A bug in the appstream package was released on stable couple of hours ago. The issue was reported on 2016-05-09 on Launchpad and the fix released 5 hours ago (2016-05-20 04:35:54 AST). Now it can be seen that the bug was ill managed, and the fixes weren't pushed fast enough so it doesn't hit the general population.

And more importantly of all, all the workarounds are posted on said bug report, so Ask Ubuntu is effectively just duplicating information, and it's nothing even insightful. Now as Jorge Castro puts it nicely:

I don't really see how reposting bug reports here will help anyone, all it will do is drive users away. And by users I don't mean the people having the problem, I mean the experts that answer the questions. No one wants to work in a bug tracker all day, and then come to AU and end up with even worse bug reports.

These questions drive experts away, and ultimately are just temporary problems.

There are 3 questions on the Hot Questions Network featured in the sidebar which gives other sites users the impression that this site is for helping people "fix Ubuntu bugs", while the main purpose is actually answer questions. Can we just close/delete them all?

A quick list of them:

Also, check the linked questions in the side bar. It may have new questions.

2 Answers 2


Not all of them, no.

There does need to be a merge/dupe-fest but the thing you're painting as harmful, pulling in a quote isn't off-topic. We've been through that at least a dozen times or more. It doesn't "drive away experts". That's ridiculous and I don't think taking it that way (without the context of the big ranty question) represents Jorge very fairly.

Problems that resolve through to real bug reports on launchpad are helpful to everybody. They push people to the right place, they give us something to close-dupe against and when needed, they help people fix the problem directly.

That last point is important here because you cannot apt upgrade to fix this bug.

This bug breaks Apt. It locks it.
That's why the hairy wget/dpkg workaround exists.
That's why it needs at least a question and answer on this.

Regarding the "duplication of effort", what we currently aim to do provides the least amount of duplication for popular issues like this. I'm talking about one good version of the question and an answer that fixes the problem that links back to the bug.

  • It gives us something to quickly close the duplicates against.

    Deleting them all doesn't. We're still going to get people asking.

  • Having questions here gives people something to find when they Google the problem. Multiple descriptions of the same thing, all pointing towards the same answer and link to Launchpad.

    Closing/Deleting them all leaves the Internet with one bug report. That's much harder to find unless you're searching for the same words and that means more bug reports, more questions asked here to nuke.

And that's well before you try to draw out the line between bugs and problems that happen to be bugs. It's impossible to pick a line that wouldn't —if applied globally— lobotomise Stack Exchange.

  • So, that's our problem? No. Is not. The developers ill managed the issue and now AU is supposed to pitch in and clean up the mess? That's utterly madness and impossible to manage in the long run, and the bug report already points out every workaround available, so AU is just duplicating efforts. And anyways, I give up. If you want to kill the site driving away the knowledgeable used, your call, but don't say you wasn't warned.
    – Braiam
    May 20, 2016 at 15:55
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    The site is here to help people with problems. This is a problem so let's help people. Making out that this and problems like this will spell the end of Ask Ubuntu is the real nonsense that drives people away. It's a complete non-issue. We have a way to handle this so do that, and carry on. No drama or fight required.
    – Oli Mod
    May 20, 2016 at 17:08
  • 3
    Yeah if anything consolidating all the questions into one signpost highlighting the solution will help way more people than just deleting them all. May 20, 2016 at 17:26
  • So much this. I wasn't for deleting them all. Just a massive dupe pointer-fest to a canonical question with a correct answer and links to the bug reports. May 21, 2016 at 3:04

Just to clarify here, I think there's a difference between AU purposely asking for people to use it as a bug tracker vs. being a useful resource when a high traffic bug/issue is found.

Obviously we don't want people to just file bugs here, but in the past when a high traffic issue has been found we've marked one question as a canonical one, summarizing the solution, then let it live for X time, and then removing it later.

People are just going to keep posting new questions otherwise, might as well point them to the right place and then remove it later, is there a burning need to close the master question right now other than being pedantic about the rules?

  • "then let it live for X time, and then removing it later" that's the thing. If you solve people problems they will want you to solve all their problems. Also, it just wasting moderating time and votes that are best spent elsewhere. BTW, I'm not being pedantic without reason. The site is going through the drainage. You are only posting ~1 answers a month, I describe a flat line.
    – Braiam
    May 20, 2016 at 18:21
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    I don't understand what my posting history has to do with this issue at all. May 20, 2016 at 18:45
  • Is a data point. You said in the quote that "I don't really see how reposting bug reports here will help anyone, all it will do is drive users (experts) away." Bug reports are the most shallow and uninteresting part of a Q&A. Questions about them the only way to answer them is "is a bug, here's the fix on this bug report" or "is a bug and you are screwed". The site filled with these kind of Q's only makes you less likely to answer questions, and given the tendency, you either, don't have time to answer or don't have time to find good Q's to answer (which would be explained by the low quality).
    – Braiam
    May 20, 2016 at 21:38
  • "People are just going to keep posting new questions otherwise, might as well point them to the right place and then remove it later," btw, the close reason provides the place, and will be deleted automagically later, without human intervention.
    – Braiam
    May 20, 2016 at 21:39

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