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Let’s Get Our OSS Ready For Hacktoberfest 2023

Posted by on September 27, 2023

As maintainers of open source projects, it’s important to try and bring people into our project so that we’re not the only ones maintaining the project. There are lots of ways to do this, like creating blog posts about the project, contributing articles to magazines, or talking about the project at conferences. Another option is to enroll in Hacktoberfest 2023, which will allow contributors to find us and help maintain the project.

In this video, we’ll talk about what Hacktoberfest is, how to get our project set up for it, and what to do when those pull requests start rolling in.

What is Hacktoberfest?

Now, you might be wondering what Hacktoberfest is. Hacktoberfest is Digital Ocean‘s annual event to encourage contributions to open-source projects. This is the 10th year that Hacktoberfest has been put on, and every year, it gets bigger.

Much of the modern technology stack that we depend on every day relies on open-source projects. Digital Ocean is doing its best to try and help make sure that open-source projects get the maintenance and maintainers they need. As a maintainer of an open source project, we can easily set up our project to accept contributors to work on our project as part of the Hacktoberfest experience, and the contributors will get a little bonus for doing so.

It used to be you’d get a T-shirt for participating, but as Hacktoberfest has grown larger and larger, it’s become harder and harder for the Hacktoberfest team to facilitate the fulfillment of those shirts.

This year, participants will receive a digital reward through Holopin, and the first 50,000 participants who have their pull request accepted will have a tree planted in their name. They’re using Tree Nation to do the actual planting.

The digital reward will evolve as the contributor slowly adds more and more pull requests to Hacktoberfest registered projects.

Getting Our Project Ready

We’ve been working on the “Scott’s Value Object” library over the last year, and as an open-source project, we can include it in Hacktoberfest.

The first thing that we’re going to do is to go to the Hacktoberfest website, go to the “participation” page, and find the maintainers section. This is going to give us a list of things that will help us get prepared.

Adding the Hacktoberfest Topic

The first step is to add the Hacktoberfest topic to our repository. This will opt our repository into Hacktoberfest so it will show up on the list of projects that are looking for contributors.

To do this, we’re going to start on our project page. Click the little gear, and then in the topics input, we’re going to type in Hacktoberfest and then save our changes.

Adding and

One of the things that we don’t yet have in this project is a file, and this is one of the things that Hacktoberfest suggests that we have for people to understand what exactly it is that we’re looking for when they contribute a pull request.

It can be quite daunting to try and create one of these, but thankfully, there are websites ( that will help us generate one.

After we enter our information, we can download both a and a and include them in our source code. We’ll place these two files into the root of our project and then push them up to GitHub after we review them to make sure they are what we want for our project.

They both have a few details that could be changed depending on your project, and they’re missing some information, but they’re still a great place to get started.

Creating Issues

So the next thing we need is some issues for people to work on. To do this, we’re going to create some new issues. And when we label them, we’re going to label them with “Hacktoberfest,” “good first issue,” or “help wanted” to indicate it would be a great option for someone who wants to help out.

Hacktoberfest repeatedly says that “quantity is fun [but] quality is key,” so make sure you’re creating issues that will allow contributors to create quality pull requests and not a bunch of low-quality ones. This has been a problem in the past, so do your best not to contribute to this problem. The Hacktoberfest site says that your repository might be excluded if you’re looking for these types of low-quality submissions “like adding a name or profile to a list or arbitrarily curating content.”

Get Ready to Review Those Pull Requests

The last thing that we need to do as a maintainer of a project participating in Hacktoberfest is be ready to to review these pull requests and give feedback during October. If you don’t do that, people aren’t going to want to contribute, and it’s not going to set you up for long-term success.

If the pull request is reviewed by you and found to be acceptable, you have three options.

  1. You can merge the changes into your source code.
  2. You can label the pull request “hacktoberfest-accepted.”
  3. You can give the pull request an overall approval review

This will flag the pull request to the Hacktoberfest team to be included in their system. The pull request will then enter a seven-day review window at which point the approval can be revoked either by the maintainer of the project or the Hacktoberfest team.

If the pull request doesn’t meet your standards or you feel it’s spammy, you can label the pull request as “spam” and close it. These “spam” labeled pull requests won’t be counted, and contributors with more than 2 of these pull requests will be disqualified.

What You Need to Know

  • Hacktoberfest is an event in October
  • Allows open-source products to look for new contributors
  • Having an open-source project with “Hacktoberfest” label
  • Be ready to review pull requests

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