Sourcegraph Own

Sourcegraph Own is a new, experimental product aimed at helping find the right person and team to contact, for any question, at any time. We are starting out with code ownership, and are exploring ways to help you find someone to answer every question.

Enabling Sourcegraph Own

As an experimental feature, Sourcegraph Own is disabled by default. If you like to try it, a site-admin can enable the feature flag search-ownership:

  • Go to Site-admin > Feature flags
  • If the feature flag search-ownership doesn't yet exist, click Create feature flag
  • Under Name, put search-ownership
  • For Type select Boolean
  • And set Value to True
  • Click Create flag


Owner: An owner is defined as a person or a team in Sourcegraph.

A person can be:

  • a Sourcegraph user which we were able to resolve from the CODEOWNERS handle or email, in which case we link to their profile.
  • an unknown user for which we were unable to resolve a profile, in which case we will return the CODEOWNERS data we have.

A team is a group of Sourcegraph users represented by a common handle, which is a new feature that we added. Read more about how to manage teams in Sourcegraph.

Code ownership

Code ownership is defined as a strict ruleset. Files can be assigned to owners. To define rulesets for code ownership, we make use of the CODEOWNERS format.


CODEOWNERS files contain a sequence of matching rules - a glob pattern and zero or more owners. A repository has at most one CODEOWNERS file.

Specifying Owner information

Owners can be defined by a username/team name or an email address.

Using email addresses is generally recommended, as email addresses are most likely the same across different platforms, and are independent of a user having registered yet. In Sourcegraph, a user can add multiple email addresses to their profile. All of those would match to the same user.

For committed CODEOWNERS files, the usernames are usually the username on the code host, so they don't necessarily match with the Sourcegraph username. This is a known limitation, and in the future, we will provide ways to map external code host names to Sourcegraph users. For now, you can search for a user by their code host username, or switch to using emails in the CODEOWNERS files, which will work across both Sourcegraph and the code host.

File format

The following snippet shows an example of a valid CODEOWNERS file.

*.txt @text-team
# this is a comment explaining why Alice owns this
/build/logs/ [email protected] 
/cmd/**/test @qa-team @user
  • Asterisk * is a wildcard that matches N tokens in a path segment.Example: doc/*/own will match doc/ref/own and doc/tutorial/own, but not doc/a/b/own
  • Double ** asterisk matches any sub-path.Example: doc/**/own will match doc/ref/own and doc/a/b/own
  • Starting a pattern with / anchors matches at the repository root.Example: /docs/* matches /docs/ and /docs/ but not /src/docs/
  • Trailing slash / matches any file within the directory tree (so it is equivalent to trailing /**).Example: docs/ matches /testing/docs/foo and /docs/foo/bar, but does not match /docs or /testing/docs.

The rules are considered independently and in order. Rules farther down the file take precedence. Only one rule matches.


  • GitLab allows sections in CODEOWNERS files, these are not yet supported and section markers are ignored
  • Code Owners for Bitbucket inline defined groups are not yet supported

To configure ownership in Sourcegraph, you have two options:

Committing a CODEOWNERS file to your repositories

Use this approach if you prefer versioned ownership data.

You can simply commit a CODEOWNERS file at any of the following locations for it to be picked up automatically by Own:


Searches at specific commits will return any CODEOWNERS data that exists at that specific commit.

Uploading a CODEOWNERS file to Sourcegraph

Use this approach if you don't want to commit CODEOWNERS files to your repos, or if you have an existing system that tracks ownership data and want to sync that data with Sourcegraph.

Read more on how to manually ingest CODEOWNERS data into your Sourcegraph instance.

The docs detail how to use the UI or src-cli to upload CODEOWNERS files to Sourcegraph.


  • Sourcegraph Own has been released as an MVP for 5.0. In the future of the product we intend to infer ownership beyond CODEOWNERS data.
  • The feature has not been fully validated to work well on large repositories or large CODEOWNERS rulesets. This is a future area of improvement, but please contact us if you run into issues.

Browsing ownership

The ownership information is available for browsing once ownership data is available through a CODEOWNERS file.

When displaying a source file, there is a bar above the file contents.

  • On the left hand side, it displays the most recent change to the file.
  • On the right hand side it displays the Own bar with at most 2 file owners. Any additional number of owners is also displayed.

File view showing own bar on the right hand side above the file contents

After clicking on the Own bar, a bottom panel appears listing all the owners.

File view with the ownership tab selected in the bottom panel

There is always a single rule in a CODEOWNERS file that determines ownership (if any). Each owner listed in the bottom panel has a description found by clicking the collapsible arrow: Owner is associated with a rule in a CODEOWNERS file. Clicking this description links to the line containing the responsible rule in the CODEOWNERS file.

If any email information has been found for the owner, clicking the mail icon will start an email to them.

Code ownership is a first-class citizen in search. Ownership can be either a query input or a search result:

  • file:has.owner([email protected]) keeps only the search results associated with given user (here referred to by e-mail).
  • -file:has.owner(@username) removes all results owned by specific user (here referred to by name).

Ownership predicate can also be used without parameters:

  • file:has.owner() will only include files with an owner assigned to them.
  • -file:has.owner() will only include files without an owner.

When performing a search the select:file.owners predicate will return the owners for the result of that search.

For instance one can find all the owners of TypeScript files in a given repository by using repo:^github\.com/sourcegraph/sourcegraph$ lang:TypeScript select:file.owners.