Code review isn't just about code

When you review a pull request, what do you look for?

Bugs? Misspelled words? Broken error handling? Missing unit tests?

That’s all fine and good. But there’s one aspect of pull request review that I think usually does not get enough attention: Metadata

I never metadata I didn’t like

The pull request title and description, as well as the individual commit messages (and each commit’s contents) are all important parts of a pull request, and deserve attention during a review.

To get you started thinking about this, here are some things I always look for when reviewing a PR:

  • Does the content of the PR match the title?
  • Does the PR description adequately explain the intention? (i.e. If you must ask for clarification, the description is probably lacking)
  • Does the PR address one concern (i.e. a single bug fix, a single refactor, or a single feature)
  • Does each commit message make sense in isolation? (i.e. “Bugfix” or “commit a missing file” don’t pass muster)
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