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- Appropedia:A history of collaboration
- Appropedia Foundation
- Appropedia:Policy (?)
Appropedia is a collaborative web site open to the community and focused on the core areas of sustainability, international development and poverty reduction. Appropedia was founded in April, 2006 as a personal effort by Lonny Grafman, an instructor at HSU. The name comes from the word “appropriate”, as in “appropriate technology”, but his philosophy was to broadly consider and include “appropriate ideas and solutions”, not just technology. The content, user base and traffic have grown exponentially since that time, and Appropedia delivered its 500,000th page in early April of 2007.
Mention history with reference
A key part of Appropedia’s growth has been the culture of collaboration that exists in the sustainability space. Appropedia represents, at last count, the convergence of seven independent wikis., most prominently, Village Earth’s ATwiki and the HowToLiveWiki, home of the Hexayurt Project. For the most part the founders of these collaborative sites have continued to be active at Appropedia. Two of them are founding board members, along with Lonny, of the recently incorporated nonprofit, The Appropedia Foundation.
Appropedia was established using MediaWiki software, the same software used by Wikipedia, the leading collaborative web site. Appropedia has naturally followed many of the conventions and policies of Wikipedia, such as publishing all content under the GNU FDL “copyleft” license. But there are key differences between the sites. In particular, Wikipedia focuses on all encyclopedic content, enforces a “Neutral Point of View” policy, and does not accept original content. Appropedia, by contrast, discourages encyclopedic content (except where it aids in the readability and understanding of articles), instead following a policy of referencing Wikipedia for such content. Appropedia’s policy on Point of View is to endorse sustainability, sustainable international development, and poverty reduction, and it supports a Multiple Point of View (MPOV) approach. Significantly, Appropedia encourages publication, with permission and under the GFDL, original content. These and other policies can be found at Appropedia:Policy
Challenge / vision / mission
Appropedia’s core team is motivated by awareness of the world’s challenges. Millions of people constantly face problems for which solutions exist but are hard to find. In other cases, near-solutions are available, but expertise is needed to adapt them appropriately. Often, many potential solutions are documented in scattered places, but there is not straightforward way to discern the best applicable solution. Many yet-to-be-solved global problems, especially those that are keenly felt in the developing world, are not being tackled effectively. Many people in the developing world are aware that their actions and lifestyles are having unintended negative consequences and would like to mitigate these.
Appropedia’s Vision is that many of the core challenges can be addressed by tens of thousands of interested parties around the world working together. As already demonstrated by Wikipedia, the Internet, together with the right software and policies, enables collaboration at new levels. Appropedia seeks to raise collaboration beyond information sharing to include problem solving and community learning, sharing solutions that were not widely available, and even finding new answers that may not have previously been recognized.
Appropedia’s Mission is to create a centralized clearinghouse for information and problem solving in the core areas of sustainability, international development and poverty reduction. Included in that mission are the following:
- connecting with interested people, organizations and inviting them to the site
- seeking out sources of relevant information, and working to gather that information at the site
- developing policies to address the challenges of working with original information and research
- continually seek ways of enhancing capabilities and approach to best meet the community needs
- working with partner organizations to support each others work and avoid duplicated effort
- 1. Chris’ wiki ( ), 2. WinWinWiki, 3. WikiGreen, 4. Village Earth’s A.T.wiki, 5. HowToLiveWiki, 6. sgoals.net, and 7. Appropedia itself.
- Chris Watkins of his wiki and Curt Beckmann of WinWinWiki