I was wondering about the best way to contact an author of a package with a question or even a feature request. Just email the address in the package pdf? Ask others about it on tex.sx to make sure the feature is useful to the general public first? Or is it even rude to post the author did not answer, like I did here. Is there an accepted etiquette?


3 Answers 3

up vote 13 down vote accepted

Recently, I couldn't come to terms with latexmk. After reading the available documentation and searching for a solution on the Internet, I posted a question here, to make sure that I wasn't missing anything. This way, I could avoid bothering the package author with a stupid question -- turned out it wasn't: When even a bounty couldn't get me an answer that I was content with, I e-mailed my question to the author's address from the documentation, pointing him to the tex.sx post as well. I got a response within half a day, a day later a new pre-version of latexmk and another few days later, the author joined tex.sx and is now answering latexmk questions on here, which makes for a great addition to this platform. The new version of latexmk was pushed to CTAN a few days ago.

I'd recommend this way for problems of this kind; asking nicely about the problem won't hurt and everybody can benefit. Just don't get pouty if you don't get such a lightning-fast response as I did.


You should first check the package manual and its README file (both usually under http://www.ctab.org/pkg/<packagename>) for an email address. Many of them have it included. Some package, like mine, also have a bug tracker which should be used for bug reports and feature requests if possible. Usually such a tracker is also mentioned either in the README or the manual.

The marginfix package has a Git repository under http://shicks.github.com/marginfix/. It has a bug tracker on GitHub: https://github.com/shicks/marginfix/issues. You should simply open a bug ticket there.

Please note that virtually all package authors do write these in their spare time and might be busy with their day job, so you should give them 1-2 weeks to respond, then write them a second email.

Several package authors are also reading the comp.text.tex usenet group and people often post package related issues there. However, you still should CC the author using a private email as well. He/she might overlook the post otherwise. Also it is a little rude to post it in public but not contact the author directly as well.

You linked post would actually be better on comp.text.tex. The post doesn't fit very much in the Q&A concept of this site. I don't think that posting the whole email to the author in full was necessary.


This varies from package author to package author. If you can find a (working) e-mail address, then this is usually the best way. That can be done in parallel with a public query, for example by CCing the author on a Usenet or mailing list post, or by linking to a post here.

If you cannot get hold of someone, then one approach is to 'ask around' to find out if anyone knows how to get a message to them. The CTAN team are useful in this regard, as they sometimes have more up-to-date contact details than are available elsewhere. Clearly, if you've tried and failed to get hold of someone, it's acceptable to say so. That's particularly relevant if there is a need for someone to 'take over' an LPPL package.

Only remember that the package author is at no obligation to answer your mail. And please try to ask smart questions or send good bug reports. –  Martin Schröder Nov 6 '11 at 22:43

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