The project with no name

I originally had this as part of the previous post but after much consideration and consultation I had to redo it all.

While I was working on the hexayurt Instructions I began to wonder what should I do next. I could either finally work on my initial plan of documenting how one could attempt to build one on their own, or to create additional documents for the rest of the plywood hexayurt family.

I decided I would do the later. I would create documents for a haiti specific hexayurt, h13 and upgrades to achieve higher living condition.

I wanted to propose launching a “Hexayurt Library” project. A collaborative attempt to provide aid agencies with an organised and verified repository of all the relevant hexayurt developments to date that would that would then feed information into Appropedia.

Then I realised a crucial problem. The hexayurt was not the only piece of open source technology that had terrible documentation. The greatest stove development I have seen to date is only documented in this series of youtube videos.

Documentation of open source technology is by and large terrible. This is true for both software and hardware. When it come to appropriate technology this become a problem in the endeavour of improving and saving lives.

Now I want to expand the project much further to encompass many technologies. I want to gather a team of 3-4 people who would be funded to work full-time documenting and archiving appropriate technology into manuals. If you are interested please follow this link. 

While I understand that Appropedia already serves as a library for all of these innovations and technologies, lack of hyperlinks means that translations into the print format demands more polish and comprehensiveness. It also brings them into psychological and technological operating space of agents in the field. It is not ideal for them to be tied to a laptop or messy printouts of web content. They need content designed for the print format. At least until local expertise build up. Also as I said earlier, the people with money love pretty looking documents.

We would of course hope to work closely with Appropedia.

4 Comments

  1. Good point about print versions. I’m a director and admin at Appropedia, and we’d definitely like to encourage such work. Please keep us informed of what you have in mind and what you need.

    E.g. if the web version is developed to a high enough standard, can the print version be just that version minus the links? My thinking is that sometimes you’ll want additional tweaks – e.g. where a page says “See…” or “Main article:…”, you’ll instead want to refer to a page number and heading.

    In terms of page layout, Appropedia has a print-to-PDF function – “Create a book” near the bottom of the left navbar. They look quite okay, and the links don’t show. Like all MediaWiki sites, it also has a “printable version” link for each page, FWIW. Is that helpful?

    1. Thanks for the support and help. I will definitely be in touch more after I manage to gather a collaborator or two and we have decided on a plan of action.

      I had not seen those functions. It look very good as a PDF. Perhaps it may be possible to adjust the code so that you have the option to include all “see this page” with auto adjusted cross referencing.

      One of my major concerns with relying on web based content is the picture sparse layout that has evolved around the wiki architecture and colour. The first is barely an issue that relies on an conscious break from convention. On the issue of colour, Assuming the web article is of very high quality and translates well into PDF, there is the further concern of how would it look after photocopying. It seems remiss not to use colour online where it will add clarity purely because of print out considerations.

      I think it would be best to accept that while content may be identical or near identical the presentation of online and print has separate concerns, and instead of trying to create a compromise it would be better overall to have both with the pdf converter as an interim measure

      In that case guess the question becomes “Is it easier to translate print to web or web to print?” since the project hopes to tackle the content of both. That will adjust the process but not the end goal and products,

      Thoughts?

  2. alrazimasri, some quick thoughts before I sleep 🙂

    Perhaps it may be possible to adjust the code so that you have the option to include all “see this page” with auto adjusted cross referencing.

    That sounds very complex, but we’d be happy to support any efforts to hack the code. Can’t hurt to try.

    One of my major concerns with relying on web based content is the picture sparse layout that has evolved around the wiki architecture and colour. The first is barely an issue that relies on an conscious break from convention. On the issue of colour, Assuming the web article is of very high quality and translates well into PDF, there is the further concern of how would it look after photocopying. It seems remiss not to use colour online where it will add clarity purely because of print out considerations.

    More pictures are good. I’m more skilled with putting words together than creating pictures, but I hope we have more picture-oriented people join our community.

    Line drawings are often the best kinds of diagrams in how-to pages (e.g. for construction), even for the web pages.

    “Is it easier to translate print to web or web to print?”

    We are continually creating and recreating our wiki pages, i.e. web content. It makes sense to have a process to quickly turn those into print pages.

    Let me know when you create pages on Appropedia – you can always send a tweet to @appropedia, as I manage that account, or to @chriswaterguy (which I check less often).

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