TOD:UK to become TOD:Europe (and...anyone know anything about wikis?)

Two things the evening. First, an exciting development is in the works around here. In consultation with the existing editors of TOD:UK, we have decided to expand the scope of that operation to cover the whole of Europe. So, as of tonight, TOD:UK becomes TOD:Europe!

The new staff of TOD:Europe will include: Chris Vernon (former editor of TOD:UK, MPhys Computational Physics); Euan Mearns (formerly of TOD:UK, PhD Isotope Geochemsitry: Ran isotope geochemsitry company 1991 - 2001: Freelance energy analyst and journalist); Jerome a Paris (of DKos and the European Tribune, Energy banker based, yes, in Paris, France); Luís de Sousa (of, Assistant Teacher and Researcher at an Institute of Technology in Lisbon); Rembrandt Koppelaar (chairman of ASPO-Netherlands).

That's a pretty damned amazing staff. Please help me in welcoming them to our little endeavor.

Second, if anyone knows anything about wikipedia-ish software, how to start one up, basics, etc., discuss in the comment thread. Imagine if we could accumulate all of the information at The Oil Drum in one place without giving SuperG nightmares...

Great initiative and Great team!

Very impressive!


Wiki-TOD-pedia would be most valuable resource on the planet.

Congrats on inviting all of Europe into the fold.  Who in China can organize the TOD: Asian Bloc?

What next?  TOD-World?

I believe the Wiki software is free, and you can set up your own Wiki using it. Plus have a lead-in page on the main Wikipedia we all use.
Congrats for bringing that allstar European team!  I think it will improve greatly the credibility of the TOD architecture.

I would want to share a few marketing, programming and website making tips.

From both a ressource, visibility and credibility perspective, would it be more usefull to use and expand the actual wikipedia on peak oil and related articles.

Translation would be made more easy in other languages.

TOD would have to pay for less bandwith.

Links would be made to allready available information in other relevant wikipedia articles.

The TOD contributors and managers would use less time trying to understand a new software.

Also articles made in wikipedia could link to specific TOD articles and improve the rating of TOD.

That said, I'm sure if you would want to go the other way, you will find ressources to do it.  It will just take you more time and get less peer review.  

Will take a few more months I think but then we'll have coverage of China at least. There is an ASPO China, so maybe some people over there.
I recommend using Mediawiki to create your wiki.  It is the software that powers Wikipedia, so it is proven to be very reliable and scalable.  It is the most popular wiki in the world, so many people are already familiar with the syntax.

On the subject of syntax - the syntax for this site's comments is identical to Mediawiki syntax.

A popular way to implement a wiki is to use a subdomain.  For The Oil Drum, it would

The Joomla Content Management System has an extension that allows for Mediawiki integration into a Joomla site.  This configuration allows you to maintain your existing sidebars, headers, etc...  An example can be found here  I'm not sure what CMS you're using for this site, so I'm not sure if that is even an option.

I've ran three different wiki packages (TWiki, MediaWiki, and MoinMoin). I actually don't like MediaWiki because it really doesn't allow you to do much in terms of formatting. This is a feature that makes the site easier to manage, but it certainly restricts your freedom. For example, as far as I could tell, images can't function as links. That one was a killer for my application.

TWiki is more or less the opposite in terms of flexibility, but it is necessarily harder to manage and has had significant security issues. It works very well as the wiki software for a work group (with extensions for calenders and task lists (action items)).

MoinMoin is somewhere in between and allows the author to

If it were me, I'd just direct everybody to the appropriate Wikipedia pages and have at 'er. That would get more eyeballs for a lot less work.

I just noticed the Wiki Books project ( which is also by the folk that bring us Wikipedia. It seems to me that a Peak Oil wiki book would be perfect Oil Drummer supported project.
i have found wiki's to be basically next to worthless for anything but software how-toos
as i posted in the other topic about ideas on what to change here.
wiki's like wikipeda only end up having what sounds good but necessarily factual. this is not because wiki-pedia says they want to be neutral(facts are not neutral), it's because this is the result of having anyone edit it.
Editing rights can be controlled. Wikis can allow unregistered editing, registered editing, or no editing at all. What you cite as a problem is not a problem in the software, just Wikipedia's chosen manner of using the software.
Agree with you absolutely TK.

You ought to be able to find an alternative source to Wick to house your articles in READ-ONLY form.

