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"Hackathon Mentorship Can Be Better." by Anuraag Yachamaneni. We agree, Anuraag.

What it does

Hackatron is a web app built for helping programmers at hackathons. Hackers seeking help can submit a request in the app by filling out a brief form. Hackers looking to help others see a list of all active help requests and can quickly respond to topics in which they have expertise.

To verify users, Google, GitHub, and Facebook are available as login providers. This makes getting the user's name and picture trivial (both are critical in allowing the requester and helper to identify each other in person).

How we built it

Hackatron is built using Meteor, which allows for easy use of plugins for OAuth and templating.

Users seeking help enter their information into the request form, from which the information is stored into a database (powered by MongoDB). That information is then displayed in the "Help Out" pane.

The platform is hosted on a dedicated server and deployed with Deis.

Challenges we ran into

  • CSS animations turned out to be more complicated than anticipated
  • Getting scaling working on all screen sizes & DPIs
  • Making the app approachable, but discouraging low quality submissions
  • Having to pivot multiple times
  • Didn't have enough time to build our entire vision out

Accomplishments that we're proud of

  • Survived the cold and sleep deprivation, kind of
  • Got transitions working
  • Designed the app very well (in our opinion)
  • Made a really cool product

What we learned

Hackathons are ...

  • a good way to network with potential employers
  • the fastest way to learn new technologies
  • the best way to meet other hackers

What's next for Hackatron

We want to see Hackatron implemented at future hackathons to encourage further collaboration between competing teams and enhance learning.

To entice hackers to help, there will be a points and ranking system. Those asking good questions and those helping out will receive points. Additionally, those seeking help can place bounties on their requests, transferring points from the requester to the helper. Hackathons could further incite collaborative behavior between teams by offering a prize for the team or individual with the most points.

Source code


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