Hackathons/Handbook/Volunteer roles

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Definition[edit]

When we talk about volunteers, there are different definitions of the word. This page is about definition number 2: Participants taking up volunteer roles during an event.

  1. Volunteers in the Wikimedia movement, as opposed to Wikimedia Foundation and Affiliate employees.
  2. Participants taking up volunteer roles during an event to help the organizer team and further the program by dedicating their time to help shape the event, e.g. by being mentors (the whole event), or be responsible for streaming the showcase (last hours of the event). This definition includes both WMF/chapter employees and people who come to the hackathon in their own free time.

Volunteer roles for participants during the event[edit]

In the registration form, offer participants the option to choose if (and how) they want to volunteer during the hackathon.

Each role needs a contact person responsible for that role, whom the participants can approach in case of questions and feedback.

Mentor in the Mentoring Program[edit]

The mentoring program asks for Wikimedians who will be at the hackathon exclusively as mentors. They will come up with newcomer-friendly projects and ideas and, during the whole weekend, work with groups of newcomers, to help them with the whole onboarding process, and make their way into the Wikimedia tech community as easy and as much fun as possible. The focus is to welcome more newcomers into the community, by introducing them to the different aspects of working with MediaWiki, and help them achieve their own first steps during the hackathon weekend. It is another means to create a welcoming social atmosphere to further diversity and growth in our community.

They need:

  • More preparation than all the other roles. Read all about the Mentoring Program in the respective handbook chapter.

Event Photography[edit]

Event photography means taking photos during the hackathon and uploading them to Wikimedia Commons.

All participants who didn’t agree to have their picture taken are recognizable by a special lanyards. Event photographers must know the difference and be aware of it.

Event photographers must license pictures they release as CC-by-sa 3.0 or similar.

Event photographers put all of the hackathon images uploaded to Wikimedia Commons into the correct event category (or, even better, into fitting subcategories).


They need:

  • An email before the event to remind them of their role.
  • A contact person (they should be the one sending the above email) whom they can refer to with questions, and who sends out reminders/ encouragements during the event.

Event Blogging[edit]

Event blogging means publishing your personal experiences and impression of the hackathon. Set up a special section on your event wiki page (like it was done for the Wikimedia Hackathon 2017 Vienna), which bloggers can use to put links to their personal blog page, or to their user subpage, or a Wikipedia Signpost article that they contributed to, or to their public social media entries (use #wmhack) etc.

If they manage to do this even during the hackathon, and not only afterwards, more people will enjoy it!

They need:

  • An email before the event to remind them of their role.
  • A contact person (they should be the one sending the above email) whom they can refer to with questions, and who sends out reminders/ encouragements during the event.

Host[edit]

Hosts approach other participants proactively, especially at social events and during mealtime - make sure that nobody feels left out just because they don’t know many other participants yet. Hosts have to get familiar with our friendly space policy and the code of conduct for Wikimedia technical spaces as well as with the floor plan and the event management team’s faces. This will support hosts with helping others.  

They need:

  • An email before the event to remind them of their role.
  • A contact person (they should be the one sending the above email) whom they can refer to with questions, and who sends out reminders/ encouragements during the event.

Mid-event Wiki-updates[edit]

For the mid-event wiki-updates, volunteers occasionally wander around the hackathon, ask people what they are working on and add/assist with adding the projects to the wiki. The volunteer's task is to make sure that the projects are documented. They also remind other participants to sign up for the hackathon showcase, and to write ongoing topics on their table's sign.

They need:

  • An email before the event to remind them of their role.
  • A contact person (they should be the one sending the above email) whom they can refer to with questions, and who sends out reminders/ encouragements during the event.

Post-event Note / Outcome Checking[edit]

Post-event note / outcome checking means to help to review documentation after the event, e.g. on Phabricator. Volunteers for this task help to make sure everything is clear and organized, and that next steps have owners.

They need:

  • An email after the event to remind them of their role.
  • A contact person (they should be the one sending the above email) whom they can refer to with questions, and who sends out reminders/ encouragements.