From: "Zenaan Harkness" <>

 Please CC me :)

From man git-rm:

 Use this option to unstage and remove paths only from the index.
 Working tree files, whether modified or not, will be left alone.

This wording is unclear and dangerous, and ought be cleaned up somehow.

Probably also the option name should change.

See here for examples of community self-help compensating for git-rm man
page's particularly bad wording:

I suggest:
- change "--cached" to "--cache" at the least (allow both)

Such small nuance changes rarely have the effect hoped for when there are such gross misunderstandings by the user.

- probably deprecate --cached and add "--stage" to replace it

- perhaps change the wording in the man page above to something similar
  as on the stackoverflow page above,
  "Removes a file from the index. In the case where the file is already
  in the repo, git rm --cached will remove the file from the index,
  leaving it in the working directory and a commit will now remove it
  from the repo as well. Basically, after the commit, you would have
  unversioned the file and kept a local copy."

The idea of 'removing from the repo' can have a connotation that it means total removal from history(the repository hold the history!), and not just future commits.

  or perhaps something like:
  "does not unstage a file, it actually stages the removal of the
  file(s) from the repo (assuming it was already committed before) but
  leaves the file in your working tree (leaving you with an untracked

The easiest way is to simply swap around the two sentences so that the positive action is listed first - this better matches people's typical cognition. Human Error (by Reason)[1] tells us to Never state warnings and caveats after the instruction, and preferably be positive.

Working tree files, whether modified or not, will be retained unchanged.
The option will remove paths from the index (only) to unstage them from future commits."

The git "stage" is a primary concept, and a primary noun (one reason
many of us have come to appreciate git), and git's cmd line options and
help docs ought reflect this.


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