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At what point did the credits (example) cease to be displayed at the bottom of Wikitravel articles? I always thought being able to see who had been working on the article recently was pretty cool (in addition to being an exemplary way of showing attribution). Without this feature—even so much as a link to it—we are no longer keeping our promise to attribute users' real names, for those who have chosen said manner of attribution.
Did we have a discussion about this, or did IB just unilaterally change the way we attribute users' work? --PeterTalk 04:27, 11 April 2012 (EDT)
I'll look into it-- I know it was not a conscious decision, because we'd have discussed it with the community. May just be a glitch. Any idea how long it's been like that?--IBobi 14:07, 11 April 2012 (EDT)
OK, here is the 411 on attributions: the feature is recommended "OFF" by Mediawiki. We switched it off (sorry -- this did not come down through channels to me) and that was the major factor in improving the site's performance and speed last month. So, once the MW upgrade is live and stable, we can always try turning it on again, and see how it affects performance & decide if the hit is worth having the attributions.--IBobi 14:23, 11 April 2012 (EDT)
That makes sense, and site performance should be a top priority (It's taking just forever to post this message). I'll note, though, that this really is essential information to discuss with the community. Not even notifying us is a pretty huge misstep (not hurling this at you personally). I do think we should restore at least a link to the credits section of each article, though, e.g., Please see the "article credits" for author attribution. And I should point out that that link is generating a database error right now... --PeterTalk 17:13, 13 April 2012 (EDT)
Sadly, I'm not well versed in the technical details, so I don't know if they'd see the credits by default or wouldn't see them at all. LtPowers 13:43, 15 April 2012 (EDT)
Without speaking out of turn, I believe we'd have resources for something like that, as it does not sound like a huge deal. Right now we have two techs working on WM upgrade and the booking tool, and we have them specced to work on WT for quite a while after that's complete. Let's see how the MW update affects performance, turn attributions back on as-designed, and revisit.--IBobi 13:32, 16 April 2012 (EDT)
We're working on a solution to get attributions back on the pages with minimal performance impact; however, if we need to turn them back on now we can. It will probably slow edits back down considerably, and maybe reads too. We just want to be as above-board as possible that we're going to resolve this one way or the other, attributions are going to return to and stay on Wikitravel, and our plan is to include them along with performance improvements under the new version of WM. But if the community prefers them to be on now, we can and will oblige without a problem. Fair enough?
MediaWiki upgrade is in staging and ready for testing
There is now a version of WT with the Mediawiki upgrade, live at this URL:
FYI the staging server is now closed. The next step will be adding the booking tool and internally testing the site, then opening it up again on staging for the community to test before it goes live. This should happen in the next week.--IBobi 14:57, 20 April 2012 (EDT)
Just a reminder—MediaWiki is the name of the software. --PeterTalk 17:53, 20 April 2012 (EDT)
Thanks Peter -- think I reversed my MW and WM a couple times there.--IBobi 19:06, 20 April 2012 (EDT)
The Article Al Riqqa
I was reading through the page articles needing attention and Al Riqqa came across my mind. Al riqqa is a district in Dubai, I suggest either we delete it and put all the information in Dubai or introduce distritification in the article so that Al Riqqa will be included.
I'm very concerned by the French version of this wiki : it seems that there is not anyone by there to ensure as a basic thing as ensuring that the pages about licenses describes the licence in the footnote. --ArséniureDeGallium 16:47, 23 April 2012 (EDT)
To my opinion, you should close Wikitravel in French, it is dead in all ways to think about it. --ArséniureDeGallium 16:52, 23 April 2012 (EDT)
There appears to still be active users on French Wikitravel, and fr:User:Joelf is still active as an administrator. -- Ryan • (talk) • 17:08, 23 April 2012 (EDT)
Sure. In fact, when saying that, I was hoping someone would explain me I was wrong. --ArséniureDeGallium 20:42, 23 April 2012 (EDT)
I had the day off, and was looking forward to putting some real work into the New Orleans articles, but was completely unable to load even the main page (timeouts). Special:Recentchanges makes it clear enough that this wasn't true for everyone. Why does this happen? --PeterTalk 03:58, 25 April 2012 (EDT)
Well it was true for ME for much of the day. We had some firewall issues and an actual fire on the roof of our building that made it impossible for most staff to come to work yesterday and address the other issues. Things are still getting back to normal, but at least WT is up & running. Please report any lingering weirdness that may have begun yesterday. Thanks,--IBobi 14:08, 25 April 2012 (EDT)
FYI you *may* be seeing more of this today; i don't know how performance looks from outside, but there are more network glitches running around today. Sorry about that -- we'll lock it down as soon as we can.--IBobi 18:13, 30 April 2012 (EDT)
Changing time formats
An anonymous user changed all the times in the Tokyo article to 24-hour format. There's some logic behind that, since it's common in Japan to use 24-hour time in most public information displays... but if we were to follow that standard, wouldn't it be better done at a national level? Whichever way it goes, is this worth reverting? BigPeteB 09:49, 25 April 2012 (EDT)
If you have nothing to edit, why are you here? If you're only here to publicize your dislike of Pmanderson (who doesn't edit here), we're not really interested. If you're genuinely interested in becoming a Wikitraveler, I suggest your first step should be to register a better username. LtPowers 09:27, 29 April 2012 (EDT)
Vandals getting around blocks
How is this vandal that I blocked able to still make edits, as an unregistered user, to a page that I protected from edits by unregistered users? See User talk:188.8.131.52Ikan Kekek 21:27, 29 April 2012 (EDT)
A blocked user can still edit his talk page with the current Mediawiki version. Similarly, it doesn't appear that protecting a page has any effect unless the page exists - you can create a page with a note indicating why it will be protected and then protect it, and things should work as expected. -- Ryan • (talk) • 22:00, 29 April 2012 (EDT)
Ontopic or not? Page gathering information on possibilities to take bicycles on public transport.
Hi! Over at the (Swedish-language) Facebook group  and Facebook page  we were discussing to create a collection of information somewhere listing the possibilties (and lack-thereof) of taking a bicycle on Swedish trains, buses, etc. I wonder if that would be on-topic on Wikitravel? It would be one page listing for all of Sweden with what companies and on what lines it's possible to take a bicycle and where it's not. If possible we would make a map out of it. A wiki would be useful, we don't have one, and on Wikipedia it would be off-topic I think. What about Wikitravel? Does it fit? --Gerrit 17:08, 3 May 2012 (EDT)
Such an article might be a bit too limited in scope. It might be better to have an entire Bicycle travel in Sweden article that covers all aspects of bicycling. LtPowers 18:45, 3 May 2012 (EDT)
***RESCHEDULED for next week*** MediaWiki upgrade is scheduled for Monday 5/14/12
Site will be READ-ONLY for up to TWO DAYS while the upgrade is occurring.
If there are edits you'd like to make, please do so over the weekend and on Monday.
