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::::In [[Wikitravel:What_is_an_article%3F#Exceptions]], it says, ''Some examples of possible exceptions include: Huge airports the size of small cities such as Kansai International Airport or Heathrow Airport.'' Does JFK airport not count as huge? With 7 terminals and the busiest airport in the United States by international passenger traffic[]? Do you just oppose creating any new airport articles, but want to keep the ones we already have? [[User:Sumone10154|<font color="#339989">'''–sumone10154'''</font>]] 13:25, 16 February 2011 (EST)
::::In [[Wikitravel:What_is_an_article%3F#Exceptions]], it says, ''Some examples of possible exceptions include: Huge airports the size of small cities such as Kansai International Airport or Heathrow Airport.'' Does JFK airport not count as huge? With 7 terminals and the busiest airport in the United States by international passenger traffic[]? Do you just oppose creating any new airport articles, but want to keep the ones we already have? [[User:Sumone10154|<font color="#339989">'''–sumone10154'''</font>]] 13:25, 16 February 2011 (EST)
== Districtfication for Little Rock ==
The article for the [[Little Rock|capital of Arkansas]] is incredibly long. Since Little Rock is such a huge city (about 200,000 in the city itself; over 300,000 if you include the neighboring independent cities of North Little Rock, Maumelle, Sherwood, and Jacksonville), I think this article is a worthy candidate for districtfication. [[User:Jonathan 784|Jonathan 784]] 13:06, 19 February 2011 (EST)

Revision as of 18:10, 19 February 2011

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 gets 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.


Wikipedia attribution

So in this discussion, I mentioned that I am not a fan of putting the new Wikipedia attribution template at the bottom of the main article page. Notes about sources and copyright info have always gone on the talk page in the past, and I don't see any reason for the Wikipedia note to have a permanent place on the main namespace. There is no way for any other kind of contribution to get permanent mention there, so the exception for this one seems odd to me. I would like to propose that attribution notifications be given a permanent place at the top of the talk page. There they will still be highly visible and they won't accidentally get swept away into archives, etc. What does everyone think? Texugo 11:06, 22 March 2010 (EDT)

Definitely agree. I have used this template a lot for various African articles, and would much prefer to see it on a talk page.--Burmesedays 11:07, 22 March 2010 (EDT)
No. It needs to be at the bottom because that's where the rest of the attribution information is found. If it's on the talk page, a reuser may not know to look there for additional attributions. LtPowers 16:28, 22 March 2010 (EDT)
That is incorrect. At the bottom of the page is only a randomly selected list of contributors, with a link to the complete list. It has never included source info-- notes about text sources (i.e. release notifications, etc.) have always gone on the talk page, the same way image source info is off in the image source file. If we insist that any text must be sourced on the main article page, we could end up with a whole pile of boxes at the bottom of some articles, which I think is tacky and unnecessary.Texugo 23:36, 22 March 2010 (EDT)
I suppose I'm responsible for creating that template, which I added in line with the existing {{Attribution}} and {{Mergecredit}} templates as documented in the template index, in turn based on earlier discussions of requesting permission from others and crediting original sources of translated pages.
Mind you, now that I check it, it seems that {{Attribution}} is only used on two pages, and that I've personally added all but one of {{Mergecredit}}'s uses, neither of which had I previously realized. — D. Guillaime 00:58, 23 March 2010 (EDT)

We could amend MediaWiki:Copyright to say something like "additional attribution information may be found on the article's talk page." Either way, we're still making things miles easier for re-users than Wikimedia does. --Peter Talk 01:30, 23 March 2010 (EDT)

That seems like a good solution. I realise that the Wikipedia attribution is necessary, but let's try try get it off the main article. --Burmesedays 01:37, 23 March 2010 (EDT)
Sounds good to me! Texugo 01:40, 23 March 2010 (EDT)
There are so few articles that have additional attribution information (at least it seems so?) that I might prefer a single, subtle template as a talk page pointer for the few that need it, rather than padding out MediaWiki:Copyright for everything. That's merely an aesthetic thought, though, not an argument of any substance. — D. Guillaime 02:47, 23 March 2010 (EDT)
I don't see why we should separate attribution information like that. We link to Wikipedia because Wikipedians wrote some of the text in the article, and they should be credited just like Wikitravelers who are credited at the end of the article. Since we can't transclude the Wikipedia article's history, the next best thing is to make sure that people looking for attribution information know where to find it and don't think that the auto-generated information at the bottom is the be-all and end-all. LtPowers 08:54, 23 March 2010 (EDT)
Mainly because it doesn't look very nice. Wikipedia do not even credit their own writers on the page they contribute to (at least not in a place obvious to me), so I am not at all sure why we should worry about it. --Burmesedays 09:26, 23 March 2010 (EDT)
Also, reserving the article space for travel content alone has long been a goal, which is why we have shunned the practice of crediting photographers in thumbnail captions, as well as in-article ads of any sort. --Peter Talk 12:21, 23 March 2010 (EDT)
Understandable, but at least we're consistent with the image credits. With text credits, they're scattered all over the place if text was imported from other sources; keeping them as close together as possible is ideal. If we had a way to stick the information in the footer or on the credits page, I'd be all for that, but we don't. LtPowers 15:55, 23 March 2010 (EDT)
Well, Peter's suggestion is just that, to add a note to the footer pointing to the talk page. I'm all for it. Texugo 06:44, 24 March 2010 (EDT)
Yeah, I agree - I'm tired of seeing these boxes cluttering up pages. If anyone asks, we can point them to the talk page (heck, if they're familiar with Wikipedia, the talk page is probably the first place they will look!). PerryPlanet Talk 18:58, 24 March 2010 (EDT)
I don't think that's sufficient. LtPowers 20:53, 24 March 2010 (EDT)
Well, do you want to offer any suggestions as to what would be sufficient? PerryPlanet Talk 22:16, 24 March 2010 (EDT)
I believe the current templates are our best solution at this time. LtPowers 09:30, 25 March 2010 (EDT)
Why? You have made no reasonable arguments as to why this is necessary. Any Wikipedian will surely not expect it as it does not happen over there. --Burmesedays 12:10, 25 March 2010 (EDT)
I already explained why. First and foremost, we are not Wikipedia. Wikipedia does not place its text credits in a convenient location at the bottom of every article page. One must, when attributing in Wikipedia, go through the history and record the usernames listed there -- and, if the page history indicates merges occurred, link to additional pages and find those pages' histories. Alternatively, if the content was copied from a compatible but extra-Wikipedia source, they use a template, such as Wikipedia:Template:CCBYSASource, which is placed on the article page to inform users that the text was not original to Wikipedia.
Wikitravel, on the other hand, places its text credits in a convenient location at the bottom of every article page. Except that it only works if the author physically edited the Wikitravel article to add the text; if it was added by someone else, the wrong author gets credited. We should make every effort to make sure that all sources are pointed out at least as prominently as the auto-generated credits block is displayed. The best way to do that is with a template at the bottom of the article, just like Wikipedia does. LtPowers 19:38, 25 March 2010 (EDT)

I don't see it that way. The auto-generated credits at the bottom of the page are only a fractional random sampling and one still has to click to another page to get the full list. Any notes from non-wiki websites relicensing their text to us are still going to go on the talk page, and there is no way around that. All images sources are off on their own pages and that is unlikely to change. All our attribution is not nor ever has been all in one place, and I don't see any particularly need to clutter up the main namespace articles just to make it so.Texugo 22:38, 25 March 2010 (EDT)

It's not random; it's the most recent contributors. And the link to the full list is right there. Putting these small templates at the very bottom of an article is not cluttering at all, and it keeps most of the most important information together. LtPowers 07:39, 26 March 2010 (EDT)
And the link being suggested would also be right there, instead of up in the article space.Texugo 00:38, 27 March 2010 (EDT)
I agree with LtPowers. The idea behind WT is that you should be able to copy and reuse the WT guide, without having to worry about things not in the article namespace. We use the talk article to get the article right to make the real article free and available for everyone to use. --inas 20:53, 28 March 2010 (EDT)
Laudable Inas. But we do not do that now, do we? And it is surely impractical to even try. The only credits in the main article space are the last few contributors. Image and map credits are not in the main article at all. The onus is on the reuser to find out. We cannot babysit every possible reuser of the site. --Burmesedays 21:37, 28 March 2010 (EDT)/
As LtPowers inadvertently reminded me here, there are other cases where we can't get around using the talk page for attribution notes too, such as merge and redirect or merge and delete cases. Just another reason why I think we need a dedicated attribution space on the talk page. I certainly don't think we need to create yet another box template for that kind of thing just to pile at the bottom of the main page. Texugo 23:30, 1 April 2010 (EDT)

I've been hanging out on the fence on this one, since both sides to the argument have plenty of merit. But ultimately, I think it's important that we draw the distinction between travel content and non-travel content in our guides, as we have done with ads.

Ideally, we'll find a way to stick this sort of attribution (from WP, other language versions, etc.) in the footer alongside the list of Wikitravellers, but until then, I think the least bad solution is to put the templates on the talk page and note that re-users should check the talk page for additional attribution information. This is how we have handled image attribution, for example, also owing to the lack of tech support to get it in the footer, as well as the problem of having one name too many in the list. --Peter Talk 12:17, 19 May 2010 (EDT)

What's going on then?

With all these active members with high school yearbook names? All seem to be new members but all edits are coming through as patrolled (by themselves?). As I am writing this, we have the following users in the last 20 edits on the recent changes screen: User:Miranda.paullin, user:Christina.Megan‎, user:JennieStarner‎, user:Jennifer Paster‎, user:BeverlyEKeith, user:VeronicaVanHouten, user:VictoriaRussell‎, user:Caitlin Bannister‎. Very unusual. All women, all with names that sound like they are lifted from a prom night guest list in a movie, all apparently new and all produce edits that seem to patrol themselves. With the edits, there is little pattern except some are copy vios from other travel sites.--Burmesedays 01:06, 9 April 2010 (EDT)

As I understand it, the Mediawiki default is that any account older than 30 days (such as VeronicaVanHouten) have auto-patrolled edits; changing the defaults for when a user is auto-patrolled would be an IB issue. As to why we're seeing these edits, if I had to guess I'd suspect that it's part of a college course - we got a bunch of them about two months ago, so perhaps the most recent batch are students finishing up at the last minute? -- Ryan • (talk) • 01:22, 9 April 2010 (EDT)
That would all make sense. Please all patrollers look out for these. A number of articles have been butchered format-wise and the edits are all coming up as auto-patrolled. Fighting a losing battle here.--Burmesedays 12:48, 9 April 2010 (EDT)
I have seen the edits of Veronica as well (and welcomed her) as she was busy contributing and didn't violated policies. She didn't really good MoS wise but that's maybe because she didn't have seen the policies... I agree with Ryan that more and more Colleges, High schools etc. use Wikitravel and start educate pupils in how to use Wikis. I regular find the british school in Bangkok, some canadians etc. if you search the IP jan 12:00, 10 April 2010 (EDT)

There have been a number of edits recently for New England towns that look like they may be college projects - Blackstone and Roger Williams Park seem like two likely candidates - so the college students may be back. A bit of extra vigilance and patience in recent changes patrolling is probably worthwhile. -- Ryan • (talk) • 00:31, 26 October 2010 (EDT)

Chinese Wikitravel

I have been trying to give the Chinese version some structural base for people to make contributions by creating each country page. I am curious though:
1. Is it possible for the Chinese version to be changed to the Japanese set-up? I don't know how Chinese (or Chinese speakers) feel, but to me, it looks nicer with the Chinese characters.
2. The "add listing" feature, even as it is, requires the contributor to know English (or look it up), which defeats the purpose of a non-English language version. Is there any way to get that changed? ChubbyWimbus 02:27, 3 May 2010 (EDT)

IMO its too dangerous to use the Japanese setup as not all the characters in Japanese are the same as Chinese, and the Chinese hate the Japanese still. If you want to do a Chinese version it must be setup for the Chinese not the Japanese. If you need any translations let me know. —The preceding comment was added by (talkcontribs)

It wasn't a proposal for the Chinese version to copycat the Japanese version; it just seems to suit the characters better and works well for both languages. If you're interested in translating for the Chinese version or helping on the Chinese Wikitravel, then by all means, plunge forward! It's relatively new, so there is a lot to improve. ChubbyWimbus 17:22, 21 July 2010 (EDT)

Cleanup tasks/discussions worth noting

Two items worth noting for anyone who might have missed them: first, the Wikitravel:Collaboration of the month is on for June and includes a number of housekeeping tasks that people can get involved with. Second, User:Inas is soliciting feedback for some automated scripts that can detect common article errors, touty language, etc - those interested in joining the discussion can comment at Wikitravel talk:Syntax checks#Discussion... -- Ryan • (talk) • 10:30, 7 June 2010 (EDT)

Hotel Chain blacklisting

How would people feel about some procedures on blacklisting hotel chains that continually violates our policies and hospitality? (more specifically Best Western and Marriott at the moment)?

Sure we'd miss out on a few generic hotel properties, but in my view its not much more different than not listings McDonalds restaurants in our eat sections, and being able to mount a credible threat to the SEO consultants might make them think twice before doing stuff like this

I'm thinking something like:

If a hotel chain have

  • Been given several (more than 5) warnings on Wikitravel talk pages.
  • The chains management have been contacted by email to warn about a pending blacklist voting, and not responded/won't not enact internal procedures to stop the abuse.

