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:::::::::Very cool idea (and good to see you back, Army of me)! I'm a little surprised to see that Europe has the poorest developed 7±2 lists. I agree that this would be a worthwhile expedition.  --[[User:Peterfitzgerald|Peter]] <small><sup>[[User_talk:Peterfitzgerald|Talk]]</sup></small> 11:11, 14 November 2011 (EST)
 
:::::::::Very cool idea (and good to see you back, Army of me)! I'm a little surprised to see that Europe has the poorest developed 7±2 lists. I agree that this would be a worthwhile expedition.  --[[User:Peterfitzgerald|Peter]] <small><sup>[[User_talk:Peterfitzgerald|Talk]]</sup></small> 11:11, 14 November 2011 (EST)
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::::::::::Thanks, good to be back! I was surprised too, but I bet a lot of it can be chalked up to us writing about what we know (or users creating entries, but not in English, as suggested previously). Speaking of which, I'll probably be sprucing up the article for my hometown, [[Houston]], soon... [[User:Army of me|Army of me]] 22:53, 27 November 2011 (EST)
  
 
: The basic idea is very good. Details, we can probably work out.
 
: The basic idea is very good. Details, we can probably work out.
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::Hehe, I meant it in comparison to the top 9 cities of Asia. We have a heavy focus on "world cities", such as Beijing, but travellers go to "smaller" places which I think should not be overlooked :) --[[User:Globe-trotter|Globe-trotter]] 12:51, 15 November 2011 (EST)
 
::Hehe, I meant it in comparison to the top 9 cities of Asia. We have a heavy focus on "world cities", such as Beijing, but travellers go to "smaller" places which I think should not be overlooked :) --[[User:Globe-trotter|Globe-trotter]] 12:51, 15 November 2011 (EST)
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: Not sure how helpful this is, but I found the top 50 most-visited tourist destinations for 2007 (as reported by Forbes Traveler magazine, which I don't think exists anymore). Apparently the census data was supplied by the attractions themselves, or other media reports. It doesn't have regions and there could be other biases I'm not aware of. Anyways, [[User:Army_of_me/Most_Visited_Tourist_Attractions|here]] it is! We may need to just brainstorm and come up with an agreement on what we feel are the most "important" world destinations that need to be covered. [[User:Army of me|Army of me]] 22:53, 27 November 2011 (EST)
  
 
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==Exchange Rate Bot==

Revision as of 03:57, 28 November 2011


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Contents

Adding a listing for churches/religious services/places of worship

I have recently added a listing for the church I attend into the Golden Horseshoe page because my church is a multi-site church and I thought that any visitors to this area might be looking for a church to attend. Also, I thought it might have been helpful to put individual listings on the page for each city where there is a site for the church so visitors could easily find it if they happen to be in that area. Unfortunately, all my additions and listings got summarily deleted and each individual page got reverted back to its state prior to my last edit by one of the administrators, stating that I was proselytizing. It was by no means my intentions to force people to come to my church or tell them that my church is right and everybody else is wrong. The pages affected were: Brampton, Burlington (Ontario), Halifax (Nova Scotia), Hamilton (Ontario), Kingston (Ontario), Kitchener, London (Ontario), Oakville (Ontario), Ottawa, Parry Sound, Toronto, and Waterloo (Ontario). Now, I would like to know, how can I (if I can) add a listing for a church/place of worship/religious service without appearing to be "proselytiz-y"? I noticed that there is still a listing for religious services under "Cope" for Windsor (Ontario). Can it stay or should it be deleted as well? If it can stay, can I use that as a template? Thanks for your help. ElectroSpace 01:59, 17 April 2011 (EDT)

As I was one of the two people who removed many of these listings, User talk:ElectroSpace#Meeting House Listings has some of the reasoning. Wikitravel isn't currently anti-religion, and as Wikitravel:Where you can stick it#C states, places of worship that aren't otherwise tourist destinations can be listed under the "Cope" section of an article, but I have concerns about listings for religious "services" being copied to more than a dozen articles. For example [1] says to "call ahead" and that "locations vary" - to me, listing a building with an address and regular services is something helpful for travelers, but listings for "services" that vary in schedule and location crosses a line and starts us down a slippery slope. If others disagree then these listings can be easily restored, but I think some discussion definitely needs to take place first. -- Ryan • (talk) • 02:40, 17 April 2011 (EDT)
ElectroSpace, consider what this site would look like if we listed every church in every city in the world. We can't, and in fact one of our explicit non-goals is to be a directory listing of all the [restaurants/hotels/churches] in a given location. Now, people who travel often do need to know where they can find an appropriate house of worship, but for reasons of pure practicality, we have to limit such listings to a reasonable number. We may not have hit that target everywhere, but that's our goal. LtPowers 15:26, 17 April 2011 (EDT)
My specific reasons for eliminating your listings were 1) multiple listings, 2) description of the beliefs of the church, i.e. claims about the "real Jesus", and 3) extraneous details like the name of the pastor and the mention of where else the church can be found. Beyond that, I have a general sense that most Christians on vacation forego religious services, and those that don't are dedicated enough not to be shopping for a new denomination to try out. I feel that your listing was trying to appeal to people to come try out your church, and I think that is something that is outside our scope at Wikitravel.
Incidentally, aside from User:Jonboy's question on the WYCSI talk page back in 2006 and User:Jpatokal's subsequent addition of it into the WYCSI list, I can't find any actual discussion of the appropriateness of listing non-tourist churches at all, and I think it is something that should be revisited, because this is something that is an inherently un-policeable slippery slope:
  • Unlike other types of listings, people general tend to stick to their own chosen denomination, so any listing we have basically serves only the fraction of the population that already belongs to that denomination. Wikitravel has no business trying to offer descriptions of beliefs or exhortations about how welcoming the service/congregation/pastor is, because people are unlikely to change to a new type of church anyway, and we are not in the business of encouraging them do so.
  • We can't possibly hope to cater to even a majority of faiths without allowing a virtual phone directory of possibilities. Even within Christianity there are so many denominations: Catholic, Orthodox, Southern Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal, Lutheran, Unitarian, Anglican, Adventist, Church of God in Christ, Church of Christ, Mormon, Jehovah's Witness, Presbyterian, many subdivisions within these, many other less populous denominations and so-called non-denominational churches, not to mention all the many denominations of Islam, Hindu, Buddhism, and other major world religions. While it hasn't become a problem in the vast majority of articles, if we allow non-tourist churches to be listed then we must, to be fair, allow all types of worship service to be added-- how can we prune a long list of churches without someone saying "Why did you cut my church? It's not fair."
  • There are quite often multiple churches for the same denomination within a city, even quite small ones. There is no way for Wikitravel to recommend one over another-- obviously the people who go to each church are partial to their church for whatever reasons, and there is no good way for us to choose which one(s) to list, nor to police edits and additions in this regard.
  • For those who speak English well enough to utilize our guides in the first place, it is easy enough in the English-speaking world to pick up a phone book and choose one from the giant list in the phone book. For those in a non-English speaking country, if their mastery of that language is good enough to appreciate a church service in that language, they are also good enough at it to use a phone book there.
  • This point is rather an aside, and it would be quite difficult to come up with statistics to show it, but my gut feeling is that the majority of travellers are prepared to forego religious services during their trip anyway.
With these reasons, I would propose that non-tourist churches be disallowed, period. The only exceptions I might consider allowing are churches in non-English-speaking countries that have services in English, since that is something that would be hard for a non-speaker of the local language to track down, and since it would be fairly obvious what should or shouldn't be included and the list would likely be always short and manageable. I'd like to hear more opinions on this, and probably the discussion should be moved elsewhere, though I'm not sure where offhand. texugo 02:15, 18 April 2011 (EDT)
You make some good points. It does seem like listing specific churches may be a bad slippery slope (though many of the same points apply to removing listings for embassies and consulates, and I lost that argument). Certainly an overview (in the Cope section) of the types of religious services available in a destination would be appropriate, but I wouldn't mind a prohibition on individual listings. LtPowers 09:12, 18 April 2011 (EDT)
Support. Churches, temples etc. that fit into "see" do of course have their place here, but this isn't the Yellow Pages. And who should then decide which places should be included and which not? It will mean trouble and a lot of angry people complaining about their place of worship being removed. Ypsilon 10:12, 18 April 2011 (EDT)
I'd be a bit uncomfortable with a blanket ban on listing churches in the "Cope" section since many people do attend a church while on vacation, and many that I know will attend a different denomination's services if their preferred denomination isn't represented. That said, I agree that very long lists are to be avoided, so would something similar to the rule on rental car companies work, ie if there are ten or more churches in a locality that they should not be individually listed? Similarly, I'd also suggest we avoid listings for "services" where the group in question doesn't have their own, single-purpose building to avoid a plethora of non-traditional listings that most travelers would not be looking for. -- Ryan • (talk) • 11:02, 18 April 2011 (EDT)
Ryan, in the US at least, even tiny towns of only 10000 people usually have ten or more churches. texugo 11:18, 18 April 2011 (EDT)
In my hometown of Pampa, Texas, for example, population of only between 15 and 16 thousand people, I stopped counting at 50 churches when I did a Google search. How can we ever fairly choose a helpful handful of those to recommend on our guide? texugo 11:27, 18 April 2011 (EDT)
I don't dispute that in most cases this policy would result in the article not listing individual churches, but for out-of-the-way places, some district articles, and smaller cities it would provide a way for places of worship to be included. Additionally, just as with car rental agencies I'd suggest that we wouldn't need to do any trimming until the list begins getting excessive, so if an article only has 5-10 out of several dozen places of worship listed there would be no need for any trimming to be done. -- Ryan • (talk) • 11:54, 18 April 2011 (EDT)
Ten seems like a lot, I'd be tempted to go with five as a limit if we don't exclude it entirely. LtPowers 20:06, 18 April 2011 (EDT)
And Ryan, how would you answer to my point that there can be absolutely no fair criteria for trimming once it does get more than whatever limit we set? I'm afraid we are setting a trap for ourselves later. What's wrong with leaving them a phone book to find their church out of Los Angeles' literally thousands of places of worship? Who's going to choose which of their 566 Baptist churches to recommend? And on what criteria? texugo 21:49, 18 April 2011 (EDT)
I'm not proposing that we trim - I'm proposing that if there are more than 5-10 listings we remove all individual listings for the article. That's what we currently do with car rental agency listings (see the final bullet point under Wikitravel:External links#What not to link to). -- Ryan • (talk) • 21:54, 18 April 2011 (EDT)
With car rental agencies, most places don't have many and customers generally don't have this kind of loyalty to one company over another. We decided to not list them if there are a lot there because it should be easy enough for travellers to find one, hence the "don't link to them in places where they are common" policy you linked to. With churches, they have a much higher degree of loyalty, and the vast majority of destinations have far, far more than 5 or 10, and hence already surpass the "easy to find" and "common" thresholds. Are you just suggesting it be first-come-first-served for people to highlight their preferred church until it reaches a magic number and then we blank it? I don't think that is a very fair or comprehensive approach.texugo 22:20, 18 April 2011 (EDT)
I think this may be an agree-to-disagree scenario, both with respect to church listings and why the rental car policy was put in place. My opinion remains that there isn't harm in allowing a handful of churches/synagogues/mosques to be listed in articles so long as the list doesn't grow too long, but it looks like I'm in the minority on this one. I do, however, think we should avoid religious "services" that aren't in a fixed location on a fixed schedule since that starts us down a slippery slope towards some potentially questionable areas. -- Ryan • (talk) • 11:05, 19 April 2011 (EDT)
We dont list supermarkets, we dont list dentists, we dont list places of worship. We list tourist attractions, places and services that are useful to the traveller in general. The usefulness of listing places of worship is limited to those travellers who subscribe to the particular religion, if that. If a place of worship is a tourist attraction then it gets listed as such, and many are among the architectural and artistic treasures of the world. Most are not. Most are as aesthetically inspiring as your average strip mall. I am very much against starting a bandwagon of religions touting on Wikitravel. That way lies disaster. If you think we have problems with car hire and apartment touting, we will look back on them with fondness as the good old days. A couple of religious fanatics starting a spam/flame war could trash the whole project. Next thing we have a fatwa, (and beware the Pastafarians http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_Spaghetti_Monster). Religious neutrality is the only way to avoid this problem. This means no listings, all listings or only listings that are totally non-contoversial. That would mean listings that are completely acceptable to persons of all religious convictions. Listings on Wikitravel are traditionally limited to a maximum of 9 per destination. In other words, as soon as anyone protests a place of worship or deletes its listing, or adds a 10th listing, it is gone forever. Extrapolating from historical precedent in religious agreement so far, this level of agreement between religions will never happen. Far easier to go with no listings at all. If people feel strongly that they or co-religionists need to know where their places of worship can be found, a travel topic could be the way to go. That way only people who have some interest in that particular religion are exposed to the list of addresses. There could be topics on pilgrimages, that would fit in with Itineraries, and could even be moderately interesting. There are some classic pilgrimages.• • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 02:35, 21 April 2011 (EDT)
I don't disagree with your point of view on listing places of worship, but I have indeed seen listings for supermarkets, such as in district articles within cities, and such listings can be very useful for travelers. I believe I've seen listings for dental clinics under "Cope," too, and consider such listings very useful, if they're limited to clinics that take people 24 hours or/and in emergencies, for example, or in places where there is only one or a few dental clinics in the area. Ikan Kekek 03:04, 21 April 2011 (EDT)
OK you got me there. "Never mind what I say, listen to what I mean". Clearly I didn't do my homework on this one. Anyway, I think the supermarkets and dental clinics can be, as you suggest, useful to the average traveller, they were just the first examples that came into my mind of things we dont really want exhaustive lists of for every destination, and they are less likely to cause trouble too, or at least the dentists are not likely to start touting on Wikitravel. Not so sure about supermarket chains though... • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 05:00, 21 April 2011 (EDT)
I think we should be flexible enough to take some things on a case by case basis. I actually have seen a few instances of touting by dentists, but I don't think that's a good reason to forbid listing dental clinics in any situation, and I just specified a couple of reasonable exceptions to such a blanket ban. Similarly, while we definitely don't want lists of supermarkets hundreds of items long, a few mentions of good ones in particular neighborhoods can be useful in certain cases. So, to brainstorm, I think the way this relates to listing religious institutions is that famous ones, visited by a really large number of tourists or/and pilgrims, should be listed. And sometimes, the interest is not mainly architectural but cultural. For example, the Abyssinian Baptist Church is a venerable Harlem institution, in terms of history, advocacy for civil rights and the rights of the community, and Gospel services. It amply meets any test for inclusion in the Harlem and Upper Manhattan guide, though its architectural interest is moderate at most. Ikan Kekek 10:17, 21 April 2011 (EDT)
Touting by dentists comes as a bit of a surprise to me, I suppose it is because in my part of the world the medical council frowns on that sort of thing. No matter, In a large enough universe many weird things will happen. The Abyssinian baptist church you refer to surely qualifies to be listed under "See", for the reasons you give. I am not against anything thet is a bona fide place or object of interest for travellers, or is of general utility to a significant proportion of travellers, but keeping religion out of destination articles is a general principle I think we should stick with as it is not so much a slippery slope as a bottomless precipice. • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 03:27, 22 April 2011 (EDT)
We are essentially in agreement. If anything, my emphasis is slightly different, in that I'm arguing more for retaining a reasonable level of flexibility, while you're rightly pointing to the "bottomless precipice" that could suck us up. So where I come down is that a great deal of caution is needed, but that we still need to look at entries on places of worship on a case-to-case basis and resist the desire to promulgate a rule that's too rigid, but at the same time, any guideline on such listings should state that they need to be justified by cultural interest to travelers or/and historically well-established interest to pilgrims, or in cases where English-language services are unusual in a given non-English-speaking locality. Does that sound reasonable to you? Ikan Kekek 14:42, 22 April 2011 (EDT)
This is Wikitravel, no rules are totally rigid. You just have to adequately justify breaking with consensus. I have no problem with listings that are of cultural interest, and pilgrimage sites would normally fall ito that category (but have no problem with them anyway, some travelling is required to make it a pilgrimage). Places where English language services are offered in non-English-speaking locality are arguable, but lets expand locality to region. • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 08:45, 26 April 2011 (EDT)
Region or city is where I would come down. Ikan Kekek 15:51, 26 April 2011 (EDT)

(Coming in late, and sorry not to respond to all topics touched on above.) Travelers do often need info on availability of religious services, but listing all churches, synagogues, mosques, and what have you would just bog down our site. My experience is that travelers have one of three questions on this topic:

  1. Where is the closest X of my denomination?
  2. Where is the most famous X of my denomination?
  3. Where the heck can I find anyone to worship with from my denomination?

The first, I think, we should define as out-of-scope—much as we do with barbershops, for instance—simply because we cannot reasonably do so without overwhelming our other content. The second and third questions, however, are within our capabilities. The one example that comes immediately to mind is Chicago#Religious services. That section succinctly takes care of the two travel needs that I think we can reasonably cover, and cover reasonably succinctly! This type of section would by no means be desirable for every article, but it fit well in that huge city guide. --Peter Talk 19:53, 2 June 2011 (EDT)

I ran into this. Any comments? Ypsilon 02:26, 3 June 2011 (EDT)
Considering the size of the place that's not bad: something for everyone, yet short and succinct with just the key info. The only thing missing might be a contact no. The only quirk is the title "Cope", which is bizarre; even "Refresh" might be better! A priority here, of course, should be English language services in non-English speaking countries; there won't be many, but they're an oasis for English-speaking holidaymakers. This article shows that a sensible balance can be struck for larger articles. In smaller articles if the one or two churches are a point of interest mentioned elsewhere, we could just add times of services and contact no, rather than repeat info in a separate paragraph. --SaxonWarrior 07:47, 23 June 2011 (EDT)
Churches, barbershops, rental bikes, it is the same issue. Wikitravel is a guide to assist travellers, not a yellowpages. When the something is so common in a city, whether it be laundrette, rental bikes, churches, or convenience stores, then we step back, because the traveller doesn't need a guide anymore. If a town of 10,000 has 50 churches, then we need to carefully consider whether we need to list any. --inas 06:00, 8 November 2011 (EST)

Site times out

The last week or so, I've been getting very frequent time outs when loading pages, regardless of whether I'm editing or just viewing. After a minute or so it will pass, but I have to reload the page several times before it will finally load. I'm reasonably certain it's not a problem with my connection, because WT is the only site I've been having problems with. --BigPeteB 07:24, 16 May 2011 (EDT)

I've had the same experience for the past few months. Some days its quick and others close to unusable. Reloading the page (usually only once) is the only fix. I cant pin it to particular times of the day. It seems to happen randomly but not infrequently. I put it down to server problems and a lack of concern to address them by the powers that be. - Cardboardbird 08:20, 16 May 2011 (EDT)
It's a frequent problem. The server reliability of this otherwise great site is completely shocking.--Burmesedays 11:47, 16 May 2011 (EDT)
See also Talk:Main Page#this website is. Perhaps if a few other people sent descriptions of the problem to the "tech at wikitravel.org" email address it might get some attention, although responses from IB seem to be very hit or miss. -- Ryan • (talk) • 12:04, 16 May 2011 (EDT)
Are things particularly bad today? I'd guess that three out of every four page requests is timing out. I'm on the latest version of Chrome, in case that turns out to be relevant. -- Ryan • (talk) • 18:58, 18 May 2011 (EDT)
This problem has been driving me crazy for months. Also uploading an edit sometimes takes several attempts and a long time to resolve the page reload. I have assumed it is both a server issues and some sort of conflict with scripts. -- felix 10:35, 19 May 2011 (EDT)
I have been having similar problems (IE8), and have assumed it is just IB attitude problems. Most days uploads are slow, and I expect multiple failures. I have noticed that edits are much worse than just viewing articles, which usually goes quite fast and very seldom fails, so my guess is that IB are under-resourced and are biasing service towards viewers because that is the where the short term profit lies. • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 02:55, 22 May 2011 (EDT)
Who is our main contact at Internet Brands these days? They have always been rubbish at responding to anything posted here, but an email often used to get a reaction. I am just out of touch as to who the main contact person is. I think it would be useful to put that person's name and email address here and as many users as possible should make the point about the unacceptably slow server response times. It has got so bad that I often give up. If I am doing that, then more casual visitors must be. --Burmesedays 00:19, 27 May 2011 (EDT)
shared:Internet Brands has contact info. I've had intermittent luck in the past with the "tech at wikitravel.org" address (most recently in October 2010), but I don't know if any of the other contact emails on that page are still active. -- Ryan • (talk) • 00:27, 27 May 2011 (EDT)
Is IBSteph (Stephanie Gerber) still a valid contact do we know? The last contact I had with her was in May 2010 when her title was "Online Community Manager- Travel & Leisure".--Burmesedays 00:38, 27 May 2011 (EDT)
Nope -- Steph is no longer here at IB. Hi all, this is Paul O'Brien, the Community Manager for WikiTravel. I post under IBobi. The contact info for IB is up to date at shared:Internet Brands so please refer there with any questions/comments/concerns like this, as it's pretty tough to monitor the whole site for issue reports. If you'd like to use that page for reporting tech issues, or create a different central repository for them, I'm game too. Most important is that you are able to reach me when you need me. To that end: paul.obrien@internetbrands.com and I'm on PST (Los Angeles) so keep that in mind as far as reply timing goes. I've made our tech department aware of the posting slowness/timeouts (I have not made many posts/edits but have read a LOT of content here, so I had not noticed a particular lag).--IBobi 20:21, 27 May 2011 (EDT)
Hey guys, Dick the tech guy here... It looks like the timing of the reports are about the time of some network issues that we've been having intermittently. I'm running the site through our normal checks, and I'm not seeing too much latency, although this is my first attempt at editing. We'll take a look but hopefully this is a symptom of our network disruptions that should be behind us. IB-Dick 13:41, 31 May 2011 (EDT)
I can definitely confirm that today as of 11:40 Pacific the problems are still occurring. An easy way to see this issue is to go to Special:RecentChanges and open a few of the "diff" links in multiple browser tabs (this is the way people most commonly patrol edits). Similarly, editing pages, viewing topic history, marking edits as patrolled, etc are all generating 404 timeouts about 50% of the time on average - at some points all edits fail for several minutes, at other times most are successful, but the average I'm seeing is that about half of all such actions fail. -- Ryan • (talk) • 14:44, 31 May 2011 (EDT)
The behavior your describe above is right inline with what I'm seeing on the database. Those pages are locking tables and are queries that we can't cache. We're working on the appropriate solution, but fair warning-- we might need to schedule some downtime to fix this. Paul (IBobi) will be able to communicate that to you. IB-Dick 20:15, 31 May 2011 (EDT)
Wikitravel has been really slow today, to the point it was pretty much unworkable to make edits. Oddly enough, it worked a little bit better in Firefox than in Google Chrome. I hope you can fix these issues in the near future. --globe-trotter 15:37, 31 May 2011 (EDT)

