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Christina Gorton for The DEV Team

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Hacktoberfest Etiquette for Contributors

We know that many of you reading this article are very excited for Hacktoberfest and all the open source learning, community connection, and great prizes that come with it. We're right there with you!

At the same time, it's important to remember that Hacktoberfest is about quality > quantity. Low-effort and spammy PRs are frustrating for project maintainers and require them to spend their valuable time and energy marking the contributions as “invalid.” These types of contributions don’t benefit the projects, and they won’t even count towards the 4 PRs required to earn a prize. Let's work together as a community to benefit the open source ecosystem this month for everyone.

Here are some tips to ensure you have a productive and valuable Hacktoberfest experience:

Tip #1. Look for projects actively seeking Hacktoberfest contributions.

Pull-requests can be made in any participating GitHub-hosted repository/project. They will count toward your participation if they are in a repo with the hacktoberfest topic and once they have been merged, approved by a maintainer, or labeled as hacktoberfest-accepted.

However, maintainers can opt-in to participate by classifying their projects with the hacktoberfest topic (find a list of opted-in projects here). Referring to this list is a great way to connect with projects that are actively seeking Hacktoberfest contributions.

Regardless, you are not limited to this list. Any PR with the hacktoberfest-accepted label, submitted to any public GitHub repository, with or without the hacktoberfest topic, will be considered valid.

Tip #2. Question about a PR you'd like to make? Lean on the DEV community!

If you're a Hacktoberfest participant that's newer to making PRs or you'd just like a gut-check about your planned contribution, we highly encourage you to write down your thought process here on DEV in an article using the #help tag.

Project maintainers will appreciate the extra care before you submit a PR to their project. Remember, there are human beings with limited time doing the hard work of managing those repositories!

Tip #3. Quality contributions over quantity of PRs

Please take your time to make quality contributions and avoid rushing pull requests in an attempt just to hit the required number of PRs. For example, unnecessary or inappropriate documentation changes are some of the most disruptive contributions for maintainers.

Note that maintainers can invalidate low quality and spammy PRs. If they believe that a participant is contributing solely in an effort to hit the 4 PR goal, they will mark the contribution as invalid and it won’t be counted.

If a participant repeatedly violates these rules, they might be banned from Hacktoberfest for life! 😱

We truly wish everyone a very happy Hacktoberfest. Let's all be respectful of open source maintainers and the projects that they work so hard on. We can’t wait to follow your contributor journey!

Top comments (16)

mcastellin profile image
Manuel Castellin

Well said Christina! I think it’s very important to respect the time maintainers pour into the projects.

I personally don’t care if I can’t make 4 contributions in the end.. I’m in it for the process, to learn something new and build the habit of contributing constantly during my entire career.

jess profile image
Jess Lee


c0derr0r profile image
Irkan Hadi

I think Digital Ocean needs to reach to the guy who made the youtube video and ask him to make a new video on how to properly contribute in their language. Otherwise, I doubt there would be any change in the behavior of the contributers who unfortunately got the wrong idea on what contribution means.

aniketbharsakale profile image
Aniket Bharsakale

I already have completed the 4-PR goal which isn't of great importance to me since I'm just happy that I've initiated contributing towards open-source through this a great platform of hactoberfest2020.
I did go through the quality guidelines again, thinking that being a newbie I might not have adhered to the guidelines in the entire process. :D
Haha. I'm relieved since the quality of work was my priority always. Thanks to the maintainers/authors/owners who keep resolving queries and helping out as & when required.
And yes the process or the journey is what is interesting here which has been a good experience so far.
And certainly, this opens many doors for me to learn, unlearn, re-learn and work and lookout for collaboration and dig more and brainstorm more in several other aspects.

aliyarahmani profile image
Aliya Rahmani

Why my review time has increased to 15 days?
It says- In Review
Your PR has been accepted by a maintainer and is currently within the review period, which lasts for fourteen days.
Will I get my T-Shirt?

P.S.- Beginner doubts

bobbyiliev profile image
Bobby Iliev

Hey Aliya,

Yes, this is expected behavior, after the recent updates, the validation period from one week to 14 days. This will give maintainers more time to review pull requests before contributors earn their shirts.

Once the 14 days have passed, this would mean that your PR has passed the review period and it will count toward completing the Hacktoberfest challenge!

For more information, you can take a look at the official update here:

On another note, congrats for getting your PRs merged 🙌

dariuszostolski profile image
Dariusz Ostolski

Hacktoberfest from maintainer point of view:

bhavin789 profile image
Bhavin Ag

This is a great reference guide.
We should also look at the Discord server under #issue-sharing channel. Can see some people asking for contributions by just updating a file :(

opentechconsult profile image

Que la fête commence !!!

alguercode profile image


cckang profile image

good article. Thank you

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