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Talk:Requests for comment/Travel Guide

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Older commentsEdit

My position is neutral here. However I want to note that the initiators of this proposal should make a better presentation of their project. The current page (with its stubby sections) does a poor job in presenting it. The people, who will make the decision, are unlikely to follow all the links and read all those pages at the Wikitravel. Ruslik (talk) 07:24, 20 April 2012 (UTC)

I disagree and think that the people in charge actually should (and would) pay extra attention to all available information, as the possibility of welcoming new projects into the Wikimedia family doesn't happen very often. odder (talk) 10:31, 23 April 2012 (UTC)
I am not sure whether we're able to pay attention to "all available information". However, I can confirm that Board members are able and willing to read related policy pages as well as proposal talk pages ;) -- Arne (akl) (talk) 15:02, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
Well, what a better presentation can be done than an existing, living and vibrant project. We expand since six years and outnumbered the original de WT articles by far. The policy is also simple and straightforward as mentioned on the Meta page. Traveller comes first, content is free, community decides (although this might hurt sometimes)and the site should never be run with a commercial attitude. --Der Reisende (talk) 14:30, 1 July 2012 (UTC)


  1. Support and Suggestion as we merge WikiTravel and WikiVoyage, we could also make use of google maps when we develop contents for different travel destinations. Apart from images or videos ... the google3d maps features will greatly improve the user virtual travel experience. Guitaristrock (talk) 14:10, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

NPOVEdit

The NPOV (neutral point of view) issue has been brought up above. I think we should stick to the fair rule which exists in the communities of the existing Travel Guide Wikis which means, the proper information required should be given without to much personal judgement (rather like noisy place with slow service than worst place I have ever seen). --Der Reisende (talk) 13:44, 2 July 2012 (UTC)

It's not even an issue. NPOV is a policy of several Wikimedia wikis, including English Wikipedia, but no one imposed it from without. Several Wikimedia projects operate without an NPOV policy, in particular the various Wikiversities. I wish Ikan hadn't brought it up, because no one (and I mean no one) has even so much as suggested that the travel guide would be forced to accept a NPOV policy. Frankly, I don't even know where the idea came from. LtPowers (talk) 14:14, 2 July 2012 (UTC)

Sorry to offend. I brought it up because I was a bit confused by the import of Tom Morris' remarks above. As I participate on both Wikipedia and Wikitravel, I wanted to know whether the forked Wikitravel-by-another-name would have an NPOV policy. Since it sounds like that won't be an issue, and the "be fair" policy can remain, I withdraw any reservation on the fork. Wikipedia is a much better functioning site with a much larger user base. For all the reasons everyone participating in this discussion has stated, the fork is a good idea. Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:30, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

See also Commons:Commons:NPOV. I don't see why NPOV would be an issue. --Stefan2 (talk) 14:30, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
This has already been discussed at Talk:Travel Guide, and I'm pretty sure the idea of trying to impose NPOV or other policy changes upon the fledgling project—which is indeed a fork of an existing and experienced travel wiki—would be inappropriate and will not happen.
I do think it is a bit unfortunate that the rfc has been separated from that talk page, since the discussions should be right in the forefront of voters minds, but I understand why it was done. --Peter Talk 16:57, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
I don't think it would be inappropriate; and indeed a lack of improvement to the content prior to importing would be a deal breaker to me. "Be Fair" is, really, NPOV as I read it, so that is fine. What is problematic is people reviewing things like e.g. restaurants - larger review sites already have problems with people submitting fake reviews - without a secondary source the site will be filled with unsolicited opinion. This is not something I would want from a travel site. I'd like to see either a ban on "review" style material, or a requirement for reviews to be based on sources (i.e. another guide). There is also a major problem on WT with advertising - of the form of "go to the this restaurant" etc. That needs to be removed. --ErrantX (talk) 08:18, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
We try our best to remove review-type material as well as advertising when we see it. Part of the goal of opening a Wikimedia-related Wiki is to get more eyeballs on the project who can remove inappropriate material. If, however, you're asking for us to adopt either dry, uninflected encyclopedia-style writing, or a policy that says we can't say anything that might appear biased without rigorous sourcing, I can tell you it's not going to happen. For the former, who wants to read a travel guide written like an encyclopedia? For the latter, why would anyone use our travel guide if we're just copying content from other guides? LtPowers (talk) 14:01, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
Indeed, who would want to write an encyclopaedia like that either; it's a strange misconception that "Neutral" equates to "Boring". One of the key things English Wikipedia does is stress that controversial views should be cited; to take an example the Paris WT article notes that Parisians have a reputation for being brusque, and then blames it in part on you the tourist. I think it would be important for a WT within the WMF infrastructure to adopt a little more referencing (that section is fairly easy to add a few sources for). Perhaps a compromise could be to not require removal of "unsourced" things; it would at least allow a reader like myself to put more trust in the material. Bringing it under the WMF umbrella will lend a substantial guarantee to the material, and I think we need to uphold that somewhat. why would anyone use our travel guide if we're just copying content from other guides; same argument could be stated as "who would want to read Wikipedia if it just records other sources". The key aspect being that you're collating the information and providing a portal to further information. I guess this hits on the crux of the issue; are you writing a totally original travel guide - or are you combining travel writing with useful source/support material & further reading. The former I do not think is a good fit for WMF, the latter more so. We try our best to remove review-type material as well as advertising when we see it; This seems sanctioned?? --ErrantX (talk) 15:21, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
The idea that a travel guide should eschew review-type content or recommendations is just silly. If anything, crowdsourcing this type of information seems to be superior to going with the judgment of one or two overworked and underpaid travel writers, as is the case with nearly all other travel guides. Referencing online reviews is something rarely done on Wikitravel, and really only done on talk pages to justify not including a business that has an extensive set of negative reviews, in case of a dispute. Dealing with the types of problems you identify is something we have been working on since the infant years of the free travel guide project, something that is always improving, something for which we could develop better tools following this move. In any rate, this has been discussed extensively on Wikitravel throughout the past 8 years, and to a fair degree at Talk:Travel Guide (along with pointers to relevant policies and discussions on Wikitravel), but if you read the history of those discussions and still think imposing such a condition on the proposed project necessary, you should add yourself to the oppose list. --Peter Talk 21:19, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
That's sad to hear :( --ErrantX (talk) 08:44, 8 July 2012 (UTC)
I don't know where you get the idea that the content you pointed to in wikitravel:Verona is "sanctioned", but I've just now changed it to better meet Wikitravel's guidelines. Like Wikipedia, the guide is a work in progress. It's the travel guide anyone can edit, and so you could have helped by removing that offending content yourself. Our goal is to be the only guide a traveler needs; there are plenty of other sites on the web that can point travelers to external travel information, so if that's all we were going to do, there'd be no point. What you haven't explained is why you think it's important for a WMF travel guide project to adhere to Wikipedia-like rules on point of view and verifiability. Do you also object to Wikinews' original reporting? To Commons' original illustrations? LtPowers (talk) 23:03, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
It's still stuffed with advertising; the listing is a) not even a slightly comprehensive, b) still stuffed full of advertising by the looks of things. And the whole set up of that portion of the page ("Add listing") is centred around advertising restaurants etc. What you haven't explained is why you think it's important for a WMF travel guide project to adhere to Wikipedia-like rules on point of view and verifiability. Do you also object to Wikinews' original reporting? To Commons' original illustrations?; this isn't at all what I have said. I am suggesting you need more focus on factual detail than classified listings, and that encouraging source material is important to make the resource utile. I use WikiTravel myself, but only for a quick overview - it's not particularly useful for further reading or a deep understanding of a location. --ErrantX (talk) 08:44, 8 July 2012 (UTC)
To put it another way; your listings are (often) the review of a single person. And contain a small subset of the local (for example) hotels, many of which my no longer be operating. Compare that to something like TripAdvisor... I'd consider it much better to link out to several sites like TripAdvisor - where a reader can get actually useful detail rather than adverts. --ErrantX (talk) 08:48, 8 July 2012 (UTC)
Really? You may have missed this little flap. But long story short, linking to external sources has been discussed ad nauseam on Wikitravel and rejected every time, please see the External links policy and its Talk pages for a (not-so-)quick primer why. Jpatokal (talk) 11:32, 8 July 2012 (UTC)
As with WT, TA is flawed. But with the right cynicism it is a very useful resource, and for recommendations light years ahead of WT. --ErrantX (talk) 13:38, 8 July 2012 (UTC)
Also, "comprehensiveness" is explicitly not a goal, the target is 7 +/- 2 good places per category, with negative reviews generally discouraged. Wikitravel's model relies on users policing each other and any disputes getting hashed out on Talk pages -- much like any other wiki, in other words. Jpatokal (talk) 11:32, 8 July 2012 (UTC)
Which, as a heavy traveller, makes it entirely useless - and also encourages advertising. The existence of that spam fest is a deal breaker to me, and I suspect the WMF board will have deep concerns about it too. By my observation (as a user/reader) you do a bad job with the policing; most of the listings look like spam in my experience. You've failed to consider the problem with pushing for positive reviews plus little oversight on material. one of the good things about review-listing formats like Trip Advisor is that contrary views (as Tom Morris discusses above) can be put into whatever context. By presenting it in the guide, without substantiation, as prose, you have basically maximised the attack target for spam - which is why WT is full of spam. But overall, the resistance to any sort of changes or improvements (understandable though it is) is what puts me most off about this merger. --ErrantX (talk) 13:38, 8 July 2012 (UTC)
I do not think that there is resistance to changes. Change is just to occur in the same way as on other WMF sites which is via consensus.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 13:52, 8 July 2012 (UTC)
You're mistaking disagreement for reticence. It's not that we don't like change, it's that we don't consider your proposed changes improvements. (Though actually, I'm still not sure exactly what you're proposing.) We know we have a problem with spam, but so does Wikipedia. What Wikipedia has that we don't is a large contributor base that can spot the spam quickly and create automated tools to handle the most egregious violations quickly. You seem to be under the impression that we welcome touts and spammers, and that's simply not the case. LtPowers (talk) 20:25, 8 July 2012 (UTC)
Actually, I would go a little beyond what LtPowers has said—it's not even that "we don't consider your proposed changes improvements." It's that this RFC—regarding whether a travel guide is an appropriate project for WMF to host, whether it would be a successful project, and whether populating it with the communities and content of Wikitravel and Wikivoyage makes sense—is not the appropriate venue for proposing changes to how those communities work. If you want to address problems you see in, for example, Wikitravel:Don't tout, Wikitravel:External links, or even Wikitravel:Goals and non-goals, you are more than welcome to do so at any time on the respective talk pages.
I wanted to address one other thing you wrote, "I use WikiTravel myself, but only for a quick overview - it's not particularly useful for further reading or a deep understanding of a location." Of course, it's a travel guide! For further reading or deep understanding of a location, we actually have always linked (from the sidebar) and recommended Wikipedia ;) --Peter Talk 21:52, 8 July 2012 (UTC)

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Agree with Peter I see a travel guide ideally as a resource to help me travel through and experience a location. If I want an in depth history or analysis I would go to Wikipedia but if I want to know that the gates of the Serengeti close at 6 pm sharp or that many of the guards are going to make up rules and request bribes once you are at said gate thus one needs to be mentally prepared than a travel guide is what I want and not all of it can or should be referenced.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 23:23, 8 July 2012 (UTC)

I find ErrantX's comments useful, though Peter is right that proposing community fixes is a bit tangential to the RfC. Some of the proposed changes (effective ways to link out to sources of comprehensive local places and reviews; ways to aggregate reviews directly; ways to separate positive and negative presentations of a pace from descriptions) would be useful aspects of a travel-guide style guide. Some could fuel important philosophical and practical debates if a travel guide project were to get underway. SJ talk  05:12, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
Peter; you might have missed what I meant for a deep understanding.. Wikipedia would be even worse! To cast it in a WP example; if I wanted to find out about a topic I would visit the Wikipedia article for an overview; I would then use the extensive references to dive deeper into the topic, beyond the summary. I'd like to do this with WikiTravel too - including being linked to reliably published reviews beyond the summary - but at the moment that is not provided. I disagree this is the wrong venue for proposing "fixes"; it is my feeling that what I am highlighting (rules & templates that endorse/encourage advertising, aversion to any form of sourcing, etc.) are fundamental to inclusion in our movement. My concern is that the outright rejection of them at this stage indicates that afterward they would stand no better chance of being adopted.
@LTPowers; in all of these discussions the problems have been blamed, by yourself and others, on either the current host of WT or the lack of an established community, but my observation (from digging into WT) is that problems also stem from the current policies and approaches - problems we have to some extent fixed on Wikipedia and other WMF wiki's (n.b. it's worth pointing out I don't consider my home, English Wikipedia, to have a clean house, and I do regularly criticise our policies as harshly - so I am not being hypocritical). On a wider point; one of your aims in joining WMF seems to be to attract a larger community. If this is a key aim I would urge you to take caution; many of the WMF's other projects, besides Wikipedia, struggle to retain a community. Often the seed users continue to form the bulk of the community (n.b. my research into this is currently still very "green"). So it is unlikely you will see a sudden influx of either community members or developer time as a result of joining the WM community - if fixing your problems is predicated on this, then take care.
Someone asked me for firm comments about what I want to see; that's fair. So here is what I would consider the minimum required for me to support WT's acceptance:
  • Revision of the policies precluding sourcing; so that they encourage people to add and use sources, whilst still retaining the style and approach of a travel guide.
  • Reasoning: This improves the utility to readers by providing further reading and supporting opinion in a way which the reader will find more authoritative
  • Removal of "listings"; instead replacing this with a reviews namespace, and in return I would lobby the WMF hard to provide a "reviews portal" extension to help provide a proper review system.
  • Reasoning: by my observation a very high majority of listings are "spam-like", this is not utile to the reader
As with other WMF projects, my main focus is on improving the resource for the reader --ErrantX (talk) 13:15, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
These suggestions would not improved the guide for this reader. If I want to read published reviews of hotels (or whatever) I'll just use Google or read other guides; part of the value of a travel wiki is its "original research". A user-submitted review on a competing commercial site is no more "authoritative" and to suggest that it would be devalues the contributions of the wiki's own editors. Furthermore, the use of external links would encourage spamming from those other guides, hoping to get readers of the wiki to read their (ad-encrusted) web site. -98.209.136.52 15:24, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
If anything this highlights a lot of confusion over what I am suggesting; linking to other reviews would be non-optimal. I am calling for sourcing to reliably published sources, to support material (such as the example I noted above about the attitude of Parisians, upon which much is written). This is good because it lends weight to the material; it shows that it is not something that a random WT contributor has judged, but that it is a judgement agreed upon widely. Whereas if he went on to say "Parisians are pretty grouchy to each other too, so don't take it to heart", this is embellishment, original research - and I wouldn't call for its removal. But at least readers are aware that it is the view of the writer. --ErrantX (talk) 09:19, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
As outlined in discussions on the topic on Wikitravel I agree that references aren't the best way to improve the travel guide, but there have been ongoing discussions (see [1] for example) on how to take advantage of the wiki model to improve listing reliability. Many of these types of discussions have stalled due to technical limitations and other issues related to current hosting, but hopefully they would re-start with a change in hosts and the ability to consider additional technical options. -- Wrh2 (talk) 16:41, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
Keep in mind, ErrantX, that our goal, as a project, is not to replace or replicate sites like TripAdvisor; it's to compete with published hard-copy travel guides like you'd find on a bookstore's shelves. Much like Wikipedia aims to replicate the encyclopedia experience in a collaboratively edited form, so we wish to replicate the travel-book experience. As such, many of our standards and practices have been formulated to parallel what travel book publishers do. Unlike Wikipedia, we want and expect readers to print out our guides and take them with them while traveling; in some parts of the world, Internet access can be spotty or non-existent, and having a printout in your back pocket telling you that there's a clean hostel in the next town can be invaluable. A link to TripAdvisor? Useless. LtPowers (talk) 20:51, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
To be honest; most listings are not utile for that purpose. They largely constitute spam (i.e. the Verona example I cited). I appreciate the need to create a printable guide - but I think that a half-assed attempt at listings is actually *worse* than a link to TripAdvisor. At least in the latter case I can:
  • Read multiple reviews to be able to apply filters to the material
  • Print out a much more comprehensive listing along with a map
The point being; your argument only works if the only thing someone can print is a WikiTravel guide. In practice this is not the case. The overriding ethos of the WM movement is encouraging access to knowledge; restrictions on linking on the principle that you want WT to say it all is counter to that ethos. The crux of my disagreement, though, is that you are not doing listings well (neither do travel books; but they are restricted by the printing, and at least you know it is not spam). Whereas other sites do do listings quite well. You can't compete in the current form so don't impact the reader by leading them away from better resources. --ErrantX (talk) 09:19, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
So you can't print Wikitravel guides? Your insights continue to astound me -- and this will become even easier if WT joins WMF and thus gets easy access to PediaPress's Collections extension for creating and printing books.
Also, as you should know, Wikipedia all but bans external links in the body of its articles. Does this run counter to the "overriding ethos of the WM movement", and why didn't Jimmy Wales just put up a whole bunch of links to the Encyclopedia Britannica back when Wikipedia consisted of a few "half-assed" pages? After all, that would have served the reader better, no? Jpatokal (talk) 11:54, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
Linking to primary sources such as the websites of parks or the national embassies of countries is already encouraged. Section on history IMO should also be referenced. I think that all that is being asked is that the discussion of new policies and procedures takes place through the appropriate channels and after proper discussion. The issue of external links/references is a difficult one as well some are useful others are simply spam and it can be difficult to determine the difference between the two sometimes. We struggle we people adding references that are little more than spam to Wikipedia all the time. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 01:56, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
I'm sorry but I am against the idea of sweeping concerns under the carpet till after adoption - fixing matters after the fact is not optimal. Some confusion may exist, for me, then over exactly what outcome this proposal will be. The text of the proposal page implies we plan to start a new Travel Guide project, importing content from WT & WV. But the apparent view from WT admins is that the whole of WT's ecosystem, policies and procedures will be uprooted and moved to WMF hosting. From the discussions below it appears there are as many people who would be happy to involve themselves in a Travel Guide under the WMF umbrella. My concern is that many of the current WT policies are contrary to the WMF ethos; and I am suggesting that this is the prime opportunity for current WT & WVF members, interested WMF members and others who wish to contribute to a travel guide, to address these matters and produce a cohesive proposal to the board. --ErrantX (talk) 09:19, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
(conflict) In a word, no. The essence of the proposal is indeed to move Wikitravel wholesale over the WMF, with the minimum of necessary adjustments as required by the WMF community: things like making BLP explicit policy, for example. There's plenty of consensus-building and admin/dev grunt work required just to make that happen, and this is thus not the time to start flinging out poorly thought out suggestions for completely altering the way the site works, like your idea of "removing listings", which is kind of like saying you'd support Wikipedia if only they got rid of those pesky articles. Of course Wikitravel is a work in progress and there's always room for radical ideas about how things could be different (there's one discussion going on the Pub right now, for instance), and I actually fully support the basic idea of allowing users to enter multiple reviews per point of interest (IIRC this was first proposed around 2005 when the present listings formatter was implemented), but we've got to get the foundation of the new site set up first before we can seriously start thinking about making massive changes. Jpatokal (talk) 12:19, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
What a ridiculous analogy; I'd liken it to saying I'd support Wikipedia without classified listings on, say, product pages. Now is the opportunity to bring radical change - the Wiki model doesn't support such change well, and to bring WT in line with WMF ethos would take significantly more time after the fact. I'm sorry you consider my proposals "poorly thought out". I've devoted a number of hours familiarising myself with WT's internals before proposing these solutions, and given careful thought from the perspective of a user of the site as to how I would like to see it improved. I won't be equally offensive about the rebuttals so far given, because I can see they are raised with the same passion I have brought - but perhaps you could have the courtesy to stay civil. --ErrantX (talk) 19:52, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
Within a travel resource some links/references are wanted and some are not. The key is to find the right balance. Yes there is a great deal of stuff that could and should be reference like the attitude of Parisians or New Yorkers, entry fees and time tables. But there are many things that should/does not require referencing like if bribes are needed when traveling through an area.
I spend some of time on Wikipedia removing links per that fact that we are neither a collection of external nor internal links. We discourage "see also" sections at WP:MEDMOS. We also require a certain quality of reference and state that we do not need to reference the obvious. Thus Wikipedia has a similar ethos regarding refs/external links to that of WT. Here is an essay on citation overkill [2] which indicates that even we are undecided what is right. Thus the Wikipedia ethos is "use common sense". I think the ethos of WT and WP are more similar than you give credit. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 12:11, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
I find them very similar, and to me the biggest difference is that original research is encouraged on WT but forbidden on WP. Both policies are quite appropriate. My work on Wikitravel would be impossible on Wikipedia because it is almost entirely original research (Dive site guides for Cape Town). There are no printed equivalents to what I do, so ir wouldn't be possible to provide citations. I could hypothetically publish a book, but it would be a financial disaster for me, and it would always be out of date. With Wikitravel I can provide a service of value not only to the traveller but to the local marine scientists. However, I would like to see more references, particularly inline references, in Wikitravel, where they are appropriate, and would support a move in that direction, but it should not be a deal-breaker either way. Besides those two differences the similarities in policy are overwhelming. On the other hand, Wikitravel is generally a friendlier and more laid back environment to work in, possibly because the users are more united in their purpose. Peter (Southwood) (talk): 13:52, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
Really, I recommend reading Wikitravel:Wikitravel talk:Don't tout not because I'm lazy, but because the problems that ErrantX notices and proposed potential solutions have been discussed extensively on that page. I think it would be great if he would read those discussions and join them. Go beyond that: try writing a bit on a place you know, try using a guide when traveling, read some of the star articles.
Simply getting rid of listings because they are "reviews" and "NPOV" is not a good idea for a travel guide, and if you browse through any travel guide in any bookstore, you will notice that the bulk of the book is made up of listings. The idea that "reviews" can simply be outsourced to other sites for travelers is one that only someone who has not traveled much outside the developed world would have. Having come back from Wikipedia:Kara, Togo this past December, I, as a dedicated travel writer who writes on the internet for free for the benefit of humankind, can recommend places to sleep, eat, drink, wire money, use the internet, etc. Believe it or not, Yelp's Kara reviews are less extensive than in Chicago. And even if there was information on the city in online review sites, trying to load Tripadvisor in the internet cafe would likely take an hour, crash the browser after loading, and not be printable in the least (your iPhone won't get great service either). This process would be further confounded when the power goes out right as you hit the print button.
Travel is a radically different type of education that reading an encyclopedia, a textbook, journal articles, or the news—it is about experiencing the world first-hand. A travel guide is not meant to be the final word in such education or even the middle word, it is meant to enable and enrich travel. This is why the traveller comes first. --Peter Talk 15:26, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
OK, one more thing I wanted to address is the idea that Wikitravel constitutes a bad community to draw on for a WMF travel guide wiki. (I'm trying not to take this too personally ;) ) It is a clear strength, and a clear pointer towards near-guaranteed success, that this proposal comes along with not just the content of Wikitravel and Wikivoyage, it comes along with communities that have developed over 10 years. Communities filled with experienced, smart people, who have been in the process of refining policies governing how such a site would ideally be run for 10 years, based on the experience of writing travel guides, using said travel guides while traveling, and the discussions resulting. (We have been stymied in implementing many of our ideas from the lack of any feature development whatsoever for the past 5 of those years.) This is an enormously important strength of this proposal, and the notion that we should change core aspects of the project based on snap judgments of people just checking out the project is wrongheaded. --Peter Talk 15:55, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
@Peter (Southwood); I think you and I are on much the same page, and I agree that going forward that is the best approach. My hangup is the outright resistance to any form of source material, which I find inexplicable. @Peterfitzgerald; A few quick points. I recommend not coming to this expecting WMF developer time - support of this sort for projects besides WP is traditionally low. A natural product of it being the largest kid on the block. Some of the projects have been waiting for years to see their additional tool requests be actioned. So you should consider sourcing your own community developers to bring to the foundation, that is traditionally a better approach. I read the don't tout guide in-depth, and the talk page discussions. It doesn't allay my concerns. Indeed it seems to suggest business owners are fine to add listings for their establishment, so long as they don't "tout". You might want to talk to Jimbo Wales about that because he is dead set against such policies, and although I don't agree with how far he goes with that view, I agree in this case. To be clear; the don't tout policy seems to ignore the fact that a lot of listings look suspiciously like advertising that either is written well enough to pass muster or has been de-weaseled by another editor. I am sure you can see how this is undermines it as a recommendation. As an avid traveller myself, I share a lot of the ideals of the WT community, and I approve of a lot of the content and approach you take - but that is also tempered by my desire to inform and spread knowledge as accurately as possible. We can enrich the experience of travelling, and at the same time ensure that the information imparted is as accurate as possible. I'd also like us to solve the listings problem; but I don't think the current setup is an improvement. --ErrantX (talk) 19:52, 11 July 2012 (UTC)

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Actually, in more recent years, as the site has matured and we don't lack for listings, there is increasing support for an outright policy of not adding one's own business. Many still consider that a little too extreme, but we have been headed in that direction. Even were we to have such a policy, though, we would still remain flexible. For a good example, look at this edit to our article on Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood (check out that article's see section too—it's a personal pride of mine). That edit was a total mess and the sort of blatant advertising we do not allow as a matter of policy and practice, and it was immediately reverted by a recentchanges patroller. But, I hadn't heard about the place, thought it sounded interesting, checked it out online from different angles, stopped by in person to take a look and chat with the owner, and restored it as a really cool listing.

I finally found the discussions that I had lost at Wikitravel:Wikitravel talk:Business listings reliability Expedition (an expedition specifically brought up to discuss the quality of our listings, and how to counter the detrimental effect that would-be advertisers have on said quality). I think you might read the most recent thread at the bottom of that page with some interest. Lack of feature development has stymied that type of initiative; in a sad sort of comedy, we were thinking about doing just that sort of thing before IB bought the site six years ago... --Peter Talk 20:54, 11 July 2012 (UTC)

Interesting. How does Wikivoyage deal with this problem? 41.244.123.212 10:28, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
We also had some attempts of outright ad vandalism. So far those edits have been reverted. As long as a listing follows the rules of being neutral and just a listing it will be looked at and then judged whether it stays or goes. But it wil be a constant struggle. We hope, that we might find a way to mark the subjects as community rated or not. But then, what is community rated? In platforms like tripadvisor, tripwolf and more you also find bought ratings. You can never be sure. Same applies to books. I just want you to remember the book "Do travel writers go to hell?", which caused an outcry amongst purists and in lonely plant too. So we enter philosophy and might state that only death is certain ;-). -- Der Reisende (talk) 15:16, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
On a wiki, we have the advantage of being able to judge contributors based on their contributions to articles and discussions. Our most recent idea on WT for community ratings is based on the idea of a trusted user status (similar to, but functionally different from patrolling rights). Trusted users would go through a simple nomination process, and would then be able to upvote listings that they have experienced first-hand and liked, and would be able to mark listings as reviewed, i.e., proofed for completeness and accuracy of information. Reviewed status of listings would also be date-stamped, so readers will know how current the information is. --Peter Talk 16:22, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

Please note Neutral point of view, which explicitly points out that Commons, Wikiversity, and Wikispecies do not have NPOV policies. There is thus no good reason why a travel guide project would have to have one. LtPowers (talk) 17:44, 2 August 2012 (UTC)

NumbersEdit

To better facilitate my (and others) views on this idea can we get some firmer numbers about the community sizes & how such a transition would occur. I see that 31 WT admins support the move, and I assume that the Wikivoyage proposal involves the whole community "moving".

  • How large & active is the Wikivoyage community? They seem only lightly active from a review of RecentChanges, but further details will be useful.
  • How large is the WT community beyond the admin corps? A question on the talk page indicates absolute figures at 72,617 registered users; obviously this does not represent regulars. My understanding is that a lot of WT is written in drive-by mode (i.e. one or two additions following a trip) but:
    • Are there many regular members beyond the admin corps? (this was unclear from my browsing of the WT project pages etc.)
    • Has this group been asked, or expressed any interest, in moving to the WMF umbrella?
    • How will they be reached in the case of acceptance? (obviously; there is no point to adopting the site if only 31 people come along :))
    • If I am right, and many additions are made by single-purpose editors (i.e. who come to write about, say, a single city). If the project were adopted it, obviously, would suffer from lacking Google juice (so that potential editors would be still more likely to find the old WT). How do the WT community intend to overcome this problem and retain the current level of edits/additions to the wiki?

