So, a silly slow-motion edit war is in progress over whether sentence "Gringo males will have no problems getting their bone smooched at this little gem of a place" should be used to describe a club. I, personally, think this line adds little if anything of value, and I've never heard the expression "getting your bone smooched" anywhere else, but neither do I think it's particularly offensive or against our policies. Other opinions? Jpatokal 12:24, 18 June 2007 (EDT)
I can't say I've heard it anywhere else either, but the meaning is pretty obvious. You don't think recommending a place by saying it is easy to get a blow job there is against our policies? I find it pretty crass. Texugo 19:13, 18 June 2007 (EDT)
I concur with Texugo on this one. Cripes, we'll have bone smooching all over WT. Next thing you know there will be swallow specials and depth-of-throat wars. Let the traveller find his own pimps. OldPine 16:00, 6 October 2007 (EDT)
This listing doesn't look very useful to me. It seems to violate our tour policy, as the substance of the tour can be fulfilled by the traveler. Claiming to take tourists to places they wouldn't be able to find on their own doesn't count, because this article could simply list those places. That's not what the tour policy is intended to cover; it means that the tour must take people places that they would not be allowed to go under non-tour circumstances. I mean, come on, it uses public transportation; it's not even a chartered vehicle! LtPowers 14:18, 16 May 2010 (EDT)
BTW I AM NOT VANESSA. I am an experienced traveler in South America. So, how does a traveler manage to report something very exciting that she would like to turn other people on to? I did the best I can with the names of the places, a description, and to report how I got there using different buses and trufis with their numbers and names, how long it took and what I saw. Such as: ...overlooks the Achocalla Valley, so we jumped on a minibus No 377 and went to the end of the line at Mercado Llojeta, had a cup of coffee and jumped on a trufi run by the Sindicato Avaroa to Alpacoma.
Without Vanessa I never would have even heard of these places, much less in my limited time figured out how to get to them. A person really has to cite the author of any trip they design just as they would a research paper, magazine article or whatever. So do I just rip off her research finding these places and her lifelong experience? Or do I just say something like WOW that was a great tour or trip and leave it at that? I am really mystified if a user cant write a review. What if I go on a tour and it was a rip off or a hostal and it sucks?
And what is wiki/extras? Where, as a wikitravel user, does someone post their experiences.
There's a convenient link to Wikitravel Extra in the left-hand sidebar, underneath "Uploads & bug reports". It's at http://extra.wikitravel.org/ - That's the place for anecdotes, reviews, and stories. LtPowers 21:54, 21 June 2010 (EDT)
Cool! I talked to some friends and they said that some of what I put up sounded like spam, and that sites such as wiki have trouble with advertising posts. So, sorry, now I get it. I talked to Vanessa and she says go ahead and put the areas we visited up without her name. Is that acceptable? Oh, per your comment about using public transport. The La Paz system is quite complex and travelors can save huge amounts of money if they learn the basics of using minibus and microbuses. Thats one of the things I learned.
Don't just post up an itinerary of places you went, whether Vanessa's name is attached or not. But of course you can incorporate information you've learned into the article; that's exactly what we want. Take a look at some of our Star articles for examples of how best to do write for our travel guides! LtPowers 16:42, 22 June 2010 (EDT)
I removed this listing because someone marked it as closed:
Ram Jam (Closed) Presbitero Medina 2124, near Plaza Avaroa , is another popular place, Less gringos than Mongos. Serves Saya beer from Adventurebrew hostel. Occasional live gigs. 0,6 l beer 18 Bs. Saturday cover charge 10 Bs.
I added a listing for a Spanish teacher to the La Paz article last night, and it was reverted without comment a little later. Can someone explain why? What did I do wrong? Is it because I didn't have an account?
I'll undo the revert in a short while if it isn't explained, as I can currently see no reason for it.
Perhaps my editing summary explained this for you. We don't list individuals on Wikitravel. I've never seen an exception that stood that I can think of. Please make an argument for why this should be an exception and wait for others to comment before restoring your listing again. Thanks a lot. Also, on "Talk" pages, please sign your posts by typing 4 tildes in a row. Ikan Kekek 01:11, 25 January 2012 (EST)
Thanks for the explanation. However, Wikitravel does list individuals, whether this is policy or not, as demonstrated in the section under discussion: Iris Calacoto is clearly an individual offering private tuition. See also the Learn section in Sucre, where two private tutors are listed - down from three, since I removed Rita Clavijo from the list when I added her to the La Paz Learn section (she has moved from Sucre to La Paz in order to support her daughter's studies there).