The community may decide to blacklist the chains name, after a consensus decision have been made on the blacklist talk page. Likewise, If the chains management fail to put an end to policy violations, a vote may be enacted 30 days after the management were first contacted. --Stefan (sertmann) talk 09:17, 18 June 2010 (EDT)

Can't we just block users and IPs instead of whole chains? This could even lead to business owners ruining it for their competitors under false IPs. --globe-trotter 09:37, 18 June 2010 (EDT)
Stefan, i totally agree with you! Especially the Marriott chain is very unruly and a continious violator of our policies in Vienna, Hamburg and other german speaking cities.
G-t: Mariott works with own Ip's and marketers, it's a pretty big bunch of Ip's. I think it's much easier to control a block of the name than every individual. And most importantly, if the whole chain is blocked usually someone starts to interact with us instead of plain ignorance. E.g. see the discussions with the apartment agencies. jan 10:55, 18 June 2010 (EDT)
Provided there is a process by which the community must come to a consensus before blacklisting a chain then this may be OK, but I can't personally envision a scenario in which I would be in favor of blacklisting the entire Marriott or Best Western chains - while the marketers are hugely annoying, we'd also be throwing out a large number of traveler-written listings in the process, and I don't think any benefit would outweigh the disadvantage of losing so many good-faith user contributions. -- Ryan • (talk) • 11:04, 18 June 2010 (EDT)
I strongly oppose this proposal. It unfairly punishes independent operators for the actions of others. The owner of the Best Western in Saint Marys (Pennsylvania) has no control over whether the owner of some other Best Western in another state or country spams Wikitravel. LtPowers 14:52, 18 June 2010 (EDT)
Yeah, I knew this would be controversial, but I did check a hell of a lot of the Best Western/Mariott listings before I put up this proposal in the first place. And I must admit, I do fail to see much difference between listing McDonalds in every town they are located, and say, Best Western listings. I'm sure there are bunch of decent McDonalds franchisees as well. Somehow it just seems wrong to be pulling our pants down, bend over for the soap, and get arsefucked by a bunch of hotel marketeers, who don't give a rats ass about us in the first place, without any sort of response. --Stefan (sertmann) talk 22:01, 18 June 2010 (EDT)
With chain restaurants they are literally a cookie-cutter copies of one another, with the same menu, same decoration, same food quality, etc - I've been to McDonald's on the Champs-Elysee (in my defense, it was just to use the bathroom - anyone who visits Paris and eats at McD's is damaged in the head) and it was the same as the one in my home town, albeit with a menu in French. Amongst hotels, even within a brand the amenities vary, age of the hotel varies, restaurant/bar varies, etc, so there is actually quite a lot to say about each one. As an example, within fifteen miles of where I live, the Marriot in Marina del Rey is vastly different from the downtown Marriott. -- Ryan • (talk) • 22:24, 18 June 2010 (EDT)
Ryan, it might be that hotels vary in it's style but in essence the whole chain has standards (quality and employee/staff guidelines) that are world wide the same Especially Marriott hotels (i stay from time to time with them on a business trip) are pretty similiar from their interior in continental Europe. One good example is User_talk: where the Marriott Europe HQ in Reading, England (IP search resulted in that the owner is Marriott) started to spam German-speaking cities and changed to other IP's once they discovered my messages. They know on the top-level they do wrong and other chains must feel stupid because they comply with our standards. There is no incentive for them to comply as long as we don't blacklist them. jan 07:37, 19 June 2010 (EDT)
But it doesn't improve our travel guides. What about the small town with nothing but a Best Western and maybe a bed-and-breakfast? You're thinking of big cities where travelers have lots of choices, but if this blacklisting idea goes through, we may end up with destinations where we say "there's only one major chain hotel in town" but can't say what it is. LtPowers 10:37, 19 June 2010 (EDT)
Keep in mind that Best Westerns and Mariotts are listed more frequently not because of scammers, but because of me. See User:Hotelmakerbot. Hard to believe, but there was once a time when we desperately needed hotel listings... -- Colin Jensen 22:07, 21 June 2010 (EDT)
Don't Support. I can't comment on Marriott hotels but I've stayed in a few Best Westerns and they do vary a lot ( at least in the UK). Yes they have minimum standards to be allowed to be part of Best Western but they are independent hotels with their own menu, decor, local character, etc. I would suggest we continue to blacklist on an IP basis even if this does cause more work for admins. Tarr3n 06:57, 22 June 2010 (EDT)
Colin, i know that a lot of listings where initially done by you but in the last years loads of articles were spammed with new listings by marketing companies. I assume Wikitravel is partially a vistim of it's own success. The deletion and blacklisting on IP/hotel basis is very time consuming e.g. see User:Hotel_Nikko_San_Francisco who was only interested to use his page for marketing.
Tarr3n: I know that Best Western hotels are franchises but the marketing is done for all of them because the spammer market here always a lot of hotels in a row. So it must be a joint effort by the hotels. jan 07:16, 22 June 2010 (EDT)

(indent) I know they are different, and this is not a suggestion to ban the said hotels per se, more of a way to gather some leverage against the marketing agencies which I suspect are paid from HQ, given the number of vastly different towns and cities they spam in. Its meant as a last resort tool to stop those agencies, when everything else fails. --Stefan (sertmann) talk 11:12, 22 June 2010 (EDT)

Regarding "last resort tools", since most of these marketing agencies won't communicate with us on-wiki I've started sending non-threatening, professional emails as a way of trying to combat some of these companies - see User talk: and Wikitravel:User ban nominations for two examples. The hope is that if the people paying for these services realize some of the sketchy methods being employed that they will be less likely to hire these agencies in the future. -- Ryan • (talk) • 11:20, 22 June 2010 (EDT)

On the fence - As Lt already pointed out, there are many places where chain hotels are literally the only places to stay. The McDonalds-Best Western analogy isn't fair, because even in the smallest town with a McDonalds there will still be a local restaurant (at least in North America, I can't speak for the rest of the world) but go to any little town along the interstate and you're likely to find your only choices are the Super 8 or the Best Western.

Now, that said, I do agree that handling this on an IP basis may not be enough of a disincentive for these guys to come in and add their spam listings, so what about some sort of compromise between the two sides here - what if we blacklisted chain motels just for that (or those) cities? Obviously the main target articles for these spammers will be cities where there's lots of competition, rather than tiny towns where they're the only choice. So instead of blacklisting the whole chain, we blacklist the ones in cities that keep getting hit with spammers? So if someone keeps adding spammy listings for a Best Western in San Francisco, we remove all Best Western listings in San Francisco, period. PerryPlanet Talk 13:14, 22 June 2010 (EDT)

Removing all listings of a major chain would be on the balance a disservice to the traveler. But blacklisting urls punitively might be an effective tool... The principal obstacle, though, is that blacklisting, say, Marriott, would make a huge percentage of our articles uneditable until their links had been painstakingly removed.
Contacting hotels can be really effective, and if it is from a single hotel, merely threatening to contact supervisors can put an end to things very fast. For enormous hotel chains, though, getting a hold of anyone relevant can be tough. I'm curious to see what sort of success Ryan's emails may produce! --Peter Talk 22:23, 22 June 2010 (EDT)
So far there is no reaction on the Mumbai spammer because i had to block him today again because he started with several edits and didn't stop until the block. The main obstacle with multinational companies is that you need to find the right person first and second they never commit themselves to wrongdoing instead the usual term is individual misinterpretation of job tasks and some other guy will do it... jan 09:33, 24 June 2010 (EDT)
I may be in a unique position here, but I am also a Best Western owner. As has been stated earlier, all Best Westerns are individually owned and operated. The chain operates more as an owner's cooperative than a centralized franchise. So the actions of a few property management companies or individual owners may be skewing the results for the entire BW chain. I have never heard of any concerted effort made to penetrate WikiTravel in any of my marketing briefs from the Colorado marketing CO/OP or elsewhere. If there are any problems, I suggest you address it to the BW head of marketing, Dorothy Dowling, whose email I can provide in a private email to one of the Wikitravel admins. But please don't punish an entire group of small business people because someone, somewhere isn't bothering to play by the rules. Thanks! WineCountryInn 15:09, 31 July 2010 (EDT)

Crafty Hungarian Vandal

User:Rühatka has been craftily uploading images in the Hungarian version under the same name as they have in Wikitravel Shared so that his/her offensive/stupid images appear. (The "featured article star" is now the Communist emblem [1], the Saudi Arabia lead image was changed to this [2]. All images by this user need to be deleted and all edits reverted. Is anyone able to? ChubbyWimbus 20:29, 21 June 2010 (EDT)

I think we need to consider our options for these situations in general. Before I put this suggestion up on shared, how does granting our bureaucrats, admin rights on every language version (including English, in the name of fairness) sound to you guys? --Stefan (sertmann) talk 03:35, 23 June 2010 (EDT)
I definitely think we need some people from English Wikitravel who are able to intervene in other language versions, because many of them seem to have lost their regular contributors. It would be nice to know we have at least SOME authority able to do something about this sort of thing. ChubbyWimbus 04:02, 23 June 2010 (EDT)
We have a community bureaucrat (i.e., someone we can reach) for all language versions. Just type "special:listadmins" in the search box of any language version. I am the bureaucrat on hu, and have undone the vandalism. If you have any interest in monitoring hu or any other forlorn language version, please let me know! --Peter Talk 06:33, 23 June 2010 (EDT)

Major spam attack

Currently a spambot generates new user accounts and spams the usertalk page. Please help and add to the blacklist and delete the pages. Thanks! jan 15:39, 1 July 2010 (EDT)

The spambot still creates user accounts but the new page creation is slower as my new additions to the blacklist might slow the entering of text a bit. Any ideas to stop this? jan 15:50, 1 July 2010 (EDT)
Was just about to warn about this - the pattern is bit trickier than usual, anyone found a form, or are we blocking everything nonsensical? --Stefan (sertmann) talk 19:49, 3 July 2010 (EDT)
There is a discussion about this at Wikitravel_talk:User_ban_nominations#Spambots. I'm a bit uncomfortable with the mass-block that's going on now as it isn't clear that some of those aren't legitimate user accounts. I think Peter's proposal of applying a permanent block as soon as we see spam from one of these accounts is safer. -- Ryan • (talk) • 20:19, 3 July 2010 (EDT)
300 legit user accounts with random nonsensical names created at a rate of 1-2 per minute at specific time intervals? er, ok - I'll stop blocking then --Stefan (sertmann) talk 20:39, 3 July 2010 (EDT)
To clarify, there's no doubt that we're seeing a ton of accounts created by a spambot. However, it seems like our normal rate for user account creation is about one an hour, so blocking all accounts created since this attack began (even if the names look like gibberish) is likely to net some legitimate users unless there is some clear pattern to the spam account names. -- Ryan • (talk) • 20:46, 3 July 2010 (EDT)
Erm, are we going to do anything about this?... I mean, in 4 days time, at the current rate, 10% of users on :en will be malicious spam accounts that will eventually be autoconfirmed. --Stefan (sertmann) talk 19:24, 4 July 2010 (EDT)
Well, only one of the users in the current string actually updated something after creating an account. I'd say keep that one and delete the rest. What is the purpose of spambots on a website like this? Some legitimate users may be blocked, but if the spambots are able to cause problems, it may still be better for the site to block everyone in these strings of user account creations. ChubbyWimbus 20:14, 4 July 2010 (EDT)
I'd also prefer that we wait until we have some sort of confirmation that an account is spambot-created before blocking—blocking even one single potential user runs the risk of depriving us of a great contributor. If the bot plan is to let them go autoconfirmed and then attack, I have little doubt that we'll be able to handle it then. Moreover, there are already a host of more certainly spambot-created accounts that we allowed through without blocking, and they haven't really done anything—these may follow suit. --Peter Talk 21:44, 4 July 2010 (EDT)
Just a stupid question: can't you administrators somehow see from which IP those accounts are created? Then wouldn't it be easy to block that/those malicious IP-adresses? Ypsilon 08:38, 5 July 2010 (EDT)
Admins can't see IP addresses. I don't know if bureaucrats can or not. I believe we can block with the option to prevent account creation, though, which might or might not work (I'm sadly not up on the more arcane details). LtPowers 09:26, 5 July 2010 (EDT)
I believe only site admins can see IP addresses. If people want we can remove some of the "connect dot cityname" spam patterns that are currently blocking these spambot accounts when they try to edit. That would allow us to identify a few of them and then block the account & the IP that created the account, but typically these attacks come from a wide range of IP addresses so I'm not sure how valuable that would be. I'm not convinced that these accounts will be able to do much harm in the future - if we see any spam we simply use the blacklist - so I'm not sure this is really that big of a concern. -- Ryan • (talk) • 11:44, 5 July 2010 (EDT)
Mostly out of curiosity I removed the "connect dot cityname" pattern from the blacklist, after which the bot was able to create spammy user talk pages. I then blocked those accounts, including blocking the IP address the account was created from, but the rate of account creation does not seem to have diminished. Based on that simple test, it looks like 1) this spambot is fairly harmless (it just keeps adding the same patterns to user talk pages) and 2) it is coming from a wide variety of IP addresses, so blocking account creation is probably not very effective. I think our current approach of using the blacklist while ignoring the spam user accounts is probably the best option. -- Ryan • (talk) • 00:21, 6 July 2010 (EDT)
I gave this another try, this time blocking 15 accounts and the IP the account was created from, but if anything the rate of account creation has increased to one every 1-2 minutes. Whatever is hitting us is large & widespread, but it's luckily also dumb in that the spam is almost identical on every talk page, and the created accounts do not seem to get re-used. While it is disconcerting to have hundreds of spam accounts created each day, unless we can convince IB to implement captcha or something similar I think this is a relatively harmless attack that we're forced to live with until it finally stops. -- Ryan • (talk) • 12:09, 7 July 2010 (EDT)

Ryan, thank you first for your effort and i think we need to get the tech guys from IB involved. If the editor of the spambot improves it, then we are in trouble. jan 12:14, 7 July 2010 (EDT)

Yeah, it has been suggested more that once before, but as Wrh2 mentions, it might be time for a renewed push to get IB to add a "captcha" to the account creation process-- I think it would prevent most of this trouble. We are facing a similar problem over on es:, with not quite the sheer numbers, but with several spambot users created every day from a variety of IP addresses and with a variety of texts and urls such that I have been unsuccessful at stopping the problem for months now.Texugo 22:14, 13 July 2010 (EDT)

I've tried writing [email protected] since all the links have one of their affiliate ID's (12781) attached, if they could ask him to stop, or cancel payments until the attack was brought to a hold. My spam folder on the mail account went from receiving 1-2 spam mails per day to around 150 per day, so I guess that means no. So much for their anti spam policy. Sigh. I have an urge to submit that email address to as many dubious websites i can find.... but.... hmmmm --Stefan (sertmann) talk 18:00, 21 July 2010 (EDT)


I just wanted to make sure everyone is aware of one of our newer templates, Template:Translate, which identifies articles that could benefit from translation work from other language versions. So far it's only being used on one article, but there are plenty more potentials out there. Just remember to slap it on when you see a superior version elsewhere! --Peter Talk 12:30, 2 July 2010 (EDT)

Do we have a guideline as to what is "superior"? Obviously star articles... Is this a case-by-case, judge it yourself sort of thing? ChubbyWimbus 17:29, 2 July 2010 (EDT)
If there's any question, it's probably not worth the trouble of translating. But if we've got a nearly-blank article and, say, the Russian version has a nicely filled-out article, that's where the template might be useful. LtPowers 23:06, 2 July 2010 (EDT)

Error creating thumbnail: Invalid thumbnail parameters

Hi all, I have this message when I upload the latest version of a map on shared. Does anyone know what causes it and what I can do about it? Size is 2.18MB. Cheers, Peter (Southwood) Talk 08:12, 13 July 2010 (EDT)

We're not terribly sure what is going on—see wts:Tech:Error creating thumbnail, Invalid thumbnail parameters. Try decreasing the size a little bit and re-uploading? --Peter Talk 18:48, 13 July 2010 (EDT)

Star nomination

There is a star nomination out for Bangkok's Yaowarat and Pahurat district, please show your opinion at star nominations. Even minor comments are helpful to get the article up to star :) --globe-trotter 17:45, 16 July 2010 (EDT)

How to rename a page?

The topic Wikitravel:How to rename a page says to go to the "move this page link". However, I can't find the link on my screen.

