History Of Wiki Categories

When were categories invented? Who invented them?

How were they invented? What was the reasoning/inspiration that led to them?

What was the early history of categories? What's this about there being two separate systems? What were topics?

What knock-on effects did categories have on the wiki?

Did people argue incessantly about categories from the start? :)


This page was deleted as an orphan on 2003-12-03. While it might be an orphan within the WikiWiki page graph, there are several external sites (not least of which is Meatball) linking to this interesting piece of wiki history. It is historically interesting because it credits Stan, but also because of the failure to maintain the distinction between categories and topics.

That's because the initial Categories were a static type system which nobody needed in our dynamic wiki, like distinguishing a movie by whether you saw it in a theater, from a DVD, or on television. In retrospect, it's obvious that any static type system was a dumb idea and doomed to failure.

Further, while the name Categories stuck, it was the small set of useful Categories (Book, HomePage, Author) that was collapsed into the ever expanding set of Topics.

Wikipedia uses Stan's system

Wikipedia, the largest encyclopedia in the world, uses the category system Stan has invented at C2 and for C2; it has been in use here for many years and Wikipedia has adopted it. Why doesn't Stan have his page on Wikipedia like Ward has? His category invention certainly deserves a page, it is at the bottom of every one of their pages! In the same breath, why don't we have a look at the C2 wiki page on Wikipedia and see what we can be added?

Copied from a deleted entry on StanSilver's homepage. -- JohnFletcher

See also SpecificTestimonyOnCategories


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