Inspelningsdatum: 12 november 2022
Publiceringsdatum: 27 november 2022
Programledare är Jan Ainali.
Interview with Siebrand Mazeland, one of the organizers of the mini hackathon in Utrecht 12 November.
Here is the presentation from the showcase.
What kind of background do you need or what aspirations do you need?
Yeah, so I think the most important character trait is curiosity.
This is a special episode of Wikipediapodden. We're at the Mini Hackathon in Utrecht in the Netherlands and I'm here with Siebrand Mazeland, one of the organizers. Hello Siebrand.
So the Mini Hackathon, what is that?
It's an event for a small group of people. Most of them are from the Netherlands. We have a very small budget. We have a little bit of travel budget. It was earmarked to only allow people to travel by train. So people could get compensated up to 100 euros also from abroad if they traveled in by train, which is something for example Timo did. Our goal is to bring people with development background or development aspirations together here. We capped the number of attendees around 30 and we just want to spend the day with like-minded people, deepening people's expertise. And there was a little bit of presentation of what kinds of projects people were working on in the beginning.
Was there anything that specifically caught your mind, oh that looks interesting?
I often hear the word OpenRefine. I know very little about it. So at one point in my life I want to try and know more about it. I don't know if that's going to be today.
Usually in hackathons there's a showcase in the end so you see what everyone has been working on. This is not going to be the case today. What's the plan?
The plan is that that is going to happen during WikiConNL, which is held next week, Saturday. I think that's the 19th of November. We are going to have between 125 and 175 people there. And we're going to share what we did during this technical event there.
Are you hacking anything yourself?
Yes, but unfortunately it's not Wikimedia related. I'm an organizer today, so I'm trying to make sure that everyone who is here and who is on topic is having a good time.
If people are curious about the project, will there be some sort of page or place where the things will be shared so they can go look for it?
That's a good question. I don't think we have discussed that yet, but I think your question deserves an answer. I think we're going to make sure that something's going to happen. If you look for the hackathon on the Dutch Wikimedia chapter pages, then there will be a link to the results and the projects there.
All right. I'll make sure to put that into the shownotes.
Yes. And for people who are curious about hackathons, what kind of background do you need or what aspirations do you need?
I think the most important character trait is curiosity. You need to be curious about what's behind the facade. For Wikipedia, that is a front that shows you information and images and organized in paragraphs, etc. But there's a heap of complexity behind it and behind that there's another layer of complexity. And you don't have to go and dig to the deepest level immediately, but you can go there in steps. An easy gateway drug for people is something like pywikipediabot, which is a tool that allows you to increase the number of edits that you make based on, well, whatever pattern that you identify. From there, you can go and write your own bots. Or if you are into programming or want to go into programming, you can have a look at the PHP code that the Mediawiki software is written in. You can also start working on Wikidata things. You can get involved in defining what kinds of properties are in wiki data or what objects look like. Talk about that with people. There's a lot of expertise here and there are a lot of other people that are curious. And that curiosity often leads to unexpected outcomes that are positive to the movement as a whole. In my opinion, I always use these physical events to create relationships. And those relationships can then be deepened in an online context. So the output of events that we call hackathons, in my opinion, should be that people get to know each other better, want to do things together, and reap the benefits of that later. The outcome doesn't come that quickly. It's an investment.
Yes. And you have been organizing hackathons in the Wikimedia movement for a long time in many different sizes. Is there some sort of general tips for organizers, aspirational hackathon organizers that you would like to share?
Yes. Just do it. Don't make a big deal of it. You can put five people in a room, give them something to drink, tea, coffee, give them a pizza, give them candy or carrots. It doesn't matter. The worst is to not do it because you think it's complicated. Failing leads to improvement. Yeah, I think that's it. And from there you can grow. But don't look at it as something that's complicated. If you don't know how to do it for 100 people, start with five.
All right. Excellent tips. Thank you, Siebrand.
That was Siebrand Mazeland, one of the organizers of the mini hackathon. You'll find some of the links that we mentioned in the show notes. On our website you'll also find more English episodes under the tag English. You can even subscribe on that. And with that I thank Siebrand, Husky, Multichill and Spinster for organizing the mini hackathon. Bye.