Simple solutions towards our frustrating and impossible problems

tl;dr: simple Open Source Chrome Extension to clean up GitHub Issues page comments

Several of you will remember that early this year there was an Open Letter to GitHub: dear-github that talked about some of the pain associated with using github from an open source perspective.

GitHub had responded, but I feel they had sort of abandoned their position fairly quickly:

... We'll be in touch next week. Sorry it's taken so long, and thank you for everything.

… And that was in mid February. I don’t really see or know of what was accomplished since then to address the major issues bulleted in that letter. They still persist to this day (I know, it’s how I even tested my solution!).

The problem I personally sought to solve was this bulleted item from that letter:

Issues often accumulate content-less “+1” comments ...

I’ve been loving Docker, but being such a fast evolving tool. It suffers greatly from  this issue. This, being a prime example, has over 22 needless comments: . It tends to get a little annoying just looking for an answer buried in this much cruft.

Being that GitHub is very much closed source (*cough* GitLab), the developers that want change cannot readily get to the source to solve the problem they are burdened with. BUT! It’s almost in our nature to be resourceful and clever at solving some of our most trickiest of problems. We all know there are some workaround solutions or hacks that can get us part (if not most/all) of the way there using the tools you have at hand.

I like to exercise this mindset whenever blocked with what seems like a ‘frustrating and impossible’. This being a prime example: no source -> frustrating; no response –> impossible. Therefore, I felt the need for a workaround.

So in light of all this, I created an open source chrome extension to help ease some of the pain. I spent maybe a little over 2 days (~16 hrs) of just my time to make it. Weighing in at just over 100 lines of JavaScript code, most of my time was spent refreshing myself on Chrome extension APIs and working around GitHubs AJAX loading. This tool accomplishes the goal of cleaning up the “content-less +1 comments”. While my simple solution doesn’t solve the problem of being spammed, and it doesn’t educate the offenders to not do it; it *is* a quick patch to help make the problem the world a little more tolerable for those that must live in it.

This article was in part to share the tool in hopes that it will help you too, but to also express that there are often clever ways to easily solve the problem you’re having.


~ Andrew LeTourneau

Extension Source:



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *