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(Itinerary advice - Erie Canal: new section)
(IB vs community decisions)
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:That's probably a question best addressed on Shared, since it seems to be a site-wide contention.  [[User:LtPowers|LtPowers]] 14:51, 25 July 2012 (EDT)
:That's probably a question best addressed on Shared, since it seems to be a site-wide contention.  [[User:LtPowers|LtPowers]] 14:51, 25 July 2012 (EDT)
::Agree with LtPowers. I think openly supporting a fork may be a step too far on a site notice, but linking to the discussion and asking for users' opinions is crucial I believe to achieve IBobi's desire of involving the whole community. <big>[[User:JamesA|<font face="Segoe UI"><font color="#4682b4"><big>J</big>ames'''<small>A</small>'''</font></font>]]</big>  <sup>[[User talk:JamesA|<font face="Segoe UI"><font color="#191970">'''>talk'''</font></font>]]</sup> 08:47, 26 July 2012 (EDT)
== Itinerary advice - Erie Canal ==
== Itinerary advice - Erie Canal ==
I'm currently writing the [[Erie Canal]] itinerary article, and I'd appreciate some input regarding whether I'm on the right track or not.  I've never written an itinerary article before and I want to make sure it's starting out okay before I get too far into it.  Please comment on the article's talk page.  Thanks!  [[User:LtPowers|LtPowers]] 20:31, 25 July 2012 (EDT)
I'm currently writing the [[Erie Canal]] itinerary article, and I'd appreciate some input regarding whether I'm on the right track or not.  I've never written an itinerary article before and I want to make sure it's starting out okay before I get too far into it.  Please comment on the article's talk page.  Thanks!  [[User:LtPowers|LtPowers]] 20:31, 25 July 2012 (EDT)

Revision as of 12:51, 26 July 2012


The Travellers' pub is the place to ask questions when you're confused, lost, afraid, tired, annoyed, thoughtful, or helpful. Please check the FAQ and Help page before asking a question, though, since that may save your time and others'.

Please add new questions at the bottom of the page and sign your post by appending four tildes (~~~~) to it, but otherwise plunge forward!

If you have a question or suggestion about a particular article, try using talk pages to keep the discussion specific to that article.

If you are having a problem that you think has to do with the Mediawiki software, please post that on the Technical requests page on Wikitravel Shared instead.

If you want to celebrate a significant contribution to Wikitravel by yourself or others, Wikitravel:Celebrate a contribution may be the place you are looking for.

Please sweep the pub

Keeping the Pub clean is a group effort. If we have too many conversations on this page, it will get too noisy and hard to read. If you see an old conversation (i.e. three months after the last comment in that discussion) that could or should be moved to a talk page, please do so, and note there that it has been swept in from the pub.

  • A question regarding a destination article should be swept to the article discussion page
  • A discussion regarding a policy or the subject of an expedition can be swept to the policy or expedition discussion page
  • A simple question asked by a user can be swept to that user's talk page, but consider if the documentation needs a quick update to make it clearer for the next user with the same question.
  • A pointer to a discussion going on elsewhere, such as a notice of a star nomination or or a request to comment on another talk page, can be removed when it is two months old. Any discussion that occurred in the pub can be swept to to where the main discussion took place.

Any discussions that do not fall into any of these categories, and are not of any special importance for posterity, should be archived to Wikitravel:Travellers' pub/Archives and removed from here. If you are not sure where to put a discussion, let it be—better to spend your efforts on those that you do know where to place.


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? --Peter Talk 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... --Peter Talk 17:13, 13 April 2012 (EDT)
I wonder if we could use javascript to hide the credits until the reader clicks the "[show]" button. Or if reducing the number of authors shown by default would improve performance. LtPowers 20:11, 13 April 2012 (EDT)
We probably could, but What about users who (sensibly in my view) disable javascript for security reasons? Pashley 23:03, 14 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)
If the goal was to reduce performance impact the credits would not be seen by someone who did not have Javascript/Ajax enabled. Note, however, that this change would require a custom solution be developed and implemented by IB, so it seems unlikely to happen. -- Ryan • (talk) • 13:59, 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:

No credentials or password are needed to access this server. Just click through, poke around, and report any issues you find under BETA here:

Testing this is critical to ensuring that the transition to the full new site is smooth. This will be happening very soon (weeks or sooner) and we're anxious to hear feedback. So please, go look.


1. This is NOT the "real" Wikitravel site -- your updates won't carry over to the real site. This is just a testing environment for debugging; it will mimic the look & feel of the new site however.

2. The article data you will see on this staging server are several months old. New edits will not appear. Don't panic -- all the data will of course appear when the real site is switched over.

3. Speed will be okay; not as fast as the full site, but not nearly as slow as the previous testing environment.

Thank you,--IBobi 14:43, 11 April 2012 (EDT)

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. --Peter Talk 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.

-SnappyHip 11:01, 14 April 2012 (PST)

The way that "table of contents" is displayed

Hi guys.

As a sysop of the French Wiktionary, I'm really interrested in the way tables of contents show up here.

Would any contributor please help me to understand how it works ? --ArséniureDeGallium 14:04, 23 April 2012 (EDT)

I believe Evan worked on it. He is no longer very active on this site, so best to contact him via his own website [1]. --Peter Talk 16:10, 23 April 2012 (EDT)
Thanks. --ArséniureDeGallium 16:40, 23 April 2012 (EDT)

French Wikitravel

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)

Pure grumbling

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? --Peter Talk 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)

See Wikitravel:Time and date formats for the official policy. The talk page for that article also has a fair amount of discussion on the subject. -- Ryan • (talk) • 11:07, 25 April 2012 (EDT)

I have nothing to edit. What can I?

