A Review of Hacktoberfest Year 5!

Daniel Zaltsman

Posted: November 9, 20186 min read

Five years ago the community team at DigitalOcean wanted to create a program to inspire open source contributions. That first year, in 2014, the first Hacktoberfest participants were asked for 50 commits, and those who completed the challenge received a reward of swag. 676 people signed up and 505 forged ahead to the finish line, earning stickers and a custom limited-edition T-shirt.

This year that number is an astounding 46,088 completions out of 106,582 sign-ups. We’ve seen it become an entry point to developers contributing to open source projects: much more than a program, it’s clear that Hacktoberfest has become a global community movement with a shared set of values and passion for giving back. It’s been a pleasure to be behind the scenes watching it grow every year, and in this post we’ll share what we saw from all of you in the 5th anniversary.

Before getting into the data, we owe a thank you to our partners; GitHub (4th time partner) and Twilio (1st time partner), thank you for the support and guidance in planning, promotion, and production.

Also, thank you to the maintainers of open source repositories on GitHub, for dedicating your blood (maybe?), sweat (likely), and tears (definitely!) to making this celebration possible for all the active participants around the world. We proclaim you the ‘Heroes of Hacktoberfest’ and have something to offer if you read to the end of this post.

What happens when the world contributes

Without further ado, here are some of the high-level stats from this year’s Hacktoberfest, all measuring the impact on open source you collectively created in the month of October.

  • Pull Requests from all participants: 412,324
  • Participating repositories: 106,582
  • Day with the most PRs: 20,300 on October 2nd
  • Repo with most PRs: FreeCodeCamp with 12,090
  • Participating Countries, based on addresses: 143

Behind those large-scale numbers are real stories of impact from various developer communities. Here are just a few that have already shared the impact and lessons learned: Gatsby.js, Kowainik, source{d}, weaveworks, and opsdroid.

Part of what makes Hacktoberfest possible are the vibrant developer communities that keep participating year after year. Some examples are Elastic, Changelog, Jenkins, Godot Engine, Home Assistant, OpenEBS, SendGrid, Hasura, Mattermost, dbatools, and many more.

We’re all just getting started

For many of you, Hacktoberfest was the first time getting involved in open source. This is a story we love to hear and we sometimes know where it leads. Here are participants’ stories who were beginners last year and have gone on to make strides in their work in 2018:

Last year, people helped me create my first PR. I decided to pay back by helping people get theirs. I think that was my most valuable contribution this year. - Nikhil (India)

I first began my Hacktoberfest quest last year. I was always inspired by people who contributed to open source software projects and aspired to one day be part of such a community. Hacktoberfest really got me started and I now am motivated to do this year wide whenever I have the time. - Constantinos (Greece)

It’s the second year participating, I keep encouraging people to participate as my first PR was in such an empowering and welcoming environment last year :) - Saul (Mexico)

I made my first contribution to the open source last year under the influence of Hacktoberfest, that got me excited and I keep making uncountable contributions since then!! -Aminu (Nigeria)

Last year was my first Hacktoberfest and I was a dev student trying to make my way into the field. For this year’s Hacktoberfest, I’m an actual professional developer at a company!!! -Tyler (USA)

Think globally, act locally

From the beginning, Hacktoberfest has been inspired by developers who come together in real life to learn, build, and connect. Still, it is unexpected and absolutely remarkable to see the statistics from this year’s global events. For year 5 there were 267 events (compared with 119 events in 2017), organized in 50 countries! Here are the top 10 countries (and cities) by total events organized:

  1. India - 49 Events (Most in Bengaluru)
  2. USA - 46 Events (Most in Atlanta)
  3. Brazil - 20 Events (Most in Rio de Janeiro)
  4. France - 15 Events (Most in Paris)
  5. United Kingdom - 14 Events (Most in London)
  6. Germany - 12 Events (Most in Berlin)
  7. Canada - 11 Events (Most in Edmonton)
  8. Mexico - 9 Events (Most in Guadalajara)
  9. Poland - 8 Events (Most in Białystok)
  10. Italy / Nigeria / Spain - 6 Events

This would not have been possible without the impassioned community organizers around the world, who live and breathe events. You too have earned the title of ‘Heroes of Hacktoberfest!’ And a special thank you goes to Samantha Tse (DigitalOcean) and Joe Nash (GitHub) who created the invaluable Hacktoberfest Event Kit and supported organizers all month long.