When the new site comes online, it will be on new hardware as well. Bug reporting is available here:
If for any reason you need to contact me, I can be reached on my Talk page or my email address paul.obrien at internetbrands.com.
Thank you for hanging in there with us; once this major upgrade is complete we expect to be able to update the site software in a much more timely manner (1.11 to 1.17 is a big jump), and we have development resources to address any technical issues still lingering after the upgrade, as well as to address the next set of feature requests from the community. We're looking forward to the next stage of the project and hope you are too!--IBobi 17:47, 4 May 2012 (EDT)
Might be helpful to list the time in UTC (for the non-US users) in the message that displayed at the top. So: A MediaWiki upgrade is scheduled for Tuesday 8-May at 10AM PST (17:00 UTC). The site will be READ-ONLY for up to two days during the upgrade. AHeneen 23:38, 4 May 2012 (EDT)
THIS HAS BEEN RESCHEDULED FOR 5/15/2012 due to network issues today. As we get closer to the day, I'll post a time -- it is likely to be around 5am PST (12:00 UTC).--IBobi 14:22, 7 May 2012 (EDT)
THIS HAS BEEN RESCHEDULED FOR 5/14/2012. It is still likely to be around 5am PST (12:00 UTC).--IBobi 16:28, 11 May 2012 (EDT)
Since the site isn't read-only as of 8AM (Pacific) on 14-May, is there any update on when the upgrade is going to happen? -- Ryan • (talk) • 10:56, 14 May 2012 (EDT)
I'm told 2 minutes from now.--IBobi 12:58, 14 May 2012 (EDT)
I'm following GW Bush's counsel . --PeterTalk 13:33, 14 May 2012 (EDT)
I will update shortly on the upgrade status.--IBobi 16:55, 17 May 2012 (EDT)
Mission Accomplished!? --PeterTalk 20:18, 17 May 2012 (EDT)
Templated See and Do listings
Hi there. I'm only a new 'WikiTraveler', but am a seasoned Wiki-editor with many years experience. I am hoping to make some big contributions to this site, but something has been bugging me lately. I find that the See and Do listings on some articles can get very messy and disorganised. I think if we were to organise this information into a template/table, this would be much better for viewers to decipher information from, and also improve the quality of our articles.
This has been proposed many years ago at Wikitravel_talk:Attraction_listings, but with little discussion or progress. It seems many other language WikiTravels do it. See here for a Japanese example. I understand we use WikiCode tags, and it could take a long time to convert every article to a template format. One option is to keep the WikiCode we use, but change how the system organises the info within the tags; from a jumbled text wall, to an organised table format. This would allow for a total revamp across the board, yet with minimal effort.
Any other thoughts, ideas or comments? Thanks, JamesA 08:56, 11 May 2012 (EDT)
One of the reasons the wikicode tags were used was to add the "edit" links to make it easier for non-technical contributors to add and edit listings. As far as I'm aware there would be no way to achieve similar functionality using templates. -- Ryan • (talk) • 10:30, 11 May 2012 (EDT)
Maybe this is just me... I feel like the Japanese presentation is a bit over the top, but I'd be quite happy just to add a bit more formatting to the current presentation. Just a bit of italics here and there, that kind of stuff. Most English-language print guidebooks do this, and I think it aids readability and makes it easy to spot when a listing is missing a piece of info. --BigPeteB 14:18, 11 May 2012 (EDT)
Our listings already use bold and italics. LtPowers 18:50, 11 May 2012 (EDT)
We do have a great system for adding listings. This system can easily be kept. What would be changed is where that information goes. There has to be a page somewhere (probably a MediaWiki: page) that organises the listing into the format it currently is, with the bold font, italics, etc. From a glance at this page, it seems User:IBobi handles the wiki's technical stuff, so maybe he would know how to change it.
The Japanese format does take it a step overboard with all the colours and pictures. We could always have a much more toned down version. I just feel the way it is now is really messy. Look at the opening times on the first listing here; it's all over the place. A possibility could be just to add more bold/italics/underlines, or even put some information on separate lines or dot points. Does anyone want to have a go at fixing it up? JamesA>talk 04:28, 12 May 2012 (EDT)
Yes, I know they already use some bold and italics... I was saying I think they could use a little more. --BigPeteB 10:15, 18 May 2012 (EDT)
Well, to be honest, I wouldn't know how to change them. But a good start would be creating a mockup. Wikitravel talk:Listings would be a good place to discuss the mockup once you create one. LtPowers 19:26, 18 May 2012 (EDT)
I certainly wouldn't want to see the listings become as colorful and complex as the ones on the Japanese site and I like the tag system we have now, but I think some minor tweaking couldn't hurt - putting the opening hours and the price info in italics, to further distinguish them from the description of the place, would really tidy up the presentation (whether this can actually be done I don't know, but I'm just throwing that out there). I really wouldn't want to see any more bolded text in the listings - as of now only the name of the place is bolded, and I like that because it highlights it and makes it easier on the eye when you're scanning an article looking for a specific listing. PerryPlanetTalk 10:31, 19 May 2012 (EDT)
We could make the phone number blink! LtPowers 13:35, 19 May 2012 (EDT)
Moving the hours to a separate line could be really useful. I think we could make them more readable:
International Spy Museum, 800 F St NW, ☎ +1 202 393-7798, . 9AM-5PM or 9AM-6PM daily, last admission one hour before close. D.C.'s newest hot attraction's principal claim to fame among locals is the extraordinarily long line that usually winds out the doors (not to mention the high price tag). Its popularity, while a bit disproportionate given all the other great free museums in town, is not unwarranted—its exhibits are interesting to anyone even marginally interested in espionage and Cold War history, and it also has a great exhibit tailored specifically to kids.Adults: $20, seniors: $15, children (5-11): $15, 4 & under: Free.
International Spy Museum, 800 F St NW, ☎ +1 202 393-7798, 1.
9AM-5PM or 9AM-6PM daily, last admission one hour before close.
D.C.'s newest hot attraction's principal claim to fame among locals is the extraordinarily long line that usually winds out the doors (not to mention the high price tag). Its popularity, while a bit disproportionate given all the other great free museums in town, is not unwarranted—its exhibits are interesting to anyone even marginally interested in espionage and Cold War history, and it also has a great exhibit tailored specifically to kids.
