Appropedia:Technical questions

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If you have a question, you may like to search for help first:

If you're still confused, please don't hesitate to ask - post your question a New section. --Chriswaterguy 04:04, 7 August 2011 (PDT)

Redirect Problem[edit source]

When redirecting to a category, subcategories are not displayed. See Adobe vs Category:Adobe for an example. Is there a fix for this, or should we just make a user-must-click style redirect? --Lonny 00:37, 29 June 2006 (PDT)

This bug has been fixed in the new version of mediawiki. See for a history of this bug request. Now we just need to get around to an update of this site. Until that happens, feel free to add redirects to categories with the knowledge that eventually subcategories and articles will show on that redirected-to category. --Lonny 01:20, 29 June 2006 (PDT)

Directory of articles[edit source]

I was thinking, the List of topics is useful, but being able to find all documents through the directory structure would also be good.

How about all top level categories, such as Category:How tos or Category:Alternative building, go into a category such as Category:Fundamental or [[:Category:Categories, like in Wikipedia - Wikipedia:Category:Fundamental and Wikipedia:Category:Categories.

However, if a page hasn't been categorised, you won't find it via directories. So, it's good if there's something that lists all articles. Is there an "allpages" and/or "recent pages" link for the wiki? Thanks, --Singkong2005 (now known as Chriswaterguy) t - c 08:36, 1 July 2006 (PDT)

I found the allpages link, via the Special:Specialpages link, bottom left. --Singkong2005 (now known as Chriswaterguy) t - c 23:51, 5 July 2006 (PDT)

Directory of articles response[edit source]

Absolutely. What do you think about some diffent metacategories, such as:

  • Topic_fundamental - This is the main category for all other topic categories. For instance Alternative_building is a Topic_fundamental for the subcategories Bamboo, Earthships, Strawbale, Ferrocement and Earthen Construction ,and for the subsubcategories Adobe, Cobb, etc.
  • Topic - This is the category for all topic categories. This category will eventually get very full, in which case we could retroactively make a Topic_L1, Topic_L2, etc. respectively for the subcategories, subsubcategories, etc. (or we could just do it now as well)

Alternative building - Category:Topic fundamental

  • Strawbale - Categories:Topic|Alternative_building (or Categories:Topic|Topic_L1|Alternative building)
  • Ferrocement - Categories:Topic|Alternative_building (or Categories:Topic|Topic_L1|Alternative building)
  • Earthen construction - Categories:Topic|Alternative building (or Categories:Topic|Topic_L1|Alternative building)
    • Adobe - Categories:Topic|Earthen construction (or Categories:Topic|Topic_L2|Earthen construction)
    • ...

--Lonny 15:34, 2 July 2006 (PDT)

and then each topic would also have an array of subcategories that are part of other metacategories such as[edit source]

    • Adobe - Categories:Topic|Earthen construction
      • Projects - Categories:Projects|Adobe - Adobe construction projects
      • Curricula - Categories:Curriculum|Adobe - Adobe realted curricula, lesson plans, worksheets, assignments, etc
      • How tos - Categories:How to|Adobe - How to make adobe buildings and adobe in diffent forms
      • Organizations - Categories:Organization|Adobe - Organizations focused on Adobe construction
      • Theses - Categories:Thesis|Adobe - Treatise, economic plans, and other works on Adobe
      • Tools - Categories:Tools|Adobe - Tools such as clay content calculator and loading tables
      • Programs - Categories:Program|Adobe - Adobe building intensives, schools and other programs
      • Collab - Categories:Collab|Adobe - Services offered and needed, events, book/link/article reviews and other collaborative working pages
      • Maybe photos - Category:Adobe on an image page in the Image namespace - Photos of adobe (I am worried that the page may get too big... so maybe a seperate category Adobe Photos, or just hand made galleries so that captions are supported)
      • Maybe users - Category:Adobe on a user page in the User namespace - Users with a defined interest and experience in Adobe (this could help build networks of people, and allowing for users to find user pages on which to make contacts, ask questions, etc.)

Therefore I am proposing the following metacategories:

and I am proposing encouraging putting categories on entries in the User and Image namespaces (note: images that are in a category appear as thumbnails in that category page). Quick note, if we decide to do this, we should decide on singular or plural names for the metacategories... i.e. Projects vs Project and Program vs Programs.

What do you think? --Lonny 15:34, 2 July 2006 (PDT)

Decided on singular. Changed some links above. I will rework this structure on Appropedia:About --ATSysop 04:33, 11 October 2006 (PDT)

Alternative proposal[edit source]

I've been taking some time to think about this. I think it's best to keep it simple, and use the self-organising nature of the wiki as much as possible. I think the only thing that we need to add to the category structure is a top layer, i.e. Category:Fundamental or equivalent (I'd prefer shorter names where possible). I've created it and started putting the tag on appropriate subcategories, so click Category:Fundamental and see what you think. (It can always be deleted later if necessary).
Categories such as Category:Monograph and a category for collaborations will be useful. (This is similar to to Wikipedia's WikiProjects category - and see also the Collaborations page in the Wikipedia namespace, which lists types of collaborations.)
I'm not clear on what role a Topic category would serve, and Topic_L1 etc doesn't sound intuitive. If we want a list of all pages, maintained automatically, we can use Special:Allpages (which I just discovered by clicking on the Specialpages link - bottom left, unless you're using a non-standard skin).
This is the Wikipedia approach to categories, as I understand it... I guess part of my reason for preferring this is that I'm a creature of habit, and the Wikipedia system makes sense to me (and has been the subject of a lot of refinement by a large community of editors). That doesn't means it's always best to do things the Wikipedia way, of course. --Singkong2005 (now known as Chriswaterguy) t - c 23:51, 5 July 2006 (PDT)
Still working on a reply. --Lonny 01:34, 7 July 2006 (PDT)

Maintaining category structure[edit source]

Here are some links that make it easy to ensure that the category structure is complete:

And one link to find pages that haven't been linked to yet:

  • Special:Lonelypages (orphaned pages, not linked from other pages. Aim to keep empty or near empty).

