About this Wiki

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Scope and Purpose of the AFS-USA Wiki

This Wiki is maintained by AFS-USA volunteers and staff to help each other find the background guidance and training materials needed to do volunteer jobs. The purpose is sharing knowledge and processes between the distributed volunteer base, using volunteer contributors to write and maintain the guide.

Another name for the Wiki might be, "How To Be an AFS Volunteer." We believe that much of the best advice for volunteers comes from other volunteers, so almost all of the pages in this Wiki are open for modification by any registered AFS volunteer.

While Wiki's do not have a fixed structure and the search feature is very useful to find the articles you are interested in, we have provided a number of different views which you may find useful.

History of this Wiki

In the fall of 2006, it became obvious that some changes were needed in the IT systems being used by AFS-USA to do its job. The staff were using a primary system called OPUS, while the volunteers were using a system called AFS-Online. There were synchronization issues between the two systems. The volunteers could not see what the staff were seeing and vice versa. The interactions between AFS-USA and the other partner countries was often complex. After much deliberation, the decision was made to convert our primary system to Global Link, a system developed by AFS International. However, AFS-Online had become a very "feature rich" system and it contained much that would not be found in Global Link. A place was needed to house these other functions, such as the Library, Reference material, etc. A small group of volunteers investigated the use of much newer web-based software called a Wiki. The benefits of using this new software is that information that was hard to find in AFS-Online is much easier to do so here. Also, it is easily changeable, not only by the AFS staff, but by the volunteers as well.

What this Wiki is Not

This Wiki is not a total replacement for all that used to be found in AFS-Online. Although AFS-Online has gone away, information about specific students, host families, support calls, etc. have been migrated from AFS-Online to Global Link. Only non-transactional, static information will be found in the AFS Wiki.

The Wiki will not contain confidential information or rapidly-outdated numeric reports, although it should contain links to such information so that it can be a volunteer's guide and first stopping point to answer any question related to AFS.

Because the Wiki is so open and changeable, it will not be an official repository for:

  • confidential information,
  • legalese,
  • official guidance from AFS staff, and
  • rapidly-outdated numeric reports

However, this Wiki is intended to contain .

AFS Wiki vs. AFS-USA website

This table shows what kinds of content belongs in the Wiki, as opposed to on the AFS-USA Website.

To Whom written? Content belongs...
Non-volunteer public Content belongs on website
AFS community, and public ok Content belongs on Wiki
AFS volunteers & staff only Content belongs on Wiki, but page should be marked private

Access Restrictions

Update access of this Wiki, and access to private pages, is restricted to registered volunteers and AFS staff, any of whom may request a username and password. After entering a username and password, any Wiki user may

  • read the entire content of this Wiki
  • create new pages
  • edit the vast majority of pages

A few pages containing legalese or other officially sanctioned content can only be edited by users with special privileges. Please see further explanation on the AFSWiki:Article Protection Policy.

We Encourage You to Contribute!

By design, the information in this Wiki is easy to correct and extend. If you are an AFS volunteer or a member of the AFS staff, and you see something wrong or missing, we'd like you to improve the Wiki for the benefit of the volunteers and participants of AFS. More information for authors and editors is available in the AFS Wiki Reference. If you'd like to join the unofficial AFS Wiki "team," add your name and area of interest to the list at AFSWiki:Community_Portal and/or send a note to sysadmin@afswiki.org. If you want to change something, there's no need to read the Wiki Reference or "join the team" -- just click "edit" on a page, and make the change! We want a lot of AFSers to contribute to this form of conversation.

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