I'm creating this list because there are a gajillion issues on Wikitravel that pop up every now and then and are debated for a bit before dying a slow death with nothing changing. At least this way we can keep track of what they are.
And for a birthday present, Evan could declare a Let's Close Everything Month, where each issue will be decided by administrative fiat at the end of the month based on the best arguments presented. Jpatokal 11:56, 5 Mar 2005 (EST)
No. Everything on Wikitravel is constantly open for discussion and change. No policy is closed, ever. I think this page is unhealthy in that it implies that any but these 4 issues are closed, so I'm going to unlink it. --Evan 14:35, 5 Mar 2005 (EST)
I think the current style of letting decisions drag on forever is far more unhealthy -- for example, look at the unholy mess of front-vs-medium-vs-backlinked listings. I'm going to relink it, but with a disclaimer up top. Jpatokal 23:43, 5 Apr 2005 (EDT)
Discussions drag out when there's not a clear consensus. That's the right thing to do; if there's no clear consensus, there's no good path to take. Calling out certain issues as open implies that others are closed, which I think is an extremely bad message to send.
Let's do this: what if we copy the WikiPedia:Wikipedia:Requests for comment format? We'll have Wikitravel:Requests for comment, and if there's a particular issue that people want to draw attention to, they can list it there. That way, we get the attention on important issues necessary to come to some resolution, but we're not singling out certain discussions as "open" and others as "closed". --Evan 00:08, 6 Apr 2005 (EDT)
Much better! I'm fine with this and have renamed the article.
And while I agree that issues with no clear consensus should be left "open" (eg. the sex policy thing), there are other issues where everybody agrees that something should be done, a compromise is proposed, and then the issue just kind of gets stuck in limbo because the proposer of the compromise isn't sure if the magical consensus has achieved or not. Some sort of guideline should be established to solve these gridlocks. Jpatokal 01:19, 6 Apr 2005 (EDT)
No subject is closed for discussion ever. I agree, but we can always solicit comments for things we think particularly need discussion. -- Mark 01:36, 6 Apr 2005 (EDT)
I agree, this is a fine page to have what with recent changes cranking along so fast it's not always easy to keep up with conversations... but I hope no one is holding their breath for an "administrative fiat" ... though it would be kinda funny if someone tried ;-). Wikis aren't really conducive to fiats, administrative or otherwise ...Majnoona 13:17, 6 Apr 2005 (EDT)
Do we really need to sign? Wikipedia expressly specifies no signatures, and the person recording the issue in RFC hardly has ownership on it... Jpatokal 01:48, 6 Apr 2005 (EDT)
Requests come from specific people, not from the aether. The person who records the issue doesn't own it, but they should own the fact that they think the issue needs more discussion. --Evan 09:20, 6 Apr 2005 (EDT)
The RFC page is getting crowded with old issues -- like Talk:Begging (the discussion page for the redirected 'Begging in Europe') which has received no discussion since April. How about we make a simple rule like "an RFC which receives no additional comments should be removed after six months"? Or something like that? -- Colin 11:54, 31 Oct 2005 (EST)
I would propose to implement a tool that helps to find original author of any given piece of article.
Why: Many of us editors deal with improving someone else's content written some time ago. When we're in doubt, we have three options:
edit the content with a belief that our version is better then it was (and hope its author will raise a discussion if there's some disagreement*)
move out a questionable piece to article's Talk page for discussion (and hope that its author will come back some day to the article's talk page for discussion*)
just remove a piece considering it misleading, for example (and hope that its author will notice the removal and raise a question if he disagrees*)
I marked all items with * as they only apply to the articles without regular editors who watch for article credibility relying on their local expertise.
This scheme works fine when (a) most of valuable content is brought in be regular editors, or (b) if every region has an active expert who raise question immediately on any disputable edit. However, neither (a) nor (b) for most regions is true, in my experience.
My proposal is to recommend editors to contact authors when they're about to edit/remove something they don't understand or otherwise feel that discussion would help to find a more objective and balanced view on a questionable topic. To contact--at least leaving a short comment to original author on User's talk page, if not dropping a email. The only question is how to find who was the author of piece in question--it's a headache to do manually every time, but see How below.
