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BEFORE YOU EDIT THE MAIN PAGE: Please refer to the Main Page guidelines before editing the Main Page.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Please take general discussions about Wikitravel to the travellers' pub. This talk page should be about the Main Page itself, not about Wikitravel in general. -- Evan 11:18, 3 Oct 2003 (PDT)

I can't help but say you have a old version of MediaWiki.

Archived discussions:

Diversity and Main Page links (or, North America is more than the USA)

Under the "North America" header, ALL the links are for American cities. Can we not try to keep the links under the header reflective of the fact that there is more than one country in North America? There are strong pages for other cities/regions/countries on the continent, outside of the USA.

The Main Page Guidelines mention: "Having four destinations in France under "Europe", even if those are the newest best articles, makes the Main Page look weird."

Perhaps the guidelines should we a litte more explicit, or create a separate bullet point address to the issue of national/geographic/cultural diversity.

Which cities outside the USA are really good now? If you point some out, that would help rectify the USA imbalance ;) -- Hypatia 08:55, 2 Nov 2004 (EST)
At last check Wikitravel's home town Montreal was still in the 51st state =) Jpatokal 09:49, 2 Nov 2004 (EST)
That got added to the main page between the initial comment and mine I think. -- Hypatia 09:55, 2 Nov 2004 (EST)
Toronto is up and coming - with a bit more filling out, I could see it being a link. The city is certainly large and important enough to be considered a big NA city --Enki42 11:55, 23 Mar 2005 (EST)
Once it's a great article, then yes. The criteria though, just to be clear is the article not the destination. See Minot for an example of a great article for a destination which might surprise some folks. -- Mark 12:05, 23 Mar 2005 (EST)
So, the best way to foster diversity is to make good articles for diverse subjects. It's best to have a good mix, but not at the expense of quality. If you'd like to look through North America and find some more diverse destinations to feature, that'd be superfantastic. Finally, please sign your posts. --Evan 11:30, 2 Nov 2004 (EST)

Out of curiousity, it looks like the tourism mecca of Minot, North Dakota has been on the front page since April of 2004. While it's very likely that the residents of that wonderful town probably appreciate the vast number of visitors that have flocked to their little corner of America as a result of Wikitravel, wouldn't it make more sense to put a more popular (or at least interesting) destination on the front page? Something like Yosemite or at least a major city? -- Wrh2 00:11, 24 Feb 2005 (EST)

The Yosemite is not ready for prime time. I was working on it before I got sick; it's pretty sparse. (And who the heck added Mexico City, which includes only two places to sleep in all the district articles combined?). Article incompleteness is the #1 reason for inertia on the main page. But Vancouver looks featurable. -- Colin 00:43, 24 Feb 2005 (EST)
Also remember that according to the Main Page guidelines, a destination's size or popularity are not criteria, just the condition of the article.
That said, I'm not sure this is practical in the long run (it certainly seems to get misunderstood an awful lot). It might be better to ape Wikipedia and divide between a more-or-less static geographical index (listing regions and important places) and a rapidly changing "new featured articles"-style box. Jpatokal 01:50, 24 Feb 2005 (EST)
If the criteria is solely completeness then I guess it makes sense to have a place like Minot on the front page, but as a user of the site I find it really weird that the front page has several popular travel destinations (Rome, Petra, Singapore, etc.) and then a random link to a town in North Dakota. I would imagine that as the content on this site fills out a bit more that the front page will be reorganized into more of a navigational hierarchy, I just wanted to point out what looked to me like a really odd link to display prominently.
As an aside, if the criteria is completeness then several other links on the front page should be removed -- Antarctica is one example. However, my personal preference would be to leave it alone -- since it is featured on the front page more users are likely to click on it and update the content. In addition, it makes sense to have major regions linked to from the main page. -- Wrh2 03:00, 24 Feb 2005 (EST)
Vancouver was suggested as a possible replacement for Minot, would anyone object to that change being made? It seems like a much more suitable choice for the front page. -- Wrh2 15:10, 26 Feb 2005 (EST)
According to the Wikitravel:Main Page guidelines, we rotate the entries. So Vancouver becomes the new first entry, and we drop New York. Feel free to go for it! -- Colin 15:17, 26 Feb 2005 (EST)
I just went ahead and did it. -- Colin 15:57, 26 Feb 2005 (EST)
Ugh, Minot just refuses to disappear ;-) I suppose I'll end my little crusade now, although I would wholeheartedly support Jpatokal's suggestion of at least considering changing the policy on the front page to "divide between a more-or-less static geographical index (listing regions and important places) and a rapidly changing 'new featured articles'-style box". -- Wrh2 16:07, 26 Feb 2005 (EST)

Minot is a really good article. It's super complete, and it demonstrates something important about what we want to do with Wikitravel: include, and even feature places which don't normally get a lot of attention from the travel industry. It stays until it gets rotated out. I would like to challenge all of us, myself included to help us build a really good article or two about off-the-beaten-path places we've been which deserve more exposure. -- Mark 09:20, 27 Feb 2005 (EST)

I completely agree about off-the-beaten-path destinations, but I think the key part of your statement is 'which deserve more exposure'. I've not been to Minot, but had a friend who, in his words, was "stuck there" for a couple of weeks each year visiting relatives. There are some places that exist in travel guides solely because you might need a place to stay while traveling elsewhere; Minot seems to me to be one of those places. -- Wrh2 14:39, 27 Feb 2005 (EST)

