YOU CAN EDIT THIS PAGE! Just click any blue "Edit" link and start writing!

Wikitravel:Travellers' pub

From Wikitravel
Revision as of 14:25, 8 October 2004 by Ronline (talk | contribs)
Jump to: navigation, search

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'. Also, 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 Bug reports page instead.

Please add new questions at the bottom of the page, but otherwise plunge forward!


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 a conversation that could or should be moved to a talk page, please do so, and note the move here.

Stuff that's been moved:

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

Please sweep the pub

So, the TP has been getting kinda crowded and messy. I'd really appreciate if we could all make an effort to clean up a bit by moving discussions to places more appropriate or deleting discussions that have reached their conclusions. It's a tedious job, but like most, it's easier if we do it together. --Evan 16:44, 20 Apr 2004 (EDT)

I was about to nuke the New User Deluge section when I realized there's no logbook entry. Do you want want before it gets deleted?
Also, New User Deluge seemed more like conversation about events than a discussion about policy. Am I right to think that policy questions should be preserved, but discussions and chatter can be deleted outright once they are done? -- Colin 02:22, 5 May 2004 (EDT)
Alright, I've done a bit of sweeping here. I'm not exactly sure if I'm doing it right, so I'll stop for now and wait to see if anyone has any comments. I just blew away some discussion that haven't had contributions in over a month. For some of them, where it seemed the discussion may be important in the future, I archived them. There are others which still seem relevant or as if they could fit into the FAQ, but I'm not sure where to put them, so I've left them in the pub (even though they're quite old). --Dawnview 17:57, 6 Jun 2004 (EDT)

Illegal activities policy?

Should we have a policy about listing/promoting Illegal activities? Recently I have noticed a number of article contributions describing illegal or dangerous activities and related inappropriate subjects. Some of these contributions have been removed or changed by others, but we do not have a general policy on this area other than a Sex tourism policy. What is our standard? Where do we draw the line? -- Huttite 20:42, 7 May 2004 (EDT)

I did one of the edits Huttite is talking about -- I removed a reference to marijuana quality from Vancouver. Speaking as a law-abiding non-drug user, I think we should have a policy against mentioning drugs (and other activities) in places where they are illegal. But that is not why I removed the marijuana reference. I felt that saying Vancouver had good pot was a lot like saying it had blue skies -- it's subjective and irrelevant for most travellers.

Are there any illegal activities we do need to mention? When the speed limit was in the US was 55 mph, driving just 55 was unsafe in some areas, and would have been a good thing to mention. Are there any more serious examples of illegal activities that we need to mention? -- Colin 14:10, 8 May 2004 (EDT)
I'm wondering whether pointing out an illegal activity (by the way, isn't pot smoking decriminalized in Canada) is advocating or promoting it. I think there's a fine line to walk. Of course, putting travellers in jeopardy by telling them that it's just fine to do illegal things is wrong. --Evan 12:51, 22 May 2004 (EDT)
I wouldn't say that just simply pointing out an illegal activity is wrong, unless you don't mention that it's illegal (e.g. "Lots of people jaywalk in Taipei."). I agree with your statement: it's irresponsible to suggest that an illegal activity is OK, regardless of how 'accepted' it may be by the locals. If anything the articles should point out (and suggest not engaging in) illegal activities that carry penalties that are heavier than the 'typical' penalty, such as chewing gum in Singapore, smuggling drugs into Thailand, etc.. -- Sohcahtoa 08:43, 2004 May 23 (EDT)
I think there are a number of circumstances where there is a definite need to mention illegal activities. Case in point is hash / dope / opium smoking in Morocco's Rif Mountains and the hill tribes of Laos. Most backpackers in these regions aren't solely drug tourists, but it would be naive to suggest that they don't sample the local 'produce' ... which often plays a large part in regional culture and pratices. A straw poll I took of travellers in Morocco suggests that the majority try some hash at least once on their trip. When you consider that in the Rif mountains dope is the main cash crop and most locals smoke it, this isn't surprising. Given these realities, I think it's important that a travel guide stress that drug possession is illegal, recommend against consumption, but having said that also describe the drug's role in the region and give tips for staying safe. -- Allyak 08:17, Jul 30, 2004 (EDT)

Shotgun Approach To Sleep

Filling in sections like sleep is a hassle, takes time to research, and is also very helpful. We need more sleep entries. Lots more sleep entries. In the Bay Area where I live, few cities are even begun, and fewer have sleep entries.

So I have an idea: I could go through a selection of Well Known Motel and Hotel chains, find all the ones in my region (San Francisco Bay Area) and then add them to any cities in my area needing extra Sleep entries (creating the city article as needed). This would get a boatload of cities started, and each of them would have sleep entries. And it would be fast and efficient to do.

The bad news of this that I have no basis for judging any of them, and non-chain hotels and motels get the shaft, and that sucks.

