Congratulations, Jani. This is an awesome venture and I hope you guys do well. -- Sapphire • (Talk) • 22:19, 2 August 2007 (EDT)
A "normal" guide book costs ($US10-20) too . Why do you use the community that way? Now the contributors are slaves - working for your revenues. -- DerFussi 03:45, 3 August 2007 (EDT)
Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe,
We shall overcome someday. --PeterTalk 04:57, 3 August 2007 (EDT)
That took me a minute, but, that is funny. 2old 10:41, 4 August 2007 (EDT)
This sounds like a brilliant idea! I am looking forward to see the first guidebooks... I am wishing you good luck with your new company! --Flip666writeme! • 04:32, 3 August 2007 (EDT)
DerFussi -- thanks to the CC by-sa license, I can make a printed guidebook from Wikivoyage content, sell it and take all the money. Does that make you my slave? I'll answer my own question: no, it doesn't, because the whole point of open content is that it can be freely reused.
Of course we'd love to give away books for free, but printing physical books on paper costs money, print on demand is expensive and we just can't compete with Let's Rough Planet's 100,000-copy print runs on price. Instead, our advantage will be that we're much, much more up-to-date than "traditional" guidebooks.
Those Wikitravellers who opt/are chosen to be editors — and make no mistake, it will be a job — will get paid for their work, and a large part of any future profits from WTP will be plowed back into Wikitravel the website. I, personally, think that giving people the option to buy printed copies of guides they like is a much friendlier way of funding the site than advertisements or begging for donations. Jpatokal 05:23, 3 August 2007 (EDT)
DerFussi, you know that according to the license you can make and sell printed guides too, don't you? -- Mark 08:52, 3 August 2007 (EDT)
Previous conversation: Theft Curious who elected Jpatoka community leader? 2old 10:56, 3 August 2007 (EDT)
Sorry, I'm not really following you here? The difference between re-use and theft is following the conditions of the CC by-sa license, and WTP intends to adhere to them scrupulously. As for "community leader", that wasn't my turn of phrase, but I suppose it's just a fancy way of saying "administrator" and you can find the archives of the nomination process for that right here. Jpatokal 11:08, 3 August 2007 (EDT)
Thank you for clearing up the difference: "is following the conditions of the CC by-sa license", between that and theft. Now I see. I also understand the term "touting". I think you may have delivered a "destructive blow", to Wikitravel. We will see. 2old 13:53, 3 August 2007 (EDT)
Just throwing out speculative thoughts here... Most people will not to want others to profit from their endeavors. That's human nature, I guess. Sure, there is the CC by sa license, and I'm sure most people would not object to an article or a phrase being reused here and there, but actually seeing their work sold in book format might create a different kind of reaction. If that happens, then the source of edits done by regular contributors may possibly dry up, and the project will fold. A possible way around this might be to make Wikitravel Press a non-profit enterprise. Salaries can be taken and profits plowed back into WT, but anything remaining should not be passed on as profit. Instead, perhaps it can be used to fund charities nominated by contributors. Personally, I don't think contributors will object to that, but I believe that they will feel taken advantage of if their endeavors are used to fund someone's new car or vacation at a beach resort - though perhaps not... WindHorse 12:07, 3 August 2007 (EDT)
Windhorse, I'm sure you're right that some people aren't going to get it (witness DerFussi), but the simple fact is that this is what the license is all about. If Jani wants to print Wikitravel out and sell it good for him! If you want to print Wikitravel out and sell it good for you! If either of you make changes in order to bring the articles up to editorial standard then great, you've improved the content and you have to contribute it back that's the rule. -- Mark 17:59, 3 August 2007 (EDT)
Just to rephrase, maybe people who don't want to see others profit from their endevours shouldn't get involved in open content projects. It's the whole point. Just to remind you there's nothing stopping anybody, anybody from doing this. It's in the license, and it just proves once again that IB's ownership of the domain has changed nothing. -- Mark 18:02, 3 August 2007 (EDT)
@Mark. I know the license very well. But I do not like the gradual transition of WT to a commercial project and businesses with this modern kind of outsourcing -- DerFussi 12:12, 3 August 2007 (EDT)
Listen DerFussi, I don't understand what you mean by outsourcing.
