Wikivoyage talk:Goals and non-goals

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PDAs[edit]

So, I was thinking: I wonder if it would be possible to use Wikivoyage content in a PDA, like a Palm computer or a WinCE machine? I think it would be helpful because you could get a lot of info into a little space... any comments? Should this be a stated goal? It's different than "on-line" usage -- since you don't have Internet connections, usually, on palmtops -- and it's different from printed use. -- (WT-en) Evan 13:33, 16 Oct 2003 (PDT)

Audio tours[edit]

I was wondering if WikiTravel is interested in hosting free audio tours to accompany their written descriptions and travel guides. With the popularity of ipods and other mp3 players it seems like this is a great way to get take the guide on the road. I suggest people upload mp3 narrations of art in museums, sights to see in a town, etc. -- (WT-en) David 23:00, 13 July 2005

Print as a goal[edit]

So, one thing I've been very careful about is trying to keep this project oriented towards the goals of having printable output: for individual printed pages (city guides, for example), or for larger publications (when, say, our friends at some guidebook company decide to incorporate Wikivoyage content into one of their guidebooks...).

I've always thought this was a pretty straightforward goal. I've never really traveled with any kind of guide except a printed guidebook, and I can't really imagine having to go find a computer when I arrive in a new town so I can read a Web-only guide to find a hotel.

But... There's been some pretty harsh commentary on the keep-it-printable idea on Project:Phrasebook Expedition. To quote:

What century are you living in Evan, you seem to be obsessed with being able to print stuff out, have u never heard of cellphones with net access, wireless pda's, internet cafes, laptops. I definitely agree that printing the occasional page out is handy, but its so inflexible. Hyperlinks, soundfiles pictures these are the sort of things that make a web based travel guide more useful than a plain printed guide.

There's more; I just picked out the part relevant to printable guides.

Now, I'm pretty sure that a Web-only guide wouldn't meet my needs as a traveller. But I kinda wanted to open up the discussion here. Is having printable content really an important goal (uh... set of goals) to have for Wikivoyage? Does the advantage of multimedia content outweigh the relative inability to transport the guides? For me, being able to print out a guide to Pamplona is about a jillion times more useful than a multimedia presentation with videos of the Running of the Bulls or sound files of screaming and clattering hooves.

I think we can actually have the best of both worlds: rich multimedia content for Web presentation, and simpler presentation for printed output. There's still the problem of low-bandwidth connections, but we can maybe finesse that, too. It requires a bit of discipline on the part of contributors, and some modification of the MediaWiki software, but I think it can be done. For me, right now, it's not my first priority, but I guess we could move it up if a lot of people thought it was important.

I guess I want to throw that question open, though. Is printable content an important goal? Is using computers and multimedia to their full extent more important than having paper-based guides? Has anyone ever travelled using only multimedia guides, and if so, what was your experience? -- (WT-en) Evan 15:05, 13 Nov 2003 (PST)

I generally agree with Evan here that travelling using only multimedia guides is far from practical for several reasons:
  1. Apart from cities, I think many places in the world still don't have web access.
  2. You need at least the information where to find the needed web access in the place you're going to visit. And it's not at all sure that they'll be open when you arrive there.
  3. Even if you're in a place with web access, are you going to remember names and adresses of hotels and restaurants, phone numbers, etc... without printing them?
  4. You'd probably like to read a bit about the place you're going to visit when you're in an airplane, a train, a bus, or whatever mode of transport you've chosen. At least that's what I like to do (and I don't know of any buses in, let's say, India with web access...)
These are just the first few reasons I can think of.
On the other hand, there are a few things about printing that are rather negative:
  1. AFAIK, the standard paper size in Europe is A4 (210 x 297 mm). I think the USA has something similar. And that is not a very handy size to carry around. Of course you can set your printer to print in the A5 size (148 x 210 mm), which is much more practical, but where do you find that size of paper?
  2. You're carrying around loose pages (or at least stapled together), which is also not very handy.
If I would leave on a trip today I'd take a traditional paper guidebook supplemented by a number of Wikivoyage pages. (WT-en) DhDh 09:22, 14 Nov 2003 (PST)
Agreed. As far as convenience of loose papers, yes, that's a little bit inconvenient. I'd like to try and figure out a way to use print-on-demand technology so that readers could put together ad hoc travel guides in bound book form. Say, if you were going to Italy, you could pick the cities and regions you're going to, as well as the Italy country guide and Italian phrasebook, and pack it all together into a convenient book made all for you.
To make it really convenient, you'd have to be able to do this all from the Web site, which would mean partnering with some POD company -- or multiple ones -- to get data from here to there. But if we integrated publishing into our software, and someone was making money from it, we'd probably want to have at least part of that money going back to support operations and keeping the Web site going. Of course, there's no obligation on any publisher's part to give us any money whatsoever -- after all, everything here is Free.
This is, obviously, dangerous territory. I figure any taint of commercialism by Wikivoyage would cause a lot of resentment. I think we eventually want to start a not-for-profit organization ("Wikivoyage Foundation"?) to handle money and expenses, which should probably be better. But there'd still be hassles. So, even if it would be more convenient for travelers to have Wikivoyage guides in book form, it may cause some problems.
Anyways, this is all distant-future stuff. I don't think we really have enough content here to make bound guides yet, ad hoc or not. -- (WT-en) Evan 10:41, 14 Nov 2003 (PST)
To me, the print goal is quite important. Actually, the goal is to have things in a "take it with you" format. As pointed out, internet access is not everywhere as cheap and accessible as in the USA and other western countries. I like the idea of being able to download pages to a handheld as well. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but for the "printable" version, isn't the idea just that the content has to be friendly to the printed page? The fact that the printed versions are HTML should mean that the form factor is not something that we have to worry about. Personally, I would try and format the pages in a kind of two column, double sided landscape printing scheme so that I can print on 8.5x11 (similar to A4) and fold it into a little book, with staples in the middle. It's just some tattered pages that I'm going to update after my travels anyhow, right?
And, of course, as Evan points out, we need to focus on content. If everybody focuses on getting meaningful, useful content down, then the multimedia aspect will not be too much of an issue (how useful are the non-printable media anyways? Sure in a phrasebook, but this guide is not just phrasebooks...) -- (WT-en) CL 21:28, 18 Nov 2003 (PST)

Buying recommended travel services[edit]

Although no one wants "advertising" chosen and directed by the vendor, any travel service that mentions any private establishment or any destination is in fact recommending buying something. So it would make sense to work closely with Consumerium (there's a note about the potential collaborations here) which is an attempt to promote "healthy buying" where "healthy" is defined by the consumer in various ecological/social/community ways, and that is respected by the user interface that sends the Consumerium buying signal - probably just a green light for "buy", a red light for "avoid", and yellow for "here's some reasons to buy, and some not to". Imagine how useful this would be for restaurants being mulled over by travellers! Very often, WHERE you are is the prime determiner of WHAT you can buy, so the choices are restricted, and it's easy to imagine steering people towards recommended, away from not recommended services.

That would make WIkitravel perhaps converge with the Consumerium Content Wiki and Opinion Wiki, which you can see discussed there. Those will need a much more robust governance model than oh say Wikipedia, since real money's involved, and it will certainly not be able to tolerate their vile mailing list and libel-intensive GodKing-based decision-making system. So the sooner both projects get the hell away from that, and establish some high-integrity ways to pass on recommendations to the weary traveller who doesn't know what he's supporting when he's travelling or buying, but wants that certainty, well...


Not just a Web site[edit]

Moved from Project:travellers' pub by (WT-en) Evan

Evan said "Wikivoyage is not just a Web site. We want to make guides that can be used as printed pages for travelers who are away from a computer." Where do you draw the line ? e.g. I added some wine links to Marlborough. There are over 40 wineries in this area most of which have their own idividual web sites. So there is a link to a page which then links to the individual wineries. Are you suggesting that all the winery info. should be on the Wiki page? Or just some of the better ones? Or just the link? I really battle with this one. --(WT-en) Nzpcmad 16:53, 21 Apr 2004 (EDT)

So, first off, Nzpcmad is referring to a tip I added to Project:tips for new contributors, which is a list of things that new contributors often don't get right away. The actual policy is on Project:goals and non-goals. Just to be clear.
If the question is, "When should we use external links?", I think that's a tough issue. I don't think there's a crystal clear line as to what's useful info to have on Wikivoyage, and what should be left on other sites. If I had to make a rule of thumb right now, I'd say we should have enough info on Wikivoyage itself that people can make general travel decisions without following the link. We also have to balance this need against the need for brevity and readability in the guides.
For example, this just isn't enough for restaurant listings:
If I'm in Yourtown, NZ, holding a printed copy of the Wikivoyage guide for Yourtown, I can't really make a decision about going to Joe's Cafe or not (much less be able to find it). The listing should at least have directions, hours, rough price scale, and a short description. That information may also be on the Joe's Cafe Web site, but we also need it here.
On the other hand, we don't need everything from the Joe's Cafe Web site here (the full menu, photographs of the inside of the restaurant, the names and pictures of the entire staff and the 5-page history of the cafe). I think the listings formats in the manual of style give just enough info, give or take. (They may need fine-tuning, but I think they're close).
In the case of Marlborough, I think that individual wineries should be listed as attractions on the pages for nearby cities and towns. If there are some really notable ones, they should be mentioned in the See and Do sections of the region page, with links to the city page that has the full listing, like this:
  • The Plonk Brothers Winery near Picton has tasting tours.
Do we need all the wineries listed? I'd say no; just the ones worth going to.
This isn't to say that having links to some list isn't useful. The above stub for Joe's Cafe would help another contributor enough info to flesh out the rest of the listing. It's part of the iterative process. --(WT-en) Evan 17:23, 21 Apr 2004 (EDT)


I agree that at least putting in the link is useful, in fact as one of the poor schmucks who feels compelled to run around and fill in attraction, restaurant, and (I wish) hotel details, I can usually get what I need from just the name and a google search. That said, I would really wish that more contributors would fill in the entire listing according to the MoS in the first place. -- (WT-en) Mark

The problem with not using links is "temporal" that is if we don't use links, and try to put everything in the article itself, we are digging ourselves into a hole. Things change, especially in travel. Is anyone seriously going to monitor articles and correct when a schedule changes? Restaurants appear and disappear like fireflies. We should just list the most stable (famous?) and put in a link to a local restaurant guide. Then they keep it up to date. Same with travel mode schedules and current events (plays, exhibits, art installations, etc.) as well as currency changes (ie: dollars to euros) and the cost of things (cabs, buses, trains, buying autos, meals, and on). Our articles do not generally carry a date, so in a few years it's out of date. Bad info is worse than no info.

