Organization of this page

Tom, why is Articles in the Press under Solar Cooking Basics? Solar Cooking Basics to me implies how, why, where, etc., whereas Articles in the Press is news, promotion, and (eventually) history - quite a different beast. --Beth Ogilvie 21:42, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

I put it there because newspaper articles about solar cooking are always very superficial and don't really give any useful detailed information. They might be helpful though to people who know nothing about solar cooking. Articles that feature good information on a specific project can go on the NGO page for that project. Does this seem reasonable to you? --Tom
Yes. I get it now. Thanks. (Next time I'll ask first :) --Beth Ogilvie 17:27, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
The reason I moved the Why, Where, and How links to a separate page is that I wanted some real estate at the top of the page to short announcements. --Tom
I thought that was fine. As we get more meat on the wiki, we'll have to keep condensing what's on the Main Page. --Beth Ogilvie 17:27, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

Creating sister wikis in other languages

  • How to start a new Wikipedia has a lot of hints.
  • We need someone (preferrably multiple someones) fluent in the language to champion the new wiki
  • There are 2 kinds of things to be translated: the MediaWiki interface and the Solar Cooking content.
    • MediaWiki namespace has information on the interface. A good wiki in another language would have translations for all the MediaWiki, Template, and Help files (500+ pages). Gulp.
    • Solar Cooking content to be translated includes the main page and whatever other pages the translator wants to include. Some material could be copied from the SC Archive if the new language matches on of the translated mini sites.

Considering the mountain of work required to translate the interface, either we need to bootstrap off some existing wiki in that language (e.g. the French Wikipedia) or we need to temporarily give up on having complete wikis in other language, and for now just support translations of individual pages. This forces the other language speakers to cope with English sidebars, messages, etc., but it's better than nothing. I will explore with Wikia whether the former is possible... --Beth Ogilvie 01:42, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

Users can set their own language in their Preferences. For example, if you change your language to French, most of the interface will appear in French, using text that originally developed for the French Wikipedia. Angela talk 21:54, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
I tried this and it works. Looks like we could just start with I'm fluent in Spanish. User:Tom Sponheim

Placement of events

I moved this under directory since it seems to be a good addition there. Tom Sponheim 23:49, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

Changes to this page

Wikia:Help:Improving your wiki suggests renaming the Main Page. For example, the home page of Wikianswers is at "Wikianswers", not at "Main Page". It might be better if when people first get to our wiki (presumably at the main page) they see "Solar Cooking" in big print at the top rather than "Main Page". Thoughts? --Beth Ogilvie 16:17, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

That sounds right to me. However, it is called "Main Page" at Wikipedia:Main Page and at Commons:Main Page so it may deserve a little more thought. Walter Siegmund 06:22, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
I've gone off this idea. --Beth Ogilvie 16:31, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

How about adding something in the blue box like: The purpose of this wiki is to encourage the spread of solar cooking worldwide to improve quality of life and reduce the contribution of wood fuel cooking to deforestation and global warming. I'd like to show people right away that we have a serious intent - it's not just experimenting with technology. --Beth Ogilvie 19:50, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

I wonder if Image:Panel-type.jpg or a similar one might serve much the same purpose and be more inviting. It might suggest the diversity of the community as well. BTW, this is a casual suggestion for your consideration, not an opinion that it should be done that way. However, I think an image or two used in one way or another (I suggested another way elsewhere) would make the main page more inviting. Best wishes, Walter Siegmund 06:23, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
I think having a picture is a great idea. Let's do both. According to Google Analytics, 30% of the people who see our main page bounce right back out of the wiki without going to any other wiki page. Let's try to make the main page more inviting. Maybe if it looked more like a magazine and less like a reference manual, more people would step inside. We could still have the reference sections below the intro part. --Beth Ogilvie 16:31, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
To make The Minimum Solar Box Cooker article (for instance) link around here better, some words that are unrelated to solar cooking in itself, such as "cardboard", "aluminum", "UV", "sheet metal", might be good articles to create since other articles here also have those same words in them. Though they are only peripherally related to solar cooking, it allows articles to wikilink together easier. Just a suggestion.--RangerDave 20:53, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
Also, yes, having a "featured article" on the mainpage and changing it once every couple of weeks is an excellent idea. That aricle should have as many links in it as possible, so this might encourage others to link into other pages here on this wiki.--RangerDave 21:02, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
I added a featured picture section to the main page. I'm not very good with layout, so won't be disappointed if someone rearranges things. I suggest that the featured picture be changed every week or two and that preference be given to pictures depicting cookers or related items being used.
My suggestion in response to Beth's research and RangerDave's comment is that we make Minimum Solar Box Cooker our first collaboration of the week and try to improve its linkage to the rest of the site. That may involve importing some articles from Wikipedia and images from Commons. Then, we can make it our first featured article. Walter Siegmund 04:10, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
Image:TschadST1_06.jpg uploaded by User talk:Berniemueller is my nomination for the next featured image. Walter Siegmund 17:24, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

