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Talk:Main Page/Dec 2004 to Dec 2005

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This is an archive of discussions about the Main Page from December 2004 up to and including December 2005.

Diversity and Main Page links (or, North America is more than the USA)

Under the "North America" header, ALL the links are for American cities. Can we not try to keep the links under the header reflective of the fact that there is more than one country in North America? There are strong pages for other cities/regions/countries on the continent, outside of the USA.

The Main Page Guidelines mention: "Having four destinations in France under "Europe", even if those are the newest best articles, makes the Main Page look weird."

Perhaps the guidelines should we a litte more explicit, or create a separate bullet point address to the issue of national/geographic/cultural diversity.

Which cities outside the USA are really good now? If you point some out, that would help rectify the USA imbalance ;) -- Hypatia 08:55, 2 Nov 2004 (EST)
At last check Wikitravel's home town Montreal was still in the 51st state =) Jpatokal 09:49, 2 Nov 2004 (EST)
That got added to the main page between the initial comment and mine I think. -- Hypatia 09:55, 2 Nov 2004 (EST)
Toronto is up and coming - with a bit more filling out, I could see it being a link. The city is certainly large and important enough to be considered a big NA city --Enki42 11:55, 23 Mar 2005 (EST)
Once it's a great article, then yes. The criteria though, just to be clear is the article not the destination. See Minot for an example of a great article for a destination which might surprise some folks. -- Mark 12:05, 23 Mar 2005 (EST)
So, the best way to foster diversity is to make good articles for diverse subjects. It's best to have a good mix, but not at the expense of quality. If you'd like to look through North America and find some more diverse destinations to feature, that'd be superfantastic. Finally, please sign your posts. --Evan 11:30, 2 Nov 2004 (EST)

Out of curiousity, it looks like the tourism mecca of Minot, North Dakota has been on the front page since April of 2004. While it's very likely that the residents of that wonderful town probably appreciate the vast number of visitors that have flocked to their little corner of America as a result of Wikitravel, wouldn't it make more sense to put a more popular (or at least interesting) destination on the front page? Something like Yosemite or at least a major city? -- Wrh2 00:11, 24 Feb 2005 (EST)

The Yosemite is not ready for prime time. I was working on it before I got sick; it's pretty sparse. (And who the heck added Mexico City, which includes only two places to sleep in all the district articles combined?). Article incompleteness is the #1 reason for inertia on the main page. But Vancouver looks featurable. -- Colin 00:43, 24 Feb 2005 (EST)
Also remember that according to the Main Page guidelines, a destination's size or popularity are not criteria, just the condition of the article.
That said, I'm not sure this is practical in the long run (it certainly seems to get misunderstood an awful lot). It might be better to ape Wikipedia and divide between a more-or-less static geographical index (listing regions and important places) and a rapidly changing "new featured articles"-style box. Jpatokal 01:50, 24 Feb 2005 (EST)
If the criteria is solely completeness then I guess it makes sense to have a place like Minot on the front page, but as a user of the site I find it really weird that the front page has several popular travel destinations (Rome, Petra, Singapore, etc.) and then a random link to a town in North Dakota. I would imagine that as the content on this site fills out a bit more that the front page will be reorganized into more of a navigational hierarchy, I just wanted to point out what looked to me like a really odd link to display prominently.
As an aside, if the criteria is completeness then several other links on the front page should be removed -- Antarctica is one example. However, my personal preference would be to leave it alone -- since it is featured on the front page more users are likely to click on it and update the content. In addition, it makes sense to have major regions linked to from the main page. -- Wrh2 03:00, 24 Feb 2005 (EST)
Vancouver was suggested as a possible replacement for Minot, would anyone object to that change being made? It seems like a much more suitable choice for the front page. -- Wrh2 15:10, 26 Feb 2005 (EST)
According to the Wikitravel:Main Page guidelines, we rotate the entries. So Vancouver becomes the new first entry, and we drop New York. Feel free to go for it! -- Colin 15:17, 26 Feb 2005 (EST)
I just went ahead and did it. -- Colin 15:57, 26 Feb 2005 (EST)
Ugh, Minot just refuses to disappear ;-) I suppose I'll end my little crusade now, although I would wholeheartedly support Jpatokal's suggestion of at least considering changing the policy on the front page to "divide between a more-or-less static geographical index (listing regions and important places) and a rapidly changing 'new featured articles'-style box". -- Wrh2 16:07, 26 Feb 2005 (EST)

Minot is a really good article. It's super complete, and it demonstrates something important about what we want to do with Wikitravel: include, and even feature places which don't normally get a lot of attention from the travel industry. It stays until it gets rotated out. I would like to challenge all of us, myself included to help us build a really good article or two about off-the-beaten-path places we've been which deserve more exposure. -- Mark 09:20, 27 Feb 2005 (EST)

I completely agree about off-the-beaten-path destinations, but I think the key part of your statement is 'which deserve more exposure'. I've not been to Minot, but had a friend who, in his words, was "stuck there" for a couple of weeks each year visiting relatives. There are some places that exist in travel guides solely because you might need a place to stay while traveling elsewhere; Minot seems to me to be one of those places. -- Wrh2 14:39, 27 Feb 2005 (EST)

Page protection

I'd like to suggest that the Main Page be finally protected. By my quick count it's been vandalized no less than 13 times in the last week alone, and it's way too attractive a target for spammers and loonies like the THIS IS A VIRUS guy, as well as merely ordinarily misguided people editing it. It's a waste of time for editors to revert the junk, and it makes a very poor first impression if somebody comes to Wikitravel for the first time and is greeted with Chinese spam or incoherent ranting. Jpatokal 13:13, 2 Dec 2004 (EST)

