Wikitravel talk:Goals and non-goals

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So, I was thinking: I wonder if it would be possible to use Wikitravel content in a PDA, like a Palm computer or a WinCE machine? I think it would be helpful because you could get a lot of info into a little space... any comments? Should this be a stated goal? It's different than "on-line" usage -- since you don't have Internet connections, usually, on palmtops -- and it's different from printed use. -- Evan 13:33, 16 Oct 2003 (PDT)

Audio tours[edit]

I was wondering if WikiTravel is interested in hosting free audio tours to accompany their written descriptions and travel guides. With the popularity of ipods and other mp3 players it seems like this is a great way to get take the guide on the road. I suggest people upload mp3 narrations of art in museums, sights to see in a town, etc. -- David 23:00, 13 July 2005

Print as a goal[edit]

So, one thing I've been very careful about is trying to keep this project oriented towards the goals of having printable output: for individual printed pages (city guides, for example), or for larger publications (when, say, our friends at some guidebook company decide to incorporate Wikitravel content into one of their guidebooks...).

I've always thought this was a pretty straightforward goal. I've never really traveled with any kind of guide except a printed guidebook, and I can't really imagine having to go find a computer when I arrive in a new town so I can read a Web-only guide to find a hotel.

But... There's been some pretty harsh commentary on the keep-it-printable idea on Wikitravel talk:Phrasebook Expedition. To quote:

What century are you living in Evan, you seem to be obsessed with being able to print stuff out, have u never heard of cellphones with net access, wireless pda's, internet cafes, laptops. I definitely agree that printing the occasional page out is handy, but its so inflexible. Hyperlinks, soundfiles pictures these are the sort of things that make a web based travel guide more useful than a plain printed guide.

There's more; I just picked out the part relevant to printable guides.

Now, I'm pretty sure that a Web-only guide wouldn't meet my needs as a traveller. But I kinda wanted to open up the discussion here. Is having printable content really an important goal (uh... set of goals) to have for Wikitravel? Does the advantage of multimedia content outweigh the relative inability to transport the guides? For me, being able to print out a guide to Pamplona is about a jillion times more useful than a multimedia presentation with videos of the Running of the Bulls or sound files of screaming and clattering hooves.

I think we can actually have the best of both worlds: rich multimedia content for Web presentation, and simpler presentation for printed output. There's still the problem of low-bandwidth connections, but we can maybe finesse that, too. It requires a bit of discipline on the part of contributors, and some modification of the MediaWiki software, but I think it can be done. For me, right now, it's not my first priority, but I guess we could move it up if a lot of people thought it was important.

I guess I want to throw that question open, though. Is printable content an important goal? Is using computers and multimedia to their full extent more important than having paper-based guides? Has anyone ever travelled using only multimedia guides, and if so, what was your experience? -- Evan 15:05, 13 Nov 2003 (PST)