Featured article or image

Wikipedia has a daily featured article on its main page. That might be a good thing to try here, perhaps changing weekly or bimonthy at first. I think a featured image would add interest. We have quite a number to choose from now. That might be better to try initially. Walter Siegmund 22:52, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

What you can do

Tom, I'm curious why you removed "What you can do to spread solar cooking" from the main page. --Beth Ogilvie 16:31, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

I removed it because it could be subsumed under Promoting solar cooking. I could be talked into putting it back though. It sort of 50/50 for me. Tom Sponheim 20:47, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
Promoting solar cooking sounds rather formal to me, like something an organization would do. What you can do to promote solar cooking sounds immediate and personal, so yes - I would like to have it back. :-) --Beth Ogilvie 22:21, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
Great! Can you put it back then? Thanks Tom Sponheim 23:10, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Bottom of page

  • Do people start articles using the box on the bottom of the page? Is that a question that Google Analytics can answer? To me, it seems likely that someone would begin by reading some of the other articles and editing them before starting a new article, probably as a result of typing "xxxx" into the search box and getting "There is no page titled "xxxx". You can create this page."
  • I wonder if "Questions?" should direct people to Forum:Help desk? Regarding that point, maybe we should seed the help desk with a couple of questions and answers so that it looks more inviting. Also, everyone should put Forum:Help desk on their watch list so that people will get a response. Walter Siegmund 04:26, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

Google Analytics

We've had Google Analytics running on the site for almost a week now. Here is a quick summary of the stats:

  • We're getting about 300 visits and 1500 page views a day.
  • 1/4 of the visits are returnees.
  • 77% of people come from, 9% from wikipedia, 6% direct, 4% from google.
  • Visitors have come from >20 different countries and speak >20 different languages.

Here are the 5 most popular entrance pages with their bounce rate (the % of people who leave the site immediately without looking at any other pages)

Page Entrances Bounce rate
The Minimum Solar Box Cooker 403 69%
FAQ 247 49%
Manufacturers and vendors 215 21%
Main Page 176 28%
Compendium 171 35%

So yes- let's make The Minimum Solar Box Cooker our first collaboration of the week, and see if we can route more of these visitors into the wiki. --Beth Ogilvie 18:29, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

I've temporarily given up trying to extract patterns from the various details of Google Analytics, but I'm happy to report that our hit count is gradually creeping up, and crossed 600 (actually 623) on Tues, 3/6. Beth Ogilvie 01:53, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

New Draft Main Page

I have created a Draft Main Page. Please take a look and let me know what you think. If there's a consensus, I'd like to make this the new main page. Feel free to adjust it - though if you want to try an entirely different look, please make a new page for that. I figure we'll change what's in the green box occasionally, especially the featured article, but perhaps the others as well. --Beth Ogilvie 00:13, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

Looks good. Maybe update the mainpage every week or two for now and as the wiki grows even more so later.--RangerDave 17:11, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

Main page bounce rate is up

Google Analytics says that the new front page, in its first week, got 38% more visits but the bounce rate (% of people who leave the site immediately without viewing another page) increased by almost 1/3. Sigh.

Here are some stats for visits that started at the main page:

Clicks in the featured article section included 5 for Cooking at high latitudes, 5 for Parvati cooker, and 3 on the image, for a total of 13. In contrast, there were >50 clicks in the Compendium section. The SCIA got about 3. The rest basically went to various links in the right column, including 9 each for Introduction to solar cooking and Countries involved in solar cooking.

