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Topics that have been spun off to other pages

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

Section 5


Is there a policy on spamming and ads? I wasn't sure about In-N-Out Burger, doesn't seem to be that related to the project's mission (except possibly the vegetarian thing?). I guess a more general question would be whether there's a policy for determining whether a page makes it into the project's scope? Is there a deletion policy? How about a policy about where to draw the line when a page starts sounding like advertising (e.g. a neutrality policy)? delldot talk 11:50, 23 August 2008 (PDT)

We've talked about being more friendly to commercial enterprises - as long as the content contributes to the wiki in some way, with some practical solution or idea. I think that this article doesn't do so in its current state. Maybe mark it, and invite improvement of the article? --Chriswaterguy 19:55, 23 August 2008 (PDT)
Good point about supporting business if it adds something. I can't see this article ever being useful, but I could be wrong--I don't know anything about this business. What do you think about the idea that if you're not hardline against spam it could get out of hand? I'm pretty against advertising. For example, I don't like the advertising for American Express on the main page. Seems to me if you're going to bring business to an enterprise you've got an ethical responsibility to make sure it's not evil. Anyway, I think advertising presents a conflict of interest that could cost you in accuracy. delldot talk 20:42, 23 August 2008 (PDT)
This article might need to evolve into one about running green & healthy hamburger restaurants, to be useful. In other words, a complete change. The Sun Frost energy efficient shower is more like how I imagine a useful page from a business.
We don't have a problem with spam at present (that I'm aware of) apart from the cases you mentioned. The AmEx mention on the frontpage - I wondered about that, but I'm not personally aware of AmEx being a notably bad company, and I thought that if they're giving $2.5 million away to a good cause, so they can get publicity, that's not so bad - better than getting publicity through conventional advertising spending. But that's just a thought - I'm not sure what I actually think.
Certainly an article on green & healthy hamburger restaurants would be great, but it seems like if you need to do a complete rewrite and a rename, there's no point in not deleting, at least in pure terms of content.
I don't know any dirt on AmEx either, but I bet I could dig some up. :P At any rate, I'm just stating my bias; that stuff makes me shudder. But I do think it's worth considering where the line should be drawn. e.g. if Shell Oil does some philanthropic work, would we lend them these pages for advertisement? I would think of that as harmful. So how evil can a company get away with being? delldot talk 21:07, 23 August 2008 (PDT)


Useful info for anyone making test pages (like Main Page tests) or any other pages which shouldn't be indexed by search engines - just add __NOINDEX__:

New magic words __INDEX__ and __NOINDEX__ control whether a page can be indexed by search engines (although note that Wikimedia's robots.txt, which excludes things like AfD subpages, takes precedence over this). The keywords do nothing in "content namespaces" ― which means the main namespace on the English Wikipedia, but other sites may have additional content namespaces.[1]


Integrated Systems of Production

I am interested in combining appropriate technologies into "integrated systems of production" designed to reduce cash costs - as an alternative to economies of scale. The classic example is George Chan's Integrated Farm Management System. I have other examples listed in my AboutUs wiki pages.

What if the volunteers at Appropedia agreed to focus on a project such combining a solar energy facility with a Greening the Desert project as a model to reduce global warming by both replacing fossil fuels and sequestering carbon in plants grown where they do not currently grow. I am thinking of things like:

  • Pump in sea water to grow algea for diesel,
  • use the water in evaporative coolers for greenhouses built under the solar panels
  • incorporate dehumidifiers into the design to produce fresh water,
  • provide food, water, shelter . . . for people to build and maintain the systems
  • and as many other things as we can add in - using each resource for as many integrated purposes as possible.

Once the project is defined, we volunteers would then conduct outreach to experts in each aspect of the plan - to both make the plan better and bring more interest to Appropedia.

I am thinking about maintaining a portal on integrated production systems but I thought I would see if there is any interest first. David Braden October 15, 2008

This sounds intriguing. I'm interested, more on the side of how to make this work on a wiki, helping coordinate... but Monday or later will be a better time for some of us to think about this, after OSNCamp 2008. --Chriswaterguy 08:02, 16 October 2008 (UTC)

Can we add a category to cover this topic, like: Non-profit social economy or social-ecological sustainable embedded economy, natural balanced economy, .. ? Jafra April 8, 2009

Integrated Systems

Thank you for your interest Chris. I look forward to your comments. I tried to edit the last comment but could not find how to save it. What is the trick to that? David Braden October 16, 2008 9:46 MDT.

Sorry - we've added new edit features, and still having some bugs.
At the top right, click "Generic edit". "Classic edit" would then take you back to the older style wiki editing page... but for some reason it breaks on this long page. Lonny has been working on it, and we're getting help. Thanks for hanging in with us! --Chriswaterguy 15:59, 16 October 2008 (UTC)

Interaction and linking between Demotech, design for self-reliance and Appropedia

Hello Chris, Lonny and to whom it may concern!

Hope all is well and all of you are enjoying the idea of "Yes we can", though it is sad that Sarah's expensive outfit will not make it to the ward robes of the White House.

In the mean time I have made a short description in the Category Demotech of all of Demotech's designs and writings. All of them link to the more extensive and better illustrated pages on the Demotech website. Maybe that is not what Appropedia likes best, but is is the only workable solution for me, as I regularly update these pages. It does not invite visitors from Appropedia to change anything or add anything. That is counter the idea of Open Source, however it did not happen anyway ever! In principle it is still possible. A visitor could make a new page to comment on what she or he finds at the related page at Demotech. Also each Demotech page is linked to a wiki page that invites comments. Even more: each page at Demotech offers a form inviting to add comments, but it is seldom used.

Illustrative is it to look at the Appropedia page 'Night Reader' (see: ), I have no idea when this page was copied from the Demotech web page This Demotech page contains so much more relevant info and does NOT contain some harmful misunderstanding of the original design now to be found in the Appropedia page. I know that I can correct such a mistake, I even could add that educational tools to make the NightReader are available at Demotech, but it is a lot of extra work and in my real life it just does not get done.

So I prefer a well illustrated and inviting introduction of each of the Demotech designs, writings and concepts, with a clear link to Demotech. But also with a notepad attached to that Appropedia page on which comments can be left without first linking to Demotech. If ever on a beautiful day someone really would do some work on such a design, but would not like to involve Demotech in it, then this notepad page could expand into an alternative for the original Demotech initiative.

I have a few related questions: At there is to be found DemoSticks displays. This page could be removed, as a link to a link to the complete and lateste updated page is available at by the page Same for the Appropedia page and the Appropedia page, all of them can be replaced by the page

But I would like to add a small picture of each item next to the text, very much the same as I did it at

Would it be possible to batch upload the about 50 small 180 x180 px pictures each of them an illustration of the listed Demotech design initiative?

Another question is how to create links in other Appropedia lists, say 'Water' or 'Sanitation' or other topics that Demotech designs relate to. Where to find such lists?

To conclude with a real burning question: I look for a research center or anything that functions like that for doing design research on toilet systems. Right now I work on three sanitation systems, the Hy2U (see: ), the BathroomBox or SolarSanitation (see: ) and the BathroomToilet-unit (see: ). Support for this work in my own workshop in the Netherlands has vaporized, so I want to move out and find a place where an institute, school of interested people would welcome work on these designs, preferably close to users for which these designs are meant. It would take one or two months. There is always the possibility to come back when the work catches on and needs further support. These designs already have a long history behind them, had some success and I think it is a big shame that I have not been able to give pace to the research still needed. OK, where is that institute, school or are those interested people? Please let me know at

Kind regards, Reinder / Demotech .

I'm happy to see more linking - even if it's not on Appropedia, it should be at least indexed and linked here.
For the Appropedia community's information, can I ask what the "harmful misunderstanding of the original design" is? (Just a quote is fine.)
Batch upload of images: I previously couldn't find anything about how to add this feature - maybe I wasn't using the right phrase, but using your phrasing I found mw:Extension:MultiUpload, Batch Upload Images to MediaWiki and more references. We are looking for tech help for a number of things, like setting up a test wiki for the extra features we want, and this is another good thing to try out... if you know anyone who can help with adding features to MediaWiki, let us know!
Batch upload of images - Take 2: If anyone understands how to use a perl script, it may be that this perl script to do batch uploads of images doesn't require changing anything on the wiki...?
Re toilet research - I have asked the Appropedia twitter network. You could also ask on Global Swadeshi. --Chriswaterguy 19:02, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
Chris, thanks for feed back, re. happy to see more linking ... Please instruct me how to link and or index the items in the Appropedia Demotech category to the Appropedia categories of 'Water', 'Sanitation and others. Where to find such lists? Maybe there are related list or categories in the content of the new big partners.
Re: Harmful misunderstanding: The NightReader should NOT use WHITE LEDs. Yellow LEDs are OK for reading, they work with consideralbel less voltage, are cheaper, probably use less milli amps as well. The NightReader is really targeting at the minimal amount of light, NO MORE than needed for reading those 6 lines of a page in a book. In practice that is just enough. The related big working condition is NOT ATTRACTING INSECTS that otherwise would crawl over the lighted section of the paper and hinder concentration on work. Not attracting insects too asks for minimizing light to what is needed, as well as a proper cap that shields the light of in all directions apart from where your eyes have to see the paper. The NightReader is in a delicate balance of many functions and working methods to realize these functions. But further optimalization is always possible. Recently Demotech made a new model that works in the same way, but that is far easier to make and has some other advantages. Expect soon info on this on the Demotech NightReader page. But then what to do with the present NightReader publication at Appropedia? Whose responsability is it to update such info, initially posted not by Demotech? This is the same question as I put to the Village Pump as in regard of the outdated Appropedia DemoUnits entries.
Thanks for the link to Twitter. I have to find out how this works.

You people are good! Ferreal yall!

Ifn ya have a newsletter er sumpn'.....hook a brotha up. Please. :)

ian ..sacredpondAtsymbol.pnghotmailDot.pngcom


Hi Ian,
Thanks for the message. We don't currently have a newsletter, but we are working on one. We'll let you know when one comes out. Thanks! --Lonny 23:54, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
Ian, I've added you to the list at Appropedia:Newsletter #Subscribers - hope to have a newsletter happening soon! --Chriswaterguy 01:13, 4 March 2010 (UTC)

SD wiki sites list

Chris, I added to, as there seemed to be more than just your search output there. I made a page: to try to keep with your format of the name and only the name in the list: I hope you think it's in the right place. I actually think it might be better to use a short sentence (up to 200 char?) with every link, so people don't have to go through a whole learning process to see what's there.

best, phil

David Reber nominated as admin

I've nominated User:David.reber for adminship. See Appropedia:Administrators/Nominations#David Reber . --Chriswaterguy 06:33, 13 February 2009 (UTC)

Adminship - making two levels, and changing the name

I've suggested changing the name "admin" to "librarian", as in the Spanish Wikipedia. Another option is "steward". Please leave any comments or suggestions at Appropedia talk:Administrators/Process.

I've also suggested making two levels of adminship - see Appropedia:Administrators/Process and leave comments on the talk page. Thanks! --Chriswaterguy 19:49, 13 February 2009 (UTC)

Usability / Making it accessible for beginners


this is probably a difficult problem, and I haven't fully fleshed it out in my own mind, but:

It's pretty difficult to quickly navigate to content that is likely to be useful to a lot of people. For example, I tried issuing the following queries:

  • "light bulbs" (i.e. trying to learn about energy-efficient lightbubls)
  • "energy efficient house" (how to make house heat/energy efficient)
  • "carpool"

None of these queries give me anything remotely relevant (or even easy to comprehend) in the top results.

Similarly, it's not at all intuitive how to navigate to the content above from the front page.

I think this is a serious problem, as it will result in many (esp. first-time) users getting frustrated and turning away. I know that people read/write Appropedia for many purposes, but I believe that the majority first-time visitors probably want something that's simple and general.

The solution to this is not easy, but off the top of my head I can think of a few things:

  • A "simple" portal with simplified/limited content (something like Simple Wikipedia [2])
  • Improving tagging / search technology (e.g. does the current search engine have a "PageRank"-like feature that prioritizes pages by their popularity)?
  • An introduction/guide on the front page (that lets you quickly learn about / navigate to general issues of interest).

I'd be very interested in thinking about these problems further. (I'm a computer science grad student with a background in HCI).

Thanks so much for your message, Kkireyev! I agree that we need major improvements in navigation. I had to look up HCI (Human-computer interactionW - that's very relevant to the work we need to do improving the site, so we'd love to work with you on this.
We do have some plans in these areas, but it's been slow work because there's so much to do, and not many of us with tech skills (my own tech skills are very limited). Any help you could lend, both on conceptual and practical levels, would be greatly appreciated.
The first thing I'd suggest is to join the Tech for sustainability wikis - that's where we talk about tech ideas. Perhaps you could introduce yourself there, copy this message there, and tell us a bit more about yourself?
Re the portal and the front page ideas - we're thinking about adding a navigation tool like the one at Appropedia:CategoryTree to the front page, but I'm still working on the images. See also Main Page tests - that's very much under construction, but it shows some of the attempts made to tidy and slim down the front page, and make more room for important stuff that helps people navigate. Feel free to play around with that page if you like.
Re the search engine - updated comment: Wikipedia has a nicer search engine, which was announced here. It's apparently not part of a new version of MediaWiki - we could do with some tech help in working out how to apply it to Appropedia. I don't know whether this is the kind of thing you're interested in, but if you know anyone (or anyone is reading this) who can help, please let us know! --Chriswaterguy 16:37, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
Before Wikipedia improved its search, I wrote some templates there to enable Google custom search, which allows searching on specific Web sites or on parts of sites:
Even after Wikipedia's search improvements, I still find Google custom search to be better, enough of the time to justify keeping both options handy. Google also has the advantage of being incredibly fast most of the time. For a small public wiki like Appropedia, I can't imagine how the hassle of setting up Wikipedia's new-style search would be worth it, given the only occasionally better performance than Google custom search. For example, try these searches on Appropedia (I'm pasting these in as external links, since I have not ported Template:Google custom to Appropedia yet):
--Teratornis 17:36, 8 January 2011 (PST)

Open Green Map

We should consider partnering with Open Green Map to integrate the GIS functionality we have been looking for into appropedia. Any thoughts? --Joshua 18:35, 30 March 2009 (UTC)

I love it, I love it, I love it :)

am glad to be here within ... thanks for all have constructed this great work. Jafra

Swadeshi Business Models with ecology as business partner

There is no category about economy here to look up or construct such business models!

My personal motivation is that I am planing to return to my home-community which is NOT independent and controlled by foreign power. Socially, the community is heavenly collapsed like so many indigenous communities fall as victim of absurd , political power, profit and industrialization.

To start new sustainable human and moral eco-business in such a community I thought about the principles. On of them to have ecology as corporation partner as it is participating on productions and produced value. Having ecology as partner of production and consumption cycle will create a balance within our relationship to it and to each other as we all share it.

In old-school, state taxes used to cover this responsibility. But I can imagine that future value-corporation community will take more direct influence on their ecosystem if they consider themselves as such. To take ecology as partner is essential as all of us would have the same partner to adjust , revise and tune how much products actually we need with.

There many good sites ,, .. but I did not find any document in which the ecology is explicit partner of the corporation. The idea would be to map "natural capital" involved in the business as virtual partner. Part of the revenue will have to flow back to sustain natural capital and make it more "wealth" (wellness) The patterns here are very helpful:

Do you know any business model, where ecology is direct part of the shares so that I can study and use it for my business idea? Jafra April 8, 2009

Sorry we haven't been much help - I'd suggest posting this to the forum at Global Swadeshi. I'm sure you'll get a response there. --Chriswaterguy 17:57, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

Understanding natural systems & choices

I've studied natural systems as a general subject for years. Much of the subject is about why they fool us so much, and how they do so much for us we don't understand. It's a big subject, and not even the sciences of ecology and economics have quite realized the importance in living systems in particular, of their being made of independently responding parts.

The general idea of science is still that systems follow the rules we perceive, though that's also the problem, in that they keep making up their own rules too and catch us off guard. Is there an interest in that here? What aspect of understanding natural complex systems would be appropriate here? I have a things showing my range of interests on my archive site, and on the blog with it where I collect recent letters I liked. It’s possibly just too big a subject with too many differing opinions, but maybe it could be a place where people could try to articulate their opinions with the help of others sharing some of their view. I think many of our solutions of the past are our problems of the present, for example, and that people are not carefully thinking through the present solutions any better.

Would there be others interested in building a page or small area on how the natural behavior of systems alters our choices? Phil Henshaw Apr 14, 2009

Sounds like an interesting area to explore - supporting this kind of understanding of the nature of natural systems would be great.
I don't promise to be actively involved (a finger in too many pies) but I'll certainly watch with interest and contribute where I can.
Btw, the copyright notice on your site is almost the same as saying CC-BY, but from a legal standpoint it's not quite the same, and some people will be hesitant to reuse your content. I'd suggest going to and setting up the license, with the CC mark to put in your footer. If you need help, let me know. --Chriswaterguy 20:56, 20 April 2009 (UTC)


I noticed some time ago that wiki-specific things like {{references}} doesn't work, requiring the need of typing it in html (eg </references></references>) Can this be fixed, I find wikiformat more suitable —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 14:24, 5 September 2009

We can definitely add templates that you find useful. Which one(s) are you talking about specifically. I looked at Wikipedia:Template:References, but that doesn't seem to be the one you are talking about. Thanks for your suggestion, --Lonny 19:28, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
Sorry about the mistake, I meant {{reflist}}, it doesn't work here. {{reflist}} ins't set up on Appropedia.

{{subst:notes}} works which substitutes in {{notes}} (though just using {{notes}} would also work. However, I do think it would be useful to set reflist up too KVDP 11:06, 11 October 2009 (UTC)

Anonymous editing

Perhaps that anonymous editing can be switched off. As the site is becoming more popular, the risk of vandalism increases. Since getting a username isn't that much trouble and it certainly decreases this risk by a great percentage, I think that anonymous editing should be switched off. Another argument to support this is that Appropedia doesn't have the number of moderators like wikipedia and that the data stored here is very important. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 15:29, 5 September 2009

Thanks for your input. Vandalism has been a problem many times in the past. We have discussed the options and have, so far, opted for leaving Appropedia open while increasing other forms of security. We have made it more difficult for bulk vandalism and our response times in fixing vandalism seem quite high (anyone want to do a statistical analysis?). I appreciate your concern and feel it myself. At the same time, we want to encourage editing and allow for as many chances for that type of engagement. In addition, we have been very lucky to have a community that watches for vandalism. A couple members only edit when removing inappropriate material. Hopefully we will continue to find even better ways of encouraging editing and soon dwarf the already impressive 73k edits we have so far.
Thanks again, --Lonny 19:36, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
I also support the vision that only members are to be given permission to edit the appropedia articles. This, as an organisation I recently contacted (Ingenieurs zonder Grenzen) also shared this vision. In addition, appropedia should divert from wikipedia, as more and more appropriate technology organisation (which need to work in difficult situations) shouldn't have to fear that their articles (on which they depend atleast to a certain degree) are corrupted by anonymous users. Perhaps appropedia members can fend off vandalism for now, but as the site grows, this may not be the case in the future. It's better to be safe than sorry.

KVDP 09:42, 20 October 2009 (UTC)

Site reorganisation

Following Chriswaterguy's suggestion, I placed my proposal for reorganisation/simplification of appropedia here. Following the responses here, perhaps changes can be made.

in the menu, one finds navigations community, topics areas and toolbox. Why not simply make 1 box and simplify it as with howtopedia. For example, About: place this all the way down; merge with Mission-article Recent changes and Categories: remove Help: refer to wikipedia's wiki help ? Article adds weight to site and is still too basic for good understanding Organisations: refer to wikipedia's AT organisations category ? If kept at Wikipedia, the list is kept up to date for free. Discuss: rename to colloquium or discussion? Random: remove Blog: perhaps you could move new items to the main page ? A seperate blog again adds more work and the blog doesn't have such big a function? If it is intented as a place to connect, perhaps instant messaging, twittering, ... could be more useful (would recruit more people too). To combine several messengers, a multi-messenger can be used. Appropriate tech: why is this category needed ? It's appropedia, so everything should be appropriate (eg cheap and eco-friendly) The categories you made at category are perfect to represent all categories (locations can perhaps be changed to AT villages, organisations moved to wikipedia) Green living: change to appropriate living habits (its appropedia, so we should always behave green, no need to mention it) Projects: just list in the corresponding categories, remove "projects" How-to's: remove; i'm guessing that we'll make every article a how-to ? Toolbox: remove all but printable version; guessing no one uses these anyhow (atleast I don't) KVDP 09:55, 9 September 2009 (UTC)

I think it would be a mistake to have direct links outside of the site in the main menu - so no wikipedia links for content that is only relevant to appropedia e.g. organizations focusing specifically on AT. I agree that the Random link could be removed without hurting anything. The toolbox is useful and I would not cut anything else -- for finding appropedia from the outside we need the keywords. At some point we have to normalize the use of topic areas as either portals or as categories -- either way they need to be taken care of by a user or group of users.
My main question is on the highlighting of new pages, users, and categories - normally puts the least developed content on the first page. This is good for encouraging people to create pages - but bad in terms of capturing users if they visit the front page first and click on an empty or early construction peice. What do people think about putting the category tree up front? comment by J.M.Pearce, 19 September 2009.
Sorry I missed these comments till now. One thing I see is that what's not important to one is someone else's favorite... E.g. a friend from the OLPC project said Random was his favorite link, and I've started using it too. But I've decided to be very bold and make a bunch of changes.
KVDP: I moved About: down, but made a new section. Separate section makes it easier to scan and find things.

RC & toolbox - these are all important links for some users at least.

"Discuss: rename to colloquium or discussion?" Discuss is more active, but each have their advantages - I changed to discussion.
Blog: serves a role in connecting with a wider audience. The feed (used in aggregated feeds on some other sites and in blog readers) and the familiar way of commenting brings interactions we'd otherwise miss. "Appropriate tech:" and "Green living:" I've had similar thought, but they're phrase and starting points that are familiar to people. I'm also very sensitive to use the kinds of phrases that people search for, whether in search engines or on Appropedia.
"Projects:" - I'm sure that many people love to browse other people's projects, even if it's not something I do much myself. "How-to's:" Agreed this is a theme in most pages here. I'm not sure, but for now the Category:How tos"how to" category]] isn't well organized or presented, so I've removed it.
are the changes - so how does the new sidebar look, up there on the left?
Joshua: Agreed about replacing newpages with a category tree! I wanted to do this long ago but our category tree sucked. It's finally looking better - Appropedia:CategoryTree - so I think we can look at this now. Anyone can try it out at Main Page testsI won't have a chance for a day or two at least. --Chriswaterguy 12:06, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
The navbar looks a bit better (things are more grouped) but my main comments still remain. As for the blog and twitter, I understand it's important to connect to the greater public (eg regarding getting other responses and ideas) but I don't think twitter and a blog should be used herefore, it simply requires us to spend much more time than what we get in return, this time lost would be better spend on other things. As I suggested, instant messaging could be better used herefore. I'm already working on setting up the Members page so it will facilitate instant messaging. Regarding having a main "meeting place" to go to for Appropedia, I was thinking about having appropedia run a IM account called "Appropedia meeting place". This could then serve as a liaison, ie a client that is not "active" or talks, but rather serves so as to allow others to connect and come into contact with each other.

Finally, regarding facebook, aldough I don't think that this will be a problem regarding extra time loss, I'm not sure whether it is really intented herefore. It's initial purpose was use as a "white pages", and not really as a "yellow pages". Even if it was, I'm not sure whether Appropedia actually has its own office in real life. Regardless, this can be left as is for the time being. KVDP 08:23, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

UPDATE: One extra category could perhaps be made: Category:Special. This category can contain all categories that are specific to Appropedia; ie its members, Colloquium, ... A subcategory can be made herein: Category:Getting started; this can contain all articles relevant on how to begin editing pages at wikipedia, ... also appropriate technology and all other terms, ... can be explained. Perhaps the Appropriate Living Manual, terminology, ... can be placed herein aswell. The category should replace ie category:Appropedia administration and expand it (it thus becomes a one-category-fits-all kind of category). This as ... administration was not a very good category name, and its probably easier to have a single category for all appropedia-specific pages (offcourse subcategories are still needed). KVDP 13:20, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

I actually find Category:Appropedia, Category:Appropedia community and Category:Appropedia administration more clear, and don't wouldn't to get things confused up with the "Special:" pages. --Chriswaterguy 13:53, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

Comparison of alternative ICE fuels

I placed the article Comparison of alternative ICE fuels here. It was removed from wikipedia but if this article get improved it may be later transformed to later reuploaded at wikipedia. Some info from eg, ... can be implemented. KVDP 18:43, 26 September 2009 (UTC)

Excellent. I just made a few edits. --Lonny 19:16, 26 September 2009 (UTC)

Attribution and citation templates

I just realized that we have two categories and two terms being used for the same function - attributing content taken from other sources. The categories are:

I think citation should refer to trusted or notable sources of information, whereas attribution refers to crediting material that is reused on Appropedia. So I plan to recategorize/rewrite/rename templates to reflect this. --Chriswaterguy 17:47, 2 October 2009 (UTC)

This makes sense to me. --Lonny 02:06, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

Other templates

I noticed that {{summarize}}, {{mergeto|}}, {{mergefrom|}}, {{improve}}, {{wikify}}, ... work but don't look nearly as good as in wikipedia (no real templates, no image, ...) Perhaps the template designs can be taken from wikipedia and slightly modified for appropedia

KVDP 09:45, 20 October 2009 (UTC)

Part of the problem is that some Wikipedia templates depend on parser functions for logical or optional parameters... hope to have the relevant extension added here soon. --Chriswaterguy 01:13, 4 March 2010 (UTC)

Water harvesting

Some time ago, I decided to make a wikibooks article at This as the rainwater harvesting article at Wikipedia kept going into the wrong direction due to other editors. The rainwater harvesting articles at appropedia still need some work (too restrictive on the types that are mentioned, quite long and sometimes confusing eg see the paragraph at Since then, the wikibooks article was evaluated, renamed and included in a book called Georgia water If anyone wishes to improve the articles, I think it is best to start off with looking at this Georgia Water document (see my suggestion at the Georgia water talk page) and modify this book and link to subdivisions in appropedia for extra information on subtopics. The appropedia article too can be improved by adding additional systems and keeping them simple.

Open-design software and hardware for water management

The INCA Software Model Predictive Control (MPC) software of IPCOS could be used as the general control software for water management. See ""Flood control of rivers with Model Predictive Control -- proof of concept based on the river Demer in Belgium"." by Maarten Breckpot 13:19, 10 June 2010 (UTC)

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)

Good pages on Appropedia? Please nominate!

