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Wikitravel talk:Internet Brands

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Internet Brands, Inc[edit]

Well, to keep our trust, I think the best thing you can do is to make dumps of the database available soon. --elgaard 09:08, 20 April 2006 (EDT)

Seconded. Dumps are nice. Not that I'd do anything with it, personally. -- Nils 16:23, 20 April 2006 (EDT)
OK, I understand that, and it's good to know. I'll get back to you when I have more details. --Evan 16:15, 21 April 2006 (EDT)
Hi Evan - can you explain what the issues are about providing access to the raw Wikitravel data? I've had a few misgivings since the Internet Brands announcement, specifically that the decision process bypassed the normal discussion and consensus procedure that's used here, which makes me question how well IB understands the community and what exactly they've bought. I realize that the contributors own the content they've contributed, but the value of that content is as a complete guide, and not as individual articles - providing a way for contributors to access the full set of raw data would make it clear that IB's interest are in providing a platform for a travel community, and not in owning a database of travel information.
Note that I'm not necessarily advocating that downloadable database dumps be made available, as I'd be dismayed if dozens of ad-filled, non-compliant Wikitravel clones popped up everywhere. It seems to me that providing a for-charge DVD dump of the database might be an ideal solution, as it guarantees to the community that for a reasonable cost a clone could be set up if in the future the community disagrees with IB's policies, and also provides a way of knowing who wants the content now to ensure that they understand the license requirements. Alternately some other means of providing access to the data would be fine, I'd just like to know what the plans are. -- Ryan 23:25, 24 April 2006 (EDT)
Those clones already exist and they have the Wikitravel material they need. It is not out responsebilty to ensure that people understand the license before we give them a DB dump or a webpage. Besides somone would just buy the DVD and make it public for free. And I want it to run Wikitravel on my laptop. --elgaard 09:43, 25 April 2006 (EDT)
Just to be clear, my point is simply that it would be good if there was some re-assurance that IB is going to make the full content available somehow - the comments about a for-sale DVD were just a suggestion. What I think would be good to see is some comment from Evan/IB that says "we are going to provide for-sale/downloadable/other access to the full set of raw data". That would re-assure me that IB understands that their role is platform provider, and not content owner. Hopefully Evan can clarify this point soon. -- Ryan 12:31, 25 April 2006 (EDT)
Ryan, I'm sorry I don't have a clear answer on the dumps. I'm working on it, and I hope to get one soon. --Evan 13:15, 25 April 2006 (EDT)
Can you at least clarify if the issues are technical, or if it is a problem with getting permission from IB? That's my main concern - I don't mind waiting for a while for dumps or some other raw data access to be made available, but if the issues are not technical then I would like to get a sense of how IB views their ownership of Wikitravel. -- Ryan 17:14, 25 April 2006 (EDT)
It's a combination of both. The right people are looking at the problem right now at IB, and I'll let you know as soon as I have information. --Evan 19:43, 25 April 2006 (EDT)
In responce to the above concern of Ryan regarding "dozens of ad-filled, non-compliant Wikitravel clones", I really don't see how that can be a concern to anyone. Any clone would become out of date without a strong comunity supporting it that it would be useless and never attract any visitors. As for "non-compliant" if the policies that the theoretical clone was not complying with were better fitting users desires than wikitravel's policies then it would attract more users. In this context non-compliant is offering choice to users. Nothing but a fair fight really. keithonearth 17:31, 14 September 2006 (EDT)


Err, the press release is titled "INTERNET BRANDS ACQUIRES WIKITRAVEL AND WORLD66 ONLINE TRAVEL GUIDES". Why are you covering it up like it's something to be embarrassed about? Jpatokal 09:48, 20 April 2006 (EDT)

That's the press release; this is the announcement on Wikitravel. It's a different piece of text. It's about Wikitravel, and what this means for the project.
I guess I'm too wrapped up in the dramatic presentation of the prose (point A leads to point B and thus to point C). I'd rather unfold the story than give it away at the beginning. If it bothers you not to have it in the title, or if you think it sounds wrong, please, go ahead and change it. --Evan 10:09, 20 April 2006 (EDT)
Thankfully, Wikitravel has not yet degraded to using press releases as news items. That would have been awfully quick. -- Nils 16:24, 20 April 2006 (EDT)


When will we see information about the IBI position regarding Copyleft and Creative Commons? An interesting nuance of language: the press release Jpatokal cites above correctly points out that we do stuff under CC-SA -- but it doesn't say that they do. Please clarify, soon. -- Bill-on-the-Hill 10:06, 20 April 2006 (EDT)

The Copyleft stays the same. If it's not hyped enough in their press release it's only because of their target audience. That's one of the reasons we wrote up the log book entry to explain things to the community here... Majnoona 10:10, 20 April 2006 (EDT)
Is the question whether the license will stay the same for WT/W66 guides? Absolutely. There's no question. Perish the thought.
As for IB's stance: I'm pretty sure that Wikitravel and World66 are IB's first Open Content Web sites. I don't know if IB plans to have other such sites in the future, but I do know that they support our licensing and that they understand that our copyleft is a crucial part of why Wikitravel works so well. --Evan 10:14, 20 April 2006 (EDT)
Does it really matter what IB thinks of Copyleft? The content is licensed BY-SA, which means what it says, all derrivative works must share alike. IB can't take it and run away. They can either work with it as is, or turf it all and do their own thing with the domain they've bought. I'm not worried about Copyleft and what happens with the content, they can't legally change that without the consent of every single person who has ever contributed. That's one of the purposes of Copyleft. --Dawnview 01:38, 21 April 2006 (EDT)

A few cynical questions[edit]

First off, it's great to get funding for servers, bandwidth, etc. However, as a cynic, I have a couple of questions.

1. How will wikitravel keep contributors providing free information to a for-profit enterprise?
(All I'm thinking right now is, why should I work for free for this company?)
2. Will paid advertising be labeled as such?
(I'm worried that not doing so will lower the value of the information provided in the mind of the reader, and ultimately, they'll go elsewhere for an unbiased, uninfluenced guide, even if they have to pay for it. Defeating the whole purpose of the project as I understood it.)
3. Will contributors get a cut if the article they wrote gets lots of traffic and therefore generates more ad revenue?
4. How much influence and censorship will the commercial enterprise have on content? Will I be able to say that the service at one of our sponsors was terrible?

Thank you. --Victoria 11:14, 20 April 2006 (EDT)

Victoria: good questions! Lemme see if I can answer them.
  1. Wikitravellers aren't providing information to IB. They're providing it to other travellers. IB's providing a platform for Wikitravellers to create and share guides. They're going to use the resource they provide (Web server, software, bandwidth) to generate ad revenue. They're not going to get in the middle of our guides.
    As for whether people should "work for free" for a commercial company: no. But Wikitravellers didn't work for me and Maj when we hosted the site personally, nor do Wikipedians work for the Wikimedia Foundation. I might also point out that a lot of other entities (mirror operators, travel-related businesses in our listings) benefit from Wikitravel guides, but they're not giving any resources back to the project.
  2. The plan for advertising is not set in stone; neither the when's, how's, or wherefore's. When the time comes to add advertising, we'll have a community discussion and work out a policy on the matter. Some things I'm sure of: advertising will be labelled as advertising. It will be separate from the guides, and it will be unobtrusive. IB's management has deep newspaper experience (LA Times), and they've reiterated that a travel guide without editorial independence isn't going to be worthwhile. Advertising that gets in the way of wiki editing, or sours our reputation, will hurt Wikitravel. That just doesn't make business sense.
  3. No. Wikitravellers will not be paid to work on their own Open Content project (at least, not by IB). Not only would it be extremely hard to work out fairly, but it would almost definitely screw up the community.
  4. As far as censorship, this will not happen. Wikitravel guides will remain editorially independent from advertising. That's what makes them valuable.
    As far as influence, I think there will be a lot, but not in the way you mean. I think having a commercial enterprise behind Wikitravel will mean that we can increase development and system administration resources, hardware, and work with other MediaWiki sites to improve the software (both in a general way, and in ways that are specific to travel). I hope that the influence will be big, and positive.
I hope those answers are clear. --Evan 11:47, 20 April 2006 (EDT)

I expected more from Wikitravel than from a newspaper. Ie. someone ordered journalists at the LA Times to not reprint the Mohammed Cartoons. Wikipedia did republish them.
And is now under US legislation. --elgaard 12:32, 20 April 2006 (EDT)
I have to agree with you on the newspaper point -- a wiki is just not comparable:
As for "now being under US lesislation", we've always been subject to laws, that's nothing new.
Majnoona 14:03, 20 April 2006 (EDT)
We have been subject to laws, but now we are stuck with certain laws. As for no editors, lets see what happens when someone threatens IB with a lawsuit over alledged copyvio on Wikitravel and the consensus here is to ignore it. Or when China wants us to censor a few pages, when served to chinese travellers. --elgaard 14:36, 20 April 2006 (EDT)
Sorry, but I don't understand the difference between being subject and stuck with laws. In the past we have been clear about not breaking US/Canadian laws, so nothings changing in that regard. And copyvio stuff already doesn't belong here. Majnoona 14:45, 20 April 2006 (EDT)

I was was not advocating breaking laws. But you do not have to be guilty to be sued or just threatened. IB might handle it differently than you and Evan would have. --elgaard 14:58, 20 April 2006 (EDT)

Good points. And will the advertising influence the content? Will we see more casinos and strip clubs on Wikitravel? Or will IBI censor controversial contributions?
Will there be adverts in off-line versions?
But IBI has only bought the domain, not the content.
Experience from Open Source shows that abuses can be prevented. Because if it gets bad enough a handful of unhappy developers/contributers can fork the projekt with a new name.
That is why it is important that we gets access to the source of Wikitravel: the complete database. We could reconstruct much from Google and clones, but we migh loose history and the attribution requirement make it a mess. The Wikipedia:Cddb#History demonstrates the danger of not having full access to your own data. --elgaard 11:45, 20 April 2006 (EDT)

Regarding your questions, Elgaard, I want to second what Evan said about the influence of advertising on the site. My name is Stan Holt, and I work in publishing at Internet Brands. I know that one thing that attracted IB to the Wikitravel project was the objectivity you get from the collaboration of knowledgeable travelers. Lose that objectivity and the project loses its mission and, most likely, its audience.

As for controversial contributions, we view censorship as the failure of community collaboration. The Wikitravel community has done an exceptional job of managing controversial content to date, and there are no plans to mess with a successful process. --sphwiki 3:20 pm, 20 April 2006 (EDT)

Pre-Slashdot warning[edit]

I just submitted a suitably spun notification to Slashdot. I've had a fairly good hit rate there, so if Wikitravel suddenly slows to a crawl and fills up with pictures, I'm the one to blame =) Jpatokal 11:34, 20 April 2006 (EDT)

...or maybe not, because it was rejected in minutes. Sniff. Jpatokal 12:10, 20 April 2006 (EDT)
Don't take it personally. My experience is that Slashdot editors read every submission on a particular topic and publish the one with the most spelling errors and incorrect information. --Evan 12:21, 20 April 2006 (EDT)


Am I permitted to pillage through World66's content on Munich? Or am I supposed to wait? Sapphire 14:27, 20 April 2006 (EDT)

You're totally permitted to pillage. Just note the date on Talk:Munich, so we can go back and give attribution later.
Actually... let's make that easier. why don't you use Template:FromWorld66, like this {{FromWorld66|europe/germany/bavaria/munich|~~~~~}}. It won't have any output (for now), but I can put some magic behind it later. --Evan 14:38, 20 April 2006 (EDT)
Should there be ~~~~~ or ~~~~'s? Sapphire 15:34, 20 April 2006 (EDT)
Five does a datestamp, I think. 15:37, 20 April 2006 (EDT) . --Evan 15:37, 20 April 2006 (EDT)
So... import the info and place that tag where exactly? - Andrew
Put it at the bottom of the page on Munich. --Evan 15:01, 20 April 2006 (EDT)
Hi Andrew, place the tag at the bottom of the page. Usually there will be other template tags there already. HTH! Majnoona 15:04, 20 April 2006 (EDT)

Actually, I'm not so sure I want to pillage anymore. I dislike World66's Munich guide. Hmm. I wonder if anything is worth pillaging the Cincinnati article. Sapphire 15:21, 20 April 2006 (EDT)

Process & Reasons[edit]

I would be interested to know the process that brought you to this decision and why you took it. -- DanielC 14:47, 20 April 2006 (EDT)

Wikitravel and World66 have both been on the Web for a while. We're different in a lot of ways, but at the core we're both Open Content, world-wide, wiki travel guides. I think that there's a pretty natural match here.
Maj and I have always known that Wikitravel couldn't keep competing with World66 for editors, readers, and attention forever. When IB told us about their ideas for Wikitravel and World66, we knew it was just the right thing to do. Having the additional benefits of ample resources and development effort, and a management team at IB that understood the importance of a hands-off approach to the Wikitravel community and content, sealed the deal.
If this had been a different company, or a different situation, this wouldn't have happened. --Evan 15:00, 20 April 2006 (EDT)
I'm not convinced this is the right thing to do at all. A community that is only free by the promise of a commercial company isn't the way I like them. I hope a new generation will pick up where others left.
Over all, I've seen only valid points made by users, and sadly very few good points made to defend this situation. It makes a person wonder where the so called "democracy" is. -Twopeak 20:50, 22 April 2006 (EDT)
We are not only free by a promise from a company -- we can walk away with the content at any time and set up a new site. The company knows this and presumably will avoid terminally offending the community. There are plenty of us who have the technical ability to start a new wikitravel with the old content... but we see no reason to do so if we can instead cooexist with a company which will take over the annoyance and expense of running the servers. -- Colin 22:49, 22 April 2006 (EDT)

Alternative Wiki[edit]

Does anyone plan to put up another wiki that won't be for profit? I have no interest in providing free content from which others will profit. There should be an alternative. The company which bought Wikitravel is contemplating an IPO, and there will be plenty of profit off the labor we have already invested. Nkb

So, you want to do a wiki that no one will profit from in any way? Or just not the company that hosts and supports the wiki? There are plenty of mirror operators and travel businesses who benefit financially from Wikitravel today -- none of them contribute resources back to the project, though.
We've always had commercial use as part of our goals. Publishing guides (paper or digital) costs money, and it seems like insisting on non-commercial use only meant that the information that was shared on Wikitravel wouldn't be as useful to travellers.
The examples of Wikia and commercial Open Source software companies show that Open Content isn't incompatible with a commercial venture. There's room in wiki for a diverse ecology of entities -- individuals, non-profit groups, and for-profit ventures.
Don't think of it as being used by a commercial venture. Instead, think about using that commercial venture's resources to do something you wanted to do anyways. I think our goal is to provide a valuable service to the Wikitravel community so the project can do its job; any revenue that comes out of that will be fair and transparent. --Evan 15:37, 20 April 2006 (EDT)
See User:Hansm/Fork FAQ -- Hansm 10:07, 20 July 2006 (EDT)


Hm. Hm. I am not really a Wikitravel user anymore, so I can not and will not tell you how to run your site. So you sold out; congratulations.