Such a practice will give more retention of and respect for occasional editors whos life is not so much about travel to spend few hours a week just to patrol their edits, and result in better return visitors rate we editors all really need at Wikitravel. Hopefully it will even add more regular editors having local expertise on specific regions.
How: OK, here's the point. All we need is a tool which searches over previous editions of the article for a last change of a piece in question. I.e.:
have a text area where you can paste in a piece you'd like to find original author for
on submit, just find a latest version of this article where this piece does not appear. This will give you exactly the last edit for this piece
if the version found is just the edit of the piece you still need, go ahead manually copying the previous edition of the piece, and repeat step 1--until you find a change in question (and its author).
Voila! Objections? --DenisYurkin 06:33, 11 February 2007 (EST)
I think you are overlooking some problems:
As far as the community goes, my only concern would be that if I move or edit a paragraph, I'd prefer not to be asked about the content as if I wrote it.
The Wikimedia database is not deltafied. You would have to retreive every version of the file when processing this command.
If a vandal deletes a section and it is later restored, the software would need to account for that
This sounds like a huge server load. Expect the feature to be disabled on large Wikis like Wikipedia and Wikitravel.
I'm not sure I understand why this is important. It seems much better to simply put a note on the Talk: page saying what you're doing and why, if you think it could be controversial. If the original author is going to object, it's likely other people will object, too. I think your plan puts too much reliance on the ownership of editors of their own work, which is something I'd rather discourage than encourage. If wiki editors have to ask permission of original contributors before changing any text, we're going to grind to a standstill. All authors have given their permission to make changes; it's part of the social contract of wiki. --Evan 12:40, 11 February 2007 (EST)
Maybe I have too much experience of editing regions which have no frequent watchers with local expertise, but my reality is:
too often I leave a question on some other's piece that doesn't get any reaction for months (and I wish I could contact its author if it was easier than manual full scan of all edits)
too often I find that my edits were reverted or distorted in meaning without any notice, neither on article's Talk page nor on my own User_talk page.
in events of both sorts I wish I am (or editor after me is) able to get in touch with the original author.
I don't think it will slow down the process much if, along with doing my edit over someone's contribution, I leave a short notice to the person who written the previous version of this specific piece in the rare cases I'd like him to be aware of. Even mentioning his username on edit summary would make things easier, seriously.
Don't take me wrong, I don't advocate that every edit should be performed with a procedure like this. Nor do I propose to ask any kind of permission--only to notify or ask a question when I need to. --DenisYurkin 17:26, 11 February 2007 (EST)
If it's that rare, why can't you do the research to identify the original author manually? On occasion I have done that so I could yell at someone for a really bad Wikipedia contribution, or so I could check their other contributions for similarly bad edits, and it wasn't that difficult. It'd be even easier here, where articles generally have fewer edits and editors. - Todd VerBeek 20:28, 11 February 2007 (EST)
To turn to really practical things for a while:
in the last month when I published my experiences on Hungary and its regions, I left about two dozen of questions. Roughly half of them is still without answers. I travel to 3 or 4 destinations a year, and I think every new destination will give me at least the same numbers. I do value my time to do a manual scan for every question left without answer, and I'm looking for some way to save time without compromising objectivity of articles. I like IBM slogan "Machines should work, people should think" :-)
if I bring in a patch for MediaWiki that just implements the feature I vote for here, what are the chances it will be accepted from wikitravel's philosophy point of view? (ie. if we ignore technical issues on incorporating it for a while, and only count ideological objections/support of the community)
I still don't see why you can't use your watchlist to watch for answers to questions you've asked. Once a week, look at this URL and skim for the word "Talk". Not exactly time-consuming or difficult.
My philosophical objections boil down to the belief that Wikitravel articles (or segments thereof) belong to the whole editing community, and discussions about them should take place in a community forum. Saying, "Hey, Todd, about what you wrote..." on my user Talk page treats it like a collaboration between you and me, which it is not. - Todd VerBeek 16:25, 12 February 2007 (EST)
On 1: yes, I can--as I can perform manual scan over previous versions in the second scenario. It's takes some time, every week. I value my time, and I value my contribution--and I believe my proposal allows me to have more of both, not to seek compromise of choosing one.