I find the notion of putting comrehensive stuff in an article just so it can be printed out to be unconvincing: 1) if one is interested, one can print out linked articles as well with just an extra keystroke or two; 2) Time is on the side of linking as Wifi and cell phone web access proliferate apace; 3) if you as a traveler don't carry a laptop or some other device, still there are almost no places left in this world that don't have an internet cafe.

The distinction of when and whether to put in a link should be based on whether the info is static or dynamic. If it is likely to change then putting it in an article instead of a link is creating a future job (which will probably never get done). Here's to more linking. (WT-en) William M Goetsch 09:20, 10 May 2004 (EDT)

Bill: we're not a Web directory. We're writing travel guides. See Project:goals and non-goals for details. --(WT-en) Evan 15:05, 13 May 2004 (EDT)

I'd just like to point out it's taken us 3 days to find internet access on this trip and now that we have, it's $4 for 15 minutes-- oh, and there's no printer. Hardcopy travel guides have been one of our goals from the beginning and I don't see that changing...(WT-en) Majnoona 15:18, 13 May 2004 (EDT)

Evan: I think you misunderstand my point. I am not advocating we become a web compendium. We should have a text, and it should be printable. My points are these:

  • Wide and Shallow We should not try to write a travel book on every country. If we attempt it we will forfeit the broad coverage of countries which no one else has achieved, but we could. That is a niche that has not been filled. (And not yet by us either; there are so many holes in our coverage.)
  • Static vs Dynamic We should try to stick with things that do not change much (of which there is plenty to say), for the simple reason that we will end up spending all our future time correcting things that have become out of date. One simple example: exchange rates (instead, link to a web rate change place). It's like putting a variable in a program, instead of a constant.
  • Traveler's perspective. One of our stated goals. It doesn't seem to me that a traveler would seriously consider reading a history of, say, India on Wikivoyage. A brief "Understanding" might usefully include a crisp synopsis with some well chosen references to, perhaps, Wikipedia, or even a good book or two on Amazon.com. Were I contemplating a trip I would like to know a little something about a number of places then, when I had narrowed down my search, I might want to read up on the place in some depth. (WT-en) William M Goetsch 10:05, 14 May 2004 (EDT)

Maj: as to internet cafes, I find their number to be inversely proportional to the number of personal computers in a country. Thus, in Lima, Peru, one cannot help but stumbling over one on every other block, while in Manhattan, one might wander forever and never find one. Price works similarly (in Lima they were $2/hr a couple of years ago). Since a "traveler" (especially one reading Wikivoyage) is much more likely to be coming from a developed country and going to an undeveloped country this seems a non-problem. I don't know where you are, but try my theory on your location.

In any case, a traveler reading Wikivoyage, almost by definition, has a computer and if she wishes to print, printing a "link" takes exactly one more keystroke than printing a Wikivoyage article, hardly a strong argument against including a rich set of links. (WT-en) William M Goetsch 10:05, 14 May 2004 (EDT)

Regarding internet cafes, from my experience it isn't quite that simple. In Vancouver downtown in the area where I work, there is almost one every block and on some blocks more than one. They generally charge about CAN$2/hour. The reason for it is that there are a lot of English Language schools in the area as well. Therefore, there is a large number of young people who want to communicate with people back home. When I was in Hawaii on the big island there were only a few internet cafes on the whole island and they charge highway robbery rates ($US8/hour). It of course boils down to supply and demand. - (WT-en) Webgeer 01:46, Jul 25, 2004 (EDT)


PDA: You are almost there[edit]

I would love to download a country or two to my PDA, a YOPY, before traveling somewhere. The YOPY is smaller and lighter than a guide book. It might even go on a WiFI net somewhere in which case the external links could be useful.

The YOPY use Dillo as it browser. If you use Linux can run, say "dillo dillo http://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/wiki/wiki.phtml?title=London&printable=yes" and make the window PDA-sized. This looks just fine in dillo (with limit_text_width=YES in dillorc).

Then i I go to Ireland I can do someting like:

wget -rk -E -D wikivoyage.org --restrict-file-names=windows "http://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/wiki/wiki.phtml?title=Republic_of_Ireland&printable=yes"

Works except

  • Only the first page is in printable format. Links in printable pages still points to normal pages
  • I get all of WikiTravel, not just Ireland. There seem to be no easy way to extract a subhiearcy in WikiTravel.

Og course not everyone can use wget. A serverside solution would be nice. (WT-en) Niels

WikiPedia has a nice site at http://download.wikipedia.org that allows you to download the MySQL database dumps they do for backup. If WikiTravel did something similar, it would allow people to make their own static version of the site to put on their PDA's or laptops or whatever, and they could also put those versions on other websites for download. Perhaps linking to them in a WikiTravel page just for the topic. --adam.s.brown@gmail.com
Has anyone considered, or tried, using Special:Export, to get pages in XML? -- (WT-en) Huttite 20:57, 21 May 2005 (EDT)
I think the reason you get all of WikiTravel is that a Wiki is a set of interconnected pages. It does not have a inherent hierachy. All pages are at the same level and the hierachy is imposed by the content and connectedness of the pages. This is omething for humans to see easily but computers find challenging to analyse. -- (WT-en) Huttite 20:57, 21 May 2005 (EDT)

Plunging in[edit]

My recent changes to Project:Image policy were very politely reversed and I was directed to this page in regards to targeting print production. But I am still somewhat baffled and a bit annoyed. Why should any kind of multimedia content be discouraged on Wikivoyage? If it was someone's personal project I would understand that we are all subjects to the whims of the owner, but since it's ultimately a free projects, why such strong opposition? Print as a goal doesn't make any sense at all. It's not like anyone is suggesting converting the whole site into an animated gif, powerpoint presentation or flash clip... If the content is in open format, print version is always easy to make and existence of content that can't be printed (video, audio, excessive photos) does not harm the print version in any sigificant way.

When I travelled around Europe about two months ago, I saved relevant pages and converted them to iSilo format to read on my Palm. Had no problem with that whatsoever. When I needed to carry a map of Bern with me, I just took a few pictures of it with my digital camera and happily left the paperweight at the hotel (viewing it on the tiny screen was easy and not carrying one more object with me was great). The person who believes that a project like Wikivoyage should ignore all electronic devices as platforms and concentrate on printed guides needs a better grasp on reality. For fuck's sake, in just 10 years there will be no printed guides at all!

The only sane policy towards multimedia would be to allow it and encourage to some extent. To what extent is of course, debatable, but there can be no debate that multimedia content would benefit WikiTravel and lack of it would ultimately harm it. (WT-en) Paranoid 12:02, 16 Nov 2004 (EST)

It's not a question of multimedia being discouraged because we for some bizarre reason like it that way, it's a question of copyright law — and just because we don't like it won't stop us from getting sued. So we need to tread the line carefully, although I agree with you that Wikivoyage's current policy is a little too obsessive in this respect. (WT-en) Jpatokal 12:59, 16 Nov 2004 (EST)
I don't get it. When I visit a particular place, make a photo of some object of interest, then upload it to Wikivoyage and license it as GFDL (or just release it into public domain), what possible legal risk could be there for Wikivoyage?
Inanimate objects aren't a problem. The possible legal risk would be that I upload a picture of a person (say, a sexy dancer in the Love Parade) to Wikivoyage, and some commercial site (say a techno party) grabs the picture and uses it in a major commercial production (with proper attribution and all, mind you). The person in question sees the picture and sues, because she hasn't given permission for such use. What happens next depends a lot on the local copyright and privacy laws... (WT-en) Jpatokal 22:27, 17 Nov 2004 (EST)
The only risk I see is that I may lie and scan a picture from another guidebook instead, but how is it different from the risk of me copying some text from there? Or is linking to restaurant guide sites somehow problematic from a copyright point of view?
I can certainly see why some people may have a vision of Wikivoyage different from mine, but I don't think that vision (of printable WT) should be supported by some unspecified concerns about copyright law.(WT-en) Paranoid 17:12, 17 Nov 2004 (EST)
Just to clarify: the license here is not GFDL. -- (WT-en) Colin 17:42, 17 Nov 2004 (EST)
Just to express my support of the status quo... I'd just like to say that I agree with the goal of allowing and enabling print versions. Among other uses, this allows tourist bureaus or hotels or parks to easily reuse our material to produce a brochure. Secondly, I think the most important stuff here is the actual text writings of the contributors. While I think a few illustrative images is extremely helpful, I think stuff like external links, video, and excessive images are a waste of effort and bandwidth. -- (WT-en) Colin 17:41, 17 Nov 2004 (EST)
I would also like to chime in here. As much as some may think that "in 10 years there will be no printed guides at all" we're currently working on guides that need to be useful now. One of the reasons we are a little obsessive about the print goal is that it is easy to confuse the technology we are using with the product we are producing. We're using a wiki to make a travel guide, not just using travel content to make a website. We're certainly not anti-technology, but it's very easy to get away from the basic goal of a general purpose travel guide-- not just a guide for geeks or just a guide for people with PDAs, laptops and highspeed contections. I'm sorry you feel put off by this, but we are certainly open to a discussion (that's why you were asked to bring the talk here). We usually have quite a bit of talk before making any policy changes, so try not to take it personally! (WT-en) Majnoona 18:01, 17 Nov 2004 (EST)


Encyclopeadia or more subjective?[edit]

Hi,

A while ago i amended the item Freighter travel with my own personal experiences. I strongly feel traveling by ship is very interesting, and through my personalised input, I tried to make it look interesting for others to try their luck on the seven seas. However, when I returned to the article after that, I saw that another user had copy-edited my text into an clean (dead) summing up of facts, which wouldnt immediately motivate anyone to go and try hitchiking with ships.

