Hacktoberfest 2023 will NOT have the usual tshirt and stickers as a reward.
This has been announced in the official website along with the reasons behind this change. But let me add a little bit more context before we dive into that.
I talk about that in this video, but if you prefer reading, you can find the transcript below.
Hacktoberfest is a month-long celebration of open source software, having the goal of encouraging people to contribute to open source projects.
The cool thing is that through hacktoberfest you might discover an amazing project that you didn't know about, or find the motivation to contribute to a project you already use and maybe you can even become a maintainer at some point.
You can (and should) contribute to Open Source all year long, but Hacktoberfest is a great opportunity to get started.
What makes this event special is that during this celebration, basically the month of October, some of your contributions will be counted toward a personal goal, and that's where the rewards come in.
In order to complete the challenge, you usually needed to have 4 valid Pull Requests merged in repositories participating in the event. There are some rules on what makes a PR valid, but it's pretty straightforward. I might talk about that in another video.
By the way, I'm Leonardo I talk about web development and open source on this channel, just in case you want to subscribe.
The thing is, in the past years, the reward for completing the challenge was a tshirt and some stickers. This was a great incentive for people to participate, but it also created some problems.
But what were the troubles with the tshirts?
First of all, physical rewards were a limited amount and awarded as first in first served, causing some people to see the month-long celebration as a timed race to secure the reward as fast as possible, whithin the first few days of October if possible.
This also caused a lot of spammy and low quality Pull Requests, which is not exactly the purpose of the event.
Besides, t-shirts and any other physical reward have to be shipped, which is not free. Financially and environmentally.
To slightly mitigate it, last year each winner could choose between a tshirt or a tree planted in their name, which not only avoided sending some tshirts, but also helped the environment.
The official announcement is titled as "Going Digital for Rewards".
In short, sending so many t-shirts (they claim over 50.000 have been shipped) is definitely not sustainable. The cost would be really high and same goes for the environmental impact.
In addition, in some countries the participants had to pay extra fees and taxes when receiving the package, even exceeding the value of the tshirt itself. Which makes sending tshirts not an ideal solution for everyone.
And to be honest, if someone was participating only to get a free tshirt, they were kinda missing the whole point of the event.
Last year, everyone received some digital badges for each of the four valid PRs and it seems we'll receve new shiny ones this year too.
In addition, instead of the tshirts, the organizers will plant a tree for the first 50.000 participants who complete the challenge.
The thing is, you should not participate to Hacktoberfest just for the rewards. Or actually, not for the physical and direct rewards.
The real prize is the experience you get by contributing to Open Source, which includes: the people you meet, the projects you discover and the skills you learn.
With that said, what's your opinion on this change? Do you think they should have kept tshirts to incentivize people to participate or do you think that they were't that necessary and the new rewards are enough? Let me know in the comments!
If you want to know more about Hacktoberfest, last year I made a video explainig how to participate and another one about how to find projects to contribute to, check them out!
Thanks for watching, don't forget to subscribe if you're interested in Open Source as I am and see you in the next video!
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