--Singkong2005 (now known as Chriswaterguy) t - c 08:58, 6 July 2006 (PDT)

Lonely pages not all that lonely[edit source]

Note that Special:Lonelypages does not consider being categorized as a link. Too bad there is not a page for Uncategorized, Lonely pages. Therefore we should not look to keep Special:Lonelypages empty because some pages will only be linked to by categorization, e.g. Hand stitching, which is part of the How to category. --Lonny 16:51, 6 July 2006 (PDT)
You're right. We might check Special:Lonelypages on occasion to see if there's articles that should be linked from elsewhere, but a category link may be enough. Special:Uncategorizedpages & Special:Uncategorizedcategories are the ones to work on keeping empty, then. --Singkong2005 (now known as Chriswaterguy) t - c 01:02, 8 July 2006 (PDT)
I'll create Help:Categories (or should it be Appropedia:Categories?) to contain the explanation for using categories. I'll also delete Category:Testsubcat and Category:Testcat, and move explanatory material to the new page. --Singkong2005 (now known as Chriswaterguy) t - c 22:45, 20 July 2006 (PDT)

Sub-categories/metacategories in topics[edit source]

The metacategory schema would be a strong feature of the whole organizational structure described above. Can MediaWiki be made organize specific articles under metacategory headings on the Category:Fundamental pages, in the same fashion that they have been listed above in this discussion? I don't know of a way to accomplish this other than by using pipes to define the terms by which articles are sorted in a category tag [[Category:metacategory|metacategoryname article title]]. Unfortunately, this will not create subheadings in the list of category contents, only sort alphabetically, grouping articles with similar sort-words together without subheadings. The challenge here is to have articles displayed in a category and also be sub-sorted based on what other categories they belong to.--Aaron 10:33, 5 July 2006 (PDT)

As we add category tags to articles and on other category pages, the wiki software automatically creates the directory structure - see my comments above. I'm not sure if I got your question though, so please ask again if I haven't answered properly. --Singkong2005 (now known as Chriswaterguy) t - c 23:51, 5 July 2006 (PDT)
I think what Aaron means is the following - Do you know how Articles and Subcategories show up automatically under a Category pages? I think Aaron is asking if the same can happen for the other Areas, e.g. seperate Articles, Subcategories, Tools, Monographs, etc. I think that the answer is no. Maybe for seperate namespaces, but I tried it, to no avail, by including a user in Category:Photovoltaics... the user was listed as an Article alphabetized to U for User, but no seperate Users section. Please let me know if I am offbase, or if this makes no sense.--Lonny 02:21, 7 July 2006 (PDT)
Thanks, Lonny, that is what I mean. I have edited my original discussion post to be clearer. I will look into any extensions for MediaWiki which might offer this functionality.--Aaron 14:06, 7 July 2006 (PDT)
Okay, I'm with you now - sorry for the misunderstanding. Aaron's idea is a clever solution, but with the lack of headings, and the non-intuitive way of writing category links are problems. I'm inclined to just use subcategories for now (E.g. make Category:Users interested in photovoltaics* a subcategory of Category:Photovoltaics) and perhaps at some time in the future there will be a feature in the MediaWiki software that allows the articles in subcategories to be listed beneath a heading. --Singkong2005 (now known as Chriswaterguy) t - c 01:10, 8 July 2006 (PDT)

Userboxes[edit source]

Someone may also choose to create a userbox which also adds the page to the category. So if you create {{User photovoltaic}}, that userbox can contain code to add you to Category:Users interested in photovoltaics. (The easy way is to start by copying and pasting from, say, Wikipedia:Template:User WikiProject Environment). --Singkong2005 (now known as Chriswaterguy) t - c 01:10, 8 July 2006 (PDT)

Check out Photovoltaic members to see the new userbox implementation. Comments or suggestions? --Lonny 17:02, 17 July 2006 (PDT)
Very good - I've adapted your code to make {{User watsan}}, with the category Category:Water & sanitation members. Sanitation is currently a redlink. It may need to be changed to Category:Wastewater depending how we organise the categories.
The way "member" is used in the userboxes may suggest that the user is the member of a group related to that topic (as with WikiProjects on Wikipedia), so I'm trying to think of a concise way of expressing it, while still linking to the category. No better ideas yet - I'll ignore for a while and either it will be fixed, I'll think of a solution, or I'll realise it doesn't matter ;).
I also copied these (with small changes) from Wikipedia, to put userboxes in a column on the right:
See my user page for an example. These can also be useful in formatting articles when material such as images are to be placed in a column on the right. --Singkong2005 (now known as Chriswaterguy) t - c 20:24, 17 July 2006 (PDT)

Categories & articles[edit source]

Another issue I've been giving thought to. Lonny, I noticed at Category talk:Appropriate technology, you wrote:

I redirected appropriate technology to here at Category:Appropriate technology... Obviously there are some problems with the way we are using categories... One problem with the redirect to the category is that subcategories do not appear at the bottom of the category page after a redirect (although this does not affect category:appropriate technology as there are no subcategories).

