Cards Against Humanity's surprisingly humane financial decision

Cards Against Humanity, the mildly evil card game, had a Christmas sale, where they released a season-themed booster pack at $pay-what-you-want. After the sales all came through, and they paid for production and expenses, they donated all the profits -- all of them -- to the Wikimedia Foundation, best known for being Wikipedia.

"From the outset we decided we wanted to give all the proceeds to charity and that made it more fun for us," said [co-creator Max] Temkin. "We weren't really worried about the bottom line, we were really able to do it as an experiment and do it in a great way."

After covering an assortment of costs including manufacturing, shipping and development they were left with $70,066.27 in profit, of which every cent was paid to the Wikimedia Foundation.

"We wanted to pick something we thought the users of our game of had heard of and believed in and used and we felt like Wikipedia is pretty unique in terms of having universal appeal," said Temkin. "It's something that helps a lot of people of all different classes and levels of education in different places all around the world … We also support the social mission of Wikipedia."

(Bracketed notes mine, unbracketed the Guardian's)

I still haven't gotten the chance to play Cards Against Humanity, and I'm still not totally sure I like its hipster-awful ethos, but I absolutely approve of this decision.

Wikipedia editors' cool new toy has instructed me to be jealous, and I am.  The top 100 editors at Wikipedia are being granted access to JSTOR, for free.  Normally, only universities are allowed this privilege. This cooperation is going to do even more to bolster Wikipedia's credibility -- as Fruzsina Eördögh at Slate puts it,

The online encyclopedia gets a bad rap for being at times inaccurate and easily prank-able; the joke goes that the sources listed are usually the top Google searches, not actual scholarly material. If Wikipedia articles become more well-known for citing scholarly journals, however, these criticisms have a real chance of becoming moot.

I have to admit, it's really fun to watch the academic community slowly torpedo the popular prejudice against crowd sourcing.  After all, the highest possible degree of public cooperation has always been the method that allowed academia to advance.  It's just been a very long time since the amount of cooperation that entailed changed much.

Charity Debt: The Wikimedia Foundation

I'm a few days late on picking a charity this month, partly because I forgot that, after Halloween, a new month started, and partly because the biggest issue that's been weighing on my mind is the election.  I'd love to give a contribution to the Obama campaign, but it's kind of pointless to promise to donate money sometime in the indeterminate future to help a campaign that will be over tomorrow.  For a similar reason, I'm not donating to Hurricane Sandy relief, although I do have the Red Cross, or other emergency relief organizations, in mind for a future pick. I picked the Wikimedia Foundation for this month, the people behind Wikipedia, partly because I've meant to donate to them for a long time now.  I think that Wikipedia is one of humankind's great achievements -- on a sort of second-tier, alongside stuff like the scientific journal or public education, but not on level with the printing press or the internet.  I get a lot of use out of Wikipedia, and it's important to me.

I also picked them because the organization I was going to donate to,, doesn't show up on Charity Navigator -- instead, when you search for them, one of the results is the Wikimedia Foundation, which has 4 out of 4 stars.  Public Knowledge has been open in a tab on my computer for about two weeks, I keep meaning to look into them.  I still plan on investigating further, but the fact that they aren't on Charity Navigator kind of sketches me out.

As usual, I won't be able to make this donation for a while.  (I've got a lot to get through before this one comes up in line.)  If you want the list, click here.  And, here's a video of Jimmy Wales at TED talking about Wikipedia.