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Difference between revisions of "Appropedia:Village pump"

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:::::well first I will copy it from wiki news then I will change some things around and how the content is shown [[User:User555|User555]] 12:43, 15 March 2013 (PDT)
:::::well first I will copy it from wiki news then I will change some things around and how the content is shown [[User:User555|User555]] 12:43, 15 March 2013 (PDT)
::::: so you will be doing that every day from now until... whenever..? I really do not think we need this. [[User:Joeturner|Joeturner]] 13:17, 15 March 2013 (PDT)
== Youtube vids ==
== Youtube vids ==

Revision as of 20:17, 15 March 2013

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Topics that have been spun off to other pages



Older discussions can be found at Archive1, (older) Archive2, Archive3, Archive4 & Archive5 (more recent discussions). If you wish to continue those discussions, please start a new section on this page - do not add new comments to the archive page.

Here are direct links to the conversations in the archives:


Older discussions can be found at the Archive1, (older) Archive2 & Archive3 (more recent discussions). If you wish to continue those discussions, please start a new section on this page - do not add new comments to the archive page.

Here are direct links to the conversations in the archives:

Archive1: Organisations -- Server performance took a dive? -- approx Sep-Oct 2007 -- Agroinnovations: Call for Collaborators -- The Project -- Technological Possibilities -- Solar hot water -- Sustainable Energy booklet -- How to monitor changes -- -- Appropedia:About or Appropedia:About_Appropedia? -- News? Wind? Transportation? -- Refining Newpageresource template & others -- New page templates - slim down? -- Nov 06 to Feb 07 -- Categorization change -- Two suggestions for navigation bar -- Server performance? -- Attribution -- Washing and drying clothes category -- Discussion tracker -- Login problem -- Unsigned Complement -- Community portal & Village pump removed from sidebar? -- Howtopedia -- Main Page tests -- Should we group countries by region? -- Confused by sections/subsections in agriculture -- Suggest restoring "Public health" category -- Who works with Afro-Latino communities? -- Majority world -- March 07 to April 08 -- State makes big fuss over local couple -- Plural/singular titles in main space -- Category tool -- Promote feed-back from user to designer -- Articles on people -- Porting help? -- "Reducing oil dependency" category name? -- "Sub-sub categories for the sub-category Demotech -- Developments in networking -- AT Theory and environmentalism -- Page substitution policy -- Porting graphical PDF Pages -- Porting CD3WD Pages -- Proposed medical disclaimer and science disclaimer -- Mark pages for rapid deletion? -- Copyvios? Hygiene Standard Institute and Hygiene Standard Institute (HSI) -- Rambling thoughts on organizational POV -- Appropedia Action Groups -- Show/Hide function -- A "License taskforce" and "Appropedia contact team"? -- Thanks -- Event details -- March 07 to August 08 -- RSS reader and running feeds on the wiki -- Where should ISBNs link to? -- How to live on frogs -- Le puits du village -- Appropedia: a wiki for solutions? (Setting our boundaries) -- Where do we send issues content? -- Announcement box -- "Sustainable living" & visibility on the web -- Cheap solar air conditioner -- Trolls -- Wiki collaboration... -- Human population -- Library Section? -- Site notice -- September 08 to... -- Musing on subcategories for Programs -- Preventing attack with name string -- Collapsing categories -- Template links to Wikipedia -- Rice Hulls -- ThinHouse -- Webpage editing screen -- Health hazard if used for drinking water -- How to request a category rename -- SSB Maker -- Copyright issues -- :( -- Comment on the bookmark gadget -- Layout problem -- The {{delete}} tag -- downloadable -- wiki-net -- Deletion policy -- Search Appropedia with one click: handy bookmarklets -- best permaculture videos, especially for dry areas -- Which external links to include in a page? -- Update on attribution templates -- Article Incubator

Archive2: Advertising? -- NOINDEX tag -- Integrated Systems of Production -- Integrated Systems -- Interaction and linking between Demotech, design for self-reliance and Appropedia -- You people are good! Ferreal yall! -- SD wiki sites list -- David Reber nominated as admin -- Adminship - making two levels, and changing the name -- Usability / Making it accessible for beginners -- Open Green Map -- I love it, I love it, I love it :) -- Swadeshi Business Models with ecology as business partner -- Understanding natural systems & choices -- References -- Anonymous editing -- Site reorganisation -- Comparison of alternative ICE fuels -- Attribution and citation templates -- Other templates -- Water harvesting -- Open-design software and hardware for water management -- Good pages on Appropedia? Please nominate! -- Language learning lessons -- AT organisations presentation, category -- Logo change -- Categorization -- Motto -- General engineering wiki -- AAI projects -- Development category - name change. -- How is the rich editor? -- Welcome committee -- windpower pages -- Feedback please! Suggest moving from manual to topic pages -- Imported pages -- Target audience Appropedia + data extrapolations -- CC-BY-SA page changed -- electric circuit designs for AT -- Appropedia page name change assistance for Haiti Relief Project -- Changes to the navigation sidebar -- Composting -- Refridgeration -- Carbon for water/methanol filtering? -- New front page - please help with images & portals -- How to create notices - new template -- Dietary reference values image -- Transformers -- Wire wrap, strip/perfboard and tubes -- FTP server/free file hosting service ? -- Cost/effective development aid projects -- FM radio broadcasts -- IC engine efficiency improvements -- Use of IC-engine without clutch or starter motor -- IC-engine simplifications

Archive3: Category cleanup -- Correspondence with Volunteers in Technical AssistancereCPATCHA for account registration? -- Skin help -- Topical navboxes -- Participation and navigation templates -- Integrating Appropedia subsites -- Popular topics -- Pages to highlight? -- Vital articles – importance, quality and popularity -- Mobile Skin -- A permanent topical navigation bar at Sitenotice -- Fixing css -- Interwiki links to ported Wikipedia content -- Task status templates -- Redlinks and w links -- Fundamental category - faceted subcategories proposalSidebar -- Adapting ported content -- Mobile Skin Alpha is live (on the dev wiki)!Lever arms for pedaling -- Religious content -- We need a policy on manuals & guides -- Important topics -- question about living roofs -- New portal design -- Userfication -- Anti-spam work -- User tools for spam fighting? -- Category sorting -- Best practice -- Blocking Users of Tor -- Cardamom -- New anti-spam tool -- Original content policy -- Adminship nomination: Tahnok -- Importing content from another wiki -- Organizations and usernames -- Nice easy help pages -- Solar Bottle Light -- Portal views and Template:Bar box -- Spam patterns -- Biofuel Content Initiative -- Copyediting class at work -- CAT - Center for Alternative Technology in Wales -- Galleries -- Need a new loo -- CAD files? -- Abuse Filter -- The "How to" template -- Daydreaming about the future of spam -- Simple Technologies Can Improve The Lives Of Millions -- Peter Ongele, Kenya -- Scanner question -- Your stories, please! -- Medical advice -- The $300 House -- The Topicadmin notice -- "Appropriate Technology" with a big AT -- Tutti-fruity? -- RichardF for admin -- (minor) Mention on BoingBoing -- Occupy Sustainability -- Interesting quotes -- Offer of assistance with graphic design... -- Big move of topic category pages -- CAPTCHA alternative -- CAPTCHA not enough to stop spam... -- Community space -- Block urls from new and anon users? -- Marking project pages -- Main Page redesign -- References to a coming ascension... -- Analysis page name -- Today's popular pages! -- Selected quotes on the Main Page -- Energy & renewable energy areas -- Beginner's guide to Semantic MediaWiki? -- New header for PV projects

Creating all those links seemed like a good idea, but took waaaay longer than planned even with regex search-and-replace. Looking forward to a good forum so this won't be necessary :-). --Chriswaterguy 11:05, 13 July 2011 (PDT)

Topics that have been spun off to other pages

To keep this page manageable, some bulky topics have been moved to their own pages

Changing another person's project page

One thing we haven't worked out is what limits we have to editing another person's project or organization page. A trivial example is this line from Usui Rice cooker:

This cooker is relevant for any place where rice is a grown and is a staple of the diet (all of Asia, as well as parts of Africa and South America).

I've changed "all of Asia" to "most of Asia," to be more accurate. I don't think the author will mind, though they might think I'm pedantic. My concern is that there will be cases where more controversial changes might be made. Does the project's author have the final say, is it a question of consensus in the same way as any other wiki page, or do we need a different approach. There's a problem if the author has the final say, as the claims may be misled (cars that run on water) or even deliberately misleading (I can sell you a kit to make your car run on water). Perhaps we should go with the "same way as any other wiki page" but be open to letting the policy develop as we go? --Chriswaterguy 05:52, 16 October 2009 (UTC)

