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JQL for issueLinkType="blocks"


For a test, I have two issues: Issue One and Issue Two.  Issue Two "is blocked by" Issue One, by creating a link between those two records.

If I do the JQL statement: issueLinkType = "is blocked by", Issue Two is correctly the only issue that is returned.  Here is a screenshot of that query:


However, when I execute the JQL Query: issueLinkType = "blocks", (lower-case b, to distinguish it from "Blocks"), instead of only returning issues that block other issues, it returns all issues that are either blocking, or being blocked--in the example, both Issue One and Issue Two are returned.  Here is a screenshot of that query:


(1) How can I create a JQL query that will only return issues that block another issue, or (2) is this just a bug in how the "blocks" keyword behaves, at the moment?

Here is a quick video demonstration of the issue, in case anything about this question is unclear:  Link to quick YouTube video demonstrating question 

I've tried issueLinkType != "is blocked by", but that doesn't return anything.

Thanks, let me know if anything could use clarified.

2 answers

1 accepted

4 votes
Answer accepted
Andy Heinzer Atlassian Team Nov 21, 2019

Hi Brad,

Sorry to hear about this problem, but I know why this is happening now.   The issueLinkType JQL function is able to let users search on the inward description, outward description, AND the name of the link type that encompasses both.   In this case, the link type is named 'Blocks' and the outward description is also 'blocks'.  Since these two values are the same because JQL is not case sensitive, anytime you search

issueLinkType = blocks

the function is defaulting to the link name instead of the description. Hence in this case, you can't find only the issues with that outward description linktype here. 

The workaround for this is to change that description from 'blocks' to something that is unique such as 'blocking' or 'is blocking'.  As a Jira admin/site-admin you can do this by going to the issue linking feature in the system admin panel (keyboard shortcut of G+G and search for issue linking or go to /secure/admin/ViewLinkTypes!default.jspa)

This way you can search based on those descriptions.  I have also recently create a pair of feature requests that if implemented would avoid this problem in


I hope this helps, let me know if you have any questions about this.


Payne Community Leader Nov 21, 2019

@Andy Heinzer, I suspected that as well, and it may well explain the behavior in Cloud, but I confirm that in our 8.5.0 server installation that issueLinkType = Blocks returns only the issues containing a blocks link (none with a is blocked by link). Our link type is configured as you describe: Name is Blocks; Outward Description is blocks; and Inward Description is is blocked by. I think this is a cloud-only issue.

Andy, I decided to change the "Name" of the issue link to "Blockers," but that is the essence of what you said to do.  Awesome, thank you so much.  You crushed my question.  Thanks.

@Andy Heinzer Now we just need the filters on the next-gen agile boards, and that will be awesome.  I will be able to completely view the "doable" items, based on filtering for unblocked items.  Thank you, again.

@Andy HeinzerThanks for your answer. I had the same question.

0 votes
Payne Community Leader Nov 20, 2019

FYI, it seems to work as expected in Jira server (I see that you're using cloud). 

Thanks for the response, it looks like it had to do with the name of the issue link and the outward description matching, combined with the fact that JQL is not case sensitive.  Thank you for the response.

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