How do GitHub backlinks work?

We show GitHub backlinks when you integrate your Whimsical account with GitHub. Backlinks are links from somewhere else to a Whimsical item, and they’re currently visible underneath Docs and Sticky Note notes. Backlinks allow you to see who’s talking about a document and where they’re doing it. 


What are GitHub Backlinks?

Once you install the GitHub Backlink integration to one or more repositories, Whimsical will begin automatically detecting Whimsical URLs and recording backlinks:

GitHub backlinks display an excerpt of text and, when possible, a small diff.

GitHub backlinks are created when a user in an integrated GitHub repository creates one of the following, containing a link to a Whimsical item in your workspace:

  • A Pull Request
  • An Issue
  • A comment on a Pull Request, Issue, or Commit

What actions delete a backlink from GitHub?

Editing the original GitHub item to remove a Whimsical link, or deleting the original item, will remove the backlink. The only exception is Commit Comments, which may still be visible as backlinks in Whimsical even after you delete them.


How do I install GitHub backlinks?

1. As a workspace admin, go to https://whimsical.com/workspace/apps

2. Click “Install” under the GitHub app

3. Install on GitHub

You’ll be sent to to GitHub, where you can select repositories or organizations to to integrate. (If you’re not an admin for the repositories, you’ll need to “Install & Request” and an admin will need to approve your request).


4. Done!

Once you finish, you’ll be sent back to the Apps page, and GitHub will now appear under “Installed Apps.”


How do I change which repositories GitHub backlinks read from?

As a workspace admin, go to https://whimsical.com/workspace/apps and click “Configure” under the GitHub app. You’ll be sent to the GitHub installation screen, where you can make changes to the configuration.


How do I uninstall GitHub backlinks?

As a workspace admin, go to https://whimsical.com/workspace/apps and click “Configure” under the GitHub app. You’ll be sent to the GitHub installation screen, you can suspend or install the integration. You’ll need to be a GitHub admin for the integrated repositories to do this.


What GitHub information does Whimsical store?

When a backlink is created, we store:

  • The text of the PR/Issue/Comment
  • The URL of the PR/Issue/Comment
  • The author username
  • For PRs, Issues, and comments about them: The title and number of the PR/Issue
  • For comments on particular lines of code: The last few lines and the line number

Other backlinks notes:

  • You only see backlinks on a note or doc if you are a direct owner (you won't see them on items shared with you or shared publicly)
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