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Wikitravel:Travellers' pub

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The Travellers' pub is the place to ask questions when you're confused, lost, afraid, tired, annoyed, thoughtful, or helpful. Please check the FAQ and Help page before asking a question, though, since that may save your time and others'.

Please add new questions at the bottom of the page and sign your post by appending four tildes (~~~~) to it, but otherwise plunge forward!

If you have a question or suggestion about a particular article, try using talk pages to keep the discussion specific to that article.

If you are having a problem that you think has to do with the Mediawiki software, please post that on the Technical requests page on Wikitravel Shared instead.

If you want to celebrate a significant contribution to Wikitravel by yourself or others, Wikitravel:Celebrate a contribution may be the place you are looking for.

Please sweep the pub

Keeping the Pub clean is a group effort. If we have too many conversations on this page, it will get too noisy and hard to read. If you see an old conversation (i.e. three months after the last comment in that discussion) that could or should be moved to a talk page, please do so, and note there that it has been swept in from the pub.

  • A question regarding a destination article should be swept to the article discussion page
  • A discussion regarding a policy or the subject of an expedition can be swept to the policy or expedition discussion page
  • A simple question asked by a user can be swept to that user's talk page, but consider if the documentation needs a quick update to make it clearer for the next user with the same question.
  • A pointer to a discussion going on elsewhere, such as a notice of a star nomination or or a request to comment on another talk page, can be removed when it is two months old. Any discussion that occurred in the pub can be swept to to where the main discussion took place.

Any discussions that do not fall into any of these categories, and are not of any special importance for posterity, should be archived to Wikitravel:Travellers' pub/Archives and removed from here. If you are not sure where to put a discussion, let it be—better to spend your efforts on those that you do know where to place.



As long as there's some chance to upgrade to latest MediaWiki, maybe it's also possible to set up a WYSIWIG plugin? WYSIWIG is used for long at Wikia wiki hosting, and works perfectly (I had some experience with Looks like they are running this extension [1], although I'm not absolutely sure.

Benefits are obvious: much lower barrier for one-time contributors, therefore a higher conversion to regular contributors, therefore more useful content, therefore more pageviews and ads served--so there's even a benefit for IB :-) --DenisYurkin 15:12, 1 June 2011 (EDT)

Downsides include horrible code created by WYSIWYG editors (especially FCKeditor) making editing harder for those who don't use it, and sometimes even showing up as garbage in an article, as well as increased server load. 06:38, 21 June 2011 (EDT)
Can you demonstrate this by an example text and a simple editing scenario which a inexperenced user can reasonably have, which results in horrible code/makes editing much harder? --DenisYurkin 01:31, 22 June 2011 (EDT)

new monetization initiative by IB proposed

Internet Brands has recently proposed a new initiative to monetize Wikitravel: shared:Talk:Advertising policy#New Monetization Effort II (earlier it was mentioned shortly in #Site times out).

This is more or less how it gonna look:

Please share your support or criticism on shared: at the above link. --DenisYurkin 17:51, 28 June 2011 (EDT)

I seem to be blocked from editing

Hi all, Please someone check if I have been blocked from editing either intentionally or by accident. I have been unable to log on and have not been able to edit for a week. I have had no notification of a problem, and IB have not been forthcoming on why I get gateway timeouts for attempts to edit or connect to non-article pages. My service provider promised to check if they are the problem but have not come back to me. This is seriously frustrating and annoying, as I have a lot of updates waiting to upload. I dont even expect this message to go through, but it is all I can do. Cheers, User:Pbsouthwood

If you can't log on at all, it's not a block (nor is there one on your account). You'll have to define "unable to log on" more precisely -- do you get an error message of any kind? Or is it just a timeout, or no response, or what? LtPowers 10:13, 6 August 2011 (EDT)
My IP address was blocked once by IB, but I was unable to even browse the site when that happened - emailing tech at (several times) and giving them my IP address and a description of the problem eventually got it resolved. Also, be aware that site functionality for many users has currently degraded to the point where edits take numerous attempts - I'm finding I generally have to reload pages several times due to timeouts - so that may also be part of the problem. As LtPowers said, if you can provide any additional info it might make it easier to figure out the issue, and if you can't access the site then any of the admins here can probably act as an intermediary for you via email. -- Ryan • (talk) • 12:19, 6 August 2011 (EDT)
I am editing from a friend's house for this edit, and I had absolutely no problem at all, very quick connection and everything seems to work as expected. I don't know who his ISP is though as it is a local network service. Anyway to get to the questions: Not able to log on means if I click the Log on/create account tab I get a timeout. The only error message I get is 504 gateway timeout. and I get that for most non article pages, and all edit attempts in the last few days. I have not been able to get into shared at all recently, but the problems at En have been more gradual in buildup, which doesn't make sense to me at all. I have mailed the tech guy at IB (IBDick, I think he calls himself), but he has not so far managed to explain what the problem is or solve it. I have found out that the server refuses tracert requests as a policy, so that test didn't prove anything. I have been having the same trouble Ryan describes for months already. I have been unable to get onto anyone's talk page to leave a message or I would have done that already., and I don't have anyone's private email to bypass the problem. Its been a sort of "you cant get there from here" situation. I plan to try dial-up tomorrow if I get the time. that may also throw some light on the problem. Another friend accessed WT and could make edits using the same ISP that I use, so that doesn't look like the problem either, though the tech I spoke to at Telkomsa (my ISP) said he would get back to me after making some tests. me but did not. So it goes. If anyone wants to contact me by direct email, my address is on my user page. Cheers, • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 12:51, 6 August 2011 (EDT)
I am also finding it is near impossible to load pages, preview or resolve an edit at this time, very frustrating. -- felix 12:09, 7 August 2011 (EDT)

I have made some small adjustments (set DNS to a more local branch) recommended by my ISP tech who thought they would solve the problem, but things have only improved marginally. I am now sometimes able to open an edit page. Perhaps 1 in 5 tries will open, and some of those will save, but still no success at all with shared. Cheers, • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 11:42, 8 August 2011 (EDT)

You could try setting your DNS servers to and (Google's open DNS servers) ...
I am also current experiencing serious access issues. It is no longer just the problem of frequent mind numbing lags and time outs I have experienced for the last year or so.That problem comes and goes, at times making editing a considerable challenge, other times only requiring backing up and re-loading the page or page edit a few times. This is why I occasional show two sequential identical edits, or sometimes go-offline leaving an unresolved edit sequence. The current problem however appears quite different. I have not been able to load any Wikitravel page for an extended time since my last edit at 10:07, 14 August 2011. I use Safari for mac and Firefox for mac and of course tried both browsers multiple times and flushed the caches. Just prior to uploading this note I did manage to successfully load WT recent changes and the WT main page, then it went back to the error message again. I can however consistently load pages using a different IP (by proxy). As I can log in from a different IP, using the same browser/s I assume the IP is being blocked, albeit now intermittently. The error messages are presented as follows. Just prior to posting this using a mirror proxy I started getting successful page loads again using my regular. The messages below are the error message displayed on failed attempts, the error message is the same in both browsers:
The requested URL could not be retrieved
While trying to retrieve the URL:
The following error was encountered:
• Zero Sized Reply
Squid did not receive any data for this request.
Your cache administrator is root.
Generated Sun, 14 Aug 2011 17:32:44 GMT by (squid/2.6.STABLE6)
The requested URL could not be retrieved
While trying to retrieve the URL:
The following error was encountered:
• Zero Sized Reply
Squid did not receive any data for this request.
Your cache administrator is root.
Generated Sun, 14 Aug 2011 21:04:20 GMT by (squid/2.6.STABLE6)
Except for the date stamp the message is the same each time.
I hope the IB people are currently paying some attention to this page. Although I have been experiencing erratic page loads, occasional timeouts and other frustrations up to a few hours ago they were in the normal range of lousy server response to which I am accustomed, this latest issue is however an entirely new phenomena. To me it looks like a classic data base overload problem and most likely the Squid response is arising from giving up waiting for Apache to respond after a set period of time, most likely due to DB structural problems, possibly the /temp folder or memory cache or a load balancing issue. I am really quite sick of having my time wasted by persistent re-loading requirements and time-outs when editing here. What I find odd though is that whilst experiencing this problem I could come in through a different IP and access the WT server at the time without any issues. I am assuming therefore that the problematic server I was accessing from my own IP was the issue and the other (proxy) IP I was using was accessing a different server (or an unaffected mirror server). This latest event is further underlining my suspicions that IB need to do some serious housekeeping, really how old is the gear these guys are using, have they purloined the stuff from a museum collection somewhere. Maybe others here have some ideas on this. To add some clarity to the matter I could not get in from an Indonesian IP but could get in from a Dutch IP. -- felix 18:36, 14 August 2011 (EDT)
I don't know if anyone from IB followed up with Peter after the emails that went out. In any rate, I left a message at our current IB liaison's talk page current IB liaison's talk page. --Peter Talk 00:05, 15 August 2011 (EDT)
Thanks Peter, I get "User account "IBobi" is not registered." when I go to that address. I manage to load this page OK today so maybe that particular server issue was transient. Hopefully though IB can see there are (ongoing) problems that really do need to be addressed. -- felix 04:40, 15 August 2011 (EDT)
I guess Peter meant to link IBobi's Shared talk page but linked to Commons instead, apperantly out of a mistake.
On another note, I've got the very same message Felix explained above yesterday night, around midnight GMT, and gave up but now I seem to be accessing and editing seamlessly. The details on the problem and how to get around it are far too technical for me, though. – Vidimian 06:59, 15 August 2011 (EDT)
For what it's worth, I'm seeing the same behavior intermittently. I emailed tech at wikitravel dot org with a screenshot last night, but I'm not optimistic about a response. At this point I would lay odds that the database is in need of standard TLC, but who knows if that will ever happen. -- Ryan • (talk) • 10:36, 15 August 2011 (EDT)
Hi -- I pinged Dick on this just to be on the safe side. Hopefully he'll be able to take a look at this over the next few days. In the future, you can contact me via my posted email address, or Dick/Tech as you see fit.--IBobi 16:16, 15 August 2011 (EDT)
Hi IBobi, from my perspective today things seem to be back to their old cluncky ways again with no more squid ink blackouts. Thanks for your note above. -- felix 06:58, 16 August 2011 (EDT)
I was now able to log in again, but have been experiencing the same problems over the past few days, including earlier this evening. It seems the troubles come and go, sometimes not allowing me to do anything (including logging in or seeing recent changes, which gives me the same "Zero Sized Reply"), at other times I can see recent pages but still not log in or edit. In any case, it's working now but was still broken a few hours ago so I'm not sure it's fixed. Justme 19:06, 17 August 2011 (EDT)
Back to extended periods of failed page loads, failed edit uploads or zero server responses, happening again yesterday thru early this morning, working OK at this moment. -- felix 12:28, 18 August 2011 (EDT)

So I understand this, the error that led to this thread has been resolved and we are "back to the usual site sluggishness"? If this is a bug that needs to be addressed, please report it here: --IBobi 14:01, 23 August 2011 (EDT)

Sometimes page request times are good however for a lot of the time timeouts and slow page loads are a very disappointing aspect of editing on this site. Edits are occasionally lost in the muddle of it or alternatively require lots of back paging to retrieve, this is also frustrating as loading those pages is difficult as well. I often find the site unusable for hours at a time and on many occasions these problems have persisted for days or even weeks. Maybe there are conflicts with my ISPs caches, maybe it is a dysfunctional mirror server. It seems we do not all suffer from the same problem at the same time. Just incase it should be of interest I do check using a different computer and I have alternative browsers installed. I use only up to date OS and browser versions. Thanks for taking and interest iBobi. -- cheers felix 18:09, 23 August 2011 (EDT)
Hey felix, looks like rather than your being blocked, this is a symptom of an overall site issue that we will be working to resolve as we upgrade Mediawiki and address existing tech requests and bugs. Hang in there, because the site is going to be in better shape over the next couple of months.--IBobi 19:24, 23 August 2011 (EDT)
I have not suggested that I am being blocked, it appears to be bad server behaviour or related issues, good to hear that there is something being done to address the problems.-- cheers felix 20:00, 24 August 2011 (EDT)


I just wanted to plug our new Collaboration of the Month: a project to create meaningful see sections for all country articles. We have three people on the project; three more would mean that we would make real progress quickly. If you already are familiar with the country, it doesn't take long to write up a see section. If not familiar, this is a great exercise for learning about travel in parts of the world new to you.

This is all to say that this is a fun CotM—join in! --Peter Talk 17:45, 7 September 2011 (EDT)

Alignment of images - left or right?

Hi folks. Can someone please point me to the policy about the alignment of images? Cheers. --SaxonWarrior 07:08, 9 September 2011 (EDT)

Reversion question

I've had to revert this edit three times already, and so I'm reluctant to do so again, but I can't figure out why this is being removed. Any thoughts? LtPowers 19:06, 16 September 2011 (EDT)

It's not clear why the original text is being removed, so provided the info isn't incorrect then your revert seems fine. -- Ryan • (talk) • 20:35, 16 September 2011 (EDT)
The user in question left a note on my talk page explaining the deletion. -- Ryan • (talk) • 21:53, 16 September 2011 (EDT)
Odd that he did so for you but not for me. The explanation is also unsatisfying, for reasons I explained on your talk page. LtPowers 09:06, 17 September 2011 (EDT)


Could someone give me a basic outline of our policies toward linking to wikimapia policy. My understanding is that we do not link to other guides, as per External links, including mapping services. However I cannot find any specific reference to Wikimapia in our policies or the discussion pages. I would like some clarity as a new user is quite enthusiastic to use them and I do not want to jump on them in case I am in error in any way in my interpretation of this. Thanks -- felix 05:13, 19 September 2011 (EDT)

I would not treat Wikimapia any differently to any other map site, i.e. it should not be linked to. As an aside, it has struck me as being a rather odd site, and probably little more than a means for Google Maps to gather user-generated content free-of-charge. The copyright situation is also murky. --burmesedays 08:12, 19 September 2011 (EDT)
I thought the same but buttoned my lips, I will refer the contributing editor here so they can have a look if they are a bit curious as to what others think about it. -- thanks, felix 08:37, 19 September 2011 (EDT)

Timeshare articles?

