This page contains notes about some things I have done, am doing, or might like to do on Appropedia. Initially my focus is on adding features to the site.[1] Later I would like to focus on content more than the wiki-techno stuff. But "later" might be a long time, because there is so much wiki-techno stuff.[2]

This page is mostly a scratchpad for my own use, so some things here at some times might not make sense to other people. Since the view counter suggests quite a few people are viewing this page, I'm trying to document what I'm doing so anyone else[3] can understand it. It you have any questions, corrections, comments, or requests for assistance please leave them on the talk page for this page, or on my user talk page.

Since April 4, 2011, I'm an administrator on Appropedia (verify). This section is for notes about things I do on Appropedia as an administrator.

Pages to check regularly:

### Spam fighting

14:26, 6 April 2011 (PDT): Appropedia has been getting a steady stream of (automated?) spam attacks. Each day, someone or something creates several new accounts, and each new account typically creates a nonsense page. The nonsense pages follow a consistent pattern. The point of the nonsense seems to be injecting external links, presumably to spam sites. I haven't really checked yet.

Wikipedia usually has the best technology and organization to address seemingly every wiki-related problem. Spam fighting is no exception. To-do: read the pages linked from:

Presumably, whatever spam attack someone tries against Appropedia, they or someone else probably already tried against Wikipedia, and Wikipedia's technically proficient users have probably devised a countermeasure. Wikipedia (especially the English Wikipedia) is the largest and most attractive target for spammers, because it is the most-viewed wiki, and Wikipedia articles tend to have very high PageRankW in Google search results. Wikipedia is also (probably) the best-defended wiki, which means spammers probably attack other less-viewed wikis after failing to make durable edits on Wikipedia.

Look for other discussion about our spam problem:

14:16, 7 April 2011 (PDT): look at MediaWiki:Spam-blacklist. Perhaps I can add patterns to block the URLs that the spambot is injecting. The deletion log reveals a common pattern. Spambot pages display external links with the form:

1. A domain name, usually different for every spam page, but always ending in .com for the examples I saw.
2. The string: .com/forum/index.php?topic=
3. An argument for the topic= parameter, always or usually consisting of a long alphanumeric string, e.g. k9oMjE3fHwxMzAxNTIxNzY3fHwxOTUyfHwoRU5HSU5FKSBNZWRpYV...

The pattern looks consistent enough to block with a regular expression in MediaWiki:Spam-blacklist. The extension appears to use Perl Compatible Regular Expressions (PCRE) syntax. I will have to test the effect of adding a regular expression to the blacklist, by attempting to add a sample of the spambot's URLs to a test page. I'll mention this on Appropedia:Village pump#Blacklisting the spam.

Try using Special:LinkSearch to see if we have any more of these URLs floating around on Appropedia. Look at wikipedia:MediaWiki:Spam-blacklist

22:26, 7 April 2011 (PDT): I'm sure that anyone who spams Appropedia has probably spammed lots of other wikis. Thus we can imagine that every spamming attack that we see on Appropedia has also been seen by the administrators of other wikis. Maybe there is a central clearinghouse where wiki administrators can compare notes on how they defeat the various spamming attacks. Look at: mw:Extension:SpamBlacklist.

13:31, 16 April 2011 (PDT): an alternative is to use MediaWiki:Titleblacklist. Probably it would be enough (for now) to block creation of any page with the string "Jobs" in the title. A search on Appropedia for "Jobs" finds only Jobs as a redirect to Employment. Few legitimate Appropedia users would ever seem to need to make a page title containing the word "Jobs". Thus it might be safe to blacklist. I will test this later when I have some time to observe the results. I need to figure out:

• What the user sees when trying to create a page with a blacklisted title pattern.
• Whether log entries show the number of such events.

Appropedia's ordinary users might not understand what is going on when they run afoul of a blacklisted pattern. I'd like to guard against creating unnecessary confusion.

10:13, 17 April 2011 (PDT): the spammer(s) have started using different page titles again, but the common element remains the URL pattern. Since all those URL patterns are similar, there might be a particular forum software package that the spammer targets, to put up the spam payload before going around to hit vulnerable wikis with links to it. Figure out the PCRE pattern that will block these links. Steps:

1. Describe in words each component of the pattern.
2. Determine the corresponding PCRE syntax.
3. Add it to MediaWiki:Spam-blacklist.
4. Test the new blacklist entry by trying to save an offending URL on a sandbox page.
5. Verify that the human user whose legitimate URL gets rejected gets a coherent error message that explains what to do (namely, ask an administrator to add the URL to MediaWiki:Spam-whitelist).

10:33, 23 April 2011 (PDT): see further discussion at Appropedia:Village pump#Blacklisting the spam. Chriswaterguy implemented my suggestions, and his efforts seem to have stopped the creation of more spam pages like the recent batch. However, the spambot seems to be continuing to create new user accounts. See Special:Log. Make notes about the changes:

.*\.com\/forum\/index\.php\?topic=[a-z0-9]{50,}#TEMPORARY MEASURE AGAINST SPAM ATTACKS OF APRIL 2011. Remove when fundamental security problems are resolved, in case legitimate links fit this pattern.

.*Jobs.* <autoconfirmed|casesensitive> # autoconfirmed: only autoconfirmed users are able to create such pages; casesensitive: don't ignore case when checking title for being blacklisted (spammers have specifically been creating "Jobs" pages with capital J).


This is a place to list any requests I get from other users, which require administrator privileges to complete.

#### Pending requests

None at the moment.

#### Completed requests

These are administrative requests I made before I became an administrator.

Thanks! Done!

## To-do

This section is a summary list of things to do elsewhere on this page, so I can keep track.

