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Appropedia:Village pump/Archive4

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This an archived page.


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Feel free to copy and quote from the discussion below if you wish to, in your new edit or comment on the current page.

Google Chrome translation bar

When I come across an Appropedia bar in Spanish, my Google Chrome translation bar pops up and translates it a few seconds later. Here's the list of available languages.

  • Afrikaans
  • Albanian
  • Amharic
  • Arabic
  • Armenian
  • Azerbaijani
  • Basque
  • Belarusian
  • Bengali
  • Bihari
  • Bosnian
  • Breton
  • Bulgarian
  • Catalan
  • Chinese
  • Chinese (Simplified Han)
  • Chinese (Traditional Han)
  • Corsican
  • Croatian
  • Czech
  • Danish
  • Dutch
  • English
  • English (Australia)
  • English (Canada)
  • English (New Zealand)
  • English (South Africa)
  • English (United Kingdom)
  • English (United States)
  • Esperanto
  • Estonian
  • Faroese
  • Filipino
  • Finnish
  • French
  • French (Canada)
  • French (France)
  • French (Switzerland)
  • Galician
  • Georgian
  • German
  • German (Austria)
  • German (Germany)
  • German (Switzerland)
  • Greek
  • Guarani
  • Gujarati
  • Hausa
  • Hawaiian
  • Hebrew
  • Hindi
  • Hungarian
  • Icelandic
  • Indonesian
  • Interlingua
  • Irish
  • Italian
  • Italian (Italy)
  • Italian (Switzerland)
  • Japanese
  • Javanese
  • Kannada
  • Kazakh
  • Khmer
  • Kirghiz
  • Korean
  • Kurdish
  • Lao
  • Latin
  • Latvian
  • Lingala
  • Lithuanian
  • Macedonian
  • Malay
  • Malayalam
  • Maltese
  • Marathi
  • Moldavian
  • Mongolian
  • Nepali
  • Norwegian
  • Norwegian Bokm
  • Norwegian Nynorsk
  • Occitan
  • Oriya
  • Oromo
  • Pashto
  • Persian
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Portuguese (Brazil)
  • Portuguese (Portugal)
  • Punjabi
  • Quechua
  • Romanian
  • Romansh
  • Russian
  • Scottish Gaelic
  • Serbian
  • Serbo-Croatian
  • Shona
  • Sindhi
  • Sinhala
  • Slovak
  • Slovenian
  • Somali
  • Southern Sotho
  • Spanish
  • Spanish (Latin America)
  • Sundanese
  • Swahili
  • Swedish
  • Tajik
  • Tamil
  • Tatar
  • Telugu
  • Thai
  • Tigrinya
  • Tonga
  • Turkish
  • Turkmen
  • Twi
  • Uighur
  • Ukrainian
  • Urdu
  • Uzbek
  • Vietnamese
  • Welsh
  • Western Frisian
  • Xhosa
  • Yiddish
  • Yoruba
  • Zulu

Would this come in handy for any translation projects here? --RichardF 17:29, 11 June 2011 (PDT)

I'd like to get a Google Translate option, with menu, put into the skin of the wiki. I've seen this done on a couple of other wikis.
This tool (as an extension, or bookmarklet, or just copy-pasting) could be useful as a first pass at translation, in some languages. I think we need to canvas some universities' language departments and recruit some classes and interns - then we can lend a hand in choosing translation tools, if needed. Anyone interested in helping to recruit? :-) --Chriswaterguy 10:59, 12 June 2011 (PDT)
Just for closure sake... this has been implemented and working well (for a few months or so now). Thanks! --Lonny 15:27, 10 January 2012 (PST)

Proposal to update the wikitable class palette and establish site-wide palette guidelines

Update wikitable class palette

Cutting to the chase, this is a proposal to change the wikitable class color palette for the border, background and header background to be as shown below.