Another small issue is that it will affect the layout of links on the "What links here" page, making it slightly more confusing.

Most likely the software doesn't handle the current usage well because it wasn't intended to. Cross-namespace redirects (e.g. appropriate technology to Category:Appropriate technology) are discouraged on Wikipedia, and I suspect on other Wikimedia projects as well.

A suggestion to separate articles from categories[edit source]

I'm now leaning towards separating the articles from the categories, so that the category pages are solely for the purpose of categorising, perhaps with a brief intro. Other material would go in the article namespace, e.g. the material in Category:Appropriate technology would be moved to Appropriate technology, and replaced with nothing, or a brief intro.

I think that users should be able to view all pertinent information and links (especially to articles and subcategories) in one place.
I see your point. I'm slightly concerned that people will be confused, seeing a Category in the title, but viewing an article, and not seeing the categorised articles unless they scroll down. But the best thing is to get some non-users to have a play with it and observe their reactions. This may be easier for you, being in an academic environment, with lots of guinea pigs (i.e. students) if only you can catch them and sit them down in front of a computer... but I'll also try it with my friends when I get a chance. --Singkong2005 (now known as Chriswaterguy) t - c 01:26, 8 July 2006 (PDT)
The redirect problem has been fixed in new versions of MediaWiki, see Appropedia:Village_pump#Redirect_Problem Village Pump for more. Now we just need to update. --Lonny 16:18, 6 July 2006 (PDT)
Mediawiki update is complete. Redirects are working (as is cite.php, and hopefully some other cool features). --Lonny 23:35, 6 July 2006 (PDT)

Inline links to category pages[edit source]

One way in which category pages differ from article pages is that it is not possible to make an inline link to a category page, at least with any method I have found, other than formating the link as if it's external. For example, the code [[category:Solar Hot Water]] will an article in the solar hot water category and add a link to the category at the bottom of the article page, but it won't include the inline link like [[Solar Hot Water]] would. The only workaround I can think of is to do something like I've done on Talk:Book reviews, which is to include the complete URL to the category page in a single-bracketed external-style link. Is there a better way to do this?--Aaron 00:25, 29 August 2006 (PDT)

Add a colon before the C, like this: [[:Category:Appropriate technology]] which shows as Category:Appropriate technology. Of course in this case we can also just link Appropriate technology which redirects to the desired page - it should ideally be the same for other category-article pages too. --Singkong2005 (now known as Chriswaterguy) talk 07:55, 29 August 2006 (PDT)

Namespaces[edit source]

I haven't figured out whether projects should get their own namespace - one argument for this is that it becomes more obvious that it's a project from looking at the name. One drawback is that linking to the projects pages becomes slightly less intuitive.

I agree, linking should be intuitive. Projects should not get their own namespace. I think that we can take care of everything with categories. After we talk some more about the categories, the About appropedia page should be updated. --Lonny 16:18, 6 July 2006 (PDT)

I notice that Knots: has been used as a namespace. That probably should be changed. Maybe they should go into the article namespace? (e.g. Bowline knot. This would be in Category:Knots which would be a subcat of Category:How tos.

The Knots: fake namespace thing should definitely be changed to exactly as you say. --Lonny 16:18, 6 July 2006 (PDT)
Knots are now taken care of. --ATSysop 01:21, 7 July 2006 (PDT)

An alternative is to use How to: is used as a namespace. I think that goes against the common wiki approach (in Wikimedia projects and Wikia) which is to use namespaces only for completely different types of pages: (Special:, Help:, Template:, or project-related i.e. Wikipedia: or Appropedia:), or for completely separate projects (such as the Cookbook: prefix in Wikibooks).

Let me know your thoughts. --Singkong2005 (now known as Chriswaterguy) t - c 09:35, 6 July 2006 (PDT)

Counter to what I hoped for at the beginning of this wiki, I think that we can avoid namespaces and opt for categories. Those categories that I would have like to be namespaces can now be just listed under the Category:Fundamental or something like that. More about this on our category conversations above. Thank you for your thoughts and suggestions. --Lonny 16:18, 6 July 2006 (PDT)

Headings with no text[edit source]

I was wondering whether others agree with me that we should follow the Wikipedia policy of not putting headings in unless there's actually text. I understand why it's done - the headings are thought to be an indication of what is needed... but I feel it looks cluttered, and takes up the time of the reader, looking through the page and realising there's nothing there. Also it may just as likely discourage additions, by placing expectations/limitations on what is to be added. E.g. Category:Solar distillation - I would like to remove most of the headings and let the page develop naturally. --Singkong2005 (now known as Chriswaterguy) t - c 05:53, 14 July 2006 (PDT)

