GitHub has done much when it comes to making open-source software and code accessible to users, but there are still areas where developers think the repository could improve. In an open letter to GitHub, developers from projects like jQuery, Meteor, PhantomJS, React Native and Selenium have detailed their most frequent problems with GitHub, along with their remedies to those problems.
“Those of us who run some of the most popular projects on GitHub feel completely ignored by you,” the developers wrote. “We’ve gone through the only support channel that you have given us either to receive an empty response or even no response at all. We have no visibility into what has happened with our requests, or whether GitHub is working on them. Since our own work is usually done in the open and everyone has input into the process, it seems strange for us to be in the dark about one of our most important project dependencies.”
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• Dealing with issues that are missing crucial information such as reproduction steps or the version tested. “We’d like issues to gain custom fields, along with a mechanism (such as a mandatory issue template, perhaps powered by a newissue.md in root as a likely simple solution) for ensuring they are filled out in every issue,” the developers wrote.
• Dealing with issues that accumulate contentless +1 comments, which cause spam for maintainers or contributors. “These +1s serve a valuable function in letting maintainers know how widespread an issue is, but their drawbacks are too great. We’d like issues to gain a first-class voting system, and for contentless comments like ‘+1’ or ‘’ or ‘me too’ to trigger a warning and instructions on how to use the voting mechanism,” the developers said.
• Dealing with issues and pull requests that don’t adhere to the contribution guidelines. “Maintainers should be able to configure a file in the repo (interpreted as [GitHub Flavored Markdown]) to be displayed at the top of the new issue/PR page instead of that link. Maintainers can choose to inline content there and/or link to other pages as appropriate,” the developers wrote.
According to the developers, they have been waiting years for these problems to be addressed, and can no longer stand idly by waiting for GitHub to make progress on them.
“If GitHub were open-source itself, we would be implementing things ourselves as a community—we’re very good at that,” they wrote.