We have extensive and creative experience with owning, using, and disposing of timeshares. I've tried to figure out this site but can't seem to find anyone to ask a few questions of.

1. Is there a timeshare category? It doesn't come up in any search.

2. Would people be interested in articles like

     Timeshare Swaps - Creative Timeshare Travel+ $0 Exchanges
     Vacation with eBay Timeshares
     Rent to Sell Your Timeshare
     How to Get HIGH DOLLARS for Your Timeshare

3. I understand the prohibition on self advertising and have no problem being total generic. We are a charity that accepts timeshare donations, but the only mention of anything would be in my bio contact email address. We just find that too many people are stuck and need a few creative ideas.

4. What page should we start with as a link?

5. If not, how do we start a new page? Drkenrich 15:10, 30 September 2011 (EDT)

I think a travel topic article on Timeshares might be a good starting point, if you would like to try your hand at writing one. But yes, of course, take note of the advice at Wikitravel:Don't tout and perhaps the apartment policy as well, and keep them in mind while drafting the article. Holiday villas might be a good article to look at for inspiration (although that article could certainly use some work as well). I'm curious to see what develops! --Peter Talk 23:56, 30 September 2011 (EDT)

Preferences Reseting?

Last week my user preferences for recent changes and date format reset. Today the same thing happened again, and my editor preferences also changed. Has anyone else seen anything similar? If my account has been hacked that seems like an odd thing for someone to change, so I think it's more likely that something is amiss with the Wikitravel servers. -- wrh2 12:20, 5 October 2011 (EDT)

Exactly the same happened to me, twice.--burmesedays 20:25, 5 October 2011 (EDT)
Thanks, good to know I don't have to worry about whether my account was hacked. My snarkier side would say something about reporting this as a bug on shared: if I thought there was better than a one-in-fifty chance of anything being done, but luckily that side of my personality is kept in check. -- wrh2 22:12, 5 October 2011 (EDT)
If you make the report and put in as many details of exact behavior as your can (include your browser type & version), I'll raise it with Tech. Please ping me on my page or via email at paul.obrien at internetbrands dot com when you've done this, okay?--IBobi 15:21, 6 October 2011 (EDT)
While your efforts have definitely resulted in more responsiveness, there are still a ton of high priority open bugs, including the longstanding performance problems. Given that reality, reporting an issue with user preferences that is impossible to reproduce reliably is probably not a good use of either of our available resources right now. -- wrh2 15:40, 6 October 2011 (EDT)
Yes and no. A number of those bugs will hopefully resolve when the Mediawiki upgrade is done, which is currently being specced out. If the preference resets are something we can resolve in the meantime, it's probably worth reporting. If we cannot reproduce the error, it is of course less likely we can address it.--IBobi 18:11, 7 October 2011 (EDT)
I can image "speccing out" would take two or three days or even a week, but 3 months and no end in sight? It's getting pretty ridiculous. What is wrong with your tech people? texugo 00:30, 8 October 2011 (EDT)
Chances are they've never worked with MediaWiki before. LtPowers 09:42, 8 October 2011 (EDT)
My preferences decided to reset themselves again today.~~
Really sick of having to reset my preferences every time I login. Since when does "speccing out" a project, involve breaking what is already running? Wikitravel sucks at the moment. --Inas 17:06, 9 November 2011 (EST)

Search broken?

The last couple of days, I've noticed that the search isn't working properly. If you search for a page (clicking Search, rather than Go), you get a message that says

There was a problem with the wiki search. This is probably temporary; try again in a few moments, or you can search the wiki through an external search service:

followed by a Google search box. It happens even if you search for a page we definitely have, like New York City. It seems to be happening only here on en: as far as I can tell, and I have no idea how long it's been going on. Anyone else noticed this? texugo 01:48, 6 October 2011 (EDT)

Yeah, I remember seeing that even on Wikipedia years ago. Looks like our search engine is down. Time for a bug report. LtPowers 09:57, 6 October 2011 (EDT)
Working for me. Anyone still having problems?--IBobi 15:15, 6 October 2011 (EDT)
Typing "New York" in the search box and clicking the "search" button takes me to the error page texugo mentions. -- wrh2 15:43, 6 October 2011 (EDT)
Still broken for me too. IBobi, are you clicking the "Search" button? The "Go" button works fine (if we have the page), but the Search button doesn't. texugo 23:27, 6 October 2011 (EDT)
I see it. I'll get tech on it & keep you updated. Thanks guys.--IBobi 17:37, 7 October 2011 (EDT)
Should be okay now. Let me know if you see this again.--IBobi 17:46, 7 October 2011 (EDT)
No change as far as I can tell. Every search takes me to the error page with the google search box. texugo 00:27, 8 October 2011 (EDT)
This worked for me shortly after IBobi posted his message, but it is broken again now. -- wrh2 01:02, 8 October 2011 (EDT)

Looking back into this to 1. Fix it, and 2. Figure out why it keeps breaking.--IBobi 14:22, 10 October 2011 (EDT)

Back up now, and being monitored to determine what the longterm issue is with stability.--IBobi 14:41, 10 October 2011 (EDT)

Discussion notice

Could I trouble you for additional input on my question at Talk:Niagara Falls (New York)#External link? Thanks! LtPowers 10:47, 12 October 2011 (EDT)

Format for dual entries

Many hotels or guest houses have good restaurants as well. I understand we're not supposed to list them fully twice, but if our readers are looking for a place to eat, they won't intuitively look under the "Sleep" section and vice-versa. Equally I understand that we don't want to repeat information unnecessarily.

To make our great guide more user-friendly, how about if we have one "full entry" with all common details plus those relevant to accommodation under "Sleep", and one "short entry" under "Eat", with just the name and comments about the restaurant plus a remark like: See "Sleep" section for details. --SaxonWarrior 14:28, 16 October 2011 (EDT)

Seems reasonable, but I would limit it to destinations that don't already have an overabundance of listings in one section or both. LtPowers 07:34, 17 October 2011 (EDT)
I object to this, there are listings which are a guest house, restaurant, cafe, dive shop and tour agency all in one; listing them five times isn't going to improve our guides. I think our current policy suffices—if some guest houses are also good restaurants, this can easily be noted in the Sleep section, as I have done at Bangkok/Dusit#Eat. --globe-trotter 11:00, 17 October 2011 (EDT)
I object as well. I think our current policy works just fine. I don't want to see us start duplicating stuff. texugo 11:14, 17 October 2011 (EDT)
I see no reason to make a reader look in both "Eat" and "Sleep" when perusing their restaurant options. How does that benefit the traveler in any way, shape, or form? LtPowers 18:49, 17 October 2011 (EDT)
The current policy has served us well and I see slippery slopes everywhere. I would strongly oppose any change.--burmesedays 22:38, 17 October 2011 (EDT)
Duplicate listings for one place are bad, but if someone wanted to include in prose in the Eat section that several hotels or bars also serve good food, I don't see any issue with that. The main info should be with the main listing, though.. --inas 23:40, 17 October 2011 (EDT)
How would it benefit the traveler to have the same listing in every category? Places like Khao San Road and Ko Chang will be pretty awful to read, as nearly every listings there at least a guest house, cafe, and restaurant in one. --globe-trotter 02:30, 18 October 2011 (EDT)

It which case it would benefit the traveller to have a single line in the eat section that states just that. --inas 06:25, 18 October 2011 (EDT)

Yes I agree with having a pointer in the other section, like the example I gave above. --globe-trotter 07:38, 18 October 2011 (EDT)
Yes, yes, I can understand the objection for places that are rife with such options. But for small destinations where there are two separate establishments that are owned by the same people and maybe operate under the same name, I don't see the point in refusing to provide a full restaurant listing as well as a full hotel listing. You don't sleep in the dining room; why would you look at "Eat" for information on where to sleep? LtPowers 08:39, 18 October 2011 (EDT)
I agree with everyone that we shouldn't duplicate information. I was only proposing listing the name twice; nothing else would be duplicated. There would be:
  • one long listing with common information (directions, tel nos, etc) plus accommodation details under "Sleep"
  • one short listing with just name and restaurant info under "Eat" plus a pointer to the main entry.
Minimal duplication; maximum user-friendliness. I'm looking at it from the traveller's point of view. They'll miss stuff otherwise and our guide won't have achieved its aim. --SaxonWarrior 12:35, 18 October 2011 (EDT)
The current policy has developed to stop an average hotel with a restaurant and bar from just adding three listings for their establishment. The policy has been around just about forever, and I think would need a strong consensus to change it. I agree with [User:Burmesedays|burmesedays]] that there are many slippery slopes adding dups, even abbreviated ones. I do think that, where appropriate, some prose pointing out the hotels that also have a good restaurant or lively bar is entirely within the current guidelines, and adequately meets the needs of the traveller. In a small town that may only mean casting your eye back a paragraph or two. --inas 23:14, 18 October 2011 (EDT)
I'll stick by my objection and answer that allowing that would mean that every hotel-with-a-restaurant/restaurant-with-a-few-rooms will suddenly feel entitled to both, when in reality the vast majority of their secondary offerings are unremarkable and would probably otherwise not be recommended in our guide.texugo 23:16, 18 October 2011 (EDT)

A thought here. It seems the main objection involves hotels that also have a bar/lounge/restaurant in the lobby. That strikes many people, including myself, as not really 'two separate establishments' and undeserving of separate listings. It's clearly a hotel that just happens to have a restaurant on the premises, as many upscale hotels do.

But those of us looking to allow occasional exceptions are coming from a different angle. A listing that is primarily a restaurant that happens to have rooms available nearby strikes me as fundamentally different somehow than a hotel with a restaurant inside. People might expect to read about a hotel's restaurant in the Sleep listing, but would be surprised to read about a restaurant's rooms in an Eat listing. (That is, "Eating" is part of the hotel experience; "Sleeping" is not part of the restaurant experience.)

Can we agree that hotel restaurants shouldn't have separate listings, while considering that perhaps rooms adjacent to a restaurant might (given certain other conditions like a lack of other lodging nearby)?

-- LtPowers 08:41, 19 October 2011 (EDT)

In many rural places almost the only place to eat in the evening is an hotel. I have no objection to dual listings in such places - places where the total number of restaurants (listed in the phone book etc) is less than 10. For example Barra has several dual listings, including 3 hotels in Eat - but there are only two other possible places to eat on the island - the airport cafe and another hotel.
The main listing (address phone etc) should always be under Sleep, with eat or drink just listing the name (and where appropriate district). This secondary listing will generally just a single sentence with a (horizontal list), but sometimes a full review is appropriate. In bigger places a hotel restaurant should only be listed if it is "surprising" - a very good restaurant in a 1 star hotel, or a cheap one in a 4 star hotel - somewhere that is full of locals. Restaurants in places to See or Do (e.g. a museum cafe) should only be listed separately if you can eat there without paying an entry charge, and it is good enough to visit when not sightseeing.AlasdairW 18:18, 19 October 2011 (EDT)
Just out of interest, what do you see as the difference between a hotel with a restaurant, and a restaurant with some adjacent room. How would you tell one from the other? --inas 18:27, 19 October 2011 (EDT)
I know it when I see it. If someone asks you where the restaurant is, and you say "inside the ___ Hotel", then it's a hotel with a restaurant. If someone asks you where the hotel is, and you say "upstairs from ____ restaurant", then it's a restaurant with a hotel. LtPowers 14:24, 20 October 2011 (EDT)
Hmmmm... If it is separate, then there is nothing against it in our existing policy. The restaurant next to the pub, the shop on the floor above the backpackers hotel. I don't think the "know if when we see it", is sufficient for a WT policy, although I think I see the idea.. --inas 19:26, 20 October 2011 (EDT)
My main objection is not limited to hotels that have a restaurant/bar (and vice versa). The problem is much wider than that. For example hotels that have a restaurant (or several), bar (or several), spa, dive shop, surf school and a yoga centre. If we start making exceptions, how would we deal with such an establishment? To date, we have managed to create a site with great travel guides by simply mentioning this under the main category listing, or by simply mentioning it in prose. I am struggling to see why this approach creates a problem?
I do accept that some travellers might be dim enough to not realise that a hotel in a small town will most likely have a restaurant, but we can't always cater to the lowest common denominator. --burmesedays 20:50, 20 October 2011 (EDT)
Take, for instance, Saint Marys (Pennsylvania). I have Gunners listed twice: the restaurant under "Eat" and the lodging under "Sleep". There are only a few hotels in the city, so I hate to omit Gunners from the list just because they're primarily a restaurant. But likewise, it's a top food option, so it would be silly to omit them from "Eat". And I don't want to clutter the restaurant listing with information about the rooms upstairs.
Consider also, Childs, where there's only a single restaurant and one lodging establishment in the hamlet, and they both happen to be owned and run by the same people. If I omit either the restaurant or the lodging listing, the corresponding section would be entirely empty. That's not useful to the traveler.
-- LtPowers 22:01, 20 October 2011 (EDT)
Still nothing a prose mention wouldn't remedy. I think it's important to keep this rule, and it's not the rare cases you pointed out that I'm worried about-- I'm worried because relaxing this rule will start an uphill battle to keep people from double, triple, quadruple-listing their business in the vast majority of destination articles that don't have a scarcity of options. That is what the rule was intended to prevent in the first place. texugo 23:46, 20 October 2011 (EDT)
Childs is in fact a good example of how to deal with 3 businesses that have common ownership (gift shop, restaurant and accommodation). --burmesedays 01:47, 21 October 2011 (EDT)
Yeah, that's very good. I think it probably works better in a guide for a small town that has very little in any category (Buy, Eat, Drink, Sleep), though, than in cases of large cities where my comment below might be more applicable, simply because there are numerous hotels and numerous restaurants, and people might be quite a lot less likely to look for information about 3-star restaurants in hotel listings or for luxury hotel listings in restaurant listings. I'm thinking about the idea that one of the two categories should just be a referral in prose, though. I'm a bit skeptical, in regard to the exceptions I mention, but if we do go that way, I think the websites of both the hotel and the restaurant should be linked in a single listing in such cases. Ikan Kekek 02:14, 21 October 2011 (EDT)
I wouldn't agree with a blanket policy like that if it allows for no exceptions, and I thought it was generally accepted that restaurants in cities like New York that are famous in their own right and happen to be in hotels, like Jean Georges, merit their own entries, since they are destinations for way more people than will ever stay in the hotels they occupy a small part of. Actually, my current favorite restaurant in New York, Ai Fiori, happens to be on the second floor of the Setai Hotel, and if there's no entry for it in the relevant district article, I plan on posting one. Would you advise me against doing so? Sorry if I'm bringing up an irrelevant point; I'm not entirely sure and thought it would be best to address this again.
And to sum up: I think that if the restaurant can be clearly shown to be as famous as or more famous than the hotel it's in, it's OK and probably good to list it separately, and otherwise, it should be mentioned in the hotel's entry only. Does that work as a standard for reasonable judgment calls?
All the best,
Ikan Kekek 01:59, 21 October 2011 (EDT)
Per Wikitravel:Don't tout: "That said, exceptions can be made on a case-by-case basis if, for example, a hotel has a famous, separately named bar or restaurant that also draws significant numbers of non-resident customers.".
I think that covers the case LtPowers mentioned where a hotel and restaurant occupy the same building but aren't necessarily associated, and cases such as the one Ikan mentioned where a hotel restaurant draws a significant number of non-hotel patrons. A similar example from my current hometown is the Standard Hotel, which has an exceptionally famous rooftop bar that is a great "LA" experience - it would be silly not to mention it under the "Drink" section of Los Angeles/Downtown solely because the bar is on the roof of a hotel, but luckily the "draws a significant number of non-resident customers" guideline provides an exception that allows this listing while excluding other non-notable hotel bars. -- Ryan • (talk) • 02:31, 21 October 2011 (EDT)
Yeah, I really think the current policy already allows for reasonable exceptions. The apparent proposal under discussion here is a loosening of the rules, not a tightening, and while I'm pretty firmly against loosening the rules, I'm fine with the standing policy quoted above... texugo 07:40, 21 October 2011 (EDT)