Here are the facts: sombeody, not the founder of the project, not the owner of the domain, but a long term contributor, one of the most valuable contributors we have, is going to print up Wikitravel in book form and sell the books. In getting the books into shape he's going to improve the original articles in accordance with the license, meaning that if you don't want a copy of the book you still get the content, and you can always just print it out on a printer if you like. What exactly is the problem? -- Mark 17:54, 3 August 2007 (EDT)
Although we painstakingly try to explain, some people still do not understand the possibilities of our license: There are already people earning money with our work! E.g. this site copies our whole content or here a photo made by me is used according to our license. So why should we condemn a member of our community to earn money with Wikitravel, when we allow other people to do so? Besides, and they are even giving back something to the community! --Flip666writeme! • 18:44, 3 August 2007 (EDT)
Commercialization, schmercialization. Nobody has addressed the real issue here, namely: in these books, what is the ToC going to look like? What manner of floating, collapsing, whitespace-eating beast slouches toward Montreal/Singapore to be born? Gorilla Jones 19:15, 3 August 2007 (EDT)
Let me make a commitment to the community: I hereby solemnly guarantee that the book's ToC will be removable, collapsible, and floatable. Eating whitespace, though, will require some pretty fancy folding on the reader's part. Jpatokal 01:55, 4 August 2007 (EDT)
This thread is fast-becoming one of my all-time favorites in the nearly three years that I've been contributing - many thanks to Gorilla for focusing it on the truly important issues! I was also very worried about the TOC, as well as whether the printed guides would use British or English spelling, whether there would be appropriate warnings about the Meyer Centre, and if I could remove my images from a book if I later decided that I really didn't like the terms of the CC-SA license. Those concerns aside, best of luck with this endeavor, and I look forward to seeing the finished product and (hopefully) the additional polish and professionalism that the project should bring to existing Wikitravel articles. -- Ryan • (talk) • 02:49, 4 August 2007 (EDT)
Horrors! There probably won't even be a three page debate or any vote on that!! Congrats to those in this venture. You deserve any good fortune that follows. OldPine 20:23, 3 August 2007 (EDT)
Hi Mark, thanks for your comments. I fully agree with you. From a legal and rational point, you are totally correct. However, people are not rational animals, any many may feel that they are offering their efforts for someone else to make a profit. As I stated above, people using the content to print a few articles here and there has a totally different feeling to someone directly using the work to fund a profit-making book project, even though both are legally within their rights to do so. Don't you think so? I'm not encouraging this reaction or stating it is correct. I'm just pointing out that there could be a backlash, and that Jpatokal should be prepared to deal with it, and that perhaps setting up the venture with a non-profit status could be a way to do so (as well as being an altruistic gesture!) That would be the way I would do it. However, perhaps I'm being too pessimistic as many people have already expressed their support. Personally, I wish Jpatokal well in his venture. He is a good editor and an interesting character WindHorse 21:40, 3 August 2007 (EDT)
I understand your point of view, but Wikitravel Press's core business is selling books at a profit, and this is just not fundamentally compatible with being a non-profit organization. For example, due to legal/tax issues the Wikimedia Foundation cannot make more than 10% of its earnings through sales of any kind, the rest has to come from donations. Wikimedia can pull this off because they give away their product for free, but that's not an option for WTP.
All that said, should you happen to know any rich philanthropists who'd just love to fund a Wikitravel Press Foundation, I'm all ears! Jpatokal 00:56, 4 August 2007 (EDT)
Got it. I appreciate your explanation, and from the reaction of regular contributors I was being too pessimistic. So, good luck, and if I run into any rich philanthropists, I'll point them in your direction. By the way, in a few weeks I will be out of action for a while, but it has nothing to do with this matter, more to do with intermittent web access. Take it easy. Ps. OldPine, don't count on the debate not running to three pages, we have already reached one WindHorse 04:52, 4 August 2007 (EDT)
Jani, may I propose the first guide to publish? "Wikitravel's Guidebook to the Most Pointless Licence Discussions on the Internet". 350 pages plus 45 pages TOC including 10 pages "intentionally left blank"... ;-) --Flip666writeme! • 06:19, 4 August 2007 (EDT)
Hey... that's kindof a fun idea. The last couple of pages of the book could be blank postcards addressed to Wikitravelpress, with prepaid postage in the destination country. -- Mark 09:03, 4 August 2007 (EDT)
Sorry, but I see this as a "parsitic" use of the community. I would propose that the book be printed, IB directly receive the proceeds, 10% go to the founders of which 10% be diverted to say, The Wikitravel Childrens Health Fund, to be administered by Windhorse solely at his will to ten charities in full on an annual basis. I think you would have willing participants in that rather than the community beng "forced" to support a community member. Further, I think all community members, other than the founders should be excluded from any financial gain. This could cloud the decisions of that party and effect all. I have been a willing participant and contributor to what I considered a community effort, I am somewhat soured by the idea of supporting anyone other than the owners and founders. The idea that anyone could do this without "license" from IB is a it misleading. 2old 09:52, 4 August 2007 (EDT)
Um, no, it's not misleading. There is absolutely nothing stopping you from setting up your own company to publish books with Wikitravel content and distributing their revenues any way you like. Seriously. You don't need IB's permission, the CC license gives you all the rights you need. The only catch is that the name "Wikitravel" is a trademark, so you can't call it that without IB's permission. (Just like you can't sell anything called "Wikipedia" without Wikimedia Foundation's permission.)
