GitHub driven advertising campaign

Almost once a month I get an email like this, trying to advertise whatever product that has a connection to a GitHub repository I starred:

From: Sundar Krish <sundar@sken-ai.com>
Subject: Would love your thoughts
To: Alexandru-Sergiu Marton

Hey Alexandru,

Saw you favorited the bandit repo on github! I’m a huge fan of it too
and would love your advice.

I’ve been working on a product that uses bandit and other open source
scanners to provide security teams with aggregated dashboards (Website
link: Sken.ai). I think it might be helpful to people like yourself.

Have any feedback on the idea? 


Click here if you don't want to hear from me or the sken.ai team

Of course, the email itself was in HTML, and two of the links were not as simple as they seem, as you can see from hovering over them. The first sken.ai includes query parameters to help them monitor the effectiveness of their campaign, and the Click here link belongs to h1.mltrk.io, which uBlock Origin is blocking for me.

(I took the liberty of replacing the token from the Click here link.)

If Sundar knows me so well as to “think it might be helpful for people like myself”, they should have known that I despise HTML email, even more so for stuff that clearly doesn’t need it (e.g. to convey information this simple). But I see that personal preferences don’t come so easily out of starred GitHub repositories.

Since we’re all here to hear me complain, let’s keep nitpicking. It’s “GitHub”, not “github”. You can’t “favourite” repos on GitHub, you can “star” them.

If you were wondering, this “bandit repo” does exist, and I had it starred, so they were correct on this matter.

Sundar, since you asked for my advice, it would be unkind from me to not give at least a suggestion. So here it is, and I hope you’ll love it, as you said:

From: Alexandru-Sergiu Marton
Subject: Sken.ai advice
To: Sundar Krish <sundar@sken-ai.com>

Hey Sundar,

fuck your github driven advertising campaign.


Click here if you want to win a Lamborghini.

Of course I didn’t actually respond to them. I don’t want them to think this email address is actively reading ads.

“GitHub driven advertising campaigns” are what happens when you build your software forge like a social media platform. ShitHub has transformed into the Facebook of programming. We have to stop encouraging such behaviour. If you want to feel part of a community you can always hop on to IRC or something similar (but(t) fuck Discord and other proprietary communication platforms) and actually talk to people instead of just spying for whenever someone you follow stars something. A software forge should be a place where work is being done, not a digital Starbucks for soydevs.

I’m seriously beginning to think about deleting my GitHub account. Sourcehut has an extremely smaller chance of this happening, because there are no “social media elements” and Drew DeVault is commited to never adding such things. And even if he did, since Sourcehut is free software, we could always build a version without anti-features.

1 Update: <2020-10-23 Fri>

This motherfucker doesn’t give up easily. The other advertisers that sent me junk only sent one email. Guess what?

From: Sundar Krish <sundar@sken-ai.com>
Subject: Would love your thoughts
Date: Mon, 19 Oct 2020 11:16:43 -0700

What else would you want to see in the aggregated dashboard on sken.ai ? 

Are there any other scanners that you would like to be included?

Click here if you don't want to hear from me or the sken.ai team again.

Hope that’s all? I did too, until today.

From: Sundar Krish <sundar@sken-ai.com>
Subject: Would love your thoughts
Date: Thu, 22 Oct 2020 18:21:16 +0000

P.S. If  sken.ai product (or email) isn’t interesting, please share why not!

Click here if you don't want to hear from me or the sken.ai team again.