Appropedia:Village pump/Archive2

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Contents

Advertising?

Is there a policy on spamming and ads? I wasn't sure about In-N-Out Burger, doesn't seem to be that related to the project's mission (except possibly the vegetarian thing?). I guess a more general question would be whether there's a policy for determining whether a page makes it into the project's scope? Is there a deletion policy? How about a policy about where to draw the line when a page starts sounding like advertising (e.g. a neutrality policy)? delldot talk 11:50, 23 August 2008 (PDT)

We've talked about being more friendly to commercial enterprises - as long as the content contributes to the wiki in some way, with some practical solution or idea. I think that this article doesn't do so in its current state. Maybe mark it, and invite improvement of the article? --Chriswaterguy 19:55, 23 August 2008 (PDT)
Good point about supporting business if it adds something. I can't see this article ever being useful, but I could be wrong--I don't know anything about this business. What do you think about the idea that if you're not hardline against spam it could get out of hand? I'm pretty against advertising. For example, I don't like the advertising for American Express on the main page. Seems to me if you're going to bring business to an enterprise you've got an ethical responsibility to make sure it's not evil. Anyway, I think advertising presents a conflict of interest that could cost you in accuracy. delldot talk 20:42, 23 August 2008 (PDT)
This article might need to evolve into one about running green & healthy hamburger restaurants, to be useful. In other words, a complete change. The Sun Frost energy efficient shower is more like how I imagine a useful page from a business.
We don't have a problem with spam at present (that I'm aware of) apart from the cases you mentioned. The AmEx mention on the frontpage - I wondered about that, but I'm not personally aware of AmEx being a notably bad company, and I thought that if they're giving $2.5 million away to a good cause, so they can get publicity, that's not so bad - better than getting publicity through conventional advertising spending. But that's just a thought - I'm not sure what I actually think.
Certainly an article on green & healthy hamburger restaurants would be great, but it seems like if you need to do a complete rewrite and a rename, there's no point in not deleting, at least in pure terms of content.
I don't know any dirt on AmEx either, but I bet I could dig some up.  :P At any rate, I'm just stating my bias; that stuff makes me shudder. But I do think it's worth considering where the line should be drawn. e.g. if Shell Oil does some philanthropic work, would we lend them these pages for advertisement? I would think of that as harmful. So how evil can a company get away with being? delldot talk 21:07, 23 August 2008 (PDT)


NOINDEX tag

Useful info for anyone making test pages (like Main Page tests) or any other pages which shouldn't be indexed by search engines - just add __NOINDEX__:

New magic words __INDEX__ and __NOINDEX__ control whether a page can be indexed by search engines (although note that Wikimedia's robots.txt, which excludes things like AfD subpages, takes precedence over this). The keywords do nothing in "content namespaces" ― which means the main namespace on the English Wikipedia, but other sites may have additional content namespaces.[1]

--Chriswaterguy

Integrated Systems of Production

I am interested in combining appropriate technologies into "integrated systems of production" designed to reduce cash costs - as an alternative to economies of scale. The classic example is George Chan's Integrated Farm Management System. I have other examples listed in my AboutUs wiki pages.

What if the volunteers at Appropedia agreed to focus on a project such combining a solar energy facility with a Greening the Desert project as a model to reduce global warming by both replacing fossil fuels and sequestering carbon in plants grown where they do not currently grow. I am thinking of things like:

  • Pump in sea water to grow algea for diesel,
  • use the water in evaporative coolers for greenhouses built under the solar panels
  • incorporate dehumidifiers into the design to produce fresh water,
  • provide food, water, shelter . . . for people to build and maintain the systems
  • and as many other things as we can add in - using each resource for as many integrated purposes as possible.

Once the project is defined, we volunteers would then conduct outreach to experts in each aspect of the plan - to both make the plan better and bring more interest to Appropedia.

I am thinking about maintaining a portal on integrated production systems but I thought I would see if there is any interest first. David Braden October 15, 2008

This sounds intriguing. I'm interested, more on the side of how to make this work on a wiki, helping coordinate... but Monday or later will be a better time for some of us to think about this, after OSNCamp 2008. --Chriswaterguy 08:02, 16 October 2008 (UTC)

Can we add a category to cover this topic, like: Non-profit social economy or social-ecological sustainable embedded economy, natural balanced economy, .. ? Jafra April 8, 2009

Integrated Systems

Thank you for your interest Chris. I look forward to your comments. I tried to edit the last comment but could not find how to save it. What is the trick to that? David Braden October 16, 2008 9:46 MDT.

Sorry - we've added new edit features, and still having some bugs.
At the top right, click "Generic edit". "Classic edit" would then take you back to the older style wiki editing page... but for some reason it breaks on this long page. Lonny has been working on it, and we're getting help. Thanks for hanging in with us! --Chriswaterguy 15:59, 16 October 2008 (UTC)


Interaction and linking between Demotech, design for self-reliance and Appropedia

Hello Chris, Lonny and to whom it may concern!

Hope all is well and all of you are enjoying the idea of "Yes we can", though it is sad that Sarah's expensive outfit will not make it to the ward robes of the White House.