However, I am not known for keeping my mouth shut if I have an opinion.

I do find it unfortunate to take content that other people have created and to turn it into a for-profit enterprise. I am of course perfectly aware that the cc by-sa license allows for this; but it still feels wrong. I don't suppose I am going to get a cut of the revenues for articles I helped create?

Merging with a similar project might make sense, but I wonder why you had to sell out completely. Have you considered alternatives? You could have simply merged the content under some form of agreement (or not even that - the agreement in form of the cc by-sa is already there, afterall, and there really is little point of duplicate efforts.) Or you could have made Wikitravel a part of the Mediawiki foundation (I am not saying that would have been the best of ideas, but it is an alternative approach).

I took a quick glance at and, frankly, I am underwhelmed. The textual content seems alright, the use of google maps is a nice idea but completely pointless for now (as google maps only supports UK and US); the ads steal way too much screen space and are very intrusive; I saw at least one photo which had a Copyright watermark on it; and I did note that on every page they link three times to the maintainer company - with different text in the link. If that isn't to boost their Google rank, then I don't know. It simply has a bad aftertaste. If that is what Wikitravel will be like - no thanks.

You will forgive me that I am very skeptical about your "advertisement policy", whatever it will look like. Wikitravel has not been good at all about sticking to its own policies in the past, and that was before there was a financial incentive involved. Now that cash gets waved around, I am pretty confident that the content will eventually be changed to be advertiser-friendly. It's just a matter of time. At the very least you'll need an oversights committee, and it needs to have the power to enforce the rules that the community sets up. Since the deal is already sealed, it's too late now to enforce any kind of community-control in your contracts besides what the by-sa license covers.

You talk about how the community has let you be "stewards" of the project, and how community will "continue" to make decisions and policies. When was the community involved in your decision to sell to Internet Brands? Where was the discussion, the vote, the request for feedback? Maybe I simply missed it; but a quick check of the Travellers' pub reveals no such discussion. I'll note that advertising is still listed as an explicit non-goal, which is the current community policy on the issue and which you have just overruled as the site owner.

I guess it's okay for you to set yourself and your wife up in what may seem like your dream-jobs; afterall everybody likes a steady paycheck. But can't you at least stop the euphemisms?

As an aside, I would really like to know your traffic and resource usage statistics. I can't see Wikitravel using a significant amount of either right now, even considering what a horribly inefficient beast MediaWiki is.

-- Nils 16:01, 20 April 2006 (EDT)

Hi, Nils. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I know you haven't been a big contributor to Wikitravel in a while, but you've been an important member of the project in the past and I'm glad you had the time to say what you wanted to say.
Traffic info is at .
Wikitravel guides continue to be Open Content and you can keep 100% of the revenue you make from them.
Wikitravel is not going to become like World66 or Fark or Flickr or digg or Yahoo! or Wanadoo or boingboing or any other Web site. It's going to remain like Wikitravel, for now and into the future. The last thing we want to do is pull the rug out from under people.
Our decision about what to do with our role in Wikitravel was our own. We considered a lot of options, and becoming part of a commercial venture that understands Wikitravel's way of doing things seemed to us the best one. It's now up to the Wikitravel community to evaluate the resources we've been providing and will provide in the future. All we ask is that they keep an open mind and evaluate us on results and not prejudices and preconceptions. --Evan 16:33, 20 April 2006 (EDT)
Thanks for the stats; that's hardly what I would call massive traffic though.
As for the rest, I still think you're talking in euphemisms. You're presenting a done deal to the community and the choice is basically to accept it and go on as if nothing happened and swallow whatever IB will shove down Wikitravel's throat, or to go someplace else, fork the project, and split the userbase; hardly something that anybody who actually feels part of a community would be too thrilled about. (And without dumps, it cannot be done anyway, but I have no doubt you will provide those later on just on principle.)
Actually asking your community for their input before the deal would have put your decision on more solid ground. It needn't have been public or involved everybody, though that and a vote would of course have been the nicest from a community point of view.
Your decision about your own role is fine and I would never question it. However, that is not what happened. You didn't just hire up with IB; you sold Wikitravel. And I do question you talking of respecting community decisions and policies on the one hand, and your handling of the wikitravel sell-out on the other hand. You cannot have it both ways, Evan - either you involve your community, or you don't, but don't say you do when you don't. If the rules of Wikitravel are, "Evan is the boss, and he overrules all if he feels like it", then put that in the policy. Be honest with your users.
Damn now you made me try to tell you how to run your site afterall. ;) Time for me to go back into retirement. -- Nils 17:32, 20 April 2006 (EDT)

What does IB own?[edit]

Following from section above, Thoughts.

Well the thing is that it's still not clear to me what has been sold. Copyrights are copyrights, and are the property of their owners. For instance until it's replaced (maybe it will be, maybe it won't) I happen to own the copyright for the Wikitravel logo. So I'm pretty sure that hasn't been sold to IB. Of course they have as much right to use it under the CC-by-sa licence I granted as anyone does. I don't think I could claim to own the Trademark however. I think we will have to discuss trademarks.

I also own the copyright to some maps of Paris (which aren't complete). You own the copyright to a very nice photo of the Eiffel Tower. These have not been sold to IB.

I guess the right to host this particular (and most central) Wikitravel site now belongs to IB. Fine and dandy, let them pay the electricity bills. Let them collect any add revenue. Big whup. If however I or say some search engine company or you or my sister were to decide to host a Wikitravel mirror which also happened to copy all submissions back to IB's server, I don't see a thing IB could do about it under the license. I guess they could refuse the submissions, but that wouldn't be very smart would it?

So let me return to the original point: What exactly do you think IB owns? -- Mark 18:00, 20 April 2006 (EDT)

So how did your logo get on the website which is not CC-by-sa? --elgaard 06:44, 21 April 2006 (EDT)
Surely you already know the answer to this. It's an image. A web page you put an image on is not a derivative work. They can use my CC-by-sa licensed image there just as any other website could. Note that I didn't choose the CC-by-nc-sa license. Did you miss the point where I mentioned that they have as much right to use it as anybody else? -- Mark 08:09, 21 April 2006 (EDT)
The web page might be a collective work. But:
  • They do not credit you according to the by-clause
  • They do not include a URL to the CC license
  • On the terms page thay claim to own the copyrigt to the Wikitravel logo ("Unless otherwise specified, all materials appearing on this site, including site design, text, graphics, logos, images, icons interfaces, and the selection, assembly and arrangements thereof are the sole property of Internet Brands, Inc.") --elgaard 10:30, 21 April 2006 (EDT)
Yeah, they really "get" the cc license. -- Nils 05:41, 24 April 2006 (EDT)
Good points. Evan, can you see to this? I'd hate to have to send a cease and desist to our new corporate masters. I'll be happy to consider the current license infraction cured if they start following the license within, let's say 30 days. Thanks. -- Mark 08:01, 24 April 2006 (EDT)
Of course, I do fully expect IB to drop the logo either because it's not as good as it could be, or because I own the copyright or both. Of course that might look at least a little funny to some contributors. -- Mark 08:03, 24 April 2006 (EDT)
Actually the rights for that logo confuse me a bit... Mark obviously has the copyright to the image and he has graciously licensed it for everybody to use under the terms of the CC license. However, as I understand the string "Wikitravel" is trademarked, and this trademark has passed from Evan/Maj to Internet Brands. So copyrightwise anybody can still use the logo, but trademarkwise they need permission from Internet Brands...? Jpatokal 08:40, 24 April 2006 (EDT)
We don't actually know what has happened to the trademark. Evan and Maj could make a strong argument in court that they own(ned) a tradmark to Wikitravel used as a travel guide, and so might have sold that right to IB, but we don't know if this is the case. This is one of the things I'd still like to see some clarification on.
In terms of copyright, IB can excercise the same rights as anybody else under the CC-by-sa to use the logo design and the SVG I made or any derivative works. Of course if they like it and want to use it under some different terms I'm open for negociation. Evan, if this is the case please feel free to give them my phone number. -- Mark 08:46, 24 April 2006 (EDT)
(Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer, but intellectual-property law is one of my kinky little hobbies.) Even though they apparently never filed paperwork (at least not in the US) the "Wikitravel" trademark was pretty securely in Evan and Maj's hands (with Mark's logo as part of the, uh, mark), and is now in IB's. They have a well-established first-use, and its a fairly distinctive made-up word and design, so unless it's contested by someone who argues that the compound construct "wiki[existingword]" is generic, I can't see the USPTO denying them a registration if they file for it. The copyright for the logo is clearly still Mark's. Under the terms of the CC-BY-SA licence, all IB needs to do differently to use it is to attribute it to him, which basically means nudging someone in Legal to update the boilerplate on their web site and maybe on any pages it appears on. They might want to purchase it outright or negotiate a license on other terms as a convenience, to save them the trouble of keeping him attributed, but that's mostly a question of whether their lawyers are the nervous type or not. - Todd VerBeek 09:37, 24 April 2006 (EDT)
Basically a domain name. -- Giorgio 18:23, 20 April 2006 (EDT)
Just my 2-cents on all this. First I think at any time Evan and Maj wanted to, they could have said "Gee, getting tired of this Wikitravel stuff and we are going to turn off the servers and forget about it". I don't think they would have done that, but the point is at any point in time the "owner" could do that. I don't think IB will do that either. As far as what IB owns, first they own all the expenses and they they have two new employees that will be working even harder for Wikitravel then they have in the past. Why? Because they will be full time and it is in their personal finacial interest to see it succeed. Next, IB now own the servers, bills, etc. Next, IB now owns the right to place ads on the site. I for one think that is a good thing. Placement of do, see, sleep and eat ads on the site will be helpful. Look at google, the ads don't really get in the way. I believe is a good deal. Now, who owns the content? We all do.... it is CC-SA 1.0 and everything I have donated has gone to everyone. (small bow, and you are welcome) Tom Holland (xltel) 18:41, 20 April 2006 (EDT)
Except that Evan promised not to stop the servers and forget about it on Wikitravel talk:Technical_details. That was when we discussed having Wikimedia Foundation host Wikitravel. Maybe this is the reason for not coorporating with Wikimedia Foundation. --elgaard 19:12, 20 April 2006 (EDT)

We haven't seen a contract. But the domain, possible the trademark. Ie. could the french users move to their own server? Maybe software such as maintenance scripts that Evan has not published yet. And of course possession of the database. I hope that do not try to take advantage of the database that we created, but no one promised dumps yet. --elgaard 18:54, 20 April 2006 (EDT)
I can't speak for Evan, but he has in various forums made it clear that he's gotten this message loud and clear. I think it's in the transcript of the admin's meeting. I suspect that it's next on his TODO list after stabilizing the db. -- Mark 01:08, 21 April 2006 (EDT)

What does IB own in terms of Wikitravel policies? They own the servers, domain, etc, but not content. I mean, it's a bit wierd if Wikitravellers make policy on someone else's property. If Wikitravllers, by the methods we've always used, decide on some policy, can it be overruled? --Dawnview 01:40, 21 April 2006 (EDT)
I don't see how, considering the whole site could be overruled (forked) by Wikitravellers if necessary. If IB were to decide to overrule our decisions they certainly understand that risk first. -- Mark 05:52, 21 April 2006 (EDT)
Only if they provide up-to-date database dumps. Which, over two weeks later, has not yet happened. Still feeling confident? -- Nils 08:39, 9 May 2006 (EDT)
While dumps are preferable, it's trivial to extract the wikitext in short order. -- Colin 15:32, 9 May 2006 (EDT)

Editorial content about Web Sites[edit]

In the past we've debated about whether we should list links to websites. I think that since we are now going to have advertising we must for editorial balance be able to discuss websites about travel.

Some folks have objected that we have to have an objective rule about what sort of content goes in and what stays out. By consensus this objective rule has been that we can have links to primary sources of information on the web.

That's all well and good, however we now will have links somewhere else on the page, which are almost certainly going to be to hotel reservation sites and flight bookers etc. They will mostly not probably be to primary sources.

Therefore we have to have room to editorialize about the quality of these things without having to do some kind of crazy workaround. If I want to write about web sites through which I can book a hotel in London say, I have to do this now:

There are a huge number of websites through which you can book a London hotel, most of them are pretty much the same: You pay up front and take a printed receipt to the hotel. There is one stand-out that just books the reservation normally, allowing you to pay at the hotel, but you'll have to guess which one that is since we don't mention websites on our destination guides. Oh, also watch out for... oops we don't talk about the bad ones either.

Actually, that's not quite the current situation. Really I'd have to write:

There are a huge number of websites through which you can book a London hotel, most of them are pretty much the same: You pay up front and take a printed receipt to the hotel. There is one stand-out that just books the reservation normally, allowing you to pay at the hotel, check out the article on Finding accomodation and do a search for "London". Oh, also watch out for... oops we don't talk about the bad ones either.

