SocHack: Social Hacking in Poland

SocHack is an initiative of loosely-linked coalition of NGOs and hacktivists (on-board for the first installment, among many others, were the Polish FLOSS Foundation, BRAMA Mobile Technologies Lab, the Warsaw Hackerspace and TechSoup), aiming at bringing social hacking (understood as “hacking about with technology to bring social change and further social agendas”) to Poland. The idea is to organize and promote social hacking events (mainly hackathons) semi-regularly, and to connect social activists (from NGOs, for example) with technology hacktivists and generally technical people.

The first instalment - under a double aegis of Random Hacks of Kindness and Open Data Day - was held in the beginning of December, 2011. We had about 70 participants, including some 20 social activists and around 50 technical people; that went on to become 10 projects, of which 8 made it through the 48-hour hacking marathon and were able to show some prototypes of technical tools created to tackle social issues.

Next instalment is planned somewhere in the spring, March probably. We are unable to do it more often, as it’s organised and run completely by volunteers - nobody receives any compensation for their work on SocHack.

Social Hacking !!!

Bonjour, Bienvenue à Edgeryders

C’est la première fois que j’entends que des hackers piratent pour des projets sociaux, est que vous êtes les premières à cette expérience, ou c’est une expérience d’un autre pays ou d’un autre organisme ?

Vous allez faire 10 projets sociaux, est que vous pouvez nous expliquer ces projets en détail ?

Ce n’est pas mieux de partager entre vous " les Polonais " des projets qui vous conviennent a votre pays et a votre culture, que d’apporter des projets qui ne peuvent pas être la réponse ou la solution de vos besoins et de votre environnement ?

Ce n’est pas mieux de trouver la richesse entre vous avec des plate-forme comme Edgeryders ?

Merci pour votre mission report, c’est très intéressant

Ils ne piratent pas du tout!

Ils ne sont pas de pirates, ils sont des hackers:

En français est un peu dur !!!

Je l’ai compris dans le sens mal alors :slight_smile:

En français ils utilisent toujours dans un sens de " Pirate "

Mais j’aimerais bien qu’elle nous explique bien leurs projets et comment ce mobilisent.

Merci Alberto pour cette remarque

The correct recommended translation in French

Jamel, vous avez très bien compris. Et vous avez utilisé le bon terme en français. Alberto is not aware of the correct terminology and translation recommended by the official institutions responsible for the French language in Francophonie. Le français était la 4ième ou 5ième langue parlée par Alberto, il faut l’excuser s’il s’y perd un peu…

According to the Grand dictionnaire terminologique de l’Office québécois de la langue française, the word ‘hacking’ translates - for a computer sciences application - as ‘piratage informatique’. Theferore, ‘hackers’, in French, would be ‘pirate informatique’ or simply the word ‘pirate’.

Hackers is not a French word. And I would not recommend using it in the French language. Although it is a real trend, in France, to mix a lot of English words with the French language, this practice, over time, may result in a lost language.

shed light on connotations for “hackers”

It’s funny, up until now I also thought hacking is always used pejoratively, but apparently not. “hacking for democracy” may have sounded like an oxymoron to me, not anymore.

“Hacker est un mot très souvent mal utilisé. Dans sa signification relayée par les médias de masse, il se réfère aux Black Hats (Crackers ou autres pirates informatiques). Ce terme a cependant de multiples significations, et n’est que rarement péjoratif :” (Wikipedia)

technologically very skilled people can put their knowledge into creating new spaces which are beneficial for social change.

Yes, the word “hacker” was used at first to denote technically skilled people, finding fun in using the technology and pushing it to the edge (pun intended).

Unfortunately,w e all know how media work - they get the easiest and most sensational stories out. So, usually when they were talking about technology, they were talking about break-ins, about bringing sites or services down - that’s where the scandal is. Obviously, people doing such break-ins were hackers - as they did find fun in technology, were proficient and pushed it to the edge, and over it.