Please not that I do not intend to suggest the deletion of the above mentioned listings; they are valuable resources for travellers, removing them would reduce the usefulness of Wikitravel, and they are all long-standing listings whose removal at this point would smack of arbitrary self-justification.
As it happens, I think there is a strong argument for listing individual language tutors. Of those travellers who wish to improve their understanding of the language(s) of the country in which they're travelling, many find formal school environments impossible to learn in (or cannot conveniently fit in with such schools timetables), and require private tuition in order to progress; a ban on listing individual tutors makes these students lives more difficult for no discernible benefit.
Also, in Bolivia at least, the Spanish schools are notorious for ripping off both their students and their teachers, charging ridiculous amounts for homestays and lying about the amount passed on to the families concerned, falsely claiming to donate a proportion of their profit to local charities, etc. etc., and many travellers prefer to arrange private tuition for this reason alone.
Further, in my experience the best language teachers universally choose to work outside the schools. No teacher with talent puts up with their atrocious pay and inflexibility of curriculum for very long, so they are usually staffed by inexperienced University students who are doing the work as a sideline, and have no real interest in teaching.
Finally, a ban on individuals is trivial to circumvent. No doubt now that I've raised the issue, some eagle-eyed editor would spot it in this particular case, but if Rita had decided to promote herself as the "Instituto Clavijo" or somesuch, I doubt the editors of Wikitravel would have the resources to discover her cunning subterfuge. Schesis 03:49, 25 January 2012 (EST)
Update: I've just spent some time looking around the help, policy etc. pages, and can find no reference to a ban on listings of individuals anwhere. As can probably be gathered from what I wrote above, I think that such a ban, if it exists, is counterproductive, but since I can't find any evidence of its existence, that makes it rather difficult to challenge. Can someone point me at the relevant page(s), if any exist? Schesis 05:21, 25 January 2012 (EST)
Schesis, Wikitravel will always be work in progress. We are by far not enough editors and admins to control all articles. Our general policy is to assume good faith in anyone here and you are free to change/delete listings here that you find in contradiction to our policies. See Plunge forward and tour policy as basis for moving forward and that tour guides need to offer something special to be listed here. I would support Ilkan's position as we have a huge amount of spam of language teachers, we assume good faith in general but circumvention is a reality we don't like but can't cope with. If Rita (the discussed language teacher) has something to offer that is different to other operator imho most editors/admins would be more likely to allow that listing. Regards, Jc8136 07:50, 25 January 2012 (EST)
Phew. I just read through the last hundred edits to this page, so that I could see what you meant by "a huge amount of spam of language teachers" ... more radio buttons than I've clicked in a long while :-/
What I found relating to language learning were a number of minor edits correcting what appeared to be honest mistakes (mainly relating to Iris Calacoto, who despite being an individual, I notice was not removed at any point), and one extended and frankly egregious example of misbehaviour from ABC Spanish Tuition School through the first half of 2011, including repeated reinsertions of touting language, and in a couple of instances the malicious removal of a competing school's listing. Again, I notice that despite this flagrant abuse of documented Wikitravel policy, their listing is still up.
I have also attempted an exhaustive search through Wikitravel's policy and help pages, and can still find no reference to any policy barring individual listings. While I really don't want to get into an edit war over this, I do think it's incumbent on anyone asserting a policy violation as justification for a removal to provide some evidence of said policy, especially when the facts on the ground strongly suggest that no such policy is generally applied in practice.
Jc8136, you suggested I consider Plunge forward and tour, and that "tour guides need to offer something special". I'm not sure if this is exactly what you meant, but neither page actually says that, or, to my mind, anything equivalent. tour does say (to paraphrase slightly) that tours should offer something that Wikitravel can't, and that a traveller couldn't accomplish by themselves - which I don't think applies to language teachers, unless all learners are assumed to be autodidacts or Wikitravel has a comprehensive "teach yourself Spanish" section that I've somehow missed.
Furthermore, I don't think any of the existing listings in the Learn section meet a "special" criteria - once the promotional language is removed, none of them (except Sra. Calacoto, perhaps) offers anything beyond what every other language school offers. However, perhaps Rita can meet the "special" criteria to the satisfaction of WT editors - let's see. For reference, here's the listing I added in the first place, verbatim:
Rita Clavijo, Calle Juan Manuel Loza esq. Prudencio (Miraflores, between Parque Laicacota and Estadio Obrero), ☎ +591 728 89 364 (email@example.com), . Private tuition from a friendly teacher with more than ten years experience teaching Spanish.(-16.503692,-68.123592)edit
In fact, while I hadn't read any of Wikitravel's policy pages at the time I added the listing, I was consciously attempting to avoid what I now know is termed "touting" language here, and with that in mind made a point of keeping the listing as concise and un-"promotional" as possible ... but perhaps I can improve it somewhat in light of the "special" criteria. How does this look?
Rita Clavijo, Calle Juan Manuel Loza esq. Prudencio (Miraflores, between Parque Laicacota and Estadio Obrero), ☎ +591 728 89 364 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . For those who find learning in a formal school environment difficult, or whose schedules make fitting in with a school's timetable impossible, Rita offers private tuition at whatever time is most convenient, either at her home, your hostel, or a quiet café of your choice. With more than ten years experience teaching Spanish, and a positive, adaptable approach based on her extensive study of cognitive theory, Rita specialises in helping students who have found that rigid, traditional approaches don't work for them.(-16.503692,-68.123592)edit
Describing what makes Rita special as a teacher (and she is) while steering clear of language that might be considered touting is difficult, but I have done my best here. I'd welcome suggestions for improving the listing further, but as it stands, I think it's already considerably better written and more conformant to Wikitravel policy than any of the current listings on the page. I may, of course, be biased :-)
As it happens, I am in the process of helping Rita to build a website advertising her services, and as a result I have a file containing about thirty very glowing testimonials from former students - but I assume that including anything of that kind would be considered touting. I can, however, post some of them here if anyone is interested, and with a little effort, may be able to get agreement from some of the people who offered them to confirm their veracity.
I have to admit that what started as a straightforward attempt to help a friend by moving her (never contested) listing from Sucre to La Paz because of her move has now taken far longer than I anticipated. I also believe it unlikely that any of the currently listed schools have worked as hard to jump through what are starting to feel like arbitrary hoops.
So, is this enough? Does she get in, or do the listings remain restricted to crooks like ABC?
(okay, that was grouchy - my apologies. But it is proving surprisingly difficult to contribute to Wikitravel, and my normally pleasant demeanour may have suffered as a result).
Hi, Schesis. I'm sorry this process has become disagreeable to you. This site is maintained by volunteer editors, and we function on consensus. I am very torn about this, not because I have any doubts about this particular case (you've pretty much convinced me that she is a legitimate instructor), but because if we start to allow individuals to list, we might be overwhelmed with such listings. Any other individual whose listing was allowed to stand probably had a listing no-one ever got around to deleting. I will say this: A website will probably help make the listing seem more legitimate to other editors who have a look. But I am generally concerned that listings for businesses of all types are unreliable and are not and really cannot be subjected to any kind of consistent quality checks on this site. I feel like, while it is possible to attack touting, it is probably a losing battle to try to make sure whatever is listed is really an honest, quality business. But those larger musings aside, I'd like to see what other people have to say before giving a firm opinion on the implications of allowing a listing for an individual. But do keep working with us, and please don't feel discouraged. If I did anything that suggested to you that I don't value your contributions and efforts, please let me assure you, it was nothing personal and was based only on what has been considered best for the site, to date, in my experience.
All the best, Ikan Kekek 03:45, 26 January 2012 (EST)
Thanks, IK. So just when do we decide the indentation level in here has gotten out of hand? Anyway, cracking straight on ...
re: "if we start to allow individuals to list, we might be overwhelmed with such listings" - well, we don't have to wonder; we can look at the evidence.
Anyway ... Sra. Palacios listing was added over a year ago, and has not resulted in a flood of similar listings; my review of the last hundred edits showed (or so I thought - see below) that there were no other attempts to add listings for individual teachers between Sra. Palacios on 14 January 2011 and my attempt to add Rita on 23 January 2012. So: one attempt per year ... hardly overwhelming.