Thank you to both Paul and Dick for responding. The functions that seem to cause extreme slowness of server response are very important for the site. My call would be that you should take the downtime needed to implement a proper fix. Obviously you should give us some notice about this - date, time, approx downtime etc - so that we can post a notice about the same. --Burmesedays 07:40, 1 June 2011 (EDT)

If you're having a downtime anyway, maybe this would be the moment to update the Wiki software to the newest version? I think by now we're running Wiki software that's quite some years-old. --globe-trotter 14:33, 1 June 2011 (EDT)
Globe-trotter, my understanding is that that is in fact built into this database downtime -- laying the groundwork for a software upgrade. Dick and I will certainly give everyone as advanced and detailed a heads-up as we can before any scheduled downtime occurs. IBobi 21:19, 1 June 2011 (EDT)
That is great news :) --globe-trotter 16:23, 2 June 2011 (EDT)
Please see the discussion (continued from the 2010 archive) at WT shared Talk:Advertising_policy regarding implementing the travel booking engine that was discussed last year/early this year. We'd love to get some feedback, as the development resources we are bringing online to update the site are the same ones who are developing this new booking functionality. Beta will go live in a matter of weeks.--IBobi 19:53, 14 June 2011 (EDT)

Trying to fix some breadcrumb trails following a little region reshuffle has reminded me just how incredibly awful this problem is. It's why I've all but given up on patrolling edits, along with several other once useful endeavors... --Peter Talk 01:33, 13 August 2011 (EDT)

Just tried to sweep the pub, but just one broom stroke took 3 minutes. Don't think I will persist. --inas 17:17, 8 November 2011 (EST)
It was very slow this morning. Back to normal now.--IBobi 17:26, 8 November 2011 (EST)
I hope this isn't the "new normal". Just swept one section, clicked save, started stopwatch - 44 seconds later the change was saved. You can tolerate that stuff when you are saving text, because you can just move to another tab. However, it makes tasks like this too time consuming to be practical. --inas 17:52, 8 November 2011 (EST)
I just checked, and there have been ten (10) writes to the database in the past hour. The reads come from cache, right? What sort of system can take a minute to write each of 10 writes to a database? I could write them by hand to a papyrus scroll in less time. --inas 17:55, 8 November 2011 (EST)

WYSIWIG

As long as there's some chance to upgrade to latest MediaWiki, maybe it's also possible to set up a WYSIWIG plugin? WYSIWIG is used for long at Wikia wiki hosting, and works perfectly (I had some experience with http://paygsimwithdata.wikia.com/). Looks like they are running this extension [2], although I'm not absolutely sure.

Benefits are obvious: much lower barrier for one-time contributors, therefore a higher conversion to regular contributors, therefore more useful content, therefore more pageviews and ads served--so there's even a benefit for IB :-) --DenisYurkin 15:12, 1 June 2011 (EDT)

Downsides include horrible code created by WYSIWYG editors (especially FCKeditor) making editing harder for those who don't use it, and sometimes even showing up as garbage in an article, as well as increased server load. 219.90.179.249 06:38, 21 June 2011 (EDT)
Can you demonstrate this by an example text and a simple editing scenario which a inexperenced user can reasonably have, which results in horrible code/makes editing much harder? --DenisYurkin 01:31, 22 June 2011 (EDT)




new monetization initiative by IB proposed

Internet Brands has recently proposed a new initiative to monetize Wikitravel: shared:Talk:Advertising policy#New Monetization Effort II (earlier it was mentioned shortly in #Site times out).

This is more or less how it gonna look: http://wikitravel.org/images/top-hovers.jpg.

Please share your support or criticism on shared: at the above link. --DenisYurkin 17:51, 28 June 2011 (EDT)

Too harsh?

I was a bit surprised to see this response to my queries. Was I too hard on a new contributor? (See also my comment on a different page, here. I don't want to drive new users away. LtPowers 13:58, 15 July 2011 (EDT)

Patrolling edits and trying to work with users who ignore edit summaries, Template:Style tags, and user talk page messages is something that tries everyone's patience, so while your comments did seem a bit harsh to me (example: "All right, VLC, it's time to stop editing and start responding"), they're also very understandable. I think the larger issues to be dealt with here are 1) how can we make it easier for users to contribute constructively and 2) how can we increase the pool of patrollers and editors in order to make it less tedious/frustrating for the small group of people who currently do that job. Sadly, while I think a lot of people probably have some good ideas on both of these issues, to get anything significant done will likely take someone who knows the site and community well and is willing to spearhead an effort to make possibly major and contentious changes, and I'm not sure if anyone currently has the stomach and willpower to push such an effort. -- Ryan • (talk) • 14:48, 15 July 2011 (EDT)
Now I'm curious—what are you thinking of, Ryan? --Peter Talk 23:00, 15 July 2011 (EDT)
Off the top of my head, here are a few items that would be great to open up to greater scrutiny, but it's tough to imagine any of them getting very far without someone devoting a huge amount of thought and patience to seeing through:
  1. I think a majority of our documentation / policy pages are in need of refactoring and consolidation. Many long-time users have difficulty finding basic guidelines, the naming is often counter-intuitive, we combine "howto" pages with policy pages (example: Wikitravel:External links has both guidance on formatting and policies about what is appropriate). My girlfriend has commented on several occasions that she is "scared" to contribute here, which (to me) means the messaging and guidance provided is insufficient. The efforts at categorizing existing documentation was a minimal start in the right direction, but much, much more is needed and it will take a huge effort from knowledgeable contributors to get anything done.
  2. Beyond the occasional talk page welcome message and rare barnstars we aren't doing much to build community. As a result, it seems like many contributors show up for a day and then lose interest due to a lack of a sense that their contributions are valuable.
  3. IB is an impediment - as an example, upgrading Mediawiki would give us improved talk page notifications, and fixing cache issues and listing editor problems would be a huge help for new users. Even enabling simple things like CAPTCHA on shared: would be huge, but the process of getting them to do so is more painful than minor surgery.
  4. Integration with shared: and other language versions is clunky at best, and it seems that most regulars contributors review shared: intermittently, if at all. I don't know what the solution to this issue would be, but it's a shame that the language versions really don't work together more.
  5. The current "consensus-building" process is daunting for anyone new as well as many longtime users and generally leads to frustration due to the massive status-quo bias - back in the day at least Evan could sort of play the benevolent dictator role, but since his departure it's often very difficult for someone to declare "OK, we've discussed this enough, and there seems to be enough agreement on X to do Y". As a result, we've got dozens if not hundreds of suggestions that lead absolutely nowhere, despite days or weeks of discussion. Even VFDs tend to drag on for months, which goes to show that something is out-of-whack.
  6. The organizational structure/region templates could use some revisiting. We do a decent job at the country and city level, but with a few rare exceptions we do a very poor job on mid-level regions and on guiding users down the hierarchy in a useful way.
The list goes on, and I'm sure others have many more areas of concern, but it would be a significant amount of work to address any one of these points, particularly without support on the software side from IB. Getting back to the original point, I think LtPowers was justified in getting frustrated, but the current structure and setup of the site doesn't lend itself well to new users like Visitloraincounty who have good local knowledge but poor knowledge of Wikitravel. -- Ryan • (talk) • 00:54, 16 July 2011 (EDT)

businesses self-adding listings

(unindent) Very much agree with Ryan on #5, take "should we allow businesses to self-add listings" as one of the examples that we can't agree even on fundamental principles of this project. --DenisYurkin 05:12, 7 August 2011 (EDT)

Should we discuss this here? Because businesses self-add listings, I would never trust hotel listings. I would also be a bit skeptical of restaurant listings in Wikitravel for two reasons - touting and differences in taste (witness the chains people list in some American towns where there are other, good eateries). I would at least cross-check the listed establishments at websites that have non-self-interested posters with track records or/and rating systems (e.g., for food, websites like Chowhound for certain areas and perhaps Tripadvisor for hotels).
But I think it will be essentially impossible for us to prevent all listings from being added by businesses, so the best we are likely to do is draw a hard line on touting, which also has the salutary effect of tending to cause inveterate touters to either give up or eventually be blocked or blacklisted. But while all the detouting and reverting we do does some good, I don't think it makes this site reliable, and I see that as a major problem with this whole project. Ikan Kekek 05:33, 7 August 2011 (EDT)
I believe that the original point of allowing businesses to self-add listings was that nobody else bothered, and you can't have a travel guide without places to stay and eat. Wikitravel was never intended to be a review site like Trip Advisor (which has serious issues of its own) for example. --Burmesedays 05:44, 7 August 2011 (EDT)
That's somewhat true for hotels, less so for restaurants (I added a bunch of listings in various New York City guides, from my perspective as a diner). But let me ask you: Would you consider such listings reliable, if you were consulting a Wikitravel guide for a place you haven't been to yet? I wouldn't and would tell any friend of mine in particular to ignore hotel listings on Wikitravel almost entirely. Ikan Kekek 05:51, 7 August 2011 (EDT)
Good God no! Of course I would not :) - with, it must be said, the very notable exceptions of certain articles here which are run as personal fiefdoms. Like I said WT was never intended to be a hotel review site. What WT is very good at is organisational stuff, activities and attractions. To be frank, no travel guides I have ever used are much cop at hotels. --Burmesedays 06:36, 7 August 2011 (EDT)

I always believed Wikitravel should be ultimately better than TripAdvisor in reliably recommending the best restaurant and hotels. Among other things, TripAdvisor forces a reader to read too much reviews per hotel/restaurant while we can summarize what's most important for making choice in a single paragraph.

As for "you won't rely on Wikitravel listing except when created by myself"--maybe we simply don't try hard enough to make Wikitravel listings trustworthy--but we should actually? --DenisYurkin 06:51, 7 August 2011 (EDT)

I think we do try, but I know that I lack enough information to edit the content of most hotel listings knowledgeably and haven't traveled to enough places to know all the listed restaurants. My feeling is that a large majority of the hotel listings were inserted by self-interested people, and probably a majority of the "Eat" and "Drink" listings, overall on this site, are as well. I would also delete some restaurant listings based on my own taste if I didn't feel that would violate the spirit of this guide. Caveat emptor! Ikan Kekek 15:50, 7 August 2011 (EDT)
We can't always blame the touts. Anyone who goes to the trouble of writing a listing is undoubtedly "self-interested". Ordinary travellers who want to tell the world about their favourite restaurant or hotel tend to do so with a gushing positivity that generally comes out as fluffy marketing copy (or perhaps worse still, in the style of printed travel guides). People just write that way because they dont know any better. Most people are bad at being unbiased, particularly when they are only considering the single best in town, affordable, must try!! restaurant or hotel they remember from their travels. Are we expecting too much by wanting fair and informative writing from the casual contributor? Are the "50 rooms with aircon and pool. Close to attractions" one line listings any more or less useful than promotional guff? - Cardboardbird 21:13, 7 August 2011 (EDT)
When have we ever asked for unbiased writing? We ask writers to be fair, not be neutral. LtPowers 21:45, 7 August 2011 (EDT)
I didn't think we did and I don't think I suggested that we did either. The crux of the arguments being made here is that many (most?) listings are perceived as untrustworthy because they were written by people who have a self interest in promoting that business (owners and customers alike). Matters of personal taste aside, what one sees as lively writing another takes as unreliable. It's rare to see a listing that is indeed, 'fair'. - Cardboardbird 22:20, 7 August 2011 (EDT)
On the bright side, new (not self-interested) people might be more likely to remove or correct an (originally self-interested) listing, than to add a whole new one. I don't trust any listings fully, also in printed guides, but I love to use them as a starting point and many people do. As far as taste goes, I totally prefer the "printed travel guide style" (I'm thinking LP) over "50 rooms with aircon and pool. Close to attractions". =) Justme 04:37, 8 August 2011 (EDT)

OK, let's start with a simple thing. Is there consensus that for every destination we should aim to list only restaurants and hotels which are the best for a traveller; this is what star acticles should only list in Sleep/Eat; our listings ultimately should be reliable and trustworthy; and we do bother to achieve that whenever possible?

Criteria of what is best, how to select them and how to describe hotels & restaurants to be discussed later. --DenisYurkin 15:43, 8 August 2011 (EDT)

I do not agree with those terms; as described at Wikitravel:Avoid negative reviews, sometimes it is actually desirable to list a non-recommended establishment. LtPowers 19:08, 8 August 2011 (EDT)
Of course with the exception of what recommended to list per Wikitravel:Avoid negative reviews and other policies (are there any other actually?). Now you agree? --DenisYurkin 03:24, 9 August 2011 (EDT)
That basically makes sense to me, and I thought that ultimate goal /was/ the consensus & policy :-) "The best" being a broad concept though, sometimes restaurants that aren't "very good" or are overpriced can be an addition still because they provide diversity in choice or a very convenient location. But that seems obvious. In small towns with few options I'd prefer to have /all/ listed with a short text of what to expect, rather than having only the 2 or 3 "best" options in the article. Justme 07:10, 9 August 2011 (EDT)
I suppose with those caveats, the statements are trivially true. LtPowers 10:55, 9 August 2011 (EDT)
If there are enough people interested in this issue then it might make sense to start a "Reliability expedition" whose goal it would be to brainstorm and implement ways to make Wikitravel listings more reliable. I don't think a prohibition on allowing businesses to list themselves on this site would be feasible, but perhaps something like a small icon that could be added by selected users to listings indicating "recommended/verified by X, Y and Z", thus providing some of the transparency of rating sites in a wiki-friendly format. Whatever the eventual solution, an expedition might be the best way to discuss options and test out ideas without having the drawn-out process of attempting to change the fundamental openness of Wikitravel to all contributors. -- Ryan • (talk) • 11:24, 9 August 2011 (EDT)
Ryan, just to better understand your point: how organizing an expedition can have an added value over a simple discussion thread, here in the Pub or in, let's say, Wikitravel talk:Don't tout? --DenisYurkin 16:54, 9 August 2011 (EDT)
I guess it goes back to the point (far) above about how difficult it is to achieve consensus. I don't think a discussion on disallowing listings from business owners will ever get to a result that changes the status quo, but there might be more success with an expedition whose goal is to come up with ways to make listings on Wikitravel more reliable. An expedition would have the advantage of having a group of people interested in the issue and focused on a specific goal, and would also have a bit more leeway to experiment with potential solutions. As it is, we have yet another good discussion that seems to be meandering around without any clear direction or potential solution, whereas a more focused expedition might be more productive. -- Ryan • (talk) • 17:57, 9 August 2011 (EDT)
OK, who else would be interested to be part of such a "reliability expedition" (or, maybe more general, on improving reliability and quality of selection of our eat & sleep listings)? --DenisYurkin 14:25, 10 August 2011 (EDT)
I would be, sounds like a good idea. --globe-trotter 14:45, 10 August 2011 (EDT)
I would also be willing to help get this going. -- Ryan • (talk) • 16:48, 10 August 2011 (EDT)
Me 4, this sounds like an excellent idea. --Peter Talk 19:14, 10 August 2011 (EDT)

Made a smallest first step possible :-), here it is: Wikitravel:Business listings reliability Expedition. Please plunge forward in clarifying its goals and anything else. I never started an expedition, and a bit depressed by a blank paper syndrome about it. --DenisYurkin 19:09, 24 August 2011 (EDT)




City/town official website

Where should the official website of the town or city in question be entered? When I want to visit a place I like to browse their website and maybe even book accommodation through it. It shouldn't replace Wikitravel as, often the info is not in English, but the link should be made available on Wikitravel IMHO. --SaxonWarrior 12:16, 22 July 2011 (EDT)

As explained at Wikitravel:External links#External link usage, it should go right after the first time the city/region/country's name is mentioned, i.e., in the lede. – Vidimian 12:47, 22 July 2011 (EDT)

I now read that policy page on external links too, and I have a somewhat different question. I see that links to restaurant review sites are unwanted, but this strikes me as odd and not very helpful for the traveler? As a newbee, I was trying to update Eindhoven. I included some restaurants but also a link to the most used review site (In Dutch but with numerical ratings, allowing people to at least get an idea of what's there and the addresses). When traveling myself, I always try to find something like it in order to pick local favorites beyond the 5 or 10 listed in my guide. Or, to find a specific (say Indian) restaurant in a city where none of those are listed. It seems a lot more fair to the other 100 restaurants or more in town, some of which are also quite popular and good, to allow for travelers to see they exist and make their own choice. Should I remove it nonetheless? Justme 05:35, 26 July 2011 (EDT)

Yes. If we have missing content, we want that content added here. Allowing external links to review sites discourages people from adding content here. LtPowers 08:56, 26 July 2011 (EDT)
So, does that mean that ideally I should be listing /all/ good or reasonable restaurants in the city? I get that a bunch of the most interesting ones should definitely be in the article, but all of them wouldn't fit. Neither is it feasible to keep them updated, I guess? How does that work then? Justme 09:14, 26 July 2011 (EDT)
Just add restaurants you have visited and are positive about. We're not the Yellow Pages, so we definitely don't need to list all good/reasonable restaurants. As you're working on Eindhoven, check out Hilversum for an example as it's also a medium-sized city in the Netherlands and it's a star article. --globe-trotter 09:59, 26 July 2011 (EDT)

I've been adding info to Eindhoven (and might add some more later), but the page offers enough info for any visitor to find his way around there for at least a week or so. I don't really know how to make a map, but I posted a request for that on wiki travel shared. Can anyone check if it would be good enough anyway to make it a "guide" instead of "usable" article? Or if not, what it is missing? Thanks, Justme 13:39, 28 July 2011 (EDT)

The article looks pretty good. As you say, it would really benefit from a map though the guidelines state that a lack of a map wont hold it back from guide status. A few points: The See and Do sections could use an introduction parragraph. Many of the listings don't have addresses and phone numbers. The get out secton would be more useful if it listed the nearby/next destinations with wikilinks to the articles. Nonetheless, nice work so far. - Cardboardbird 20:28, 28 July 2011 (EDT)
That's an extremely well constructed article. I would have no hesitation in putting it at guide status. Small quibbles: the listings should be presented alphabetically in each section. Very good work and well done.--Burmesedays 21:07, 28 July 2011 (EDT)

Okay, thanks. I added introductions for See and Do, expanded the Get Out section and fit in contact details where I could find them. Many of the landmarks don't really have public contact details like that, since they were renovated for other purposes and can't really be visited on the inside. I wasn't aware of the alphabetic order rule but I now mostly rearrange the listings to bring them in accordance with it. Can I just go ahead and change the status or should an administrator do something like that?

