Traditional, paper travel guides may be considered competing with Wikitravel, but normally they are not in most cases: we use both for different purposes and information.
That's not the case; our goal with Wikitravel is to make open-source, peer-created versions of these travel guides. I don't want a page recommending that people ignore our guides and go use proprietary ones instead. --Evan 11:00, 30 November 2006 (EST)
That's right, we aim to become major competitor for paper guides; but it's really far-far from being reality today. How many countries can we name for which Wikitravel can be a sufficient substitute for a guidebook for traveller? 1? 3? That means that for the rest of the world of destinations we are far from the goal that we all share, which means that people do and will use paper guides for a long time. We can either ignore that, stay with illusion that they don't use (and even don't need to use) anything beyond Wikitravel--OR we can help them to find a right guide for their needs in addition to Wikitravel before we conquer the World :-). I think 2nd way is better. What is your opinion?
BTW, I never said we'd like people to ignore our guides. I'm just trying to help them a better complement to their Wikitravel experience, basing on their different needs. --DenisYurkin 11:36, 30 November 2006 (EST)
When I started off on Wikitravel I created a similar page, which was deleted. I could have sworn that other guides were useful, but since then I reexamined some of paper guides and I've noticed that if you stack them up against Wikitravel other guides are nearly useless. One of my least favorite experiences was looking for this jazz club and according to Lonely Planet it was on Arnulfstraße. I spent an hour walking back and forth on Arnulfstraßse and on the alleyways that lined the street. Finally, I gave up looking for the place and nearly a month later I saw an advertisement for the place and I discovered that it was actually on Einsteinstraße. The unique thing about Wikitravel is its ability to remain up-to-date and rarely be out-of-date, but the only reason that possible is if we don't recommend alternatives to Wikitravel. -- Andrew H. (Sapphire) 12:02, 30 November 2006 (EST)
> but the only reason that possible is if we don't recommend alternatives to Wikitravel.
Could you elaborate this? Why leaving people without information on other guides help Wikitravel so much to remain up-to-date?
Secondly, same question as to Evan: could you list countries where you can go using no paper guides, but planning your trip entirely on information from Wikitravel (and no other guides)?
I mean: yes, we are more up-to-date in quite a few countries, but for everything rest we have much less details and practical advice right now than in paper guides for that countries. --DenisYurkin 12:48, 30 November 2006 (EST)
I've used Wikitravel guides exclusively when I travel since... early 2004, say? My last few trips have been to Cambridge (Massachusetts), Copenhagen, Bay Area (California). I've found all the guides to be really good. I really like going to places where there's not much info in the Wikitravel guide (we're off to Lake Placid this weekend, for example): I look forward to doing some research while I'm travelling.
Making a travel guide supplement is an explicit non-goal. We want to make an open source replacement for Lonely Planet or Rough Guides books (that LP or RG could use!), not just comment on them. We don't have lots of links to external Web travel guides on our destination pages for the same reasons; I think it slows down the level of contribution and gives the wrong impression to readers. It's a question of incentive.
That all said, I guess one of our main advantages is that we're a pretty open project. Picking a travel guide is one of the things travellers need to, so I guess it's in play as a travel topic. I wish that people who are reading and contributing to Wikitravel would pick Wikitravel, but I guess some people won't. --Evan 14:26, 30 November 2006 (EST)
I, unfortunately, haven't been able to use Wikitravel guides as often as I would like to (throw that up to the economy), but when I do Wikitravel guides usually prove more valuable than any paper guide does.