Good idea to take a fresh look at this. We'll have to wait until we have functional tech support, or the ability to do our own tech support, before we can implement this, but it's good to figure out what we want in the meantime. --PeterTalk 15:55, 19 May 2012 (EDT)
That's great, Peter! The separate lines makes it much easier to read the information, instead of it being a jumbled mess. Most travel guides do organise the info how we do it now, (all in one long spiel, rather than spaced out) but that's just because they need to fit all the info into a specific number of pages. We have much more room than books, so it makes sense that we make use of it and make the info easier to read for viewers. I'll do some perusing and see if I can find out how to edit the backend stuff. JamesA>talk 07:05, 21 May 2012 (EDT)
Excellent suggestion! Atsirlin 07:15, 21 May 2012 (EDT)
If anyone wants to have a go searching for how to modify the backend code that configures the layout, here may be a good start. That's a list of all the technical MediaWiki pages that can be tweaked. Some pages have the prefix "listing", which might be somehow relevant. But don't take my word for it; the page we need might not be there. JamesA>talk 09:02, 21 May 2012 (EDT)
Keep in mind that, despite the prevalence of mobile options in the modern era, making guides that can be easily and cheaply printed out is still one of our explicit goals. LtPowers 20:17, 21 May 2012 (EDT)
It is entirely possible to change the format for a printed guide, much like we do now for URL formatting. --Inas 20:27, 21 May 2012 (EDT)
Is that feature custom to Wikitravel, or a feature of MediaWiki? LtPowers 13:35, 23 May 2012 (EDT)
The alternate formatting for printable version is a MediaWiki feature. All it does is use a different (css) stylesheet for formatting. I'm pretty sure MediaWiki allows more of these stylesheets to be configured as preferences too. So in my understanding you could easily have a different style for printing than you have for online display, so we shouldn't let the printing bit constrain our thinking too much. After all, our online display currently has no URLs, so is inherently unsuited for printing. --Inas 19:29, 23 May 2012 (EDT)
There's been a week of inactivity, so is everyone content with just implementing Peter's version for the time being? There's no colour or pictures, simply a few extra lines and spaces, and it should be possible to keep the Printable version as-is. After implementation, we can re-discuss if there's any issues. I did a little search around to find the code we need to edit, but it's very complicated. It looks like Ajax and CSS were used, which is only editable by site admins/IB. The Listing Editor's code is here. The formatting of the listing is here. Original discussion here. While we're at it, we should add the 'email' option to the editor, which has been long missing. I guess we should file a tech-request then? JamesA>talk 23:21, 29 May 2012 (EDT)
Given the complexity of the change and the expansiveness of its effect, I'd prefer to see more discussion before we go making major changes. LtPowers 13:35, 30 May 2012 (EDT)
I would also like to see some more discussion on this before making a change. Listings have a variety of completeness and length of information, so depending on what is there, the above proposal could easily produce a very lopsided-looking listing like this:
International Butt Museum, 800 F St NW, ☎ +1 202 393-7798, firstname.lastname@example.org, 1.
Super awesome museum about butts. Great for people who have butts or would like to find out more about butts.
Is there a code that we could use that would only implement the multiple-line layout when a certain character/word count is reached? Sounds complicated to implement, though. JamesA>talk 05:42, 4 June 2012 (EDT)
That would result in an ugly (I think) situation with listings appearing in a random combination of the two formats. I think we would have to either go whole-hog, as ja: has done, or just leave it alone.texugo 12:53, 26 June 2012 (EDT)
Mediawiki upgrade status
The planned MW upgrade has been postponed.
During the last 2 days, as you may have noticed, Wikitravel has been in read-only mode for a planned upgrade. Due to unforeseen technical circumstances, we had to re-schedule.
We have been working to transfer the entire site to new hardware while simultaneously migrating it to MW version 1.17 from 1.11.
As you can see, the existing version of the site running on 1.11 is back online for read-write access. Our technical department has built testing tools specific to the customized version of MW that runs Wikitravel, and we'll be using them to troubleshoot and log potential causes of the upgrade failure.
As soon as we have it, I will post a new timetable for the switchover to the new site.
Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns,--IBobi 20:37, 17 May 2012 (EDT)
It will be very much helpful if you could kindly leave a brief message about the concrete schedule of the next system maintenance on the MediaWiki:Sitenotice of shared and en:, at least prior to a week.
Usually ja: users don't check the pubs on en: and shared so frequently, and we have totally no idea what on earth was happening on the site for the last couple of days.--Shoestring 07:22, 18 May 2012 (EDT)
Out of interest, what are the changes? Is it just performance improvements, or will this bring in new ads? Are we getting upgraded to the Vector skin, because the Monobook is starting to look quite old. I've seen non-Wikimedia sites do it; we should too. JamesA>talk 21:40, 19 May 2012 (EDT)
Any chance of providing a database dump for download at the same time? Please? Anjocu 23:05, 21 May 2012 (EST)
A lot of links to this site have been posted in articles about various Chinese cities. I doubt this is an official airport site, but I'm not completely certain. If it's not, all such links should be deleted. Ikan Kekek 22:02, 25 May 2012 (EDT)
At the bottom of the page of http://www.airport-china.com are various advertising links to hotel booking sites and tour guides, there is also a statement of "Power by Lutu ltd.", whose own website states that:
Lutu Inc. is the one of the domestic company in China, which fully committed in the business of China Hotel Online Booking Service.
These links coupled with the .com rather than .cn top level domain suggest a commercial, rather than government, site.
Every time I'm monitoring the Recent Changes, I notice new users creating accounts then pasting some huge advertising spiel on their user/user talk pages. I understand advertising is completely disallowed, but are these pages meant to be outright deleted? If so, it may help if we had a template for 'Speedy deletions'. All the pages with the template would be put into a category where admins would just delete them without discussion, as they are blatant breaches of guidelines. Template:Vfd seems to only cover deletions that require discussion and consensus. I'll go ahead and create the template in the few days, if there are no objections, but wanted to also notify admins of the idea.
On an unrelated sidenote, I think the pub is definitely in need of a sweep of items that are at least 3 months old. Any objections to that? JamesA>talk
I don't think a separate template is needed as the VFD tag should be sufficient, and if a speedy deletion is warranted the nomination can state as much. However, for spambot-created pages no nomination is needed unless the page is overlooked - per Wikitravel:Deletion policy#Speedy deletion obvious candidates don't require a nomination as it adds extra overhead for nominating and archiving discussion ("New pages that are plainly spam and that qualify for speedy deletion will be deleted as soon as they are noticed by an administrator, and therefore do not need to be listed on the votes for deletion page. If such a page remains for more than 24 hours, add it to the nominations page as a way to ensure that it isn't overlooked."). -- Ryan • (talk) • 13:15, 3 June 2012 (EDT)
Yes, such user pages should be deleted, and I delete them whenever I see them. Ikan Kekek 18:20, 3 June 2012 (EDT)
The pub definitely needs more brooms! Please don't simply sweep everything into an archive, though. Discussions should be swept to the most relevant talk page, per the little sweeping guide at the top of this page. --PeterTalk 12:55, 3 June 2012 (EDT)
I didn't think it was necessary to list advertisement articles on the VfD page because, as Ryan said, it would involve extra nomination processes and archiving when discussion shouldn't be required. I considered letting an admin know on their talk page, but quite a few new pages popped up. Also, I'll sweep some old dust out of the pub later when I get a chance :) JamesA>talk 03:45, 4 June 2012 (EDT)
Introducing the Wikitravel API
Hey there. Just wanted to mention that I've gone and created an API for Wikitravel, for people who want to use Wikitravel data in other projects. It renders pages as hierarchical JSON objects, with wikimarkup rendered into simple HTML, and includes lists of subpages, geocoding of listings with addresses, etc. There's also a search API and the ability to search for pages and listings near a particular latitude and longitude. Please note, however, that it's very much a beta release; any feedback, suggestions, or bug reports would be most welcome! Rezendi 12:48, 4 June 2012 (EDT)
Mediawiki upgrade scheduled for 06-June-2012
Site will be READ-ONLY for up to 2 days while the upgrade is occurring.
