This is an interesting problem. Is it spam if it does something useful? I suppose if it’s unsolicited it is, but humans send unsolicited pull requests all the time. In that case, I guess it’s spam if it’s unsolicited AND automated?
I suppose this points to a gap (opportunity?) in GitHub’s offering. You could imagine an app store of sorts where people could automatically add these bots to their repos. Their webhooks sort of get at this, but it would be nice to go to your repo’s apps and add continuous integration, code formatting and image optimization… or whatever.
In the end, Michaels-Ober decided to accept Imageoptimiser’s pull request. What Imageoptimiser had done was actually pretty useful. It had used compression algorithms to shrink the size of some of the images that Michaels-Ober’s software used, a neat little trick that made the program run a little more efficiently.
Imageoptimiser’s creator is Adam Howard, a developer with a U.K. software consultancy. He wrote the bot because it gives him a way to “help people at pretty much no effort to them and pretty much no effort to me.”