I'm bad at (La)TeX and appreciated the help of several contributors quite a lot here. They saved my assday many times.

Kudo points (reputation) at StackExchange are fun but probably have no real value to them.

In real life, I would send money, a bottle of good wine, or even a box of bottles of good wine. However, this is likely to disclose my identity, which is an absolute no-go (or the identity of my friends whom I'd have to ask to send a gift on my behalf). I won't use anonymous electronic money (bitcoins, etc.) unless it's very easy. So, if the contributors would like to mention an anonymous way for me to provide some service to them beyond ticking boxes, I would welcome it: please provide such ways in the answers.

Primarily, I'm interested in the answers from the folks that replied to or commented the questions I asked myself. However, I imagine that other noob users have the same problem as me here, and they wish to support their own set of contributors. Therefore, I exclude no contributor from providing an answer.

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    I don't think that this should be provided in the answers. We (and I hope I'm speaking for everybody here) don't answer the questions for personal enrichment, but because we enjoy using TeX and want to help others enjoy it as well. That being said, some of us have an AboutMe text in our profile pages which might give away some information on how to appreciate our help (in my case it explicitly says "if we meet some day [...] you might buy me a beer"). If you feel like you want to give back to the whole TeX community, you might consider a donation to TUG (or becoming a member). – Skillmon Jun 25 '20 at 19:52
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    Whoever down voted this question, care to give some reasoning? Do you feel this shouldn't ever be asked and hence is a bad question, or are there any objective criteria by which you think this is a bad question and it could be enhanced? – Skillmon Jun 25 '20 at 19:57
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    I don't contribute here or in the latex team with money in my mind. I have been doing support in various groups long before I started to offer support also professionally and like Skillmon I'm doing it because I enjoy it a lot for various reasons. – Ulrike Fischer Jun 25 '20 at 21:00
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    I'm not interested to get money or anything else from some anonymous source. – Ulrike Fischer Jun 25 '20 at 21:25
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    The LaTeX community is very “pure” in this regard. Only very few package authors are collecting donations, very much in contrast to other programming communities where you find a Patreon or PayPal badge on every other GitHub repository. The LaTeX community is also very intimate. Most members know one another in person and therefore see themselves more as a part of the whole than as individuals. Hence, when you ask about donation options you are generally referred to the user groups such that everyone can benefit. – Henri Menke Jun 25 '20 at 22:21
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    quote a lot of latex code is on github these days and some people have github sponsors set up so if you have a github account that is one possibility. Or depending how secure you want to be you could donate to tug or one of the local user groups such as uktug or dante and ask that the donation be anonymous (although at least the treasurer would need to know your payment details) or just donate points rep here: it's the thought that counts not the money:-) – David Carlisle Jun 25 '20 at 22:49
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    Support TUG! – John Jun 26 '20 at 0:39
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    I think you have a misunderstanding on who benefits from TUG. Everyone using TeX benefits from TUG (and the local user groups) in one way or another. Things like CTAN wouldn't be possible without the user groups, so (La)TeX distributions wouldn't be possible without the user groups. – Skillmon Jun 26 '20 at 6:36
  • Personally I contribute to Christian Shenck's work with MikTeX by giving him a sum of money every year, as if I were paying for a license. Indeed, updating such a system is a real job. MikTeX give back – AndréC Jul 11 '20 at 5:50

I want to take this opportunity to thank you for bringing awareness about the relentless work of uncountable people in this community (be named or anonymous), devoting themselves to share expertise for free, regardless of their time, social position or economic status.

I personally believe that this community built a system in which generosity is spontaneously returned. Speaking for myself, I arrived here almost a decade ago, coming for help, as pretty much everybody else. Then, unsurprisingly, I stayed due to a strong feeling of gratitude and closure.

My path is probably not too different than anybody else who is a contributor to this community, as well as in the TeX world outside. I made friends (personal, close friends, by the way) with so many people here. I managed to come up with so many TeX-related projects because, back then, at a certain point in the very beginning of my path, I was given encouragement and confidence from people in here when I surely need them most than ever.

Your initiative is very noble.

An anonymous donation is a bit complicated due to how electronic transfers and bank deposits work. So we need to think of something in the meantime. Some contributors offer sponsorships in their GitHub profiles. A donation to TUG is always welcome.

That said, when it is not possible to directly express your gratitude to TeX contributors, and I believe I speak for a significant amount of them...

Spread kindness around you.

Do it so gently, do it for your community. Read to residents at a nursing home, donate blood, volunteer to help at a charity auction, tutor children in schools, donate stuffed animals to children in hospitals, knit blankets to be donated to hospitals or homeless shelters, donate books to a school library, teach computer skills to the elderly (that includes Microsoft Office), mow an elderly neighbor's lawn, take care of cats and dogs at an animal shelter, plant a tree, sponsor an animal at your local zoo, donate your old clothes, volunteer at a soup kitchen, and so on. Start volunteering! I am sure you will do great, and every TeX contributor in this community will be greatly honoured to realize their selfless act of knowledge sharing sparkled an actual good being done in this world so full of racism, prejudice, hatred and bigotry.

I do not know you. But I can tell you are a good person. I am sure you will make a difference!

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    What a moving answer! <3 – CarLaTeX Jun 26 '20 at 11:42
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    Spread for the italian citizen it is a bad word today. LOL :-) +1. – Sebastiano Jun 27 '20 at 12:08

I completely agree about wanting to thank the folks who solve our problems. As someone who answers a lot of questions on Math Stackexchange, I like to think that some of the LaTeX folks who've helped me out might have benefitted from one of my answers over there. But like several of the answerers here, I'm not in it for the money.

The suggestion to "pay it forward" has appeared in several forms in the answers already, and I agree. But I want to mention a specific way that you already pay it forward:

By asking good questions, you provide a service!

That's right: your questions become searchable, and the better they are, the more they help other folks like you. I'll bet that a lot of times, you search for "How do I get rid of annoying line breaks in longtable..." into Google, and the next thing you know, you're pointed to a great TeX Stackexchange answer, one that's there because someone before you wrote a good question.

I know that on Math StackExchange, I love a well-written question, and I've been known to take a decently-written one and rewrite it either before or after providing an answer. One particular joy for me? Having someone make a comment on one of my answers 5 years later, showing that it really is being used even now.


Help others where you can help. Pay it forward.

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