Which are the best pages on Appropedia? Please nominate at Category talk:Good Pages!

This helps us choose pages to package for Appropedia's OLPC content bundle, and to use for promoting Appropedia content. --Chriswaterguy 16:06, 19 October 2009 (UTC)

Language learning lessons

I noticed a while ago that appropedia is also working on making articles in other languages. Perhaps that instead of doing this, it may be better to simply integrate English leaning lessons and lessons in other languages instead. A big issue in appropriate technology projects is that communication with the locals is often a problem, and employing locals in on-site projects is this aswell, as it relies to a degree that others are capable of speaking english or another language understandable by the project direction.

English learning lessons should certainly be integrated, as locals will need to be able to learn the currently available manuals by appropriate technology organisations, and as its the current lingua franca (understanding this is actually is prequisty for anyone)

Lessons in other languages could then again be used by project engineers to familiarize/communicate to the local population (which often don't speak more than 1 language). I think some main languages as Mandarin, Arabic, Portugese, Spanish, ... could certainly be integrated. The lessons can include text and audio. The audio could then be learned with simple digital audio players (an example of audio lessons is

The lessons could probably be composed with the lessons given otherwise by the US government, and other governments (eg the lessons given in refugee camps with refugees to be integrated into the US, ...) As these are US government documents, they could be simply copied. Also, they are of a greater level than eg arabicpods

KVDP 09:57, 20 October 2009 (UTC)

I'm a big fan of language learning, and especially open materials for language learning. I've contributed to Wikibooks:How to Learn a Language as well as the Indonesian Wikibook, and I'd love to see better English lessons freely available.
My suggestion is that:
  • we support whichever site is doing the best with materials on English as a foreign language (Wikibooks? Wikiversity?) as well as P2P University, which gets learners together, takes open materials, and structures them into actual courses. As individuals and as a community we can participate, and we can have relevant pages on Appropedia linking to relevant pages on those other projects.
  • we continue to work on getting Appropedia into multiple languages - move forward the reach out to language departments at educational institutions and explain the benefits of service learning in language education - see Language education-based translation.
How does that sound? Note that I don't have an actual objection to such material on Appropedia - my aim is to enable this collaboration to grow in the most effective way possible.
(When we have a way to host and edit a page on more than one wiki, so that different communities can edit the same document, then we might choose a slightly different solution. And with the MediaWiki API now working, that mightn't be far off.) --Chriswaterguy 05:42, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
Outsourcing the work to an other wiki sounds good; however, I am not sure whether wikibooks/wikiversity can already take on this job. Also, I am not aware that they have audio to listen to the lessons (eg on a portable media player) as I described.

Also, there is an underlying reason why I posted this thought. As I described, I am not sure whether the best approach is to translate technical manuals to another language (I personally btw only follow the opposite route; eg translating manuals to english from another language and not the opposite). Instead, I think it is best that if eg a local wishes to learn to construct, ... something from the manuals at appropedia, this should only be made possible in English. This in a way forces someone to learn English first, which is, I believe, one of the first things anyone should do when trying to increase his knowledge/become more educated. Learning English, as it is the lingua franca, and not just the language of some nation, no matter its size, can not be considered wrong (eg unlike when any other heavily spoken language is chosen) and as most literature is available in English, ... (and not just AT literature) anyone will need to learn it anyhow. In addition, when engineers and local learn english, they can communicate better, and have additional benefits aswell. KVDP 14:37, 24 October 2009 (UTC)

Re: This in a way forces someone to learn English first, which is, I believe, one of the first things anyone should do when trying to increase his knowledge/become more educated. - I'm glad that it's a non-native English speaker saying these things!
My first reaction was to disagree, as there will never be the same degree of understanding or participation if it's in a non-native tongue. We also want to serve everybody, and I think it will be a long time before everyone speaks English. We want our content (online, in printed form or however) to reach and serve people in villages and slums who may not have a great education, but who may be tinkerers.
Btw, English isn't even a good, easy or logical language, so it's unfortunate that it's the global lingua franca. I propose Indonesian :-) - but I don't expect to get much support for that.
But then I thought some more. Translating everything into every language won't happen soon. What I think will happen much sooner is good quality machine translation - Google Translate is already very good for Spanish to English or Indonesian to English, and a number of other languages as well. Perhaps our medium term goal should be to have key navigation pages and critical how-tos in people's native tongues, plus whatever people choose to translate, plus either:
  • the full range of pages would be accessible by an integrated translator, whether from Google or somewhere else; or
  • machine translation used as a starting point for translated pages, with tweaking done by humans. This would require improving translation tools for MediaWiki to make it really effective.
I certainly agree that assisting people in learning English is a great thing. I'd like to see English-speakers learning other languages as well, but in terms of economic opportunities and access to knowledge, English learning is a top priority. I'd be really interested in doing something with P2PU on this - unlike Wikibooks etc, they focus on putting together courses based on material that already exists, which I believe is the best way forward now. One of the challenges is that the earliest stages would be partly in the learner's own language, so probably the place to start developing courses is where the students are taken from basic English to more advanced English. Btw have you looked up OCW materials on learning English? --Chriswaterguy 04:29, 28 October 2009 (UTC)
Btw, English isn't even a good, easy or logical language, so it's unfortunate that it's the global lingua franca. I agree to this if basic English is used. However, as some "English-variants" as Globish have shown, allot of confusion and words that are unlogical in English can simply be taken out. Studies have shown that english is one of the most easy languages to learn (unlike my language, aswell as others such as Russian, ...). In most of my writings I btw already try to use more simple words (not because I am myself not capable of a more advanced level, but because I believe more simple words are the way to go), and this is also the reason why I created pages such as Engineering terminology. Finally, regarding the translation programs, I also noted some suggestions found trough my thinkerings about appropriate technology devices in computing. See Linux-OS improvements, used in cooperation with a new type of UMPC. Btw I also don't quite believe the OLPC is truly an appropriate technology, as the OLPC is a device that doesn't really allow to view/study electronic documents aduquatly due to its small screen, ... Perhaps that regarding that latter, the OLPC-bundle tag, may be switched with eg {{Netbook/UMPC-bundle}} (more generic, doesn't advocate a specific product)
KVDP 10:57, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
I believe we should try to serve as many people as we can now. It is easier to translate articles than it is too teach language, not to mention there is no hubris in translating texts as there is in mandating who should know what language. In addition, not only is China quickly becoming a major world power, but there are more speakers of Mandarin than English... maybe it is time for us all to be learning Mandarin. 谢谢你 --Lonny 08:25, 6 November 2009 (UTC)
A good point, Lonny, but (besides being the lingua franca), English is still an easier language to learn. I just finished a map about languages that could be useful, see

KVDP 12:51, 13 December 2009 (UTC)

Google Translate does a pretty good job on Wikipedia articles, although it has length limitations that longer Wikipedia articles readily exceed. See wikipedia:Template:Translate wikipedia. It helps to know something about the subject of the article being translated. If the topic is completely unfamiliar to the reader, the reader may struggle with untranslated words or incorrectly translated words. If the goal is to assist tinkerers, then having lots of illustrations (including video illustrations) would be as important as translations to all the world's languages. If a video demonstration can teach someone what to do even with the sound off, then language is less important. --Teratornis 21:31, 8 January 2011 (PST)

AT organisations presentation, category

At present, there are no categories for documents of specific AT organisations. In addition, AT organisations should probably have a small page at appropedia in which they can present their organisation. Also, I am wondering whether the making of templates or logo's could be useful (eg to mark at the beginning of a document, that it has been taken over from a specific AT organisation. This, simply so as to show which organisation has supplied the information and give them the full credits (which they already have, but it is somewhat more clear this way).

KVDP 14:42, 24 October 2009 (UTC)

How does this compare to Category:Organizations? Thanks, --Lonny 18:30, 27 October 2009 (UTC)
Indeed, this categories may be used, I didn't notice them before. However a small coment dough, if for example you mark an article with eg "Engineers without Borders", this could mean that it's simply an article that might have a specific correlation to this organisation, but doesn't necessairily mean it's an article made by them. In addition, I'm not sure whether all categories here are actually organisations (aren't some of these simply projects by an organisation?), and some organisations aren't described seperatly. Eg referring to Ingénieurs Sans Frontières, 2 organisations exist (eg Ingénieurs Sans Frontières-IAI (Belgian) and the French Ingénieurs Sans Frontières. Oddly however, the organisations work entirely seperate, and this is also (partially?) true eg towards Engineers without Borders (aldough Ingénieurs Sans Frontières is the exact translation of Engineers without Borders). As such, the organisations all need to be listed under the same category.
Also see Category:PATB. There's Category:Beyond dams, which we'd probably swap for institutional categories if we had more material from the orgs that authored Beyond Dams. These categories need much more work, but we certainly do want to see categories like you describe. --Chriswaterguy 04:05, 28 October 2009 (UTC)

Logo change


remodeled logo

A while ago, I proposed to change the logo to the one used at Perhaps that this suggestion can now be executed ? This new logo is (I think) nicer, as the surfaces around the wind harvester are colored in, and as the green-blue coloring is removed. Note that, as the image presented there is is completely black/white, some coloring will need to be included, but the coloring is then best done on the black border lines (eg changing some of these to green), instead of in the image itself. Also, perhaps this new image (which is already available at appropedia at aprologo-final.png) can form the basis for another new image. This new image is probably best a crossover between the transition culture image ( and the current one (eg zoomed out, more abstract than realistic). Also, perhaps that instead of a house, a dome-like shelter is best drawn as these are generally the most appropriate structures used in AT (examples: Steve Baer's zomes, the design I made at File:Semi-buried_dwellings.JPG, the aluminum can domes from Earthship Biotecture, ...) The plants shown are best also abstract (eg only a few grains). They should however be shown in a plot, rather than on the sides (note that the image now also shows a leaf, which may be removed from the image and a 2 plants (which don't look like grains/rice at all, rather more like Typha). The wind energy harvester can remain, but I wonder whether it's not useful to also include another renewable energy power source (eg waterwheel) or a concentrating solar power structure (the latter may be more appropriate as they generate more power; then again wind isn't hugely present in certain areas (eg tropical belt). However, drawing several energy harvesters do complicate the image. Personnaly, I was thinking about a style resembling the Hagia Sophia; where the windturbine or CSP functions as the "pillars"; eg so as not to come too close to only the Arabian style and keep it generic; fusion-like in appearance, rather then reflecting a single style).

KVDP 08:27, 26 October 2009 (UTC)

I actually like the colored version, which is newer. I also like it better since I saw Appropedia Logo Animated (short video). I don't think it goes very well with the current skin though - I'm looking forward to getting some expert tech help with re-skinning the site.
In theory I think a simpler logo would be more attention grabbing. But I won't comment on specific suggestions as I have no artistic ability and have no idea how to implement them and make them look good :-). --Chriswaterguy 04:11, 28 October 2009 (UTC)
Finished my draft logo as can be seen above. Needs still quite some work but already shows the specifics of how I would design the logo. Not sure however about the wind energy harvester; as can be seen in the now updated wind energy page, little energy can be harvested in the tropics/subtropics. Perhaps that high altitude wind harvesters may however generate somewhat more power however; in this case, the tower from the wind energy harvester needs to be removed from logo and swapped with a balloon and wiring. In addition, the text added is also a good indicator to put people on the right track. Revewing the Appropedia:CategoryTree, I however saw that additional subcategories need to be made;
  • Category:Energy -->A section needs to be made on energy production (or rather Energy harvesting) and energy storage & use
  • Category:Food & agriculture (perhaps rename to "food production"?) -->production of staple crops and production of supplemental crops category needs adding (eg as certain foods as fruit, etc... can't be used to form the core of the system and are only needed to provide additional substances as fibres, certain minerals, and also some vitamins (B,C, ...)
  • Category:Construction and materials -->add subcategory on construction of sleeping rooms, construction of communal rooms (eg dining area, ...) Categories need adding so as to make completely clear that if some rooms are made for 1 person, they aren't appropriate technology anyhow (no matter with what material it's made)
  • Category:Health and safety -->rename to Category:Healthcare; add subcategory sanitation (which is also a method to stay healthy; also see sanitation in the broader meaning eg as; hereby including eg personal hygiene) Add subcategory Medication, Vaccination, ...

In addition, I added the note "the appropriate technology cooperative library", in analogy with a preposition made a while ago. Aldough it may be used as a subscript however, I still find that Appropedia itself is best changed to AT CoLib, as appro -pedia actually means appro-encyclopedia; and an encyclopedia (like wikipedia) it is definitly not, its rather a grouping of AT-information.

Perhaps a category "Room heating & cooling" aswell as "Ecosystem repair" can also be added; the second one can be used to contain the original environment rehabilitation manual, for the first I already ported some of my Wikipedia-articles (which have since then been removed)

KVDP 16:24, 4 November 2009 (UTC)

UPDATE After finishing some other images, I got reminded of one of my ideas that we can use existing images and modify them slightly to give them a new meaning; the whole is a bit similar to ie how the eqyptian writing and the chinese writing works.

As such, I'm thinking of simply making a new image for the category:Knowledge (instead of the image of the book we now have) and modify this new image for use as the main appropedia logo (this because appropedia is a database, and also because the image for knowledge would be a tree). The initial logo would be the tree of knowledge;

Images to choose from (from a google search: )

Another possibility is to use the tree of life from a movie ( , this tree resembles somewhat but is much more beautiful).

The modification would involve placing a bladed rotor on it (this also pretty much maintains the initial elements of the current logo, ie again a tree and a wind energy harvester)

Some images of the category tree can also be changed:

  • As noted before, the image for knowledge; now the tree of knowledge
  • Culture and community -->can be made the the hands image (which I also use for the AT CAD Team)
  • Energy --> the image I made (green arrow) can be changed by placing the image for zero emissions fuel (=energy storage) unto it (File:ZE_Fuel_logo.png)
  • Business --> this money bag can be used (perhaps a symbol of a house can be added)


Re the category comments above and User talk:Chriswaterguy #Recategorisation - I was already a bit unhappy with some of the category names - but hadn't thought of better alternatives for many of them. Specific comments:

The thinking about sanitation was probably that it's a subset of water if it's considered to be primarily about sewage management. Probably a sanitation could be made, should probably be moved out of the water cat and relevant subcats only (i.e. sewage or sewerage) would be categorized in water, but sanitation itself should not be. I hadn't done much on categorization here because there weren't many pages to be categorized, but I don't see a problem with a basic structure being created now.

Water harvesting I think is a good name for a subcategory of water. "Water" also covers wastewater and natural waterways.

I think it is not quite clear why I made this change (with allot of my modifications at Wikipedia and Appropedia, there are sometimes underlying reasons which are relevant but difficult and time-consuming to explain; (often it's simply quicker to simply do the change and explain the modification if there are objections); however I think I need to clarify my modification I made here. The reason sanitation is to be placed out of the water category is because, simmply stated, water should not be used in sanitation at all (eg by using composting toilets, ...). Adding water (aldough used in most sanitation systems to eliminate any possible odours) pollutes water, and increases water use (by easily 75% !). As such, black water simply shouldn't be used in AT at all (not only because of the wastage of water, but also because of cleaning costs), and a recategorisation such as the one I did, also immediatelly redirects development workers into a right direction/way of thinking.
Indeed, many blackwater systems still remain, and we could thus best categorise them in the category they will fit if they are converted to a more proper system (eg blackwater piping may eg be converted to route "grey water" or otherwise polluted water (eg water polluted by oil spills, ...) to a cleaning plant. (Note: by greywater I mean water that is "organicly polluted water; eg using organic soaps, ...; water with synthetic soaps are also "otherwise polluted water")
Also I chose "water harvesting" as a name making it clear that we collect, or gather water; it's not used to refer to "rainwater harvesting" (this schould be made instead a subcategory under "water harvesting". The articles about natural waterways (I'm not sure which articles these include) are I'm guessing also made to detail the gathering of water from these waterways (and thus not simply articles about the flow of rivers, ...). As such, these can also be included in the category. Wastewater (as mentioned before) needs to go to the subcategory sanitation (which is a subcategory under Healthcare).
Regarding categories/subcategories, I btw noticed that very few Appropedian's actually label the articles correctly (which in some part may be caused by the categorisation) but also because few people take the time to do it correctly (this is also the case on Wikipedia). For example, many articles are labelled several times (which eg causes single articles to appear in the major categories, and also causes a certain categories to be labelled to several larger categories. It would be best to only label each article once (to the relevant subcategory).

Category:Food and agriculture isn't a very elegant name, but it makes sense to me as a catch-all category, which helps make a minimal number of fundamental topic categories. I see on Appropedia:CategoryTree that you've gone with Category:Food production, processing and storage - my preference is to keep names short unless the longer form is really needed, e.g. Category:Food.

Yes, I thought about this too. "Food" seems more suitable. In this case dough, the subcategories "Food production", "Food processing" and "Food storage" should be added.
Another thought - topics like Soil and Vermiculture don't relate directly to food, and there are Nonfood crops... so perhaps they should go in a Category:Agriculture. I'm still thinking about how to arrange this, since they're very closely connected, and having a minimal number of very broad topics at the base of our category scheme (e.g. Category:Food and agriculture) makes sense to me. It'll be worth a look at Wikipedia does it. --Chriswaterguy 08:56, 13 December 2009 (UTC)

"Healthcare" to me sounds more like medical treatment (checking Wikipedia:Health care, it does seem to be about professional health services), whereas "health" is more general. "Health and safety" is even broader, and includes topics which are not about health in the normal usage, e.g. earthquake safety.

Just "Health" is simply incorrect. Healthcare makes it clear that we are actually performing actions to maintain (eg using personal hygiene, sanitation, ...) or improve our health (eg with medication, vaccinations, ...). Note that the meaning is thus broader than medication alone. Simply using health could eg simply refer to our current health, without really doing any action about it (which may also cause incorrect labelling by Appropedians, ...) Adding the ... and safety makes the whole even more unlogical; safety just hasn't have anything in common with health(care). Perhaps that the "Earthquake safety" subsection can be placed under the category "Construction and materials" (I assume that most documents deal around the strengthening of eg houses, ... to withstand earthquakes.
Re Healthcare: "the meaning is thus broader than medication alone" - logically this may seem so, but English is not always logical :-). In practice it refers to treatment. Health and safety are naturally connected, referring to the physical integrity of the body, so I think it makes a nice base-level category. Also in response to Category talk:Health and safety#please put the Health and Safety page back, I'm changing this back for now - however, I agree that there can be some work to recategorize the pages within this category (or even to keep suggesting alternatives to "health and safety" as the base-level category).
I think that the more we stick to the simplest appropriate category names, the less confusion and disagreement there'll be. --Chriswaterguy 07:03, 13 December 2009 (UTC)

More general comments to follow... --Chriswaterguy 12:46, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

Maybe we need some principles at Help:Categories (that page is probably out of date, also). E.g.

My preference is to use Wikipedia categories as a default, and then modify as needed. I have plans to import Wikipedia articles (to be pared down and used as topic stubs) and this will automatically import that structure. This way just seems easier, but also benefits from the thinking that's gone into it on Wikipedia - but that's not to avoid needed changes.

I'm not completely sure about this. At first glance this seems fine, but see the remark at water harvesting, I'm not sure whether Wikipedia articles are also rigged with a similar labelling. For most categories however, I expect little trouble for using this approach.

Short easy to remember category names are preferred.

To help navigation, we balance having A. a narrow multi-tiered category structure (with not too many subcategories) and B. a very broad structure, with less clicks to make going from one category to another, but more confusing profusion of pages and subcategories. But then, maybe this is irrelevant and we should just focus on putting things in the right category. --Chriswaterguy 13:00, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

For reference: Appropedia:CategoryTree is a nice-looking page that eventually might be a major navigation tool for Appropedia. Appropedia:Fundamental category tree is intended to give a more thorough look at the category structure, and I see it as an important tool that can be used now in thinking about and maintaining the categories. --Chriswaterguy 13:06, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
The Fundamental category tree seems useful. However, the category trees doen't appear to be the same than for the regular CategoryTree. Perhaps that the category tree of the CategoryTree can be taken over for the Fundamental CategoryTree, and the extra categories (eg regarding Appropedia:... pages (eg regarding administration, members, ...) can simply be added next to the other regular categories. These extra categories can then simply not be shown in the regular CategoryTree.
Finally, also take a look below for the suggestions regarding the categorisation of Category:Energy

12:34, 2 December 2009 (UTC)


At present, the motto is "sharing knowledge to create rich, sustainable lives". Aldough this is already a good motto, an alternative could be: "the appropriate technology cooperative library (aldough I find that simply changing "appropedia" to "ATCoLib" would be better here, eg differentiates towards wikipedia and makes the site less "popular" in appearance, hereby perhaps increasing our appearance, ... towards the AT organisations.

In the latter case, here is another motto (also noted at wikipedia, but I guess they won't change theirs any time soon):

"providing a way to see the big picture" This relates versus eg what's right in front of us in society. This motto is a bit deeper in meaning, and its meaning is that we can use the site to take a step back and analyse the current society, and our function within it, then take out the design flaws and also correct regarding to our own job/function within this society. KVDP 12:34, 30 December 2009 (UTC)

Hi KVDP. I'm not sure I agree with you on the big picture. I've been hearing about big picture strategy for thirty years. I suspect that we can do more good here by filling the details, one device at a time. Providing practical implementation help on a thousand different measures, leaving people to chose for themselves which to try out but giving them a forum to report back on what worked and what didn't. After we get that feedback we can start thinking about producing handbooks of best practice based on that experience. Joe Raftery 23:31, 30 December 2009 (UTC)
Hey Joe,

Offcourse we should (and we do) work on simply providing solutions that people can integrate themselves. However, I do think we can work a bit on providing overall approaches, manuals are an example on this, and in certain cases, we can work out the entire planning (ie trough the AT CAD team, and the upcoming costeffectiveaid-blog (which also focuses on land planning) KVDP 09:09, 23 February 2010 (UTC)

General engineering wiki

Perhaps that it may also be useful to make appropedia easier available to general engineers (not just appropriate technology engineers). This may be useful as there are much more general engineers and very little useful sites exist with engineering information. Making appropedia more easiliy accessible to general engineers will probably allow general engineers to take over some approaches, technologies for use closer to home (eg poor communities within the developed world), and also probably make them more susceptible to the cause of aid projects in general. In practice I propose that:

  • images of AT documents of participating organisation showing distinctly 'foreign' engineers are discarded and swapped with versions simply showing a person that does not have any distinct facial charisteristics or skin color (meaning not 'foreign' nor of any other race (eg Caucasian); this may allow the documents to be read only for their technological value and remove some of the obvious correlation with humanitarian aid, ...
  • not sure how this is done in a wiki, but improve ranking with search engines (eg on keywords as engineering (without "appropriate"), ... Also, specific attention needs to be made to the ranking at some special search engines as AEoogle (

KVDP 16:40, 4 November 2009 (UTC)

Regarding images: I favor as many different examples as possible. I am not sure what foreign means, but I am pretty sure it is easiest and most congruous to use the real images from whatever engagement is being represented.
By "foreign", I meant obvious signs of facial charisteristics or facial color (eg "race"). Dough I am myself completely color blind regarding this matter, I am aware that showing such images depicting the representation of a person of another race may scare away certain general engineers (eg those not coming from AT). In addition, even in areas within the developing world, showing images of people from another race, gender or even from another ethnic group can give problems and can scare them away. I therefore advocate the removal of any such images (or altering them with a person bearing none such facial/body features) so as to provide people the possibility of getting into AT slowly without inmediatelly focusing/making clear that we may work with people of different race, gender, ethnic groups. Regarding the work on the images however, mostly it is enough to simply replace the cover image (the other images often only show the engineering componenents, ... itself)
Regarding search engine ranking: This is very important. We are always doing work (and have made quite a bit of headway, with a Google Pagerank of 6 and similar Moz Rating), but so much more is needed. Links from other sites is a great way to achieve better ranking, e.g. blog articles about Appropedia.
Regarding AEoogle: We can submit reciprocal links at Having a link on a topic page like Human power to AEoogle seems appropriate. To do so, add in Human_power#External_links the following code - *[ Alternative Energy News] Then we can submit a link at AEoogle to the Human power page in their Human power category. This should work.
Thank you, --Lonny 08:11, 6 November 2009 (UTC)

AAI projects

In order to increase cooperation, I think it would be useful to implement "wikiproject" pages into appropedia ("approprojects" or appropedia article improvement projects). The difference between the "user request" page (aswell as the outdated to do page) would be that with the wikitags noted above ({{improve}}, {{wikify}}, ..., the page can be automatically updated (rather than manual) and "teams" can be made (eg for certain tasks as taking over a certain document or the documents of one AT organisation to Appropedia, ...). At present, this does not happen (everybody can improve Appropedia or make a new article singlehandedly), but in some cases people simply can't improve or add new things as they don't know what new things to add or in some cases they wish to add documents from AT organisations but they simply don't have the required copyright permissions by this organisation (which a specfic user might have) or don't have the skills to take over certain information (eg images imbedded in a PDF-document, text in an other language, ...). Making teams could eliminate these problems, and also convince some users of taking on some articles they wouldn't have commenced on in the first place.

For the creation of the pages, and the set-up in general, wikiprojects at wikipedia may be looked at (using the edit page) and a similar approach/code can be used.

