Pull Request Updated by Removing Commits

One of my teams will periodically see an activity update in their pull requests that is something like:

  Updated pull request by removing 2 commits


This is followed by the list of commits that have been removed.  In the case that I'm looking at, the team member does not know what they did to remove the commits.

Anyone have any ideas how this might happen?



2 answers

Any history rewrite will do that.  E.g.,  "git rebase" or "git commit --amend" or "git merge --squash" followed by a "git push --force".

No work is lost.  It's just that old commits are being replaced with new commits after a rebase.

Also, if you're only seeing "Updated pull request by removing 2 commits" and never seeing newer entries of "Updated pull request by adding X commit(s)", that corresponds to someone doing something like "git reset --hard HEAD~2" and "git push --force" - in other words, backing out some changes through a history rewrite.

The rebase or squash cases are the most typical for seeing activity like this.

0 vote

Hi Rich,

I suspect it happened as a result of a change to the target branch. Consider this example:

c1 --- c2 --- c3 <--- master
--- c4 <--- feature/A
--- c5 <-- feature/B

In this example, master is at commit c3, feature/A is at c4 and feature/B is at c5. Suppose you have 2 pull requests:

  • PR1: feature/A --> master (would add c4 to the master branch)
  • PR2: feature/B --> master (would add c4 and c5 to the master branch)

When PR1 is merged, the commit graph looks like this:

c1 --- c2 --- c3 --- c6 <--- master
\ /
--- c4 ---
--- c5 <-- feature/B

commit c4 is now 'on' master because it's in master's ancestry. At this point, PR2 would no longer introduce c4 on master because it's already there. Merging PR1 has changed the 'scope' of what PR2 would add to the target branch.

Note that this is not the only possible scenario. Other options are:

  • one or more commits are stripped from the source branch (a push -f was done to rewind the source branch to an older commit)
  • one or more commits were amended/rebased and the source branch was updated through a force-push. In this scenario, the push would simultaneously remove the old commits and add the newly amended/rebased commits. 

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