20,268 downloads - November 27, 2013
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From Universal Edit Button

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The Universal Edit Button Icon of the Universal Edit Button
This is how it works!

What is this?

The Universal Edit Button is a green pencil icon Icon of the Universal Edit Button in the address bar that indicates a web page is editable. It is similar to the orange "broadcast" RSS icon RSS feed icon that indicates there is an RSS feed available.

The universal edit button is available for Firefox (installation notes), Opera and Chrome - (also Wordpress & Drupal) . In time, we expect web browsers will support the Universal Edit Button natively, as they have done for RSS feeds.

Example for the Universal Edit Button in your toolbar

Why the Universal Editing Button matters

The Universal Editing Button (UEB) Icon of the Universal Edit Button allows a web surfer to more quickly recognize when a site may be edited. 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 Icon of the Universal Edit Button displayed for their sites.

In these ways, we hope that this button catalyzes the acceleration of the editable web, and helps accelerate society's trend toward building valued common resources.

For more explanation of the Universal Edit Button, you can listen to a podcast by Ward Cunningham (inventor of the wiki), Mark Dilley (WikiIndex.org), and Peter Kaminski (SocialText).

Background

Tim Berners-Lee's initial vision for the web was a read-write medium. 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, wikiTravel and Wikia demonstrates that open editing creates high quality 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.

History of the Universal Edit Button

Conversations on this idea started at RoCoCo (a RecentChangesCamp) in Montreal 2007, and discussions continued on the AboutUs wiki. At the Palo Alto RCC in 2008, a handful of people explored the idea, got excited with auto-discovery, and helped spread the idea.

Many ideas were suggested and designed by wiki editors for the Universal Edit Button icon, as evidenced in the logo for this wiki. The first icon wiki.png was selected from a suggestion made by Ward Cunningham at the start of the discussions. Afterwards, a new icon design (Icon of the Universal Edit Button (new design)) was adopted, from a suggestion by Lorenzo Pastrana.

The initial firefox extension was updated by Andreas Gohr, in order to solve some compatibility bugs and adopt the new design.

Our goal is to promote a button that works across platforms (wiki to start with), is independent of any particular language; and is simple, yet evocative of what it means to be able to edit.

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