KVDP 17:45, 27 October 2009 (UTC)

I'd love to see this happen. I feel like there's not enough of an active community here to really get subprojects like this happening just yet, so I'm really most interested in building the community, for now. I plan to tidy up the Contributors homepage and Appropedia:How you can help soon.
I'm also working on engaging with people, plus getting a lot more content on the wiki (and appreciate your work on this, KVDP). I figure that the more good content, the higher our profile will be, and the more people will come. It's also about seeding content, so people see what our scope is, what kinds of pages we have and feel more bold to add their own knowledge.
Getting more learning institutions involved is great too - they produce a lot of great content plus the occasional student remains a part of the community after their course is finished. --Chriswaterguy 04:36, 28 October 2009 (UTC)
See also Category:Appropedia Action Groups & Category:Appropedia site collaborations - worthwhile efforts but not much activity there. The main value of pages like this seems to be as reference points & resource pages for people wanting to contribute - and that's what I observed at WikiProject International development also. Looking at it that way, it's a great idea to work on these kinds of pages & collaborations any time, even before there's a community that's constantly interacting.
I think the discussion lists are another great way for people to stay connected. --Chriswaterguy 04:58, 28 October 2009 (UTC)
What about using the {{Wikify}} and {{Improve}} templates like we use {{Cleanup}}? Then we can use a category like Category:Pages needing attention and make our appeal for how people can help out more clear. I am sure as KVDP mentions, there are some people that would love to just help wikify some pages, e.g. Joey. This could be a step towards having concerted teams working on general Appropedia pages. --Lonny 05:08, 28 October 2009 (UTC)
Note that it may be useful to let {{Cleanup}} signify that the headlines/categorisation is off, rather than simply letting it signify that a page needs to be improved (for this the appropriate tags are better used, allowing people wanting to perform a certain task of coming into action). Also, I think it would be useful of using the User:XXX page to add information of what a user job the user is performing at present. If the user get ill, runs out of eager, can no longer receive internet access or is otherwise prevented of performing a job, it will allow the take over of the tasks by other appropedia members. I already done this on my user page.
KVDP 11:59, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
I really like the idea of more specific templates for cleanup, wikify, etc. I don't have time to work on it right now, but happy for someone else to take a lead. --Chriswaterguy 01:46, 5 November 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps one more idea; perhaps it may be useful to make a list with the instant messenger contact info of all appropedia/ and WikiProject_International_development members. Especially regarding the voting on the removal of pages (eg at wikipedia), this can be very valuable as it allows to gather votes very quickly (a request at the individual appropedia user pages or at the village pump is indeed also possible, but doesn't allow a quick response time). However, the instant messenger then needs to be used only for requesting specific things (eg help on a specific issue, voting, ...) and not to simply conversate with the members (which asks times from the members and prohibits them of doing something else). Regarding this latter, I'm guessing that the "mood" indicator (which most messengers have) also comes in handy (which would allow to signify others when you do have time to talk; this eg allows others to get to know one's strengths which is useful later in requesting things to the most appropriate person). I think it would be best to use a multifunctional messenger (a few years back I used Gaim; now Pidgin, but others exist aswell. 10:11, 5 November 2009 (UTC)
I like keeping in touch with people via IM. I'm normally careful about sharing my ids publicly, but I'll try it and see how it goes - I've added them to my talk page.
I've used Gaim but I was getting spam through my yahoo account so I stopped using it - now I just use Skype & Gmail chat (Google Talk). Is there another I think about trying?
Mel (User:Mchua) likes the idea of an #appropedia IRC channel, but that needs work, and (again) a larger, more engaged community. If I find an IRC client for Linux that I'm happy to run full time, and that alerts me to any activity on the channel, I'll try staying logged into the channel whenever I'm switched on. I'm willing to work on that if there are a few of us doing it: Appropedia:IRC. --Chriswaterguy 01:35, 15 November 2009 (UTC)
The IRC-channel is a thought that has also crossed my mind, but this idea isn't useful for a few reasons:
  • an IRC-channel, as it is shared, promotes group talk and thus useless chatter, the idea as explained above is to limit idle chatter as much as possible and allow provide a user to communicate more easily/rapidly in order to cooperate better; note that personal messages can however be given, but the main channel keeps open where shared communication persists
  • Regarding Skype and Google Talk; don't these require a specific e-mail adress (eg ?, not sure how Skype works (by making new username or with e-mailadress); I proposed a multifunctional messenger to get around this requirement of a specific emailadress/account, so that people using a different emailadress or use a specific messenger to communicate with others outside Appropedia can simply continue doing so. If Pidgin isn't suitable, one can use other messengers too (people can even choose their own messenger as they're multi-protocol). Adium and Empathy are the other messengers besides Pidgin which seem to be most appropriate here. Finally regarding the phoning, I'm guessing this feature won't be needed for the moment (as Appropedia is still being constructed), but it may be useful for AT engineers in the future (as internet phoning allows to make cheap lon-distance phonecalls to those not connected via the internet while being busy on a project). Even this is a possibility with certain messengers as Empathy (not Adium dough; see In addition however, we can use Jajah aswell so as to avoid needing to use Empathy if we don't like it. If everyone agrees, we can start off by making an Appropedia user database page with the e-mailadresses/usernames for instant messaging.

Regarding this latter dough, it may be useful that anonymous user editing is switched off on the whole of Appropedia, and that all pages can remain to be viewed without (free) account, except for some specific pages such as this database page. Finally, perhaps it's also possible to switch off the showing the full names of page modifiers/creators at the bottom of every article. Instead, the Appropedia user name can be shown. These measures will eliminate the problem of spam we may encounter if we start setting up this new service, ... KVDP 09:27, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

Development category - name change.

I'd like to move Category:International development to Category:Development. I initially preferred "International development" as this is a more specific term and excludes (say) software development. However, I've come to realize that international development overlaps with other fields, and the broader term is more suitable. As it says on Wikipedia's Development category,

The Development category relates to issues of economic development, development aid and international development. See also Sustainability.

We could add the term sustainable development.

This move will also put us in sync with Wikipedia.
I'll wait a week before moving (till ~22 Nov). Let me know if there are any objections. --Chriswaterguy 01:43, 15 November 2009 (UTC)
In some of my articles, I also marked them with "Sustainable engineering"; however I used this category simply as a temporary (still non-existent) category before the categorisation is worked out better (a preposition on this can be some sections more above). Like sustainable development, I don't think this category actually makes it easier to find certain articles, as its mainly too broad (at appropedia only povides sustainable technology, so sustainable development would be applicable to all articles). I think it would be best to implement more specific categories and place them correctly in a tree (subcategories under main categories)
KVDP 08:50, 16 November 2009 (UTC)
More specific categories - that appeals in a way, but in many cases it's difficult to choose which category... I guess those articles go in multiple categories. Let me look at the contents of Category:International development and Category:Development again, plus Wikipedia's Development category, and think about it more. --Chriswaterguy 05:23, 21 November 2009 (UTC)

How is the rich editor?

How are people finding the rich editor? Is it making things easier for new users?

If it's working well, should we change the default editor to WYSIWYG for new users?

Of course it's possible for each user to change their default (under the Misc tab in Special:Preferences, and deselect "Start with rich editor disabled") but it would be much nicer for new users to just land in a rich text editor that works well.

(As for the "how to do it": I suspect if we just change the default preferences settings (as we did with changing the selected namespaces for search) it will change the default editor for all users who register from now, and for anon editors.) --Chriswaterguy 18:13, 19 November 2009 (UTC)

Second thoughts: Not ready yet. It's still got some significant problems, changing the formatting, adding line breaks, entering some special characters and capitalizing wikilinks - e.g. see this edit - clearly it made a lot of changes through the whole page, not intended by the editor, who was just adding a single line to the table. --Chriswaterguy 13:02, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
Maybe we can find code hackers to help identify and fix these issues? Bugs and issues can be reported on the MediaWiki Bugzilla (select FCKeditor as the component): so I'll do some of that then add a note on the extension talk page. --Chriswaterguy 03:57, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

Welcome committee

New idea - streamlining the standard welcome tasks, and freeing up community volunteers/interns to do more individualized work. See Appropedia:Welcoming committee. (I don't know that it's relevant right now, but the page is there when needed. --Chriswaterguy 16:17, 21 November 2009 (UTC)

Warnings for parabolic solar cookers

We have a few Parabolic solar cookers and I'm concerned about the advice and designs that visitors to Appropedia are receiving.

See the conversation at Are there dangers with parabolic solar cookers?. "Modern parabolic cookers like the SK14 and the BS-M1 Solar Cooker have a very short focal point (inside the dish) actually to make it very difficult for anyone to blind themselves." - which leaves open the possibility of harm from any other kind of parabolic solar cookers.

My own inclination is to advise people to try other kinds of solar cookers and avoid these. Other kinds also cope better with indirect solar energy e.g. warm but slightly cloudy days.

But at least I'd suggest that we make a Parabolic solar cooker safety page and link it from all relevant pages. I'm no solar cooking expert, so I'd welcome perspectives. --Chriswaterguy 14:42, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

windpower pages

Hi all, I was a bit surprised to find no Windmill page.. but there is Category:Wind power and Category:Wind Energy. The latter seems to be a single page that would be better as an article than a category description... and it seems like Windmill should at least link to the relevant categories. Advice on how to proceed/how to merge? I'm not 100% sure of house style around here :) best, -- Phoebe 19:30, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

I boldly went ahead and redirected category:Wind Energy to Category:Wind power, and moved the text from the wind energy cat page to Windmill. Rvv if inappropriate, obviously. -- Phoebe 19:45, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
Thank you for being bold! That Category:Wind Energy page was from a wiki that merged into Appropedia, and the content wasn't integrated yet. Good to finally have a windmill page! --Chriswaterguy 18:12, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
Regarding this, I'm wondering whether it' not better to move this category to Category:Wind energy harvesting; indeed it sounds somewhat more long, but I think it would fit better in the subcategory: Category:Energy harvesting, itself a subcategory under Category:Energy production (itself a subcategory under Category:Energy)
KVDP 12:30, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
I'm not clear how Wind energy harvesting differs from Wind energy...? And if they're the same, I'd favor the simpler one. -Chriswaterguy 13:18, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
The reason why this ...harvesting needs to be added is simple: the main term (also popularly used) is energy harvesting (="energy production", see below). This also inmediatelly gives a general idea on where the categories are placed in the category tree. Using simply wind energy I think complicates matters in the end, and the term is generally incorrect as Wind energy harvesting refers to the harvesting of wind energy, and not simply the presence thereof.
Regarding the energy recategorisation however, perhaps that "energy production" is best swapped entirely by "energy harvesting". Currently, energy harvesting usually refers to the gathering (or "producing") of energy on a "green" way (eg wind, thermal, solar, ...). However the term can perhaps be used for other methods as well (eg nuclear energy: fission, fusion, ...). If this isn't the case, even then the simplification can be done as I don't think we'll need to make articles about these other energy sources anyhow (aldough nuclear power plants exist in some developing countries; eg Southern Africa, Central/South America, generally their maintenance and repair won't need to be done by any organisation engaged in development/humanitarian projects).
KVDP 09:05, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
So if there's a more basic page which somehow relates to wind energy but not directly to its harvesting, that then needs a separate category, and we have another level of categories?
Well, .... yeah, basicaly. Perhaps that it sounds a bit silly at first (the article "Wind energy" doesn't exist here yet, but one could make it and make it include whatever we want, thus including wind energy harvesting aswell). However, if this is done, it wouldn't be "wind energy harvesting", and if we want full coherence of the categories, it might brings us in trouble with other categories. For example with water, and water harvesting; some articles could then be easily mislabeled. We thus need to be really narrow in our categorisation.
I still don't see the need for harvesting, and I'm inclined towards the simpler style of naming, which also makes it easier for readers to guess the name and add a category to a page. I'd like to hear other opinions though. --Chriswaterguy 09:38, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

Feedback please! Suggest moving from manual to topic pages

Please see the discussion at Talk:AT villager recruitment. This is an important discussion, and it would be great to get input from others in the community.

See also Talk:Appropriate health care manual 2#Eugenics_and_sterilization - some of the content that sparked this conversation. --Chriswaterguy 08:30, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

Anybody? --Chriswaterguy 13:24, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
Yes. I think it would be a great idea to collect pages into manuals however I don't think these pages are ready yet. I have started work on movig Appropriate health care manual 4 to Vaccination (just need the redirect on Vaccination to be deleted.)Joe Raftery 08:35, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
You may start the splitting up of the manual, vaccination and phytotherapy, and perhaps others will make new useful articles indeed. However, I would like to see Appropriate health care manual TOC and Appropriate health care manual 1 kept (eg with a banner explaining the current controversy, and that the manual is not yet ready). This, simply to keep my ideas (which could be adjusted later-on) and some specific guidelines I added (eg regarding to use of Köppen climate regions, ...)

KVDP 08:57, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

Imported pages

We have a lot of imported pages from a variety of institutions but there is nowhere on these pages, that I could see, where it spells out under what permission these pages have been copied. This could be a problem later where our right to copy is disputed and no one can remember who said it was ok.

Can I suggest that there should be an organisation page for every organisation whose content we reuse and that page should have a paragraph detailing how we got permission and what the limits of that permission are. Where permission is for certain documents only the organisation pages should state that and, if neccessary, refer to to pages for each document for more details.

The Appropedia:Porting pages should talk more about permission.

Joe Raftery 08:53, 20 December 2009 (UTC)

I have rewritten Appropedia:Porting pages and Appropedia:How to port pages as I think they should be with much more on getting permission and providing attribution. Can someone review and tell me what they think? Joe Raftery 16:31, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
Thanks Joe - this is important! I saw some of your rewrite and it looks good so far.
I think you're on the right track with the organisation pages. Agroblogger/license is one example of how we can do it, when there's nowhere external to point to, to verify the open license. Attribution templates can point to that.
Do we have a page somewhere listing the cases where permission is unclear? If not, we need one. I'm thinking of e.g. the Practical Action pages (who definitely said they were okay with our license, but we need to have things in writing) and the Beyond Dams pages (who apparently said it was okay to share, but I'm not clear if they gave clear informed consent to our license). --Chriswaterguy 08:53, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
I've created a template {{License information missing}}. I haven't figured out how to get it to add the page to a category. Can someone help with that?Joe Raftery 00:28, 28 December 2009 (UTC)
I have made the following changes:
  • added the {{{1}}} so that a date would be visible based on user input into the template... feel free to remove this from the template and/or augment the few pages with the template to have a |date in the template call (e.g. {{License information missing|December 2009}}).
  • Added Category:Pages needing copyright clarification in a way that is transcluded into any page this template is placed on. Feel free to change its name or whatever else is needed.
  • I added that new category to the more general Category:Pages needing attention.
  • Added two categories that categorize the template itself (not the pages the template is included on).
You can see these changes at Please let me know if anything doesn't work or needs attention.
Thank you for your awesome work. --Lonny 01:45, 31 December 2009 (UTC)

Target audience Appropedia + data extrapolations

At the moment, Appropedia does not yet have any clear target audience. Aldough Appropedia states that it targets "the poor", it is not clearly described what is meant by this. For example, there are people that live at 2 $/day, but there are also "poor" that live on 0,5$/day, this is still a difference of about 400%, and this could certainly matter regarding the people that could be helped by Appropedia (some will fall out of the target audience, unless eg their income can be raised at some way). This because the material eg to generate power, ... have a certain cost, regardless of whether it is AT or not.

I think that it is best to make a chart on this. In the chart, perhaps we could include a comparison of helping via individual way, and via a communal approach (I believe the latter would be less expensive and thus allow to help more people on a same budget, however don't have any hard data as of yet).

Perhaps we could also include a comparison between a regular village, a regular village helped wy simple development aid and a village helped by AT.

Also, it would be useful to have a comparison table between the AT-villages, some (such as the UN millenium villages), aldough well intented, have far less great efficiencies than other villages (eg Ekwendeni) (wrote a little something at a while ago). It is vital that we come up with the most efficient way so as to inform how to help as cost/effective as possible. KVDP 08:48, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

Actually our target audience is "everyone" - the person who wants to choose the greenest car as well as the person who is too poor to easily access the site directly (but who may benefit through a neighbor, relative, NGO representative or government body sharing or applying the knowledge.
However, I can see that sometimes we would want to distinguish between solutions for particular socio-economic groups, and even have ways of navigating particular content. I can imagine a BOP (Bottom of the Pyramid) navigation template for example. As for distinguishing the levels, I'll be interested to see what you have in mind.
I'd love to see comparison tables for many things, and definitely for Appropriate technology villages and other approaches to community and intentional community. There are some very bad ideas around (the book Walden Two springs to mind, and I'm sure there are more recent examples) but my opinion that something is bad isn't of great value. An unbiased factual look at how such communities have fared in practice would be extremely valuable. --Chriswaterguy 08:35, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

CC-BY-SA page changed

I've rewritten the CC-BY-SA page. Can someone go over there and check it matches what you think? —The preceding comment was added by Joe Raftery (talkcontribs) 16:28, 27 December 2009

Thanks. I made a couple small changes there... mostly to remove the gender specific pronouns (e.g. his, he's, etc.). Thanks again, --Lonny 08:57, 6 January 2010 (UTC)

electric circuit designs for AT

I was thinking of making a seperate page called Electric circuit designs for AT in which there is a link to a subpage "Elektor circuit designs. Elektor is a [Science and technology magazine] that has published some useful schematics/devices for AT purposes. Other magazines may also have additional useful schematics, ... as time progresses, these too can be linked from Electric circuit designs for AT. Aldough the designs could be linked from the technology in question (eg a schematic for LED-lighting could eg be placed simply at the Lighting page at Appropedia, these extra pages would be needed so as to allow to communicate with the magazine better, and eg relay them the information of what designs need to be open-sourced or atleast better available (the designs are btw not all from the magazine themself, but from seperate writer/engineers).

at present, the designs are selected and which could be useful (eg regarding our AT villages idea) are:

See all designs at:

In addition, if they deem it would make a good project/article for their magazine, perhaps they could also help us with some ideas at eg and ,...

I'll sent them a mail regarding the ideas KVDP 10:51, 5 January 2010 (UTC)

Looks like great content. --Lonny 08:14, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
but not free. The General Terms and Conditions page says Use of this site and its content is permitted for personal, non-commercial purposes only. so we should probably link to their pages but not copy them. I suggest we create a page for the web site describing what resources it has and the license terms. Then we can link to that page whenever we mention a project from there.Joe Raftery 09:13, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
Sounds like a good plan. Ultimately I'd like to see comprehensive info on topics like this developed here, as free content (aka open content). But clear relevant links to high-quality info is the next best thing. --Chriswaterguy 16:01, 11 January 2010 (UTC)

Appropedia page name change assistance for Haiti Relief Project

How can the name of the page entitled Haiti Earthquake Assistance Project be changed to HAITI EARTHQUAKE APPROPRIATE TECHNOLOGY PROJECT FOR HSU ENGINEERING 305 STUDENTS ? You can email me at bart6591Atsymbol.pngyahooDot.pngcom Thank you, Bart Orlando

The HSU page wasn't moved - it was created there. I notice there are two pages on the same subject (search), so I've emailed to clarify with you. --Chriswaterguy 02:04, 16 January 2010 (UTC)

Changes to the navigation sidebar

On the right hand navigation side-bar there is a section labelled topics-areas with 11 links.

2 of these links go to Portals' the others go to Category pages. I think all of these should all go to Portal pages. though some of the pages should, perhaps, have some work done on them first.

I think the Heading could be changed to Portals. We could look again at what gets included in this box too. 

Anyone agree? Anyone know how to change this? Joe Raftery 00:26, 21 January 2010 (UTC)

Hey Joe, already proposed something similar, see Site reorganisation above, and menu update is also explained in detail on one of my published google docs. Perhaps that this could be useful to get some ideas. I placed the link on an appropedia page here somewhere (user requests or something, link now seems vanished from village pump)

KVDP 10:24, 21 January 2010 (UTC)

Good thinking. I agree all should go to portals, but we need to make more portals. (Deciding on a format is one step - what do you think of Portal:Green living?)
An admin (incl me) can change this at MediaWiki:Sidebar. --Chriswaterguy 01:09, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
I made changes as described at # Site reorganisation above.
We still need to work on making more good portals. --Chriswaterguy 12:30, 21 January 2010 (UTC)


Having been thinking about how to use compost from composting toilets, I found that most composting toilet systems aren't well suited at all to facilitate the use of the compost in agriculture. For example (as what I found some time ago when I made the Agriculture Manual), compost (atleast in temperate climates, not sure about (sub)tropical ones), the compost can only be applied once a year. This means we'll need to store the compost for a year, meaning that we'll also need to have a system that A: is large enough to store the compost for the intented population B: facilitates fast and easy emptying into a vehicle, wheelbarrow, ... (as we thus have a very limited amount of time to implement it into the soil) I made some 3 images at wikipedia and I uploaded it here aswell. The "system" i've come up with to adress the issues is the Composting toilet tower concept (see:Composting toilets here at appropedia)

Note that we'll probably need to clarify at some articles that we will also still need to have a seperate compost pile (for the organic waste from kitchen refuse, ...). Both types are best not mixed.

KVDP 14:52, 22 January 2010 (UTC)


Just finished up some edits at One particularly intresting issue I found was a new refridgeration technique called magnetic refridgeration; see Refrigerator#Types_of_domestic_refrigerators .Unlike the solar refridgeration article I made at Wikipedia some time ago, this technique uses plain electricity (and not large mirrors), and is thus much easier to implement in regular urban environments. This means its much more polyvalent. Unlike conventional and fossil oil fridges, it also doesn't use gases as freon and is thus much more environmentally friendly. I thus would like to propose altering the:

Also, we'll need to update the article Refridgeration and we also need to make a Food preservation techniques article at wiki (can be taken from for the time being); this article will also be vital for the Agriculture manual (another main issue for the manual is the map I proposed at the talk page thereof) 13:08, 28 January 2010 (UTC)

It seems that Wikipedia:Magnetic cooling is not in current use. It's good to have info on it here, but it can't be recommended until it's very well demonstrated in various settings, which is probably some years away.
But yes, Refrigeration & Food preservation are important, and it will be good to expand them. --Chriswaterguy 13:32, 28 January 2010 (UTC)
Updated my Underground food store design 13:01, 3 February 2010 (UTC)

Carbon for water/methanol filtering?

Some time ago I have been thinking of the idea of using carbon for filtering water. An idea was that organic materials (eg wood, ...) could be transformed into carbon which could then be used for filtering polluted water (eg river/seawater), and also ethanol (from moonstills); eg activated carbon is also used to clean out methanol, which is sometimes present to a (very minor) percentage, however even in minor quantities it may still pose a health risk). Note that I also made 2 images a while ago regarding this (see ) These still need to be moved over I think; the stills were drawn as they allow the production of very high grade ethanol (94%) eg for use in the production of herbal medicine (tinctures); not as a fuel nor as a beverage. It then needs to be linked in the appropriate healthcare manual.

--> See ethanol production

Regarding the production of the biochar/charcoal I made this image: ; this focused on making the charcoal production emissionless, unlike the method of production that is now in use; especially problematic in some areas as Haiti, DR Congo, ... and focused on making it only from organic material that needs to be removed/burned anyhow

Now the question I had was whether the charcoal, as is, thus not in -form is actually usable for purifying water and ethanol/methanol mixtures. This as I'm not sure whether we'll be able to make activated carbon. Having seen its use as is in homemade filters (see the image I made at ), I would think this is possible (it's noted that potable water can't be produced, but I'm guessing if we filter we get out almost everything except the pathogens; which is perfect as ethanol/methanol is already sterile, and the river/seawater would be filtered to clean up the environment, not for drinking). If it can't be cleaned enough, we could perhaps make it loop trough the carbon several times, and in case we also want to make potable water, we could also add simply heating of the water.

Perhaps someone can answer the question, would allow us to make some new articles regarding water purification, distilling, ...

Regarding the seawater/river water purification, I also had the question of whether the salt (seawater) is also filtered out (could pose a problem). Especially eg for large scale projects (I was thinking along the line of problematic areas as Nigeria-eg Lagos; aldough we probably won't start up any project here anytime soon; given other problems aswell) the technique could possibly be used. (Note: another idea I had specificly for Lagos was simply using a sand filter and burning the sand eg for the production of glass, we btw also need a manual on glass production at appropedia. Seawater in Lagos has a high concentration of fossil oil, burning it will destroy it. Also a possibility is simply burning it on the water (it forms a layer untop of the water).)

KVDP 14:09, 28 January 2010 (UTC)

I can only answer a little: a filter cannot remove salts from water, even a carbon filter. Only distillation or reverse osmosis does this, Edit: I meant to add here "Re methanol, believe carbon will work, but you'll need to do some research..." but it came out jumbled. I shouldn't answer while falling asleep.
Having some designs here for carbon filters would be great! --Chriswaterguy 14:24, 28 January 2010 (UTC)
Feel free to take over the images I mentioned, I made them all under the public domain 13:25, 30 January 2010 (UTC)

I'm not sure what you have in mind with the glassified sand. Also the oil - it definitely shouldn't be mixed with the water. Even a very tiny amount would affect the taste of the water. --Chriswaterguy 14:28, 28 January 2010 (UTC)
Re the glass; the idea is the purify the water using a sand filter --> this creates dirty sand as waste poduct --> this sand is then converted to glass, and in the process the fossil oil is burned with it. Thus, we are actually simply putting up a glass-production facility, but we use the polluted sand for this (as opposed to good quality sand). The glass we could make can be used for a variety of products; eg windows for resale, aswell as personal items we could use in AT villages (we mostly wouldn't use regular (glass) windows due to the AT building designs; which are more durable/polyvalent if no (glass) windows are used); eg ideas are: glass for use in solar collectors, glass for use in greenhouses, glass for lenses (eg used to focus electric lights; a technique used in too by the Victorians in the past, ...)
Re the water purifying; note that I don't intent to use it eg as drinking or washing water (well, perhaps only washing water for the washing of waste plastics and even this only in specific circumstances, ...). Instead, the purification would simply be done in rivers/seas to clean up the oil there. The would be no actual purpose, other than to make sure the ecosystem/marine life is repaired.
Re glass: interesting. Does the cleanliness of the sand matter for glass production? (My guess is that it does matter.)
Well, I don't think so (thus the idea); the sand needs to be heated allot (eg 1000°C or more); my guess is that any oil remains have long been incinerated before the sands starts to transform to glass. Any pollution (the oil won't disappear completely but break apart into molecules which partly remain in the mixture) that is left can simply be accepted, it won't probably be big enough to actually discolor the glass, ... and some pollution is present anyhow even in commercial glass. Finally, the glass will break after some time anyhow when in use for a while, and then the glass can be remelted and (very minor) pollution can be taken out. Well, atleast that's my thought on this, but I'm no glass manufacturer.
Re water: that sounds acceptable - it's much easier to meet the standards you'd need for non-domestic use. I assume some kind of device would concentrate the surface oil before burning it? Otherwise it would only work when pollution levels are extreme. --Chriswaterguy 14:01, 30 January 2010 (UTC)
Intresting, indeed concentrating it using a crude filter (eg made from a local organic material as wood (eg rotan, ...) could be quite useful to improve efficiency. My first idea was simply burning as is (indeed very extreme in Lagos, see Ross Kemps ISOP episode 2) Also, I guess that it would also allow a more complete burning (some of the oil or oil particles may go under during the burning, causing incomplete burning and some remainder pollution).

The traditional way to remove organic wastes, like Methanol, from water is by aerobic digestion - make sure the water is oxygenated and wait for a suitable set of bugs to break it down into CO2 and water then let the bugs settle to the bottom or use a trickle filter like this where the bugs sit on the stones and the water trickles over. Joe Raftery 14:38, 30 January 2010 (UTC)

Intresting, didn't know this. However, the methanol would only be present in the ethanol not in water. As the almost pure ethanol is very toxic to bacteria, the method can't be used here.

