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Gift To The Community

The Internet might be the ultimate gift community. Its open, egalitarian origin and radical reduction of distribution cost created a true meritocracy of ideas. Indeed, much of the Internet itself runs on software that was released for free public use (e.g., the Apache Web server, Larry Wall's language Perl, and Tim Berners-Lee's creation of the Web itself). The people who created these tools have given to the community gifts that enrich the entire Internet. For this they are held in esteem. Those whose contributions provide a lasting benefit become 'net legends by embodying its highest ideal: helping others.

They did it, and became famous. Why don't you?

Therefore, add something unique to your site that enriches the entire Internet.

The Internet abounds with examples of gifts to the community. Here are a few:

How does a gift to the community differ from Deep Content? Answer: a gift to the community can be something other than Web pages. Consider these examples:

  • Matthew Richardson's Stamper, a document timestamping service

  • Doug Lea's util.concurrent, a Java thread library

  • Ward Cunningham's Wiki Wiki Web, a collaborative site & the software that runs it

These three examples are, respectively, a service, a tool, and a combination of both. Services in particular make good gifts to the community, since they extend the Internet's functionality. Everyone benefits.

A gift to the community doesn't have to be a huge thing; it can be as simple as offering a graphic that you've created, copyright-free. Even better, offer it in a format that's usable by anyone (thus satisfying Appropriate Format). For example, if your gift is a line drawing, offer it in flexible, common formats such as encapsulated Postscript and SVG.

Offering a unique gift will increase visitors to your site.

If you present a gift to the community as static pages (e.g., a tutorial), consider making it a Downloadable Weblet.

Last updated 8 July 2003
All contents ©2002-2003 Mark L. Irons