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One Guy Ruined Hacktoberfest 2020 (joel.net)
787 points by Sandeepg33k on Oct 2, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 480 comments

As an Indian, I think here some points I think western world needs to know about India.

* "Gaming the system" to get your desired outcome is widely accepted in Indian society. Especially if it doesn't involve breaking any laws (not ethics). Even in many cases Gaming the system by breaking the law is considered OK as long as one doesn't get caught doing it. (In fact this might be the only way to come up in politics in India, but that's another debate.) Once they are caught the general attitude is "they had it coming".

Consider this highflying Indian start up, Unacademy[1][2]. Here is their anthem [3], "Let's crack it". This "crack it" is basically about "Gaming it" and succeed at it any how.

* Majority of Indians have a lot of attraction towards free. I have seen even people from millionaire families, spend 10-15 minutes of their time to get something free that is of $1 or $2 in value. The attitude is like, am I doing anything else productive here? If not I might as well do this and earn Rs. 100. In fact this attitude is cultivated from childhood in certain business class families. Don't let go of any opportunity of earning a profit, however small it might be.

Here we are talking about student population which is generally low on cash anyway.

So if you are any company offering something free to Indians, expect them to come in droves, and milk you as much as possible. Here I think Digital Ocean doesn't mind being well known in Indian students. Many of these Indian Students are going to make purchasing decisions on servers in a few years to come. Unfortunately, it's the OSS community suffering because of it now.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unacademy

[2] https://unacademy.com/

[3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvIfiblHz1I

"Gaming the system" is also a cultural thing in Greece. In fact, it's so expected that you are perceived to be either out of the loop or a fool for not going the extra mile. I broke friendships with people who claimed that "it's all subjective at the end of the day" whenever I was raising ethical/moral concerns.

Imagine not being able to provide a reasonable argument to justify your actions, beyond of "because I'm allowed to do it".

I'm Greek too (γειάα) but live in the UK. It's a cultural thing here, too. Just imagine everyone around you constantly trying to pinch every last penny off your purse, in any way they can think of.

Or, look at the way the Brexit campaign convinced half of the UK citizens to vote for Brexit with unsubstantiated claims like "350 million to the NHS" or "Millions of migrants from Turkey coming over" etc.

In general, I think both OP and you are making the same mistake: assuming that because we're citizens of once or currently very poor countries, we're doing something different than the more affluent countries, or are somehow backwards, more corrupt, etc.

Far as I can tell, rich countries are rich because they're better at this game of taking as much as they can from everyone they can anyway they can, than we are.

Just think of who is associated with "move fast and break stuff". Is it an Indian startup? A Greek startup?

I don't see it in the UK actually, and those are not good examples at all. When I go to visit the US, I get nickel-and-dimed a lot more. Compared to the US, there isn't much MLM or get-rich-quick here for example.

I go to McDonald's in UK and get charged money for ketchup.

McDonald's in the US, ketchup is free.

who's nickel and diming? US prices are lower across the board.

"Gaming the system" is really NOT a cultural thing here in the UK. Not in the same way as described by the OP. Your two examples are not in any way, shape or form examples of gaming the system.

Facebook is actually a good example of the opposite tactic. They leave a lot of money on the table because they don't need it and it could hurt their platform dominance.

Which part of the UK do you live in, I wonder. It it’s London (as I’d be willing to bet it is), I’m not sure you can generalise to the whole of the UK from that.

How much are you willing to bet? :|

Post modernism embraces this though, and it is rampant in the West post Kant/Nietzsche. When you create your own truth and morals, you are going to disagree with people about stuff like this :)

Do these people really create their own morals though or just live without them? I'm pretty much a nihilist, but spend a lot of time thinking about ethics and my own values because I know we need them for society to function.

Does it really embrace it, or does it explain why it's a thing?

I'd hardly call this embracing this thought.

The hundred dollars you get is nothing when you destroy the environment.

I'll see your destruction and I'll raise you externalization.

Yes, this behaviour is rampant throughout Western society, it's pretty much embraced by capitalism. It's still "who cares about $x, as long as I can get my $y". It doesn't really change the argument much if $x is open source and $y is a free t-shirt, or $x is the habitat of these creatures and $y is gallons of oil.

Don't really see how postmodernism fits in with this though.

Why do people equate capitalism with "Fuck everyone, get money"?

Sure, the people who have the majority of the world's wealth may be unsavory, ruthless folks, but let's not toss the baby out with the bathwater.

Capitalism is the alternative to state-controlled commerce.

If you believe in (here we go with the cringe term) liberty, then you cannot on-premise agree with an economic system that isn't capitalism.

(Whether capitalism ever works out in-practice is another argument entirely. My theory is that given any long-enough amount of time, a small group of actors will amass hugely disproportional wealth, and then start gaming/breaking the system for everyone else, as seems to be human nature.)

It gets really tiring (especially in modern tech culture) to say "I'm a capitalist" and then have people dogpile on you, asking why you want to pillage the environment and steal all the wealth, etc etc.

And then you have to explain, "I want none of that. I just don't want anyone telling you how to live your life, and to have as many opportunities as you can create for yourself."

I say all of this as someone who grew up exceedingly poor, in trailer parks eating peanut butter and crackers, with no higher education.

There are shitty people everywhere. Because some humans are murderers, does not mean all humans are murderers. Become some people are twisted, unethical capitalists, does not mean all capitalists are twisted and unethical.

At some stage of hyper-capitalism, when you hit "oligarch" levels, you've stopped representing capitalistic ideals because you have created a less-free market than when you entered.

> Why do people equate capitalism with "Fuck everyone, get money"?

That is exactly the behavior that capitalism incentivizes. Two facets:


I'm assuming we agree that capitalism is mostly about markets and free consumer choice. So you have a set of produces competing for purchases from consumers. Consumers have finite resources to acquire information about the producers they consume from.

This means that if it takes less resources for a producer to hide a negative externality than the externality provides, that producer will be more efficient on the market and defeat other producers who don't. Thus the market rewards negative externalities and deceit.

Meanwhile, the market incentivizes no systems to produce consumer organization or better consumer information. We do see that happen sometimes with things like the USDA, Consumer Reports, etc. but all of that happens outside of and in opposition to the capitalist system.


Producers don't want to compete, they just have to if one producer feels they can secure a relative advantage by competing with another. But it is almost always more effective for both producers to instead collude and cooperate against consumers. Since producers generally massively outnumber consumers, and have a lot in common culturally and structurally, it is natural for them to form anti-competitive cabals or to simply merge into larger and fewer corporations.

Capitalism produces monopolies, which history shows any time you have a "free" market without very strong trust-busting from the government.

These two points exacerbate each other. The fewer producers there are, the more they become the sole experts in their field and the better able they are to hide their negative externalities.

"Economies of scale" work in harmful directions too. Bigger companies are more efficient at scaling up the damage their negative externalities cause.

Capitalism may form a part of a functioning, efficient system, but it is always only a part. When you treat it as the whole, you get... well, climate change and a dying Earth.

OR you can say "PART of Capitalism may form a part of a functioning, efficient system, but it is always only a part."

It's nice that capitalism has some really efficient features. But it also has some really horrible ones.

If we're talking about functioning efficient systems, you really have to show that the bad parts of capitalism do not form an obstacle against having a functioning, efficient system.

So far in history we have only seen that the good parts of capitalism can work really well.

Well, you can't very well spark a fire that burns down a whole city and then turn around and say you can't blame the sparks because they're not really dangerous, it's only a conflagration that's really dangerous. Capitalism is the system that enables the kind of people you call twisted and unethical to do their twisted and unethical things and "amass hugely disproportional wealth". And also the system that everyone else accepts because they hope that, one day, they'll have the "hugely disproportional wealth" and be able to do twisted unethical things, themselves. Or, am I wrong? Did Adam Smith say that capital should be equally distributed, or something similar?

> And also the system that everyone else accepts because they hope that, one day, they'll have the "hugely disproportional wealth" and be able to do twisted unethical things, themselves.

Just wanted to mention that this is such a US cultural idea. It's really not nearly as strong elsewhere (maybe some exceptions, I don't know everywhere in the world).

> And also the system that everyone else accepts because they hope that, one day, they'll have the "hugely disproportional wealth" and be able to do twisted unethical things, themselves. Or, am I wrong?

I feel like most (capitalist) people don't actively spend their existence in a driven pursuit of excessive wealth with the intention/moral imperative to fuck everyone else over to get there or stay at "the top".

Or at least I like to hope.

Also, here's the thing about "liberty": If you're not a hypocrite, you don't attempt to control other people or decide what decisions they're allowed to make (barring things that would directly harm others) whether you agree with them or not.

I do not agree with the behaviors of these hyper-capitalist, exploitative people.

But it would make me a massive hypocrite with double-standards to say "Well, actually now I think you have enough, you don't get to have any more money."

If you spend your life getting to this position (legally), it's not my right or place to take it from you.

And this philosophy of "Okay fine, but I don't necessarily condone/agree" is the difference between freedom and oppression.

I VERY FIRMLY believe nobody has the right to push their ideals on others.

This kind of thinking is how you get things like gay marriage being illegal, preventing women from having abortions, and all numbers of unsavory things.

Genuinely believing in liberty, individualism, and personal freedoms means standing by those ideals even when you don't agree with the way these freedoms are exercised by others.

Anything else is being nothing but a hypocrite.

> Also, here's the thing about "liberty": If you're not a hypocrite, you don't attempt to control other people or decide what decisions they're allowed to make (barring things that would directly harm others) whether you agree with them or not.

And this here is I believe the crux of the issue. As you say absolute liberty requires absolute capitalism. And absolute capitalism by design incentives a number of negative societal behaviors. And companies forced to compete with those that perform those negative behaviors have to chose to either adopt them as well or go out of business - pushing them to adopt those behaviors.

So the conclusion is absolute liberty causes negative behavior. The idealistic view is absolute liberty is the primary virtue of society. Or in my opinion the more accurate view, is that liberty like many other essential virtues must be balanced with other factors in society.

