Many power users that contribute to open source projects have no intention of becoming regular contributors; they just want a bug fixed or a feature implemented. How often do these users participate in open source projects and what do they contribute? To investigate these questions, we analyzed the reports of Mozilla contributors who reported problems but were never assigned problems to fix. These analyses revealed that over 11 years and millions of reports, most of these 150,000 users reported non-issues that devolved into technical support, redundant reports with little new information, or narrow, expert feature requests. Reports that did lead to changes were reported by a comparably small group of experienced, frequent reporters, mostly before the release of Firefox 1. These results suggest that the primary value of open bug reporting is in recruiting talented reporters, and not in deriving value from the masses.
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