I think the need for Appropedia to be based on facts should override any ownership objection to minor factual corrections. I'd hesitate to make wholesale edits to someone else's article. As a courtesy, one should leave a note about the change on the "owning" user's talk page, just in case he or she wasn't watching the page in question. Because it would seem the page owner takes credit for the page and would want to be aware of what he or she appears to be saying on it. Think of it like editing a book. Editors assist authors all the time, but never without the author's active awareness. The author has to approve whatever the editor changes, because the author's name goes on the book. --Teratornis 21:00, 8 January 2011 (PST)
Belated comment: do we have a policy or guideline on user space essays? I'd like to keep article space as factual as possible, where a "fact" is something that all sane people can agree on, and confine assertions of opinion to user space essays. Users can have more freedom to express their personal opinions on user subpages, but I'd still like every opinion to be labeled as an opinion rather than implied to be a fact by asserting it with no qualification. Readers should be made aware of whether they are reading facts generally accepted as true, or just one particular side of some raging controversy. I.e., assertions should not float around independently of their context. Unfortunately, too many people tend to hold their beliefs independently of such context. That is, they just believe whatever they believe, without being mindful of the existence of other opinions about some of their beliefs. --Teratornis 12:58, 1 November 2011 (PDT)
Interesting. To what extent do we see userspace as a free speech zone? There are limits (I think we'd all agree on no hate speech) but this is setting a much higher standard that many people just won't get, especially to start with. I prefer the kind of self-aware writing/advocacy that you're advocating, but I'm not sure if we should be enforcing it. (That's not a euphemism for "I don't think we should..." I just mean I'm not sure.) --Chriswaterguy 18:50, 1 November 2011 (PDT)
I'm thinking about examples we have discussed on this very page of articles that contain prescriptive rather than descriptive content, or religious claims. As long as content is not actionable, libelous, illegal, etc. I see little harm in letting it live in user space as long as it is clearly labeled as opinion (see wikipedia:Template:Essay which I would like to port to Appropedia). Anything on Appropedia is subject to the approval of the Appropedia community and that should be an appropriate check on user space essays. The idea is not to unleash some new type of content on Appropedia but merely to relocate some of the personal opinion content that has been finding its way into article space.
My personal interest in this is because I would like to write some synthetic essays about topics such as:
  • What would actually have to happen for the Keystone XL pipeline extension to not be built
  • The efficacy of personal action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions - does it matter if we take the jet flight for example?
  • Speculation about the future prospects for eco-robotics
  • (11:53, 2 November 2011 (PDT): adding another topic:) What I have done to cut my personal carbon footprint, and what I have learned from the exercise about what it would actually take to stabilize atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration at some level that might minimize the risk of dangerous climate change
(By "synthetic" I mean essays that cite reliable sources for all their factual claims, but combine them to produce conclusions not present in any particular source.)
I could edit what I want to say about the Keystone XL pipeline into the existing article, but my contribution would not be particularly encyclopedic, as I would be advocating for a particular course of action (namely, action to reduce the demand for liquid fuels which I believe is driving the exploitation of Canada's tar sands). Then again, the existing article is not particularly encyclopedic. But I would find it easier to say what I want to say in a user space essay, keeping my exposition coherent, and then if the community approved of working some of it into the article proper we could do that. I'm not so much interested in shaping Appropedia's "official" stance on particular topics as to have a platform where I can work out my current positions on them. I find when I engage in online discussions, there are points I want to make which are complex, unobvious, and require a lot of background, and I can't always find an existing page on the Web somewhere that I can cite to explain what I'm talking about.
Alternatively I could set up a blog site and write essays on it, but I'd just as soon use my user space on Appropedia because I like editing on MediaWiki. --Teratornis 19:59, 1 November 2011 (PDT)
Ok, this is now getting very interesting. I see no problem at all in what you propose under existing A:policies and A:guidelines. (We only have proposed guidelines actually, and mainly have proposed policies.) And as you can see, you're being a lot more cautious and deliberate about it than much of what happens on Appropedia - which is good, because:
(A) it helps us decide what we want to do
(B) there's some flaky stuff on Appropedia - though a fair bit less now, after recent deletions and moving-to-userspace. (I've seen Lonny doing some much-needed deletion, and I've made a habit of clicking random repeatedly, tweeting/FB-sharing/"Liking" good pages and dealing with problematic pages. But I digress.)
In fact, the content you're proposing is the kind of thing I'd like to see a lot more of. Distinguishing between "sourced" and "synthetic" is very valuable in thinking about this. One thing we haven't had a lot of is multiple editors working on analytical/synthetic content, but I'm keen to see how it goes. There's also a place for individual perspectives that aren't directly edited by others, but I'd imagine those remaining in userspace.
What would make you comfortable in starting to write on Appropedia about the topics you mention - e.g. re liquid fuel and the Keystone XL pipeline? Do you want to make a proposed policy or guideline, based on what you've said above? --Chriswaterguy 22:08, 1 November 2011 (PDT)
  • Comfort: I'm comfortable now. (You plus me equals consensus, it seems. Just kidding - I think.) I have some notes and references on my personal (offline) wiki that I can transcribe to Appropedia. My main concern is to maximize the comfort of the rest of the community. That is, to make sure everyone who might have an interest in what I would write, whether positive or negative, understands the structure in which we can express our ideas and debate them. I think it is less than optimally productive for debate to play out in the form of edit summaries to articles in article space. It would be better, I think, to let each person have their user space as a kind of refuge where they elaborate their ideas, and then we discuss on talk pages somewhere (perhaps on this page, unless it gets overloaded) what the "official" Appropedia article about a topic should say. As I mentioned, I am not too concerned about whether I agree with what the article on a topic says - I will happily defer to the community - as long as I have a place to write what I think about it. On Wikipedia, controversial articles may come to resemble steel cage matches, I suspect in part because people with uncompromising opinions lack a separate platform where they can write what they think. Wikipedia has a policy against advocating for particular positions anywhere on the site, including user pages. I don't think we need that restriction on Appropedia, primarily because the diversity of opinion is less here. Just about everyone who edits on Appropedia probably agrees we face large environmental and humanitarian crises; any disagreements are more likely to be over the details of how we might solve them. We probably don't have too many people who, for example, explicitly deny the existence of man-made global warming. If necessary we might have something like a "Lonny test" - you can advocate for anything you want in your user space as long as Lonny is cool with it. That might sound kind of facetious but in fact on every wiki what is allowable must ultimately come down to one person who has the final say, as necessary to break deadlocks when the community cannot reach consensus. (On Wikipedia, Jimbo has the final say, but he exercises it rarely.)
  • Guideline: I can work on a draft. My notes are in U:TT#ESSAY.
    • A side note: it seems we have some "proposed" policies and guidelines that seem to remain "proposed" forever. Perhaps this is because we have primarily one user (you) who seems to propose them, and then nobody else weighs in. It would be nice to somehow tie up these loose ends. For example, if a guideline has been in the "proposed" state for more than a year, perhaps we could be bold and automatically promote it to a real guideline. If someone objects later, we can always debate the guideline then. On a wiki, everything is subject to revision in perpetuity.
--Teratornis 11:53, 2 November 2011 (PDT)
I agree with all your comments above. I look forward to seeing your articles - I won't look at drafts right now as I need to escape the internet vortex.
I'm happy with the Lonny test as a last resort - good to decide that in advance. In practice Lonny is big on consensus and not big on enforcing his opinion, but will look for a solution when someone is putting garbage on the site, so I don't foresee a problem there.
"We probably don't have too many people who, for example, explicitly deny the existence of man-made global warming." Indeed. I do know one who is doubtful and suspicious of the IPCC etc, but not a hardcore "It's all a lie!" type, and not someone who'll cause problems in edit wars or major arguments on site.
"For example, if a guideline has been in the "proposed" state for more than a year, perhaps we could be bold and automatically promote it to a real guideline." First thoughts: Sounds good. My suggestion for "best practice" is: If possible, flag the particular policies and guidelines that are planned for upgrade a week or two in advance, on Village Pump; the person who promotes it to policy/guideline status should not be the major contributor to the drafting of it; and the upgrading is announced on the Village Pump, along with a brief and accurate summary of the new policy/guideline and a note that it remains open to reversion and revision. Second thoughts: If people don't actively object, there's a bias towards instruction creepW here (and note the Wikipedia essay wikipedia:Wikipedia:Avoid instruction creep. At the very least, we need to ask ourselves before promoting a policy or guideline: Is this really necessary? Can it be simplified I'm ok with not everything I wrote getting approved - I'm sure I've changed my mind on some of it anyway. --Chriswaterguy 02:08, 3 November 2011 (PDT)
I consider wikipedia:WP:CREEP to be unfortunately ignorant of what actually makes Wikipedia work, which is having extremely complete written instructions. See there is no common sense. WP:CREEP reminds me too much of those programmers with borderline wikipedia:Asperger syndrome and minimal verbal skills, who seem to believe if something is obvious to them then it is obvious to everyone. The world has many people like that who churn out confusion and horizontal fragmentation every day. (By "horizontal fragmentation" I mean making things different in ways which provide no net improvement, such as having 50 different functionally equivalent word processing programs that all have different commands to do the same tasks. Thus the urge to "simplify" by not writing detailed instructions actually ends up making things more complex, as you end up with excessive variation providing no benefit, which people must then deal with.) I'd say if WP:CREEP has a point, it would be to avoid writing bad instructions, that is instructions which do not reflect the actual practice of the editing community. But the claim that "nobody reads the instructions" is just dumbfounding - people who don't read instructions on Wikipedia simply create problems that have to be fixed by people who do read the instructions. Over time, the people who refuse to read instructions find themselves embroiled in various controversies, and they tend to get discouraged and leave. They become what Fred Brooks called "negatively productive people". In a dispute on Wikipedia, odds are one or both sides do not understand the relevant instructions, because most disputes on Wikipedia are repeats of past disputes, whose resolutions were encoded into guidelines or policies. Instructions (and shortcuts that point to them) are also vital for leaving understandable edit summaries, especially for formal edits (edits that change the article format rather than the content).
Appropedia has far less written instruction than Wikipedia, and we suffer for it. For example, look at the inconsistency of article titles, which is what to expect when everybody relies on their (wildly diverse) common sense. See my notes about this problem in U:TT#Naming convention. One might think this sort of inconsistency does not matter, but I believe it does, since it discourages collaboration. When an article's style reflects the idiosyncrasies of some particular person, another person may feel inhibited about contributing, since that runs the risk of confronting the original author over a style issue instead of the content. When a site enforces a consistent style site-wide, then it is much easier for additional users to contribute, since they have fewer questions about what they should do, and therefore fewer things to argue about. Ultimately, if there are enough rules and instructions, editing could (almost) be reduced to an algorithm. --Teratornis 12:32, 1 August 2012 (PDT)

(undent) I agree in part - certainly there are matters such as page titles where we do need to have a convention and stick to it, or else we continue to not look professional. (Technically we're not meant to be professional, being a volunteer collaboration, but you get my drift.)
Maybe there are ways we could make instructions & policies easier to follow - e.g. have a "human-readable version" at the top of the page, a la CC licenses. Something could be done with documentation on templates, as well - I don't know if it's the format, but Wikipedia-style documentation is hard to read for me. Makes my eyes glaze over - I can only guess how a non-wikiholic would feel looking at such documentation. (I value the porting efforts - we do need those instructions. I'm just wondering if simple things like spacing and changing the background color would improve readability over the Wikipedia-style layout.) --Chriswaterguy 10:16, 4 August 2012 (PDT)

On the difference between "looking professional" and "being professional":
  • To "be professional" we would have to get paid to contribute. We don't, so we aren't, in the technical sense.
  • However, we can still "look professional" in the sense that the work we do for free is of high enough quality to be worth paying for. The Open Source movement is based on this premise - free stuff would not be as compelling if it was always guaranteed to be of lower quality than proprietary stuff. Proprietary vendors would have little to fear from open source in that case. Obviously, if open source material is to be credible, it must be of the same standard as copyrighted stuff. And one thing all competent publishers have is a consistent style, either across all their material, or at a minimum within each publication. When you see a publication that looks like a rebus, it's harder to take seriously. A volunteer collaboration that is harder to take seriously will tend to put off serious collaborators. That is, the people who are capable of producing professional-quality content and might do it for free.
On the difficulty of reading documentation:
  • Wikipedia's instructions are difficult for many people to read, in a start to finish sense like one reads a novel. They are probably difficult even for most Wikipedia editors to read that way. And yet Wikipedia's pages show remarkable conformance to its rules, such as wikipedia:WP:LAYOUT and the rest of the style and naming conventions. How can this be? Quite easily: Wikipedia obviously does not rely on everybody reading all the rules start to finish like a novel before they get started. New editors will unwittingly violate many rules. More experienced editors will correct their violations, and leave edit summaries that refer to the rules (or better which link to the rules being applied via shortcuts e.g. wikipedia:WP:LOWERCASE). A new editor who notices that something he or she edited has changed can look at the history of a page, read the relevant edit summary, and browse directly to the rule that was applied. As long as the link destination is a reasonably self-contained description of that rule, the new editor should be able to comprehend it, and then go on to apply it to other non-conforming edits while leaving the same quality of breadcrumb documentation in edit summaries. In this way the rules get woven into the structure of the edit histories of many pages, making each page self-documenting in terms of its rule violations and corrections. Thus each new editor can be efficiently apprenticed by experienced editors, and can possibly avoid ever having to read all the rules straight through like a novel (although there is value to doing so at some point, to get a global view of the individual rules he or she had internalized from experience).
  • A person's eyes "glaze over" when they read voluminous material that is irrelevant to what they are thinking about at the moment. Wikipedia's rules are extremely detailed, to cover every possible case. A given editor probably doesn't run into every possible case. Thus the wikipedia:Pareto rule applies - a small percentage of the rules will be relevant to a given editor most of the time. The beauty of accessing the rule documentation via edit summaries is that the editor is then highly likely to be looking at rules which are personally relevant, namely rules that answer the question the editor has framed at that time: why did this other editor change my stuff? Getting the answer to your question is highly relevant and allows your brain to bring its full concentration to bear. Hence, no eyes glazing over.
--Teratornis 11:59, 5 November 2012 (PST)

Google Chrome translation bar

When I come across an Appropedia bar in Spanish, my Google Chrome translation bar pops up and translates it a few seconds later. Here's the list of available languages.