In the mean time I have made a short description in the Category Demotech of all of Demotech's designs and writings. All of them link to the more extensive and better illustrated pages on the Demotech website. Maybe that is not what Appropedia likes best, but is is the only workable solution for me, as I regularly update these pages. It does not invite visitors from Appropedia to change anything or add anything. That is counter the idea of Open Source, however it did not happen anyway ever! In principle it is still possible. A visitor could make a new page to comment on what she or he finds at the related page at Demotech. Also each Demotech page is linked to a wiki page that invites comments. Even more: each page at Demotech offers a form inviting to add comments, but it is seldom used.

Illustrative is it to look at the Appropedia page 'Night Reader' (see: http://www.appropedia.org/Night_Reader ), I have no idea when this page was copied from the Demotech web page http://www.demotech.org/d-design/designA.php?d=44 This Demotech page contains so much more relevant info and does NOT contain some harmful misunderstanding of the original design now to be found in the Appropedia page. I know that I can correct such a mistake, I even could add that educational tools to make the NightReader are available at Demotech, but it is a lot of extra work and in my real life it just does not get done.

So I prefer a well illustrated and inviting introduction of each of the Demotech designs, writings and concepts, with a clear link to Demotech. But also with a notepad attached to that Appropedia page on which comments can be left without first linking to Demotech. If ever on a beautiful day someone really would do some work on such a design, but would not like to involve Demotech in it, then this notepad page could expand into an alternative for the original Demotech initiative.

I have a few related questions: At http://www.appropedia.org/DemoSticks_displays there is to be found DemoSticks displays. This page could be removed, as a link to a link to the complete and lateste updated page is available at by the page http://www.appropedia.org/Category:Demotech_Means_to_get_informed Same for the Appropedia page http://www.appropedia.org/Demo_Camp_Units and the Appropedia page http://www.appropedia.org/Demo_Camp_Einheiten, all of them can be replaced by the page http://www.appropedia.org/Category:Demotech_Means_to_get_informed

But I would like to add a small picture of each item next to the text, very much the same as I did it at http://www.demotech.org/d-design/d-categories.php?cat=1

Would it be possible to batch upload the about 50 small 180 x180 px pictures each of them an illustration of the listed Demotech design initiative?

Another question is how to create links in other Appropedia lists, say 'Water' or 'Sanitation' or other topics that Demotech designs relate to. Where to find such lists?

To conclude with a real burning question: I look for a research center or anything that functions like that for doing design research on toilet systems. Right now I work on three sanitation systems, the Hy2U (see: http://www.demotech.org/d-design/designA.php?d=91 ), the BathroomBox or SolarSanitation (see: http://www.demotech.org/d-design/designA.php?d=53 ) and the BathroomToilet-unit (see: http://www.demotech.org/d-design/designA.php?d=36 ). Support for this work in my own workshop in the Netherlands has vaporized, so I want to move out and find a place where an institute, school of interested people would welcome work on these designs, preferably close to users for which these designs are meant. It would take one or two months. There is always the possibility to come back when the work catches on and needs further support. These designs already have a long history behind them, had some success and I think it is a big shame that I have not been able to give pace to the research still needed. OK, where is that institute, school or are those interested people? Please let me know at info@demotech.org

Kind regards, Reinder / Demotech http://www.demotech.org .

I'm happy to see more linking - even if it's not on Appropedia, it should be at least indexed and linked here.
For the Appropedia community's information, can I ask what the "harmful misunderstanding of the original design" is? (Just a quote is fine.)
Batch upload of images: I previously couldn't find anything about how to add this feature - maybe I wasn't using the right phrase, but using your phrasing I found mw:Extension:MultiUpload, Batch Upload Images to MediaWiki and more references. We are looking for tech help for a number of things, like setting up a test wiki for the extra features we want, and this is another good thing to try out... if you know anyone who can help with adding features to MediaWiki, let us know!
Batch upload of images - Take 2: If anyone understands how to use a perl script, it may be that this perl script to do batch uploads of images doesn't require changing anything on the wiki...?
Re toilet research - I have asked the Appropedia twitter network. You could also ask on Global Swadeshi. --Chriswaterguy 19:02, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
Chris, thanks for feed back, re. happy to see more linking ... Please instruct me how to link and or index the items in the Appropedia Demotech category to the Appropedia categories of 'Water', 'Sanitation and others. Where to find such lists? Maybe there are related list or categories in the content of the new big partners.
Re: Harmful misunderstanding: The NightReader should NOT use WHITE LEDs. Yellow LEDs are OK for reading, they work with consideralbel less voltage, are cheaper, probably use less milli amps as well. The NightReader is really targeting at the minimal amount of light, NO MORE than needed for reading those 6 lines of a page in a book. In practice that is just enough. The related big working condition is NOT ATTRACTING INSECTS that otherwise would crawl over the lighted section of the paper and hinder concentration on work. Not attracting insects too asks for minimizing light to what is needed, as well as a proper cap that shields the light of in all directions apart from where your eyes have to see the paper. The NightReader is in a delicate balance of many functions and working methods to realize these functions. But further optimalization is always possible. Recently Demotech made a new model that works in the same way, but that is far easier to make and has some other advantages. Expect soon info on this on the Demotech NightReader page. But then what to do with the present NightReader publication at Appropedia? Whose responsability is it to update such info, initially posted not by Demotech? This is the same question as I put to the Village Pump as in regard of the outdated Appropedia DemoUnits entries.
Thanks for the link to Twitter. I have to find out how this works.