What I am trying to do is gauge the size of a Travel Guide community that would be seeding this project. Other Wikimedia projects struggle to retain communities and it's important that the seed community is strong. Reviews of RecentChanges on WT and WV projects indicate that participation is extremely low (on a par to the most desperately declining WMF projects) Thanks in advance! --ErrantX (talk) 13:35, 9 July 2012 (UTC)

Our active contributor base has declined over the years at Wikitravel (including among the admins who support this proposal, and are willing to come back to work on the new project), and one of our biggest hopes is that getting rid of ever-increasing commercialization, and the ability to work ourselves on feature development, will help also bring back old non-admin regulars. The reasons why you see mainly administrators from WT here is simple enough: we have a private admin email list, while discussion of the fork on Wikitravel is either considered distasteful among our community or simply subject to censorship from Internet Brands. So the message is not out as far and wide as would be ideal, but I think it will be easier to spread the word once we actually have confirmation that this project is going forward. To try and put a number on currently active regulars aside from admins, I'd say about a paltry 15-20 or so on the English version, which is an all time low. To give an idea of the ratios involved regarding active/potential returning contributors, we have about 5-7 active admins on /en, but have over 30 interested in rejoining the project if we move—over a 5-fold increase.
All regulars beyond the admins who are aware of this project have expressed support and a desire to move.
We believe that a sitenotice on WT would be the most straightforward way of alerting casual contributors, but that IB would likely censor it as soon as they noticed it, and possibly disable MW message editing. Other ways include personal emails, blog posts & news articles (several of our regulars are experienced in dealing with media contacts, and this compelling narrative really writes itself!), the simple exposure that comes from being a WMF-hosted site, and the passage of time!
Certain language versions on Wikitravel are in trouble (happily, two of those are /de and /it, which would be replaced by the vibrant communities at Wikivoyage).
Googular juice will be decent, once the interwiki map is updated to point at the WMF site. I think over time the new project would attract significantly higher traffic from searches than a stagnant WT.
I think you underestimate even the current state of things on WT, though, as it is one of the most successful non-WMF wiki projects in terms of readership, contributions, content (an enormous volume of really good content, some phenomenal content that exceeds the quality of any other travel guide written for said destinations, in addition to some less-good content). Our admins are not just janitors (although they are that), they also are active writers—take a look at the Wikitravel:Baltimore#Districts articles that I've been working on just this year, for example. If we had a full 30 of us involved, the project would be a good 5 times healthier by that metric, if impoverished relatively in terms of anon contributions immediately following a move. Another big advantage, though, is that with new tools, returning contributors, and newly re-energized contributors (I'm one of those), we would have much improved ability to patrol those casual contributions to make sure that a) they were not contributed by an advertiser, and b) were properly formatted, educated on policy, etc.
Obviously, /en is not the sole focus, as we intend to be a project in your own language. Some of the current projects have not gotten off the ground, like /he, /ko, or /eo. Those we should shut down until we have dedicated contributors ready to curate them. Others, like /ja or /ru are curated excellently, by a small group of highly talented contributors.
To sum up, Wikitravel and Wikivoyage are successful projects—certainly not failing now, and we have unanimity among all current regular contributors (those who are aware of this project, at least) that they will be more vibrant and successful under the wing of the WMF. --Peter Talk 19:26, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
Ah, I forgot to address your contention that this is an appropriate place to propose policy changes. To try and change policies here would be seen as an attempt to leverage rfc voting to circumvent the long-standing practice and policy of community consensus among both of our communities. It also can come across as a little hasty in terms of judgment, given just how much serious thought has been devoted to these types of issues by some rather smart folks, and I would encourage you instead to read the talk pages of, say, Wikitravel:Wikitravel talk:External links, and then propose changes there, if you are not convinced after learning the history of current policy that it makes sense ;) --Peter Talk 19:26, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
As mentioned previously I have never really contributed to WT as I do not like the fact that it is owned by a commercial entity. I am sure there are many out their like myself. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 02:02, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I have the same attitude--Ymblanter (talk) 18:37, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
I use to contribute a lot to WikiTravel, and I know its community is big enough to be sustainable, bigger than Wikinews or Wikisource. I more-or-less stopped contributing, because its freedom is threaten, but if the project became a WM project, I would resume editing, even more than I used to do. I am sure many WT editors feel like me. Nicolas1981 (talk) 06:20, 11 July 2012 (UTC)

WV numbers can be found here although in German. We are just an handful of admins, all willing to join including the board of the NGO as stated before. Roughly 1500 users plus a lot who has addressed us who are disappointed by WT. Almost 12.000 articles in German, 2400 in Italian and 29.000 files on shared which are mainly images. Additionally the know how of a location database and a postgres run wiki. --Der Reisende (talk) 16:26, 11 July 2012 (UTC)

Location guide?Edit

GChriss pointed out that 'travel' indicates how one is going to use information, not just the scope and quality of the information. Is that just one use of a more general project for providing location guides for every location in the world? Would that be a project that could encompass what Wikivoyage does and ensure it was providing useful information to everyone, incuding current residents of those locales? The latter would help ensure a steady stream of information to such a project -- everyone lives near a place, institution, or business that is of interest to someone else who is planning to go to that location.

Is this a topic that gets discussed on any of the projects that are already out there? Is it necessary to reproduce a traditional paper guidebook, or is there something more universal that can be realized online? Are services like foursquare actually providing 'locale guide' information that would be useful in a free collaborative resource? SJ talk  19:28, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

  • Ok, this is something I tried to raise a number of times. (Note that my opinion does not mean anything since I am currently not a member of WT nor WV community, though I maintain a travel guide site - I am sure these questions have been solved in both communities ages ago). In the first approximation, yes, it should provide location guides - just ideally to list everything which remotely can qualify as a sight; every restaurant; every travel connection etc. However if this all we can do it would probably have very limited usability, because it will be a lot of unstructured or badly structured information. The real guides know very well how to improve the structure: (a) having the target audience (for instance, backpackers for Rough Guide or city package tourists for Marco Polo - I am exagerrating a bit to provide a point); (b) having a rating system. None seems to be an option for us, but may be one can do smth like Wikiproject system - for instance, if I am a single 25y female interested in active recreation (in fact, I am not) I would go to the corresponding Wikiproject and see what is rated best for me. But even plain lists of monuments which are being prepared on WP for WLM I already found useful for travel - in any case just plain list of attractions in the form of location guides would be even more useful.--Ymblanter (talk) 20:57, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
User:Pharos is already doing something similar called as proposed here [3] and is interested in joining this proposed Wiki.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 10:31, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
This is an interesting thread. In my experience of using WT (and remembering that, as with any Wiki, it is incomplete) the content tends to be broadly quite general (i.e. aimed at most travellers) with a slight overall emphasis on the traditional tourist model. Other pages have more specialist or different focuses depending on who wrote them. As Ymblanter points out; catering for everyone is very difficult (especially as it requires a writer with those interests) in one page. Bringing together a "database" of things-at-a-location (with associated metadata) and travel guide writing is a tough one. But what does spring to mind is WIKIDATA :) It might provide an avenue to solving my gripe about "listings" as well as a lot of the above. Unless I have totally mistake Wikidata's aim it would be prime for databasing a lot of that material; Country -> City -> Area -> Hotels -> {name,price-range,description ... reviews[1,2,3,4]}. Wikidata could then be filtered onto the page - and perhaps a way developed to highlight specific recommendations based on e.g. editors choices, or a meta keyword (like... sailing etc.). Then we could look at encouraging sub-pages with more specialist guides. (really the traditional Wiki model is not well suited to this as what really is needed is a lot of snippets of semantic data that can be combined into the page each traveller wants to read). --ErrantX (talk) 20:03, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
Agree that would be a real cool addition.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 03:30, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
Take a look at Open Architecture to Augment Landmarks for Location-Based Services by Images for the Future. GChriss (talk) 17:57, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
Cool Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 12:05, 15 July 2012 (UTC)

Commercialization fearsEdit

In The Signpost fears of the liability of a travel guide to commercialization have been raised. Although this might to be an obvious problem it is this only to a certain extend. Our experience in Wikivoyage is, that the community reacts quick and removes concealed ads. We are not more liable than Wikipedia. In WP some companys try to sneak in a fovourable profil and sometimes in a very clandestine way. I think, when the first traveller comes to a shabby shed instead a shiny hotel those information will be changed if they have been unnoticed so far. --Der Reisende (talk) 16:34, 11 July 2012 (UTC)

  • Yes, I noticed that. I find it absolutely inappropriate for Signpost to publish such opinions without attributing them--Ymblanter (talk) 17:47, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
I think the idea of a Wiki that promotes the interests of the travel and hospitality industry conflicts with Wikimedia's non-commercial mission. You can argue that the beneficiary of a travel Wiki are the public at large (the readers), but that is not strictly true. Wikimedia would be effectively be providing a Wiki hosting service for the benefit of the travel industry, but that is not what the Foundation is about. Wikimedia's mission is provide a Wiki hosting services that serve its educational objectives, but providing a travel guide is not educational per se, but a travel service. --Gavin.collins (talk) 14:55, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
No, not at all. First, one can organize a travel guide just talking about sights, not of any components of travel industry. (I do not think this is the best solution, but still). Second, in Wikipedia, we have articles, for instance, on almost all railways - this does not mean that we are promoting the interests of their owners. We just provide information.--Ymblanter (talk) 16:19, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
You have a disturbingly limited view of what constitutes "education". LtPowers (talk) 17:23, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
Wikipedia does provide information, but information has been filtered through reliable secondary sources, and that means that self-promotion is effectively filtered out. In a travel Wiki, there would be no such filtering mechanism, and the information that you are refering to would be based (more or less) on primary sources, and when these sources relate to the provision of travel services of all kinds, then the benefit to the travel industry is very plain to see, and there is movement away from providing an educational service.
Perhaps a simple example illustrates this issue: how would you cover a topic based such as Disneyland without promoting the commercial interests of the owners? At least in Wikipedia coverage of Disneyland, you can see that there is genuine attempt to provide balanced coverage about the venue that strips out the hypebole, which is what you would expect from educational site. I don't see how a travel Wiki can cover a topic such as Disneyland with giving undue weight to the commercial interests of the venue if it is heavily biased in favour of providing information about the attractions that it offers. Basically the creation of travel wiki would cover the same topics as Wikipedia, only the educational perspective and content would be given less weight or taken out entirely. --Gavin.collins (talk) 09:23, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
If you look at the current page at WT [4]. It tells you where it is, what time it opens, how to get there, how much it costs to get in, other similar attractions nearby. I would not consider any of that strictly commercial in nature. Much of this is also referenced or referencable.
I like getting travel information from independent fellow travelers ( many travelers get their information now by asking the people whom they meet while traveling ). This project would facilitate that. And if listings where combined with Wikidate would be able to address the "type of traveler" issue.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 10:37, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
The WT article Disneyland does give you information about tickets, but it does so within the context of 'balanced coverage' about historic pricing trends and how the admissions policy has changed over the years. It is the sort of commentary, criticism and analysis of the facts that is educational, because it provides context to the reader. By contrast, a travel Wiki would simply providing ticketing information just like any other commerical marketing website, except that the product placement would done under the Wikimedia. I don't see why the Wikimedia Foundation should be hosting a wiki that provides ticketing information that is freely available from commercial operators who are paid to collect and distribute these details. You can argue that it would benefits travellers to have the ticketing information made available to them in a travel wiki, but the real winners would be the travel and hospitality industry who would get free product placement under the trusted Wikimedia logo. --Gavin.collins (talk) 11:35, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
Contrariwise, which would you be more likely to trust as unbiased: the official Birnbaum's Disneyland guide, or a crowdsourced, unaffiliated guide that is willing to highlight risks and drawbacks without the marketing copy? LtPowers (talk) 15:13, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
I assume 'WT' is a typo and you meant 'WP article'. It cannot be said that information about travel sites in all countries is "freely available from commercial operators" on the web, or even by email or phone. In third-world countries, many operators don't do any marketing whatsoever, and simply rely on passers-by, or possibly travel guides like WT or Lonely Planet noticing them. It definitely benefits travellers if we have editors going out into the real world, getting useful, practical info and providing it freely on a travel guide, especially if that info is not available anywhere else. JamesA (talk) 15:13, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
I can see what you are saying - a travel wiki could be unbiased as well as providing useful information to the traveller, some of which might be educational. However, you are missing the point that the travel destinations themselves (e.g. Disneyworld) are operated by the travel and hospitality industry, whose relationship with the traveller is primarily commercial, not educational, and the information that flows between the operators and travellers is primarily a flow of marketing information.
The primary purpose of the Wikimedia foundation is educational, not the provision of travel infomration service. Admittedly, the foundation engages in some non-educational activities, but in general they support its educational activities. I understand your vision of a non-commercial travel guide, but at the end of the day the business of the travel industry is business, not education. A travel wiki would fall outside of Wikimedia's scope because its focus is just not educational.--Gavin.collins (talk) 17:04, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
I recently hiked to Everest base camp. As a climber for many years the history which I passed was unbelievable. There is nothing like looking up at the highest mountain in the world from an elevation of 5700 m after traveling for 10 days and passing through monasteries from more than a thousand years ago. Yes there was hostels and restaurants along the way. Yes I had to take a number of airplanes and had my return flight delayed more than five days resulting in my wife and I hiking more than a 150 km to the nearest road. Just because we had to spend money at commercial and government institutions does not mean that this adventure was any less educational. There is a business aspect of travel just as there is a business aspect of medicine. This does not mean IMO that either of these should be left uncovered. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 12:03, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
There is a business aspect to everything, including education. However, in the same way that providing information to students about college courses, text books or which school parents should send their children falls outside the scope of Wikimedia, so too does the the provision of travel information to consumers of travel and hospitality services falls outside its scope as well. --Gavin.collins (talk) 20:15, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
Yes, there is a business aspect to travel and hospitality, and the function of Wikitravel and Wikivoyage editors is to provide the other information. The information the business side does not want you to see, or couldn't be bothered to tell you. Yes, there is also information that benifits the listed businesses, but only because it benifits the travellers as well. As a traveller one is obliged by necessity to use commercial outlets, we like to eat and sleep under a roof, and not everyone is prepared to walk everywhere. Besides most people can't swim across the average large river, never mind ocean, so we travel by ship or aircraft, supplied by commercial organisations. Travellers need information on the resources they use to get around and stay alive. We try to provide these as fairly as reasonably possible. There is admittedly a constant conflict with some businesses, which want to use the travel guides as free advertising, but this is the same problem that we get on Wikipedia, and will get on any site which can be edited by anyone. It is easier to maintain a balanced and fair viewpoint if your project is not backed by an organisation which is in it primarily to make money from advertising. WT and WV policy is to provide the information which is useful to the traveller to get around and stay alive as well as the more educational aspects of what to do and see when you are there, because it makes the site more useful to the traveller, who will look elsewhere if it is not provided. Information about organisations in Wikipedia articles may be of financial benifit to those organisations just because it is easily accessible. Are you going to try to have it removed? Peter (Southwood) (talk): 14:14, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
No, I am not proposing that commercial information should be removed from Wikipedia articles, provided that it forms part of balanced coverage that is educational. What I am saying is that if the provision of unbiased travel information is of benefit to consumers, then they should subscribe to the travel equivalent of Consumer Reports or the Which? Magazine. Since Wikimedia is an educational foundation, rather than a political, consumer or industry association, provision of a travel wiki falls outside its scope.
I think what is missing from this proposal is how the cost of travel wiki should be funded. If you are suggesting that funds earmarked for educational purposes should now be channelled into providing a travel information service, I don't think that will fly unless you can get Wikimedia to broaden its scope to include raising funds from travellers (and possibly the travel and hospitality industry as well) for this purpose. Without funding and a change of scope of the foundation, this proposal is not sustainable, even though it would be useful. --Gavin.collins (talk) 10:57, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

Meeting today at WikimaniaEdit

We are meeting today at Wikimania July 12th at lunch. I will be making an announcement just before lunch. Members from Wikivoyage and the editing community of Wikitravel will be here joining the discussion.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 12:46, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

I trust the meeting went well? Any updates? JamesA (talk) 14:24, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
It went very well! I and Evan attended, as did Stefan from the Wikivoyage Board, Chuck—Internet Brands' CMO, and we also had very good attendance of members of other Wikimedia projects (especially Wikipedia, naturally), and the largest group of attendees were WMF-affiliated.
Everyone in attendance seemed very enthusiastic about the proposal, except perhaps Chuck for natural reasons ;). The WMF is ready to follow the consensus determined by this RfC, with a final review to be made based on issues of what technical support will be needed to get the site up and running, and how much that will cost. We also estimated that such technical support and cost would be very low (Wikitravellers estimate that they could have a separate site set up independently in less than a week, running on volunteer effort).
We want to broaden the participation in this RfC with communities outside those that speak English, and are looking into having sitenotices on other projects, especially Wikipedias for which Wikitravel and Wikivoyage also have existing language versions. We have recruited several volunteers to help translate the proposal and the introductory text of the RfC to enable non-English speakers to be a part of this process and discussion.
IB also had suggestions for how IB could remain involved in this project. Such suggestions did not find support among others in attendance, but we encouraged IB to make their proposals and ideas public at Talk:Travel Guide, so that a broader audience could judge for themselves.
Outside of the meeting itself, I have had many discussions with contributors from various WM projects, and have encountered overwhelming support for the proposal. Objections have usually melted away when I remind people that the issues a Travel Guide wiki faces are either the same or less thorny than those with business owners and POV-pushers on Wikipedia! We have the distinct advantage of not being in the business of establishing what is true. We are only involved in a) helping people to get around and determine that sort of thing for themselves with their own eyes and ears, and b) trying to figure out what's cool. That's a lot less contentious than, say, legal justification for the Iraq war or the biography of George Soros. --Peter Talk 16:37, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
One proposal which was put to IB was that if they where willing to donate the url and name to the WMF this would generate a lot of positive press for them. Potential ownership in any form however was not on the table. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 11:51, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
Donation of the URL is an interesting proposition, and I think we should really develop this idea. Of course, Wikitravel already has a name for itself, and the English WT community seems very apprehensive to the Wikivoyage name. Possibly there are other ways we could formulate a deal with IB. Hopefully IB will understand that if the WMF does set up their own travel guide, and nearly all the active administrators move to it, IB's Wikitravel is dead (It's already on that path now, anyway). JamesA (talk) 04:25, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
The market value (in whatever form of value) of the Wikitravel name and URL is likely to plummet like a brick over a black hole after a mass migration to Wikimedia as soon as a new name has been established and becomes generally known, and with the Wikimedia connection that will happen very fast. IB could gain a lot of goodwill by donating it, but is not likely to get much money for it if they try to sell. I would personally like to carry the name over to Wikimedia (it would save me a few hours editing new logos onto maps), but will not lose any sleep if it doesn't happen, Wikimedia Travel Guide is a pretty good name already. Peter (Southwood) (talk): 12:48, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
Chuck from IB seemed a little interested. It is now up to them. There is a significant tax deduction available but no cash.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 14:14, 16 July 2012 (UTC)

Information from the BoardEdit

The Board of Trustees held a discussion at its Board meeting this week regarding the creation of a travel guide project. Based upon those discussions and the current state of the RFC, we would like the community to continue its discussions for at least 6 more weeks to ensure all interested parties have an opportunity to express their views.

During the meeting we discussed many things all of which are important for the community to understand:

a) We are excited to see this proposal from the community, and hope the wider community of editors can reach consensus on it. We are waiting for the conclusion of the RfC to take a decision on the issue.

b) We are committed to making knowledge freely reusable, and feel there is room for multiple travel sites to coexist.

c) We feel it is important to be transparent with the community, that should consensus be reached and a travel project created, the foundation could support the initial creation of a travel guide project, but could not provide a great deal of additional engineering or staff support. Further technical efforts would have to come from the community.

Alice Wiegand (talk) 22:31, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

There are a number of people within both the WV and WT communities with programming skills. They of course will be more than welcome to join the volunteer developer team to create specific extensions useful for the future travel site. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 11:53, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
Are you referring to the wider community of Wikimedia projects, or the wider community of WT and WV, or both, or something wider still, and do you have any suggestions for increasing the awareness of this wider community that this proposal exists? Peter (Southwood) (talk): 14:33, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
A site notice for all sister projects in 20 plus languages will be going up this afternoon. We are just translating it into the last languages. Doc James (talk · contribs · email)

A friendly challengeEdit

I have entered into a friendly bet with one of the leads of the Wikidata project regarding which group is able to get their project up and running first. These are the first new potential WMF sister projects in more than 5 years. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 12:21, 15 July 2012 (UTC)

I don't think your bet is a good idea because if a travel guide would be set up it would go hands in hands with Wikidata in the first place. It would be the first Wikimedia project to use Wikidata from its very beginning.--Aschmidt (talk) 18:25, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
I think it's an interesting race! Unfortunately, Wikidata has the upper hand, as they began development in April 2012. With the recent announcement by the WMF Board, we aren't allowed to even end discussion until the end of August, let alone start any development! Although, we do already have our policies, structures and ideas set in place, and it would just be a matter of installing MediaWiki on a new domain, really. JamesA (talk) 04:22, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
As stated it is a friendly wager. A German beer or cider is currently on the line :-) Of course a travel site will use Wikidata. We are just having fun. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 14:12, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
Will you be drinking it in Berlin? :-) --Kim Bruning (talk) 06:31, 14 August 2012 (UTC)
Definately :-) Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 06:35, 14 August 2012 (UTC)

Difference from WPEdit

I won't bog this discussion down by explaining this question.

Is there any way that this project could be done on Wikipedia as a Wikiproject?

From what I'm seeing, the biggest issues would be the unencyclopedic content like Visitor Center phone numbers, etc. and the original research that makes up the lists of places to go, things to see, etc. I don't see how WP could integrate that information but if we could figure out a way to do that, the concerns brought up regarding WMF and edit/admin resources could more easily be addressed. I don't see how we could integrate the two but maybe someone else has some ideas. After reading some of the Wikitravel and Wikivoyage policies, this seems like a tall order.

I love the idea of combining WP articles with coordinates and travel information. I also support such a project being created in a system with WMF's core values but I want to make sure we don't shoot ourselves in the foot by spreading our resources too thin. OlYeller21 (talk) 18:03, 15 July 2012 (UTC)

WP:NOT is clear that Wikipedia is not a travel guide. IMO it is best to keep the two distinct. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 22:13, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
The idea here is to add resources to the WMF, not leach them. Will there be some people that reduce their involvement on Wikipedia in favor of the travel guide? Maybe, but I think the net will be a gain, not a dilution. LtPowers (talk) 01:47, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
  • There is no way that most travel guide articles could be made to fit Wikipedias strict No Original Research requirement. The original research that is anathema in Wikipedia is the lifeblood of a travel guide, otherwise it becomes a rehash of outdated information. This is particularly relevant in areas where there is no "reliable" published information. Look at the dive guides on Wikitravel for an example. Peter (Southwood) (talk): 12:22, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
  • However, I do see a major linking between articles on the sister projects as being of great value. This is already technically in place, but there may be a few details that can be streamlined. Travel guide articles will often be improved by links to explanatory WP articles. Currently this is allowed on Wikitravel, but kept to a minimum. I foresee a lot more interwiki links, which will provide added utility to the travel guide and more exposure to Wikipedia through easier look-ups. I also predict cross-wiki projects and portals as a new collaborative development, though I also expect some teething problems from editors who expect both to follow the same policies. Peter (Southwood) (talk): 13:08, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Both Wikipedia and Wikitravel run into occasional problems when someone creates an article that really is more suited to the other. There may be a simple procedure to move such articles from one into the other, solving this problem to the advantage of everyone involved. Peter (Southwood) (talk): 13:08, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
I completely agree. The new travel wiki would get its own "box" like here, which would already significantly boost its exposal, rather than the small one-liners we currently have for WT in Wikipedia articles. Likewise, from the new site, we can link back to various Wikimedia projects. Of course, each destination guide could link back to Wikipedia for an encyclopaedic taste and Wikimedia Commons for a selection of inspiring imagery. But then, we could link to Wikibooks to help travellers learn basic language skills before they go to a country; our current "phrasebooks" could be hosted there. Another possibility is linking to Wikinews when posting travel warnings on pages like Timbuktu. The opportunities for cross-wiki linking are endless, and the benefits work both ways. JamesA (talk) 13:55, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
We at Wikipedia frequently use the "Main" template as seen here [5]. This sort of template could be added to the tops of history sections on Wikitravel when there is a full article on Wikipedia dealing with that topic. But agree there are lots of synergies.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 14:07, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
Hatnote type templates like "Main" should work, but would need a policy change to allow use between different wikis. As you say, there are lots of possibilities. Peter (Southwood) (talk): 15:38, 16 July 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not a travel guide, that's why we need one! :)Edit

Actually many people already use Wikipedia as travel guide now. But, many aspects of a travel guide rises the limits of Wikipedia rules. We cannot describe trails, beaches, restaurants, hotels and so on, because it will be a clear violation of WP:NOT. So, if we have a need, we should create an offer and allow wikipedians to create free and neutral travel guide, that everybody can edit. :) Wind (talk) 15:18, 16 July 2012 (UTC)

There is a lot of non-overlap that is complementary. On WT you may not write an article on an "Attraction" which is not a destination where you can sleep, but on WP if the attraction is notable, you can give it an independent encyclopaedic article, which could then be linked from the local destination articles on WT. Restaurant and hotel descriptions are limited on WT too, under the "Dont tout" policy, but a beach or trail can be described in the "Do" section of the local destination article. Museums, their contents, architectural structures of interest etc. can all be described in great detail in Wikipedia, and on Wikitravel you can describe a tour through a city or major museum as an itinerary topic, linking back to WP for the details. The combinations are practically endless. Peter (Southwood) (talk): 15:59, 16 July 2012 (UTC)

Diskussion auch in anderen SprachenEdit

Kann man die Travel Guide-Diskussion auch in anderen Sprachen ermöglichen, wie ich sind sicher auch andere Wiki-Mitarbeiter dem Englischen nicht so mächtig um an der Diskussion teilnehmen zu können.--WolfgangCyrus68 (talk) 07:37, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

Pas mieux... --Indeed (talk) 08:22, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Sprich doch einfach mal drauf los. Denke, es finden sich hier genug deutschsprachige Teilnehmer. Beim Verstehen des Vorschlags und der bisherigen Diskussion sollte Google Translate helfen. -- Arne (akl) (talk) 16:18, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Ee klaar! I selbn zöl mi zwaar +nit grad zo de Raisweltmaister (eender mit n Finger auf dyr Landkartn - older heut halt in n Mangnötz -, aber versuechen kan myn s auf aynn iedn Fall aynmaal! --Hellsepp (talk) 14:16, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

Concern about channeling funds to the wrong projectEdit

I would not be against the idea of a travel guide supported by Wikimedia but I have some concerns. There are so many things yet to be supported at the existing projects and personally I don't feel that Wikimedia resources should be split to a new, and very demanding project. Server outage still happen at Wikipedia frequently, paralyzing the communities sometimes for hours. Wikipedia interface is difficult to use for newcomers, we have a lot of unresolved bugs, some of them pending for years now, we are losing serious numbers of editors and have less new ones joining. Not to mention some of the dying Wikimedia projects where hardly anyone edits. These are serious issues and when Wikipedia's editor base is on the decline for years now, the Foundation wants to take on such a demanding new projects when it can hardly support the existing ones properly? From what resources will the foundation support this new wiki? I think before we take on yet another resource-eating project, we should get the existing ones into green zone first. Teemeah (talk) 08:11, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

The Foundation seems to regularly add encyclopedias and other projects for languages spoken by tiny fractions of the world's population; it would seem they are unconcerned with spreading resources too thinly. LtPowers (talk) 14:38, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Yes that is my problem, that they are unconcerned about this, when the major projects are suffering from lack of proper technical assistance. Teemeah (talk) 15:05, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
A tiny project in an obscure language could not be very resource-intensive for WMF; whereas forking and maintaining Wikitravel.org, one of the largest wikis in the world, with tens of thousands of content pages, a gigantic database, and seven million unique visitors per month, would be extremely demanding. We know: we're the ones who host it.--IBobi talk email 19:10, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

Have spoke with the IT people at the WMF. They state that adding these Wikis will not take a significant amount of resources. This project will bring in more editors to Wikimedia Commons, it will bring in more volunteer developers and it will improve collaboration with Wikipedia. Thus it will be growing our community of editors / movement.

