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The address format specified in Wikitravel:Accommodation listings states Don't repeat the city name unless the "city" is different, other listings guidelines have very similar rules. However, this was not enforced for a long time and there are now many articles not following this format, showing city names (and ZIP codes) in their listings just as you would in postal addresses. (Regarding the ZIP codes, very few or possibly none of the city articles mention them.) The big question therefore is: what are we gonna do with that? STENSOFT (talk) 21:53, 2 September 2014 (EDT)
Hello there! Well, my opinion is that we should adhere to the guidelines and avoid useless repetitions (and ZIP codes, I'm not sure they can be useful here on Wikitravel). What do you think? Regards, GiulioC (talk) 04:00, 3 September 2014 (EDT)
Yesterday I undid a change by STENSOFT for this very reason. Apologies! I agree, from now on we should go with the guidelines(just as you both said) and correct all other listings as we come across them. I don't think there's a feature to change all existing listings at once and there are many, many listings with city and zip. Any other ideas?
Postal codes We definitely should include postal codes (ZIP or otherwise) because it can make things much easier for machine reading with apps. Imagine an application that could scrape ZIP codes from a guide and then just make listings or an itinerary automatically for a traveller. You can type in "eat at 8:00, museum before noon, eat at 1:00, hiking before 6:00, eat at 7:00: all within three square miles" and an app could do that based on postal codes. It's important to convert listings into machine-readable format for this purpose as well. Koavf (talk) 23:42, 20 October 2014 (EDT)
New discussion on listings in multiple places
Hi Wikitravel admins, I run a social enterprise travel web platform called backstreetacademy.com We allow anyone in developing countries to create a tour experience and list it on our platform to sell it to tourists. We focus on the underprivileged and disadvantaged in creating these experiences. We have physical offices in Kathmandu, Pokhara, Phnom Penh, Siem Reap & Luang Prabang.
We have posted our listings on these citys' wikitravel pages, some of the earlier ones are even posted by our guests, but they have all since been removed very consistently and judicously. I subsequently got in touch with one of the admins, username: IBcaldera or Jose and discussed this issue and it boils down to a general rule that wikitravel does not allow multiple listings in different city pages. After our discussion, we believe that there can be exceptions to the rule, and that this rule is preventing the flow of important information to the users and reducing the value of the wikitravel page. Here are the reasons why:
1) While websites like ours can be seen as a chain and compared to 'worldwide airlines' and 'hotel chains', i'm sure you can see that while posting the same chains has no value to a user because they already know it to be there and will not be looking for it, they are not aware of this very local business and the information will be of value to them.
2) The information we post in each city is different and customized to each city, and the products we offer in each city is also very different, making every post a customized post with again valuable information about activities travelers can do in the city, without which they will not know about on wikitravel, again reducing the value to the users
3) Choosing one destination to highlight, i guess a common solution prescribed to chains, is not very practical for this as every city is very different, and people who are searching for things to do in Siem Reap for example would obviously not look at the Kathmandu page and would thus miss out on this information.
4) We do have physical locations in each of these cities, not like a virtual website which is just based in one country and selling tours in 100 different cities. In that case they are just replicating listings already on the wikitravel page. All our experiences are however unique and sold exclusively through our website, thus preventing replication of listings and again providing value to users of wikitravel.
5) All the hosts on our platform are people living near the poverty line and would benefit from the support of socially responsible communities such as this, and this exposure would be very helpful for them. A blanket implementation of the rule would really be unnecessarily unfair to them given their non-existent ability to market their services.