I am looking at the page Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves. This area was renamed in 2007. See talk page for details. Should change to "Gondwana Rainforests of Australia".

Thanks. Bill Ellett 22:22, 20 July 2010 (EDT)

There should be a tab next to "history" on the top of your screen. I believe that as a security measure Mediawiki may no longer allow users who have been registered for less than 30 days to rename pages, so if you don't see that tab then someone else can rename the page for you. -- Ryan • (talk) • 22:53, 20 July 2010 (EDT)
Yep, my account is four days old, so I've got another 26 to go. Can someone rename Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves to "Gondwana Rainforests of Australia"? You can see justification on its talk page. I'll change the pages linked to it once that happens. Also, it has a disambiguation tag on the page, but if I understand disambiguation correctly, I don't think it should be there. Bill Ellett 23:15, 20 July 2010 (EDT)
Done. I'll also update Wikitravel:How to rename a page to note the 30 day restriction. -- Ryan • (talk) • 23:21, 20 July 2010 (EDT)
Thanks. All linked pages have been updated. Bill Ellett 23:42, 20 July 2010 (EDT)


The wts:Tech:CAPTCHA for registration tech request was finally fulfilled, but seems to have been accompanied by a surprise—CAPTCHA is now being used for all anonymous edits! That strikes me as undesirable, although Wikipedia's policy of requiring it for anon edits that contain new external links [3] seems a good one. Since the vast majority of WT's new content comes from anon editors, I think we should be careful not to alienate them. --Peter Talk 13:10, 23 July 2010 (EDT)

I agree, this has to be changed, --ClausHansen 13:31, 23 July 2010 (EDT)

Redirected pages lose functionality?

Wikitravel appears to show less functionality when users arrive at a page via a redirect rather than directly. Breadcrumbs, related pages, and docent lists do not show up after a redirect. Similar functionality such as other sites and toolbox:map still display even after a redirect. Purging the cache does not affect this. After seeing this on sites I have edited, I looked at random redirected sites and it appears to be universal. Search for “Vienna”. You see breadcrumb, destination docents, related pages:World heritage sites, and other sites:Wikipedia. Now go to “Vienna (City)”. It will automatically redirect to the same page, but no breadcrumb, docents, or related pages. You still have Wikipedia. Search for “Cahokia”. It will redirect you but the geo template “geo|38.656438|-90.058824” still gives you the map link after the redirect. You still get Wikipedia link but no breadcrumbs or related page. This does not appear to be affected by sequence of the templates or presence of blank lines around them. I am new on wikitravel. I looked in help, policy, and guideline pages and didn’t find anything, but if I should be looking elsewhere, or if this should be asked on a different part of the site, please point me.

(A previous question today about breadcrumbs was resolved by simply purging the cache. Thanks Ryan). Bill in STL 15:59, 23 July 2010 (EDT)

Unfortunately, this is a known bug with some special features that were added onto the base MediaWiki installation in the early days of the project. Did you have a specific question for which you wanted an answer? LtPowers 16:12, 23 July 2010 (EDT)

UNESCO World Heritage List 2010 Additions

Just thought I'd let you all know that the UNESCO conference is going on in Brasilia through the 3rd. I'm not sure if more voting will go on, but so far 20 listings have been added and 7 extensions were made: [4]. Be sure to update the UNESCO World Heritage List and when the conference is over, put a blurb in the travel news/main page. Even if you don't make edits to these pages (like my lazy self), check out the great new sites added! AHeneen 00:35, 2 August 2010 (EDT)

The announcements from Brasilia say that they are now finished with consideration of sites for this year. 21 new sites and eight extensions. All have been listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List page. Bill in STL 20:42, 2 August 2010 (EDT)

Travel Topics

I guess a new account is unable to edit protected pages; I was unable to put this on the Talk:Travel Topics page though logged in.

I noticed that there are a number (46 by my count) of pages which use the traveltopics template but are not listed on the Travel topics page. Is there a definition of which topics should show up and which should not? Or is there a process which gets them added automatically over time? Or should I plunge forward and start adding them. I don't want to screw up a standard process. The one which started my curiosity is the missing entry for United States National Parks, which I expected to find.

Thanks. Bill in STL 22:33, 1 August 2010 (EDT)

I believe all travel topics should be linked from Travel topics. If you see any that are definitely missing, feel free to add them. However, if they are stubs or outlines and haven't been edited for a year, you should nominate them for deletion. LtPowers 20:57, 2 August 2010 (EDT)

New Star Nomination - Magic Kingdom

Hi, folks. Just a pointer. Wikitravel:Star nominations#Walt Disney World/Magic Kingdom. Thanks in advance for comments, no matter how brief or critical! LtPowers 22:05, 3 August 2010 (EDT)

Error on main page?

The main page says "22 Sites Added to UNESCO World Heritage List (3 August 2010)". However, I believe the correct number is 21. See the unesco site [5]. See the site cited in the entry on the main page [6]. There were 890 last year, I believe they added 21, updated 8, for a total of 911. Bill in STL 01:03, 4 August 2010 (EDT)

Feel free to make the change; the UNESCO site does clearly say 21. LtPowers 08:05, 4 August 2010 (EDT)
My account has no privileges to make this change (too new). Bill in STL 11:24, 4 August 2010 (EDT)
Try clicking on the "View Source" tab for the main page and see if you're actually able to edit, or else try going to the "History" tab for the main page and see if you then get an "Edit" tab. Occasionally there are caching issues on protected pages such that the view that's shown, even for logged-in users, is the view that an anonymous user would see. -- Ryan • (talk) • 12:29, 4 August 2010 (EDT)
I tried purging the page. When I went to source, it also said page is locked. When I went to History, it gave me "Source" not "Edit" tab. Based on comments I read earlier on Wikitravel talk:Protected_page_policy#Talk:Travel_topics, I thought the protection was for non auto-confirmed users rather than just anonymous. That would include my new account. Bill in STL 13:20, 4 August 2010 (EDT)
Sorry, you're right. The "protect" interface says "block unregistered users", but the actual protection that gets applied is for non-autoconfirmed users. Sorry for the confusion. I'll update the main page with the corrected numbers. -- Ryan • (talk) • 13:26, 4 August 2010 (EDT)


A discussion on categories that stalled back in March 2009 has picked up a bit again and it would be great if others could comment at Wikitravel talk:Categories#Revisited - when are categories OK?. Specifically, I've proposed a category hierarchy for the Wikitravel: namespace to hopefully make it easier to find help pages, guidelines, etc - see Wikitravel talk:Categories#Categories for the Wikitravel: namespace. Feedback would be greatly appreciated. -- Ryan • (talk) • 11:15, 4 August 2010 (EDT)

GPS & KML Stuff

The "See" section is nice, but perhaps we could include a section with some KML files with GPS information on how to reach some destinations, and perhaps showing live in google maps.

What do you think ? WindowsNT 14:26, 4 August 2010 (EDT)

Question about Russian teaching

There's a list at Teaching_English#Teaching_other_languages of organisations various governments run to teach their languages & promote their culture abroad. I've done a bit of searching but cannot find one for Russian. Is there one? Pashley 21:53, 11 August 2010 (EDT)

(commenting by request from my User talk:) I'm not any sort of expert, so I referred to [7] and from there to [8] and [9].
Scanning the above links, I only found [10] which doesn't seem to have a huge geography presence, according to [11]. --DenisYurkin 16:19, 16 August 2010 (EDT)

Get in - is this good English?

A great site that I've just discovered but I was a bit taken aback by "Get in" as a title. Is that American English? "Getting there" is what is used in British English. Get in is what we say to a dog or naughty child. If there is one title I would like to change it would be that one! Wouldn't it be better to use the same terms that are commonly used by travel agents such as "Getting around". I'm not being pedantic. On a worldwide website the language should be as commonly used as possible - a kind of International English in effect. I will never teach my English students that "Get in" is acceptable English in this context nor would I teach them to use similar headings for a Travel site. for anyone who writes for a living or who teaches English the tiles are a real shock to my aesthetic system! —The preceding comment was added by (talkcontribs)

I wouldn't know if it's American or British, but the titles refer to how you Get in to the city, and then how you Get around the city. Travel writing is typically informal, so whether or not it's proper academic English isn't really the guiding principal here. All the section titles are meant to be short and snappy - something which anyone could figure out what they mean the first time they read them - it may have the drawback of sounding stern; people have also commented on how See, Do, Sleep, and especially Get out sound rather commanding, but if you can tell what it means, I'd say it's doing the job. As a side note - this has been discussed at incredibly great length elsewhere on this site, such as here, so I would look there to get a fuller grasp of the argument - you'll likely find opinions far more informed and convincing than mine. PerryPlanet Talk 12:42, 10 August 2010 (EDT)
The other main argument is that it's part of our branding; we don't want to sound like other travel sites and sources. Not exactly like them, anyway. When you see "Get in" and "See" and "Do", you know it's Wikitravel. LtPowers 15:31, 10 August 2010 (EDT)
There is absolutely no such thing as "correct English". You, as an English teacher, should know that. Read some Bill Bryson. --TrekkingTurtle 19:19, 9 October 2010 (EDT)

"Get In" should be "Get In and Out"

The "Get In" and "Get Out" sections are poorly named I feel. In reality the "Get In" sections have all the information on "getting in" AND "getting out" of the destination. The "Get Out" section is really just suggestions to the traveller for the next destination. I would guess that this has been discussed before, but it is still a problem IMO. It may not feel like a big issue for people who are seasoned users and contributors to WT, because we are all used to it so there is no confusion. But put yourself in the position of a new user or contributor, and it is very misleading. If I was someone who had never seen WT before and I was trying to work out how to catch a train out of Paris (for example) I might go down to the "Get Out" section where I would just see a list of 8 other destinations. Not much do I know that the information is actually contained in the "Get In" section? Why don't we rename the sections to "Get In / Get Out" and "Next Destination" or something like this?Lturner 12:00, 11 August 2010 (EDT)

Please discuss this at Wikitravel talk:Article templates#Get out, again, but read the existing discussions that are linked from there first. -- Ryan • (talk) • 12:57, 11 August 2010 (EDT)
Thanks, will do. Lturner 15:30, 11 August 2010 (EDT)


A couple of days ago, User:Mariborko uploaded a slew (as in well over 100) images to Wikitravel Shared. User:Dguillaime discovered several of them were copyvios, and none of them come with a source. We're likely to delete them all.

The problem is that Mariborko replaced a lot of existing images here on en.wikitravel with the uploaded images. I would ask for opinions on whether we should just go through and mass-revert these image additions and replacements. Sadly, it may require examining each edit in turn, as Mariborko also had text contributions.

Thoughts on what we should do here?

-- LtPowers 15:39, 12 August 2010 (EDT)

Sounds like the same type of thing that happened in the "Crafty Hungarian Vandal" section above (except the replacements are not offensive). Reverting all of the images sounds like the best option. The user should not be replacing other images, even if his/her pictures are not copywritten and with the "guilty until proven innocence" policy regarding these sorts of violations, the user is currently guilty. ChubbyWimbus 15:50, 12 August 2010 (EDT)

User:JanezDemsar rightly challenged most parts of the text by Mariborko as it in general violates several policies (e.g. Obvious, tone) and it includes some nonsense as well. I suggest to undo the pictures and may also revert the text, if not Janez has already deleted/changed it. jan 05:33, 13 August 2010 (EDT)

guide* templates

Is there a help page which indicates which records should have the templates Cityguide, Regionguide, Parkguide, Districtguide, Countryguide, Stateguide, Continentalsectionguide, Continentguide? These are the record type templates, not the record status templates. There were 49 with Stateguide (Vermont's not a state?), but should this be assigned to Washington DC, Puerto Rico, etc? The Countryguide appears to be assigned to about half the countries. I found the Wikitravel:RDF Expedition/Place type, but it just lists them, it does not describe them. Thanks. Bill in STL 00:06, 16 August 2010 (EDT)


Hey, I don't mean to whine, but edits like this make me very frustrated. The reason this user sees my name over and over again on shared:Votes for deletion is because it seems like I'm the only one patrolling new uploads. (Thanks, though, to D. Guillaime, who did recently take note of one user's prodigious copyvios before I spotted them.) As this user noted, it makes me look like a real Negative Nelly, or even a copyright Nazi, when I'm the only one submitting and commenting on VfDs. If anyone has some free time, it'd be a big help to go over and take a look at some recent uploads and comment on a few VfDs. I'd greatly appreciate it. LtPowers 14:55, 16 August 2010 (EDT)

Your vfd work is very much appreciated, and I think the main reason why most do not draw attention is simply because other contributors see that you have a good handle on it—and that most of the vfds are straightforward. --Peter Talk 20:54, 16 August 2010 (EDT)
It would be nice if there were more contributors to this one as well [12]. I think with a few more people we could reach a consensus and put it to rest.
There is not much to add to your conversation with the banana, since you said everything, but I can add support. On another note, some genderless people use the pronouns "Ze", "Zer", and "Zim" ChubbyWimbus 23:12, 16 August 2010 (EDT)
The number of proposed genderless pronouns is so large that picking one and expecting it to be understood is an exercise in futility. =) LtPowers 10:03, 17 August 2010 (EDT)

IsPartOf updates?

Is there a programmed process which either corrects or at least identifies changes to regions which are included in IsPartOf templates on other pages?

When a region name is changed and the old name redirected, breadcrumb navigation no longer works for any page using the old name. The redirection does not affect the breadcrumb process, and the city or area loses its breadcrumb trail. For example, recently "Subcarpathian Voivodship" was changed to "Subcarpathia", and all cities in that region of Poland lost their breadcrumb link to their country and continent. So the breadcrumb for Solina became just

"Subcarpathian Voivodship : Solina" instead of "Europe : Central Europe : Poland : Lesser Poland : Subcarpathia : Solina"

For this region, I manually updated all the IsPartOf links, but was that wasted effort? This region had about 20 pages to be changed. If there is not an automated process, should the Rename a page help text be updated to request the person renaming to look for and update IsPartOf links? --Bill in STL 00:02, 22 August 2010 (EDT)

Updating "isPartOf" tends to be a manual process. It would be good to collect together a list of these sorts of items - broken "isPartOf", url tags without "http://", etc and create a task to write a JanitorBot or something similar that can go through the site and make appropriate updates. Looking through our pages related to scripts, Wikitravel talk:Script policy might be a good place for that discussion. -- Ryan • (talk) • 00:27, 22 August 2010 (EDT)

Blocked in India

Got this mail just now:

I had been a regular visitor to but as of late, I am unable to access these websites from India. I know my company firewall is not blocking these websites as I am not even able to access these sites back from home. Anywhere we can get help?

Anybody else having problems? Jpatokal 08:15, 24 August 2010 (EDT)

London 2012 Olympics

I have created a London 2012 template and added it to the London page. This is based on the FIFA2010 soccer template. The official logos are legally unavailable to us, so it is straight text. If someone can devise a legal graphic, that would be great. Based on the FIFA template, I left room for up to five stadiums in the town. London has about 12 areas, should we list them all? That makes for a long box, but only on that one page. The other nine cities each have one stadium or other location. Pending comment, I have only added it to London so far; it should be added to the other dozen cities/districts if ok.

