🏫 Faced with the spread of the epidemic, the world feeling tense and nerves are frayed. In order to prevent the spread of infection in groups, companies started distance work and schools prepared online courses. Recently, the Central Epidemic Command Center also proposed to suspend gatherings of more than a hundred people indoors and more than five hundred people outside.

🏠 How to set up gatherings over long distances, both safety and with high-quality communication, is a problem the whole world is trying to save. The Hack at Home! hackathon, set up by the Taiwan citizen technology group g0v in March, has contributed a good example.

🎨 As one of the three largest open source technology groups in the world, g0v’s in-person hackathon, held every two months, is a vital time for community participation. At the hackathon location, anyone can take three minutes to present their proposal, and then find like-minded partners to work on it together. For example, the fact-checking information LINE chatbot “Cofacts”, or the Ministry of Education’s Mandarin dictionary, “moedict”, which I participated in, all originated from g0v hackathons.

☑️ In February of this year, in light of the increasing severity of the epidemic, the g0v community decided to “advance deployment”, and confirmed through an open vote that the March hackathon would be changed to “Hack at Home!”, with online participation.

🍕 However, these hackathons easily draw hundreds of participants, and there are even many participants from the international community. How to ensure a stable connection, and to maintain an atmosphere of participation is the key to the success of “Hack at Home!”.

🎥 In this regard, the participant Ronny used the open-source software Jitsi Meet to set up an online conference room, and integrated the writing tool HackMD, allowing participants to write code together on Slack while watching the live broadcast in real-time. To make discussions and feedback more immediate and meet the discussion needs of different projects, “Hack at Home” also provided a streaming channel at the same time, so that interested participants could talk on their own.

🌐 In the end, “Hack at Home” was an unforgettable day for more than 150 participants from Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, and the United States. This set of connection mechanisms using open source software and totally self-developed components has even attracted community partners including the Association for Progressive Communications and Mozilla.

👐 No matter where you are, the internet can break down the barriers of distance and everyone can work with the rest of the world to solve problems. “Collaboration across physical distance, contribute solutions to the pandemic.” That is the inspiration I got from participating at “Hack at Home!” that day.

🙏 (Thanks to g0v community participants Ronny Wang and ael for their contributions to this article.)