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Talk:Main Page/Jan 2006 to Dec 2006

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This is an archive of discussions about the Main Page from January 2006 to December 2006 inclusive.

Un-Englishing the main page

If my top-o'-the-napkin calculations are to be believed, around October 2006 this year the majority of Wikitravel's content will be in languages other than English. Is it time to start considering a language-neutral front page, akin to that seen for Wikipedia or Wikinews? That is, will stay as is, but plain old should present a list of languages available. Jpatokal 11:58, 15 Jan 2006 (EST)

I'd like to do it slightly differently: that is, I'd like to use the browser's built-in language preferences to redirect users automatically from to the best available language version, and have the default go to en:Main Page. Using content negotiation should make this quite easy.
That should cover the mainline case of a French language speaker wanting to read the French language Wikitravel. Users who are using a French-language configured browser but want to read, say, the Swedish Wikitravel should be able to find the sv: link on fr:Accueil anyways. --Evan 13:15, 15 Jan 2006 (EST)
OK, so, this is the way it works now; we're doing HTTP/1.1-compliant content negotiation (thanks, Apache!). Users who've configured their browser to prefer English will see Main Page; users who've configured their browser to prefer German will get de:Hauptseite. Users who have their browsers configured solely for a language we don't support (say, Spanish) will get the English main page. Users who have configured their browsers in complicated and interesting ways will get complicated and interesting HTTP/1.1-compliant results. I invite folks to try and see for themselves. Try fiddling with your browser's language preferences and see what happens. --Evan 01:57, 17 Jan 2006 (EST)
Neat! Just a tiny bug, though. My browser language is English (New Zealand) i.e. Lang = en-nz (in the HTML header). That version of English is ignored and instead I get the next language in my browser list. Initially I only had my own variant of English in the browser list. My browser appears to be configured that way by default - and I suspect lots of others are configured that way too, with only one highly specific language. The English page only appeared if I had Lang = en - for generic English - ahead of the other (generic) language options on the language list. If the browser language option is not set to the 2 letter generic language option then even the generic version of prefered language is not be served - I tested them - and it appears as if you do not have an English or other language setting. Only the generic language setting results in the correct language version being served. My browser (Internet Explorer) gives the following specific versions of the languages we currently use:
de (German) 
de-at (Austria), de-ch (Switzerland), de-li (Liechtenstein), de-lu (Luxembourg)
en (English) 
en-au (Australia), en-bz, (Belize), en-ca (Canada), en-gt (United Kingdom), en-ie (Ireland), en-jm (Jamaica), en-nz (New Zealand), en-ph (Philippines), en-tt (Trinidad), en-us (United States), en-za (South Africa), en-zw (Zimbabwe)
fr (French) 
fr-be (Belgium), fr-ca (Canada), fr-ch (Switzerland), fr-lu (Luxembourg), fr-mc (Monarco)
nl (Dutch) 
nl-be (Belgium)
ro (Romanian) 
ro-md (Moldova)
sv (Swedish) 
sv-fi (Finland)
I do not know if this is just a Microsoft thing or if it is W3C standard language (dialect) representation, but I can see it causing problems for anyone who has had their (IE?) browser configured to one of these language variants, without being configured for the generic language as well. I think this happens by default when the language is selected and people would not be aware of the problem unless they specifically reconfigured their browser's language settings. Could cause all sorts of grief for someone in Switzerland or Luxembourg if they had French and German variants and got the English page! It would definitely upset French Canadians if they found out. -- Huttite 20:35, 17 Jan 2006 (EST)
Grrrr. I couldn't find the twiddly bit that says, "for people who say that they want en-xx, serve them the en one. And so on for other languages." So I just copied your fine fine list above. It worked for me with en-ca and fr as my two language settings (correctly gave Main Page), so I think it's right. I'll continue scanning Apache docs, since I find this part of the Web fascinating. --Evan 23:35, 17 Jan 2006 (EST)
Another thought: If we had a multi-language common page that appeared when none of the current languages were detected as being used by the browser, would that be better unenglish solution? -- Huttite 20:35, 17 Jan 2006 (EST)
That sounds like a good idea. I can probably whip up an Esperanto common page. --Evan 23:35, 17 Jan 2006 (EST)