So is it worth doing? Or a bad idea? -- Colin 02:59, 28 May 2004 (EDT)

It's a fantastic idea! I've long been an advocate of using on-line research to fill in the sleep listings to the extent possible. In my opinion, as discussed here It's absolutely valid to summarise (but not copy) reviews found on the web and elsewhere. eg:
  • Seaside Hotel, 123 charming lane. +01 555 555 5555. This cheapie gets mostly positive reviews for cleanlyness etc., although it's fair to point out that more than one review found online mentions that although the place is about 4 blocks from the sea there are a lot of buildings in between, and thus no view. starting at 39 Eur. singles
Key ideas to consider for a summary approach:
    • Clearly express that you are writing from a collection of reviews, not first-hand experience.
    • Use more than one source.
    • DO NOT COPY people's words; ideas however, are fair game.
Taking this approach it's possible to list places which aren't chains as well! -- Mark 03:47, 28 May 2004 (EDT)
Maybe I need to clarify, maybe not. My suggestion is to go to a Major Chain's website, and crib a bunch of places in the Bay Area for that one chain. Then go to Major Chain #2's website, rinse and repeat. But your idea is nice in that it also picks up on the non-chains too. Hmm. Maybe one pass through the big chains, then once pass through search sites to pick up some extras and then multi-source the reviews? -- Colin 03:53, 28 May 2004 (EDT)
Yes, exactly. The chains are easy, and from there we find small places that people seem to like to write about. While you're doing chain hotels in the U.S. I would recommend checking out [this chain of midrange boutique hotels.] -- Mark 04:04, 28 May 2004 (EDT)
Okay, I'll start on it. Thanks for the hotel pointer, I'll be sure to include them. I'd like to generate a range of hotels.... I'm thinking Motel6 (cheapest), Best Western (medium), Marriot (more expensive). Anyone have any I need to add to the list, or better lists? -- Colin 04:08, 28 May 2004 (EDT)
I'd be careful with the price ranking. While it's true that in some smaller places like maybe Minot that Marriot, if they have a presence will be the top of the line, in other places like San Francisco or Chicago Mariott will probably have entries in the low mid range as well as low-splurge range, so it's worth checking out. Another cheapie chain is Day's Inn. for mid-range and splurge hotels there´s Hilton, and of course there's also a chain for the very top of the line. -- Mark 04:26, 28 May 2004 (EDT)
Here are some more, cheapie: Best Inns, midrange: Holiday Inn and splurge: Hotel Intercontinental. -- Mark 04:37, 28 May 2004 (EDT)

"Open Maps?"

There's an article on Slashdot about Open Maps. Considering this is one of our big problems on Wikitravel, I think it makes interesting reading. --Evan 18:59, 29 May 2004 (EDT)


Can anybody explain what's the story behind "The Wikitravel Mirror" with the ambingously similar address ? It seems to access the original database and makes deep links onto some pages. The ugly difference between the "mirror" and the original is an additional link collection and an advertising banner on each page. --Hansm 15:17, 2004 Jun 5 (EDT)

I don't know what it is, but comparing its content with some of my contributions it is certainly a good month out of date. Obviously we cannot complain about this site's use of wikitravel content, but I'm personally a bit miffed about the way it is masquarading as a mirror, when clearly it is a very poor mirror, if at all. Chris j wood 19:14, 5 Jun 2004 (EDT)
It looks as if the site's owner tries to make money with confused people that misstype the URL. Follwing the link "My Sites", you are lead to a list of so called "mirrors" that all work the same way: They are a partly outdated copy of free licensed sites, often with some advertising banners added. I think there is at least one point about that we could complain. The "mirror" pretents to be the original and deep links the real wikitravel when you click on the "edit" item. This is a very dirty way of "mirroring". Of course, in the footer there is a short remark that the pages base on, but that does not seem to be enough. For me, it were all right if it would just mirror the content and make obvious that the "edit", "discussion" etc. faetures are done on the original wikitravel site. -- Hansm 05:52, 2004 Jun 6 (EDT)
But unlike the other "mirrors" we dealt with before, this one gives proper credit. There's no "thou shalt not make money off the content" clause in the license. Nor is there a clause "you must be up to date". I really don't see any angle from which you could stop this guy. Hell, they even redirect the "Edit" links to, which is the way it should be. Of course I agree what he's doing is immoral - linking to "directories" as "" is as scummy as they come. -- Nils
* It is definitely misleading. On "Wikitravel is a project ..." and "So far we have 2350 destination" On : "The project was begun in July of 2003 by the two founders, Evan and Maj." Together it is a false claim that, they "" are the project started by Evan and Maj.
* It is not a mirror if they alter it
* They violate the license: "Article text and images licensed under a Creative Commons License.". This must mean that their ads are not under CC.
Anyway, I think we should start calling "wikitravel" "" instead. E.g. in the logo, and on the main page.
-- elgaard 10:09, 2004 Oct 8 (EDT)

World wide emergency numbers

May be useful to incorporate this information into the various country pages. -- Nils

Dump available ?


Where are database dumps avaliable ? This is specially important as SQL queries are disabled. With a dump, SQL queries can done at home on my own computer. Yann 09:05, 26 Jun 2004 (EDT)

I've created wik2dict and like to have Wikitravel in the dict format now :) It would be nice if the dump uses the same format as the Wikipedia SQL dump. Otherwise I need to hack some more. Guaka 13:56, 2 Aug 2004 (EDT)

Food pages

I'm planning on writing a page on food in Malaysia and Singapore, covering the cuisines in the region and typical dishes in detail. Questions that I'd like some feedback on:

  1. How should this article in particular be named? There is (AFAIK) no single word that accurately describes it; "Nonya"/"Peranakan" are a specific subtype (Malay-Chinese fusion); while "Malayan", while geographically accurate, is bound to be confused with "Malay".
  2. In general, should articles dedicated to food in region X be called eg. "X food", "X cuisine", or something else?

