First Years of First Wiki

Traffic grows steadily for wiki's first three years. source

Everything about wiki has been encouraging since I ran the first script. Thus my memory condenses years of growth into an overnight success.

A new wiki implementor writes of his implementation, "my biggest challenge is getting initial content up on site, even before anybody would want to visit it. Could you please suggest me some good ways to do so with your huge experience in wikis."


I launched the first wiki when the young web was full of explorers eager to understand how each new site worked.

I drew my community from a mailing list with 500 subscribers all interested in creating a new literature and happy to have a new medium for their work.

I created the software from parts of earlier programs over a few day, including writing about wiki in wiki.

I invited a dozen thought leaders to write. I knew them so my email invitation carried weight. Still only half tried.

I edited anonymously everything written for brevity and style. I added many links and created stub pages.

I invited the entire email list once I had a few dozen on-topic pages. They arrived to find a working community.

I edited contributions every day for years. The site seemed to just work but I was working it.

The site eventually overtook me and became its own thing. I knew I had succeeded when one day I got rude with a foolish contribution and was reprimanded by a regular who explained "that's not how we work here."


I'm three years into launching a new wiki into a much larger and more fickle internet.

I've also made sharing more complicated for reasons that don't apply to popular social media sites.

I'm writing daily and have lost track of how many pages I've created.

I've chosen not to collect usage statistics mostly to avoid thinking in terms of 'eyeballs'.

Without my own community to serve I look for those who lead communities that can benefit from federation, understand how, and have the technical chops to support them as they find their voice.