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There has been an uptick in bug reports disguised as questions with the latest QGIS 2.14 release. For example QGIS2web crashes latest QGIS 2.14 and After upgrading to Qgis 2.14 Essen, cannot load layers from .zip

I can't see any way that these can get good answers other than referring the asker to the QGIS bug reporting page. So what should we do about these questions?

15

I think it should be ok to close as "This is a bug report and not a question for GIS.SE".

As the Help says:

We are not a GIS Software Support Site. We encourage you to seek official routes for support for specific issues you may have.

The community seems happy to answer questions about using QGIS, but bug reports are highly specific and often concern issues that may be fixed quickly. Consequently, they are likely to only have value to the community for a short time period. You will note that we have no tag for bugs.

  • 4
    I expanded upon your answer but feel free to rollback if not in line with your thinking. – PolyGeo Mar 6 '16 at 22:04
  • good to see you dealing with this, although the question/comments below sure make valid points. Open Data SE is allowing this for government agencies releasing data and it can be...problematic. – albert Mar 11 '16 at 1:21
  • There's an example question worth looking at (gis.stackexchange.com/questions/184017/…) which deals with a symptom identical to an earlier question which appears to have reappeared in the most recent release. My advice there is "report it first, then add an answer to the duplicate saying it has reappeared, and has been reported" – PolyGeo Mar 12 '16 at 4:05
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There may be plenty of corner cases in which things don't work as expected, or after an upgrade stop working as they previously did. Users may have issues because they don't use the software correctly, or are unaware that the new version of their favorite tool requires changes on their part.

Obviously "X in tool Y doesn't work, please fix tool Y" is not a question suitable for GIS.SE – this should go to whoever maintains the software in question.

But if we consider questions about usage or features of specific products to be in scope, then I'd consider questions like these to be legitimate as well:

  • X doesn't work in tool Y [optionally: doesn't work in version Z and it worked in the previous version], is this a bug or am I doing something wrong? Provided the OP has consulted the product's FAQ and documentation prior to posting, we don't really know how long-lived the solution is going to be. It may be a bug that gets fixed a few weeks later, or the OP is indeed doing something wrong.
  • X doesn't work in tool Y, which seems to be a bug, how can I work around it?

I'm rather skeptical about rating questions based on their perceived "longevity" (and even more about the formula "related to a bug = short-lived"): Some products also have long-standing bugs which don't get fixed for a long time – in this case, the answer will be relevant for a long time. Also, not everyone is always using the latest version of a product: Large organizations often take a long time to roll out a new version, upgrading commercial software is a budget issue, and the more stable Linux distributions (such as LTS versions of Ubuntu) roll out only security fixes and minor bug fixes, keeping the rest for the next release. And eventually, a lot of questions related to technology (which make up a fair share of SE) will become obsolete as the technology in question evolves.

  • My experience is that the majority of verified bugs are fixed in the next release so I think bug reports do generally lack the longevity we are looking for in our Q&As. Perceived bugs and enhancement requests are a different story - they typically take much longer to address. Your edge cases seem like they may pass muster to stay but the two examples cited in the question are much more clear cut. As always whether a particular question is closed or stays open will be down to the 190 x 3,000+ rep users who vote on them. – PolyGeo Mar 8 '16 at 12:24
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    @PolyGeo - My experience runs counter to yours - as someone who has reported literally hundreds of bugs across numerous projects including things like QGIS and GeoServer, bugs often stay open for years because the projects don't have the resources to address them. (proprietary software is no better on timescales, it's just less transparent). Sure there are occasions where bugs are fixed promptly, but these are more the exception than the norm. Workarounds therefore can be very very useful. – GIS-Jonathan Mar 9 '16 at 15:29
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    @GIS-Jonathan I verified, reported and tracked ARC/INFO and ArcGIS bugs to resolution for about 15 years so I am speaking from a generally commercial software perspective. Of course workarounds are useful and I have no issue with Q&As here being used as part of the process of finding workarounds after bugs have been reported to the developers of the software with them. It is the reporting of bugs here rather than to the people who are tasked to fix them that I think is problematic. – PolyGeo Mar 9 '16 at 22:23

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