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I recently came across this question How to workaround "update-rc.d: error: no runlevel symlinks to modify, aborting!"? and at a first glance I assumed it was off-topic because it would serve better as a bug report on Launchpad, however when I read it through more properly I found that the person had already reported the issue in 16.04 on Launchpad (as they had linked the report), and were now just looking for a simple workaround until the problem was fixed...

So should I still VTC it as off-topic? And future questions of this sort?

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    I think it depends on the problem. bugs should be reported and work arounds should be posted on / in the bug report. – Panther Mar 6 '16 at 4:50
  • @bodhi.zazen that defeats the purpose of the close reason for 'bug reports and issues with an in-development version of Ubuntu' - all or nothing for that, in my opinion... – Thomas Ward Mar 7 '16 at 15:26
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    @ThomasW. - Again it depends. As release date gets closer there seems to be more tolerance for questions about development release and not all questions are bugs. As I said, bugs should go to launchpad, but questions about configuration or updates or ppa or non-bug questions, close to release date seem reasonable at times. There are no all or none guidelines and this is the advantage of community moderation - we can each have an opinion and it takes 5 votes to open/close questions - in the end it is all good. – Panther Mar 7 '16 at 16:53
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    @bodhi.zazen the rule I have for that is "is the version of Ubuntu relevant?" If the answer is no, then just removing the references to the version (tags, title and body) is enough.} – Braiam Mar 7 '16 at 20:17
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Sadly and—in my humble opinion—wrongly, the AU community has decided that workarounds for bugs are off topic. Personally, I've never understood why that is the case since working around bugs is often essential and the only way you can do what you need. Nevertheless, the community's stance here is clear and is nicely explained in @kos's answer.

Happily, the folks over at Unix & Linux are fine with questions about working around known or unknown bugs. Therefore, if

  1. The question is a good question: it shows research effort, is clear and understandable and looks like it could, conceivably, have an answer;
  2. It is only off topic because it is about a bug and everything else about it is fine;
  3. Is a good question:it shows research effort, is clear and understandable and looks like it could, conceivably, have an answer;

If all the above conditions are met (especially 1 and 3), then feel free to flag it for moderator attention and ask them to migrate over to Unix & Linux.

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    No need to say I couldn't agree more. 1 and 3 might have some overlap however as it is :) – Jacob Vlijm Mar 14 '16 at 19:04
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    Keep in mind, as far as developers are concerned, if there is no bug report the problem does not exist. So while this policy may seem on the surface to help end users, IMHO it does a disservice to the community and developers. IMHO it is far better to guide end users to file quality bug reports. Workarounds and fixes, IMHO, belong in bug reports. Patches are better =). – Panther Mar 15 '16 at 12:58
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    If you simply post a bug here, or Unix & Linux, or migrate as you suggest, without filing a bug report, the developers will never be aware of the problem and never release a fix. While this may help the end user, it is a great disservice to the developers and community. See also chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/bugs.html – Panther Mar 15 '16 at 13:12
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    @bodhi.zazen I never said a bug report shouldn't be filed. That, however, as you correctly point out, is not the purpose of the SE sites. Of course a bug report should be filed, that doesn't mean that I can't also ask for a workaround on SE. AU has this thing against bugs but all the other SE sites don't. All I'm saying is that such questions are welcome on U&L even if they're not welcome here, so they can be migrated over. That has absolutely no effect on whether a bug report will be filed. – terdon Mar 15 '16 at 13:22
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    IMO file a bug report -> work around gets posted in bug report -> close question here with a link to bug report which includes work around -> problem solved all around, developers and end users should work together. – Panther Mar 15 '16 at 15:07
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    @bodhi.zazen No, much better is file a bug report -> work around gets posted in bug report -> answer question here (or other SE site) with the workaround and the link to the bug report -> problem solved all around, developers and end users should work together. I don't understand why you would be against having information in more than one place. Also, you are assuming that the person who can offer the workaround will look at the bug report. Perhaps they won't. Especially not if it's in some Ubuntu-specific bug tracker like launchpad. – terdon Mar 15 '16 at 15:09
  • You can post the information wherever you wish, here, there, your personal web page. The point, however, is that developers use Launchpad for bugs and thus you must use LP if you want a fix. Do what you want beyond that. – Panther Mar 15 '16 at 15:33
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    @bodhi.zazen yes, (some) devs use launchpad, which is why bug reports should be on launchpad. We all agree with that and nothing I've said here contradicts it. All I'm saying is that workarounds can also be posted as answers. Not here, because AU doesn't like that but on U&L that does. This has nothing to do with what is also posted on launchpad. – terdon Mar 15 '16 at 15:36
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    @bodhi.zazen and terdon, a case I know of of a bug that ended as patch github.com/karelzak/util-linux/commit/…, unix.stackexchange.com/a/130779/41104. Notice that while in this case the problem was "easy", complex bugs can't be fixed by anyone but devs (or someone with too much time in their hands). If neither the OP or I submitted a patch (I would have to figure out how to send patch to the util-linux, as seems to be non-trivial), this bug would go unfixed. – Braiam Mar 15 '16 at 21:13
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    Which is why that rule exist here, to force people to fill bug reports when they should. – Braiam Mar 15 '16 at 21:14
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    @Azendale not to my answer please. I am a mod on U&L and we don't have any rules against bugs. As far as I'm concerned, there simply isn't any connection between whether a bug report was filed and a question being asked on the SE sites. Not to mention that many tools don't have bug tracking systems. – terdon Mar 15 '16 at 22:21
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    @braiam and that's a very good reason to file a hug report. It is no reason not to also ask a question. – terdon Mar 15 '16 at 22:25
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    @Braiam yes, that's precisely why bugs should be reported. All I'm saying is that reporting bugs is one thing and asking for workarounds is another. The two are not mutually exclusive. – terdon Mar 15 '16 at 22:36
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    You are not seeing the consequences: people wants workarounds because they don't want to report bugs. Period. If everyone solves their problems applying workarounds nobody will report bugs, since it is the path of least resistance. If for each thousand of questions asking for workarounds a bug is filled, I prefer continuing closing them, rather than having a thousand of workarounds and no fix for the bugs. – Braiam Mar 16 '16 at 2:54
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    @Braiam People want workarounds because project maintainers don't work instantly, because some software is no longer maintained, because they are unable for various hardware/software reasons to upgrade to the latest release, and occasionally because they're too busy/lazy to write a report. You really think the last case is more common than all of the others, and that the cost/benefit mathematics work out in your favour? – Mikkel Mar 17 '16 at 18:48
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So should I still VTC it as off-topic?

Yes, we make no exception.

Any workaround to get an in-development version of X working would be as ephemeral as it could be. And, by the way, it wouldn't even be fair towards people whose questions were closed across the years. Just close the question / report the bug and the potential workaround to Launchpad, as always.

Though, if you have a workaround, I'd also encourage you to post it in the comments, as I'm positive it wouldn't hurt.

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