Wikivoyage:Keep Wikivoyage fun

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Contributing to Wikivoyage should be fun

Wikivoyage aspires to be 'the free worldwide travel guide that anyone can edit' - put simply, travellers helping travellers. We endeavour to write entertaining and enlightening articles about destinations around the world.

But the act of writing and being part of the Wikivoyage community should be almost as enjoyable as visiting the destinations themselves. Whether you love travelling, want to share your knowledge of the world, or just enjoy writing, your contributions and big ideas are warmly welcomed here.

Contributing should be fun!

We are a community of volunteers: everyone who contributes here does it as a hobby. For that reason, we need to ensure that it is as enjoyable an experience as possible. That means that we must all co-operate to a degree: like any community, our cohesion depends firmly upon how we treat each other. Be unafraid to try new things and consider the opinions of others, but please also feel free to make exciting, experimental edits of your own and to state your own, honest opinion.

There will always be disagreements on a project like this but, when conducted properly, discussions on an idea can pull the community together and avoid the schisms that might be expected. In order for this to work, both proposer and opponents need to temper their thoughts: if you have a grand idea, it is often best not to pursue it with a messianic zeal, but to propose it gently and softly; denigrating and deriding the current system is rarely a good start. Constructive criticism is to be encouraged, but kindness should not be forgotten in the process - we are a community. Should the community consensus go against your view - don't be a sore loser. Implementing your suggestions by stealth will not win you any popularity. Instead, find another improvement that needs to be made to the site (for there are many) and leave the other issue, at least temporarily. A single issue that won't go away tends to divide and aggravate the community; it is far better to raise your point again separately at a later date.

The paragraphs above are not an edict or a weapon of condescension, but an expression of what the Wikivoyage community can be: a fun, even lively community in which we work together to help each other and the travellers who use the site's guides.

Are you being a buzzkill?

Inevitably, within a large group of people there will be disagreements, but the key to building a successful site is to disagree without being disagreeable. If you have strong opinions don't hesitate to express them, but do so in a way that doesn't make contributing less fun for others. In particular, keep the following in mind:

  • Assume good faith. Everyone here is a volunteer, and everyone here is doing their best to create a great travel resource; suggesting otherwise will just create frustration and ill will.
  • Don't attack. If you disagree with someone then state what about their argument you disagree with, but don't attack the person making the argument or make accusations against unspecified "others". Keep discussions focused on the issue, don't make it personal.
  • Accept feedback. Plunge forward and contribute, but be aware that some aspects of the site have been standardized based on years of discussion, and don't get angry if someone suggests a change to conform to a site norm. Use your own writing style, and write about topics that interest you, but realize that aspects of the site like section headings were created after discussions involving hundreds of individuals, so if someone suggests that your change of "Eat" to "Restaurants" be reverted, it is not a criticism of you and merely an attempt to follow existing guidelines.
  • Provide constructive comments. In discussions, instead of just saying no, or worse, attacking someone's idea, instead state what it is you disagree (or agree) with, and suggest ways to find common ground; doing so helps avoid frustration for all parties.
  • Don't try to force an issue. A cardinal sin on a wiki is to try to impose your views over the objections of others. Consensus guides decision-making on this site, and while it can be a slow, difficult process to find agreement among people with differing views, it is paramount to the success of the site that everyone's opinion is considered and respected.
  • Be willing to let it go. In some cases consensus may be against you, or opinions may be split so evenly that there isn't any clear resolution to an issue. In these cases, be prepared to let go rather than continuing to try to find a way to "win" the argument. The issue can always be revisited in the future, but sometimes it's best to just move on to the next discussion.

If you have been accused of being a buzzkill, especially if you have been told this by several people, it is likely that the accusations hold at least some measure of truth. If you don't understand what about your behavior is upsetting then ask what you can do to prevent future problems. Note that some people simply don't care that their behavior is causing frustration for others - if you fall into that category then you may want to reconsider whether contributing to a site developed by a diverse community of volunteers is an appropriate activity for you.

Keeping things fun without killing the fun

Don't be too hasty

If you are getting frustrated with another user, above all assume good faith - not everyone speaks English as a first language, few people are familiar with all of the Wikivoyage policies, and sometimes people are simply having a rough day. In addition, whilst it is important to observe and retain the standards outlined in our Manual of Style, remember that a core principle of this site is plunge forward, so in situations where a user's contributions aren't exactly right it is often good practice to leave some room for experimentation and not immediately rush in to tell them that what they are doing is wrong. Be patient, explain to others what you feel they could do differently, and if you are getting frustrated don't worry about stepping away for a bit - there is always someone else who can help deal with a situation. It is very important to remember that even if you feel another user is acting inappropriately, this does not give you an excuse to respond in kind. Point out the fact that you feel the user's behavior or comments are inappropriate, but be civil and address the factual portions of an argument without resorting to personal attacks.

In particular, be very patient with new users - while it is good to provide tips to newcomers, sometimes it is also better to not help too much. As British writer Anne Isabella Thackeray Ritchie said "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.".

Taking action

In rare cases a situation escalates to the point where the presence of one or more users may be making contribution to Wikivoyage less fun for others. These users may be repeatedly ignoring consensus, attacking others, or acting in ways that generate frustration. If you are the only one who seems to be bothered consider disengaging from the situation, but if someone is making Wikivoyage less enjoyable for a larger group and attempts to resolve the situation through discussion aren't working, consider the following remedies:

  • Leave a message on the user's talk page stating what they have done that you find objectionable. When possible link to specific edits to make it very clear what your concerns are.
  • Solicit input from others. If one person is adversely impacting others then it is a situation that the community needs to address.
  • If talk page discussions fail to address the situation, consider the options outlined at Wikivoyage:How to handle unwanted edits. In general, if repeated warnings go unheeded then escalating blocks, typically starting with 24 hours, may be considered.

Vandals, touts, and individuals pushing their own points of view are easy to deal with when compared to someone who is simply making contribution less fun for others. However, if we wish to keep the site vibrant then it is imperative that contributing be fun, and in cases where it is not we should work to implement whatever remedies are available.

See also