So I was annoyed, and wondered; what's the policy of Wikivoyage? I think its some Wikipedians how are definitively hooked on writing encyclopedia-styled articles. But can travelling topics not be much more subjective, and fun to read? In Maastricht, where I come from, we even started a totally subjective wiki on the state of affairs here. And I sort of thought we could make wikivoyage also a bit like that. But ofcourse, if there has to be general consensus of NPOV-tivity of articles, etc, we could never go there.

Daniël

Like Wikipedia, Wikivoyage believes in Project:Neutral point of view, so any comments you make should be justifiable (ie. an unbiased observer would tend to agree), but this doesn't mean that your writing style has to be dry. It's a fine line to tread.
That said, Wikivoyage is not the place to tell your own travel stories, and we have a Project:First person pronouns policy for this. This is why your paragraph about you traveling from Russia to Malta got edited out. Try rephrasing it either more generally — "some freighters can have facilities like X and Y and cost as little as Z a day" — or more specifically — "m/s Lottacargo travels between Valletta and St. Petersburg on alternate Tuesdays, with jacuzzis in all cabins and stewards serving free champagne". (WT-en) Jpatokal 06:39, 5 Oct 2005 (EDT)
Well put, sir. Yes, a travel guide usually speaks from a neutral point of view. Our goal is to make a travel guide. Ipso fatso, our work normally speaks from an NPOV.
That said, I think we might want to start considering, in the future, how to do subjective travel information. One thing I've thought about is adding some kind of discussion-forum software as a "sidecar" to the destination pages, so people can discuss the destination or attractions (restaurants, museums, etc.) in a more subjective, opinionated way. These forums could be mined for information that would go onto the destination guide.
Subjective travel information isn't one of our goals, but perhaps providing ways for people to add subjective info will indirectly get us closer to our goals. --(WT-en) Evan 10:56, 5 Oct 2005 (EDT)

Thanks for your feedback. I've been reading the NPOV articles, and also the underlying discussion (isn't that what you seek, Evan?) and the be fair sounds more like I want it to be here. And as for this freighter travel issue, its ofcourse a whole different kind of lemma, then, eg. New York City; it can ofcourse do with some PR. But maybe I should just no whine here, and plunge forward to make it sound really great, and leave it with that as my message to mankind.

I'm really interested in freighter travel, and would like to hear more. I'll be happy to keep an eye on the article and associated stuff to make sure that valuable info gets re-written instead of deleted if you like. Just please don't stop contributing. We need you! -- (WT-en) Mark 17:24, 5 Oct 2005 (EDT)

Non-goals: Yellow pages[edit]

Swept in from the Travellers' pub:

Think of a friend from out of town asking you where they should go -- you wouldn't list all 200 possibilities, but 2-5 options for a particular type, budget, or part of town.

How are the recommendations selected? What is good for one type of travellers is not for another. How are those FEW hotels selected for a country? Is it about targeting a specific audience of travellers for each budget level? Or is it edit war that drives the decision on which recommendation survives?

It's not that I'm asking for a detailed procedure on dealing with overloaded listings (I can expect the project is too young for such issues). What is important at this stage is whether Wikivoyage ideologists consider helpful to have several selections of places to stay / visit within a budget range once it can help to some travellers to make a more educated choice.

Sorry if this was covered somewhere in FAQs -- it did not meet my eye.

-- (WT-en) DenisYurkin 19:49, 20 Sep 2005 (EDT)

There is no formal process as such, travellers just write up the places they like. We definitely want more than one place in each category, it's just that a single Wikivoyager usually only stays in one place per trip!
If you want to highlight your favorite things to see, do and eat in a big destination, I suggest you write up your own itinerary for it. See Tokyo for a few examples. (WT-en) Jpatokal 21:13, 20 Sep 2005 (EDT)
"Your own" is probably a bad term here, though. Just like any other article on Wikivoyage, itineraries can be edited by anyone. --(WT-en) Evan 11:02, 21 Sep 2005 (EDT)
Denis: absolutely. I think the numbers we look for are about 5-10 listings per listing type (Eat, Do, Sleep); after that point, we want to either break them down into sub-categories (by price (budget, mid-price, splurge), by style (museums, Mexican restaurants, B&B's, hostels)) or do a geographical breakdown (dividing a big city into districts, for example). I don't think we've had a case yet where we've removed a slew of restaurants because there were "too many". The point of that non-goal is that a travel guide doesn't have the same responsibility for comprehensive listings that a city guide (viz. http://openguides.org/) or a yellow pages Web site does. --(WT-en) Evan 11:02, 21 Sep 2005 (EDT)
Then it's not the number of listings to matter, but personal experiences with a specific place. Why making restrictions you're ready to remove once the number of otherwise-suitable listings is reached? --(WT-en) DenisYurkin 13:42, 26 Sep 2005 (EDT)
Also: I've updated that non-goal to use a more reasonable number (5-10) rather than 2-5 from before. --(WT-en) Evan 11:06, 21 Sep 2005 (EDT)

How does it differ from Wikipedia?[edit]

I understand WikiTravel's goals differ from Wikipedia's, but it seems they are met by the Wikipedia articles about places, which ought to include history, culture, transportation, etc., just as a good travel guide ought to - see Wikipedia's article about Delhi for example. There are also subtopic articles, like those for Tourist attractions, Famous sites and Markets in Delhi. It is better to enrich Wikipedia, rather than spit the effort.

See What Wikipedia is not, notably the section "Travel guides". Things like average taxi prices, hotel telephone numbers, and restaurant recommendations or warnings about scams are not encyclopedic and do not belong in Wikipedia. (WT-en) Jpatokal 23:09, 9 Feb 2006 (EST)

There should be more cross links with Wikipedia, even if Wikivoyage is not an encyclopedia. You are more interested to visit when you know more. For instance the section about Shenyang' museums(in NE China)mentions 'Zhang Residence - home of warlord Zhang Zuolin and his son, Marshal Zhang Xueliang, who ruled NE China after the fall of the Qing dynasty.' I will be more interested to visit after I read the fascinating story of Zhang Xueliang in Wikipedia. Same thing with the Picasso museum in Paris, etc. etc.

Cross links to Wikipedia are discouraged, because we get a lot of listings like this: Fascinating Sight. Greatest place ever! See Wikipedia:Fascinating Sight, which is useless if you can't access Wikipedia for whatever reason (printed-out copy, offline, etc), and discourages people from actually describing the place here. I do sometimes think we're a bit too strict about this, but it's difficult to strike a balance... (WT-en) Jpatokal 07:34, 26 August 2007 (EDT)

Multilingual as a goal[edit]

We've had an implicit goal for years of providing Wikivoyage guides to readers in their own language. I'd like to make supporting multiple languages an explicit part of our mission. How does this modification sound:

Wikivoyage is a project to create a free, complete, up-to-date and reliable world-wide travel guide for every traveller in their own language.

Wikipedia used to call itself a "multilingual encyclopedia", but I don't think that's actually a reasonable description of what we're doing here. A Chinese speaker doesn't need a multilingual travel guide; they need a Chinese travel guide. We each have our needs for travel information, and Wikivoyage's goal is to serve all travellers' information needs. --(WT-en) Evan 10:43, 6 July 2006 (EDT)

Got my vote. (WT-en) Majnoona 11:51, 6 July 2006 (EDT)
Why not? But I don't quite get your point when you say that a "multilingual travel guide" isn't exactly our purpose. Although "the traveller comes first", I think establishing goals is not about highlighting the users' needs but the contributors' aims when tackling such needs. (WT-en) Ricardo (Rmx) 23:11, 6 August 2006 (EDT)

on-line use by travellers on the road[edit]

I'm hesitant to add or change to a page this central without some kind of consensus, but with pda-phones becoming more common (okay, I've had one for about four years now, but they're getting a lot more popular) shouldn't we look at providing info for people actually travelling at the time? For example, this weekend I was out tubing (please add non-tubing stuff to the New Braunfels page I wrote!) and we were looking for a place to eat. With all the crazy traffic and parking nightmares, we wound up spending an hour organizing and coordinating to eat at a place five minutes (by foot) from the parking lot. If I'd had a page easily viewable on my PDA (assuming it was written - and we've fixed THAT little detail now!), it could have saved us some time. So yeah, I typed all that to ask if there's some way to get a URL flag to scale down the graphics and formatting (eg cut the ToC, render photos as links, and cut formatting images) to make it more PDA-friendly.

