Why does GitHub recommend closing issues before archiving a repository?

The GitHub documentation on archiving repositories recommends closing all open issues before archiving a repository, but doesn’t explain why.

I understand that issues cannot be updated once a repository is archived, but it seems like a useful thing to know what unresolved issues there are be in an archived repository.

Since I can archve a repository without closing the issues, what are the downsides?

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There is no real reason, I think it is for completeness. If you have archive a repository you have probably solved the whole set of issues, otherwise you haven’t solved the purpose of the repository. It is more a philosophical concept than a rule.

Thanks for asking!  I asked around in engineering and found the person who came up with that recommendation.

According to him, there was a point in time when we were considering whether to auto-close all issues and pull requests when a repository was archived.  We felt (and still feel) that not closing issues and pull requests before archiving a repository has drawbacks, foremost among them:

  • People often assume that open issues and pull requests will eventually be acted upon

  • The person who opened the issue will forever have it listed as open, and will be unable to close it themselves.

In the end, it was decided to make it a recommendation rather than an automatic behavior.  I submitted a suggestion to the documentation team to add this reasoning to that help document for clarity.