FAQ (Thus Far)

Q: What is Hack && Tell?

H&&T is a show and tell style meetup for hackers!

Events are structured such that 8—10 hackers give 5 minute long presentations on something they built, and then respond to Q&A for 5 more minutes.

Presentations of almost any kind of hack are encouraged, but we do not allow 1) startup pitches or 2) work projects.

We want to promote the projects that people do in their spare time, for fun, or utility, and not the kinds of projects that are only applicable to people who work in your company, or your direct clients. On the other hand, there may be a project that you've built primarily at work, that solves a *general* problem that your company has allowed you to release with a libre license -- this is usually fine.

Q: What is a hacker?

We go by the old school definition according to RFC 1392: A person who delights in having an intimate understanding of the internal workings of a system, computers and computer networks in particular.

That's it.

A person who (1) delights in (2) having an intimate understanding of (3) the internal workings of a system, (4) computers and computer networks in particular.

Q: Do you have to already have an intimate understanding of the internal workings of a system?

NO! All we ask is that you enjoy exploring and learning more than you have to just to get by. It's as simple as that.

You don't have to be employed as a developer.

You don't have to be an expert.

You don't have to be a genius.

You don't have to have a CS degree, or any degree at all.

If you DELIGHT in having an intimate understanding of the internal workings of a system, computers and computer networks in particular, you are a hacker!

Yes, you are.

Q: Could I start a Hack && Tell in <city>?

Yep! We will tell you how after we cover the code of conduct.


Why do we need a CODE OF CONDUCT?

We want everyone to be able to focus on enjoying exploring neat technical hacks without the distraction of worrying about whether or not we've got your back. We want to send a strong signal that we're here, and we're paying attention, and we care about creating a safe space where everyone can focus on what we're all here to show off and learn more about - the hacks!

If you have more questions about codes of conduct, you can read more here.


Code of Conduct

Hack && Tell is a community of hackers. A welcoming community. A community that appreciates and encourages open inquiry. A community that celebrates bending rules. If you are a hacker, please come join us!

We want this community to be fun, safe, and welcoming for every attendee. Because we all come from different backgrounds, we want to be concrete about what sorts of behaviors jeopardize the warmth of our community and are therefore unacceptable. This code of conduct applies to all Hack && Tell spaces, including our mailing lists and any related social events.

Social Rules

An important part of removing obstacles to a great community is having a small set of social rules. The Recurse Center's manual does a great job defining these, so we've forked parts for this section.

The rules are intended to be lightweight, and to make more explicit certain social norms that are normally implicit. Most of our social rules really boil down to "don't be a jerk" or "don't be annoying." Of course, almost nobody sets out to be a jerk or annoying, so telling people not to be jerks isn't a very productive strategy. That's why our social rules are designed to curtail specific behavior we've found to be destructive to a supportive, productive, and fun learning environment.

No feigning surprise. The first rule means you shouldn't act surprised when people say they don't know something. This applies to both technical things ("What?! I can't believe you don't know what the stack is!") and non-technical things ("You don't know who RMS is?!"). Feigning surprise has absolutely no social or educational benefit: When people feign surprise, it's usually to make them feel better about themselves and others feel worse. And even when that's not the intention, it's almost always the effect.

No well-actually's A well-actually happens when someone says something that's almost - but not entirely - correct, and you say, "well, actually…" and then give a minor correction. This is especially annoying when the correction has no bearing on the actual conversation. This doesn't mean we aren't about truth-seeking or that we don't care about being precise. Almost all well-actually's in our experience are about grandstanding, not truth-seeking.

No subtle -isms Our last social rule bans subtle racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and other kinds of bias. This one is different from the rest, because it covers a class of behaviors instead of one very specific pattern.

Subtle -isms are small things that make others feel uncomfortable, things that we all sometimes do by mistake. For example, saying "It's so easy my grandmother could do it" is a subtle -ism. Like the other three social rules, this one is often accidentally broken. Like the other three, it's not a big deal to mess up – you just apologize and move on.

If you see a subtle -ism at Hack && Tell, you can point it out to the relevant person, either publicly or privately, or you can ask one of the organizers to say something. After this, we ask that all further discussion move off of public channels. If you are a third party, and you don't see what could be biased about the comment that was made, feel free to talk to the organizers. Please don't say, "Comment X wasn't homophobic!" Similarly, please don't pile on to someone who made a mistake. The "subtle" in "subtle -isms" means that it's probably not obvious to everyone right away what was wrong with the comment.


Hack && Tell does not tolerate harassment in any form.

Harassment includes (but is not limited to) offensive comments related to gender, gender identity, gender presentation, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, nationality, or religion; sexual images in public spaces; deliberate intimidation, stalking, or following; harassing photography or recording; sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact or unwelcome sexual attention.


If you are being harassed in a Hack && Tell space, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact the organizers immediately (either grab one of us in person, or send us an email at nyc@hackandtell.org). You do *not* need to be the target of harassment to speak up. Making Hack && Tell the best possible community is everyone's responsibility.

If an incident is reported during an event, the organizers will be happy to help participants contact venue security or local law enforcement, provide escorts, or otherwise assist those experiencing harassment to feel safe for the duration of the event.

We will respect confidentiality requests for the purpose of protecting victims of abuse. At our discretion, we may publicly name a person about whom we’ve received harassment complaints, or privately warn third parties about them, if we believe that doing so will increase the safety of Hack && Tell members or the general public. We will not name harassment victims without their affirmative consent.


Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately.

If a participant engages in harassing behavior, the organizers may take any action they deem appropriate, up to and including expulsion from all Hack && Tell spaces and events and identification of the participant as a harasser to other Hack && Tell members or the general public.


Set. One. Up.

To start, go to meetup.com and set up a page for the event. We use meetup for most of the community resources, like a mailing list and the rsvp system.

Beyond what meetup offers, you still need three things: a location, presenters, and attendees.


Some H&&T's host each event in a single place and others move around, depending on space availability. Some hosts provide food & drinks, which H&&T welcomes, but it is not a requirement.

To say thanks, we offer the host a few minutes to speak to the audience about their company and hiring needs. This is the only sponsorship opportunity H&&T provides.


To get presenters, we email a Call For Presenters (CFP) to the mailing list.

A CFP serves a few purposes: 1) it lets people know an event is coming up soon by inviting them to speak, 2) shares a link to a form for submitting a talk proposal, and 3) collects extra data about the potential presenters.

We create the submission form with Google Forms. Each question in the form maps to a column in a Google Sheet and each row represents a proposal. We use the form to ask for the following information:

It is important to follow up with each proposal and state clearly whether or not it was accepted for the next event.

After The Event

We follow up the event with a wrap-up email. This email's purpose is to thank the host for providing space and to enumerate the presentations. The content from the propsal submission form, ie. the hack's description and author's name, is super handy here.