If you want to have PDA friendly pages of wikivoyage try http://wikivoyageer.info from your PDA. It will scale down your images and will break articles based on the headings of the page. Disclaimer, I am the author of this site. —The preceding comment was added by (WT-en) Geo.georgi (talkcontribs)

Remove non-goal #7[edit]

As by Project:Welcome, business owners we allow business owners to add their hotel/restaurant/etc. to our listings though no Wikivoyager has seen it yet, we have to delete non-goal #7, because this will obviously result in creating yellow pages here... --(WT-en) Flip666 writeme! • 20:33, 10 August 2007 (EDT)

I'd vehemently disagree. That goal reads:
Produce a Yellow Pages of restaurants, hotels, or bars for a city. City guides should certainly include information for travel-related companies, but these should be kept at a useful number. Think of a friend from out of town asking you where they should go -- you wouldn't list all 200 possibilities, but 5-10 options for a particular type, budget, or part of town.
Based on experience it is much more likely that non-business owners will turn articles into yellow page listings - see San Leandro for one such example. I've gotten good travel advice from business owners throughout my travels - locals involved in the tourist industry often know the best restaurants, lesser-known sights, etc. - and I would prefer that Wikivoyage does not stigmatize those individuals and make them less welcome here than other contributors. I understand that some contributors greatly distrust the motives of all business owners, but the majority who have contributed here before have added valuable content, and those have added advertisements have generally had their contributions quickly edited to be more appropriate. -- (WT-en) Ryan • (talk) • 22:10, 10 August 2007 (EDT)
I'd prefer if Wikivoyagers get information from business owners, check it and then add it to Wikivoyage. But that is my opinion and it seems I am almost alone with it.
The actual problem is that this sentence from Project:Welcome, business owners:
If you own a restaurant, hotel, bar, or popular tourist attraction, plunge forward and add a listing for it.
encourages all business owners to add an entry for their business. If a Wikivoyagers knows that it is a tourist trap he may not remove it... So we should at least modify Project:Welcome, business owners to clarify that we do not want to list each and every business! --(WT-en) Flip666 writeme! • 09:49, 11 August 2007 (EDT)

Printed guides[edit]

Swept in from the pub:

Don't you guys feel that wikivoyage lays too much emphasis on printed guides? The main problem with this is that videos and audio clips can't be added. I'm sure the majority of people using this site while travelling access it on their mobiles, PDAs or laptops. I have often used wikivoyage guides while travelling. I mostly use my iPAQ or my MacBook, and have never felt the need for printing the guides. (WT-en) Upamanyuwikivoyage( Talk )( (WT-en) Travel ) • 07:12, 21 September 2007 (EDT)

iPAQ?
You know, I've come to despise lugging a laptop around a country, or in one case a continent. It's a real pain and I'm actually surprised my old laptop wasn't stolen because I occasionally left it in hotel lobbies and restaurants. I do like printing off my travel guide because it's lighter. Although, now that I have a backpack for my MacBook rather than one of those carrying cases (ugh... I hate those) it's not as bad.
I assume you missed this, but now Evan, Maj, and Jani have Project:Wikivoyage Press. -- (WT-en) Sapphire(Talk) • 07:57, 21 September 2007 (EDT)
As far as the Press is concerned, I'd be OK with audio and maybe even video, as long as they're clearly tagged as "unprintable" content (eg. {{audio|Clip.ogg}}), and I've previously supported adding audio clips to phrasebooks. See Project:Image policy. (WT-en) Jpatokal 23:37, 21 September 2007 (EDT)
iPAQ is a PDA manufactured by Compaq. It's kinda quite old now, it's been around in the market for half a decade or so. By the way, even I detest laptops, but PDAs are a good solution. And here in India most people access internet on their mobiles (cell phones) while on the move. (WT-en) Upamanyuwikivoyage( Talk )( (WT-en) Travel ) •

Nationality-Based Visa/Travel Listings?[edit]

I am an Australian and I am currently planning on travelling overseas. With this being my first overseas adventure, and planning on following a more vagabondish meandering "walkabout" trail, one of the biggest gaps I am finding in the information available from the Australian government, and online altogether, is a summary of the Visa/Restrictions applicable to people of my nationality for other countries.

What I would find really useful, would be a page for "Australian Travellers" (for instance) which would contain a list of other countries and detail whether Visas are required, for what activities, with what limits, etc. If there are countries which require visitors be sponsored (as I have heard is the case with Russia), this information would also be useful.

I am just putting this idea out there to hear whether other WikiTravellers see the value in it.

Some of this information is already covered in the "Get in" section at the country level. I think this is probably the best place, as it is going to be updated and viewed the most often, so has a better chance of being accurate and current. There are very useful sections on visas for many countries. Often visa information for a country is either consistent, or varies for a few country groups. This is best maintained at country level, I think. --(WT-en) Inas 23:19, 28 September 2008 (EDT)
Appreciate your feedback, and I can understand the considerations which lend this information towards best being administered within the Country pages themselves. Just the lazy part of me wishing I had a "menu" of countries I could choose from and see how easy/hard I could get into them and for how short/long I could stay. But, hey, what's travel without a little bit of research?

Traffic law project: here or Wikibooks?[edit]

Swept in from the pub

English Wikipedia has a persuasive user who thinks that "A state-by-state guide of helmet laws, lane splitting laws, etc doesn't belong on Wikiepdia; there is a draft article for this on WikiTravel where this kind of how-to advice is appropriate." [1] As I am very glad to see this place continuing many contents from Wikitravel, I would like to ask about starting a traffic law project to collect information on topics like the safety belts, right turn on red, overtaking, etc. However, when considering Wikivoyage:The traveller comes first and Wikivoyage:Goals and non-goals, legal guides to fight traffic violations seem to fit Wikibooks much better while not normally relevant to travelers. Please advise so cross-wiki coordination and cooperation will be much better. Thanks.--Jusjih (talk) 05:43, 3 May 2014 (UTC)

My opinion is that, while this topic is clearly travel-related, it is really encyclopedic in scope and unlikely to be accepted as a travel topic here if it's so detailed. What I do think is that there could be a topic that consists of a general overview of helmet laws — and the lack of them — worldwide, which gives examples but doesn't go into anything like exhaustive detail, and includes a link to the Wikibooks article in the sidebar as a sister site article. (Parenthetically, I find the idea that citing a legal database is unencyclopedic a little strange, but it's not for us on this board to pass judgment about Wikipedia policies.) I'll be curious to see what others say.
In the meantime, I'd like to thank you for coming by and ask you whether there are any other ways we could cooperate and coordinate helpfully. Ikan Kekek (talk) 06:09, 3 May 2014 (UTC)
You are welcome and thanks for your quick answer. Then I will try Wikipedia stand-alone lists, but Wikivoyage:Links to Wikipedia may require improvement to be better understandable.--Jusjih (talk) 06:42, 4 May 2014 (UTC)
I echo Ikan's comments, with the caveat that I'm less sure than he is that a "general worldwide overview of helmet laws" would pass muster here as a travel topic. If he would like, in the spirit of cooperation I might encourage Jusjih to add information about helmet laws to individual destination articles. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 06:53, 4 May 2014 (UTC)
Jusjih, what portions of Wikivoyage:Links to Wikipedia could use clarification? Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:06, 4 May 2014 (UTC)
Never mind on linking to Wikipedia for now. Now I wonder how to cite external references, like laws (traffic or other) affecting travelers, as some (unreferenced) opinion may become outdated. Write out the article number without excessive external links? Thanks again.--Jusjih (talk) 21:21, 4 May 2014 (UTC)
There are some articles here that are partly about laws that affect travellers — smoking, visas, Traveling with a criminal history, LGBT travel, retiring abroad — and some like Driving in China that cover traffic laws. Maybe a look at those would help? Pashley (talk) 22:55, 4 May 2014 (UTC)
Yes. These will help, but may I propose using United Nations geoscheme as our standard to divide macro-geographical regions and subregions when listing so many countries? I just divided Traveling with a criminal history into macro-geographical regions after discussion, and I see Tipping divided into macro-geographical regions and subregions inconsistently with too many blanks.--Jusjih (talk) 06:07, 27 May 2014 (UTC)
Seems reasonable and helpful to me for the top level continental divisions (we've had a lot of argy-bargy about trans-continental countries), although there will, as always be exceptions and, in many cases we'll just need 5 major divisions, Antarctica being irrelevant in many topics. However, there are substantial differences at lower levels and I think you'll find that our own divisions don't correspond much at all after the continental level. -- Alice 06:52, 27 May 2014 (UTC)

Project scope[edit]

Swept in from the pub

I see that an IP has been busy expanding our article on Binghamton. Most of the changes look good, but I'm uncertain about listing local employers and media outlets. Is Binghamton#Work outside our WV:Project scope given that we're a travel guide and targeting primarily short-term travellers visiting for a week, a day or at most a fraction of a month? The list of goals and non-goals is vague on this point (claiming, among other things, to not be a yellow page directory) and the only place we explicitly say anything "must be available for a stay of one week or less" is Wikivoyage:Listings#Rental listings. There was a previous discussion of marriage in China which claimed it (like going to the dentist in Burundi) was somehow out-of-scope, but I don't see anywhere where the outcome of this (or a discussion on whether multi-year BA or BSc students at out-of-town schools are travellers or in residence) is reflected in actual policy. K7L (talk) 16:32, 22 October 2014 (UTC)

In general, that's not what the Work section is for, but I've chosen to let the IP user continue with his or her edits and see what results, rather than interrupt with criticism. There's nothing egregiously bad there, so there's nothing that can't wait until the article is in a more stable state, IMO. Powers (talk) 18:49, 22 October 2014 (UTC)