I'm sure there are better ways to implement this rule than to simply delete the listings, thus if there are any recommendations, we will be happy to engage and implement them in our writing. I'm sure the addition of this listing would be beneficial to users, which is the end goal of wikitravel, and we would do anything we can to help make it so. If there are any other concerns, feel free to discuss, i'm sure we can get to a consensus for the good of all wikitravel users. Thanks and looking forward! Jamon919 (talk)04:56, 19 September 2014(EDT)
Touting and multiple listings We have policies in place about multiple listings and also touting a good/service/business, etc. because as you pointed out, it is generally the case that a large company or even outright spam will invade and descend upon a free travel guide, thus defeating the purpose of it in the first place. From what you've posted above, your organization is not like that. I feel like this tour would actually be of substantial value to travelers and he comes first in decisions on this site. Although it would be a big change to how this operates, I'm not opposed to it as such. Koavf (talk) 01:16, 19 September 2014 (EDT)
Touting and multiple listings. As Koavf rightfully pointed out we do have policies to specifically prevent this kind of behavior. Even though Jamon919 did make a great point about being eligible for an exception, I, for one, am sorry to say I find this exception a bit of hard to accept. For one thing it's not allowed by our policies, and also I think the benefit to the users by this (kind of) exception is exaggerated and the potential difficult situation such an exception will put Wikitravel in is neglected in Jamon919's argument. It's possible, that we will have many other well-intended business owners/marketers who believe the information about their branches in different cities will benefit Wikitravel users a great deal and post listings here in many different articles, which will enssentially make Wikitravel an advertisement platform. So, even though I find Jamon919's argument very strong and convincing, I'm still inclined that we stick to the rules. I will also be looking forward to other opinions about this discussion. --Binbin (talk) 02:18, 19 September 2014 (EDT)
Thanks for bringing this up Jamon919 (talk). A very tricky subject I think, as not only do you want your listing in multiple articles, the site also offers general tour planning options, which in general we also don´t allow in our articles. However, looking at the site, if I would be traveling in any of those locations, I would love to try some of the activities you offer, so I feel the information could definitely benefit the traveler. I would rather see a listing like yours, then all those chain hotel and taxi listings. I rather see places mentioned that are "hidden gems" and would make a stay extra special, then the same standard listings that a traveler can easily find on his own. But if we allow your link, many other companies will follow, so this would require clear instructions in our policies and guidelines. It already says in these guidelines that if you feel an exception is warranted, to discuss it on the discussion page of the article. So the listing can only be added to the article after a consensus is reached. If not discussed first, the listing should not be allowed. In your case I would probably vote yes to allow the exception. Again, it is a tricky one, as there are various other listings that I have removed in the past that would probably want their listings added back again, so let´s see what others (and also non-admins) have to say about this. Thanks for your input! Adzas (talk) 07:26, 19 September 2014 (EDT)
I think an important way to discuss this issue isn't to classify it as 'enforce the rules vs making an exception' case. I think that is not the issue here. More importantly at the start of every discussion should be the 'user value test': 'Does this information provide value to a traveler who is traveling to this place?' I think it's clear that a wikitravel user would want to know this option, and by preventing it from being listed, no matter the reason, is a form of censorship which places a cost on the user who is deprived of this information. Why should we be depriving the user of this information? I would believe there is a more urgent need to revisit the interpretation of the rules rather than simply enforcing it. There are many practical usage of a multiple listing, and here are 3 examples i take with reference from the Phnom Penh & Siem Reap pages.
1) Handicraft Shop ' Friends & Stuff'
This handicraft shop is listed in both Siem Reap & Phnom Penh. They have physical shops in both places, they are one brand, one company, selling possibly 90% the same products. Should they be classified as multiple listings? There is obvious value for travelers to both cities we cannot assume travelers in one city will definitely travel to the other. And if one listing is deleted, we are depriving the users of that city from knowing about this fabulous shop.
2) Restaurants 'The FCC'
The FCC is both present in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. Its glaringly obvious that both listings should be present, because they are both star attractions in each city, and each FCC is very different from the other, and even after visiting the one in Phnom Penh, as a traveler i would still want to visit the one in Siem Reap, in fact even more as he must have had a great experience at the FCC Phnom Penh. finding out from wikitravel that there is a FCC in Siem Reap is of great value then for the traveler. Similarly, for Backstreet Academy, each location is quite different from the other, as you might see from the courses offered in each city.
