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Everything you need to know about Hacktoberfest

Oct 02, 2020 - 6 min read

You’ve probably heard about Haktoberfest. For the past seven years, DigitalOcean has hosted Hacktoberfest every October. It is a month-long, community-wide celebration of open source projects. Participants are awarded neat prizes and shout-outs.

You might still have some lingering questions Hacktoberfest. So, we’ve compiled the most commonly asked questions alongside some handy resources for getting started.

Everyone is encouraged to participate. Even if you have no experience working with open-source, Hacktoberfest is a great opportunity to build a portfolio and engage with the worldwide community.

Today we will cover:

Learn the basics of Git to prepare for Hacktoberfest

This course is your no-fuss, comprehensive guide to version control and Git. You’ll learn how to set up Git and cover complex topics including Git commits, merging, and more.

A Guide to Git & Version Control

What is Hacktoberfest?

Hacktoberfest is a month-long, community-wide celebration of open source software. It is run by DigitalOcean alongside partners like GitHub and Twilio.

To participate, you must make four valid pull requests submitted to public GitHub repositories. On top of a boost to your open-source cred, participants are rewarded with prizes, like stickers, T-shirts, or a new plant-a-tree alternative.

How do I register for Hacktoberfest?

You can sign up anytime between October 1 and October 31. The sooner you sign up, the more time you have to make your pull requests!

It’s easy to participate. You simply register with DigitalOcean. You’ll need a GitHub account to sign up. Then, make at least four valid pull requests to open source projects by the deadline.

Note: T-shirt awards on awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis to the first 70,000 participants! So get started now!

What are the rules for participating?

  1. To win a prize, you must make at least four pull requests (PRs) between October 1 and October 31 (any timezone).
  2. Your pull requests must contain commits you made yourself.
  3. Pull requests reported by as spam will be marked as invalid and won’t count.
  4. Pull requests can be made to any public repository on GitHub.
  5. Pull requests must have been merged, approved, or labelled as hacktoberfest-accepted.
  6. You will be ineligible to participate if you break rules of conduct, leave spammy PRs, or fail to follow quality standards.

Read more about Hacktoberfest’s official values and codes of conduct here.

Note that on October 3rd, DigitalOcean made a rule amendment. Read about it here.

How can a beginner participate?

As a beginner, you may be nervous to participate, but fear not! There are tons of ways to participate in Hacktoberfest, no matter your experience level.

For example, you can make valid contributions to documentation for some projects. You can also search GitHub for easy projects based on the languages or technologies that you are comfortable using.

Some developers even compiled lists of their first Hacktoberfest contributions, so you can get a sense of what to search for on GitHub.

If you are completely new to Git, we recommend first taking our Guide to Git & Version Control course. You’ll learn basics of version control, how to make pull requests, and how to navigate on GitHub.

How do I make a pull request?

A pull request is a proposed code change that you submit to a branch in a repository on GitHub. The project maintainer will then review and discuss your changes. Pull requests are a way to formally contribute to a project without disrupting the workflow of others.

Platforms such as GitHub have a straightforward and convenient way to create pull requests:

  • Go over to the project repository on GitHub
  • Switch to the pull requests tab
  • Click on the ‘New pull request’ button on the top right
  • Select the appropriate base branch (the branch with which the other one is meant to be merged) and the branch you want to compare changes with

And that’s it! You’ve created your own pull request. Here is an example of a successful pull request.


Common questions about pull requests

Do multiple pull requests to the same repository count? Yes!

Do issues/commits count for Hacktoberfest? No, only pull requests are part of this challenge.

Does it count to make pull requests made on my own repositories? Yes, but you are encourages you to contribute to other repositories as well.

Do pull requests have to be accepted/merged? Pull requests must have been merged, approved, or labelled as hacktoberfest-accepted to count towards your goal.

How do I know if my PR went through? Only PRs that are marked as “Ready for Review” will be reviewed. Draft pull requests do not count.

Do issues have to be tagged #Hacktoberfest? No, they can be on any public repository to count.

Do other companies participate with Hacktoberfest? Yes, other companies recognize Hacktoberfest and offer prizes for tracking progress. For example, has a Hacktoberfest challenge.

Can I make contributions outside of GitHub? No.

How do I check my progress?

To check your progress or the status of your pull requests, just log in to DigitalOcean’s Hacktoberfest page with your GitHub account.

There is a one week review period for all pull requests. If your PR is not marked invalid during that window, it will contribute toward your goal. If your pull request is labeled as invalid, you will need to submit another eligible PR or resolve the issue the current PR.

Remember: T-shirt awards on awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis to the first 70,000 participants! So get started now!

Resources to get started

There are a lot of resources out there for getting started on your Hacktoberfest projects. We’ve compiled a short list of the best, official resources for your preparation.

For Git beginners, we recommend taking Educative’s course A Guide to Git & Version Control to familiarize yourself with pull requests and GitHub. It’s important to make pull requests properly, and this course will ensure you’re prepared! It is your no-fuss, comprehensive guide to version control and Git.

Happy learning, and happy Hacktoberfest!


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