Wikitravel:Travellers' pub

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Revision as of 08:03, 5 February 2004 by Notty (talk | contribs) (added discussion of granularity and cross-reference pages.)
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The Travellers' pub is the place to ask questions when you're confused, lost, afraid, tired, annoyed, thoughtful, or helpful. Please check the FAQ before asking a question, though, since that may save your time and others'. Also, if you have a question or suggestion about a particular article, try using talk pages to keep the discussion specific to that article.

Lastly, if you are having a problem that you think has to do with the Mediawiki software, please post that on the Bug reports page instead.

Try to keep your questions and responses below this line, and add new questions at the bottom of the page, but otherwise plunge forward!


Stuff that's been moved:

Also, see the Travellers' pub/Archives for very old discussions.


While we're on the subject - what about Events? Like parades etc. Some are big/famous enough to be a reason to visit someplace, and many more might be a reason to make a diversion/daytrip/whatever. Or for example, people who want to spend Valentine's in Paris (a horrible plan, by the way). Some events are on the same day every year; others change every year. What should we do with these? --Nils 12:40 Jan 24th 2004 (CET)

So far, we've been trying to put events as attractions under the "Do" section. It's not a perfect fit, but it works for now. --Evan 12:11, 24 Jan 2004 (EST)

Cultural Expedition

I have proposed the new Wikitravel:Cultural Expedition. Comments, objections, additions are more than welcome. DhDh 09:58, 7 Dec 2003 (PST)

French Wikitravel

Would anyone like to start a French Wikitravel? Judging from the history of the French phrasebook, there are at least six of us who can write French. -phma 10:29, 20 Dec 2003 (PST)

I think this is a good idea. My French isn't up to snuff to do much translation, though. How about starting the Wikitravel:French Wikitravel Expedition? --Evan 14:39, 21 Dec 2003 (PST)


You can get a phone that accepts SIM cards, allowing you to get a local number wherever you go. I think that's very cool, but is it the best option? A page that reviews all the alternatives for phone service while travelling would be useful. Especially for me, as I know basically nothing about this. -- Tim

It may help to ask your question about Telephone service for travel with a broken link. Someone will follow it and get an article started, I bet! --Evan 09:34, 24 Dec 2003 (PST)
I lose again! No wonder I don't have anything to add to Las Vegas. Anyways, someone started an article on cellphone service at Call home? At what rate? and I shoe-horned it into Telephone service for travel. It's now on the Travel topics rump directory page, which, hey, might inspire some contributions. --Evan 18:44, 28 Jan 2004 (EST)

Keyboard layouts

I made some keyboard layouts so that I can type in various languages. On the Greek layout, what is the key to the right of lambda supposed to do? I hit it twice and get an apostrophe, but I haven't been able to get anything else by hitting it once and then another key. I guess it's for accents, but how does it work? -phma 21:06, 27 Dec 2003 (PST)

Visa Requirements

How about including comments (or a table) within Country articles discussing Visa Requements? --Caffeine 05:19, 2 Jan 2004 (PST)

It's supposed to be in the Get in section, I believe. --Evan 07:09, 2 Jan 2004 (PST)

German Wikitravel

We seem to have quite a number of German-speaking Wikitravellers. Are there enough people interested to get a German Wikitravel Expedition started? It just takes 5 committed people, one liaison, and about 50 pages of translation. --Evan 16:07, 9 Jan 2004 (EST)

Nope, not me. When I find time to work on Wikitravel, I would much rather create new material. Call me snobbish, but I believe every human being should speak fluent English anyway. Time for a world language. ;-) Nils 09:16 January 10th, 2004 (CET)
I'll skip the bait on discussing a world language B-), but I do have one note, though. (I'm not trying to encourage you to work on German Wikitravel -- I just wanted to set the record straight here on where "new material" can go.) The translation step I mentioned is just to get the help pages and policies up and running on the new language version -- not to spend lots of time translating English pages into (say) German. I think the whole idea of having language versions is to allow contributions from people who don't feel comfortable writing in English, and to serve travellers who don't read English well. So, there's lots of original work to do there. --Evan 15:05, 10 Jan 2004 (EST)
"Guten Tag!" Hey, I'd love to tell German-speaking wiki editors, in their own language, that they're welcome here and I would much, much rather read about a place using Google German --> English translation than to have no information at all. Unfortunately, my Deutsch is much worse than Google English --> German. -- DavidCary

