OT: forum etiquette

Sivakatirswami katir at hindu.org
Tue Mar 7 22:40:20 EST 2006

I thought this site useful:


and particularly this section:

Don't claim that you have found a bug

When you are having problems with a piece of software, don't claim  
you have found a bug unless you are very, very sure of your ground.  
Hint: unless you can provide a source-code patch that fixes the  
problem, or a regression test against a previous version that  
demonstrates incorrect behavior, you are probably not sure enough.  
This applies to webpages and documentation, too; if you have found a  
documentation “bug”, you should supply replacement text and which  
pages it should go on.

Remember, there are many other users that are not experiencing your  
problem. Otherwise you would have learned about it while reading the  
documentation and searching the Web (you did do that before  
complaining, didn't you?). This means that very probably it is you  
who are doing something wrong, not the software.

The people who wrote the software work very hard to make it work as  
well as possible. If you claim you have found a bug, you'll be  
impugning their competence, which may offend some of them even if you  
are correct. It's especially undiplomatic to yell “bug” in the  
Subject line.

When asking your question, it is best to write as though you assume  
you are doing something wrong, even if you are privately pretty sure  
you have found an actual bug. If there really is a bug, you will hear  
about it in the answer. Play it so the maintainers will want to  
apologize to you if the bug is real, rather than so that you will owe  
them an apology if you have messed up.

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