Scrape all the hackathons

In the past 4 rollercoaster weeks, a small online hackathon powered by a small online tool led to a turning point in the way Covid-19-data is being collected in this country. Shortly after, the largest national Swiss online hackathon happened, responding to the social upheaval caused by the pandemic and control measures to slow it down. And boy, was that something! Behind the scenes, the tech stack was co-engineered by us with Panter, a dev company in Zurich, and folks from @theportatcern - yeah, that CERN. I contributed to the concept of a teambuilding platform that was built heroically from scratch in days, at the heart of it a matchmaking algorithm and voting tool used to corral our over thousands of participants into teams.

While stability issues prevented us using it again for last weekend’s #TogetherVsVirus event, the thoughts and ideas going around the exercise have helped me to make a lot of sense for what I’m doing here. My hope is that we will have a new open source project and reference point for future hack platforms, in Switzerland in beyond. These events are helping to refine and shape the role that the community has in activating hackathons to produce higher quality Open Data, applied in more and better ways.

I have just published a whitepaper hoping to leverage some of this momentum and sharpen my focus on dribdat. Central to this is a growing awareness of how much value there is in what we do, how much it is lost on us without clear and useful analytics on the participant and organizer experience, and what kind of a distributed refuge for creative ideas we need to build, in parallel to the open access platforms we know and love around the web.

If you have any comments, please ping!

Some fresh thoughts on this in a chapter of my new year’s long read:

Feel free to skip right to the juicy part, asking Where is the data?

The table of hackathons mentioned in the blog is available here (ODS), and I’ve aggregated the basic data of 2020 projects for further analysis:

While the scraped legacy (wiki) projects are at: