Tell Me When It Closes

Chris Toomey

We’re thrilled to announce our newest service: Tell Me When it Closes, a simple, straightforward application that helps you keep up with GitHub discussions without getting lost in the noise. Instead of getting an email for every comment on an issue or PR, get just one email when the discussion closes.

Tell Me When It Closes

The Problem

GitHub provides extremely detailed notifications for issues and pull requests. While this detail can be useful for projects you’re working on, it can be a bit noisy for projects you’re less involved in. This is especially pronounced when you’re interested in a discussion around a bug or feature in a large open-source project.

Often we just want to know when an issue or pull request closes, but GitHub’s notifications are essentially all or nothing. Some issues can gather a lot of feedback. We wanted a middle option, so we built one.

The Solution!

To solve this, we’ve built Tell Me When It Closes. You sign in via GitHub and tell it the issues or PRs you want to follow by providing the URL. The app watches the issue on your behalf and will email you when it closes. That’s it!


Every year we take a little time around the holidays to work on small projects. We’ve affectionately dubbed this time “Ralphapalooza”, and the goal is to ship something over roughly two days of work.

This year, fellow thoughtbotters Matt Sumner, Paul Smith, and I embarked on this quest to provide a more convenient way to watch issues and pull requests in large projects on GitHub. Tell Me When It Closes was our answer. We’ve spent a few Fridays polishing it beyond that initial prototype, and now we want to share it with the world.

Check It Out

Sidenote - GraphQL

Initially we had planned to use the notifications API from GitHub, but we learned that it is not possible (currently) to subscribe to an issue directly via the API. Instead, we ended up using GitHub’s new GraphQL API, and it turned out to be perfect for this project.

We were able to request the exact data we needed, combine requests to minimize round trips, and dictate the shape of the data returned, making the API interactions very straightforward. We’ve yet to do much in terms of providing a GraphQL API, but as consumers, we give it two thumbs way up!