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Appropedia talk:Ruleset

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Note: This page is mainly about the ruleset and how it is set out; for broader policy discussion see Appropedia talk:Policy discussion. (Though this perhaps should be changed...? --Singkong2005 (now known as Chriswaterguy) · talk 00:59, 11 November 2006 (PST))

NPOV rule comment[edit]

  • I would suggest that we enhance the comment about NPOV to include Multiple POVs. Also, we can have something of a bias TOWARD appropriate technology as being better than "inappropriate technology", I would think, particularly toward sustainability. There is something in the Wikia site that talks about varying from strict NPOV...
Curtbeckmann 17:36, 13 September 2006 (PDT)
Good points. I think we need to keep some of the essential elements of NPOV (in particular, not using Appropedia to push a particular POV in a polemic or uncivil way), but acknowledge & represent different POVs. Wikipedia's NPOV policy does allow for representing multiple, notable POVs on a subject, but just as Appropedia is a place that allows for original research and small projects, it might also allow space for original & personal ideas & POVs.
I'm inclined to say that Appropedia itself should not have a POV... not even a POV that appropriate technology is good. We might all hold a particular view, but we should also be open to evidence and considered opinions outside our own POVs.
Re Wikia... do you have a link? I couldn't find it. --Singkong2005 (now known as Chriswaterguy) talk 21:03, 13 September 2006 (PDT)
It was on this page --Curtbeckmann 07:22, 14 September 2006 (PDT)
I like the idea of having somewhat looser POV rules for some areas on Appropedia, such as blog space, see User_talk:Lonny#Blogging for a short coversation about this. Maybe someone could give an example of what a POV piece may look like on Appropedia, then we can dissect the potential with an example as well. It is possible that a MPOV (multiple) policy may be better, but I am still undecided. --Lonny 10:33, 14 September 2006 (PDT)
The specific example that makes this more important to me than it might be is Democratic Peace Theory. On that page, an authority takes issue with a Wikipedia article, but is not willing to make any adjustments to the article. I haven't scoured it, but my sense is the article is kind of a "neutral" blend of perhaps 2 POVs that somehow leaves one POV dissatisfied. (And yet, if you read the article, you'll notice that Rummell is a key reference source.) If instead it was able to distinguish multiple POVs, maybe Rummell would be happier. As a side note, it's a real shame that this is a discussion involving "democracy" and "peace" and yet where is Rummell's tolerance for variation of perspective or democratic input into the content of the page? Sad.
Now having said all that, I don't have a handy example of something that we might run into. However, I would like Appropedia to include recommendations for a particular technology in a particular circumstance. This seems like very useful information that could easily save pain and yet I can imagine more than one school of thought on which kind of water filtration or solar cooker or whatever. So my desire is to say something like "The Peace Corps recommends the XYZ approach in this case, whereas UNESCO recommends the JKL approach." That seems somewhat neutral and yet also multiple POV. --Curtbeckmann 16:30, 14 September 2006 (PDT)
I took the first step of removing the first line that states that NPOV is nonnegotiable. I think that we agree that it is negotiable. Now the question is, how negotiable? I like the idea of supporting MPOV, but requesting that editors state their spin/camp/angle/etc. I am very attached to science being trump when discussing science (for instance - No Violations of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics - this is a big one for me... in fact, probably nonnegotiable). In addition, as Curt suggests, maybe encouraging POVs that fit within a definition of Appropriate Technology would be fitting. --Lonny 00:16, 18 September 2006 (PDT)


