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Jess Lee for The DEV Team

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Preptember — Start Getting Ready for Hacktoberfest This Month!

Update 10/2/20: If you’d like your project to be eligible for Hacktoberfest contributions, you’ll need to opt-in for contributions by classifying it as a Hacktoberfest Project

Here’s how to do this:
adding topic to repo

Update: September 11, 2020: Scroll to the bottom for an additional Hacktoberfest helpdesk resource from

Hacktoberfest is a month-long celebration of open source software hosted by DigitalOcean and sponsored by DEV and other partners. The event is open to everyone — sign up for Hacktoberfest updates and registration information at

For open source contributors, Hacktoberfest is a special time of the year that shines a spotlight on the value and impact of open source software. Throughout the month of October, participants are challenged to make four or more pull-requests to open source repositories on GitHub. In the process, contributors get to earn prizes, increase their open source cred, and meet awesome devs.

Maintainers: Get ready for Hacktoberfest!

But Hacktoberfest isn't just for contributors — it's also a fantastic way for maintainers to make their projects more discoverable to welcome those contributions. In order to make the most of Hacktoberfest, you'll want to make sure your repo is in great shape before October 1st.

We'll be spending the next few weeks getting Forem ready for new contributors and you should do the same!

Here are a few steps you can take this month ("Preptember") for maximum engagement with your project during Hacktoberfest

Use DEV to get the word out

If your project is new, you'll need to get the word out about your project.

Use tags.

We're celebrating Preptember and Hacktoberfest on DEV for the next two months! Join us here by showing off your project in a post. Make use of the tags (#hacktoberfest is a must, of course!), and ask for feedback from other maintainers to set your project up for the most discoverability.

Here’s a great example post from an open-source maintainer that effectively showcases their project:

Create an organization account.

Consolidate all of your posts and add project contributors as authors underneath an org account! Details here.

Meet other community members.

We host two Twitter chats where you can interact with other community members each week:

  • Tuesday @ 9 PM ET on @thepracticaldev — #DevDiscuss is a chance for our community to chat and have a collective brainstorm over a specific, developer-focused topic.
  • Wednesday @ 9 PM ET on @codenewbies

Prepare your repo

Ok, now you've gotten the word out about your project. But how do you turn visitors into contributors?

- Remember this: your repo is your first impression. If your repo isn't friendly, accessible, clear, and organized, you'll lose people from the jump.

- Write a good "about" section. Your project description is your pitch. What is your project all about? Why should people contribute in the first place?

- Share a Contributor's Guide. What types of contributions are welcome? Which types of issues are up for grabs? How should folks submit a PR? Is there any special terminology for contributors to use? How are PRs reviewed? Any additional notes or FAQs? These are all topics you should share in a contributor's guide for maximum success.

- Provide excellent technical information. Your repo should include airtight documentation that provides clear and concise info about your project. This should include a technical overview, installation instructions, testing/QA/design guides, and a technical FAQ.

- Have issues prepared. If there aren't any issues in your repo, folks will feel less compelled to contribute. In an ideal world, your issues will be well-defined and self-contained — but this can be hard! You can cut down on this challenge by utilizing issue-templates, helpful additional context, and a labeling system (for DEV, we use color-coding!).

- Provide a Code of Conduct. You want contributors to immediately know how they will be supported and how they are expected to behave within your repo. Enter the Code of Conduct. This is also a place for you to demonstrate your values in a clear way. If you see any bad actors, the CoC is what you'd immediately point them towards as a point of reference. The caveat here is that if you post a CoC, you must actually enforce it. Hollow rules and "expectations" don't benefit anyone.

- Say thanks! Look back to the first time you ever made an open source contribution — remember that feeling of pride and excitement after submitting your PR? Acknowledge the vulnerability newer developers can feel when making an open source contribution by saying thank you with an @ mention. This goes a long, long way. You can also shout people out on social, in a blog post, in a newsletter, etc!

Of course, project maintenance is NOT easy and it's impossible to do all of these steps perfectly all the time. But the effort you put into building a fantastic, welcoming repository will not only benefit your project tremendously — it will also improve the entire open source ecosystem!

So put your developer advocate hat on and get the word out about your project this month in preparation for Hacktoberfest! If you build it they will come 😉

Happy Preptember! Let the countdown to Hacktoberfest begin ⏲️

Additional resources:

Hacktoberfest Site
For more tips, guides, and logistics for maintainers and contributors alike, visit the Hacktoberfest site. Helpdesk

Our friends at are offering a Hacktoberfest Helpdesk this year!

Maintainers can volunteer to help contributors with their biggest open source obstacles and burning questions via live paired programming, Q&A sessions, and maintainer interviews on Twitch throughout the month of Hacktoberfest.

A handful of us from the Forem + DEV team will be live coding for the Hacktoberfest Helpdesk, too. If you'd like to join us in meeting with contributors, head to to sign up as a maintainer!

Discussion (7)

graciegregory profile image
Gracie Gregory (she/her)

I love that Hacktoberfest is an opportunity for:

  1. Contributors to earn prizes and boost their open source credentials
  2. Maintainers to get more eyes and minds on their projects
  3. The entire open source ecosystem to benefit because of 1 and 2!
pbouillon profile image
Pierre Bouillon

Preptember is awesome, I might use it !

This is very useful ! One might want to already prepare some issues with some more documentation and the #hacktoberfest label on GitHub. This might be a bit early, however I'm seeing more and more repo doing so lately !

kewbish profile image
Emilie Ma

Preptember - very catchy!

johanneslichtenberger profile image
Johannes Lichtenberger • Edited on

Last year was fantastic for my DBMS[1] project (I've been working on the project alone since 2013 with some breaks).

A special thanks to @uminer for all the work he was continuously doing since the Hacktoberfest last year. He even became a project member 👍 so now, we're at least two crazy guys ;-) He's working on clients (for instance, a Python-Client, a TypeScript-Client and a Svelte based GUI), and I'm working on core internals. Furthermore, we got a Kotlin-CLI contribution from Manfred Nentwig, and a new core committer just joined the project. Besides, the project got numerous contributions during the Hacktoberfest and the whole year from many people. They mostly have no database systems background, but there's so much work to do.

Again, my deepest gratitude to @uminer for continuously pushing the project forward and also for finding bugs in the core :-)

[1] and

scrabill profile image
Shannon Crabill

I love the way Preptember sounds.

I've been debating if I want to continue my Hacktoberfest project from previous years. It can be a lot to manage on my own, and I'm not 100% sure if it fits the spirit of Hacktoberfest anymore.


potential17 profile image
Shashwat Pandey

Preptember - Learning and Contributing !!

agneszittenventive profile image

Hacktoberfest 2020 – Contribute to Uno to win online courses and t-shirts