Translating pages

here's something that's been bugging me: I see that already lots of cities have a English page and a Romanian page, and even though I can't understand a word of Romanian, it's obvious that they are totally different. What does that Romanian page say ? Would it be possible to tweak the wiki software so someone viewing, say, the English version of [Paris] also sees the Romanian version in English ? (Either running it through Google or or some other translation software). Naturally, when I hit the Edit button, I would only be able to edit the English version, not the Romanian (or the on-the-fly-translated English version of the Romanian page). -- DavidCary
(I busted this out to a separate section). The way I've always thought of it, someone who understands both languages should try to keep the pages in sync. Some kind of automated translation tool would make that easier, though, I agree. --Evan 12:44, 26 Jan 2004 (EST)

Pages approaching or longer than 32kb

When editing pages near or longer than 32kb a message such as "WARNING: This page is 51 kilobytes long; some browsers may have problems editing pages approaching or longer than 32kb. Please consider breaking the page into smaller sections" appears above the editing box. For example, see United States of America (52392 bytes) or other long pages. How important is it to break such pages up? Is there a policy? Nurg 04:13, 16 Jan 2004 (EST)

As far as I'm aware, the warning isn't particularly important, as I've never had any problems editing pages longer than 32kb, and I've worked with both Internet Explorer and Mozilla. So I don't know what browser/browser version would have problems with these pages. Just as an added convenience, it's better to edit articles in sections, because it's a lot faster and the section you've edited actually appears in the summary, so it's better for Recent Changes as well. However, I don't think there's a problem with editing these pages in terms of problems. Ronline 04:19, 16 Jan 2004 (EST)

Mozilla Search Pluggin

Hi guys, I contributed a Mozilla search pluggin for WikiTravel (based of the pluggin for WikiPedia). It's available from here (Search for WikiTravel): Enjoy! :-) --Caffeine 15:13, 23 Jan 2004 (EST)

Neat! We probably need to list it on a page somewhere... No idea where, though. Wikitravel:Software tools, maybe? --Evan 15:21, 23 Jan 2004 (EST)
Thanks for the plugin - I'm already using it and it works excellently! I've also submitted a Mozilla plugin for the Romanian Wikitravel - should be online in a few days --Ronline 20:08, 23 Jan 2004 (EST)

other wikis

Is it appropriate for us to mention wikis on the page of the city they are physically in ? I have personally visited one wiki, but I wouldn't really call it a tourist attraction. Even if we decide it's not appropriate in general, I think the very special wiki in Portland OR deserves a mention. -- DavidCary

No, it's not appropriate. A wiki with a bunch of travel or city guide information would be useful, but we don't just list Web sites -- wiki or not -- unless they have information for travellers. See external links for more deetz. (Oh, while we're on the subject -- Portland (Oregon), not "Portland OR". See the article naming conventions for details.) --Evan 12:33, 26 Jan 2004 (EST)


What's the best place to put the weather in a city? -phma 11:02, 26 Jan 2004 (EST)

Do you mean the general climate? "Understand". If you mean the weather outside right now, it's probably not appropriate for a travel guide. The absolutely best we can hope for is that somebody will faithfully and regularly update the day's weather report. More probably, the person will get tired of it after a few days, and two years from now there will still be a "Weather January 27 2004: icy, chance of showers." Not really useful to the traveller of 2006. --Evan 12:40, 26 Jan 2004 (EST)
It may make sense to put some fairly comprehensive and static site about local weather into the "external links" pages. Something like It's just a convenience, really. --Nils 12:16 Jan 29th, 2004

New version of CC licenses

A draft of the new version of the Creative Commons licenses is up for review until February 15. They've put up the draft version Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license, which includes all the stipulations of the other licenses, so you can review them all together.