If this is done, we need to make it easy for folks to contribute changes to the main page. For example, anyone wanting to add a city/place/whatever to one of the continent listings would need a place to submit requests for change (like here, maybe) and we would need to promptly implement their request. I have mixed feelings on protecting the main page. It's sad that people feel the need to be vandals, and also sad that the main page keeps being abused. Frankly, even well-meaning editors of the main page rarely bother to read the guidelines and add stuff at the beginning like they are asked to. So my inclination is yes, protect it. But let's make sure we have some real consensus before doing something as drastic as this. -- Colin 13:20, 2 Dec 2004 (EST)
I think it makes a much poorer first impression when the first page most people see is uneditable. I think the very minor problem of reverting vandalism is offset by the advantages of putting Wiki principles to work. Don't forget: creative, patient people run this wiki -- not goof-offs and vandals. If we let a few scribblings change the way we work, we lose. I don't think we should let people who don't participate in our community define how we work together; I refuse to give them that power over us. --Evan 15:22, 2 Dec 2004 (EST)
Evan, your continued starry-eyed optimism in the face of adversity continues to amaze me. But I'm more and more inclined to think that Wikimedia offers just a little too much freedom given the highly structured expectations Wikitravel places for its content. Is there really a point to giving everybody the freedom to do anything they want in theory, when in practice everything outside meticulously spelled out norms is rejected? I mean, about the only thing a normal user is really allowed to do to the Main Page is add new non-stub articles into the first position in the appropriate geographical area list. Jpatokal 16:30, 2 Dec 2004 (EST)
Well if you're going to be that way about it, isn't a "wiki" a silly idea anyway ;-)? I mean a wiki is an inherently optimistic endevor. The fact that it works at all is almost more amazing than the fact that it also produces good content. I think this is really going to be one of those "it's the principle" things-- yes, we don't want users doing any old thing to the main page, yes we have to revert lame junk all the time (though 13 times in a week doesn't seem that much to me considering we have over 1,000 registered users), yes we have high expectations of contributors: BUT we also currently have no protected pages (ok, except the legal copyright) and no banned users. I like that about us. I would like us to hold on to that stuff as long as possible even if it means I have to stay up all night hitting reload on the main page. Like I said: principle not practical. Majnoona 16:42, 2 Dec 2004 (EST)
I appreciate the high-falutin' principles and share the general amazement, but... you didn't actually answer my question. I'm a practical kinda guy and I see no practical point to maintaining the illusion of freedom for this particular case. Jpatokal 18:08, 2 Dec 2004 (EST)
All righty: I would say that there is not "illusion of freedom." Any user can edit the main page. Any user can add content to the main page. If the edit does not follow the main page guidelines it will be reverted. I say that it is worth the 13 crapo edits a week that need to be reverted for the one unregistered user or non-admin user to make 1 valid edit. I think it is practical to keep admins the "janitors" of the site and not the gatekeepers. I think it is practical to keep the threshold for entry very very low and to assume good faith. If we get even one useful contribution from someone impressed by just how easy it is to break and fix this site then it is worth it. I think it is practical to let anyone make an edit and then argue for the usefulness of that edit. The main page is our banner of soft security, our offering to anyone to contribute and the responsibility of the community to maintain according to the goals we have agreed on. Thank you Ladies and Gentlemen and Goodnight Majnoona 22:45, 2 Dec 2004 (EST)
Ladies and gentlemen, Maj has left the building. --Evan 22:47, 2 Dec 2004 (EST)
On a matter of this level of importance to the project I feel obliged to chime in. To put it simply I'm in agreement with MAJ and Evan on the issue of page protection. 13 bad edits per week is nothing we can't deal with. In effect our vigilance protects this page, and I like it that way.
I would however like very much to receive email diffs of any edits on my watched pages, including the Main Page. There is absolutely nothing un-wiki about such notifications.
A possibility about which I think there might still be room for discussion would be automating rejection of blatantly unwanted edits. Evan has objected in the past that this sort of thing is technological solution to a social problem, and that it's therefore something we want to avoid. On a practical level, however we are all agreed that there's little point in accepting edits which are just going to be deleted in the very short term anyhow, hence the Wikitravel:Spam filter.
I don't think it would be that much different to reject changes to the main page which do not contain certain text. Others however might see this as a sort of slippery slope. -- Mark 03:19, 3 Dec 2004 (EST)
OK, as some of you may have noticed, I'm REALLY new around these parts, so bear with me for not having a clue just how the nuts and bolts of MediaWiki works. I do however have an idea for semi-protection of the main-page which would allow for securing it and leaving it freely editable by anyone. Is it possible that the main page be locked down with a link to [Wikitravel:New_Main_Page] that is wide open, then having the content of New_Main_Page replace the content of the locked main page when it is ready/due for a change? Any vandalism to the existing main page wound be impossible, no new user would ever face a vandalized introduction to WikiTravel, and any user would still be able to contribute to the creation of the main page as it will appear in the future. What does everyone think? Weaponofmassinstruction 23:30, 20 Jan 2005 (EST)
Okay, I'm now decided about this, and Weaponofmassinstruction is right. I do not propose that admins be the gatekeepers, but merely the janitors that sweep valid content from the scratch Main Page into the real main page.
Additionally comments about about giving new users the True Ability to change the Main Page are simply wrong for the following reasons:
  1. Despite the clear and unambiguous notice that we have main page guidelines, new users do not read them because they think they Know Better.
  2. New users who are tempted to muck with the main page are usually doing so for the wrong reasons: they beleive that their pet location on the planet is being slighted by ommision even though the real reason is that their pet location has an article that needs work
  3. Spammers are not interested in anything but the main page. More importantly, we don't mind cleaning up spam away from the main page. But I think many of us are done with fixing the main page... particularly in light of our Official Tendency to avoid user bans, and spammmers tendencies toward repeat offenses.
  4. New Users who make good changes to the main page are usually Obvious wikipedians, who will have no problem working on the scratch page instead.
  5. The scratch page is an opportunity to better inform new users of problems (like needing to improve a locale before featuring it on the Main Page)
  6. The Current Main Page is a Trap designed to thwart the aspirations of new users. We almost always revert their changes, and when we inform them of why (e.g., a locale that is Not Ready), I've never seen an acknowledgement.
So in summary, this isn't about giving more power to the janitors and less power to new users. Valid changes will be swept to the main page, and we Need a Mechanism as part of the scratch main page to get the new users involved in feedback to their changes. -- Colin 18:38, 23 Feb 2005 (EST)
Additionally, I think the main page should be protected according to the Wikitravel:Protected page policy, specifically
A page is subject to repeated vandalism. This is a special case of the edit war; if a user is repeatedly and systematically vandalizing a page, it should be protected until the user gets their head straight, or they wander away, or they get banned..
-- Colin 18:41, 23 Feb 2005 (EST)

Unwanted edits from well-intentioned users

It seems to me that there are three types of unwanted edits to the main page

  1. Spammers Technical solutions may exist for this
  2. Vandals These have been extremely rare
  3. Well-intentioned folks that don't read the guidelines

I'd like to talk about the last group for a second. If you have a look at November, for example, maybe a dozen or so well-intentioned IP-users tried to add to the main page and were reverted. Exactly zero ip users added anything to the page. Of users who added to the page, only three were not either admin or gobetween.

