Wikivoyage talk:Roadmap

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New roadmap?[edit]

Obviously, feature requests need to be done elsewhere (Bugzilla, it seems), but it would be nice to have a dedicated local space to discussing feature development. We could use this Wikivoyage namespace page for discussions, in a similar way to how we use the pub.

The other option would be to move this work to Meta/Wikivoyage, but I feel like people don't watch that site very closely. --Peter Talk 03:15, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

I've gone ahead with this. Feedback? -Peter Talk 00:29, 19 January 2013 (UTC)

Old feature requests[edit]

Here are some of the more interesting/relevantold open feature requests that I salvaged from wts-old. It was really refreshing to see that nearly all our tech requests from the olden days have been fulfilled simply by moving to the WMF! --Peter Talk 03:15, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

Twinkle[edit]

I see you've added twinkle there. I am not aware of any project beside enwiki that has twinkle, given its complexity, tho I might be wrong. You'd need some dedicated js people to port it and maintain it. In any case, if you look in the gadget section, there's a much more limited tool that's simply to warn and welcome users and that I and some other users have been using. It's far from great, but it's simple and easy to maintain and extend even for somebody that doesn't speak javascript like me :) Snowolf How can I help? 00:54, 19 January 2013 (UTC)

The tagging of pages for deletion is doable thru Tagger, which is not as sophisticated as it was developed to work on all wikis, but it is probably good enough :) Snowolf How can I help? 00:55, 19 January 2013 (UTC)
I think welcoming and warning users are the functions we don't want from Twinkle, so maybe it's best to remove it! --Peter Talk 01:47, 19 January 2013 (UTC)
Then what do you want twinkle for? Snowolf How can I help? 02:38, 19 January 2013 (UTC)
Perhaps I should expand. Twinkle is mainly a countervandalism tool, integrating rollback and warning tools with each other, as well as providing a non-admin, non-rollbacker rollback. Over time, it has expanded to include CSD tagging, blocking, filing and closing of XfDs, prods, various sorts of miscellaneous warnings and all sorts of other forms of semi-automation. I am not sure what other functions you were looking for... Snowolf How can I help? 02:43, 19 January 2013 (UTC)
If there is a particular function you're looking for and feel is needed here, I can try and find some tool for it. Snowolf How can I help? 02:44, 19 January 2013 (UTC)
I'm just interested in more ways to make patrolling (finding edits that need repairs and identifying the ones you have already checked) easier—I think the follow up should be more manual. RTRC was a great addition to our tools in that regard. --Peter Talk 04:42, 19 January 2013 (UTC)
Spanish Wikipedia and Wikivoyage have Fastbuttons, which is similar to Twinkle. --Rschen7754 05:16, 19 January 2013 (UTC)

Help turn ideas into grants in the new IdeaLab[edit]

Swept in from the pub
Wikimedia Foundation RGB logo with text.svg

I apologize if this message is not in your language. Please help translate it.

  • Do you have an idea for a project to improve this community or website?
  • Do you think you could complete your idea if only you had some funding?
  • Do you want to help other people turn their ideas into project plans or grant proposals?

Please join us in the IdeaLab, an incubator for project ideas and Individual Engagement Grant proposals.

The Wikimedia Foundation is seeking new ideas and proposals for Individual Engagement Grants. These grants fund individuals or small groups to complete projects that help improve this community. If interested, please submit a completed proposal by February 15, 2013. Please visit https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:IEG for more information.

Thanks! --Siko Bouterse, Head of Individual Engagement Grants, Wikimedia Foundation 20:19, 30 January 2013 (UTC)

Distributed via Global message delivery. (Wrong page? Correct it here.)