  • Afrikaans
  • Albanian
  • Amharic
  • Arabic
  • Armenian
  • Azerbaijani
  • Basque
  • Belarusian
  • Bengali
  • Bihari
  • Bosnian
  • Breton
  • Bulgarian
  • Catalan
  • Chinese
  • Chinese (Simplified Han)
  • Chinese (Traditional Han)
  • Corsican
  • Croatian
  • Czech
  • Danish
  • Dutch
  • English
  • English (Australia)
  • English (Canada)
  • English (New Zealand)
  • English (South Africa)
  • English (United Kingdom)
  • English (United States)
  • Esperanto
  • Estonian
  • Faroese
  • Filipino
  • Finnish
  • French
  • French (Canada)
  • French (France)
  • French (Switzerland)
  • Galician
  • Georgian
  • German
  • German (Austria)
  • German (Germany)
  • German (Switzerland)
  • Greek
  • Guarani
  • Gujarati
  • Hausa
  • Hawaiian
  • Hebrew
  • Hindi
  • Hungarian
  • Icelandic
  • Indonesian
  • Interlingua
  • Irish
  • Italian
  • Italian (Italy)
  • Italian (Switzerland)
  • Japanese
  • Javanese
  • Kannada
  • Kazakh
  • Khmer
  • Kirghiz
  • Korean
  • Kurdish
  • Lao
  • Latin
  • Latvian
  • Lingala
  • Lithuanian
  • Macedonian
  • Malay
  • Malayalam
  • Maltese
  • Marathi
  • Moldavian
  • Mongolian
  • Nepali
  • Norwegian
  • Norwegian Bokm
  • Norwegian Nynorsk
  • Occitan
  • Oriya
  • Oromo
  • Pashto
  • Persian
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Portuguese (Brazil)
  • Portuguese (Portugal)
  • Punjabi
  • Quechua
  • Romanian
  • Romansh
  • Russian
  • Scottish Gaelic
  • Serbian
  • Serbo-Croatian
  • Shona
  • Sindhi
  • Sinhala
  • Slovak
  • Slovenian
  • Somali
  • Southern Sotho
  • Spanish
  • Spanish (Latin America)
  • Sundanese
  • Swahili
  • Swedish
  • Tajik
  • Tamil
  • Tatar
  • Telugu
  • Thai
  • Tigrinya
  • Tonga
  • Turkish
  • Turkmen
  • Twi
  • Uighur
  • Ukrainian
  • Urdu
  • Uzbek
  • Vietnamese
  • Welsh
  • Western Frisian
  • Xhosa
  • Yiddish
  • Yoruba
  • Zulu

Would this come in handy for any translation projects here? --RichardF 17:29, 11 June 2011 (PDT)

I'd like to get a Google Translate option, with menu, put into the skin of the wiki. I've seen this done on a couple of other wikis.
This tool (as an extension, or bookmarklet, or just copy-pasting) could be useful as a first pass at translation, in some languages. I think we need to canvas some universities' language departments and recruit some classes and interns - then we can lend a hand in choosing translation tools, if needed. Anyone interested in helping to recruit? :-) --Chriswaterguy 10:59, 12 June 2011 (PDT)
Just for closure sake... this has been implemented and working well (for a few months or so now). Thanks! --Lonny 15:27, 10 January 2012 (PST)

Interesting small wikis

Prompted by a comment by Teratornis above, I've been thinking about good small wikis. I agree it's hard to find good small wikis as they don't have the resources of the Wikimedia wikis, but here are some that I found interesting in various ways:

  • - nice skin & front page. (Not active, though about half a year ago they organized a worthwhile meetup of development wikis, which I joined by phone.)
  • Greenlivingpedia - smaller than Appropedia, but with a high average quality of articles. Largely the work of one guy, Peter Campbell who I've met a few times as he's a fellow Australian. Not at the bleeding edge, but he keeps on top of the tech side.
  • - I came across their blog - looks like they keep up to date & understand the tech side well
  • Wikia - the leading wiki farm/community of communities, have developed some social features & have clearly put thought into what gets people engaged. I have mixed feelings on the features - some I like, but mostly I need to look more closely at how they're used.

Fan wikis - there are a bunch of them, many on Wikia. One that impresses me is:

The fact that many of the successful smaller wikis revolve around tv shows or movies tells us something crucial - humans tend to engage based on fun, stories and shared passions. The brutal truth seems to be that we evolved to gossip more than we evolved to care for or environment, or for people outside our immediate group. But I don't want to focus on something I can't change, so I'm interested in how we can harness fun & stories, & channel our passions. But that another set of topics :). --Chriswaterguy 11:03, 16 July 2011 (PDT)

Yes, humans remain intensely interested in redecorating the Titanic even as they begin sliding down the listing deck. One sees the same thing on Wikipedia, with the detailed articles about every known footballer, anime character, and anything else that is useless to know. The vast majority of humans are oblivious to the fact that our fossil fuel habit is increasing the carbon dioxide content of the Earth's atmosphere at an even faster rate than it increased leading to the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum - the most catastrophic known period of natural climate change to hit the Earth during the Age of Mammals. If humans had any idea of how dire our situation is, we'd have all hands on deck working toward the needed solution, which is to figure how we are going to drive everyone's carbon footprint below two tonnes per year (or maybe less) as quickly as possible. It is abundantly clear that our evolutionary psychology is still optimized for advancing our social prospects in the Pleistocene, not for coping with the consequences of our advanced technology. --Teratornis 21:59, 16 July 2011 (PDT)
There are a good number people who gather online to share ideas about tackling climate change. This tends to happen most on sites that cater to people's social wiring. The challenge for us to find ways to work with that, but make connections with knowledge resources to help make change. --Chriswaterguy 21:51, 20 July 2011 (PDT)
The Cancer Council Australia Wiki is an interesting wiki. It uses Semantic forms, and clinicians have managed to fill out pages by themselves. It also has specific places within articles to invite comments - using extensions/tweaks developed by wikipedia:User:Werdna (who also develops the coming LiquidThreads 3.0 for the Wikimedia Foundation, among other things). The current policy is to have a comment section for each section of an article. Not that we'd want to copy that. --Chriswaterguy 18:33, 19 January 2012 (PST) edited description of Cancer Council Wiki. Chriswaterguy 19:12, 30 January 2012 (PST)

Meatball Wiki and Portland Pattern Repository are pioneer wikis using the UseModWiki engine, about programming and online communities - they're still maintained, and run on . --Chriswaterguy 20:43, 9 June 2012 (PDT)

Proposal to update the wikitable class palette and establish site-wide palette guidelines

Update wikitable class palette

Cutting to the chase, this is a proposal to change the wikitable class color palette for the border, background and header background to be as shown below.

/* wikitable/prettytable class for skinning normal tables */
table.prettytable {
    margin: 1em 1em 1em 0;
    background: #F5FFF5;
    border: 1px #A3BFA3 solid;
    border-collapse: collapse;
table.wikitable th, table.wikitable td,
table.prettytable th, table.prettytable td {
    border: 1px #A3BFA3 solid;
    padding: 0.2em;
table.wikitable th,
table.prettytable th {
    background: #CEF2CE;
    text-align: center;
table.wikitable caption,
table.prettytable caption {
    margin-left: inherit;
    margin-right: inherit;
    font-weight: bold;
table.prettytable code,
table.wikitable code {
    background-color: transparent;

To illustrate with wider borders, such a palette would look like this.

One Two
Three Four
Five Six

This palette already can be seen on a number of Appropedia pages, such as the boxes at Portal:Green living, Portal:Food and agriculture and Portal:Transport; Template:How to; and several "approtable" tables used in conjunction with the how to template, such as at How to Build a Mechanically Powered Battery Charger for LED Lighting.

Establish site-wide palette guidelines

Regardless of whether the particular palette proposed above is used to update the wikitable class, the style eventually should be updated, based on an estasblished set of site-wide palette guidelines. Several Wikipedia top-level pages use palette style guidelings. Many of these pages and their palettes are shown at Wikipedia:User:RichardF/Palettes. More examples of Wikipedia color palette templates are shown at Wikipedia:Template:Box-header#Box-header color palettes.

Color palette styles along these lines and based on the Appropedia logo are shown at User:RichardF#Tables and User:RichardF#Palettes. Using this approach, it should be possible to establish a set of visually compatible palette styles that help tie together Appropedia pages and themes in a consistent and pleasing manner. --RichardF 11:32, 25 September 2011 (PDT)

Thanks Richard.
Just to clarify, you don't need to understand the code to give an opinion here. This is a suggestion to change our boring standard table style:
One Two
Three Four
Five Six
so it displays either like this:
One Two
Three Four
Five Six
or perhaps like this (thick borders, 5px):
One Two
Three Four
Five Six
...or somewhere in between (like this 2px example below). Is that right?
or perhaps like this (thick borders, 5px):
One Two
Three Four
Five Six
Note that it won't be any harder to make a table - all this code will be behind the scenes. We just need to decide what we want the tables to look like.
As for me, I like the change - looks much nicer on the site. I'd probably go for a 2px border, if I had to choose.
Other feedback? --Chriswaterguy 02:58, 27 September 2011 (PDT)

Chris, et al. - To clarify your clarification, the proposal is to change "class=wikitable" to make basic table colors go from this:

One Two
Three Four
Five Six

to this:

One Two
Three Four
Five Six

Nothing else would change. The only reason I made the borders wider in my first example was to make it easier to see the proposed border color, in case someone did make it wider in a customized table later on.  :-) --RichardF 05:20, 27 September 2011 (PDT)

Thanks for clarifying. (I do like the 2px border, though.) --Chriswaterguy 07:43, 27 September 2011 (PDT)
I like the 2px border width too. It adds a little more "style" to the standard table. Just keep in mind that if anyone wants a 1px border with the standard table colors, they'll have to add that feature to their customized tables. This includes any templates that use "class=wikitable" as well. Not necessarily a big deal, but food for thought.  :-) --RichardF 10:57, 27 September 2011 (PDT)

Okay! The wikitable now has gone green! Thanks Lonny!  :-) --RichardF 17:57, 17 October 2011 (PDT)

Thank you! It looks great. I love how updating it makes the previous conversation look much more confusing. ;) --Lonny 20:14, 17 October 2011 (PDT)
Good work, guys! --Chriswaterguy 02:47, 18 October 2011 (PDT)
Btw, after a chat with an old friend who is now a web developer, I'm now a fan of subtle use of 3D effects such as shading on web pages, including objects such as tables. I've set up a task on BetterMeans for the 3D effects suggestion: 3D effects in skin to create clearer sense of space.
I also like "responsive web design" (Google it). --Chriswaterguy 19:33, 21 December 2011 (PST)
My reply

A similar approach to having color gradients might be to adopt the MediaWiki Vector skin and then adapt the color scheme to be more Appropedia green. The steps outlined at mw:Manual:Skinning/Vector seem to be relatively straightforward. Simple 3-D shadow effects in tables are easy enough, but I haven't figured out how to get any gradient shadow effect examples I've seen to work yet. --RichardF 16:38, 23 December 2011 (PST)

I added "box-shadow: 2px 2px 1px #888888;" to Mediawiki:Common.css at the wikitable style to test it out for the shadow effect on tables. Another 3-D effect for review. :-) --RichardF 21:10, 1 January 2012 (PST)

I tried a few Appropedia green Vector skin test samples at my sandbox. They use the same hue of green as the wikitable and Main Page box header lines. The test samples use the same brightness as the standard Vector skin. They differ in four levels of saturation. The standard Vector skin uses zero saturation, so any changes to hue alone would all just turn out to be the same shades of grey.

