Issue Tracking#

Using the Issue Tracker#

If you think you have found a bug in Python, you can report it to the issue tracker. The issue tracker is now hosted on GitHub, alongside the codebase and pull requests. Documentation bugs can also be reported there.

If you would like to file an issue about this devguide, please do so at the devguide repo.


Python used to use a dedicated Roundup instance as its issue tracker. That old bug tracker was hosted under the domain (sometimes called bpo for short). Currently a read-only version is still available on that domain for historical purposes. All bpo data has been migrated to the current issue tracker on GitHub.

If you’re familiar with bpo and would like to learn more about GitHub issues, please read this page, and the Triaging an Issue page as they provide good introductory material. There is also a GitHub issues for BPO users document to answer some of the more popular questions.

Checking if a bug already exists#

The first step before filing an issue report is to see whether the problem has already been reported. Checking if the problem is an existing issue will:

  • help you see if the problem has already been resolved or has been fixed for the next release

  • save time for you and the developers

  • help you learn what needs to be done to fix it

  • determine if additional information, such as how to replicate the issue, is needed

To see if an issue already exists, search the bug database using the search box above the list of bugs on the issues page. A form-based advanced search query builder is also available on GitHub to help creating the text query you need.

Reporting an issue#

If the problem you’re reporting is not already in the issue tracker, you can report it using the green “New issue” button on the right of the search box above the list of bugs. If you’re not already signed in to GitHub, it will ask you to do so now.

First you need to select what kind of problem you want to report. The available choices are:

  • Bug report: an existing feature isn’t working as expected;

  • Documentation: there is missing, invalid, or misleading documentation;

  • Enhancement: suggest a new feature for Python;

  • Performance: something should work faster;

  • Security: there is a specific kind of weakness open to exploitation through the points of vulnerability;

  • Tests: something is wrong with CPython’s suite of regression tests;

  • Discuss: you’d like to learn more about Python, discuss ideas for possible changes to future Python versions, track core development discussions, or join a specific special-interest group.

Depending on your choice, a dedicated form template will appear. In particular, you’ll notice that the last button actually takes you to Discourse where many Python-related discussions take place.

The submission form has only two fields that you need to fill:

  • in the Title field, enter a very short description of the problem; less than ten words is good;

  • in the Write field, describe the problem in detail using hints from the template that was put in that field for you. Be sure to include what you expected to happen, what did happen, and how to replicate the problem. Be sure to include whether any extension modules were involved, and what hardware and software platform you were using (including version information as appropriate). In particular, what version of Python you were using.

Understanding the issue’s progress and status#

There is a number of additional fields like Assignees, Labels, Projects, and Milestone. Those are filled by triagers and core developers, this is covered in the Triaging an Issue page. You don’t need to worry about those when reporting issues as a Python user.

You will automatically receive an update each time an action is taken on the bug, unless you changed your GitHub notification settings.

Disagreement With a Resolution on the Issue Tracker#

As humans, we will have differences of opinions from time to time. First and foremost, please be respectful that care, thought, and volunteer time went into the resolution.

With this in mind, take some time to consider any comments made in association with the resolution of the issue. On reflection, the resolution steps may seem more reasonable than you initially thought.

If you still feel the resolution is incorrect, then raise a thoughtful question on python-dev. Further argument and disrespectful discourse on python-dev after a consensus has been reached amongst the core developers is unlikely to win any converts.

As a reminder, issues closed by a core developer have already been carefully considered. Please do not reopen a closed issue.

Helping Triage Issues#

Once you know your way around how Python’s source files are structured and you are comfortable working with patches, a great way to contribute is to help triage issues. Do realize, though, that experience working on Python is needed in order to effectively help triage.

Around the clock, new issues are being opened on the issue tracker and existing issues are being updated. Every issue needs to be triaged to make sure various things are in proper order. Even without special privileges you can help with this process.

Classifying Reports#

For bugs, an issue needs to:

  • clearly explain the bug so it can be reproduced

  • include all relevant platform details

  • state what version(s) of Python are affected by the bug.

These are things you can help with once you have experience developing for Python:

  • try reproducing the bug: For instance, if a bug is not clearly explained enough for you to reproduce it then there is a good chance a core developer won’t be able to either.

  • see if the issue happens on a different Python version: It is always helpful to know if a bug not only affects the in-development version of Python, but whether it also affects other versions in maintenance mode.

  • write a unit test: If the bug lacks a unit test that should end up in Python’s test suite, having that written can be very helpful.

This is all helpful as it allows triagers (i.e., people with the Developer role on the issue tracker) to properly classify an issue so it can be handled by the right core developers in a timely fashion.

Reviewing Patches#

If an issue has a pull request attached that has not been reviewed, you can help by making sure the patch:

  • follows the style guides

  • applies cleanly to an up-to-date clone

  • is a good solution to the problem it is trying to solve

  • includes proper tests

  • includes proper documentation changes

  • submitter is listed in Misc/ACKS, either already or the patch adds them

Doing all of this allows core developers and triagers to more quickly look for subtle issues that only people with extensive experience working on Python’s code base will notice.

Finding an Issue You Can Help With#

If you want to help triage issues, you might also want to search for issues in modules which you have a working knowledge. Search for the name of a module in the issue tracker or use the advanced search query builder to search for specific kinds of issues (e.g. the “Windows” label if you are a Windows developer, “Extension Modules” if you are familiar with C, etc.).

Gaining the “Triager” Role on the Issue Tracker#

When you have consistently shown the ability to properly help triage issues without guidance, you may request that you be given the “Triager” role on the issue tracker. You can make the request to any person who already has the Triager role. If they decide you are ready to gain the extra privileges on the tracker they will then act as a mentor to you until you are ready to do things entirely on your own. There is no set rule as to how many issues you need to have helped with before or how long you have been participating. The key requirements are that you show the desire to help, you are able to work well with others (especially those already with the Triager role), and that have a firm grasp of how to do things on the issue tracker properly on your own.

Gaining the Triager role will allow you to set any value on any issue in the tracker, releasing you from the burden of having to ask others to set values on an issue for you in order to properly triage something. This will not only help speed up and simplify your work in helping out, but also help lessen the workload for everyone by gaining your help.