My interpretation of you perspective is that absolute liberty is essential, anything less is hypocrisy - and the way you manage those views is by downplaying the negative impacts of what capitalism incentivises.

And note, I'm not saying capitalism is wrong (I absolutely believe is the best approach for economic efficiency) simply that it, just like liberty cannot be absolute. It must be balanced with negative impacts on society.

Because people equate capitalism with America, and "fuck everyone, get money" is literally required by law there. In 1919 Henry Ford was sued by minority share holders because he wanted to increase wages. "The Michigan Supreme Court held that Henry Ford could not lower consumer prices and raise employee salaries." Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dodge_v._Ford_Motor_Co.

If you want to claim that America reached "hyper-capitalism" and stopped representing capitalistic ideals 100 years ago, then sure what you are saying makes sense . But I think most people equates capitalism with america.

That's a poor reading of that Wikipedia page, it says pretty much the opposite of what you have written.

Anyway, there is an old quotation attributed to Horace (about 65 BC):

Be but great, With praise or infamy—leave that to Fate; Get Place and Wealth, if possible with grace; If not, by any means get Wealth and Place;

That's an English translation from Alexander Pope, somewhere in the 1700s. Maybe he made it up.

Either way, you can't blame America.

Please explain how the wikipedia page says the opposite of what I wrote.

Here I will spell it out verbatim from the article:

- By 1916, the Ford Motor Company had accumulated a capital surplus of $60 million. The price of the Model T, Ford's mainstay product, had been successively cut over the years while the wages of the workers had dramatically, and quite publicly, increased.

- The company's president and majority stockholder, Henry Ford, sought to end special dividends for shareholders in favor of massive investments in new plants that would enable Ford to dramatically increase production, and the number of people employed at his plants, while continuing to cut the costs and prices of his cars.

- The minority shareholders objected to this strategy, demanding that Ford stop reducing his prices when they could barely fill orders for cars and to continue to pay out special dividends from the capital surplus in lieu of his proposed plant investments.

- The Court was called upon to decide whether the minority shareholders could prevent Ford from operating the company for the charitable ends that he had declared.

The court ruled in favor of the minority share holders.

I will absolutely agree that America's economic system is nothing close to resembling capitalism.

I view capitalism the same way I view communism -- both are bleeding-heart idealism that never works out in practice.

But hey, at least on an individual/personal level you can pick that hill to die on, however futile it may be.

> Why do people equate capitalism with "Fuck everyone, get money"?

Because, in their own words, that is what they're saying when discussing capitalism.

From a thread yesterday: "I owe nothing to a stranger".

> Capitalism is the alternative to state-controlled commerce.

No, it's not.

Capitalism is one of many models of how the state can regulate commerce through the definition of the parameters and boundaries of property rights.

I think most of the replies to this are missing the point. Capitalism is the best we have come up with so far. There's less of a praise for capitalism but more of a fear from change. When systems like that shift to others, it can be very hard to predict which system it will shift to and if it'll be better. It's the fear that, yes if we do switch from capitalism to some other system, can we trust this new system will be better? Because it also has the potential to be ten times worse. People like to say capitalism is evil and it's causing all of these problems but what would a reasonable alternative be and what would be a reasonable way to obtain that alternative without making live much worse for everyone?

Maybe this will be interesting: https://youtu.be/8KQcm0Mi5To

I found it interesting at least :)

huh well i came into that very dubious, but that was actually quite interesting and i listened to every word. i will hand it to religion that they have had a fairly consistent answer to the post-modernism / relativism / post-truth-iness and its attendant ugliness in present times-- the same answer as before any of those things even existed, in fact. xD

I agree! Glad you enjoyed, have a great day

If you like this you should watch James Lindsay over at New Discourses. He just co-authored a book on this whole topic with Helen Pluckrose from Aero magazine.

I think you are conflating systemic corruption with culture. It's unfair to blame culture as the sole instigator of said corruption.

You can tell it's not cultural by the way Greeks abroad are not known for "gaming the system".

You mean people like Aristotelis Onassis?


Aye, it's common knowledge in Greece that he came across his huge fortune by being a nice guy and never stepping over any lines, of law or ethics. True fact.


The dude was a legendary briber.

Generally he was thought to be trustworthy if you cut a deal -- no matter how corrupt and shady the deal was -- but absolutely willing to bribe, coerce, threaten, and completely willing ignore regulations and rules.

It's that argument of you let yourself get conned so it's your fault. Therefore it's ok to con people. Nigerian scammers also are in this camp.

The exactly same goes for Brazil. Am I seeing a pattern here, i.e. countries that are supposed to be great but really aren't?

I was backpacking Europe years ago and I met this Brazilian girl. We were discussing places that required a visa and she said she never bothered with them. I asked how that was possible.

She said that if anyone ever questioned her she just acted confused and found a way to sneak off. I was flabbergasted. She simply (and proudly) explained: "It's the Brazilian way of life!"

She's right. It even has a name, "jeitinho": https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeitinho

Pattern is high trust societies vs low trust societies.

Yeah, personally I think this has a lot to do with post-colonialism.

I'm Irish, and there's a lot of this in our society. It was much more accepted in my parents generation, and appears to be reducing a little bit as we become a richer society.

I heard from an Irish colleague (I'm a Brazilian expat in Dublin) that this attitude, in particular towards taxes, changed after the independence from the UK.

So yes and no. My parents are pretty old (they had kids late) and they really don't like telling revenue (the taxman) anything, and would be inclined to overlook tax avoidance and whatnot. My wife's parents are of a similar age, and also similar on this.

Now, all of them were born a generation after independence, so it's definitely not just that.

However, when the government has historically not given a crap about you (as the British government did not), it leads to a disconnect from the society and institutions that increases the probability that you'll be OK with tax dodging and not have as much trust in the overall society (because historically, it didn't care about you).

So, I'd say that it's slowly changing because we're not a colony anymore, but it definitely didn't just disappear in a puff of smoke in 1921.

It has rather less to do with post-colonialism than it does with having a very unethical dominant church for hundreds of years, honestly.

We're the only horrifically-bent country in northern Europe

I'm sorry, what? Like I enjoy a bit of Irish-Catholic bashing as much as the next Irish person (probably more than most, given that I enjoy complaining about the Council of Nicea) but I don't really see how the pre-independence Catholic Church was unethical.

To be fair, though I'm not a fan of the authoritarianism, without the Catholic Church neither of my grand-parents or their parents would have had an education, and indeed the church was the centre of irish social life and community for a very long time.

Like, post-independence, the Church did a lot of dodgy things, but I really don't think you can blame the one organisation which actually provided some services for Irish catholics for our issues with authority.

And it's worth pointing out that much of the remaining corruption in Irish life is at the political level, rather than the bureaucratic level. As an example, you might bribe politicians to get planning permission for a large shopping centre, but you don't have to bribe the passport office for a renewal.

Can you give me some examples of Ireland being horrifically bent?

Edit: incidentally, thank you for Kildare Street!

Yep, Why Nations Fails talks about this a lot.

That could describe any country. Certainly Greece, India and Brazil wouldn't make it to the top of my list of countries I'd expect to see described that way.

Yes i think Nigeria should come first in terms of those behaviors

Which countries mentioned so far are popularly regarded as "great"?

According to a reliable source - hat logos - there is a country that might someday rejoin that elite group. ("MAGA" political hats: "Make America Great Again". There is so much to read into that in the political climate.

One more very Indian thing perhaps also is we like to gladly flog ourselves and jump at the chance of discrediting our people. We will start with "As an Indian" but end with "They" instead of "We"

I'm frankly kind of sick of the constant denigration and apologies being written slavishly to foreigners on behalf of all Indians by Indians. As an Indian, I accept there's a lot of cultural problems and crap in the country but to the degree that people will prostrate before the Western elite reminds me of our colonial days. Like, literally everything in that paragraph could be written about literally any part of the world cause humans are just that shitty. In this particular case, the person making the video made it in Hindi so it very specifically created a spike from Indian users

I wish my fellow Indians would stop this constant self flagellation and appeasement and have some goddamn pride

> literally everything in that paragraph could be written about literally any part of the world

This is untrue. You won't find even a remotely similar tolerance for rule-breaking in Japan.

People are all the same in many ways but cultural differences are still vast.

yeah, man. I tried to convince my Japanese wife not to pay off her predatory student loans when she moved to the US, and it was like I was talking about burning down a building or something.

> I wish my fellow Indians would stop this constant self flagellation and appeasement and have some goddamn pride

I don’t see it as an Indian thing (or a Greece thing as someone else replied). It’s a failing of all of global humanity that anything you can get away with is “ok” to 10-49% of the world’s population (have no concrete source, but I “feel” it’s below 50%, but still a significant number). The US President got up on stage just this week and essentially answered the question “why did you pay so little taxes in 2016-2017?” with the response “because I could! Don’t like the tax laws? BLAME JOE!”, taking zero responsibility for his own actions.

It's something you'll see in pretty much every disfavored group: people will attempt to push themselves up by pushing the others down. They'll say "I'm not like other X", reinforcing the idea that X actually does whatever bad things you imagine they do, and deserves to be looked down on.

They usually don't even recognize that that's what they're implying. They merely want to set themselves up as worthwhile and ask not to be pre-judged. But collectively, you get "crab mentality" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crab_mentality).

The social motivations for saying sth should not be conflated with the truth of that thing. In my experience, usually people shitting on their own group tell the truth.

On another note, I find Western, affluent self-flagellation much more pervasive and deceptive.

I disagree. As an Indian, our pride is one of the biggest problems. Not achieving much but taking a lot of credit for it. We even take pride in Indians that leave for abroad and do exceptionally well - CEOs of Google, Microsoft, Adobe, MasterCard are not Indians in terms of their citizenship. They're of Indian ethnicity.

To the foreigners (especially Americans) - I cannot make this up. When I was in 6th standard, we had a teacher that said without flinching, or perhaps completely deluded that - 90% of NASA employees are Indians. We knew this is bullshit even when in the 90's when there was no internet.