As a reference point, the only existing article along these lines that I could find is Chinese cuisine in the San Francisco Bay Area. I'll be writing overviews of Japanese and Thai food in the near future as well.

In general there probably shouldn't be pages about the food of a region, but rather than information should be imbedded into the Eat section of the destination page for the region. Check out Wikitravel:What_is_an_article.
I disagree with this (and so does eg. Lonely Planet, which sells entire guides devoted to food). There is no region for Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, and if I start writing even a brief overview of every significant cuisine in every ASEAN country under South-East Asia#Eat, it'll soon be the longest page in Wikitravel! Jpatokal 02:45, 30 Jun 2004 (EDT)
Generally the rule of thumb is "do you sleep there?". There have been discussions about creating itinerary articles about types of cooking though, so perhaps if you really want to write about food you should create an Itinerary.
As for the article about chinese food in S.F., I'm wondering why it's still around. -- Mark 02:14, 30 Jun 2004 (EDT)
Ugh. Umm, I think Chinese cuisine in the San Francisco Bay Area, as a fairly controversial article, would be a bad model to follow. I'd question whether a full article on this or that cuisine belongs in a travel guide, too. I'm ambiguous on the matter. Would Italian cuisine, say, cover all the food variations that go under that name -- in Asia, North America, Europe, and of course Italy? Or would it simply concentrate on food in Italy -- which I think is what Italy#Eat is for? What do we need to tell a traveller about Italian cuisine?
My general feeling: I'd hate to see [[Foobian cuisine]] take the place of Foo#Eat, since they are two different topics. But I guess I could see some room for experimentation. I'm reminded of the Wikitravel:Cultural Expedition here for some reason... Anyways, excellent questions! --Evan 02:27, 30 Jun 2004 (EDT)
Agree with Evan here. I think Foo#Eat should cover types of eating places, expected costs, etiquette notes and such, while Foobian cuisine should cover the menu of a typical restaurant in Foo (or a Foobian restaurant in Bar). Jpatokal 02:45, 30 Jun 2004 (EDT)
Look at Singapore as an example. Singapore#Eat now tells you about the amenity and price differences between a hawker centre, a coffeeshop and a food court, and these should stay there, while the "Local delicacies" part is what I want to expand on and move into its own page. Jpatokal 02:45, 30 Jun 2004 (EDT)

Well you mentioned an interesting word there-- "local." How do you talk about food with out talking about a place? If you have Malaysian food for example, it's fairly different in say Amsterdam then in Malaysia, so you'll end up with an article by-location anyway, why not just put that in the Eat section for that location? I know LP does Food Guides too, but those are travel-related guides, with itiniraries maps and whatnot, but not the same thing as their travel guides (otherwise they wouldnt be seperate books).
And this is exactly why I want to use separate pages! Look into pretty much any guidebook on (say) Thailand or Japan; they'll almost always have a dedicated set of color pages covering the food on a general level. Jpatokal 22:08, 30 Jun 2004 (EDT)
If I want Malaysian food I generally look for it where I am, not plan a trip to Amsterdam to try what they have... It's easier to think about a Singaporian cuisine page than, say, a Chinese or Mexican food page-- things that have versions in just about evevery country (dont get me started about "tacos" in Nepal!)... I think there is room for lots of food info (I'm a big foodie myself) without loosing the destination-centric style we have now... just my 2 pieces of tapas. Majnoona 12:19, 30 Jun 2004 (EDT)
But "cuisine" is a larger concept than "destination". Eg. you can find good bak kut teh restaurants in Singapore's West Coast, central Singapore and Kuala Lumpur (just to mention existing articles); does it make any sense to repeat the (fairly extensive...) description of what this is and how to eat it in every article? If there's a good khao soi joint in Bangkok, do I have to link to some restaurant under Chiang Mai#Eat for the description, and have the link break when the restaurant disappears?
Oh well. I'll plow ahead now and draft up Malaysian and Singaporean cuisine, feel free to comment. Jpatokal 22:08, 30 Jun 2004 (EDT)
Here's another idea. Hope it isn't heretical (I believe Evan prefers Wikitravel to be self-standing): Put the cuisine stuff in Wikipedia (there's an article already started that sounds just like what you want to do) and then it can be referenced in Wikitravel whenever and wherever it is appropriate.

Site Guides

When I get some more time (I have a PhD to write.... oh the guilt that I'm even on here....!) I'd like to add quite a bit to the Egypt, Israel and Jordan parts of Wikitravel - parts of the world I'm particularly familar with and fond of. To my mind, part of providing a good travel guide might involve putting up some moderately detailed guides to the various sites within a location. For example, rather than just listing the Temple of Luxor as a site to See in Luxor, it would be great to add some explanation as to history, excavation, a guide to the various components of the temple, what to look out for, etc etc. as a separate article to which users could link. Others might want to do the same for, say, Angkor Wat, Macchu Picchu, the British Museum, etc etc. Problem is, providing additional detail will almost certainly blow out the desirable size of an article. My basic question is: What is the scope for providing concise but detailed guides to various sites within Wikitravel? Any ideas / suggestions / discussion? Pjamescowie 13:21, 8 Jul 2004 (EDT)

