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Making Software by Greg Wilson, Andy Oram

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Problems with Bug Reports

Among the problems experienced by developers, incomplete information was, by far, most commonly encountered. Other common problems include errors in steps to reproduce the bug, errors in test cases, bug duplicates, incorrect version numbers, and incorrect observed and expected behavior. Another issue that often challenges developers is the reporter’s language fluency. These problems can easily lead developers astray when fixing bugs.

The most severe problems were errors in the steps to reproduce the bug and incomplete information. In fact, in question D5 many developers commented on being plagued by bug reports with incomplete information. As one developer commented:

“The biggest causes of delay are not wrong information, but absent information.”

Most helpful for developers versus expected by reporters to be helpful

Figure 24-5. Most helpful for developers versus expected by reporters to be helpful

The low occurrence of spam is not surprising, because in Bugzilla and Jira, reporters have to register before they can submit bug reports, and this registration successfully prevents spam. Finally, errors in stack traces are highly unlikely because they are copy-pasted into bug reports, but when they do happen they can be a severe problem.

Other major problems included errors in test cases and observed behavior. A very interesting observation is that developers do not suffer too much from bug duplicates, although earlier research considered ...

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