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:::All this said, I don't really see the point of forking, rather I see the db dumps as being a sort of insurance policy.  I want them solely to preserve the content of Wikitravel in case something goes wrong with the IB deal which causes them to pull down the site.  Meanwhile the content is still ''Free content'', in that it really is under the license it's under. -- [[User:Mark|Mark]] 10:59, 9 July 2006 (EDT)
:::All this said, I don't really see the point of forking, rather I see the db dumps as being a sort of insurance policy.  I want them solely to preserve the content of Wikitravel in case something goes wrong with the IB deal which causes them to pull down the site.  Meanwhile the content is still ''Free content'', in that it really is under the license it's under. -- [[User:Mark|Mark]] 10:59, 9 July 2006 (EDT)
::::Thanks again. In [[Wikitravel_talk:Internet_Brands#XML_versions_of_Wikitravel_content]], Evan says: ''"There's a point between getting one or two articles from Special:Export and getting all 9000 (well, almost) en: guides ..."'' I understood him in the way that downloading full dumps via Special:Export would not be appreciated because this would require a lot of resources and bandwidth. But sure, if I'm forced to do so, I will.
::::If you want to know about my reasons for forking, see my contributions to [[Wikitravel_talk:Internet_Brands]] and my discussion with Evan, originally on his talk page, but later moved incidently onto an orphaned [[User talk:Evan/Hansm|sub-page]]. You also can try to understand my statement in German on [[:de:Benutzer:Hansm/Zur Kommerzialisierung von Wikitravel]].
::::-- [[User:Hansm|Hansm]] 11:34, 9 July 2006 (EDT)

Revision as of 15:38, 9 July 2006

This edit is probably a spambot

Silly spambot... -- Mark 08:16, 20 April 2006 (EDT)


I've bumped most of the older conversations which were here to User:Mark/Archive.

Importing Maps into Commons

Hi Mark, just a quick word to mention an error in the spelling of the Paris Neighborhood "La Defense" in this map:

Hi, as a Parisian I find your maps amazingly good. I intend to import them to Wikimedia-Commons in order to insert them easily in Wikipedia. I just started with the 13e arrondissement: Don't hesitate to tell me if I didn't do it correctly (e.g licensing, etc).

Thanks for this great, great work! Thbz 14:36, 17 Sep 2005 (EDT)

Glad you like it! I'm fine with the CC-by-sa 2.5, so all is well with the posting on commons. I guess you'll be happy to hear that I'm starting off on the 18th now. Eventually I'll have the whole city done. You might also want to check out my map of Lausanne. -- Mark 20:42, 17 Sep 2005 (EDT)

Thanks. I've added the Paris maps to Commons and inserted them in Wikipedia-fr! Thbz 17:02, 18 Sep 2005 (EDT)

I've added the maps to the Paris arrondissements pages on en wikipedia. They're great maps Mark, what software are you using to create them? Swarve 23:38, 20 Sep 2005 (EDT)
Sodipodi/Inkscape. I'm just curious, but is it OK to add cc-by-sa stuff to Wikipedia these days? That's the license on the maps in commmons. Of course I can dual license them, but really Wikipedia probably needs to have versions without the Wikitravel listings. -- Mark 02:35, 21 Sep 2005 (EDT)
Interesting, program there. I can't understand why cc-by-sa would not be ok on wikipedia. Yeah without the wikitravel would help, would you remove them from the maps or should I. Wheres your latest SVG map of Paris located? Swarve 05:05, 21 Sep 2005 (EDT)
My understanding is that Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU fdl, and that everything in it needs to be as well. I have no problem doing a dual license, but it makes it a bit more difficult to do collaborative work. -- Mark 05:28, 21 Sep 2005 (EDT)
The SVG version BTW is Image:Paris.svg. If you like I'll make a png for each arrondissement without the listings. -- Mark 06:21, 21 Sep 2005 (EDT)
Yeah that'd be great thanks as i'm not all that sure on the arrondissment boundries. Dual licensing would be great. Thanks for all your hard work on these excellent maps. Swarve 06:51, 21 Sep 2005 (EDT)
According to this page on wikipedia. Not all work needs to be under GNU but a few licenses & cc-by-sa is one of them, so your current license is fine for upload on wikipedia. Swarve 20:33, 21 Sep 2005 (EDT)
And the page about licensing on Commons recommends cc-by-sa rather than GFDL. Thbz 09:50, 25 Sep 2005 (EDT)

Kudos for your maps! Would you consider uploading the SVGs to Wikimedia Commons? Now, the software installed there does SVG rendering on-the-fly. (By the way, there are some labelling errors on some of these otherwise remarkable maps, I could correct them in the SVG.) Submarine 10:15, 3 Oct 2005 (EDT)

Hi. I'm happy for the SVG versions to go into commons, and I'm happy to accept patches. They're already here on Wikitravel, for instance Image:Paris.svg. Our version of Mediawiki does the on-the-fly rendering as well, but it has some serious problems with large files.
Anyhow, feel free to upload the SVG to commons under any version of the CC-by-sa. And also do feel free to edit the maps in Inkscape, and send me the results or a diff. -- Mark 10:34, 3 Oct 2005 (EDT)
I'm sorry but the above link gives me a 404 error when I try to save the file! Submarine 11:12, 3 Oct 2005 (EDT)
I should have mentioned. This is the problem with on-the-fly rendering of the SVG, well aside from the fact that it doesn't work for large images. In order to get the original svg file you have to click on the date for the current version at the top of the history list. I should probably fix this in Mediawiki at some point, by providing a link under the rendered image. -- Mark 02:00, 4 Oct 2005 (EDT)
I'm trying to open the file but it refers to a gazillion JPEGs and inkscape and sodipodi protests... :-) Sorry to bother you. 14:26, 4 Oct 2005 (EDT)
Yeah, there's no getting around that. The jpeg files are aerial/satellite photos which I don't have a license to share. I wish I could. Just ignore the warnings if you don't mind; Inkscape should open eventually anyway. Or perhaps edit the incorrect labels with a text editor instead.

