Wiki Reorganization 2011

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The goal of this discussion is to decide on a process and create the Wiki Policy. Please comment in the forum.

Conor O'Higgins


We can get this wiki beautifully organized in 3-5 weeks if we have a clear vision of what we want it to look like in the end. Without a unified vision, we'll step on each others toes and make very patchy progress at best. (This is what has been happening up until now.)

So the first step is to agree on a layout for the wiki. My proposals are below. Critique them as necessary and let's come to a consensus.


  • I made a list of categories at Template:Listofcategories. This list is still incomplete; there are pages that don't fit into any of the categories there. We will need to make new categories for them as we go along.
  • We need to get rid of non-standard categories and replace them with redirects to new categories. We can do this by going through the list of categories. There are about 300 categories now; we should be able to cut that down to less than 100 standard categories.
  • When we get all that done (every page is in a standardized category, every page has a template on top and the extension is installed) we can make a top-level portal like this to allow people to explore the entire content of the wiki by category. That'll be lovely.

Deleting pages

  • There are a lot of pages that are just a single link to a resource or to an organization. It would be better to have these links integrated into pages about the topic they deal with.
    • Marcin: This is sound advice, but it does not address the ability to link to material via Wiki Words. How do we address this? The key to a wiki should be its facilitation of hyperlinking, so that people don't have to write out the entire link.
  • There are a lot of pages read like a conversation someone had years ago. I understand it might be useful for to archive old emails etc., but the wiki is not the place for that. The wiki (as I understand it anyway) should be for giving information to a broad audience, not for storing personal reference material. Think of it from a visitor's point of view: they don't want to come to a website and read an archived conversation two strangers had in 2008; they want well-presented information.
    • Marcin: I think this is appropriate if a discussion is linked in some development discussion. It could appear that a discussion is irrelevant, but it could be quite useful if it is used in support of some other material. Once again, we should come to a coherent way to deal with this.
      • Conor: Yes, but it would be better to just pull out the appropriate information and state it simply, rather than preserving the full text of the conversation. This was an old conversational article, but this has all the same information, minus the small talk.
  • It is better to collect information on a small number of pages with obvious-sounding names than dispersed onto many pages with obscure, specific names. As an example: there were pages called 'Modular Greenhouse Units', 'Chinese Greenhouses' and 'Earth Sheltered Greenhouses'. There is now a single page for 'Greenhouses' and I think it looks a lot better. The old titles redirect to it. A principle in getting yourself known on the Internet is to use titles that people are likely to search for; no-one goes online and searches for 'Modular Greenhouse Units'. You might think you have thought up some clever new phrase or title, but it actually has the effect of burying your information from people who want to see it.
    • Marcin: Once again, this argument does not consider the possibility that all of these are linked from a well-organized page.
  • There are often two different pages on the same topic (like 'Solar cells' and 'Photovoltaic panels' or something like that). Merge these. Make a decision on which title is better, put all the info under that title, then redirect the old one to it.
    • Marcin: Same as last comment.
  • Be ruthless.

Pages for tools

  • The information on individual tools needs to be well-organized according to a standard template. We are developing this at Product Template
  • One good layout would be: 1. Main page, what the machine is, why it's awesome, specifications 2. Bill of materials including sourcing and pricing info. CAD files would be given here for parts that have to be digitally fabbed like circuit boards or metal parts 3. How to build it. This could consist of multiple pages with titles like "CEB press assembly instructions Part 7". 4. How to install the firmware (if applicable) 5. How to operate the machine
  • When you land on the main page for the machine, there is an arrow in the bottom right corner that takes you to the bill of materials. Each page has 'Previous page' and 'Next page' arrows in the bottom corners so users can navigate in the order given above.
  • For starters, we should pick one tool (probably the CEB press) and organize that, so it can be used as a model for the others.

Division of labour

  • We need a robust way of tracking tasks. A single to-do list. Let's use Wiki maintenance for this.
  • One way to split up the work would be to go each take responsibility for a section of the list at Special:AllPages. There are about 1800 pages in the wiki. Six of us could take 300 pages each and get them categorized/ merged/ deleted as needs be. (But this will only work if we have agreed in advance on what the wiki should look like in the end.)