So, in general, I think we need to have Wikitravel:attraction listings in the page for the city they're in. But I do believe there are rare exceptions where we need to have a full article on an attraction. There's some info on this on Wikitravel:What is an article?, but we might want to be more specific. I think we already have an Angkor Wat article (although it has a more precise name, IIRC).
Anyways: yes, I totally think this is a good idea. --Evan 14:07, 8 Jul 2004 (EDT)

Great! So should we start discussing some general guidelines / formatting for these site guides? In the spirit of independent travel that Wikitravel encourages, my idea would be to focus on those sites / attractions which are difficult to interpret without a local guide (of varying quality and price) and / or where on-site documentation is very thin on the ground.... (Egypt nearly everywhere is a prime example of this problem - I'm sure there are others!) Pjamescowie 14:25, 8 Jul 2004 (EDT)

External links in listings

There's a discussion going on on Wikitravel talk:external links about changing the way we format attraction listings, restaurant listings, bar listings, accommodation listings, and the like. Although it may seem kind of trivial, making this change is going to change how our guides look a lot, as well as requiring a lot of work. So it'd be worth it to get your (yes you!) input on the idea before we go ahead with it. --Evan 15:40, 8 Jul 2004 (EDT)

Gap Year information

A lot of travellers are in the position of taking a "gap year" after studies, for a career break, for a life change, etc...... An increasing focus in these gap years seems to be the chance to do volunteer work, try new experiences, visit exotic locales, etc - witness the recent Guardian writeups in their Travel section. Would it be worthwhile, do you think, for Wikitravel to address this phenomenon with a series of articles offering advice, ideas, suggestions, alternatives, etc? Pjamescowie 07:19, 1 Aug 2004 (EDT)

I think Gap year travel would make an excellent travel topic. I'm not sure it's a big enough topic to have multiple articles about, though. --Evan 18:18, 19 Aug 2004 (EDT)

Wikitravel Expedition? Travellers' Tips? - Health

Another thought: I've just been adding some Egypt-specific info regarding Stay Healthy on the Egypt page.... Was suddenly struck by the thought that a lot of general information could be unnecessarily duplicated in many parts of Wikitravel in the future..... Without taking away the need for country / location-specific health information, would people consider it a worthwhile idea providing general advice and relevant links for a number of common travel ailments - things like dehydration, heat / sunstroke, some of the more obvious diseases, etc......? This could be set up as a Wikitravel Expedition, I think... and we could link to the resulting information from within various other articles. It'd be great if we could get some contributors with a medical background to pitch in..... Although I think we might still have to include some warnings and caveats..... What do others think? Pjamescowie 08:17, 1 Aug 2004 (EDT)

Uniting Wikitravel with Wikipedia, Wikiquote, Wikisource, Wiktionary and Wikibooks?

I think that Wikitravel should be eaten by the Wikimedia foundation, which owns the Wiki projects mentioned above. (I couldn't find an earlier discussion about this.) It seems to me that all Wiki projects, and especially Wikitravel, should benefit from such a strong alliance. Personally I would have heard a lot earlier about Wikitravel if it was already listed under the other Wiki projects. I'm not sure if this is possible by the differences between by-sa and GFDL though. What do you guys think? Georg Muntingh, 2 Aug 2004

No - disagree strongly. One of the reason I came here was because it wasn't run by the Wikimedia foundation and hence was more international etc. Also cc-by-sa is superior to the GFDL and the wikimedia foundation loves fair use images which are not useable outside the US. Apologies if this sounds like a rant. Caroline 14:42, 2 Aug 2004 (EDT)
I dunno. Being "eaten" by Wikimedia doesn't really sound like the most positive experience.
I also think that it's good to have lots of different kinds of wikis hosted by lots of different organizations. A monoculture wouldn't necessarily be the healthiest wiki ecosystem. The SwitchWiki shows some tens of thousands of wikis on the Internet right now. I don't think Wikimedia should, or wants to, host and manage all those projects. --Evan 11:46, 3 Aug 2004 (EDT)
Okay, I see your points. Georg Muntingh 09:11, 4 Aug 2004 (EDT)
Actually, the number of wikis on SwitchWiki is on the order of thousands, not tens of thousands. It's right there on the page I linked to! Sloppy research on my part, but I think the point is still valid. --Evan 18:16, 19 Aug 2004 (EDT)

Sharing images between different language editions of Wikitravel

I was looking to link the photo from the french language article on St Petersburg to the equivalent english language article, but this does not work. It appears that the different language versions have completely seperate sets of images.

One solution is obviously to download the image from the french version, and upload it to the english version. But this is both cumbersome, and it destroys the audit trail. Indeed a strict interpretation of the Wikitravel:Image policy suggests that I need the permission of the original photographer to do this.

Given that photographs are not generally linguistically specific, but other kinds of images like maps are, it would seem much better to have some sort of link mechanism that maintains only one copy of the image on the server. Any thoughts on the best way of going about this. -- Chris j wood 09:49, 13 Aug 2004 (EDT)

David's planning a trip

I'm planning a trip, and naturally the first place I turn to is Wikitravel.

Feel free to ask me to take photos of specific locations in Oklahoma or near my upcoming Europe trip.

--DavidCary 01:49, 21 Aug 2004 (EDT)

Shark Attack!

On a few articles I've worked on, I've been somewhat concerned about hazardous fauna. For example, in Fremont, I didn't mention a great hike to the top of a nearby peak because I didn't really feel like adding commentary regarding the care and non-feeding of Mountain Lions. Or in the Eastern Sierra, one could mention the Lions, and also Black Bears and Rattlesnakes. In Banff and Alaska, the Grizzly Bear merits special attention.

