dave yarwood
Alda welcomes your Hacktoberfest contributions!


October 10, 2022


An community member in the Alda Slack group recommended that I register Alda as an open source project for Hacktoberfest participants to contribute pull requests to, so after giving it some thought, I did!

The idea behind Hacktoberfest is that the organizers will reward anyone who makes 4 contributions that are accepted to participating code repositories during the month of October. The first 40,000 people to accomplish this will receive either a tree planted in their name, or a free Hacktoberfest 2022 T-shirt.

Hacktoberfest gained some notoriety in 2020, when some open source maintainers were unpleasantly surprised to find their projects’ repos bombarded with meaningless pull requests made with the sole intention of scoring a free T-shirt. I remember Alda receiving a couple PRs like that back in 2020, so I was initially a little cautious about the possibility of subjecting myself to that again, but from what I’ve read, DigitalOcean took the complaints seriously and has implemented counteractive measures, including implementing a spam reporting system. Good on them!

If you’re participating in Hacktoberfest this year, please have a look at the open issues labeled hacktoberfest in the alda-lang/alda and alda-lang/alda.io repos and consider contributing to Alda!

Incidentally, I also took this as an opportunity to try out GitHub Discussions as a way to separate bug reports from discussions about future features and enhancements that could be made to Alda. Up until now, I’ve been using GitHub issues to track both of these things, but a downside of that approach was that Alda had dozens of open issues, some having been created as far back as 6 years ago, and this has made it more difficult to find and keep track of the bug reports. For Hacktoberfest, I already needed to go through and tag the issues that I felt were actionable for new contributors with the hacktoberfest label. So, while I was at it, I decided to convert most of the other issues (the ones that really represented longer term feature discussions) into GitHub Discussions.

I’m happy with the result. I’m down to only 11 open issues (from 44), and I feel that they all represent true issues/bugs with Alda that need to be addressed. (And I’m hoping that Hacktoberfest participants might be able to help me with that!).

You might think that I just swept those other 33 issues under the rug, but I’m excited about still having them around in the form of Discussions. They look about the same as they did before when they were issues, but now they’re presented in a format more conducive to discussion. I like that the comments, and especially the discussions themselves, are upvotable. This means that the Alda community can upvote the feature ideas that they like the most, and that can give me better visibility into the areas I should focus on the most.

What do you think?

Reply to this tweet with any comments, questions, etc.!