So I just made a fairly long post in response to a new member to the boards. I spent a fair bit of time digging out a few links for some videos etc... and it occurred to me that it would be really nice to have place to have some short introduction threads to some key concepts and ideas, where they are not going to get quickly buried and lost in the rapid swirling of the day to day forum threads. The signal to noise ratio in this forum is by far the best I've ever been a member of, but still the field is so massive and sometimes you need help getting some foundations in place to mentally work from.
Something that we can point new and interested permies at and say "read this, watch these few videos... THEN we can have a sensible chat"
I remember when I first came here and found the term "hugelculture" being slung around - I didn't get it for ages and it took a substantial amount of reading around to find a decent summary and threads with sufficient detail and clarity to make it all hang together.
I've got this idea of something like a glossary of terms, but more. Something different from a bunch of "worthy thread" stickied at the top of lots of different boards (although perhaps with links to a bunch of worthy threads).
What do folks think?
Moderator, Treatment Free Beekeepers group on Facebook.
I've actually also had this thought, that some overviews of some of the concepts would be great. We could obviously point to some of Paul's richsoil articles, and there are some threads that are both rich and specific, but it is a huge site with a ton of info.
Could someone maybe come up with a short article (or wiki-style, multiple people) for each sub-forum that summarizes the concepts discussed within? With links to relevant youtube videos, other sites and articles, etc. And perhaps in certain cases, some forum guidelines (about how to title your posts to get the responses you're looking for, using the search to find out if your question's been answered, etc).
I don't know if you'd then make it a "sticky" at the top of each sub-forum? Or maybe instead of all that, you should just have a link from the home page of FAQs, with a list of articles/threads/etc that could help elucidate?
A glossary of terms would be great too, with a focus on all the g-ddamn acronyms.
This forum can be a little daunting to the newly indoctrinated. Heck, I've been living what I considered to be a pretty sustainable lifestyle (with hypocritical lapses, to be sure), and a lot of the concepts here are on the far reaches of what I thought was possible. Which is awesome, but as I said, daunting. And I'm a born adventurer, so I can't imagine what those folks who are on the fence must think about some of this stuff. Using roadkill to grow maggots for your chickens?! Let's maybe leave that one out of the Permie101 lecture...
I was thinking about keeping them in one place, rather than scattering them all over the forums - perhaps as a sub forum alongside the "Introduce Yourself" section. That way we can point people to one general area for some light reading that will give them a feel for what is going on.
Moderator, Treatment Free Beekeepers group on Facebook.
From my perspective as a new member of this forum, I appreciate your ideas about the introductionary part. If you ask me, I'd prefer the form of an article, concisely written by one author who is an authority of the field. A nice feature would be a head section in each thread linking to the background article(s) providing background to the thread. This is probably a difficult feature to implement, since most topic starters will not be able to do this cross referencing properly. On the other hand, I don't want to add extra burden to the admin team. (Given the opportunity - Thanks a lot - to them)
Another Idea, that would perhaps provide a similar feature, would be to use the Permaculture Wiki for the articles and provide an easy to use feature in the forum to make links from the forum to wiki articles.
It seems like the boards are all organized and running very well and it might have detrimental affects to complicate it more. If we are talking about the experience of entering the forum from permies.com it might be better to add a new link to the menu of sub forums called " permaculture FAQ" or "permaculture 101" and it's location on the forum page would be at the top of the forums above growies. My reasoning being that people entering from permies.com may see the FAQ link among the pictures of critters, growies, home, etc. and click it then. Or maybe they click the word 'forum' to enter the forum instead, in which case the FAQ is at the top of the of the page ready for use if needed.
Another reason this could be helpful is, given the number of threads on permies and crafty placement, it is very likely a person will do a google search and find a thread from the forum here. If this person had never heard of permaculture, clicked the link and realized they did not understand much of what was said in the thread, they would look at the top of the page and see a link to the FAQ and vwa-la! They can read it and understand, then enter the forum without a missed step.
Permaculture wiki is useful once you get in, but someone who is not familiar with permaculture might be overwhelmed that it has it's own wiki.
I have a lot of thoughts in this space and think that everyone who has been working on that here has been doing a great job. A little rearranging might be a damn good thing. Some updates on the articles. Improved video of the week. I think we could makes this sight even easier to interface with and more accessible that it is already. Such improvement coupled with the knowledgeable regulars with friendly dispositions seems like it would make permaculture world conquest inevitable. Or at least that's how it plays out in my mind. Long direct summaries of my opinion in writing are not one of my fortes however. I'm working on it.