One more thing: many of the listed places actually shield their email addresses or use [at] instead of @, to keep spam bots from getting them, I guess? Is there any policy on how to use those addresses or you just put them in, unprotected? Justme 11:41, 29 July 2011 (EDT)

Good question. As far as I know, no specific policy exists. Its a tough call. If they have their email address on their website then its public info that you can use, though it does make sense to be nice to those legit businesses by respecting their desire to not have their email harvested by spammers. Generally complete listings are preferred but email addresses are less important than street addresses and phone numbers (who emails a restaurant or museum? Hotels or Do activities that take bookings via email, maybe). Leave email addresses out if you feel it is not essential. - Cardboardbird 23:24, 30 July 2011 (EDT)
I think e-mail addresses should never be listed, unless the listing does not have a website. If you're online, one could always look up the email address from the website. --globe-trotter 23:37, 30 July 2011 (EDT)
What if you're not online and just want to send an SMS message? LtPowers 10:30, 31 July 2011 (EDT)


Oceania rfc

I'm cross posting an rfc here, first and foremost because the question of creating top-level articles for one of our continent-level articles seems like something that we should have more people way in on, and second because I'm not sure how many people are still watching Wikitravel:Requests for comment... Anyway, please share your opinions at Talk:Oceania#overseas_territories, ideally after perusing the relevant threads above on the talk page. --Peter Talk 22:34, 30 July 2011 (EDT)


Big number, big number

Folks, we have surpassed 25,000 articles on the English version of Wikitravel, and we hardly knew it! (Partially because StatScript seems to need some repairs.) The honors appear to have gone out on 17 June 2011 to the modest country town of Trowbridge, Wiltshire in the southwest of England. --Peter Talk 17:23, 31 July 2011 (EDT)

Dear old Trowbridge. That's probably the most important thing that town has ever been involved in :) --Burmesedays 20:48, 8 August 2011 (EDT)

How to deal with villages

I wonder where do we really list villages or rural areas. Do we place them under the "cities" list or under the list of "other destinations"? In South Limburg this has become a problem, where small villages are listed in "other destinations" while the bigger towns are listed under "cities". The same logic is applied at North Zealand. However, I believe the Other Destinations section was originally aimed at destinations like national parks, ruins or other geographical features like canyons and volcanoes. How should we deal with this? --globe-trotter 17:36, 5 August 2011 (EDT)

If a village has its own article, I would put it under cities. But if an articles covers several villages or a rural area, I would put it under other destinations, --ClausHansen 17:56, 5 August 2011 (EDT)
Yes, the MOS allows the "Cities" heading to change to whatever is necessary to describe the communities listed therein -- but whatever you call it, all communities go in there. LtPowers 18:56, 5 August 2011 (EDT)
I'm sorry, that was my mistake, I confused up the titles. I meant to use "Other towns and villages", like Burmesedays suggested on [[Talk:Limburg(Netherlands) and like he did in Central_Java. I'll change that now. For South Limburg, putting all the villages under cities would be far to many. The area has 18 municipalities and tens of villages, most of which have several options to stay and eat since it is a touristic region. And then I'm not even talking of all the hamlets, which in some cases meet the article criteria too.
Now, South Limburg lists only the largest towns (under cities) and most interesting (arguably, of course) other settlements. I was in fact wondering what would be ideal. I do think it is most useful for a traveler to have an idea of which towns are the more interesting ones, with a link there. But what is the policy? Should a regional article ideally have all the settlements linked? Splitting up into regions might seem good from a "systemic" point of view, but really isn't from a travelers one (as discussed on Talk:Limburg too). The South Limburg region as a whole is commonly and broadly regarded as "one" travelers destination so a solid overview article with pointers on where to go seems best. However, the whole "cities" header is more a systemic functionality, as a place like Geleen or Heerlen is less interesting than some of the tiny places around. Justme 19:34, 5 August 2011 (EDT)
Twelve (which is the number of communities listed on South Limburg) is around the point where we like to see a region subdivided into subregions. But if there's really no good way to do so, twelve is probably a tolerable number (we prefer five to nine). But however you do it, they all go under the same heading. You could, if it's really useful to the traveler, have two lists under that heading, each alphabetized individually. LtPowers 20:29, 5 August 2011 (EDT)
Here is an example of how a grouping of villages can be treated as an Other destination. At Bali you will see Amed listed as an OD. The Amed article covers 7 villages along a 14 km strip of coastline.--Burmesedays 20:46, 5 August 2011 (EDT)
Ah, looks good. Quite similar as I have done for Wijdemeren at Gooi and Vecht Region. South Limburg could easily be turned into a couple further subdivisions as shown by the tourist board. --globe-trotter 22:28, 5 August 2011 (EDT)
Well, splitting up is an option, although.that is a rather arbitrary thing, with the Tourist board having their own version. For them, it is just a further split with all info also directly available through their main portal. Since the region /as a whole/ is the destination for most people (it's just a 20 x 20 km stretch with some millions of tourists spending the night each year), I do think the main South Limburg article should list the most interesting places across any subregions.
It's not 12 communities, that's just the ones I believe are most interesting, plus the largest ones. However, it now does /not/ list all (18) municipalities. A place like Epen is a popular destination and should be mentioned in South Limburg, but it's not a municipality of its own. I don't think this region is comparable really to Wijdemeren or Amed. South Limburg is highly touristic, with many village receiving so many people that they have a tourist office of their own. A place like Valkenburg has some 6000 inhabitants but 1.2 million tourist overnight stays per year and millions of visitors for the day. Justme 06:28, 6 August 2011 (EDT)
I would suggest you finish the article, adding every place that you think warrants it, and then it can be re-assessed.--Burmesedays 06:33, 6 August 2011 (EDT)

I seem to be blocked from editing

Hi all, Please someone check if I have been blocked from editing either intentionally or by accident. I have been unable to log on and have not been able to edit for a week. I have had no notification of a problem, and IB have not been forthcoming on why I get gateway timeouts for attempts to edit or connect to non-article pages. My service provider promised to check if they are the problem but have not come back to me. This is seriously frustrating and annoying, as I have a lot of updates waiting to upload. I dont even expect this message to go through, but it is all I can do. Cheers, User:Pbsouthwood

If you can't log on at all, it's not a block (nor is there one on your account). You'll have to define "unable to log on" more precisely -- do you get an error message of any kind? Or is it just a timeout, or no response, or what? LtPowers 10:13, 6 August 2011 (EDT)
My IP address was blocked once by IB, but I was unable to even browse the site when that happened - emailing tech at wikitravel.org (several times) and giving them my IP address and a description of the problem eventually got it resolved. Also, be aware that site functionality for many users has currently degraded to the point where edits take numerous attempts - I'm finding I generally have to reload pages several times due to timeouts - so that may also be part of the problem. As LtPowers said, if you can provide any additional info it might make it easier to figure out the issue, and if you can't access the site then any of the admins here can probably act as an intermediary for you via email. -- Ryan • (talk) • 12:19, 6 August 2011 (EDT)
I am editing from a friend's house for this edit, and I had absolutely no problem at all, very quick connection and everything seems to work as expected. I don't know who his ISP is though as it is a local network service. Anyway to get to the questions: Not able to log on means if I click the Log on/create account tab I get a timeout. The only error message I get is 504 gateway timeout. and I get that for most non article pages, and all edit attempts in the last few days. I have not been able to get into shared at all recently, but the problems at En have been more gradual in buildup, which doesn't make sense to me at all. I have mailed the tech guy at IB (IBDick, I think he calls himself), but he has not so far managed to explain what the problem is or solve it. I have found out that the server refuses tracert requests as a policy, so that test didn't prove anything. I have been having the same trouble Ryan describes for months already. I have been unable to get onto anyone's talk page to leave a message or I would have done that already., and I don't have anyone's private email to bypass the problem. Its been a sort of "you cant get there from here" situation. I plan to try dial-up tomorrow if I get the time. that may also throw some light on the problem. Another friend accessed WT and could make edits using the same ISP that I use, so that doesn't look like the problem either, though the tech I spoke to at Telkomsa (my ISP) said he would get back to me after making some tests. me but did not. So it goes. If anyone wants to contact me by direct email, my address is on my user page. Cheers, • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 12:51, 6 August 2011 (EDT)
I am also finding it is near impossible to load pages, preview or resolve an edit at this time, very frustrating. -- felix 12:09, 7 August 2011 (EDT)

I have made some small adjustments (set DNS to a more local branch) recommended by my ISP tech who thought they would solve the problem, but things have only improved marginally. I am now sometimes able to open an edit page. Perhaps 1 in 5 tries will open, and some of those will save, but still no success at all with shared. Cheers, • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 11:42, 8 August 2011 (EDT)

You could try setting your DNS servers to 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4 (Google's open DNS servers) ...
I am also current experiencing serious access issues. It is no longer just the problem of frequent mind numbing lags and time outs I have experienced for the last year or so.That problem comes and goes, at times making editing a considerable challenge, other times only requiring backing up and re-loading the page or page edit a few times. This is why I occasional show two sequential identical edits, or sometimes go-offline leaving an unresolved edit sequence. The current problem however appears quite different. I have not been able to load any Wikitravel page for an extended time since my last edit at 10:07, 14 August 2011. I use Safari for mac and Firefox for mac and of course tried both browsers multiple times and flushed the caches. Just prior to uploading this note I did manage to successfully load WT recent changes and the WT main page, then it went back to the error message again. I can however consistently load pages using a different IP (by proxy). As I can log in from a different IP, using the same browser/s I assume the IP is being blocked, albeit now intermittently. The error messages are presented as follows. Just prior to posting this using a mirror proxy I started getting successful page loads again using my regular. The messages below are the error message displayed on failed attempts, the error message is the same in both browsers:
The requested URL could not be retrieved
While trying to retrieve the URL: http://wikitravel.org/wiki/en/index.php?
The following error was encountered:
• Zero Sized Reply
Squid did not receive any data for this request.
Your cache administrator is root.
Generated Sun, 14 Aug 2011 17:32:44 GMT by wikitravel.org (squid/2.6.STABLE6)
ERROR
The requested URL could not be retrieved
While trying to retrieve the URL: http://wikitravel.org/en/Special:Recentchanges
The following error was encountered:
• Zero Sized Reply
Squid did not receive any data for this request.
Your cache administrator is root.
Generated Sun, 14 Aug 2011 21:04:20 GMT by wikitravel.org (squid/2.6.STABLE6)
Except for the date stamp the message is the same each time.
I hope the IB people are currently paying some attention to this page. Although I have been experiencing erratic page loads, occasional timeouts and other frustrations up to a few hours ago they were in the normal range of lousy server response to which I am accustomed, this latest issue is however an entirely new phenomena. To me it looks like a classic data base overload problem and most likely the Squid response is arising from giving up waiting for Apache to respond after a set period of time, most likely due to DB structural problems, possibly the /temp folder or memory cache or a load balancing issue. I am really quite sick of having my time wasted by persistent re-loading requirements and time-outs when editing here. What I find odd though is that whilst experiencing this problem I could come in through a different IP and access the WT server at the time without any issues. I am assuming therefore that the problematic server I was accessing from my own IP was the issue and the other (proxy) IP I was using was accessing a different server (or an unaffected mirror server). This latest event is further underlining my suspicions that IB need to do some serious housekeeping, really how old is the gear these guys are using, have they purloined the stuff from a museum collection somewhere. Maybe others here have some ideas on this. To add some clarity to the matter I could not get in from an Indonesian IP but could get in from a Dutch IP. -- felix 18:36, 14 August 2011 (EDT)
I don't know if anyone from IB followed up with Peter after the emails that went out. In any rate, I left a message at our current IB liaison's talk page current IB liaison's talk page. --Peter Talk 00:05, 15 August 2011 (EDT)
Thanks Peter, I get "User account "IBobi" is not registered." when I go to that commons.wikimedia.org address. I manage to load this page OK today so maybe that particular server issue was transient. Hopefully though IB can see there are (ongoing) problems that really do need to be addressed. -- felix 04:40, 15 August 2011 (EDT)
I guess Peter meant to link IBobi's Shared talk page but linked to Commons instead, apperantly out of a mistake.
On another note, I've got the very same message Felix explained above yesterday night, around midnight GMT, and gave up but now I seem to be accessing and editing seamlessly. The details on the problem and how to get around it are far too technical for me, though. – Vidimian 06:59, 15 August 2011 (EDT)
For what it's worth, I'm seeing the same behavior intermittently. I emailed tech at wikitravel dot org with a screenshot last night, but I'm not optimistic about a response. At this point I would lay odds that the database is in need of standard TLC, but who knows if that will ever happen. -- Ryan • (talk) • 10:36, 15 August 2011 (EDT)
Hi -- I pinged Dick on this just to be on the safe side. Hopefully he'll be able to take a look at this over the next few days. In the future, you can contact me via my posted email address, or Dick/Tech as you see fit.--IBobi 16:16, 15 August 2011 (EDT)
Hi IBobi, from my perspective today things seem to be back to their old cluncky ways again with no more squid ink blackouts. Thanks for your note above. -- felix 06:58, 16 August 2011 (EDT)
I was now able to log in again, but have been experiencing the same problems over the past few days, including earlier this evening. It seems the troubles come and go, sometimes not allowing me to do anything (including logging in or seeing recent changes, which gives me the same "Zero Sized Reply"), at other times I can see recent pages but still not log in or edit. In any case, it's working now but was still broken a few hours ago so I'm not sure it's fixed. Justme 19:06, 17 August 2011 (EDT)
Back to extended periods of failed page loads, failed edit uploads or zero server responses, happening again yesterday thru early this morning, working OK at this moment. -- felix 12:28, 18 August 2011 (EDT)

So I understand this, the error that led to this thread has been resolved and we are "back to the usual site sluggishness"? If this is a bug that needs to be addressed, please report it here: http://wikitravel.org/shared/Top_bugs --IBobi 14:01, 23 August 2011 (EDT)

Sometimes page request times are good however for a lot of the time timeouts and slow page loads are a very disappointing aspect of editing on this site. Edits are occasionally lost in the muddle of it or alternatively require lots of back paging to retrieve, this is also frustrating as loading those pages is difficult as well. I often find the site unusable for hours at a time and on many occasions these problems have persisted for days or even weeks. Maybe there are conflicts with my ISPs caches, maybe it is a dysfunctional mirror server. It seems we do not all suffer from the same problem at the same time. Just incase it should be of interest I do check using a different computer and I have alternative browsers installed. I use only up to date OS and browser versions. Thanks for taking and interest iBobi. -- cheers felix 18:09, 23 August 2011 (EDT)
Hey felix, looks like rather than your being blocked, this is a symptom of an overall site issue that we will be working to resolve as we upgrade Mediawiki and address existing tech requests and bugs. Hang in there, because the site is going to be in better shape over the next couple of months.--IBobi 19:24, 23 August 2011 (EDT)
I have not suggested that I am being blocked, it appears to be bad server behaviour or related issues, good to hear that there is something being done to address the problems.-- cheers felix 20:00, 24 August 2011 (EDT)


Double listings or not for small cities/villages?

Question. I read somewhere (but can't find it now) that double listings should be avoided. How should I list hotel/restaurants in smaller villages? I was just working on Vijlen, but almost all the restaurants there have a hotel facility too (or the other way around). Do I list them double (under sleep and eat) or only at one place, and if so, under which of the two? Justme 09:31, 9 August 2011 (EDT)

Definitely stick to one listing per business only. For a hotel, you may for example like to mention that they have a restaurant. Likewise, for a restaurant you could add that accommodation is attached. But never maker two separate listings.--Burmesedays 09:47, 9 August 2011 (EDT)
Wikitravel:Don't tout#General guidelines is the guideline against multiple listings for a business. I'd say list only once and where it makes most sense. If the place is famous for its restaurant, make it an "eat" listing, and vice versa. Some articles are heavy on either "eat" or "sleep" listings, then it might be a good idea to stick your listing to the emptier section. – Vidimian 10:03, 9 August 2011 (EDT)
Okay, thanks. Kind of difficult to choose then, but very well. I guess it's not an option to combine the sleep and eat section into one, hm? :-) Justme 10:17, 9 August 2011 (EDT)
I disagree with the above advice. In Saint Marys (Pennsylvania), I listed an establishment twice because it's primarily a restaurant that happens to have rooms upstairs, but there aren't a lot of hotels in the area so I don't want to miss mentioning it in Sleep. The rule at Wikitravel:Don't tout, the way I see it, is intended primarily for hotels that happen to have restaurants in their lobbies and for restaurants that have full bars (or pubs that serve food). As with everything the traveler comes first, and when it comes to very small destinations, presenting a full picture to the traveler requires double listings. LtPowers 10:55, 9 August 2011 (EDT)
Menzies, a star article on a (very) small town has a similar instance (Menzies Hotel) and IMHO it does its job of notifying readers without resorting to having multiple listings beautifully. I don't know if anyone intends on expanding it later, but Gunners hotel listing at Saint Marys article currently didn't look really useful to me—it could be a sentence at the end of the restaurant listing ("... also has rooms upstairs, for $80...") just as well. Bolding "rooms" would be ever more eye-catching, so users wouldn't miss it. However, I agree that everything on Wikitravel should be decided on a case-by-case basis and the traveler comes first should be the number one guideline, overruling all others. – Vidimian 17:38, 9 August 2011 (EDT)
Well, if you want an extreme example, how about Childs, where the Sleep section would be empty if I had followed this rule to the letter? =) LtPowers 19:50, 9 August 2011 (EDT)
Slippery slopes all over the place there... one rule for the touts and another rule for the rest of us? The Wikitravel:Don't tout#General guidelines are extremely clear. The traveler comes first is open to all sorts of interpretation. "Only list a business once" (with defined exceptions) isn't. My advice to Justme remains exactly as given and in line with both policy and general practice here. --Burmesedays 23:01, 9 August 2011 (EDT)
Small towns can be troublesome to make complete coverage of all sleep/eat options, limited as they may be, without resorting double listings. I agree with the list under the section it is best at aproach. Some average hotels have great restaurants and vice vera. It's not a bad idea to add a line like "The restaurant at Hotel X is pretty good if you've tried all the others" to point reader to listings they might not have read. - Cardboardbird 03:28, 10 August 2011 (EDT)
I see the slippery slope here, but I do agree with LtPowers that the traveler might not be best served when that rule is strictly followed. "Under the section it is best at" isn't easy either. Firstly, because only those who have stayed and eaten there would be able to tell and secondly because with not much options around, a place that is "better" as a restaurant may still be one of the best (or only) places to sleep. Would it be problematic to make the description longer? That is, to add more than just "also has rooms for $80" to a restaurant listing? Justme 03:51, 10 August 2011 (EDT)

"Only list a business once" was intended to stop touts from spamming hotel bars and restaurants, not to prevent listing legitimate (and sometimes solitary) options in small villages and towns. If making the latter explicit is necessary to make people feel better, then I propose we do so. LtPowers 16:03, 10 August 2011 (EDT)

There is currently an exception clause stating "That said, exceptions can be made on a case-by-case basis if, for example, a hotel has a famous, separately named bar or restaurant that also draws significant numbers of non-resident customers". I would be fine with something similar for very small towns (less than three hotels/restaurants/bars?) that would make it easier to fill out sections, but I very much understand Burmesedays concerns about slippery slopes, particularly in regards to the Southeast Asian articles that he has authored where businesses almost always have a restaurant, bar and hotel. -- Ryan • (talk) • 16:37, 10 August 2011 (EDT)

Why not having a combined "Sleep / Eat" section for such small towns? --DenisYurkin 16:14, 10 August 2011 (EDT)

The rare exception listed by Ryan is important (like the Plume at the Jefferson in Washington, D.C./Dupont Circle. For small towns, though, I recognize this problem and think it is best dealt with via a mention in the eat section, rather than a full listing (e.g., "In addition to the restaurants below, X Guest House also does a fantastic plate of Kazakh goat eyeballs for dinner, open to non-hotel guests). --Peter Talk 19:18, 10 August 2011 (EDT)
How is that in any way better than a full listing? LtPowers 20:50, 10 August 2011 (EDT)
That's very much the approach I have used; eg Four Seasons Ubud listed as a hotel and a mention that it has an exceptional restaurant in the prose blurb in the eat section.
As Ryan states this is a big issue in many Asian destinations. Not only a hotel, bar and restaurant at the same address but also often various combinations of spa, dive-shop etc. Listing a business once only is a guideline that has served WT well.
Many English country towns would be another, different example. The pub will often be the only place to eat, drink and sleep in the town. List it just once and say that in the description. Seems very straightforward and in line with the traveller comes first. It is much easier to read one listing rather than 3, only to then realise that all 3 are talking about exactly the same place.--Burmesedays 21:52, 10 August 2011 (EDT)
In Thailand there are listings that could be listed in nearly all sections (a guest house (sleep) with a bar/restaurant (drink/eat), a cooking school (learn) and a massage service (do). Adding a listing in multiple sections I think never should be done, as it is very confusing to have the same listing twice or more. Most accommodation listings have some sort of eating and drinking available, so those listings could be spread all over the article. Like Burmesedays, I have always just written it down in the description which I think makes most sense (for example: Bangkok/Dusit#Eat). --globe-trotter 23:23, 10 August 2011 (EDT)
I'm also going to say there is no case for a double listing. A bit of prose to redirect the reader to the appropriate section will suffice. texugo 00:51, 11 August 2011 (EDT)
Agree. The hotel name can appear twice, but only one entry needs a full listing, the other can say "See Eat section" or similar. --SaxonWarrior 02:13, 11 August 2011 (EDT)
I can see how that works for really small towns with up to 3 places, especially with a note above the eat-section saying something like "several of the restaurants are attached to hotels, so see the Sleep-section for more options" I do feel however that there should be the same info for the restaurant as it would get in a separate listing, so it does become a longer listing. Bolding "restaurant" or "rooms" doesn't seem to help in making it clearer, see Vijlen#Eat.
There's nothing like symbols on Wikitravel, right? I mean, would it be an option to place a small colored star/fork/whatever at the beginning of such a listing to just indicate that it has a restaurant as well?
Last thing, I think sights with notable restaurants should be listed double, especially in longer articles. That link between "see" and "eat" is less clear. Justme 04:23, 11 August 2011 (EDT)

Not relevant here, but in huge cities like New York, I think it is in some exceptional cases reasonable to list a hotel and a restaurant in the hotel separately. A possible example would be Jean Georges, a New York Times 4-star and Michelin 3-star restaurant that is extensively patronized by people who are hard-pressed to even remember the name of the hotel (it's in the Trump Tower Building, I believe - I'd have to check the exact name, myself). There are several quite independently famous restaurants in New York that happen to be in hotels which may themselves be famous. So I would argue that we should allow for occasional, unusual exceptions to this rule of no double listings, but probably only in huge or at least large cities, where not listing Jean Georges and whatever hotel is there (I think it's called the Meridien and it may be in itself notable, though as a native New Yorker who's never stayed in a hotel here, I wouldn't know for sure) could cause one or the other to really be lost in the shuffle. Ikan Kekek 05:43, 11 August 2011 (EDT)

Jean Gorges is a separate listing, it is a restaurant that happens to be in the Trump Hotel. That's not what we're discussing here. To Justme: the length of the listing is no problem, you can extensively write out all its sleep, eat, drink and other facilities available, that's no problem at all. About See and Eat -- can you give an example? --globe-trotter 05:58, 11 August 2011 (EDT)
The case of Jean Georges is already perfectly covered by the exception to the rule.
On See and Eat, there are many examples where an attraction has a decent restaurant. Again though, just mention that fact in the listing as an attraction. --Burmesedays 06:10, 11 August 2011 (EDT)

I did know about the exception. I mistakenly omitted a phrase from my post. I just wanted to clarify things because I was seeing posts to the effect that there should _never_ be a listing for a restaurant in a hotel, separate from the hotel listing. I see that the "never" is specifically in the context of villages and small towns. Ikan Kekek 17:13, 11 August 2011 (EDT)

@globe-trotter: an example to me are some chateaus in Europe. The city Maastricht is a currently underdeveloped article but should eventually be as large as Amsterdam or so. The castle of Neercanne there, e.g., is the only terraced castle in the Netherlands, beautiful as an attraction, with a vineyard and wine cellars in grottoes. There's also a restaurant, not just "descent", but a Michelin star one, considered to be one of the most classic dining opportunities in the area. I do think it should be listed separately under Eat, splurge options in Maastricht. Justme 06:27, 11 August 2011 (EDT)

Where to stick money/credit card info?

