This coming Saturday is the 33rd hackathon of g0v. When I saw the registration page, I was reminded of my first time organizing a hackathon. That was 14 years ago, and I organized 14 hackathons in a year.
🌐 At that time I had saved some money, and I decided to give myself a half-year sabbatical so that I could dedicate myself to the implementation of the new programming language Perl 6. When I put this idea forward on the Freenode platform, hundreds of people quickly joined me as collaborators. As a result, I traveled all over the world and made friends with many like-minded people.
🏃 What is a hackathon? It combines the words “hack” and “marathon.” “Hack” refers to the quick completion of tasks as well as problem-solving, and if it involves a group of people like in a “marathon” who are trying to accomplish the same thing, the activity is referred to as a hackathon.
🕯 In the process of organizing these 14 hackathons, I had a realization: for a lot of things, you just need to get down to work and then openly say, “this is really difficult, can I get some help?” Saying this works everytime, and people who have knowledge in this area will definitely offer their help.
🧞 Years later, I saw this idea reflected as the “wishing well” in g0v Civic Technology Grants. The wishing well allows anyone with ideas to publicly submit a “wish” so as to attract the attention of others who are interested and are willing to help to accept the idea and help to realize it.
🏆This year marks the second annual Presidential Hackathon, and we have also set up a “public wishing well.” Anyone with good ideas but lack the time to work on them can submit a wish for others who have the time to help.
🗳 Voting on proposals for the Presidential Hackathon will be based on the newly developed Quadratic Voting (QV) from 2013. You will have a fixed amount of points, and you can cast a vote for ideas that you like, which would require 1 point. If you cast 2 votes for an idea, it would require 4 points, and so on, i.e. the points required will be the square of the number of votes. Since casting a larger number of votes for the same proposal will require a lot more points, the winning proposal is bound to be the most eagerly anticipated one.
🏙 At the same time, proposals for prefectural and city chiefs are also open this time. Many people who work in social innovation often tell me that Taiwan’s many localities have their own unique traits, and there is significant variation in the challenges these places face as well as their own hidden potential. Allowing the respective local chiefs to participate in raising questions allow specific local needs to be addressed, so that the area’s citizens can come together to find a solution for the problems they face and make the area better.
🚸 African Bantu languages have a word “Ubuntu” which means that people do not exist alone, but require mutual support and assistance in order to complete and surpass themselves.
🌏 14 years ago, I was awakened to the principle of connecting different parts of the world by helping others. I hope that more people can share what they have learned and contribute their own strengths so that every hackathon can be the embodiment of the Ubuntu spirit.