The London 2012 article could also use some work, if anyone's looking for an article to update. --Bill in STL 20:24, 27 August 2010 (EDT)

The copyright on the five-ring Olympic flag design expired in 2007, if it was ever even eligible for copyright protection in the first place. I would suggest using that. LtPowers 09:02, 28 August 2010 (EDT)

Site maintenance

This is to inform you that we will be conducting server maintenance for Wikitravel next Tuesday September 14 between 10:00 PM and 3:00 AM PST. The entire site may be down during this time period.

We apologize for any inconvenience, and appreciate your understanding. IBsteph 6:06 PM, 9 September 2010 (PST)

Thanks for the advance heads up. We'll be sure to put up a site notice prior to the outage. --Peter Talk 21:40, 9 September 2010 (EDT)
Does the downtime begin on Tuesday, or end on Tuesday? LtPowers 21:50, 9 September 2010 (EDT)
I'm guessing it's safe to assume it begins Tuesday, and have changed the sitenotice accordingly. --Peter Talk 23:48, 12 September 2010 (EDT)
Does anyone know what was changed? We still seem to be on a very old version of Mediawiki, and I don't notice anything that's visually different. -- Ryan • (talk) • 11:11, 15 September 2010 (EDT)
It'll be down for a lot longer then 5 hours if they decide to upgrade MediaWiki. My guess is this was a hardware upgrade or replacement. Or maybe just a reboot. LtPowers 14:05, 15 September 2010 (EDT)

Star Nomination for a major theme park in Florida

Please comment on the star nomination for Walt Disney World, at Wikitravel:Star nominations#Walt Disney World. Thanks! LtPowers 21:52, 12 September 2010 (EDT)

Have still gotten very few comments on what could be a precedent-setting star article. If this is promoted, it will serve as the exemplar for any future articles on large tourist attractions. Please, lend your opinion, even if it's negative. LtPowers 10:52, 28 September 2010 (EDT)

Odd bug

Anyone seen behavior like this before? It looks like someone used the listing editor to edit an entry in the Eat section, and it overwrote an HTML comment in the Sleep section. View the next three edits for more weirdness. LtPowers 18:14, 15 September 2010 (EDT)

IB (and hence Wikitravel) being bought by private equity firm

Also, of interest: Internet Brands to be acquired for $640 mln Rezendi 17:11, 20 September 2010 (EDT)

I'll give this a tentative "great!" Neglect is unlikely to increase, and I suppose we can guess that future abuse will be less likely. Basically, I'm all for changing management of our hosts. --Peter Talk 17:34, 25 September 2010 (EDT)
Having worked for two companies that were bought by private equity companies, I'm less optimistic. Though, ownerships of Getty Images and Webreservations International could potentially be interesting. --Stefan (sertmann) talk 18:07, 25 September 2010 (EDT)

recognition for moderately-sized contributions

I recently realized that every time I return from vacation with a pack of travel notes, and make a major contribution to an article at Wikitravel, I subconsciously expect some form of recognition / compliment for my efforts and for a serious improvement I introduced for a destination article or two. I also realized that some kind of reward could be expected, I would be more Wikitravel-focused during my vacation time, and/or procrastinate less with publishing what I have made notes anyway during the trip.

This led me to understanding the rewards we currently have are too high barrier for an average contributor can shares the experience from his recent trip (and is not very proficient with WT MoS or what content to pay attention), but hardly more at a time. Saying "Thanks for contributing to article on Destination, please don't stop" in a welcome message is great, but it works only once when a user joins Wikitravel community, and most typically when someone starts contributing, not when he's done adding all he have to say. DOTM is hardly reachable for an average traveler who returned from a week-long vacation. Pushing article to Star status is something only roughly top20 Wikitravel gurus are able to do from a single trip.

IMHO giving such reward could bring better contributor retention, and probably improve size of an average contribution.

Thinking of how it could work, the following could work fine for me--just to give some food for thought:

  • receiving a personal "Thank you" from one of the community admins, especially if it stresses things like "great that you extensively covered aspect X for the destination Y" or "thanks for rare details/info on attraction Z" or "I could not find anything on practical details for W, and you made Wikitravel first travel guide to help a traveler with this".
  • bringing improved article to "one day of fame" or "one hour of fame, one hour per day during one week" at home page of Wikitravel (or a contribution itself rather than an article, maybe similarly stressing things from "Thank you" from the previous bullet)

What do you guys think? --DenisYurkin 15:55, 22 September 2010 (EDT)

Wikitravel:Barnstars? LtPowers 18:45, 22 September 2010 (EDT)
In theory I'm 100% in favor of making people feel more ownership and involvement in the site, but personally I find my time for such things is limited. At the moment I do a lot of article patrolling and try to comment in discussions in which I can add some insight, but even with that minimal agenda it's impossible to keep up with everything. The dearth of comments on recent Wikitravel:Star nominations seems to indicate that others feel similarly constrained. As a result, while I'm fully in support of giving more feedback and encouragement, we either need a lot more regular contributors with time to do so, or we need to find ways to streamline things around here to free up the time of the regulars. Having some support from IB to implement simple technical improvements would obviously help to achieve the latter (*cough* howhardwouldthatbeforthem *cough*) but otherwise I support your idea but fear that few people will have extra time to help out. -- Ryan • (talk) • 18:57, 22 September 2010 (EDT)
I think Ryan is right. Some of our most active admins completely (Burmesedays + Inas) or partly (Stefan) stopped editing and the touting/spam wave now hits hard the rest of us. I personally hope that they return because they are invaluable for this community but IB is not a great help. IB only focuses on increased revenues and nothing else. Also some discussions are cross roads for some so i think barnstars are the only viable option for now. jan 11:33, 24 September 2010 (EDT)

Barnstars is one of the possible options, given that (for this purpose):

  • they are cumulative, i.e. one user can gets many stars, one per recognized contribution
  • each time the star is given, a clear motivation should be provided what exactly it's for
  • we define some guidelines on what contribution can qualify for a star (current "a user's exceptional community and content work" is very vague, and imho should have a lower barrier: i.e. something like "any contributor invested a week worth of evenings editing time should be able to qualify")

As for "we don't have time for that": but we have time for voting on/discussing COTMs, DOTMs, VFDs (OK the latter is more on patrolling) and replying in the Pub. My belief is that voting on significant cotributions shouldn't be more time-consuming. And to make it even less a burden, we can make it a contributor's responsibility to share what he believes is a completed contribution, and what's so special about it (although of course others can submit his contribution in effort to thank for his great work). --DenisYurkin 14:46, 29 September 2010 (EDT)

Any Wiki community member can give a barnstar to any other for any reason whatsoever. If you think someone's done exceptional work on Wikitravel, plunge forward and let them know with a barnstar. (direct quote from Wikitravel:Barnstars). Yet how often do you see one? Part of it is presumably that they are generally presented on the user talk page, so not many people know about the award. This is OK in many cases, but in other cases one wants the appreciation/recognition to be more public.
In those cases how about copying the award to the Pub as well?
Another idea that has been lurking in the darker recesses of my mind for some time is a way for a user to notify the community that he/she/whatever has finished a particularly satisfying or tedious or whatever piece of work and wants to celebrate by letting someone else or the whole community know. I suggest for this purpose a "Drinks all round" template with appropriate image/s, which can be used to celebrate any mildly notable occasion, either on one's own user page, someone else's user page or the Pub, depending on how public you want it to be. Maybe a "Have one on me" for private celebrations/thanks. (for those who dont drink, whatever equivalent celebratory notice they prefer) Peter (Southwood) Talk 02:46, 30 September 2010 (EDT)
I've sent out such notifications every now and then. Mostly, though, I just try to leave thank you/praise messages for users who are doing exceptional work on their talk pages. I tend not to do this for excellent work from more established users, though, since I already take it for granted that they do exceptional work ;) Taking exceptional users' exceptional work for granted probably is something we should work on changing.
We don't see the barnstars too often because we have traditionally reserved them for only really enormous, exceptional, and/or exceptionally diligent tedious work. Personally I kind of like that; although there is no restriction on who can or when to give them, you know that it's a big deal if you get one. --Peter Talk 14:31, 30 September 2010 (EDT)
I checked several barnstars granted over time--most (if not all) of what I've found are about really something large enough to be seen at the scale of whole Wikitravel, like regionalizing Russia. I speak of much smaller contributions, and mixing them doesn't look a good idea for me--at least because future authors of exceptional contributions won't feel they've done anything exceptional if a similar barnstar is given every day or week at Wikitravel, for only a one-week-worth efforts. --DenisYurkin 15:30, 30 September 2010 (EDT)
This would imply a change of written policy for awarding barnstars, as it is incompatible with the directions given on Wikitravel:Barnstars. Note that I dont have any strong feelings on this either way, but do think that the directions should reflect consensus or at least common usage. I second Peter Fitzgerald in that exceptional work by exceptional users should not be taken for granted. A bit of occasional appreciation may help delay or prevent burnout. It is sad to see an absence of edits by people who have produced so much good work. Unless of course they are out travelling... Anyone know what has happened to Burmesedays? Cheers, Peter (Southwood) Talk 05:40, 1 October 2010 (EDT)
Burmesedays works in the hospitality industry and is in the thick of high season (same applies to me right now, actually). I certainly hope he'll be back seasonally! --Peter Talk 13:25, 1 October 2010 (EDT)
Another point about barnstars is that they appear to be intended for collaborative work. (barnraising is not generally a one-person occupation). Maybe we need an award for users do quiet solo work as well. Possibly a range of awards, including one that could be given for patrolling, cleanup etc, and something else for producing high quality articles more or less from the ground up. etc. Cheers, Peter (Southwood) Talk 05:56, 1 October 2010 (EDT)
It sounds like there may not be agreement that barnstars are the best option, but the two other suggestions made above seem good:
  • User talk page recognition. If we created something similar to barnstars, such as a new template that could be placed on user pages, this would be easy to work with. Something like {{thanks|Thanks for all your work patrolling edits!}}.
  • Using a community page for community-wide recognition. Instead of the Pub it might make more sense to use a new page such as "Wikitravel:Community appreciation". This would provide a single location to highlight people doing good work.
Assuming these were simple and open I'd be fully in favor. Ideally it would be nice if there was a simple way to combine the two, such that editing a single location would update both the user talk page and the community page. -- Ryan • (talk) • 13:54, 1 October 2010 (EDT)
I am not against barnstars in principle, but the regular barnstar should perhaps be reserved for it's customary usage, which should then be described on Wikitravel:Barnstars. Variations on the theme might do the trick, but lets avoid the Wikipedia Barnstar diversity explosion and general OTT sillyness, which would water down the value of the awards in a sea of fluff. Cheers, -- Peter (Southwood) Talk 03:50, 2 October 2010 (EDT)
I still think it would be nice if there was a semi-formalised, but not very formal, if you get my meaning, way of announcing to the community that one has just completed a large, tedious, important, groundbreaking or otherwise noteworthy task, and just want to share with the rest of the gang the satisfaction of being done for the present.
A little bit of generalised social interaction of this kind might be a healthy thing. -- Peter (Southwood) Talk 03:50, 2 October 2010 (EDT)
Some sort of "Milestone" barnstar equivalent? Rezendi 15:44, 4 October 2010 (EDT)
Nice idea, tell us more. Fits in nicely with the travel theme. Peter (Southwood) Talk 04:37, 12 October 2010 (EDT)

Thanks for input to everyone. Looks like:

  1. Barnstars is not what will help much here
  2. The simplest approach that could possibly work would be to have a page where new users can share their completed projects, provided that they are significant enough contribution--and anyone else can praise the contribution (hopefully regular editors of WT will join to regularly comment there).
  3. Maybe others can also nominate someone else's work, but it's unclear now how to make sure original contributor has finished (two-week timeout from the latest revision in a given article will do the job?)

If consensus is close to the above list, we need to:

  • choose a right name for the page. Not sure about "Wikitravel:Community appreciation", because if I'm an author of significant contribution, it's rather unnatural to add it to "appreciation list" myself--while self-added summaries looks like an easiest way to launch the whole idea.
  • define minimal barrier of contribution, so we don't need to deal with "your contribution is ridiculously small, but thanks anyway" cases.

Suggestions? --DenisYurkin 16:01, 12 October 2010 (EDT)

Unfortunately Wikitravel:Milestones is already taken. -- Peter (Southwood) Talk 07:06, 13 October 2010 (EDT)
"Achievements"? "Deeds"? As for minimal barrier, I'd say something that requires at least a couple of hours of work, and has very significant effect on one article, significant effect on a tree of articles, or affects the entire site. Rezendi 15:24, 14 October 2010 (EDT)
Thanks for suggestion on barrier, it sounds reasonable for me.
As for the naming, the most natural metaphor from what I tried is "Contribution to celebrate": similar to a real-word party/celebration, it's up to host to decide whether reason is significant enough for celebration, and to choose a right moment for it ("when I'm done with X and Y, I'd like to celebrate it with my neighbors"). However, the neighbors are free to suggest more reasons to celebrate than the host originally thought :-)
However, other (much weaker) options I had are (listing them just in case it will trigger some better ideas than mine):
  • Hours of work
  • Significant contributions
  • Significant effort
  • Contribution to share [with the community]
--DenisYurkin 16:43, 20 October 2010 (EDT)

OK, here is first draft: User:DenisYurkin/Wikitravel:Contributions to celebrate.

