We lost 54k GitHub stars

We lost 54k GitHub stars

My unimaginable room mate says here is glamorous.

Gaining 54k GitHub stars

HTTPie for Terminal is celebrating 10 years for the explanation that first commit.

If you happen to’re extraordinary with the accomplishing, it’s an initiate-provide CLI HTTP consumer. What makes HTTPie diversified is that we create it from the bottom as a lot as make API interplay from the terminal as human-worthwhile as conceivable.

Starting with the first public free up, published on the 25th of February 2012 from a rainy Copenhagen, we’ve hosted the accomplishing on GitHub.

I’ve been a GitHub fan ever since I turned a member a pair of years earlier (the kind that wears Octocat-embellished t-shirts, no much less). It was as soon as motivate within the day when GitHub’s about page proudly proclaimed they took $0.00 in VC funding and beneficial you about the number of scrumptious beers on faucet in their SF station of job.

So GitHub was as soon as an evident different when I realized that the result of scratching my dangle API checking out itch will seemingly be of ardour to the broader developer community. And of ardour it was as soon as.

I have in mind the frenzy of HTTPie changing into the head link on Hacker News for the first time and seeing the GitHub community create up. Over time as we persevered to purple meat up the accomplishing it saved attracting frequent adoption. It turned essentially the most stylish API instrument on the platform, and the GitHub community grew to 54k stargazers and 1k+ watchers.


There are 289M public repos so HTTPie was as soon as among the head 80 most stylish public repos on GitHub overall; within the 99.99997203 percentile. Briefly, It was as soon as amazing to behold this humble instrument entice a community of that magnitude. And GitHub performed a extraordinarily indispensable role in that.

In the equal contrivance that we benefited from GitHub’s “social coding” parts, GitHub benefited from our internet hosting this stylish accomplishing on their platform. All over the final decade, maybe millions of builders visited our GitHub page. That’s helped make stronger GitHub (Microsoft) as a company that cares about initiate provide and community. It was as soon as a symbiotic relationship.

Dropping 54k GitHub stars

On the opposite hand, when chances are you’ll maybe maybe be thought to be one of our 55k stargazers and watchers, as of just a few weeks within the past you no longer are 💔

What befell?

As a result of an melancholy sequence of events, I by chance made the accomplishing’s repository deepest for a moment. And GitHub cascade-deleted our community that took 10 years to create.


What does it mean?

If you happen to’re a downstream maintainer or any individual previously staring at httpie/httpie for notifications, as an illustration, you’ll must re-gaze the repo. Incidentally, we’ve lately published a security free up.

The same goes for stars. If you happen to’re a form of 54Good adequate of us that’ve starred the repo any time within the previous decade, the repo is now not any longer among your starred projects.

Why did you’re making the repo deepest‽

It’s a peculiarity of GitHub, to position it mildly, that making a repo deepest completely deletes all watchers and stars. I used to be as soon as even responsive to this, and I clearly had no intention to make httpie/httpie deepest. So, why then?


The proximate trigger was as soon as that I believed I used to be as soon as inner a particular repo; one and not utilizing a exclaim and zero stars. What I in actuality meant to invent was as soon as to cowl the HTTPie group’s profile README, which I had created the week forward of nonetheless had no different to populate.

What assign me on the imperfect route was as soon as an in any other case totally unrelated movement: I had right performed the equal (i.e., hidden an empty README) on my deepest profile by making jakubroztocil/jakubroztocil deepest.

GitHub’s conceptual mannequin treats users and organizations as very the same entities regarding profiles and repos. On this context, and since I right wished to repeat the equal benign movement on our group’s profile, my brain switched to auto-pilot mode.

I didn’t ticket within the meanwhile there’s an inconsistency within the naming of this particular repo containing profile READMEs and that it differs for users and organizations: title/title vs. title/.github.

That’s why I proceeded to make httpie/httpie deepest as a replacement of httpie/.github without realizing my mistake.

But there’s a affirmation, merely‽

There’s a affirmation field. It’s designed to close users in a discipline admire mine from doing something insensible. It tells you that “You will completely lose all stars and watchers of this repository.” That’s magnificent upsetting.

The matter is that the field seems exactly the equal for repos and not utilizing a commits and stars and for repos with a decade-long ancient previous and 55k stargazers and watchers. And it says “Warning: here is a doubtlessly hostile movement.”

To paraphrase, the field tells you “You’re about to extinguish a house. If there are any of us inner, they’re going to all die”.

