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Problem

I think there are two somewhat related problems that I'd like to see addressed.

Pull Requests by Dependabot, that the guidance describes as requiring a review from two people are being merged with a single review.

Pull Requests by Dependabot are up for long amounts of time, without being merged, including those that could be time sensitive like security fixes.

Proposal

I think a step forward in addressing both problems would be to not treat Dependabot as an external contributor when reviewing Pull Requests, and amend the guidance on reviewing and merging Pull Requests to permit merging Pull Requests by Dependabot with a single review.

Rationale

Currently, Pull Requests by Dependabot are viewed as coming from an external contributor, and as such, should be reviewed by two people employed by GDS, working on GOV.UK.

However, Dependabot is already a special case in the following ways:

  • It's an automated service, not a person raising the Pull Requests
  • Dependabot pushes changes directly to the repositories hosted on the alphagov GitHub organisation, rather than using a fork of the repository
  • It should only be changing files in the repositories relating to the versions of dependencies (Gemfile and Gemfile.lock in the case of Rubygems/Bundler)

Therefore, to try and decrease the amount of time Pull Requests remain open, and reduce the amount of time spent reviewing them, the proposal is to amend the guidance to only require a single review on GitHub.

Since the introduction of Dependabot, merging Pull Requests with only a single review has been happening, including when this doesn't adhere to the guidance. Having more approvals than necessary is good, but having fewer doesn't match up with the current guidance, so this change would make the guidance and practice line up better.

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