I generally agree with Evan here that travelling using only multimedia guides is far from practical for several reasons:
  1. Apart from cities, I think many places in the world still don't have web access.
  2. You need at least the information where to find the needed web access in the place you're going to visit. And it's not at all sure that they'll be open when you arrive there.
  3. Even if you're in a place with web access, are you going to remember names and adresses of hotels and restaurants, phone numbers, etc... without printing them?
  4. You'd probably like to read a bit about the place you're going to visit when you're in an airplane, a train, a bus, or whatever mode of transport you've chosen. At least that's what I like to do (and I don't know of any buses in, let's say, India with web access...)
These are just the first few reasons I can think of.
On the other hand, there are a few things about printing that are rather negative:
  1. AFAIK, the standard paper size in Europe is A4 (210 x 297 mm). I think the USA has something similar. And that is not a very handy size to carry around. Of course you can set your printer to print in the A5 size (148 x 210 mm), which is much more practical, but where do you find that size of paper?
  2. You're carrying around loose pages (or at least stapled together), which is also not very handy.
If I would leave on a trip today I'd take a traditional paper guidebook supplemented by a number of Wikitravel pages. DhDh 09:22, 14 Nov 2003 (PST)
Agreed. As far as convenience of loose papers, yes, that's a little bit inconvenient. I'd like to try and figure out a way to use print-on-demand technology so that readers could put together ad hoc travel guides in bound book form. Say, if you were going to Italy, you could pick the cities and regions you're going to, as well as the Italy country guide and Italian phrasebook, and pack it all together into a convenient book made all for you.
To make it really convenient, you'd have to be able to do this all from the Web site, which would mean partnering with some POD company -- or multiple ones -- to get data from here to there. But if we integrated publishing into our software, and someone was making money from it, we'd probably want to have at least part of that money going back to support operations and keeping the Web site going. Of course, there's no obligation on any publisher's part to give us any money whatsoever -- after all, everything here is Free.
This is, obviously, dangerous territory. I figure any taint of commercialism by Wikitravel would cause a lot of resentment. I think we eventually want to start a not-for-profit organization ("Wikitravel Foundation"?) to handle money and expenses, which should probably be better. But there'd still be hassles. So, even if it would be more convenient for travelers to have Wikitravel guides in book form, it may cause some problems.
Anyways, this is all distant-future stuff. I don't think we really have enough content here to make bound guides yet, ad hoc or not. -- Evan 10:41, 14 Nov 2003 (PST)
To me, the print goal is quite important. Actually, the goal is to have things in a "take it with you" format. As pointed out, internet access is not everywhere as cheap and accessible as in the USA and other western countries. I like the idea of being able to download pages to a handheld as well. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but for the "printable" version, isn't the idea just that the content has to be friendly to the printed page? The fact that the printed versions are HTML should mean that the form factor is not something that we have to worry about. Personally, I would try and format the pages in a kind of two column, double sided landscape printing scheme so that I can print on 8.5x11 (similar to A4) and fold it into a little book, with staples in the middle. It's just some tattered pages that I'm going to update after my travels anyhow, right?
And, of course, as Evan points out, we need to focus on content. If everybody focuses on getting meaningful, useful content down, then the multimedia aspect will not be too much of an issue (how useful are the non-printable media anyways? Sure in a phrasebook, but this guide is not just phrasebooks...) -- CL 21:28, 18 Nov 2003 (PST)

Buying recommended travel services[edit]

Although no one wants "advertising" chosen and directed by the vendor, any travel service that mentions any private establishment or any destination is in fact recommending buying something. So it would make sense to work closely with Consumerium (there's a note about the potential collaborations here) which is an attempt to promote "healthy buying" where "healthy" is defined by the consumer in various ecological/social/community ways, and that is respected by the user interface that sends the Consumerium buying signal - probably just a green light for "buy", a red light for "avoid", and yellow for "here's some reasons to buy, and some not to". Imagine how useful this would be for restaurants being mulled over by travellers! Very often, WHERE you are is the prime determiner of WHAT you can buy, so the choices are restricted, and it's easy to imagine steering people towards recommended, away from not recommended services.

That would make WIkitravel perhaps converge with the Consumerium Content Wiki and Opinion Wiki, which you can see discussed there. Those will need a much more robust governance model than oh say Wikipedia, since real money's involved, and it will certainly not be able to tolerate their vile mailing list and libel-intensive GodKing-based decision-making system. So the sooner both projects get the hell away from that, and establish some high-integrity ways to pass on recommendations to the weary traveller who doesn't know what he's supporting when he's travelling or buying, but wants that certainty, well...

Not just a Web site[edit]

Moved from Wikitravel:travellers' pub by Evan

Evan said "Wikitravel is not just a Web site. We want to make guides that can be used as printed pages for travelers who are away from a computer." Where do you draw the line ? e.g. I added some wine links to Marlborough. There are over 40 wineries in this area most of which have their own idividual web sites. So there is a link to a page which then links to the individual wineries. Are you suggesting that all the winery info. should be on the Wiki page? Or just some of the better ones? Or just the link? I really battle with this one. --Nzpcmad 16:53, 21 Apr 2004 (EDT)

