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wiki's collaborative software it software I made it on the web and and allowed people to come to a website and create something I think what's really
turned out is that people discover that they can create something with other people that they don't even know but they come to trust and they make something that surprises surprises them
all of them in terms of its its value hypercard was a kind of a drawing program where you could draw a bunch of pages bunch of screens and then cause one screen to
link to another and I well nobody knew what hypertext was then so it was kind of hard to figure out what are you supposed to do with this and I liked that idea of having something something that kind of challenges you and I like
to figure out what to do with things so so I thought well I'll make a bunch of cards about how ideas move through my company an interesting thing about it
was that it assumed that if you wanted to make a link if you wanted a button on one card to go to another card you would know what other card and it would
already exist and when I was asking people to tell me about how ideas move through the company they were always talking about moving to a company someplace that there wasn't a card for so I just made it so that you could type
the name of something and when you press the button to go to the link if it wasn't there it made the card and that making it on-demand let you move around
a hypertext and when you got to the edge of it it would just push that edge out farther and so I could tackle a subject that's like on unimaginably large every
idea in my whole company and but people who knew about ideas would would just follow it around they go from card to card until they went to some place they got to the edge but they went to the edge because they knew about that edge
they wanted to see what I said about it my program said is I don't know about this tell me something about this and they just love to write in fact in HyperCard people would come sit at my desk and they'd want a demo of HyperCard
and i'd show him this program and they wouldn't leave you know I had a pet theory that that engineers wouldn't use an idea unless they'd seen it work before you know that they were basically
conservative and so ideas were slow to be absorbed and so I was interested in how ideas moved around in communities and that notion was more important than
any particular hypertext but we had held some conferences we call it the pattern languages of programming conference or pattern languages of programs and had a hundred people come out to the
University of Illinois this was at the summer of 1994 and talked about how we needed to write about computer programs in a different way so that we captured
these ideas and why people decided an idea was good or bad and then my friends said oh let me show you this new thing called the World Wide Web the University of Illinois right they
created the first graphical browser and they showed this to me and they said Ward we think you need to make a hypertext pattern repository well of
course I thought you know I've done this before with the hyper card and I just needed to move it over to the web and then I wouldn't have people sitting around my desk because it was the web it was international so so it solved that
problem and could I do it could I could I get forms and I had to make up this idea of markup because I had to account for the fact that I didn't have the buttons that I had in hypercard you know
is different system but I made markup and and then I tried it and I say out there and I started typing stuff in and it was as much fun as I remember I knew what it was fun to do it in HyperCard I knew people wouldn't leave my desk but I
could sit there on the web and I said I've got it this is the feeling I you know I pay attention to what it feels like to use computer programs and it felt right so I knew it was important I knew it would serve the purpose which I wanted to talk
about ideas again in computer programming so the audience I was imagining was people just like me people were very surprised or in fact sometimes people would you know send me email and
say well I don't want to mention it but you've got a terrible bug in your system it lets people write anything yes or they would they would say you've got a mistake on this page and they would send
me an email telling me what the mistake was and what I should have said instead and to encourage them I would just take their email and and paste it into the wiki and then send them a pointer to the
page it says well I took the liberty of taking your message and putting it in the wiki for you but you could have done it yourself yeah and I babysat the community that way for you know a couple
years the other thing is because I didn't have any notion you know I encourage people not to to sign their works I thought you know you your your words your idea or a gift to the
community and you shouldn't be claiming credit for it just because then nobody else is going to improve it they're gonna feel it's yours so I discouraged that but I used that a lot myself I I did probably 80% of my
editing anonymously and that just let people feel that well there's a large community here there's all this back and forth in it it is as a consistency because I wrote a lot of it but that's a
bootstrapping problem I had to I had to make it feel like there is a community to attract a community and people poured in the other things as I invited people with the most recognizable names and so
when they showed up and wrote something you know they only had to write a page or two because somebody else who's less well-known would say oh he's here I should be here you know so there's kind of stroke
well well you know I might have been wrong on some of this stuff I mean sometimes people really feel if they aren't gonna get credit for what they write they don't want to write but what I was encouraging is people to to
recognize that their gifting their words their you know it's just an idea and ideas are cheap and and when people would write something and come back later and find that their words had
improved you know I mean that's pretty exciting you see boy overnight this got better you know who made this better and it's almost mystery because they didn't sign it either you know it's like oh the
wiki made this better and and it was well you're not used to things getting better on their own a classic thing on computer communication boards and that
at the time was you would write something and somebody would spot a spelling error and so they would say use felt that this and it spells B's felt that you know yeah because you only place you're good writers at the bottom
you could add but you couldn't change and so you know you write something and you come back and you all you find is tedious complaining about what you said
now in my system you know you write a spelling here or somebody just fixes it and you come back and you don't even notice it was there but you find this one sentence that somebody added that really gets it something you were trying
to say and so so you get the positive stands out and the negative is just erased now the nice thing there is if somebody comes along in the meantime and his reading who knows less than you they
might find your partial answer valuable you know so this is this this idea that you start you know every thought is kind of a seed and it just grows and grows and grows and that's it's it's been used