So now that we are going to have ads on the pages somewhere I think we have to give ourselves the ability to provide some advice to our readers about which websites are good, which are bad, and which are run-of-the-mill. -- Mark 08:45, 21 April 2006 (EDT)

That only makes some sense for the website. Internet Brands offline guides might or might not have ads. There will certainly be off-line guides that have no ads or different ads. There are other websites that carry Wikitravel material that have different ads. In the future there could be Wikitravel websites with no ads. I think we should just tell people to read our guide and not the ads. Our readers should know that the ads have no relation to quality but are based on who will pay for them. --elgaard 10:11, 21 April 2006 (EDT)
I think that so long as the advertising is clearly delineated from our content, there is no need to alter our linking policy. People are used to the idea that ads are not endorsed by the media they are attached to. -- Colin 12:09, 21 April 2006 (EDT)

About, FAQ etc.[edit]

Don't you guys think that such significant announcement should be more widely publicized and make it to our About and FAQ pages as soon as possible? Since those pages are shared by all language versions, I would like to hear your comments before plunging forward and editing them. Ricardo (Rmx) 15:19, 21 April 2006 (EDT)

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Let me try and attack it first, others edit as appropriate. --Evan 15:46, 21 April 2006 (EDT)

I'm off[edit]

I'm thinking of leaving... I do not feel lucky knowing that a company will earn money with the work I did for free... Domie 04:16, 23 April 2006 (EDT)

I actually don't think they will. Of course as Evan knows I'd like for the accounting to be published, but I suspect that on the whole this deal is going to be a money-looser for IB. -- Mark 04:26, 23 April 2006 (EDT)
Companies don't knowing make deals that lose them money. That said, the CC by-sa license very explicitly allows commercial distribution, and that's why it says If you don't want your writing to be edited mercilessly and redistributed at will, then don't submit it here at the bottom of every Edit page...! Jpatokal 04:57, 23 April 2006 (EDT)
That's why I'm not pushing that button again...Domie 05:33, 23 April 2006 (EDT)
Jani, did you read the following paragraph? -- Mark 05:52, 23 April 2006 (EDT)
I did, but I'm not sure I'm cynical enough to agree. I think it's entirely possible to strike a happy compromise that lets Wikitravel keep chugging along and pays the bills. Jpatokal 06:58, 23 April 2006 (EDT)
I think the only reason they are doing it is to prevent a mass-exidus from the travel site they were certainly going to buy, World66, to the one that they weren't originally going to buy. So they had to "buy" the other one too, even if all they apparently get out of it is the domain name and the right to spend money on it, at least the exidus will be official and still "in the house" so to speak. -- Mark 04:26, 23 April 2006 (EDT)
Besides, who are you? Have we ever seen you here before? -- Mark
Domie's an admin on nl: and a big contributor there. --Evan 04:53, 23 April 2006 (EDT)
Domie, you did know that people already were making money from Wikitravel, right? There are mirror operators with ads, there are people selling PDA versions of the guides, and of course the businesses listed in the guides benefit from the attention. Not to mention the hosting services that were taking money to keep the site running. None of them support the development, hardware, etc., that the site needs to keep running.
That's part of making Open Content; you give information away and let people decide what to do with it.
I hope that you reconsider why you started working on Wikitravel in the first place, and whether those things that you were trying to do have changed at all. I think that the site today is just a good a tool for you to use in making free travel guides as it was a week ago. I hope in the coming months it will be a better and better tool because we'll have the resources to make it so.
Anyways, it'd make me a little sad if you weren't going to keep doing work for other travellers, but that's your decision. Let me know if I can do anything. --Evan 04:53, 23 April 2006 (EDT)
Well, I'm not fishing after "please come back"'s. I'll just see how things evolve and as soon as I notice that Wikitravel is a commercial load of shit, I'm off. I hope this sounds fair? Until then, I'll just play policeman on nl.wikitravel, see if everything is goind allright, perhaps even write some articles, but I'll never break my back for it as I was planning to do so, until things come clear... Domie 05:39, 23 April 2006 (EDT)
If someone doesn't want contribute to a guide that can be used commercially, they never should have been contributing to Wikitravel in the first place. So maybe it's good that this has brought attention to the terms Wikitravel operates under. I don't mean that in a "good riddance" way; I mean that with great respect. On my most idealistic days, I want to abolish the whole legal construct of private property and teach the world to live in cooperative communal bliss, and I admire anyone who can actually live by that kind of ideal day to day. But I also see that there are times when making concessions to ownership and the money motive Make Things Work more effectively, and I let pragmatism overrule that idealism. That's why I contribute to Wikitravel, even though I've always known that some people will try to make a buck from my work on it. I don't really like that fact, but I can live with it. And if you can't live with that, then this isn't something you should be giving your time to. Not because we don't want you here, but because you don't really want to be here. - Todd VerBeek 20:29, 23 April 2006 (EDT)
There is a big difference between accepting that the guide that we make can be used commercially by others and accepting that the infrastructure ( that we use to create the guide is controlled by a corporation. --elgaard 06:45, 24 April 2006 (EDT)
Fair enough, but that's not what Domie was talking about, nor what I was addressing. And the difference you're talking about isn't really all that profound; unless you DIY (which is what I do for a few projects that I want complete control over; I even host my own DNS), the infrastructure is always dependent upon someone else's goodwill to continue it, whether it's Evan and Maj, the Wikimedia Foundation, Internet Brands, etc. Granted, I'd be happier if that "someone" was a couple of people whose principles I have faith in, rather than a bunch of people who have some fiduciary obligations that might conflict with my ideals. But either way, it's still "someone else". Heck, back when it was just Evan and Maj, you had no way of knowing if they might up and sell the domain to someone. {wry grin} Consider: What if Wikitravel didn't exist, and IB announced they were creating and subsidizing it as an open-content project? (A bit like Red Hat with Fedora, or Apple with Darwin; not a perfect analogy I admit.) Some people wouldn't contribute, for understandable reasons. I would. - Todd VerBeek 09:10, 24 April 2006 (EDT)
The wikimedia Foundation would not have sold the domain. If Wikitravel had started by IB creating it, it would be anything like the Wikitravel we have today. And the infrastructure is not necessarily always dependent upon someone else's goodwill to continue it. We could have many Wikitravel sites synchronizing using a distributed versioning control system. --elgaard 09:52, 24 April 2006 (EDT)
That's DIY. Sure, Wikitravel could have been done that way, but it never was. This is not as fundamental a change as you seem to want to make it. - Todd VerBeek 10:09, 24 April 2006 (EDT)

Renaming this article[edit]

I'd suggest renaming this from "20 April 2006" into something more informative and permanent, like Wikitravel:Ownership or Wikitravel:Internet Brands or Wikitravel:Business model or something. Ideas? Jpatokal 09:28, 24 April 2006 (EDT)

I've changed the content from our original first-person letter from myself and Maj to more of a third-person description of IB's relationship to the project. Without a signature, "the two of us" and "we" don't seem to have an object. Feel free to edit. --Evan 12:20, 24 April 2006 (EDT)

Last paragraph[edit]

I've just rolled back the deletion of the last paragraph, but I changed "is enthusiastic" to "sees". I'm not sure if there's anything in that paragraph that's not backed up by last Thursday's press release. I primarily wanted to state the company's attitude towards the project. Elgaard, will that work for you? --Evan 20:04, 24 April 2006 (EDT)

It is not really based on facts. All we have is a company stating all kinds of good intents. If we see a reastaurant that says on their menu that they use only best ingredients and cook them to perfection, would we just put it on Wikitravel or would we at least taste the food first? We haven't even seen how they handle the request for DB access yet. At least say: "IB have promised ..., claims to ..., etc" --elgaard 20:29, 24 April 2006 (EDT)
So if I meet with the chef, talk with the manager, chat with the staff, and sample the food, and I'm convinced that the menu's accurate, do I still need to get your OK to add this info to the guide? Will you remove it because it's not a mom-n-pop diner, and you mistrust corporate-owned restaurants? Evan's stating what he - someone with first-hand experience with the company - understands to be true. If you have better information or conflicting facts, correct it. If you don't... don't.
What I'm trying to get at here is this: Why assume the worst? Whatever else they are, corporations are still run by people, and people don't respond well to those who fail to respect them as people. So they respond in kind, which proves you were "right all along" and you've just created the kind of antagonistic relationship that I think we'd all rather avoid. One thing I've learned is that people tend to live down to your expectations: treat a kid like an idiot, and he'll flunk out of school; treat someone like a villain, and he'll stab you in the back; etc. So why not try being respectful and open-minded (maybe even looking for what good could come out of the relationship), and save the negative assumptions and distrust for if they actually fail to live up to your expectations? At least then you'll know it was them that soured things, not you. - Todd VerBeek 21:18, 24 April 2006 (EDT)
That's all fine, but I'm trying hard to remind Evan of the old adage "Show, don't tell." It's always more believable when you see somebody walking the walk. -- Mark 02:44, 25 April 2006 (EDT)
I agree. Time will tell. - Todd VerBeek 07:38, 25 April 2006 (EDT)
First Even is not just a Wikitravel contributer, he is also part of the IB company now. It has nothing to do with corporations vs. mon-pop diners. In fact when a mon-n-pop restaurant finds Wikitravel and writes 30 lines about how wonderful their food is then I do the same. Trim it down and concentrate on facts. That does not mean I assume the worst about their food. If Wikitravellers go there and find that the spaghetti is in fact the best in Italy, then we can put it in again. I am not assuming the worst, I just keep an open mind and wait to see how it works out. --elgaard 05:11, 25 April 2006 (EDT)
This is the same "open" mind that says Evan can't be believed because he's one of them now? You may treat different kinds of restaurants fairly, but you're treating Wikitravel (and its employee) differently because it's no longer a mom-n-pop web site... in fact, you insisted that changed the situation profoundly, which doesn't seem like a wait-and-see-the-facts attitude to me. - Todd VerBeek 07:38, 25 April 2006 (EDT)
I did not say that Evan can't be believed. When any of us speak of our employer it is not just a first hand account of a company. I am not treating IB-wikitravel different. If Evan on the old wikitravel had written the same text with "I Evan" instead of "IB" I would also have changed it. Some of the other issues I have raised are also not new. E.g. database dumps have been discussed for more than a year, but the issue is more important now because we have an extra level of policy-making. --elgaard 08:14, 25 April 2006 (EDT)
Elgaard, I thought I'd done a pretty good job with "IB believes, IB thinks that", but I'll try and put in another level of indirection, e.g. "IB has said they believe, IB has said they think". I'd like to include some info about IB's published statements about the project, because that's the best (and currently only) way for Wikitravellers and others to understand the company's plans for the site. Will that work for you? --Evan 07:54, 25 April 2006 (EDT)

Yes, and as long as we reference the source, like the press statement, it is more than just another level of indirection. And I would prefer real links to the sources --elgaard 08:21, 25 April 2006 (EDT)


After thinking a lot about the latest news, I changed my mind. I've just decided to say goodbye. It was a good time. I will raise my glass to the last years. If anybody wanted to start a project like this (with a leading TEAM) without the plan to sell it out that way at a price of two jobs don't hesitate to drop me a line. -- DerFussi 09:11, 25 April 2006 (EDT)

Outstanding questions[edit]

Since this page is getting kind of crowded, I'd like to list out what I see as the outstanding questions about the future for Wikitravel. Note that I'm leaving out less concrete concerns and abstract considerations about what could happen, since for most of those all I can give is reiterations of what IB and the founders think should happen and want to have happen. Here, I'm concentrating more on questions I can actually answer, even if it's "I don't have an answer yet".

  1. Database dumps. The question is if, when, and how db dumps are going to be available. I don't have an answer yet but I hope to soon.
  2. Trademark. I think I've mentioned already that Internet Brands has acquired all of our interest in the Wikitravel Web site, including whatever intellectual property belonged to us personally. I think at some point soon there will be a trademark policy available on site to make the situation more clear.
  3. Logo. IB is trying to figure out what to do about the Wikitravel logo on It's under discussion and we'll try to have some decision very soon. Mark, thanks for the "breathing room" on the logo, since that will help a lot.

