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Patrick DeVivo

When a project has more than a handful of regular contributors, it can be dificult to see a high level view of all the changes happening. I've felt this recently, even in a codebase that went from just 1 to 3 contributors - there's a lot going on every day, and cutting through the noise to understand the cadence of outward value is difficult.

I've found that using MergeStat to summarize progress has been a useful way to achieve aspects of this. For instance, simply knowing what PRs have merged in the past 7 days has been a valuable summary for us:

-- show me PRs that merged in the past 7 days
SELECT * FROM github_prs('mergestat/mergestat') UNION ALL -- replace with your repo
SELECT * FROM github_prs('mergestat/another-repo') -- can be run across multiple repositories
merged_at > date('now', '-7 days') -- replace with the time period you care about
AND merged = true

Pull Requests in this context are a sensible "unit of work" (for us) - whereas individual commits or files changed would be far too noisy. This query can be modified to your needs and you can run it with our CLI or in the web app. It uses our GitHub API integration (and will need an auth token).

We run this query in a weekly GitHub action that reports the results to a Slack channel. It's been a cool way to automate a summary of work done across several of our key repositories.

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Patrick DeVivo

Unanswered issues and pull requests on GitHub repos are no fun, especially if you're the one asking for help 🙂. I've seen many projects making use of automation to close (or comment on) them, though folks have argued against that.

Regardless, identifying unanswered issues can be valuable, especially for maintainers to ensure they're addressing user concerns - or even for anyone looking for places to help.

You can use the MergeStat GitHub tables to identify stale issues or PRs in a repo (or even across many repos).


MergeStat is an open-source tool for running SQL queries against git repositories and related data sources (like the GitHub API). Check us out if you're not familiar.

Stale Issues

This will return the oldest 25 issues created more than 30 days ago, with no comments, that remain open.

title, author_login, comment_count, created_at, url
FROM github_repo_prs('uber-go/zap') -- replace with your repo
created_at < date('now', '-30 days') -- replace with how long you care about (
AND (merged = 0 OR closed = 0)
AND comment_count = 0
ORDER BY created_at ASC

(see example output)

Stale PRs

title, author_login, comment_count, created_at, url
FROM github_repo_prs('mergestat/mergestat') -- replace with your repo
created_at < date('now', '-30 days') -- replace with how long you care about (
AND merged = 0
AND closed = 0
AND comment_count = 0
ORDER BY created_at ASC

You can run these queries either in the Public workspace or by installing the CLI. In either case you will need to supply a GitHub token for API authentication.

export GITHUB_TOKEN="my-github-token"
cat query.sql | mergestat -v


  1. Maybe comment_count = 0 isn't good enough to indicate "staleness" - maybe finding issues/PRs where there are only comments from the original author, or where there are no comments from maintainers is more accurate.
  2. The above queries can be joined with github_org_repos to see stale PRs and issues across an entire org, not just in a single repo.
  3. Maybe you could produce a dashboard (charts) to track issue staleness and alert on it - an SLA on issue response time?

If you're interested in exploring these use cases, feel free to come say hi on our Slack or shoot us a note on Twitter.