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Talk:Internet Brands

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It would be nice to have some images of the staff, and more extensive contact details for IB, in this article. Riggwelter 16:41, 25 February 2008 (EST)

Contact details and home page added. Riggwelter 16:47, 25 February 2008 (EST)


Hi guys, I wanted to give you a heads up that I will be leaving Internet Brands at the end of the week. It’s been a real pleasure to work with you and I’m truly impressed with the way this community has grown and developed.

Going forward, you can contact Brent Conver (username bconver) for any community issues that come up. The best way to reach him is by email [email protected]

Of course, you can also contact IB with tech issues and the tech team will continue to monitor the site as always.

Thank you for all your hard work in this community and it’s been my pleasure to be a part of it!

JuCo 19:48, 28 May 2009 (EDT)

Justine, thank you very much for your help. I hope that you will be back as a Wikitraveller. :-) -- Tatata 22:53, 28 May 2009 (EDT)
Well a belated goodbye then :) Brent, please sign up for an account here so we can communicate, we prefer that to be done on-site as much as possible. Can someone give us an update on the tech team, it's been awfully quiet lately and tech requests are mounting. There are several that would take little time and effort, and would allow us to then work on some things ourselves – cacahuate talk 20:53, 25 June 2009 (EDT)

I updated the tech contact on this page back in April and it was reverted by Peterfitzgerald. I think this is the source of some of the tech issues not being handled recently. Kevin Hayes is no longer the tech contact for Wikitravel. While he continues to work here at IB, he is in a different role. I am the tech manager for the site. Please do not revert my changes this time. --IB-Dick

Please sign in under your account. We do not trust anonymous edits on important info. That can be why it was reverted. Rein N. 14:38, 23 September 2009 (EDT)
It was not the case, but we had some problems with anonymous edits at that time. --Rein N. 15:00, 23 September 2009 (EDT)
That's correct, I made the edit as myself. I did just, however, re-edit that page without being signed in as myself (like I did earlier). I added our new Community manager IBsteph.


Korean WT[edit]

Discussion swept here from en:Wikitravel:Travellers' pub#Korean WT

Why all the Korean stuff happening here on the English WT at the moment. Is there something I've missed? --inas 21:22, 21 September 2009 (EDT)

There was talk just a few weeks ago to get a Korean version started: [[1]] Maybe they are working on translating the main content here before publishing the Korean version. OR maybe they are confused about how to start their own language version. (I myself don't know how to do that) I noticed it, too. ChubbyWimbus 00:23, 22 September 2009 (EDT)
I think this looks like a mistake—the language subdomains make sense for Shared, but the English language policies should be translated on the respective language version. It's possible that he's creating the translations here while waiting for IB to activate the ko version... --Peter Talk 00:26, 22 September 2009 (EDT)
We've actually been waiting for several months now, with no response of any kind from IB. Jpatokal 07:29, 22 September 2009 (EDT)
Has anyone tried just calling them up? If IB aren't going to create a language version, is there anything we can actually do to assist, as I don't think creating Korean language articles here much longer is going to work. Can we just hijack the Esperanto version for Korea? --inas 00:16, 23 September 2009 (EDT)
haha. That's not a bad idea. At least Korean is a legitimate language. Of course, that would make it confusing for those going between languages, as they are unlikely to realize that Korean is "eo". ChubbyWimbus 00:53, 23 September 2009 (EDT)
I hate to say this, but maybe the right approach would be to direct them to WV, and try our best on our end to direct Korean and Turkish users to them, it's sad to see dedicated users, willing to do the work, being thrown of like this - so maybe we can do our best to assist by trying to incorporate links to those two versions on our front page somehow.
Also, We've obviously reached a complete stalemate as far as development of our platform is concerned, so maybe it's time to take a long hard look at this, and also consider talking to the active users on our German and Italian versions, about relocating those versions to WV, as they already have active communities there - we could do that by putting a big fat notice up on the front page directing users there, and then shut down editing for unregistered users.
I still think we stand to loose too much abandoning the English version as long as things is at a functioning state, but active collaboration with WV atleast gives us an escape route, and maybe seeing wikitravel as a whole community, that spans across two websites, is not a bad thing, as it gives us a chance to progress, rather than stale. --Stefan (sertmann) Talk 05:17, 23 September 2009 (EDT)
That's a gloomy message Stefan. I have not been around here very long so it would be good to know the state of play with IB. I guess it is that relationship where the feeling of "stalemate" and talk of "escape routes" emanates from? Maybe that is a discussion to be had in another topic. --Burmesedays 07:36, 23 September 2009 (EDT)
Don't know, I think it's pretty straightforwardly relevant for the topic. I know this is potentially off putting for new contributors, so I don't take it lightly writing like that - at all. But since IB can't spare the the very limited time it takes to register a sub-domain, and then flick a few switches to get them started, I find it necessary for us to come up with alternatives. Might have come out a bit too gloomy... just trying to break the taboo, and find practical way forward - "one community, two websites" is an idea I really find attractive, the more I think about it. If we can find a way to make it work - since English WT constitutes the vast majority of traffic, IB might not feel to threatened if we relocated a few languages over there. --Stefan (sertmann) Talk 08:06, 23 September 2009 (EDT)
/edit: oh, misunderstood your message, it's fairly simple, any technical changes are off limits since IB doesn't want to dedicate any staff time to us, and we don't have the necessary access. It's not as bad as it sounds though, since most things in a Wiki is customizable by users and admins, we are pretty self contained for the most part. --Stefan (sertmann) Talk 08:17, 23 September 2009 (EDT)