KVDP 10:15, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

Are we still talking about river water here? Ethanol & methanol dissolve completely & easily in water. It would take fairly high concentrations (a few percent - that's very polluted) to really inhibit bacteria. --Chriswaterguy 05:11, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
No, this would be relative to moonshining (the making of ethanol), I think this may not have been completely clear; reread the very first paragraphs, I mention the making of ethanol for use eg in tinctures (herbal medicines made using ethanol). The worm still image I made was btw also made herefore. The methanol would be a side product with the making of ethanol (presence depends on what organic produce it's made, I guess the problem doesn't occur with fermentations of simple sugar+water, but it may occur eg if distilled from (bad) wine) 13:11, 3 February 2010 (UTC)

Okay, with you now. Methanol is normally removed by distillation, of course, and cheaper liquors can give nastier hangovers partly because of less complete distillation, meaning more methanol and other impurities left over. (I think there are still impurity problems even with sugar+water.) If there is another effective way to remove undesired components, without the high energy use of distillation, that would be very useful.
Yes - oils are harder to break down (esp petroleum products) but a fixed film device, with a biofilm growing over media, allows the impurities to be pulled out of the flowing water, and slowly broken down within the biofilm. --Chriswaterguy 15:00, 30 January 2010 (UTC)

--Spectra Nova 04:46, 18 February 2011 (PST)Good to God to follow this over a year wonderful talk on water filtering and cleansing processes and innnovations with its especial emphasis on the Health, Safety and Environment. The systematic lessons this talk has generated is worth celebrating and carrying forward. This comment is to provision a complimentary review of the whole talk length and share which lessons, troubleshoots and directions can carry forward the extensions in Chriswaterguy's summarized outlines in the penultimate edit.

The evolved and more sanitary components for water/drainage filters highlighted by Chriswaterguy are:

i.oils ii.fixed film device iii.biofilm (filters out impurities and cleanses by metabolism)

To develop an overall mechanism that fits these components in design and potential operational principle, learning and resourcing the following will be fruitful engagements:

    - Learning about Developing Polluted area surveys and monitors to index ecosystem pollution of water,air 
      and soil for health,  safety and environment solutions intervention.
    -Learning about developing stabilized pipes for operational structural strength and 
     Health, Safety and Environment benefits through the application of bioremediating silicate coating.
        Case study: Volcanic Ash and bioremediating silica.

- Learning about developing membranes from Extremophile mushrooms.

 Case study: Are Mushrooms Extremophiles? Types Of Extremophilitic Mushrooms?

[1] [3]

Anyone interested in networking, we can discuss complimentary plans for physical locations and sites: [2] [4]

--Spectra Nova 04:32, 18 February 2011 (PST)

New front page - please help with images & portals

Main Page tests.

  1. We need suitable square images for every portal's icon. (They can also be used on Appropedia:CategoryTree where the same topic is shown). Colorful & engaging images with a clear simple theme work best, IMO.
  2. "Default.png" (the low-res Appropedia logo) marks where a new open-licensed image is needed. Can be from here, elsewhere (e.g. Flickr, uploaded and attributed) or from you if you have one. The "Appropedia community" one I chose because of the idea of many hands working together, but would prefer an alternative (less muddy at least).
  3. We also need portals for each redlink. Which format do we use? (I like Portal:Green living as it requires so little maintenance thanks to the category tree which is always up to date, and it's easy to add sample pages.)

I'll work on some other details, and I'll try out converting the images to imagemaps, so that clicking anywhere on the image will take you to the portal. --Chriswaterguy 03:21, 31 January 2010 (UTC)

I recently saw a useful hands-image (from a commercial company); I'll upload it after some tweaking; adding some other hands to the image could allow us to make it more "international"; eg hands in several colors, and in a circle, a bit like the Ubuntu promotion video

KVDP 15:02, 31 January 2010 (UTC)

First image uploaded, did not yet fully implement modifications (only small clean-up); image to the right. The commercial company had as a slogan: U hebt goed gekozen (You have chosen well). Indeed we have ... ;)

KVDP 07:47, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

Thanks - it's different to what I'd imagined (most of them are photos), but it's nice and clear. Happy to try it out. Is this your own version, which is open licensed (PD or CC-BY-SA)? Or is it still based on the commercial (copyright) image? --Chriswaterguy 09:50, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Not sure, it's only slightly modified (cropped, color changed); if you think the mods stated above would improve the image, it will soon be changed beyond recognisability, so that it's probably my own image (and i'll release it under public domain)

KVDP 10:18, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

Chris, perhaps the proposed alternative category names can be implemented into the Main page test page? ie Food and agriculture, Health and safety were given other names. Safety btw was proposed to be placed under construction, this is much more logical.

KVDP 09:30, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

We didn't have consensus on all those changes, but I think one or two minor changes came out of those conversations, IIRC. I'm certainly happy if we keep talking about it and to keep tweaking the category names. --Chriswaterguy 09:50, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

How to create notices - new template

I made the {{notice}} to make it easier to create notices. See Help:Notices for instructions.

Once we get parser functions we can maybe make it even more clever, e.g. adding an option for round corners. For now, you can vary colors and width, but for anything you'll need to make a new version.

So we can put some effort into making the notices better looking, rather than just getting them to work. (I confess I've made some very ugly ones.)

Dietary reference values image

See Appropriate nutrition manual 3

As I mentioned previously in my writings, the current energy requirements are at around 2000 kcal/day for adults, and this would remain the main baseline for eg agriculture manual, writings about nutrition, ... However, I realised a while ago that this isn't quite sufficient information as eg children and infants need much less energy; as such it is useful to include info for these aswell. At the moment, there already exists a "Human energy requirements" document which discusses these. However, the document is much too cumbersome/extensive to read and for a quick reference that can be included to documents already made here, and also for the wikipedia (, articles), we best make a bar chart (or a graph)image with the basic food requirements (no distinction boys/girls, 3 month hop until the first lifeyear, then hops as accordingly (depending on where the major differences lie), upto adults (the 2000 kcal mark). This will result in a image which will be rudimantary at first glance, but which is actually not (the food requirements are actually very little between gender, and energy requirement differences between a few months are quite minor too; adding the easy of implementation to existing articles it will make a very useful tool.

I first still need to make another image but will start on it soon, perhaps someone can already take a look at the tables and present the exact hops and data to integrate. (Refer to the wiki-articles above for the UN manual on food energy requirements)

KVDP 08:48, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

Update, I checked out the tables, but it seems that it doesn't quite work well with the 2000 kcal treshold I use (the UN figures are far too high). Current data from UN:
  • Age in years -- kcal/d:
  • 1-2e -- 865
  • 2-3 -- 1047
  • 3-4 -- 1156
  • 4-5 -- 1241
  • 5-6 -- 1330
  • 6-7 -- 1428
  • 7-8 -- 1554
  • 8-9 -- 1698
  • 9-10 -- 1854
  • 10-11 -- 2006
  • 11-12 -- 2149
  • 12-13 -- 2276
  • 13-14 -- 2379
  • 14-15 -- 2449
  • 15-16 -- 2491
  • 16-17 -- 2503
  • 17-18 -- 2503

I think his is probably because they integrate too much physical activity. Another possibility could be that one requires more kcal in the early adulthood, and that this drops to 2000 after, but I don't think this is the case (difference is a bit high). Also the UN document uses kcal/kg and PAR/BMR. This means the other tables can't be used neither, unless we calculate it manually. PAR/BMR is something I didn't work with in my previous writings as it makes things quite complex, and I'm not sure whether people in the developing world (or even here for that matter) will take the time to do such extensive calculations simply to even start knowing what amounts they need to consume (one also needs to calculate/keep track of the foods consumed during the day). An example of the calculation can be found here

Regardless, in some cases it may be more useful (ie for some jobs that require extensive physical work, and/or people that are much larger or smaller than normal, ie 2,1m, 1,5m, ... rather than the more conventional 1,8m. As such it would be useful to integrate it, but then combined with our current (still incomplete) system.

It was also described that the UK dietary guidelines booklet had 2500kcal for men, and 2000 for women (adults). Again, as I'm not a supporter of such mixed calory guidelines, I would'nt opt to use this one either (would make things also more difficult, ...). Perhaps we could use the female guidelines and extend it to be applicable to all ? Another fast(er) solution would be using the UN data above and simply dividing 2503 with 2000, this gains a multiplier, and this number can then be used to divide the other numbers. Offcourse, again this will only make a "about right" graph, and its probably not relyable enough as a reference. The third option (as noted before) is then to take the plunge into the PAR/BMR system, and use it to recalculate the UN data manually; ie using the PAL/... data of the UN manual, ...

I'd like to know your opinions. KVDP 09:19, 4 February 2010 (UTC)

UPDATE --> finished new table data
  • Age in years -- kcal/d:
  • 0 -- BMR:375 x PAL:1,40 = 525 TDEE
  • 1 -- BMR:525 x PAL:1,40 = 735 TDEE
  • 2 -- BMR:625 x PAL:1,40 = 875 TDEE
  • 3 -- BMR:750 x PAL:1,45 = 1050 TDEE
  • 4 -- BMR:825 x PAL:1,45 = 1196,25 TDEE
  • 5 -- BMR:850 x PAL:1,50 = 1275 TDEE
  • 6 -- BMR:900 x PAL:1,55 = 1395 TDEE
  • 7 -- BMR:950 x PAL:1,55 = 1472,5 TDEE
  • 8 -- BMR:1000 x PAL:1,55 = 1550 TDEE
  • 9 -- BMR:1100 x PAL:1,55 = 1705 TDEE
  • 10 -- BMR:1150 x PAL:1,55 = 1782,5 TDEE
  • 11 -- BMR:1200 x PAL:1,55 = 1860 TDEE
  • 12 -- BMR:1275 x PAL:1,55 = 1976,25 TDEE
  • 13 -- BMR:1350 x PAL:1,55 = 2092,5 TDEE
  • 14 -- BMR:1425 x PAL:1,55 = 2205,75 TDEE
  • 15 -- BMR:1475 x PAL:1,55 = 2286,25 TDEE
  • 16 -- BMR:1575 x PAL:1,55 = 2441,25 TDEE
  • 17 -- BMR:1625 x PAL:1,55 = 2518,75 TDEE
  • 18 -- BMR:1675 x PAL:1,55 = 2596,25 TDEE

Note 1: between 0 and 9 months, the caloric intake actually needs to be added to the pregnant female in question. A close-up of the exact caloric requirements per 3 months are:

  • Age in months -- kcal/d:
  • 0-3 -- BMR:392,85 x PAL:1,40 = 550 TDEE
  • 4-7 -- BMR:464,28 x PAL:1,40 = 650 TDEE
  • 7-9 -- BMR:500 x PAL:1,40 = 700 TDEE

Note 2: For the dietary reference values for people with an age above 18, the extra number of years above 18 are multiplied by 6 (average 6,8 and 4,7 of male/female Harris-Benedict formula) and added to the BMR. Thus, older people will generally require a bit more calories than younger people (thus contrary to popular beliefs), but it is likely that the end result will nonetheless be smaller, since older people often become less active, and thus the PAL will generally reduce.

Note 3:

  • TDEE means Total Daily Energy Expenditure
  • BMR means Basal Metabolic Rate
  • PAL means Physical Activity Ratio

Where the table data comes from: The table data was derived from the UN tables at However, averages where made from the tables there, in order to create a unisex table. Keep in mind dough that the table is only suitable as a reference value, and depending your genetic makeup (depending on whether your smaller/larger than average, male/female, weigh more/less, have more lean body mass (muscle tissue), ...), the BMR may differ and you will thus require more/less calories than the average presented here. For this, one can use the Harris-Benedict equation, which goes as follows:

  • Men: BMR = 66 + (13.7 X weight in kg) + (5 X heightt in cm) - (6.8 X age in years)
  • Women: BMR = 655 + (9.6 X weight in kg) + (1.8 X height in cm) - (4.7 X age in years)

For reference: Data from 0-9 months was composed by taking averages of boys and girls from Table 3.2, Daily energy requirementc, kcal/d Data from 1-18 years was composed by taking averages of boys and girls from Table 4.2 and Table 4.3, BMRestc, kcal/d Note that "year 0" isn't shown, but was derived from table 3.2, also note that the PAL data was also averaged, yet no longer followed from year 7 onwards. The PAL's of these were: 1,60 , 1,65 , 1,65 , 1,7 , 1,75 , 1,75, 1,8 , 1,8, 1,8 , 1,75 , 1,75 and the caloric intake was thus: 1600, 1815, 1897, 2040, 2231, 2362, 2565, 2655, 2835, 2844, 2931 respectively. However, concluding from these PAL's are by far too high since for comparison, it can be assumed that the activity level would keep to "moderately active", rather than up to "very active". The PAL only refers to the activity level and not any metabolic changes (these are incorporated only to the BMR).


I had a question about transformers; I noticed in a recent Elektor magazine article that (some or all?) transformers don't really convert power (ie to a lower/higher voltage but with a respectively higher/lower amperage), but simply dissapate the "excess energy". It seems that it matters whether a "iron core" or a "electronic" transformer is used regarding this. Perhaps that some of you can shed some light on this matter, as I myself didn't have eny engineering nor electrical engineering education. Also, I have asked ISF about possible documentation regarding the construction of transformers, perhaps a manual can follow, this would then detail the required windings, ... for any given transformation of voltage. Also, I'm guessing that the manual could then possibly be used for to supply work to AT villagers (artisans); especially as besides that more transformers are still needed for the electricity grid (and as these are also required for the AT village; ie for the connection to the grid; grid metering), the transformers in practically all neighbourhoods (even in the developed countries) are not equipped to handle the large extra loads when people start using electric vehicles instead of IC-engine powered ones. Note: If the voltage conversion simply burns off excess energy, we'll also need to relook our current set-up for AT-villages; ie whether we would use high voltage or low voltage for the regular power supply around the village (which is then converted to LV/HV to the electricity grid; if there is one)

Note 2 perhaps we can start a new article regarding the jobs we could provide to AT villagers; it could be useful to think already about this (dough its stull quite hypothetical), as it may allow us to think further to eg the types of tools we'll require for workshops, ... KVDP 08:23, 5 February 2010 (UTC)

Wire wrap, strip/perfboard and tubes

As mentioned before at this concept, there are several methods we can use for making AT electric circuit designs. However, it would be useful to make an article comparing the assembly techniques and components early-on, so we have a general approach by the time we actually start designing/publishing circuit designs.

Several techniques are available: ie Stripboard/perfboard, wire wrap, ... However, I'm not quite sure whether all electric components can actually be used to solder them (nor whether it works more or less, but that it wasn't really intented for it). Reason for using these techniques is the possibility of easier repair (parts can be assembled/disassembled more easily). I'm guessing that using stripboard, we could also resolder on metal extensions if the parts have been soldered on/off allot (meaning they lost some of the metal "rods" their connected to. I'm also wondering whether a system exists/can be made using thicker rods (pins) and plugs, so the components can be plugged in rather than soldered (ie perhaps by soldering the rods to the pins).

Also, I was thinking about older components as tubes; these components were used in older circuitry such as older computers, ... I'm not sure about how well the components work (some have been discarded, others are still in use today; ie in retrotronics -->(still availble eg via webshops as I think that these components (mostly because they're much larger) are much more durable than present-day components (ie the Harwell or WITCH computer still works today, after 48 years). Aldough we probably won't be able to build entire circuits off of them, we could possible integrate them to replace more fragile components; a bit similar to retrotronics, but performed for durability purposes, not beauty.

I'm also getting started on making a short webshops-list for obtaining components.

Finally, as mentioned in te linked idea above, I was wondering whether that eg instead of domotics systems, an alternative could be clap-light type switches (ie sound-activated). Offcourse we don't really need neither of them, but as we're already exploring circuit design, and as It think sound-activated switches don't really cost allot to build, perhaps it's something extra we could do. Unlike a central system like a domotics system, switches are easy and cheap to set-up, and I think if we program them to respond to a specific sound, it would even provide a quite futuristic feel (it would be like it knows how to respond to the command, aldough it offcourse doesn't know how to interprate speech). For example, lights (which we'll need anyhow) can be triggered by a sound-activated command such as "illuminate" aswell as "deluminate", switching it on/off. Other system switches can be set to activate/deactivate the switch on other commands.

KVDP 10:00, 5 February 2010 (UTC)

UPDATE besides older components such as tubes, it appears that some components also come in "mil. spec" . It seems that the connectors thereof have a thicker goldlayer, soldering pens are better, ... Also, I also had the idea that for example with transistors and some other components, simply enlarging their size would also make them stronger (while the same new techniques are still preserved). They will offcourse be a bit more energy-inefficient (as there is more metal) but as the lifetime is longer this might not be a problem (especially as we intent to use "green energy" anyway. 13:29, 18 February 2010 (UTC)

FTP server/free file hosting service ?

One particular problem at appropedia is that someimes, we need to have files available to the community in order to modify them (eg extracting photos from pdf files, modifying images, ...). At present, this could be more or less solved using the upload files in the navigation bar, but this isn't really handy (filenames then need to be mentioned/linked in eg village pump, ...). Perhaps we could introduce a FTP-server or alternatively we could do it using a file hosting service. Perhaps that we could also immediatelly implement shielding of files; eg for file transfers to certain people or a restricted set thereof.

In addition, I was also thinking about the servers used therefore. At present, appropedia uses a host for the publication of the wiki. This is perfect for the wiki, but perhaps the ftp server (not needed if we use a file hosting service) can use its own simple server. A test project or a quick analysis could be made/done with/to purpose-build (low-cost) servers as the ECB AT91/ATmega32/644 (see or more recently the R32C server. I was thinking that perhaps experience with these would also be beneficial eg with the possible set-up of future AT village systems (if these would indeed require a central system). Offcourse it's only a thought.

KVDP 10:34, 5 February 2010 (UTC)

Cost/effective development aid projects

Having been thinking about some water problems, aswell as the problem that most of the money we (nationally) spend on aid is always focused around cost-inefficient disaster relief projects (eg 2004 tsunami, hurricane disaster relief, Bam, Haiti 2009, ...) , I have been thinking about the possibility of setting up a seperate site/blog alongside appropedia and use it to list the most cost-efficient projects. This blog could then possibly take over some articles from appropedia that really are'nt well suited for use here (eg: International Rivers, Arcata Marsh...). They are not suited here because appropriate technology is mostly about AT-related projects, not large-scale (expensive) ones that do not use especially engineered technology or approaches (eg the laying of canals, ...).

Aldough offcourse development aid is a national engagement, and we really don't have much to do with it, I do think that it would be useful to direct them towards the more cost-efficient projects, so that as much as possible gain/human lives can be had/spared (eg most people are killed from "banal" problems as drinking polluted water, easily-treatable diseases, ...). I am guessing that, aldough offcourse people will still only spend money on the more "visual" projects (such as Haiti, ...), this money could possibly be relayed to a central development aid bank account, and the money to the more cost-inefficient project can then simply be qeued up more to the back of the qeue (allowing more money to come available to more cost-effective ones).

For the seperate blog, I already made a list for the most cost-efficient river-related projects (offcourse priority must first be given to eg (some) energy related projects such as regarding the (oxy)hydrogen/liquid nitrogen internal combustion, ...)

Water-projects list:

  • Murray river disconnection The plan to divert the murray river inland and break the connection with the sea must be continued. This could halt the salination which is now on the rise and increases water availability for Adelaide. Some research to the consequences for Encounter Bay should also be done. See

  • Jonglei diversion canal and Wadi connection

In the intrest of reducing the problems in Darfur, aswell as other area's in Sudan, a better economic system might be beneficial. This could be done by completing the Jonglei diversion canal. In addition, I also noted 2 other suggestions to increase trade using Sudan's hydrology. Please take a look at . -->section follows: Hydrology and History The hydrology section could perhaps mention that one of the main reasons for its low wealth is the need of water for irrigation of crops and to sustain life in the surroundings.

As such, it should be mentioned that the incompletion of the Jonglei diversion canal has contributed to not being able to move forward. And perhaps a suggestion on the connecting of the 2 Wadi's in Darfur (near Malha; notably Wadi Howar and Wadi El Milk could increase economic prosperity and decrease of desertification. This would have much more effect than what the humanitarian organisations are doing.

The egyptians could help in the financial continuation of the projects as they reduce nile evaporation (good for them too). Also, together with digging wells and a connection channel east of Malha, population control should be placed, to prevent the population of growing even further.

  • Red sea canal

Jordan National Red Sea Development Project:

  • Farakka dam & Indian logging The construction of (a) certain Indian dam(s) has led to desertification of Bangladesh. This effect is very great especially in the dry season. A solution could probably be found; eg using a temporary water store, by allowing some water flow in the dry season, ...

It seems that the Tipaimukh is also having similar protest, not sure whether the effect of this is so great however (,

In addition, the logging of trees in the indian part of the Himalaya is causing a large buildup of silt; this prohibits (or makes it harder) for the water to pass to Bangladesh.

  • Lake Chad

Has been reduced by 95% since 75. As such, it needs to be replenished with this amount very soon, to prevent desertification, ... of the area. Note: image too needs to be made for wikipedia, based on satellite images at


Note: possibly some Bonifica Transaqua ideas too could be useful; Bonifica and some other organisations as IIDS could possibly be of assistance --comment by KVDP, 8 February 2010.


  2. Transition Laboratory
  3. Running Dry:The humanitarian impact of the global water crisis
  4. Water wars by Maude Barlow, Tony Clarke
  5. Water: the fate of our most precious resource by Marq de Villiers
Quick comment - changing a watercourse (such as the Murray) is likely to have huge consequences. Of course current actions (removing so much of the water for irrigation) have done enormous damage as well, so I'd suggest a proper analysis and EIS be performed - which of course it would be, before anything like this was attempted.
What Appropedia can offer here is a place for analysis of all the different options (including reducing the water taken out for irrigation, and the impact and alternatives for farmers). This would be a great contribution to public debate.
Indeed, these matters are good aaproaches for Appropedia itself. However, as I noted at the beginning of the post, the idea is to have a blog (ie under another name) alongside appropedia. Thus, it would be set up seperate of Appropedia. This as I mentioned before, because it falls outside of Appropedia's scope.
Regarding the Laroucheweb link - any idea is fit to be examined, of course, and may have value. I have more skepticism for ideas when they come from a source with a very strong POV such as Larouche, but where there is something interesting or popular there, then it deserves to be analyzed. --Chriswaterguy 01:39, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
I'm not familiar with the company/website, however the Tranqacqua idea has been noted by several other sources (including Wikipedia). The idea is not to take over the entire project (see also the entries at wikipedia: Lake Chad; the initial Transacqua idea was even the divert the entire Congo river ...), but rather to look into it and take out what's useful.

UPDATE: I was thinking that the blog could also include a Transport section detailing cost-effective transport projects. For example, road/rail ; a personal idea regarding this is eg trainrail/tramrail connection eg for freight. See also . Improving eg the rail-system with this approach would allow electric transport of freight (emissionless) at a low cost. It's also easy to set up nationally (transport using private vehicles, eg trucks is not). I was btw also thinking that the design of a special freighttram could also be useful: this special freightram could eg run on regular trainrails that are imbedded into concrete paving/roads. This could then allow the same rails to be used within a city as for the lines between railway stations. As the rails are placed within the concrete (only a small opening is made to allow the undercarriage to slide over the rails) the (larger?) size of the rails is then no longer of importance. The vehicle itself would still have the width of a conventional train (length can be offcourse allot shorter), but this too is probably not a problem for most roads/urban alleys.

UPDATE: Motto could be: "Cost-effective aid & appropriate land planning"

KVDP 10:24, 12 February 2010 (UTC)

UPDATE -->Blog made, main issues noted here added, looking for Appropedia members to manage the blog in the future

KVDP 10:25, 20 February 2010 (UTC)

FM radio broadcasts

Following an idea I had regarding communication via regular radiowaves, I found 2 projects that lie along the line of this (GNY Radio and Universal Software Radio Peripheral ). These projects (if hooked up to the internet via IRLP - internet radio linking project, and perhaps packet radio broadcasting) could then allow broadcasting of about any radio broadcast on any place in the world (broadcast is first sent via internet, and is then locally transmit (wirelessly). I thus sent them a mail. However I was thinking that besides merely suggesting these improvements to their device, perhaps we could also make use of it. Eg by making Appropedia broacasts that can be sent to rural stations. This would give us another communication method, increase popularity of us greatly (internet access is still something most people in the developing world lack but a FM/AM radio is something they do have), ... Regarding the packet radio, it seems that it may also be used to transfer documents (eg manuals) which is useful eg for making a show about a topic and immediatly relaying a document to it. The first idea however was simply to improve the audio quality/range (as the broadcasts could be sent digitally rather than analog) with this.

KVDP 08:39, 9 February 2010 (UTC)

IC engine efficiency improvements

Having been thinking about the SAE Supermileage compretition, I was thinking that something could be done with the switching off of the engine while driving (this is done to save fuel, see , . I came up with the following idea we could put into practice:

  • For the largest part, the switching off of the engine can't be automated (moments that this has to be done are too unpredictable, it depends on the traffic situation). However, if the driver takes his foot of the pedal (or he reduces speed to 0 using another control device), we can assume that this is a moment where the engine may be turned off completely. The engine can then be started and immediatelly increased to the speed as indicated by the pressing of the pedal, upon the moment that the pedal is pressed.

For this method, I am sure that we could create a electronic system (which can be implemented on any car) so that the fuel efficiency is increased.

In addition, I was thinking that perhaps the fuel-efficiency upgrade from UBC (originally developed to upgrade a lawnmower engine; see could perhaps be used for use with conventional IC car engines. This can perhaps be done using programmable software (to adapt for the varying cilinder capacities)

KVDP 09:05, 12 February 2010 (UTC)

Use of IC-engine without clutch or starter motor

At present, most car engines use a manual gear system, combined with a clutch. They also use a starter motor, which is essentially an electrical engine, yet in a smaller package and dimensioned for shortterm use (just to get the IC-engine running). Thus besides actually using 2 engines, this entire system also has a huge weight, is more difficult to make/repair and it would thus be suitable to use a much simpler system. Finally, it also requires a electrochemical battery, which needs constant replacement, maintenace and repair.

I do think it is possible to switch to something else, since ie cars, airplanes, ... made before 1914 had engines that did not yet use a starter engine/electrical battery. Electrical batteries were btw only included by 1905 for car lightning (thus not even used for the spark plugs). Thus, perhaps we can take a look to what cars/airplanes were built before 1914, and then look into the specific workings of their engines. For example, the engine used in the Wright Flyer 3, Santos-Dumont Demoichelle, Stampe & Vertongen 4(bis), ... The gear system used would probably also be simple.

If these don't provide a suitable answer, then it's best to look at IC- and EE-motorised bikes; (see , Some still use bicycle gearing, thus meaning that even with fairly powerful engines, the use of a bike gearing is still possible. This would solve the problem, since bikes do not have a clutch, and thus do not need to disconnect the axle before shifting gears.

For completeness, I also checked some other vehicles, such as contemporary motorbikes, but it seems that these also use a clutch/gear mechanism similar to cars. I wasn't sure about this at first (since it also uses a chain) but the chain only connects the drive axle with the back wheel (and thus does not connect to the gears).