The fundraising banner will also occur on these pages which will increase our funding stream and thus hopefully result in increased resources for all. We all want a simpler editing interface. Once developed this is easy to role out to a few more wikis.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 21:24, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

Three additional points:
  1. As noted above, the IT people at WMF have indicated that "there is negligible effort associated with ensuring that new standard site features and developments are available to any specific wiki in Wikimedia's project family"
  2. From my understanding based on discussions with other Wikitravel users, the existing Wikitravel community is not expecting devoted developer time, and would be HUGELY happy with just having standard feature updates. To compare with the current host, while of late they have vastly improved in their tech support, it still took ten months from when an upgrade from 1.11 to 1.17 was finally approved in July 2011 [6] until the upgrade was implemented in May 2012 [7]. Since then we've had a spambot apparently exploiting a security hole in 1.17.0 to impersonate users, and since being reported four days ago [8] a point release upgrade has yet to be applied. No schedule has been set for upgrading to 1.18 or 1.19.
  3. Many users of Wikitravel program for a living (myself included), so I would expect that if there is a need for a custom development that one or more individuals would likely take advantage of the WMF sandbox to develop it; there isn't an expectation that WMF will make developers available for travel site development once things have been set up. Developing on our own is not presently an option with the current host.
-- Wrh2 (talk) 04:31, 20 July 2012 (UTC)
Wow, that's scary to realize that people are actually exploiting the CSRF in 1.17 in the wild :(. Bawolff (talk) 13:43, 20 July 2012 (UTC)
p.s. A tiny project in an obscure language could not be very resource-intensive for WMF; whereas forking and maintaining Wikitravel.org, one of the largest wikis in the world - Size wise, en Wikitravel is about the size of english Wikinews. That aint that big. Bawolff (talk) 13:58, 20 July 2012 (UTC)
Note that it has now been nine days since it was reported that a spambot appeared to be exploiting a security hole in the 1.17.0 release on wikitravel.org [9], and a 1.17.2+ security patch has not yet been applied by the host. Wikitravel users aren't going to expect dedicated developer time and shouldn't tax the limited resources of the WMF - we just want a host capable of managing the base software in a professional manner. Obviously the staff at IB are very busy with the many sites they manage, but if they are so busy that applying a well-tested security patch to address an active security threat takes 9+ days then that's hopefully one good example to those skeptical of whether a fork is justified of why the Wikitravel community is pursuing this effort. -- Wrh2 (talk) 04:01, 24 July 2012 (UTC)


I'm interested why iBobi thinks wikitravel is large at all. It seems very small to me at just a few 10K. We have many wikis over 100K articles, and a few have over 1M . --Kim Bruning (talk) 06:36, 14 August 2012 (UTC)

Please define!Edit

I'm inclined to say "if you please, go ahead!", but what is this project about? Specifically what should the project contain, what should it not contain, what might be the overlap with Wikipedia and other Wikimedia project, and how is that intended to be solved? Define, please! rursus (talk) 11:15, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

Ah, forget it I found the relevant info at Wikivoyage:Goals and non-goals, but you might consider presenting a summary first in the proposal and provide this link there. rursus (talk) 11:33, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Wikivoyage is actually a very small part of all this. Wikivoyage is a tiny fork of the German and Italian versions of Wikitravel.org, which after 5 years has a fraction of Wikitravel/German's traffic and a handful of active admins. The main thrust of this proposal is forking & copying Wikitravel, one of the largest wikis on the Web, and by far the most successful travel wiki.--IBobi talk email 19:17, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

Wikivoyage contains tens of thousands of pages in both German and Italian. They have more than 1000 registered editors. Thus they are more than a tiny fork.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 21:28, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

In the interest of keeping things comparable, Doc, since I know you are neither a Wikitraveler nor Wikivoyager -- when we talk about pages on travel wikis, we're talking about *content* pages. That's actual pages about cities, countries, regions, etc. We don't count user talk pages, discussion pages, and other things that a traveler doesn't use.
In terms of total content pages, there are less than 14k on all of Wikivoyage (though their quality is good). That's not tens of thousands. Wikitravel English alone is about twice that size. We also support 20 other language versions, including German and Italian.--IBobi talk email 21:46, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
And German and Italian WT are basically dead wikis without an active admin / editor community.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 21:53, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Actually there is at least one active admin in Italian, and we're recruiting Germans :) --IBobi talk email 22:12, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Yes so basically dead. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 22:28, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
I'd like to disagree with the statement that Wikitravel has "at least one active admin in Italian". I'm the only person with admin rights who patrols the Arabic, Hindi and Italian language versions of Wikitravel, but I do so only for abusive edits (spam, advertising) since I don't speak Arabic, Hindi or Italian. Given that reality it's a stretch to say that any of those sites have an "active" admin. -- Wrh2 (talk) 00:15, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

Advertisements?Edit

Now, a travel guide might be the "victim" of advertising from tourist business. While I'm a little skeptic about this in Wikipedia, it might be more natural to add "POVvy" information about the tourist industry. Have you thought about this? How should you (maybe we) regulate and make the tourist information balanced. Would it be proper to allow advertisements to sponsor exactly this subproject in a regulated and fair way? rursus (talk) 11:22, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

OK, I read the Wikivoyage:Goals and non-goals. I think you should reconsider allowing advertisements for the project: if we make available information freely to certain tourist businesses, it should be our right to get some profit to the Wikimedia Foundation in return, by allowing "sponsors" to add their discrete ads. Now I'm going for a support. rursus (talk) 11:33, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
If you read the whole story you can see that the editors on Wikitravel want to move here bexactly because they are tired of the ads. Teemeah (talk) 12:02, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Our whole goal is to have a none ad covered site. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 21:30, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

Whether we like it or not there is going to be a large amount of attempted advertising on the site - far more per editor hour than Wikipedia - as the site is going to be aimed at travellers rather than researchers - so there is more money around. I say that it should be recognised, cautiously welcomed and regulated. There will be havoc if Wikipedia "absolutely no advertising, ever" standards apply to it. So there should be some allowance for a B&B or bar owner wanting to tell passing tourists about their establishment - which is useful information - although there should be greater standards of proof as you add more adjectives (oldest, best rated, only, etc). JASpencer (talk) 14:56, 22 July 2012 (UTC)

The current Wikitravel policy on this matter, which has evolved over many years, is "Don't tout" [10], which I believe addresses the issues you've raised. There are also ongoing discussions about trying to find ways to allow pre-approved users to "endorse" a listing to help fight attempts by business owners to sneak in unduly favorable listings [11]. -- Wrh2 (talk) 15:44, 22 July 2012 (UTC)

what would the name beEdit

i support this but what would the name be we cant use wiki travel its used Windows.dll (talk) 23:30, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

If we get consensus for approval we will than work on determining consensus for what we wish to call the new site. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 23:32, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

CostsEdit

w:en:Erik Moeller has stated that the costs of taking on this project would not be that great. Also we have secured some funding to cover some of the start up costs, no strings attached. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 00:07, 20 July 2012 (UTC)

Bringing travel into the spirit of WikimediaEdit

Just wanted to share some toughts on one comment that was made earlier that Wikitravel is only for tourists and this can't be included in the Wikimedia spirit. I'd like to argue that when we have a more stable platform we can brace out and become something bigger then just a travel guide. Many people have been speaking about travel as a way of getting knowledge and I think we should focus more that rather then just listing decent places to eat. Personal stories, new ways of traveling and meetings of culture should be encouraged (of course we need to find out a mechanism for this). In the same way coachsurfing offers more then just a nights sleep we should offer more then gettting from point a to b. --Jonas Ryberg (talk) 11:20, 20 July 2012 (UTC)

Yes if we get this site up and running it will go in a direction dictated by those editing. There are a lot of great things that would be possible with an active community.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 15:17, 20 July 2012 (UTC)
I hope that the new travelsite could be as Jonas Ryberg writes. So far wikitravel have been much about writing short concise travel guides to locations. I remember discussion on not having articles on separate sights, as [Knossos]], or on airports. With much of the basic covered by forked data from wikitravel there should be no problem broadening the scope more things associated to travel. Maybe more towards a travel-encyclopedia but not towards a yellow pages. More depth but not more lists. One good argument to keeping it short and not relying on links was that each guide should be made for printing. I hope we could keep concise guides but have links to more in-depth travel material and wikipedia (and other wikimedia)./Johan Jönsson (talk) 15:40, 22 July 2012 (UTC)

AbstentionEdit

I don't quite understand what's being proposed here, several projects are mentioned but what would actually happen to them? Are they really willing to merge (including who administers the domains etc.) and how's possible? What overlaps are there between the projects? How many extensions and other non-Wikimedia supported code do these websites need? What's the proposed interaction/synergy between this new sister project and the others (I don't see any)? As it is, it seems a way to either kill the project by adding yet another wiki with specific needs which will never be addressed, or to spend an unknown amount of resources on it while we don't even manage to give basic support to the projects we already have. Nemo 11:08, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

  • Wikivoyage is willing to merge. They have voted to approve this at their last board meeting. The editors of WT want to be under a non profit. They would love to join us here at the WMF and have technical expertise that they would bring with them (ie many of them know how to program). The projects that are joining have very little overlap with each other.
    Have been in discussion with Eric Moeller and he states that the WMF is already running more than 600 wikis. Adding another 10 or 20 is not an issue either financially or with respect to work load for the IT department.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 14:40, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
The domain administrator/host of Wikitravel.org -- by far the largest part of this proposal -- does not support this fork, and will continue to operate the Wikitravel site as it stands today, regardless of the outcome of this proposal. There is very significant custom code associated with Wikitravel that is not open source, but proprietary to the host/owners of the Wikitravel domain and trademarks. It is important to consider not only the number of wikis that need to be supported, but their size and complexity; a small wiki might be nearly meaningless in its resource impact, but 9-year-old Wikitravel is one if the largest wikis in the world.
In what way do Wikitravel and Wikivoyage have "very little overlap"? Wikivoyage is just a fork of a small segment of Wikitravel (German and Italian), plus content added since they forked; I'd conservatively guess half the content on the Wikivoyage site overlaps with content already available on Wikitravel, since that's where it came from.--IBobi talk email 21:22, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
There is little overlap in that we do not need to merge content from the two. The German and Italian WV sites are much better than the WT ones. WT in German has no admins. The WT editors are leaving regardless of the decision here. They will form their own site if the WM does not wish to take this on. The admins of WT appear to disagree with your statement that there is "very significant custom code" Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 21:52, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Ah, so you would copy the content from WV for German and Italian, and copy the rest from Wikitravel. With due respect, though, you may attempt to predict what might happen in the absence of this WMF fork proposal if you like, but I believe I will take your clairvoyance with a grain of salt; the future can be tricky to suss out. Maybe let's stick to what's actually being proposed here?
WRT the technical requirements of Wikitravel, we have amazing administrators who are responsible for the content of Wikitravel. They are not currently involved in the infrastructural development of the site, though we are exploring the possibility that they might like to contribute to it in the future (we've offered). Thus at present they may not be as familiar with the technical specs as the host itself is, but hopefully that will change.--IBobi talk email 22:07, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Since a number of people supporting this proposal have been with WT a lot longer than Internet Brands and you yourself have made less than 50 edits (last time I looked) to WT I am not sure you are the best person to comment on technical issues. I believe that the lack of technical support of WT is why all the admins wish to leave to someplace else (that of course and the disagreement over commercialization of the site and its content) Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 22:32, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

I am in fact the tech liaison between the community and the host. While I'm not a developer, I do actually work for Wikitravel. Our admins are indeed well informed generally, and awesome, and have a great deal more history with WT than I. But any lingering tech support concerns have been/are being addressed. You're probably looking at fork support votes that occurred a few months ago, before the upgrade, yes? I'd expect anyone concerned with working on a site that operates well will be very happy with today's Wikitravel, and if they had voted to fork with tech concerns in mind, they'd take another look and reconsider now.--IBobi talk email 22:44, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

You mean you work for Internet Brands. I am very well aware of the WT communities current feeling and they are not considering staying with IB. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 23:01, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
For a list of extensions, see wikitravel:Special:Version. --Stefan2 (talk) 11:13, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Every Wikitravel admin (to the best of my knowledge) on this list is voting in favour of this proposal. I'm not aware that any have reconsidered their position. Given the diversity and range of experiences of the WT community, gathering such a consensus is significant. --Inas66 (talk) 00:12, 20 July 2012 (UTC)
@IBobi: The half of content overlaps? This is not true! 75.33 per cent of our articles were written after we started WV. And a huge part of the remaining 25% that are form WT are redirects and stubs. Concerning the content in kilobytes I guess it's much more per cent. We started as a fork almost 6 years ago. But meanwhile we are considered as an independent project with some articles coming from Wikitravel. So we are not "just a fork". We are the biggest source of free travel content in German language. with a vibrant community -- DerFussi (talk) 08:34, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
Hi Fussi, I don't mean to minimize WV's contributions in German. The German content is in fact very good. I think it is important, however, to put into perspective how small WV is compared to WT, in every measure. This fork is being presented by some as a "coming together" of communities, and while that is potentially true, WV is very, very small in terms of content, admins, visitors, and relevance, when compared to Wikitravel. A much better solution to the "coming together" issue would be for Wikivoyage to merge back to Wikitravel and continue their great content creation efforts, but with a much bigger audience of German speakers than they currently reach; Wikitravel currently has between 3 and 10 times the number of German language visitors than Wikivoyage has. I expect a forked English Wikitravel, even under the WMF, to have similarly modest success over time. The fork does not make sense if you care about getting the best content in front of the most needy travelers.--IBobi talk email 18:37, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
We have almost half of your English articles and more than double of your German articles. And you have no contributors and admins on German WT. You call that very very small? In every measure? I think we have more content than all WT language versions together (exceptionally en: of coures). Did you really used the word relevance? We are relevant related to the free travel content in German language. I think you can stop harping on about your clicks only. You know that merging back is no option. We and the WT community explained that several times. Sorry, I am a bit galled after being called "not relevant". -- DerFussi (talk) 19:23, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
Again, I do not say WV is not relevant; but the relevance of a single language travel site -- even one such as German -- pales in comparison to a site with a huge English version plus 20 other established languages in various states of development. It is all relative. Nobody disputes your good work in German.--IBobi talk email 19:29, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
Arguments about monthly visitors are likely irrelevant - Wikitravel's non-contributing visitors are primarily driven by the massive SEO boost provided by the links from Wikipedia, and if WMF chose to host a travel site then those links (and their corresponding SEO value) would obviously switch to the WMF site. As a result, any discussion of "how small WV is compared to WT" that uses monthly visitors as its metric is highly misleading - active contributors and site content is likely a much better metric to consider. -- Wrh2 (talk) 19:49, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
Absolutely agree Wrh2. -- DerFussi (talk) 20:43, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
They're completely different measures. I would not be so quick to overestimate the value of interwiki links, or underestimate where else WT traffic comes from. If you believe switching interwiki links from WT to a WMF fork site is going to mean significant traffic, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise.--IBobi talk email 20:59, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

Technical resourcesEdit

It amazes me how little some people understand about the resources it takes to run a wiki; next to nothing. Perhaps this could be explained better somewhere? That, and all of the technical help we need is moving over with lots of content? It takes a couple of minutes to actually set up the project, and if some developers are moving over as well then no Wikimedia staff even need to spend time adding the more complex extensions that WT uses. Ajraddatz (Talk) 15:45, 20 July 2012 (UTC)

Yes from what I understand there are about half a dozen WTers and WVers who have skill in programming MediaWiki. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 15:49, 20 July 2012 (UTC)
It doesn't seem to stop them from having strong opinions though... This is even more amazing. As a technically ignorant user in this context, I would imagine that the most human work will be in combining the input from the different sites to produce the best product, and that will have to be done by the users after the initial setup.
Correct me where I am wrong:
  • The data can be transferred from one wiki with an earlier version of Mediawiki to another with a later version by an automated process. This will take a few hours of heavy bandwidth use, but not much personal effort.
  • There will be occasional problems with file name clashes in Commons that might have to be sorted out manually, or semi-automated.
  • Merging the articles on the same topic from more than one wiki will have to be done manually.
  • It will be possible to load articles from two or more wikis on the same topic with slightly different names, so that they can be merged later.
  • Some hardware will be involved. There will have to be storage space allocated for the data. This will be an added long-term overhead for Wikimedia. I have no idea of the size or cost involved, either as an absolute value or as a percentage of the existing setup, though I suspect that the percentage will be quite small. I would guess that the image file storage space will exceed the text, even with all the diffs, user space, talk pages etc.
  • There will be an overhead for more use of the system. Here again I have no idea of how much, but would guess it to be relatively small compared to WP, maybe large compared to some of the other projects.
If a realistic estimate of the actual cost in effort and resources as a percentage of current costs could be explained somewhere, it would give us a more realistic idea of the impact. Some may change their support or opposition when a better understanding of the impact based on facts is possible. Peter (Southwood) (talk): 16:44, 20 July 2012 (UTC)
The WVers will bring their content in German and Italian. WT basically stopped developing in these two languages after this group split in 2006. The WTers will bring their content in the other languages. They already have backups of everything. The image imports will take some time and human effort.
From flipping the switch however it should not take long before all involved have completed the merge and return to improving the content. Have asked Erik to elaborate on this. His response is below.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 16:53, 20 July 2012 (UTC)
This is my understanding:
  1. It should be reasonably easy to transfer Wikivoyage content since they can make a database dump available. More work will be required for Wikitravel since IB will not provide a database dump, thus the backup data is in XML format (in addition to a backup of images).
  2. Only the "shared" image repositories from Wikitravel and Wikivoyage should need to be merged. For all language versions, the current plan is to import German and Italian language versions from Wikivoyage, and to import active language versions from Wikitravel (German and Italian Wikitravel would be superseded by the Wikivoyage versions and not imported from Wikitravel).
  3. Aside from the "shared" wikis on Wikivoyage and Wikitravel no merging should be needed.
  4. Again, aside from the "shared" wikis there shouldn't be any need for merging.
  5. WMF has indicated that infrastructure cost should be negligible - as big as Wikitravel is, it would be surprising if it was even 1% of Wikipedia's size.
  6. See #5.
While resources will need to be devoted to the initial setup (importing data, installing and configuring extensions such as the breadcrumb navigation, etc), WMF IT has indicated that the long-term impact on their resources will be minimal - "negligible effort" was the phrase used in an email from Erik Moeller posted below. -- Wrh2 (talk) 17:02, 20 July 2012 (UTC)
The largest hurdle would probably be rewriting extensions. Most of them do need to be rewritten to be up to MW standards, however most of them are also quite simple, and the effort to rewrite won't be significant (Well I don't know about StatsGraph, since wmf has its own stats related things, and we may want to keep all our stats stuff combined or something like that). Should this RFC succede I promise to help out in the extension fixing up effort. The only thing that looks non-trivial from a merging prespective is the Location DB part of wikivoyage. (I'm not even clear if that is part of the merger proposal, nobody seems to be mentioning it). I haven't looked at code really at all but at first glance it would appear merging that project would involve a non-trivial code review effort (there's lots of code) and more importantly difficult ops requirements (docs vaugely imply it requires postgres). Bawolff (talk) 19:09, 20 July 2012 (UTC)
I would suspect that a number of extensions could be dropped without any complaints from the WT or WV communities. IMHO, the only functionality that is essential to maintain is the breadcrumb navigation and the listings tags, although if either of those need to be re-implemented to use standard WMF functionality I don't think anyone at WT or Wikivoyage would be upset, provided no functionality is lost. For any extensions that aren't dropped, if there is a comparable extension that is a standard used by WMF I would think the new travel site should utilize it. Thus, while I can't speak for the Wikivoyage folks, I would guess that replacing StatsGraph (and similar extensions) with the WMF standard would not be an issue and would in fact be an improvement since it would be one more tool that would benefit from WMF's regular platform updates. -- Wrh2 (talk) 05:32, 22 July 2012 (UTC)

Position of Erik MoellerEdit

Dear James et al.,

firstly, please note that any action by WMF is pending the Board's official approval for the creation of a travel guide under the auspices of the Wikimedia Foundation. Please refer to this message from trustee Alice Wiegand:

http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimedia-l/2012-July/121168.html

I'm reluctant to assign dollar amounts, or to follow any line of reasoning around tying donations to specific technical requests or need. In general, we aim to maintain a high quality of service for all Wikimedia projects. All Wikimedia projects share a common core codebase (while extensions and configurations differ) and run on the same operating infrastructure.

This means in turn that there is negligible effort associated with ensuring that new standard site features and developments are available to any specific wiki in Wikimedia's project family (with the caveat that we usually have a long tail of internationalization-related tasks to ensure that all functionality works well across languages).

So, as we develop improvements to the mobile site, the visual editor, etc., those will generally become available to all our projects.

As noted in Alice's email, WMF would be unlikely to be able to assign a dedicated engineering team exclusively to the development of features to improve a travel guide. This isn't merely a question of funding, but of organizational bandwidth and ability to execute while maintaining focus on key priorities. WMF's core priorities include the development of an awesome visual editing environment. It's a mission-critical project, and as WMF's VP of Engineering, I am committed to ensuring its success -- which means avoiding spreading ourselves too thinly.

With that said, there'd be some inevitable startup cost associated with reviewing existing extensions, importing freely licensed content, etc. I'd likely want to form a temporary task force to do so over the course of ~4 weeks, but I wouldn't want to assign a dollar value to that effort and carefully investigate what's needed vs. "nice-to-have".

I'll also note that WMF strongly believes and is committed to volunteer-driven innovation and development. In the last year, we've invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in the development of an OpenStack-based infrastructure called "Wikimedia Labs", which is intended as a sandbox environment for the development, testing and staging of new tools and site features. Labs already has more than 200 instances, more than 100 projects, and more than 500 registered users.

My objective would be to ensure that we can prototype new ideas in Labs, and support the community of volunteers who want to develop travel-specific functionality. We've done so for other Wikimedia projects, e.g. there's now a small but healthy group of volunteers who are developing and maintaining the ProofreadPage extension used on Wikisource. Deployment of reviewed code occurs as part of our standard deployment windows (every 2 weeks).

With that said, I would also encourage anyone following this discussion to read up on past tensions within WMF's projects, perceived lack of technical support (in the sense of customizing MediaWiki) for projects like Wikinews and Wiktionary, etc. A group of Wikinews contributors forked last year, which according to the primary people involved in this fork was mostly due to internal community dynamics, but it also triggered some discussion about WMF's ability to support Wikinews.

You'll find full background on this in these two Wikipedia Signpost stories:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2011-09-19/Sister_projects https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2011-09-19/Technology_report

The second story also cites some comments from me at the time, which are archived here, and which hopefully help explain my general philosophy, which is focused on maximizing "across the board" improvements and developing good infrastructure for volunteer-driven innovation that helps serve more specialized needs:

http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimedia-l/2011-September/114966.html

Clicking on "Thread" shows the full discussion, and the diversity of opinion that exists around these issues.

Hope this helps,

Erik

Many thanks Erik. I do not think any of the WTers/WVers have the belief that the WMF would be assigning specific resources to them. I think a number of them are looking forwards to finally being able to return to working on improving the software themselves through the mechanisms you mention.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 17:00, 20 July 2012 (UTC)

Reality check November 2012Edit

It's a bit fun to read what above, «we can prototype new ideas in Labs, and support the community of volunteers who want to develop travel-specific functionality» etc., and compare it to mw:Wikivoyage migration (four devs assigned + Erik) or WMFblog:2012/11/01/engineering-october-2012-report/ («Though our lead [AFT] developer was loaned out to the WikiVoyage project for most of the month, we deployed [...]» (repeated for other two projects/teams). Nemo 18:44, 12 November 2012 (UTC)

I don't think anyone ever claimed that this migration could be done without technical support from WMF. LtPowers (talk) 22:10, 12 November 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia confusionEdit

Because several of those commenting seem to think (incorrectly) that the proposal is about expanding Wikipedia, I've added

Note that this proposal is about the creation of a new Wikimedia project, not an expansion of Wikipedia, which is just one of the Wikimedia projects.

to the English-language description. Translation to other languages would probably be helpful, as well. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 10:41, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

That's a very good addition. I think we should also make it bright red and constantly flashing! Jokes aside, there seems to be a lot of misinformation in this RfC, with some supporters and opposers not realising this is not Wikipedia, that the board has said it will take minimal cost and effort, and that WT/WV exist, but both their communities strongly desire to move to WMF. Hopefully when the Board reviews this, they will recognise this huge amount of confusion, and not just count the number of "votes". JamesA (talk) 15:23, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
Even with the confusion, it's still running 5:1 in favor. That is overwhelming support. LtPowers (talk) 15:35, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
That is still good support, but a few days ago, it was 10:1 in favour. JamesA (talk) 15:38, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

Travel GuideEdit

I think it's a real good idea. I'm ready to participate at this project.--DUVIC F (talk) 14:53, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

Tradurla in ItalianoEdit

Per favore potreste tradurla in italiano? Magari francese --151.52.133.18 13:53, 22 July 2012 (UTC)

Salve! Hai ragione. Ci sarebbe una delle più grande preoccupazioni far vedere il progetto in molte lingue. --Hellsepp (talk) 20:18, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
Non ho capito, che cosa vuoi tradurre, il testo iniziale? Ci sono già altre traduzioni, chiunque può aggiungerne un'altra. --Nemo 11:38, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

Migration from WikipediaEdit

Would it be possible to branch articles from Wikipedia that have co-ordinates. I suspect there will be a lot of off the beaten track additions that could be made this way (eg old churches, etc.). JASpencer (talk) 15:00, 22 July 2012 (UTC)

Certainly. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 01:34, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
@JASpencer, What do you mean by "branch" in this context? Peter (Southwood) (talk): 13:11, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

Support under severe conditionsEdit

Such a project evidently makes sense only if we agree on the premise that the local inhabitants are fully included (this means more than to write about them, e. g. like in Wikipedia!), and that the local languages (resp. variants) are considered to a degree which sets us off against any every-day "every-day" conversation or just basic needs of tourists. Tourist? Traveller? Globetrotter? Businessman? No matter, but we address those who want to be a bit more ... --Hellsepp (talk) 20:13, 22 July 2012 (UTC)

Agree part of the proposal is to have local guides within this project. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 12:58, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
@Hellsepp, Could you explain what you mean please, Peter (Southwood) (talk): 13:07, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

Wikitravel already existsEdit

You are aware that there already exists a wikitravel? http://wikitravel.org/en/Main_Page --Oddeivind (talk) 21:29, 22 July 2012 (UTC)

Indeed; this request was initiated by all known active English Wikitravel administrators, who have tired of working to enrich a private company and instead wish to contribute to the Wikimedia movement. The proposal states that content would be imported from both Wikitravel and Wikivoyage (depending on language). If that is not clear in the proposal, please let us know so that we can improve the wording. LtPowers (talk) 00:20, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
Just a very small clarification: this request was initiated and supported by all Wikitravel administrators across all of Wikitravel's language versions. The only administrators who have not voiced support have been inactive for years and are not responding to emails. As of yet, as far as I am aware, every single Wikitraveller (i.e., including non-admins) who has commented here or elsewhere has supported this proposal. --Peter Talk 17:27, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
I hadn't realized it was all of them. That level of unanimity is rare on any wiki. ;-) --Kim Bruning (talk) 06:41, 14 August 2012 (UTC)

SuggestionEdit

Hi everybody. Forgive me for my poor English, but I’ll try to be understandable anyway. Well, observing the discussion about the creation of a Travel Guide, I wonder why the Wikimedia does not take over, rather, an excellent project like OpenStreetMap? It does not use Mediawiki, actually, but it still has everything related to the Foundation’s principles, to the community, and it could easily become not only a Travel Guide, but a real free/open version of GoogleMaps. What do you think? It would be a good investment for Wikimedia and could bring excellent return for all of us. Sincerely, Sturm (talk) 22:25, 22 July 2012 (UTC)

This is not an idea of the WMF but a proposal coming from the community with buy in from both all of Wikivoyage and the editors community of WT.
If the OpenStreetMap people where interested in joining us I would be supported of this. Email them and see what they think. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 01:33, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
Done. I sent a respectful e-mail to them (they're doing a real good job) and now I'm waiting for their answer. Sturm (talk) 21:55, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
There are already Wikipedia projects (particularly the German version) who have done some OpenStreetMaps integration wherein if someone puts geocoordinates into a location's infobox then an OpenStreetMap of the location will be automatically generated. There are already many projects related to OpenStreetMap integration happening on Wikipedia - check out the introduction at Wikipedia:WikiProject OpenStreetMap. Blue Rasberry (talk) 10:16, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
You meant w:Wikipedia:WikiProject OpenStreetMap. But that is cool - I didn't know that we already had a project set up on en.wikipedia! --Philosopher Let us reason together. 10:44, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
Hopefully if we get a travel project up and running this will increase the number of people interested in OpenStreetMap collaborations. I see that their where some concerns regarding if OSMs servers could handle the loads from Wikipedia. We could probably help with that. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 17:13, 29 July 2012 (UTC)

Translation of central notice about travel guideEdit

Where can we translate the central notice about the proposed travel guide, which has been posted to all WMF wikis? I am getting complaints about this being in English on my home (non-English language) wiki. There is usually a link on central notices to the place on meta where it can be translated, but there is none on this particular central notice. Lloffiwr (talk) 12:55, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

Currently available in 29 languages here [12] Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 13:25, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
Link notified via translators-l list - translation page. Lloffiwr (talk) 22:26, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
I also disabled the banner for languages it's not translated to. Sorry for that, it was a bad mistake from some sysop. Nemo 11:36, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

Commercial concernsEdit

A number of people have raised the concern of commercial influence. This concern is one of the justifications for creating this project. We want a travel guide without commercial influence (and this is reasons why many editors wish to join us). Those who have been editing WT/WV for the last 10 of so years have developed guidelines to distinguish between commercial and non commercial listings here which requires presentation of content in a neutral manner.