So, first off, Nzpcmad is referring to a tip I added to Wikitravel:tips for new contributors, which is a list of things that new contributors often don't get right away. The actual policy is on Wikitravel:goals and non-goals. Just to be clear.
If the question is, "When should we use external links?", I think that's a tough issue. I don't think there's a crystal clear line as to what's useful info to have on Wikitravel, and what should be left on other sites. If I had to make a rule of thumb right now, I'd say we should have enough info on Wikitravel itself that people can make general travel decisions without following the link. We also have to balance this need against the need for brevity and readability in the guides.
For example, this just isn't enough for restaurant listings:
If I'm in Yourtown, NZ, holding a printed copy of the Wikitravel guide for Yourtown, I can't really make a decision about going to Joe's Cafe or not (much less be able to find it). The listing should at least have directions, hours, rough price scale, and a short description. That information may also be on the Joe's Cafe Web site, but we also need it here.
On the other hand, we don't need everything from the Joe's Cafe Web site here (the full menu, photographs of the inside of the restaurant, the names and pictures of the entire staff and the 5-page history of the cafe). I think the listings formats in the manual of style give just enough info, give or take. (They may need fine-tuning, but I think they're close).
In the case of Marlborough, I think that individual wineries should be listed as attractions on the pages for nearby cities and towns. If there are some really notable ones, they should be mentioned in the See and Do sections of the region page, with links to the city page that has the full listing, like this:
  • The Plonk Brothers Winery near Picton has tasting tours.
Do we need all the wineries listed? I'd say no; just the ones worth going to.
This isn't to say that having links to some list isn't useful. The above stub for Joe's Cafe would help another contributor enough info to flesh out the rest of the listing. It's part of the iterative process. --Evan 17:23, 21 Apr 2004 (EDT)

I agree that at least putting in the link is useful, in fact as one of the poor schmucks who feels compelled to run around and fill in attraction, restaurant, and (I wish) hotel details, I can usually get what I need from just the name and a google search. That said, I would really wish that more contributors would fill in the entire listing according to the MoS in the first place. -- Mark

The problem with not using links is "temporal" that is if we don't use links, and try to put everything in the article itself, we are digging ourselves into a hole. Things change, especially in travel. Is anyone seriously going to monitor articles and correct when a schedule changes? Restaurants appear and disappear like fireflies. We should just list the most stable (famous?) and put in a link to a local restaurant guide. Then they keep it up to date. Same with travel mode schedules and current events (plays, exhibits, art installations, etc.) as well as currency changes (ie: dollars to euros) and the cost of things (cabs, buses, trains, buying autos, meals, and on). Our articles do not generally carry a date, so in a few years it's out of date. Bad info is worse than no info.

I find the notion of putting comrehensive stuff in an article just so it can be printed out to be unconvincing: 1) if one is interested, one can print out linked articles as well with just an extra keystroke or two; 2) Time is on the side of linking as Wifi and cell phone web access proliferate apace; 3) if you as a traveler don't carry a laptop or some other device, still there are almost no places left in this world that don't have an internet cafe.

The distinction of when and whether to put in a link should be based on whether the info is static or dynamic. If it is likely to change then putting it in an article instead of a link is creating a future job (which will probably never get done). Here's to more linking. William M Goetsch 09:20, 10 May 2004 (EDT)

Bill: we're not a Web directory. We're writing travel guides. See Wikitravel:goals and non-goals for details. --Evan 15:05, 13 May 2004 (EDT)

I'd just like to point out it's taken us 3 days to find internet access on this trip and now that we have, it's $4 for 15 minutes-- oh, and there's no printer. Hardcopy travel guides have been one of our goals from the beginning and I don't see that changing...Majnoona 15:18, 13 May 2004 (EDT)

Evan: I think you misunderstand my point. I am not advocating we become a web compendium. We should have a text, and it should be printable. My points are these:

  • Wide and Shallow We should not try to write a travel book on every country. If we attempt it we will forfeit the broad coverage of countries which no one else has achieved, but we could. That is a niche that has not been filled. (And not yet by us either; there are so many holes in our coverage.)
  • Static vs Dynamic We should try to stick with things that do not change much (of which there is plenty to say), for the simple reason that we will end up spending all our future time correcting things that have become out of date. One simple example: exchange rates (instead, link to a web rate change place). It's like putting a variable in a program, instead of a constant.
  • Traveler's perspective. One of our stated goals. It doesn't seem to me that a traveler would seriously consider reading a history of, say, India on Wikitravel. A brief "Understanding" might usefully include a crisp synopsis with some well chosen references to, perhaps, Wikipedia, or even a good book or two on Were I contemplating a trip I would like to know a little something about a number of places then, when I had narrowed down my search, I might want to read up on the place in some depth. William M Goetsch 10:05, 14 May 2004 (EDT)