If there are more, please let me know. --Evan 12:55, 25 April 2006 (EDT)

I think we'd also kind of like to have some back-story on how the discussions came about and what happened when with whom. Also we'd like a definitive statement that we aren't ever going to get to see the books on advertising income, etc. Or better yet a definitive statement that we will. At any rate this cannot stay up in the air. -- Mark 15:18, 25 April 2006 (EDT)
The name "Wikitravel" is used about a thousand times in our articles. The trademark policy need to allow this also when distributing Wikitravel material. For now I assume this use is indirectly licensed by IB (or originally by Evan) by publishing Wikitravel under a CC license (not that they had the choice of another license) --elgaard 18:25, 25 April 2006 (EDT)
If it's working out to be difficult to provide actual answers to the outstanding questions can we at least have an idea of a timeline for answering them? -- Mark 17:54, 30 April 2006 (EDT)
Seconded. It's time for this. -- Bill-on-the-Hill 18:13, 30 April 2006 (EDT)
Bump. -- Ryan 13:38, 1 May 2006 (EDT)
I don't have a timeline for when these outstanding issues will be answered. I can say that they are actively being worked on right now, though. Most likely, we're going to be having a continuing discussion, here -- as these items get dealt with, new ones will come up. --Evan 16:56, 1 May 2006 (EDT)

Interest in starting up a new Wiki?[edit]

Is there a team of people interested in starting up a new wiki, this time with a better license that ensures volunteer work is not sold for big money from whoever just happens to run the server? Please post here with email and I will get in touch. cheers marco

Hi Marco. I have a couple of questions:
  • Which of the the outstanding issues makes you think there's something wrong with the current license?
  • Are you upset that it's not easier to grab the content for redistribution? Or are you upset that somebody is going to make some money?
  • Would you feel better if you were to know that it isn't all that much money really?
  • Would you feel better if you could know specifics?
  • Is it the re-assignment of the trademark that bothers you? Probably not, right?
A couple of points:
  • The CC by-sa which gives you full rights to use and redistribute the content here. That has not changed. Go ahead and download all the articles using Special:Export. This is your right. It takes a couple of days if your script pauses for the 20s specified in the robots.txt file (please do obey robots.txt!).
  • Probably when you set up your new Wiki you should change the name Wikitravel to something else. Wikitravel is a trademark of Internet Brands.
  • Make sure that you do the attribution step!!! This is the hardest bit, since the Special:Export dumps don't give you that data directly (it uses Username, not real name).
The robots.txt may be a problem:
Disallow: /en/Special:Allpages
Disallow: /en/Special:Export
Disallow: /en/Special:Imagelist
Of course it would be possible the get and assemble the Allpages by hand, then use a browser and paste all Names into the same Export form. But that seems to be a really bad way of doing it. --elgaard 10:47, 27 April 2006 (EDT)
It's about the best way of doing it that exists at the moment. Of course ideally you'd have a script which parses the Special:Allpages pages, and then does it automatically. Of course you only have to dump Allpages once, after which you'd just follow Recent Changes. Clearly you have to ignore the Disallow lines, but I would encourage following the 20s rule.
But you have to wonder why those Disallow lines were added. The robots.txt are from March 6. The previous copy I have kept is from Nov 21 2005, and does not have all thos Disallow lines. --elgaard 20:21, 30 April 2006 (EDT)
I wouldn't look for conspiracy theories - not having search engines crawl the various special pages was almost certainly done to limit server load. Evan could confirm, but the idea that it was done to stop people from creating Wikitravel clones seems to me to be really, really unlikely. -- Ryan 20:36, 30 April 2006 (EDT)
Yep, I think all special pages are disallowed (at least, that was the intention) since we normally don't want search-engine bots doing silly things like moving pages. Specials also cost a lot in CPU resources. I'll take some time to comb through this list for the more innocuous ones and removing them. But, to answer the question: no, limiting bots from hitting the specials isn't an anti-mirror thing. --Evan 21:32, 30 April 2006 (EDT)
Still I'd like to encourage Marco to hold off and give IB some time to do the right thing(s), since we really do have quite a bit to gain out of this arraingement. -- Mark 11:06, 27 April 2006 (EDT)

Personally, I'm waiting to see for a while longer if IB behaves correctly toward the community. I'm just pleased as punch that Evan and MAJ have gotten what amounts to dream jobs out of this deal, and so I really want it to work. I would also point out that there are lots of ways that you Marco, can profit from this project as well: from printing and selling the guides to negociating with resort owners for discounts or free stays for writing up a good travel guide for their destination to lots of stuff that I haven't thought of. Or have I? -- Mark 09:52, 27 April 2006 (EDT)

I agree with Mark's assessment. While I have serious misgivings about this whole thing (and Evan and Maj, the misgivings are about IB, not about you or your decision), it's not clear that there is a problem that needs fixing here. A wait-and-see attitude seems indicated; if IB does keep their hands off content, distribution, etc., the alternative Wiki seems unnecessary, and if not, there'll be more enthusiasm for creating it than there is now. -- Bill-on-the-Hill 09:56, 27 April 2006 (EDT)

Late answer to Marco's original question: Yes, see User:Hansm/Fork FAQ for more info.-- Hansm 12:41, 18 July 2006 (EDT)

Right for disclosure of the Contracts[edit]

I'm very seriously thinking about leaving Wikitravel for the reasons I have given in my essay on de:. Most of them also have been pointed out in the discussion above, so I need not to repeat them here. I don't like precipitous decissions, that's why I want to check out all pros and cons without hurry, first.

We have heard a lot of ideas, opinions and good will anouncements from Evan and Maj during the last days. As usual, everything sounds quite fine. At the other hand, we still know very few about ib's real plans and rights on Wikitravel. I think, the community has the right to get to know the hard facts, too. For the sake of transparency, I ask Evan, May and ib to discover their contracts related to Wikitravel.

-- Hansm 11:07, 30 April 2006 (EDT)

Hans, thanks for jumping into the conversation here. Besides the details I already gave on the talk page for your essay, are you looking for some particular information?
Hopefully I can recap: Internet Brands owns the Wikitravel trademark, the domains, and the servers this site runs on, as well as any other rights Maj and I may have built up in the site. The plan is to continue to grow the site, add new features and hardware as needed, and leave the community with the decisions about structuring and developing the guide. The hope is to have some form of on-site advertising at some point in the future, with advertising designs informed by a community discussion. If you're looking for particulars (like, say, exactly when will advertising be added? Exactly what kind of ads will be installed?), I'll say right now that few of those decisions have been made yet.
My question for you: under what conditions would you return to work on Wikitravel again? --Evan 17:22, 1 May 2006 (EDT)
It seems pretty clear that he's asking for disclosure of your contracts with IB (although he wrote discover, that's an easy enough typo to make). -- Mark 03:20, 2 May 2006 (EDT)
That was not a typo but my unsufficient English. But sure, Mark did understand me perfectly right: Please disclosure the contracts. In my opinon, one of the biggest damages that deal did to the Wikitravel project was a loss of confidence into Evan and Maj. Secret negotiations without participating or at least informing the community in advance is not simply ignoring a majority, but willful deception. Even if it should turn out that the advertising is not as awful as many fear and even if ib realy should care about our policies, one thing will have a malicous impact to the community for a longer time: Can we trust in Evan (and Maj)?
For now (and also after some experiences during the last time), my answer is: No, we cannot! If you would make your deal with ib transparent to the community, you could win back some of the confidence. I do not say all of it, this would need more time. Me personaly, I'm not interested neither in how much you had spend for maintaining the server, nor in how much you have got for selling all that stuff nor in how much you earn in your new job. But I have been asked that on de:. Maybe, there are some others, too, that would like to now how much the value of Wikitravel is.
Until now, we know that you have sold the rights for the domain and the trademark. What else? Above, you say you have sold "any other rights Maj and I may have built up in the site". What exactly does that mean? What do you think are the rights you have built up in the site? Did you sell ideas that did come out of the community? Did you hold patents on ideas related to Wikitravel? There is still a lot of veiling fog around all that questions. How can we be sure that you already have told us the whole truth? Maybe you follow an information strategie of small slices, each of them just small enough that the community can swallow it.
You did not yet tell us the whole story. What have been the points that have brought you exactly to this decision? What other possibilities did you check out? All this has been asked in #Process & Reasons and has been repeated in #Outstanding questions. No answer yet.
I'm sory for that distrust, but it was the intransparency of your decision making that has produced it. After irrevocable fact have been made, please at least disclosure the contracts to make things clearer.
-- Hansm 06:16, 2 May 2006 (EDT)
I thought that you were looking for some particular information about the future of Wikitravel. The various legal papers for this transaction aren't going to be made public at any time (nor are any of our other personal legal papers). If you have some particular questions, please, ask them.
As to your questions above: "any other rights" here means some fuzzy ideas like "goodwill". It just means that if we acquired other rights during the last few years, then those have been transferred, too. I haven't applied for any patents ever, including for software I've written for Wikitravel (which has been released as Free Software under the GPL). The content of the site, created by the community, remains available to anyone under the CC by-sa 1.0 license and/or any other licenses granted by the creator(s).
I think I've said before: Maj and I have made some decisions about what to do with our relationship with Wikitravel. That was our decision to make -- not yours. We think we made a good decision, but if you don't, that's your choice. I'd really like it if you'd come back to work on Wikitravel, since you used to be such a valuable contributor. However, if that's not what you want to do, I'll understand. --Evan 06:44, 2 May 2006 (EDT)
At least, this is a clear response. Thanks. -- Hansm 04:46, 3 May 2006 (EDT)

Comments From the IB Team[edit]

Dear Wikitravel community:

We appreciate the depth and insight of the comments and questions in this conversation. The concern of this community for Wikitravel is one of the things that excites us about this site. There have been some comments regarding greater transparency about our plans for Wikitravel. We’ll try to be responsive here. We look forward to frequent participation in community dialogue such as this.

First, our goals are the community’s goals: to see Wikitravel become a free, complete, up-to-date and reliable worldwide travel guide. In fact, our main goal is to help accelerate this process. We’re doing this by investing in technology infrastructure and allowing Evan and Michele to focus exclusively on the project. We think the community is doing a fantastic job with Evan and Michele’s leadership, and we have no plans to change any of this. We’re very grateful to them and the entire community. The site is terrific and getting better everyday.

At some future point, we think Wikitravel may be able to pay for itself and even make a profit. We would be delighted if that comes true. Revenues would come from some type of context sensitive links, clearly labeled as advertising. Wikia and World66 currently do this, although we’re hopeful that more elegant deployments may be coming to market in the future.

As for what ownership means: it means we’ve acquired the trademark rights and domains for the site and the operating expenses for running the sites. We think these assets may become valuable in the future, although there is certainly no guarantee. We understand and are obviously comfortable with the open source nature of the editorial submissions and the underlying copyright implications.

Working closely with Evan and Michele, we are currently wrestling with some policy issues that are new to all of us. We’ve heard the concerns in these discussions and are assessing them.

As we invest to make Wikitravel an even bigger success, we do have requests of the community. First, please do not make assumptions that we have some hidden agenda. Working with Evan and Michele, we’re communicating our collective truths about the project. Second, please recognize that we are aligned and want Wikitravel and World66 to remain the world’s leading community driven travel guides. Third, please recognize we are reluctant to take steps that erode the trademarks or facilitate diminution of the Wikitravel brand. In short, we want this website, driven by you, to be a huge success.

We’re sure a skeptic can parse our words here and find fault (wikis are good for that). But our intentions are clear. We want Wikitravel to thrive. --BackroadWayfarer 13:01, 2 May 2006 (EDT)

Hi BackroadWayfarer. Thanks for making a statement. We'll be looking forward to further participation from your team in this discussion. Meanwhile please consider signing your talk-page posts -- doing so makes it slightly easier to follow a discussion. If you are logged in you can sign using -- ~~~~. Also considering the relative importance of your position vis-a-vis the site it might just be a good idea to fill in the real name information in your preferences. Of course that's strictly optional.
As for us Wikitravellers, no single one of us can speak for the others. However, I think you'll find that on the whole we are quite ammenable to this arrangement so long as we are provided enough information to understand what exactly we are getting out of it, and what problems if any might arise from IB's ownership of the trademark, etc. As you have hopefully understood from the ongoing discussion there are a number of simple and hopefully painless steps which the company can take immediately to re-assure those among us who have doubts as to your intentions. I would strongly encourage you to have the courage to take those steps as quickly as possible, or to lay out a timeline for doing so.
Thanks again for having taken the time to make this statement. -- Mark 03:15, 2 May 2006 (EDT)
Oh I'd just like to make an observation which might help you understand us and vise versa. It would seem that you (IB) really like to do things with a certain level of secrecy. I can understand that that's important sometimes in business. I would caution you however that secrecy is probably not the best way to handle this particular property. Please consider being as open with us as absolutely possible. -- Mark 03:26, 2 May 2006 (EDT)
Hi John - reiterating and adding to what Mark said above, the community process here depends on discussion and inclusion. Most of us realize that this approach is new to Internet Brands and we're willing to work with you, but that requires that you engage in discussion with us. In this case, there are a lot of questions above, but in many cases there is no comment other than "we're working on it". The fact that "we" does not mean the Wikitravel community (something you are now a vital part of) strikes me as a concern. It would be advantageous to everyone if you could engage in a collaborative relationship so that we can collectively work to resolve outstanding issues. For example, regarding database dumps, are you considering other options, are you simply against the idea, or what is the problem? It's OK for you to say "we don't want to do that because X", but some kind of discussion is important. Similarly for advertising, it would be great for someone to say "we have no idea how that will work" or "we envision something like this", just to get the discussion going. Perhaps someone in the community will have some good ideas that you might not have considered - discussions work two ways.
There are going to be people who refuse to contribute to a project that is commercially backed, and there are going to be people who would contribute no matter what, but I think the majority will only contribute to a project that they believe in. I believed in Wikitravel as it existed under Maj and Evan, but their decision to relinquish ownership without discussing it has definitely lessened my (and other people's) enthusiasm. However, if your company engages the Wikitravel community and shows a willingness to work collaboratively that would alleviate my concerns, and the concerns of many others as well I think. -- Ryan 01:24, 4 May 2006 (EDT)

Hi Mark and Ryan. Thanks for your comments. As Evan indicates below, we've been actively working with Maj and him to understand all of the issues and develop some points of view. We think we're making good progress and they will have some more detailed thoughts to discuss pretty soon.

We're trying to limit the scope of our involvement to a few very high level issues that involve us. We're very confident in Evan and Michele's leadership, as well as that of the Admin group and key contributors. Over the years, your leadership group has navigated things very well.

We understand that there is a public process for working out issues on wiki sites. At the same time, we also see that one reason the process works is most Wikitravellers take their time to think problems through privately, then express fully-formed opinions and put forward well-thought-out proposals. We like this process; it keeps the level of discussion very practical. We're doing the same thing right now -- taking our time to get our ideas straight before we put them before the community. We especially don't want to alarm community members with half-cooked concepts that we ourselves end up not supporting. We'll continue to post thoughts here ourselves, as well as rely on Evan and Michele as a primary means of communicating our collective thinking to the community.

