Is magit: how to set default username? on-topic?

It's about Git. The problem is with Git usage, and solved through a Git setting. The fact that the user accesses Git via Magit is anecdotal; all the settings discussed in that thread are in Git configuration files, not in the Magit configuration.

So Emacs isn't relevant to the problem or its solution. However, this may not be clear at the onset: this problem could perhaps a priori have been due to the Emacs (here, Magit) interface layer, or have had a solution involving Emacs.

So are such questions on-topic? Where do we draw the limit?


We should be inclusive. Anything is fair game as long as you're doing it in Emacs. It isn't up to the asker to know whether what they're trying to do in Emacs is going to be solved through a core Emacs feature, or with an extra Emacs package, or by invoking some operating system functionality via Emacs, or by doing something outside Emacs altogether.

This is the same policy that sites such as Ask Ubuntu, Ask Different and Unix & Linux. Questions about third-party applications are welcome there. It can happen that the answer to a Firefox question on Ask Ubuntu will be equally applicable on Windows, but it can also happen that the answer will be specific to the Ubuntu setup: as long as the asker is running Ubuntu, the question is on-topic.

If Emacs is not involved at all, then the question is off-topic. For example, a question about using Git from the command line would not be on-topic merely because the asker wants to edit the files in Emacs. But a question about using Git via Magit is on-topic, whether or not the question is fundamentally about the underlying Git setup.

It may happen occasionally that we detect that a question requires non-Emacs expertise, that Emacs is only incidental, and that the question is best shown to other experts (say, git experts). In that case, especially if nobody has been able to answer the question for a while, a good course of action is to suggest to the asker to migrate their question to another site (say, Stack Overflow for Git expertise). The asker can flag their own question to request it to be migrated. Moderators can migrate questions that are less than 60 days old.


I'd put that one as borderline, it could go either way. Similarly with How can I use Gnus to access Gmail IMAP through http(s) firefwall?

For magit Perhaps off-topic, but it is a mistake I could see someone else making leading to them asking a similar question again. It likely should end up in Jon Ericson's SU bucket (Not yet ready for Public Beta)

Keeping it as on-topic/on emacs.se with would keep the answer available for anyone who has that issue in the future.

If the question had been How do I set the default username for pushing to github I would classify it as off-topic.

For gnus This one was missing information initially, specifically the proxy/firewall setting that prevented it from accessing IMAP/SSL.

With that clarification it is a networking question not an Emacs/Gnus question. I would say it would fall off-topic/get moved once all the details were clarified.

This one wasn't really a user configuration/misunderstanding issue, they just hadn't left their question completely clear.

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    I agree with this and the important part for me is "it is a mistake I could see someone else making leading to them asking a similar question again". Which also relates to @Gilles mention of it being (very marginally) Magit's fault. – Malabarba Sep 30 '14 at 13:22
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    It is also a case of "Can we answer this question without in depth knowledge of the other domain" (github authentication) vs "How to reroute IMAP/SSL over HTTPs" where it goes far beyond the scope of anything Emacs (not including emacs-as-webserver ideas). – Jonathan Leech-Pepin Sep 30 '14 at 13:29
  • Very good point. – Malabarba Sep 30 '14 at 13:31
  • N.B.: my bucketing of questions has almost no impact on whether questions should be on- or off-topic on Emacs. Questions can be asked on multiple sites. Please see: Respect the community. – Jon Ericson Sep 30 '14 at 18:36

I thought it was magit-related because I wanted to get rid of its user prompt at every push. Since it is not Emacs-related but in fact a git setting, it is more a fault on my side than on magit interface side. Feel free to get rid of the question, of course, but I still think it is a mistake that can happen and a similar question could be asked again.

  • You are not the first to assume it must be a Magit problem, in fact this question and similar ones keep coming up all the time. In part these questions are covered in Magit's FAQ as well as in the Github documentation (and of course in Git documentation). But it seems that's not were users check, so it would be very good to have a good question with good answers, which also has a lot of goggle-juice. So could you please improve your question and hopefully we will then also get some good answers and googlebility. – tarsius Oct 1 '14 at 18:33
  • Frankly I don't know what else I could add/remove to my question to improve it. This is not to say my question is perfect, of course, just that I will happily accept any suggestion to make the question better. – Boccaperta-IT Oct 1 '14 at 18:49
  • The question is okay actually, but the answer is a bit brief... – tarsius Oct 6 '14 at 23:06

I believe this question should be left visible, if for no other reason then pointing people in the right direction for solving their problems. Even the answer "your problem is not with Emacs, but with X" is useful to someone struggling with a problem as it allows them to move on to the correct resource.

You could possibly close it and mark it as "problem is solved by adjusting external software". But in the end, the question is really about "How do I use and configure git with emacs?". We should have a useful answer for that.

In the specific example, it is possible to change your commit username and email within magit. Scroll to the bottom of this section of the magit manual to see what I am talking about. So yes, you can change your default username within emacs using magit.

However it does look like the ultimate fix involved changing remote urls which is not something magit really touches. This answer no longer matches the question. I believe the question should be edited to reflect the real problem. After that edit, we might find that the question does not fit on here.

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