We've got a whole lot of ideas floating around here. But I think expertise is what we need; not money. JamesA >talk 01:04, 31 January 2013 (UTC)
Expertise is for sale. --Inas (talk) 07:51, 31 January 2013 (UTC)
Good point. Maybe it would be worth collating our top 3 ideas and formally submitting them. Off the top of my head, a separate Wikivoyage Reviews site, OpenStreetMap listing collaboration and a full-blown listing editor could be high priority projects. JamesA >talk 08:19, 31 January 2013 (UTC)
Yes, let's work on this. Discussion at Wikivoyage talk:Roadmap might be the place for it, and let's make sure to publicize the discussion so that other language versions are aware. Regarding reviews, I don't think we should frame this as a separate site, but rather as an extended feature separate from the guides—and not part of the universally-editable wiki. --Peter Talk 16:26, 31 January 2013 (UTC)
I find it very coincidental, Peter, that the three long term goals on the Roadmap are the same as the three ideas I mentioned above! We could call for more ideas, but considering there is only 2 weeks until applications close, maybe we should just stick with those three. One issue is that there needs to be a clear plan of what the money will be used for, and the application needs to define the requested amount. What we have are just feature requests, and if we had our way, we'd just throw the money back at the WMF to hire experienced staff to develop the features. What else could we possibly use the money for? Maybe it would be worth starting the discussion in the structured IdeaLab format anyway, and even if we do not end up applying for a grant, we could use our discussion to liaise with the WMF about new features. JamesA >talk 06:37, 1 February 2013 (UTC)
We need a clear plan of what the feature requests entail, and I think I could mock up some visualizations. Give me a day, then a weekend to have other eyes look at this, and let's then hoist the sails on our maiden voyage to IdeaLab. --Peter Talk 08:11, 1 February 2013 (UTC)
I have now created a couple mock ups, and am working on more. While I do that, though, feedback would be great. See the links from Wikivoyage:Roadmap#Long term goals. --Peter Talk 20:42, 1 February 2013 (UTC)
Agree I wish that the WMF would hire staff and than allow people to apply for their time. Travel Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 12:31, 3 February 2013 (UTC)

Well, not quite as much comment as I'd hoped, but probably enough to start moving forward. We'll probably get things better defined and critiqued once we get started on IdeaLab. Jameses, can you help? --Peter Talk 23:09, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

editorial office de:Wikivoyage:Lektorat[edit]

The german Wikivoyage is trying to review all canidates for special articles like article of month, topic of month and "Abseits der Touristenpfade..." (special locations where tourists not come normally). For this propose we use de:Wikivoyage:Lektorat where every article is reviewed by 3 users. Articles which should be reviewed should be complete. After July all feautured article canidates should be reviewed. Maby thats an alternative to the reviewed template. Pyfisch (talk) 11:04, 3 February 2013 (UTC)

mobile "notes"[edit]

Another aspect of editing guides while on the go is that, when travelling not for writing a guide, is that you only have time to write down short notes on (a) what should be added to the travel guide, (b) what is wrong and should be edited/removed.

And only when you come home you (hope to) have time to sort them and implement on wiki. And if you don't actually have time (or if you feel not experienced enough to try editing a Travel Guide), you just leave your notes in the backyard hoping to process them someday.

So my point is to find a way to provide:

  1. an easy note-taking, split by destination and section;
  2. to allow sharing the notes with the community both while travelling and upon return--so that:
    • if anyone have clarifying questions, he could ask while I'm still at the destination--and I could find an answer
    • if I feel uncapable to process my notes upon return, someone could (if interested) to use them for the benefit of our guides

I'm sure there should be several applications capable of doing that, but I never tried any seriously. (personally I write my notes, both personal and guide-related, to an outline app--but it's too difficult to use for an average sporadic contributor) --DenisYurkin (talk) 19:50, 6 February 2013 (UTC)

I think it is a great idea, but I am not sure that many people are interested in it. In the meantime, could you share your way of making notes? I still write them on the paper, which is very, very inefficient. --Alexander (talk) 17:02, 7 February 2013 (UTC)
I am using Android Outliner on Android, optionally paired with Natara Bonsai. The latter is deprecated. I'm sure there is a bunch of outliners which are both more uptodate and actively developed. --DenisYurkin (talk) 20:37, 12 February 2013 (UTC)
This sounds similar to the latest version of the Article feedback tool scheduled to be introduced on Wikipedia next month and possibly implemented here. See: w:Wikipedia:Article Feedback Tool/Version 5. I searched the talk page and talk page archives and there is really no discussion about working with mobile browsers. There were two short comments which stated that the tool only works in "desktop" view for Wikipedia and does not support mobile browsers. AHeneen (talk) 23:34, 12 February 2013 (UTC)

where to stick it?[edit]

Oops, just realized there's a dedicate page for some features. Should I move my thoughts there for reviews pages? --DenisYurkin (talk) 19:52, 6 February 2013 (UTC)

Working with the Bugzilla[edit]

One thing I've been pretty thoroughly confounded by is the process for getting feature requests done through bugzilla.wikimedia. Is there a policy-style grounding available anywhere that explains of whom you are making the requests, what to expect, how to properly "bump" requests that require priority but haven't received much attention or have been dormant for too long, how to approach a major feature request that isn't time sensitive, etc.?

