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help wanted: building links between permies and appropedia  RSS feed

 
paul wheaton
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Here is a thing I want to see happen. There has been tiny progress over the years, but it has been too tiny. I've mentioned it here and there, and so maybe it is past time to ask, straight out, in a thread of its own.

I would like to see hundreds of links go back and forth between appropedia and permies.

So at the bottom of an appropedia page, there could be a link to a matching thread at permies. And in that permies thread, there could be a link the matching appropedia article.

If there is a good thread on permies, but not a matching article at appropedia, a person could create a page at appropedia. And if there is a good page at appropedia, but not a matching thread at permies, one could be created.

If a person were to do a dozen of these, they could mention it here in this thread so we could know that there was progress in this space.

Anybody?


 
Chris Lumpkin
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I have not added anything yet, but the hugelkultur entry pointed to this link (which redirects to the main permies www page), when I think it was intended to point to this one. I fixed that.

Did any of those old links get broken from a software upgrade, or forum reorg? We might want to check other places... or use Google to search them out. I will look at some more stuff there tomorrow.
 
gani et se
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Chris,
I didn't want to try this my first time on appropedia, (learning curve) but on the permaculture page there is no link to the hugelkultur page. Yet
 
paul wheaton
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Chris Lumpkin wrote:I have not added anything yet, but the hugelkultur entry pointed to this link (which redirects to the main permies www page), when I think it was intended to point to this one. I fixed that.

Did any of those old links get broken from a software upgrade, or forum reorg? We might want to check other places... or use Google to search them out. I will look at some more stuff there tomorrow.


Excellent catch!

When we moved to the new forum software, there was a wee bit of code to get old links to get to the new links. It turns out that with some other upgrades we did, that wee bit of code went a wee bit wonky. Thanks to help from one of the coderanch staff and our ever helpful host everything has been set right again.

It is best to use the new URLs whenever possible.

 
Chris Lumpkin
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OK, I am sure this has been discussed here before, but I couldn't figure out search criteria to find it that didn't return umpteen gajillion hits...

Does this forum software support any sort of tagging, as in tagging a post as a category? Cause the thing is, I can look at an Appropedia article on something that is commonly discussed on permies like hugelkultur, or portable chicken coops, and if there are lots of threads started then I don't know which one to link on Appropedia. Also, if I see a great article on Appropedia and start a thread on permies, someone could miss my thread a month from now and start a much more in-depth discussion that will be overlooked when someone clicks that link.

It would be really awesome if we could tag stuff on permies, and then it would be super-duper easy to link in from the outside. Otherwise, I feel like that link is more of a liability, because another reorg can lose the thread (like what happened already), and lots of great content may be overlooked because we picked the thread that was not as active or meaningful as another. I think hierarchical organization of content like this is kind of limiting, anyways.

In the absence of tags, how should we decide which forum threads should be linked from Appropedia, or anywhere else? I feel like they should be somehow special, like a "sticky thread", or maybe in some cases an article is more appropriate. I guess we could all just use our best judgment... hope I'm not muddying the waters too much.
 
Chris Watkins
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Hi Paul.

paul wheaton wrote:It is best to use the new URLs whenever possible.



Just FYI, if you have a repetitive change to make across Appropedia, say a dozen or more pages where you're replacing one string with another, let me know. I'm the search-and-replace monkey on Appropedia .

Hi Chris.
Chris Lumpkin wrote:It would be really awesome if we could tag stuff on permies, and then it would be super-duper easy to link in from the outside. Otherwise, I feel like that link is more of a liability, because another reorg can lose the thread (like what happened already), and lots of great content may be overlooked because we picked the thread that was not as active or meaningful as another. I think hierarchical organization of content like this is kind of limiting, anyways.

In the absence of tags, how should we decide which forum threads should be linked from Appropedia, or anywhere else? I feel like they should be somehow special, like a "sticky thread", or maybe in some cases an article is more appropriate. I guess we could all just use our best judgment... hope I'm not muddying the waters too much.