Rolled back google link

I rolled back a link to "", since it wasn't really given any context and I don't think it's necessary to have it on our main page. --Evan 14:28, 15 Jan 2006 (EST)


This is probably something only an actuary or accountant would pick up - the main page says there are 6875 destination guides, while the link through to the site statistics says 6877. Which is correct? Yzerfontein 11:14, 27 Jan 2006 (EST)

The site statistics page. The Main Page gets cached so it gets served real fast (it gets hit about 100 times more than the average page on Wikitravel), and the cached page only gets re-generated when the actual Main Page article is changed (or a linked article is created or deleted, or a couple of other reasons). This has the unfortunate result that the statistics don't get updated.
I need to change our caching system so that when new pages are added (or pages are deleted... sigh) pages that have dynamic content (like the number of articles) get invalidated and re-generated. It's a lot of work for a teensy gain, and it's going to mean the Main Page gets regenerated every time a page is created. I'd prefer to just have something like "almost 7000 articles" or "more than 6800 articles" on the front page. But we've all gotten used to having a running tally on this page, so c'est la vie. --Evan 13:29, 27 Jan 2006 (EST)

Very Important

Hey my name's David, I'd like to create this web in Spanish. ow do I do?¿? Cdavid

It is very important. You should sign up for the Wikitravel:Spanish Wikitravel Expedition, our project for getting the es: version off the ground. We're almost ready to go with it. --Evan 17:38, 28 Jan 2006 (EST)


Any chance of getting wikitravel going in the Afrikaans language? Yzerfontein 00:39, 29 Jan 2006 (EST)

Hey, take a look at Wikitravel:How to start a new language version! Majnoona 00:48, 29 Jan 2006 (EST)

No edit section

So, I saw on de:Hauptseite that the "__NOEDITSECTION__" line was added, and it turned off all the little edit links. These never work for me (I always get the wrong section), so I figured it was good to turn them off here, too. --Evan 19:43, 30 Jan 2006 (EST)

Thanks, Colin. No wonder that feature isn't documented. --Evan 21:56, 30 Jan 2006 (EST)

But there should really be a good way for a first time user to edit the main page in a legitimate way rather than confront him with ugly tables. Right now, the page looks like a trap. Whatever the first time user does will be a mistake. --Ravikiran 01:29, 31 Jan 2006 (EST)

Why haven't you upgraded?

Your version of mediawiki is quite old, 1.4.14 in fact, while the current version is 1.5.6. There are new features, such as "print this page" which would be very useful in wikitravel. i'd strongly suggest upgrading.

Are you joking? It's less than a month old! 1.4.14 was released on January 19th, 2006!
The 1.5.x branch made significant changes to the database structure, which makes upgrading time-intensive and difficult. We have about 10+ custom extensions - around 5,000 LOC -- that run on Wikitravel, and making this upgrade is going to be difficult.
Upgrading to 1.5.x is on my list of things to do, but it's not at the top. --Evan 12:01, 12 Feb 2006 (EST)
Just to follow up: Evan did the upgrade. Majnoona 18:21, 11 March 2006 (EST)

Article templates

The 'article templates' page is reporting an error and cannot be accessed. WindHorse 12 Feb 06

Argh. That's really bad. Error messages aren't supposed to be cached. I'll take a look. --Evan 12:13, 12 Feb 2006 (EST)

Including CSS on Wiki Edit Page

Can someone please help me out with this: I am trying to design a wiki myself, and I've noticed that CSS is included right on the wiki pages of WikiTravel and its templates, for example:
|align="left" width="35%" style="background-color:#FFF7F7; border-top:1px solid #AA8888; border-bottom:1px solid #AA8888; border-top:1px solid #AA8888; padding-top:5px; padding-right:10px; padding-left:10px; padding-bottom:10px;" valign="top"|
How do I achieve this same effect on my wiki? It just shows up as text on the page! Many thanks!

I had never noticed that.. Regardless it seems to me that it's almost always better to set the styles in an attached or imported stylesheet. -- Mark 03:19, 21 March 2006 (EST)

Hierarchical Directory

How is the Hierarchical directory created at the top of site listings, e.g. Asia: Middle East: Iran? It is not on the wiki edit page itself. Is there a table in the MySQL database with this hierarchical information? Who rearranges a new page into this hierarchy? Thank you.