Okay, the world is a dangerous place. So what? We have a section Stay safe in our templates to deal with these issues. But in the case of both Lions and Grizzlies, it would be helpful to do more than just say "watch out when hiking!" (For Lions, it's best to fight back, for Grizzlies, not so much) We could point to Wikipedia, but they only discuss being safe around the Lions, but not the Bears. We could include a small diatribe here in the text, but do we really want to have the same issues discussed in many articles? (The Lions are pervasive in the western half of the US and Canada. The Grizzlies are pervasive from Montana north).

It's almost as if we need a series of articles in a Stay Safe heirarchy. This could include dangerous fauna, hazards common to many places (driving in the desert issues; hiking near glaciers; tornados). But it would also really suck to try to maintain this stuff which is only peripherally related to our real purposes in life.

Any ideas or opinions about how to handle this? -- Colin 15:22, 24 Sep 2004 (EDT)

I don't think there is any reason to cover it any more than superficially. To cover it accurately can often be very difficult. Generally there is very little consensus other than give them lots of space and don't feed them. Wikitravel does not exist in a vacuum, and much of this information can vary depending on local conditions. Most of these dangers have information available locally about them, so pointing people to that information is the best in my opinion. (IE "Be sure to stop at the ranger station and find out about hiking in cougar territory.") Where a danger is common for a region add a little bit about it in the Cope section is probably appropriate (I plan on adding a Black Bear comment to British Columbia.) You can then link back to it in your article. -- Webgeer 18:36, Sep 30, 2004 (EDT)
A black bear comment? I'd be more concerned with the Grizzlies and Cougars in BC. Black bears do more property damage though. -- Colin 20:18, 30 Sep 2004 (EDT)
You're much more likely to encouter a black bear than a Grizzly (orders of magnitude more likely). Except in very exceptional circumstances cougars encouters are unheard of (Cougars are not really shouldn't be something you worry about unless there is a cougar that is behaving strangely in the area). Black bears should not be dismissed. A black bear can run faster than you, is stronger than you and is perfectly capable of killing you. In BC from 1978 to 1996 10 people were killed and 78 injured by black bears, 4 were killed and 34 were injured by Grizzlies, while 3 people were killed by cougars in that time period (for comparison 13 people were killed by moose, 36 people were killed by horses). This really shouldn't be over blown. These are really small hazards in the scheme of things. Almost all of the dangerous bear encounters happened in the back country. For most casual hikers, much more dangerous is going hiking without proper resources, getting lost, mosquitos, etc. I live in North Vancouver on the edge of popular hiking mountains. In the summer the search and rescue team goes in a couple of times a week to rescue people who got lost, got cought in the forest at nightfall, were injured (often doing something foolheardy), unprepared for a weather change, or other similar happening. There is probably on average 2 or 3 deaths a year in the area. As far back as I can remember none of these were as a result of an encounter with wildlife. -- Webgeer 02:10, Oct 1, 2004 (EDT)
I totally agree that traffic accidents are a far more serious source of danger. Really this came about by me thinking "there's this great hike in the hills near Fremont." And there is are two sources of danger doing that, one of which can kill. And I do think it overblown to add a warning about Mountain Lions to the Fremont article, but a simple one line reference with a link to a different article seems okay to me. And yeah, driving is the most likely way for any traveller to die, I think. But that's true everywhere (but should be emphasized anyway.) So this is more about making short references in articles to dangers one may not have considered. (Mountain Lions don't like to be seen; so not everyone knows Vancouver Island has the highest concentration of them in North America). Anyway, I think I'll try and make a sample in my sandbox to play with, and we'll see what people think. -- Colin 02:54, 1 Oct 2004 (EDT)


Does Wikitravel support template boxes that could be imported into multiple articles? So something like {{shark}} in the content would magically turn into a right-aligned floating box on dealing with Jaws. Jpatokal 06:14, 25 Sep 2004 (EDT)
Yes it does. See any stub. -phma 12:12, 25 Sep 2004 (EDT)

Okay, so more seriously... does it make sense to have a page like "Dangerous Fauna" and then have a section per danger? I really don't like the idea of one article for each little annoyance. I'd prefer to make it country or continent specific though. So how about Dangerous Fauna of North America? Then, in a Stay Safe section, we could just add something like:

Dangerous fauna in this area include Lions, Grizzly Bears, and Hippies

-- Colin 20:26, 30 Sep 2004 (EDT)

So I wrote one possibility up in my Sandbox as an example User:Cjensen/sandbox/Dangerous fauna of North America and I'm interested in feedback of all kinds. -- Colin 03:52, 1 Oct 2004 (EDT)

Fauna is only dangerous if you don't respect its behaviour and habitat. A mention in the Stay Safe section sounds good but you could also put it in the Respect. For example: Some areas of New Zealand have problems with seals on (and off) the beaches. They will attack and bite people. But people can do the seals more harm by picking up their pups and taking them home because the pups look lonely or lost on the beach where they live. What's the more dangerous fauna - seal or human? Also I think Wildlife is a better term for WikiTravel's writing style. -- Huttite 08:24, 1 Oct 2004 (EDT)
I agree that Wildlife is way better than fauna in matching our style, Would dropping dangerous from the page title help make it useful for non-dangerous animal info? -Colin 23:17, 4 Oct 2004 (EDT)