Logo/skin project updates

Any progress updates on the logo/skin project? I'm sure I'm not the only Wikitraveller who's dying to see even some draft versions... you've even got fans on the Japanese version (take my word for it =)). Jpatokal 04:08, 21 Sep 2005 (EDT)

Hey! Cool. I wasn't sure anybody cared. ;) I'm going to put up a test/demo site in the next couple of hours for you to comment on. Of course the Japanese version will need a different style-sheet in order to make the text more grid-like. With the skin I'm working on we'll have to have a separate stylesheet for asian languages and for right-to-left languages. -- Mark 05:11, 21 Sep 2005 (EDT)
In your copious spare time(tm) it would be nice if you could also check how the new skin fits the Japanese version, which has a somewhat different template-based layout (see eg. [1]) It would also be neat if you could export the little list icons into PNGs (pref. white or black on a transparent background), so they can be used in the template headings there too. Jpatokal 10:31, 28 Sep 2005 (EDT)
My guess is that Japanese will need it's own stylesheet, in order to handle the character grid stuff. BTW, I agree with you about the colour scheme not being all that great, but I'm still trying to nail down the layout. Actually it looks like it's turned into 3 different layouts. -- Mark 11:54, 28 Sep 2005 (EDT)

My attempt at site redesign

As you might know I've been working on a new skin. It's not really ready yet, but I've set up a mediawiki demo site so people can tell me what's wrong with it that I haven't already noticed. Here are a couple of things that I still want to change:

  • I think the line around the tabs is too dark. I'm going to tone it down to a mid-grey.
  • The logotype should probably get bigger, especially the text part.
  • I don't yet have list icons for Get in', Contact or Stay healthy.
  • There are a couple of odd bugs in the version of mediawiki on Geekhive; the language links don't work and the thing makes too many tabs selected. These bugs don't exist in the version on Wikitravel.
  • I haven't started on that JavaScript skin switcher we talked about, but I want to try to get that done so people can have more options.

Anyhow, have a look and let me know if there's anything else that bugs you about it. -- Mark 12:49, 23 Sep 2005 (EDT)

I hope I'm not intruding, but I noticed the demo site link and thought I'd jump in. I'm using IE6, by the way.
  • The search box extends out over the copy.
  • The article title does not display correctly. All I can see is the very, bottom of the letters... only barely enough to hazard a guess at what they are.
  • The logo has a blue background, but maybe thats not really up for comment...
  • The table of contents along the right side seems squeezed. By that I mean words are wrapping very often.
  • I dig all of the bullets except the big blue ones for See and Do... they seem to be a little overpowering. Maybe they are just out of line?
All in all, though, I think its a great start. And again, I hope I'm not intruding! -- Ilkirk 14:23, 23 Sep 2005 (EDT)
Sorry I forgot to mention: Please look at the demo with Mozilla, Firefox, or Konqueror. Getting the css to work right with IE will require browser detection and some corrections which I'll do later after the design is nailed down. -- Mark
The width is fixed, which looks awful. I want it to fill my window (FireFox 1.0.7 and Konqueror 3.4.2) --elgaard 19:52, 25 Sep 2005 (EDT)
Me too! So ditto on all the above — I love the themed icons! — but a few more:
  • I don't like the mixed green-blue scheme, at least for the logo itself. The blue-gray version which actually won the contest looks better to my eye.
  • The table of contents should be kept on the left, not shunted off to hide on the right side.
  • There should be more space between headers and content (esp. since there's a lot of, perhaps too much, space in the listings now).
  • Having all links (internal and external) bolded is unnecessarily distracting and non-standard practice. What's wrong with underlining, or at least just coloring them differently? Jpatokal 21:23, 25 Sep 2005 (EDT)

Hi all. I agree that the links didn't need to be bold and that the logotype should go back to the blue blue color scheme, so I've made those changes.

However on at least one point I see that I'm really going to have to concentrate on getting the style-switcher javascript working before going too much further. That's 'cause we disagree fundamentally on the layout itself: I really don't like text which is set too wide (or fills the screen). It makes the text much much harder to read (this is a fundamental rule in basic typesetting). This is one of the main things that I want to get rid of with the new design. To top this off, with Monobook when I resize my browser so that the center column is a reasonable width the TOC tends to interfere with any inline image in the first couple of paragraphs of the page. This is the impetus for getting the TOC out of the center column. -- Mark 04:46, 26 Sep 2005 (EDT)

Oh yeah, another rule of typesetting is that headers should attach to the text they head, as opposed to floating up above it. Meanwhile the wite-space between the listings is there to make it easier for the eye to enter a given listing. I think it makes the text more usable.

BTW: I intend to do a separate layout with two text columns for printing. -- Mark 04:50, 26 Sep 2005 (EDT)

