As a poster who created a new page on one of the cities that has no information, I have to ask. Isn't an external link a decent reward for someone who writes in an area where you have no information? I mean, I'll certainly be deleting the information that I contributed, now that I know that my original writing contribution cannot be acknowledged by a link showing where that information is from. I wish you well with this project, but I don't believe it will grow to what you would like without additions from what you consider be 'secondary' external sites.
Dear anonymous: sorry, that's just not the way it works. If your contributions to Wikitravel are contingent on some kind of payback, well, we can't guarantee that. Thanks for your work so far, and I hope you find somewhere on the Web to make your contribution. --Evan 10:53, 7 Jun 2004 (EDT)
Is this policy for real? You should be offering users the best links, not merely links that happen to be "official." For example, why not a comprehensive page such as lasvegasadvisor.com for a page about Las Vegas? I can understand not wanting to have an overly commercial site. Your wiki is only as good as your willingness to let people contribute useful information.
This guide is meant as a travel guide, not a link farm. We need info here for many reasons: first, we want to make a complete and usable printable travel guide. A link is useless in print, so it's better to incorporate real information here rather than link to it. Second (and related), when you link to vital info, there is a temptation to fail to include complete info here. Lastly, we do not care to be a link farm. If you allow one link, why not another? How many links is too many? How to we pick which links we should include.
Note that we do allow a single link to dmoz, which is a link farm. If someone really needs a link, they can go there or just simply google it. -- Colin 17:39, 21 Jan 2005 (EST)
I think one fairly specific exception is needed. Often the expatriates living in an area have local directory or information sites. Particularly in Third World areas, these may be more useful than government tourist office sites.
As a foreigner living in China, I have contributed both to expat sites and to Wikitravel. I'd like to continue doing both, but your policy seems to be forcing me to do something silly. Beyond a certain point, it is insane to put the same stuff on two sites. Shall I put everything on the Wiki, cluttering it with stuff that is not of general interest? Or put everything on the local site where Wikipedians may never find it because I'm not allowed to link there?
Local information sites created by foreigners living in a tourist area should be treated as primary sources, allowed for linking.
I wonder if there's a good way to achieve both goals. I agree that cluttering up China or Beijing with a lot of expat Web site info might be a bad idea. But what about a travel topic article like Living abroad in China? --Evan 09:27, 24 Aug 2005 (EDT)
Perhaps expat guides should even be a category like Wikipedia or Open Directory links, showing up on the sidebar.
I guess I wasn't clear. If you wanted to do an article on expat culture, and specifically on expat information Web sites and community sites like MacauZhuhai.com, then it'd definitely be good to link from that article. Otherwise, an expat community Web site isn't a primary source. --Evan 10:58, 10 April 2006 (EDT)
I found that we were having 3 large and active discussions on this same page (some more active than others). I figured it was a good idea to make some sub-pages to focus on the separate issues rather than have some fairly hard-to-read and hard-to-edit discussions all going on here.
Please don't take this action to unilaterally declare these conversations "over"; I merely wanted to steer them into separate streams of discussion for clarity. If I've made a mistake in doing this, please feel free to recombine them here. --Evan 23:12, 19 Jul 2004 (EDT)
I'm having trouble figuring out what to do with extlinks to pages that are exclusively in a language I don't read. For example, in the Naples article, there is an extlink to  which is claimed (in the article) to be official site of the City (in Italian).
Maybe it is. But we've had no shortage of extlinks which have laid claim to be Official but aren't. I look at that page, and my poor Spanish abilities can't tell what it is. It appears to be an Other Guide, but maybe it isn't.
For this one, sito istituzionale del Comune di Napoli doesn't need much Italian ability to figure out...? Jpatokal 23:15, 16 Sep 2004 (EDT)
(And let me pause right here to say that we shouldn't pick on this one link too much. It's just an example. There will doubtless be plenty of examples that look like otherguides but really do link to the Right Place, and others which look relatively correct but are actually links to the Wrong Place)
So how should we handle this? For example, if someone translates a page from the German Wikitravel which contains a link for Bavaria to a german language website, then yay! We have an article -- that's exactly what each language's wikitravel wants from each other.
I'm inclined to think that a simple note on the talk page (saying who added it and why it is correct) would suffice to let editors know what the link is all about. But is that really helpful? Would spammers just leave us notes? I'd druther not have to trust logged in users better than a random IP User who's trying to help, but I just don't know how to handle this particular issue. Also, this isn't just theoretical; our recent deluge of German-speaking new users add links a lot and some are inappropriate per policy. But many of their links are to German sites, and I'm unable to review the links for appropriateness.
I'm fine with linking to official foreign-language sites if there are no English alternatives available, which is often the case for some of the more obscure places I write about (eg. small Japanese towns). It's also better to have one dubious link than to take out a useful link, so we should err on the side of caution. Jpatokal 23:15, 16 Sep 2004 (EDT)
I'm fine with a otherlanguage link to the Correct kind of site. My problem is telling the difference between the Correct and Incorrect extlinks when the link goes to a otherlang site. -- Colin 00:42, 17 Sep 2004 (EDT)
Then leave in the link until somebody who does speak the language comes along... and maybe hurry up the process by flagging in in the Talk page. Jpatokal 04:27, 17 Sep 2004 (EDT)
I added a note in the guideline about preferring links to English-language sites. A Web site exclusively in Italian is going to be next to useless for me as a traveller -- even if it is the official one. Now, a Web site in Italian with one of those little British flags that takes me to the English-language version... that is useful. But one that has no English at all? It's a noop.
I think the only exception I can think of would be practical information that an English-language speaker would be able to decipher: for example, a ferry or railroad schedule. --Evan 13:52, 13 Nov 2004 (EST)
It could be useful with e.g., babelfish -- elgaard 23:47, 9 Apr 2005 (EDT)
So for chain motels, sometimes (but not always) there is a specific, permanent page on the hotel's web site for each location. So for Fremont, should we link to http://www.example.com/locations/951 or just link to http://ww.example.com and let them search the site for Fremont instead? The short form has the added advantage that if the web site gets reorganized, our links don't break. -- Colin 13:37, 13 Nov 2004 (EST)
I think the first. I might need to amend that "shortest possible URL" bit. Maybe "shortest possible accurate URL". So, if we're making a hotel listing in Fremont, it's best to use the link that goes directly to information about that particular franchisee. I think also that if there's a www.fremontexamplehotel.com Web site (as there often is), that one is preferred. --Evan 13:44, 13 Nov 2004 (EST)
Front linked listings seem to have slipped back in here with no discussion. I still don't like them at all on aestetic grounds. They're ugly in HTML and even uglier in wikitext. I would really like very much to strike the section in this article which uses them, because it runs directly against the Wikitravel:Manual of style, which still has bare links at the back. -- Mark 19:08, 12 Jan 2005 (EST)
I thought we had pretty much agreed on the compromise, which was "mid-linked listings" in the contact info section like this:
Nightmare. 13 Elm Street, tel. 666-6666, . Blah blah blah.
This is clear, looks decent online and prints out OK. And I agree that this should be settled once and for all. Jpatokal 20:23, 12 Jan 2005 (EST)
Cool! That's what I had thought we had agreed upon as well, and I'm very happy with that compromise. I'll try to figure out how to re-word that section. Thanks! -- Mark 01:10, 13 Jan 2005 (EST)
OOPS! I had thought that Front linked listings were a standard policy, based on what was on this page and has just been removed. I think we need a policy note here that talks about front-linked, mid-linked and back-linked listings. Perhaps I should update the page??? -- Huttite 15:54, 13 Jan 2005 (EST)
Whatever you do, the Wikitravel:Manual of Style — which right now is still advocating back-linked listings — should be revised to match. Jpatokal 20:26, 13 Jan 2005 (EST)
Bump. If we're going to revise the policy page, we might as well finally sort this out. Jpatokal 00:11, 30 Mar 2005 (EST)
I'd like to change how the weblink is done to be like Jpatokal's Nightmare example above. Some hotel chains have individual pages for each hotel, but the URLs are fricken huge. Let it be hidden in square brackets! -- Colin 01:20, 30 Mar 2005 (EST)
I like the nightmare example too, but didn't we eventually compromise on putting the bracketed link right after the listing name, instead of after the other contact info? At any rate, I think it's about time we make the change to the style manual. -- Mark 02:54, 30 Mar 2005 (EST)
Any of those places works for me. -- Colin 03:12, 30 Mar 2005 (EST)
I believe we rolled-back front-linked listings because they printed out so badly. --Evan 10:34, 30 Mar 2005 (EST)
Sooo... do we now all agree on mid-linked listings? Dissenting voices? Jpatokal 11:40, 30 Mar 2005 (EST)
Proposal for Dmoz, Wikipedia, Otherlang order
I'd like to propose a consistent order for extlinks to translations, WikiPedia, etc.
Other language versions of Wikitravel, in alphabetical order
Or whatever we can come to consensus on. Does that work for others? -- Colin 20:46, 22 Jan 2005 (EST)
My thoughts exactly! Will order WikiPedia before Dmoz, after languages. Although others could argue that languages could be listed by number of speakers, meaning French (Français) is listed before German (Deutch) (though hardly seems to be an issue until there are a lot more languages) I think alphabetical listing by displayed language name is a good idea to start with. However, I wouldn't like to see any retospective changes to language order merely for the sake of reversing the order of French and German. I think these two languages need to be first and they are when alphbetically listed with the 5 current languages. -- Huttite 21:58, 22 Jan 2005 (EST)
I agree that some kind of policy would be good. Since now I was ordereing WikiPedia,Dmoz,languages, but without any strong reason for that. And I think your proposed policy makes more sense. -- JanSlupski 22:51, 22 Jan 2005 (EST)
We now have a Japanese Wikitravel, which is denoted by the kanji 日本語. How do we alphabetize that? By Unicode order, which puts it last? Or in transliterated Nihongo? -phma 10:48, 25 Sep 2005 (EDT)
I would claim that the proposed website is idependent, primary information (not from an official government/tourism board source, and it therefore includes information on negative aspects especially of the history of Salzburg) and neither an individual travellog or travelguide (the latter one is arguable, since the site includes accommodation advice and a travel link directory and is after all designed to provide local information for future visitors). Please let me know what you think! Thanks, B.
I don't doubt that this link leads to a primary source - but to me this is incomplete (or why does the article on Jewish history stop somewhat before 1938?), whilst the proposed website aims to provide independent information that you won't find otherwise on tourism sites.
The current policy is that only primary sources can be external links -- anything else is removed. A major reason for that is that one of the goals of Wikitravel is that each article should be a complete guide on its own, and not rely on external sites for further information. Allowing links to external travel guides tends to make people a bit lazy, and as a result Wikitravel ends up with links to hotel guides rather than hotel listings, links to restaurant guides instead of restaurant listings, etc.
I'm sure your site is great, but there needs to be some line drawn as to what can be linked to and what can't. Currently a single link to Wikipedia, a single link to Dmoz, and links to primary sources (such as the city of Salzburg official site) is where the line has been drawn. Without several very strong arguments as to why this is bad policy I would personally be very opposed to changing. -- Wrh2 16:52, 10 Oct 2005 (EDT)
I'd like to second that. We'd love to have more information about jewish history in Salzburg, but we want it here in Wikitravel. Our travellers sometimes print guides without having time to read them until later when they are on a train or a bus or a plane. A link is pretty much worthless then, but if you put the information you want to see here in Wikitravel it will be there on the printed page when people look for it. -- Mark 17:09, 10 Oct 2005 (EDT)
You might as well have all small website administrators shut their sites down after they've posted all the information on their sites to wikitravel.org. That should solve the external links issues. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 126.96.36.199 (talk • contribs) 3 Jan 2006
Yellow Pages of restaurants, hotels, or bars for a city
Web directory. Wikitravel articles can and should have links to external resources about destinations, itineraries, travel-oriented companies, and other travel-related Web sites. However, it's not a goal to collect all links about any destination. External links should support and complement the content of articles; they're not a goal in and of themselves.
travel guide supplement. The WikiWiki technique we use for Wikitravel makes it possible for us to include information that's not in other travel guides. This doesn't mean that we only include information not found in other guides. Wikitravel aims to be a complete travel guide -- not just an additional resource on the side of traditional guide.