I have some problems with the new licenses, which I've noted on the cc-licenses mailing list. My two main issues are:

  1. The new wording for ShareAlike seems to allow people to take our by-sa content and put it under by-sa-nc. In other words, people could take our content and not let us re-incorporate the changes back into Wikitravel. I don't think that's all that hot.
  2. The warranty on copyright violation, trademark, privacy rights, etc. has been removed. That means that each contributor who edits or changes an article can be held responsible for copyright violations included by an early author. This doesn't seem fair to me.

There's also no mention of mixing by-sa-licensed stuff with GFDL'd stuff, which is a major concern for us (so we can share our content with Wikipedia, for instance).

Anyways, spread the word. --Evan 11:04, 27 Jan 2004 (EST)

Wikitravel mentioned at lessig blog

Just saw that Wikitravel has been linked at the blog of Lawrence Lessig (Professor of Law at Stanford Law School). Way to go. Hope this brings in more users. Srijith 21:46, 27 Jan 2004 (EST)

Well, our Webalizer stats show a significant spike in hits and visits yesterday -- about 2-3 times our norm for January. Although January has been about twice what we saw in December... I tend to count unique visits, and we've gone from about 100 per day in Sep-Oct 2003 to about 200-300 per day in November (after the K5 and Advogato articles), to a steadily-growing 4-5-600 in December, then about 1000 through January.
Mention on blogs, in magazines, etc. really helps spread the word, and we need it. The lifeblood of a wiki is a high number of active readers and contributors. --Evan 11:04, 29 Jan 2004 (EST)

Wikitravel Code?

I could not find any links on the main page, in the footer, in the FAQ, or the Help pages about what code you use to run this wiki. Is it something you wrote yourself, or are you using the MediaWiki project, or something else?

You probably haven't tried looking for MediaWiki with the "Find" thingy? :) If you had you knew it was MediaWiki. Guaka 09:51, 28 Jan 2004 (EST)
It's in the FAQ. Actually, our version is slightly modified in some ways -- mostly stylesheet changes. I've added an RFE to MediaWiki to add a "powered by" logo, but it's not in the current version. But you're right -- we should probably have that info on the Wikitravel:About page, too. --Evan 12:45, 28 Jan 2004 (EST)

Newspaper Archives

Is there a place on Wikitravel for links to newspaper article archives? For example:

Or does that fall under the heading of non-goals?

Well, Wikitravel is not a Web directory (see Wikitravel:goals and non-goals). We use external links, but mostly to primary sources (see Wikitravel:external links). On the other hand, those archives may be useful for contributors doing research. Maybe we need a Wikitravel:contributor research links page? Other opinions? --Evan 18:24, 28 Jan 2004 (EST)

Time Zones

We should add a location's timezone into the "Quick Facts" table; also if someone feels so inclined a timezone world map might be a good addition (if none exists already). --Nils 12:16 Jan 29th, 2004

It isn't a map, but there is a time zones page. -phma 07:04, 29 Jan 2004 (EST)

Embassy and consulat

Hi. sorry for my poor English, but I wanted to know if you already debated on the interest of listing embassies or consulates that can be found in towns like Paris or Strasbourg for example. I think it would be an interressant information for travellers that have problems with justice or so. [Was it clear ? ] --Pontauxchats 04:53, 30 Jan 2004 (EST)

I wonder if this would go under, say, [[Wikitravel:Big city article template#Cope

Cope]]. --Evan 15:27, 1 Feb 2004 (EST)

A way to edit offline

Hi all. I've been thinking that it would be really nice to have a way to work on wikitravel articles offline. The advantages would include the possibilities of working on a laptop, while actually traveling and of giving the traveler a choice of the full range of text editors. I've noticed that there's been some discussion of this sort of thing on the Wikimedia meta site, but I think I would propose to do something a bit different (and hopefully simpler) than the stuff I've seen proposed there.