Currently, we've got the Indian media tied up with taking pride in the fact that Kamala Harris is Indian.

It's frankly embarrassing how much undeserved pride we constantly seek.

Couldn't have said this better myself.

"For many Indians, self-flagellation is a sign of their intellectual arrival". This was a line I read long ago and it desribes the situation so well.

We do go the other extreme and take credit for what Indians do and "Ancient Indians" did.

>Like, literally everything in that paragraph could be written about literally any part of the world cause humans are just that shitty.

Absolutely not true. It applies to low/high trust societies and is an cultural issue.

Slavishly? Eh? The comments also constantly remind how few talented people get lost in the haystack because of the noise. They are stating the reality.

> have some goddamn pride

We have seen how much damage pride has brought. If you still want to see

1) people without science knowledge claiming religious rituals have scientific reasons

2) people who don't know what linguistics is claiming Sanskrit is the first language

3) people without any knowledge of medicine heralding superiority of Ayurveda

Continue with your godamn pride.

> Like, literally everything in that paragraph could be written about literally any part of the world

Oh come on. If we are able to mentally swap out cultures in the OP to see how ridiculous your claim is, then you are too. And we have to think you did.

Pride begets nationalism.

Do you think it could be a cultural artifact beaten into the Indian subcontinent by the British? Sort of a collective, areawide PTSD?

Tangentially, I personally wish people would stop using the "culture" excuse for a group's bad behavior. Culture doesn't develop in a vacuum. Certain cultural practices could potentially come from really problematic sources. Changing one's culture isn't an insult to anyone if you're changing it for the better. And in this case, even if Indian culture is to prostrate before those you see as your superior, I don't think that's an element of the culture that needs preserving.

I trust people who talk negatively about their own culture more than I trust people who talk positively. Every culture has lots of dumb stuff, and people who are willing to talk negatively about it strike me as more open-minded.

I can understand and relate to the point you raise. Constructive criticism and self retrospection is a key marker of any progressive society. The slight caveat is that each society is in a varying state at any given time. India has gone through a full circle from peak, to trough to hopefully a rising future. At this stage of the society, confidence is very fragile and mindset conflicted across the glorious to the defeated to the hopeful. This why you see the spectrum of emotions. As with personal image and attitude being sculpted for success, a nation's image and attitude need to be sculpted for success too.

This x 100. We have low confidence and apologies for Normal things which the whole world does

> If not I might as well do this and earn Rs. 100. In fact this attitude is cultivated from childhood in certain business class families. Don't let go of any opportunity of earning a profit, however small it might be.

The Ferengi from Star Trek come to mind when I read this.

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferengi

* https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Ferengi

The Rules of Acquisition are always a fun read:

* https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Rules_of_Acquisition

In this case Rule 3 would probably apply:

> Never spend more for an acquisition than you have to.


> You are likening a nation of humans to a fictional alien species?

If you don't like it, talk to Gene Roddenberry. In ST:TOS the Klingons (IIRC) were used as a stand in for the Soviets:

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klingon#Conception

* https://www.history.com/news/star-trek-series-episodes-vietn...

Or you could view it as the anthropomorphization of the vice of greed or stinginess/miserliness/parsimony.


> "Hey, that story about Polish people reminds me of those scurrilous Romulans!"

Heh. You wanna guess where my ancestors come from? :)

:gasp: Romulus???

Most fiction tends to be based at least in some part on reality, whether the author explicitly intended it or not (allegorically or literally).

We learn from fiction. Try it. And... It's fine if you find it offensive. We don't care.

I always used to wonder if the races in the star trek universe had any correlation with human ethnicities.

I wouldn't say ethnicities... The Ferengi serm to be a personified contrasting ideology against the "we don't need money anymore" of the Federation.

Not to say that people won't overlay their own prejudices over what's actually there, but i see just an explicit contrast of ideas about economies.

Less ethnicities than cultures and metaphors. Darmok notwithstanding.

The Klingons were originally intended to look Asiatic and resemble Mongols or Japanese samurai, with the Klingon Empire being essentially the Soviet Union In Space. And there is an uncomfortable elephant in the room that Klingons, a species mostly known for violence and bloodlust, are all (or almost all) black coded. While the implications are obviously unintentional, it's impossible not to draw parallels in the history in sci-fi and fantasy to the "swarthy, dark-skinned savage" archetype.

Speaking of which here[0] is a video on Klingons and the history of racial coding in Star Trek if anyone is interested.

The relationship between Cardassians and Bajorans is clearly a metaphor for post-war Germany, with the former being Nazis and the latter Jews. Romulans, obviously, are Space Romans.

The Borg clearly represent the dehumanizing effect of technology and collectivism, making them a perfect foil for the Federation with its techno-utopian ideals. I've heard but can't prove that the Borg were meant to be a parody of Japanese business culture. There are alien stand ins for racial prejudice from "Let That Be your Last Battlefield" and nonbinary gender persecution from "The Outcast," and the Trill species in general. In cases like these, the aliens are meant to serve as a mirror to some aspect of humanity.

And of course the Ferengi have already been discusssed here.

Although in one egregious case (TNG's "Code of Honor")[1] the "aliens" were literally just African caricatures in space. And of course TOS gives us planets with literal space Nazis, space Romans, space Cowboys, space Greek Gods, space whatever costumes they could scrounge from the Desilu lot that week.



If you watch the first appearence of the Klingons they are obviously Mongol raiders. Later they are vikings?

General opinion for decades has been the Ferengi are specifically anti-Semitic stereotypes rather than generic Mediterranean-area stereotypes.

> In America, people ask 'Do the Ferengi represent Jews?' In England, they ask 'Do the Ferengi represent the Irish?' In Australia, they ask if the Ferengi represent the Chinese[…] The Ferengi represent the outcast… it's the person who lives among us that we don't fully understand.[19]

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferengi#Comparisons_with_anti-...

Or you could view them as the anthropomorphization of the vice of greed or stinginess/miserliness/parsimony.

As a Jew, I always just considered them space goblins...

So did I.

I forgot where I read it, but I believe Roddenberry modeled the Ferengi after New England traders in the 1800's.

This is stated directly in the episode that introduced them.

This has less to do with India, and more about what happens when there’s no prior culture of open source, to balance against the willingness to “hustle”. The fact that a lot of these PRs might originate in India is only relevant insofar as there are a lot of people willing to hustle, and don’t have much open source experience. Chances are that they are oblivious to what happens on the other side of the table, and open source projects are abstract entities (which might as well be run by Github, or some other bureaucracy!) A useful reminder that the celebrated “hustle” is susceptible to the unintended consequences of Goodhart’s law.

If this was Sean Parker with Napster or Zuck with early Facebook, we’d be celebrating it.

(For all those who advocate for growth hacking techniques, or annoying ads, this is exactly how scummy most such techniques / dark patterns feel to users. I don’t think that is geographically localized in any way.)

> his "crack it" is basically about "Gaming it" and succeed at it any how.

While I don't disagree with the rest of your comment, this is not accurate. Unacademy focuses on test prep and thier anthem while sappy and gung ho, doesn't really have any references to gaming the system. Crack it is in the same vein as Cracking the Coding Interview,

Which is gaming the system, if you ask me.

Cracking coding interviews would be considered “overfitting” in statistical learning parlance. You may ace the interview, but for most people the performance at coding interviews has no correlation with performance in actual work.

Overfitting? Sure. But gaming the system? I disagree. Hell, I've heard of companies giving candidates the book to help them prepare for the interview. It's not ideal but this is what the system expects.

"Don't hate the player, hate the game"

Can still hate them for playing the game, if that involves disdain for ethical principles one actually believes in

FAANG will usually send you a few slides on what algorithms and data structures to prepare.

I just started interviewing with FB and got prep slides, two courses on educative.io, a 27 page document on the origins and purpose of the role, two 45 minute intro calls, and two 45 minute prep calls so far, and a recommendation to study up on a bunch of problems on leetcode in addition. I don't know how the rest of FAANG compares but Facebook drops a mountain of prep material for candidates.

Learning for test is gaming the system? Seriously?

Depending on the extent, of course it is.

Imagine I'm taking Calculus 2 and I have a choice to learn the material and take the final exam "cold" or I can get the final exam a few months ahead of time and simply memorize the symbols I need to write into the exam booklet. The latter is self-evidently gaming the system.

When primary school teachers teach directly towards the assessment exam, they are only incidentally teaching the subject and are primarily (IMO) gaming the system as well.

But the latter is not going on here. They are not memorizing the symbols.

> I have a choice to learn the material and take the final exam "cold"

What does cold means? Learning calculus without solving exercises? Or without solving variety of exercises? Intentionally ignoring last years tests and not trying them?

If your learning materials match what the test is supposed to test, you will solve a lot of exercises while learning from them. And the test itself would contain combinations and variations from these.

When a measure becomes a target it ceases to be a good measure.

A test is a proxy for actual performance working on some useful task. The nature of useful work is usually that it can't be represented by two hours of multiple choice questions, whiteboarding, or anecdotes about "a time you disagreed with someone"; therefore, most tests will differ from the work. Learning to pass the test is easier than learning to do the work, but if you do that the test ceases to measure your work performance.

Yes it is, while the tests are obviously imperfect, the intent is to be a proxy for a wider set of skills and knowledge to be tested.

I wouldn't say it's an Indian only phenomenon, plenty of that everywhere

Sure, but you always have to ask, to what degree?

If it is more prevalent than in other societies then you can definitely call it a phenomenon.

It's pretty well correlated to wealth inequality. The more wealthy cheaters there are, the more the masses are pro-cheating for themselves.

But to that intensity, ingrained-ness? That's not how it is in the UK[0] - to anywhere near that degree I mean.

edit: the UK is the only culture I'm really familiar with

well check out italy, you can substitute italian with indians and keep the entire paragraph almost word for word.

