It's Not a Bug, It's a Feature: How Misclassification Impacts Bug Prediction

Kim Herzig, Sascha Just, and Andreas Zeller

Saarland University, Germany

Track: Technical Research
Session: Bug Prediction
In a manual examination of more than 7,000 issue reports from the bug databases of five open-source projects, we found 33.8% of all bug reports to be misclassified---that is, rather than referring to a code fix, they resulted in a new feature, an update to documentation, or an internal refactoring. This misclassification introduces bias in bug prediction models, confusing bugs and features: On average, 39% of files marked as defective actually never had a bug. We discuss the impact of this misclassification on earlier studies and recommend manual data validation for future studies.