Wiki is Quick

I've told the story of naming wiki many times. It's the Hawaiian word for quick, doubled for very quick. Less often I've explained that the whole authoring experience is quick. I could tell that right away. Ori Livneh prompted me to reflect.

Ori writes:

I'm a performance engineer at the Wikimedia Foundation. wikipedia

For the past several months, I have been thinking about the concepts of quickness and speed, and how they're richer than (or perhaps even distinct from) the speed with which the code is executing.

My sense is that in choosing the word 'wiki' to describe WikiWikiWeb, you were not looking to make a statement about the performance characteristics of the code, but rather the speed with which one can translate intent to action, or something like that.

I'm wondering if you could share your thoughts about this subject, or point me to an existing discussion.

I reply:

Yes, the "quickness" I felt had everything to do with expressing myself. I had been authoring pages in vi writing rather plain html to be served directly by httpd. Even with this simplicity it was a pain to split a thought into two pages without breaking my train of thought.

One of the very first pages I wrote was Text Formatting Rules. Many of the rules described there are unchanged from day one.

Before my first day was over I had explained lots of how wiki worked in More About Mechanics. Of course this page grew as I added more capabilities.

After making fifteen or twenty pages I came back to the need for a name that could be a root for what I'd written which I titled Wiki Wiki Web That was it. Thanks for asking.

Ori was the first person to ask what I felt was quick. Read earlier Correspondence on the Etymology of Wiki. webpage

See Load Check where I address limited runtime performance.