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Now, Github will help potential first-time contributors discover issues labeled with "help wanted" or "good first issue"

I have a project with 200 open issues (many more closed), and I want to encourage more people to join and fix issues.

Recently GitHub is showing me this:

Label issues and pull requests for new contributors
Now, GitHub will help potential first-time contributors discover issues labeled with "help wanted" or "good first issue"

While I understand the merits of the "good first issue" label and use it already, my question is about the "help wanted" label.

I want help on ALL issues.
Should I apply the label to the 200 open issues, and to all new ones (a few per day)?

It is probably a balance between the time taken applying the label, and the visibility it gives to the issues, so:

  1. What are the actual merits of applying the label? Does it advertise the issues somewhere, or make them somehow easier to find?
  2. Is there a way to efficiently apply the label, for instance a "Help wanted for all issues" setting, or a bot?
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    Even if you could easily tag all issues, doing so would defeat the point. It would be like emphasizing all text in a document - in the end, nothing would stand out. Try to prioritize the issues and use the label only for the ones you want done soon. – Brandin Dec 7 '17 at 8:24
  • @Brandin: I already have a "high priority" tag, should I rename it to "help wanted" then? These are often difficult issues, I am afraid that newcomers seeing only some issues with the "help wanted" might have the wrong impression that for the others help is not wanted, as happens sometimes. – Nicolas Raoul Dec 7 '17 at 8:36
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    @NicolasRaoul There is no easy answer. Maybe try using a combination of tags, but in moderation. It is like using boldface, italics, etc. in a document to emphasize different things. For example, "high priority" could mean critical bugs like crashes or data loss, "help wanted" could mean things that you don't really want to work on yourself, whether critical or not. – Brandin Dec 7 '17 at 8:42
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    If you think putting "help wanted" on some items (say, 10% of them) would imply that you do not want help on the other 90%, then just don't use that tag. I don't think it implies that, but interpretations may vary. On the other hand, tagging everything as "help wanted" would just look silly in my opinion. Better not to tag them at all in that case, and express your wishes in another way, e.g. in some personalized text in your repository. – Brandin Dec 7 '17 at 8:47
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    The "help wanted" labelled issues receive some special treatment. For example, when a user sees your repository on the GitHub Discover tab, your repo is tagged with language, stars, license, last update, and number of issues that need help. I think I also saw such issues being promoted on the dashboard for repos that I've starred or watched. So this label helps you promote issues where help from other contributors would be particularly welcome, without indicating that help would be unwelcome for other issues. – amon Dec 8 '17 at 15:48
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I want help on ALL issues.

Don't we all want help on everything? Actually, I don't. See my rationale below.

Should I apply the label to the 200 open issues, and to all new ones (a few per day)?

I am not sure this is worth it and tagging becomes useless when applied to all.

It is probably a balance between the time taken applying the label, and the visibility it gives to the issues, so:

What are the actual merits of applying the label? Does it advertise the issues somewhere, or make them somehow easier to find?

There are some sites that use these tags to help new comers find issues: - some "awesome" lists - sites dedicated to newbies

Is there a way to efficiently apply the label, for instance a "Help wanted for all issues" setting, or a bot?

You can select all issues and apply labels at once.

Now here is what I do:

I get a new contributor coming in to contribute something to our projects almost on a daily basis. Most of them need some handholding to get started.

  1. I have a CONTRIBUTING.rst file that explains the basics on how to contribute.

  2. I selectively tag issues with "good first issue" and "easy" to point newbies instead: this make it clear that some issues are best to get your feet wet and is IMHO better than blanket labelling

  3. I selectively tag some issues beyond these with "help wanted". I can tell you that there are some issues that I absolutely want NOT external volunteer help on: they may be complex or require some deeper core knowledge. Seasoned committer will pick these if they feel like it anyway, therefore a blanket "help wanted" is not needed

So in a nutshell, I tag with "help wanted", "easy" and "good first issue" selectively to help and only to help new contributors pick something they can clinch their teeth on easily. Seasoned contributors do not need this anyway.

Therefore I would avoid blanket labelling.

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