Other Wiki Main Pages[edit source]

Here are some interensting other wiki main pages:

Nice color areas
Color bars and different background (I think we need a different background)
Strong Boxes
Sections, news, featured articles, etc.
Color sections
text is too small, but some interesting features
Picture bars
too big/long but cool picture subsection areas.
nice and simple
icons in navbar
Okay, I'm seriously impressed. And yet, I beginning to think that if basic navbar works for Wikipedia, maybe we can find a way to get by with that. --Curtbeckmann 17:27, 3 October 2006 (PDT)

(Below is content moved from Village Pump)

Broadened description on main page[edit source]

I decided to be bold, and added "international development and sustainability" to the first line fo the main page, so it now reads:

Appropedia is a living library of appropriate technology, international development and sustainability, replete with textbook style topics and how-to style project.

This is prompted by email conversations with Curt (who is very keen on Appropedia). I think we (i.e. Appropedia) need to make it clear that we accept and encourage contributions on this wide range of topics. Especially as some of us are thinking about promoting Appropedia more widely - it's important that when people follow a link to this site, they feel immediately that this site welcomes them and their interests. --Singkong2005 (now known as Chriswaterguy) talk 20:10, 8 September 2006 (PDT)

Awesome work. Thank you for helping to explicitly include the very welcomed "international development and sustainability" community. As always... thank you for being bold. We should make that opening sentence even better by changing what it states Appropedia is replete with to something closer to true, e.g. remove the textbook style topics and place in something about collaborative pages, networking, curriculum and theses. --Lonny 01:41, 12 September 2006 (PDT)
I'm doing some more now... I haven't mentioned curricula yet as I'm not sure what our policy is regarding that... seems to me that maybe that's something where we should link to Wikiversity? --Singkong2005 (now known as Chriswaterguy) talk 21:57, 14 September 2006 (PDT)
I have a clarifying question regarding the distinction between "encyclopedic content" (which should be done at Wikipedia) and "textbook style content", which presumably belongs at Wikibooks. If Wikibooks is indeed part of the picture, I think it would be great to support a wikibook or three, but am also concerned that, in the short term, such a project would dilute the resources going toward Appropedia. Is there a short term option to capture (and somehow tag for identification) textbook (but not encyclopedic) content within Appropedia? This content would subsequently be moved to the appropriate textbook at Wikibooks when there is some critical mass of content? My opinion would flip if the appropriate target textbook already exists at Wikibooks...and I haven't looked yet. Curtbeckmann 06:30, 12 September 2006 (PDT)
Nothing happening on this front yet, I think - no such material here yet, and we haven't thought about tags. I'm happy to support Wikibooks (and do edit there sometimes) but perhaps the best approach is to keep developing Appropedia, and the relevant Wikipedia articles, and at a later stage that material can be adapted for a Wikibook.
Although, on second thoughts... arguably we should at least start some books on Wikibooks, to whet people's appetite, to create some links between the wikis (ie Appropedia, Wikipedia & Wikibooks), and to give a starting point to other people on Wikibooks who feel inspired to do something with it.
A quick search on Wikibooks found very little... if a wikibook is just a skeleton, probably the main value is to try and contact the person who initially showed enthusiasm, and let them know what's happening here. Here's the most relevant ones I found:
Slightly related:
--Singkong2005 (now known as Chriswaterguy) talk 21:57, 14 September 2006 (PDT)

(end of content moved from Village Pump)

If we mean it, we should say it[edit source]

The endorsement (solution of the month) at EWB International had the following text:

It allows things which are not suitable for Wikipedia, e.g. original research, personal/organizational pages for collaboration, project write-ups, how-to's and common working pages for relevant grants, events, calls for assistance, offerings of assistance, etc.

I like it. We'll have to say similar on the main page, or wherever we articulate what content is welcome. I just want to clarify what we mean by "calls for" and "offerings of" assistance. Is this related to calls/offers about assistance in developing article content? Or calls for assistance from community organizations in 3rd world areas, and offerings from volunteer groups? The first area is clearly welcome. The second area makes Appropedia a kind of clearinghouse. Now, as it happens, I would heartily endorse that. But I want to be sure we're in agreement, and if we are, we'll have to develop some pages and language to support that.

I agree about putting something on the main page. Re the specific wording, I think that form of words is quite acceptable, though I'm also open to a rewording, if someone has an idea of how to improve it.
I don't mind the clearinghouse approach at all. The best way for a wiki, IMO, is to have as few restrictions as possible, and work out guidelines as we go. --Singkong2005 (now known as Chriswaterguy) talk 06:54, 8 October 2006 (PDT)

Modify Highlighted project template?[edit source]

I changed the way {{Highlighted project}} was being called to this:

{| class="wikitable"
 | width:8px |
 | {{Template:Highlighted project}}

in order to provide a better text margin to the left. My question is, should this modification be made directly in the template? Or should the template leave the option of 'no margin' in order to support other uses? --Curtbeckmann 14:34, 7 October 2006 (PDT)