We at Wikipedia manage to deal most of the time with organizations wishing to promote themselves via our site. Issues of commercial promotion on Wikipedia have been greater than those which have occurred on WV or WT. And if they had the additional tools which we use they would be able to do an even better job of maintaining neutrality. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 16:35, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

Yes but our project licenses are general CC-BY-SA 3.0 License which allows "to make commercial use of the work". If the objection is that IB/WikiTravel is a for profit entity and we use the CC-BY-SA 3.0, IB/WT can still use their work just by getting a data dump. I would propose that we disallow free commerical usage for WTG but have a standard licensing for commerical work to generate money for Wikimedia and WTG. (yes, I gave weak support see vote 434). Spshu (talk) 19:15, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
While I appreciate the thought behind it, changing the license is a non-starter. Not only would a non-commercial license be contrary to the WMF's very ethos, it would also prohibit us from being able to import the content from Wikitravel (due to the ShareAlike clause). LtPowers (talk) 22:48, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
The authors, whom are coming to Wikimedia, can do what they want with the material, so unless WikiTravel gave them some sort of consideration then they can change the license if they so wish. The move would be a good point to make that change. Spshu (talk) 14:15, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
I am happy to stay with an open license (CC-BY-SA). If all the images are hosted on Commons using something else would make things more complicated than needed.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 15:29, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
To Spshu: The difficulty would be that ALL authors would have to approve the license change, and with thousands of individuals having contributed over time it's probably not feasible to change now. The same problem exists for all open source projects that don't require copyright assignment - license changes require approval from the copyright holder, so you either get everyone to agree (usually impossible), remove contributions from those who don't agree (in this case, not feasible), or stick with the old license. That said, as someone who has contributed thousands of edits to Wikitravel, I prefer a more permissive license over a more restrictive one. -- Wrh2 (talk) 15:49, 3 August 2012 (UTC)

Travel guides in Wikibooks ?Edit

What about Travel Guide as Wikibooks section ? Falcoperegrinus (talk) 07:36, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

Of course this is a good idea. I can imagine Wikibooks being compiled by combining information from this travel project, Wikipedia, and Wikimedia Commons. It would be a good idea for someone to start different wikibooks as travel guides. Blue Rasberry (talk) 10:12, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
This sort of travel wiki does not fit into Wikibooks at all. WT gives destinations their own articles, whereas Wikibooks attempts to merge them into one big book. We have over 25,000 articles at Wikitravel, and over 10,000 at Wikivoyage, so it'd be a disaster merging them into Wikibooks. Already, the travel guide genre has proven to not work on Wikibooks; from looking around the site, I can count the travel destination guides on one hand, and they are not structured well at all. Also, from what I've heard from some other users, the Wikibooks community inherently opposed travel guides awhile back because it did not fit in well with the structure of their site. JamesA (talk) 06:32, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Of course, if you were proposing both of these projects side-by-side, then that could be a possibility. Wikitravel Press creates printed books from the Wikitravel content, so maybe once we have some good articles/destinations, we could move them across to a book format on Wikibooks. Nice idea! JamesA (talk) 12:44, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
I was speaking about both projects side-by-side. I do not know the discussion you reference, but I assume that the Wikibooks community opposed the creation of travel guides because it would have required a massive generation of content on the Wikibooks site outside the context of an existing travel wiki. If this travel wiki were established, I envision the creation of travel guides in Wikibooks wherein existing content on Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons, and this travel Wiki come together in book form on Wikibooks. I expect this could be a fantastic opportunity for wikibooks because I can imagine that such books would easily become the best travel guides for any destination. Blue Rasberry (talk) 14:28, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
Yes that is an excellent suggestion. Merging content from different projects to create easy to print off book for a travel advice for a whole country or region. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 16:26, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
See [13] for a current WikiBooks discussion on the matter. I'm not particularly familiar with WikiBooks, but from the linked discussions it does not seem like travel guides are encouraged in that project, and that they have suggested merging travel guide content to other sites. -- Wrh2 (talk) 16:52, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
Would probably be simpler to use the Book extension that is already built into Wikipedia for example this page [14] Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 17:28, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
I am not sure of the circumstances under which it is better to use Wikipedia's book feature and when it is better to use Wikibooks. I have no good understanding of the Wikipedia interface when incorporating content from other projects, and the content on the travel wiki would be an external site. I can also imagine that it might be useful to insert maps or other large images, and I have not seen how Wikipedia books incorporate media files among a series of articles.
The discussion which you cited was from 2007 - perhaps things have changed and if this travel site manifests, the perhaps a new discussion could be raised on setting best practices. Blue Rasberry (talk) 18:00, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
What I mean is that the book extension would be activated on this new travel site so books could be created right there. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 18:14, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure that travel guide for whole country is just compilation of articles about destinations, like Wikipedia's books. I like the idea of compilations from Travel Guide, Wikipedia and Commons into some Wikibooks! Falcoperegrinus (talk) 20:02, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
I believe the Collections extension does indeed allow creating books that span multiple projects, although (at the moment) you may need to create the collection manually instead of using the pretty UI. Jpatokal (talk) 01:54, 31 July 2012 (UTC)

┌─────────────────────────────────┘
further comments at Wikibooks here [15] Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 16:48, 31 July 2012 (UTC)

References / VerifiabilityEdit

There have been some concerns raised in RFC votes about Wikitravel not using references, and questions about verifiability. A few points:

  1. Wikitravel includes primary URLs for restaurants, hotels, attractions, etc so that a traveler can go to the web site of the business in question and verify hours of operation, price, etc if desired. However, secondary sources are not allowed (including as references) for reasons outlined at [16]. In the past when such "secondary source" links were allowed a massive amount of time was wasted when someone plastered marginally useful links across the site, or changed existing links to something that they felt was subjectively "better", so policy evolved to only allow primary links.
  2. Note that in the relatively rare cases of disagreements about information accuracy, supporting links on talk pages are encouraged. For example, see [17] where there is a question about a review of a hostel in Reykjavik - in such a case linking to Tripadvisor reviews or other sources is encouraged, but such links are not welcome in the main article. Note that disagreements of this sort have historically been very, very rare. Also note that listings that are clearly commercial or obvious marketing material are generally immediately removed in accordance with [18].
  3. The Wikitravel community DOES very much want to improve verifiability, but based on past experience the general consensus is that references (and thus a looser external links policy) is not the right approach. [19] has some current thinking on the matter, including thoughts about allowing trusted users to tag info as "verified" and displaying a count of such tags in the article. If the WMF agrees to the travel site proposal then greater interwiki links with Wikipedia might be another possibility. Further discussion and evolution on this matter would be a very good thing.

Overall the Wikitravel community is very aware of concerns about making sure information is up-to-date and correct, and very much interested in doing whatever is possible to improve things. Current Wikitravel policies such as [20] exist to reduce commercial listings, and such policies have been strengthened over time and would continue to be improved under WMF. Hopefully this addresses some of the concerns that have been raised - Wikitravel / Wikivoyage would be a great resource for travelers and locals if moved to a WMF project, and it would be a shame if such an effort was derailed solely due to misunderstandings about the existing community's commitment to accurate and verifiable information. -- Wrh2 (talk) 17:20, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

Um, I would assume that people would place their opinion on the articles. Why wouldn't links to others' opinion be alright like rating sites like Yelp? Seems like that would be slanting the information towards the WTG editors' opinion since most choose a place to contribute and usually stay there. Spshu (talk) 19:29, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
First, a good listing is generally more descriptive than opinionated. "The best bar in town" is typically discouraged (see [21]) in favor of a description of why the bar is so great (example "this bar has a knowledgeable staff and over 50 beers on tap"). Obviously since it's a wiki not all listings meet this standard, but that's the goal the site strives for.
Second, the problem with links to sites like Yelp has been finding a way to distinguish what is a "good" external link vs a "bad" external link. At Wikitravel, thousands upon thousands of sites that are often at best remotely travel related have tried to insert links into articles. While Yelp might be considered by many to be a "good" link, should the same be said about a web site that only operates in a town or region? Similar questions arise with commercial sites that offer their own guide to a location, etc. After attempting to be more permissive with such links for many years, a line was eventually drawn at "primary links only", and the general consensus is that while there are a small number of sites that are excluded that would be good to include (event calendars are an often cited example), 95% (probably more) of the time the stricter guidelines are a vast improvement. That said, if people could agree on a limited number of "allowable" review sites to include in listings (such as Yelp or Tripadvisor), that might be a change worth considering. -- Wrh2 (talk) 20:06, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
I see a travel guide as containing two main types of content, facts and opinions. Facts would benefit from referencing while opinion would not. Certain facts may be better referenced by primary sources (like referencing once a listing of a hotel to that hotels website) however certain facts are better referenced by secondary sources (like the height of a mountain or the population of a country). Of course one needs to be very careful in creating guidelines as one does not want to open the flood gates to spam and I understand why WT currently has such a restrictive policy.
Of course I would imagine that eventually many of the facts like populations of countries will move to wikidate and will be populated from their.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 03:52, 28 July 2012 (UTC)

What the proposal actually is.Edit

What are we actually proposing here? It seems that we are not discussing what would happen if the travel guide idea surfaced,rather than whether to create one or not. There are a number of issues with creating a WM travel guide with pages imported from other sites. Is this a proposal to have an informal merge (A few articles manually imported and worked on by immigrants from wikitravel) or a complete merge in which all pages are moved to the new WM travel guide (although in the case of Wikitravel I am not sure that IB would be to happy with that). Another issue is licencing. How do we licence the pages since they would be considered derivative works I guess?

Overall, it is a good idea but there are some practical issues we need to address first.W.D. (talk) 17:35, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

WV is bring over all of the article from German and Italian including there name. The content at WT is under a CC BY SA license and was created by many of the editors who plan to join us. We are also (as far as I am aware) bringing over the edit histories (which lists who made what edit). I am leaving it up to legal exactly what needs to be done with respect to attribution of the original WT site. The WMF lawyer has been at a number of the meetings and is well aware of the situation. IB is not happy however they 1) do not own the content 2) do not own the volunteers. What they do own is the domain name and the term "Wikitravel". Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 17:43, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

anticipated closing time?Edit

The WMF said they wanted another month or so of further "discussion" of this proposal. Does that mean this RFC/vote will close in a month's time? Seems awfully far away, to me. Or will the RFC be closed sooner, and followed by other discussion and planning? This, that and the other (talk) 07:49, 30 July 2012 (UTC)

Yes the WMF states they would like another 2 - 4 weeks of discussion. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 15:16, 30 July 2012 (UTC)
The bulk of voting and bannering seems to be over. Hopefully the RFC can be closed long before the end of the month. Thanks to BR for the summary of the discussion so far, and for the clearly sectioned arguments above. SJ talk  21:39, 9 August 2012 (UTC)
Yes it is fairly clear that things will not change much at this point with most comments based on arguments already brought up. I have emailed Liz. Is their an admin who wishes to close this? I have posted here [22] Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 19:48, 10 August 2012 (UTC)
With votes continuing to come in and arguments continuing to be made, there is no basis for closing this vote & RFC prior to the time requested by the Board, which is at the end of this month. I'd like for this to remain open, and it ought not be closed by fiat because one or two people feel it's finished. Hereby stating that the Board's decision should stand.--IBobi talk email 20:09, 10 August 2012 (UTC)
The board stated they wanted 4-6 weeks. 4 weeks have passed since Wikimania 2012 in Washington.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 20:17, 10 August 2012 (UTC)
You're mistaken. See Information from the Board: "Based upon those discussions and the current state of the RFC, we would like the community to continue its discussions for at least 6 more weeks to ensure all interested parties have an opportunity to express their views." Posted July 13, by Alice Wiegand.--IBobi talk email 20:23, 10 August 2012 (UTC)
Yes you are indeed correct. That would make it until Aug 23rd, 2012. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 20:39, 10 August 2012 (UTC)
(Edit conflict.) Reading above, it says that "Based upon those discussions and the current state of the RFC, [the board] would like the community to continue its discussions for at least 6 more weeks to ensure all interested parties have an opportunity to express their views." This comment was signed on 13 July 2012, so it is presumably "at least 6 weeks" counted from 13 July 2012. --Stefan2 (talk) 20:25, 10 August 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the corrections, August 23rd at the earliest. SJ talk  22:39, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

Looking on my calendar, the board mandated close date would fall in the last week of august. Let's make it a nice round number:

  • This discussion will be 'closed' at 0:00, 1 September 2012, (UTC) Consensus will be determined based on the state of the discussion at that point in time. While we won't be able to take later comments into account, do feel free to continue discussion after that time, should you feel like it.


Without objection within 24 hours of my signature, I will post this at the top of the discussion as the official close time.

--Kim Bruning (talk) 04:55, 15 August 2012 (UTC)

No objections, proceeding. --Kim Bruning (talk) 02:58, 16 August 2012 (UTC)
Lets stick with what the WMF has stated which is Aug 23, 2012.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 09:50, 16 August 2012 (UTC)
Be BOLD! errr, I mean Plunge forward! ---Kim Bruning (talk) 09:56, 16 August 2012 (UTC) Oh, I see you have already.
FWIW, I would be happy to see the deadline extended to a nice round number like 1 September, to give Wikitravellers who have been kept in the dark a little more time to find this. --Peter Talk 16:01, 16 August 2012 (UTC)

To be very precise, the 8/23/2012 date was never specifically stated by the Board; that date represents the *earliest* interpretation of what was stated, which was "at least six more weeks" of deliberations, from 7/13/2012.--IBobi talk email 18:24, 16 August 2012 (UTC)

I hypothesize that most of the the support Wikitravellers have been found by now. Any opposing members of a silent majority will likely never find it due to the lack of sitenotice at Wikitravel. Since WT is not going to put up a sitenotice, I don't really see a point in keeping the poll open for much longer even now.

If a sitenotice does go up, I would certainly support extending the poll; because I'd be very interested to see a more balanced input from the WT community (if indeed that's what we'd get) . --Kim Bruning (talk) 23:31, 16 August 2012 (UTC)

Without further input from IB or others, and as agreed, soft-closure is now in 1 hour 23 minutes (and counting) as of typing this.

I suggest we take 24-48 hours to review people's positions and create a closing statement after that.

--Kim Bruning (talk) 22:37, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

For those of us who aren't as familiar with the processes on meta, can we help out with this process? Is there an example page that can be used as a template to follow? Or are the next steps usually handled by individuals who didn't participate in the RFC? -- Wrh2 (talk) 04:38, 23 August 2012 (UTC)

Summary of argumentsEdit

I read through every rationale for support and opposition of the proposal to create a Wikimedia travel wiki. Many users submitted the same rationale as other users, so I thought it would be useful to condense the hundreds of votes into a list of the unique reasons why any number of users may have supported or opposed the proposition. It was my intention to make the arguments of both sides seem as good and well-presented as possible from the perspective of each side. To the best of my ability in the time I spent organizing this, I represented all of the arguments presented. I encourage others to develop this list because I think it would save a lot of people a lot of time to be able to read all the rationales proposed for taking a position in the proposal. Blue Rasberry (talk) 20:41, 4 August 2012 (UTC)

Looks well done to me, particularly the fact that you divided the arguments into categories and tried to be impartial. Would it make sense to link to some of the discussions on this talk page (for example, linking concerns about NPOV to #NPOV)? The concern in doing so would be that it might be seen as an attempt to push a POV in what is currently just a summary of the RFC comments. -- Wrh2 (talk) 22:55, 4 August 2012 (UTC)
This would make a POV bias but I think it is a fair bias - the bias is in favor of linking to discussions which exist and not linking to discussions which do not exist. The arguments as I have them listed are completely without subtlety and elaboration. When elaboration exists I think they would be improved with links to deeper explanations. Blue Rasberry (talk) 23:06, 4 August 2012 (UTC)
When I first read the summary it seemed that you were making some of the arguments look silly, but after more careful consideration I see that they do that quite well enough themselves, and the summary is actually quite fair. They look silly because that is what they are. Peter (Southwood) (talk): 18:05, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
I don't know if you noticed, but some of the objections are that a travel guide would be NPOV, and others that it would not be NPOV. Peter (Southwood) (talk): 06:51, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
A lot of people say "NPOV" when they mean "it would violate the NPOV policy". LtPowers (talk) 14:39, 7 August 2012 (UTC)

Disagree with moving the summary to below the votes. Makes no sense and should be moved back to appear above the actual vote.--IBobi talk email 19:08, 8 August 2012 (UTC)

Sudden spate of IP opposition?Edit

Interesting that there seems to be a sudden spate of opposition comments from IP users. I wonder who they are and how they got to hear about the proposal, since attempts to notify users at Wikitravel were censored by IB staffers. Peter (Southwood) (talk): 20:01, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

It's particularly interesting that nearly all of them seem to geolocate to the Los Angeles area:
64.183.42.67 - Los Angeles, CA
76.171.30.1 - Los Angeles, CA
98.154.135.180 - Reseda, CA (LA area)
67.121.110.182 - Irvine, CA (LA area)
76.95.1.130 - Placentia, CA (LA area)
76.167.153.64 - Santa Monica, CA (LA area)
24.24.230.95 - El Segundo, CA (LA area)
By what I am sure is sheer coincidence, Wikitravel's owner Internet Brands is located in El Segundo, CA. Jpatokal (talk) 05:11, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
To probably misquote somebody:
"Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action." Peter (Southwood) (talk): 06:38, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
Well, there's not that many of them. <scratches head> --Kim Bruning (talk) 02:33, 8 August 2012 (UTC)
Well, 7 IPs from the same neighbourhood is many, in my opinion. That's awfully suspicious and should be considered when making the final decision. JamesA (talk) 13:08, 10 August 2012 (UTC)
Yes and these IP have made no edits anywhere else. w:en:El Segundo, California is a town of 16,000 and the headquarters of Internet Brands. User:IBobi has weighted in on the RfC a few times and of course "opposes" the creation of a new site. The company has made it clear a few other times that they have no issues with editing issues at Wikipedia/Wikimedia that involve them. See [23] and [24] Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 19:42, 10 August 2012 (UTC)
Funny you should bring up that old discussion about removing Wikitravel from the interwiki map because of Internet Brands' unethical behavior on Wikimedia projects (of precisely this same clumsy and obvious sort). Seeing our host company engaging in the sort of manipulative BS that we work daily to keep off our own site actually was the straw that broke the camel's back for the Wikitravel admins (really, straw is too weak a word), and we started planning to migrate our community elsewhere from that point on. --Peter Talk 03:45, 11 August 2012 (UTC)

I wonder why unregistered users were allowed to vote in the first place. Alexpl (talk) 15:45, 11 August 2012 (UTC)

I think it's ultimately a positive thing that they were. A number of brand new accounts, some claiming to be Wikitravellers no one has ever heard of, voiced nearly identical arguments to those voiced by those ips. The fact that anon ips posted at all let us know where they're coming from. --Peter Talk 23:48, 13 August 2012 (UTC)
A two of the last opposes from registered accounts have made no edits to any other Wikimedia project.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 23:54, 13 August 2012 (UTC)

We're not strictly voting, but rather running a poll to measure consensus. It might look similar when you start, but generally you wouldn't find discussions in the middle of a straight vote (which is what we're seeing happening here! ;-) In the case of IPs and new users: They can't prove they have any sort of standing, but if they have great arguments, we'll listen anyway. :-) (hence we leave them in).

Seeing the current balance of the poll, I think we're going to call it consensus at the end of the day. That said, there's still quite some work to be done addressing oppose position holder's concerns before then! --Kim Bruning (talk) 06:48, 14 August 2012 (UTC)

PS: We do have procedures in place to find out if people are socking to try to influence people's opinions. It might be beneficial if certain people withdrew certain positions before some over-curious checkuser stumbles past. O:-) --Kim Bruning (talk) 06:51, 14 August 2012 (UTC) poke a checkuser

In furtherance of CU, probably no data will be in the CU database re: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Spam/Internet_Brands (too long ago), BUT there might still be records of use in old config files etc etc. --Kim Bruning (talk) 07:43, 14 August 2012 (UTC)

Internet Brands ResponseEdit

These comments were moved here from the RfC page. And have restored the ordering of the Oppose votes. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 23:08, 13 August 2012 (UTC)

ADDENDUM TO MY VOTE 8/13/2012: In the interest of more finely delineating the opposition of Internet Brands -- the host of Wikitravel -- to this fork proposal, I have moved my official Oppose vote here, preserving the existing comments on it, while adding the following details:
There are a number of cogent arguments in this RFC as to why the Wikimedia Foundation should not support a travel project -- such as NPOV issues, redundancy of information, questionable educational nature and natural commerciality of a travel guide, and the dilution of WMF resources -- that we will not delve deeply into here. Instead our purpose is to encourage the WMF to reevaluate its role in encouraging a fork of Wikitravel, ask the community for further consideration of this matter, and suggest one of several alternative options.
We’d like to start by recognizing Wikitravel’s administrators. Through donating countless hours to the project, Wikitravel’s volunteer admins have consistently and substantially contributed to the high quality of content on the site. We thank them for their continuing contributions and their usual thoughtful consideration of policy and site issues. Internet Brands is aware that a committed curator base is important to the success of the world’s largest travel wiki, and these admins have set the highest standard during the nine-plus years that Wikitravel has been serving its users.
We begin our concerns by observing that the current proposal is quite ambiguous and perhaps misleading. The proposal is characterized as a "new travel project," when it's actually a fork of an existing travel project. If the project is new, why does it intend to overlap content, administrators, and technologies with Wikitravel and why has it been so necessary to engage with the current Wikitravel? If the project is new, why would the Foundation be asking for the current host to turn over its domain to the Foundation? Certainly, the project is not entirely new. In fact, it leverages millions of dollars of investments by Internet Brands.
The strongest arguments in favor of the fork seem to be that a majority of the current administrator group would prefer to be hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation. We understand that the Foundation's overtures to this group, which included this February posting on Wikitravel, "Integrating as a Wikimedia Project", have garnered support. But we have two problems with this approach:
1. The administrator group represents only one of several constituencies that have a stake in Wikitravel. For example, the current administrator group represents a fraction of all content ever deployed on the site and far less than 0.1% of users of the site. We've surveyed Wikitravel users and they are actually delighted with the site (more on this below). All types of Wikitravelers have worked for nine years to help create the finest travel guide in existence, and one of the largest wikis in the world. Why are they not considered part of the wiki movement?
2. The Foundation's sponsorship of this initiative would set a very unfortunate precedent. The precedent would be a threat to any current or potential users of the MediaWiki software who operate independently on their own terms: the fear that the Foundation might use the cachet of being under the Wikimedia Foundation’s umbrella to deliberately lure away its administrator and contributor base, interfere with operations, and harm the existing project.
This seems at odds with the mission of broadening wiki participation more generally. Does a site need to explicitly be part of the Wikimedia Foundation's purview to be part of a larger movement toward free content, open editing, collegial participation, and many other principles that an alternative host also supports? In a broad sense, Wikitravel's hosts have always viewed themselves as part of the wiki community. The site operates under the Creative Commons licenses, has always been free to use, respects privacy, closely follows wiki editing processes and protocols, and enjoys massive user respect, including winning a Webby award. The proof is the usage metrics-- Wikitravel is one of the most successful wikis ever.
The Foundation seems to be characterizing its role in the forking dialogue as minimal. We think it's very difficult for the Foundation to claim, as it has in discussions with Internet Brands, that it's merely been a neutral party in the developments to date. The lure of the Wikimedia Foundation's "banner" and support (such as technical support) has been catalytic in building momentum for the breakaway project. Without the obvious and seductive draw of Wikimedia's participation (technical, financial and/or otherwise), these discussions would have run a different course. Exactly what course we are all free to debate, but the Foundation's impact is highly relevant and extremely difficult to minimize.
One of the strongest arguments against the RFC is mission creep. And expansion is clearly the Foundation's motive for this proposal. While we have no conceptual issues with the WMF starting or adopting new projects with the support of current hosts, is this proposal the right next expansion step? Specifically:
  • Is acting against a current host acceptable, especially if the host is acting in good faith?
  • Is a travel wiki a "reach" for Wikimedia, given the extreme subjectivity and very commercial nature of such content?
  • Is an alternative arrangement with Wikitravel a better option?
  • Should the Foundation conclude its formulation of Sister Communities deliberations before evaluating this specific project?
Perhaps the simplest reason for the WMF to decline to support this fork as proposed is, as some have mentioned, “Wikitravel works.”
Here's the proof:
  • Growth in new content pages, 2006-2012: 350%
  • Growth in new user registrations, 2006-2012: 1250%
  • Growth in unique visitors, 2007-2012: 2500%
Even more directly, we recently asked thousands of Wikitravelers how they feel about the site. Here are the results:
  • “Would you use this site again?”
95% said Yes
  • “Was the information in this article helpful?”
87% said Yes
  • “Did the site load fast?”
85% said Yes
  • “Would you recommend Wikitravel to a friend or colleague?”
92% said Yes
We feel these results are an extremely important element of this discussion and that the voices of millions of users, many of whom contribute content to the site each month, should carry considerable weight.
By acquiring, maintaining, and growing the world’s largest free travel wiki, Internet Brands has over the past six years invested many millions of dollars into this project, including millions to the prior owner for various types of intellectual property and services.
We appreciate that the status of Wikitravel running travel-related ads in its margins and being hosted by a for-profit company is inconsistent with the views of many in the wiki community, no matter how "hands off" the host otherwise remains. Commercialization is obviously a deeply contentious issue for many in the wiki movement. We observe that Wikitravel has run these ad placements since 2008, and during that period, traffic to the site and content creation have accelerated; meanwhile, no forks have occurred. Ads may be inconsistent with the beliefs of some in the broader wiki community, but they have served as a relatively benign source of funding for the host to maintain and grow the site. We also note that Wikitravel has always provided an option for users to turn off the ads.
In the interest of collaborating with this process and the Foundation, we are happy to formulate alternative proposals. One such counterproposal might be:
  • The Wikitravel project remains independently hosted by Internet Brands
  • Wikitravel becomes a sister project of the Wikimedia Foundation
  • Wikitravel becomes a fundraising source for the Foundation
  • The WMF shares its technical expertise on the administration of the site’s MediaWiki infrastructure
We remain open to other ideas as well, and thank everyone for their thoughtful consideration.--IBobi talk email 18:12, 13 August 2012 (UTC)

I'd like to respond to the above message from Internet Brands:

  1. To IB's first point that only administrators are in favor of moving to WMF, the insinuation is that there is a silent majority of Wikitravel users who oppose moving. I have not interacted with a single user who has not enthusiastically supported a move to WMF, and attempts to involve the wider community in this discussion by using a site notice on Wikitravel were opposed by IB [25]. As a result, if this silent majority does exist there is currently no way to easily gather their feedback.
  2. IB's second point indicates that the WMF is secretly behind this proposal or has made overtures to Wikitravel admins - that is 100% false. The current fork discussion began with an email I sent to other admins on 25-January-2012 with a subject of "Wikitravel's Future". No one from the WMF was involved, and at the time moving to WMF was not even considered a possibility. It was only as the discussion grew that involvement with WMF even became a consideration, and as a result we reached out to people with contacts in WMF to find out what possibilities were available.
  3. A third point IB makes is that "Wikitravel works". However, the fork discussions initially began because the most active Wikitravel users feel that Wikitravel does NOT work, and is in fact going to die if action isn't taken.

