Lee Daniel Crocker

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Lee Daniel Crocker
Lee Daniel Crocker.JPG
Lee Daniel Crocker at Free Culture Conference, 2008
Born Lee Daniel Crocker
(1963-07-03) July 3, 1963 (age 51)
Valdosta, Georgia, United States
Nationality United States
Occupation Computer Programmer
Lee Daniel Crocker at Internet Archive, 2008

Lee Daniel Crocker (born July 3, 1963) is an American computer programmer and poker player. He is best known for rewriting the software upon which Wikipedia runs, to address scalability problems. This new software, originally known as "Phase III", went live in July 2002 and became the foundation of what is now called MediaWiki. MediaWiki's code repository was still named "phase3" until the move from Subversion to Git in March 2012.

He was involved in the creation of the GIF, JPEG, and PNG image file formats, and appears as a co-author of the PNG specification. He invented the per-scanline variable pre-filtering compression method used by PNG, the sum-of-abs heuristic used by many encoding programs,[1] and proposed an early version of the Adam7 algorithm, using 5 passes rather than 7.[citation needed] In 1998, he was one of the 23 original creators of the "Transhumanist Declaration".[2]

In June 2010, Crocker and others won the USENIX Advanced Computing Technical Association STUG award for contributions to the Wikipedia software.

Crocker's Rules[edit]

Crocker stated what became known as "Crocker's Rules".[3]

Declaring yourself to be operating by "Crocker's Rules" means that other people are allowed to optimize their messages for information, not for being nice to you. Crocker's Rules means that you have accepted full responsibility for the operation of your own mind—if you're offended, it's your fault. Anyone is allowed to call you a moron and claim to be doing you a favor. (...) Two people using Crocker's Rules should be able to communicate all relevant information in the minimum amount of time, without paraphrasing or social formatting. Obviously, don't declare yourself to be operating by Crocker's Rules unless you have that kind of mental discipline.

Note that Crocker's Rules does not mean you can insult people; it means that other people don't have to worry about whether they are insulting you. Crocker's Rules are a discipline, not a privilege. Furthermore, taking advantage of Crocker's Rules does not imply reciprocity. How could it? Crocker's Rules are something you do for yourself, to maximize information received—not something you grit your teeth over and do as a favor.


  1. ^ Friedland, Gerald; Jain, Ramesh (July 28, 2014). Multimedia Computing. Cambridge University Press. p. 151. ISBN 0521764513. 
  2. ^ More, Max; Vita-More, Natasha (March 5, 2013). "Transhumanist Declaration 2012". The Transhumanist Reader: Classical and Contemporary Essays on the Science, Technology, and Philosophy of the Human Future. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 1118555996. 
  3. ^ Radical Honesty - Less Wrong

External links[edit]