Someone finds an issue thread in an open-source project repository and, noticing that the last comment was posted a while ago, posts another comment asking about the current status of said issue:
“Any updates on this?”
Don’t be this person.
If there were any updates to that issue, they would be right there in that issue, visible in plain view for all to see. Do people really think progress happens somewhere else, behind the scenes? The probability of some out-of-sight meeting, sprint, or planning session happening without being visible somewhere in the project’s issue tracker is almost zero.1
Nevertheless, it seems inevitable that someone will comment with some flavor of “Any updates?”, and every single person subscribed to that issue receives a pointless and highly annoying notification. That includes maintainers, who volunteer their unpaid labor to work on that project, and who will be particularly annoyed.
What To Do Instead
While wholly misguided, the temptation to post an “Any updates?” comment is understandable. You want to see progress. So what should you do instead?
The most effective thing you can do is make a financial donation to the project and to the people who maintain it. Maintainers have limited time and often can only prioritize open-source development when financial resources are available and aligned with that development.
If you don’t want to contribute financially to the project, think about how much time you could allocate to help the project. And be realistic. Assuming you can allocate some time to assist, then post a comment like this:
“Many thanks to everyone who contributes to this project. In that spirit, is there anything I can do to help move this particular issue forward?”
If you can’t allocate time to assist, which is of course totally fine, then what you should do is…
Nothing. Do nothing. Just wait.
Side note: I have seen people post “Any updates?” merely because they want to receive GitHub notifications on that issue. Do not do this. It just creates noise for everyone subscribed to that issue. Instead, use the Notifications section of the right-hand sidebar and tap the Subscribe button.
Asking if there are any updates is tantamount to saying, “I want this thing to be done, but it’s clearly not done, so would someone do something about it?” It makes maintainers feel bad (and/or annoyed) and creates needless noise for people subscribed to that issue.
So be a good open source citizen, either by offering to help (if you’re able), or by patiently waiting until someone else can. 💫
- Is it possible the issue has already been resolved via a merged pull request and someone forgot to close the corresponding issue? It is possible but unlikely, and either way, posting an “Any updates?” comment is still not the right move. ↩