Internet café

If I go to an Internet café, will I be able to plug my laptop in and ssh to my home computer? -phma 00:35, 26 Sep 2004 (EDT)

This is a computer question isn't it? It all depends on how you have your machine at home set up. If you have a router set up to accept calls to your machine from outside then this should be fine. It also depends on what outbound traffic the internet cafe allows. What you should do is from your home PC ssh to a box somewhere far away and then from this box try and ssh back onto your box. Doing this you should be able to prove that your machine is accepting connections.
It's an Internet café question. I know I can ssh from outside, but I've done it only at someone's home or at work. I don't know if Internet cafés let port 22 through, or (should I leave my laptop at home) they have ssh clients there so that I can ssh from their computer and bring up my Kmail on their screen. -phma 09:35, 27 Sep 2004 (EDT)
My observation has been that very few internet cafés allow laptop use these days, probably because they don't want to take the chance of having a possibly virus infected unknown machine on their internal network, and also don't want to be bothered to set up a firewalled laptop network.
If you are carrying around a laptop anyhow there are a lot of options for wireless these days, including a lot of free ones.
Meanwhile if that doesn't work, you can usually download Putty from internet café machines, or if all else fails there's a java SSH implimentation called mindterm which you can install on your home machine, assuming you are running an httpd. -- Mark 09:42, 27 Sep 2004 (EDT)
I don't have wireless on my laptop. Why would I need to download Putty? Don't they have openssh installed? I can't count on Java being available, though in a café they may have Colombia ;) and can a Java ssh implementation access the X server? Maybe the best solution is to find a geek in the host country who either lets me plug my laptop into his network or lets me ssh into it. -phma 05:38, 28 Sep 2004 (EDT)
You should not count on being allowed to put your laptop on a wired net. Do not count on getting X to work. Even if you managed to install an X-server on a PC in the internet cafe, the connection to an internet cafe would probably be too slow.
  • Install a webmail-server on your home computer. I use the one in usermin.
  • Ssh home with mindterm or putty and use a textbased mail client. (like Mutt or Vm, Gnus).
  • If you want access to your server, the most reliable way is the command interface in usermin because it only requires a browser with SSL.
  • You could bring a Knoppix CD. From Knoppix you can start a local Kmail and get you mail with POP3 or IMAP. But i doubt an internet cafe would let you boot their computer. OTOH a CD does not take up much space.
  • You can get a cheap 11Mbit wireless PCMCIA card
-- elgaard 07:31, 2004 Sep 30 (EDT)
Great advice Elgaard! I usually do all of the above... but seriously get the Wireless card. Depending on where you are going you are likely to save money, as there are lots of free wireless places these days. -- Mark 04:35, 1 Oct 2004 (EDT)

London Wikitravel Meetup Group

I have just created the London Wikitravel Meetup Group - as the only member thus far (already feeling lonely!), I'm really hoping that other Wikitravellers in London / England / the UK / Europe will decide to join in! For details, click here. Let's get organised and find a nice cosy pub or restaurant for our first gathering.... Suggestions? Pjamescowie 16:34, 27 Sep 2004 (EDT)

Extend Quick Facts Concept to Cities / Districts / Regions?

I'm not sure whether anyone has proposed this before BUT what would people think if we were to include a Quick Facts-type template, currently used only at Country level, to Cities and Regions? Reason being: there are some useful facts that we could summarise quite neatly within a small reference box that would relate to information elsewhere in the page..... Such as the local area telephone code, for example, that would inform all the telephone / fax numbers subsequently used throughout the page. Maybe some other basic facts could be included, such as population of city / metropolitan area, nearest large neighbouring towns / cities, etc. Comments / ideas / suggestions? Pjamescowie 02:14, 28 Sep 2004 (EDT)

I like that idea, but I think it should be limited to important information. I like including telephone area/city code, metropolitain population, maybe a couple of other things (I think Latitude and Longitude would be good). I'm not crazy about including specific municipal population (travellers don't know/care about municipal boundaries) nearest neighbours (best left to the discussion part) or some other things. -- Webgeer 15:06, Sep 28, 2004 (EDT)
I think it's a good idea, but I'd prefer to use simple, Mediawiki table layout rather than fancy HTML+CSS styling. And I'd like to figure out a way not to make it the first part of the guides, since having the quickboxes there for countries is so offputting for potential contributors. Would that be reasonable? --Evan 15:26, 28 Sep 2004 (EDT)
Hi Evan. Could you go into a bit more detail re what you said about "having the quickboxes there for countries is so offputting for potential contributors"....? Have you had some feedback on these? Do you mean 'first part of the text in the edit view' or 'first part of the text in the presentation view'? Pjamescowie 16:21, 28 Sep 2004 (EDT)

As the bare minimum, I like what Lonely Planet does in their guides, which is to put a little telephone symbol ☎ (easily emplaced by the power of Unicode!) at the start of each article for different cities / towns / regions, accompanied by the relevant area code.... This feature alone could save us a lot of typing, editing, memory / page size, confusing detail, and (above all) complicated, time-consuming updates when area codes change (as they inevitably do....) But I do also think we could extend this model with some other very basic facts..... Whadya reckon?