We can start the process of creating this new language version today. I apologize for the delay, but this is the first I've heard of a Korean language version. I had replaced Kevin Hayes with myself as the tech contact for this site on the IB page back back in April, but that change was reverted. Unfortunately, it's not as simple as flipping a few switches, as each language is a separate install of this very customized version of MediaWiki. It will take some time, but we can get the ball rolling. Have all the necessary translations been made, or will they be done after the creation? --IB-Dick

Hey Dick, while it goes against convictions that throwing a hissy should actually work, well - at least it worked, and thanks a bunch for responding, we've missed you guys over the last year. Users have been gathered for a starting up Turkish and a Korean versions. Both have already done much translation work, but I'm not sure if they have done so correctly - also the Turkish team might have lost interest by now - we can try to contact them by email maybe. Another pressing issue is the license upgrade, which got rolling back in January 2008, but we still haven't gotten an official response from IB yet (see wts:Talk:License_upgrade) - there a bunch of other issues that we would like merely to get a yes or no to - like enabling range blocks and disabling uploads outside shared, any chance you could look into those? --Stefan (sertmann) Talk 14:03, 23 September 2009 (EDT)
I think I reverted your replacement—my apologies. I worried that it might have been vandalism. Thank you for introducing yourself now.
If others don't mind, I'd like to see this discussion moved to shared:Talk:Internet Brands ASAP. The less pleasant aspects of WT politics can and have been very off putting for newer users unacquainted with the history of said politics. I'm not proposing that we "hide" these types of discussions—I'd just rather see them take place on Shared, where we coordinate inter-lang & meta issues, and where the readers of those discussions will be more aware of these types of issues. --Peter Talk 14:28, 23 September 2009 (EDT)
I just want to give a quick update on this. Creating a new language version is kind of a process and since we haven't done it for a while we want to pay extra attention to the details involved. We're working on getting this set up on the development server right now. I just need to know what the directory is going to be for this? --Dick
We use Wikimedia codes for languages as far as I'm aware, so Korean should be /ko sertmann 20:24, 28 September 2009 (EDT)
Update: the Korean version has been completed in staging and we will be pushing it live soon--Steph 3:57 pm, 30 September 2009 (EDT)
hey everyone, great news : the Korean version is live! Can you please let me know who the bureaucrats are for that site so that we can set up their permissions? Please post your replies here and our Dev team will keep an eye on this thread- thanks!--Steph4:26 pm, 20 October 2009
While you're at it, please also set up Turkish (tr), which has also been pending for ages. Jpatokal 23:09, 28 September 2009 (EDT)

I've sent emails to all the expeditions members (except one that did not have a email) asking them to elect a bureaucrat at Wikitravel_Shared:Administrator_nominations, after MkPaulos failed nomination, will post you on the results as soon as they get in. sertmann 19:47, 20 October 2009 (EDT)