Just one example on my mind (other than the patrolling grouped changes) is the desire to add the capability to link to all the other sister sites in the sidebar—we've known that we want that for some time, and it sounds pretty simple, but I don't know what to do to make it happen. --Peter Talk 00:49, 11 April 2013 (UTC)

Most interface components of the wiki are actually configurable, for example you can edit the sidebar at MediaWiki:Sidebar. If you're unsure, m:Tech is a hugely under-utilized resource for technical help.
As far as bumping bugs goes, that specific one is assigned to m:User:Hoo man, who is a pretty busy person, so it might be worth poking him on IRC (his nick is usually "hoo") or leaving a comment like "Have their been any updates?" Legoktm (talk) 01:24, 11 April 2013 (UTC)


Make Facebook thumbnail avoid banner?[edit]

Swept in from the pub

When linking to a webpage in Facebook, Facebook crawls the page and tries to find an image to use as a thumbnail.

In case of Wikivoyage, apparently Facebook often chooses the banner, which is almost always a bad choice:

  • When the article has a custom banner, it almost always have other images, whose size would fit better (banner is unrecognizable at thumbnail size)
  • When the article has a default banner, it would be better to use the Wikivoyage logo.

Apparently a web page can specify the image to use using some HTML code: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/5749028/how-do-i-prevent-an-image-from-showing-up-as-a-thumbnail-option

Not worth bugging the Wikimedia staff, but if anybody has time to try, a proof-of-concept would be a great start :-) Nicolas1981 (talk) 04:23, 24 July 2013 (UTC)

That's never been a problem for me. In updating WV's Facebook page when new featured articles come out, Facebook almost always prompts me to select from a series of images to use as the thumbnail. Perhaps it's an issue with your browser? -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 19:23, 24 July 2013 (UTC)
Indeed wall posts allow the user to select (though I am sure most users never paid attention nor take the time to select the best thumbnail), but unfortunately in comments it is not possible to select, and the banner is taken as thumbnail. Typically, a friend posts "I arrived in Ouarzazate! Any good restaurant?" and I leave a comment linking to the appropriate section. Nicolas1981 (talk) 06:32, 25 July 2013 (UTC)

Easier way to link to a sub-section?[edit]

Swept in from the pub

Let's say a friend asks me for for luxurious restaurants in Roppongi. I would like to send a link, but I can only find links to sections (eg Eat) not sub-sections (eg Eat→Splurge). By investigating the HTML source code of the page, I can find out that the link http://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Tokyo/Roppongi#Splurge but there is no easy way to do so from a normal user's point of view.

How about solving this problem but doing like Github wiki? When you put the mouse over a title, a small "link" icon will appear on the left, which is a deep link that can be copied (Copy Link Location).

It might be doable by templates/CSS without having to bother the Wikimedia staff... anyone willing to give it a try? Being easy to link to is very important in terms of adoption+SEO. Nicolas1981 (talk) 04:40, 24 July 2013 (UTC)

Not sure if I'm fully sure of your concerns, but in terms of internal linking, it's simple: Tokyo/Roppongi#Splurge. If you are pointing out that is difficult to find for everyday users, considering we have no links to third level headers in the banner, maybe so. But I don't think it's a major concern, as just like the TOC, the sections are compact enough that there shouldn't be a need to link to specific smaller sections, and Tokyo/Roppongi#Eat should be enough. James Atalk 06:58, 24 July 2013 (UTC)
"there shouldn't be a need to link to specific smaller sections" Actually I happened to preceisely have this need, an hour ago. Nicolas1981 (talk) 07:47, 24 July 2013 (UTC)
Digression: I would even say that linking to the description of a particular hotel would be very useful. I don't know in other countries, but in Japan people rarely share the official URL of a restaurant, they link to a third-party review site that has compact info about the place. Most restaurants around the world don't have websites nor reviews in <choose your language>, so the habit of linking to the Wikivoyage entry could even see widespread adoption. Nicolas1981 (talk) 07:47, 24 July 2013 (UTC)

Advice from WMF engineers at the right stage?[edit]

Colleagues, perhaps we should think about making enquiries when the technical ideas firm up more. It's not a particalarly good time to ask, of course, with the roll-out of VE; but if we can narrow down and organise the queries, we might get a little of their time. Tony (talk) 15:17, 28 July 2013 (UTC)

Alphabetical order[edit]

It's a pain to sort listings by hand into alphabetical order, but is often necessary. It will become more often necessary as editing patterns adopt the listing editor's [add listing] functionality. Despite being pretty tech-ignorant, I figure it should be possible to develop a tool from the edit window to auto-sort listings by the name= field. So my idea is: open the edit window for a section, click a "sort listings" button, watch the templated listings magically auto sort by name, save page. Is this possible, can someone help? --Peter Talk 19:53, 12 August 2013 (UTC)

Improving WV and increasing readership[edit]