If the text is too wide, use a browser window that is not so wide. If I use a narrow window, a PDA, a big font size, or a high resolution monitor, I get a scrollbar at the bottom which is not very usable. --elgaard 10:14, 26 Sep 2005 (EDT)
Assuming you meant to say "low resolution monitor" I think I mis-understood what you were saying. I was thinking that you wanted to run the text across the full screen with a very high resolution monitor. I agree that we would need a different layout (thus a different style sheet) for PDAs and other devices with a low resolution monitor. The design on is for use with high resolution devices where the line width would be too great if the browser is open too wide.
At any rate I've created an alternative style sheet with a two column layout like the one from Monobook, if for some reason you want the text to wrap all the way across the page. Now if what you really mean is that you want the text to collapse down for a device with a small screen I think I can address that too.
To see the alternate design in Firefox or Mozilla select Page Style->two-column in the View menue. I'm working on a JavaScript for switching the styles in other browsers, and should have it done soon. -- Mark 11:34, 26 Sep 2005 (EDT)
Ok, I've implemented the style switcher as a set of links in the right column (for now at least). It's better than using the browser's style switcher in that it's sticky (you don't have to set it per page load).
Now we'll be able to have a bunch of designs up and switch between them to compare and talk about different possibilities. Please feel free to send me css or php patches as well, if you'd like to demo a different idea.
Also as promised I'm going to make a print style sheet with two locked-down columns of text. -- Mark 12:10, 26 Sep 2005 (EDT)
No, I meant high resolution. If you have a 1600x1200 14 inch laptopmonitor, an 800 pixel width is way too small. --elgaard 13:16, 26 Sep 2005 (EDT)
I like the new design, especially the icons, the more clearly-delineated sections, and the TOC on the right (sorry Jpatokal!). However, I really don't like the fixed-width. I'm a programmer, not a designer, but over the past years in the web projects I've worked on it seems to me that that "fixed-width" rule has become less popular. From 1999-2002 everyone made a fixed width site to take into account people using either 640x480 or 800x600, but today most designers (that I've worked with) simply set a fixed left-side margin (usually for the nav bar) and a fixed right-side margin (either for spacing or another nav/ads) and let the content fill the middle of the screen. While the fixed-width does give the designer a greater degree of control, I don't necessarily agree that it's the best way to go from a user perspective.
That said, this looks really nice and the work is much appreciated. I've been busy with work, but let me know if you need someone to tackle any of the Javascript work and I may be able to take a look. -- Wrh2 12:49, 26 Sep 2005 (EDT)
I can certainly see how a floating center column is more flexible, but there was a good reason we used to prefer a fixed content column: it's easier to read. If you let the text span all the way across the screen then the reader's eye gets to the end of the line and can't find the beginning of the next line when scanning back. This means that the reader has to stop and think about what she's already read. This doesn't take very long, and usually happens subconsciously, but it still takes away from the ease of reading.
It's one of the reasons that it's more tiring to read some books than other books. For instance school textbooks are often typeset with really wide lines, and the reading gets really tedious really quickly; it's not just the subject matter. Novels tend to be set really narrowly and are a much easier read. Meanwhile newspapers are set very very narrow, and are meant to be read very quickly.
BTW: I think the reason that we programmers don't mind long line typesetting is that we're used to it. Code is often written with 80 columns or more, and more or less no leading. We get around this by adding a lot of tabs to the front end of the code, so that we can find the line we need without thinking about it a lot. Still we get used to looking at lines of text going all the way across the screen.
I think the only reason school textbooks are typeset so badly is that the publishers don't actually care about the students reading them. Me, I care about our readers, and for that reason I want to give them the option of reading the text in a tightly-set and easy to read fasion.
That said I also care about you, Wrh2, elgaard, Jpatokal and all of our fellow wikitravellers. That's why I'm going to make additional designs with the goal of pleasing all of you regardless. That's why I'm going to make some alternate designs which will have text stretching all the way across the screen so if that's what you want then that's what you can have.
Have you checked out the Javascript style switcher? -- Mark 18:04, 26 Sep 2005 (EDT)

This is all true if you were printing on paper or generating PDF files. But HTML is a mark-up language. I should decide the width of the text in my browser, not you. You do not know how wide (in millimeters/inches) your column is on any of my computers. You do not know what font size I use or how many letters there is on a line on my screen. On the other hand if the text is too wide, I can just make the window less wide or the text bigger, something you cannot do with a schoolbook. The window size is not the same as the screensize.
The two-column is much better. But the bottom block (This page was last modified ..) is still fixed-with which creates a horisontal scrollbar on small windows. --elgaard 19:39, 26 Sep 2005 (EDT)
It's all css, the HTML for this skin pure structural markup. Try turning the stylesheet off altogether, which is exactly what's going to happen with a phone or PDA. -- Mark 01:37, 27 Sep 2005 (EDT)
Yes, but not if I have a narrow firefox window on my computer, ie. to have two browser windows side by side. Also I am not sure that no PDA browsers use CSS. I use dillo on mine and that works OK with Wikitravel. My Yopy runs X, so I can start firefox or konqueror on it. --elgaard 05:49, 27 Sep 2005 (EDT)
Well, I guess a very narrow konq or firefox window calls for a seperate stylesheet with just one column. Meanwhile I'm also thinking of floating the middle column of the three-column layout, but with a max-width and possibly a min-width setting.
Let me try a different way to explain: It seem that like me you don't run your browser with the window open to the size of the full screen. That means that yes, the two-column version looks better to you than it does to those people who do run the thing at full screen. The problem is that many people for whatever reason do tend to run their browsers at full-screen width. I want those people to be able to read Wikitravel too.
Meanwhile, with the two column layout the TOC tends to collide with images for those articles where there isn't a whole lot of text. Putting it outside in it's own column avoids that problem. -- Mark 05:59, 27 Sep 2005 (EDT)
The top is also problematic. If you increace the fontsize, the destination title (Lausanne) disappears, and the left menu spills into the main text. --elgaard 19:45, 26 Sep 2005 (EDT)
Thanks for the catch! -- Mark

I love that you make Wikitravel look visually distinct from Wikipedia. I'm not thrilled with a drinking cup for Drink entries since it's more than just places to drink -- but I can't think of anything better. In three column style, the ToC text for second-level headings is unreadably small on Safari 2.0.1. While I don't disagree with your ideas of fixed-width layout in principle, it seems to me that the main body text ends up being too narrow for my comfort, but if you make it wider you're going to have problems with small-screen viewing. Nice work! -- Colin 15:24, 28 Sep 2005 (EDT)

More: when reviewing pages, I rely heavily on link color for offsite/wikipedia/nonpage clues. It'd be nice if there was a least one style sheet which preserves this behavior. The font baseline for local links appears to be vertically offset from body text, unlike offsite links do have the correct baseline. -- Colin 15:31, 28 Sep 2005 (EDT)

Thanks! Yes I agree that the offsite/wikipedia/nonpage colors need preservation, and I'm going to make sure they get it in the next couple of levels of design. That said, I'm still working on layout. Right now I'm trying to figure out a way to do navigation on a single column layout for elgard's PDA. -- Mark 16:12, 28 Sep 2005 (EDT)

Hmm, I've been more and more distant from Wikitravel these last few weeks so somehow I missed this until now. Pretty much all I have to say here is "brilliant". I absolutely love your site redesign.