I think it would be interesting to test out an Appropedia green Vector skin. According to mw:Manual:Skinning/Vector, it seems to take only a few changes to the standard settings, such as changing a background color in ./skins/vector/screen.css and replacing three color images at ./skins/vector/images/. The Vector skin also would look a little cleaner, regardless of the shade, if the Appropedia logo's background color were changed from white to transparent. That should work regardless of the skin anyone uses as well.

If the Appropedia green Vector skin turns out to be a worthy improvement, I believe it would give a more contemporary and Appropedic feel to the site, similar to adding gradient 3-D effects. At that point, maybe it even could become the default skin. ;-) --RichardF 05:02, 24 December 2011 (PST)

I agree that it is time to switch to the Vector skin. Of the suggestions RichardF posted, I like a hybrid of Vector page-fade color: #FEFEFD (H0/S0/V98) and Vector sidebar color: #EFF2EF (H120/S1/V95). As a second preference, Appropedia green Vector skin test shade gradients: H120/S1/V98 & H120/S1/V95 looks good to me as well. Please weigh in on final preferences (which, of course, can be changed).
I am asking Joey if he can make the logo transparent (note that the white swath through the center of the orb is the same white as the background, but should not be made transparent).
Logo is now transparent and the CSS for Monobook has been modified to nicely align the logo. Some care should be taken if putting the logo against a dark background. ---- Joey 22:34, 25 December 2011 (PST)
I am asking Jason if he can add the social media buttons (can we try out having a facebook share button as well), Google Translate, and Google Analytics to the vector skin.
RichardF, can tell us exactly what colors should be added where and what images should be added where?
Additional thoughts? Thanks, --Lonny 17:23, 25 December 2011 (PST)

Here's my understand of the basic Vector skin color options (YMMV ;-).

Page & file locations
Color palette sections & options
body {
	background-color: #f3f3f3;
	/* @embed */
	background-image: url(images/page-base.png);
  • Sidebar: The color of the left sidebar, image ("background-image: url(images/page-base.png);" - 1x1) is the bottom of the top of page color gradient (standard is #f3f3f3) - change to selected option.
/* Content */
div#content {
	margin-left: 10em;
	padding: 1em;
	/* @embed */
	background-image: url(images/border.png);
	background-position: top left;
	background-repeat: repeat-y;
	background-color: white;
	color: black;
	direction: ltr;
  • Content: The main content of a page (standard is white) - no change.
  • Border: The line on the left and top of the content, image is bottom of the tabs color gradient. (" background-image: url(images/border.png);" standard is blue) - change to green by replacing images/border.png with a 1x1 image of color #A7F9A7 (H120/S33/V98).
/* Head */
#mw-page-base {
	height: 5em;
	background-color: white;
	/* @embed */
	background-image: url(images/page-fade.png);
	background-position: bottom left;
	background-repeat: repeat-x;
  • Page-fade: The color at the top of a page (standard is at "background-image: url(images/page-fade.png);" 1x44 #FEFEFD (H0/S0/V98) - change to selected option.
Vector skin color options

I put together a few Vector skin color options in my sandbox. Lonny's preference is OPTION 1. I prefer a little more green in the sidebar (OPTION 2). Any other preferences? :-) --RichardF 08:17, 26 December 2011 (PST)

Okay, so there's more to change than what I originally thought, such as the tabs and any other "fade" images. I started my own Vector css page at User:RichardF/vector.css‎. I used Option 2 for the colors. You would have to copy the code to your own user page to see how it looks. Just blanking the page gets it back to the default. The tab fades probably could use some tuning, but you can get the idea fairly well, i think. --RichardF 23:09, 31 December 2011 (PST)
Here's a complete makeover at User:RichardF/vector.css for the Vector skin using the Option 2 color background and gradient images. --RichardF 08:10, 1 January 2012 (PST)

For the fun of it, I also changed the Vector.css code for the page and section lines to match those on the Main page (border-bottom: 5px solid #A3BFA3;)

/* Structural Elements */
h6 {
	color: black;
	background: none;
	font-weight: normal;
	margin: 0;
	overflow: hidden;
	padding-top: .5em;
	padding-bottom: .17em;
	border-bottom: 5px solid #A3BFA3;
	width: auto;

As it turns out, I think they make a very nice thematic tie-in across pages. Check it out. ;-)

Level 1 (page) heading

Stuff goes here.

Level 2 (main section) heading

More stuff goes here.

--RichardF 14:22, 1 January 2012 (PST)

Pages with no useful content

User:RichardF has pointed out to me that there are a bunch of contentless pages on Appropedia - some blank, some with a tiny amount of content that's not useful. Richard pointed out Special:ShortPages, very useful for finding blanked and otherwise useless pages. So I went through and I've deleted a bunch (more than 100), and turned a few into acceptable stub articles, but there are many more. Please have a look through ShortPages and see if you can turn any of them into actual articles.

Some of the ones that are left are ones I found ambiguous - I checked the history of each before I deleted, and sometimes it seemed like a good page had been blanked, sometimes by the author. Not sure why - maybe a student who wasn't proud of their work? Some of the pages are leftover from moves that were done with copy-paste. Sometimes I make a redirect but I don't worry too much - there's a search function for people to use.

Just wanted to give a heads-up, and to invite feedback, esp if you think we're on the wrong track. --Chriswaterguy 20:58, 7 January 2012 (PST)

An "Attic" for dubious articles

Speaking of deleting pages... Where there's any ambiguity about deleting a page, but the page is not suitable in its current form, one option is the Russian Wikipedia solution. That is, all unsuitable pages, e.g. about someone's cat, get moved to a namespace meant for that purpose. The pages can be recovered later - e.g. if the cat becomes famous, in Wikipedia's case ;-). For our case, we could move such pages to Appropedia:Attic/PAGENAME. Just an idea.

Another way is to move the article to someone's userspace. But the advantage of the "Attic" is that anyone can browse all such articles if they want.

Either way, best practice would be to uncheck the box to create a redirect when moving. If the page isn't very good, we don't want to direct people there from mainspace.

Maybe I'm thinking too much... anyway, please comment if you have preferences either way. And... happy new year! --Chriswaterguy 20:58, 7 January 2012 (PST)

To me, the "Attic" sounds a lot like the Wikipedia:Wikipedia:Article Incubator - a place for nonindexed pages deemed worthy of further work before returning them to article space. All this raises three basic questions for me. What are the criteria for userfying a page? What are the criteria for throwing a page into the Attic/Incubator? Most importantly, what are the criteria for a page to remain in article space? The more I play Surprise me! the more I think there very easily could be (put your number here) of articles that wouldn't meet even basic criteria for inclusion in article space, and iffy in Attic/Incubator space. What this says to me is Appropedia article space absolutely could use some cleaning up, one way or another. --RichardF 17:17, 8 January 2012 (PST)

New skin

I have been playing with Richard's new vector based skin for Apropedia. It rocks! If you want to play with it as well, copy the code from his page at User:RichardF/vector.css to your own vector.css page at Special:Mypage/vector.css and then select the vector skin from your "Appearance" preferences at Special:Preferences.

So far, I have only found a few issues.

  1. External links are missing the arrow that denotes an external link. For example - should have an arrow after it.
  2. On mobile devices the read tab is cut off (tried with a few resolutions and devices). This is not a high priority fix and would be partially mitigated by the mobile skin we are working on.
  3. We need to add in the google translate, facebook like (and maybe share) and google plus features. We probably can do this through common.css as shown at for the FB and Google+ features.

Has anyone found any other issues? I want to make this change by Monday, if there are no objections.

Thank you! --Lonny 15:54, 10 January 2012 (PST)

Hi Lonny, thanks. Issues like #1 were because the original css skin files use abbreviated subpage versions of the image urls. So, any links I didn't make full length (like the external link icon) broke when I moved the css file to my (your) area. I updated all those links in the user versions I saw, so that issue should be okay for testing now. I don't know about issues 2 and 3. The changeover would mostly amount to changing a few html color codes, copying over the new green images to the main images folder, and making those Google updates. --RichardF
I've come across a minor issue with the Vector skin, but it's not unique to my changes. The search inputbox is in basic mode and it doesn't seem to respond to any changes. When I reviewed the Wikipedia:Wikipedia:Catalogue of CSS classes, I still couldn't find any code to make the Vector search box look like it does there. But oddly enough, (because I used full-length image urls) when I copied my vector.css code to my corresponding Wikipedia page, the search box color changes worked there! Try it yourself if you want to see what it should look like!  ;-) --RichardF 13:23, 11 January 2012 (PST)
Hi Richard,
Sorry, my brain is working slow right now. Where/how should I be checking the search inputbox (I tried Books)? Thanks, --Lonny 19:50, 11 January 2012 (PST)
Hi Lonny, for the Vector skin, the "Search Appro/Wikipedia" box is in the upper right-hand corner of each page, just below "My watchlist." On Appropedia, it's a white box with the "Go" and "Search" buttons. On Wikipedia, it's a box with a color gradient background, the disappearing word, "Search" and a magnifying glass icon inside it. Nothing I do to the css search code changes anything on Appropedia. When I add the exact, same code to my Wikipedia vector.css page, the colors change to green. I don't know where whatever is different about Appropedia's setup disables the Vector search box styles. --RichardF 20:16, 11 January 2012 (PST)
I can't remember but I think the combined search box thingy is a function of either the vector usbility extension or the search extension they are using --Tahnok 19:55, 19 January 2012 (PST)
Thanks! If you can pin down where the code is and if we need to add something, that sure would help.  :-) --RichardF 04:07, 20 January 2012 (PST)

[Untabing] That would be in Extension:Vector which I would recommend installing for the myriad of usability enhancements it brings to Vector --Tahnok 20:47, 21 January 2012 (PST)

Sounds good to me! I second the motion! :-) --RichardF 21:09, 21 January 2012 (PST)

Article feedback tool

A new version of the article feedback tool is being tried on Wikipedia (about 0.3%): mw:Extension:ArticleFeedbackv5. I'd really like to try this out. Thoughts, before we get an intern or someone else in the tech team to test it out? --Chriswaterguy 15:58, 20 January 2012 (PST)

How do you want Appropedia to use the feedback? :-) --RichardF 12:56, 21 January 2012 (PST)

Stanford Takes Online Schooling To The Next Academic Level

Here's an interesting news story worth noting.  :-)

Over the past six months, [Sebastian] Thrun has spent roughly $200,000 of his own money and lined up venture capital to create Udacity, a new online institution of higher learning independent of Stanford. "We are committed to free online education for everybody."

Udacity is announcing two new classes on Monday. One will teach students to build their own search engine and the other how to program a self-driving car. Eventually, the founders hope to offer a full slate of classes in computer science.