Page protection

I'd like to suggest that the Main Page be finally protected. By my quick count it's been vandalized no less than 13 times in the last week alone, and it's way too attractive a target for spammers and loonies like the THIS IS A VIRUS guy, as well as merely ordinarily misguided people editing it. It's a waste of time for editors to revert the junk, and it makes a very poor first impression if somebody comes to Wikitravel for the first time and is greeted with Chinese spam or incoherent ranting. Jpatokal 13:13, 2 Dec 2004 (EST)

If this is done, we need to make it easy for folks to contribute changes to the main page. For example, anyone wanting to add a city/place/whatever to one of the continent listings would need a place to submit requests for change (like here, maybe) and we would need to promptly implement their request. I have mixed feelings on protecting the main page. It's sad that people feel the need to be vandals, and also sad that the main page keeps being abused. Frankly, even well-meaning editors of the main page rarely bother to read the guidelines and add stuff at the beginning like they are asked to. So my inclination is yes, protect it. But let's make sure we have some real consensus before doing something as drastic as this. -- Colin 13:20, 2 Dec 2004 (EST)
I think it makes a much poorer first impression when the first page most people see is uneditable. I think the very minor problem of reverting vandalism is offset by the advantages of putting Wiki principles to work. Don't forget: creative, patient people run this wiki -- not goof-offs and vandals. If we let a few scribblings change the way we work, we lose. I don't think we should let people who don't participate in our community define how we work together; I refuse to give them that power over us. --Evan 15:22, 2 Dec 2004 (EST)
Evan, your continued starry-eyed optimism in the face of adversity continues to amaze me. But I'm more and more inclined to think that Wikimedia offers just a little too much freedom given the highly structured expectations Wikitravel places for its content. Is there really a point to giving everybody the freedom to do anything they want in theory, when in practice everything outside meticulously spelled out norms is rejected? I mean, about the only thing a normal user is really allowed to do to the Main Page is add new non-stub articles into the first position in the appropriate geographical area list. Jpatokal 16:30, 2 Dec 2004 (EST)
Well if you're going to be that way about it, isn't a "wiki" a silly idea anyway ;-)? I mean a wiki is an inherently optimistic endevor. The fact that it works at all is almost more amazing than the fact that it also produces good content. I think this is really going to be one of those "it's the principle" things-- yes, we don't want users doing any old thing to the main page, yes we have to revert lame junk all the time (though 13 times in a week doesn't seem that much to me considering we have over 1,000 registered users), yes we have high expectations of contributors: BUT we also currently have no protected pages (ok, except the legal copyright) and no banned users. I like that about us. I would like us to hold on to that stuff as long as possible even if it means I have to stay up all night hitting reload on the main page. Like I said: principle not practical. Majnoona 16:42, 2 Dec 2004 (EST)
I appreciate the high-falutin' principles and share the general amazement, but... you didn't actually answer my question. I'm a practical kinda guy and I see no practical point to maintaining the illusion of freedom for this particular case. Jpatokal 18:08, 2 Dec 2004 (EST)
All righty: I would say that there is not "illusion of freedom." Any user can edit the main page. Any user can add content to the main page. If the edit does not follow the main page guidelines it will be reverted. I say that it is worth the 13 crapo edits a week that need to be reverted for the one unregistered user or non-admin user to make 1 valid edit. I think it is practical to keep admins the "janitors" of the site and not the gatekeepers. I think it is practical to keep the threshold for entry very very low and to assume good faith. If we get even one useful contribution from someone impressed by just how easy it is to break and fix this site then it is worth it. I think it is practical to let anyone make an edit and then argue for the usefulness of that edit. The main page is our banner of soft security, our offering to anyone to contribute and the responsibility of the community to maintain according to the goals we have agreed on. Thank you Ladies and Gentlemen and Goodnight Majnoona 22:45, 2 Dec 2004 (EST)
Ladies and gentlemen, Maj has left the building. --Evan 22:47, 2 Dec 2004 (EST)
On a matter of this level of importance to the project I feel obliged to chime in. To put it simply I'm in agreement with MAJ and Evan on the issue of page protection. 13 bad edits per week is nothing we can't deal with. In effect our vigilance protects this page, and I like it that way.
I would however like very much to receive email diffs of any edits on my watched pages, including the Main Page. There is absolutely nothing un-wiki about such notifications.
A possibility about which I think there might still be room for discussion would be automating rejection of blatantly unwanted edits. Evan has objected in the past that this sort of thing is technological solution to a social problem, and that it's therefore something we want to avoid. On a practical level, however we are all agreed that there's little point in accepting edits which are just going to be deleted in the very short term anyhow, hence the Wikitravel:Spam filter.
I don't think it would be that much different to reject changes to the main page which do not contain certain text. Others however might see this as a sort of slippery slope. -- Mark 03:19, 3 Dec 2004 (EST)
OK, as some of you may have noticed, I'm REALLY new around these parts, so bear with me for not having a clue just how the nuts and bolts of MediaWiki works. I do however have an idea for semi-protection of the main-page which would allow for securing it and leaving it freely editable by anyone. Is it possible that the main page be locked down with a link to [Wikitravel:New_Main_Page] that is wide open, then having the content of New_Main_Page replace the content of the locked main page when it is ready/due for a change? Any vandalism to the existing main page wound be impossible, no new user would ever face a vandalized introduction to WikiTravel, and any user would still be able to contribute to the creation of the main page as it will appear in the future. What does everyone think? Weaponofmassinstruction 23:30, 20 Jan 2005 (EST)
Okay, I'm now decided about this, and Weaponofmassinstruction is right. I do not propose that admins be the gatekeepers, but merely the janitors that sweep valid content from the scratch Main Page into the real main page.
Additionally comments about about giving new users the True Ability to change the Main Page are simply wrong for the following reasons:
  1. Despite the clear and unambiguous notice that we have main page guidelines, new users do not read them because they think they Know Better.
  2. New users who are tempted to muck with the main page are usually doing so for the wrong reasons: they beleive that their pet location on the planet is being slighted by ommision even though the real reason is that their pet location has an article that needs work
  3. Spammers are not interested in anything but the main page. More importantly, we don't mind cleaning up spam away from the main page. But I think many of us are done with fixing the main page... particularly in light of our Official Tendency to avoid user bans, and spammmers tendencies toward repeat offenses.
  4. New Users who make good changes to the main page are usually Obvious wikipedians, who will have no problem working on the scratch page instead.
  5. The scratch page is an opportunity to better inform new users of problems (like needing to improve a locale before featuring it on the Main Page)
  6. The Current Main Page is a Trap designed to thwart the aspirations of new users. We almost always revert their changes, and when we inform them of why (e.g., a locale that is Not Ready), I've never seen an acknowledgement.
So in summary, this isn't about giving more power to the janitors and less power to new users. Valid changes will be swept to the main page, and we Need a Mechanism as part of the scratch main page to get the new users involved in feedback to their changes. -- Colin 18:38, 23 Feb 2005 (EST)
Additionally, I think the main page should be protected according to the Wikitravel:Protected page policy, specifically
A page is subject to repeated vandalism. This is a special case of the edit war; if a user is repeatedly and systematically vandalizing a page, it should be protected until the user gets their head straight, or they wander away, or they get banned..
-- Colin 18:41, 23 Feb 2005 (EST)