I only have one criticism and that's that the ===subheadings=== are smaller than the normal text size in my browser (Firefox 1.0.7 / Linux GTK2+XFT) which looks rather odd. But that is it: a very small criticism in an otherwise perfect stylesheet. I apologise if someone's already mentioned this - I couldn't read everyone's comments.

And I totally sympathise with the CSS problems in IE. Check out the latest design of my web site in both Firefox and IE. Quite a difference, eh?

Once again, "brilliant!" and keep up the good work! -- Owl 15:09, 29 Sep 2005 (EDT)

One-column: I like the idea, and the menus. I still do nok like the fixed width. The new menus do not move left when the window get smaller. The "styles" menu starts a horizontal scrollbar. --elgaard 15:40, 29 Sep 2005 (EDT)
Yeah, I mentioned that as a problem. There is no fixed width per se, there's a certain width beyond which it won't expand, but you can compress it as much as you want. Why would you ever want to expand it further than you can easily read the text? -- Mark 18:08, 29 Sep 2005 (EDT)
Because I can easily read it when the text is wider. That is how I want it. And I have to use the None style to get that. Besides a narrow text width waste browser window area, which means I have to scroll more. Ie. I can no longer view all ==See== entries at the same time. Newspapers do not use a 10 cm textwith and leave the rest of the paper blank. They just add more columns. --elgaard 19:29, 29 Sep 2005 (EDT)
Yeah, well, that's in the works but it's not quite ready for use here. I'm not surprised that it doesn't bother you to read long lines: you're a programmer. I'm afraid it makes it really hard for everybody else though. I absolutely want to make the site work for as many devices as possible, and make is accessable for everybody, but letting the text roam all across the width of the screen is just plain bad design. Sorry. -- Mark
A have not heard anyone say it makes Wikitravel hard to read. Even if they did, they should just adjust their window size. Limiting how people can use Wikitravel is just bad design. And using a fixed width does mean that it will work on less platforms than possible. It is about control; do Wikitravel or the users decide this. I want the users of Wikitral to be in control. P.S. I am a computer scientist, not a programmer. --elgaard 06:46, 30 Sep 2005 (EDT)
How does setting a max-width on a text column restrict it from working with anything? I'm sorry that just doesn't make sense. There is no platform which could possibly be prevented from using Wikitravel because of a max-width setting in one of several optional style sheets.
You are right, but it is a lot less useful with a horizontal scroll bar. --elgaard 12:32, 30 Sep 2005 (EDT)
If the user doesn't want to use the stylesheet they don't have to, the HTML works just fine by itself. Making Wikitravel more legible in a given style-sheet doesn't "limit how people can use it" at all. How could it? -- Mark 06:55, 30 Sep 2005 (EDT)
The old design works better than the bare HTML for me. You stylesheets do make Wikitravel look a lot better and forcing people to choose between fixed with and bare HTML is not fair. --elgaard 12:32, 30 Sep 2005 (EDT)
Actually if you want the type to go all the way across the screen just set the font size to +4. -- Mark 10:34, 30 Sep 2005 (EDT)
Yes but then the letters also get taller and I get even fewer letters on the screen. --elgaard 12:32, 30 Sep 2005 (EDT)
Right. Yes, exactly, which is what you want if you have eye trouble. -- Mark 12:51, 30 Sep 2005 (EDT)
Oh yeah, I just spent another hour or so on the "one-column" stylesheet, and found a sort-of solution for compressing the nav bar. It works all the way down to 240px across now with font-size set to -2 in the browser. It propably works even better on a PDA because they tend to have very light window decoration compared to what I'm using on my desktop. -- Mark 06:59, 30 Sep 2005 (EDT)
Much better. There is still a long URL that does not break which result in a scrollbar. But I think that is an incorrect WikiPedia link that has nothing to do with your design. --elgaard 12:32, 30 Sep 2005 (EDT)
What WikiPedia link?
I'll take out the long URL, but of course that sort of thing is hard to avoid on a wiki.
Here's a link to a report on one study of how well people are able to read various line-lengths. This stuff is real, I'm not making it up. -- Mark 12:44, 30 Sep 2005 (EDT)
I think we do avoid URL's in the online version. It could be a problem in the printed version, but there should be a way to break them anyway. The report you link to seems to say that longer lines are faster to read. If readers prefer shorter lines, they can adjust their browser window. --elgaard 13:35, 30 Sep 2005 (EDT)
In a word, no. If you want super long lines make your own stylesheet. -- Mark 14:42, 30 Sep 2005 (EDT)
I like the design: fixed-width, nice colors, JavaScript selector. Sorry I haven't commented before. Big question: is it not working right now? --Evan 23:19, 4 Oct 2005 (EDT)
Thanks for the mention. Yep, I busted it last night, but should have it working again today sometime. -- Mark 03:49, 5 Oct 2005 (EDT)

Section Icons

A red cross is not a good international symbol for the Stay Healthy icon, unfortunately. Though it's recognizable in many nations, it's probably illegal in others. -- Colin 17:50, 6 Oct 2005 (EDT)

Yeah, you're right of course. FWIW those newest icons are all just filler. I'm honestly stumped on what to do for stay healthy, any suggestion you might have would be fantastic. -- Mark 00:33, 7 Oct 2005 (EDT)
A thermometer, a band-aid --elgaard 05:12, 7 Oct 2005 (EDT)
I thought of those, and may still use the band-aid. For the moment though I'm changing it to a Medical Star. -- Mark 05:22, 7 Oct 2005 (EDT)
I wonder what the Swiss embassy does about their flag? -- Mark 05:48, 7 Oct 2005 (EDT)
From Googling, I now know the red cross symbol is intentionally a color-inverted Swiss flag. And that the Swiss flag decends from a flag that was clearly invoking Christian symbolism. But there are too many people asking the same question ("is the Swiss flag banned too?") for me to find a hit that actually answers the question. Can I observe that the Medical Star might also be construed as a Cross? Do we know if it is considered offensive? *sigh* -- Colin 15:51, 7 Oct 2005 (EDT)

"Erico Koerich"

What's going on with the "Erico Koerich" redirects? Not quite sure what you're trying to do there. -- Bill-on-the-Hill 09:49, 28 Oct 2005 (EDT)

I moved the work he had been doing on Portuguese wikitravel pages under his own User space. I could have just done a redirect to the pt expedition, but I was afraid that to a new user that would seem like I had deleted all of his hard work. There is a precident for people working on new language versions in their own namespace while an expedition is ongoing.
As for the syntax, I don't know what I was thinking the first time, that was just wrong. -- Mark 10:08, 28 Oct 2005 (EDT)

IE Demo

I went to the link you provided on my Talk page, but I came up with a really odd page. Basically its all text. I'll paste in the first few lines:

Wiki software successfully installed.

