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User talk:Peter Campbell

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Revision as of 12:08, 19 March 2007 by Peter Campbell (talk | Contributions) (→‎Thinking about how collaboration with [[Greenlivingpedia]] might work: It is working already - and will improve when we can get the portal concept improved.)
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Welcome, Peter!

Glad to have you on board! Is your Melbourne residence a coincidence, or are you here because you know Appropedia's Melbourne-based admin, User:GoodSignal? Not that it matters! I certainly hope to see you around! --CurtB 07:28, 19 February 2007 (PST)

CurtB. I don't know GoodSignal. I found Appropedia after I recently created Greenlivingpedia and have already put a link Appropedia (and several other Wikis) into our directory. We are focusing initially on sustainable housing and associated topics. --Peter Campbell 21:47, 5 March 2007 (PST)
Greetings, fellow Greens supporter. I'm from SHAG (Summer Hill Ashfield Greens, in Sydney).
We can certainly do with more sustainable housing in Australia.
I'm of the belief that the more integrated the information resource, the more effective it is. All things related to sustainability, international development, poverty reduction and appropriate technology seem to me to fit together under one roof, as there's so much overlap. Otherwise it can greatly increase the work, with trying to figure out what goes on which site, and there'll still be inevitable duplication. Anyway, that's my 2 cents - and I'm not at all offended when people disagree with me. Good to see you here, anyway. --Chriswaterguy · talk 23:39, 5 March 2007 (PST)
I hear what you are saying. However, I feel their is room for diversity and some specialisation too. I didn't find Appropedia when I did my initial Google search, I found it later on a blog entry. I think the name tends to brand it towards alternative technology. I don't mean to be too critical, but someone looking for architects, designers and case studies for urban dwellings may not find Appropedia easily.
Quick thoughts - I'd envisage the name changing in time - still thinking hard on that one. Appropedia reflects its founding vision, which has since broadened (partly as when I joined, I argued that it didn't make sense to have a narrow focus - based on my understanding of what makes wikis work well).
In terms of finding... we are working on that, and certainly need to improve our search engine rankings for many types of searches. Appropedia does get by far the most hits and unique visitors of any green or international development wiki, as far as I know, and as our content grows our rankings will improve for searches relevant to that content. But your point is valid.
Also, we will be experimenting with setting up a directory and categories with a mix of commercial, volunteer and NGO content. It might be a bit disruptive to trial this in a more established wiki. It certainly wouldn't be tolerated in Wikipedia! I also have sysop and bureaucrat priveliges on Greenlivingpedia, and don't wish to inflict my tinkering on others at this point.
Actually you sound like you'd fit right in here! And our visions sound very similar. I always say we complement Wikipedia.
So let's collaborate and keep reviewing the situation as things progress Peter Campbell 01:56, 6 March 2007 (PST)
It's certainly early stages. Let's chat sometime. Skype? I use the same username as here. Or phone - 0400 220 700 (I can call back - I'm on a prepaid cap plan). Chriswaterguy · talk 08:15, 13 March 2007 (PDT)

Coal subsidies

I just read in your blog:

The real problem is that electricity produced in Australia from fossil fuel such as coal is subsidised to the tune of an astounding $8.9 billion, so it is far too cheap. If these subsidies were removed, and a carbon tax applied to polluting energy producers, then renewable energy would successfully compete and the free market would steer us in the right direction of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

I'll add this to Subsidies and grants, plus a request for details and sources - if you know more, could you add it? Thanks. --Chriswaterguy · talk 00:31, 6 March 2007 (PST)

Here is the link to the PDF paper on coal subsidies: [1]. I think this is one of the scandals of the century. The Howard government is linked to the fossil fuel industries (e.g. by donations and share holdings) while Labor won't do anything they think will impact their coal mining Union affiliates. Both won't move much on this issue until there is widespread political activity at a grass roots level, which is happening with the formation of numerous local climate change action groups. Peter Campbell 02:07, 6 March 2007 (PST)

Greenlivingpedia interwiki

Hi Peter - yes, good to chat. And thanks for the sidebar link - we're working on a partner page, and there's relevant pages, so we'll think about how the interlinking will work on Appropedia's side.