Swept in from the pub
  • Many of our articles are missing pictures and pictures are key to a travel resource. There are many pictures on Wikipedia / Commons that could be easily added. I have done a few. Having a list of all articles missing pictures would make adding them easier. Does this exist or could a bot create one?
  • If alexa.com is to be trusted 20% of our visitors were just at Wikipedia. It would be useful to make sure that we have a link from each of the corresponding Wikipedia articles to Wikivoyage in the external links section. I know many exist but not sure how consistent this is. Travel Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 19:28, 24 July 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for helping! There is a page called Wikivoyage:Pages needing images, but it lists only some such pages and needs updating. It also is not linked from Category:Articles needing attention, and like an unsigned user who posted to Category talk:Articles needing attention, I have no idea how to insert a link into Category:Articles needing attention. Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:56, 24 July 2013 (UTC)
There's also Category:Articles without Wikipedia links, but it is essentially - and seemingly inexplicably - essentially contentless. Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:59, 24 July 2013 (UTC)
I added a note over there -- since it's a manually generated list, not a category, it can't be added as a subcategory like the others. I also don't know if it's still being updated?
(Add links to categories by prefixing the link with a colon, e.g. [[:Category:Africa]] instead of [[Category:Africa]].) -- D. Guillaume (talk) 20:09, 24 July 2013 (UTC)
To my knowledge, no-one is updating it. Is there a way a bot could update it? Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:16, 24 July 2013 (UTC)
Yes a bot that lists all articles without pictures would be perfect. Should be easy to do to. Travel Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 21:08, 24 July 2013 (UTC)
My recent exposure to Tripadvisor brought home how old-fashioned the WV model has become. Tripadvisor isn't optimal (cluttered, not always intuitive, and commercial to its core), but some of its structure and processes could be modified and adopted here without much trouble: I refer specifically to the much more effective invitations to readers to write reviews of hotels, restaurants, and tourist attractions. We fail dreadfully on that count. It's all in the linking and the creation of sub-pages. My second observation is that we need a lot more images. I'm almost inclined to run competitions and award prizes as a way of boosting our photographic profile. Is there a WV thematic organisation yet??? Tony (talk) 03:00, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
Agree allowing users to provide reviews would be a great way to draw them into contributing. Is discussed here with mockups Wikivoyage:Roadmap/Enable_listings_reviews. We need programmers to help.
Yes a competition for photos is a good idea. IMO every article should have at least one appropriate photo.
There is a Thorg for Wikivoyage here http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikivoyage_e.V. It was started in 2006 in Germany. Stefan will be speaking with me at Wikimania. Travel Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 03:14, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
Our problems with struggling readership begin and end, essentially, with SEO.
Leaving aside the brief blip in activity during the launch week, Wikivoyage has actually been trending sharply downward on Alexa since the launch (it bears mentioning that over the past two weeks there's been a sustained uptick in activity, but as far as I can tell it's too early to say whether that's anything more than a statistical anomaly). Meanwhile, in this same time period, Wikipedia has been diligently adding interwiki links on its pages to Wikivoyage. The original commenter's points on continued integration of Wikivoyage with other WMF sites is well taken; however, the trend over the past six months says to me that we can't rely on Wikipedia alone to drive visitors to our site.
Also, while I'll be the first to say that more images are a good thing, I highly doubt that how many images our articles have makes much of a difference in our Alexa rankings. Wikitravel, being essentially a dead site as far as active contributions are concerned, presumably has fewer images than we do. But, far from sinking like a stone, over the past six months Wikitravel's lead over Wikivoyage on Alexa has actually widened. This despite the fact that Wikipedia has been removing links to Wikitravel on its pages as steadily as it's been adding links to us. According to Alexa, fully 19.3% of Wikitravel's viewers were referred there by Google - and that figure takes into account only google.com, not google.de, google.co.uk, and the other international Googles, six more of which besides the main one are on the top 10 list of upstream sites for Wikitravel. Meanwhile, Wikivoyage only gleans 6.1% of its visitors from Google. This says to me that, again, our main problem is with SEO.
Wikivoyage has a Search Expedition. I'm not an active contributor, as I know next to nothing about the technical aspects of SEO, so I can't say for sure how active that expedition is. But if it isn't active, it really, really, really needs to be. In my opinion, we need to put on the back burner things like adding images to articles and cajoling Wikipedia to continue adding interwiki links to us, and go full throttle in solving our Google problem, whether that be by convincing them that we're not just a mirror of Wikitravel, or by twisting the WMF's arm to do what they need to do, or whatever the hold-up happens to be. All other concerns regarding boosting readership are, frankly, secondary. Failing a solution to our Google problem, we are going to end up the dead site, not Wikitravel.
-- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 04:58, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
Our pageviews have increased by more than 10% each month the last 2 months to 8.1M in June 2013 from a low of 6.4M in Apr.http://stats.wikimedia.org/wikivoyage/EN/TablesPageViewsMonthly.htm
We have seen a significant up tick in numbers of articles created over the last few months and some languages have seen a persistent increase in editor number over the old site English French
The number of very active WVers is higher than it ever has been [1]
I think our best hope to have google take notice is to make this site a whole lot better. Travel Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 05:22, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
  • I agree with James. And it's not just SEO: a multipronged strategy is needed to improve and update the site, too. Several dimensions can and should be address simultaneously. We should have a solid look at what technical improvements are in order, so we can join the loooong queue to get help from WMF techs. Tony (talk) 06:04, 25 July 2013 (UTC)