Other methods include the use of a torque_converter /fluid coupling or

Finally, a last option would be ie a constant variable transmission; this also doesn't require a clutch appearantly, but they are also quite complicated to make/repair, and these systems can not be commonly found, meaning that obtaining them is also a tricky process. Some types such as the Variable ration belt transmission seems rather simple though, and (as its widely used for some vehicles as snowmobiles), perhaps obtainable/affordable aswell.

KVDP 14:10, 3 August 2010 (UTC)

IC-engine simplifications

Having looked at some older engine designs (at the beginning of the last century), and having cross-compared with some contemporary simple engines (ie lawn mower engine, ... see also: Comparison of IC engines, here are some conclusions:

Air-compressing (ie "Supercharging and Turbocharging"); essentially injecting compressed air into the cylinders (via the intake manifold), so as to increase output power. This trick has been used for a long time (ie the Mercedes Tripolis, race cars in Indianapolis in the '60's, ... already had them and they increased efficiency greatly). Air compressing is done in both gasoline and diesel engines. The contemporary diesel engines will probably be able to generate larger pressure (and thus increased efficiency) over older diesel and gasoline engines. In gasoline engines, mostly turbocharging is done since it uses exhaust fumes as the powersource (otherwise lost energy). Note that this energy is only lost since contemporary IC-engines do not have a stirling engine equipped; not sure whether there would be a (great) yield if this is added. Diesel engines typically also use compressors (note gasoline engines can also use these, but given that these require power from the engine, the extra obtained efficiency isn't that great). For diesel engines, compressors are a necessity since they do not use spark ignition; instead, the fuel needs to be ignited trough the pressure alone. An extra advantage is increased effiency (typically 5%) over gasoline engines due to the air-compressing (at very high pressure).

Spark ignition: simple engines as lawn mowers, some motorcycle engines, ... use magnetos. These are allot simpler and allow the discarding of the EC battery. Compression ignition is another method, but this requires a much more durable and expensive engine, also requires preheating of the fuel (unless it's diesel); it's thus not really used in off-shelf (gasoline) engines (only diesel).

Finally, a last issue would be the sensor, as mentioned already at Comparison of IC engines, I'm not sure what was used in the past, I think something different than a sensor though, perhaps the timing belt (despite that the sensor doesn't seem that difficult to construct). Perhaps useful to look into aswell ? Some other intresting things to look into are ie the construction of the IC-engineblock in one piece (engineblock + cylinderheads), the valvemechanism (ie use of "king shaft"), the ignition (ie the use of compression ignition, hot tube, flame, ..., ref= ) Perhaps that this could be useful for the design of a "AT engine", possibly equippable with ie solid matter cooling (ie "air cooling), perhaps by reusing parts of other engines (ie non-multiple cylinder engines). See also:

So what can we do with the new information ? -->

First-off, we still need to assess whether it's useful to include a IC-engine in new projects. For example, I put forward using an IC-engine and a stirling engine in the AT freight airplane. However, aldough I'm quite positive that the efficiencies of both the IC-engine and the stirling engine can be added together (making the system upto 60-70% efficient), I'm not sure whether the same can not be done with 2 stirling engines. An IC-engine however extracts the primary power due to a deflagration, whereas the stirling engine extracts heat as a power source. 2 Stirling engines would then again extract heat twice; thus if the 2 efficiencies could be added together (40% + 40%), this would assume that a stirling engine is normally underdimensioned; ie that it can not extract enough heat from the available heat. This seems odd, and thus would need to be clearified first. If we can use 2 stirling engines to multiply our efficiency, then it would be best to discard the IC-engine/stirling engine combination, since Stirling engines are simpler to built and repair (ie they do not have many "support systems" such as cooling systems, lubrication, ...)

In case 2 stirling engines can't be added together to multiply the efficiency, we'll need to make a AT-version of it, basically an IC-engine that is allot simpler. We can take a look at the older gasoline, compression ignition engines such as the one use in the Mercedes Tripolis (1939). An other option is to take a look at the construction of contemporary diesel-engines (ie such as M.A.N. 52/55 diesel engine (efficiency: 50% !), providing the latter can be reduced in size and providing that it is still simple in construction). As noted in the post above (and here above), the engines would need to work without requiring an EC-battery, and should also be connectable to a system without a clutch or gears.

Secondly; given that IC-engines (due to their wide availability, even in the developing world), despite their inefficiency and complication, aren't going anywhere and we will thus need to include their use anyhow (even if it is only for conversion projects for other people, ...), It's best to atleast have a 3D-model prepared.

I was thinking at a very well-known, mass produced contemporary IC-engine such as the Toyota 4A-GE, Opel Escort BDA, ... Some 3D-designs we can simply obtain: , ...

At the ICE_fuel_conversion we can detail the options to improve the efficiency of the IC-engine (ie using a super- or turbo-charger). The option of integrating diesel-engine parts (low- and high pressure pumps; ie via a kit such as the Bosch common-rail, ..) falls off the wagon, since diesel-engines not only have to be built very solidly, but also require a "whirl chamber", either inside the cylinder or just after the injector, for proper mixture of fuel + air. Given that these parts can probably not be modified, and since they are probably to expensive to replace, this option isn't possible.

However, before advising this, we should first check whether the emissionless fuels can use high-pressure injection, what the mixture ratio's are (ie with gasoline: 20:1 to 40:1; depending on the force the engine needs to provide; ie running stationary, under large load, ...) Also, I'm not sure whether the fuels can be mixed with air at all.

In the article, we can also make a section about "ICE engine repair". This section can detail the reparing of the spark ignition system (and the other additional systems, ie cooling, lubrication, ...) The images: File:Motronic.JPG File:KE-Jetronic.JPG File:LH-Jetronic.JPG File:L-Jetronic.JPG can be useful in this.

KVDP 09:19, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

UPDATE --> since a simplified engine will probably be made building on from an existing off-shelf product, and since the most used mass-produced engine with a power rating close to what we'll need (ie 35-70 HP for very demanding vehicles, and >5 HP for smaller tools/vehicles), we'll probably focus best on Honda lawn mower engines and Briggs and Stratton lawn mower engines. See

ICE engine allowing use of multiple fuels

The "Biofuel Engine Open Development Model", is a general model for the conversion of any internal combustion engine (ICE) to allow running on biofuel. However one improvement could be useful:

I was thinking that, rather than igniting the fuel in the only chamber present in the engine, this ignition can be moved to a second chamber mounted untop of the first one. This chamber would then create pressurized gas, which then vented (with a valve) to the second chamber. This second chamber has the piston mounted-on and uses the compressed gas to drive the piston down.

This approach would thus allow the use of more fuels (including compressed air, steam, ...), and as a bonus, the piston itself (and the engine) would be submitted to less punishment, allowing a longer life expectancy of the engine.

We can work out the design with the AT CAD Team if it seems useful.

User:KVDP 12:51, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

PS --> Besides conventional and emissionless fuels, wood gas may also be burnt, see the downside of this is that, aldough wood is in plentiful supply, it isn't emissionless; it could be though if the emissions are calculated and if the forests we obtain the wood from are dimensioned so as to also make up for these emissions. 06:21, 10 August 2010 (UTC)

made an image for zero-emissions fuels:

Images from academic classes - marking as CC-BY-SA?

We have a lot of images which are not marked with an open license.

Partial solution: If academics or students recognize images that are original, i.e. taken by the students or academics, then we can assume the owner uploaded them and understood the license terms. So, please help identify these images, and add their names to a list at: Appropedia:Images to be marked as CC-BY-SA.

Then I can run a bot and add the CC-BY-SA license notice to each one.

Where license is uncertain, add {{clarify license}] to the image description page.

Does that sound reasonable? -Chriswaterguy 06:13, 4 February 2010 (UTC)

We need an easier way to encourage people to identify their images with CC-BY-SA when it is uploaded - perhaps a check box to signify that all uploads are under the license... --Joshua 02:40, 18 February 2010 (UTC)

Agreed - a new tech request. (I'll add it to Appropedia:Site_development/Desired_features). --Chriswaterguy 14:40, 20 February 2010 (UTC)

Converting formatted content to wiki markup

New, easy method:

  • Copy and paste the formatted text into the box at Wikedbox
  • Click the wikify button, which looks like: [w]

You now have wiki markup, which you can cut and paste to a suitable place on Appropedia. More instructions: Appropedia:WikEd#Using wikEd to convert formatted text to wiki markup.

Works best with HTML formatted text content. --Chriswaterguy 12:32, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

Consensus on Appropedia issues

Following Chriswaterguy's suggestion, I would like to request to all of the here residing (active) Appropedia members their standpoint on the implementation of a few Appropedia issues. It seems to me that we need these issues approved by the community soon in order to increase the collaboration at Appropedia. All issues need to be approved in order to set up a viable system. In case the issues are not approved (or if someone has another way on how to improve the collaboration aduquatly using a comparitive system), a alternative approach can be suggested here. An in-depth decription of the problems sparking this request for consensus can be found here.

The issues are:

  • Anonymous user page viewing :Switch on for most pages, but off for pages that contain user details, and other sensitive information (-->issue 1)
  • Anonymous user page editing :Switch off, only allow members to edit (alternatively, only allow members to edit the more important pages) (--> issue 2)
  • request more user information at user:Preferences (--> issue 3)
  • implement extension:CurrentUsers (--> issue 4)
  • implement link to either Members or to Special:ListUsers&limit=500 in the navigation bar (see User talk;Chriswaterguy for these 2 options)

Please add your vote to the list below:

  • issue 1 -->
    • approved: User:KVDP, User:?
    • disapproved: User:Lonny, User:Chriswaterguy, User:?
  • issue 2 -->
    • approved: User:KVDP, User:?
    • disapproved: User:Lonny, User:Chriswaterguy, User:?
  • issue 3 -->
    • approved: User:KVDP, User:Lonny, User:Chriswaterguy, User:?
    • disapproved: User: ?
  • issue 4 -->
    • approved: User:KVDP, User:Lonny, User:Chriswaterguy, User:?
    • disapproved: User: ?
  • issue 5 -->
    • approved: User:KVDP, User:Lonny, User:?
    • disapproved: User:Chriswaterguy (agree in principle, want a different execution), User: ?

Note: issue 4 is already being looked at, it is mentioned here mostly for reference. KVDP 14:45, 18 February 2010 (UTC)

Some notes:
  • Issue 1 - For now this template is a way to help protect your email - LonnyAtsymbol.pngAppropediaDot.pngorg. An even better way is to use Special:EmailUser/KVDP... only logged in members of Appropedia can use that link.
  • Issue 2 - Anonymous editing has been working out for us so far. Spam is removed very quickly. There have been times that Chris and I were not able to log in due to the way that some satellite based ISP provide access (something about transparent proxies I believe). It was really nice being able to edit. Maybe we should wait until problems arise... then address them.
  • Issue 3 - I really like the idea of automatically creating a user page based upon registration questions. We still need to keep the registration process very fast, easy and multilingual.
  • Issue 4 - Something like this would be very cool.
  • Issue 5 - Increasing community interaction is very important. We also need a way for these tables to be kept maintained automatically, I think.
--Lonny 18:40, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
I mostly agree with Lonny.
  • Issue 2 - I'd like Flagged Revisions or similar as a way to improve the way we handle anon contributions on important or active pages. We need tech help to trial this.
  • Issue 3 - I'd like an easier way to create userpages. Some MediaWiki extensions do this, but nothing quite good enough yet. With tech help we could adapt one.
  • Issue 5 - I also want much more community interaction, and I'd love a members page, like on a Ning site. But the members link in MediaWiki just doesn't do it.
So... I see technical challenges as the biggest issue in implementing improvements. Let's find some more MediaWiki wizards to help us :-). --Chriswaterguy 03:36, 4 March 2010 (UTC)

AT CAD team

In line with some suggestions I made at the village pump, we will be setting up a Template:AT CAD team (Note: we'll be going with this name now; after some contemplation, "Appropedia CAD team" seems wrong, as its a CAD team for appropriate technology and not for an organisation, the name change also allows expantion later-on)

For the set-up of the CAD-team, any members here at Appropedia can already place their candidacy at this post. Once the AT CAD team-article has been set-up, we can then already get started. Several ideas have already been suggested to convert into a 3D model, so CAD team members can freely choose from these.


  • User:? (add name here)

KVDP 10:09, 19 February 2010 (UTC)

Muscle enhancers

I was wondering about the use of muscle enhancers in development projects. Aldough the simple use of an optimal nutrition/diet (ie protein-rich, ...) will be sufficient to keep the health/strength up of inhabitants/people working on development projects, I was thinking that in some situations (ie at the start of new development projects in regions where such nutrition wasn't available), the use of muscle enhancers could be useful. This, especially as in such area's the first concern is probably the setting-up of a food system, and for certain agricultural tasks, things can't be automated (+ mechanized). As (some) agricultural work can be pretty exhausting/tiresome aswell, and as tools may in some cases be quite basic, it requires some amount of musculature. As mentioned before, without having had the possibility of buildings this musculature trough aduquate nutrition, muscle enhancers may be required to speed this process up.

I was thus wondering whether there are any muscle enhancers we could use (ie enhancers that are not hazardous to the health; some types can damage certain organs, and which are cheap and possibly self-producable). See --> ... This class of drugs includes anabolic steroids, beta-2 agonists, selective androgen receptor modulator (SARM)s and various human hormones, most notably human growth hormone, as well as some of their precursors. Note: stimulants are also useful, but do not speed up muscle buildup. KVDP 13:38, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

I've wondered whether there are safe muscle enhancers, but I haven't researched it. I hope someone can answer.
I suspect it may be cheaper, more practical and more helpful to the Cultural exchange process to just have an extra dose of local protein food each day, e.g. a handful of peanuts, some yoghurt or a couple of pieces of tempeh, depending on context. Interesting case to analyze.
PS: Cultural exchange : You seem to use this as an analogy to aid; volunteering refers to doing something voluntarily (thus without expecting recompensation). Perhaps change the article a bit.

KVDP 09:14, 11 March 2010 (UTC)

Having an "extra" portion of food is appropriate if the person is already capable of doing more tiresome work (work on the field); however the exact moment of the use of the muscle enhancers would be offcourse slighly ahead of the work itself (1-2 months, to ensure that the person gradually becomes fit before he actually needs to do more tiresome work). In this sense, I'm not at all certain on whether simply providing "extra" food will thus ensure buildup of muscle, as we don't intent to increase physical exercise at that moment. In the second part of the muscle strenghtening period, it may be however best to include some (minor) extra exercice, meaning that we'll need to increase the caloric intake aswell, but only slightly (ie 150-300 kcal or about 1,5 to 3 glasses of milk or about the same in yoghurt).
I also don't know if the enhancers work without additional protein in the diet. --Chriswaterguy 13:49, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
No, I don't think they do. The muscle strengtheners simply tell the body to "scale up", but offcourse the building blocks (primarily protein) still need to be supplied. In this sence, it is thus appropriate to only supply just enough enhancers so as to scale up the body "just enough" for the task at hand. This as enlarging the musculature too much will require more food (both in the buildup-period and after it) than what is needed. This would offourse drain too much resources (atleast seen from a AT-perspective) from the town.
I gathered a little more info:

It seems that indeed there seem to be quite safe muscle enhancers, however I'm quite unsure whether they could be made appropriatly (allot are susbstances made from animals, ...). Some safe substances:

  • SARMS such as S107, and JTV519
  • substances as Aicar and GW1516: these change muscles from using sugars to using fat as a "fuel". Not sure whether this increases caloric intake however. Normally, the using of fat as a fuel for the muscles only occurs after physical exercice.

Another useful muscle enhancer is Repoxygen; this is "gene doping", meaning it will change the DNA and thus no longer requires the making of the substance, instead the body then makes it itself. Gene doping is probably the best and most cost-effective muscle enhancer, however little gene doping substances have been made. Repoxygen works similar to EPO, meaning that ie oxygen intake, ... is increased. This will allow a person to do greater physical exercice, however I don't think the muscle buildup is increased.

Finally Myostatineblockers are another intresting muscle enhancer, I'm not sure whether it's perfectly safe dough. Myostatine is an enzyme that prevents the muscles of growing continuously, blocking this thus makes the muscles grow continuously. That said, I'm not sure how long a blocker works when used, ie I suspect that the enhancer will wear off after a while.

KVDP 08:52, 1 June 2010 (UTC)

Small update, perhaps that some muscle enhancers that also promote fat loss (such as dinitrophenol, ... (see ) could be useful with certain people/population. Ie in certain island nations (such as Tonga (see ), and some other countries such substances can be more cost effective since it will help in converting existing fat in the persons body to muscle. However, these substances should never be used unless absolutely necessairy (the obvious problem of obesity is a bad balance between eating behavior and activity level instead). Nonetheless, it can be more suitable in certain situations, and only in the context of repair, not as a substance that would be taken for a long duration. Note that muscle enhancers should best also not be used for a long duration, but the duration of taking these can nonetheless be longer than the substances that combine fat loss/muscle increasement. 13:02, 20 December 2010 (UTC)

Remember to log in - I almost deleted that as spam until I looked more closely :-). --Chriswaterguy 17:01, 20 December 2010 (UTC)

Piston vs bladed rotor

As a derivate of some research on a new solar tower design, I found that current solar power towers use steam turbines rather than pistons. I'm still not sure how these compare against each other (efficiency difference, durability, difficulty of construction, ...). A made a quick new page Piston vs bladed rotor which needs to have this explained. KVDP 10:07, 12 May 2010 (UTC)

Funding for coral reef preservation

Since quite some time, I've been thinking about how funding can be raised by people living near coral reefs for the preservation of these coral reefs. The most valuable asset that the reef could offer would be simply the view and the representation/interaction of the animal/plant-species. As each coral reef has its own species, and its own coastline charisteristics the reefs would be very different for each coral reef and thus distinct views can be made and sold for their preservation. Untill now, I didn't really now how to proceed dough, since TV-documentaries already existed and people won't be giving money to the inhabitants living near the coral reefs filmed, simply to see the documentaries.

However, I recently saw a episode of "Prototype This" (Virtual Sea Adventure) which used recordings inside a pool (which increased value, and provided a more realistic touch). Prototype This seems to be in contact to the Grand Idea Studio which can provide technical assistance on some Prototype This-ideas, even today now the show has ended. Aldough I believe the system needs to be changed somewhat (ie I would project the images to the 4 pool walls (360°) rather than a screen in the center of the pool), the method seems useful for supplying funding.

Having thought about it some more, I would also change from using a realtime system to a system with simple "recordings". This would allow to take out visually unattractive views (ie the views at times when the fish are sleeping), remove the need of a cable and perhaps add extra info aswell (ie the Latin names for the animal/plant-species can be projected on the floor of the pool). Also, it would decrease costs/increase profits as no internet access/camera-system will needs to be put in place at the location to record and transmit the video feed. Costs are also decreased as the recordings can be done by 1 professional team carrying only 1 set of 360° (4) stationary cameras, rather than 4 camera's per location and automated recording. The team could btw also do the recording much cheaper (ie by simply sailing to the locations rather than travelling by public transport). Also, a professional team (and/or a team on dry land) can recognise the filmed species for adding the extra info later-on.

I think it's thus best to connect to the Grand Idea Studio to discuss the idea. If the system can indeed be set up, the revenue (ie from swimming pools, ...) can be used for coral reef rehabilitation; see the original environment rehabilitation manual (coral)

07:55, 18 March 2010 (UTC)



I was wondering if the wiki has the ability to do drop down tabs in "content" if your contents is very long?


Not sure about this, however I think I'll be moving some of the issues raised here to other pages (projects). This will reduce the length. Also, we use Archiving aswell, however as some issues are still not solved, I wonder if we could archive only certain sections rather than the entire page.


Off-site manufacturing sites/factories

With the

Plastics recovery manual 3 ISF image (see right image)

in mind, and having been inspired by off-site ISF/Codéart manufacturing process (both based at Haiti (Camp Perrrin) aswell as in Belgium), I thought it might be useful to determine our current manufacturing plants of our AT organisations. Off-site factories/sites allow production of parts/components where these could not be locally made (see ISF document) and would also reduce the start-up time of new AT-villages, ... Currently, off-site manufacturing plants of AT-organisations still only work pretty much only work for their own (and to their own requirements); however if we redesign them to work as a hub (for several AT-organisations), we can heavily increase our efficiency/reduce plant-costs, ... The sites/factories can be marked on (2) maps (I suggest the BlankMap-World_v4 to make the exchange process clear and perhaps a Google maps where the exact location is marked on). These maps would allow us to figure out how we best set-up our manufacturing sites (their location needs to be somewhat strategically placed). The map can also help us figure out what factories are already strategically placed, yet should be expanded to increase their tasks. To figure things out, it's best to group the plants into several types: ie CNC factory (or "FabLab"), foundry, electric actuator factory, electric circuitry factory, energy storage module factory, plant seeds factory, ...). This info can be given in a table (a new article needs to be made). For the shipping, I perhaps the shipping lanes image I made could be useful (aldough not all connections are marked). In addition, it may be useful to think about alternate modes of shipping (I eg had the idea of a aireal shipping connection atleast for certain connections, not sure whether this is actually legal however, perhaps if we get a developing country's permission).

Note: It may also be useful to look at whether there are commercial companies, seed gardens/gene banks, or non AT-organisations (ie Elektor, MakingThings, LLC, Grand Idea Studio, ...) that may perform the function of a AT-factory for us (either as a side-activity, ...)

KVDP 10:38, 24 March 2010 (UTC)

Dimensioning (AT) caterpillar tracks

Having been making an image for wikipedia's wheel article a few days ago, I was reminded about another idea I've had. This idea was to create an AT caterpillar track design, which could be used for applications requiring a connection to the ground (ie in agriculture) and/or for outdoor (uneven terrain) applications where the distances to be travelled are too short or too narrow to allow the use of vehicle wheels. The design would thus not be used other than in very specific applications, basically as the caterpillar tracks are not needed when driving the vehicle on roads. Besides use in arid environments (ie "deserts"), caterpillar tracks could thus eg be used for some future agricultural "robots", ...

However, one of the main reasons why the caterpillar tracks have not been integrated widely (and which still form a problem today) is that most caterpillar tracks are made too heavy. This is logical, given their main application in machines of war (ie tanks), since the vehicle's armour is heavy too (requiring heavy tracks to sustain the weight). However, for our applications, this is not required, and we could thus design something of "AT caterpillar tracks". Besides dimensioning to the vehicle's size, other modifications could be: sole use of natural rubber (no metal) in the belt; this to avoid damaging of roads (in case these need to be crossed), to reduce weight, and to reduce production complexity (we can then simply use a mold). An other modification could be to design the tracks to come "under and over" the main vehicle, rather than entirely under it. As such, the tracks + wheels need to be placed next to the vehicle.

Regarding the dimensioning + design, I'm guessing that we could simply use/describe the designs of regular military robots (ie Foster-Miller TALON, ... Not sure dough whether these designs have suspension (with tanks ie M1 Abrams, ... have a suspension system connected to the wheels . For the dimensioning, we could make a graph (ie ? thickness of the belt with ?m of belt length and ?m width for a given weight/size of the vehicle). I'm guessing that if we can cooperate with some companies that built earlier military robots, this can all be done quite quickly.

The undercarriage can then simply be designed to fit to a simple vehicle design (ie my car design at ) KVDP 15:58, 24 March 2010 (UTC)

Update: the DFRobotShop Rover can probably be used as a basis, see

KVDP 15:58, 21 November 2010 (UTC)

AT construction method ?

Not sure about this, but it seems that a new construction technique has emerged recently. Given that its still pretty expensive, and since it may not be completely in line with the cradle-to-cradle approach (shafts are carbon fibre, so I guess this is fine, but not sure about the used treatment resin), I'm not sure whether the technique is usable in AT. Personally, I would simply use caissons/cofferdams to make the bridge, but I guess they need the inflatable shafts for something specific (to make the arches). Perhaps useful to take a closer look into this. KVDP 14:19, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

Micro nuclear reactors

Since quite a while ago, I created the Mini nuclear reactor page at wikipedia. Having recently been reminded of the technology, It came to me that we don't yet have a article at Appropedia about it (detailing installation + overall costs, ...) Small nuclear power plants have several advantages, including zero emissions, very fast setup, very secure and stable energy supply (no power fluctuations, ... For small villages (not AT-villages !) this might thus be a good solution, atleast for the time being. I'm guessing that if the costs are low, this technology could be used by power companies, ... in the developing world. We will need some calculations for this dough (ie how much people could 1 power plant (45 megawatt) support ? (not sure whether this megawatt is eg per day, ...).

The reason why the power plants are not really a good solution to AT villages is because generally, AT villages would consume way less power (ie a regular household consumes about 20000kw-h (see Also AT villages can probably be set up in such a way that most energy is used up at the moment on which it is generated (ie using renewable power plants). The minor surplus can be stored in energy storage devices. I'm guessing that with the communal setup, and considering that allot of developing nations lay in the (sub)tropical zone, a household (4 peaople) would only need some 2000 kw-h (atleast with my initial, most basic setup). Perhaps we can calculate this more precisily.

I'm btw not completely sure what the electrification policy is of electricity companies, ie do they really supply power lines + electrification to rural villages (of which they can assume that most inhabitants won't be able to afford it anyhow). Depending on the outcome of the price calculation/W, such reactors could perhaps provide beneficial. Perhaps that we can integrate the technology with the sustainable urban planning blog.