However: as you might imagine, I've been talking to Rita about what's happening with her listing ... and she noticed something I didn't. "ABC Spanish Tuition School" - who you may recall from earlier in this conversation was guilty of repeated, flagrant policy violations, but whose listing remains - lists its address as Avenida Simon Bolivar 1880, which happens to be about five minutes walk from Rita's house. This confused her, as she thought she knew all of the Spanish Schools in her neighbourhood, so she went to take a look, and ... it's a private house.
A little digging around reveals that "ABC Spanish Tuition School" is a trading name of William Ortiz - an individual teacher (albeit one who pretends to be a school). She even got hold of one of his flyers, which maintains the pretence - I can post a scan if you like.
Now, Sr. Ortiz may very well be an excellent teacher for all I know, but that brings the count of private individuals listed on the page to two out of five. After agonizing over this somewhat, I've edited the section in the light of this information (and fixed Sra. Palacios' listing at the same time). Hopefully it is clear that I've only done this in the interests of accuracy. Personally, if I'd been an editor at the time of Sr. Ortiz' misbehaviour last year, I'd have banned him permanently, but I wasn't, and in any case, as a friend of one of his competitors it would feel wrong to do so.
I think the example of Sr. Ortiz and his "school" serves to illustrate the wrongheadedness of any ban on individual listings - as I previously argued, such a ban is trivial to circumvent, and in fact encourages deceptive behaviour on the part of individual teachers. During my conversations with Rita, she has suggested that maybe Wikitravel will be happier if she lists herself as something like "Instituto Clavijo", and while I know she intended no attempt to deceive by this suggestion, I've persuaded her that such an action would not be well received. However, as you can see, it is a solution to the problem that others have acted on.
At this point I'd like to summarize my argument, because this conversation is becoming quite long, and perhaps offputting to an editor or admin who stumbles across it. So ...
It is asserted that Wikitravel has a policy against listing individual language teachers, as justification for the removal of a listing by Rita Clavijo.
I disagree with that justification, for the following reasons:
The policy is not documented; or at least, repeated requests to provide documentation for it have not been met, and a thorough search of Wikitravel's published policy and help pages has proved fruitless. An informal, unwritten agreement between a subset of editors and admins (if that is what we're actually talking about) should not be considered to constitute policy, and such an undisclosed agreement goes against the spirit of Wikitravel and wikis in general.
The policy is wrong: Many learners find private tuition more productive than a formal school environment, and a significant number are unable to learn satisfactorily at all in a school.
The policy is trivial to circumvent, and indeed encourages deceptive and inaccurate listings, as demonstrated by the case of William "ABC" Ortiz.
The only justification so far given for the policy (that allowing individual listings would result in a flood of spam) is not supported by evidence, as demonstrated by the lack of listing attempts in more than a year since self-described private tutor Iris Palacios was listed.
The policy is not enforced in practice, or at least, not consistently. This is not merely oversight; the listing for Iris Palacios is obviously for a private tutor, and has been edited several times since its inclusion, but never removed.
... I think that's about it. Thanks, IK, for continuing this dialogue. On the subject of websites ... yes. There will be something better than the current holding page at http://ritaclavijo.com - but it is taking a while, as I have my plate full with work at the moment, and I want it to look a little better than ... well, this: http://abc-spanishtuition.tk
The thing is, any policy has to take into account all other guides, not just the La Paz guide. I'm not arguing this point with you now and appreciate the work you've put into this, but I think we need more response from others to achieve a consensus. Ikan Kekek 15:41, 27 January 2012 (EST)
One issue that will have to be considered before making a decision on listings of individuals is the number of individuals who seek to list themselves as tour guides and drivers all over the place. A decision would have to be made about which categories individuals can be listed in. Ikan Kekek 06:17, 28 January 2012 (EST)
(indent)... I have been watching this discussion recently and have not contributed earlier as the situation is fraught with contradictions. It is difficult to provide an opinion on this that is in any significant way in variance with Ikan Kekek's explanation. He has already very clearly and succinctly described the problem at hand in listing an individual service provider. I believe he is quite correct in what has been stated and I agree with all points that he has made. Also I might add that Ikan is an admin here so you have not been getting advice from someone on a whim. I am very familiar with his editing style. Our activities often overlap on many articles here so I see his common sense approach and decision making style on this site, normally on a daily basis.