Proposed new section on extended stays[edit]

Swept in from the pub

Possible change to guide format Does anyone think it might be a good idea to include sections on extended stays and what kind of resources travelers might use in those instances? Someone traveling through a city for a day or week will have different needs than someone staying for an internship or a study abroad semester. It seems like we could mention the extra services that someone staying one to six months might use (grocery delivery services? Extended stay hotels? P.O. boxes?) I think this could be valuable because for large cities especially, there will be travelers who will be there for a long time and aren't just sight-seeing. They will need to know some basics about how to get health care or where certain government offices are that are irrelevant to someone backpacking through the region. Additionally, having unique content on travel guides would be a big boost to search engine optimization results contra Wikitravel. Right now, a number of our returns are buried below Wikitravel because it looks like we're a mirror of them (and that's not entirely untrue, of course). The greater the unique content here and the more hits we can get for it, the better this site will perform in reaching users looking for good and reliable information while traveling. Thoughts? —Justin (koavf)TCM 03:01, 28 October 2014 (UTC)

We've had similar discussions before. I've always been on your side of this argument, and I remain there. I don't think that travellers are solely people staying for a day to a couple of weeks in one place before moving on. A semester abroad or a year's business, diplomatic or NGO posting somewhere can be considered forms of travel. But I think you'll get pushback from those who find it neater to restrict this site primarily to short-term visitors (with the exception of articles like Retiring abroad, which somehow gets a totally free pass, with ready explanations from those who believe it should remain an exception). Ikan Kekek (talk) 03:49, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
@Ikan Kekek: Do you want to draft up some extended stay info on a guide? I can help make some for my city as a kind of proof of concept. —Justin (koavf)TCM 04:52, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
I'd propose for you to start such a topic in your userspace. I'd be happy to copy edit as appropriate, but I'm hardly an expert. I think that if this is made into a travel topic, it might pass muster, but I doubt we'll be able to get agreement to allow such information into guides to localities ("cities," in WV parlance). Ikan Kekek (talk) 04:56, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
@Ikan Kekek: That's what I would have done: a username draft. —Justin (koavf)TCM 04:58, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
Just to be as clear as possible: I think that what would be most likely to pass muster would be a worldwide topic, perhaps with examples of regional variations in countries or multi-country areas. I don't think a travel topic for "Long-term stays in New York City" or the like would be likely to pass muster with a consensus here, though I'd support anything that's not promotional. Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:00, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
Including a bit more relevant info for prolonged stays seems like a good idea for large destinations. I'm not thinking of real expat info, but rather information useful for a language course visitor etc. I've been living in abroad destinations for 6 to 20 weeks a few times and yes, it requires just a bit more info. Looking at your first post, it seems that a change in policy or template would only really be needed for long stay accommodation options though. Adding unique content is of course valuable, whatever the exact topic. As far as I'm concerned, and as far as my experience with prolonged stays abroad goes, what you need is mostly stuff that is already allowed under the Cope section (see (Wikivoyage:Where you can stick it), just not always included. Things like medical care, fitness studio's and laundromats. Most of the other things are strongly location determined, I suppose. Grocery delivery is uncommon in most parts of the world, as are P.O. boxes. That said, I'm not sure they'd be a huge push back for those topics for destinations where those are very common. That's something quite different from Ikan's proposal for a general, world-wide oriented article though... so maybe I'm misunderstanding. JuliasTravels (talk) 11:03, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
Anything that's based on staying for a year or more is out of scope. Governments do consider someone living in a country for at least six months out of any year to be resident for various purposes (ranging from removing the person from public health insurance back home to causing them immigration issues in whichever country they're staying or adding them to the local tax base there). That said, there is the snowbird phenomenon where travellers are away for the entire winter (only) and that *might* be in scope. We just need to cut this off before our so-called "traveller" arrives at the local lumberyard to buy materials to build a house, or we are just another yellow page directory for residents instead of a travel guide. K7L (talk) 17:17, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
@JuliasTravels: I was thinking of a section explicitly about long-term stay. Do you think it would be better to include this information within the existing sections? It seems like if you're staying for three months, you might want to see that information separately. I don't know. What do you think? @K7L:: I was explicit before about saying that this is intended for someone staying a semester or a season rather than several years. Wikivoyage isn't intended to be an all-purpose city guide or yellow pages, indeed. Although I was thinking of a section on long-term stay, there's no reason why it can't be a topic article as well. —Justin (koavf)TCM 17:41, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
I rather emphatically disagree with "Anything that's based on staying for a year or more is out of scope." Things like Teaching English, Retiring abroad, Volunteer travel or Studying abroad are mainly oriented to longer term stays and I'd say they are certainly in scope. As I see it, these appeal to a limited set of travellers and writers but that no more makes them out of scope that articles on Scuba diving, Travelling with children or LGBT travel. Almost nothing will appeal to all travellers, but I'd say almost any topic that does affect some and for which we have a writer is in scope.
That said, there is a slippery slope here and at some point we may need to shout "Whoa!". In at least one case we already have; see the vfd discussion for Marriage in China. However, I do not think either any current articles I know of or the proposal in this section take us anywhere near the point where it becomes a problem.
There is related discussion at Wikivoyage talk:What is an article?#Scope. Pashley (talk) 18:50, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
I'm actually looking for extended stay (2 months) options in my next city, although I wouldn't expect WV to list all those options for me in the city article.
A purpose of the wiki is to allow everyone to pool their knowledge but I would strongly urge keeping each main article clean and concise as suggested earlier in this thread. If every single aspect of life is crammed into a main article then is becomes harder for the traveler to quickly find the core travel information they are after and many won't bother with WV. Less is certainly more.
We do have travel topics for subjects that affect a minority of travellers and that allows the writer more freedom in terms of scope. Studying_abroad is another example. Andrewssi2 (talk) 21:46, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
I guess we should first have a better idea of the sort of content we're talking about. I for one have no idea how to write a practical travel topic about "prolonged stays" that works for New York, Bangkok, Berlin and Cape Town at once. And when talking about a "section" in an article, I'm not sure what kind of info that would need. Looking at some of our star articles (like Bali or the US destinations at star status) I'm wondering how much more you'd exactly need to stay 3 months instead of 3 weeks. Bali even has a small section for Long term rentals in the sleep section. Once people stay somewhere for over a year, I'd say they should probably invest in a yellow paper. No-one is arguing we should become that. During my trimesters or 6 month stays abroad however, I had to find long-term accommodation, sometimes a doctor or dentist, or a public transport season ticket. Otherwise however, I find it hard to think of what else an average traveller would really need, and is not allowed in our articles? JuliasTravels (talk) 22:11, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
Listings for accommodations that can't be rented for 2 weeks or less are excluded from our listings policy, I recall from repeated discussions. Edit: Actually, I'm wrong:
Apartments or cabins must be available for rentals of one week or less - remember, Wikivoyage is a travel guide, not an apartment-finder service. Ikan Kekek (talk) 23:11, 28 October 2014 (UTC)
Most serviced apartments should be available to rent for at least 1 week, so I'm good with that rule.
I agree JuliasTravels that a travel topic of 'prolonged stays' is not particularly natural, although I'm aware of travellers staying multiple years in resort locations such as in Thailand with a semi-official status. I'm also not sure how useful that would be since in that situation I would probably get information for my long term options after I arrived there. Andrewssi2 (talk) 09:27, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
I see nothing whatsoever "unnatural" about the topic, at least in principle. What do you think would be strange about it in practice? Or maybe it's best not to answer that question yet and wait and see what Justin comes up with in his userspace before we come to any firm conclusions. Ikan Kekek (talk) 09:59, 29 October 2014 (UTC)

(indent) If a listed hotel offers long-term options/deals, I think it's fine to mention in the description, but are you proposing adding new sections specifically for long-term stays (residents)? I'd say we should define a traveler as someone spending 90 days or less in a country, since that's the max for most tourist visas. After that, they probably have some sort of resident or semi-resident status. To me, adding grocery stores, delivery services, hair salons, how to get a P.O. Box, etc sounds like a lot of clutter that will make our articles more cumbersome to navigate and likely bother more people than it will help. I'd call all of that out of scope. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 11:26, 29 October 2014 (UTC)

@ChubbyWimbus: Scope is defined by us. If the traveler comes first and a significant portion of travelers are long-termers then why would we deliberately exclude their needs? As pointed out above, even someone staying more than a week will have certain interests—90 days is a lot more than that. In fact, having a section just for extended stay would *de*-clutter articles because it would allow those who are interested in this particular information to look at it for their needs. Just like "Go Next" is irrelevant for many travelers who are going only to a particular location: it's at the bottom, so just skip it. —Justin (koavf)TCM 16:15, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
I do not have the time to read the entire discussion, but I want to say I am against a section in our destination articles regarding extended stays, i.e. more than a month. This will require an entirely different approach to accommodation and including many practical issues like work permits, then we need to cover the long-term labour market, then suddenly car registration, getting a bank account etc. may become of interest. This is a travel guide, like any other travel guide. It is for tourists, not nomads or expats. An expatpedia could be just as useful for the latter, but this is not it.
We also generally do not feature individual apartments and agencies providing those and those are pretty much no. 1 accommodation options for long-term stays. I would not want to change our consensus not to feature those. PrinceGloria (talk) 16:44, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
This site is for travellers, not just tourists. And it isn't and needn't be "like any other travel guide." Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:30, 30 October 2014 (UTC)

A different proposal[edit]

I do think expats are travellers, so info for them is obviously in scope. Expat communities in some places are rather large; for example Shanghai has 200,000, more than many "cities" we cover. I also think some expats, especially ones living in out-of-the-way places that might not otherwise get written up, have much to contribute here so we should encourage their participation. If they create some articles of interest only to other expats, that is fine.

