New feature: Mark an issue as duplicate

If you track issues with a team, you’ve probably run into this situation before: Someone logs an issue and, soon thereafter, another person logs a nearly identical issue again.

You might be able to solve this by being more diligent about reviewing existing issues before adding new ones. But, even at that, sometimes issues that appear different end up having the same root cause. In the end, duplicate issues are going to happen—and they can add a lot of unnecessary noise for your team.

Today, we released a new feature on the DoneDone web app to help handle these situations better. You can now mark an issue as a duplicate. We wanted to keep this feature as straightforward as possible without compromising too much on flexibility, since different teams might want to approach this different ways. Here’s how it works.

As a fixer, tester, or project administrator, you can mark an active issue as a duplicate from the Change Status… dropdown. When you do so, a second dropdown allows you to choose the issue in the project that was duplicated.

Duplicate issue

After choosing the “Duplicate Issue” status, you can select which issue the current issue duplicates.

Once you mark an issue as a duplicate, a reference to the “original” issue will appear underneath the title of the duplicate issue on its detail page.

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On the issue detail page, duplicate issues will link directly to the issue it duplicates.

Similarly, on the original issue’s detail page, a reference to all of its duplicates (there may be more than one) will appear on the sidebar.

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All issues that are marked as duplicates of an issue will appear on the sidebar.

Here’s an important note: When you mark an issue as a duplicate, it’s considered inactive, just as if you were to close or mark the issue as fixed. In other words, it will no longer show up on someone’s “Issues waiting on you” filter. We made this decision to solve the core problem with repeating issues—to help fixers focus on the initial issue at-hand.

Searching on duplicates

As mentioned, duplicate issues are treated just like closed and fixed issues. So, we’ve renamed the “All closed and fixed issues” filter to “All inactive issues”. Inactive issues are either closed, fixed, or marked as duplicates.

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Duplicate issues are considered inactive, and will appear alongside closed and fixed issues in the “All inactive issues” filter.

Updating a duplicate issue’s status or the issue it duplicates

If an issue has been marked as a duplicate, you can still change its status while preserving which issue it duplicates.

For example, you might prefer to have a team member review duplicate issues and officially mark them Closed. When doing so, the newly closed issue will still be linked to its duplicate even though its status has changed. In other words, changing a duplicate issue to another status won’t remove the reference to the original issue.

If you want to update the reference, simply edit the issue. Select “none” at the very top of the list if you want to remove the reference.

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You can change a duplicate issue’s reference to the original issue by editing it (or select “None” to remove the reference).

What about merging issues?

Among the many requests to add this feature, some of you also were specifically looking for a way to merge two issues together. As we dug into the feature, we decided against this as we felt it would make things like issue histories and re-assignments potentially more complicated. We think the implementation we have now keeps things simple and allows you to tailor how you want to use the feature better.

A note for DoneDone Mobile iOS and API users

For those of you who use DoneDone mainly on iOS, the full implementation is not quite ready. For now, you can simply mark an issue as a duplicate but you cannot reference the initial issue. We’ll keep you posted on when the full update to iOS is coming.

For those of you using our API, we’ve added a new “Duplicate Issue Candidates” GET request as well as information about an issue’s duplicate to the “Get Issue” GET request. You can also pass in a duplicate issue order number on both our “Update Status” and “Update Issue” PUT requests.


Thanks to the dozens of customers who have requested this over the years.  We know it’s been long overdue and hope it helps make your issue resolution workflow even better. As always, contact us at our support page or via a direct message on Twitter @getdonedone.

Ka Wai Cheung is the original creator of DoneDone and author of The Developer’s Code. Follow him personally on Twitter via @developerscode and read more at Life Imitates Code.