I love tags, but I don't know if they're possible on JForum (having just spent 5 minutes googling JForum tagging). Paul?

Tags help keep track of related content, and like you say, Chris, they let you link to a topic on the forum, which doesn't go out of date (lose the latest discussions the way a single thread might. This obsession of mine with good information management is why I'm a wiki nerd, of course .
 
paul wheaton
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I will be spending a few hours with one of the JForum developers at coderanch today to do development of something that smells a bit like tags. If things go well, they could be on a test system tomorrow.
 
paul wheaton
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For search and replace:

If all of the links that look like this

http://www.permies.com/bb/index.php?topic=3639.0

could be changed to this

http://www.permies.com/t/3639

that would be great. The number could be 1 to 5 digits long. The ".0" is ignored.




 
Adrien Lapointe
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Added link to the "How to render lard" thread and to the YouTube video on Appropedia's Lard Article.
 
Chris Watkins
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paul wheaton wrote:...
could be changed to this

http://www.permies.com/t/3639

that would be great. The number could be 1 to 5 digits long. The ".0" is ignored.


Done.

Good to see the inter-linking happening. We're a friendly bunch at Appropedia, so feel free to engage. We will sometimes want things to be done a certain way, but we aim to be civil and helpful about it. E.g. we want links to be very relevant and selected for good quality - e.g. there was a Permies link about sepp holzer on Monte Cerro Solar Power Village, which was wasn't directly relevant... but I "wikilinked" the reference to Sepp Holzer - like this: [[Sepp Holzer]] - and I moved the Permies link to that page instead.

Having tags would help - better to have one link to a Permies tag than 2 or 3 links to threads. If there are too many links to one site from the one article, eventually another editor in the community is likely to assume it's just promotion and look at them with a critical eye. (I've been taking a very hard line on promotion pages without valuable info and we work hard to keep spam off the site - that doesn't apply to Permies & RichSoil.com, of course, but it's best to make the linking look as different as possible from spam.)
 
neil bertrando
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Do you guys have visions for criteria that can be set out for an appropedia article?

quality control
quantity of content
organizational style
needed articles
usefulness
pictures
...

I would like to start participating in threads on the forums that are collaborative towards building wiki articles, databases, and other detailed, searchable, and even hopefully sortable tools for us all to use.

any thoughts on good approaches to this?

thanks
neil
 
Chris Watkins
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Thanks Neil.

neil bertrando wrote:Do you guys have visions for criteria that can be set out for an appropedia article?

quality control
quantity of content
organizational style
needed articles
usefulness
pictures
...

Good coverage of the issues!
Quality control:
We have some tags that we place on pages. Until we get a snazzy new editor comes out for our software, the tags are created by putting a keyword in double curly brackets, e.g. {{delete}}, {{inaccurate}}, {{references}}, each of which creates a box that we've made with the appropriate message; or {{verification needed}} which you can stick anywhere in the text.

(If you want to be a wiki geek, which is purely optional, some of the tags accept arguments. In these cases the arguments become comments added to the tag. You'd enter something like: {{delete|spam}} or {{inaccurate|The calculations don't take into account yada yada yada}}.)

Longer term we'd love to have boards of qualified people who could give their stamp of approval to a page. Anyone could still make a page, but this stamp would help the reader assess the page.

Status tags - to distinguish wild imaginings from ideas/technologies that are prototyped, deployed. These tags come from Professor Joshua Pearce, who has his classes using the tags.

Many eyes - growing the community of people who read and edit Appropedia, and fix or tag errors.

Student peer review - where university students do wiki articles for their class assessment, each student has the task of reviewing another student's work in detail, on the discussion page for that article. (I'm thinking about ways to apply this more broadly...)

Spam control - we've done a lot on this, and it's manageable at present. A small amount gets through, but we generally zap it quickly.

quantity of content - a few options. The most promising option so far has been to have university classes working with us - our academic partnerships have yielded the most articles of anything we've done. And there are academics overseeing it, so the regular Appropedian admins and active editors don't get overwhelmed.

