Hacker Trivia Night

Hack the planet. Frag the man. Free the world.

A gamified computer education event awarding cash donations to community beneficiaries in need.

Frequently Asked Questions

Beneficiaries Donors Players

Get answers to common questions about Hacker Trivia Night on this page.

For beneficiaries

I don’t believe I can win a hacking competition; should I still apply?

Yes! Remember, you don’t have to win. Any winning team that has declared you as their beneficiary when they signed up wins on your behalf.

You are more than welcome to both become a beneficiary and register a team to try and win. However, you are also encouraged you inform your members, patrons, constituencies, friends, neighbors, and community that they can win money on your behalf simply by playing Hacker Trivia Night. The more independent teams that sign up to play and declare you as their beneficiary, the better your chances of winning.

Please remember, however, that collusion between teams is strictly forbidden. Independent teams who are discovered sharing solutions to challenges will be disqualified. Please play fair!

How can I get teams to choose me as their beneficiary?

Our best advice for this is simply to let them know they can! Announce your participation in your email newsletter, blog about it on your Web site, and post about it on social media. The more effectively you mobilize your community, the better your chances of teams signing up to support you.

How do I become a Hacker Trivia Night beneficiary?

The process to become a Hacker Trivia Night beneficiary begins by submitting the Hacker Trivia Night Beneficiary Application form. We will ask you for some basic information about your organization or group, as well as for contact information so that we can get in touch with you.

Applying is free, quick, and easy.

Once you have submitted your application, you may need to be patient! We process applications in batches, and Hacker Trivia Night competitions are often themed. This means it may take us a while to get back to you about your application. Moreover, the fact of the matter is that we do make subjective decisions about which potential beneficiaries we confirm based on our political beliefs, but in general we aim for broad inclusion among those in need.

Please be responsive during the confirmation process, as we may need to reach out to you one or more times. We will always be very clear about our timeline, but please know that we often have to make decisions quickly and that there is a limited amount of funds and thus beneficiary slots per competition.

My team(s) won! When will I see my winnings?

Extremely soon! During the confirmation process, we will verify your payout information so that we can send you the collected donations as soon as we can. The exact amount of time this takes depends largely on our crowdfunding platform; it can take several business days for funds to be transferred, but fear not, they are on the way!

For donors

Can I compete if I’ve also donated to the prize pool?

Yes! In fact, we encourage it! Competing is the only way you can influence who the donations will go to support. Plus, it’s educational, free, and fun.

For players

Can I compete without donating?

Yes! Hacker Trivia Night is always free to play. You are welcome to compete even if you do not donate to the prize pool.

However, please consider making a donation of any amount if you can afford it, especially if you are going to play.

Even a small donation helps make this event better and, ultimately, helps the beneficiaries who really need it. Also, our team spends considerable effort to produce events like these and we cannot continue to run them without financial contributions from people just like you.

You may also play Hacker Trivia Night without declaring a beneficiary, but in this case any points you earn are effectively wasted, as your team will be omitted from the final calculations. We encourage you to do the right thing and put your work to good use by choosing a beneficiary when you register!

Do I have to be a hacker to play or win?

No! In a way, everyone who plays is already a hacker, because we are creatively solving a problem together. That’s all hacking really means, at its root.

Hacker Trivia Night is intentionally designed to be open and accessible to complete beginners, because part of its purpose is to introduce the general public to foundational computer security principles and practices in a fun, engaging way. While experienced hackers or security engineers will undoubtedly have an advantage during gameplay, most of them may find the game rather tame in comparison to what they are used to. This is intentional: we are not trying to show off, we are trying to help the general public learn more about how computer systems.

That means Hacker Trivia Night is a fantastic way to get started learning about computer security, even if you have no prior experience in the field. What’s more, the fact that you will simultaneously be helping raise funds for community organizations that need the support means that no matter how well you do, your participation will be appreciated and celebrated!

If you find that you had a lot of fun and want to know more, read more about how Tech Learning Collective offers affordable and equally fun online education and training courses and workshops.

How can I improve my skills?

The best way to improve your hacking and general computer skills is to attend a Tech Learning Collective workshop.

Tech Learning Collective is an apprenticeship-based technology school operated exclusively by radical queer and femme technologists providing a security-first IT infrastructure curriculum to its students. Tech Learning Collective is also one of the organizations behind the Hacker Trivia Night benefit project.

The educational materials provided by Tech Learning Collective are directly relevant to Hacker Trivia Night challenges, as well as to cybersecurity challenges “in real life,” whether at home or at work. Tech Learning Collective’s workshop events are a low-commitment, low-cost way to get a feel for our more intensive courses as well as meet some of our teaching team.

Tech Learning Collective also produces numerous free resources in our online “Foundations” courses. However, nothing can compare to learning directly from a teacher whom you can actually see and ask questions of in real time, so come to a Tech Learning Collective workshop before the next game!

Learn more about Tech Learning Collective.

How do I choose who my winnings will go to?

When you register to compete in a Hacker Trivia Night competition, you will be asked to enter the names and email addresses of your team’s players. Simply fill one of your team’s player slots with the name and email address of your chosen beneficiary to make sure your points are awarded to that beneficiary.

You can see a list of the beneficiaries selected for any given Hacker Trivia Night competition on the specific competition event’s page. The upcoming competition’s beneficiaries are also listed in the sidebar on every page of this Web site. Both the beneficiary’s name and <email address> is shown.

Click through to visit each beneficiary’s Web site and agree on your selection with your teammates. Don’t forget to include them in your team roster when you register on the game site.

You may also choose more than one beneficiary, in which case your earnings will be evenly split amongst all your chosen beneficiaries.