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I am moderating two Stack Exchange beta sites which both are quite active and deal with very new technologies. At least once a week we receive questions which at some point turn out to be a bug.

Since these questions are not off-topic, and often well-written and very specific, there is no reason to close them. However, they are almost impossible to answer except with: It's a bug!

Therefore, we discussed this on our meta and decided:

  • to tag these questions with [bug]
  • to allow link-only answers in this very special case pointing to the bug tracker

However, we still consider if it's worthwhile to close these questions once the bug is confirmed. I would like to discuss how to deal with bug reports on Stack Exchange sites? Is there any experience yet? Any best practices? Should we have an additional close-reason, closed as confirmed bug?

I see that AskUbuntu does handle questions which appear to be bugs as off-topic. But that's just a poor workaround as there are only three custom close reasons available.


Note: This is not about bugs on the Stack Exchange platform but on questions asked about bugs in used tools and libraries. Also note: This is not a feature request, I would like to discuss this and maybe we can work out something if required.

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This depends heavily on the site and a network-wide policy doesn't really make sense. A global "it's a bug" close reason wouldn't really work on, say, Christianity or Japanese Language.

There is also the probably important distinction between posting a bug report (i.e. the poster knows it is a bug) as your linked Ask Ubuntu meta post is about; and asking a question about a problem which, unknowingly to the asker, turns out to be because of a bug.

I see no reason to close the latter. An explanation that it is due to a bug and a link to any existing bug reports/tracker seems like a perfectly reasonable answer to me. I don't see any benefit from closing a question simply because the problem was caused by a bug; the fact that the problem was caused by a bug shouldn't make it any less of a valid Q&A.

But, again, I think how a specific community/site handles these questions should be decided by that community. What works for Stack Overflow won't necessarily work for WordPress Development, what works for Ask Ubuntu won't necessarily work for Raspberry Pi, and the entire issue is probably completely irrelevant to half of the network.

  • 1
    Also, "it's a bug reported here" might be an answer, but "it's a bug reported here, and this is the workaround" is so much better. – Deduplicator Feb 14 '17 at 14:53

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