On a similar note, (as above) as I posted to the facebook page, and got directed here "

Hi, I'm making Simple Open Collaboration (anyone can edit) Google 'My Places' Map showing all of the places that are listed in the WikiTravel articles of Interest, & also listing places that I would recommend as related to Across Canada Trails. Can I add an 'external link' on the page to reference it? In the GoogleMap I reference reference back to the said wikiTravel article.

see example:,-116.946373&spn=0.045836,0.110378

Thanks. Sam--Acrosscanadatrails 23:12, 17 October 2011 (EDT)

Hi Sam, I moved your comment to the bottom so people can find it more easily. The "above" discussion you reference is at #Wikimapia. LtPowers 08:16, 18 October 2011 (EDT)

Edit window resizing

Short edit window

Has anyone else had their edit window become tiny lately? --Peter Talk 18:41, 21 October 2011 (EDT)

It's the same issue as #Preferences Reseting?. Go to User Preferences → Editing and make sure that your "Rows" and "Columns" are something like "25" and "80", respectively. Has happened to me twice in the past three days. -- Ryan • (talk) • 18:58, 21 October 2011 (EDT)
But then it will go back to normal without my going into my preferences. Strange. -Peter Talk 19:23, 21 October 2011 (EDT)
Only happens sometimes for me, too... I'm trying to detect a pattern. LtPowers 21:39, 21 October 2011 (EDT)
It has happened many times lately with me. When that happens, the changes list at Recent changes also becomes completely empty. Not sure what it is, but seems like a connection problem? --globe-trotter 04:59, 22 October 2011 (EDT)
This was reported to tech last week. All of this is a result of random preferences resetting -- you can work around it by manually selecting Edit Preferences in your profile. It has been affecting me for the last 2 weeks as well.--IBobi 21:00, 24 October 2011 (EDT)
I still have this problem. Also, the preview function does not work. The Dutch Wikitravel works fine, so I hope this issue could be fixed shortly. --Globe-trotter 00:34, 14 November 2011 (EST)

Only new tabs load?

Another bizarre problem: often trying to open a link will result in a never-ending page load (no content accessed). I also have this problem when hitting go on special:recentchanges. But if I open the link in a new window/tab, then it loads promptly. Firefox. And no idea what's going on. Anyone else? --Peter Talk 18:47, 21 October 2011 (EDT)

Man, this site works way better in Accra then in D.C. ... --Peter Talk 02:22, 29 November 2011 (EST)

Indian articles-burdened with content

At first I considered raising this on the talk pages of some of the Indian articles and then decided it might be more appropriate to seek a wider overview and raise my concerns here. Some of the articles, Kochi and Bangalore readily come to mind, are seriously burdened with clutter. I think those of us who patrol and edit there frequently will be familiar with the issues. Sari shops, taxi services, reams of Eat listings, various shops, long lists of education services and academic institutions and similar can all become a little overwhelming. I have noted a few bold reversions and some ablations of big chunks of content in recent months but I think more drastic action may be appropriate. I do have some concerns though in approaching this. I am aware that many previous contributors who have put information into the articles concerned may be inadvertently alienated by any serious ablations. I do think it is important to retain their interest an enthusiasm and it may wain a little if the content they have contributed is suddenly gone. These editors are potentially our best resource in maintaining the article content.However some times my head spins just looking at these reams of information and a lot of it is just phonebook listing, often without sufficient information to be of use to a traveller. Of course if they are deleted that information cannot be built. In my observations of these articles that rarely happens. I suspect a lot of the listings are made by the proprietors, others possibly arise form the experiences of one traveller who has provided scant info on some place they came across and no one will ever built that information further. I suspect there may be a quite a few listings in the articles that have that quality. Maybe we should sweep to the discussion page, maybe just delete or maybe pick and choose what is swept to the discussion page and what is deleted. However I do feel concerned that there should be some at least broad consensus here first. Normal protocol may suggest raising it the discussion page for each article. I don't think we will get much response from other than regular India article editors and patrol editors so perhaps some of you might like to comment on the issue here.-- thanks felix 08:15, 25 October 2011 (EDT)

Just cut unnecessary content. I've been deleting masses of content at Pattaya and it has improved the article remarkably. At Kochi (India), hairdressers, opticians, blood banks, hospitals, ambulances, and pharmacies could be cut straight away. Also the police stations could be trimmed down. --globe-trotter 08:35, 25 October 2011 (EDT)
I made similar edits to Decatur, Georgia. It had accumulated a lot of cruft, and I still haven't gone through to weed out the dozen clothing stores with no description, just as one example. I've only glanced through the articles you linked, but looking at Kochi, I'd advocate removing:
  • table of trains under Get in
  • Sport, Golf, and Gym (Sport should be for city sports teams, not "I feel like playing cricket", and golf and gyms are only worth mentioning if they're famous, not just "the closest 18-hole course to X")
  • Movie theaters (again, if they're not famous it's probably just as easy to look up elsewhere)
  • Trim down the Buy section... is Kochi famous for footwear and luggage, or is it just mentioned for verbosity?
  • Everything under Stay Healthy could be removed IMO; I would only leave the emergency telephone numbers
  • Almost everything under Cope, including Libraries, Opticians, and Hairdressers
  • There are probably a bunch of other things that belong at a regional or national level, such as Electricity and Postal Mail.
--BigPeteB 09:58, 25 October 2011 (EDT)
Agree with BigPeteB on pretty much every point.texugo 10:40, 25 October 2011 (EDT)
Yes, no disagreement with any of that. Kochi (India) and its parent state article Kerala are prime examples of Indian articles gone mad. A quick read of the relevant talk pages, and you will see that Texugo and myself tried to keep them under control, but it was a losing battle.--burmesedays 20:43, 25 October 2011 (EDT)

Hungarian interwiki link broke?

Per [2] it looks like the "hu" interwiki link stopped working - see also any page (example Ecuador) that used this interwiki link. Before I file a bug on shared:

  1. Does anyone know why this might have happened?
  2. There are several interwiki links on Arabic Wikitravel (Korean, shared) that aren't set up, so would this be a good time to send IB a list of all interwiki links to update? Anyone have any others?
  3. Does anyone know how interwiki links are managed with the current version of Mediawiki used on Wikitravel? I'd like to include that info in any bug report.

-- Ryan • (talk) • 11:54, 25 October 2011 (EDT)

Don't know what happened there either. Just thought it looked pretty ugly in the middle of the Recent changes text there. I hadn't checked other pages. I don't have anything to answer you, but I'll be keeping an eye on this. texugo 12:27, 25 October 2011 (EDT)
This seems to be magically working again. Between this issue and the randomly resetting user changes I'm getting a bit worried about the integrity of the data on this site. -- Ryan • (talk) • 21:20, 25 October 2011 (EDT)
And now the ca: link seems to be doing the same thing... texugo 10:19, 26 October 2011 (EDT)
It's possible that the prep work for the Mediawiki upgrade is affecting this. In any case, the data will be perfectly safe; part of the reason we're taking the time to ensure the upgrade goes smoothly.--IBobi 14:56, 26 October 2011 (EDT)
Hindi interwiki links are breaking this morning. -- Ryan • (talk) • 11:51, 27 October 2011 (EDT)
And today it's ar: links. This is bizarre. texugo 10:37, 28 October 2011 (EDT)

Lüneburg Heath

Hi folks. Can someone please check out the Lüneburg Heath and advise what it needs to be brought to usable and, ideally, guide standard? Cheers. --SaxonWarrior 15:58, 31 October 2011 (EDT)

For starters:
  • The infobox must go. There was the possibility that some of us would let you test it for state level region articles, but it hasn't got a green light, and there was never talk of letting it stay on lower level region pages like this.
  • The See and Do sections should not have full listings like that. It should be an overview of what's to see and do in the area with nothing but a pointer to the destination article and a short description (preferably not an exact copy of the one in the destination article). There shouldn't be addresses, phone numbers, hours, prices, websites, or any of the other detailed info here. All of that stuff goes only in the appropriate city article.
  • What itineraries? Blank that part.
  • What you have in the Other destinations section should probably be adapted as a Do listing instead. That section is really for islands, national parks, and the like.
texugo 03:10, 1 November 2011 (EDT)

Watchlist out of action?

I get the following every time I try to open my watchlist today. Has this happened to anyone else?

A database query syntax error has occurred. This may indicate a bug in the software.
The last attempted database query was: 
(SQL query hidden)
from within function "wfSpecialWatchlist". MySQL returned error "1: Can't create/write to file
'#sql_e08_0.MYD' (Errcode: 17) (wikidb)".

Cheers. • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 09:09, 3 November 2011 (EDT)

Peter, I just started to get this as well -- looking into it, thanks for reporting.--IBobi 14:40, 3 November 2011 (EDT)
The Recentchanges page also keeps giving a white page. This has been taking place for weeks. --globe-trotter 15:19, 3 November 2011 (EDT)
globe-trotter, see the comments above re: #Preferences Reseting? to fix recent changes - on your preferences go to the "Recent Changes" tab and make sure that "Days to show" and "Number of changes" are set to non-zero numbers. -- Ryan • (talk) • 15:43, 3 November 2011 (EDT)

Watchlist should be back in action now -- please let me know if this is not the case for you.--IBobi 19:40, 3 November 2011 (EDT)

Worked fine when I logged on today. • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 23:31, 3 November 2011 (EDT)

Spacing before abbreviations

While we are raking over matters like the wifi acronym perhaps we should also find some clear consensus on spacing before abbreviations. In reading Wikitravel talk:Abbreviations as prompted by inas I note the comments raised there regarding spaces before things like XX km, and X,XXX m, 30 mph and that sort of thing. I have been merrily using spaces as I understood that is the standard here, as on WP. Is this the case though or is this another chestnut looking for a frying pan. I am not even going to dare to express my own opinion on it, and I have plenty as an ex-art director and author of a number of corporate style guides. I just want to know what consensus we have in that regard to this, is there actually a policy or have we just loosely followed the WP style, if so what is it and can we agree here that it involves that use of a space as seems to be commonly practiced here? -- felix 22:45, 6 November 2011 (EST)

I'd observe there is no common practice. A quick scan over the WT database for km with a space and without, reveals tens of thousands of both forms of usage. Just as an aside, we do seem to have a mild consensus that there is no space between a number at the AM/PM in a listing. We overwhelmingly use 3AM, and not 3 AM. --inas 00:53, 7 November 2011 (EST)
Yes, that has always been my understanding, the times are a different thing, ie: 3AM, or now alternatively 03:00 as long as there is consistency within the article and preferably the article cluster. So there is no established consensus on things such as XX km, and X,XXX m, 30 mph and similar. Doesn't really matter much I guess as long as it is all at least treated the same way within an article. Personally I think it helps if all the articles are stylistically the same. The Wi-Fi, wifi, WiFi thing is a good example of why we should try and get things like that sorted out. I can see what was prompting globetrotter, he was doing an edit on a Thai article and had both WiFi and wifi there in the article. He has now changed them all to Wi-Fi, a visually clumsy solution in terms of typographic style but a great leap forward in the articles stylistic uniformity. I suspect globetrotter would like to see some certainty about such things, especially as he deals with an article set that has an occasional fractious challenge of one sort or another.
You are probably aware I edit and patrol a lot of the Indian, Malaysian and Indonesian articles and each of those is notorious for sometimes highly creative divergence from established or assumed WT guidelines, including general style, content, formatting, capitalisation, word spacing and spelling conventions. Globetrotter recently revised all of the Thai articles to BRIT English in an effort to achieve style conformity, that was prompted by an anon editor challenging his editing style and word use. It appears a similar thing is happening there again at the moment but it is more a writing style issue this time. I can empathise with the desire to have some sort of consensus on the wifi thing.
Although it is preferable to at least establish and maintain consistency in article formatting and style I would prefer my efforts were not wasted in establishing a pattern that is later challenged as inappropriate. The WiFi, wifi, Wi-Fi thing should have been established ages ago and I note that it is still unresolved. I hope this spacing thing is not going to be an issue as well. Line breaks appearing at the space before an abbreviation when text auto wraps is something that possibly should be given some consideration here in regard to the spacing before abbreviations. Some of the Indian articles I have tackled have been such a dogs breakfast that the introduction of any uniformity to the layout and style was an improvement but I do not want to be changing the mishmash of wifi alternatives to one variation, only to find out after doing a thousands of them that they really should have all been conformed to one used as a registered trademark. It may appear I am being argumentative however I am actually just trying to gain some certainty on these things.-- felix 02:04, 7 November 2011 (EST)
I don't think it is an issue. The only person who has expressed a contrary opinion to leaving a space is me, and I'm happy to concede the point. If you would like to please, update Wikitravel:Abbreviations accordingly. If anybody seriously objects they can revert/discuss. --inas 03:21, 7 November 2011 (EST)

Admin assistance needed in Finnish Wikitravel

It seems that article about Los Angeles in Finnish version of Wikitravel gets constantly spammed. So far haven't seen any admin activity there. Does someone with power have time to check it out and maybe edit-protect it? Thanks 01:38, 7 November 2011 (EST)

Improving the site as a whole

Maybe this belongs in the "Expeditions" discussion area (or maybe this topic has already been discussed previously). I've been thinking lately... should not one of our main, immediate goals, as a group of dedicated contributors, be to bring the most popular/well-known tourist destination pages to "Star" quality (or as near to it as possible), as soon as possible? Let's be frank, even if Wikitravel had way more public exposure than it currently has, most travelers aren't going to be interested if we're not completely covering the destinations they are interested in. I know this site will never reach a Wikipedia-level of users, but we could have a LOT more; we should be able to compete with print travel guides.

