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Wikitravel:Travellers' pub/2014

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Happy 2014![edit]

Happy 2014 from New Zealand to one and all!

This seems like a bit of a dead place now. Is that because of the heavy censorship - or is there some other reason? --118.93.235.201 16:36, 5 January 2014 (EST)

Happy New Year If you check Special:RecentChanges, things are happening here: new pages have been added and miscellaneous helpful edits made every day. Feel free to add yourself. Koavf (talk) 16:38, 5 January 2014 (EST)
There is a severe problem with spam robots. Unfortunately the reaction to this has been to make it harder and harder for non-logged in users to contribute - sometimes I give up after failing 7 Captcha tests... --118.93.235.201 16:46, 5 January 2014 (EST)
Spam Tell me about it. That's why I'm an admin here. It's frustrating, no doubt. I didn't know anything about IPs having a hard time contributing... Have you brought this up at? Why do you edit with an IP? Koavf (talk) 17:48, 5 January 2014 (EST)
I've been editing as an IP for many years, but less and less lately as the Captcha tests get more and more difficult for human beings to pass. Spam bots don't seem to have any difficulty since they pay people peanuts to register new accounts with unlikely account names that then lie fallow for several months until they are activated.
Because I work for a New Zealand central government funded agency I am subject to heavy and intrusive government surveillance at work - including keystroke loggers. --118.93.235.201 23:09, 5 January 2014 (EST)

IP edits You probably know what's best for you but you could always make a throwaway account with a throwaway e-mail. Definitely let the tech guys know on Shared—they're always trying to improve the user experience around here. I wish I had more to offer you. Thanks for your patience in trying to help us build the travel guide. Koavf (talk) 23:37, 5 January 2014 (EST)

admin edit[edit]

What is an admin edit? --113.64.64.149 08:23, 20 January 2014 (EST)

Admins In terms of MediaWiki software which runs Wikitravel, there's no difference between an edit you would make and an "admin edit"—they are technically the same thing. At Wikitravel, some administrators are members of the community and some are employees of (IB), the company which owns the site. The handful of IB administrators sometimes take it upon themselves to control content here per corporate policy and they might use an edit summary that consists of "admin edit". Koavf (talk) 09:17, 20 January 2014 (EST)
"Admin" is a contraction of Administrators who "...are Wikitravellers who have been nominated by the Wikitravel community and have been granted some additional privileges over and above normal. Administrators have shown a good appreciation of the Wikitravel policies and guidelines and made significant contributions on Wikitravel articles."
Koavf is an admin but IB employees typically distinguish themselves by pre-pending the letters ""IB" before their user names and hold office ex officio rather than having gone through a nomination process. IB admins are sometimes called IBadmins to make the distinction clearer so it might be better if they used "IBadmin edit" in their edit summaries to make things a bit clearer... --118.93.244.91 14:24, 20 January 2014 (EST)


Region Heading Needs to Be Changed[edit]

In the Rajasthan, India, section there is a region called Shekhawati, but the page is titled as Shekhavati. http://wikitravel.org/en/Shekhavati

All the other references on the page are spelled Shekhawati, which seems to be the most common spelling. I do not see how to edit the spelling of the page title.

Muchwari (talk) 12:37, 27 January 2014 (EST)Muchwari

Moving Go to the top of the page and there is a tab entitled "Move" (this may not be activated for you if you are a new member but permissions to move a page are common). If you move it, make sure that you leave the redirect for the alternate spelling and consider finding links (Special:WhatLinksHere/Shekhavati) and changing the spelling there, too. Koavf (talk) 13:33, 27 January 2014 (EST)


Nope, the Moving tab does not exist for me. I'm pretty new. Muchwari (talk) 14:42, 27 January 2014 (EST)Muchwari

Hi, I noticed your message and have made the change. I also sent you a message on your talk page. Thanks! Adzas (talk) 09:17, 14 February 2014 (EST)

Changes needed to the listing format[edit]

Our current policy at Wikitravel:External_links#External_link_format states:

"There are three possible formats for "external" links. For the sake of consistency and to avoid those confusing, incrementing little footnote-style numbers appearing all over the place, we only use the first format below for external links as a general rule:"

Good

*Example, to create the standard hypertext-style of external link seen all over the world wide web, the syntax is to place one open square bracket, then the URL (not forgetting to include the http:// part since the software won't recognize a link if that's missing), then at least one space, then the text you wish to hyperlink and that will be coloured blue and finally one closing square bracket. eg: [http://www.example.com/ '''Example'''].

"This "good" style means that it is very easy for our readers to spot when they will be taken away from this great site to another website because the upward and right pointing arrow symbol like this is very visible. This "good" style also does not interrupt article prose with meaningless, footnote style numbers and nor does it occupy valuable screen space or confuse screen readers for the visually impaired with huge, ugly, unpacked URLs."

Is the management able to task their tekkies to bring our listings into conformity with this advice? --210.246.57.91 19:28, 16 February 2014 (EST)

Request What is it exactly that you want? This is a style issue which (I think) you're asking to get fixed by a bot. Is that right? Koavf (talk) 23:50, 16 February 2014 (EST)
No, this can not be fixed by a bot.
Compare the following two listings.
The first uses our listings template, the second doesn't.
Can you not see the obvious difference (and I'm talking about the appearance on the page, not the underlying code)?
  • Company A (A compagnie), (down the lane to the left), +33 1 26 41 32 55, [1]. Daily 07:15-20:30. €36.  edit
  • Company A (A compagnie), (down the lane to the left), ☎ +33 1 26 41 32 55, Daily 07:15-20:30. €36
  • Listings Ah, I see—you mean that the listing tags don't add the link URI to the listing name's text. Yes, this is a straight-forward problem and one that must be addressed by the developers. This is an excellent point to bring up at Shared. Koavf (talk) 00:39, 17 February 2014 (EST)


Changes needed to the listing format[edit]

Our current policy at Wikitravel:External_links#External_link_format states:

"There are three possible formats for "external" links. For the sake of consistency and to avoid those confusing, incrementing little footnote-style numbers appearing all over the place, we only use the first format below for external links as a general rule:"

Good

*Example, to create the standard hypertext-style of external link seen all over the world wide web, the syntax is to place one open square bracket, then the URL (not forgetting to include the http:// part since the software won't recognize a link if that's missing), then at least one space, then the text you wish to hyperlink and that will be coloured blue and finally one closing square bracket. eg: [http://www.example.com/ '''Example'''].

