User Research about Gitea upgrade experiences: call for volunteers


In the context of a Gitea hosting project that @realaravinth and myself started to work on two months ago, I am beginning a User Research to reduce the chances of failure. Figuring out the question is the first step of User Research and here it is:

Someone is responsible for a self-hosted Gitea instance. Why and how do they upgrade it?

The hope is that this observation will uncover evidence that providing a service to help with upgrades is actually worth something to Gitea administrators. The next step would usually be to write an interview script and find people running Gitea to explain in as much detail as possible their first hand experience with Gitea upgrades. These kind of interviews are extremely useful, especially when the conclusion is that an idea does not match the reality: that happened a few weeks ago and saved Hostea from a guaranteed failure. But in this case I’m going to try a different approach and help out people who run into troubles with upgrades. On this forum, when the problem is trivial. Or by proposing my services at a rate of 60€/h if the magnitude of the effort deserves it. I will keep 30€/h for myself, donate 15€/h to Gitea and 15€/h to Hostea.

The entire process of this User Research is documented in the Hostea issue tracker and the forum. It is a mess :blush: but it is a radically transparent mess :window:: only private information is hidden, nothing is done or discussed behind closed doors. A report will be published when the User Research is complete, in July 2022 the latest. If it is conclusive, it will make sense to continue the service activity, otherwise it will demonstrate there is no need.

If you are willing to participate in this User Research, it will collect more experiences and overall more solid evidences during the User Research analysis. You could:

  • Provide your help to upgrade Gitea instances and publicly document how it went (with lots of details)
  • Answer a one hour interview about your first hand experience upgrading a Gitea instance
  • Ask for help to upgrade the Gitea instance you are responsible for


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I proposed during a team meeting to hire you to troubleshoot this issue but it was not accepted.


Thanks for the update, I’m glad your issue was resolved.

The experiment is now over and the conclusion is that there is no evidence that a service to help with upgrades is actually worth something to Gitea administrators.

The main takeaways are:

  • It was possible to significantly help with all Gitea upgrade problems (about six)
  • It is useful to have a guide dedicated to Gitea upgrades
  • Updating this guide to cover all situations is a full time job. The current guide is focused on GNU/Linux and docker installations and required an average of one day a week to keep up with updates.
  • Gitea admins are overwhelmed by the steps required to properly perform an upgrade and do not follow them (consistent backups, running the doctor, etc.)
  • Due to the lack of consistency checks after an upgrade (either because they are not implemented in the doctor or because the doctor is not run), problems are often discovered long after