On the other hand I agree with the Prince in opposing "a section in our destination articles regarding extended stays". Such info does not belong there. Moreover, some info for expats does not belong on this site at all. In most countries with a large expat population there are one or more web forums for them. For example, I'm a sort of lapsed regular at Raoul's China Expat Saloon. Also, there are often local newspapers, sometimes even radio stations or TV channels, in English or other foreign languages. We no more want to duplicate things those sites or media do better than we want to duplicate Wikipedia. On the other hand, as for WP, having an overview here is sometimes necessary even if we do not want all the detail.

We have articles like Diving in South Australia or Winter sports in Austria. These contain info that would be excessive in the main destination articles but is fine in a separate article, and they are reasonably easy to organise as a hierarchy under Scuba diving or Winter sports. I suggest we allow articles with names like "Expartriates in ..." or "Living in ..." (which?). We'd need some work on policies for those — what to include & especially what not to include (e,g. I agree with the comment above that we should not start doing long-term housing listings; leave those to the local sources.) — but it looks doable.

Some articles already appear to need this. For example, China#Work is quite a long section and almost nothing in it would be useful to a tourist, but most of it might be of interest to an expat. I'd say moving it out of the main China article would be a definite improvement. Pashley (talk) 23:19, 29 October 2014 (UTC)

I agree that information for long-term travelers belongs in travel topics, not in our main travel guides. Powers (talk) 00:46, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
I basically agree, too, though we could argue around the edges. Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:31, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
I've never really felt that the "Work" or "Learn" subheadings were particularly useful anyway.
I find the very term "expat" to be silly and pretentious. I've said this before, but I'll say it again: 'Expats' are only travelers when they're traveling. Otherwise, they're just living their lives (working, paying bills, cooking, bed-wetting, etc.). A guide about daily living in China is not a travel-related article regardless of where one was birthed. The general guides for long-term stay abroad and Study abroad were not kept as exceptions at all. Those who believe that they were should consult the discussions. It was made very clear in the discussions that those articles were preserved just to provide basic information and things to consider before committing to moving abroad. It was decided that once they go beyond that point to find housing, buy a car, etc., they are no longer a traveler and they should consult more direct sources (their employer/coworkers/government/whoever) for further information. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 14:38, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
@ChubbyWimbus: But why, though? Surely, you'll grant that someone studying abroad for a semester is a traveler. This isn't a print travel guide (although it can be printed) so it's not like space is a concern. If a guide to any particular place or topic gets too long, break it up into parts. —Justin (koavf)TCM 17:26, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
Actually Justin (koavf), there is a hard requirement to print the guide , it isn't a secondary consideration. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 18:01, 30 October 2014 (UTC)

@Andrewssi2: Maybe I'm splitting hairs but it's not required that anyone print these, just that they be accessible to printing. We could always restart Wikitravel Press... —Justin (koavf)TCM 19:32, 30 October 2014 (UTC)

@Koavf: The requirement is that the user is able to print the article. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 03:33, 31 October 2014 (UTC)
@Andrewssi2: That is what I wrote above. I don't see how my proposal is germane to this point, though. —Justin (koavf)TCM 05:19, 31 October 2014 (UTC)
@Koavf: You wrote above: "This isn't a print travel guide". It was not evident that you were aware of the print policy. Just trying to help. Andrewssi2 (talk) 23:31, 31 October 2014 (UTC)

@Andrewssi2: Oh, granted. Thanks. I do understand that printing/offline access is a part of the mission. Thanks. —Justin (koavf)TCM 05:06, 1 November 2014 (UTC)

I like the idea of travel topics covering longer stays at a country level - but we should target these at those staying months rather than years. They should cover general advice - what the process is for renting an apartment in a country, but exclude detailed rental listings. Travelling for a year or so, and supplementing this with some work is increasingly common, and several countries offer visas specifically for this - "working holiday" or "youth mobility". Most of the advice would also be useful to those moving permanently, but we should exclude topics only of interest to long term residents like pensions or buying a house. In some cases we could also use this to trim country and destination articles so that most travellers don't have to print half a page on work when they are only in the country for a week. I would suggest a title like "countryname for a longer stay" - put the country name at the start of the title so that it shows up when people start to search for a country. AlasdairW (talk) 21:22, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
I agree with you. Such advice could also be provided at regional or huge city levels, if it is dramatically different from what one would advise a traveler to the rest of the country. But your main point of general advice, rather than specific listings, is where I stand, too. Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:49, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
That sounds good to me. I can easily imagine someone saving up money for a once-in-a-lifetime trip to spend a few months in a country, and telling them things like "if you rent an apartment in Germany, then you have to pay the television tax yourself" or "if you rent a place in the US, you need to ask whether garbage, water, sewer [often billed separately], hot water [separate in some old buildings], telephone, internet, gas, heat, and air conditioning are included in the rent, because it's totally up to the landlord" might be useful. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:14, 31 October 2014 (UTC)
Agreed completely. Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:44, 1 November 2014 (UTC)
If that's the case, then perhaps we should do as I suggested above and define "traveler" as a stay for 90 days or less as per general visa limits. Providing the most general information at the country-level would be consistent with our general articles of Study abroad and Work Abroad, as well. Any further information is better explored by the individual directly with their company/coworkers/unversity/etc. Justin, a Study Abroad student can use our guides as they are for their TRAVEL needs. It is outside of our scope to give program information and evaluations, requirements, campus maps, etc. None of that is travel-related. Study Abroad options are also often dictated by their home university, so it's much better for study abroad students to get study abroad information directly from the programs and to talk to their Study Abroad Office advisors. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 15:11, 1 November 2014 (UTC)
@ChubbyWimbus: I'm not suggesting something as fine-grained as a campus map. I think we could all agree that's out of scope as it only applies to a very small subset of travelers, all of whom would have easy access to that information anyway. Virtually anything that would apply to a three-month stay would be the same for a six-month stay except possibly residency requirements and tax collection. These could probably be mentioned briefly and cover all kinds of travelers. —Justin (koavf)TCM 19:01, 1 November 2014 (UTC)
I think that longer stay guides should cover visits of between one month and one (or maybe two) years. Working holiday visas are often for a year and the UK offers one of 2 years. Anybody staying less than a month is covered by our regular pages and is unlikely to be working, buying a car etc. The need / opportunity to do things differently only comes when staying several months, but the threshold will vary with location - eg. the minimum time that you can usually rent a house for in the UK is 6 months. Once the stay approaches a year, a local driving licence or car licence plates may be needed, and insurances will probably need to be arranged locally rather than from home. I am only suggesting that we have pages at the country (or maybe state) level - we might list the cities with universities, but not go into the details of courses. In many cases a traveller will be staying in the one country for a year, but only staying a few weeks in most cities. AlasdairW (talk) 00:09, 3 November 2014 (UTC)

A policy regarding history sections?[edit]

Swept in from the pub

I think readers as well as writers might benefit if there were some clear and concise policy regarding "history" sections in country or region articles. On the one hand Wikivoyage isn't and shouldn't be a copy of Wikipedia in that respect, and being too detailed obviously does more harm than good. On the other hand history plays an important role in shaping a country's architecture and geography and people's mentality and many travellers travel to "experience history" in one way or another. I think to start a discussion keeping in mind that the traveller comes first, maybe we should include historical information if it can be "seen" at the destination (e.g. some words about the US civil war as there are well preserved battle-fields and reenactment is both a tourist attraction and a reason for travel by itself) or "noted" with the people (e.g. attitudes towards national symbols and patriotism in Germany as (among others) a result of the Nazi era) of course it could be argued that everything from the beginning of the universe some 13.7 billion years ago might somehow be "visible" - at least in the night sky above the destination - but I think this rule of thumb could be a good way to aid in discussions about whether certain things should be put into the history section or not. If there already is a policy regarding history sections I would ask to put it somewhere more prominent as I was unable to find such a thing. Best wishesHobbitschuster (talk) 17:23, 10 December 2014 (UTC)

On the fact of it, your policy makes sense to me. Ikan Kekek (talk) 17:46, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
We have Dinosaur National Monument; the Civil War and the Underground Railroad are rather recent by comparison? K7L (talk) 17:54, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
Well yeah, that's why I think this policy should apply: obviously this is something that can be "seen firsthand" and it is a reason to travel all by itself, whereas - say - the geologic origin (not that that is unimportant or not interesting, just not to the majority of travellers ;-)) of the Rocky Mountains isn't. I am a new user and of course this was only a first proposal to get a discussion going to get a more "fleshed out" policy as a result of this discussion. Best wishesHobbitschuster (talk) 18:26, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
One of the things I like about Wikivoyage is that editors are given a wide berth to develop their own writing style and establish their own hierarchy of priorities vis-à-vis what it's important for visitors to know about a particular destination. Therefore, it's my contention that the establishment of new policies should happen only where there's a widespread problem that needs solving. In other words, policy should remain silent unless and until there's a pressing need for it to take a stand.
Are wordy, encyclopedic History sections an issue that is endemic to many different articles on this site? If not, let's avoid policy creep and handle problematic instances on a case-by-case basis. If you're writing a History section, use common sense or ask another editor for guidance if you feel the need, but otherwise don't worry about it.
-- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 20:30, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
I could be wrong, but I think the only existing guidance on this subject are brief notes such as Wikivoyage:Country article template#History ("History in a nutshell"). Parroting Andre, I don't know if we need to be too prescriptive beyond our more general advice to keep things brief and travel-relevant. That advice is even more important for countries with long and interesting histories, since we don't want historical information to distract from travel information. Citing the example of the USA, a traveler will encounter Civil War battlefields and Native American sites and thus some relevant history is important, but since the section is likely to grow large we can skip things like past foreign policy positions or economic trends that are unlikely to have any bearing on a person's visit to the country. -- Ryan • (talk) • 21:42, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
André writes a lot of sense above.
There's a danger in being too pre (or pro)scriptive and then "policy" being abused to justify edit warring rather than working collegiately to improve articles for travellers.
As long as we have a good, working table of contents and appropriate H3, H4 and H5 headings, travellers should be able to easily find their way around and skim over sections that are not of interest even if there is quite a lot of text. In many guides at the regional and continental level we don't have a problem with prolixity - quite the reverse in fact. --Ttcf (talk) 22:22, 11 December 2014 (UTC)

Encouraging socializing with groups of local residents that share a common interest[edit]

Swept in from the pub

Any traveler whom has ever stayed at a different state or country for an extended period of time knows how hard it could be to make new friends in a different city or country - especially if you are at a foreign country.

