I have on several occasions used this site to report bugs or flaws with Mathematica, usually when a newer version does something worse than an older version.

Inevitably it is met with attitude that "bugs should not be reported here, but directly to Wolfram support". I don't understand this view, unless this site is dominated by Wolfram employees paid to suppress bug reports. I have never encountered this attitude on any other product forum, even one hosted by the company.

Bugs should be checked by others and if confirmed, added to a list, a sort of "Hall of Shame". Public shaming is often the best way to get customer support these days and should help to focus the company on fixing the functionality of the software, instead of adding bells and whistles.

For the most recent example, see: Mathematica crashes when doing an integral with real numbers

  • 2
    An addendum to my answer: I said that it comes down to your motivation for posting. If you browse posts you will notice that here we have been very tolerant about bug-posts. If it could at all be interpreted as a question, it was allowed. There are very few examples of such closed questions. Other SE sites are far less tolerant with this. You gave zero room for interpreting your post as a question, so there was no choice but to close it.
    – Szabolcs
    Nov 23 '18 at 21:44

SE imposes a specific format, see asking guidelines. Your post is not even trying to ask a question. Had it been a question it probably would've stayed opened.

We do even have a tag. Where we try to keep the status up to date:

Standard header for bugs-tagged posts, for easy searching

Many originally were posted as honest questions about an unknown problem. But many are just 'adjusted' bug reports, adjusted enough to fit SE standards. Whether that is ok is another question ( How to report bugs?) but so far everything that isn't blantly off-topic stays around.

At this point I realized that this question does not ask a question either so I will stop here :-)

  • I am sorry, Mr. Trebek. What is Mathematica bug? :)
    – user61531
    Nov 22 '18 at 23:18
  • @user61531 see bugs for examples :)
    – Kuba Mod
    Nov 22 '18 at 23:21
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    @user61531 don't get me wrong, I am all with you, see top askers. But we need to follow minimal guidelines.
    – Kuba Mod
    Nov 22 '18 at 23:23
  • I saw "How to report bugs" before, but even there the most popular answer is "bugs should not be reported here".
    – user61531
    Nov 22 '18 at 23:27
  • 1
    @user61531 yeah, I know, the policy is far from being clear. That is because they are not on topic but otoh very often the line is blurred and there is no other bug tracker so we abuse mma.se a little.
    – Kuba Mod
    Nov 22 '18 at 23:44
  • I don't use this site enough to know who determines what is "on topic" and proper conventions. It does seem to be the most active Mathematica group, so a good place to discuss it. But the vibe I get is that WRI is infallible and if something doesn't work or takes too long, you can ask about a 30 lines of code workaround for a one-line command.
    – user61531
    Nov 22 '18 at 23:54
  • 1. Asking guidelines are for every user and linked when you ask your first question etc. 2. Yep it is, I think so. 3. That vibe is not because of the point of your post but because of the content. So I am sorry that we as community failed to inform you how to publish 'bug reports'.
    – Kuba Mod
    Nov 23 '18 at 13:32


If you have an actual practical problem that you need help solving, that can be explained concisely and probably answered concisely, then you are very welcome to post. It's what StackExchange is for. If you want o discuss something, then this is not the correct place, regardless of whether that discussion would be interesting to other members or whether they sympathize with the motivation to start the discussion.

StackExchange is not a forum

I don't understand this view, unless this site is dominated by Wolfram employees paid to suppress bug reports. I have never encountered this attitude on any other product forum, even one hosted by the company.

StackExchange is not a forum. It is a questions and answers site, and has strict guidelines about what is allowed in a post. Please take the tour: Ask questions, get answers, no distractions. It is these guidelines that make it work exceptionally well for getting useful answers.

It all comes down to your motivation for posting

Your question got closed for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with the (un-)willingness to show bugs here. It got closed because your motivation was to report a bug.

If you had an actual question—meaning you have an unsolved problem, not just phrasing the bug as a question to make it appear as if it fit the format—then the post would have been welcome, and people would have tried to help. However, you made it clear that your goal with posting was not to get help.

Refusing to report through proper channels does not help the community

If you want a bug to get fixed, report it to Wolfram! If you don't report it, it Wolfram won't know about it, therefore it won't get fixed. That is not good for any of us. Personally, I find it extremely irritating when people refuse to report bugs through the proper channels, because I am (very much!) annoyed by bugs too, and you are not helping to get it fixed.

Bugs should be checked by others and if confirmed, added to a list, a sort of "Hall of Shame".

If you want to shame Wolfram for not fixing bugs, no one here will prevent you. But again: do it through the correct channels, i.e. through a forum. Currently, there are only two popular places I am aware of where such free discussion can take place: (1) Wolfram Community and (2) the chatroom of this site.

That there is no independent Mathematica forum is perhaps regrettable, but that does not mean StackExchange sites can be turned into a forum. In fact, while StackExchange sites are largely steered by their community, StackExchange the company can step in at any moment, and would absolutely not tolerate turning any SE site into a discussion forum.

  • Well, in this case the bug is pretty obvious, but generally my motivation for posting here had been a) Is it really a bug or am I doing something stupid? b) What versions does it affect? c) Have other people encountered it and found simple workarounds? d) To make other people aware of it. It is true I never come to this site for simple technical help with Mathematica
    – user61531
    Nov 23 '18 at 21:49
  • @user61531 That is not the impression for the post you linked. a) You already stated that it is a bug b) You did not ask this c) You already had a workaround d) I sympathize with this, but SE is not the right place. All of (a)-(c) can be legitimate reasons to post a question. You did not leave room to interpret your post as either of these three categories. Had you done so, I would not have voted to close (also in part because I sympathize with (d) while acknowledging that it cannot be the only reason for a post.)
    – Szabolcs
    Nov 23 '18 at 21:58
  • @user61531 What I mean by "motivation" is that your reason should be a genuine one. Of course you could just include (b) and pretend that that's your question. If that is not truly the case, please don't do this. I might ask what versions a bug affects so that I can make some code compatible with multiple versions. That is an acceptable motivation to ask. Being annoyed with a bug (but needing no help) is not an acceptable motivation.
    – Szabolcs
    Nov 23 '18 at 22:02
  • "Being annoyed with a bug (but needing no help) is not an acceptable motivation." - this is what I mean by "Dear Leader" approach. If one is not allowed to express frustration and criticism of the software, especially when it's clearly called for, then this is an oppressive system.
    – user61531
    Nov 24 '18 at 0:28
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    @user61531 If you do not like how StackExchange works, take it up on the main meta, not here. This place is for issues specific to Mathematica.StackExchange, not discussing the StackExchange model.
    – Szabolcs
    Nov 24 '18 at 10:56
  • Funny how the same rules supposed to apply to "Mathematics" and "Mathematica"
    – user61531
    Nov 24 '18 at 19:33

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