Bees and Their Effect On Technical Recruiters

The other day, while doing some research in implementing XFN on my site, I came across the work of Tom Morris. Even better, I came across the first public GitHub project I would contribute to: Bees.

A Buzz Of Emails

The aim of Bees is simple, catching tech recruiters in a lie. When working in the tech industry, it’s very common to get cold-calls from recruiters trying to bring you over to their company. A common tactic of these recruiters is to say something like, “I saw your work on X, and I think that your experience there makes you perfect for this role.” Of course, they didn’t really see your work on it, they just saw your name is attached to it, and rolled with it. Even better, sometimes X isn’t anything more than an empty repository!

With that in mind, Bees became a honey-pot for these recruiters. With a good few dozen commits, and a handful of files that span many different programming languages, it certainly looks like a lively project! But would any actual person see this, and think that the author is for-sure qualified for a senior technical role?

What Do The Bees Do?

Do you like bees? How many bees is too many before you start to feel uncomfortable? Well the Bees project makes sure the job gets done by just printing “Bees” to the console indefinitely! Below is the original implementation of Bees by Tom Morris

while True:
    print("bees", end=" ")

A truly impressive coding project! Surely the author would be very suited for this role as a Jr. Web Developer at this un-named company.

Some recruiter, probably

My Contribution To The Hive

Seeing in the README that contributions are welcome, I knew I had to do my part to grow the hive. But, what language would I use? Someone already took my first-love, Perl. Other languages that I’m fluent with, like Bash, Python, JavaScript, and Goloang, had all been taken already. I did see, though, that a BrainFuck implementation had been added, so Esoteric Langauges weren’t out of the question. With that in mind, I decided to attempt it in a language I had spent some time learning the week prior, *><>

Bees, And Now Starfish?

*><>, or Starfish, is an esolang based off of ><>, or Fish, and was developed by my friend Discordian. It’s a stack-based language, and the code is laid out in a 2D grid. The instruction pointer can travel in cardinal directions through the grid, with the direction being changed by certain intructions.

Having spent some time learning *><> already, I was fairly confident that such a simple script wouldn’t be too hard to write. That said, it still took me about 3 hours to get in working order! My main struggle was getting the instruction pointer back the first double quote, such that the string would be read onto the stack correctly.

Below is my implementation, as well as a loose explanation.

0<;C10   \?
  1. Push 0 onto the stack
  2. Change direction to the left
    • Loops to the other side, starting at the ?
  3. Skip the \
  4. Move the pointer to [0,1]
    • Essentially starts at the " on the right of line 2
  5. Push Bees onto the stack
  6. Change direction down
  7. Change direction to the right
  8. Print characters from the stack until there are none left
  9. / and \ serve to set us back to step 4

Why Contribute?

I’ve been a programmer in some capacity for almost a decade now, and have been working as one for about half of that, and I’ve never had the confidence to contribute to any public projects. I’ve always felt like any idea I could have to help out has probably already been done, or would be dismissed as useless. That’s silly to think, of course, but knowing something is silly usually doesn’t stop us from giving into our fears.

With this project, though, I think I just found it at the right time. There were already some contributions, but there was (and is!) still plenty of room for more additions. On top of that, I appreciate its message. Much like the author, I find it so annoying to have my time wasted by someone’s very obviously empty flattery. Anything I can do to impede the progress of the automation of socialization, I will do with a smile.

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