It seems most of the questions tagged on Stack Overflow are just intended to indicate "there's something wrong with my program", which would cover probably at least 80% of all questions on Stack Overflow.

There are some questions where it seems to refer to a possible bug in a framework or utility. I'm not sure the tag is really all that useful in that case either.

What does meta think?

  • 14
    looks like a meta tag and should be killed
    – örs
    Commented Feb 3, 2012 at 12:10
  • 4
    Questions about bugs in frameworks or other 3rd party software should go to their bug trackers, not to SO.
    – JJJ
    Commented Feb 3, 2012 at 12:57
  • 2
    The [bugs] tag is still active as of today, what about it, I agree with OP about killing it? Commented Mar 29, 2013 at 19:50
  • 3
    – root
    Commented Aug 15, 2013 at 15:30

4 Answers 4


Oded and I cleaned up the worst questions in this tag, and then destroyed it and all of its synonyms. Furthermore, since this has been recreated at least once before, it has now been blacklisted (along with common variations) so that it can't be recreated.


Please clean up the questions.

  • Thanks for the blacklist! There are currently no untagged questions.
    – Charles
    Commented Nov 6, 2013 at 20:07

I would expect the question is referring to bugs when:

  • The OP has code with a bug, and doesn't know where it is.
  • The OP wants to write a workaround for a function/method provided by a framework, and which contains a bug.

In the first case, if the question didn't have a bug, there would not be a question at all, except when the OP wants to optimize existing code.
In the second case, the question could be seen as a question about writing code for a specific purpose without using buggedFunction() or Class::buggedMethod(). In such case, the question is not different from a question asking what code to write for a specific purpose, with the extra requirement of not using a specific function/method; the same type of question could be asked, for example, about PHP and how to write code that doesn't use a function which is available since PHP 5.3, when the OP's website is still using PHP 5.2.x.

What I find confusing is the description given for the tag, in its tag page.

Usually, bugs are reported into a bug- or issue-tracker. A good bug report should at least consist of a description of the environment (e.g. version number, the operating system it occured on) the minimum, quantifiable steps to reproduce the problem the expected and observed behavior.

If I am doing a bug report, in which way is that a question? If it were a meta site, a bug report would be fine; on the main site, it doesn't make much sense.

On Drupal Answers, questions that are about a module are closed as off-topic, and the user is suggested to report the bug on Drupal.org, in the issue queue for the module containing the bug; if there is already a bug report open for that module, the OP sometimes get a link to the bug report already open. This is possible because in the Help Center, in the section about the topics of the site, we explicitly said bug reports are off-topic. We consider a question like "The X module is throwing a warning about a not defined variable in a module hook; what should I do?" as off-topic, since Drupal modules are supposed not to throw PHP warnings, and there is nothing that can be done, if not fixing the module code; that is only possible by opening a issue report for that module.

In most of the cases, there is a place to report bugs for a framework, and that is the place where to report bugs.

  • Perhaps the purpose of the tag is for questions about bug-reporting tools, which would fall under the scope of "tools commonly used by programmers". Commented Aug 24, 2013 at 7:23
  • 1
    In that case, the tag should be renamed, since for most people bug means bugs, not bug-reporting tools. If that were the case, also the tag wiki should be edited.
    – avpaderno
    Commented Aug 24, 2013 at 7:26

On my site, Mathematica.SE, we use the tag exclusively for bugs in the framework (Wofram Mathematica) itself. This serves us well. However since "bugs" is rather generic we do have to retag a fair number of questions where it is used inappropriately. Perhaps or something similar would be more appropriate for these questions on Stack Overflow.

  • I doubt you own the site...
    – Cole Tobin
    Commented Aug 20, 2013 at 19:26
  • 5
    @Cole Review a dictionary; if I say "... in my country we ..." I don't imply ownership of that country.
    – Mr.Wizard
    Commented Aug 20, 2013 at 19:37
  • @Cole And he's a mod there.
    – Doorknob
    Commented Aug 22, 2013 at 2:01

According to the FAQ, questions about "software tools commonly used by programmers" are on-topic.

Is there another tag more appropriate to questions about bug-tracking and issue-tracking tools? Based on the existing tag description, those are the questions that the bugs tag should be applied to.

(Obviously questions about bug-tracking practices and principles belong on programmers.se, not here. Only questions about software tools are on-topic here.)

  • 5
    There are tags for both issue-tracking and bug-tracking. These tags are more specific. Tags in bugs that are talking about bug or issue trackers should be retagged.
    – Charles
    Commented Feb 3, 2012 at 20:46

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