Actually, I've just noticed that in some of their most recent editions, each city / town / location / region in Lonely Planet is preceded by an inconspicuous (but very practical) little entry that summarises area code and population, e.g. (for Turkey):

☎ 0252 · pop 25,000

Why not emulate this practice (we can develop our own little widget / format, maybe using the &#x2706 symbol, if it's big enough in our default font) and build on it? Pjamescowie 17:02, 28 Sep 2004 (EDT)


Can you make a template? Rspga49 (talk) 16:06 September 28, 2004 (EDT)

For what? There are already article templates. Do you mean in the Mediawiki sense? --Evan 16:51, 28 Sep 2004 (EDT)

Problem with London page hierarchy

Don't know whether anyone else has noted this as yet, but there is a problem with the hierarchy of London pages.... The various outer London districts and suburbs have not been integrated within the "breadcrumb" hierarchy that would be ideal and which has been used in such cities as Sydney and San Francisco.... Central London districts seem OK however. Fixing this inconsistency is going to mean a bit of page moving and reorganisation BUT better sooner (i.e. now), rather than later, right? Anyone got any objections? Any suggestions about how best to approach this? Pjamescowie 02:19, 30 Sep 2004 (EDT)

I think we use sub-pages only for districts (neighborhoods) within a city. For suburbs (individual cities close to but not part of a big city), make them their own top-level article. If you need to group them together into a big article, consider a region article like Greater London. --Evan 13:36, 30 Sep 2004 (EDT)
I still think this is problematic with Sydney -- the inhabitants don't really have any concept of Sydney/Greater Sydney, and with a very few exceptions (Richmond and Windsor for example, and some of the very oldest suburbs like Parramatta -- but not its immediate surrounds) the suburbs were created when the city grew outwards, rather than being absorbed by the city. If we use the strictest administrative divisions we'll confuse travellers because "Sydney attractions" like the harbour, and Bondi, and the beaches, for example, would be "near" Sydney, not in it. Anyway, I've brought this up (extensively) on Talk:Sydney. I have a feeling other Australian cities, particularly Melbourne, have exactly the same problem. To Australians they're one unit, and definitely cities not regions, to the Wikitravel guidelines they're a bunch of cities near each other with a very small "real" Sydney" (which actually only includes about a third of what you'd think of as the "famous" Sydney sights, in particular, the Bridge is arguable) and "real" Melbourne in the centre. -- Hypatia 03:20, 5 Oct 2004 (EDT)
OK, I sort of bowed to (became convinced by) the argument that Sydney should be a region article, so people might want to have a look at the 'proposal' section of Talk:Sydney -- Hypatia 05:39, 8 Oct 2004 (EDT)

City Theme Pages

What would people think if we compiled a few "theme" pages for truly major cities, that would summarise the otherwise dispersed sights and activities relevant to that theme for travellers.....? I'm thinking London, for example, could be well-served by a "Literary London" page, summarising details of famous writers' residences, literary museums, significant libraries, specialist bookstores, significant literary locations, literary tours, etc etc. All of which London has a massive amount. Everything from Chaucer and Shakespeare through to Dickens and on to Monica Ali (Brick Lane). The same could be done for musicians, artists, inventors, etc. if there was sufficient interest. Other 'world' cities like Paris, Berlin, Rome, Cairo and New York could also benefit. Comments / suggestions? Pjamescowie 16:50, 30 Sep 2004 (EDT)

I think that's a rocking idea. I'm really excited about it. I think doing specialist guides to destinations is an important way to see travel. Goth Los Angeles, Texas for rockhounds, etc. My main concern is managing the balance between the "general" guides and the theme guides. What would go on Literary London that wouldn't go on London? And vice versa? If you don't mind the possibility of going down some wrong paths at first (and, hey, isn't that the fun part?), maybe we should start Literary London and see where it goes.
Actually, I take that back -- maybe it'd be easier to tackle a less daunting city at first, to see how it works. What about, say... Literary Dublin? --Evan 17:08, 30 Sep 2004 (EDT)

Glad you like the idea. I don't mind tackling London first - lots of scope, and the city I know best in this respect. (Dublin is also an excellent suggestion however!) In terms of balance, I think you will find some considerable overlap between the standard city pages and the theme pages, the only difference being that the theme pages will consolidate on one page all / most of the items of interest to that particular theme, which otherwise would be dispersed throughout the various standard pages and therefore significantly more difficult to track down. Literary London, for example, will draw significantly on the pages for the City, Southwark, Bloomsbury, the West End, etc etc, selecting out the relevant detail and providing more detailed content. We'll need to ensure that basic return links exist back to these areas so that literary travellers, for example, can also find a place to eat, sleep, get a drink, etc. Sound OK? Pjamescowie 17:27, 30 Sep 2004 (EDT)

Literary London sounds like a classic case of an itinerary to me... Jpatokal 22:21, 30 Sep 2004 (EDT)


Should we have articles about malaria, yellow fever, and other diseases that travelers might encounter? -phma 01:05, 4 Oct 2004 (EDT)

