Sadly, first I don't have the expertise to prove what I found is indeed a bug and secondly I really don't know how to report them to Apple and rather try to find a solution to my problem(s) instead of trying to figure out how to do so for Apple, what Apple should do for me (i.e. providing me with an easy way / instructions to report bugs!).

So the title says it already: Can I post a question related to an issue that is clearly not supposed to happen and of which I assume can't be solved by a simple answer?

Additionally I wonder when / if it is OK to use the "wording" and the tag at all? What are the Stack Exchange or Ask Different community guidelines for using it?


You can submit feedback and bug reports to Apple via their feedback page. Additionally, bug reports can also be sent the Apple developer bug report page. (requires a free Apple developer account, does not require the $99/year paid account).

Can I post a question related to an issue that is clearly not supposed to happen and of which I assume can't be solved by a simple answer?

If it can't be solved by a simple answer, I would say, no, don't ask the question. If you look at the tag excerpt, you'll see:

This tag will be used in discussions identifying potential bugs and seeking ways to circumvent or correct them.

(I know this is a bit of circular reasoning, as the meta site is supposed to influence the main site, not vice versa, but in this case, I think the current status of this is fine and shouldn't be changed.)
So, using the existing excerpt, I would say that questions that doesn't have an answer that will "circumvent or correct [the bugs]," do not have a place here on Ask Different. Questions that don't really have an answer don't have value down the road. Bugs especially don't add value to the site, as software is constantly changing and will more than likely not be applicable a year or two down the road.

TL;DR: Questions about bugs that don't have an answer should not be asked.

  • 7
    I would agree 80% with the above, but add that I would still ask the question regardless. Because even though it's a bug that cannot be directly resolved, there may be a wealth of workarounds which address the immediate issue and could help many people with the same problem. Sometimes a question doesn't need to be answerable, so long as the answers provide genuine strategies or mechamisms for doing avoiding the bug in some other way. The key is your use of the word assume - you should never assume that the guys who read your question can't give you a great answer that you weren't expecting
    – stuffe
    May 9 '12 at 10:00
  • 3
    I disagree in principle that the answerability of a question has any bearing on whether a question is a good or bad. If you have a question that relates to a specific problem you face in using an Apple product then I would encourage you to ask it. We can rely upon the community editing process turn it into something that's worth keeping around even if you're not up to formulating a perfect question on your first attempt at wording the question.
    – bmike Mod
    May 9 '12 at 16:03
  • @stuffe Yes. I agree. Even if a question can't be directly resolved, if there is an answer for it that can "circumvent or correct [the bug], ask it.
    – daviesgeek
    May 9 '12 at 16:11
  • @bmike Okay, very true. However, I have to disagree slightly that some questions (related to bugs) do not really have a good place in the community as the bugs oftentimes disappear along with the problems.
    – daviesgeek
    May 9 '12 at 16:14
  • 3
    Don't tar all bug questions with a broad brush just because some or many are asked poorly. We discourage whiny, opinionated, poorly worded, poorly researched, unuseful, overly broad and/or narrow questions without caring if they are about bugs or not. Also - optimizing questions is always secondary to optimizing for answers. Bugs are fertile ground for good answers that explain so I don't want anyone thinking we discourage questions about bugs. The FAQ is clear on this - if bug question were something we wanted to discourage, it would be stated there.
    – bmike Mod
    May 9 '12 at 16:29
  • @bmike Okay. Agreed.
    – daviesgeek
    May 9 '12 at 16:29

We like good questions that are objective or are of the good subjective sort. That is the overriding criteria for whether a question should be asked. We also like clear questions that invite a paragraph-length answer that will be of use to the worldwide population.

Q: Is clicking on X in Y after update 10.7.3 is applied a bug?

This hypothetical question invites two potential answers: yes and no. It's something we generally wouldn't encourage on the site. That doesn't mean someone can not come in with an awesome long involved answer that explains what changed and why people need to know about how they can work around this bug. A good answer can in almost all cases save a bad question from deletion, but that doesn't mean the question as originally asked is necessarily a good question.

A better question explains why a bug might be noticed or detected and sometimes even show some research that invites a better answer.

Some guidelines:

  • state the facts and don't rant about the bug (or worse, try to turn it into an editorial about why Apple is so bad or do programmers are so bad or why you're so clever )
  • explain how you've isolated the bug and why you think it's a bug (do some research and actually show the research you've done in the wording of the question)
  • be clear whether you're looking for troubleshooting advice or are looking for an objective answer to your specific problem

As long as the question is more about using a Mac and less about a short window of time where there's a bug that gets resolved quickly, questions about buggy software can be of benefit to the site and worth keeping around.

  • 1
    Also - one of the most common mistakes I see in asking a poorly worded question is worrying too much about what you think the answer might be. Forget for a moment that you suspect the issue you have is a bug, and just think clearly about stating the issue. With software, surprise is more about your expectations. This famously is summarized as "bug or feature" - the fact that software does X can easily be viewed as either. Yes - some things are clearly bugs, but the water gets murky quickly in many cases. Focus on the question and you should be fine.
    – bmike Mod
    May 9 '12 at 16:39

Just state the facts:

"When I tried to X, I expected to get Y, but instead I got Z.

Here's my setup: ____"

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