Hello, I'm a new user. I am bored on here. I have nothing to edit. What can I do?

And besides, are you going to comment about my username and signature? Pmaistakingthebanhammertobanworld 22:35, 28 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: Ikan 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)

French Wikitravel pages for deletion

Hi, could someone speedily delete some of the pages on the French Wikitravel pages for deletion? –sumone10154 14:01, 2 May 2012 (EDT)

Done. --Rein N. 19:01, 2 May 2012 (EDT)

Ontopic or not? Page gathering information on possibilities to take bicycles on public transport.

Hi! Over at the (Swedish-language) Facebook group [2] and Facebook page [3] 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

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)

I've updated MediaWiki:Sitenotice to note the scheduled outage. -- Ryan • (talk) • 18:36, 4 May 2012 (EDT)
Thank you Ryan.--IBobi 18:59, 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)
Done –sumone10154 10:58, 5 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 [4]. --Peter Talk 13:33, 14 May 2012 (EDT)

I will update shortly on the upgrade status.--IBobi 16:55, 17 May 2012 (EDT)

Mission Accomplished!? --Peter Talk 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. PerryPlanet Talk 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:

Current version:

  • International Spy Museum, 800 F St NW, +1 202 393-7798, [5]. 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.

Another idea:

  • 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.
Price: Adults: $20, seniors: $15, children (5-11): $15, 4 & under: Free.

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. --Peter Talk 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,, 1.
Super awesome museum about butts. Great for people who have butts or would like to find out more about butts.
Price: Free.

texugo 15:16, 3 June 2012 (EDT)

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)

Hi, this is Shoestring, an admin of ja:.
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 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.
The Civil Aviation Authority of China has a website at 10:57, 3 June 2012 (EDT)

Deletion of user and talk pages

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've created Template:Delete and Category:Speedy deletion candidates. Please add it to your watchlist/userspace, admins, so you can keep an eye on it. :) JamesA >talk 08:11, 3 June 2012 (EDT)
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. --Peter Talk 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:

If for any reason you need to contact me, I can be reached on my Talk page or my email address paul.obrien at Thanks!--IBobi 14:07, 4 June 2012 (EDT)

Delayed until 06-June-2012--IBobi 19:11, 4 June 2012 (EDT)
Upgrade complete. Please report issues at 19:02, 7 June 2012 (EDT)

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 04:32, 8 June 2012 (EDT)

Upgrade to 1.17 complete

Hi all,

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.

--IBobi 21:36, 8 June 2012 (EDT)

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: [6]. 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. --Peter Talk 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. --Peter Talk 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)

Patrolling problems

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)

This is now fixed, so we can get back to the beat. I have noticed that, on occasion, the marked as patrolled link is hiding at the bottom right of the page (as with new pages). I don't know why, but it shouldn't be a big deal, if people know about it. --Peter Talk 13:55, 6 July 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

Take a look at wts:Tech:Upgrade_to_MediaWiki_1.17#1.17_UPGRADE_BUG_REPORTS. --Peter Talk 14:44, 18 June 2012 (EDT)

cannot reach Shared

Shared seems to be completely down or something. I cannot reach it at all... texugo 10:23, 18 June 2012 (EDT)

And now I get this message when I try to reach an image page on Shared:
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 "LocalFile::upgradeRow". Database returned error "1205: Lock wait timeout exceeded; try restarting transaction (wikitraveldb1-new)".
texugo 10:40, 18 June 2012 (EDT)
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: [[7]]. 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? --Peter Talk 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?
AMTRAK Vermonter icon.png
--Peter Talk 11:30, 19 June 2012 (EDT)
Looks good enough for now. Can you toss me an .svg file so I can change the text for other lines? texugo 12:00, 19 June 2012 (EDT)
Voila --Peter Talk 12:27, 19 June 2012 (EDT)
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. --Peter Talk 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."

Has it something to do with the software update?

Ypsilon 05:18, 26 June 2012 (EDT)

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)
I emailed IBobi and started a bug report at Shared:Tech:Search/Go not working on en:. texugo 10:24, 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. --Peter Talk 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)
Can anyone verify that wiki markup ("raw text") was not displaying in the search results of the old version before the upgrade? Apparently the appearance of this markup is a bug with the MW software that they are aware of --IBobi 16:34, 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)


<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)
No, that is improper advice. Wikitravel:Avoid negative reviews. LtPowers 10:23, 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! --Peter Talk 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 [8], and I assume the renderer to use would be rsvg, as that is what the WMF projects all use. --Peter Talk 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. Eden Center map.svg. 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). --Peter Talk 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)

It's a bug with the listing editor, introduced some time today. See shared:Tech:Listing editor adds TOC tag. -- Ryan • (talk) • 02:54, 27 June 2012 (EDT)

Edited 1.17 upgrade bug reports to reflect fixes

I have edited the to reflect what's been fixed & what's pending, as well as a number of clarifications that are needed for tech.

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)

We have addressed and fixed all bugs reported since the 1.17 upgrade. Please review any you have reported and if they are still occurring, report them on the upgrade page (and unmark them as "resolved" or "fixed") and we'll readress them.--IBobi 19:44, 10 July 2012 (EDT)

Shared down?

