November 8-10, Global: Aaron Swartz Memorial Hackathon Events

Aaron Swartz Hackathon

For info on NYC planning event visit

Inspired by the work he did and the people he touched, we are organizing recurring hackathons at locations all over the world in memory of Aaron Swartz. The next set will be synchronized on the weekend of November 8-10, 2013. The event will bring together the varied communities that Aaron touched to figure out how the important problems of the world connect, and to share the load of working on those problems.



Within weeks of Aaron’s death in January, 20 hackerspaces, schools, and libraries organized Aaron Swartz Memorial Hackathon events all over the world. In our collective shock and grief, we came together to console ourselves, remember Aaron, and, in his memory, to work on important problems ranging all the way from open access advocacy to a database refactor.

Half a year later, we still feel an immense shock and loss, and after many conversations with people who attended one of the initial events, still think that we need to be there for each other and focus on the things that are important.

Links from the January events:

Organizing an Aaron Swartz Hackathon

Let us know when you’ve confirmed a time and location in the November 8-10 range by sending a mail to You might also want to add the time and location details and any project ideas to the hackathon wiki page.

While the event should be open, we will want to work with you on finding the right people to invite to give presentations, organize activities, and otherwise participate. A wide variety of topics should be covered, and we would love to help you think and reach out to new folk!

As the date approaches, we will be in touch to help with getting the word out and any other needs you have.

Guidelines for events

Plan on enough time for people to actually get things done. ~36-40hrs is a good amount of time for a hackathon. For instance, starting Friday evening and ending Sunday mid-Day, or starting Saturday morning and ending Sunday evening.

In advance at each location, (at least) one presenter is chosen to “pitch” what they consider a vital project that’s in need of starting, moving forward, or reimagining itself. This project should be eminently hackable at various skill levels, with the presenter or another volunteer ready to help with interested parties getting involved.

The event starts like a hybrid (un-)conference, with introductions and short presentations from people of various backgrounds and skillsets. The pre-announced presenter(s) do these presentations, and during the introductions people can offer or request talks and project pitches, which are added as time permits on the spot. Total time for all presentations should be ~1.5-2hrs. Presentations are recorded and immediately posted online (or streamed) for remote participants or people at other hackathons to see.

Then there’s open time to work.

Food should be considered in advance (Potluck? Sponsorship?)

Finally, at the end of the event, there are 1.5-2hrs of demonstrations of results. Anyone can sign up with info about their project status to get a demo slot. Demos are also recorded and posted online, cross-referenced with individuals and projects.

Anything coming out of the event will be assumed to be open source (we suggest that videos and text be Creative Commons-licensed CC-By-SA, and code under the GPLv3, or any other OSI approved license)