I don't mean covering just major cities such as Paris, London, NYC, Rome, Venice, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Buenos Aires, Sydney, etc. (which are reasonably good articles, but compared to our Chicago article, which I've always seen as the ideal, they leave much to be desired)... but also larger geographical areas such as, say, Tuscany, the Niagara Falls area, or Southwest Ireland (regions are something that Wikitravel has trouble with handling well, imo, but that's another discussion... also, I'm not saying my list is definitive). I know it's a huge task; I helped write the star article for Big Bend National Park - a relatively easy accomplishment compared to the places I listed above - and even that took way more time and resources than I could have ever anticipated. I also know that doing this would be much easier if we had more contributors, which makes it kind of a Catch-22 situation.

Because really my point is that nailing the popular/well-known destination articles will not only attract more readers, but it will also in turn attract more contributors... and that's a big thing. More contributors will mean more articles AND more accurate articles, as well as more people to help with administrative tasks (such as de-tout-ifying). In short, we need more contributors. To get more contributors, we need to take care of the basics first. I see great work has been done recently for Washington DC and Orlando, and I think those are great steps. Army of me 01:41, 11 November 2011 (EST)

Your logic can't really be faulted. However, on the other side of the coin, you really can already get all the information you need to see a city like Chicago, London or Sydney just with google and a couple of quick searches. I sometimes wonder of the value in updating the public transport and price information for some cities, yet again, when there are online tripfinders, price guides etc that give you all the options. However, there is so much of the world and more remote parts of even populated countries where even these basics can be hard to ascertain, and where often WT already has surprisingly good coverage. We have travel guides for some country towns, and small remote parts of the world for which no other guide exists. I guess I'm just sayin' that we may have other strengths we can play to --Inas 03:49, 11 November 2011 (EST)
Everyone can add his/her knowledge to the wiki where he/she desires, and it is hard to make them contribute information only to particular places. Wikitravel aims to be a world-wide guide, for destinations all over the globe. However, I do agree that some destinations are more important than others. Work has been done on many of them, including Bali, Bangkok, Walt Disney World, and the others you mentioned. Somehow some popular travel areas in Europe, like travel regions in France and Italy, have received poor coverage on Wikitravel. I don't know exactly why, but maybe because the locals there participate on the wiki of their own language area.
Wikipedia has a "1,000 core topics" [3] list, the 1,000 articles that should become featured articles as fast as possible. Maybe we could set up something similar for Wikitravel? (but then in the range of 250 articles, as 1,000 would be a bit much I think). --Globe-trotter 11:18, 12 November 2011 (EST)
I think even 250 would be too many, as that's about 1% of our guides. 100 would be a better start. LtPowers 11:26, 12 November 2011 (EST)
Hey, you know what I just thought of? If we take the nine cities and nine other destinations from the six populated continents, that's 108 right there. Now we just need someone to go through them and list what status each one is currently at. LtPowers 11:29, 12 November 2011 (EST)
That's definitely a good idea. Why I said 250 is because Wikitravel has a heavy focus on "world cities". They are obviously important, but many travellers go to other places like beach resorts (e.g. Benidorm, Chersonissos), ski resorts (Zermatt, Aspen), national parks, theme parks (Walt Disney World), smaller towns (like Hangzhou, Ubud, etc), regions (Tuscany, Loire Valley), villages (Mont Saint Michel), and other places. I also think these could be given more weight. Also we could try to find some statistics about which places are most attended by travellers. It's amazing how badly covered some of these popular destinations are. If these articles would improve, then maybe we could attract more contributors from these places. --Globe-trotter 11:39, 12 November 2011 (EST)
100% support from me on LtPowers' idea. I assume (as Army of me originally noted) that this would be done as part of an expedition of some sort? -- Ryan • (talk) • 11:52, 12 November 2011 (EST)
I made a start with Europe and Asia here. --Globe-trotter 19:38, 12 November 2011 (EST)
Cool! Please explain your color coding. Does it have anything to do with the status (outline, usable, guide, etc.) of the articles in question? Ikan Kekek 04:11, 14 November 2011 (EST)
I just answered my own question: Medium green is a star article, light green is a guide, slightly orange yellow is usable, red is an outline, gray is a redirect. Ikan Kekek 04:18, 14 November 2011 (EST)
Wow, I'm glad others agree (I was afraid my comments might accidentally offend someone)! I do realize there are a variety of factors that have likely kept certain destination guides from being their best, but I think at least identifying and officially acknowledging what destinations should be priorities and which need more work is a big step. Before posting my first comment, I tried searching online for statistics on "most visited tourist destinations" and the like, but I've had a hard time so far. I'll keep looking. Army of me 18:57, 13 November 2011 (EST)
Very cool idea (and good to see you back, Army of me)! I'm a little surprised to see that Europe has the poorest developed 7±2 lists. I agree that this would be a worthwhile expedition. --Peter Talk 11:11, 14 November 2011 (EST)
Thanks, good to be back! I was surprised too, but I bet a lot of it can be chalked up to us writing about what we know (or users creating entries, but not in English, as suggested previously). Speaking of which, I'll probably be sprucing up the article for my hometown, Houston, soon... Army of me 22:53, 27 November 2011 (EST)
The basic idea is very good. Details, we can probably work out.
I had to chuckle at the reference above to "smaller towns (like Hangzhou, ...". The current population is around six million, I think. If Hangzhou is a small town, then neither Canada nor Australia have anything that qualifies as a city. Capital of China at one point, and Marco Polo who visited it a few decades after its fall wrote of Hangzhou "beyond dispute the finest and the noblest in the world ... everything appertaining to this city is on so vast a scale, and the Great Kaan's yearly revenues therefrom are so immense, that it is not easy even to put it in writing, and it seems past belief...". Pashley 21:30, 14 November 2011 (EST)
Hehe, I meant it in comparison to the top 9 cities of Asia. We have a heavy focus on "world cities", such as Beijing, but travellers go to "smaller" places which I think should not be overlooked :) --Globe-trotter 12:51, 15 November 2011 (EST)
Not sure how helpful this is, but I found the top 50 most-visited tourist destinations for 2007 (as reported by Forbes Traveler magazine, which I don't think exists anymore). Apparently the census data was supplied by the attractions themselves, or other media reports. It doesn't have regions and there could be other biases I'm not aware of. Anyways, here it is! We may need to just brainstorm and come up with an agreement on what we feel are the most "important" world destinations that need to be covered. Army of me 22:53, 27 November 2011 (EST)

I am willing to join a collaboration on some of the top destinations listed above. Please feel free to drop me a personal message / email when the project takes off, as I'm not very frequent on the site in the recent weeks. --DenisYurkin 15:05, 26 December 2011 (EST)

Exchange Rate Bot

It would be great to have a box in the "buy" section of country articles (and regions, ie. Hong Kong, when appropriate) which could have exchange rates that are automatically updated (weekly). I frequently come across old exchange rates on articles and there are many country articles without an exchange rate listed. This would make it very helpful when looking at 5000 francs in French Polynesia expensive? For a meal yes...for a hotel room its dirt cheap by local standards! But I have to take a minute to calculate it, and I know where to go and how to do it, which many WT readers likely don't. The box could be simple with just the name of the currency & code listed at top and 3-5 exchange rates listed. Since this is the English WT, there should at least be US dollars (USD), Euros (EUR), & GB pounds (GBP) and possibly Canadian, Australian, & NZ dollars as well. The bot could be written based on the 3-letter currency code, so that the currencies listed could be changed to reduce redundancy (ie. 1 USD=1 USD on the US page) or reflect regional currencies which travelers may have or be familiar with (ie. South African rand in southern African, Russian rubles in Central Asia). Examples (would need a better format):

Australian Dollar (AUD)

Exchange rates, as of 16/11/2011:

1 AUD equals / 1 ___ equals

(US flag) 1.015 USD / 0.987 AUD

(EU flag) 0.751 EUR / 1.332 AUD

(UK flag) 0.644 GBP / 1.556 AUD

Tenge (KZT)

Exchange rates, as of 16/11/2011:

1 KZT equals / 1 ___ equals

(US flag) 0.007 USD / 148.200 KZT current

(EU flag) 0.005 EUR / 199.749 KZT current

(UK flag) 0.004 GBP / 233.585 KZT current

(Russian flag) 0.208 RUB / 4.812 KZT current

(Chinese flag) 0.043 CNY / 23.358 KZT current

Of course the only "big issue" is finding a website that has exchange rates and a terms of use that would allow us to display rates here. Will have to check a couple dozen such sites to find one compatible. Is WT considered commercial? The content from the US government is in the public domain, but rates are only published by the Treasury quarterly and by country (not currency), [4]. Any similar public domain sites for Pound & Euro exchange rates, at the very least? If this is unfeasible, could it be made a standard template that could be put on pages (although manually updated) with perhaps a quick link to the currency calculation (as in the second example for Kazakhstan tenge). AHeneen 06:27, 16 November 2011 (EST)

Actually, the big issue is programming and running the bot. =) We've had bots before on which we relied, but they stopped working. I think a single template would be best, as it would avoid having constant updates to every country page on the site. MediaWiki's parser functions should be able to handle the basic math, though we might have to work a bit on rounding (or borrow from Wikipedia). LtPowers 08:49, 16 November 2011 (EST)
Why don't we pull exchange rates we have out into a template anyway. At least then there is only one place to update them. I think we'll encounter other issues when doing this, not least of people wanting their own currency listed, and ending up with hundreds. --Inas 17:20, 16 November 2011 (EST)
We can always (and probably should) establish a list of 7+-2 major currencies that we allow to be listed against the local currency in question. Nobody from Suriname or Laos or Tajikstan should be surprised if we have an establish policy that doesn't include their currency. If they are the type to travel internationally, they are probably already quite familiar with the exchange rate of their currency versus at least one or two of the currencies we do allow...texugo 08:44, 17 November 2011 (EST)
We probably should think this through before we go any further. Picking 9 currencies for each destination? I'd say we limit ourselves to USD and EUR for now, and hope that one day we can pick out the users local currency. --Inas 17:58, 17 November 2011 (EST)

I don't think listing 7 +/- 2 currencies would be a good idea either. The idea I had was to have one template, which would include the US dollar, Euro, & pound, and have a couple additional lines ("currency 4=", "currency 5=") where 1-2 additional currencies could be added when appropriate because they are widely accepted or common in the region and which traveler would have or need to exchange. Examples would be the South African rand, which is commonly used in southern African countries, the Russian ruble in Central Asia, the Australian dollar in the South Pacific, the Swiss Franc in Western Europe, etc. This isn't simply to help travelers from those countries, but even for an American visiting southern Africa, you'll likely become familiar with using the rand and while shopping in Botswana, where many merchants will accept rand, it would be helpful to know the exchange rate between the two when a price is listed as 100 pula, but the shopkeeper says he'll accept 150 rand (the exchange rate is only 1.09 rand=1 pula)...much simpler than trying to convert each to dollars. Hopefully that example is clear. I don't have any programming knowledge, but basically the text of the template that the user would copy onto the page would look like this:


| Currency= Name of country's currency (AAA) (where AAA is the 3-letter currency symbol)

| Currency1=USD (use 3-letter currency symbol, USD should always be listed first except in countries using the US dollar)

| Currency1flag=Image:flag (small flag of country issuing currency 1)

| Currency2=EUR (use 3-letter currency symbol, USD should always be listed after the US dollar, and not listed in countries using the Euro)

| Currency2flag=Image:flag (small flag of country issuing currency 2)

| Currency3=GBP (use 3-letter currency symbol, GBP should always be listed after the Euro, and not listed in countries using the Pound)

| Currency3flag=Image:flag (small flag of country issuing currency 3)

| Currency4= (use 3-letter currency symbol, only list additional currency widely accepted in this country or major regional currency)

| Currency4flag=Image:flag (small flag of country issuing currency 4)

| Currency5= (use 3-letter currency symbol, only list additional currency widely accepted in this country or major regional currency)

| Currency5flag=Image:flag (small flag of country issuing currency 5)


If this were a bot, then it would simply take the currency from the first line (the one for the country of the page it is on) and the other currencies and display the current exchange rate and the date it was last updated. If it was simply a template, then additional lines for each currency would be needed to list exchange rates & url to current rate (like in Tenge example above). Or a better idea might be to just keep things simple and just have the url to the current exchange rate, which users simply click on and go straight to the up-to-the-minute rate. While simple, it wouldn't be useful to travelers who download to use WT offline and might cause problems with mobile versions/apps of WT. The text for a template which includes the rates would look like:


| Currency= Tenge (KZT)

| Currency1=USD (use 3-letter currency symbol, USD should always be listed first except in countries using the US dollar)

| Currency1flag=Image:US_flag

| Rate_for_1_Currency1=148.200

| Rate_of 1_Currency=0.007

| Rate_url=

And so forth


The above would look like the tenge example in the original suggestion above. The second option with just the links:


| Currency= Tenge (KZT)

| Currency1=USD (use 3-letter currency symbol, USD should always be listed first except in countries using the US dollar)

| Currency1name=US dollar

| Currency1flag=Image:US_flag

| Rate_url=

And so forth


Which would look like:

Tenge (KZT)

Current exchange rates:

(US flag) US dollar

(EU flag) Euro

(UK flag) Pound

(Russian flag) Russian ruble

(Chinese flag) Chinese yuan

If the consensus is for a template and not a bot, then I like the example with just the links, even with its issues. AHeneen 21:20, 17 November 2011 (EST)

Can't see the point in adding multiple links to an exchange rate engine. Just clutter. It is pretty much the exact kind of extlink we've always discouraged, no information, useless offline or printed, etc. --Inas 22:18, 17 November 2011 (EST)
For anyone that is interested, WikiOverland, the encyclopedia of overland travel does real-time currency conversion for prices and units of measure using a custom plugin and rates data from the Open Source Exchange Rates. You can see a great example at Argentina - WikiOverland - just choose your preferred currency and unit of measure and watch it change. It also stores your choice in a cookie so you don't have to choose it again on subsequent pages. Let me know if you have any questions. -Dangrec 01:29, 1 December 2011 (EST)
That's just what I was hoping for! I was worried that all the available exchange rate sites on the internet were commercial and not compatible with WT guidelines. I don't know about using this in-text, as it would be a HUGE task getting this into every price in every page, but I think it would be great to have in a table (like I suggested above) on country pages and top-level pages of territories, dependencies, etc. which use a particular currency (ie. on Saint Helena page, since they use St.Helena pound, Hong Kong, New Caledonia, etc.). I don't know anything about programming, but it would be great if someone could work this into a currency box (as outlined above) which could also be printed (current to time page is printed) or saved for off-line use. AHeneen 10:59, 2 December 2011 (EST)
Is it really what you were looking for? Do you want all prices on a page to be displayed by default in the local currency, and you can change them all to another currency on request? In any event, if you really want that functionality, then we need the mediawiki plugin to do it, so it is a tech request. If we just want the template with a bot update behind it, we can do this without it. --Inas 22:47, 20 December 2011 (EST)

Why can't XML tags like <eat> support formatting?

