Major League Hacking (MLH) is committed to empowering hackers during the COVID-19 outbreak and working with organizers to support their local communities digitally. We will continue to maintain our official guidance for hackers, organizers, and sponsors in our always up-to-date COVID-19 recommendations post.

To reduce the chances of spreading COVID-19 and in response to increasing local restrictions, we are requiring all in-person Local Hack Day locations switch to an online-only format. If you cannot host a digital version of your event, please cancel your Local Hack Day and we will ask participants to register to participate in another digital location. You should reach out to your MLH coordinator via the organizer dashboard to talk through the best options given your circumstances.

If you are an attendee looking to participate online in Local Hack Day Share, check in with your local organizer if you are registered. If you haven’t registered, you can find a list of events available online here. As of today, you can also register to be a global participant, if you don’t have a “nearby” Local Hack Day. Find out more information about this transition in our post for hackers.

To make converting your event to a digital event as straightforward as possible, we’ve outlined some of the most important things to consider when going digital. 

What does this mean?

Local Hack Day is changing dramatically from the previous in-person format to fit the current situation. We will have multiple simultaneous digital events hosted by our awesome group of Local Hack Day organizers. 

All these changes draw on MLH’s extensive experience running digitally distributed events. Our focus is bringing even more people together online. In this challenging situation, we hope this will be a great opportunity to connect communities from around the world. 

MLH will be providing a global platform to connect attendees and organizers on Discord, while running and live-streaming workshops and other events.

Please read through the guide below and we will be happy to answer any questions.

Swag & Stickers

We will still be mailing swag and stickers to every Local Hack Day that qualifies. We know that attendees and hackers are looking forward to them and we want you to share them with your community. However, we request that organizers hang on to these items until it is safe to distribute them. 

All Local Hack Day events, including digital locations, approved by March 20th will receive a shipment of goodies. 

We need your help!

  • Plan to make your Local Hack Day hosted online-only. Following the steps outlined below to ensure your community is able to participate in the event successfully.
  • Spread the word about the changes. Make sure your team, partners, and attendees are all aware of the change to Local Hack Day.
  • Encourage attendees to submit & share their projects on Devpost. We will still be doing giveaways and prizes for projects.
  • Send us your suggestions! We want to make sure this is the best possible experience for everyone and your suggestions on how we do this will be valuable.

Steps to hosting your own digital Local Hack Day

1. Communicate with your team, partners, and venue

It is important that your team, your partners, and your venue all are aware of the situation. Please also everyone you work with know that your Local Hack Day will be hosted digitally so there is no confusion. 

2. Plan for what changes you need to make your event digital-only

The format of the event is changing so you will need to adjust your plans. Here are the key components that need to be considered.

Registration and Check in

Registering and checking in your attendees is a critical part of hosting a Local Hack Day event. We use that information to help us make sure it is run smoothly and successfully. Please make time in your livestream to check in your attendees through our Organizer Portal.

Workshops

We are still encouraging organizers to plan and run their own online-only workshops for their events. Please still plan to rehearse these workshops on your own and come prepared to stream them to your community. We will be broadcasting our own workshops on the MLH livestream at the times listed in the schedule above. Your attendees are welcome to join these broadcasts as well.

Digital Demos

We recommend you still run a Demo Day for your event. Local Hack Day Share is a day to celebrate what you have learned and built. It is a good opportunity for hackers to finish up and polish projects. Plan to have some time for your attendees to give a little demo of their project. Encourage your attendees to share them on your broadcast. You will moderate the broadcast so everyone has a turn.

We would love to see the projects from your community! Please record your demos if you have time so we can share with the broader community.

Discord

We’ll be using Discord to communicate with the entire Local Hack Day Digital community throughout the entire event. We’ll have channels setup for different topics and will be running raffles throughout the day for attendees.

Discord supports better voice chat and streaming features than Slack does, which you can use for opening ceremonies, workshops, and other online activities.

As an organizer, you’ll be invited to a #organizers channel where you can chat with other organizers and the MLH team. Additionally, your hackathon attendees will be invited, so they can be part of the global community of events taking place and talk to thousands of other hackers around the world.

Before joining and once on the platform, make hackers know that their behavior and actions are still subject to MLH Code of Conduct, and to be respectful. Digital spaces can increase harassment as people are hidden behind a computer, so it is key to make sure your attendees know you still take this seriously.

Devpost

We want to create a global repository of all the amazing projects that are made throughout the season this year. Encourage your attendees to sign up for the event on Devpost and submit their projects. This will enable hackers to explore projects created at entirely different locations and contribute to a global sense of involvement.

We’ll distribute the information about Devpost to all attendees via email and Slack, but you should further distribute this information in person at your events. 

If you have questions about submitting to Devpost you can ask MLH in the Local Hack Day Slack. You can also check out Devpost’s documentation for help.

3. Make adjustments to your schedule

Please consider how going digitally will affect your schedule. This is a schedule we recommend using for a digital event.

