I am the maintainer of a somewhat popular open source email app for Android, called K-9 Mail. We use GitHub to host the app’s source code and use its issue tracker to manage bug reports and feature requests.
Lately, I’ve found myself hiding issue comments more and more. Sooner or later someone will ask “why?”. And now I can point them to this blog post 😀

If you didn’t know that team members can hide comments, this is what it looks like:

Hidden GitHub issue comments

There are all kinds of issue comments that I hide:

  • “+1” comments
  • Comments asking when this feature will (finally) be implemented
  • Comments asking why this bug hasn’t been fixed yet
  • “Please add this feature, it is really important to me” type of comments
  • Totally off-topic comments where people ask general questions about the project
  • “I have a similar but different problem” type of comments
  • Comments where people (colorfully) express their dissatisfaction that a feature still hasn’t been implemented after X years
  • My own comments telling people to please…
    • …use the support forum for tangential discussions
    • …open a new issue because their bug/feature request is totally unrelated

All of these have one thing in common. For the developer who ends up implementing the feature or fixing the bug these comments don’t add any useful information.

Especially issues for feature requests can remain open for years. When I go back to the issue page I don’t want to read through those unhelpful comments again (and again, and again). So that’s why I hide them.

I’d love to learn how other open source maintainers deal with such comments. Let me know on Mastodon or Twitter.

Thanks to @tbsprs for proofreading this post.