Feel free to edit/criticize it however you choose. --DenisYurkin 16:13, 29 October 2010 (EDT)

I like it. Possibly change name to "Celebrate a contribution". • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 09:52, 30 October 2010 (EDT)
Done, renamed to Wikitravel:Celebrate a contribution (and also pushed from personal namespace to "official"). --DenisYurkin 16:57, 30 October 2010 (EDT)
On my watchlist!
I wonder if this is a page where new items should be added to the top of the list. Then you see the latest item immediately on opening the page. Comments? • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 10:39, 12 November 2010 (EST)
Absolutely, go ahead! --DenisYurkin 17:02, 12 November 2010 (EST)
The only obstacle that I realized is that we can set up "+" button on that page to make adding a new contribution easier, but it can only add to the bottom AFAIK. However I think we can expect that if someone completed a contribution serious enough to celebrate, it won't be an obstacle for him. --DenisYurkin 17:20, 13 November 2010 (EST)
No point in the "+" button. Agreed. Minimum requirement for celebration is ability to make edit near top of page. (not serious) • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 00:20, 14 November 2010 (EST)
Just added the page to my watchlist - great stuff, you guys. One thought: where should this page link from? At the moment, the only people who can find it are those who have been following this discussion. We want others to be able to find it too! PerryPlanet Talk 18:24, 12 November 2010 (EST)
Good point. I think it should go in the navigation box at the top left corner of the page along with links to Traveller's Pub, Recent Edits, Random Page etc. I also think that new items should be added by registered users, but anyone can comment. I will make some comments to this effect on the page, see if it looks right. • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 00:58, 13 November 2010 (EST)
If you believe it should be nearly as frequent as the Pub etc, I would be all for such an outstanding link.
In the meanwhile, I added a link from Wikitravel:Namespace index. Maybe it should be also linked from some of the following, but I'm not sure how to introduce it there--any ideas appreciated: Wikitravel:Project,Wikitravel:Tips for new contributors,Wikitravel:Quick contribution guide, Wikitravel:Welcome, newcomers. --DenisYurkin 17:13, 13 November 2010 (EST)
I think it is a page that can and should be used fairly often. After all that was your original point — moderately sized contributions happen quite frequently — but lets leave it until we have a few more opinions. Besides which I have no idea how to put it in the navigation box. Also if linked from the places you suggest, would you explain the purpose at each reference? • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 00:20, 14 November 2010 (EST)
The only purpose of linking is, as always, "We want people to find it easily". --DenisYurkin 00:56, 14 November 2010 (EST)
Agreed, but if they also know what it is that is linked, they know if they want to go there. • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 06:30, 14 November 2010 (EST)
Just a thought: it could be linked from Wikitravel:Barnstars along with a comment that if the contribution is not as exceptional as worthy of a barnstar, but important enough nonetheless, that page could be used instead. – Vidimian 09:10, 14 November 2010 (EST)
Oh my, I'm embarassed. It seems Peter has already done that but I failed to check the page throughly. – Vidimian 09:16, 14 November 2010 (EST)
No need for embarassment, what you suggest is not quite what I had already done! I have gone back and added your improvement as I understand it. Please take a look and see if it fits in with what you had in mind. • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 10:27, 14 November 2010 (EST)
Yes, that's exactly what I meant. Thanks. – Vidimian 13:42, 14 November 2010 (EST)

TIME Magazine

Hello Peeps, we will be in the September 27th issue of Time Magazine; [13], pretty solid article although it revolves around two of our dearly departed. --Stefan (sertmann) talk 17:40, 24 September 2010 (EDT)

I failed to find the author's edit in Bruges, however (looked through latest 50 edits). --DenisYurkin 04:22, 25 September 2010 (EDT)

Star nomination for Kununurra

This article is soon to be up as an OTBP feature and is close to being a star article. It would be nice if the two could coincide and we have it as a star when on the front page. Please make some comments at Wikitravel:Star nominations#Kununurra to push it over the line. Thanks. Cardboardbird 04:13, 26 September 2010 (EDT)

Thanks to those who have commented and/or made edits recently. All of the suggestions have been addressed now, so if your initial thought was almost you might like to take another look. - Cardboardbird 05:56, 28 September 2010 (EDT)
Hi! I think it is up for star now as Stefan, Claus and myself have changed from almost to support. Let's wait until the weekend for responses but afterward you can take the honour and change it to star. jan 07:40, 28 September 2010 (EDT)

Travel to 3rd World for teens?

Some pretty awesome, third-world travel adventures for high schoolers, led by former Peace Corps voluteers is WHERE THERE BE DRAGONS, based in Boulder, CO. They take students to any of 10-15 countries.

Unclear as to whether/how to include them in Wikitravel. I have a granddaughter who has been once to rural Thailand and twice to Senegal with that group. Very responsible and very well run. Very strict codes of behavior, etc.

Since Wikitravel is focused on specific destinations, this may be out of bounds but maybe not? Who knows? As a travel info Wiki there could/should be some way of handling this useful information. Yes? Frnkatca 16:08, 3 October 2010 (EDT)

This type of thing may be covered by Travel topics. Take a look and see if what you have in mind would fit into this category. -- Peter (Southwood) Talk 09:53, 4 October 2010 (EDT)
Does or could Gap year travel cover what you are interested in? Pashley 21:11, 30 October 2010 (EDT)

New ads

IB finally put forth the intended style for new ads. Please have a look at shared:Talk:Advertising policy#New Monetization Effort. – Vidimian 06:07, 7 October 2010 (EDT)

Failing Collaborations

After almost 4 months of non-collaboration on Toronto, I just changed it to Mauritius. I haven't really had the chance to look over the tasks, but the concern was that there was too little to do. Well, being that the month is half over, I thought it could be the perfect October CotM. Hopefully we can get at least some of the tasks completed and begin reviving the collaboration project. ChubbyWimbus 05:15, 12 October 2010 (EDT)

User:Wrh2 blocked?

Ryan says that his home IP address has been blocked from editing Wikitravel, and IB has been unresponsive to his questions. Obviously, this is totally unacceptable. Anyone know what's going on? Gorilla Jones 22:09, 12 October 2010 (EDT)

I finally got a response - my IP address was blocked from accessing all Internet Brands sites by one of their automated tools, apparently due to a bot that I run to spider Wikitravel. The bot complies with Wikitravel:Terms of use but was apparently the cause of the problem (I'm awaiting clarification as to what specifically triggered the block). In fairness to IB, Kevin Hayes fixed the problem relatively quickly after I was finally able to get a response. -- Ryan • (talk) • 16:02, 13 October 2010 (EDT)


Unable to use Regionlist template in Wikitravel/fr

Hi all,

I would like to use the Regionlist template in Wikitravel/fr but it seems unknown there. How can we export a template from one wikitravel language version to another? Do we need special admin rights?

I had a look at Template:Regionlist and Wikitravel:Using_Mediawiki_templates but found nothing.

More generally, how do we create/manage/edit/rename templates in one language version? The stub template for an article in WT:en has been translated into bouchon in WT:fr and should really be renamed into ébauche.

Thanks for your help! Joelf 21:43, 16 October 2010 (EDT)

Hi Joelf, I have made templates and no special admin rights are needed.
The easiest way to do what you want would be to copy the source text of the regionlist tenplate, and paste it into a new article in template namespace with the appropriate name on fr, then translate it bit by bit until it is as you want it. I dont think I have forgotten anything critical. It is useful to other users if you add an explanation of how and where to use the template somewhere. Cheers, Peter (Southwood) Talk 01:46, 18 October 2010 (EDT)
Got it! Pretty simple indeed, cf: fr:Amérique du Sud. Thanks a lot Peter. Joelf 01:01, 19 October 2010 (EDT)

Images from Wikimedia Commons

I'm an en:wikipedia admin and very active there; while I find Wikitravel useful, I'm not sufficiently interested to become active here. As such, I'm curious — is there any way that images at the Wikimedia Commons can be used here without being re-uploaded? I find that there are plenty of guides here that could better be illustrated with images from Commons. 19:53, 1 November 2010 (EDT)

I understand that the newest versions of the MediaWiki software will allow that, but the version we're using does not. I agree it would be very useful. LtPowers 09:43, 3 November 2010 (EDT)

I kind of like having a limited number of Wikipedia images on Wikitravel, because I think it looks bad/boring/overdone/not "fresh" when the same pictures used in the Wikipedia articles are used on Wikitravel. I've stumbled upon pictures I recognize from Wikitravel on Wikipedia and it's kind of dissapointing seeing that ours are the same and kind of makes good pictures look dull, because I know I've seen the same thing elsewhere. This may be a minority opinion, though. ChubbyWimbus 18:43, 3 November 2010 (EDT)
I agree with LtPowers it would be useful. There are many images there that are not currently in use on WP. WT articles could benefit from easy access to them. The existing process of downloading the image, copying the commons info and then uploading to WT is laborious and very clunky. Using the same images in WT and WP articles is not so good though unless it is a very important or iconic image having significance to the subject of the article. felix 07:11, 4 November 2010 (EDT)
For the vast majority of destinations, there are very few free images available. The choice is usually between not having an image at all or going with one from Commons (which may or may not be in use on the English Wikipedia). If those are the choices, we should go with having an image, no matter where it came from, IMO. LtPowers 09:25, 4 November 2010 (EDT)
Sometimes it's possible to find beautiful pictures we could use to illustrate our guides on Wikipedia articles that are remotely related to the Wikitravel guide in question, so users clicking on Wikipedia link from our guides won't be disappointed by being welcomed to the article on the same place with the same photo. For example, I've put this photo at our Altai Republic guide (which it makes most sense, anyway), but found it on Wikipedia article about Altaic languages, which is barely if ever related to Altai Republic (although I should admit that it's also linked from Altai Mountains article, but that's still not equivalent to our Republic guide). – Vidimian 12:54, 4 November 2010 (EDT)
And I should also add that, I'd prefer former rather than the latter at "any photo vs no photo" comparison. When adding pictures (or any other stuff as far as I can think of), Wikitravel articles should be considered stand-alone guides, with keeping users with no access (or no desire) to click those Wikipedia links in mind. – Vidimian 13:04, 4 November 2010 (EDT)
I agree with LtPowers as well, sounds like a useful option. The current process is rather tedious and time-consuming. --globe-trotter 13:17, 4 November 2010 (EDT)

I think a lot of good points are made for the Wikipedia photos, especially for those that are good but unused on Wikipedia. On the other hand, having no photos encourages users on Wikitravel to upload their own, new images while having WP photos probably discourages that, because users may feel there is no point in uploading an image if the article is already filled with pictures. Unfortunately pictures from users come slowly, since new users come slowly and may not even get a shared account. ChubbyWimbus 03:11, 5 November 2010 (EDT)


I think it would be encouraging if statistics about wikitravel usage would be visible. Funny to see that pages you have written is read. 06:02, 11 November 2010 (EST)

There used to be. I've asked if another user knows of anything. -- Sapphire(Talk) • 08:06, 11 November 2010 (EST)
  • Yes i was actually just wondering that, I remember that there used to be at the bottom of the page a listing of how many people have viewed that paticular page, lets bring it back please someone help —The preceding comment was added by Ralphmiester (talkcontribs)

Search down?

Searches in English don't seem to be working, and haven't been for at least a day. Curiously, other languages seem fine. Anybody know why, or when it might be fixed? (I'm gettin' mail from frustrated app users - iTravelFree currently uses the built-in search facilities.) Rezendi 08:41, 13 November 2010 (EST)

suggestions on finding a restaurant

I've recently added* tips&suggestions on finding a good restaurant, which are region-specific (and therefore go into a respective region: Camargue in my case).

I wonder if:

  • there are any other attempts to suggest how to find a restaurant/cafe for a specific destination, not only to list specific places that are good at the time of research?
  • we can compile/define any recommendations applying to most locations, filing them into Eat travel topic or something similar?

(*) the text itself was written by a LonelyPlanet ThornTree forum member, cross-posted at Wikitravel with his permission. --DenisYurkin 22:07, 15 November 2010 (EST)

No fine dining detectives here yet? :-) --DenisYurkin 14:42, 17 November 2010 (EST)

Star nominations page empty!

With the promotion of Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay there are no longer any star nominations in process. Time for a new nomination anyone? Cheers, • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 11:58, 28 November 2010 (EST)

Search still down?

Have English-language searches really been broken for three weeks without IB seeming to notice or care, or am I missing something?

I tweaked iTravelFree to use Bing instead, that's working fine, but if so, I'm more than a little astonished by the intensity of neglect. Rezendi 19:46, 2 December 2010 (EST)

Yes, 'intensity of neglect' is a good phrase. I presume you have emailed IB on the issue, expecting them to read anything here is presuming too much. --inas 21:03, 2 December 2010 (EST)
Have you seen the number of open Tech requests on Shared, Rezendi? LtPowers 21:20, 2 December 2010 (EST)
For issues like this one you might try the tech at email address. My experience has been that they respond about a third of the time, so if you don't hear back in 24 hours try again. And if you do get a response, you might also try getting their attention about addressing the spam problems on Arabic Wikitravel. -- Ryan • (talk) • 21:39, 2 December 2010 (EST)
Update: I emailed tech at yesterday, and while I received no response, English-language searches are now working again. Rezendi 13:43, 4 December 2010 (EST)

Sue Gardner: "Wikitravel is a great site" (3:40) -- LtPowers 15:38, 7 December 2010 (EST)


Anyone else noticing that breadcrumbs are being particularly obstinate lately? I'm getting awfully tired of having to go down the hierarchy purging the cache repeatedly. LtPowers 11:36, 13 December 2010 (EST)

Yes, I've noticed the same thing. --inas 16:59, 13 December 2010 (EST)
Just came to the pub to ask about the same issue. There's no sense to it. For example, Scotland is showing just United Kingdom: Scotland at the top of the page, whereas England shows Europe: Britain and Ireland: United Kingdom: England. The IsPartOf seems to be identical on both pages but for some reason isn't returning the same result! Tarr3n 09:21, 16 December 2010 (EST)
Well we know it's a caching issue, and you can fix it by purging the cache on each affected page, starting at the top of the hierarchy and working your way down. But we're not sure why the cache has such problems. LtPowers 15:44, 16 December 2010 (EST)
Yes, it's been really bad lately and takes up a lot of time to keep fixing them. --globe-trotter 22:02, 6 January 2011 (EST)

Automatic section renaming

Hi all, I'm trying to homogenize the section names on French WT according to article templates. Is there any way, admin tool or other, to do a global search/replace on articles and modify several of them in a quick manner? Thanks for your help. Joelf 20:44, 21 December 2010 (EST)

There is no built-in feature of MediaWiki that could do that. You would need to run a script (or "bot") on your computer that could automate the task. LtPowers 10:00, 22 December 2010 (EST)
Thanks. Is there a help page or anybody who could give me a code sample? Especially for connection settings. I've understood that some of you did that kind of job to rename english sections. Joelf 19:27, 22 December 2010 (EST)

transport fares

We've had Naked Bus in NZ advertise $1 fares all over the NZ pages for ages, now I've noticed a few similar promotions in other cities. The $1 fares aren't a scam. They do sell a single $1 fare for one seat on each bus, and if you search their website a few months out on popular routes it isn't hard to find one of the $1 fares. Still, it hardly seems useful to the traveller, who gets no idea of the bus fare between two locations, because they just see "fares from $1". My inclination is just to remove the pricing... any other ideas without writing a mini-essay on bus fares in each article? --inas 18:02, 22 December 2010 (EST)

Changing A User Name

Is it possible to change a user name? If so, how may it be done? More specifically, I got the usernames mixed up when I registered. I am an American Peace Corps volunteer working for Nature Park Bulgarka. This account should have my usual username of "RobertSullivan1973" and not to "NatureParkBulgarka" Thank you. NatureParkBulgarka 09:14, 28 December 2010 (EST)

Please leave a message on my talk page or on User talk:Peterfitzgerald confirming the new name that you want and either of us can change it. -- Ryan • (talk) • 11:50, 28 December 2010 (EST)

Site very slow


Coming back after a long time, I find it very slow. With the site having ads now, there shouldn't be any problem to have more or faster servers. I am quite disappointed. Yann 11:24, 28 December 2010 (EST)

You would think not. However, Internet Brands don't read here, so an email to them may be the best thing. --inas 04:19, 7 January 2011 (EST)

Am I being obtuse?