As we move ahead, there will always been more and new issues to discuss. We appreciate and respect the transparent nature of wiki policy making. We are most hopefully that the community will view the resources and commitment that we bring to the table very positively. -- John/Internet Brands 13:28, 8 May 2006 (EDT)

The biggest problem is that the buyout was done in complete secrecy, and that in the first announcement, current community policies ("no advertisement") were trampled upon. This does not fill me with any trust in your promises that nothing will change, that "the community" will still be truly free to make their own decisions, that you will basically pursue a hands-off policy. You do say that eventually, Wikitravel will be ad-ridden. What if the contributors do not want that? Of course it's not in your interest to do that now, that would alienate people even more, and wouldn't it be nice if the free labour would get to it already and fill the gaps first before you drive them away? Yes, I am being very sarcastic. But the whole thing could have been done a whole lot better. Evan screwed up big time by the handling of this mess, and so far, I haven't read anything that convinces me that you guys will actually provide any benefit to Wikitravel whatsoever. Adding ads to the websites of Wikitravel is not a benefit. -- Nils 08:49, 9 May 2006 (EDT)
Unfortunately what the contributors want may not always be possible. By my conservative estimates, Wikitravel's now generating well over 100 GB of traffic per month and has hardware and maintenance requirements to match. The monetary and financial burden for this falls entirely on Evan & Maj, and they've figured out a way to keep the site going and get paid for it too, which I think is pretty remarkable. And by the way, where is that "no advertisement" community policy written?
As for advance notice, most companies -- like IB -- do place an unfortunate premium on secrecy, and Evan can't disclose all the details, or any of the details, in advance without risking the whole deal. Also note that there are no ads around here yet, Evan's just saying that they may appear someday, which is just the kind of advance notice that you're asking for!
My two cents are that, while I agree that this could have been handled better, as long as Evan sticks to the 'contract' at the bottom of every page we edit -- in other words, everything is and remains Creative Commons-licensed -- then he's still fulfilling Wikitravel's mission. Jpatokal 09:08, 9 May 2006 (EDT)
100 GB is not a lot. 1000GB is $7.95/month at Canaca where Wikitravel was hosted. I would have sponsored that if necessary or we could have sold a few T-shirts. The "no advertisement" policy is at Wikitravel:Goals_and_non-goals: "However, blatant advertising is not welcome..." --elgaard 16:45, 9 May 2006 (EDT)
Just to point out, it's not even 100 Gb yet. I know, because I am running a private mirror (using Special:recentchanges and Special:Export. That said the problem with a retail hosting solution like Canaca is not the size of the site but the bandwidth, and most importantly the guaranteed uptime. They were offering a guarantee of of 99.9% uptime, but delivering more like 99.1%. In professional hosting you always wind up paying an order of magnitude for another "9" after the decimal. Hosting firms which offer 99.999% uptime cost something like 3500USD per month.
Of course I do agree with all of you that this was handled badly in that it was all done in the dark, but I agree with Jpatokal that so long IB respect the license then we Wikitravellers have nothing to worry about (note I mention a mirror and some knowledge about hosting).
I'd also like to reiterate that I'm very pleased with this deal for a number of reasons, and want to do what I can to make it work. I think we are getting a lot out of it: The hosting, Evan's and MAJ's time full-time, potentially leagal support and graphic design support. -- Mark 18:22, 9 May 2006 (EDT)
Mark, I think you're confusing the bandwidth (Gb/month) with the file size of the data. You can see our traffic stats at ; note that it leaves out images and other binary files. --Evan 19:04, 9 May 2006 (EDT)
You are absolutely right. I was about to correct myself when I noticed that you had corrected me. -- Mark 19:17, 9 May 2006 (EDT)
You've been a real driving force in this project, elgaard, and I really appreciate your offer of support and financial help. I'm glad that you're willing to put that kind of commitment behind Wikitravel. We do about 250Gb in traffic each month, but bandwidth has never been our choke point. With a dynamic site like Wikitravel, it's disk I/O and CPU that gate your system.
We haven't been hosted at Canaca for almost half a year, by the way; our heavy usage was crashing their servers, and they asked us to look somewhere else for hosting options. We've been doubling in traffic about every 4-6 months. We were on a dedicated server (which was a lot more than $7.95...), and upgraded that, and upgraded it again, then had to start looking at more servers. Since the announcement, even with the extensive caching we do, we're running on two big Solaris servers at the Internet Brands network center. It's not going to be too long before we outgrow that setup, either, but fortunately IB is committed to supporting Wikitravel through its growth.
I understand that people are upset that we didn't consult them in making this decision. I think that many of the people who are concerned about it aren't actually that opposed to the end result. I know you may not agree, but I hope you can comprehend why we felt we had to make this decision ourselves. As founders and maintainers of this Web site for almost 3 years, however, we felt we had a special obligation to find a long-term solution to support the growth and continuation of the project. This is the solution we found, and we think it's going to carry the project pretty far. --Evan 18:57, 9 May 2006 (EDT)

IB and copyvios[edit]

Is there any interest in IB's part in helping to prevent non-compliant use of Wikitravel content? While a nice note may be able to solve a lot of the cases, I imagine IB has access to a lawyer who can draw up a "hey, that's illegal" letter better than any of us can. I see this as a potential asset IB brings to the table. Would IB do that? Would anybody else but me think that's a good idea? (Maybe I just like the idea of siccing lawyers on wrongdoers a bit too much.) -- Jonboy 21:01, 5 May 2006 (EDT)

I just wanted to follow up here: we're currently looking into this and should have some feedback soon. Thanks for bringing this up! Majnoona
I totally forgot to update this: IB has been following up on the sites listed on Wikitravel talk:Non-compliant redistribution. Please continue to add sites if/when you find them. Thanks Majnoona 11:40, 20 July 2006 (EDT)
That's great! Will IB please keep us up-to-date on the reconciling the issues with the various websites? I know I'd appreciate it and I'm sure everyone else in the community would too. -- Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 11:50, 20 July 2006 (EDT)

News on outstanding questions[edit]

I'm glad to say that there's been progress on several of the outstanding questions on this page, and I wanted to bring people up-to-date.

  1. I think this has been covered pretty well elsewhere, but for completeness, IB will be putting together a trademark policy page that will be on the site soon (within a few weeks at the outside, we hope).
  2. For the logo, we've reached out to Mark on using the current logo elsewhere under a separate license. So with luck this should be worked out in the medium-term future, also.
  3. Finally, we're working out the details of an experiment to provide XML dumps. We're actively working on a policy and technical details that we intend to share next week for community review, and hope to implement shortly thereafter.

Thanks for everyone's patience; there will be more info coming up soon. --Evan 12:01, 6 May 2006 (EDT)

mysqldump --xml if ( mysql >= 5.0 ). -- Nils 08:23, 9 May 2006 (EDT)
So, where are the dumps? -- Nils 03:51, 12 May 2006 (EDT)
"Next week" is long over. No anouncement here. I don't see any in the Travelers' Pub either. Another broken promise. You're off to a really great start there Evan. You're filling me with confidence that you will treat the contributers with the fairness and respect they deserve. -- Nils 10:45, 18 May 2006 (EDT)
When did Evan "promise" you that it would be ready "next week"? Jpatokal 10:55, 18 May 2006 (EDT)
Thanks for the reminder, Nils. We firmed up the details at IB last week, but Maj and I have been on the road since last weekend, so we've been moving slower than anticipated on this issue. More news is below.
Making dumps at the MySQL level is not a reasonable solution -- it would expose users' passwords and email addresses to the public. I don't think that's compatible with our Privacy policy, and I don't think that exposing passwords is a great way to enhance Wikitravel security. In addition, there's tons of caching information tables (links, search text, etc.) in the database that increases the size of the dumps many times over. Using MediaWiki's XML export feature is more succinct, and it gets the information people want (the page data) without a lot of cruft they don't need. --Evan 13:23, 18 May 2006 (EDT)
I actually prefer XML dumps to MySQL dumps, but I feel a little odd about having to beg IB for use of my own works. Also I think that Nils has a point about responsiveness. You need to get better at communicating this stuff to us in a timely fashion. I'm afraid that the delays make it seem like this project is on the very furthest back-burner for IB. If they've taken this long to make an annoucement then how long are they going to take to "approve" my use of my (and other Wikitrallers') data in a mirror? If they take a year to approve my request then I'd rather just fork today with what I've already got and start building traffic. -- Mark 16:09, 18 May 2006 (EDT)
He had promised an "announcement". Now it's two months later. Where can I get the dumps? -- Nils 03:58, 29 July 2006 (EDT)

XML versions of Wikitravel content[edit]

I'm happy to say that I've got some plans to share with the Wikitravel community with respect to XML dumps.

We understand that making XML dumps of the Wikitravel content is a practical matter for users, and making the data available will enable academic and creative re-use. However, there are some legal concerns with making the dumps available. Internet Brands, Inc. wants to ensure that making XML dumps available doesn't imply in any way a grant of trademark, or an endorsement by IB of the redistribution or re-use. They want to make sure that if abuse happens, they can use legal means to protect Wikitravel's reputation if they need to.

For this reason, we'll be taking a middle-of-the-road approach on XML dumps. Dumps will be made available on a by-request basis, and the requester will have to acknowledge that they understand the license on the dumps, and that no further grant or endorsement is implied. After a review and approval, requesters will then get access to complete dumps of the text and images of the various language versions, which will be updated regularly. These will be MediaWiki XML exports of pages in the main namespace, unless otherwise specified, and not "database dumps" that would include user passwords or user email address or other privacy- and security-related data.

IB is getting the business systems in place, and I'll be working on automating the process. This is going to be a matter of weeks. Until that time, it's possible to “pre-request” XML dumps starting today, by sending an email with your real name, affiliated organization (if any), frequency that you need dumps (once, weekly, monthly, etc.) and reason for requesting a dump to [email protected] Once we get the system on-line, you'll be contacted for further information if needed.

Looking at the issue over the last few weeks, I've been interested to see that the number of commercial sites that make full-site exports available is actually pretty small. Open Directory has RDF dumps, Wikimedia has XML dumps, and Wikia also has dumps, but few commercial wikis provide them. So I'm pretty proud that we're going to be on the more open end of the wiki spectrum in this regard.

Thanks for your patience on this issue, and thanks especially to those (Niels, Mark, Ryan, Hans) who've outlined why making data available in this format is important to the community. It's been great help. Comments, questions and suggestions welcome. --Evan 13:21, 18 May 2006 (EDT)

One thing I forgot to mention (/me smacks forehead) is that we're going to try to make exports available for geographical sub-divisions of the Wikitravel main namespace, so if you only want to download Southeast Asia or Southern California and all guides to places in those regions as well as related articles (e.g. itineraries and phrasebooks), that'd be something we'd like to get going. The bundled articles would depend on the breadcrumb navigation hierarchy and "related articles" relationship, with possibly some navigation of the "regions" and "cities" parts of guides. There's a point between getting one or two articles from Special:Export and getting all 9000 (well, almost) en: guides that this should be useful to people. Niels made a good compilation of Italy-related articles, for example, that I think could be better automated with this system. --Evan 14:54, 18 May 2006 (EDT)
Where can I order these XML dumps? Thank you. 19 July 2006
You have to send a mail to [email protected] (that's basically Evan and Maj) and be patient. I have done so and I'm waiting for a response for almost 2 weeks. -- Hansm 06:47, 19 July 2006 (EDT)
Why does a requestor require a reason for requesting a dump? You do not own the data, it is not your decision to make who does and who does not have access to it. -- Nils 04:00, 29 July 2006 (EDT)
You're free to leech all the pages manually from Wikitravel. But if you're requesting that Evan do extra work for you, for free, then I think it's only reasonable that you tell him why. Jpatokal 04:07, 29 July 2006 (EDT)
What an IB-Fanboy. How about: "Because I want a copy of the data." No, it is not his business what I intend to do with the data. Dumping the database should be an automated, regularily repeated process (say... nightly?), and files should be available via ftp/http for anybody who wants them. He already said that dumps will be available. Why require a reason for asking for a dump? Why require a manual process in the first place? Simple, really - IB fears that someone will go and fork the project. They're scared. They know that Evan and the takeover are hugely unpopular with some people. They fear for their investment. So they're sabotaging this possibility without saying "no", which would be a big PR desaster with the remaining contributors who would suddenly realize what's really going on. Play for time, hope that all those annoying dissenters just shut up. No, sorry, that is not acceptable. I want a dump. -- Nils 04:20, 29 July 2006 (EDT)
Let me quote from the About page:
"Wikitravel is built with the spirit of sharing knowledge that makes travel so enjoyable. Whenever travellers meet each other on the road, they swap info about the places they came from and ask questions about places they're going. We want to make it easy to share that knowledge and let others share it; our copyleft license means that the facts you know can spread far and wide."
Emphasis mine. Evan is talking the talk, it's really high time he's following up his words with actions. -- Nils 04:40, 29 July 2006 (EDT)
Ever heard the expression "Your right to throw a punch ends at the tip of my nose"? Wikitravel content is freely available and you can do whatever the hell you want with it. But you're asking for Evan to do work for you, and getting your panties in a twist because he's not bending over backwards to help you. (Actually, have you even asked Evan to give you a dump, or are you just shooting off your mouth again?)
I agree that it'd be super-nifty if dumps were generated automatically every night, trimmed off personal data and placed up for public download. But who's going to do the work? Do you think IB will pay for this? Would you pay Evan's salary to make this happen? Jpatokal 05:30, 29 July 2006 (EDT)
I also have a question. Why did you suddenly come back to bitch about IB when you hadn't contributed since June 28, 2005? I really want to know how you found out about IB when you stopped dedicating as much time as you had previously. -- Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 05:36, 29 July 2006 (EDT)
I also find Nils annoying, but in fact I agree with him on this one issue. I think it's super important for the future of the project and for Evan and MAJ to make these dumps available. I really think it should be Evan's top priority.
I think this for lots and lots of reasons that I've stated previously, but mainly it boils down to an act of good faith, and a demonstration that IB understands the license. The reason I want it to happen is to prevent forking, bad press, and other nonsense, not the other way around.
That, and it would be really neat to have a Wikitravel on a VM on my laptop while I'm travelling. -- Mark 08:23, 29 July 2006 (EDT)
Nils had been contributing anonymously up until the IB takeover, so your date is wrong. -- Colin 14:27, 29 July 2006 (EDT)
Ok, that makes sense. -- User:Sapphire