Please see documentation on customizing the interface ( and the User's Guide ( for usage and configuration help.

Retrieved from ""

Down in the bottom corner I have an "Error on page" notice. It says: "null" is null or not an object.

Frankly I'd hope null is null or my world will come to a crashing halt! (I'm a SQL DBA)

Try, try again? -- Ilkirk 22:25, 30 Oct 2005 (EST)

I hit the fixed link and everything seems to work pretty well - I'll knock around in it some more later today as well. I tried all 4 formats and they all displayed correctly. As each format loaded it was funny looking, but once it was done everything was okay. Anything specific you'd like me to check? -- Ilkirk 07:46, 31 Oct 2005 (EST)


That bug you mentioned for Safari was fixed in yesterday's MacOS update. -- Colin 02:30, 2 Nov 2005 (EST)

Hey cool! I still don't know how soon the new skin can be in use. I think Evan wants to try some stuff with the layout first. -- Mark 07:12, 2 Nov 2005 (EST)

Wikitravel and WWW::Mediawiki::Client

I love your WWW::Mediawiki::Client module, particularly the mvs script that comes with it.

However, it seems to be broken with Wikitravel at the moment. I know I haven't changed the version of WMC I have installed since things stopped working, and it still works fine with Wikipedia.

Here's the error message:

 17:24 sonar wikitravel % mvs update
 Doing update with host: and lang: en
 :2: parser error : XML declaration allowed only at the start of the document
 <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
  at /usr/share/perl5/WWW/Mediawiki/ line 1566

When I look at the XHTML output by Wikitravel at the moment, it seems to be missing that line at the top. I don't know if this is something Evan should be looking at fixing or if you could hack WMC to pretend that line is present when it isn't.

Just thought I'd let you know!

-- Owl 12:22, 6 Nov 2005 (EST)

No, that's totally my fault. I'll take a look and see what I can do. --Evan 12:26, 6 Nov 2005 (EST)
It should be fixed now. Please let me know if this is still broken. --Evan 09:59, 9 Nov 2005 (EST)
Looks good, thanks! -- Owl 14:27, 9 Nov 2005 (EST)


I've got a proposal for a bot to do the cleanup work on breadcrumb navigation here: Wikitravel:Script nominations#YggdrasilBot. Your comment welcome, please. --Evan 00:04, 11 Dec 2005 (EST)

Bloomington-Normal, Illinois?

Mark, we corresponded a while back about combining the entries for Bloomington (Illinois) and Normal (Illinois). I had the impression you were going to do that, but haven't seen it. Any plans there? Should I do it? To tell the truth, I'm busy enough with New Mexico that I'd be happy to defer to you. -- Bill-on-the-Hill 14:51, 17 Dec 2005 (EST)

Just FYI, I have started this consolidation; there is now a Bloomington-Normal (Illinois) page. (Yeah, the Illinois is redundant, but it simplifies moving some things around.) Could you help? The Normal stuff needs to be merged in, for starters. Thanks. -- Bill-on-the-Hill 19:23, 27 Dec 2005 (EST)
Another FYI: I got a mildly snarky message asking why the Illinois suffix -- surely there can't be another Bloomington-Normal! Fair enough, and I have brought the thing into alignment with usual practice, but as predicted, it's complicating all the redirects, etc. Wish there was a more fully automated way of doing this ... -- Bill-on-the-Hill 11:49, 29 Dec 2005 (EST)
Yeah, it's too bad about the redirects. I'll try to find some time to dig into the code to see if there's something I can do. Sorry about the snarkyness. It seems though that the kind of personality which is good at keeping up with the nit-picky details of consistency and spelling and things like that doesn't always make for the best wiki-side manner. I try to always look at it in the light that we badly need contributors with that particular bent. At least I do now; I accidentally chased a copy-editor type away once, and don't want that to happen again. -- Mark 09:09, 30 Dec 2005 (EST)

Santa Fe map

Thanks for the start on that map. Good news: you're not going to have to cover NEARLY that much territory. Almost everything in the article is contained within the primary gray blob at the upper center of the map that represents "urban" Santa Fe. That will allow immediate trimming by a factor of 10 or so. In fact, you don't even need the whole urban area. Notice the airport at the southwest end? If you trim just before you get to the airport and only leave what's northeast of it, you still cover all the important stuff. -- Bill-on-the-Hill 12:31, 2 Jan 2006 (EST)

