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How to label an issue

What are issue labels?

Issue labels are a tool in GitHub that are used to group issues into one or more categories.

Check out Gatsby’s labels (and their descriptions)

Why label issues?

Gatsby is a very active project with many new issues opened each day. Labelling issues helps by identifying:

  • good issues for new contributors to work on
  • reported and confirmed bugs
  • feature requests
  • duplicate issues
  • issues that are stalled or blocked

Who can label issues?

Anyone who’s a member of the Gatsby Maintainers team can label issues.

You can get an invite to the team by having a Pull Request merged into the Gatsby project. Check out the list of help wanted issues and the How To Contribute Guide to get started.

NOTE: If you’ve already had a pull request merged and you have not been invited to the maintainers team, please go to the dashboard and request a discount code. You should get an invite to the team — and you get free Gatsby swag! If that doesn’t work, please email and we’ll get you invited.

How to label an issue

Ideally, every issue should have a single type: label applied to it. Optionally a status: label or other labels may also be applied.

Before continuing, get familiar with Gatsby’s issue labels and their descriptions.

The broad steps to labelling an issue are:

  • Read an issue
  • Choose the labels that apply to that issue
  • That’s it - sit back and relax, maybe take a few moments to enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done

The rest of this document will describe how to choose the right labels for an issue.

Find an issue that you’re interested in

Start with Gatsby’s issues list and scroll through until you see a recent one that strikes your interest. Alternatively, you can view the list of unlabelled issues.

Read the issue

Read the issue and any comments to understand what the issue is about.

Choose one type: label

Choose a type label from the labels dropdown to the right-hand side of the issue.

GitHub label dropdown

You can check through the label descriptions for more information on each one.

The most common type of issue is type: question or discussion, typically you can apply this to issues that are open-ended or have no clear next step.

It’s OK to change the type of an issue as more information becomes available. What starts as type: question or discussion, might later need to be changed to type: bug.

Changing labels is quick and easily reversible, so don’t worry too much about applying a “wrong” label.

Choose an appropriate type: label and you’re ready to move on to the next step.

Choose a status: label (optional)

Check through the status: labels (and their descriptions), if any apply to this issue add them as necessary.

Examples of applying status: labels might be:

  • An issue that depends on an external dependency being changed could be labelled with status: blocked

  • An issue with a clear description of how it can be resolved could be labelled status: help wanted.

  • An issue that’s missing information required to help the author could be labelled with status: needs more info

  • An issue describing a bug without clear steps to reproduce could be labelled with status: needs reproduction

  • An issue describing a bug where there are steps to reproduce the bug and you’ve run the code locally and seen the error yourself can be labelled status: confirmed

Choose any other labels

There are a few other labels that can sometimes be applied to an issue. Here are some more examples of when to use them:

  • good first issue can be used when an issue is a small, clearly defined piece of work that could be completed by someone without in-depth knowledge of Gatsby and how it works. These issues are particularly suitable for people making their first open source contributions.

  • stale? can be used on an issue where the author has not replied to requests for further information in at least 20 days.


And you’re done! You can call it a day or go back to the first step to label another issue.


Labelling issues is a great way to help out on the Gatsby project regardless of your experience level.

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