File Under: Software & Tools

Wikis Rally Around Universal Edit Button

It’s one small step for wiki-kind: A large swath of online Wikis have organized a Universal Edit Button — a way to alert you through a browser when the page is editable. The first stage of the project provides a Firefox extension that displays an icon, similar to how the RSS icon appears, whenever it detects an editable page.

The feature is available now by installing the firefox extension. Once installed, the site will look for code on the page that tells the extension the page can be edited. The enlarged icon appears here at the top of the post.

Wiki’s, named after the Hawaiian word for “Quick,” encourage content contributions and collaboration by online communities. The barrier to entry among many possible contributors is the expectation of a historically read-only web.

According to wikiHow founder Jack Herrick, “Tim Berners Lee intended the web to be a read-write medium. But somewhere along the path, most web users were demoted to just ‘web surfers’ on a largely read-only web.”

“Few people enjoy the privilege of web editing,” said Herrick. “Yet web editing has some real benefits: The success of Wikipedia, and the increasing utility of wikis like wikiHow, AboutUs, wikiTravel and Wikia demonstrates that open editing creates high quality information resources.”

The blogs mentioned above, and many others, are all participants in the Universal Edit Button project. In case we failed to mention it before (ahem) Wired’s How-To blog and Webmonkey are both wikis, and we are already in the process of embedding the code ourselves.

We think it’s a great idea. Supporters of the Universal Edit Button, like us, hope the Firefox extension and perhaps future built-in adoption by popular browsers will continue Berners-Lee’s vision.

[Thanks ReadWriteWeb]