Add your voice to our December Thunderclap for the new Rainwater Book
Appropedia:Strategic planning/Strategic plan 2013-2014
Where are we going? Get clear on this as a community.
(Suggestion: Write down thoughts about this individually before referring to A:Vision and mission, developed by the board of directors a few years ago.)
Conversations on central places and on social media about what Appropedia means to us, and what assets we have as a community. (This is both a community building exercise and a planning exercise.)
Improve the site in functionality, speed and usability. Urgent.
Background: As a website, we need maintenance and emergency support. This has fallen mainly on Lonny, to date. We're thankful for Lonny's hard work, and acknowledge that this is not a role he wants, and that we need someone dedicated to the task.
We have a tech team of sorts, but without a clear leader, they have not been able to contribute.
Plan: Recruit a dedicated tech developer or developer team, with experience in Semantic MediaWiki, either volunteer or paid (see #Funding, below). Equivalent to at least a part-time (2-3 days/week) position - realistically this implies a paid position.
How do we strengthen the Appropedia community and the individuals within it?
Background: The Appropedia community makes Appropedia possible. We are scattered around the world, although MediaWiki talk pages aren't great for communication. We have a very quiet mailing list. We've avoided setting up our own forum (so we don't reinvent the wheel). The monthly chats on IRC were interesting at times but not a big success relative to the investment of time. There is an Appropedia forum on Permies but we have yet managed to breathe life into it (and maybe not all Appropedians want to head over there).
Improving discussion/communication: Identify ways to encourage a sense of community and collaboration around Appropedia.
Broadcast communication: Updates from Appropedians who are in touch with what's going on. Newsletter (launching soon - Sep 2013). Social media. These need news - ways for Appropedia supporters and enthusiasts to tell us their favorite new pages.
- Service learning partners. Academics using Appropedia with their classes have been a major source of quality content for Appropedia.
- Volunteers: (Okay, we're all volunteers, but this refers to a semi-structure program that we can recruit people to.)
"Team Appropedia" (or "Meta Team"?): Who sees that this plan is carried out? Members of the board and others passionate about making Appropedia's vision a reality. How do we operate? Currently via a mix of emails, chats and MediaWiki messages. We have no functioning task management system. Join the Trello board and commit to tasks there?
Partnerships and connections
Develop effective partnerships, that further our mission and benefit our partners.
Background: We have many people who like Appropedia, and most of them have the ability to work with us, given a framework, an entry point, a specific small task or clear request.
What do we offer?
- Action learning platform
- Solution toolkit(s) in sustainability and development
- Support for their vision, where that vision includes sustainable communities
We need from partners:
- Funding (financial)
- Funding (in-kind)
- Site development
- Project management
- Support for our fundraising (organizing and/or publicizing)
- Ideas, direction
Partners and potential partners
Partners, potential partners and connections - noting what we are offering and receiving:
- EWB Australia - working together on semantic site development and EWB Challenge. We offer: content hosting. They offer: financial partnership for site development; awareness-raising.
- EWB UK - anything specific planned?
- Practical Action. We offer : making their work available; advising on licensing; hoping to enable feedback for Practical Action. They are: allowing us to use their content (though their license is still unclear)
- P2P Foundation. Joint internship to link our wikis, summarizing and linking to each wiki from the other. We offer: Volunteer/intern recruitment process; Co-supervising. They offer: Co-supervising; publicity (high profile among hardcore openness people).
- Engineering for Change. We offer: Relevant content. They offer: Visibility for Appropedia.
- Open Knowledge Foundation (and their local groups such as Open Knowledge Foundation Australia). Engage with their open development and open sustainability groups (mailing lists).
- Akvo (Discuss further with Appropedia board)
- Academics and teachers
- Researchers. We offer: Open peer review platform (link Joshua's paper); Exposure. They offer: Potentially unique, quality content; Informed contributors.
- University instructors and students. We offer: Action learning platform; Tool for tracking contributions; Public platform to showcase the class's work; Experience with a real world project; Engagement and sense of purpose for students; Experience with collaborative web platforms. They offer: Content; Quality & accuracy checking by instructors/tutors.
- K-12 programs. (David doing outreach?) We offer: Content for the classroom. (Needs to be developed further and compiled.) They offer: Awareness; Content in exceptional cases (good quality or innovative work by school students).
- Various well-connected individuals working on a similar vision for the world. We offer: Content to share - great pages, stories, media. They offer: Support in promoting and fundraising.
Scale up and fill out our content, and improve the quality.
- Focus areas: We've talked about content moderators or curators for particular areas. Wikipedia (with a larger user base) has WikiProject pages, which are sometimes useful - a small proportion of editors use them to collaborate.
- Academics using Appropedia with their classes have been a major source of quality content for Appropedia.
- To vastly scale up requires requires many contributors
- To improve quality while scaling up requires many expert contributors, effective systems (e.g. RC Patrol and page review programs) and tools (e.g. page rating tools).
- Recruit academics, giving them a clear path to involvement - top priority.
- Choose a way for people with similar interests to collaborate and to be accessible. Could be on-wiki and/or through email/chat/meetups. Case-by-case basis, make it known on the talk page for the relevant topic page (e.g. Water, Sanitation, Transport informatics, Passive solar design...)
Problem: Our broad focus makes it hard to give a clear message, and hard to develop a strong area of content.
Idea: Start by building and promoting our areas of strength. We'll get more traction by being awesome in one thing than by being "pretty good" across many things - i.e. narrow and deep.
Our areas of strength in 2013 include:
- Water, especially greywater (a good focus for late 2013 with our book project)
- Natural building
- Solar photovoltaics
- Transport informatics (a good example of a narrow but quite deep set of pages)
(Meanwhile, every focus area in sustainability and development is valid and encouraged - see #Content. We'll just be prioritizing these focus areas.)
Funding will give us many more options and enable us to be financially sustainable. It will allow our individual involvements to be more personally sustainable, through having things dealt with properly (so we're not stressed out by vandal-fighting or debugging) and/or through enabling some people to make this their actual job.
Type of fundraising:
- Crowdfunder (StartSomeGood)
- Regular donations (set up PayPal, then ask)
- Ask for donations on the website (banner, front page...)
Content for fundraising
- Pitch - drawing on #Vision, above.
- Video (pitch, vision, and/or stories)
- Media pack - for bloggers and journalists.
- Stories - someone to interview Appropedians (video or text) and bring out their stories.
- Offer to do guest blogs
- Social media - updates, stories, media
- Contact media and our well-connected friends.