GITHUB_TOKEN edit another repository

GitHub Actions allow you to bring your own personal access token (PAT) or use the out of the box PAT named GITHUB_TOKEN to hit the GitHub API, do stuff with Git etc.

When it comes to custom PATs, GitHub at the moment has two types, legacy and just PATs (which I will call modern because “just PATs” used to refer to the legacy ones before the new ones came about).

Legacy PATs had configurable scopes that would allow the token to do stuff or not and they were scoped to the entire user or organization, meaning they could access all of their public repositories (and private if such scope was granted). This is a very bad idea and it is surprising it made it out of the lab at all, but it did and soon after it lived on for quite a while, unfortunately. But nowadays, GitHub have rectified this design and introduced the moderm PATs which have permissions one can adorn them with as well as the ability to scope to a single repository or a set of repositories.

I don’t know how the integration PAT that comes built-in with GitHub Actions works but since there is a key named permissions that one could in their GitHub Actions workflows, I assume - purely based on the nomenclature - that it is the modern type PAT.

If that’s the case, changes are it is scoped to the repository it is created and later revoked for - the one which the workflow is in.

But I don’t know this for a fact and I am working on something right now which would benefit from being able to edit another repository’s metadata from within a GitHub Actions workflow of a different repository.

In order to be able to tell what is what, I created a workflow in this repo to try and hit the GitHub API with the integration PAT. At first, I want to edit this very repository’s metadata as a baseline.

What do you know? The integration PAT cannot be used to edit repository metadata even for its own repository.

That cuts my experiment short, looks like a custom PAT is needed for my use case. :(

The workflow:

The runs: