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Guidelines for NORA Contributors

 

General Remarks: read these first!

Thank you for thinking about contributing to NORA. Your contributions are welcome! And thank you also for reading this page to ensure that your contributions will help NORA flourish!

NORA is structured to enable users to go from broad Needs, Organizational forms and Resources to specific approaches to creating greater abundance, mostly through commons-based methods. It is also designed to show the interconnections between all the different needs, organizational forms, resources, and approaches to creating greater abundance – everything is truly connected to everything else, and we can take advantage of that by organizing our activities in ways that meet several needs at once, or that help to manage several resources sustainably, rather than sacrificing some resource or need while trying to satisfy another need or to manage another resource.

In fact, NORA is designed to reflect the way everything is connected to everything else in our living world; as a result, it should grow like a living thing where everything new grows out of the seeds or buds that are already there. For NORA to grow as an integrated whole, it is important that new contributions fit into their contexts. To ensure that this happens, please follow the process outlined here.

 

Creating a New NORA page

Let's say that you plan to write a page on “community-based forestry.”

  1. Signal your intention to create a page on the Planned Pages page – this will help to avoid unintended duplication of effort, and allow collaborative work if more than one person plans to work on the same topic.
  2. Start a “Context within NORA” section. In that section, answer the questions: What needs are served by community-based forestry? What resources are managed by community-based forestry? What kinds of organizational forms can community-based forestry adopt? Go through the list of needs, resources, and organizational forms on the NORA main page and ask yourself how each of them relates to community-based forestry. As you do this, you may start thinking differently about your topic, notice aspects that you hadn't thought of before.
  3. Read some of the NORA pages that you have found to be especially closely related to community-based forestry in order to get a sense of what has already been written that may be relevant to your topic. You might, for example, read pages on the “resources” of land and living things, the “needs” of shelter/housing, participation in collective decision-making, being at home, and health, and the “organizational forms” of natural resource management, community solidarity, and committed services or sales. This may give you some additional ideas of what you want to say about community-based forestry.
  4. Now start writing the body of your contribution. Write about why community-based forestry is important, what it can do for people and for the forest. Also write about why it may fail, and what is needed for success. Since community-based forestry counts as an “approach to creating greater abundance,” follow the template for such a page (section 4 below).
  5. The links and literature sections should allow users to obtain further information about all the major topics you mentioned in the section you just wrote. Think of websites that would be most informative for people trying to start community based forestry projects of their own, and of writings that have most influenced your own thinking about this topic, or which can back up the points that you make.

The same basic logic applies to whatever you may write about in a NORA page. The only difference is that if you are writing about some category of needs, organizational forms, or resources (rather than an approach toward greater abundance), then you follow the template in section 3 rather than section 4.

 

Revising an Existing NORA page

Revising an existing NORA page is much easier than creating a new one. Make sure to read the whole page before making revisions, to make sure you are not repeating something that's already been said! Consider where what you want to say best fits into the existing page. And make sure that:

  • Any text before the table of contents should be short and succinct, saying no more than what this page is about.
  • The “Context within NORA” section should say the minimum of how that NORA page relates to the other pages mentioned; there should be no more than a sentence about every page referenced. Links here should only go to other NORA pages and not to other websites.
  • The main body of the page, either “understanding current patterns of abundance and scarcity” or the explanation of that approach to greater abundance, is the only place for lengthy text.
  • The “approaches to greater abundance” section should consist only of a list; eventually all items on these lists will link on to NORA pages that discuss them in detail.
  • The “links” and “literature” section should have minimal explanation about those links or literature. The links here should be to other sites, though there can be links to more specific pages within NORA as well.

If these sections can be kept consistent throughout all pages, users will experience minimal confusion and will be able to find what they need.

With these thoughts in mind, the remaining sections of this page provide detailed explanations of how to do everything on a NORA page.

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Technical Instructions

In order to contribute to NORA, you need to be logged in as a member. If you are logged in, you will find “Read,” “Edit” and “History” buttons at the top of the page. In order to edit a page, you click the “Edit” button, and to see who contributed what when you click the “History” button. To get back to the regular, reading view from either of those places, you hit the “Read” button. However, if you have edited a page, make sure to "Save" (at the bottom of the page) before leaving that page! After it has saved the page, it takes you back to the "Read" mode.

 

CKEditor Users Guide

The text editor used in this website is a plugin called CKEditor. Check its Users Guide to look for answers to any questions that are not answered in this section.

 

HTML and Visual Modes

The “Edit” button will allow you to edit using HTML (the default; you can see it at the top right of the text box), or by “Visual” mode. For most people, editing by visual mode is a whole lot easier, so click on the “visual” tab.

When entering a lot of new text, it is generally easiest to write first in a word-processor, and then copy and paste into the wiki page. If you do this, be sure to click on the "Visual" mode before pasting text into the wiki, because this preserves much, though not all, of the formatting you've done in the word processor.

In the "Visual" mode, you see a bunch of word-processing features across the top bar. Some items will be familiar to anyone using word processors, such as "bold," "italics," and "underline." You can pass your cursor over each item in order to get a sense of what it does.

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Heading Formats

Pay special attention to the “Format” feature. Most text should be in the default “Normal” text mode, but when you create headings within the page, highlight the text that you want to make into a major heading and select “Heading 1” from this menu for the title. Subheadings underneath that main heading will be “Heading 2;” subheadings beneath that “Heading 3” and so on. If you merely want to emphasize something without making it into a heading, you can make it "bold" or select a larger "Size."

Sometimes, text that you have copied and pasted from a word-processing file will not accept the heading format. In that case, type the heading over again, convert that into the desired heading format, and delete the piece of text that wouldn't take the heading format.

Creating Links

In the middle section of the second row of icons, note the thing that looks like one link of a chain. This is for creating links, either to external pages, or to other pages within the CAN website, or within the page itself. If you highlight some section of text that you want to make into a link, and then click on the chain icon, a text box will open. The default is “URL;” you can enter the URL of any webpage (whether on or off CAN) into here in order to create a link. It’s easiest to do this by having the other page open in another tab or window on the computer, and copying and pasting the URL from there. The URLs for pages within NORA can also be copied and pasted from the three site plan pages:

Using the chain icon, you can also create a “Link to anchor in the text” (second option after URL). To do this, you first have to create an anchor. This feature is useful for creating a link to go back to the top of the page (see "Creating 'Back to Top' Links" section below)..

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Creating a Table of Contents

To create a table of contents, work in the html editing mode instead of the visual mode. Find the line where you want the table of contents to appear, and type [ toc ] in square brackets (if you type toc in square brackets in the edit mode, no text shows up at all; this is why spaces were left before and after the toc in this line so that it shows up – do not type those spaces if you're trying to create a table of contents). If you look at this document that you are now reading in the html mode, you will see what the toc looks like right at the top of the page. If you marked headings as "heading 1," "heading 2" and so forth, these should now appear in a table of contents according to that hierarchy. Please note that the table of contents is ONLY visible as such when you are looking at the document in the "read" mode; in either the html or visual mode it continues to just be toc in square brackets. Headings that were merely bolded or increased in font size will NOT appear in the table of contents. You may need to do some editing of headings so that everything appears correctly in the table of contents

 

Creating "Back to Top" Links

Once pages become fairly long, it's best to allow readers to go back up with a "Back to Top" link. For this, create an anchor called "top" in front of the first word of text. You do this by placing your cursor where you want the anchor, and then clicking on the icon that looks like a flag, next to the chain icons. This opens a box asking you to enter an "Anchor Name." Type in "top." Once you've done this, a red flag will appear where you placed the anchor. Then scroll down in the document to where you wish to put the "Back to Top" link. Type "Back to Top", align this text at the right hand side of text by clicking on the icon for right alignment (in the second row of icons), highlight this text, and use the link icon to make this into a link to the top. To do this, you have to select "Link to anchor in the text" instead of "URL" in the upper portion of the window that opens. Then, you get to select the anchor you have created. To avoid having to do the same work many times over, you can copy and paste the "Back to Top" link further down in the page, but do make sure to align it on the right side each time!

The above are the most important features to get started.

 

Copyright Issues

Please respect the copyrights of other websites and print publications. Short quotations of text from outside sources should be put in quotation marks, and their source referenced. Long quotations (of a paragraph or more in length) and photos and graphics should be uploaded onto this website only if the source site/publication explicitly allows this (for example, through an appropriate creative commons license), or if permission has been obtained from the author or webmaster. Please contact Wolfgang Hoeschele to let him know about either of these two forms of clearance that you obtained for the material you upload; failing that, materials uploaded from other sites or sources may be deleted from the page.

Note that the Attribution/Share Alike Creative Commons used on the Commons Abundance Network website does allow copying of materials from this website, as long as there is attribution of this website as the source, and as long as a similar creative commons license is applied to the copied material.