In this edit[3] a user quite rightly pointed out that credit card use in the Netherlands increasingly requires a PIN code. I removed it from there, for it was in the wrong place, but now am unsure on where to stick it instead. I'm guessing more travelers are unpleasantly surprised by that PIN-code fact, and I think it should be in the article on The Netherlands. But where? Money exchange info should go in the Buy-section, but it seems way too far down to put general info on currency, credit card use and all that there, since it's relevant from the first minute you arrive. Now that I look at it, we also don't seem to have one of those "costs & money" sections (I think that's how LP calls it, or some other guide) with info on what to expect in terms of daily costs. Is that on purpose? For many years that was one of the first sections I would read in search of travel destinations that would more or less fit my budget. Justme 09:35, 15 August 2011 (EDT)

All banking, money, currency etc information should go into the buy section. If you want to post daily cost/budget info, make a costs sub-section of the buy section. See for example United Kingdom and United States of America (and I am sure lots of other articles). --Burmesedays 09:47, 15 August 2011 (EDT)

More information on how to dress

I'd be interested in seeing more information on how to dress for a destination. Not in a lot of detail, but enough to know what to expect. There's bits here and there, but I think it should be more widely used, certainly at the country level.

For example, at a country level: a sentence each on dressing for business, for everyday wear, and for "dressing up" to go to nice restaurants or plays. At a state/city level, there could be room for this, too... in the Southern U.S., dress is very casual during the summer because of the heat, while in Washington D.C. people tend to dress nicely even for everyday dress.

Thoughts? --BigPeteB 11:49, 18 August 2011 (EDT)

Definitely agreed. Useful information. I suggest in the Understand section. I think that the only guideline on dress so far, is for warnings about modesty etc which are to be placed in the Respect section. --Burmesedays 12:24, 18 August 2011 (EDT)
I agree strongly that this would be useful. It's one of the hardest bits of information to come by prior to travel—I often find myself crawling through flickr searches for street views—but is quite useful for anyone who doesn't want to stand out as a tourist (presumably everyone?). I guess Cope would be the appropriate section? --Peter Talk 16:37, 18 August 2011 (EDT)
I'll be happy to take a stab at this in a few articles. I notice that several countries don't have a Cope section yet; is it worth adding one just for this? Maybe it should go in another section? --BigPeteB 15:36, 19 August 2011 (EDT)
Cope is usually for services. Understand or Respect would be better, depending on the nature of the advice. LtPowers 16:44, 19 August 2011 (EDT)
I took a first attempt at this at United_States_of_America#Dress. It turned out a little longer than I expected (and it's biased towards men's dress because that's what I know), but I think it covers 98% of all the scenarios travelers would encounter. Let me know what you think! --BigPeteB 18:12, 19 August 2011 (EDT)
I do think it is a bit long; the entire United States article is already too long and contains far too little travel information and too much basic how-to-act information. I think what needs to be said about dress in the U.S. could fit into one or two paragraphs, and belongs properly in the Understand or Respect sections. LtPowers 19:32, 19 August 2011 (EDT)
Alright, I pared it down a lot. I think I like it better shorter, anyway, as part of the adventure of traveling is discovering for yourself what local culture is like, rather than reading about it on a website. --BigPeteB 13:20, 21 August 2011 (EDT)
I don't think understand or respect would be appropriate sections. The point of going over how people dress is about making your trip more comfortable via blending in. --Peter Talk 23:19, 19 August 2011 (EDT)
But we've never used Cope for such things in the past. Ever. It's always been for services. It especially doesn't make sense in locations where we also cover appropriate dress under "Respect" -- then we'd be putting clothing information in two different sections. LtPowers 23:26, 19 August 2011 (EDT)
The respect material has been about not offending local sensibilities, but that's not what BigPeteB is suggesting. Having a dress subsection would allow us to move the information up there.
I don't know where you are getting the "services" bit from. Wikitravel:Huge_city_article_template#Cope advises that Cope is for Anything that has to do with the practicalities of daily life should go here. Intuitively, the name of the section would also suggest that this is an appropriate place. Choosing what to wear is pretty clearly one of the practicalities of daily life, and trying to blend in is one of the most basic coping mechanisms for travel in a different place (lest you be hassled endlessly, draw funny looks, or feel silly). --Peter Talk 00:04, 20 August 2011 (EDT)
But likewise it says "Don't put something here when it could fit in one of the other sections." "How Americans dress" is quintessential "Understand" information. LtPowers 09:36, 20 August 2011 (EDT)

I don't think it's a good idea to start enforcing this idea by reversion. After the section was removed, the best thing to do would be to discuss on the talk page whether it should be re-added or not, especially since this is a new proposal that has yet to gain any significant traction. I, for one, continue to be unconvinced that this needs a whole section of its own under "Cope" in a city guide; a single sentence or two under "Understand" should be plenty. In country articles, we might be able to get more verbose, but things just don't vary enough city-to-city to be worth three paragraphs. LtPowers 13:26, 31 August 2011 (EDT)

I'm fine with removing the section in the future, if the general feeling is that it is not helpful. But it is for the time being our test case, so I'm happy to see it draw critiques in the meantime. I will reiterate, though, via rambling, that while many might not care about this sort of information (in the same way I don't care about where I can find shopping malls), for some tourists, blending in while traveling is a priority and a difficult art. All the more difficult owing to the general paucity of destination-specific information online. For most destinations, though, this can certainly be left off. --Peter Talk 18:58, 31 August 2011 (EDT)
I agree that most city articles don't need a Dress section, and those that do probably only need a couple of sentences. (I couldn't care less where it's placed, either.) I just want to convince people that it is important... maybe not for you, but for others. Business travelers, I think, have an obvious need to show up appropriately dressed. European visitors to the U.S. could be quite embarrassed to realize that speedos are uncommon at beaches and pools. As for everyday dress, other than a general desire to not look like an out-of-place tourist begging to get mugged, I can only offer a personal anecdote. I've taken several college choirs on tours where they did "homestays" with local families for lodging, and they were consistently praised for their maturity and responsibility, and it led to many further displays of kindness and hospitality. (And this is from families who regularly host college choirs throughout the year.) I think that dressing to fit in, rather than just lazily putting on shorts and sandals like we wear at home, contributed to this, and I think all travelers ought to have that information available, whether or not they choose to use it. BigPeteB 09:43, 6 September 2011 (EDT)

How to edit {Schengen}?

Can someone tell me how I can edit the text that is generated by this: {{Schengen}} , in a country article? Thanks, Justme 05:19, 22 August 2011 (EDT)

Template:Schengen. Just keep in mind that whatever changes you make will show up in all the almost 30 articles that use this template. texugo 07:39, 22 August 2011 (EDT)
Ah, thanks, also for the "nowiki" trick :-) Justme 08:10, 22 August 2011 (EDT)

Policy/convention question - hierarchy-related

So, the question has come up regarding why we tend to divide regions into strict subregions, rather than allowing (as a matter of course) subregions to have multiple parent regions. Of course, we have for some time now allowed occasional exceptions where it would be perverse not to -- Lake Tahoe, for instance. But it seems to me that in general, we prefer subregions to be entirely contained within a single parent region.

The problem is that I can't find this convention clearly written down anyway. Wikitravel:Geographical hierarchy certainly implies it to me, but apparently not to everyone. Is there something I'm missing here?

-- LtPowers 13:51, 26 August 2011 (EDT)

The Wikitravel:Geographical hierarchy#Overlap section was meant to cover overlapping regions, although perhaps it needs more detail? The three most relevant sentences of that section would be "If we have overlapping guides, readers don't know where to go to get travel information, and contributors don't know where to put travel information. It's also easier to draw maps for a destination if none of the parts of the destination overlap... No two regions at the same level of the hierarchy should overlap." -- Ryan • (talk) • 13:59, 26 August 2011 (EDT)
Yeah, but we're not talking about overlap, but rather one region with two parents. So the cities on, say the west side of a county are in one superregion while the cities on the east side are in a different superregion -- but we have the county as a whole as a single region article with both superregion articles as parents. There's technically no overlap between "two regions at the same level". LtPowers 14:32, 26 August 2011 (EDT)
I think that's the same issue though - the county overlaps two parent regions. Lake Tahoe and Russia are obvious examples of where this rule is broken, and Wikitravel:Geographical hierarchy covers that case, but per the existing guidelines: "...if a subregion is commonly understood as belonging to more than one parent region... it is perfectly fine to list it in both parent regions as long as this does not create significant content overlap. A region's breadcrumb trail, however, will display only a single parent region in a strict hierarchical fashion." If that guidance is being understood as a broad permission to create non-hierarchical regions rather than a rare exception I'd be in favor of updating the policies to make it clearer that overlapping regions should be a rarity in order to make it easier to keep the site organized. -- Ryan • (talk) • 15:37, 26 August 2011 (EDT)
There are several issues here that are getting muddled together under the notion of a "strict hierarchy/strict subregions" (I have no idea what that really means).
1) The way we prevent unhelpful overlap is to create a hierarchy that—at each level of the hierarchy—there are no gaps nor overlap. This is a simple enough rule to follow, and is useful to prevent the problem of people not sure where to put information (this is far more important at the bottom level, where we have actual listings, rather than creative descriptions and interpretations of various regions).
2) Single parents. This has been discussed several times, and the verdict both in discussion and the policy article itself has always been that, while single parents can do an excellent job, it never hurts to have two. Russia provides an elucidating example. It clearly belongs to both Asia and Europe, and to omit it from either continent article in pursuit of some vague parochial notion would be absurd. This does not create any significant problems of overlap, however, as the boundaries at each level of the hierarchy are defined: Europe and Asia are bounded by the Urals, Russia's official borders separate it from neighboring regions and countries. The only real problem is with our breadcrumb navigation, and this is a problem ideally solved via a technical solution, which would allow us to create a breadcrumb trail for Vladivostok (for example) that would navigate back to Asia, not Europe.
3) New York's regional division should be tweaked anyway, to do away with artificial county borders when they are formed in ways that are not helpful to travelers.
4) Non-hierarchical regions. These actually have nothing to do with what LtPowers is discussing. --Peter Talk 16:42, 26 August 2011 (EDT)
(edit conflict) Well, the issue in question is Ulster County, which a new user would like to split between Hudson Valley and Catskills. And that's fine; our regions don't have to follow county boundaries. The problem is that he seems to want a single Ulster County article with two parents -- Hudson Valley for the eastern part and Catskills for the western part. While this sort of thing is allowed (Lake Tahoe is not in both Nevada and California simultaneously, after all; it's partly in Nevada and partly in California), I don't think it's the best option in this case. If Ulster County is to be split between two regions, we should keep it split. And I don't think the "overlap" section of the hierarchy policy page addresses that case. LtPowers 16:48, 26 August 2011 (EDT)
Is there a pointer to the discussion that "Single parents. This has been discussed several times, and the verdict both in discussion and the policy article itself has always been that, while single parents can do an excellent job, it never hurts to have two" ??? My impression has always been that this should be a rarity, and is only done in cases where it would be confusing NOT to do it - for example, claiming that Russia is in Asia only, or that Lake Tahoe is solely in California. In all other cases we generally try to come up with structures that are very hierarchical, and use disambiguation pages where that doesn't work (example: Knowledge Corridor). No? -- Ryan • (talk) • 17:31, 26 August 2011 (EDT)
Talk:Turkey#Who.27s_your_daddy.3F and Wikitravel_talk:Geographical_hierarchy#Single_parents are what I find right away. Wikitravel_talk:Geographical_hierarchy#Extra-hierarchical_regions is tangential, but still worthwhile reading. Bill's last comment especially.
Knowledge Corridor was created as a disambiguation page for an article which we did not feel met our article criteria—it's not really a travel region at all and does not merit an article. (For this reason, I didn't see why we needed the disambiguation page at all.) The argument, as I understood it, was that it might anyway be helpful with navigation. But again, this is a different issue from the question of parenthood—multiple parents is a way of having more intuitive indexing of our articles.
As an aside, I think we organizers sometimes get a little too wrapped up in the desire for internal neatness, possibly at the expense of intuitiveness and generally helpful organization for the reader. John's comment—"I've spent a significant fraction of my life dealing professionally with geographic data architecture, and I don't think it's arrogant to assert that I know a lot about what does and does not work -- and an arborescence doesn't"—is a stronger statement than I would make, but the basic point that geographical reality does not always conform to a perfect tree structure, and it thus can be counterproductive to try and force it, if our real goal is to produce travel content and navigation that is intuitive and commonsensical.
Lastly, lets really keep in mind Bill's comment in all of these situations: WTP? Because it's rarely clear to me. --Peter Talk 17:53, 26 August 2011 (EDT)
(Re-indenting) Re: WTP - the most significant is the breadcrumb trails, and given the current site ownership that seems unlikely to ever be fixed; currently it's misleading to see Siberia listed under Europe in the breadcrumb. The second is map-making: an occasional extra-hierarchical region is fine, but in any significance they can turn messy. I don't know that this is a desire for "internal neatness" rather than an attempt to be clear and consistent.
That said, I'm still not sure whether you're proposing anything different from what LtPowers and I seem to be arguing: that extra-hierarchical regions be used only when it would make less sense NOT to use them. Turkey, Russia, Lake Tahoe and the Navajo Nation are all travel destinations and clearly-defined regions, and splitting them up for hierarchical purposes would be absurd. However, Ulster County may not make sense as a travel region and might thus make more sense as a disambiguation page, thus preserving a clear hierarchy. Does that make sense? Or are you proposing that extra-hierarchical regions aren't really something that we need to be trying to avoid where possible? -- Ryan • (talk) • 19:29, 26 August 2011 (EDT)
I was more arguing that we are not talking about extra-hierarchical regions :P (And agreed, the one real problem is with breadcrumbs, but it would be a shame to let our tech mismanagement force us to fit our content and content organization to a bad technical set up.) But if we are going to discuss extra-hierarchical regions, then yes, I don't think they are so scary. Since they are extra-hierarchical, there is no reason to put them on the regions maps, since their purpose is just to better explain a real travel region, not for the purpose of navigating the hierarchy. I'll go back to my usual example of Great Lakes. It's not a part of our hierarchy, but it's a nice article to have, and does no harm that I can see. The Chesapeake Bay article is a lot less well developed and messy, but it seems obvious that we would want an article about it (I personally would certainly benefit read a well-developed travel article about it), and again, it's not doing any harm listed as an Other Destination. In that conversation linked above, I suggested calling such articles "travel topics," which presumably wouldn't offend anyone's organizational sensibilities, but that would just be us falling into a sort of parochial overthinking—the Great Lakes is a region. --Peter Talk 19:37, 26 August 2011 (EDT)
So do you think we should have an Ulster County article and a (say) Eastern Catskills article that covers the same geographic area as the western part of Ulster County? That seems even worse than just having a single Ulster County article as a subregion of both Hudson Valley and Catskills. LtPowers 22:37, 26 August 2011 (EDT)
No, I do not. --Peter Talk 22:48, 26 August 2011 (EDT)
Okay, then I guess I'm looking for a policy or guideline that I can point to to explain why we don't want an Ulster County article if it's split between two regions. LtPowers 10:06, 27 August 2011 (EDT)
The problem is the use of counties in New York (state) as regions, while counties don't match up with travelers' geography. --globe-trotter 11:11, 27 August 2011 (EDT)
(Edit conflict-- I was expounding on the same point:)
I'd say the question is mainly "should we even have all these county articles at all?" We eliminated them from most other states long ago, and even after all this time, New York's county articles are still not in good shape. All but one of New York's top level regions currently break down into counties (total of 45 mentioned), but almost half of them (21) are still red links, and the majority of the ones that have been created contain little more than a city list. Certainly if these counties are not the most useful way for us to divide the territory, and if they don't even match up with the parent regions (see Finger Lakes for yet 3 more cases of counties overlapping multiple parent regions), then I think we need to stop insisting on using them as regions at all. texugo 12:02, 27 August 2011 (EDT)
I don't have any knowledge of these particular cases, but I suspect the issue is as pointed out by Globe-trotter and Texugo. New York State is a 2nd level region of the US. Then New York State is split into a further 9 third level regions, and then there are 45 bottom level regions (or counties). So a second level region (a state) has spawned a further 54 region articles. Surely, that can't be the right way to go.--burmesedays 12:37, 27 August 2011 (EDT)
We're getting off-topic here. Counties were used as a convenient way to measure where region boundaries should go, but we deviate from them where necessary (as with Finger Lakes). With Niagara Frontier, I felt that county boundaries (with one county split in half) was the best way to organize the region. Other than that, we list counties a) because most NY regions haven't been otherwise subdivided yet, and b) because many of the counties mostly have their own tourism organizations and web sites, making them fairly convenient as travel regions.
But the issue here is that we have a user who wants to place information in the Ulster County article while insisting that the county be both in the Catskills region and in the Hudson Valley region. He said he read Wikitravel:Geographical hierarchy and that the "Overlap" section validated his plan by allowing multiple parent regions. My contention is that it should be avoided where possible, but I don't have any policy document to point to. LtPowers 13:41, 27 August 2011 (EDT)
I think John seemed amenable to retooling the hierarchy? While this discussion has been interesting, I don't think this particular matter is as much a matter of policy as it is a matter of rethinking the particulars of the NY state divisions. --Peter Talk 21:59, 27 August 2011 (EDT)
The problem is that the county was only listed as being in the Catskills region, while a part of it also lies in the Hudson Valley. Thus, the user got confused when looking at the Hudson Valley page and not seeing the county listed there. For this situation, two parent regions are necessary as the county spans two tourist regions. This is possible and done before, such as with the Harz Mountains in Germany, a region with both Lower Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt as parent regions. The only problem with this is the breadcrumb trail, but there is no real solution for that (and probably not anytime soon). In the New York case it would be even better if these counties were eliminated at all, and turned into tourist regions (and it seems like the Hudson Valley needs to be reconsidered, as the region on Wikitravel looks out of touch with the map at the NY tourist board [4]. Also the Metro New York region is problematic, and probably needs to be an extra-hierarchical region or be left out altogether as it spans multiple states). --globe-trotter 01:11, 29 August 2011 (EDT)
None Only one of our New York regions matches the state's tourism site. I didn't realize that was a problem... it's never been a problem before. LtPowers 21:47, 29 August 2011 (EDT)
Obviously the regional scheme doesn't have to match those of the tourist board. But I think some changes could be made, especially to the Hudson Valley and Metro New York (and maybe also cut off Long Island east of New York as tourism there is of a different nature than in the big city). County borders could help in some of these divisions, but are confusing in others (such as the Hudson Valley). --globe-trotter 22:05, 29 August 2011 (EDT)

Title icons

I've found an issue with the use of title icons. When two of them are used in an article, it seems like only one of them appears (the bottom one). Ubud is both a star article, and a former OtBP destination — however, only the star is displayed in the upper right corner (which I changed, as before it was only the OtBP icon shown). Is this a recent site issue, or has it always been like this? --globe-trotter 16:00, 26 August 2011 (EDT)

There were two invocations of Template:Title-icons rather than a single invocation with two arguments. I updated the Ubud article so it should be working now. -- Ryan • (talk) • 16:04, 26 August 2011 (EDT)
Ah, I didn't know it worked like that. I also fixed Menzies now. --globe-trotter 16:10, 26 August 2011 (EDT)



Wikipedia Images

Hi folks, is there an easy way to add/share images from wikipedia?