There are many examples of guesthouses having branches in both Siem Reap and Phnom Penh: Frangipani villas, Velkommen guesthouse etc. Frangipani itself has a number of listings just inside Phnom Penh, and for good reason as each hotel has a slightly different theme to it. Again it's not useful to delete hotel listings for this reason. Each listing has its own value.
From the above examples, i am sure that a flat enforcement of the rules would mean cleaning up all those as well, and how much value would be wiped off wikitravel if that was to happen. Thus its obvious its not a 'enforce the rules vs making an exception' case. It's more of how do we interpret the rules in every case? And in interpreting the rules, the most important consideration would be to consider the value to the users. Since the above examples make sense, i'm pretty sure the backstreet academy example makes sense too, as will many other business listings.Jamon919 (talk)
Hey guys, thanks for your input so far! Not trying to step on anyone's toes, but both sides are correct. In fact there is no right or wrong here, only a "how do we approach this." As Binbin said we can't allow Wikitravel to become an advertising platform that's certain. It's simply not what we do. Sites like TripAdvisor have cornered the business-oriented travel site space and they do it well. I like to think of Wikitravel in the following manner, "If I were to be planning a trip to a new destination what would I like to know?" Having this in mind, Back Street Academy's services would be an asset, but it has to be handled carefully. Yes, some business have managed to sneak past our eyes onto multiple articles, but with such a popular Wiki, it's difficult to catch every single instance. It's not that we let them through, it's that we didn't catch it. I suggest we try to come up with a new solution in which businesses can list themselves only if the content is catered to that specific location while at the same time observing our current policies on the number of listings per section.
I'm going to step back from my role as admin for a moment and speak as a traveler now. I don't come to wikitravel.com to find out the best hotel in Paris or the best tour service or the best restaurant. I go to TripAdvisor, Yelp, or any similar site for that kind of information because I can find first person reviews. I come to Wikitravel because it will show me multiple ways to get to Paris, points of interest in the city, local activities, general travel info and regulations that I should keep in mind. The businesses are icing, but they are not why I'm here.
I'm proposing an addition to business listing policy - if you can't successfully state how your business is relevant to that destination in your listing, "so long". Under this addendum, Backstreet Academy(and any other business) would be allowed on Wikitravel as long as the business made an expressed interest in proving their relevancy in their listings. Yes there are holes to my idea, holes that we can work together to solve. In the long term, we would cleanse Wikitravel of posts that are spammy and for lack of a better phrase - not up to standard. Thoughts? IBcaldera (talk) 15:26, 19 September 2014 (EDT)
Let's begin by citing the regulation that prohibits multiple listings for a business on multiple destination pages; the rule cited above prohibits multiple mentions on a SINGLE page (i.e. if a particular hotel also has a bar that's "famous" and could be listed on its own). Next, if a change is proposed, it must be in the form of a regulation that can be applied evenly by all editors. Saying the business must make a case for whether it is "relevant" will only lead to everyone saying they are relevant because they are located in that destination, and it turns the decision into a subjective one; i.e. this is "worthy" and that is not. I don't see that as helping, and I don't see how it keeps the Hilton from being able to add listings for every hotel they own in the world, which we do not want. IBobi (talk) 20:51, 19 September 2014 (EDT)
Hello guys, what an interesting debate here! I have to say that I understand each one's point of view, but I think we should stick to our guidelines: even though a company such as Backstreet Academy indeed offers a valuable service for tourists (and I would probably use such a service if I travelled in that region) I think that allowing to insert a listing in every page might attract many other businesses claiming to be “valuable” for any reason. That's why I totally agree with Binbin, we can't allow Wikitravel to become an advertisement platform, it's not WT's purpose. I fear that this could trigger endless discussions here on the Pub or in the articles' talkpages or, worse, edit-wars which is something I'd really hate to see on Wikitravel. If we decide for exceptions (or an addition as suggested by IBcaldera - it's a good idea), then the criteria for these exceptions/additions must be clearly stated on the guidelines or the debate will never end. GiulioC (talk) 04:58, 21 September 2014 (EDT)
Hi everyone, i see your worries about not sticking to the guidelines, but i think if many of us agree about the value of a listing and how it would help in our own travel planning, then the key should be about how to revise the guideline rather than agreeing something has value and then saying it shouldnt be there because the guidelines say so. Guidelines are here to ensure wikitravel stays relevant and valuable to users, and if we are sticking to it to destroy value, then whats the point?