— National Public Radio: All Tech Considered, January 23, 2012, Stanford Takes Online Schooling To The Next Academic Level

--RichardF 12:39, 24 January 2012 (PST)


I dont know if Appropedia has dealt with this before - but what is the policy on weapons? I realize that any technology can be used for good or bad -- but some clearly have a more likely use for bad...e.g. blackpowder. Yes there are lots of places on the internet or in most libraries you could get this information - and yes there are plenty of legitimate appropriate tech uses for it (e.g removing tree stumps). Do we ever draw the line? E.g. is it ok to post how to make a pipe bomb for removing tree stumps? or the plans to make a dirty bomb in order to create a wildlife refuge? Recently thingiverse had a similar problem as people started uploading components for automatic weapons. It is kind of a sad commentary on that state of humanity that this is even something we need to think about. However, appropedia and the web in general are made up of very diverse political viewpoints. I think we should carefully consider having some clear policy. comment by Fixer, 29 January 2012.

Excellent question. It's a tough question, but my leaning is not to allow information on weapons. I'm normally not a fan of censorship, but I don't think weapons fit well with the aims of Appropedia. --Chriswaterguy 09:53, 15 February 2012 (PST)

Speculative and potentially dangerous content

How should we deal with speculative content? What if it's for potentially dangerous applications, such as designing microlights and other aircraft?

I've moved some content of this type to userspace, and deleted some content that I was particularly concerned about. See the discussion at User talk:KVDP #Your autogyro and User talk:Chriswaterguy #Aircraft images for some of my reasoning.

But I'd like to know what you, fellow Appropedians, think about this. (Be bold is a great policy, but I try to be less bold with admin actions.). --Chriswaterguy 21:03, 23 February 2012 (PST)

My first question would be about the legal implications. Aviation is heavily regulated in most civilized countries, so we'd have to avoid steering anyone in an illegal direction. My second question would be about whether the technology in question makes any attempt to be sustainable. Powered flight in its current form is (probably) the branch of transport technology most dependent on fossil fuels, in particular liquid fuels from petroleum. Powered flight places severe demands on the energy storage to weight ratio of an energy carrier. Flying is one of the most unsustainable activities an ordinary person might engage in. If Appropedia is going to promote any kind of flying, it should not rely on burning fossil fuels. Unless someone has figured out a way to do that, I think we have an endless number of more appropriate and sustainable things to write about. --Teratornis 20:53, 28 August 2012 (PDT)
Great points. If someone has designs for a solar and/or human powered aircraft that has actually flown, I'd be happy to see this on Appropedia (with a big safety disclaimer, of course, plus something about regulatory issues). Then we're talking demonstration technology rather than practical transport solutions, but these things have value in technological development. --Chriswaterguy 02:31, 11 September 2012 (PDT)

"Create a page" link in sidebar

I added a Create a page link to the sidebar. That will hopefully lower the barrier-of-confusion for newbies.

It might increase spam and crap as well - let's keep an eye on that, and consider placing a notice on the "create a page" page to ask people to think twice. (Won't reduce spam, but might reduce random junk.) I'll add a link to the sandbox, for now. --Chriswaterguy 10:12, 3 March 2012 (PST)

URL to black list

There has been a lot of spam pointing to www DOT bigfreddy DOT com/nl/foto/aluminium/foto . Perhaps a domain we could blacklist? --Tahnok 07:19, 12 March 2012 (PDT)

Thanks. I hadn't noticed that, or your comment, till now. I can't see any reason for anyone to post links to that site, on Appropedia, so I added the whole domain to MediaWiki:Spam-blacklist. I think the best approach is to use your judgement (since you have edit permissions for the blacklist) - we can always revert if there's a problem. --Chriswaterguy 04:11, 15 August 2012 (PDT)

Capitals in titles - change the convention?

I'm seeing a lot of new pages - often really great new pages, like Freeplay Fetal Heart Rate Monitor‎ - go up with each word capitalized. Maybe we should make that the convention from now on.

The guideline I was using was:

  • All lower case for topic pages (except proper nouns, and except the first letter of the title, which is case insensitive)
  • Capitalized words okay for project names, business names, etc.

But... whichever we do, we'll have to explain it and enforce it sometimes. And people will figure out the policy by looking at how other pages are named. So there's a good argument for going with the simplest naming convention that we can. And that would be: Capitalize every word, like Water Purification by the Ecosystem or Freeplay Fetal Heart Rate Monitor‎.

Make sense? Feel free to shoot it down, as long as we come to a consensus. The lack of consistency is bugging me, and looks unprofessional IMO. --Chriswaterguy 10:46, 14 March 2012 (PDT)

Sounds like a good naming convention to me, but I am not strongly attached to this point of view. --13:37, 14 March 2012 (PDT)
I just thought of a problem, though - if we do this, then the natural way to link to articles would be with the capitalized titles - including "Water Treatment" and "Poverty Alleviation", which in regular English would not be capitalized and it Just Looks Odd. Then there's the question of whether all headings within pages would be capitalized in the same way.
That makes me lean towards sticking with lower case as default for topic articles. But whatever we do, I'd like us to be clear on it, so we can start applying the policy and get a consistent look. (And it's not just the look - it's harder to link to articles if you can't predict how they're capitalized.) --Chriswaterguy 12:24, 17 March 2012 (PDT)

The fundamental issue here seems to be the disconnect between two basic title capitalization styles - Wikipedia sentence caps vs. academic/publication title caps. Wikipedia uses sentence caps style because that makes it easier to wikilink titles (and headings) within articles. Some folks here use title caps style because, well, they can...and they like it for one reason or another.

Appropedia does have something, but not much to say on the title capitalization style topic. As a voluntary guideline, "Follow Naming conventions. In short: Don’t use capital letters, except for the very first letter (and that's automatic, anyway); except for proper names (people, places, organizations)." The more detailed proposed guideline suggests, "Page names in Appropedia should: have only the first letter of the first word capitalized, e.g. Appropriate technology, unless it is: a proper name, the name of an organization, the title of a publication."

With no policy here about title capitalization style, it's hard to say what they actually should look like. The publication title capitalization style, when applicable, makes sense to me. A broader, academic paper capitalization style also makes sense to me for projects and other course-based pages. The rub, of course, is managing any policy or guideline, especially if it would require extensive changes to existing pages and practices.

My preference for a general writing style policy, or at least a guideline would be to say Appropedia adopts the Wikipedia Manual of Style by reference, with exceptions. This would mean that, unless an explicit exception is noted, e.g., title capitalization style for publications, the Wikipedia Manual of Style applies to Appropedia. --RichardF 20:55, 30 March 2012 (PDT)

Service learning pages - have a look over

I've been working on Appropedia:Service learning and related pages. I've been wanting to do a big push on service learning, including recruiting interns, and fixing up these pages will help a lot with presenting what we do.

It would be fantastic if anyone could look over the page, see if it makes sense, and give feedback or improve the wording, or perhaps make the navigation template nicer & more compact, or help to work on the section on relevant areas of study (currently headed Science, engineering, health and humanities).

I have other work to focus on for a few days - will be back on this task after that. --Chriswaterguy 21:13, 16 March 2012 (PDT)

(Cough, cough.) As I say, feedback or edits would be appreciated on the pages related to Appropedia service learning. ;). Thanks! --Chriswaterguy 02:04, 19 March 2012 (PDT)

Fair use for user pages

I put a {{fair use}} tag on Media:Cthulhu-challenge.jpg - there's no justification for the image other than personal expression... but considering the internet runs on almost indiscriminate sharing of images, I'm thinking we could expand "fair use" here to include personal expression on user pages. Thoughts? --Chriswaterguy 02:00, 19 March 2012 (PDT)

Faith, science & herbs

Perhaps someone who knows more about herbalism could comment... if we remove the stuff in Moonbased homemade herbal tinctures which is to be taken on faith, is anything left? I have no doubt that herbs have beneficial powers, but (A) what those powers are is not a simple question, and a scientific approach is best, and (B) I strongly suspect the moon-based aspect of it is a baseless belief. --Chriswaterguy 12:05, 30 March 2012 (PDT)

Approforce! (Really?)

A question from our Facebook page - answer either here or there: What should we call a collaboration by a group of editors to improve a certain area of Appropedia, or to do a certain kind of task? This would help people know what needs work and what other people are up to, and provide a place to discuss strategy.

Not many answers yet, but the most popular suggestions so far are Approcolab and Approforce. Not sure if I can make the question visible to non-FB users, so here's the full list:

  • ApproCoLab
  • Approjam
  • Approclean
  • Collabropedia
  • DiaT
  • Approforce
  • Approject
  • Approlab
  • Approteam
  • Collaboration
  • ApproProject
  • MetaProject
  • WikiProject

I added Approforce, thinking that if I added something deliberately bad, others would come up with something better. Maybe it's not that bad... or maybe it really is. (Reminds me of the cry of "G-Force" from Battle of the Planets - showing my age...) Please vote & comment. --Chriswaterguy 06:18, 8 May 2012 (PDT)

Recent changes IRC channel

I have set up an IRC channel with recent changes, similar to those which Wikimedia Foundation runs for its wikis. So you can hang your bots or yourself there now and follow happenings on Appropedia in real time.

Similarly to Wikimedia channels, only Recent changes bot ([appropedia-rc]) can post on channel.

If you encounter any weirdness, feel free to contact me either via email or directly on IRC.

Enjoy the new way to follow Appropedia!

Danny B. 07:58, 23 May 2012 (PDT)

Thanks Danny!
A general notice: The #appropedia channel is also active. A:IRC gives instructions on joining (using your browser at or using a client such as Pidgin, Chatzilla or xchat. Danny B., Amgine, Tahnok & I are often there. --Chriswaterguy 20:52, 9 June 2012 (PDT)

Online schools

Here's a site many of us here might find interesting.

Online Schools - Who We Are
"Online Schools aims to be the premier portal for online education on the web. Our goal is not to revolutionize the concept of education, but rather to help bring people into the 21st century in terms of the way they perceive learning. Education is no longer simply about teachers and textbooks. In today's Internet age, education is now about infographics, blogs, e-books, web articles, YouTube, Wikipedia, and so much more. Thus, we at Online Schools do not propose to revolutionize education itself, but rather, we strive to revolutionize the way people think about and approach education.

"That said, first and foremost, we do believe that all individuals should have a strong foundation in traditional learning, evidenced by our emphasis on providing honest, up-to-date and readily available information on accredited online schools."

United States Schools Directory
"Our Schools Directory is, in our opinion, the best online [United States] colleges and universities resource available anywhere on the web. Hundreds of Online Schools staff members have put in thousands of hours to compile the scores of information needed to create this unparalleled database.

"Our unique and fully comprehensive database provides you with valuable information about every online program that is offered at every school in every state across the nation in the following categories: Online Certificate Programs, Online Certification, Online Training Programs, Online Associates Degree Programs, Online Bachelors Degree Programs, Online Masters Degree Programs, Online MBA Programs and Online PhD Programs.

"You no longer need to waste your time trying to figure out how best to search for the most accurate or relevant information on the subject you are interested in studying. Simply use our directory, choosing your state and start browsing through the list of schools that offer pertinent online educational options. If your course of study exists in an online format, you will find it here, guaranteed."

--RichardF 06:13, 13 July 2012 (PDT)

TOCbox template

Here's a new template - {{TOCbox}} - that can come in handy for pages, like this one, with long tables of contents. Among other things, you can set the width and height of this TOC-right-in-a-box. The default size is auto width and 500px high, about 25 lines. The optional parameters are listed below.

