I maintain projects with hundreds/thousands of issues, and find it impossible to switch to GitHub, because GitHub's issue tracking does not allow sorting.

As a workaround, I use custom labels to set an issue as Critical/High/Medium/Low (priority), and Bug/Enhancement/Task (type).

But in the issues list, I can't order by anything.

I have contacted GitHub already, but is there a solution meanwhile?

I looked at the issues API but can't find an easy way to sort issues. By the way, I would like to sort by type then priority.

  • tags are labels, I believe. So you could get the label from the api and sort by that
    – elssar
    Mar 14, 2013 at 17:14
  • @elssar: Thanks, I renamed "tags" to "labels". I am interested in your solution, could you please detail it as an answer?
    – nic
    Mar 15, 2013 at 7:33
  • 1
    I could put it in as an answer, but I believe that it would be off topic in this SE. Basically you put all your labels in a list, ordered by the priority you give them. Then go through all the issues, check the label, and put it in another list(1 list of each issue) and join all the lists. If you need 2 levels, then sort by the first level, and then sort each 1st level label list by the second level labels. i.e, get all the critical issues in one list, high in another and so on. For each priority list, put all Bugs in one list, enhancement in another and so on. Then join all the lists.
    – elssar
    Mar 15, 2013 at 9:13
  • 5
    @elssar Post your answer. It's only off-topic if the question was about GitHub started from the computer, instead of the web interface or the software-as-a-service nature Apr 25, 2013 at 4:07

2 Answers 2


You could define different groups of labels like issue types, issue priorities, issue statuses, version tags, and maybe more. In order to be able to see instantly to which group a label belongs to you could use a naming convention like :.

Using such a naming convention should make managing Github issues much easier and helps others to "understand" issues much faster. Note that you can also assign colors to labels which can add even more to readability (I would use a specific color for each label group). But because you still have to assign/unassign those labels to/from issues manually you might want to keep the overall list of groups/labels small.

According to the scheme suggested above you might define groups and corresponding labels as follows.

'issue type' group

type:bug type:feature type:idea type:invalid type:support type:task 'issue priority' group

prio:low prio:normal prio:high 'issue status' group

(These labels describe an issue's state in a defined workflow.)

status:confirmed status:deferred status:fix-committed status:in-progress status:incomplete status:rejected status:resolved 'issue information' group

info:feedback-needed info:help-needed info:progress-25 info:progress-50 info:progress-75 'version tag' group

ver:1.x ver:1.1

  • 6
    But how does this facilitate sorting? My labels follow the format you suggested and I just want to sort based on them...
    – hepcat72
    Jun 11, 2018 at 17:36

https://github.community/t/sort-issues-by-priority/750. This is from the GitHub question forum, here is the response from a staff member:

Thanks for this feedback! We’re always working to improve GitHub and the GitHub Community Forum, and we consider every suggestion we receive. I’ve logged your feature request in our internal feature request list. Though I can’t guarantee anything or share a timeline for this, I can tell you that it’s been shared with the appropriate teams for consideration.

One thing to note while you’re waiting for the above is that you can probably achieve something pretty close to what you want with Labels and Projects. You can assign a priority to an issue via a label and then sort them into columns or in priority order in a project. I know it isn’t as simple as what you’re asking for, but you should be able to get it pretty close for now.

I hope that helps!

  • I updated it to answer your question, does that work?
    – Andy K
    Mar 29, 2021 at 18:00
  • Yes thanks for updating, that is a very relevant link!
    – nic
    Mar 30, 2021 at 12:19

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