WirVsVirus Event Notes

The #WirVsVirus hackathon was reportedly organised in 4 days, and by the time it finished there were over 44,000 registered users on Slack, and officially 1500 projects submitted. Rising out of the tsunami of government announcements, lockdowns, and cancelled flights, the German government and seven organisations rallied to put up a website and make a call out to the whole of Germany. They were successful beyond their wildest imagination, with participants from outside the country’s borders joining.

It is an event that demonstrates the creative forces of the hivemind is already emerging to meet the havoc that a mindless virus can cause.

Event Overview

The #WirVsVirus event stats are: 43,000 registrations 1900 godmothers for challenges 2900 mentors 27,000 active users on the platform 13,000 profiles at Devpost 1,500 submitted projects 100 projects from the ministries 464,866 slack messages (and counting…)

Supporting organisations who offered their infrastructure included AWS, IBM, Microsoft, CERN, AuthO, RedHat, and many other heavyweights in the tech industry.


The Germans will

During the event


How I was involved

I was invited by a friend who was supporting the hackathon with his startup, Kineo.AI. He had asked me to help with a blog post to explain their support, which was essentially offering participants access to the AWS ecosystem through their company account as well as the company’s machine learning modules. To join the event Slack channel, I registered as a mentor and browsed the channels to learn more about the event setup.

Though the event was mostly in German, the organisers already had a dedicated English channel, where people were translating instructions and information for participants like myself. This initiative is counters the typical experience of foreigners in Germany, known for linguistic national pride, and already made me feel welcomed. The English help channels proliferated into a help channel and translation channel.

On Day 1, I joined a project that someone had dropped in the translation channel, asking for UX copywriting support for multiple languages.

On Day 2, I began by trying to find English press information to link to messages I wanted to send to journalists, only to find the British flag on the event website yielded German. After asking around for information, I set up the Trello board to manage bugs and copywriting change requests.

When the event finished, I helped Kineo do an event summary post that was picked up by a journalist at Euractive.


The #WirVsVirus hackathon was a surprise success. When Western nations were beginning to adjust to being locked at home, over fourty thousand people gathered on Slack to spend a meaningful weekend.

Other resources to get involved in: