Closing inactive issues

You can use GitHub Actions to comment on or close issues that have been inactive for a certain period of time.

GitHub Actions ist verfügbar mit GitHub Free, GitHub Pro, GitHub Free für Organisationen, GitHub Team, GitHub Enterprise Cloud, und GitHub AE. GitHub Actions ist nicht verfügbar für private Repositorys, die im Besitz von Konten mit älteren Pro-Repository-Plänen sind.

Note: GitHub Actions is currently in beta for GitHub AE.

Warning: Self-hosted runners are currently disabled for GitHub AE. This is because GitHub AE offers guarantees for security boundaries which are incompatible with how self-hosted runners work. However, if you do need to use self-hosted runners with GitHub AE and understand the security implications, you can contact GitHub support for a security exception that will enable self-hosted runners.

If you don't need self-hosted runners, then you can use AE hosted runners to run your workflows. For more information, see "About AE hosted runners."


This tutorial demonstrates how to use the actions/stale action to comment on and close issues that have been inactive for a certain period of time. For example, you can comment if an issue has been inactive for 30 days to prompt participants to take action. Then, if no additional activity occurs after 14 days, you can close the issue.

In the tutorial, you will first make a workflow file that uses the actions/stale action. Then, you will customize the workflow to suit your needs.

Creating the workflow

  1. Choose a repository where you want to apply this project management workflow. You can use an existing repository that you have write access to, or you can create a new repository. Weitere Informationen zum Erstellen eines Repositorys findest Du unter „Ein neues Repository erstellen.“

  2. In your repository, create a file called .github/workflows/YOUR_WORKFLOW.yml, replacing YOUR_WORKFLOW with a name of your choice. This is a workflow file. For more information about creating new files on GitHub, see "Creating new files."

  3. Copy the following YAML contents into your workflow file.

    name: Close inactive issues
        - cron: "30 1 * * *"
        runs-on: ubuntu-latest
          - uses: actions/stale@v3
              days-before-issue-stale: 30
              days-before-issue-close: 14
              stale-issue-label: "stale"
              stale-issue-message: "This issue is stale because it has been open for 30 days with no activity."
              close-issue-message: "This issue was closed because it has been inactive for 14 days since being marked as stale."
              days-before-pr-stale: -1
              days-before-pr-close: -1
              repo-token: ${{ secrets.GITHUB_TOKEN }}
  4. Customize the parameters in your workflow file:

    • Change the value for on.schedule to dictate when you want this workflow to run. In the example above, the workflow will run every day at 1:30 UTC. For more information about scheduled workflows, see "Scheduled events."
    • Change the value for days-before-issue-stale to the number of days without activity before the actions/stale action labels an issue. If you never want this action to label issues, set this value to -1.
    • Change the value for days-before-issue-close to the number of days without activity before the actions/stale action closes an issue. If you never want this action to close issues, set this value to -1.
    • Change the value for stale-issue-label to the label that you want to apply to issues that have been inactive for the amount of time specified by days-before-issue-stale.
    • Change the value for stale-issue-message to the comment that you want to add to issues that are labeled by the actions/stale action.
    • Change the value for close-issue-message to the comment that you want to add to issues that are closed by the actions/stale action.
  5. Commit your workflow file to the default branch of your repository. Weitere Informationen finden Sie unter „Neue Dateien erstellen“.

Expected results

Based on the schedule parameter (for example, every day at 1:30 UTC), your workflow will find issues that have been inactive for the specified period of time and will add the specified comment and label. Additionally, your workflow will close any previously labeled issues if no additional activity has occurred for the specified period of time.

Note: The schedule event can be delayed during periods of high loads of GitHub Actions workflow runs. High load times include the start of every hour. To decrease the chance of delay, schedule your workflow to run at a different time of the hour.

You can view the history of your workflow runs to see this workflow run periodically. For more information, see "Viewing workflow run history."

This workflow will only label and/or close 30 issues at a time in order to avoid rate limit abuse. You can configure this with the operations-per-run setting. For more information, see the actions/stale action documentation.

Nächste Schritte:

  • To learn more about additional things you can do with the actions/stale action, like closing inactive pull requests, ignoring issues with certain labels or milestones, or only checking issues with certain labels, see the actions/stale action documentation.
  • Search GitHub for examples of workflows using this action.

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