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Feature request: Track issues via GitHub

Something that’s been bugging me for a while now is the way that both bug reports and feature requests are done:

  • There’s a mailto link (via “contact support”), but it’s a 1:1 (at best) communication without any means to track progress.
  • Discourse has the “Site Feedback” category, but there’s no clear template for bug reports, topics get lost easily, duplicate requests pop up all over, many topics suffer from scope creep in the comments, and “solved” is a rather vague status description (if it gets used at all).

My proposal:

  1. Create a new public pinned repo on Github for observablehq.com (without any code) that is only used to track bug reports and feature requests.
  2. Create (or enable) issue templates for bug reports and feature requests.
  3. Migrate existing reports and requests to GitHub (can be done by community).
  4. Still allow Discourse for reports and debates, but migrate reproducable bugs and clearly scoped feature requests to Github (again, community).
  5. Restrict all help/support requests to Discourse (think d3 and stackoverflow).

I believe this would be a win/win for everyone:

  • the community, because there can now be a single source of information (and truth) for all issues, without the cruft and noise of Discourse,
  • the Observable team, because you don’t have to weed through topics and posts to find actionable information.


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Here are a few examples of this pattern:

  • Windows Subsystem for Linux
  • Keybase (this is similar to Observable in that some components are open source while others aren’t.
  • JSFiddle (I like how they have a Trello board with a public roadmap, but I can also understand if you want to preserve the element of surprise when launching new features)
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This forum isn’t ideal for bug reports, but having everything in one place is nice, and github issues aren’t a good venue for general discussion. Splitting the discussion between here and Github is going to reduce discussion of bug reports, workarounds, feature requests, etc., and will probably reduce activity at this forum in general.

Personally I like mailing lists, but these little web forums seem to be the future, …

I’m sure the Observable team has some kind of internal bug tracker. That’s fine, and it doesn’t need to be public, or to be supplemented by a public one.

It might be helpful to add more topic categories here, and provide would-be bug reporters some kind of basic template / structure.

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This has now been set up: https://github.com/observablehq/feedback/issues