Regarding IB's proposals (WMF sharing technical expertise, etc), obviously IB wants to protect its investment, but it is fairly clear that none of their proposals are a "better" solution for the Wikitravel community, and open source travel content in general, than a travel site hosted by WMF. It is unfortunate that IB may suffer a financial loss if the Wikitravel community goes elsewhere, but the community is going to fork one way or another, and the question at hand is whether it is a good idea for WMF to host that fork or not. -- Wrh2 (talk) 20:15, 13 August 2012 (UTC) (Wikitravel user and admin since 2005)

If only 85% of users surveyed said the site loaded "fast", that means 15% thought it was slow. That's not exactly a performance metric worth crowing about. LtPowers (talk) 21:26, 13 August 2012 (UTC)
It would be helpful if IB could provide some background on where those numbers came from - I've never seen a poll on the site or heard of anyone being given a random survey. Also, if the results are based on a sample of thousands of users then a 95% "use again" rate seems unusually high based on my experience working with other large and successful sites, so further information behind the context of how these numbers were achieved would be helpful. -- Wrh2 (talk) 21:40, 13 August 2012 (UTC)
The evidence for "the Foundation's overtures" is a message written by me from Feb 2012 [26]. To be clear I am not a member of the Wikimedia Foundation and never have been. I am a member of the Wikimedia Movement. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 23:25, 13 August 2012 (UTC)
Compare: wikitravel size with eg. my humble "home wiki": en.wikipedia.
For those with very thick thumbs (to make rules of) we can abuse Moore's law to estimate expected growth of a collection-type-resource on the internet (internet archive does it, so why can't we?). 6 years=72 months, at 100% per 18 months, would get us an expected growth of 1600% over 6 years. Wikipedia actually would have had to exceed Moore's law for a while to explain their growth. Currently it's plateaued due to scaling issues (that's my story, and I'm sticking to it). Don't worry, Wikitravel (new or old) would have to grow a *lot* before they hit the same plateau. --Kim Bruning (talk) 07:54, 14 August 2012 (UTC)
Regarding the poll numbers, I would highly dispute their accuracy. I for one have never seen the poll either; is it a possibility it was only open to anonymous editors, and every registered editor was ignored as they understand the pain of trying to edit and participate? Also, from a basic psychological viewpoint, users who are dissatisfied with the website and wish to never use it again are unlikely to bother to answer Wikitravel's survey. If it was me, I'd just close the tab and leave.... JamesA (talk) 08:08, 14 August 2012 (UTC)

An answer to the proposalEdit

Having now used wikitravel and done some research, I can write my own answer to the 4 parts of IBobi's proposal above.

The proposal consists of 4 parts. Let's take a look:

> The Wikitravel project remains independently hosted by Internet BrandsEdit

This is not a good idea:

  1. Internet Brands technicians are not very skilled at running Mediawiki at the moment. They've had 7 years to clean up their act. They did an upgrade to 1.17 this February, and 1.17.5 more recently (?), [27] . WMF wikis are currently on 1.20 [28]. For some reason they have made the otherwise nimble Mediawiki run Very slowly. SVG support was not working for me, others have reported OpenID support not working, etc. I have a feeling the techs are trying, but they're not succeeding for some reason. Perhaps they should drop by and ask for more support! (See below).
  2. Disabling the api was Not A Good Idea. I know you figured you might be able to stop spam; but you've just cut off legit bots too. Without an ability for the community to make backups, IB is not a viable host for WT at this moment in time. "Only wimps use tape backup: real men just upload their important stuff on ftp, and let the rest of the world mirror it ;)". Fortunately this is fairly easy to fix. But it does show a pattern of not-so-great judgement.
  3. Internet Brands community management has made some fatal errors. Suppressing the site-notice linking to this discussion was not smart. Suppressing discussion of forks and other options in general is a Bad Thing. Fork discussions are a last ditch safety valve. On a steam engine, when a safety valve goes off, the one thing you do not do is block the valve. Sure, if the safety valve opens up, you start to lose steam pressure and you slow down, and that's very annoying. You're going to have to find the root cause and fix it. But blocking the valve itself is what gets you a spectacular steam explosion. A similar story goes for communities.

> Wikitravel becomes a sister project of the Wikimedia FoundationEdit

This might be a good idea, if/when wikitravel is hosted by an organization with goals aligned with those of the foundation. Perhaps IB doesn't quite have the ethics one looks for in a partner at this moment in time. [29].

Perhaps IB management has started taking ethics seriously since those incidents? If so, that would be great. The diverse wiki communities have people they can send over to give an ethics training, if IB would like one.

> Wikitravel becomes a fundraising source for the FoundationEdit

That's a problem for the foundation, I guess, but they know they have to be careful about that kind of thing. What did they say to you?

> The WMF shares its technical expertise on the administration of the site’s MediaWiki infrastructureEdit

Mediawiki is free/libre/open source software. The Wikimedia community (not just WMF) shares our technical expertise with everyone!

You are absolutely welcome to come share with us at any time!

DiscussionEdit

As I understand it, the current situation is that the wikitravel community want to leave IB and looking for a new home though. There is unprecedented unanimous consent between all admins involved, I am told. [citation needed]

The WMF runs over 800 wikis. I'm sure they can fit in a few more in some nook or cranny, especially with some of their world famous duct tape and string ;-). As far as I'm concerned, I'm sure wikitravel could be hosted at WMF.

If that doesn't work out, the WT communities can always get their own server(s) and run the wiki(s). It's really not rocket science. Especially if one does take advantage of our offer to share technical knowledge.

Whatever the case may be, at the end of the day, Internet Brands needs to be making offers to the Wikitravel Community, not to WMF or WM community.

SummaryEdit

Right now, IB needs to unplug the safety valve, get their rear ends in gear, and make the best credible effort they still can on a graceful exit strategy.

--Kim Bruning (talk) 18:02, 14 August 2012 (UTC)

At this moment (05:25, 15 August 2012 (UTC)), Wikitravel is down and inaccessible, at least for me. Aude (talk) 05:25, 15 August 2012 (UTC)
Wikitravel is up again. Aude (talk) 05:40, 15 August 2012 (UTC)
  • I added a "citation needed". As for MediaWiki 1.17, what makes you think that the WMF would be able to upgrade the website? Probably they've not been able to due to compatibility issues with their extensions (or even patches), but the WMF is not going to invest on software development for Wikitravel (it would be a scandal if it did! it doesn't do so for any established sister project), therefore nothing lets us think it would be able to get more. --Nemo 09:56, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
    We won't upgrade the current server(s), because obviously, those are operated by IB. What folks will do in this case is you set up a new clean 1.20 instance, and one-off import all the data that the wt admin crew have already saved. Currently, people are running a test dress rehearsal for en.wt on one of the Wikivoyage servers. If any issues are encountered, we can figure them out there, before the definitive port to a server run by wmf.
    WMF doesn't need to invest in development for the travel wiki per-se, wt and wv are bringing in devs who will be putting forward patches in the normal way. (And nuclear-powered-Sumana should have no problem getting those devs settled in ;-)
    Once the one-off tasks are done, the new travel-wiki would operate and be maintained like any of the other wikimedia wikis, which we are already doing in bulk, so that's pretty easy.
    --Kim Bruning (talk) 05:19, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
Would it be alright if I tag the rfc votes made by admins? WT admins tend to do a lot of traveling, and are a little hard to corral ;) I could also just list the admins right here who have supported this proposal. --Peter Talk 16:23, 18 August 2012 (UTC)

Anyway, after going through an awful lot of emails, here is the list of WT admins who have said they support the proposal. It includes Aude, although I'm not sure she remembers that she is an admin on the Arabic version ;) As you can see, it's actually more than 34, and none of the others have opposed (we just haven't heard from them). --Peter Talk 18:05, 18 August 2012 (UTC)

  1. Aude
  2. Atsirlin
  3. Bill-on-the-Hill
  4. Cacahuate
  5. Cardboardbird
  6. CJensen
  7. Denisyurkin
  8. DerFussi
  9. Dguillaime
  10. Digr
  11. Elgaard
  12. Evan
  13. Flip666
  14. Gentenaar
  15. Globe-trotter
  16. Gorilla Jones
  17. Ikan Kekek
  18. Inas
  19. Jc8136
  20. Joelf
  21. Jonboy
  22. Jpatokal
  23. LtPowers
  24. Maj
  25. Mark
  26. NJR ZA
  27. OldPine
  28. Pashley
  29. Quirk
  30. Ravikiran r
  31. Rein N.
  32. Riggwelter
  33. Sapphire
  34. Sergey kudryavtsev
  35. Sertmann
  36. Shaund
  37. Texugo
  38. Trsqr
  39. Tsandell
  40. Vidimian
  41. Vlad
  42. Wrh2
  43. Yann
Arabic Wikitravel of course would benefit a lot from better RTL support and closer ties with the Wikimedia community, I think. :) Aude (talk) 18:46, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
These admins support can be found here [30] and here [31] Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 18:57, 19 August 2012 (UTC)

Would it be ok to move some/most/all of this section (and/or other IB responses) to a separate page or pages? That way IB gets to have their own response area if they want it.

IBobi, would you be willing to help me with that? --Kim Bruning (talk) 05:21, 19 August 2012 (UTC)

No issue with that. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 18:57, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
I moved the list to Requests for comment/Travel Guide/Commenters composition. --Nemo 07:18, 21 August 2012 (UTC)

That is definitely not a current or even recent list of actual Wikitravel admins, according to the WT database.--IBobi talk email 23:42, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

That's true, actually. Perhaps you could help keep this list current by adding a note here whenever you unilaterally remove a Wikitravel user's admin or bureaucrat rights. Since there's no community discussion or consensus before you do it, it can be hard for everyone to keep track. (And maybe a little star next to the names of those who have received legal threats? Just a thought.) Gorilla Jones (talk) 23:59, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
None of the admins I see on the list here, who are not actually admins, have recently resigned from WT and had their credentials removed; I was speaking of users I can find no record of ever having been admins.
You raise a salient point, though: there are users on this list who are claiming to be WT admins who have resigned from the Project. They ought to remove the "wt admin" designation from their posts here, and be removed from the counts and claims of "wt admins supporting the fork" which have been copied over and over on these pages. Thanks, Gorilla Jones.--IBobi talk email 00:05, 23 August 2012 (UTC)
Every member of that list is either currently an admin on at least one Wikitravel project, or had that designation unilaterally removed by you within the last few days [32]. More specifically, all members of that list are administrators on Shared [33], with the exceptions of Atsirlin (admin on ru [34]); Gentenaar (admin on nl [35]); Ikan Kekek (admin on en [36]); Quirk and Yann (admins on fr [37]); Trsqr (admin on fi [38]); and Vlad (admin on ro [39]). -- D. Guillaume (talk) 00:14, 23 August 2012 (UTC)
(ec)IBobi: There are also users on that list that have not resigned from the WT projects, but you have seemingly attempted to impose resignation upon them through one form or another by removing their administrative/crat rights, blocking them or threatening them legally. There are dozens of links providing proof of these facts, so please stop attempting to think of other editors and admins as fools. The Helpful One 00:28, 23 August 2012 (UTC)
I'd be happy to append a note that all of these users are or were WT admins prior to IB's rep unilaterally de-sysopping them without discussion and in violation of Wikitravel's community procedures and policies. The part about "resigning" is bunk too. When admins have left WT, we have kept their status the same, in the hopes that they will return. We've even denied requests from them to revoke their privileges on the grounds that we hope they return, and that we'd want them to have them in that case. --Peter Talk
The official note being of course sufficiently boringized words to that effect, right? O:-) --Kim Bruning (talk) 09:47, 23 August 2012 (UTC)

Efforts to increase the prominence of a single editors viewsEdit

User:IBobi, an employee of Internet Brands, has moved his views to the bottom of the Oppose list, to as he agrees, increase their prominence [40]. Have reverted this move however he has reinstated them again. I consider this to be inappropriate. Comments by others? Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 23:53, 13 August 2012 (UTC)

This addendum to my original Oppose vote represents the most significant addition to this discussion in weeks, both in substance and volume. It's completely new, not a rehash, and it ought to be vetted by the community at large. Of course, if there is consensus that this new info -- the substance of which is consistent with other Support/Oppose/Abstain voting rationales -- ought to be buried at the middle of the page rather than reviewed by the larger RFC audience, I'll certainly comply with the community view. But given that the discussion had slowed, even to the point where Doc James attempted to close the discussion weeks before the Board's deadline, perhaps this is a good way to revitalize it and ensure that all views are represented and considered. That is the sole purpose of this post. It represents neither an old voting rationale, which would remain in its original position, nor a "discussion topic" for the Talk page, but a rationale for a logged Oppose vote. Given that this discussion began, shall I say, deliberately and continued for some time out of view of the host of Wikitravel, the site most affected by this vote's outcome, I'd ask for some consideration now that we have had the opportunity to voice our views. Thank you.--IBobi talk email 00:08, 14 August 2012 (UTC)
Paul, the best way to "revitalize" the RfC and to "ensure that all views are represented and considered" would be for you to put a link to this discussion on the Wikitravel SiteNotice. Your comments are made absurd by the fact that you are the one trying to keep everyone's views from being represented, and trying to keep Wikitravellers in the dark about this proposal. In other words, enough with the BS. --Peter Talk 00:25, 14 August 2012 (UTC)
A couple of clarifications: The host of Wikitravel is NOT a site but a commercial company called Internet Brands. I do agree that this does sound like support from Internet Brands to add a site notice to Wikitravel though :-) Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 00:30, 14 August 2012 (UTC)
Responding to the initial comment in this thread, a 20+ paragraph "oppose vote" seems more appropriate for the discussion page than the main RFC page to me, particularly since it contains some allegations against WMF that are not accurate, and some other comments that deserve discussion. I would be happier to see IBobi move the discussion to this talk page and then link to it in his "oppose" vote so that it can be properly discussed and responded to. -- Wrh2 (talk) 01:48, 14 August 2012 (UTC)
I agree with Wrh2's request. IBobi's post, though completely relevant and important, appears to be an effort to literally "meat up" the oppose side of the argument with extra words and paragraphs. Not to mention, the post simply rehashes a number of other opposition arguments, such as those about the WMF's scope and principles. About the WT Sitenotice, this has been requested before, and IB has simply ignored the requests. Although they continually seem to request the input of the larger Wikitravel community, they block any effort whatsoever to do so. JamesA (talk) 02:38, 14 August 2012 (UTC)
I'm not entirely sure of the protocols on meta, but since IBobi's response had already been copied to the talk page I removed it from the RFC and replaced it with a link to the talk page discussion. If I've broken a protocol here please revert my edit, but that seems a reasonable way to keep the RFC focused while also making IB's arguments prominent and allowing for discussion of the points that they raise. -- Wrh2 (talk) 04:46, 14 August 2012 (UTC)
A fair compromise. I do not mind giving his arguments some additional prominence. He has some work to do substantiating some of it though. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 04:56, 14 August 2012 (UTC)

IB is somewhat important, so their position should certainly be easy to find, and be heard clearly! Could we create a separate page for IB, rather than a subsection? --Kim Bruning (talk) 05:54, 14 August 2012 (UTC)

+ I'll fact check anything people say that is fact-checkable. :-) Looking up statements made by IBobi: WT discussion on 10:25, 23 February 2012 (EST) [41] , discussion on meta as mentioned by IBobi: 08:54, 11 March 2012. (UTC) [42] ; and talk page 03:12, 22 March 2012 (UTC) [43] .

Long story short: Discussion was initiated at wikitravel at Traveller's Pub, and then carried over to meta(.wikimedia.org) 3 weeks later, first response is 4 weeks later. I notice that IBobi posts to Traveller's pub from time to time, so odds are they could have learned of this proposal almost a full month before anyone in the Wikimedia movement responded for the first time. --Kim Bruning (talk) 06:16, 14 August 2012 (UTC)

I'm hardly advocating we suppress IB's comments, but out of sheer curiosity, why you think they are important—or more to the point, relevant? The question posed for RfC is to see whether Wikimedians think a travel wiki would be appropriate for WMF to host. IB has an obvious conflict of interest in answering that question. --Peter Talk 06:41, 14 August 2012 (UTC)
Because IB is a host with previous experience running a travel wiki. Taking into account their background and how they have functioned over the years, it's always interesting to hear what they have to say.
That, and I would hope that people who have expressed such dedication to the project as IBobi has, would stick around and help make the move (to WMF or elsewhere) a success. While Wikitravel seems pretty much a lost cause for internet brands; they can still make a lot good in parting. That way, the next time someone wants to run a wiki under Internet Brands auspices, they would know that Internet Brands is a trustworthy partner. --Kim Bruning (talk) 07:14, 14 August 2012 (UTC)
Internet Brands could come away looking very good if they where willing to donate the domain and name to the WMF. They could even get a significant tax dedication out of it.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 07:19, 14 August 2012 (UTC)
In furtherance of the above, a wiki is not paper, so if we think using 1, 10, or 100 pages for our topic would actually make things clearer, then that's no worry: we can just make the pages. :-) --Kim Bruning (talk) 07:38, 14 August 2012 (UTC)

The comment is still placed anachronistically - it should be moved back. The cofounder of WT, Evan, has his support vote sitting quietly at #67. Oncenawhile (talk) 02:12, 16 August 2012 (UTC)

I think we should give anyone who wants/needs one their own page. (Unless someone objects, etc etc.) --Kim Bruning (talk) 02:55, 16 August 2012 (UTC)
Certainly but ones response should still occurs where one placed it initially.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 05:22, 16 August 2012 (UTC)
<scratches head> Well, once upon a time I thought so unequivocally, but I've been corrected since. In general, refactoring is permitted, as long as it doesn't change the actual content/semantics of the arguments made (that's what refactoring means, after all).
Of course, if you can show/argue that moving things around did make a significant difference here, then of course you should revert. (I'd be interested to hear that argument!)
--Kim Bruning (talk) 14:35, 16 August 2012 (UTC)

"The cofounder of WT, Evan, has his support vote sitting quietly at #67."

Yes, and his *second* (identified) support vote sitting quietly at #292. For nearly a month. Without a peep from the fork advocates, I might add.

I for one would appreciate it if a bit more attention were paid to the substance of the arguments for and against, and a bit less to quibbling over which ones "deserve" consideration and attempting to stifle views not shared by the people running this RFC. Moving, linking, making new sections and pages to get them off the actual voting page? Badgering (not my word -- see oppose vote #1 comments) opposing voters with constant and immediate retorts? It's a wonder anyone in this community dares to question this proposal at all.

This entire process has been a very unusual "voting" experience, and in my view has been wanting for a much lighter hand at the helm than what we've all seen here. When the (apparently self-appointed?) manager of a voting page is also one of the key supporters of one side of the issue at hand, this is to be expected. Too late to preserve any semblance of balance on this fork proposal, I'm afraid; but maybe there are community lessons to be learned for the future. Very disappointing.--IBobi talk email 17:50, 16 August 2012 (UTC)

It's not strictly a vote, rather a structured discussion. It's *slightly* more messy than normal, because of the different wiki-traditions coming together I suppose. There was a reason this place was called "meta" ;-) If you're not entirely happy with how things are going, feel free to discuss and push back a bit. (Which I guess is what you're doing).
Hmm, Things would also probably have gone a bit smoother if you'd cooperated a bit more on the WikiTravel wiki side of things; but that's 20/20 hindsight. I guess no one is perfect anywhere. That's fair enough, right? We just need to try to make lemonade with the lemons we have.
Also, remember in your case that it's not really WMF you need to be convincing here, but rather the WT community. Seeing your communications strategy in the last month, can you see some ways in which you could be more effective? I don't want you to say we left any (or too many) chances by the wayside; so I'll help out if I can.
--Kim Bruning (talk) 23:01, 16 August 2012 (UTC)
+ I've marked the 2nd time Evan posted their opinion. Interestingly it does seem to be with 2 different accounts, though both identifying as the same person. <scratches head>. I guess something went wrong or so?
You could have marked that yourself btw. You should totally patrol here more. Your view is a good counterbalance, and you'll see things that people who support overlook.
By the way, We're not going to go by strict numbers of votes.
The reason you see people talking to Opposers more than supporters, is because it's the opposers you need to convince to attain consensus. There's already consensus with those who support, so those get less attention (except for maybe a "thanks for your support"). Some of the arguments by opposers are really quite good, and need to be considered carefully. Other people's arguments have already been met, and we can mark those.
The other reason you don't see more discussion on the support side is because there are less skilled/admin type people patrolling the support side this time. (eg, WT admins are apparantly unanimously in favor). Could you take up that role, perhaps? Remember to be polite and assume good faith; but that doesn't preclude you from being strict!
In all cases, we really need to meet more of the opposers' concerns before we can say we have a consensus to proceed --Kim Bruning (talk) 23:22, 16 August 2012 (UTC)
Kim - to your point that "we really need to meet more of the opposers' concerns", can you elaborate? User:Sven Manguard (the first person to register an "oppose") indicated his view of the responses to "oppose" as follows: "Badgering isn't discussion, it's borderline harassment". Since I don't think anyone was trying to be overly aggressive this comment may have had the effect of suppressing some discussion for fear of being misinterpreted, and responses to oppose votes have mostly moved to this talk page as a result. Unfortunately, there seems to be an enthusiasm gap between supporters of the RFC and those who oppose it, so many of the talk page discussions remain one-sided. -- Wrh2 (talk) 00:00, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
And we do not need unanimous support to have consensus. The veracity of many of the concerns raised are only determinable by giving this project a try. Wikipedians are exceeding conservative about implementing change thus the amount of support for this project is impressive in my mind.
I have tried to address the concerns of a number of those who opposed on their talk pages here on meta. A few have even changed their position following this. IBobi of course has been emailing a number of those who support this proposal but I have not seen anyone change their mind yet.
Some positions are simply subjective such as 1) is travel educational (some say yes some say no 2) should we have any projects that contain POV content (some say yes cause we already do, some say no we shouldn't and want to get rid of a few of the projects we already have) 3) some feel the WMF should only be for Wikipedia some feel that their is room for a boarder scope.
With respect to IBobi's comment that this is a "very unusual "voting" experience". Welcome to Wikipedia! This is a fairly standard RfC and I have seen many get WAY more personal and intimidating than this. Yes Wikipedians for better or for worse are a bit of a scrappy bunch and you may need to get used to this if you join us down the road :-) Simply remember: do not take anything personally, stay away from making personal comments, remain honest. Sometimes one gets support sometimes one does not and at a certain point simply needs to walk away. I have been on both sides of this divide.
With respect to how a RfC works here, the Wikimedia communities initial position is for no change, those who bring forward a proposal need to convince this community that it is a good idea as the starting position is not to change. Thus it is typically those who present something who are the most active in a RfC. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 01:01, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
Welcome to Wikip media? :-) --Kim Bruning (talk) 03:01, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
Thanks yes of course :-) Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 03:33, 17 August 2012 (UTC)

Those who opposeEdit

While we do know of a few groups who oppose the creation of this new project and they include: IP addresses from the LA area and those who us an anonymizer out of Greenwood Village, CO per these three recent IPs (192.204.70.114, 192.204.67.212, and 192.204.79.85) Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 13:23, 16 August 2012 (UTC)

3 people in direct sequence all using the same Anonymizer? <scratches head> Maybe they know each other? --Kim Bruning (talk) 14:20, 16 August 2012 (UTC)

Wikitravel survey results from IBEdit

Internet Brands places periodic User Satisfaction surveys on our sites.

Over the last three days, Internet Brands conducted a poll of Wikitravelers, informing them of the background of the proposal, and asking them if they support a Wikimedia fork, or would like to see Wikitravel stay the way it is today.

“Wikimedia is exploring starting a competing travel wiki – possibly beginning with a copy of Wikitravel, called a “fork”. The fork supporters believe this current site is broken and a second project would rejuvenate the community. Internet Brands believes Wikitravel works fine the way it is and a fork would serve to weaken the success of both projects.
What is your view?”

With nearly 5000 votes tallied, the results are unambiguous:

Wikitravel survey results screenshot

The results are uploaded here, for your perusal:

Wikitravel Survey Results pdf

We’d be more than happy to submit to an audit of these results, including voters' unique IP addresses, by any 3rd party arbitrator the Foundation cares to name.

The voices of 7 million monthly Wikitravel users have spoken loudly and clearly. Wikitravel is not broken. Wikitravel works. And its visitors from all over the world don’t want the Wikimedia Foundation to fork and fracture this community.

