title: Reduce, reuse, recycle
## Reduce, reuse, recycle
This pattern can guide project participants in identifying and managing
In a peer production context, you are simultaneously “making stuff” and
building on the work of others.
> ![image](images/derivative.png) **Derivative**: you don’t have to do everything yourself!
> ![image](images/sensemaking.png) **Sensemaking**: resources are useful only when you can make sense of them.
> ![image](images/sharing.png) **Sharing**: your understanding gains robustness when you share with others.
Many projects die because the cost of
<span><span>[Reinventing the Wheel](http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?ReinventingTheWheel)</span></span> \[c2\]
is too high. However, this is just one possible symptom of overfocus on
a few priorities. Concerns may also arise if the project’s output is not
actually used by anyone.
“Steal like an artist,” and make it possible for other people to build
on your work too. In the Peeragogy project, we
have used off-the-shelf and hosted software suited to the task at hand
(including: Drupal, Google+, Google Hangouts, Google Docs, Wordpress,
pandoc, Github, ShareLaTeX). Early on we agreed to release our
*Peeragogy Handbook* under the terms of the Creative Commons Public
Domain Dedication (CC0), the legal instrument that grants the greatest
possible leeway to downstream users.[^fn1]
This has allowed us and others to repurpose and improve its contents in
other settings, including the current paper. Follow the steps indicated
by the keywords in the pattern’s title:
- *Reduce* the panoply of interesting interrelated ideas and methods
to a functional core (e.g. writing a book).
- *Reuse* resources relevant to this aim, factoring in “things I was
going to have to do anyway” from everyone involved.
- *Recycle* what you’ve created in new connections and relationships.
*A paradigmatic example of found-art. “Fountain by R. Mutt, Photograph by Alfred Stieglitz, THE EXHIBIT REFUSED BY THE INDEPENDENTS”.*
Clearly we are not the first people to notice the problems with
wheel-reinvention, including “missing opportunities, repeating common
mistakes, and working harder than we need to.”[^fn2]
As a guest in one of our hangouts, Willow Brugh, of Geeks
without Bounds and the MIT Media Lab, remarked that *people often think
that they need to build a community, and so fail to recognize that they
are already part of a community.*[^fn3]
converted our old pattern catalog from the *Peeragogy Handbook* into
this paper, sharing it with a new community and gaining new
perspectives; could we do something similar again?
Reweaving old material into **derivative** designs and new material into
existing frameworks, we build deeper understanding, and carry out
collective **sensemaking**. The project’s
<span><span>Roadmap</span></span> develops by making sense of existing
resources – including our worries and concerns. Often we only know what
these are when we attempt to **share** them. Drawing on a wide range of
resources boosts our collective <span><span>Carrying
### Example 1
Contributors are encouraged to recycle existing works that are
compatible with the Wikimedia-wide Creative Commons
Attribution-ShareAlike (CC-By-SA) license.[^fn4]
Some sub-projects have been created purely to help
repurpose other existing works in this way.[^fn5]
On the downstream side, DBPedia is an important resource
for the semantic web, built by collating data from Wikipedia’s
themselves increasingly being populated automatically using information
able to develop tools that reuse Wikipedia content in other ways <span
class="citation">\[1,2\]</span>, However, these research projects do not
always result in a tool that is accessible to day-to-day users.
### Example 2
The knowledge resources and collaboration tools currently available
online are what make a low-cost, high-quality, formally-accredited
future university conceivable. However, the available resources are not
always as organized as they would need to be for educative purposes, so
peeragogues can usefully put effort into <span><span>Reduce, reuse,
recycle</span></span>’ing available resources into a functioning
### What’s Next in the Peeragogy Project
Are there other educational resources and peeragogical case studies that
we could fold into our work? Can we recycle material from the *Peeragogy
Handbook* into a format that is easier to understand and apply?
1. Silvan Reinhold. 2006. WikiTrails: Augmenting wiki structure for collaborative, interdisciplinary learning. *Proceedings of the 2006 International Symposium on Wikis*, ACM, 47–58.
2. Nathalie Henry Riche, Bongshin Lee, and Fanny Chevalier. 2010. IChase: Supporting exploration and awareness of editing activities on Wikipedia. *Proceedings of the International Conference on Advanced Visual Interfaces*, ACM, 59–66.