Affero Community
Random Hacks of Kindness Newsletter

Volume #5 | May 2003
Are you one of the millions of individuals who turn to the Internet to provide valuable content represented by posts in help forums, email, web logs (blogs), research, newsletters, articles and other forms of digital media? YES?? Well then you are guilty of committing "random hacks of kindness". Alright, hands behind your back! Just kidding...  

So you say you author online content? Good job! Did you know you can tag it with Affero's service to enable consumers of this content to thank you quickly and easily through ratings, comments and donations to causes you support?  Pretty great huh?  Each transaction is recorded in your public user history which builds your reputation. So everyone can see what a wonderful supportive individual you are!

We would like to recognize a few kind individuals that do good work, provide a fix to that annoying bug, raise awareness about a socially relevant topic and also those that took the time to say "Hey THANKS". Below are some of the comments Affero members have made to recognize the help and information they received.

"Superb guidance on wireless networks from finegan and he's always there with a friendly comment too :) Good work sir!"

"This is the best site I've seen as of yet regarding GNU/Linux. It's perfect for us newbies. I've been looking at other sites but most of them are for advanced users and assumes that we already know much about GNU/Linux. Thanks for this great site!"
  • 05.23.03 - tracbttz recognized the support from lisamarie and donated $20 to Mold Across America on her behalf.

"When I didn't know where else to turn, You were there. When I didn't know what else I could do, again, you were there. My family has come a very long way and has a lot further to go, but we likely would not have gotten this far without you, your information and support. Lisa we owe you everything we have(left) and more."

This Affero thing sounds cool - how can I get an account you say?? Well look no further than here --> JOIN .  It's quick & easy and soon you too will have the ability to enable others to show their respects when you help them.  And hey, consider leaving a nice word behind when someone helps you too.  We could all use a bit more kindness :)
wiki Newsworthy Hack of Kindness:

Wikipedia is an international, open content, collaboratively developed encyclopedia. As of May 2003, it covers a vast spectrum of subjects and has over 129,000 articles in English as well as over 75,000 articles in other languages.

See the Sourceforge Page Here

This month we recognize Wikipedia as our featured open source project.  As outlined on their website, there are three essential characteristics of the Wikipedia project, which together define its niche on the World Wide Web and make it unique:

  • First and foremost, the Wikipedia project is self-consciously an encyclopedia. That means, that it covers human knowledge in depth and in breadth and is not a dictionary, online discussion forum, or similar.

  • The project is also essentially and self-consciously a wiki , which allows for general public authorship and editing of any page. Wikipedia is the first serious general encyclopedia to be developed using a wiki system. While Wikipedia has altered much of the original culture which surrounds WikiWikiWebs for the purpose of creating an encyclopedia, it continues to retain the community-managed and -built aspects of them.

  • Also essential to the project and its success is the fact that it is open content. Open content text and media are licensed by the copyright holder to the general public, permitting anyone to redistribute and alter the text free of charge, and guaranteeing that no one will be able to restrict access to amended versions of the content. The participants' understanding that their efforts will be freely distributable is one of the main incentives they have to participate. Wikipedia uses the copyleft license GFDL ; see Wikipedia:Copyrights for the details.
Wikipedia, like Nupedia (another free encyclopedia project), is supported by free software exponent Richard Stallman and the Free Software Foundation; Stallman is one of the people who articulated the usefulness of a "free universal encyclopedia" before Wikipedia and Nupedia were founded (see his essay online, The Free Universal Encyclopedia and Learning Resource)

For all of you that still think the term "Hack" has a negative connotation - please read the definition in The Jargon File 4.3.3 , which states that a hack is "an incredibly good, and perhaps very time consuming piece of work that produces exactly what is needed."  Don't confuse a hacker with a cracker :)

Know of a Hack of Kindness that you want to share with us for consideration in the next newsletter? Send it to:

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"A kind and compassionate act is often its own reward."
Author: William John Bennett