A common argument against duplicate bug reports is that they strain bug tracking systems and demand more effort from quality assurance teams—effort that could instead be spent to improve the product. In this section, we provide empirical evidence for the contrary: duplicate bug reports actually contain additional information that may be useful to resolve bugs.
When a bug report is identified as a duplicate, a common practice is to simply close the bug and discard the information, which in the long term discourages users from submitting bug reports. They become reluctant to provide additional information, once they see that a bug report has already been filed:
“Typically bugs I have reported are already reported but by much less savvy people who make horrible reports that lack important details. It is frustrating to have spent lots of time making an exceptionally detailed bug report to only have it marked as a duplicate...”
Not everyone agrees that bug duplicates are bad. In our survey, several developers pointed out the value of bug duplicates for resolving bugs:
“Duplicates are not really problems. They often add useful information. That this information were filed under a new report is not ideal though.”
“It would be better to somehow mend the reports instead of just writing off the good report simply because it was posted after the bad report. This would probably help software engineers much more.”
Alan Page, a test architect at Microsoft, makes a ...