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Wikitravel:Travellers' pub

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Revision as of 22:37, 17 April 2014 by Ttcf (talk | contribs) (Wide images)
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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!

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Default image size

Most of our readers are not logged in.

For them, the default image width of thumbnails is rather small at 180px.

Please may we increase that to 250px, please? --Ttcf (talk) 20:45, 16 February 2014 (EST)

Tech issue Any technical request can be made at shared. That's the best venue for getting the developer folks to see your preference. Koavf (talk) 23:42, 16 February 2014 (EST)
That's useful information. However, I think the way things work may be something like this:
  1. Folks here decide whether it would be a good thing or a bad thing to raise the default image width.
  2. If the answer to (1) is yes, IBadmins and management decide if that would be a good use of the tekkies time or not...
I've raised the issue here in the Pub to see if there are any community objections to raising the size from 180px to 250px width. --Ttcf (talk) 00:42, 17 February 2014 (EST)
Ah Well, for my two cents, I don't have a strong opinion. A decade ago, screens were smaller on desktops and users connected with dial-up. But today, mobile screens are far smaller. The utility of a site like this on mobile is actually a pretty huge consideration. Koavf (talk) 00:52, 17 February 2014 (EST)
Don't we show a different mobile version if we detect the user is using a mobile? --Ttcf (talk) 01:04, 17 February 2014 (EST)
Style I believe so and this is one of the basic functions of stylesheets but I do not have a smartphone. Koavf (talk) 01:06, 17 February 2014 (EST)
Hello. I‘m a newbie here. Regarding default image size. Small size, like a current one, is not bad. I don‘t use a smartphone nor a laptop, but work on a desktop computer with an older (not wide) monitor, and also with a wide monitor. If the article's paragraph is short, the larger pictures distort the composition of the page. Especially if there are several pictures, then only the upper one is at its right place, others do not fit. The composition (general appearance) looks better with a "narrow" screen, however the larger pictures start to distort the text then, appearance of the text, i.e. the left side of the page while the right side with images looks good. The smaller screen the worse is appearance of the text, it may turn almost to a column. Current small size (of the pictures) then looks quite reasonable.
If the screen is wide – the paragraphs become even more shorter (visually), and several pictures near to each other (a column of them) distort the composition of the page again. The smaller pictures – the less distortion.
I think that some sort of a pop-up (say, half screen size) would be useful. One click – you see a big picture, another click – big picture has gone. Now if you want to see details you have to open a page with a picture and then click it again in order to enlarge. It take time and annoys. It could be a possibility to open a page with a right click->open page, or something. Then you have a possibility to have a quick look at the picture of a decent size, and also have another possibility to look at it properly, along with all attributions.
Practically, to me there is an uncertainty, but it is not related to size, it‘s about the picture policy that reads Image use in articles should be kept at the minimum necessary to get across a point or impression. Is this still really valid? Visual information is more informative than text. Proper informative images can tell more than most detailed description. In such case current small size makes sense. It saves space. If images are almost absent, then they could be larger, just "to make the article beautiful". In my extremely humble opinion information should prevail, not ornaments. And the beauty of the article usually is determined by the orderly composition where everything fit in its proper place, sort of. Sorry for the intervention :) --Local (talk) 15:51, 19 February 2014 (EST)
Puerto Asese marina in Granada (thumbnail image at the current default of 180px)
We're not talking about a huge increase in the default here. Wikipedia upped their default from 180px to 220px several years ago and it could be argued (as you seem to have done above) that images that are evocative of the general feel and ambience of the destination should be a tad larger in a travel guide than an encyclopaedia.
To address your point about enlargement, unfortunately many of our readers don't realise that, if you click the little widget in the lower right corner, you will be taken to a page where often you can make a choice from a range of image sizes. (For example, after you click the "enlarge" widget, the "Puerto Asese marina in Granada" thumbnail image at the right can then be viewed at either 800 × 600 pixels or at its full resolution ‎of 1,280 × 960 pixels)
Perhaps we can take things one stage at a time and first agree on the default image size before we discuss (under a separate heading[s], please) other changes to image policy?
Incidentally the two images I've used here are examples from the current version of our Granada (Nicaragua) article.
Please also remember that changing the default size does not prevent editors overriding that default by specifying a larger or smaller size. It's just that, at the moment and with such a small default size of 180px, a lot of editors feel the need to specify larger hard-wired sizes of 190, 200, 205, 210, 220, 225, 230, 240 and (very often) 250px and that causes at least three problems:
(1) We end up with a range of different widths in the same article which looks awkward
Typical horsecart in Granada (thumbnail sized to proposed new default width of 250px)
(2) The servers are overburdened by generating such a huge range of thumbnail sizes
(3) Registered readers who have set their preferences to display a smaller thumbnail size than the current default (for both not-logged on users and logged on users who have not changed their preferences) of 180px, eg 150px, then actually get served the larger hard-wired size of 210, 220, 225, 230, 240 and (very often) 250px and incur extra data roaming charges or slow loads. Contrariwise, those with fast, cheap connections and large screens who have set their preferences to display a larger thumbnail size of 300px, then actually get served the smaller, editor hand crafted size of 210, 220, 225, 230px or whatever. --Ttcf (talk) 17:29, 19 February 2014 (EST)
Of course i agree that my post was too broad. To me, as a reader/user/"consumer", the current default image size is sufficient and better than a larger one, no matter how much larger. Some images (as you say) can be larger when necessary, and of course i don't like several images with different sizes in one article. I purposefuly posted my opinion slightly off-topic to illustrate that i don't see relevance in increasing default image size. I recently reduced the size of several pictures to 180px in one article, appearance then became better. But how it is better depends on concrete article, i think. In other words, to me the current situation is suitable. And all policies of everything are suitable too :). Just, like you see the relevance in image sizes, i see it in image policy (though accept it and agree with everything).
BTW, these 2 examples of the pictures: one 180px, another 250px, but there is no essential difference in perception of their content, they both are too small to perceive the details, and both are nearly equal in their general effect. If other users are uploading different sizes for no reason, then maybe their edits are ignorant and need to be fixed. Maybe they don't see the whole "picture" of the article and only want to stand out. Is it a problem of default image size? To me current size is good, but i won't express any objection if it will be increased :) --Local (talk) 07:57, 20 February 2014 (EST)
At the end of the day this is largely a question of subjective aesthetics and your opinion is just as valid as mine in that regard.
I do worry, though, that you have not understood my argument about NOT specifying an image width in pixels (as opposed to a relative sizing expressed as a factor of the users default by using the "upright=n" image syntax) when it is within about 10% of the default of 180px.
It would be nice to hear others opinions as to both the aesthetics and the other reasons I gave for making this change... --Ttcf (talk) 13:28, 20 February 2014 (EST)


