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Reporting Problems

Is something in Zotero not working correctly for you? Here's how you can provide feedback that will allow others to help you most effectively.

If you haven't yet, be sure to follow steps 1 through 4 on the Getting Help page for searching through documentation and the forums.

1. Provide a Report ID

Firefox and Zotero Standalone

If you're experiencing a problem, before restarting Firefox, check the Actions menu (gear icon) in the Zotero toolbar for the status of the “Report Errors…” menu option.

If a potential Zotero error has occurred, “Report Errors…” will appear in black; otherwise, it will appear in gray and will not be selectable. If it is active, you can first use the error reporting wizard to submit an error report and then post the Report ID you received (not the contents of the report) to the forums. We don't read error reports sent via Report Errors unless there's a forum post pointing to them, since they're generally not helpful without context and/or follow-up.

Not all problems will show up in the wizard, and not all errors that show up in the wizard will necessarily be related to Zotero, but this is the first thing to try when encountering a problem.

If you are unable to provide a Report ID, be sure to include your Zotero version, Firefox version (if applicable), and operating system in your forum post.

Zotero Connectors (Chrome and Safari)

If you're experiencing a problem, before restarting the browser, open Zotero preferences:

  • Chrome: type chrome://extensions into the address bar, press return, and click the “Options” link underneath “Zotero Connector.”
  • Safari: right-click anywhere on a webpage and select “Zotero Preferences…”

If there are no reportable errors, the Report Errors section will contain the message “Zotero Connector has not experienced any errors since it was first started.”

If a potential Zotero error has occurred, a text box containing all error will be displayed along with a “Report Errors” button in the Report Errors section. Clicking the button will submit the error report to Zotero servers and will display a popup with a Report ID. Please post the Report ID to the forums. You may not be able to select text inside the popup dialog, but you may still be able to copy the complete contents of the popup using Ctrl-C (or Cmd-C on Mac).

Not all issues result in a reportable error, and not all errors that are displayed will necessarily be related to Zotero, but this is the first thing to try when encountering a problem.

If you are unable to provide a Report ID, be sure to include your Zotero Standalone version, Zotero Connector version, Chrome or Safari version, and operating system in your forum post.

2. Provide Steps to Reproduce

The most important thing you can do to help us fix a problem is to explain how to consistently reproduce it: if you can, we can almost certainly fix it quickly or tell you how to fix it. Note that after a problem occurs, other things in Zotero may temporarily break, so it's important to restart Firefox or Zotero Standalone and try to repeat what you did before it occurred.

Post a message to the forums with the exact steps you took to reproduce the problem (or, if you're unable to, describe what you were doing when the problem first occurred), what happened, and what you expected to happen. Be sure to list, in order, any buttons or other interface elements that you clicked on, and include exact error messages or other relevant text that you see on the screen.

Not Helpful:

Syncing isn't working.

Helpful:

After clicking the sync icon I received the following error:

“Unexpected file upload status 504 in Zotero.Sync.Storage.WebDAV._onUploadComplete()”

Report ID: 1840364945

Not Helpful:

I'm getting an error while editing notes.

Helpful:

Report ID: 1892199645

I get an error if I delete text from a note that matches a search term.

Steps to reproduce:

1. Create a new child note.
2. In the new note, type 'foo', and then click on another item.
3. Search for 'foo' in the search bar. Select the original note from the search results.
4. In the note, click to the right of 'foo' and press Backspace.

Zotero displays the message 'An error has occurred. Please restart Firefox.' in the middle pane.

Reporting Startup Errors

For serious problems that prevent you from using the reporting wizard — such as the Zotero pane not opening at all — we may need more information:

Zotero for Firefox

1. First, be sure you've tried restarting your computer. Many startup errors will go away after a computer restart. Also ensure that you have the latest version of Zotero.

2. Close Firefox and delete extensions.ini, extensions.cache, extensions.rdf, extensions.sqlite, and extensions.sqlite-journal from the Firefox profile directory (some of these files may not exist). These cache files will be recreated automatically the next time you start Firefox. Note that any disabled extensions will be re-enabled.

3. Start Firefox.

4. Go to the Tools menu or the main Firefox menu (depending on your OS) and select Web DeveloperBrowser Console. In the new window that pops up, make sure the JS button is selected and, when you click the arrow next to it, that Errors is checked in the menu that appears.

5. Look in the console for lines that contain a URL beginning with “chrome://zotero/…” or a message without a URL. (You can ignore any lines with URLs beginning with 'http://', even from zotero.org.) Highlight the relevant lines, being sure to include any filenames and line numbers, right-click and select Copy (or press Cmd-C (Mac) or Ctrl-C (Win/Linux)), and paste the errors into your forum post.

Zotero Standalone

1. First, be sure you've tried restarting your computer. Many startup errors will go away after a computer restart.

2. Start Zotero via the command line. The steps for that depend on your platform:

Mac OS X
  1. Open Terminal in /Applications/Utilities (or open it using Spotlight).
  2. Go to the Terminal menu and open Preferences. In Settings→Window, make sure Scrollback is set to “Limit to available memory”.
  3. Paste the following into the terminal and hit return.
    /Applications/Zotero.app/Contents/MacOS/zotero-bin /Applications/Zotero.app/Contents/Resources/application.ini -jsconsole
Windows
  1. Start, Run
  2. Click Browse and locate the Zotero Standalone directory. This is typically "C:\Program Files\Zotero Standalone\" or "C:\Program Files (x86)\Zotero Standalone\".
  3. Select the "zotero.exe" file and click Open.
  4. The complete path to the "zotero.exe" file will be displayed in the text box. Add " -jsconsole" to the end of the path (note the space before -jsconsole)
  5. Click OK.
Linux
  • From a terminal window, run 'zotero -jsconsole' within the Zotero program directory.


3. Zotero should start with a separate Error Console window. For each line in the console, click on the pink background, press Cmd-C (Mac) or Ctrl-C (Win/Linux) to copy the message to the clipboard, and paste the message into your forum post.

reporting_bugs.txt · Last modified: 2014/03/03 03:40 by dstillman