Via Dion’s twitter, this article about a Universal Edit Button (UEB), the discussion has started to make the rounds. The idea is to make editability as discoverable as syndicatability. Whoof, those are some mouthfuls. Ok, you know that orange feed button you see when a page has a feed? Well this will maybe add a green button for those pages that can be edited, like wikis.
What is a little concerning to me is that browser extensions and wikis are already modifying their code to make this discoverable, yet no decision has been firmly made on how it should be represented on websites. This is a recipe for pain and confusion. Personally, I prefer the <link rel=”edit”> suggestion (NOTE: That’s a wiki so it’s subject to change). I hate that rel=”alternate” is so overloaded. I also disagree with the idea that a ‘wiki’ should be a separate MIME type – to me, the MIME type describes the format of the media (HTML, SVG XML, Atom XML), not its use. But who knows, I may get shouted down…
Another interesting thing – once we’ve standardized on a way of advertising that a web page is editable, it will be an open invitation to every spammer out there to take advantage of it. I’m sure they already know how to recognize the most popular wiki software, but perhaps this will pose a threat to somebody trying to implement their own little wiki. Personally I think the benefits do outweigh the drawbacks, so I say ‘into the breach’.
Go join the discussion over at unversaleditbutton.org.
Anyway, once that’s all been decided, then I would expect to see this link present in wikimedia and on other sites throughout the web. I also expect that browsers will adopt it – but it will be interesting to see how they do so. The address bars are already pretty cluttered – Firefox 3 has the favicon, the address, a star, a feed link, a pull-down arrow and now folks want to add a little pencil… Of course not all such images need be present for every site, but I’m just saying that browser makers are pretty sensitive to outsiders trying to impose chrome changes.