Simple version
Optional paramaters
 |width=auto - can be % or px
 |height=auto - can be px, 500px = about 25 lines
 |font-size=96% - can be px
 |border-color=#A3BFA3 - can be name

Let me know if this template needs tweaking. --RichardF 13:12, 20 July 2012 (PDT)

I added the scrolling box feature to {{TOC right}}, making the new template unnecessary. This way, the new box capabilities already are added to existing {{TOC right}} pages. --RichardF 09:33, 21 July 2012 (PDT)

After looking at some pages using {{TOC right}}, I changed the box default height to auto, so that short TOCs don't have lots of white space below them. The height still can be set for long TOCs to keep their display within the viewing window. --RichardF 13:01, 21 July 2012 (PDT)

Accessibility note: This approach creates various accessibility issues. TOC is one of the most important parts of pages used for people with disabilities to navigate on page comfortably and this lowers down the comfort or in certain cases almost disables this navigation. Furthermore, on keyboard-less devices, such as tablets, scrollbar of scrolling area is not being displayed, so one may think that the TOC has say 25 items, while it has 50, but those are hidden and no indication of it. If I may suggest, I would strongly discourage you from using this approach.
Kind regards
Danny B. 13:10, 21 July 2012 (PDT)
Okay. I already changed to default height back to auto. Having over 25 TOC items causes it's own problems. --RichardF 13:49, 21 July 2012 (PDT)
Time to do some archiving. Wiki talk pages are messy - I want us to get some funding to put in either a forum that integrates well with MediaWiki, or a native wiki forum like DPLforum LiquidThreads. (User:JRWR insists he's ironed the bugs out of LiquidThreads on his wiki.) --Chriswaterguy 00:13, 5 August 2012 (PDT)

News for editors

Here's a nice idea: Wiktionary:News for editors. "This page keeps editors abreast of recent clarifications of or changes to policy or best current practice, major changes to templates, and the like."

It could also give news on new or lesser-known features and tools. For us, the news could include:

  • Special:ReplaceText - tell an admin if there's a correction to be made on many wiki pages
  • Semantic MediaWiki. (It would be great to have a simple example of "how you can use Semantic MediaWiki on Appropedia. I haven't learnt to use it yet, other than in the Medical devices area where it's already been set up.)
  • Widgets).
  • {{notice}} and {{slim notice}} allowing you to create a notice with any text and a choice of colors and widths.
  • {{attrib}}
  • {{TOC right}}

First draft at Appropedia:News for editors. I need to attend to other things... I might do something in a few weeks if no one beats me to it. I'd be very happy if someone takes it on :-). --Chriswaterguy 00:29, 5 August 2012 (PDT)

Let's have a monthly meeting - 2nd Sunday of the month?

See Appropedia:IRC #Regular meetings.

2nd Sunday of the month, 10pm UTC. I think that's 3pm PDT (US Pacific Coast), and 8am Mon AEST (Australia).

Who's interested? --Chriswaterguy 04:24, 5 August 2012 (PDT)

Sounds good to me! (5pm EST) --Tahnok 13:16, 5 August 2012 (PDT)
Great! Let's start this month - Sunday 12 August (Monday morning in Asia/Australia/NZ). --Chriswaterguy 10:16, 6 August 2012 (PDT)

Some article Renaming

Although I allready did a lot of work on it, there are still significant issues with vegetable oil as fuel and, Waste vegetable oil, Pure plant oil as fuel. I would propose to rename vegetable oil as fuel to Plant oil as fuel, Waste vegetable oil to Waste plant oil as fuel. The vegetable oil as fuel/Plant oil as fuel can then mention both (PPO and WPO), giving a reason of existance to this article. Another thing I'd like to see renamed is Vegetable oils and fats, can we rename this to Plant oils and fat I saw the term allready being used at , and I feel that besides being more logical (as the oils aren't derived from vegetables), it will also increase traffick to the articles since it's immediatelly clear it isn't a copy of the -similarly named- wikipedia article. Let me know whether someone else or I can change the names, after that I can clean it up and add additional info

Can btw a Green tuning category be created at Portal:Green_living ? I'm especially thinking of placing and in this category after we added a list of commercial companies distributing conversion kits for both. 01:28, 6 August 2012 (PDT) aka User:KVDP

Hello yeah nice work :) I largely agree with your proposals - possibly 'used cooking oils' rather than 'waste plant oils' (in my mind a better description + helps to make it not be thought of as waste)

Hmm, used cooking oils sounds good, but then perhaps not only cooking oils may be reused ? Also, the short for it would be UCO, which sounds weird, and far-off from WVO, WPO (waste plant oils) is closer to this more commonly used term.

I think there can be problems with listing kit vendors - I'll put something on the appropriate talk pages about this. Think you may have kicked me back into doing some more work on the biofuels portal :) --Darren 04:51, 13 August 2012 (PDT)

Hi Darren, you can contact me further via my user page (user:KVDP). I see that you worked on something called the Open Biofuel Engine. Perhaps we can work on this further, I allready have a 3D design of a line engine (gasoline) which can run on several fuels. I think that by just integrating compression ignition rather than using spark plugs we can make it a "diesel engine" for running on biofuels. 08:33, 14 August 2012 (PDT)


I recently became more and more aware that the development of projects does not happen with a same pace as the development of articles. In addition, we often have several similar projects (for example several designs of chicken coops, ...). I am thinking that projects are being worked out more rapidly as the wiki itself as students at Humboldt probably get points for their project design (and for them, it thus helps to keep the project simple), but not really for articles not do they get extra credits for making their project really useful. I think it may be beneficial that other people would suggest projects (and perhaps articles) that are more meaningful/useful in the intrest of our mission. For example:

  • LV/HV transformer construction manual; see
  • ISF rice huller 3D model (I still have 3D components from ISF, but the full thing still needs to be made
  • manual oil presses (for extracting vegetable oil), ie the Journeytoforever presses, see
  • a open-design hot plate (cooker) design
  • a open-design diesel engine capable of running on vegetable oil (see ). The engine should have push rods, carburetter (no direct injection), perhaps base the PPO-system on the lovecraft biofuels system (simple, few parts)
  • a open-design airoponics or air-dynaponics system (see ). This system should be replicatable in any nation (so using parts that can be ordered/attained in any country)
  • a open-design (micro)turbine
  • a 2-door design (doors with mosquito netting, hence screens) to keep out mosquitoes. It's similar in operation as a cleanroom
  • A page on practical oxyhydrogen production for energy purposes, and perhaps production of the other zero-emission fuels aswell (ie biohydrogen, methane, ...)
  • a design for a AT pulse jet (+turbine), for incinerating fuels more efficiently in combination with a fuel-based (preferably) or steam-based turbine
  • ... 10:47, 12 August 2012 (PDT), aka User:KVDP

Re "the development of projects does not happen with a same pace as the development of articles." True.
"In addition, we often have several similar projects (for example several designs of chicken coops, ...)." Also true - eventually I think we'd have categories for them - or else we'd manage this somehow with A:Semantic MediaWiki.
"I am thinking that projects are being worked out more rapidly as the wiki itself as students at Humboldt probably get points for their project design" - yes. Also at MTU and sometimes other universities - see Category:Service learning.

Also sometimes for articles - see Category:JMC330 International Mass Communication.

"I think it may be beneficial that other people would suggest projects (and perhaps articles) that are more meaningful/useful in the intrest of our mission." I agree - it's a matter of how to do it. I've used the {{sp}} tag to add ideas to Category:Suggested projects (not very elegant, but it's the best I've managed to do within the wiki.) I don't think any of them have been taken up, but if we have a lot of students involved, looking for projects, more might happen. If we have a kind of advisory board making their suggestions for key areas to develop, that might get some more attention (in addition to community suggestions, of course).
My conclusion is that we'd benefit from having a lot more classes involved. This is one of my goals, but I get sidetracked with doing day-to-day things on the wiki. I'm narrowing my focus, though, and I'll see what I can do in the next couple of months, together with anyone else interested in this. --Chriswaterguy 05:34, 20 August 2012 (PDT)

Practical Plants

Hello Appropedia community! I'd like to share with you the launch of a new semantic wiki for the permaculture community: Practical Plants.

It's an open (creative commons licensed) collaboratively edited plant encyclopedia and database, with a strong emphasis on practical horticulture. It currently covers: design functions, edible, material and medicinal uses, plant interactions (beneficial or detrimental), guilds/polycultures, ecosystem layer, cultivars and subspecies, problems & pests, crop harvest and storage, environmental tolerances & preferences, and of course propagation and cultivation information. We currently have over 7000 plant articles with full data from an import of the CC licensed PFAF database.

While I'm a keep permaculture practitioner, we chose to keep the scope to general organic agriculture to make it as accessible as possible to all interested in growing their own food with organic methods, but much of the data (eg. design functions, plant interactions, ecosystem layer) is of particular interest to practitioners of permaculture and agroforestry.

I'm the web developer behind the project, so here's a bit of technical information for those of you interested (skip to the next paragraph otherwise!). It's built on Semantic MediaWiki just like Appropedia, making heavy use of Semantic Forms to make all articles edible without having to know a jot of wiki markup. All plant data is stored as semantic properties and so all plants are searchable by their properties (eg. filter for all plants which tolerate very acid soil and permanent shade). Furthermore, plants are interlinked to form an intricate web of relationships using semantic sub-objects and intermediary pages, allowing data and descriptive text to be stored about the link (eg. Plant A has a positive impact on Plant B because it is a pest confuser). Polycultures/guilds are stored as articles in their own right, with property links to the plant articles.

I'm a big fan of the Appropedia mission - I'm a huge proponent of the freedom of information, which is the reason we set off on the mission to create Practical Plants earlier this year.

I'm interested in ways our projects can work together. Practical Plants has a very specific focus and as such there are times that plant data raises questions which are outside of the scope of Practical Plants to answer. Eg. We define terms like Nitrogen fixer, Mineral accumulator etc, but we think it is outside of the scope of Practical Plants to discuss why these things are so important, what role they fulfil within an integrated permaculture system, etc. Likewise, the extremely specific functionality required to maintain a thorough plant database is hard to fit within a wiki with a much larger scope like Appropedia. I'd be very interested in exploring inter-wiki links and any forms of mutual co-operation you might have to propose.

