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Wikitravel:FAQ

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Here are some Fearfully Anticipated Questions that Wikitravellers have heard, or think they may hear, or wonder about themselves.

If you don't see your question answered here, ask it at the travellers' pub, and someone will answer it as soon as possible (probably).

General questions

What is Wikitravel?

Wikitravel is a project to create a free, complete, up-to-date and reliable world-wide travel guide. It is built in collaboration by Wikitravellers from around the globe. You can read more about Wikitravel on the About page.

(Phew! That was an easy one.)

Who are you people?

We're Wikitravellers. People from all over the world who are dedicated to making Wikitravel the best darn travel guide around. Most of us are people who stumbled across the site, just like you, and decided to share our knowledge.

Who edits and organizes all this, though?

We do. Wikitravellers. We create articles and then edit them, and we organize the articles into hierarchies and make links between them and have navigational pages, and things like that.

So, anyone can just drift in off the Internet and start writing travel articles?

That's the idea, yes. We use a technique called WikiWiki that lets any reader edit any page, instantly.

Well, that's never going to work.

Bzzzt. Not a question.

How is that supposed to ever work?

Doesn't seem like it ever could, does it? With anyone able to edit any page, things should just descend into terrible chaos, shouldn't they? Madness, mayhem, and a horrible bog of unusable drivel.

Strangely enough, it doesn't. People who care about having well-written travel articles on this site are the majority. People who just want to vandalize or delete things eventually get bored with it -- and, you have to admit, it's not that much of a challenge -- and the rest of us come in and clean up.

The other great part is that wikis converge. One Wikitraveller adds as much as they know about a topic, and others start adding more information. Other people come through and condense it all so it reads well. As the topic changes -- new hotels open in a city, new bus routes start between regions -- more Wikitravellers can add that in.

It's strange, and it doesn't make a lot of sense, but it just happens. It's really cool.

I still don't believe it.

Bzzt.

Do you have any proof that this works?

Well, we have the existence proof of other projects that create references collaboratively. Probably the most famous one is Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Most of our policies and guidelines are borrowed from that project.

OK, so, there's all this hippy-dippy love stuff about working together, but who's really in charge?

You are. Any Wikitraveller can change articles, rewrite navigation areas, even overwrite information about the site itself. We try to make decisions about policy and guidelines collaboratively, but if you have a good idea for how we should work, plunge forward and let us know.

That all said, there are certain Wikitravellers who've been working on the site for a while, and they can become Administrators. Administrators generally get some higher access -- like really deleting pages instead of blanking them -- but not much. It's more of a burden than a privilege.

In really extreme situations, the founders Evan and Maj will set down some rules and precepts. But mostly we just decide for ourselves, and it kind of works out.


What is this nifty software you're running?

We use MediaWiki, the software developed by Wikipedia, with some totally tiny changes for Wikitravel. You can get it from http://wikipedia.sourceforge.net/ .

How do I spell "Wikitravel"?

Capital W, eye, kay, eye, tee, arr, ay, vee, ee, ell. The "t" in the middle is not capitalized -- try to avoid the temptation.

How do I pronounce "Wikitravel"?

People vary on the "Wiki" part. It's either "WEE-kee-TRAH-vuhl" or "WIH-kee-TRAH-vuhl."

Where's the contact information?

There isn't any. If you have a question about an article in particular, post it on the talk page for that article. If you have a question about Wikitravel in general, try posting in the travellers' pub.

If you are from the press, contact either Maj or Evan using their user talk pages or the "e-mail this user" link on their user pages.

Questions about content

This article is all wrong! You have to fix it!

This is Wiki -- you can fix it yourself! Click the edit this page link, and change the parts that bug you. That's the whole idea.

I am trying to find Topic X, and there's no article about it!

We're still a new project, and there are huge parts of the globe we haven't even thought about writing about yet. Feel free to plunge forward and start the outline of an article. Maybe other Wikitravellers will add to it.

You can also add a request for an article on that topic.

I am trying to find Topic X, and all that's on the page is one sentence!

Like we said, we're still a new project, and there are huge parts of the globe we've only begun to work on. Some topics only have stubs covering them. If you don't think there's enough information on a topic, feel free to plunge forward and add more.

I am trying to find Topic X, and all that's there is "asdfkjadflkjfd EAT MY BUTT"!

This is typical vandalism. Feel free to plunge forward and delete the vandal's garbage and replace it with a full article, or at least a stub.

I have an idea for an article, but I don't know exactly how to get started.

Check out how to start a new page.

I have some information I want to share, but I don't know what to do with it.

We have some article templates that tell how we like articles laid out. If you have info you want to share, we have a page that tells you where you can stick it.

Questions about editing

This all looks like gobbledygook! How do I edit these pages?

Pages on Wikitravel are formatted using Wiki markup. It looks funny at first, but after a while it seems like second nature. You should read about how to edit a page.

How do I upload an image to use in an article?

You should follow the instructions on how to upload files.

How do I put an image I uploaded into an article?

You should follow the instructions on Wikitravel:how to add an image.

Hey! I wrote this long nice article on Topic X, and it got changed! What gives?

Any Wikitraveller can edit any page. When you submit an article, it's subject to ruthless editing for style, subject matter, spelling, factual information, and just generally fitting into the Wikitravel scheme of things. If you don't like that, you shouldn't work on Wikitravel.

Hey! I changed my nice long article on Topic X back to the way it was before, and it got changed again! What gives?

You're in an edit war. You need to go to the talk page for the topic you're writing about and work out your differences with the other article editors.

How do I delete a whole page?

You can't delete a page directly. The procedure is somewhat more complicated: Go to Wikitravel:Votes for deletion and add a link to the page together with a reason for deletion. After one week, an Admin will delete the page.

Language Questions

Ash blash g'nash foosh manoosh?

Huh?

Sorry, I don't speak English very well. Can I put articles in my own language in Wikitravel?

Yes, if there is a separate Wikitravel version for your language. See Wikitravel:Language versions of Wikitravel for the current list.

If Wikitravel in your language does not exist yet, you can start your own language version! To find out more, see our language version policy.

But my English sounds terrible. I'm embarrassed.

Don't worry too much about the level of your English. Your spelling errors will be corrected by other people. We really want you to share your knowledge!

Should I use American English spelling, or Commonwealth English spelling?

We prefer American English spelling, please. See Wikitravel:Spelling for details.

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