You people are good! Ferreal yall!

Ifn ya have a newsletter er sumpn'.....hook a brotha up. Please. :)

ian ..sacredpondAtsymbol.pnghotmailDot.pngcom

peace

Hi Ian,
Thanks for the message. We don't currently have a newsletter, but we are working on one. We'll let you know when one comes out. Thanks! --Lonny 23:54, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
Ian, I've added you to the list at Appropedia:Newsletter #Subscribers - hope to have a newsletter happening soon! --Chriswaterguy 01:13, 4 March 2010 (UTC)


SD wiki sites list

Chris, I added to http://www.appropedia.org/SWS_included_sites_list, as there seemed to be more than just your search output there. I made a page: to try to keep with your format of the name and only the name in the list: http://www.appropedia.org/Connection. I hope you think it's in the right place. I actually think it might be better to use a short sentence (up to 200 char?) with every link, so people don't have to go through a whole learning process to see what's there.

best, phil


David Reber nominated as admin

I've nominated User:David.reber for adminship. See Appropedia:Administrators/Nominations#David Reber . --Chriswaterguy 06:33, 13 February 2009 (UTC)

Adminship - making two levels, and changing the name

I've suggested changing the name "admin" to "librarian", as in the Spanish Wikipedia. Another option is "steward". Please leave any comments or suggestions at Appropedia talk:Administrators/Process.

I've also suggested making two levels of adminship - see Appropedia:Administrators/Process and leave comments on the talk page. Thanks! --Chriswaterguy 19:49, 13 February 2009 (UTC)


Usability / Making it accessible for beginners

Hi,

this is probably a difficult problem, and I haven't fully fleshed it out in my own mind, but:

It's pretty difficult to quickly navigate to content that is likely to be useful to a lot of people. For example, I tried issuing the following queries:

  • "light bulbs" (i.e. trying to learn about energy-efficient lightbubls)
  • "energy efficient house" (how to make house heat/energy efficient)
  • "carpool"

None of these queries give me anything remotely relevant (or even easy to comprehend) in the top results.

Similarly, it's not at all intuitive how to navigate to the content above from the front page.

I think this is a serious problem, as it will result in many (esp. first-time) users getting frustrated and turning away. I know that people read/write Appropedia for many purposes, but I believe that the majority first-time visitors probably want something that's simple and general.

The solution to this is not easy, but off the top of my head I can think of a few things:

  • A "simple" portal with simplified/limited content (something like Simple Wikipedia [2])
  • Improving tagging / search technology (e.g. does the current search engine have a "PageRank"-like feature that prioritizes pages by their popularity)?
  • An introduction/guide on the front page (that lets you quickly learn about / navigate to general issues of interest).

I'd be very interested in thinking about these problems further. (I'm a computer science grad student with a background in HCI).

Thanks so much for your message, Kkireyev! I agree that we need major improvements in navigation. I had to look up HCI (Human-computer interactionW - that's very relevant to the work we need to do improving the site, so we'd love to work with you on this.
We do have some plans in these areas, but it's been slow work because there's so much to do, and not many of us with tech skills (my own tech skills are very limited). Any help you could lend, both on conceptual and practical levels, would be greatly appreciated.
The first thing I'd suggest is to join the Tech for sustainability wikis - that's where we talk about tech ideas. Perhaps you could introduce yourself there, copy this message there, and tell us a bit more about yourself?
Re the portal and the front page ideas - we're thinking about adding a navigation tool like the one at Appropedia:CategoryTree to the front page, but I'm still working on the images. See also Main Page tests - that's very much under construction, but it shows some of the attempts made to tidy and slim down the front page, and make more room for important stuff that helps people navigate. Feel free to play around with that page if you like.
Re the search engine - updated comment: Wikipedia has a nicer search engine, which was announced here. It's apparently not part of a new version of MediaWiki - we could do with some tech help in working out how to apply it to Appropedia. I don't know whether this is the kind of thing you're interested in, but if you know anyone (or anyone is reading this) who can help, please let us know! --Chriswaterguy 16:37, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
Before Wikipedia improved its search, I wrote some templates there to enable Google custom search, which allows searching on specific Web sites or on parts of sites:
Even after Wikipedia's search improvements, I still find Google custom search to be better, enough of the time to justify keeping both options handy. Google also has the advantage of being incredibly fast most of the time. For a small public wiki like Appropedia, I can't imagine how the hassle of setting up Wikipedia's new-style search would be worth it, given the only occasionally better performance than Google custom search. For example, try these searches on Appropedia (I'm pasting these in as external links, since I have not ported Template:Google custom to Appropedia yet):
--Teratornis 17:36, 8 January 2011 (PST)

Open Green Map

We should consider partnering with Open Green Map to integrate the GIS functionality we have been looking for into appropedia. Any thoughts? --Joshua 18:35, 30 March 2009 (UTC)

I love it, I love it, I love it :)

am glad to be here within ... thanks for all have constructed this great work. Jafra

Swadeshi Business Models with ecology as business partner

There is no category about economy here to look up or construct such business models!

