On Mon, Jun 23, 2014 at 9:15 PM, Jeremy Scott <jer...@great-scotts.org> wrote:
> I just encountered a situation where a merge was made, with no
> apparent changes in files (ie no log), but the result was that some
> files were deleted.
> person A adds some files
> person B adds some files from the same point

You mean from the same point in history, right?  Not files with the
same filename or path?

> person B commits and pushes.
> person A commits -- now merge is required
> a few more commits on top of person B's commit

I don't understand this step.  Who adds a few more commits on top of B and why?

> person A merges - this removes the files that B added. There is no log
> of the files being deleted

This sounds like an "evil merge" (see man gitglossary, and google),
but it's not clear to me how you arrived here.

When I tried to reproduce your issue with this script, it did not
remove any files unexpectedly:

set -e
mkdir foo && cd foo && git init
echo foo > foo && git add foo && git commit -mfoo

git checkout -b PersonA master
echo bar > bar && git add bar
git commit -m"PersonA: bar"

git checkout -b PersonB master
echo baz > baz && git add baz
git commit -m"PersonB: baz"

echo foo-conflict >> foo && git add foo
git commit -m"PersonB: foo"

git checkout PersonA
echo foo-different >> foo && git add foo
git commit -m"PersonA: foo (conflicts with PersonB)"

git log --oneline --all --stat

if ! git merge PersonB ; then
  git checkout PersonA foo
  git commit --no-edit
git log --oneline --graph --stat

A sneaky issue with merges is that they do not have a clear way to
show patch information -- the diff between the commit and its ancestor
-- because they have multiple ancestors.  You can show diffs for a
merge relative to each of its parents, but it is not usually done for
you automatically.  This is why making changes in a merge which are
not actually required for the merge is bad ("evil").

> Clearly this is possible - was this a user error?

Probably, but we'd need to see how the user got there.
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