Kubernetes Issue Triage Guidelines


Speed up issue management.

The Kubernetes issues are listed at and are identified with labels. For example, an issue that belongs to SIG Network group will eventually be set to label sig/network. New issues will start out without any labels. The detailed list of labels can be found at While working on triaging issues you may not have privilege to assign specific label (e.g. triaged) and in that case simply add a comment in the issue with your findings.

Following are few predetermined searches on issues for convenience: * Longest untriaged issues (sorted by age) * Needs to be assigned to a SIG * Newest incoming issues * Busy untriaged issues (sorted by number of comments) * Issues that need more attention


These guidelines serves as a primary document for triaging incoming issues to Kubernetes. SIGs and projects are encouraged to either use these guidelines, or use this as a starting point if necessary. For example if your SIG has specific triaging needs, extend these guidelines. Note: These guidelines only applies to the kubernetes repository. Its usage for other github repositories related to Kubernetes is TBD.

Using the bot

Most people can leave comments and open issues. They don’t have the ability to set labels, change milestones and close other peoples issues. For that we use a bot to manage labelling and triaging. The bot has a set of commands and permissions and this document will cover the basic ones.

Determine if it’s a support request

Sometimes users ask for support requests in issues; these are usually requests from people who need help configuring some aspect of Kubernetes. These issues should be labeled with triage/support, directed to our support structures (see below) and then closed. Also, if the issue is clearly abandoned or in the wrong place, it should be closed. Keep in mind that only issue reporter, assignees and component organization members can close issue. If you do not have such privilege, just comment your findings. Otherwise, first /assign issue to yourself and then /close.

Support Structures

Support requests should be directed to the following:

User support response example

If you see support questions on or issues asking for support try to redirect them to Stack Overflow. Example response:

Please re-post your question to [Stack Overflow]

We are trying to consolidate the channels to which questions for help/support
are posted so that we can improve our efficiency in responding to your requests,
and to make it easier for you to find answers to frequently asked questions and
how to address common use cases.

We regularly see messages posted in multiple forums, with the full response
thread only in one place or, worse, spread across multiple forums. Also, the
large volume of support issues on github is making it difficult for us to use
issues to identify real bugs.

Members of the Kubernetes community use Stack Overflow to field support
requests. Before posting a new question, please search Stack Overflow for answers
to similar questions, and also familiarize yourself with:

  * [user documentation](
  * [troubleshooting guide](

Again, thanks for using Kubernetes.

The Kubernetes Team

Find the right SIG(s)

Components are divided among Special Interest Groups (SIGs). Find a proper SIG for the ownership of the issue using the bot:

  • Typing /sig network in a comment should add the sig/network label, for example.
  • Multiword SIGs use dashes, for example /sig cluster-lifecycle.

Keep in mind that these commands must be on its own line and at the front of the comment.

Validate if the issue is bug

Validate if the problem is a bug by reproducing it. If reproducible, move to the next step of defining priority. You may need to contact the issue reporter in the following cases: * Do a quick duplicate search to see if the issue has been reported already. If a duplicate is found, let the issue reporter know it by marking it duplicate. Label such issues as triage/duplicate. * If you can not reproduce the issue, label it as a triage/not-reproducible. Contact the issue reporter with your findings and close the issue if both the parties agree that it could not be reproduced. * If you need more information to further work on the issue, let the reporter know it by adding an issue comment followed by label triage/needs-information.

In all cases, if you do not get a response in 20 days then close the issue with an appropriate comment.

Define priority

We use GitHub issue labels for prioritization. The absence of a priority label means the bug has not been reviewed and prioritized yet.

We try to apply these priority labels consistently across the entire project, but if you notice an issue that you believe to be incorrectly prioritized, please do let us know and we will evaluate your counter-proposal.

  • priority/critical-urgent: Must be actively worked on as someone’s top priority right now. Stuff is burning. If it’s not being actively worked on, someone is expected to drop what they’re doing immediately to work on it. Team leaders are responsible for making sure that all the issues, labeled with this priority, in their area are being actively worked on. Examples include user-visible bugs in core features, broken builds or tests and critical security issues.

