Happy Independence Day.
One of the early promises of the Internet was that it would lead to a proliferation of independent media targeting an ever-expanding array of topics. On the surface, the 1st amendment would appear to be alive and well. Yet the web is still dominated by a collection of top 100 sites that dominate traffic on the web and, by inference, these sites also dominate the resulting message. Even Wikipedia has become mainstream and has embraced centralized policy for content management rather than the federated and democratic model with which is was first conceived. Today, on this annual celebration of the Birth of the Republic, I am pleased to announce the release of Epik’s Multimedia Wiki — a free hosted content management system for Wiki-based content.
JFKSpeech.com seems like a fitting tribute
I have owned the domain name JFKSpeech.com for some months. I picked up the domain on the drop in January. When I acquired it, I had a clear image in my mind that it should be used for a tribute site to an exemplary Citizen, Patriot, and Orator. During his Presidency, JFK took on some audacious challenges, not the least of which was taking a public stance on the existence of secret societies in America. It is with this speech, that the JFKSpeech.com begins. Since there are people far more knowledgeable about JFK than I am, it makes sense to hand it over to the community. As such, feel free to add to the JFK Speech Wiki.
Wikipedia was a good idea. It is time to federate it.
Wiki sites can be used for any topic. It is ideal for situations where the collective has more access to relevant content than any single individual. Wiki technology has not substantially evolved since the first major Wiki platform, Wikipedia. In particular, most Wiki platforms fall short when it comes to integrating multimedia. The Epik Wiki platform merges the notion of a community-edited Wiki with versatile site editing features more typical of content management systems like WordPress. Each Wiki is hosted on its own domain, and combine features for content and community in a single site.
In the below example, the BubbaWatson.com golf tribute site was auto-generated by the Epik Wiki platform. The resulting site is editable. The Wiki generator provided a kick start to the site. After that, registered users take over the editing of the site. And for those of you who don’t know, Bubba Watson is an up and coming golfer with a killer drive off of the tee. While I am not much of a golfer, I fully appreciate the athletic challenge of hitting a ball straight for 400 yards! I also appreciate that there are a lot of folks who know a lot about golf that don’t know much about how to create and manage websites. This is where the notion of a hosted Wiki is helpful.
In short, Domainers can help those with knowledge by starting the conversation. If you are sitting on domains that correlate to a topic suited to community-based authoring, today is your lucky day. In particular, all those folks sitting on .org domains that map to search-worthy topics, the Epik Wiki platform offers a turn-key solution for breathing life into domains that would otherwise go unused, and also undiscovered by the major search engines.
Setting up an Epik-powered Wiki site is free and could not be easier
To create a Wiki site on Epik, follow these steps:
1. Change your DNS to NS1.EPIKWIKI.COM and NS2.EPIKWIKI.COM.
2. Once the DNS has propagated, visit the site and your Wiki site will start building. Wait a minute or so and the site is ready for use.
3. To edit the content, just register or login and you will see a full-featured WYSIWYG editor.
The resulting site has a few interesting characteristics:
- The initial sites are auto-generated. While not perfect, it is quite good in terms of matching the domain to relevant content with which to start a Wiki.
- All Epik Wiki sites utilize the Identity.net single-sign-on. Once you are registered, you can login and edit on any site in the Epik network that is user-editable.
- Comments that are made on any Wiki site are also syndicated to Comments.com, a searchable repository of comments across the Epik network.
Although it is still early days for the Epik Wiki platform, it fits into Epik’s larger plans around making domains as relevant as ever in the next phase of the Internet. It is also fitting to announce the Wiki platform on Independence Day. I invite you to give it a try and give us feedback on how you would like to see it improved.
Independent Media in the US is a Right and a Privilege — neither should be taken for granted
The constitutional rights that we all take for granted in the United States are subject to interpretation. The guardians of these constitutional rights are the Justices of the Supreme Court. If you ever read The Federalist Papers, you may recall that the Founding Fathers embraced “Separation of Powers” vis-a-vis The Executive Branch (President and Cabinet), The Legislative Branch (Congress) and The Judicial Branch (Supreme Court). By design, the Supreme Court is theoretically the equal of the other 2 branches.
The Judicial debates around Freedom of the Press (First Amendment) and the Right to bear Arms (Second Amendment) are heating up again. Specific to the 1st Amendment, the Internet has an important role to play in promoting the free flow of ideas. As a publishing medium it is unmatched for efficiency. However, the internet of today still only does a modest job of helping readers to figure out what content is authoritative enough to be worth reading. This is where innovation is needed — and soon.
Ultimately, the web will either become good at self-regulating, or it will become regulated. The internet is too important to the functioning of our connected society to treat it with “benign neglect”. The architects of the next web have a shared duty to preserve the Founding Fathers intent of “Freedom of the Press” while preserving accountability for individual expression. Anonymity has its place but to the extent that it is abused, we invite regulation. Personally, I prefer self-regulation and personal accountability.