Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

In this Discussion

Welcome to the community! Practical Plants has just opened it\'s doors so it\'s a bit quiet in here right now. If you\'ve any questions, say hello! You can also join us on IRC: #practicalplants on If you have any problems signing in or using the forum, drop an email to
How can you help?
  • Practical Plants was founded with open ideals, not just in terms of open access to data, but with the ideal of open democratic control, too. Up to now it's mostly been me running the show but I think that's because A) I'm a bad community organiser and B) We don't have systems in place which encourage community engagement (I think, see point A).

    I'd really like to open up Practical Plants to more democratic control and management not just for the ideal, but also because of the practical reality that I don't have the time or skills to take care of it all!

    Helping out doesn't take any special skills, nor necessarily much time; even just a few hours every now and again will be a huge help to a small project like this. If you think you can help, step forward and let us know! For example, you could help out with:

    • Welcoming new members and turning their feedback into points for discussion
    • Helping manage community decisions
    • Posting content to the Facebook page
    • Spreading the word to help grow our community and get the data in more hands!
    • Research of new data sources, possible properties we should track, etc
    • Writing documentation to help new users
    • ... and most importantly of all, sharing your opinions, being active in making decisions and making the community vibrant!

    Maybe the best way to get going is if we define either some simple roles which people can perform, or come up with a list of tasks which need to be done (one off, weekly, monthly etc) which people can "claim". There are some software systems out there that are good at managing things like this, so we could always move things over to one of those if we need to.


  • Hi Andru. I think I can go to the FB page and spread the word. A big idea: I never got any automatic mail when a message was posted after me, so I was coming often to have a look, and then did not come when finally there was an answer after a few days. So I lost the habit of coming. Can you make it automatic that we are told about new messages? (and of course that we can change it)? Then, sure I did not know what to do for help... I will tell you just how I felt when I was coming with ideas: I had the feeling (through answers) that it had already been thought about and that my ideas could not help.

  • Hi Xisca - that's great :)

    I think I've set it up so you should receive notifications automatically when someone comments on a post you've commented on. If you don't want to receive more notifications on a post, you can click the star in the top right to unsubscribe from it!

    I don't think you'll get a notification for this post, but hopefully for the next one!

    Ideas always help! Or at least they are never a bad thing :) We can't follow every idea because there is only so much time, but I agree that we need to make an atmosphere which is very accepting of new ideas, welcoming of criticism and open to change.

    I agree that it's difficult for someone who first arrives to know how to help. Do you have any ideas how we could make this easier? I think editing articles can be very intimidating to new members, but it would be great to find a way to let them know there are lots of other ways they can help.

  • It would be good to start out with some wiki gnome guides (see which are general housekeeping tasks for the wiki that need doing regularly.

    The sort of tasks people can jump right into straight away if they have a guide on what to do.

    What areas of the wiki need filling out more than others and how can we best achieve this? What kind of goals do we have set for getting content to a certain level and by when?


  • Hey Pete, Good idea. I'm working on a few wiki pages to help guide in newcomers to a list of tasks etc... you can find it here (expect broken links) - feel free to modify:

    We have absolutely no time goals set up, and in terms of what needs working on most, I think if we came up with a list of all the most common vegetable garden and forest garden plants, and the ones that come up most in search results, and got those cleaned up to a high standard first, that would be a good place to start.

    I've set up a couple of places for community decision making and task management, I'll link to these in the Get involved page, but if anyone wants to poke around in the meantime, check these out:

    Group decision making:

    Group task management:

  • Hey! I've been out for so long I can't even find the to-do plants list anymore! :( Can anyone help me? I mean this huge list where you could find all of the plants which entry needed to be processed.

  • Hey Gabriela, The A-Z list of articles which need cleaning up is here:

    But I think it might be better if we prioritize by the traffic we're getting from Google instead. I've made a spreadsheet document which lists the pages which get the most traffic. I think these should be the priority for cleanups, so that people arriving via search get a better impression of the data we have, what do you think?

  • Hi, Yes I had to come and let's see if I receive a notification from now on... I wanted to edit and help with this as my 1st desire for bringing my grain of salt, as anyway I do my own .doc at home from the info I get from the net. But then there was another problem for me... I think you ask for credits and want to be sure about what we say... ok, but if we are not plant specialists, then how do we do it? I just gather from the net and put it all together. So, I transform non wiki non shared info into shared free info... I do my own sentences, so I do not copy sentences. Then some native english speaker can edit after me to make it better! My own docs are made in French...

    So yes indeed this way of gathering info can be spreading false info! But then, how are you sure about pfaf info? You trust them. I am not sure about it more than what I can read from hort perdue university or agroforestry website, or 2 sites I refer to often that are from Australia and South Africa.

    Thus my idea: just trust that we do our best to collect information, and that our role is to summarize it and give it the PP form. It can always be edited by someone else who knows better. And hopefully one day I will edit with my own info!!! Of course, the info I look for is for sowing and planting for real, so one day I will confirm the results.

  • Hi everyone, I've been absent for a while but I'm back and have time to get in to more article editing. I think this is where my focus is best kept for now and probably the area in which I can be of most help anyway. Until now the articles I have been editing were selected on the basis of species that I was interacting with in our forest garden at that time or what I happened to be foraging from the forest because it was in season. I had no idea there was actually a prioritized list of plant entries to be worked on. So, from now I will work off of the google spreadsheet - although probably still concentrating on the species native to East Asia as this is where I live and these are the plants I am most familiar with.