In the article, we can also describe the issue of the nuclear waste. Normally, a "AT-compliant" reactor should be able to replace the nuclear fuel, or alternatively, the entire reactor can be brought back to the manufacturing plant, disassambled and have the fuel reused (in a self-breeder reactor). Since nuclear fuel becomes otherwise dangerous waste, and since nuclear fuel is a vary valuable material, this feature is critical. One other issue to describe in the article is the issue of security. 12:29, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

UPDATE; I'm also not sure on whether light water reactors provide a level of radioactivity to the coolant/moderator water. If so, this type is best discarded. 09:41, 11 April 2010 (UTC)

I agree that it's good to cover such solutions.
Major concerns I have with such technologies are the difficulty of having reliable and properly monitored processes on the small scale - for building, operation, transport of material, and monitoring of radioactive material at every moment (preventing diversion for criminal purposes). Nuclear power, if it's to be used, is almost certainly better as a large-scale solution connected to a grid. Sometimes "appropriate" means "big" and sometimes it means "not at all," as I'm sure you're aware. I believe nuclear power fits into one of these, but I'm not sure which one. --Chriswaterguy 06:26, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

Engine efficiency

I recently added the article Comparison of engines, aldough it's still a stub, it will be useful to our projects. One particular one I had in mind is a new version of my "Pyramid in pit" solar power tower. Effiency could probably be improved by 25% with a stirling engine, and it also eliminates the need of water (particularly annoying in arid areas). At present dough, the wikipedia article on the subject isn't pretty good, so I'm requesting some updates on the images, ... there. Afterwards, we can then make the new image of the solar power tower (we'll need to know whether the alpha, beta, gamma, ... stirling engine is best first). The Suncatchers system uses a beta I believe, so perhaps we'll end up using this, some other designs dough (ie gamma) seems really efficient/sturdy too. Finally, we'll need to examine which gas is best (non-polluting, but preferably more efficient than air) (Suncatchers uses hydrogen) KVDP 10:11, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

Fuel-based energy storage system

I recently made 2 images at wikimedia commons which have been deleted there: File:Hydrogen-based_domestic_energy_storage_(ICE).svg File:Hydrogen-based_domestic_energy_storage.svg Due to some inexperience on my behalf of making png-images, and due to some other technical questions, it was fair that the current versions were deleted. However, I still believe that a fuel-based energy storage system would be quite valuable in an AT-context (which was btw not an issue at commons: ie as jameslwoodward and Andy Dingley stated:

"Domestic energy storage isn't usually necessary or useful. Why would I need it? I'm connected to a national supply grid. If I do want load levelling, this sort of need is far better handled at a larger scale as part of the grid, not as individual installations. "

"Your hydrogen / fuel cell system is on tenuous grounds for viability at best, placing it in a context of grid-supplied electricity is a vanishingly small niche. Current technology-based predictions don't have room for such an incomplete solution to such a narrow goal. "

For AT-purposes, we can not rely on not installing a energy storage system, since the national electricity grids are often too bad (ie power outtages, ...)

From an AT-perspective, small or medium energy storage installations are to be preferred over large ones, since

  • the larger the installation becomes, the larger the cost and the less likely a smaller organisation (ie AT-organisation, ...) will be able to setup the installation
  • large organisations on the other hand, and especially national ones have a history in many developing countries of ending up becoming very costly, poorly executed and sometimes even fail entirely (so-called white elephants)

Finally, fuel-based energy storage is to be preferred over regular energy storage (ie over using electrochemical batteries, ...) since

  • the use of a fuel allows the use of the energy for several (ie domestic energy use, use in vehicles, use off-site (ie using stationary generators), ...
  • given the wide use of IC-engines, ... allot of engines can be kept and continued to be used; the simple changing of the fuel makes the engine emissionless in operation
  • increased ecologic advantage (if a emissionless fuel is chosen)

I still have the original images and I am thinking of making a png of them for use here, besides hydrogen we can then make similar images for the other fuels. Aldough the images will perhaps not show the specifics of the process, it will definitly allow us to get a better basic understanding of the process (ie creation of substances, by-products, ...).

Tell me what you think, first png's ready.

PNG 1 -->

Hydrogen (fuel cell) energy storage.png

PNG 2 -->

Hydrogen (ICE) energy storage.png

KVDP 11:32, 2 July 2010 (UTC)

Perhaps we could already list the chemical formula's of the ICE fuels here below so that I can draw them out in a schematic; an example:

Nitrous oxide or N2O --> NH4NO3 -> N2O + H2O (g)

see and ref:

This too would need to be done with the other ICE fuels, see Also, all possible production methods will need to be drawn out (ie not sure on whether there are other NOX production methods, and several production methods may also exist for the other fuels)

KVDP 11:44, 9 July 2010 (UTC)

Electrochemical energy storage

Besides fuel-based energy storage, I was thinking that perhaps we could have similar schematics for regular electrochemical processes (ie used in EC batteries, ...)

Ie the electrochemical reaction at would allow us to make the schematic.

In addition; I have been looking into lead-acid battery construction and made the images at . These can be used in a new article at appropedia detailing DIY construction of these batteries, aswell as repair. Also, they may be useful in making a manual for converting regular SLI-type lead-acid batteries to deep-cycle lead-acid batteries.

Regarding the repair of these batteries, I suppose that in many cases, a "used-up" battery can be repaired by simply swapping the filler material in the grids (see schematics). For the construction of the batteries however, I fear that complete construction of all parts won't be possible (ie construction lead-antimony/calcium grids, ...); however these parts can probably often be scavanged from dump sites, and we can simply piece together the batteries using old parts and new filler material.

KVDP 09:16, 20 July 2010 (UTC)


A while ago I made an image of 3 reedbed setups, and recently one of the guys at wikipedia's image lab made an svg of each; these are: I did requested some updates (see ) however, when these are finished the images can be uploaded here aswell and they can be integrated in articles about water purification. KVDP 11:34, 3 July 2010 (UTC)

Bicycle and velomobile airless tyres

Given a new update to my AT_e-velomobile design, the current largest problem that now needs to be solved is the adding of non-pneumatic tyres. At first, I looked at the design of the tweel, but it seems that no tweels have been built for bicycles. Also, even if we built it ourself, the design would still be quite costly. Also there is the issue that it would be hard to built, ... As such, I was wondering whether perhaps we could simply make another airless tyre, which is immediatelly combinable with the current existing bicycle parts. In particular is was thinking of either

  • filling the inside of a bicycle tyre with rubber or plastic (not sure though of which material (rubber?/plastic?) a regular bicycle tyre is made, and/or if its made from several materials. If so, then this option wouldn't be cradle-to-cradle compatible
  • making a full rubber biccycle tyre with a mold which can then simply be attached to the rim.

Tell me what you think. KVDP 14:07, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

Appropedia organisational chart

Organisational chart of Appropedia

--> chart finished, check whether you like anything else added or not. If good enough, perhaps you can add it on the about page ? 10:19, 1 July 2010 (UTC)

I'm not sure how to approach this, or if I've understood the chart properly... I think the reality is that the connections are much more complicated and chaotic. If there's a way to make an image that makes the structure of Appropedia's network clearer, that would certainly be good... let me think about how to do this. --Chriswaterguy 15:26, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
It is only intented as a general representation of how Appropedia (or "At libraries) work; it it should thus be simplified and not too complicated/realistic. After thinking about it, one other thing I wanted to show is that "execution" of ideas, ... goes directly to AT-organisations and that AT libraries does not execute anything themselves; perhaps we could add somthing like

on the left-hand side.

Update to above idea:

the left hand side can also be made as follows

  • Planning
  • Preparation
  • Execution
  • Combining of executed projects

In addition, we could add 2 more columns: 1 for "Non-profit NGO's (& GO's ?) (ie ?, UN Habitat, ...) another for "Hobbyclubs" (ie electronics hobby clubs as CC2, ...)

At the height of "combining of executed projects", we draw a single box spanning all the organisations and add "combining of single executed projects into 1" I'll see if we can draw it in a arrow with interrupted line though (not all projects need combining of several projects)

If you decided on what approach to follow, I'll redraw the picture based on your recommendation KVDP 14:16, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

Help Desk

At the moment Appropedia is oriented to the agencies producing information and the site is still built around that rather than users requirements. Fixing that will time and work but in the meantime what about creating a Help desk where people could ask for help and advice?

This would depend on editors here doing some research on the resources here, and elsewhere on the web, to point people towards relevant content. Worth doing? Joe Raftery 15:56, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

Hi Joe,
I have wanted something like this for years. For me it was the main reason we were testing forums. Right now I answer some questions on different forums spread out over the net (aardvark, moodle, linkedin (rarely), facebook, google groups, etc.). I would love to be answering a question a day here at Appropedia. How could we get something like you suggest going on? I know we have been talking about forums again. Is that the best solution?
Thanks, --Lonny 18:20, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
I like the forum idea - I'm looking forward to seeing what we can do either with a Wordpress plugin or a Wordpress-compatible platform. --Chriswaterguy 11:11, 24 March 2010 (UTC)
I've seen Mediawiki's liquid threads forum software on and that works quite nicely. Joe Raftery 19:31, 1 April 2010 (UTC)


I moved a bunch of conversations that seemed resolved to Appropedia talk:Village pump/Archive. There are still many conversations here that are still relevant in some way - I've added some responses, but others I'm leaving open for now. --Chriswaterguy 01:19, 4 March 2010 (UTC)

Changes to Wikipedia templates, and adding "Interwiki links" sections

Some of us made some templates in the early days of Appropedia, but over time I realized they had some drawbacks. The trouble is, they started to get used quite a bit, and it's only now I figured out how to fix them up with my bot. I probably should have flagged my plans beforehand - if you have other ideas for how we should do things, please say so. The main changes were:

  1. The {{wp}} template uses a superscript to link a Wikipedia article. The problem is, it's hard to then link the text to a local article, if there is one. (Even a redlink is useful - you can see the article needs to be created.) So I replaced these with the {{wp sup}} template (Edit: rationalized all related templates, and simplified the name to {{w}} - see below), which only creates the superscript link, and leaves it to the editors to link or not link the word that's part of the regular text. E.g. diff. I used my judgement about whether to put the local link in - in most cases I did.
  2. The {{Wikipedia}} and {{Wikipedia p}} boxes have been replaced with a link to an "Interwiki links" section (after "See also" but before "External links"). E.g. diff. Highlighting the Wikipedia link seemed less appropriate now, since that there are many sources of info relevant to Appropedia, and Wikipedia isn't always the most useful link to highlight for our visitors. The one distinction I do believe we should make is between regular links and "living" sources of information that are open to correction, i.e. wikis, hence the "Interwiki links" section. These are often under the same license as Appropedia also.

I think there'll be a small benefit in search engine ranking from these changes as well, through a slight increase in local links, and the change in placement of external links.

I hope that's all satisfactory. If we have consensus, I'll mark the templates as "deprecated."

I apologize for any mistakes the bot may have made - I'm still learning, and I know that it put the "== Interwiki links ==" section below the category in a few cases. Still working out how that happened. --Chriswaterguy 11:08, 11 April 2010 (UTC)

I want to do more rationalizing of these templates, to make it much simpler... see #Simplifying Wikipedia link templates below. --Chriswaterguy 07:16, 26 December 2010 (UTC)

Status tags

Hi everyone - in order to keep the status of AT projects clear -- I propose the following status tags Category:Status. What do you think? Here is an example of its use on a student page - Charcoal Cooler‎ --Joshua 15:25, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

This is brilliant - I love it! --Chriswaterguy 10:55, 5 May 2010 (UTC)
We have wanted something like this for a long time... especially one that allowed others to vote on aspects of its status. This is a great intermediate solution. Thank you! --Lonny 10:16, 1 June 2010 (UTC)

Wiki pages about publications

I'd like to suggest that if an Appropedia article is about a book but has limited information, then I'd like it to be marked somehow in the name. E.g. More With Less (as well as many others in Category:Appropriate technology). It's interesting if I'm looking for relevant books, but if I want to learn or contribute to the wiki, then it's a dead end. So to help people find or avoid such pages as they wish, is there a prefix or suffix we can add? E.g. [[Index:More With Less]]. Or my preferred option, putting a description in brackets: [[More With Less (book)]], [[Permaculture (magazine)]]. Wikipedia uses descriptors in brackets to distinguish between pages with otherwise identical names (or confusingly similar names), but in our case, this would be useful to people navigating the site, to know that a page is a specific kind of page.

Then, if it's a book/mag/article title, but has independent value (e.g. an extensive paraphrase of the publication's title), to be consistent it would have the same format of title. It would be nice to be able to flag which ones actually have content... Note that if a user is logged in, and if they've entered a value at Special:Preferences >> "Misc" >> "Threshold for stub link formatting" (mine is set to 500), then they can tell if an article has significant content by the color of the link. (Would that be a good thing to set as default, or would it just confuse people?)

But there may be better solution - ideas? --Chriswaterguy 08:06, 7 June 2010 (UTC)


don't seem to be able to use" Contents" template on a page i tried to set up Does appropedia support templates from other wikis ( wikiversity?) Thanks comment by Altera vista , 11 June 2010.

Hi - no, templates only work if they are found here. Sometimes the templates are very similar and have the same name - e.g. the stub template is at Template:Stub. Other times they are different. Sometimes we copy templates from other wikis such as Wikipedia or Wikiversity, and adapt them for use here. -- Hope that's clear. --Chriswaterguy 09:12, 19 June 2010 (UTC)
Hi Alterna Vista,
Feel free to request whichever template it is you wanted. Thanks -Lonny 17:29, 19 June 2010 (UTC)

Display problem

On a netbook, HEIF Solar Monitoring System displays with its "Contents" half cut off. --Chriswaterguy.

Btw, we have many pages such as Fish and Water Statistics which have general names for narrowly foused topics. --Chriswaterguy 07:31, 13 June 2010 (UTC)

File Size Limit

The current file size limit of 7MB - I assume is in place in order to encourage rapid downloads in the developing world and to keep the site nice and slim. As the AT designs, etc. become more sophisticated and we start uploading CAD files, detailed presentations etc. the file size limit is going to be challenged more and more. Is it possible to increase this limit -- or do others have suggestions for dropping files in places like,, etc. for the extra large files. Thanks -- Joshua 19:31, 5 July 2010 (UTC)

I'm open to an increase, but I'd like to understand what the options are, and what the issues might be for users.
People with good connections and new computers can upload very large files where smaller would do. A size limit might not be a good way to deal with it, though - it might just mean they give up and don't upload anything. Encouraging suitable formats (e.g. SVG for images; using wiki pages for text & image files rather than PDF...) is good for openness as well as for leanness, but it's not a complete solution either. Other ideas?
I'll let someone else comment on CAD files, but re presentations... is this something useful for users? One option is Slideshare (see Lonny's account) which is a good place to share presentations. It can point to the relevant Appropedia pages - and it should be possible to embed in wiki pages, the way we can now with video. --Chriswaterguy 08:43, 7 July 2010 (UTC)
Personally, I actually find file limits a good method to keep the site slim and fast, and 7mb is more than enough (actually, I've found that it's actually rather 500kb, see , this too is still enough though). For the CAD-files, I think it's best we use a seperate site/database for the CAD files (see ), or we could work out another solution (ie file server, ... see ) The latter was actually something I wished to implement for files under preperation (I'm using Zumodrive in the meantime, see ) but since FTP-servers can share anything, it's useful for CAD-files too. BTW I haven't set up/tried out the whole CAD-file sharing using Google Warehouse, since I haven't gotten around to getting started with Google SketchUp for my models, at present I'm still improving the main designs, correcting images, ...

KVDP 11:25, 12 July 2010 (UTC)

In the past I used to work with applying photos to printed media and web. I just looked around little in the file archive here, and I found many images that is not used by any page, there are photos that are way to large in pixelsize, there are JPG-s with full image quality (not compressed at all), and photos that should have been cropped a lot before upload (to make it clear what is the purpose of the image).
I am for a limit of 500kb - 1MB, and use better compression to save more space and make the site much faster and smaller to distribute to offline-users. (perhaps put a reclaimer on the upload page that Appropedia have the right to later crop and compress images?)
I experimented little with a couple of files on a page I created myself. And got a good result on images of 14-50Kb and they are still sufficient at the article-page.
So I would like to ask if I can have permission to fix /minimize all the photos that are not used by any page right now? And adjust the compression to all of the largest files between 2-7MB? --Yeahvle 18:15, 24 November 2010 (UTC)

Bootstrap Engineering - what does appropedia want?

After I signed up for a user name I took myself off to the copyediting page to get started. I picked a page that caught my eye - one on cold chisels. I got started on the editing, but stopped and decided to ask a more fundamental question of the community. What do we want from the technology pages? Let me use the cold chisel page as an example (stay with me here, the engineering detail is not what I'm asking about):

The page I looked at had pictures and names of the four cold chisels that at one time were common in engineering. There is no explanation about how they are used (they require great skill to use them well), no discussion about sharpening them for particular materials, and no discussion about how they are made and termpered. I mention this as no criticism of the current page - it's only a starting point. But at what level do I pitch a rewrite? If basic hand tools are widely available in most places then an explanation of how to make one is of limited interest. Also, only one is now commonly used in engineering, and then only for quick maintenance tasks. The others are from a time when machine tools were less commonly used. No one in a modern engineering shop would use a cope chisel to cut a grid across a block of metal and them use a flat chisel to chip the rest away - they would use a milling machine.

You need to be aware that when copying an out-of-copyright text to provide material for an article you are also potentially copying an out of date method. But is that appropriate? The older method relies more on hand and eye skill than on an expensive and easily damaged machine tool. Is the "bootstrap" version of engineering more appropriate, or is it passing on a "hand-me-down" version of engineering to the wider world?

On a more practical point, the most important omission is the description of how to use the tool. I have looked around for online sources of information about workshop practice, but with limited success. Does anyone have any favourite sources for this?

I understand that everything is important, and there are so many different circumstances in the world that my question might appear naive and meaningless, but what I want is a utilitarian philosophers approach: how do I maximise the good to the most people?

I hope that simply editing this page is the right way to post my message, as I couldn't find a "post message" button, ad I'm not that familiar with wikis.

Clive (FizzCat 7th july 2010)

Thanks Clive! (Are you in Preston Hathaway's copyediting class?) Your way of posting your message is fine (but you should see a "+" sign next to edit, which might make it easier).
It would be great to have your improvements on Cold chisels. I know almost nothing about them (not my field) but I'll answer some of your questions:
at what level do I pitch a rewrite? If basic hand tools are widely available in most places then an explanation of how to make one is of limited interest. Also, only one is now commonly used in engineering, and then only for quick maintenance tasks. - rewrite as much as you think and want - we want to make an informative and useful article. For outdated tools, I'd be inclined to move those to their own sections at the end. Then if someone knows something about them still being used in certain contexts, the text is still visible and that user can edit that section.
You need to be aware that when copying an out-of-copyright text to provide material for an article... - Actually I can't find any attribution, so I'm not sure where the original text is from, and if it's really out of copyright. (I even searched for snippets of the original version at Looking at who put it there (one of the founders of of WikiGreen, which merged into Appropedia) I'm sure there was permission of some kind, but I'm a bit concerned that we don't have clear permission under our license (to modify and use in any way). So, the more the wording is rewritten, the better.
But is that appropriate? The older method relies more on hand and eye skill than on an expensive and easily damaged machine tool. Is the "bootstrap" version of engineering more appropriate, or is it passing on a "hand-me-down" version of engineering to the wider world? - Good point. I believe a key role of Appropedia should be to provide many kinds of information, and let the end users decide. As the site provides more alternatives and more complete, readable info, in a good structure (esp categories) it helps people choose what's right for them.
Welcome and thanks for your thoughts on the philosophy of knowledge sharing at Appropedia! --Chriswaterguy 04:46, 9 July 2010 (UTC)

Appropedia pages should try to be useful. Just think about what somebody who doesn't know as much as you would need to know to use a cold chisel safely and effectively - What is a cold chisel, How to recognise one; safety precautions;  what is it used for, what should it not be used for; How to hold it, how to use it; how to look after it. Once the page has the basics it can be expanded to cover everything anyone would ever need to know to about all stages of using cold chissels from how tomake one to how to safely dispose of it. At least that is how I see it - Wikipedia will describe a device and give you it's history; Appropedia will tell you how to use it.--Joe Raftery 14:26, 11 July 2010 (UTC)

Thanks Joe, that is a useful summary of what Appropedia is about. I do need to have a picture in my head of who I am talking to (my training as a teacher coming out here!), but looking through some of the rest of the appropedia pages I have an idea of the level to pitch the text. I can always add or subtract detail if I am off course.

I have started to edit some of the metalworking pages (I have been delayed by family problems), but I am still looking for a donor site to provide more material. I have some excellent texts, one of which is a complete facsimile of Holtzapffel's 'Turning and Mechanical Manipulation' from the mid 19th century - but I need some OCR software. Any suggestions?

Chris - I know nothing about Preston Hathaway's copyediting class - please tell me more!

At the moment I'm just correcting spelling and grammar and correcting technical omissions. Some of the articles need restructuring as they have been lifted from a book and now need to stand alone. Clive (9 August 2010)

I would think if a page describes a practice which you know to be historical and now out of date in certain cultures, the page should make that much clear. The reader can then decide if the practice would be appropriate to his or her culture. We can only speak to appropriateness with regard to the cultures we know. In an effective wiki collaboration, people from diverse cultures will contribute their bits. We would need someone who has tried introducing old and new methods to a developing culture context to report on how they worked. If these questions are out there and unresolvable at the moment, the article should at least mention there are open questions about the topic. --Teratornis 23:42, 8 January 2011 (PST)

A Vision statement for Appropedia

I find myself flitting from page to page on Appropedia, finding lots of academic reports which are not partcularily useful but I don't feel it is appropriate to take an editting machete to them since as academic papers they are probably quite acceptable.

I think we need a vision statement setting out what Apprpedia is and what Appropedia is not as a guide to editors to get them all hitched up and pulling in the same direction.

Here is my attempt at a vision statement:

  Appropedia - Knowledge you can use

  Appropedia is a forum where people from all over the world can share their knowledge and skills to master the technologies we need to make our lives and our communities better.

This will have some implications:

  • Theoretical proposals which have not yet been tried will be labelled as such.
  • Editors encouraged to improve existing articles rather than creating new articles which cover the same ground.
  • Field trials welcome but don't forget to include what went wrong and what further research is needed - make your trial build on what has gone before and provide a foundation for what will follow.

Any thoughts? --comment by Joe Raftery, {{{2}}}.

Great suggestions. You might be aware of status tags that Joshua came up with - your suggestions fit nicely with them, and could extend them a bit.
Our current vision statement is at Appropedia:Vision and mission. Would what you're suggesting be something for a separate page, or maybe something on this page and more detail on a separate page?
Will give it more thought, but doing a spam cleanup right now. --Chriswaterguy 12:17, 13 July 2010 (UTC)


There is a growing list of AT books housed on scribd [5]-- can Appropedia allow embedding? Instructions here Thanks! —The preceding comment was added by FizzCat (talkcontribs) 20:27, 9 August 2010

Hi FizzCat,
Thanks for your great edits and this question.
We are really interested in porting that content to Appropedia, where it would be plain text and editable. Helping to get the rights to creative commons share alike and by attribution (CC-BY-SA) would be awesome. I will look into that plugin and how we would use it when I am back with a fully functioning internet connection... that will take a couple of weeks, as I am currently in Oaxaca miles from working cell phone or internet.
Thank you, --Lonny 22:26, 12 August 2010 (UTC)

Brisbane Development Circle

"The Brisbane Development Circle (BDC) believes that via innovation and collaborative effort, the development sector can continue to increase its impact as a positive change agent within communities in Australia and abroad.

The aim of BDC is to create a platform for the Brisbane based development community to share ideas, explore potential collaboration, and discuss topical development issues. Membership of the group is open to anyone, across all fields within the development sector, as well as those who have a general interest in development issues.

We do this by creating a monthly opportunity for those working in the international aid and community development sector to come together for discussion and networking in a relaxed environment."

See for more information comment by Schmico, 7 September 2010.

Thanks Nick - I'll mention this on & Twitter. --Chriswaterguy 02:05, 13 September 2010 (UTC)

help: accidentally edited a template stub

and now my edits show up on all pages tagged with the stub template. I didn't notice until after I moved my page, so I'm not sure how to kill the stub edits, or if I can do that... Sorry about the mishap! Can someone assist? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Shing (talkcontribs) 08:48 8 sep 2010

Thanks for your edits. It looks like User:Fixer already took care of it. :) --Lonny 20:23, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

Unscientific pages

I'm not comfortable with pages that have no scientific basis... but sometimes it's a fuzzy line, and I'm afraid of being too harsh. E.g. Moonbased homemade herbal tinctures - I think it's pretty clear scientifically that herbal tinctures have the potential to help. (Specific herbs, amounts and effects are usually less clear, but at least the basic concept is sound, IMO).

What concerns me is the idea of the lunar cycle affecting the healing properties of the tincture. I can't imagine how this could be, and I don't know of any research on the subject. For now I've added the {{references}} tag to the top, so at least it's flagged... but eventually we need to decide whether to remove unsubstantiated claims, and (the harder part) how we decide what is "unsubstantiated". --Chriswaterguy 14:35, 7 October 2010 (UTC)

I agree with Chriswaterguy: the mentioning of the lunar cycle in making tinctures is not only unscientific, but is actually damaging to phytotherapy aswell, as it makes tincture-making alltogether sound "dubious" (which it's not). The whole thing reminds me a bit on biodynamic agriculture (see , ) I suggest pulling the useful parts out of the article and merging them to the appropriate sections in phytotherapy articles, remove the mentionings to the lunar cycle.

KVDP 13:43, 21 November 2010 (UTC)

Ploughs & no-till farming

A while ago, I made the Plough_construction_manual. However, given that ploughing is generally not beneficial to the soil, no-till farming is best used. Having recently worked on the wikipedia:Plough/Agriculture articles, I was thinking that we could perhaps modify the ISF plough design so that it can also function as a scratch-plough (or ard, see ). By ploughing both horizontally and/or vertically across the field, the ard is useful for making planting holes to sow or plant in. Regular plowing too can then still be done if the additional parts are again attached; regular ploughing can be done ie when the field first has to be established (so not any more after this has been done).

Great, i have just been looking into why ploughing is still promoted so widely. I have watched a couple of documentaries on TV that actually show new scientific proof that every farmer should avoid plowing in modern ways. However there are some smart older techniques that avoid turning over soil as much.
I have been trying to add to wikipedia and here to make comments regarding this. But I feel I do not find the correct places to post yet.
Perhaps we need to start a big article that is strictly about Zero-till, no-till or limited-till-farming ???

--Yeahvle 12:14, 23 November 2010 (UTC)


After seeing an episode of Edwardian Farm, I saw that one of the things they used frequently and which seems to be very multifunctional is quicklime. At Appropedia, there seem to be a few articles mentioning it ie Original:Small Scale Production of Lime for Building, and I personally allready encountered it writing a few articles for the agriculture manual too. So it appears that it's useful in an AT context.

However: I still don't know whether all the applications it is used for are AT-compliant; ie it's used in agriculture, making cement, as limewash, and as a disinfectant. However to make the quicklime (from limestone), it needs to be heated in a kiln (fumes are very toxic), so that's annoying and it generally still seems very aggressive overall. To limit this, it's "made safe" by adding water (into lime putty). Thus at stage 3 it's not very dangerous any more, but it is in the first stages (and it also still needs to be mined, which is again not very AT-compliant (thus needs to be present at location, needs a mine, mining isn't very good for the surrounding ecology, ...).

As an agriculture tool, it needs to be used on a large scale (10 tons and more are general amounts on relatively acidic soils). I'm wondering whether in situations where the soil needs to be improved allot (acidity, nutrients, ...), it's simpler to just use hydroponics instead. I am also working on an image for this ( Hydroponics )

As a cleaning agent, there are better plant-based solutions I think. Regarding construction, I'm also not certain.

