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Github Labels

GitHub default labels are terrible! Here’s some thoughts for better labels

First, labels serve many annotation purposes, and so categories are useful. I prefer the three categories of: status, priority, and type. Each label will begin with its category name, then a colon, then the uiniqe label name.

Second, random colors are a bad idea; you could get a very strong color on a not-so-important label. I think I prefer one color group per category, but I’m still evaluating this.

An Initial Label Set

Category Status:

  • Status:to-do – going to be started in the next few sprints
  • Status:in-progress – being worked on
  • Status:blocked – was in progress but something is preventing work
  • Status:done – is finished
  • Status:on-hold – (optional) something not intended to be worked on soon; this could also be represented by no status label at all

Category Priority:

  • Priority:critical – a bug or something that must be done ASAP
  • Priority:essential – a must do for the project, not optional
  • Priority:desireable – a strong want, but perhaps not essential
  • Priority:optional – would be nice but not very important
  • Priority:idea – (optional) something to think about, could be represented by no priority label at all

Category Type:

  • Type:user-story – a feature issue captured as a user story
  • Type:feature – a product feature not described as a user story
  • Type:foundation – product functionality that is internal and not directly an outward feature
  • Type:bug – an issue that describes a known bug that needs fixed
  • Type:documentation – an issue describing documentation work to be done
  • Type:improvement – work that can improve the product, such as refactoring, performance improvements, etc.

Label Colors

I have an orangish-red palette for my priority labels, a green palette for my status labels, and a blue palette for my type labels. I currently use a single hue or color which then gets lighter and darker, and have darker colors for the “higher” priorities and statuses, but I’m not sure that’s the best. A decently eye-pleasing palette could have different hues rather than darker/lighter. Do what seems pleasing to you but that helps you distinguish label categories.

Useful Pages

Petabridge professional use

Carpentries on labels

Zenhub on issues

Adam Marsden on better labels

Backhub on issue)s

Lunnys sane labels

Sean Tran on labels

Robin on issue organization

Move this user story link!