Discworld & Pratchett Wiki:About
a brief history for those millions who haven't been following closely
Once there was an emerging writer of hilarious fantasy parodies called Terry Pratchett. He attracted a readership that included a large proportion of those skilled in the new art of computer communication and some of these set up an early newsgroup, alt.fan.pratchett. Then a group of Dutch and English fans developed the comprehensive website of Pratchettia, The L-Space Web. The idea arose in discussions in alt.fan.pratchett that it would be interesting to create a wiki of Discworld to explain it to the masses and provide a reference for the involved. A young Dutchman among them known as Sanity with a small server and unusual computer skills for an amateur volunteered to set it up. He and a small cadre (many of these speakers of English as a second language) began in 2005 and laid the foundation over several months. The wiki was then absorbed into L-Space (as everything is) for better distribution and the rest of us were given this marvellous toy.
None of the active staff (except Death; Death's always been there) was around in that first year. Some other early contributors who deserve mention are Tony Sidaway, Vsl, Jeltz, Jogibaer, Silaor and Cheezewizz2000. These pioneers created the original articles and set the tone and style that largely remains today. The following year saw a boom in membership and activity and the resulting content: the current administration members joined in this period, Old Dickens editing, Osiris (then in a human incarnation) providing technical support and AgProv creating volumes of content.
By 2012, however, Sanity the care-free student found himself with a career and family and too little time to maintain the wiki and Osiris assumed the administrative burden in what became known as The Long Drive as the wiki moved from three small hard discs in the Netherlands to a large Cloud over the central U.S.
At mid-2016, the Main Page shows well over seven million views and many popular pages exceed twenty thousand. Contributors have appeared from five continents (South Americans, feel free to correct) and this wiki appears on the first page, if not first, in many searches for the people, places and things of the worlds of Terry Pratchett.
Unfortunately, much of the wiki's history was lost on the trans-Atlantic voyage and the provenance of much good work over previous years relies on only the uncertain memory of a few ancients. These lost contributors must content themselves with our thanks and the satisfaction of a job well done.