Green wiki #2: Playgreen


Update: Playgreen is no longer active – the site is live but overrun by spam. If the owners, administrators and/or community would like help, please get in touch – leave a comment below or see the Contact us page. — 26 June 2012.

We recently looked at the Green Powered Wiki – and we’d still like to make contact with the team behind that effort, and know if they’re still interested in co-creating a knowledge base for renewable energy.

But let’s look at a green wiki which is still online – Playgreen, a wiki on green living.

Some observations:

  • Topics covered are similar to the Appropedia wiki – both have howtos and organizational profiles but Playgreen is more focused on green living, without the emphasis on sharing designs and project write-ups.
  • It hasn’t been active recently – just 2 or 3 edits per month. Spam is an issue.
  • Playgreen uses a true open license, without noncommercial restrictions – specifically the Creative Commons Share Alike  CC-BY-SA license, which Appropedia also uses. It’s good to know that we can share content with complete ease.
  • Okay, not quite complete ease – the wiki uses a different markup (way of representing formatting) which I’ve never seen before. I get a bit impatient with having to several different kinds of markup on all the sites I post to. On the plus side, it’s relatively easy to figure out.
  • The skin is quite slick – better than our MediaWiki skin (development of which is on the backburner until we can get help from a CSS wizard).
  • I can’t find history page for each wiki page, so I can’t revert the spam I found tonight. I also can’t find a statistics page.
  • There seems to be no site map or category structure.
  • I’ve sent a message via the contact form at least twice in the past couple of years, suggesting we explore collaboration. Either they’re not interested, the form is broken, or (maybe the most likely) it’s one of hundreds of messages they haven’t answered yet because they have day jobs. We know all about that.

So, it’s an interesting effort, but it’s stalled. There are clearly still people who visit the site and contribute, but there’s a lack of critical mass to fill the need for quality green living info.

But the great thing about Playgreen is the use of a proper open license. That means that even if the site doesn’t take off, these contributions of green wisdom can live on and grow in different forms – the “no such thing as waste” principle applied to the labors of green wiki contributors.

By the way – check out our green living info. It’s a very different layout to Playgreen, and perhaps not as well packaged, but there’s a growing collection, and I hope it’s usable – please give feedback!

This is part of the green wiki series.

Green wikis #1: Green Powered Wiki


The Green Powered Wiki at, now defunct, was a wiki focused on renewable energywritten up in Treehugger in 2005.

The shame is that we don’t know what happened to the drivers and contributors in the project. If you know, please leave us a note in the comments, or contact us another way. A wiki needs a large community to really work, and we’d love to keep creating synergy.

This is part of the green wiki series.

Getting it: Ekopedia


It’s very striking when we meet people that really get what Appropedia is doing – why knowledge sharing matters, and why we practice radical openness and collaboration. Examples are when I heard Akvo‘s Mark Charmer talk passionately about the importance of breaking down the barriers between our silos of information; another was in 2007, on my first call with Andrew Lamb, head of Engineers Without Borders UK, hearing his lament over the many, many development organizations, each with knowledge that is not actively shared.

The most recent example is Jean-Luc Henry, founder of Ekopedia, a mostly French language sustainability wiki. Like others, he didn’t need to be converted – Ekopedia has been sharing sustainability knowledge since 2002 (well before Appropedia, which began in 2006), and branching out into multiple languages.

In the last few weeks we’ve begun talking seriously about our shared vision, and how we can work together. As a first step, we’re moving all French language content on Appropedia to Ekopedia, and all English language content on Ekopedia to Appropedia. Less duplication, more synergy – and an expression of our trust and shared vision.

With our own translation projects, starting with Clarion University’s program and expanding from there, and with like-minded people working on translation for related projects (such as OLPC), there is the potential for massively ramping up the work of effective multi-lingual knowledge sharing. If we can get funding to develop new translation tools, it could be better still.

We’ll keep you informed. If you want to join the team, please get in touch!