Not at this time. You'll have to save the images and re-upload them at Wikitravel Shared. LtPowers 13:32, 31 August 2011 (EDT)


Regional quickbox

Template:QuickbarRegion Following the earlier discussion, I have produced a "draft" quickbox template (see right) for regional articles as desired. The key advantages are:

  • It provides an "at a glance" summary of the key questions a tourist might ask when choosing a holiday destination:
    • Where is it?
    • What are the top attractions?
    • Is there anything for kids?
    • How long do I need there, minimum?
    • Where can I get more info?
  • It means you can quickly get a feel for the tourist potential of a region without having to wade through the whole article
  • It avoids the "spurious facts" criticism of the previous quickbox
  • It takes no more width than the standard photo
  • It is based on exactly sort of info shown in popular travel guides
  • It therefore enhances the usability and appeal of WikiTravel

I'm sure it can be improved, but you can see the basic idea: "key tourist information at a glance", not "a box of spurious facts". Views? --SaxonWarrior 07:48, 1 September 2011 (EDT)

It's not bad, but I'd prefer to see it without the photo and placed only in the Understand section, which meshes with the changes that are underway with the country quickbar (see Template talk:Quickbar#Round three). As a more specific critique, the "website" link is wholly superfluous as the website should be linked prominently in the first sentence of the article. LtPowers 09:59, 1 September 2011 (EDT)
I'd like to reiterate my strong objection to adding quickbars to region articles. I think the content they contain belong in the proper article sections, and that they hog the screen real estate we use for pictures. As per the discussions linked above (and in further discussions regarding specific articles, for example those of the UK's home nations), the community in the past has come down firmly against expanding their use to non-country articles. And even with the country quickbars, the community over time has come around to the idea that they do hog space, and we are just about to reduce its size and scope significantly. I do not think we have a consensus to create or use this template, and think it should remain in SaxonWarrior's userspace until we do. --Peter Talk 22:46, 1 September 2011 (EDT)
I'll also re-voice a strong objection here. We are backing off on even the country quickbar. I can't imagine why we would introduce one for cities, which have even less unique info about them. All the info in your box already has its proper place within the article. I give this a huge no. texugo 00:38, 2 September 2011 (EDT)
@texugo. We're not backing off the country quickbar - we're trimming it to what is essential - this quickbar does exactly that for regions (not cities by the way). Of course the info can be found in the article, the whole point is you don't have to wade through 500 words of text to find it. It's a quick "at a glance" summary of key tourist facts - that's why major international tourist guides use this system - and they have done their customer research!
@Peter. The quickbar includes a picture anyway. The browsing tourist will see the top of the article first - he wants to be able to see at a glance whether he would be interested in going there. In about 6 seconds he can browse the key point and make a quick judgement, then read on or move on. It's purpose is not the same as the country quickbar. --SaxonWarrior 01:43, 2 September 2011 (EDT)
They also shove the regions map way down the article, and for region articles, that will usually be below the regions section. That is a huge disadvantage. --Peter Talk 14:59, 6 September 2011 (EDT)
Well, that's easy to fix: put the map in the box or leave the image out. The example is only a draft - we can change the template or even tailor it slightly to each article. Those that like the concept will find ways to make it work even better; those that don't... well nothing will convince them! --SaxonWarrior 16:05, 8 September 2011 (EDT)
I don't think that's fixable at all, as different region maps come in different shapes and sizes, based both on the needs of the region and the aims of the mapmaker. Some regions require more than one map to adequately do the job. Here are a few examples: a b c d e f g h.
In my view, essential "at a glance" information belongs in the lede. Only one piece of information in the example you have provided seems to me essential, and it's the "must do"s, which absolutely should be mentioned in any good lede. For more detail or less essential information, there is a table of contents right at the top (which could use an overhaul), and the breadcrumb navigation just above for geographical orientation. Ideally, the WT-style regions map would also provide that type of immediate context, but not if it is buried—even below the regions section itself! --Peter Talk 19:02, 8 September 2011 (EDT)

Kosovo

I've been reverting a lot of political edits from this user [5]. However, I have to agree somewhat with his removal in Kosovo in the Europe regions list (in brackets at Balkans). Listing Kosovo is logical, as Kosovo de facto is an independent state, and travellers have to deal with Kosovar authorities in order to go there. However, if we list Kosovo in this list, we should also list Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh, Northern Cyprus, South Ossetia and Transnistria, as the situation in these de facto states are not really different from Kosovo. So should we either include all of these states or remove them all? --globe-trotter 21:33, 2 September 2011 (EDT)

We should only remove Kosovo if we're going to make it a region of Serbia. Otherwise, we list it because that's how we've defined it as a travel region. Politically, I note that none of the other regions you've mentioned have international recognition on the level of Kosovo, which has been recognized as independent by about 40% of the countries of the world. Of the regions you mentioned, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Transnistria are treated as regions while Nagorno-Karabakh and Northern Cyprus use the country template. The latter two should be added if we are going to continue to treat them that way, even though they have virtually no international recognition. LtPowers 08:52, 3 September 2011 (EDT)
That would be pretty random. All these states have limited recognition and all are not recognized by the United Nations. South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Transnistra shouldn't be "regions" on Wikitravel, as they are de facto states with their own rules, immigration policy and currency. However, I'm a bit reluctant on adding them to the Europe page, as we'd have to add a lot of countries on there many people barely know. Also, these political edits are getting annoying, and we'd have less of them if we'd just follow the UN. --globe-trotter 11:32, 3 September 2011 (EDT)
It's not random, unless you assume the decision to go with a country template or region template for those articles is random. And Kosovo has far more international recognition as independent than the other regions you mention. LtPowers 11:58, 3 September 2011 (EDT)
Yes, calling some of those entities "regions" and others "countries" is random, as they are more or less similar. About Kosovo, is that relevant for the traveller that a few more states have recognized Kosovo than have Abkhazia? Both are de facto states that a traveller has to deal with and both are not recognized by the United Nations. If the "degree of recognition" would be of concern, we'd be opening an endless can of worms. How many states should recognize a de facto state before it gets a mention on the Europe page? --globe-trotter 12:12, 3 September 2011 (EDT)
If you consider 75 to be "a few", I suppose you'd have a point. Otherwise, I have to wonder why you're minimizing Kosovo's status. LtPowers 13:38, 3 September 2011 (EDT)
Kosovo is not recognized by the United Nations, just like many other de facto states. Like I said, the amount of other states recognizing a de facto state is not relevant to traveller, as the traveller has to deal with de facto states, whether they are recognized or not. Kosovo is recognized by 75 states, Taiwan by 23 states, Abkhazia by 4 states and Nagorno-Karabakh only by non-UN-states. Where do we draw the line? At recognition by 5 states? Just for the heck of it? The traveller has to get visas and follow the rules of all these de facto states. So we should treat them all equally and in the same manner. I am not "minimizing" Kosovo's status in anyway, I just think that if Kosovo is listed, all these de facto states should be listed. --globe-trotter 14:06, 3 September 2011 (EDT)
But as you said, that opens a big can of worms: "we'd have to add a lot of countries on there many people barely know". Not every breakaway region has to be treated the same. I'm not saying official recognition is the only metric we should use, but by the same token, neither should UN recognition (elsewise, bye-bye Taiwan). It's better to look at each of them on a case-by-case basis. For regions for which we use the country template, we treat them like other countries. For regions for which we use the region template, we treat them like other regions. I don't think there's any objective metric that fits every possible case. LtPowers 14:31, 3 September 2011 (EDT)
Well, there is an objective metric, that is listing all of them or listing none of them. That's why I think all de facto states ought to be included, not just a few we like to pick for no objective reason whatsoever. About those templates, they should all either have country templates or region templates, as they are all states with limited recognition. Calling some "regions" and other "countries" would be arbitrary, as all of them operate like states with their own visas, currency, national anthem, flags, etc. --globe-trotter 14:39, 3 September 2011 (EDT)

CotM

I just wanted to plug our new Collaboration of the Month: a project to create meaningful see sections for all country articles. We have three people on the project; three more would mean that we would make real progress quickly. If you already are familiar with the country, it doesn't take long to write up a see section. If not familiar, this is a great exercise for learning about travel in parts of the world new to you.

This is all to say that this is a fun CotM—join in! --Peter Talk 17:45, 7 September 2011 (EDT)

Alignment of images - left or right?

Hi folks. Can someone please point me to the policy about the alignment of images? Cheers. --SaxonWarrior 07:08, 9 September 2011 (EDT)

Archiving

Hi, I have just archived all threads over 3 months old on this page. I hope I have done this correctly - please guide me if I haven't! Thanks. --SaxonWarrior 07:59, 9 September 2011 (EDT)

Thanks for taking on that task! We do prefer that discussions relevant to particular pages elsewhere on the site be "swept" to the corresponding Talk page, though, rather than just archived to the "cellar" as you did. For example, Wikitravel:Travellers' pub/2011#how to organize extensive details on ClubMed could have been swept to Wikitravel talk:Accommodation listings, where it originated. LtPowers 08:58, 9 September 2011 (EDT)
Ah, sorry. It's obviously more complicated than I thought! I'll move that one for a start. --SaxonWarrior 15:24, 9 September 2011 (EDT)
Yes, please take a look over the "Please sweep the pub" section at the top of this page. When everything gets tossed in the cellar, useful stuff gets lost. I've been working on cleaning up the cellar, and that's a very lonely and demanding task that gets even more daunting when more stuff gets tossed down the stairs! ;) --Peter Talk 21:38, 9 September 2011 (EDT)

Purge a page

Is there any trick to purge a page easily, and see the last version? For some reason, I always have to read the "edit" version to see what's really on the page, since the normal page shows me versions up to days old. Isn't that like a major major bug? It's very frustrating at the very least, but I would say it limits the use of the whole website.. Justme 05:05, 12 September 2011 (EDT)

On the edit page, there is a purge button at the bottom. Or you can change the action in the URL from edit to purge. texugo 06:56, 12 September 2011 (EDT)
For me, just pressing F5 usually makes it show the most recent version. --globe-trotter 06:59, 12 September 2011 (EDT)
Amongst the stinking heap of operational crapiness of this site, I think this is the worst of it all. It is sometimes weeks before a cached page clears itself. Most regulars know how to purge cache (although it is still incredibly annoying), but casual users (i.e. the key target market) will not have a clue.--burmesedays 07:59, 12 September 2011 (EDT)
The comments above are an understatement, dog crapiness does not even come close either. It is near impossible to edit anything without a mind numbing array of page reload attempts, failed previews or 'lost' edit uploads and a seemingly endless stream of blank pages instead of a page or preview loading. Lately I have near given up. I have recently just given up on a few corrective edits because I just cannot get anywhere with the page despite purging, cache clearing and even waiting and returning later often ends up in the same morass. Gets a bit disheartening after a while and is an appalling waste of time and energy. -- felix 11:37, 12 September 2011 (EDT)
For what it's worth, IB is hopeful that upgrading our version of MediaWiki will resolve these problems. LtPowers 13:42, 12 September 2011 (EDT)
IB's latest update with respect to performance issues is here. -- Ryan • (talk) • 13:49, 12 September 2011 (EDT)
For my information, is the issue reported here also the issue reported here: http://wikitravel.org/shared/Tech:Cache_not_clearing_after_editing#Caching_still_not_working --IBobi 18:23, 12 September 2011 (EDT)
Tech indicates that if the MW update does not resolve the issue itself, there is a chacheing upgrade we can do as well to resolve this.--IBobi 19:38, 12 September 2011 (EDT)
That's good news IBobi, thanks. Justme 14:43, 16 September 2011 (EDT)

Reversion question

I've had to revert this edit three times already, and so I'm reluctant to do so again, but I can't figure out why this is being removed. Any thoughts? LtPowers 19:06, 16 September 2011 (EDT)

It's not clear why the original text is being removed, so provided the info isn't incorrect then your revert seems fine. -- Ryan • (talk) • 20:35, 16 September 2011 (EDT)
The user in question left a note on my talk page explaining the deletion. -- Ryan • (talk) • 21:53, 16 September 2011 (EDT)
Odd that he did so for you but not for me. The explanation is also unsatisfying, for reasons I explained on your talk page. LtPowers 09:06, 17 September 2011 (EDT)

Name of Ko Chang

I've been trying to find out what the article name of Ko Chang (Ranong) should be. There are two Ko Chang in Thailand and both are islands at the same level of the geographical hierarchy. Ko Chang is much more famous than Ko Chang (Ranong), so it gets the name. But then what name should the other island have? I checked the naming conventions for it, and it states the following: "If two places are on the same level of the geographical hierarchy (e.g. both are cities), put the country of each in parentheses after their names." Well, this doesn't really make sense as both are in Thailand. So what now? I could use the highest level of geographical hierarchy available where both are different, which would make the article name Ko Chang (Southern Thailand). But Southern Thailand is an "invention" of Wikitravel, there is no administative subdivision in Thailand called that. Another option could be to use the lowest level of geographical hierarchy, which would make the article Ko Chang (Northern Andaman Coast), but again, this is not an existing subdivision. The last option would be to use the current name or Ko Chang (Ranong Province), but this is also odd as we don't have an article about the province of Ranong on Wikitravel. --globe-trotter 02:56, 17 September 2011 (EDT)

I would go with our hierarchy and rename it Ko Chang (Southern Thailand).--burmesedays 03:47, 17 September 2011 (EDT)


Wikimapia

Could someone give me a basic outline of our policies toward linking to wikimapia policy. My understanding is that we do not link to other guides, as per External links, including mapping services. However I cannot find any specific reference to Wikimapia in our policies or the discussion pages. I would like some clarity as a new user is quite enthusiastic to use them and I do not want to jump on them in case I am in error in any way in my interpretation of this. Thanks -- felix 05:13, 19 September 2011 (EDT)

I would not treat Wikimapia any differently to any other map site, i.e. it should not be linked to. As an aside, it has struck me as being a rather odd site, and probably little more than a means for Google Maps to gather user-generated content free-of-charge. The copyright situation is also murky. --burmesedays 08:12, 19 September 2011 (EDT)
I thought the same but buttoned my lips, I will refer the contributing editor here so they can have a look if they are a bit curious as to what others think about it. -- thanks, felix 08:37, 19 September 2011 (EDT)

Historical photographs, artists' impressions -- Image policy discussion please

Hi all. I'd like to get some input at the Image policy discussion page. I hope to clarify our policy regarding the use (or preferably non-use) of historical documentary-style photos, etchings, engravings, paintings, artists' impressions, and the like. Please drop by over there and share your opinion. Thanks! texugo 09:42, 19 September 2011 (EDT)


Presenting bus line information

Perhaps we have had some discussions about this somewhere, but I don't know where to look. How much is too much bus info? My instinct is that this list is too exhaustive and detailed, but I don't really know the best way to pare it down and present it usefully. Is there any guidance available on this? texugo 11:46, 24 September 2011 (EDT)

I agree, and I think our standard "7±2 rule" is a good rule of thumb that can be pointed to in this case. LtPowers 11:54, 24 September 2011 (EDT)
I'm kinda thinking that, in a country like Brazil that has so many different bus companies, it may not make sense to make individual listings of bus companies at all. With every bus company serving a different roster of destinations and routes, there is no logical way to "recommend" 7±2 of them, is there? texugo 12:33, 24 September 2011 (EDT)
No, I agree; I meant if there are more than nine or ten, don't bother with individual listings at all. Isn't that what we did for rental cars? LtPowers 13:20, 24 September 2011 (EDT)
Yeah, I'm totally ok with that. Perhaps the region article's Get around section can have an overview of the bus companies operating in the area. I think that would suffice. Brazil just has too many bus companies to give local contact info for all of them in every article... texugo 13:26, 24 September 2011 (EDT)

Timeshare articles?

We have extensive and creative experience with owning, using, and disposing of timeshares. I've tried to figure out this site but can't seem to find anyone to ask a few questions of.

1. Is there a timeshare category? It doesn't come up in any search.

2. Would people be interested in articles like

     Timeshare Swaps - Creative Timeshare Travel+ $0 Exchanges
     Vacation with eBay Timeshares
     Rent to Sell Your Timeshare
     How to Get HIGH DOLLARS for Your Timeshare

3. I understand the prohibition on self advertising and have no problem being total generic. We are a charity that accepts timeshare donations, but the only mention of anything would be in my bio contact email address. We just find that too many people are stuck and need a few creative ideas.

4. What page should we start with as a link?

5. If not, how do we start a new page? Drkenrich 15:10, 30 September 2011 (EDT)

I think a travel topic article on Timeshares might be a good starting point, if you would like to try your hand at writing one. But yes, of course, take note of the advice at Wikitravel:Don't tout and perhaps the apartment policy as well, and keep them in mind while drafting the article. Holiday villas might be a good article to look at for inspiration (although that article could certainly use some work as well). I'm curious to see what develops! --Peter Talk 23:56, 30 September 2011 (EDT)

Lombok - transition to new international/domestic airport

Lombok's new international airport Bandara Internasional Lombok (BIL), (IATA: ---, ICAO: WADL) opened on 1 October 2011. The new airport in Praya has replaced operations at Selaparang International Airport in Mataram. Selaparang Airport was closed for airline operations on the evening of 30 September 2011.

I am working all today and into the night and may not be able to do a suitable transition on all the Lombok articles.

Due to the WT 'purge issues the new page versions are possibly not appearing.

As the current edits contain critical information for arriving and departing passengers it would be wonderful if IB can do something to ensure that only the current newly edited versions are appearing to readers.

I hope that someone at IB can assist with this.

I have sent an email containing the content of this note to dick.bradley@internetbrands dot comThanks--felix 07:08, 1 October 2011 (EDT)



Days of the week format

I was a bit confused by this edit. Did we switch to three-letter abbreviations for days of the week? Wikitravel:Abbreviations and Wikitravel:Time and date formats give no indication of this. Eco84 12:00, 4 October 2011 (EDT)

No, you are correct--they should be one or two letters, per the policies you linked. --Peter Talk 16:02, 4 October 2011 (EDT)
My apologies. Apparently my brain has confounded weekday abbreviations with our policy of 3-letter month abbreviations. Either that or I've simply been doing it wrong for years and never had it pointed out to me. Lesson learned! texugo 00:10, 5 October 2011 (EDT)

Preferences Reseting?

Last week my user preferences for recent changes and date format reset. Today the same thing happened again, and my editor preferences also changed. Has anyone else seen anything similar? If my account has been hacked that seems like an odd thing for someone to change, so I think it's more likely that something is amiss with the Wikitravel servers. -- wrh2 12:20, 5 October 2011 (EDT)

Exactly the same happened to me, twice.--burmesedays 20:25, 5 October 2011 (EDT)
Thanks, good to know I don't have to worry about whether my account was hacked. My snarkier side would say something about reporting this as a bug on shared: if I thought there was better than a one-in-fifty chance of anything being done, but luckily that side of my personality is kept in check. -- wrh2 22:12, 5 October 2011 (EDT)
If you make the report and put in as many details of exact behavior as your can (include your browser type & version), I'll raise it with Tech. Please ping me on my page or via email at paul.obrien at internetbrands dot com when you've done this, okay?--IBobi 15:21, 6 October 2011 (EDT)
While your efforts have definitely resulted in more responsiveness, there are still a ton of high priority open bugs, including the longstanding performance problems. Given that reality, reporting an issue with user preferences that is impossible to reproduce reliably is probably not a good use of either of our available resources right now. -- wrh2 15:40, 6 October 2011 (EDT)
Yes and no. A number of those bugs will hopefully resolve when the Mediawiki upgrade is done, which is currently being specced out. If the preference resets are something we can resolve in the meantime, it's probably worth reporting. If we cannot reproduce the error, it is of course less likely we can address it.--IBobi 18:11, 7 October 2011 (EDT)
I can image "speccing out" would take two or three days or even a week, but 3 months and no end in sight? It's getting pretty ridiculous. What is wrong with your tech people? texugo 00:30, 8 October 2011 (EDT)
Chances are they've never worked with MediaWiki before. LtPowers 09:42, 8 October 2011 (EDT)
My preferences decided to reset themselves again today.~~
Really sick of having to reset my preferences every time I login. Since when does "speccing out" a project, involve breaking what is already running? Wikitravel sucks at the moment. --Inas 17:06, 9 November 2011 (EST)

Search broken?

The last couple of days, I've noticed that the search isn't working properly. If you search for a page (clicking Search, rather than Go), you get a message that says

There was a problem with the wiki search. This is probably temporary; try again in a few moments, or you can search the wiki through an external search service:

followed by a Google search box. It happens even if you search for a page we definitely have, like New York City. It seems to be happening only here on en: as far as I can tell, and I have no idea how long it's been going on. Anyone else noticed this? texugo 01:48, 6 October 2011 (EDT)

Yeah, I remember seeing that even on Wikipedia years ago. Looks like our search engine is down. Time for a bug report. LtPowers 09:57, 6 October 2011 (EDT)
Working for me. Anyone still having problems?--IBobi 15:15, 6 October 2011 (EDT)
Typing "New York" in the search box and clicking the "search" button takes me to the error page texugo mentions. -- wrh2 15:43, 6 October 2011 (EDT)
Still broken for me too. IBobi, are you clicking the "Search" button? The "Go" button works fine (if we have the page), but the Search button doesn't. texugo 23:27, 6 October 2011 (EDT)
I see it. I'll get tech on it & keep you updated. Thanks guys.--IBobi 17:37, 7 October 2011 (EDT)
Should be okay now. Let me know if you see this again.--IBobi 17:46, 7 October 2011 (EDT)
No change as far as I can tell. Every search takes me to the error page with the google search box. texugo 00:27, 8 October 2011 (EDT)
This worked for me shortly after IBobi posted his message, but it is broken again now. -- wrh2 01:02, 8 October 2011 (EDT)

Looking back into this to 1. Fix it, and 2. Figure out why it keeps breaking.--IBobi 14:22, 10 October 2011 (EDT)

Back up now, and being monitored to determine what the longterm issue is with stability.--IBobi 14:41, 10 October 2011 (EDT)

Discussion notice

Could I trouble you for additional input on my question at Talk:Niagara Falls (New York)#External link? Thanks! LtPowers 10:47, 12 October 2011 (EDT)


Format for dual entries

Many hotels or guest houses have good restaurants as well. I understand we're not supposed to list them fully twice, but if our readers are looking for a place to eat, they won't intuitively look under the "Sleep" section and vice-versa. Equally I understand that we don't want to repeat information unnecessarily.