/* wikitable/prettytable class for skinning normal tables */
table.wikitable,
table.prettytable {
    margin: 1em 1em 1em 0;
    background: #F5FFF5;
    border: 1px #A3BFA3 solid;
    border-collapse: collapse;
}
 
table.wikitable th, table.wikitable td,
table.prettytable th, table.prettytable td {
    border: 1px #A3BFA3 solid;
    padding: 0.2em;
}
 
table.wikitable th,
table.prettytable th {
    background: #CEF2CE;
    text-align: center;
}
 
table.wikitable caption,
table.prettytable caption {
    margin-left: inherit;
    margin-right: inherit;
    font-weight: bold;
}
 
table.prettytable code,
table.wikitable code {
    background-color: transparent;
}

To illustrate with wider borders, such a palette would look like this.

One Two
Three Four
Five Six

This palette already can be seen on a number of Appropedia pages, such as the boxes at Portal:Green living, Portal:Food and agriculture and Portal:Transport; Template:How to; and several "approtable" tables used in conjunction with the how to template, such as at How to Build a Mechanically Powered Battery Charger for LED Lighting.

Establish site-wide palette guidelines

Regardless of whether the particular palette proposed above is used to update the wikitable class, the style eventually should be updated, based on an estasblished set of site-wide palette guidelines. Several Wikipedia top-level pages use palette style guidelings. Many of these pages and their palettes are shown at Wikipedia:User:RichardF/Palettes. More examples of Wikipedia color palette templates are shown at Wikipedia:Template:Box-header#Box-header color palettes.

Color palette styles along these lines and based on the Appropedia logo are shown at User:RichardF#Tables and User:RichardF#Palettes. Using this approach, it should be possible to establish a set of visually compatible palette styles that help tie together Appropedia pages and themes in a consistent and pleasing manner. --RichardF 11:32, 25 September 2011 (PDT)

Thanks Richard.
Just to clarify, you don't need to understand the code to give an opinion here. This is a suggestion to change our boring standard table style:
One Two
Three Four
Five Six
so it displays either like this:
One Two
Three Four
Five Six
or perhaps like this (thick borders, 5px):
One Two
Three Four
Five Six
...or somewhere in between (like this 2px example below). Is that right?
or perhaps like this (thick borders, 5px):
One Two
Three Four
Five Six
Note that it won't be any harder to make a table - all this code will be behind the scenes. We just need to decide what we want the tables to look like.
As for me, I like the change - looks much nicer on the site. I'd probably go for a 2px border, if I had to choose.
Other feedback? --Chriswaterguy 02:58, 27 September 2011 (PDT)

Chris, et al. - To clarify your clarification, the proposal is to change "class=wikitable" to make basic table colors go from this:

One Two
Three Four
Five Six

to this:

One Two
Three Four
Five Six

Nothing else would change. The only reason I made the borders wider in my first example was to make it easier to see the proposed border color, in case someone did make it wider in a customized table later on.  :-) --RichardF 05:20, 27 September 2011 (PDT)

Thanks for clarifying. (I do like the 2px border, though.) --Chriswaterguy 07:43, 27 September 2011 (PDT)
I like the 2px border width too. It adds a little more "style" to the standard table. Just keep in mind that if anyone wants a 1px border with the standard table colors, they'll have to add that feature to their customized tables. This includes any templates that use "class=wikitable" as well. Not necessarily a big deal, but food for thought.  :-) --RichardF 10:57, 27 September 2011 (PDT)

Okay! The wikitable now has gone green! Thanks Lonny!  :-) --RichardF 17:57, 17 October 2011 (PDT)

Thank you! It looks great. I love how updating it makes the previous conversation look much more confusing. ;) --Lonny 20:14, 17 October 2011 (PDT)
Good work, guys! --Chriswaterguy 02:47, 18 October 2011 (PDT)
Btw, after a chat with an old friend who is now a web developer, I'm now a fan of subtle use of 3D effects such as shading on web pages, including objects such as tables. I've set up a task on BetterMeans for the 3D effects suggestion: 3D effects in skin to create clearer sense of space.
I also like "responsive web design" (Google it). --Chriswaterguy 19:33, 21 December 2011 (PST)
My reply

A similar approach to having color gradients might be to adopt the MediaWiki Vector skin and then adapt the color scheme to be more Appropedia green. The steps outlined at mw:Manual:Skinning/Vector seem to be relatively straightforward. Simple 3-D shadow effects in tables are easy enough, but I haven't figured out how to get any gradient shadow effect examples I've seen to work yet. --RichardF 16:38, 23 December 2011 (PST)

