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Season 4 Wrap Up - Reviewing the year and celebrating our community

Season 4, Episode 9 | December 2, 2021

In this final episode of season 4 of the podcast, Bekah and Dan bring back special guest and community maintainer, Kirk Shillingford to retro our Virtual Coffee Hacktoberfest Initiative, talk about our monthly challenges and our excitement of going into year 2 of the challenges, and we even throw in some amazing and/or awful jokes at the end.


Kirk Shillingford

Software Developer, and Community Maintainer at Virtual Coffee.

Bekah Hawrot Weigel

Front-end developer, and Org Maintainer at Virtual Coffee.

Dan Ott

Front-end developer, and Org Maintainer at Virtual Coffee.

Show Notes:

Kirk, Dan, and Bekah are back again to wrap up Season 4 of the podcast. We talk about Hacktoberfest and how proud we are of what our community did over the month of Hacktoberfest:

  • 100 members signed up,

  • 66 members merged at least 1 pr,

  • 336 collectively we merged 336 PRs were merged by these members across 129 repos.

On the virtualcoffee.io site: 81 PRs merged, 50 were new member profiles, 31 others.

We talk about the monthly challenges, including already surpassing the monthly goal for blogging half way through November, and what we're looking forward to doing in the next 12 months.

Links


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Please visit our sponsorship page on GitHub for more information - you can even sponsor an episode of the podcast!

Virtual Coffee:

Transcript:

Bekah:

Hello, and welcome to season four, episode nine of the Virtual Coffee Podcast. I'm Bekah. And this is a podcast that features members of the Virual Coffee community. Virtual Coffee is an intimate group of developers at all stages of their coding journey. they're here on this podcast, sharing their stories and what they've learned. And we're here to share it with you. with me today, is my cohost, Dan.

Dan:

Thanks Bekah, this is the final episode of season four. So as is traditional, now we have with us Kirk TK Shillingford himself. Um, and you know, you all know Kirk, he's a maintainer of Virtual Coffee and a long time member and, uh, obviously a great person and, uh, we're we're gonna kind of today. Talk a little bit about the last year, but, um, what we've done, a Virtual Coffee, we just wrapped up Hacktoberfest and we are into our, uh, November monthly challenge, which we'll talk about a little bit. And, um, what kind of just, I don't know, hang out and chat for awhile. It's a little bit different format than usual, but, um, it's kind of a fun way to wrap up the season and, uh, yeah,

Bekah:

So we're going to start this episode of the podcast. Like we start every Virtual Coffee with our name, where we're from what we do and a random check-in question. We hope you enjoy this episode. Today's random check-in question. Is, would you rather be able to run at 100 miles per hour or fly at 10 miles per hour? So I'm Bekah. a front end developer from a small town in Ohio and to fly at 10 miles per hour would be cool, but I'm like terrified of flying. I don't like it at all. I think I'm going to stay on the ground and I'm going to run a hundred miles per.

Dan:

All right. All right. Um, I am Dan, I do computer stuff from Cleveland and, uh, yeah. Um, I don't know. I, you know, you get into these questions and then you start, like, I need to know a little more details. You know, the running a hundred miles per hour sort of situation is like, okay. So like, if you ran a hundred per, like right now, one of us just started running a hundred miles per hour, your shoes would explode instantly, you know, would your feet

Bekah:

they, is that true? Has that been tested

Dan:

I don't know about instantly, but like they would, well, I mean, I guess if you only ran for 30 seconds or something, then maybe that's fine, you know, but if you ran a hundred miles in your shoes at one time, maybe they'd be fine. They're not going to be able to do it twice shoes aren't built like that, you know? So you'd have to get some special

Bekah:

Bare feet. This is what I'm talking

Dan:

Bare feet. All right.

Bekah:

In your bare feet. some calluses, your a hundred miles an hour.

Dan:

I think I'm still gonna choose flying at 10 miles an hour. Uh, you know, that's a faster pace than, uh, you know, a general run. I mean, it's not faster pace than like a professional sprinter, but it is a faster pace than any, you know, sort of running in general. And, uh, so plus flying, you know, you can cut corners, obviously you can go, but you don't have to stick to, you know,

Bekah:

Go over mountains.

Dan:

right. Over mountains, over houses, over traffic jams, et cetera. So I'm doing fine. Plus I actually like heights and I like being able to see stuff and even just being able to like go straight up into the air and like look around and then come back down. That that'd be my jam. So I'm choosing the flying option.

Bekah:

Alright Kirk, What doyou have?

Kirk:

Oh it's my turn. Um, all right. My name's Kirk, um, software developer from the Caribbean. Uh, this is not, there was no question here. It's a hundred percent fly. There was no, other option is silly.

Bekah:

Everyone picks on me on these questions. I need to find better questions. I think.

Kirk:

The average human running speed is 10 to 15 miles per hour. So I could just fly as fast as I run now. And everywhere where I live is like Hills, right? It's always a hill. So if I had to run, just like zigzagging all the way down the mountain, whereas I could just fly down. You know, you can do a just flight, you know, it's flight,

Dan:

I'm with you. It's like, if you.

Kirk:

You can take like, groups and stuff,

Dan:

Look at any map directions and the route to anywhere you go is all sorts of zig zags and curves and all that stuff. Even on an interstate. But if you're flying, you don't have to worry about any of that.

Bekah:

Well, I mean like rollercoasters are fun, Right. Cause you go very fast up and down Hills,

Dan:

But you could still go on coasters.

Kirk:

That's the biggest roller coaster I've ever heard.

Bekah:

All right. I feel like I lost. And this is an introduction question. Well, I suppose I'm going to try harder the rest of this podcast episode.

Kirk:

Flying and like a pigeon just like smacks me and Dan in the face feel a lot better. Like we'll really eat our words, you know?