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Template for each “Need,” “Organizational form,” or “Resource”

This template is applicable to pages which discuss one of the needs, organizational forms, or resources listed on the main, introductory page of NORA – the one that links directly from "NORA Knowledge Base" in the website header. Examples include needs such as the need for food or opportunities to learn, resources such as land and energy, and organizational forms such as committed services or sales. It is also applicable to subcategories of resources or organizational forms, such as land for nature preservation and utilities (a subcategory of committed services or sales) This template should not be used for specific approaches toward abundance; for this, see the template in section 4 below.

Title

Give the page a title, derived from the NORA main page.

Before you create a new page, do a search within the CAN site for a page of that title. If a page of that title already exists, change your title a bit until you have a title that’s not yet there. If the title doesn’t yet exist, use it as the title of the new page.

 

Table of Contents

Create a Table of Contents following instructions above. This can be either right at the top of the page, or after a very short introductory paragraph (see next section below).

 

Introduction

Optional short introductory paragraph of what is meant by that need, or organizational form, or resource, and what abundance in this respect would be like. This need not have a heading, but optionally, you can expand this into a longer introductory section with its own (first level) heading.

You can also insert a picture or graphic at the front of the page in order to illustrate the concept you are talking about.

 

Context within NORA

Make this a level 1 heading.

Be sure to include this section!

This section highlights close relationships to other categories in the NORA framework. Summarize complementarities or conflicts with related needs, resources etc. (for example, you can’t be healthy without healthy food, which establishes a relationship between the needs for food and health). Mention relationships between a need and resources that are needed to fulfill it, or organizational forms that are especially helpful (or not) for fulfilling it. Same logic if you are focusing on a resource or organizational form. These can be summarized; for example, if an organizational form (such as currencies and markets) is used for a wide range of needs, you can simply list all those needs, and then write a line or two as explanation for all of the above.

Use level 2 headings within the “Context” section for relationships to needs, organizational forms, and resources.

Create links to those N, O, R pages that already exist.Technical instructions how to create links are found in the Creating Links section of this page. To facilitate the finding of the URLs for each page on the website, you can click on the following three "site plan" pages, which will be opened in new windows. You can copy and paste the URLs into the dialog box for creating links.

Looking at examples of existing pages will give you a sense of what is expected here; one or two sentences for each related need, organizational form or resource is appropriate.

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Understanding current patterns of abundance and scarcity

Level 1 heading

Be sure to include this section!

A discussion of some of the basic causes for

  • that need being met/not being met for different groups of people;
  • that resource being used sustainably or unsustainably in different places/situations as well as natural variations in abundance of that resource; or
  • that organizational form being run in ways that benefit or harm various stakeholders.

Look at existing pages to get an idea of the kind of discussion that’s relevant here.

This section can be kept short by providing links to relevant websites of high quality that go into these issues in depth. Technical instructions how to create links are found in the Creating Links section of this page.

You can create level 2 headings within this section if you wish. The titles for these headings are up to you.

 

Approaches to creating greater abundance

Level 1 heading

Be absolutely sure to include this section!

The “understanding patterns of abundance and scarcity” section will have identified numerous modes of scarcity generation, and hinted at various ways to overcome those scarcities. This section lists these approaches and provides links to NORA pages with more in-depth discussion of each (links to other websites should be in the "links" section). Technical instructions how to create links are found in the Creating Links section of this page.

Note that this section should merely list approaches, not provide any explanations. Those will be in the pages linked from here.

Each of the approaches listed could be linked from several previous “needs,” “resources” and “organizational forms” sections. For example, “agrarian reform” addresses not only food needs, but also needs for livelihoods, security and participation in decision-making, as well as resource uses of agricultural land, water for irrigation, and living things (crops and domestic animals), and organizational forms such as natural resource management, individual sales, and committed sales or services.

You can group the various approaches into sections within this listing, either by simply bolding the headings for those sections, or by creating level 2 headings for them.

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Links and Stories

Level 1 heading

This section is important, but if you do not have content for it yet, you can leave it out.

Links to relevant sites, which may include stories of what people have accomplished in particular places. Look for links that provide useful information at the level of generality of the N, O, or R that you are talking about; those relevant to more specific approaches should be listed in the pages on a specific approach to greater abundance.Technical instructions how to create links are found in the Creating Links section of this page.

Some websites have content that is applicable to a large number of topics to be covered by NORA, and are thus worth looking into for relevant pages. These include the sites in our listing of sites that focus on the commons concept. In addition, several sites have knowledge bases that are highly compatible with our approach, though they do not prominently feature the term "commons." These include Appropedia, Socioeco, and the Union of International Associations' Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential. A highly useful site featuring stories and news about the "sharing" economy, which overlaps greatly with CAN's approach toward abundance, is the online magazine Shareable.

 

Member Publications and/or Links

Level 1 heading

Members who have published articles or books relevant to the topic of the page, or whose websites address related issues, can showcase their work under a heading of "Member Publications," "Member Links" or "Member Publications and Links." The member's name should link to his/her profile on CAN, while the title of the publication should link to that publication if it is available online. It is also possible to upload pdf files onto the CAN website. For an example, see the Energy page.

This heading can also provide links to CAN groups with a related focus. As an example, see the Currencies and Markets page.

The method for creating these links is the same as for any other links and is described in the Creating Links section of this page.

 

Literature

Level 1 heading

This section is important, but if you do not have content for it yet, you can leave it out.

Listing of relevant literature that provides useful information at the level of generality of the N, O, or R that you are talking about; literature relevant to more specific approaches should be listed in the pages on a specific approach to greater abundance.

Cite by author, date, title and publishing company for books; author, date, title of article, and journal details for print journals; author, date last updated or date accessed, title of webpage for websites. In the case of websites, make the title of the webpage into a link to that site. See Creating Links section of this page for details how to do this.

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References

Level 1 heading

If you wrote a piece that does not include reference citations, then this section is not necessary.

References that you used in order to write this page. Provide footnotes in the text and number your references accordingly, or provide parenthetical references (with name of author as listed in the references) and then list your references alphabetically.

Cite by author, date, title and publishing company for books; author, date, title of article, and journal details for print journals; author, date last updated or date accessed, title of webpage for websites. In the case of websites, make the title of the webpage into a link to that site. See Creating Links section of this page for details how to do this.

 

Parent and Tags

Once you have finished providing content, select a “parent” page. If your page is about one of the top-level Needs, Organizational forms or Resources categories listed in the main NORA page, then make that page the “parent” (for example, the “Energy” resource page and the “Individual sales cluster” organizational forms page both have the NORA main page as their parent). If your page is on a subcategory of needs, resources, or organizational forms, make the top-level category into the “parent” (for example, the "Solar energy" page has the "Energy" page as its parent).

List several tags for the page to make it possible to find your page using the tags cloud on the left sidebar (this feature is currently not working properly, but should be fixed soon). If the page is about a “need,” list that "need" as a tag, likewise for “resource” and “organizational form.” Create one or more tags based on the main topic or topics of your page, keeping the following points in mind:

  • The total number of tags should be five or less.
  • All tags should be about something that is easy to find once somebody opens that page.
  • Tags should consists of only one or two words, not a phrase (if a phrase comes to mind, split it up into two or more simple terms and make those into tags).
  • It is a good idea to use tags that already exist – refer to the tag cloud to find terms that may be applicable to your page!

After you’ve saved the page, go to the parent page to create a link to the new page you have constructed. If the main NORA page is not the parent page, but the title for your page is listed there (e.g., as a subcategory of resources) then create a link from there. Also, look for mentions of the topic you created in the "Context within NORA" sections of other pages that seem relevant, and make those into active links. The more of these links you create, the larger is the chance that people will find the page you wrote!

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Template for each “Approaches to creating greater abundance” page

Whether via the “Needs,” “Resources,” or “Organizational Forms” routes, all links will lead to some problem-solving or abundance-generating approaches or methods, for each of which there will be a separate page. This template applies to these more specific pages, rather than the more general pages that link directly from the NORA main page. Examples of pages to which this template applies include:

 

Title

Give the page a title, derived from an item on an “approaches to creating greater abundance” section on a “need,” “organizational form” or “resource” page. For example, you could create a “food coops” page that features as one of the “approaches to creating greater abundance” listed on the Food page. If you find that some way of creating greater food abundance is missing from the listing on the food page, add it there and then create a new page with that title!

Before you create a new page, do a search within the CAN site for a page of that title. If a page of that title already exists, change your title a bit until you have a title that’s not yet there. If the title doesn’t yet exist, use it as the title of the new page.

 

Table of Contents

Create a Table of Contents following instructions above. This can be either right at the top of the page, or after a very short introductory paragraph (see next section below).

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Introduction

Short introductory paragraph of what is meant by that approach to creating greater abundance. This need not have a heading, but optionally, you can expand this into a longer introductory section with its own (first level) heading.

You can also insert a picture or graphic at the front of the page in order to illustrate the concept you are talking about.

 

Context within NORA

Make this a level 1 heading.

Be sure to include this section!

This section highlights close relationships to other categories in the NORA framework. This should feature:

  • which needs this approach helps to fulfill. Although there may be one primary need, there will typically be others as well – for example, food coops provide food for their members, but they can also help build a sense of community and thus build supportive relationships.
  • which resources are required for this approach to work, or what kinds of resources it is supposed to manage;
  • which cluster of organizational forms this approach belongs to, or if it can be organized in several different ways, which clusters it can potentially belong to;
  • other approaches to abundance that are closely related to this one.