Does any of the Japanese admins know some Korean? or do we have any English teachers who've worked in Korea who could assume bureaucrat role until one is elected? Or should we just choose a temporary caretaker (Jani, Peter, Me?) until this have been settled? sertmann 19:52, 20 October 2009 (EDT)

We should have a community bureaucrat anyway. Please feel free to nominate yourself or someone else. --Peter Talk 21:54, 20 October 2009 (EDT)


OpenID login [2] is broken sertmann 19:59, 20 October 2009 (EDT)

MySQL은 "1146: Table 'wikitravel_org_-_ko.user_openid' doesn't exist (wikidb)
  • Main page should go here, not to "Main_page" (<-English)
I filed a bug report with my two issues and put issues above into it. I'd like to move tech requests here to bug tracking tool, since I feel that mediawiki doesn't fit to manage them for developers and community support staffs. Does IB have their standard tool like bugzilla, launchpad or sourceforge ? -- Tatata 22:12, 20 October 2009 (EDT)

problem brewing on Wikipedia[edit]

swept from pub:

Hey folks. Wish I had a more positive reason to poke my head in here again, but I'm here to report a problem developing on Wikipedia. IB has been accused[3] (rightly or wrongly, I don't know) of inappropriate self-promotional editing on WP, and there's a lynch mob forming which is overreacting to this and suggesting that they: delete all articles about IB sites, remove Wikitravel from the master interwiki map (which makes it easy to link from WP to WT), and even blacklist the domain, which would make linking to WT impossible. I don't know the facts behind this dispute (it sounds like some corporate doofus with poor judgment behind it), but I know that the above actions would be harmful to both projects (especially WT), and I'd encourage calm heads (who can represent the WT community as the responsible project that it is), go over there to engage in damage control. -Todd VerBeek 14:02, 5 May 2010 (EDT)

