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Context:

We want to create a repo inside our work's Github organization for a small OSS project. This will be done using my work email (not personal). I'm also not the organization creator.

Question:

I was wondering what would happen when my email/account is deleted in the future if I depart from my company. If I were to leave, I would want to transfer the repo ownership to a colleague and not contribute anymore to the project.

  • Will the repo and all commits disappear? From what I've seen in Github Docs, all repos I create will disappear, but commits and other contributions to third-party projects will not change, they will just be attached to a Ghost User. Does this also apply when the repo is under an organization?

  • What is the best practice when creating repos in a work organization?

Other options considered:

I have also suggested the option of merging my personal and work accounts, with my work one as the primary email while I am in the company. If I leave, I can delete my work email from the email address list, as suggested here. This way, my commits in the OSS repo would not be associated to a Ghost User. However, the team is worried that using personal Github accounts might appear unprofessional.

In essence: Are there any guidelines how to ensure continued attribution to me of commits made to an OpenSource project when my (work) account used to create the work gets disabled?

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    Could you add: when/if you leave the company, who do you expect should be in charge of the repo at that point. That detail would change how I'd decide.
    – Brandin
    Dec 9, 2022 at 14:32
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    Also I think there are two concepts here, that you may want to think about the difference: there's the e-mail address you use for your own commits on the repos (that's one concept, probably not as critical; it's not like the commits would disappear if that e-mail address later becomes invalid), and then there's the e-mail address you use for managing the GitHub account and/or repos itself (this concept is probably more critical in my opinion).
    – Brandin
    Dec 9, 2022 at 14:36
  • @Brandin : Thanks, I should have clarified that sooner: After I leave the company, I would transfer the repo ownership to a colleague and not contribute anymore to the project
    – Pili Z
    Dec 9, 2022 at 15:22
  • @Brandin : They mentioned I should create a new Github account with my work email address. I would be pushing the commits with this work account. Then, before I leave I would transfer the repo ownership to a colleague (who has their own Github work account too). Finally they would delete my e-mail address. Would this render my account as a Ghost User? What would be your suggested workflow for the future if I leave? Thanks again
    – Pili Z
    Dec 9, 2022 at 15:29

1 Answer 1

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Your company policies will ultimately decide your behaviour - ask your management team if you're unsure. Your company likely owns related work you create, and may exercise their ownership to limit open sourcing. Where and how you create the repository does not change this legal ownership of the work.


GitHub recommends using a single GitHub.com account for all contributions, both at work and otherwise. It's not unprofessional to do so.

If you aren't required to use a managed user account, GitHub recommends that you use one personal account for all your work on GitHub.com.

https://docs.github.com/en/account-and-profile/setting-up-and-managing-your-personal-account-on-github/managing-your-personal-account/managing-multiple-accounts

Will the repo and all commits disappear?

If the repo is within a GitHub Organization, and you leave that Organization, the repo remains with all your commits. This is true whether you created the repo within the Organization or transferred it in.

What is the best practice when creating repos in a work organization?

You can either create the repo directly in the Organization, or create it within your own account and transfer it (not fork it).

Ideally, given the repo is within an Organization, multiple people or a team would be assigned access to it - so no transfers are required when you leave.

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