Thanks, Claus Ekstrøm, for Watching My GitHub Repo!

Yihui Xie 2017-10-21

Perhaps I haven’t made it clear enough in the past – as a software developer, I always need help, and there are many ways you can help me; not all these ways require strong technical skills. For example, as Charlotte Wickham mentioned in her excellent presentation at useR! this year, you can always start from contributing to the software documentation.

A few minutes ago, I tried to reproduce the xaringan issue yihui/xaringan#82 reported by John Muschelli, which has stayed in my browser for three days, and I finally managed to look at it. I was not able to reproduce the issue, and replied the issue saying so. Two minutes later, Claus Ekstrøm tried to reproduce it, too. I didn’t ask him to, and I guess the reason he noticed it was because he watched this repo. He confirmed that he could not reproduce it, either. That was very helpful to me.

I don’t really need users to star any of my GitHub repositories, but it will be tremendously helpful if you can watch a repo and try to answer questions in GitHub issues, or reproduce issues, or even just remind those who didn’t provide reproducible examples before I have to act like a robot. The disadvantage of watching a repo is that your GitHub homepage may look chaotic, when there are many activities in the repo every day. However, compared to LinkedIn and Facebook, a chaotic GitHub homepage may better worth your time and attention.

Oftentimes I feel I’m buried in GitHub issues and Stack Overflow questions alone (especially in the former). That is why I’m particularly grateful to those who take the (even a little bit) burden off my shoulders. For example, I truly appreciate the Stack Overflow user “CL.” and my former Iowa State classmate Dason Kurkiewicz, which have been actively trying to beat me in answering knitr questions on Stack Overflow. I want to make it clear through this blog post that anyone is welcome to beat me in answering questions anywhere about my software packages.

Next time when you discover an interesting or useful repo on GitHub, don’t shy away – its author(s) may need your help.

Police walking into a camera