2

I usually close feature requests pointing to this item in the Off-topic list:

Bug reports and problems specific to development version of Ubuntu should be reported on Launchpad so that developers can see, track and fix these issues.

I would like to include feature requests in there, as Launchpad is too the best place to report them:

Bug reports, feature requests and problems specific to development version of Ubuntu should be reported on Launchpad so that developers can see, track and fix these issues.

3

From what I have seen in the last few years questions asking for a "feature request" that would require a developer to implement do occur but they are not really many. Those clearly are off topic as they are much better be brought to the dev directly. It is not us who can do anything to help here.

But ever so often people ask for a feature that may already be there but they are not aware of it because it was

  • hidden somewhere in an application's settings universe
  • available through a plugin that was not yet installed by default
  • may only need a simple script to work

In these cases I believe Ask Ubuntu is a good place to ask.

By excluding all feature requests too prominently there may be a risk for a misunderstanding what exactly was meant by a "feature request". People may not dare to ask, or overzealous reviewers may cast their close votes prematurely. It would be a pity for enlightening questions and answers where we all learn a lot about hidden features and usage gems of our applications.

Let us allow people to ask whether a feature exists but let us not allow them to ask us for implementing it.

  • Asking if a feature exists is not the same as a feature request. – Luís de Sousa May 7 '16 at 15:25
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    @LuísdeSousa: we know it is not but I am unsure if all users are aware of that difference, hence the risk for a misunderstanding of that close reason. – Takkat May 7 '16 at 15:31
  • It is up to the reviewer to assess that difference and guide the inquirer accordingly. A clear "feature request" item is only helpful at that. – Luís de Sousa May 9 '16 at 9:22
2

Firstly, feature requests are definitely off-topic. No disagreement.
(With leeway for people who want to know how to make something better — development is on-topic)

But a message that sends everybody to Launchpad isn't appropriate for most projects.
That's like telling somebody to run ubuntu-bug firefox to submit a feature request. You'd do better to tell them to visit the Firefox support forums (which seems to work as a SE clone).

But that's just Firefox. Every project handles this in a different place and in a different way so there's nothing we can do in-close-message that applies to every feature request.


So as a slight counter, can I suggest we do this in a new close message (I think we have a spare and can beg for more) and in that message, explain why it's off-topic here (we aren't the developers of your widget) and push them to a resource that tells them how they find out where to suggest features for that project.

Because everything is different, that means pushing them to a question on the site (or help wiki) that outlines the process of working who is responsible for something and how to annoy interact with them directly.

Something along the lines of "How do I request a new feature/improvement?" It needs to handle both true upstream and Ubuntu-centred projects in a nice clean way.
This might already exist. It should. It's a good question.


The close messages are somewhat immutable so I won't do anything until there's some feedback here and we have a suitable explanation question (post links in the comments!)

  • A feature request regarding Firefox should be closed as Off-topic -> not about Ubuntu. But an additional Off-topic closure item would suit as well for feature requests concerning Ubuntu itself. – Luís de Sousa May 6 '16 at 11:51
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    First I think we should see how many of these questions would actually need to be closed under this new reason. – Seth May 6 '16 at 15:21

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