I was also thinking whether for the firing, we could design a better kiln: see modular kiln

In the documentary, they also reminded me of another thing: containers. In the documentary, there was a small presentation of a cooper making barrels (the whole of which is pretty simple: it consists of staves which are placed within a hoop, the whole is set around a fire and water is introduced to the staves). This water turns into steam and they start to become plyable. Then the hoops are hammered downwards the barrel. See also and

Although these containers are cheap, parts are reusable, cradle-to-cradle compliant, I'm wondering whether there are better options (ie plastic boxes, using plastics recycling, ...)

Finally, they also gave some advice on chicken fodder (see ), however not being a fan of using animals at all, I updated the agriculture manual and gave some crops instead (see Agriculture_manual_2_1

KVDP 13:57, 19 November 2010 (UTC)

Extreme Cooking in modern kitchens / energysaving for kitchen noobs

Hello everyone! I found appropedia thanks to a new friend on another forum (OpenIDEO). I joined because I thought this was a place for sustainability and green-living, and I have a big personal project idea that I would like to start and spread to many normal people living in industrialized nations with modern kitchens in modern homes. I am not sure if this place is really the proper place to find such readers? Perhaps it is the correct place for me to develop this, to let my material grow and to get additional input and further ideas?

now I am convinced it is the best place for my project

It seems to be many hard-core people here that is already very adapted and enlightened about green living and sustainability? Am I wrong?

I am also hard-core in energysaving, shopping and recycling

Who is the average anonymous reader?

Later on I am thinking about releasing the concept/project on a much larger scale with the help of this community?

any of your advice or ideas on this will be extremely helpful

I would appreciate answers to these questions, as well as any feedback and comments surrounding my thoughts and my new project:

I even started the discussion page behind the project page, so any volunteers could discuss and help informally behind the scenes about specifics regarding the concept or any improvements.

This projects focus is Food - shopping smarter, cooking, consuming it. Saving electricity/gas, water and time in the kitchen. It is about using lo-tech approach and methods to make cooking easier, faster and hopefully more fun for any individual.

And I wish it can be made completely without talking about emitting carbon dioxide, climate change, environmental impact and so on. (I elaborate much about my reasons to this, in the discussion page behind the project page)

And is it wrong or right for me to assume that I could turn this project into a printed book at a later stage, and sell it in shops (Europe, USA, Canada) and give all income from it to charity??? Would people agree with these conditions? And would they contribute to my project with editing, ideas and details? Could someone disapprove? Do everyone understand the CC-BY-SA and the nonprofit idea? and can i use another CC-version on the project page or is that unneccesary, confusing or breaking any general rules?

edit : i am understanding you and your rules much better now, thank you!

I would also like to come up with a more catchy title, but I start out like this, and hopefully can get some clever suggestions later on from you users, that is much better than my feeble ideas (Energydieting for Noobs, Nega-watts in the kitchen, Extreme Food in Extreme Homes, Guerilla Style Kitchen, Lazy Naked Green Amateur Chef... ) (it can possibly be a contest? in the beginning of year 2011)

23:19, 19 November 2010 (UTC)

Answers to some of the questions

Welcome Johan - I will let Appropedia Foundation Folk answer your first list of questions about users - I would say though that your project is a very good fit for appropedia even though most of the people that edit are "hard core" and many focus on developing world projects - there are also a lot of very high tech projects that also fit in very well here - and an entire Green living section. I think one of the most popular pages is how to mod your lawnmower to run on solar panels.

  • The categories are user defined -- I tried to help out a bit and put them in the right place
  • The CC-BY-SA of appropedia allows you or anyone else to create a printed book and sell it - as long as you say who wrote it - and ensure that it can be shared for all (e.g. it stays on appropedia) or any derivatives are shared in the same way.
  • I cant speak for everyone here - but most of us - just want to see this kind of project done - to get to as many people as possible...
  • Anything you do post to appropedia however should be cc-by-sa

--Fixer 00:58, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

Thanks Fixer! I will take a look at how you did the categories in my project, to learn. I know about the CC-licensing, but do all others that use and contribute to this wiki? That was the aspect of my question.

Johan / Yeahvle

10:03, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

Hey Johan,

I'm not sure whether you will be taking health concerns into account, but if you do, perhaps that writing a few lines about "healthy" cooking oils might be useful. (I wrote some lines on this at )Also, you could mention cooking techniques that do not use oil at all (see ) Finally, you can describe what appliances are vital and which can be discarded (to keep the appliances needed to a minimum, this saves space, money, reduces environmental damage, ...) KVDP 13:35, 21 November 2010 (UTC)

Answer: Thanks, but I do not know anything about health concerns. And cooking with somethings like raw chicken and some seafood, can be very risky if done incorrectly, so I will try to avoid writing about it. There is however plenty of positive side-effects with my proposed methods, such as health and personal economy, and that you mention about appliances.

If you, or anyone else do have proper knowledge about health issues, can you please read my project and make sure I do not write about things incorrectly, and edit or put warnings on the text that can cause a health-risk to those that follow the advice. --Yeahvle 14:20, 22 November 2010 (UTC)

Welcome from me too, Johan. This is definitely a good place for this kind of info - and we need more of it. Info about the rich world (using less resources) as well as the developing world (making more out of less).
"Who is the average anonymous reader?" Hard to say, but probably very diverse. The people who contribute here might be already very adapted and enlightened, but we have around 3000 visitors per day, and many people do learn practical things here.
Fixer is right about the license - you or anyone could sell a book based on Appropedia content. In theory someone else could come along and do the same thing and keep the profits, but if they're just freeriding, I think they're less likely to get a lot of good-faith support. (These are the risks we take by using a free license, but to my thinking, it's worth it.)
Re catchy titles, I think that's a good idea. We can work out the details as we go... --Chriswaterguy 11:43, 22 November 2010 (UTC)

Thank you all, I have already learnt a lot from you and your articles!!!

--Yeahvle 17:41, 24 November 2010 (UTC)

You mention that you don't want to write about the environmental impact of cooking practices, but you want to describe practices that save energy. Saving energy is one of the fundamental ways to reduce the environmental impact of any process that consumes energy. Another fundamental way is to obtain energy from a less destructive source. For most people in the developed world, one of the most environmentally significant cooking decisions they can make isn't about cooking directly - it is the decision to purchase green electricity, i.e. Renewable Energy Certificates if they use grid electricity, or renewable generation equipment if they make their own electricity. Also, a person in the developed world hardly needs to travel to the developing world to have an impact on it. Carbon dioxide we add to the carbon cycle by burning fossil fuels will have an enormous, disproportionate, and mostly negative impact on the developing world. An impact so large that if we stay on the business as usual course to burn all the earth's recoverable fossil fuels in a century or two, the level of suffering in the developing world could be unimaginably worse than what occurs today. Anyone who believes science and cares about the developing world at all must acknowledge the urgent need to slash the global fossil fuel burn to zero as soon as possible. As the years roll on and the Keeling Curve ticks up relentlessly, the need to stop burning fossil fuels altogether will grow from the fringe topic it is today to the most important issue for practically everyone. Wait until the US corn crop burns during a rampaging summer drought, for example. --Teratornis 23:22, 8 January 2011 (PST)
Yes, I have a belief that some individuals are getting scared away from doing a change in their life style. Mostly this is a guess from my side, but I would like to investigate it further, to see if I am correct or not. Just the fact that you wrote an extremely long comment of information that is commonly known, is one of the reasons of where I think that the public opinion is confused and scared away from certain campaigns and projects. Please do not get me wrong, i appreciate all discussions and debate around my proposed projects and articles. It helps me with the thoughts surrounding application.
If a person can get info that a practice will save him energy, probably that is easier to grasp, because there is a cost involved with energy in most homes. Here in Sweden the cost of house-hold-electricity have almost doubled in 14 years. And still many is not ready to change their eating or cooking practices, just because some environmental-groups says it is better for the planet to change. Do you understand me better now? That i would like to emphasize the incentive as a personal economic benefit, rather than better global climate for next generations.
And I received a comment from a guy that once was at a conference full of producers of electrical home appliances. And when asked about what could be done in their industry to improve energy efficiency, they all answered that: boiling with always using a lid on the pots and pans, and reducing the temperature on your clothes washing machine from 90°C to 60°C or 50°C, was the biggest and simplest ways to reduce costs and improve efficiency. (and to choose wisely when purchasing domestic appliances with low power consumtion and of high quality so it lasts for many years before it needs to be replaced)
Can I ask all of you, what could you do to help me with my Cooking-article to make it read and understood by a larger group of average-joes? Updated_cooking_methods_in_modern_kitchens Is it enough to have as an article on a wiki, or should I try to publish a book or perhaps video-clips for internet distribution? --Yeahvle 07:24, 9 January 2011 (PST)
I live in OhioW in the US, the global epicenter of climate change denial, so I understand the desire to persuade (or perhaps trick) people into doing the right things, but without mentioning the reasons they have been indoctrinated by their anti-scientific folklore to reject. We can make some progress that way, if fossil fuels get expensive enough, because that will motivate people to save money by burning less. Saving money is important for many reasons, for example it tells us that we probably are saving resources on balance. However, framing an issue in terms of cost saving alone is an appeal to personal selfishness, and we probably cannot solve the climate crisis if everyone judges things solely in terms of short term benefit to themselves. (Efficiency motivated purely by selfishness leads to the Jevons paradox.W) That type of thinking produced our addiction to fossil fuels in the first place. For humans to stop burning fossil fuels quickly enough to avoid destroying the climate, someone is probably going to have to sacrifice something.
However, the larger context probably does not matter much on a strictly how-to page. A how-to page merely tells the already motivated reader how to do something. Advocacy material (i.e. attempts to persuade the unpersuaded) belong on other pages. We should separate the "how" from the "why", I think, because different readers will only be interested in one of those at a given moment.
As to how best to reach the average joes, the place to start would be to find the best practice. What person in the whole world is reaching the average joes the best right now? See how they do it, and do likewise. Even before we start looking, though, it seems if someone somewhere did know how to reach the average joes and turn them into zero carbon heroes, we would already know about this master or mistress of persuasion. The town where he or she lives would be the world's first eco-paradise, where everybody recycles everything, there is no trash, no pollution, probably few or no automobiles, everybody composts, grows food, etc. The Tea Party polluters would drive there in their SUVs, see the (green) light, and ride bicycles back home to preach the green gospel.
I will leave some comments on Talk:Updated cooking methods in modern kitchens. For example you reminded me to look at purchasing an insulated cooking pot (same principle as Fireless cookers). Supposedly it can cook foods like rice with much less energy than a standard uninsulated pot which needs continual heat input to simmer for the whole cooking time. The insulated pot needs only the initial warm-up, and then it can "coast" without further heat input for the rest of the cooking time. --Teratornis 12:30, 9 January 2011 (PST)

Service learning category

Do Category:Service Learning Courses and Category:Coursework serve the same purpose? Should we merge? Category:Coursework is the simpler title, and seems ok to me. --Chriswaterguy 06:48, 25 November 2010 (UTC)

On first glance it looks like the former should be a subcategory of the latter, from the definition in Portal:Service learning. All (or mostly all) service learning appears to be coursework but not all coursework is service learning. If Appropedia becomes popular as an editing platform for or about coursework, Category:Coursework could get crowded and require diffusion into subcategories. More subcategories of Category:Coursework would probably be better for article growth than fewer subcategories. --Teratornis 15:45, 14 January 2011 (PST)
Category:Service Learning Courses should be a subcategory of both Category:Service Learning and Category:Coursework. The category title should also follow the title case rule (first letter of second and following words should be lowercase, unless they would ordinarily be uppercase). (Appropedia appears to have lots of pages titles and section headings that do not follow the title case rule.) --Teratornis 16:20, 14 January 2011 (PST)
Agreed - that is the right sub-categorization - and as Appropedia continues to expand - it will be necessary to have tighter categorization in general - but in this case particularly -- as for example there could be a class about AT that has no service learning content --Joshua 18:23, 14 January 2011 (PST)

Car pool ideas

I searched for car pool concepts and commute-schemes. Most that I found seem to be sleeping/unused/abandoned. Such as The Daily Commute that was the only one with information on Appropedia.

I placed a comment in that article and started to brainstorm around new and improved business models there in the paragraph around Limitations to carpools. Generally I am against the use and need for all individuals to own their own automobil, but I know there are millions that think they need one. So... they exist, and not much I can do about it now.

Perhaps this would be a better place to bounce ideas, so i paste my comment here too: There are many reasons why carpooling schemes do not work. One big reason is that people buy and own a car because they want the convenience, they know that the car is parked near their home, they can go to it anytime they like for driving to work or to shop anytime they like. And to just load in their bag or stuff they will transport all the way home to the door and to play their own music as loud as they want.

Another big reason is that many people feel uncomfortable or suspicious about other individuals that they consider strangers. In many nations people would not sit next to another person on a bus or train unless it is really crowded. At least in northern europe this is normal. Often it is one empty seat between travellers on collective transports. People never speak or seek contact with strangers, unless the train is cancelled or late, then the travellers standing stranded at the platform of the station can find "a common enemy" in the train company to comment angrily about "together".

Carpools are of course a great idea if a business enterprise could persuade people to go 3-4 persons per car instead of 1 person in each car. But unless the business model is very profitable and gives plenty of incentives for the users it will not work long-term for the broader masses.

Lets bounce around some ideas on how to pay the driver/passengers instead of collecting fees from them?

Making the sharing gasoline costs and reduced emissions much more visible, more pedagogic, effective and beneficial?

Incentives: Sponsoring companies pay for Free tollfees or free coffee and discounts on fuel at gas stations?

Fun factor: Making the active users listen to a special radio station with positive targeted ads? Special competitions on that radio station for only carpoolers?

Online: Using Google Ad-programs to get revenue from users of the web page? utilising GPS in smartphones?

--Yeahvle 14:14, 28 November 2010 (UTC)

Great ideas, Yeahvle.
Another idea - use some of the lessons of social media (or maybe even harness social media sites) to help people find fellow passengers they might find interesting. Make it easier to try traveling with someone once, without committing.
"many people feel uncomfortable or suspicious about other individuals" - that is a big factor! Not easy to break down, but would be interesting to look for ways of reducing it. Make shared spaces more comfortable for mingling? (Probably in an optional way - don't want to scare people away from public transport.) I know there are cases of trains from the country to city where people catch the same carriage of the same train each morning for years, and become a small community of friends on that carriage (e.g. Blue Mountains to Sydney trains). That's rare, though... and I'm not sure whether this exploration of social capital fits in Appropedia. Grey area, I think.
I wonder if there are common coordination hassles that limit car-pooling - one person is punctual, another is often late; one has flexible start times, another can't afford to be late; one person is patient, another is furious after 5 minutes (and maybe has other people waiting for them.) Different finishing times is a big issue for daily commuting as well. I wonder if someone has done a study on when and where it has been successful. (No time to look now..)
It's worth mentioning services like Zip, where people hire an economical car (Prius or small car) whenever they need - making it easier for people to give up their car and use public transport most of the time. These schemes seem to be more successful than car-pooling, and are spreading, but slowly. Perhaps they need a shift in incentives to help them spread much more quickly (whether carefully targeted subsidies, higher fuel prices, road taxes, tax honeymoons when they set up in a new city...) --Chriswaterguy 05:57, 29 November 2010 (UTC)
Hi Chris, thanks for the input. However, I would even go so far as to recommend designing better options for finding privacy and silence in public transport. At least for some markets, because there is here in Scandinavia (and possibly in some percentage of individuals in any other areas) a deeply rooted respect for other individuals private space. "We" feel extremely embarrased, intimidated and worry when we think we might be too close to offending or invading anyones personal sphere. Perhaps a type of fear of confrontation. Or just a feeling we would not want to put our dirty shoes on a clean carpet, or, my clean shoes in the pile of garbage on your floor.

Social media here in northern europe means more like : you can attempt to feel like you socialise a lot with your relatives and aquaintances online, without actually having to meet them face-to-face and interact with them so much. I exaggerate little, but just to enhance my point that it is extremely difficult to design any "removal" of some social and cultural differences

And spinning on your thought on the coordination hassle: Peer-to-peer-software on smartphones can be used to perfect some announcements as text messages from the driver to the prospective passengers, "arriving in 90 seconds to your street corner" "today the car is a red Ford for our team" "it is Bob's turn to decide on radio station". And possibly at the afternoon reminding passengers making them check in if they will leave their job on time, or if they will be taking train or a car-pool-group two hours later instead, so the group doesnt stand and wait for a no-show.
Zip and the new instant/short-term car-rental schemes seems great, I have for at least 10 years said to family and friends that with these gas prices you should sell your car, you will save so much money on the depreciation, taxes and fees, so you can afford a taxi once a week or whenever you need to transport something heavy. And all the futuristic methods of mass transportations seem to never get off the ground here in west, like the monorail in Bangkok. Possibly because our snow and extreme cold during 2-4 months each year.
Conceptual ideas : Place the central aisle off the middle so it will be Single seats on one side of each bus or train-carriage. Maybe even with a transparent acrylic "sound-dampening-shield" around the head, maybe with comfy airplane-style neck pillow? it could become a fight and sneaky manouevering at each station to get to a comfy VIP-seat! (and of course install wider benches on the other side to fit 2-4 persons)
Regarding your idea to match special interests or hobbies, would be good for some people, but then again it is too complex, so probably some people would not want to sit and discuss same topic every day. and too few persons on each route isnt enough for people to be picky. car-pooling needs a certain "critical mass", when a big city have enough individuals going similar route and time.
However it could be introduced a specific type of coloured hat/baseball cap or friendly handsignal that could be used in the morning if you are in a really shitty monday mood and would like to have silence for the whole ride. That always leaves the choice to take off the hat when you feel better and can agree to join in the conversation.
--Yeahvle 08:43, 29 November 2010 (UTC)
Car-pooling is a problem faced by millions of people. The first obvious place to start is to find who is doing the best job of it in the whole world. If they have solved the problem well enough, just copy what they do. If even the best car-pooling organization in the world is not good enough, then we need more original ideas. Appropedia itself only samples a small fraction of the available experience in a given topic like car-pooling. (Have you checked Google's car-pool page?) I would hold off on the brainstorming until you have exhausted every avenue for researching the existing best practice, and you can say with confidence that you have found who is the world champion at it. I would be very surprised if the best practice is being done anywhere in the United States for example. A community's choice to become heavily car-dependent like most of the US indicates a broken approach to transport. One would not expect a culture that chooses the most wasteful transport technology to use it with the highest possible efficiency. --Teratornis 23:02, 8 January 2011 (PST)
I am sad to say that all existing car-pooling-initiatives close down sooner or later, because of lack of available users. I sure hope that some individuals that did manage to become matched together in a small local pool can continue sharing fuel costs, but all internet based forums I have looked at seemed to be sleeping/discontinued. My guess: it's mostly a matter of personal convenience and behaviour patterns that are not really close to wider acceptance and application in europe and northern america. My belief is that people in U.S.A do not aim for wasting fossil fuel, they do it out of convenience/lazyness. Having their own private vehicle standing outside in the parking lot, to use it whenever they feel like, seems much easier to most people than all the other options. And it can be also part to blame the strange street patterns of your sprawling suburbs? That is why I started to brainstorm about the fundamentals. Because you never know who sits on a brilliant idea for best practice. You need to throw around the question first. --Yeahvle 13:31, 11 January 2011 (PST)

Mirrors (flat) - cut in strips for array mounting

I have been looking at many designs of solar cookers/collectors and find only parabolic building projects. (Even on appropedia there is only one alternative and that is tin-can-bottoms mounted in satellite dish)

Of course parabola is effective shape on focusing, but puts limitations on the builder, and eliminates certain excellent materials just because they are not flexible/bendy/cheap materials. (And makes it difficult to tune and make alterations afterwards.)

I have once seen a "Appropriate Tech"-version of small portable solar cooker on TV, it was built from 20-30 strips, cut from an ordinary flat pane bathroom mirror. (Sizes of each strip was roughly one inch wide and a foot long). They were mounted in a row on two wood pieces, and i think it was combination of rubber bands and screws that made the mirror strips positionable into reflecting the sunlight into a focal point 20-25 cm above the array, that lay flat on the ground. (I will try to make CAD-sketches of the concept)

Much cheaper, simpler, faster to build. Scalable, better reflection from a mirror (than from aluminium and acrylic), more weather resistant (than Mylar and foil). Mimicking the methods used by giant-scale solarthermal plants. The flat strips makes it even dismountable so you can transport it in a small cardboard box or rolled in protective textile. (I know there are some readymade kits for solar box cookers to buy, but they are all very bulky, inconvenient, expensive...)

So, how can I try to write this project-article? as a standalone project? and then link to every page and place there is mention of parabolic solar ? How do I do it best, to spread the info about the advantages? Help me, I am getting frustrated with knowing about concepts and it is not spread to those who can benefit from it!

Sometimes I am amazed at the simplicity of a project to get something done. But then again I am amazed more times when inventors try to "reinvent the wheel" in a much complicated fashion, when it is for me as a designer needed to take a step back, ask the users: what is the problem you are trying to fix. And then come up with a solution that does solve the problem with "best practice" for the end users, and not for the inventor. One huge example is car industry where they try to greenwash and develop battery cars, when the replacement "best practice-product/function" really is bus, train or bicycle.

--Yeahvle 13:02, 1 December 2010 (UTC)

Hi Johan,
Check out the other pages under Category:Solar_cooking, such as How to build a solar cooker, One Sheet Solar Cooker, Solar Cooking and Health, and Analysis of a solar box cooker with inclined window, to see some of the treatments of box style cookers. We could really use a good overview (well linked and referenced) of different types of solar cookers at Solar cooking.
--Lonny 09:29, 17 December 2010 (UTC)
Hi Lonny, i found this specialized wiki, that have got most info, specs and overview. [6]
How is the best practice : to ask them to cooperate/merge, or to ask them to try to incorporate their material here or simply to link to it, and to edit some of the articles on appropedia that will be obsolete?
Information wants to be free, and most is coming available online, it is just so hard to find it some times.
--Yeahvle 20:00, 17 December 2010 (UTC)
You're right, that's a great resource. We've actually talked with them a few times in the past, and they could see the benefits of merging... but that's a big decision and they've got other things on their plate too. Also some complications to work out, since the current site is owned by Wikia rather than by the Solar Cooking people... but we could work those issues out, with work.
For now... perhaps we need more links between our sites? And we need to restart those conversations. Thanks for the reminder, Yeahvle! --Chriswaterguy 16:53, 20 December 2010 (UTC)

Simplifying Wikipedia link templates

Following the changes to Wikipedia linking mentioned above...

{{wp sup}} is a bit of an unwieldy string, and it actually redirects to {{w}}. So, I'd like to replace all {{wp sup}} with {{w}}. If there's no objection I'll do this with my bot in early January, 2011.

I had no objections above to my rewriting all {{WP}} to use {{w}} instead, so I'll go ahead and do that in the next few days.

Thanks and Merry Christmas! --Chriswaterguy 07:16, 26 December 2010 (UTC)

SVG image problem

Somehow when I save an SVG file in Firefox (I also tried in the Midori browser) it gets converted from SVG to something else. I noticed this when updating the Wikipedia logo from a copyrighted image to an open licensed one. Compare these images when zooming in: here and the original - the original stays much clearer, as expected from an SVG file.

It's not happening during uploading - I get the same effect when I use a file viewer on my computer.

SVG files are often very useful, so it would be great to get this sorted out.

(Re File:Wikipedia.png, my plan was to move it to File:Wikipedia.svg, but it would also work to upload the new file (a proper svg) at File:Wikipedia.svg and created a redirect from File:Wikipedia.svg.) --Chriswaterguy 08:08, 4 January 2011 (UTC)

My personal forays into SVG files have not been fruitful so far. So I'm still largely stuck in the jaggie world of raster files. --Teratornis 23:16, 9 January 2011 (PST)

Article style

I haven't finished reading all the Appropedia help and project namespace pages yet, so the answer might already be written down somewhere, but I'll ask anyway: to what extent does Appropedia intend to follow the basic Wikipedia Manual of Style guidelines?W I've noticed some articles here that adhere to the guidelines, and some that don't. For example:

  • Singular (not plural) nouns in titles of pages and sections, unless a word would ordinarily be plural when used in the title
  • Initial letters in lowercase in second and following words in titles of pages and sections
  • Order of standard sections per WP:LAYOUTW
  • Use true subheadings rather than pseudo subheadings (e.g. letters in bold)
  • Minimal use of bold and italics for emphasis in body text

I understand that many Appropedia editors will not have previous experience at Wikipedia editing, so departures from Wikipedia's guidelines are expected. I'm wondering whether I should "correct" such departures when I see them, as I would when editing on Wikipedia, or if we don't worry about that on Appropedia. My preference would be to follow Wikipedia's style rules unless there is a compelling reason not to, since Wikipedia became highly successful by following its rules. --Teratornis 13:04, 9 January 2011 (PST)

Wikipedia have become successful because people now regard information to be free and public knowledge to be public. It have got nothing at all to do with extremely strict typography or style rules. Of course if it is spelling errors within titles or factual errors it needs to be correct in order to be searchable, linkable and true, but simply checking for minor aestethic details is a waste of time and energy. (that's just my 5cents) --Yeahvle 13:18, 11 January 2011 (PST)
Hi Teratornis and Yeahvle,
In general, we try to use Wikipedia standards where applicable. I think changing content to fit those standards is totally acceptable, with the understanding that a lot of people will not post in standard format. In other words, changing seems great, castigating seems against our cause.
Appropedia is different from Wikipedia in some very effectual ways. One of those is our emphasis on original research. In decreasing order of how much I personally agree with the adherence you are asking about:
  1. True subheadings allows for better navigation and accessibility (e.g. reading by the sight impaired).
  2. lowercase versus uppercase page naming helps users add internal links with more certainty that they will get the right page name.
  3. For the plural versus singular question, I need to defer to User:Chriswaterguy or User:Curtbeckmann.
  4. Standard sections seems generally desirable for people looking for information, and even for later ease-of-adaptation towards a more semantic site (especially for References).... but some pages just won't be able to fit all the standards.
  5. Minimal use of bold and italics seems less necessary as some of our articles are written from a non-encyclopedic, even first person, perspective.
I hear Yeahvle's 5 cents and think that adherence to style guidelines should never be a barrier to community engagement.
Thank you, --Lonny 13:37, 11 January 2011 (PST)
Thanks for clarifying, Lonny. I think to avoid the appearance of castigating, one can link to the relevant guideline page in an edit comment to explain a change. That way it is not personal, but just following the agreed convention. And part of the promise we see below the edit window: "If you do not want your writing to be edited mercilessly ...".
To Yeahvle: I think the rules matter on Wikipedia for the same reason that it matters to put a stamp on a certain corner of the envelope. If everybody makes up their own rules, working with other people becomes harder. Without the mailing envelope convention, you would not know where to see the stamp, and different people might waste time arguing about where to put the stamp. It is more efficient to pick one corner and have everyone standardize on that, even if there is no particular corner which is really better. On Wikipedia, the Manual of Style guidelines are so detailed that they take much of the guesswork out of structuring articles. Anyone can write a Wikipedia article like an expert if they only will read the rules. At the same time, one must find the right balance between sharpening the ax and chopping the tree. More time spent sharpening the ax (analogous to developing and learning the internal rules for a site like Appropedia) will make cutting easier (analogous to writing the actual content which is the purpose of the site). But one cannot spend all one's time sharpening the ax. At some point the ax is sharp enough and it is time to apply the ax. --Teratornis 14:33, 11 January 2011 (PST)

refernce errors

Something changed in the reference syntax -- now appropedia has errors all over it that look like this - [Cite error: Ran out of custom link labels for group "". Define more in the MediaWiki:cite_link_label_group- message.]. ???? ---Joshua 15:49, 9 January 2011 (PST)

Hi Joshua,

Thanks for finding this giant and ugly problem. It should now be fixed. Please let us know if you find it otherwise.

