Sunday, January 13, 2013

Aaron Swartz & His contributions to Reddit

Vidit Bhargava
11th January 2013 was a really dark day for technology and web in general. Its a sad day for Web Development  Aaron Swartz is no more.

Swartz was a genius. At the age of 13, he won the ArsDigita Prize, a competition for young people who created "useful, educational, and collaborative" non-commercial Web sites. The prize included a trip to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and meetings with Internet notables. How many 13 year olds would have dreamt of that? At 14 he was already collaborating with experts as a member of the working group that authored RSS 1.0. He also created something that's extremely popular in the world of web development and available as an open source project. He was also an editor at Wikipedia. Aaron Swartz work doesn't stop here, he did a whole lot more in the world of internet and internet activism. I won't be talking about them today, some other day maybe. Meanwhile you could read his Wikipedia page.*

Lets start with Reddit. Reddit was founded by Alexis Ohanian and Steve Huffman. When I first read the news about Swartz' death, the headlines boomed "Reddit Founder commits suicide". I wondered why would either of Alexis and Steve commit suicide? Until I scrolled down and found the image of Aaron Swartz. Its a common mistake and even though the founders have often noted that Aaron Swartz just moved over to Reddit after it merged with Infogami (A start-up by Aaron Swartz) this doesn't stop the websites to stop reporting that Swartz was a co-founder of Reddit. Its good to highlight the good work (in this case great work) done by a person but it doesn't make sense to wrongly attribute some work to him. True, Reddit is what it is today because of Swartz. It ran on a technology developed by him for a long time but he didn't co-found it. So please stop spreading 'wrong' information about him. Let people remember him for who he was and not what he never did. A special request to popular newspapers like Guardian and WSJ. [image on left]

Reddit comment by spez [Steve Huffman]

Here's remembering the genius for what he was. His work on the RSS, his work architecting the Creative Commons License,, Open Library, his great work in the field of internet activism and his contributions to Reddit have immortalized him in the world of web development  and as those creative commons stickers stick out on our websites lets add another one, saying "Thank You! Aaron Swartz", this one's for all he gave us and the world wide web.

* - The Wikipedia pages are all a part of the creative commons licence, co-architected by Aaron Swartz. A part of this post was deliberately copied from Wikipedia  paying homage to one of its best editors and the guy who let us copy all this 'legally'. Only asking for a bit of credit to its real source.


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