Why doesn't the <eat> template allow wiki markup inside its tags? I went through and marked the selected restaurants listed at the top level of Atlanta#Eat with their district (so it's obvious that this one is in Downtown, and that one is in Midtown), only to find out that all my beautiful wikification is just displayed as plain text.

I also remember finding out some time ago that the '' and ''' syntax for bold and italics isn't supported, either, so we can't list phone numbers as "+1 404 894-2500". These both seem like pretty useful features to have, IMO. It would help reduce clutter/duplication if large city articles could list minimal details about restaurants, bars, etc., on their front page — just enough to get a traveler's interest — and then readers click through to the district article to get the full scoop. --BigPeteB 13:29, 17 November 2011 (EST)

As far as wiki markup in listings, this has been raised multiple times. I think there is a tech request for it to be fixed, but I wouldn't hold your breath. I'm not heartbroken about the phone number formatting though, it is very U.S. centric, and overly focussed on a just a printed guide. Trying to distinguish the must dial component in numbers will go the way of the rotary phone. --Inas 17:12, 17 November 2011 (EST)
As far as minimal details about restaurants and bars in huge city articles, and details in districts, I do believe that this is the way it is supposed to work. --Inas 17:12, 17 November 2011 (EST)
Those listings should be moved completely to the district articles, instead of their district added to the listing. Also I think the phone numbers work fine as just +1 404 894-2500. So while a tech request could be filed, I think others have higher priority. --Globe-trotter 17:25, 17 November 2011 (EST)
Going on a bit of a tangent here, but:... I hate the idea that a districtified city can't have any listings at the top level. You mean if I want to eat, or drink, or sleep somewhere, I have to click through to every single district just to figure out what's famous or good in the city? What's the harm in throwing a couple of highlights at the top level?
Chicago is an example of how terrible this can be, IMO. It tells me that Chicago is famous for deep dish pizza (which I already knew), but if I want to know where to eat some, I have to look through the listings for every single district. Why can't I just get a couple of suggestions of the best or most famous deep-dish pizza restaurants? --BigPeteB 18:55, 17 November 2011 (EST)
There is nothing wrong with putting some of the names of top deep dish pizza restaurants at the top level. In fact the Chicago article introduces the subject, names a couple of the best, and points you at the district article for the details. I think it is a good example of how it is best done. We don't want people to have to check every district guide for restaurants, but we do want push them down into the districts to find the fine details. For pizza in Chicago, you may only wish to check the area you are in. Also adding listings to the top level is a slippery slope that adds to the overhead of maintaining the top level articles. --Inas 19:11, 17 November 2011 (EST)
Huge City articles (and Region articles, for that matter) should avoid listings and simply use prose to introduce important establishments. There may be a case for a city- or region-wide chain to get a listing in the corresponding article, but such cases should be rare if allowed at all. LtPowers 19:47, 17 November 2011 (EST)
Oh, and please see shared:Tech:Wiki markup is disabled in listing parameters for an existing bug report on this topic. LtPowers 19:55, 17 November 2011 (EST)
If the article said something like, "Although there are nationally-known chains like X, Y, and Z, for a more local experience try A or B," I could live with that (presuming that it then wikilinked to the appropriate districts for A and B). Listing a few of the best chain restaurants (an oxymoron, IMO), and leaving the rest to be dug up from the districts isn't quite as helpful.
Anyway, don't assume how other travelers make their plans. The only time I went to Chicago, I had 3 goals: go to a ceremony at the Naval Station, sight-see, and eat the best deep-dish pizza I could find, because that's what Chicago is famous when it comes to food. If the top-level article had read, "Skip the chains, and go to X or Y for the what most people consider the best deep-dish," it would have saved me a lot of time reading district pages. --BigPeteB 10:32, 18 November 2011 (EST)
That's an editorial issue, not a policy one; it's apparent that Peter and Marc explicitly chose not to recommend any single establishment as providing the best pizza. They mention Pizzeria UNO, Pizzeria DUE, Gino's East, Giordano's, and Lou Malnati's as five options for you, and tell you to ask locals for other recommendations. What more did you want? LtPowers 14:05, 18 November 2011 (EST)
It seems to me if I actually knew anyone in Chicago, I would be asking them for suggestions before resorting to WT. But I don't know anyone in Chicago, so "ask a local" is useless advice unless I'm expected to just stop strangers on the street. (At least they speak English in Chicago. If the Moscow article told me to "ask a local", that would be totally useless.) Anyway, if it's not against policy then that's good, I'll just agree to disagree. --BigPeteB 15:50, 18 November 2011 (EST)
Ten pizza places are named in that section, most but not all of them chains (and generally people do go to the local chains for the deep dish stuff). Chicago makes so many fantastic pizzas that to ask for the top three establishments would seem absurd to anyone from there. They would assume you were asking about preferences in chains. Otherwise, just go to a local favorite (i.e., the sort of places listed in the district article where you are staying). Ditto hot dogs. I might try to make this point clearer in the article.
And also, while this is very tangential to this already tangential post, yes, when traveling you should stop random people on the street and ask where is a great place to eat—you can have some great adventures that way ;) (Don't follow people who approach you unsolicited with suggestions, of course.) If you are street shy, you can ask a bartender, your taxi driver, an attractive member of the opposite sex, a hotel concierge, someone stocking shelves in the grocery store, another traveler, waiter, etc. This isn't a bad way to make friends while traveling, too. --Peter Talk 17:37, 19 November 2011 (EST)

This just occurred to me, but... why does WT use XML-based templates instead of normal MediaWiki templates? If templates were used, they would support full wiki markup for all parameters, and they would be easier to edit (if it ever became necessary to edit them). --BigPeteB 11:26, 2 December 2011 (EST)

That was a bugaboo of Evan's, I believe, though it was long before my time. Evan and Jani in particular were quite enamored with the possibility of exporting our data programmatically (thus all of the RDF code throughout the site), and adhered to the standard web-design protocol of keeping data content separate from data presentation. Whether that drove the desire to use XML tags rather than MediaWiki templates I don't know. It's possible that implementing the listing editor was made easier by using XML listings, though I can't think of any reason why that would be, off the top of my head. LtPowers 14:28, 2 December 2011 (EST)
I was under the impression that it was done that way to make use of a Mediawiki extension, thus allowing the custom "edit" link next to listings, the "add listing" link in headers, and edit boxes for entering standard listing fields - see parser extension tags in Special:Version. If there was a way to add this same functionality with templates it would be worth considering, but I'm not sure that templates are flexible enough. -- Ryan • (talk) • 14:35, 2 December 2011 (EST)


There has been a huge increase in accounts created by spambots of late, so I've made a request that IB enable CAPTCHA for all account registration. By my count there are already 30+ spambot accounts created today on shared:, and the day is barely half over. I know some people hate CAPTCHA and that there may be some objections from those who primarily use non-English languages, so this thread should hopefully serve as a location for anyone to raise issues. For my part, spending time each day deleting spam pages and blocking accounts on a site that is already horribly slow isn't an enjoyable way to spend time, and isn't something that I want to do on Wikitravel for much longer. -- Ryan • (talk) • 17:55, 21 November 2011 (EST)

Actually, looking at this closer it appears that CAPTCHA is already enabled for user registration on English Wikitravel (although not on other versions), so some bots have apparently defeated that defense measure. It would still be good to get this enabled on all versions, barring objections, but it looks like further defenses may be needed. -- Ryan • (talk) • 18:12, 21 November 2011 (EST)
This is an update we have been waiting to do until after Mediawiki, as we believe it may resolve itself then. We have the site running on the current version of Mediawiki internally right now. As soon as we can, we will be enabling it externally so that a number of Admins can test functionality before we push it live.--IBobi 21:31, 21 November 2011 (EST)
As an aside, are these usernames being blocked correctly? I've seen some blocks which I think have imposed an infinite ban on the IP of the originating spambot in addition to an infinite ban on the username. The latter is reasonable, but the former wouldn't be, since these botnets often use dynamic IPs, which may be a real contributor one day. Perhaps I'm misunderstanding the block text, though. --Inas 00:26, 22 November 2011 (EST)
I'm probably guilty of blocking the underlying IP. At least on shared: any blocked IP block can still comment on the corresponding talk page so I figured the benefit of blocking a known-bad box exceeded the disadvantages, but if there is concern let's put something in policy and I'll be more circumspect. -- Ryan • (talk) • 00:30, 22 November 2011 (EST)
Typically (and I think vaguely according to policy) we put a three month block on the IP of a spambot, rinse and repeat? --Inas 00:44, 22 November 2011 (EST)
The last bullet point in that section is "Blocks of user accounts created by spambots. Some of the more advanced spambots are actually capable of creating user accounts. These accounts should be permanently blocked as soon as they are identified as being spambot accounts." That doesn't explicitly state what to do with the underlying IP, which I think is where the difference of usage is coming from. -- Ryan • (talk) • 01:59, 22 November 2011 (EST)
True enough, Are you (or anyone else) saying you think we should block the underlying IP? --Inas 03:09, 22 November 2011 (EST)
To this point I've been blocking the underlying IP since any bot capable of creating a user account will likely just create more, but if others disagree with that approach I'm happy to change it. -- Ryan • (talk) • 10:46, 22 November 2011 (EST)
The same reasoning could be applied to bot on an IP editing anonymously, but we don't block that indefinitely. There seems some inconsistency in blocking a bot IP for 3 months, unless it creates an account in which case we apply an indefinite block. --Inas 17:08, 22 November 2011 (EST)
(Re-indenting) Here's my reasoning: an indefinite block for a registered-user-spambot is important because after X number of days that account's edits will be automatically marked as patrolled, it will be able to move pages, and do other things that an IP account can't. We've already seen blocked spambot accounts return to make multiple edits, so we know that's a possibility. When blocking the account, unless I'm misreading the user block screen, there doesn't appear to be a way to permanently block the user account but only temporarily block the underlying IP address - if that's wrong please correct me - and the IP address could therefore just spawn new spambots until the end of time if it isn't also blocked. Thus we're put in a position where we could either block a known spambot account for three months and then have to deal with a privileged spambot, or block the spambot and IP permanently and have a slight chance of forcing a real user to eventually ask on a talk page to be unblocked (note: not counting exceptions for shared IPs, there are 256^4 IP addresses which is approximately 4.3 billion, so odds of blocking a real user aren't extremely high). Given those choices I'd prefer the latter, but as mentioned am happy to do whatever the consensus dictates. -- Ryan • (talk) • 18:10, 22 November 2011 (EST)
Given this fight against the spambots is so dynamic, I think we should use the best ways to fight the problems that we are actually seeing, with the toolset that we have, with minimum collateral damage. The privileged spambot I don't see as an issue right now. We don't see this happening (as yet), and if the spammers were intelligent enough to actually pursue this, then they may also realise that all they have to do is wait until the auto-confirm period without making a spammy edit to achieve the same result, we just don't have the toolset to combat it.
Shared IPs aren't so much the exception. I'd say 99% of botnets are running on dynamic or shared IP addresses. We risk blocking corporates, mobile ISPs, education campuses, and even entire countries that use shared IPs.
Presumably this was the motivation for making our policy to block spambot IP for 3 months only.
I'm also happy to go with a consensus, but I'd strongly argue that I haven't seen any policy or consensus emerge to block IP address indefinitely.
Given we don't seem to have the toolset match to what we want to do, I'd suggest that we just periodically review the blocked IP list, and remove the blocks on the IPs (but not spambot accounts) that are older than three months. Sound reasonable? --Inas 19:23, 22 November 2011 (EST)
I'm 100% fine with unblocking IPs that have been blocked for more than 3 months, but do we have a tool that shows blocked IP addresses? Special:Ipblocklist isn't showing IPs for recently blocked spambot user accounts - is there another tool, or will the Mediawiki upgrade provide better tools? -- Ryan • (talk) • 19:44, 22 November 2011 (EST)
I've just played around with this.
Firstly, the outcome of a block of the user, including the IP and account creation is fairly harsh. You can't edit talk pages as an IP, you can't create an account, it directs you to the admin who did the block, but you can't email them, or leave them a message. Essentially, it is a lost potential user. If I can't figure out how to leave a message to get unblocked, then a normal user will give up.
You seem to be able to unblock the IP no problem. You'll see in the block log there is a line for the user, and then an additional line for each IP address that has been blocked. If you leave the user line and remove the others, the user remains blocked and the IP address and account creation is fine again. --Inas 21:24, 22 November 2011 (EST)
Two things: first, I'd support changing policy to specify unblocking spambot IPs after three months as you've described - hopefully the Mediawiki upgrade will make this easier. Second, it seems like it's only on English Wikitravel that a blocked user can't edit his/her talk page - as the spam on shared: shows, plenty of blocked IPs are still spamming talk pages; this will hopefully be another issue that is resolved with the upgrade. -- Ryan • (talk) • 22:21, 22 November 2011 (EST)
It does look like mediawiki does this without assistance. the ip blocks associated with the user blocks appear to be very shortlived, maybe as short as 24 hours. accordingly, doesn't look like any policy issue arises. --Inas 03:44, 27 November 2011 (EST)
Hi, I was about to ask if admins here or IB could enable CAPTCHA on the French WT: there are indeed many spambots and vandalisms; and I'm one of the very few people patrolling this version. Hopefully, that'll make things easier. Thanks Joelf 01:46, 30 November 2011 (EST)
Only IB can do this. Suggest a tech request on shared, follow up with email. --Inas 02:44, 30 November 2011 (EST)

