By: Derek Yu

On: November 12th, 2007

Free Rice

FreeRice is a website that tests your vocabulary, and for every word you get right, its many sponsors (Apple, American Express, Macy’s, etc.) will donate 10 grains of rice to the The United Nations World Food Program. To date, the site has donated 1.3 billion grains of rice, and the rate at which rice donations are growing each day reminds me of the chessboard story.

I always jump at the chance to improve my vocabulary, and it’s nice to know it’s contributing to something good. It’s fun, too! The site automatically adjusts its level based on how many correct/incorrect guesses you make. You viviparous stentor, you.

And coming up next: World of FreeRiceCraft. 10 grains of rice for every goblin smashed. You heard it here first!

  • Neon

    Bit slow on the uptake here or what? I saw this link some where a couple weeks ago.

    Oh well, it’s a for a good cause.

  • Derek

    Good for you, man. Tell Morpheus and Trinity I say hi.

  • toastie

    I heard free rice is good with tiger sauce.

  • Stwelin

    My friend donates over 10,000 a day (while we sit in computer class; It’s b-o-r-i-n-g.)

  • seth

    i like words

  • Melly

    World of FreeRiceCraft?

    You do realize that would end world hunger, don’t you?

    And yes, rice is awesome with TIGERSauce. Perhaps we should donate some bottles.

  • Stwelin

    What about FreePlumpynut?

  • FireSword

    If it’s true seems a good thing..
    Actually you have no tool to verify they really deliver the food..

    Everyday in europe tons of food (milk,eggs fish etc) goes in the trash(eansted to hungry people for not lower the market price.. what a world)
    I can barely imagine how much food is wasted in America.. Let’s hope arrive a lot of rice and ffs stop eating dolphins,sharks,turtles and whale u asian sick.os.. lol

  • Derek

    Firesword, that was a _really_ bad joke.

  • muted

    what joke?

  • Radix

    Site is a scam to boost your wordpower.

  • zepi

    I’ve been playing this game all week, and now my vocabulary is double plus good.

  • Mizumon

    Love the idea.

    … Yeah, I suck at word power, so I barely contribute any grains at all.

  • fartron

    Every time you get a word wrong, ten grains of rice are denied to impoverished children who need them.

  • fartron

    Also, not a registered charity, etc, etc.

  • Tinarg

    It’s too bad that the amount of rice donated does not increase with your current vocab level. The vocab level seems to cap at 50 so atleast the amount of grains donated could be equal to the vocab level…

  • Bobo

    Bonus points for the Newspeak reference, zepi.

  • Derek

    @fartron: I lol’d!

    Also, thank you for that article.

  • Twisted Rabbit


  • Kinten

    Even though I think the main purpose of this game is to raise awareness, I don’t really like the idea of sitting and playing arround in a game handing out 10 grains of rise at a time. I’m not donating anything, I’m having a bad day infront of the computer while people elsewhere starve to death. It just feels awkward and disrespectful.

  • Momo

    Stop trying to be funny, please.

  • Mischief Maker

    I’m just imagining a scowling man with wire-rimmed glasses and a pair of tweezers miserly doling out the grains of rice one-at-a-time to some starving child as I play the game. The child begs for more but he silences the child with a single finger raised, waiting for my answer to the next word before resuming.

    I hope I’m not actually feeding starving genocidal warlords scamming the UN or anything.

  • FireSword

    I wasn t joking.. wtf?

  • FireSword

    The fartron article made me think some more doubts… :(

  • someone

    What the hell? Why don’t they just donate all the rice they can instead of turning it into a sick game where you have to win in order to feed the poor people. Why not just feed them already instead of relying on people to win a game!? This isn’t a game, this is just sick.

  • someone

    I mean what’s next. Someone is going to make an counter terrorism FPS where for each rescue mission you complete, they’ll negotiate to release some person being held hostage by terrorists in real life? Okay, maybe it’s not that extreme but it is definitely pushing it.

  • b ooobooo


  • fartron

    >someone said about 19 hours later:
    >I mean what’s next. Someone is going to make an counter terrorism FPS where for each rescue mission you complete, they’ll negotiate to release some person being held hostage by terrorists in real life?

    Someone talks about themselves in the third person.

  • Gr.Viper

    C’mon, “Someone” is such common name…

  • Adam Atomic

    I for one can’t trust a man named “Breen,” not until I have proof that the Advisors are not involved…

  • Radnom

    The reason they get people to ‘play’ before they donate rice is to get people more involved in the cause. If it helps people get more people aware and willing to do something about world hunger, it can’t be too bad of a thing.

  • Stwelin

    @ Someone: if you took the time to read the FAQ, you’d realize they do not “have all this rice.” They use the money gained from advertisers to BUY it.

  • Someone (1)

    “Adam Atomic said about 20 hours later:

    I for one can’t trust a man named “Breen,” not until I have proof that the Advisors are not involved…”

    I laughed out loud.

  • Gr.Viper

    How do they gain money from paranoid Firefox+Adblock+NoScript users?

  • rinkuhero

    I think the reason some people in third world countries are starving is not because we don’t give them enough food but because of bad government policies in those countries and in the richer countries as well.

    For instance here in the US and in virtually every country in the world there are things called agricultural subsidies which are payments to farmers *not* to grow food: we pay people to grow less food so that food prices can remain high. Ridiculous. The cause of world poverty is mainly governments who use our taxes to give rewards to farmers to grow less food and to keep food prices high.

    This is still a nice idea for a game, but I don’t think it’ll change anything unless policies change.

  • Radix

    Spamming javascript: submitForm(‘1’) is going to win rice much faster than you could humanly do so even if it gets it wrong a forth of the time, so if you’re playing properly rather than just doing that, you’re a terrible person.

    Also, sites like this (and this isn’t an original idea) are a great way to capitalise on the misfortune of others by exploiting people’s sense of conscience, and at a fraction of the cost if conventional advertising, so I fully support it. Kind of like firefighters setting up a hose covered with advertising slogans in front of a burning building and then walking off. Everybody wins.