Hacktoberfesting my Personal Website

I’ve really been getting into Hacktoberfest the last couple years. Last year I helped set up some events in the Dayton area and involved a bunch of my coworkers. I couldn’t do that this year because of some intense deadlines at work. 😑

However, I did find another way to participate. Hacktoberfest has this funny way of incentivizing strangers on the internet to do anything you ask, as long as it’s in a public Github repository. Now, with my personal site in a public repository, I started to get some ideas.

I created an issue asking people to “hack my logo”, or to alter it by giving it some fun interaction. I honestly didn’t expect anyone to do it, since it would take a fair amount of Javascript skill. But, then I saw this:

Pull Request demonstrating an 'earthquake' effect

It was better than I could have ever expected. By the end of the month I had 3 more logo hacks contributed. Now, I’ve altered my website to randomly load one of these hacked logos on each page (try hovering over the one at the top of this page).

Write a guest post

All my blog post are stored in markdown, so I put up an issue asking people to write a guest post and submit it as a PR. The barrier-to-entry was lower on this one, but I still didn’t expect much.

There were 5 guest posts contributed in the first 24 hours, and I ended up closing the issue shortly after that. The authors wrote in from all over the world, from Chicago, to Belgium, to Sri Lanka. This kind of global ad-hoc collaboration never ceases to amaze me. I’m planning on publishing the posts over the next month or so.

Realizations

There were a bunch of other contributions from fixing the syntax highlighting to adding a JSON Feed.

I was able to eek out a few contributions myself, but my biggest realization this year was that creating descriptive Hacktoberfest issues so other people can make small but meaningful contributions, is a contribution itself. And it’s a contribution that anybody can make, no matter how non-technical or time-constrained you are (that’s right project managers, you can play too!).

If next Hacktoberfest rolls around and you think you’re too busy (or intimidated) to contribute PRs, I’d encourage you to try creating issues. It may not earn you a T-shirt, but it’s still a lot of fun and—let’s be honest—we’ve all got closets full of T-shirts like these already.