--IBobi talk email 00:07, 18 August 2012 (UTC)

With all due respect, a site notice on Wikitravel would be a far better way to gather this feedback, and would produce far more trustworthy results. As one anonymous user posted in the Pub [44] "I was annoyed that the popup question was so biased... Ask a proper question - which to my mind revolves around (a) whether users mind having adverts on wikitravel, and (b) whether wikimedia can do a better job." The reason that Wikimedia sites typically use a discussion format rather than a poll is to allow arguments to be aired so that those participating have a full understanding of the issues when they register their feedback, rather than asking a question that may or may not actually allow a user to make an informed response. -- Wrh2 (talk) 00:14, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
It's very easy to create a poll that reflects your own prejudices back at you. It's very hard to create a poll that collects differing opinions and treats them somewhat fairly. (I'm still not perfect at it myself).
While it is my general feeling that a discussion like is being held here probably has more depth than a binary poll, sometimes I'm surprised by how people can simplify complex things.
I'd be interested to hear what the thinking was behind the single question, and what documentation was given to people to inform themselves in detail beforehand.
--Kim Bruning (talk) 01:11, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
On continued thought: you have of course taken a statistical sample; you have not actually surveyed 7 million users, but rather 4,831. Please don't exaggerate. If you have sampled only 4,831 out of 7 million people (do you have a source for the 7 million number, by the way?) , you need a solid sampling strategy for your observations to be valid. As a quick check: Could you please briefly elucidate your sampling strategy, and explain how you achieved proper randomization?
You point out that you would allow an independent audit of the individual IP addresses in your survey.
For me personally, I don't need an audit to be done. The survey as created by you does not serve my information needs, which are as follows:
For the making of a fork, what are relevant is not IP addresses, but rather things like how many edits or what kind of contributions people have made that hold that opinion. Alternately, sometimes plain good advice can be relevant too.
Examples of what I mean:
  • eg. if the top 90% of content contributors decide to fork, that's a rather important statistic
  • If eg. key skilled "networking people" who are strong influencers want to stay behind, that's an important thing to take into account.
  • No matter who says it (including anonymous speech), if -for example- someone points out that there are issues with the mission of the people running the proposed fork, then that needs to be carefully sorted out before a fork can proceed.
I'm always open to suggestions on how to better obtain the information I'm looking for! :-)
--Kim Bruning (talk) 01:23, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
One last thing, and I apologize for not mentioning something so important upfront:
I would like to extend an invitation to all the participants in the above survey to come and elucidate their opinions at this RFC.
With a bit of luck, many of them may be able provide the sort of information myself and others are looking for here.
IBobi, would you please extend my invitation to all your survey participants as best you can? Thank you in advance!
--Kim Bruning (talk) 01:37, 18 August 2012 (UTC) non survey-participants are of course also entirely welcome as always.
"Wikitravelers" are not those who read Wikitravel but those who edit the site. Do you mean that you polled the readership? Anyway what we are proposing here is not a fork but a rejoining of the editor communities of Wikitravel and WV followed by the hosting of this group by the WMF. IBobi do you want to run the following question
  1. Do you support the rejoining of the WT and WV editing communities followed by hosting of the content of both sites by the WMF?
  2. Do you want this content to remain only hosted by Internet Brands?
As mentioned potentially informed decisions hold more weight. A proper comparison would also require posting the same questions to Wikip/media readership. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 02:02, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
I assume registered users were excluded from this poll. As was my ip specifically. Why on earth would that be? --Peter Talk 02:56, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
Yes the whole process was carried out in a very closed manner. In medical publishing one need to state what you plan to do publicly before you do it to decrease people doing stuff and only publishing the results they like. Here within the Wikimedia Movement we typically get input on surveys before carrying them out to make sure balanced questions are being asked. If the WMF did something like this there would be an uproar! Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 03:09, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
Kim is right, too bad we don't have any serious survey or poll giving us some evidence of a support for a fork by relevant people (at least, I didn't see any). --Nemo 09:42, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
(ec) This RFC is a canonical/a requirement for the decision whether to invite WT to run on WMF servers. Knowing roughly how social dynamics work, and seeing the results of the poll IB ran, I think IB made a severe strategic error when they did not run a Sitenotice on WT. Looking at their own statistics, poor IBobi should be kicking themselves right now. --Kim Bruning (talk) 13:02, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
Per the admins from WT who support the move, you can find their support votes all in this RfC. With respect to us at Wikipedia running a survey of our readership to see if they thing we should start a travel guide. While I guess we could. What question would we ask? Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 12:46, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
Such a survey here would not be part of the decision making process we agreed on here. --Kim Bruning (talk) 16:09, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
I've just wondered, how they did the survey. I checked WT/en every day but I've never seen that poll or that pop up mentioned above. Did they keep the WT contributors out? -- 94.222.120.62 11:05, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
The first step to determining if data is credible is that it must be open to reanalysis. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 18:49, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
I don't particularly think this is worth entertaining. A poll given by a COI party with an ongoing history of trying to manipulate and abuse wiki processes, which excludes any background information, and purposefully excludes editors, who are the ones who would know what's broken and what's not... is a Potemkin Village. --Peter Talk 19:10, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
Yes and the fact that this data is not open to scrutiny just adds to these concerns. This is simply not the wiki way. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 19:19, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
Eh? The PDF with all the data is uploaded to this wiki. And the ways of SCIENCE are of course at least as awesome as the wiki way :-P . But/hence my questions for more details as to Materials and Methods (without which the Results are a tad hard to interpret). ;-) --Kim Bruning (talk) 20:47, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
Ah yes here [45] It however does not mention who the responses are from. And the methods are unclear. But the main issue is that the question asked is not applicable to this proposal. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 21:05, 19 August 2012 (UTC)

Seventeen edits to this section since Friday evening when I posted it; and not a single comment discussing the actual results of the poll. Just one snarky question after another about its methods and validity and motivation. Shameful. Even from this partisan group of fork supporters, I am truly stunned. I can understand this attitude from Doc James, who is not nor has ever been a Wikitraveler, and who has worked at every turn to silence dissenting views on this RFC. And I realize these results are tremendously inconvenient for those who wish to fracture Wikitravel's community from its faithful host and domain, depriving its travelers of careful curation and content updates. But to have the conclusions of this survey -- the voices of Wikitravel's millions of users themselves -- completely ignored is shocking. "The traveler comes first"? Not at Wikimedia, apparently. This is reason enough to reject this flawed proposal.--IBobi talk email 07:18, 20 August 2012 (UTC)

While I'm of the opinion that these discussions work best when civil, speaking frankly your suggestion that questioning IB's poll results is "shameful" is sanctimonious BS. As noted above, if 86% of all Wikitravel users oppose a fork, add a sitenotice to Wikitravel and solicit their feedback on this RFC so that they can state their opposition plainly. Until you do that, the evidence from a quick perusal of all of the RFC "oppose" votes indicates that not a single regular Wikitravel user opposes the RFC - the two Wikitravel users who do (#25 and #88) state that they are not active users of Wikitravel, and the "Wikitravel users" from #132 onward appear to be an effort from someone in the Los Angeles area to manipulate the RFC (see discussion above). This completely contradicts IB's poll, and gives every reason to question its validity - if 86% of the "Wikitravel community" opposes this RFC it would be reflected here and IB would be doing everything possible to gather RFC comments from Wikitravel; instead there is apparently unanimous support for the RFC proposal and barely a word of this RFC on Wikitravel, both of which speak volumes. -- Wrh2 (talk) 07:55, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
One always discusses study design before one discusses study results. And yes as you mention some of us have concerns regarding the design. The issues include:
  1. The question posed does not address this RfC
  2. Respondents where not given sufficient background to make an informed response
  3. There was no community discussion on what question to ask and therefore no way to determine how many of these polls where run (called w:en:publication bias)
  4. No way to determine that the results where not simply fabricated or that a few thousand of the responses did not originate from a few IPs from LA / anonymized accounts from the mid West
When someone asked for evidence that 34 admins from WT supported this proposal a list of supporting admins where provided and these signatures can be independently verified on this RfC. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 08:13, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
I don't see such list, can you please link it? Besides, why are we counting only admins here, the other active editors don't count? Why doesn't the vote happen on Wikitravel itself, IB deleted it? Have the non-English Wikitravels been contacted? Discussions affecting a wiki should usually happen on the wiki itself, it's quite obvious that the users arriving here like Wikimedia or they wouldn't ever come so they're not a representative set.
In any case, so far saying that Wikitravel community supports the fork is mere speculation or hearsay. --Nemo 19:33, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
Nemo -
  1. See #Summary for a discussion about support from Wikitravel admins. There has not been a single Wikitravel admin opposed to this RFC, although there have been a few inactive admins that we haven't yet received feedback from.
  2. As noted above, as far as I'm aware there has not been a single active Wikitravel editor who has opposed this RFC, and there are a huge number of "support" votes from Wikitravel users. We would love to have more feedback from the Wikitravel community, but without the ability to add a site notice on the various language versions of Wikitravel it is difficult to gather that feedback (see #3 below).
  3. The current site host, Internet Brands, has said that they do not approve of discussion of this RFC on Wikitravel (see [46] for their reversion of a site notice informing users of the RFC discussion); issues with the current host were the primary driver behind the Wikitravel community deciding to fork.
  4. Yes, admins on the non-English Wikitravel language versions have been contacted by email, and of those versions that are still active (many language versions are dead) the admins have unanimously supported the fork proposal as well. Contacting non-admin users of those language versions has been more difficult, but the users who have commented on this RFC have all been in support.
  5. The fork proposal originated from the Wikitravel community - all of the active admins began discussion via email about how to keep Wikitravel from dying back in January, and the proposal to move to a WMF project grew out of that discussion.
Hopefully that addresses your concerns. -- Wrh2 (talk) 19:50, 20 August 2012 (UTC) (Wikitravel admin and bureaucrat)
@Ryan, thank you for the good summary. I'm an active user of Wikitravel since 2006 and also a longtime administrator at Wikitravel, too. I accepted the sale of Wikitravel to IB and continued to support the community because the founders told us that IB is a credible partner. I have not started the initiative but since last year became a supporter of the fork.
  1. @Nemo: Just see at [47] on how worse the page looks after one week of absentism from Peter, Ryan and most other active users. In less than one month, Wikitravel will be a spam page. Already spambots start to take over articles. If supporters of IB within the WT community would exist, why have they not tried to maintain the page? They daily decline is just the growing proof that the community moved on. Jc8136 (talk) 20:00, 20 August 2012 (UTC) (Wikitravel admin)

Jc8136, I have to differ. Your comment is in stark contrast to reality. Look at the Recent Changes page and see how it's "worse"? What measure are you using? And it appears you are trying to use the withdrawal of some very good, active admins to prove that the site is harder to curate without very good, active admins... what precisely is your point there? Further, again you demonstrate that you did not comprehend the purpose of this section, which is to show that:

  1. The WT community is not the same thing as the current WT admins
  2. The overwhelming majority of the WT community opposes this fork

--IBobi talk email 22:44, 20 August 2012 (UTC)


(semi-ec) @IBobi, I'm sad that you didn't manage to come to Wikimania along with Chuck. Ask him if he remembers meeting me, and if he thinks there's a single mean bone in my body. I'm not trying to be Snarky at you, though I can imagine why you might feel that everyone is against you at the moment. I'm asking you serious, (and hopefully fair) questions, and I am genuinely interested in your answers. --Kim Bruning (talk) 22:47, 20 August 2012 (UTC)

@IBobi: If the overwhelming majority of the WT community opposes this fork, then inviting them all to this RFC will probably cause it to fail. Note that I'm only going to accept the outcome of this RFC as binding, I realize that that does cut both ways, and I am willing to accept that fact. --Kim Bruning (talk) 22:50, 20 August 2012 (UTC)

Load timesEdit

Wikitravel is slow with load times of 2.78 sec which makes it in the bottom 20% of websites while those at Wikipedia are 1.19 sec.[48] Wikivoyage is also faster at 0.90 sec.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 02:37, 18 August 2012 (UTC)

How is this information relevant? What makes you think that it would be faster on WMF's servers? It's probably due to their code, which won't be fixed. --Nemo 09:41, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
No, I'm pretty sure due to the misconfigured database, which is always groaning under the load and falls over regularly.
If it is a problem in Wikitravel-specific code, then it will most likely go away, since that's all closed-source and will have to be reimplemented. Fortunately there isn't actually very much of this, mainly just the listings editor. Jpatokal (talk) 11:40, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
Yeah I was wondering about that. Some things are accomplished with tags that could better be accomplished with templates, it seems. --Kim Bruning (talk) 13:05, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
2.78 is actually better than some of the load times I got (eg. sometimes "never"). I take it these measurements are mostly of cached existing pages, not the time it takes to save a new edit? --Kim Bruning (talk) 13:05, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
These are just the numbers alexia gave me. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 13:14, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
You do have to know what is actually being measured before you present it as having any meaning. --Kim Bruning (talk) 01:30, 19 August 2012 (UTC) (though I think my assumption of how alexa measures is correct, since AFAIK, they don't measure wiki-edit-times specifically :-P )

Do we really need to leave this open?Edit

I notice this is due to close on 23rd August. The !vote currently stands 511 to 151 in favor, do we really need to wait any longer, since it is blindingly bloody obvious to everyone watching that this is going to happen, whether people want it or not? BarkingFish (talk) 22:58, 18 August 2012 (UTC)

Heh, well I know that Internet Brands, or at least IBobi, wants to keep this open to see if they can more successfully manipulate the "vote" (this isn't really a vote). I'm happy to let them further incriminate themselves and further our proposal. Even more, though, I'd be happy to have more Wikitravellers get to participate, but I suppose the process was more designed to get the opinions of Wikimedians than Wikitravellers (whose feelings I think the WT admins already know pretty well). Since the 23rd is basically what the WMF Board signalled, let's just close it then. --Peter Talk 00:16, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
I think this is going to happen because people want it. But we do want to take a good look at those 151 (+) opinions saying we shouldn't do it on the 23rd. That's still a lot of people's concerns. --Kim Bruning (talk) 01:28, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
True, though a fair proportion of them seem based on incomplete understanding or unaddressable concerns. How would you suggest we begin addressing them, in a way that a) doesn't seem to them like "badgering", while b) still invites them to investigate our responses and consider changing their minds? LtPowers (talk) 14:36, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
Possibly section linking to relevant portions of the Migration FAQ on Wikivoyage in response? If nothing else, that page has the advantage of cool pics. Oh, and accessibility. --Peter Talk 15:13, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
Blindingly bloody obvious, really? 511 to 151 is not called a consensus usually (it's well below 80 %), however as you note this is a !vote so numbers don't necessarily count. --Nemo 19:28, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
It does look like it will likely be safe to proceed, but we're going to do some careful checking on the 23rd. --Kim Bruning (talk) 22:26, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
531 to 152 now, which is over 75%. 80% seems like a ridiculously high threshold. LtPowers (talk) 23:37, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
And if one was to subtract the three proxies and the recent 10 or so IPs from the LA area that would be 531 to 139 that would be right around 80%. But yes it is not a vote. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 04:40, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
We're still seeing occasional waves of bunches of new votes in alternating directions (like the +20:1 mentioned above after weeks of votes leaning to oppose, probably related to the talk page messaging on WikiTravel which triggered #Internet Brands blocks admins), which might be a reason to wait before closure. --Nemo 06:11, 21 August 2012 (UTC)

FAQ for the travel folksEdit

We have written up a FAQ on Wikivoyage, where we are in the planning stages of setting up an interim site quite soon, before the hoped-for migration to the WMF. I thought it might be useful for interested parties here to take a look at it, since, although it's geared towards Wikitravellers, it does lay out the rationale and current state of affairs pretty clearly. I don't know where would be appropriate to put it, though. --Peter Talk 02:33, 19 August 2012 (UTC)

Awesome. So I think we should put the IB and WTadmins views/FAQs up at the top of the page. An FAQ on RFCing would have been nice, but we're close to closing as is. This may require some refactoring. Anyone have issues with this? --Kim Bruning (talk) 05:06, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
No sounds good. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 18:52, 19 August 2012 (UTC)

The process of migrating content to Wikivoyage is well underway as an interim step towards the hoped-for goal of becoming a WMF project. A status update and request for help (from those who have technical abilities, and for feedback for the less-technical folks) can be found at [49]. -- Wrh2 (talk) 05:46, 23 August 2012 (UTC)

"Original Research" to be encouraged!Edit

Our new project should NOT ordain "No Original Research"; such an inappropriate policy (for a Travel guide) would reduce its utility.
To the contrary, travellers should be actively encouraged to tell us about the greatest meal they ever eat in Kishinev, Moldova or the new low-cost airline that lost their bags twice in succession or the cycle bridge marked on the latest map that was swept away in a flash flood last week. W. Frank (talk) 17:00, 19 August 2012 (UTC)

No problem; That would be similar to Wikinews:Original_reporting. I think that the biggest problem we'll have is people drifting in from the Wikipedias who think they already know life, policy, and everything. It might be a full time job to set people straight at first :-P . Is there a similar policy in place at Wikitravel as is, that we can point people to? --Kim Bruning (talk) 17:18, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
We usually start with a link to Welcome, Wikipedians, but like to spend more time explaining things in a more personalized way than just tossing links on user pages ;) --Peter Talk 18:13, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
<gasp> You're actually social to people? </gasp> --Kim Bruning (talk) 20:42, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
The luxury of a relatively small community. =) LtPowers (talk) 01:19, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
I agree that original reporting should be allowed on a travel wiki. Part of the job we'll have with this wiki will be rendering information accessible that was previously only available by visiting the location. Jmajeremy (talk) 23:00, 20 August 2012 (UTC)

An opposing admin from WTEdit

It has been mentioned that their are no admins opposing from WT however we do in fact have one and that is of course User:IBobi (who is also an employee of Internet Brands). I have been looking through the admin nomination archives at WT and do not see where he was promoted [50] yet he is listed here [51] as an admin. He went through the proper process yes? Was his RfA just not added to the list as it only occurred recently? Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 19:03, 19 August 2012 (UTC)

Internet Brands has sysopped many of their employees, who have not been nominated by the community, and would not pass, as they have not contributed anything positive. --Peter Talk 19:06, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
You mean employees just get handed the admin ticket without going through due process? That sounds a little crazy. Employees of the WMF must go through the RfA process just like anyone else. Our executive director is not and admin. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 19:18, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
Sue doesn't, but her deputy does happen to have been an admin on en.wp before he got involved WMF-side. (But that's neither here nor there, because they're not actually "in charge" of the wikis ;-) --Kim Bruning (talk) 20:35, 19 August 2012 (UTC) PS. I love the reasons for making Evan and Maj admins. :-) <grin>
How to flip a switch...
We eventually got a community bureaucrat on each language version, so we could promote our own admins without having to beg non-responsive tech folks at IB. But that, of course, took begging and pleading to non-responsive tech folks. My own process to become a "community bureaucrat" (on an implausibly large number of language versions) took nearly a month after my nomination had passed on 7 August 2009. We sent a big group email to the tech team on 8 Aug 2009, with no response. I followed up to beg some more, adding an awful lot of IB employees in the CC, and got a response on 17 Aug, and was told it had been "in our queue." The next day they told me that I was now a bureaucrat, but this was not the case. After another six emails from me, including some excruciatingly detailed explanation of how to flip a switch (see the hysterical thumb to the right—remember, this is our MW development team), I managed to get them to actually get it done on 3 Sept. --Peter Talk 20:28, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
I think this is a good illustration of one of the two principal goals of this proposal:
  1. The one: It is imperative that we re-establish community control over the project's future;
  2. The other: We want to rejoin the forked communities of Wikivoyage and Wikitravel, and also join with the Wikimedia community. --Peter Talk 20:31, 19 August 2012 (UTC)

To be fair, there is the staff right that some WMF staff have, which is primarily for legal and technical (and fundraising -- central notice) reasons. I think it's reasonable for some IB staff to get similar rights on Wikitravel. Aude (talk) 21:05, 19 August 2012 (UTC)

Good point. Did not know of this user type. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 21:10, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
To be honest, I'm baffled that someone without understanding that staff members exist is on Meta and fighting so vigorously against a legitimate company in the manner you are doing. The vote had more people than would be expected, and things like the above really make me feel that there is something really, really wrong going on. Ottava Rima (talk) 15:01, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
I am not going to respond to all of your comment, but with regard to "staff members exist" - that was not the issue. There is a special userright designation with which staff have recently become flagged. I have never seen documentation for this and it confers no community privileges, but is used to indicate work done by the Wikimedia Foundation. Previously, staff did all the same things under the same conditions but without this flag. Blue Rasberry (talk) 15:12, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
"Staff" has existed for quite a while, and there have been staff members using that permission on multiple Wikis for a long time. Furthermore, everyone knew that Jimbo had Founder status and that Developers had access. The ignorance is highly unlikely. That is in addition to the fact that I was responding to someone else and there is no way for you to have confused you as being the subject of my statement. Ottava Rima (talk) 03:18, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
My point was that we do not hand out the admin badge as soon as your are hired on by the foundation. With respect to advocating for this proposal I see it as a way of bringing hundred of new editors into the Wikimedia community and also a way to return a free and open source travel guide to a not for profit. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 15:47, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
"My point was that we do not hand out the admin badge as soon as your are hired on by the foundation" You haven't been hanging around Meta long enough to have an opinion on this topic then. There have been staff members given high level access for a very long time, as long as I can remember and I am one of the most active members on Meta. Ottava Rima (talk) 03:18, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
Thanks Ottava for the corrections. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 08:53, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
Actually while new developers of course have database access most staff don't have admin access. The two most high profile ones who do (Philippe Beaudette and Maggie Dennis) both had en.wikipedia admin status before they became foundation staff.Geni (talk) 10:31, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
"Most staff" isn't a real term because staff in general didn't exist until now. Godwin had all access, Sue Gardner had all access when needed, and the Developers did. They represented most of the "staff." Cary Bass was given Steward tools in a complex setup that was half vote half because of his position. Jimbo just had everything because he had everything. Jimbo is the key here and verifies that the complaints against a private company and its management style is kinda hypocritical. Ottava Rima (talk) 13:52, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
Well, you know that Jimbo gave up most of the abilities of the flag, right? And I know you and Jimbo have been having words. Both of you are pretty stubborn, and sometimes hard to deal with. Fair enough to say, right? :-) --Kim Bruning (talk) 03:34, 1 September 2012 (UTC)
1. I fought to have Jimbo keep the flags. 2. I've never criticized him. 3. He was used as an example of us doing exactly the same as a company. People have weird notions about Wikipedia that aren't really grounded in history or practice. :P Ottava Rima (talk) 04:06, 1 September 2012 (UTC)

Perhaps the wording should be adjusted to note that no community-selected admins are known to oppose the proposal. LtPowers (talk) 01:18, 20 August 2012 (UTC)

Let's just say that there are WT admins and then there are IB admins. --Peter Talk 01:34, 20 August 2012 (UTC)

The unanimity fallacyEdit

On many an occasion, supporters of the WMF fork have touted numbers purporting to show that WT admins are "unanimously" in favor of a fork.

  1. There are well over 70 admins on Wikitravel. None of the lists of (largely unverified) "Wikitravel administrators" supporting the fork approaches this number.
  2. Fork supporters insist that any discrepancy indicates admins who are "not active" or cannot be reached, and that if they were aware of this discussion, they'd support it as well. Says who? There are any number of indications that the strongarm tactics used by the managers of this RFC -- attempting to stifle dissent via harassment, moving opposition arguments off of the voting page, etc. -- have been distasteful to voters. It would be just as easy an assumption to say that those tactics -- or simple ambivalence -- are the reason a user might not want to post here at all. The number of WT admins who fall into this category nearly equates to those listed as supporters -- and those "supporters" are largely unverified as actual WT amins.
  3. There is ample evidence -- and absolutely none to the contrary -- that the overwhelming majority of non-admin users of Wikitravel are opposed to this fork.
  4. This is a clear attempt by the most vocal supporters of a fork to obscure the issue and unfairly sway Wikitravelers, Wikimedians, and the WMF Board toward their side, and should be scrutinized and dismissed.
-- (unsigned by User:IBobi 22:27, 20 August 2012 (UTC) )
  • The WMF and WM community (which includes me), consider the RFC to be binding on the WM community and WMF, and nothing else to be binding on the WM community or WMF.
  • On a positive conclusion of this RFC, the WMF will provide the wikitravel community with the resources to migrate. It is still up to that community to decide to move or not. (though I have a feeling I know what they'll do)
  • On a negative conclusion of this RFC, wikitravel will approach wikivoyage instead.
  • We/I have given you personally every single opportunity you might wish for to influence the RFC as you see fit (within limits of fairness, and you stuck to those, to your credit). Anyone may confirm that this is true.
  • At first I did this by simply sitting on my hands and watching. Later I actively extended some more options to you. You have mostly ignored them, afaict.
  • You still have ~2 days to change the course of the discussion. I have told you explicitly how you personally may cause the discussion to be extended beyond those 2 remaining days. My offer stands. Knowing your position, and with the statistics you have at your disposal, it would be foolish not to take me up on my offer. I think you might be blinded by your feelings at this moment in time. Take a deep breath. What would be a wise move right about now?
--Kim Bruning (talk) 22:40, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
Paul (IBobi), can you get a single WT admin to say that they are opposed to the move? Can you get a single contributor to come here and say this? Not some newly created account that refuses to associate with a real user on WT, but someone who can confirm their WT identity. Although I suppose that may be getting more difficult, as site infrastructure on WT has deteriorated so badly that users are logging in as other users. One even logged in as you!
I would also like you to address directly your conflict of interest in participating in an honest discussion of what is good for the communities involved. --Peter Talk 23:00, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
Please be nice. That said, are you saying that none of the opposers are currently working on WT, that you are aware of? --Kim Bruning (talk) 23:09, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
I don't think I was being... not nice. But yes, we have not been able to link any oppose votes to registered users on Wikitravel, currently active or otherwise. --Peter Talk 23:15, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
Just making sure :-) . And that is very interesting. Excepting IBobi though, I take it? --Kim Bruning (talk) 23:19, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I'm excluding Internet Brands employees. --Peter Talk 23:21, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
If that's still true in 2 days (probably, at this point) , it is certainly something we should take into account. --Kim Bruning (talk) 23:26, 20 August 2012 (UTC)

How exactly do you prove that a voter is *not* a Wikitraveler? You can't even prove that someone who claims to be an admin is in fact an admin.--IBobi talk email 00:04, 21 August 2012 (UTC)

Procedural note: "the RFC to be binding on the WM community and WMF" is false, there's no such thing as a binding RfC. Besides, it's not even clear what this RfC is about and what its consequences could be even if it were binding. --Nemo 06:17, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
In theory, always. In practice, what this RFC says is what we're going to do. The consequences will be:
  • WMF will create a new set of wikis for travel site.
  • WT wagon train arrives, bring in their data dumps
  • WMF imports data dump to the new set of wikis
If things go ok, wikivoyage will join in toosooner or later.
Then we welcome the WTers to the Wikimedia family. :-)
--Kim Bruning (talk) 09:59, 21 August 2012 (UTC) did I miss anything?
It has changed slightly but yes basically the above just now in a different order:
  1. A large portion of WTers are moving to WV
  2. The WMF will create a new set of wikis for the travel site
  3. WV will join the Wikimedia family bring their name, url, and all their content (which will also by some time next week include all English content hosted at WT)
Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 14:05, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
I'm a WT admin. You can see my home page on Wikitravel [52], and my contributions on WT over the past six years [53]. Unless IBobi chooses to strip my of admin privs then you can easily also check I'm an admin. I'm not aware that in the oppose votes, there is anyone else that can identify their contributions to WT. As far as I can see the WT community is pretty much unanimous behind the creation of a WMF travel site.
I'm not dismissing all the reasons to oppose creating a WMF travel site - most of them are considered need to be weighed against the arguments in favour. However, I don't accept that damage to the active WT community is one of them. --Inas66 (talk) 04:26, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
Seeing that you IBobi have just blocked a bunch of admins on Wikitravel[54] there is fairly clear evidence that something is up. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 04:37, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
Indeed that's a quite amazing wheel war. That said, he's currently right about (1) and (2) (which are being working on, I'm told) while (3) and (4) are just the same mistake on the other side. --Nemo 06:17, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
In response to IBobi's item 3 above: Show us this evidence. It is, in fact, not evident at all. I suggest that the overwhelming majority of non-admin users of Wikitravel are simply entirely unaware of the proposed migration, mainly because all efforts to inform them have been blocked by IBobi himself, including my own efforts to make a neutral announcement. If the evidence does exist, why has it not been shown, as it would be the strongest argument IB could make for their case. It has not been shown, and I deduce from this that it is experiencing a comprehensive failure to exist. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 19:28, 21 August 2012 (UTC)

Internet Brands blocks adminsEdit

To drive home two points:

  1. IB's relationship with its community is undemocratic and dysfunctional, and imperils the goal of retaining users, and
  2. IBobi is actively suppressing the involvement of Wikitravellers in this discussion

Take a look at Wikitravel:Special:log/block. On 20 August he started blocking users (including admins, who can just unblock themselves) for leaving other users talk page messages letting them know about this proposal and where to find more information about it. --Peter Talk 01:12, 21 August 2012 (UTC)

