See also Appropedia:Meaning of the name Appropedia.
For naming of pages on Appropedia, see Help:Page naming

This page is kept mainly for historical reasons - it describes past discussions about the most suitable name for Appropedia. (Obviously, we've stuck with Appropedia.)

September-October 2006 discussion[edit | edit source]

This page is a continuation of a discussion started at Appropedia:Village pump regarding a potential new broader name for Appropedia. Currently, Appropedia seems to be the name we will stick with, but we are amenable to change in the future. All the initial content is pasted below:

(begin pasted content from Village Pump) Well in just half a year, as of 19:45, 20 September 2006 (PDT), we now have 48,586 page views and 3,828 page edits. With those statistics it may be somewhat late to be rethinking the name Appropedia. Many people like it, many people do not. The main issues that have come up are:

  1. Appropedia does not engender the concepts of Sustainability and International Development that are paramount to this project.
  2. The -pedia ending is and will increasingly become played out.
  3. The -pedia ending eludes to an encyclopedia, but appropedia is much more of a living library.

Some rebuttals include:

  1. Appropriate Technology does include Sustainability and International Development, i.e. a broader definition of the phrase should be taken.
  2. Yes, it probably already is played out, but people will remember it... And it is fitting, even if we were not using wiki software.
  3. -pedia is more a root of education, not of the specific form an encyclopedia takes.

Here are some excerpts from blogschmog, where a name conversation started after a nice review of Appropedia by Kevin Makice:

Appropedia is a wiki for brainstorming and reporting on efforts to advance ideas in appropriate technology, tech that makes use of native and available materials to fill needs of local users. The Appropedia* wiki hopes to be an overflow repository for articles deemed “inappropriate” for Wikipedia. In additional to the project work, there is also a category for theses. Projects thus far include:


*BTW, I think more attention should be given to naming wiki spaces. I’m guilty of this myself (ahem, PolitcWiki), but it would be nice to see names of communities and not the medium. Lets have a moritorium on all things -apedia or -wiki and instead start identifying the people using the tools.

Lonny Grafman Says:
September 20th, 2006 at 3:41 am
I agree about the name. I came up with it, but I can tell, with the growth in popularity of wikis, that in a year or two from now I will probably regret it. In fact, already some others have complained about the name, Appropedia, because it does not explicitly talk about Sustainability and Development. Do you have any non-wiki, non-apedia suggestions?
Thank you,

Kevin Makice Says:

September 20th, 2006 at 5:13 am

I’ve got a professor/advisor at the School of Informatics — Eli Blevis — who is focusing his career on Sustainable Design (the idea that with creation of a new thing comes destruction of an old thing that must be taken into consideration when designing). I’m meeting with him this afternoon, so maybe we can brainstorm some name ideas for you. Stay tuned …

Lonny Grafman Says:
September 20th, 2006 at 10:50 pm
Thank you Kevin. I look forward to hearing about your potential brainstorm. It is definitely a little late to be changing the name, and as you say the creation/destruction dichotomy must be addressed. I am about to change servers as well. The current size of Appropedia has outgrown the host, and the site is way too slow right now. This time of host change may be a good time to change the name. What do you think about as a name? BTW I excerpted this conversation (I hope that is okay) over at Appropedia, where more people have been thinking about, and commenting on the name.

  • Any thoughts?--Lonny 19:56, 20 September 2006 (PDT)

Comments[edit | edit source]

Comment #1[edit | edit source]

Great to see such conversations happening.
I added a link to Eli Blevis' name, above (I was wondering which school, which state...)
I'm starting The Wiki Synergy Project at WikiIndex which aims to help achieve what we've talked about quite a bit, i.e. a wiki with a broader scope and a larger community, and better connections with other wikis. I mention this because of the naming issue: One of the possibilities to think about (and something Curtbeckmann and I have discussed) is that it might be easier to encourage merging if we're moving to a new domain name. This avoids the false impression that we're just trying to make our own wiki better than others, out of a competitive spirit. Given this, it might be best to defer the name change until we enter into dialog with other, related wikis.
(And I still can't think of anything better than Appropedia... but I'm less concerned about the actual name than about getting people to dialog and come to agreement). --Singkong2005 (now known as Chriswaterguy) talk 20:13, 20 September 2006 (PDT)

Comment #2[edit | edit source]

