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Frequently Asked Questions

The following are common questions about Click on any question to show or hide the answer.
  • Do I need to register to contribute?
  • No, it is not necessary to register as many functions of can also be used anonymously. You are also welcome to register an account with a pseudonym. There is no such thing as a stupid question, but sometimes it is better to be able to ask freely without your name being attached to it :)

    However for some functions such as voting or accessing the cloud section it is necessary to have an account and we recommend to at least share your first name or a simple nickname to make this community a bit more friendly. You are also welcome to upload a nice picture of yourself.

    Please do not register an "organisational account" to be used by multiple people or something like that.
  • How can I use my Google, Twitter etc. account to log into this website?
  • You can easily sign in or directly register with an external account such as Google or Twitter (more to come) by clicking on the "Google login" (or similar) link in the user menu at the top right of this page. This will redirect you to the respective login page of the provider.

    However, the better way to newly register is to create a normal account on this page (press the register button) and afterwards go to your user profile and link to an external account under the "my logins" section. This will ensure that our system knows a dedicated password for your account so that you can also use the additional services such as the cloud.

    You can also use the above mechanism to link two existing accounts if they share the same email address.

    This website will automatically log you in if it recognized your social account, but please be aware of potential privacy concerns related to utilizing these services. By linking to your Google account for example, Google will always know when and how you use this website. It is therefore recommended to only create a local account as we try our best to protect your privacy.
  • What kinds of questions can I ask here?
  • Most importantly, questions should be relevant to our community. This website is a community of practise related to Water, Sanitation & Hygine topics in humanitarian aid and development work.

    Before you ask, please make sure to search for a similar question. You can search for questions by their title or tags.

    To make life easier for everyone, don't forget to select the most appropriate category for your question and also add some relevant key words ("tags") at the bottom.
  • What kinds of questions should be avoided?
  • Please avoid asking questions that are not related to our WASH community of practise or are too subjective or argumentative. Such contributions are subject to deletion without prior notice.

    Generally speaking we are quite welcoming to new ideas and there is no real harm in also asking about something that might be a somewhat controversial (one of the many reasons anonymous questions are permitted here).

    If you have very country or project specific questions, that is fine... but please give it some thought how this could be linked to a more general issue. It is definitely more likely to get some good responses that way.
  • What should I avoid in my answers?
  • Q&A is a question and answer site - it is not a discussion group. Please avoid holding debates in your answers as they tend to dilute the quality of the forum.

    For brief discussion, or to thank someone for their answer, please post comments, not answers.

    Luckily we have a very nice online chat system for having debates about controversial topics :) And you might even use the real-time collaborative text editor in our cloud to jointly work on a detailed text that works out the controversies beforehand.
  • Who moderates this community?
  • The short answer is: you. This website is moderated by the users. Points system allows users to earn rights to perform a variety of moderation tasks. Please try your best to help out once you have acquired sufficient points.

    There is of course also a team of administrators who make sure the website runs and who try their best to keep it SPAM free. Note however that this website is a volunteer run (=non commercial) effort and these administrators work in their free-time only.
  • How does point system work?
  • When a question or answer is voted up, the user who posted it will gain points. These points serve as a rough measure of the community trust in that person. Various moderation tasks are gradually assigned to the users based on those points.

    For example, if you ask an interesting question or useful answer, it will likely be voted up. On the other hand if the question is poorly-worded or the answer is misleading - it will likely be voted down. Each up vote on a question will generate 1 points, whereas each vote against will subtract 1 points. The following table lists points gained per activity:

    Posting a question: + 20 points
    Selecting an answer for your question: + 30 points
    Per up vote on your question: + 10 points
    Per down vote on your question: - 10 points
    Limit from up votes on each question: + 100 points
    Limit from down votes on each question: 30 points
    Posting an answer: + 40 points
    Having your answer selected as the best: + 300 points
    Per up vote on your answer: + 20 points
    Per down vote on your answer: - 20 points
    Limit from up votes on each answer: + 200 points
    Limit from down votes on each answer: 50 points
    Limit from up votes on each comment: + 100 points
    Limit from down votes on each comment: + 30 points
    Voting up a question: + 10 points
    Voting down a question: + 10 points
    Voting up an answer: + 10 points
    Voting down an answer: + 10 points
    Add for all users: + 100 points

    The following table lists point requirements for each type of moderation task.

  • What other services are hosted on
  • This website aims to provide a wide range of useful collaboration tools and also act as a free culture knowledge repository.

    For now there is a documentation Wiki and a WASH related RSS feed collection that automatically collects news from various external sources.

    Alternatively you can also follow our curated links and news commentary Shaarli here. It also offers a distraction free daily summary. Both services can be subscribed to via RSS feed, or you can get the same on our Twitter.

    You are also able to access to the internal Nextcloud (same account as the Q&A page) that offers a host of additional collaboration tools & the option to share small files and photos.

    Last but not least, you can now access our XMPP based microblogging and chat system. Just use our account name from the Q&A website and add to log in. Congratulations, you have now your own a federated XMPP chat address to also use outside of this website :)

    The currently used main server-side software is:
    • Question2Answers as the main portal and Q&A system
    • Nextcloud for the cloud system (including various apps for it)
    • Dokuwiki for the Wiki
    • Shaarli link sharing and microblogging tool
    • FreshRSS as the RSS feed reader
    • Movim as the XMPP social chat sytem (with ejabberd as the server)
    • EtherPad for as the collaborative text editor in the cloud
    • as a self-hosted diagram editor in the cloud
    The servers are hosted in France and thus fall under (limited) French data-protection laws.
  • Why do I have to agree to license my contributions under the CC-by-SA?
  • This website aims to create a free-culture knowledge repository on topics related to WaSH. The Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike license is vital to this goal as it protects you and anyone else using the site by ensuring that any content can be freely shared and improved on.

    This is similar to how the Wikipedia or OpenStreetMap works for example.
  • What is the background of this website?
  • This website was initially created in 2017 to fill a gap in the WASH sector, where people often stick to their preferred sub-topic such as Sanitation and/or rarely interact with people outside of their respective workplace / organisation.

    As a site not affiliated to any specific organisation and purely run by volunteers, we are open to all. Of course this also means that we depend on your contributions and participation!

    Strong emphasis was also put to have a low entry barrier to participation & making sure that the site is useable on low end mobile devices and bad internet connections.

    We also believe that all software and services should be open-source and protect your privacy instead of locking you into "walled gardens" like commercial services such as Facebook or LinkedIn do.
  • Still have questions?
  • Please ask your question and help make our community better!

    If there is anything lacking, please use the feedback form.