I would respectfully recommend to IBobi that he stop engaging in such destructive activities if he wants others in the RfC to take his arguments seriously. While we obviously don't have any control over what he chooses to do off-wiki, these types of actions will nonetheless influence the decisions of anyone involved who knows about them... From both IBobi's actions and comments, I can't help but get the sense that he misses the point of wikis. Jmajeremy (talk) 01:53, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
Well, as a bureaucrat, I tried to restore some semblance of order, but I have now been blocked indefinitely from Wikitravel and stripped of my userrights, with the comment "user resigned." IBobi has also demoted all bureaucrats—see Wikitravel:Special:Log/rights. --Peter Talk 02:04, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
I find it interesting how IBobi was able to unblock himself even after being desysopped. Perhaps an abuse of having root access to WT's databases? Jmajeremy (talk) 02:24, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
He is simply making it clear who WT belongs to. Thankfully the content is under a CC BY SA license. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 04:04, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
Try to desysop Jimbo Wales or to deflag these people without discussion. ;-) --Nemo 06:22, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
When is the last time Jimbo started blocking users, admins among them, for messaging other users to discuss the project's future? --Peter Talk 06:33, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
Who said he did? I only said that even among us such extreme actions usually require some discussion first, see e.g. Petition to Jimbo. --Nemo 07:45, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
My point is that the idea of some equivalence between the nature theoretical and practical of the relationship between Wikimedians and the WMF and the relationship between Wikitravellers and IB is hard to swallow. The situation on Wikitravel is extreme and unusual. --Peter Talk 07:50, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
And my point is that those who hold power usually use it unless you're in a really good position to stop them. --Nemo 09:57, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
Also, I think Jimbo Wales is a bit of a stretch, as he is also the founder of the WMF. A better comparison would be some random staffer around here who no one really knows, respects or worships as an role model. On an interesting note, Wikitravel founder Evan has been de-cratted, effectively ending any power which he might have once had. How would it be if Jimbo retired from the WMF, but was then stripped of his rights without consultation for no particular reason? JamesA (talk) 11:04, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
Only a staffer who wanted to kill the site would act like IBobi. I am sure any staffer who did this at the WMF would quickly find themselves out of a job. Anyway the main point is that relationships between the editing community of the Wikimedia sites and the WMF is MUCH better. I personally think the WMF does an excellent job given the amount of funding and staff they have. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 14:01, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
FWIW. Jimbo has in fact been de-admined on at least one project. On the other hand he has de-admined users on en.wikipedia (me at one point but that was a long time ago and I've since got the bit back). In terms of what foundation staff can and can't do see things like en:Wikipedia:Office actions. Yes there have been fights over this from time to time. Usually when some project that hasn't had much foundation contact finds out that there are certain things they won't let you do. We had some issues with verses of the Koran appearing in the sitenotice of one Islamic majority language project for example. The really is that there will always be people prepared to pick a fight when whoever owns a wiki exercises the power that comes with that and the WMF is no different although generally those who perform the actual actions have some idea of the kind of diplomacy required.Geni (talk) 04:55, 30 August 2012 (UTC)

Who are the commenters?Edit

I tried a quick analysis at Requests for comment/Travel Guide/Commenters composition. About 215 users lack a (merged) account or 600 global edits, 480 have both. I think we can also use that page to list all the (current and previous?) WikiTravel administrators (in all languages) and if possible also most active users, to check how many verified their identity here and commented for/against. --Nemo 07:41, 21 August 2012 (UTC)

Nemo, this will be a though, as Paul O'Brien aka IBobi demotes every admin that add links to WMF or WV at Wikitravel. User [55] Dguillaime was today immediately demoted by Paul after he dared to link to Wikivoyage and declared that he will move to Wikivoyage. This is unprecedented as in the past we only demoted admins after two years of non editing. Also Dguilaime did not requested to be stripped of his admin rights, the community didn't questioned him to step down and Paul unilaterally just demoted him with stating "retired".
I can confirm that i'm (as of writing this paragraph) an administrator of Wikitravel and support the move (some account name on both pages). I registered at Wikimedia to participate in the RfC. I'm not active with any other Wiki. Nemo, just spent some time at Wikitravel to see how Paul's activities effect the community. Wikitravel currently rather moves in the direction of North Korea where every dissenting opinion is punished with blocks and demotion. The community is leaving which is easiest seen by the lack of patrolling by users: [56]. Jc8136 (talk) 09:03, 21 August 2012 (UTC) (Wikitravel admin)
Of course, what I said might be idealistic and not actually possible, but it's worth checking what actual data we have because things have been a bit confusing. --Nemo 09:48, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
The main difficulty is just reaching and coordinating with everyone. Wikitravellers in particular are notoriously hard to find when non-responsive, probably because of the self selection bias of those who fancy travel writing. Despite my omnipresence right now, I'll probably be very hard to reach from mid-September until December because of travel.
The upside is that claims of identity here are fairly easy to disprove (or at least they have been). If you or anyone else has a worry that someone is misrepresenting someone else's views here, you can contact that person through Wikitravel, either at their talk page (which may be reverted by IB employees) or via special:emailuser. Actually, that might not work in the future—IB disabled it for a while recently. IB has also disabled the API to try and prevent spidering, and along with it, a lot of other useful functionality. --Peter Talk 10:00, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
It seems that a major censorship and historical revisionism is going on at WT. I am unable to edit anything, not even my own userpage or talk page, either logged on or as an IP, as everything appears to be restricted to edit access by "bureacrauts" (sic). IBobi has been vandalising user pages, user talk pages and the Traveller's pub, by deleting any reference to the migration, citing violation of policy, but the policy that is allegedly violated is never specified. Anyway to cut to the chase, it is likely that at least some people will be unable to prove/disprove identity by this method at present. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 06:41, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
We have data dumps, don't we? (Hopefully with full page histories?) --Kim Bruning (talk) 11:39, 3 September 2012 (UTC)
This is all post data dump. The site is up and running for tests at WV and seems to have full history. We have started cleanup. Some snags may exist, but it looks pretty good at this stage and Kudos to Hansm for making it happen. I dont think IBobi is doing a very effective coverup. Too little, too late and fairly transparent. I dont know who he is trying to fool, but I don't think it will work. It all makes IB look rather juvenile and petulant, and if/when they fire the poor sucker for dragging their name through the mud or as a scapegoat the rep will probably stick. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 12:50, 3 September 2012 (UTC)

Internet Brands issues legal threats for "communicating with Wikitravel users"Edit

According to IB, now, "communicating with directly with Wikitravel members" is a crime, and they are Internet Brands issues legal threats for "communicating with Wikitravel users" issuing spurious legal threats against Wikitravellers [57]. --Peter Talk 18:53, 21 August 2012 (UTC)

Wow a friendly business. Threatening your volunteers with legal action definitely sounds like a good strategy for building an editor community [58] :-) Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 19:24, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
(Edit conflict.)This seems to be quite the opposite of Wikipedia:Wikipedia:No legal threats. Interesting. --Stefan2 (talk) 19:26, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
As Peter is aware, but failed to mention in his post above, this notice specifically refers to the unsolicited spamming of a very large number of Wikitravel users' accounts. While Peter has resigned as a WT user, effective August 8, 2012, we're more than happy for any constructive contributions he would like to make, as he's been an invaluable member of the WT community when doing so; but no user may abuse the site's tools to harass Wikitravelers and promote a personal agenda.--IBobi talk email 19:51, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
(ec) @IBobi: Recently, I note, you felt that Peter would not be welcome to return: [59]. (fortunately: [60]). What made you change your mind? --Kim Bruning (talk) 20:14, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
8 (correction 7) former admins at Wikitravel were recently threatened with legal action [61]. It is a perfect example of how not to run a community of volunteers. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 19:57, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
Aside from the fact that these threats hold very little value, this is a very sad attempt by someone to keep a project under their control. Ajraddatz (Talk) 20:14, 21 August 2012 (UTC)

Far too easy. The Juicy Press Release(tm) just writes itself  :-/ --Kim Bruning (talk) 20:32, 21 August 2012 (UTC)

It looks like a bit of really incompetent sock-puppetry too, and one of the least convincing threats I have yet to see. I doubt it was written by a qualified lawyer. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 20:50, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
Good point. I've mailed Chuck Hoover to see if he can clarify whether this is indeed a legitimate account. --Kim Bruning (talk) 22:21, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
IBobi claims it is. But you are thinking this just might be him under another account name. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 22:30, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
Let's see what Chuck says. --Kim Bruning (talk) 23:13, 21 August 2012 (UTC)

Unfortunately the split from IB now bears all of the hallmarks of a messy divorce, including threats of legal action, and I'm sorry that members of the Wikimedia community have had to see so much dirty laundry aired. However, since we are asking the WMF to take on our project, I'd like to rebut the accusation that Wikitravel users are the type of people who would engage in "unsolicited spamming of a very large number of Wikitravel users' accounts".

As admins and a wiki community we have encouraged many users to contribute to Wikitravel over the years, and during that process have addressed their concerns about the open source nature of the content, working with a commercial host, the viability of the community, and a variety of other topics. Obviously in the past few weeks things have changed dramatically, with a key event being IB disabling the Mediawiki API on 08-August and thereby crippling our ability to make a copy of the Wikitravel site content. As is chronicled in discussions elsewhere on this page, IB will not allow a site notice and has been heavy-handed with any efforts to discuss the fork on wikitravel.org, so the following email was drafted and sent to about 500 of Wikitravel's most active editors (note: this is less than 0.7% of Wikitravel's 75,000 total registered user accounts):

This email is being sent to you on behalf of Wikitravel administrators since you have put some real time and effort into working on Wikitravel. We wanted to make sure that you are up to date and in the loop regarding big changes in the community that will affect the future of your work!
As you may have already heard, Wikitravel's community is looking to migrate to the Wikimedia Foundation. A really good and current overview of the process and reasons for the migration can be found in this FAQ:
http://wikivoyage.org/general/Migration_FAQ
If you have any questions, the talk page of that article will be the best place to ask them, in part so that other Wikitravellers with the same questions can read them too. If you prefer to ask a question privately, please feel free to give me or Peter (User:Peterfitzgerald) an email. Both of our emails are at the bottom of the Migration FAQ.
Lastly, there is a Request for Comment regarding the proposal at Wikimedia's Meta site: http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Requests_for_comment/Travel_Guide. I would welcome you to weigh in with your opinions there (if you haven't already). The proposal itself is here: http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Travel_Guide.

Nothing in this email violates the Wikitravel terms of use. It was sent to a list of users who we have collaborated with regularly over the years, all of whom enabled the wiki preference to allow receipt of email from other users, in order to alert them to information that was hugely relevant but that we could not otherwise publicize. We did not advocate that they leave wikitravel.org, but simply let them know that changes are afoot. So far every person who has sent a response has started it with some variation of "thanks for letting me know". For sending this email several users (including myself [62]) have been called spammers and threatened with legal action, which hopefully helps to illustrate why a new host is needed rather than to indict the character of current community members.

The Wikitravel community is a great group of people, and will be an excellent addition to the Wikimedia movement. I again apologize for the fact that the Wikimedia community has at times been asked to referee an ugly break-up, but as you can see from the comments of Wikitravel community members on this talk page, it's a smart, enthusiastic, and community-spirited group, and one that is very excited about the opportunity to move to a new home. -- Wrh2 (Wikitravel admin/bureaucrat) 01:37, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

Yes this simply reinforces why we should have those who wish to, come join us at the WIkimedia movement.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 03:38, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
If Wikitravel had shown some willingness to follow wiki ideals and work with the community, MediaWiki and WMF to improve their website, then perhaps they could have become a WM sister project while still being owned by IB, but everything they do blatantly goes against the norms of a wiki community, so I won't have any remorse in seeing WT die in favour of a Wikimedia travel wiki. I look forward to welcoming all the great WT contributors into the fold of WM. Jmajeremy (talk) 04:26, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

Ibobi made it no secret that IB questioned by popup almost 5000 IP users with well chosen questions to prove their own point! (See "Wikitravel survey results from IB" above.) The reputation of Wikitravel is build on thousands of hours of work of contributers and admins. Rein N. (talk) 04:53, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

The survey contained a loaded question, it wasn't administered scientifically, and there's no reason 5,000 readers should supersede the opinions of the volunteers who actually write the site. How could anyone without a specialized knowledge of computers answer the question I like Wikitravel the way it is or I support a new fork site. Nobody in the general public would understand what a "fork" is without some context. Jmajeremy (talk) 13:01, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

I have not been able to reach Chuck. I just left him a message at his office phone number. If he doesn't call me before closing, well, that's that then. --Kim Bruning (talk) 15:44, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

Strange petition has appearedEdit

  • http://www dot ipetitions.com/petition/oppose-wikimedia-fork-of-wikitravel/ No choice is given. It is just for opposing the formation of this site. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 12:56, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
How very strange. I find it peculiar that there were over 80 signatures within the first three days or so. Yet, there has been no obvious effort on the WT site or this RFC to promote the petition. Where did all these voters come from, and how did they manage to immediately find the petition if we didn't even notice it for over a week? This seems awfully suss. JamesA (talk) 13:08, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
It doesn't seem to be there now.· · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 13:22, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
It is still there you however need to copy and paste the http and replace dot with . due to the link being blocked on Wikipedia Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 15:43, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

The only thing IB is absolutely adamant about, is that they won't ask people to participate in this RFC. That would be the only thing that would have an effect. Their reasoning is unclear to me. --Kim Bruning (talk) 14:51, 22 August 2012 (UTC)


Imagine a bunch of people at some office decide they might want to paint the office a nice red color. Now those people agree to hold a meeting in one of the meeting rooms. They leave a brief flyer on everyone's desk inviting them to the meeting.

Now someone goes around and removes all the flyers.

The result, of course, is that the meeting proceeds with only the "red office" supporters present. By unanimous consent, they proceed to paint the office red.

(we need to take this into account as we proceed after this evening) --Kim Bruning (talk) 19:39, 22 August 2012 (UTC) I can only assume that the pamphlet remover secretly wanted the office to be painted red. also posted here

IRCEdit

irc.freenode.net #wikitravel is currently very quiet. Anyone coming to hang out? :-) --Kim Bruning (talk) 20:39, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

ArchivingEdit

I'm not so familiar with Meta processes. Where will this discussion be archived, and will there be redirects in place? This is relevant because it has been heavily linked from non-WMF sites. --Peter Talk 00:49, 23 August 2012 (UTC)

These pages will likely remain at this location. --Kim Bruning (talk) 01:28, 23 August 2012 (UTC)
Besides, Don't delete redirects. --Nemo 05:32, 23 August 2012 (UTC)

CountsEdit

For some raw crunching, see: Requests_for_comment/Travel_Guide/Commenters_composition (thanks to Nemo)

  • Raw 540 support, 152 opposed: 78%
  • ~WM only  : 426 support, 111 oppose : 79%
  • ~Non-WM only: 114 support, 41 oppose: 73%

(WM and Non-WM are estimates)

  • 67 people interested in the idea here [63] Some of which never weighted in on the RfC
  • (insert other relevant counts here)

DiscussionEdit

By comparison: stewards would require 80% approval. We're pretty much on the edge of the most stringent criterion on meta. --Kim Bruning (talk) 04:40, 23 August 2012 (UTC)

Are there RfC related to starting other sister projects for precedence? Typically we use more than 66% as a rough pass (see the pending changes debate). At nearly 80% we have good consensus. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 04:49, 23 August 2012 (UTC)
Given the concerns raised at #Sudden spate of IP opposition?, I'd like to see closer scrunity of anonymous votes and running a checkuser on some accounts. Jpatokal (talk) 05:18, 23 August 2012 (UTC)
Yes there where maybe 13 or so questionable opposes which if subtracted would bring support up to 80%. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 05:28, 23 August 2012 (UTC)
I know of at least 3 IP !votes that were made via proxies.--Jasper Deng (talk) 05:36, 23 August 2012 (UTC)
Is there a check user who could look at the votes to determine if there are any issues? Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 05:46, 23 August 2012 (UTC)
You could ask at Meta:Requests for CheckUser information? --Kim Bruning (talk) 09:44, 23 August 2012 (UTC)

Well, if we subtract all votes normally considered non-eligible (if we're strict) from both support *and* oppose, we get to 79%. See above under "~WM only". With thanks to Nemo for ...errr... having a Bash at it . ;-) (This might be too strict to use as our close criterion, since it means we don't count many of the wikitravellers' opinions either)

The skew we're talking about when we discuss the sudden spate of IP edits and proxy edits shows up in the ~Non-WM-Only which is at "only" 73% support. --Kim Bruning (talk) 09:34, 23 August 2012 (UTC)

I've checked some hypotheses on whether the suspicious edits mentioned by DocJames skewed either the results-at-the-time or the final outcome. I couldn't find anything that threw off results by more than a percent or two, and not across values anyone so far has told me they consider critical (such as 51% or 80% or etc. ) --Kim Bruning (talk) 14:19, 24 August 2012 (UTC)

Uncounted votesEdit

I wanted to list the users who added themselves to Travel Guide#People interested, who didn't know to or didn't realize they had to add their support again on the RfC (or didn't bother?):

  1. User:Gentenaar — Wikitravel admin & supporter.
  2. Nearly Headless Nick — enwp admin, Wikimedia India board member, occasional wikitravel contributor.
  3. Michelle Ann Jenkins (Majnoona) — Wikitravel founder, WT admin, and supporter.
  4. User:John Vandenberg — Wikimedia Australia board member, admin of English Wikipedia and English Wikisource.
  5. User:JamesofurLots of Wikimedia roles.
  6. User:WereSpielChequers — wikimedian, mainly active on Commons and EN wiki.
  7. David Le Brun (Quirk) — Wikitravel admin & supporter.
  8. User:Jensre — Wikivoyage board member & supporter.
  9. User:Saint-Louis — Wikipedia contributor.
  10. User:Juliancolton — long-term WT reader, global sysop and global rollbacker, admin on several WM projects.
  11. User:Ralgis — Wikipedia contributor.
  12. User:Ahalin — Wikipedia, Wikimapia, Wikimedia and Wikitravel contributor.
  13. Ali Haidar Khan (Tonmoy) — founder member of Wikimedia Bangladesh Chapter & the Treasurer of founding Executive Committee.
  14. User:Diamondland — suspected sockpuppet and banned at enWikipedia?

It's worth noting that not every one who signed at Travel Guide#People interested voted in support on the RfC. The one oppose vote I can find from the People interested list was User:Sven Manguard; all others who cross-posted were in support (52). As you can see above, we do know that an additional 4 known supporters were not counted in the RfC, while the position of the other 10 are unknown. --Peter Talk 16:50, 23 August 2012 (UTC)

In trying to ensure that the totals really do reflect an accurate count, also note that one support vote should be subtracted per #Efforts to increase the prominence of a single editors views as it looks like a double vote was accidentally cast as #67 and #291. That said, I'm not sure how important it is to be 100% accurate, so that point may be a bit pedantic. -- Wrh2 (talk) 17:07, 23 August 2012 (UTC)

ClosedEdit

I just added the {{Rfc subpage}} template to the RFC page to indicate it's closed, and so people don't needlessly keep voting. I abstain from any part of the decision process however, and think ultimately it will be up to the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees to make a decision, which takes into account this RFC. Cheers. Aude (talk) 07:13, 23 August 2012 (UTC)

That solves it nicely. Danke, Aude! :-) --Kim Bruning (talk) 09:36, 23 August 2012 (UTC)
Thanks, Aude! A very short not about the next steps: The board is reviewing the RfC and its talk page over the next week. We are going to share our thoughts with you soon. Alice Wiegand (talk) 21:42, 23 August 2012 (UTC)
Where did anyone say the time when the vote would end? It seems like some people had the idea to end at 00:00 23 August, but the closed template was put on the page at 06:48 by Aude. After 00:00 and before the closed template was put on the page someone voted in the support column, and after the closed template was put on the page but before the end of 23 August someone else voted to oppose. The oppose vote was removed and then re-added by two other editors. I would like to request clarification for when the vote ended and other opinions about whether these two votes should be included in the static record when it is analyzed. Blue Rasberry (talk) 01:43, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
I believe neither the support nor the oppose "votes" after 00:00 were included in the #Counts.
I'm a little puzzled about this process, though, as my understanding is that it is a structured discussion, not a vote? Is there a policy article that might help clarify how this all is supposed to work? --Peter Talk 02:24, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
It is a structured discussion but there is still a time when the discussion ends, and just to help people consider the discussion it is nice to create some quantification of how the discussion ended at the time designated as an ending. Yes, it is correct that neither of these votes counted, but it is not certain to me why they did not count because all I see is that the vote was to end on 23 August. That could mean 23:59 on 23 August, but it was interpreted as 00:00. Was a time ever stated? Blue Rasberry (talk) 02:56, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
The only mention of a time of day was by Kim Bruning up here, which was 00:00 UTC, but his suggested date in that same line ultimately lost favor to 8/23. All a little vague, and certainly not clear to a casual observer. But it's a little vague and not clear to this observer why it would matter too much ;) --Peter Talk 03:35, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
Given that we have several hundred votes in total, that they are not close to 50/50, and that no significantly new arguments were presented in the post-deadline votes, I do not think it is such an important issue.--Ymblanter (talk) 08:40, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
I think it matters for the integrity of the election. In proper elections votes are counted and if anyone is going to present vote statistics then it might be best if no one could make the statements, "People were not clearly told when the election would end", "Some votes were not counted", or "No due process". Those might be true statements right now, and I hardly want to propose inconvenient revisions of election results but sometimes when there is controversy people on all sides are happiest when the rules are followed regardless of how much they matter. Blue Rasberry (talk) 11:28, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
Unfortunately, all long discussions tend to have these issues. The thing we should be focussing on here is that they don't matter. People are still free to comment even after the sides have been tallied up (since this isn't a vote), and hundreds of people have expressed their opinion. Let's find better things to do than argue over bureaucracy, please. Ajraddatz (Talk) 12:09, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
I think having the above three people review the issue and say it does not matter closes the issue in a proper and appropriate way. Blue Rasberry (talk) 12:25, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
Already got that covered: Quoting from the page: "The discussion closure time was 0:00, 23 August 2012 (UTC) The state of the discussion at that point in time was: [64]." If you want an 'official count-at-close-time', you can use that revision. --Kim Bruning (talk) 13:54, 24 August 2012 (UTC) Note that this is not an election, we don't strictly have votes, and they are definitely not anonymous. (We do occasionally hold elections like that too, but that's not the case here. An RFC is a more appropriate format to find out what issues might exist).

Task force for preparing for transfer of files from Wikitravel Shared to CommonsEdit

A task force has been established to deal with the logistic questions about the likely-to-happen copying of files from Wikitravel Shared to Commons. If you're interested in helping, please visit Commons:Wikitravel Shared transfer task force. Sven Manguard (talk) 16:34, 23 August 2012 (UTC)

"Likely"? According to whom? Since this is a Board decision, and you're not on the board (nor is anyone who's responded), this seems quite a bit premature. Specifics were never even given as to how the Board would make their decision. Calling this "likely" is as accurate as calling it "doomed to failure."--IBobi talk email 07:01, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
Obviously, nothing will be transferred until the positive decision is taken. The Board is not going to provide any specifics, this is why a taskforce is needed for.--Ymblanter (talk) 08:37, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
Hmmm, I'm not sure why that's 100% obvious. Especially with all parties (now) using (Instant) Commons, this seems like a good idea for all parties anyway. --Kim Bruning (talk) 14:05, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
We can begin moving images over regardless of the outcome of this decision. All images are CC BY SA or at least under an open lience. We haul in pictures from other places such as flickr all the time. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 17:43, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
Sure, but you probably still want the images to be visible on WT after move (right now, the suggestions are to rename them consistently). Unless WT wants to rename them now, I do not see why the images should be moved before WT is accepted as a sister project.--Ymblanter (talk) 18:36, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
WV is being accepted as a sister project. WT is a private company run by Internet Brands that is separate from its editor community. The editor community of WT is the one which wish to join us. WT will likely have to change how it works and I assume that after we set up our site they will simply mirror it with extra advertising and commercial tools but we will see. There paid employee IBobi is edit more and more lately. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 18:55, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
Is there something I should know? We should wait a second till our enthusiasm culminates in ecstasy. And please do not start transferring images form one wiki to an other uncoordinatedly. For sure, I am VERY happy about the RFC as well. First of all the task force should contact us here. There is a lot of work to do right now.... -- DerFussi (talk) 20:04, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
Agree we are still in the preparing phase. The actual moving is a little ways away.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 20:43, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
Ultimately, if the content pages come onto WMF servers, the images will have to come over to Commons. We can work out the details now, and have a smooth migration, or we can do it on the fly in a few months, and create a colossal mess. Considering that there are already a dozen people working over at the linked page, it looks like the first path will prevail. As for how I was so confident, I won't reveal the answer to that, suffice to say I wouldn't have started this without some assurance that it wasn't going to be wasted time. Sven Manguard (talk) 03:20, 30 August 2012 (UTC)

Wikitravel stops all editingEdit

The WT site as of today is no longer editable by anyone. IB has at least partially closed down the collaborative aspect of the project in that IPs can no longer edit. Any discussion of this proposal has been removed. Links can be found in the comments here [65] It also appears that the content is being managed much more extensively by employees of IB with a few more just beginning in the last couple of days. These changes have appeared without discussion. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 07:57, 2 September 2012 (UTC)

I confirm this. I logged in and there is an option to "view source" but the entire site is under full protection. I think this means that editing is restricted to IB employees. Blue Rasberry (talk) 10:15, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
The editing is restricted to a new usergroup called 'bureaucrat', which currently has no members. Ruslik (talk) 12:25, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
Make that "bureacraut"... The Helpful One 12:38, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
Oh, well, you are right. There is one bureaucrat, iBobi, and this person can assign the rights of a "bureacraut", which is the only class of user which can edit any content on the website. Currently there are no bureacrauts. Blue Rasberry (talk) 12:47, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
It can be edited again. Ruslik (talk) 17:22, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
I think IB plans to shut down editing when they can't monitor the site. Just got myself a permanent ban without any discussion for mentioning to a long time janitor who were cleaning up spam, that no one else beside IB staff were aiding in that endeavour, and the community haven't been able to make backups since mid-august.
Its so bloody infuriating to see IBs comments above that its just a fringe group who wants to fork, and at the same time, permanently ban a long time admin for communicating with another long time admin on a private talk page. Sertmann (talk) 20:09, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
Try wikitravel:Special:EmailUser instead. That's harder to stop. --Stefan2 (talk) 19:19, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
I'm sorry but maybe this question is the stupid one, are you still administrator at Wikitravel site? If you don't like it why are you still work there? There is an other site you could work on instead you know, a new one. And of course, if you not working there any more, why do you care what happens there? If it were me I would go away. But sometim editor at a site will leave and then troll there? Is that what you are doing there? You shouldn't. It's no good for anything.--188.40.105.142 20:16, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
I think they are trying to continue discussion with their community of fellow Wikitravelors. IB is the hoster of WT not the owner of the community. Welcome to the web 2.0 Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 20:18, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
Funny how IBobi feels free to make himself a check user without any discussion. I guess it doesn't make much of a difference since he probably has access to the raw databases anyway... Jmajeremy (talk) 20:27, 2 September 2012 (UTC)
Trolling? are you kidding me iBobi? As i've said before, you guys have bought the servers, not the community. And as it stands now, that community is still called wikitravel, and wikitravel.org is its home, no matter if we're in a conflict with the hosts or not. If, or more likely, when that situation is changed, and all the community members are made aware of that, I will indeed not have any business on the Internet Brands version of wikitravel. Sertmann (talk) 22:55, 2 September 2012 (UTC)

While I hesitate to ascribe positive attributes to IB at this point, as of this writing the site does seem to be fully editable again. Jpatokal (talk) 23:40, 2 September 2012 (UTC)

Yes it seems like the position is that a strong offense is the best defense. 193.72.18.159 05:45, 3 September 2012 (UTC) Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 05:52, 3 September 2012 (UTC)
The site is not fully editable. Here are the histories of some user talk pages that have been protected by IBobi to protect his deletions of information about the proposal which this is the talk page for: [66], [67], [68], [69], [70], [71]. This list may not be exhaustive, and I will be very unsurprised if it increases in length. Ikan Kekek (talk) 08:03, 3 September 2012 (UTC)

Why are we even discussing this?Edit

This is Meta. This is not a forum to discuss the actions of a business or speculate about any such thing like that. There is a lot of off-topic discussion, probably upwards of 95%. Sigh. Ottava Rima (talk) 00:04, 4 September 2012 (UTC)