  • priority/important-soon: Must be staffed and worked on either currently, or very soon, ideally in time for the next release.

  • priority/important-longterm: Important over the long term, but may not be currently staffed and/or may require multiple releases to complete.

  • priority/backlog: There appears to be general agreement that this would be good to have, but we may not have anyone available to work on it right now or in the immediate future. Community contributions would be most welcome in the mean time (although it might take a while to get them reviewed if reviewers are fully occupied with higher priority issues, for example immediately before a release).

  • priority/awaiting-more-evidence: Possibly useful, but not yet enough support to actually get it done. These are mostly place-holders for potentially good ideas, so that they don’t get completely forgotten, and can be referenced /deduped every time they come up.

Set ownership

If you are not sure of who should own issue, defer to the SIG label only. If you feel the issue should warrant a notification,you can ping a team with an @ mention, in this format, @kubernetes/sig-<group-name>-<group-suffix>. Here the <group-suffix> can be one of bugs, feature-requests, pr-reviews, test-failures, proposals. For example, @kubernetes/sig-cluster-lifecycle-bugs, can you have a look at this?

If you think you can fix the issue and you are an issue reporter or a component organization member, assign it to yourself with just /assign. If you can not self-assign, leave a comment that you are willing to work on it and work on creating a PR.

Poke issue owner if PR is not created for it in 30 days

If you see any issue which is owned by a developer but a PR is not created in 30 days, a Triage engineer should contact the issue owner and ask for PR or release ownership as needed.

Poke SIG if a SIG label is assigned but no comment was added by SIG in 30 days

Ideally the SIG lead should have a SIG member that is a first point of contact for SIG new issues. If an issue has a SIG label assigned and no action is taken by SIG in 30 days (e.g. no comment was added by SIG or no discussion was initiated) then gently poke SIG about this pending issue. Also consider attending one of the SIG meetings and brig up issue, if you feel this is appropriate.


We additionally use milestones, based on minor version, for determining if a bug should be fixed for the next release. These milestones will be especially scrutinized as we get to the weeks just before a release. We can release a new version of Kubernetes once they are empty. We will have two milestones per minor release.

  • vX.Y: The list of bugs that will be merged for that milestone once ready.

  • vX.Y-candidate: The list of bug that we might merge for that milestone. A bug shouldn’t be in this milestone for more than a day or two towards the end of a milestone. It should be triaged either into vX.Y, or moved out of the release milestones.

The above priority scheme still applies. The priority/critical-urgent issues are work we feel must get done before release. The priority/important-soon and priority/important-longterm issues are work we would merge into the release if it gets done, but we wouldn’t block the release on it. A few days before release, we will probably move all priority/important-soon and priority/important-longterm bugs out of that milestone in bulk.

Closing issues

Issues that are identified as a support request, duplicate, not-reproducible or lacks enough information from reporter should be closed following guidelines explained in this file. Also, any issues that can not be resolved because of any particular reason should be closed. These issues should have one or more of following self-readable labels: * triage/support: Indicates an issues is not a bug but a support request. * triage/duplicate: Indicates an issue is a duplicate of other open issue. * triage/not-reproducible: Indicates an issue can not be reproduced as described. * triage/needs-information: Indicates an issue needs more information in order to work on it. * triage/unresolved: Indicates an issue that can not be resolved.

A triage engineer should add these labels appropriately. Kubernetees GitHub Org members can search open issues per these labels to find ones that can be quickly closed.

Also note that, fejta-bot will add lifecycle/stale label to issues with no activity for 90 days. Such issues will be eventually auto closed if the label is not removed with the /remove-lifecycle stale label or prevented with the /lifecycle frozen label. Refer to the fejta-bot added comments in the issue for more details. It is fine to add any of the triage/* labels described in this issue triage guidelines to issues triaged by the fejta-bot for a better understanding of the issue and closing of it.