I like the stuff you guys write and am looking forward to reading the article on US oil shale.

If I couldn't find another place to house my archives that does not have endless--and often malicious--editability,
I would be seriously tempted to piss a total solution down my pant leg.

Just thoughts.

Keep writing.

Of course a wiki should always be LINKED to manifestos as deliberate and individual as the non-Drumbeat TOD stuff.  Completely replacing the blog format and archives with a wiki isn't an option.

A wiki would be about joining it all together into a topical format, IE having a page on Russia include an overview of their energy policy and resources, links to viewpoints and opposing viewpoints in major blogposts(especially TOD), a chronological list of recent news stories, etc.

A consensus narrative is what this site lacks - a meaningful way to find "This is what TOD thinks on this topic" without doing ten searches and reading fifty comment discussions, which newbies are simply not likely to do.

I've recently set up an install of mediawiki - and it's pretty straight forward.  One of the great features is the way it tracks the entire document history.  There is some work to get some of the placeholder pages filled out (some of the help pages, policies, etc)

The syntax is straight forward:

Categories can be used to group articles.  I'm not sure how much it would be worth trying to migrate some stuff over from the current system (HO's technical series comes to mind as something great to have).

Its primary advantage is that anyone can be a contributing author. An encyclopedia really is a perfect analogy.  Alot of the TOD content seems more like journal articles.  Good material on a specific content.  Something you want to be able to pull back off the shelf, but not something that is easily organized in a bunch of cross referenced articles.  It would be hard to figure out how to post new content in a rolling blog "news" format, and also have it transferred to the wiki (There is a recent pages page in the wiki software, but its no blog).


Obviously you don't read my posts :)
I agree with the prior post that it may be worthwhile to put wiki efforts into the main wikipedia.  Perhaps taking my journal analogy farther, some of the more substantial TOD posts could go through some peer review and be published online (quarterly?) as a "Journal of Peak Oil".  You might be able to gain more exposure among more like minded serious thinkers concerned about the way PO will play out.  What I've always liked about TOD, is that it has less of the shrill doomer attitude and more of the "lets just study this objectively".  Mostly, I'd say keep up the good work!


Adding to the Wikipedia is a great idea, but probably some TOD
contributions will be deemed non neutral. So a TOD wiki where the more controversial, Peak Oil Point Of View (POPOV) can be published, would give an extra flexibility.
Great Going Guys!
I know you will be greatly successful with that team.

On Khebab's article today it was suggested that we need more demand modeling, and I think its true. I really hope your efforts to internationalise the peak oil situation help all the world. We're all in this together.

Does this mean that the UK is finally going to join the Euro too???

Keep up the good work guys, I look forward to hearing from some more experts from Europe.  

This is great news!---And what an all-star cast!

As Matt Simmons said at the Boston ASPO, "Watch Russia!"-- put these data-freak badboys to work NOW on Gazprom & Rosneft because time is short!

Just found this while googling:
Russia faces gas shortfall, leaked report claims

Russia's future as an energy superpower has been called into question by claims that it will not produce enough gas next year to satisfy both foreign and domestic demand due to years of under-investment.

But a leaked report from Russia's Energy Ministry says gas is not being extracted as quickly or efficiently as it should be and next year, for the first time, there will be a small shortfall.

If the situation is to be remedied, Gazprom and others will apparently need to spend $600bn (£316bn) in the next four years to correct years of under-investment.

Yet the leaking of the report appears to be part of a Gazprom-driven campaign to get the Kremlin to allow it to charge higher prices for its gas in Russia to ensure it doesn't run into trouble. At the moment, price controls mean it is forced to charge around $50 per 1,000 cubic metres domestically compared to around $230 in western Europe.

Gazprom wants President Vladimir Putin to allow it to charge more domestically so that consumption falls and it has more gas to export at a premium price.

With parliamentary elections looming next year, Mr Putin is likely to be reluctant to inflict such financial pain on the public.
I think a big political battle to determine Russian FFs export-domestic consumption ratios is shaping up.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az  Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

This looks like a winning team!

Welcome aboard Luis, Jerome and Rembrandt.

"not being extracted as quickly or efficiently as it should be"

This comment is SO TRUE !!!! To truely truely understand you would have to have been in the field and see how it is all done in Russia. There are great minds in Russia but the managers are not engineers. The management has other ideas about how to develop and produce fields and this very often has nothing to do with efficiency.

