Sustainapedia was the working name for an aggressive collaborative sustainability site. This name was chosen by a group of people with a similar vision and much ambition, led by Ryan Legg (On2Leggs), and Jim Harris of Cleantech.
Vision continues at Appropedia
At the time that the Sustainapedia idea was launched, the team was unaware of Appropedia, which was already realizing a very similar vision. The Appropedia and the Sustainapedia teams soon became aware of each other, and quickly agreed to collaborate.
As work continued on Appropedia, and problems were encountered with the Sustainapedia.org domain name, the Sustainapedia name fell out of use, but the vision carries on through Appropedia and the Open Sustainability Network.
Past plans and discussions
The initial working name for the effort was Sustainapedia. Due to some potential complexity related to the Sustainapedia domain name (see below), the OpenSustain name was proposed as a working name. OpenSustain is short for OpenSustainabilityNetwork. After recognizing the pitfalls of the situation, the team registered the following domains to assure that this working name is safe in the sense that it is guaranteed to be available if we don't find a better safe option.
- opensustain.com, opensustain.net, opensustain.org
- opensustainabilitynetwork.com, opensustainabilitynetwork.org
More recently, the name Appropedia has been proposed as the working name. This was not proposed initially since Appropedia's direction was not initially so closely aligned with the OpenSustain vision, and so it made sense to distinguish between the Appropedia effort and the OpenSustain "new direction". The alignment has grown between the two such that it is hard to distinguish them, and so its quite practical to use Appropedia as the working name.
Domain name ownership
The "sustainapedia.org" domain name is currently held by Wikia. Wikia has been a participant in the Sustainapedia / OpenSustain conversation since the early days (prior to Appropedia's involvement), and they bought the name as a part of those discussions. Most of the folks not at Wikia believe that the initiative must be owned and managed by a non-profit for many reasons (including the belief that many academic groups can't or won't partner with a for-profit entity). Those same folks believe that the non-profit must own/control the site's operational domain name. This has been discussed with Wikia only relatively recently, and, perhaps not surprisingly, Wikia has thus far made no commitment to transfer control of the sustainapedia.org domain name.
Advantages of partnering with Wikia
Notwithstanding the non-profit control / ownership questions, a strong and close relationship with Wikia is highly desirable. It is the business of Wikia to develop and grow collaborative activity on the web. They participate with a large number of wiki-literate volunteers, and they also have several resources on paid staff that are, to some degree, dedicated to making collaboration work. Much benefit would arise from any relationship with Wikia. In addition, certain advantages would arise from hosting the site at Wikia. Some of advantages would also accrue to Wikia, and they are encouraging the hosting relationship at this point. They have invested some time and resources toward a prototype version of the site. See http://www.sustainapedia.org for a sample of the professional quality skin that they are able to put forth simply as a demonstration.
Before the specific question of hosting can be resolved, a number of issues must be addressed.
- Who bears the risk of equipment and other costs as traffic accelerates?
- What would the advertising policy be? And who would be the beneficiary?
- What would be the policy regarding migration to another hosting facility in the future if that proved necessary?
- How tightly or loosely coupled would other Wikia wikis be?
- Domain questions
- Search engine optimization questions
- Software options and configuration questions
- Firewall questions, content distribution, various policies
- Etc, etc, etc.
Preliminary discussions of some of these topics are encouraging, but quite a bit of additional work is still required. Watch this page (either manually, or using the "Watch" tab above) for further updates on these matters.
- http://www.sustainapedia.org, a "demo" version of the look and feel developed by Wikia at their owned domain.
- OpenSustain-Appropedia Launch Document, a draft version of ideas that some of the Appropedia admins are testing. It should not be taken as representative of the final agreement.
- OpenSustain-Appropedia Launch Plan, a straw-man plan for rapidly expanding the site.
- OpenSustain Pillars and Values, a preliminary attempt at framing the guiding principles.
- OpenSustain Mission and Vision, a page for capturing what we envision can be accomplished by the initiative
- Sustainapedia.com is owned by The Web of Hope, a U.K.-based non-profit that the OpenSustain team has had discussions with. They are friendly and sympathetic, but no plans or understandings have developed as of this writing. The ownership of the .com domain comes into play because, ideally, the site would have ownership of both the .org and .com domain names.