Please would someone explain to me why it is helpful for travellers to have "maintenance" categories visible (as opposed to hidden) at the foot of many pages?

For example, how does it benefit the traveller to have visible at the base of our article about Jammu and Kashmir:


  • Articles with warnings
  • Articles needing style fixes
  • Outline articles

exactly? --Ttcf (talk) 22:13, 25 February 2014 (EST)

Hidden categories We can make these hidden categories, then. It's a feature of MediaWiki that's used on the English-language Wikipedia. These are useful for editors if not necessarily readers. Koavf (talk) 02:34, 4 March 2014 (EST)
That would certainly be my feeling if nobody is able to answer my (somewhat rhetorical question), Koavf.
As I'm sure you're already aware (but others may not be) categories that a page is in are normally listed at the bottom of the page, but in versions of Mediawiki after 1.13, (and I believe ours may be 1.17) a category can be hidden from this list by adding the magic word "__HIDDENCAT__" to the category page. MediaWiki category help page. --Ttcf (talk) 02:42, 4 March 2014 (EST)

Wide images

Most of our readers view our pages without logging in.

All of these readers (that have not logged in) will have adverts enabled.

If editors use images that have fixed image widths larger than about 620px, then unwanted page artifacts appear meaning that, with most common browsers and operating systems, the page then "falls off" the right hand screen edge and the {{panorama}} template does not work properly.

Readers who have set their user preferences to display adverts can compare the differences between these two pages:

(since adverts are not displayed on user pages). --Ttcf (talk) 19:59, 15 March 2014 (EDT)

Wikitravel upgrade 1.22.2

Hello all, We're excited to announce that Wikitravel will be upgrading its software! In order to migrate Wikitravel's extraordinary database of travel information, we'll be putting the site into read-only mode starting Thursday, 20 Mar 2014 at 5pm PST and running it for about 3-4 days. No edits will be possible at this time. When we come back, we'll be better than ever.

