No idea ever gets too popular without a bit of a backlash. And now this is happening to the once-obscure civic hackathon. Just a few years ago, such app-developing marathons were rare, and the idea behind them sounded even stranger: Who would willingly give up a weekend to code municipal data for free? As it turns out, lots of people. And lots of governments, from City Hall to the White House, have embraced the model as a way to connect to a younger generation of residents, and to leverage their (free) tech skills.
Now the critique, in particularly blunt language, is coming from the former chief technology officer of the tech-friendly city of Seattle. Bill Schrier writes on his personal blog this week that hackathons and the like were "kinda cool" when they were new in 2008.