Of course, I used to like those fancy T-shirts with the "Hacktoberfest" logo painted on them. I mean, who didn't want to look like a geek back in the day?! But don't get me wrong. There is always something better out there. Something more worthy. Something that is worth more than a piece of cloth.
Making Messes to Achieve A T-shirt
It's about the time that I was introduced to the DigitalOcean Hacktoberfest by a friend. I didn't know much about the open-source contribution until then. I looked around the article describing the challenge. I headed over to the prizes and runner-ups. "Dude.. those T-shirts are so dope!", I was thinking. "I gotta get one".
I logged into my GitHub account and browsed for a project to see if I can make it through however, I wanted to contribute to repositories being maintained by famous companies such as Google, Facebook, IBM, and Microsoft and have their icons (as the organizations that I've contributed to) in my GitHub profile.
I realized that many of those projects/repositories were not well-structured as I could use the make-ready packages to clean up their code bases a little bit. I used
isort to sort their imported libraries and modules. My contribution cycle was made of four simple DUMB commands.
$ git clone X && cd X $ isort . $ git add . && git commit -m 'import list is sorted' $ git push origin master
Followed by a pull request explaining the
isort tool and what it basically does to the project.
There is a valuable Persian proverb that says:
A wise man gets learning from those who have none. (Saadi Shirazi)
That was the dumbest way of contributing to the open-source. It might work though but trust me, you won't get any benefit out of it this way. Now, if you head to the repositories that I contributed to and check the import lists, you'll see that they're as dirty as they used to be and my contributions haven't done literally anything to their repositories.
My Messes Got Me the T-Shirt
After opening the PRs, I had my fingers crossed (🤞) and was waiting for them to get merged. Finally, I got all my PRs merged and got 4/4 contributions on my DigitalOcean profile.
DigitalOcean said that they're gifting those t-shirts to the first 1000 qualifiers. Once the challenge closed, I received an email. I noticed that I was qualified for the t-shirt. I was so zealous about getting the t-shirt but unsatisfied at the same time. Not satisfied with my contributions and I was right somehow. That was why I decided to pass the t-shirt and do something useful at the end of the challenge at least.
Cleaner Nature vs. Fancy T-Shirt
DigitalOcean was giving us two options at the time. You could either get a t-shirt or submit to plant a tree in the DO's forest. Since I literally made no improvement to those repositories at the contribution time and I was upset about that, I decided to plant a tree and help nature at least.
I requested to plant a tree other than getting the t-shirt. Now, my tree is growing almost 7200 miles far away from where I live. That's a kinda nice feeling. I'll water that tree one day. 🌲
These hackathons and challenges are great opportunities for measuring your skills and developing the world. Consider doing the maintainers a favor and improving their code bases. The knowledge being shared among the contributors in the open-source communities is way more valuable than anything.
Your money ends one day. Depending on your experience, you may never see that day.