I added "box-shadow: 2px 2px 1px #888888;" to Mediawiki:Common.css at the wikitable style to test it out for the shadow effect on tables. Another 3-D effect for review. :-) --RichardF 21:10, 1 January 2012 (PST)

I tried a few Appropedia green Vector skin test samples at my sandbox. They use the same hue of green as the wikitable and Main Page box header lines. The test samples use the same brightness as the standard Vector skin. They differ in four levels of saturation. The standard Vector skin uses zero saturation, so any changes to hue alone would all just turn out to be the same shades of grey.

I think it would be interesting to test out an Appropedia green Vector skin. According to mw:Manual:Skinning/Vector, it seems to take only a few changes to the standard settings, such as changing a background color in ./skins/vector/screen.css and replacing three color images at ./skins/vector/images/. The Vector skin also would look a little cleaner, regardless of the shade, if the Appropedia logo's background color were changed from white to transparent. That should work regardless of the skin anyone uses as well.

If the Appropedia green Vector skin turns out to be a worthy improvement, I believe it would give a more contemporary and Appropedic feel to the site, similar to adding gradient 3-D effects. At that point, maybe it even could become the default skin. ;-) --RichardF 05:02, 24 December 2011 (PST)

I agree that it is time to switch to the Vector skin. Of the suggestions RichardF posted, I like a hybrid of Vector page-fade color: #FEFEFD (H0/S0/V98) and Vector sidebar color: #EFF2EF (H120/S1/V95). As a second preference, Appropedia green Vector skin test shade gradients: H120/S1/V98 & H120/S1/V95 looks good to me as well. Please weigh in on final preferences (which, of course, can be changed).
I am asking Joey if he can make the logo transparent (note that the white swath through the center of the orb is the same white as the background, but should not be made transparent).
Logo is now transparent and the CSS for Monobook has been modified to nicely align the logo. Some care should be taken if putting the logo against a dark background. ---- Joey 22:34, 25 December 2011 (PST)
I am asking Jason if he can add the social media buttons (can we try out having a facebook share button as well), Google Translate, and Google Analytics to the vector skin.
RichardF, can tell us exactly what colors should be added where and what images should be added where?
Additional thoughts? Thanks, --Lonny 17:23, 25 December 2011 (PST)

Here's my understand of the basic Vector skin color options (YMMV ;-).

Page & file locations
Color palette sections & options
body {
	background-color: #f3f3f3;
	/* @embed */
	background-image: url(images/page-base.png);
}
  • Sidebar: The color of the left sidebar, image ("background-image: url(images/page-base.png);" - 1x1) is the bottom of the top of page color gradient (standard is #f3f3f3) - change to selected option.
/* Content */
div#content {
	margin-left: 10em;
	padding: 1em;
	/* @embed */
	background-image: url(images/border.png);
	background-position: top left;
	background-repeat: repeat-y;
	background-color: white;
	color: black;
	direction: ltr;
}
  • Content: The main content of a page (standard is white) - no change.
  • Border: The line on the left and top of the content, image is bottom of the tabs color gradient. (" background-image: url(images/border.png);" standard is blue) - change to green by replacing images/border.png with a 1x1 image of color #A7F9A7 (H120/S33/V98).
/* Head */
#mw-page-base {
	height: 5em;
	background-color: white;
	/* @embed */
	background-image: url(images/page-fade.png);
	background-position: bottom left;
	background-repeat: repeat-x;
}
  • Page-fade: The color at the top of a page (standard is at "background-image: url(images/page-fade.png);" 1x44 #FEFEFD (H0/S0/V98) - change to selected option.
Vector skin color options

I put together a few Vector skin color options in my sandbox. Lonny's preference is OPTION 1. I prefer a little more green in the sidebar (OPTION 2). Any other preferences? :-) --RichardF 08:17, 26 December 2011 (PST)