Dan:

Yeah.

Bekah:

I'll just, I'll, I'll run to you as quickly as possible. So can take the emergency room.

Dan:

Yeah. But you can't run to Kirk cause he's on an island, but we could fly.

Bekah:

If you're running a hundred miles an hour, you can just run on water that scientifically proven.

Dan:

And you,

Kirk:

I mean,

Dan:

is that the, is that the, that's the speed at which you just stay on top of the water? suppose you got, uh,

Bekah:

100... 99 I think maybe. So I've got

Dan:

If you could run a hundred miles per hour, probably you could like, hang your feet over a boat and then you know, like, well, this is like in, um, in Incredibles, right? So it's like, uh,

Bekah:

leg

Dan:

there. Yeah.

Bekah:

that's what it's about

Dan:

And he did skim across at least a small pond. So,

Kirk:

No. They're like you pick this running it, but won't help you with your favorite thing, which is box jumps

Bekah:

Well, it, it will not help me to jump higher. guess if you get a good running start, then maybe

Dan:

Then you'll just crash into the box though. The, your Crash

Kirk:

the box??

Bekah:

why am I going, to crash into the box?

Dan:

Your momentum will be going forward. Well, then you'll fly over the box. And I suppose

Bekah:

So then I'm flying at 12 miles an hour And I beat be you.

Kirk:

Uh,

Bekah:

Welcome to all our new listeners out there. It's just a podcast about developer communities.

Dan:

And goodbye to all of our oldest.

Kirk:

Now they know what they're in there for

Dan:

Yeah, that's true.

Bekah:

Um,

Dan:

I was honestly hoping for some sort of fantasy or, you know, comic book related questions so we can try to make Kirk cry on air.

Kirk:

You know, No, Bryan was here the last time and you didn't mention these like the biggest Lord of the Rings, Like nerd-fan. You could have totally, you know,

Dan:

That's true. I forgot about that. Yeah.

Bekah:

Yeah.

Dan:

I could have really poked at him for two.

Bekah:

I think Bryan, Bryan, um, can, uh, get out of control pretty easily though. So we were trying make this in the PG range.

Dan:

That's true.

Kirk:

And

Dan:

That's

Kirk:

He did really well.

Dan:

I only had to edit out like three curse words. I think the first time we had to do that.

Bekah:

We had decisions about what was appropriate to stay.

Kirk:

I found out that PG 13, you get one F-bomb.

Bekah:

Yes you do do but there are certain contexts you may not use it in. So how you use it also impacts whether or not you get that one. The more, you know,

Dan:

Valuable information.

Bekah:

Uh, okay. So I thought today it would be good to when we have Virtual Coffee every Tuesday and Thursday, do, um, everybody comes into the big Zoom room and then we go into breakout rooms and we usually have eight to 10 people in the breakout rooms with a room leader note taker. And we always have a back pocket topic. And we do that to make sure that if nobody has something they want to talk about or bring up that we, go ahead and have something prepared. And so I pulled from our back pocket topics for this episode, because I think it makes sense in the context of what we have been doing over the past couple of months. And so the, our back pocket topic that we have talked about before in Virtual Coffee with open source software, We talked about the most painful barriers to entry for open source contributions, how to reduce those barriers favorite open source repos to contribute to. since we just wrapped, wrapped up Hacktoberfest, I thought it would be good to, jump into this and see what we've learned. Uh, two years of doing Hacktoberfest initiatives with a community. If we've learned anything more about this or what we think. So who wants to get the conversation started?

Dan:

Um, I'll go, uh, you know, I, I think my, my biggest lesson and it was a lesson that I, it took me a bit to learn the first time. Right. And it really solidified this last time is that, um, open source is, you know, you, you use the phrase painful barriers to entry, right? And that, that like that barrier to entry exists for everybody that hasn't done it yet. And not just, um, not just new developers, uh, experienced developers, you know, people who've been writing code, writing, building websites, doing all this stuff for years and years and years, if they haven't, uh, you know, up until they do it for the first time, uh, they, there is there's this barrier, you know, and there's a whole world of, um, you know, Unknowns and that that's like, that's been, the biggest thing for me is, is the unknowns and, and providing support for that right. Is, is kind of whatever, what I've, you know, what we've made our goal. Um, there's technical things to know, you know, um, there's all the Git stuff and merging and all that stuff. And then there's Git Hub technical stuff on top of that, right? How pull requests actually work and forking, which is a huge, you know, a ball of stuff to figure out. Um, but then there's the social aspect of it, which I, you know, which I found personally, like that was my biggest barrier, you know, getting into open source, uh, in the first place was the sort of anxiety around, um, you know, jumping into this thing with people you don't know on, um, Even if I feel confident in my ability to write a piece of code or whatever it is, you know, for the task, like, like there's still a large space of possibility to embarrass myself, you know, for one, for one thing. Uh, right. And you know how like so-so figuring out how to, um, how to find ways to contribute and how to be more comfortable with it. And it's honestly that there's, uh, there's we can write and talk about all the different, like possibilities and different things to look into, but let's like, get just diving in is really, it's like breaking the seal kind of right. It's like, you know, once you start getting doing it a little bit, it becomes much easier every, every time. Uh, so that's, that's been my, like, that's been my big. Lesson is, is like remembering that this is hard and it's hard for anybody, uh, who hasn't done it before. It's hard for, I mean, it's still hard, even if you have done it before it, you know, if you're, if you're trying to join a new project or whatever for the first time. Um, but that's, I don't know. That's been the thing that's been the back of my mind for all, all of our stuff that we've, that we've been doing. Um, I feel like we've helped, but you know, that's anyway, that's, that's my main, that's my main, uh, I don't know, lesson, I guess that I think about it.