In terms of energy usage in Russia, wowwwww. Waist is the first word that comes to mind.

How GAZPROM can raise gas (energy) prices without a revolution will be an interesting issue to watch. Note how the land pressure in China has already gotten the people on the streets. You can push, push but there is a limit.

I have extensive contacts with oil field consultants and Sr. level reservoir engineers in the leading service company of the oil & gas industry. Thus if needed I think that I maybe able to get a lot of input to peer review information.

In terms of energy usage in Russia, wowwwww. Waist is the first word that comes to mind.
This is a good point, much of Russian electricity is generated from single cycle gas turbines.  One smart thing Europe could do to facilitate gas imports from Russia would be to build Russia ~100 new CCGTs in replacement of the old plant.  The efficiency improvement would free up lots of gas for sale into Europe - everyone's a winner.
Hello Chris Vernon,

Efficiency in generation is a great idea--WIN,WIN for both sides.  I have never been to Russia, but I hear that most buildings are very poorly sealed & insulated, and natgas not metered--so potentially even greater savings can be achieved through conservation.  Putin needs to buy the tooling and factories for fiberglass insulation, gas meters, and double-pane glass, then shift some of the wildly excessive #'s of the 400,000 Gazprom employees to bootstrapping these businesses.

Do the Russians have pretty strong trade unions still; can they get these people to easily shift?  Or will they go on strike even though it is against their long-term benefit?

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az  Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

According to The Independent today Gazprom is forced to sell gas at $50 per 1,000 cubic metres domestically compared to around $230 in western Europe.

With prices like that it's easy to see way efficiency isn't top of the agenda. It would be nice if a programme of efficiency improvements and domestic price increase could be worked out that wouldn't leave Russians any poorer or colder (their price increases as efficiency improvements reduce gas demand for the same energy services), would enable more gas to flow to Europe and deliver Gazprom more revenue and hence more investment to bring gas to market... maybe a little simplistic but the only downside I can see is that Russian gas reserves would be depleted faster than would otherwise be the case.

 energy pricing is part of the post Soviet welfare state.

The people who cannot afford gas price rises are, by and large, the people who have been devastated in the post Soviet era.  They live in old, crumbling buildings with minimal attention to energy efficiency.  They typically have low, nearly fixed, incomes, from the state.

Typically they are in the 'Ural Cities' and Siberia, created by the Soviet state to decentralise production and population in case of war or invasion.

When they do work, it is in clinics, offices, factories etc. that are themselves unable to pay higher energy prices.

Russia has a huge potential gas shortage and a looming power generation shortage-- economic recovery has meant a surge in electric power demand (which plummeted when the Soviet system collapsed).  It is inconceivable that Gazprom would let its own citizens freeze in the dark, to meet western export contracts.

Typically Gazprom is heavily underinvested in modern infrastructure.

The Russians are floating UES, the largest electricity company, on the London exchange, to raise capital to build more power stations.

What, exactly, they will fuel them with is a moot point.  Apparently the coal is in the wrong places (northern Siberia), Gazprom cannot meet new gas demand.  I understand there is going to be another generation of nuclear stations-- but that will take many years to kick in.

Re: Wikis

Great idea to start up a TOD Wiki.  We have been evaluating various Wikis at work for our in-house documentation and it is a great fit for this kind of knowledge gathering.

Most Wikis require PHP on the server along with a database (MySQL or PostGreSQL).

There's a pretty good comparison of the various Wikis at (you've guessed it) Wikipedia, here.

One thing to watch out for is the ease of adding images to the pages.  With all our charts and diagrams, you need something that's going to cope.  Mediawiki is pretty good with these.

WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editing is also important as you don't want to scare anyone away with overly complex formatting syntax.

My personal favourite out of the ones we've looked into is Zwiki.

As others have mentioned here, setting up a wiki is quite straightforward. However its key to understand what its for, and even more important to get the structuring right. That doesn't sound like it makes sense, given the easy hyperlinks between different pages, but finding, collecting and making sense of subjects is the difference between something that illuminates and something that hides.

It would be worth looking at something like wikinews for how structuring devices can be used (portals, dynamic list, categories, etc.).

