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30 June 2023

Wikimedia Hackathon 2023, Athens, Greece

by Željko Filipin


Fuzheado, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Long time no see

Last month I was in beautiful Athens, Greece for the Wikimedia Hackathon 2023. The last time I saw anybody from the Wikimedia Foundation in person was in San Francisco in 2020. The last time I saw anybody from the Wikimedia movement was in Atlanta in 2019. The last in person hackathon was in Prague in 2019. So, I didn’t see some people for 3 and some for 4 years. I have also seen some people for the first time, even if we collaborated for years.


It’s really hard to summarize a hackathon. It’s a crazy mixture of technical talks, coding, socializing, sightseeing and fun.

It started with project pitches. Everybody that wanted to, could get people interested in their project. But, since there were about 200 people there, everybody got only 30 seconds. Fun part was that if you went over your time, you were clapped off the stage.

One of the interesting sessions I went to was Using Pixel tool for visual regression by Elena Tonkovidova. Elena was very nervous before the session, but she did a great job. We had a great discussion during the session. Dom showed us how he set up Pixel for WikiLambda.

Another interesting session was how to Improve your technical writing by Kosta Harlan. At that session I learned about LanguageTool and Google’s Technical Writing Courses.

The last session I’m going to mention is the Patch demo by Bartosz Dziewoński. I’m very interested in development/testing environments, so I try to learn at least the basics of available ones.

My plan was to work on one of several projects at the hackathon. Either documentation, or a refactoring, or an upgrade. That didn’t happen. But that’s how hackathons sometimes go.

I applied for the hackathon months ago. In the meantime, I didn’t work for a couple of months because I was on parental leave. The hackathon was near the end of my leave, so I was pretty lost and confused at the event.


I managed to do some sightseeing. One day after the sessions a few of us walked to the Philopappos Monument. It’s on the top of a hill with a beautiful view of Athens. Another day I visited Acropolis.

A few of my teammates from the Quality and Test Engineering Team were at the hackathon, so one day we met for lunch. We didn’t see each other in person for at least 3 years. It was great to be able to socialize after such a long time.

I have also learned about a new saint, Saint Javelin.

I was disappointed that there was no organized sightseeing, considering we were in one of the most interesting cities in the world.


Late night chess after Wikimedia Hackathon 2023 closing dinner

01tonythomas, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

I forgot to bring a chess set, so I bought a cheap plastic set. I led a Chess Basics workshop during lunch one day and had a few games of chess during the hackathon. I was hoping for a few easy wins. I have played about 10 games. I think I managed to win just 2, and somehow draw 1 game. I lost the rest. I’m glad this was a hackathon and not a chess tournament. My rating would be seriously decreased. 😅


tags: commons - event - photo - wikimedia