On 2: this scheme, mentioned around here many times, works well for articles that have at least 2 knowledgeable editors at any point, not counting author of potential edits. For the countries/regions I'm involved in editing recently (Hungary, Morocco, Cyclades of Greece), this is just not the case--most of the time there's no single editor with local expertise available to discuss change or even to be sure new edits are basically OK. At least, that's my experience. --DenisYurkin 16:57, 12 February 2007 (EST)
I've sometimes wished for the ability to do this on Wikipedia, so I could go yell at someone for a particularly bad bit of misinformation or general stupidity they added, which I find lingering in an article. Which is why it's probably for the best that the feature doesn't exist. :) As for the more constructive purposes suggested here... isn't that what watchlists are for? If someone wants to be "notified" about changes to articles they feel some "ownership" of (I have a bunch of those), they can check their lists periodically. On the other hand, I've had to scale back my involvement here in recent months so I can focus on other things, and I definitely don't want people e-mailing me about some tidbit of prose I wrote when I was bored a year ago and hitting "Random page" a lot. - Todd VerBeek 14:16, 11 February 2007 (EST)
(reindented your comment) Todd, but would you prefer that someone notify you via your personal Talk page (or at least leave a note on the article's Talk page) instead of just removing a piece you've written a year ago (and you still believe it's true)?
Checking the Watchlist is really time-consuming if you contributed to a much-edited article, like Berlin or Athens or Budapest, not to mention country-level articles. I don't have any measurements in hand, but I think that 20-50% of edits are brought in by occasional or even one-time contributors, peope who took a printed copy with them for a once-in-a-lifetime trip, contributed an edit or two upon their return, and don't have much time every week to check every edit followed in their watchlist. But I do believe that the next time they visit Wikitravel for another guide, they get a feeling that their contribution is respected and valued--and their opinion really counts, if they are notified of controversial edits or invited to discussion related to their contribution. --DenisYurkin 17:26, 11 February 2007 (EST)
They are. By looking at the Talk pages for the articles on their watchlist. If they aren't concerned enough to do that, then they probably don't care enough to want to be bugged about them. You seem intent on making people pay attention to these things, rather than letting them decide how much attention to pay. The examples you cite of people not responding to comments on Talk pages don't indicate a problem to be solved; they indicate the actual level of ownership people feel about the edits they've made. These editors have chosen to let their contributions be edited (and possibly deleted) by anyone on the Web, and not to check on them. If there's some kind of special question about some information I wrote that you believe is controversial: OK, leave a note for me on my Talk page. But for most of what I've written: please, no. Leave a comment on the article's Talk page if you think your edit warrants discussion; if I care about what I've written on that page, I'll see your comment there... but if I don't, that's my choice. And really, that's what article Talk pages are for: a public place to discuss the contents of the article. After all, the person who originally wrote the sentence you're removing isn't the "owner" of it; the person who replaced an adjective in it three months later, the person who rephrased it to be more fair two weeks ago, and even someone who looked at it and agreed with it... they each have just as much reason to be asked about removing it. As for the problem of people editing your text without notifying you, as long as notifying the original author is voluntary (which it has to be), there's no way we can fix that. If you care that much about your contributions, you have to police them yourself: use your watchlist. - Todd VerBeek 20:28, 11 February 2007 (EST)
Many articles are mostly compiled by one person that put a lot of effort into it. Often this person will want some feedback on the work that (s)he has done. Currently the only real way of getting that feedback is by nominating the article as a star (as I did in the case of South Africa). Maybe we need a wikitravel:RFC page where contributors can request feedback on the work they have done. After the normal 14 days this feedback can then be archived to the article's talk page. We might also want to make this RFC process a requirement before an article is nominated for star status. -- NJR_ZA 00:35, 15 February 2007 (EST)
Isn't it for any article in any time when we need comments on it? What's the border between "mostly compiled by one person" and the world of other cases? --DenisYurkin 04:17, 15 February 2007 (EST)
Scratch this, I'll come back re rephrase the question when I have thought about it some more. -- NJR_ZA 05:53, 15 February 2007 (EST)
Umm... Why did you scratch that? I think it is a valid question. It does not really matter whether the article was written by one person or many. If you intend to work on the article to improve it, there needs to be a place where you can solicit feedback. The thing is, till the article reaches a certain stage, it is rather obvious what needs to be done to improve it. If an article is in the outline stage, it is obvious that the various sections need to be filled out. It is when the article starts looking good that it needs the fresh/more experienced eyes to point out the flaws. Wikipedia has a process of peer reviews and it is now a norm that an article has to go through peer review before it gets featured. It's probably a good idea to introduce a similar thing here too, but I had this idea of tying it with article status.
