GitHub's Missing Tab

Posted: Thu, 30 May 2024 | permalink | 7 Comments

Visit any GitHub project page, and the first thing you see is something that looks like this:

screenshot of the GitHub repository page, showing the Code, Issues, and Pull Requests tabs

“Code”, that’s fairly innocuous, and it’s what we came here for. The “Issues” and “Pull Requests” tabs, with their count of open issues, might give us some sense of “how active” the project is, or perhaps “how maintained”. Useful information for the casual visitor, undoubtedly.

However, there’s another user community that visits this page on the regular, and these same tabs mean something very different to them.

I’m talking about the maintainers (or, more commonly, maintainer, singular). When they see those tabs, all they see is work. The “Code” tab is irrelevant to them – they already have the code, and know it possibly better than they know their significant other(s) (if any). “Issues” and “Pull Requests” are just things that have to be done.

I know for myself, at least, that it is demoralising to look at a repository page and see nothing but work. I’d be surprised if it didn’t contribute in some small way to maintainers just noping the fudge out.

A Modest Proposal

So, here’s my thought. What if instead of the repo tabs looking like the above, they instead looked like this:

modified screenshot of the GitHub repository page, showing a new Kudos tab, with a smiley face icon, between the Code and Issues tabs

My conception of this is that it would, essentially, be a kind of “yearbook”, that people who used and liked the software could scribble their thoughts on. With some fairly straightforward affordances elsewhere to encourage its use, it could be a powerful way to show maintainers that they are, in fact, valued and appreciated.

There are a number of software packages I’ve used recently, that I’d really like to say a general “thanks, this is awesome!” to. However, I’m not about to make the Issues tab look even scarier by creating an “issue” to say thanks, and digging up an email address is often surprisingly difficult, and wouldn’t be a public show of my gratitude, which I believe is a valuable part of the interaction.

You Can’t Pay Your Rent With Kudos

Absolutely you cannot. A means of expressing appreciation in no way replaces the pressing need to figure out a way to allow open source developers to pay their rent. Conversely, however, the need to pay open source developers doesn’t remove the need to also show those people that their work is appreciated and valued by many people around the world.

Anyway, who knows a senior exec at GitHub? I’ve got an idea I’d like to run past them…


From: Talha Asghar
2024-05-31 04:13

I agree with your point that sometimes people want to appreciate the maintainers but there isn’t any suitable place where they can do it so at the end of the day they have to create a new issue just to say thanks and that can give a perception of more work to the maintainer. So, instead of appreciating the work the user un-intentionally increases the work for maintainer.

Can’t wait to see Kudos tab in github :)

From: Alexandre P
2024-05-31 22:40

@Talha Ashgar, actually one could use github discussions for this purpose, though it won’t show a count “Discussions / Kudos (999)” in the tabs I reckon. It might show when you are on the discussion pages if you make a category “Kudos” maybe?

From: Philipp Kern
2024-05-31 22:49

Somehow I’d have expected the stars or something on the right side to fill that gap, but you’re right that it wouldn’t be prominent enough.

From: Thomas Bleher
2024-06-01 01:44

That sounds like a really useful idea!

From: Craig
2024-06-01 02:21

I think this would be a great third party app, where a maintainer could incorporate it into their project README somehow.

I doubt it would ever make it into the GitHub product. Similar to stars, it would be become a vector of abuse or artificial inflation.

From: Martin
2024-06-01 06:33

Digging an email is usually pretty easy: Just add “.patch” to any commits url, as long as the developer didn’t use a bogus one.

From: Romain Baguet
2024-06-02 06:53

Another way would be for Github to enable “Discussions” tab by default (see

This way users could post their words of appreciation in some way to the maintainers. Example:

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