Bekah:

Yeah. And I, when I saw those barriers too, with some of my mentees, both of them I think were first-time contributors. And, one of them picked up a first timer, an issue for a first timer it didn't. Go into the issue and describe the whole process that was required even commit or to run the project. So she had to learn about Docker. She had to learn about test writing there were all of these things that I'm like, I, I am going to do my best to help you, but I've never done any of these things and it's not spelled out in the issue either. And she, she really pushed through it and did an amazing job and reached out to this, their Discord community to get some help. But I just thought, wow, that's really overwhelming to jump into it. And, the way that it was, um, phrased seemed like it would be a fairly simple issue. And it turned out to be really in depth and required a lot of different pieces that weren't laid out in the issue. And so like that, like those kinds of things are always something that. I am surprised by, especially for, um, w and repositories that have a lot of people contributing, not having clearly written documentation. It continually surprises me.

Kirk:

Um, I'm not sure. I mean, I do wish that there was a standardization of the language, but I feel like part of it is, you know, even with we're doing reviews for like PRS and issues coming in, but then there's that question of, you know, like who reviews the review? So it's, it's, you know, if you're a person submitting a pull request, then someone will take a look at it and get feedback and give comments. But if you're the person writing the issue, you know, do you get that same treatment? And I think I can really highlights even. you know, like we discovered that when contributing as a solo endeavor, it's just like way, way harder for all these reasons. Right. But when maintaining as a solo endeavor, it's also super difficult. Cause you, you know, it's not like someone's born. If I can intimate knowledge about how to present issues for people to fix. And if you don't have a support structure or you don't have people who can review your work, I feel like it's just so much more likely that these things happen and a maintainer might not even know. They're like, oh, you know, this is enough context to solve this problem. And it might take us on us, but like it's enough context given. And then there's a list of givens. it. And this person understands Docker, given this person understands, get this person understands our code base. And there's like a whole, know, Um, yeah, I think like my, my big takeaway was just that, um, community helps with community helps with like every stage, you know, and we did encounter a lot of maintainers who were like, I don't even know if my project is inviting. Is this welcoming or not? You know, what should I be doing? Um, even internally in VC, you know, it's, you always feel better. Um, if at least one other person has a chance to just, even if you think like, well, I know what I'm doing, it's just good to get some lift. Yeah. That looks good. Or I think that's a good idea. Or maybe tweak this. Like, it just, it helps so much. So I feel like that was the big takeaway. And last year we were like, oh, it takes a lot of work to do this. And like this year it's still like, oh, it does. Like, I don't know. It's and this year was amazing. But it just sort of like reinforced how much effort is required. And like, I think a DigitalOcean, know, put in a lot of work, they updated the site, you know, they took some feedback from last year, they made changes. They had a fact like they, you know, they went all in, but there were still gaps and that's not like a, they didn't do lot. It's like, there's still just so much here because ultimately we're telling people, Hey, you should try to contribute to a project in the tech space. And the tech space is massive and it's almost impossible to find somebody has exactly the right set of tools to completely help you through something. So it's this weird mismatch of documentation, support, and spawns time from the maintainers access to resources. And hopefully it all comes together in a way that someone can make a contribution and feel like they've, they've done some good quality work, but it's so easy for one of those at least one to be missing. then, you know, that, that resistance that Dan describes just like, then it's like, I just, if I'm not sure I can do a good job on this, you know, am I getting paid for this? Like, I'm not making mistakes for free. So I think that's like my, uh, my take.

Dan:

Yeah, I would, I mean, I would say that's my other main, the main thing, especially that solidified this, this year also was the, the, the other side of it, you know what I mean? Like coming from the maintainers perspective and, um, you know, part of it is what I was saying was like, you know, learning that all of this stuff is hard and trying to make your repository, um, uh, open and available and welcoming for an entire audience of, you know, entire spectrum of, uh, technical level and, you know, experience and all that stuff, uh, is, is really a really hard, it's a hard balance to strike. And, you know, do you, if you're a maintainer of a project, you know, Take on the responsibility of teaching every single potential contributor, how to use Git, you know, for instance, um, or how to use anything, how to use Docker, you know what I mean? Like the, like you would like, I, I, the bare minimum on honestly, would be whatever command, you know, like I imagined Bekah, the one that you, the project you were talking about, like had some, just like go install Docker, and then run this command, you know, and then move on. Right. Like that would be, um, and that, like, that assumes, uh, assumes some amount of knowledge and ability to download things and configure things, and also assumes that you remembered all of the stuff you did when you set up the project. Right. Which is like very hard to do. And then I think, correct. What you said was what, like you run into, uh, as a maintainer, you know, lots of times somebody might try to contribute, have a problem, not be able to find an answer and give up, you'll never know, Right. Yeah. You'll never know about it. And so that is like one of the reasons why we wanted to try to provide support for maintainers, you know, and we did that last year and this year, you know, um, and is, is helping maintainers, um, you know, provide, you know, provide information for the repositories and get some extra sets of eyes just on. Okay. Like what, what, what does a person actually have to do to install this, you know, on their computer? What happens if they're on windows? You know, like all, all of this stuff and maintainers don't have time. Most of maintainers don't have time for any of that stuff, you know, it's, it's so hard to do. Um, and so that's the other side of it and it's like, I, I would honestly. I've been thinking recently in, in, you know, in my own retrospective about Hacktoberfest about whether we should maybe have a maintainer, like an OSS maintainer thing. That's not Hacktoberfest, you know? Cause it's so hard for us to, um, you know, we have all, we have lots of, lots of people that were excited about contributing and it was amazing, you know? And I, I feel like we in preparing for all of that, you know, could have, I mean, we could spend a whole month just on helping people,

Bekah:

I mean, we kind do, you know?

