I originally wrote this article for TI-Basic Developer in April 2006, and it was the impetus for the creation of TI Story. It predates all other mentions of documenting the TI community history, including WikiTI's short-lived attempt in July 2006 and Eeems' nonexistent attempt on Omnimaga in December 2009. — burr, site founder
After seeing Michael Vincent interview Joe Wingbermeuhle, Jimmy Mardell, and most recently, Ben Mickle on ticalc.org, it made me start thinking about the many past contributors to the TI community. Although these people have no or minimal involvement in the community today, their contributions can still be felt. They released high-quality games and programs, that were innovative and pushed the boundaries of what was thought possible. They paved the way for everybody who came after them.
Because most of these people have moved on to other things, most newcomers to the community don't have any knowledge of them, besides their contributions that they left behind. Using a program can give the newcomers some semblance of what the people were like, but it cannot tell them the stories behind the making of the programs or give them the experience of interacting with the people.
In addition, most newcomers have no idea how much time and effort was spent on the programs. They just download programs, hardly stopping to think about what went into creating them. The reality is that the people invested a great deal of their own time to make them. They didn't have to, of course, but they believed that it was a worthwhile trade-off. They wanted to create programs that the community could enjoy.
Although there is no real way to express these intangible things to newcomers, they can be better highlighted and put in perspective. The past contributors worked hard, so it only seems right that they should be thanked and remembered for their efforts. This will also give newcomers a better appreciation of them.
A TI community timeline should be cooperatively created, detailing the past programmers and programming groups. It would show when they first got involved with the community, the release date of their contributions, any fond memories that people have of them, and any other relevant information.
This information is not only important for the current newcomers, but for posterity. There have been many great TI programmers and programming groups over the years, and they are forever part of the fabric that makes up the TI community.