How to contribute to Appropedia

Our partners, Engineers Without Borders Australia, put us in touch with RDIC, a development organization doing great work with water filters and other development projects in Cambodia.

They asked about contributing to Appropedia, and I responded… then realized that the response would apply to any such organization. So here it is:

Don’t worry too much about processes and protocols – please add what you like to Appropedia. [Note that they are a reputable organization, and was sure that “what you like” would not include irresponsible and unscientific content such as water powered cars or curing malaria by fasting.] I’ve made some notes for you, which you have the option of reading, if you find them helpful.

The main issues are:

  • Appropedia is solution-oriented, not activist or political. (Discussion of policy is fine, but we seek to be apolitical. Promotion the use of sustainable and appropriate solutions is fine, but the main focus is on the solutions themselves.)
  • Share anything as long as you are willing to let other people use it as they wish. We use an open license, allowing any use including commercial, without additional approval, as this is the most effective way to ensure the information is used.
  • Share about your information, but please share more: consider sharing designs, solutions that have worked for you, checklists that workers use in the field, project write-ups, how-tos, and/or successes as well as failures.  Don’t limit yourself – if it’s useful to you, it’s probably useful to someone in Thailand, and Uganda, and quite likely parts of Australia as well.
  • You don’t have to login, but it’s nicer if you do. Also, register your email under preferences,  and choose “E-mail me when my user talk page is changed” – this helps people get in touch with you. Connecting with like-minded people is a great benefit here.
  • There’s a format bar above the edit box – play with it, but don’t worry too much.
  • Errors are easily reverted – so be bold!

You asked how to start a new page – see Help:Creating a page for simple instructions.

2 thoughts on “How to contribute to Appropedia”

  1. Appropedia refers to appropriate technology and appropriate development. An alternative name is Sustainapedia.If we make sure we have a really strong emphasis on poverty reduction, top quality resources and a clear explanation of why environmental sustainability means a better life, can we use that to get people across the world to engage both with the site and with the concept of sustainability? Is it enough to explain what kind of sustainability we stand for, and how this will lead to better lives and greater equality and justice.
    —————-
    Tanyaa
    Internet Marketing

  2. Hi Tanya – I’ve wanted to give a detailed response, but let me at least give you the brief answer.

    We’ve had long discussions about whether to use Appropedia or Sustainapedia. We eventually settled on Appropedia, but are not able to use Sustainapedia anyway (see below). In terms of using “Sustainability” in the name, we have helped establish the set up the Open Sustainability Network http://www.appropedia.org/OSN

    We feel that the name doesn’t have to be meaningful – many brand names such as Google don’t mean much at first glance, yet have become well known. If someone comes up with a name that the community is happy about, then it’s never too late to rebrand. But Sustainapedia didn’t please as many people as Appropedia – and what’s “appropriate” can be interpreted broadly.

    A more detailed history is this: Sustainapedia – http://www.appropedia.org/Sustainapedia – was the name of a project that folded into Appropedia. Someone who was with that project allowed a commercial entity to register the .org domain name without a proper written agreement, and when Sustainapedia merged with Appropedia, they refused to give up the domain. Trust is not always a wise thing. The .com domain is owned by a separate NGO.

    Anyway… would love to talk more, when I’m more awake!

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