We’re moving to 1.22.2 version of MediaWiki. Here is a page that lists the changes. I also put together my own list with the changes that are visible to regular users. I believe this list is more easy to grasp.

Changes between 1.20 and 1.22.2 Media Wiki Software

IPs, Registered users, Admins:

  • Create an account page has new look and feel (more colors and shows on the right side stats for the # of edits, pages and recent contributors on Wikitravel)
  • Simplified search bar with vector skin only as an option, instead of “Go” and “Search” buttons.
  • Add Listing and Edit show on the top left side of the sections (previously at the top right corner)
  • Pop-up message “Your edit was saved” after making an edit and clicking “Save”.
  • When comparing revisions in the article history where noting was changed in the article, you notice a message "(No difference)" at the top middle part of the screen.
  • Left navigation bar subsections are now collapsible.
  • A pop up message is now displayed when the user attempts to leave the edit page with unsaved changes, on browsers supporting dialogs. Message says: This page is asking you to confirm that you want to leave - data you have entered may not be saved.”

Registered users and Admins:

  • Log in page is more new look and feel (colorful and neat).
  • Watch pages just by clicking on the star icon in the top right menu. Now you are not redirected to a different page and you don’t have to go back to the article after clicking “Watch”; you stay all the time on the same page. If the star icon is blue it means you’re watching the page.
  • New option in Account Preferences- User profile- Internationalization: “How do you prefer to be described?”

Admins only:

  • "Mark as patrolled" link available on any patrollable page or revision, without having to go to Special:RecentChanges or Special:NewPages. You stay all the time on the same page.
  • Cascading page protection levels other than "Allow only administrators". New option: “Autoconfirmed users”.

Please let us know if you have any questions. Warm regards, thank you IBAlex (talk) 17:38, 20 March 2014 (EDT)

Wikitravel is upgraded

Dear community! Wikitravel was upgraded successfully! Now you can edit the site again. If you see any bugs or issues, please report them below and I will be checking them and reporting to our tech team. Thank you for your cooperation! Warm regards, IBAlex (talk) 14:00, 25 March 2014 (EDT)

Changes in Crimea

Historically, Wikitravel has not been concerned with taking sides in political or diplomatic disputes or in adjudicating issues of sovereignty.

Usually we just tell it like it is in terms of what the traveller is likely to experience in a particular part of the world.

I feel that urgent changes are needed to our Crimea article. Comments are very welcome at Talk:Crimea#Annexation_of_Crimea_by_Russia --Ttcf (talk) 18:51, 26 March 2014 (EDT)

"Travelling with kids" section

Hi !

I was wondering if the idea of adding a section for people travelling with kids would be of interest. I am actually travelling with two kids in Ecuador and I feel like I could share a lot on many of the pages I read.

Thanks for answering !

--Rufen327 (talk) 18:03, 28 March 2014 (EDT)

Hello Rufen327! Thank you for your message! We actually have a separate article called Travelling with children and several individual pages like London with children or New York City with children. It would be great if you could create a separate page for Ecuador, ex. Ecuador with children. Please also feel encouraged to contribute to our general Travelling with children article. I hope this helps. Thank you for joining our traveler's community! Warm regards, IBAlex (talk) 18:07, 28 March 2014 (EDT)

Top 10 most photographed travel destinations across the globe

Google’s Panoramio is a photo-sharing website that lets people tag photos of landmarks or landscapes with their locations and upload them to Google Maps.

That means it only takes some relatively trivial programming for them to produce some interesting "heat" maps...

(Incidentally, many of these photos have licences which mean that editors can use them here, too.) --Ttcf (talk) 04:20, 8 April 2014 (EDT)

Ok, thanks for sharing! I will have a closer look at that. Warm regards, IBAlex (talk) 12:35, 8 April 2014 (EDT)
While there's no direct link between the most photographs taken of a destination and the most visited pages here, I think the map does produce some interesting results. Where can I most easily see the list of "most viewed pages" here, please? --Ttcf (talk) 16:07, 8 April 2014 (EDT)

Order of Listings

For about 7 years now, we have not had anyone suggest that listings should be in a random order rather than in alphabetical order as a default, or another logical order if agreed on the destination article's discussion page.