James, unless I do not understand something here, it seems that the number of very active editors is actually 50% lower today than it was in January. The uptick in Jan was a one-off issue and we largely lost that momentum, sadly. It is worth discussing how we can engage Wikipedians to cross over and come to edit WV once in a while. Your presentation may be an important step here!

More importantly, I believe Andrew is right here. Our Pageviews keep improving slightly, bo so do Wikitravel's. I believe this is natural seasonality - people on the Northern Hemisphere are increasingly on vacation now and keep frequenting the travel sites for advice. Let us see whether this doesn't wear off in a few months' time, I believe it may, to a large extent. We do need to improve our standing with Google, and one of the best and most proven ways to do that is by improving the amount of links to our pages.

I mentioned above that one of the most proven ways for a Wiki is by having mirrors that dump all or a significant part of the content and act according to our license, i.e. by adding a linkback to every article they maintain a copy or derivative of. This way, we get thousands and thousands of links, and as we do not link back to them, Google recognizes we are the original site for this content. I mentioned that some sites using our content found it confusing how to use our content and automatically update it, but my concerns were largely dismissed as unimportant. This IS important.

We may get slight improvements to our content by dilligently working on it but frankly, being completely CC-licensed, everything we do well can be "borrowed" by WT anytime. What we need here is a gradual jump so that people become accustomed to using and editing WV and forget about WT, and also favor us over other travel sites or even Wikipedia for travel information. Adding cool features (dynamic maps, listings editor etc.) will help keep people stay and coming back, but they first need to discover us to discover those. We also need multifold more editors to really deploy all the features over articles and fill them ALL with first-rate, up-to-date content.

I love being in our own little world and little community where we almost all know each other and do not have to worry about sudden changes, but I'd much rather have to deal with a rapid influx of clueless newcomers that need to be explained the same things over and over again (which is called welcoming newcomers, what most Wikis have processes for, but not us), than argue about whether windmills or castles are the best choice for a banner with the same guys over and over again. There is a certain homeliness to it, and I do enjoy it, but I am really here in hopes WV will strike it big time not be a side project that everybody at WMF would be looking strangely at.

And yes, either the guys at the Search Expedition are covertly working on something MASSIVE, or that Expedition doesn't seem to be going anywhere... I would love to be proven otherwise soon.

Kindest, PrinceGloria (talk) 06:06, 25 July 2013 (UTC)

PS. Actually, I am not a fan of reviews. I love for them all to be on TripAdvisor and I wish for every other competitor to TA to die miserably, as I'd hate for good review content to be spread over many sites and me had to check out more than one site to get a good overview. That said, TA doesn't really have THAT much of an edge in terms of traveller-generated NON-REVIEW CONTENT. People who come there to vent off do not seem to go to edit their content pages (which they have a system for, and pretty much space for much of what we cater for in WV), or join the forums, where there is a small community for every destination, and those communities seem to grow very slowly.

I believe if we started accepting reviews, we would have a slew of low-quality edits written in barely intelligible, poorly spelt English by people venting off. Except for the very leading review sites, most contain very low-quality content, so until we become really popular, I would really not want to become open to reviews. If a person wants to share their experiences, it is best that they edit the article itself, adding useful information, e.g. that the Tikka Massala is really good or that they close at 10 PM, or maybe that it's best to park round the corner or arrive on tram 15.

Might get some good reviews too. What is essentially different about reviewing a restaurant or cafe, and adding to the "main text" of the article? I see opinionated text all over the place anyway. And sequestering reviews in linked-to sub-pages separates them from the more formal presentation, doesn't it? Can I say, I'm travelling soon, and en.WV has nothing, zilch, zero, on one of the towns in Germany I'll be staying in for three nights; de.WP has a useless stub. Tripadvisor has a large amount of information, although I don't like the structuring in some ways. I'll be using tripadvisor. What else? Tony (talk) 12:24, 25 July 2013 (UTC)