I suspect it's a common theme of countries that managed to keep an identity while under a long foreign domination. when the state is the enemy for generations, the ethics and norm about law and legality become a lot more flexible.

Would this apply more to southern Italy more than north?

> Henrich anticipates a quibble about what he calls “the Italian enigma”: Why, if Italy has been Catholic for so long, did northern Italy become a prosperous banking center, while southern Italy stayed poor and was plagued by mafiosi? The answer, Henrich declares, is that southern Italy was never conquered by the Church-backed Carolingian empire. Sicily remained under Muslim rule and much of the rest of the south was controlled by the Orthodox Church until the papal hierarchy finally assimilated them both in the 11th century. This is why, according to Henrich, cousin marriage in the boot of Italy and Sicily is 10 times higher than in the north, and in most provinces in Sicily, hardly anyone donates blood (a measure of willingness to help strangers), while some northern provinces receive 105 donations of 16-ounce bags per 1,000 people per year.

* https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/10/joseph-...

* https://archive.is/SYP7l

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emirate_of_Sicily

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_conquest_of_southern_It...

The criticalness is a general Italian phenomenon. The one thing that unites Italians, north and south, is the perception that Italy is stupid and corrupt.

I was also thinking about Italy, especially with how popular people like Berlusconi always were precisely because they were never playing by the rules... but it's possible that it's still a difference in degree. I don't know if Italians would go to such extreme lenghts just for a t-shirt. I don't really know Indian culture though, so I can't judge.

How about Finland? That's not the general attitude here.

well am not well versed about everyone history, but a cursory search says it maintained special status granting cultural and political independence for quite a while and rebelled within a decade of the russification project https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russification_of_Finland

That's a ridiculous generalization

I didn't see lots of Italians creating a PR just to get a T-Shirt

The populations of Italy and India aren't even remotely similar.

India dwarfs the entirety of Europe, never mind Italy, by population size.

you need to start thinking percentages and not counts. also, and in percentage, knowledge of what a github even is in Italy is far lower; IT is still seen as the nerd kids choice and not as a professional career.

I would compare population numbers and percentages. India has 1B people. Uk is less than 10% of that.


This made me chuckle. I only know US as an immigrant.

Likewise. Had a good giggle, so who's so sensitive they have to flag and kill?

Ah, sorry :)

More seriously, I have heard on a TV programme, and I have NO DATA for this, that britain put more resources and/or cash into the US than it ever got out (edit: until the US became independent, which is about the 300 years the poster mentioned). Does anyone know reliable sources that can verify, refute or somehow qualify that statement?

Edit: why is the parent post flagged and dead? Flagging should be used for proper offence, which I did not take and led me to an interesting question.

Glad that no offence was taken, my intent was to throw spot light on the root comment where it is easy to generalize on any human community. We all need to restrain ourselves from that urge. I don't mind it being flagged either, it does happen when perspectives are not fully understood either side.

This is one of the reasons Indians cheating on the OSCP is such an issue. I don't know if they realize that destroys the value of the cert for everyone... cool you got the cert but now its worthless.

Before seeing the video I posted my theory here [0] on where the spam was originating from and it seems this pretty much completes the explanation I gave that it's a classic case of academic spam [1].

That type of spam, especially on GitHub (so by folks trying to get into IT) really only reinforces the stereotype that 95% of Indian IT students can't code [3] [4].

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24645000

[1] https://academia.stackexchange.com/questions/41687/what-is-b...

[3] https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/ites/95-engineers-...

[4] https://restofworld.org/2020/india-engineering-degree/

Well Said pritam. I am also from India and i see many of my friends run away for free thing. eg: Till September 30 They used google meet for their online classes and now they are searching for another free alternate. It is very sad to see this culture of spamming and gaming. Infact this is one reason why many Saas Companies dont prefer India as a matured market as they will use the free system and wont ever upgrade to a paid plan.

I live in a post-soviet country and the ~50 years of soviet planned-economy, arbitrary laws and constant shortages combined with an illegitimate regime (as any foreign power that is ruling by force on your turf is by definition) meant that people got a pretty deep ingrained attitude of "gaming the system" even tho there's almost 30 years of self rule. It is slowly fading away and being replaced by the capitalist "growth hacking" which I'm not sure is a lot different.

Can agree. Gaming the system was the norm in Russia. E.g. you couldn't buy or sell apartments. If you wanted one, you had to "move in" with someone and the other person would then "move out" later. Payment was handled under the radar.

Hearing the stories from my parents, just getting furniture for a new apartment was already hard, since sometimes it just was not available.

This mentality now still lives on in a lot of us.

> It is slowly fading away and being replaced by the capitalist "growth hacking" which I'm not sure is a lot different.

There's definitely a blurry line there. I'm not completely clear what "growth hacking" means, but I definitely think SEO crosses a line (basically hacking google's algorithm to mislead them and their customers). Even worse would be things like paying for fake traffic to drive up ad revenue. People generally understand there is a line between legitimate business and scamming people, even when greed/desperation drives them to bend the rules somewhat and rationalize it.

To quote myself: “I’ve yet to see something called a “growth hack” that wasn’t unethical.”



Yes in fact, but I can imagine it’s mostly same elsewhere too.

I only ask because I'm looking at moving to Estonia in a couple years!

I can attest to this. In fact, in India, it's considered very stupid and laughable by a very large number of people to buy digital books and music, because they are available for "free" on pirate websites. Read that again: I'm not just saying that people pirate stuff, instead, I'm saying they consider it unimaginable and stupid to spend money because it's available for "free." Ethics never enter the picture, I promise you.

Also, it's considered acceptable and clever to order clothes, use them at an event, and return as "defective." Quaint concepts like morality are not even considered relevant.

Usually it will have to do with purchasing power parity.

The low pricing in one country doesn't translate to low pricing in another country, especially with digital goods.

Things are changing though now. Many streaming services are doing well in India as prices are appropriate and people are educated on the value of the goods.

It is also related to strong laws/enforcing of laws as well, which is also improving in my opinion.

All of which are not necessarily unique to India.

Okay, so let's say some people can't afford to buy digital goods. How does that, by itself, explain a general belief that the few who do that are stupid because they "don't realize" that they are available for "free"?

Now, you or I might say that they aren't really available for free (they're stolen/pirated), but any thoughts of that kind just don't appear in many people (amoral, not immoral).

I have to say, I love this.

Yes, things get fouled up from time to time but this is really the same as the old hacker ethos. It is the mindset that led to Woz building a computer from scratch, the internet being an open system and the concept of open source thriving.

You could have explained it without using negative connotations like gaming the system. Student crowd in US also games the system. Humble bundles and exploiting regional pricing of Steam are few examples.

It might be a post-colonial cultural artifact. Speaking as an Irish person, we have a similar regard for bending rules, which is only beginning to show signs of change recently.

Now all they have to do is convince the middle class that they are temporarily embarrassed millionaires, and India will start to become the US.

Pathological behavior being part of a culture isn't an excuse for it. If everyone acted this way open source couldn't exist.


> 4. Naughtiness

> Though the most successful founders are usually good people, they tend to have a piratical gleam in their eye. They're not Goody Two-Shoes type good. Morally, they care about getting the big questions right, but not about observing proprieties. That's why I'd use the word naughty rather than evil. They delight in breaking rules, but not rules that matter. This quality may be redundant though; it may be implied by imagination.

> Sam Altman of Loopt is one of the most successful alumni, so we asked him what question we could put on the Y Combinator application that would help us discover more people like him. He said to ask about a time when they'd hacked something to their advantage—hacked in the sense of beating the system, not breaking into computers. It has become one of the questions we pay most attention to when judging applications.

Everyone breaking a rule will say that they're doing this. They'll claim they're just bending the rules. Even when they're engaged in massive law breaking behaviour they'll claim that those laws don't really matter and that the ends justify the means.

Hacktoberfest highlights the problem with this paragraph of Graham's. Hundreds of thousand of people being "naughty", hacking the system, cause problems for other people.

I know your comment is in good faith because the core of what you're saying is correct, and I'm certainly not accusing you of anything... Instead of 'part of the culture' though I would phrase it as 'correlated with the culture' to avoid accidentally giving supremacists ammunition.

The point being, you have to rise above your circumstances. Just because everyone you grew up with is doing something gravely immoral doesn't make it correct. No culture should exude pathological behavior as a trait.

Your attempt at couching your comment in disclaimers is hilarious. You don't just give supremacists ammunition, you make everyone laugh at the absurdity.

"Part of the culture" is bad... And "correlated with the culture" is good. But "exude pathological behavior" is where you end.

Have you figured out yet that language policing is just tiptoeing around the things you're not supposed to notice?

I have a couple of vaguely popular repos on github (~100,000 downloads a month)

Generally speaking, (T-shirt farming aside), if you find a genuine typo, or small way to improve documentation, then that PR will be very much appreciated. README-typos are quite visible, yet easy for maintainers to overlook.

If you are new to GitHub, please do not be discouraged, and as with editing Wikipedia- be bold.

(In the large scheme of things, its really positive that so many people worked out how to make a PR, and were then motivated to do so- lets not shame them too hard. Although occasionally neccessary, we must be mindful about gatekeeping, especially with the young and inexperienced)

Typo fixes are useful. Adding '- an Amazing Project' to a title is not.

There's a lot that the guy could have done differently to demonstrate what a legitimate pull request looks like. Because this wasn't it.

I have done one letter typo fixes to doc repos as a 3rd party and felt great about them. One of them was actually a typo in a command line that I found by going through their instructions step by step copying and pasting each line. I was seriously confused when it didn't work!

Yes. Fixing up documentation is always helpful, even if it’s a one letter change!

Now, updating “copyright 2018-2019” to “2020” isn’t.

The point of the date it to tell people when the material was created. In some jurisdictions / situations, copyright expires N years after it was created, so that date tells people when copyright has expired.

Unfortunately, in many cases now, copyright is based on the year the author died, rather than the year the work was created, which means it is much harder to work out if something has entered the public domain.