Unwanted edits from well-intentioned users

It seems to me that there are three types of unwanted edits to the main page

  1. Spammers Technical solutions may exist for this
  2. Vandals These have been extremely rare
  3. Well-intentioned folks that don't read the guidelines

I'd like to talk about the last group for a second. If you have a look at November, for example, maybe a dozen or so well-intentioned IP-users tried to add to the main page and were reverted. Exactly zero ip users added anything to the page. Of users who added to the page, only three were not either admin or gobetween.

While in theory this means that anyone can edit our main page, in practice it appears they can't. Since many of these folks are new users, they probably don't read the recent changes page and see our suggestions for improvements. So they may become discouraged.

Any suggestions on how to improve this? Frankly, protecting the main page and then creating a suggestion box for the community to come to consensus on changes would, realistically, be more useful to new users than the current situation. But I'm also interested in hearing other suggestions about how this problem could be solved. Should we try to improve the comment text at the top somehow to alert the editors to error? Or? -- Colin 03:42, 3 Dec 2004 (EST)

I think I could live with an "Are you sure you read and understand the main-page guildlines intermediate page for would-be editors of the main page. This doesn't seem any more heinous than the similar page for "You are about to copy over an exiting image."
Of course I can only speak for myself. -- Mark 04:21, 3 Dec 2004 (EST)
I would also like to add that I sometimes think that we are a little harsh with new users. I think it's important to communicate with users who make well-intentioned, but outside of guidelines edits before reverting those edits, and that's what I always try to do. Usually I mention that somebody else is likely to revert the edit, but that I'm going to leave it. Ideally I'd like to see the contributor in question take care of it themselves.
Meanwhile maybe we should consider this third class of unwanted edits to the main page a challenge to our guidelines. Maybe it's the guidelines which are wrong somehow, and not those users? It it really so important to rotate new stuff in at the top, and maintain an exact number of links per section? -- Mark 04:29, 3 Dec 2004 (EST)
My sense might be wrong, but it doesn't seem to me that that's the primary mistake that new users make. The primary point of the present guidelines is that we highlight well written articles with some secondary focus both on interesting places and unheard of interesting places (but they must have well written articles first). The mistakes new users on top of fairly minor ones like the two you mention are:
  1. adding their own articles, which are usually (but not always) not yet up to main page quality;
  2. adding links to unfinished (or unstarted) articles (two separate reasons: either because they wrote it or want to write it, or because they think it's important or famous -- see the repeated edits that added Prague for example)
  3. trying to make the main page hierachical (as one of the most recent edits tried) by changing the links for, say North America to Canada, United States of America etc etc.
So the problem is that this well written article premise we have escapes a lot of people: they think that the main page should be one of these things:
  1. A directory-style guide to our content, as in Yahoo! (these are the users who try and turn it into a listing of the top parts of the hierachy)
  2. A complete guide to our content (these are the users who add links to Nowheresville or whatever, some just want a way to bootstap their page's existence)
  3. A listing of famous travel spots
I think the well written article guideline actually is a bit obscure to anyone not coming from wikipedia. When I first arrived (although I didn't edit the main page), I thought the main page must be a list of famous travel spots that was only incomplete because wikitravel was: it didn't help that the Australasia links really were to countries and famous Australian cities (and haven't changed much). I like it and want to keep it but it's a bit obscure. Is it possible to actually explain this on the Main Page ("here is a selection of some of our better articles, all with soft chewy centers..."?)
Another change I'd really like made is the lifting of the soft ban on adding your own articles or at least making a place available where you can (informally or formally) 'nominate' articles you contributed to. I don't agree that the people watching recent changes are going to add worthy articles: one of the last substantive additions, Kruger National Park, was only added because JensANDMarian (the author) asked Jpatokal to add it via User talk:Jpatokal#KNP. No reflection on the actions of either user, but I think in general that seems to be a failure of the outlined process -- people were just meant to notice that KNP was good... -- Hypatia 21:56, 3 Dec 2004 (EST)


