Dear GitHub: Please Improve Your Notifications

An Open Letter to GitHub

[Update 8/6/2012: good news. GitHub has just released a complete overhaul of their notification system. After reading the blog post about it, it looks as if they have fixed most or all of the issues I raised in this post. It looks like a lot of thought and hard work went into this change. Thanks for listening, GitHub.]

Dear GitHub,

Hi guys!

Guess what: GitHub’s great. Yeah, you know that.

But hey: could you please fix GitHub notifications? They seriously suck. No, really, I mean it. They’re the worst. Sorry, I don’t mean to hurt your feelings. I know a human being designed the notification system.

GitHub notifications are a productivity sink. Despite having fifteen checkboxes for customization in the Notification Center, I still can’t make them work in a way that helps me. Don’t get me wrong, I am not asking you to fix it by adding more checkboxes to the list. I am asking for an overhaul of how the notification system works. Below I will try to clearly lay out the problems I see and what I would like the system to do instead. The overall goal is to change notifications from a productivity sink to a productivity boon. Continue reading