Between robots.txt and the script policy, it appears to me that you can only leech the HTML rather than the preferred XML or Wikitext. Otherwise I wouldn't care about the lack of available dumps. -- Colin 14:27, 29 July 2006 (EDT)

Jpatokal has asked whether Nils has requested for dumps. I did. And I also can tell you what has happend so far: My request was on 7-6-2006. What I have got was a comfirmation for the request from MAJ at the following day. That's all. There has not yet come any response on my reminder form 7-24-2006. I had expected to get at least some conditions for the dumps, if not the dumps themselves. But simply nothing, that's too less for 3 weeks of waiting. -- Hansm 10:06, 29 July 2006 (EDT)

Transparency for New Users[edit]

I am new to Wikitravel and have just stumbled across the bit of information on this page. Having contributed to Wikipedia I foolishly assumed Wikitravel would be a similar project. Wouldn’t it be more transparent and honest to clearly state the difference on the main page? I understand this is currently done on the German Wikitravel page (something like “Since…this site is owned by IB and is also used commercially…”). At the moment – for a new user – it is very hard to find out that this is a commercial venture. Even on the project page this info is not readily available. Frank FrankBusch 02:26, 15 July 2006 (EDT)

That might be a good idea. Otherwise maybe including a link on the About page would be appropriate. -- Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 02:29, 15 July 2006 (EDT)
Scratch the latter solution as that's already been done. -- Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 02:30, 15 July 2006 (EDT)
Yeah, you know, I made my first contributions here in January 2005, a bit more than a month after I started contributing to the Wikipedia. Then, life caught up with me, I didn't "do" anything here until the last few days. The fact that WikiTravel has been sold to a corporation in the interim is a bit of a surprise. Personally, I'm a little undecided about where I stand here. I do, however, think that a CLEAR mention of the change of hands to a corporate entity as opposed to operation by a community of users should be in some form of a disclaimer on the Main Page. Like where the main page currently says:

"Wikitravel is a project to create a free, complete, up-to-date, and reliable world-wide travel guide. So far we have 10,244 destination guides and other articles written and edited by Wikitravellers from around the globe. Check out the Help page to see how you can edit any page right now, or the Project page for more information about Wikitravel and getting involved." ...You might want to make a tiny little change like having it read "Wikitravel is a project to create a free, complete, up-to-date, and reliable world-wide travel guide that is supported by advertising revenues by Internet Brands. So far we have 10,244 destination guides and other articles written and edited by Wikitravellers from around the globe. Check out the Help page to see how you can edit any page right now, or the Project page for more information about Wikitravel and getting involved." Of course, the suggested addition woulf be in the same font and colour as the rest of the text, but the point would be fairly obvious, don't ya think? Weaponofmassinstruction 21:59, 17 July 2006 (EDT)

I dunno... I've really grown to love the opening paragraph. The info about IB is on the Wikitravel:About page already, where other detailed information is and always has been. If people really feel we need this, how about just "Wikitravel is hosted by Internet Brands, Inc." at the end of the opening paragraph? Or at the bottom of the page, maybe a block with more information? --Evan 22:13, 17 July 2006 (EDT)
I too wouldn't like to see such change on the opening paragraph and I'm also pretty positive that very few people will start making significant contributions before reading the About page. Maybe IB's logo or something like that at the bottom (like the CC and MediaWiki logos already there) would do it for the discontents? Ricardo (Rmx) 23:16, 17 July 2006 (EDT)
I still say you should mention it on the Main Page, predominately, not hide it in a corner at the bottom. I'm still a bit miffed that I ended up putting one of my best shots of Pisew Falls on here, rather than on the Wikipedia page for the same location. I fully support the open-source ideology, and am a firm believer that information should be free without strings attached, ie: advertisements that I personally do not want. I feel I and most other people in the global village are bombarded enough with people trying to sell us their crap instead of somebody else's. As far as continuing with this project, that's up in the air for me. But I'm fairly certain the first time I try to use this resource to scope out a travel destination and somebody is trying to flog Coke or the newest version of Axe.... I won't be back. Weaponofmassinstruction 04:55, 18 July 2006 (EDT)
One of us is a little confused here. The content is free with no strings attached. What's the problem? -- Mark 06:29, 18 July 2006 (EDT)
Weapon, there is nothing to prevent you from putting your best shot of Pisew Falls on Wikipedia. Just upload it to Wikipedia with a dual license (CC-BY-SA/GFDL), and you've done it. It's still your image, and aside from the fact that you've chosen to license it under Creative-Commons terms for anyone to use for any purpose (as long as they give you credit and keep it free), you can still do anything else with it you want. (Just don't make the mistake of thinking that licensing an image to Wikipedia would mean it wasn't going to be used with annoying adverts; see anything familiar here?: [1])
Pardon me for going all amateur-lawyer here, but I do have to point out that "no strings attached" doesn't mean what you seem to think it means. If you didn't want someone using your image like that, then you did want strings attached to it. (Specifically, you wanted a Creative Commons "NonCommercial" license.) When you licensed your image under an "Attribution" licence, you attached a string requring that you be given credit for it. The "ShareAlike" clause was a string requiring that any altered version be licensed under the same terms. The GFDL (Wikipedia's license) is loaded with strings, and the GPL is too. I'm not saying these are bad strings, but they are most definitely restrictions. The only "no strings" license is "public domain", which means you give up all rights to it completely... especially the right to tell people how not to use it. - Todd VerBeek 20:29, 19 July 2006 (EDT)
Just for comparison, neither [Wikia] nor [eHow] has much in the way of a giant banner announcing the commercial backing/hosting of the site. I think that if people are concerned regarding details about a site (ie copyright/left, ownership, terms of use, etc), they should check out the "About" page. I do this all the time with sites I'm interested in. That said, I'm all for updating the footer and/or making links to the About sections a little more prominent. But I hardly think it's the most important thing about what we're doing here. Majnoona 21:56, 18 July 2006 (EDT)
What I can't get is why can't some people grasp that the content and the website are two different things? In fact if you think about it the content, the website and the community are three different things. Perhaps the problem is that they all have the same name? It shouldn't matter, but it does seem to be leading to confusion. After all nobody freaks out about Source Forge being a commercial entity, do they?
Wikitravel the community has a number of goals, one of which is to make a free travel guide. We've all been very clear about this from the begining. The goal is not to make a website. The website is a tool we use for achieving the goal of creating the free travel guide. If somebody (IB) wants to pay for hosting and development of the tool (the website) in return for a couple of ads then what's wrong with that? Why should Wikitravel the community care if Wikitravel the website is "owned" by somebody, so long as Wikitravel the guide remains under the cc-by-sa?
So what would happen if we change the name of the guide so that it's not the same as the name of the site any more? Would that help people to understand that the guide is Free content in every sense? What kind of name would make sense? Open Travel Guide? What about just Travel?
Perhaps WMI and the others are right though that this should be explained up front and loudly somehow? With Source Forge it's just obvious because it's clear that the website and the projects hosted there are not the same thing.
One thing that would really really help with this would be to have easier access to the XML dumps we've been talking about. Let me explain: XML dumps are like the tgz or tar.bz2 files that you download from SourceForge. I think that having them and making it clear what license they are published under would make the difference between the website and the travel guide much much more clear for people. This is why I've been arguing so strongly for this. -- Mark 23:12, 18 July 2006 (EDT)
I can fully understand Weaponofmassinstruction. I feel a little cheated, too. I am not necessarily against commercial involvement and I understand that the content is free and that this is a separate issue from the website. But I would like more openness. Openness builds trust. To that end I second Mark's quest for the XML dump. But also a few words on the front page would be more honest about the IB involvement. Not everybody reads the "About" page first. I think if you do not build more trust you will find a hard time having new people contribute. Personally, on the openness issue I am still not convinced. FrankBusch 23:49, 18 July 2006 (EDT)
Given the fact that people routinely don't read the license they're agreeing to (see above), I think the assumption that they're reading the "About" page is a bit shaky. A notice on the front page of IB's role that's visible enough to act as a disclaimer, but discreet enough to not be perceived as an advertisement, would be a good idea. - Todd VerBeek 20:29, 19 July 2006 (EDT)
Because the content and the website are not really different things. Whereas most sourgeforge project only have a handful of contributers (developers), we have thousands. Most sourceforce projects could easily move away from sourceforge if thay became unhappy with sourceforge. If we become unhappy with IB, it will be very difficult to have all Wikitravel contributers agree to move to something else than IB.
Also at a sourceforge project I get a full source tree, whereas I do not get a copy of the IB database --elgaard 13:16, 30 July 2006 (EDT)


The definition of community as provided by

  1. a group of people having ethnic or cultural or religious characteristics in common
  2. a group of nations having common interests
  3. common ownership
  4. agreement as to goals

I view the sale of Wikitravel to Internet Brands (IB) by Evan and Maj very differently than most people do. I would even venture to say that I view the sale much differently than Evan and Maj may view it. I think they suspect the sale of Wikitravel and it's content to IB as a future for the project. I understand much of the issues had with not including the community in the sale, but, honestly, would that have been wise? There would have been several options other than selling Wikitravel including:

  • A fundraiser by Wikitravel's users and editors
  • Adding advertisements to Wikitravel to cover the costs of maintain the servers and project
  • Ask Wikimedia Foundation to take responsibility
  • Shut the project down

We can all agree the last option is not good at all, because then there would be no option for forking or creating other useful projects. The fundraiser option is bound to have failed because simply I don't suspect anyone would be willing to depart with their hard earned money. The advertisement option would have been somewhat appealing, but I don't think it is the best option for an Wikitravel without a corporate or non-profit sponsor. I'll elaborate further later. Lastly, I suspect that the Wikitravel community would have more than likely needed to leave the community if Wikitravel was handed over to the Wikimedia Foundation, because the community has very little say in how Wikipedia is run. Check Wikipedia's recent changes page any day and you'll find hundreds of reports of abuse by Wikipedia's administrators towards users and the community, which is flat-out wrong. Furthermore, Jimbo Wales apparently acts as all-knowing dictator and that simply would not have been good for Wikitravel.

Now, I'll need to go back to the definition of community. Wikitravel's definition of community is all of the aforemention definitions I provided plus we operate on a consensus and we are open to anyone who wishes to join (hence only a few IP addresses have ever been blocked and no user accounts have ever been blocked. So this is where my view point forks from everyone else - I see Internet Brands as a member of the community. I am certainly not going to barricade myself in a corner and scream about something that does not matter until IB proves themselves truly untrustworthy. By barricading myself and bitching about stuff I am not helping the community progress toward attaining the goal of creating "a project to create a free, complete, up-to-date and reliable world-wide travel guide."

Todd put it best - "Wouldn't it make more sense to save your protest for when-and-if IB's ownership of Wikitravel actually does interfere with its goals? If you want to make a statement to IB's management, doing it when they haven't done anything wrong over what you think they might do, is simply going to lead them to write you off as someone looking for something to get upset about. It also means that if the time comes that they do something destructive to the goals, you have no cards left to play. The way to keep Wikitravel on course is to stay involved in Wikitravel."

Regarding XML dumps I think these should be provided on a case-by-case basis to ensure that those requesting do understand they don't own the copyright to Wikitravel, and that they also understand the copyright requirements. If someone doesn't want to go about the easy way of getting the data and provide IB with a reason for the dumps, then use the export feature.

I want to express my appreciation for Hansm for remaining civil, unlike some people over the sale of IB. The sale doesn't require a fellow Wikitraveller to personally attack Evan and Maj. It's uncivil and is disgusting! Those two have put more time and work into Wikitravel than anyone else and to suddenly forget that is simply rude! Thank you Evan and Maj for the amazing amount of work you have done.

To wrap this up. True, it has seemed like at times Evan was forcing his view on certain issues, but he wasn't - he simply had a strong opinion on something. He has also been willing to compromise at various times. Since the sale of IB it seems to me that the community has actually gained power. Remember the entire fiasco over the table of contents? The community forced the reversion of Evan's moving the TOC from the articles to the left hand side of the screen. The community also forced a review site for all potential major changes before they are implemented. Also, the language versions of Wikitravel are gaining equal ground with EN, because we are in the process of making shared the community discussion place.

Again, I want to thank Evan and Maj for their hard work, the community for allowing cooler heads to prevail and remaining civil despite disagreements, and I welcome Internet Brands to the community.