Okay, so first a question. What is the formatting protocol in a comment list like this? Indent? Rely on signatures for separation? I took the potentially lame route of create comment number headers. Them's fightin' words, I'm sure. On to more (or maybe less) important matters.
I'm jazzed to see the burst of activity, as well as the very forward looking thinking. I'm embarrassed and saddened at the (sob!) clear signals that my favorite name is clearly not in the running. No. No, no! I won't even mention it. Though it has the (extremely slight) advantage of having already had its domain name secured. But it's Wiki ish. Personally, I like the wiki hook. Is Wikipedia going to become stale? Wiktionary? Will they rename wikibooks? In the near term, I think there is an advantage to the wiki reference so that web search hits will clearly identify what the content is. I see that as an advantage, since I think "wiki" has a positive sign. I do agree that over time the term will lose its charm, but I don't think it has yet, and I don't think it will be a negative for established names.
Having said all that, I'm open to other names. I do like WinWinWiki (Do'h! I mentioned it!) as a very broad and positive (and, one would hope, memorable) label. I would love sustainable and 3rd world development to be identified with win-win, which I actually believe is appropriate (else why would I choose the name?).
But my bias is showing. That's my 2 cents. Cents 3 and 4 will be withheld until tomorrow :-)
Back to the earlier sentiment though: Excellent topic and energy! --Curtbeckmann 19:41, 21 September 2006 (PDT)
Well, there's more than one way to format a comment list... but as I'm replying to your comment, I'll just indent.
I'd forgotten about WinWinWiki when I wrote my comment - actually I do like this one. It's very broad (if anything too broad, but that's better than too narrow, and I don't think it's a big problem). It's also easy to remember and has a positive sound, as you said. I added it to the possible names at The Wiki Synergy Project. --Singkong2005 (now known as Chriswaterguy) talk 19:47, 22 September 2006 (PDT)
Thanks for the kind words about WinWinWiki as a name. Since I posted that comment, I've gone all around. I'm still pretty supportive of including wiki in the name. I think the word "wiki" will be the same as "blog", neither positive nor negative, just descriptive, and much shorter and clearer than I think "living library" is. I played around with a bunch of English words, all of which seem to have too many associations or the domain names are gone. I found a cool word in Swahili (shirika, I think it was) that means "partnership","common", "together", "collaborate", and the "org" domain is available. That seemed like a great set of senses, but then I realized it does nothing for most of the world in terms of providing a sense of the word. After that, I decided the name pretty much had to be English, and then decided we're gonna have a hard time. One possibility might be MDGwiki; I think the name may be available. If you don't know what MDG associates with, then it's no good.
At the same time, I don't have too much problem with Appropedia. "-pedia" doesn't have to be linked to "encyclopedia", though people may have that sense. "Appro" has a strong link to sustainable technology for me, and that seems okay, even if the site wants to grow into other areas like peace education or improving maternal health. Yes, I'd be tickled if people settled on WinWinWiki (and I did buy the domain). And yet I am open to sticking with Appropedia, or hearing some other suggestions. --Curtbeckmann 20:40, 22 September 2006 (PDT)
MDGwiki sounds too specific to me. Too much danger of people getting confused, not being sure if certain material belongs, because it doesn't relate directly to the Millennium Development Goals (or because they aren't sure what the Goals are).
Re non-English names... there are some cool names along this line. Ubuntu (as in Ubuntu Linux) has a very positive connotation in the African language that it comes from - it's easy to remember and seems to have worked for them. (Just an example - Ubuntu is well and truly associated with Linux by now).
I also thought of Dev (DevWiki?), short for development - short, and a nice sound... but the Indian/South-East Asian connotation is of god/goddess, which isn't very relevant to our wiki. When I was importing I used the name "Daya" (and will probably use it again...) as it means mercy in Hindi, and power in Indonesian (and is the root of memberdayakan, or empower.) In a way that could be good for this wiki... but I do prefer something based on a well-known English word(s), as being most understandable by most people. --Singkong2005 (now known as Chriswaterguy) talk 20:52, 22 September 2006 (PDT)
Well, just so everyone knows, I would certainly support WinWinWiki as a name, and would hand over control of the "" domain as a part of that support. So if that were the result of a consensus, I'm all for it. Have any other names been floated? --Curtbeckmann 08:19, 24 September 2006 (PDT)
There are some more ideas at Should we start a new page for this conversation at Appropedia:Name? --Lonny 13:47, 24 September 2006 (PDT)

