How to use the Github Issues

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Go directly to the Plant Ontology Issue tracker on GitHub (for experienced users).


The Plant Ontology uses a GitHub Issue Tracker to keep track of all new term requests as well as requests for changes to existing terms. This tracker not only lets us be more responsive to the needs of our users, but also provides valuable documentation about when and why changes were made to the Plant Ontology.

Anyone can search or browse the PO GitHub Issue tracker, but in order to comment on an existing tracker item, monitor an item, or create a new item, you must be logged in.

Before using the PO GitHub Issue tracker you should:

  • Register (create a login)
  • Log in to your account
  • Search the Issues for existing items on the same topic.

Register with GitHub and sign in:

If you have already registered with Github to access another GitHub repository, you can use that same login to access the Plant-ontology repository.

If you are not registered with GitHub, click "Sign up" in the upper-right corner of the GitHub page (see below)

This will take you to a registration page. Follow the on-screen instructions to register.

To Sign In:

  • Click "Sign In" in the upper-right corner of the GitHub page (right next to the "Sign up" link).
  • Enter your user name and password.
  • Note that anonymous posting is no longer allowed. This policy was instituted across the OBO Foundry trackers to reduce spam.

Signup signin.png

Advantages of logging in:

  • We will be able to contact you if we have questions about your request
  • You will automatically be notified of any comments or changes to any Issue tracker items you create
  • Follow activity on any other tracker item by clicking the "notifications" button that is labeled "subscribe" with a little speaker icon. This will allow you to follow any tracker you would like without receiving notifications for all trackers in the repository.
  • Follow activity on any tracker item you are participating in, or mentioned in, by selecting the "Not-Watching" option in the "Watch" dropdown (looks like an eye) You will receive email updates for any conversation you are participating in, and if you are @mentioned.
  • Monitor the all the activity on the PO tracker, by selecting "Watching" in the Watch drop-down menu. You will receive email updates for all activity.
  • Follow all the activity on the PO tracker and show your appreciation- click on the "Star" button (next to the "Watch button")

Requesting a new term or a change to an existing term:

  • Log in
  • Click on the "Issues" link on the right-hand side (red arrow in above image)
  • Search for for existing Issue trackers on the same term. If an Issue tracker item already exists for the term you are interested, please add your comments to that tracker, rather than creating a new one.
  • You can search by tracker # (e.g. 578) or by keyword (e.g. root). You can filter the Issues using the filters dropdown next to the search bar (red arrows below).
  • Note that you can also access the trackers for terms from the term page on the PO website, on the bottom: Under 'External References' (e.g. leaf).
  • To create a new ticket Click on "New Issue":


  • This will take you to a page that lets you add an Issue (a tracker item):

New issue.png

  • In the "Title" field, add the suggested name for a new term you are requesting.
  • From the "Labels" menu, on the right-hand side (Gear icon) Not the top tab, select the most appropriate group from the drop-down list (circled in red)

  • In the large box (circled in red), please include details of your suggestion:
    • For changes to an existing term, please provide the PO id of the term you would like to have changed, what you would like changed, and the reason for the change.
    • For new term requests, please provide the name of the term you would like to add, a proposed definition, a reference (such as a book or journal article), and where you think the term should go in the PO hierarchy (i.e., suggested is_a parent and any part_of or other relationships).
  • You can also upload a file, such as a reference or an image by dragging & dropping into the comment box, or by pasting them from your clipboard. If you have a large number of requests, please contact us directly.
  • Unless you have administrator privileges, you will not be able to change the "Owner" or "Priority" fields.
  • When you are finished, be sure to click "Submit new issue", at the bottom of the page.
  • You can come back to your tracker item to add comments or check on the progress.

Guidelines for writing a good tracker item

File:Tracker hints MH 9-14-12.pdf