How (Not) to Treat a Bug Report

by Mithrandir

This post is about a bug report I have sent to Facebook in November last year and how it was treated. Please, do not add this post to the list of FB-hate posts (product-wise) – I don’t want that. Instead, this is only a complain against the developers which work there and how they treat their IT-enabled customers.

I wanted to search something on my Wall. Something which was posted several months ago. I knew what to search but scrolling down didn’t reveal it. I asked for a simple search facility.

I have submitted the bug on 12th of November 2011. No response was given until 14th of November. Then, two responses came within an interval of 12 minutes. The first one simple closed the bug as being invalid because it was submitted using a wrong bug reporting platform (though it was the only one available via links Facebook offers to a normal user). The second one simply reopened and assigned the bug to a developer.

That was all that happened with this bug until recently. People subscribed to it, comments were added by coders at Facebook did other things, interesting or not. And now they killed the bug report using the same first reply message. This time, I have used all the links in the message to send the feature request. Maybe this time they’ll solve it though I highly doubt this since no link from these offered a public view of the bug report.

Facebook changed since November last year. Maybe that search doesn’t seem so important now. Indeed, since the feature request was added they have implemented Timeline which was supposed to make searches on your Wall more efficient. Too bad this doesn’t work too well. Thus, that search is still needed. See also the comments on the bug request to see that page admins need it too. Facebook, however, decided to ignore this problem.

This makes me think that there are two options: either they don’t care about their (human) users and everything is about add revenue or their codebase makes it impossible to retrieve something posted a while ago on a timeline or a page: that data is only mined for relevant companies in order to display better adds.

In case they decide to delete the feature request, I have created three screen captures with the relevant details of the report. You can see them in full detail by clicking on them.

bug reportresponsescomments

I have submitted bug reports to other projects as well. But in no places were they treated like this. You may take this post as an arrogant response from an offended programmer with a great ego but this is not so. I only wanted to shine a light on how a bug report is treated at Facebook.

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