Yes, the Carbondale approach will also work here. Most things named in the article, except the things in "Get out," are within about a 1-mile radius of the state capitol building (which I really ought to mention in the article, it's an architectural curiosity), which will allow an "inner" map of sufficient granularity to show things. Meanwhile, cutting to something slightly larger than the urban area will cover just about everything else, with arrows leading outward as appropriate.
The Santa Fe Ski Basin itself is the only ski area really close to Santa Fe. It's about 15 miles out of town to the east-northeast and could fit on the "outer" map. Taos Ski Valley and a number of others are about 80 miles away, near Taos, and would be off the map, with an arrow "To Taos" sufficient to get the traveler heading there. -- Bill-on-the-Hill 13:14, 2 Jan 2006 (EST)
Hmmmm. Unless I'm missing something (always possible as I am not highly fluent with IE), this map is showing the water courses out of town rather than the roads out of town. Since the water courses are usually dry, I suppose they kinda double as roads, at least if you're a dirt biker, but showing actual pavement would be better. :-) Am I missing something here? -- Bill-on-the-Hill 14:51, 2 Jan 2006 (EST)
OK, I'm now working on it with Inkscape. This will take a day or two, particularly since I'm back at work tomorrow ... -- Bill-on-the-Hill 00:01, 3 Jan 2006 (EST)
It appears that the roads were in the previous one, on a layer that Inkscape reveals and browsers did not. I'll work on this tonight. -- Bill-on-the-Hill 09:20, 4 Jan 2006 (EST)
I haven't forgotten this, but Santa Fe is a hard city to map. It's not just that the streets were laid out by following a bunch of cows; that's common enough in older cities. But in Santa Fe, the cows were apparently drunk.
Might have something up tonight if all goes well. Keep watching. -- Bill-on-the-Hill 18:25, 8 Jan 2006 (EST)
OK, so an interim version is there now as an .SVG file -- supposedly. I can't seem to download it myself. Could you have a try? This is the "overview" map giving outlying regions and general context, with a focused map of the downtown area to follow -- I'm about half way through that one. The calligraphy on this one is nothing to write home about but there is content, at least. -- Bill-on-the-Hill 10:05, 9 Jan 2006 (EST)

I'd just as soon you made the changes in this yourself. I'm working now on the "Downtown" map, and it would probably do me more good to see how you do it with the overview map, and apply that to the Downtown one, than to try to limp through an overview revision that may or may not be an improvement. -- Bill-on-the-Hill 14:33, 14 Jan 2006 (EST)

Paris Streets Wikiproject


I've been working on the "Paris pages" over in en.wikipedia and came across your work while looking through the arrondissement pages - bravo! I've recently begun a "Paris streets" project and would like ask your permission to use your plans for an infobox. I would also like to know if you have done all the arrondissements, and if for this purpose one can remove the "eat and drink" (etc) info (as it will be too small to read anyways... I'm a bit of a map-maker (most certainly a map-lover) myself. You can see some (one) of what I've done on my wikipidea user page here.

Thanks a million, and take care,

THEPROMENADER 11:39, 5 Jan 2006 (EST)

Hey, I've never tried to edit an SVG image before - a first! But for the layered menus, how thoughtful of you. I will be giving you credit under the map but I hope you won't mind if it's in squint-o'-rama size - depending! I haven't tried it yet. Can I ask you from where you got the info, and with what you made the maps? And did you do all of the arrondissements? I could 'finish things off' in your style if you don't have the time.
Anyhow, thanks and cheers.
THEPROMENADER 16:35, 9 Jan 2006 (EST)
(Scratching head) And what the ??? is going on with your talk page? LOL! THEPROMENADER 16:37, 9 Jan 2006 (EST)

Thanks again

Thanks again Mark, you've been a huge help to me. We weren't that worried about travelling; he said he just wanted to know what the culture of Paris was like. As far as I could remember walking throughout Paris I saw a huge mix of race and culture. All the same, thanks for getting the information to me. In case you're interested, I think we're going to leave it until early summer when we have more money. That's if plans don't change again and I end up going on my own. Either way your maps will probably come in very handy. Interesting article on Bertrand Delanoe, by the way. That's certainly something I didn't know. Anyway, you'll probably notice that I'll be working on the project too. I think it's great and I've been putting in all the little bits of information I know about places I have lived in and visited. Cheers! BarrY 17:04, 12 Jan 2006 (EST)

User welcome

Hi! I saw your post regarding welcome templates on Evan's talk page. Swedish Wikitravel has made two welcome templates, one for anonymous users in order to get them to sign up, and one for newly signed up users. Feel free to copy it. If you have any questions regarding the swedish text, feel free to contact me on my swedish talk page. Riggwelter 13:20, 21 Jan 2006 (EST)

Plunging forward

Hey Mark, thanks for the comments on the Rocky Mountains (United States of America) escapade. I understand what you mean about plunging forward -- but you might look at a few of the descendant pages to see what happened when I did. Not exactly the intended outcome. -- Bill-on-the-Hill 00:00, 23 Jan 2006 (EST)


No I stay in Copenhagen. I haven't been in Leysin for quite some years and not in the winter. -- 07:24, 1 Feb 2006 (EST)

New message notification

So, I had an idea that I wanted to get your opinion on. It's for new message notification for users on Wikitravel, with Cache 404 still enabled. You're really the only other person who's looked closely at the code, so I thought I'd get your opinion.

The idea is pretty simple, namely: we put a little 1x1 clear GIF up next to the "my talk" item in the personal links list. When the page is finished loading, we do an Ajax-style HEAD request of the user's talk page and get its last-modified date. If that date is later than the last time the user read their own talk page, we swap the source for the image to an animated GIF of a flashing red circle (or something else that gets the attention), and bold the "my talk" link (or otherwise make an indicator that means CLICK HERE).

This is pretty straightforward, and although it costs us an extra HEAD request for each page load, we already fire off so many requests for each page that one more seems hardly to matter. The devil is in the details, though. First, I think we have to set a cookie for each anonymous user saying what IP address we think they're coming from. That way, the Javascript on the client side will know which anonymous user talk page to check. Second, I think we have to set a cookie containing the timestamp for the last time the user read their talk page. I think that's pretty straightforward with some mod_rewrite craziness: if you're reading a page that looks like "User talk:your user name", then we set the cookie. We also set an epoch value for when the feature rolls out.

Lastly, there'll be the downside that the user will have different timestamps on different computers. I don't think that can be helped, nor is it a major problem for anon users. But I'd think it could be something of an annoyance for logged-in users who check Wikitravel from multiple computers... I'm not sure there's an easy answer.

