Hacktoberfest is an annual event that takes place every October (hence the October Hacktober), is hosted by Digital Ocean and encourages developerssa submit pull requests to open source repositories and as a reward you get a t-shirt.
But this year's edition is special. In early October, several maintainers from popular open source repositories They took Twitter by storm to complain about low-quality pull requests that border on SPAM.
The initiative was also launched by an account specially created for the occasion: @shitoberfest.
This spam stream of low-quality pull requests appears to be coming from, among others, by CodeWithHarry, a YouTuber with an audience of more than 680,000 people which showed in one of his videos how easy it is to make a pull request to a repository.
In his demonstration, used a low-quality pull request, setting the bar low enough for his viewers, who then copied exactly what he had done.
Even Digital Ocean seems to have blamed him for the situation, stating:
“Since the start of Hacktoberfest 2020, open source officials have seen a notable increase in spam extraction requests from Hacktoberfest attendees.
As of 2:00 pm PT on October 1, at least 4% of the pull requests from Hacktoberfest participants were marked as "invalid" or "spam."
“We tracked the majority of spam contributions this year to a participant with a large online audience who openly encouraged their community to engage in spam activity, including by spreading ideas about how to play with the system. . However, we know that spam problems go beyond this example. This is one aspect of Hacktoberfest that we have been striving to improve since we launched the program seven years ago.
In your response to these accusations, the YouTuber did not apologize Instead, he pointed to numerous cases where he avoids liability by linking areas of the video where he encourages quality pull requests.
What made observers think that it is the video in question of this YouTuber that caused this spam surge is the resemblance between these different Pull Requests and the Pull Request in his video.
Digital Ocean decisions
First, Digital Ocean reached out to certain entities, in particular:
Maintainers: “We regret that these unintended consequences of Hacktoberfest have caused more work for many of you. We know there is still work to be done, so we ask that you join us in a community roundtable where we promise to listen and act on your ideas. »
Event organizers and attendees: “We are committed to the initial mission of positively engaging people in open source. To all who have already participated, we thank you for your support and contributions to the community. »
Collaborators: “We know that Hacktoberfest has been a rewarding experience for many of you and we don't want to lose sight of that. We ask that you refrain from making spam contributions that violate Hacktoberfest rules and values. »
The following decisions were then implemented:
“In recent years we have tried to label issues as 'invalid' and 'spam' to discourage participants from spamming repositories. Unfortunately, it didn't have as much impact as we expected.
Therefore, we are adding new ways to discourage participants from sending spam:
“For the maintainers, we build on an existing idea and duplicate a list of excluded repositories for Hacktoberfest. If you do not want pull requests to your repositories to be counted at Hacktoberfest, please send us the information in an email at email@example.com.
We are also implementing a ban system that screens and bans users with too many reported RPs. This may result in exclusion from all future Hacktoberfest, not just this one.
This year, we will also extend the validation period from one week to 14 days. This will give maintainers more time to review pull requests before contributors get their shirts.
It is mentioned that for Hacktoberfest attendees, the first step is always the onboarding process of connecting your GitHub account, sharing your email, and accepting the rules of the program.
And from now on the onboarding process is mandatory and each new entrant is required to learn the rules and certain pros and cons.