I agree that we should not put up headings unless there is content. I do not think we should waste people´s time, by bringing them to blank pages. But I do not feel that Category:Solar distillation fits the description of empty. I think that even mostly blank categories, as long as the have listed subcategories or articles, should remain.
Certainly the categories should remain - I meant just avoiding headings without content. I've made a change here to demonstrate the kind of thing I mean. It's nothing major, but it improves the presentation. --Singkong2005 (now known as Chriswaterguy) t - c 12:11, 17 July 2006 (PDT)
I see what you mean. Looks better, not nearly as misleading and now users can browse stubs to see pages that need a good start as well. --Lonny 17:13, 17 July 2006 (PDT)
I think that truly contentless pages, such as PDF should be deleted.
Yes! Done. --Singkong2005 (now known as Chriswaterguy) t - c 12:11, 17 July 2006 (PDT)
Note that PDF has been moved to Help:PDF, and now has content, and a purpose... --Singkong2005 (now known as Chriswaterguy) · talk 04:56, 25 November 2006 (PST)
What do you think about mostly blank pages, such as Environmental art, which seems to have been created and abandoned? --Lonny 10:52, 17 July 2006 (PDT)
There's not much there, and I can't see what it's meant to become. In cases like this, perhaps we could post a note on the creator's talk page, asking if they want to expand it. If not, I'm inclined to delete. Alternatives:
  • Put it in a separate "limbo" category of stubs that aren't necessarily ever going to go anywhere (and removed from other categories). It could stay there for a while, and if there's no change, it gets deleted. Though that's probably more effort than it's worth.
  • The material from the page could just be posted on the creator's talk page, with an invitation to recreate the page if they wish to do so with a little bit more substance. (This is my preferred option). --Singkong2005 (now known as Chriswaterguy) t - c 12:11, 17 July 2006 (PDT)
Excellent on the deleted blanks. I like this last option the best. Should we could inlude a link to recreate the page as well (mostly just for newer users), or will this add to our wanted page list? --Lonny 17:13, 17 July 2006 (PDT)
Good point about the wanted page list. I think no link is best - just the deleted content. If they created it once they can do it again; and they can always ask, or if we really think it's necessary we could add a link to a wikimedia/wikipedia guide to creating a page. --Singkong2005 (now known as Chriswaterguy) t - c 19:35, 18 July 2006 (PDT)

Another option is to move it to the userspace of the editor who created it, and make a note on their talk page. This preserves the complete edit history, in case it's of value, and gives. I've done this with Environmental art. --Singkong2005 (now known as Chriswaterguy) talk 08:43, 8 August 2006 (PDT)

Language userboxes[edit source]

This is really not a high priority right now - however it would be nice if eventually we had a system of language userboxes, like Wikipedia:Template:Babel. However, using the Babel template requires the existence of the full range of language userbox templates like Wikipedia:Template:User es-2 - up to 7 for each language.[1] Manually copying them all is not a practical option - is there another way? --Singkong2005 (now known as Chriswaterguy) t - c 00:05, 18 July 2006 (PDT)

If the answer isn't to hand, we could ask at - especially if there's a page there for those actually dealing with the software. There may be a way of copying a whole range of pages, e.g. using a "getwiki" command? --Singkong2005 (now known as Chriswaterguy) t - c 21:22, 22 July 2006 (PDT)

Program categories[edit source]

If there's a lot of programs in a certain area, and they're listed in the appropriate category, then someone browsing the category will find it hard to tell at a glance which are the articles about the topic and which are the program writeups.

To solve this, I've decided to be bold and start creating program categories, e.g. Category:Solar programs, which are subcategories both of the topic (Category:Solar) and of Category:Programs. (See Category:Programs - any such category will show in there.)

An alternative would be to make all the articles as category pages (perhaps that's already the policy?) and so anything not in the category namespace must be either a how-to or a program... However, that still seems a bit confusing, for people creating or reading pages, especially for anyone not familiar with the category policy. --Singkong2005 (now known as Chriswaterguy) t - c 21:38, 30 July 2006 (PDT)

Program category response[edit source]

I understand your thinking here. This is actually the question that Aaron was asking, i.e. if there was a way to effect other delineations besides Subcategories and Articles on Category pages. I still do not know an easy answer to this question. I see making extra categories, such as Category:Solar programs, Category:Solar organizations and Category:Solar tools as an unfortunate answer to this problem because of the extra clicks that a browswer must make and extra work editors must do. That said, it is a workable answer. It is possible that Namespaces may again be a possible part of the solution, if, for instance, a page under the Programs Namespace could appear on a Category page in its own subsection (which I think would require some advaced coding). Another solution may be to use sort keys. See the breakdown below:

  • Using sort keys
    • We could use use P for programs, O for organizations and T for tools... but this may be confusing when other articles starting with those letters are included. One fix for that could be to sort key all inclusions, A for Articles and the such.
    • Or we could use a code such as: 1 for Programs, 2 for Organizations, 3 for Tools, etc.

It does seem that a defacto policy of all topic articles being categories has started. This makes some sense, since all topic articles should be open as categories for all types of writeups. Can you think of a topic article that this would not be true for?

