There were some benefits too (I started writing more substantial comments), but the net effect had some unintended problems, so I'm pretty happy they got rid of that metric.
Karma has some problems too, and could no doubt do with some adjustments, but I think that it's more useful to have it than not.
I'd rather highlight comments that are controversial: they have been voted on a large number of times, with nearly 50% up vote and 50% down vote.
Those comments at least usually represent an interesting diff from either what I already think or what is stock monoculture canon on HN.
Do you think it's useful btw to have bookmarklets on the mobile web? Until now, you were limited to safari extensions and intents which you had to install through the app store.
HN could probably do something similar and mitigate karma ranking.
I agree that it could use adjustments.
Real-life karma is a good thing, but karma points are mostly a bandaid for "no other way of trying to keep trolling and other poor quality communication down".
The serious downside of having karma is providing undeserved power and prestige via a high status and ability to have certain actions to those that don't necessarily deserve it.
But the only way to get rid of it and get similar benefit is to have a community that can elect users into power that deserve it, like StackOverflow's elections. It would be even better if you gave the power to everyone and they were all wise enough and dependable enough to wield that power as needed, but that is unlikely to happen anytime soon.
In the absence of karma you'd expect that would make a person happy: the story they liked is getting attention! But people get mad if they miss out on the karma of getting a story voted up.
The notion of "cheating" the contribution graph is senseless, because it's not a competition. However, what it was great for was motivation to yourself to write code (however minor) every day.
I used the streak count to help push myself to keep working on a project I would've otherwise quickly set aside. My last streak was 27 days. I found when I broke a streak, my motivation to commit was much lower, and I would let my project lie for several days at a time.
So now that I started to use it, they cut it out. sigh
Any habit tracker site/app will also do this for you - I automate mine with GitHub API data, and get a similar effect (the app notifies of streaks daily).
OrgMode also handles this out of the box (or at least what you'd call out of the box on OrgMode...)
The heatmaps are created based on the search results, so if you want to see your contributions, you'll just search for your email. Searches are at the branch level and you can search across multiple branches from different repositories, and so forth.
My intentions for the heatmaps was never to help you visualize commit streaks though. Their purpose was to help you visualize search results, to make it easier for you to drill into certain timelines.
I wish they made the number available on the page only the account owner could see.
That's how I was using the feature. Now I'm sad it's gone.
(PS: I wrote it)
Private contributions don't benefit the greater community unless the project is eventually open sourced.
The contribution graph was a nice way to show off how much one contributes to open source, thereby encouraging folks to contribute to open source projects. It's a vanity metric in the first place, so why not use it to help motivate more contributions to open source software?
What they (GitHub) really need to work on, if it isn't on their radar is a marketplace/extension system. And this is where I think Microsoft may leap frog everybody.
I've only spent a day looking at building extensions for VSS, but I'm really impressed by how much thought they put into making 3rd party solutions, first class citizens. And I think this comes from the fact they understand enterprise.
In enterprise, there are so many crazy edge cases and if you don't have a reasonable answer to how you can address them, customers will pass on you.
I would like to bring advanced Git analytics and search to GitHub, but it's not worth the effort considering how easily I can drop it into Bitbucket and VSS.
Anyway as a friend of mine says : "GitHub is Facebook for developers", so I guess the social features are still playing a role in the decisions.
You don't get green boxes for repositories you no longer have access to.
(rewrote this comment to provide more substance)
You could argue that I can always track my streak myself, but the fact that it was a public metric with visible milestones (e.g 100 days) matters. Even though it's a somewhat meaningless vanity metric, I know people will notice it, and people will notice if I miss a day and break it.
I don't mind the private repos change as much, but it could do with showing private contributions in a different colour (or maybe a diagonal slice of the box). With private contributions the boxes lose some meaning because now all it tells you is "does this person's employer use Github" rather than showing how much open source work they do.
For instance: the first contribution in a vacuum is 1 point; contributions for X days in a row are worth 3 points each; if you then “miss” only a day or two, you still get 2 points for the next contribution (unless you wait like a month, in which case it becomes 1 again). And to discourage absurd amounts of continuous work and burnout, contributions could also fall to 2 points after something like 14 consecutive days, where they might return to 3 if you take just 1 day off.
The “every day” is a problem. Contributing to FOSS is a good thing, but encouraging people to write code every single day can lead to unhealthy habits.
