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Cover image for My first time hosting a local Hacktoberfest meeting

My first time hosting a local Hacktoberfest meeting

Alfonso Reyes
Passionate about a lot of things
・5 min read

My first time hosting a local Hacktoberfest meeting

Hacktoberfest_19_Events_lockup_color_300x100.png
Is that time of the year, where you can go outside and notice the smell of open source contributions, oh yes! the wonderful month of October.
The main purpose of this post (also my first post ever on the internet) is to share my thoughts, experiences, and mistakes I made that day, maybe you want to host a local hacktoberfest event in your city but don't know where to start? don't worry! I'll explain everything I did to make sure the meeting was possible.

Why I wanted to host a meeting of this kind.

Last year I participated in the Hacktoberfest event, and even though I felt like I didn't know too much about programming I wanted to contribute my grain of sand to the wonderful world of open source. When the semester of summer started I was expecting people to be wearing the hacktoberfest t-shirt in the school but to my surprise, most people never heard about it! I couldn't believe it, I wanted to change that and I proposed myself to do something the next year (and I did). Doing a meeting might be a small yet powerful action.

Who to invite? 🤔

Everyone, I mean everyone! graphic designers, writers, programmers, even lawyers; everyone can contribute to open source projects; you only need to find an adequate project for you, read the contribution guidelines and start contributing.

Before the event 📆

Before announcing your event to the public you need to do some arrangements, here's a list of steps we followed to be able to do this meeting:

  1. Craft your event agenda and set a date you think works best for most of the people. Are you going to talk about open source and also give a workshop? be sure to assign enough time for each activity. Remember that workshops usually take more time because attendants might require some help from you.
  2. Get confirmation from your workplace/school/local library. this is one of the most important things to do before announcing your event. Try to write a formal document explaining what you will be needing for the event and what day will it be held.
  3. Work on social media promotion, try to reach as many people possible; we made an invitation to every local university/college with STEM careers and local groups in Facebook, word of mouth publicity also works very well. A Facebook event works well, or a Meetup
  4. Invite some people to talk at your event, someone that you believe can leave an impact on the people, for example, people who have worked in open source projects or are involved in communities around open source.
  5. Make some Powerpoint/images for your presentation, there are some assets in the Hacktoberfest website you might want to use; remember to not use too much text and be as much visual you can.
  6. Keep advertising your event, be kind and friendly when inviting people 😁.

My instructions are a fork of the Step by step guide in the official Hacktoberfest website
Hacktoberfest Event kit take a look if you want to get more information.

During the meeting

We started welcoming people at 3:00 PM, by that hour we were almost ready to start

Some people on their computer

We began talking about Open Source, Hacktoberfest, Why it's important to contribute to this type of project and the experience you acquire by doing so.
It's very important to talk about it, after all the main focus it's Open Source, isn't it?

Zally

I invited a friend of mine to talk about her experience with open source projects in Mexico and people she knew were involved, she gave a great talk to all of the attendants and gave tips on how to start the journey. A lot of valuable knowledge from one of the best persons I've ever met 😀 I can't be thankful enough with her.

Following the agenda we began with a workshop (given by my friend Carlos Contreras) to show people how to open a pull request on GitHub and use GitKraken to do a commit on remote repositories, for most people it was their first time doing so, we were very happy giving the instructions and also helping anyone who had problems with their git setup.

At the end we let people choose an open-source project and begin working on it, here's an awesome page where you can find some open-source projects: https://up-for-grabs.net/

After the meeting 🏃🏼‍♀️

People

Be sure to engage with everyone who is left after the meeting has ended, not only I got to meet more people in my local community but also to invite them to collaborate in our software development community.
Also, don't forget to clean up 🧹 the space you used.
Try to upload some photos to social media during the event and after the event, by doing so people will engage with your posts and share them with other people. People who did not know about the event might get interested in Hacktoberfest and perhaps reach you with questions and ideas 💡.
Git trophies
(sorry for the bad quality image, I only had a vertical photo and I had to crop it 😥)

We even gave away some 3D printed git trophies using a random name picker, everyone loved them! and they are the perfect complement to your Workspace if you are using git as a versioning tool 😎

Link to the 3D model: Thingiverse

Some final tips 🤗

  • Be sure to invite everyone to your event 👩‍👩‍👧‍👦, even if they have no previous programming knowledge, open-source contributions are for everyone; make some emphasis on inclusion.
  • Get some power cords 🔌, and be sure there's electricity on the venue; people might need them to charge their computers
  • Be sure to arrive at least 1 hour before the start of the meeting to do some changes to the place or test equipment like the projector 📽
  • Get some video adapters just in case 👀, we made the mistake of believing that the projection equipment had an HDMI input, we were wrong! we almost had to request a laptop with VGA output from one of the attendants.
  • Surround yourself with people with the same passion, I couldn't do all of this alone, I had people helping me

Not only I learned how to host an event of this kind, but also I improved the way I talk in front of the public and I feel great leaving a positive impact on the people who attended the event.

Hopefully, this post has served you some inspiration and maybe you now want to contribute to open-source projects, if your city doesn't have a local meeting I invite you to host one, perhaps there's a lot of people who want to contribute to open source but don't know where to start.

Discussion (3)

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raymag profile image
Carlos Magno

That's pretty cool, congrats! I think hosting hacktoberfest meetings is a nice way to promote the open source culture and meet a lot of people too. I did something similar at my school, the experience is amazing.

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mxarc profile image
Alfonso Reyes Author

Thanks! I got an awesome feeling when someone reached me and told me he had already completed the goal of 4 pull requests, can't wait to ask more people about their progress. And yes, the experience is amazing overall

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ucalyptus profile image
Sayantan Das