Principia Cultura Hortensis

Appropriate for our last Hackdays, inspired by ancient texts and the Ten Principles from Sunlight Foundation, some rules of thumb for the earnest data gardener :woman_farmer:

I. Good soil :poop:

Ensure you have somewhere to easily publish and update your data. Make sure the environment is fertile, and there’s plenty of room to grow.

II. Water well :potable_water:

Not too little, not too much. There’s a technique to keeping datasets alive, ensuring their sustained improvement, and focusing your resources on where they are needed.

III. Keep out pests :bug:

‘Wild’, out of date, unsupported datasets and buggy/compromised data may bump your stats, but they stifle the visibility and use up resources needed for truly valuable content. Keep a tidy portal, have a culling strategy.

IV. Let in the sun :sun_with_face:

Without promotion, active usage and critical feedback loops the whole point of publishing your data disintegrates.

Lafferty Chuck, USFWS - CC0

Lifes lowest, but far greatest, sphere I sing,
Of all things that adorn the gawdy spring,
Such as in deserts live, whom, unconfin’d,
None but the simple laws of Nature bind,
And those who, growing tame by human care,
The well-bred citizens of gardens are,
Those that aspire to Sol their sires bright face,
Or stoop into their Mother Earths embrace.

– Abraham Cowley, De Plantis Libri VI (1668)