Changing the date without changing the code significantly is arguably fraudulent.

doesn't moving the creation date forward in time make you vulnerable?

if you create some content in 2018 and I rip it off in 2019 and then you update your copyright to 2020, what's to stop me from saying I came up with it first?

That's partly why you have a span like "Copyright 2018-2020" - you are saying some of this material is older, some isn't. You need to keep copies of the older version with the older copyright to be clear which parts were invented when.

I want to like that idea. Unfortunately, I can counter with: When you (as an outsider) see two very similar projects, one claiming to be from 2018 the other from 2020, what will you look into/try out first?

Depends on the selling point. A 2 year old library sounds to me like it's just getting mature.

Obviously the one from 2018. It should still be quite modern but with big issues already ironed out.

> Changing the date without changing the code significantly is arguably fraudulent.

In some countries the publishing date is what counts, and they define publishing for websites as when the site was viewed.

Presumably, even if publishing date is relevant, it's only first publication that's relevant. No work should stay copyrighted forever just because it's constantly being republished.

> it's only first publication that's relevant.

No, the publishing date is relevant (not the first publishing date).

It's useful in showing the project is maintained and how old it is.

I regularly have to shop around for libraries. Seeing a copyright 2017 doesn't bode well for the documentation or the project being maintained.

Sure, but those types of PRs aren't what's happening here.

Check out this PR: https://github.com/OscarZhou/CSharpTraining/pull/1/commits/8...

How would you like to receive dozens of PRs like that? You would absolutely consider that blatant spam.

I think they're referring to one example on Twitter (unfortunately, I can't find it again now) which was calling out a legitimate single-character typo fix. As someone who occasionally likes to report typos, I appreciate someone telling us they're appreciated :)

I love it if people send me PR fixing typos or improving documentation.

The problem a lot of the hacktober fest PR don't do any of that.

E.g. on the rust repo some one added a bunch of PRs which add "### The best" to some readmes.

The pull request I have seen were changing "how to install" into "how to easily install" and such. They were not fixing typos or even making sentences better. They were just meaningless changes.

No way man, there are very meaningful changes like this one https://github.com/devraj-kumar/BLOG-/pull/13/commits/1b26bf...

That profile has 6 PR all from yesterday! Previous activity is from... October 2019!

Not sure why the downvotes... the takeaway is it’s extremely easy for maintainers to tell a well intentioned docs change from the crap referenced in this article

Yes. It is easy to tell them apart. But some people are getting over 50 of these in a day, so even if it is easy to tell, it gets annoying and requires you to deal with spam.

That is the thing with spam in general - you can tell it from legitimate mail easily, but is it still annoying and requires you to deal with it.

That is why I still prefer old-style patch submissions via mailing lists - the bar is higher, so it usually weeds out exactly this kind of trash.

Of course, if a company started offering free t-shirts for mailing list submissions and some foolish (but well-meaning) youtuber would publish a tutorial on how to subscribe and post to a mailing list, I have no doubts that there would be a deluge regardless of this higher bar. :)

As a drive-by contributor to plenty of projects it raises the bar uncomfortably high though. A PR I can rebase and rework based on feedback that can be given right there on the line of code it pertains to. Easy as pie with GitLab or GitHub. Really bothersome with mailing-lists, and excruciatingly painful if they don't even use a modern DVCS like git.

(EDIT: I didn't mean to say that mailing lists are much better in every respect than GitHub/GitLab/etc, just that they don't deserve the hate they seem to get in every discussion about tools for collaborative development.)

As someone who has been contributing to Linux for a few years now, which uses mailing lists exclusively for all development (and not only do they use Git, they wrote it) I've found that mail-based workflows are in some ways better to GitHub/GitLab/etc:

1. You can review individual patches, you cannot do this in GitHub at all (commenting at the bottom of a commit doesn't count because it's not tied to the PR and the comment is lost to ether on force-push). GitHub also defaults to you reviewing the full diff and make reviewing individual commits kind of frustrating (you're just dropped into the commit history view rather than a proper review view).

2. All code reviews end up being line-based because the patch is the main body of the email. Design discussion happens as replies to the cover letter of the patch set, meaning you can easily tell which kind of discussion is happening. You can also directly comment on the git commit message, which the kernel community values a lot more than most projects.

3. You can far more easily be notified on patches sent to sections of the tree (though this is slightly tied to Linux's development workflow with subsystem maintainers). GitHub only lets you watch a repository and get the firehouse of events -- which is about as useful as subscribing to the main LKML and trying to keep up with the notifications.

As for difficulty, honestly the bar to entry to send a patch to a mailing list if you're using Git is just:

  $ git send-email --to ... --cc ... origin/master
I would suggest doing "git format-patch" with --cover-letter and then checking the patch contents first, but you can do it one command for simple patches. Git was designed to make this mailing list approach work, so it shouldn't be surprising that it's actually pretty simple to use.

A code mirror and mailing list is a perfectly fine DVCS for the purposes of contributing code to an open-source project, and it doesn't lock a whole ecosystem into a monoculture walled garden.

> feedback that can be given right there on the line of code it pertains to

Done easily with a mailing list, and you can be sure that the comment won't just magically disappear because GitHub decided it was fixed even when it wasn't.

> excruciatingly painful if they don't even use a modern DVCS like git.

As far as local development is concerned, there's no reason you can't use all the git tools to manage your changes.

I don't want the walled garden — I don't care if its GitLab or GitHub or some other tool — as long as I can do stuff like rebase and squash easily and discuss the patch without having to subscribe to a mailing-list, set up inbox filters, prepare the patch for emailing, participate until the patch is in, then not forget to unsubscribe.

Comments about a patch are fleeting and should be gone after the patch lands — and should be treated as such. Any relevant comments will be in the source code.

GitLab (and several others) can be self-hosted for free; and the walled garden (GitHub?) is tolerable enough. And as long as you keep your software development practices sensible (centred around git, not GitHub), there hardly is a wall really.

> As far as local development is concerned, there's no reason you can't use all the git tools to manage your changes.

Certainly possible, but I didn't manage to get git-svn working the last time I wanted to contribute to a SVN repo. In the end I just created a local git repo in-place and generated the patch with git format-patch.

This is the outcome that would really suck - if people making their first contribution a legitimate doc improvement get their PRs caught up and marked as spam by maintainers who understandably mistake it as part of the spam.

I'm sure my first ever PR was adding an example to the docs for something, and if that had been closed with no response and labelled spam I doubt I'd have stayed around to contribute again.

One of the PR I made for hacktoberfest was fixing typo in a command in a doc. In the current case however, it seems people are not even trying to do something trivially useful.

On the other hand, I was told by boost project that my one line fix for a typo was "waste of maintainer time", so it seems to vary on per-project basis :)

It's so trivial to cherry-pick or rebase and merge such a commit if you understand enough of git to use it properly with branches and stuff. If the commit message is suitably worded it saves time too.

There are software projects out there, even highly used ones, that only use Github to mirror their SVN repository (or some other yesteryear source code system). For those maintainers these PRs do take up more time than they contribute though.

If they don't want GitHub PRs, they can just disable them.

GitHub doesn't allow you to disable pull requests, despite many project (including notable ones like Linux) asking them to add this feature.

They offer 3 options for doing so, in fact, in direct response to this controversy.

I can limit interactions to non-new users.

I can limit interactions to users that have contributed before.

I can limit interactions to users that I have manually whitelisted in my repo.

Unfortunately, only one of these can be active at a time, but the options do exist now.

Go to your repo -> Settings -> Moderation Settings -> Interaction Limits

Limiting interactions is not the same as disabling pull requests wholesale (you can disable issues completely), they are temporary in nature (you can only disable them for 6 months at a time), and in addition I believe my comment was posted before they announced the new feature -- and this is a feature people have been requesting for a decade now.

Thankfully, they've gone and made it opt-in from now on.

Yeah, some maintainers are friendlier then others, and some seem to care more about their precious time then about encouraging people to make (legitimate) contributions unfortunately...

Transaction costs exist.

Or be bolder: write an up to date "Getting Started" Guide! Or the actual (for the current version) build instructions for the platform you are on!

A lot of projects have simply no easy guide to get from a git pull to a working build for someone not familiar with the language or build system used.

I have literally gotten 4 PRs in previous hacktoberfests with typo fix.

I am internally debating if I should participate in this hacktoberfests given the spams going on

I received two pull requests for two projects on GitHub last night. I am the author of one and the maintainer of the other.

At first, the pull requests did not make sense at all. One of them made minor changes to a README, e.g., changing "this book" to "the book". It was not fixing a typo or incorrect grammar. It was merely choosing a word different from the one I had chosen. In fact, I preferred "this book", so the pull request (PR) was inconsistent with my preference. There was no explanation whatsoever regarding why this change was warranted. Then I looked at the PR author's profile and found that the same person had submitted several such trivial PRs to other projects too, all of them changing "this" to "the" at some places in README files.

It all began to make sense when I looked at the calendar. It was Oct 01. This looked like PR spam due to Hacktoberfest. For now, I just labelled the PRs as "invalid" (as suggested by https://hacktoberfest.digitalocean.com/faq/), closed the PRs, and moved on.

Like all good things created with good intentions on the Internet, spam is hurting this event and bringing bad reputation to it. The possibility of large scale, endless spam should be worked into the design of any new Internet-based event or solution.

I also received one pull request that I thought was spam, where the author made several nonsensical changes like changing "#Features" into "#Features:" in the README. Now it makes sense.

I'll probably tell thank them for their contribution and point out a few ideas for things that would really help us, instead of merging this just for the sake of Hacktoberfest.