Maj: as to internet cafes, I find their number to be inversely proportional to the number of personal computers in a country. Thus, in Lima, Peru, one cannot help but stumbling over one on every other block, while in Manhattan, one might wander forever and never find one. Price works similarly (in Lima they were $2/hr a couple of years ago). Since a "traveler" (especially one reading Wikitravel) is much more likely to be coming from a developed country and going to an undeveloped country this seems a non-problem. I don't know where you are, but try my theory on your location.

In any case, a traveler reading Wikitravel, almost by definition, has a computer and if she wishes to print, printing a "link" takes exactly one more keystroke than printing a Wikitravel article, hardly a strong argument against including a rich set of links. William M Goetsch 10:05, 14 May 2004 (EDT)

Regarding internet cafes, from my experience it isn't quite that simple. In Vancouver downtown in the area where I work, there is almost one every block and on some blocks more than one. They generally charge about CAN$2/hour. The reason for it is that there are a lot of English Language schools in the area as well. Therefore, there is a large number of young people who want to communicate with people back home. When I was in Hawaii on the big island there were only a few internet cafes on the whole island and they charge highway robbery rates ($US8/hour). It of course boils down to supply and demand. - Webgeer 01:46, Jul 25, 2004 (EDT)

PDA: You are almost there[edit]

I would love to download a country or two to my PDA, a YOPY, before traveling somewhere. The YOPY is smaller and lighter than a guide book. It might even go on a WiFI net somewhere in which case the external links could be useful.

The YOPY use Dillo as it browser. If you use Linux can run, say "dillo dillo" and make the window PDA-sized. This looks just fine in dillo (with limit_text_width=YES in dillorc).

Then i I go to Ireland I can do someting like:

wget -rk -E -D --restrict-file-names=windows ""

Works except

  • Only the first page is in printable format. Links in printable pages still points to normal pages
  • I get all of WikiTravel, not just Ireland. There seem to be no easy way to extract a subhiearcy in WikiTravel.

Og course not everyone can use wget. A serverside solution would be nice. Niels

WikiPedia has a nice site at that allows you to download the MySQL database dumps they do for backup. If WikiTravel did something similar, it would allow people to make their own static version of the site to put on their PDA's or laptops or whatever, and they could also put those versions on other websites for download. Perhaps linking to them in a WikiTravel page just for the topic. [email protected]
Has anyone considered, or tried, using Special:Export, to get pages in XML? -- Huttite 20:57, 21 May 2005 (EDT)
I think the reason you get all of WikiTravel is that a Wiki is a set of interconnected pages. It does not have a inherent hierachy. All pages are at the same level and the hierachy is imposed by the content and connectedness of the pages. This is omething for humans to see easily but computers find challenging to analyse. -- Huttite 20:57, 21 May 2005 (EDT)

Plunging in[edit]

My recent changes to Wikitravel:Image policy were very politely reversed and I was directed to this page in regards to targeting print production. But I am still somewhat baffled and a bit annoyed. Why should any kind of multimedia content be discouraged on Wikitravel? If it was someone's personal project I would understand that we are all subjects to the whims of the owner, but since it's ultimately a free projects, why such strong opposition? Print as a goal doesn't make any sense at all. It's not like anyone is suggesting converting the whole site into an animated gif, powerpoint presentation or flash clip... If the content is in open format, print version is always easy to make and existence of content that can't be printed (video, audio, excessive photos) does not harm the print version in any sigificant way.

When I travelled around Europe about two months ago, I saved relevant pages and converted them to iSilo format to read on my Palm. Had no problem with that whatsoever. When I needed to carry a map of Bern with me, I just took a few pictures of it with my digital camera and happily left the paperweight at the hotel (viewing it on the tiny screen was easy and not carrying one more object with me was great). The person who believes that a project like Wikitravel should ignore all electronic devices as platforms and concentrate on printed guides needs a better grasp on reality. For fuck's sake, in just 10 years there will be no printed guides at all!

