Communication is the key

GitHub as a new chat platform

Melanie Feldmann

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GitHub introduced a new feature called Team Discussion, which allows developers to directly communicate with their respective teams on GitHub. The days of flooded Issue or Pull Requests are supposed to be numbered and gone, but there’s still the problem of the multiple communication channels, and the new chat function is probably not going to solve it.

Until now, all communication on GitHub has been done in Issue or Pull Requests or somewhere else entirely, usually other chat programs like Slack or HipChat. The communication in GitHub’s own channels could quickly become very confusing. Interdisciplinary or cross-project related conversations just happened somewhere by chance.

To solve this and to centralize the communication, GitHub has introduced team conversations with their newest feature, Team Discussions. This allows for a centralized management of conversations in teams and it comes with all the classic chat functions, from notifications to private chats.

GitHub team discussions: How it works

If you wish to start a team discussion, you must first use the new menu, which is titled “Your Team”. Now just choose a team and either start a discussion or join an ongoing one. This way it’s much simpler to have a conversation, which isn’t directly related to a project or repository. Each conversation will also be fitted with its own URL, so it will be possible to link to the discussion on GitHub from another tool.

Team Discussion’s standard setting also allows all members of the organization to read all the conversations, but it’s also possible to set a discussion to private if their content happens to be a sensible or security-related topic. Only members of this specific team will then be able to see and reply to these posts.

SEE ALSO: Keep your code safe with GitHub’s security alerts

Haven’t had enough? There’s more. Another traditional feature for your conversation: when a discussion begins on the team’s channel, of which you are a member of, you’ll get a notification.

You’ll also get a notification if someone uses your username or does reply to posts you did reply to. It’s also possible to customize your notification setting, similar to other chat programs. And if you want to stay up-to-date, GitHub users can also subscribe to other teams conversations. To prevent a notification overflow, you can revoke the notification for single posts and it’s also possible to unsubscribe from a team’s discussion in its entirety.

Support for Team Discussion is planned for GitHub API v3, v4 and also for GitHub Enterprise.


Melanie Feldmann
Melanie Feldmann studied Technology Journalism at the Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences, and works at S&S Media since Oktober 2015.

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