Label-based watching on repositories

Particularly for our busier repositories (e.g., rust-lang/rust), watching the full repository can be prohibitively noisy for many contributors and users. GitHub has enabled an early access preview for us of watching just a subset of issues based on their label.

You can enable it by going to the "Watch > Custom" dialog if you have access:


Currently it seems like this is limited to org members, likely due to the early access. We're looking for any feedback on this feature which we can channel back to GitHub, particularly from Rust team members (but not necessarily limited to), please comment here or feel free to reach out directly to me.



One thing that is not clear, will it watch PRs or only issues? I know sometimes PRs are a special kind of issue, but it does not always work that way.

Some ui feedback: The mobile ui limits the popup to like 50px in height making it basically unusable. The desktop ui on mobile lags a lot. It easily takes 10 seconds between typing and the label showing up. In addition hiding and showing the virtual keyboard takes a long time.

Notes from using it:

  • lagged when searching for labels, eventually firefox showed a popup saying it was ghostery's fault (a plugin I have enabled) which I disabled, seemed to speed up after that
  • searching for tracking showed no results, I had to lookup the prefix and search C-tracking to get the correct label
  • it seems to only support one set of label tags to filter by at a time. Not sure if this means its implicitly doing contains(first_label) OR contains(second_label) ... or if that means I am limited to either automatically watching C-tracking-issue && T-libs-api or C-tracking-issue && T-libs. If it's the former it's completely useless to me. I don't want to be cc'ed on every tracking issue, let alone every libs-api and libs issue. Will report back once I know.

Seems like if I'm already subscribed to an issue, and I then subscribe to a label, I am getting 2 emails for every comment.

Separately, the formatting for the new label-based emails is worse. The first screenshot below is what GitHub emails have always looked like for years, which I like. The second screenshot is one I got because of watching a label:

  • the email subject is repeated in the body which is not useful;
  • the font is too big;
  • the code font is mis-sized relative to the non-code font;
  • there is too much padding;
  • the numbered list is not being indented;
  • the footer includes GitHub's HQ's mailing address which does not seem well motivated.


1 Like

I set all notfications to not use email, but these new notifications come via email, unless I'm already subscribed by other means (explicit or getting pinged)

It happens the same that happens to @oli-obk, I've opened a github support issue before seeing this thread. I have set all notifications to not use emails and I get emails with this but not only that, I don't get notifications through Github, just emails until I subscribe to the issue and at that point I think it stops sending emails and start going through Github.

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