Here is some of the action from this year’s in-person gatherings:

An awesome event for hacktoberfest! @ SIES Graduate School of
— Chinmay Chandak (@CCAtAlvis) October 31, 2018

Hosting the #Hacktoberfest in #Sarajevo second year running has been an amazing experience with some of my most favorite people in the world. It was also my first experience as a #Fireside Chat panel moderator! Lost of love and effort went into making the event awesome!
— Adnan Rahić (@adnanrahic) October 29, 2018

We’re at @hacktoberfest in Frankfurt. Awesome crowd, great food and open source. We’re happy we can be a part of it!
— Rocketloop (@RocketloopHQ) October 12, 2018

Badass @FlatironSchool team (and others!) At the @gdinyc#Hacktoberfest event today! I had so much fun actually coding with people in person.
— Amanda🔮🌻👩🏻‍💻 (@amandacodes89) October 21, 2018

Short term action, long term impact

The values of Hacktoberfest remind us why we celebrate open source software. It is about creating an inclusive community that builds together to makes the world a better place. What happened during Hacktoberfest will have a lasting impact on people long after October 2018. This is why quality is preferred to quantity and why we’ll continue to improve the program to support this core value.

One thing that you can expect to see every year is the custom limited-edition t-shirts. Fun fact: the first batch of t-shirts we produced this year weighed 21,000 pounds (9,500 kg) and stickers weighed 650 pounds (295 kg). Better than stats, here’s you, the participants who completed the challenge:

My #hacktoberfest swag just got in yesterday! 🎉🎊 Thank you digitalocean for hosting the 5th Hacktoberfest Fest, and supporting thousands of open source projects 🔥👊🏻👨🏻‍💻
— Aral Taşer (@araltasher) November 7, 2018

Im never big on selfies, but I am really proud of this shirt
— Cam Barts (@cam_barts) November 5, 2018

“Woman laughing alone with #hacktoberfest shirt” … GOT IT! EXCITED! Thanks, @digitalocean 😍
— Kristen Seversky (@KR1573N) November 3, 2018

V excited to have participated in #hacktoberfest! (but also to get a free t-shirt which is ofc the main reason anyone goes into tech)
— Alexandra Fren (@alexandrafren) November 3, 2018

As with previous years, spam is something not to be taken lightly when we are planning the program. This year we introduced a section for beginners, published quality standards, and included the program values in most of our communications to participants. Still we saw a hefty increase in Pull Requests labelled ‘Invalid.’ From a manageable 1,861 in 2017 (.8% of total) to an unfortunate 11,083 (2.7%) in 2018.

This means we’re going back to the drawing board and will be taking new measures to fight spam in 2019. Should we introduce reward tiers? Restrict PRs to personal projects? Or something else all together? Have ideas for minimizing invalid PRs? Leave a suggestion in the comments.

Closing remarks for 2018

The great news is that Hacktoberfest is not really a month-long celebration of open source - it’s a culture and community that is always looking to give back. Through this ongoing work, we can accomplish almost anything we set our minds to. We’re looking forward to seeing what you have and will build all year long.

SUPPORT: for all support-related inquiries about emails, usernames, addresses, and t-shirts, please contact our team as soon as possible: Hacktoberfest [at] DigitalOcean [dot] com.

REMINDER: Keep a look-out for our first ever post-Hacktoberfest survey in which we’ll ask for your feedback on everything from the events, support, and t-shirts, set to go out in early December.

Note to maintainers and meetup organizers: If you organized an event for +25 people or are a maintainer of a repo on GitHub that received 100 or more Pull Requests and has upwards of 500 stars, please reach out to us at the support email address above for a special thank you from us to you.


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