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You can now set your status on GitHub (blog.github.com)
60 points by saranshk 4 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 96 comments

All sarcasm aside, this feature is absolutely the wrong direction. Github may have some things in common with social networks, but it operates on a longer-term scale. It's the difference between a book and a paragraph. People who care about this sort of daily minutia can find it plentifully on Twitter and Facebook. Github is great for finding out what people have been up to, without caring about what they're doing this second, and that's what was great about it.

My heart sank a little when I saw this appear on my profile last night. I don't understand which demographic this is meant to target or what the point of it is, I just can't think of a single reasonable use case for it.

The demographic it's targeting is people who use GitHub for daily work professionally, not volunteer open source maintainers (just as the demographic Slack targets is people who are paid to have Slack open 8 hours a day, not community chat rooms, and their product decisions make more sense in that context). But even volunteer open source maintainers are likely to find "On vacation until mm/dd" useful.

> I just can't think of a single reasonable use case for it.

MS didn't acquire GitHub because they cared at all about the technology. It was the exact same strategy as LinkedIn. It's all about tracking us, the developer community, and keeping their finger on the pulse of where things are going. Generating more click event data to further profile your tastes for future commercial use by Microsoft. What other possible reason could there be?

MS cares about developer mindshare. Through GitHub they have access to the worlds largest software developer social network (well it's almost a social network). The large number of open source projects on the site provide a moat and a network effect.

Micromanaging open source repo owners?

Engineers weirdly trying to impress recruiters by pretending they're working all the time?

I can hazard a reasonable guess based on my observation of various executive life forms and, oddly, The Office. I obviously do not have data to back it up, but random clicks seem to find random non-code related items on GitHub ( I think HN had pizza recipe example kinda drove that point further for me ). From this I can only gather that someone decided that GitHub should be more.. fun, social place where you interact, interface and collaborate in real time. Just be happy no one announced they are moving everything to a semi-public blockchain.

put that in your uBlock Origin "My filters" list and move on.

If you maintain OSS projects, this can be a useful tool to communicate that you are working on a particular, often-requested feature. Or perhaps, that you are on vacation, in hiatus, or sick.

Likewise, this could be a useful feature in the context of enterprise GitHub or private repos used by organizations. Seeing the current status of a coworker without leaving GitHub is a nice plus, especially if they start integrating statuses with tag autocompletion.

Indeed I can see that they are quite close to Slack's own default statuses.

Now if they just evolve their "discussions" (formerly issues) into "live discussions", and then add one more feature to allow separating it by "tag" or maybe "topic" per repo, they can pretty much replace Slack.

I think you misunderstand the feature. You don't have to constantly update your status. You can set it once in a while to show what you're up to... if you want to.

And what else is the point of that except to let other people know about your hour-to-hour business? Their gif uses "Shipping [software]" as an example, and even has a "Busy" checkbook they they demonstrate ticking off. When features exist, people use them, and when some people use them, other people are socially pressured into using them to conform to peer expectations. This is the beginning of a bad thing for Github unless MS changes direction. That said, Github arose out of the ashes of Sourceforge completely and utterly failing to deliver frictionless value (and the advent of git), so maybe this will eventually provide an opportunity for an existing (or new?) competitor to rise up and take Github's place in the space of "simple network of git repos".

Usually I do want to know about the hour-to-hour business of the people I am professionally developing software with, and I want them to know about mine. When I send a code review to people elsewhere in the company and it's timely, I want some expectation of whether they're around or I should find another reviewer.

That's usually what happens when Microsoft buys a market leader.

That is exactly how Twitter started out too, with tweets previously called statuses

My guess is it will happen as frequently as people update their Whatsapp status

Now I just need a Winamp plugin that changes my status to tell everyone what song I'm currently listening to, and I'll feel like I'm back in the 90s. :)

I hate to say it but I feel like the 90s was a better time all around for the casual computer user.

- You had total customization over your computer, every app was skinnable including Windows or MacOS itself

- Linux was in a great spot, finally becoming usable as a desktop OS with a ton of fun toys and UI/UX experiments that got a lot of us into Linux before we knew about CLIs

- Products were sold per-unit instead of *aaS, so when you bought something, you knew you could use it as long as you needed to

- Social networks didn't exist, so if you wanted to interact with people, you had to learn something - which is what made geocities and later MySpace fun, since people had to learn a little HTML in order to update their friends on their current status, and could use that new skill to decorate their "home" page

I miss the 90s. I want to bring that back. That's why I got my kids PICO-8, at least it's a little taste of the good old days!

Oh man, you and I remember 90's Linux very differently.

True, I may be thinking of 2000s Linux. Compiz and the wobbly windows examples were fresh in my mind from the other day's HN discussions.

Except those are rose tinted glasses youre wearing imo. Linux isnt worse today than it was in the days of yore, it just hasnt kept up as well in your mind. Computing as a whole has improved so much that linux couldnt keep up with your higher expectations.

Linux today isn't worse, but laptops are much more prevalent now, and they're harder to support drivers for than desktops. Especially Apple laptops which I've been using for a long time now, they're notorious for not being that easy to get Linux running smoothly on. Some people can manage it but more people have trouble. I've wasted dozens and dozens of hours trying to get Linux working smoothly on this thing and I just gave up a few years ago. But when desktops were king and the internet just started to become mainstream and everyone was flooding into that new space, it was a great time for desktop Linux.

Yep. I've been running dual boot OSX/mint for some time and god the hardware has never been happy about it. Especially with regard to the GPU and multi-monitor support but I suspect also with regard to battery usage and other power issues. It always ran just cool enough that I did not do anything about how hot it was. The display issues cropped up so that I could at least anticipate when it would occur and try to minimize that. GPU computing... well these old macbook pros with Nvidia chips were dogs anyway. Would a windows laptop fair any better with Linux? Honestly asking because I really want a solid Linux laptop for HPC/computational engineering development but not sure what to do.

I've never hand multi monitor problems with Linux. I'm running Mint on my MacBook.

The only thing that was difficult for me, was installing my webcam drivers.

Wow - that is interesting to hear. Let me toss in a caveat by saying that I had 2 different multi-monitor setups that I transferred between while running straight off the machine quite often as well. Typically problems would crop up after shifting to or from the non-mac monitor setup. Never tested the cam on the linux side.

Did I mention that I was running mint as well? With 2012 macbook pro hardware.

Compiz is certainly from the 2000s. I think I only managed to make it work on any computer of mine at the end of the decade, but people were all saying nice things about it since 2002-2003.

By 1997 I was able to get X running with xclock and xterm. Any other X application would freeze my computer due to sheer lack of CPU.

Aww Compiz. Converted so, so many people to Linux by showing off the effects.

Linux in the 90s was figuring out which distribution had usable versions of the software you wanted to use, and hoping that an update to one package didn’t break everything else.

That, or rolling your own distro from scratch and spending ALL YOUR TIME maintaining your Linux install somthere was no time left to do the stuff you actually wanted to do.

Oh look, updating my windows manager means sound no longer works. I guess that’s three hours I need to invest to get my music player working again.

See you tomorrow.

If you want total control over your computer, Linux is still here. And it's better than ever.

I'm surprised everyone here missed the point by so much. This isn't a status update in the Facebook or Twitter sense. It's akin to the same feature that exists on Slack and GitLab already. It's useful to mark when you're on holiday or otherwise not working like usual, so teammates know what to expect from you.

Looking at my GitHub to find out if I am on holiday seems very strange.

It makes sense on Slack, an application for communicating with people.

People use GitHub comments for communication also. Seeing a note next to people's names in a conversation if you cannot expect a timely reply from them is unarguably useful.

Almost all of my open-source collaborations on Github have been so informal I wouldn't even tell anyone directly that I'm, say, away on vacation in the issues section, but I could see myself setting this status or appreciating that someone else set it.

Though I think HN is too old-hat to really understand how anyone could like these sorts of social features, and it's to their own detriment.

Seeing someone's status when you mention them, assign them a ticket, etc is a very welcome addition imo. The "taking time off my side projects" status example is amazingly spot-on as well.