(end pasted content from Village Pump)

Comment #3[edit | edit source]

There are a few things Eli and I talked about today with regard to this site. First, in addition to the name change brainstorming, the site could use a distinct design. The problem with MediaWiki, of course, is that it is meant to service a very specific project run on the backside by a relatively small group of users (I'm talking tech, not content). As a community tool, it lacks the grace, control and invitation of other open source tools, such as WordPress. The result is a dearth of extensions, skins and other customization that help make WordPress (and others) more widely used. There should probably be some discussion about renovating the look and feel.
This is definitely being discussed. I believe we may have a graphic designer coming into Appropedia, which will greatly help. In addition Google just opened their gadgets which may help with some more value added features, such as the Google Maps that we already employ. The front page is getting a wiki makeover at Main Page tests, but ultimately, as you say, we will need to address the Skin. --Lonny 22:09, 4 October 2006 (PDT)
Second, we would have great interest in seeing this community direct some of its energy toward critiquing existing design (and even the project work being done here) from a sustainability-centered perspective. What is that? I'll hope Eli will help by sharing some of his ideas, maybe even working to put up a sample or two. I could see part of the useful mission of this organization being an AboutUs kind of content review site, only concentrating on products rather than web sites.
This is a great idea... with users submitting comments and critiques on existing products/projects/implementations. We could have new products, highlighted products, hot products, controversal products, most reviewed products... Very cool. --Lonny 22:09, 4 October 2006 (PDT)
Third, the name ... My preference to step outside of the -pedia and -wiki box is documented elsewhere. In looking around at other organizations with relevance here, the other thing that stood out was how bland words like sustainability, eco- and green become when they show up in a domain list together. So maybe the ideal name becomes one that describes the mission in some new fashion, creating identity that way. So, taking into consideration my utter fatigue and another 36 hours of reading/writing yet to do this week for classes, here's a couple suggestions:
  • Balancing Act - a sense of the delicate relationship we humans have with nature, a hint at formalization and legislation ("act")
  • Seventh Generation Design - an allusion to the popular Native American concept of considering the seventh generation out when making decisions; design implies intention
  • On the Agenda - reference to awareness and suggested action, relevant to the U.N.'s Agenda 21
  • Nachhaltigkeit - the German for sustainability (right? any Germans out there to confirm?), in coining of the term in the 18th century
  • Out of the Loop - reference to the perceived problem of societal change resistance and a conscious effort to use the wiki and Web 2.0 communal powers to step out of the Dueling Loops of Power. --Kmakice
OutOfTheLoop is probably my favorites of these (especially considering the DuelingLoops Paper). Currently both the .org and the .com are owned, and I think that Appropedia has decided, in the past few days, to hold on to the name for a while in order to leverage the little bit of name recognition we now have. I am glad to add these excellent names to our list of possibilities for the future. Thank you. --Lonny 22:09, 4 October 2006 (PDT)

Names[edit | edit source]

Please list name ideas below, as third level titles, i.e. ===Name Idea===

WinWinWiki[edit | edit source]

  • Pros:
    • domain name already owned by a member of Appropedia community
  • Cons:[edit | edit source]

  • Pros:
    • domain already owned by Appropedia
  • Cons:
    • Jargony[edit | edit source]

  • Pros:
  • Cons: (notice the one p)[edit | edit source]

  • Pros:
    • Already linked to
    • Easy transition
    • More spellable internationally
  • Cons: (current name)[edit | edit source]

  • Pros:
    • Already has many links and some name recognition
  • Cons:
    • Could be more explicitly inclusive of the Sustainable Development community.

Brainstorming - March 2006[edit | edit source]

If we're

1. acting as the Open Architecture Network's wiki, while still being...
2. ...broader than point 1 would suggest,

then could we create a name by changing theirs? e.g.

  • Architecture --> Technology/Solutions/Living/Worldchanging/Practical solutions (they're all lousy if combined with "Open" - but does it inspire anything?)
  • Network --> Wiki (seems the obvious choice)

More thoughts:

  • Open is not an essential part of the name, if we're focused largely on serving the mass of end users who just want answers.
  • Worldchanging and Practical Action are great names, IMO, but both are taken. Either we can develop a partnership with these or come up with something comparable. The Practical Solutions Wiki?

