In L2, we hold regular, lightly-structured research hackathons biannually. During these hackathons, participants are encouraged to brainstorm and pursue tractable, short-term collaborative research tasks in self-organized teams. These hackathons are designed to be inclusive and welcoming safe spaces.
Since researchers, Wikipedians and even WMF staff are distributed across the globe, we leverage VOIP technology remain connected during a hackathon. As a hackathon nears a Google hangout is created to allow for all participants to be connected via voice and video. Participants can either connect with the hackathon remotely (100% virtual) or join a local meetup group.
Local meetups that correspond to hackathons are organized by participants in major cities and universities to bring participants together. Local organizers (you can be one!) volunteer to lead the event, locate space with accessible wifi, restrooms, adequate seating, power strips, paper, pens, office supplies, and (ideally) some food for attendees. Organizers will also be responsible for coordinating their activities with the virtual group and reporting back on the results of their local event.
The Labs2 coordinators will also offer some centralized coordination in the weeks before the meetups. This will consist in a fairly lightweight process of brainstorming (e.g. via a Google form) and evaluation (e.g. via AllOurIdeas or something similar) of research ideas. The intention behind this process is to facilitate the early idea generation and selection process along the lines of an un-conference so that subsequent group formation and activity in the local hackathons runs more smoothly -- if it seems like too much of a burden, hackathon participants are invited to abandon it and just do what they wanted to do anyway.
- Participants review and add their ideas to the list of proposals
- Participants who plan to pursue new proposals during the hackathon should prepare a brief (2 minute) presentation on the idea.
- Local organizers secure a suitable location with WiFi, restrooms, seating, power, etc.
On the day of the hackathon, remote participants and local meetups will connect via Google hangout.
The day proceeds as follows:
- Welcome, introductions and presentation of ideas. Meetups will start with a brief discussion of the schedule and goals of the event followed by a set of brief presentations about new project ideas.
- Morning work session. After the ideas are presented, participants will self-organize around project ideas that interest them and spend the morning working.
- Lunch break. We break for lunch around noon. Participants should discuss lunch plans with their local organizers. Remote participants will (sadly) have to source lunch themselves.
- Afternoon work session. Project groups formally re-convene after the lunch break to continue working.
- Final project reporting. Project groups report on their activities for the day. Emphasis should be on briefly summarizing the project, the progress so far, and and plans for future work.
- Dinner and socializing. Participants are invited to join each other at a nearby cafe or restaurant for drinks, food, etc.
Follow-up and reporting
Coordinators and local organizers are responsible for ensuring that a brief summary of the meetup activities are added to the hackathon's page. Organizers may encourage participants to document their outputs in on their project pages, such as written resources, code, photos, charts, graphs, statistics, slides, research abstracts, etc.
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