I had assumed this would not always be the case, but I may be wrong. Not sure.
I originally didn't like the topics-as-categories policy (or category-article policy), but I do see the advantages. I'm thinking about a template to create a fairly unobtrusive box for the top of category articles, explaining briefly why the reader has been directed to a page that says "Category:". E.g. This is a "category article" and includes both the article and a listing of all pages in this category."
Re: The sort code option - it's a clever workaround, but my feeling is that it isn't very intuitive and so won't be used by most editors, requires extra maintenance, and as you say, it's a problem when other articles start with those letters... so I'd prefer to find another solution.
We seem to have a relatively large number of categories for a small number of articles... I might hold off on creating separate cats for programs/projects, for now. We can single out the articles (as opposed to project writeups etc) in a "See also" section at the end, which is not a perfect solution, but it does help separate the article types to an extent. Perhaps we should just do that for now, and see how it develops.
Keep in mind the MediaWiki software is open-source and a work in progress. (E.g. I just found a great way of setting up forums on a wiki, at the Campaigns Wikia forums.) So we can wait and see what features are added, or we can suggest features (somewhere on, I'd guess).
Another related thing that occurs to me, with the category-article policy - we'll have to be careful to choose the the best name early on. Moving a category must be done manually and thus doesn't allow the edit history to be preserved - especially if the old category page is deleted. --Singkong2005 (now known as Chriswaterguy) talk 20:02, 3 August 2006 (PDT)

In addition, the addition of Zaragoza to Category:Solar hot water programs seems erroneous. Zaragoza is a Project not a Program.

Ah... well I suspect it would be going too far to have both a Category:Solar hot water programs and a Category:Solar hot water projects - is there a word that covers programs and projects so we can put them in category? Or is that less than ideal? Anyway, as stated above, I'll hold off creating this kind of category for now, and will revert the changes if that's preferred. --Singkong2005 (now known as Chriswaterguy) talk 20:02, 3 August 2006 (PDT)

Programs are much more overarching, such as Category:Parras and The Solar Living Center Workshops.

Thank you for being bold. --Lonny 13:41, 3 August 2006 (PDT)

GoogleMaps API[edit source]

Hi All,

I just added the Google Maps API and the GoogleMapsExtension for MediaWiki. Check out some uses at my office map and Arcata marsh, and check out Help:Maps for more on how to use it.

Enjoy, --Lonny 11:42, 8 August 2006 (PDT)

Very good - however, I don't think it covers very much outside the USA, Canada & Europe yet - which is worth noting on Help:Maps, if true. At least doesn't seem to, but it wasn't resolving properly for me even in US/Canada searches. The map on your page looks good, though. --Singkong2005 (now known as Chriswaterguy) talk 19:19, 8 August 2006 (PDT)

Blogs[edit source]

What are the prospects of hosting blogs on Appropedia? I was originally thinking of using a wiki format site, but it seems to me that perhaps the conventional blog format actually makes more sense for the that purpose. I don't know anything about options in blogging software, but I'm sure there's good open-source ones.

The next question is whether blogs hosted here can easily be added to blog search engines (see Wikipedia:Technorati, which also mentions Google, Yahoo, PubSub and IceRocket).

Another question is whether we would have any particular policies regarding content, or have a completely free-speech approach. --Singkong2005 (now known as Chriswaterguy) talk 20:23, 8 August 2006 (PDT)

Update: Blogs can easily be added to search engines; the question is whether this is possible if it's done on a MediaWiki page; also whether RSS is possible. I'm currently inclined to want to use standard blog software, or perhaps a Bliki (a combination of the wiki and blog concepts). This would also be more accessible for people who are used to blogs. doesn't resolve properly in Opera, but it seems that there are several other options. See Blikis listed on WikiIndex for examples of blikis, and the Wikipedia article for links about the software.
Re POV/NPOV: I had missed Lonny's comment (in our discussion on his talk page) that I think that we can deal with the issue of expressing views using a blog template that explains the much looser NPOV rules in the blog space. That should work. I think it's wise to clarify what if any boundaries there are - I'd be inclined to go for minimal restrictions (obviously something like hate speech would be unacceptable). We might encourage the overall tone to be constructive, but that's probably best as a guideline rather than a policy; I wouldn't want to stop someone from saying that "politician X is an idiot", though I would hope they went deeper than that. --Singkong2005 (now known as Chriswaterguy) talk 16:38, 4 September 2006 (PDT)
I've been thinking some more about what to look for in a blog... regardless of where it's hosted, there'd need to be:
  • a spam filter for comments, or one of those things where the poster has to type in the wavy letters...
  • some kind of comments notification - preferably a bit sophisticated, so that getting 20 comments doesn't mean getting 20 emails.
Other suggestions (features, or software/sites) welcome!
I just had another thought... if there's other sites that have a lot of international development-related blogs (e.g. HungerMovement Blogs; see also Blogs), that could be a good place to blog, in that it draws attention to Appropedia from people who share the same interests. Something to weigh up, especially if using blogging software here is not practical. --Singkong2005 (now known as Chriswaterguy) talk 19:06, 8 September 2006 (PDT)

"Create page" box[edit source]

Wikia allows the code "<inputbox>" which can be used to create a box for automatically creating pages, with optional pre-loaded text. This is useful for newbies. See here. Can this be easily activated in Appropedia? (I tried copying the code but it doesn't work, so I guess there's a software tweak or add-on involved). --Singkong2005 (now known as Chriswaterguy) talk 08:23, 9 August 2006 (PDT)

Using Wikimedia Commons images - direct, or upload here first?[edit source]

Is it possible to show images from the Wikimedia Commons? We can link easily enough - commons:Image:BuddhisticStatuesHKe1.jpg - but I don't know how to show the pic. Do we have to upload it here first? --Singkong2005 (now known as Chriswaterguy) talk 08:56, 9 August 2006 (PDT)

It is not yet possible to embed images from wikimedia commons, but maybe in the future, for now you must upload the file here first. See Commons for more. --Lonny 18:19, 24 October 2006 (PDT)

A templates to list pages in a category?[edit source]

Regarding the discussion above, #A suggestion to separate articles from categories:

I wonder if it's possible to make a template which lists the pages in a certain category? e.g. we could call it catlist, such that {{catlist|Alternative building}} lists each article in that category.