Please do not complain about Colin Jensen just following the External links policy before adding more external links that Colin will enjoy removing again. You should discuss your complaint on the talk page. -- Huttite 00:12, 19 Mar 2005 (EST)
I think the policy is a fair one, (that has a clear purpose for existing), and support the job that Colin and others are doing keeping the External links tidy. But I would like to have some feedback from others who disagree and could suggest how to improve the current policy. -- Huttite 00:30, 19 Mar 2005 (EST)
If you have research links that you think are particularly useful (as opposed to info easily found with google), please do feel free to dump them into the talk page. We avoid them in the article to prevent taking shortcuts -- e.g. if there is a link to a hotel directory, people will be tempted to work on other things instead of filling out the guide with useful-when-printed facts.-- Colin 01:16, 19 Mar 2005 (EST)
I have to disagree with the deletion of the link to eatdrinkhongkong from Hong Kong. Wikitravel cannot really hope to compete with a dedicated specialist site like EDHK and its sections like (restaurant) "News this week", but neither can EDHK replace Wikitravel — they're complimentary. I think this applies also to dedicated nightlife sites, and I think the policy should be altered to allow one (1) link to each in the Eat and Drink sections respectively. Jpatokal 21:40, 29 Mar 2005 (EST)
I agree that we somehow need to incorporate pointers to a "nightlife guide" since we don't intend to document what shows are playing on broadway on any given week. I'm not opposed to some kind of restaurant guide either. But we don't want to point to mere directories. Also, if the best guide is a newspaper/weekly/whatever, we should tell people about it and where to get it rather than trying to web-point at it.
My concern is somehow making it clear which sites are useful guides to what's new versus which guides are self-promoting web indexes. Web index promoters often add a sentence or two that makes their guide sound useful. Any ideas about how to make it easier to separate these two cases? Could we require a Standard Phrase to use when introducing up-to-date guides? Or could we add a new section under Drink/Eat (a section which is NOT included in the standard template) to label these links?
Lastly, this has been an ongoing problem! We've wrestled with nightlife guides forever, and I really think we need to get on with this and add them to the policy. -- Colin 23:07, 29 Mar 2005 (EST)
Bump. Another revert war brewing in, of all places, Luxembourg. Jpatokal 12:53, 9 May 2005 (EDT)
WTF? Some guy comes in and dumps incorrect extlinks into five web pages and you revert my removal of one of them? Could you at least write a note on the talk page saying "I put this link back cause I actually checked it and think it's useful?" I trust your judgement enough to let it go while the policy change is still under discussion. But reverting my change in contravention of policy without explanation is just plain Not Playing Well With Others. -- Colin 13:08, 9 May 2005 (EDT)
Sorry, the rollback button is too easy to use and it was late on my side of the planet. Jpatokal 21:53, 9 May 2005 (EDT)
Okey, that's understandable. -- Colin 23:21, 9 May 2005 (EDT)
I think that's a recipe for conflict. We can make high-quality travel guides very well without links to comprehensive restaurant or bar guide sites; those kinds of sites are mostly targeted to residents rather than travelers. I'm not convinced they're worth the effort. --Evan 13:34, 9 May 2005 (EDT)
But, as has been pointed out many times before, Wikitravel cannot be expected to know who is DJing at Club Hi-So this Friday, or when visiting guest chef Aubergine from France will be preparing his trademark pickled squid at Bob's Diner. This kind of fast-changing stuff needs dedicated, external links and I posit they are useful for the traveler. Jpatokal 21:53, 9 May 2005 (EDT)
There are lots of Web sites that are useful for travelers but that don't belong in a travel guide. That's why we have links to Open Directory. That said: I think links to the Web sites for off-line guides are pretty useful for travelers -- even those who don't have Internet connections. --Evan 08:49, 10 May 2005 (EDT)
I'm sorry, but that last sentence just makes no sense whatsoever to me. Can you explain? Why would a traveler want a link to an off-line guide, and more than a link to an on-line guide at that? Jpatokal 09:18, 10 May 2005 (EDT)
If you're writing about an off-line guide (like one of those paper guides you see at clubs and restaurants), feel free to link to its Web site. You're giving the official site for an off-line object. Sorry if that's confusing -- if you'd rather we didn't do that either, because you don't understand the difference, that's fine with me, too. --Evan 09:55, 10 May 2005 (EDT)
And when the paper guide has an online version? Can I link to City.fi, the weekly printed guide to Helsinki, because at their site you can also read it online?
This distinction just seems thoroughly artificial to me. What's wrong with the official site for an on-line object? Jpatokal 10:14, 10 May 2005 (EDT)
Fine. Let's make no distinction, and leave out links for both kinds of guides. I don't have a problem with that. --Evan 12:15, 10 May 2005 (EDT)
I do have a problem with that, and based on comments on this page so do Paul, Colin, Hypatia and Anteax (to varying degrees).
You've already admitted that it's possible to have specialist offline guides that are useful to the traveler and deserve to be linked in Wikitravel. I would like you to explain why you feel this cannot be extended to specialist online guides. Jpatokal 12:24, 10 May 2005 (EDT)
This isn't a witness stand, it's a consensus-based decision-making process. Your job isn't to back me into a logical corner and twist my words against me; it's to help me see why what you want is better for the project. If you can do that, you can keep me from reverting the change when you edit this policy. That's your main goal here.
My feeling is that a) unofficial URLs are a big source of conflict (viz. this discussion); b) unofficial URLs legitimize wikispam; c) hotel, restaurant, nightlife and other city guides aren't sufficiently important that we need to break these rules. "Useful to [some] travellers" isn't a sufficient metric for bending these rules.
I can see some reasons for loosening this rule for off-line guides, not least of which being that you can usually access them without a computer. I don't think that's an artificial distinction at all. Also, they're usually a lot longer-lived, more established, and there are usually fewer of them.
If it's a choice between having links to no guides, and having links to all guides, I say no guides. I'm happy to defer to Open Directory for general-use links. --Evan 14:25, 10 May 2005 (EDT)
Evan, it seems that you feel fairly stongly about this, and that sometimes people have been a little impolitic about the way they've discussed this but I think I'd still like to bring you around. First to answer your arguments:
a) yes, there will be conflict about which external link is good and which one is bad, I will conceed that the conflict may be reason enough to dissallow them since somebody say on /. might claim that Wikitravel is practicing censorship because they want to link to their useless hotel guide which is just like 1000 others, and we do link to some other hotel guide that we find useful... etc.. etc.. but I think that if we're going to dissallow links on the basis that somebody might find it discriminatory then we should really think about the cost: self censorship.
b) Sure, wikispammers can argue, in some forum or another that making editorial decisions about the links they put in is discriminatory. Sure they can, just like people who like commonwealth english spelling can argue for that. So what? Let me put it this way: If we are going to let some spammer dictate to us that we can't tell our friends (travellers) about stuff on the web that we find useful, then that's fine, but while we're at it maybe we should give them control over the rest of our lives.
c) I've actually come around to the notion that linking to these sorts of resources isn't the most important thing in the world, but it does still seriously gall me that some spammer is preventing me from sharing what might be valuable knowledge for some traveller. I hate the fact that we are being forced to play into that
So I dunno. I can accept links only to sites belonging to print publications, or I can accept no links to nightlife guides at all but I will always consider such a limitation to have been a major victory for the spammers. No ifs, ands, or buts.
I just can't help but to think that if there were no Wikitravel, and you and I were hanging out for drinks somewhere discussing a particular destination, and I knew that there was a really good website for events I would tell you about it, and probably write down the URL if I could remember it. To refuse to discuss resources just because they are on the web reminds me of the worst and most reactionary parts of the .com backslash of San Francisco in the late 90s, and that's not a pretty memory. -- Mark 16:28, 10 May 2005 (EDT)
Hey, so, I completely understand this POV. I realize that there are useful Web sites for nightlife, restaurant info, etc. I use Montreal Plus here in Montreal and SFStation for San Francisco. I agree that this kind of site is useful.
However, I have a hard time seeing how, when SleazeCo tries to plaster our site with http://sleazeco.example.com/montreal and http://sleazeco.example.com/san-francisco, we're going to be able to say that SF Station is acceptable but SleazeCo SF is not. Why not? We've been very, very successful with our official-links-only extlink policy. I think our travel guides are poorer Web directories but better travel guides for it, and frankly I think it's been key to our project surviving.
I know that it sucks not to share that information, but I'm having a hard time thinking up with a fair, objective, collaborative system for dealing with it.
Here's what I'm wondering: can we come up with some way to meet all these needs? We're pushing forward and backwards -- is there a sideways we can use here? --Evan 18:00, 10 May 2005 (EDT)
Mark, you're far more diplomatic than I will ever be. :) So here are some suggestions, hopefully with a minimum of flamage.
First, the extlinks should be limited to one each, in Eat and Drink only. We don't need external hotel guides, because hotels don't change that fast and (I hope) nobody picks their hotel based on the band playing in the lounge that weekend.
Second, and this is a little bit more out there, I'd suggest tagging the guides with approvals: I live(d) in X and think this is the best guide plus signature, either in an HTML comment or on the Talk page, only users with accounts counted. The guide with the most approvals wins. Too bureaucratic for Wikitravel's freewheeling nature...? Jpatokal 22:03, 10 May 2005 (EDT)
At least we should do without the bureaucracy as long as we can. I doubt that ext links will give more problems than other listings. SleazeCo Guide might try to plaster WikiTravel. But SleazeCo Hotel chain and SleazeCo Pizzas will also try to plaster WikiTravel Sleep and Eat sections. I think we can deal with it. A do not see why we cannot say that SleazeCo is not acceptable if it is not.
I do not think we should fill most destinations with hotel and restaurant-guide links. But many country or big-city guides would benefit from links to quality guides.
I also think we should allow links to guides on subjects that are not primary goals of Wikitravel. Eg. fine wine makers in France, guides for fly fishing, boating. --elgaard 07:37, 11 May 2005 (EDT)
That's what the links to Open Directory are for. Making a Web directory is one of our explicity non-goals. --Evan 09:15, 11 May 2005 (EDT)
Open Directory is good for links, I would not want on WikiTravel anyway. But using Open Directory instead of a link does not work for three reasons: 1) A reader will not know there is a external link (unless we write "see OD for a link" and hope it does not disappear on OD), 2) The link does not appear in a natural place on the WT article, Ie. a link to a site on Champagne vines should be in the Drink section in Champagne-Ardenne, 3) a reader would have to find the link in a long list in the Open Directory. And Open Directory cannot be used for offline ressources.
Allowing mentioning external off-line ressources but not online ressources does not make sense to me.
I am not arguing that we should make a web directory. But if E.g. a city has 5 theaters, and there is one website or newspaper that lists shows at all 5 theaters, then that site probably gets its informations directly from the 5 theaters and is almost a primary source.
I would also like "official" to be softened a bit. Eg. [Rejseplanen] is a service to plan and book travels using public transportation in Denmark and some parts of Europe. It is run as a private company. But it is owned by the major public traffic companies (the national railroads, city bus companies), it coorporates with all major public and private traffic companies. It is the only way to easily plan a travel involving more than one company. Maybe something like "official or preferred"? (I now noticed that rejseplanen is part of EU-SPIRIT, I do not know if that would make it an official site). --elgaard 17:40, 11 May 2005 (EDT)
I don't think a competitive, I-know-this-place-better-than-you environment is going to be very helpful. I definitely don't think nightlife guide links are worth engendering that environment. --Evan 09:15, 11 May 2005 (EDT)
I think we should refer at least to off-line guides - especially about cultural and art events. Art exhibitions, theatre performances, small galleries, music concerts etc. fill a city with content and life: they make it "liveable" for residents. As a tourist it is very important to experience this face of a city. That's why I think WikiTravel needs this kind of information. But this is changed every week so we can only refer to resources dealing with it.
Off-line resources are usually the way you can gather information about these events but far not the only: Tokyo Art Beat is a perfect example of being a good on-line resource. I understand that people can Google "Tokyo art events" and likely find the page but why not to include it simply just because it is a great and very useful page.
To have such links in the "Drink" section seems very strange for me. "Do" sounds better - however I would prefer to introduce an "Information" section as I mentioned on User talk:Evan#Information section page.