If there are edits you'd like to make, please do so asap.
When the new site comes online, it will be on new hardware as well. Bug reporting is available here:
Eratic readings since crash at 5. Juni 2012 in German Wikitravel
Seit dem 7. Juni 2012 werden auf der Deutschen Seite von Wikitravel Informationen zu Sehenswürdigkeiten, Gastronomie und Unterkünften nur noch zum Teil angezeigt. Auch die Darstellung am Beginn eines Artikels hat sich zum Nachteil verändert. Die Hauptseite hat einen aktuellen Stand vom 22. Juni 2011, also fast ein Jahr alt. Auch die Artikelinformationen sind veraltet. Interessierte neue Autoren springen sehr schnell ab und gehen zu Wikivoyage über. Dort werden sie herzlichst begrüßt und aufgenommen. Bei Wikitravel werden sie von einen nicht mehr aktiven Administrator gefrustet, der ihre Beiträge ohne Begründung löscht, anstatt ihnen Hilfe anzubieten.
Man bekommt den Eindruck Wikitravel ist gestorben und wird nicht mehr gepflegt. Es ist seit Januar 2012 kein aktiver Administrator mehr tätig. Die Wahl für neue Administratoren ist mangels Interesse gescheitert. Wie soll es weitergehen?
Please answer at the German Travellers' pub-Site. -- Knut 184.108.40.206 04:32, 8 June 2012 (EDT)
Upgrade to 1.17 complete
As you can see, we have completed the initial stage of the upgrade of the MediWiki software to v1.17, the most current version available when the upgrade began in November.
This has been an enormously complex endeavor, due to the huge size of the Wikitravel database and high level of visitor activity, as well as Wikitravel’s highly customized MediWiki version, consisting of a great many plugins.
The next phase is now in progress: bug reports and fixes. Inevitably in an upgrade of this size and complexity there will be bugs. They’ll be addressed as they are reported; the process started this morning.
Once we are convinced the new site is stable and fully functional, we’ll be able to tackle feature requests and bugs that were reported previously but that we could not address before the completion of the upgrade, and new feature requests that are just now available with this version of the software, such as InstantCommons. And now that the upgrade past 1.15 has been completed, future upgrades to 1.19 and beyond can and will be done in a far more efficient and timely manner.
Wikitravel is now running on a completely new hardware platform. When the cacheing process is complete, we expect significant increases in performance and stability compared to the previous version of the site. We also have a larger and more experienced technical team to address the needs of the site.
What this amounts to is a Wikitravel that is dramatically improved from a technical standpoint than it has been for the last few years. Coupled with the renewed community engagement between members and Wikitravel’s steward, Internet Brands, we have a recipe for longterm success with the technical aspects of the site, the ability of administrators to patrol edits, bug reporting and resolution, ease of contribution by writers, and above all usability for travelers around the globe.
Wikitravel would not be possible without the dedicated community of administrators and writers whose content and curation have made it the preeminent travel destination anywhere. We are very happy to have completed this hardware and software upgrade, and look forward to continuing to evolve the site, in partnership with this community, in the years to come.
We appreciate your patience and support during these last few months, as we have renewed our efforts to improve the site and energize the Wikitravel community. And we thank you for all you have done, both before and during Internet Brands’ stewardship. With nearly 2 million edits to almost 80,000 pages; over 70,000 registered users; and 7 million monthly visitors, there has never been a travel resource like Wiktravel. It is massive. It is unique. And it’s getting better by the day.
I sincerely hope at least the bugs that affect security will be fixed within a few hours. If you don't have a safe new version of the software, isn't it better to prevent editing until you do? Yes, performance is a huge issue, but the inability to block spammers is untenable. If I can suggest something for the next upgrade: You need software that recognizes obvious spam, because depending on volunteers to manually delete spam and block spammers is not likely to withstand the efforts of more and more spambots. Thanks, and sorry if I sound peeved, but spammers have been operated unblocked for several days now. All the best, Ikan Kekek 05:29, 11 June 2012 (EDT)
Hi Ikan, I am told the first round of bug fixes will be deployed in the next 24 hours. We've been working on site stability over the days since the update, and I am working hard to ensure that spam remediation -- including blocking users -- is prioritized. We know the manual removal of new spam accounts is arduous in the wake of this upgrade, and it is much, much appreciated by everyone. If I hear anything sooner, I will update here. Thank you,--IBobi 13:09, 11 June 2012 (EDT)
Does anyone else have an opinion on locking edits until the user blocking feature can be restored?--IBobi 15:06, 11 June 2012 (EDT)
I think we've been able to keep up with the spambots thus far, but it should definitely be a priority to get user blocking working again before the end of the day - at present we would have limited ability to deal with high-volume vandals, for example, and it's inevitable that they'll show before long. -- Ryan • (talk) • 15:48, 11 June 2012 (EDT)
Any update on bug fixes? It's been five days since the upgrade went live, so any info on when (for example) user blocking will again be working would be very useful. -- Ryan • (talk) • 12:10, 13 June 2012 (EDT)
When the far more serious issues such as those above have been dealt with it would be good to see a longer edit summary window return, that new short one is quite frustrating. cheers -- felix 13:14, 13 June 2012 (EDT)
I think that is user-selectable, Felix?--IBobi 15:26, 13 June 2012 (EDT)
Hi iBobi, I cannot find any setting in the user prefs, is it somewhere else? -- cheers felix 22:38, 13 June 2012 (EDT)
First set of bug fixes are coming tomorrow a.m. (June 14), and will include blocking. Thanks for your patience and greater efforts at patrolling edits necessitated by this week-long tool outage!--IBobi 15:26, 13 June 2012 (EDT)
Lots of fake Ikan Kekek usernames just created: . Time to prevent all edits by new users, or just shut down Wikitravel, period, right now. We won't like the results of allowing unblockable spammers and vandals to continue to run rampant, and we can wait till tomorrow (or whenever your bug fixes are actually operational) to start editing again. Ikan Kekek 20:50, 13 June 2012 (EDT)
If this sort of thing is going to continue unabated then lock down editing access completely until proper administrative functionality is restored. The world will not stop turning if editing functions are missing for a while, it might irritate or alienate a few new or casual editors who might run up against an editing block, but that is better than having the whole thing turned into a time consuming spam riddled and vandalised mess.--felix 22:38, 13 June 2012 (EDT)