The only sane policy towards multimedia would be to allow it and encourage to some extent. To what extent is of course, debatable, but there can be no debate that multimedia content would benefit WikiTravel and lack of it would ultimately harm it. Paranoid 12:02, 16 Nov 2004 (EST)

It's not a question of multimedia being discouraged because we for some bizarre reason like it that way, it's a question of copyright law — and just because we don't like it won't stop us from getting sued. So we need to tread the line carefully, although I agree with you that Wikitravel's current policy is a little too obsessive in this respect. Jpatokal 12:59, 16 Nov 2004 (EST)
I don't get it. When I visit a particular place, make a photo of some object of interest, then upload it to Wikitravel and license it as GFDL (or just release it into public domain), what possible legal risk could be there for Wikitravel?
Inanimate objects aren't a problem. The possible legal risk would be that I upload a picture of a person (say, a sexy dancer in the Love Parade) to Wikitravel, and some commercial site (say a techno party) grabs the picture and uses it in a major commercial production (with proper attribution and all, mind you). The person in question sees the picture and sues, because she hasn't given permission for such use. What happens next depends a lot on the local copyright and privacy laws... Jpatokal 22:27, 17 Nov 2004 (EST)
The only risk I see is that I may lie and scan a picture from another guidebook instead, but how is it different from the risk of me copying some text from there? Or is linking to restaurant guide sites somehow problematic from a copyright point of view?
I can certainly see why some people may have a vision of Wikitravel different from mine, but I don't think that vision (of printable WT) should be supported by some unspecified concerns about copyright law.Paranoid 17:12, 17 Nov 2004 (EST)
Just to clarify: the license here is not GFDL. -- Colin 17:42, 17 Nov 2004 (EST)
Just to express my support of the status quo... I'd just like to say that I agree with the goal of allowing and enabling print versions. Among other uses, this allows tourist bureaus or hotels or parks to easily reuse our material to produce a brochure. Secondly, I think the most important stuff here is the actual text writings of the contributors. While I think a few illustrative images is extremely helpful, I think stuff like external links, video, and excessive images are a waste of effort and bandwidth. -- Colin 17:41, 17 Nov 2004 (EST)
I would also like to chime in here. As much as some may think that "in 10 years there will be no printed guides at all" we're currently working on guides that need to be useful now. One of the reasons we are a little obsessive about the print goal is that it is easy to confuse the technology we are using with the product we are producing. We're using a wiki to make a travel guide, not just using travel content to make a website. We're certainly not anti-technology, but it's very easy to get away from the basic goal of a general purpose travel guide-- not just a guide for geeks or just a guide for people with PDAs, laptops and highspeed contections. I'm sorry you feel put off by this, but we are certainly open to a discussion (that's why you were asked to bring the talk here). We usually have quite a bit of talk before making any policy changes, so try not to take it personally! Majnoona 18:01, 17 Nov 2004 (EST)

Encyclopeadia or more subjective?[edit]


A while ago i amended the item Freighter travel with my own personal experiences. I strongly feel traveling by ship is very interesting, and through my personalised input, I tried to make it look interesting for others to try their luck on the seven seas. However, when I returned to the article after that, I saw that another user had copy-edited my text into an clean (dead) summing up of facts, which wouldnt immediately motivate anyone to go and try hitchiking with ships.

So I was annoyed, and wondered; what's the policy of Wikitravel? I think its some Wikipedians how are definitively hooked on writing encyclopedia-styled articles. But can travelling topics not be much more subjective, and fun to read? In Maastricht, where I come from, we even started a totally subjective wiki on the state of affairs here. And I sort of thought we could make wikitravel also a bit like that. But ofcourse, if there has to be general consensus of NPOV-tivity of articles, etc, we could never go there.


