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I've found myself at odds when reviewing questions surrounding the beta version(s) of macOS (in this case, Mojave).

For me (in the tangled mess that is my head), there are legitimate questions to be asked about beta versions:

These are answerable questions about what's possible or how things work.

Then there are the questions that the first response should be: file a bug report with Apple.

It's beta software, after all; it's going to have issues. This is even more relevant concerning 3rd party software. So, I'm wondering if there's a consistent approach we can take with these like closing with a custom reason (i.e. bugs in beta software should be reported to Apple) or have a canonical answer we can point to.

Thoughts?

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    apple.stackexchange.com/questions/327087/… has an answer which would help in closing all "file a bug report" type of questions as duplicate. We could also go with an artificial question for this, if it makes more sense. – nohillside Jun 11 '18 at 17:20
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    @nohillside - that answer was exactly what I was thinking of could be (at minimum the basis for) the canonical answer/response. – Allan Jun 11 '18 at 17:59
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    I must share that tangled mess of yours in my head too! LOL Agreed, Some Beta questions are legitimately on topic, and others aren't. Sometimes the differentiation is obvious, but often it's not, so I fully support the need for a canonical answer/response for the It's a bug, report it to Apple questions. I think the answer posted by nohillside is a great basis for one. The only thing I'd probably add is something encouraging the OP to actually take the action to report the bug (rather than relying on others to do it). – Monomeeth Jun 11 '18 at 22:41
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    The categories you made up here are already useful. Apart from Apple OS remains now in beta until another major upgrade is released: One thing of more practical application for this site is of course to add to "bugs in beta software should be reported to Apple" the very necessary heads-up "bugs in beta software not rom Apple should be reported also to the devs of the actual software"… – LangLangC Jun 12 '18 at 13:26
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    We should really have a pop up when using a the beta tag explaining how it’s NOT for bug reporting. – JBis Jun 13 '18 at 12:59
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    Not all the answerable questions are so e.g. APFS - the rules might change before release e.g. Fusion drives in High Sierra. Beta is beta and expect bugs and you need to talk to Apple - restore - you need a complete backup before start beta if not the only responses has to be a long laugh. – Mark Jun 15 '18 at 15:55
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I personally feel we should all step away from 95% of the beta questions due to this clear wording from Apple:

Is the public beta software confidential?
Yes, the public beta software is Apple confidential information. Don’t install the public beta software on any systems you don't directly control or that you share with others. Don’t blog, post screen shots, tweet, or publicly post information about the public beta software, and don't discuss the public beta software with or demonstrate it to others who are not in the Apple Beta Software Program. If Apple has publicly disclosed technical information about the public beta software, it is no longer considered confidential.

The don't discuss the public beta software with or demonstrate it to others who are not in the Apple Beta Software Program seems to make there only a few correct answers that anyone can post to any Mojave / 2018 beta question:

  1. Apple has publicly demonstrated / disclosed the thing you ask about - look at this link to explain what we can speak about without breaking NDA.
  2. Apple has not publicly disclosed X - Now I will speculate based on what Apple did on the shipping OS and guess how Mojave handles things. (Also - this could be helpful “rubber ducking” without NDA ramifications.)
  3. Apple has not publicly disclosed X - I care less about strict adherence to my NDA (for reasons) than trying to help out here; so here's my take on what's happening based on first hand knowledge I have running the beta.
  4. I didn't sign the NDA, I don't know if Apple has publicly demonstrated X and therefore may have no idea what I'm talking about but I do have feelings or opinions (that may or may not be correct for reasons). (This also could contain some helpful “rubber ducking” of the issue that gides the OP to an answer as opposed to giving the OP an answer).

Now - these answers above are a bit trivialized / simplified, but you could probably boil down any response and classify anyone's well intentioned / well thought out answer to any Mojave beta question into one of the four above classes.

