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Creating a default community health file

You can create default community health files, such as CONTRIBUTING and CODE_OF_CONDUCT. Default files will be used for any repository owned by the account that does not contain its own file of that type.

About default community health files

Default community health files are a set of predefined files that provide guidance and templates for maintaining a healthy and collaborative open source project. You can add default community health files to a public repository called .github, in the root of the repository or in the docs or .github folders. These files help you automate and standardize various aspects of your project's development and community interaction. They are essential for promoting transparency, good practices, and collaboration in open source projects.

GitHub will use and display default files for any repository owned by the account that does not have its own file of that type in any of the following places:

  • The root of the repository
  • The .github folder
  • The docs folder

For example, anyone who creates an issue or pull request in a repository that does not have its own CONTRIBUTING file will see a link to the default CONTRIBUTING file. If a repository has any files in its own .github/ISSUE_TEMPLATE folder, including issue templates or a config.yml file, none of the contents of the default .github/ISSUE_TEMPLATE folder will be used.

Default files won’t appear in the file browser or Git history and are not included in clones, packages, or downloads of individual repositories because they are stored only in the .github repository.

As a repository maintainer, you can use the community standards checklist to see if your project meets the recommended community standards to help people use and contribute to your project. For more information, see "About community profiles for public repositories."

Supported file types

You can create defaults in your organization or personal account for the following community health files:

Community health fileDescription
CODE_OF_CONDUCT.mdA CODE_OF_CONDUCT file defines standards for how to engage in a community. For more information, see "Adding a code of conduct to your project."
CONTRIBUTING.mdA CONTRIBUTING file communicates how people should contribute to your project. For more information, see "Setting guidelines for repository contributors."
Discussion category formsDiscussion category forms customize the templates that are available for community members to use when they open new discussions in your repository. For more information, see "Creating discussion category forms."
FUNDING.ymlA FUNDING file displays a sponsor button in your repository to increase the visibility of funding options for your open source project. For more information, see "Displaying a sponsor button in your repository."
GOVERNANCE.mdA GOVERNANCE file lets people know about how your project is governed. For example, it might discuss project roles and how decisions are made.
Issue and pull request templates and config.ymlIssue and pull request templates customize and standardize the information you'd like contributors to include when they open issues and pull requests in your repository. For more information, see "About issue and pull request templates."
SECURITY.mdA SECURITY file gives instructions for how to report a security vulnerability in your project. For more information, see "Adding a security policy to your repository."
SUPPORT.mdA SUPPORT file lets people know about ways to get help with your project. For more information, see "Adding support resources to your project."

You cannot create a default license file. License files must be added to individual repositories so the file will be included when a project is cloned, packaged, or downloaded.

Creating a repository for default files

  1. In the upper-right corner of any page, select , then click New repository.

    Screenshot of a GitHub dropdown menu showing options to create new items. The menu item "New repository" is outlined in dark orange.

  2. Use the Owner drop-down menu, and select the organization or personal account you want to create default files for. Screenshot of the owner menu for a new GitHub repository. The menu shows two options, octocat and github.

  3. In the "Repository name" field, type .github.

  4. Optionally, in the "Description" field, type a description.

  5. Make sure the repository status is set to Public. A repository for default files cannot be private.

  6. Select Initialize this repository with a README.

  7. Click Create repository.

  8. In the repository, create one of the supported community health files. Issue templates and their configuration file must be in a folder called .github/ISSUE_TEMPLATE. All other supported files may be in the root of the repository, the .github folder, or the docs folder. For more information, see "Creating new files."