I assume this is targeted more at companies who use GitHub for their internal code, where people collaborate at a much more systematic (and probably higher) pace, where planning time and deadlines are much more prevalent.

Looking at github to see if the maintainer is on holiday seems great to me. Perhaps my pull request isn’t complete junk, and the only reason it hasn’t been merged is that there’s nobody around to merge it?

You open an issue, then look and say "hey, this will take a while, the developers are on a holiday, better work on this other thing instead".

I pretty much wouldn't use it, but that use case is not worthless.

For a lot of people who do their day to day work on Github and nothing more, this is extremely useful.

Coming soon:

GitHub now reminds you what commits you made on this day last year.

You're joking, but I'd actually find that kinda fun. Every day / every commit would be excessive, but maybe reminding you of large PRs/issues you closed this time last year?

I'd like that feature. There's no reason why GitHub can't have a little more pizzazz. A lot of us spend a great deal of time writing code, why not have some fun with it? As long as the core features remain intact and unencumbered with trivial things, I for one welcome the additions GitHub has been making and look forward to their continuing development.

Without getting into too deep a discussion of features, this development attitude of “implement everything, let them use what they want” is historically awful. The developers lose focus on what they are making, the users lose focus on what they are using. Eventually a platform that does a great job of any of the ten things that yours does poorly is a superior product and its creators are praised for shipping such a clean and minimal product.

I think this kind of features are better served as browser extensions or maybe from the GitHub marketplace(?), as in not part of the core product but with an easy activation by the user and easy to discover. No need to pollute the product- I already use multiple browser extensions to declutter and simplify GitHubs UI

It's a status update for your profile page, what's with the slippery slope arguments here? It's not like they implemented a social feed where you can post updates, making it more like a legitimate social network.

What? I was referring to the development philosophy that I saw reflected in the above comment. I even said that I was not referring to any specific features, including this one.

I wouldn't have any problem with this kind of features, as long as the user can disable them in the Settings. They would actually be a nice addition.

“It’s been a year since you touched this code. Do you still use it?”

"You have a new memory."

"Your code is rusting, get out there and oil it!" (with apologies to Dr. Seuss)

No please.

Can I not simply wire it up to all the other bloody stupid status displaying apps that pervade my life?

Set phone to DND. Set auto responder on email client(s). Set away status on various desktop apps. Set away on various web apps. Set away on work mobile (cell) apps. Go home.

Actually I don't bother with any of that. I don't answer the phone or any apps when I'm not "there" or can't be arsed or am busy. It's what people have done for millennia.

I guess we need SaaS: Status as a Service

Isn't that originally all twitter was? At least that's how I remember it being described when it first came out: "It's a service to store your AIM-style status messages"

2019: "send Microsoft feedback on Twitter about their Github blog post".

So Twitter became a Swiss army knife.

Beautifully put (in 169 chars)

it is a solution in search of a problem

See status.net

It would he great if software just supported the protocol, and we might have a single page to set the status, then broadcast to all related services.

They could implement IFTTT integration, or someone else could probably do that with a bit of js for your browser.

If this then that is a bloody API with knobs on (it is quite a good one though!)

I simply want to be a human and behave (badly) like one.

> I simply want to be a human and behave (badly) like one.

Yeah, hopefully in a few years we'll have intelligent silicon servants that actually care about us.

I see a lot of skepticism in this thread. That was my initial impression too, but I actually think this is a good feature now that I think about it.

As one example: it will be nice to know if a coworker is out of office or on extended PTO, like vacation. There are usually other "profiles" which display the same information in an organization, but this is a useful place for it too if you're about to e.g. tag someone in an Issue thread.

Contrary to the opinions here, I find this to be a very useful feature for the same reason I like vacation auto-responders in email. No I couldn't care less if you're "feeling the groove" or some nonsense. But a friendly reminder to someone assigning me a review that I'm in vacation, or swamped in meetings all day would be very useful to me and my team.


Also as irritating as vacation mail can be, at least now I know that you aren’t talking to me because you aren’t here, rather than you’re just giving me the silent treatment because I made a disparaging comment about Tori Amos’s latest album.

