First Write Who & What

New sites are born with a single page that encourages the creation of two more, who and what. Here I reflect on the wisdom of that guidance.

All sites are expected to have a welcome-visitors page that becomes the default entry point into a site.

The new site welcome-visitors prototype is stored in the default-data directory of the wiki-node-server. github

The prototype welcome-visitors uses a variation of Factory plugins that include textual advice in place of a type menu.

The the welcome-visitors prototype has evolved to guide users toward effective use of who & what.


Pages about us . . . Link to a page about yourself here.

I've written so many Ward Cunningham pages. Now with each new site I first ask myself, why am I qualified to be writing this new site? I leave the biographical stuff to one reference that I drag in from

I've tried writing in the third person here. It sounded fake and vain. I do often write in first person plural. This works. And it reminds me that I am just the first of the community that will grow the work.

I include paragraphs about my motivation for creating a new site. If there is a story leading up to the site's creation, here is the place to tell it.

I include paragraphs about the methodology involved especially if the site is a transcription from other sources. Original sources and defense of fair use fit here too.

I include mention of others who I expect to work with assuming there will be a lively neighborhood formed here. Ideally this is References to there Who pages on similarly focused sites.

I always include a recapitulation of the What paragraphs from the site's welcome-visitor page. I have to assume that many people enter the site here and won't ever see the welcome unless they get really lost.


Pages where we do and share . . . Create pages about things you do on this wiki. Type a descriptive name of something you will be writing about.

Here I give title to the collective work I expect to grow from my contributions starting here. I prefer a short noun phrase that would be easy to say in many contexts with useful if slightly ambiguous meaning. Poetic titles aren't useful here.

I create the page with my new title and write its first paragraph. Here I focus on what our readers will get from this work. The many aspects of Who is left elsewhere.

I mention the Who page here so that Who and What are cross linked. What is the other entry point to the work. Those who enter through What will take a quick peek at Who before carrying on exploring the bounty growing here.

I return to the welcome-visitors page and wrap just enough words around the What title to make it attractive. If someone is at this site for the right reason, you want them to click this link.

I've learned to not include a list of links on the welcome-visitors page. Better to push that list to the What page. Then someone wanting a reference to the whole work has a nicely named Reference to use.

I delete the paragraph from the welcome-visitor prototype that advices new owners to claim the site. I claim the site and feel good doing it. I've made something already.


I keep several sites that are personal. One is private, on my laptop. The other is the public personal me.

My personal sites don't benefit from the focused Who & What suggested here.

I often modify welcome-visitors to aid whatever I am doing at the moment with quick links only I would understand.

I try a little harder to be readable on my public personal site but quickly forgive my self for being incomplete. See Incremental Paragraphs

I'm finding that I write a page or two in my personal space and later make the site where they belong. Having these seeds makes writing Who & What easy.