Dan:

Well, yeah,

Bekah:

With preptember, we have a whole list, but mean, I'm right. there with you. I think, know, providing that, providing very active support to maintainers. Cause I think that, especially if you're a first time maintainer it's, you don't realize the amount of work that goes into writing a good issue or having the documentation or the labels and stuff that you need. And then there's not clear instructions for what that looks like either.

Dan:

Yeah, absolutely. And it it'll look different depending on your project. And, you know, if it's like, Kirk has the Cordo game, right. And so that's like its own sort of, uh, it's a game. Right. You know, so you can download it, install it and run it and all that stuff. And, but some people have, um, projects that are packages, you know, that are dependencies for other things, you know? And, uh, so that like how much, like if you make it React component, for instance, as an open source thing. Um, and there's a million examples of that out there. You know, how much like teaching about React? Do you put into your documentation for your thing? You know, it reminds me of, um, we, we talked with Jessica, I guess this will be a couple of weeks ago when this one comes out and, um, you know, she does... a really good job writing articles. And we talked a lot about, um, how to, how to like set that level of, um, expectations for when you're reading which in her case it was tutorials and things like tech tech articles, but it applies, I think, to documentation too, you know? And so one of the things she tries to do is, um, as either, if she's not going to deep dive into everything, you know, she'll, she'll add some steps of a prerequisite she calls them at the, at the beginning of the article and I think that's a great, like a great resource, uh, you know, to do. And I, and I've been thinking about it a lot at applying to documentation as well. Right. So prerequisites for this package, you know, um, read about React or whatever, you know, uh, uh, this package, it depends on the useEffect hook. Here's like three blog posts about it or something like that, you know, for example, you

Bekah:

yeah, I feel I mean, you can even make that an issue for somebody, To add that to your documentation. How does somebody get here from different levels or what are the resources people could use?

Dan:

Yeah, absolutely. And we say, you know, lots of times it's, uh, one of those, like, I don't know, tricky teachery answers, but you know, oh, like I couldn't figure out how this project works and then I figured it out. And so, so somebody will just say, okay, we'll make, make a pull request and fix the docs. You know what I mean? And it's like, I dunno, I always feel snarky, you know, um, saying that to somebody who's, who's still learning and new to this, but improving documentation is one of those things that, um, maintainers, I think will almost always welcome, you know, at at least welcome to the discussion and, um, I don't know.

Bekah:

I added a number of issues, I think, to repos this year for that documentation issue and told other people to do it too, And said, you know, you are stuck on this. So somebody else who wants to contribute will be stuck on it as well. If you raise an issue on somebody takes on the documentation, you're helping next people that are coming towards coming to work on this project and enriching the community. And, know, I just hope that those kinds of things get raised too. And recognizing you can add an issue having to do the PR yourself.

Dan:

on yes

Bekah:

But just making people aware. Cause sometimes if you've been in it for so long, it's hard to remember that you have to go through all of these steps.

Dan:

How were those received, where those on those were other than other people's projects?

Bekah:

Yeah. So I got a couple of messages just asking for a little bit more clear. Some of them were just like, I need to put this down. I was doing them from my phone, which makes it a little bit more difficult, but I do use the Git Hub app a lot. Um, and so, you know, talking through, okay, well these are the things like, and in some were as simple as it would be really. helpful if you had a form for, um, issues. So you can select the different type of issue just to make it clearer, to add labeling, really click quickly and for people to look through things. And so, know, some were receptive, some didn't respond and you know, I just, my best to improve documentation this year.

Dan:

well, there's only so much you can do as a, as a individual contributor. And, you know, we've all said it, but it's a lot of work as a maintainer. And so if you make a issue or make a pull request and it doesn't, I don't know, it just gets ignored or whatever. I just gotta remember that there's people on the other end then. Um, I don't know. It's hard lots of times,

Kirk:

Yeah, I think, well, the context of, um, this is people donating their free time, but attempting to help people donating their free time, and like, if it works ways. Um, it's sort of like, it's good to keep empathy when you're dealing with someone who is maybe like confused or as like a lot of questions. Cause like, Hey, this person is like literally trying to help me for free. Um, it works the other way. Cause sometimes, you know, I will send a message to a repo maintainer and they won't respond and then I'll eventually be, and I'm like, you know, also this is like not their job and it's also not my job, you know? Like we're all we give it a shot. And then like ultimately, which, which is, I think why it's such a valuable thing for developers at all levels, you know, it's, it's a very low stakes way to do something good. To get more experience, to build community, to, you know, explore spaces you'd like to try before, like, and you know, like that's like, that's our motivation. We, we genuinely think. Contributing, oh, sources of good thing to do, or at least to try. Um, there's many things. Like I would not have the opportunity necessarily to have done in like workplaces, but that's okay because I can do it in an open source environment. I can still get that practice and that experience, but, you know, that's the key thing is like, you know, we're, we're trying to do our best, everyone's trying, so like, you know, if people can't or they have to take as long as, as long as like being a jerk, don't be a jerk. If you're listening out there, don't be a jerk. know, not you, you, um, but it's also okay to say, um, I have a lot on my plate right now, or this is a little overwhelming or I don't have the bandwidth for it. Uh, a couple of my mentees were like, Hey, this is actually a super busy month for me. I'm like, that's, it's okay. You know, like these repos will be around after hacktberfest. I'll be around after Hacktoberfest, you know, like, uh, PR is just as good in month, know, this month is like, it, it gets the community going, but know, like people have in Virtual Coffee is going to be like, ask me next year. You know? So I think like that, it's also like important to, I especially say that as somebody who spent a lot of time this month, like I didn't get to submit many things to other repos, not as much as I wanted to, but.