"This "good" style means that it is very easy for our readers to spot when they will be taken away from this great site to another website because the upward and right pointing arrow symbol like this is very visible. This "good" style also does not interrupt article prose with meaningless, footnote style numbers and nor does it occupy valuable screen space or confuse screen readers for the visually impaired with huge, ugly, unpacked URLs."

Is the management able to task their tekkies to bring our listings into conformity with this advice? --210.246.57.91 19:28, 16 February 2014 (EST)

Request What is it exactly that you want? This is a style issue which (I think) you're asking to get fixed by a bot. Is that right? Koavf (talk) 23:50, 16 February 2014 (EST)
No, this can not be fixed by a bot.
Compare the following two listings.
The first uses our listings template, the second doesn't.
Can you not see the obvious difference (and I'm talking about the appearance on the page, not the underlying code)?
  • Company A (A compagnie), (down the lane to the left), +33 1 26 41 32 55, [2]. Daily 07:15-20:30. €36.  edit
  • Company A (A compagnie), (down the lane to the left), ☎ +33 1 26 41 32 55, Daily 07:15-20:30. €36
  • Listings Ah, I see—you mean that the listing tags don't add the link URI to the listing name's text. Yes, this is a straight-forward problem and one that must be addressed by the developers. This is an excellent point to bring up at Shared. Koavf (talk) 00:39, 17 February 2014 (EST)
If you look at the archives ( Wikitravel:Travellers' pub/2012, Wikitravel:Travellers' pub/2013) you will see that, for the last 2 or 3 years, no technical changes whatever have happened. That's why it would be nice to see some comment by IBadmins about this thread... --Ttcf (talk) 02:21, 24 February 2014 (EST)
Granted I don't hold out a lot of hope either but if you want to get someone from IB to respond, I suppose it could happen here at en. My point is simply that Shared exists in part for precisely these kinds of issues. Koavf (talk) 02:34, 24 February 2014 (EST)
For me this is one of the litmus paper issues.
Some technical tasks are quite time consuming or difficult to solve. That is not the case with getting rid of all those confusing and meaninglessly incrementing footnote style numbers when listings use our templated editor. If I can get some indication from IBadmins as to whether they think this desirable or, if not, why not, I can then spend some time on laboriously translating things into other languages and canvassing the change on other language versions of Wikitravel. --Ttcf (talk) 03:24, 24 February 2014 (EST)

Large scale deletions without adequate explanation[edit]

What's the story with Special:Contributions/39.55.48.187 who seems to have deleted a lot of our Punjab_(Pakistan) article without an explanation in their edit summaries or the article's discussion page, please? --Ttcf (talk) 16:36, 22 February 2014 (EST)

Most probably it was a vandal edit because all the content that 39.55.48.187 deleted was valuable. I brought it back. Thanks! IBAlex (talk) 15:08, 24 February 2014 (EST)
I had a suspicion that the deletions might be related to the edit that immediately preceded the series of edits I complained about. That preceding edit summary talked about removing material not properly attributed to another travel website, and I wondered if it was sufficient attribution to mention that other Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 licensed website in the edit summary or whether something more was needed when restoring the excised material?
Obviously the question is now moot since you've restored it, IBAlex. --Ttcf (talk) 16:03, 24 February 2014 (EST)

Publishing markup[edit]

As far as I am aware, the publishing collaboration with User:Peterfitzgerald, User:Jpatokal, User:Maj and User:Evan, etc ceased in 2011, so may we now remove the special markup such as <!--WEB-START--> and <!--WEB-END--> that still lingers on in some articles such as Chicago, Paris and Singapore? --Ttcf (talk) 17:42, 23 February 2014 (EST)

Yes please Wikitravel Press shut down in 2011. I've removed and deleted now irrelevant templates: (e.g. and e.g.). Koavf (talk) 00:33, 24 February 2014 (EST)
Thanks for the quick and helpful response, Koavf. --Ttcf (talk) 01:35, 24 February 2014 (EST)
Thank you, both! IBAlex (talk) 15:03, 24 February 2014 (EST)

Obstructive abuse filter[edit]

Except for about 50 countries with universally known currency notation exceptions, our Wikitravel:Currency policy requires most currencies in the world to be formatted with the three letter ISO 4217 code for the currency in block capitals and no intervening space.

eg: AZN100 in Azerbaijan, not 100 Azerbaijani New Manat.

I have been thwarted on more than 20 occasions today with the message: "This action has been automatically identified as harmful, and therefore disallowed. If you believe your edit was constructive, please inform an administrator of what you were trying to do. A brief description of the abuse rule which your action matched is: Vandalism in all caps" when trying to make an edit such as the following:

==Get out==
If you get the train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo, there will be a bunch of combis waiting for you outside the train station that go to Cusco Plaza de Armas. Some are PEN10 and some are PEN15.
.

Please would someone with sufficient privileges adjust this demonic filter? --Ttcf (talk) 01:31, 24 February 2014 (EST)

Hi Ttcf! Great that you told me about it! Let me explain what happened. The filter mistakenly assumed you wanted to use the profanity word for "PENI*", encrypting it with "1" and "5". The reason we have a filter for this encrypted word is because in the past we had many examples of profanity edits like that. The filter has been so far 100% effective, creating no false-positives at all. I changed it now so that it won't stop you again. Thank you for helping us improve the site. Best, IBAlex (talk) 15:01, 24 February 2014 (EST)
Yes I did think that was probably the case. It's unfortunate that the recommended ISO symbolization for Peruvian currency is "PEN" and obviously Peruvian prices will sometimes include a figure one as the next character. Is there a trusted user level that might bypass these filters? That way you could still keep this filter to weed out the onanistic vandals but allow bona fide edits (I have been editing on this particular site for more than ten years now...) --Ttcf (talk) 15:52, 24 February 2014 (EST)

Editor retention[edit]

For the last decade or so we have not made much of a distinction between editors who have admin rights and those who don't.

Traditionally all editors have had both the ability and the opportunity to plunge forward and make edits that benefit the traveller.

Sometimes these edits are reverted because they are clearly against policy or our Manual of Style or simply because the reverting editor simply doesn't like the change.

However, if reverts are to be constructive it's important that the editor that rolls back an edit made in good faith then explains their viewpoint on the editor's talk page if the reason is not obvious or - if it's a general point or concerning a policy development - on the relevant article's discussion page.

If this discussion does not take place, then editors may become discouraged or simply confused at the difference between what is written on our policy pages and their personal experience.

Obviously, since many of our most experienced editors left a year or so ago, the three remaining active admins (User:Pashley, User:Nurg and User:Koavf together with the IBadmins ( User:Adzas, User:Binbin, User:GiulioC, User:IBAlex, User:IBobi, User:IBpark, User:Ibrshao, User:OVK, User:PierrB, User:Porteplume and User:Tyen) have been very busy fighting linkspam and vandalism but I would encourage them all to try and become more active on discussion pages if we are ever to restore this "community" to health.

PS: Obviously I except you from this little sermon, Koavf! --Ttcf (talk) 21:39, 24 February 2014 (EST)

Community It's true that making a community, establishing one over time, or re-building one is difficult and requires some kind of communication. Unfortunately, there aren't many editors here who are willing to do that. I'm glad that you're evidently interested in talking and adding to content here, Ttcf. Koavf (talk) 04:43, 25 February 2014 (EST)
Historically most of my thousands of edits have been copyediting and syntax corrections. Occasionally I do add content - but I'm reluctant to do that if my work is just going to be reverted without explanation or discussion. --Ttcf (talk) 05:06, 25 February 2014 (EST)
I think we have quite a nice group of editors at the moment, we are all doing our best to work on the articles and communicate with the editors when needed. For this I use the summary field a lot as well, everyone can see there why an edit was reverted and this works well. My focus is really to remove spam and actually add content, no need to discuss everything I do here, and I greatly appreciate anyone who is trying to contribute to Wikitravel and interact with each other in a positive way. Happy editing all! Adzas (talk) 11:46, 25 February 2014 (EST)
Yes, the edit summary field can be very useful for those quick explanations where no dialogue or discussion is needed. However edit summaries do have some limitations:
1) IPs and inexperienced editors may not even know about (or bother to check) the edit histories and, therefore, may never see the summaries
2) They are not really designed for dialogue and, therefore, limit any in-depth discussion
3) Particularly for developing policy and preserving a record of the arguments raised they are very clumsy.
I do appreciate that your focus is on fighting spam and that is a huge and necessary task here. However, if we are to remain up-to-date and relevant, then It will be necessary from time to time to have multilateral discussions and I do hope that you will "interact with each other in a positive way".
In passing, I do feel that there is an important point that I have been trying to communicate on your talk page, Adzas and I would appreciate a response - either that I'm mistaken or that you understand that you were mistaken. Just deleting my comment without any response (not even in the edit summary) doesn't really progress matters very far... --Ttcf (talk) 17:47, 3 March 2014 (EST)
I was archiving my talk page this afternoon when my system crashed, just didn´t have a chance yet to correct that but was not my priority either, as it is only my talk page. I did not see the need to discuss the other edit further, I´m not here to have endless discussions about who is right or who is wrong. Happy editing! Adzas (talk) 18:58, 3 March 2014 (EST)
I'm sorry you've been having problems, Adzas, and I hope you get them solved soon.
However, wikis do function better when people have the time to communicate one with another. That communication doesn't have to be long-winded or endless. Just a simple acknowledgement of a mistake or that the mistake has been corrected or the reasoning behind a reversion by reference to a particular established policy is often sufficient. I don't expect immediate replies, but it's not a good look when comments on a discussion or users talk page just disappear (three times) without a response. --Ttcf (talk) 19:07, 3 March 2014 (EST)

Etiquette[edit]

User Talk pages[edit]

There are some points of etiquette in using User Talk pages that have built up over the years. Here are a few that come to my mind:

  • Reply on the User Talk page that a question was posed or a comment made rather than going to the User Talk page of the user that posed the question or made the comment. (That user should be "watching" the page where they posted!)
  • If, in the heat of the moment, you said something you regret, go back and change it.
  • And, Forgive and forget when someone changes a nasty comment to something more civil and productive.
  • As an exception, it's impolite to remove a comment if someone's responded to it. It makes them look ridiculous.
  • In general, conversations aren't deleted from talk pages but are instead archived when they are old or no longer relevant. To archive discussions simply create a new page such as User talk:Mypage/Archive and copy the old discussions to it.
It's usually considered acceptable to remove something from your own User Talk page if you consider it embarrassing or harassing - after all User Talk pages are for communication and once the User has read it, it may not need to be kept for "pillory purposes".
  • It's best to wait until the page has grown quite long before archiving, and such archives should always be clearly linked from the principal talk page, so that everything is easy to find. Avoid archiving discussions on destination and policy article discussion pages. Archives should not be edited.
  • Unlike everything else in Wikitravel, it's considered bad form to change someone else's posts on a talk page — even to correct spelling or grammar (unless what they wrote is obscene or illegal or drastically effects the profitability of the website of course).
  • It's usually perfectly OK, though, to change something you wrote on a talk page, for any reason. If you made spelling or grammatical or syntax errors, feel free to change them.

Is there anyone editing here that feels these rules of etiquette are now outmoded and, if so, why please? --Ttcf (talk) 21:39, 24 February 2014 (EST)

User pages (other than "User Talk")[edit]

It's heartening that, after 2 weeks, nobody seems to to feel that these rules of etiquette for User Talk pages outlined above are now outmoded, so I'd go on to summarise what I believe is the the current etiquette for other pages in User name space:

  • You don't have to create your main User name page but, if you don't, your user name will show in red. Usually, your User name page is used for a brief introduction about you. This can clarify if you have any business interests (or conflicts of interest) relating to travel and may point to personal or business connected websites.
    (However, if this page looks like it's been written by a robot and other Wikitravellers don't see you making constructive and substantive edits in other name spaces, they may think you are just abusing Wikitravel for your business interests and remove those links until you're able to justify them.)
    Unless by invitation or when there are egregious breaches of important polices, nobody other than you should edit your main User page.
  • You can include other stuff
    on your main User name page such as a portrait or other images or links to policy or other aides memoire, but all of this content must comply with our intellectual property licensing. Remember that Wikitravel is not a "personal home page" or a "holiday snaps" service.
  • You can create other sub-pages
    like User:MsTraveller/project1 or User:MsTraveller/Sandflies are a nuisance to work on projects or ideas outside the "main" travel guide, but don't forget that they're publicly accessible, and anyone can read them. Each of these sub-pages can also have a discussion page associated with it for collegiate co-operation.
  • It's up to you whether anyone else edits these other sub-pages.
    You can invite or dis-invite everyone or nobody or just a select few to edit and you should be the final arbiter on edits.
    Again, all contributions on sub-pages are subject to our licensing and must conform to our goals but, historically, a fairly wide latitude is given if it's clear that the general direction will assist our project. --Ttcf (talk) 19:26, 6 March 2014 (EST)
Objections These edits I made to userpages are clearly beneficial and I shouldn't be dissuaded from making them: 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. I'm hesitant to disallow anyone to edit much of anything, since there are small changes that can clearly be beneficial, even if someone is not specifically requested to edit a user (sub)page or if said page doesn't breach any particular policy. Koavf (talk) 23:11, 6 March 2014 (EST)
The edits you reference are all to main user pages and all are clearly small syntax and copy editing changes that most users would be grateful for, Koavf. The tricky part is in drawing the line between these changes (which were presumably effectively sanctioned after the event by the user when they did not object or revert them) and more substantive ones. (I know I've made these sort of interferences myself from time to time - and inwardly censored myself for succumbing to copyeditor's affliction). Perhaps you could draft appropriate wording for a caveat that I could add above? --Ttcf (talk) 23:27, 6 March 2014 (EST)
Draft Here's some language that might be useful. I'm just making it up and I'm not married to it. "Your userpage is space that you can use to introduce yourself to the rest of the Wikitravel community: Give a bio of who you are, list areas where you've travelled, even add photos of yourself and your destinations from Shared. Userpages have more relaxed guidelines to their content than the actual travel guide articles and individual users are responsible for the content on their userpages (including blank ones). Generally, there is no need to edit someone else's userpage, except for non-controversial editing (such as correcting typos), removing spam or other violations of our site-wide policies, and if you are requested to edit someone's userpage." Something like that, I guess. Koavf (talk) 00:42, 7 March 2014 (EST)

Good new and bad news[edit]

Site visit statistics show that wikitravel.org has increased its total site visits in the last quarter and remains second only to lonelyplanet.com in global visits to on-line travel guides with all other wiki travel sites trailing far behind due to poor search engine optimisation. This is a vital metric for our editors to understand and appreciate since there is not much point contributing to an on-line travel guide that few people actually read.

The Israeli site reports the weekly number of visits in the last 6 months as follows:

  1. lonelyplanet.com 12.5M estimated visits
  2. wikitravel.org 7.2M estimated visits
  3. fodors.com 4.3M estimated visits
  4. virtualtourist.com 3.9M estimated visits
  5. frommers.com 2.25M estimated visits
  6. roughguides.com 1.35M estimated visits
  7. WMF travel site 1.05M estimated visits
  8. worldtravelguide.net 330K estimated visits
  9. tripwolf.com 290K estimated visits
  10. arrivalguides.com 120K estimated visits
  11. concierge.com 110K estimated visits
  12. letsgo.com 50K estimated visits
  13. dktripplanner.com 10K estimated visits

(travel.yahoo.com is a bit of a wildcard because of the way that its travel guide domain is arranged with estimates going as high as 22.6M estimated visits and as low as 988K.)

However, Alexa also reports under "How fast does wikitravel.org load?" that wikitravel.org is "Very Slow (4.126 Seconds), 88% of sites are faster." and this may have important implications going forward since Google increasingly takes speed of loading into account when delivering organic search results... --Ttcf (talk) 18:44, 3 March 2014 (EST)

IBAlex: It took quite a bit of effort for me to collect and then to post the details above which you just casually deleted with an inappropriate edit summary of "" there is not much point contributing to an on-line travel guide that few people actually read"...no need for those biased opinions. Keep them to yourself. Thanks!" contrary to our stated policy at Wikitravel:Using_discussion_pages#Etiquette.
Now I do realise that you are very busy making lightning decisions about deleting linkspam, linkspam accounts and inappropriate plugs from business owners.
I can only think that perhaps you did not take the time to actually read what I had written before you deleted all of it.
To try and put it in simple terms, I was trying (unsuccessfully it seems) to make the points that
1) Wikitravel had seven (7) times as many eyeballs reading it as any other travel guide that had user authored content
2) Wikitravel was maintaining its second place position overall.
Do you really still think that the idea that editors should want to continue to contribute to Wikitravel because their contributions will be actually read by more readers than any other to which they could contribute should be censored? --Ttcf (talk) 02:29, 4 March 2014 (EST)

Page protection[edit]

Wikitravel:Protected page policy currently states: "The revolutionary nature of Wiki is the ability for any reader of any article to edit that page right now. Wiki is the enabling technology that is making Wikitravel into a really great travel guide. Wikitravellers know that we need to keep Wikitravel open and available to make it succeed. We depend on the distributed effort of the millions of people on the Internet to get high-quality, up-to-date and reliable articles.

"However, in some circumstances, it may be necessary to protect a page on Wikitravel. When a page is protected, it can only be edited by administrators. This is an extreme measure and shouldn't be taken lightly. Whenever possible, we prefer to counteract abusive actions by some users with the ability of other users to edit a page."

Although neither the reason nor the page protection has been listed at Wikitravel:Protected pages, a new itinerary, The Walking Dead 1, has been fully protected from editing by anyone other than someone with admin privileges by its IBadmin author.

Is this a mistake? --Ttcf (talk) 22:58, 5 March 2014 (EST)

Protection For what it's worth, I unprotected it. Koavf (talk) 01:02, 6 March 2014 (EST)
Thanks, Koavf. I can make a few fiddly, MoS fixes now - but it would still be nice to hear from the protecting IBadmin the reasons (or lack of them) for the original protection... --Ttcf (talk) 04:09, 6 March 2014 (EST)
The Walking Dead 1 is a special page that we've been working on. It's not finished yet therefore I protected it for the short time being. I was planning to make it editable once we're done with all the content. I should have kept it in Sandbox but figured that the protection status will save me the hassle of copy pasting the content from one place to another. Next time I will just keep it in Sandbox. IBAlex (talk) 13:17, 6 March 2014 (EST)
Thanks for the explanation, IBAlex.
However, I do think the general principle of "everyone can edit" is important to preserve in main article namespace and should not be sacrificed just because of the "hassle" of copy pasting the content from one place to another (?!).
If you work on stuff like this in your own User namespace you can have more flexibility. You can invite everyone else to edit - or just a select group. And while it's in your own User name space, you should be the final arbiter for all edits so that should provide you with all the flexibility and control you need. --Ttcf (talk) 19:34, 6 March 2014 (EST)

Adzas[edit]

She does good work fighting linkspam.

Was her block a mistake? --Ttcf (talk) 16:39, 12 March 2014 (EDT)

Carrot and stick[edit]

I'd like us to put more effort into educating them about our policies and then trying to get them to stick around in a mutually beneficial relationship where travellers benefit from frequently updated, factually useful listings without those touty practices we dislike so much. --Ttcf (talk) 17:34, 13 March 2014 (EDT)


Breadcrumbs buggered by Sol[edit]

I'd fix it myself but I don't have enough privileges to edit this abusively locked page.

{{isIn|Sol}} needs to be removed for the joke article Earth or breadcrumbs for country articles such as Bermuda are continuously buggered by the appearance of the red-linked and never to be created Sol article ... --Ttcf (talk) 03:30, 18 March 2014 (EDT)

It's fixed now. Nurg (talk) 07:01, 18 March 2014 (EDT)
Thanks. You're a star! --Ttcf (talk) 19:14, 18 March 2014 (EDT)

Default image size[edit]

Most of our readers are not logged in.

For them, the default image width of thumbnails is rather small at 180px.

Please may we increase that to 250px, please? --Ttcf (talk) 20:45, 16 February 2014 (EST)

Tech issue Any technical request can be made at shared. That's the best venue for getting the developer folks to see your preference. Koavf (talk) 23:42, 16 February 2014 (EST)
That's useful information. However, I think the way things work may be something like this:
  1. Folks here decide whether it would be a good thing or a bad thing to raise the default image width.
  2. If the answer to (1) is yes, IBadmins and management decide if that would be a good use of the tekkies time or not...
I've raised the issue here in the Pub to see if there are any community objections to raising the size from 180px to 250px width. --Ttcf (talk) 00:42, 17 February 2014 (EST)
Ah Well, for my two cents, I don't have a strong opinion. A decade ago, screens were smaller on desktops and users connected with dial-up. But today, mobile screens are far smaller. The utility of a site like this on mobile is actually a pretty huge consideration. Koavf (talk) 00:52, 17 February 2014 (EST)
Don't we show a different mobile version if we detect the user is using a mobile? --Ttcf (talk) 01:04, 17 February 2014 (EST)
Style I believe so and this is one of the basic functions of stylesheets but I do not have a smartphone. Koavf (talk) 01:06, 17 February 2014 (EST)
Hello. I‘m a newbie here. Regarding default image size. Small size, like a current one, is not bad. I don‘t use a smartphone nor a laptop, but work on a desktop computer with an older (not wide) monitor, and also with a wide monitor. If the article's paragraph is short, the larger pictures distort the composition of the page. Especially if there are several pictures, then only the upper one is at its right place, others do not fit. The composition (general appearance) looks better with a "narrow" screen, however the larger pictures start to distort the text then, appearance of the text, i.e. the left side of the page while the right side with images looks good. The smaller screen the worse is appearance of the text, it may turn almost to a column. Current small size (of the pictures) then looks quite reasonable.
If the screen is wide – the paragraphs become even more shorter (visually), and several pictures near to each other (a column of them) distort the composition of the page again. The smaller pictures – the less distortion.
I think that some sort of a pop-up (say, half screen size) would be useful. One click – you see a big picture, another click – big picture has gone. Now if you want to see details you have to open a page with a picture and then click it again in order to enlarge. It take time and annoys. It could be a possibility to open a page with a right click->open page, or something. Then you have a possibility to have a quick look at the picture of a decent size, and also have another possibility to look at it properly, along with all attributions.
Practically, to me there is an uncertainty, but it is not related to size, it‘s about the picture policy that reads Image use in articles should be kept at the minimum necessary to get across a point or impression. Is this still really valid? Visual information is more informative than text. Proper informative images can tell more than most detailed description. In such case current small size makes sense. It saves space. If images are almost absent, then they could be larger, just "to make the article beautiful". In my extremely humble opinion information should prevail, not ornaments. And the beauty of the article usually is determined by the orderly composition where everything fit in its proper place, sort of. Sorry for the intervention :) --Local (talk) 15:51, 19 February 2014 (EST)
Puerto Asese marina in Granada (thumbnail image at the current default of 180px)
We're not talking about a huge increase in the default here. Wikipedia upped their default from 180px to 220px several years ago and it could be argued (as you seem to have done above) that images that are evocative of the general feel and ambience of the destination should be a tad larger in a travel guide than an encyclopaedia.
To address your point about enlargement, unfortunately many of our readers don't realise that, if you click the little widget in the lower right corner, you will be taken to a page where often you can make a choice from a range of image sizes. (For example, after you click the "enlarge" widget, the "Puerto Asese marina in Granada" thumbnail image at the right can then be viewed at either 800 × 600 pixels or at its full resolution ‎of 1,280 × 960 pixels)
Perhaps we can take things one stage at a time and first agree on the default image size before we discuss (under a separate heading[s], please) other changes to image policy?
Incidentally the two images I've used here are examples from the current version of our Granada (Nicaragua) article.
Please also remember that changing the default size does not prevent editors overriding that default by specifying a larger or smaller size. It's just that, at the moment and with such a small default size of 180px, a lot of editors feel the need to specify larger hard-wired sizes of 190, 200, 205, 210, 220, 225, 230, 240 and (very often) 250px and that causes at least three problems:
(1) We end up with a range of different widths in the same article which looks awkward
Typical horsecart in Granada (thumbnail sized to proposed new default width of 250px)
(2) The servers are overburdened by generating such a huge range of thumbnail sizes
(3) Registered readers who have set their preferences to display a smaller thumbnail size than the current default (for both not-logged on users and logged on users who have not changed their preferences) of 180px, eg 150px, then actually get served the larger hard-wired size of 210, 220, 225, 230, 240 and (very often) 250px and incur extra data roaming charges or slow loads. Contrariwise, those with fast, cheap connections and large screens who have set their preferences to display a larger thumbnail size of 300px, then actually get served the smaller, editor hand crafted size of 210, 220, 225, 230px or whatever. --Ttcf (talk) 17:29, 19 February 2014 (EST)
Of course i agree that my post was too broad. To me, as a reader/user/"consumer", the current default image size is sufficient and better than a larger one, no matter how much larger. Some images (as you say) can be larger when necessary, and of course i don't like several images with different sizes in one article. I purposefuly posted my opinion slightly off-topic to illustrate that i don't see relevance in increasing default image size. I recently reduced the size of several pictures to 180px in one article, appearance then became better. But how it is better depends on concrete article, i think. In other words, to me the current situation is suitable. And all policies of everything are suitable too :). Just, like you see the relevance in image sizes, i see it in image policy (though accept it and agree with everything).
BTW, these 2 examples of the pictures: one 180px, another 250px, but there is no essential difference in perception of their content, they both are too small to perceive the details, and both are nearly equal in their general effect. If other users are uploading different sizes for no reason, then maybe their edits are ignorant and need to be fixed. Maybe they don't see the whole "picture" of the article and only want to stand out. Is it a problem of default image size? To me current size is good, but i won't express any objection if it will be increased :) --Local (talk) 07:57, 20 February 2014 (EST)
At the end of the day this is largely a question of subjective aesthetics and your opinion is just as valid as mine in that regard.
I do worry, though, that you have not understood my argument about NOT specifying an image width in pixels (as opposed to a relative sizing expressed as a factor of the users default by using the "upright=n" image syntax) when it is within about 10% of the default of 180px.
It would be nice to hear others opinions as to both the aesthetics and the other reasons I gave for making this change... --Ttcf (talk) 13:28, 20 February 2014 (EST)

