The reason why bugs are reported might sound obvious, but it’s very important to properly understand it.

Bug reports are only valuable when they lead to a bug fix or an improvement. Only a small portion of open bug reports do. For software to improve quickly, development teams need to identify and work on bug reports which have the best chance of leading to a fix.

Ideally, the development team should be aware of all open bug reports and work on the ones which have the greatest chance of improving the quality of the software. In open-source though, where teams are small and communities are huge, the number of open bug reports is usually very big and teams cannot read, process or be aware of all the open bug reports. This is ok on small projects where there are 10 reports or so, but certainly not on large ones with thousands of open bug reports.

The author of a bug report suffers the issue and considers it to be real, whether or not the development team is able to reproduce it and no matter what the team thinks of it. When the bug report is closed, the author therefore might find it hard to accept. There can be feelings of frustration, legitimacy, ingratitude and ignorance at play. It’s really important to set aside any personal feelings when it gets to that and to focus on being efficient.

When you report a bug, both you and the development team are focused on one thing and one thing only: Improving the software. Developers already know you enjoy their work, and you already know they value your feedback. The question isn’t whether your issue is real or not, or how people feel, it’s whether or not this bug report can be turned quickly into a successful bug fix or not. If it can’t, it should be closed.


The reason we report bugs is not to document or catalog anything that is (or might be) wrong with the software, it’s to improve it. Bug reports which don’t lead to successful bug fixes get in the way and prevent developers from quickly identifying bug reports which do. The goal of a bug report is to improve the software. When submitting a bug report, don’t ask yourself whether it’s legitimate, ask yourself if it’s pertinent, simple and complete enough to lead to a bug fix.

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