This would give us everything we want: much more flexibility in how we present category lists at the end of an article; we could putting article in the main space rather than the category space, avoiding the "category" in the page title, and allowing pages to be moved while retaining the edit history.

I need to learn more about writing templates, but hopefully it's possible. --Singkong2005 (now known as Chriswaterguy) talk 19:47, 9 August 2006 (PDT)

I've asked about this at the help page on meta, so we'll see what response we get. --Singkong2005 (now known as Chriswaterguy) talk 07:34, 10 August 2006 (PDT)

Uploading .doc files[edit source]

Lonny, I know you mentioned wanting to be able to upload .doc files... just wanted to mention that I would like to upload a couple of files:

  • a brochure (Brochure used by Engineers Without Borders NSW for their Appropriate Technology Day, Sunday, 2 April 2006. Released under free licence with the permission of Nicole Teo.)
  • my thesis - then at least it will be available, until I'm able to convert to wiki markup. I plan to put the abstract as a wiki page and link to the .doc file.

Another option would be to use a separate site or non-wiki part of this site to host the files. --Singkong2005 (now known as Chriswaterguy) talk 23:01, 9 August 2006 (PDT)

Please try to upload those now. I have opened up Appropedia to doc, xls and pdf documents. I look forward to seeing the brochure and especially your thesis. Please let me know if there are any problems. --Lonny 10:42, 5 September 2006 (PDT)

Short URLs[edit source]

I have implemented short URLs at the test wiki, (this is a lagged version of appropedia, for the sole purpose of testing before breaking appropedia). So far the only problem that I have found is that pages with ampersands will only load the part preceeding the & symbol. Does anybody want to try to find more errors before I implement it here at Appropedia? Your logins should work fine at BuildCapacity. What do you think? --Lonny 23:14, 28 September 2006 (PDT)

I've had a bit of a look, and had no problems - I certainly like the shorter form (and having the "" form does seem wiser and safer than the even shorter version "," based on what I've read on the page.
I've no idea what to do about the "&" problem. It doesn't seem to cause problems in Wikipedia, e.g. Wikipedia:Penn & Teller and Wikipedia:Tom & Jerry. That's assuming you're referring to the title - or did you mean the page content? --Singkong2005 (now known as Chriswaterguy) · talk 00:10, 16 October 2006 (PDT)
Check out for an example of the problem. I think there must lay a solution in the modrewrite rules. --Lonny 01:12, 16 October 2006 (PDT)
Is the ampersand problem related to Apache rewrite rules, and not MediaWiki? I googled wikimedia ampersand title and got some interesting hits. Check these out:
I recognize that we're using 1.7, not 1.4, but the behavior is so close must be related...? --CurtB 13:24, 2 November 2006 (PST)

Short URLs implemented at Appropedia[edit source]

After testing at, we now have short URLs implemented here. Please let me know if you come across any problems, and note that ampersands can not be used in titles. --Lonny 16:34, 20 November 2006 (PST)

Excellent! And for some reason (is it coincidence?) I notice that all of a sudden my Favicon is also working! Very cool on two counts! --CurtB 16:40, 20 November 2006 (PST)
Fantastic! Thanks for all the work! --Singkong2005 (now known as Chriswaterguy) · talk 19:55, 20 November 2006 (PST)

Generic interwiki link template[edit source]

Just had a thought - we could create a template to make a box like {{Wikipedia}} and {{Wikipedia p}}for a generic wiki link, as long as the wiki is on our interwiki map, e.g. {{wiki|Solar hot water|solaroof|Sola Roof}} would create the link solaroof:Solar hot water.

Won't be too hard, will think about this when I have time... --Singkong2005 (now known as Chriswaterguy) · talk 17:48, 24 October 2006 (PDT)

Update - the {{Wikipedia}} and {{Wikipedia p}} are deprecated now and have been deleted. I've been making "Interwiki links" sections instead, after "See also" and before "External links." --Chriswaterguy 02:58, 26 December 2010 (UTC)

ISBN & Book sources[edit source]

If we insert a book's ISBN, e.g. ISBN 1853395218, it links to a Book sources page. However, it's much less complete than the Wikipedia book sources page. Without trying to independently maintain a book sources page to compete with Wikipedia, is there a way that we can take advantage of Wikipedia's more complete page?

Perhaps link directly to the Wikipedia page (which has the disadvantage of taking people away from Appropedia)?

