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Well, considering the amount of dependencies in popular projects like CRA that was highlighted here a few days ago I don't think it's unreasonable to extrapolate to the general ecosystem. Of course there are module authors and devs doing it differently, but in general most node projects I see are more dependency-happy than projects I see in other languages.

Give people a useful tool (npm) and they will muck it up. This is both the best and worst part of the general node ecosystem. The issue is people saying things like "that's just node". It is not node, it is the ease of use and popularity meaning there will be more of these examples. If you care to make high quality use of the platform and tools you can, but that means not following the crowd.

Agreed, but for whatever reason it seems more prevalent in the node ecosystem than in others (even when comparing high-profile projects).

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