I'm glad you've raised this though, because we are concerned about the effect of paying editors on the community, and we want to take all possible steps to minimize the potential negative consequences outlined so well by Evan in his essay on the topic. The safeguards we propose include explicitly not giving any additional power on the website to paid editors. I can also see a lot of a value in paying people outside the community to do tedious things that community members wouldn't, like, say, dialing every phone number in the Singapore guide to make sure they're correct. However, I think it would be counterproductive to completely exclude the community, because there are some great people editing this site and, if some of them are willing to work for us, it's the best of all worlds.: WTP and the community gets experienced editors with a deep understanding of the community, and the money goes to them instead of a stranger.
What are your exact concerns regarding how this could "cloud decisions"? Would there be any other safeguards you, or others reading this, would like to see? Jpatokal 12:00, 4 August 2007 (EDT)
I think WindHorse is right to warn of a potential backlash. No matter how persuasively anyone explains the rationale behind the printing venture here or elsewhere, some contributors are going to have an instinctive negative reaction and we may lose a few of them, and that would be a shame. A user like 2old is a treasure for a project like this and can't be easily replaced (not least because of the necessary aging process suggested by his name).
I will say that WTP doesn't bother me, though, for basically the same reason that text ads from IB wouldn't bother me. To my mind, when I contribute to a project like this, there is an implied agreement between me and the owners of the site. If I give them good work, they will ensure that my work is presented well and is widely accessible. Those are the only relevant terms, in my mind. If they make some money, who cares? Nobody's getting rich off a site like this or a printing press like this. Not that I hope IB or WTP don't get rich, but ultimately, everyone involved is going to be compensated by a sense of fulfillment from producing a good product far more than they're ever going to be compensated by money. Meanwhile, regardless of the balance sheet, the basic agreement between me as a contributor and the project is still fulfilled, online and in print: if they use my work, they will present it well and make it widely available.
And if they're getting contributors from the community involved, so much the better. Lonely Planet raids their ThornTree forums for tips and updates in producing their guides, but I'm not aware of any of their forum users getting a chunk of the profits (or being asked to write a guidebook). I hope we don't lose anyone as a result of this announcement, but I think this venture will result in a lot more contributors in the long run, and the online edition will be all the richer for it. The "community safeguards" against dictatorial editors seem perfectly sufficient to me. Gorilla Jones 21:14, 5 August 2007 (EDT)
I have no problem with people making money. That is my favorite thing to do. There are several reasons I contribute, none include fame or fortune. If I can share my experiences with one visiting a place I have been and read of someone else's experience, that is enough for me. I have to admit, I do have a problem with others profiting off of my contribution, as meager as they may be. Someone designing maps or script is doing much more than a guy looking in the right direction and pressing a shutter button with one finger. If Wikitravel wants contribution, they may want to consider my previous suggestion as well as Windhorses reference to charity. It would ease my mind, if I knew a portion of revenue were directed to charity in appreciation of the many contributors. I am pondering how this effects me. Answer:Not a whole lot, I may change my identity, but that's about it. It also makes me feel a bit better when I know there is a slim chance of any guides be written on places that I contribute to like Sandusky and Port Clinton. I have gained more than I have given at Wikitravel, the articles on India and Europe are great. Canada seems to be lacking, is that due to the French thing or what? 2old 10:38, 6 August 2007 (EDT)
Pressing a shutter button is easy, it's picking the right direction that's hard. =) In mail, one WT regular suggested allowing editors to contribute their earnings to charity instead, which I think is a great idea, and WTP might be able to encourage this by topping up the amount. Donating money to eg. Creative Commons has also always been a part of the plan, although at this stage our grasp of the economics is too fuzzy to allow me to commit any fixed amounts/percentage. Jpatokal 14:08, 6 August 2007 (EDT)