Does Bath seem ready to people? Sleep is nearly empty, but otherwise it's definitely 70-80% complete. -- Hypatia 21:58, 3 Dec 2004 (EST)

Looks ok to me. Are there really that many places to slep there? Most folks do it as a day trip I think. I say it's ready. Majnoona 08:52, 24 Dec 2004 (EST)


Rome just showed up on the Main page and I want to see if other people think it's OK. I listed it under Wikitravel:Articles needing attention a while ago and I havent seen a lot of changes to it (of course I also havent taken the time to do it myself ;-P). I didn't just want to yank it tho... Things like listing all Italian foods (ie Pizza) on this city page seem a little off to me... others? Majnoona 08:52, 24 Dec 2004 (EST)

Travel news

How about adding a logbook-style "Travel news" section to the Main Page? The tsunamis that just flattened large parts of Sri Lanka, Phuket and the Maldives would be one example of possible content... Jpatokal 05:04, 27 Dec 2004 (EST)

I think that this is a great idea.... Probably just a summary on the Main Page, leading to a more detailed page or pages.... Pjamescowie 09:30, 27 Dec 2004 (EST)

So, inspired by events in south-east and south Asia, I just kicked off the Travel news page(s), linking directly from the Main Page. I realise that this is quite an audacious move, given the lack of discussion, but I hope everyone will bear with me and get behind this.... I have created only one article so far, with the beginning of a headline and date(s) structure, but the formatting and organisation of the News page(s) are, of course, completely open to discussion and experiment..... Let's make it happen!Pjamescowie 15:13, 28 Dec 2004 (EST)

At first glance I thought this would be a pretty good idea, but as I thought more about it, I liked it less and less. It seems to fall outside our goals of creating a travel guide, and more than that, it seems like at most it would be almost entirely made up of compilation from other news sources. If there actually is someone on the ground who wants to play reporter, there are more appropriate outlets like blogs or the independant media.
Mention of recent disasters is appropriate in the context of the destination guide, especially as it relates to health and staying safe, as well as finding out what tourist services are still operational, but news stories in general aren't so much appropriate for a travel guide.
--Neil 15:46, 31 Dec 2004 (EST)
I quite like the idea, mainly because it could be used for linking. For example, Aceh, Sumatra, Ko Phi Phi, Phuket and many other destinations could use a warning box now suggesting that travellers confirm local conditions before visiting after the tsunami which links to a little bit more news from the travel news section. Hypatia 23:33, 1 Jan 2005 (EST)
Use Today's log for it maybe. -- 15:24, 3 Jan 2005 (EST)
Not sure if this was a good idea or not, but I added another row to the table to handle travel news. If you don't like it, then I think that we should change it so that each news story has an article, so that there is something we can put underneath the header.
-Neil 05:37, 6 Feb 2005 (EST)
Me like. Takes up quite a lot of space though, a more space-efficient format might be nice. Do we really need the "Wikitravel Guide" etc headings, complete with honking big HRs? Jpatokal 06:17, 6 Feb 2005 (EST)
Yep, I like it as well. As Jpatokal observed, perhaps a more space-efficient format could be devised - this is something with which we can experiment! Pjamescowie 09:13, 6 Feb 2005 (EST)
I think it looks good, but I really think we need to split up the page into three new pages -- Main Page, Wikitravel:Logbook for news, and Wikitravel:Main Page (or something similar) for the project info. --Evan 13:12, 6 Feb 2005 (EST)
I'm not sure about that. I kind of like having all the information on one page (especially having project links on the same page as the main guide...I think it helps make it seem more open and welcoming... I'm not very good at page design though, and if someone has suggestions on how to have all three while still slimming down the page it would be great.
Overall, though, I think that by having several tables, it creates sufficient division between the sections that the page itself doesn't seem too cluttered. --Neil 15:14, 6 Feb 2005 (EST)
Don't know if you will like it, but I made some attempts to compact space used, with the same amount of information. See it here: User:JanSlupski/Projects/Main_Page. Or, as I'm still changing it better look at: ver3, ver2, ver1, initial. -- JanSlupski 18:14, 6 Feb 2005 (EST)
These I don't like so much — the guide is the by far the most important thing on WT and should be much more prominent. Also, use of so different many colors looks unprofessional.
I think the three-box format (guide, news, site) is basically OK, and it would be enough to just squeeze out the empty space. I don't like Evan's three-page suggestion, since the front page should be a portal to all of the rest of site. Nobody is going to seek out the travel news, at least the headlines should be visible on the front page. Jpatokal 20:41, 6 Feb 2005 (EST)


How do people feel about the Houston article which was just added to North America by an anon user? It doesn't look quite ready for the Main Page to me, but maybe with a little brushing up it could be. -- Mark 06:32, 1 Jan 2005 (EST)

Actually it was new User:Texaswebscout. I agree that Houston isn't ready yet and suggested this to contributor. I have added it to Wikitravel:Articles needing attention. Remove it and await updates. -- Huttite 06:59, 1 Jan 2005 (EST)