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. --Peter Talk 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.

The discussion is at Wikitravel talk:Article templates#Get out, again. After you read the discussion, check out the poll at Wikitravel talk:Article templates#Approval vote. For each of the options listed in the table, if you would be willing to accept that option, sign just your name with three tildes (~~~) in the second column, and increment the vote total in the rightmost column. If you are not willing to accept an option, simply don't sign in that row.

As of right now, "Go next" is acceptable to seven of the nine people who've voted, followed by "Move on" and "Onward" at five each.

-- LtPowers 15:07, 1 July 2012 (EDT)

Moving to Wikimedia

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. --Peter Talk 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. --Peter Talk 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. --Peter Talk 20:22, 2 July 2012 (EDT)
Oh right -- that was LTPowers--IBobi 20:39, 2 July 2012 (EDT)

(undent) 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. --Peter Talk 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)
My interest since 2004, which has driven me to contribute more on this site than anybody else (literally: check your edit stats), has been our mission statement: "Wikitravel ( is a project to create a free, complete, up-to-date and reliable world-wide travel guide.". And the consensus is that it's in the best interests of this project to move to a new home. jpatokal 21:35, 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)
"Silent supermajority"? Richard Nixon say what? Gorilla Jones 15:29, 4 July 2012 (EDT)

(undent) Wikimedia has today given their assent to hosting the fork, subject to community consensus at the RFC. Now's the time to go chip in here: Requests for comment/Travel Guide. And to those new to the whole story, here's a little background. jpatokal 08:16, 12 July 2012 (EDT)

Please remove the two links you have posted to external competing travel sites (one at the top of this section and one at the bottom) as well as the link to your personal blog.--IBobi talk email 13:40, 12 July 2012 (EDT)
I have removed your links for violating the external link usage policy.--IBobi talk email 14:20, 12 July 2012 (EDT)
IBobi, I would strongly encourage you to reconsider doing that, as I don't think it is serving you, IB, or the future of this site very well. I have restored the links you removed, and would advise you to seek a broader community consensus before undertaking more of what is widely considered censorship. (Please also take a look at my response to you on my talk page.) --Peter Talk 17:31, 12 July 2012 (EDT)

If citing a policy violation and correcting it with a routine edit that any user can conduct (or revert, as you have shown) is censorship, then what is not censorship? Blanket claims of censorship are unfounded, and irresponsible of anyone who is aware of the nature of this discussion, or of this host's history over recent years, and I'll happily listen to any examples you care to cite. We do not and will not interfere with the editorial content of Wikitravel (which is the clear implication of this outrageous claim).

That said, there is no written policy on using Wikitravel to host discussions of forks like the WMF proposal, or any other processes that are damaging to Wikitravel and its users. There also is no policy to prevent an admin or group of admins from discussing the sabotage of the servers upon which this site runs. Does that mean everyone should sit back and fiddle while Rome burns? At some point, lack of policy is not an excuse to fail to take action. The previous host of this project reserved the right to act unilaterally when necessary in order to best serve this site. We have not taken that step, though it is within our rights and responsibilities as project stewards to do so.

I realize this is a tricky issue and has not really been discussed before (though it certainly ought to have been when the WV precedent was set). There are clear conflicts of interest at play here, given that a number of the admins who are defending this discussion have supported the fork and would like to see the discussion continue for that reason. Ideally they'd recuse themselves here, as at least one of them has already done.--IBobi talk email 18:25, 12 July 2012 (EDT)

IBobi, here's the disconnect:
"there is no written policy on using Wikitravel to host discussions of forks like the WMF proposal, or any other processes that are damaging to Wikitravel and its users"
Discussing a fork is emphatically NOT "damaging to Wikitravel and its users". It may, however, be damaging to Internet Brands. In the open source world a fork discussion is a way for users to raise concerns, and if there isn't an agreeable resolution to go out and try to address those concerns on their own; a fork is often the best way for a community to improve things, as shown by projects like or LibreOffice. You have elsewhere used the analogy that allowing discussion of a fork is like allowing use of Wikitravel for "discussing ways to sabotage the servers upon which this site runs", and the fact that a fork equates to an attack on the site's infrastructure is a telling sign that there is a major, major disconnect in how IB as a corporation understands what Wikitravel is. -- Ryan • (talk) • 18:36, 12 July 2012 (EDT)
[edit conflict] There are clear conflicts of interest at play here—Under that argument you should recuse yourself ;) Policy is interpreted by the group, and our community has a history of interpreting and enforcing policy in ways that directly contradict our personal opinions. But policies are determined by community procedures, and two of the relevant ones are: a) looking at practice over time—how we have coordinated in reaction to situations, and b) soliciting opinions. Thus far everyone either disagrees with you regarding policy interpretation, or in my lone case, thinks you might have a case. But having a case doesn't mean you win.
I'll toss out one last encouragement to take another look at my talk page responses, because I honestly don't think you helping anyone with this. Not yourself, not IB, not WT's admins, not anyone interested in what is going on. You do seem to be helping the project fork move along, but as I've said, that's not a goal of mine to the exclusion of all the work I do and continue to do here. --Peter Talk 18:39, 12 July 2012 (EDT)
The clear way that this discussion damages our users is that there are 7 million of them who will come here next month and the month after that, looking for the best travel content, and regardless of what the admins supporting the fork wish to do, those users are ill-served by a drop in the curating of this site.
There is indeed a disconnect, and it is between WT the project and WT the site. There is huge overlap, but they are distinct. My interests lie equally with both, while an admin who supports this fork and supports discussing it here is quite clearly concerned with the project alone. At any rate, your candor and insight are appreciated.--IBobi talk email 19:33, 12 July 2012 (EDT)
You are entirely correct in your assertion that WT the project and WT the site are distinct. WT the project is the collaboration of the contributors, including the admins, registered users, IP editors and general non-contributing users, and the support and hosting of the site, whereas WT the site, is where the project is currently hosted, along with the commercial interests of the owners, and ownership of the name. The IP users and non-contributing users will follow the project or stay with the site as long as the site provides them with value. The admins and registered users are concerned primarily with the project and are in essence, the spirit of the project. Where they go, the project goes. They can not be coerced, only persuaded. So far there is little evidence of convincing persuasion going on. If IB wants to keep the majority of the project, they will need to show the project why it is to the project's advantage to continue in an environment where there has been a constant struggle between the values of the project and the values of the site. The question then becomes: Is damage control feasible or is the relationship broken beyond repair.
The content is another distinct entity, which is neither the project nor the site, as it is not owned by either. Both project and site are free to use the content within the constraints of the licence, just like anyone else, and what they want to do with it appears to be diverging. • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 05:58, 14 July 2012 (EDT)