Like Wikipedia, Wikitravel believes in Wikitravel:Neutral point of view, so any comments you make should be justifiable (ie. an unbiased observer would tend to agree), but this doesn't mean that your writing style has to be dry. It's a fine line to tread.
That said, Wikitravel is not the place to tell your own travel stories, and we have a Wikitravel:First person pronouns policy for this. This is why your paragraph about you traveling from Russia to Malta got edited out. Try rephrasing it either more generally — "some freighters can have facilities like X and Y and cost as little as Z a day" — or more specifically — "m/s Lottacargo travels between Valletta and St. Petersburg on alternate Tuesdays, with jacuzzis in all cabins and stewards serving free champagne". Jpatokal 06:39, 5 Oct 2005 (EDT)
Well put, sir. Yes, a travel guide usually speaks from a neutral point of view. Our goal is to make a travel guide. Ipso fatso, our work normally speaks from an NPOV.
That said, I think we might want to start considering, in the future, how to do subjective travel information. One thing I've thought about is adding some kind of discussion-forum software as a "sidecar" to the destination pages, so people can discuss the destination or attractions (restaurants, museums, etc.) in a more subjective, opinionated way. These forums could be mined for information that would go onto the destination guide.
Subjective travel information isn't one of our goals, but perhaps providing ways for people to add subjective info will indirectly get us closer to our goals. --Evan 10:56, 5 Oct 2005 (EDT)

Thanks for your feedback. I've been reading the NPOV articles, and also the underlying discussion (isn't that what you seek, Evan?) and the be fair sounds more like I want it to be here. And as for this freighter travel issue, its ofcourse a whole different kind of lemma, then, eg. New York City; it can ofcourse do with some PR. But maybe I should just no whine here, and plunge forward to make it sound really great, and leave it with that as my message to mankind.

I'm really interested in freighter travel, and would like to hear more. I'll be happy to keep an eye on the article and associated stuff to make sure that valuable info gets re-written instead of deleted if you like. Just please don't stop contributing. We need you! -- Mark 17:24, 5 Oct 2005 (EDT)

Non-goals: Yellow pages[edit]

Swept in from the Travellers' pub:

Think of a friend from out of town asking you where they should go -- you wouldn't list all 200 possibilities, but 2-5 options for a particular type, budget, or part of town.

How are the recommendations selected? What is good for one type of travellers is not for another. How are those FEW hotels selected for a country? Is it about targeting a specific audience of travellers for each budget level? Or is it edit war that drives the decision on which recommendation survives?

It's not that I'm asking for a detailed procedure on dealing with overloaded listings (I can expect the project is too young for such issues). What is important at this stage is whether Wikitravel ideologists consider helpful to have several selections of places to stay / visit within a budget range once it can help to some travellers to make a more educated choice.

Sorry if this was covered somewhere in FAQs -- it did not meet my eye.

-- DenisYurkin 19:49, 20 Sep 2005 (EDT)

There is no formal process as such, travellers just write up the places they like. We definitely want more than one place in each category, it's just that a single Wikitraveller usually only stays in one place per trip!
If you want to highlight your favorite things to see, do and eat in a big destination, I suggest you write up your own itinerary for it. See Tokyo for a few examples. Jpatokal 21:13, 20 Sep 2005 (EDT)
"Your own" is probably a bad term here, though. Just like any other article on Wikitravel, itineraries can be edited by anyone. --Evan 11:02, 21 Sep 2005 (EDT)
Denis: absolutely. I think the numbers we look for are about 5-10 listings per listing type (Eat, Do, Sleep); after that point, we want to either break them down into sub-categories (by price (budget, mid-price, splurge), by style (museums, Mexican restaurants, B&B's, hostels)) or do a geographical breakdown (dividing a big city into districts, for example). I don't think we've had a case yet where we've removed a slew of restaurants because there were "too many". The point of that non-goal is that a travel guide doesn't have the same responsibility for comprehensive listings that a city guide (viz. or a yellow pages Web site does. --Evan 11:02, 21 Sep 2005 (EDT)
Then it's not the number of listings to matter, but personal experiences with a specific place. Why making restrictions you're ready to remove once the number of otherwise-suitable listings is reached? --DenisYurkin 13:42, 26 Sep 2005 (EDT)
Also: I've updated that non-goal to use a more reasonable number (5-10) rather than 2-5 from before. --Evan 11:06, 21 Sep 2005 (EDT)

How does it differ from Wikipedia?[edit]

I understand WikiTravel's goals differ from Wikipedia's, but it seems they are met by the Wikipedia articles about places, which ought to include history, culture, transportation, etc., just as a good travel guide ought to - see Wikipedia's article about Delhi for example. There are also subtopic articles, like those for Tourist attractions, Famous sites and Markets in Delhi. It is better to enrich Wikipedia, rather than spit the effort.