Right now, the article status criteria are well-defined, but there is no organized way to make sure that an article actually has the status it deserves. I wanted to tighten the process so that we start going through a peer review before an article gets the "guide" status. My vision for guide and star statuses is slightly stricter than what's written as policy. I think of a "guide" level article as one that you'd consider acceptable in a printed guide if you were paying for it - just as you wouldn't accept typos, formatting variations, violations of the MoS in a printed guide, we shouldn't accept them in a guide article. A star is a sort of an award for the article. In a star, you'd look well-written, enjoyable and lively prose. You'd look for "completeness". So I want the peer review process to focus on the technical details, while the star nomination process to focus on the softer aspects. The other difference is that the peer review process is negative - if no one objects and no one gives fixable feedback, the article goes through and becomes a guide, while the star process is positive - i.e. unless that the consensus says that the article is a star, it is not a star.
The reason I held off on all this is that I really want Wikitravel:Listings to get off the ground before I push this. Once it gets into production, we should make it mandatory for all guide articles, and it will be a pain to redo the process for all the nominated guides. — Ravikiran 09:54, 15 February 2007 (EST)
I was thinking along the same lines, but your description above states the idea a lot clearer than what I did. Waiting for the listings to be completely ready is probably a good idea, that way we can do it right first time round. -- NJR_ZA 10:17, 15 February 2007 (EST)
We seem to be working around similar ideas in a few different conversations, but all seem to be leaning towards tightening up the guide/star statuses, and finding ways other than nominating for star status to get feedback on articles... have you guys read the conversation that Bill started - Wikitravel_talk:Star_articles#Star_Potential - I still don't know what the bigger picture answer is, but it will be nice if we can continue to define what guide/star articles are in more detail... and these other potential processes to help get them there I think are good ideas... Ravikiran, I agree with you about Guide Status articles, they should already be near perfect... and Star is for those that are absolutely excellent in every way, and probably even better than what LP, etc's coverage would be. Maybe the first step is further defining those statuses... for instance, should Guide articles be required to have maps? LP wouldn't print a guide without them, unless it's a tiny destination that doesn't need one... - Cacahuate 15:31, 15 February 2007 (EST)
About maps - I forgot to mention that. Ideally, it would have been part of guide requirements (as it is a "technical requirement") but I propose that it be an exception to the rule, as making maps is hard, we will end up with very few guides and most importantly, this one requirement will overwhelm all the others. — Ravikiran 01:03, 16 February 2007 (EST)
I believe things will be easier if we merge them in a single locaton--both to add attention of editors and go away from inconsistency and outdated lists. Personally I'd like ToDo section on talk page to become that location, but that's a biased opinion :-)
Opinions please? --DenisYurkin 04:06, 23 February 2007 (EST)
These serve different purposes. The CotW info is to coordinate a special limited-time activity, the Star slush pile is to explain to people why an article wasn't designated a "star", and a ToDo list... to be honest I'm not entirely sure what the purpose of this is, because it's pretty much what the Talk page is all about. What exactly is the problem here that needs solving? - Todd VerBeek 08:49, 23 February 2007 (EST)
But ultimately all three help future editors to find how specifically they can contribute to improve the article (when they don't feel like reading the whole article, or when they're residents not always understanding what is still missing from traveller's point of view). Asking those editors to browse over 2-3 sources for that purpose takes more efforts from them than necessary, in my opinion. --DenisYurkin 18:27, 23 February 2007 (EST)