This modification should be made in the template. Thank you, --Lonny 02:49, 8 October 2006 (PDT)
Okay, will do shortly. --Curtbeckmann 06:26, 8 October 2006 (PDT)

Looking good[edit source]

Quick impression: Main Page tests is currently looking very good. I think we could update the Main Page soon, and then continue on with experiments here. (Alternatively, if no major changes are planned, we could go back to just editing the main page directly.) --Singkong2005 (now known as Chriswaterguy) talk 06:59, 8 October 2006 (PDT)

Main Page test ready for showtime[edit source]

I, too, think that aesthetically this is ready for the main page. Here are a few things that I would like to change today (tomorrow at the latest), before that premotion:

  • Change some of the text to be less wordy about what we are, and more focused on quick calls-to-action.
    • I attempted this. See what you think. --Curtbeckmann 07:06, 9 October 2006 (PDT)
  • Add a few links such as AT definitions and search box.
  • Consider more indepth, making main areas categories singular, e.g. Category:Projects instead of Category:Projects. Any thoughts?
  • Update Category:Collaborative pages to Category:Coordination
    • Gee, somehow just having "coordination" as singular works great. Perhaps this is among the reasons why you have been recommending the singular for category labels. Mostly I think the singular/plural discussion is a bit arbitrary, but nevertheless important. If there are reasons for singular, then let's go for it and make the changes. --Curtbeckmann 18:50, 8 October 2006 (PDT)
      • Shall I charge off down the path toward singular category pages? I'll do that next time I log in I don't hear anything. (Don't want to waste boldness just to be reverted.) --Curtbeckmann 17:25, 9 October 2006 (PDT)
Yes. You work on the links and I will work on moving the page, while keeping its history and talk content. Thank you --Lonny 18:11, 9 October 2006 (PDT)
  • Add Category:Topics to the topic categories.
  • Make sure that all the categories (areas) we want listed on the front page, are currently listed.
  • Change the description of the categories (areas) to be more inviting, e.g. remove the parts about the focus areas.
  • Augment Suggestions for Topics and Projects a suggestion to consider culutural, social and political context.
    • Why do we have this section for Suggestions for Topics and projects, but not the same for our other areas?
      • The real reason is that it came along with some content from another site. But there may be other reasons why those areas need more guidance. Organizations seems pretty obvious; coordination would be hard to anticipate. How-tos seems like it might be open for suggestions. --Curtbeckmann 18:50, 8 October 2006 (PDT)
  • Place the {{Createnewpage}} (or equivalent) on all front page linked categories.
    • Does this set of edits need to by coordinated with the promotion of the test page to main page? Should the linked categories (areas) be modified prior to promotion or is after okay? I think it will take a little while to get the linked pages reformatted with the creation template, so making those changes prerequisite will delay promotion of the test page, but I don't see that as crushing. --Curtbeckmann 18:50, 8 October 2006 (PDT)
Your right, I think I was hoping to use the unveiling of a new front page as an impetus to get those pages to the next level. This is definitely not prerequisite. --Lonny 18:11, 9 October 2006 (PDT)
  • Any objections to changing back Main Categories to Main Areas, or Main MetaCategories, in order to differentiate between these and the many other Categories?
    • Here's what happened. I found that I kept typing "AT, int'l dev, sust'y" in each of the area descriptions. I decided to call that group "focus areas", and so I wanted a different noun for the categories. I don't have a particular objection to calling the categories "areas", but I need another noun for the "focus areas." Any proposals to replace "focus areas"? Focus subjects? --Curtbeckmann 18:50, 8 October 2006 (PDT)

Great job, Curt! --Lonny 09:34, 8 October 2006 (PDT)

Thanks! I'll scratch my head on these. Today would be best, tomorrow good, but I can't promise given my schedule. Please feel free to chip in; I don't feel it's my territory. --Curtbeckmann 16:39, 8 October 2006 (PDT)
Other than correcting the dead ends (Cat:topics, Cat:Coordination), I think it's ready to go, subject to a few tweaks that you may recommend. Let's recognize that we can make minor upgrades to the main page every couple of months, and no amount of polishing in advance will eliminate those upgrades. --Curtbeckmann 07:06, 9 October 2006 (PDT)
Recognized. Let's unveil this tonight and I will hopefully have more of the tweaks, such as copyrights, done by tomorrow night. --Lonny 18:11, 9 October 2006 (PDT)
  • This is funny. I didn't realise all this work had already been done to revamp the main page. Thinking nothing was happening, I couldn't help myself to give it go. At least as an effort to inspire everyone. Wish I saw this before I started. Maybe better late than never. Here are my two cents on a first draft:
User:GoodSignal/MainP2 (a slight variation.)

