I added some stuff on Getting There. Have no problem with getting the style edited as I confess I don't yet understand your standards very well.
One instance is external references: I've seen them listed separately at the end and I've seen them in the body of an article, which to me seems to make the most sense as otherwise they may never be used.
Another: is it traditional to put comments or querries like this one at the beginning or at the end?
Appreciate your feedback.
Mr. Goetsch -- I appreciate your hard work on Pittsburgh. Our layout standards are pretty straightforward, but you don't have to worry about them if you don't want to. There are plenty of people who spend time combing the site re-formatting great info from other people. That's why Wikitravel:WikiWiki's so great: we can all work together to make the guides.
That said, the manual of style is a good place to see what some of our formatting guidelines are. Nothing there is set in stone; you can edit any of those pages if you think the guidelines are wrong. (They might get edited back, though!)
Wikitravel:External links should usually be as close to the discussion as possible. So, say, a restaurant's Web site URL should be in its listing, not way down at the end of the article. We usually put external links about the city, country, or region as a whole at the end of the article.
We normally don't put messages into the articles themselves, but instead discuss the article on the associated talk pages. You can go to the talk page for an article by hitting the "Discuss this page" link. For example, the talk page for Pittsburgh is at Talk:Pittsburgh.
Thanks again for your work and help! --Evan 13:13, 26 Apr 2004 (EDT)
Evan. Thanks for your help. I would appreciate your comments on this observation: When I started fooling around with WikiTravel I did so after some small experience with WikiPedia, and I supposed this was pretty much the same, only about travel. Now, as I do more on travel I am beginning to see a significant difference between the two: encyclopedic information is more static while travel information is more dynamic, leading me to want to use more and more external links and keep the text more terse. For example, a dynamic link to Greyhound Bus in a particular city is more valuable to a reader than simply giving the address of the bus station and a telephone number; current bus schedules can be accessed, telephone numbers can change and for that matter bus stations themselves can change. Same for cultural events: obviously it is useful to say where they do occur, but a well chosen external link may also offer the reader a schedule of current events and other matters of interest such as parking. In short, there is much more, and richer, information out there on the web than it would pay for us to duplicate in detail. I am coming to see WikiTravel as an informed source of pointers to useful web information, in a similar way to the manner in which some weblogs are basically pointers to, say, political articles, with a certain amount of commentary added. Of course this overstates my case somewhat, and external links can get broken as well.
It would be useful to me if you would review Pittsburgh/Downtown which I added today and tell me what you think of it.
Please upgrade the scipt at LanguageRo.php. It stays there since december, but you mixed the content with the wikipedia translation. We have currently problems with the translation, some parts are wrote in english, and we don't have some extra-functions we builded there. An example is the diacritical bar, like the special chars: "Ajutor de editare, caractere speciale: ă â î ş ţ Ă Â Î Ş Ţ", that is ready to go on the scipt at LanguageRo.php.
Then again, I think my IP is banned on the french wikitravel, see IP 22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199 . --Danutz
I don't see any IP bans on the French Wikitravel. Are you having problems making changes there?
Are you saying that the LanguageRo.php article here is the one to use? I've been merging in new versions from Wikipedia as the software continues to upgrade. --Evan 16:34, 3 Apr 2004 (EST)
When I go to www.wikitravel.org/fr, I see a blank page.
As for the language file: I'm on it. --Evan 14:29, 4 Apr 2004 (EDT)
French Wikitravel: No, no. It doesn't work that way nieder, I tried even going for example to http://www.wikitravel.org/fr/article/Paris , but id does not work, it shows always the same blank page. Could it be maybe something from my Internet provider, should I talk to them?--Danutz
Hi, I saw that again, the Romanian Wikiktravel mentions GNU FDL as his license. Still, Atribution ShareAlike is used as a license on LanguageRo.php. Why didn't you use LanguageRo for interface?.
Anyway, the text of the license in romanian would be
Ajutor de editare, caractere speciale: ă â î ş ţ Ă Â Î Ş Ţ <br><br> Reţineţi că toate contribuţiile la Wikitravel sunt considerate ca respectând licenţa <strong>Attribution-ShareAlike 1.0</strong> de la Creative Commons.
(vezi $1 pentru detalii).
Evan - thanks for the comments on my Talk page. Sorry if I've been going about things a bit the wrong way in some cases, I'm still getting used to the system here...
In terms of the local naming conventions - with Spain, I have been keeping to the Anglicised versions but retaining any accents, so "Málaga" rather than "Malaga". Will people really misunderstand this? Especially if they navigate down through sub-menus rather than a straight search? And this way might educate people a little on the country they are visiting - nothing marks you out as ignorant more than getting something so simple as the name of the place you are visiting wrong. At the very least it might be necessary to have two pages, one with and one without the accent(s), with a "redirect" in place - I for one would search for "Málaga", and would therefore, with the correct spelling, not find the correct page. What do you think? If you disagree, I'll obviously set about changing it back. sjc196 10:16 6 Apr 2004 (GMT)
I started contributing to Wiki Travel about a week ago and I'm starting to wonder about 'style'. It's starting to seem to me that things I write are taken apart to take any style out of them. I can understand the need for a consistent look to the whole thing, but I don't see why opinions are replaced by lists. Just as an example - Matsushima is said to be one of the three most beautiful sights in Japan - I mean this is official and it's been like that for a long time. The fact is though that there are plenty more places in Japan that I'd rank higher. I wanted to say something along those lines but this was deleted and so we were left with the same thing that you would read anywhere. Similarly with bars and restaurants - I wanted to say that certain places were great, but this was replaced by a list that said nothing really.
