“Come on in and I’ll trust you to contribute in good faith and to make your words a gift to this community.”
That’s the spirit of the original wiki, invented by programmer Ward Cunningham, that persists in Wikipedia today. It’s also one of the great quotes from an interview Ward did recently in honor of winning the Excellence in Programming Award from Dr. Dobb’s Journal.
This award has been given out intermittently since 1995, and exists to recognize outstanding contributions to software development. It also comes with a donation of $1,000 to a non-profit of the recipient’s choice. Ward has kindly chosen the Wikimedia Foundation, in order to support Wikipedia and all our projects.
The Wikimedia movement has long owed much of our success to the work set down in the original wiki and its community. From inventing the software we depend on, to serving on our Advisory Board, Ward’s contributions since 2001 have been essential for us to create thriving community-based projects.
While the award from Dr. Dobb’s is for Ward’s contributions to the craft of programming, we think that some of his most important contributions to the world are less technical. As he says about the original wiki: “everyday that I spent hours on that wiki, I would say to myself, ‘I’ve got to stop doing this. I’ve got to focus on my business. I have work to do.’ Thank goodness I didn’t bother to do that work and fiddled with wiki instead!”
That description of donating time to a cherished project is a sentiment mirrored today in the volunteer contributions of Wikimedians all around the world. Thank you to Ward for his continued generosity over the last 11 years.