People paid to flood discussions

I am not sure whether or how this affects us, but something else to aware of are what is called in Chinese an "Internet water army", people paid to post favorable reviews or comments on consumer or political forums. Some interesting research on these has just been published [5]. I bet China is far from the only place where this happens. Pashley 22:59, 22 November 2011 (EST)

Adding WikiOverland to the list of related projects, and linking to it

I've added a note to Talk: List of Related projects about adding WikiOverland, the encyclopedia of overland travel to the list of related projects and linking to it from appropriate articles.
Please have a look and add your thoughts.
Thanks Dangrec 22:14, 29 November 2011 (EST)

Per Wikitravel:External links it wouldn't make sense to link from within articles, but in the past these sorts of integrations have been handled via interwiki links (see for example Wikitravel:Links to Wikipedia). However, it looks like WikiOverland is still in the very early stages - [6] shows 27 articles so far, and there don't seem to be any contributions prior to 25-November - so it probably makes sense to wait a bit longer before considering a significant integration. Hopefully that seems reasonable. -- Ryan • (talk) • 23:48, 29 November 2011 (EST)
Thanks for the reply Ryan. I noticed the external links policy on Wikitravel:External_links#What_not_to_link_to, specifically the part that says:
"We should avoid links to other travel guides, to ensure we have travel information in Wikitravel, not linked from Wikitravel."
In the case of WikiOverland, I'm not sure this is very applicable. WikiOverland contains an extremely detailed amount of information for people traveling with vehicles - so much so I honestly don't think WikiTravel would ever want to include this level of detail (for example - I show up at the border of Peru with my Canadian-plated vehicle, the information I'd like to know is 1. What paperwork do I need? 2. What is the process? 3. How much will it cost? 4. Do I need to buy insurance? 5. How much does that cost? etc. etc. etc.).. I don't think wikiTravel aims to include this level of detail, does it?
The fact that WikiTravel has sections like Get in-> By car and Get around -> By car show that these are areas of interest for travelers reading WikiTravel, but they are severely lacking or non-existent for many countries. It's clear the value of wikiTravel in these specific areas could be improved today by linking to WikiOverland, but including the information into wikiTravel would be a huge undertaking.
You also mention that WikiOverland is in it's early stages - and you are 100% correct. Note, however, that a lack of articles does not mean a lack of useful information. One of the goals of WikiOverland is to include only the information that people traveling with Vehciles need, and can't readily find elsewhere in guide books or online. (For example, WikiOverland will never include information on languages spoken, visa requirements, currencies, airports, etc.) Because of this goal to be to-the-point and up-to-date, I anticipate WikiOverland will never contain more than around 150 articles. With respect to age, you can see from the public logs we've been building it up Since May 2011.
Thanks again. -Dangrec 00:47, 30 November 2011 (EST)
Sorry, I looked at the recent changes on your site for the past 30 days, but forgot to also change the number of revisions displayed, which is where the 25-November date came from. That said, given the vast amount of work it takes to prevent Wikitravel from becoming a nest of external links I think it will be an uphill battle to find a way to include links from WikiOverland from within Wikitravel articles (see the discussions on Wikitravel talk:External links for history), so my personal opinion is that interwiki links make the most sense, but preferably when WikiOverland has gotten a bit larger. Hopefully others can provide their opinions - Wikitravel tends to be extremely conservative when it comes to external links, but consensus drives the decision making so it would be good to get additional opinions. -- Ryan • (talk) • 01:11, 30 November 2011 (EST)


An IP user has created Category:Warnings and added it to Template:Warningbox so that all articles with warnings are categorized therein. I'm not sure how useful this category is, though, as "What links here" works almost as well, and we don't usually use categories for anything but article status. Thoughts? LtPowers 10:55, 30 November 2011 (EST)

I actually deleted that with the request that it first be discussed (per Wikitravel:Categories) as I was concerned about having so many articles show up in a "warning" category. I'm not excited about using a category for this, but wouldn't be opposed if others are in favor. -- Ryan • (talk) • 11:05, 30 November 2011 (EST)

Site outage earlier today

Wikitravel experienced a site outage early this morning, PST. An upstream provider experienced a hardware failure and it impacted WT. It’s been resolved and we don’t anticipate any further problems. Let me know if you see any hiccups.--IBobi 15:56, 30 November 2011 (EST)

Hawaiian versus English, and other languages spelled with accents

What are thoughts on using the Hawaiian or English spelling of names, when the names only differ by the use of the okina (ʻ) and kahakō (āēīōū)? E.g. Hawaiʻi or Hawaii, Oʻahu or Oahu, Kalākaua or Kalakaua?

Obvious options:

  1. Use only the English spellings.
  2. Use the Hawaiian spelling the first time a name is mentioned, then switch to the English spelling without comment.
  3. Treat it like any other foreign language, and introduce the Hawaiian spelling in a parenthetical note.
  4. Just give names in Hawaiian exclusively.

(I imagine this could apply with other pairs of languages where words differ only by accent marks... heck, even Japan could benefit from this, with Tōkyō or Tokyo.)

--BigPeteB 12:13, 7 December 2011 (EST)

Hi - have a look at Wikitravel talk:Article naming conventions/Accented characters for a similar discussion. I think the general consensus is that if the city/town has a common English name, then the English name should be used. Including the local name as well within the article is always okay. So Hawaii is always Hawaii, and Oahu is always Oahu. If there is no English name, we don't try to anglicise (effectively misspell) a local name. There are borderline cases like Malmö where it isn't clear (at least to me) whether using Malmo is a misspelling or an English spelling. We have redirects to help anyway, and we're probably always going to have problems in the edge cases. --Inas 17:13, 7 December 2011 (EST)
I was referring more to the article text, and not the page name, so I think that discussion only applies tangentially.
So to rephrase my question: within an article, what's the preferred way to handle English vs native or romanized names when the only difference is "accented" characters? --BigPeteB 10:04, 8 December 2011 (EST)
Use the same naming as used in the title. Else it would be confusing. --Globe-trotter 11:50, 8 December 2011 (EST)
Still doesn't answer my question 100%... what about names of streets, buildings, businesses, etc. (things that don't get their own articles)? The physical street signs in Hawaii read "Kalākaua Avenue" and "Liliʻuokalani Avenue", so do we write it like that when giving the address for a business, or do we strip the funny characters? --BigPeteB 12:03, 8 December 2011 (EST)
Same rule applies. If there is an English spelling, or clearly a commonly used anglicised names, use it (giving the Hawaiian alternative if you like). If there isn't a common anglicised name use the Hawaiian name. Whenever you are using Hawaiian names include the appropriate diacritics, accents, etc, for the language you are using. There will probably be examples with some names where you can't be sure whether there is actually an English name or whether it is just a Hawaiian name where perhaps the diacritics are commonly omitted. These are the edge cases, so use your best judgement. --Inas 14:17, 8 December 2011 (EST)
Actually, now that I do my own legwork, I have to say that what you describe doesn't seem to match with what people are doing. Łódź is repeatedly written "Łódź" in its article, São Paulo is repeatedly written as "São Paulo", and Malmö is repeatedly written as "Malmö". (None are 100% consistent, but it's a wiki.) The Hawaiian government's site consistently uses the Hawaiian spellings throughout. So I don't see why, within the article text, we shouldn't follow suit, particularly since that seems to be what we've been doing anyway in other articles. I don't see why there's a need to be imperialist about preferring "English" spellings when the native versions also use Roman letters. --BigPeteB 15:46, 8 December 2011 (EST)
It all does make sense though. Wikitravel:Naming conventions have it all spelled out. The article names of Łódź, São Paulo and Malmö use diacritics because there is either no English name available without diacritics (Łódź, Malmö), or because multiple names are used in English and then the local name is preferred (São Paulo). In the case of Hawaii, only Hawaii is used in the English language. Hawaiʻi is Hawaiian. If we'd use Hawaiʻi as an article name, that would would mean we'd have to call the German article Deutschland, which wouldn't make sense. --Globe-trotter 16:26, 8 December 2011 (EST)
(Once again, I'm not talking about article names; I'm only talking about the body of the article.) Somehow you read the same page I did and got exactly the opposite answer. The state government's pages do read "State of Hawaiʻi" and "County of Oʻahu", so clearly they prefer the Hawaiian names. According to Wikitravel:Naming conventions and your own words, if there are multiple names, the local name is preferred. And according to Wikitravel:Naming conventions, we should use Roman letters "with or without accents/diacritics". The local government's preference is for Hawaiian names with diacritics, so once again I assert that that choice fits all the criteria I've been told. --BigPeteB 17:23, 8 December 2011 (EST)

(Re-indenting) Local names are not preferred, English names are. When there is an English name available for a place, it should be used. Else we would have to rename Germany to Deutschland. I interpret current policy this way:

  • Sao Paulo and São Paulo are both used in English. São Paulo is also used in the local language, thus it is preferred.
  • Hawaii is used in English. Hawaiʻi is not used in English, it is only used in Hawaiian. Thus the English name is preferred. --Globe-trotter 19:17, 8 December 2011 (EST)
Agree with Globe-trotter. You can see the discussions that led to Sao Paulo at Talk:São_Paulo#.22Sao_Paulo.22_or_.22S.C3.A3o_Paulo.22.3F, and personally I think the policy was hacked to accommodate it. I don't think it would extend as far as incorporating Hawaiʻi or Oʻahu where Hawaii and Oahu are clearly the most common English word, which is the essence of our policy everywhere. --Inas 21:45, 8 December 2011 (EST)
Okay... I guess I got thrown for a major loop by the other articles that seem to also break the rules. In my mind, "São Paulo" isn't English because "ã" isn't a letter in English... so it's just using the native name and spelling, and calling it English. (Similarly, "Wooj" would be valid English, "Lodz" could maybe be English but would be very confusing given how it's pronounced, but "Łódź" is just Polish.) So, I'll stick with the unaccented names of Hawaiian places and treat the Hawaiian names like any other foreign language. --BigPeteB 11:43, 9 December 2011 (EST)
P.S. Thanks for taking the time to explain this to me, y'all. :-)
Frankly, I think Sao Paulo is misplaced here, as the tilde is unfamiliar to most English speakers, but several English-language sources have started using it, including the New York Times and the Guardian. I wouldn't be surprised if the okina started being used in English-language sources in similar proportions in the near future, but it's not there yet. LtPowers 13:40, 9 December 2011 (EST)
Agreed that Sao Paulo in reality is probably best without diacritics, since English doesn't use it (although I have also noticed a recent surge of using Spanish/Portuguese diacritics in English). I think it's strange that people are afraid to use English in the English Wikitravel. I guess it's an extension of "political correctness" that has everyone worried that it's somehow "offensive" for us to use English in an English website. I think the above comment, "I don't see why there's a need to be imperialist about preferring "English" spellings" shows that attitude well. Is it really Imperialistic to use English spellings on an English-version website??
To me, English is simply more accessible and less initimadating to English-speakers (for obvious reasons) therefore, I would mostly prefer that we use English and have the native language in parenthesis beside site names, like we do in Japanese/Chinese/etc. This is however, a minority opinion on Wikitravel (either that or there is a very silent majority). ChubbyWimbus 09:22, 12 December 2011 (EST)
The most common english name is well established and documented policy. I'm sure there are strong arguments for using local languages and variants within articles, but it is really up to those who think that to build a consensus for change, and not to just introduce those variants through lack of objection individual cases. --Inas 15:36, 12 December 2011 (EST)
Regarding the specific example of "Sao Paolo" vs "São Paulo", see Wikitravel:Article naming conventions#Examples. Wikitravel talk:Article naming conventions#Latin Characters has a long discussion about the reasoning behind those guidelines. If this discussion is about changing that policy (and it seems like it's heading there), could it be moved to Wikitravel talk:Article naming conventions? It's generally best to have policy discussions on the appropriate policy talk page. -- Ryan • (talk) • 15:48, 12 December 2011 (EST)
I think Big Pete was asking about how to spell names within articles anyway. =) LtPowers 18:24, 12 December 2011 (EST)

I hate to beat a dead horse, but I just got back from a week in Hawaii and I've been rethinking this based on my observations:

The biggest problem I have with the "English names are preferred" argument is that that isn't what locals do when they talk. If I ask locals about a cloth skirt, they'll call it a "muʻumuʻu" (4 syllables), not a "muumuu" (2 syllables, and is a real Hawaiian word that means either "footsteps" or "silent, mum"). If I ask how to get to Ala Moana Center, they'll tell me to turn on Piʻikoi Street (3 syllables) even though the road sign reads "Piikoi Street" (2 syllables, if you pronounced it as written).