Comment - As founder of Wikivoyage:Search Expedition, I'll put in my 2c. It was off to quite a good start when we launched back in February with the goal of not only increasing our SEO, but also overall readership and usage. We managed to remove practically every link and template to Wikitravel on all WMF sites, and replace many with our own. We have promoted some collaboration with tourist bureaus and created "As featured on Wikivoyage" badges, but that has some way to go. We have also been monitoring progress of article search rankings and testing ideas such as mass-modification of articles so we don't appear as a duplicate site. However, I feel it is really not getting enough attention. I edit less around here now due to my education, and the expedition really has died off unfortunately. I contacted the WMF back in May urging them to provide Google Webmaster Tools as a priority, and was told it is usually handled by WMF staff, but that they would look into it and would also prod their Google contacts about the duplication issue. I've heard nothing since. I agree with Andrew that the community really needs to take this issue much more seriously, as does the WMF, or things will just go more and more downhill. Even I occasionally doubt the purpose of the contributions we make to Wikivoyage when the dump that is WT continues to grow. I implore people to take an interest in this urgent issue. James Atalk 13:16, 25 July 2013 (UTC)

This is a very important issue, and one which needs to be a much larger priority. I think part of our problem popularity-wise is that lots of people still don't know we exist. I don't think that people necessarily use WT because they have any care for the financial objectives of Internet Brands, but because they don't know that there is a better alternative. In the UK at least, I've not seen any mention of WV in the mainstream media, even around the time of the launch. That would probably be the easiest way to get 'people through the door', though I'm not sure how we'd go about it. The only thing I can think of that might be newsworthy is if we managed to launch some sort of partnership with a tourism board - that might at least hit the local press ("XXX in pioneering partnership with Wikivoyage travel site"), though we'd have to discuss anything like that with the partner in question.
Either way, I think it would be a good idea to have some sort of 'Outreach Programme', spreading the good word beyond our borders. Facebook and Twitter are both good tools but, at least to a degree, exposure to our posts is optional and selected by people who already know the site. We need to tell people who have never heard of us.
In terms of SEO, we continue to return to the unfortunate conclusion that the best way to improve our search rankings is to improve our content. Google's algorithms are specifically designed to prevent 'quick fixes', so we are going to struggle a little. I think an 'Outreach Programme' as described above could be a good start, however. --Nick talk 14:32, 25 July 2013 (UTC) (apologies if you've read parts of this before.)
Hi! I noticed this conversation thanks to coverage in the English Wikipedia Signpost. I've now reached out to the heads of Wikimedia Foundation's Analytics and Operations groups to let them know of this request.
Regarding outreach in general: when at conferences, and when talking with friends who are traveling, I often tell people about Wikivoyage, and suggest to people that they check and update Wikivoyage. I think it would be great for Wikivoyage experts to get more Wikivoyage-related curricula and suggestions on http://outreach.wikimedia.org/ , so that people who are already interested in running edit-a-thons and other similar events can help new people learn about and contribute to Wikivoyage. Sharihareswara (WMF) (talk) 14:22, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
Sumana, again, what you did is brilliant and thank you a whole lot for your interest and taking action. As concerns Outreach, can you give us an example of what and how we can contribute? PrinceGloria (talk) 20:57, 27 July 2013 (UTC)
PrinceGloria, You can contribute by writing the success stories here. Your story could be about the little monument you covered for Wikivoyage, an meetup you conducted or anything you feel is an achievement. You can also pitch in to document the best practices in organizing stuff, partnering with institutes or any similar activity here. I am not an expert at Outreach wiki, and I am sure that there are many more possibilities for Wikivoyagers there. --Netha Hussain (talk) 20:08, 1 August 2013 (UTC)
Thank you, Netha! PrinceGloria, have you taken a look at outreach.wikimedia.org to see how you can use their resources in a Wikivoyage outreach program? Another example: you can turn your "how to get started contributing to Wikivoyage" guide into a leaflet and upload it to the Bookshelf at the outreach wiki. If you want an extra boost, you can then email about it to the outreach Ambassadors (Ambassadors help contributors who are students or instructors at educational institutions) and also tell the wikimedia-l mailing list so the people who run workshops hear about it and can encourage people to improve Wikivoyage.
I also want to point out Wiki Loves Monuments, a Wikimedia photo contest that concentrates on documenting our cultural heritage. It starts on September 1st. People go on photo walks, encourage new contributors, and upload photos to Commons. And then it can be a fun activity to illustrate articles that previously did not have photos with the new photos from the WLM contest. For more information about how to participate, and contact information for the organizers in case your Wikivoyage wants to get involved in some way, see https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Wiki_Loves_Monuments_2013 . Sharihareswara (WMF) (talk) 16:33, 22 August 2013 (UTC)

Presentation for Wikimania[edit]