Lonny, there remains a "non-negotiable" sentence in the NPOV clause. I didn't delete it yet because it would not read well without some other text in there. So figured we should take a swing here as to what the MPOV statement should be. As a first pass, I propose:
Appropedia strongly prefers that articles be written from a neutral point of view (NPOV), similar to Wikipedia (link). However, because Appropedia does not include encyclopedic content, there will often be content included which by nature includes a certain perspective. In these cases, we want to encourage multiple points of view (MPOV), with the additional requirement that the contributors articulate their particular bias. Alternatively, a single contributor can describe MPOVs and label these as different schools of thought on the matter at hand.
That seems too wordy, but maybe it's okay. I figured I'd leave it at that for commentary. By the way, as a physics undergrad, I'm totally supportive of "sticking to the rules". No perpetual motion machines. Hey, I'd be happy to be wrong about that (even if my world would turn upside down), but I'll need some serious proof. --Curtbeckmann 19:20, 18 September 2006 (PDT)
What about a POV statement that defers to different POV statements for different areas? It seems to me that different "areas" of Appropedia should have different levels of POV. For instance, very little for the category and how-to "areas" and more for the Collaboration and Theses "areas" --Lonny 10:15, 19 September 2006 (PDT).
Sounds good - I like the idea of differentiating the policy according to page types. A simple statement to that effect might be the best way to start (a short paragraph for articles and categories; another short para for the more POV-tolerant page types). Later as things develop, the community can develop the principles as needed. I'd also support the inclusion of something to the effect that "science is trump." --Singkong2005 (now known as Chriswaterguy) talk 22:37, 20 September 2006 (PDT)
In the month since this discussion, my opinion has changed a fair bit, and partly it's because of how I envision the community developing. I would like various organizations to consider their organization pages as being "home away from home". I expect that they might create project pages, then use the org page (or maybe subpages from the org page) to talk about why they think an approach is good. It makes sense to say "We feel that xyz is the best approach because...". This can be written in a kind of dispassionate NPOV only by saying "OrgX believes", which has a stilted and impersonal feel, and would definitely not be fun to write for the organization. At the same time, org pages would not lend themselves to MPOV either.
On the other hand, Topic pages would seem to be great for MPOV. And projects could be a little more NPOV. so this is similar to Lonny's statement above about differentiating by page types. I'm going to boldly alter the NPOV wording on the Ruleset, though it might take me a day or two. --CurtB 20:14, 26 October 2006 (PDT)
I made several changes. I think that with a bit of attention, this can be wrapped up. These days, my desire is to support a non-neutral POV in many cases. The way I think of it is something like a Scientific American tone (not quite the Popular Science "gee isn't this cool!" tone, but not the dry academic research paper tone either). Articles should be NPOV enough to be credible, but will likely be supportive of an approach. Village Earth, for example, is proud of their approach. It's possible to write a NPOV article about VE (and there probably is one on Wikipedia), but my preference would be for Org articles to be written/owned by the orgs themeselves as a way to encourage their participation here, and I think it is quite workable (since we are not an encyclopedia) for Org pages to have a POV supportive of their approach. (Sorry for the repetition, I realize now that I said most of this just above.) Similarly (to finish the thought) project articles written by Orgs will have a sympathetic POV, and that's okay. --CurtB 19:39, 28 October 2006 (PDT)

Rulesets, Policies, Guidelines?[edit]

On the ruleset page, the text says "these are guidelines". Number 3 says "ignore all rules", which softens the message further. On the Policy discussion page we didn't want to talk about encyclopedic content on the ruleset page because we didn't want to be too inflexible, and instead said that it should be on a policy page. I guess policy differs from ruleset/guidelines in the sense that policy involves more judgment and consensus and is kind of an editor question versus an author question.

So I've got these questions: why do we call it a ruleset if it is just guidelines? Why not call it (gasp!) guidelines, so as to be, y'know, less confusing? Also, we could put policy on a different page, and I'm okay about that if we have enough to say, but if there's only the "encyclopedic" policy, then I would say we should just have a policy section on the guidelines page.

No if anyone has strong opinions about this, speak up. If not, I'm gonna do the BOLD thing in a day or two. --CurtB 20:14, 26 October 2006 (PDT)

Linking to Wikipedia Ruleset[edit]

  • Lots of missing links. I will assume these should link to the equivalent item in Wikipedia, and will try to find them and fill them in. Curtbeckmann 17:38, 13 September 2006 (PDT)