EDITORS NOTE: In 2024, I’ve introduced Guest Post Saturdays. If you’re interested in contributing, please reach out! Today’s guest post from community member George, who excels at automation, charity, and is an expert at bridging gaps. Donations for the 501(c)(3) non-profit Girls on Fire can be made online.

One thing I like to do in my free time, when I’m not working at my 9-5, churning, MSing, writing and sharing automation scripts for MSing, or going on trips because of churning and MSing, is mentoring student robotics teams. 

Trust me, I’m going somewhere with this, and it’s probably not where you think.

You may or may not be familiar with FIRST, which is a global robotics community preparing young people for the future. My favorite thing about it isn’t the robots or the coding or the competitions but how diverse the program attempts to be in what it teaches. They say they are “more than robots,” and that’s definitely true. 

One concept I particularly have learned to love is coopertition, which fosters innovation by promoting unqualified kindness and respect in the face of intense competition. I have been inspired by watching teams help each other during competitions and by helping other teams myself. Imagine Duke helping Carolina in the middle of the Final 4. Anyway, if you want to learn more, get in touch.

Now, here’s where I’m going: we should be more like these kids. We should cooperate.

Yes, there are reasons to be secretive in this game. It’s possible that if you give too much away, your plays will die out. However, have we run out of plays yet? Don’t new ones pop up all the time?

I’m not recommending radical transparency, but I do think we should share more. Certainly the more private and insular the group, especially if they are paid groups, the more information there is being shared. However, what credit unions were good for PPBP or what banks take credit card funding are still the kind of thing people often hold close to the vest. And again, yes, one just stopped allowing $15,000 in credit card funding pretty quickly after offering it, and that was probably our fault. But was that going to last forever without us? At least one person reports they were told that it was offered because of us.

Personally, I’ve found that at the right time and in the right venue, revealing sensitive information has come back to me positively multiple times over. Indeed, isn’t that the usual thinking when it comes to charity? Maybe you believe sometimes what you receive in return is some kind of “karma,” but sometimes, you get a new play from the person you helped.

Here’s what I recommend: next time you see someone, maybe someone new, asking for help…. help them. Oh, and if it isn’t obvious, this doesn’t just relate to churning.

Establish trust, then maybe give them a tidbit you wouldn’t share publicly. Even if they share it later, the chances aren’t so high that it will get out into the DOC comments or Reddit or wherever and ruin it, and if nothing else, you will have done a good deed. You may even get something better in return.

Waiting for a Chase Ink card application to stop spinning already.