Last week GitHub responded to a letter from open source project maintainers with apologies for the lack of communication and lack of attention to feedback regarding issue management. Because contributions are the lifeblood of open source projects, maintainers are requesting additional features for issues and pull requests that would help make contributions more meaningful.
The discussions surrounding the “Dear GitHub” letter challenged the company to start tackling the low-hanging fruit on the list of improvements that would benefit open source projects. Yesterday GitHub introduced issue and pull request templates as the first of many promised improvements.
Issue templates can now be created by adding a file called ISSUE_TEMPLATE.md to the root directory. Project maintainers can use this template to ensure that crucial information, such as expected behavior, reproduction steps, and version tested, is included in the bug report. This is the kind of information that saves time for everyone involved in testing and improving the software.
Pull request templates follow the same file-naming pattern (PULL_REQUEST_TEMPLATE.md). These new templates can be added to either the root directory of the repository or the new .github/ directory. GitHub recommends placing CONTRIBUTING.md, ISSUE_TEMPLATE.md, and PULL_REQUEST_TEMPLATE.md files in the .github/ folder to reduce clutter in the root directory.
GitHub’s new issue and pull request templates are a positive step toward reaffirming the company’s commitment to supporting open source projects. Maintainers are still hoping to see a voting system implemented to help declutter the +1’s from issues queues.