No, they don't. CotW applies only for the duration of that week. The Star slush pile is only for historical reference so people know why a nomination failed; it is not a list of things currently needing work. If an editor cares enough about an article getting Star status, she can - and should - examine it herself to see if everything (not just the problem areas last time) meets the criteria. I don't really like the idea of a to-do list in the first place. For example, a formal list might discourage inexperienced editors from making improvements that aren't on it. Finally, I don't see how creating a special to-do list is going to make it easier to edit articles, since it would only work if editors all maintained that as well as the article itself (and they won't). So I agree with you on one point: asking editors to browse two sources to figure out what needs to be done to improve an article is too much. So let's stick with one: the article. Any gaps or deficiencies an editor notices there are things she is invited to fix, and if she can't see anything that needs fixing, I don't think a to-do list is going to help her much. - Todd VerBeek 11:24, 24 February 2007 (EST)
This is the first (but probably not the most prominent) reason why we need ToDo lists:
Todd, I think you are right that we need some standard explanation in such sections--mentioning something like this:
todo list does not pretend to be a full list of things to be done--please plunge forward and do whatever you feel would make the article better
still, the list is aimed to connect those having local knowledge (but not realizing yet which part of it can be helpful for travellers) with those travellers who need(ed) specific knowledge from their experience
please remove anything from the list once it's done (whether done by yourself or when you find it was done earlier by someone else)
With a standard explanation covering the above points (but more precise, of course), I believe most of your concerns will be addressed. --DenisYurkin 16:12, 4 March 2007 (EST)
Do RFC archives serve a purpose? I think it would be simpler to just allow the original requester to remove requests once he/she is satisfied. --PeterTalk 20:35, 6 July 2007 (EDT)
I think it's simply wiki-etiquette that things always be archived rather than deleted so that conversations are never lost and can be referred to in the future. -- Ryan • (talk) • 20:49, 6 July 2007 (EDT)
I guess, but then RFCs aren't conversations, just notices. If I was really interested in the history of the RFC page, I would just take a look at the history page. Well, not a big deal in any rate. --PeterTalk 21:02, 6 July 2007 (EDT)
Actually, I'm beginning to think that this is a bit bigger of a deal than I initially thought. I have noticed that this page doesn't really work and that people are far more likely to go through the pub (and thus contribute to the cluttered-ness predominating there). I think that might have something to do with the fact that the majority of the requests here are not at all current. Because archiving is a pain, and because there really isn't a reason (that I can see) to archive notices (the actual discussions take place elsewhere), I recommend that we cut this bit of red tape and get rid of the archives. --PeterTalk 01:24, 2 August 2007 (EDT)
I don't feel that strongly about the issue. In general it's better to archive rather than delete, but the entire "requests for comment" page is of limited value since it's mostly ignored, so deleting old RFCs doesn't really get rid of any valuable information. -- Ryan • (talk) • 03:01, 3 August 2007 (EDT)
I see no reason in this case for archiving since it's a pointer to a discussion rather than a valuable discussion itself. Additionally, I think we should have a policy that if the discussion pointed to goes dormant for two months that the pointer should be deleted from the RFC page. For example, the first item about the "sex tourism policy" points to a discussion page which was last modified eight months ago. Dormant discussions clutter up the RFC page which would otherwise be pointers to active discussions. -- Colin 03:30, 2 August 2007 (EDT)
Shall we then go ahead with these two suggestions: 1) get rid of the archiving process and 2) establish the "dormant for 2 months—remove" policy? I think that this page could become useful, given some TLC. --PeterTalk 03:48, 3 August 2007 (EDT)
I think that's a great idea. By the way, I've got a system for making RSS feeds out of different pages on Wikitravel, and I think that RFCs would be a good candidate. --Evan 04:39, 3 August 2007 (EDT)
Two months seems not long enough--what about 6 months, like proposed above? --DenisYurkin 17:16, 4 June 2008 (EDT)
I don't know—I think the 2 month timeline works pretty well. I think this page tends to be ignored proportionally to how old the rfcs are. In any rate, you can just re-add a removed rfc if you think it should still be on the page; in fact, renewing an rfc after it has been dormant for 2 months is probably a good idea to draw new attention to it. --PeterTalk 18:00, 4 June 2008 (EDT)
give me an assignment and i will do what i can
can someone be my travel guide on here? like a rookie guide tag along? --18.104.22.168 04:44, 24 June 2008 (EDT) i love this site just not sure what to do yet? --22.214.171.124 04:44, 24 June 2008 (EDT)
You know perfectly well what to do. But you prefer to have people repeatedly explain it so you can play dumb and then you do nothing useful. -- Colin 19:38, 24 June 2008 (EDT)