While in theory this means that anyone can edit our main page, in practice it appears they can't. Since many of these folks are new users, they probably don't read the recent changes page and see our suggestions for improvements. So they may become discouraged.

Any suggestions on how to improve this? Frankly, protecting the main page and then creating a suggestion box for the community to come to consensus on changes would, realistically, be more useful to new users than the current situation. But I'm also interested in hearing other suggestions about how this problem could be solved. Should we try to improve the comment text at the top somehow to alert the editors to error? Or? -- Colin 03:42, 3 Dec 2004 (EST)

I think I could live with an "Are you sure you read and understand the main-page guildlines intermediate page for would-be editors of the main page. This doesn't seem any more heinous than the similar page for "You are about to copy over an exiting image."
Of course I can only speak for myself. -- Mark 04:21, 3 Dec 2004 (EST)
I would also like to add that I sometimes think that we are a little harsh with new users. I think it's important to communicate with users who make well-intentioned, but outside of guidelines edits before reverting those edits, and that's what I always try to do. Usually I mention that somebody else is likely to revert the edit, but that I'm going to leave it. Ideally I'd like to see the contributor in question take care of it themselves.
Meanwhile maybe we should consider this third class of unwanted edits to the main page a challenge to our guidelines. Maybe it's the guidelines which are wrong somehow, and not those users? It it really so important to rotate new stuff in at the top, and maintain an exact number of links per section? -- Mark 04:29, 3 Dec 2004 (EST)
My sense might be wrong, but it doesn't seem to me that that's the primary mistake that new users make. The primary point of the present guidelines is that we highlight well written articles with some secondary focus both on interesting places and unheard of interesting places (but they must have well written articles first). The mistakes new users on top of fairly minor ones like the two you mention are:
  1. adding their own articles, which are usually (but not always) not yet up to main page quality;
  2. adding links to unfinished (or unstarted) articles (two separate reasons: either because they wrote it or want to write it, or because they think it's important or famous -- see the repeated edits that added Prague for example)
  3. trying to make the main page hierachical (as one of the most recent edits tried) by changing the links for, say North America to Canada, United States of America etc etc.
So the problem is that this well written article premise we have escapes a lot of people: they think that the main page should be one of these things:
  1. A directory-style guide to our content, as in Yahoo! (these are the users who try and turn it into a listing of the top parts of the hierachy)
  2. A complete guide to our content (these are the users who add links to Nowheresville or whatever, some just want a way to bootstap their page's existence)
  3. A listing of famous travel spots
I think the well written article guideline actually is a bit obscure to anyone not coming from wikipedia. When I first arrived (although I didn't edit the main page), I thought the main page must be a list of famous travel spots that was only incomplete because wikitravel was: it didn't help that the Australasia links really were to countries and famous Australian cities (and haven't changed much). I like it and want to keep it but it's a bit obscure. Is it possible to actually explain this on the Main Page ("here is a selection of some of our better articles, all with soft chewy centers..."?)
Another change I'd really like made is the lifting of the soft ban on adding your own articles or at least making a place available where you can (informally or formally) 'nominate' articles you contributed to. I don't agree that the people watching recent changes are going to add worthy articles: one of the last substantive additions, Kruger National Park, was only added because JensANDMarian (the author) asked Jpatokal to add it via User talk:Jpatokal#KNP. No reflection on the actions of either user, but I think in general that seems to be a failure of the outlined process -- people were just meant to notice that KNP was good... -- Hypatia 21:56, 3 Dec 2004 (EST)

Bath

Does Bath seem ready to people? Sleep is nearly empty, but otherwise it's definitely 70-80% complete. -- Hypatia 21:58, 3 Dec 2004 (EST)

Looks ok to me. Are there really that many places to slep there? Most folks do it as a day trip I think. I say it's ready. Majnoona 08:52, 24 Dec 2004 (EST)

Rome

Rome just showed up on the Main page and I want to see if other people think it's OK. I listed it under Wikitravel:Articles needing attention a while ago and I havent seen a lot of changes to it (of course I also havent taken the time to do it myself ;-P). I didn't just want to yank it tho... Things like listing all Italian foods (ie Pizza) on this city page seem a little off to me... others? Majnoona 08:52, 24 Dec 2004 (EST)

Houston

How do people feel about the Houston article which was just added to North America by an anon user? It doesn't look quite ready for the Main Page to me, but maybe with a little brushing up it could be. -- Mark 06:32, 1 Jan 2005 (EST)

Actually it was new User:Texaswebscout. I agree that Houston isn't ready yet and suggested this to contributor. I have added it to Wikitravel:Articles needing attention. Remove it and await updates. -- Huttite 06:59, 1 Jan 2005 (EST)

Cruise Liners

What do people think about adding cruise line reviews to the list of things covered? I have been on one cruise and loved it. I think though there are a lot of things missing from the reviews from other sites. -- Texaswebscout 14:37, 3 Jan 2005 (CST)

Whether or not we have an article or multiple articles about cruise lines, it doesn't belong on the Main Page — yet. Check out the Wikitravel:Main Page guidelines which detail how to select which articles or topics are ready to be featured on the main page. Assuming we keep this travel topic, and it is eventually developed into a full article, we can then add it in for awhile. -- Colin 18:04, 3 Jan 2005 (EST)

Main page not valid XHTML

Hi all, today I changed the german main page to valid xhtml, compare this diff and the validator results. So I´m to lazy at the moment to do the same here ;-) it´s your chance. Regards --Bdk 23:36, 1 Feb 2005 (EST)

Ah, fun things to do with my weekend. Thanks for the suggestion. Thanks to the German page as a guide, I was able to fix it up so it validates now.
-Neil 14:22, 6 Feb 2005 (EST)
I've made changes to the French page so it validates too now. -Quirk 08:18, 24 Feb 2005 (EST)

North vs Central America

User:Deirdre Golash comments that Cancun is in Mexico, which is in North America. I agreed, so I removed the link. I do not think Cancun is quite complete enough to go elsewhere as it is still a stub. -- Huttite 22:13, 4 Feb 2005 (EST)

The Americas

Should we even have a Central American continent on the Main Page? As I understand it, Central America is part of the North American continent.