Of the 926 total visits to the main page, here is the click count for various links on the page:

Main Page Top 10 "Clicks To" Clicks Clicks %
1. (exit) 198 21.38%
2. /wiki/Main_Page 67 7.24%
3. /wiki/Category:Countries_involved_in_solar_cooking 33 3.56%
4. /wiki/Box_cookers 32 3.46%
5. /wiki/Compendium_of_solar_cooker_designs 28 3.02%
6. /wiki/Introduction_to_solar_cooking 28 3.02%
7. /wiki/Construction_plans 26 2.81%
8. /wiki/Cooking_at_high_latitudes 20 2.16%
9. /wiki/Category:Who's_who_in_the_solar_cooking_movement 19 2.05%
10. /wiki/Twelve-Sided_Parvati_cooker 17 1.84%

In this count, the Compendium section got 60 (incl Box cookers), and the featured article got 37.

I was going to suggest we bump the featured article for now, and let the Compendium intro slide up into its place, but maybe the next experiment should be to swap the featured article and Compendium intro. Also it'd be good to have some more meat (including links back into the wiki) on Twelve-Sided Parvati cooker and Image:60cm parvati side view.JPG.

--Beth Ogilvie 22:46, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

I think we should wait a while before making any other major changes to the Main Page. Let's get a few weeks worth of data before we make any decisions. Tom Sponheim 00:15, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
Beth, thank you for summarizing the recent results. It may be that we have simply done a better job of providing an overview of the site and those not interested find it unnecessary to look beyond the main page. My instinct is to agree with Tom. I think a week is too short of time to draw conclusions. What about the next featured article? I haven't had time to work on Minimum Solar Box Cooker despite my good intentions. Maybe different article would be better. Walter Siegmund 03:30, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
OK- I can be patient for at least another week; then I'll look at the numbers again. How organized do we want to be (i.e. how much machinery do we want to have) for featured articles? Other wikis use templates. I spent ages one day trying to find where Wikipedia hides their FA template {{Wikipedia:Today's featured article/{{CURRENTMONTHNAME}} {{CURRENTDAY}}, {{CURRENTYEAR}}}} 'cos I wanted to look at the formatting when I was redoing our main page. Walt, do you know where they are? It'll probably be embarrassingly obvious after you've pointed it out. Anyway, for our purposes, maybe one page for Former featured articles and another for Proposed featured articles would suffice for now. Re: the latter, Tom you've been adding a lot of tidbits to various pages. Did you notice anything that might make a good featured article? Or even a featured bulletin? Since our current FA is basically technical, the next one could have a more human focus, like solar cooking in a refugee camp. --Beth Ogilvie 17:57, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
I'd nominate Jewish World Watch for the next FA. Tom Sponheim 18:27, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Wikipedia:Today's_featured_article shows the formatting and Wikipedia:Wikipedia:Today's_featured_article/March_2,_2007 is the template for today. Wikipedia:Help:Template says "If name starts with a valid namespace prefix, or a colon, then it is not prefixed with "Template:". This way any page can be used as template (a colon at the start refers to the main namespace)." Removing the nowiki markup from {{Solar Cooking:Community Portal}} trancludes the page here. Please try it. It is embarrassingly obvious now that I understand it. So, all we do is copy the featured article to Solar Cooking:This_weeks'_featured_article/2007-03-04 and protect it. Then, on 2007-03-04, we change the date on the main page. Please let's use Wikipedia:ISO 8601 dates. They are an international standard and they sort properly.
Jewish World Watch looks good to me. It has colorful images. Walter Siegmund 19:27, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
Works for me! --Beth Ogilvie 01:55, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

Getting rid of "Community portal" in the left nav

I'm inclined to want to remove this since it points to such a small page. I'm afraid that people will confuse it with "Forum". What do you guys think? Tom Sponheim 00:55, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

I have incorporated all the items from the Community portal into Wiki tips, so as far as I'm concerned it can go. What about putting Wiki tips in the nav box instead? --Beth Ogilvie 01:55, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
Now I know more about the Nav bar I realize adding things is problematic for the other language interfaces, so I'll just remove Community portal. Beth Ogilvie 01:53, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

