Hackathons/2019 Decision Process

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Wikimedia Hackathon: History, Budget, Location Decision & Timeline

tl;dr: This page includes the history of the Wikimedia Hackathon, a description of the budget for the event and outlines a timeline and decision making process for the 2019 process. You should read this if you are considering submitting a bid to host the 2019 Wikimedia Hackathon.

History[edit]

The Wikimedia Hackathon was originally an annual European spring hackathon taking place in Germany. The idea originated with Wikimedia Deutschland (WMDE) and was originally funded by WMDE and the WMF.

After the 2012 Berlin Hackathon an informal decision was made via an in-person conversation between WMDE, the WMF hackathon team (Rachel F, Erik M, & Sumana H) , and volunteers from WMNL to try to hold the event in Amsterdam in 2013. This plan was approved by the staff and board of WMNL.

After a successful hackathon in Amsterdam, WMF and WMCH decided to work together to host the 2014 hackathon. Just before Wikimania in 2014 the Engineering Community Team (since renamed the Developer Relations team) emailed chapters to see who was interested in hosting the 2015 hackathon - and there was an in-person meeting at Wikimania to discuss this. When more than one chapter came forward it was decided at the in-person meeting by those present that WMFR would be a good option. The meeting consisted of WMF Engineering Community Team and some past hackathon organizers, and was open to any interested host-chapters.

Before the 2015 Wikimedia Hackathon in Lyon an email was sent out to chapters looking for a 2016 host. For the first time there was a more formalized bidding process with documentation created by the Engineering Community Team, which funded a large portion of the event and also funded all WMF engineering staff travel costs for the event. Multiple chapters submitted proposals and all past hackathon organizers present in Lyon were called together to decide between the proposals. The proposal with the most votes, Jerusalem/WMIL, became the 2016 Wikimedia Hackathon Host. For the 2017 Hackathon, a much more formalized process was created mostly because we received feedback that the decision process was unclear. Details on the specific process for 2017 can be found here. Informally the Wikimedia Foundation chatted with a few interested chapters but WMAT was the only group who ended up submitting a proposal. WMAT was announced as the 2017 location on 14 March, 2016.

The only group to submit a bid for 2018 was Amical Wikimedia and the 2018 location was chosen to be the University of Barcelona just outside of the city of Barcelona.

This process has been kept flexible by choice. However, after experimenting with a more formalized process for 2017 Developer Relations will stick with a similar process for 2018 and 2019. After the 2019 selection process is complete, Developer Relations will review the process and determine if it was successful or if any changes are needed. Success is to be determined by the following criteria:

  1. We find a location for the Wikimedia Hackathon 2019.
  2. All bidding chapters and groups, even if they do not agree with the location decision, can see how the location decision was made.
  3. Developer Relations feels comfortable supporting the location decision.
  4. There is a good logistical framework in place to ensure that the Hackathon can run. Location and accommodation booked well in advance of the event. Registration and scholarships open.

The process for selecting a 2020 location (or other future hackathons) may be different than the 2019 process due to changes in budgets, success of previous events, changes in number of hackathons or target size of hackathons.

Considerations for 2019[edit]

  • We are open & encouraging to bids from anywhere, but locations outside of Europe will be given extra weight as we are also holding a hackathon at Wikimania in Sweden in 2019.
  • Focus areas will be defined much further in advance, however participants can work on whatever they like related to Wikimedia Tech / Development.
  • This hackathon will be less heavily focused on newcomer onboarding, which is much more effectively done on a smaller local level. Instead, it  is meant to be a well-facilitated and organized meeting space for groups and most active volunteers in the developer community to collaborate face to face, with appropriate representation of Foundation, affiliates and volunteers to discuss the future of Wikimedia technologies in depth. We will still aim for newcomer support and onboarding for the local region where the event is held.

Wikimedia Hackathon Budget[edit]

Wikimedia Hackathons are funded by the WMF Developer Relations Team in partnership with the host chapter or organization that contributes money and staff resources from their own budget and from event specific fundraising. In addition to the event budget, the Developer Relations team will have a scholarship budget for flying volunteer engineers to the event and providing them with lodging. WMF team managers fund WMF engineers to travel to the event on a case by case basis. It is not mandatory that all these budgets are spent on one hackathon. Multiple smaller hackathons are also an option, however unless there is a good reason it is likely that 2019’s budget will go towards one large event.

The event budget and scholarship budget will be agreed upon between the hosting organization and WMF in advance of a bid being accepted. The hosting organization will be responsible for setting a timeline with the WMF Developer Relations and WMF Finance team, signing a contract with WMF, and submitting invoices as the payments are needed.

Process for Location Decision for Wikimedia Hackathon 2019[edit]

  • Developer Relations will email the already formed past hackathon organizers email list asking for volunteers to be on the committee. The list is made up of main event organizers from past Wikimedia Hackathons.
  • The names of the members of the volunteer committee for the 2019 (anyone from past hackathon organizers who volunteers can join the committee) decision will be made public, this committee will also consist of two members from the Developer Relations team.
  • We will put out a call asking for chapters or other affiliates and groups to indicate their interest in hosting the 2019 Wikimedia Hackathon by creating a publicly logged Phabricator task.
  • Once there is a call for submissions any organizer of the committee who is associated with any of the bids will recuse themselves from discussions on the 2019 decision.
  • There will be at least a month between the call for bids and committee’s final decision. Ideally lots of discussion by interested community members will be taking place on the Phabricator bids in this time. Ideally if there are multiple bids those groups can talk with the committee and informally (based on conversation and not voting) come to an understanding as to which host makes the most sense.
  • If more time or information is needed and the committee can not come to a decision, the committee will be given a few weeks of flexibility. The bids will be discussed and compared.
  • If there is a bid that is clearly strongest, that bid will be proposed to the committee to accept as a whole.
  • If there is a clear tie between bids, the committee will vote. Each member will get one vote. Developer Relations will break a tie if needed.
  • The Developer Relations team will announce the host of the Wikimedia Hackathon 2019.
  • The 2019 committee will not make any promises to a host for the Wikimedia Hackathon 2020, they can however urge a strong bidder to propose again for the following year.

The Developer Relations team will confirm the final decisions after doing their due diligence as they are ultimately responsible for the budget and the success of the event year to year. In the rare case that it is needed, Developer Relations will do their best to turn down bids before the committee votes.

Timeline[edit]

1 February, 2018: This wiki page is published with information about the process

Fed, 2018: Wikimedia Hackathon 2018 Decision Committee of past hackathon organizers is formed. The committee will be responsible for deciding the location of the Wikimedia Hackathon 2019

2 March, 2018: Call for hosts

~~ Decision Committee discusses & asks for more information if needed ~~

30 March, 2018: Deadline for submissions

30 April, 2018 (at the latest): Decision Committee decides on a location

TBD: Location for Wikimedia Hackathon 2019 is announced

If we are not able to stick to this timeline the Developer Relations team may step in and make a decision instead of delaying the process. This is to enable the hosting team to have enough time to contract venues and accommodation with enough lead time in advance of the event.

Information about this page[edit]

This was originally written by Rachel Farrand from the WMF Developer Relations team. The intention was the clarify the process and inform chapters and groups who are interested in hosting how the decision will be made in advance of the call for hosts. The text (first up January 29, 2016 and edited for 2018's process in January 2017) was reviewed by the Developer Relations team, a few volunteers from the WMF Community Engagement Department, and the Past Hackathon Organizers email list. Suggestions and changes from those people and groups were incorporated. We also integrated feedback on the 2016 decision process summited by WMAT.

For more information on how to propose a hackathon, please check here.