Yeah. Best approach I can think of would be something like:

  Cool, looks like you've getting the hang of creating Pull
  Requests on GitHub. :)

  The actual change here though isn't useful to us. :(

  Would you be ok spending some time improving [XYZ] instead? :)
eg combine encouragement for the bit they got right + info on what needs work, and point them in the right direction for fixing it

Some people will probably just not be bothered, but others might get involved in the suggested way. Hopefully. :)

The problem is that this takes time. On one PR, sure, okay. But if you have 50 of the spammy PRs, even with Copy and Paste, this will take several minutes (maybe up to an hour, depending) of a maintainers day (and really, per day, however long Hacktoberfest goes on). That's time that they're not spending coding or updating docs in a valid way or spending with family. It would probably be tenable if there were some heuristic that was 100% certain that this was a spammy PR, but I'm pretty sure that's not the case.

This assumes that the spammers can code/contribute in a meaningful way.

Don't waste your time. The people doing this don't know anything about programming.

There's no reason to ever look at or respond to PR from someone who doesn't at least have their own repo (or at least a fork of a repo) with non trivial commits (at least to a toy/learning project)

But this is not spam. It's based on morons trying to make it in the software world without any basis that they should be there.

They're doing this so that they can put "I have x amount of accepted pullrequests on github" and fool an employer to hire them. To become shit team members or outsourced to become shit offshore team members*.

I have seen these kinds in many a project. Real world experience. Real talk.

The major incentive here is a free tshirt

Good point. I guess that's even worse. Hillarious really. Like something out of a Rick and Morty episode. You couldn't make this up.

The episode name would be something like "haker man" And Ricky (drunk like always) would probably say: "Morty, gonna tell you something, everybody these days call themselves 'programmers/coders/hackers' all they do is watch a Javascript Course, barely, type some stupid shit like 'Hello World' and they feel like a great scientist Morty, you really understand how stupid is this, Morty?! They share that in all the 'social media' trendy moron stuffy like Twitter, a place even more cancerous than me Morty. In the end Morty, burrp, I'm actually the Genius who discovered Time Travel and invented the Portal Gun."

...that you can wear to an interview?

Why would you nedd dozens of PRs for this?

To get at least one through the spam filters.

> They're doing this so that they can put "I have x amount of accepted pullrequests on github" and fool an employer to hire them.

Yes, I have seen a bunch of those on popular repositories over the years. It is an annoyance, but usually so little, even on popular repos (I contributed much to PHP as example of project size) that it's easy to ignore (or even simply merge if it's somewhat useful, the fooling won't lead them far)

The difference with this marketing stunt is that there is way more active encouragement for that and way more of it at once ... multiple a day instead of one every few months

This has become a pet peeve of mine ever since a former co-worker told me his scheme of setting up a cronjob to add a single commit with a timestamp to a project on his Github profile on a daily basis, so future employers would think he was a 10xer or something to that effect

Spam is like weeds: it is anything excessive, unwanted, and relatively useless.

It is for publicity purposes of digital ocean. Gray area, they do incentivize participation in open source but also are responsible for this hug of death.

These contributions are junk and spam. I don’t think any maintainer will be upset if they get 100 legitimate and well intentioned pull requests, but we’re talking about spam here.

No kidding

There is a good amount of questions on SO or tutorial blog posts that are basic, really basic stuff. Things that if you had barely any idea of what you were doing you would figure out but you don't.

Oh and now guess what, this flood of PRs raises the bar and annoyances for everybody.

I agree that the spam is problematic, but I feel the need to call out his "data collection".

As evidence that CodeWithHarry is the cause, he says

> A search for "Amazing Project" is now showing 21,177 issues.


> A search for "improve docs" shows 319,251 issues.


Improve docs has been a common beginner level PR since the beginning of time. Do you really think that 319k spam issues have been filed in the last day?

Amazing Project is more relevant, but if you take a look at those issues (sorted by newest), you see that most of the PRs that show aren't spam at all: https://github.com/search?o=desc&q=amazing+project&s=created...

If you want to count how many spam PRs were directly inspired by the video, you can try searching "an amazing project" (with quotes), and filtering by newest. It looks like there have only been about 50 PRs directly inspired by it.


Github allows you to search by dates (newer than, date ranges, etc), so for example, you can add the query "created:>=2020-09-30" (the date the youtube video was uploaded) to get a more accurate list.

From this search, it looks like it's definitely on the order of hundreds:


I opened a few at random to spot-check, and they all seemed like garbage to me. Like this one, ugh https://github.com/mongodb/docs/pull/4402/files

Sorting by relevance doesn't get you a representative sample - that bubbles PRs who say "amazing project" in the title to the top(which are indeed mostly spam).

If you restrict it to "in:title", you see that there's only 44: https://github.com/search?q=in%3Atitle+amazing+project+creat...

And if you sort by "newest" or "oldest", which provide a more representative sample, you can see that most of them are not spam: https://github.com/search?o=desc&q=amazing+project+created%3...

Why restrict in title though? From parent reply it is obvious that the phrase isn't in title yet it is undeniably spam.

I'm trying to get a lower bound on spam PRs filed. If you sort by oldest (instead of by "relevance" as the parent commenter did) and do a spot check, you'll see that a lot of the PR's are legitimate: https://github.com/search?o=asc&q=amazing+project+created%3A...

Certainly, restricting to the title misses plenty of PRs. But his search provides 252 PRs, and I'd estimate that easily <100 of them are spam.

Typically the PRs are titled something like "Improve docs" and the change is to add "an amazing project" somewhere in the README.md.

Here's a search that finds a lot: https://github.com/search?q=in%3Atitle+improve+created%3A%3E...

This search makes the same mistake I mentioned above - you think it finds a lot because you're sorting by "relevant" and sampling.

Sort by newest and you'll see that the vast majority of these PR's are legitimate: https://github.com/search?o=desc&q=in%3Atitle+improve+create...

The results I got show 4 spam PRs out of 10 on the first page. Same on the second and third pages. 60% is not a vast majority legitimate and 40% spam is not inconsequential when it's 86k PRs.

That doesn't match my experience. I looked at the first and 5th page from my link. No spam PRs.



Presumably the spam onslaught is slowing down with time from the video being posted so looking at the most recent results will give an ever fewer percentage of spam. If you look at page 100 of the results (for example, currently 18 hours old) there's a lot more spam.

For example: https://imgur.com/a/vxCHvcO

It is so indiscriminate that repos that could be considered dead (7+ years without activity) by the maintainer seems to get massive attention from new accounts just to get that T-Shirt. O_O

Love this one — somebody is trying to rename "package.json" into "package":


No, he renamed it to "package: An Amazing Project.json"

OMG even better :-))

My mind did not parse anything after ":"

Windows doesn't even let you have a colon in a filename!

I suppose it is because the colon is used for NTFS alternate data streams, see the example in the introduction here: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/downloads/stre...

Wonder if NTFS 'lets' you. I know the API does not let it. But I wonder if you could get it in a different way. I know you can sneak case sensitivity in here and there.

Think I shall go ruin a VM tonight... :)

Had a hell of a time downloading a torrent with a colon in the name.

You mean it was a pain in the colon? :)

My favorite one I saw renamed "README.md" to "My Reading".

Link, please :)

"An amazing project!" is going to part of dev culture for years, at least some circles.

You can search for all PRs by a user: https://github.com/pulls?q=is%3Apr+author%3Asalimjaved18

Not even that, the file is actually renamed "package: An Amazing Project.json". Amazing indeed!

What’s this bitboxx? Somebody decided the spam PRs weren’t enough spam so they created a bot to amplify it?

This is my favourite trash PR

A lot of those accounts also seem to be created just a few hours before October 1st. Can GitHub time gate new accounts before that can make public PRs?

I feel like that would be counterproductive given that GitHub is a tool, not a social network you need to gather account age or fake internet points on to use. Don't really see anything wrong with somebody signing up and immediately creating a PR.

I realize GitHub is one of the most popular choices out there but the activity stream is already social mediaesque enough for my taste. There's other ways to tackle this, DO could make their marketing stunt opt-in and GH could respond to the people wanting to add friction to their repo's workflows in a way that provides value, without crippling the general user experience.

I think this would be a bad direction. I bet that most people create an account on GitHub to report an issue or create a pull request directly. I think this should be encouraged.

I was wondering about all of that. Appreciate the clarification.

Some people are giving him the benefit of doubt because you don't understand hindi. Please don't.

This person really did encourage his 600k+ subscribers to spam the PRs in no uncertain words. He explained how developers with swag clothing and brand stickers look cool and get respect. He told people "it won't improve you much as a developer. But hey, free t-shirt swag, and there's a well defined path to get it. I request every one of my followers to make 20 spam PRs so at least 4 sit for more than a week".

I guess this was bound to happen since hacktoberfest and similar programs have become so popular. Part of me is sad that some influencer is so careless and rallied 20 something enthusiastic kids to do this and adding another bad incident Indians will be remembered for.

Edit: I'm college student (graduating in about 8 months) and I'll highlight that there's a very massive guidance problem here. Enthusiastic students have no one to mentored and direct them and it makes them act on lot of bad advice. In my college, sophomores teach freshmen about Google's Summer of Code, open source and events like hacktoberfest. These endeavours are headed by the one or two guys among the students who happen to get into GSoC/ICPC or (in majority of the cases) have a good competitive coding profile. When everyone involved is a beginner, you get unintended outcomes. It's just so much of a convoluted mess, that even the capable students distance themselves from it (convoluted, as in these capable folks are outnumbered by the enthusiastic kids, who, despite their best intentions shouldn't be guiding others right now. And the one club head is a former part of these guys who really hasn't improved in the 2 years after that). Much of this bad guidance contributes to that statistics you see on how "90% of Indian coders are unqualified"

Edit 2: (just dropping my reply down the thread from) Someone mentioned that I shouldn't drag other Indians into this. I guess that was bad judgement on my part as it doesn't really matter here, I apologise it I came off as disrespectful to fellow South Asian demographic, that wasn't my intention, I just wanted to bring attention to an underlying issue. We have a lot of bad rep for filling sites like Quora and Medium with loads of low effort content, sending unsolicited messages on LinkedIn and AngelList, and in general bad etiquette in messaging others over the internet. Much of this can be attributed to us having 1/6 of world's population (more if you just count English speaking populace), but that doesn't excuse people's bad behaviour. I personally believe that there's a need to teach people on how to conduct written communication and how to behave in casual to semi-formal settings in the internet.

