Give away rice and expand your vocab

Now discovered - a new way to pass time at work, while expanding your vocabulary and giving away rice!

Maybe it's because I've spent the better part of today intently reading last Sunday's New York Times Magazine on giving and philanthropy (focusing on the billionaires and millionaires out there), or my increasing irritation at Oprah, who has now crossed over into the land of reality TV with The Big Give, (that is a blog post all on its own), but it seems the Free Rice site perpetuates this new thought of, 'I give because it feels good for me to help poor people and aren't I a wonderful person because of it,' attitude that permeates our culture when it comes to giving.

I ask, can't we just help without getting anything in return? Apparently not -- below is the first question on the websites FAQs:

How does playing the vocabulary game at FreeRice help me?

Let's think about this for a second. There needs to be an answer on how the game is going to help you - a person who has the priviledge of time, a computer, and internet access -- with reasons like writing better papers, and being more effective at your job, before playing a free game that gives away food to end world hunger. Yikes. While I think the intent behind the site is big-hearted, if this is the way we have to get people to give, we're all in some serious trouble.




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3 Comments Have Been Posted


While I completely understand what you're saying and I agree that philantropy has become very "Feel-Good" centered, I think freerice is a great site. I use freerice to study for the SAT's because having some little motivating factor (like giving away rice) makes me stick with it and really try to do well. And really, what harm can trying to improve your vocabulary really do?

I've pretty much been

I've pretty much been against since I first heard of it. The owners of this site are saying "we have all this rice to give away, but we won't do it unless you make us." If you have food, which you don't want but so many people need, just give the stuff away. Why do you need to prove your "altruism" to others? A site to help us improve our vocabulary is nice, but why should someone else's dinner depend on my knowing what the heck "cudgel" means?

They don't have all the rice

They don't have all the rice already, and they don't say they do, either. You're helping them earn the money to buy the rice by answering quiz questions. Every time you answer a question, a new ad is loaded at the bottom of the page, and they get more money. It says so at the bottom of each page, and in the FAQ. I assume all the extra money (pageloads from wrong answers) goes to paying server and maintenance costs.

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