• #Index - document my method for using regular expression search and replace with sedW to convert a list of page names from a category from the Special:Export page into the wikitext format for an index page.
• Figure out what to do about Appropedia's naming convention. When I index a page that violates the naming convention, I am propagating the violation (therefore teaching people by example not to follow the convention). In an ideal world I would rather not do that. But to avoid this problem I would have to enforce the naming convention by renamingW the page before indexing it. That's not a problem on Wikipedia, where users correct naming convention violations on sight, and there is no argument. But on Appropedia, the de facto naming convention seems to be rather weak. I'd rather seek consensus to follow the naming convention before I play the enforcer.
• #Shortcuts - make a shortcut for this page, (Done!) and section shortcuts for every section I might link from an edit summary.W Update {{Shortcut}} to conform to the latest Wikipedia version, so it does not require double square brackets around its arguments. Update all transclusionsW of the template to the new syntax. Create several help pages that are missing on Appropedia, and shortcuts to link to them (see #Shortcuts to add).

## Index

I contributed to these index pages:

Indexing a site is an effective (if laborious) way to learn what is on a site. Plus it makes one of the handiest ways to look stuff up. The Editor's index pages on Wikipedia and Commons are useful tools for answering questions on the Help desks of the respective sites, as well as for general reference when editing pages or uploading files. Since Appropedia is not very large (yet), a single index might contain links to article content as well as project pages and help pages. Wikipedia is too large for an index of this type to cover all the articles, so the Editor's index only covers the internal help pages and project pages of interest to editors, as well as links to external tools. Perhaps the nicest feature of the index is that it groups related pages together, and we can assign shortcut links to particular entries. In this way one can direct another user to all the pages that document a specific feature with one compact link, for example:

I've noticed that Appropedia has some pages with similar titles and overlapping content that do not always link to each other. An analytical index would group all the similar pages together, like categories do, but I like having everything on one page so I can use Ctrl-F search. An index page can include annotations on its entries, unlike category pages which only list titles. Sometimes a page title is not descriptive enough. Annotations also add keywords and synonyms to make a fatter search targets.

### Index of Appropedia

22:43, 9 January 2011 (PST): I finally got around to starting an Index of Appropedia on my personal offline wiki (see mw:Manual:Wiki on a stick for the method I use to run it), on which I have installed all the templates, style classes, and other gizmos I need. Once I have implemented those gizmos on Appropedia, I'll copy the index here.

#### Dependencies

13:27, 10 January 2011 (PST): list the depencies of the Index of Appropedia as I am currently editing it offline. These are additional pages I will need to port to Appropedia along with the Index, to make it work here.

##### Templates for Index pages

13:27, 10 January 2011 (PST): See also the larger #Templates section below. These are templates I'm using in my prototype index page (my habit is to remain true to the Wikipedia versions as far as possible):

I also have a Help:Index pages page to document the formatting and philosophy of index pages. It has content similar to:

If a site may have more than one index page (and we might), it is more efficient to abstract the common documentation to a separate help page, and use the /About subpage of each index page to document any specific instructions. (For example, to describe what belongs on that index page.) The Help page also uses templates, some in common with the Index page, and these additional:

12:37, 10 February 2011 (PST): almost all the above links that were red links finally turned blue, i.e. we finally have (I think) all the template dependencies necessary to make high-quality index pages on Appropedia. So I can start on that next. Indexing Appropedia will probably take me about a month of calendar time.

#### Naming convention

20:14, 3 March 2011 (PST): Appropedia users do not consistently follow Appropedia's naming convention, which is basically the same as Wikipedia's naming convention. See:

General references:

Advantages for using "sentence case" instead of "title case" in English-language house styles include:

• Sentence case preserves information about proper nouns (e.g., "A nice woman" vs "A Nice woman").
• Sentence case avoids complicated additional rules in style guides regarding which exact form of title case is desired.
• Title case can cause confusion with case-sensitive scientific notation, such as
• variables (n-ary, N-ary, or N-Ary vectors?),
• unit symbols (“Precision Voltage Measurements Up To 30 MV” – millivolt or megavolt?).
• While it is relatively easy for computers to convert sentence case into some forms of title case, the converse is extremely difficult, as it would (at least) require an algorithm for recognizing proper nouns. This has made sentence case preferable for bibliographic databases. (BibTeX is a prominent counter-example of software that tries to automatically convert title case into sentence case, but satisfactory results require substantial manual intervention.)

An advantage of "title case" can be that, with this convention, each title or heading is already capitalized like a proper noun and therefore easily usable and recognizable as the name of a publication or section, although this works only well for short titles. When quoting sentence-case titles, some form of delimiters or emphasis (e.g., quotation marks, italics, hyperlink) may have to be added to achieve the same effect.

The inconsistent naming on Appropedia puts me in an uncomfortable position - as I add page titles to the index, I have to match their existing letter case to make the links work. That means the index will propagate their departures from the naming convention. Which could seem as if I am endorsing the departures.

On Wikipedia, this is never an issue. When a page title or section heading deviates from Wikipedia's style, any editor can boldly change it on sight, knowing that all the other experienced editors will support the change. New users quickly learn to follow the convention this way, and that eliminates one more thing to be uncertain about.

On Appropedia, it is less clear whether I should change hundreds of page names as I index them, or just propagate the deviations from the weak standard. This is an example of how weak rules on a wiki impede collaboration and synergy. Having different rules from Wikipedia creates uncertainty for people who learned to edit there.

On Wikipedia, the rules are mostly so well-established that one rarely needs to think about the reasons for them. All those debates played out years ago and are buried somewhere in archived talk pages. Going to a small wiki is like starting over - the rules one takes for granted on Wikipedia are suddenly up for grabs again. Try to find the original justifications for Wikipedia's house style on capitalization.

Digging farther into the past:

Apparently the naming convention on Wikipedia was settled early on. That might make it hard to find the original debate on the convention, if there is any. Maybe the only justifications are:

• Any consistent style is better than letting everybody do whatever.
• Sentence case for titles makes them easier to link when they appear in sentences, since you could type a title as you would type the same sequence of words in a sentence, and not have to link to a title in a different title case.

