February 19, 2020

How To Compete in a Bug Hunt Challenge


Viewing Available Challenges

The first thing you probably want to do as a bug hunt competitor is to see what challenges are available to you to participate in. You can find all available challenges on the Challenge Listings page.

On this page you will find the challenge titles, tags, as well as the timeline and prize money for each individual challenge. For additional information on any of the elements you see on this page, simply hover your mouse over that specific area.


If you are logged in, the first challenges you’ll see on this page are the ones you are registered for at that moment. As you scroll through the challenges, note which phase the challenge is at. In particular, note which challenges are open for registration when searching for a new competition. To make it easier, you can filter through challenges with the default filters in the menu on the right, or for more flexible options you can use the Filters button in the top right, which will help narrow down your search even more. While selecting “QA” as a keyword, the challenges list page will look something like this:


Understanding the Challenge Details Page


Great, you’ve found the challenge you wanted to compete in! Each challenge has its own dedicated page with the description of the challenge and links to relevant material. Let’s look at the different pieces of information you can find on this page that will help you become a worthy competitor.

The Obvious

This top area presents you with the number of winners for that particular challenge and the prize amounts they would receive. Upon your first visit to the page, you will be able to click the register button, but only do that if you plan on submitting by the deadline. Clicking the register button will allow you access to the private challenge forum as well as files you may need to complete your submission.

Deadline Bar

Expanding this bar will reveal all of the dates and times you need to know in order to submit your solution on time. Make sure you take special note of the “Submission” deadline as that is the specific moment you need to submit your solution by or else it will be disqualified.

Challenge Overview

These are the details of the challenge you are about to compete in. Be sure to read this section thoroughly before you begin so you do not miss any details. If something doesn’t seem quite clear or you need more information, ask your question in the Challenge Forum.

Challenge Forum

Note, this link is not displayed until you register for the challenge
Clicking this link will take you to the private challenge forum where you can ask your questions to the copilot or to generally talk about that specific challenge (more on this later).

The Challenge Forum

The challenge forum link becomes available once you register for a challenge. The challenge forum is VERY important.


The challenge forum is where members of the challenge and the copilot (the Topcoder member who manages the challenge) post messages to each other. It is important to note that we recommend you click the “Watch Forums” link so that you will receive email notifications whenever a new thread is posted.


By default there are two threads: Code Questions and Code Documents.

Most of the time the copilot will post relevant material to the challenge in the thread “Code Documents” so make sure to view or download those files first.

If a contestant (including you) has a question, needs clarification on something, or finds an issue while working on the challenge, then during the challenge they may post in the “Code Questions” section. Be aware that clarifications and updates posted by the copilot in the forum will override the original specs in case of conflicts! Another reason to watch the forum upon starting the challenge.

What Do I Actually Have To Do For The Challenge?

To figure out what you have to do for a challenge, read the description to determine what the challenge is asking you for. Specifically, look at the “Final Submission Guidelines” section to determine exactly what you need to provide in your submission.


For a bug hunt challenge, you will need to explore defects of the product and create a new bug report in GitLab/GitHub based on a template once a new bug is identified. A typical template looks like:

<Bug Title: concise description of the bug>
### Reproduction Steps ###
<Detailed steps to reproduce the bug>
### Expected Result ###
<Expected result after reproduction steps>
### Actual Result ###
<Actual result after reproduction steps>
### Screenshots or screencast ###
<Screenshots or screencast showing the bug>
### Device/Browser Information ###
<Detailed device and browser information>

Sometimes you’ll need to select proper labels for a ticket, just click the Labels dropdown and select the label which applies to it.


Important Notes:

  1. Please check the issues which are already reported to avoid duplicating, only the first reporter will get credit when there are duplicated tickets.

  2. Do not edit the ticket after it is submitted. Make sure you enter all the details at the time you create the issue, otherwise, your issue will be moved to the end of the queue. If you really need to edit an issue you must use the comments section for this (i.e. add a comment to describe any changes you want to make to the issue), and the reviewer/copilot will decide whether the changes are major enough to move the issue to the end of the queue.

Prepare & Make Your Submission

Prepare your submission according to the challenge requirements. Typically, you should create a folder where you’ll put all your deliverables.

For Bug Hunt challenges, it often only requires a text file including your handle and GitLab/GitHub ID. So it would be safe to submit this file early after you register for a bug hunt challenge. Only after that can you focus on looking for bugs and creating bug reports on GitLab/GitHub.

To formally submit your submission, go to the challenge details page and press the “Submit” button.

A new page will show up. It should be pretty straight forward from here; simply upload your submission, check the box to agree to the terms, and press the submit button.


Post-Challenge Phase: Review

You can view the status of your submission by clicking the “Review Scorecard” button on the challenge details page that we had displayed earlier.


When looking at the Review Scorecard, click the “My Open Projects” tab at the top of the page. It is here that you can see all challenges that you’re registered for.


Click a challenge to see its details.


From here you are able to see the phases of the challenge, see the judge’s comments when they become available.

Review Phase

Once the submission deadline is over, the review begins. The copilot (and/or reviewers) will review all of the submissions for that challenge. They’ll judge the submissions based on the challenge description and the review scorecard. Typically, for bug hunt challenge, they will review each ticket reported and mark as Accepted, Rejected or Duplicate.

Appeals Phase

There will be no Appeal Phase for bug hunt challenges.

Appeals Response

There will be no Appeal Response Phase for bug hunt challenges.
You will get email notifications when each phase of the challenge begins and ends.

The Challenge Is Over, Who Won?

The challenge is over when the Appeals Response phase ends. You can go back to the challenge details page (or click the link in the email you get) and a list of winners and scores for each submission will become available.


The challenge is officially over. The competitors who placed will be awarded their prize money. Typically in a bug hunt challenge, for the competitors who are not in the top N will be paid $5 for each non-duplicate and verified issue up to a maximum of the Nth place prize.


Shortly after a challenge ends, prize money is awarded to the winners. To see your prize money, hover your mouse over your profile name, and click “Payments”.


Here are some notes to remember about payments:

  • It may take up to 24 hours for a payment to appear in PACTS.

  • If you haven’t already, you should fill out and submit a W-9 or a W-8BEN. Click here for more information.

  • Your payment methods are either through Paypal, Payoneer, or Western Union.

  • Each prize payment is on hold for 30 days.

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