Andru Vallance Practical Plants and Cernunnos

Thanks Andru.
To update others - Andru & I have been emailing, and chatting on IRC, about how we can work together. The Practical Plants wiki is a great effort - very nice looking, with Semantic MediaWiki. We know from experience that making a successful new wiki is very hard, but Andru is placed better than most because he's obviously very technically competent, and passionate.
As for working together, we discussed jointly approaching PFAF about using the more open CC-by-sa license, and I think we discussed interlinking. Both those make sense.
"the extremely specific functionality required to maintain a thorough plant database is hard to fit within a wiki with a much larger scope like Appropedia" - could you explain what you mean, Andru? I see some cool technical features on your wiki, but I don't see anything that would cause a problem if implemented with our content.
As we discussed, my own preference is to share skills and create a single wiki. Linking articles within a wiki is elegant - it's what wikis are meant to do, and a big wiki enables a wonderful ability to click from one interesting article to another, to another... Linking between wikis is not the same; also, there will inevitably be replication. I'm also not sure if it's realistic to have two wikis with a single community - I've never heard of such a thing. So I've laid my cards on the table, and it's something we can revisit down the track if appropriate, but we can start collaborating in other ways in the meantime.
And it's after midnight here, so thank you again, and goodnight. --Chriswaterguy 07:46, 14 August 2012 (PDT)
Hi Chris & The Appropedia Community,
Technically, there aren't any huge problems integrating something like Practical Plants into another wiki. I've developed a number of custom extensions to enable some of the functionality there, and it uses a huge number of semantic properties and templates to render articles, but these would only provide an inconvenience to maintain within a larger wiki, not a barrier.
When I refer to the difficulties of maintaining a plants wiki-base within a larger wiki I'm referring to what I envision would be an organisacional difficulty and a lack of clarity over what something like Practical Plants is within a larger wiki. Practical Plants, for example, encourages through it's heavy use of forms a rigid article format. In many ways it is a wiki pretending to be a database. While users are able to use wikitext in form sections, they can only really append free-style wiki text to the end of the article. I think there could be a great deal of confusion in embedding a rigid database within a free-format wiki.
Another important point for me is the branding. To attract the audience Practical Plants will require to build it, a separate and clearly defined identity is essential. It must be broad enough to attract gardeners of all types. I think this would be lost when embedded in another wiki. While there may be some cross over, I think there will be distinct contributors to broader sustainability/permaculture subjects and to plant articles. I believe we can attract an audience of contributors with the brand we have. I think it would be more difficult as a section of a more general wiki.
I agree that the points you raised are potential benefits - a united community, easier inter-article linking, and so on. I believe, if we wanted to, there are ways those issues can be solved. For example, Practical Plants does not use the mediawiki userbase. I have created a Single-Sign-On (SSO) solution to share user accounts between our community forum, our wiki, and our blog. One account gives you access to all three pieces of software. I'm currently working on the ability for users to build points and achieve "roles" based on their contributions. Furthermore you can login via OpenID, Facebook, Google, etc... This could easily be extended to work with other wiki's, allowing a single community of users to edit multiple wikis and access a shared forum with a single account. It's certainly technologically feasible.
I'm interested in exploring the idea of a future united sustainability/permaculture brand, providing a single-sign-on throughout a number of websites, and allowing navigation between them (eg. through a mast-head which resides above all sites).
For now though, there are ways we could improve inter-wiki linking if desired. I could pen an extension, for example, which could provide a link with context on the receiving site (eg. a link from Appropedia > Practical Plants produces a bar which stays at the top or bottom of the browser pane with the message "You came here from Appropedia. Click here to return to ARTICLE NAME" and visa-versa. Furthermore, you could embed a subset of data from Practical Plants within a plant article on Appropedia with a "View more details on Practical Plants" link. At the moment, the license Practical Plants has for data doesn't allow this, but there are ways we can work on that as Chris stated.
We don't want to push PFAF yet on license data. Practical Plants is very new and we'd like our initial relations with PFAF to be open and free of pressure. We'll leave that subject open for now to revisit in the near future.
I'm interested in being involved in the ongoing development of the permaculture section of this wiki and finding ways which the two wiki's can co-operate and integrate both now and in the future. At present, I think it is in the best interests of Practical Plants to retain it's brand and separation of content.

"No ads" template - {{subst:no ads}}

There have been some advertising links on wastewater related pages occasionally e.g. Septic tanks and Wastewater treatment effluent. They're on topic, but they don't add anything useful to the page. I've gone through and check, and removed the ones without value, and on those two pages I've now added a hidden notice in the links section, visible when someone edits the page or section:

<!-- NOTE: PLEASE DO NOT ADD LINKS UNLESS THEY CONTAIN USEFUL INFORMATION. Commercial links will be promptly deleted *UNLESS* they contain useful information about the subject. -->

To make it easier to add this, I've made a template, {{no ads}}, which has the above message. But, IMPORTANT NOTE: it must be "substituted" in like so:

{{subst:no ads}}

That will permanently change it from a template to the text itself. Otherwise the message won't be visible.

I hope that's useful. --Chriswaterguy 01:28, 15 August 2012 (PDT)

Recent changes patrol - call for patrollers

I've just posted Tools for wiki spam warriors on the Appropedia Blog. Highlighted tools:

For admins: A great and easy way to help is to keep an eye on the NewestPages. The spam articles are easy to spot by their titles. User pages need to be eyeballed.

For everyone: Keep an eye on changes by new and anonymous users. This is also good for spotting comments by visitors, difficulties faced by newbies, and good edits by newbies that we can say thanks for.

For IRC-using super-geeks: Danny B. set up a real time recent changes channel on IRC (that link might work if you have an IRC client installed - see A:IRC for help), and he's been deleting spam that he spots this way.

For me: There's a spam filter which I maintain, checking and tweaking to ensure we keep blocking most of the spam before it hits the wiki, but avoid blocking good edits. If you notice any new patterns in the spam that's getting through, please let me know the details. I'm also happy to collaborate if someone else knows regex and wants to help write the filters.

I'm cutting back my spam patrol hours to do meta-Appropedia work like the internship program and fundraiser that I've been wanting to work on - I'll only do the spam filter from now on, and trust that the community can mop up the spam that sneaks by the filter. Thanks! --Chriswaterguy 05:16, 15 August 2012 (PDT)

Appropedia manual of style

I'd like to see a consistent way of formatting Appropedia, and it would be great if we could decide on a few issues. None of them are huge issues, but we need to decide one way or another.

I know one source of inconsistency is that some of us are following Wikipedia standards based on their Manual of style, and others of us are following academic journal style guides. We won't resolve this in one discussion, but maybe we can start by discussing these few issues:

  • Titles - plural or singular?: I pushed for plurals in the beginning, and that's become the default for some of us. But sometimes I think my original idea was daft. There are some words where the plural isn't obvious (E.g. is it technology, as an uncountable noun, or technologies?)
  • Template names: I use all lower case and don't run words together, which makes sense to me. If we do them all in one reasonably logical way, it'll be easier to remember when we go to use a template.
  • Headers at the beginning of articles, e.g. Introduction, Background, Definition, Abstract, or a header that's identical to the page title. I think the pages will be clearer if we remove these, and that would bring the first sentences closer to the top of the page (by dropping the table of contents lower down as well as by losing the header). But journal papers are required to have a header for the intro, I think. Thoughts? One idea: Avoid the headers and have an exception for journal articles (& drafts & submissions).
  • Category tag placement: Categories are usually placed at the end and I find that best and least distracting. Sometimes I see them at the top - am I going to offend anyone if I run a bot to move them all to the bottom?

Thoughts, suggestions? Even if you think "fine" or "don't care", leave a comment so I know you don't have objections. Thanks! --Chriswaterguy 02:53, 11 September 2012 (PDT)

I've expanded on these at Appropedia:Manual of style‎. Please indulge my pedantry briefly, and comment there or on its talk page as appropriate. Consistency will make Appropedia more usable and more pleasant to use. --Chriswaterguy 01:39, 30 January 2013 (PST)

Portals and taskbar

We need to make the wikipedia more simple to navigate. see User_talk:Chriswaterguy#Portals_and_taskbar for some ideas Let's discuss which things we can change, and against what there are objections. KVDP 00:34, 10 October 2012 (PDT)

Appropedia Jam

A bunch of us are getting together online in a few hours (and in real life, if you're in Arcata) for an Appropedia Jam. I'm really looking forward to it.

See the Appropedia Jam page for details, and check the time in your timezone (e.g. 11 pm Sunday Oct 14 in London, 3pm US Pacific coast, 9am Mon 15th in Sydney).

Two things we're still working on:

  • There's a countdown timer on that page, which hopefully will work properly - it seems to not update if you revisit the page, until you click the "refresh" link next to the countdown.
  • We could do this regularly, but how about we have two times, and alternate between them? One month we do a time that's ideal for the US and Western Europe, the next month do one that's need to find a better time for other parts of the world. This time, 1am will be hard for Kili in Tanzania, and Monday morning isn't great for most of us in Australia and Asia! --Chriswaterguy 20:28, 13 October 2012 (PDT)

Talk page discussions

It's currently hard to know when someone's left a question or comment on a talk page (or, more rarely, on a Category talk/Original talk/Portal talk page). Let's make a section here for any discussions or questions that we find. Just add to the list, with or without a description of the question/discussion. (This is a stop-gap measure - I'm looking forward to getting an better solution.)

Please respond to these discussions at the relevant page, and not here. --Chriswaterguy 05:21, 23 October 2012 (PDT)

porting wikipedia templates

I have been porting a bunch of wikipedia templates over to get the nice table in the Arduino article. Tried to get the in to mm conversion working but getting errors -- if anyone that is more familiar with templates could have a look - it would be most appreciated. --Joshua 19:18, 2 January 2013 (PST)

The conversions appear to be working now. It just needed a few more templates. :-) --RichardF 17:56, 12 March 2013 (PDT)

suggestion for appropedia collaboration effort for 2013

I have been talking to Chris about an idea I've had for a direction we might consider for 2013. I thought it might be useful for me to try to explain it here.

I think it might be useful to collaborate to assess low-tech sanitation systems, particularly with regard to their effectiveness and safety. There is a lot of technical information around the internet, but this is often hard to find and rarely subject to intense criticism. If we could collate the information - particularly if we can encourage different experts to edit and discuss - I think his would be the start of an evidence-based toolkit for practitioners to understand interventions. Joeturner 06:57, 14 January 2013 (PST)

Thanks for the initiative, Joe.
This fits with work that HSU is doing with Appropedia, under Lonny's direction. I'm sure they'll continue to contribute good info.
From my experience, the way to really get Appropedia growing in a particular area is to recruit an academic to using Appropedia with their class. A focus on critical thinking and assessment will certainly appeal to some instructors - as well as being the right direction for Appropedia, IMO. --Chriswaterguy 02:57, 6 February 2013 (PST)
I really like this idea and love the work that Joeturner has been doing already. I will be on the look out for a teacher/class or business that would be into this and would love to hear ideas from Joe. thanks, --Lonny 18:47, 12 February 2013 (PST)

Requsting main page redesign

Hi I have created Appropedia:User experience/MainPageRedesign5 to test out a new look for the main page I would like to include it in the main page please it has a new disgn and some more information added to it and I would like to also ask could this website have a minor disgn change by adding the serve bar to the top of the website and suggest coming down from when your typing please and would like you to make this website other available languages and could you allow people by putting for example in an article en: or fr: to link it to the languages available to that article just like Wikipedia does please User555 16:17, 12 February 2013 (PST)

Hi User555
Thank you for all your work on templates and the main page update. There a few easy items left to change there, e.g. the links to recent deaths and news shouldn't be there, the portals should link to actual portals, and a section for announcements is probably still needed.
Regarding a serve bar... i am not sure what you are referring to
Regarding separate languages the way wikipedia does it... we hope to have that complete in less than one month
Thanks again, --Lonny 18:43, 12 February 2013 (PST)
hi I have done a minor change to it I have added announcements I have also created in the news User555 01:07, 13 February 2013 (PST)
Hi. I am sorry, I think we have a misunderstanding. I will try to be more clear:
  • There should not be a section for news.
  • The section for announcements looks great.
  • The portals in the header should lead to actual portals.
Does that make more sense?
Thank you, --Lonny 21:15, 13 February 2013 (PST)
yes I have removed in the news now I am just creating the portals and then the page will be finish thanks for telling me User555 08:16, 14 February 2013 (PST)
hi do you mean for announcements to create it side bar like what I did in the new should I put announcements where in the new use to be before I removed User555 08:18, 14 February 2013 (PST)
I have created the portals User555 06:29, 15 February 2013 (PST)
it is now ready User555 03:15, 16 February 2013 (PST)