It’s pretty clear that public non-chronological, timelines, posts, profile pages, and messaging will follow, along with a mess of spammy recruiters. Then, leetcode style scoring so that employers who can’t interview their way out of a paper bag know who to hire. Can’t wait to see where else they’ll stuff “sponsored content”.

They had, and removed messaging already

Who exactly wanted this feature? Are they going to try monetizing Github with data mining? Mining commit history for personal metadata could be a (thoroughly despicable) gold mine.

GitHub Stories! Share screenshots of your app or source code and they disappear after 24 hours.

I tried to reply to this with a single thumbs up emoji but HN wisely screened it out.

Wow. Just now I noticed that I've never seen emojis here. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

It would have been a funny response to a funny comment, but in the balance it's much better that they are all screened out.

Is this "feature" due to the new ownership? I really don't like the direction it's going.

Soon, we might not be able to make PRs without making our friends "help", and people will be making accounts for their cat.

When my (non-coding) teenage daughter signs up, I'm leaving!

This is a good reminder that I don't use GitHub the way they expect me to. I don't use their notifications. I don't really ever look at my profile. Certainly not enough that I would go to it regularly to (even think to) update my "status".

I'm wary of "slippery slope" arguments but I do NOT want a(nother) social network in my life. It's hard to imagine how this doesn't evolve into GitHub Chat, etc, especially with GitLab buying Gitter, etc. No thank you. Thankfully there are ever increasing (and OSS) forge platforms, it seems.

It is a bit amusing, however, to imagine hypothetical horrible, naggy, even more self-promotional LinkedIn/GitHub integrations.

The ONLY context in which this makes sense is allowing users to indicate whether they are looking for work or projects to contribute to. Let's hope all the excessive stuff (stories, timelines, etc) mentioned in these comments never come to fruition.

If you dislike this feature then you need to take ten seconds out of your time to submit feedback through 'set status' interface.


- maintainers are all on holidays, that PR is not getting touched this week - the person who accepted that issue has not been active for a week, perhaps I can pick it up - the person who accepted that issue is active today, maybe there will be a PR to review later! Check with them to see howmit’s going and maybe schedule some time tomorrow to review the PR

Heaps of use cases.

Dear GutHub,

Please stop mucking about with pointless stuff like this and make your search functionality not totally suck.

Yours faithfully,

All devs everywhere.

Another place where I would need to update my status before leaving for a holiday. Ergh..!

Maybe they can make a plug-in for Slack. That way when I update my Slack status it goes to GitHub as well. :/

Status: Migrating to another platform

This is a really useful feature for indicating that an account is vestigial despite occasional blips of activity. I hope they implement something similar with LinkedIn.

While we're griping about GitHub changes, why did they change the reaction emoji style? They look flat and enervated where before they were vibrant and visually distinct.

Is GitHub going to be Microsoft's way of getting their own social network? Seems better than Google's approach I guess

That's what LinkedIn is for.

They might merge the two...

Better for whom?

Better for MS, of course. Better = has better chances of succeeding.

I don't see much difference between MS bootstrapping a network from github or google bootstrapping one from youtube, so I disagree with the GP.

Is it just me or is this like really stupid?

So, MS shipped their first feature in Github :-)

errrrr, actually - second (after unlimited private repos)

This is reminiscent of the UNIX "finger" command usage from 30 years ago.


Will they provide end to end encrypted chat next?

No, they weren't bought by Google

GitHub is a social network of sorts. There's definitely a network effect and a moat with the large open source projects on there.

It'll be interesting to see where Microsoft take this. GitHub is fundamentally a collaboration tool so chat would make sense.

A chat feature might be ok, actually, though if we're going to have more IM applications and protocols, I'd rather have a general-purpose one, not one specific to github.

Though, I wouldn't be opposed to something like Gitter being built-in, to replace the Slack/Discord/Telegram groups that many projects have.

Gitter-like web ui with xmpp or irc options would be a welcome addition indeed. the ability to join a #org or #org/project channel would be epic.

There used to be a messaging system. You could message any user. Was quite handy for those who you didn't know their email.

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