Issue tracker: how should we handle obvious nonsense issues?

From time to time we get nonsense issues, usually with no context or meaningful titles. For example B · Issue #102634 · python/cpython · GitHub

How should we deal with that? Do we give the submitter some time to edit the body and title? Or just close it? I lean towards immediate close. Its been twenty minutes, so I’m closing it, but in future should I wait even a few minutes?

Should we report the poster? If so, where and how?

I suggest immediately closing and tagging it as invalid if it’s obviously empty, and if they do edit it to actually report something they can just comment and request it be re-opened, which will ping whoever closed it originally. Otherwise, the issue may get lost and stay open for a while, or forever.

We get these junk issues/PRs on other repos in the org too, and I’ve seen them elsewhere, many are deliberate spam/trolling/etc. but some are legitimate newbies/young people who are brand new to GitHub and don’t understand how it works. If it’s obviously spam rather than just a mistake (e.g. plugging some site, product or cause, the user has previously spammed one of our repos, or a quick look at the user’s profile confirms this is a repeated pattern with no sign of legitimate contributions, then what we’ve been doing in addition to the above is:

  • Lock the issue so that they can’t continue spamming
  • Change the title and description to Spam
  • @python/organization-owners summarizing this and requesting to ban
  • Reporting to GitHub for spam

In this case, the account history is composed of solely spam like this, including multiple times on the same repo leading to them being banned there, with no response. I’ve therefore gone ahead with the above steps.


As a followup, I reported it to GItHub and after investigation they’ve banned the account and deleted its spam issues. In the past, I’ve experienced a lack of response to reports, but recently they’ve been a lot more prompt and proactive, as I’ve reported several of these accounts lately and they’ve all been dealt with within a day or two. They will also now email you a followup letting you know the overall outcome of your report making it feel less like a black hole. And that’s all just using the normal GitHub report process, not our special “back channels” for reaching out directly.