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Appropedia:Synergy

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this is a draft of a page for introducing people to the project and inviting them to contribute/collaborate/merge. It's based on old content written by Chriswaterguy · talk on Wikipedia and WikiIndex, so some updating and link-fixing is needed.
Suggest: pick valuable, pithy parts of this page and merge them into Wiki synergy.

Appropedia is a "broad tent" - we cover a wide range of related topics, and allow a range of content types.

Our Original content policy allows your work to be protected in its original form, as well as being used and attributed on other pages.

WikiIndex content[edit]

This is content from Wikiindex:The Wiki Synergy Project and WikiIndex:User:Singkong2005/Merging sustainability and development wikis (much of it written by me last year) and needs to be cherry-picked. Put useful stuff in the main section above, delete stuff which is not relevant, and italicize stuff that is probably not relevant (to get a second opinion). Some might also be worth moving to other pages in the Appropedia: or Help: spaces. --Chriswaterguy · talk 16:14, 30 April 2007 (PDT)


Why we need something other than just Wikipedia[edit]

Appropedia does intend to differentiate in function from wikipedia in a few ways, encouraging, in addition to encyclopedic entries:

  • original research
  • personal/organizational pages for collaboration
  • project writeups
  • how-to's
  • Common working pages for relevant grants, events, calls for assistance, offerings of assistance, etc.


The layers of appropedia are categories and subcategories functioning as textbook style writeups, with articles, functioning as project/how-to submissions, underneath them. Users can, for instance:

  1. Look up greywater
  2. Read about greywater concepts
  3. View case-studies, how-to's and common errors to avoid for various greywater projects
  4. Edit and add their own greywater experiences, projects, how-to's and common errors to avoid

or skip to any of these steps.

Other layers (hopefully namespaces) are personal/organizational pages, used for networking, and common working pages as described in the bulleted list above.


We would like to see greater synergy between people working on wikis, and particularly those working on environmental issues, sustainability and international development and appropriate technology.

I see this happening in a number of ways:

  • people finding, reading and working on the wikis that best suit them,
    • WikiIndex is a fantastic tool for that. One way to promote the use of WikiIndex for this is to edit WikiNodes (such as Appropedia's WikiNode) so they starts with links to the relevant categories on WikiIndex.
  • Wikis merging where that's appropriate, to avoid duplication of effort, get a larger and more diverse community of editors in one place working on topics of common interest, and create greater synergy.
  • Promoting the merged wiki (e.g. see Promotion of Appropedia).
  • Promoting an understanding of what material belongs in which wiki. E.g. Wikipedia is for encyclopedic information (verifiable, notable, not how-tos, not original research...); Other wikis, such as Appropedia, happily accept resources and networking activities which are not suitable for Wikipedia.

The benefits of a single wiki (apart from Wikipedia)[edit]

  • Much easier to find links to put in Wikipedia articles. and

Be part of a larger community of editors[edit]

By far the biggest issue, in my opinion, is the size of the community of editors. I'm hoping that one of these wikis will become popular and the others will cease, so that collaboration is more effective. This is not a competitive streak on my part - I happily merged and closed the one I started (Development and Sustainability Wikia), knowing that the strengths of this wiki are preserved in Appropedia.

The community of editors can be enlarged by: broadening the scope from Appropriate technology to (for example) Development and sustainability; and placing the wiki in a site with a large community of editors, such as Wikia Done (but at Appropedia).

Where Wikipedia fits in[edit]

A great bonus of the main wikipedia site is that there are lots of wikipedians who clean up pages (rewriting, formatting, fixing links) even if they're not working on that specific subject. This is the value of as broad a wiki and as large a community as possible.

Look at PaperTruths' contributions - she joined to edit the article on rolling pins(!) yet has fixed vandalism on pages such as Solar cooker and done other fixes, such as correcting links, on pages like Wikipedia:Arsenic poisoning. And she'd only been editing a few days!

Then there are bots which make minor fixes, and, importantly, anti-vandalism bots - see Tawkerbot2's contributions, which reverts vandalism with 97.7% accuracy, in an average of 10 seconds. Articles such as Wikipedia:Technology, Wikipedia:Wind power, Wikipedia:Fossil fuel, & Wikipedia:Solar cell have had serious vandalism fixed by Tawkerbot in a matter of seconds. See also the Recent changes patrol.

