One longstanding criticism of Wikipedia is that not everyone has the knowledge and expertise to create their own pages. The problem stems from the website's use of wiki markup, which acts as an intermediary to HTML. To expand its reach, the Wikimedia Foundation has launched the highly anticipated VisualEditor, an easier and more intuitive way to edit existing pages. At this point in time, the feature is still in beta.
According to the organization, the VisualEditor is available to all English-language users who are logged in to the site. The system is currently supported on a limited number of browsers, which include the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox and Safari. Interestingly, Internet Explorer is not supported "at this time" and there was no mention of when or if this situation would change.
Wikimedia explained that the traditional wikitext source editor will still be an option for editors; however, the organization hopes that a gradual transition to the new interface will occur. The company wrote in a statement, "There are various reasons that lead existing and prospective contributors not to edit; among them, the complexity of wiki markup is a major issue. One of VisualEditor's goals is to empower knowledgeable and good-faith users to edit and become valuable members of the community, even if they're not wiki markup experts."
So what's the advantage of using the old wiki markup? The company openly admits that the VisualEditor "doesn't yet support the broad range of functionality that raw wikitext allows." That being said, the system will continue to be refined and improved as time goes on.
Later this month, Wikipedia intends to add the VisualEditor to non-English versions of the website and eventually allow editing access to those who aren't registered members
To ease the transition, the organization has provided several resources to help guide users through the VisualEditor. Be sure to check out the Portal page, the user guide, and the list of FAQs.