Trenton Cronholm

To me the priorities are categories and templates for the most important pages. I have already spoken to several of you regarding the best way to acquire ready-made templates from other wikis (admins only). For example, the tools pages can be organized and made to look clever by creating some simple templates (e.g. specifications, Bill of materials, and then a template that lists all the machines by category).

I think page consolidation, deletion (admins only), redirects and cleaning will be easier once we have tools, templates and cats in place. I'll use the wiki wish list for the rest on the conversation about this. Does everyone know how to use watchlists and talk pages? If not, email me and I can give you a rundown. Your watchlist is one of the best ways to keep track of activity in a wiki.

I would like to encourage that we continue on a wiki strategy that we post on the wiki so that it is transparent to everybody. So three steps would be:

  1. Agree on process to create a policy
  2. Create policy
  3. Make policy transparent to everybody.

I would suggest that we have the following in place before we move forward:

  1. Wiki team transparency - list of people, and their responsibilities on the wiki. This has been begun on the Development Team page. I am planning on blogging about this by Sunday, after the Forums have been implemented.
  2. General team transparency - list of people, their skills, and what they are contributing to the GVCS. I propose that we start with Team Culturing - or if that is not adequate, we should install a better method of making the team transparent. This has to be consistent with 23 months left of GVCS 50/2/2, or specifically, it needs to be done yesterday.
  3. Comprehensive wiki policy - started at Wiki Policy. I suggest we continue building that page up so we have something concrete to point to as a result of these discussions.
  4. Prioritize creating new clean pages, as opposed to cleaning up old ones.
  5. Start collating the material on the CEB press into the CEB Product Page - according to .


Fullfiling the Product Template [1] is the only thing we should focus on.

A lot of what is currently on the wiki can start to be sorted out into these categories. For everything that doesn't fit into these categories, we can have a page called "Journal" or "Log" or "Notebook" or something that is a place for any random artifact relevant to the machine can be dumped. So most of the content on the wiki as of today would fit into this catagory.

I think that anything not directly relating to the GVCS, is better suited for Appropedia. We don't need the full wiki on DIY appropriate technology, we need an excellent and usable instructional library for replicating the GVCS.

See the template for suggesting merges to Appropedia. --Elifarley 21:00, 2 May 2011 (PDT)

Regarding this:

We need a category for handling essays on sociology, economics, guiding philosophies etc. 

I think this is a good idea. A forum within OSE for people to discuss and share links relevant to the larger vision of OSE beyond the GVCS. I like keeping this separate and not smeared all around the wiki in inappropriate places.

Marcin, do you agree on the above and can we all agree to set out on this course?

We could have one or more categories on our forum for this. What should they be called? --Elifarley 18:54, 2 May 2011 (PDT)

How about "Socioeconomic Forum"


  • Pages with little initial content or with links could be posted on certaing forum categories instead of the wiki. If there are enough comments or if someone sees that forum post and thinks he/she can add substantial information, the person could then start a wiki entry based on that forum post.
    • Others could subscribe via email or via RSS to these forum categories too. it seems there's no way to subscribe to a wiki category.

Media Reorganization

I have been doing quite a bit of work getting images categorized according to the type of photo they are. I plan to go through them again after that is finished and sort them by subject matter into the categories listed above (like 'LifeTrac' or 'CEB Press').

I have also looked into a much better way of embedding videos on the wiki by making separate pages for them in the 'Video' namespace. You can see an example of a video page at Video:Torch Table Motion and I will use my embedding method to embed that test video at the end of this paragraph. Edit this page to see what the user-facing code would look like. Notice that this method allows us to have that video entered in the 'Torch Table' category, but this page is not automatically included in that category. This method also allows us to use the 'What links here' functionality from the video page and see everywhere on the wiki that the video is being used. The video is also automatically in universal subtitles wherever it is used whilst allowing us to keep all the ugly code on a single template page (most of the code on the video page right now can actually be moved to a template which I plan to do shortly).

I plan on converting a few of the videos on some pages to this new system as a test-run of how it works and if it works well I will go through and convert all the videos on the wiki. As far as users adding new videos, this process is a bit more complicated as a separate page needs to be created for the video, however anyone who doesn't understand my system can just use the old system and it can be converted by someone later on (just like I plan to do with the videos that are already on the wiki).


State: 13th February 2012

See Also

Wiki Documentation Standards