My personal motivation is that I am planing to return to my home-community which is NOT independent and controlled by foreign power. Socially, the community is heavenly collapsed like so many indigenous communities fall as victim of absurd , political power, profit and industrialization.

To start new sustainable human and moral eco-business in such a community I thought about the principles. On of them to have ecology as corporation partner as it is participating on productions and produced value. Having ecology as partner of production and consumption cycle will create a balance within our relationship to it and to each other as we all share it.

In old-school, state taxes used to cover this responsibility. But I can imagine that future value-corporation community will take more direct influence on their ecosystem if they consider themselves as such. To take ecology as partner is essential as all of us would have the same partner to adjust , revise and tune how much products actually we need with.

There many good sites http://www.corporation2020.org , http://www.futureofed.org/driver/the-maker-economy.aspx, .. but I did not find any document in which the ecology is explicit partner of the corporation. The idea would be to map "natural capital" involved in the business as virtual partner. Part of the revenue will have to flow back to sustain natural capital and make it more "wealth" (wellness) The patterns here are very helpful: http://www.conservationeconomy.net/pattern_map/noflash/index.html

Do you know any business model, where ecology is direct part of the shares so that I can study and use it for my business idea? Jafra April 8, 2009

Sorry we haven't been much help - I'd suggest posting this to the forum at Global Swadeshi. I'm sure you'll get a response there. --Chriswaterguy 17:57, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

Understanding natural systems & choices

I've studied natural systems as a general subject for years. Much of the subject is about why they fool us so much, and how they do so much for us we don't understand. It's a big subject, and not even the sciences of ecology and economics have quite realized the importance in living systems in particular, of their being made of independently responding parts.

The general idea of science is still that systems follow the rules we perceive, though that's also the problem, in that they keep making up their own rules too and catch us off guard. Is there an interest in that here? What aspect of understanding natural complex systems would be appropriate here? I have a things showing my range of interests on my archive site, and on the blog with it where I collect recent letters I liked. It’s possibly just too big a subject with too many differing opinions, but maybe it could be a place where people could try to articulate their opinions with the help of others sharing some of their view. I think many of our solutions of the past are our problems of the present, for example, and that people are not carefully thinking through the present solutions any better.

Would there be others interested in building a page or small area on how the natural behavior of systems alters our choices? Phil Henshaw Apr 14, 2009

Sounds like an interesting area to explore - supporting this kind of understanding of the nature of natural systems would be great.
I don't promise to be actively involved (a finger in too many pies) but I'll certainly watch with interest and contribute where I can.
Btw, the copyright notice on your site is almost the same as saying CC-BY, but from a legal standpoint it's not quite the same, and some people will be hesitant to reuse your content. I'd suggest going to http://creativecommons.org/license/ and setting up the license, with the CC mark to put in your footer. If you need help, let me know. --Chriswaterguy 20:56, 20 April 2009 (UTC)


References

I noticed some time ago that wiki-specific things like {{references}} doesn't work, requiring the need of typing it in html (eg </references></references>) Can this be fixed, I find wikiformat more suitable —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 91.182.204.231 (talkcontribs) 14:24, 5 September 2009

We can definitely add templates that you find useful. Which one(s) are you talking about specifically. I looked at Wikipedia:Template:References, but that doesn't seem to be the one you are talking about. Thanks for your suggestion, --Lonny 19:28, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
Sorry about the mistake, I meant {{reflist}}, it doesn't work here. {{reflist}} ins't set up on Appropedia.

{{subst:notes}} works which substitutes in {{notes}} (though just using {{notes}} would also work. However, I do think it would be useful to set reflist up too KVDP 11:06, 11 October 2009 (UTC)

Anonymous editing

Perhaps that anonymous editing can be switched off. As the site is becoming more popular, the risk of vandalism increases. Since getting a username isn't that much trouble and it certainly decreases this risk by a great percentage, I think that anonymous editing should be switched off. Another argument to support this is that Appropedia doesn't have the number of moderators like wikipedia and that the data stored here is very important. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 91.182.204.231 (talkcontribs) 15:29, 5 September 2009

Thanks for your input. Vandalism has been a problem many times in the past. We have discussed the options and have, so far, opted for leaving Appropedia open while increasing other forms of security. We have made it more difficult for bulk vandalism and our response times in fixing vandalism seem quite high (anyone want to do a statistical analysis?). I appreciate your concern and feel it myself. At the same time, we want to encourage editing and allow for as many chances for that type of engagement. In addition, we have been very lucky to have a community that watches for vandalism. A couple members only edit when removing inappropriate material. Hopefully we will continue to find even better ways of encouraging editing and soon dwarf the already impressive 73k edits we have so far.
Thanks again, --Lonny 19:36, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
I also support the vision that only members are to be given permission to edit the appropedia articles. This, as an organisation I recently contacted (Ingenieurs zonder Grenzen) also shared this vision. In addition, appropedia should divert from wikipedia, as more and more appropriate technology organisation (which need to work in difficult situations) shouldn't have to fear that their articles (on which they depend at least to a certain degree) are corrupted by anonymous users. Perhaps appropedia members can fend off vandalism for now, but as the site grows, this may not be the case in the future. It's better to be safe than sorry.