en: has been unbelievably slow the last couple of days, far more than other language versions.texugo 11:02, 14 June 2012 (EDT)
I agree that IB should lock editing on :en, except perhaps for admins, until blocking functionality is restored. That this hasn't been fixed yet is troubling, and it cannot wait. --PeterTalk 11:15, 14 June 2012 (EDT) Looks like blocking functionality is back, although I haven't tested other language versions. Loading the block page is slow as a Ghanaian cook, though. --PeterTalk 11:44, 14 June 2012 (EDT)
Over on pt:, I'm starting to think that the spam blacklist isn't doing its job-- I put some domains in the list the other day, and I see today that they are still being allowed to be posted. Has anyone checked this here on en:? texugo 11:22, 14 June 2012 (EDT)
Blocking has started working on pt: too. texugo 12:30, 14 June 2012 (EDT)
It works on ru:, but many other things still do not-((( Atsirlin 15:33, 14 June 2012 (EDT)
I still am not able to mark many articles as patrolled. This is a problem that seems to randomly apply to some articles and not others, but it's been consistently a problem with perhaps 1/2 of unpatrolled articles at any given time since the update. What happens is that the articles show up in the "Recent changes" list as needing patrolling, but when I open them, there is no button to patrol them. That's not because anyone else has patrolled them: When I refresh the list, they still show up as unpatrolled. And if I edit them, the resulting version also shows up as unpatrolled in the "Recent changes" list but generally still does not have a patrol button when I open it. I am using Firefox 13.0.1 in a Windows XP environment, if that matters. Ikan Kekek 18:25, 24 June 2012 (EDT)
Same thing here. I believe the "Mark as patrolled" button doesn't appear when there is more than one edit to the article. Opera 12 on XP. Jjtk 04:21, 25 June 2012 (EDT)
At least for administrators (but I thought for all registered users?), it should, and used to before the upgrade. Ikan Kekek 04:40, 25 June 2012 (EDT)
It did, it broke after the upgrade. Jjtk 04:53, 25 June 2012 (EDT)
I haven't had any problem patrolling edits. LtPowers 11:42, 25 June 2012 (EDT)
Using "enhanced recent changes" from the preferences (which consolidates edits to the same article) I'm also unable to mark multiple edits as patrolled, although they can be patrolled singly. -- Ryan • (talk) • 11:49, 25 June 2012 (EDT)
I've been using those enhanced changes. Ikan Kekek 17:51, 25 June 2012 (EDT)
Breadcrumb Navigation not working on fr:
Hi, thanks for the upgrade. However the breadcrumb navigation on fr: seems broken. It works on en: and nl: and I don't see any modification in Template:IsPartOf. Any idea? joelf
It seems fixed now. Thanks IB people! Joelf
OpenID not working
Also, login on en: using OpenID from fr: and URL fr:user:joelf doesn't seem to work either. Thanks for your help. joelf
No problems here. Maybe it's fixed? LtPowers 13:16, 18 June 2012 (EDT)
Now I can get to the Shared main page, after a considerable wait, but I still can't reach the page I want to change: []. texugo 13:50, 18 June 2012 (EDT)
Amtrak logo for routeboxes - fair use?
I would like to integrate American rail travel into our routebox navigation, but first I need to come up with some 100x25 route icons to use. Obviously I could come up with some generic train symbol to use, but ideal would be to use Amtrak's wave symbol on the left with the route name on the right. The Amtrak logo is trademarked, and I do not know if this would constitute fair use, or if not, whether it would be desirable enough to attempt to get permission to create such derivative icons. Does anyone have an informed opinion on this? texugo 10:29, 19 June 2012 (EDT)
I definitely think it would be permitted under Fair Use, per usage at Wikipedia. The problem is, though, that we don't allow copyrighted images under Fair Use ;) I agree, though, that it would be a shame not to use it—maybe we could come up with some other justification? --PeterTalk 10:37, 19 June 2012 (EDT)
Hmmm.. Do you have any ideas on that? texugo 11:20, 19 June 2012 (EDT)
None at present ;) In the meantime, how does this look?
We would need to modify policy in order to make use of the copyrighted logo. One option might be to use Amtrak's old logo (wikipedia:File:AmtrakLogo.png), which I would argue is uncopyrightable. Other than that, just stick with the wordmark in appropriate colors, as Peter did. On another note, how do we work train routes with routeboxes? Do we link all destinations, or only those at which the train actually stops? (Tangentially, I would suggest creating a combined icon for routes with a lot of overlap like Empire Service/Maple Leaf.) LtPowers 14:56, 19 June 2012 (EDT)
OK, thanks. I took what you did and made a mock-up icon for each train line they have. I just updated the same .svg you uploaded. Please have a look and tell me what you think! texugo 22:49, 19 June 2012 (EDT)
LtPowers, that's a good idea about making combined icons for routes with overlap-- can you suggest exactly which ones might need that?
We should only link the destinations at which it stops-- it does no good for a traveller to know that some train passes through without stopping where they are. We have already implemented the main train lines pretty well for our Japan articles. You might want to have a look. texugo 22:55, 19 June 2012 (EDT)
It wouldn't do me much good to look at Japan because I'm not familiar with the geography of the area. =) I also don't know exactly which routes overlap; I know that Empire Service and Maple Leaf are the same except for Maple Leaf going to Toronto, but beyond that I'm clueless. LtPowers 13:09, 20 June 2012 (EDT)
By the way, I re-exported your Northeast Express icon from the SVG to fix some font sizing issues, but I'm having trouble forcing the thumbnails to regenerate. LtPowers 13:24, 20 June 2012 (EDT)
In the northeast corridor, it would probably be useful to have combined icons for Vermonter/Acela/Northeast Regional. The Vermonter and Northeast Regional share all the same stops (I believe) from D.C. through NYC before splitting. The Acela follows the same route as the Northeast Regional (and hence the Vermonter through NYC), but makes fewer stops. --PeterTalk 13:27, 20 June 2012 (EDT)
I don't understand why we would see using the Amtrak logo as ideal. Surely that sends us down a slope of wanting to use each railway system logo around the world. There are literally hundreds of these, and some are going to want to enforce their trademarks. Stick to generic, I say. --Inas 00:52, 22 June 2012 (EDT)
Problems with the search/go function
There seems to be something wrong with the search function. No matter what I type in there the search result is always the same:
"No such special page
You have requested an invalid special page.
A list of valid special pages can be found at Special pages.
Return to Main Page."
