I must have been living under a rock… Ward Cunningham is my newest hero. He developed WikiWikiWeb in 1995. It has clearly evolved a lot over the years and now has some nice spin-off open source efforts. “Wiki Wiki” means “quick” in Hawaiian and it sure is a quick way to make a site. Anyone can edit and add links, and even delete. Order is kept through social contract rather than by rules enforced through the software.

It took me only a few minutes to install UseModWiki this morning — it will take me quite a bit longer to learn about Wiki culture and how to successfully cultivate a Wiki.

btw: I think that the rock I’ve been living under might be called “living in the world of proprietary software” or “search engines don’t index dynamic content.” Of course, maybe the internet is just a really big place with a lot of people doing neat stuff.

Sam Wan comments that “the coolest toys are the ones that give users the freedom to find their own uses for that toy.”

In Vygotsky’s Mind in Society, he notes that “play is the realm of spontaneity and freedom.” However, in his studies of imaginative play in children, he observes that children will subordinate their own wants to the greater pleasure of following the rules. He concludes that “the essential attribute of play is a rule that has become a desire.”

Rules provide freedom. The really fun toys give you just enough constraints to inspire creativity and make it easy to create great stuff.