Hackathon Hackers’ Data:

General Analysis

Hackathon Hackers (HH) has become the biggest Facebook group for hackathon attendees. Currently, it has over 18k members. It is a place to discuss hackathons, tech news, college, high school, and dank memes. HH has 53 public subgroups that are active and closely related to hackathons that HH recognizes them as affiliated with them. Alex Kern, a HH admin, collected all of the interactions on HH and the affiliated groups, and made the results public. The time range for this data is 7/1/2014–8/20/2015. Alex only collected information from public HH affiliated groups. The content wasn’t created in real time, so it does not include deleted posts. It includes information about members’ likes, comments, and posts. There are so many ways to slice this data. I started with looking at trends over time, and visualize the subgroups by size.

Over all time

How has the Hackathon Hackers group ecosystem grown over the past year? The below graph is the total content grouped by month. It seems as though there was a peak around January. This might correlate with winter break. But, it could also be actually the manifestation of a hype cycle.

The last point (August, 2015) actually only contained 20 days of interaction for the month because the data set was downloaded from Facebook’s group on August 20th. So, their count is lower in this graph than it is in real life. If it is going through a hype cycle, the trough of disillusionment is shallow.

Hype cycle

If so, we shouldn’t see a slow down in the amount of interactions in the coming months.

Another plausible explanation is the lull in content is correlated with hackathon season. If this is correct, the amount of content per month should increase this fall. We can’t know until after January.

Weekly patterns

I wanted to see if HH members changed their general interaction patterns depending on the day of the week. This graph below shows just that. From this graph, it looks like HHers find something else to do on the weekend than post on HH.

Daily patterns

Now, that I knew HH activity was highly dependent on day of the week, I wanted to investigate the activity associated with hour of the day.

The above graph shows the general trend. HHers don’t talk as much between 3AM-8AM Central time. This could be attributed to the high percentage of US and Canadian membership. The absolute lowest number of interactions are at 5 AM Central time. This graph proves that hackers may actually sleep at night.

Next, I split the content into posts and comments to see if there was a general lag between a post and comments. The results are below.

The graph shows that there is a dip in new posts created after 8PM central time. The dip is not carried over to the number of comments posted. This is interesting and suggests that either posts are more interesting after 8PM, and members have more interaction with them on average at that time. Or, the amount of content to comment on builds up throughout the day, and members comments exhaust that content until around 3AM when the number of posts and comments converge.


There are 53 public subgroups officially associated with Hackathon Hackers. The total HH ecosystem has 330,516 posts and comments. Hackathon Hackers has 243,468 posts and comments. That is 73.78% for all groups. But, what are the most active subgroups? The top 5 most active groups by number of posts and comments are HH Design, HH: What Are You Working On?, HH Hacker Problems, Hackathon Hackers EU, and HH iOS. Below shows the full list of groups and their corresponding total content.

All subgroups’ activity

These were my first passes at the Hackathon Hackers data set. Hopefully this was a good jumping off point for you to start your own dive into the data. If you’ve already started, what interesting insights have you found? What models have you made from it? You can link your posts in the comments below.

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