Ypsilon, you beat me on time ;-) I have the same problem and can't search for articles. Jc8136 05:27, 26 June 2012 (EDT)
I just had that problem while looking for UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Of course, when I clicked the list of Special pages, it wasn't there, yet I found it by going to an off-site web search. Ikan Kekek 05:39, 26 June 2012 (EDT)
Go was working fine (that is, if you typed an article name exactly) until recently; I suspect they broke it when they were trying to fix Search. LtPowers 10:25, 26 June 2012 (EDT)
This is too important a problem to let readers sit in the dark about, so I have updated the SiteNotice to direct people to... Google. --PeterTalk 12:39, 26 June 2012 (EDT)
Nice move. I can't believe they won't even respond for something so important. Oh, wait.. yes, I can. texugo 12:48, 26 June 2012 (EDT)
I've reported this to our tech team. Please keep in mind that we are on the US West Coast and will generally be able to respond to issues according to that time zone difference; it's just morning here. Thank you,--IBobi 13:22, 26 June 2012 (EDT)
Now it's working again. Thanks! Ypsilon 07:18, 27 June 2012 (EDT)
Let's be clear. Go is working, but Search is still not working properly. Currently it does perform a search, but it spews forth every resulting page in its entirety in raw text form. Try searching for "New York" and see what I mean. texugo 10:12, 28 June 2012 (EDT)
What's the desired result for a search?--IBobi 13:43, 28 June 2012 (EDT)
It should return a list of results with only a 2-3 line excerpt of the article content (not including wiki markup) from the beginning of each result's article.texugo 13:52, 28 June 2012 (EDT)
My understanding is that this is the way MW 1.17 handles search results; it is fundamentally different from the old 1.11 version.--IBobi 15:44, 28 June 2012 (EDT)
OK, so we have altered the way search displays so that it is a small 2-3 line digest of each result; the raw code as part of the results is a different matter, and we're looking into it.--IBobi 16:12, 28 June 2012 (EDT)
FYI once we change this for all users, you can still go to your settings and go to the default setting if you want to see the full article in your search results.--IBobi 16:32, 28 June 2012 (EDT)
I may be mistaken about the part about not showing raw text. Another thing though, I do think that the search used to default to content pages only, not everything all mixed with talk pages, user pages, etc. Please compare with the search on pt:, where everything seems to be working as it did before. I cannot really imagine a situation in which a user would find it useful for the entire article to appear on the results page in one giant block like that. It's ugly and often requires one to scroll quite a bit between result listings.texugo 18:00, 28 June 2012 (EDT)
POTALA INN, LITANG Sichuan China, DON'T GO!
<removed by LtPowers>
Please add your information to the Litang travel article (click on the link, as the search function seems to be broken) because future travelers to the town will look for it there, not here. You should also boil it down to a few sentences. Ypsilon 08:10, 26 June 2012 (EDT)
Yes, but I looked at the entry for the guesthouse out of curiosity and they weren't the first ones to complain about the service and the cleanliness. Googling the place gives even more negative reviews... And I guess there aren't very many places to choose from in the town, and according to the description it's centrally located too. So IMO this is one of the cases where travelers should be warned. Ypsilon 08:09, 27 June 2012 (EDT)
I removed the positive listing from the article. I would think that if they are using the internet to find accommodation, and they come here and aren't satisfied with any of the other 6 options we do list, then they would be fairly likely to look elsewhere online and encounter said negative reviews. You won't find commercial printed wasting space with such negative reviews either.texugo 11:55, 27 June 2012 (EDT)
InstantCommons now enabled
Here's a bit of a bright spot in our messy upgrade: InstantCommons is enabled! This means you can add images from Commons to Wikitravel articles without having to re-upload them here. All you need do is add a thumbnail as usual (e.g., [[File:Wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery.jpg|thumb|270px|Wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery]]). It will then show up properly in the article, and will have a shadow page of sorts here (e.g., File:Wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery.jpg), analogous to how our software handles images from Shared.
To see this in action, check out Arlington (Virginia), to which I just added 10 Commons images, without the huge amount of work that used to entail! --PeterTalk 23:05, 26 June 2012 (EDT)
Awesome, super useful. Now, what is it that we don't have that allows one to directly display an .svg file on WP? If we had that functionality too, we could more easily import route icons without having to open them in Inkscape, save a .png, and upload it to Shared. Is that something we can get enabled here? texugo 23:27, 26 June 2012 (EDT)
Ooh, good point about route icons. (It will still be important to export maps to PNG, for the purpose of allowing translation layers within SVGs.) Yes, we have the capability, provided we can get IB to add two lines to the config file... The instructions are here, and I assume the renderer to use would be rsvg, as that is what the WMF projects all use. --PeterTalk 00:35, 27 June 2012 (EDT)
Let me see what I can do.--IBobi 13:46, 27 June 2012 (EDT)
Should be done guys -- can you test?--IBobi 13:31, 28 June 2012 (EDT)
I'm not seeing any difference. When an .svg is put in an image tag, it simply shows the filename as a link, e.g. . texugo 14:20, 28 June 2012 (EDT)
Well color me surprised! I assume our image use policies will not change as a result? It might make it more difficult to enforce, though. LtPowers 09:01, 27 June 2012 (EDT)
I suppose the main policies that will see changes are just about which files should be uploaded to Shared, and which to Commons. I think it is probably worth keeping our maps hierarchy separate. There also may be cases in which we want to use files locally that Commons doesn't consider free enough for global use (pictures of statues, for example). --PeterTalk 11:12, 27 June 2012 (EDT)
Are we using __TOC__ <div> </div> __TOC__ <div> </div>
I have seen this mark-up in a couple of articles today, are we using this image floating mark up here? -- felix 01:34, 27 June 2012 (EDT)
You'll also notice a parenthetical number next to many of them e.g. "(175)" -- this refers to the internal technical problem report assigned to each and will help us track them.
If you see "Fixed" next to an issue you reported, please test it; if it's resolved, remove your bug from the list. If it is unresolved, please explain.--IBobi 15:22, 28 June 2012 (EDT)
I currently can't seem to reach much of anything on Shared except the main page. Recent changes, the pub, random images, etc. all either time out or return a SQL error. What is going on there? texugo 15:43, 29 June 2012 (EDT)
Something is wrong. I got the database error (shared:Tech:Database lock timeout) on the recent changes page a few minutes ago, but it seems to be working now. The spider I run that attempts to keep a backup of images has been getting error responses on nearly every request (after ten minutes of waiting) since late last night. -- Ryan • (talk) • 16:06, 29 June 2012 (EDT)
I have been editing Shared all day with no issues. There was a minor access blip on Shared and the regular site for a few minutes early this morning, but it's been fine since.--IBobi 19:08, 29 June 2012 (EDT)
semi-problem logging in
I seem to be able to log in, and when editing my changes are saved under my name, but while navigating it keeps saying "Log in / create account" in the upper right corner, instead of "Justme - My talk - My preferences" etc. As soon as I start editing I do see all those account-related options. Does anyone know why that is? Justme 12:09, 1 July 2012 (EDT)
Yup, chronic problems with caching. This particular problem has been around for, yikes, something like 5-6 years, but is rearing its ugly head a little extra post upgrade. IB claims to be looking into it, as you'll see here. --PeterTalk 13:38, 1 July 2012 (EDT)
Oh, I see. Hadn't encountered this specific bug yet. Thanks for the quick reply. Justme 14:12, 1 July 2012 (EDT)
Get Out is on the way out
Hi folks... if you haven't seen it, we've got a poll on options to change the name of our "Get out" sections to something less confusing. This will be a widespread change, so we want as much input as possible on it.
