Universal Edit Button

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Universal Edit Button
Original author(s) Travis Derouin (of wikiHow)
Initial release 19 June 2008
Platform cross-platform
Type Extension for web browsers
Website universaleditbutton.org

The Universal Edit Button is a green pencil icon in the address bar of a web browser that indicates whether a web page (most often a wiki) is editable. It is similar to the orange "broadcast" RSS icon ("File:Feed-icon.svg") that indicates that there is a web 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.[1]



A screenshot from WikiIndex.org showing the Universal Edit Button in action.

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.[2] 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. 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.[3]


Conversations on this idea started at RoCoCo[4] (a RecentChangesCamp) in Montreal in 2007, and discussions continued on the AboutUs wiki.[5] 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)[6], MediaWiki software, DokuWiki[7], MoinMoin, Oddmuse, PhpWiki, Socialtext[8], TWiki[9], the Creative Commons wiki[10], Foodista, Wikia, PBwiki[11], WikkaWiki[12], Memory Alpha, Wired's How-To blog,[13] and WordPress (as a Plug-in)[14].


  1. Cleaver, Martin (2008-06-19). "The Universal Edit button launches today". WikiSym. http://www.wikisym.org/?p=37. Retrieved 2009-03-17. 
  2. Tim Berners-Lee (2005-12-12). "So I have a blog". Decentralized Information Group (DIG). http://dig.csail.mit.edu/breadcrumbs/node/38. Retrieved 2009-03-17. 
  3. "About the Universal Edit Button". Universaleditbutton.org. http://universaleditbutton.org/About. Retrieved 2009-03-17. 
  4. "RoCoCo". Rocococamp.info. 2008-04-30. http://rocococamp.info. Retrieved 2009-03-17. 
  5. Discussions on the AboutUs wikiAboutUs.org
  6. "Wikimedia announcement". Blog.wikimedia.org. http://blog.wikimedia.org/2008/06/19/firefox-3-and-the-wiki-edit-button/. Retrieved 2009-03-17. 
  7. Gohr, Andreas (2008-06-20). "plugin:ueb". DokuWiki. http://www.dokuwiki.org/plugin:ueb. Retrieved 2009-06-11. 
  8. Niall Kennedy June 28, 2008 11:21 PM (2008-06-28). "Socialtext announcement". Socialtext.com. http://www.socialtext.com/blog/2008/06/a-universal-edit-button-for-th.html. Retrieved 2009-03-17. 
  9. "TWiki announcement". Twiki.org. http://twiki.org/cgi-bin/view/Blog/2008-06-20-universal-wiki-edit-button-for-twiki. Retrieved 2009-03-17. 
  10. "Creative Commons announcement". Creativecommons.org. 2008-06-22. http://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/8387. Retrieved 2009-03-17. 
  11. "PBwiki announcement". Blog.pbwiki.com. http://blog.pbwiki.com/2008/06/20/the-universal-edit-button/. Retrieved 2009-03-17. 
  12. "WikkaWiki announcement". Docs.wikkawiki.org. http://docs.wikkawiki.org/WhatsNew1166. Retrieved 2009-03-17. 
  13. Wikis Rally Around Universal Edit Button — Webmonkey
  14. "WordPress plugin". Universaleditbutton.org. http://universaleditbutton.org/WordPress_plugin. Retrieved 2009-03-17. 

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