Thoughts? --Evan 15:09, 10 Feb 2006 (EST)

Another question: do you still log in to AIM or IRC regularly? It'd be great to discussion on IM. --Evan 15:11, 10 Feb 2006 (EST)


Hi Mark, This is only to thank you again for your Paris map. I wanted to create a map of the streets created by Haussmann ([2]) for the French Wikipedia. I couldn't have done it without your work. Or it would have taken me much more than a couple of hours ! Thbz 19:36, 15 Feb 2006 (EST)

Santa Fe map again

Hey Mark, how close are you to being in a position to improve the Santa Fe map? I just became aware of an unfortunate error in the map that I uploaded, stemming from a curious dyslexic blind spot I have (what's in the map as "St. Vincent Drive" is actually St. Francis Drive, I have this odd thing about confusing words with identical length and syllabization). I could fix this given a little time, but if you're going to redo the whole thing, as you indicated (and as I hope you do), it's not clear that it's efficient for me to mess with it. -- Bill-on-the-Hill 10:25, 18 Feb 2006 (EST)

Thanks for the heads-up. I'm planning to get started on it again today, having finished a round of work on the Wikitravel skin. -- 10:35, 18 Feb 2006 (EST)
Just FYI, I've uploaded a corrected, (hopefully) improved version that should supersede the other one as a basis for what you do. It's linked into the SF page. -- Bill-on-the-Hill 13:42, 19 Feb 2006 (EST)

That map is a GREAT improvement on mine; thanks! A couple of minor corrections/suggestions:

  • The correct spelling is "Cerrillos Road" with two "r"s.
  • The symbol for "Eat" place number 3 (Gabriel's) should be placed so that it is clear that it's out of town to the north, i.e., joined to the text "To Opera, Pojoaque, Taos", as the restaurant is about five miles north of town and off the map. It should still be referenced; really fine place to eat.
  • I suggest moving the western edge of the "Downtown" box eastward past St. Francis Drive. One, that conforms to local practice, and two, it assists with increased resolution on the downtown area, where a whole bunch of attractions are packed very closely together.

All told, a terrific job. I'm impressed that you were able to do this painlessly; I'd have been sketching nonstop for a week to do the same thing and it wouldn't have turned out half as well. -- Bill-on-the-Hill 20:31, 22 Feb 2006 (EST)

Vandals comments

I toned down your comments slightly on the User talk:Willy on Wheels! page, hopefully you don't mind. The original version seemed a bit close to a certain world leader's "bring 'em on" comments, and (hopefully) that's not the sentiment you were trying to express. -- Ryan 18:37, 21 Feb 2006 (EST)

I've changed the text slightly, let me know if it's more to your liking. My reading of your original statement was a taunt to vandals to try and vandalize the site, a challenge I'd rather not put them up to. If the new text isn't to your liking go ahead and revert, my hope is just that it doesn't become an invitation for page moves and other senseless vandalism. -- Ryan 02:45, 22 Feb 2006 (EST)
The Willys don't need our invitation. They just go ahead and do what they want. The best response is to treat them like anyone else who is experimenting: Express appreciation when they do something useful (like exposing a bug) or funny, and clean up after them when they are done. -- Mark 04:18, 22 Feb 2006 (EST)

Your new skin

I'm just returning to Wikitravel after a long break and I noticed your new skin still hasn't appeared on the site. Is there any sign of it in the near future? If I remember correctly, it was pretty much complete way back in October. Am I wrong? -- Owl 08:34, 25 February 2006 (EST)

It worked

Surprisingly, my nutso-crazy-bonkers idea of shuffling around various images based on who edits and/or reads what when worked. The initial parts were pretty straightforward -- symlinking the indicator image when the user talk page is written to, and deleting the symlink when the user reads their own talk page. The hard part was forcing the server to run the wiki script (so the link would be deleted) when a user reads his/her own talk page. I finally figured it out -- see [3] -- but it was a headbanger problem for a while.

Let me know if it works for you in Konq. --Evan 23:01, 5 March 2006 (EST)

Testy test

Hey is this thing on? -- anon

Maps for Munich


As you seem to be great at creating maps could you please make several for Munich so that the CoTW is not in vain? Let me know if I can be of any help. Thanks! Sapphire 14:10, 20 April 2006 (EDT)

I'll look into it. For Franch or Switzerland it has usually been a pretty difficult project (and I've had to buy arial photos). I will see if I can find free data for Munich though. -- Mark 18:07, 20 April 2006 (EDT)
Would this google thing work? [4] Sapphire 02:31, 26 April 2006 (EDT)
Sorry, but I'm afraid not. Google doesn't actually own that map data, rather they are using it under license. I would have to buy an arial photo with a clear license, probably from someone like Another alternative would be to hire an airplane or a helicopter and take some pictures yourself. Anyhow, I can do the map with the photo, and will buy one eventually. -- Mark 02:48, 26 April 2006 (EDT)

Talk April 20

Mark, some of your comments (and mine) on Wikitravel talk:20 April 2006 got blown away accidentally by another user's edit at 10:44 UTC. I've just put them back, but you might want to verify. --Dawnview 07:50, 21 April 2006 (EDT)

Thanks! -- Mark 08:06, 21 April 2006 (EDT)


Just to let you know you were spammed by this IP I already took care of reverting the edit. Sapphire 02:20, 26 April 2006 (EDT)

What can we do about the continuous spammer that I've named on my user page? Possibly ban? Sapphire 07:42, 26 April 2006 (EDT)

Probably the best thing would be to blacklist their favorite spam. -- Mark 22:24, 26 April 2006 (EDT)


I saw this on Port25 (don't ask why I read it... somehow it got in my RSS queue): . --Evan 20:04, 26 April 2006 (EDT)

I wish them well, and am glad I changed the name of the script. -- Mark 21:49, 26 April 2006 (EDT)

Dull people in Israel

Thanks for the heads-up, but while narrow-minded clueless twats still piss me off to no end, Israel (both the article and the society) is one cesspool I no longer have much interest in wading in... Jpatokal 11:37, 27 April 2006 (EDT)

Contacting users

Hi Mark How do I contact you other than replying to the thread? Or is that the usual way? Thanks, Howard Howard 19:01, 30 April 2006 (EDT)

Thanks and good night, Mark. Howard 19:12, 30 April 2006 (EDT)

Stars beget stars

So, I don't know if you've seen the work of User:Sixzilly, but you may be interested in reading the user page there! --Evan 07:13, 2 May 2006 (EDT)

