back to article GitHub alienates developers by force feeding them AI recommendations

A week ago, GitHub fused its home page feed with algorithmic recommendations, infuriating more than a few users of the Microsoft-owned code-hosting giant. On Tuesday, GitHub responded to the hostile feedback by stating that some of the questioned behavior was actually due to bugs that have now been fixed, even as it doubled …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Mushroom

    "provide a first-class developer experience"

    Yes, because developers are clamoring for ads. Bug fixes my arse. The bug was that the ads were not in our face enough.

    Carry on, Borkzilla. Your efforts to drive everyone to another platform will bear fruit, don't you worry.

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: Borkzilla

      Don't they make FireFox?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bringing Github up to speed with Twitter...Still got a way to go boys, but this is a good start.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      New GitHub, now with 20% more suck.

      GitHub was always a terrible idea. (A central repository is precisely the wrong way to use a distributed change-management system, and GH's implementation is particularly crap.) Microsoft are clearly doing their best to make it even more terrible.

      1. that one in the corner Silver badge

        > A central repository is precisely the wrong way to use a distributed change-management system

        You still need a single point of truth for the actual release version, which everyone agrees to sync to, most especially the Release Build process.

        Distributed VC means you can do your dev without always connecting to The Repo, you have full history, can make all the branches you want (and reap the ones that don't work), collaborate with others etc etc, but once you have The Fix or The New Feature you have to merge it into The Repo before it can be released.

        Otherwise your company/project can not have any guarantees about what is actually in a release if you just made it from whatever is sitting in a random repo on someone's laptop.

        BUT The Repo just needs to be a simple Git (or whichever) repo on a machine that has been blessed. If you are all in-house it can just be a.n.other box on the LAN, otherwise hosting it somewhere accessible to anyone on the Internet is rather useful.

        The whole GitHub thing is less about Git than it is all the stuff they put on top - and I'm not going to particularly praise that.[1]

        [1] Personally, I think they got obsessed with Ruby and will never forgive them for recoding their Markup entirely in Ruby, instead of adding the features they wanted to the C library they'd been using! Obviously, if they'd (had the ability to) update the C lib, then everyone - Ruby, Python, C/C++ etc - could have used it directly. Not only did this make a total mockery of "GitHub, we are all about people collaborating together to make their projects better" but it guaranteed that we had yet ANOTHER *incompatible* dialect of Markup: even before being bought out by Microsoft, they had "Embrace, Extend" bit down pat!

  3. GreenJimll
    Coffee/keyboard

    Where's Elon then?

    Can I just check... has Elon sneakily bought GitHub (or Microsoft)? Will it soon be "XHub"?

    1. Mishak Silver badge

      XHub

      Isn't that a porn site? (too scared to Google at work...)

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: XHub

        >Isn't that a porn site?

        Good news - yes

        Bad news - it's exclusively images of scantily clad obsolete network kit and wheel centers

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Where's Elon then?

      Like many tech executives, SatNad aspires to Elon-nature.

  4. Mishak Silver badge

    I detest all this "for you", "did you know" stuff

    If I want to find something / solve a problem, then I will go search for stuff.

    I hate the way I keep getting "suggestions" and "helpful information" pushed in my face all the time, including in Office and Teams where "did you know you can do this here" messages keep popping up next to buttons/menus, getting in the way or distracting from what I am working on!

    1. deep_enigma
      Joke

      Re: I detest all this "for you", "did you know" stuff

      Do you have any idea how hard it is to make a popup show up exactly where you were just about to click?

      1. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

        Re: I detest all this "for you", "did you know" stuff

        Can't be that hard, just make the popup pop up where the mouse is, 1/10 of a second after the mouse stops moving.

    2. James Loughner

      Re: I detest all this "for you", "did you know" stuff

      The ghost of Clippy Whooooo

    3. Plest Silver badge

      Re: I detest all this "for you", "did you know" stuff

      Yep, the ghost of dear old Clippy is alive and well and living on in web based suggestion popups in every f**king service page out there!!

  5. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Have we migrated to Codeberg yet?

    Perhaps we should. They don't copy your code wholesale then start waving their dick in your face.