Example Schedule

  • 9:00 AM – 9:30 AM – Live stream your opening ceremony for your attendees
  • 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM – Live stream of MLH workshops 
  • 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM – Your Localhost workshop
  • 2:00 PM – 4:30 PM – Community project demos
  • 4:30 PM – 8:30 PM – Hangout and hack in the MLH live stream
  • 8:30 PM – 9:00 PM – Live stream your closing ceremony and encourage attendees to share what they’ve built

4. Ask your community for help and moderators

Great events are already successful with the help of others. This is a good opportunity to encourage your community to get involved and help you make Local Hack Day extra special. Look for moderators and active community members to encourage engagement on your stream. Recruiting a little bit of extra help will go a long way.

5. Make an announcement to your attendees

To make it easier for you as an organizer, here is an example of an announcement you can make to your attendees. Feel free to edit it as you wish.

Hey all,
Due to the evolving COVID-19 situation, we are changing our Local Hack Day event from an in-person event to be hosted completely online. We made this decision to ensure we’re protecting the health safety of our community. 

We will be broadcasting our kickoff event, workshops, mini-events, and closing ceremony. You will be able to join our broadcast and chat with your local community and the larger hacker community using Discord. Please do not plan to show up for the event. Join us online instead!

You can read more about the decision to move to a digital format on MLH’s COVID-19 guidance for Localhost Attendees blogpost.

Thanks,
[Your Name]

6. Ask your attendees to join the MLH Broadcast and chat

We are planning ways to tie the broader community together. One of those ways will be a planned broadcast over a live streamed video. The Major League Hacking team will be broadcasting throughout Local Hack Day for your attendees to tune into. You can share this broadcast schedule with your attendees. This broadcast will include announcements, workshops, highlights, and more!

MLH Broadcast Schedule

All times are in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) on April 11th, Local Hack Day around the world will run 12 hours, 9 AM to 9 PM locally. Tune in at the right time for your event.

April 11th

  • 00:01 UTC – Welcome to our APAC events!
  • 02:00 UTC – Workshop 1 – Build and Deploy Your First Website
  • 03:00 UTC – Azure Workshop
  • 04:00 UTC – Workshop 2 – Basic Training: An Introduction to Python Skills
  • 05:00 UTC – Azure Workshop / Giveaways
  • 06:00 UTC – Workshop 3 – How to Collaborate on Code Projects with GitHub
  • 07:00 UTC – Azure Workshop
  • 08:00 UTC – APAC Demos
  • 09:00 UTC – Welcome to our EU / AFR events!
  • 10:00 UTC – Workshop 1 – Build and Deploy Your First Website
  • 11:00 UTC – APAC closing remarks / highlights
  • 12:00 UTC – Workshop 2 – Basic Training: An Introduction to Python Skills
  • 13:00 UTC – Azure Workshop
  • 14:00 UTC – Workshop 3 – How to Collaborate on Code Projects with GitHub
  • 15:00 UTC – Welcome to our US events!
  • 16:00 UTC   – EU / AFR Demos
  • 18:00 UTC   – Workshop 1 – Build and Deploy Your First Website
  • 19:00 UTC – Azure Workshop
  • 20:00 UTC   – Workshop 2 – Basic Training: An Introduction to Python Skills
  • 21:00 UTC   – EU / AFR closing remarks / highlights
  • 22:00 UTC – Workshop 3 – How to Collaborate on Code Projects with GitHub
  • 23:00 UTC – Azure Workshop
  • 24:00 UTC – US Demos
  • 01:00 UTC – Azure Workshop
  • 03:00 UTC   – Closing statement / Highlights

Code of Conduct

Ensuring a safe environment is just as important at a digital event. Local Hack Day Digital will be a space free of abuse and harassment. Registered hackers have agreed to the MLH Code of Conduct and this applies to online settings as well. The Major League Hacking Incident Response team is treating all incidents at digital events with the same level of seriousness that we treat incidents at in-person events. Our MLH Team will be online to help handle incidents, and as always, our Incidents hotline will be staffed at all hours (contact information is found in our Code of Conduct).

In addition to our MLH Team helping moderate Discord, ensure that at least one organizer is actively moderating all chats throughout the event. If anything is posted that violates the Code of Conduct, screenshot it and delete as quickly as possible as you contact your MLH coordinator.

To prevent any potential violations, our MLH Team will stress the importance of maintaining a safe space during our MLH Broadcast. We also encourage you to remind hackers of how serious you’re treating incidents in pre-event communication as well as your own team’s opening ceremony. 

Cancelling or Postponing

If you still have to cancel or postpone your Local Hack Day, please reach out to us via the organizer dashboard. We will work with you to remove your event from our registration site and communicate these changes with your registered attendees.

MLH is here for you

We will be working to provide even more resources to our community that will enable every Local Hack Day organizer and attendee to have a great experience in the upcoming days. Stay tuned for more! 

We’re committed to supporting you and your events. If there’s anything you need more help on, reach out to your coordinator ([email protected]). 

If you have any resources we should add to this guide, let us know.