unfortunately.

It will be good when more users catch onto the button and use it more often the stats become even more useful.

Posted on by anon (not verified).

This is where the new "follow" feature is bittersweet. It's great that there isn't a bunch of unnecessary noise in the threads. However we have no idea how many people are following an issue and any given time. This results in maintainers considering an issue unimportant as there aren't others experiencing it. We need to see the umbers of followers on each issue all the time!!!!

Posted on by Rick Manelius.

I agree. A listing of the number of people already following would be helpful to know if it's worth chiming in.

What about filtering the issue queue by the number of followers so that maintainers also could tell (at a glance) what was the popular?

And finally, where does one even find the issues they are following? In my user dashboard, they only appear if I've posted a comment. I know you can get email notifications, but it would be awesome if the user profile dashboard had a block that would provide just a list of followed issues.

I think the follow button was a great first step, but now it's time to leverage it further! And hopefully, it's not a monumental task to do so...

Posted on by Gábor Hojtsy.

I agree, I just got the information here that the 6.22 to 6.24 bug with drush has this many followers and that is exactly the kind of info needed to figure out if we should hurry with the release to fix that.

I also tried to show my support at http://drupal.org/node/1304550# which is about exposing the follow numbers on issues, help there would be appreciated.

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