Universal edit button

infobox software

platform = Mozilla Firefox
released = 19 June 2008
author = Travis Derouin (of wikiHow)
programming language = XUL

The Universal Edit Button is a green pencil icon in the address bar of a web browser that indicates a web page (most often a wiki) is editable. It is similar to the orange "broadcast" RSS icon that indicates there is an RSS feed available. Clicking the icon opens the edit window. It was invented by a collaborative team of wiki enthusiasts, including Ward Cunningham, Jack Herrick, and many others. The concept was first conceived during the 2007 RecentChangesCamp in Montréal. After coding by Travis Derouin, Brion Vibber and other programmers, the button was officially launched on June 19 2008. [ [http://www.wikisym.org/?p=37 The Universal Edit button launches today] , WikiSym, June 19 2008]

Presently, the icon is only available via an extension in Mozilla Firefox.

About the button

The Universal Editing Button (UEB) allows a web surfer to quickly recognize when a site - such as a wiki - may be edited. According to the UEB's creators, "it is a convenience to web surfers who are already inclined to contribute, and an invitation to those who have yet to discover the thrill of building a common resource. As this kind of public editing becomes more commonplace, the button may become regarded as a badge of honor. It serves as an incentive to encourage companies and site developers to add publicly-editable components to their sites, in order to have the UEB displayed for their sites."

Tim Berners-Lee's initial vision for the web was a read-write medium. [ [http://dig.csail.mit.edu/breadcrumbs/node/38 So I have a blog] - Tim Berners-Lee, December 12 2005] Yet as the web matured, very few web sites offered users the ability to write or edit. The web became primarily a "read only" medium. Everyone web surfed but few got to enjoy web editing.

Over the years, wiki practitioners and other edit-friendly folks spread the idea that the web should be editable by anyone at any time. The success of Wikipedia, and the increasing utility of wikis like wikiHow, AboutUs.org, wikiTravel and Wikia demonstrates that open editing creates usable information resources. "Read only" sites are increasingly adding the ability for anyone to participate. Wikis appear in enterprise software products and in consumer offerings such as those from net behemoths like Google. As the Internet becomes more editable by the day, web users are becoming more adept and creative in the tools that allow information to be shared. [ [http://universaleditbutton.org/About About the Universal Edit Button] ]


Conversations on this idea started at RoCoCo [ [http://rocococamp.info RoCoCo] ] (a RecentChangesCamp) in Montreal in 2007, and discussions continued on the AboutUs wiki. [ [http://www.aboutus.org/UniversalWikiEditButton Discussions on the AboutUs wiki] - AboutUs.org] At the Palo Alto RCC in 2008, a handful of people explored the idea, got excited about the ability to have the button automatically detected by browsers, and helped spread the idea. The current icon was selected after a lengthy discussion involving multiple suggestions, but is not necessarily intended as a permanent choice.


Websites supporting the Universal Edit Button include WikiHow, AboutUs.org, Wikimedia (including Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Wikimedia Commons and all other Wikimedia projects) [ [http://blog.wikimedia.org/2008/06/19/firefox-3-and-the-wiki-edit-button/ Wikimedia announcement] ] , the MediaWiki website, MoinMoin, Oddmuse, PhpWiki, Socialtext [ [http://www.socialtext.com/blog/2008/06/a-universal-edit-button-for-th.html Socialtext announcment] ] , TWiki [ [http://twiki.org/cgi-bin/view/Blog/2008-06-20-universal-wiki-edit-button-for-twiki TWiki announcement] ] , the Creative Commons wiki [ [http://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/8387 Creative Commons announcement] ] , Wikia, PBwiki [ [http://blog.pbwiki.com/2008/06/20/the-universal-edit-button/ PBwiki announcement] ] , WikiFur, Memory Alpha, Wired's How-To blog, [ [http://www.webmonkey.com/blog/Wikis_Rally_Around_Universal_Edit_Button Wikis Rally Around Universal Edit Button] - Webmonkey] and WordPress (as a plug in) [ [http://universaleditbutton.org/WordPress_plugin WordPress plugin] ] .


External links

* [http://universaleditbutton.org/Universal_Edit_Button The Universal Edit Button homepage]
* [http://siliconflorist.com/2008/06/27/universal-edit-button-ward-cunningham-mark-dilley-and-peter-kaminski/ A podcast on the Universal Edit Button] by Ward Cunningham (inventor of the wiki), Mark Dilley (AboutUs.org), and Peter Kaminski (Socialtext).
* [https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/7804 Universal Edit Button at Mozilla Addons]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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