Have you had any contact with the people from the sustainable house in Chippendale, Sydney? If not, I'll contact them directly and suggest they make a page about their house, on either of the wikis. --Chriswaterguy · talk 06:39, 15 March 2007 (PDT)

Chris, I haven't contacted them yet. It sounds like an article on the house would be worthwhile. I have linked to the and Appropedia house article at Greenlivingpedia:Portland sustainable cottage as an example of how we can do the interwikis. Peter Campbell 14:19, 15 March 2007 (PDT)
I have just created this stub article for this: Greenlivingpedia:Chippendale house I will contact Michael Mobbs to see if he would like to add to it. Peter Campbell 18:19, 15 March 2007 (PDT)
I've asked User:Curtbeckmann & User:Lonny to join the conversation at at User_talk:Chriswaterguy#Greenlivingpedia interwiki. --Chriswaterguy · talk 16:07, 16 March 2007 (PDT)
Hi Peter. I know that you and Chris have discussed collaboration (as evidenced above) as well as the possibility of merging wikis. I can't tell you how much I'd love to have your passion for sustainable housing get integrated into Appropedia, and I think the other admins feel the same way. Chris said something to the effect of, you have some interest, but many concerns as well. We're very open to adapting, especially when we've got good feedback and wisdom from someone. In parallel with that, we have also been of the opinion that we need to create more focused "landing pages" for various groups within the Sustainability community. To that end, we created the Portal namespace some time back, but have not made much use of it (to tell you the truth, it took me a while to understand what it was about). Just today, we have decided it's past time to take advantage of this new namespace, and we took the liberty of using your site to create a Green living landing page (portal). Please take a look and see if it makes some little progress toward addressing your concerns. (Also created Portal:Water as a beginning for topic portals.) We're also very open to other things like modifying the nav bar, the main page, our categorization structure (especially in the sustainable housing area). Our relative lack of focus on Sustainable Housing is not intentional, but more limited by our personal expertise. We all take a broad view of technology, and sustainable housing is appropriate technology in all of our books. That said, we want all sustainable content, including "conservation strategies", which would be a reach to call technology.
I've stuffed a lot into the paragraph above, but there's more, of course. I believe Chris has shared with you that we have a budding relationship with Architecture for Humanity. They seem open to the notion of using Appropedia as the "partner wiki", and even proposed the idea of hosting Appropedia on their (very powerful) servers. Naturally, such a partnership would be good for Appropedia, as well as (IMHO) good for AfH. And of course if this partnership moves forward, Appropedia will need to focus a lot on Sustainable Housing as a topic, including on the main page.
And then, of course, there are the usual wiki synergies of combining. Integrating your existing content will increase traffic to Appropedia, and having a link to your (integrated) content on the Appropedia main page will bring you about 50x your current traffic. We can share the promotion efforts, and of course there are the natural related interests between various forms of sustainability. You can leverage (and of course are welcome to improve) our policies, our spam abatement, our bots, templates, wiki extensions, etc.
So, what do you say? Shall we join forces? We can certainly keep your domain name, and point it toward the portal, or something better. What other concerns do you have? You're in a good bargaining position, so go for it :-)
On the other hand, if I've overstepped the bounds, let me know and we can roll back the portal work. I'm open to emailing, instant msging or Skype for this conversation. (Wiki conversations being a bit slow...) --CurtB 17:13, 17 March 2007 (PDT)
Curt, I think the portal approach has merit. However, I am concerned that the branding and focus of Appropedia towards "alternative technology" limits the audience somewhat. I am keen to portray a "mainstream" look and feel to normalise good design rather than portray it is alternative, expensive or elitist. Please don't take this as criticism of the good work that Appropedia contributors are doing. My aim is to create content that any city dweller will find interesting, relevant and helpful. I am also keen to have a commercial directory where businesses can be added (or add themselves) as word spreads. Lot of business are now "going green", so personal recommendations and examples of work are helpful for people making decisions on who to go with.
Some issues I have with the Appropedia portal approach are:
  • The Appropedia name does not resonate with several people who I have discussed sustainable housing and building with recently, and the Appropedia logo is busy and I think too "alternative".
  • Portals are not visible on Appropedia's front page or sidebar. I think they need to be prominent for people to find and use them.
  • The sidebar does not alter - so links of special significance/relevance to the portal are not displayed - you only get the default Appropedia sidebar which is not particularly relevant to the portal content (in the case of sustainable building/housing)
I think if I keep working up the Greenlivingpedia content, categorisation and look and feel we can better assess whether it can fit within the Appropedia namespace or whether the interwiki approach is a better. Taking a macro view, Appropedia is a good fit for alternative technology and general sustainability, while Greenlivingpedia could be a good fit for sustainable building, architecture, suppliers and housing. There could be overlap on the renewable energy content - but I am more focussed on examples of deployed systems rather than the nuts and bolts of panels, inverters, grey water systems etc. So let's keep the dialogue open and monitor directions and progress Peter Campbell 20:18, 17 March 2007 (PDT)