Cruise Liners

What do people think about adding cruise line reviews to the list of things covered? I have been on one cruise and loved it. I think though there are a lot of things missing from the reviews from other sites. -- Texaswebscout 14:37, 3 Jan 2005 (CST)

Whether or not we have an article or multiple articles about cruise lines, it doesn't belong on the Main Page — yet. Check out the Wikitravel:Main Page guidelines which detail how to select which articles or topics are ready to be featured on the main page. Assuming we keep this travel topic, and it is eventually developed into a full article, we can then add it in for awhile. -- Colin 18:04, 3 Jan 2005 (EST)

Main page not valid XHTML

Hi all, today I changed the german main page to valid xhtml, compare this diff and the validator results. So I´m to lazy at the moment to do the same here ;-) it´s your chance. Regards --Bdk 23:36, 1 Feb 2005 (EST)

Ah, fun things to do with my weekend. Thanks for the suggestion. Thanks to the German page as a guide, I was able to fix it up so it validates now.
-Neil 14:22, 6 Feb 2005 (EST)
I've made changes to the French page so it validates too now. -Quirk 08:18, 24 Feb 2005 (EST)

North vs Central America

User:Deirdre Golash comments that Cancun is in Mexico, which is in North America. I agreed, so I removed the link. I do not think Cancun is quite complete enough to go elsewhere as it is still a stub. -- Huttite 22:13, 4 Feb 2005 (EST)

The Americas

Should we even have a Central American continent on the Main Page? As I understand it, Central America is part of the North American continent.

In my geography classes I learned there were 7 Continents - Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Australia, Europe North America and South America - as well as 5 Oceans - Arctic, Atlantic, Indian, Pacific and Southern and seven Seas - Baltic, Black, Carribean, Caspian, Mediterranean, North, Red, and also the uncounted South, South China, Tasman, Yellow and even the Sea of Japan. Central America is too small to rate, except as a sub-continental region. It should be listed under North America. Does anyone disagree? If so, please convince me. -- Huttite 01:32, 5 Feb 2005 (EST)

My Disagreement comes from my own geography lessons, which taught me that there were three countries in North America: Canada, the US and Mexico. Central America was always a seperate continent, and the attachements of the islands of the carribeann were really quite ambiguous. From a practical perspective, it makes more sense to have a "central and south america" section than to group CA as part of NA, largely because of where the cultural divide falls. Travelling in CA has a lot more in common with travelling in SA than it does with travelling in NA. I originally split out CA because when Guatemala City was the first listing under NA, it just didn't compute with the three countries of which I was taught.
Aside from that, even if I were to concede that Central America were a geographic part of North America, I would argue that it's status as a seperate cultural region is comparable to that of the Middle East, which would otherwise be just a subregion of Asia. I'd argue that the seperation is even more important in CA's case, because with so many Wikitravellers living in the US and Canada, it goes without saying that the most complete articles are likely to be about destinations in those two countries, making front page highlights from Central America relatively rare.
- Neil 04:39, 6 Feb 2005 (EST)

Wikitravel:Protected page policy

The protect page policy says:

  • A page is subject to repeated vandalism. This is a special case of the edit war; if a user is repeatedly and systematically vandalizing a page, it should be protected until the user gets their head straight, or they wander away, or they get banned.

If the current "edit the main page a dozen times" vandalism (which also screws up the history) which is being performed near-daily doesn't count, then what does? I propose we protect the main page from vandalism and implement the scheme for editing it proposed by User:Weaponofmassinstruction in the "page protection policy" discussion above. -- Colin 14:53, 4 Mar 2005 (EST)

I still think it would be a failure of sorts to protect any page, even the main page. On the other hand I have no problem whatever with monitoring. In fact I run a cron job which monitors the content of the Main page every 5 minutes. I could have this script mail you as well if you like. -- Mark 15:16, 4 Mar 2005 (EST)
Could you enhance your script to autorevert to the last stable revision if the page size shrinks massively? Also, because I've had my email address since before spam was invented, my spam filtering is very intensive, so email is not timely for me. -- Colin 15:50, 4 Mar 2005 (EST)
I guess it's possible, but any script which submits changes would be covered under the Wikitravel:Script policy, and so therefore the process of updating it would be slower. Meanwhile you can just whitelist the script's email. -- Mark 16:14, 4 Mar 2005 (EST)
I'm new here, but I'd second the vote to protect the main page and adapt the "staging page" idea that was presented previously, although I'd be interested in hearing Mark's reasoning as to why this would be a "failure". I think I've only seen one change to the main page made by a non-admin that wasn't immediately reverted. A second advantage of the staging page is that well-meaning users would hopefully have a bit less trepidation about changing one of the more important pages on the site. -- Wrh2 18:05, 4 Mar 2005 (EST)
I'm thinking that we should try to approve the auto-revert script, and see how well it works before taking the step of protecting the main page. But, if there's still a non-trivial ammount of spam coming through, then I think we should seriously consider protecting the main page. Much of the opposition is from those who claim spam is a social problem. To some extent their right, but it's a social problem of a much larger community than we are able change. Spammers have no interest in engaging with the community, and so there's no way we can change their behaviour through social means. On top of that, much of the spam seems to come from scripts, and that, to me, means that we are confronting a technological problem that requires a technological solution.
-- Neil 03:50, 5 Mar 2005 (EST)
Is there an easy way to view the Main Page history without spam, such as viewing only changes by logged-in users? I was trying to get an idea of how many legitimate changes actually occur on the main page but couldn't find an easy way to do it. -- Wrh2 19:27, 7 Mar 2005 (EST)
No. Nor can you look at the entire site's recent changes without looking at the stupid spam changes. I almost missed a message to me from Jpatokal because I can't freaking see the changes in the logs anymore. -- Colin 20:04, 7 Mar 2005 (EST)
If the main page isn't going to be protected, is it possible to limit the number of updates that are done on the Main Page by a single user within a given time period? Perhaps something like only two updates each five minutes? That wouldn't really prevent anyone from changing the page, but it would reduce the amount of noise in the logs from the bots that perform huge numbers of updates in a short period. I've not looked at the wikimedia software so apologies if this isn't something that's possible. -- Wrh2 21:01, 7 Mar 2005 (EST)