Added a "Requested Content" link to Main Page[edit source]

I think I may have seen a similar idea somewhere else, and will happily change the link if so. Also made reference to our Copyright page (does this exist?) and as I type this I notice a bright red "Project:Copyrights" link just below the edit window that we need to fix, and presumably that's the same link, so I'll go change the Main Page to be the same dead end :-). --Curtbeckmann 17:23, 9 October 2006 (PDT)

NOTE: I added Appropedia:Copyrights (not Projects:Copyrights), since that is the namespace that Wikipedia uses. Also, it seems like copyright will apply to more than just projects. If anyone thinks this was a bogus approach, act accordingly. --Curtbeckmann 19:41, 9 October 2006 (PDT)

I created placeholder pages for Topics, Coordination and Request in order to eliminate all the redlinks from the main page. The placeholders are good enough to avoid embarassment, and they will only be seen if someone clicks on the link. The redlinks are glaring to any visitor even without clicking, so I opted for this approach. --Curtbeckmann 21:19, 9 October 2006 (PDT)

Tell the robots to leave us alone! :--)[edit source]

Re "it should be kept blank so as not to duplicate the main page content (frowned on by search engines)."

I don't think this is a problem if we list it in the appropriate file, is it? I forget the name - robots.txt perhaps.--Chriswaterguy 20:27, 3 June 2008 (PDT)

Okay. It is done. Feel free to have a duplicate main page on Main Page tests. thank you, --Lonny 18:51, 10 June 2008 (PDT)

Main page navigation[edit source]

My current thoughts:

  • Make the front page a kind of portal. Wikia Green does this relatively well, though our categories would be a bit different, and I'd lay out the table a little differently. Appropedia:CategoryTree would provide a starting point.
  • Shrink the highlighted project (front page real estate is expensive)
  • Have a really clear mission and promise up top, with a picture of a puppy. Okay, not a puppy, but something inviting. One of our best pics from one of our best pages? E.g. Arcata Marsh
  • -Chriswaterguy 16:33, 19 November 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Suitable notices for front page[edit source]

The front page is looking better these days - good to see.

The notices placed at the top of this page, and in the "Site notice," can potentially get a lot of attention. In terms of what's effective and leads to action, I think that notices oriented around the needs of the user (but that still lead to action) might be more effective than those about the needs of Appropedia. So for example advertising for participation in the Appropedia:Initiatives has got no response from these noticese, AFAIK, but the notices about service learning got at least one new class so far. Small sample size, but worth exploring further.

So, I'm planning to put up notices about internships and volunteer positions - which offer people opportunities in their study, experience, for their C.V., and in recognition. For some people, having a structure for their participation will be appealing.

Any other ideas for notices that offer something to visitors? --Chriswaterguy 04:09, 4 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

How about highlighting Appropedia's gaps - giving one or two examples, and emphasizing that "you and people like you create Appropedia, when you share your knowledge. What can you share about topic X?" --Chriswaterguy 21:28, 11 January 2011 (PST)

I'd like some feeds - announcements from the blog http://blogs.appropedia.org/tag/announcements/feed/ and highlighted pages http://feeds.delicious.com/v2/rss/appropedia?count=15 . Will take some work to making them fit in nicely on the front page. Announcements can look like this: <rss title=off desc=off>http://blogs.appropedia.org/tag/announcements/feed/</rss>

Or this:

What's good on the front page?[edit source]

Work on this has stalled again :-). But I'm keen to make progress.

Activity feeds: I want to remove the simple new pages feed - I've shown someone Appropedia and seen them immediately navigate to a dodgy page. (I shuddered.) But we do need indications of activity. I think a regularly updated feed of highlighted pages is an ok compromise for now, and we can do that through our Delicious account. We don't have a more democratic way to do it now, but eventually with the right extensions we could do "popular recent pages," by filtering Special:NewestPages and displaying those with high ratings. (The other option is to have something curated on the wiki, which is more open than using Delicious... but it depends on community involvement and there just hasn't been enough on choosing highlighted pages.)

Another option, if we had a keen person or 2 to run it, is a separate "New pages" Delicious account. The operator would eyeball every page on the new pages feed, and if it doesn't have obvious problems, and it doesn't have tag saying "Class XYZ page, please don't edit yet" then it should be bookmarked. As for those that aren't bookmarked... the same process could be done for class pages when the "don't edit" tag expires. (Anything else would just fall through the gaps, but the main thing is that we'd catch most of the activity. This option is appealing, but only makes sense if we have someone interested in taking it up.

Specific ideas: My thoughts for what goes on the front page are...


  • What is Appropedia... and/or what Appropedia offers the reader. (The second one is much more important than the "what is Appropedia")
  • Opportunities, e.g.:
  • A way in to navigation... based on Appropedia:CategoryTree but simplified? (I also like category clouds, like a tag cloud, but haven't heard anyone else support that idea.)

Nice to have:

  • News feed (adds to the sense of activity). Announcements from blog will do it.
  • Headline announcements - as we have now.
  • Highlighted project (as we have now)
  • Highlighted user

Thoughts? I hope to do something on this during March 2011. --Chriswaterguy 01:44, 28 February 2011 (PST)

More ideas:

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