I'm not trying to own the article or anything like that - I do understand what you're trying to do here - I'm just wondering if it has to be so... sterile?
Cheers: Let me start by saying that I really appreciate your work on Wikitravel. You've made a lot of great contributions. Much kudos!
I definitely understand where you're coming from, and I understand that it can be frustrating. There are a few reasons that this happens, and there are a few things you can do about it.
First, a collaborative writing medium like wiki tends to make work evolve towards consensus opinion. It's part of the way the medium works; people tend to be reactive about what they read, and work more on corrections than on additions. With lots of hands in the pot, we gradually get articles that nobody objects to.
Second, we have a formal policy of having a neutral point of view. So that tendency of wiki is enshrined in policy, too.
Third, like you mentioned, our manual of style is optimized for having easy-to-read guides in a format that makes it easy to find info. We tend to lean on list formatting to make it easy to see what's available in a city. The list format kind of encodes information in a terse way, which in some sense takes some personality out of the guides. For example, a sentence like this:
Visitors to Capital City feeling pangs of hunger may want to stop in to a really great restaurant called Joe's Cafe.
...will usually get boiled down to something like this:
Joe's Cafe. Really great.
The two formats -- prose sentence and list entry -- really say the same thing: that there's a restaurant named Joe's Cafe. The second lacks any substantial info, but if you think about it, so does the first.
The problem here is that we trade off efficiency and utility for expressiveness, so things look kind of sterile.
You can think of this in two ways: either as an impediment, or as an opportunity. The opportunity is that instead of putting all your time into figuring out ways to say There is a restaurant here, you get to concentrate on writing about concrete, interesting, and unique aspects of restaurants, bars, attractions, cities, and regions. Taking our Joe's Cafe example, you can cut straight to the chase:
Joe's Cafe, 418 D Street (near 4th), 555-1234. 6AM-2AM every day. This 50s-style diner has a bright, clean counter and big, comfortable booths. The waitresses are friendly, the food is excellent but heavy, and the coffee can't be beat. It's popular with a business crowd during the day, and clubbers from nearby 4th Street bars at night, but seats are plentiful and service is quick. The homemade milkshakes are worth the trip alone. $10-15 (dinner). http://joescafe.example.com/
In other words, we abbreviate the stuff that can be abbreviated, like addresses, phone numbers, opening hours, prices, leaving us more room to deal with really concrete stuff that makes a place worth thinking about.
Anyways, that's the way I think about it. I think there's a lot of place for interesting writing on Wikitravel. By doing away with lots of connecting sentences ("Another place you may be interested in when visiting Capital City...") and introductory clauses ("You can call Joe's Cafe on the telephone at 555-1234"), we get clearer, crisper writing, with more personality, not less.
Does that make sense? --Evan 17:21, 7 Apr 2004 (EDT)
Hi - the MediaWiki upgrade went fine on the Romanian Wikitravel - the results can be seen! Yes, you can use the LanguageRo.php file to make changes. Sorry that I haven't been on Wikitravel very frequently recently, but I've had a lot of work. I'll be back very soon, with a fresh load of articles in Romanian ;-) Ronline 10:45, 8 Apr 2004 (EDT)
Looks fine on French too. So far I just worked on the Polish phrasebook and a few other things. -phma 23:04, 8 Apr 2004 (EDT)
Thanks for the reply.
I understand most of what you're saying, but the fact is that there is no such thing as a neutral point of view and what's the point of a guide book with no opinions anyway?
In your 'Joe's Cafe' example show that it's OK to say something's really great (maybe) but surely that's an opinion - not a neutral point of view.
I understand how the third example could be better than the first, but I think reducing it to the second one, ie. 'Joe's Cafe', is pointless.
I like your final example for Joe's Cafe - it's very informative - but at the same time it's not neutral.
I don't want to sound too pedantic here and I'm sorry if it comes across that way. I still think Wikitravel is a great idea and I want to help as much as I can. (Unfortunately, I don't have time to travel myself so I'm a bit limited as to what I can contribute).
Hey Evan - cool write-up on BBC News Online! That'll probably bring in quite a few contributors. I never actually heard anything from Danny O'Brien about the Sunday Times, do you know if they featured the site in the end?