Spam filter

Based on the spate of 50-fold spam edits we've had on the front page, I tracked down the bugs in the spam filter that were keeping it from working. Hopefully this should cut down on the line noise on the front page. --Evan 22:13, 7 Mar 2005 (EST)

Seems to be working OK, after about 24 hours. --Evan 18:50, 8 Mar 2005 (EST)
Thanks for this Evan, things have improved dramatically. Unless others feel differently I think the spam filter solves all of the issues that had started the discussion about protecting the main page, and that discussion can probably now be archived. -- Wrh2 13:25, 9 Mar 2005 (EST)

New new new layout

OK, not quite a new layout, but an attempt to get rid of some whitespace and those honking big HRs. Work in progress at User:Jpatokal/Main Page. Jpatokal 11:09, 23 Mar 2005 (EST)

Hmm-m, can't seem to get NOTOC working...? So never mind the main guide box, but the Travel news and Wikitravel Project sections are now prettyformatted. Opinions, please. Jpatokal 11:22, 23 Mar 2005 (EST)
What do you think about saving a little more on Logbook layout by moving previous entries, Today over the frame (as in my Main Page proposition)?
Also if you don't think making continent names inline, maybe, at least, kill whitespace under (eg. no vertical whitespace between Europe title and Rome, Paris, Belfast entries).
Another idea -- to consider removing [edit] tags on Main Page.
Please edit User:Jpatokal/Main Page freely! If you mess it up too badly I'll just revert =) Jpatokal 12:17, 23 Mar 2005 (EST)
Anything that compacts the main page is good to me. -- Colin 14:19, 23 Mar 2005 (EST)


I didn't know where I should put this or if it even mattered, but I think the Cincinnati article is complete. I may change it to a Big City format, but for right now I think it's alright. Sapphire 03:48 EST April 7, 2005.

Yeah, I think it looks really good. I'd say to drop it in at the top of the North America list and rotate one off. It could use a photo though. ;)
By the way, if you log in it gets a lot easier to make a signature. All you have to do is type:

-- ~~~~

and the Mediawiki software will supply your user link and the date and your timezone. -- Mark 04:04, 7 Apr 2005 (EDT)

Thanks. I'll try it now. -- 04:11, 7 Apr 2005 (EDT)

Thanks. -Sapphire 04:12, 7 Apr 2005 (EDT)

Guess I had to log in again. I've posted a request for anyone with a picture to add to Cincinnati article, but I don't think anyone has seen it yet. -Sapphire 04:14, 7 Apr 2005 (EDT)

I got rid of Minot, ND and added Cincinnati. I hope that's alright. -Sapphire 04:20, 7 Apr 2005 (EDT)
Super, except that New Orleans was at the bottom, so it was her turn to go rather than Minot. It's supposed to be a sort of top-to-bottom scrolling thing as so to avoid subjective decisions about which destination is "more important" or whatever. -- Mark 04:54, 7 Apr 2005 (EDT)
I just found Minot more boring plus there was a post above that kind of criticized someone for putting Minot up. I can put it back later. It's off to bed unless I'm not drawn back to the screen again. -Sapphire 05:05, 7 Apr 2005 (EDT)
Yeah, people keep trying to take Minot down, but for what it's worth it was one of the founders of Wikitravel who put it up there. So far the idea on the Main Page has been to showcase good articles rather than good destinations, which is why we have the rotation rule. There is occasionally a voice like the one above against that notion, but I think there's mostly a consensus toward keeping the article showcase concept.
Of course as with all Wikitravel policies it is an open question, so if you'd like to ditch the rotation policy please do open up a discussion on Wikitravel talk:Main Page guidelines, after all if we keep having this issue come up of people wanting to eliminate what they perceive as boring destinations then maybe we should figure out a way to decide what boring means. -- Mark 06:30, 7 Apr 2005 (EDT)
Just to throw in two more cents about good ol' Minot-- it was mentioned in the Wall Street Journal article about Wikitravel and is kinda our showcase article for how even tiny podunk places can have a good guide here-- it's not the sort of thing you're going to find in other guides... Anyway, if folks want it out the best thing to do is add a couple of new good showcase guides and rotate it outta there,,, the "Founders" wont mind ;-) Majnoona 08:08, 7 Apr 2005 (EDT)
Noted. -Sapphire 13:37, 7 Apr 2005 (EDT)

Italian Expedition

I rolled back the change that swapped out the Hungarian expedition for the Italian one-- If this is something that was decided / discussed elsewhere please make the change again, it just seem sort of arbitrary... Majnoona 11:49, 7 Apr 2005 (EDT)

Seattle, Swansea, Everest additions

There were a few new Main page additions in the last 24 hours and I have some comments:

  • Seattle - looks ok I guess, could use a picture and some editing (update: Evan just removed it)
  • Swansea - ditto
  • Everest - I think needs a lot of restructuring-- it's actually covering the trek, with all the towns in one article, which is different than, say, how Annapurna (also a big trek region) has been done. I'll take the conversation to the Everst talk page. I'm going to remove it

Also, I think this person did not remove one from the end...