If I have to resort to a paper guide I check the American guide books of certain brands and always check the page on Cincinnati, which unfortunately is often deigned to half a page! What's even more appalling is that the information provided is often outdated by two or more years! Wikitravel may not be able to cover every destination as well as we'd prefer, but that also means we can almost safely assume that paper guides also are unable to adequately keep up-to-date guide books. The big difference between them and us is that anyone can come along and improve our coverage, while Lonely Planet has to wait upto five years for information to updated or replaced. -- Andrew H. (Sapphire) 14:49, 30 November 2006 (EST)
In general I agree with the majority on this. I don't see much usefulness in a separate article on rival guides (which is what we're really talking about, rather than paper / printed). As I wrote here I'm not against the idea of mentioning specific rival guides in specific situations. (Incidentally I found this bit of infovery useful and am glad I saw it before it was deleted). But as a general article, this doesn't really qualify as a travel topic. (More of a meta-topic? Hmmm, how about a guide on how to choose other travel guides? -- "accomodations listings are more important than transportation routes..." :) )
Another problem I see in this article is future growth. How could it expand much beyond a few paragraphs on each series (consisting basically of "good accomodations listings, bad restaurant reviews, aimed at independent backpackers", etc.)? And the rival guide series are themselves quite limited in number. Everyone knows Lonely Planet, most people know Fodor's and Rough Guide. So what else is there worth mentioning? -- Paul Richter 21:37, 7 February 2007 (EST)
Paul, thanks for following up. BTW, what specifically did you find useful in this piece, assuming everyone knows Lonely Planet?
The best, and currently only travel guide book to PNG is the Lonely Planet Papua New Guinea.
The statement that it was the only guide saved me from looking around for a RoughGuide PNG, Nelles PNG, 地球の歩き方 PNG (Japanese equivalent of LP) etc... Seriously! -- Paul Richter 21:55, 5 March 2007 (EST)
As long as it was useful, why don't we discuss allowing pieces like this in articles on specific destinations? --DenisYurkin 00:24, 6 March 2007 (EST)
Recently I have started a page aimed to help travellers to choose a paper travel guide in addition to using Wikitravel--especially for destinations which are not detailed enough at Wikitravel. We had a long discussion on whether it can exist as official Wikitravel article, and by guilty-until-proven-innocent principle decided that it is not yet (see VFD discussion for details). However, Bill-on-the-Hill encouraged to continue working on the article in personal namespace: User:DenisYurkin/Paper travel guides.
Actually, Denis, it was decided that that article was contrary to Wikitravel's goals. Articles like this have been through VfD twice; it was out of respect for your work on Wikitravel that this article wasn't simply speedy-deleted this time (as would normally happen).
That's strange. I thought that the Wikitravel:Deletion policy was pretty clear on this. Denis, is there part of that page that's not clear? --Evan 12:25, 21 December 2006 (EST)
Having written the "conflicting information," let me weigh in here. The challenge before Denis is to find some way, if possible, of accommodating the different viewpoints about an article like this. It is no more constructive to say there "must not" be such an accommodation than that there "must" be one. The question is whether there can be one. At this point the verdict is still out on that, although I tend to suspect there cannot. Perhaps Denis, and those who work with him, will succeed in proving me (and you) wrong.
As for his page, I don't see anything inappropriate in any way about using it as a "sandbox" to try to produce something that works. There is precedent for that; remember the User:Daniel575 fracas of earlier this year? The outcome on that one turned out to be a page that satisified enough people regarding appropriateness (myself not among them, btw) that the page endures. I believe we owe Denis a similar amount of rope -- with the proviso that it will remain ONLY a sandbox unless and until the objections have been dealt with and something agreed appropriate has been written. -- Bill-on-the-Hill 12:37, 21 December 2006 (EST)
I agree with Evan that this is shouldn't be a recruiting center for work on a deleted article. I think the advice that you received about posting a notice on the pub was ill considered and I'd prefer that this notice be removed from the pub. If, you want to nominate the article for undeletion go for it, but I'd discuss the goals of the article in your sandbox. Feel free to invite people to discuss the article on your user page, but posting the notice here is disrespectful to the community. -- Andrew H. (Sapphire) 12:39, 21 December 2006 (EST)
WTF? Your attitude is disrespectful to the community. It's the Pub, you can say what you want, and people are free to heed it or ignore it. Same applies to user pages. Jpatokal 22:35, 21 December 2006 (EST)