Am just back from Japan - and will get some contributions made to the site once I've settled back into work... The information on Wikitravel about transportation in Tokyo is absolutely first-rate, and covers a lot of things that would otherwise have taken ages to figure out - like the fact that two separate companies operate Tokyo's subway network, for example. - MykReeve 15:36, 12 Apr 2004 (EDT)
Oh man has it ever brought new contributors. Seems like they're all ip addresses. Most of them seem to be adding good stuff (or at least trying to), but there's a higher than normal rate of junk. -- Colin 18:25, 12 Apr 2004 (EDT)
Well, that's just the price of popularity. I liked the write-up on the BBC, although we had no advance notice (and obviously we weren't contacted for the article). I guess we need to put a big PRESS CLICK HERE link somewhere. I don't know if I like having Lonely Planet be the only quoted source in a Wikitravel article.
ANYWAYS, great to have you back, Myk. I hope Japan was fun, and I'm as usual thrilled to hear that the info on Wikitravel was useful. Also, Colin, nice job holding down the fort in the face of a new-user onslaught! I think there's been a lot of great knowledge sharing, but it's hard to integrate people into our community all at once. --Evan 00:54, 13 Apr 2004 (EDT)
When I read "PRESS CLICK HERE" I thought that I should press the click button. Anyways, I parse English badly. -- Edgy 7:40, 13 Apr 2004 (PDT)
Yeah, I saw that. I'm trying to figure out where the heck Newcastle, England is so I can make the right disambiguator. I don't think Newcastle-on-Tyne is the right name; I think "Newcastle" is by far the more common English name for this place. --Evan 14:55, 14 Apr 2004 (EDT)
It's in the middle northeast, sort of across from Ijmuden. I think the english do call it by the longer name, I dunno about the rest of us. -- Mark 15:17, 14 Apr 2004 (EDT)
Usually Newcastle is 'Newcastle' - although there are more Newcastles in Britain - for example, there's Newcastle-under-Lyme in the West Midlands (near Stoke-on-Trent). Having said that, it would probably be helpful for you to call Newcastle 'Newcastle-on-Tyne' and it wouldn't be a problem to us Brits. It would be - as you say - a 'disambiguator'. Cheers
Thanks for the Salvador post-sweep restoration. I know my wholesale revision was made "with extreme prejudice", but I was intending to at least put the generic warnings back in. Placing the QE2 note in "Get in" was brilliant; I'm sure it will be very useful info for many many travelers... :)
I touched on the subject in my Salvador comment, but the initial entry simply looked bad, and I didn't want its presence to encourage others to add more of the same, thinking that sort of content was acceptable. With the recent influx of new contributors, I think we need to mantain a decent signal-noise ratio.
-- Paul Richter 20:49, 14 Apr 2004 (EDT)
Absolutely. It's like they say about how you have to FixBrokenWindows. If you leave articles that don't work right around, pretty soon things get all messed up everywhere.
It's a tough balancing act, though, especially when you're talking about somebody's personal experiences. We want people to get involved, and yet we want them to do it right.
It's been hard over the last few days, but I think everybody's done an excellent job. I'm amazed at the great job, and once again feel really grateful for the people who make this project happen. --Evan 23:50, 14 Apr 2004 (EDT)
I saw your homepage at meatball and the discussion of "we aim for the humourless rejection of identity in its entirety" and "realnames". I am a founding member of the http://www.solaroof.org SolaRoofOpenEcoWiki where we support the development of "Personal Space" in harmony with the collaborative "Open Space" all within the scope of our Wiki Community. I think that diversity on the Wiki (like biodiversity in a healthy ecology) supports the sustainable development of the Community. I have engaged with Sunir Shah in a discussion of this point at CommunityMayNotScale and found that initially he did not understood that our PmWiki WikiGroups are intentionally separate, personal space (but not private) and we are exploring how to create a communication "feed" from members' personal space to bring activity there (includes the member website,Log, enterprise and project activities) to the attention of the general membership - but not distract collaborative work in the Open Space of the Wiki. For this we use our "Profiles" WikiGroup. We are just a couple months old and any help and participation is very welcome. We will connect with wikitravel in the aspect of EcoTourism and residential projects learning about ecoliving called Eco Centers. - Solaroofguy
Well, it sounds like a really interesting project. There's a lot of issues with setting up "personal" spaces in wiki; I'll stop by and take a look! Thanks for the hello, --Evan 13:57, 22 Apr 2004 (EDT)
What's your email address Evan? Can you email me? I'm jito at neoteny.com. Joi
Having some serious trouble with the Pittsburgh stuff. Hoping you can help or direct me to an explanation of the proper method. Someone "fixed" my entry on South Side, a district, by making it Pittsburg/Southside (is this called "disambiguation"?). That's fine, but they mispelled Pittsburgh in the process. In attempting to fix it I got advice from someone to "move" the page (as well as others which had the same problem, and I thought by doing so that I had fixed it. But now some references to South Side in Pittsburgh point to a blank stub and not the proper text, even though the reference text of the links are precisely the same. The fundamental problem I guess is I don't know what I'm doing at some basic level, so I went to Wikipedia Edit Help and read the text on Redirecting, which I confess I found opaque at best. So I still don't know what I'm doing in this regard.
William M Goetsch 08:47, 29 Apr 2004 (EDT)