And this, god damn IB, you guys seriously need to get your act together. --Stefan (sertmann) talk 14:37, 5 May 2010 (EDT)
I think I have enough WP editing history to be considered more than just an interloper, so I've commented on the thread Todd linked. <sarcasm>Good show, IB.</sarcasm> LtPowers 15:09, 5 May 2010 (EDT)
As someone very involved with spam mitigation on Wikipedia and other Wikimedia Foundation projects, I can say the following:
  1. I don't see a lynch mob
  2. I do see a very large spam effort by Internet Brands -- one of the worst I've seen in several years.
  3. As long as Wikitravel is owned by Internet Brands, I don't see how Wikimedia projects can continue allowing linking via interwiki shortcuts; technically, there's no way to inventory or monitor interwiki links.
  4. Editors could still use traditional external links to link to Wikitravel if interwiki linking were eliminated. Wikipedia bots and editors can monitor and, to some extent, control external link additions short of blacklisting.
  5. I expect many Internet Brands domains will have to be blacklisted by Wikimedia projects but I would be surprised to see this happen to Wikitravel. Many of our Wikitravel links have been added by regular Wikipedia editors and the informal relationship between Wikipedia and Wikitravel predates the Internet Brands acquisition.
When adding domains to one of Wikimedia's blacklists, what best helps our projects' content trumps "punishing" a spammer.
--A. B. (talk) 18:22, 5 May 2010 (EDT)
PS: As with any Wikimedia project, nobody speaks for the community; my comments above are just my opinion. --A. B. (talk) 18:34, 5 May 2010 (EDT)
I realize I'm possibly contributing to the fragmentation of this discussion, but I'll abstain from the thread on meta, since I'm not a user there.
With regards to your point three, I'm not sure I understand the reason why they would need to be monitored. How could interwiki links to Wikitravel articles constitute abuse? Aren't they desirable? We always make a point to add interwiki links to Wikipedia for the same reason—it's a like minded, open-content wiki, with information complementary to that which we provide.
If the purpose of removing Wikitravel from the interwiki map is simply punitive towards IB, I could understand that. Although that would, of course, be terribly unfair to Wikitravellers, who would suffer the double misfortune of a deteriorating relationship with Wikimedia (through no fault of their own) as well as the continued tragedy of being handcuffed to a negligent, incompetent, and at times abusive site host. --Peter Talk 21:02, 5 May 2010 (EDT)
Jesus fukin' wept. IB's reluctance to help us fight spammers here is now at least more understandable - they are major participants in the dark art form themselves. Absolute idiocy. --Burmesedays 21:52, 5 May 2010 (EDT)
I'm really angry and upset about this situation, but not entirely surprised. Before I start, I'll admit to not knowing all that much about servers, hosting, mirrors, etc. When I began contributing to WT I assumed it was set up in a similar way to Wikipedia. Since then I've learned about IB's ownership of the site, and frankly I've always thought it a bit of a strange situation. But it seemed to work (after a fashion). This current problem, however, seems to have shown up IB to be an organisation completely at odds with the spirit of wikis. I don't see how their ownership of Wikitravel can remain tenable. As I understand it, when IB took over Wikitravel, the Italians and Germans set up their own fork, WV, reasoning that the aims of IB would not be compatible with the aims of the WT community. I have to say it now seems that the Italian and German wikitravellers were absolutely correct. So, given that IB doesn't own the content of Wikitravel, what is to stop the WT community from following the WV example? Perhaps someone who knows about these things could explain the logistics and practical implications of this, and perhaps someone from Internet Brands might like to post some justifications for their actions and some reasons why forking away from them would not be in the best interests of the WT community? Tarr3n 06:51, 6 May 2010 (EDT)
The primary obstacle, to my mind, is the enormous loss of readership and reputation that will come with giving up the brand name and the domain name. First things first, though -- we ought to contact IB and ask them what this means. LtPowers 08:27, 6 May 2010 (EDT)
Tarr3n, you are certainly not the only one feeling that way. My view of IB has perhaps not been as dim as some here, but having read three times now that dreadful, sleazy situation which has evolved with WP, I was wrong. I have tried to find a reasonable explanation but I do not think there is one, and the situation is as we see it. They are at worst a very low brow, shady organisation indeed who should never have been given the opportunity to purchase a major community content owned site like Wikitravel, and at the very best a company with appallingly negligent corporate controls (anticipating an explanation of "It was all John's fault and we fired him". The very fact that this situation with WP has evolved and that IB have not even had the common courtesy to give us an explanation, says an awful about their corporate culture. Giving up the great brand name which we have all built has a lot of downside as LTPowers explains above, but it has to be given serious consideration.--Burmesedays 09:32, 6 May 2010 (EDT)
Peter, the potential abuse comes not from normal interwiki linking but from placing such links on tenuously-related articles, like putting a link to our New York (state) travel guide on the article wikipedia:Politics of New York. LtPowers 08:27, 6 May 2010 (EDT)
You may have other reasons to change your relationship to IB but I certainly wouldn't make this move just because Wikitravel is (likely) coming off the interwiki map. 99+% of Wikipedia's links to non-Wikimedia sites use the regular external linking process, not interwiki linking. External linking to Wikitravel would still be allowed.
Getting on the Interwiki map is getting harder all the time, so it's not clear any new entity would be added anyway.
Unfortunately, there's enough concern at this point about IB spamming that an unpaid Wikitravel volunteer enthusiastically adding a slew of Wikitravel links to Wikipedia (without a bunch of other content like article text) would probably now trigger spam warnings. It's hard for us to tell the difference between a professional spammer and a Wikitravel enthusiast that only adds links. I suggest not adding Wikitravel links unless you're also contributing a lot of other content, preferably with a user account, not an anonymous IP.
Finally, I'll note that all this spamming may be the work of one rogue IB employee; it may not reflect IB's overall values. From the perspective of someone cleaning up spam on Wikimedia sites, it all looks monolithic to me and we have to treat it as such. We get a ton of spam everyday from around the world and we just don't have the time or insight to try to tease out the nuances of IB's culture, politics and organization. A big company caught spamming will tell us they "fired that one employee", they "don't condone spamming", etc. Sometimes they're telling the truth, sometimes they're back again the next month with new sockpuppets unless we block their domains. On the other hand, your relationship to IB is so close and important that you have more reasons, insight and ability to sort out IB's value to your project and community.
As always, none of this is an "official" Wikipedia or Wikimedia view -- just one unpaid volunteer admin's opinion. --A. B. (talk)
PS, I'm also an enthusiastic Wikitravel reader. --A. B. (talk) 09:11, 6 May 2010 (EDT)
Many thanks A. B. for taking the time to explain your position. As I am not a regular Wikipedia editor I will not jump into the discussion there as that could be counter-productive. I do confess though that I have added a lot of inter-wiki links to WT at WP, always taking care to make sure they are placed in the right article, but almost always from an anonymous IP.--Burmesedays 09:37, 6 May 2010 (EDT)
If anyone is wasting any thought about forking, now is probably the time to discuss it. Be it because of the recent events (and still no reaction from IB as far as I see?) or because of other problems like the neglected tech support. Sympathy will be with it at this moment - just have a look at the WP discussion [4]. I can see some beauty in getting rid of those problems but of course there's a lot of risk. WV managed nicely though for the German version, now having almost double the articles of the German wikitravel. Anyway, I feel much too new around here to have as much as an opinion on this matter but I am curious about the thoughts of the more seasoned wikitravelers. --Sebindi 12:30, 7 May 2010 (EDT)
A. B., out of interest, how is a decision to remove a site from the inter-wiki map taken? I ask only because you state above ".... just because Wikitravel is (likely) coming off the interwiki map.". And yet when I read the relevant wikimedia discussion, there is little support and a fair amount of of opposition to that proposal. I am curious. --Burmesedays 12:40, 7 May 2010 (EDT)
It's pretty informal and that discussion page is a real backwater. Likewise, the spam cleanup documentation pages that are linked to in that discussion are backwaters -- few regular editors or admins follow them. When the Internet Brands problems eventually becomes wider knowledge (and it will), then I would expect a big storm to brew and a strong move to pull Wikitravel off the interwiki map.
Something as big as the Internet Brands problem really needs to be brought to the wider community's attention, probably at Wikipedia:WP:ANI; I'm traveling, however, or I would have posted a note there already. I think it's important that a big decision not be taken by a small group of regulars in an arcane area -- that would be abusing the spirit behind our requirement for consensus decision-making.
My comments are strictly my own opinion; I'm basing them on my appraisal of the situation. Personally, I believe strongly that the mapping must be pulled for reasons I've given here and on Meta-Wiki.
As for the actual mechanics, any Meta-Wiki admin has the authority and ability such as myself can pull that mapping at anytime but it would be irresponsible to do without community discussion. --A. B. (talk) 15:23, 7 May 2010 (EDT)

