To watch a GitHub repository, I simply click on watch. E.g., from https://github.com/adobe-research/custom-diffusion:

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I don't see the watch button in this empty GitHub repository https://github.com/adobe-research/meetingqa:

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I am assuming, perhaps incorrectly, that it's because the GitHub repository is empty. How can I watch an empty GitHub repository?


2 Answers 2


GitHub Activity Notifications

  1. GitHub sets your default notification level for all repositories to include:

    • @mentions
    • Assignments
    • Commits you author or commit
    • Any discussion you've commented on
  2. When you click on the Watch button, it is equivalent to changing the notification level for that particular repository to All Activity.

  3. If, instead of clicking Watch, you were to open its drop-menu, you would see various notification levels, and selecting All Activity is equivalent to clicking Watch


  4. Any repositories with the notification level set to All Activity will show in your GitHub Watching list.

  5. As you noted, the Web App's GUI doesn't include the Watch button nor apparently any other way to set the notification level to All Activity for an empty repository.


Despite the web app's lack of an interface customizing notification options for empty repositories is actually supported by the underlying code and can be accessed using the following approaches:

  1. Github's mobile application includes the notification menu when the repository is empty (Android | IOS)


  2. GitHub's REST API allows subscribing to All Activity notifications for empty repositories: Documentation


2 other workarounds from Quora, written by Qasim Raza:

  • Subscribe to the repository's RSS feed. This will send you an RSS feed notification whenever the repository is updated.
  • Use a third-party service like GitHub Alerts to monitor the repository for changes

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