See What Wikipedia is not, notably the section "Travel guides". Things like average taxi prices, hotel telephone numbers, and restaurant recommendations or warnings about scams are not encyclopedic and do not belong in Wikipedia. Jpatokal 23:09, 9 Feb 2006 (EST)

There should be more cross links with Wikipedia, even if Wikitravel is not an encyclopedia. You are more interested to visit when you know more. For instance the section about Shenyang' museums(in NE China)mentions 'Zhang Residence - home of warlord Zhang Zuolin and his son, Marshal Zhang Xueliang, who ruled NE China after the fall of the Qing dynasty.' I will be more interested to visit after I read the fascinating story of Zhang Xueliang in Wikipedia. Same thing with the Picasso museum in Paris, etc. etc.

Cross links to Wikipedia are discouraged, because we get a lot of listings like this: Fascinating Sight. Greatest place ever! See Wikipedia:Fascinating Sight, which is useless if you can't access Wikipedia for whatever reason (printed-out copy, offline, etc), and discourages people from actually describing the place here. I do sometimes think we're a bit too strict about this, but it's difficult to strike a balance... Jpatokal 07:34, 26 August 2007 (EDT)

Multilingual as a goal[edit]

We've had an implicit goal for years of providing Wikitravel guides to readers in their own language. I'd like to make supporting multiple languages an explicit part of our mission. How does this modification sound:

Wikitravel is a project to create a free, complete, up-to-date and reliable world-wide travel guide for every traveller in their own language.

Wikipedia used to call itself a "multilingual encyclopedia", but I don't think that's actually a reasonable description of what we're doing here. A Chinese speaker doesn't need a multilingual travel guide; they need a Chinese travel guide. We each have our needs for travel information, and Wikitravel's goal is to serve all travellers' information needs. --Evan 10:43, 6 July 2006 (EDT)

Got my vote. Majnoona 11:51, 6 July 2006 (EDT)
Why not? But I don't quite get your point when you say that a "multilingual travel guide" isn't exactly our purpose. Although "the traveller comes first", I think establishing goals is not about highlighting the users' needs but the contributors' aims when tackling such needs. Ricardo (Rmx) 23:11, 6 August 2006 (EDT)

on-line use by travellers on the road[edit]

I'm hesitant to add or change to a page this central without some kind of consensus, but with pda-phones becoming more common (okay, I've had one for about four years now, but they're getting a lot more popular) shouldn't we look at providing info for people actually travelling at the time? For example, this weekend I was out tubing (please add non-tubing stuff to the New Braunfels page I wrote!) and we were looking for a place to eat. With all the crazy traffic and parking nightmares, we wound up spending an hour organizing and coordinating to eat at a place five minutes (by foot) from the parking lot. If I'd had a page easily viewable on my PDA (assuming it was written - and we've fixed THAT little detail now!), it could have saved us some time. So yeah, I typed all that to ask if there's some way to get a URL flag to scale down the graphics and formatting (eg cut the ToC, render photos as links, and cut formatting images) to make it more PDA-friendly.

If you want to have PDA friendly pages of wikitravel try from your PDA. It will scale down your images and will break articles based on the headings of the page. Disclaimer, I am the author of this site. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Geo.georgi (talkcontribs)

Remove non-goal #7[edit]

As by Wikitravel:Welcome, business owners we allow business owners to add their hotel/restaurant/etc. to our listings though no Wikitraveller has seen it yet, we have to delete non-goal #7, because this will obviously result in creating yellow pages here... --Flip666 writeme! • 20:33, 10 August 2007 (EDT)