Hey Cool! -- Mark 10:55, 2 May 2006 (EDT)

Photos: uploading and acknowledging

Hi Mark: I've been working on the Basel page; sometimes without signing in (is there a way how I can still claim authorship?). Anyway, my question now is about uploading photos from another source. My source (who posted the photos on the internet on his own site) would allow me to upload them but would like a link to his site and to his business (unrelated to photos). What's the policy? Freshi

Sleepy Hollow

In retrospect I should have left the article on the village in NY where it was and merely added the one in Illinois. Is it too late to remediate? I'm happy to undo the internal links, but I'd rather someone a little more skilled in the database undo the page move. SHC 20:24, 19 May 2006 (EDT)

Thanks. I've reverted the rest. SHC 06:50, 20 May 2006 (EDT)


Hi Mark - there's an anonymous user who seems to be adament that Chao-Ba in Paris is a particularly shady place. Not being familiar with it I've copied his comments to Talk:Paris/18th arrondissement and removed the restaurant from the Paris/18th arrondissement article. I'm honestly not sure if this person is a troll or not (I couldn't find the referenced review on Yahoo Travel or any other negative reviews online) but since you're more familiar with the place figured you might be able to shed some light on the subject. Apologies if I just got suckered by a troll, but if this place really is so much trouble figured it's better not to keep it as the sole Wikitravel restaurant. -- Ryan 21:24, 24 May 2006 (EDT)

Chao-ba is kindof upscale actually, and I don't think we're dealing with just one person. It seems like the first one had a real greivence with one of the waiters, but the second is just jumping on the bandwagon. -- Mark 01:20, 25 May 2006 (EDT)
There are actually two Yahoo Reviews. Both are listed here [5] Both reviews are exact duplicates. Wow! A little freaky. - Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 01:37, 25 May 2006 (EDT)


Could you possibly help teach me how to make maps? The biggest question I have right now is there a respectable map making program I can download for free. I can't spend anything, because I have to save every penny for tuition in Poland. Cheers! - Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 23:55, 27 May 2006 (EDT)

Protecting the front page

Mark, I'm writing to you because an idiot is defacing the front page, and you're the first docent on the list. I don't know if you have adminpowers, but you need to ban this twerp. Please lock down the front page so this doesn't happen.

Keeping an up to date mirror

If I remember well, somewhere in the long discussion about database dumps you have told that you track wikitravel's recent changes in order to keep an always up to date mirror of wikitravel on your own server. Do you still do so? What do you mirror, only en: or also other language versions? Would you leave me a copy of your tracking script?

Something else: Simply to copy and paste parts of other by-sa licensed articles is actualy a license violation since you do not give proper attribution to the contributors of the copied article. You are some of those who want to bring ahead a clean way of copying. Do you already have some more detailed plans on how this might be realized technicaly?

-- Hansm 05:39, 9 July 2006 (EDT)

I don't have a script written right now to do it. I sort of lost interest after the XML dumps were announced. It shouldn't be too hard to do though, and I'm willing to help. I do have a copy of Wikitravel en: but it's several months old now.
Special:Export provides all of the attribution info you need to comply with the license, so it shouldn't be a problem. Really all you need to do is track recent changes through the rss or atom feed, grab the Special:Export of any page mentioned in the feed and pipe it into Special:Import on your mirror. Hopefully you'll do it in the other direction as well. -- Mark 08:10, 9 July 2006 (EDT)
Thanks, Mark. I already have requested for XML dumps of de:. Evan has explained me in a mail that "IB considers whether to make an XML feed available to you. This will typically involve deciding how much work you're asking for versus how much benefit it will be for Wikitravel." This sounds somewhat different from his anouncements on Wikitravel_talk:Internet_Brands#XML_versions_of_Wikitravel_content. Now, the availability of dumps seem to depend on the benefit for Wikitravel, which has to be decided by noone else than IB. If IB states that a project fork would not be a benefit, they maybe would deny my request for dumps. But there is not yet any decision made about it. However, this topic is still interesting enough.
Now about the technical aspects: OK, this way you always can keep the current version of each article up to date, but you may loss some of its history. Doing so, you cannot keep track of all contributors to that article. There may raise problems from that fact. Or did I oversee something? Is there a way to request the Mediawiki software for an XML-export of the last N revisions? This would be necessary if there had been more than one contribution to the article between your recent changes requests. --- How do you mean "the other direction as well"? -- Hansm 09:36, 9 July 2006 (EDT)
I don't understand why you have to wait for IB. Getting them to send you a full XML dump would only be a convienience (in addition to being a badly needed show of good faith). You can just do it yourself with a script like this one? (that's what I did):
 for a in `cat ../wikitravel.pages.list `
         curl "$URL$a" > $a.xml
         sleep 20
Do look at the resulting files. They have all of the contributor information. I you want you can import them into your Mediawiki installation using Special:Import.
There is a bug preventing the export from fetching the full history for articles which are long and have been edited a lot. Aside from that this works fine. It took about three days to run over all of Wikitravel en:.
All this said, I don't really see the point of forking, rather I see the db dumps as being a sort of insurance policy. I want them solely to preserve the content of Wikitravel in case something goes wrong with the IB deal which causes them to pull down the site. Meanwhile the content is still Free content, in that it really is under the license it's under. -- Mark 10:59, 9 July 2006 (EDT)
Thanks again. In Wikitravel_talk:Internet_Brands#XML_versions_of_Wikitravel_content, Evan says: "There's a point between getting one or two articles from Special:Export and getting all 9000 (well, almost) en: guides ..." I understood him in the way that downloading full dumps via Special:Export would not be appreciated because this would require a lot of resources and bandwidth. But sure, if I'm forced to do so, I will.
If you want to know about my reasons for forking, see my contributions to Wikitravel_talk:Internet_Brands and my discussion with Evan, originally on his talk page, but later moved incidently onto an orphaned sub-page. You also can try to understand my statement in German on de:Benutzer:Hansm/Zur Kommerzialisierung von Wikitravel.
-- Hansm 11:34, 9 July 2006 (EDT)