WWW FAQs: Why did you start the WWW FAQ pages?

2007-06-12: First off, the WWW FAQ was originally created by Nat Torkington - not me. But Nat handed off the baton to me in 1993, very early in the web's development. These days Nat works with the well-respected publisher O'Reilly and Associates.

I started maintaining the WWW FAQ while working for Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. We wanted to put web-based computational biology applications out there - and most of our audience didn't know what the web was yet! So I tackled the job of explaining where to get web browser and server software and how to install it on your computer. Back then, Windows didn't include support for the Internet "out of the box," so getting started on the Web was much more difficult.

After I left CSHL, I continued to maintain the FAQ as a personal labor of love, and also as a way of giving back to the Internet community.

I stopped regularly updating the WWW FAQ in the late nineties, then picked up the ball again in 2003 when it became clear that people still needed answers to basic questions about the web - the questions had changed, but the interest was still there!

Today I continue to write WWW FAQ articles to help folks understand the Web directly and personally, so that the technology remains open to everyone. The World Wide Web has always had the potential to help folks publish what they know. Putting information about the "nuts and bolts" of the Web in the hands of the public is a key part of maintaining a democratic and open Internet. Otherwise... it's just another TV channel. And who needs that?

Of course, Boutell.Com, Inc. is a for-profit company and I do earn an income from advertising on the WWW FAQ pages as well. Earning a living by sharing information with the world is nice work if you can get it, and I intend to keep on working hard for you, my readers.

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