How to deal with bug reports or issues where the reporter no longer cares and no one can reproduce?

There’s a bug report that the original reporter no longer cares about and I can’t reproduce the issue. Is there an English terminology used to tag those issues? Should they be kept open and tagged with that term (e.g. “timed out”) or should they be closed?

Note that this question is not the same as the one about bug not being relevant any longer. The issue still happens to the user who reported it and possibly many others who didn’t. But currently, there’s no way to test a fix or get more info.


If nobody thinks it is a problem anymore, then the ticket can be closed.

The reason for closure can be any descriptive reason, such as “not a defect”, “not reproducible” or “not relevant anymore”.

It depends of the workflow you use, and essentially the relations between developers and customers.

In Extreme Programming, it belongs to the customer representative to decide what to do with the ticket. She may consider that it’s high priority and you should work on it, or low priority, or should be removed. Whether the bug is reproducible is a different story and should become a primary concern if and when the customer representative considers that the team should work on the issue.

If, on the other hand, in your workflow, it belongs to the developers or the project manager to consider the priority of a bug report, then, well, you have a choice. With no interest from the customer to work any longer (or at all; it often happens for projects where any customer can submit a bug report, especially when reports are submitted mostly automatically), you can decide either:

  • To continue inspecting the bug, trying to reproduce and eventually solve the issue.

  • To consider that the ROI of fixing this bug is probably below zero. This may happen on frequent basis, such as when the bug concerns an outdated version of the product.

    In this case, close the issue as “not reproducible”. Don’t label it. Close it: you don’t need to pollute your bug tracking system by keeping such bugs opened. Make sure your bug tracking system still keeps those bug reports accessible, including to your customers: such bug may be reopened by another customer who may be able to reproduce the issue.

It would be interesting to find out why the reporter is no longer interested. Are there more important bugs or has it just gone away?

The bug should of course have a low priority now and if it can’t be reproduced, then I’d be inclined to set it to “monitor” (if you have such a status in your system) or leave it open with a status of “unable to reproduce”.

If none of these alternatives are open to you, then add the necessary notes and close it off.


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