Going forward, a reasonable strategy would be to start a discussion on Appropedia:Village pump about making Appropedia's naming convention stronger. The discussion should include high-volume Appropedia contributors, those who follow and don't follow the naming convention. If the prolific contributors reach consensus to have a strong naming convention, then we can enforce it by moving (renaming) pages currently in violation, and editing section headings that are in violation. The chances of hard feelings or edit wars will be less if the most active contributors reach consensus first. When applying the convention on an existing article, we can link to a shortcut such as A:LOWERCASE from the edit summaryW that will link to the statement of Appropedia's convention.

### Other index pages

#### Separate index pages for Appropedia content and editing help

17:00, 10 January 2011 (PST): initially I'm editing a combined index of Appropedia content (articles, portals) and internal pages (in the Appropedia: and Help: namespaces, and some of their talk pages). People who only read Appropedia would be primarily interested in the article content, and would likely be uninterested in the internal pages. People who both read and edit Appropedia would be interested in both.

Readers typically outnumber editors on a wiki by 100 to 1000 times. Including internal content in an index of Appropedia along with article content would introduce material that would likely be uninteresting (and possibly confusing) to most users of the index. However, initially I won't worry about that, as the number of internal pages on Appropedia is not very large. On larger wikis (such as the English Wikipedia) there are thousands of internal pages, easily enough to justify an index just for them.W Perhaps in the future as Appropedia grows, the editing community might decide to split the index into separate index pages for readers and editors.

16:57, 8 February 2011 (PST): I'm still wavering on whether to split the index into separate pages for readers and editors. A combined index will contain lots of self-referencesW mixed in with article content. On Wikipedia they frown on such mixing. On Appropedia maybe we aren't as worried about self-references because we might like to encourage most readers to become editors. Even though a wiki is never "finished", one might argue that Wikipedia is closer to maxing out its remit, if we can judge from the astounding throughput of its Articles for deletion. Wikipedia's growth has been slowing over the last several years, while the barrier to new article creation seemingly continues to rise, suggesting Wikipedia is getting closer to having all the articles it could potentially have in light of its self-imposed limitations on content.W

Appropedia seems to be relatively farther from having all the content it could potentially have. For example, it seems only a small fraction of people doing sustainability-related things in the world are writing about their work here yet.[6]

#### Index pages for external content

##### Index of sustainability articles on Wikipedia

16:57, 8 February 2011 (PST): How about writing an index (on Appropedia) of sustainability articles on Wikipedia?

People who have interests in sustainability and appropriate technology (AT) want to find and share information. Some of this information falls within Wikipedia's remit, being both sufficiently notable (by Wikipedia's definition) and encyclopedic.W Appropedia's mission has been to focus on the complementary subset of sustainability and AT information which falls outside Wikipedia's remit: procedural (how-to) knowledge,W original work,W and topics with less notability and/or little or no coverage in reliable, published secondary sources.W See:

Not having all possible encyclopedic content about sustainability and AT on Appropedia creates some problems:

• We have a lot of jargon terms with no local pages to define them, so we have to link to Wikipedia a lot.
• Wikipedia can be an inefficient or even unpleasant venue for writing about some topics relevant to Appropedia, for example the climate change articles on Wikipedia have seen extensive editing disputes there, pitting scientific editors against climate change disinformers who know how to game the system.W Wikipedia's civilityW policy, for example, enables the factually incorrect side to "win" against the factually correct side, if they can goad someone to say something impolite. (At risk of oversimplification, this played a role in the sanctioning of William ConnolleyW for example.[7]) Similar disputes have played out on Wikipedia between creationists and evolutionists (i.e., scientists), but in that case enough Wikipedia editors understood the science to more or less drive the creationists off to their own wikis such as CreationWiki and Conservapedia. Fewer Wikipedia editors understand climate science, and more are confused by climate change disinformers as of 2011.
• By not mirroring or forking as much Wikipedia content as we can, we (maybe) make Appropedia somewhat less inviting to Wikipedia editors who share our interests, because there is less on Appropedia which would immediately look familiar to them.
• Sustainability is an enormous topic. Getting a summary view of it can be difficult. Having an index here of Wikipedia's extensive coverage on sustainability topics might make it easier to find gaps in Appropedia's coverage.
• Encyclopedic articles are inherently more collaborative than non-encyclopedic articles. That's because encyclopedic articles merely re-factor previously published content, so anybody who can read can edit them. Non-encyclopedic content (such as: original work; advocacy articles that take a particular point of view;W and less notable topics known to few people) is probably editable by fewer people. For example, an unpublished appropriate technology project can only be written about by the people who have firsthand knowledge of it. The result is, possibly, that people who never edit encyclopedic content will take longer to learn how to collaborate productively with large numbers of distant strangers, which is what wikis are ideally all about.

Anyway, despite the occasional difficulties of building content on Wikipedia, a lot of useful encyclopedic content is there. It would be interesting to index all of Wikipedia's content relating to sustainability and AT, using an index page on Appropedia. Why on Appropedia? Because:

• Such an index would be useful to Appropedia readers and editors.
• Writing any sort of page on Wikipedia subjects one to the whims of other Wikipedia editors, some of whom may be at best indifferent to the aims of Appropedia.
• Wikipedia does have a lot of topic index pages,W but the style they use is simpler and (I believe) less effective than the style of the Editor's index to WikipediaW which we are free to duplicate on Appropedia. Deviating from an established style on Wikipedia, even in the direction of improvement, requires spending time to persuade other editors who do not share our interests. Convincing them would be easier if we have our own deletion-proof page on Appropedia to use as a working demo.
• If we write the index page first on Appropedia, and later someone forks it to Wikipedia, the Wikipedia copy will need to contain an attribution template linking back to Appropedia (to comply with the source attribution requirements of the {{CC-by-sa-3.0}} license). This would potentially inform more Wikipedia editors and readers about Appropedia.

## Categories

### Uncategorized pages and categories

21:42, 13 January 2011 (PST): Categorize all the uncategorized pages and categories:

This should familiarize me with the category structure of Appropedia. Some of the uncategorized pages are stubs, unwiki, possible test pages by new editors, or spammed. Apply the templates: {{Stub}}, {{Wikify}}, and/or {{Delete}} as pages warrant. If no suitable category exists, use {{catneeded}}.

