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I've recently witnessed that question regarding potential bugs are put on hold, since they are among the questions consider off-topic.

I'd like you to reconsider this for the following reasons.

  1. Users are asking this question on Blender's StackExchange because they are unsure what the cause of the issue is. It could be a bug in Blender, but it may also be a OS/hardware/driver issue, a misunderstanding of how a feature works, misdocumentation of a feature's behaviour, fringe cases of file format specification, problems with bad UX etc. The reason why they ask these questions is likely because they don't have the technical knowledge to identify the issue themselves, therefore also unable to write a good bug report.

  2. If we can provide guidance to narrow the problem down to its specific cause, we should. Putting these questions on hold on and referring them to the issue tracker just puts the burden on the Blender devs. They have much more important things to do than chase information from a user that might not be a bug. Asking for system information, debug logs, exact steps to reproduce and an MWE blend file again and again takes time. If it turns out that the problem wasn't Blender's fault, they've just spend time on it that they now don't have for relevant issues. Blender's StackExchange could provide a filter for such issues by providing guidance in these cases and stop problems from being reported on the issue tracker that aren't caused by bugs.

  3. Some legitimate bugs may have workarounds. While Blender devs work to fix the issue, we could provide the user with tips on how to reach their goal anyway.

  4. Allowing these kind of posts would help solve similar new problems in the future or at least provide a direction on what to do.

  5. It's not welcoming or helpful. Users are having legitimate problems and are looking for help and they just get send away. It's also discouraging technically knowledgable users from contributing solutions.

My proposal for a policy change would be

  • Putting on hold is ok for questions that are definitely bugs and there isn't any answer or workaround that can be provided by the community. Therefore putting on hold should only happen after a reasonable amount of time.

  • Don't put a question on hold if it already has a legitimate answer solving the problem or providing a work around.

  • If it's clear that it is a bug, provide instructions on how to file a good bug report or let a more experienced person in the community handle the bug reporting, if enough information are available to reproduce.

Perhaps we can discuss this and improve the support for the Blender community.

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    $\begingroup$ Nice question, some good points I have raised myself before. Asking for workaround for known bugs can be a legitimate question before they are fixed, filtering for the burdened devs is also a cause I would support, still at the end of the day all bugs should be reported $\endgroup$ – Duarte Farrajota Ramos Jul 20 at 13:43
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    $\begingroup$ @DuarteFarrajotaRamos I agree all bugs should be reported. $\endgroup$ – Robert Gützkow Jul 20 at 17:53
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The current policy should stay, but people may need to be a bit more careful about jumping the gun closing before enough info is available.

In general as soon as it is clear that a close reason is appropriate, flag the question, it can always be reopened if the situation changes. If is clear something is a bug, then waiting longer isn't going to change that.

The close reason already links info on how to file a report (Best place to put bug reports?). If you think this is lacking, feel free to edit and improve it.

I think the only clarification that needs to be made is that if a question is phrased in a way that a workaround makes sense as an answer, and one exists, then it doesn't need to be closed.

In response to your reasons:

  1. If the user cannot identify the bug themselves that's fine, we are identifying it as a bug for them with the the close reason. If it is unclear, then closing as a bug is already inappropriate.
  2. If there is not enough information to establish it as a bug, there probably isn't enough information to answer it either (so help the user clarify their question). When there is enough information, you should be able to file a report. There may be further information required in later investigation, but that is beside the point.
  3. Workarounds depend on how the question if phrased. If the question is along the lines of "how can I achieve X" (i.e. there is a clear end result) workaround answers make sense. If the question is just "I do Y and then it breaks", with no indication of what the goal is, it should probably be closed. This is always going to be subjective.
  4. Many bugs are often short lived (in dailies particularly), or not that useful outside getting them reported. I'm not sure what value any of these posts would have long term unless they have workarounds.
  5. The close reason is helpful, it tells them it is a bug and where to raise it, what else should be done with a bug? We can't fix it here. If a user doesn't understand what these close reasons mean then help them understand how this site works.
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  • $\begingroup$ IMHO The link can definitely be improved. Will do so when I have time. Just quick feedback to your points: I think you both overestimate the technical skills of the users to pinpoint and reproduce problems to provide a concise description and MWE on their own and the ability of moderators to read minds. For example you assume that the moderators are able to tell the difference between a legitimate crash due to a bug vs. an unsupported GPU with an outdated driver. Which they can't because the users doesn't provide the information, because he doesn't know it's relevant and the mods don't ask. $\endgroup$ – Robert Gützkow Jul 23 at 9:14
  • $\begingroup$ Which means deciding if it is or isn't a bug requires communication and users likely need help to create a good bug report (which could be in the form of an improved How-To-guide). Asking for help on this should be allowed and encouraged. $\endgroup$ – Robert Gützkow Jul 23 at 9:16
  • $\begingroup$ Regarding: 1.) If the moderators make sure that is actually a bug, that fine with me. 2.) There is a big difference between establishing that it's (likely) a bug and actually filing the report. 3.) Debatable. If there is a way to avoid breakage, that would be useful to the user. 4.) Whether it's fixed fast is up to the devs and can't be decided by the mods. Workarounds help. However if there is nothing we can do to help, it should be closed. 5.) It could be, if the provided information are sufficient to let the file a bug report on their own and if it doesn't result in my point 2.) $\endgroup$ – Robert Gützkow Jul 23 at 9:47
  • $\begingroup$ Just for clarification I'm not saying that mods and other people contributing here aren't helping people who experience bugs or try to help pin point the issue for them. The current policy just doesn't seem to encourage communication and providing help in these cases, beyond referring to the bug tracker and the very short and incomplete help text. $\endgroup$ – Robert Gützkow Jul 23 at 10:01
  • $\begingroup$ I'm working on a better guide, will take some time to finish though. $\endgroup$ – Robert Gützkow Jul 26 at 18:50
  • $\begingroup$ BTW Pablo released a video youtube.com/watch?v=JTD0OJq_rF4 today about bug reporting. $\endgroup$ – Robert Gützkow Aug 28 at 9:29
  • $\begingroup$ I've revisited my attempt at writing a better guide. The problem is fitting complete step by step instruction for every skill level and supported operating system into a single answer. It's easier to give specific instructions on a case by case basis, which is why I'm not completing the new guide. $\endgroup$ – Robert Gützkow Oct 7 at 19:40

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