Categories[edit]

Please would someone explain to me why it is helpful for travellers to have "maintenance" categories visible (as opposed to hidden) at the foot of many pages?

For example, how does it benefit the traveller to have visible at the base of our article about Jammu and Kashmir:

Categories:

  • Articles with warnings
  • Articles needing style fixes
  • Outline articles

exactly? --Ttcf (talk) 22:13, 25 February 2014 (EST)

Hidden categories We can make these hidden categories, then. It's a feature of MediaWiki that's used on the English-language Wikipedia. These are useful for editors if not necessarily readers. Koavf (talk) 02:34, 4 March 2014 (EST)
That would certainly be my feeling if nobody is able to answer my (somewhat rhetorical question), Koavf.
As I'm sure you're already aware (but others may not be) categories that a page is in are normally listed at the bottom of the page, but in versions of Mediawiki after 1.13, (and I believe ours may be 1.17) a category can be hidden from this list by adding the magic word "__HIDDENCAT__" to the category page. MediaWiki category help page. --Ttcf (talk) 02:42, 4 March 2014 (EST)

Wide images[edit]

Most of our readers view our pages without logging in.

All of these readers (that have not logged in) will have adverts enabled.

If editors use images that have fixed image widths larger than about 620px, then unwanted page artifacts appear meaning that, with most common browsers and operating systems, the page then "falls off" the right hand screen edge and the {{panorama}} template does not work properly.

Readers who have set their user preferences to display adverts can compare the differences between these two pages:

(since adverts are not displayed on user pages). --Ttcf (talk) 19:59, 15 March 2014 (EDT)

Wikitravel upgrade 1.22.2[edit]

Hello all, We're excited to announce that Wikitravel will be upgrading its software! In order to migrate Wikitravel's extraordinary database of travel information, we'll be putting the site into read-only mode starting Thursday, 20 Mar 2014 at 5pm PST and running it for about 3-4 days. No edits will be possible at this time. When we come back, we'll be better than ever.

We’re moving to 1.22.2 version of MediaWiki. Here is a page that lists the changes. I also put together my own list with the changes that are visible to regular users. I believe this list is more easy to grasp.

Changes between 1.20 and 1.22.2 Media Wiki Software[edit]

IPs, Registered users, Admins:

  • Create an account page has new look and feel (more colors and shows on the right side stats for the # of edits, pages and recent contributors on Wikitravel)
  • Simplified search bar with vector skin only as an option, instead of “Go” and “Search” buttons.
  • Add Listing and Edit show on the top left side of the sections (previously at the top right corner)
  • Pop-up message “Your edit was saved” after making an edit and clicking “Save”.
  • When comparing revisions in the article history where noting was changed in the article, you notice a message "(No difference)" at the top middle part of the screen.
  • Left navigation bar subsections are now collapsible.
  • A pop up message is now displayed when the user attempts to leave the edit page with unsaved changes, on browsers supporting dialogs. Message says: This page is asking you to confirm that you want to leave - data you have entered may not be saved.”