To make our great guide more user-friendly, how about if we have one "full entry" with all common details plus those relevant to accommodation under "Sleep", and one "short entry" under "Eat", with just the name and comments about the restaurant plus a remark like: See "Sleep" section for details. --SaxonWarrior 14:28, 16 October 2011 (EDT)

Seems reasonable, but I would limit it to destinations that don't already have an overabundance of listings in one section or both. LtPowers 07:34, 17 October 2011 (EDT)
I object to this, there are listings which are a guest house, restaurant, cafe, dive shop and tour agency all in one; listing them five times isn't going to improve our guides. I think our current policy suffices—if some guest houses are also good restaurants, this can easily be noted in the Sleep section, as I have done at Bangkok/Dusit#Eat. --globe-trotter 11:00, 17 October 2011 (EDT)
I object as well. I think our current policy works just fine. I don't want to see us start duplicating stuff. texugo 11:14, 17 October 2011 (EDT)
I see no reason to make a reader look in both "Eat" and "Sleep" when perusing their restaurant options. How does that benefit the traveler in any way, shape, or form? LtPowers 18:49, 17 October 2011 (EDT)
The current policy has served us well and I see slippery slopes everywhere. I would strongly oppose any change.--burmesedays 22:38, 17 October 2011 (EDT)
Duplicate listings for one place are bad, but if someone wanted to include in prose in the Eat section that several hotels or bars also serve good food, I don't see any issue with that. The main info should be with the main listing, though.. --inas 23:40, 17 October 2011 (EDT)
How would it benefit the traveler to have the same listing in every category? Places like Khao San Road and Ko Chang will be pretty awful to read, as nearly every listings there at least a guest house, cafe, and restaurant in one. --globe-trotter 02:30, 18 October 2011 (EDT)

It which case it would benefit the traveller to have a single line in the eat section that states just that. --inas 06:25, 18 October 2011 (EDT)

Yes I agree with having a pointer in the other section, like the example I gave above. --globe-trotter 07:38, 18 October 2011 (EDT)
Yes, yes, I can understand the objection for places that are rife with such options. But for small destinations where there are two separate establishments that are owned by the same people and maybe operate under the same name, I don't see the point in refusing to provide a full restaurant listing as well as a full hotel listing. You don't sleep in the dining room; why would you look at "Eat" for information on where to sleep? LtPowers 08:39, 18 October 2011 (EDT)
I agree with everyone that we shouldn't duplicate information. I was only proposing listing the name twice; nothing else would be duplicated. There would be:
  • one long listing with common information (directions, tel nos, etc) plus accommodation details under "Sleep"
  • one short listing with just name and restaurant info under "Eat" plus a pointer to the main entry.
Minimal duplication; maximum user-friendliness. I'm looking at it from the traveller's point of view. They'll miss stuff otherwise and our guide won't have achieved its aim. --SaxonWarrior 12:35, 18 October 2011 (EDT)
The current policy has developed to stop an average hotel with a restaurant and bar from just adding three listings for their establishment. The policy has been around just about forever, and I think would need a strong consensus to change it. I agree with [User:Burmesedays|burmesedays]] that there are many slippery slopes adding dups, even abbreviated ones. I do think that, where appropriate, some prose pointing out the hotels that also have a good restaurant or lively bar is entirely within the current guidelines, and adequately meets the needs of the traveller. In a small town that may only mean casting your eye back a paragraph or two. --inas 23:14, 18 October 2011 (EDT)
I'll stick by my objection and answer that allowing that would mean that every hotel-with-a-restaurant/restaurant-with-a-few-rooms will suddenly feel entitled to both, when in reality the vast majority of their secondary offerings are unremarkable and would probably otherwise not be recommended in our guide.texugo 23:16, 18 October 2011 (EDT)


A thought here. It seems the main objection involves hotels that also have a bar/lounge/restaurant in the lobby. That strikes many people, including myself, as not really 'two separate establishments' and undeserving of separate listings. It's clearly a hotel that just happens to have a restaurant on the premises, as many upscale hotels do.

But those of us looking to allow occasional exceptions are coming from a different angle. A listing that is primarily a restaurant that happens to have rooms available nearby strikes me as fundamentally different somehow than a hotel with a restaurant inside. People might expect to read about a hotel's restaurant in the Sleep listing, but would be surprised to read about a restaurant's rooms in an Eat listing. (That is, "Eating" is part of the hotel experience; "Sleeping" is not part of the restaurant experience.)

Can we agree that hotel restaurants shouldn't have separate listings, while considering that perhaps rooms adjacent to a restaurant might (given certain other conditions like a lack of other lodging nearby)?

-- LtPowers 08:41, 19 October 2011 (EDT)

In many rural places almost the only place to eat in the evening is an hotel. I have no objection to dual listings in such places - places where the total number of restaurants (listed in the phone book etc) is less than 10. For example Barra has several dual listings, including 3 hotels in Eat - but there are only two other possible places to eat on the island - the airport cafe and another hotel.
The main listing (address phone etc) should always be under Sleep, with eat or drink just listing the name (and where appropriate district). This secondary listing will generally just a single sentence with a (horizontal list), but sometimes a full review is appropriate. In bigger places a hotel restaurant should only be listed if it is "surprising" - a very good restaurant in a 1 star hotel, or a cheap one in a 4 star hotel - somewhere that is full of locals. Restaurants in places to See or Do (e.g. a museum cafe) should only be listed separately if you can eat there without paying an entry charge, and it is good enough to visit when not sightseeing.AlasdairW 18:18, 19 October 2011 (EDT)
Just out of interest, what do you see as the difference between a hotel with a restaurant, and a restaurant with some adjacent room. How would you tell one from the other? --inas 18:27, 19 October 2011 (EDT)
I know it when I see it. If someone asks you where the restaurant is, and you say "inside the ___ Hotel", then it's a hotel with a restaurant. If someone asks you where the hotel is, and you say "upstairs from ____ restaurant", then it's a restaurant with a hotel. LtPowers 14:24, 20 October 2011 (EDT)
Hmmmm... If it is separate, then there is nothing against it in our existing policy. The restaurant next to the pub, the shop on the floor above the backpackers hotel. I don't think the "know if when we see it", is sufficient for a WT policy, although I think I see the idea.. --inas 19:26, 20 October 2011 (EDT)
My main objection is not limited to hotels that have a restaurant/bar (and vice versa). The problem is much wider than that. For example hotels that have a restaurant (or several), bar (or several), spa, dive shop, surf school and a yoga centre. If we start making exceptions, how would we deal with such an establishment? To date, we have managed to create a site with great travel guides by simply mentioning this under the main category listing, or by simply mentioning it in prose. I am struggling to see why this approach creates a problem?
I do accept that some travellers might be dim enough to not realise that a hotel in a small town will most likely have a restaurant, but we can't always cater to the lowest common denominator. --burmesedays 20:50, 20 October 2011 (EDT)
Take, for instance, Saint Marys (Pennsylvania). I have Gunners listed twice: the restaurant under "Eat" and the lodging under "Sleep". There are only a few hotels in the city, so I hate to omit Gunners from the list just because they're primarily a restaurant. But likewise, it's a top food option, so it would be silly to omit them from "Eat". And I don't want to clutter the restaurant listing with information about the rooms upstairs.
Consider also, Childs, where there's only a single restaurant and one lodging establishment in the hamlet, and they both happen to be owned and run by the same people. If I omit either the restaurant or the lodging listing, the corresponding section would be entirely empty. That's not useful to the traveler.
-- LtPowers 22:01, 20 October 2011 (EDT)
Still nothing a prose mention wouldn't remedy. I think it's important to keep this rule, and it's not the rare cases you pointed out that I'm worried about-- I'm worried because relaxing this rule will start an uphill battle to keep people from double, triple, quadruple-listing their business in the vast majority of destination articles that don't have a scarcity of options. That is what the rule was intended to prevent in the first place. texugo 23:46, 20 October 2011 (EDT)
Childs is in fact a good example of how to deal with 3 businesses that have common ownership (gift shop, restaurant and accommodation). --burmesedays 01:47, 21 October 2011 (EDT)
Yeah, that's very good. I think it probably works better in a guide for a small town that has very little in any category (Buy, Eat, Drink, Sleep), though, than in cases of large cities where my comment below might be more applicable, simply because there are numerous hotels and numerous restaurants, and people might be quite a lot less likely to look for information about 3-star restaurants in hotel listings or for luxury hotel listings in restaurant listings. I'm thinking about the idea that one of the two categories should just be a referral in prose, though. I'm a bit skeptical, in regard to the exceptions I mention, but if we do go that way, I think the websites of both the hotel and the restaurant should be linked in a single listing in such cases. Ikan Kekek 02:14, 21 October 2011 (EDT)
I wouldn't agree with a blanket policy like that if it allows for no exceptions, and I thought it was generally accepted that restaurants in cities like New York that are famous in their own right and happen to be in hotels, like Jean Georges, merit their own entries, since they are destinations for way more people than will ever stay in the hotels they occupy a small part of. Actually, my current favorite restaurant in New York, Ai Fiori, happens to be on the second floor of the Setai Hotel, and if there's no entry for it in the relevant district article, I plan on posting one. Would you advise me against doing so? Sorry if I'm bringing up an irrelevant point; I'm not entirely sure and thought it would be best to address this again.
And to sum up: I think that if the restaurant can be clearly shown to be as famous as or more famous than the hotel it's in, it's OK and probably good to list it separately, and otherwise, it should be mentioned in the hotel's entry only. Does that work as a standard for reasonable judgment calls?
All the best,
Ikan Kekek 01:59, 21 October 2011 (EDT)
Per Wikitravel:Don't tout: "That said, exceptions can be made on a case-by-case basis if, for example, a hotel has a famous, separately named bar or restaurant that also draws significant numbers of non-resident customers.".
I think that covers the case LtPowers mentioned where a hotel and restaurant occupy the same building but aren't necessarily associated, and cases such as the one Ikan mentioned where a hotel restaurant draws a significant number of non-hotel patrons. A similar example from my current hometown is the Standard Hotel, which has an exceptionally famous rooftop bar that is a great "LA" experience - it would be silly not to mention it under the "Drink" section of Los Angeles/Downtown solely because the bar is on the roof of a hotel, but luckily the "draws a significant number of non-resident customers" guideline provides an exception that allows this listing while excluding other non-notable hotel bars. -- Ryan • (talk) • 02:31, 21 October 2011 (EDT)
Yeah, I really think the current policy already allows for reasonable exceptions. The apparent proposal under discussion here is a loosening of the rules, not a tightening, and while I'm pretty firmly against loosening the rules, I'm fine with the standing policy quoted above... texugo 07:40, 21 October 2011 (EDT)

GoogleMaps

On a similar note, (as above) as I posted to the facebook page, and got directed here "

Hi, I'm making Simple Open Collaboration (anyone can edit) Google 'My Places' Map showing all of the places that are listed in the WikiTravel articles of Interest, & also listing places that I would recommend as related to Across Canada Trails. Can I add an 'external link' on the page to reference it? In the GoogleMap I reference reference back to the said wikiTravel article.

see example: http://maps.google.ca/maps/ms?msid=202494502151568170302.0004af6ec0db69a199dce&msa=0&ll=51.294237,-116.946373&spn=0.045836,0.110378

Thanks. Sam--Acrosscanadatrails 23:12, 17 October 2011 (EDT)

Hi Sam, I moved your comment to the bottom so people can find it more easily. The "above" discussion you reference is at #Wikimapia. LtPowers 08:16, 18 October 2011 (EDT)

Edit window resizing

Short edit window

Has anyone else had their edit window become tiny lately? --Peter Talk 18:41, 21 October 2011 (EDT)

It's the same issue as #Preferences Reseting?. Go to User Preferences → Editing and make sure that your "Rows" and "Columns" are something like "25" and "80", respectively. Has happened to me twice in the past three days. -- Ryan • (talk) • 18:58, 21 October 2011 (EDT)
But then it will go back to normal without my going into my preferences. Strange. -Peter Talk 19:23, 21 October 2011 (EDT)
Only happens sometimes for me, too... I'm trying to detect a pattern. LtPowers 21:39, 21 October 2011 (EDT)
It has happened many times lately with me. When that happens, the changes list at Recent changes also becomes completely empty. Not sure what it is, but seems like a connection problem? --globe-trotter 04:59, 22 October 2011 (EDT)
This was reported to tech last week. All of this is a result of random preferences resetting -- you can work around it by manually selecting Edit Preferences in your profile. It has been affecting me for the last 2 weeks as well.--IBobi 21:00, 24 October 2011 (EDT)
I still have this problem. Also, the preview function does not work. The Dutch Wikitravel works fine, so I hope this issue could be fixed shortly. --Globe-trotter 00:34, 14 November 2011 (EST)

Only new tabs load?

Another bizarre problem: often trying to open a link will result in a never-ending page load (no content accessed). I also have this problem when hitting go on special:recentchanges. But if I open the link in a new window/tab, then it loads promptly. Firefox. And no idea what's going on. Anyone else? --Peter Talk 18:47, 21 October 2011 (EDT)


Indian articles-burdened with content

At first I considered raising this on the talk pages of some of the Indian articles and then decided it might be more appropriate to seek a wider overview and raise my concerns here. Some of the articles, Kochi and Bangalore readily come to mind, are seriously burdened with clutter. I think those of us who patrol and edit there frequently will be familiar with the issues. Sari shops, taxi services, reams of Eat listings, various shops, long lists of education services and academic institutions and similar can all become a little overwhelming. I have noted a few bold reversions and some ablations of big chunks of content in recent months but I think more drastic action may be appropriate. I do have some concerns though in approaching this. I am aware that many previous contributors who have put information into the articles concerned may be inadvertently alienated by any serious ablations. I do think it is important to retain their interest an enthusiasm and it may wain a little if the content they have contributed is suddenly gone. These editors are potentially our best resource in maintaining the article content.However some times my head spins just looking at these reams of information and a lot of it is just phonebook listing, often without sufficient information to be of use to a traveller. Of course if they are deleted that information cannot be built. In my observations of these articles that rarely happens. I suspect a lot of the listings are made by the proprietors, others possibly arise form the experiences of one traveller who has provided scant info on some place they came across and no one will ever built that information further. I suspect there may be a quite a few listings in the articles that have that quality. Maybe we should sweep to the discussion page, maybe just delete or maybe pick and choose what is swept to the discussion page and what is deleted. However I do feel concerned that there should be some at least broad consensus here first. Normal protocol may suggest raising it the discussion page for each article. I don't think we will get much response from other than regular India article editors and patrol editors so perhaps some of you might like to comment on the issue here.-- thanks felix 08:15, 25 October 2011 (EDT)

Just cut unnecessary content. I've been deleting masses of content at Pattaya and it has improved the article remarkably. At Kochi (India), hairdressers, opticians, blood banks, hospitals, ambulances, and pharmacies could be cut straight away. Also the police stations could be trimmed down. --globe-trotter 08:35, 25 October 2011 (EDT)
I made similar edits to Decatur, Georgia. It had accumulated a lot of cruft, and I still haven't gone through to weed out the dozen clothing stores with no description, just as one example. I've only glanced through the articles you linked, but looking at Kochi, I'd advocate removing:
  • table of trains under Get in
  • Sport, Golf, and Gym (Sport should be for city sports teams, not "I feel like playing cricket", and golf and gyms are only worth mentioning if they're famous, not just "the closest 18-hole course to X")
  • Movie theaters (again, if they're not famous it's probably just as easy to look up elsewhere)
  • Trim down the Buy section... is Kochi famous for footwear and luggage, or is it just mentioned for verbosity?
  • Everything under Stay Healthy could be removed IMO; I would only leave the emergency telephone numbers
  • Almost everything under Cope, including Libraries, Opticians, and Hairdressers
  • There are probably a bunch of other things that belong at a regional or national level, such as Electricity and Postal Mail.
--BigPeteB 09:58, 25 October 2011 (EDT)
Agree with BigPeteB on pretty much every point.texugo 10:40, 25 October 2011 (EDT)
Yes, no disagreement with any of that. Kochi (India) and its parent state article Kerala are prime examples of Indian articles gone mad. A quick read of the relevant talk pages, and you will see that Texugo and myself tried to keep them under control, but it was a losing battle.--burmesedays 20:43, 25 October 2011 (EDT)

Hungarian interwiki link broke?

Per [6] it looks like the "hu" interwiki link stopped working - see also any page (example Ecuador) that used this interwiki link. Before I file a bug on shared:

  1. Does anyone know why this might have happened?
  2. There are several interwiki links on Arabic Wikitravel (Korean, shared) that aren't set up, so would this be a good time to send IB a list of all interwiki links to update? Anyone have any others?
  3. Does anyone know how interwiki links are managed with the current version of Mediawiki used on Wikitravel? I'd like to include that info in any bug report.

-- Ryan • (talk) • 11:54, 25 October 2011 (EDT)

Don't know what happened there either. Just thought it looked pretty ugly in the middle of the Recent changes text there. I hadn't checked other pages. I don't have anything to answer you, but I'll be keeping an eye on this. texugo 12:27, 25 October 2011 (EDT)
This seems to be magically working again. Between this issue and the randomly resetting user changes I'm getting a bit worried about the integrity of the data on this site. -- Ryan • (talk) • 21:20, 25 October 2011 (EDT)
And now the ca: link seems to be doing the same thing... texugo 10:19, 26 October 2011 (EDT)
It's possible that the prep work for the Mediawiki upgrade is affecting this. In any case, the data will be perfectly safe; part of the reason we're taking the time to ensure the upgrade goes smoothly.--IBobi 14:56, 26 October 2011 (EDT)
Hindi interwiki links are breaking this morning. -- Ryan • (talk) • 11:51, 27 October 2011 (EDT)
And today it's ar: links. This is bizarre. texugo 10:37, 28 October 2011 (EDT)

Lüneburg Heath

Hi folks. Can someone please check out the Lüneburg Heath and advise what it needs to be brought to usable and, ideally, guide standard? Cheers. --SaxonWarrior 15:58, 31 October 2011 (EDT)

For starters:
  • The infobox must go. There was the possibility that some of us would let you test it for state level region articles, but it hasn't got a green light, and there was never talk of letting it stay on lower level region pages like this.
  • The See and Do sections should not have full listings like that. It should be an overview of what's to see and do in the area with nothing but a pointer to the destination article and a short description (preferably not an exact copy of the one in the destination article). There shouldn't be addresses, phone numbers, hours, prices, websites, or any of the other detailed info here. All of that stuff goes only in the appropriate city article.
  • What itineraries? Blank that part.
  • What you have in the Other destinations section should probably be adapted as a Do listing instead. That section is really for islands, national parks, and the like.
texugo 03:10, 1 November 2011 (EDT)

Watchlist out of action?

I get the following every time I try to open my watchlist today. Has this happened to anyone else?

A database query syntax error has occurred. This may indicate a bug in the software. The last attempted database query was: 
(SQL query hidden)
from within function "wfSpecialWatchlist". MySQL returned error "1: Can't create/write to file '#sql_e08_0.MYD' (Errcode: 17) (wikidb)".

Cheers. • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 09:09, 3 November 2011 (EDT)

Peter, I just started to get this as well -- looking into it, thanks for reporting.--IBobi 14:40, 3 November 2011 (EDT)
The Recentchanges page also keeps giving a white page. This has been taking place for weeks. --globe-trotter 15:19, 3 November 2011 (EDT)
globe-trotter, see the comments above re: #Preferences Reseting? to fix recent changes - on your preferences go to the "Recent Changes" tab and make sure that "Days to show" and "Number of changes" are set to non-zero numbers. -- Ryan • (talk) • 15:43, 3 November 2011 (EDT)

Watchlist should be back in action now -- please let me know if this is not the case for you.--IBobi 19:40, 3 November 2011 (EDT)

Worked fine when I logged on today. • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 23:31, 3 November 2011 (EDT)

Wi-Fi

How do we spell Wi-Fi on Wikitravel? Is it Wi-Fi or WiFi? --Globe-trotter 10:06, 6 November 2011 (EST)