Dan:

Yeah, no, it is okay. And it's like, yeah, we, I mean, we make this push based on Hacktoberfest and DigitalOcean cause they do this thing and it's very fun, you know? And it's, it's cool to get the challenge completed if you want. But, uh, it's also. Like we've said on both sides of the, you know, uh, on both sides of it. It's people spending their free time working on other things for free. So it's all good, you know? Um,

Bekah:

probably do one in, too.

Dan:

uh, July, hacktober. Well, we'd have to come up with a different name,

Bekah:

Yeah. I'm sure,

Kirk:

Jul-Ober

Bekah:

this is why, so it's so, because, so it's so popular now. It can be really hard to find good issues because they just get taken so quickly. that's one of the biggest frustrations I see with a lot of people who are new to open source. mean, we need somebody who will, will back the t-shirts and the sticker packs and mail them because we all know that I will not mail them and forbidden for mailing things, Then then there's less of a, I don't, maybe there's just different months for Hacktoberfest, right? This month is devoted to contributors or first-time contributors. And this month is devoted for someone who has been a developer for a while, hasn't contributed before. I don't know, like breaking it down. So it seems less of like a race to get things done because I felt the same, Kirk. I really wanted to make some, what I felt were meaningful contributions and didn't get there and I still want to, but it was just, you know, trying to support other people. And then I think I spent an hour and a half, one day looking at issues. I'm like, okay. I just, I don't, I don't have time an app to look for an issue for an hour and a half.

Kirk:

Yeah, I think that's, you know, it in the, in the vein of takeaways, that is the thing that I think as a community, as a tech community, we underestimate it's again, just find an issue and grab it. That's not, that's a non-trivial process, you know, unless. You are fortunate to have not to like, know someone was like, Hey, here's a great issue. And they like, you know, hand it to you, but even then you still have to familiarize yourself. Like it's still an entire software project. And if it's open source, it's like you know, like a meaningful software project, like it's doing a real thing, but you have to familiarize yourself with it's someone else's work and no matter how much we say you do want to do a good job. So, you know, and that just takes And I think it takes time in a way that, like, I feel like it's very difficult to say, okay, I'm going to work on this PR and I'm going to do 10 minutes every day. Like, it's not like meditation. Like you probably, you know, it's like, is going to take me a couple of hours to sit with this problem and then some time to make the solution and then to get the PR. Um, and I don't know if there's a good solution for that. I think in our community. We did a lot of consolidation, which I liked a lot of people are like, Hey, this Repo seems to have some good resources and we would get that all in a central place. Um, and then of course, you know, like we, are people in the organization who have repositories and, you know, can like, keep, you can say like, Hey, do you have an issue? And we can make sure you get, I'll make sure there's one for you. And that's, that's a nice way to, but I don't know if that is scalable to the larger OSS initiative. Um, we still run to run into the issues of what does newbie mean? Is it just to open source? Is it new to programming? Is it to the Git commit to PR life cycle? And where does that fall? Uh, so yeah, it's, it's, complex and it's, it's hard and everyone is trying, but I do. And do you think that maybe trying to do of that in the 30 days is it's a challenge. Um, and I, you know, I'm even thinking it's like September for, for Hacktoberfest, like maybe where, there's like a bunch of different preps. I would almost want to do the maintainer stuff like a month or two, even before that, you know, like a, Hey, do you want to be a maintainer for project? And we just spend a month getting people like set up there and we talk about like healthy patterns and schedules the docs up to date. And because I could spend a month just working on good issues. And I think that's what I maybe wanted, like next time. And next time I need to take an entire month with my projects. Like my job is just every few days or once a week. write some more fluid issues, because I think for the maintainer, that is probably the largest time sink. It's just having the good issues available. And then you can spend the actual month kind of focused on getting people over the finish line, but you have enough time to get reviews and ask for help and get some feedback. So, you know, like, Hey, I'm, I'm ready to go.

Bekah:

Yeah, it does seem like having a whole open source quarter of the year would make sense to develop those skills. I like it.

Kirk:

hack order year. No, we can workshop that.

Bekah:

If anybody has suggestions, you can email us at podcast@virtualcoffee.io.

Dan:

Yeah. I mean, writing issues takes forever. That's the other, I mean, it is the other problem. I spent hours writing issues for, just for our site. And I think over the two months, you know, I probably wrote 20 issues and they all took a long time. They all got done or, you know, or in the process of being done. Uh, but that's still just 20, you know, and we had, I mean, we had lots of people wanting to involved in...

Bekah:

What are the stats?

Dan:

Oh, well, so I was, I was, yeah, I know. W w we, uh, I thought about that. We didn't, but then, um, might as well, I mean, like I have this, I have this pulled up, so now it would be a good time we could do a little Hacktoberfest, uh, results. So we, so for Virtual Coffee members, right, we had a hundred members sign up, um, including contributors and, um, mentors and maintainers. And of those a hundred, at least 66 members had merged at least one pull request, uh, in October and collectively, uh, merged 336 pull requests across 129 different repositories in the month of October. And that's just our members, um, which is just incredible. I am like still astounded by it. Um, and you know, some of those, like, I didn't, this is not checking against Hacktoberfest, you know, rules or whatever. And, you know, I know. There are some that can be, you know, probably emerged in November with still counting and all that stuff. So there's probably even more, um, as to say, um, on, on the Virtual Coffee IO site, which is an open-source project. And, you know, I, I was sort of leading, maintaining this month. Uh, well, in October, um, we had 81 poll requests merged, uh, in the month of October. And so 50 of those are, um, you know, we had our new like member profiles set up. And so members could either add or update them their, you know, their information on our sites. So 50 of those or those, and then we have 31, um, pull requests that were, uh, not that new features or fixes and all of that stuff. And, uh, that also is just a enormous number and it's, it's really cool. Uh, very, very cool. Um, a you had, so you had like four, I think four different issues merged or pull requests merged in, um, October. She did some really good accessibility work. Todd Libby also did some good accessibility features. So our site is, uh, I don't know, it has vastly improved accessibility features now, um, which is awesome. Um, Abbey hit did a really cool style update that I've been wanting to do for a very long time. And I very appreciate that. Uh, Matt McInnis actually did. Good, uh, tooling updates for us added prettier, which I've been also wanting to do for a long time. Um, and that was a huge pull request cause he basically formatted the entire, every file in the whole site. And, uh, he worked with like, we worked together for a long time and he was very patient with me cause I get picky with some things and uh, and it was great and he added some, uh, some other, some BS code stuff, uh, which was really cool. Um, and yeah, and we had, we had a bunch of other different, um, kind of features and fixes and documentation updates and you know, our content, a lot of our content is in Git Hub. So there was, uh, people doing writing for us or, you know, updating documentation. Um, that was really cool. So, you know, I feel like we succeeded both as a community for the, you know, general Virtual Coffee, uh, Hacktoberfest initiative. Uh, and also as, you know, as a, as a maintainer of this project, you know, it, it, we. made a lot of progress and it was really cool. So I was excited about that. This is a fun month. It's a lot of work. Uh that's 81 pull requests that, you know, we had merged and all that stuff. So it's good stuff. So that was our sort of high-level summary.