Okay, so there's more to change than what I originally thought, such as the tabs and any other "fade" images. I started my own Vector css page at User:RichardF/vector.css‎. I used Option 2 for the colors. You would have to copy the code to your own user page to see how it looks. Just blanking the page gets it back to the default. The tab fades probably could use some tuning, but you can get the idea fairly well, i think. --RichardF 23:09, 31 December 2011 (PST)
Here's a complete makeover at User:RichardF/vector.css for the Vector skin using the Option 2 color background and gradient images. --RichardF 08:10, 1 January 2012 (PST)

For the fun of it, I also changed the Vector.css code for the page and section lines to match those on the Main page (border-bottom: 5px solid #A3BFA3;)

/* Structural Elements */
h1,
h2,
h3,
h4,
h5,
h6 {
	color: black;
	background: none;
	font-weight: normal;
	margin: 0;
	overflow: hidden;
	padding-top: .5em;
	padding-bottom: .17em;
	border-bottom: 5px solid #A3BFA3;
	width: auto;
}

As it turns out, I think they make a very nice thematic tie-in across pages. Check it out. ;-)

Level 1 (page) heading

Stuff goes here.

Level 2 (main section) heading

More stuff goes here.

--RichardF 14:22, 1 January 2012 (PST)

Pages with no useful content

User:RichardF has pointed out to me that there are a bunch of contentless pages on Appropedia - some blank, some with a tiny amount of content that's not useful. Richard pointed out Special:ShortPages, very useful for finding blanked and otherwise useless pages. So I went through and I've deleted a bunch (more than 100), and turned a few into acceptable stub articles, but there are many more. Please have a look through ShortPages and see if you can turn any of them into actual articles.

Some of the ones that are left are ones I found ambiguous - I checked the history of each before I deleted, and sometimes it seemed like a good page had been blanked, sometimes by the author. Not sure why - maybe a student who wasn't proud of their work? Some of the pages are leftover from moves that were done with copy-paste. Sometimes I make a redirect but I don't worry too much - there's a search function for people to use.

Just wanted to give a heads-up, and to invite feedback, esp if you think we're on the wrong track. --Chriswaterguy 20:58, 7 January 2012 (PST)

New skin

I have been playing with Richard's new vector based skin for Apropedia. It rocks! If you want to play with it as well, copy the code from his page at User:RichardF/vector.css to your own vector.css page at Special:Mypage/vector.css and then select the vector skin from your "Appearance" preferences at Special:Preferences.

So far, I have only found a few issues.

  1. External links are missing the arrow that denotes an external link. For example - http://www.pequals.com should have an arrow after it.
  2. On mobile devices the read tab is cut off (tried with a few resolutions and devices). This is not a high priority fix and would be partially mitigated by the mobile skin we are working on.
  3. We need to add in the google translate, facebook like (and maybe share) and google plus features. We probably can do this through common.css as shown at http://offene-naturfuehrer.de/w/index.php?action=historysubmit&diff=33865&oldid=33600 for the FB and Google+ features.

Has anyone found any other issues? I want to make this change by Monday, if there are no objections.

Thank you! --Lonny 15:54, 10 January 2012 (PST)

Hi Lonny, thanks. Issues like #1 were because the original css skin files use abbreviated subpage versions of the image urls. So, any links I didn't make full length (like the external link icon) broke when I moved the css file to my (your) area. I updated all those links in the user versions I saw, so that issue should be okay for testing now. I don't know about issues 2 and 3. The changeover would mostly amount to changing a few html color codes, copying over the new green images to the main images folder, and making those Google updates. --RichardF
I've come across a minor issue with the Vector skin, but it's not unique to my changes. The search inputbox is in basic mode and it doesn't seem to respond to any changes. When I reviewed the Wikipedia:Wikipedia:Catalogue of CSS classes, I still couldn't find any code to make the Vector search box look like it does there. But oddly enough, (because I used full-length image urls) when I copied my vector.css code to my corresponding Wikipedia page, the search box color changes worked there! Try it yourself if you want to see what it should look like!  ;-) --RichardF 13:23, 11 January 2012 (PST)
Hi Richard,
Sorry, my brain is working slow right now. Where/how should I be checking the search inputbox (I tried Books)? Thanks, --Lonny 19:50, 11 January 2012 (PST)
Hi Lonny, for the Vector skin, the "Search Appro/Wikipedia" box is in the upper right-hand corner of each page, just below "My watchlist." On Appropedia, it's a white box with the "Go" and "Search" buttons. On Wikipedia, it's a box with a color gradient background, the disappearing word, "Search" and a magnifying glass icon inside it. Nothing I do to the css search code changes anything on Appropedia. When I add the exact, same code to my Wikipedia vector.css page, the colors change to green. I don't know where whatever is different about Appropedia's setup disables the Vector search box styles. --RichardF 20:16, 11 January 2012 (PST)
I can't remember but I think the combined search box thingy is a function of either the vector usbility extension or the search extension they are using --Tahnok 19:55, 19 January 2012 (PST)
Thanks! If you can pin down where the code is and if we need to add something, that sure would help.  :-) --RichardF 04:07, 20 January 2012 (PST)