(undent) Thanks User555. I love the idea of having these new sections - "did you know", featured pictures - and when we have content ready for these sections, I'd like to roll them out. Now, this will take some work... how do we take the first steps? (I even like the idea of a news section, and once we get a few communications classes working on Appropedia, we'll be ready to look at that, I think.)-Chriswaterguy 17:46, 20 February 2013 (PST)

ok User555 13:20, 23 February 2013 (PST)

Site redesign

Hi I would like to suggest several new features and disgn changes I would like to sea please 1. I would like more languages for example website address change to - for English or for the French version of here simpler to Wikipedia address but in stead of saying Wikipedia it would say appropedia

2. I would like it to be easer to search this website for example please out the search bar at the top with suggestion popping down please and I would like this website to support
tags please

3. I would like to see support for link the article to other pages in different languages please for example I would like to do en:example or fr:example so it links to that page but in different languages please

4. I would like to sea in version history the option to revert the edits please and I would like to sea a new updated screen in show changes so it show a white back and show what words you change and what words you've added and I would like to see in history is how many letter you've added simpler to Wikipedia like if you added more it would show + how many you've or if you taken away it would says - how many

User555 13:06, 13 February 2013 (PST)

We are currently updating the version of mediawiki and adding language support. I hope you will like the changes which will take place this month. Thanks, --Lonny 21:36, 13 February 2013 (PST)
ok thank you User555 02:09, 14 February 2013 (PST)
could you also change the design and make the design moder simler to Wikipedias but different please User555 06:17, 15 February 2013 (PST)
We have a version of the Vector skin, adapted from Wikipedia (thanks User:RichardF) but we need help to get the Facebook and Google Plus buttons to work. Do you know someone who can help with the CSS? --Chriswaterguy 18:03, 20 February 2013 (PST)
no not really I will look online and find on how to use codes to input Facebook and google bottom 11:06, 23 February 2013 (PST)
I have created facebook twitter and other buttons User555 14:51, 23 February 2013 (PST)

hi I have change the portals I created and replaced them with the ones created on here User555 08:50, 9 March 2013 (PST)

Suggestion for creating projects

I have a suggestion how about we create a project on here for each things sillier to wikipedia called WikiProject. We could create one for improving the main page. Another one could be for creating or improving a page or many more User555 13:25, 15 February 2013 (PST)

I agree in principle. The challenge here is the smaller (so far) community. From my experience in trying such things, I suggest:
  • Keep it simple
  • Choose a logical discussion "hub" page for a given project. E.g. I suggest Appropedia:User experience for working on the main page and its talk page for discussion.
  • Let us know here. Assuming we're on the same wavelength, we can work together and make sure it's linked from the right places, and that the right people know about it (i.e. keen Appropedians working in that area).
What do you think? --Chriswaterguy 19:16, 20 February 2013 (PST)
yep User555 11:07, 23 February 2013 (PST)


Could you create an account on google+ please User555 12:33, 23 February 2013 (PST)

We have a page there - Appropedia on G+ - is that what you mean? --Chriswaterguy 20:25, 23 February 2013 (PST)
ok thanks 11:10, 8 March 2013 (PST)

Joeturner for admin

I nominate User:Joeturner -- lots of good edits and spam fighting - would be more efficient to have him go at the spammers directly. -- Joshua 03:56, 26 February 2013 (PST)

Happy to help in any way I can with the spam. Is it always this bad? Joeturner 07:02, 28 February 2013 (PST)
I second that nomination. It is not always bad. It is a consistent battle and we slowly adapt. So the spam gets worse for a while until we figure out how to stop that method and it quiets for a while... then the cycle starts again. Thanks! --Lonny 16:48, 1 March 2013 (PST)
Supported. See more at Appropedia:Administrators/Nominations#Joe_Turner. --Lonny 15:12, 8 March 2013 (PST)
Excellent - welcome to adminship, Joe! --Chriswaterguy 19:12, 8 March 2013 (PST)

Anti-spam measures

It looks like this wiki has spam trouble. Perhaps one of the admins should try this:

(ConfirmEdit is more "official" but it looks like most spam bots can now bypass it.)

Lonny and User:Sam Rose are currently doing a big upgrade - after that I reckon it's time to look at Asirra and its super spam-fighting kittens. --Chriswaterguy 19:21, 8 March 2013 (PST)

Editing Wikipedia entry on the open source movement

I'm just getting into it but I think the open source movement is so much more than software. Examples abound on this site!?! I may get around to editing the Wikipedia entry but I thought I'd put it out there in case anyone else wants to do it.

Incidentally, studying openness, technology and media through the #ETMOOC right now. Check it out! Natalie


Hi could someone create a bot to copy from en wikipedia and put the content in to here please Appropedia:Selected anniversaries so the bot will copy from each date on en wikipedia and put it on to Appropedia:Selected anniversaries day it is today it is for the new main pag eo am creating in Appropedia:User experience/MainPageRedesign5 13:01, 6 March 2013 (PST)

Currently Appropedia:Selected anniversaries seems to be a mess of stuff. In addition, I am fairly concerned about the changing of templates which has been causing problems. I would like to caution care in changing existing template. What is the purpose of Appropedia:Selected anniversaries and will the page be fixed? Thank you! --Lonny 15:03, 8 March 2013 (PST)
the page is for the new main page redisgn Appropedia:User experience/MainPageRedesign5 User555 03:59, 9 March 2013 (PST)
OK, so are you going to fix it? Joeturner 01:43, 13 March 2013 (PDT)

User555 for admin

I nominate User:User555 he has made lot of good edit as seen at Appropedia:User experience/MainPageRedesign5 he has made lot of templates which are needed on here for example he changed the design of template:documentation check [User555 contribution] to see his contribution here User555 16:25, 23 February 2013 (PST)

A new Main Page section – Selected categories

I added a new section to the Main Page, called Selected categories. It’s near the bottom of the page. It includes categories for all of the Areas shown in the Navigation panel on the left side of every page plus the top-level content category, Topics.

Because this section uses category trees, you can click on the [+] character next to any category and see all of its subcategories, as far down as they go. This makes it possible to browse the wide variety of content areas available on Appropedia without having to leave the Main Page.

Please let me know if you have any feedback about this new section. --RichardF 08:07, 9 March 2013 (PST)

Appropedia theme

Hi could you change the theme to vector please and could you change the default skin to vector please &useskin=vector User555 08:43, 9 March 2013 (PST)

We haven't got a solution for the social media buttons yet. You posted something about this, but I couldn't understand what you meant. Do you have a way to make the the FB "Like" & G+ "+1" buttons work? --Chriswaterguy 19:32, 9 March 2013 (PST)

Well I can hyperlink Facebook button like I did in the redisgn main page User555 00:52, 10 March 2013 (PST)

Hi could you change the theme to vector please and could you change the default skin to vector please &useskin=vector User555 00:52, 10 March 2013 (PST)

We plan on updating the skin as soon as the sitewide mediawiki upgrade is done, hopefully in the next few days. Thank you, --Lonny 18:39, 13 March 2013 (PDT)


Hi I am in the middle of creating a template which allows you to create a form for example


I am in the middle of adding more but I have added first name and last name I am adding more

If you go here Template:Forum you can help I am using inforbox User555 11:31, 9 March 2013 (PST)

I'm sorry, I don't understand the rationale behind the changes you are making. Why do you think we need a form? I can't think of any good reason why we need that template on Appropedia. Joeturner 06:15, 10 March 2013 (PDT)
Further to the above, I have temporarily blocked User555 for 24 hours due to excessive importing of templates and other structural elements. I have asked that User555 explains on a new page why additional changes are necessary and an improvement on the existing structure before making further changes. These changes are too many and too fast and User555 has not been checking the effects of the changes, leading to considerable extra work to fix broken elements of Appropedia. Joeturner 06:46, 10 March 2013 (PDT)
I expect the edits from, and are by this user as well.

--RichardF 09:41, 10 March 2013 (PDT)

The edits from occurred after the user was blocked. --RichardF 10:45, 10 March 2013 (PDT)
OK User555, how about you discuss with RichardF any other changes you are planning to make, otherwise I'll just go behind you reverting everything you do? Joeturner 12:13, 10 March 2013 (PDT)
Someone requested someone to create it in one of the archive in village pump User555 15:01, 11 March 2013 (PDT)

Daily Appropedia News

Hi could I create a page called Daily Appropedia News please it will have news from Appropedia and also news around the world please User555 13:05, 13 March 2013 (PDT)

The Main Page already has a section called, "Hot topics / In the news." Based on the very low turnover in this section, I see no evidence for the need to create a daily version of noteworthy Appropedia-related news items. --RichardF 16:07, 13 March 2013 (PDT)
could I create a seprate section for in the news on Appropedia:User experience/MainPageRedesign5 please User555 00:36, 14 March 2013 (PDT)
Trying out things on a test page like that is fine with me. --RichardF 04:49, 14 March 2013 (PDT)
ok thankyou User555 09:21, 14 March 2013 (PDT)
Can you explain to me how your daily news page will work? where is the content going to come from? Joeturner 09:36, 15 March 2013 (PDT)
well first I will copy it from wiki news then I will change some things around and how the content is shown User555 12:43, 15 March 2013 (PDT)
so you will be doing that every day from now until... whenever..? I really do not think we need this. Joeturner 13:17, 15 March 2013 (PDT)

Youtube vids

KVDP and I disagree on the value of video embeds. I think videos are a useful addition to pages, and sometimes explain subjects in a much better way than the text. KVDP thinks they slow down the loading of pages. Anyone else have any thoughts? Joeturner 13:22, 13 March 2013 (PDT)

The mere existence of Widget:YouTube indicates Apporpedia's support for the use of videos on the site. A while back, Chriswaterguy and I were working on a yet-to-be implemented feature to show testimonials and videos on the Main Page. As part of that activity, I created Appropedia:List of videos. Based on the size of this list, Appropedia and its users clearly support the inclusion of videos here. --RichardF 16:24, 13 March 2013 (PDT)
I think videos can be very helpful and in fact require some projects to have them. If they are slowing down page loading (which should not be the case) we could probably delay their loading. So far, KVDP has a lot of great energy, but has been in error on almost every technical issue. KVDP, if you know more about web than appropriate technology, please let me know how the embedded videos are slowing down the pages and I will work with you to ameliorate that. Thank you all and please excuse my candor, --Lonny 18:34, 13 March 2013 (PDT)
I just updated Category:Videos and Appropedia:List of videos. As of today, I found 165 pages that contain videos. That's starting to look like a trend to me!  ;-) --RichardF 10:26, 14 March 2013 (PDT)
Playing DA, I guess that doesn't prove that the embeds don't slow the loading of the page, but it does at least indicate that I'm correct in thinking that video embeds are a fairly common feature of Appropedia pages. I'm not sure how we'd know whether the pages are really slowing down for people on slow connections. This can't be a unique question with regard to wikis, so I'm thinking KVDP needs to provide some evidence that this is a real issue. Joeturner 10:53, 14 March 2013 (PDT)
Clearly, having a slow connection makes any high-data page difficult to access. Personally, I have a dial-up connection at home, so I don't watch videos. However, that does not stop me from being able to view a page with an embedded video. What causes me more problems is Long pages. That's why I recently archived a zillion topics on this discussion page! ;-) --RichardF 11:11, 14 March 2013 (PDT)

Extension dynamicpagelist

Hi could you add extension dynamicpagelist And #tag please User555 08:32, 15 March 2013 (PDT)