In my geography classes I learned there were 7 Continents - Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Australia, Europe North America and South America - as well as 5 Oceans - Arctic, Atlantic, Indian, Pacific and Southern and seven Seas - Baltic, Black, Carribean, Caspian, Mediterranean, North, Red, and also the uncounted South, South China, Tasman, Yellow and even the Sea of Japan. Central America is too small to rate, except as a sub-continental region. It should be listed under North America. Does anyone disagree? If so, please convince me. -- Huttite 01:32, 5 Feb 2005 (EST)

My Disagreement comes from my own geography lessons, which taught me that there were three countries in North America: Canada, the US and Mexico. Central America was always a seperate continent, and the attachements of the islands of the carribeann were really quite ambiguous. From a practical perspective, it makes more sense to have a "central and south america" section than to group CA as part of NA, largely because of where the cultural divide falls. Travelling in CA has a lot more in common with travelling in SA than it does with travelling in NA. I originally split out CA because when Guatemala City was the first listing under NA, it just didn't compute with the three countries of which I was taught.
Aside from that, even if I were to concede that Central America were a geographic part of North America, I would argue that it's status as a seperate cultural region is comparable to that of the Middle East, which would otherwise be just a subregion of Asia. I'd argue that the seperation is even more important in CA's case, because with so many Wikitravellers living in the US and Canada, it goes without saying that the most complete articles are likely to be about destinations in those two countries, making front page highlights from Central America relatively rare.
- Neil 04:39, 6 Feb 2005 (EST)

Wikitravel:Protected page policy

The protect page policy says:

  • A page is subject to repeated vandalism. This is a special case of the edit war; if a user is repeatedly and systematically vandalizing a page, it should be protected until the user gets their head straight, or they wander away, or they get banned.

If the current "edit the main page a dozen times" vandalism (which also screws up the history) which is being performed near-daily doesn't count, then what does? I propose we protect the main page from vandalism and implement the scheme for editing it proposed by User:Weaponofmassinstruction in the "page protection policy" discussion above. -- Colin 14:53, 4 Mar 2005 (EST)

I still think it would be a failure of sorts to protect any page, even the main page. On the other hand I have no problem whatever with monitoring. In fact I run a cron job which monitors the content of the Main page every 5 minutes. I could have this script mail you as well if you like. -- Mark 15:16, 4 Mar 2005 (EST)
Could you enhance your script to autorevert to the last stable revision if the page size shrinks massively? Also, because I've had my email address since before spam was invented, my spam filtering is very intensive, so email is not timely for me. -- Colin 15:50, 4 Mar 2005 (EST)
I guess it's possible, but any script which submits changes would be covered under the Wikitravel:Script policy, and so therefore the process of updating it would be slower. Meanwhile you can just whitelist the script's email. -- Mark 16:14, 4 Mar 2005 (EST)
I'm new here, but I'd second the vote to protect the main page and adapt the "staging page" idea that was presented previously, although I'd be interested in hearing Mark's reasoning as to why this would be a "failure". I think I've only seen one change to the main page made by a non-admin that wasn't immediately reverted. A second advantage of the staging page is that well-meaning users would hopefully have a bit less trepidation about changing one of the more important pages on the site. -- Wrh2 18:05, 4 Mar 2005 (EST)
I'm thinking that we should try to approve the auto-revert script, and see how well it works before taking the step of protecting the main page. But, if there's still a non-trivial ammount of spam coming through, then I think we should seriously consider protecting the main page. Much of the opposition is from those who claim spam is a social problem. To some extent their right, but it's a social problem of a much larger community than we are able change. Spammers have no interest in engaging with the community, and so there's no way we can change their behaviour through social means. On top of that, much of the spam seems to come from scripts, and that, to me, means that we are confronting a technological problem that requires a technological solution.
-- Neil 03:50, 5 Mar 2005 (EST)
Is there an easy way to view the Main Page history without spam, such as viewing only changes by logged-in users? I was trying to get an idea of how many legitimate changes actually occur on the main page but couldn't find an easy way to do it. -- Wrh2 19:27, 7 Mar 2005 (EST)
No. Nor can you look at the entire site's recent changes without looking at the stupid spam changes. I almost missed a message to me from Jpatokal because I can't freaking see the changes in the logs anymore. -- Colin 20:04, 7 Mar 2005 (EST)
If the main page isn't going to be protected, is it possible to limit the number of updates that are done on the Main Page by a single user within a given time period? Perhaps something like only two updates each five minutes? That wouldn't really prevent anyone from changing the page, but it would reduce the amount of noise in the logs from the bots that perform huge numbers of updates in a short period. I've not looked at the wikimedia software so apologies if this isn't something that's possible. -- Wrh2 21:01, 7 Mar 2005 (EST)

Spam filter

Based on the spate of 50-fold spam edits we've had on the front page, I tracked down the bugs in the spam filter that were keeping it from working. Hopefully this should cut down on the line noise on the front page. --Evan 22:13, 7 Mar 2005 (EST)

Seems to be working OK, after about 24 hours. --Evan 18:50, 8 Mar 2005 (EST)
Thanks for this Evan, things have improved dramatically. Unless others feel differently I think the spam filter solves all of the issues that had started the discussion about protecting the main page, and that discussion can probably now be archived. -- Wrh2 13:25, 9 Mar 2005 (EST)

Cincinnati

I didn't know where I should put this or if it even mattered, but I think the Cincinnati article is complete. I may change it to a Big City format, but for right now I think it's alright. Sapphire 03:48 EST April 7, 2005.