Or transclude the Wikipedia page? --Singkong2005 (now known as Chriswaterguy) · talk 21:38, 5 November 2006 (PST)

How do we protect css pages?[edit source]

We can edit eacher other's css pages... unlike Wikipedia - see Wikipedia:Project:Protection_policy. --Chriswaterguy · talk 08:12, 22 April 2007 (PDT)

Drafts?[edit source]

Is there a place to save a draft prior to posting? Flying in the face of the Be Brave philosophy, it would be nice to have a place to work on an article before posting... Thanks Steve.mccrosky 16:57, 4 June 2007 (PDT)

Hi Steve, I agree that sometimes it is nice to have a place to work on articles, before presenting them to the world. Is the User:Steve.mccrosky/Sandbox temp space working for your needs? --Lonny 06:06, 5 June 2007 (PDT)

Yup, thanks, I figured it out. Steve.mccrosky 06:43, 5 June 2007 (PDT)

Is there a place to browse the list of uploaded files?[edit source]

Steve.mccrosky 21:31, 8 June 2007 (PDT)

Special:Newimages and Special:Imagelist are the two best places. You could also use the all pages search in a names space, such as, but that seems less useful. Check out Special:Specialpages, for more similar pages. --Lonny 10:01, 9 June 2007 (PDT)

Hey Guys[edit source]

Great work on your site, seen it grow over the past few months. I like the speed! I'm looking for a fast server to host a wiki site, The one the site is on currently is slow and not optimized for wiki. Any suggestions? -Will-- 05:51, 13 February 2008 (PST)

Hi Will,
Thanks for the compliments on the site. The last two years have seen a lot of growth and excitement. Great work on your wiki. We currently use Dreamhost for hosting. Our missions are quite similar, please email me ( for more details and to discuss possible ways for us to support your project or partnership opportunities.
Until soon, --Lonny 10:50, 13 February 2008 (PST)

Site speed post upgrade[edit source]

Post the server upgrade, the site is still running fairly slow on my computer browser compared to other wikis I use, but it is still usable. Peter Campbell 03:47, 8 April 2008 (PDT). PS: I use for hosting and they do a good job mostly.

We're still hanging out for the virtual private server. Don't know about hosts - Lonny seems happy with Dreamhost, but we're all clear that we definitely need the coming additional upgrade. --Chriswaterguy (talk) 04:00, 8 April 2008 (PDT)
Thanks to some donations and grants, we've had the virtual private server set up for over half of a year. It seems to be working fairly well considering that Appropedia has thousands of visitors and many edits every day. Eventually we will need to upgrade again... but before that, we could really use some technical help on dealing with rogue bots and virus injecting zombies. Thanks, --Lonny 05:31, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

Use InstantCommons for Wikimedia Commons?[edit source]

Hi, I see you guys discussed using InstantCommons previously. It is actually available now, see$wgForeignFileRepos . I wrote about it on my blog. I hope you consider turning it on, because it is extremely useful. :) cheers, pfctdayelise 11:49, 8 December 2008 (UTC)

OpenID[edit source]

What about throwing an OpenID extension in here??? Kozuch 15:22, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

We can do that if we want, once we get our test site running (soon, hopefully).
My concern is that OpenID looks like a huge risk for phishing. If they could fix that (only possible by having it only work through properly enabled browsers) I'd be more comfortable with it. I feel like a grouch for saying that, but security is important. (Copied from my comment from Talk:Federated wikis.) Then again, we could issue a warning about this, and leave it up to users to take their own precautions. --Chriswaterguy 00:16, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

uploading .svg files[edit source]

I'm trying to upload this file: available under CC liscense from wikipedia but when I upload it the colors change to this: any ideas why? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Achannel (talkcontribs) 23:50, 26 September 2009

I asked & got this response from Brion Vibber on
@chriswaterguy check which SVG rendering backend is installed. We've got a current-ish rsvg for Wikipedia; ImageMagick usually the buggiest
Lonny? --Chriswaterguy 08:39, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
We are using ImageMagick (the one that Brion says is the buggiest). One solution would be to (sadly) convert the svg to png. I will work on getting our rendering backend upgraded, but that will probably be 1/2 a year away. Thanks, --Lonny 00:11, 29 September 2009 (UTC)

Question about Links[edit source]

When writing an Appropedia article, is it possible to link to a certain section of an Appropedia page rather than just the top of a page? Krystal 14:21, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

Yes. The software supports section linking. See wikipedia:WP:ANCHOR. For example, Appropedia talk:Technical questions#Question about Links links to this section. --Teratornis 21:57, 15 January 2011 (PST)
Ack, how did we miss that for so long? Thanks for catching it, Teratornis! --Chriswaterguy 22:11, 15 January 2011 (PST)
This page has low traffic, making it easy to overlook. I only stumbled across it while examining shortcut links on Appropedia. Also, Appropedia is not running mw:Extension:LiquidThreads which allegedly provides more features for message notifications. Maybe it would provide some more proactive notification of new message activity on infrequently updated pages like this one. I have never used LiquidThreads so I don't know how well it works. I do know that the English Wikipedia is not running it, despite having similar obstacles for thread following at present. So maybe it is not a good solution to the drawbacks of the default MediaWiki discussion method (i.e. using wikitext markup to simulate discussion threading). --Teratornis 14:02, 16 January 2011 (PST)
I've heard Werdna (Andrew Garrett, who's in charge of coding LiquidThreads 3 for the Wikimedia Foundation) talking about this. Turns out he's from my hometown, Sydney. Anyway, it definitely seems to be too buggy in its current form, and has caused stress for at least one wiki that installed it. But we should definitely check out LiquidThreads 3.0 when it becomes available.
In the meantime, I'm keen to try DPLForum, which I think is good for discussions like this one and the Village Pump. The extension is already installed on the Dev wiki, but we need to test & tweak.--Chriswaterguy 03:44, 7 August 2011 (PDT)


I tried to create a page about the International Humanity Foundation, an international NGO. but when I want to save the pages this message keeps showing up:

OOPS! Our anti-spam system identified your edit as suspicious. This is nothing to do with the CAPTCHA (curvy letters or numbers you had to enter) but something else about the edit. If you're genuine, we apologize, and here's what to do: If you're not logged in but you have an account, log in now and try your edit again. That may solve the problem. Or... If you are a student using Appropedia as part of a class, ask your instructor. (We've given tips to bypass the filter, to instructors who we know are using Appropedia.) Review your edit, make changes and try again. (Sorry we can't be more specific - we don't want to let the spammers know our secrets.) Or... If none of these work, please inform an administrator of what you were trying to do, and the name of the page you were trying to edit. Do this by leaving a message on our "Discussion" page (Village Pump), or contact your instructor (if you're using Appropedia in a course) or (last resort) leave a message for the spam filter admin, who will help you out next time he's on duty. Thanks for your patience. If you have an account on Appropedia and begin making non-spammy edits, soon you won't ever see this warning while logged in. Thank you for your patience.

What can I do to create my page??

Thank you

Hi, sorry for the delay. I've emailed you. --Chriswaterguy (talk) 15:24, 27 October 2014 (PDT)

request to delete account[edit source]

how do I request to have my account deleted? thanks. --Greystoke (talk) 09:17, 27 October 2014 (PDT)

Please email me (or any other admin) through the account you want to delete, by clicking here Special:EmailUser/Lonny. Alternatively, use the account you want to delete and add Template:Tl:Delete to your userpage and also respond here. We will then proceed using the same steps as Wikipedia to obfuscate your account. Your previous edits will remain, but under an anonymous name. Your edits to your userpage will be deleted.
Does that make sense and work for you?
--Lonny (talk) 14:39, 27 October 2014 (PDT)

How to make a newly uploaded image the default.[edit source]

My image list for the old and new image is now 5 lines long because i've been trying to use the Revert link, but i still can't seem to figure out how to replace the old image with the new one.

See here>

The correct, new one would be the one with the comment> Now showing the cotter pin.

Thanks for helping. Have a great afternoon and congrats on your wonderful site! :)

Don't worry about the image list – that's just the history. It's a record that only appears on the "File" page itself, not in the wiki page where you display the image.
It looks like the image are talking about is the same as the current image (the big one at the top). So I think there is no problem… Is that right? I.e. if you insert the code:
[[Image:Motor and wiring.jpg|thumb|left]]
you get this image (at left).
Motor and wiring.jpg
Is that the image you want? --Chriswaterguy (talk) 04:27, 23 January 2015 (PST)
Dear Chris: Thanks for helping! i suspect you guys are probably pretty busy. Thanks for the info about the "File" page and its "record".
For some reason, the new image finally became the "current" image. You are correct; there is now no problem except for the fact that i still don't know how to make an uploaded image the "current" one when i use the link "Upload a new version of this file.". i suppose the question should be, once i upload the photo, do i need to do anything else for it to "become" the current version?
Warmest greetings, fred :)
Hello Fred,
Most likely the new image was uploaded to Appropedia, but still the old one in your cache. Next time try doing a hard refresh of your cache (something like CTRL-F5, CTRL-R, or CTRL-SHIFT-R). Thanks, --Lonny (talk) 17:25, 23 January 2015 (PST)
Lonny - thanks for replying and the suggestion. Arg, i hadn't thought about that possibility. i'm about to do another "replace file" and will see what happens. Have a super evening! :) (Let's see if i can get the requisite number of squiggles to print out my username, etc.) Frazelle09 (talk) 19:26, 23 January 2015 (PST)

New Athena Build Taller objects missing Layers[edit source]


I built my Athena in January and have been through several Kilo's of PLA. I am halfway through a Kg of PLA Wood and I am starting to randomly have layers not printing properly. I suspect a clogged nozzle. Any help would be appreciated. I assume the nozzle just unscrews. What do I clean it with?

Thanks, Ken

Hi Ken - It sounds like a minor clog. The best thing to do is disengage the drive and start heating it up as you pull on the filament manually out of the extruder- just as it starts to soften you should be able to pull out everything and hopefully bring the blockage with you. Wood PLA is more fragile than straight PLA -so be gentle. In addition, you should check to make sure your teeth on the filament are clean. For questions like these I encourage you to email: -- Good luck - 06:09, 9 March 2016 (PST)

Is there a way to get our URLs to open in a new tab?[edit source]

At this point it seems like the URL just opens in the same tab...

i've tried to Search for this but have been unsuccessful. Would like for people reading the Wiki to click on the URL and be taken to a new tab, which they can close when they are done and be returned to our Wiki page.

Have a great afternoon and keep up the great work! :)

P.D. We have just been certified Open Source by the OSHW team!

—The preceding comment was added by Frazelle09 (talkcontribs) 14:42, 8 November 2016‎

Hola Frazella,
Thank you for your question. There is currently no way to do that. Mediawiki, wikipedia, etc, are fairly consistent with link behavior. The idea is that if a user wants the link to open in a new page, they will use ctrl-click or whatever method they prefer for that action.
I am excited to hear that your Parabolic Solar Hot Water Heater project has been certified by OSHWA. ¡Felicidades!
Thank you for your time and work, --Lonny (talk) 20:45, 8 November 2016 (PST)

Reference Tooltips[edit source]

Is it possible to have Reference Tooltips on Appropedia?

"This tool is a gadget. First install the Gadgets extension[1], then import it e.g. from the English Wikipedia[2]."



-> source

Facilitator (talk) 16:29, 17 September 2017 (PDT)