### Categories I created

17:42, 16 January 2011 (PST): when I create new categories,W list them here. In some cases, when Appropedia needs a new category, it also needs one or more new parent categories to connect the new category to the existing category tree. My philosophy is to follow Wikipedia's category scheme where applicable, often with simplifications. Usually Wikipedia has more finely-divided categories than Appropedia needs, due to Wikipedia's much larger size. Small text indicates each existing Appropedia category I subcategorized under.

### Categories for users

20:58, 20 January 2011 (PST): examine and inventory Appropedia's categories for users. I see:

It could use some more subcategories. The existing subcategories do not follow a consistent naming scheme, but I won't worry about that, as moving categories can be a nightmare without a bot to do the grunt work of updating all the pages in renamed categories.

• Category:Helpers - is uncategorized at the moment. I should try to find all the user categories, and put them into a proper hierarchy so users can find the categories applicable to them.

### Categories for images

15:18, 26 January 2011 (PST): Appropedia does not seem to have a comprehensive category structure for images (more generally: files), or if it exists I have not found it yet. I think there should be a fundamental category for images. There are many uncategorized images, including my several image uploads (since I was not aware of suitable categories for them). I see these categories for some of Appropedia's images:

Search for more:

16:46, 1 February 2011 (PST): Special:Statistics says Appropedia has 12,600 uploaded files. Category talk:Useful images has some early (2006) discussion about the need for image categories. It seems very little happened as a result, given that hardly any image categories exist. Category:Fundamental does not list an image category, although Category:Useful files is a subcategory of Category:User resources which does appear in Category:Fundamental. I think with more than 12,000 images we can justify a Category:Images as a fundamental category. I'll ask on Appropedia:Village pump since little seems to have occurred since the discussion in 2006.

22:24, 1 February 2011 (PST): as indicated by the red links that turned blue, I created Category:Images.

## Shortcuts

12:12, 15 January 2011 (PST): inventory the shortcuts on Appropedia:

See whether we have lists and categories to keep track of them. Compare to:

See whether any other pages need shortcuts and do not yet have them. Well, actually the set of pages that need shortcuts would be most if not all Help: and Project: (Appropedia:) pages that have durable reference value. So, look for all of those pages that do not already have shortcuts.

I am interested in shortcuts because they are essential for communicating rapidly and effectively on a wiki (on talk pagesW and in edit summariesW). See for example the answers to questions on Wikipedia's Help desk.W Questions there are repetitive, and respondents are able to answer many of them in part with shortcut links. When a relevant help page, guideline, or policy page exists, linking to it is much better than paraphrasing extemporaneously, both to save labor, and to avoid error. Wiki users can collaboratively edit their internal documentation pages to present the clearest and most definitive statements of each rule. Re-writing such rules on the fly each time a situation comes up will often produce inferior results. If someone can state a principle better than the documentation states it, they should improve the documentation. Always referring to the documentation enables the "ratcheting" property of a wiki, helping to insure that improvements accumulate and continuously "ratchet" the wiki forward. Ignoring the documentation and winging it un-ratchets the wiki backwards, as few people can improvise on the same level as the best current practice.

Make this template to categorize shortcuts on Appropedia:

and more that I'm not listing here, particularly all-uppercase versions of existing lowercase shortcuts.

12:12, 18 January 2011 (PST): I added a list of shortcuts to the already existing Appropedia:Shortcuts guideline page. To-do next:

1. Add all the remaining shortcuts that I can find to the list. Done!
2. For each page that has at least one shortcut in lowercase or mixed case, make sure at least one all-uppercase shortcut links to the page. It would be nice to standardize everyone's thinking on all-uppercase shortcut names (to distinguish them from ordinary page names, and to make them more readable when they appear in the small font that the {{Shortcut}} template uses). Done!
3. For each page linked from a shortcut, make sure the {{Shortcut}} template appears on the page.
4. Add the {{R from shortcut}} template to each shortcut page. Done!
5. Subdivide the list of shortcuts by type (as in the list here: Commons:Commons:Shortcuts). Done!

16:41, 18 January 2011 (PST): I'm almost finished with my first pass through the existing shortcuts. I just have to look at the rest of the backlinks from {{Shortcut}} to find other shortcuts with nonstandard formats.

23:13, 18 January 2011 (PST): while doing that, I came across Appropedia:Gnome tasks#Shortcuts for Appropedia namespace pages which mentions some of the things I just did.

23:16, 18 January 2011 (PST): after I finish inventorying all the existing shortcuts, the next logical step would be to create a shortcut for every page in the Project: and Help: namespaces that has substantial content, and no shortcut to it already.

00:28, 19 February 2011 (PST): find out the status on User:Chriswaterguy's task of repairing all the shortcuts he broke by enabling A: as an alias to Appropedia: (the Project: namespace). See: User talk:Chriswaterguy#Red links.

14:21, 9 March 2011 (PST): another problem - the {{Shortcut}} template here is a copy of an old (2006) version of wikipedia:Template:Shortcut. The old version requires you to put double square brackets around shortcut links; the new version on Wikipedia requires you not to. I'd like to update {{Shortcut}} to follow the new style, but that will require updating all transclusions of it on Appropedia. That will be tedious, but no worse than many other gnome tasks I have done or will do.

16:28, 5 April 2011 (PDT): create the documentation subpage first: Template:Shortcut/doc. Then go through the transclusionsW in Special:WhatLinksHere/Template:Shortcut and remove the now-unnecessary double square brackets from all existing instances of {{Shortcut}}.