Yeah, I think it looks really good. I'd say to drop it in at the top of the North America list and rotate one off. It could use a photo though. ;)
By the way, if you log in it gets a lot easier to make a signature. All you have to do is type:

-- ~~~~

and the Mediawiki software will supply your user link and the date and your timezone. -- Mark 04:04, 7 Apr 2005 (EDT)

Thanks. I'll try it now. --216.196.135.20 04:11, 7 Apr 2005 (EDT)

Thanks. -Sapphire 04:12, 7 Apr 2005 (EDT)

Guess I had to log in again. I've posted a request for anyone with a picture to add to Cincinnati article, but I don't think anyone has seen it yet. -Sapphire 04:14, 7 Apr 2005 (EDT)

I got rid of Minot, ND and added Cincinnati. I hope that's alright. -Sapphire 04:20, 7 Apr 2005 (EDT)
Super, except that New Orleans was at the bottom, so it was her turn to go rather than Minot. It's supposed to be a sort of top-to-bottom scrolling thing as so to avoid subjective decisions about which destination is "more important" or whatever. -- Mark 04:54, 7 Apr 2005 (EDT)
I just found Minot more boring plus there was a post above that kind of criticized someone for putting Minot up. I can put it back later. It's off to bed unless I'm not drawn back to the screen again. -Sapphire 05:05, 7 Apr 2005 (EDT)
Yeah, people keep trying to take Minot down, but for what it's worth it was one of the founders of Wikitravel who put it up there. So far the idea on the Main Page has been to showcase good articles rather than good destinations, which is why we have the rotation rule. There is occasionally a voice like the one above against that notion, but I think there's mostly a consensus toward keeping the article showcase concept.
Of course as with all Wikitravel policies it is an open question, so if you'd like to ditch the rotation policy please do open up a discussion on Wikitravel talk:Main Page guidelines, after all if we keep having this issue come up of people wanting to eliminate what they perceive as boring destinations then maybe we should figure out a way to decide what boring means. -- Mark 06:30, 7 Apr 2005 (EDT)
Just to throw in two more cents about good ol' Minot-- it was mentioned in the Wall Street Journal article about Wikitravel and is kinda our showcase article for how even tiny podunk places can have a good guide here-- it's not the sort of thing you're going to find in other guides... Anyway, if folks want it out the best thing to do is add a couple of new good showcase guides and rotate it outta there,,, the "Founders" wont mind ;-) Majnoona 08:08, 7 Apr 2005 (EDT)
Noted. -Sapphire 13:37, 7 Apr 2005 (EDT)

Italian Expedition

I rolled back the change that swapped out the Hungarian expedition for the Italian one-- If this is something that was decided / discussed elsewhere please make the change again, it just seem sort of arbitrary... Majnoona 11:49, 7 Apr 2005 (EDT)

Seattle, Swansea, Everest additions

There were a few new Main page additions in the last 24 hours and I have some comments:

  • Seattle - looks ok I guess, could use a picture and some editing (update: Evan just removed it)
  • Swansea - ditto
  • Everest - I think needs a lot of restructuring-- it's actually covering the trek, with all the towns in one article, which is different than, say, how Annapurna (also a big trek region) has been done. I'll take the conversation to the Everst talk page. I'm going to remove it

Also, I think this person did not remove one from the end...

User:Maj|Majnoona]] 11:49, 7 Apr 2005 (EDT)

  • Apologies for impulsively adding the three places listed above without due consideration of the rules, and giving you the trouble of having to delete them. However, I have one point I'd like to raise: I wonder whether a new format should be designed for regions like Everest, possibly based on the 'small city' format. Although the centers of population along the trek are listed as 'cities' in Wikitravel, in reality they are generally no more than a few houses - the biggest village being about 50 houses, with many consisting of no more than two or three dwellings. If each or these villages are designated their own page, as in say the listings for cities in a country, I wonder what information could be used to complete the pages. At a stretch all the lodges could be listed under the 'sleep' section, though as they are all of similar design and cost and there are no street names or telephones, this would only be a list of names. Possibly the 'see' section could have information about which mountains are visible from a particular village. Otherwise, every village is pretty much the same. Also, I wonder of the benefit for the traveler to have this information spread out over 10 or 12 pages. In the 'small city' format, all information is convenietly included on the one page, irrespective of its location within the city - for example the western part of town may have beaches, while to the north there might be a castle. However, as neither of these districts have enough attractions to constitute being individual pages within themselves, they are included under the general heading of the city in which they are located. Anyway, just throwing out some ideas...
Please talk about new format at What is an article? (not to start discussion in two places...). --JanSlupski 04:49, 11 Apr 2005 (EDT)
  • Hi Jan , thanks for your suggestion. Actually, this was a personal reply to Maj's comments. I have initiated a wider debate on relevant page.

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Number of Articles

There's getting to be a lot of featured articles, in contravention of the Main Page guidelines, which say max 4-5 per category. I was going to just pare it down, but then I noticed that whoever had done the extensive commenting had said no more than 7-8. Which one do we want? Either way, there's too many in Europe, but aside from that, I still favour the smaller number. 8 featured articles in a category just makes it look like we're not cleaning up. -Neil 19:09, 20 Apr 2005 (EDT)

It would be nice if there was more balance, i.e. some areas have only 3-4 and others 9! The rule-of-thumb for nav items is seven-plus-or-minus-two. So maybe we should make sure each area has a min of 5 and max of 9? Does 9 seem like too many?
Also, Africa has 2 or 3 spots from South Africa (which I know a lot of work has been done on lately) it would be nice to spread it around geographicly a little...

No Central European Cities linked

Looking at the articles linked to in Europe, there are 4 out of 9 in the UK, but none in central / eastern europe. Budapest is nearly there - I will have a go over the next week to make it good enough for a main page link. It would be good to have another from central europe (some of the Romania ones are nearly there), plus somewhere sunny. DanielC 16:40, 8 May 2005 (EDT)

We pick articles to feature based on what articles are good enough and complete enough to feature. Since this is the English wikitravel, and since people tend to document the cities around them first, we end up with an accidental bias towards english-speaking destinations. If you're up to it, we'd love for you to bring an Eastern European article up to speed so we can feature it. Feel free to pick a city and encourage others to concentrate on it. -- Colin 19:16, 8 May 2005 (EDT)
I agree with Colin... maybe adding something to Wikitravel: Articles needing attention would help? I know a lot of Eastern Europe needs some clean-up-- there's a lot of good content. I think that some of those destinations have been on the main page in the past-- a lot of the eastern european content came in about a year or so ago and may have rotated out since then... but it would be nice to see more geographically balance if we could get the articles up to snuff. Plunge forward! Majnoona 22:08, 8 May 2005 (EDT)
I was last in Budapest about 10 years ago, but most of the stuff in the 2 district articles should be enough to get the main article up to scratch. I may also have a try at Krakow or Dubrovnik. Warsaw looks ready (except for it's districts) - is it worth linking now? Once I've finished Sicily, I'd like to try (with some help, please) to get some of the South American cities improved and onto the Main Page. DanielC 16:01, 9 May 2005 (EDT)