Thinking about how collaboration with Greenlivingpedia might work

(Starting a new section, for clarity).

So, for now we keep building the wikis, and at the same time be aware of the issues Peter has raised. There's certainly advantages to merging, as well as advantages to the more focused wiki - but we can work towards getting the best of both worlds, and hopefully get there eventually.

To interweave our work more closely, searches and user logins across multiple wikis should be possible, though they'll take work. What I'd really like to see is us sharing our login database with OAN as well, especially if we're acting as their wiki.

I can't see that we can make categories work across multiple wikis - that's probably just something we'll have to live with for now. Having Greenlivingpedia's pages represented here as articles of the same name will work well for now (with a line or two from the beginning of the original article, an interwiki link and cat tags) but could be problematic if the number of pages grows dramatically. But we can worry about that later, maybe even writing a script to semi-automate the process, to be run every week based on new pages listed in Recentchanges.

Re the logo and the "mainstream" look and feel: I'm very glad we've made contact with Peter, with his sensitivity to users that we're not yet serving very well.

I'm an engineer and happily ignore aesthetics most of the time, but I see what you mean about the logo, Peter. Now that I'm forced to think about it, Greenlivingpedia's green ball logo has a lot of merit - definitely has a clean, bright green feel. While the Appropedia logo is cool, it seems likely to appeal to those with hippie inclinations (and I include myself in that, to an extent). Greenlivingpedia's would probably have a broader appeal, IMO, both among the very poor in Indonesia, Peru etc who aspire to a modern comfortable life in an affordable way, and also among those accustomed to modern Western comforts but wanting to be greener. And I don't think the hippies among us will object as long as the site still caters to them.

Certain other look-and-feel issues might be more difficult to resolve, like Appropedia featuring appropriate technologies for developing countries on the main page. For now let's work on portals to make them good "landing pages"; keep promoting Appropedia but using good portals as appropriate; and keep using Google analytics to see where people land on the site. (Peter, if it's okay with you we'd like to borrow from your homepage for Portal:Green living - but making sure there's a link to your site; and remembering many of the articles in the categories linked from there will be links to your site.

Btw, the Greenlivingpedia (hereon GLP) logo is similar to Worldchanging's faviconDEPRECATED TEMPLATE - PLEASE USE {{W}} INSTEAD. - but not so similar that it's a problem, I think.

Re a site name to suit the broader scope we're aiming at these days, let's keep brainstorming. --Chriswaterguy · talk 01:55, 18 March 2007 (PDT)

