I frequently receive notifications on GitHub where someone comments, “Any updates?” on an old issue thread. The answer is always “No”. Updates are in the issue.
A lack of recent activity on an issue can signify either a lack of time or interest from the maintainers, or that the issue is currently blocked by some external factor. Repeatedly asking for updates on such issues is not productive and will only result in spamming everyone who is subscribed to the issue.
So what can you do?
The most helpful action you could take is to offer your assistance. Even providing some failing tests could be valuable. Another option is to leave a comment that contributes to the issue. For instance, you could provide additional information about a bug report, reproduction steps, a crash report, use-cases for a feature, or suggestions on how to implement a feature or bug fix. If you simply want to express your agreement with an issue, you can use the reactions feature to give it a 👍🏻.
When is it ok to bump an issue?
It’s appropriate to bump an issue when there was supposed to be some action taken, but none occurred. For instance, if a maintainer promises to investigate an issue and fails to follow through, it’s acceptable to remind them. Similarly, if you submit a pull request, the maintainer reviews it, you address the review comments, but then don’t receive any further communication, it’s ok to bump.
Please keep in mind that open source is just a hobby for most maintainers and they are often overloaded with notifications. If you’re going to create a notification in someone’s inbox, make it worth it.