### Shortcuts to add

01:15, 4 April 2011 (PDT): when I edit on Appropedia, I like to add shortcut links in my edit summaries to help pages that explain aspects of what I did. I do this routinely on Wikipedia. Edit a list of the most common style violations I correct on Wikipedia and the shortcuts to cite when correcting them. It would be nice to have corresponding shortcuts on Appropedia. Initially they could even target a page that just summarizes and links to the corresponding Wikipedia manual pages, before we write proper manual pages for them on Appropedia. Make a list of the shortcuts I routinely use on Wikipedia, but aren't here yet.

• WP:LOWERCASE, WP:MOSHEAD, WP:CAPS - links to sections describing Wikipedia's naming convention as it involves capitalization (of article titles and section headings).
• WP:REFPUNCT - how to arrange footnote references with sentence punctuation.
• WP:LAYOUT - Wikipedia's guide to article layout.
• WP:LEAD - the lead section of an article: what it is, and how to write it.
• WP:LINK - documents the various kinds of links on a MediaWiki wiki.
• WP:WIKIFY - links to a WikiProject page that defines the basic process of wikifying (see: wikipedia:Wikipedia:Glossary#Wikify). To "wikify" an article means to edit it so it looks as if it was written by someone who read the friendly manuals.
• WP:TRANSCLUDE - defines the verb "transclude" which is one way to display a template.
• WP:SUBST - defines another way to display a template.

In general, when editor A writes something on a wiki, and editor B comes along later and edits it to conform to the wiki's guidelines or policies, editor A was probably not aware of whatever guideline or policy he or she unknowingly violated. This can make editor B's edit hard for editor A to figure out. Leaving an edit summary that links to the manual page that explains the edit is therefore an important way for editor B help editor A self-educate.[8]

## Wrapper pages

21:35, 16 July 2011 (PDT): Quick definition: a wrapper page is a page on Appropedia combining the features of:

• A dictionary definition - the page briefly defines its topic, and possibly its relevance to Appropedia
• A soft redirect - the page links to one or more detailed pages elsewhere (such as Wikipedia)
• A stub - Appropedia users may choose to expand the page into a real article in the future, but this is not the original intent of the person who creates the wrapper page

See User talk:Chriswaterguy#Porting articles from Wikipedia for some discussion of the problems that wrapper pages might address, and User talk:Chriswaterguy#Whether and how to distinguish wrapper pages from soft redirects for discussion about that.

Appropedia has a problem with red links,W namely that we have a lot of them (which further implies that Appropedia is still early in its development, that is we have only done a small fraction of the editing we would need to do to adequately cover our chosen subject area). Special:WantedPages shows thousands of page titles that appear as red links on Appropedia. Many of these red links are to page titles that exist on Wikipedia but not here. For example there are thousands of topics from science, engineering, geography, and other topics that underlie sustainability and appropriate technology, but are not directly part of them. We are unlikely, for example, to write articles defining all units of measurement that articles on other topics might mention. On Wikipedia, one of the most valuable features is the enormous number of general knowledge topics that have articles. Thus you can write about almost anything, and put useful links on most of the jargon terms in the article. On Appropedia we end up with lots of red links if we do that, pointing to articles that may never exist here. The Appropedia community is not large enough to write a general knowledge encyclopedia that duplicates as much of Wikipedia's coverage as our primary topics rest upon.

The purpose of a red link on a wiki is to encourage other users to create articles. But many of the red linked topics might never have articles on Appropedia because they aren't topics that many Appropedia editors would be interested in writing about.

There are several options, each with pros and cons:

• Just leave red links languishing forever. That's what we seem to be doing by default.
• Pros: no labor cost.
• Cons: vast numbers of red links are ugly and demotivating to prospective editors. They indicate a wiki that is neglected. People want to edit on a thriving wiki, not a wiki where they have to do everything by themselves.
• Remove the red links and let people look topics up on their own.
• Pros: low labor cost.
• Cons: if a term is important and unfamiliar enough to cause many people to look it up, someone will undoubtedly try to link it again. That's the point of a wiki, to have links on anything that isn't immediately understandable from context.
• Replace the red links with interwiki links to Wikipedia articles.
• Pros: low labor cost, particularly if we do what most other non-Wikipedia wikis do and implement a compact w: interwiki link prefix to Wikipedia (instead of the more verbose wikipedia: prefix we have now).
• Cons: send people to Wikipedia, and maybe they don't come back. Plus we lose any control over presentation. The Wikipedia article on a topic might not have the structure most suitable for people who approach that topic from the standpoint of sustainability or appropriate technology.
• Create articles quickly by copying their content from Wikipedia.
• Pros: has the potential to give us some high quality content for much less labor than writing it from scratch ourselves.
• Cons:
• Copying slabs of text verbatim from Wikipedia causes Google to reduce our PageRank. (I'm not sure what the exact impacts would be - it sounds bad, but how bad is it?)
• Even though porting articles from Wikipedia is easier than writing from scratch, porting can still be a lot of work. A Wikipedia article may contain dozens of links to other articles on Wikipedia that we don't have, so by fixing one red link we might introduce dozens more. Wikipedia articles may use templates we don't have, belong to categories we don't have, etc. Little by little we could end up having to port all of Wikipedia here, since it is all internally connected.
• A Wikipedia article may contain much more information about a topic than is really relevant to Appropedia, and figuring out how to edit it down imposes more work.
• Create wrapper pages on Appropedia.
• Pros: fairly low labor cost. Might not damage our PageRank. Allows for future expansion into real articles if someone gets motivated. Provides a quick local definition of a jargon term, with a link to the corresponding Wikipedia article for users who need more information.
• Cons: labor cost is not zero. We need to create thousands of wrapper pages for all our red links that correspond to articles on Wikipedia. This might take five to ten minutes for each one, once someone knows what to do.

To-do: make the pages:

23:24, 18 July 2011 (PDT): differences between wrapper pages, stubs, and soft redirects:

• A stub is a short article in need of expansion. A user creates a stub specifically to solicit contributions from other editors.
• A soft redirect is a short article that links to information about its topic on an external site. The original intent of the person who creates a soft redirect is that Appropedia will never have an article about that topic, as it is unsuitable for inclusion here. Thus it is not a request for contributions from other editors.

