First off, this is particularly exciting because we’re huge fans of what Digital Ocean and DEV have been doing here, and many of our team members have been participating in Hacktoberfest for years now. In fact, four years ago, Justin Dorfman had his project featured in a 2016 Hacktoberfest newsletter, and ended up with over 50 new contributors! Now, those contributions help over 800 developers, data scientists, and students a month looking for JSON Datasets to make their applications awesome.
So with that in mind, we’re happy to now be actually working together to further grow and sustain open source, and to let you know how you can get involved in growing and sustaining open source with us.
For those who aren’t yet familiar, Hacktoberfest is the month-long celebration of open source software created by Digital Ocean (and supported by the open source community) to honor and uplift maintainers and contributors that we all rely on. It’s also one of the biggest celebrations there is, with over 130,000 participants completing nearly 500,000 pull requests last October alone.
Hacktoberfest is especially important this year during the pandemic as an open space for people to come together and work on code they care about. To us open source is a living ecosystem, and it isn’t just about coding it’s about community. Whether you’re totally new or a veteran of the event, there are plenty of ways to get involved.
Gitcoin is on a social and economic mission to help grow and sustain open source, which has created billions of dollars of economic value and in one way or another most of the products we know and love today. However, most of that value is lost to players who don’t give back to the ecosystems they’re part of, creating a massive 21st century tragedy of the commons. To help remedy this, we’ve created a series of experiments that allow developers on our platform to earn, learn, and build their own creator-first communities. These experiments include:
- Bounties and Hackathons: Ways for FLOSS contributors to get paid for their individual PRs or kick-start their own projects
- Grants: Matching donations for maintainers using quadratic funding (which has been getting recognition outside of just open source software)
- Fellowships: Peer-driven mentorship groups for open source companies
So far we’ve distributed over $7M to developers working mainly on “Web3” projects (i.e. projects built using cryptocurrencies on Ethereum or other decentralized platforms), but we’ve also been active in “Web2” through organizations/initiatives like SustainOSS, FOSSResponders, and of course now Hacktoberfest.
Most of our usual audience is familiar with web3, but for those of you in “web2” as we sometimes call it this is important to dive in on. At a high-level Web3 as a movement aims to create a decentralized and fair internet. One where users control their own data, privacy, and identity. One where money (cryptocurrency) can be exchanged openly and aligned directly with its community’s values. Historically, some people referred to this as DWeb, and the goals and ideals are actually very similar. Instead of trying to explain everything here, Harry Halpin’s talk at Web3 Summit does a good job of breaking down some of why the web we have now, for all its successes, has major issues (and why web3 has a chance to fix it).
Although there’s sometimes noise when people talk about “blockchain” or “cybercoins” (we’ll be the first to admit the ecosystem is strange), we believe, more often than not, some really interesting ideas shine through. We’re hopeful of course that Gitcoin can be a champion of some of those ideas in the long run, in addition to projects like Our Zora, SuperRare, and SourceCred that are doing great work to evolve what it means for artists, makers, and other creators to make a living.
While Hacktoberfest is an amazing opportunity to get new developers participating in the open source ecosystem, we recognize it also takes a lot of effort for maintainers to manage the spike in interest. As many of you already know, and as Nadia Eghbal highlighted recently in her book Working in Public, maintainers are chronically underfunded and overworked so this is particularly important given that our use of open source as a society is only increasing. As a result, we wanted to do something special for our first year formally sponsoring as Gitcoin and give the most active projects a small token of appreciation for their efforts.
So, we’re excited to announce that we’ll be distributing, with the help of the Ethereum Foundation, $1,000 in ETH/DAI (cryptocurrencies) to the top 25 projects that are active in Hacktoberfest as part of a broader Maintainer Love Kit. To make things simple, we’ll be keeping track by counting the number of (substantive) pull requests made and merged to participating projects, but we’ll make sure to involve you all in the final selection. Please note that we will never ask you for money and nor will anyone else legitimate in the ecosystem.
We’ll be continuously putting up a number of Gitcoin/web Hacktoberfest issues that are good for beginners, such as these:
- Town Square Post Background Accessibility
- Tooltip Doesn’t Show on Hover
- Town Square Shows Extra-Large Fonts on Mobile
In addition, for those of you who want to start something of your own, RadicalxChange is hosting a hackathon until November 1st, 2020 around new economic models including models for open source sustainability. Meaningful PRs to some of the challenges in this hackathon (during October) will count towards your Hacktoberfest contribution and hopefully help you understand more about what it means to build in Web3! Learn more and sign up here.
We think a broader discussion around open source sustainability is critical to the long term success of the ecosystem, and we’d like you to be involved. Share your stories and thoughts on how your project is working to be sustainable, bring up experiments you’d like to see around sustainability, or just hang out in our thread on the SustainOSS Discourse.
Looking forward to seeing you there,
Scott, Justin, and the Gitcoin Team