I have been witnessing a few (different) bugs/problems on Stack Overflow and probably other Stack Exchange websites, but haven't found an issue tracking system. There is a Contact Us link in the COMPANY section of the footer, but that bring to a Help Center page which refers to Meta Stack Exchange. On Meta Stack Exchange, the Feedback link in the footer links to a list of "questions" on Meta Stack Exchange. Some of which are not actual questions, but reports from contributors who just can't find a suitable place to submit their findings.

Is there no proper ITS for Stack Exchange? And if there is, can a "Site issues" link to it be added to site footers?

Update: Thanks to Joachim for pointing out a related question: How to file a report to Stack Exchange? That question was asked in 2016, and none of the answers so far say anything about any ITS.

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    Reporting problems via "questions" on meta is the appropriate way for users to report problems. They do it because it is the right way to do, not because they "just can't find a suitable place" Commented Jun 29 at 18:50
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    This is intended to be the "issue tracker" of sorts. See this Help Center page: Meta is for: [...] Stack Exchange users to communicate with Stack Overflow, the company (posting bugs, suggesting improvements, or proposing new features) Commented Jun 29 at 18:50
  • @samcarter_is_at_topanswers.xyz : thanks anyway but questions are obviously not the same as reports. Please read the actual page (the contributor specified "I don't know where to submit this.") Commented Jun 29 at 19:02
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    Thank you @Joachim, I hadn't seen that question, surely because unlike this one, it doesn't specifically ask about ITS-s. Commented Jun 29 at 19:08
  • @PhilippeCloutier So the contributor found the correct place to post, what's the problem? Commented Jun 29 at 19:10
  • Thank you @SonictheAnonymousHedgehog That information would be way more discoverable if it wasn't in a parenthesis under a "for Stack Exchange users to communicate with Stack Overflow, the company", since the intention here is rather to track issues. Commented Jun 29 at 19:11
  • @samcarter_is_at_topanswers.xyz: he didn't. He ended up posting it as a "pseudo-question". Commented Jun 29 at 19:14
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    @PhilippeCloutier It seems they did? The problem was successfully reported and a then-employee confirmed that the problem was fixed. Commented Jun 29 at 19:17
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    @PhilippeCloutier They posted a question on meta. so they did find the correct place (they might not have been confident that they found the right place, but they did) Commented Jun 29 at 19:25
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    @PhilippeCloutier That's the (well one of the) intended use of meta. Commented Jun 29 at 19:38
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    If instead of ITS., you read MSE., then we do.
    – W.O.
    Commented Jun 29 at 19:40
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    @PhilippeCloutier Please read meta.stackexchange.com/help/whats-meta "posting bugs, suggesting improvements, or proposing new feature" is explicitly one of the tasks of meta Commented Jun 29 at 19:52
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    The software behind stackoverflow is not open, the community is not directly involved in developing it. An issue tracker might be good if there was direct involvement, but as it is, simply give feedback in their preferred way if you feel like it or leave it otherwise. If the instructions aren't sufficiently easy to follow, they should be clarified. Commented Jun 30 at 9:57
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    @NoDataDumpNoContribution: That being said, I don't know what you mean by "direct involvement", but an ITS is essential in any case. For example, if Docker Desktop's community is more directly involved in its development than Stack Exchange's community is, that's precisely because it has an ITS: github.com/docker/for-win/issues/244 Commented Jun 30 at 10:44
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    @PhilippeCloutier It might be helpful to have one but I personally wouldn't use it because I do not really have a stake in the website/software that powers this platform. I'm only interested in the knowledge contained in the database/datadumps. Also for the company it might be additional work to organize the issues. Being a private website they must maintain a private issue tracker (containing non-public information) anyway and would need to synchronize between an internal and a public one. Maybe they simply don't think it's worth the effort. Commented Jun 30 at 14:23

2 Answers 2


https://stackexchange.com doesn't have a public issue tracking system as other digital services have it, e.g., Google Apps Scripts and other Google services make use of the Google Issue Tracker together with other systems.