It's a mediawiki extension by User:Evan which gets its data from RDF embedded on the pages. There's a template called "isIn" which lets us add the RDF pretty much painlessly. -- Mark 05:44, 21 March 2006 (EST)
And we call it Breadcrumb navigation. Ricardo (Rmx) 13:15, 11 May 2006 (EDT)

Very good web site Great work and thank you for your service Bob

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Wikitravel sold to Internet Brands?

Possible to get some info about this in english?

Have a look at Wikitravel:20_April_2006. -- Jonboy 16:43, 21 April 2006 (EDT)

Yes now they can go about making money on all this free content. Good to see users helping build another company!! -- anonymous

And you can make money off of it too. Set up a mirror and put some Ad Sense ads on it. Print the guides out on glossy paper and sell them, or print them out on big sheets of paper and distribute them at hotels. You can sell add space to the restaurants, etc... There are some folks already doing this in Paris using our maps as a base. There are probably a thousand ways to make money off of Wikitravel. Go for it! Free content is all about you being able to use the content the way you want to, including making money. -- Mark 11:58, 22 June 2006 (EDT)
Mark, out of curiosity, do you have any more info on your maps being reused? That would be another milestone for us! Jpatokal 12:22, 22 June 2006 (EDT)
I found them at l'Hotel du Nord et de l'Est, and remembered somebody contacting me a few months before to see if I really meant it when I released them under the CC-by-sa. Anyhow, it was the map of the 11th, and what they had done was printed it on large square sheets and sold ads to put in the margins. I'll try to dig up the map to get the name of the company. -- Mark 12:27, 22 June 2006 (EDT)

I feel like a complete blank. That's how it is. I can't be bothered with anything recently.

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Make news & discover more prominent?

I almost never look at the Main Page, and one reason is that it seems rather static and boring. However, with the addition of the "Discover" section there is now content that seems interesting, and that is fairly frequently updated. Unfortunately, you have to scroll down to see it, and that makes it easy to miss. The "World" section of the front page, while useful, is fairly static and boring, so what about moving "Discover" (and possibly also the "Travel News") to just under the "DOTM" and "OTBP" sections? Increasing the visibility of a fairly interesting bit of content might encourage people to return to the site more often, and the "World" navigation section is still there for those who need it. There is an anonymous comment on Wikitravel talk:Discover about this same issue, so I'm apparently not the only one with the idea. Thoughts? -- Ryan 23:43, 13 June 2006 (EDT)