For this reason, I feel that our city guides are still missing a section that would help our readers find prominent websites which organize face-to-face meetups where a traveler can participate in the meetings of various local like-minded people, and hopefully maybe even gain some good new friends as a result.

Websites such as Meetup.com have definitely become prominent in the recent decade - especially in the United States and major English speaking countries in the west - as the means by which a group of complete strangers whom shares a common interest would find each other and organize get-togethers.

So far I've created this draft, to which I added the section "Socialize with local groups that share a common interest" in order to try and exemplify what I mean exactly (I would completely agree that links to other websites are needed (beside the ones to Meetup.com), and that we should probably also re-edit the text (English is not my native language and therefore my text is very likely to have some mistakes).

Do you support or object adding a similar section (which would maybe be worded differently)?

ויקיג'אנקי (talk) 07:43, 1 February 2015 (UTC)

Do any other travel guides or sites associate themselves with meetup sites? What would we gain from associating ourselves with that particular site, which probably won't link to us? The reason we don't allow external links for sites that aren't primary references for listings is that we used to have arguments about which secondary site should be linked, and I don't want that kind of argument to be repeated with meetup sites. Also, not to be paranoid, but we wouldn't want to be legally liable if someone met up with another person because we facilitated that, and got raped and murdered. So those are some concerns. Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:49, 1 February 2015 (UTC)
I don't think information about meetups is appropriate as a new subsection in our city guide template – both for the reasons that Ikan cites, as well as because the phenomenon simply isn't popular or widespread enough that there would be any information to add in most cases. However, I think this might work very well as a travel topic, where we could compare and contrast the advantages and drawbacks of each individual resource, and also include a section on safety. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 13:21, 1 February 2015 (UTC)
That's a good point. Traveling to meet people is clearly something people do. There are also people who swap couch space in strangers' houses. So those could be travel topics. Ikan Kekek (talk) 14:02, 1 February 2015 (UTC)
Sure, it could work as a travel topic, though I wouldn't support a separate section in individual guides for meetups. ϒpsilon (talk) 14:14, 1 February 2015 (UTC)
I don't think that the meetup site given is suitable for listing in part due to the security concerns that Ikan raised. However we maybe could list WMF meetups if they are regularly happening in a city e.g. meta:Meetup/London. Otherwise we should only list meetups when they happen regularly at a single venue (generally in drink). A travel topic may also be useful. AlasdairW (talk) 14:58, 1 February 2015 (UTC)
Travel topic sounds fine, and regular, concrete opportunities that might interest travellers in particular destinations can be listed in the relevant listings (drink or do). I wouldn't support a dedicated section in templates either, for the reasons given and because I fear in practice they'll mostly be filled with a lot of advice from Captain Obvious about meeting people, plus links to the same few external websites (like this meetup.com) in many articles. I also wouldn't support listing WMF meetups, as they are of no more interest to average travellers than most other clubs or meetups and are typically in the local language too. JuliasTravels (talk) 15:35, 1 February 2015 (UTC)

I understand that including websites like Meetup.com for encouraging socializing with groups of locals with a common interest would be a big shift from the common practice in traditional travel books, and that many here might be afraid that such websites could lead someone to be raped or murdered. Well, first of all one could argue that a Wikivoyage guide by itself that covers a region where there is a significant ethnic based conflict could be used by "bad people" to lead someone to his/her death either way - for example, a "bad guy" could for example edit the Hebrew article about the West Bank and recommend to the Hebrew speakers specific places to eat or sleep at while in practice his real intention might be to lead Israeli-Jews to places that would be dangerous for them. I am sure that there are many similar examples.

Regarding Meetup.com specifically, although I assumed there is going to be a considerable opposition to adding links to websites such as meetup, I still think that adding links to Meetup.com or to websites that do the same and are as popular, might be very useful for our LONELY travelers especially since Meetup.com has become the de-facto most popular website of this kind on the web - especially in the United States - and since I know many travelers whom are looking to incorporate meeting locals and trying to make friends into their travels (and usually going to the businesses we recommended in the "DO" sections doesn't help one make actual friends you are likely to meet again). I also think that when our readers would join such groups in public places they should be much safer than for instance going to people's houses (couch surfing) or using various friend match websites which would match them only with local individuals. In my opinion, the safest and most efficient way to get to know friendly locals while still being safe is meeting a big group of locals with a common shared interest and meeting them at public areas. I am sure that there are additional websites that help do the same thing, and therefore I was thinking we should devote such a section to all the most popular websites the help enable this in a safe and friendly way. ויקיג'אנקי (talk) 18:31, 1 February 2015 (UTC)

I just added the following notice to my draft "Please note, for safety reasons, we recommend going to meetups only if they are scheduled to take place at central public places and are attended by many participants." ויקיג'אנקי (talk) 18:46, 1 February 2015 (UTC)
I'm afraid this idea is a non-starter, because the content would be essentially identical for every article in which it appeared. There is no need to link to Meetup, or any other site, because a reader interested in such gatherings can simply go to meetup.com and enter the location to which she will be traveling. A link from us provides very little value. Powers (talk) 19:09, 1 February 2015 (UTC)
I think the point that Meetup is a useful resource for travelers is a good one, and it is also something that is outside of the scope of Wikivoyage. We've had discussions about similar sites, and the problem has always been trying to draw a line between "good" external links and spammy ones - what if we had a template that could be added to the bottom of articles that allowed inclusion of a pre-selected list of links to approved external sites? For example, if we decide Meetup is a resource that is widely used, outside of the scope of what Wikivoyage would support, and a valuable asset for travelers, then we add support for it in the template; if we don't add support for a link in the template then there would be no way to include it. Here's an example I threw together:
The UI and wording obviously needs tweaking, and the list of included sites would need significant discussion, but that gives an idea. And yes, I just opened that can of worms. -- Ryan • (talk) • 19:56, 1 February 2015 (UTC)
I think we need to stay away from linking to commercial sites whenever possible, especially when presented in that format. It flies in the face of the WMF's goal of facilitating the free exchange of unbiased, user-generated information. Our philosophy has always been to include information on our own site rather than linking to it externally, and the way to do that is by making meetups into a travel topic. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 21:13, 1 February 2015 (UTC)
I think it is great to make suggestions for adding more relevant content to our site, but this is really out of scope. We don't have to be the sole source of every single piece of potential information that people could use when they travel, and if someone wants to look up something specialized such as local groups then they can just google it, look it up on Facebook, Meetup or any one of hundreds of sites.
As mentioned earlier in this thread, it would make a good travel topic article. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 21:23, 1 February 2015 (UTC)
Andrewssi2, I understand quite well your suggestion to only have all the information about this option in one separate travel topic article, nevertheless, I am also aware of the fact that if we'll concentrate all info regarding this aspect of traveling in one guide and refrain from making this information widely available throughout the website, most of our readers won't ever become aware of the safe and efficient possibility available to them in the 2010s to to make quality friendships with locals during their trips or long stays at New York City, Sydney, Stockholm, New Delhi, Beijing, Tel-Aviv, etc. ויקיג'אנקי (talk) 21:51, 1 February 2015 (UTC)
Sure, but we can extend that argument everywhere. For example, should we link to AirBnb in every 'Sleep' section because it is a proven way to find accommodation and maybe make friends?
Wikivoyage is in many ways a 'traditional' web site that is perhaps quite behind the curve in terms of digital media. We do nevertheless need to be careful around linking to external commercial sites and services. Andrewssi2 (talk) 21:57, 1 February 2015 (UTC)
I am not sure about having a list of "approved" secondary sites because this would tend to be global rather than local ones. On occasion I have wanted to add a secondary link, but it has almost always been to a region specific one. For instance, a local newspaper may have a column about meetups and clubs in the area. An analogy would be only allowing listings of chain hotels. AlasdairW (talk) 22:05, 1 February 2015 (UTC)
Wikipedia which allow linking to external sites actually strongly discourage linking to sites that require registration so I agree with those who are not in favour of linking to meetup.com, tripadvisor and other similar sites. --Saqib (talk) 21:40, 1 February 2015 (UTC)
Saqib, in the case of Meetup.com the fact that everyone has to have a registered account (and using a real photo of yourself is encouraged) + the fact that all group organizers must make monthly payments in order to create and run their own groups (and that new groups are inspected and approved always only after 3 days), actually helps keep perverts, creeps, psychopaths, internet trolls, scammers, and other dangerous individuals out of these social initiatives (as they usually rather stay anonymous and not pay), unlike let's say classifieds websites such as Craigslist in which anyone could immediately post information about various social get-togethers without even having a registered username or anyone approving their posting beforehand. ויקיג'אנקי (talk) 22:21, 1 February 2015 (UTC)
I don't think that a site like meetup.com can do any serous checks in 3 days on groups signing up. A sporting club looking to become affiliated to the national body is more likely to take 3 years to get their membership approved - with national officials visiting the club, reviewing the safety plans etc. AlasdairW (talk) 22:47, 1 February 2015 (UTC)