KVDP 09:42, 20 October 2009 (UTC)

Site reorganisation

Following Chriswaterguy's suggestion, I placed my proposal for reorganisation/simplification of appropedia here. Following the responses here, perhaps changes can be made.

in the menu, one finds navigations community, topics areas and toolbox. Why not simply make 1 box and simplify it as with howtopedia. For example, About: place this all the way down; merge with Mission-article Recent changes and Categories: remove Help: refer to wikipedia's wiki help ? Article adds weight to site and is still too basic for good understanding Organisations: refer to wikipedia's AT organisations category ? If kept at Wikipedia, the list is kept up to date for free. Discuss: rename to colloquium or discussion? Random: remove Blog: perhaps you could move new items to the main page ? A seperate blog again adds more work and the blog doesn't have such big a function? If it is intented as a place to connect, perhaps instant messaging, twittering, ... could be more useful (would recruit more people too). To combine several messengers, a multi-messenger can be used. Appropriate tech: why is this category needed ? It's appropedia, so everything should be appropriate (eg cheap and eco-friendly) The categories you made at category are perfect to represent all categories (locations can perhaps be changed to AT villages, organisations moved to wikipedia) Green living: change to appropriate living habits (its appropedia, so we should always behave green, no need to mention it) Projects: just list in the corresponding categories, remove "projects" How-to's: remove; i'm guessing that we'll make every article a how-to ? Toolbox: remove all but printable version; guessing no one uses these anyhow (at least I don't) KVDP 09:55, 9 September 2009 (UTC)

I think it would be a mistake to have direct links outside of the site in the main menu - so no wikipedia links for content that is only relevant to appropedia e.g. organizations focusing specifically on AT. I agree that the Random link could be removed without hurting anything. The toolbox is useful and I would not cut anything else -- for finding appropedia from the outside we need the keywords. At some point we have to normalize the use of topic areas as either portals or as categories -- either way they need to be taken care of by a user or group of users.
My main question is on the highlighting of new pages, users, and categories - normally puts the least developed content on the first page. This is good for encouraging people to create pages - but bad in terms of capturing users if they visit the front page first and click on an empty or early construction peice. What do people think about putting the category tree up front? comment by J.M.Pearce, 19 September 2009.
Sorry I missed these comments till now. One thing I see is that what's not important to one is someone else's favorite... E.g. a friend from the OLPC project said Random was his favorite link, and I've started using it too. But I've decided to be very bold and make a bunch of changes.
KVDP: I moved About: down, but made a new section. Separate section makes it easier to scan and find things.

RC & toolbox - these are all important links for some users at least.

"Discuss: rename to colloquium or discussion?" Discuss is more active, but each have their advantages - I changed to discussion.
Blog: serves a role in connecting with a wider audience. The feed (used in aggregated feeds on some other sites and in blog readers) and the familiar way of commenting brings interactions we'd otherwise miss. "Appropriate tech:" and "Green living:" I've had similar thought, but they're phrase and starting points that are familiar to people. I'm also very sensitive to use the kinds of phrases that people search for, whether in search engines or on Appropedia.
"Projects:" - I'm sure that many people love to browse other people's projects, even if it's not something I do much myself. "How-to's:" Agreed this is a theme in most pages here. I'm not sure, but for now the Category:How tos"how to" category]] isn't well organized or presented, so I've removed it.
are the changes - so how does the new sidebar look, up there on the left?
Joshua: Agreed about replacing newpages with a category tree! I wanted to do this long ago but our category tree sucked. It's finally looking better - Appropedia:CategoryTree - so I think we can look at this now. Anyone can try it out at Main Page testsI won't have a chance for a day or two at least. --Chriswaterguy 12:06, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
The navbar looks a bit better (things are more grouped) but my main comments still remain. As for the blog and twitter, I understand it's important to connect to the greater public (eg regarding getting other responses and ideas) but I don't think twitter and a blog should be used herefore, it simply requires us to spend much more time than what we get in return, this time lost would be better spend on other things. As I suggested, instant messaging could be better used herefore. I'm already working on setting up the Members page so it will facilitate instant messaging. Regarding having a main "meeting place" to go to for Appropedia, I was thinking about having appropedia run a IM account called "Appropedia meeting place". This could then serve as a liaison, ie a client that is not "active" or talks, but rather serves so as to allow others to connect and come into contact with each other.

