Gunsub means “GitHub Unsubscribe”. It lets you be aware of everything happening in a given Github repository (through GitHub’s e-mail notifications), without getting too much spam. It lets the first notification go through, then automatically unsubscribes you from further messages in the same thread (unless you comment or are mentioned in the thread).
What’s the point?
I wrote this because I wanted to follow closely what was happening inthe Docker repository, but as some point, I realized that I spent too much time dealing with the constant stream of e-mail notifications.
What I really needed was an initial notification for the first message of each conversation (e.g. when an issue is created). I didn’t want the rest of the conversation. If I want to get involved, all I have to do is to manually subscribe to the thread (which happens automatically if I comment on the issue through the website or through e-mail, or if someone mentions me on the issue).
How does it work?
Gunsub uses the Github API; specifically, the
It checks all the notifications that I have received. For each notification,
the API indicates the reason of the notification: is it because I was
mentioned there? Or automatically subscribed because I’m watching the
repository? Or something else? If I was automatically subscribed, then
Gunsub checks if there is a subscription information for that thread.
If there is a subscription information, it can be either to indicate a
manual subscription, or conversely, to indicate that I’m already ignoring
that thread; in either case, Gunsub doesn’t change the subscription setting.
However, if there is no subscription information, Gunsub will unsubscribe
me from further notifications. The subscription information gets overridden
if I comment or get mentioned anyway.
This is awesome, how can I use it too?
Thank you! The code is available on /jpetazzo/gunsub.
Gunsub only uses the basic Python library, so you don’t need
to install anything fancy. You only need to set two environment variables,
GITHUB_PASSWORD, and run it with
Optionally, you may set
to a comma-separated list of repositories to include or exclude. If you
do not specify anything, by default, Gunsub will act upon all your
repositories; if you specify
GITHUB_INCLUDE_REPOS, it will act only
on those; and if you specify
GITHUB_EXCLUDE_REPOS, it will act on
all repositories except those. If you specify both, it will be a little
bit silly, but it will work anyway, operating on all included repositories
except those in the exclude list.
By default, Gunsub will do one pass over your notifications, unsubscribe
from the “passive” notifications, and exit. But you can also set the
GITHUB_POLL_INTERVAL environment variable to be a delay (in seconds):
in that case, it will run in a loop, waiting for the indicated delay
between each iteration.
There are two issues that I’m aware of.
If someone opens an issue, and another comment is added quickly thereafter (i.e. before Gunsub enters its periodic loop to unsubscribe you), you will receive two e-mail notifications. I believe that it is not a problem, since you will probably handle both messages simultaneously (in low level I/O parlance, the interrupts have been coalesced, or the I/O requests have been merged, if you will :-)).
More importantly, sometimes you will see a notification in your inbox, and think right away “ah, I know this stuff, I will reply to that guy!”. Before replying, remember that you are only seeing the first message of the thread. You should open the thread on GitHub to see if other people have replied. This will avoid you embarrassing moments, believe me! :-)
This seriously sucks, there are better ways to do it!
Please let me know. This is the first time I do something meaningful
with the Github API. I found the documentation to be technically
accurate, but a lot of explanations were missing. For instance, when
posting a subscription, there are two boolean flags:
subscribe. Everywhere I looked, they were XORed (i.e., if
false and vice-versa). Is it
meaningful to have them both to
false? I don’t know.
So if you know more efficient ways to do that, I’d love to hear
You should use the If-Modified-Since…
Yes, I understand that it would be nicer; and I might implement this soon enough. Consider this as a Minimimal Viable Product :-)
Running from Docker
Gunsub is so simple, that it can probably run literally anywhere, even on Windows or OS X machines. However, in an ongoing effort to CONTAINERIZE ALL THE THINGS!, I wrote a tiny Dockerfile to run it inside a Docker container, and I uploaded it to the Docker registry.
If you already have a Docker installation, you can do something like this:
docker run -d -e GITHUB_USER=johndoe GITHUB_PASSWORD=SecretSesame \ GITHUB_POLL_INTERVAL=300 jpetazzo/gunsub
… and Docker will start a Gunsub container, running the main loop every five minutes.