Evan raised the IMHO rather valid objection that the main point of the site is the travel guide, and the "World" index should at least be visible on the first pageful. It's still visible now, barely, but if we stick Discover above it, it won't be. Jpatokal 00:01, 14 June 2006 (EDT)
Here's what the moving the only the discover section would look like- User:Sapphire/Sandbox/Main Page 2 and to contrast moving the discover and news section User:Sapphire/Sandbox/Main Page. I like the idea of moving the discover section to a more visible part of the main page, but I do believe the objection noted above does hold a rather large amount of water. - Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 00:11, 14 June 2006 (EDT)
The issue of this being a travel guide and needing the "World" index prominent is a valid point, and the only counter-argument I can offer is to question whether or not users actually are using the "World" index to browse. Personally I always use the search box to find a place instead of browsing, but I'm not sure if I'm unusual that way. The fact that the top-level articles such as Europe and North America rarely get edits has me thinking that I'm not unique, however. If most users of the main page aren't browsing to a destination then putting an unused block of text prominently on the page probably isn't the best use of screen space, and it would be worth considering putting something there that's more likely to invite users into the site. The webalizer stats aren't showing stats on specific pages, but perhaps looking at the usage stats for articles such as North America and Europe would shed some light on this. -- Ryan 00:25, 14 June 2006 (EDT)
I rarely (once every month?) use the "World" index. I'd much rather see the discover section under the DoTM, because it inspires visitors to look up other interesting potential destinations. It wouldn't be too hard for visitors to scoll down and see the rest of the World section so I don't have a problem with moving the Discover section, and I'll actually promote the change. I don't support moving the news section, because I simply dislike the layout. - Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 01:29, 14 June 2006 (EDT)
Sorry, I just think having the browseable world listings gets across the idea of a travel guide better than trivia does. I like the discover info, but I don't think it's important enough to put above the fold on the Main Page. --Evan 17:38, 17 June 2006 (EDT)
I think the best solution in the long run would be to drop the current layers-of-cake approach and move towards a multi-column approach like Wikipedia. Interestingly, though, they only have eight 'portals' linked in from the very top box and then the rest of the Main Page is all sorts of in-the-news, new-articles, this-day-in-history, isn't-this-pretty kinda fluffy stuff. Jpatokal 18:00, 17 June 2006 (EDT)
It`s important to keep in mind that "we" (ie folks who get involved in discussions about the main page lay out) are not the average users of the site. The fact that we dont use the World for navigation doesnt reflect how a first or tenth time user interacts with the site. I think the usual assumption is that about 50% of users like to browse and the other half like to search, so it`s pretty important to have multiple navigational points of entry. Majnoona 20:30, 18 June 2006 (EDT)
Are there any stats available about whether people are actually using the "world" index to browse the site? The webalizer stats don't provide info on individual pages, so my guess that people aren't browsing the site was based mostly on the fact that there are relatively few edits to the top-level articles like North America and Asia. The suggestion to move the "Discover" section up the page was motivated specifically by a desire to invite more new users to explore and re-visit the site. If those users aren't using the browse functionality (and they may be, in which case it should be left where it is) then maybe it wouldn't hurt to try pushing it down the page and putting something else into that prominent position to see if it invites more users to explore the site.
Well I can tell you that before we had it, we ended up with lots of email from confused and frustrated users asking how the heck they were supposed to find things. This was in the first few months when we were a little too focused on contributors and hadn't yet realized the imporantance of easy navigation for readers/newcomers. I'm sure we can find a compromise here... Majnoona 00:51, 19 June 2006 (EDT)
If the consensus is that the main page should stay as-is, that's totally fine with me - I'm not of the opinion that it must be changed. My only motivation for bringing this issue up was that the main page just seemed so static and, well, dull that there wasn't really a reason to look at it after one visit. The Discover information finally provided content that was updated regularly and worth checking out, but it was hidden at the bottom of the page, so moving it to a more prominent location seemed like a nice win. The issue of making it clear that this is a travel guide is a good point, and if users were emailing asking how to navigate then that's enough of a reason to not change things without considering trade-offs. I can live with leaving the page as-is, although if there was some way to provide obvious "browse" navigation while still making the dynamic content prominent I'd obviously be in favor. -- Ryan 01:05, 19 June 2006 (EDT)
An alternative approach might be to implement Jpatokal's suggestion and just drop the sub-sections of the "world" index and simply display the top-level articles next to the project description at the top of the page - something like this. That would leave the site browse-able for those who want to browse, and provide the needed screen real-estate for the more dynamic content tailored to those who might want to explore. -- Ryan 23:43, 18 June 2006 (EDT)
I like your sandbox main page. How about asking a few people who have never used Wikitravel to visit and ask what their opinions are? I'll ask my pops to stop by tomorrow and check out the different versions. - Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 01:15, 19 June 2006 (EDT)
I also like Ryan's version. It'd be nice to have someplace to show off new articles though -- or is Discover enough for this? Jpatokal 03:56, 19 June 2006 (EDT)
What you said, and I don't think Discover is enough. We need a rolling showcase of good articles. And I am concerned that after every redesign, we end up looking more similar to WP rather than less. — Ravikiran 04:34, 19 June 2006 (EDT)

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Mention of IB

Several new users have suggested mentioning that Internet Brands now owns Wikitravel by noting this in the first box of the Main Page. I think this would be a good move and help show the transparency IB states they want. -- Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 22:10, 17 July 2006 (EDT)

I'd jut like to point out for those not following the latest discussion Re: Transparency by IB for New Users (not to mention those who weren't active at the time of the changeover), it has been going on at Wikitravel_talk:Internet_Brands#Transparency_for_New_Users Weaponofmassinstruction 05:01, 18 July 2006 (EDT)

Main Page Update

It's very late and I'm very tired, which is the only excuse I can offer for again bringing up a subject that some people feel very passionately about. However, we never did fully resolve the discussion above ("Make news/discover more prominent"), and left it with some people expressing an opinion that the front page needs a browse option, while others felt it was too static. Having had another month to think about the matter, I really do think that the large text "browse" box conveys the wrong message. I realize the purpose of that text area is to provide a list of high-level topics AND to showcase good articles & give different cities a chance to be featured, but I think users AND Wikitravel would be better served by having a more dynamic and concise front page.

