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What is the best way to report a technical problem/bug?


How to get quick resolution of your problem The most important thing you can do is describe the problem in way that let's us fix it without having to ask follow up questions:


  • The first aim of a bug report is to let the programmer see the failure with their own eyes. Give them detailed instructions so they can make it fail for themselves. 
  • In case the programmer can't see it failing themselves, the second aim of a bug report is to describe what went wrong. Describe everything in detail. State what you saw, and also state what you expected to see. Write down the error messages, especially if they have numbers in them.
  • Tell us the four basic observations:
    • Where you WERE in a process (ex. "I was reading the poem titled "Diesel Breathing")
    • What you were trying to DO (ex. "I voted one star on the poem using the five star gadget")
    • What you did NEXT (ex. "I clicked 'add comment' and commented on the poem. My comment is the one titled "Terrible Poem")
    • What you expected to HAPPEN (ex. "I expected to see my vote show up in the average, but the average stayed unchanged")
  • If you'd like to speculate as to the cause, be sure to separate speculation from observations.
  • Be ready to provide extra information if the programmer needs it. If they didn't need it, they wouldn't be asking for it.
  • Write clearly. Say what you mean, and make sure it can't be misinterpreted.
  • Above all, be precise.

(The below is adapted from the PHP Development Team's Guide on Reporting Bugs)
Those are the four basic elements of a bug report. You need to tell us exactly what you did (for example, "I went to vote on a poem") , what you expected to have happen (to continue the example, "I expected my vote to show up on the poem's voting average"), and what actually happened ("The voting average was unchanged."). And you have to tell us the context, "I was on the home page, then I went to read a poem, then I voted, then I submitted a comment, and when I came back to the poem, the voting average was unchanged".

If your bug report simply said "Voting doesn't work," we wouldn't be able to say "That's because... " By telling us what you asked for, what you expected to get, and what you actually got, we don't have to guess.

Please also let us know your browser and operating system. If it's a question about a way something is displaying or processing, perhaps it's related to your browser or operating system. No idea what your browser & OS is? That's okay. Check the line below:

Your browser: (just copy and paste this line in your technical report)

Thanks for reading this.

Where should I post my bug report?

If the problem is absolutely urgent (major loss of functionality), contact us right away over the contact form.

If the problem is minor, or it is more of a support question (you aren't sure how to do something, but you aren't absolutely sure that it's "broken"), first check the FAQ for an instant answer. If you still can't figure it out, report it on the Technical Forum.


Thanks to the PHP Developer's Bug Report Guide and Simon Tatham's "How to Report Bugs Effectively"

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