Finally, regarding facebook, aldough I don't think that this will be a problem regarding extra time loss, I'm not sure whether it is really intented herefore. It's initial purpose was use as a "white pages", and not really as a "yellow pages". Even if it was, I'm not sure whether Appropedia actually has its own office in real life. Regardless, this can be left as is for the time being. KVDP 08:23, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

UPDATE: One extra category could perhaps be made: Category:Special. This category can contain all categories that are specific to Appropedia; ie its members, Colloquium, ... A subcategory can be made herein: Category:Getting started; this can contain all articles relevant on how to begin editing pages at wikipedia, ... also appropriate technology and all other terms, ... can be explained. Perhaps the Appropriate Living Manual, terminology, ... can be placed herein aswell. The category should replace ie category:Appropedia administration and expand it (it thus becomes a one-category-fits-all kind of category). This as ... administration was not a very good category name, and its probably easier to have a single category for all appropedia-specific pages (offcourse subcategories are still needed). KVDP 13:20, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

I actually find Category:Appropedia, Category:Appropedia community and Category:Appropedia administration more clear, and don't wouldn't to get things confused up with the "Special:" pages. --Chriswaterguy 13:53, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

Comparison of alternative ICE fuels

I placed the article Comparison of alternative ICE fuels here. It was removed from wikipedia but if this article get improved it may be later transformed to later reuploaded at wikipedia. Some info from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gasoline#Energy_content eg, ... can be implemented. KVDP 18:43, 26 September 2009 (UTC)

Excellent. I just made a few edits. --Lonny 19:16, 26 September 2009 (UTC)

Attribution and citation templates

I just realized that we have two categories and two terms being used for the same function - attributing content taken from other sources. The categories are:

I think citation should refer to trusted or notable sources of information, whereas attribution refers to crediting material that is reused on Appropedia. So I plan to recategorize/rewrite/rename templates to reflect this. --Chriswaterguy 17:47, 2 October 2009 (UTC)

This makes sense to me. --Lonny 02:06, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

Other templates

I noticed that {{summarize}}, {{mergeto|}}, {{mergefrom|}}, {{improve}}, {{wikify}}, ... work but don't look nearly as good as in wikipedia (no real templates, no image, ...) Perhaps the template designs can be taken from wikipedia and slightly modified for appropedia

KVDP 09:45, 20 October 2009 (UTC)

Part of the problem is that some Wikipedia templates depend on parser functions for logical or optional parameters... hope to have the relevant extension added here soon. --Chriswaterguy 01:13, 4 March 2010 (UTC)


Water harvesting

Some time ago, I decided to make a wikibooks article at http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Rainwater_harvesting This as the rainwater harvesting article at Wikipedia kept going into the wrong direction due to other editors. The rainwater harvesting articles at appropedia still need some work (too restrictive on the types that are mentioned, quite long and sometimes confusing eg see the paragraph at http://www.appropedia.org/Original:Rainwater_harvesting#First_flush_systems) Since then, the wikibooks article was evaluated, renamed and included in a book called Georgia water If anyone wishes to improve the articles, I think it is best to start off with looking at this Georgia Water document (see my suggestion at the Georgia water talk page) and modify this book and link to subdivisions in appropedia for extra information on subtopics. The appropedia article too can be improved by adding additional systems and keeping them simple.

Open-design software and hardware for water management

The INCA Software Model Predictive Control (MPC) software of IPCOS could be used as the general control software for water management. See ""Flood control of rivers with Model Predictive Control -- proof of concept based on the river Demer in Belgium"." by Maarten Breckpot 91.182.215.173 13:19, 10 June 2010 (UTC)


Good pages on Appropedia? Please nominate!

Which are the best pages on Appropedia? Please nominate at Category talk:Good Pages!

This helps us choose pages to package for Appropedia's OLPC content bundle, and to use for promoting Appropedia content. --Chriswaterguy 16:06, 19 October 2009 (UTC)

Language learning lessons

I noticed a while ago that appropedia is also working on making articles in other languages. Perhaps that instead of doing this, it may be better to simply integrate English leaning lessons and lessons in other languages instead. A big issue in appropriate technology projects is that communication with the locals is often a problem, and employing locals in on-site projects is this aswell, as it relies to a degree that others are capable of speaking english or another language understandable by the project direction.

English learning lessons should certainly be integrated, as locals will need to be able to learn the currently available manuals by appropriate technology organisations, and as its the current lingua franca (understanding this is actually is prequisty for anyone)

Lessons in other languages could then again be used by project engineers to familiarize/communicate to the local population (which often don't speak more than 1 language). I think some main languages as Mandarin, Arabic, Portugese, Spanish, ... could certainly be integrated. The lessons can include text and audio. The audio could then be learned with simple digital audio players (an example of audio lessons is http://www.arabicpod.net/)

The lessons could probably be composed with the lessons given otherwise by the US government, and other governments (eg the lessons given in refugee camps with refugees to be integrated into the US, ...) As these are US government documents, they could be simply copied. Also, they are of a greater level than eg arabicpods

KVDP 09:57, 20 October 2009 (UTC)

I'm a big fan of language learning, and especially open materials for language learning. I've contributed to Wikibooks:How to Learn a Language as well as the Indonesian Wikibook, and I'd love to see better English lessons freely available.
My suggestion is that:
  • we support whichever site is doing the best with materials on English as a foreign language (Wikibooks? Wikiversity?) as well as P2P University, which gets learners together, takes open materials, and structures them into actual courses. As individuals and as a community we can participate, and we can have relevant pages on Appropedia linking to relevant pages on those other projects.
  • we continue to work on getting Appropedia into multiple languages - move forward the reach out to language departments at educational institutions and explain the benefits of service learning in language education - see Language education-based translation.
How does that sound? Note that I don't have an actual objection to such material on Appropedia - my aim is to enable this collaboration to grow in the most effective way possible.
(When we have a way to host and edit a page on more than one wiki, so that different communities can edit the same document, then we might choose a slightly different solution. And with the MediaWiki API now working, that mightn't be far off.) --Chriswaterguy 05:42, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
Outsourcing the work to an other wiki sounds good; however, I am not sure whether wikibooks/wikiversity can already take on this job. Also, I am not aware that they have audio to listen to the lessons (eg on a portable media player) as I described.

