[Haskell-cafe] "Hackathon"

Tikhon Jelvis tikhon at jelv.is
Thu Aug 28 17:50:09 UTC 2014

I ran into this issue when telling people about Bay Hac. In college, at
least, "hackathon" has acquired a pretty specific meaning: a *competitive*
coding marathon, often with prizes. Bay Hac, on the other hand, was really
more like a mini-conference: talks, sessions and lots of socializing, but
no competitive aspect at all. (Personally, I like this quite a bit more
than a normal hackathon!) I didn't want to send the wrong impression, but I
also didn't know what else to call it except for "hackathon".

Even though BayHac had *some* aspects of a hackathon, I still don't think
it's a great description. If focuses on the wrong aspects. In my view, the
most important parts of BayHac were educational and social, and it was
incredibly valuable even if you didn't finish or even work on a project.
This is pretty much the opposite of most actual hackathons I see; even when
they have some focus on education, they still tend to be heavily
"getting-things-done" project oriented.

I'm really not sure what the best noun to use is, but I'm leaning towards
describing it as a mini convention or conference.

On Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 7:23 AM, Brandon Allbery <allbery.b at gmail.com>

> On Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 10:19 AM, Alois Cochard <alois.cochard at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> In fact Zurihack felt pretty much like a coding marathon, I'm not sure if
>> the "not sleeping" thing should be considered as part of the definition of
>> a hackathon...
> IMO it's not; the difference is one of focus, more specifically is there
> one or a small number of specific projects or is there a larger slate of
> things that one can pick and choose from and which may well change their
> form based on participation *plus* unorganized gatherings
> (socialization/"hallway track"). My "hacker-con" take on the second form
> implicitly recognizes that the "hallway track" may well be as continuous as
> it is at many other conventions....
> --
> brandon s allbery kf8nh                               sine nomine
> associates
> allbery.b at gmail.com
> ballbery at sinenomine.net
> unix, openafs, kerberos, infrastructure, xmonad
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