Caribbean islands

An anon user has just added a new section for Caribbean islands, and I think he has a point: the only other place to file them now is the rather unsatisfying "Other destinations". Still, to stop the page from becoming too large, is there a good label for merging Central America & the Caribbean — or other ideas? Jpatokal 23:08, 10 Jun 2005 (EDT)

Pacific and Indian Ocean islands could also use a home. -- Colin 23:16, 10 Jun 2005 (EDT)
They're now hidden under "Australasia". Jpatokal 23:27, 10 Jun 2005 (EDT)
Aren't the Caribbean Islands considered a part of North America? I realize that they aren't a part of the continent, but quoting from the first result I found on Google:
"The Caribbean Islands, Central America countries and Greenland are all considered part of North America. The Middle East is part of Asia. Many modern atlases and geography experts now consider the long-established continent of Australia to be better defined as Australia/Oceania, which then combines and includes all of (Australia), the large island groups of New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Solomons, and the countless volcanic and coral islands of the south Pacific Ocean including those of Micronesia, Melanesia and Polynesia. In short, OCEANIA is one of the most diverse and fascinating areas on the planet."
Wrh2 04:07, 11 Jun 2005 (EDT)
"Officially" the Caribbean Islands may be part of North America, but I would have thought that most people associate them more with Central America (and the Wikitravel guideline is to use what is best for the reader, rather than official names).
What about having Central America and The Caribbean and Australaisa and The Pacific as (slightly larger) section headings on the Main Page? -- DanielC 06:18, 11 Jun 2005 (EDT)
What make the Caribbean islands so important they need their own front page section? What about merging Central America and Caribbean back into North America and changing Australasia to Oceania, or even fit everything under Islands? Also why have North and South America, why not just the Americas. Shouldn't these be continental level groupings anyway? Trim it down I say. -- Huttite 01:09, 12 Jun 2005 (EDT)
Are there any plans to eventually put a graphical map of the world on the front page, set up as an area map with links to major regions? (I'm terrible with graphics, so unless I find a lot of free time, sadly this isn't something I can put together). It seems like that would be the most obvious way that people could begin to navigate the site, and would reduce the need to discuss which/how many areas to link to from the front page. Or not, it's after 3:00 AM and I'm quite likely not thinking straight...
In the mean time, I'm in agreement with Huttite that fewer regions is better, although I think continents are a good top-level, and combining North and South America is probably going a bit too far. -- Wrh2 06:14, 12 Jun 2005 (EDT)
Agree with Wrh2 on all counts — but even if we go with a graphical map, we will still need to split it up into large-ish clickable regions, or otherwise going to (say) Vatican City will be a bit of a pain.
For now, I'd suggest North America, Central America & Caribbean, South America and Australia & Oceania as top-level regions. To quote a favorite Singlishism, can or cannot? Jpatokal 06:52, 12 Jun 2005 (EDT)

I tried merging Central America & Caribbean, but it looked wrong in my eyes. The DoTM takes up so much space (which is not a bad thing!) that there ends up being unused space even when Caribbean is broken out. When you merge it, there's even more dead space. And btw, Caribbean is currently 100% stubs. I just wanna kill it, but do it in an aesthetically pleasing manner. -- Colin 02:23, 26 Jul 2005 (EDT)

100,000th edit

Some time tomorrow Wikitravel will, more likely than not, have its 100,000th edit (in the English version). Whee! Still some ways to go until we hit Wikipedia's 17 million though... Jpatokal 06:56, 12 Jun 2005 (EDT)

Madrid

The article is comming along nicely, but I'd like to see some photos and more Sleep listings, in all three categories, please. -- Mark 00:49, 28 Jun 2005 (EDT)

San Salvador

So we have an anonymous contributor who wants to get San Salvador into great shape so it can be featured on the Main Page. Here are some items I think need to be worked on first:

  • Check out the comments on Talk:San Salvador
  • We want specific listings for places to stay. Phone numbers, addresses, etc. see Wikitravel:Accommodation listings
  • A lot of items have been given their own ==Top Level Heading==. See Wikitravel:Where you can stick it for where to really put each item. Try not to invent lots of new headings.
  • For things to do and see, provide individual listings. For example, each park you want to highlight as an attraction should have its own entry.
  • Ask for help! We want this to be a featurable article. If you're not sure if it's up to par, ask for suggestions about what could/must be improved.
  • Log in with an account so we can leave you messages.

We look forward to working with you! -- Colin 12:40, 3 Jul 2005 (EDT)


I think that the article about San Salvador has been updated and it has now photos , links, adresses, ph numbers, many information and it is a long article, full of information , I think it can already be displayed in the main page.

Answer:

It's much closer. It has no photos except ones with improper copyright which will be deleted if the Vote for Deletion passed. See Wikitravel:Votes for deletion to discuss that matter. Many sections have a general sentiment expressed: for example, Learn has "There are many private schools and universities, including numerous language schools." Either just leave it blank, or list some. Stay safe needs some commentary - El Salvador used to have a reputation for violence; if that has changed, you need to provide that reassurance. Alternatively, add proper warnings about what to avoid. And please, leave out all the "X is the bestest in all Central America!" kinds of stuff. Demonstrate San Salvador's goodness by showing the good and let the reader figure it out; telling someone it is good will make them think you are a untrustworthy shill for the tourist industry. -- Colin 19:27, 10 Aug 2005 (EDT)

Now, i've edit the page and i have written about staying safe and I have corrected a lot of mistakes just like the one about "Learn" Now may I put it in the main Page?, I'll put it in the main page now that i have corrected it, if you don't like that idea please read what the problem is.Here.