Also, there is an underlying reason why I posted this thought. As I described, I am not sure whether the best approach is to translate technical manuals to another language (I personally btw only follow the opposite route; eg translating manuals to english from another language and not the opposite). Instead, I think it is best that if eg a local wishes to learn to construct, ... something from the manuals at appropedia, this should only be made possible in English. This in a way forces someone to learn English first, which is, I believe, one of the first things anyone should do when trying to increase his knowledge/become more educated. Learning English, as it is the lingua franca, and not just the language of some nation, no matter its size, can not be considered wrong (eg unlike when any other heavily spoken language is chosen) and as most literature is available in English, ... (and not just AT literature) anyone will need to learn it anyhow. In addition, when engineers and local learn english, they can communicate better, and have additional benefits aswell. KVDP 14:37, 24 October 2009 (UTC)

Re: This in a way forces someone to learn English first, which is, I believe, one of the first things anyone should do when trying to increase his knowledge/become more educated. - I'm glad that it's a non-native English speaker saying these things!
My first reaction was to disagree, as there will never be the same degree of understanding or participation if it's in a non-native tongue. We also want to serve everybody, and I think it will be a long time before everyone speaks English. We want our content (online, in printed form or however) to reach and serve people in villages and slums who may not have a great education, but who may be tinkerers.
Btw, English isn't even a good, easy or logical language, so it's unfortunate that it's the global lingua franca. I propose Indonesian :-) - but I don't expect to get much support for that.
But then I thought some more. Translating everything into every language won't happen soon. What I think will happen much sooner is good quality machine translation - Google Translate is already very good for Spanish to English or Indonesian to English, and a number of other languages as well. Perhaps our medium term goal should be to have key navigation pages and critical how-tos in people's native tongues, plus whatever people choose to translate, plus either:
  • the full range of pages would be accessible by an integrated translator, whether from Google or somewhere else; or
  • machine translation used as a starting point for translated pages, with tweaking done by humans. This would require improving translation tools for MediaWiki to make it really effective.
I certainly agree that assisting people in learning English is a great thing. I'd like to see English-speakers learning other languages as well, but in terms of economic opportunities and access to knowledge, English learning is a top priority. I'd be really interested in doing something with P2PU on this - unlike Wikibooks etc, they focus on putting together courses based on material that already exists, which I believe is the best way forward now. One of the challenges is that the earliest stages would be partly in the learner's own language, so probably the place to start developing courses is where the students are taken from basic English to more advanced English. Btw have you looked up OCW materials on learning English? --Chriswaterguy 04:29, 28 October 2009 (UTC)
Btw, English isn't even a good, easy or logical language, so it's unfortunate that it's the global lingua franca. I agree to this if basic English is used. However, as some "English-variants" as Globish have shown, a lot of confusion and words that are unlogical in English can simply be taken out. Studies have shown that english is one of the most easy languages to learn (unlike my language, aswell as others such as Russian, ...). In most of my writings I btw already try to use more simple words (not because I am myself not capable of a more advanced level, but because I believe more simple words are the way to go), and this is also the reason why I created pages such as Engineering terminology. Finally, regarding the translation programs, I also noted some suggestions found trough my thinkerings about appropriate technology devices in computing. See Linux-OS improvements, used in cooperation with a new type of UMPC. Btw I also don't quite believe the OLPC is truly an appropriate technology, as the OLPC is a device that doesn't really allow to view/study electronic documents aduquatly due to its small screen, ... Perhaps that regarding that latter, the OLPC-bundle tag, may be switched with eg {{Netbook/UMPC-bundle}} (more generic, doesn't advocate a specific product)
KVDP 10:57, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
I believe we should try to serve as many people as we can now. It is easier to translate articles than it is too teach language, not to mention there is no hubris in translating texts as there is in mandating who should know what language. In addition, not only is China quickly becoming a major world power, but there are more speakers of Mandarin than English... maybe it is time for us all to be learning Mandarin. 谢谢你 --Lonny 08:25, 6 November 2009 (UTC)
A good point, Lonny, but (besides being the lingua franca), English is still an easier language to learn. I just finished a map about languages that could be useful, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Main_world_languages.png

KVDP 12:51, 13 December 2009 (UTC)

Google Translate does a pretty good job on Wikipedia articles, although it has length limitations that longer Wikipedia articles readily exceed. See wikipedia:Template:Translate wikipedia. It helps to know something about the subject of the article being translated. If the topic is completely unfamiliar to the reader, the reader may struggle with untranslated words or incorrectly translated words. If the goal is to assist tinkerers, then having lots of illustrations (including video illustrations) would be as important as translations to all the world's languages. If a video demonstration can teach someone what to do even with the sound off, then language is less important. --Teratornis 21:31, 8 January 2011 (PST)

AT organisations presentation, category

At present, there are no categories for documents of specific AT organisations. In addition, AT organisations should probably have a small page at appropedia in which they can present their organisation. Also, I am wondering whether the making of templates or logo's could be useful (eg to mark at the beginning of a document, that it has been taken over from a specific AT organisation. This, simply so as to show which organisation has supplied the information and give them the full credits (which they already have, but it is somewhat more clear this way).

