A day or two ago, a fellow IndieWebber [^1] recommended that I contribute to the IndieWeb wiki. The IndieWeb wiki is at the heart of the community. It is a live and growing repository of information about all things IndieWeb.
When I first encountered the wiki, I was intimidated. I haven't had a lot of experience with wikis. I have read Wikipedia every now and again but I've never contributed. I was unsure how to navigate around the wiki. There was so much information that was interlinked. The wiki was one of the first places I discovered when I started researching the IndieWeb many months ago and I think that when I first discovered it I was just not ready to use it.
As I've been talking with people in the IndieWeb #chat, I've started to spend more time on the wiki. Part of the reason I'm reading the wiki is so that I can understand what other people are talking about. This does not really matter because people have put up with my naivete in the chat and everyone has been really supportive of my learning journey. I am also reading the wiki out of general interest. It's probably the best place for me to learn right now.
What I am Learning from the Wiki
I've skimmed a few pages on the wiki over the last few days. The "Getting Started" page has been like a checklist. I've covered almost everything on the list. I haven't read it in full but as far as I can tell I'm doing a lot of the things that new community members should do. I've got my website and domain set up. I am experimenting with new data types. I've got a h-card set up (finally on my homepage!). I do want to experiment with POSSE. That's next on my list but I've still got to do more reading.
I like how the wiki integrates with the chat channel. There are messages posted in the #meta channel which lets me see how the wiki is evolving. I have started to use these as prompts to contribute where I can. If I see someone make a change where I feel like I can weigh in, I have an additional excuse to contribute. As I am still a new community member, I'm still learning the ropes. Seeing how the wiki evolves over time is helping me understand the common practices in the community and how people like to document their work.
What I love about the wiki is that examples are everywhere. There are lists on a number of pages, like the "webring" page, which include examples that show how other IndieWebbers have implemented a particular feature. As I still have a lot to learn, it's nice to have these points of reference. I find myself often skimming over other people's sites so I can see how they do things. Some of the concepts I've encountered are more technical than I'm used to and I like seeing how other people have managed to break down these ideas and build something out of them.
The wiki is also good because it links similar concepts together. This means that there is somewhat of a network to the knowledge that I am reading. If I want to learn more about a topic, I can click through to find out more. It's that simple. There are not pages for every aspect of the IndieWeb but so far I have not found any deficiencies. In fact, I've barely scratched the surface of all the pages that are available on the wiki.
A Community Hub
The wiki is like a community hub. I like the idea of having a wiki as central to the community beacuse knowledge is clearly structured. I have had, and am still having, a lot of trouble contributing. That's because I do not have any experience contributing to a wiki. The thing that has caused me the most frustration so far is learning the markdown for the wiki. I'll pick it up at some point.
There are a lot of great discussions going on in the chat but these discussions are fleeting. The wiki helps us preserve what's going on. There is an integration in the chat that allows community members to document discussions. I've not really played around with this integration yet but it looks interesting. The wiki really is everywhere in the community.
Because the wiki is so important to the community, I've started to contribute. My first venture was setting up my profile page. There's now an entire wiki page dedicated to me and my itches. It's still pretty basic. I need to figure out what I want to do next. I have also contributed to the quantified self wiki page and the food wiki page. These are topics that are particularly interesting to me. I can also cite examples of my own site.
The Journey Continues
I'm still learning about the IndieWeb. Maybe the most significant piece of knowledge I've acquired so far is how expansive the community is. People all have their own ways of implementing the core concepts of the IndieWeb. This is important because the IndieWeb is not about telling people how to do things: it's about creating frameworks that allow you to take control of your internet experience. I am taking control of my experience by owning a personal website on which I post content. I'm using the principles of the IndieWeb to decide what to do with the data that I submit to other platforms.
I suspect that I'll find a cadence for publishing on the wiki. Right now, I'm just trying to get the hang of it.
[^1]: I am unsure whether this is official terminology. I hope the community does not mind this term.
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