Imagine you spent all year waiting for something that you had so much fun doing for the first time last year. You are very excited! You are taking on a new role this year, so you are taking special care to get everything ready. As this beautiful event quickly approaches, you proudly wear a shirt you got from last year as you fondly remember last year's event.
Now imaging the great event finally arrives and gets kicked off, and you get to work enjoying your participation in the event and are extra excited because other people are participating in the new thing you are doing. Everything is going great until you start realizing that certain parts of the event are "excluded." Then you find out that some of your participation has been called "spammy" and inappropriate. Naturally, your feelings are hurt, but you have waited all year for this! You push on, do everything you came to do, and feel pride, gratitude, and joy both for the event and your participation in it. Then, just as the event is ending and you are about to leave, someone comes up to you and says, "You did good work here, thank you, but because a few things you did were considered "spammy" by others here, your full participation is invalid, so you have been disqualified. Please don't let this discourage you."
I was looking forward to this year's Hacktoberfest all year! Last year was my first Hacktoberfest, and I loved it. Despite being stained with bleach, I still wear the HF20 shirt a few times a month. So, in preparation for this year's event, I created two projects and got their repo's labeled and prepared for HF21. I even made fun pull request templates. I was ready.
On day one of Hacktoberfest 21, I set to work finding projects into which I could make meaningful contributions. Just like last year, it was not that easy of a task, but slowly but surely, I found 13 projects and made 13 PRs that I was sure were meanly full and useful. "WOW, thats a lot!" you might think. You, like me, would sadly be wrong.
DigitalOcean and the other maintainers have a list of "Excluded Projects," projects the maintainers feel spammy, too easy to contribute to, or, my favorite, projects that do not meet their standards. They think that telling people which repos are on the list would somehow negate the whole purpose of Hacktoberfest. I feel the opposite. Five out of my 13 PRs were labeled "Excluded Projects." Had I known that the repos were on the list in the first place, I could have used that time to contribute to more "serious" projects that were not excluded.
Did you know that if at any point during Hacktoberfest, if any of your PRs are marked as spam, you are automatically disqualified? I didn't! It's true. And it happened to me.
I finished my 4 PR, they matured, and I was waiting and waiting for an email congratulating me on finishing HF21 and a link to claim the swag or plant a tree. NADA! No email, No indicator on my profile. So I asked on the Discord channel. It was there I was told of my disqualification. I tried to reason with them and even told them of my mental handicap. I was aggressive because I was and still am confused and angry.
Is this a rant? Yes. Do I care, no? I feel I was wronged, and I wanted to share. Do I expect Hacktoberfest to change, no? But I do feel better.