Etiquette of mentioning issues/PRs from other projects (backlinks)

  softwareengineering

On GitHub, when an issue in small project calimero mentions an issue in big project godzilla, a backlink message appears on the issue in godzilla. For example, suppose a hard-to-fix bug in godzilla affects many dependent projects, which all implement a workaround while referring to the godzilla issue in their PRs. This may lead to many messages in the godzilla issue. Although this may remind the godzilla maintainers that many packages are affected, they arguably add little more than “me too” comments, which are typically unwanted for good reasons.

Considering that „me too“ messages are considered spammy noise but that cross-project backlink references lead to similar messages on issues or PRs, are there any etiquette on whether such references should be used sparingly? Or are they generally OK? As far as I know, such references do not normally trigger notifications to subscribers, unlike issue comments.

Example of a numpy issue that has quite a lot of backlinks: https://github.com/numpy/numpy/issues/24300

5

I don’t understand the equivalence between linking issues (even across projects) and “me too” messages. They are not the same at all.

We can continue to assume large project godzilla which is include by or a dependency to many smaller projects. If godzilla has an issue which drives changes in these smaller projects, I would expect linkages between the issues and pull requests to these smaller projects and godzilla. If the project is implementing a workaround, it’s good to understand why that workaround is being implemented and, by linking it to the specific cause, when it needs to be revisited. That is, if and when godzilla fixes the issue in their project, the other projects can revisit their workarounds or see if the reported issues still exist and do the necessary work on their projects.

These links also add information to godzilla maintainers. They can see how many projects are affected by this issue, what other projects are doing in terms of workarounds, and even communicate directly with other project maintainers regarding fixing the issue and releasing those fixes.

The information provided by these links add a lot more than “me too” comments. Even if the “me too” included a specific project name, it doesn’t have the automatic connections and visibility into the issue status or the ability for maintainers to ping each other about the work.

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