Kirk:

Yeah. And I think in addition, uh, this month was just really awesome in terms of the community I've been supporting each other. We got heavy use of Hacktoberfest coworking room. Heavy use out of Help and Pairing just a lot of people being willing to help each other out on set ups and installs had a lot of good questions are being answered by people in the community. It was just like very, just all around a team effort, I think really good to see. So, you know, was, that was great. If we could just do that in tech everywhere, you know, It'd be kinda cool.

Dan:

I mean, agreed. It's it does bring into focus, all this stuff we've been talking about, you know, how, how much kind of support can be needed, you know, especially to get started, but it's good stuff. It was a good, it was a good month. It

Kirk:

As we do hacked order, there'll be even cooler.

Dan:

Hack Fest Corder. Um, Bekah, do you want to talk a little bit about what we're doing this month?

Bekah:

Yeah, sure. So this is this marks one year of monthly challenges. So November, we came off a Hacktoberfest and we were like, let's start doing monthly challenges have lightning talks, was an ex. We were very exhausted after that month. So this, this year, you're not doing lightning talks in November, but we are continuing with monthly challenges and we're doing the same one that we started off with last year, which is national novel writing month. We talked about this and Jessica's episode, but all working together to where our goal was 50,000 words to write in our tech blogs and hit 50,000 words. we are past that point today is November 15th. we're halfway through the month and we have surpassed our goal. And so we upped it to, I think, a hundred thousand now right?

Dan:

Yeah, it's the first that's strech goal one 50, a a hundred thousand. So. We, yeah, we hit our challenge, I think on the 12th or the 13th, something like that. We had, we had,

Bekah:

According to Friday, we hadn't hit it yet. Cause I posted in slack and I said, who who's writing? Can we get to 50,000 by Monday? And it was before, before today that we hit it, but it's just been so fun to watch the monthly challenges. Some of them have worked out really well and been great. Others have not. Um, but the nice thing is, you know, some of those monthly challenges. We're scrambling at the end of the month, last year to try and get something together. Cause it was new to us and we were trying to figure out how can we make something that everyone can participate in at any stage of their tech journey. And so trying to make it open to everybody and have folks be interested. Um, sometimes it just difficult to do, but now we have a solid set of challenges that we'll go ahead and repeat, and we're working on this cycle of what that should look like. So I'm really excited to see how these play out in the next year as we go through 11 more challenges and see how we can get the community involved and get them excited. Obviously they're excited about this one. They were excited last month we did use Hacktoberfest as our monthly challenge. and so we're going on a string of a lot of people being really excited about the things that we're doing. And, you know, Kirk, you you've been, you've put a ton of time and effort into the monthly challenges too. So are you excited about?

Kirk:

So many beings, uh, it's just nice to be, I think in it's nice to have the comparison data. I feel like 2020 was a lot of what guests were doing this, you know?

Bekah:

Structured yellow.

Kirk:

Yeah. Sort of like, uh, I guess I'm a member of this community. Oh no. Am I a maintainer? Well

Bekah:

Just kept pulling you in for more.

Kirk:

also, yeah, like this time when you're like, Hey, should we do the lightning talks again after Hacktoberfest? And we were like, no, no, we should not because we have learned lessons from the last time.

Bekah:

Yup. We learned them.

Kirk:

Um, yeah. So, you know, I, it's nice to have like a year feedback. Right. We have a year of challenge feedback. Um, you know, we have a cast of VC members who are now also supporting us on these. Right. Um, and know, I'm looking forward to, we get, as we get towards the end of the year and just, you know, just like going back and appreciating all the stuff that we've done, because I think we've done a lot and I think that you know like the real spirit kind of like started all this is still here and still strong Um but also a good chance to you know like take stock and go okay like what did work and why what didn't work and why and you can maybe you know like let's we can get better at things And I think that's what I'm excited about You know like even with this time Hacktoberfest it's like okay well we know what went right The last time we said Hey what went right Let's do more of that You know And we were like Hey what was a little wonkie It's like well let's see if we can shore that up And then it gets to that again So each time we get sort of like better and better and know we spend most of our time going ah this is tomorrow Ah and all the time know going ah what are we going to do in three months Ah it's the same energy just like a different a different timeframe And so hopefully by the end of it you know we're just like flying at 10 miles an hour instead of like frantically running at a hundred miles an hour, you know, just the

Dan:

It's obviously the better, yeah. The better situation to be,

Kirk:

way better.

Bekah:

Maybe, maybe captures something deeper.