Wikitravel still glacially slow?

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 (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:

Anyone bored? texugo 23:19, 3 July 2012 (EDT)

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 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. --Peter Talk 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
    • Phone number
    • Official website
    • Email
    • Facebook business page
    • Twitter
    • Skype

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? :

texugo 17:39, 4 July 2012 (EDT)

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 would even consider 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)
I work in many countries. Fax really has died over the last 5 years, so I do not think it is a problem to drop it completely. If absolutely necessary somewhere, it could be put in as part of the text. I like mock up 3! However, I am not convinced of the value of adding Twitter. There is a risk of too many icons littering a page.Davidbstanley 11:27, 6 July 2012 (EDT)

For fax (along with alt, checkin/checkout, and several other tags), I think we should just nix it from the listings editor, but keep it available if someone in the know wants to add it, for the relatively rare exceptions that would see them as useful.

I think adding facebook/twitter information is the right way to go, as businesses put out a lot of really useful information through both. Hopefully we could create something more generic, though, to include other microblogs and personal social networking page sites. (Evan [9] hasn't yet dethroned Twitter, but I'm bullish on destroying Facebook [10].) I can't comment on skype—haven't yet worked it into my travel bag of tricks.

Texugo, I really like your first mockup—awesome stuff! It would be good to make the hours stand out even more, though, as they are arguably the most important reference information we include. Maybe italics? Or color?

Unger, does your template work with the listings editor? Keeping the listings editor will be crucial if we ever do launch into the yesteryear age of online editing... --Peter Talk 16:04, 5 July 2012 (EDT)

I'm poking around (PD icons), and found some that either would be great looking imported as is, or which I could edit a bit. For urls, [11] is pretty nice. I could fix up one of these to make it look a little tweetier [12] [13], and could try to fix one of these for social networking profiles [14] [15]. Our email icon is fine, but these are a bit snappier [16] [17]. Adding an hours icon (basically any clock) could be another good way to highlight the ever-important hours field. --Peter Talk 16:20, 5 July 2012 (EDT)
I'm also partial to mock-up 1, and I totally agree about italicizing the hours. I've gone ahead and done that on the mock-up, and it works well to set that info apart from the description. As to icons, I'll get back to you on that, but I was basically just shooting to find ones that have the same background shape (couldn't find one for Skype). I'm leaning toward making the icons for facebook, twitter, and skype clearly indicate what they are though and wouldn't really like to use a generic that doesn't at least indicate something similar to their own icon. I like the idea for a clock icon, and I considered using one to replace our little phone symbol. It would be nice to mock up some stylistically matching sets of all the necessary icons since they'd always be sitting next to each other in random combinations. Anyway, choosing specific icons would be its own discussion if consensus gets behind this idea.texugo 16:53, 5 July 2012 (EDT)
One thing I'm noticing is that the price info can get a little lost at the end of the hours line (which can vary wildly in length). Perhaps move it back to the end of the description, and bold it? Or we could have the price range follow a more eye-catching dollar icon? --Peter Talk 17:49, 5 July 2012 (EDT)
I like the layouts, Mock Layout 3 makes the address easy to find in a list of places, which is good in larger cities where maybe I am looking for somewhere to eat in the North side of the city. However I am not so sure about generally adding Facebook and Twitter links. If a business uses Facebook as its main internet presence then this can just go in place of a web address. I would not expect to look at Twitter as my first contact with a business, more as a way of staying in touch with somewhere that I already use. There may be the odd exception like an airport that tweets departure information, but then I think that we should take the trouble to say what is being tweeted. Unless devices are common that can only look at Facebook / Twitter and not web pages, then I think that the traveller should be directed to whatever is the best first point of contact and can then find other links from there (which helps to avoid getting fan pages added).AlasdairW 18:54, 5 July 2012 (EDT)

Here's a bored half hour's worth of icon work from someone who probably isn't too good at this kind of thing... Anyway, they are of even width & height, and conform in a very loose way to our usual color scheme!