A wrapper page falls somewhere between a stub and a soft redirect. It is on a topic that might be suitable for inclusion in Appropedia as a real article, or as a project or help page, but is likely to be on a generic topic or foundational topic that is already well-covered on a site like Wikipedia. Thus to create a real article on the topic here might be a waste of resources that could be better spent writing about topics that other sites ignore or exclude. For example, on Appropedia we might write whole articles about particular applications of a generic technology, such as the compost or gray water scheme of a particular site. These particular applications might be insufficiently notable for Wikipedia, which might have generic articles about composting and gray water. Those probably are not the best examples because we already have real articles for them.

## Articles that probably should be Help: or Project: pages

16:37, 18 January 2011 (PST): while roaming around Appropedia, I'm finding some pages that are (probably) not in the most appropriate namespace. I'll try to get a ruling on whether to move these.

17:01, 24 January 2011 (PST): Chriswaterguy approves of moving these to the Appropedia: namespace. I'll move them sometime after he restores the shortcuts having A: prefixes that turned into red links.

## Templates

21:38, 9 January 2011 (PST): import some templatesW from Wikipedia. Some of these are necessary for the Index, while others are just too cool to live without. Some templates are necessary to simplify porting article content from Wikipedia (for example, when an article uses Wikipedia's popular citation templates,W navigation templates,W etc.). It's hard for users to port articles from Wikipedia when the result is a mess of red linksW that can't easily be fixed without some complex template importing.

Even though I am only importing a small subset of Wikipedia's vast template collection, this is still a complicated task. Just one more reason why Making a successful new wiki is hard.

### Wanted templates

00:21, 28 January 2011 (PST): who needs horror films when you can browse through:

Appropedia users have copied-and-pasted a lot of pages from other wikis (especially from Wikipedia) which were using templates on their original wikis. Templates that are not here. Every time you make a red link, God kills a kitten.

### Template documentation templates

Done!

21:38, 9 January 2011 (PST): Some time after the founding of Appropedia, Wikipedia largely adopted a new style for documenting templates on /doc subpages.W Porting the necessary components to Appropedia would simplify porting other templates from Wikipedia. There are advantages to documenting templates on subpages:

• The documentation wikitext is easier to distinguish from the template code.
• The page historiesW are separate, making it easier to tell when someone is editing the actual template or just the documentation.
• Template transclusionW might be slightly faster, since the MediaWiki parser does not have to read through the documentation every time.

The templates are:

The backlinks to the above templates show some earlier attempts by other users to port templates from Wikipedia that use documentation subpages. These attempts did not work, but they will work when I get the template documentation templates working on Appropedia.

From my previous experience with porting the template documentation templates to other MediaWiki wikis, I am aware of two pre-requisites: a CSS style class must be in MediaWiki:Common.css, and the Template: namespaceW must allow subpages.

22:04, 20 January 2011 (PST): Lonny installed the prerequisites. I ported the template documentation templates to Appropedia, cleaned up some interwiki links that broke, and now they seem to work. That means on Appropedia we can use Wikipedia-style fancy template documentation. This will make Wikipedia templates easier to port here, since we can preserve the subpage documentation structure.

23:45, 20 January 2011 (PST): there is one little problem. Clicking the edit link to create a new /doc subpage for a template, when the /doc subpage does not already exist, opens a blank edit window instead the window being pre-filled with some boilerplate text. I think I had that problem on another wiki where I did this port. 22:00, 23 January 2011 (PST): Ah, I missed Template:Documentation/preload; adding it now.

#### Enabling subpages in the Template: namespace

Done! Lonny did this on January 20, 2011.

The MediaWiki default setting is not to have subpages there. See if any subpages are there now:

Chriswaterguy tried to make one here (suggesting that he sees the value of implementing the template documentation machinery here):

but that is not a true subpage at the moment, as indicated by its lack of an automatic link to the parent page at the top of the subpage. I will ask for help from someone who has shell access to the Appropedia server:

According to my notes from doing this on another wiki, I need someone to add this code to LocalSettings.php:

/** Which namespaces should support subpages?
* See Language.php for a list of namespaces.
*/
};
})();



## Glossary

11:37, 11 January 2011 (PST): Appropedia seems to have no comprehensive Glossary article. Several articles contain subject-specific glossaries. Renewable Energy Dictionary is pretty large. A comprehensive Glossary for the whole site could be useful. I'll look at that after I slog through the Index and template projects. For background, see:

23:59, 27 January 2011 (PST): Appropedia:Gnome tasks has a red linkW to: Appropedia:Suggestions for intern tasks. I might create that page if no one else does first. For the time being when I get an idea for an intern task, I will list it here. The order of tasks is intentional: I put the easiest and/or the most fundamental tasks first. If you are new to wiki editing, the key is to start with something simple that you can master quickly, to get a sense of immediate accomplishment. When that type of task starts to get boring, move on to a harder task.

• I'd be happy to delegate everything on this entire page to interns. If you are an intern or want to be, and you see anything I'm doing that you'd like to try, let me know and we'll work out how to split our efforts. Just because I have not listed a task here yet does not mean I would not be happy to let someone else have fun with it. Get your gnome on!
• A synonym for "gnome task" is "grunt work". Building a wiki gives new meaning to words like tedium, minutiae, and painstaking. The final result can be kind of glamorous, but building it is not. It takes a certain kind of orderly, determined mind to build a wiki, and the average person probably does not have this type of mind. We need average people to add their knowledge to the wiki, but most of them are unlikely to understand and maintain the overall structure. Only our gnomes can do that.
• While you're plowing through the tedium, look for things to automate. If a task is structured and regular enough, maybe we can program a botW program to do it. Maybe a templateW would help. Progress on a wiki consists of identifying tasks, inventing procedures to solve them, doing the procedures by hand for a while, adjusting our procedures to make them more efficient, and eventually automating them.