What I have in mind at least for now is something kind of like the cvs client command line software, but with a much simpler set of functions and behaviors. So if this command were called "wix" (a name pulled totally out of thin air) the user could type something like 'wix checkout', or 'wix update' or wix commit'. While the pagename would pretty much obviously have to be the URL page name of the article. The commit function would either have to insist on an update first, or perhaps better, would be smart enough to do one automatically. The client would probably need some kind of conflict resolution behavior as well.

My idea is for the client to interface with the server just using the perfectly normal HTTP, just like all other user agents which communicate with Wikimedia so as to keep this as simple as possible and to avoid the range of possible bugs that can come from making drastic changes in server features. I suppose that if skins are fairly easy to make, then a stripped down skin for the client might be in order, thought I'm not sure that would be necessary so long as the form elements are named consistantly between the skins.

I've actually been doing something like this just using the "save as" feature of my browser, and editing the form action attribute of the page to give it a non-relative URL. Of course this requires diligence with updates, which have to be done manually. I would have to handle a conflict manually when doing this if one ever came up. So anyhow, I wouldn't mind automating this stuff just to keep from running diff once in a while.

Any thoughts? -- Mark 05:27, 30 Jan 2004 (EST)

This is definitely a desirable feature, since writing about travel tips is best done in the field, near the point of travel. When I was recently toting around SE Asia, I had an offline version of Wikipedia (Tomeraider format) so I could read up on countries, history, etc. There was definitely a desire to update facts, add content, fix typos, and the like. And since Wikitravel is so young and sparse, the chances of an edit conflict right now is very small, so checking in to the CVS is most likely to just succeed. So in short, yes, good idea. Now what next? Fuzheado 20:26, 30 Jan 2004 (EST)
My two main thoughts are: 1) Most of this should probably go on Wikitravel talk:Offline Reader Expedition, and 2) I think the "wix" client is a pretty good idea. I'd estimate about 16 hours of Perl programming (with LWP for the hairy part) to do the basics. --Evan 15:25, 1 Feb 2004 (EST)

Bold subject

So, on Wikipedia, it's considered good style to put the subject of an article in boldface in the first paragraph. Some people do this on Wikitravel, too. I'm not sure why, or whether this is a good idea for us. Can somebody enlighten me? Do we need to add this to the Manual of style? --Evan 15:42, 1 Feb 2004 (EST)

Granularity of Wikitravel; Cuisine cross-references for metropolitan areas

This is not a question about a specific page, but more a question on the Wikitravel goals and concepts that this page raises. I use the specific page only as an illustration of the larger question.

I recently created a page Bay Area (California)/Localized Chinese cuisine as an attempt to help travellers who come to San Francisco and are disatisfied with the Chinese food here (I and others have received such complaints over the years, at least partly because even Americanized Chinese food in SF is different from that found elsewhere). One Wikian commented that the page seemed too granular. So I was wondering, how granular is Wikitravel allowed to be? (Wikipedia can be quite granular, however, I realize the two Wiki's goals are not the same.)

I also perceive there is a need for some cross-referencing in general within a large metropolitan area. For instance, one could find all restaurants in an area by drilling down to all pages within that area, but they might not know to go to Fremont to look for highly authenttic Indian or Afghan food. In fact, they might not even know to look for Afghan food. The cross-reference would not need to list all restaurants in a region, only those Wikians felt worthy of being linked to from a regional page. (I do not recommend having restaurant reviews on the regional page, only links to the actual review or Eat section on the lowest level page.)

Perhaps the two ideas need to merge, and the content on San Francisco Bay Area Chinese Cuisine belongs in a same-named section on a page of Bay Area (California)/Eat cross-reference instead of on a page of its own.

Related to that is, would it make sense for neighborhoods or cities with a lot of restaurant reviews to have subheadings by cuisine, just as Stay has subheadings by price range?

I know the idea here is to plunge forward, but since there has been some questioning of the need for this new page, I'd like to get some general discussion going before doing any more plunging.

Notty 02:59, Feb 5, 2004 (EST)