(There are good printed materials like in your pocket for Central Europe's major cities like Budapest. IT is a commercial product targeting tourists butbeside being a quite good travel guide it lists actual events and is updated every 1-2 month.)
As dining out and nightlife are part of the local culture they also need to be included but maybe it is enough to list some restaurants with special characteristics in the "Eat" section. (Luckily they are often included in magazines like mentioned above.)
Limiting to one guide seems to be an almost good solution. But if there are few good guides which are significantly different (in aim, in content) both should be included. I also wouldn't exclude on-line resources just because linking only to off-line stuff is an easy way to limit the number of links. -- bujatt 05:41, 18 May 2005 (EDT)
Summary: two main problems with relying DMOZ:
DMOZ does not list paper/offline sources of information, and why should it?
not to mention that dmoz is not publicly editable, like wikitravel, so this puts dmoz editor's above wikitravel's own editors in determining what is or is not listed, which abandons the ideal of wiki and is a disservice to the users. And, of course, dmoz categories do not match wikitravel articles, further removing the possibility of linking interesting sites from/about the destination. --188.8.131.52 15:20, 29 January 2007 (EST)
That's a good argument for wishing that we had a Wiki-editable directory to link to instead of or in addition to DMOZ. But it's not a good argument that we should take on this task ourselves. -- Colin 16:38, 29 January 2007 (EST)
I do not see your reasoning at all Colin, it is unlikely that any external source would magical match the context of a wikitravel article unless is was maintained by wikitravel's own editors. Links to local community news sites and good local blogs are 'part of the content of an online travel guide article about a city, you can not effectively shluff it to another site, that will never work. Just like dmoz is not working in any useful way now --Tricknik 04:23, 30 January 2007 (EST)
I have been editing the article about France and I mentionned the name of guidebooks I thought would be useful for the traveler. This has started a few comments, so before continuing I would like to know what is the policy about recommending other sources of information than wikitravel. IMHO on line guides are still a little cumbersome to carry in one's pocket so recommending good maps, good books or other local good sources of info might help. AnTeaX 07:22, 2 Nov 2004 (EST)
Your mistake is in thinking that Wikitravel is an "on-line guide." It's not: our goals include creating printable guides, not just Web pages. The policy for recommending other sources of information is kind of loose, but the basic idea is: if the information should be in Wikitravel anyways, don't recommend another source. This isn't anti-competitiveness, but rather keeping ourselves from being lazy. If we lean on external sources, we won't finish the job we're supposed to do. --Evan 12:11, 2 Nov 2004 (EST)
I think we need to be careful not to dogmatically reject what is generally a commonsensical and commonly-practiced good thing.
User:AnTeaX was not putting in links to other on-line guides in the form of "for more listings, see http://www.on-line...", but rather recommending specific print guides, with no web links to them. There's nothing online-centric about that.
As for this specific instance, yes mentioning Lonely Planet or Michelin is kind of pointless -- is there a single reader who has not already heard of them? But there are many sources of travel information that practically speaking can not or should not be "appropriated" into Wikitravel. There are travel guides that cover limited areas, specific types of travelers, or specific itineraries. There are travelogues which contain practical factual information as well as historical and cultural context. And there are maps, an area in which I frankly think it will be very difficult for Wikitravel to ever match commercial publishers.
A policy of "if the information should be in Wikitravel anyways, don't recommend another source" sounds extremely restrictive, anti-competitive, and most importantly, detrimental. When writing a hypothetical Bicycling in China Wikitravel itinerary, putting in a recommendation for Roger Grigsby's "China by Bike", rather than going out and spending $20 on the latest edition and rewriting portions of it (being careful to avoid the appearance of plagiarism) and entering that in Wikitravel, doesn't sound lazy to me. And writing an article, for example, about trekking in Laos without even recommending an LP or Nelles atlas borders on willful negligence. -- Paul Richter 21:51, 2 Nov 2004 (EST)
Anti-competitive doesn't have much to do with it -- it's a legal concept, and not one that applies to our actions here. (Not linking to other guides is not the same as using our market power to dictate terms to the other guides!) As for your other points, I think they have some validity on the subject of particularly respected guides that partially overlap with us, and on the subject of material that covers stuff outside our goals. But pointing to our direct competitors I don't like...
Just as sometimes there's a non-primary but singular and respected website on a topic (for some cities there is an unofficial but brilliant nightlife guide on the web, for example), for some things there's a singular and respected printed source. Like the Michelin guides for Eat in France (this topic came in from Talk:France). And sometimes there's sources that don't fully overlap with Wikitravel's goals (I think atlases and maps would be in that category for the foreseeable future and maybe forever). I don't see any problem about pointing those out.
But as for other travel guides... I'm not such a fan of saying "see the Lonely Planet guide for cheap eats in this city/country..." because firstly that's true for almost every destination we currently have; and secondly because the Lonely Planet guide also covers Sleep, and See, and Do, and Understand... I don't see the point of doing all this work on a travel guide that isn't Lonely Planet if we keep referring people to Lonely Planet. (Lonely Planet used as an example here.) As a reader, I think it would be very frustrating to go to a Wikitravel page and be told I ought to buy a Lonely Planet. (Yes, it's frustrating if there's no information there too, but I think being explicitly referred to a competitor would sour me more on Wikitravel.)
I think I like the phrase "start as we mean to go on": define what a Wikitravel article should contain, and aim straight for that. Hypatia 22:19, 2 Nov 2004 (EST)
Links to the US State Department Consular Information Sheets?
Swept in from Pub
I was looking over a page and I was thinking of adding a link to the US State Department's Consular Information Sheet. Then it occured to me that in theory, there could be links to all of the US's consular information sheets on every relevant Wikitravel article. Is this a good idea? Is it too US centric? Or has this already been discussed? --Bletch 12:55, 9 Mar 2005 (EST)
I'm not a fan of that idea, quite aside from the US centricity. I read consular information sheets, mainly the Canadian ones, but sometimes those of the US and UK. I rarely pay much attention to them. The only useful information is the visa information, which is not guaranteed to be accurate, so it's more use to link to a website of the destination country's government which covers that info, and the immunization info, which doesn't change much, so should be on the main page, and people should be consulting a travel medicine clinic anyway.
Some people might suggest that the travel warnings are useful, but I've found that they are generally echoing presupposition you might have of a country, and often similar incidents that happened a similar ammount of time ago will be made to seem more severe, in, for instance, an islamic country, as opposed to in countries like Greece. US State is particularly bad for this. But it's the unfounded suppositions that really bother me. Take for instance this warning found in all Schengen countries, in this case, Greece, from US State.
Like other countries in the Schengen area, Greece's open borders with its Western European neighbors allow the possibility of terrorist groups entering/exiting the country with anonymity.
(For the record, as I see it, there is no logical reason to assume that the open borders between Schengen countries are any more dangerous than open borders between american states)
I'm rambling. I would prefer a page somewhere that has links to the consular info index of various governments, with a comment that consular info sheets tend to err quite far to the side of caution, sometimes to the point of the ridiculous. -Neil 01:38, 10 Mar 2005 (EST)
I'll be the first one to agree that those sheets have a lot of crap ranging from boilerplate text to that jewel that you've mentioned. The reason that I still find them useful is because occasionally they do have relevant info. One piece of info actually influenced a trip that I've taken; specifically the US consular sheet on Japan warns about bringing in some drugs that elsewhere are over the counter . Also, even when some of the warnings are readily known, some of such warnings are not yet in Wikitravel. For example, the US consular sheet on Bolivia  warns about hikers being drugged in Rurrenabaque. This is a warning that I've seen echoed everywhere from message boards to other travel guides, but our article on Bolivia does not seem to have it (yet at least; maybe I might go ahead and make that change.) --Bletch 10:21, 10 Mar 2005 (EST)
If it's only exceptional cases rather than the majority of cases, and the information is important enough to convince someone one way or the other about going on a trip, shouldn't that info be in the article itself anyway? The example you give seems like an incredibly pertinent thing to mention in "Stay Safe". You could even link to the consulate office there, as a "source" for the info. --Enki42 07:35, 24 Mar 2005 (EST)
Is there somewhere we should put all those Other Guide Links that (anonymous) people add and then keep being reverted? My thoughts are that some of them may be useful resources for contributors to use for research. Perhaps the really good(?) ones could be listed on a ... um ... Travel guides page! At least if they were all listed in one place we could point out to the contributor and say - "Your already listed here, in the right place." - Huttite 15:49, 3 Jan 2005 (EST)
Depending on my mood, I put them in the Talk page as a research link. Others have done this sometimes. But since Google and Dmoz are perfectly good at finding such otherguides, I don't have a lot of incentive to do this. -- Colin 15:52, 3 Jan 2005 (EST)
So we've finally agreed on mid-links for external links inside listings... what do we now standardize on for links outside listings? I, personally, think that inside a full paragraph of text, it flows better if the link covers the text:
But the mid-link-style approach would be to put the link after the name:
All jet flights, domestic and international, arrive at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA, IATA: KUL, ICAO: WMKK)...
To me eye this looks ugly though and, unlike listings, there are few reasons of symmetry/equality to do so. Opinions? Jpatokal 04:18, 6 Jun 2005 (EDT)
But I'll pre-empt myself by noting that I'd be happier with the mid-linked style if we can hide the ugly "[number]" thing before the link. I've also noticed some newbies manually changing [www.plainlink.com] into [www.plainlink.com website], so I think I'm not the only one... Jpatokal 04:22, 6 Jun 2005 (EDT)
I always do inline links as straight links, and nobody's ever objected, and for what it's worth I think I was one of the people who most strongly objected to front-linked listings. Inline links in a paragraph aren't ugly the same way that the front-linked listings were. -- Mark 06:44, 6 Jun 2005 (EDT)
I agree that "covers the text" should be the policy. -- Colin 14:21, 6 Jun 2005 (EDT)
For me, the primary policy should be consistency, which is why I changed an embedded in-text link to match the stlye we agreed on for listings. Frankly, I don't see what's so different between an in-text and listing link to necessitate different styles for each. -- Paul Richter 00:09, 10 Jun 2005 (EDT)
I honestly think they are really different cases. Here are some of the reasons I (and others) objected to front-linked listings.
Front linked listings made the rendered pages ugly. To be specific: the link text is lighter than normal text, this means that the header for the listing, which is supposed to be bold and stand out was getting swallowed by the rest of the text on the page. For me that was visually unacceptable.
Front linked listings made the URL the very first thing in the listing in the Wikitext. I felt that the first thing in the listing should be the name of the thing being listed.
There were other objections, but these were the main ones. Neither one applies to inline links, which are supposed to have the same visual value as the rest of the text, that's why they are both bold and a slightly lighter color, also inline links do not cause the URL to be the first thing in listings. They're not listings. So to my mind these things are not the same at all. -- Mark 02:04, 10 Jun 2005 (EDT)
I took out an external link section with a link to a tool to check your browser language. I couldn't for the life of me figure out what it was doing here. Then I realized that there are some notes about content negotiation, so I stuck it up there. --Evan 22:57, 19 Jul 2005 (EDT)
We need to clarify the external links policy for two cases
Buy: Intuitively, it looks like we should allow links to shops that have an offline presence in the region/city and which sell the stuff that is being talked about. What about purely online stores?
Do: What about companies offering adventure sports etc.? The rule I've been following is that if the link is in the right place (say it is listed under "Do"->"Canoeing") and the landing to provides information about the specific activity at that place, then it becomes a "primary source" and the link stays. Otherwise, it goes. Do we need to change or formalize this?
I think your question about Buy has been answer elsewhere. And to paraphrase - Online Only = No. So you're probably right, this needs to be spelled out in a plain language in the MoS. -- Ilkirk 10:21, 25 Sep 2005 (EDT)
For Do, Eat, Sleep use the [http://www.someurl.com/] format. Within a web browser the URL will appear as , but when printing it appears as http://www.someurl.com/ due to stylesheet magic, so DO NOT list the URL twice as in [http://www.someurl.com/ someurl.com].
As to why links to high levels are preferred, I believe it is due to the fact that links within a site often change, however the top-level URL is static. Thus while http://www.someurl.com/ will probably be good for a long time, the /foo/bar/baz.html page may change. That said, the "top-level" rule is one that seems to be frequently bent, so use your best judgement as to what the most relevant URL should be. -- Wrh2 04:23, 29 Sep 2005 (EDT)
And as the article says the high level URL usually redericts to one that is longer. It is better to use the short URL because it will get printed on paper on someone will be typing it in from a paper version. --elgaard 14:54, 29 Sep 2005 (EDT)
This was added into the policy by an anon IP earlier, and I don't think its correct, nor I don't see it being discussed:
===Links in other listings===
For links in lists other than specific locations - eg general areas - the name should be linked. For example, nightlife hotspots:
Boat Quay on the south of the river next to the financial district (MRT Raffles Place, exit G)
Clarke Quay on the north bank a few blocks inland (MRT Clarke Quay)
A listing is a listing is a listing, right? And we've said that listings don't get inline links because it makes the printed version funny, right? Maybe I've missed something... there are a lot of discussions on this page... -- Ilkirk 15:53, 30 Nov 2005 (EST)
You are absolutely right (as usual). A listing is a listing is a listing. I'm going to object to any front linked listings. The only reason I didn't roll back the addition is that unless I'm mistaken somebody else had already rolled it back. (using an anon IP). -- Mark 16:26, 30 Nov 2005 (EST)
There hasn't been a rollback, but 184.108.40.206 added the above text, as well as the "Links in location listings" and "Links outside of listings" sections. I think these two sections make sense and follow the general concensus from other discussion. However, the part that I've extracted did not, which is why it's here...
I have done a little bit of editing to what they entered, but if you do a quick compare from 220.127.116.11's version to my first one after 18.104.22.168 then you'll see the whole picture. -- Ilkirk 17:09, 30 Nov 2005 (EST)
So, I changed from...
Boat Quay on the south of the river next to the financial district (MRT Raffles Place, exit G)
Clarke Quay on the north bank a few blocks inland (MRT Clarke Quay)
Boat Quay on the south of the river next to the financial district (MRT Raffles Place, exit G)
Clarke Quay on the north bank a few blocks inland (MRT Clarke Quay)
Boat Quay on the south of the river next to the financial district (MRT Raffles Place, exit G)
Clarke Quay on the north bank a few blocks inland (MRT Clarke Quay) 
...which gives the impression that the link is about Clarke Quay MRT station - ?
It seems to me that this is a good example of where a front-linked listing should be permitted.
The problem here is that the 'listing' being discussed here isn't really very standard or desirable; it should be formatted as a paragraph of text, not a list of bullet points, and I've just done so. Jpatokal 07:39, 1 Dec 2005 (EST)
The links above ("Are the following listing acceptable") do not fit my idea of what this policy says. And I repeat: A listing is a listing is a listing, right? I've treated any list just like an attraction or dining list, placing the link just after the name of the school, etc. Isn't this all about the way it prints out? I'll go dig that up from a previous discussion I think I remember...
I'm at a loss on the Quay stuff - why isn't a listing desirable? And why wouldn't a link directly following Clarke Quay be okay? I really don't dig having the link at the end since all of the polices about attractions, dining, drinking, etc have been changed to move away from that. It seems like we need to decide on one, maybe two, different linking schemes and leave it alone.
I just followed the link and I see your point - I simply assumed that the link concerned the station. Maybe the Clarke Quay station needs to be in a list, but if Clarke Quay is also an attraction, then it needs to be listed as such and use the standard linking practice. -- Ilkirk 15:48, 1 Dec 2005 (EST)
I think front-links are preferable and should be permitted in listings when the nature of the listing means it'll print OK regardless (ie when it's not a listing of locations with addresses and 'phone numbers) - example
I just re-arranged and re-worded much of this article to hopefully be a bit clearer, and to also include the discussion about external links from Wikitravel talk:Article templates. As always, feel free to revert, but the text was getting quite convoluted and (IMHO) needed to be consolidated and re-organized a bit. I haven't actually changed the policy itself, just the wording and organization of how it is presented. -- Ryan 13:08, 1 Feb 2006 (EST)
I like number 3 best. Jpatokal 07:28, 13 Feb 2006 (EST)
Good question... I agree that #3 seems the cleanest. Majnoona 11:52, 13 Feb 2006 (EST)
Thanks for asking this.... I have been using option 1, but option 3 is good for me... I will change my wicked ways :) -- Tom Holland (xltel) 11:40, 14 Feb 2006 (EST)
So, doing it "number 3 style" has entirely failed to take off, and even I now think it looks fairly bizarre. Number 2 now looks cleanest in my opinion and seems to be used the most -- can we standardize on this? Jpatokal 21:56, 12 October 2006 (EDT)
Including the official link inside of the parentheses (option #3) seemed to me to indicate that the link had something to do with the local-language name but not the English name, so count me +1 in support of making an official change to option #2. -- Ryan 22:01, 12 October 2006 (EDT)
What is everyone using for the "official link"? I have been using the official tourist site if there is one, but we could also use the official government site. Am I wrong with offical tourist site? What do others think? We need to clarify this in the article also. -- Tom Holland (xltel) 11:45, 14 Feb 2006 (EST)
Official tourist site beats the official government site if you ask me. Jpatokal 11:54, 14 Feb 2006 (EST)
I think the idea is that "official link" is the city/government site, the official tourist site should be part of the "welcome center" or "tourisim office" listing in the Understand section. For example in Minot there is:
Minot Convention & Visitors Bureau 1020 South Broadway (Located in the Scandinavian Heritage Visitors Center)  -- for tourism
Is that going to work for folks? Majnoona 11:56, 14 Feb 2006 (EST)
I think typically having some tourism information is going to be more helpful to the traveller than having the phone number to call for getting a pothole fixed or the minutes of the last Water Board meeting. So: if there's a tourist site or page, use that; if not, use the government page. --Evan 12:21, 14 Feb 2006 (EST)
Ok, but then should a link not be included in the tourism office listings? An avid stopper at info booths and roadside welcome centers, I think that is useful info. Majnoona 14:00, 14 Feb 2006 (EST)
Yeah, that's a good idea. I didn't realize what you were getting at. --Evan 14:17, 14 Feb 2006 (EST)
I think a lot of the US state tourism sites don't have a store front, if you will, so I figure if it is a "Tourist Center" where you can stop and get info and brochures and stuff (my wife loves those places) then we list that under a full listing of tourism information, but the main website (store front or not) is list at the top. Just leave the government site off alltogether, unless it is the prime tourism site as well. -- Tom Holland (xltel) 14:45, 14 Feb 2006 (EST)
Linking to external multimedia (videos, etc) has come up more than once. I'd like to make it expliciate that we don't link to these for a couple of reasons:
They're generally not "official" so would be excluded by the general external links policy
Linking to multimedia, travel stories, etc is not a goal
They're not useful to offline readers
It would be difficult to review the content
There's a big can o' worms regarding file formats, hosting vs linking, etc
I'd love for us to have a place where this type of content could find a home, but it's probably not going to be on Wikitravel propper. Comments or should I plunge forward and add this? Majnoona 12:47, 2 July 2006 (EDT)
I'm not exactly sure why audio or video files would be particularly different from HTML, plain text, or images. --Evan 12:58, 2 July 2006 (EDT)
Just making it explicit that is isn't different... it's just come up a few times and it would be nice to have it written out for reference. Majnoona 13:02, 2 July 2006 (EDT)
I'm not sure I understand the question. Is it that we should change "primary" and "secondary" to "official" and "unofficial", or that we should change things from having a bit of wiggle room ("should", "avoid") to being more absolute ("only", "never")? For the first question, I like the difference between "primary" and "secondary" as a distinguisher between link types. For the second, well, we've definitely been treating them like absolutes, but I'm one of those "never say never" people who likes to leave some flexibility for people. I definitely haven't seen the link that requires an exception here. Is there a big advantage to changing the wording? Is it terribly unclear right now? --Evan 16:28, 19 July 2006 (EDT)
Exception candidate being discussed here ~ 22.214.171.124 16:50, 19 July 2006 (EDT)
If there are to be no exceptions, should the Wikitravel:Phrasebook_template#Learning_more section - ie This is where you'd give more information on learning the language, such as links to online courses or textbooks, or suggestions for in-person courses to take, or pointers to a dictionary or two - be revised or deleted?
I'm firmly of two opinions here: there are non-official external links that are incredibly useful for the traveler and should be included, but leaving the door open (like with the phrasebooks) can and does cause link spam.
The gem scam page, for example, is useful especially after you've been scammed, because it lists your rights under Thai law, what you can do to get your money back and gives examples of how other people have managed to get their money back (or not). But this info is (hopefully!) only relevant to 0.01% of Wikitravel readers, so it hardly makes sense to import it wholesale.
Other examples frequently pointed out are nightlife guides (can and should Wikitravel ever hope to keep up an up-to-date directory of every cultural event in Tokyo or NYC?) and the Cambodian unofficial road conditions page, which was basically agreed to be OK in 2004 and is still there in flagrant violation of policy (eek!).
So I'd like to codify some common classes (the nightlife guides are #1 in my book) and leave the door open a crack for well-argued exceptions (like Thai gem scams and Cambodian roads). Jpatokal 15:34, 11 September 2006 (EDT)
Maybe it's just me, but I think and exchange rate website is a perfect example of what not to link to. Even Yahoo can calc an exchange rate. Is Myanmar exchange so difficult that a special-purpose site is needed for this? -- Colin 05:05, 28 September 2006 (EDT)
Actually it is, because Myanmar is one of those countries where the official exchange rate (given by most generic currency converters) is several orders of magnitude different from the "real" (black market) rate. Jpatokal 05:28, 28 September 2006 (EDT)
Bump. I'd really like to see some more discussion of this. Jpatokal 04:47, 28 September 2006 (EDT)
I have no major problems with Jani's suggestions except one thing: Nightlife guides. They should only be used in case there is absolutely no chance of Wikitravel keeping an up-to-date and reliable guide. Also, if we link to nightlife guides I think it should be something like what I did for Cincinnati#Drink. I mention two magazines that keep up-to-date concerts and events at bars, but I also list a few clubs and bars that are notable in the area. -- Sapphire 04:57, 28 September 2006 (EDT)
I think there is no chance of us writing a real nightlife guide for any city. Even small cities have multiple events per week, and we just don't care about stuff at that level. Which is why a nightlife guide or two would be useful -- and extra credit given for those which publish on dead trees which can be physically located. -- Colin 05:05, 28 September 2006 (EDT)
Clarification: I, in no way expect us to keep an up-to-date nightlife guide to Bangkok and I support using a link or two if the place has a population greater than 30,000. However, for Akron and other hick to medium sized towns and cities I'm not sure it's that important. -- Sapphire 05:11, 28 September 2006 (EDT)
If a town is so small it doesn't need a nightlife guide, it probably doesn't even have a nightlife guide, no...? Jpatokal 05:28, 28 September 2006 (EDT)
Well for college towns like Oxford (Ohio), Akron, or Toledo these towns are large enough to have an exciting nightlife, but everything is limited to a few specific places so there's really no need to link to a nightlife guide, since you could easily identify the most important bars, clubs, strip joints or whatever and list them without turning the section into a yellow pages. -- Sapphire 01:40, 8 October 2006 (EDT)
I hope someone is keeping an eye on the IP user's contributions, just to make sure that the listings are only to primary sites and the linking is not excessive. — Ravikiran 15:50, 11 May 2006 (EDT)
I have it in my head to wait until they're done and go back and MoS them (though anyone else should feel free to jump in). I want to wait until they're done to avoid getting into an edit war with them, which happened briefly with Telluride. They seem to be sort-of primary. I mean, if somebody is a realtor who has a bunch of vacation homes to rent, I guess that's primary. Even though they're an intermediary, they're the intermediary the traveler would contact. Thoughts? There doesn't seem to be as clear of a line as there is with hotels. -- Jonboy 15:56, 11 May 2006 (EDT)
I investigated one of the contributions that was being scattered about the Outer Banks. It really did have complete descriptions and pictures of each offered rental, a schedule of when the rental was booked vs. available, and had extensive widespread listings so that it was pertinent to many articles. From this I infer that they are the Primary Source for this information -- unless realtors have some way of sharing the booking info that I don't know about.
In the past when we get corporate contributions like this, there has been inconsistency between stuff which is a good addition to the guide vs. stuff that we wouldn't normally link to. So just because I investigated one set of contributions doesn't mean the rest are okay. We definitely need to MoS. There seems to be some sort of irresistable urge among advertisers to give the accomodation a Google friendly name instead of using the actual establishment name; this contributor is no exception. -- Colin 16:01, 11 May 2006 (EDT)
Oh lordy, this issue is such a tricky one. It's come up a couple of different way but it's just so hard to have a firm policy on "vacation rental" type things. (Full disclosure: I'm currently a big fan of vacation rentals-- they're super great if you have kids!). On the one hand they are useful and on the other they tend to be tinted a slight shade of spam-pink... I guess I jumped the gun and rolled back one of their submissions without really looking at it. I think the "wait and see" approach is a good one... Maybe we should bring together all the seperate converstaions about this in one place, on Wikitravel:External links? Majnoona 16:54, 12 May 2006 (EDT)
I've been banging my head against the keyboard from time to time trying to understand where people keep getting the idea into their head to use this kind of link in Wikitravel listings. It's spelled out pretty clearly here to use This Kind of Link  instead. Who on earth is teaching all these people to do it wrong? I just found it: We are. Because here we tell people, "For external links in text outside of listings the name should be linked." So our articles are littered with this example (outside of listings), which people go right ahead and follow (in listings). This seems needlessly inconsistent and confusing. It's like "I before E except after C", which trips people up because it's so arbitrary and most of them have probably never looked at this page to learn the rule in the first place. They just follow the examples they see, and since this kind of link looks so much snazzier (without those ugly numbers), they go with this most often. So... why the double standard? Why not make it clearer with a simple, consistent rule for linking? (Before Evan chimes in with a warning about how much work it's going to be to switch: no less work that it is now – and will continue to be – cleaning up after all the people who follow our own confusing example.) - Todd VerBeek 20:30, 31 July 2006 (EDT)
I completely agree. Among other advantages, using This Kind of Link  for all external links makes it easier to parse the links and turn them into footnotes or whatever in printed form. Also it gives a visual cue which links are external and which go to other Wikitravel pages. Pashley 01:53, 19 December 2006 (EST)
I don't agree... as you mentioned above, it indeed looks much sexier to link the text, with just the small exception of not linking the listings... I don't think it's any more confusing than anything else a new person has to learn about the MoS. Sexy wins in my book, which is why I like Macs over PC's, but that's another can of worms. Cacahuate 02:05, 19 December 2006 (EST)
User:deepinlife has been linking to movies on the Siberia article. At first I directed him to include the links in the understand section only if the movies were informative and useful similar to what we would do for a book. I thought the links were linking to an informative website about the movies, but I later realized that the links were actually links to download the movies. I'm very hesitant about allowing this because the potential abuse. What do others think? To see the discussion I had with Deepinlife please consult my talk page. -- Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 01:57, 2 July 2006 (EDT)
This has come up before (I will try and dig up a link) and I think the consenus was that we dont want to be linking to multimedia, at least for now. Reasons I can remember included: not useful offline, hard to review for appropriate content, generally not inline with Wikitravel:Goals and non-goals and Wikitravel:External links. HTH Majnoona 10:33, 2 July 2006 (EDT)
Non-goal #8: Building a web directory. Also note that it does not match any goal. -- Colin 13:58, 2 July 2006 (EDT)
Just upload the video as though it were any other image. Of course you'll have to release it under our liscencing terms. Wikitravel now has support from a commercial entity, so there's no reason for us Wikitravellers to concern ourselves with anything as mundane as bandwith usage. -- Mark 14:18, 2 July 2006 (EDT)
According to Wikitravel:Image policy#Other media non-images should not be uploaded to Wikitravel. I sympathize with Deepinlife's desire to include what he or she sees as valuable content in the guides, but the past consensus has been to limit external links to primary sources and to not include multimedia other than images. I don't see any new arguments that show a compelling reason to change that policy. Perhaps in the future, especially if integration with World66 becomes tighter, there will be a place for such things, but at the moment it seems like they would distract from the current efforts of creating the most useful travel guides possible. -- Ryan 14:37, 2 July 2006 (EDT)
At this point I see no reason at all not to reform the image policy to allow video uploads. We no longer have to worry about backups, bandwidth, or disk space, so therefore the image policy should be ammended. Let's take advantage of the IB deal!
However, I'm totally against linking to external video. That's a slippery slope, and besides since we don't know what the copyright terms or license is for the external video it might well compromise our goal of making a Free travel guide. -- Mark 15:02, 2 July 2006 (EDT)
I dont think it's a bandwidth issue at all. Just cause we can host things doesn't mean we should. I think multimedia would take us down a Wikitravel:Slippery slope away from our goals. I'd love to see a place for this, and other creative travel-related content, in the future, but I'm really against it here and now. Majnoona 17:20, 2 July 2006 (EDT)
Mark, could you point me to the statement from IB that they'd commit unlimited resources to the project and that we should stop exercising any kind of reasonable restraint in that area? I must have missed it. - Todd VerBeek 19:36, 2 July 2006 (EDT)
Before we go too far down this path, I'd just like to reiterate that the issue isn't one of resources but of goals... Majnoona 23:32, 2 July 2006 (EDT)
Non-goal #8: Building a web directory. Also note that it does not match any goal.
then why there is externel links to books and different other things..we may cancel externel link then...
it match some goals
Wikitravel articles can and should have links to external resources about destinations, itineraries, travel-oriented companies, and other travel-related Web sites. However, it's not a goal to collect all links about any destination. External links should support and complement the content of articles; they're not a goal in and of themselves.
why speaking about uploading to wikitravel?we just speak about externel link..May teh licence of teh movies violate teh free licence we have , yes but what is teh problem...anyone from us can copy something or upload image which violate this and then reviewers will delete it!!!even if we uploaded it to wiki , there will be someone who will check if it don't violate our licence or not!
speaking about bandwidth is nothing to do in that disscusiion because we are speaking about externel servers not ours..
the only problem i see right now will be teh licence violating but as said earlier it is reviewers work to correct the bad of the new commmers..
what willl be better , making use of free movies which serve us or just stop thinking about teh idea because it has some problem...i think wiki idea itself was built to resist this idea...if we was not writing the wiki articles because someone may copy something which violate teh licence of our articles, we was not to make such great site!!!
it is teh same idea , i see no difference...
maybe someone think that movies is not vaulable offline ,maybe that is true..but movies is there just to help u choose ur destentation and know ur destentation more...not to help u while travelling..
jsut wanna ask what wil be better when i want to discribe my journy to ploto?
an article containg some papers .,or an article and a movie which is not having my own photo or photos of my grandma..jsut a movie about ploto and creatures living there???!!deepinlife
We should explain why it's a UNESCO site in the article itself instead of relying on external sites. Also, if (when) UNESCO changes their structure again all the one million-zillion pages linking to it will break — better to keep just one link to the UNESCO's main page from our own UNESCO World Heritage Sites page. Jpatokal 15:28, 26 September 2006 (EDT)
Please don't change any more links until we get a few more opinions on this. Jpatokal 16:15, 26 September 2006 (EDT)
Hotel booking guides and "What not to link to"
I find it unfortunate to put language in here that absolutely prohibits links to booking guides. The problem is that in some places (for example resort towns like Aspen and Lake Tahoe), booking services are the only way to get certain classes of rentals such as timeshares. Ruling them out is a disservice to the traveler.
How about something like this? Change the "Hotel booking guides" entry to say
Hotel booking services (but see below)
-- and then a footnote something like:
"Note, however, that it's OK to link to a booking service if it's the only way to get access to a hotel/B&B/timeshare/etc. If you take advantage of this exception, please make sure that the link really is the only means of access."
See also Wikitravel talk:Accommodation listings#Apartment rentals for a similar discussion. An argument can also be made that links such as the Expedia and Travelocity in the United States article are useful for a traveler since they lead the traveler to popular resources for comparing prices and booking accommodation, but I'm at a loss as to how we can officially allow those sorts of links and prohibit others. In your example, it's going to be tough to determine what services are valid - someone attempting to enforce the external links policy is unlikely to know if a link meets the "only way to do it" exception, so I suspect we'll still have problems even with an exception in the policy. -- Ryan 22:10, 27 September 2006 (EDT)
If we do this (and I'm not thrilled with it), could we make it a policy to limit to 2 or 3 places? That way the link spammers won't overwhelm the hotels. Actually, I'd like to see that limit for all vacation rentals, which IMHO are getting out of control in places. -- Jonboy 22:42, 27 September 2006 (EDT)
I support some change in the policy -- many resort areas with private owners who do short term rentals have a similar problem. See, eg, Dinner Plain.
No idea right now what would be an acceptable boundary. Hypatia 23:09, 27 September 2006 (EDT)
Please keep in mind that producing printable and re-usable guides are some of our goals and booking sites are practically useless for the offline readers. Ricardo (Rmx) 23:52, 27 September 2006 (EDT)
I also find it hard to believe that there are any lodging options that are only reachable by some sort of booking engine. Places that don't have a Web site almost always have a phone number, email address, fax, or some other way to reach them. For vacation rentals, I lean towards Jonboy's point of view; I'd actually prefer to leave them out entirely, since they so rarely show up in travel guidebooks. --Evan 00:03, 28 September 2006 (EDT)
I'd prefer that we leave those types of links out completely. I doubt any hotel in the world is so isolated that it doesn't have a phone number, fax number, address, or email that a it would justify linking to a booking service. -- Sapphire 01:57, 28 September 2006 (EDT)
I agree with Evan and Sapphire in that I think allowing that kind of links creates a slippery slope. As for links to travelocity and expedia and the like, there might be a place for them in a travel topics page about finding cheap airfare, but certainly not a link for them in every city in the US big enough to have an airport. I do have one question though, as to whether links like the website of Hostelling International qualifies as a primary (official) webpage link or as a search and booking agent. I see people on the Portuguese and spanish versions for example, plopping the link to the HI's Spain search page in the article about Spain, when perhaps individual links to each hostel's booking page, listed on the various Wikitravel city articles might be more appropriate. Any thoughts? Texugo 03:02, 28 September 2006 (EDT)
I try to use the individual links to the specific hostel's page. -- Sapphire 03:16, 28 September 2006 (EDT)
Well, the whole point is that sometimes the specific hostels (or equivalent) don't have pages. They rely on the booking outfits. -- Bill-on-the-Hill 15:22, 28 September 2006 (EDT)
OK to link to web pages that provide these lists? Or should this be included in the "What not to link to" guidelines list? ~ 126.96.36.199 09:31, 29 September 2006 (EDT)
probably better to actually list some convenient and relevant hotspots in the guide itself rather than just a link... but then maybe for a really large city it might be relevant... hmmm.... Cacahuate 02:51, 18 December 2006 (EST)
I think direct service providers like Wireless@SG , are OK to link to, but third-party hotspot listings should be avoided. Jpatokal 03:08, 18 December 2006 (EST)
OK folks, I think we're heading towards a consensus here that a link to a nightlife guide is a good thing. Here's an attempt at a policy:
As an exception, one (1) external link to a comprehensive nightlife guide covering cultural and artistic events (concerts, clubs, shows, plays, etc) in the destination is allowed. Once chosen, the link should not be changed without discussion on the Talk page.
I strongly disagree. I'd like to hear a good reason that a nightlife guide makes sense where a hotel or restaurant guide (or museum or parking lot or whatever guide) does not. Please: the external links policy is working great -- it's clear, it's simple, and it's fair. Opening it up for exceptions is a real headache -- far more of a pain than not having links to Web-based nightlife guides. --Evan 11:15, 7 October 2006 (EDT)
The reason is obvious and has been outlined many times before: nightlife information changes constantly (different events every night), while hotels, restaurants, museums or parking lots do not. (Well, the exhibitions at museums do, but that's why they're often covered by nightlife/culture guides.) I posit as undeniable truths that a) nightlife/cultural event info is useful for travellers, and b) there's no hope of Wikitravel ever being able to keep with the cultural life of a place like New York City; ergo, we should points travelers to where they can find this info.
If you think my wording above leaves room for a slippery slope, how would you improve it?
And for yucks, consider an alternative that would be within current policy but (IMHO) far worse: provide primary links to the homepages of every single band, DJ, rapper, stand-up comic and drag queen in the destination. Jpatokal 22:08, 7 October 2006 (EDT)
I agree. I think that it's a super slippery slope and I'd rather keep all non-primary links off Wikitravel. Maj 11:56, 7 October 2006 (EDT)
I'm unconvinced that Jani is proposing a change since we already accept nightlife guide links. It seems to me that he is merely codifying existing practice as we have come to consensus on. -- Colin 01:16, 8 October 2006 (EDT)
Jani, where is this alleged "consensus" being recorded? Got a link? I'd like to see the discussion before chiming in, although my initial reaction is that this is not the place to look for an exception to the rule. -- Bill-on-the-Hill 13:22, 7 October 2006 (EDT)
The discussion is on this very page: if you scroll up ( ) you'll see Mark, Colin, Elgaard, Bujatt and Sapphire expressing various levels of dissatisfaction with the current policy, while vociferous opposition seems largely limited to Evan & Maj. Jpatokal 22:08, 7 October 2006 (EDT)
Besides expressing my continuing support for this, I'd just like to thank you for the wording of this that makes the job of hall-monitor very easy. I like the only-one rule in combination with the mandatory "discuss changes on talk". I think this goes a long way to ensuring that people poking at this link work on consensus and avoid edit wars. Thanks. -- Colin 01:16, 8 October 2006 (EDT)
I've just re-read my argument above, and while I still agree with myself (and am pleasantly surprised by my Wikiside manner in that writing) I have to say that my thinking on this issue has moved on toward trying to find some kind of alternate solution.
What I think might be really interesting in this space is for one or more of us to set up some kind of an OpenCalendar project to which people could contribute one or more events at one or more venues basically in iCal or vCal format which users could then just import into their favourite calendar application be it Outlook or Kontact or Google Calendar or whatever. Eventually the goal would be for venue owners and promoters to just publish their calendars.
How would this differ from KDE's "Hot new stuff" for Kontact? Not by much, except that it would work for those other calendar apps too. In fact I think interoperation with things like "Hot new stuff" should be a goal.
The content would all be distributed under one of the CC licences so there should be no problem doing per-destination links as with Wikipedia (I hope).
What do you all think? I've been thinking about route planning too. Actually I'd be taking more action on this if I weren't in the process of interviewing for my own job this week (sort of like Tenure). -- Mark 04:52, 8 October 2006 (EDT)
Hey all. I've actually gotten a tiny something done about this: http://wikevent.org . There's almost nothing there but an idea at the moment, but it's a start anyhow. -- Mark 10:16, 25 October 2006 (EDT)
Having caught up on the discussion (thanks, Jani), it seems to me as though a rather minor tweak to the "Contact" section should meet the conflicting needs here without getting too far down a slippery slope. Mark's idea strikes me as desirable but impractical: it's hard enough to get content for many places on the articles we already have. So why not let the communities themselves do this?
The proposal is: modify the "Contact" guidance in the city templates to say: Information on communications -- phone, Internet, other. Give information on cellular phone coverage in the city, and telephone centers where travelers can make long-distance calls. This is also where you'd list Internet cafes or computer rental centers for staying in touch by email or on the Web. If there are free or paid wireless Internet hotspots in the city, name them here. Finally, list Web-based resources for staying in touch while you're in town -- community bulletin boards, event calendars, etc. Use these sparingly.
Does this meet people's needs? -- Bill-on-the-Hill 11:15, 8 October 2006 (EDT)
Sorry, but I think that's a much more slippery slope than what I proposed, because it basically boils down to re-introducing "External links". It would also be a rather non-intuitive place to find an event calendar (who is being Contacted?). Jpatokal 11:27, 8 October 2006 (EDT)
I disagree. It tightly bounds the allowed exceptions under terms similar to those that allow web sites for hotels, etc. It also avoids the artificiality of someone prescribing the single "allowed" exception, and then edit wars over what that exception is to be. Who's being "Contacted"? The community, that's who, and that's as it should be. -- Bill-on-the-Hill 12:06, 8 October 2006 (EDT)
Sorry, I just don't understand what you're getting at at all. My original problem was that I, as a traveler, want to see what gigs are going on tonight in city X. Why would I look under "Contact" for that, and what does this have to do with "Web-based resources for staying in touch"? Which of, say, these or these links qualify? Jpatokal 12:25, 8 October 2006 (EDT)
I don't know which of those links qualify, being unfamiliar with the scene in KL or NYC. (On the contrary, one of my goals is to have someone who knows the two cities down-select the contacts for me, to avoid wading through that junk.) I know, however, that this one, from a community that I do know better, does; currently has no convenient place to stick it; and would be useful for the traveler who goes for classical music (as I do). Would comparable things for other forms of "night life" in other places be that hard to identify, by people familiar enough with those places to write the article? -- Bill-on-the-Hill 12:39, 8 October 2006 (EDT)
The free CiN Weekly, magazine available in grocery stores, gas stations, and bookstores has a great calendar for events, concerts, plays, and festivals. CiN Weekly would be an excellent guide for solo travellers or families. Additionally, the free City Beat magazine is geared toward college students and has a good list of upcoming events.
Those two newspapers provide excellent coverage of local events, concerts, and the club scene that I wouldn't even be able to attempt to duplicate in the Cincinnati article. I would like any changes to the current text to also convey the message that if we allow external links to a nightlife guide that we also want a few listings of cool clubs, bars, concert halls and that linking to another site shouldn't be a way to half-ass and not give the traveller any information.
I think all links should be to links or nightlife guides that locals use. Of course, I wouldn't recommend linking to a site strictly in Spanish, Japanese, or Swahili because there's a good chance the traveller will be unable to read any of the information.
Also, I very much prefer something along the lines of Jani's proposed text and I have to agree that any this would belong under "Drink" rather than "Contact", because I wouldn't bother to look under "Contact" for information about nightlife.
Mark, I really like your idea too. Sure, the proposal seems a little daunting at first, but I bet starting Wikitravel seemed a little daunting to Evan and Maj in the first months of operation too. -- Sapphire 13:34, 8 October 2006 (EDT)
I'm glad. I think I might try to launch a Mediawiki site to discuss and work on the idea in the next couple of weeks. -- Mark 13:39, 8 October 2006 (EDT)
All the people who have contributed to this debate have raised valid points. Offering links to a site that lists current events will obviously provide a valuable service and, at the same time, enhance WikiTravel's stature as a travel guide with the most up-to-date information. On the other hand, I can also envisage the situation getting out of control. Many of the articles are not completed by local people, but by casual visitors, so who is going to be in the position to decide which website is included and which ones are dumped? Will the regular contributors have the time to check each and ever candidate? And, if it is put to the vote, I'm sure that through lack of a local voice, a particular company, such as 'sleeze.com', could gather enough friends to push it through. As in most situations, nothing is 100% perfect. However, I would say that the pros of adding this service probably out number the cons, provided the safeguards Jani mentioned are installed. However, I wonder whether a new section or sub-section called 'What's on' should be added to the city/large city templates to accommodate this link. While a lot of events are held in clubs, bars and restaurants, many are not. Rock concerts, for example, are often held in a stadium or park, whereas theaters or community halls act as venues for plays or classical music recitals. Personally, if I were looking for information on events, I would not check under 'Eat' or 'Drink', though I would no doubt stumble across the link at some point when looking for places to eat/drink. If you are looking for a definite 'yeah' or a 'nay', I'll put my hand up for a 'reserved yeah' as long as the safeguards are included. WindHorse 23:45, 8 October 2006 (EDT)
Bump. I'd like to solicit a few more opinions, and unless there's vociferous opposition or somebody comes up with something better, the suggested wording above will be moved into policy. Mark's idea is a good one, but it'll be a bitch to make it happen and it's not going to address the immediate need for the foreseeable future. Jpatokal 10:49, 15 October 2006 (EDT)
As an exception, one (1) external link to a comprehensive nightlife guide covering cultural and artistic events (concerts, clubs, shows, plays, etc) in the destination is allowed. Once chosen, the link should not be changed without discussion on the Talk page and a consensus reached. It might be stating the obvious, but adding the final four words may save premature changes. WindHorse 12:09, 15 October 2006 (EDT)
I don't know whether one person being vociferous constitutes "vociferous opposition," but I am strongly opposed to the proposed language. It is ridiculous to mandate the "one (1) external link" as a "comprehensive" solution that is applicable to towns of 20,000 and to mega-cities closer to 20 million. Let's do something that works for this, and let it be a statement of principle rather than an artificial rule. -- Bill-on-the-Hill 14:17, 15 October 2006 (EDT)
Good point. However, these days most on-line event guides for major cities are pretty comprehensive. For example, those that provide a service for New York or London offer a huge amount of listings covering page after page, district after district (see these sites as an example: , ), whereas a guide for, say, 'Upstate Hicksville' may only offer a single page of information. However, in both cases, it is just the one web site providing the full service. Therefore, a single link should actually suffice. Regarding where to place the link, above I suggested starting a new 'What's on' section or sub-section. On reflection, I think that's not a good idea. Instead, I propose using the existing 'Do' section. In any case, for reasons previously stated, I don't think placing it under 'Eat' or 'Drink' is the best option, though it is acceptable - just some wandering thoughts. WindHorse 21:56, 15 October 2006 (EDT)
Bill, what I'd personally really is like a mechanism for allowing specific external links for the kind of thing that Wikitravel can't compete with: not just nightlife guides, but the unofficial road conditions site for Cambodia, the one Japanese hotel booking engine that's head and shoulders above the rest, etc. But I don't see an easy way of defining this without getting into a very slippery slope: if you do, I'm all ears. Jpatokal 22:52, 15 October 2006 (EDT)
I'm confused as to how the Proxify link is helpful in detecting HTTP content negotiation. I'm disinclined to leave in the link without a good practical reason to do so. --Evan 15:41, 30 October 2006 (EST)
I have been looking through many pages concerned with Crete. On most of these pages I found and deleted links to a private company called simplycreteholidays.co.uk. Now I know that they know the Wikitravel policy on external links, but have failed to comply. I removed their links. Is this OK for me to do this? I believe the link rules applies to ALL of us. User:Orut
Without a doubt, yes. You've done a great job removing those links. We try to clean them up, but we get a lot of edits on the site, and sometimes these things slip through. Thanks for your help. --Evan 22:22, 16 December 2006 (EST)
Have I mentioned that Wikevent is up and running now? The site is intended in part as a solution to the nightlife guide problem. See my longer message above. -- Mark 01:24, 30 January 2007 (EST)
http://wikevent.org/en/Berlin :( not ready for prime-time, I'm afraid. Also not sure if wiki is the best platform for events giving the typical metadata, seems to me a db with fields for date, venue, etc would be more suitable --Tricknik 04:36, 30 January 2007 (EST)
Plunge forward! Rome was not built in a day. -- Mark 15:18, 30 January 2007 (EST)
Yes! My comment was not meant to be discouraging, sorry if came across that way. I do have some thoughts regarding how a wiki may be a part of an eventsite, but not on it's own. I suppose that is better discussed over at wikevent.org ;) --Tricknik 14:58, 31 January 2007 (EST)
Well, we're doing a pretty good job so far of capturing data like dates etc, and rendering that data using semantic µformat markup as well as RDF. It works! For instance, look at the little box marked "feeds" on wikevent:Joanna Newsom. You don't have to normalize this data in order to store it and render it properly, for that matter you don't have to normalize it in order to do cross-referencing between artists and venues either, so why bother with special tables. At Wikevent we feel it's better to supply RDF against which you can run an RDQL query. -- Mark 17:41, 2 February 2007 (EST)
Very interesting, I have two questions:
if I wanted to get a list of events for a given day in a given city, want would the request looklike?
If I wanted to create an event submission form to add an event, what/where would I post to?
The third question is probably: should we take this discussion somewhere else? --Tricknik 11:56, 3 February 2007 (EST)
I think the discussion probably belongs on Wikevent. As for the exact questions, the form would submit the the normal wiki form with the input arranged into data elements using the <event/> tag (see our help section). Querying a particular city on a particular night would use an RDQL query which should be available within the fortnight (It's done, but I want to do a little more testing before I push it.)