I'm having trouble understanding what an editor wants at Talk:Central_Europe#The_Central.2FEastern_Europe_debate. Comments welcome, maybe someone else can have better time of it. LtPowers 21:21, 3 January 2011 (EST)

Combining Wikitravel and OpenStreetMaps

I've added OpenStreetMaps support to the latest version of iTravelFree. (Well, to the Android version; the new iPhone release is still awaiting App Store approval. Offline OSM maps are next on the list.) This made me think: they're both open attribution-ShareAlike licensed data, so they ought to play nicely together, and OSM has lots of Point Of Interest (POI) data as well as the maps themselves. Are there any tools or protocols to add OSM POIs to Wikitravel, or to mark Wikitravel listings as OSM POIs? .. Rezendi 22:15, 5 January 2011 (EST)

There are some tools to create wikitravel style maps from OSM data. The process usually goes to add the Wikitravel POIs to OSM first, and then extract to WT. We are limited again, by an inability to do tech work in any integration effort, but I'd certainly be interested in discussing adding a reference to an OSM POI to WT listings, or v.v. --inas 22:46, 5 January 2011 (EST)

Spare time any American?

I did an article on Tipping, any of you Americans have a little spare time to check the US part of it. For me this part is rather complicated ;-) —The preceding comment was added by Swissbelg (talkcontribs)

A link to the article would be useful. LtPowers 16:30, 6 January 2011 (EST)
I am sooo sorry ;-) ---> Tipping <--- Swissbelg 17:06, 6 January 2011 (EST)
Seriously, why don't we put this information in the relevant country articles. What use is a common travel topic like this? It just duplicates stuff, we already have a USA#Tipping, which is a good guide. Similarly Australia#Tipping --inas 17:42, 6 January 2011 (EST)
Oh, the usual "everything is a bad idea" fraction is awake;-). Feel free to read the discussion page as well. The "Understand" section is the most important part btw, and copying that into every article is not so practical... Swissbelg 18:10, 6 January 2011 (EST)
I don't accept that my opinion is that everything is a bad idea, and I do find that aside offensive. I have read the article, and the discussion. You are asking for someone from the U.S. to review information on tipping in a new article, when many many people from the U.S and elsewhere have already worked collaboratively to make the current USA#Tipping section. Have you read that section of the USA article? --inas 19:05, 6 January 2011 (EST)
Good, that was intentional. Just wanted to take the needle out and sting back. I find your comment unappreciating and showing of not much collaborative spirit. What about "Nice work, but did you know there is already..."? No i didn't, I searched for tipping and results were nill. In most countries there is nothing about it, And there was also no travel topic about it, so i thought i "plunge forward". The Travel topic is meant as complementary background information, not just a list of "tip that much for this service, tip that much for that service". If you personally don't need this information, don't read it. Swissbelg 21:11, 6 January 2011 (EST)
I have no wish to prick anyone with needles, nor do I feel I have been stung. If I inadvertantly offended you I am sorry to have done so. I was merely trying to make my point concisely, so again, apologies if you saw my comment as terse.
However, I am still criticising the need for an article in the current form, so please do not take it personally.
Okay, back to the topic at hand. Now that we are both aware of the tipping sections in the articles, do you see the my reasoning for not duplicating that info? It is true enough that many articles don't have sections on tipping, but there is certainly nothing stopping us adding the info if we have it. Maybe we can modify the tipping article so it makes users aware of the tipping sections in the travel guides. --inas
Sorry as well,i didn't mean it that seriously. To the topic: I stated in the discussion part myself that i collected the information, and now we should find a place for it. I find your idea perfect to move it to the articles and making the users aware of it in there. Details we can discuss over the there in Talk:Tipping. Swissbelg 06:10, 7 January 2011 (EST)
Avoiding duplication with tipping information in destination guides is certainly sensible. But there are two advantages to the separate tipping article that I would prefer not to lose: 1) it is clear for which countries we lack the info, which should encourage a more rapid development of that information; 2) when necessary, we can have longer, more detailed sections. Point two could be satisfied by perhaps only splitting the information out for the most complex tipping cultures (basically, just the U.S.). --Peter Talk 23:16, 8 January 2011 (EST)

I don't see how having a travel topic makes it clear at all whether we have the info or not. There could be info in the travel topic, and not in the article, or info in the article, but not in the travel topic. This is the issue with duplicating info in two places. On a small site with limited resources, updating the info back and forth is a bad use of scarce resource, and likely to fall out of date quickly. --inas 17:05, 9 January 2011 (EST)

Peter has a point there. In an article people are not explicitly looking for it, in a travel topic they are. People have already started adding information btw. I don't know too much about the software behind wiki, i guess there is no way to link both together? Swissbelg 04:59, 10 January 2011 (EST)
There are bits of magic within mediawiki can interpolate text, but they aren't pretty or easy to maintain, and we don't generally use them here.
Some things, like Scuba diving, are another way of looking at travel. You can look at the places to dive and then decide on where to go. Tipping isn't like that - it is a fact about the destination.
Oh, but you can do that, that's why i don't travel to the US ;-P (Just kidding) Swissbelg 10:00, 14 January 2011 (EST)
So I dispute that people aren't going to be specifically looking for it in a destination guide. It is exactly where people will go to find out information about tipping at a destination. --inas 23:33, 10 January 2011 (EST)
Once again:i have no problems moving it to the articles, i just wanted to discuss it with you guys first. Mind if i move this discussion to the page's talk page? Swissbelg 10:00, 14 January 2011 (EST)

improving a particular aspect of destination guides, wikitravel-wide

The issue seems more general, and for me it looks similar to any aspect of article which is rarely covered well in a destination article, but someone is willing to create a coordination point for others interested in that aspect, to showcase the best-practice examples of how this aspect is covered in some destinations for other editors to follow, and to make it visible how few destinations are described well in this aspect, and how many more are actually needed.

Aspects may be various: dutyfree shopping in airports (will provide a link to a relevant discussion if someone is interested); business travel; travelling with children; facitilities for disabled traveler, gay/lesbian; how to find a great restaurant--to name only a few.

Looks like we don't have a good solution for the issue. Existing options I know are:

  • creating a travel topic with general info; provide a list of destinations where this aspect is covered well, or at all: see Travelling_with_children
  • listing "articles missing aspect" (and needing them): see Wikitravel:Regions_Map_Expedition
  • (it seems to me there was an expedition aiming at improving one aspect wikitravel-wide, listing articles where the expedition succeeded in doing so)
  • (maybe there is some other way which I am not aware about)

Another way I am thinking of in the last months is to create a single article listing all [most important] we are interested in improving here at Wikitravel, and for each aspect to give one to several showcase articles where this aspect is described particularly well. For example:

Maybe implementing such a list can help in the above discussion. --DenisYurkin 17:23, 11 January 2011 (EST)

Perhaps we can look again at our article and listings templates? We could, for example, mandate a tipping second level heading in country articles. Including disabled, children, gblt friendly in our sleep/eat listings? --inas 18:31, 11 January 2011 (EST)
That would definitely help--at least to have more articles covering at least very basic pieces of these aspects. Do we need to also link to this discussion from Wikitravel talk:Article templates? (and/or other policy discussion--which one?) --DenisYurkin 17:22, 18 January 2011 (EST)
Sounds reasonable to me. I might also Plunge forward with the tipping heading, and see if it stimulates any discussion. --inas 17:26, 18 January 2011 (EST)

Road types..

I'm doing a bit of work around lesser traveled roads, and I'm essentially using the three categories..

  • Sealed road - meaning surface is paved, asphalt, concrete, etc.
  • Gravel road - graded and loose rock surface added and compacted
  • Formed road - just graded, road surface varies depending on terrain.

Are these meanings clear enough to everyone, or are they a local dialect? --inas 23:03, 6 January 2011 (EST)

I don't think it's a local dialect problem, but they are a bit technical—I didn't know formed road off the bat. I would suggest paved road, gravel road, and dirt road, but that may perhaps be my own local dialect ;) --Peter Talk 23:13, 6 January 2011 (EST)
I agree with Peter on dirt road vs formed road, as I would understand your 3rd meaning as dirt road, but formed road would be meaningless to me. I would guess that this would be shared by most English speaking South Africans, Can't comment on other parts of the English speaking world. I am easy on paved road vs sealed, with a slight bias to paved. For some parts of the world, you may need a fourth category for a road which is not even graded, or which may be graded on such an irregular basis that you should assume that it has not been graded. In parts of Africa these may be quite important routes. I suggest "Bush road" as a possible term. • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 01:50, 7 January 2011 (EST)
It is also called a trek, track or 4x4 track if that is what you mean. Swissbelg 06:32, 7 January 2011 (EST)
In the U.S. we call those "unimproved dirt roads." Not sure if this is in common usage elsewhere. --Peter Talk 22:03, 7 January 2011 (EST)
"Unimproved dirt roads" conveys the meaning pretty well to me, or maybe even just "unimproved road". "Graded road" or "Graded dirt road" is then another possible option for "Formed road" • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 02:06, 8 January 2011 (EST)
"Sealed Road" sounds too technical/stuffy to me. I think it'd be better just to say "road" or in the case of differentiating it from a dirt road, just calling it a "paved road". I have never heard "unimproved dirt road" although I'm American, but it definitely gives a clear impression of the type of road. ChubbyWimbus 02:01, 9 January 2011 (EST)
"Paved" has the added advantage of including cobbled and other surfaces where bricks, stones or other form of laid slab surfacing is used, which technically may not be "sealed", as the joints are not watertight. • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 02:43, 9 January 2011 (EST)

Yeah, I wouldn't consider using sealed unless it was to somehow distinguish it. Like, there are two paved routes that cross Australia east to west. I'm happy with paved, gravel, and unimproved dirt. It would appear there meaning is at least apparent to all. Thanks all for suggestions. --inas 02:59, 9 January 2011 (EST)

Offline usage

Is there any plan to make available official archive of wikitravel for offline usage ? (for Linux, Mac or Win) It seems is not quiet updated. It would be great to have some mediawiki and openzim archives

Thanks -- Jul81.57.235.161 05:32, 11 January 2011 (EST)

It would be nice. It is not easy to generate offline copies - as scraping/spidering is the only way. It would be nice to have some sort of data dump available for download though, it is just a matter of someone building one and making it available, as I suspect the server owners are not going to. --inas 17:31, 18 January 2011 (EST)

Users dont know to click on thumbnails for larger image

Hi all, I have had comments and complaints by a number of users that they didnt know that they could click on an image to get a larger version. This is particularly relevant with maps, where there is usualy a dense amount of information, barely legible at the default display size. Has anyone else had this problem? I am considering adding a "Click to expand" note to the captions of my maps. I know that the little paired rectangle icon is supposed to suggest this but it is clear that a significant number of users don't recognise the hint, and it may be necessary to resort to less subtle methods. Cheers, • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 03:35, 12 January 2011 (EST)

I don't like cluttering the captions more; clicking to make an image bigger is a basic feature on many web sites and I'm having trouble with the idea that any more than a fraction of our readers struggle with the concept. LtPowers 11:28, 12 January 2011 (EST)
I agree with LtPowers. I'd hate to clutter things up with a text message repeated thousands of times across the site in every image. It should be common sense to at least try clicking on the image. Texugo 11:47, 12 January 2011 (EST)
I was only considering the note on map captions. Maps are frequently too small to be directly useful at thumbnail resolution, and are often very important information sources. Other illustrations on the other hand, are mostly decorative, so if the user doesnt know how to expand them, little utility is lost. • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 03:46, 14 January 2011 (EST)

I agree that it is inherently undesirable to add the clutter of text messages, however there remains the problem that common sense is not that common, and that I have been told on several occasions that users have not realised that they can click on images for a larger version. Unless this is an idiosyncracy restricted to people visiting Cape Town, which seems unlikely, I would guess that there are a large number of users throughout the world, who are missing useful information because it is not obvious that it exists. The question then becomes, do we write these users off as not worthy of help, or do we look into some way of making the fact of the clickable image obvious to a wider range of people. Having some idea of the frequency of the problem would be useful, hence my query. I will go over to Wikipedia and make enquiries. Who knows, they may have some useful information. I wont make any changes at this stage. Cheers • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 03:46, 14 January 2011 (EST)

The easy solution would be a change from the corporate overlords, but that's unlikely, so it might possibly make sense to start using a template for map thumbnails, something that would lend itself nicely to mass updates. That would be a lot of work, so let's see what you find at Wikipedia before giving it any serious consideration. -- Ryan • (talk) • 11:26, 14 January 2011 (EST)
I don't think everyone agrees with me on this, but I hold that maps should be readable without having to click through—if the thumbnail has to be big, let it be big. This isn't so much because people won't know to click through (although that is a valid reason too), but rather that it makes printing our guides so much more simple, especially for travelers in internet cafes, with limited software and clunky printing procedures at their disposal. --Peter Talk 11:43, 14 January 2011 (EST)
Agree with Peter, maps are absolutely crucial for the travel guide and I think should be readable from the get-go. Sure they can be clicked on to enlarge, but this should only make it easier, it shouldn't be mandatory to read it I think. --globe-trotter 20:24, 14 January 2011 (EST)
I think it would be nice, but realistically there is too much information on our maps to make them readable without clicking on them. The Chicago/Loop map is difficult to read from the page, but it was great to use to get around when printed out on its own. Can we have all of that information on the map and somehow make it easy to navigate without printing the map separately?
Most people who have issues with knowing to click the map are simply computer illiterate. It's a very basic thing for anyone used to the internet, and for those people that don't know, I don't think it is Wikitravel's job to teach them how to use the internet. ChubbyWimbus 22:32, 14 January 2011 (EST)
Within our realm, we could possibly make the caption itself clickable for a larger image. The software/browser usually make it more obvious when text can be clicked.. --inas 22:37, 14 January 2011 (EST)
Regarding a few comments above about the "obviousness" of clicking on an image for a larger version, having sat through a number of usability sessions for various web sites in the past few years I can guarantee you that there is a very, very large percentage of the population (likely > 50%) that regular users of this site would consider "computer illiterate". Wikitravel's usability is not the greatest, so if there are some easy ways to make things simpler and more obvious then I think we should consider them. Peter's suggestion of standardizing on larger thumbnails for maps sounds good to me, and if there is an easy way to update map thumbnail captions to improve usability then it is probably also worth considering. -- Ryan • (talk) • 23:06, 14 January 2011 (EST)
I agree with ChubbyWimbus that there can be too much information on a map to be readable at any reasonable thumbnail size, and with Peter that maps are critical information sources. However I disagree that it is not Wikitravel's job to teach people how to use Wikitravel. Ryan's figures for proportion of "computer illiterate" indicate that this may be a bigger problem than even I expected, so I am in favour of something that will make the site significantly more user-freindly, even if it looks a little clunky. Inas' suggestion of making the caption a link to the full size map looks promising as relatively un-clunky, so I am going to experiment on my scratchpad. The disadvantage is that it takes a little effort, which becomes a lot of effort when spread over hundreds of maps. The advantage is you can send people directly to the highest resolution version. So far, have not found anything useful on Wikipedia. and there have been no responses to my question at the Village Pump (miscellaneous). • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 06:06, 15 January 2011 (EST)