But as the site becomes better known, more and more people find us, and we get the very occasional enthusiastic person who is ready to get stuck in and contribute their knowledge. So please tell your friends, so Appropedia becomes better known, attracts more editors, and grows faster .

Organizational style - we have some guidelines, and I've suggested a simple "manual of style" but we're pretty flexible... I think this will get more traction over time. I'm going to chat with our academic partners and see if we can agree on some things, so there's a clearer standard being followed by students.

Needed articles - whatever inspires you, but we have suggested topics. There are all sorts of pages, about specific local projects in your region, and various how-tos, that haven't been requested, but that we'd love to see.

Usefulness - this is the heart of what we want to be! Every page or idea doesn't have to be assessed as useful or not - that would get very contentious. But wouldn't it be fantastic to have objective assessments of what's useful, and what's not?

A few ideas (which would need to be fact-checked and expanded):
  • Unplugging your stereo & TV: useful
  • Unplugging the kettle or phone charger when you're not using it: useless. (I think that's what David MacKay says in Sustainable Energy - without the hot air.)
  • Paying for carbon credits to offset your flight: sort of useful, but it doesn't solve everything.
  • Cycling instead of catching : Useful, but probably
  • Changing to energy-efficient lights: It depends (and we give a brief summary before opening the can of worms...)


  • Also - getting perspective on how useful different things are. E.g. if you eat local to save energy, then fly abroad for a holiday, I'd think that the negative impact of the flight is vastly greater than the benefit of eating local for that year.

    Pictures - yes, if you own the picture, and when you upload (link near bottom of our left navbar) you select an "open license" (i.e. you agree to share it under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike license we use). We're working on making the uploading easier.

    neil bertrando wrote:I would like to start participating in threads on the forums that are collaborative towards building wiki articles, databases, and other detailed, searchable, and even hopefully sortable tools for us all to use.

    any thoughts on good approaches to this?


    Great! Re sortable tools, check the database of medical technology for poor regions, which is part of Appropedia - this can be sorted and filtered: Portal:Medical Devices. (You can click through to the full device listings for, say, maternal mortality, and get a full sortable table there. Each row in the table clicks through to the page for the device. The page is a database entry, which has fields including what area the device is for (e.g. HIV, child mortality...), what stage it's at (prototype, clinical trial, commercialized...) as well as text descriptions.

    We've also got a really nice form that makes it much easier to make a new medical device page - see attached image. Lonny (he's president of the Appropedia Foundation, and also does a lot of our tech work) put this together, and it all took a lot of work.

    It would be awesome to roll this out to the whole site, and have different forms for different kinds of pages, and sortable, database-style features for all the areas of appropriate tech and permaculture. So I'm focused on putting a request out for volunteers.

    Re collaborating on the forums - this would be really good, if there's a keen wiki editor... it's easier to get people sharing what they know on the forum, and then someone could organize it into a wiki article.

    Does that help answer your questions?
    Medical-device-form-screenshot.png
    [Thumbnail for Medical-device-form-screenshot.png]
    Form for adding a new appropriate tech medical device on Appropedia
     
    Erica Wisner
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    Ooh, they want an article on Sustainable Fisheries.
    I have got to sic Ernie on that one - but perhaps a forum thread first would be wise!

    http://www.appropedia.org/Appropedia:Content_internships/Suggested_topics

    -Erica
     
    Chris Watkins
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    An article on Sustainable Fisheries would be awesome.

    Actually, there could be lots of articles about sustainable fisheries - all different aspects. But one short article to start would be awesome.
     
    Dave Burton
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    BUMP! I like this idea, and since I like using links this is a goal I can try to make for myself: use Appropedia more often. If other people would like to help, but do not know how to link things on permies, please check out the thread on Making Posts Better.
     
    My, my, aren't you a big fella. Here, have a tiny ad:
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