Swept in from the pub

Stefan and I are working on a presentation for Wikimania Aug 10th in Hong Kong here [2]. We have 50 minutes to speak about Wikivoyage. Any comments / suggestions? Travel Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 21:12, 24 July 2013 (UTC)

Perhaps after making your audience all enthusiastic for the project, suggest to edit their home town, add their favourite restaurant. Since on Wikipedia it's quite the other way around (personal involvement often being considered a bad thing), I imagine it might be useful to point out that we in fact like such suggestions. It's a good way to get started, I think. Good luck with the preparations! JuliasTravels (talk) 22:02, 24 July 2013 (UTC)
It's super that you're doing this! I think it would be great to present some of the improvements we've made, such as the changes to the front page, pagebanners, and increased numbers of high-quality images on pages, with "before and after" projections. Please also mention the monthly features and show them examples of Destination of the Month, Off the Beaten Path, and other featured articles. As a side point, many phrasebooks could use more help, and at an international conference in Hong Kong, I'm sure there will be speakers of many languages, so as part of your request, you could also suggest that some members of the audience might enjoy helping improve phrasebooks in languages they speak. Ikan Kekek (talk) 22:06, 24 July 2013 (UTC)
Might want to mention the ongoing Airport Expedition and the work on the Dynamic maps Expedition and listing editor. I'd also say anything you can do to get people interested in the other language versions would be great. Es:, pt:, and ro: are all really hurting for more collaborators, and other versions may be too. Texugo (talk) 22:13, 24 July 2013 (UTC)
Thanks great suggestions. Maybe will also discuss the manual of style. Travel Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 00:05, 25 July 2013 (UTC)

You asked for it and you will get it and you will regret it. I am pretty anal about presentations, plus just woken up by a random call in the middle of the night, so rather p!ssed. But FWIW, here I go:

  1. Experience tells me that bullet-point slides are not a good way to capture the audience's attention. Even if you end up conveying so much more than the bullet points say, people will read the bullet points quickly and their attention span will lapse. Any kind of picture or graphic, be it a chart, screenshot, photo, graph, illustration is much more stimulating to the brain and will have the audience wanting to find out its relationship to the slide text.
  2. I believe it would be good if the presentation would be useful for those who won't be able to attend the conference for them to download, and as such should be self-contained and self-explanatory in a way. I believe in 50 minutes you will want to say more than what you have on the slides more, so adding a few more words of explanation and details won't hurt.
  3. I would consider starting with the bright side - what is Wikivoyage, how it is useful, fun, engaging and worthwhile. The gloomy, murky bits about the history could be left for a later bit - it is important to speak about it, but it would be better not to make the impression that Wikivoyage is only about being in conflict with IB
  4. I am not really sure what messages you are trying to convey with all the charts. It would be good to add titles, comments and takeaways, especially for the offline reader
  5. Slide 15 sounds like we are all doomed and will die. Besides, was anybody surveyed to say that Wikivoyage is "technically hard to edit" and has "too many rules"? If I am reading it correctly, those seem like personal opinions and should not be presented as facts, but rather hypotheses. There are many other reasons why people might not get to edit WV, and it would be good to list all the hypotheses along with some proof. One of my hypotheses is that there simply aren't enough people aware of and frequently visiting WV to convert into a substantial editor group. A comparison of the number of visitors / page views and editors of popular travel sites (WT, TripAdvisor, WV) would come in handy to test it.
  6. If slide 15 is about something totally else, this proves my point about writing (and illustrating) slides in a way that the offline reader gets the message just as well.
  7. At any rate - what's with all this stuff about women, Facebook and Pinterest???
  8. Slides 18-20 need titles and comments as to what they present
  9. Slide 22 (how to find new Contributors) should go after the discussion of how there aren't many now
  10. Another way one can start contributing is by looking up the guides for the places they plan to travel to and improve them during their own plans and preparations (this is what I do), as well as after returning. This is when one devoted the most attention to a destination and sees it from the same POV other target readers would.
  11. The fun thing about WV is that you can contribute meaningfully even when you have very little time, willingness and attention span. Adding a listing or photo, making a banner or copyediting a section can be very worthwhile. At Wikipedia, real satisfaction mostly comes from writing a long, well-referenced status and pushing it through FA, which often requires weeks of work. Wikivoyage is always "live" and never finished (like a Wikipedia FA article), so one doesn't need to feel bad when their contributions are scattered across what tickled their fancy at a given moment. Dropping to WV for a moment can be a good way to relax from the demanding and rather formalized other projects, like Wikipedia.
  12. We absolutely need to mention the Dynamic Maps in a most prominent way, and the future possibilities, such as "Special:Nearby". To me this is so much more important and powerful to reviews, which will be a laughably underutilized feature until we get readership and usership on par with other travel sites. And this may only happen thanks to innovative features such as dynamic maps and real-time geolocalization.
  13. If there is any expedition I would mention besides Dynamic Maps, I'd say it's Banners.