I also intend to write a sample Bot which you can use as an example of how to add data, and a sample extractor which you can use to harvest data for your site. -- Mark 16:51, 3 February 2007 (EST)
How does have a link to an online list of hotspots help someone who doesn't have internet access because they haven't found a hotspot yet? I'd rather we just listed a small number of internet cafes or specific hotspots -- I'm not too crazy about listing hotspot companies (as are still listed in that article) without listing any actual locations. -- Colin 13:23, 31 January 2007 (EST)
My proposal here is not about hotspot listings as such--but about a general policy. What do you think about it?
As for specific hotspot listings (and companies), I think it's better discussed in Talk:Budapest. --DenisYurkin 13:49, 31 January 2007 (EST)
I think "can't be realistically reproduced... in the foreseeable future" is not a good idea. As the policy states, having an external link removes some of the incentive to creating content ourselves. Also, that heads us down the slippery slope towards being a web directory which is someplace I really don't want to see us go. -- Colin 14:32, 31 January 2007 (EST)
Comments? It is difficult to build consensus when proponents of current policy are non responsive. --Tricknik 08:28, 2 February 2007 (EST)
I, personally, oppose your proposal in almost all respects:
News sites and blogs sound rather useless for travel info, and are easily found anyway (Google destination + "news" or "blog").
This is your own personal opinion, not a sound basis for policy. When I travel local news sites and blogs are exactly what I am looking for, maybe we are looking for different things when we travel. I have never had any trouble finding hotels and restaurants. Knowing the town from the point of view of the locals is the hardest, and most worthwhile, info to get.--Tricknik 15:31, 2 February 2007 (EST)
Wikitravel does not (and, really, cannot) officially "approve" anybody as "affiliates", and why should it?
Nonsense. Your statement is self-refuting. If Wikitraval cannot "approve," then how can you say what it does or does not do? How are policies "approved," or policy changes, or new policies??
How was World66's partnership status Approved?
why should it? Because it is of self-evident benefit to a travel guide to have local affiliates.
local affiliates provide content that wikitravel does or can not, i.e. local news, local perspectives and events.
local affiliates are uniquely able to contribute knowledge of a given destination to wikitravel
back links from local affiliates can help the wikitravel community grow.
World66 is a special case, because it's now run by the same people as Wikitravel, and the long-term plan is to merge the two sites together. Jpatokal 01:27, 3 February 2007 (EST)
The existence of one special case implicitly implies the potential for others. --Tricknik 12:18, 3 February 2007 (EST)
There are no designated "editors" on Wikitravel, only administrator with no special policy powers like this.
"Voting" for anything is not really done on Wikitravel.
These are the same as the above point. You are just restating the same fallacious argument over and over. Wikitravel can and does make choices.--Tricknik 15:31, 2 February 2007 (EST)
No, you're not following my argument. The current External links policy works because determining whether a site is an official site or not is a black and white decision: either it is, or it isn't, there's not much room for debate. Determining if a site is "focused on dynamic time-based data", on the other, is much harder and opens a whole can of worms.
I am not following your argument because your argument is not logical. You are simply trying to hand-wave my arguments away by claiming that my proposal is somehow impossible. I have refuted this already. Please check Wikipedia's excellent section on Special Pleading and other logical fallacies. The fact that your argument ends with "a whole can of words" is amusing, as this is a typical component of the slippery slope fallacy. I am interest in actual discussion, not rhetorical tricks. As I said, Wikitravel, being human not machine edited, can and does make choices, approving, rejecting and replacing local affiliate sites is possible.
Wikitravel's consensus nature means that it's inherently very, very conservative. On this very page, at #Nightlife guide policy change, you can see a discussion that's been rumbling on for the better part of two years (!), regarding whether an exception should be made for some nightlife sites (like, possibly, zgberlin.com) -- but we haven't been able to agree on a consensus yet. Jpatokal 01:27, 3 February 2007 (EST)
This I understand and respect, but saying that something requires some effort and may take some time is not the same as saying it is not possible or that wikitravel categorically can or can not do this or that. I would like to add here, that my proposal for local affiliate sites, imo, solves many of the concerns expressed in these discussions.
Sorry to be blunt, but to me this just sounds like you're fishing for a way to get a link to your blog from Wikitravel, and that's not one of Wikitravel's goals. If you want to plug your blog, do it like most of us do and put the link on your user page. Jpatokal 10:28, 2 February 2007 (EST)
Bluntness is not a problem, please feel free to speak your mind. http://www.zgberlin.com is not "my blog" this is: http://www.telekommunisten.net. I am supporting the zgberlin project, and yes, the reason I am making this proposal is exactly because I am trying to work out whether wikitravel can be a good partner for us, or if we should just host our own Berlin Guide. We are based in Berlin, we already host many wikis (Yay Wikis!), it would not be a problem to take whatever Berlin-related content we needed from Wikitravel/World66 (as we support copyleft too) and make our own guide for the city as the information is important to our targeted readers, but we believe in mutual respect, working with others and sharing, an outlook I recommend you consider the merits of, and would therefor rather particpate in a wider community, like wikitravel. The proposal is certainly one that I think benefits ZGBerlin, no doubt, it also benefits wikitravel and can provide a framework that allows wikitravel to engage in mutually beneficial relationships with other sites too --Tricknik 15:31, 2 February 2007 (EST)
I'm just not seeing anything that would counter a policy that has worked very well for us over the last couple of years. "Affiliate" just sounds like a fancy way of saying "link exchange" which isn't very appealing.
This proposal does not modify the existing policy, which already allows linking to partner sites (i.e. World66). I am not sure in which way the personal appeal of the word "Affiliate" relates to the point at hand.--Tricknik 15:31, 2 February 2007 (EST)
I'm afraid to say that the lack of response probably indicates a lack of interest in your suggestion. Maj 13:02, 2 February 2007 (EST)
You may be right here, but I would like stronger confirmation before I discount the possibility of such a partnership network for wikitravel, which I sincerely believe would be a good policy. --Tricknik 15:31, 2 February 2007 (EST)
Unfortunately I'm in the "lack of interest" camp. I don't disagree that it might be nice to have an exception to policy that allows links to a few local sites, but:
My personal opinion is that NOT having affiliate links does not hurt the quality of the travel guides in any significant way.
I don't think that the extra consensus-building and policing that would be required to allow such links (while still preventing spamming & touts) will be worth the trouble. See for example the arguments we frequently have about which 5-9 cities to list on region articles (here and here for just two of MANY examples), and multiply that by all of the people who want their blog/nightlife guide/etc listed on an article.
I appreciate that you've made some good arguments and put some thought into your suggestions, but I'm just not convinced that this is a path we want to embark upon. -- Ryan 12:41, 3 February 2007 (EST)
Delegations - not Affiliates, and a look at zgberlin
I think part of the confusion in this conversation is due to a mis-understanding of what it means when this site (or any wiki) systematically links to another one. I guess outside of the wiki world this sort of thing is referred to has having an "affiliate". Wikitravel on the other hand is most definitely inside the wiki world.
So what does it mean when a wiki has systematic links to another website? In wiki vernacular this is usually referred to as "delegation". A need for delegation arises when contributors consistently find themselves trying to find a place for some information which falls outside of the goals of a given project. For instance Wikitravel delegates the creation of a detailed city guide for residents to the Open Guides project. A list of delegations can usually be found on a wiki's WikiNode; you'll find Wikitravel's delegation info on Wikitravel:WikiNode.
What do we delegate to? Well that's for the community to say. Generally the things that the community seems to look at in a delegate are these (and in this order):
Open contributions - The site should be editable by the masses, in other words it should be a wiki. This is the most important element, since the first point of delegation is to provide contributors with a place to put data which is outside of our goals. Note that we have never been happy about delegating to DMOZ because it requires contributors to register.
Open licensing - The content on the delegate site should be licensed in such a way as to allow for that content to be republished by our users. We don't go so far as to require that the content should have exactly the same or a compatible license, rather we tend to look at the spirit of the license.
Non-competition - While competition is a useful thing to have in the marketplace, we don't think it's very useful when we're trying to build a collaborative project. We're not likely interested in delegating to two different projects which have exactly the same goals, because then we would be fostering competition in the cooperative sphere, where we should have cooperation.
I'd like to note a couple of things which are not on this list. Usefullness does not merit a place on the list. If it did we'd have to have a usefullness argument about each and every link. We decided long ago that usefullness alone would not be the basis for linking.
Now, with this in mind let's have a look at zgBerlin. I've spent about half an hour looking around the site, and am mostly very happy with what I've found. It's a good read. I've bookmarked it at del.icio.us. I like it.
As a delegation candidate zgBerlin doesn't work. It fails all three of my delegation tests:
It's Read-only - In order to contribute to the site I have to send somebody email asking about becoming a contributor. This is a major impediment. Here in the wiki world we worry that the edit button is too hard to use, and that perhaps we need to find a way for people to edit without clicking it. Editing by sending somebody email is so un-wiki as to be off the scope.
No license - While it's clear that the editors of zgBerlin understand copyleft - there's an excellent article there on the subject - it's not so clear what license the actual content is available under. I'd love to scoop some of the content for Wikevent. I think we could use much of it here. Neither of those are requirements, but the requirement is that we know that our readers could use the content, and we just can't say without the copyright/copyleft notice.
OpenGuides competitor? - It pretty much looks to me like zgBerlin is staking out exactly the same position as OpenGuides. Wouldn't it be better to contribute there, and build something really fantastic?
Now, clearly the first two problems on this list can be cured. They are simple technical matters. I'm not sure what you do with the third, however. Of course that's the point where I think we as a community (Wikitravel) are not completely solid in our consensus, so you might have some room to argue, but you have to take care of #1 and #2 first, especially #1 since what's the point of linking to something which cannot capture our overflow? -- Mark 05:48, 3 February 2007 (EST)
Mark, this is an excellent exposition. I really appreciate that you've captured the spirit and motivation behind our delegation links (sometimes also called "TwinLinks" or "Sister site links").
One point you didn't cover, which is more of a technical restriction than a community policy, is that we depend on Interwiki links for delegation. So we look for a collection of related URLs (usually pages on the same wiki) that can be used on many different Wikitravel guides. I'd be nonplussed if Wikitravellers wanted to use delegation for a single Wikitravel guide, like Berlin, and for a single external URL. It'd be a pain for me to figure out how to make it work, and it'd also lack the elegance of a general solution.
So, I guess I'd suggest another criterion: world-wide scope, and a large number of (>10) potential links that match a pattern.
Finally: choosing external links appropriate for a destination is one of the subjective, opinionated processes that Maj and I want to delegate to Crossroads. One of our planned features is to do some social bookmarking, with tags that tie a link to a particular destination. (We'll also have a way to dynamically import your bookmarks from del.icio.us or other bookmarking sites, either in their entirety or filtered by a tag like "travel", "crossroads", or whatever you choose.) I hope that this will alleviate some of the pressure to put links to blogs, photo collections, or other good sites that just don't meet Wikitravel criteria for external links. --Evan 09:26, 3 February 2007 (EST)
Delegations != Affiliates, this is not just about zgberlin
zgberlin is not a cityguide, it is on an online magazine based in Berlin
First of all, thank you Mark for the excellent response. While this not about ZB Berlin, let us use at as a test case for this discussion and so let me lay out what we are trying to achieve, again not that ZB Berlin in particular is important to wikitravel, but as an example of what I mean by "local affiliate site." ZB Berlin is an English-language online magazine based in Berlin. It is not a cityguide, not a nightlife guide, nor a travel guide. Anymore than say http://www.exile.ru is. However, because it is in English, it is obviously rooted in the ex-pat community, and the extended non-native diaspora of friends abroad and even, heaven help us, tourists. So, it is important for us that city/nightlife/travel guide like content is available to visitors of this site, it is also import that event listings are available. What ZG Berlin does, however, is berlin-based journalism and photo journalism (and video and audio), we are not focused on guide-like material. However, we are interested in contributing to open collaborative projects, like wikitravel, like openguides. and like wikevents. Rather than replicating these things (which is no problem technically, but counter productive socially), we want to work with existing projects. And just like wikitravel considers things like incentive issues, and competition in forming it's policy, so must we. I am reluctant to contribute to a project that rejects us a partner, and will not reciprocate the
affiliation. That is an asymmetrical relationship. Bluntly, if the Berlin related page can not link to zgberlin then we will understand this as an anti-social gesture and will need to work with somebody else, or in the worst case, replicate a similar page on zgberlin, however regrettably.
zgberlin is not a guide of any kind.
zgberlin needs guide content.
zgberlin wants to contribute to projects than maintain guide content.
