I'm employed by the Wikimedia Foundation as a developer and system administrator.
I became a Wikipedia editor on October 10, 2002. I discovered Wikipedia when searching the web for information about solid state physics. I immediately fell in love with the site and decided to become a contributor. Mav greeted me after I made my first edit. It took me a while to realise he was not a bot, just a really friendly guy. I was a very active editor from that time until about 2004. I was granted administrator rights in March 2003, in a very different process from today's weighing of souls.
I began volunteer development work in 2003. I was given shell access to Wikipedia's two servers in July 2003. In 2004, although I had plans for major new article writing projects, I realised that I could help the project best by focusing on technical work. There were plenty of editors, but hardly anybody writing code or looking after the servers. So at that time, I stepped back from editing.
In December 2004, I was invited to speak at Chaos Communication Congress, a daunting prospect for me at age 23. I flew out of Sydney for Berlin on Christmas Day. It was my first trip out of Australia. This conference was the first time I met my future wife Angela in real life.
By late 2005, my incomplete PhD in physics was all but abandoned, and I was essentially a full time volunteer for Wikimedia. In February 2006 I managed to convince the Board to hire me,, although it took until April 20 for them to start paying me. Even then I had only an informal contract for many years. I was asked to specify my job title. Ever modest, I chose "Developer / System Administrator". I had my hand in every pie.
Eventually I specialised in the MediaWiki backend, and in 2012 my title was changed to Lead Platform Architect. I'm currently the tech lead for a small but brilliant team of engineers focused on the MediaWiki core. I'm also a member of the Wikimedia Technical Committee.
|Various subpages mostly dating from 2002-2004 when I was an active editor|
For purposes of COI disclosure, I note that John Henry Starling was my great-grandfather.
Unless otherwise stated, any edit to Wikimedia projects by myself is an act of a regular member of the community and administrator, not a legal or official action.
- foundation:Resolution:Additional developer