Kaushal Joshi
Kaushal Joshi

Kaushal Joshi

Hacktoberfest: Do's and Dont's

Hacktoberfest: Do's and Dont's

Kaushal Joshi
Β·Oct 2, 2021Β·

6 min read

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It's October and DigitalOcean is back with the 8th year of Hacktoberfest! WoohooooπŸ₯³

As someone who started his open source journey through Hacktoberfest, I am very excited for this year. I worked on documentation in 2020 but I am hoping to contribute to JavaScript projects this year. Let's see how that goes.

Hacktoberfest Landing Page.jpg

✏️ Just to Summarize...

Hacktoberfest is an annual online open source event. It is organized by DigitalOcean and its partners in the whole month of October. The main motto behind Hacktoberfest is to introduce open source software development to as many people as possible.
This event is open to all, and anyone can participate regardless of their programming skills, college degree or country they live in.

Open source maintainers can add the Hacktoberfest topic in their project or add a similar tag in issues to make it a 'Hacktoberfest acceptable' project. If contributors manage to make four PRs throughout the month, they are eligible for the reward.
As a reward, contributors can choose one of the two rewards:

  • A Hacktoberfest T-Shirt with a sticker pack
  • Planting a tree by their name.

Hacktoberfest Rewards.jpg

πŸ‘¨β€πŸŽ“ My Experience with Last Year

Hacktoberfest'20 was my first ever open source event. I made my first valuable PR to someone else's project and the feeling of giving back to the community was pleasant.
Last year, I was busy with some other stuff, so I dedicated my entire Sundays to work on assigned issues.
I got introduced to the concept of merge conflicts and learnt easy ways to solve them.

My four PRs got merged and I decided to get a T-Shirt. It arrived somewhere in January. This is the first swag that I've earned by participating in any tech event.

Hacktoberfest Goodies.jpg

There are few things I noticed last year that are worth talking about. Also, I want to suggest a few things based on my experience of last year and other events I have attended since then.
I have classified my points as do's and don'ts. Things I noticed are mostly from the contributor’s perspective but I have noted down few things from the project maintainers point of view as well.

DO's

πŸ˜‡ Help Newcomers

Hacktoberfest is focused on new people who want to get into open source. If you see anyone who is struggling with Git and GitHub concepts or messing up with terminal commands, it's your responsibility as their senior to help them.
It might be a single reply to their doubt or sharing a helpful link explaining it better; do help them.

πŸ€— Leave goodfirstissue for them

This is for people like me who have previously participated in Hacktoberfest or any open source event.
Guys, we are already familiar with Git, GitHub, open source and software development, right? Can't we just totally ignore goodfirstissues and documentation related issues so that more newcomers can get their hands on this stuff? I know we can πŸ˜‰

πŸ™‡β€β™‚οΈ Respect the glory of Open Source!

October is the month of open source. Let's just take some time to appreciate FOSS culture.
You can try open source alternatives for your current suite of software. Who knows, you might completely switch to that later!

🌱 Plant a tree

Selecting whether you want a T-Shirt or want to plant a tree of your name is totally on you. But even if you choose T-Shirt, which is totally okay, you can surely plant a tree in your surroundings and take care of it.
You'd be eating its fruits or use its flowers for decoration before you find your work-life balance.

DON'Ts

πŸ™‚ DO IT FOR T-SHIRTS

If you are contributing only because you want to flex your T-Shirt, you are missing the point of Hacktoberfest.

T-Shirts are just token of appreciation for encouraging firstcomers for their valuable contribution. It is not a reward for completing or "winning" Hacktoberfest.

Try participating in hackathons if you want goodies to show off.

πŸ€¦β€β™‚οΈ Create Unnecessary Repos

A few hours back I saw a repo with a Hacktoberfest tag that actually helped me to find ideas about this particular blog.
The repo was just a bunch of hello world files written in various languages :)
I thought they might be newcomers, but their GitHub Contribution Chart was greener than Sahara. Some even had their portfolio websites or pro membership!
What I feel is this is just total disrespect of open source, and we should not encourage such things.
Again, if you just want a T-Shirt, try hackathons!

πŸ™†β€β™‚οΈ Open Irrelevant Issues

If you really think something would really add a reasonable contribution to the project, then feel free to solve that one. Don't create new irrelevant and unnecessary issues to fix a bug in the code. Try solving the open ones instead.
If you really want to do something helpful, assign a simple issue to yourself in your mind and do your best to solve it. Learn that concept, explore the technology, talk to people who are already working in a similar domain and fix it. Then contact the maintainer and tell them to assign it to you!

🀬 Argue/ Abuse Project Maintainer or Peer

Remember the Human.

The person behind that catchy username and anime DP is a human too. Don't forget that. Everyone is on the same ship here. Some are captains whereas others are passengers, it's the only difference.

Arguing with the maintainer about assigning an issue to you or abusing someone else for their contribution is a bad sport. You need to take a chill pill and respect the maintainer's decision.

🀯 Censure Contributors for Their Mistakes

This one is for maintainers.
If someone didn't follow your contribution guidelines or missed some part of your code of conduct, then simply tell them to make a PR again with proper changes. Don't straight up deny their hard work or admonish them for making a mistake. It might be their first time.

πŸ“ Summing it up

While participating in a complete online event, there are few unwritten rules that all of us should follow. We are not only just a developer behind a username and online account but also a human being with our own issues learning new things without giving up. The least we can do is respect other people and help each other grow.

Goodies and SWAGs should be considered only as rewards for reaching the destination. Especially if the event is organized to encourage more people to join the community you are a part of.

This was just my view. There might be some points that I missed while discussing this. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section.

Happy Hacking! πŸ˜ŽπŸ‘¨β€πŸ’»

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