For a huge, multilingual project like Wikipedia and our sister projects (nine in all, I believe) just finding the edit button can sometimes be a challenge. Add in to the mix the enormous proliferation of wikis, including those not run on MediaWiki, and you’ve got one gigantic pool of user interfaces.

Thus, the problem presents itself that there is no universal method for identifying if a site is a wiki or not. The universal wiki edit button UEB is the answer that the larger wiki community (sometimes called the Wiki Ohana) has developed.

Just like the blogging world’s orange “waves” RSS symbol, wikis now have a single symbol to identify them. Click the button and you are magically transported to the page’s edit window. The UEB or UWEB (pick your acronym) is a great convenience for those already familiar with wiki, and an invitation to edit for those who aren’t. How’s that for cool?

How it WorksAll you need to do is download a Firefox extension (there’s not currently any Internet Explorer version), and it will auto-discover any wikis that have joined in this effort. The list of sites that have it up and running is already pretty impressive:

* All Wikimedia wikis, including everything under the purview of WikiProject Oregon. Major thanks to Brion Vibber for making that happen.
* Ward Cunningham’s Wiki, the very first wiki.
* wikiHow, the first to implement this. The original technical development for the UEB is credited to wikiHow’s Travis Derouin.
* Angela Beesley’s wiki
* AboutUs, based here in Portland Oregon
* the Creative Commons wiki
* SocialText

and many more! Basically, a lot of the biggest wikis on the net have adopted (or are in the process of adopting) this feature. I personally have downloaded the extension, and I can tell you that it is a joy to see that little green button appear when I visit a wiki. It says to me, “this is a site that knows what wiki is all about”. Even if you’ve never edited before, or are tied to a single wiki, I strongly urge you to try it out.

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