What Makes a Good Bug Report?

Zimmermann, Thomas and Premraj, Rahul and Bettenburg, Nicolas and Just, Sascha and Schröter, Adrian and Weiss, Cathrin
(2010) What Makes a Good Bug Report?
IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, 36 (5). pp. 618-643.

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In software development, bug reports provide crucial information to developers. However, these reports widely differ in their quality. We conducted a survey among developers and users of APACHE, ECLIPSE, and MOZILLA to find out what makes a good bug report. The analysis of the 466 responses revealed an information mismatch between what developers need and what users supply. Most developers consider steps to reproduce, stack traces, and test cases as helpful, which are, at the same time, most difficult to provide for users. Such insight is helpful for designing new bug tracking tools that guide users at collecting and providing more helpful information. Our CUEZILLA prototype is such a tool and measures the quality of new bug reports; it also recommends which elements should be added to improve the quality. We trained CUEZILLA on a sample of 289 bug reports, rated by developers as part of the survey. The participants of our survey also provided 175 comments on hurdles in reporting and resolving bugs. Based on these comments, we discuss several recommendations for better bug tracking systems, which should focus on engaging bug reporters, better tool support, and improved handling of bug duplicates.


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