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Pull Request Review Caveats


This information is specific to GitHub Pull Requests (often abbreviated as "PR").

While the Pull Request review feature has been diligently tested, there are still some caveats to beware of when using Pull Request reviews.

Bot Permissions required

The "GitHub Actions" bot may need to be allowed to approve Pull Requests. By default, the bot cannot approve Pull Request changes, only request more changes. This will show as a warning in the workflow logs if the given token (set to the environment variable GITHUB_TOKEN) isn't configured with the proper permissions.

See also

Refer to the GitHub documentation for repository settings or organization settings about adjusting the required permissions for GitHub Actions's secrets.GITHUB_TOKEN.

See our documented permissions.

Auto-disabled for certain event types

The feature is auto-disabled for

  • closed Pull Requests
  • Pull Requests marked as "draft"
  • push events

Posts a new review on each run

Clang-tidy and clang-format suggestions are shown in 1 Pull Request review.

  • Users are encouraged to choose either tidy-review or format-review. Enabling both will likely show duplicate or similar suggestions. Remember, clang-tidy can be configured to use the same style that clang-format accepts. There is no current implementation to combine suggestions from both tools (clang-tidy kind of does that anyway).
  • Each generated review is specific to the commit that triggered the Continuous Integration workflow.
  • Outdated reviews are dismissed but not marked as resolved. Also, the outdated review's summary comment is not automatically hidden. To reduce the Pull Request's thread noise, users interaction is required.

See also

Refer to GitHub's documentation about hiding a comment. Hiding a Pull Request review's summary comment will not resolve the suggestions in the diff. Please also refer to resolve a conversion to collapse outdated or duplicate suggestions in the diff.

GitHub REST API does not provide a way to hide comments or mark review suggestions as resolved.


We do support an environment variable named CPP_LINTER_PR_REVIEW_SUMMARY_ONLY. If the variable is set to true, then the review only contains a summary comment with no suggestions posted in the diff.

Probable non-exhaustive reviews

If any suggestions did not fit within the Pull Request diff, then the review's summary comment will indicate how many suggestions were left out. The full patch of suggestions is always included as a collapsed code block in the review summary comment. This isn't a problem we can fix. GitHub won't allow review comments/suggestions to target lines that are not shown in the Pull Request diff (the summation of file differences in a Pull Request).

  • Users are encouraged to set lines-changed-only to true. This will help us keep the suggestions limited to lines that are shown within the Pull Request diff. However, there are still some cases where clang-format or clang-tidy will apply fixes to lines that are not within the diff. This can't be avoided because the --line-filter passed to the clang-tidy (and --lines passed to clang-format) only applies to analysis, not fixes.
  • Not every diagnostic from clang-tidy can be automatically fixed. Some diagnostics require user interaction/decision to properly address.
  • Some fixes provided might depend on what compiler is used. We have made it so clang-tidy takes advantage of any fixes provided by the compiler. Compilation errors may still prevent clang-tidy from reporting all concerns.