[permaculture] Permaculture wikis & making a major impact

Chris Watkins chriswaterguy at appropedia.org
Wed Dec 23 13:59:08 EST 2009

Thanks for your replies, Bob and Paul,

There's a tension between the creativity of people doing their own thing,
and the effectiveness of collaboration. If you think of a wiki encyclopedia,
you'll think of Wikipedia - not because they're the only ones who tried, but
because they worked hard on it from the beginning (started as a commercial
effort, got a mass of people) and because there are a lot of people watching
any one subject.

There's a misconception that wikis will magically create a useful resource,
but it's not true. The vast majority of wikis out there are near empty or
full of spam. I did a project looking at this: Green wikis and development
wikis <http://www.appropedia.org/Green_wikis_and_development_wikis> - you
can click on the table columns and compare the size and activities of the

I tiny site isn't very visible, either in terms of search rankings, or in
popular consciousness.

Besides that, having 10 people interested in topic X all with that page on
their watchlist and getting email alerts, on one wiki, is much more
effective at building an article than 5 on one site, 2 on another, and 3 on
other wikis. Then there's the tech side - by working in the same "wiki
space", we divide the effort to manage the server, software etc. It's
outsourcing that tech effort, so we can put more effort into documenting the

None of this is to negate what you've said, but just to show why I believe a
single domain is far, far more effective. And for all that we've done good
work and are pouring our hearts into our work, we all know that there's a
desperate need for us to be more effective.

There are important issues that can be raised of course - e.g. how do we
respect people's autonomy if most of us are on one site? That's largely
about the culture of the specific community, but it's something we can

The idea of just linking between the sites is certainly an option - to my
mind, seeking the greatest collaboration, this is not the preferred option.
But if that's the path we take, the very least we must do is to add each
other to our interwiki maps, which allows "interwiki linking" without the
nofollow tag - this will give the sites a modest boost in search rankings.


On Thu, Dec 24, 2009 at 04:43, paul wheaton <paul at richsoil.com> wrote:

> I think Bob is right.
> I think that there can be multiple angles of permaculture.  And it
> there are five different wikis, it is really easy to have each
> reference to "the best of" of the others.
> Bob, any chance I can get a link to permies.com from your site(s)?
> On Wed, Dec 23, 2009 at 10:32 AM, Bob Waldrop <bwaldrop at cox.net> wrote:
> > I think that cyberspace can be fairly compared to an eco-system.
> > Mono-cultures are an issue.  I think it is better for the movement to let
> > many flowers bloom in cyberspace.  All of the permaculture sites can be
> > linked and their articles and such should show up in search engines, so I
> > don't know that there is any inherent advantage in everybody working on
> only
> > one site, since links back and forth effectively make the whole
> > cyber-ecosystem for permaculture potentially available from every
> > permaculture site linked to the others    .  Sort of like rhizomes
> > underground and runners above ground.  There is an article about and a
> link
> > to the Appropedia wiki at www.permaculture.info , but it is rather
> > rudimentary.  Perhaps when you get back online you could expand it a bit
> so
> > it is more useful.
> >
> > I also don't see any particular utility on concentrating on one domain
> name.
> > I have  six active websites, each with a different domain name, linked to
> > each other, the names are immediately recognizable and thus are utility.
> > Every day an average of 1,000 people download 2.5 pages of information,
> and
> > the server logs indicate that the various domains point traffic to each
> > other, which is good.  So if someone finds me because they searched for
> > "hamburger casserole" or "how to bake bread", then they may continue on
> to
> > learn something about energy conservation, or permaculture design, or
> social
> > justice, or how to start a local food cooperative or how to make and use
> > bulgar.
> >
> > I am glad you are working on making the Appropedia site a more useful
> > resource. But I am also glad that others are doing their own thing with
> > other permaculture-related wikis.  The multitude of sites suggests
> > resiliency to me.
> >
> > Bob Waldrop, Oklahoma City
> > www.barkingfrogspermaculture.org
> > www.energyconservationinfo.org
> >
> > ----- Original Message ----- e
> > From: "Chris Watkins" <chriswaterguy at appropedia.orge
> > To: "permaculture" <permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org>r,
> > Sent: Wednesday, December 23, 2009 8:59 AM
> > Subject: [permaculture] Permaculture wikis & making a major impact
> >
> >
> >>I see that permaculture.info as some activity again, and the spammers
> seem
> >> to have been pushed back - this is great.
> >> I work with Appropedia.org, knowledge sharing for sustainability. (Note
> I
> >> "work" rather than "get paid" but it's my passion and I'm nsure many of
> >> you
> >> understand what I mean). This is a very active sustainability and
> >> development wiki, covering all topics in green technology, green living,
> >> design, agriculture, appropriate
> >> tech<http://www.appropedia.org/Appropriate_technology>,
> >> covering topical info, best practice, projects, how-tos... you name it.
> >> It's
> >> the biggest such site, and is growing, with student classes in North
> >> America
> >> and individuals around the world creating useful content and sharing
> their
> >> distilled knowledge and their wisdom.
> >>
> >> I have a few hours before I'm offline for a few weeks, so I'll be direct
> >> and
> >> throw this out there:
> >>
> >>
> >> To make a real difference in the fate of humankind and our environment,
> we
> >> need to be having not even 100 times the current impact of Appropedia,
> but
> >> 1000 times. There's so much fluff and hot air in the media, when what is
> >> needed is to create more and more of substance, and get that in front of
> >> the
> >> public.
> >>
> >> I believe this is achievable, but not by working separately.
> >>
> >> All of us together will help build something that stands out, above the
> >> sea
> >> of greenwash, green commercialism, hot air (looking at you, Copenhagen
> >> conference) and misinformation, and provide the knowledge that the world
> >> needs.
> >>
> >
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Chris Watkins

Appropedia.org - Sharing knowledge to build rich, sustainable lives.


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