But it doesn’t encompass the relaxation disclose to spoil you out of your auto-pilot mode when you’ve perplexed the address and ponder you’re taking a gaze at an empty house.

A 54k-star ask: Which thought to be this kind of two dialogs is great to substantiate and which one deletes a 10-365 days-veteran community?


The dialog wants to be more contextual and, paraphrasing again, it should claim “You’re about to abolish 55,000 of us.” That would possibly maybe maybe’ve no doubt made me close.

So you made it deepest, right flip the switch!

That chances are you’ll keep in mind my confusion when I went motivate to the group page and no longer finest would possibly maybe maybe I still gaze the empty README nonetheless our most stylish repo was as soon as nowhere to be learned. After a moment I realized what befell. So I went motivate to the repo’s settings to flip the switch. But GitHub didn’t enable me to invent that—for a total half an hour.


If you happen to’re questioning why so long, it’s attributable to 🥁 that’s how long it took GitHub to cascade-delete our decade of stargazers and watchers. And there was as soon as no approach to close the contrivance. All I would possibly maybe maybe invent was as soon as initiate writing to GitHub give a enhance to, refresh the page and watch for the number of stars to succeed in zero forward of I would possibly maybe maybe make it public again.

Why doesn’t GitHub restore it‽

GitHub clearly has backups. And it’s indeed conceivable to undo the damage performed by by chance making a repo deepest. The GitHub crew themselves by chance made the GitHub Desktop app repo deepest as soon as. And they restored every little thing for themselves within hours. Here’s the broken-down GitHub CEO explaining the matter:


In our case, on the other hand, they refuse to invent that, citing undesirable facet results and the worth of resources. We even equipped GitHub monetary compensation for any resources required. But, sadly, they declined. They possess diversified priorities than resurrecting the community of thought to be one of many oldest and most stylish community projects on their platform.

So the answer to the ask is, sadly, the next: GitHub will restore a repo broken by making it deepest. But finest if it’s thought to be one of their very dangle projects, no longer a community one. The latter will get a tweet, at most attention-grabbing.

Lessons learned

One should by no contrivance let a correct disaster sprint to break. Our ideas are puny, nonetheless there are on the least just a few classes learned that will seemingly be treasured to share.

Lesson #1: UI/UX assemble

Uncover, don’t convey. Develop affirmation dialogs in a don’t-make-me-ponder fashion. When the person is ready to extinguish something, don’t bid that as a doubtless scenario in summary words that the person wants to convert to psychological photos and assign values on. Particularly when cascade-deleting as a facet carry out of the predominant movement. Let’s disclose, here’s how we contrivance that in HTTPie for Desktop:


And, clearly, the dialog should replica the severity of the facet-carry out. It wants to be light when there are no longer any facet results at all. Otherwise, we threat desensitizing the person by wasting their puny consideration capital:


Lesson #2: Database assemble

Use tender-deletes. Of us are human and so they make errors. For racy-deletes, prolong the contrivance.


Lesson #3: Relationship with GitHub

It was as soon as a human error on our facet and GitHub made it sprint they’re no longer legally obliged to abet us. The tone of our decade-long mutually-priceless relationship is decided by GitHub’s Terms of Carrier. Pondering there was over again to it was as soon as naive.

After all, GitHub has a ancient previous of taking controversial actions that sprint in opposition to the spirit of initiate provide and community after which reverting them finest in accordance with public outrage. And Microsoft (which now owns GitHub), despite its newly-learned affection for initiate provide, has no longer always had exactly a colossal reputation.

What’s subsequent?

We continue to hope GitHub/Microsoft alternate their machine-admire attitude and restore the accomplishing’s community at some point. They still possess the total files and how one can invent that. We also hope they purple meat up the UI and database assemble to close this from taking place to diversified teams in due direction.

For the time being, chances are you’ll maybe maybe also abet us by sharing this story and re-staring at/starring the repo.

As for me, I could doubtlessly resolve a spoil from carrying Octocat-embellished t-shirts.


Despite our GitHub stars turning into mud, HTTPie has by no contrivance been doing better. What started as a facet accomplishing has lately turn trusty into a company and our crew is growing HTTPie into an API pattern platform (one as palatable as you’d seek files from from HTTPie). The deepest beta of HTTPie for Web & Desktop has been receiving colossal feedback, and we can not wait to initiate it to the public within the upcoming weeks.

If you happen to’d gain to preserve up-to-date, chances are you’ll maybe maybe also join our Discord community or apply @httpie.

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