I co-organise1 a hackathon called ZuriHac that takes place in June every year. Last year when the pandemic hit, we had the choice to cancel the event or hold it online.
We tried to find some guidance on how to organise virtual events, but there wasn't much out there that we could apply. Most of the information was (and still is) geared towards conferences, often with a focus on corporate events.
Hackathons are different enough from conferences that we had to come up with our own approach. Here are some notes on what we learned.
You can jump straight down to the conclusions, but here is some context on the hackathon itself. I think that our learnings might only apply to you if you're trying to achieve similar goals. If you're organising a conference with a lot of talks, or a professional networking-plus-salespitch event, then your choices in structure, technology, and content will look very different.
Apart from just getting people together, we also try to make sure there are a bunch of interesting things to do at ZuriHac. This is what we want to replicate online.