-- Andrew Haggard (Sapphire)

P.S. To elaborate on an idea that I didn't get around to elaborating on. Without a commercial sponsor I suspect Wikitravel would have fallen on hard times, because a non-profit organization would have been unable to dedicate the number of resources needed to maintain and expand Wikitravel whereas a commercial venture would have the financial stability needed to hire other technicians. -- Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 05:33, 29 July 2006 (EDT)
Regarding IB as a member of the community is a very peaceful point of view. I'm not really sure if this might be somewhat too optimistic. At least, it would be a very special member. I totally agree with Sapphire, it doesn't help anybody to bitch about IB just for things they might do in the future. It's important to keep a cool mind and see the facts.
In your P.S. you use the term "sponsor" with respect to IB. I say no, IB is not a sponsor but the new owner. You should not neglect the economic aspect of the purchase. A company that purchases something, whatever it is, does an investment, not a donation. In the logic of economy, every investment has to bring some yields. I only can warn of the wishful thinking that IB is the good old aunt that willingly pays for everything. If their managers don't want to run into trouble, they have to justify the purchase and the expenses for Evan's and Maj's jobs.
Definitly, it's still too early to see all consequences of the selling. The present situation can only be an intermediate state, not the final result. I suppose, IB will have good reasons to preceed with caution. Let's see how the next months will change Wikitravel. I fear, the reality will differ from some optimistic estimates.
For more objections about the commercialisation, see my Commercialisation FAQ, if you should not already know.
-- Hansm 09:34, 29 July 2006 (EDT)
I think you're confusing Wikitravel the project with Wikitravel the website. IB owns the website, we the contributors own the project. This is very clear under the license. -- Mark 15:56, 29 July 2006 (EDT)
Seperating project and website sounds to me like the old philosophical question of spirit and body. What you have said is for me like telling a slave that his spirit is free. -- Hansm 03:55, 30 July 2006 (EDT)
Except that unlike the soul, the project does in fact exist independent of the body. — Ravikiran 04:16, 30 July 2006 (EDT)
It's a poor anology anyhow. If anything the relationship is more like the one between a book and a printing press, or a ship and a shipyard. -- Mark 04:27, 30 July 2006 (EDT)

Is this still a community?[edit]

Swept in from the Pub:

Sorry but I begin more and more to wonder if wikitravel is still a community or just one or two navigators plus a bunch of content providers. It seems that important decisions are done outside the community, while important actions that could restore faith (database dumps or xml exports) are postboned. While we can discuss about the reasons not to have a public vote about selling whatever to internetbrands, we - as a community - should definetly have discussions (and votings) before significant changes in the look and feel are made. Btw, I never saw a change of the ToC on the "Requested Feature"-page. Of course, consensus takes time, but where is the problem. We had white spaces for years, I think we could have lived with them a few weeks more until a decision was made.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I get the sad feeling that parts of this project are slowly dying. I think this is especially true for the german language version. I'm not saying I'm quitting right now, but I definetly lost a lot of joy I found in the work here. Just to give some feedback, Thorsten 16:52, 6 June 2006 (EDT).

Thorsten, I'm sorry you feel that way; there's a discussion going on at Wikitravel talk:Table of contents location to figure out the best place to put the table of contents. If you'd like to participate in that conversation, please do; I really want to get this worked out. We've had people complain about the whitespace in the ToCs, I moved stuff over as a bug fix. I don't think it's a major change, but some people seem pretty attached to it, so I'd like to figure out the right thing to do. My personal feeling is that moving the ToC to the right side of the screen is the best bet.
Typically I haven't asked people's opinions before adding features or fixing bugs in the past, especially if the impact isn't very severe. I don't plan on micromanaging the development process in the future, either; we aren't going to have referendums on what order the "Search" buttons should go in.
That said, the strength of this project is and always will be the community. I'm open to suggestions, feedback, complaints and protests (that's what Wikitravel:Bug reports and Wikitravel:Feature requests are for). One option User:Cjensen suggested was having a read-only "demo" wiki where new UI ideas can be tested. The last thing in the world I want is for people to think that they don't have a voice. My job is to keep the servers running and keep the software going so that you and other contributors are more effective and have more fun making travel guides.
I'm also really concerned about de:; I miss de:Benutzer:DerFussi, who was a great anchor for that community and a really great go-between and a nice man. I think we need to rebuild the bridges between de: and en: and make sure that German contributors are getting the support (technical and administrative) that they need. de: Wikitravel is a really great project and I want to see it keep succeeding. --Evan 17:54, 6 June 2006 (EDT)
Hi Evan - the point Mark made about the importance of communication is a much bigger deal after the sale to Internet Brands. A lot of people are a bit uncomfortable about the current arrangement, but we're also happy for you and Maj and want to see things work out. More communication, involvement of the community in the change process, and discussion about why changes are happening would be a very good thing, and would probably make everyone a bit more comfortable with the way change is handled.
Based on your previous comments it seems like you see certain things as being solely in your control (in some cases with input possible from the community), while other things are in the community's control. However, where that line is drawn does not seem to be clear to everyone, so it might be helpful to specifically spell it out in something like a Wikitravel:Project infrastructure policy. Identifying cases where you don't feel community consensus is needed (server work, MediaWiki software updates, bugfixes) and what you see as driven by you with community input (look & feel, new features) would be helpful. Additionally, a Wikitravel:Project infrastructure plans page would be helpful to provide users with a timeline of planned changes and provide a forum for discussion. Setting up the infrastructure policy to say that "infrastructure changes will be made unless there is a consensus within the community NOT to make them" should be fine as long as it's clear what is infrastructure; a change like the TOC change would be fine since there wasn't a clear consensus against it. The benefit would be that people would have a few days to hear the reason for a change and to make suggestions. Thoughts? -- Ryan 19:35, 6 June 2006 (EDT)
I think that sounds like a really good plan. I'd also like to emphasize the reversability of the process (stuff that gets added can get removed if people are adamant) and the importance of giving new tools a try before giving up on them. --Evan 20:07, 6 June 2006 (EDT)
Meh. We already have too many words and too little action about community participation. I like the idea of the read-only demo site better, it would've been the best way to handle this little TOC thing and any future, more far-reaching skin/UI changes. Jpatokal 22:16, 6 June 2006 (EDT)
Evan, I didn't want to put that on the ToC discussion site, because I think my considerations are more of general concern. And I also think that there is some difference about adding a feature or removing a bug compared to changing stuff on the site. And I think the UI is not "micromanagement", because everybody working in the web industry will agree that the look-and-feel of a website is more than very important. And about people having a voice: I think there were more voters for categories than for this new ToC? Having a test wiki were WE can decide about look and feel, is also a good way to increase transparency.
But putting the ToC aside, right now the situation is more like I'm not sure what to find on wikitravel the next day. And that's why I would appreciate the above mentioned roadmaps for wikitravel. But please, now publish those plans and not just agree here and then leave it. There are not many actions yet done from the April 20th discussion. I'm still waiting for a download version. But then again, I don't feel much community when I have to get an approval by you or ib or anyone to download the xml export.
The german language version is sure suffering from some exits of important contributers. But I don't think it's technical or administrative support the is required most. The reasons for quitting were 1.) selling wikitravel to a "commercial" enterprise and 2.) your communication policy. Maybe it's a cultural thing that this hit the other language versions more than the english version? Thorsten 03:52, 7 June 2006 (EDT)
More information is defintely better and a test Wiki would be great. I think everybody is a bit uncertain about what the future (IB) will bring, so as more transparent your movements are, the more people will trust you. The community here not only wants to contribute. What Thorsten mentions about culture is in my view very true. Most people in German speaking countries see companies transactions like these with IB very negative because free distributed work by individuals get sold to an investor who takes advantage of it. Jan 04:26, 7 June 2006 (EDT)

I'm very concerned about the current development. There was no real reason for changing the TOC. Evan wrote, that there were several complaints about it. For those, there are other solutions such as Template:TOCleft - with an advantage of individual use. If the current change will be maintained, I will quit contributing on German language Wikitravel. -- Steffen M. 05:57, 7 June 2006 (EDT)

@Jan: I think the real reason for the current crisis on German language Wikitravel was not simply the selling out of Wikitravel, it was the undemocratic and abrupt decision of Evan. There was no chance for discussing the issue and finding alternatives, for example founding a society such as Wikimedia. Furthermore, we really don't know until today, why he sold Wikitravel. The change of the TOC is just a continution. It's true, especially in Germany we hate it to see the power in one man's hand (the reasons should be known). -- Steffen M. 07:11, 7 June 2006 (EDT)

Hi Evan! You have almost done it. Wait some weeks and you can declare the German Wikitravel officially dead. It's not enough to cut your losses and explain your actions afterwards. You've said that the bridges between en: and de: have to be rebuild. Just idle talk. I've never seen any attempt of you on the Traveller's pub on de: Only some small answers on some user pages. -- DerFussi 08:37, 7 June 2006 (EDT)
I know nothing about the past history of this relationship, but based on the attitude I'm hearing, it doesn't sound like you're giving Evan much of a chance. I agree that he has sometimes done a poor job of communicating, such that changes like this come completely out of the blue for most of us, and that's something that needs addressing (he's getting some flak for it here in EN as well), but ultimatums and thinly veiled comparisons to a certain late Chancellor aren't helping. - Todd VerBeek 09:34, 7 June 2006 (EDT)
DF, if there's a conversation that you'd like me to participate in, please let me know. I've been trying to keep up on User talk: pages because that seems to be where the conversations about Wikitravel are happening. I don't think Wikitravel de: is dead by a long shot. --Evan 09:54, 7 June 2006 (EDT)
Steffen, I'm pretty amazed that you don't know what happened with Wikitravel. I'd recommend reading Wikitravel:20 April 2006, in which I laid out why the sale happened, and Wikitravel talk:Internet Brands, which has a lot of questions and answers. If you have some questions not answered there, absolutely ask. --Evan 09:54, 7 June 2006 (EDT)
Sure, I know these pages. You explained, why both projects (Wikitravel and World 66) should work together, but not, why you sold Wikitravel to a commercial enterprise. Providing leadership and resources is no justification for that. -- Steffen M. 10:21, 7 June 2006 (EDT)
Do you mean, why we sold to a commercial company as compared to moving to Wikimedia or starting a foundation, or continuing to pay for it ourselves? Money, of course. B-) Maj and I were able to cover costs and donate our time for 4he time being, but it was getting more and more expensive and we had to find a long-term solution for the site.
I think Wikimedia Foundation is a great project, but I was concerned with the level of support and attention that wikis that aren't Wikipedia en: get from the WMF. There are 600 wikis with 1 full-time programmer at the WMF; we didn't think that Wikitravel would get the resources it needed to thrive if it was just another project at the WMF.
My experience with non-profit foundations and Free Software/Free Content projects is poor. There are some notable winners and a lot of losers. It seems like donations come in quickly the first time you ask, and go down and down and down from there. An example is the Freenet Project, which gathered a few hundred thousand dollars in donations, and now has $500 in its bank account (according to the front page on their site). With donations we could probably have paid for server resources, but not for programmers' and sysadmins' time. And we'd be competing with other non-profits for donations and attention. A non-profit foundation to run a big Web site seemed like a really big gamble -- not a secure plan for the future.
So, when Internet Brands approached us about Wikitravel, we thought hard about their proposal. Our primary concern was making sure that the project continued and thrived. They offered to employ us to work on the site full time, to pay for hardware and network bandwidth, and to put sysadmins, programmers, and designers at the site's disposal. They wanted to keep the site community-oriented, maintain the license, ensure its editorial integrity, and support its growth. They were clear about wanting to make money from the site, but we thought that the way they wanted to make money (ads on the site) was the most transparent possible business model, and it would support the continued growth of the project. Lastly, there was an option to form a partnership with World66, which was very attractive. The upshot: a secure site, ready for growth, with little change in the culture and content, and a long-time competitor turned into a collaborator. There wasn't an alternative even remotely as attractive.
The project's long-term future was our responsibility; shirking that responsibility wasn't an option. We didn't want to put our relationship with the project to a vote; it was a personal decision we had to make. --Evan 11:44, 7 June 2006 (EDT)
Hi Evan, thank you for your detailled reply, this was something I missed up to now. I don't support, but I also don't oppose the commercialisation of Wikitravel. However, I think that I speak for the German contributors who have left Wikitravel since April 20. Why didn't you inform the community before? Do you have no confidence in it? And referring the collaboration: Especially non-English language versions have no advantage from a collaboration with World66.
As I mentioned, I strongly oppose the current change in the TOC style; this was initially the only reason for my complaints here. Is there another solution? I prefer the individual use of TOC templates (TOCleft and TOCright). -- Steffen M. 12:26, 7 June 2006 (EDT)
I think there are a number of possible solutions, which are under discussion on the Wikitravel talk:Table of contents location page. I've rolled back to the old format until we come to a decision about what to do. I have to say that I find complaints about the layout with the ToC in the content area very reasonable; I just don think pages like this give a good first impression for readers. --Evan 12:52, 7 June 2006 (EDT)
Hi Steffen. I just want to follow up on what Evan has said and maybe answer the questions about why we didn't inform the community "before." I think it's important to understand that we did not decide to sell the site and then go shop around for buyers. In fact, we had turned down a number of different commercial venture offers of different types in the past. When we realized that there was the possibility of coming to an agreement with IB, it was not realistic, either from a legal or business perspective, to publicize the negotiations. I'm not sure what level of involvement you would have liked: +10k users could hardly have fit into a meeting room, nor could we set up a wiki for community-editing of the legal agreements. We made the announcement as soon as it was feasible and have been working hard to answer issues and questions as they come up.
I'm sorry there has been problems communicating with the other language versions-- I try to follow along with Google Translate, but it's far from perfect. I hope continuing the conversation here in English is helping to clarify things! Majnoona 14:31, 7 June 2006 (EDT)
But this is not a software problem. You can solve it on individual ways without destroying the style of other articles, see my Version of San Diego. -- Steffen M. 14:13, 7 June 2006 (EDT)
That wouldn't work on pages with a picture or a country quickbar in the upper right corner. Unless you're suggesting that we should put the TOC on one side or the other from one page to the next, which throws consistency out the window, and is a Bad Thing. - Todd VerBeek 16:10, 7 June 2006 (EDT)
Todd, I totally agree with you. I think some users got a bit carried away in this discussion, but that only shows how deeply emotionally they are involved in wikitravel. Of course I wanted to do some fingerpointing, but I agree with you that we should not start a tribunal. On the other side it is important to remind Evan of past promises and warn him about the mood in some areas of wikitravel. So let's wait and see how Evan will react - not with words but with actions. I'm very interested to see the Wikitravel:Project infrastructure plans page that's hopefully coming up soon. Thorsten 10:03, 7 June 2006 (EDT)

Wikitravel ownership[edit]

swept in from the pub

This isn't an announcement board, but as a common gathering spot, I figure it's be a good place to point out a bit of news that might otherwise slip under people's radar: is now owned by Internet Brands, and is going to be managed by Evan and Maj - still as an open-content travel guide - as employees. IB also now owns World66, another open-content travel info site. See Wikitravel:Internet Brands for more info about what this means for us, them, and the other them. - Todd VerBeek 12:55, 24 April 2006 (EDT)