Or is it just wifi? I have been using wifi as the endless variations are just a bit too messy. Wi-Fi® and Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ is the officiall version used by the Wi-Fi Alliance, the holders of the trademark. In my understanding to use Wi-Fi the user needs to register and agree that they are only using Wi-Fi certified products. This is the driving reason I have been using wifi, as it is a more generic term that describes wireless internet distribution without specifically defining it as a Wi-Fi® service that is offered.
The Wi-Fi Alliance list all of the following as their (registered) trademarks" -- felix 10:29, 6 November 2011 (EST)
  • Wi-Fi®
  • Wi-Fi Alliance®
  • WMM®
  • Wi-Fi Protected Access®
  • Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™
  • Wi-Fi ZONE™
  • Wi-Fi Multimedia™
  • Wi-Fi Protected Setup™
  • WPA™, WPA2™
  • Wi-Fi Direct™
I prefer "Wi-Fi"; it's more recognizable as a brand name for people who may not be as well-versed in computing terms as we are. LtPowers 14:54, 6 November 2011 (EST)
Agreed. Wi-Fi is best.
I don't think that wifi describes something as generic in general usage. In most cases it is just a lazy misspelling of Wi-Fi. You certainly don't need to register to use the word. --inas 17:08, 6 November 2011 (EST)
I also think Wi-Fi is best. Wikipedia also uses Wi-Fi. --Globe-trotter 17:38, 6 November 2011 (EST)
Well Inas that is not actually the case. To use Wi-Fi a provider of the network is required to register and the use of that registered trademark term is meant to define that network as complying with the standards defined by the Wi-Fi Alliance® that owns the registered trademark Wi-Fi®. Globe-trotter, Wikipedia describe Wi-Fi, they do not "use" it. If you have a look at the article there you will note the article outlines essentially what I am saying here ... "Wi-Fi is a trademark of the Wi-Fi Alliance and the brand name for products using the IEEE 802.11 family of standards". It is not a complex registration process and is available with an online form from the Wi-Fi Alliance.
Each Wi-Fi provider is meant to register and describe their network specific Wi-Fi Alliance recognised and certified devices. So if we use Wi-Fi we should only be describing those networks that are using Wi-Fi Alliance® certified equipment and have registered as a Wi-Fi® provider. More generic terms that would be inclusive of any wifi network are: WIFI, WiFi, wifi, wireless internet network, WLAN, Wireless LAN, wireless local area network, or IEEE 802.11 wireless network. For us here I think we are logically limited to either WIFI, WiFi or wifi as many providers do not use Wi-Fi Alliance® certified equipment, or it is not registered, or is a mix of certified and non-certified equipment. -- felix 18:09, 6 November 2011 (EST)
Perhaps have a look here as it describes the use of the trademark Wi-Fi in association with IEEE 802.11-compliant devices. The IEEE 802.11 equipment and managing software in many restaurants, cafes and hotels is not actually Wi-Fi equipment, rather it is IEEE 802.11-compliant wireless LAN equipment. It is a bit like calling a vacuum cleaner a Hoover or an Electolux, or referring to all jet powered airliners as Boeings. Sorry if it seems pedantic, but it is true. -- felix 18:32, 6 November 2011 (EST)
Read the article again. It doesn't say that. --inas 18:57, 6 November 2011 (EST)
Read which article again Inas, I think you are misunderstanding the use of the term Wi-Fi, it is a brand name used to describe IEEE 802.11-compliant devices, not a broad descriptive term suitable for describing Wireless LANs. Have a look at the suppliers of equipment and software for hotels, restaurants, cafes and similar businesses, you can examine the entire website for some of them and never even find a mention of Wi-Fi, or any near version of it. This is because Wi-Fi is a specific trademark, the equipment will be described as "IEEE 802.11 compliant" or similar. Have a read of the article link you inadvertently deleted in your previous edit. -- felix 19:18, 6 November 2011 (EST)
Oh for crying out loud. Since when is it our job to be pedantic about not genericizing trademarks? Go to the UK, and the word "hoover" is perfectly unremarkable as a generic term for "vacuum cleaner"; whether the Wi-Fi Alliance likes it or not, "Wi-Fi" is the most common generic term for wireless networking. LtPowers 19:47, 6 November 2011 (EST)
@felix. Apologies for removing the link. No idea what happened there. The Wi-Fi alliance have specific trademarks for their certified or registered equipment. The word Wi-Fi is not one they have sought to protect against unregistered but standards compliant equipment. The word has been in use since way before they even came into existence. They have no chance of successfully protecting what is surely genericised term by now, and they aren't trying to. That's why they have their Wi-Fi certified, and their little logo thingy - that is what they are interested in. And even if they did successfully protect Wi-Fi, you wouldn't escape a passing off or trademark suit by omitting a hyphen, or making it lower case - it means the same thing. Do a search for "Wi-Fi" on expedia, to see why to persuing any such strategy would be futile.
As far as WT policy goes, we use the most common names. If you'd like to explore this trademark thing a little more, have a look at the discussion at Talk:Perisher, and see what you think. --inas 20:08, 6 November 2011 (EST)
There is no need for any "crying out loud" or any other sort of crying here. It is just what it is, no more and no less, Wi-Fi is a registered trademark describing a certification issued to describe compliance to the Wi-Fi Alliance interpretation of the IEEE 802.11 standard. That it has been adopted as a generic term in common vernacular is a given. If we wish to use the term here as a potentially inaccurate description of some establishments IEEE 802.11 standard wireless LAN I don't really give much of a toss about it. However I do not appreciate being told that I am wrong about something when I am not, or that a reference I have supplied that describes the issue says the opposite to what I am outlining. If in doubt just look at the little ® following the registered name and trademark. Wi-Fi® describes the brand ascribed to the certification process available to manufacturers of IEEE 802.11 standard wireless LAN products and to the use of those products when providing a IEEE 802.11 certified wireless LAN services, such as you may come across in a hotel. What we should be more interested about here is working out a way to avoid having a wide range of descriptions used in the articles, including; wifi, wi-fi, WAN, WLAN, WIFI, WiFi, Wifi, Wifi internet, wireless internet and Wi-Fi, all of which I encounter mixed up throughout articles. If we do pick one of these as a standard to use in WT articles we should probably not actually seek out one that involves a technical name® or trademark™ breach if it is used when describing a non- Wi-Fi certified WLAN installed at a hotel or other business. I assure you many of these networks are not actually Wi-Fi networks at all, they are actually IEEE 802.11 standard wireless LANs. I strongly doubt that the Wi-Fi Alliance will come after IB or WT for incorrect use of the name Wi-Fi, and if they do it will not be my problem. I am happy to go along with any consensus here on a naming protocol, I have already clearly made my suggestions regarding name use and that is either wifi, or WiFi, and not the use of Wi-Fi, as it is a specific trademark with a defined meaning, even if it that is apparently not clear to many people. I wonder LtPowers, if you came across a description that mentioned "hoovering" a hotel room everyday, would you edit that, or would you leave it as "hoovering". At the airport do people board "Boeings", or do they board jet aircraft. The use of Wi-Fi as a descriptive term is actually the same as doing that. felix 20:44, 6 November 2011 (EST)
Sorry inas, I overlapped your comments as my connection kept on timing out, I will go and have a look at that link you provided. -- felix 20:44, 6 November 2011 (EST)
Yes, I understand what you are relating to Perisher being used as a generic naming description of a place or destination. This is a little different though Wi-Fi describes the compliance of a product as being certified to a particular standard. Often what we describe as Wi-Fi is not standards compliant, and sometimes that may offer an explanation to why it does not work properly. Some of the IEEE 802.11 equipment used in WLAN systems is just unstable rubbish. I also agree that taking out the hyphen is a pretty lame way of trying to avoid a TM issue. I am merely suggesting that we should not knowingly select an actual TM and use it. I suspect the only people who even give a hoot about this are 4-5 WT editors and I really don't think the Wi-Fi Alliance is going to come after us. We need to decide on one term to avoid wifi, wi-fi, WAN, WLAN, WIFI, WiFi, Wifi, Wifi internet, wireless internet and Wi-Fi all being mixed into the articles. Should we call it the rather 'wordy' wireless internet or WLAN, as some people quite accurately do in the listings, or should we adopt one of the commonly used acronyms. -- felix 21:00, 6 November 2011 (EST)
I'll choose Wi-Fi too, for consistency's sake. And the trademark stuff is irrelevant. The vast majority of people use "Wi-Fi" in a totally generic sense, and that is the most common way to refer to it, not "wireless internet" and certainly not WLAN. texugo 21:17, 6 November 2011 (EST)

If using Wi-Fi is a passing off, or breach of trademark laws, then so are the variously capitalised and hyphenated variants. You can't open up a hamburger shop called mcdonalds, or mc-donalds. Using one of those terms is the same, except they look like spelling mistakes. The link I gave you shows how we do deliberately select and use a TM if it is an the most appropriate and well used term. The only way to work around the any trademark issue (if there actually was one) would be to use a completely different term, and using WLAN would just confuse the people, and make WT look stupid. As to wireless internet vs Wi-Fi, you may care to review the discussion (and my opinion) at Wikitravel_talk:Abbreviations#Wi-Fi_vs_Wireless_internet, although time has certainly moved on since then. --inas 21:18, 6 November 2011 (EST)

Yes, inas, I agree completely, wireless internet is far to broad as it covers IEEE 802.11 WLANs, 3G, CDMA, EDGE and GPRS accessable wireless internet. I never suggested that we should use either WLAN or wireless internet, ages ago I adopted wifi as it appeared to have no particular conflicts and described IEEE 802.11 WLANs as most people would understand them. To be honest I am only interested in seeing one descriptive term for IEEE 802.11 WLANs here. I did not suggest using "the rather 'wordy' wireless internet or WLAN", in my opinion it would be silly. That is why I have been using wifi. Lest I appear to be argumentative here I am going to withdraw from this discussion and when others make a determination as to what we follow here I will just adopt it. I do think it is relevant to consider the actual facts though, rather than assumptions concerning the Wi-Fi term. If there is genuine consensus to use Wi-Fi then it is merely potentially inaccurate, and that is not particularly problematic as most people are completely unaware of it. -- felix 21:33, 6 November 2011 (EST)
So, is there some consensus here, which are we going to use now. Wi-Fi, or something else like WiFi or wifi? -- felix 12:03, 8 November 2011 (EST)
Just did a quick set of searches: Wi-Fi is used on 850 pages (various capitalisation), "wireless internet" on 748, wireless on 1120 (mostly in an internet context, but there was wireless jewellery, and you could stay at Wireless Cottage), and wifi on 1161 (various capitalisation). So I would suggest WiFi, as it seems to be the most popular, is short, and it avoids the hyphen introducing line breaks. AlasdairW 16:58, 8 November 2011 (EST)
It is always seems to be the trivial which generates the most discussion around here! I think the cause of simplifying formatting and avoiding line breaks is admirable, however we can't both argue for a space between unit abbreviations and their associated numbers, and argue against a hyphen in Wi-Fi. The former is likely to cause thousands of more inadvertent and ugly line breaks than the latter. The Oxford dictionary, wiktionary, wikipedia, all use Wi-Fi. I think we would need a stronger case to diverge from that kind of authority. --inas 17:15, 8 November 2011 (EST)
Sorry inis, I still disagree with this commentary that WP "use" Wi-Fi, what they do is describe the use of the term Wi-Fi® in the article on the name, rather than using it to describe the IEEE 802.11 wireless standard. WP do describe IEEE 802.11 in a separate article. WP clearly describe Wi-Fi as a TM of the Wireless alliance used as a trademarked certification and marketing name defining the certification of many products using the IEEE 802.11 standard.
Wi-Fi does not describe all appliances or software that is built to IEEE 802.11, indeed a lot of products are not Wi-Fi certified.
What WP 'use' to describe that (entire) form of wireless network connectivity is "IEEE 802.11" and that describes the standard rather the trademark.
Wi-Fi is a name of a proprietary certification and marketing agreement.
From WP; "IEEE 802.11 is a set of standards ...that...provide the basis for wireless network products using the Wi-Fi brand name" [7]. WI-Fi® is really a sub-set of IEEE 802.11 wireless, and one that is covered by the provision of a proprietary trademarked name. If you have a look on the WP talk page for Wi-Fi you might notice there is a small discussion there at this time concerning that article and how it is is meant to be describing the "brand name". If you care to look at Official IEEE 802.11 working group project timelines-2011-09-28, [8], guess what, not even a single mention of Wi-Fi, that is because it is a brand name. I am not for a moment suggesting that we should start using IEEE 802.11, but do please understand that, as I mentioned earlier, it is like calling all vacuum cleaners "Hoovers".
Inas, you suggested a "stronger case" was required to diverge from the "authority of the Oxford dictionary and various Wiki publications.
Well how about referring to the official website of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) [9]. They are the people who control and define the IEEE 802.11 standard that is Wi-Fi. They use WiFi except where they are talking about "The Wi-Fi Alliance". Perhaps we should be doing the same here in the WT articles. However I will just go with the consensus as I mentioned above, I note globetrotter has already incorporated Wi-Fi into Wikitravel:Abbreviations. -- felix 12:00, 9 November 2011 (EST)
Sorry, I meant the OED, Wikitionary etc have articles describing Wi-Fi, and none on wifi. In fun - I'd suggest you try to create an article on WP called wifi, making the case there that it describes something that is kind of the same as Wi-Fi, but a little bit different in the way you have tried to describe - and good luck with that :-) --Inas 15:41, 9 November 2011 (EST)
There is no need for for an article such as that as it is already reasonably well defined in the correct article at WP:IEEE_802.11. There is not really any such thing as either wifi or WiFi, they are just colloquial acronyms for IEEE_802.11 and the term is also reasonably inclusive of Wi-Fi® Alliance certified wireless LAN networks. It is the colloquial nature of the acronyms wifi, or WiFi that makes them a more suitable generic term to use here. Have a look here at this google search note the way that things that are actually describing associations with the Wi-Fi® Alliance branding are described using Wi-Fi® and those that are not, like Google WiFi are using WiFi, just like the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) do. A WP discussion page User:WiFi has attempted to clarify this in the WP context. A google search for WiFi provides "About 571,000,000 results", a google search for Wi-Fi provides "About 434,000,000 results". howstuffworks also describes WiFi. Also I must re-iterate that although many domestic IEEE_802.11 wireless routers are branded with the Wi-Fi® certification and marketing name, many professional and more complex IEEE_802.11 networks rely on IEEE_802.11 equipment that has no need for specific need for the branding or is technically non-compliant. Airports, hotels, cafes and restaurants often have wireless networks that are not Wi-Fi® certified, or using Wi-Fi® certified equipment, better maybe to follow the lead of many like the airport wifi guide and just use WiFi, many also just use wifi, without capitalisation, or Wifi. As the Wi-Fi® Alliance state at their website, if it is "Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ then it is Wi-Fi®". When it is certified it has certification that looks like this.
Inis, much as I really do entirely respect your opinions on all things here and would readily turn to you for advice on WT policy matters in this instance I really do think you have the horse backwards in the carriage harness. I hope you will forgive me for persevering with this, but it really is a little odd to use the brand name. -- felix 04:03, 10 November 2011 (EST)
Felix, I suggest giving it a rest. You've written an awful lot of words on this subject, and have yet to convince anyone of your position. LtPowers 11:46, 10 November 2011 (EST)

Yes, I agree, seems like a waste of time. However I do think it is all a bit like saying a Buick is a car, therefore all cars are Buicks. If no one gets that then I am certainly just wasting my time and let's just go ahead and use the brand name. It will certainly not be my fault if people think it was the wrong decision later. -- felix 08:28, 11 November 2011 (EST)

We had a discussion about this years ago, and my take-away was that Wi-Fi was the preferred way of writing this, per Inas. Alas, I somehow became confused, and thought that the discussion had favored WiFi, and have written numerous articles using that abbreviation... --Peter Talk 10:55, 14 November 2011 (EST)

Spacing before abbreviations

While we are raking over matters like the wifi acronym perhaps we should also find some clear consensus on spacing before abbreviations. In reading Wikitravel talk:Abbreviations as prompted by inas I note the comments raised there regarding spaces before things like XX km, and X,XXX m, 30 mph and that sort of thing. I have been merrily using spaces as I understood that is the standard here, as on WP. Is this the case though or is this another chestnut looking for a frying pan. I am not even going to dare to express my own opinion on it, and I have plenty as an ex-art director and author of a number of corporate style guides. I just want to know what consensus we have in that regard to this, is there actually a policy or have we just loosely followed the WP style, if so what is it and can we agree here that it involves that use of a space as seems to be commonly practiced here? -- felix 22:45, 6 November 2011 (EST)

I'd observe there is no common practice. A quick scan over the WT database for km with a space and without, reveals tens of thousands of both forms of usage. Just as an aside, we do seem to have a mild consensus that there is no space between a number at the AM/PM in a listing. We overwhelmingly use 3AM, and not 3 AM. --inas 00:53, 7 November 2011 (EST)
Yes, that has always been my understanding, the times are a different thing, ie: 3AM, or now alternatively 03:00 as long as there is consistency within the article and preferably the article cluster. So there is no established consensus on things such as XX km, and X,XXX m, 30 mph and similar. Doesn't really matter much I guess as long as it is all at least treated the same way within an article. Personally I think it helps if all the articles are stylistically the same. The Wi-Fi, wifi, WiFi thing is a good example of why we should try and get things like that sorted out. I can see what was prompting globetrotter, he was doing an edit on a Thai article and had both WiFi and wifi there in the article. He has now changed them all to Wi-Fi, a visually clumsy solution in terms of typographic style but a great leap forward in the articles stylistic uniformity. I suspect globetrotter would like to see some certainty about such things, especially as he deals with an article set that has an occasional fractious challenge of one sort or another.
You are probably aware I edit and patrol a lot of the Indian, Malaysian and Indonesian articles and each of those is notorious for sometimes highly creative divergence from established or assumed WT guidelines, including general style, content, formatting, capitalisation, word spacing and spelling conventions. Globetrotter recently revised all of the Thai articles to BRIT English in an effort to achieve style conformity, that was prompted by an anon editor challenging his editing style and word use. It appears a similar thing is happening there again at the moment but it is more a writing style issue this time. I can empathise with the desire to have some sort of consensus on the wifi thing.
Although it is preferable to at least establish and maintain consistency in article formatting and style I would prefer my efforts were not wasted in establishing a pattern that is later challenged as inappropriate. The WiFi, wifi, Wi-Fi thing should have been established ages ago and I note that it is still unresolved. I hope this spacing thing is not going to be an issue as well. Line breaks appearing at the space before an abbreviation when text auto wraps is something that possibly should be given some consideration here in regard to the spacing before abbreviations. Some of the Indian articles I have tackled have been such a dogs breakfast that the introduction of any uniformity to the layout and style was an improvement but I do not want to be changing the mishmash of wifi alternatives to one variation, only to find out after doing a thousands of them that they really should have all been conformed to one used as a registered trademark. It may appear I am being argumentative however I am actually just trying to gain some certainty on these things.-- felix 02:04, 7 November 2011 (EST)
I don't think it is an issue. The only person who has expressed a contrary opinion to leaving a space is me, and I'm happy to concede the point. If you would like to please, update Wikitravel:Abbreviations accordingly. If anybody seriously objects they can revert/discuss. --inas 03:21, 7 November 2011 (EST)

Admin assistance needed in Finnish Wikitravel

It seems that article about Los Angeles in Finnish version of Wikitravel gets constantly spammed. So far haven't seen any admin activity there. Does someone with power have time to check it out and maybe edit-protect it? Thanks 82.197.1.5 01:38, 7 November 2011 (EST)

Improving the site as a whole

Maybe this belongs in the "Expeditions" discussion area (or maybe this topic has already been discussed previously). I've been thinking lately... should not one of our main, immediate goals, as a group of dedicated contributors, be to bring the most popular/well-known tourist destination pages to "Star" quality (or as near to it as possible), as soon as possible? Let's be frank, even if Wikitravel had way more public exposure than it currently has, most travelers aren't going to be interested if we're not completely covering the destinations they are interested in. I know this site will never reach a Wikipedia-level of users, but we could have a LOT more; we should be able to compete with print travel guides.

I don't mean covering just major cities such as Paris, London, NYC, Rome, Venice, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Buenos Aires, Sydney, etc. (which are reasonably good articles, but compared to our Chicago article, which I've always seen as the ideal, they leave much to be desired)... but also larger geographical areas such as, say, Tuscany, the Niagara Falls area, or Southwest Ireland (regions are something that Wikitravel has trouble with handling well, imo, but that's another discussion... also, I'm not saying my list is definitive). I know it's a huge task; I helped write the star article for Big Bend National Park - a relatively easy accomplishment compared to the places I listed above - and even that took way more time and resources than I could have ever anticipated. I also know that doing this would be much easier if we had more contributors, which makes it kind of a Catch-22 situation.

Because really my point is that nailing the popular/well-known destination articles will not only attract more readers, but it will also in turn attract more contributors... and that's a big thing. More contributors will mean more articles AND more accurate articles, as well as more people to help with administrative tasks (such as de-tout-ifying). In short, we need more contributors. To get more contributors, we need to take care of the basics first. I see great work has been done recently for Washington DC and Orlando, and I think those are great steps. Army of me 01:41, 11 November 2011 (EST)

Your logic can't really be faulted. However, on the other side of the coin, you really can already get all the information you need to see a city like Chicago, London or Sydney just with google and a couple of quick searches. I sometimes wonder of the value in updating the public transport and price information for some cities, yet again, when there are online tripfinders, price guides etc that give you all the options. However, there is so much of the world and more remote parts of even populated countries where even these basics can be hard to ascertain, and where often WT already has surprisingly good coverage. We have travel guides for some country towns, and small remote parts of the world for which no other guide exists. I guess I'm just sayin' that we may have other strengths we can play to --Inas 03:49, 11 November 2011 (EST)
Everyone can add his/her knowledge to the wiki where he/she desires, and it is hard to make them contribute information only to particular places. Wikitravel aims to be a world-wide guide, for destinations all over the globe. However, I do agree that some destinations are more important than others. Work has been done on many of them, including Bali, Bangkok, Walt Disney World, and the others you mentioned. Somehow some popular travel areas in Europe, like travel regions in France and Italy, have received poor coverage on Wikitravel. I don't know exactly why, but maybe because the locals there participate on the wiki of their own language area.
Wikipedia has a "1,000 core topics" [10] list, the 1,000 articles that should become featured articles as fast as possible. Maybe we could set up something similar for Wikitravel? (but then in the range of 250 articles, as 1,000 would be a bit much I think). --Globe-trotter 11:18, 12 November 2011 (EST)
I think even 250 would be too many, as that's about 1% of our guides. 100 would be a better start. LtPowers 11:26, 12 November 2011 (EST)
Hey, you know what I just thought of? If we take the nine cities and nine other destinations from the six populated continents, that's 108 right there. Now we just need someone to go through them and list what status each one is currently at. LtPowers 11:29, 12 November 2011 (EST)
That's definitely a good idea. Why I said 250 is because Wikitravel has a heavy focus on "world cities". They are obviously important, but many travellers go to other places like beach resorts (e.g. Benidorm, Chersonissos), ski resorts (Zermatt, Aspen), national parks, theme parks (Walt Disney World), smaller towns (like Hangzhou, Ubud, etc), regions (Tuscany, Loire Valley), villages (Mont Saint Michel), and other places. I also think these could be given more weight. Also we could try to find some statistics about which places are most attended by travellers. It's amazing how badly covered some of these popular destinations are. If these articles would improve, then maybe we could attract more contributors from these places. --Globe-trotter 11:39, 12 November 2011 (EST)
100% support from me on LtPowers' idea. I assume (as Army of me originally noted) that this would be done as part of an expedition of some sort? -- Ryan • (talk) • 11:52, 12 November 2011 (EST)
I made a start with Europe and Asia here. --Globe-trotter 19:38, 12 November 2011 (EST)
Cool! Please explain your color coding. Does it have anything to do with the status (outline, usable, guide, etc.) of the articles in question? Ikan Kekek 04:11, 14 November 2011 (EST)
I just answered my own question: Medium green is a star article, light green is a guide, slightly orange yellow is usable, red is an outline, gray is a redirect. Ikan Kekek 04:18, 14 November 2011 (EST)
Wow, I'm glad others agree (I was afraid my comments might accidentally offend someone)! I do realize there are a variety of factors that have likely kept certain destination guides from being their best, but I think at least identifying and officially acknowledging what destinations should be priorities and which need more work is a big step. Before posting my first comment, I tried searching online for statistics on "most visited tourist destinations" and the like, but I've had a hard time so far. I'll keep looking. Army of me 18:57, 13 November 2011 (EST)
Very cool idea (and good to see you back, Army of me)! I'm a little surprised to see that Europe has the poorest developed 7±2 lists. I agree that this would be a worthwhile expedition. --Peter Talk 11:11, 14 November 2011 (EST)
Thanks, good to be back! I was surprised too, but I bet a lot of it can be chalked up to us writing about what we know (or users creating entries, but not in English, as suggested previously). Speaking of which, I'll probably be sprucing up the article for my hometown, Houston, soon... Army of me 22:53, 27 November 2011 (EST)
The basic idea is very good. Details, we can probably work out.
I had to chuckle at the reference above to "smaller towns (like Hangzhou, ...". The current population is around six million, I think. If Hangzhou is a small town, then neither Canada nor Australia have anything that qualifies as a city. Capital of China at one point, and Marco Polo who visited it a few decades after its fall wrote of Hangzhou "beyond dispute the finest and the noblest in the world ... everything appertaining to this city is on so vast a scale, and the Great Kaan's yearly revenues therefrom are so immense, that it is not easy even to put it in writing, and it seems past belief...". Pashley 21:30, 14 November 2011 (EST)
Hehe, I meant it in comparison to the top 9 cities of Asia. We have a heavy focus on "world cities", such as Beijing, but travellers go to "smaller" places which I think should not be overlooked :) --Globe-trotter 12:51, 15 November 2011 (EST)
Not sure how helpful this is, but I found the top 50 most-visited tourist destinations for 2007 (as reported by Forbes Traveler magazine, which I don't think exists anymore). Apparently the census data was supplied by the attractions themselves, or other media reports. It doesn't have regions and there could be other biases I'm not aware of. Anyways, here it is! We may need to just brainstorm and come up with an agreement on what we feel are the most "important" world destinations that need to be covered. Army of me 22:53, 27 November 2011 (EST)

