This is a questionnaire for OpenKollab (about, list). It was filled out by Chriswaterguy for Appropedia in August 2009. It is part of an attempt to find a way to link organizations working for social good, in useful ways.

General[edit | edit source]

What is the name of your organization/project?

Appropedia - sustainability wiki - though "thrivability wiki" is probably a better description of what we're doing.

When was the organization/project founded/formed?


Is it a corporation/not-for-profit/partnership/other?

Appropedia is a project being created by an online community.

The Appropedia Foundation, the organization that was created to support the wiki and the community, is a California-based 501c3 non-profit.

How large is the organization[edit | edit source]

How many active members in the group – regular contributions

Very hard to say. See the Recent Changes to get an idea of the range of contributors. At a guess, maybe no more than a dozen have a continuing regular involvement in the project.

How many others that are ‘peripherally’ involved or might have been involved in the past.

There are well over 1000 registered users - this gives a very rough idea. Some of the core contributors are academics who have their classes use the site.

Industry/Market[edit | edit source]

What industry/market segment do you occupy?

All segments related to:

  • sustainability, such as green tech, sustainable agriculture, low-energy and zero-energy housing;
  • international development and human development (in the sense of international and economic development) such as water and sanitation, public health, humanitarian relief, emergency relief.

Because our work has started with a lot of write-ups of appropriate technologies, it is sometimes assumed that this is our scope. This is true only if you take an extremely broad interpretation of appropriate technology, as human-scale development.

What industry/market segments do you think contain organizations that might be interested in collaborating with your group?

Potentially all of the above? Those working with appropriate technologies seem to be quickest to see the value of collaboration, but we expect that to broaden as the wiki expands in many other areas.

Academia is a very promising

Mission/Goals[edit | edit source]

- provides us with visibility into how you organization might be linked to others in the same/related market segments

What is your superordinate goal? The most inclusive statement of your larger vision?

The goal statement developed by the foundation is: "Sharing knowledge to build rich, sustainable lives."

What are some sub-goals that flow from this? Goals that relate to the larger goal in some way. List as many as make sense.

  • Build an extensive repository of knowledge.
  • Make an easy-to-use site with low technical and psychological barriers to contributing.
  • Raise awareness of this resource.

Needs/Resources[edit | edit source]

- provides us with a sense of potential synergies with other organizations.

What needs does your organization currently have? - weaknesses

  • Tech help
  • Stronger sense of community. (We've wondered about achieving this through a partnership with another site or sites that major on networking)
  • A lot more content

What resources do you have that you could offer to other organizations? - strengths

  • open knowledge resources
  • experience with finding and building content

Technology Infrastructure[edit | edit source]

(...provides us with a sense of how easy it is to merge your communication and information systems with others.)

What technology platform(s) support your operation?

We want to explore more social & networking features for the site. This will probably be through interfacing with other sites as well as extending our software. Open standards are absolutely essential, and we have an extremely strong preference for open source.

We also use various external sites for letting people know about Appropedia, e.g.

What is your primary communication mechanism? Wiki’s, email lists etc. What do you use most and for what purposes?

Private email & chat between some of the active people; wiki talk page for general communication with anyone in the community. There are mailing lists, but these are very low traffic.

Collaboration[edit | edit source]

-some details on actual collaboration projects you might be working on.

Do you have an existing list of related projects?

Related in the sense of being in the same field? The closest might be the table in Green wikis and development wikis - wikis which are more or less related to Appropedia. Projects related more generally - that aim to share info in sustainability and development, are enormous in number. (It would be interesting to have a list of projects that are actively sharing green and development knowledge in an open way.)

Have you explored collaborative opportunities with other organizations? If yes, please provide some details (organization, state of discussions etc.) If no, why not?

We've merged with several wikis already, and currently in talks with Ekopedia.

We work with academics, with their students using Appropedia as the platform for their work, creating valuable content in the process.

Are there any internal projects that you are trying to finance? If so, are you willing to collaborate with others on those projects?

Definitely happy to collaborate.

Specific projects? Very flexible - happy to collaborate on a project to develop content in any thrivability/development area that is of interest to a particular organization.

Would you be willing to merge your organization with another/others if a joint funding strategy could be developed?

Yes - the existing organization is the result of multiple merges. So far it's only wiki projects which have merged, but we're happy to look more widely as well.

Culture[edit | edit source]

Is collaboration an explicitly stated operating principle within your organization?

Yes - in various places in our about pages.

Does the organization embrace collaborative decision-making principles?

Yes. As a wiki, collaboration is fundamental, and as an organization we've practiced collaboration from the beginning.

Is your organization committed to Openness?

  • Open source technology
  • A major part of our purpose is the open sharing of designs for sustainable and appropriate technology - what might be called Open Source Appropriate Technology.
  • Using OSS: In principle, yes. In practice, usually. We use Google tools for some things internally, but all our services (wiki and blog) are entirely based on open source technology.
  • On our , I often blog about OSS, especially Linux.
  • Open flow of information
  • This is close to the core of Appropedia's purpose.
  • We use an open license (CC-BY-SA) and encourage others to do likewise.
  • We promote this also through our participation as founding members of both the Open Development Working Group and the Open Sustainability Network.
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