Given that this discussion is about a proposal for the WMF to host a fork of Wikitravel, updates about increasing level of dysfunction on the original site, including blocking all editing outside IB working hours, would seem to be on topic. It feels increasingly like the fork would not be a competing site, but the only way the content and community can continue to live. Jpatokal (talk) 00:42, 4 September 2012 (UTC)
http://wikitravel.org/shared/Wikitravel_Shared:Travellers%27_pub#Database_work_this_weekend--188.40.105.142 03:56, 4 September 2012 (UTC)
I would really doubt that's warranting shutdowns at that time of the day. Unless they don't know of mw:Manual:$wgReadOnly, that isn't a full explanation.--Jasper Deng (talk) 04:02, 4 September 2012 (UTC)
Now that all content is up and running on WV this proposal no longer involves WT and yes I agree there is little further need to discuss either IB or WT. We are no longer discussing creating a fork. We are simply discussing if we should accept WVs request to become a WMF sister project (bringing over their url, name, and editorship / readership). Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 06:41, 4 September 2012 (UTC)
\o/ --Kim Bruning (talk) 17:53, 4 September 2012 (UTC) + Your turn to poke SJ and Lyzzy. ;-)
WV is Wikiversity. Sigh. Ottava Rima (talk) 03:36, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
WV is also Wikivoyage. Just like Wikipedia's WP is also WordPress, Windows Phone and the Washington Post. Abbreviations don't solely belong to Wikimedia. JamesA (talk) 05:45, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
No. WV is used for shortcuts. It is bad form to mix them. Ottava Rima (talk) 14:19, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
A fork of a private company. That does not belong here. If you want a home created travel wiki, then fine. But discussing a private company that isn't Wiki is highly unethical and off topic. This is just a coatrack to discuss anti-corporate sentiment, which is not what Meta is for. Ottava Rima (talk) 03:31, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
Huh? Wikitravel is obviously a Wiki, and all its content is Creative Commons-licensed. It's perfectly ethical to copy it, that's the reason it was licensed that way in the first place. Jpatokal (talk) 05:09, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
Wikimedia does not own all Wikis, nor did it create "Wikis." Meta is not for non-Wikimedia Wikis and this is really off topic. It is also not ethical to clone other people's work. If you can't create your own, then you aren't actually contributing. Wikipedia was started to build a free encyclopedia, not steal one. The rest of the projects are the same. Ottava Rima (talk) 14:19, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
I wasn't aware you could fork a privately held company either (or a publicly held one for that matter). That would be interesting! Would that be something like spinning off departments?
Now that the community-formerly-known-as-wikitravel has moved to Wikivoyage, it should be possible discussion of the former host down to just what's necessary here. That also would be useful if said host starts externalizing blame.
In theory, that is. On the other hand, I do recognize people need a forum to vent and/or go "<phew>". <scratches head> --Kim Bruning (talk) 11:50, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
The "community" is owned by one entity, which is that private company. Meta only deals with Wikimedia projects. --14:19, 5 September 2012 (UTC) (by Ottava Rima)
Contradictio. The community concept/metaphor implies joint ownership.
The legal documentation in the case of this community states that all content is owned by the creators, licensed for use by anyone on the planet ( http://wikitravel.org/wiki/shared/index.php?title=Copyleft&oldid=158452 original text at original location around time of move/ last backup was made) . In cases where there are multiple creators, content is effectively joint owned. So this concept is a good close match to the underlying legal reality.
  • Meta typically only deals with Wikimedia projects. The project in question will be travel.wikimedia.org.
  • We may also be merging in several Wikivoyage projects. These will also become Wikimedia projects.
Thank you for keeping us sharp. --Kim Bruning (talk) 15:51, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
The material is on a website owned by a private company. That private company is not part of Wikimedia. You can't hide that regardless of how many words you try to use. Therefore, the whole discussion is off topic. Ottava Rima (talk) 18:02, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
We have all agreed I think that this private company no longer requires discussion as it is no longer part of the proposal. The proposal has simply become "do we wish to allow the NGO WikiVoyage to become a sister project run by the WMF". I know the German chapter is already working with them. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 18:06, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
Said material, however, is not owned by said company. It is merely licensed from the rights-holders. Standard copyright law applies. --Kim Bruning (talk) 19:17, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
Ottava, it's clear you have no idea what's actually going on here. "The material" that will be used to populate the new Wikimedia travel guide -- should it be approved -- will be coming from Wikivoyage, an NGO that is fully on board with the transition. Any discussion of Internet Brands is only in the service of refuting a particular argument against forming the new Wikimedia travel guide. LtPowers (talk) 19:52, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
That could be believable if the whole talk page and RfC page weren't dominated by the bashing of a private company and it referred to in every discussion on the topic. The discussion is really, really off topic throughout and it is sad that Meta is being abused in this manner. Ottava Rima (talk) 23:15, 5 September 2012 (UTC)

Maybe this will be considered off-topic too, but... Whether you agree with any of Ottava's points or not, or support the fork or not: On what planet do you imagine it matters, from a practical or even legal standpoint, whether wikiTravel content is brought directly to WM, or brought from wikiVoyage into WM? You're trying to invalidate *months* of community discussion on this topic by exploiting what you see as a technicality? What kind of wiki voodoo is this? It really leaves a bad taste in my mouth on this whole business, which is why -- yes, before one of the fork dogs jumps on my back -- I anonymized my IP. But just because someone doesn't feel like being attacked in this community doesn't mean the points they make are invalid. And this stinks.--31.207.3.42 20:58, 5 September 2012 (UTC)

Months of community discussion? Not quite. It seems to be one-sided dominated and bashing. The community has policies and yet most people here aren't members of the Meta community nor followed those policies. It is obvious that there was off site canvassing on the topic, as there is consistent reference to people on the site who are "protesting" here, and they proudly admit it. That is really inappropriate and show misconduct that would normally result in warnings, blocks, and the deletion of such off topic statements. Ottava Rima (talk) 23:15, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
I meant *they* (Kim, Doc James, LtPowers), not you, were trying to invalidate this discussion, by trying to sneak WT content into WM via WV. It's ludicrous, and shameful. There might have been a reasonable, ethical way to make this WM travel fork happen, but we're way past that now, in my opinion. The methods used here should give significant pause to the Board in evaluating this proposal. They give me pause in continuing to contribute here. I do agree, some disciplinary action is in order.--74.63.112.140 23:29, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
This is ridiculous. What kind of disciplinary action are you proposing, and on what possible grounds? These vague accusations (of "sneak[ing] content"?) aren't worth the bits they're printed with. Name one thing that has been done unethically. LtPowers (talk) 02:08, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
Meta is not for discussing the ethical processes of an outside company. That alone should have warranted warnings that would be followed up by blocks. Ottava Rima (talk) 03:57, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
Well, it didn't. And isn't that wonderful? :-) --Kim Bruning (talk) 04:51, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
At this point it is simply best to ignore the personal insults. Those who used anonymized IP addresses should be taken as just that. Speaking about intimidation concerns the rumors are that I have been sued by a commercial company we shall not name. That these IPs claim concerns that the WMF or I personally will attack them if they use their actual Wikipedia or meta account is a little strange. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 07:37, 6 September 2012 (UTC)

IP editors doing foolish thingsEdit

Some IP editors are acting unwisely at [72]. We don't need that. There are better ways of reaching wikitravellers, once the board has made their decision public. --Kim Bruning (talk) 12:07, 5 September 2012 (UTC)

I concur. Edit warring is not cool anywhere! Blue Rasberry (talk) 12:44, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
Yes agree completely. It is best to ignore them completely and wish them all the best at this point IMO. There are better things to be done. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 18:13, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
We'll see!--Kim Bruning (talk) 19:18, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
That is not a link to Meta or a Wikimedia Wiki, so why are you linking to it? Sigh. Off topic is off topic. You've been around long enough to know that. Ottava Rima (talk) 23:16, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
There is no better location to post it, at this point in time. So COMMON sense dictates that I settle for the least bad location. --Kim Bruning (talk) 16:57, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
There is no location it belongs for a reason. Off topic is off topic. Ottava Rima (talk) 17:24, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
IAR (and COMMON) negate any bare statement of x is x. Such arguments must always fail, if we want to maintain a flexible community, capable of dealing with all the situations it might find itself in. --Kim Bruning (talk) 17:35, 6 September 2012 (UTC) This is one of the many mistakes made by one of the other parties in this situation, and we're not going to implement that failing here ;-)
1. Meta does not have IAR or anything like that. 2. Meta has a very limited inclusion and this is clearly in violation. Ottava Rima (talk) 04:06, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
I think broad, movement wide consensus pretty much states that these pages and discussions are within scope. If you have specific reasoning why you would want it placed outside scope, let's hear it. In all cases the argument "what everyone is doing and agreeing on has no consensus" is not valid in any wikimedia context (or logical context that I'm aware of). --Kim Bruning (talk) 05:02, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
There was movement wide consensus to have an image filter. There was not to turn Meta into a forum to bash private companies. Ottava Rima (talk) 13:57, 12 September 2012 (UTC)

Legal response from Wikimedia FoundationEdit

Please see here.--Jasper Deng (talk) 00:59, 6 September 2012 (UTC)

Odd that it was posted from there. Regardless, IB could easily sue the Foundation for facilitating an attack on their corporation, possibly seek damages over libel and other statements, etc. Wikimedia wont be seen in the best light if this talk page is ever brought in as evidence. It is really dysfunctional and shows behavior that jeopardizes everything that Wikimedia tried to be. I can only hope that after the Foundation loses this case handily as they did in Germany and every other time, they will actually implement real and needed reforms of the system and prevent this kind of debacle from happening in the future. Ottava Rima (talk) 03:54, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
Nonsense. I think it explicitly says in the ToS that the WMF is not responsible for our comments, and IB knows that very well or would've sued for libel already.--Jasper Deng (talk) 04:06, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
By suing them with that letter of intent claiming that they feel they are connected, they legally made themselves connected to the editors in question. A ToS does not protect you when your practice is easy to show. The legal counsel should have really known better. Furthermore, websites are liable for the content that editors make, as there are many new laws that have changed the old immunities when you factor in the foot in the mouth statements like you linked above. This proposal just being proposed is enough to invalidate any protection the Wikimedia Foundation would have and negate any claim that they are disconnected from what the editors say. Ottava Rima (talk) 04:10, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
Ottava: are you a lawyer? ;-) --Kim Bruning (talk) 04:49, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
Ottava, I really am wondering why you are taking this line. You seem not to be upset that IB is engaging in a frivolous suit to try to intimidate and perhaps bankrupt a couple of people, to make examples of them. Instead, you have consistently taken IB's side or/and criticized Wikimedia for considering the proposed project. Are you doing all this just to be a contrarian? Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:08, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
Ottava [73] has been indefinitely banded from the English Wikipedia around 2009. Not sure the specifics. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 07:45, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
I was also recognized by that same ArbCom as being one of the most prolific creators of quality content, something no one else in this discussion can claim. Ottava Rima (talk) 14:38, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
They are a private company. We are to be creators of original content. This whole discussion goes well beyond what is ethical and crosses major lines. It is disgraceful, and extremely off topic. I do not see anyone in the discussion that has put forth as much actual quality content as I have, nor do I see anyone that has come close. That tips me off that the people who actually create do not back this. It amounts to theft. Ottava Rima (talk) 14:38, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
Those of us you so easily dismiss have spent years building the entire content of Wikitravel, and we all fully back this move. We own that content and are free to do whatever the hell we want with it. Accusing us of theft of our own content is absurd and does not reflect the community spirit in which the WMF operates. LtPowers (talk) 15:05, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
Wikimedia is not WikiTravel. Your content work on a private company has nothing to do here and that is the point. You don't have the contributions here, and your importing what amounts to an off topic political dispute is not in the best interest in content contributors here. Ottava Rima (talk) 17:27, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
Wikivoyage contributors are obviously welcome here, Ottava Rima is not well informed. --Kim Bruning (talk) 17:42, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
Only those willing to follow our norms of Meta are welcome here. We have rules on what is appropriate content for Meta and what isn't. They don't get a special pass because you agree with their political opinion. Ottava Rima (talk) 04:07, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
Content work of others on Wikimedia wikis is absolutely irrelevant to determining the validity of one's opinion on this particular discussion.--Jasper Deng (talk) 15:53, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
Except that content work of contributors proves that you know what the Wikimedia project is about. Wikipedia and Wikimedia should be primarily about the content contributors, yet does whatever it can to ruin them and their reputation because 99% of the people have no care about what is in its best interest. It is obvious that this was heavily canvassed and most responding have no clue about Meta norms let alone Wikimedia norms. Ottava Rima (talk) 17:27, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. O:-) --Kim Bruning (talk) 17:45, 6 September 2012 (UTC) Ottava Rima is banned from one or more wikimedia projects, for failing to adhere to their norms.
No it doesn't. I have virtually no content work compared to most editors yet I know perfectly well what Wikimedia's projects are about. Wikimedia wikis are no different in operation from Wikivoyage and Wikitravel in terms of the norms like consensus, and you can not attempt to discredit others' views on basis of this.--Jasper Deng (talk) 18:51, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
If you know what the Wikimedia projects are about from your claim, why have you not proven it by being 100% opposed to such off topic discussions as dominate the above talk page? Your actions contradict your claims. Ottava Rima (talk) 04:10, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
I 100% approve of the above. I agree that a travel guide is perfectly in scope, and discussing Internet Brands' response is perfectly in scope too. The whole discussion is about furthering Wikimedia's mission. Everything about this discussion is on-topic and in-scope.--Jasper Deng (talk) 04:58, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
We are not a forum. We have really, really strict guidelines on Meta's inclusion practice and it is sad that you have disregarded them. Ottava Rima (talk) 18:38, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
I don't know where you got such an idea; it is wrong. Meta does not have strict guidelines -- almost anything about the Projects, free knowledge, wiki culture, or other meta-topics is on topic here. SJ talk  00:07, 8 September 2012 (UTC)
Not even close. The Requests for Deletion would normally deal with this talk page in a quite manner. Sj, you should honestly know better. Speculation about a non-Wikimedia site is not the purpose of Meta. We are not a forum. Meta deals with very limited topics and mostly the organization of cross-wiki activities. This is very, very outside of Meta's purview. Even the Welcome template specifies that we are very limited. At least look at our policy before posting or this page. I am very disappointed in you because this is really basic and something that is obviously being ignored for ideological reasons. Ottava Rima (talk) 01:27, 8 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Support keeping discussion here. Wikimedia projects current and projected are on topic for meta. --Kim Bruning (talk) 05:18, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
    Not true at all. Wikimedia project discussions have to stay on those projects unless it has credible and unique circumstances (i.e. someone unable to post on that project). Ottava Rima (talk) 18:38, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
    See above. SJ talk 
    Not true that I support, or not true that said project does not exist yet (that's what the proposal is for), and therefore no-one can post there? ;-) --Kim Bruning (talk) 23:32, 7 September 2012 (UTC)


Interesting. If there are lawsuits which have to be sorted out first, it is going to take more time before the travel guide project can become a Wikimedia project. I hope that this won't affect Wikivoyage's attempt to fork Wikitravel as an intermediate step towards full Wikimedia integration. --Stefan2 (talk) 09:17, 6 September 2012 (UTC)

Per the text of WMF's lawsuit linked above, they intend to proceed with the site regardless of any legal action by IB. Jpatokal (talk) 11:06, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
Florida law respects cease and desist orders and injunctions, so they can't necessary just "proceed with the site regardless of any legal action" if that happens. Ottava Rima (talk) 14:40, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
The cases are filed in California. (skipping rest of argument) --Kim Bruning (talk) 17:38, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
Also, IB's lawsuit was against two individual Wikitravel editors, not the WMF or any of its staff, although they do threaten to expand the suit to cover them as well. Jpatokal (talk) 22:13, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
Ottava, your legal analyses are baseless. I would suggest rereading the DMCA, especially Title II (as well as the 1st Amendment and the terms of the CC-BY-SA). The WMF can interact with any community members they want as much as they want and not risk safe harbor provisions. The key issues for safe harbor are that the WMF does not actively modify the content that they serve (i.e. they don't write the articles) and that they do not substantially financially benefit from copyright infringement on the site. Otherwise, the Foundation is free to interact with the editors however they want. Kaldari (talk) 00:36, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
No. The safe harbor is only if they do not take responsibility for the content. There is a clear difference. Suing someone on behalf of contributors is taking legal responsibility for their contributions. The law is really clear on the matter. Ottava Rima (talk) 04:10, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
I'm going out on a limb here and say you haven't reviewed the relevant law. (or if you have, you have done so between 14:40, 6 September 2012 (UTC) and now) --Kim Bruning (talk) 05:07, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
I have far more expertise in what states have and done have in law than you, and I have also used the resources at my hand to get expert opinion on the matter. Ottava Rima (talk) 18:38, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
Citation Needed. --Kim Bruning (talk) 23:39, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
Citation needed indeed. Section 512 of Title 17 of the United States code clearly says "modification", not "taking legal responsibility" (whatever that means). Kaldari (talk) 05:05, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
You don't understand tort law then. Once you apologize or pay for the defense of someone else, you are taking responsibility and become party. It is a voluntary act of getting rid of immunity. That section only deals with involuntary acts. Ottava Rima (talk) 15:45, 10 September 2012 (UTC)

Board statementEdit

On behalf of the Board of Trustees I'm glad to announce the following statement:

Through the RfC, it is clear our community has reached consensus in favor of the creation of a travel guide. The Board supports the community decision to create a dedicated project for the collection of free multilingual travel resources. We believe there is an enormous amount of space for multiple wiki-based projects with travel content and welcome the contributions of community members from around the world. We look forward to having a project that can provide additional content for other travel sites to reuse and benefit from, which we believe this site will do.

As a project supported by the Wikimedia Foundation, it will be subject to the movement vision, mission, and values, as well as the Foundation Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. However, like all other Wikimedia projects, the community of contributors is responsible for the management and creation of the content, policies, rules, and governance of the new project. The community will be responsible for organizing the travel guide project, and once they have put all of the necessary pieces together and provided them to the Foundation staff, the Wikimedia Foundation will make the necessary technical adjustments to support the site. We look forward to a new project and appreciate the community taking the initiative to make this possible.

As we have reported in a blogpost , Internet Brands has filed a lawsuit against community members, and, in response, Wikimedia Foundation has filed a complaint against Internet Brands. The Foundation complaint can be found here. This lawsuit by Internet Brands is not going to intimidate the Foundation or stop the process.

Alice Wiegand (talk) 13:15, 6 September 2012 (UTC)

That is fantastic news! --Globe-trotter (talk) 13:40, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
Yes, wonderful news and great to see that the project can now start moving forward again and we can commence the serious work ahead to undo the damage inflicted upon this project by the previous impediments. Thank you to all of you involved and good work on the legal position.-- felix (talk) 14:20, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
Thank you very much Alice! :-) --Kim Bruning (talk) 16:58, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
Yes, thanks indeed. Pashley (talk) 02:19, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
Thanks to Alice, the board and all who helped make this happen! JamesA (talk) 06:10, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
Thanks to the community and the Board for the great support. We are all looking forward to see the travellers around the world being reunited after six years. Thanks again... -- DerFussi (talk) 08:03, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
The WMF's actions these last few days have re affirmed why I contribute to and am a member of the Wikimedia Movement. Many thanks to both Alice and the board. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 11:06, 8 September 2012 (UTC)
This is good to hear and I was wondering about that. Blue Rasberry (talk) 13:42, 8 September 2012 (UTC)

Expensive LawsuitsEdit

I encourage everyone to read the Internet Brands lawsuit in its entirety. Their claims might have some depth. I expect this could become very expensive for the Foundation.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by 128.241.110.93 (talk)

It's highly unlikely that Internet Brands will win this lawsuit, thus leaving no costs to the WMF, AFIK.--Jasper Deng (talk) 01:01, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
Wikimedia sued Internet Brands, not the other way around. The suits can't be combined and there is no grounds that the WMF had to sue unless they invalidate their current protection as an internet server and not an editor of content. The WMF would have to pay court costs and would take a major PR hit. They lost the German case over similar inability to listen to reliable legal counsel. Ottava Rima (talk) 03:12, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
The German case was initiated at the request of the community (and they won half of it). Quit trying to rewrite history. Kaldari (talk) 05:10, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
Hold on. How is seeking declaratory relief tantamount to suing Internet Brands? It's not as if the Foundation is seeking damages from them or anything. --Sky Harbor (talk) 11:41, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
They won none of it, and it is a little sad that you would say something as misleading as that. Ottava Rima (talk) 15:46, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
If you're referring to the Loriot signature case, the Foundation won the part they expected to win: the injunction against publication of the signature was lifted. I don't see how that could be considered a "loss". --Carnildo (talk) 23:33, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
What kind of strange revisionist history. It was a really crushing lost and I don't understand why anyone would consider it otherwise. I have an active Commons account and I am not some newbie you can fool. Wikipedia was declared liable for the use of the stamps. That was the case. Wikipedia tried to say it wasn't responsible and was shot down. Wikipedia made many claims and all of them were shot down. The decision is really clear for everyone to see it. I opined before that case as to how it would turn out and I was in the minority. However, I was 100% correct then. Well wishes, believing in unicorns, and dreaming really, really hard wont change reality and has no bearing in a court of law. Ottava Rima (talk) 01:21, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
Even independent news coverage says exactly what I am saying: "Eine Zustimmung des Künstlers oder seiner Erben für eine Veröffentlichung dieser Motive im Internet ... liegt nicht vor". Even Commons had to rewrite its guidelines to say that written works only fell under the claims and not images as was previous argued. This was a huge change that was obvious to anyone who saw that German law meant what German law said. Ottava Rima (talk) 01:27, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
Hi Carnildo, you are correct: we achieved our objectives in the Loriot case - the lifting of the ex parte injunction order against the publication of the signature - as explained transparently to the community before and after the final court decision. Specifically, as is common in Germany, the court had issued a broad "ex parte" injunction order, which roughly means the court acted solo without the presence, appearance, or arguments of WMF; the only legal strategic decision we had before us was what part of that injunction order should we challenge. The full discussion about that challenge, including our expectations set out before the challenge and the final court decision which followed, can be found here. There were no surprises: our legal analysis shared with the community before we launched our challenge to the ex parte injunction order was indeed validated by the final court decision. Geoffbrigham (talk) 10:25, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
Geoff, you are being dishonest here. You cannot claim you achieved any victory because the WMF was sued. They were not the plaintiff. The plaintiff clearly had the judges rule in favor of the claim that Commons violated copyright of stamps. It was unsuccessfully claimed by the WMF that stamps were government literature. The German courts removed all ability for Commons to use any image under that definition. That affected tens of thousands of images and embarrassed Commons. Saying it was all about a "signature" now is not true in any regard. The case is visible and I even highlighted the key line where the judge really comes down harsh against the WMF. This is the equivalent of saying "Oh, the WMF still has a foot" when the rest of the body is destroyed. The WMF would have fired all of its legal counsel for such an embarrassing loss if it was operating like a business. And comments like yours are exactly why we were extremely embarrassed in the German media over the case. Ottava Rima (talk) 13:59, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
Wow. Ottava, you've been derailing threads on this talk page for weeks, making claims which as far as I am aware are wrong, and insulting anyone who replied to you. Please stop, and find a positive way to contribute. SJ talk  06:32, 12 September 2012 (UTC)
That is obvious hyperbole and revisionist history. I only made statements after the RfC closed, and at no time did I "derail" threads. Instead, I pointed out the really easy to see major legal implications that the Board members, like yourself, are 100% ignoring. That is not doing your job. Your job is to make sure that the WMF does not have these kinds of legal issues. You will cost us tens of millions of dollars for what? Some sort of ego thing? It is hard to contribute to a project where those on top are doing whatever they can to bankrupt it. Ottava Rima (talk) 13:56, 12 September 2012 (UTC)
While this discussion paged has for months wobbled between very productive and borderline unproductive, it has in the past couple weeks fully turned into the Ottava Rima daily show.
I like your comment from a little while back[74]: "I am sorry and I deeply regret my actions in late December/early January where I entered into an excessive combative interaction with multiple admin which detracted from the over all prosperity of the community and disrupted honest discussion about important issues. I resolve that if I am allowed back I would focus primarily on uploading images and not participate in or create "drama."
If disregarding that, it seems that the issues you are bringing up go a good deal further beyond the various particulars of this RfC and the proposal to create a Wikimedia wiki devoted to travel. As your concerns are about basic decision-making processes and acceptable use of Meta, perhaps you should start a discussion at a more appropriate and visible page than a closed RfC regarding a tangential issue. --Peter Talk 16:52, 12 September 2012 (UTC)
I think it is a little unfair for you to claim that my saying that the conversation has gone off topic would not belong on this page. It is a response, and a direct response. As for my views on the acceptable use of Meta, I would not need to start a discussion because I have already pointed to how they are Foundational Principles of this community. It is clear that much of the conversation is about a private company and not about Meta. Even the WMF posting about suing that private company is clear that they have deviated from Meta. This is not an RfC about IB and Meta cannot have such a thing. Ottava Rima (talk) 17:42, 12 September 2012 (UTC)
Ottava Rima is categorically not acting in good faith. When asked a direct question to that effect, he hemmed and hawed and then removed the entire thread when called on it. --Kim Bruning (talk) 18:02, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
I didn't "hem" or "haw." You tried to import a really flawed policy from Wikipedia, and I told you the standard: never assume things about other people. That is a basic rule taught to children. Assuming is wrong and problematic. You know exactly what I said, yet continued to play harassing games. This statement of yours here, having no reason to be on this talk page, is further harassment. Ottava Rima (talk) 18:08, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
+removal of notice by OR, showing that he is informed and aware. --Kim Bruning (talk) 18:27, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
@Kim Bruning - just as a point of interaction, how often will someone asked if they are acting in good faith reply with "No"? I mean, it does happen occasionally, but it's not common. Heck, when I'm challenged, and I reply "Yes", the next step for a critic of me is often to disbelieve it, and even to outright ignore proof. Ottava Rima is just being hyperlegalistic here. Which could actually be interpreted either way. I suppose the question is, if he said "Yes, I am acting in good faith", would you believe him? If you wouldn't, what's the point of the question? And if he's acting in bad faith, what's to stop him from saying he's acting in good faith anyway? Perhaps more significant, what would count as proof/disproof? (it doesn't have to be absolute, but one should at least try to make an objective determination) The Wikimedia community doesn't deal with this paradox well, for many reasons. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 22:17, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
(ec) One definitely expects someone who is sane and in control of their faculties to answer yes. I stand confused, bemused, and disabused.
--Kim Bruning (talk) 23:24, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
He didn't ask if I was acting in good faith. He asked if he should assume I am. I pointed out that you shouldn't assume anything. It doesn't matter if someone is acting with good faith or with bad faith. What matters is if they are right or wrong. Too often, people try to interchange the two. Meta does not have an "Assume Good Faith" because Meta was immune from the games that were played in the founding of such silly ideas on Wikipedia. It doesn't matter if Kim honestly believed such harassing statements belonged on my talk page or honestly believed that they belonged here. Good faith doesn't matter. They belonged neither here nor there, and people should act towards Kim accordingly. Ottava Rima (talk) 23:11, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
This really has nothing to do with the rfc anymore. I might suggest that folks ignore further off topic or repetitive posts, as that tends to slow down their pace—just my experience. --Peter Talk 23:20, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

Next stepEdit

Now we're waiting to hear from User:Eloquence (or delegate), right? Though ... Have I missed a step? Has anyone poked?

--Kim Bruning (talk) 13:25, 12 September 2012 (UTC)

By the discussion on the proposal talk page, the next step would be transferring the WV setup and domains. I think a plan for adopting WikiVoyage needs to be developed in more detail, ideally by Der Fussi, Der Reisende and others in collab with someone who can set up new WMF wikis. SJ talk  17:27, 17 September 2012 (UTC)

Mailing listEdit

I was a contributor to Wikitravel since 11 January 2007 (using same username as here) but in view of the technical and other problems at that commercial InternetBrands site I would prefer now to wait until the English language Wikimedia travel site fork is launched before making any more edits or janatorial efforts.

Is there a mailing list or some other mechanism that will automagically notify me when the new Wikimedia travel site is up and running and ready for my contributions (and those of my friends), please? W. Frank (talk) 12:23, 14 September 2012 (UTC)

Yes, and we need to publicize it ;) The notification sign-up is here. --Peter Talk 16:34, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
Note that this is a google docs url. (google may keep a copy of your email address too :-P ) --Kim Bruning (talk) 10:40, 19 September 2012 (UTC)

Naming discussionEdit

Travel Guide/Naming straw poll 82.104.222.82 15:18, 20 September 2012 (UTC)