I'd vehemently disagree. That goal reads:
Produce a Yellow Pages of restaurants, hotels, or bars for a city. City guides should certainly include information for travel-related companies, but these should be kept at a useful number. Think of a friend from out of town asking you where they should go -- you wouldn't list all 200 possibilities, but 5-10 options for a particular type, budget, or part of town.
Based on experience it is much more likely that non-business owners will turn articles into yellow page listings - see San Leandro for one such example. I've gotten good travel advice from business owners throughout my travels - locals involved in the tourist industry often know the best restaurants, lesser-known sights, etc. - and I would prefer that Wikitravel does not stigmatize those individuals and make them less welcome here than other contributors. I understand that some contributors greatly distrust the motives of all business owners, but the majority who have contributed here before have added valuable content, and those have added advertisements have generally had their contributions quickly edited to be more appropriate. -- Ryan • (talk) • 22:10, 10 August 2007 (EDT)
I'd prefer if Wikitravellers get information from business owners, check it and then add it to Wikitravel. But that is my opinion and it seems I am almost alone with it.
The actual problem is that this sentence from Wikitravel:Welcome, business owners:
If you own a restaurant, hotel, bar, or popular tourist attraction, plunge forward and add a listing for it.
encourages all business owners to add an entry for their business. If a Wikitravellers knows that it is a tourist trap he may not remove it... So we should at least modify Wikitravel:Welcome, business owners to clarify that we do not want to list each and every business! --Flip666 writeme! • 09:49, 11 August 2007 (EDT)

Printed guides[edit]

Swept in from the pub:

Don't you guys feel that wikitravel lays too much emphasis on printed guides? The main problem with this is that videos and audio clips can't be added. I'm sure the majority of people using this site while travelling access it on their mobiles, PDAs or laptops. I have often used wikitravel guides while travelling. I mostly use my iPAQ or my MacBook, and have never felt the need for printing the guides. Upamanyuwikitravel( Talk )( Travel ) • 07:12, 21 September 2007 (EDT)

You know, I've come to despise lugging a laptop around a country, or in one case a continent. It's a real pain and I'm actually surprised my old laptop wasn't stolen because I occasionally left it in hotel lobbies and restaurants. I do like printing off my travel guide because it's lighter. Although, now that I have a backpack for my MacBook rather than one of those carrying cases (ugh... I hate those) it's not as bad.

As far as the Press is concerned, I'd be OK with audio and maybe even video, as long as they're clearly tagged as "unprintable" content (eg. {{audio|Clip.ogg}}), and I've previously supported adding audio clips to phrasebooks. See Wikitravel talk:Image policy. Jpatokal 23:37, 21 September 2007 (EDT)
iPAQ is a PDA manufactured by Compaq. It's kinda quite old now, it's been around in the market for half a decade or so. By the way, even I detest laptops, but PDAs are a good solution. And here in India most people access internet on their mobiles (cell phones) while on the move. Upamanyuwikitravel( Talk )( Travel ) •

Nationality-Based Visa/Travel Listings?[edit]

I am an Australian and I am currently planning on travelling overseas. With this being my first overseas adventure, and planning on following a more vagabondish meandering "walkabout" trail, one of the biggest gaps I am finding in the information available from the Australian government, and online altogether, is a summary of the Visa/Restrictions applicable to people of my nationality for other countries.

What I would find really useful, would be a page for "Australian Travellers" (for instance) which would contain a list of other countries and detail whether Visas are required, for what activities, with what limits, etc. If there are countries which require visitors be sponsored (as I have heard is the case with Russia), this information would also be useful.

I am just putting this idea out there to hear whether other WikiTravellers see the value in it.

Some of this information is already covered in the "Get in" section at the country level. I think this is probably the best place, as it is going to be updated and viewed the most often, so has a better chance of being accurate and current. There are very useful sections on visas for many countries. Often visa information for a country is either consistent, or varies for a few country groups. This is best maintained at country level, I think. --Inas 23:19, 28 September 2008 (EDT)
Appreciate your feedback, and I can understand the considerations which lend this information towards best being administered within the Country pages themselves. Just the lazy part of me wishing I had a "menu" of countries I could choose from and see how easy/hard I could get into them and for how short/long I could stay. But, hey, what's travel without a little bit of research?