Registered users and Admins:

  • Log in page is more new look and feel (colorful and neat).
  • Watch pages just by clicking on the star icon in the top right menu. Now you are not redirected to a different page and you don’t have to go back to the article after clicking “Watch”; you stay all the time on the same page. If the star icon is blue it means you’re watching the page.
  • New option in Account Preferences- User profile- Internationalization: “How do you prefer to be described?”

Admins only:

  • "Mark as patrolled" link available on any patrollable page or revision, without having to go to Special:RecentChanges or Special:NewPages. You stay all the time on the same page.
  • Cascading page protection levels other than "Allow only administrators". New option: “Autoconfirmed users”.


Please let us know if you have any questions. Warm regards, thank you IBAlex (talk) 17:38, 20 March 2014 (EDT)

Wikitravel is upgraded[edit]

Dear community! Wikitravel was upgraded successfully! Now you can edit the site again. If you see any bugs or issues, please report them below and I will be checking them and reporting to our tech team. Thank you for your cooperation! Warm regards, IBAlex (talk) 14:00, 25 March 2014 (EDT)

"Travelling with kids" section[edit]

Hi !

I was wondering if the idea of adding a section for people travelling with kids would be of interest. I am actually travelling with two kids in Ecuador and I feel like I could share a lot on many of the pages I read.

Thanks for answering !

--Rufen327 (talk) 18:03, 28 March 2014 (EDT)

Hello Rufen327! Thank you for your message! We actually have a separate article called Travelling with children and several individual pages like London with children or New York City with children. It would be great if you could create a separate page for Ecuador, ex. Ecuador with children. Please also feel encouraged to contribute to our general Travelling with children article. I hope this helps. Thank you for joining our traveler's community! Warm regards, IBAlex (talk) 18:07, 28 March 2014 (EDT)

Top 10 most photographed travel destinations across the globe[edit]

Google’s Panoramio is a photo-sharing website that lets people tag photos of landmarks or landscapes with their locations and upload them to Google Maps.

That means it only takes some relatively trivial programming for them to produce some interesting "heat" maps...

(Incidentally, many of these photos have licences which mean that editors can use them here, too.) --Ttcf (talk) 04:20, 8 April 2014 (EDT)

Ok, thanks for sharing! I will have a closer look at that. Warm regards, IBAlex (talk) 12:35, 8 April 2014 (EDT)
While there's no direct link between the most photographs taken of a destination and the most visited pages here, I think the map does produce some interesting results. Where can I most easily see the list of "most viewed pages" here, please? --Ttcf (talk) 16:07, 8 April 2014 (EDT)

Order of Listings[edit]

For about 7 years now, we have not had anyone suggest that listings should be in a random order rather than in alphabetical order as a default, or another logical order if agreed on the destination article's discussion page.

However, our Wikitravel:Accommodation listings#Listing order current policy has now been questioned so I thought I would give a "heads up" here in case anyone else wants to participate in the discussion at Wikitravel_talk:Listings#Random order in listings?... --Ttcf (talk) 23:16, 9 April 2014 (EDT)

Tout's new tricks[edit]

It's not the first time I have seen a deliberately untrue edit summary in an attempt to deceive.

Then along comes another "helpful" editor to change the Brussels reference to a "Marrakech" reference (all this in our Marrakech article) and then finally another "helpful" editor restores the touting with an edit summary of "Undo revision 2193705 by 82.164.193.105 (talk) No links to Airbnb".

One has to admire the team work - and well spotted, IBAlex! --Ttcf (talk) 19:36, 16 April 2014 (EDT)

Hello! thank you for this message! Admins are already aware of the touty tricks with users inserting bitly links to airbnb or other booking services or aggregators. They do their best to revert edits like that as soon as possible. Feel free to also remove them from our articles. Warm regards, IBAlex (talk) 19:44, 16 April 2014 (EDT)

Front page news items are stale[edit]

Please update Almost everything on the front page when it comes to travel advisories and events is out of date (the only one that really could apply is that traveling to South Sudan is probably not wise). Someone needs to add fresh content to our splash page, lest it look like the entire site is out of date. Koavf (talk) 23:29, 16 April 2014 (EDT)

Thanks for the "heads-up", Justin.
I'm a bit puzzled, though. Do you mean http://wikitravel.org/en/Main_Page or some other page? --Ttcf (talk) 03:27, 17 April 2014 (EDT)
Main Page(s) Huh. Take a look at this history: http://wikitravel.org/wiki/en/index.php?title=Main_Page&diff=prev&oldid=2152696 and this edit interface: http://wikitravel.org/wiki/en/index.php?title=Main%20Page&action=edit and all the news is old. Evidently, it's updated with current news items by transcluding some flim-flam-ery... I guess I can be ignored. Either way, my complaint on Shared about the Wikitravel Extra link still stands. Koavf (talk) 03:55, 17 April 2014 (EDT)
Well, if it is the Main Page you're talking about, the travel advisories currently all seem germane and relevant after a quick glance.
2 of the 5 events listed of
  • Cherry Blossom Festival, DC, (20 Mar - 13 Apr 2014)
  • Garden of Europe opening, (20 Mar - 18 May 2014)
  • Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, (1 - 30 Apr 2014)
  • Coachella Music Festival, Indio, (11 - 13 Apr 2014)
  • Acceleration Race Festival, Portugal, (25 - 27 Apr 2014)
have "expired" by 4 days, but that's not too bad...
I don't actually have any problem personally with the page being protected against editing but, now we've had our MediaWiki software upgrade, I do think there is scope for having an additional category of "Autopatroller" that would be able to edit protected pages like these after, say, a year of good edits... --Ttcf (talk) 04:32, 17 April 2014 (EDT)
Justin, everything is regularly updated on the Main Page, both the events and news. Our Main Page is an html, not a wiki page, that I can edit through a special panel. What you are looking at is a "View History" of an old home page.
About the Travel news and Events News, please feel free to edit those pages and I will add the news to the HP accordingly. Warm regards, IBAlex (talk) 12:15, 17 April 2014 (EDT)
Editing See the "edit" link I posted above and the first news item reads "{{newsitem| Eruption of Mount Sinabung in North_Sumatra|04 Jan| The emergency response to the eruption of Mount Sinabung in North Sumatra has been extended until January 4, 2014 as the volcano still shows signs of increased activity[http://www.antaranews.com/en/news/91899/sinabung-emergency-response-extended-until-january-4]}}. This is not displayed on Main Page, though. Again, there's clearly some HTML trickery involved here and I'm not privy to it. If someone looks at Main Page they will see up-to-date info. I simply thought it was out of date because I was looking at http://wikitravel.org/wiki/en/index.php?title=Main%20Page&action=edit instead. Koavf (talk) 15:16, 17 April 2014 (EDT)
Yes, I understand you. The reason why the news about Mount Sinabung is currently not on the HP is because it is outdated. It used to be on the HP (new HP) in January. We introduced a new look to Wikitravel HP about one year ago and changed it to html for the better user's experience. We got a very positive feedback from the community about change. As mentioned before, feel free to share with us your suggestions for the current HP, update the news and events and I will apply the changes to the HP via the admin panel I'm taking care of. Warm regards, IBAlex (talk) 15:24, 17 April 2014 (EDT)

