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What should we do about questions that are clearly identified as bugs in EE or an addon?

EXAMPLES:

Personally, I'd like to close these questions to clear them out the Unanswered Question list...

Can we get a new option when closing a post that allows us to mark the question as a bug?

Ideas/thoughts?

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From what I can tell on Stack Overflow, most closed questions are usually deleted after certain period by the mods. We should probably be doing the same. So we should only close questions we are happy to delete from the site.

With that Safecracker question, I see merit in the answer remaining on EESE, as a "pointer" to the EE bug, and to avoid anyone needing to ask the question here again (which would no doubt happen if we delete the question). As Mark said, it's quite difficult for people to know whether something is a bug or whether they are doing something wrong. Also, even now that it is a reported bug, it may be months or even years before EL release a fix.

With that Matrix bug, there is very little utility having that on EESE, because it's a very specific issue and would be better handled in a private email ticket (however this is only because P&T have great free support and tend to fix bugs very quickly, it may not apply to other add-ons, and certainly not EL?).

I think we want to avoid "here's a bug I've found" questions (simply because they are only relevant to the developer of the add-on), but allow "this isn't working, might it be a bug or am I doing it wrong". Is that the correct distinction? The problem is wording that in a concise way which is clear to all users, and keeping a consistent line.

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  • But Pixel & Tonic also uses EESE as their primary support method, so deleting the bug report from here, seems less relevant, than having P&T state its a bug and have that become the official response. I think, avoiding 'official bug reports' are fine (if that's the question), but if the question is a question, that leads to a bug report, I believe that response deserves to stay in EESE, maybe with a link to the Bug Tracker, or in P&T's case they've posted official repairs or statements regarding the bug. – nonprofit_tech Feb 16 '13 at 19:02
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    Yip. I think "am I doing this wrong or is it a bug" questions are fine. We just want to avoid "here's a bug/PHP error I've found" questions, because they don't add any lasting or long term value to our site. – Adrian Macneil Feb 16 '13 at 19:08
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I'm unsure of whether this, as a 'discussion', merits an Answer or Comment, but...

If you close it as a bug, I assume it's still searchable as a question?

If we want to encourage participation and make this the go-to forum for EE answers, and you don't know your issue is a bug, searching for it on SE and finding a matching question that is identified as a bug would certainly be helpful.

I like consistency, so I wonder what happens if we start marking bug posts as closed items, while some are answered items. Is a response that the issue in question is a known bug with a link to the workaround an answer? Or should that just be a comment when the question is closed? Not to put the burden on anyone or assign responsibilities, but making sure the bug tracker link is there for known bugs when it's closed would be helpful too. (Of course the bug tracker is non-public now, right...? But maybe that will come back.)

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  • These are concerns of mine as well. The Bug Tracker isn't public, and we don't know when it will be. I think the proper reason, after identifying it as a bug, is to then point people to the Bug Tracker or to encourage them to submit the bug request to Ellis Lab. And that that response should be upvoted and accepted (when possible). – nonprofit_tech Feb 16 '13 at 18:57
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I'm concerned. Most questions that end up as bug reports, don't start out as bug reports. They start out as questions and the bug report is the solution to that question. It's far better to pester the individual who posted the question, to select the appropriate answer, even if its a submit the bug report to… then it is to close the topic as non-related.

For example Problem with Freemember register form! [closed], not to pick on Adrian, since he's following the ideas generated here, but this question is a valid question that also has a valid response, that can be selected as the official answer to the question. But worse yet, the reason why the item is closed is 'invalid', at least from my perspective. That's kind of mentally horrific to my perspective of the site.

Is it reasonable to tell people that a question involving a PHP Error is invalid, because the issue is related to PHP and not supported here? ExpressionEngine is a PHP Application, every third party add-ons are PHP applications, by its very nature EESE should deal with PHP errors, so long as they are related to EE or an add-on. General PHP errors could be moved or closed as non-relevant, especially if an answer was never provided or selected by the user.

This also concerns me, because some third party add-on developers have decided to use the EESE site as their primary support solution. I think this is great. I'm not a big fan of GetSatisfaction, though I do like UserVoice. But I'm more of a fan of a central repository of EE knowledge (Q&A) and other details. I feel like EESE CAN BE that central repository in ways that the Ellis Lab Forums can't be, so I'd much rather see the response that this was a bug, rather than this was closed for being off-topic.

I salso agree with Mark and Adrian, that to the best of my knowledge, items closed for being off-topic eventually fade out of the system, at least they seem to at other StackExchange sites. So, then that defeats the knowledge base components of the site.

I'm all for keeping our stats up, but not by any means necessary. Abandon questions with no response, sure close them. Abandon questions with one or more good response (keep) and encourage more voting up of the best response. People are smart enough to know that a response with 3, 5, 10 or more votes is a good response and that they can give that response a try. But if a response CAN'T BE closed as 'bug report', then don't close it for untrue reason. I think in those situations, it would be better to 'collude' (in a more positive sense) with moderators to up vote the answer, that works, if the questioner has seemingly abandon the question.

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  • There are a lot of other meta threads you should go through on this topic too. Generally I subscribe more to your thinking that they aren't particularly harmful, but the majority here think we should be closing them. Let me just clarify a couple things: "Off topic" simply means it doesn't fit within our FAQ (which does explicitly mention no PHP bugs). Also, closed posts stay public unless a mod actually deletes them (which they often do on other SE sites, but we haven't been doing that here). They don't just fade away. – Adrian Macneil Feb 16 '13 at 19:13
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    So the problem isn't with PHP, it's with bugs in general. The only reasonable response (in 90% of cases) to a PHP error question is "can you provide FTP details", which obviously isn't possible on SE. Unless it has already been fixed, it's really difficult to debug PHP errors using only public info, at least without a huge long discussion. – Adrian Macneil Feb 16 '13 at 19:16
  • See this thread especially for more discussion: meta.expressionengine.stackexchange.com/q/1176/150 – Adrian Macneil Feb 16 '13 at 19:20
  • I've seen a few on SO re: product support, and related. If the responses aren't being deleted, when there is a valid answer or if the question has been edited to be made more suitable, then I don't mind the closed. Though I am still concerned about closing for the 'wrong reason'. I think 'closed' as off-topic is better than 'closed' because PHP Errors not allowed. Let's face it MOST users won't read the FAQ or Meta discussions unless someone directly points them there. I try to participate in this, but I'm responding more from phone, and don't see the side floater there. – nonprofit_tech Feb 16 '13 at 19:24
  • Yep! Saw that thread, I believe I even voted up your response on it (well, I know, since I can vote on your response anymore). I'm also familiar with the thread linked to by Robert: Is it okay to use Stack Overflow as the support forum for a product or project? But as I mentioned with the 'Problem with Freemember register form!' I thought your response was spot on, relevant, and useful. It was just the closing as a 'PHP Error' response I had issue with. Maybe 'Closed as Bug Report' instead. – nonprofit_tech Feb 16 '13 at 19:32
  • I don't mind if the questions stay open with a clear answer selected says it's a bug. Or closed works too if the questions stick around. – Anna_MediaGirl Feb 16 '13 at 20:23
  • I agree with @nonprofit_tech on the reason why the question was closed... would be better if we had the option of Closed as a Bug. – Anna_MediaGirl Feb 16 '13 at 20:24
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I agree that we should close these with a comment asking people to send bug reports directly to developers or EllisLab (as the case may be) in order to discourage bug reporting here.

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