I've proposed User:Wrh2/Sandbox as a possible update that offers a high-level browse index while at the same time removing the "rotating cities" list. My reasoning is in the previous discussion, but to recap I think that having a list of ONLY the high-level topics is good enough for users who want to browse, while getting rid of the rotating cities makes the purpose of that index clearer, looks more professional, and is less confusing (over the years there have been numerous edits to "fix" the fact that a place like Sleepy Hollow is listed but New York City is not). The proposed new layout moves the dynamic information to a more prominent location and (IMHO) makes the main page more interesting and worth visiting multiple times. It isn't perfect - Ravikiran's suggestion that it should have a distinct look from Wikipedia is a good one - but I think it's an improvement and hopefully a good compromise that offers both a browse-able index and a main page with dynamic content. Thoughts, suggestions, criticisms, insults, and/or gifts of cash are welcome. -- Ryan 05:08, 12 August 2006 (EDT)

Can I give you my credit card number? I like your design and I second using it to update the main page. -- Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 05:25, 12 August 2006 (EDT)
Me like, and I'll sponsor the effort with one million billion dollars from the Bank of Hell. But the one thing now missing is a way to showcase new articles, which is what the current rotating index (somewhat fitfully) tries to do — one way would be to re-engineer Discover to showcase facts from newly added/upgraded places.
As for looking different from Wikipedia, I think finally changing the stylesheet to something other than Monobook would be the best way of doing it... Jpatokal 05:54, 12 August 2006 (EDT)
The moustache of the guy on that bill rules. I kind of like the idea of also having a rolling list of the newest articles - it would add a bit more dynamic content, and it might also be cool to include something like the newest articles to reach guide+ status, and maybe also a link for the COTW. Let me see if I can put my (limited) design skills to use to cook something up... -- Ryan 12:41, 12 August 2006 (EDT)
I agree that it's an excellent start, but it would be nice to have more "featured" space. I think it would help keep the page from being too static. I await your next creation with baited breath. Maj 12:51, 12 August 2006 (EDT)
There's a second attempt on User:Wrh2/Sandbox that tries to add a "Featured Articles" section for the COTW and newest "Star" articles. Some issues:
  • The "Featured Articles" box includes a "Newest Articles" section, but I don't know if that's feasible - especially as Wikitravel grows I think it's going to be impossible to keep the five newest articles on the front page unless there's an automated way to do it. We might want to consider something else - maybe have 5-9 star articles, the COTW, and do away with "New Articles"?
  • The current layout creates a lot of whitespace in the travel news box. Having a shorter list of featured articles would fix that, or we could jigger the travel news (I didn't want to touch those templates since it would affect the current main page).
  • In the final version I think the "Featured Articles" should be in their own template to help simplify the main page layout. It will also make it easier to update that section.
  • The CSS is slightly off with IE. That can be easily fixed, but I'm too lazy to spend much time tweaking CSS for a test page ;-)
I won't beg for money this time (although it worked surprisingly well last time, hmmm...) but comments and suggestions would be welcome. -- Ryan 13:54, 12 August 2006 (EDT)
I removed the "New Pages" section as I don't think it can be maintained. That leaves a list of "Star" articles and the COTW - any suggestions for a third category to add would be welcome, although I don't think two looks that bad. -- Ryan 17:39, 13 August 2006 (EDT)
So, I have to say that I like your design, and you've managed to keep some browsing, and making it even higher on the page (although much abbreviated). I wonder... what if we made a World page just for doing a browsing-style interface? The microbrowser you have on the main page would be a good starter, but we could also have a bigger, full page dedicated only to browsing. We could even make the continents "isin" the world page, so it would be accessible as the top of the geographical hierarchy. Feelings? --Evan 21:32, 13 August 2006 (EDT)
Great idea! -- Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 21:34, 13 August 2006 (EDT)
Great work on version 3! I'm super impressed at how much you have going on and yet how clean and usable it is. I think we've had a problem with a lack of a good starting point for browsing since day 1, so I'm pretty into the whole idea of having a World page. I also like the idea of adding it to breadcrumbs... Maj 21:39, 13 August 2006 (EDT)
I've fought the good fight with IE's CSS, and I think the User:Wrh2/Sandbox page should be OK now, with the exception of the double-border around some of the news items (fixing that issue requires a template change that will affect the current main page). It sounds like most of the people commenting are happy with the new design, but it might be worthwhile to wait a bit longer before replacing the current main page in case anyone else wants to comment - I'd be especially interested in any reports of broken CSS.
The World page sounds like a potentially interesting idea. Would it be handled in the same way as the current "World" index on the main page, or do you envision something slightly different? -- Ryan 21:54, 13 August 2006 (EDT)
I think that it would probably be handled in the same general way (I think of it as the Dmoz layout), but maybe we could go into more detail. After all, we'd have a whole page to work with. --Evan 22:27, 13 August 2006 (EDT)
Given the lack of objection to the new main page design, is there any reason not to make the change? -- Ryan 15:30, 14 August 2006 (EDT)
I think we have overwhelming interest in seeing this go. So, please do it! --Evan 18:30, 14 August 2006 (EDT)
Done. -- Ryan 18:51, 14 August 2006 (EDT)