August 22 announcement on Shared[edit]

Swept in from the pub

The August 22, 2007 announcement on Shared about Maj and Evan's changing role in Wikitravel will likely be of interest to users here who may not have noticed it. Gorilla Jones 03:06, 23 August 2007 (EDT)

Wow. Great call. Thanks. OldPine 07:17, 23 August 2007 (EDT)
Again, for anyone not aware over here, the discussion that grew out of this announcement was particularly fruitful and IMO important—I do recommend that people check it out at shared:Talk:Internet Brands. Moreover, we have set up a new page shared:Roadmap where the Internet Brands team working on Wikitravel will coordinate its work with us on new features. There is yet another interesting discussion going on at shared:Talk:Roadmap. All definitely worth taking a look at. --Peter Talk 04:01, 2 September 2007 (EDT)

Please don't spam us[edit]

I received a mail from [], an Internet Brands company to the address I have provided to Wikitravel. I don't think I have interacted with IB in any way except through Wikitravel, so I have no reason to believe that I have provided them with my email in any other context. When I provided my address to Wikitravel, I did it with the clear expectation that it will be used only to contact me with Wikitravel-related stuff, and not for anything else. So if you are planning to spam me, please don't. — Ravikiran 07:45, 19 October 2007 (EDT)

Just checked mine and it hasn't been sent to me yet. Would definitely be the straw that broke this camel's back. OldPine 07:57, 19 October 2007 (EDT)
As a former Wikitraveler on de I am very interested in an official reaction of IB. For us who have been a kind of laughed at and in some parts insulted by other Wikitravelers for forking Wikivoyage it is one more piece in the puzzle. We see it as an encouragement for our deeds in the past. Hopefully You will treat this post not as spam as you have done in the past. regards -- Der Reisende
My attitude has always been to wait for bad behavior first before tearing the community asunder with a fork. By this reasoning, even if IB does spam your actions are still not validated. -- Colin 19:57, 19 October 2007 (EDT)
IB does not release the email lists of our sites to any third parties, nor do we do mailings to non-opted in users. We do send newsletters and other mailings to the users who have registered on some of our travel sites, though Wikitravel is not included in this. On occasion we sent mailings with deals, last-minute specials or other content to users of multiple IB sites from a non-site specific IB address. This caused some confusion among users who were used to getting emails from a particular domain (ex.,, etc.) Because of this confusion, we have decided to limit mailings to the domains from which particular users originally signed up for such mailings. In any case, Wikitravel is not a part of any emailings of newletters, offers, etc. by IB. Redondo 22:51, 19 October 2007 (EDT)
Thanks for the clarification. -- Sapphire(Talk) • 06:43, 20 October 2007 (EDT)
I received the same spam, presumably via FT. However, my attempts to unsubscribe myself by replying to the address given as well as [email protected], [email protected] etc were bounced, probably because your overly zealous spam filter doesn't like Malaysian ISPs. (Update: based on the FT thread, it was a general misconfiguration on IB's side.) (Unsubscribing via the website seemed to work though.) Jpatokal 11:22, 21 October 2007 (EDT)
I keep all spam and found no such spam in my junk pile. If you are on FlyerTalk, it probably came via that -- see here for the big happy fun details. -- Colin 19:57, 19 October 2007 (EDT)
Reisende, I'm sure by now you have already gone over to WV saying something along the lines of 'IB is evil and there is a boogeyman' in the "Lounge". I'd ask you to not to jump to any conclusions, although I won't hold my breath... -- Sapphire(Talk) • 20:16, 19 October 2007 (EDT)
As you might have noticed I always had a different attidude than you might have thought. I did not jump into any conclusions but said I am interested in a reaction which happened already. I understand that some contributors still have a kind of personal dedication to the arguments in the past (As Colin showed above and others showed on WV). For me this is history. The facts still remain the same (meaning the core of it). -- Der Reisende

Dear Internet Brands...[edit]

I really hope someone who matters reads this and does something as soon as possible. I don't know if you realize what a GIGANTIC PROBLEM it is to have longstanding and CONSTANT SERVER SPEED PROBLEMS. Many times it is very much this story: Click edit on a page, wait 3 minutes, get an error, refresh, wait two minutes, make your edit and submit it, wait 3 minutes, get an error, resubmit, wait 2 minutes and get another error, resubmit, etc. It happens when we edit a page, it happens when we search for a page, it happens when we review differences, it happens when we click on a simple link from one page to another, and it is EXTREMELY IRRITATING to the point that if I weren't already heavily invested in this project I would be really dissuaded from becoming so. This is a serious problem and I really feel like we must be losing a lot of potential readers and contributors, and possibly losing long-time readers and contributors as well. This really, really, really needs to be a top priority. Texugo 19:07, 21 February 2008 (EST)

Is it just me, or did the horrific server problems finally stop after the DB was replaced a few days ago? -- Colin 18:40, 25 February 2008 (EST)
I thought it was much better immediately after, but it is HORRENDOUS right now, so I don't believe there's improvement. --OldPine 19:29, 25 February 2008 (EST)
I think it is much improved. Not quite as fast as it was just after the change, but nowhere near as annoyingly slow as before. Texugo 22:25, 25 February 2008 (EST)
Colin, yes. A couple of days ago the site was offline, so I sent an email off to Kevin. He replied, informing me that IB took the site offline while they were adding new servers. -- Sapphire(Talk) • 06:48, 26 February 2008 (EST)
We were discussing the "it takes four minutes to save an edit, two minutes to get a diff" problem. -- Colin 13:57, 26 February 2008 (EST)
Hey, folks. I've also noticed the problems with performance. For a while we had two app servers set up, which was pretty convenient, but with the DB problems one was taken offline. It should be back up sometime soon.
I believe there are plans to introduce more caching servers for the site, which should speed it up considerably. But I agree: it's should be an important priority. --Evan 14:49, 26 February 2008 (EST)
Hi everyone. This is an important priority, indeed. I just spoke with Kevin (here at IB) and he said that the database problems last week meant that they had to migrate the db to a new "beefed up" server. The new server, along with some ongoing tuning have helped speed things up (as some of you have noted). But, as he says, this is "ongoing tuning". They will also be adding another web server to the environment today which should speed things up and bring the performance back to where it should be. But if things continue to be slow, they will install another set of servers to act as caches in front of the app servers. Thanks for everyone's patience. JuCo 15:39, 26 February 2008 (EST)


This looks like an out-of-date duplicate of shared:Internet Brands. Any reason why we shouldn't merge relevant content and redirect to shared? --Peter Talk 21:22, 25 February 2008 (EST)

Yes, Peter, it seems that conversations specifically addressed to Internet Brands might best happen on the shared:Internet Brands page. Perhaps there should be a narrow focus on that page, and things which are more community-wide dialogue should appear on their own pages elsewhere. Other thoughts on this? Redondo 14:17, 28 February 2008 (EST)

Site times out[edit]

Swept in from the pub

The last week or so, I've been getting very frequent time outs when loading pages, regardless of whether I'm editing or just viewing. After a minute or so it will pass, but I have to reload the page several times before it will finally load. I'm reasonably certain it's not a problem with my connection, because WT is the only site I've been having problems with. --BigPeteB 07:24, 16 May 2011 (EDT)

I've had the same experience for the past few months. Some days its quick and others close to unusable. Reloading the page (usually only once) is the only fix. I cant pin it to particular times of the day. It seems to happen randomly but not infrequently. I put it down to server problems and a lack of concern to address them by the powers that be. - Cardboardbird 08:20, 16 May 2011 (EDT)
It's a frequent problem. The server reliability of this otherwise great site is completely shocking.--Burmesedays 11:47, 16 May 2011 (EDT)
See also Talk:Main Page#this website is. Perhaps if a few other people sent descriptions of the problem to the "tech at" email address it might get some attention, although responses from IB seem to be very hit or miss. -- Ryan • (talk) • 12:04, 16 May 2011 (EDT)
Are things particularly bad today? I'd guess that three out of every four page requests is timing out. I'm on the latest version of Chrome, in case that turns out to be relevant. -- Ryan • (talk) • 18:58, 18 May 2011 (EDT)
This problem has been driving me crazy for months. Also uploading an edit sometimes takes several attempts and a long time to resolve the page reload. I have assumed it is both a server issues and some sort of conflict with scripts. -- felix 10:35, 19 May 2011 (EDT)
I have been having similar problems (IE8), and have assumed it is just IB attitude problems. Most days uploads are slow, and I expect multiple failures. I have noticed that edits are much worse than just viewing articles, which usually goes quite fast and very seldom fails, so my guess is that IB are under-resourced and are biasing service towards viewers because that is the where the short term profit lies. • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 02:55, 22 May 2011 (EDT)
Who is our main contact at Internet Brands these days? They have always been rubbish at responding to anything posted here, but an email often used to get a reaction. I am just out of touch as to who the main contact person is. I think it would be useful to put that person's name and email address here and as many users as possible should make the point about the unacceptably slow server response times. It has got so bad that I often give up. If I am doing that, then more casual visitors must be. --Burmesedays 00:19, 27 May 2011 (EDT)
shared:Internet Brands has contact info. I've had intermittent luck in the past with the "tech at" address (most recently in October 2010), but I don't know if any of the other contact emails on that page are still active. -- Ryan • (talk) • 00:27, 27 May 2011 (EDT)
Is IBSteph (Stephanie Gerber) still a valid contact do we know? The last contact I had with her was in May 2010 when her title was "Online Community Manager- Travel & Leisure".--Burmesedays 00:38, 27 May 2011 (EDT)
Nope -- Steph is no longer here at IB. Hi all, this is Paul O'Brien, the Community Manager for WikiTravel. I post under IBobi. The contact info for IB is up to date at shared:Internet Brands so please refer there with any questions/comments/concerns like this, as it's pretty tough to monitor the whole site for issue reports. If you'd like to use that page for reporting tech issues, or create a different central repository for them, I'm game too. Most important is that you are able to reach me when you need me. To that end: [email protected] and I'm on PST (Los Angeles) so keep that in mind as far as reply timing goes. I've made our tech department aware of the posting slowness/timeouts (I have not made many posts/edits but have read a LOT of content here, so I had not noticed a particular lag).--IBobi 20:21, 27 May 2011 (EDT)
Hey guys, Dick the tech guy here... It looks like the timing of the reports are about the time of some network issues that we've been having intermittently. I'm running the site through our normal checks, and I'm not seeing too much latency, although this is my first attempt at editing. We'll take a look but hopefully this is a symptom of our network disruptions that should be behind us. IB-Dick 13:41, 31 May 2011 (EDT)
I can definitely confirm that today as of 11:40 Pacific the problems are still occurring. An easy way to see this issue is to go to Special:RecentChanges and open a few of the "diff" links in multiple browser tabs (this is the way people most commonly patrol edits). Similarly, editing pages, viewing topic history, marking edits as patrolled, etc are all generating 404 timeouts about 50% of the time on average - at some points all edits fail for several minutes, at other times most are successful, but the average I'm seeing is that about half of all such actions fail. -- Ryan • (talk) • 14:44, 31 May 2011 (EDT)
The behavior your describe above is right inline with what I'm seeing on the database. Those pages are locking tables and are queries that we can't cache. We're working on the appropriate solution, but fair warning-- we might need to schedule some downtime to fix this. Paul (IBobi) will be able to communicate that to you. IB-Dick 20:15, 31 May 2011 (EDT)
Wikitravel has been really slow today, to the point it was pretty much unworkable to make edits. Oddly enough, it worked a little bit better in Firefox than in Google Chrome. I hope you can fix these issues in the near future. --globe-trotter 15:37, 31 May 2011 (EDT)

Thank you to both Paul and Dick for responding. The functions that seem to cause extreme slowness of server response are very important for the site. My call would be that you should take the downtime needed to implement a proper fix. Obviously you should give us some notice about this - date, time, approx downtime etc - so that we can post a notice about the same. --Burmesedays 07:40, 1 June 2011 (EDT)

If you're having a downtime anyway, maybe this would be the moment to update the Wiki software to the newest version? I think by now we're running Wiki software that's quite some years-old. --globe-trotter 14:33, 1 June 2011 (EDT)
Globe-trotter, my understanding is that that is in fact built into this database downtime -- laying the groundwork for a software upgrade. Dick and I will certainly give everyone as advanced and detailed a heads-up as we can before any scheduled downtime occurs. IBobi 21:19, 1 June 2011 (EDT)
That is great news :) --globe-trotter 16:23, 2 June 2011 (EDT)
Please see the discussion (continued from the 2010 archive) at WT shared Talk:Advertising_policy regarding implementing the travel booking engine that was discussed last year/early this year. We'd love to get some feedback, as the development resources we are bringing online to update the site are the same ones who are developing this new booking functionality. Beta will go live in a matter of weeks.--IBobi 19:53, 14 June 2011 (EDT)

Trying to fix some breadcrumb trails following a little region reshuffle has reminded me just how incredibly awful this problem is. It's why I've all but given up on patrolling edits, along with several other once useful endeavors... --Peter Talk 01:33, 13 August 2011 (EDT)

Just tried to sweep the pub, but just one broom stroke took 3 minutes. Don't think I will persist. --inas 17:17, 8 November 2011 (EST)
It was very slow this morning. Back to normal now.--IBobi 17:26, 8 November 2011 (EST)
I hope this isn't the "new normal". Just swept one section, clicked save, started stopwatch - 44 seconds later the change was saved. You can tolerate that stuff when you are saving text, because you can just move to another tab. However, it makes tasks like this too time consuming to be practical. --inas 17:52, 8 November 2011 (EST)
I just checked, and there have been ten (10) writes to the database in the past hour. The reads come from cache, right? What sort of system can take a minute to write each of 10 writes to a database? I could write them by hand to a papyrus scroll in less time. --inas 17:55, 8 November 2011 (EST)