I can understand Hindi well enough to skim the video, which I just did. The impression I got was that this person was an enthusiastic YouTuber with somewhat good intentions: “get free swag”, “learn how to open a pull request which you’ll need to know how to do”, “if your pull request is garbage it’ll get rejected and you won’t get credit”. The issue was that he picked some random repository and made a useless change for sake of demonstration-I assume to make it fit in the video, but this basically set the example for everyone watching it. So unintentionally he’s taught a bunch of people who are really motivated in getting this free shirt and also maybe learning how to get into open source (not necessarily the wrong audience, but maybe a bit wet behind the ears) to spam projects. And there is nobody to guide these people but this video. I think the outcome is obvious in retrospect, but I forgive this dude for making this video although I would very much like him to make a follow up where he shows how it’s really done.

There is a general problem (everywhere, but particularly in India where there are a lot of people but very little guidance) of eager people who are willing to participate in programs that get them interested in software development and open source and coding. And I think that’s really great. The issue is that providing people with free swag and walking away is really just pretending to help, rather than actually doing work to help.

As far as I can tell his video only did damage: it taught people to spam open source projects, created a lot of bad blood, probably made open source maintainers more suspicious of new contributors, and gave a large number of potential contributors a bad experience.

It could have been so much better if he'd actually put in the effort to create a real, meaningful pull request. Show how to clone the project, run it, fix a bug, write a test for the fix, and then submit the pull request. That would have put a lot of people on the right path.

But it's much easier and quicker to just do a quick, meaningless change, and as a result give a really bad example.

Even worse, since he's speaking Hindi, his campaign rallied Indians into a massive cloud of bad behavior and made thousands of GitHub community members a little more prejudices against Indians in the future. Even if he meant well and didn't profit at all, he hurt the people he tried to help

I entirely understand why this change was picked and will maintain it was a bad choice. However, I don’t think I can fault them for doing that when the alternative would take significantly more time and effort and detract from the point they were trying to make, which is the steps necessary to make a pull request and not the expected content of one. Given the results, however, I would very much appreciate it if the author of the first video made another one which filled in the gaps of their first one.

I don’t think I can fault them for doing that when the alternative would take significantly more time and effort

Isn't that basically the definition of spam: "but making something useful would take significantly more time and effort"?

Well, I'm considering it in the context of a YouTube video, where there's a length limit and such. Usually you get around this by actually doing the work beforehand and swapping it out, or doing something simple and then saying that this isn't actually representative which is easier and doesn't require a cut but can lead to the issue we see here. Again, I can't fault them for choosing to do this, but I can still say it ended up being a poor choice.

He still could have prepared a legitimate pull request in advance. It was a terrible example, and the more I read about it, the more I think it was intentional and never had the intention to help Open Source projects in any way.

He could (and should) have, but I do not think that he intentionally tried to hurt open source projects.

Yep. Most spam PRs were on website repositories, which is exactly what he used as an example in the video.

I don't know Hindi, but since it's a "free swag" video I assume some people with limited or none technical knowledge also saw it. There's a big chance people are just following it without knowing the consequences of their actions.

I am curious, when you say there is very little guidance what do you mean? To me in some european states there is zero guidance in IT, or what exactly do you mean.

Well, I’m not saying that Indians are the only people without guidance in this area; it’s just that India in general has it relatively bad. This video was in Hindi-the amount of material actually telling you how to file a good pull request in that language (as opposed to English) is comparatively much lower. In the United States I mostly figured this out by looking at other pull requests, and schools are beginning to teach it as well, but for many in India this video is the best they know of.

I literally came here to say this. The first thought I had by looking at the screenshot of the PR(without watching the video) and reading the highlighted comment was that "This guy must be an Indian". I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt but after watching the video, I was appalled by what I was hearing. And the worst part is, that he says you will learn how to make a PR. Sorry, but no, you will not learn how to make a genuine PR by watching the video. Another thought that I had was, how many kids are getting into software development because of the "swag" and how many of them are genuinely interested in understanding the intricacies involved in building good software.

Disclaimer: I am an Indian

If you go through some of his other videos, it seems he gains viewers by making clickbait-ish videos. One of videos says "Learn python in 1 video". The video is about 2 hours long.

> capable folks are outnumbered by the enthusiastic kids, who, despite their best intentions shouldn't be guiding others right now.

I am also an Indian student and can confirm this is very true.

There are so many people posting 20 line tensorflow 'projects', often copied code, for the "swag" of it.

Even competitive coding is gamed a lot. You can't judge people on competitive coding profiles.

> Much of this can be attributed to us having 1/6 of world's population (more if you just count English speaking populance), but that doesn't excuse people's bad behaviour.

This is mostly better attributed to the rat race mentality that is so common among Indians. Everything wrong with education in India stems from this. The rote learning based education, high competition for entering CS degrees despite lack of interest, low quality work in indian outsourcing firms, and company politics to become manager ASAP.

> CodeWithHarry is not a bad guy, I don't want to cancel or shame him

I say, cancel him. And all his fans. CC's think they're hot shit because they can produce a video and upload it to youtube, forgetting entirely that it is the content of the video that gives it any worth. We hate on moronic Medium posts idiotic PR releases, and other low-effort media, why should this be any different? If he deputizes his audience to be assholes he should pay for it.

Stop letting ignorance be an excuse with these folks.

Disagree. It is a problem with hype and code being more centralized. Yes, an annoying for many, but to say this ruined anything is probably exaggerated.

I mean, you could fairly objectively make the judgement that this one video had a net-negative impact on the productivity of humanity.

> Enthusiastic students have no one to mentored and direct them and it makes them act on lot of bad advice.

I think this gives the spammers too easy an out.

They're adults who live in a society. They know full well that spamming is not OK, either offline or online. They also know that what they're doing is spamming, not accidentally overly fervent contributions.

Don't cut them any slack. This is pure and simple vandalism with a profit motive.

The thing is they may not. For all we know, they're hearing about pull requests the first time and just seeing the presenter showing how easy it is to do, by altering/adding a few words, and get a free t-shirt. I think the blame is all on the channel. The least he could've made a proper pull request by fixing an issue. That said, the blame should also go on DO since they could've made hacktoberfest opt-in. Instead they encourage PRs on any public repo.

Plenty of blame for both. The channel is appealing to people to spam crap PRs to inactive projects for the sole purpose of winning some swag, and his followers go spam projects for the sole purpose of winning swag.

One guy encourages people to be assholes, and the people respond by acting like assholes. Both leader and followers are wrong in this case.

Very good point. I certainly did not want to give the guy who encouraged them a break.

You alone are not a spammer. You would need to anticipate the behavior of others. That there are 4 or 5 people on the internet is something that is slowly learned.

They live in a society that is not your society. I think it is entirely possible, and anecdotally even likely, that they do not realize what they are doing.

> I request every one of my followers to make 20 spam PRs so at least 4 sit for more than a week

Is this true? I don’t speak Hindi but this is exactly opposite to what the pull quotes on the original article say that he said.

He did, his statements (translated to English) were:

-"Don't send PR to popular repos, they'll mark it as spam"

-"Send PR to repo with little activity, it'll increase the chances that it'll sit for 7 days. The lesser known a repo is the better, 4 out of 20 is doable"

-"Hacktoberfest has had seasons when they didn't get enough participants and had leftover merch. I request every single one of you to go grab one"

The thumbnail can be translated to "Big Co. distributing free t-shirts, go grab 'em"

Also, his previous pinned comment asked people to tell him about swag-grabbing tactics from other events so he can make another video on it (There was a comment where he was enquiring a guy on how to get Azure merch). His entire video was appalling to go through.

Is "I request every one of my followers to make 20 spam PRs so at least 4 sit for more than a week"

The same translation of:

"Send PR to repo with little activity, it'll increase the chances that it'll sit for 7 days. The lesser known a repo is the better, 4 out 20 is doable"

It is times like this that a third translation would be nice, preferable with a bit more context around the "4 out 20" quote.

"4 out of 20" was directly mentioned by him, stating that a it's unlikely that you open 20 PR to random repos and every one of them is marked spam in next 7 days.

> I request every one of my followers to make 20 spam PRs

This is the translation of his long winded explanation rationalizing on how "Improved docs" PR which adds "Awesome project" to docs is actually an improvement, and the PR is just asking the owner to incorporate these "improvements" to his codebase. Spam wasn't directly worded (I don't remember there being a hindi word for that), but he explicitly mentioned to write random crap in the docs and post it to repos they find on page 100 of repo search, so I guess that's a plausible enough to be translated as "spam".

Is there any translated transcription of the video? It seems established that "I request every one of my followers to make 20 spam PRs" is not an translated quote but rather an interpretation of the underlying meaning. That is good and all but I would prefer seeing the original source myself, and since it is in a different language, an translation that is as close to the original as possible.

The translation I am most interested in is the 1 minute before and after the "4 out of 20".

Languages aren't mathematics, you can't losslessly translate between them. All translations are at least to some degree "an interpretation of the underlying meaning".

As someone who was raised bilingual, I always struggle when asked to translate a specific phrase between languages because literal translations are often less useful or accurate than the "interpreted" translation. I would be very suspicious of anyone who claims they have translated something someone else said without changing its meaning at all.

I have huge respect for the difficult job of translators and there is a definitive distinction between a paraphrase and a quote. I personal know professional translators and a key aspect of that role that they like to talk about is how they are proud to avoid making personal interpretation of the underlying meaning and instead relay as exact as possible what has been said and how it was said so that the client can interpret the meaning.

As an example of that, translators sometimes get jobs to translate at parties like weddings, and sometimes a drunk person comes up to the client and try to hit on them. If the person is muttering then the translator translate the muttering. If they are rambling they translate the rambling. They don't interpret and tell the client that the person is hitting on them, and they don't hide the drunk speech by making it sounds more coherent. Their job is to relay what is being said as exact as the two languages allows it. Naturally as languages has different concepts and ways to express things you do not get a lossless translation, but you do get the nearest translation based on the skill of the translator.