User:Maj|Majnoona]] 11:49, 7 Apr 2005 (EDT)

  • Apologies for impulsively adding the three places listed above without due consideration of the rules, and giving you the trouble of having to delete them. However, I have one point I'd like to raise: I wonder whether a new format should be designed for regions like Everest, possibly based on the 'small city' format. Although the centers of population along the trek are listed as 'cities' in Wikitravel, in reality they are generally no more than a few houses - the biggest village being about 50 houses, with many consisting of no more than two or three dwellings. If each or these villages are designated their own page, as in say the listings for cities in a country, I wonder what information could be used to complete the pages. At a stretch all the lodges could be listed under the 'sleep' section, though as they are all of similar design and cost and there are no street names or telephones, this would only be a list of names. Possibly the 'see' section could have information about which mountains are visible from a particular village. Otherwise, every village is pretty much the same. Also, I wonder of the benefit for the traveler to have this information spread out over 10 or 12 pages. In the 'small city' format, all information is convenietly included on the one page, irrespective of its location within the city - for example the western part of town may have beaches, while to the north there might be a castle. However, as neither of these districts have enough attractions to constitute being individual pages within themselves, they are included under the general heading of the city in which they are located. Anyway, just throwing out some ideas...
Please talk about new format at What is an article? (not to start discussion in two places...). --JanSlupski 04:49, 11 Apr 2005 (EDT)
  • Hi Jan , thanks for your suggestion. Actually, this was a personal reply to Maj's comments. I have initiated a wider debate on relevant page.


I removed Seattle from North America. The article doesn't match our Wikitravel:huge city article template, and it doesn't have any photos. Discussion of neighborhoods is all smushed up in the main article rather than moved out to district pages. It needs some serious scrubbing, and I don't think it should be linked from the front page. --Evan 10:43, 10 Apr 2005 (EDT)

Number of Articles

There's getting to be a lot of featured articles, in contravention of the Main Page guidelines, which say max 4-5 per category. I was going to just pare it down, but then I noticed that whoever had done the extensive commenting had said no more than 7-8. Which one do we want? Either way, there's too many in Europe, but aside from that, I still favour the smaller number. 8 featured articles in a category just makes it look like we're not cleaning up. -Neil 19:09, 20 Apr 2005 (EDT)

It would be nice if there was more balance, i.e. some areas have only 3-4 and others 9! The rule-of-thumb for nav items is seven-plus-or-minus-two. So maybe we should make sure each area has a min of 5 and max of 9? Does 9 seem like too many?
Also, Africa has 2 or 3 spots from South Africa (which I know a lot of work has been done on lately) it would be nice to spread it around geographicly a little...

No Central European Cities linked

Looking at the articles linked to in Europe, there are 4 out of 9 in the UK, but none in central / eastern europe. Budapest is nearly there - I will have a go over the next week to make it good enough for a main page link. It would be good to have another from central europe (some of the Romania ones are nearly there), plus somewhere sunny. DanielC 16:40, 8 May 2005 (EDT)

We pick articles to feature based on what articles are good enough and complete enough to feature. Since this is the English wikitravel, and since people tend to document the cities around them first, we end up with an accidental bias towards english-speaking destinations. If you're up to it, we'd love for you to bring an Eastern European article up to speed so we can feature it. Feel free to pick a city and encourage others to concentrate on it. -- Colin 19:16, 8 May 2005 (EDT)
I agree with Colin... maybe adding something to Wikitravel: Articles needing attention would help? I know a lot of Eastern Europe needs some clean-up-- there's a lot of good content. I think that some of those destinations have been on the main page in the past-- a lot of the eastern european content came in about a year or so ago and may have rotated out since then... but it would be nice to see more geographically balance if we could get the articles up to snuff. Plunge forward! Majnoona 22:08, 8 May 2005 (EDT)
I was last in Budapest about 10 years ago, but most of the stuff in the 2 district articles should be enough to get the main article up to scratch. I may also have a try at Krakow or Dubrovnik. Warsaw looks ready (except for it's districts) - is it worth linking now? Once I've finished Sicily, I'd like to try (with some help, please) to get some of the South American cities improved and onto the Main Page. DanielC 16:01, 9 May 2005 (EDT)

About promoting Wikitravel

I am wondering if it would be possible and preferred to have prepared icons or buttons for promoting Wikitravel on other websites. Just as Firexox is doing on his Spread Firefox website. I would love to put a nice icon on my blogsite, however downloadable icons would be better. bujatt 03:45, 16 May 2005 (EDT)

Caribbean islands

An anon user has just added a new section for Caribbean islands, and I think he has a point: the only other place to file them now is the rather unsatisfying "Other destinations". Still, to stop the page from becoming too large, is there a good label for merging Central America & the Caribbean — or other ideas? Jpatokal 23:08, 10 Jun 2005 (EDT)