    1. stiine Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Have we migrated to Codeberg yet?

      Didn't they sink the Itanic?

  6. SundogUK Silver badge

    "We should have done a better job communicating recent changes and how those decisions relate to our broader platform goals."

    I don't give a shit how you communicate it. I don't want it.

    1. An_Old_Dog Silver badge
      Joke

      Marketing Mentality

      "Obviously, we simply haven't been pushing hard enough to shut all those naysayers up. We need to present these changes in a positive light, and do so more strongly and more-often."

      1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge

        Re: Marketing Mentality

        Don't worry, they'll "lose" all the negative comments and then point to the overwhelmingly positive response.

  7. Ace2 Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    I just want to turn the whole thing off. I am there for $WORK, take me straight to my list of repos. Everything else on that page is a waste of space.

    1. David Nash

      Exactly, that comment in the article got it right:

      "We are here to get work done, not engage with whatever your algorithm thinks we like"

  8. that one in the corner Silver badge

    Developers are (not) doing it for themselves

    There is always an unsettling feeling when a dev tool moves (further) towards the dark side: what is going on in the minds and souls of the devs making those changes?

    Are we seeing the rattling gasps from a few seasoned devs, their spirits broken on the endless wheel of marketing "requirements" meetings, coding through a veil of tears before an evening at the bar, holding onto the bottle, before being asked to leave when their shot glass smashes into the mirror and its awful, damning reflection?[1]

    Or the prattling giggles of the twenty-somethings, who have never had to recreate a build from 17 months ago (17 months? Who has code *that* old?)? Who join in excitedly with the marketing guys: yeah, the diff result is dull, we can add a "coders using this API in YOUR area!" in the gutter down the middle! They preen in front of the mirror before posting their new colour theme to TikTok.

    Or soughing of a room full of contract coders, who know they'll be on another job next month, calculating how many man-hours they can book for this change and smirking as they realise the slowdown from the new AI recommendations on the commit page will let them add another forty minutes. On the way home, looking into the shop windows, they quietly wonder, when did they last spot their own reflection?

    [1] In a week's time, they will be fired when it is found out that they kept last year's UI active if you just use this URL, so they can actually do work with it, but this marked them out as "being out of touch with the team".

    1. munnoch Bronze badge

      Re: Developers are (not) doing it for themselves

      "who have never had to recreate a build from 17 months ago (17 months? Who has code *that* old?)?"

      Try years... the code, not the builds, those come out weekly, and I regularly research history all the way back to year dot.

      1. that one in the corner Silver badge

        Re: Developers are (not) doing it for themselves

        Not wanting to belabour the joke, but just in response to your statement:

        You do want to work on being able to recreate the entire build from years gone by: embedded and industrial systems last a long time and can have contract requirements that match (and if you aren't in that category yet, who knows what tomorrow may bring). And that includes keeping all the compilation tools around as well: although the plan may be to ship a new executable made with the latest tooling, you must start with a bit-accurate[1] build with the old, to prove the starting position.

        [1] with precisely in exception: some tools are stupid[2] enough to put timestamps into the objs and exes, so you have to waste time proving that those account for all the differences!

        [2] yes, stupid - another example of tool creators trying to "be useful" (very apropos for this article!) and just causing more trouble for actual professionals. There are sensible ways to get build info into an exe and the choice of which to use is for the project and its build tools - and, yes, that can include into every obj if we want. And - breathe.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Try years... the code,

        Exactly.

        We had a bit of functionality in about a dozen builds but word came down from on high that it was not needed.

        Sixteen months later, a change in the law meant that exact functionality was now mandatory. Luckily some of us had a full set of build by build archives and were able to retrieve it and shave weeks off the dev time.

        It later turned out that the person who specified it originally had kept a close ear to what was being proposed in Parliament. Two different select committees had recommended this change. The person who ordered it removed was a know it all arse licker who naturally knew zip. He was given the boot not long afterwards.

  9. Tron Silver badge

    There's More Than One of Everything.

