> On Mon, Oct 07, 2013 at 07:24:11AM -0400, Jeff King wrote:
>> However, one thing I expected to work but didn't is:
>>   echo '*' >.gitignore
>>   echo '!*' >my_dir/.gitignore
>> That _does_ work for attributes, like:
>>   echo '* foo=one' >.gitattributes
>>   echo '* foo=two' >my_dir/.gitattributes
>> where the more-specific file takes precedence. It works because we keep
>> an attribute stack, and look from most-specific directory to least.

Note that this doesn't work either:

  echo '*' >.gitignore
  echo '!my_dir/*' >>.gitignore

The problem isn't that git doesn't read 'my_dir/.gitignore'. Git simply doesn't 
recurse into excluded directories, so patterns on excluded content have no 

IMO this behavior is reasonable, as there is no way to check whether a negative 
pattern will match within an excluded untracked directory without scanning the 

What about this instead?

--- 8< ---
Subject: [PATCH] gitignore.txt: clarify recursive nature of excluded directories

Additionally, precedence of negated patterns is exactly as outlined in
the description, we don't need to repeat this.

Signed-off-by: Karsten Blees <bl...@dcon.de>
 Documentation/gitignore.txt | 5 +++--
 1 file changed, 3 insertions(+), 2 deletions(-)

diff --git a/Documentation/gitignore.txt b/Documentation/gitignore.txt
index f971960..a64a65d 100644
--- a/Documentation/gitignore.txt
+++ b/Documentation/gitignore.txt
@@ -79,8 +79,9 @@ PATTERN FORMAT
  - An optional prefix "`!`" which negates the pattern; any
    matching file excluded by a previous pattern will become
-   included again.  If a negated pattern matches, this will
-   override lower precedence patterns sources.
+   included again. It is not possible to re-include a file if a parent
+   directory of that file is excluded (i.e. excluding a directory
+   will recursively and irrevocably exclude the entire content).
    Put a backslash ("`\`") in front of the first "`!`" for patterns
    that begin with a literal "`!`", for example, "`\!important!.txt`".
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