Commit Overflow

Avatar for Matthew StanciuMatthew StanciuAvatar for Mikail KhanMikail Khan

Making things as a college student is hard when you're pulled in every direction by academic and social obligations. Breaks are a great time to do it—but getting started can be difficult.

Shortly after Purdue's winter break began, we proposed a challenge for the Purdue Hackers community: for the last 10 days of 2022, push to GitHub at least once every day and share an update in the #⛵️sail channel in our Discord. If they made it all 10 days, we'd give them stickers and a custom laser-cut badge that will never be made or distributed again.

Poster advertising Commit Overflow. A tree made out of 10 squares colored different shades of green with a star at the top. Below, "Commit Overflow", "Commit to GitHub and post an update in #sail every day.", "10 days, 12/21-12/31, 2022"

Of the 42 people who reacted to our announcement, 20 shared at least one update.

A series of messages on Discord in the #sail channel in which people are sharing updates on what they're working on during day 8

Some participants worked on a single project for all 10 days, but others switched a few times throughout. There was a lot of variety! For example, a React app to help decide which Computer Science track to take (JavaScript), a graphics project implementing different types of fractals (Python), a simulation of how electrons and protons interact in molecules (Java), and an SSH app for reviewing movies (Go).

A message on Discord by user AkilTheta sharing an update about a React app called CS Track Optimizer

A message on Discord by user Tbolt sharing an update about & containing an image of a koch snowflake fractal that they implemented

A message on Discord by user Breathing Life sharing their intention to work on a program that simulates how electrons and protons interact in molecules

A message in Discord by user Cartic sharing an update and a GIF of their SSH app for reviewing movies

Of the 20 people who shared at least one update, 9 shared an update for all ten days.

We're proud of this turnout—Commit Overflow was announced two days before it began, and it generated more excitement, energy, and consistent activity in the community than any event we ran this Fall. It gave participants an excuse or motivation to code outside of school, learning something new or continuing an ongoing project. It's proof that a vibrant Purdue Hackers community is already here; we just need to cultivate it.

As always, there's room for improvement, especially since this was the first Commit Overflow we've run. In the future, we're hoping for more discussion and cross-pollination of ideas.