Dan:

uh, real quick. I just wanted to shout out, you know, Kirk mentioned having help with monthly challenges and, uh, two of our members Aurelie and um, Andrew had been leading, so we created a month of challenge team and, um, they've been doing a lot of work helping the same with the, with the same thing, helping, uh, plan and, uh, and execute these challenges for the last I don't, I don't know how long, a few months, at least, uh, and it's been, it has been, it's been really awesome to have, um, community members, you know, excited about. Creating, you know, helping create these and brainstorm and do all the work that goes involved. You know, like all the work that's involved with, uh, putting these together and, you know, it's been neat. So I just wanted to say, thanks real quick

Kirk:

Yeah. I mean, even kind of beyond the challenges, just having. This expanded group. I think of community members who I can, like we can rely on for feedback, for support and encouragement for just like really solid insights, you know? Um, I know for all of us, there's a people just like, oh, you know, I need to talk to I ain't talk to that person. They're always like there and they always have great advice And, you know, I feel like even where the community is now is as much a result. Uh, you know, those people as it is like, you know, like we're just, job is to just like, get the good advice and, you know, maybe like condense it and maybe make some priorities, but, uh, that's been a big help. And I think like a big relief, I, I, none of this would be happening. I think if I didn't know, like, oh, I can turn to, to these folks and really... be with a group of people who have the same interests that I do, which is just like making this community as awesome, a place as possible. So this also feels like the year that more than before. And it's awesome.

Bekah:

Yeah. And going along with what both of, you said, Kirk, you were talking about feedback earlier and you know, we've, we've been working on feedback, but it's one of those things that I know that I have to I have to deliberately make time for it because feels like I like moving forward quickly and sometimes stopping to do retros. Like that can be hard because it doesn't feel like. Moving forward and taking the time to do that really ensures that you have the energy to continue moving and helps you focus on the other people who are on your team and thinking about like, okay, well, you know, how can I better support people to doing more of these things or to contribute in ways that are meaningful to them? And so, you know, moving forward over the next, you know, 11 or 12 months, just really trying to make sure that, I take the time to do that something that I don't know that I would say I'm excited for it, but I am, I am happy to be building that into part of my own process, you know, to make sure that we continue to support the people who have supported us.

Dan:

For sure.

Kirk:

I am very proud to say that a significant portion of the people who like plan these events and help out in this community have ADHD or, you know, like there's a, we're a big narrative first group, I think. And, and we make it work and we, you know, try and focus on our strengths and we encourage each other when we're having like the not great brain days. So. Yeah, we should write a book about no, we should not. We are not qualified.

Dan:

Don't say that. she can hear that.

Bekah:

It's NaNoWriMo. We've got two weeks left.

Kirk:

Listen,

Bekah:

can all together. We've got this. Everybody could just write a hundred words

Dan:

yeah, it's a lightning talk book

Bekah:

we can inspired by Ray's morning pages. If everybody writes morning pages

Dan:

Bekah. Bekah making, you're a lightning talk book. This is what you're doing.

Kirk:

yeah

Dan:

we agreed. not to do this November.

Bekah:

No

Kirk:

a really passive aggresive.

Bekah:

We agreed not to do Lightning talks. We didn't agree not to write a lightning talk book.

Dan:

tryin to work her way around rules You write the first half, I'll write the other half C no, I shouldn't even say that. then Brian healing thing, everything is a challenge. I was going to say what we should be really passive, aggressive. Like when wikipedia was doing like their funding drive, where it's like, do you know, you could just give me $3, like, you've been using this thing for like a decade. If you just give me $3. You garbage, you know, well, you write 140 characters, you know, like 10 times a day in your tweets, you can give me a hundred words. be like that. And then no one would talk to us. Don't say that was a, that was an example of what not to do

Bekah:

Going to use that.

Dan:

Um,

Bekah:

Oh,

Dan:

good

Kirk:

For those listening. We wonder what our planning meetings are like, can we usually schedule an hour? And it takes about 20 minutes to get this out.

Dan:

Yeah.

Bekah:

I feel like we've gotten better at it. Or at least one person will always be okay. You know, actually we haven't had a planning meeting in a while. that's why.

Kirk:

It's only because like at least one person has like a followup meeting.

Dan:

We've all just gotten busier as I think the problem is. So there's more deadlines.

Bekah:

Well, I mean, we do a really good job of async communication for the most part. And so we're all, um, we have pretty good processes and structures that are in place to allow us to do that and to know like somebody's care of that or somebody else's on top of this other thing. And, um, so it's, we, we are very good at being a remote and async team like to put that out there.

Kirk:

We do not have a choice though. I mean, and this year has been, I mean, first of all, as one of my coworkers said, the last two years have been weird. Um, but it has been a pretty big year of change for the community. So many people transitioning to new roles in their life, professional and otherwise, and it really has like a lot of people who've been in. New ventures. Um, and we've all like tried and not just the maintainers, but like everyone is sort of like try to be present and still be supportive, even through all these things happening, which, you know, we also do appreciate, you know, a lot of members have been, you know, they'll reach out and like, Hey, I haven't been around a while. It's not because I've forgotten. I've just been doing this. I'm like, it's okay. You know, you should, um, settle into your new job. You should take care of the new baby, you know, but like, that's, that's okay. You know, we're, we're here and, you know, it's, it's, it's a place where people are always, um, happy for your achievements and then, and when you get to make it back. We're always happy to see you. So it's cool. Super

Bekah:

I feel like there's a, this is, this is a hot topic for me right now, but I think that there's such a focus on, people providing support to large groups and people that have a hundred thousand. Followers or members or, or whatever. And I really think that the impact that gets made in tech that gets passed on that gets rippled through the industry, happens in small groups. it makes me mad. Anytime somebody says, oh, you know, why would we give support to a small group? Because we don't get the same audience. you, you get much more than that audience, right? You get every person that was affected by that community who goes out into the tech community and spreads that same positivity and empathetic approach and support. And I think that if you're looking to make change with your, with your support, with your money, whatever, then you find those communities that are doing good intimate group development, support, that kind of stuff. And that's where the impact is made. That's my hot take.