So, unless someone has an equally convincing argument otherwise, I think that because the traveler comes first, the Hawaii articles should just use Hawaiian names for things, because if we write "a cloth skirt called a muumuu (muʻumuʻu)", that reads like it's correct to pronounce it "moo-moo", and it just isn't. You may be understood, but you'll be just as wrong as if you pronounce Łódź like "lods" instead of "wooj"... why leave any room for confusion, when you could just write "Łódź" and be done with it? --BigPeteB 16:43, 27 December 2011 (EST)

The English pronunciation of "muumuu" is indeed "moo-moo", so it's not incorrect at all. Hawaii is not a foreign country; everyone there understands English, and there's no reason to avoid using English words just because there are Hawaiian equivalents. (And I don't think proper nouns cause the problem you fear; I would never pronounce "Piikoi" as two syllables any more than I would try to pronounce "Hawaii" with just two syllables, okina or no okina.) LtPowers 21:42, 27 December 2011 (EST)
Proper nouns is mostly what I'm stuck on... unless you've been told in advance, how would you know to pronounce "Piikoi" as 3 syllables? Ditto for "Hawaii"? --BigPeteB 23:58, 27 December 2011 (EST)

Whew, a lot of confusion here. I'm going to try and spruce up Wikitravel:Naming conventions, since it's clearly unclear!


  1. The article was moved away from Wikitravel:Article naming conventions to emphasize that it is for all naming, not just article naming, so spellings should be consistent everywhere.
  2. If in doubt, the default is local naming conventions, so you would write Piʻikoi St.
  3. Accent marks and diacritics are part of the Roman alphabet, and are perfectly acceptable in English prose.
  4. Names such as "Hawaii" and "Oahu" are so commonly spelled without the ʻ, that we should omit it. Aside, perhaps, from a pronunciation explanation next to the article title.

Hopefully this clears things up at all? --Peter Talk 19:45, 29 December 2011 (EST)

Brief site outage

We experienced a brief site outage from approximately 4-4:45pm PST today. Site is back and stable -- thank you.--IBobi 19:53, 16 December 2011 (EST)

Guayaquil colleges

Regarding this edit, both Brookdale Community College and Broward College (both U.S. institutions) claim to have the only U.S.-accredited college in South America. Thoughts on how to handle this? LtPowers 20:21, 16 December 2011 (EST)

Both colleges have websites that give addresses in Guayaquil [7] [8]. I was about to say that there must be two colleges, but this history page [9] suggests that Brookdale became Broward in 2008. Looking again at the Brookdale page, it only shows schedules for 2006 & 2007. So the edit appears to be correct - the college has changed name/ownership ('program was transferred').AlasdairW 13:54, 17 December 2011 (EST)

Help with Pedasi villa rental listing

Hi, everyone. There's been a discussion of a villa rental listing at Talk:Pedasi. I'm OK with the listing now, but I'd like for some other folks to weigh in, so that we can achieve a consensus and either have the listing go up and stay up or not. Thanks a lot, everyone! Ikan Kekek 13:52, 17 December 2011 (EST)

An awful lot of effort gone into explaining how to a single user how they should format a listing. Really hope they put the information to good use rather than just making their own listing and leaving. Personally, I'd have pointed them at dt and some stars. --Inas 22:41, 20 December 2011 (EST)
But rental listings have to be by consensus, so how do we get that the way you're describing, unless we change our policy on rental listings? Ikan Kekek 01:24, 21 December 2011 (EST)
Personally, I wouldn't be forming a consensus about listing rentals in a place if the person just has a vested interest in getting their single listing included in the guide. I don't think that is the sort of consensus we are looking for. If there is a someone with an interest in a destination, then that's different.
However, I have no problem with what you guys have done. It is all good, just pointing out that I wouldn't have gone to such effort in a situation where I believe the user in question is just interested in getting their listing in the guide. Hoping I'm wrong, though. --Inas 06:45, 21 December 2011 (EST)

Help patrolling Morocco for tour agency spam and deleting tour listings that don't belong

I'd still like help with the Pedasi listing, but I hope some of you can help with this larger problem. There's a new spammer, who says they are a "legitimate and licensed organization offering desert tours to Zagora" but is posting all over the place, with no street address but "based in Marrakech." I thought I had posted to's Talk page, but I see no evidence of that (I must have closed the tab before hitting "Enter") and have to get some sleep. Here are the anonymous user's [[10]]. I've been deleting them all, but I'm unsure what to do in the M'Hamid guide, because there are so many tours listed. What standard do we want to use? Local addresses only? Thanks in advance for helping. Ikan Kekek 06:54, 19 December 2011 (EST)

I removed them again. Local addresses only is the starting point, I think. --Inas 22:34, 20 December 2011 (EST)
Thank you, Inas. The thing is, for some desert locations, we have been allowing non-touty trekking operators, provided that they have an office in the town in question. I was going to provide [[11]] as a good example, but I see that not a single listing has a street address listed. But then again, I don't know if there are street addresses in Wadi Rum. Ikan Kekek 01:58, 21 December 2011 (EST)
Yeah - it is going to be a judgement call in a place like this, and we probably aren't going to get it exactly right. However a couple were clearly travel agents with no guiding capacity, and I think that is still preferable to list operators when we can. --Inas 06:48, 21 December 2011 (EST)

REcaptcha enabled on Shared and all foreign language versions

See -- enabled as of this morning. Please report any bugginess/effectiveness against spam registrations.--IBobi 19:16, 20 December 2011 (EST)

Rendering failure with Firefox 9.0.1 / Seamonkey 2.6.1

There are some rendering problems with pre-1.16 MediaWiki-Wikis since the update of Firefox / Seamonkey a few days ago. I solved the problem with Wikivoyage in the following manner:

Seit wenigen Tagen stehen die Updates für Firefox 9.0.1 / Seamonkey 2.6.1 bereit. Jedoch mit einer Überraschung: die Navigationsleiste auf der linken Seite war nach unten verschoben. Ursache hierfür war nicht Gecko, sondern die MediaWiki-Software (in den Versionen 1.11 - 1.13), die noch einen Uralt-Patch für KHTML per Script (wikibits.js) „unsichtbar“ eingefügt hatte. Die einfachste Lösung bestand darin, die einzige Zeile in monobook/KHTMLFixes.css (nämlich #column-content { margin-left: 0; } ) zu löschen. Offensichtlich ist eine Funktion, wohl navigator.taintEnabled mit der neuen Firefox-Version deaktiviert worden, was dazu führte, das Firefox als KHTML angesehen wurde. Die Suche hat jedoch Stunden gedauert. Mittlerweile gibt es einen Bugreport auch bei MediaWiki (, --Roland 08:53, 25. Dez. 2011 (CET)
The problem is not Gecko but the MediaWiki software (at least for the versions 1.11 through 1.13). In that versions an "ancient" CSS patch for KHTML browsers is "invisible" included by the wikibits.js script. The simplest way to solve the problem is to remove the only line in monobook/KHTMLFixes.css, this is #column-content { margin-left: 0; }. I think the problem comes with the function navigator.taintEnabled which gives now false, i.e. it is de-activated. The result of this was that the Firefox seems to behold like KHTML. See also the bug report at --Unger 03:09, 25 December 2011 (EST)
Bug reports of this nature should go on Wikitravel Shared. LtPowers 15:32, 27 December 2011 (EST)

URL ban nomination?

I am not sure how to nominate a URL for a nuisance ban. There is one (or perhaps more than one) anonymous user, from at least 2 IPs, who has repeatedly substituted the commercial website,, for the official website of Bahamas Tourism in the Bahamas article. The aforementioned web address is the site for the Bimini Bay Resort, whose entry I will now delete from the Bimini guide, as promised, but given the repeated misbehavior of people presumably associated with this resort, I think it would be a good idea to blacklist all sites associated with that resort, site-wide. I welcome your feedback. Ikan Kekek 05:18, 28 December 2011 (EST)

If the site is against policy, and being repeatedly added, then Wikitravel:Local spam blacklist may be appropriate. --Inas 17:41, 2 January 2012 (EST)


I've resumed work on my Wikitravel:iTravelFree Android/iOS app - the next version will include Foursquare data as well as Wikitravel and Wikipedia - and its Wikitravel maps mash-up, and it occurred to me that some of the server-side stuff I do might be useful to others. In particular, I parse out Wikitravel pages into their constituent sections and listings, work out parent/child relationships using both breadcrumbs and internal links, convert addresses into lat/long coordinates, etc. It wouldn't be that much work for me to create a API that let developers access not just individual pages but individual sections and listings within pages, and the parent/child relationships between pages.

But it wouldn't be a trivial job either. And if a bunch of people wanted to use it extensively, the bandwidth costs would quickly become nontrivial. (I'm using Google App Engine, which ain't cheap.) So would anyone out there be interested in such an API? And if so, would it be a Creative Commons terms-of-service violation to charge its users enough to defray my costs for it? Rezendi 16:34, 2 January 2012 (EST)

Although I think charging for the service would be entirely possible under the licence, I think the derived information would also be CC-BY-SA. Arguably, it should be put back into the main guide. --Inas 17:39, 2 January 2012 (EST)

Spelling of Odisha/Orissa

Hi, everyone. User Triseult has been editing every mention of the Indian state formerly known as Orissa to reflect a new official Indian government spelling. I appreciate his/her diligence but have doubts about his/her decision. We have not changed the spelling of Bangalore to Bengaluru, for example, because the latter spelling is still at least somewhat more common in English.

I have started a thread in Talk:Odisha and invite your participation.

All the best,

Ikan Kekek 05:21, 4 January 2012 (EST)

Tour listings - rules

Hello, I would like to find solution of one problem. I was trying to edit info about exploring Warsaw and information about tours was erased according to [12]. I asked User:LtPowers to change back information because mentioned tours have got "value-added activity". Warsaw during WWII was destroyed in 90% and many interesting places are covered by modern buildings (eg.last pieces of Ghetto Wall). Whats more there is lack of book which describes Warsaw architecture in English. Thats why Wiki users should have access to erased information.

A better place for this discussion would be Wikitravel_talk:Activity_listings, the talk page for the policy in question. Have a look at older discussions there too.
Please sign messages by typing four tildes( ~~~~); that adds date, time & your ID,like this: Pashley 05:53, 9 January 2012 (EST)
I agree. Users should have access to the information. I suggest that you kindly put the information in Wikitravel. It is a guide, then people will have the information. We're here to provide open information, accessible and free. Anyone can then use our free and open information on their site, for their tour, or for their personal information. --Inas 06:32, 9 January 2012 (EST)
Yes, perhaps this should be discussed at Wikitravel_talk:Activity_listings, so please do raise your concerns and inquiry there if you wish. However do consider first if the tours being offered are something that requires the experienced and specialist guidance of someone such as that offered by the tour company. I note you have mentioned there is apparently a lack of readily available information, such as from a book. Please consider if a visitor to Warsaw can go and visit (or 'tour') these sites independently and without the support of guide services. If so then the Tour service is probably precluded from listing in the Wikitravel articles. Also of course have a good read of Activity listings. Consider what it is that the tours is offering. Does it offers something as a supplement to that a person would be able to sufficiently derive from a visit to the location on their own? Also consider if the tour operators are are a requisite to visit a certain area, this would include provisions where a guide is required by law or safety regulations of some kind, or where un-supervised access is denied without an official guide or supervisor.-- felix 06:38, 9 January 2012 (EST)

Outline status for travel topics

I'm a bit confused about the layout requirements and status determination of travel topics. Maybe I'm looking on the wrong page, but it seems to me that travel topic outlines are different from destination outlines, in that they will apparently be deleted if not edited for a year. Looking at Wikitravel:Travel_topic_status, it seems that that warning is the only template outline travel topics can bear. Why is that? In practice, some outline travel topics have been given a "normal" outline template (e.g. Rock climbing) while others have been tagged "usable" despite being fairly short (e.g. Round the world overland). I imagine this might also be the result of people trying to get rid of the deletion warning, and indeed it it would be strange to delete these topics.

Now, I was trying to save windsurfing from deletion, but I'm unsure what that would require? There doesn't seem to be a set article template for such topics (and I would say that's a good thing), but what would it need to be usable and thus off the hook? Or should I give it just the standard outline status? Justme 06:39, 13 January 2012 (EST)

IMO this is why we have the vfd process. We won't vote to delete an article that is being developed, or has travel content. --Inas 06:01, 14 January 2012 (EST)
I get that, and I'm not worried that windsurfing will be deleted now, but the vfd is meant to evaluate individual cases, judging them based on policy and common practice. In principle, we try to develop articles without making use of the vdf. So that leaves my more general questions about why travel topic outlines are different from destination articles. If there's no explanation, I don't see why we wouldn't replace the "warning-this will be deleted if not edited for a year" template with the "normal" outline template. Justme 06:30, 14 January 2012 (EST)
You can look at the development of the policy here, Wikitravel talk:Deletion policy#Incomplete travel topics and itineraries.
I kind of see your point. I see this policy squarely aimed at "Visiting secondary sewage processing plants in Southern Europe with kids", type article, rather than a single sport or such.
Practically, however, the threshold for being "usable" is quite low. If the article is usable, then apply the usable template. If it really is an outline (headings, introduction, and no travel content) then it deserves to be considered for vfd after a year.
Despite of some of the comments on the vfd page, I think it is one of the most effective collaborations on the site. It brings out the strongest arguments in content and policy, regularly rescues articles and images, and leads to policy development. I don't think I've ever seen a vote that I'd consider removes useful travel content.
Would you have contributed to the windsurfing article if it hadn't been there, or would it have been a content-less disaster for the next decade? --Inas 23:09, 15 January 2012 (EST)
Thank you for that link, Inas, it explains the rationale :-) Although I don't believe it's a proper policy for mainstream travel topics (like windsurfing or any other sport) I can see why it's been developed and how it is useful. When the usable threshold is quite low, it shouldn't be much of a problem. A final question again though (sorry), a writer is in principle free to choose headings, right? There's no template? Thanks! Justme 08:10, 16 January 2012 (EST)
Yes, the writer is in principle free to choose headings in a travel topic, however, there is a tendency to reuse existing headings where they fit, and use the imperative phrasing also.
I think there are an infinite amount of things that could become travel topics, and a finite set of contributors. We generally don't create a travel topic articles in advance of a contribution. Unfortunately, in my view, that contribution can be a non-contribution - with no travel content, and we still tend to keep the article. An equivalent non-contribution in an existing article may well be removed. I see travel topics as needing curating during their early days if they are going to be successful, and if they are created by a passer-by and no regular contributor steps up, they languish. --Inas 17:09, 16 January 2012 (EST)

Navigation at the bottom?