Other languages into two tiers: under-1000 and over-1000

Once Japanese reaches 1000 articles (which will in all likelyhood happen before the end of the month), I'd like to split the "Other languages" box into two tiers: over 1000 articles (German, French, Japanese), in a bigger font, and other, in a smaller font. This will allow readers to pick out the big ones easily, allow squeezing in more small fry, and encourage them to contribute more. Jpatokal 05:13, 16 August 2006 (EDT)

1000 articles crossed today, so I'm going to plunge forward and do this. Jpatokal 02:16, 20 August 2006 (EDT)

Fatal error

Did anyone else see this message on the main page: Fatal error: Class name must be a valid object or a string in /var/www/wikitravel/mw/includes/SkinTemplate.php on line 126? -- Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 23:52, 19 August 2006 (EDT)

Cincinnati DotM

should probably mention something about the Oktoberfest, but I don't know what. — Ravikiran 02:04, 1 September 2006 (EDT)

How about the text that I have here? -- Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 10:19, 1 September 2006 (EDT)
I've added it with minor changes. — Ravikiran 14:31, 1 September 2006 (EDT)
Looks good and thankfully Jonboy caught a stupid mistake which I overlooked while editing the original text. -- Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 02:03, 2 September 2006 (EDT)

Discovery - "R" in Slovenian.

Actually, the R in Slovenian is most certainly not a vowel. It is somewhat rolled, like the Scottish R, but not a vowel. What you see here is an example of the vowel not being written in the word. Until sometime in the 19th century or early 20th century the "uh" sound in words like cmrlj (pr. chm-uh-rlj - the last sound is actually the difficult part, combining a rolled r and a rolled l. Some places it's pronounced chmuh-roo. It sounds like English "churl", only with an m after the ch.) and vrt (pr. vuh-rt) was written as an E. Thus cmerlj and vert (the e pronounced as "uh").

Trust me, R is pronounced R. Only sometimes the vowel isn't spelled out. I'm Slovenian, btw.

Bubbling under?

In the languages section, I see "Bubbling under". What does this mean? Is it vandalism that's not been repaired?--justfred 12:04, 25 October 2006 (EDT)

It's just a colorful reference to the fact that these sites are still percolating, and haven't reached 1000 articles yet. - Todd VerBeek 12:07, 25 October 2006 (EDT)

By Bicycle

Please help. Some places in this wiki have information on getting around also by bicycle as well as taxis, buses etc. but some do not. The info is very helpful for people who cycle in deciding where to go. What specifically is useful in this regard is info on

  • general conditions for cycling (NOT scaremongering - many non-cyclists or casual cyclists might say things like "too dangerous, don't do it" - I once read such a description about Naples after I cycled there for a few days - the description was rubbish)
  • info on hiring bicycles - for example in Beijing its easy and cheap to hire from many places, many hotels etc, in San Fancisco its quite expensive to hire and there aren't so many places to hire one from - its useful to know that
  • info on how prevalent bicycle theft is - for example in Turku, Finland its very safe and there is little bicycle theft but in the Netherlands its not and you are advised not to expect a decent bike to not get stolen
  • info on laws/restrictions and whether they are upheld. For example information on the web tells me that bikes in Beijing must have registration plates but the reality is very different because its not enforced. Information on spain is that cycle helmets are compulsory - I have yet to see whether it is enforced.