Mouseworldicon.png Atsignemailicon.png Thisisnotatweeticon.png Socialnetworkicon.png Thisisnotaskypeicon.png

Like 'em? FTS? Suggestions? Anyone want an SVG of this? --Peter Talk 19:13, 5 July 2012 (EDT)

I appreciate the effort, Peter, but I gotta admit the icons don't mean anything to me. A couple I can figure out with some concentration, but icons like these need to be immediately recognizable to be useful. LtPowers 22:24, 5 July 2012 (EDT)
I'd disagree with that sentiment, if not the criticism of the icons, since you can always just hover your mouse over an icon to see what it's about. In any rate, our current footnote looking things aren't immediately recognizable! --Peter Talk 23:22, 5 July 2012 (EDT)
  • Facebook I am concerned about the concept of Facebook linking. To include Facebook potentially opens a quite large can of worms in regard to patrolling. We have had plenty enough problems with, and email addresses. Especially in the 3rd world many providers use common domain email addresses, or use them as a back up secondary email address.
    In some regions (especially the Indian sub-continent) every time someone changes one of these addresses they need to be checked to ensure it is not a hijack attempt. This phenomena is particularly common in the Indian articles but appears elsewhere as well. It has occasionally been suggested we should eliminate these common domain email addresses from the articles. This is not practical as many quite legitimate and substantial providers use them. It would be unfair to a large body of providers and disadvantageous to travellers to eliminate them. Unless the provider is well known to the patrolling editor, or the common domain email address is published on the providers website or another authoritative source then it is often difficult and time consuming to determine legitimacy. Sometimes an extensive examination of edit histories is required to determine the bona-fides of the editor changing or adding the common domain contact.
☯To add Facebook listings to this mix seems to be asking for more trouble. Though it is of course understood that many traders do use Facebook accounts I have noted many Facebook accounts appear to be name holders, similar in a way to registering a common domain name email address, or a domain name similar to that of a trader or product, and then sitting on it either to block use of it or to gain some advantage by selling it or using it to divert business to someone other than the principal business.
☯Perhaps we need to consider if FB is really even accepted as a formal communication vehicle, or is it more one of tagging and maintaining existing customer connection through often vacuous self promotion. I have also noticed that for many small operators a common domain email address and a Facebook account is their only web presence. Anecdotally it appears that Facebook does not work well for many third world tourism providers. Many small operators tell me they do not believe it provides them any tangible business opportunity and it is email, SMS, Telephone, Skype and positive Tripadvisor recommendations and referral that are far more important to their activities
☯The previous discussions concerning FB seem to have hovered over the idea of 'business' Facebook accounts being linked. For those who might use a Facebook account in replacement of a business website we must consider if they are really likely to use a revenue account with FB, it seems unlikely, therefore we are setting ourselves a near impossible task of assessing the 'commercial' relevance of individual FB accounts that may be associated with a business operator. There is also the issue of inactive FB accounts. Some people tire of the medium and neglect it, so if we link to an account such as this we are potentially adding a dead end contact.
☯Perhaps our endeavours would be better applied to ensuring the existing contact methods are accurate rather having our efforts diverted into an added burden of further account verification demands arising from FB and Twitter accounts and the questionable virtues of supporting a commercial opportunity for either IB, Facebook or Twitter arising from providing such links in the articles and then patrolling them for consistency and legitimacy.
☯I am unconvinced of the benefit to the project and not at all keen to commit my own time toward refining a potential revenue stream derived from FB clicks or the data mining and correlation models operated by FB and Twitter.
☯I am raising this here as I note the Wikitravel:External links guideline on this has been modified recently. Perhaps this requires a little more scrutiny, especially in regard to the potential outcomes in regions with a history of contact hijacking and also in regard to our own participation in developing the Facebook and Twitter commercial models by facilitating WT linking.
  • Twitter seems to be reliant upon an always-on connectivity, this is irrelevant to much of the world, I think we should be wary of viewing the world through a lens narrowed by the hype of always-on connectivity. Also I wonder why we are allowing these 3rd party commercial links into the body of the article, we should not forget the core function of enterprises such as FB, it is to collect, collate, control and commercially disseminate data for commercial gain, it is not a benign vehicle of communication.
  • Skype linking is a different thing, I thoroughly support that and it would be good to see a listing field added to the standard format asap. As for adding an icon for that, great idea. Skype is a service commonly used and very popular with travellers.
  • Alt phone this should stay as it is essential to list more than one phone contact in some regions and PABX systems are rare in many 3rd world environments, I don't think it requires an icon though.
  • Fax is difficult, some still use it for payment authorities and many banks and insurance companies will insist on faxing documents and will not accept email communications, having the number readily at hand in a WT article may assist the traveller in circumstances such as these so maybe it should remain as listing text detail, but not have an icon. --felix 23:41, 6 July 2012 (EDT)
I certainly agree with negative sentiments regarding Facebook. But, small businesses—even those that have a real webpage—often update their personal facebook page with important information more frequently. In my endless search for details belonging in listings, I often cannot find hours information for small boutique restaurants, or current event listings for nightclubs or rock venues without looking into their Facebook page. Microblogs, such as those on Twitter, are a similar deal for finding current events. --Peter Talk 12:36, 7 July 2012 (EDT)