PS For anyone running their own wiki and finding this error, the fix is simple but odd. The newest version (as of my signature date) of Cite is causing the problem. From inside the Cite folder type svn update -r 62678 to revert to the last good version of Cite. Then you must edit some citation somewhere (just one anywhere on your site) for the fix to take.

--Lonny 18:10, 9 January 2011 (PST)

Template documentation templates

Hello, I would like to import Wikipedia's template documentation templates to Appropedia. This would enable templates to have their documentation on true subpages, which is becoming the most common style on Wikipedia.W For example, then Chriswaterguy's Template:Olpc bundle/doc could work correctly (if he was trying to implement that as a Wikipedia-style template documentation subpage). I've done this on some other wikis so I know what to do (or at least I know what worked before). I need someone with shell access to the server to enable subpages on the Template: namespace, and an admin to add the template-documentation style class to MediaWiki:Common.css. I documented all the why and how details here:

The two steps are pretty simple so hopefully they won't cause any problems. With the template documentation templates in place, I can start importing other templates I need, without having to merge all their documentation subpages into the template code. For large and complex templates it is advantageous to separate the template code from the documentation. Thanks. --Teratornis 22:33, 9 January 2011 (PST)

Specifically, we need an administrator to:
/** Which namespaces should support subpages?
 * See Language.php for a list of namespaces.
$wgNamespacesWithSubpages = array(
       NS_TEMPLATE       => true,
       NS_TEMPLATE_TALK  => true,
/* For template documentation */
.template-documentation {
    clear: both;
    margin: 1em 0 0 0;
    border: 1px solid #aaa; 
    background-color: #ecfcf4; 
    padding: 1em;
Thanks. --Teratornis 12:07, 11 January 2011 (PST)
Hi Teratornis,
Sorry for the slowness. The changes should now be in effect, and Template:Olpc bundle/doc now seems to be a true subpage, as indicated by its "automatic link to the parent page at the top of the subpage".
Thank you, --Lonny 23:37, 19 January 2011 (PST)
Thanks. The {{Documentation}} template works now. I'm porting more templates from Wikipedia. When I find I need more style classes in MediaWiki:Common.css (because various templates use them) I'll let you know. --Teratornis 23:37, 20 January 2011 (PST)
The {{Documentation}} template almost works. There's one little hitch, when you click the edit link to create a new documentation subpage for a template, the edit window is not pre-filled with the boilerplate text. I think I recall having that problem when I ported this to another wiki. I'll investigate. It doesn't affect my template porting project because I'm copying documentation subpages that already exist, and editing the various links and such that break here. --Teratornis 23:43, 20 January 2011 (PST)
The above problem resulted from my forgetting to create Template:Documentation/preload. --Teratornis 22:05, 23 January 2011 (PST)


What is a CAFO?

Are these two significantly different things that coincidentally have the same initialism? Or are these both alluding to the same thing, and the incorrect backronym should be edited to the correct phrase? --DavidCary 11:44, 11 January 2011 (PST)

Hi David,
Great question. The correct acronym (according to the CDC and others) is Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations. Thanks for finding and correcting this incorrect 'backronym'. :)
--Lonny 11:54, 11 January 2011 (PST)

Shortcuts to categories

While inventorying shortcuts and listing them, I saw A:ASD and A:SD are redirects to Category:Appropedia site development. This might seem to conflict with Appropedia:No redirects for categories. (Technically, a shortcut to a category is a type of redirect to it.) Actually I don't think there is a conflict, because "no redirects for categories" seems to be about redirects in the Category: namespace left over from category moves. A shortcut is a redirect from the main (article) namespace, with the shortcut prefix not being a true namespace prefix. Thus no one could use it as a misspelled category name when categorizing a page. Leaving aside for the moment that A:ASD and A:SD use the wrong prefix (which should be C: for shortcuts to categories, as A: is for shortcuts to Appropedia: pages), should I update Appropedia:No redirects for categories to make an explicit exception for shortcuts to categories? I don't know how many such shortcuts we have. I've only found those two shortcuts to one category so far. Personally, I don't think shortcuts to categories are as good as shortcuts to the main pages for categories (such as A:DEV shortcutting to Appropedia:Site development). Prose pages should usually be better entry points to a topic than categories. --Teratornis 15:31, 18 January 2011 (PST)

Incidentally all the shortcuts having the A: prefix in their page names have temporarily turned into red links. Chriswaterguy says he will fix them in a few days. --Teratornis 22:11, 23 January 2011 (PST)

Articles that should probably be Project: pages

Also while inventorying shortcuts, I found some articles that should probably be Project: pages. See:

I'll wait a few days for feedback. If nobody objects, I'll move them to Project: pages. --Teratornis 23:43, 18 January 2011 (PST)

Chriswaterguy approves of moving them. I'll do that after he takes care of the changes resulting from turning A: into an alias for the Appropedia: namespace. --Teratornis 22:09, 23 January 2011 (PST)

Template:Reflist upgrade

I have a Wikipedia-style version of {{Reflist}} working at {{Reflist w}}, which I made as a test version. (See User:Teratornis/Tasks#Template:Reflist for my porting notes.) The existing {{Reflist}} documentation states that someone will upgrade it to the Wikipedia version someday. I am ready to do that now. However, since a number of pages use the existing template, I wanted to warn the Appropedia community before I change it. The only visible change should be that existing reference sections that use {{Reflist}} will appear in a smaller font. New style options include support for multiple columns (visible at User:Teratornis/Tasks#Notes and references), and grouped references. (I have not implemented bibliographic-style references with {{Refbegin}}W and {{Refend}}W yet. I may do that later.) I'll wait a few days and if nobody objects, I will update {{Reflist}}. --Teratornis 15:30, 27 January 2011 (PST)

I have ported enough citation templates from Wikipedia to Appropedia to enable footnote citations work in articles that some people have copied from Wikipedia, for example see Development communication (from Wikipedia)#References. I have yet to port the Harvard referencing templates. Two or three articles here are trying to use them. See Special:WhatLinksHere/Template:Refbegin. That might be a good job to delegate to an intern, now that I am fairly confident in the method. The fact that Wikipedia uses several different citation styles makes porting content from Wikipedia that much harder. --Teratornis 23:45, 27 January 2011 (PST)

Categories for images

See User:Teratornis/Tasks#Categories for images. It seems Appropedia has few categories for images just now; I have only found three so far. There is some discussion from 2006 in Category talk:Useful images about the need to create a category structure for images, but not much seems to have happened since. If no one objects, I will create Category:Images as a fundamental category, and make the existing image categories subcategories of it. I could just be bold and create it without discussion, but it's probably good to inform others before I do anything "fundamental". --Teratornis 17:16, 1 February 2011 (PST)

What are your thoughts on just categorizing images under normal categories, e.g., using Category:Arcata Marsh instead of Category:Arcata marsh images? Thanks, --Lonny 22:51, 9 February 2011 (PST)
I would have to think about that. On Wikipedia they use separate categories for images. My wiki organization philosophy is to look carefully at whatever Wikipedia does - while we are not obligated to follow Wikipedia slavishly, there are almost always very good reasons for whatever Wikipedia does, and we would need to be sure those reasons do not apply to us before we do something else. (I.e., Wikipedia is usually smarter than I am, due to Wikipedia features resulting from long and arduous debate and discussion, which is probably deeper than what I think after looking at something for ten seconds.) So I would have to investigate the reasons for having separate text and image categories. It might be as simple as category pages getting badly crowded if they have lots of ordinary pages and images together. Someone who is looking for one would probably not want to see the other. In the short run it would seem easier to use existing categories for images. But I don't know, Appropedia already has some category pages that double as articles, with long descriptive content, and piling images on there too might be too much. --Teratornis 23:03, 9 February 2011 (PST)
There are, of course, some image categories that won't apply to text pages at all, such as Category:Images for cleanup. Also, if we categorize images under article categories, then it becomes much more difficult to browse images hierarchically, since there isn't likely to be a contiguous set of categories containing all the images. If someone is looking for images with dual-use categories, they would have to plow through lots of categories that might not contain any images. This is the type of problem that tends to get solved by itself when a wiki gets very large. I think we would need a big community of active contributors to get enough people to take an interest in organizing all the content. Communities will organize their content in ways that facilitate their own use of it. Only users understand the needs of users, and on a wiki the users are able to design for their own needs. --Teratornis 23:18, 9 February 2011 (PST)
My feeling is that crowding is a key criteria for when to split - most of our categories have few enough pages and images that using the same category is probably ok for now. --Chriswaterguy 07:17, 26 February 2011 (PST)

Template:Tlc should be Template:Cl

The {{Tlc}} template on Appropedia does not work like wikipedia:Template:Tlc ("Template list as code") but instead like wikipedia:Template:Cl ("Category list"). This creates confusion when porting other templates from Wikipedia that use {{Tlc}} to illustrate template use in their documentation. I created a Wikipedia-compatible {{Cl}} and I am updating the backlinks of Tlc to use it instead (the rendered pages do not change). If nobody objects, I will then update {{Tlc}} to work like the Wikipedia version. The only impact on anyone else going forward is that you will have to remember to use {{Cl}} when you want to display a category name as you have been doing since 2006 with {{Tlc}}. I trust everyone understands the value of keeping our template names consistent with Wikipedia's where there is no reason not to. --Teratornis 20:17, 9 February 2011 (PST)

It was easy to change the existing transclusions of {{Tlc}} to use {{Cl}} instead (and I got an interesting tour of Appropedia content in the bargain). It looks like the vast majority, maybe all of those transclusions were by Lonny and Chriswaterguy. I don't think I saw that anyone else had used the template (other than one user who used it by accident when trying to categorize a page). One page looked like it might contain program-generated data: Appropedia:Service learning pageview statistics, so I won't change the existing {{Tlc}} until I hear from Lonny and Chris. The two of you have been using that template since 2005 or so, so I'm not sure how attached you might be to the existing name, or how deeply it might be burned into bots or other things I cannot see. Note that {{Cl}} is one character shorter, which is nice in a template whose only purpose is to save typing a few characters. --Teratornis 22:27, 9 February 2011 (PST)
I am not attached at all. IIRC, when we made that template, it didn't seem like there was a good version on Wikipedia. I think Chris suggested we change the name a long time ago... so he is probably happy about the change. Thanks, --Lonny 22:42, 9 February 2011 (PST)
PS: Hope you liked the tour. :) --Lonny 22:43, 9 February 2011 (PST)
It was great, although a bit scary to be mercilessly editing the two heaviest hitters on Appropedia 150+ times. A little voice kept asking, "Are you sure you've thought this one through?" --Teratornis 23:06, 9 February 2011 (PST)
After a long night, my ego has recovered. ;) --Lonny 15:59, 10 February 2011 (PST)
All good with me! I'm actually uncomfortable about people being uncomfortable with changing something I've written, so I'm glad you went ahead and did this. :-). --Chriswaterguy 07:10, 26 February 2011 (PST)

Practical Action technical briefs

Practical Action/Pages to port lists lots of content from Practical Action but I can't find where it says exactly which license this content is covered by. Some of the pages says the content is "ported with permission" but it doesn't say who got permission, when or what for. Anyone know anything about this? I'm happy to talk to practical action myself but I don't want to bother them if it all been sorted out already. --Joe Raftery 13:09, 20 February 2011 (PST)

I first answered on Joe's talk page. In short, I got permission from Neil Noble of PA via email back in 2007. He said they strongly support copyleft. CurtB 07:58, 26 February 2011 (PST)
For comparison, Wikimedia Commons handles this type of situation with their OTRS system. When they get permission to copy many files from a particular collection of content, someone makes an attribution template for it. See:
--Teratornis 12:34, 26 February 2011 (PST)
See also my comments at User talk:Joe Raftery #Curt got permission from Practical Action. I'd love to see an OTRS system here, given the time/resources/energy. I'm not completely comfortable with the permissions we have from PA now, and come to think of it, if there were a change in staff and a change in attitude at PA, we could have problems. How about we write up a permissions request to PA? We'd preface it by saying that giving this permission in no way restricts their own rights to how they reuse the content, or what other licenses they can use for the their content. (The fact that it's been left hanging is largely related to the fact that they weren't ready to decide on a specific license at the time, but they were happy with our license... we've learnt a lot since then so we can make a clearer request now.)
We know someone who's an intern at PA right now, so how about we take advantage and work on this now? I can help with it in a day or two.
Images are a trickier issue than the text - see the bullet point about it at Appropedia:Image copyright cleanup. --Chriswaterguy 21:53, 26 February 2011 (PST)

Arab world is changing

I was writing down some notes in my page, and thought maybe some of you been thinking in similar lines. Please feel free to read and comment what i write about:

Arab world is changing

the year 2011 could become forever remembered for this huge potential paradigm shift, taking place in many places, thanks to appropriately using, utilising internet and phones, facebook and twitter


It's an amazing time right now! --Chriswaterguy 07:04, 26 February 2011 (PST)

having issues with getting a regular photo to have a header

Hi, I have been trying for a while and I am unable to get a header for a regular size photo on my page but I am able to get a title if I put it in tumbnail. Is there a way I could come in and watch you do it so I can figure out what the problem is? Thank you. —The preceding comment was added by Crg23 (talkcontribs) 09:18, 28 February 2011

See wikipedia:Wikipedia:Picture tutorial. I thumbnailed Image:solar-panels.jpg on Solar Nova Scotia and specified 500px for the width so the image appears at full size with the caption. You can specify any size you want. See my diff. --Teratornis 15:44, 3 March 2011 (PST)

Explaining red links

I've been showing Appropedia to new people and a couple of times have seen very smart people click on red links and wonder what was wrong when they saw an edit box.

So, I've made {{explain redlinks}} which looks like:

Red links are invitations for your contribution of knowledge.

Just click a red link, enter a sentence or paragraph to start, then click save. You and others can edit the page again at any time.

I'm planning to add it to any pages I see with a lot of redlinks. If the community likes it, I hope you'll also put it on suitable pages

I'm also thinking of some kind of "Wiki Tip of the Week" for the front page, maybe adapted from these tutorials. --Chriswaterguy 06:54, 6 March 2011 (PST)

  • Do you want to use template documentation templates?W The inline style of template documentation you are using is obsolete now: harder to read, vulnerable to errors when editing the documentation that can conceivably blow up a template, slightly more expensive since the parser has to read the documentation on every transclusion, and does not allow the template to be protected separately from its documentation. (Wikipedia protects many of its high-use templates, as we will probably need to do if we get big, but there is usually no need to lock down a template's documentation.)
  • Please don't hate me if I say this, but in my fantasy world, our {{Notice}} template uses the same style as wikipedia:Template:Notice. I just like everything about Wikipedia's message box style. Given that Wikipedia's style had to satisfy a large user community to become the standard there, I suspect my preference is (for once) not merely idiosyncratic. The incidental graphics in Wikipedia's message boxes, for example, draw the reader's eye and visually classify the different types of messages.
  • Then again, an uglier template might increase the incentive to fix all the red links.
  • Oddly, despite the hundreds or thousands of message templates on Wikipedia, I was unable to find a similar template on Wikipedia to explain what a red link is. wikipedia:Template:Red link is actually quite different: it forces a link to be red even if the destination page already exists. The purpose of this little-used template seems to be only on a few pages that need to explain what a red link is. I guess people who read the documentation about red links tend to click on the example red links and create test pages on them, after which they aren't red links any more. Anyway, it's interesting that even though Wikipedia must confuse people with red links like we do, they don't seem to bend over backward to explain them.
    • Wikipedia has the more general wikipedia:Template:Wikify template, which can go on articles needing any sort of remedial wiki formatting work. Plenty of pages on Appropedia could use that template.
  • Red links are not the only confusing feature on a wiki. A more comprehensive solution to the problem of training new users might be a "new user skin" which I have daydreamed about. No such thing exists, of course. A newbie skin might have something like pop-up explanations of everything, a "WTF?" pointer the user could float over everything that does not make sense. I predict such a skin will never get built, because the only people with the skills to build it do not themselves need it, or do not need it long enough to remain interested in building it. I wished for a newbie skin for my first few months of learning to edit on Wikipedia, until I had read enough friendly manuals to understand what I was seeing, and to realize there was a manual for seemingly everything else I did not yet understand about wikis. Then I was like "Let them read manuals."W
    • It would be nice if everybody could read a book like Wikipedia: The Missing Manual. The number of things a new wiki editor needs to know would fill a lot of templates. Since most people either cannot or will not self-educate, it would be nice to provide classroom courses in basic wiki editing in every large human settlement. Maybe someday I will teach one in my town. But relying on RTFM did not stop Wikipedia from becoming a top-ten Web site.
  • Further to the last comment about "tips of the (time interval)", see:
--Teratornis 20:33, 9 March 2011 (PST)
Lots of great comments there - thanks Teratornis. But a really brief reply for now:
I see the value of using template documentation templates - the main reason I didn't do this was that it was a choice of (A) thinking about doing it that way, but not getting it done, or (B) doing a worse is better approach (as I understand it) and getting something that worked now, rather than leaving it on my scarily long to-do list. I also knew you were around and would be able to help :-).
The longer examples of template documentation on Wikipedia often makes my eyes glaze over - but I think that's just the style of writing, with as many facts crammed in as possible, rather than the mechanism of displaying the documentation. So I'm a bit hesitant about this approach, but I'll probably get over it. I would like to see a nice readable introduction on usage, with an example, leaving the extended details below to be scanned or read by those who are looking for specific info.
I like the Tip of the Day. I actually have this on my Wikipedia user page (along with much which should be culled) but I haven't looked at it for a long time. That's a pity, as they're great. Could be great for the front page though. --Chriswaterguy 17:54, 24 March 2011 (PDT)
Btw, I've tweaked {{explain redlinks}}, forcing the link to be read. It's inconsistent and I resisted at first, but I think it'll be clearer for the people it's meant for. --Chriswaterguy 17:54, 24 March 2011 (PDT)

Updating Template:Shortcut

Our {{Shortcut}} template uses code from a 2006 revision of wikipedia:Template:Shortcut. I would like to update our template to use the current Wikipedia code. This might cause some temporary display errors on pages that use the old style. The main difference is that the new template supplies double square brackets around the shortcut(s) it displays to turn it/them into links. The old template required the user to supply the brackets to display the shortcut as a link. So I have to go through all the backlinks and remove any double square brackets. A bot could do this job, but I'll do it manually because a bot might screw up. Anyway, I just wanted to state what I'm doing in case anyone notices funny behavior from a displayed shortcut in the next few days. Having a test copy of Appropedia would be handy for things like this. That might start to get important when Appropedia gets big and we have templates in use on thousands of pages. We wouldn't want to experiment on those templates on the live copy of the site. --Teratornis 20:46, 9 March 2011 (PST)

Hi Teratornis,
Do you mean like whatissustainability dot org?
--Lonny 22:45, 9 March 2011 (PST)
If the question is about what I meant by "a test copy of Appropedia" I mean an offline copy of Appropedia running via the method in mw:Manual:Wiki on a stick. It is relatively simple to set up MediaWiki to run under a WAMP or LAMP stack (such as XAMPPW which I use), allowing offline copies of wikis to run on a personal computer. Sometimes it is hard to duplicate all the host features, such as extra software running on the server to do SVG rendering etc. Test copies are useful because you can experiment with potentially disruptive changes to things like heavily-used templates, without exploding the real site. This method also allows someone to carry a snapshot working copy of Appropedia beyond the range of Internet access. Doing actual article editing on the offline copy is not advisable, however, as there is no easy way to merge those changes into the canonical copy. So the offline copies are best for testing, or for portable read-only use. I have my own personal wiki where I test most of my template ports from Wikipedia before porting them to Appropedia. That shortens the time that I have partially-ported templates lying around broken on Appropedia while I figure out some hitch or glitch. I work through most of the glitches on my personal wiki first. But my personal wiki does not duplicate Appropedia's content, so I cannot readily test the effect of changing things that are already in use here. --Teratornis 16:39, 10 March 2011 (PST)
Hi Teratornis,
That makes a lot of sense. For testing purposes, is there a strong disadvantage to the live dev site at Sorry for it not being a live link, I am trying to minimize traffic there (yes, we do have robots.txt set up to disallow).
Thanks, --Lonny 16:30, 17 March 2011 (PDT)
I can't see anything at or any of the variations I tried. Can you give me a link to whatever you are talking about, either in <nowiki> tags here, or by e-mail? --Teratornis 18:14, 18 March 2011 (PDT)
You're an "s" short: whatissustainability :-). Took a while to figure that out, (comparing it to my address bar history drop-down). --Chriswaterguy 20:18, 18 March 2011 (PDT)
Darn it... I had it correct in the first post. Sorry Teratornis. -Lonny 11:43, 20 March 2011 (PDT)
Now that I see what you mean, the answer to the original question is "yes". When I tried the original cryptic URL "whatissustainability dot org" I somehow ended up at a blog site. Since I had no idea what I was supposed to be looking for, I could not make sense of your question. --Teratornis 14:57, 21 March 2011 (PDT)

Email confirmation

Special:ConfirmEmail is not working for me. The page says "Confirmation e-mail sent.", but I don't see it in my inbox. I am sure as I can be that I entered a valid email address. Does Special:ConfirmEmail work for anybody else right now? --Teratornis 18:53, 18 March 2011 (PDT)

It came through for me in a matter of seconds. Is it something obvious like an email typo? Checked any spam folders? (I've been caught out before as my email gets redirected from one place to another, so I had to start checking 2 spam folders at least once a month.) --Chriswaterguy 20:21, 18 March 2011 (PDT)
Thanks, that suggests the problem is somehow on my end. I just tried re-confirming my email address on Wikipedia. I received the confirmation email in a few minutes, and everything worked. I tried copying and pasting my email address directly from my preferences page on Wikipedia into my preferences page on Appropedia, just to make absolutely sure I did not mis-type it. But I still do not see a confirmation message. I searched all my folders for "address confirmation" in the Subject: line. This turned up a bunch of confirmation emails I have received from various wikis that I saved since I started editing on wikis in 2006. But still no confirmation message from Appropedia. I guess I am stumped. There might be some filtering going on upstream of me. --Teratornis 14:25, 21 March 2011 (PDT)
Check that, I wrote too soon. The search on all my email folders was not yet complete when I typed the above reply. Now I see that the confirmation emails from Appropedia had filtered off into one of my extremely overcrowded local folders, but somehow Mozilla Thunderbird was not indicating that I had new messages in that folder. Maybe I have exceeded some message limit in Thunderbird that screws up the new messages indicator. Time to clean up my folders and check my filtering rules again. Thanks for the sanity check that told me what to look for. --Teratornis 15:05, 21 March 2011 (PDT)
Cool - Thunderbirds are go :-). --Chriswaterguy 16:17, 21 March 2011 (PDT)

New pages listed on front page

Hi Everyone - Given the increased frequency of spammers creating pages to sell products/services - I think the benefit of encouraging new users to post by placing them on the front of the site is being outweighed by the damage done to Appropedia's reputation be having spam up continually. We could continue to place new pages on the site by 1) having it moderated, 2) writing a short script that would only allow new pages up if the user had created their own page or perhaps multiple edits were done to the page before it is allowed in the new list. However, I kind of like the idea of dropping the new and going with highlighted pages up front of really good content. Most new pages are not polished for awhile - and for first time visitors may be a turn off. Any other solutions? --Fixer 07:16, 24 March 2011 (PDT)

I'm also really concerned about this. A few things:
  • I've been pushing for using mw:Extension:Bad behavior, but we haven't had the resources (maybe later in the year when we have one or more tech interns.
  • Building the community and having more admins will help.
  • Showing signs of activity is good - a couple of options I thought of are:
    • having a "construction zone" on the front page, including new pages and some selections from WantedPages. There'd be a few words of explanation, so visitors would know these links are "works in progress" and requests for contributions.
    • having, instead, a few of A:Highlighted pages. One way is to display a feed from these bookmarks - but the problem is that that's only me that manages that for now, and I'd like to share the account with some other established, trusted Appropedia users. (Interested?)
A highlighted pages feed isn't quite as good at showing signs of "activity" - but if we combined all the above, maybe highlighted pages at least as prominent as new pages, I think it could work out well.
I have limited access to the net right now, so if anyone wants to have a crack at making a construction zone at Main Page tests, that would be awesome.
Having said all that - if others feel that completely removing the New Pages feed from the main page is wise, I'm open to that. --Chriswaterguy 23:05, 24 March 2011 (PDT)
Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons limit the privileges of new users until they are autoconfirmed. See:
Neither site restricts article creation for new accounts.
I think listing new pages on the Main Page is a bad idea until a human reviews the pages. A better idea might be to list the articles with the most edits in the last 90 days, or some measure of actual recent importance as indicated by collaborative activity. --Teratornis 23:21, 24 March 2011 (PDT)
To have a feed of human-reviewed pages (my own preference is for all new pages that reach a basic standard) there needs to be a manual step. Options for that, that I can think of:
  • I don't know of any extension that would do that for us (though maybe a voting/rating extension could be adapted somehow).
  • Not actually have a feed, but have the page directly updated. Organizing such a thing through the wiki might work for Wikipedia, but it's a big job, & I think we don't have the activity here, esp on Appropedia project pages.
  • Sharing a social bookmarking account between several trusted people could create that feed, and they could coordinate a New Pages Patrol.
Other options, as mentioned above, are to just scrap it, or to have a raw feed but with a clear notice saying that they're under construction (and perhaps yet to be checked for spam). --Chriswaterguy 06:25, 25 March 2011 (PDT)
In the short term, I favor adding a small line saying "Note: These new pages have not been checked for compliance with Appropedia's policies." I may boldly add that line myself, but that doesn't mean this question is settled. CurtB 09:29, 25 March 2011 (PDT)