* "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. Here is their anthem , "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.
Imagine not being able to provide a reasonable argument to justify your actions, beyond of "because I'm allowed to do it".
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?
McDonald's in the US, ketchup is free.
who's nickel and diming? US prices are lower across the board.
The hundred dollars you get is nothing when you destroy the environment.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Because, in their own words, that is what they're saying when discussing capitalism.
From a thread yesterday: "I owe nothing to a stranger".
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 found it interesting at least :)
You can tell it's not cultural by the way Greeks abroad are not known for "gaming the system".
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.
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.
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!"
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.
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.
We're the only horrifically-bent country in northern Europe
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!
I wish my fellow Indians would stop this constant self flagellation and appeasement and have some goddamn pride
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.
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.
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).
On another note, I find Western, affluent self-flagellation much more pervasive and deceptive.
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.
"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.
Absolutely not true. It applies to low/high trust societies and is an cultural issue.
> 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.
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.
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.
The Ferengi from Star Trek come to mind when I read this.
The Rules of Acquisition are always a fun read:
In this case Rule 3 would probably apply:
> Never spend more for an acquisition than you have to.
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:
Or you could view it as the anthropomorphization of the vice of greed or stinginess/miserliness/parsimony.
Heh. You wanna guess where my ancestors come from? :)
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.
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 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") 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.
Or you could view them as the anthropomorphization of the vice of greed or stinginess/miserliness/parsimony.
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.)
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,
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.
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.
> 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.
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.
If it is more prevalent than in other societies then you can definitely call it a phenomenon.
edit: the UK is the only culture I'm really familiar with
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.
> 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.
I didn't see lots of Italians creating a PR just to get a T-Shirt
India dwarfs the entirety of Europe, never mind Italy, by population size.
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.
> 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.
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.
"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?
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  .
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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)
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.
Now, updating “copyright 2018-2019” to “2020” isn’t.
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.
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?
In some countries the publishing date is what counts, and they define publishing for websites as when the site was viewed.
No, the publishing date is relevant (not the first publishing date).
I regularly have to shop around for libraries. Seeing a copyright 2017 doesn't bode well for the documentation or the project being maintained.
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.
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.
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.
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 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
> 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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 am internally debating if I should participate in this hacktoberfests given the spams going on
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'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.
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)
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? :)
Some people will probably just not be bothered, but others might get involved in the suggested way. Hopefully. :)
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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...
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.
Here's a search that finds a lot: https://github.com/search?q=in%3Atitle+improve+created%3A%3E...
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...
For example: https://imgur.com/a/vxCHvcO
My mind did not parse anything after ":"
Think I shall go ruin a VM tonight... :)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Isn't that basically the definition of spam: "but making something useful would take significantly more time and effort"?
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.
Disclaimer: I am an Indian
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.
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.
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.
One guy encourages people to be assholes, and the people respond by acting like assholes. Both leader and followers are wrong in this case.
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.
-"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.
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.
> 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".
The translation I am most interested in is the 1 minute before and after the "4 out of 20".
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
(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.
But are you seriously gonna blame people looking for free swag? How many of us haven’t done something for swag before?
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 :)
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
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.
This makes it really hard to hire people from TCS. I did eventually find two good ones, fortunately.
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.
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.
Through sheer scale, spammers of Indian origin may be more noticeable than others and thus reinforcing the stereotype.
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.
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.
I looked into Python and regex