I've not been a contributor to this wiki before so I don't know whether there is a basic form for an entry but it looks to me like there is, except sometimes it has cycling in and sometimes not. I am suggesting the community adopt the convention (if not already) that there always be a cycling entry in whatever the basic template is even if nobody filled that part out yet. Cycling is good for the world - (green arguments, global warming etc.) and is also good fun.

If I posted this comment in the wrong place I apologise and will watch this page for responses and try to do it right next time.



Plunge forward! Go ahead and add the information and don't worry about the details, others will fix up after you if needed. Jpatokal 08:42, 29 October 2006 (EST)


So, people at IB have asked about the description tag that we have on the main page -- they're concerned that it wasn't descriptive enough of what we're doing here. I've added their suggested text at the bottom of the page in the {{description}} marker as a starting point for future edits. Please feel free to edit to a consensus text, with the caveat that "magic words" like {{NUMBEROFARTICLES}}, piped (or any other kind) of links, and pretty much any fancy wiki text doesn't work very well and isn't really appropriate for description meta tags (which are supposed to be plain old ASCII text). --Evan 14:34, 30 October 2006 (EST)

The fact that the Wikitravel content is licensed under an open-source license is very, very, very important, so I've re-added "free" to the description. -- Ryan 14:40, 30 October 2006 (EST)
Indeed it is! I've done you one better and added the phrase "open source", which may or may not be kosher (the CC licenses haven't been submitted for approval by the Open Source Institute). I've also synchronized the description template used for articles that are about a place, MediaWiki:Travelguidedescription. --Evan 14:49, 30 October 2006 (EST)
What exactly does that template do and is it visible (I may be overlooking it)? -- Sapphire
Do you mean Template:Description or MediaWiki:Travelguidedescription? The MW string is used as follows: for every page that is marked as describing a place (if it uses the IsIn or Geo templates, for example), a "description" meta tag is added in the head section of the HTML output. This is used by some Web spidering software as a description of the page; you can also see it in Firefox by pressing Ctrl+I (Tools/Page Info). I think it's accessible in Internet Explorer, too, but I'm not sure how.
For pages that aren't descriptions of a place (like phrasebooks, itinerary, etc.) the description tag is just the first paragraph of the article. Typically this is a good description of what the page is about.
Template:Description is a way to override these default behaviors. {{description|some text here}} will make some text here the contents of the description meta tag.
The reason business folks care is that if you see a Wikitravel guide in Google (like this: [1]), it's the description that shows up underneath the title page. So they want to make sure that people who are looking for a travel guide know that this particular search result is worth clicking on.
This works in all the Wikitravel language versions, but I don't think any ones except Wikitravel have the template customized. You can read more at Wikitravel:RDF Expedition/Description. --Evan 15:09, 30 October 2006 (EST)
Is it possible to add the <includeonly></includeonly> <noinclude></noinclude> to this template or will this confuse the software? It would be great to include you explaination directly to the template! --Flip666 04:50, 26 January 2007 (EST)

Hiding the "Main Page" in Main Page

At the risk of looking even more like Wikipedia, would it make sense to just remove the page title from the Main Page? It is taking up valuable real estate without any benefit. I looked around to find out how it is done and I found this hack [2], which I am thinking may not work here because of caching. Before I experiment, does it make sense to try? — Ravikiran 22:19, 26 November 2006 (EST)

Sorry it's taken so long to respond. Yes, I think it would be nice to do, although I don't see anything about a title hack in that message you point to. --Evan 16:23, 1 March 2007 (EST)


This is my first look at Wikitravel so I have obviously looked at my home area. I notice that there are prices quote for all the hotels and B&Bs. Are these going to end up like most hotel sites on the WWW where the prices bear no relationship to reality i.e. usually a year or so out of date and things "from £xx" where this is calculated on full occupancy of the room then converted to per person? -- 09:45, 3 December 2006 (EST)