Shared repository message

When you visit an image page on en: for a file hosted on shared, you get a message that "This file is from a shared repository. Visit it's file description page.." etc. When did that message turn into a hot pink eyesore? Can we change it do something a little less jolting? texugo 23:35, 5 July 2012 (EDT)

Yes, that was my handiwork at MediaWiki:Sharedupload-desc-there ;)
It should be at least a little jolting, though. --Peter Talk 00:18, 6 July 2012 (EDT) It should be better now 00:34, 6 July 2012 (EDT)
What's really interesting, though, is that Commons images are getting a different message (example: File:Rosslyn Panorama 00092.jpg), which copies the image licensing and attribution information! That message is MediaWiki:sharedupload-desc-here. Now how do we get that functionality for our own shared repository...? --Peter Talk 00:20, 6 July 2012 (EDT)

It's quiet, a little too quiet

Did I miss a holiday today or something? The only time I've seen so few edits in recentchanges has been on Christmas! --Peter Talk 23:05, 7 July 2012 (EDT)

Some of the more prodigious editors seem to be missing today. And the number of contributions seem to generally have been lower since the upgrade - some folks probably wandered off temporarily due to various upgrade bugs and should return as things stabilize. -- Ryan • (talk) • 23:28, 7 July 2012 (EDT)
Maybe. It's weird though—I just patrolled the entire day's edits in 15 minutes. --Peter Talk 23:45, 7 July 2012 (EDT)
I suspect I'm not the only one who sees little point in working on WT while we wait for the hammer to drop... jpatokal 22:55, 9 July 2012 (EDT)
Regardless of outcomes, I still want things in good shape here. The fact that I cannot block bots or delete pages right now frustrates that desire. --Peter Talk 01:48, 10 July 2012 (EDT)
Am I the only one then, who repeatedly could not reach Wikitravel, today and yesterday? I got the "Wikitravel has a problem" message. Maybe others had the same. Justme 08:39, 10 July 2012 (EDT)
There were scattered outages yesterday due to the cacheing change reported on Shared. Are you still having trouble editing? I made an edit with no issue.--IBobi 14:53, 10 July 2012 (EDT)
I can edit with Chromium on the same PC, and Firefox on a different pc (same IP, different Firefox version), so I guess the issue is with Firefox 3.6.24? --Peter Talk 17:01, 10 July 2012 (EDT)
Sounds likely. I'm on FF 13.0.1, so it's just possible some new updates left your ancient version behind finally?--IBobi 17:06, 10 July 2012 (EDT)

Peter, tech recommends you remove ALL cookies and hard refresh; it may have cached something wonky. They're looking into potential conflicts with that FF version.--IBobi 17:26, 10 July 2012 (EDT)

I'm able to edit as normally as of this evening EST! --Peter Talk 18:42, 12 July 2012 (EDT)

Suggestion: Guidelines for Accommodations (price)

During my trip to (Southeast-)Asia I experienced often the situation that the budget and mid-range section where totally mixed up. Maybe it would be good to have a rough guideline for each place to sort the accommodations according to the price. —The preceding comment was added by Askingcat (talkcontribs)

Every Sleep section should have a Template:Sleeppricerange nearby. If one is missing, maybe you can add it! LtPowers 09:12, 8 July 2012 (EDT)
Is that true? Should every sleep (and eat) section have one? Because most of our star articles don't, I think. --Peter Talk 10:49, 10 July 2012 (EDT)
Well, every bottom-level (leaf-node) article. At least, that's what I thought. LtPowers 13:03, 10 July 2012 (EDT)


Hi! I'm new to Wikitravel (in the meaning of adding information). I would like to make suggestion, although probably it was discussed before on this page. I think it will be very convenient to have GPS coordinates near titles of places, especially in the See section. When I go to new place, usually I print relevant Wikitravel page and having coordinates there will be very helpful. Also it could very helpful to have linked appropriate Google map to the article, but probably it is out of scope of the project.

While I understand the nobody is able to add magically coordinates in the one moment, it would be nice to mention this somewhere in guidelines (if it is not yet) --DixonD 10:27, 10 July 2012 (EDT)

You can find more information on the topic at Wikitravel:Geocoding. If you have ideas as to how those coordinates can best be displayed and utilized, please leave a message on the talk page! LtPowers 13:05, 10 July 2012 (EDT)
Also see Wikitravel:Geographical data and metadata. For adding geo data to listings, that's actually pretty easy, so long as they are properly formatted with our listings tags. For a completely random example, look at Slough#See and click on the edit link at the end of the listing. In the listing editor that comes up, you can enter the coordinates into the lat and long fields.
We used to have the ability to use special:mapstraction to pull up a Google Maps view of the article destination, but that doesn't seem to be functional now. In any rate, it wasn't that helpful, and probably just distracts from our mapmaking goals, which stress keeping the maps on-site, so that articles are easy to print and use on the go. In the not-yet-foreseeable future, one of our goals is to auto-generate maps of our listings on maps imported from OpenStreetMap, which shares our CC license. --Peter Talk 13:30, 10 July 2012 (EDT)

Bugs, feature requests, and the future of Wikitravel

Please view and comment on this section on Shared Bugs, feature requests, and the future of Wikitravel.--IBobi 20:46, 10 July 2012 (EDT)

Thank you. --DavidCary 12:43, 21 July 2012 (EDT)

Lost discussion

I can't for the life of me find the discussion in which we were talking about having the ability to up/down-vote and to mark-as-correct listings, with a trusted class of reviewers and editors. Does anyone know what happened to it? --Peter Talk 16:25, 11 July 2012 (EDT)

I think that was Wikitravel:Business listings reliability Expedition. The discussions are mostly on the talk page. -- Ryan • (talk) • 16:33, 11 July 2012 (EDT)

Support for email notification?