However, our Wikitravel:Accommodation listings#Listing order current policy has now been questioned so I thought I would give a "heads up" here in case anyone else wants to participate in the discussion at Wikitravel_talk:Listings#Random order in listings?... --Ttcf (talk) 23:16, 9 April 2014 (EDT)

World Cup 2014

Hello everybody! The World Cup 2014 in Brazil is coming up. I created today a new page for this event and I entourage everybody to plunge forward and contribute. Thank you! Warm regards, IBAlex (talk) 20:34, 10 April 2014 (EDT)

Tout's new tricks

It's not the first time I have seen a deliberately untrue edit summary in an attempt to deceive.

Then along comes another "helpful" editor to change the Brussels reference to a "Marrakech" reference (all this in our Marrakech article) and then finally another "helpful" editor restores the touting with an edit summary of "Undo revision 2193705 by (talk) No links to Airbnb".

One has to admire the team work - and well spotted, IBAlex! --Ttcf (talk) 19:36, 16 April 2014 (EDT)

Hello! thank you for this message! Admins are already aware of the touty tricks with users inserting bitly links to airbnb or other booking services or aggregators. They do their best to revert edits like that as soon as possible. Feel free to also remove them from our articles. Warm regards, IBAlex (talk) 19:44, 16 April 2014 (EDT)

Front page news items are stale

Please update Almost everything on the front page when it comes to travel advisories and events is out of date (the only one that really could apply is that traveling to South Sudan is probably not wise). Someone needs to add fresh content to our splash page, lest it look like the entire site is out of date. Koavf (talk) 23:29, 16 April 2014 (EDT)

Thanks for the "heads-up", Justin.
I'm a bit puzzled, though. Do you mean or some other page? --Ttcf (talk) 03:27, 17 April 2014 (EDT)
Main Page(s) Huh. Take a look at this history: and this edit interface: and all the news is old. Evidently, it's updated with current news items by transcluding some flim-flam-ery... I guess I can be ignored. Either way, my complaint on Shared about the Wikitravel Extra link still stands. Koavf (talk) 03:55, 17 April 2014 (EDT)
Well, if it is the Main Page you're talking about, the travel advisories currently all seem germane and relevant after a quick glance.
2 of the 5 events listed of
  • Cherry Blossom Festival, DC, (20 Mar - 13 Apr 2014)
  • Garden of Europe opening, (20 Mar - 18 May 2014)
  • Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, (1 - 30 Apr 2014)
  • Coachella Music Festival, Indio, (11 - 13 Apr 2014)
  • Acceleration Race Festival, Portugal, (25 - 27 Apr 2014)
have "expired" by 4 days, but that's not too bad...
I don't actually have any problem personally with the page being protected against editing but, now we've had our MediaWiki software upgrade, I do think there is scope for having an additional category of "Autopatroller" that would be able to edit protected pages like these after, say, a year of good edits... --Ttcf (talk) 04:32, 17 April 2014 (EDT)
Justin, everything is regularly updated on the Main Page, both the events and news. Our Main Page is an html, not a wiki page, that I can edit through a special panel. What you are looking at is a "View History" of an old home page.
About the Travel news and Events News, please feel free to edit those pages and I will add the news to the HP accordingly. Warm regards, IBAlex (talk) 12:15, 17 April 2014 (EDT)
Editing See the "edit" link I posted above and the first news item reads "{{newsitem| Eruption of Mount Sinabung in North_Sumatra|04 Jan| The emergency response to the eruption of Mount Sinabung in North Sumatra has been extended until January 4, 2014 as the volcano still shows signs of increased activity[]}}. This is not displayed on Main Page, though. Again, there's clearly some HTML trickery involved here and I'm not privy to it. If someone looks at Main Page they will see up-to-date info. I simply thought it was out of date because I was looking at instead. Koavf (talk) 15:16, 17 April 2014 (EDT)
Yes, I understand you. The reason why the news about Mount Sinabung is currently not on the HP is because it is outdated. It used to be on the HP (new HP) in January. We introduced a new look to Wikitravel HP about one year ago and changed it to html for the better user's experience. We got a very positive feedback from the community about change. As mentioned before, feel free to share with us your suggestions for the current HP, update the news and events and I will apply the changes to the HP via the admin panel I'm taking care of. Warm regards, IBAlex (talk) 15:24, 17 April 2014 (EDT)