Re: sample document library: laying the groundwork
From: Andrew Netherton (
Date: Tue, 13 Feb 2007 11:47:53 -0800 (PST)
Hello all,

Thanks for everyone's feedback thus far.

Ann, you're right, a wiki would be perfect for this sort of thing.
(For clarification, is a wiki-based encyclopedia.  It is
arguably the best-known implementation of a wiki, but "wiki" is the
proper term for a collaborative open-content website.)

The one and only issue stopping me from using a wiki is not knowing
which one to use, or whether there are ones out there that are free,
but can have restrictions put on who submits and edits the
information.  (As we've seen with the Cohousing entry in, vandals/pranksters are out there, and I believe some
form of "read only" protection should be used for the sample document
library and not leave it totally open.)

Of course, it is possible to use the wiki software on any host
computer.  If one of the many Cohousing organizations are willing to
host a wiki on their site for the purpose of compiling, tracking, and
distributing sample documents, that would by far be the best option.
If that can be committed to quickly, it would be a lot quicker to
collect all sample documents into their final structure than for me to
collect and store them and later try to re-organize them.

So, open letter to the Cohousing organizations:,  Would either of you care to host such a repository of
cohousing documents?  Will you host a wiki for such a purpose?

I also know that many intentional communities have very strong
education mandates - would this count?  Ecovillage at Ithaca, I'm
looking at you!  :)

Collecting the documents might be the easy part.  If we can get
hosting determined, and a wiki system set up, it is conceivable that
the libary may be self-organizing.

I will send messages off-list to, and
Ecovillage at Ithaca representatives tomorrow if there is no on-list
response.  I'm geared to get this thing up and running sooner than

Andrew Netherton
Laurel Creek Commons (plunging in head first)
Waterloo, ON, Canada

On 2/13/07, Ann Zabaldo <zabaldo [at]> wrote:
Andrew -- thank you for stepping forward to take on this important
task.  I do believe CohoUS was doing something about this and someone
else on this list volunteered as well?

Just to keep you from being buried in too many emails ... you
know ... there was a suggestion of using a a Wikipedia for this.  I'm
no expert so I don't know what the limitations are but I hear that
one of the advantages is that a Wikipedia manages itself. That is,
people can add, edit or delete information directly without going
through a human being manning a digital control booth.  Is a
Wikipedia an option for this kind of information?

Ann Zabaldo
Cohousing Collaborative
McLean, VA

On Feb 13, 2007, at 9:07 AM, Andrew Netherton wrote:

> Hello everyone,
> On 2/12/07, in a thread formerly known as "how can a new group use
> existing knowledge?", Tree Bressen <tree [at]> wrote:
>> 6. Over the years there has been talk, and even some initial
>> attempts made,
>> at compiling a library of sample documents.  Policies on specific
>> subjects,
>> and so on.  I have the impression that this project has never been
>> completed into a usable form, and that's very unfortunate.
> Knowing this may absolutely bury me in e-mail for a good couple of
> months, I would like to step forward and volunteer to compile such a
> library.  I'm not sure how (or how quickly), but I'll figure that out
> as I get submissions.  Before I put out a call for submissions, I'd
> like to get some feedback on the submission guidelines I've drafted:
> 1) File format: text or PDF only.  Please don't send Word files,
> scanned images, PowerPoint presentations, just plain text or PDF.
> This is to make sure the result is as neutral and accessible as
> possible.
> 2) No copyrighted documents.  The purpose of this is to share, and to
> allow other groups to borrow liberally to form their own
> documentation.  I'm not sure if this would ever be an issue, but may
> as well addresss it up front.
> 3) Each document must have a Title (so we know what we're looking at
> and how to organize it in the sample catalogue), and contain the
> submitting group's name, location, and contact information (minimum
> one of e-mail address, phone number, postal address).
> Any other guidelines that would be helpful?
> One thought I had was to ask that only groups that are 2 years or more
> past move-in submit, as they will be the groups that have fully
> exercised all their policies, from first forming through to actual
> operation.  Yes, groups that are formed but haven't moved in may have
> something to contribute, but I can't think of a better way to make
> sure the documents we're sampling have actually been tested through
> use and change.
> Of course, if anyone has previous attempts at such a compilation,
> please contact me and I'll incorporate what you have.
> Please note I am only looking for feedback on the proposed submission
> guidelines!  Do NOT send me any documentation yet (I will provide a
> separate e-mail for that purpose)!
> Lastly, once it's all compiled, is there anyone out there that would
> be willing to make this sample library available online?
> Regards,
> Andrew Netherton
> Laurel Creek Commons (looking for documents ourselves)
> Waterloo, ON, Canada
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