I don't think my attitude conveys disrespect. The page was VFD'd, went through the process, and was deleted according to community policies. The vote ratio was 4:3, which isn't an overwhelming consensus, but Bill felt that the vote coupled with the policy that vfd'd pages are "guilty until proven innocent" was enough reason to delete the page. There is some disrespect in courting people in a community gathering spot to work on a deleted article that was deleted by the community. Now, if in any way I was disrespectful to Denis I will apologize to him, but I was not disrespectful toward the community in stating that because Denis was displaying some disrespect toward the processes set up by the community so I will not apologize for my attitude on the subject. -- Andrew H. (Sapphire) 23:19, 3 January 2007 (EST)
I'm not disputing the VFD process, but I do think telling people that they can't even discuss the subject Pub-licly is disrespectful. Denis should be able to continue work in his own space and tell people so on Talk pages, and if enough people join in to overturn the previous consensus, then the page can be recreated. Jpatokal 00:29, 4 January 2007 (EST)
Well, I've said my piece, as have you. I'll take your opinion into account, but I won't promise to convert. Until then can we agree to disagree? -- Andrew H. (Sapphire) 00:59, 4 January 2007 (EST)
I think there's probably some truth from both of you. It is pretty disrespectful of community decisions to continue to work on this article. However, sometimes disrespect is called for, and I honestly believe that Denis has the project's best interest at heart by persisting on this article. We probably shouldn't quash discussions that happen here in the pub or elsewhere. --Evan 23:25, 21 December 2006 (EST)
Given that the vfd was somewhat contentious, I don't see a problem with Denis trying to work on something in a Sandbox to try to show, by example, that the subject matter could be useful as an article. He does after all only need to convince a few more of us, and an example is a great way of clarifying what the article could look like. Once Denis thinks his example is sufficient, then he can nominate it for undeletion -- and point people at his example of what the article might look like. In the meantime, it is reasonable for Denis to invite the community to participate. -- Colin 23:22, 21 December 2006 (EST)
That sounds like a good plan to me. --Evan 23:25, 21 December 2006 (EST)
OK, let's go back to this story. I found several mentions of Lonely Planet or other guidebooks in Wikitravel. It would help me much if I understand which of these uses are considered acceptable by the wikitravel community. Would anyone help? (feel free to ignore my grouping)
London#Restaurants: Start off with a printed guide (spend some time in a bookshops and have a free browse for some ideas, particularly Harden's London Restaurants, Time Out books such as the 'Eating & Drinking Guide' and 'Cheap Eats in London' as they are generally very reliable)
Kenya#Sleep: Lonely Planet's guidebook to Kenya is a good reference for places to stay.
Gap year travel#Cope: Lonely Planet's The Gap Year Book - Is a guide book that offer advice to young travelers about to embark on an adventure before or after entering university.
Thanks a lot. --DenisYurkin 16:39, 4 February 2007 (EST)
All except the one about "sketch a map to stick in your pocket" are not acceptable. In that context, it's more about "copy a map from <somewhere>" with lonely planet as just an example instead of pointing to it as a source of info. -- Colin 17:22, 4 February 2007 (EST)
Agreed. All of those are things that need to be fixed, not replicated. I mean, some of them are first person recommendations which is totally out of line with the MoS, some of them recommend old copies, and all of suggest that these guidebooks would somehow be more reliable/up-to-date than Wikitravel. Thumbs down all around. Maj 22:54, 4 February 2007 (EST)
As a suggested point of clarification, I'd say that referring people to print guides isn't always inappropriate. A print guide containing information not within the Goals of Wikitravel is different from a print guide that merely has a head start on collecting the same kind of information we're trying to provide here. For example, in the Isle Royale article, I suggested a book that describes each of the trails in detail, which is not something we want to do here. (The book also covers some of the same topics our article does, but that's not what I mentioned it for.) This is similar to how we link to Wikipedia and other online resources that have useful and related - but non-Goal - information. - Todd VerBeek 23:39, 9 February 2007 (EST)
Sorry, but I personally don't get it... why do we need to talk about other guides? Is there a note in the back of an LP that says "Check out Wikitravel for any info not contained here"? Is there a note on a can of Coke suggesting to try Pepsi if you're not entirely satisfied with the flavor of Coke? People know what the alternatives are, they can find them in any bookstore. What's the point here? How is this actually useful in any way? If there's something missing from an article on WT then we should encourage people to "plunge forward" rather than "go elsewhere". This seems totally obvious to me, am I missing something? – cacahuatetalk 16:48, 28 June 2008 (EDT)
I think that straightforward comparison with traditional guides that never recommend their competitors is not quite correct here.