Use level 2 headings within the “Context” section for relationships to needs, organizational forms, and resources.

Create links to those pages that you have mentioned that already exist. Technical instructions how to create links are found in the Creating Links section of this page. To facilitate the finding of the URLs for each page on the website, you can click on the following three "site plan" pages, which will be opened in new windows. You can copy and paste the URLs from these pages into the dialog box for creating links.

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Main body of entry

Create several more sections, using level 1 and 2 headings as you feel appropriate, discussing questions such as the following:

What is it?

A brief description of what this approach is, what it is supposed to achieve.

How does it work?

A description of the main steps needed for implementation, with links that provide more detailed information.

Where has it been used?

A brief survey of the places and conditions under which it has been tried. If it is a proposal that has not yet been put into practice, this section could discuss for which places and conditions it has been proposed.

What are the strengths and weaknesses of this approach?

Strengths and weaknesses are to be assessed based on 1) what the approach does to promote freedom, equity, and sustainability among all stakeholders and affected resources, and 2) how well it succeeds in practice, under a variety of different conditions. If it is a proposal that has not yet been put into practice, this assessment would have to discuss the likelihood of achieving the above points.

How can this approach be improved?

A discussion how weaknesses identified in the previous section could be overcome, potentially with reference to other approaches described elsewhere in the website.

 

Links and Stories

Level 1 heading

This section is important, but if you do not have content for it yet, you can leave it out.

Links to relevant sites, which may include stories of what people have accomplished with this approach to abundance in particular places. Technical instructions how to create links are found in the Creating Links section of this page.

Some websites have content that is applicable to a large number of topics to be covered by NORA, and are thus worth looking into for relevant pages. These include the sites in our listing of sites that focus on the commons concept. In addition, several sites have knowledge bases that are highly compatible with our approach, though they do not prominently feature the term "commons." These include Appropedia, Socioeco, and the Union of International Associations' Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential. A highly useful site featuring stories and news about the "sharing" economy, which overlaps greatly with CAN's approach toward abundance, is the online magazine Shareable.

 

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Member Publications and/or Links

Level 1 heading

Members who have published articles or books relevant to the topic of the page, or whose websites address related issues, can showcase their work under a heading of "Member Publications," "Member Links" or "Member Publications and Links." The member's name should link to his/her profile on CAN, while the title of the publication should link to that publication if it is available online. It is also possible to upload pdf files onto the CAN website. For an example, see the Energy page.

This heading can also provide links to CAN groups with a related focus. As an example, see the Currencies and Markets page.

The method for creating these links is the same as for any other links and is described in the Creating Links section of this page.

 

Literature

Level 1 heading

This section is important, but if you do not have content for it yet, you can leave it out.

Listing of relevant literature that provides useful information about this approach to greater abundance

Cite by author, date, title and publishing company for books; author, date, title of article, and journal details for print journals; author, date last updated or date accessed, title of webpage for websites. In the case of websites, make the title of the webpage into a link to that site. See Creating Links section of this page for details how to do this.

References

Level 1 heading

If you wrote a piece that does not include reference citations, then this section is not necessary.

References that you used in order to write this page. Provide footnotes in the text and number your references accordingly, or provide parenthetical references (with name of author as listed in the references) and then list your references alphabetically.

Cite by author, date, title and publishing company for books; author, date, title of article, and journal details for print journals; author, date last updated or date accessed, title of webpage for websites. In the case of websites, make the title of the webpage into a link to that site. See Creating Links section of this page for details how to do this.

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Parents and Tags

Once you have finished providing content, select an appropriate “parent” page. For example, the page on "Seed saving" has "Food" as its parent because seed saving is a method used by farmers and gardeners who grow crops for food.

List several tags for the page to make it possible to find your page using the tags cloud on the left sidebar (this feature is currently not working properly, but should be fixed soon). Keep the following points in mind:

  • The total number of tags should be five or less.
  • All tags should be about something that is easy to find once somebody opens that page.
  • Tags should consists of only one or two words, not a phrase (if a phrase comes to mind, split it up into two or more simple terms and make those into tags).
  • It is a good idea to use tags that already exist – refer to the tag cloud to find terms that may be applicable to your page!

After you’ve saved the page, go to the parent page to create a link to the new page you have constructed. Also, look for mentions of the topic you created in the "Context within NORA" sections of other pages that seem relevant, and make those into active links. The more of these links you create, the larger is the chance that people will find the page you wrote!

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