Please see Enable Email Verification and Notification and add your X to the Roadmap if you like it.--IBobi talk email 19:58, 12 July 2012 (EDT)

Spam Page

I'm moving a discussion from my talk page here to see if anyone else has seen these error messages or experience the same problem. Ryan also posted this to Wikitravel talk:How to handle unwanted edits#Important - blocking spambots.

You're shown as the author of User:Chen47vk7, which is a spambot page. Any idea what's going on? Is this another upgrade bug? -- Ryan • (talk) • 16:09, 14 July 2012 (EDT)

When I tried logging in earlier, I got a message that (I think) said something about being prevented from logging in to prevent account being compromised or something like that. The time of those edits is about the time I logged in (or tried to). I'm on a public wi-fi network...maybe that has something to do with that? AHeneen 16:15, 14 July 2012 (EDT)
You're the second "normal" account I've seen today that had a spambot page created. It may be an upgrade bug, but if you see that message again can you copy it and add it to this thread? -- Ryan • (talk) • 17:01, 14 July 2012 (EDT)
Screenshot 1

Today after clicking the "log in" in the upper right, then entering my username & password and hitting enter, I got the screen at right. I think what I did on the 14th was re-enter my password at this screen, after which I got the message I mentioned about being compromised or something like that. This time I clicked the WT image in the top right to return to the homepage, where I was still "logged in" as this spambot (?). I just closed the window (my Firefox setting is to clear cookies when exiting) and came back to WT to log in...without incident. These two instances are the only two times I've ever seen this browser should accept cookies. Using my home internet this time. Maybe this is a bug. (BTW:Message is in a grey box because I highlighted it to copy/paste, but then decided to capture a screenshot with the message still highlighted). AHeneen 05:49, 16 July 2012 (EDT)

Screenshot 2
I got the log in error message in the second screenshot when I tried to log in today...the same one I got the first time. Happened in the same way as the last two times: clicked on "log in" from WT homepage, entered by username & password on the following page and hit enter. Again, notice that I appear to be logged in as a spambot. This time I entered my password on this page and clicked "log in", but checking my "user contributions" it doesn't look like any spam edits have been made by my account. AHeneen 22:39, 16 July 2012 (EDT)
There was a bug fixed in Mediawiki 1.17.2 that apparently would allow a script running on your machine to "steal" session information - if you're on Windows, do you run a virus scanner? Otherwise you might want to try clearing cookies and see if the problem goes away. Alternately, it's possible that a malicious Google ad or something similar could be stealing session info via the aforementioned bug. For what it's worth I reported the problem to IB and requested that they upgrade to the latest bugfix release. -- Ryan • (talk) • 22:58, 16 July 2012 (EDT)
Screenshot 3
I was adding another comment when you added yours. I do run a virus scanner and like I said in the first post, my browser setting are set to delete cookies when the browser is closed (just double-checked this). Should this be moved to the pub for others to comment on? So after making the last comment, I went to my watchlist to patrol recent edits and got the message shown in the third screenshot while making a couple edits. After logging back in, I checked my contributions, but no spam edits made by my account. Since the upgrade, I seem to get logged out of my account anywhere from 15-45 minutes after logging in (a rough guess) and this happened 20 minutes after logging in (based on difference between timestamps on the images' metadata). AHeneen 23:04, 16 July 2012 (EDT)
It probably wouldn't hurt to give this issue wider exposure in the Pub since it hasn't just been your account - I just deleted a spambot page credited to User:AndreCarrotflower. I've also raised this issue at Wikitravel talk:How to handle unwanted edits#Important - blocking spambots. -- Ryan • (talk) • 00:15, 17 July 2012 (EDT)

So has anyone else seen this or seen these error messages? AHeneen 01:28, 17 July 2012 (EDT)

Yes, I was receiving them after last Monday's caching server upgrade (at least I think that's what it was), and received them July 9th-12th. I only received them in one browser on one computer (Firefox 3, Ubuntu 10.04). On the 13th I was able to edit again as normally. I didn't report on site because it was too much of a pain to edit! --Peter Talk 00:43, 18 July 2012 (EDT)
I've been getting these messages every time I've logged in since the 14th. Upgraded from Firefox 13 to 14.0.1 today (on Windows 7 SP1, for what it's worth), but that hasn't changed anything. Only the first time this happened were spam edits "made" by my account. AHeneen 02:12, 18 July 2012 (EDT)
I got it today for the first time. LtPowers 14:53, 18 July 2012 (EDT)
We are working to implement a security patch this week. Thank you all.--IBobi talk email 15:10, 18 July 2012 (EDT)
No hurry, since you're a spambot yourself now. (Oh, the irony!) jpatokal 09:34, 24 July 2012 (EDT)
Jani, just placed the irony on IBobi's talk page. It would be ironic if it wouldn't kill Wikitravel rather soon. It's really sad to see the project unfold on its own. If anyone needs arguments against IB, then we show this discussion. Jc8136 09:41, 24 July 2012 (EDT)