Excellent feedback, Peter, and follow-on Chris! I'm excited because I'm in full agreement with everything Peter said! We also want to appeal to the general public, and do not want to appear elitist, expensive or extreme. Naturally, there will be a slight, unavoidable "alternative" aspect to what we are doing. Anything that is well entrenched in the mainstream becomes "encyclopedic" and therefore, by our policy, content for WP. (Putting it another way, if all of our content becomes fully mainstream, the value of the wiki is limited because the content will be ubiquitous. It would be like having a wiki for fashion, or for popular movies. I'm sure there are such things, but who visits them?) But my desire would be to downplay that alternative angle, not accentuate it. And to the degree that our logo does that, that's a mistake. Ditto with respect to name. I'm similar to Chris in my engineering background, with a tolerance for hippy-ness from my rather hippy mother. I was happy with a distinctive logo and distinctive name. I didn't worry too much about the implications of the name. After all, Wikipedia has been successful despite its name, not because of it. But if our name puts folks off, then I've got an issue. At the same time, we would prefer not to be off-putting of folks in the international development world, and according to Lonny (Appropedia founder), he skipped sustainapedia as a name because the notion of "sustainable" has become linked, in the developing world, to the idea of "sustaining the current status quo". Not the intent, of course.
I also think that our bias toward techie stuff is historical and temporary, and not representative of our long term intent. Essentially, our interest in broadening is reflected in our interest in working with you, Peter. You raise good issues with the Portals implementation. I think Wikipedia portals have the same limitations, which is unfortunate. I had thought that, once you landed at a portal, subsequent accesses to the site would be "biased" or "filtered" in some way through a "portal lens". Effectively, clicking on Main Page should take you back to the Portal that you landed on. "Users" and "Orgs" could be filtered versions of those pages, etc. So we agree on that. It would not surprise me to see extensions like that come along, or perhaps we should look into creating them ourselves (though there's a problem of personal bandwidth and maybe expertise).
Peter, I'm not sure if you're aware, but in addition to our efforts at collaboration with AFH, we are also working with a team that owns the "Sustainapedia.org" domain name. They have very big ideas, and a lot of connections to help make them work. They are aimed squarely at the mainstream, like you, and we are eager to achieve that as well. Would sustainapedia be a more appealing name, do you think? By the way, the sustainapedia folks are also eager to extend the concept to be strong in social networking such that people can find likeminded people and communicate, and their also very keen to lower the wiki technology barriers with things like "WYSIWYG" editing (so are we), as well as "how to contribute" videos so that people are much more comfortable making a home in an information sharing site. Because of the notion of extension to social networking, which, as it happens, OpenArchitectureNetwork is also doing, I think names ending in "-pedia" are somewhat off base, and that opens up other naming ideas. Coming away from our meeting with the Sustainpedia group, Lonny bought WorldEnhancing.org. I bought WorldHugger.org. (I was amused by the combo of Worldchanging and Treehugger.) But, as Chris suggests, these are just ideas. I still own "WinWinWiki.org", which I thought was a cool and large name (and I view all sustainability solutions as "win-win").
Peter, thank you for your forbearance as we continue you this thread on your Talk page. As you both said, let's continue the collaboration efforts and conversation and see where we go. You did not particularly comment with respect to Architecture for Humanity / Open Architecture Network, so presumably you regard them as somewhat out of the mainstream? Just curious.
That's more than enough for now. I look forward to us all being on the same wiki, whatever it's called :-). (Alternatively, a future where we're on separate wikis doesn't seem that appealing.) --CurtB 07:49, 18 March 2007 (PDT)
Curt, eventual migration of appropriate content to Wikipedia is a worthy goal, and will assist with "mainstreaming" what is currently regarded by many as "alternative". As a child of the 60s I too have empathy with the hippy era and the altruism that was present at the time. I think there is a very valid and important role in promoting new lifestyle and energy paradigms in both developing and developed nations, and Appropedia is a great resource for this. I also have concerns about the corporatisation and dilution of the word/term "sustainable", which I also avoided when I selected the Greenlivingpedia name.
Hopefully the portal concept (and personalisation of it) will evolve to support multiple views across the same knowledge base/wiki. I also agree about the entry level barriers to the current Mediawiki interface, and the need for a GUI/WYSIWYG interface to boost & widen usage. I will look into this further. If there isn't an open source project going on this, then we should start one.
AFH are doing great work which is congruent with our aims for GLP. After the tip form Chris, I created a short article for them at Greenlivingpedia:Architecture for humanity and added them to the directory. I may also create stub articles for some of their projects if this is OK with them. Collaboration is already paying dividends between us. I will be working on further extending the network(ing) on sustainable building with an Australian emphasis. --Peter Campbell 05:08, 19 March 2007 (PDT)