Link to Community Informatics Paper on Appropedia in a context of Action Research, and relevance to Deliberative Democracy[edit source]

Relevant to Strategic Planning - I (Pat Sunter) wrote up several thoughts and reflections on using Appropedia as part of the Action-Research aspect of my PhD, in dialogue with Chris as co-author. This was published as part of the Community Informatics Research Network's 2013 conference, as follows:

The paper included a reflective section that aired several issues relevant to strategic planning, such as:-

  • Reflections on Appropedia's similarities and differences to Wikipedia;
  • Should Appropedia encourage more explicit tools to reflect on action-research projects, possibly as part of, or in addition to, the Project template? What are the ethical aspects of this in relation to participants (eg providing Wiki training)?
  • Should Appropedia more explicitly include a perspective that web-pages on complex topics and systems, are sometimes as much about community deliberation, as they are about providing authoritative knowledge? And does this mean either encouraging page templates other than the Wikipedia-style encyclopaedia article, and/or developing closer relationships with other web-platforms that do explicitly focus on group deliberation (such as Loomio, or Debatepedia)?

It would be good to discuss these further in this strategic planning context. --PatSunter (talk) 19:56, 12 March 2014 (PDT)

Issues of quality & safety, possible peer-review of some content, and general Inclusionism vs Exclusionism philosophy[edit source]

While it is important to recognise all the great content on Appropedia, I noticed there were several important discussions on the Appropedia talk:Village pump in 2013 bearing on issues of not-so-good content, and how to deal with it. Perhaps developing further this guidelines is important here. See especially posts instigated by Joe Turner, such as Appropedia_talk:Village_pump#Things_that_should_not_be_on_appropedia and also in sections on site stats, glossaries.

Different views here represent important alternative perspectives about the role of a Wiki, which people in the Media Wiki meta-community have described as mw:Inclusionism, mw:Exclusionism, and mw:Deletionism. There is even a somewhat tongue-in-cheek phrase used to criticise people who are considered overly exclusionist or deletionist - mw:Academic standards disease.

While my (PatSunter) reading of this is that Appropedia has historically been quite strongly 'Inclusionist' in terms of the above categories - that is, welcoming new content, even if there is not time to review in depth - I think Joe made some good points that the Appropedia community do collectively have a responsibility not to mislead readers. This is particularly the case if pages are about designs for Appropriate Technology that are being promoted for use by others, where safety and mis-allocation of scarce resources come into the picture.

I'd suggest some reflection and discussion on this, by different Appropedia stakeholders.

Some specific outcome aims of such a discussion could be:

  • Further work on the Appropedia:Rigor guideline, including actually adopting it as a policy.
  • In relation to Appropedia projects:- a more consistent use of page tags or other metadata to show if a proposal is speculative, in-development, has been used in practice, has been peer-reviewed by others to test its effectiveness, etc.
  • Per Joe's proposal : a clearer idea of when it is worth hosting an encyclopaedia-style page on Appropedia, vs leaving the Encycopaedia-style stuff to Wikipedia and concentrating on good quality original project pages.

I think part of this process is to start to both work towards reasonably clear policies, such that editors and readers can understand and try to follow them, and also to spread the load of review/improvement work, so that all the responsibility doesn't fall on a few key editors and admins for the entire site. E.g. perhaps to develop periodic 'review editing groups' in different topic areas, which could involve recruiting relevant people with significant experience or knowledge in area, and supporting them in this role with relevant processes and tools. (Incidentally, this is a broad-brush description of how management of the Linux kernel, and large FOSS distributions such as Debian, have evolved over time). --PatSunter (talk) 19:56, 12 March 2014 (PDT)

More use of Semantic MediaWiki?[edit source]

Should we also re-visit the idea of a larger rollout of the potential of Semantic MediaWiki extensions, e.g.: Appropedia_talk:Village_pump#Semantic data for permaculture

Links to relevant earlier ideas and goals for Appropedia's future[edit source]

Browsing today I found some good ideas for Appropedia's future from the 2007-2010 period. I realise not all of these will still be relevant in a changing context etc, but just linking them here in case they're useful:

--PatSunter (talk) 23:09, 14 March 2014 (PDT)