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"Helpful Robot"

On Thursday 19th November, at 18:29, witnesses saw a sudden surge of pull requests.

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On Thursday 19th November, at 18:29, witnesses saw a sudden surge of pull requests. The surge continued for a couple of hours and then stopped as suddenly as it had begun.

Then, the next day, the same thing happened. At a slightly different time, and for a slightly shorter duration. It wasn't clear why this was happening. All the pull requests were being issued against SilverStripe modules, and they were all similarly worded.

It's not yet clear why this occurred, or when it would stop. What was clear is that someone or something was intent on improving SilverStripe modules.

Further analysis revealed that the pull requests were made by an entity identifying itself as "Helpful Robot". This robot's avatar evokes a sense of terror, depicting a smiling automaton setting a cottage on fire.

Yet none of the robot's actions appear to be malicious. It seems to be following some sort of pattern in the kinds of pull requests it makes. Apparently one of the goals it is trying to achieve is bringing SilverStripe modules closer to the recently established Supported Module Standard.

Earlier this month, SilverStripe reported it was putting together special training material to do the same, but has not yet claimed ownership of the robot or otherwise identified itself as the source of this mystery.

Daniel Hensby, a Senior Solutions Architect, who works for SilverStripe had the following to say:

We're not quite sure what this thing is doing, but it sure is a lot of work. I've gone through three mice just merging these cussing pull requests!

When questioned, the robot provided the following explanation for its sudden appearance:

helpful robot 2

If you, or anyone you know, has knowledge of who is responsible for these actions: please contact this office. Until then, be on the lookout for strange machinations to improve your code...

Photo by Scott Lynch

About the author
Christopher Pitt

Chris works in the bespoke team, at SilverStripe. He helps build and maintain many of the modules used in SilverStripe applications. He also teaches; speaking at local user groups and international conferences, and through technical blog posts and books.

He also enjoys building robots and connecting those to circuits inside Minecraft. When the machines take over, he hopes this will buy him some time to formulate a plan of escape.

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  • Haha, he's just been tinkering with my batch translate module, suggesting PSR-2 changes... Now I've got to buy a new mouse to push the pull requests and merge everything.

    I wonder of Sam will offer me one of his spares :)

    Posted by Mark, 20/12/2015 9:04am (8 years ago)

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