Featured article

I did what I described above under Talk:Main_Page#Main_page_bounce_rate_is_up. Now, we can review and discuss featured articles at Solar Cooking talk:This week's featured article. We can create featured article summaries at its subpages, e.g., This week's featured article/2007-03-11. Then, to change the featured article, someone just needs to edit the date in the template on the Main Page. In the interests of making this process as easy as possible, I deleted a bit of Beth's attractive formatting. I don't think I did too much damage and it may very well be possible to restore it. Before long, we will have a list of summaries of good articles at This week's featured article. It will be interesting to see if it generates interest at Google Analytics. Best wishes, Walter Siegmund 06:18, 6 March 2007 (UTC)

"...and you can contribute to it"

Please comment:

Do you think people read this ("contribute to it") as "donate"? Maybe that's why people are bouncing out. Should we change it to say

  • ...and you can help edit it?
  • ...and you can add to it?


If you do anything with solar cookers - design, manufacture, promote, support, or use them - this website is for you. A wiki is a website anyone can edit - including you!

--Beth Ogilvie 18:37, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

Your last version sounds like the best one to me. Walter Siegmund 16:54, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Idea for interlinking wikia

Hi from Sustainable Community Action wiki. I'm wondering if it'd be mutually beneficial for this and sca21 wikia to be interlinked? This could be done in a variety of ways from something like a WikiNode, or in more detail (I'm wondering about linking between specific country pages) and would welcome any comments or feedback? Cheers, Philralph 16:44, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

I think this is a fine idea. I'm not familiar with WikiNodes, and after looking at Wikipedia's it's not grabbing me (tho feel free to make one if you like them :), but linking country pages sounds fine, and of course each wiki could have an introductory page on the other wiki. Anyone else want to weigh in on this? --Beth Ogilvie 18:13, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
Hi, Beth. Thanks for this. That's great. Have put in a project:WikiNode page which links to sca's WikiNode - take a look(?). Have also started putting links to your wikia in sca from country pages - eg at sca21:UK, and will copy the Wikipedia article on solar cooking. Would be good also for us to have an introductory article to this wiki as you suggest, Cheers, Philralph 09:47, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

Optimizing the usage of DPL

Hi folks, I'm PanSola, a Wikia Helper. I am dropping by to chat about DPL (Dynamic Page List) usage practices. This site is among one of the most popular Wikia wikis that use a large number of DPL calls, and as DPL queries can sometimes pose quit a load on the servers, being careful with the usage of DPL can help improve the general user experience at Wikia.

One of the most simple ways to reduce the demand of DPL on the servers is to enable caching of the results. The more often a page with DPL calls get viewed, the greater the effect caching has. And so on a popular wiki such as this one, enabling caching is likely to help reduce the server load quite a bit.

Unfortunately there is a downside: caching means the results won't immediately update when information on the wiki changes. Sometimes the information can be out of sync by several hours. If you are worried about technical accuracy, you can place a note warning the visitors "new changes may not be updated immediately". For mission-critical usages of DPL that are time-sensitive such that any delay is unacceptable, enabling caching wouldn't be a good idea.

I'll drop by again later with more tips on how to improve server performance via optimizing DPL usage. If you have any questions, concerns, or think it's a good idea but need help implementing the change, feel free to discuss here. If you need a fast response from me, please ping me on my talk page (but still keep the main discussion here, so everything is in one place). Thanks. (you can also check out more tips here). -User:PanSola(talk/history) 22:38, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

Hi all, just dropping by to bump the conversation a bit, and making sure you guys are ok with me dropping suggestions here (-: -User:PanSola(talk/history) 19:12, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for your suggestion. We would like to do it. I added the caching directive to the India page. I just haven't had time to add it to the rest of the pages. Would you be able to do this? Tom Sponheim 00:06, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

Switching to the new parser


We are currently making preparations for the next wiki software upgrade. While we expect this to have little or no effect on most wikis, it may cause some pages on this wiki to render poorly. To help reduce or eliminate these issues, please see the Central Forums for more details.

Thanks - sannse@fandom (talk) 13:21, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

Solar cooking on CNN

Saw this link on my news feed today, which you are probably already be aware of, but it made me think of you:

Please keep up the great work! — Catherine@fandom (talk) 19:13, 10 April 2009 (UTC)

We soon realized what India needed was appropriate technology, not high technology". This region in India benefits from approximately 320 sunny days per year. During the monsoon season the existing boiler is used for cooking for the few days without sunshine.



Ad blocker interference detected!

Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.