Kirk:

Yeah.

Dan:

yeah. I agree. And it like, the we've talked about this before, and this is like our, we have stuck pretty strongly with this, with that exact mentality. You know, the, the word audience is something we, we never, ever used, never even think to use, you know, with, with Virtual Coffee stuff. Right. Cause we don't, I don't know. It's not that sort of thing. And that's it, there's a lot of community resources, right. That are based from that standpoint of all of these people are an audience, you know, or followers or whatever. Right. That's not us.

Bekah:

Yeah. Yeah. The there's an article. I'll post it in the show notes. I'll find it. But the one of the first lines was the difference between the community and audience is the way the chair is facing. And I thought that did a really nice job of kind of framing are they just are all the chairs facing you. Are you on a platform where people are listening to you? Is there engagement you know, like to talk about the coffee table method of Virtual Coffee, like we're all sitting around a table together. Everybody is equal in the room. has the opportunity to talk and participate. It's not me talking at you or you talking at me and, that is that's how change is made,

Dan:

Except for if you're sitting and listening to this podcast

Kirk:

I mean, in this moment, right now you in the audience, Right now, as soon as the podcast is over then, like

Bekah:

everybody's invited to come to virtual

Dan:

I was just joking. Uh, no, it is. And that's the thing that makes Virtual Coffee, you know? Good. And this is the reason I. So much as the, is that fact, right? It's not something that, um, that any of us are talking at, you know, so it's good stuff.

Kirk:

And I think even the freedom sometimes too, sometimes it can be very freeing to listen, you know, and you know, a lot of members. Some days you don't want to chat, you know, you don't want to be sort of like the center it's just nice to, I'm just gonna, I just want to hang out in this room. I just want to listen to my friends. They just want to like cue the voices, um, happens in the co-working room as well. You know, sometimes people just pop in. They're like, Hey, I got, you know, I'm about to do. We just want to pop in and say hi to my friends. You know, there's no, that's not a, there's no real way to monetize hellos, I'm sure as I say, this is probably some like hello dot JS, which revolutionizing the way we send audi-whatever, but you know, um, yeah.

Bekah:

Oh, Hey. There's no. Hello dot JS. So you better grab that up real quick.

Kirk:

Ooh. Um, Roger Gentry, if you're listening, Roger will instantly get that domain for us. we ask

Bekah:

Um, wait. I'm I might be lying. Actually. I take it back there. There may be a hello dot JS package. I'm not sure what you use it for, so somebody else can explore that. Sorry. What a dissappointing way to end the episode. Should I read a dad joke? Is that a better way to

Kirk:

alright, alright. one dad, one dad joke

Bekah:

joke?

Kirk:

what a good one. got to be.

Bekah:

no. Uh, Sorry, just trying to find the best one. There's so much pressure now. Um, uh,

Kirk:

for those of your who...

Bekah:

here we go.

Kirk:

oh?

Bekah:

Why should you avoid the restaurant on the moon?

Dan:

Why?

Bekah:

You don't even wanna think about it.

Dan:

if it's a joke, is it a joke or a riddle? I mean, I was supposed to solve it or

Bekah:

You try and solve it?

Dan:

Like trying jokes with my kids, don't understand

Kirk:

tech hiring situation. This is the questions. And if you get it right, you get to move on to round 14 of 37.

Dan:

Uh, I'm out.

Bekah:

because it doesn't have a good atmosphere.

Kirk:

We really

Bekah:

you put me on spot? Really? I had

Kirk:

This one was on me. I, I encourage this. We stayed in the boat.

Bekah:

Where does Bruce Wayne go to use the toilet?

Dan:

Now, I don't know if I'm supposed to solve it or am I supposed to just

Bekah:

I mean, I

Dan:

where I say, don't know what,

Bekah:

it. I guess I do jokes wrong, to the bat room

Dan:

oh,

Kirk:

We can edit all of this out

Dan:

you guys, I gotta go man.

Bekah:

Well,

Dan:

This is good.

Bekah:

well, this is the end of the podcast, so thank you all for listening to four seasons of the Virtual Coffee podcast, We're going for six seasons and a movie, right?

Dan:

Please stay subscribed.

Bekah:

I promise I have better jokes next time.

Kirk:

may not be the podcast you need, but we're the podcast you deserve.

Bekah:

I think, I think this is, this is probably it.

Dan:

Yeah, this probably it. Uh, so we'll, we'll, we'll be back, um, I think in the new year, right. Uh, for, for our next season. So, um, you know, in the meantime, keep coming to Tuesday, Thursday, Virtual Coffees and, uh, yeah, I don't know. I'll see all of you later.

Kirk:

See you later.

Dan:

Thank you for listening to this episode of the Virtual Coffee Podcast. This episode was produced by Dan Ott and Bekah Hawrot Weigel, and was edited by Andy Bonjour at GoodDay Communications. If you have questions or comments, you can hit us up on Twitter at VirtualCoffeeIO or email us at podcast@virtualcoffee.io. You can find the show notes, sign up for our newsletter, check out any of our other resources on our website at virtualcoffee.io. And of course join us for our Virtual Coffee Chats every Tuesday at 9:00 am Eastern and Thursday at 12:00 pm Eastern Please subscribe to our podcast and be sure to leave us a review. Thanks for listening and we'll see you next week!


The Virtual Coffee Podcast is produced by Dan Ott and Bekah Hawrot Weigel and edited by Andy Bonjour at GoodDay Communications.