Sure, preferably by using the warning box approach as suggested for dangerous fauna. Jpatokal 05:15, 4 Oct 2004 (EDT)
The warning box doesn't make sense. Brazil has a list of countries where if you come from them you have to be immunized against yellow fever, and a list of states and regions where if you go it's recommended that you get immunized, but not required. Other countries have their own lists. -phma 22:51, 4 Oct 2004 (EDT)
Would something like User:Cjensen/sandbox/Dangerous fauna of North America work? If we implement multiple types of warnings, it'd be nice to make them stylistically similar. For both animals and disease it'd be nice to be able to occasionally go into depth without cluttering pages with it. -Colin 23:12, 4 Oct 2004 (EDT)
Agreed with Cjensen. And the warning box should just say that this destination is considered at risk from yellow fever and tell you what you should do about it. How about a small warning box that can be easily included into any page, which links to a more in-depth treatment of the topic? (Or Wikipedia, for that matter.) Jpatokal 02:32, 5 Oct 2004 (EDT)

Links from Wikipedia

One simple way to increase Wikitravel's ranking in the web world: if you write a good non-stub Wikitravel article, then link it in from the corresponding Wikipedia page (I use [ Wikitravel: X] under "External links"). This is relevant content — travel guides cover the same topic, but serve different audiences — and I've never had a link removed yet, and when the link propagates out to Wikipedia's many mirrors we get excellent linkage. And, as a courtesy, be sure to add a reciprocal [[WikiPedia:X]] to the Wikitravel article as well. Jpatokal 05:15, 4 Oct 2004 (EDT)

You can make an interwiki link [[WikiTravel:X]]. It'll appear in the text, not with the interlanguage links. -phma 10:07, 4 Oct 2004 (EDT)

Upgrade delayed is upgrade denied

Unfortunately, I had to delay the 1.3 upgrade and German and Swedish launch today. It'll happen Thursday at 4AM UTC instead. Everyone's patience is appreciated. --Evan 00:53, 5 Oct 2004 (EDT)

It got finished, but I got my dates screwed up in the logbook. From now on, I'm not scheduling upgrades for 00:00 in my local timezone! --Evan 06:07, 7 Oct 2004 (EDT)

Image for External Links?

I like the way that Wikipedia signifies that a link is an external link through the use of an appropriate image. I think that it would be a good idea to do the same thing here. Does it only irritate me when I get sent to an external site? Anyone have any thoughts on this?

That will happen on thursday after the upgrade, in those listings where people have been using the "number" format. It's been a pretty hot topic on Wikitravel talk:External links/Links in listings for some time. -- Mark 11:51, 5 Oct 2004 (EDT)

Wikimedia 1.3.5 bugs and features


  • Search does not work!
    • This is by far the biggest problem, any idea what's wrong? Jpatokal 23:01, 7 Oct 2004 (EDT)
  • Semi-random image problems: why does Image:Kazurabashi_IyaValley2.JPG show up in Iya Valley but not in Off the beaten track in Japan?
    • That was a directory-permissions problem on the server. It should be fixed now. Let me know if there's anything else. --Evan 14:59, 7 Oct 2004 (EDT)
  • There should be some empty space above the Table of Contents box
  • There is too much empty space between subheadings in ToC box
    • There is too much whitespace generally! I think we have to adapt the main page and maybe other article to this new skin Monobook. Just an idea, though - Monobook is a CSS based design and is therefore very adaptable - we should change the background image, as well as the colour scheme, etc to make it look less Wikipedia-like (currently, it looks like a Wikimedia project ;-) Ronline 10:21, 8 Oct 2004 (EDT)
  • Uploading SVG's still dows not work -- elgaard 09:37, 2004 Oct 8 (EDT)
  • The logo is not transparent - not really a bug, just something that looks weird at the present moment. Ronline 10:21, 8 Oct 2004 (EDT)


  • Links and Wiki markup within image descriptions is now supported (see Off the beaten track in Japan for an example)
  • Attribution. The list of people who've worked on a page is now at the bottom of the page. You can set your real name in the user preferences and that's what'll appear for attribution. This should help people re-using the content to comply with our license. --Evan 14:59, 7 Oct 2004 (EDT)
  • Underlining of links can be turned off in preferences -- elgaard 09:42, 2004 Oct 8 (EDT)

Not enabled

  • Categories. This was developed for Wikipedia, and it's not clear that it's useful for a travel guide. I'd rather see some discussion about what we'd use categories for than leave them enabled and just have the idea develop willy-nilly. --Evan 15:48, 7 Oct 2004 (EDT)
I think "categories" would be a great idea, but not in their current form. Is there any way to adapt them so that we could use them like breadcrumb navigation? This could be done with subcategories, even though, like you, categories were developed for Wikipedia (and I don't particularly like them there either) and it would seem strange for a travel guide. With subcategories, we could have, for example, a category for Romania, a subcategory for Transilvania and then the article Cluj-Napoca. But then how would this show up in the article? Currently, it would show up at the bottom, which is not convenient! Ronline 10:21, 8 Oct 2004 (EDT)
  • User JavaScript and CSS. These cause two extra hits per page on the database and on the Web server. Relatively few users use the feature, but everyone has to pay for it. I'm going to try to figure out a way to set this up as a user preference, but for now, it's going to be disabled on Wikitravel servers. --Evan 15:48, 7 Oct 2004 (EDT)
  • Database messages. This is a hugely lossy feature unless you have specialized server software. It's off for now, at least. Changes to the language files have to go through me, unfortunately. --Evan 15:48, 7 Oct 2004 (EDT)

Formating multiple picture

  • I am trying to get several pictures nicely organized onto the Kruger National Park article, but it seems I need to know more about html to tackle that one. Any suggestions are appreciated. Kruger National Park

Jens 08 Oct 2004