Pacific and Indian Ocean islands could also use a home. -- Colin 23:16, 10 Jun 2005 (EDT)
They're now hidden under "Australasia". Jpatokal 23:27, 10 Jun 2005 (EDT)
Aren't the Caribbean Islands considered a part of North America? I realize that they aren't a part of the continent, but quoting from the first result I found on Google:
"The Caribbean Islands, Central America countries and Greenland are all considered part of North America. The Middle East is part of Asia. Many modern atlases and geography experts now consider the long-established continent of Australia to be better defined as Australia/Oceania, which then combines and includes all of (Australia), the large island groups of New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Solomons, and the countless volcanic and coral islands of the south Pacific Ocean including those of Micronesia, Melanesia and Polynesia. In short, OCEANIA is one of the most diverse and fascinating areas on the planet."
Wrh2 04:07, 11 Jun 2005 (EDT)
"Officially" the Caribbean Islands may be part of North America, but I would have thought that most people associate them more with Central America (and the Wikitravel guideline is to use what is best for the reader, rather than official names).
What about having Central America and The Caribbean and Australaisa and The Pacific as (slightly larger) section headings on the Main Page? -- DanielC 06:18, 11 Jun 2005 (EDT)
What make the Caribbean islands so important they need their own front page section? What about merging Central America and Caribbean back into North America and changing Australasia to Oceania, or even fit everything under Islands? Also why have North and South America, why not just the Americas. Shouldn't these be continental level groupings anyway? Trim it down I say. -- Huttite 01:09, 12 Jun 2005 (EDT)
Are there any plans to eventually put a graphical map of the world on the front page, set up as an area map with links to major regions? (I'm terrible with graphics, so unless I find a lot of free time, sadly this isn't something I can put together). It seems like that would be the most obvious way that people could begin to navigate the site, and would reduce the need to discuss which/how many areas to link to from the front page. Or not, it's after 3:00 AM and I'm quite likely not thinking straight...
In the mean time, I'm in agreement with Huttite that fewer regions is better, although I think continents are a good top-level, and combining North and South America is probably going a bit too far. -- Wrh2 06:14, 12 Jun 2005 (EDT)
Agree with Wrh2 on all counts — but even if we go with a graphical map, we will still need to split it up into large-ish clickable regions, or otherwise going to (say) Vatican City will be a bit of a pain.
For now, I'd suggest North America, Central America & Caribbean, South America and Australia & Oceania as top-level regions. To quote a favorite Singlishism, can or cannot? Jpatokal 06:52, 12 Jun 2005 (EDT)

I tried merging Central America & Caribbean, but it looked wrong in my eyes. The DoTM takes up so much space (which is not a bad thing!) that there ends up being unused space even when Caribbean is broken out. When you merge it, there's even more dead space. And btw, Caribbean is currently 100% stubs. I just wanna kill it, but do it in an aesthetically pleasing manner. -- Colin 02:23, 26 Jul 2005 (EDT)

100,000th edit

Some time tomorrow Wikitravel will, more likely than not, have its 100,000th edit (in the English version). Whee! Still some ways to go until we hit Wikipedia's 17 million though... Jpatokal 06:56, 12 Jun 2005 (EDT)


The article is comming along nicely, but I'd like to see some photos and more Sleep listings, in all three categories, please. -- Mark 00:49, 28 Jun 2005 (EDT)

San Salvador

So we have an anonymous contributor who wants to get San Salvador into great shape so it can be featured on the Main Page. Here are some items I think need to be worked on first:

  • Check out the comments on Talk:San Salvador
  • We want specific listings for places to stay. Phone numbers, addresses, etc. see Wikitravel:Accommodation listings
  • A lot of items have been given their own ==Top Level Heading==. See Wikitravel:Where you can stick it for where to really put each item. Try not to invent lots of new headings.
  • For things to do and see, provide individual listings. For example, each park you want to highlight as an attraction should have its own entry.
  • Ask for help! We want this to be a featurable article. If you're not sure if it's up to par, ask for suggestions about what could/must be improved.
  • Log in with an account so we can leave you messages.

We look forward to working with you! -- Colin 12:40, 3 Jul 2005 (EDT)

Footer with attribution

Where can I find out how to produce a list of contributors such as are presented in the footer of this page? Thanks! :)

I found that is an option in the DefaultSettings.php file. :)


OK, so I plunged forward with a rearrangement of the Guide section of the Main Page, in line with the intentions and ideas espoused under the discussion for the Caribbean section above and elsewhere. NB: It is not complete.... But I wanted to see what people thought.... Tasks to complete: Possibly / probably merging Central America and the Caribbean as a top level global regionalisation; merging Australasia with the Pacific, etc (=Oceania).... We may also want to explore a new page location for Travel Topics... Perhaps have these span the two columns now in the Guide section, at the bottom... (does that make sense?) Maybe Phrasebooks could be separated off as well, as this is not really "geographical".

Anyway, for the revised arrangement, a simple rational was employed: List the top-level global regions alphabetically.... Only one exception: I placed Central America and the Caribbean in between North and South America in the list (which is also where they are located geographically, of course!) Other Destinations still comes at the end....

OK, comments / suggestions? Paul James Cowie 07:13, 26 Jul 2005 (EDT)

I tried and failed to find any non-stubs in the Caribbean. I tried to select three that were the best, and removed a few since I think it's okay to only have three if there really aren't any good ones. -- Colin 16:24, 26 Jul 2005 (EDT)