KVDP 14:42, 24 October 2009 (UTC)

How does this compare to Category:Organizations? Thanks, --Lonny 18:30, 27 October 2009 (UTC)
Indeed, this categories may be used, I didn't notice them before. However a small coment dough, if for example you mark an article with eg "Engineers without Borders", this could mean that it's simply an article that might have a specific correlation to this organisation, but doesn't necessarily mean it's an article made by them. In addition, I'm not sure whether all categories here are actually organisations (aren't some of these simply projects by an organisation?), and some organisations aren't described seperatly. Eg referring to Ingénieurs Sans Frontières, 2 organisations exist (eg Ingénieurs Sans Frontières-IAI (Belgian) and the French Ingénieurs Sans Frontières. Oddly however, the organisations work entirely seperate, and this is also (partially?) true eg towards Engineers without Borders (aldough Ingénieurs Sans Frontières is the exact translation of Engineers without Borders). As such, the organisations all need to be listed under the same category.
Also see Category:PATB. There's Category:Beyond dams, which we'd probably swap for institutional categories if we had more material from the orgs that authored Beyond Dams. These categories need much more work, but we certainly do want to see categories like you describe. --Chriswaterguy 04:05, 28 October 2009 (UTC)

Logo change

Appropedia:Logos

remodeled logo

A while ago, I proposed to change the logo to the one used at http://villageearth.org/pages/Projects/AT/ATblog/2007/03/village-earth-joins-appropedia-wiki.html Perhaps that this suggestion can now be executed ? This new logo is (I think) nicer, as the surfaces around the wind harvester are colored in, and as the green-blue coloring is removed. Note that, as the image presented there is is completely black/white, some coloring will need to be included, but the coloring is then best done on the black border lines (eg changing some of these to green), instead of in the image itself. Also, perhaps this new image (which is already available at appropedia at aprologo-final.png) can form the basis for another new image. This new image is probably best a crossover between the transition culture image (http://transitionculture.org/) and the current one (eg zoomed out, more abstract than realistic). Also, perhaps that instead of a house, a dome-like shelter is best drawn as these are generally the most appropriate structures used in AT (examples: Steve Baer's zomes, the design I made at File:Semi-buried_dwellings.JPG, the aluminum can domes from Earthship Biotecture, ...) The plants shown are best also abstract (eg only a few grains). They should however be shown in a plot, rather than on the sides (note that the image now also shows a leaf, which may be removed from the image and a 2 plants (which don't look like grains/rice at all, rather more like Typha). The wind energy harvester can remain, but I wonder whether it's not useful to also include another renewable energy power source (eg waterwheel) or a concentrating solar power structure (the latter may be more appropriate as they generate more power; then again wind isn't hugely present in certain areas (eg tropical belt). However, drawing several energy harvesters do complicate the image. Personnaly, I was thinking about a style resembling the Hagia Sophia; where the windturbine or CSP functions as the "pillars"; eg so as not to come too close to only the Arabian style and keep it generic; fusion-like in appearance, rather then reflecting a single style).

KVDP 08:27, 26 October 2009 (UTC)

I actually like the colored version, which is newer. I also like it better since I saw Appropedia Logo Animated (short video). I don't think it goes very well with the current skin though - I'm looking forward to getting some expert tech help with re-skinning the site.
In theory I think a simpler logo would be more attention grabbing. But I won't comment on specific suggestions as I have no artistic ability and have no idea how to implement them and make them look good :-). --Chriswaterguy 04:11, 28 October 2009 (UTC)
Finished my draft logo as can be seen above. Needs still quite some work but already shows the specifics of how I would design the logo. Not sure however about the wind energy harvester; as can be seen in the now updated wind energy page, little energy can be harvested in the tropics/subtropics. Perhaps that high altitude wind harvesters may however generate somewhat more power however; in this case, the tower from the wind energy harvester needs to be removed from logo and swapped with a balloon and wiring. In addition, the text added is also a good indicator to put people on the right track. Revewing the Appropedia:CategoryTree, I however saw that additional subcategories need to be made;
  • Category:Energy -->A section needs to be made on energy production (or rather Energy harvesting) and energy storage & use
  • Category:Food & agriculture (perhaps rename to "food production"?) -->production of staple crops and production of supplemental crops category needs adding (eg as certain foods as fruit, etc... can't be used to form the core of the system and are only needed to provide additional substances as fibres, certain minerals, and also some vitamins (B,C, ...)
  • Category:Construction and materials -->add subcategory on construction of sleeping