When a user can't find enough info at Wikitravel, he will end up with some other guidebook in most cases--not write it himself (as most of them are not adventurous enough to travel without any guidebook). However, when he come back from his trip, he will have some experience to share--and if we helped him to choose guidebook, we'll increase chances he will contribute his insights and tips to Wikitravel--rather than send it to Lonely Planet, which attaches a feedback postcard to every guidebook it sells.
And I don't see how we can loose a reader due to this article: we're either better than LP in describing a given destination, or we're weaker--it has nothing to do with whether we help to discover alternative guidebooks.
I have an indirect analogy which is still relevant. Yandex, major search engine in Russia which leaves Google far behind in Russia (60% controlled by Yandex vs 25% by Google) provides links to search with other search engines at the bottom of every search page. For Yandex, it gives a perfect evidence of what search queries it's not really good in--and Yandex uses it to improve its search algorithms. Similarly, if we allow users to share their recommendations on competing travel guides, we'll find out where are strengths (and weaknesses) of them compared to Wikitravel--initially on a global scale; later on a destination-by-destination basis. --DenisYurkin 17:27, 28 June 2008 (EDT)
I see only 2 avenues that this article could take: a) an overview review of printed guidebooks b) develop it into a list by destination of who has the best coverage of each destination. If it sticks with A, which it essentially is now, there's not really much room for development... what else can you really say about them that's relevant to us and not grasping for straws? Or, developing it into option B, we'd be creating a huge unmaintainable list.
Your point about Yandex is interesting, but I'd bet that what you mention about improving search algorithms is their entire motive for offering that, since it benefits them; I don't see how an article with printed guidebook reviews benefits WT though. However, I don't see anything wrong with users commenting on article talk pages about which printed guidebook has the best coverage of that destination. That would seem to make the most sense to me, and the best place for that kind of info – cacahuatetalk 18:37, 28 June 2008 (EDT)
Avenue a: I think there's at least a dozen of international travel guide series, plus, I suppose, several series published locally in US / UK / Australia (not to mention non-English countries). That makes a half-A4 article--not bad, I think. What's next--map publishers?
Avenue b: I agree that our judgment on what guidebook will help best should belong to a destination, not to a single list standing aside. However, I would be more radical and suggest to put recommendations on an article page instead of Talk:Article: "This article is still stub|outline|usable. We don't like to be arrogant, the article is far too from our competitors--so consider guidebook A if you prefer X, and guidebook B if you focus on Y. When you return, come back to Wikitravel to share your experiences". --DenisYurkin 18:04, 29 June 2008 (EDT)
Yikes, good luck getting that one through the community :) Hehe – cacahuatetalk 18:16, 29 June 2008 (EDT)
I can't say I understand your point. The community already voted that it don't like the page as it currently is, and no new supporters emerged since than. So, we're in status quo--don't we? --DenisYurkin 18:29, 29 June 2008 (EDT)
Yes exactly, I was saying if they don't like even an article about them, good luck getting them mentioned in the actual guides. I was teasing you, I know you aren't seriously proposing that :) – cacahuatetalk 11:49, 1 July 2008 (EDT)
What about avenue A?
In general, would you suggest how to move on with making the content we have a part of the official namespace? --DenisYurkin 17:40, 1 July 2008 (EDT)
I think Avenue's A and B are both dead ends... my opinion is that we're aiming to be the most up to date and complete guidebook, and that any energy that we would spend recommending another guide should be spent improving ours – cacahuatetalk 00:17, 2 July 2008 (EDT)
Realistically, I don't see people printing out lots of Wikitravel pages and walking around with them. A book is far easier to handle. So I see nothing wrong with discussing other guides, and certainly don't see them as competitors. I'd like to target people who don't use either Wikitravel or a book. You'd be amazed at the number of people who wander around Rome with just a cheap map from their hotel for company. Shep 16:25, 18 February 2010 (EST)