    And this is why. People who run things eventually ignore everybody but the guy in the mirror. So you need an alternative, and you need to be ready to flip to it, en masse, when you realise that you have to. Tech should be designed to work for people, not the other way around. And you should never change anything to 'freshen it up'. If users are happy with it, let it be. Go be an idiot in your spare time instead.

  10. Ben Boyle

    Farceberk did it years ago...

    ... and I still despise it.

    Most of the time the feed is just utter drivel and sponsored crap that has nothing to do with my interests, the same things I've seen from weeks ago, and very occasionally a recent post from someone on my friends list.

    1. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

      Re: Farceberk did it years ago...

      AND YET YOU'RE STILL THERE! And that is the ongoing problem - NO CORPORATION EVER cares whether their customers like anything, as long as they continue to make money. If you don't like what they do, then shut them off. When enough people do it, THEN they'll make changes. Seems like Github was organically grown to begin with, growing a new one should be a lot faster since you all know what you want and what it should feel like. Only this time, you need an owner that either won't be lured by the Windows Side, or has a plan in place so that the minute M$ pulls the trigger, everyone else jumps ship and leaves M$ with a ghost server. It actually might make a nice little revenue generator.

  11. ecofeco Silver badge

    Github?

    You mean Microsoft. Since 2018.

  12. chuckufarley Silver badge
    Stop

    Never trust...

    ...a company that's EULA is "subject change without notice."

  13. This post has been deleted by its author

  14. Jeffrey Tillinghast

    Why the complaints?

    When you are stupid enough to entrust Microsoft with your code, what else can you expect? Are you not aware of their history and reputation? Live with it.

  15. Claptrap314 Silver badge

    Wondering again...

    Is this on free accounts?

    As in--is the product complaining about the shape of the chute?

    My company is an org paying $4/seat/month. That's not a bad deal. Yes, it is an insult to the open source devs. But of all people, these are the ones that should be capable of voting with their feet.

    Yes, this is crummy behavior--did you think that they are running a charity?

    Unhappiness I can understand. But free accounts have to be paid for somehow.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But free accounts have to be paid for somehow

      And there is a thing called the law of diminishing returns. If MS keeps this up there will be few devs from outside the MS company left on Github.

      I moved all my code off of the site the day that the MS takeover was announced. I know that I was not alone. Many of us would have signed up for a cheap paid account if GH had remained independent but no... MS came in an waved lots of cash and what was a great place started to go downhill rapidly just like LinkedIn. Strange that.

      MS can go and FSCK themselves. When they do, there will be a cheer from devs all around the world.

  16. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

    Silly coders,

    expecting a M$ owned platform to be for THEIR use. We all know it's so M$ can squeeze the maximum amount of milk from you, regardless of how much moo they get.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wait, Github has a home page?

    I never noticed. I always go straight to the repos I'm interested in....

    1. Plest Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Wait, Github has a home page?

      Usually my own so I can see that I still have zero followers on any of my submissions! Ha ha!

      1. that one in the corner Silver badge
        Black Helicopters

        Re: Wait, Github has a home page?

        Now, if GitHub had added an animation of tumbleweed (one more added per month of zero interest) then at least I'd applaud the humour.

        Especially if they then added a leaf blower option (see icon) as otherwise I'd never be able to see anything for all the vegetation piling up in front of my repos' stats (you think *your* code is dull and uninteresting to the great unwashed, well let me tell you...).

  18. pboling

    My happiness at paying for SourceHut is compounding.

    Make the leap. sourcehut.org

  19. CatWithChainsaw

    There is only one way to say no:

    And that's to leave. To boycott. To not play the game.

    The Power of Voice is gone, leaving the Power of Exit, and in order for the Power of Exit to remain potent Github must have viable competition.

    You want to make a company respect you, you punch them in the wallet, hard enough to make the shareholders scream.

    Everything else is placating PR.

  20. quartzz

    very slighty off topic apologies, but is this a place to say that "ai" could kill the net? false positives kicking people off their social media accounts (instagram), generating useless "for you" feeds

    I reckon ai could even generate "pretend" comments, so if no one is seeing your (instagram?) content (now that the search feature has been removed), you'll get pretend comments from ai, so you'll think they are..

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