i have just diagnosed a subtle but annoying bug in makeindex, and have notified the maintainer who says he will try to look into it over the weekend. i think it would be useful to announce the bug and how to avoid it/work around it, but it's not clear what is the best place to do that. it's no longer a question, so posting a question on the main list isn't appropriate. i suppose i could phrase it as a question, include all the details, and post a phony answer shortly thereafter, with an update when a fix is actually made, but that doesn't seem like the right thing to do.

any suggestions?

2 Answers 2


I think that posting bug reports per se on tex.sx is generally a bad idea, independent of the question of whether they fit into the Q/A format of the site. The reason is that since the site is intended to be a long term repository, there's a very good chance that bug report posts wouldn't get updated when the bugs are actually fixed. (I'm not saying that you wouldn't update, but that in general it's a likely occurrence if the practice of using the site to advertise bugs becomes institutionalized.)

Of course, if users' questions give rise to a bug report, then a bug report is obviously acceptable as part of an answer to a question (although I always try to be sure to update such answers if I give them if the bug subsequently gets fixed.)

Even on comp.tex.tex (and I suspect also on texhax) there seems to be some general consensus that bug reports are best reported directly to the package author(s) rather than to those forums directly.

The only time such reports make sense is when the package author has been unresponsive, or the bug has persisted for a long time (which in your specific case doesn't seem to be true.) But even in these cases I don't think that preemptive reports are necessary here. If the bug is noticeable to enough users, the chances are that it will elicit a question or two independently, in which case the bug can be reported in the normal course of answering the question.

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    okay, i see the point. regarding the makeindex bug in question, i do believe it has persisted for a very long time; the last update, as far as i can tell, was in the 1990s. however, whether or not it "bites" depends on whether or not a user clears all warnings in the .ilg file before trying to run latex with the index actually incorporated in the document. savvy, careful authors will never get bitten; novices might very well, though the circumstances are "special". i looked through a lot of archives before asking here, but found nothing. Commented Sep 23, 2011 at 22:20

Generally I don't think that TeX.SX (or any stackexchange site for that matter) is a good place to announce bugs. Usually the project-specific bug tracker is a far more convenient place (though unfortunately few TeX-related projects have one).

However, if you had a specific problem that made you discover the bug, you can ask about that problem and then add an answer explaining that it turned out to be a bug a makeindex. That would fit with better with the StackExchange philosophy.

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    that seems kind of hokey, but if no better suggestion is made, i guess i could do it. your point that few tex-related projects have project-specific bug trackers is a good one. maybe a pertinent discussion question here could be, what tex-related projects do have public bug trackers? or, what might be a good venue to establish this information? (regarding the makeindex bug that engendered this, after i hear back from the maintainer, i intend to post to texhax and comp.text.tex, for the record.) Commented Sep 23, 2011 at 21:40

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