--Chriswaterguy · talk 01:48, 18 March 2007 (PDT)

Names emphasizing collaboration, synergy, joint problem-solving:

  • WinWinWiki

Possible new terms[edit | edit source]

I think the development of content-based social networking sites will spawn a new label for these kinds of sites. Maybe we can anticipate that. I'm thinking of the obvious wiki / network combos like:

  • NetWiki
  • WikiNet
  • NetWirki
  • WikiWork
  • LinkWiki

They're a little weird, but WikiNet is not too bad. Couple any of them (or some other) with a label about the content:

  • EarthWikiNet
  • WikiPlanet?
  • PracticalActsWikiNet (that's plain stealing :-)
  • PermaWikiNet
  • StewardshipWikiNet (this is churchy, but not bad)
  • PlanNetWiki (hmmm)
  • WiserNetWiki

and the winner?:

  • WiserWikiWorks (bad acronym though)

Well, when I set out to write this section, it felt better than it turned out. But maybe it will spark some ideas others... --CurtB 14:40, 20 March 2007 (PDT)

Reconsidering sustainability-related names[edit | edit source]

This section starts with comments by Chriswaterguy · talk 19:57, 28 March 2007 (PDT)

I haven't been comfortable with a name based on sustainability, but I'm starting to change my mind.

My objection was that Appropedia is broader than just being about sustainability. Also, as Lonny says, some people in the majority world see "sustainability" as being about sustaining the status quo, with them underneath. (I didn't come across this in Indonesia, but the term they use translates as "environmentally friendly.") I've tried to think of broader names but without success, so far.

Another approach is to say: sustainability will attract more people, and it's a shared concern of many people including development practitioners. That is, international development is in some sense a subset of sustainability: there aren't enough resources in the world that we can afford to develop unsustainably; also, development in areas like health, security against natural disasters and food shortages depend on solving problems like pollution, global warming and recycling.

So, can we "reimagine" sustainability? If we make sure we have a really strong emphasis on poverty reduction, top quality resources and a clear explanation of why environmental sustainability means a better life, can we use that to get people across the world to engage both with the site and with the concept of sustainability?

Now, I'd still prefer to come up with a name that includes the concept of sustainability, but is broader, without being completely vague. I'm just not sure we can do it. "Worldchanging" is a good name, but it's taken, and sounds a bit idealistic, whereas I'd like something that sounds more weighty and authoritative. We can get "Worldhugging" (Curt's idea, and another nice name) but I have similar concerns.

Content non related to sustainability[edit | edit source]

There is still the problem that some content (e.g. Community participation and microfinance) is not directly related to sustainability. In some cases we might even recommend a less sustainable option for the sake of development (e.g. kerosene rather than dung fires if there's no other choice; refrigeration of medicines; reproductive rights for women rather than forced sterilization).[1] However, these are at least shared concerns of most people who care about sustainability, and if we're already appealing to a large community and we have great resources and a clear mission statement, then I think we will earn a name for covering this kind of content as well.

In terms of the actual name... Sustainapedia is catchy enough and easy to remember, at least for an English speaker.[2] But we can still consider other possibilities.

Feedback[edit | edit source]

Let's ask the groups we're engaged with, especially the development-oriented groups such as Practical Action and Engineers Without Borders, for their opinions on this.

Possible names based on sustainability[edit | edit source]

  • Sustainable world? Vague... doesn't grab me
  • Sustainable living? Too specific - we're also about design and development
  • Sustainable solutions? A bit long, and sounds like a business.
  • Sustainapedia Instantly recognizable as a source of information.[3] I'm starting to like it. --Chriswaterguy · talk 19:57, 28 March 2007 (PDT)

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. It could be argued that in the long term a healthy and free society is more likely to be sustainable, being better educated, feeling more secure and less inclined to have large families. However, this could be open to argument. I believe it's important to support people's freedoms and rights for their own sakes, as ends in themselves rather than as merely methods of achieving sustainability. --~~~~
  2. Maybe we need domains which have meaning in other languages, redirecting to the relevant language main page on our site?
  3. Wiktionary says that pedia means Relating to learning, so it's not necessarily restricted to an encyclopedia.
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