[Untabing] That would be in Extension:Vector which I would recommend installing for the myriad of usability enhancements it brings to Vector --Tahnok 20:47, 21 January 2012 (PST)

Sounds good to me! I second the motion! :-) --RichardF 21:09, 21 January 2012 (PST)

Article feedback tool

A new version of the article feedback tool is being tried on Wikipedia (about 0.3%): mw:Extension:ArticleFeedbackv5. I'd really like to try this out. Thoughts, before we get an intern or someone else in the tech team to test it out? --Chriswaterguy 15:58, 20 January 2012 (PST)

How do you want Appropedia to use the feedback? :-) --RichardF 12:56, 21 January 2012 (PST)

Stanford Takes Online Schooling To The Next Academic Level

Here's an interesting news story worth noting.  :-)

Over the past six months, [Sebastian] Thrun has spent roughly $200,000 of his own money and lined up venture capital to create Udacity, a new online institution of higher learning independent of Stanford. "We are committed to free online education for everybody."

Udacity is announcing two new classes on Monday. One will teach students to build their own search engine and the other how to program a self-driving car. Eventually, the founders hope to offer a full slate of classes in computer science.


— National Public Radio: All Tech Considered, January 23, 2012, Stanford Takes Online Schooling To The Next Academic Level

--RichardF 12:39, 24 January 2012 (PST)

Weapons?

I dont know if Appropedia has dealt with this before - but what is the policy on weapons? I realize that any technology can be used for good or bad -- but some clearly have a more likely use for bad...e.g. blackpowder. Yes there are lots of places on the internet or in most libraries you could get this information - and yes there are plenty of legitimate appropriate tech uses for it (e.g removing tree stumps). Do we ever draw the line? E.g. is it ok to post how to make a pipe bomb for removing tree stumps? or the plans to make a dirty bomb in order to create a wildlife refuge? Recently thingiverse had a similar problem as people started uploading components for automatic weapons. It is kind of a sad commentary on that state of humanity that this is even something we need to think about. However, appropedia and the web in general are made up of very diverse political viewpoints. I think we should carefully consider having some clear policy. comment by Fixer, 29 January 2012.

Excellent question. It's a tough question, but my leaning is not to allow information on weapons. I'm normally not a fan of censorship, but I don't think weapons fit well with the aims of Appropedia. --Chriswaterguy 09:53, 15 February 2012 (PST)

"Create a page" link in sidebar

I added a Create a page link to the sidebar. That will hopefully lower the barrier-of-confusion for newbies.

It might increase spam and crap as well - let's keep an eye on that, and consider placing a notice on the "create a page" page to ask people to think twice. (Won't reduce spam, but might reduce random junk.) I'll add a link to the sandbox, for now. --Chriswaterguy 10:12, 3 March 2012 (PST)

Capitals in titles - change the convention?

I'm seeing a lot of new pages - often really great new pages, like Freeplay Fetal Heart Rate Monitor‎ - go up with each word capitalized. Maybe we should make that the convention from now on.

The guideline I was using was:

  • All lower case for topic pages (except proper nouns, and except the first letter of the title, which is case insensitive)
  • Capitalized words okay for project names, business names, etc.