It seems that the central problem with adding external links on Engvoy articles to prominent commercial sites that might benefit our reader tremendously (such as Meetup, Facebook, TripAdvisor, etc.) is one - if we allow this in some instances, sooner or later Wikivoyage would take part in significantly raising the web traffic to web sites that are going to earn more money as a result. And it seems that for many of the Wikivoyage community members this fact leads them to refrain from doing so no - matter - what (even if the travelers would have a significant benefit from the existence of those links). ויקיג'אנקי (talk) 22:32, 1 February 2015 (UTC)

To what degree travelers truly benefit from information available on commercial sites is an open question. Wikivoyage's noncommercial status and lack of vested interest in including or excluding any particular bit of information ensures that nothing gets in the way of our focus on the best interests of the traveler. The same cannot be said for sites like Tripadvisor or Meetup, whose ultimate goal of turning a profit for their owners compromises the integrity of their content (at least in theory). This is precisely why we favor including content here rather than linking to it from elsewhere. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 22:41, 1 February 2015 (UTC)
I understand this but still think that it would be a mistake to completely hide essential information from users just because it is available on very prominent commercial websites. ויקיג'אנקי (talk) 22:47, 1 February 2015 (UTC)
(Response to numerous comments above):
  1. There seems to be a belief that external links are evil or bad in some way, particularly if they link to commercial sites. It's worth remembering that Wikivoyage used to be hosted by a commercial entity. If a resource is valuable to travelers, ideally we should have some way to make the traveler aware of it. Our currently restrictive policy was born out of an inability to distinguish "good" external links from "bad" links, but if we can link to a subset of agreed-upon "good" links then that makes our guides better. Note that it's a valid point to say that we shoudn't link to a site because it isn't travel relevant or because it duplicates functionality that we should have on Wikivoyage, but the blanket argument that links to commercial sites are bad strikes me as detrimental to our goal of producing the best travel guides possible.
  2. To the argument that a commercial site might become evil, if it does we remove the template link and all links to it disappear from our site. The point is that this would be a curated list of resources.
  3. Third, I'm not sure how many people have tried to use Wikivoyage guides to plan a trip, but my experience during a recent trip to Turkey and Africa is that our guides aren't up to the task when you're unfamiliar with the place being visited. Until we can provide user reviews in our listings, a tool like Tripadvisor is essential. Similarly, being able to link to other resources for things like event listings (i.e. nightly events, not the annual events we currently include in our guides) would also greatly improve the utility of our guides.
  4. Finally, yes, someone can use Tripadvisor (or another resource) without it being linked from our guides, but when visiting another country it often isn't obvious what tools are used prominently in that destination. If Wikivoyage provided a curated set of resource links it would be a benefit to travelers. Even for guides to places that a traveler is familiar with, having a bookmark to the relevant Meetup page or event guide is a useful service to the traveler.
There are plenty of reasons for opposing links to other sites, but I think we need to remember that the goal is to produce free, complete and up-to-date travel guides and not cling to the status quo just because we've had a very restrictive external link policy in place in the past. -- Ryan • (talk) • 22:55, 1 February 2015 (UTC)
I completely agree with Ryan. The core group of editors at Hebvoy (there aren't a lot yet) has for a long while supported the option of adding prominent links to TripAdvisor to HebVoy articles, in order for our readers to make better decisions while traveling, although we haven't done so yet, mainly because the focus has been on other more important tasks so far. Has any other edition of Wikivoyage widely added links to prominent pages on TripAdvisor? (we might be able to form a better opinion about such an option by examining what specific other editions have done on this respect). ויקיג'אנקי (talk) 23:46, 1 February 2015 (UTC)
With regards to Ryan's post, it sounds like there is a meta discussion to be had around external linking. Do we have have enough basis so far to create a specific proposal discussion around this? --Andrewssi2 (talk) 01:49, 2 February 2015 (UTC)

Compromise suggestion[edit]

Make new like-minded friends while in Toronto

Read more about how travelers could make use of modern online tools to meet and socialize offline with groups of people in Toronto that share a common interest.

Instead of my original suggestion, we could just add an infobox to the "Do" sections of cities that would have an inner link to an extended guide that would cover this travel topic (making it a travel topic article was actually supported by some of the people whom rejected my initial suggestion). All I want is for our readers to be aware that such an option even exists (there are many lonely travelers out there). What do you think of this option? ויקיג'אנקי (talk) 01:39, 2 February 2015 (UTC)

My concern would be that we would need to add that box to a vast number of articles and it would crowd out images and infoboxes that might be of more value. In addition, putting the same box on numerous articles dilutes the value - once you've seen one, you ignore the rest, so we've then used up some of our valuable screen real estate for a box of limited value. If we were going to go with an approach like this one then I'd suggest a short, standardized one-liner listing, similar to w:Template:Wikivoyage-inline, although (obviously) my first preference would be the more generic resources template as outlined above. -- Ryan • (talk) • 03:49, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
Ryan, I think that you better start a separate discussion about Tripadvisor and similar sites. It is a serious issue, and it should not be compromised by the weird proposal of linking to someone's favorite website that is not relevant to 99% of travelers. By the way, do you plan to complete and officially release your essay at some point? --Alexander (talk) 04:36, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
That's even more horrible. Imagine that we have such infoboxes for Meetup.com, Couchsurfing, five major car rental companies, Tripadvisor, booking.com, and what else? Of course, Skype. One can call via Skype from any point in the world, so why not mention Skype in every article? --Alexander (talk) 04:36, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
I agree with Alexander. I am totally fine with travel topics about meetups while traveling or about couchsurfing, but I am opposed to having any kind of link to a site like meetup.com in any article other than a single travel topic dedicated to discussing using meetup sites while visiting places. This is a travel site, not a social media site, and I don't want to make it a social media site.
As for linking to Tripadvisor, if we do that, we might as well forget about making a travel guide on this site, because the information is already there, so why bother putting in the effort to make a free, non-commercial site here? We might as well give up if we're going to do that. The only way I could possibly change my mind about this is if Tripadvisor agreed to link to this site in exchange for us linking to them, and anyone is welcome to propose that to them - it could be great if it were ever to happen - but my guess is it'd be a cold day in Hell before that happens. And I'd be way more willing to countenance indiscriminate inline linking to our sister sites like Wikipedia than any linking to Tripadvisor, because Wikipedia (and Wiktionary, etc.) are fellow Wikimedia sites with the same non-commercial, copyleft policies. Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:06, 2 February 2015 (UTC)

For me, the main point is that we should not link to the same resource from many articles. The mentioned site is (probably – I do not know the site) totally appropriate for a suitable travel topic. If the problem is that people do not find our travel topics, then we should link those instead: start any section with a link to the main travel topic page (Sleep: {{Sleep}}, Do: {{Do}} etc.).

The second point is to have information about how to meet "local like-minded people". The main problem is that the information would be different depending on the reader's mindset. Sometimes there are local resources suiting many travellers (such as a listing of local clubs), and we should perhaps encourage adding that type of info.

--LPfi (talk) 09:03, 2 February 2015 (UTC)

I pretty much echo what both Ikan Kekek and LPfi said. Meetup.com and similar sites should at most be mentioned in a single travel topic only, not linked to repeatedly from every destination. And I'm surprised we're even discussing linking to Tripadvisor for the very reason Ikan mentions; we'd not only be offering free advertising for them and admitting that our site is not complete, we'd be diminishing our chances of becoming complete by sending people elsewhere for the basic information we should have but don't. I think it would pretty much defeat the logic of our external link policy too; if we linked to Tripadvisor, why not link to LP, why not just link to all our competitors, including the thousands of smaller, specialized, local sites which offer complete information where we do not? Texugo (talk) 10:20, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
With regards to Tripadvisor specifically, I would argue that user reviews are outside of the current scope of Wikivoyage, yet they are a necessity when planning a trip. Like Lonely Planet or the other book publishers, our guides help to understand the options and narrow them down, but even in a star article (I'm looking at Hiroshima#Sleep, since it's the first one on the Star articles page) there is no way to know if our listings are out-of-date, just one person's experience of a bad night, an over-enthusiastic write-up from someone who hasn't visited other places in the city, etc. There may be multiple ways to overcome that problem - linking to user reviews hosted elsewhere is just one option - but my recent experience in trying to use Wikivoyage for trip planning is that even our best guides are insufficient and that more information is a necessity. -- Ryan • (talk) • 17:42, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
I don't think that we should be linking to Tripadvisor, except in travel topics and maybe a page of resources for editors. There are other review sites, and the idea is that people do put a brief review in the description here. However I do see some advantages in linking to destination specific secondary sites. This could be the local school which has produced a guide to the city's history, or a walking club which has produced guides to city trails. These are the kind of sites that travellers might not find in a quick search. To start with, we might restrict secondary links to non-commercial sites, and specifically exclude any that offered booking. We have listings for mountains to climb which have no details of the route and there are no links because there are no primary sites to link to (WP links were removed). AlasdairW (talk) 22:03, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
Linking to destination-specific sites of utility is appealing, but then we run into the problem of vetting for quality. Powers (talk) 15:56, 3 February 2015 (UTC)