Messages sent through the Contact Us pages linked at the bottom of the Stack Exchange Network sites are logged on an internal system. In my experience, the response from the Contact Us agents includes a link to the issue on the system used to manage the report. The user can only see the reports they submitted.

If you are still interested in making a public report of the bugs/problems you found, you might use this Stack Exchange community. To do so, file your report as if it was a question and tag the "question" with at least one of the following "mandatory tags", which we call "meta tags"¹:

Please look at the tag excerpt for brief usage guidelines. For a more extensive explanation, go to the tag page, then click the Learn More link below the tag excerpt.


¹: In Stack Exchange culture, "meta-tags" have nothing to do with HTML's meta element. The sense here is somewhat defined in the "From this point on, meta-tagging is explicitly discouraged." section of the The Death of Meta Tags blog post.

  • Thank you for the answer and the extra information Rubén, but could you clarify what you mean by "proper meta tag"? Commented Jun 30 at 15:54
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    @PhilippeCloutier On this site, questions should include at least one of the tags mentioned in the answer. These are also called "mandatory tags," but the rule is to include at least one of the listed tags. In my experience, not all users can make a "bug" report according to the Stack Exchange guidelines and workings. Sometimes, a "report" starts with discussion, and with the help of seasoned users, eventually, the post might evolve into a proper bug report, be discarded as such, or lead to the creation of one or multiple new posts.
    – Rubén
    Commented Jun 30 at 16:16
  • Aaah, so by "meta tag", I guess you just mean a tag from Meta Stack Exchange's database of "question" tags. Commented Jun 30 at 16:24
  • As meta tags are only allowed on meta sites, it's OK to understand that.
    – Rubén
    Commented Jun 30 at 16:25
  • Aah, I found what you meant. "Meta tag" usually means a meta HTML element, but I see that in Stack Exchange's context, a so-called "meta-tag" can mean something completely different to tag "questions", which is visibly what you meant. Would you mind avoiding that term? If so, I will try clarifying the sense. Commented Jun 30 at 17:32
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    @PhilippeCloutier The term meta tag as it is used in this answer, is part of the Stack Overflow / Stack Exchange culture and history, so I will keep it.
    – Rubén
    Commented Jun 30 at 18:13
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    OK, I submitted a new version which avoids the confusion. Commented Jun 30 at 18:45

Well, there's a few aspects to this. There's an internal issue tracker. Maybe more than one (I'm not staff, but I'm aware the issue tracking system has changed, and I don't know if community, 'public Q&A' and teams are independent or different projects on the same platform) - and a lot of what we do here does have hooks to that. Certain tags, like status-review tie into it.

Having worked with an issue tracking system, both professionally, and occasionally as a moderator (teams has one that's exposed to its users, and the moderators have a team we use for knowledge sharing) - meta has a few advantages in this context.

Practically - it significantly reduces the effort of creating an issue, and done 'right' allows for a non bug issue to be workshopped and polished before formally being taken up. It provides a low friction venue for people who do use the Q&A to raise an issue in the same format.

Many issues are also resolved at the moderator or community level, either cause staff involvement is not needed, or it is something that doesn't quite fit the 'traditional' use of issue tracking, and it allows for a certain level of flexibility in how things are handled.

On a user level, we use meta - per site or this one as an issue tracker. Its built into the site, doesn't need a separate platform or log in and has better visibility than a 'proper' issue tracker.

I wouldn't say its perfect - not all staff are comfortable with meta use, and the company has lost/wasted/undervalued some of the best folk at it as well as the competencies involved in my opinion.

Meta works for us because it reflects a crucial part of SE culture - meta is open, and while there's a learning curve, is a way to build ties and understand the needs of the end user. Someone once described Stack Exchange as Social Software - Meta very much acts as an issue tracker with other tools depending on need that reflects this community focus (ideally anyway) .

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