Is it okay to ask bugtest questions on Meta Stack Overflow once in a while? By "bugtest questions," I'm referring to posts that only exist for the purpose of attempting to reproduce a bug, like this sample:

Hey, please don't delete this question, I'm trying to repro a bug that [user24601] observed in [posting comment replies] just now. [Bonus points for a link to an existing bug report here].

It would help me out if you guys could [post two comments], and help me [upvote one of them to +5].

I'll delete this question when I'm done, should take about 10 minutes, 15 minutes tops.

(Again, that's just a random made-up sample.)

I remember seeing some questions like this in the past, which people dutifully helped out with and were eventually shut down by their OPs after they got the data they needed. But I asked one the other day that got deleted by someone almost before I was done with my test, and I'm not certain but I think the same thing may have happened with the examples used by this recent question. I don't have links for the older ones because I'm not a 10k user.

Are test questions that only exist for reproducing errors okay? Did they used to be okay but not anymore? If they're allowed at all, what are the rules and etiquette on using them?

  • Feel free to use me as a guinea pig for banning, downvoting, etc ;-) – Manishearth Apr 25 '12 at 0:44

Sure. Go for it.

But keep in mind, saying "I'm testing stuff" doesn't give you a license to abuse the site or other users. If you post noise, your question will likely get closed / deleted. If you break something, you'll probably collect some abuse (and your question will get closed/deleted/offensive-flagged).

At very least, explaining what you're trying to do should reduce the knee-jerk reactions you get. If you can't be bothered, then you'll just have to work quickly...

  • 1
    I kind of wonder what scenarios you're envisioning with "If you break something," but I'm scared to ask... – Pops Sep 8 '10 at 19:07
  • The first time I tried this I had used a title like "This is bug report question, please ignore, will delete soon" and I had a very negative experience with rapid down voting, closure, and even insults. Next time I plan to use a title like "How do I simulate the COBOL 85 END-PERFORM construct in COBOL 74?", which I expect would attract less attention :D – ntc2 May 1 '12 at 2:00

Isn't that what the Sandbox is for?

Formatting Sandbox

Serious Answer

It depends. If it is going to disrupt the workings of the site then No. If you can't point it out on the existing sites, where it happened, then don't try and replicate it. Rather post about it and the team can confirm or deny if it is a problem.

In example, I recently managed to double close a question, and Jeff immediately knew it wasn't a bug but a problem with my office proxy. Sometimes edge cases happen, if they are not "breaking", just ignore them.

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    I think so, unless the bug is with asking a question. – The Unhandled Exception Sep 8 '10 at 15:19
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    Sometimes. But other times you need two questions, like the one post I did have the link for, and other times the bug you're testing has some zany condition like "only happens to the first answer posted on a given question".... – Pops Sep 8 '10 at 15:20
  • But if they're not allowed here then where is appropriate? – The Unhandled Exception Sep 8 '10 at 15:21
  • @Josh The dev team has infrastructure to test these things, and sometimes they don't even need to test. – BinaryMisfit Sep 8 '10 at 15:22
  • @TheUnhandledException: exactly! I ran into a submission bug that only SO but not MSO: see 1 and 2 – ntc2 May 1 '12 at 2:02

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