I understand from info garnered from this thread that WT would be unable to give the books away from free – which had never been suggested anyway – but it does appear that establishing Wikitravel Press as a non-profit organization could be done in a way that meets current guidelines because the books would be sold. The only difference between an organization established for profit and one for non-profit is that in the latter all proceeds left remaining after salaries and expenses have been deducted are plowed back into the organization (in this case, complying with the Wikimedia rules that no more than 10% of earnings can be made through sales) and offered to charity. In a commercial business, obviously these profits would solely belong to the business owner. Of course, it is entirely up to Jpatokal how he conducts his venture, but in order to head off any potential backlash from contributors who may feel a reluctance to offer hours of work to fund someone else's vacation (which may not be true, but could appear that way), perhaps it is worth considering this option. Moreover, I think if it were known that profits from book-sales were being used to fund charity projects, it would both encourage sales and increase on-line contributions. As for the charities themselves, personally I think as WT is an international travel guide it might be appropriate to fund schemes at various locations around the globe (which could be as far ranging as funding doctors treating blindness in Tibet to organizations drilling holes for fresh water in Cameroon), and these could be nominated by contributors. Anyway, this is Jpatokal's baby, and so it is absolutely up to him how he manages the operation. I'm just throwing some options into the pot and giving it a stir... WindHorse 03:04, 7 August 2007 (EDT)
I have been waiting on Windhorse to comment before going much further as a contributor or commentator. Evan, Maj, Jani an IB need to recognise there is a desire on the part of some contributors to fund charitable needs. There has not been a "commercial/profit driven" action on Wikitravel other than Jani's since it's creation, other than the creation of the site itself. I have often wondered who was paying the other administrators on other Wikitravel sites, but it appears they are unpaid also. None, I would imagine thought this would continue that way, nor would one think Jani's commercial adventure be the last. I wish all well and likely will continue to contribute and comment. Over a period of years, the white space to the left of the articles could generate a lot of income, let us hope these individuals are wise enough to address our concerns. Here is a freeby for them, maybe they thought of it. I used to attend a lot of "conventions", in all cities, like Chicago where they have a constant stream of them, when you register at the convention, they hand you a welcome package. In the package is information and maps on that particular city. The inclusion of one of Jani's books would be very appropriate and up to date for that use. Another source of income could easily be charging airlines for the articles or ads that appear in Wikitravel, the income from that alone would have to restore a lot of sight in Tibet. 2old 10:07, 7 August 2007 (EDT)
Links from Wikitravel
So, I'd like to open the discussion on another chapter of WTP, so to speak -- how its guides are linked in from (or, if you prefer, "advertised by") Wikitravel. As WTP's head honcho, I'd like to see both of the following:
For articles covered by WTP printed titles, you'd have a little box up on the top of the page with a little thumbnail of the cover and a short blurb: "Get the Thiscity guide from Wikitravel Press!" The location of this is kinda problematic though: above/below/instead of the intro pic? Or maybe stick it in the TOC, or the navbar below the toolbox?
On the main page, a "featured book" kinda thing showcasing latest release(s). Eg. the present "Features articles" box could probably squeeze this in.
Whaddaya think? And one important disclaimer: it's IB's website, so they'll also need to agree to anything proposed — they aren't too keen on us using up their valuable virtual real estate, but I'm sure they'd appreciate hearing the community's views on whether said space should be used for WTP ads or, say, random Google Adwords. Jpatokal 12:21, 5 August 2007 (EDT)
I would say below the toolbox is a great place... but also the first place that I would suggest ads go when that happens, as it's the least-obtrusive spot on the page... or perhaps below the lead image... but definitely not instead of... – cacahuatetalk 16:04, 5 August 2007 (EDT)
I'd want this and any future text ads on the left column, outside of the text of the page, but I wouldn't be concerned if they appeared ahead of the toolbox. (I assume, for traffic reasons, IB isn't going to want users to have to scroll down to see their source of revenue - fair enough.) I also wouldn't mind a featured book box on the main page. Two favorable placements like that, though, imply a specific endorsement of this project by IB, not a 100% independent venture - meaning, if someone else starts their own Wikitravel publishing project, as DerFussi was told he could, would they get an ad and a box on the Main Page? And would their disgruntled separatist cousins, when they launch a third project? Not something that concerns me very much, personally, but it's worth clarifying for the sake of ever slippery slopes. Gorilla Jones 20:43, 5 August 2007 (EDT)
The project itself is 100% independent: that is, there's no IB funding, people or control involved, and it will succeed or fail on its own merits. However, WTP does have a licensing agreement with IB, which includes the right to place WTP ads on the website, and thus we are "endorsed" — to a very limited extent — as Wikitravel.org's official print supplier. Any disgruntled separatist cousin who wanted their ads on Wikitravel.org would have to convince IB that they can do a better job than us — but there's nothing to stop them from advertising on their own site, on Google, etc. Jpatokal 23:01, 5 August 2007 (EDT)