There is an upcoming wave of (not coronavirus) young tech enthusiasts and geeks who are ready to learn to code. They can be some high-class students, fresh college graduates, or someone who doesn't get much chance to get a good junior-level job straight out of graduation "freshers". 🙃
All of these got to know about coding, be it via an offline bootcamp or through online degrees. They move on to create projects of their choice of tech stack. They learn various tools in between - how to work in the terminal, collaboration suites, and wireframing platforms, etc.
But when they were in a team of 4-5 individuals, they hear the term "open-source" for the first time. Maybe because they searched for various code snippets over Stackoverflow or GitHub. This intrigues them. They wonder how easy it is to make a software's source code open to everyone so that others are able to contribute!
Nice idea! This group of coders then make multiple repositories over time and make them open for anyone to contribute. They're excited to see the contribution graph over GitHub being filled with more green tiles. Over time they learn most of the features provided by the open-source platform. It's safe to say they're now "pro" at this.
Fast-forward to the onset of the fall season. A company named DigitalOcean announces Hacktoberfest - converting the idea of making Pull Requests (PRs) to a month-long celebration of open-source. A really great initiative! Coders, maintainers, and other people from the software industry can now come together and support some projects of their choice. They would immensely help small projects to grow, let newbies learn how to get started with contributions and in return, the company would give some gifts as an appreciation of the efforts made by each individual participation in this program.
Seeking this opportunity, one of the group members, let's call him
var was intrigued when he fell in love with the following image:
He was quite clever and took a bad route. What bad route?
var quite cunningly told his developer friends, family members, and colleagues the following:
"Hey! Do you want to grab a LIMITED-EDITION T-SHIRT FROM ONE OF THE TOP DEVELOPER COMPANIES IN THE WORLD? I have a really cool way for you all to get this! Just make some PRs to my repositories (and NOT to our group projects) and you'll get it. THAT SIMPLE!"
And the rest is the h̶i̶s̶t̶o̶r̶y̶ present.
Now why I made such a story above? Everything in the story was cool and fine until the guy aptly named
var thought of a bad idea and made this open-source event a joke, or should I say, an event where you will surely get a free T-shirt with no efforts.
What he failed to understand is that he didn't see this event through a new lens. Here's what I'm talking about:
Did you see what's new in the above picture? Yes, "or plant a tree."
The Hacktoberfest Resources page clearly says:
This year, the first 70,000 participants can earn a T-shirt or plant a tree.
Here's a question for those who are reading this: "Are you opting to plant a tree through your Hacktoberfest contributions?"
How many of you can openly say, "Yes! I'm so grateful that this year, my contributions to the open-source community will go towards planting a tree!"
You see, whenever someone from the software industry gets to know that Hacktoberfest is about to begin, they immediately think of getting a T-shirt and stickers. This year, it's the same thing. To be honest, when it was first announced that the event is about to start in a month or two, I too thought of the T-shirt.
But I suppose, in 2020, when everything around us just looks so bad and tough, the DigitalOcean team who made the Hacktoberfest website did a commendable job of adding these words in their heading: "or plant a tree". This is so important. But why?
See before anything else, you and I are first humans. I know some of you are working at top organizations, earning thousands of dollars, some of you are just at the beginning of your developer journey, but what's fueling us all to write code?
How you're able to think, to type, to logically break down a problem, or even open a PR 🙃, all is happening because you have an adequate environment to work on, a balanced diet, and most of what your body needs is the air, water, and the food!
And guess what, since the beginning, trees have furnished us with two of life’s essentials: food and oxygen, the air we breathe.
Look around, the streets, parks, playgrounds, and backyards are lined with trees providing a peaceful and pleasing environment.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture,
“1 acre of forest absorbs 6 tons of carbon dioxide and puts out 4 tons of oxygen. This is enough to meet the annual needs of 18 people.”
How amazing it is! I don't think I need to give you all a big paragraph on the importance of trees. Caring for our environment, or trees, in any way possible, should be our priority. No ifs or buts.
All the things we, as developers use are sadly contributing more to the harm of the environment. The servers, laptops, computers, the smartphone, and the internet, all account to increase the carbon footprint. Not convinced yet? Check out this infographic.
Hi, I'm @shitoberfest. Do you maintain an opensource project?— #shitoberfest (@shitoberfest) October 1, 2020
Send a screenshot of bullshit drive by pull-requests caused by #hacktoberfest and tag @shitoberfest for curation and amplification. pic.twitter.com/50wuPISbYb
When everything is so wrong with this year, so why not Hacktoberfest too! On October 1, 2020, Shitoberfest was born. Just a new term to showcase the incoming wave of spammy PRs opened during the open-source month.
People have said about it already, that's a really good sign and look at how we are able to protect or inform others (especially newbies) that you don't really need to be a spammer to make PRs and win goodies.
Let me show you some spam/invalid examples:
We have a whole list of repos made only to automatically generate Hacktoberfest related issues and PRs!
www.coronatracker.in (@__salil_naik__) October 4, 2020
How about that! And just when you thought this was the end, I have another one for you:
Yes! An actual song file in PR to the Deno repository! 🤯
Also, note that it's not some automated bots and spam accounts who are participating in Shitoberfest 2020, we have genuine accounts of people who are just making PRs for the sake of getting a tee. Oh, a FREE TEE! We love free things, right?
Just days ago, a person with a legit GitHub account, added such PRs. While there is no question on the actual code he shared, the thing is that there was no need for this repo to have a new PR for an already existing solution. It was not open for Hacktoberfest contributions! But still, I got such unwanted PRs with a slight modification of code.
It is completely fine for those who are new to open-source to participate in their first-ever Hacktoberfest event to get some swags (of course, with eligible contributions) as this is a perfect piece of attraction for newbies.
But if you have already participated enough, and are good at an open-source thing and still you're making invalid/spammy or not-needed PRs just so that you can get a free T-shirt, then I'm sorry you definitely need to change the outlook of your thinking.
Here are some points regarding the same:
Make a sensible contribution and ditch the mindset of getting a free tee.
Keep making contributions even after Hacktoberfest.
Report the spammy accounts or contributions (PRs, issues, etc.)
Aware others via tweets, articles, or images.
You get a full month to participate, use this time to take a new project of your favorite tech stack, learn how to work with this project, respect the rules and guidelines laid down by its authors, build on it, ask questions when stuck, iterate and make PRs which actually count.
Already got some tees prior to this year? Choose the "plant a tree" option.
Remember, it's all about making contributions, helping other developers with their open-source projects. If you think/see through this lens, then maybe, we will not have Shitoberfest 2021...
Let's make this a successful and positive Hacktoberfest! 🎉
Thanks for reading, I appreciate it! Have a good day. (✿◕‿◕✿)