But... whichever we do, we'll have to explain it and enforce it sometimes. And people will figure out the policy by looking at how other pages are named. So there's a good argument for going with the simplest naming convention that we can. And that would be: Capitalize every word, like Water Purification by the Ecosystem or Freeplay Fetal Heart Rate Monitor‎.

Make sense? Feel free to shoot it down, as long as we come to a consensus. The lack of consistency is bugging me, and looks unprofessional IMO. --Chriswaterguy 10:46, 14 March 2012 (PDT)

Sounds like a good naming convention to me, but I am not strongly attached to this point of view. --13:37, 14 March 2012 (PDT)
I just thought of a problem, though - if we do this, then the natural way to link to articles would be with the capitalized titles - including "Water Treatment" and "Poverty Alleviation", which in regular English would not be capitalized and it Just Looks Odd. Then there's the question of whether all headings within pages would be capitalized in the same way.
That makes me lean towards sticking with lower case as default for topic articles. But whatever we do, I'd like us to be clear on it, so we can start applying the policy and get a consistent look. (And it's not just the look - it's harder to link to articles if you can't predict how they're capitalized.) --Chriswaterguy 12:24, 17 March 2012 (PDT)

The fundamental issue here seems to be the disconnect between two basic title capitalization styles - Wikipedia sentence caps vs. academic/publication title caps. Wikipedia uses sentence caps style because that makes it easier to wikilink titles (and headings) within articles. Some folks here use title caps style because, well, they can...and they like it for one reason or another.

Appropedia does have something, but not much to say on the title capitalization style topic. As a voluntary guideline, "Follow Naming conventions. In short: Don’t use capital letters, except for the very first letter (and that's automatic, anyway); except for proper names (people, places, organizations)." The more detailed proposed guideline suggests, "Page names in Appropedia should: have only the first letter of the first word capitalized, e.g. Appropriate technology, unless it is: a proper name, the name of an organization, the title of a publication."

With no policy here about title capitalization style, it's hard to say what they actually should look like. The publication title capitalization style, when applicable, makes sense to me. A broader, academic paper capitalization style also makes sense to me for projects and other course-based pages. The rub, of course, is managing any policy or guideline, especially if it would require extensive changes to existing pages and practices.

My preference for a general writing style policy, or at least a guideline would be to say Appropedia adopts the Wikipedia Manual of Style by reference, with exceptions. This would mean that, unless an explicit exception is noted, e.g., title capitalization style for publications, the Wikipedia Manual of Style applies to Appropedia. --RichardF 20:55, 30 March 2012 (PDT)

Service learning pages - have a look over

I've been working on Appropedia:Service learning and related pages. I've been wanting to do a big push on service learning, including recruiting interns, and fixing up these pages will help a lot with presenting what we do.

It would be fantastic if anyone could look over the page, see if it makes sense, and give feedback or improve the wording, or perhaps make the navigation template nicer & more compact, or help to work on the section on relevant areas of study (currently headed Science, engineering, health and humanities).

I have other work to focus on for a few days - will be back on this task after that. --Chriswaterguy 21:13, 16 March 2012 (PDT)

(Cough, cough.) As I say, feedback or edits would be appreciated on the pages related to Appropedia service learning. ;). Thanks! --Chriswaterguy 02:04, 19 March 2012 (PDT)

Fair use for user pages

I put a {{fair use}} tag on Media:Cthulhu-challenge.jpg - there's no justification for the image other than personal expression... but considering the internet runs on almost indiscriminate sharing of images, I'm thinking we could expand "fair use" here to include personal expression on user pages. Thoughts? --Chriswaterguy 02:00, 19 March 2012 (PDT)

Faith, science & herbs

Perhaps someone who knows more about herbalism could comment... if we remove the stuff in Moonbased homemade herbal tinctures which is to be taken on faith, is anything left? I have no doubt that herbs have beneficial powers, but (A) what those powers are is not a simple question, and a scientific approach is best, and (B) I strongly suspect the moon-based aspect of it is a baseless belief. --Chriswaterguy 12:05, 30 March 2012 (PDT)