Well, Wikitravel has a marked advantage over "most hotel sites on the WWW" in that anybody can go and fix up an incorrect price. But naturally it's just a snapshot of a very fluid situation, and the main point of the price is to give a comparative benchmark so you know that Chateau Ritzy will cost more than Flophouse El Cheapo. Jpatokal 09:58, 3 December 2006 (EST)
Flophouse El Cheapo? I thought you said your Spanish was rusty? -- Andrew H. (Sapphire) 12:47, 3 December 2006 (EST)
Agreed. It's unlikely that we'll ever have dynamic pricing charts showing the price of each room at each day of the week in each season of the year. The point is to give a rough idea of a price, hopefully with a range of high price to low price, at a level of accuracy that helps planning and doesn't give much of a surprise when you actually book the room. --Evan 00:01, 13 December 2006 (EST)

Semi-protect this page?

So, I'm no fan of protected pages, but I wonder if it's time to protect this page ("Talk:Main Page") from edits by anonymous users and new users. But this page has very little editing apart from the multiple vandalizations per day. It's tiresome and wastes admin time. Any opinions? --Evan 15:38, 13 December 2006 (EST)

I don't think it has become such a problem to require protection and I would loudly object to any such action. We have new and anonymous users who may edit the main page and if they have a question they're likely to ask that question here. Also, new anonymous users, who are clueless about how Wikitravel works, occassionally use this page to ask questions about the project. It would be ill conceived to protect this page. There isn't any reason I can see why we need to protect this page. Using it's tiresome and wastes a user's time as reasons seems to be an attempt to excuse laziness on our part. -- Andrew H. (Sapphire) 17:18, 13 December 2006 (EST)
I've been supported full protection (+ templatization) for a while, so this seems like a good compromise. Jpatokal 23:51, 13 December 2006 (EST)
I also would prefer to leave the page open to edits as I believe blocking it is unlikely to deter potential vandals. Instead, they will most likely just express their pent-up 'vandalistic' tendencies and energy on other pages. Also, I would prefer to uphold the spirit of non-protectionism as much as possible. However, I have no real strong opinion about it, and will go with the flow of consensus. WindHorse 01:02, 14 December 2006 (EST)
No not the main page. Evan wants to protect this Talk page. For reasons I can't quite comprehend, very few people vandalize the main page anymore -- maybe they're used to Wikipedia where they just can't. -- Colin 01:08, 14 December 2006 (EST)
Yeah, I understood that it was the talk page. Maybe I should have written 'open to comments' rather than 'open to edits.' Apologies for the confusion. WindHorse 01:43, 14 December 2006 (EST)
I don't think the talk page is worth protecting - it's inevitable that the spammers will eventually move on to other pages, so I think we need a solution other than page protection. Tweaking the spam filter rules to include patterns that better catch common spam (such as the filters based on CSS patterns) might be a better solution, and others probably have their own ideas. -- Ryan 01:55, 14 December 2006 (EST)
I go with Ryan's solution. WindHorse 02:11, 14 December 2006 (EST)
Yes, I did mean this very page ("Talk:Main Page"), which gets hit with automated spam 2-3 times a day. I probably should have put this discussion on "Talk:Talk:Main Page", but MediaWiki doesn't work that way. B-) "Semi-protection" would prevent anonymous users and new registered users (I think it's less than 48 hours or something) from editing. I'm pretty vigorously opposed to protecting pages, but the edits of T:M_P seem to go around any other patterns. They're from random IP addresses, so they're hard to block, and the content includes URLs only sometimes, making them hard to catch with the blacklist.
I can definitely live with not protecting the page, but I wanted to offer this tool as a possibility. The best Wikitravellers have better things to do than roll back edits by a robot spammer -- for example, rolling back edits by human spammers. B-) --Evan 09:13, 14 December 2006 (EST)

United Nations

Should the United Nations Headquarters in the New York City area have its own article? It is considered to be "international territory", having an extraterritoriality status, in which it borders Manhatten, New York City, New York, USA. Its general public tours tends to be a popular tourist attraction. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by UniReb (talkcontribs) 28 Dec 2006

See Wikitravel:What is an article?. Basically, you can't sleep at the UN, so it's not an article. Extraterritoriality in itself doesn't matter, otherwise we'd be listing every embassy and diplomatic residence in their own articles... Jpatokal 01:39, 28 December 2006 (EST)



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