There is a fairly advanced plan to launch a new copy of Wikitravel under the wing of the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation, who operate Wikipedia. This would get rid of the ever-increasing ads, solve many of the technical problems the site has faced in the past 6 years, and the proposal has near-unanimous support among administrators. jpatokal 23:20, 1 July 2012 (EDT)
As something of an anticipatory note, I would encourage curious Wikitravellers to avoid discussing other travel wiki projects on Wikitravel. While such a move by Wikitravel's admins would clearly affect this site, I think it is more appropriate to keep discussions at the relevant site. If you have other questions or want clarification, you can always contact me or any other admin from WT via talk page or email—ideally through Wikimedia Meta, not Wikitravel. --PeterTalk 13:11, 2 July 2012 (EDT)
I have reverted User:IBobi's deletion of this section. While I am not in favor of using Wikitravel as a vehicle to "promote" a fork, our policies do not allow the removal of others' good faith comments. Our practice has never been to whitewash the existence of other travel guides, as evident by the existence of Wikitravel:Fellow traveller Expedition—we have always actually supported others' work in the Creative Commons especially. Moreover, previous forks (Wikivoyage in particular) have been discussed at length over many years at Wikitravel, as they obviously have been relevant to this community, and were not subject to deletion. An IB employee violating our policies to remove users' comments seems highly inappropriate. --PeterTalk 16:30, 2 July 2012 (EDT)
With the support of other admins Ryan and Peter, I have removed the link to a competing travel site. The rest of this comment stands for the moment while a policy against fork discussion is drafted.--IBobi 20:16, 2 July 2012 (EDT)
I supported removing the links, Ryan did not comment. --PeterTalk 20:22, 2 July 2012 (EDT)
Oh right -- that was LTPowers--IBobi 20:39, 2 July 2012 (EDT)
My view: Discussion of the Wikimedia fork, including links to said fork, is and should be allowed on Wikitravel, and Internet Brands' ham-fisted attempts to censor this discussion should be reverted on sight.
We have, as far as I can tell, a *completely unanimous* consensus in favor moving to Wikimedia: the Meta RFC is up to 63 in favor, and I haven't seen a single WT user not on IB's payroll say that they would prefer to stay with IB, thank you very much. So if this community is in favor of discussion, site notices or whatever, it's silly to claim that this is against Wikitravel's "rules" somehow -- the rules exist to serve the community, and the community's will is clear. (Compare this with the Wikivoyage fork, which only had support from a small minority at the time.) jpatokal 20:52, 2 July 2012 (EDT)
The distinction may be subtle, and lost on some, but Wikitravel is not the same thing as its admins. If that were true, then forking WT would make the new site WT. And clearly that is not the case. WT has a right and an obligation to protect itself against self-destructive behavior, like a fork and loss of admins, even if a lot of admins "support" that destruction. There are 7 million travelers a month that also make up the Wikitravel community, and they are decidedly ill-served by this fork. They are the silent supermajority. It is necessary in the course of this discussion to separate one's own interests from the interests of the Wikitravel project, and if you cannot do that, then recuse yourself from this discussion. If you are acting in the best interests of this project, you must refrain from supporting that which undermines it, on its very pages.--IBobi 21:06, 2 July 2012 (EDT)
Will you be separating your own interests in these discussions as a current IB employee? I have no idea what this has to do with Jani's own personal interests, on the other hand. --PeterTalk 21:21, 2 July 2012 (EDT)
That I am aware of, it is clear to 100% of admins that the best interests of this project lie in getting out from under IB's thumb. There is no "silent supermajority"-- those users have no loyalty to this particular URL, certainly not as much loyalty as the long-time admins here have displayed. Your "supermajority" will gladly follow the content to whatever ground is most fertile for keeping it fresh and growing.texugo 21:26, 2 July 2012 (EDT)
What I know, Peter, is that someone who is encouraging Wikitravel's admins to leave Wikitravel does not have Wikitravel's best interests at heart.--IBobi 21:31, 2 July 2012 (EDT)
Wikitravel is just the name. All of us have the project's best interests at heart. They just do not happen to coincide with IB's money-centric interests.texugo 21:34, 2 July 2012 (EDT)
Well, what User:IBobi wrote above is true: only 64 users have expressed their support for the fork. If the result is that the community splits in two, then this would be a disaster for both projects. And if the result is that there will be one project with only admins and another project with no admins, then this would also be a disaster for both projects. And if all editors go to the new site while the readers stay on the old site (or vice versa), there would also be a disaster. If the Wikimedia move is going to work, then there would really have to be an almost 100% support for the move amongst both readers and editors. I'm seeing parallels with how some projects try to move away from Wikia, but the content remains on Wikia, so the community is split in two, being a disaster for both projects. I really hope that there won't be a similar disaster with Wikitravel. [Note: I am writing mainly as a reader of Wikitravel. I rarely edit here, but I am more active on some Wikimedia projects. As you can see, I even have a red name in my signature.] --Stefan2 10:28, 4 July 2012 (EDT)
There have been many issues with projects splitting off from Wikia due to their corporate greed (I've experience it first-hand). Unfortunately, majority, but not all, have been utter failures. But I think this is a very different situation. The Wikimedia Foundation is huge, much larger than Wikia or Internet Brands or any tiny site trying to go independent. This fork isn't about going alone; it's about moving to the WMF with all their resources, expertise and genuine passion. JamesA>talk 06:12, 5 July 2012 (EDT)
iBobi, if you believe that it is only the administrators who wish to fork, then we should invite the regular users and viewers of Wikitravel to join the discussion and voice their opinion. I'd propose adding a note to MediaWiki:Sitenotice alerting all visitors to the fork discussion; then we can get the ideas and opinions of all editors, instead of just administrators and IB employees. JamesA>talk 10:26, 4 July 2012 (EDT)
Does anyone else feel that the site is basically just as slow as before the MediaWiki upgrade? This is the one thing that I most hoped the upgrade would fix, but it seems to me that things load just as slowly as before, especially here on en:, where I get to wait 15 seconds or more for even important pages like Recent Changes. texugo 12:16, 3 July 2012 (EDT)
It took just over a minute to load the diff of your edit from the recent changes page for me. While the slowness could be due to any number of reasons, there was some suspect editing activity earlier today (see User talk:Pranavk) and there has been a known Linux issue affecting many, many servers since 30-June - see http://lwn.net/Articles/504657/ (that issue affected my home server and slowed it down massively). No clue whether either of those issues have any relevance to the current problems on Wikitravel, but something has definitely made things significantly slower lately. -- Ryan • (talk) • 18:39, 3 July 2012 (EDT)
WT is running on a brand new set of servers, one of which was replaced shortly after the upgrade was complete. Today the replacement machine was down for a short period of time but all is well now. What sorts of read/edot speeds are you experiencing yourself?