Exchange Rate Bot

It would be great to have a box in the "buy" section of country articles (and regions, ie. Hong Kong, when appropriate) which could have exchange rates that are automatically updated (weekly). I frequently come across old exchange rates on articles and there are many country articles without an exchange rate listed. This would make it very helpful when looking at prices...is 5000 francs in French Polynesia expensive? For a meal yes...for a hotel room its dirt cheap by local standards! But I have to take a minute to calculate it, and I know where to go and how to do it, which many WT readers likely don't. The box could be simple with just the name of the currency & code listed at top and 3-5 exchange rates listed. Since this is the English WT, there should at least be US dollars (USD), Euros (EUR), & GB pounds (GBP) and possibly Canadian, Australian, & NZ dollars as well. The bot could be written based on the 3-letter currency code, so that the currencies listed could be changed to reduce redundancy (ie. 1 USD=1 USD on the US page) or reflect regional currencies which travelers may have or be familiar with (ie. South African rand in southern African, Russian rubles in Central Asia). Examples (would need a better format):

Australian Dollar (AUD)

Exchange rates, as of 16/11/2011:

1 AUD equals / 1 ___ equals

(US flag) 1.015 USD / 0.987 AUD

(EU flag) 0.751 EUR / 1.332 AUD

(UK flag) 0.644 GBP / 1.556 AUD


Tenge (KZT)

Exchange rates, as of 16/11/2011:

1 KZT equals / 1 ___ equals

(US flag) 0.007 USD / 148.200 KZT current

(EU flag) 0.005 EUR / 199.749 KZT current

(UK flag) 0.004 GBP / 233.585 KZT current

(Russian flag) 0.208 RUB / 4.812 KZT current

(Chinese flag) 0.043 CNY / 23.358 KZT current

Of course the only "big issue" is finding a website that has exchange rates and a terms of use that would allow us to display rates here. Will have to check a couple dozen such sites to find one compatible. Is WT considered commercial? The content from the US government is in the public domain, but rates are only published by the Treasury quarterly and by country (not currency), [11]. Any similar public domain sites for Pound & Euro exchange rates, at the very least? If this is unfeasible, could it be made a standard template that could be put on pages (although manually updated) with perhaps a quick link to the currency calculation (as in the second example for Kazakhstan tenge). AHeneen 06:27, 16 November 2011 (EST)

Actually, the big issue is programming and running the bot. =) We've had bots before on which we relied, but they stopped working. I think a single template would be best, as it would avoid having constant updates to every country page on the site. MediaWiki's parser functions should be able to handle the basic math, though we might have to work a bit on rounding (or borrow from Wikipedia). LtPowers 08:49, 16 November 2011 (EST)
Why don't we pull exchange rates we have out into a template anyway. At least then there is only one place to update them. I think we'll encounter other issues when doing this, not least of people wanting their own currency listed, and ending up with hundreds. --Inas 17:20, 16 November 2011 (EST)
We can always (and probably should) establish a list of 7+-2 major currencies that we allow to be listed against the local currency in question. Nobody from Suriname or Laos or Tajikstan should be surprised if we have an establish policy that doesn't include their currency. If they are the type to travel internationally, they are probably already quite familiar with the exchange rate of their currency versus at least one or two of the currencies we do allow...texugo 08:44, 17 November 2011 (EST)
We probably should think this through before we go any further. Picking 9 currencies for each destination? I'd say we limit ourselves to USD and EUR for now, and hope that one day we can pick out the users local currency. --Inas 17:58, 17 November 2011 (EST)

I don't think listing 7 +/- 2 currencies would be a good idea either. The idea I had was to have one template, which would include the US dollar, Euro, & pound, and have a couple additional lines ("currency 4=", "currency 5=") where 1-2 additional currencies could be added when appropriate because they are widely accepted or common in the region and which traveler would have or need to exchange. Examples would be the South African rand, which is commonly used in southern African countries, the Russian ruble in Central Asia, the Australian dollar in the South Pacific, the Swiss Franc in Western Europe, etc. This isn't simply to help travelers from those countries, but even for an American visiting southern Africa, you'll likely become familiar with using the rand and while shopping in Botswana, where many merchants will accept rand, it would be helpful to know the exchange rate between the two when a price is listed as 100 pula, but the shopkeeper says he'll accept 150 rand (the exchange rate is only 1.09 rand=1 pula)...much simpler than trying to convert each to dollars. Hopefully that example is clear. I don't have any programming knowledge, but basically the text of the template that the user would copy onto the page would look like this:

{{exchangebot


| Currency= Name of country's currency (AAA) (where AAA is the 3-letter currency symbol)

| Currency1=USD (use 3-letter currency symbol, USD should always be listed first except in countries using the US dollar)

| Currency1flag=Image:flag (small flag of country issuing currency 1)

| Currency2=EUR (use 3-letter currency symbol, USD should always be listed after the US dollar, and not listed in countries using the Euro)

| Currency2flag=Image:flag (small flag of country issuing currency 2)

| Currency3=GBP (use 3-letter currency symbol, GBP should always be listed after the Euro, and not listed in countries using the Pound)

| Currency3flag=Image:flag (small flag of country issuing currency 3)

| Currency4= (use 3-letter currency symbol, only list additional currency widely accepted in this country or major regional currency)

| Currency4flag=Image:flag (small flag of country issuing currency 4)

| Currency5= (use 3-letter currency symbol, only list additional currency widely accepted in this country or major regional currency)

| Currency5flag=Image:flag (small flag of country issuing currency 5)

}}

If this were a bot, then it would simply take the currency from the first line (the one for the country of the page it is on) and the other currencies and display the current exchange rate and the date it was last updated. If it was simply a template, then additional lines for each currency would be needed to list exchange rates & url to current rate (like in Tenge example above). Or a better idea might be to just keep things simple and just have the url to the current exchange rate, which users simply click on and go straight to the up-to-the-minute rate. While simple, it wouldn't be useful to travelers who download to use WT offline and might cause problems with mobile versions/apps of WT. The text for a template which includes the rates would look like:

{{exchangebox

| Currency= Tenge (KZT)

| Currency1=USD (use 3-letter currency symbol, USD should always be listed first except in countries using the US dollar)

| Currency1flag=Image:US_flag

| Rate_for_1_Currency1=148.200

| Rate_of 1_Currency=0.007

| Rate_url=http://www.xe.com/ucc/convert/?Amount=1&From=KZT&To=USD

And so forth

}}

The above would look like the tenge example in the original suggestion above. The second option with just the links:

{{exchangebox

| Currency= Tenge (KZT)

| Currency1=USD (use 3-letter currency symbol, USD should always be listed first except in countries using the US dollar)

| Currency1name=US dollar

| Currency1flag=Image:US_flag

| Rate_url=http://www.xe.com/ucc/convert/?Amount=1&From=KZT&To=USD

And so forth

}}

Which would look like:

Tenge (KZT)

Current exchange rates:

(US flag) US dollar

(EU flag) Euro

(UK flag) Pound

(Russian flag) Russian ruble

(Chinese flag) Chinese yuan

If the consensus is for a template and not a bot, then I like the example with just the links, even with its issues. AHeneen 21:20, 17 November 2011 (EST)

Can't see the point in adding multiple links to an exchange rate engine. Just clutter. It is pretty much the exact kind of extlink we've always discouraged, no information, useless offline or printed, etc. --Inas 22:18, 17 November 2011 (EST)

Why can't XML tags like <eat> support formatting?

Why doesn't the <eat> template allow wiki markup inside its tags? I went through and marked the selected restaurants listed at the top level of Atlanta#Eat with their district (so it's obvious that this one is in Downtown, and that one is in Midtown), only to find out that all my beautiful wikification is just displayed as plain text.

I also remember finding out some time ago that the '' and ''' syntax for bold and italics isn't supported, either, so we can't list phone numbers as "+1 404 894-2500". These both seem like pretty useful features to have, IMO. It would help reduce clutter/duplication if large city articles could list minimal details about restaurants, bars, etc., on their front page — just enough to get a traveler's interest — and then readers click through to the district article to get the full scoop. --BigPeteB 13:29, 17 November 2011 (EST)

As far as wiki markup in listings, this has been raised multiple times. I think there is a tech request for it to be fixed, but I wouldn't hold your breath. I'm not heartbroken about the phone number formatting though, it is very U.S. centric, and overly focussed on a just a printed guide. Trying to distinguish the must dial component in numbers will go the way of the rotary phone. --Inas 17:12, 17 November 2011 (EST)
As far as minimal details about restaurants and bars in huge city articles, and details in districts, I do believe that this is the way it is supposed to work. --Inas 17:12, 17 November 2011 (EST)
Those listings should be moved completely to the district articles, instead of their district added to the listing. Also I think the phone numbers work fine as just +1 404 894-2500. So while a tech request could be filed, I think others have higher priority. --Globe-trotter 17:25, 17 November 2011 (EST)
Going on a bit of a tangent here, but:... I hate the idea that a districtified city can't have any listings at the top level. You mean if I want to eat, or drink, or sleep somewhere, I have to click through to every single district just to figure out what's famous or good in the city? What's the harm in throwing a couple of highlights at the top level?
Chicago is an example of how terrible this can be, IMO. It tells me that Chicago is famous for deep dish pizza (which I already knew), but if I want to know where to eat some, I have to look through the listings for every single district. Why can't I just get a couple of suggestions of the best or most famous deep-dish pizza restaurants? --BigPeteB 18:55, 17 November 2011 (EST)
There is nothing wrong with putting some of the names of top deep dish pizza restaurants at the top level. In fact the Chicago article introduces the subject, names a couple of the best, and points you at the district article for the details. I think it is a good example of how it is best done. We don't want people to have to check every district guide for restaurants, but we do want push them down into the districts to find the fine details. For pizza in Chicago, you may only wish to check the area you are in. Also adding listings to the top level is a slippery slope that adds to the overhead of maintaining the top level articles. --Inas 19:11, 17 November 2011 (EST)
Huge City articles (and Region articles, for that matter) should avoid listings and simply use prose to introduce important establishments. There may be a case for a city- or region-wide chain to get a listing in the corresponding article, but such cases should be rare if allowed at all. LtPowers 19:47, 17 November 2011 (EST)
Oh, and please see shared:Tech:Wiki markup is disabled in listing parameters for an existing bug report on this topic. LtPowers 19:55, 17 November 2011 (EST)
If the article said something like, "Although there are nationally-known chains like X, Y, and Z, for a more local experience try A or B," I could live with that (presuming that it then wikilinked to the appropriate districts for A and B). Listing a few of the best chain restaurants (an oxymoron, IMO), and leaving the rest to be dug up from the districts isn't quite as helpful.
Anyway, don't assume how other travelers make their plans. The only time I went to Chicago, I had 3 goals: go to a ceremony at the Naval Station, sight-see, and eat the best deep-dish pizza I could find, because that's what Chicago is famous when it comes to food. If the top-level article had read, "Skip the chains, and go to X or Y for the what most people consider the best deep-dish," it would have saved me a lot of time reading district pages. --BigPeteB 10:32, 18 November 2011 (EST)
That's an editorial issue, not a policy one; it's apparent that Peter and Marc explicitly chose not to recommend any single establishment as providing the best pizza. They mention Pizzeria UNO, Pizzeria DUE, Gino's East, Giordano's, and Lou Malnati's as five options for you, and tell you to ask locals for other recommendations. What more did you want? LtPowers 14:05, 18 November 2011 (EST)
It seems to me if I actually knew anyone in Chicago, I would be asking them for suggestions before resorting to WT. But I don't know anyone in Chicago, so "ask a local" is useless advice unless I'm expected to just stop strangers on the street. (At least they speak English in Chicago. If the Moscow article told me to "ask a local", that would be totally useless.) Anyway, if it's not against policy then that's good, I'll just agree to disagree. --BigPeteB 15:50, 18 November 2011 (EST)
Ten pizza places are named in that section, most but not all of them chains (and generally people do go to the local chains for the deep dish stuff). Chicago makes so many fantastic pizzas that to ask for the top three establishments would seem absurd to anyone from there. They would assume you were asking about preferences in chains. Otherwise, just go to a local favorite (i.e., the sort of places listed in the district article where you are staying). Ditto hot dogs. I might try to make this point clearer in the article.
And also, while this is very tangential to this already tangential post, yes, when traveling you should stop random people on the street and ask where is a great place to eat—you can have some great adventures that way ;) (Don't follow people who approach you unsolicited with suggestions, of course.) If you are street shy, you can ask a bartender, your taxi driver, an attractive member of the opposite sex, a hotel concierge, someone stocking shelves in the grocery store, another traveler, waiter, etc. This isn't a bad way to make friends while traveling, too. --Peter Talk 17:37, 19 November 2011 (EST)

Spambots

There has been a huge increase in accounts created by spambots of late, so I've made a request that IB enable CAPTCHA for all account registration. By my count there are already 30+ spambot accounts created today on shared:, and the day is barely half over. I know some people hate CAPTCHA and that there may be some objections from those who primarily use non-English languages, so this thread should hopefully serve as a location for anyone to raise issues. For my part, spending time each day deleting spam pages and blocking accounts on a site that is already horribly slow isn't an enjoyable way to spend time, and isn't something that I want to do on Wikitravel for much longer. -- Ryan • (talk) • 17:55, 21 November 2011 (EST)

Actually, looking at this closer it appears that CAPTCHA is already enabled for user registration on English Wikitravel (although not on other versions), so some bots have apparently defeated that defense measure. It would still be good to get this enabled on all versions, barring objections, but it looks like further defenses may be needed. -- Ryan • (talk) • 18:12, 21 November 2011 (EST)
This is an update we have been waiting to do until after Mediawiki, as we believe it may resolve itself then. We have the site running on the current version of Mediawiki internally right now. As soon as we can, we will be enabling it externally so that a number of Admins can test functionality before we push it live.--IBobi 21:31, 21 November 2011 (EST)
As an aside, are these usernames being blocked correctly? I've seen some blocks which I think have imposed an infinite ban on the IP of the originating spambot in addition to an infinite ban on the username. The latter is reasonable, but the former wouldn't be, since these botnets often use dynamic IPs, which may be a real contributor one day. Perhaps I'm misunderstanding the block text, though. --Inas 00:26, 22 November 2011 (EST)
I'm probably guilty of blocking the underlying IP. At least on shared: any blocked IP block can still comment on the corresponding talk page so I figured the benefit of blocking a known-bad box exceeded the disadvantages, but if there is concern let's put something in policy and I'll be more circumspect. -- Ryan • (talk) • 00:30, 22 November 2011 (EST)
Typically (and I think vaguely according to policy) we put a three month block on the IP of a spambot, rinse and repeat? --Inas 00:44, 22 November 2011 (EST)
The last bullet point in that section is "Blocks of user accounts created by spambots. Some of the more advanced spambots are actually capable of creating user accounts. These accounts should be permanently blocked as soon as they are identified as being spambot accounts." That doesn't explicitly state what to do with the underlying IP, which I think is where the difference of usage is coming from. -- Ryan • (talk) • 01:59, 22 November 2011 (EST)
True enough, Are you (or anyone else) saying you think we should block the underlying IP? --Inas 03:09, 22 November 2011 (EST)
To this point I've been blocking the underlying IP since any bot capable of creating a user account will likely just create more, but if others disagree with that approach I'm happy to change it. -- Ryan • (talk) • 10:46, 22 November 2011 (EST)
The same reasoning could be applied to bot on an IP editing anonymously, but we don't block that indefinitely. There seems some inconsistency in blocking a bot IP for 3 months, unless it creates an account in which case we apply an indefinite block. --Inas 17:08, 22 November 2011 (EST)
(Re-indenting) Here's my reasoning: an indefinite block for a registered-user-spambot is important because after X number of days that account's edits will be automatically marked as patrolled, it will be able to move pages, and do other things that an IP account can't. We've already seen blocked spambot accounts return to make multiple edits, so we know that's a possibility. When blocking the account, unless I'm misreading the user block screen, there doesn't appear to be a way to permanently block the user account but only temporarily block the underlying IP address - if that's wrong please correct me - and the IP address could therefore just spawn new spambots until the end of time if it isn't also blocked. Thus we're put in a position where we could either block a known spambot account for three months and then have to deal with a privileged spambot, or block the spambot and IP permanently and have a slight chance of forcing a real user to eventually ask on a talk page to be unblocked (note: not counting exceptions for shared IPs, there are 256^4 IP addresses which is approximately 4.3 billion, so odds of blocking a real user aren't extremely high). Given those choices I'd prefer the latter, but as mentioned am happy to do whatever the consensus dictates. -- Ryan • (talk) • 18:10, 22 November 2011 (EST)
Given this fight against the spambots is so dynamic, I think we should use the best ways to fight the problems that we are actually seeing, with the toolset that we have, with minimum collateral damage. The privileged spambot I don't see as an issue right now. We don't see this happening (as yet), and if the spammers were intelligent enough to actually pursue this, then they may also realise that all they have to do is wait until the auto-confirm period without making a spammy edit to achieve the same result, we just don't have the toolset to combat it.
Shared IPs aren't so much the exception. I'd say 99% of botnets are running on dynamic or shared IP addresses. We risk blocking corporates, mobile ISPs, education campuses, and even entire countries that use shared IPs.
Presumably this was the motivation for making our policy to block spambot IP for 3 months only.
I'm also happy to go with a consensus, but I'd strongly argue that I haven't seen any policy or consensus emerge to block IP address indefinitely.
Given we don't seem to have the toolset match to what we want to do, I'd suggest that we just periodically review the blocked IP list, and remove the blocks on the IPs (but not spambot accounts) that are older than three months. Sound reasonable? --Inas 19:23, 22 November 2011 (EST)
I'm 100% fine with unblocking IPs that have been blocked for more than 3 months, but do we have a tool that shows blocked IP addresses? Special:Ipblocklist isn't showing IPs for recently blocked spambot user accounts - is there another tool, or will the Mediawiki upgrade provide better tools? -- Ryan • (talk) • 19:44, 22 November 2011 (EST)
I've just played around with this.
Firstly, the outcome of a block of the user, including the IP and account creation is fairly harsh. You can't edit talk pages as an IP, you can't create an account, it directs you to the admin who did the block, but you can't email them, or leave them a message. Essentially, it is a lost potential user. If I can't figure out how to leave a message to get unblocked, then a normal user will give up.
You seem to be able to unblock the IP no problem. You'll see in the block log there is a line for the user, and then an additional line for each IP address that has been blocked. If you leave the user line and remove the others, the user remains blocked and the IP address and account creation is fine again. --Inas 21:24, 22 November 2011 (EST)
Two things: first, I'd support changing policy to specify unblocking spambot IPs after three months as you've described - hopefully the Mediawiki upgrade will make this easier. Second, it seems like it's only on English Wikitravel that a blocked user can't edit his/her talk page - as the spam on shared: shows, plenty of blocked IPs are still spamming talk pages; this will hopefully be another issue that is resolved with the upgrade. -- Ryan • (talk) • 22:21, 22 November 2011 (EST)
It does look like mediawiki does this without assistance. the ip blocks associated with the user blocks appear to be very shortlived, maybe as short as 24 hours. accordingly, doesn't look like any policy issue arises. --Inas 03:44, 27 November 2011 (EST)

People paid to flood discussions

I am not sure whether or how this affects us, but something else to aware of are what is called in Chinese an "Internet water army", people paid to post favorable reviews or comments on consumer or political forums. Some interesting research on these has just been published [12]. I bet China is far from the only place where this happens. Pashley 22:59, 22 November 2011 (EST)

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