> but it's not like streaks are competetive or anything
There are, just like your number of commits or your number of followers.
Next up, GitHub, is doing a better job of determining what is a "contribution". Specifically, issue triage doesn't count as contribution. If I open an issue, I get a contribution, but if I close an issue, I don't. I do a lot of issue triage, and the lack of symmetry always bugged me: if someone opens up an invalid bug report, and I do the triage work, determine that bug was already fixed on master, and close it, they get a contribution, but I don't!
In other words, once you start quantifying what is and isn't a contribution, you also start to quantify what kind of labor is valued and not valued. I'd like to see some kind of revision to these rules that makes sure people who do valuable work are getting recognized for it.
Then I got to the loss of the commit streak counter. The main impact there is that it's now not reasonably possible for me to track my streak anymore, since GitHub only serves up 366 squares. So what they've effectively done for me is remove that little bit of excitement that can help motivate me to improve my skills when I'd otherwise slack off.
I'm going to see what I need to do to get the calculation for longer streaks, but it seems likely it'll have to be something custom that relies on my local filesystem for git data, which is annoying.
I'll likely be working this weekend on something that polls github for each day moving backwards, or modifying a friend's code that parses local repo metadata.
But the code streak is being removed too, which conveniently makes this potential loophole a nonissue! (However, it wouldn't surprise me if commit bots are used regardless to give an impression of coding-every-day on the graph.)
But as others have pointed out, Dropbox wants people to have private repos. Bizdev wins I guess.
I think this can also be used to show fake contribution within private repos with a bot like these https://github.com/gelstudios/gitfiti it becomes easy to show more activity without doing much work.
I don't think either of these things are positive!
I don't mind really if someone wants to do that work. If third party sites pop up that do that work and turn it into visualizations, that's OK too, because you can always dispute the accuracy or intentions of third parties.
But I am not OK with my contributions being extremely easy to visualize just by looking at the landing page of my profile.
I've had several recruiters and interviewers comment on it, and ask me antagonistic and probing questions about my commit history to a particular side project repo that I just have for fun. Even when I explain that I've had significant family issues in the past year or so which has greatly impacted my ability to do as much OSS development as I want, they never seem satisfied. It just gives them an extra lever to use to reject someone for political bullshit reasons.
Since this is common from recruiters and employers, it's only fair, in my view, that they should have to really work a lot harder to aggregate that data themselves. Or at least allow me to control whether or not my own user landing page does or doesn't present that data directly.
Hilariously, at the bottom of the page GitHub says you can send them feedback by notifying @github on Twitter ... except I don't have or want a Twitter account ... so I can't even provide feedback.
In general, the graph also works as personal log across ALL of my projects: everything I do is in GitHub, and I can easily see what kind of projects I have worked on in the past year and analyse my progress across all the projects I contribute to. I think it's a great tool with tons of benefits.
That said, I think it's sad. It's a shame, but I guess that's just another signal that open source projects should find another home more fitting to their ideals (like gitlab).
The number of contributions in my chart just increased 20-fold.
Toggling the 'contributions settings' to 'public only' on my profile still shows me all my private contributions.
I am happy because it means that the contribution graph looses it's importance. I could just use a cron script that auto commits 1-3 commits every day and noone could verify the importance of these commits. This is good because many people just got into the habit of updating their dotfiles once a day or do some very very insignificant things to keep the streak going.
On the other side it's sad because the graph only showed involvement with open source. Private repositories shouldn't be in there to taint the image.
I hope that with this people stop with artificial streak pushing and actually show their open source contributions only.
Before this I could determine what kind of open source work someone did by looking at this graph and clicking on random days of activity to see details.
Now the "everyone is equally awesome and meritocracy is a swear word" attitude has eliminated the last of the usefulness of this particular feature.
I think you mean everyone except those who point out how that completely doesn't work in the real world. Those people get down-voted to the abyss ;)
One thing this doesn't address (and I assume GH would never allow) is commits from other sources, like BitBucket, GitLab, etc.
Huh? A git commit is a git commit, doesn't matter whether it was made with the git cli, github (ie libgit2), or any other tool. Commits don't store what tool was used to make them.
I believe the parent post is referring to commits made to a repo that isn't being hosted on GitHub.
One workaround could be to host your fork on GitHub and even though the origin may be on a different hosting service.