This is the result of my experiments. It works, but does anyone know of a simpler syntax that will do the same? • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 07:37, 15 January 2011 (EST)
We should not be linking directly to the high-res version of images, as it obscures the attribution information that is on the image description page. LtPowers 10:15, 15 January 2011 (EST)
The original "click on image" link still gets you to the image description page. The "click on caption" link just takes you directly to the highest resolution available. No attribution information is lost, all that changes is that there is an easy, fairly obvious route to a bigger picture. This has to my mind two advantages to compensate for the extra work involved.
  1. The "internet illiterates" or possibly more PC "internet procedurally challenged" have a better chance of discovering that there is a bigger picture, and
  2. The rest of us clever buggers can get to the biggest picture one click sooner, and at the speed that WT has been downloading to me today, that is not an insignificant gain.
Are you concerned about the possibility of a person ignorant of the image description page, clicking on the caption link and copying the picture, then using it without attribution? • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 10:55, 15 January 2011 (EST)
To an extent, but we also implicitly guarantee content creators that their attribution (required under CC-BY) will be readily accessible from wherever we display the image. (On Wikipedia, they've interpreted that to mean one click. Here, it's two due to the unfortunate technical issue of not being able to show the image page from shared without an extra click.) That's not the case if we display the full-size image without first passing through the image description page. LtPowers 15:57, 15 January 2011 (EST)
OK, that is fair comment. It does not appear to be possible to get directly to the image description page from the high resolution image. I wonder why the full resolution image is not on the image description page. • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 01:07, 16 January 2011 (EST)
I do like this idea of linking to the image through the caption - I'm not so crazy about increasing the size of the image on the page, mainly because if there are internet illiterates still out there, there are also dial-up users (dun-dun-DUUNNN!!!). PerryPlanet Talk 18:55, 15 January 2011 (EST)
Also fair comment. • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 01:07, 16 January 2011 (EST)
Note that while estimates are that 10% of internet users are still on dial-up in the US (and the US lags behind many English-speaking countries), if there's a significant advantage to using larger thumbnails for the other 90% then it's important not lessen usability for that 90%. In the past 2-4 years it seems that most companies have begun optimizing for the broadband use-case with the assumption that most people who are still on dial-up are either not very active online or else have accepted a degraded online experience. -- Ryan • (talk) • 02:16, 16 January 2011 (EST)
This may be so, but what do people use when travelling? WT should work for the person who is away from home and needs the information immediately. • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 02:40, 16 January 2011 (EST)
When I've hit Wikitravel from random internet cafes in little towns it hasn't bothered me that pages take a while to load, and the text was readable while images loaded. Perhaps others have had different experiences though. -- Ryan • (talk) • 02:54, 16 January 2011 (EST)
With slow connections, it's actually slower if you have to click through (twice!) to get to the full sized image, which you then will usually need to download the image to the hard drive to print it from a dedicated image viewing program. And sometimes that type of functionality is restricted! When you are on the go in an obscure part of the world, I think the ability to quickly print out the map itself is often the most important thing of all. --Peter Talk 15:42, 16 January 2011 (EST)
That makes sense. Following that logic would use a full width map in the article, or at least a width that is enough to clearly read the printed map. That brings up the question of paper width. I would guess that most of the world prints on A4 as default. Letter and folio are pretty close, so a compromise is viable. Question then becomes, what is the best display width in pixels for the screen, because a) it must print full width, allowing for margins, and b) it must display preferably no more than the width available on the screen, and there doesn't seem to be anything even remotely approaching a standard screen width anymore. Are there any suggestions for an optimum maximum pixel width for the thumbnail? Or is there some other way this should be handled? Of course this also bypasses the attribution and licensing information, but presumably that is OK in this case.
Another approach, or an aspect of this problem, is to make a style policy for a minimum detail size on a map as a percntage of width, so that when printed on A4 with standard margin the detail is adequately legible, perhaps that printed text should never be less than 8 or 9 points. (with my eyes I struggle a bit at 8 points, but I think most people can read it OK). If the map can not be done at this resolution, it should be split (with slight overlaps) until it can all fit in and print legibly on A4. Obviously this style would only be obligatory for star articles. Any usable map is better than none. In some cases then an overall map showing the layout of the detail maps may be necessary. It all gets a bit complicated, but should be workable • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 02:04, 17 January 2011 (EST)
Second example using default size thumbnail is linked to image description page on shared at Code [[Image:Partridge_Point_reef_map.png|thumb|[[Shared:Image:Partridge_Point_reef_map.png|'''Map of the reef at the dive sites at Partridge Point''']]]]
This gives required attribution and licensing information directly, and another click will take you to the full resolution image: This is also less work as the file address is already available and does not have to be looked up. Would it be possible for one of us to write up a template that works like the ones below the edit window to automate the process, or is this something that IB would have to do?
I am going to run a few examples on some of the dive site articles and ask some friends to test the procedure • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 02:07, 16 January 2011 (EST)
I agree with LtPowers that license information should be presented along with the image. Linking directly to the image file circumvents the license information, which I think is not the way to go. I also think, if the problem should be solved, it should be done with a more technical solution than just adding a link, as this looks a bit clumsy. And would be a time consuming work to add this to all maps. By enlarging the maps, clicking wouldn't be necessary at all anymore, which would solve the problem without any special tricks. --globe-trotter 03:02, 16 January 2011 (EST)
Responses to Globe-trotter:
I will accept the objection to direct links to the high resolution image on grounds of bypassing the license information (it is also more labour intensive). The second example (above) avoids this problem.
Enlarging the maps would also be fairly labour intensive, though less so than modifying the captions to links.
What sort of thing do you have in mind as a "more technical solution", and in what way does converting the caption to a link look more clumsy than the caption before modification? The only change in appearance on my screen is the colour. (Unless you are advocating not using captions on maps). • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 04:58, 16 January 2011 (EST)

Turning captions into links should be able to be completely automated, and could be done with no manual labour at all. Enlarging images is so labour intensive as to be impractical, as far as I can see. There is no way you could automatically tell what is a map, or what is just a picture, and what will stuff up the layout. Speed issues for Internet access for me these days come from having to use 2G mobile data connections. You don't have to go too far off the beaten track to find one of those locations. --inas 18:23, 17 January 2011 (EST)

Would the automated caption to link conversion be able to distinguish between maps and other images? Or would it just convert everything? When I upload maps on shared I use the map template, does this not provide a way of distinguishing between maps and other images? I would be interested to know how the automation could be done, but suspect the answer would be beyond my understanding :-( Cheers, • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 01:43, 18 January 2011 (EST)
There are a few ways I could see to automate this. Most simply, you could scan each page for Image tags, read the image filename, and edit the caption to make it a wikilink to the filename. If there is some computer readable method of telling if something is a map or an image, then you could code that. However, if we are going to do this, we could consider replacing each Image tag with an image template. Some of the Wikipedia templates use pure html to format images, giving much greater flexibility. If we went down this path we would have to do some testing to ensure compatibility with our pages and browsers, but conceivably we could even have tooltips "click for a larger image". --inas 17:40, 18 January 2011 (EST)
Zing! +++Out of cheese error+++. Indistinguishable from magic. Sorry, this is beyond my technological event horizon. My brain has just collapsed into a singularity. The tooltips idea sounds useful. Cheers, • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 04:14, 19 January 2011 (EST)
I now get tooltips on the images. I take it that someone has done something. I like this as a solution and assume it now works all over Wikitravel (but will make some checks anyway). Is there a way to put a different message on a tooltip? In some cases the image file name is not helpful. • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 04:54, 28 January 2011 (EST)
On Wikipedia (see ) there is a description of how to use "Alternative text" option in the image markup. This does not appear to work here on Wikitravel. (see third example: [[Image:Partridge_Point_reef_map.png|thumb|alt=Click on image to expand|[[Shared:Image:Partridge_Point_reef_map.png|'''Map of the reef at the dive sites at Partridge Point''']]]] ) • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 05:19, 28 January 2011 (EST)

Problems with printing maps

Two thoughts:

  1. when I recently tried first time to travel with printed-out guides having maps (it was Paris), I found it completely effortful to print a map for every district--and the only way to have them readable was to open map images in a separate tab and printing independently of the rest of the guide. This is definitely a problem making using our guides less convenient (and a bit reducing number of active readers I think).
  2. AFAIK, there's an HTML tag which is active only when a piece surrounded by it is printed, and its counterpart when it is viewed from screen. We can implement a template for inserting maps which uses such a tag. I will try to find details if there's interest for it.

Sorry I didn't read the whole above discussion--please let me know if my points were addressed somewhere above, and I will. --DenisYurkin 17:48, 18 January 2011 (EST)

Hi Denis, I dont think these points were addressed above: So far it has been about finding the high resolution map online, and what resolution should be default in the text. Issues of print quality are a related but different problem, so I am going to split this out into a subsection. • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 04:14, 19 January 2011 (EST)

Collaboration of the Month?

Hi, I'm still very new here but I wanted to know what happened to collaboration of the month. It seems like it has been Mauritius for 3 months already. Sumone10154 18:20, 17 January 2011 (EST)

Just waiting for someone to update it. Some collaborations take off, but others just languish as people focus on other areas. Feel free to plunge forward and be the driver of the next one. --inas 18:30, 17 January 2011 (EST)
I was changing the collaborations, but we haven't had a successful one for a long time, and talk on the page itself has virtually halted, so I stopped pushing them through in hopes of getting one that someone would actually be willing to contribute to. Mauritius is listed as being "too easy" for a collaboration on the page, but none of the "easy" work has been completed in three months (when I tried to complete tasks, I found it was not so easy...). It would be great to revive the collaborations! It's one part of Wikitravel with great potential but has waned over the last year. Niagara Falls is probably the best candidate at the moment. ChubbyWimbus 18:36, 17 January 2011 (EST)
Ok, I followed the instructions at Wikitravel:Collaboration_of_the_month#Updating the Collaboration of the Month, but it won't let me do number 5 (Update the Template:Current collaboration with the current COTM). Can someone help me?? Thanks! Sumone10154 12:26, 18 January 2011 (EST)
Done. The file requires autoconfirmed, so you will be able to edit it in a week or so. Scared (because of formatting concerns) to put two cities in there, though. --inas 17:24, 18 January 2011 (EST)
We could just link Niagara Falls or use piped links (as in "Niagara Falls (Ontario and New York)"). LtPowers 11:58, 19 January 2011 (EST)
The second option looks good. --inas 20:51, 19 January 2011 (EST)

how to organize extensive details on ClubMed

Moved from Wikitravel talk:Accommodation listings#more details than 1-3 sentences per establishment

I am considering to share my recent experience with ClubMed, an all-inclusive resort in Chamonix-Mont Blanc, France. Details are extensive, and they are both about:

  • deciding whether to stay there
  • and how to make most of the stay once you are there

One issue is that it looks like gonna take more than a single paragraph.

Another is that this is my first experience with ClubMed chain, and very likely half of details actually applies to ClubMed everywhere (but I'm not sure which half :-) )

So the questions are:

  • will both types of content be welcome here at Wikitravel?
  • OK if I put a concise summary for the business in Chamonix, linking for details to a separate article
  • based on our nursery approach, I am considering to create that separate article as a travel topic like "All-inclusive resorts" (or something like that) where (a) both general info on all-inclusive establishments should emerge some day, (b) generic advice and characteristics for ClubMed (and also other chains, if they exist) should be given, and (c) extensive details on individual ClubMed (and other-chain) establishments should be listed.

Anything wrong with my plans? :-) --DenisYurkin 15:35, 19 January 2011 (EST)

All-inclusive resorts are tricky to fit into our normal article structure. Might want to raise the question on the Pub for more visibility, since I don't know the answers to your questions. LtPowers 17:24, 19 January 2011 (EST)
It is a tricky thing.
I'll start by saying that I don't think that all inclusive resorts have enough in common to justify a travel topic, because really they don't all have that much in common. Some are in the snow, some are on islands, some have buffets, some are a-la-carte. Some arrange transport, some even have internal transport. Some include meals, some charge for some services, like motorised craft. I don't know what would be left to include in the article.
However, some resorts have as much to write about them as some small towns. They are like a cruise ship. When these resorts are on islands, we seem quite comfortable in giving them their own article. When they are in towns or cities, then we resist and put them in the Sleep section.
I don't have a solution here, but I can identify the problem.
I think we could maximise a Club Med travel topic. There really is enough unique to the Club Med chain that can be added as useful information. Information that could let people know whether they want to choose Club Med, and how to get the most of their stay. I think it would be a shame if we had to call the article All inclusive resorts just to fit. ON the other hand, I'd hate to see a Sheraton, Hilton, travel topics popping, so we'd have to be careful we don't set up too slippery a slope. --inas 18:01, 19 January 2011 (EST)
I'm fine with creating a travel topic for ClubMed alone if it's OK to put details on individual ClubMeds as well, and if there is no other objections/considerations.
As for Sheraton/Hilton risk, I think the differentiating criteria here may be:
a) most (or only several?) ClubMed resorts are destinations in itself, where most people spend all or most of their time, and they intentionally head there for that.
b) there's a widespread scenario "I want to go for vacation for ClubMed. Which of them to choose this time?" I.e. people first decide that it will be ClubMed, and only after that they choose a destination with a particular ClubMed that meets their criteria for resort (and then destination). For Hilton and Sheraton, they normally choose destination first, and only after that they seek accomodation within it (even with preference to a specific chain). --DenisYurkin 13:31, 20 January 2011 (EST)
Las Vegas casinos are a similar problem - a single casino may have 5-10 restaurants, 2-3 Broadway caliber shows, and all manner of sights and activities. Perhaps we need another sub-section under "Sleep" or "Do" for places that are destinations in their own right? If we create a criteria similar to the rental listing criteria stating that any such section must be discussed on the talk page first, and preface each one with something like "The following resorts/casinos are large enough to be vacation destinations in their own right" with a hidden comment stating that any additions required discussion, would that be sufficient? -- Ryan • (talk) • 14:03, 20 January 2011 (EST)
The difference is that anything common to all casinos [in Las Vegas area] can be sticked to LasVegas article, but what's a place for things common to all (or most of) ClubMeds around the world? And, again, I'm sure it's losing much useful content if we try to squeeze all the important practical details into a single paragraph of listing description within destination guide article. --DenisYurkin 14:17, 20 January 2011 (EST)
And in Las Vagas, a visitor may dine in one casino restaurant one night, gamble at another another night, and visit a show in a third. I would say 95% of people who go to Club Med bintan, for example, never leave the resort. They arrive on the Club Med bus, get the traditional Club Med greeting, and at most take a Club Med excursion to see the sights. --inas 14:45, 20 January 2011 (EST)
Admittedly I know next-to-nothing about Club Med, but I think we should be cautious about creating articles for specific companies - we started down that route with airlines and it didn't turn out well. Is Club Med so different from (for example) Four Seasons resorts or Disney resorts that a separate, Club Med-specific article is needed? If not then I would think a sub-section of an article with a few paragraphs about the resort would be a better approach. -- Ryan • (talk) • 15:05, 20 January 2011 (EST)
I agree with the challenges. I think Club Med is different from Disney or Four Seasons resorts. They have and promote a very distinct culture, across all their resorts. Inclusions, restaurant styles, services are all standardised across the resorts, and the % of people who don't leave them is much higher. They really do have much in common with a cruise ship. --inas 15:48, 20 January 2011 (EST)

OK, unless more objections appear, I am going to start ClubMed resorts article. Going to include detailed description of individual resorts and hoping someone will help to identify things that are common to the whole chain (which will go to the same article, under its own section). At the same time, respective destination guides will include summary of individual resorts, linking for details to the anchor in the travel topic in question. --DenisYurkin 17:29, 27 January 2011 (EST)

Article Statuses

I have a few questions about article status:

  1. For a district or small city article to become usable status, does it need attractions from both sections of See and Do? Or is just from See ok?
  2. For a region article to become usable status, how many important major cities and other destinations must be usable? Half? 2/3?
  3. Do guide articles need overview paragraphs? Discussion: Talk:Manhattan/Theater District#Guide Status?

