Helping Out Without Code

March 4, 2014

There are many ways to help other people. Extraordinary ways to help include things like volunteering time, donating money, and conserving energy. We all help each other frequently in these ways. Donations have become such a large part of our lives, that we see advertisements for them on TV. We can claim a tax deduction on them. They help people in grave need, who are in truly desperate situations in life. They’re great.

But there is another, truly under-appreciated way of helping others which takes little time and costs little money. It’s something anyone can do, at any time: Editing Wikipedia. And more generally, contributing writing such as encyclopedic edits or technical documentation is an oft-thankless job. Students, employees, and countless others count on the information contributed by volunteers. The information helps people in a way that simple dollars can have a difficult time doing: it helps them learn.

Doing something like editing Wikipedia is a great way to help the world. I recently edited the Wikipedia article for my university, RIT.

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I updated demographic information. The references the article cited were dead links, and the numbers (including percentages) reflected quite old numbers. It took about 30 minutes to do, and seems insignificant, but this small edit may influence people who think about the school. It serves humanity to make sure we’re all aware of the latest information…that is the very purpose of communication! So editing Wikipedia is awesome. Give it a try!

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