very effectively on Wikipedia but it it was very important on my wiki which was really about changing the way people talk about computer programs because there wasn't anything other than
people's direct experience to fall back on so as people would write about their experience programming people would read it and it's the first time they had ever
read somebody talking about say you know being afraid that they wouldn't be able to get the program done and how that changed the decisions they made out of
fear or or how they found a way to work with somebody else and and find the thing that is acceptable to both are lots of lots of aspects we we were very
interested in how computer programs could form in an emergent way where well you didn't have a master plan for the computer program you say well we have a general idea what we want to do and you
know some of it and I know some of it and Joe knows some of it but we're all going to work together and just let the program grow well you know to talk about something like that which was unheard of
at the time in computer programming in an environment you know text system in a discussion board that had the same property well it was it was a demonstration of the very concept that
we were trying to explore for computer programming and and it is true in computer program when we see it all the time and it's accepted now but it was it was it was considered foolishness when we started and now it's recognized as
really the only way to make a really great program it was my first Hawaiian word that I learned as they were trying to direct me to the wiki wiki bus between terminals and wiki is a Hawaiian
word that means quick and so wiki wiki means very quick so it's the very quick web it's always been technically called wikiwikiweb but when I wrote the script
the CGI script that made it work it was a UNIX system and of course on UNIX you always use abbreviations and lowercase so I called it wiki dot CGI in in UNIX
and so most people didn't want to bother to say wikiwikiweb they just called it wiki and that's fine with me so it's like saying oh here's a system called quickly if you need more minds you know
if if you if one person knows everything and they can kind of sit back and really think deeply they can see the whole program and just write it down or or write a poem you know I you know poetry is one of those things that's personal
enough you know that if you write a poem a day after 30 years you're a great poet and you it's probably a solo thing but computer programs and encyclopedias are
of a scale that you have to make it a collaborative effort and then to make it good to make it read like it was from a single mind is the challenge and that's where people have to learn how to
complement each other or I like to say play to each other strengths where you take you know what you're good at and I take what I'm good at and we find a way to fit it together to make like we were one Superman and that that happens it's
it's not that hard there is a style of working together where will agree ahead of time that you'll do this part and I'll do this part and if you don't hold up your end of the deal
then you know I'm gonna you know take you to court or something like that that's this contracting style stuff and I think that's that's better than competition but it's it it is only works
for things where you know where you're going in the act you know what the whole is going to be and then that's a useful way to work but that because people who
were funding computer programs they thought well that's how we wanted to work this way I if I'm gonna pay you for six months to write a computer program I want to know what you're gonna do and you're gonna do and you're gonna do in
it you know it was the master plan and it turns out that that uses a small percentage of the capability of the computer the computer is much better if you let it become what it really wants
to be or the best that you can make it and that's you know has this sort of sense of faith you know you have to believe that it's going to come out even though you can't say what it is I mean if somebody decided
what the page is the Wikipedia were going to be you know at the beginning of the project they would have made a list of important sounding pages and there would have been all kinds of stuff that people loved in there that they wouldn't have thought of you know I got this you
know kind of grow from the center out kind of dynamic right for a hypertext document on the web and that's been a model of sharing and it involves you can
learn enough about each other to develop this trust relationship but there's a couple of things that Wikipedia did right that it didn't even occur to me and you know for example getting the
licensing right I was careless about the licensing and I think that saying you know this has to be licensed this way here's the ownership here's the guarantees going forward that's
important and I just wasn't interested in that stuff so I didn't do that right well the the that the the openness you
know I was open but I was open but there was no guarantee that it was open there was no agreement you know when somebody submitted there was an expectation but it wasn't written down and in fact I think when I finally did write it down I
said well I own it and you know you had the right to use it but you can't keep it and that's that's not really open but you know the I think Jimmy Wales
relationship too with Richard Stallman and you know got that right the other thing that that that I just didn't think about or I thought would be too hard was being international the the fact that
because it's licensed to be reused of course that means the content is free to go into other languages and and the fact that people might read one and want to write in their own language and that
that international Specht I think is profound in terms of actually having an opportunity to in some sense bring the world together it's it's the Wikipedia is probably one of
the strongest forces in computers for you know creating peace in the world you know it's in a sense establish you know this this understanding and to just believe that it could be done in every
language when you find yourself reading you know an encyclopedia that is about the things you care about because it was written by people just like you talking
about what they care about and that caring you know become so important to you you you you trust this well the fact that that same sort of interaction is
happening in a lot of different cultures now we could talk about edit Wars and stuff like that but but what really is happening is there there are people who are moving back and forth between different languages the people who are
fortunate enough to to know and understand multiple cultures can in this world just carry little bits of culture back and forth and when I when I read something even in the English Wikipedia
and I see some mention of you know where the airplane was really invented or or something like that its broad in a sense that because people who have a worldly
view when I'm unfortunately not very worldly but have a worldly view have shared their worldly view and part of it is because they got involved with their language you know so so English is a big
one but but it's even more important if you have more obscure languages it makes you part of one one world one world of ideas and and that that idea that every
language is important just as every person is important to you
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