The next available grants are in the beginning of 2009.

The very simple grant questionnaire is as follows:

  • Is the grantee is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit or has/can get a fiscal sponsor that is a 501(c)(3) (or foreign equivalent.)

Yes - the Appropedia Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

Description[edit source]

A brief description of the project.

Appropedia is a wiki for solutions in sustainability and international development. It is an open site for stakeholders to come together to find, create and improve scalable and adaptable solutions, and to work with others in the same field.

The Appropedia community makes the connections and builds the free knowledge resources to bring about our a vision of rich and sustainable lives.

Appropedia has a broad scope in topic and type of content, to enable the community to explore and create as it wishes.


The proposed project to develop Appropedia is to:

  • Improve structure and navigability of Appropedia. This will increase the degree to which users see the current value (so they can find content and benefit from it now) and its potential value (so they may be able to contribute).

This is to be achieved by:

  • implementing Semantic MediaWiki
  • distinguish content types through notices, namespaces, and infoboxes. This will highlight not only existing material, but wanted material.
  • developing example pages of new content types, to illustrate areas that we have envisaged, but which are not obvious possibilities to new users.
  • develop page structure & title norms for different page types - overview, exhaustive topical content (noting that the notability criteria and intended depth are different from Wikipedia), how-tos, portals, design principles (e.g. "Passive solar design principles"), consumer information, and categories of designs and projects for a given topic.) Develop ways to help different users - aid workers, people in the developing world, people in wealthy countries; alternative/hippie users vs "bright green" tech-oriented people - find what the are looking for, or what they will find useful.

Apply this page structure in all key areas (eventually the community can co-develop this idea, and the structure would be the default for all topic areas.

  • Expand (and simplify) Appropedia's implicit invitation to request users to post content-related questions ("articles they want to see")
  • Expand (and simplify) Appropedia's implicit invitation to provide feedback on articles
  • integrating ported content into editable content.

Note that planning and implementation of this project has begun, but will require extended, focused work to complete.

This will prepare the way for several other planned projects, including:

  • Small, task-specific versions, such as "Appropedia for emergency management",
  • Translation - maintaining multiple language versions of a page will be easier when basic structure of the page is more stable.

Mozilla's mission[edit source]

  1. The mission of the Mozilla Foundation is to create and promote the Internet as an open platform that supports the principles set out in the Mozilla Manifesto.
  2. An open Internet is one where:

Appropedia is an open and supportive community, aiming to increase the openness of knowledge around the key issues facing our planet. We continue to work on lowering barriers to entry, making the wiki more usable and user friendly.

    • People can participate at all levels, with low barriers and without the need to "buy into" a centralized agenda, data source, hardware or software system.

We have deliberately chosen to stay with mainstream standard wiki technology as our main technology, to enable maximum flexibility both for contributors, and for reuse of the content. We are working on enhancing this through addons (such as Uniwiki extensions to make contributions easier).

Project makes navigability easier

We rely almost entirely on open source technologies, and use open standards.

Aim to make data knowledge and designs easily shared between platforms.

We believe that this open approach can create the best resources available anywhere on these topics, as well as the most usable and accessible.


This project aims to make the user aware of their autonomy and the possibilities open to them. Shared structures between pages will automatically highlight redlinks, as well as the range of content that is possible. We believe this will address some of the uncertainty that users experience when exploring wikis such as Appropedia.

    • building software and building communities

Community: Building a resource is the primary aim; however building a community is both a means and a result of this work. We see this already in the community connected with Appropedia, and envisage much more to come.

    • empowering people to help themselves and to work together in a loosely coupled way with maximum transparency.

Appropedia helps people find like-minded individuals and organizations, with an emphasis on those who contribute and are active in developing solutions. Our approach is very much one of empowerment, giving people tools and freedom, and encouraging them to create.

We work with many groups, in varying ways. Where they are not directly involved with building Appropedia, we nonetheless are supportive of their use.

Areas that touch individual people: We are inspired by the individual stories we hear, of people using designs, improving their designs, connecting with others, finding jobs and changing their lifestyles through Appropedia.

  1. The Mozilla Foundation... empowering people to act in highly decentralized, experimental ways.

We empower people to act in highly decentralized, experimental ways: We have experienced decentralized, self-directed usage of the site, with contributors from around the world, often without any other connection to fellow Appropedians other than the site and their shared passions. We have seen knowledge transfer occur spontaneously - e.g. a design from the Philippines being used around the world, and foresee more sharing in every direction.

Experiment with the sharing and development of designs. (This is already done, but optimize...).

work plan[edit source]

  • A work plan (methods, goals, timeline, participants, plans to share results)

structure and content rearrangement to happen in parallel, at least to begin with. The experience of arranging the content is likely to yield insights into the best arrangements.

draft based on one section, and some of the key templates for notices, infoboxes and layout. Old version stored on (backup wiki).

initial user tests (students and users known to be interested in these subjects) - compare the two versions

Further development, other categories completed with variations. More templates completed as needed.

The first part may require some technical assistance (not a huge job).

The content related parts require time spent by someone who knows the wiki. Being able to use a bot will be a big advantage. (I'm putting myself forward for this --Chriswaterguy)

Results are shared immediately as the work will be done directly on the wiki which is a live and increasingly high-profile resource.

The methods and results will be written up in the Appropedia Foundation Blog.

outcomes[edit source]

Expected outcomes (what will be the end result?)

  • usable, navigable site - greater usefulness to the visitor
  • visibility of missing content, in missing parts of the structure (redlinks)
  • higher visibility - well-structured content leads to better search engine ranking, and the ability of people to find the appropriate content for them. This supports all of our goals:
  • greater use of the site
  • growing a vibrant community of practitioners and enablers of sustainability and appropriate technology
  • support for innovation
  • documentation of designs
  • rich and sustainable lives

Measurements[edit source]

  • Measurements of success (how will the grantee measure what did or didn't work?)
  • user surveys (online e.g. surveymonkey, student surveys through one of the academic Appropedians, and/or
  • subjective/analytical evaluation: is the content more findable, by simple searches on the web, and by navigating Appropedia?
  • page-views
  • key indicator is the rate of contributions
  • set clear criteria for a topic area (separate how tos...). Track the number of topic areas meeting the criteria.

brief surveys - onsite, and random people (new students; or Lonny's & Joshua's classes - what was your experience? Do/did you have a clear idea of what the site is about? (Or) What is the site about? (not sure or I couldn't tell as an option).

Funding[edit source]

  • Amount of funding requested, and the amount of the project budget overall (if different)

Up to $10,000

  • A list of other current or pending funders for this project (if applicable)
  • project start and end dates

Nov 1, 2008 to...

Assume NGO-level pay...? Plus expenses (not very great, but mainly internet access & workspace) Would be a few months work, leading into early 2009.

Note this is very involved work and requires a very in-depth knowledge of wikis in general and Appropedia in particular.