I think San Salvador is looking more or less OK, the major problem now is the pictures (please stop deleting the 'vfd' tags). Do you have the copyright to the pictures? Are they licensed as public domain or CC by-sa 1.0? Jpatokal 23:38, 10 Aug 2005 (EDT)
It's close, but there are still some problems. Mid-range under Eat is just a long list of chain places. Those places are everywhere, there's no need whatever to list them unless it would be really weird to find a franchise in a given destination. Like, if there's a McD's on Mars I suppose that would be interesting, but not in Central America. Also all of the listings need to be fleshed out. These are supposed to be real reviews, and should be a little cheeky or snotty even.
Also the article talks about where the rich people live, but where do the poor people live? What's up with that? Are they un-important? Do you think that the only travellers are rich travellers? Why do you suppose we have sections on budget dining and accomodation?
Wikitravel should not read like it's written by somebody from the local travel office. It's supposed to be by travellers for travellers. If somebody visits San Salvador using this guide we want them to know the real scoop. As for "stay safe", I'm a little concerned: There's a Salvadorian gang terrorising people in the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington D.C. after all; do you expect me to believe that MS-13 are completely inactive in San Salvador ? -- Mark 01:27, 11 Aug 2005 (EDT)
Also, what about the pollution? ..or has that been fixed? Is San Salvador still totally automobile based, or are you doing something about it like in Bogota? -- Mark 03:39, 11 Aug 2005 (EDT)

Did someone approve of San Salvador being in the main page? Or did someone just put it in like they've done before? Guanaco152003 21:33, 28 May 2006 (EDT)

I added it because, A) the Central America section hadn't been updated in ages and only had a couple articles listed, making it look like there were only two cities in the whole region, and B) despite its shortcomings it's currently one of the better city articles in that region. It's not a great article, but it's good enough; I added it toward the bottom of the list figuring it would be bumped out when a couple better ones were added. The only "approval" I had was my own; if someone strongly disapproves, they can remove it. - Todd VerBeek 21:55, 28 May 2006 (EDT)
Ohh no, I was just curious because I tried adding it before but I was told it wasn't good enough yet. I'm glad it's finally up :-) Guanaco152003 02:11, 29 May 2006 (EDT)

Rearrangement

OK, so I plunged forward with a rearrangement of the Guide section of the Main Page, in line with the intentions and ideas espoused under the discussion for the Caribbean section above and elsewhere. NB: It is not complete.... But I wanted to see what people thought.... Tasks to complete: Possibly / probably merging Central America and the Caribbean as a top level global regionalisation; merging Australasia with the Pacific, etc (=Oceania).... We may also want to explore a new page location for Travel Topics... Perhaps have these span the two columns now in the Guide section, at the bottom... (does that make sense?) Maybe Phrasebooks could be separated off as well, as this is not really "geographical".

Anyway, for the revised arrangement, a simple rational was employed: List the top-level global regions alphabetically.... Only one exception: I placed Central America and the Caribbean in between North and South America in the list (which is also where they are located geographically, of course!) Other Destinations still comes at the end....

OK, comments / suggestions? Paul James Cowie 07:13, 26 Jul 2005 (EDT)

I tried and failed to find any non-stubs in the Caribbean. I tried to select three that were the best, and removed a few since I think it's okay to only have three if there really aren't any good ones. -- Colin 16:24, 26 Jul 2005 (EDT)

MediaWiki version

At the top of the page User:Member said:

I can't help but say you have a old version of MediaWiki.

In my reply I said:

Your comments that Wikitravel is not using the latest version of MediaWiki software are duly noted. Using the latest and greatest software is not the be all and end all for everyone. There are other priorities .... like a stable and well maintained wiki. -- Huttite 06:31, 28 Jul 2005 (EDT)
Yes. That said, I think we're due for an upgrade. --Evan 07:38, 28 Jul 2005 (EDT)

Protecting from moves?

Realizing that protecting a page is something that is generally not done around here, but also realizing that vandals can move pages in such a way that users without admin privilege cannot move them back and maintain history (see today's logs), I think it would be worthwhile to protect the main page from page moves (and ONLY from page moves). The argument against doing this is that it makes the Wiki less open, however I think that disadvantage is outweighed by the fact that the main page should never need to be moved, and that a smart vandal who moves the page can eliminate all other non-admin users' ability to properly edit the page. Thoughts? Evan and Mark in particular (since you guys have objected the most strongly against any kinds of protections in the past), do you have any objections to adding this protection? -- Ryan 00:00, 15 Aug 2005 (EDT)

I'm for it, but I'm not sure the software allows it... Personally, I'd like to see the Main Page entirely protected, but with content shifted out into included templates that can still be freely edited. This would also make the Main Page more user-friendly, as right now eg. the Travel News syntax is seriously hairy. Jpatokal 00:30, 15 Aug 2005 (EDT)
Technically it's possible to protect a page against moves - see the the main page protection screen - so the issue is then whether or not Wikitravel sacrifices some of its principle of openness to protect the user experience. Since the main page should never be moved it seems to fall into the same realm as the CC-SA license page which was protected for legal reasons, and therefore a reasonable precaution. -- Ryan 01:26, 15 Aug 2005 (EDT)
I would support protecting the main page from moves only. I can forsee how moving the main page could cause some issues, though they are not insurmountable, just very annoying. That said, why, where and when do you need to move the main page? Apart from archiving it when totally rebuilding it, there should be no need to move it. So disable moving it....
As for having templates; I have seen them used on WikiNews and note that the page needs to be refreshed before the edited templates repopulate the page with the changes. This may be more trouble than it is worth, unless, somehow, editing the template can force the main page to be refreshed too. The only way I have seen it resolved is by having a refresh link on the page. -- Huttite 07:32, 15 Aug 2005 (EDT)
Given the lack of objection and the increase in vandalism lately I tried to protect the main page from moves, but it doesn't appear that anything actually happened -- I didn't get a confirmation, and it is still possible to get a move dialog for the main page. Not sure if the page was silently protected, if I'm lacking permissions, or if the checkbox doesn't work. Evan? -- Ryan 21:38, 18 Aug 2005 (EDT)
Maybe protect some test page, and try to move it. Or tell me to to try (as I'm not "superuser"). We will see if it is protected or not. --JanSlupski 09:14, 19 Aug 2005 (EDT)
Check to see that you can still edit User:Cjensen/sandbox but that you cannot move it. -- Colin 10:53, 19 Aug 2005 (EDT)
I was able to both edit and move the page, although perhaps admins have some special privilege? It does at least show up in the protection log, unlike the Main Page, so whatever you did worked better than my own efforts. -- Wrh2 11:51, 19 Aug 2005 (EDT)
Seems that indeed administrators are not affected by moving restriction, but it does work. I could edit User:Cjensen/sandbox but I didn't get the move option. This is not a caching issue, as normally move option would show up if I enter edit mode first. It didn't. --JanSlupski 12:35, 19 Aug 2005 (EDT)
Also I could enter move page by entering URL by hand: http://wikitravel.org/wiki/en/index.php?title=Special:Movepage&target=User%3ACjensen/sandbox,

but when I tried to save the changes I got: Error: could not submit form, Protected page.