Yes, skilled professional translators who are native-level in both languages are possibly the closest to a perfect translation you can find and arguably they are one of the reasons that international diplomacy is at all workable (though they are still imperfect, purely because languages represent concepts with different nuances, and translating the nuance of any given phrase could require distilling an entire lifetime of cultural experience into a few sentences). That being said, I doubt you'll find one on HN who is going to bother to translate a Hindi video about how to create spam PRs, so you'll have to make do with a native speaker (who isn't a professional translator) has said -- hence my comment.

And my follow-up comment about being suspicious was about the vast majority of people who do translations (especially online), and I would go so far as to argue that some degree of suspicion should also be applied when newspapers use translations as though they are direct quotations. But I wasn't (generally speaking) talking about professional translators.

I don't think that I will get a professional translation but sometimes HN do surprise me, and I generally consider it worth a shot to ask for it when I see two people making quotes with quotations marks about the same translation.

I fully agree that translation should make one suspicious, especially those involving politics. When news in my native language has translations from English (second language) that sounds just a bit too much on the nose it usually prompt me to go and read the original source. Almost every time i find that the original statements involve a lot of contextual nuances.

It's also bad from Hacktoberfest that they reward unmerged PRs. It would be better if they only rewarded PRs that are actually accepted or at least do something meaningful.

I worry the spammy set would then turn into a competition on how to harass maintainers to "merge my PR really quickly please please please!", but maybe.

I've already seen (and dismissed) almost exactly that wording.

If the DO team weren't completely self-serving anti-socials, they'd have set it up to spend 5 seconds eyeballing each PR before sending out a t-shirt, and warning people that only good PRs would count, and giving a few examples from past years.

Or just direct newbies to a bunch of volunteer/sample repos dedicated to helping newbies learn the system, and maybe offer a competitive higher tier of prizes for PRs nominated by repo owned and chosen by DO.

Ah that’s why my 10 year old dormant repository got multiple PRs yesterday

I would say he probably should have shown that many repos have a todo or even suggested starter issues that one could look at instead of just making some unnecessary change for no reason.

> Enthusiastic students have no one to mentored and direct them and it makes them act on lot of bad advice. In my college, sophomores teach freshmen about Google's Summer of Code, open source and events like hacktoberfest. These endeavours are headed by the one or two guys among the students who happen to get into GSoC/ICPC or (in majority of the cases) have a good competitive coding profile

In my mind the problem lies with the college, they should be teaching their students how to contribute meaningfully. Spamming behaviors will only hurt the reputations of everyone from that college.


> It’s a systemic problem, and the fact that you’ve somehow “risen above it” is not a reason to virtue signal.

(As an Indian) As much as I agree with you, I feel like this is different. I'm worried spam on this scale will damage the reputation of Indian OSS contributors.

Blame DigitalOcean for not making this opt-in. Blame a bad implementation. Blame anything.

But are you seriously gonna blame people looking for free swag? How many of us haven’t done something for swag before?

I completely agree with you, but at the end of the day, it doesn't matter who shoulders the blame if OSS maintainers start to get wary of README/docs PRs from github users with Indian-sounding names.

It’s fairly trivial to tell a spammy PR from a legitimate one by just looking at the content of it. Even if a docs change by an Indian account who joined yesterday, if it fixes a real typo or something then it is legitimate is it not?

I've gotten very tired of the term "virtue signal" being thrown around as a means to discredit someone's argument. It's both not persuasive, and it attacks the other person's intentions and not their arguments, which is not a good thing.

I don’t know why the protagonist being Indian is something that would be strongly remembered. I’d guess anyone whose audience has more time than money could’ve hatched a scheme like this, regardless of nationality.

I mentioned this because I've seen people bash Indians for ruining sites like Quora and Medium with lot of bad quality content. Spam job offers, freelancing sites with bloated profiles, sending unsolicited messages and resume to people in LinkedIn and AngelList. Much of this comes from us having 1/6 of world's population, but that doesn't excuse a big group from their misdeeds. I personally believe that there's a need to teach people about etiquette in written communication and how to behave in semi-formal to casual internet settings

I'm almost afraid to ask this, so please assume good intent and bear with me - I promise this is a genuine question :)

Different cultures definitely consider different things to be acceptable / polite / etc in the same situation (e.g., do you take your shoes off when entering another person's house?). I've heard that there's groups of Indians (possibly the descendants of certain castes?) that place a high value on entrepreneurship and that "go get'em" attitude you often see in motivated sales / business people.

I wonder if that's a factor the behavior you observed - if there's a cultural pressure to assertively put themselves out there and actively look for jobs in these ways.

So with that said - I'm interested in other people's takes and happy to accept constructive criticism :)

> if there's a cultural pressure to assertively put themselves out there and actively look for jobs in these ways.

I am a student so my world-view is highly myopic. That said, in my personal experience, there is a pressure among engineers to stand out, else they won't get a good job. Also there's a rat race mentality inculcated by our parents to excel and always one-up others, rather than to co-operate and collaborate. It was okay when we were school-students and had to contest for entrance into a renowned college. But, the "I was the topper in high school, I gotta excel in adult life, be it through hook or by crook" mentality still runs in college and (hearing from seniors and relatives) in jobs. People are eager to do the 4 hour course on Tensorflow and mention "Tensorflow expert" in their resume to get an edge, people will and do write "Hacktoberfest 2018 and 2019" in their resume, a guy who can fire up an EC2 instance will call himself "moderately proficient in AWS". I'm not joking about these, job-hunting season is starting and I've seen resume of other students mention all this. People see videos of conferences where engineers wear swag t-shirts, and associate swag with good developers, that was further intensified by this guy's video and people wanted this swag for all these reasons.

I guess I've gone slightly OT here, so I'll summarise: Herd mentality due to poor guidance, peer pressure among engineers and the societal pressure to stand out (for securing jobs) is a big culprit here

> I'm not joking about these, job-hunting season is starting and I've seen resume of other students mention all this.

Be very careful with this. At a company I used to work for, the hiring managers started to have a negative view of Indians as they became known for their inflated resumes.

A year ago I was required to hire two developers from TCS. One pattern I noticed is that a lot of developers from TCS, when they don't know the answer to a question, just answer a different question. Another Indian that I did hire, explained that this is a product from Indian culture where not knowing something is seen as a weakness, so people don't want to admit they don't know something, and hide it by answering something else and hoping for the best. I really strongly prefer developers who know and are honest about their limitations. Nobody knows everything, so it's fine if you say you don't know. That makes it a learning opportunity. That opportunity gets closed off when you pretend to know something you don't.

This makes it really hard to hire people from TCS. I did eventually find two good ones, fortunately.

...two good people, fortunately. FTFY.

your tshirt is in the mail

For more background on this, if you have the time, watch this movie:


Nope. As the parent comment said, there is lack of guidance and mentorship. Many people are unaware of the spam they are creating and genuinely believe what they are doing is acceptable.

Culturally, India is not really homogenous so I can't say anything for the 1.34 billion people but at least in the region I live in, cheating is normalized since first grade. Be it contests, exams or any other status games. Shortcuts are encouraged. There is little incentive for anyone to play fair. Schools want to look good on paper and competitive so they help students cheat, pay for false advertisements and enrollment. Parents do the same and well, kids will learn it if you incentivise that.

For the job seeking, it's pretty much desperation and high unemployment rate.

Certainly there are cultures where this holds to some extent. However, the spammy PR, the low-effort oncoming nature that is being discussed is not associated with folks from this culture, as much as it is by some commonly prevalent sentiment in CS colleges, which generally move you to be proactive, get your name known, have a colorful (green) github commit frequency chart (?), and other faux markers of excellence which (are believed to ) increase the chance of getting hired for good positions.

> Different cultures definitely consider different things to be acceptable / polite / etc in the same situation (e.g., do you take your shoes off when entering another person's house?). I've heard that there's groups of Indians (possibly the descendants of certain castes?) that place a high value on entrepreneurship and that "go get'em" attitude you often see in motivated sales / business people.

I have been told something to this effect. That some families, for example, are "business oriented" and raise their children to view everything as negotiable and for the taking. While other families may be focused on engineering or something else. It fits with strong parental involvement there, and the expectation that the children must support the prior generation. Easiest to push children in a direction you know. Basically multi-generational career goals.

Unfortunately the largest demographic always gets demonized even if spam is not just limited to a particular group.

Through sheer scale, spammers of Indian origin may be more noticeable than others and thus reinforcing the stereotype.

Eh, I would the say the ratio itself looks bad here. I am always surprised by how normalized and acceptable spamming is in the form of whatsapp forwarding. It's truly frightening watching my family use facebook and whatsapp groups. The spam to content ratio is like 10:1 or heck 20:1. Maybe even worse. .

I am guessing you havent been on the internet 20 years ago when Indians were barely on the internet and email spam and forwarding was a huge thing.

The issue was solved by Google (and others) stepping up their spam detection game. The spam problem can and should be stopped with the technology, but I am not sure if Facebook has the motivations to do this.

>I'm college student (graduating in about 8 months) and I'll highlight that there's a very massive guidance problem here. Enthusiastic students have no one to mentored and direct them and it makes them act on lot of bad advice.

Hey, I'd like to help if possible. I'd probably not have the time to mentor, but I can help with learning resources. All my books are free to read online (https://github.com/learnbyexample/scripting_course#ebooks) and I have lots of bookmarks collected over the years. For example, Python(https://learnbyexample.github.io/py_resources/) and CS(https://github.com/learnbyexample/curated_resources/blob/mas...)

If you are interested, connect with me on twitter (https://twitter.com/learn_byexample) or mail me on gmail (use HN username)

PS: I'm Indian too, but I don't think that'll necessarily help here.

This is exactly the kind of spam we’re talking about. And I saw the repositories.

Man, they're awful :(

I looked into Python and regex

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