Also FYI on Thursday 7/5/2012 we are switching to a new cacheing service that ought to result in improved overall performance (read & edit) and several bug fixes.--IBobi 19:14, 3 July 2012 (EDT)
WT remains slow espcially when loading pages or initally starting to access WT. It's better compared to yesterday but still pretty slow compared to history.Jc8136 09:10, 4 July 2012 (EDT)
Things have been faster for me by a factor of about ten since late yesterday afternoon. Prior to that I was seeing page load times of up to a minute and occasional timeouts. -- Ryan • (talk) • 11:35, 4 July 2012 (EDT)
Wikitravel is operating just as quickly, if not moreso, than Wikipedia for me. LtPowers 10:29, 4 July 2012 (EDT)
Agreed. Seems to have returned to normal here too. texugo 14:12, 4 July 2012 (EDT)
A project for anyone who wants to help
I've been playing with Special:LinkSearch, which I assume to be a new feature since the upgrade, since I've never noticed it before. At any rate, it makes it pretty easy to spot hundreds of links which are not permitted in the main namespace by our external links policy. After eliminating a few dozen of them, I decided to appeal for help from anyone looking for something to do. Here are a few of the searches I tried:
tex, not today but i have a conference upcoming, where i'm going to be definitely need to look busy ;-) Jc8136 03:15, 4 July 2012 (EDT)
Tex, it ain't easy to find the links. I tried Yerevan and i see Troll Pub but it has not ext.link. The search for Facebook results nothing. Jc8136 03:21, 4 July 2012 (EDT)
Nifty tool! Several of the above searches might turn up legitimate links, though. Facebook, MySpace, and even Wordpress are more commonly used as websites for obscure little guesthouses than you might think. --PeterTalk 03:31, 4 July 2012 (EDT)
Agreed. I think we should alter slightly the policy to include the possibility of a blog or fb page being allowed when they are the only official web presence of a business. Jjtk 03:50, 4 July 2012 (EDT)
What if the future looked like this?
Three separate discussions about allowing Facebook links,
web/email format, and redesigning our templated listings format have got me thinking how we can update or modernize the way we present our information, and I've come up with a tentative proposal. It's really less a proposal and more just me throwing some ideas around, so I'm open to debate on any of the multiple points this will introduce, but I think the general idea is worth considering. Before I lay out the proposed changes though, I'd like to make some points and detail some reasoning behind the proposal.
Social networking as contact information - Since WT started, social networking has grown drastically in importance as a means of communication, in some cases being now more important than phone numbers or emails, and surely in all cases more relevant than telegram fax.
Facebook - As the Facebook discussion points out, many establishments have only Facebook as their web presence, and consensus seems to be leaning towards allowing them in such cases. Even for those who have also a normal website, Facebook may provide a more convenient way of contact for travellers, since a huge portion of our users also have Facebook accounts.
Twitter - Hasn't been discussed, but since Wikitravel has started, Twitter has taken over the web, and many many establishments have a twitter account, many users are bound to have accounts, and Twitter makes a more convenient avenue of communication for some than phone calls, full emails, etc. Twitter is especially popular with smaller accommodation owners, local restaurants, bars, music venues, and recreational activity providers, and even many mainstream attractions such as museums and festivals have an account.
Skype - Many smaller restaurants and accommodations (e.g. hostels) have Skype accounts which would provide travellers with a free international phone call or text consultation. I know that I, for one, would be far more likely to call via Skype to book a room at a foreign destination than I would to call international long-distance via landline.
Grouping all contact information - Within a listing, contact information should all be grouped together. As an aside, I will throw in the bold assumption that fax info can be eliminated as a now-outdated mode of communication unlikely to be used by travellers. For the purposes of this proposal, then, contact information will be taken to mean:
Address, including directions, if any
Facebook business page
Accepting the above definitions as reasonable and assuming we can set up the templates to do what we want, the tentative proposition is simply this:
We separate all the contact information, either into a separate column on the right or on a fresh line under the rest, leaving the lead to go directly from the name into the description, followed by hours and price.
In the contact info part, the address and phone number are written out. Everything else gets just a small linked icon unless you print the page.
Template fiddling, spacing, which icon to use, how images are incorporated into such sections, etc. can all be worked out later, but I made mock-ups of a couple of layout ideas. I tried to include examples with an assortment of information quantities to approximate how it would look with the completeness of an average article.
Anyway, I'd like to call for your general comments and opinions, so... what if the future looked like this? :
I don't know how to artificially display our standard bullet points and cannot make functioning icon links, so please use your imagination. Also, if you know how, feel free to mess around with the messily-coded mock-ups and/or make new ones, but please do so on a different page so these will be here for others to look at.texugo 17:54, 4 July 2012 (EDT)
I think these are some good ideas. I'd support the removal of 'fax', but I notice you've also removed 'alt' phone. A lot of Asian/African countries have multiple phone numbers, due to unpredictable landline connections. Some smaller businesses also give the option of mobile or landline; whichever is cheaper, or working. Therefore, I think that should stay. Facebook, Twitter and Skype accounts are a good idea, but we'd need to be careful about linking to "official" accounts, and not someone's fanpage. I'm leaning towards something along the lines of Mock layout 1, as it separates the information into where it belongs, whereas the others shove things like trading hours, price and descriptions. Mock layout 3 could be good if the left column was widened. One option could be automatic column width, so that if the left column gets a lot of text from things like directions, it would be wide, whereas if all it had was titles, it'd be narrow. But very nice work overall. JamesA>talk 06:45, 5 July 2012 (EDT)
FWIW, I didn't intentionally leave out alt phone numbers. I just didn't think of them because they're are very rare in the vast majority of articles.texugo 08:42, 5 July 2012 (EDT)
I made a similar proposal at Wikivoyage/de at our lounge. Of course we implemented do, see and eat tags, but we use mainly a template named vCard. A template is more flexible and could easily be changed without programming. We use a template master to make the data entry simple but I hope that new Mediawiki versions will have its own graphical tool. By the way I prefer the first variant. --Unger 01:41, 5 July 2012 (EDT)
I agree with your assessment of the third mock up and have widened the left column somewhat. I also think that one would look slightly better if both the telephone number and the icons were on the same line but with the number left-aligned and the icons right-aligned (but still in the first column), instead of taking up two separate lines. texugo 11:39, 5 July 2012 (EDT)
I cannot speak to the prevalence of fax as means of communication in certain areas; it seems like it might still be used in some places, but I can't say for sure. Is there any harm in leaving it? Phoneextra is also useful for TDD/TTY numbers, though those are also going by the wayside. LtPowers 12:26, 5 July 2012 (EDT)
The only harm it does is to work against economy of space. I just have a hard time imagining that more than the rarest of travellers sending a fax to make a dinner reservation or inquire about hotel vacancies these days, especially to/in a foreign country. Even in Asian countries where they are still more common, I think they are mostly used for inter-business purposes.texugo 13:13, 5 July 2012 (EDT)