Sorry I haven't responded before. I'm strongly against this idea. I really dislike going down the path of using ineffective hard-security mechanisms to prevent vandalism. The fact is, we have one very effective tool against vandalism, and it's worked particularly well. I realize that it's weighed heavy on everyone here, but I don't think trying to twiddle this or that feature is going to help. At best, it's just going to show that vandalism is breaking us down.
To summarize: I don't think move-protecting the Main Page will stop anyone who wants to abuse Wikitravel for more than a few seconds. At best, it will show that we can be rattled. I don't think we can, and I don't think that's the message we want to get across. --Evan 12:23, 19 Aug 2005 (EDT)
Hi Evan. Here's my counter-argument, then I'll go away quietly. The main page is the entry point to the site for most users. www.wikitravel.org is hard-wired to redirect to it. If someone writes "Bob is Gay" on it, no big deal, any user will recognize that as vandalism and may feel more included in the community by being able to fix it. However, if the page gets moved in such a way that only an admin can properly revert the move (which has happened), or even worse that you have to go to the database to fix a circular redirect, then average users are shut out of the process, and a user's first contact with Wikitravel is perhaps a negative one. We already protect the CC-SA page for the reason that "it is a legal document and should never be changed". It seems to similarly make sense to protect the main page from moves (and only from moves) because "it is the hardwired entry point to the site and must never be moved". For me it's a matter of balancing the need to keep things open with the need to ensure average users have a good experience on the site. That's my piece, and now I'll hold my tongue. -- Ryan 12:50, 19 Aug 2005 (EDT)
Your argument is compelling, and I'm bending on it. Here is my main concern: that we don't overreact to a particular person's unproductive behaviour by giving that person the power to push us into this or that decision. But, hey: I think you're right, that the positives outweigh the negatives. Let's go ahead and do it.
By the way, I've been experimenting, and it seems that any logged-in user can move an article from A to B and back from B to A again. The problem is when something's moved from A to B, then A is edited. Since A has a history, MediaWiki won't let normal users move B back over it again. It would be interesting to explore how to fix this. --Evan 13:36, 19 Aug 2005 (EDT)
I also think this is a unique case for a move-protect bit since in this article's case the title really isn't content so it doesn't need to be editable. -- Colin 01:36, 20 Aug 2005 (EDT)
To really make the Main Page movable you have to cause moving it to also edit the apache configuration file. So to my mind this is a question of do we keep the sort of half movability that it has now, or accept that it can't be moved, or make it really movable. -- Mark 03:02, 20 Aug 2005 (EDT)

El Salvador

User:Bukele, who I beleive also edits under an IP of 66.201.x.x, has put a lot of time and effort into the El Salvador page. This user, as they should be, is rather proud of the article and really wants to add it to the Main Page, as they have on numerous occasions.

Can some of the vets examine the El Salvador page, help bring it into line and maybe bring it to the Main Page?

-- Ilkirk 11:20, 17 Nov 2005 (EST)

If the he can put a copyright notice on his images, I think it should definitely go on the main page. But I'm worried those aren't his images. -- Colin 13:06, 17 Nov 2005 (EST)
I'll second that. -- Ilkirk 13:51, 17 Nov 2005 (EST)
I just put some new images on the San Salvador page. I got them from the owner of http://elsalvadorontheweb.com and he said I could put the pictures on wikitravel as long as I put elsalvadorontheweb.com anywhere on the pictures. I did. Could it be in the main page now? Guanaco152003 17:34, 30 Dec 2005 (EST)
I understand about the pictures i just put now. Could it still be on the main page though? Its a pretty good article.
Please read Wikitravel:Destination of the Month candidates for criteria. List it there and see what happens. -- Huttite 20:16, 30 Dec 2005 (EST)
He isn't asking for a DoM nomination, just that it be listed in the CentralAm section. It's been repeatedly removed. Unfortunately, the current pics are now up for vfd, so it lacks pictures yet. -- Colin 02:30, 31 Dec 2005 (EST)

The Wikitravel logo at the top-left of all Wikitravel pages is nice. But, it's blurry, which makes the site look a little unprofessional. Could the (Adobe Illustrator? CorelDraw?) original be tracked down and exported better? Or, could someone run Unsharp Mask on it and submit the modified logo to the wikitravel.org sysadmin? :) --Wikipedia:User:Unforgettableid 00:24, 27 Nov 2005 (EST)

A while ago we we had a Wikitravel:Logo contest. Apparently this one was selected (although it was very close):

Wikitravel logo.png

Right now, I'm waiting for feedback from User:Evan about what needs to be done to install a new skin which incorporates the logo. Actually in writing this I notice that the skin still needs a bit of tweaking for Konqueror, the browser I'm using at the moment. -- Mark 03:45, 27 Nov 2005 (EST)
So, what happend with this new skin? I would really like to see it applied. :) --Adestro 17:54, 11 Jan 2006 (EST)
My understanding is that User:Evan has some other priorities but that he plans to get to this soon. I'm a little afraid that there will be a de-bugging period. Actually I'd prefer he set up a debugging version first.
Actually I should re-write the JavaScript bits, as they aren't exactly clean. -- Mark 16:52, 12 Jan 2006 (EST)
Mark: I'm unable to get a response from the sdf-eu.org site. --Evan 17:10, 24 Jan 2006 (EST)
It's working again now. I really do need to rewrite that very messy javascript though. -- Mark 08:34, 25 Jan 2006 (EST)

Comment about WikiTravel

I'm glad that people here in WikiTravel aren't jerks like the people in wikipedia. Kingjeff 12:37, 29 Dec 2005 (EST)

Hello, and a only one words on start from newbie!

Hi,

it's pride and glory to develop first webpage using own hands :) What do you think?

http://www.Envililib.net

Cheers!

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