Regarding the influx of businesses and chains saying they are of value, i think:
1) This is a slippery slope argument. 1 business doing so doesn't mean all others will also do so. Secondly, it's not for the business to claim value, its for the admins or users to claim value. Of course every business will claim it has value, but it should not be up to them to justify. It should be for you guys to determine. I don't know how you guys decide things, but it probably can be done the same way with an added guideline of how admins should consider value to the community. Again nothing for business owners to decide besides providing more information if it is debatable.
2) Big chains like everyone mentions which doesn't have value really don't careabout listing on wikitravel. Hilton like someone mentioned simply isn't going to spend effort doing this or debating about its value. What you are afraid of is not going to happen, in this particular scenario.
I'm pretty sure the guideline for an admin to decide if it has value is enough to weed out nonsensical or spammy listings, and as long as a few admins decide that it does have value, then there will be a group of people who would be happy to know about this information. Again, i think the freedom of a wiki, the non-censorship are what embodies such a community, with the exceptions of malicious spammy people who can be blocked, this sort of censorship is really going against the core values of an open source community. Jamon919
Actually, Jamon, this happens constantly. Big corporations hire smaller marketing firms to add their listings to Wikitravel for the same reason you want your listing here: to drive sales. IBobi (talk) 19:00, 23 September 2014 (EDT)
Spamming IBobi is right--spam is a serious problem here. If we were to allow some exception or change to the rules, it would have to be in a structured or predictable way. As though there were specific affiliates for Wikitravel who were agreed upon by the community. The tricky part about that is that it opens up the door to the site being less free and objectively helpful to travelers and it risks an endless stream of "Why not this?" exceptions... Koavf (talk) 00:41, 24 September 2014 (EDT)
As I also said before, a tricky subject....but we can also look at it from a different angle. Instead of debating whether a link should be allowed, why not focus on the main aim of Wikitravel, which is adding valuable information for our travelers. If your business is offering a great experience, why not describe the sights that can be seen in your location, so travelers want to visit the location, and on your user page just add your business name (no advertising, but you can associate yourself with your business on your user page). If a traveler feels your information is helpful he/she may check out your user page, to find out more about you and possibly your business. If they then want to contact you, that is great, and in the meantime we have great valuable information in the article itself. We are not an advertising platform, there are other sites for this, contributors should remember this. Just my thought for the day. Adzas (talk) 05:20, 24 September 2014 (EDT)
After reading everyone's thoughts, I have to agree. The pros don't outweigh the cons. Jamon919 thank you for bringing this up, please accept our apologies on our community's decision. We'd be happy to host your listing in what you believe is your flagship location. Please be assured one of our duties as admins is to catch spammers in multiple articles, we are doing the best we can with the info the system shows us! If you need anything at all please feel free to reach out to myself or anyone who participated in this discussion. I personally know they practice some of the best judgement I've come across during my time here! IBcaldera (talk) 14:30, 24 September 2014 (EDT)
Hello people! I've been recently working on all the city articles for the South Bay and trying to make them into somewhat usable articles. However, it doesn't seem like any one city in this region really fills up an entire article neither are many of the cities a tourist destination. So I've been playing with the idea of merging all of the two dozen city articles into the one South Bay regional article with sub-regions to preserve all the info from past edits. Some of the articles I've worked on here are big on transportation but small on real substance (like, what to do, where to stay, etc.) Also, it would make it easier for a traveler to find all of the things they want without having to sift through boring city articles. Does that sound like a good idea? Jrunna runna (talk) 04:47, 26 September 2014 (EDT)
How do I deactivate and/or delete my account? I can't find any information or setting on this. -Branddobbe (talk) 19:26, 3 October 2014 (EDT)