The MW 1.17.2 patch was deployed early this morning Pacific time. Please let me know as soon as possible if it has not addressed the spambot issue and the deletion problem. If earnest attention to and resolution of a MW software bug is an "argument against" the host, Jc, I really don't know what to tell you. A patch this size cannot be deployed hastily, lest the functionality of the site itself be jeopardized.--IBobi talk email 13:20, 24 July 2012 (EDT)

When we have big problems affecting the integrity of the site, I think Wikitravellers' patience with IB's business hours wanes. We work around the clock, around the globe to maintain some semblance of wikidignity on a site that is hard for me to even edit, still. It took around 5 minutes to load this page's history and then the diffs since my last visit just right now. --Peter Talk 18:00, 24 July 2012 (EDT)
Sorry it's been slow today, Peter; as I mentioned in earlier notes regarding the upgrade that occurred today, site speed will be slow because it's a patch to the entire site, which then requires some time for the cache to rebuild. This is a huge site, and there's no way around it. Upgrading takes a temporary toll on site speed -- it has nothing at all to do with it being IB that made the upgrade. It's a software bug with MediaWiki that we needed to resolve.
Some things just take time. It wasn't business hours that caused the week delay; it's our care in ensuring that the upgrade would be done well and would not compromise the site. We go from investigating the issue, to investigating a solution, to putting the solution on a staging server, testing it there, then putting it into production on the live site here. Hopefully you understand, and thank you for your help in reporting and resolving this.--IBobi talk email 18:12, 24 July 2012 (EDT)

Editting on iOS?

I can't seem to edit pages when using my iOS device. Am I missing something? It seems to work fine when using Android... -- Tim 08:25, 17 July 2012 (EDT)

What issues are you having specifically? Have you been able to edit on iOS in the past, and only having the problem recently? It could be related to the recent MediaWiki upgrade. Personally, I can edit using my phone (HTC Windows Phone) JamesA >talk 08:30, 17 July 2012 (EDT)
I've not tried editing on iOS before so I'm not sure if it's a new thing or not. When viewing any page on either Safari or Chrome, after clicking to see normal versions of the pages (as opposed to mobile versions) it will show up the "edit" links - but then if I click on it, I get the edit page but back in the mobile version, but the wiki code isn't in a text box which you can edit. Hope that makes sense... -- Tim 09:01, 17 July 2012 (EDT)
Okay, so now it's kinda working now. I'm using Chrome on iOS and when trying to edit it still takes me back to the mobile version which is formatted differently and can't be edited. But with Chrome there's a "request desktop version" option which shows the normal desktop version of the page and allows you to edit as normal. It's still a bit of a hassle though. -- Tim 15:38, 17 July 2012 (EDT)
I have the same problem on Android as well. If you want to edit, you can't let the site know you are on a mobile device, otherwise it keeps flicking back to it. --Inas 21:47, 17 July 2012 (EDT)

User page exists but user account not registered

I was going to blank and protect a User page that has been subject to numerous spam edits and deletions. When I went to edit it though, I got the following message:

"User account "xxxxx" is not registered. Please check if you want to edit/create this page."

Has anyone seen this message before? It seems odd that it recognizes the page as a user account but the account is not registered (and that my editing would register it). - Shaund 10:42, 21 July 2012 (EDT)

Editing the page would not register the user account; the warning is there because it is usually not desirable to create a page in the User: namespace without an attached account. LtPowers 14:21, 21 July 2012 (EDT)

How do I move pages?

How are pages moved? I tried to move Sigtuna to Sigtuna and Stockholm-Arlanda Airport, without result. Thanks in advance. /Blist 20:14, 22 July 2012 (EDT)

Moving pages appears to be broken at the moment, please see shared:Tech:Move feature not working on en:. However, in that specific case, I would not move the page, as airports usually do not get their own articles; you could set up a redirect from Stockholm Airport or Stockholm-Arlanda Airport to Sigtuna instead. — D. Guillaime 20:26, 22 July 2012 (EDT)
That's a thing to discuss at Talk:Stockholm. /Blist 14:10, 23 July 2012 (EDT)
So, is there any hope that the bug will get fixed? /Blist 19:13, 25 July 2012 (EDT)

IB vs community decisions

All the admins on the Finnish Wikitravel -- that would be me and fi:User:Trsqr -- have decided to support the fork at Wikimedia and publish a sitenotice stating so. IB has reverted this three times now, as in IBobi's opinion "The host is responsible for the site, and has decided that the sitenotice is not to be used for that purpose and that purpose only."

So, I'd like IB to explain which Wikitravel policy justifies this behavior, and I'd be most interested in hearing what other users think about the situation. jpatokal 07:06, 25 July 2012 (EDT)

That's probably a question best addressed on Shared, since it seems to be a site-wide contention. LtPowers 14:51, 25 July 2012 (EDT)
Agree with LtPowers. I think openly supporting a fork may be a step too far on a site notice, but linking to the discussion and asking for users' opinions is crucial I believe to achieve IBobi's desire of involving the whole community. JamesA >talk 08:47, 26 July 2012 (EDT)

Itinerary advice - Erie Canal

I'm currently writing the Erie Canal itinerary article, and I'd appreciate some input regarding whether I'm on the right track or not. I've never written an itinerary article before and I want to make sure it's starting out okay before I get too far into it. Please comment on the article's talk page. Thanks! LtPowers 20:31, 25 July 2012 (EDT)



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