10. Issue Tracking

10.1. Using the Issue Tracker

If you think you found a bug in Python, you can report it to the issue tracker. Documentation bugs can also be reported there. Issues about the tracker should be reported to the meta tracker.

10.1.1. Checking if a bug already exists

The first step in filing a report is to determine whether the problem has already been reported. The advantage in doing so, aside from saving the developers time, is that you learn what has been done to fix it; it may be that the problem has already been fixed for the next release, or additional information is needed (in which case you are welcome to provide it if you can!).

To do this, search the bug database using the search box on the top of the page. An advanced search is also available by clicking on “Search” in the sidebar.

10.1.2. Reporting an issue

If the problem you’re reporting is not already in the issue tracker, you need to log in by entering your user and password in the form on the left. If you don’t already have a tracker account, select the “Register” link or, if you use OpenID, one of the OpenID provider logos in the sidebar.

It is not possible to submit a bug report anonymously.

Being now logged in, you can submit a bug by clicking on the “Create New” link in the sidebar.

The submission form has a number of fields, and they are described in detail in the Triaging an Issue page. This is a short summary:

  • in the Title field, enter a very short description of the problem; less than ten words is good;
  • in the Type field, select the type of your problem (usually behavior);
  • if you know which Components and Versions are affected by the issue, you can select these too;
  • if you have JavaScript enabled, you can use the Nosy List field to search developers that can help with the issue by entering the name of the affected module, operating system, or interest area.
  • last but not least, you have to describe the problem in detail, including what you expected to happen and what did happen, in the Comment field. Be sure to include whether any extension modules were involved, and what hardware and software platform you were using (including version information as appropriate).

The triaging team will take care of setting other fields, and possibly assign the issue to a specific developer. You will automatically receive an update each time an action is taken on the bug.

10.2. Helping Triage Issues

Once you know your way around how Python’s source files are structured and you are comfortable working with patches, a great way to participate is to help triage issues. Do realize, though, that experience working on Python is needed in order to effectively help triage.

Around the clock, new issues are being opened on the issue tracker and existing issues are being updated. Every issue needs to be triaged to make sure various things are in proper order. Even without special privileges you can help with this process.

10.2.1. Classifying Reports

For bugs, an issue needs to:

  • clearly explain the bug so it can be reproduced
  • include all relevant platform details
  • state what version(s) of Python are affected by the bug.

These are things you can help with once you have experience developing for Python. For instance, if a bug is not clearly explained enough for you to reproduce it then there is a good chance a core developer won’t be able to either. And it is always helpful to know if a bug not only affects the in-development version of Python, but whether it also affects other versions in maintenance mode. And if the bug lacks a unit test that should end up in Python’s test suite, having that written can be very helpful.

This is all helpful as it allows triagers (i.e., people with the Developer role on the issue tracker) to properly classify an issue so it can be handled by the right core developers in a timely fashion.

10.2.2. Reviewing Patches

If an issue has a patch attached that has not been reviewed, you can help by making sure the patch:

  • follows the style guides
  • applies cleanly to an up-to-date clone
  • is a good solution to the problem it is trying to solve
  • includes proper tests
  • includes proper documentation changes
  • submitter is listed in Misc/ACKS, either already or the patch adds them

Doing all of this allows core developers and triagers to more quickly look for subtle issues that only people with extensive experience working on Python’s code base will notice.

10.2.3. Finding an Issue You Can Help With

If you want to help triaging issues, you might also want to search for issues that you are knowledgeable about. An easy way to do it, is to search for the name of a module you are familiar with. You can also use the advanced search and search for specific components (e.g. “Windows” if you are a Windows developer, “Extension Modules” if you are familiar with C, etc.). Finally you can use the “Random issue” link in the sidebar to pick random issues until you find an issue that you like. Is not so uncommon to find old issues that can be closed, either because they are no longer valid, or because they have a patch that is ready to be committed, but no one had time to do it yet.

In the sidebar you can also find links to summaries for easy issues and issues with a patch.

10.3. Disagreement With a Resolution on the Issue Tracker

First, take some time to consider any comments made in association with the resolution of the tracker issue. On reflection, they may seem more reasonable than they first appeared.

If you still feel the resolution is incorrect, then raise the question on python-dev. Further argument on python-dev after a consensus has been reached amongst the core developers is unlikely to win any converts.

Issues closed by a core developer have already been carefully considered. Please do not reopen a closed issue.

10.4. Gaining the “Developer” Role on the Issue Tracker

When you have consistently shown the ability to properly help triage issues without guidance, you may request that you be given the “Developer” role on the issue tracker. You can make the request of any person who already has the Developer role. If they decide you are ready to gain the extra privileges on the tracker they will then act as a mentor to you until you are ready to do things entirely on your own. There is no set rule as to how many issues you need to have helped with before or how long you have been participating. The key requirements are that you show the desire to help, you are able to work well with others (especially those already with the Developer role), and that have a firm grasp of how to do things on the issue tracker properly on your own.

Gaining the Developer role will allow you to set any value on any issue in the tracker, releasing you from the burden of having to ask others to set values on an issue for you in order to properly triage something. This will not only help speed up and simplify your work in helping out, but also help lessen the workload for everyone by gaining your help.

10.5. The Meta Tracker

If you find an issue with the issue tracker, you can report it to the meta tracker. The meta tracker is where you file issues against anything you come across when working with the issue tracker itself (e.g you can’t attach a file, the layout is broken on your browser, Rietveld gave you an error, etc.).

If you want to contribute to the tracker you can get a checkout of the source and install a local instance where to experiment. You can find detailed instructions on the Tracker Development page.

See also

The Python issue tracker
Where to report issues about Python.
The New-bugs-announce mailing list
Where all the new issues created on the tracker are reported.
The Python-bugs-list mailing list
Where all the changes to issues are reported.
The meta tracker
Where to report issues about the tracker itself.
The Tracker development wiki page
Instructions about setting up a local instance of the bug tracker.
The Tracker-discuss mailing list
Discussions about the bug tracker.