Hey, Branddobbe! Sad to see you go. It's impossible to formally delete an account as doing so would prevent all edits made by that user from being properly attributed. However - we approach it the exact same way Wikipedia does. I will delete your user page and you are free to abandon the account. If you have any more questions or would ever like to contribute again please feel free to create a new account! Thanks! IBcaldera (talk) 19:33, 3 October 2014 (EDT)
Hi, anyone here with great knowledge about Hanoi? This article could be a great article but at the moment there are just way too many restaurant and hotel listings, who can help cleaning up this page? Adzas (talk) 06:00, 6 October 2014 (EDT)
Hanoi is huge and I guess it can be divided into districts. This could help cleaning up the main article but we need someone with a strong knowledge of the city. GiulioC (talk) 09:25, 6 October 2014 (EDT)
Looking at the districts, there are 12 urban districts and 17 rural districts, it would be a good start to divide the article into districts. We definitely need an expert to assist here though, anyone? I can start with adding a map, and we can take it from there? Adzas (talk) 10:15, 6 October 2014 (EDT)
Adding a map is a good start and we might be able to create districts pages where to move some of the listings. We definitely need an expert though. GiulioC (talk) 10:57, 6 October 2014 (EDT)
Massive it is! I can't speak of the districts, but what if we cut the listings down to a max of 15 each? I believe they're listed in the order in which they were added so we could keep the first 15 assuming that they're still in operation. Oh and with a little bit of Googling we can make sure that other travelers have enjoyed their experiences there. Comments? IBcaldera (talk) 16:47, 8 October 2014 (EDT)
Cutting down the lists definitely is a start, I will look into that, starting with removing incomplete listings. What about the districts, leave that for now? Adzas (talk) 12:46, 9 October 2014 (EDT)
Cool, good idea! I'll help with incomplete listings as well. As for districts - it is, unfortunately, for the best if we leave those as is for now. I mean unless someone comes along who knows enough about Hanoi to accurately divide it. Do you agree? IBcaldera (talk) 14:48, 10 October 2014 (EDT)
I totally agree! Adzas (talk) 17:34, 10 October 2014 (EDT)
I notice that many spammers create accounts only so that they can seed their user page and newly created articles with new external links.
Since few genuine new account creators will think they need to immediately create user pages or new articles with external links, why not institute fail-safe precautions:
Institute a script to immediately and automatically block (with an appropriate message on their talk page but leave open their ability to e-mail)
a) all new accounts who create an external link on their user page within 30 days
b) all all new accounts who create a new article with an external link within 30 days
The "appropriate message" would point out the reason for the block and explain how it can be appealed. --18.104.22.168 20:53, 13 October 2014 (EDT)
True But this would require a technical fix from the team at Shared. Also, anyone who's even moderately good at spamming will just set their bots to wait X days before adding links. It will stop some spam (probably most!) but it's not perfect. Koavf (talk) 22:58, 13 October 2014 (EDT)
Even a 30% reduction would give hard-working admins such as yourself more time to concentrate on more interesting and substantive edits.
The rules can also be refined - for example, apply the procedures outlined above to those accounts that have made no intervening edits that did not add external links.
Looking at the history of this Travellers' Pub over the last year or so, I do realise that few if any good suggestions are ever acted upon. Does that mean that technical support for this website has now ceased? --22.214.171.124 09:16, 14 October 2014 (EDT)
Tech support "Ceased" is a bit strong but there are regular complaints about bugs, features, etc. Koavf (talk) 14:44, 14 October 2014 (EDT)
Firstly, I am not sure if I am writing this at the right place so I'll go ahead and say its a technical point I need help with in what is supposed to be a simple edit.
If I can get help elsewhere let me know.
I started creating a page about a location I visited recently in Taiwan. I tried to add a link to another wikitravel page and it just won't work. I used the double brackets as per the wiki markup tool but it wont link to the page, which I assure you exists because I checked the title of that page over 20 times.
On the same topic, I found two pages with the exact same name at the top, how do I know which name to use if I want to refer to one instead of either. I tried looking in the editing mode but couldn't find the spot Lin.wf.22 (talk) 10:49, 25 October 2014 (EDT)