Reporting bugs

The are several ways to report bugs (or possible bugs) you encounter in Zulip.

  • If you have a concrete bug report with steps to reproduce the behavior, file an issue in the appropriate GitHub repository.

  • If you are not sure whether the issue you encountered is a bug, or how to reproduce it, start a conversation in the Zulip development community.

  • To report a possible security issue, contact Zulip’s security team at Do not report security issues publicly (in GitHub or in the Zulip development community). We create a CVE for every security issue in our released software.

  • If reporting a bug requires sharing private details about your organization, email

No matter where you report the bug, please follow the instructions below for what to include in a bug report.

What to include in a bug report

  1. Describe what you were expecting to see, what you saw instead, and steps that may help others reproduce the surprising behavior you experienced. Include screenshots and/or screen captures (see recommended tools) if they help communicate what you are describing, but avoid posting long videos.

  2. Indicate the version of the Zulip app where you encountered the bug. It may also be helpful to note your operating system, whether you are using the web app or the desktop app, and your browser if using the web app.

Filing a GitHub issue

Filing a GitHub issue works best when:

  • You are confident that the behavior you encountered is a bug, not some quirk of how a feature works that may turn out to be intentional.

  • You can describe clearly what you were expecting to see, and what you saw instead.

  • You can provide steps for someone else to reproduce the issue you encountered. This is important for developers to be able to fix the bug, and test that their fix worked.

If all of the above accurately describe your situation, please file an issue! Otherwise, we recommend starting a conversation in the Zulip development community, so that the problem you encountered can be discussed interactively.

Steps and best practices for filing an issue:

  1. Report the issue in the appropriate Zulip repository. The most commonly used repositories are:

  2. Do a quick search of the repository to see if your issue has already been filed. If it has, you can add a comment if that seems helpful.

  3. If you are aware of a related discussion in the Zulip development community, please cross-link between the issue and the discussion thread. Link to a specific message in the discussion thread, as message links will still work even if the topic is renamed or resolved.

To encourage prompt attention and discussion for a bug report you have filed, you can send a message in the Zulip development community with the key points from your report. Be sure to link to the GitHub issue. See the following section for advice on where and how to start the conversation.

Starting a conversation about a possible bug

If you are not sure whether the issue you encountered is a bug, or how to reproduce it, we highly recommend reporting it in the Zulip development community. It’s the best place to interactively discuss your problem.

Steps and best practices for starting a conversation:

  1. Join the Zulip development community if you don’t already have an account.

  2. Pick an appropriate stream to report your issue:

    • #issues for issues with the Zulip web app or server. A good default if you aren’t sure which stream to use.

    • #mobile for issues with the mobile apps.

    • #desktop for issues that are specific to the Zulip desktop app, and do not occur in the web app.

    • #zulip-terminal for issues with the terminal app.

    • #production help for issues related to self-hosting Zulip. See the troubleshooting guide for additional details.

  3. Start a new topic for discussing your issue, using a brief summary of the issue as the name of the topic.

If you aren’t sure where to post or how to name your topic, don’t worry! Moderators can always rename the topic, or move the thread to another stream.

Once a possible bug is reported, members of the development community will jump in to discuss whether the report constitutes a bug, how to reproduce it, and how it can be resolved. The initial reporter can help by monitoring the discussion, and replying to any follow-up questions. If the report is determined to be a reproducible bug, a GitHub issue will be filed to keep track of it (see below).

Managing bug reports

This section describes our bug management process. All community members are encouraged to help make sure things run smoothly, whether or not they originally reported the bug.

Whenever a bug is tracked in GitHub and also discussed in the development community, be sure to cross-link between the issue and the conversation. Link to a specific message in the discussion thread, as message links will still work even if the topic is renamed or resolved.

  • If you encounter a definite bug with a clear reproducer and significant user impact, it is best to both file a GitHub issue, and immediately start a discussion in the development community. This helps us address important issues as quickly as possible.

  • For minor bugs (e.g., a visual glitch in a settings menu for very long stream names), filing a GitHub issue is sufficient.

  • If a potential bug discussed in the development community is confirmed to be an actual, reproducible bug, anyone can help out by filing a GitHub issue to track it:

    • In some cases, especially if we’re planning to fix the issue right away, the issue description can be a quote from a message with a link to the discussion – no need to stress over making it perfect.

    • Use Zulipbot to add the appropriate labels, including “bug” and at least one area label; leave a comment if you don’t know what area labels to use.

    • You can add the “help wanted” label (and claim the issue if you like) if that is appropriate based on the discussion. Note that sometimes we won’t mark a reproducible bug as “help wanted”, e.g., if we want a core contributor to take it on, if the fix will happen as part of a larger project, etc.

    • Don’t forget to cross-link between the issue and the discussion.

  • If a bug report in GitHub is not sufficiently clear, Zulip maintainers will often encourage the reporter to discuss it interactively in the development community.