It would be really helpful if someone helped answer these questions for me! Sumone10154 00:04, 21 January 2011 (EST)

Hi Sumone10154;

  1. According to Wikitravel:City guide status a Usable city guide Has at least a Get In section and one Eat and Sleep listing each with contact information. At least the most prominent attraction is identified with directions. No mention is made of both see and do. In fact "the most prominent attraction" is singular, so only one is essential.
  2. A Usable region Has links to the region's major cities and other destinations (the most important of which must be at usable status or better), and a Get in section describing all of the typical ways to get there. The most prominent attractions are identified with directions. This implies a minimum of one major city must be usable, as attractions dont generally have their own articles.
  3. There is no requirement specified in Wikitravel:City guide status for overview paragraphs in the sections as requested in Talk:Manhattan/Theatre District. Guide articles aren't necessarily perfect... just very close. For example, a city guide might not have a map, some of the listings might not exactly match our manual of style. If a City article can reach Guide without a map, then overview paragraphs do not seem critical to me. This is a judgement call. For me, in the case in question, I think they are not essential. Again, as a personal judgement call, I would suggest if you know the place well enough to do a good job, humour the request and write an overview paragraph. If you dont, say so and suggest the person making the request Plunge forward (the locally polite way of saying do it yourself if you really want it), but go ahead and rate the article guide if it meets the listed criteria and you think it is deserved.

If there are other references, it is not immediately obvious which take precedence, but I would say the name "Wikitravel:(Article type) status" implies that it is the primary reference, specially when it does not link to another page indicating that the other page must be consulted. So if anyone disputes this, it becomes a policy change discussion. Of course we have those all the time, whenever needed, and they are just part of the background.

These are only my interpretations, but I will argue them if pressed. Hope this helps, • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 01:58, 21 January 2011 (EST)

For #2 I think "the most important of which" is intended to be plural. In some cases, there may be only one major city that is "most important", but in others there may -- and probably should -- be more. For example, in Mid-Atlantic, I would consider New York City, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia to be the "most important" of the listed cities, plus Niagara Falls (New York), Adirondacks, and Appalachian Trail for the "most important" other destinations. LtPowers 08:56, 21 January 2011 (EST)
That is your interpretation. I am not saying it is a bad one, but based on the wording, there is no plural specified, and we have to guess at the intention if we were not involved in the original decision (uless you can point us to the records). There may even be cases where there is only one major city in a region, not that I can think of an example. If we want to require a plural except in exceptional cases, it should be specified, and in that case the preferred number should be specified for clarity (as is done for star articles), with the condition that if there are not enough to go round, a smaller number is acceptable. I think it is understood that a larger number is better, but that does not preclude an article from being usable and getting rated as such if there is only one. I think this is something that is best argued for a specific case • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 15:45, 21 January 2011 (EST)
I agree that in relation to #2 the wording in the policy does not necessarily imply that it should be more than one. But in my opinion, it does not make sense to define a region as usable if any important cities or any important other destinations are not usable. Therefore, I suggest that we change the wording to make it clear that all important cities/other destinations must be usable before a region is usable, --ClausHansen 17:10, 21 January 2011 (EST)
All could be a large number. Should probably be limited to the more or less standard 9. I think we have a case of serious upwards creep here for the standards. Changing this will mean that all existing usable articles will have to be checked and a large number may have to be downgraded. Do we want or need this?
My personal opinion is that an article can be usable even when important items are missing. Look again at the wording of the usable templates.
At Wikitravel:Article status, Usable is defined as: An adventurous person could use the article without recourse to other information sources. For most articles, this means they could probably get to the destination, eat, and sleep with just this information. It would probably enable them to find at least the most prominent attraction there. • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 00:59, 22 January 2011 (EST)
To me, that sounds like there should be more options. I would never consider promoting a city to "usable" status if it only had one attraction, one restaurant listing, and one hotel listing along with "Get in" info. Look at Mombasa, Lilongwe, or Soja. They don't quite look "usable" to me, but they seem to qualify with 1 sleep, 1 eat, and 1 see listing, and no one else has upgraded them either. I think part of it is that perhaps we all know/believe there is too much left out (especially with the African cities) to even make the claim that an "adventurous traveler" could get by on our current guides. We wouldn't still call Chicago "usable" if we hacked it down to the Sears Tower, Vito and Nick's restaurant, and the Hyatt Regency Chicago hotel, even though that would seem to be all we needed, because we all know that only giving that information would really not make it usable at all. There are definitely standards used that are perhaps beyond what is written. ChubbyWimbus 16:22, 22 January 2011 (EST)
Having written the article status guideline, I can say with some certainty that the intended meaning was plural ;) Granted, there may be some regions where really only one town is of any importance, and is generally the only place travelers visit, but that would only happen with bottom-level regions in obscure locations. The feeling in the discussions behind this criterion was that determining which cities need to be usable will always be subjective, and that that's OK.
For #1, See is all that is necessary. For #3, I think the answer is no. We have always held that to be a requirement for star articles, but not for guide status.
As an aside, it may differ from the text at Wikitravel:City guide status, but I tend to think that if a city has many restaurants and hotels, there should be at least a few in each section before calling the article usable (if, say, Indianapolis had just one restaurant listed, that should not be a usable article). --Peter Talk 23:33, 22 January 2011 (EST)
Yes, I think that's pretty much how I had interpreted it. Some smaller towns might be very usable (or even guides) with only 3 attractions while it would be absurd to apply that to huge cities like Beijing or Paris. Three listings would not even begin to list even the most famous sites in such large cities, and the same applies to the other categories (maybe not "buy" as much...). At usable status, I think we should be able to confidently say that our article is a good overview; it doesn't have everything but it does offer some good options. The number of options required can and should vary by city. Some locations that are more famous for their "Do"s than their "See"s also exist and that should be taken into account when determining status for such locations. ChubbyWimbus 00:09, 23 January 2011 (EST)
I have no objection to an upgrade of the requirement descriptions in Wikitravel:City guide status to comply with these last two opinions, as long as the new text is reasonably unambiguous. It should also preferably be clear to a person who has not been to the destination whether the article is likely to fit the status description or not. Any other opinions? • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 00:38, 23 January 2011 (EST)

I agree with ChubbyWimbus --inas 01:23, 23 January 2011 (EST)

  • Why do articles have to have a status anyway? Shep 01:41, 23 January 2011 (EST)
I guess that question equates to how necessary is it to have a measure of completeness? It can give us examples to emulate, and focus activity on less developed areas. --inas 02:17, 23 January 2011 (EST)
I think it is also important for letting casual viewers know that if XCity is an outline, it does not represent our best article. Having a standard to allow visitors to know that an article has not reached its full potential lifts some burden off us, I think, by providing acknowledgment that certain articles are substandard and not how we want them to be. Then when they want to blame us, we turn on them with the "Plunge forward" bit to place the blame for a poor article on THEM. lol It's also good motivation for someone working on an article to know that they don't have to go from nothing to a star just to get somewhere and gives us leads on possible features for DotM/OtBP. ChubbyWimbus 03:19, 23 January 2011 (EST)
I agree with the combination of reasons given by Inas and ChubbyWimbus: the status labels are useful to both contributors and casual users• • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 11:46, 23 January 2011 (EST)

Map Import/export

I'm currently travelling a lot and I find wikitravel useful. 2 things, I find missing

-for each location, you really need to give the different name: local name with local language, local one in local language written with extended us alphabet (for example, to give an arabish name to a local without being able to read arabic or same in chinese), same in international english

- for each location map, a kml/gpx file would be really useful. so anyone could use these informations in an interoperable way.

Thanks for your work-- Jul —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs)

I agree those things would be nice, but where do we get the information? Are you referring to all the attractions, all the names of shops, reataurants, hotels etc, or just the name of the place the article is about?
For the kml/gpx file, what would you expect to find in it? • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 15:57, 21 January 2011 (EST)
As someone travels, if possible, he tries to export his POI or take some of OpenStreetmap (compatible licence ?). I don't know if there is other free sources which reference travel Point Of Interest.
With a quick search, I find this The Best Free POI Downloads for Your GPS Unit
I refer to all places (first transport facilities, next viewpoints and museums, after shops/hotels). The gpx/kml file would contain place name (both in local spelling, local name with english/roman spelling for pronunciation, and english/international name), some category/tags informations and gps coordinates -- Jul


This may have previously been asked, so my apologies if it has been. Is there any analytics data available on Wikitravel? Yorke417 21:43, 27 January 2011 (EST)

It exists, but unfortunately the owners of the domain, won't share it with us. Google trends for websites is the closest you are going to get, we hover somewhere between 70.000 and 100.000 unique daily visitors if that's the number you are looking for --Stefan (sertmann) talk 22:23, 27 January 2011 (EST)
Wow. I'm surprised to see that there are more visitors from Japan than anywhere else. Interesting! Texugo 22:36, 27 January 2011 (EST)

Anyone have this Inkscape problem?

Putting this here to attract more attention. I use Inkscape to operate on maps, as most of us do, but I have an issue that I haven't been able to find a fix for elsewhere online. When I use the fill function, it's very slow and after filling 2 or 3 areas, it crashes entirely. I'm using Windows 7, and I updated to the most current version of Inkscape but the problem persists. Does anyone know of a fix for this? Or does anyone have a suggestion for another free, open-source vector graphics program? I'm trying to go on a map-making spree for Brazilian regions, and this is frustrating me greatly. Texugo 10:48, 3 February 2011 (EST)

I know I am. Either it's my computer, the new version of Inkscape, or the map files we're using these days are just too much for my computer. I just can't make maps at the pace I used to. PerryPlanet Talk 14:02, 4 February 2011 (EST)
I am using Inkscape 0.47 on XT and dont seem to have anything like your problem. Maybe I misunderstand, so could you explain in more detail what is happening with an example I can download and do comparative test. I have tested a map of about 3.8MB with about 50 layers at a guess. Selected all objects in a layer with 10 objects, blanked the fill and replaced it with something different. process time order of a second - you could see it happening, but only just. • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 06:50, 6 February 2011 (EST)

John F. Kennedy International Airport

I've noticed that JFK airport was deleted in the past. I think it is large enough to deserve its own article so would it be ok if I created an outline (including eat and sleep sections) for it? Heathrow Airport was created this way and wasn't deleted. Discussion: Talk:John_F._Kennedy_International_Airport#Airports –sumone10154 22:08, 13 February 2011 (EST)

I'd like to hear what useful information you plan to add that isn't already contained (and can't be contained) at New York City#John F. Kennedy International Airport or Queens/Jamaica#Sleep. As was pointed out elsewhere, we shouldn't make a separate article unless the useful info is overwhelming the destination article. texugo 23:25, 13 February 2011 (EST)
I already said I would add eat and sleep sections (a restaurant in the post-security area of the airport should not be listed in Queens/Jamaica. And I'd move New_York_City#Shopping_in_airports there as well; it shouldn't belong in the shopping section for New York City and should go with the airport instead.–sumone10154 02:20, 14 February 2011 (EST)
I just want to know in what way is the status quo overwhelming the NYC article? Hotels can still go in the district article (there are not many there now), plus restaurant selections in the post-security area are usually not terribly unique or even recommendable-- how do you respond to Cacahuate's comment that "we don't exactly need an article about JFK that describes the variance between TGI Fridays in Terminal 1 and TGI Fridays in Terminal 2"? texugo 02:38, 14 February 2011 (EST)
It would still be useful for travellers to know what restaurants there will be in each terminal. And for several of the same reasons on Heathrow's vfd discussion. –sumone10154 14:55, 14 February 2011 (EST)
And it would be easier for travellers looking for information if we put all the information we already have on one page instead of having readers search for information in several different sections and pages (getting in at New_York_City#John_F._Kennedy_International_Airport, shopping at New_York_City#Buy, and hotels at Queens/Jamaica#Sleep.) –sumone10154 19:37, 15 February 2011 (EST)
I'm also a little sceptical regarding the usefulness of a separate article for the airport. If there really is that much more that should be written about the airport, I think it's best to try doing so in the New York City#By plane section first, to demonstrate the need. It's fine to put restaurant and shopping info in that section directly, although I'm not sure how necessary even that would be. Kansai Airport seems like a good exception to our usual rule of disallowing airports, since it is not only a major international port of entry, it also is far outside the major cities it serves. O'Hare and Heathrow are a good deal busier than JFK, but even those aren't terribly necessary. If we didn't already have a bang-up guide to O'Hare, I would might have argued against creating one for it—and it's the world's second busiest! The one airport article that I'd particularly find useful would be one for the confusing Charles de Gaulle, but even that has been taken care of really nicely at Paris#By plane. --Peter Talk 19:59, 15 February 2011 (EST)
In Wikitravel:What_is_an_article?#Exceptions, it says, Some examples of possible exceptions include: Huge airports the size of small cities such as Kansai International Airport or Heathrow Airport. Does JFK airport not count as huge? With 7 terminals and the busiest airport in the United States by international passenger traffic[14]? Do you just oppose creating any new airport articles, but want to keep the ones we already have? –sumone10154 13:25, 16 February 2011 (EST)

Districtfication for Little Rock

The article for the capital of Arkansas is incredibly long. Since Little Rock is such a huge city (about 200,000 in the city itself; over 300,000 if you include the neighboring independent cities of North Little Rock, Maumelle, Sherwood, and Jacksonville), I think this article is a worthy candidate for districtfication. Jonathan 784 13:06, 19 February 2011 (EST)