As already outlined by Ikan, the issue of supporting the listing of individuals opens all sorts of problems up as a staggering number of taxi and car drivers, tour guides and assorted other individuals seek to list in these articles. Some are incredibly persistent and are really only interested in self promotion. However some of them may have degrees from a university qualifying them as experts in archeology, architecture or anthropology or have a depth of local knowledge and awareness (regardless of formal qualification) that is otherwise unavailable, whilst others are possibly just opportunistic touts and souvenir sellers.
It seems without question that this language teacher Rita Clavijo is a legitimate and professional service provider. I certainly agree that the prevailing policy can be, and not doubt is circumvented by others who may be only providing a veneer of operating a language school. Possibly it would be more correct in this instance to remove the listings of all providers who are not operating as a legitimate language school, however that is also fraught with difficulty.
If Rita Clavijo is a licenced teacher and is permitted to legally operate a language tuition service in La Paz providing tuition services by one or more teachers then perhaps we should allow her to list her service here. I note she is also offering some fixed location services such as internet access by WiFi and some sort of accommodation service. If Rita Clavijo is operating from a fixed address rather than doing call outs and is providing some student facilities, student resources, volunteer placements, is packaging associated homestay arrangements and other associated services of benefit to a traveller seeking foreign language tuition at that address, and is licenced to do so at that address, then perhaps she should be listed here.
Any persons who are not holding appropriate qualifications (and licences if they are required in La Paz) should not be listed here as they may be thinly disguised accommodation booking services or tour guide operators. Schesis please do understand that this is a difficult and potentially contentious decision to make. I also add that I am only giving an opinion here and attempting to further underline what Ikan has already outlined. If Ikan decides to make a positive recommendation to proceed with listing Rita Clavijo's language service I will support him (in the context of consensus) in doing that. I hope this slightly convoluted explanation assists the matter a little. -- felix 12:35, 28 January 2012 (EST)
Thanks, felix ... I've left this discussion alone for a little while in line with Ikan's suggestion that more response from others is needed to acheive a consensus, but although I'm not familiar with the pace of discussion here, there doesn't seem to be anyone else interested in chipping in ... so ...
The big concern seems to be that once individuals are allowed ... and I won't keep banging on too much about how they already are ;-) ... there'll be a flood of not only language teachers but tour guides, taxi drivers, etc. etc. I can see the point there, but realistically, a blanket policy just isn't going to work in the latter case.
You can't throw a rock without hitting a taxi in La Paz, and it would be pointless to list them there ... but I speak from the heart when I say that if I'd known the phone number of a taxi driver one time I was in Yotala and missed the last bus back to Sucre, for example, I would have been a much happier bunny. An unexpected several-hour walk at night along an unlit road that you don't know is not always fun, and for a lone (especially female) traveller, could be very dangerous. I'm sure people can think up other examples for themselves; the point is that tourist locations are extremely diverse, and no blanket policy of that sort on any subject is ever going to make sense in every case.
On the subject of 'licensed language teachers': there's no such thing in Bolivia, unless you're going to count the National Insurance certificates anyone doing any kind of business at all in this country is supposed to hang on their wall.
'Qualified' is, of course, another matter, but you can be sure that the teachers employed by the schools don't meet that criterion. As I've already mentioned, they're typically students (usually not even language students) moonlighting from their classes; no-one else would put up with the working conditions. The upshot is that restricting listings to schools practically guarantees that users of Wikitravel will only be able to find the least competent, least experienced teachers.
Anyway ... without wanting to get too monotonous on this subject, I do think it's an important point that the "no private individuals" policy we're talking about does not appear to actually exist. It's not documented, and I've found no examples at all of it being applied except in this particular case ... which can lead one to feel somewhat singled out, especially when other instances that are flagged up, sometimes demonstrating deliberate deception, are studiously ignored.
I think, in the circumstances, it's reasonable to assume that no-one else is likely to contribute to this thread, and I also think it's reasonable that if William Ortiz, Iris Palacios, and the two private teachers that remain in the Sucre article (now that I've deleted Rita from there) are allowed to keep their listings, Rita should be able to keep hers.
Okay, then ... no further discussion in the three weeks since I last raised my head over the parapet.
On that basis, and since I notice that the listing for private teacher William Ortiz has been the subject of another minor edit scuffle and at no point during that episode has anyone here made any attempt to remove his listing, I'm going to assume it's okay to put Rita's listing back too.
As a side note, since it's been a part of the discussion, Rita does now have a website: http://ritaclavijo.com ...