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Questions about bugs in pre-release/beta software or prototype hardware are off-topic. Bugs in pre-release products are common and even expected, and are often fixed before the final version is released — at which point the question becomes obsolete. Consider reporting these types of problems directly to the product manufacturer.

I was poking around on Superuser earlier and found a Windows 8.1 question. Without giving it much thought, I flagged the question as off-topic. After searching a bit more, I found that the tag exists. As it stands, Windows 8.1 is set to be released on October 18th and is thus pre-release software.

73 questions are tagged.

My question, do we have a different policy about beta operating systems? What do we do about these questions when they directly violate one of our close reasons?

I found a similar question. Should questions related to problems with beta software/prototype hardware be closed? It's related to Windows 8.1 and it appears the beta/pre-release close reason was created in response to this question. So why then wasn't the tag burninated and all the questions closed as off-topic?


A note: Windows 8.1 is set to be released quite soon. I think arguing this might be a moot point, but I'd rather have some concrete discussion for future reference.

  • It appears you skipped over the two words "bugs in" in that first quoted sentence. For example, questions about new features are perfectly on topic (well, unless it's "this feature should work but it doesn't"). Of course, there's a grey area in what constitutes a bug, but it also means not every question about pre-release software is off topic. See also this related question. – Daniel Beck Oct 7 '13 at 18:21
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The Windows 8.1 final "RTM" (Released To Manufacturing -- not a beta) build is already available to people who have a MSDN subscription. Those people can legitimately ask questions about . Those still running the "Preview" would be misusing the tag if they declare .

  • Out of curiosity, when was the final RTM build made available? – DanteTheEgregore Oct 7 '13 at 17:24
  • @DanteTheEgregore - it was made available through the normal channels at least 30 days ago. The RTM build Windows 8.1 Enterprise was release through the normal channels a short amount of time later. As for your question itself. We should just treat each question by itself, because even bugs in the RTM, cannot (perhaps should not) be address until the actual GA release date. There were at least 2 questions started today and in both cases an actual answer will have to wait until the GA date. – Ramhound Oct 7 '13 at 18:42
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See also my answer here: How far can we go when asking about beta software?

That close reason is basically there to give us a way to take care of questions where the answer is "Only [manufacturer] could know," or "it's a bug, that's what you get for running pre-release software". A question about how to use new features or how something works, as in the case of this question, is fine. We just don't want to become a support site for undocumented pre-release problems that will be irrelevant as soon as the final version of the software (or hardware) is released.

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