Err.. am I the only one not seeing the sidebar, as it's placed all the way at the bottom of the page? Justme 14:12, 19 January 2012 (EST)

Incompatibility between latest firefox and this version of mediawiki. --Inas 16:07, 19 January 2012 (EST)
Oh :-( thanks... Justme 18:42, 19 January 2012 (EST)
I gave an explanation of this failure (Rendering failure with Firefox 9.0.1 above) and a solution some days ago. Nothing was done. The problem is to solved by IB. --Unger 09:15, 20 January 2012 (EST)
Did you report it on Shared? LtPowers 14:57, 20 January 2012 (EST)
Appears this issue will resolve with the MW upgrade, which is in progress.--IBobi 19:08, 20 January 2012 (EST)

Never resolved, but I just updated to Firefox 10.0 and WT appears normal again. AHeneen 15:48, 4 February 2012 (EST)

Wikitravel sucks

So slow for the past couple of days. A couple of attempts at editing, and then give up for the day. --Inas 22:40, 19 January 2012 (EST)

Everything might be (possibly) fixed by the Mediawiki upgrade scheduled for September 2011 November 2011 some time in 2012/2013. In the mean time it seems frustration will be rampant... -- Ryan • (talk) • 22:56, 19 January 2012 (EST)
Investigating the performance issue -- thank you for reporting.--IBobi 19:10, 20 January 2012 (EST)
Please report if there are still performance issues today; we had a bad crawler last week that may have slowed the site.--IBobi 14:04, 23 January 2012 (EST)
I still get frequent delays loading pages, though it usually speeds up as my session goes on. LtPowers 16:56, 23 January 2012 (EST)


Please would someone peer review the Wernigerode article and let me know what is now essential to get it to guide standard. Many thanks in advance. --SaxonWarrior 11:44, 21 January 2012 (EST)

I've upgraded it to usable from outline. For guide status, the See, Do, Buy, Eat, Drink, and Sleep sections need summaries, and the listings need actual prices. Drink listings need descriptions, and I'd also like to see the Sleep listings fleshed out more. Museums should be in "See" rather than "Do". LtPowers 13:01, 21 January 2012 (EST)
Thanks. I'll get to work. --SaxonWarrior 03:32, 22 January 2012 (EST)

Saxon Ore Mountains

The above article name is a bit of a fudge forced to fit the existing country/state hierarchy. The range is known as the Ore Mountains and straddles the German/Czech border, the highest point being on the Czech side. It is a major tourist magnet. IMHO we need an article on the Ore Mountains, but it will be an extra-hierarchical region. Can we cope with that? --SaxonWarrior 02:14, 25 January 2012 (EST)

Extra-hierarchical regions are fine, the Harz Mountains already function as an extra-hierarchical region. --Globe-trotter 03:38, 25 January 2012 (EST)

Adequate attribution?

I could swear I posted this here last night, but I can't find any trace of it...

Anyway, just asking because I'm not sure, but is this use of our image properly attributed? It makes no mention of the creative commons license, etc. texugo 15:57, 25 January 2012 (EST)

Today's outage

We had an unplanned outage for several hours today due to a database malfunction. Site should now be behaving as normal; thank you for being patient while we resolved this.--IBobi 17:45, 25 January 2012 (EST)

Are you talking about these kinds of weird error messages, such as this one in the Kerch guide (the same one that was in the Johor Bahru guide before I did a hard edit to the previous version):

The database did not find the text of a page that it should have found, named "(fixme, bug)".

This is usually caused by following an outdated diff or history link to a page that has been deleted.

If this is not the case, you may have found a bug in the software. Please report this to an administrator, making note of the URL.

Ikan Kekek 04:21, 26 January 2012 (EST)
He's probably also referring to the "Wikitravel has a problem, try again in a few minutes" message that I got most of the day, yesterday. For the record, today the site seems to be very slow, but functioning. Justme 07:18, 26 January 2012 (EST)

The site appears to have become so slow over the last few days that it is now virtually unusable. It is near impossible to load a page, preview and edit or render an edit upload. Whats happened, rats chewed into the cabling? -- felix 09:54, 16 February 2012 (EST)

Hey Felix -- I'll have performance check with tech. Would you be interested in participating in the beta testing of the new Mediawiki upgrade?--IBobi 15:50, 16 February 2012 (EST)
Hi iBobi, will I need to have any needles stuck into me or take any tablets? If not then let me know the details and lets see if I can assist by participating. -- felix 18:08, 17 February 2012 (EST)
Just email me at paul.obrien at and we'll get you fixed up with testing credentials.--IBobi 19:54, 17 February 2012 (EST)

Listings of individuals

Hi, everyone. I'd like you to weigh in on this. My understanding has been that we don't allow listings of individuals, such as individual language tutors, trekkers, guides, translators, or drivers. But I'd like to refer you to a discussion taking place in Talk:La Paz and another that I just started at Talk:Banaue. I think we need to have a clear and well-thought-through policy on these matters. Ikan Kekek 06:20, 28 January 2012 (EST)

I think we these things we're guided by the number of potential listings, and the difficulty the traveller has in finding them. If there is only one elephant driver in a town, and that's the only way to get from the station to the camp site apart from walking, then we list them. Doesn't matter if they are an individual, or a franchise of Mega-Elephant. If there are a few elephants, but the traveller needs to be able to contact them, and the method for doing so is not apparent, then may need to maintain a compact list of choices. Style of listings, capacity of the organisation, traveller recommendations, etc, guide us in choosing who to list, but we'd rather list individuals than Elephant-Back-Travel booking office. However, if there are many elephants such that they are ubiquitous, then we don't need to list. A line of prose saying the elephants are outside the station, or some such suffices.
The bottom line is the traveller comes first. We don't need to accept a business owners rationale. --Inas 23:59, 28 January 2012 (EST)
The issue has also turned up at Talk:Yangshuo#Tour_Guides. Pashley 10:10, 29 January 2012 (EST)

Cape Town Dive Festival 2012

Cape Town is hosting a dive festival in August. It is not on the same scale as the football world cup or summer Olympics, but we are hoping for visitors from all over South Africa, and possibly a few internationals. The festival is a co-operative event to be organised, subsidised, and run by most if not all of the local dive shops, charter boats and clubs. If successful, they plan to make it a bi-annual event. I would like to put up a temporary article giving basic details and contact details for booking and a small temporary banner on the following relevant articles:

  • The actual dive sites selected for the festival (about 12)
  • The launch site and base for the festival (one of the local slipways and already a sub-article of the regional dive guide
  • The regional dive guide,
  • The national dive guide
  • Scuba Diving travel topic in the section for South Africa
  • The local regional travel guide (Western Cape)
  • The host city (Cape Town)

The proposed banner is:

Cape Town Dive Festival
11th & 12th August, 2012
Launching from
Cape Boat Club, Miller's Point, Simon’s Town
Festival Dive Site

Is this acceptable, and are there any suggestions or existing policy to cover this? Cheers, • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 11:07, 31 January 2012 (EST)

I'm reluctant to approve a banner for a national event like this. This is not a major international event, so it is not going to be driving tourism; instead, it sounds like you want to advertise it via Wikitravel. There's a big difference between "Looking for information on the 2012 Olympics? Here's where it's held," and "Looking for something to do in South Africa? Here's an event." I don't think the latter is an appropriate use, especially for an event that will only draw minimal participation from outside the host country. LtPowers 14:47, 31 January 2012 (EST)
A standard event listing in the appropriate city/country article would definitely be OK, but too much promotion would be a concern. That said, given all the great work that Peter (Southwood) has done on dive articles I'd trust his judgement as to whether Wikitravel is a proper platform for promoting an event like this one, but I've got some concerns that it could be a bit of a slippery slope, and the proposed banner definitely looks a bit like an advertisement.
Wikitravel tends to be very conservative, which isn't always a good thing, so this might be a time where some experimentation would be warranted to see how it goes. In that spirit, I would be OK with adding temporary notices to the relevant dive articles provided they are a bit closer to standard Wikitravel style (for example, something more like Template:Infobox). As to a separate page promoting the event, I've also got some concerns about the precedent that would set, but in the interest of encouraging experimentation what about creating an initial page for discussion purposes and seeing how it goes, although the talk page should make it clear that this is just an experiment and not something should be followed as precedent by other events? -- Ryan • (talk) • 01:14, 1 February 2012 (EST)
LtPowers, I take your point. It would be a foot in the door for possible spamming, so I will scrap the idea and just link to the pages from the event website.
Ryan, Thanks for the support, but it is a bit of a slippery slope. I have been editing a lot on Wikipedia recently and tend to get policies mixed up between WT and WP. No problem, it just seemed like a good idea at the time. Cheers, • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 01:06, 8 February 2012 (EST)
I don't think a banner such as the one for Olympic host cities would be inappropriate on the main page of the South African Diving Sites article though. If someone is looking for Diving in South Africa then it would likely be of interest but not from the South Africa country page. ChubbyWimbus 10:03, 16 February 2012 (EST)

Seeraa, the user and the Chinese website

Hi, everyone. I would like you to please read the exchange at User_talk:Seeraa and also have a look at [13] and [14]. User Seeraa is some informative edits (unless they are copyvio, and except where they're merely added links to the seeraa portal), and I don't want to chase him/her away, but if the website in question really is in any sense official, why does [15] not mention that? How should we handle this situation? Ikan Kekek 03:58, 3 February 2012 (EST)

Ikan, their homepage say they are a non-profit organisation. I think their xl linking to diverse places like Lhasa and Hangzhou looks a bit touty for me. I accept if they work in their knowledge into Wikitravel but the linking is to much. Especially in political sensitive cases like Tibet imho their link can't stay. Jc8136 04:06, 3 February 2012 (EST)

Cameron Highlands Tour providers

I would appreciate a second (or third) opinion on the comments I have left on the Cameron Highlands discussion page. Thanks. -- felix 06:33, 5 February 2012 (EST)

General aviation

I'm wondering about this edit, which reverts what an anonymous user had added about general aviation airports near Atlanta, with no explanation given. I couldn't find any WT policy on general aviation, but I thought it was generally not excluded. I've certainly seen it mentioned in a lot of other articles. -- BigPeteB 09:43, 10 February 2012 (EST)

You'd have to ask User:Dguillaime to be sure, but looking at the IP's previous edits, it appears the reason for the reversion was to eliminate the spamming of the link to "Jetset Charter", rather than any particular antipathy toward general aviation. To the larger question, general aviation is certainly a valid topic for our guides, though only the most significant GA airports in a given region should be listed. LtPowers 10:13, 10 February 2012 (EST)
The company in question has been copying and pasting the same text to numerous articles, so had User:Dguillaime not done so I would have also reverted them under the Wikitravel:Don't tout guideline. There was a similar discussion about listings for private jets in the USA article at Talk:United States of America/Archive 2007#Private jets? and the consensus was that it didn't make sense in that article, and I feel that the same holds true for articles like Los Angeles or Atlanta where private charters aren't something that's relevant to 99.999% of travelers. However, for cities with small airports like Santa Monica where the major airlines do not operate then listing smaller operators might make sense - that assumes that the company in question actually operates the planes and isn't just a booking agent. -- Ryan • (talk) • 11:12, 10 February 2012 (EST)
Yes, the spamming of the company link was why I reverted those. You'll see more instances of that in the edit history for that IP address, for other cities, and never with any contact information for that company besides the link. -- D. Guillaime 11:38, 10 February 2012 (EST)

Beta testing Mediawiki 1.17 upgrade

Having addressed the first round of bug reports from the Mediawiki upgrade beta test server, we're currently underway on a final round of testing before the new version of Wikitravel goes live in a few weeks. We'd love to have your input, so if you are interested in participating in the beta, email me at paul.obrien at for testing credentials and instructions. Thanks!--IBobi 18:55, 21 February 2012 (EST)

Nice to hear that it's coming along :-) Just a question though.. why not upgrade to the latest version? 1.18 has been released a while back already and Wikipedia in fact is deploying even 1.19 this week. Isn't it strange to start with a backlog? Justme 06:22, 22 February 2012 (EST)
It would be great to upgrade to the most recent version; but as you can see, they release small updates quite frequently, and upgrading a site as big as WT is a long process -- one that began prior to the release of 1.18 in November -- thus, we're finishing the upgrade to the version that was out at the time, 1.17. At any rate, it will not be as long between upgrades as it has been since the last one.--IBobi 14:40, 22 February 2012 (EST)

Integrating as a Wikimedia project

This does not seem to have been brought up in a long time. I believe that integrating would be positive for all involved

  • Would provide a secure funding base and reduce the need for google ads which take up so much of my screen
  • Potentially increase editors as no google ads
  • Would make it easier for the two sites to direct people adding content to the better place
  • Would make Wikitravel better known (lots of great content here in a useful format)
  • Would thus speed up the development of the project
  • Potentially increased reliability (I am having trouble viewing this site right now)

I cannot really think of any drawbacks. Wikimedia projects are now under the same license is here. --Doc James 10:25, 23 February 2012 (EST)

If Wikitravel:Internet Brands was interested in moving the site to Wikimedia management I suspect many people would be in support, but since they own the trademarks it would be up to them to make that decision (hopefully User:IBobi or someone from IB can provide their position). Moving to Wikimedia without their blessing, and without trademarks, would essentially mean forking the project, and while that's entirely legal since all content is CC-SA licensed, using Wikitravel to have that discussion might not be entirely appropriate. -- Ryan • (talk) • 13:19, 24 February 2012 (EST)
Furthermore, if ads are an issue, registered users can turn ads off in their site preferences. LtPowers 13:59, 24 February 2012 (EST)
Yes I realize that those within the Wikimedia movement are free to take all the content here and put it under their own "name" as the content is CC just as those here are free to do the same with Wikipedia. I do not think splitting the editor base however is best for the content in question / open source movement. We already have to much duplication of efforts in other areas. I though I would post the idea here to see if those here had any interest in collaborating more closely. I sit on the board of Wikimedia Canada and could bring this forwards to the WMF if there was interest. Good to know about the ads Lt.Doc James 07:41, 25 February 2012 (EST)


Wikitravel was down for a while this morning due to an unscheduled data backup. If you see any unusual performance issues today, please let me know. Thank you --IBobi 17:11, 23 February 2012 (EST)

Site is going down for a few minutes for DB maintenance. Thanks --IBobi 18:16, 23 February 2012 (EST)