Again, zgberlin is no more than an example. This is not just about us.
Affiliates are online resources in a destination, not extenstions of wikitravel content
Your description of delegation is not the same thing as what I am describing as a local affiliate site, A delegation site is meant to extend wikitravel with more information, the way, say wiktionary extends wikipedia and vice versa. An affiliate site is a resources of use to visitors to Berlin, like a Hotel, a Restaurant, a Tour operator, etc, something for a visitor to use. ZGBerlin is something interesting in Berlin, the same way Gordon W's Imbiss is, C-Base is, or the Badeschiff is.
A hotel is not a wiki, neither is a restaurant, neither is a nightclub, and neither is a local magazine, yet all are resources of interest to a visitor to a city.
A list of community news sites and blogs is travel information. In the same way that a list of Hotels is.
When you arrive in a new place, it is interesting to find a news source from that place in your local language. These things are much harder to find than hotels and/or restaurants in most places.
an affiliate does not extend the data of wikitravel.
the existence of the affiliate is the data, as the existence of a hotel or a physical point of interest is.
Btw, regarding the licencing, I am a co-author of the article you mention and have been publicly discussing intellectual property for over a decade. The site will be published under a copyleft licence, I just haven't yet worked out which to use, a major component here is in working out who we will be sharing content with and thus which licences we need compatibility with.
Regarding public editing, the backend of zgberlin is actually a wiki, but that will always be accessible only to contributors as we are a magazine and not a reference. If we did end up forced into managing the guide-like content ourselves, that would certainly be publicly editable.
Thanks again Mark, I am very interesting in wikevents and openguides as well. I really hope that we will find a way for zgberlin to work with these great projects.
--Tricknik 11:38, 3 February 2007 (EST)
OK, I see where you're coming from. I still think that a relationship with Wikitravel is not exactly what you're looking for. Rather I think you're looking for a travel-related link collection which attaches to ever Wikitravel page. We've tried to delegate that to DMOZ, but I don't think we've ever been really happy with that delegation, mostly because we couldn't just go over there and edit the link collections.
Yes, I believe a destination specific travel-related link collection is an important part of the data wikitravel should have. I find it odd that wikitravel seems to want to have the most banal travel data, ie.e basic guide fluff, hotels, restaurants, etc, and specifically excludes the real interesting stuff that could set it apart from boring old travel guides, i.e. links to cool local online resources, travelogues, photo galleries. It is strange to me that the wikitravel editors seem to want the site to be as boring and devoid of hard to get travel info as possible. I think this is a symptom of just trying to be a wiki-edited travel guide and limiting your imaginations to what tradition travel guides provide, instead of realizing the potential of what an open travel guide 'could be.'--Tricknik 13:16, 5 February 2007 (EST)
Believe me, this argument has been made, many times. The consensus against doing it has been very very strong however, and frankly I'm glad of it. In a way the rejected ideas etc. of Wikitravel, Wikipedia, etc. are something which I think people should look at as an opportunity! I know a VC who hangs out on Wikipedia's pages for deletion to pick up ideas. -- Mark 15:10, 5 February 2007 (EST)
Well, opportunity is something wikitravel is hardly big or successful enough to throw away lightly, it sounds to me that the site that takes this particular opportunity will also trivially replace wikitravel as well, since it would have the exact same taxonomy, the same target reader, compatible data semantics, etc.
So basically wikitravel has undertaken the bold task of providing information already widely available and forbidding information that is far more useful and far more difficult to find. Brilliant! What is wikitravel for again? To be a better travel guide, or simply to be just like the others... only wiki! Using the power of policy to trump the power of wiki.
As far as strong consensus I will skip that topic but advise the following text be read to better understand why that is impossible here, true consensus requires transparent structures: http://www.jofreeman.com/joreen/tyranny.htm
I don't really see what could be more transparent than a public writing, of which every single historical version is kept and is readable. Nor do I see what that has to do with the structureless groups the author of the tyranny article is talking about. I have no power over you, I could hardly be a tyrant. Nor for that matter does Wikitravel as a group have power over you or anybody else.
One thing I haven't mentioned to this point, but I think you can probably find above is that I was on the losing side of the argument. The consensus is real, and the structures by which we arrived at it seem most transparent to me indeed. -- Mark 16:26, 5 February 2007 (EST)
As I mentioned Mark, I don't really want to discuss this here. That is why I referred (or 'delegated') to Jo Freeman). It is not you who has power over me, it is that in this place, like all unstructured groups, real power is horded among small, influential, social networks (cliques) that mostly communicate using private channels. I do suggest reading the article thoroughly, it is a classic you will likely hear references to again. I asked how to change the policy here, I end up having a nice conversation with you that plainly never had any real chance to change policy. why? Because allegedly there is 'consensus' among the invisible hordes. I politely refer you all to Jo Freeman to help you understand that their can not be true consensus among invisible hordes. The fact is all I really need is for one influential member of the inside clique to support my proposal and suddenly the echo chamber would be claiming that consensus was building, despite the fact that the invisible hordes would remain invisible. There is nothing wrong with this, it is natural for their to be influential and casual members of any group, but please do not pretend this is consensus, that is only a pretense often used to justify the status quo against outside critique. The same small group of people are usually behind the so-called consensus everytime. --Tricknik 17:51, 5 February 2007 (EST)
It's a good article, that's true. I've read it. But I'm afraid that we are still not really communicating. You see, there are no invisible hordes, and what we're doing right now is not anything like consensus building. There's just me trying to convince you that there's a better way to do what you want to do. As far as I know there has been no back-channel discussion of this issue at all.
When I talk about consensus about offsite linking I'm talking in the past tense. This is something that happened historically. Consensus was achieved and not by some private clique operating through private channels but rather on this very page, out in the open. I argued strongly that we should have links to websites that I would mention to a traveller if I were to meet that person socially. I seem to recall that I made some very good points about it, and that some very regular contributors and others agreed. Some other very regular contributors, and quite a few not-so-regular contributors disagreed with me, and they had some very good reasons as well: It's really hard to tell these kinds of links from spam for one thing.
Anyhow an actual consensus did eventually develop which is that there's a better way to do this: start different websites which are meant to handle this kind of overflow. It really was a consensus. Again we argued it out right here on this page, we didn't discuss it "offline".
I don't feel like I was trodden upon or tyrranized through this process, though perhaps I did a little at first, and right now the only two people who are discussing this at all are you and me. That's all there is to it. I'm afraid that the article just really doesn't apply to this situation. -- Mark 18:43, 5 February 2007 (EST)
Thanks Mark, IMO, you are not grasping the argument presented by Jo Freeman, in any case, it is not my purpose here to discuss this any further. I tried. I will have to be satisfied with that. --Tricknik 08:32, 6 February 2007 (EST)
Actually, I feel I have a pretty thorough understanding of what she's written. I just disagree with her basic assumption, at least in the context of this kind of online "community". I think the structureless-ness of the wiki method is a good thing precisely because it allows for the rise of a self-selected elite. This might be because I sub-consciously feel that I'm bound inevitably to be part of that elite, but I think it's more likely that my conscious notion that this self-selected elite can make a better travel guide than the greater group could make using a more "democratic" process.
Now don't get me wrong, I don't think this kind of thinking applies to real-world politics, which is the context in which Freeman was writing. Anarchy is dangerous there because in the real world politics inevitably about political power, which is at it's core about the prevention or use of violence. I that case I think Freeman's thesis has a more value. -- Mark 15:22, 6 February 2007 (EST)
Yes Mark, I do agree with what you are saying (except for your misuse of the word Anarchy, which is not a tangent for here), that is what I am saying too. Note that my opening remark was that strong consensus was impossible here. Talk of "Consensus" is nothing but a pretense, a fallacious appeal. It is Special Pleading used by those who can not refute my arguments with reason, so instead resort to fallacies, like wikitravel can not do that,consensus is against you, there is no interest, to the out right Ad Hominem, i.e. Conspiracy Theory, Tin Foil Hat, You just want a link, etc, etc. All typical fallacies found on any list of logical fallacies such as Wikipedia's. You say that the self-selected elite can make a better travel guide, in principal you may be right, but not all self-selected elite's are created equal. From what I have observed here I can't see what you see, I see mimic-ware, a lack of vision beyond being a copy-cat site, and an unwillingness to engage in true logical examination of criticism. However many thanks to you, at least you are honestly trying to help. I appreciate it. --Tricknik 07:35, 7 February 2007 (EST)
Evan mentioned this site called Crossroads above, and having seen it I think that that's where you really want to focus your attention. I'm pretty sure that we are going to delegate links to local resources like zgBerlin, or SFstation, or the ChicagoReader to Crossroads, so effectively by establishing a presence there you will have achieved this affiliate relationship that you're looking for. Make sense? -- Mark 16:46, 3 February 2007 (EST)
I think this discussion has run its course, but it's important to note that despite conspiracy theories to the contrary, there are no "secret communication channels". The reason you found it difficult to build consensus is because people disagreed with your proposals, not because the cool kids wanted to do things their way. That doesn't mean it was a bad idea, but it does mean that enough people failed to see enough benefit to outweigh the perceived disadvantages. -- Ryan 18:32, 5 February 2007 (EST)\
Egad. "conspiracy', 'tin foil hats', 'cool kids'. All typical examples of fallacious domination language. Ryan, as you seem to claim to know what all wikitravel contributors think, can you please tell me exactly how many agree and how many disagree with my proposal. Send me the data as a csv if you would, I'll make a pie-chart you can post here to prove your point. Please also include the percentage of readers and participants who have been following this discussion. I hope you realize that your inability to provide this data will prove mine. As for 'secret communication channels,' I never realized that email, im, telephone, and face to face communications, all private channels (I never used the word secret), where a secret.' Thanks for your comments, and your overt demonstration of smug ignorance. Good luck to you. --Tricknik 08:32, 6 February 2007 (EST)
Your comments are uncalled for. The consensus was the consensus of those who participated in the discussion. Those who participate in the discussion are usually the ones who are interested in building the project - it is self-selecting. Your point about the difference between "private" and "secret" is well-taken, but it is besides the point, as the discussion did not take place in any of the private channels that you talk of, but in this open wiki. The only way to overturn a consensus is to build a new consensus among the existing participants. Ryan's "inability" to provide the data will not prove your point, unless you have the same sort of data that you are asking Ryan for. In any case that sort of data is meaningless , as proceeding on the basis of such hard data is foreign to the wiki concept. We decide things on the basis of reasoned discussions rather than for-or-against voting that lends itself to such numbers. — Ravikiran 08:48, 6 February 2007 (EST)
I found that the comments regarding conspiracy theory, tin foil hats, etc, uncalled for, but double standards are typical of the defencive reactions among cliques. In any case, the rest of your comment is similar to Marks, with which I will respectfully disagree without dragging it out. Plainly, I have a different concept of consensus and transparency than you. As regards the data, I am not the one claiming to know what the "consensus" is (especially as the consenting group in my conception is clearly much wider than in yours and Marks), so you asking me for the data is ludicrous. Ryans knows, apparently, he needs to substantiate his point. My point is we don't know. And therefore to proper way to address my arguments is to refute them logically, not with a fallacious appeal to consensus, which is nothing but a pretence. And, as I said, this is not a point I feel the need to discuss here, so move on. --Tricknik 11:44, 6 February 2007 (EST)
Yes, this certainly sounds interesting, A link would be great, as I could not find anything called crossroads that provides publicly-editable, single-destination travel links. Thanks again, very nice talking with you. I will show up on wikevents when I have some time to do the events integration. --Tricknik 13:16, 5 February 2007 (EST)
My understanding is that it's in alpha test mode at the moment, but since Evan's mentioned it here I'm guessing that that's likely to go public beta soon. -- Mark 15:10, 5 February 2007 (EST)
Great, let know when I can have a peek, thanks again. --Tricknik 16:10, 5 February 2007 (EST)
I'll make a point of it. --Evan 08:50, 6 February 2007 (EST)
Thanks even, looking forward to learning more, my email address is dk at telekommunisten.net --Tricknik 11:44, 6 February 2007 (EST)