To keep users abreast of developments (as far as we can given the deafening silence from Internet Brands themselves), there is a discussion here about deleting from Wikipedia all Internet Brands-owned businesses. Whilst there is some spirited and logical defence of Wikitravel in particular, and some of the attacks are a little extreme, it is easy to see why folks are so damned upset with Internet Brands, and despite denials are clearly looking for punishment. --Burmesedays 06:22, 9 May 2010 (EDT)

Some good news. The result of the Wikipedia discussion to delete the Wikitravel page (as a consequence of IB's purported behaviour), was keep. See [5]. --Burmesedays 23:04, 20 May 2010 (EDT)
I’ve received a few inquiries about how some recent allegations on Wikipedia involving our parent company Internet Brands might affect the Wikitravel community. I took these inquiries to senior members of the Internet Brands management team. They said they are aware of the allegations that were posted on Wikipedia and that the allegations are factually inaccurate.
Speaking for the entire Wikitravel team, we assure you that Internet Brands has always fully supported and encouraged the goals, spirit and guidelines of the Wikitravel community. Of course, all of us on the Wikitravel team embrace all of the core values of the Wikitravel community and we continue to work in the best interests of Wikitravel. We hope that inaccurate allegations don’t result in unjustly impacting Wikitravel and the work of the community.

Steph --IBsteph 10:27 am, 24 May 2010 (PST)
Thank you Steph. I have no wish to shoot the messenger and am truly grateful that you pursued this matter and got some sort of answer, as empty as it is. What does "factually inaccurate" mean here? It is undeniable that there was a mass spamming campaign involving domains owned by Internet Brands. The evidence is all there at WP. If Internet Brands did not instigate this, who did?--Burmesedays 11:10, 25 May 2010 (EDT)