Appropedia began in April of 2006. In the earliest stages it was a collaboration between passionate people from the United States and Australia, and quickly expanded to become a global project.
A number of other similar sites have "joined with" Appropedia since its inception, bringing many content pages, readers and contributors, including:
- Development and Sustainability Wikia
- Village Earth's Appropriate Technology Wiki Project
- How To Live Wiki, home of the Hexayurt
- Sustainable Goals Wiki (sustainable business) aka sGoals Wiki
Background[edit | edit source]
After years of other online and offline sustainable collaboration projects, Lonny Grafman started Appropedia in April 2006 with a focus on appropriate technology, defined very broadly. He was assisted by Aaron and Goodsignal in the decision to use the mediawiki engine for Appropedia.
In May 2006 Lonny started a conversation with Chris Watkins via his Wikipedia userpage. Chris was focused on appropriate technology articles in Wikipedia, but by June 2006 he was convinced to join forces at Appropedia. Appropedia now more explicitly covered broader issues of international development and sustainability - a logical combination due to the large amount of overlap and synergy between these topics. It also developed a policy of complementing Wikipedia, referencing encyclopedic material there, and focusing instead on project information, original research, how-tos, networking and other material not suitable for Wikipedia.
A note left on another site led Curt Beckmann to join Appropedia, bringing energy, new ideas and different perspectives. He put a lot of energy into gaining permission to port quality content from other sites, leading to an acceleration in Appropedia's content growth and profile. Likeminded people and organizations were happy to give permission to use their material (see below).
Gabriel Krause worked away in the background since September 2006, doing important technical work.
Contact with WikiGreen in late December 2006 led to an enthusiastic response from Eric Blazek, and a very quick decision to join forces. (Chris Watkins logged on one day to find that the merger, which he had supported, had been agreed upon and implemented by those on the other side of the planet, largely while he was asleep.) It was decided to use the name Appropedia, at least for the time being. This brought an enormous amount of content, the work of Eric Blazek and Roy Dent, ported with permission from various publications, including some content from CD3WD.
Merges[edit | edit source]
The following wikis merged together to form what is now Appropedia
Listed in approximate order of starting:
|Project||Focus/scope||Started by/backed by||Launch team's background||Start & merge dates||Current Status (or status at merge)|
|The Appropriate Technology Wiki Project||Appropriate technology and sustainable development. Included a focus on projects and how-tos - content types not accepted on Wikipedia.||Village Earth||Established NGO with a focus on and experience in appropriate technology.||2004?; merged 12-14 March 2007||A few very good contributions.|
|WikiGreen||Green living, sustainable agriculture||Eric Blazek (and Roy Dent?).||academia...?||2005?; merged 6 Jan 2007||After some extensive early contributions, the main contributors had not been active for some months.|
|Students for Global Sustainability Wiki||Sustainable development and conservation projects, global and local.||Students for Global Sustainability (SfGS), student organization at MIT. SfGS is a chapter of the World Student Community for Sustainable Development (WSC-SD).||Jul 2005; merged 30 Jan 2008|
|Appropedia||Appropriate technology, defined to include sustainability, development, and appropriate/sustainable practices. Intended to include many content types, particularly projects.||Lonny Grafman, soon joined by Chriswaterguy and Curtbeckmann.||Appropriate technology, engineering, Wikipedia, business, IT industry||4 Apr 2006||n/a|
|Development and Sustainability Wikia||All sustainability and international development issues.||Chriswaterguy||23 Apr 2006; merged ~26 Jun 2006||Quiet (no contributors other than founder)|
|WinWinWiki||Sustainability, international development and public health, solutions to poverty.||Curt Beckmann||Science and business||22 Aug 2006; merged early/mid Sep 2006||Quiet (no contributors other than founder)|
|How To Live Wiki (October 2006 by Vinay Gupta)||"How To Live" in the sense of "How To Survive".||Vinay Gupta||Appropriate technology, emergency preparedness.||7 Oct 2006; merged 19 Mar 2007||Founder was the main contributor.|
|Sustainapedia||Sustainability||Ryan Legg of Cornell University, Jim Harris of Cleantech, and a group of people at a conference...||academia, business.||Project established... ; Joined forces in early 2007(?), before launching their own site.||n/a|
|Sgoals (sgoals.net)||Sustainable Goals||Greg Clark||Corporate (supply company?)||merged 5 April 2007|
Collaborations[edit | edit source]
Since then Appropedia has made connections with more and more people and organizations:
- International Rivers Network gave permission for several pages worth of content.
- Practical Action gave permission for over 100 articles
- The Erssons, a family in Portland, Oregon, provided articles
- Demotech, an organization in the Netherlands have built many, many pages
- A long-running discussion with Village Earth led to their wiki merging in March 2007. This was the original wiki on appropriate technology.
- Discussions with Architecture for Humanity, who have set up the Open Architecture Network. Their website serves a different purpose to Appropedia, and the exact form of collaboration is still to be decided, but we have agreed to support each others' efforts.
- Sustainapedia, a planned website by a group of people with a similar vision and much ambition, led by Ryan Legg, and Jim Harris of Cleantech.
- The How To Live Wiki, the site of Vinay Gupta, known for the Hexayurt, merged much of its material into Appropedia in March 2007, and Vinay joined the Appropedia team.
- The Sgoals wiki (managed by Appropedia user Sgoals), focused on Sustainable Business practices, joined shortly after Howtolivewiki
- Students for Global Sustainability Wiki merged in January 2008.
- CCAT, the Campus Center for Appropriate Technology, partnered with Appropedia to move their project pages to Appropedia in April 2008.
Other exciting conversations are ongoing, with highly regarded organizations on the verge of joining this collaborative community. We look forward to being able to mention them here soon!
Notes[edit | edit source]
- In the late 90's, Chris envisaged a collaborative site where people would share ideas and build rigorous arguments, and the focus would be on facts rather than opinion, constructive dialog rather than attacks, focusing on the key issues that made a difference in the world. It was to be called Roots of Change but it never got past a vague idea. When he learnt about Wikipedia he saw this as the realization of his earlier dream - someone had figured out how to make collaborative website. David Bartecchi of Village Earth pointed out, however, that certain types of content and collaboration are not suitable for Wikipedia. Appropedia, Wikipedia, and to an extent related projects like Wikibooks, are the realization of this earlier dream.
- It could be said that one by one they merged into Appropedia. However in each case there were discussions about direction, some clarification of purpose, and open discussion over preferred names; so it has been approached not as a takeover, but as a venture of partners.