All this is great for engineers like me who don't enjoy final editing, and who may not have time for fighting vandalism. We can focus on development-related stuff instead, which is great.

On top of this, the more editors there are:

  • more cooperative and we'll get much more done.
  • less overlap between sites,
  • the more links will point to the one wiki, increasing the Google search rank, and so the more visible the wiki will be on the net.

Broader topic means larger community[edit]

I support a broader topic for a wiki, so that there is a larger community of editors and collaboration is more effective. My suggestion is everything related to development and sustainability - allow articles on everything from renewable energy (in both developing and developed settings) to development issues, theory and practice of community participation, as well as appropriate technology.

(It was only after creating this that I noticed someone put a link to Appropedia.org on the Appropriate technology article - I just rearranged the links for clarity).

Being part of a large community such as Wikipedia and Wikia means we benefit from the contributions of editors who otherwise wouldn't know about the wiki, or wouldn't be registered/signed in, or wouldn't have the tools suitable to the specific site (such as bots and Wikipedia:Wikipedia:AutoWikiBrowser.

Now, I would strongly urge the Appropedia community to consider being part of a broader wiki. This does not necessarily mean joining the one I created.

Anonymous editors[edit]

Being part of a wiki with more effective anti-vandalism measures means that it's relatively safe to allow anonymous editors. This is good because anonymous editors often make valuable contributions, e.g. this one, and it lowers the hurdle for people to start contributing. Many serious editors, including me, started out editing anonymously.

However, it may be possible to copy and run antivandalism bots such as Tawkerbot2.


Transwikiing pages[edit]

One important way to avoid duplication of effort is to move material to a more appropriate wiki. For example, see Wikibooks:Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, which was judged to not be in Wikibooks' scope, so was moved elsewhere. The redirection can be left there, to let people know where to find the new page, and not to create it again at the first location.

  • When folks are wiki walking around the wiki web and we find content, either pages or categories, we might suggest that they transwikify and move the content to the more suitable wiki? MarkDilley

Sustainability, environment, & international development wikis[edit]

We propose that international development and sustainability issues would be best dealt with on a single wiki (and this is a common view in the Appropedia community). Localized wikis (e.g. a "Sustainability in Brownsville" kind of topic) would be best as part of a larger wiki rather than separate, in my opinion, and I'd like to help make that an attractive and simple option for local groups.

This section is very out of date. Merge useful info into WikiIndex:The Wiki Synergy Project. No need to list all wikis, if they are already in the linked categories.

  • International development wikis, including:
    • Appropedia is currently the most active. Having merged with Village Earth's wiki it's now the leading "Appropriate Technology Wiki as well as billing itself as "The Sustainability Wiki".
  • WikiIndex:Category:Sustainability wikis, including:
    • PermaWiki (inactive) - permaculture people are often interested in appropriate technology, and vice versa, and both permaculture people and appropriate technology have a concern for sustainability.
  • Environment & Ecology wikis - these might be a bit different, but much overlap with sustainability. Is there any reason not to consider the option of merging with environment wikis?
  • Howtopedia - specifically for how-to pages.
  • Greenlivingpedia - in discussion with Appropedia, but for now exploring its own direction, look and focus.

Name[edit]

Note: this debate went on for some time at Appropedia, and it was decided to stick with Appropedia. The discussion is left here though - a name change would still be an option if an amazing name was coined.

If several international development and/or sustainability-related wikis merge, what name should we choose? Something broad and positive is good.

  • WinWinWiki? The owner of that name (Curt Beckmann) is happy for it to be used for this purpose.
  • Appropedia? Suits its focus on "appropriate technology"; arguably not broad enough for the merged wiki.

History of collaboration[edit]

Seven wikis have merged into Appropedia, including WikiGreen, the Village Earth Appropriate Technology Wiki,[1] and the How To Live Wiki.[2] We've also joined forces with likeminded groups such as Sustainapedia and Engineers Without Borders Australia and are making progress with a couple of other mergers.

Interwiki links[edit]