I would suggest a purpose of illuminating the state and future path of liquid fuel production, and separate but connected, the addressing of alternatives and mitigation strategies. On the production side, categorisation by country, technologies, and political influences would lead, whereas on the consequences side a categorisation via rate of decline, position on timeline, technology, and political reaction would dominate.

Whatever the purpose, don't underestimate the effort in structuring the wiki properly and seeding it before launch.

What many people that comment on necessary to Russian economy miss is how LOW the wages are there. OK, large cities may fare better but the rest is very very poor. You Can NOT triple their gas bill and think that nothing will happen.

In  my opinion this bomb is ticking here in Poland where the people are already being preped up for the coming multiple hikes in Electricity bills over the forseeable future.

One problem with this is ..... Their wages are not growing.

In other words, it is an income distribution problem rather than an income deficiency problem, per se.

There are now, I think, more Russian billionaires in the world than any other country (possibly number 2 after the USA).  They are buying whole blocks in Knightsbridge, London, it seems.

So Russia has the money to smooth the transition.  Just in the wrong hands.

This is definitely a large step towards our super-secret, totally clandestine internal plan to achieve world domination.

This thread encapsulates everything that is right and wrong with accessing information in TD.

Excellent comment from a wide range of individuals with varying experience in flavors of wiki; interesting and suggestive comments on subsidised gas in Russia.

Two divergent subjects in one thread. A brief mention of Russias balance of payments in a different thread claiming exports were two times imports (no mention of the Russian Govts income derived 50% from oil and gas sales but with disproportionate value weighting to exports due to price differentials export vs local)is apposite, but doesn't exist if you didn't stumble across it previously.

So, as I mentioned previously, to 'build the picture', you virtually have to search TOD and build a mental review, or copy and paste stuff into your own topic page (which I do).

Wikis suffer from people being able to alter an article.

If volunteers can be found, it would be simpler to post articles spinning off a central 'site map'.

The problem of adding fresh information and amending articles might best be done by hand copying and pasting the trenchant comment/critiscism under the main article.

Not trying to muddy the water, just trying to make sure a 'website' style PLUS blog is not a better 'fit to purpose' than trying to shoehorn everything into a Wiki.

Congrats to West Eurasia; hope to see East Eurasia some time.

I fear you are correct.  I went through something similar with a blog I helped run.  It was okay at first, when it was small, but as the amount of information increased, it just became utterly unmanageable.  For awhile, I kept a couple of indexes (indices?) as links on the sidebar - one by topic, one chronological.  But that was indequate.  Eventually, I came to realize that there needed to be a traditional Web site along with the blog.

The problem is that it's a hell of a lot of work to keep a Web site updated, when you're talking about the amount of info we're dealing with here.  It would probably be a full-time job for several people.  I just don't see it happening.

I've written and deleted maybe a dozen posts on the topic in the last few days, so here goes:

The best means of doing the daily drumbeats as TOD grows (and they do need to change when we're having fifty topics and five troll topics explored per day) is probably as a slightly different form of bulletin board.

*Formalizing each topic as a thread is important.

*Chronologically orderring threads by date of last post is important.

*Stickying the topics that Leanan posts for 24h is important.  

*Having anyone able to post a non-drumbeat thread, or continue discussion of a drumbeat thread days later, is also important.

This is all available in any bulletin board system, but I'd also like:

*The current amount of text in the description to be visible from the general forum-view


Aside from that, I'd like to see TOD organized into a wiki as well - the information is here in all its glory, we just need the consensus narrative for the newbie.

I set up one called Energypedia, but havn't had the time to fill it out with preliminary content before launching it - I've got another two months of school before I'll have the time required.  When I do, I'd love to work on either it or an official TOD wiki (which I think would get a lot more useful traffic and contribution).

I can see the desirability of a Wiki as a repository of information that has enduring value.  Categories include:

  1. Analyses of oil production, especially as they evolve over time.
  2. Responses to various forms of propaganda, especially if they can be linked directly from comment ratings.  (For a really good example of this, see, especially the Index to Creationist claims.)
  3. Lists of social and technological responses to declining oil production, both proposed and observed.

We live in Interesting Times.  If anything is going to get humanity through the next fifty years (and if I am going to survive the next twenty), it is going to be creative and productive responses to the phenomena facing us.  In a way, it's a great time to be an engineer; the "space race" was just for prestige, but this is for real.