Progressive Vandalism By Indian Tech Community

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Tue Feb 6, 2024 · 1237 words · 7 min
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Disclaimer: I have no personal interest in bashing Indians. I'm from India too. For better or worse, I also happen to be from the same university as the instructor of the recently viral video about Git/GitHub.

2nd Disclaimer: No, this is not racism. ~17% of world's population is Indian, so I understand that a proportional amount of BS I see on the internet would also come from India. Regardless, there only so far we can go by saying "we got a huge population". Issues need to be addressed.

This post comes after I watched The Primeagen's recent video about the Express GitHub repo spam. I appreciate his balanced take. Its indeed a good idea to not assume that there was malicious intent in the instructor or the students who followed the tutorial.

Having been in open source before the vandalization started and seeing everything in the Indian context, its imperative that I'm not happy about the present state of affairs and choosing to finally write about it.

Race to be separate from competition

Due to the low opportunity vs job seeker ratio, its understood that the scene here is highly saturated. People want a different way - not necessarily short-cuts. They just want a path where they can breathe, have space and not feel lost in the crowd.

Hype trains go very well in such a setting.

It started with the FAANG hype, when these creators launched all sorts of courses for DSA (data structures and algorithms). We saw companies rise up whose primary offerings are DSA courses and interview preparation.

Once the FAANG scene was sufficiently saturated, students again wanted a breath of fresh air. Creators shifted to hyping open source. It led to the GitHub repo spam we saw with Express (and the various instances in the past). If students are spamming one repo en masse after watching a specific video, it wouldn't be wrong to say that the instructor - even if unintentionally - made a mistake there. Google Summer of Code is saturated too, with students who have no idea about the philosophy of open source.

The next stop for them is remote jobs. A certain YouTuber has spent enough time hyping remote jobs already. This is now followed by creators pushing out "roadmaps" to "cracking" remote jobs.

The Larger Signalling

These creators spread their agenda over multiple fronts so that they can't be criticized easily. It played out very well with Primeagen, when he acknowledged that the YT video was primarily an educational video.

Reality is that once you look at there creators' wider appeal, they aren't educators. They're peddlers of motivation, dreams and hype. I prefer calling them influencers. Their follower base is of a very specific kind - one that wants to be spoonfed and shown grand dreams. Influencers are well aware of this. These influencers intentionally targeted their content to such a group when they were building their following. Even when they push out an educational video, experience has taught us that it'll wreck something or the other.

Dream Peddler

This is an even more sensitive issue here, because a lot of students belong to under privileged background. They can be easily lured by these dreams. Learning will take a backseat. Primeagen too acknowledged the fact that had someone pitched open source to him back in the days, he'd have certainly jumped right in. (15:00)

If he can acknowledge and understand this fact, then why can't we expect Indian tech content creators to be more responsible? These creators literally grew up among Indian students and know the socio-economic situation very well. What merit do they have in pretending to be unaware of the damage they're causing? Of course, its their business. Only if they first sell dreams, they can later sell their courses.1

The signalling starts with them uploading videos saying how open source is the new secret to getting noticed and getting good jobs. They'll get FAANG employees onto their stream to talk about how open source gave them the breakthrough they needed. The video thumbnail will mention huge salary packages to lure needy students. Once they've convinced enough students that open source is indeed the magic syrup, they'll launch their courses.

The Express repo spam wasn't a one off event. Its been happening every now and then in the past 3 years at the very least. This progressive vandalism has been affecting the genuine Indian contributors. Creators are very well aware of the damage they're causing. Pushing out sombre apology videos is of no use if they again resort to the same old tactic.

I'm choosing to intentionally not name any channel. But as an example, just see this search result for yourself to realize the amount of signalling that goes on: open source to job - YouTube search.

Is gatekeeping the solution?

In the past, I've been accused of gatekeeping by my peers because I often refuse to spoonfeed. My agenda always has been that a student should realize what motivates him and pursue that. Open source is just ONE of the many ways to be noticed. Just because an influencer said open source is the way, that doesn't mean every student should jump on to GitHub.

I've stressed on the importance on realizing one's own interests.

These influencers however know that they need a large group of students wanting the SAME THING. Only then the influencer can sell his ONE course to MANY people. So they need to hype certain things (eg. open source) to the point where they amass a large crowd wanting to learn the same thing. Its obviously turning the precious human capital into robotic monkeys. It IS a problem.

Its distancing students from the essence of technology. Money is of course a big motivator and it should be. However, by dumbing down the students, these influencers aren't helping them earn money either.

The solution is not gatekeeping. It is to empower students, to help them understand that there's a ton of ways to make their mark.

Influencers are willingly failing at that. Its a net negative result. Doesn't benefit anyone except the influencer selling courses. In a previous post, I wrote about how the culture of "roadmaps" harm students. Read it here: Tech Roadmap (to Industrial Age)

If not influencers, then who?

I used to be asked this question on rare occasions. Funny enough, seemed like students have never even used the YouTube search function and always relied on the Trending tab.

There's way too many YT channels that teach tech. Some of them off the top of my head:



I'm not against courses. Neither am I against marketing. What I oppose is the rampant disregard to the effects of evil marketing being done by certain course creators.

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