Now, as one of the elected moderators, I'm not going to shut down / delete these since I'm not the parent of anyone and if someone wants to speak out publicly and is willing to take whatever repercussions do or do not happen based on them breaking their agreement with Apple or if they feel there isn't an agreement for whatever reasons. However, I do want to remind everyone that there is a cloud of uncertainty every time someone asks about beta software so we all can be kind to people who may not have thought through what they're asking someone else to do.

Also - I need to review each and every answer I've made on beta software so I can think if I'm mostly a #1 answerer or a #2-4 answerer myself (or come off to anyone reading as that type of answerer regardless how I perceive my actions.)

  • I agree and believe we shouldn't be posting any beta questions. We all know this is pre-release software, NDA or not, so the expectation is that defects and issues are expected. I love helping people who can't solve issues themselves but I pause at helping people who use beta software because the answer might not be valid after the next release (and I might've unintentionally misled a future problem solver). – fsb Jul 5 '18 at 18:37
  • I wonder if we could recommend each question had a reference showing that Apple announced said item, thus making it not confidential. I’m sure it wouldn’t always be followed, but I need to think through how that would actually work here before making it a new post. Great points @fsb and part of “rubber ducking” any question is of huge value in solving issues - be they confidential or not. The one huge problem with outright bans on beta is people will just not say they’re running beta and post as if they were running 10.13 causing even more harm and confusion. – bmike Jul 5 '18 at 20:40
  • Whenever a beta is announced, I find myself referencing your previous post on beta software quite often for guidance. I thought of requiring Radar #'s on questions but we can't police that. I think all beta questions belong on the developers chosen platform for reporting issues and not on a public site such as this. I'd be all for a beta ban to make it easier on everyone, including the developer. – fsb Jul 5 '18 at 20:47
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@bmike has some rather well thought out questions and more than a few answers to issues surrounding helping folks with their intent to install or actual installation of the public beta (and presumably the dev install) on a Mac they have access to.

I was brought to this thread by his link in a comment on a comment I had made on a question that felt like it had gone off the rails.

No doubt others are familiar with the well intentioned answer that goes into a great detail on if this should be done or not. Which is certainly a question that should be answered, but in this particular case didn't really answer the question:

Would creating a bootable installer and booting from it be a good idea, when I'm working with a Beta version?

If you work in IT support (as I do) you learn to understand (or at least interpret) a user's question "why can't I print to PDF?" (for example) as "I don't have a PDF printer option any more, how do I get it back?" EG a non-technical question about a technical subject.

I interpreted that particular question as the question's author assuming that the beta installer was somehow special/different from the installer you would get from Apple to upgrade from Sierra to High Sierra. Which it might be.

So I ask the obvious (to me...) question

[...] have you tried making a bootable installer like you do any other macOS installer? Instructions here from Apple support.apple.com/en-us/ht201372

Pointing to Apple's article on how to make a bootable USB installer for macOS.

bmike suggests that this should be an answer. Valid point.

But I have not actually tried that method with the public beta and am loathe to provide an Answer when it is little more than a suggestion that may or may not work. It seemed too brief and off the cuff to be an answer but it did seem worthwhile, especially in light of the other answers that were less about actually installing the software and more about if you should.

I will often make such suggestions in the comments if a possibility springs to mind, especially if I haven't tried it myself, and wondering if that would be an acceptable use of a comment?

  • Well said Steve - (except for the part about my comments - I’m too close to them to know how well baked they are). This really is a challenging topic - you are 100% within your choice to only answer when you have solid experience - that’s kind of my main argument against having beta in the first place. The very people you want to answer are most likely to not do so - and for very good reasons. It’s quite a dilemma to know you could help but choose not to and asking clarifying questions in a comment is one very good tool to refine someone’s thinking. Thanks for the answer here. +1 – bmike Jul 5 '18 at 20:43
  • If I get to half baked I'm doing good, LOL... – Steve Chambers Jul 5 '18 at 23:40

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