Welcome to Wikitravel! This article is specifically for people familiar with Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Wikitravel's format was inspired by Wikipedia, and we also use the MediaWiki software to run our site. If you're used to Wikipedia, you should feel right at home — although you should still probably check out the Welcome, newcomers page.
There are some important differences in our sites, read below for the details. Also note: Wikitravel is not a Wikimedia Foundation project; we're not legally or technically associated with Wikipedia.
While Wikitravel and Wikipedia have different goals, we do have overlap in some of the content we produce, and ideally, we will be able to take advantage of our Creative Commons licensing to share that content.
If you are looking to mine Wikitravel for content that Wikipedia could use, take a look around our collections of maps on Wikitravel Shared—we create a ton of SVG country, region, and city maps that can be of use to anything geography-related on Wikipedia. Wikitravel Shared also hosts a very large quantity of open content photos of places around the world, which you could grab to illustrate the encyclopedia articles. Similarly, if you know of good images or maps on Wikipedia that would be useful here, by all means, upload them to Wikitravel Shared!
It is also now possible to share text between Wikipedia and Wikitravel, but this should be done with greater caution. Wikipedia and Wikitravel have distinct goals, and forking large amounts of content from one project to the other creates wasteful duplication. In most cases, linking from one to the other would be a better choice.
Any significant copy-pasting of Wikipedia text to Wikitravel is not encouraged, since we prefer to have lively, non-encyclopedic and original writing with the traveler in mind.
In reviewing our goals and non-goals, a couple of things stick out:
No, no, no, a thousand times no! Please do not drop copyrighted pictures, text, or other media into Wikitravel under some fuzzy notion of "fair use". Fair use is specific for the user, and we really, really, really want to keep Wikitravel free for everybody.
Here are some things you should look out for stylistically:
What is an article?
If you read What is an article?, you'll see that individual articles in Wikitravel tend to be bigger and more comprehensive than articles in Wikipedia. Because one of our goals is to have printable guides that someone can take with them to use at a destination, we tend to try to write articles about a particular city, region or country all in one place. We try to balance this with the need to not duplicate a ton of information all over the place.
Wikitravel articles are a lot less free-form than Wikipedia articles are.
The great majority of Wikitravel articles tend to be about cities, countries, and regions. (That's not all, of course -- see other ways of seeing travel for some more ideas.) We think having these articles organized somewhat the same makes it easier for readers to use the guides.
If a reader wants to find restaurants, they look in the Eat section of the article, whether it's about New York City or Bombay. The hotels and hostels go in Sleep, the museums and monuments go under See.
In our manual of style we have a set of article templates that show the preferred format for each kind of article. These are guidelines, of course -- people can add information to an article however they want. That's the Wiki way. But editors come through later and try to shape the articles to look more and more like the templates.
Links to and from Wikipedia
You can use templates or Interwiki links to link from Wikipedia; You can see how on links from Wikipedia.
Note also that interlanguage links ([[ro:France]] and the like) link between language versions of Wikitravel.
Perhaps because of our relatively small size, Wikitravel does not have the same problems with vandalism, edit wars, and other unwanted edits that Wikipedia does. For this reason, we tend to use SoftSecurity as a tool to handle unwanted edits much, much, much more often than technological means.
We have a mere three protected pages (particularly for license text that must remain verbatim), very few page deletions, and almost zero user bans. We'd like to keep it this way.
We determine virtually everything by consensus. No decisions are made on this site by majority-rule voting. So far, we've been lucky to avoid much conflict that couldn't be resolved through discussion.
For this reason, we don't have a lot of intercommunication overhead -- committees, votes, arbitration, mediation. We try to keep our processes for making decisions very informal and casual.
Some terms you may be used to in Wikipedia have analogs in Wikitravel. Some things you might be looking for:
Real names and credit
When you sign up, you can set your "real name" in the login page. If you don't fill it in, or you want to change it, you can set it in the user preferences page. This option is turned off on Wikimedia sites.
Your "real name" is used by the MediaWiki software to give you credit for your contributions on each page in an on-page credit block, usually at the bottom of the page. If you don't give a real name, you'll be credited as "Wikitravel User user name", and if you don't log in at all, you'll be credited as "an anonymous user of Wikitravel." This option is also turned off on Wikimedia sites.
What your "real name" is is up to you, but it's nice if you can put the legal name that you would receive postal mail with. If you're going to use a pseudonym, it's probably better to make that your user name, and just leave your real name blank.