Reporting bugs in Other people's apps

I’m not saying I’m good at testing, but at least once a month I find something in someone else’s app that’s disappointing. So I feel compelled to report it, this may involve a bit of homework to capture repro steps (often impossible in cloud based apps) and recalling exactly how you did it, when often you were not actually in tester mode.

  1. At this point I start feeling invested, and I try to decide if this bug is severe, or having it fixed would make my life so awesome I turn into a promoter of the buggy product. If not I feel inclined to just get on with life.
  2. Get a screenshot, and now try to find them on twitter or on a forum - unfortunately this involves the question of… Do you DM or PM, or post publicly?
  3. Wait for a response. At this point you realize that the language you wrote your message in is super important, so you go back and rewrite it.
  4. Most companies do not care, get on with your life.

Yesterday I got a super bit of support feedback which actually gave detail around the bug cause that I had found. And that acknowledgement has turned me into product promoter, so Win-Win there.

We do it just for the Kudos and the chance to make things better. Some of the best places to go finding these bugs and giving good feedback are well know to us testers, and it’s sometimes even possible to get freebies. Although so far I’ve gotten more freebies by writing proper amazon product reviews. But I have gotten a small torch and a flashdrive for finding a bug in a website signup flow, which seems to be the richest pickings for bugs. Who else find the constant stream of issues you encounter outside your day job a mental load on your bug-report-submitting skills?


I find that a majority of the internet applications are buggy and annoying, even for basic things.

For a while, I thought of the idea of doing this ‘free’ testing.
But then encountered the problems of who do you contact if there’s no contact form or e-mail available, or no interest. For a couple I didn’t receive any feedback, at some they said they are not handling issues, their admin/master is without sharing any contact info. Each application/site refreshes every few years, and millions of more sites appear meanwhile. And there are bugs everywhere. And my sanity goes away just thinking at that…

But then I find it interesting to test various applications, services, or systems from other departments/teams in the company where I work, at work - when I’m having some slack time.
I’ve reported hundreds of problems, which in theory shouldn’t concern me.

  • Some people think I’m a pain in the ass.
  • Sometimes/some appreciate it and I get a thank you.
  • I could get bullied to stop reporting or told not to share any problem with the manager or to have to report it directly in their tracking system/backlog so that none looks at it.
  • I might not get any feedback.
  • I might be ‘offered’ the chance to do more work for following up: participate in meetings, follow up with fixes, investigate other risks, dig around the problem, find bigger or other problems…

At work, I like digging into all systems, apis, sites, databases, codebases, etc… for learning purposes.
At home, I prefer to live my life and I have learned to get over bugs.

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I think this is where the formal bug advocacy rules and etiquette the tester develops over time can be good training for a job jump into another department, or a way to simply raise your kudos. The trouble is you have to do this to other departments as a way of helping everyone raise their game along with your own. It means doing the research on each bug, understanding the business criticality of the “undocumented feature”.

I suspect like you Stefan, mainly I do it because it raises the bar on bugs everywhere.