Questions on branch protection rules

Hi, I’m looking into some branch protection rules for the main branch in our repository and had a few clarification questions that hopefully someone should be able to answer.

  1. Restrict who can push to matching branches

By enabling this rule, does this mean that only authorized users or groups would be able to merge an existing pull request into the protected branch? The scenario I’m hoping to create is: user makes a PR against a branch and passes all the required status checks but we want to further restrict the actual merging of the PR to a select group of people. Is this what this rule is enabling? Also, what does “matching branches” refer to?

  1. Require conversation resolution before merging

Based on your experience, is there any downside to enabling this rule?

  1. Require a pull request before merging

Based on your experience, is there any downside to enabling this rule, especially if there are 10+ contributors to a branch?

This is described here:
About protected branches - GitHub Docs

  1. Require conversation resolution before merging
    Based on your experience, is there any downside to enabling this rule?

In my experience, there is no downside for this. I always check this rule.

  1. Require a pull request before merging
    Based on your experience, is there any downside to enabling this rule, especially if there are 10+ contributors to a branch?

This depends on your workflow.

I always use a feature branch workflow which requires a Pull request / review process.
This is especially helpful if you have a CI/CD workflow, e. g. GitHub Actions to do some additional automatic checks.
Merging directly into your main branch is like an open heart surgery. I wouldn’t recommend that.

Great, thank you so much!