According to Ability to close a question as a bug report, its speculated that closing as a bug better serves the community's users.
I'm finding the exact opposite in practice. That is, the bug reporting and triaging sucks for getting help, and the best help is provided the Ask Ubuntu community. I have some reasons for making the claim, and I'll enumerate them here. As a side note, I would also enjoy seeing the evidence that supports the current policy.
The most compelling example the bug tracker sucks for help is the number of bugs that go unacknowledged and untriaged. For example, below is the latest from what I've reported. Of the 27 non-wishlist item, only 11 have been acknowledged, triaged or are a work in progress. That means 16 have not even been acknowledged.
Its hard to get help when the bug is not even acknowledged. For example, Insufficient Permissions on home/ ACLs means users (including the guest account) can poke around other user's home directories. It was never even acknowledged.
Bugs fixes are often not applied to current releases, so the broken stuff stays broken. For example Server 13.10 Install Fails with USB Keyboard (Appears to Hang) was never fixed in Ubuntu 13. It does not help a community member find a work around.
As another example, a bug in GRUB that's present on 12.04 LTS remains unfixed in 12.04 even though the report is years old. The fix is supposedly checked in elsewhere, but it was not provided for 12.04. Keep in mind this is supposed to be long term support.
In contrast to the bug tracker...
A question was asked about the Server 13.10 Install Fails with USB Keyboard (Appears to Hang) bug. It was promptly answered by the Ask Ubuntu community at Server 13.10 Install Hangs [closed]. Fortunately, the answer arrived before the question was closed.
Ubuntu 14.04 had an installer problem, too. The question was asked on Ask Ubuntu and it was immediately closed: Hang at 5/7 Progress; Can't Dismiss Message Box with “??? ???” [on hold]. On the bug tracker, the question has not even been acknowledged: Installation at 5/7 Progress, Can't Dismiss Message Box with "??? ???". Unfortunately, this question was closed too fast, and there's no answers available anywhere.
The Ubuntu 13/14 installation issues were a pure experiment: The open question got a useful answer; while the closed question did not. In addition, the bug reports have not not helped in resolving the issue for users. The facts seems to indicate an open question is good, a closed question is bad, and a bug report is bad for the users.
As far as the reason:
- Bug reports and problems with the development version of Ubuntu should be reported on Launchpad so that developers can see, track and fix these issues."
I'm more than happy to share information and workarounds provided by the Ask Ubuntu community with the developers and the bug tracker. But it appears most of the shared information probably won't be utilized because the bugs are not being tended to.
Speculating that some questions are bugs is simply wrong. There seems to be a lot of that speculation with respect to some of these questions. And folks won't know if its a bug until its examined. Prematurely closing a question surely does not help a Ask Ubuntu community user.
In the Stack Exchange, a typical flow is to close a question if an answer exists. These are known a "Duplicates". Closing a question because it speculatively should be on a bug report makes no sense in the stack exchange process flows. And closing a question as a duplicate without an answer is not even allowed in the Stack Exchange flows.
As show above, there's no guarantee a bug will be acknowledged, that it will be triaged, that a work around will be offered, that a bug fix will be checked in, or that the fix will actually work. Prematurely closing a question surely does not help a Ask Ubuntu community user.
This seems to be very relevant for this point: Can we reopen this “bug report” that isn't being fixed?.
Stack Exchanges are useful for users. They are easier to navigate and understand than typical bug reports. For example, Ubuntu 10.10 upgrade results in blank screen after login and Server 13.10 Install Fails with USB Keyboard (Appears to Hang). Both are Ask Ubuntu questions and answers that refer to a bug report if the poster is interested.
Providing information on Ask Ubuntu is likely more helpful to users than making them search bug reports. Especially those users who are not computer savvy.
According to Ubuntu's Help and information:
AskUbuntu and Ubuntu Forums are great sources of answers to common questions about installing, troubleshooting and optimizing Ubuntu.
Ubuntu's help page appears to indicate Ask Ubuntu is a place to find help; and not bug trackers.