Those were just a small part of the whole hacker community. But because of this mechanisms, because of media visibility of only the “bad” hackers (I’ll get back to the “bad” in a sec), the word has been hijacked and started meaning something completely different in the public mind.

Now, to the “bad hacker” - one cannot even say that those people that break-in into sites are allways bad! See,many are trying to push the tech to the edge, test the security for the kicks of it. And they even more often than not notify the admins about the vulnerabilities. Hence, they are actually able to help!

But again, because of many psychological mechanisms (“nobody will tell me my site is insecure!”) and botched law, such “good” hackers that break-in and try to inform the admins very often land in jails. This, obviously, does not encourage them to do it - as in, to inform and help the admins fix the vulnerabilities. So yet again, only the bad apples are visible. I.e. those, that break-in, do not help the admins, and actually destroy something or steal information.

And here’s the kicker: such breaking and “stealing” information still can be actually good. Think about how Telecomix got out the info about Syrian censorship. :slight_smile:

So, next time you hear about “hackers”, remember about all this.

Yes, but SocHack?

Fully agree, Rysiek!

Er… about 10 comments above Noemi and I were asking some questions, as we are curious about SocHack. Do you have anything for us? :slight_smile:

That was the easiest comment to answer, hence it was the first to get my answer. The first two comments - yes, I know about them and am trying to gather information and sources. I will definitely post more info, but I want it to be as complete and truthful, as possible.

SocHack was a big endeavour, about 30 people engaged in organisation and behind the scenes. So I need to get their stories, their data, maybe get them actually to sign-up and comment here. Working on it.

Oh, and we have a date of 2nd SocHack: March 10-11, 2012, during the Open Education Week. Topic of this SocHack - Education, obviously.

You can reach us through open-source and de-centralised social networks (which are the preferred choice here), Diaspora, and the other, closed social networks which you all already know, and of which I shall not speak. :wink:

Wrong day!

Haha wrong day to follow links. So many websites on SOPA strike :slight_smile:


Hello rysiek, that sounds like great work and great fun, much in the line of Social Innovation Camp, if I get it  right! Big congratulations! We awarded you 400 reputation points on the spot :slight_smile:

Now, can we have a little more information? I checked the website, but all I get is a page of explanation. Do you have a link to the projects, and to theior authors? Which problems were tackled? Who showed up? Did you see any new alliances between tech people and social people?

Other support from public and governments?

thank you @rysiek for opening the floor on this one. A lot of interesting examples followed Random Hacks of Kindness event, I particularly enjoyed that one on “Where’s that bike path?!” and the question that follows on my part is:

How did these initiatives evolve? do you see results already? is there public acceptance and recognition of these efforts? what about at local/national government level? is it common to try partnering with institutions, have them endorsing such projects?

Thanks again and if I can help volunteering in any way, let me know : ) I’m no activist, but would like to take up causes like the one above!


Nice to see Poland on the move

I have been following the efforts in Poland and was extremely impressed by the open data day efforts.  What were your takeaways from the event?

Sorry for not getting back to you on that; you can read the summary of the second event we had about a week ago here:

New Edgeryders who wants to set up FLOSS in Bosnia

Hi Rysiek,

I’d like to introduce you to Kerminator who is trying to set up a FLOSS NGO in Bosnia…maybe you have some helpful advice?

Thanks! Also, you can read about the latest SocHack event in Poland (a week ago) in my reply to a comment below. :slight_smile:

I’ll try making a report off of it here, too (although man how I hate editing posts directly on websites… so clumsy and unweildy - and where is my spellcheck, darn it! is there a way to disable this HTML editor and go for pure good ole text?).

Disabling rich text

Yes, you can do it. Just click on “disable rich text” underneath the editing box, to your left. Then copy-paste your html code and save, voilà! :slight_smile:

Nice. Finally. Thanks a lot, that was a source of a lot of frustration. No idea how I missed this link. :slight_smile:

Very cool!

Reading through the site now and just shared with my friends on Facebook and Twitter.  Very cool, very well done!