### Make your own user subpage for notes and links

15:18, 22 February 2011 (PST): wiki editing is too complicated for just winging it, but that is what some people try to do. Winging it is fine if you are doing something simple and obvious, such as correcting typographical errors in articles. If a task requires research, planning, coordinating with other people, or more than one session to complete, protect your sanity by taking notes. For example, read this entire page of notes, and try to imagine doing everything I did, or hope to do, without writing any of it down. I couldn't keep track of this much complexity without writing it down. Unless you are a lot smarter than I am, you probably couldn't either. Then try forgetting about this page entirely, and try to reconstruct what I did only by looking at my contributions. Taking notes might be the only way to do anything complicated on a wiki, and the only efficient way to let other editors figure out what you did.

If you are an intern, you should take notes. Start a subpage of your user page. Make it like this one. Describe your general plan. Link to every online resource you are learning from. Add sections for each particular task. Describe your thinking process as you figure things out. When you get an idea that you don't have time to pursue immediately, write it down so you or someone else can come back to it later. Date your entries with five tildes (~~~~~).W Mark sections with the {{Done}} template when you finish them.

Your user space is for helping you contribute more effective to the community. Use it. If I were grading your intern work, I would count the quality of your notes equally with the quality of your actual work. Future batches of interns will get productive faster if they can study the notes of earlier interns, whose work they will be extending.

An intern project will also have its own shared project pages. Use them to collaborate with other project members. Use your user pages to document the evolution of your own learning and doing.

### Correct typos

15:43, 22 February 2011 (PST): a wiki is a type of Web site that is editable by its users, requiring no special software beyond the user's Web browser. This easy accessibility means the quality of contributions can be very uneven. Some articles will contain typographical errors. Browse around and correct them. Special:RecentChanges is one place to catch typos while they are fresh. You can also search for common misspellingsW with {{Google Appropedia}}. For example:

If you are feeling particularly ambitious, try porting wikipedia:Wikipedia:Lists of common misspellings to Appropedia, its subpages, and its supporting templates. That will help other interns and gnomes to search for typos on the site.

### Image maintenance

15:50, 6 February 2011 (PST): Special:Statistics says Appropedia has over 12,000 images.

#### Examples

12:40, 20 February 2011 (PST): I will add examples to this section that illustrate how to properly format various types of image pages. Once a person learns how to format any particular type of image, he or she can search for similar images on Appropedia and format them similarly.

##### Images from Flickr

Images from Flickr that have free licenses are suitable to copy to Appropedia. We can borrow from the methods that Wikimedia CommonsW users have worked out to do this. A tool I have used over there is called flinfo. To-do: document how to use this tool and use the results on Appropedia.

• File:Food dryer.jpg - an example image page whose formatting we can improve; the basic image information is all there, or can be retrieved, and put into an {{Information}} template.

Steps:

1. The File:Food dryer.jpg page says the image is from Flickr and gives an external link to image page there.
2. Extract the Flickr ID from the URL: http://www.flickr.com/photos/graibeard/'''3688823709'''/sizes/m/in/photostream/
3. Put the Flickr ID into the {{Flinfo}} template to generate the URL to run the Flinfo tool to retrieve the image information:
4. The output from Flinfo is:
5. {{Information |Description=Excalibur Drying Jerusalem Artichokes |Source=[http://www.flickr.com/photos/graibeard/3688823709/ ExcaliburDryingJerArtichokes-8487] |Date=2009-07-05 17:14 |Author=[http://www.flickr.com/photos/8393288@N04 Glenn] from Melbourne, Australia |Permission= |other_versions= }} {{Location dec|-37.896462|145.050258|source:Flickr}} =={{int:license-header}}== {{cc-by-sa-2.0}} {{flickrreview}} {{subst:unc}}
6. Edit the output down by removing references to things that apply to Wikimedia Commons and not to Appropedia. (Eventually someone may port the very useful {{Location dec}} template here, from commons:Template:Location dec, so we can geocode our photographs with latitude, longitude coordinates for the image locations.)
7. {{Information |Description=Excalibur Drying Jerusalem Artichokes |Source=[http://www.flickr.com/photos/graibeard/3688823709/ ExcaliburDryingJerArtichokes-8487] |Date=2009-07-05 17:14 |Author=[http://www.flickr.com/photos/8393288@N04 Glenn] from Melbourne, Australia |Permission={{cc-by-sa-2.0}} |other_versions= }} <!-- For possible future use: {{Location dec|-37.896462|145.050258|source:Flickr}} -->
8. Edit the {{Information}} template into the File:Food dryer.jpg image page.

16:04, 22 February 2011 (PST): create navigation templates for sets of related articles, project pages, or help pages. Often these can reflect the structure of categories. Use the {{Navbox}}Template:Tlw template as your base template. See for example {{Appropedia searches}} (which does not link to articles, but to Google search links on various parts of Appropedia). References:

After you create a {{Navbox}}-style navigation template, add it to the bottom of each article or page it links to.

To-do: create a navigation template that links to articles or help pages, and use that as an example.

### Shortcut maintenance

16:04, 22 February 2011 (PST): read Appropedia:Shortcuts. When you understand what shortcuts are and why we need them, scan all of Appropedia's Help: and Project: (Appropedia:) pages:

For all such pages that lack the {{Shortcut}} template, and could benefit from it, add the template, and create a shortcut for the page. Add {{R from shortcut}} to the shortcut when you create it, for example the A:SC shortcut contains this wikitext:

#redirect [[Appropedia:Shortcuts]]



Add each new shortcut to the table in list of shortcuts.

### Salvage articles deleted from Wikipedia

19:15, 29 January 2011 (PST): Wikipedia deletes thousands of articles. This happens in part because Wikipedia's design makes it easy and inviting to create new articles, without first requiring an editor to have any idea that Wikipedia has lengthy and complex rules that limit the topics suitable for articles. The result is that lots of people optimistically create articles on Wikipedia, only to fall victim to Wikipedia's deletionists. See:

Some of Wikipedia's deleted articles are on topics suitable for Appropedia. Search for them:W[18]

More pages relevant to article salvage:

To-do: write more details about porting article content from Wikipedia, such as: adding the {{From Wikipedia}} template, or better yet we need a {{Deleted from Wikipedia}} template; wikifying the content; categorizing a new article; contacting the jilted Wikipedia editors and inviting them to come home to Appropedia.

