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Old 2018-06-02, 21:07   #1
jasong
 
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Default If you were expected to work, but not expected to get a job or pay, what would be good things to do?

For a long time, I've wanted to a be student of science and math. My original goal a decade or more ago was to learn enough physics and chemistry and programming and whatnot to make a decent BOINC project. I still don't know what I'd study, but it seems like everybody everywhere is putting something into the knowledge base of humanity, and you never really know what would ultimately be found useful.

I know it'll take me multiple years to learn enough to give back to the scientific community, and I'm okay with that.

One of the things that really excited me years ago were these online collaborative programs where people would do work live on the same project. I have a picture in my head of using one of these tools as a blackboard and there'd be a teacher writing on the blackboard and I could point to the parts that are giving me trouble. Honestly, I thought tablet computers that use stylus input would be way more common now, and that the tablets would be more sensitive to input. Oh, well, I also thought that there'd be 100% text-based cell phones for poor people who couldn't afford regular cell phones. F*** the rich CEOs who can definitely afford to make that happen.

Anyway, since there are a lot of college students and professors on here, maybe you guys know of a computer program, or "human" program I could benefit from?
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Old 2018-06-03, 08:12   #2
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Isn't that what the GIMPS project and Mersenne forum are?
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Old 2018-06-03, 13:39   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasong View Post
If you were expected to work, but not expected to get a job or pay, what would be good things to do?
https://opensource.guide/how-to-contribute/

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Old 2018-06-03, 14:44   #4
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Old 2018-06-03, 23:20   #5
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Thanks, I'll take a look.
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Old 2018-06-04, 03:46   #6
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The section
https://opensource.guide/how-to-cont...-to-contribute
is especially important. A person who does good documentation is worth two people who write good code, because there aren't enough people doing (good) documentation in open-source land.
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Old 2018-06-04, 04:20   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xyzzy View Post
I looked at that briefly.
The last couple of years I have been involved in the development of a real world app and web interface for work (with the local Uni's Comp Sci dept.).
I can really agree that there are several things that non-coders can do contribute:
  • interface design - huge!
  • documentation (in the code and the user manual) are important
  • testing and QA (the local Uni comp sci student that was working on it for us has CP and was able to contribute).
  • interfacing with the user base and recording bugs and feature requests. (Our github had dozens of issues open at different times. A non-coder could have worked to prioritize the focus of the coders).
    • This includes initial scoping of the project at the beginning of the project (you can be a tech savvy person and do this without being a coder.)
Also, there are a number of things that people can do.
https://www.zooniverse.orgCitizen science at work. If you have a device that can interface with the website, you can help. (Nice story of one of the contributors here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanny%27s_Voorwerp).
Volunteer at a local institution (libraries, museum, etc.). There are things that tech savvy folks can do to help (setting up spreadsheets, databases, finding apps that provide solutions, setting-up websites, etc.). Here is a nice story how a volunteer 'working in the stacks' helped find the earliest evidence of an exoplanet (https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=6991).
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Old 2018-06-04, 12:21   #8
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Quote:
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  • interfacing with the user base and recording bugs and feature requests. (Our github had dozens of issues open at different times. A non-coder could have worked to prioritize the focus of the coders).
    • This includes initial scoping of the project at the beginning of the project (you can be a tech savvy person and do this without being a coder.)
If you can herd cats, maybe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncwilly View Post
Also, there are a number of things that people can do.
https://www.zooniverse.orgCitizen science at work. If you have a device that can interface with the website, you can help. (Nice story of one of the contributors here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanny%27s_Voorwerp).
Volunteer at a local institution (libraries, museum, etc.). There are things that tech savvy folks can do to help (setting up spreadsheets, databases, finding apps that provide solutions, setting-up websites, etc.). Here is a nice story how a volunteer 'working in the stacks' helped find the earliest evidence of an exoplanet (https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=6991).
Oh yeah, these are great!
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Old 2018-06-04, 13:24   #9
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Quote:
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If you can herd cats, maybe.
Herding cats isn't that hard. No more difficult than herding chickens IME.
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Old 2018-06-04, 15:31   #10
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Herding cats isn't that hard. No more difficult than herding chickens IME.
Swine can be quite challenging.
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Old 2018-06-04, 16:39   #11
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Closest thing that comes to mind is housework.
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