Watermarks in images[edit]

Currently we have a prolific editor that has expressed a wish to upload images with watermarks to enhance our articles and been told that he shouldn't.

While there has been discussion a few years ago about removing images that have images that feature grotesquely prominent watermarks for commercial entities (eg, hotels or tours), the wts Image Policy is currently completely silent on this topic.

Is this "policy" on watermarks one that does not really exist - or simply one that is inadequately documented? --Ttcf (talk) 19:00, 17 April 2014 (EDT)

He is more than welcome to upload images to Shared, but watermarks are a form of self-promotion and protection against copyright infringement. The former has no place on Wikitravel and the latter is unnecessary where one has already uploaded to a CC/SA website. No watermarks. --IBobi (talk) 19:28, 17 April 2014 (EDT)
Since you're the boss, I'll make the new policy clear at wts Image Policy... --Ttcf (talk) 20:01, 17 April 2014 (EDT)

Incidentally, is it really necessary to continue to include information which we know to be wrong and outdated? isn't the edit summary of "It hasn't been true for quite a while that "Every page on Wikitravel has a credits block at the end of the page" we do still have an edit history, 'though..." a true statement? --Ttcf (talk) 03:19, 18 April 2014 (EDT)

Please understand that we are open to changing the policies but all the changes should be first discussed on the talk pages. We do not allow arbitrary changes to policies. Thanks, IBAlex (talk) 14:36, 18 April 2014 (EDT)
I was rather puzzled by your response - which is why I've been trying to figure out what you meant for the past week, IBAlex.
  1. My understanding was that any edits that IBobi made were not open to question or revision. Hence my response to him above.
  2. I think you know that I'm very much in favour of polite and reasoned discussion to make sure our policies are both clearly laid out and reasonably transparent, up-to-date and clearly explained.
This is difficult to achieve if questions and responses are just left hanging in the air or censored without explanation or reference to policy.
Where do you propose that the restoration of my edit with the summary of "It hasn't been true for quite a while that "Every page on Wikitravel has a credits block at the end of the page" we do still have an edit history, 'though..." be discussed, please? --Ttcf (talk) 17:08, 23 April 2014 (EDT)

Wikitravel:Manual of style for the US - obsolete and defunct?[edit]

The last edit to this was nearly 4 years ago and all of its style points are now incorporated into our general Wikitravel:Manual of style that is valid for all the other 207 countries as well. I therefore suggest labelling it as "Currently inactive but retained for historical reference." --Ttcf (talk) 04:26, 19 April 2014 (EDT)

Hi! You're right, all the points are covered by MoS so we don't need to have a separate page for US Manual of style. I will add the disclaimerbox to Wikitravel:Manual of style for the US. Warm regards, IBAlex (talk) 14:18, 21 April 2014 (EDT)
Actually there is one point covered explicitly there that I can't find codified anywhere else but that has long been our usual practice: that we prefer to abbreviate street types by using "Rd" instead of Road, "St" instead of Street, and so forth. Consequently I've made the necessary addition at Wikitravel:Abbreviations#Addresses. --Ttcf (talk) 15:51, 21 April 2014 (EDT)
I saw it listed on the page already (see: bullet points). IBAlex (talk) 15:54, 21 April 2014 (EDT)

Islands in Thailand[edit]

I note that the islands are variously noted as Ko or Koh. Both are used in transliteration, both in Thailand and in travel books etc. So it is important if anyone wants to look at a particular island to be able to be redirected from either. (some already are). I note that Ko Laan is written as such when I went to set myself up to make a contribution. However, it is also written as Ko/Koh - Laan/Larn. Koh Larn is used on the island itself and nearby in English transliteration.

Will it be possible to go through the islands in Thailand and make redirection from Ko/Koh possible at all? Also with Ko Laan, to make the same redirection as well as redirection from Larn also. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Avemario (talkcontribs) • 11:03, 23 April 2014 (UTC)

Good idea. Plunge forward! --Ttcf (talk) 11:24, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
Thank you for bringing that to our attention, Avemario! I will create the neccessary redirects for the Thai islands. Warm regards, IBAlex (talk) 12:07, 23 April 2014 (EDT)


Changes in Crimea[edit]

Historically, Wikitravel has not been concerned with taking sides in political or diplomatic disputes or in adjudicating issues of sovereignty.

Usually we just tell it like it is in terms of what the traveller is likely to experience in a particular part of the world.

I feel that urgent changes are needed to our Crimea article. Comments are very welcome at Talk:Crimea#Annexation_of_Crimea_by_Russia --Ttcf (talk) 18:51, 26 March 2014 (EDT)

World Cup 2014[edit]

Hello everybody! The World Cup 2014 in Brazil is coming up. I created today a new page for this event and I entourage everybody to plunge forward and contribute. Thank you! Warm regards, IBAlex (talk) 20:34, 10 April 2014 (EDT)

It begins in June. —The preceding comment was added by Aknsgirls (talkcontribs)

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