## Global warming denial FAQ

21:38, 9 January 2011 (PST): Appropedia might not be an appropriate platform for this content. However, given the following:

• As of 2011, there is no binding global agreement to cap the maximum amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that humans will add to the atmosphere, and neither is there anywhere near the level of voluntary action to stop burning fossil fuels that would be necessary in the absence of an agreement. Given the slow pace of climate negotiations, the obstructive efforts of climate change disinformers, not to mention everyone's addiction to the goods and services made affordable by fossil fuels, no one can even predict when a sufficiently robust global climate agreement might be attainable.
• Humans remain firmly on a business-as-usual trajectory to burn essentially all the Earth's recoverable fossil fuels within a century or two.
• This could result in atmospheric carbon dioxide rising to a concentration of 750 ppm or higher by 2100, and continuing to rise thereafter.
• The resulting degree of global warming and ocean acidification could be catastrophic for many of the world's peoples, with disproportionate harm inflicted on poor people living in the tropics and subtropics.

Failure to cap humanity's greenhouse gas emissions could negate most of the efforts falling under the traditional definition of appropriate technology. Therefore one might argue that eliminating fossil fuel combustion altogether, or preventing the products of fossil fuel combustion from ever reaching the atmosphere, is a necessary condition for enabling other technologies to be "appropriate".

One of the main barriers to eliminating fossil fuel combustion is the widespread disbelief or misunderstanding of the facts of climate science. Much of the confusion is the result of an orchestrated disinformation campaign funded by fossil fuel interests and free market think tanks. They have proven thus far to be much better at public relations than the scientific community. It is not enough for scientists to report their results in the scientific literature. Someone (either scientists, or someone else) must respond to the specific arguments (memes, tropes) originating from climate change disinformers and circulating endlessly on the Web and in conservative media.

It might be interesting to wikify content similar to what is on these pages:

This would let the content benefit from collaborative editing, as well as the superior MediaWiki feature set (links, shortcuts, etc.). In general, when one encounters global warming deniers on discussion sites, they rehash well-worn and thoroughly-debunked arguments - as if they believe the world's leading scientific societies which endorse the IPCC's claims wouldn't have thought of the obvious questions. It would be efficient to answer these repetitive questions with shortcut links. That won't convince any deniers, but it might persuade the rational but uninformed.

The vast majority of people where I live (midwestern US) behave as if they do not believe global warming is a threat. That is, I haven't seen many people who have achieved or are seriously working toward personal carbon footprint reductions of 90% or more. Which is what everybody needs to do to limit the global temperature increase to 2°C or less.

## Notes and references

1. On Wikipedia, users who focus on the internal workings of WikipediaW more than on articleW content are metapedians.
2. If anyone wants to help, see: User:Teratornis/Tasks#Intern tasks.
3. Well, anyone with some knowledge of MediaWiki internals should be able to understand this page. I try to link most of the jargon terms to pages that define them; those pages are usually on Wikipedia or another Wikimedia FoundationW site.
4. See some discussion of the undesirable interaction of the {{Shortcut}} template with nested list items in: wikipedia:Template talk:Shortcut#Double-bullet problem in lists.
5. To illustrate Appropedia's still-sparse coverage of its topic area, searching Appropedia with Google for: Cincinnati (the name of my town) produces a paltry eight hits as of February, 2011, and only some of them appear to be about sustainability-related topics in my locale. While Cincinnati is hardly a hotbed of environmental progress, there is enough going on here to write about on Appropedia, and that pattern probably repeats around the world.
6. The Constitution may not be a suicide pact,W but in disputes about climate science Wikipedia can sometimes seem to value its rules more than having a habitable planet in the year 2100. The notion of what's actually at stake in the climate change controversy seems to carry no weight in Wikipedia's Arbitration Committee rulings. Regardless of who is "right" in an editing dispute, such disputes are a fantastic waste of time and editing talent that would be better spent on building content.
7. When I was a new user on Wikipedia, an important part my of learning was to look in page histories to see what other users did to my edits. To understand what they were doing, I tried to look up the relevant manual sections. Since most editors neglect to provide links in their edit summaries, looking up the manuals they were merely alluding to was unnecessarily difficult for me. I determined not to inflict such unnecessary effort on other wiki users.
8. Wikipedia defines a "synthesis" as a collection of individual reliably-sourced claims that combine to advance a position not taken by any of the individual sources.
9. One benefit of citation templates that I like is the archiveurl field, which lets you specify a rot-proofW archived link of any page on a Web archive like WebCite. For example, see this reference.
10. For anyone reading along, I just illustrated a classic lapse in situation awarenessW there.
11. Depending on what Web browser you are using, you should see this footnote highlighted if you got here by clicking its corresponding reference number. Clicking the up-arrow to the left of this footnote should send you back to the footnote number, and highlight it.
12. See the earlier deletion log for {{cc-by-sa-3.0}} - it looked like too difficult a porting job previously. But we ported it now.
13. On April 5, 2011 I updated {{Shortcut}} to use Wikipedia's newer template code, less some lines of code that were inserting automatic anchors that we don't need on Appropedia. These changes eliminated the multiple-bullet problem I previously displayed on this page.
14. One might ask why MediaWiki displays an orphaned list sub-sub-item with three bullet characters to the left of it, instead of just displaying it normally.
15. This produces odd visual results on my personal offline wiki, shoving the search and navigation boxes on the left side of the page down below the bottom of the body text on the template page.
16. {{Google custom}} does not search Wikipedia's Articles for deletion very well because Wikipedia's robots.txt excludes these pages from search engine spiders.W Therefore I might port wikipedia:Template:Search subpages link to Appropedia so I can document these searches more elegantly.
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