Welcome! The Evolution Education Wiki, popularly known as EvoWiki, is a website about evolution and the creationism controversy. Our editorial philosophy extends no further than being 'pro-evolution' (or rather, pro-science), and our many writers come from a wide range of cultural and philosophical backgrounds.
Don't be shy
This page is for people who are interested in helping out with the EvoWiki but who haven't used a Wiki before and are therefore shy, afraid of "messing something up," etc. The message of this page is that using EvoWiki is very easy, and in five minutes you can be creating or adding to a page!
What is a Wiki?
Speaking simply, a "Wiki" is a set of webpages that can be edited by anyone using a web browser. "Wikiwiki" means "fast" in Hawaiian, and speed and ease of use are key features of a Wiki. Wiki pages -- such as the one you are looking at now -- can be edited by any reader just by clicking the "Edit this page" link on the left side of every page. Text and simple code is typed into the edit textbox. When finished, the writer hits "Save page" and the document is saved to a database, and the reader (and everyone else) sees the new webpage immediately. This is far simpler than constructing a webpage using HTML or other webpage coding, and in addition the writer doesn't need their own webpage space, server, etc.
All previous versions of each wiki page are saved in the database, so it is impossible to permanently "mess up" a page. With a few clicks a page can be reverted to a previous version.
Why are Wikis cool?
You, and any other visitor to the site, may edit the text of any article on this site. If you see an article that's short, factually incorrect, badly written, or otherwise undeserving of a place on the 'net, hit "Edit this page", and get working! Be bold when updating pages! Don't worry too much if your spelling, grammar or prose isn't very good, someone else will come along and fix that. As long as what you have to contribute is relevant and factually correct it's welcome!
In addition to being fast, users have found that Wikis are an excellent way to collaborate on large projects. Everyone can contribute their expertise and see the improvements immediately. Users can freely edit each other's writing, which is much more efficient than (for example) emailing suggestions and corrections to an author and waiting for them to make corrections, upload them, etc. The fact that viewing and editing privileges are free and easy encourages many more people to get involved than would be otherwise likely.
The main purpose of Wiki is to allow collaboration. So, if you think that something you read here can be improved, go right ahead and improve it. It's OK, you don't need to ask permission or anything. That's the point of a Wiki. On the other hand, if you are very protective of your work and don't want others to edit it, then don't post it here in the first place.
Does this really work?
Yes. Amazingly, this "bottom-up" approach, without central guidance or formal reviewers, works rather well. The most spectacular example of a successful Wiki is Wikipedia, a free online encyclopedia built by the internet community at large. Wikipedia now has more articles than Encyclopedia Britannica and MS Encarta put together. Quality of course varies, but many articles are quite good, often the best information available on the internet.
The purpose of the EvoWiki is to provide a location for the collaborative writing of resources relating to Evolution, evolutionary science and creationism. These resources include an encyclopedia, popular-science articles, technical articles and indeed any other conceivable relevant use.
Any visitor to the site may use the edit function, but a small team of editors review recent changes to the site for relevance and factual accuracy. This site is not "viewpoint neutral", and we do not keep pro-creationism edits, or discuss the details of such edits and why we remove them. This may seem closed-minded or dogmatic to those unfamiliar with the details of the so-called "controversy", but such creationist edits are invariably issues refuted elsewhere on the site and scientifically incorrect. We do not allow prolonged debates, except for discussion between editors about how to write a page, because there are many websites better suited to this purpose (see forums and newsgroups). One of the reasons we felt the need to create this site was because creationists have a library of claims and questions which have long been refuted, but which continue to be asked. We feel there's little point in encouraging creationists to carry on asking these questions when the pages are here to answer them.
While most of the editors on EvoWiki are committed to accuracy and honesty, with any resource about a controversial subject you should always double-check any information before using it yourself. This is a wiki, and therefore should always be considered under construction.
In our Editorial philosophy we stated that our primary purpose was the refutation of anti-evolutionism and attacks on the sciences of evolution. However, there is really no limit on what EvoWiki can be used for, and these are some of the ideas we've come up with so far:
- An encyclopedia of Evolution and Origins, with a glossary of related biological and religious terms.
- An encyclopedia of creationist arguments and counter arguments, with examples of research where relevant.
- Academic treatises on evolutionary topics (doesn't have to be directly responding to a creationist argument), e.g. Is Velociraptor a Mesozoic kiwi?
- Collaborative writing of FAQ or article (e.g. Peppered Moth), for its own sake or for a place like talk.origins or talk.design.
- Annotated bibliography on a topic (e.g., nitrogen fixation or Geologic history).
- Accumulation of links, quotes and references on the above topics (e.g., transitional fossils).
- Archiving material from good posts from newsgroups (like Talk.Origins), blogs and bulletin boards, so that you or someone else will be inspired to edit them into a more comprehensive article later on (e.g., there are many great t.o. posts that deserve FAQdom, but often it takes a long time for an author to revisit a topic and develop a FAQ).
- Databases, tables, lists etc
- ... whatever other creative uses you come up with (please add them).