Ward Cunningham

Interview mit Ward Cunningham

On anonymous editing

“I encouraged people not to sign their words [on the wiki]. I thought: Your words, your ideas are a gift to the community and you shouldn’t be claiming credit for it, because then nobody else is going to improve it: They are going to feel it’s yours. So I discouraged that. I used that a lot myself. I did probably 80% of my editing anonymously, and that just let people feel that ‘oh, there is a large community here, there is all this back and forth’, yet it has a consistency because I wrote a lot of it. But that’s a bootstrapping problem: I had to make it feel like there is a community to attract a community. And people poured in. …

“I might have been wrong on some of this stuff, I mean, sometimes people feel that if they aren’t gonna get credit for that they write, they don’t want to write. But I was encouraging people to recognize that they are gifting their words. You know, it’s just an idea, and ideas are cheap.”

On how wikis changed the way people reacted to each other’s errors online

“A classic thing on computer communication boards at the time was: You would write something and somebody would spot a spelling error, so they would say ‘You spelled it this and it’s spelled that!’. Because the only place you could write is at the bottom. You could add, but you couldn’t change. So you write something and you come back and all you find is tedious complaining about what you said.Now on my system [the wiki, when] you write a spelling error, 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 at something you were trying to say. So the positive stands out and the negative is just erased.The nice thing there is if somebody comes along in the meantime and is reading, who knows less than you, they might find your partial answer valuable. This idea that every thought is kind of a seed and it just grows and grows and grows [has] been used very effectively on Wikipedia.”

Ward Cunningham