I guess that's it in terms of reasonable comments I could make at that time of day (night). Do not hesitate to let me know how I can help you with the presentation. Kindest, PrinceGloria (talk) 00:17, 25 July 2013 (UTC) PrinceGloria (talk) 00:17, 25 July 2013 (UTC)

Thanks. Slide 15 is for the Wikipedia crowd generally rather than specifically about Wikivoyage. There is huge talk in the movement as a whole about editor numbers and why they have stop growing. My point is that Wikivoyage does not have huge numbers of rules and is not hard to edit and yet it too stopped growing at about the same time as Wikipedia did.
The female / male ratio is another huge issue.
Do you have some links to more info on the dynamic maps?
Yes agree with leading with images. Many of them have no text. The key point in that WV has had an uptick in activity both in editor numbers and content creation since joining the WM movement. I will write in some notes to go with the slide for those note present. It will be recorded as well. Travel Doc James (talk ·contribs · email) 00:25, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
James, thanks for taking the time to read through my comments and think over some of them. The key point here is that I believe this needs to be a presentation of what WV is, that it is BOTH fun and very useful, in a way very different from WP and other projects. It is just one thing that every Wikipedian, Wiktionarian, Commoner (?) etc. can add to their daily routine and just pop in to add the very smallest detail and it will still add up to a very useful whole. WV is still one of the easiest and most laid-back projects to work on, and with all of that, it has tremendous value for the reader. This, to me, is far important of how it separated from WT, that we are having a logo competition or why women don't edit Mediawikis as much as men do (which I believe is good to leave out for a separate presentation).
If you'd like help with anything, just tell me what it would be and I'd try to find time to help you with a slide, illustration or anything. PrinceGloria (talk) 06:20, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
PS. It is great to know that your presentation will be video'd, but watching a 50-min video is not as fun as listening to you in person. That is why I believe the "written" presentation is so important, as it can probably be consumed in 5-10 minutes and it can really go the distance!
PS2. Wikivoyage:Dynamic maps Expedition
  • James et al., I seem to have a radically different take from the rest of the world on the use of slides in presentations. It's born of several observations and home-spun logical inferences:
  1. that audiences—whether undergraduates, professionals, or the public—tire quickly of continuous slides;
  2. that slides draw attention away from you, the speaker;
  3. that the reason for getting on one's hind legs and giving a live oral presentation is to add value to what you could convey on a website or a book or a series of lecture notes.

So—ration the slides, and turn them off most of the time. That way, your audience will really sit up and attend to a slide when you do display it for a few moments; and they'll attend to the oral information for the rest of the time. If you display bullets summarising what you're saying, their attention will be divided; stop and display the quick written summary after you've talked about it. Stop talking for five seconds. Your audience will thank you. And ration the amount of wording on each slide, large print please. No bells and whistles, which are gimmicky and distracting.

There, I've said it. Tony (talk) 12:18, 25 July 2013 (UTC)

Slides 11-13 - latest statistics for June 2013 already available.
Slides 24 - "Add your favorite restaurant" - IMO generally dangerous proposition for new users, and for WMF audience/community - very dangerous:) But "Edit your hometown" and "Upload travel photos or images from your community" are very good propositions
Slides 26 - operative/historical problems - IMO nothing important as information for wide WMF community (=ca. 99% non-VW editors); : the same slides 4-5 - for non-VW audience is IMO short information about WV-logo history and future (= one slide) is enough
Slides 23 - "Collaboration with other WMF projects" - "Extending Wiki Loves Monuments" + w:Wikipedia:GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives & Museums) can be IMO also interesting. --Alan ffm (talk) 17:44, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
Thanks have updated. Travel Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 17:52, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
Does someone want to add a few slides on the dynamic maps expedition? What exactly is our relationship with OSM? Is there anything formal in place? Travel Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 18:49, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
I would be happy to make the slides should I be provided with the content by User:torty or anybody else involved who is au current. Please contact me via my talk page.
Meanwhile, Travel Doc James, do look at the issues mentioned by James A above - it would be brilliant if you could mention those in your presentation and tell them how they (especially WMF officials) can help instead of reminding everybody that WMF incurred hundreds of thousands in cost to battle IB. Thanks! PrinceGloria (talk) 04:48, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
With respect to tech support unfortunately we must be mostly self sufficient. I have tried mightily to get help from the WMF to create a number of new feature for Wikipedia with little / no success. If there of those among us who are interested in developing new features the foundation would be willing to install them. The one who brought up the question of legal cost was not a WMF official but a Wikimedia movement community member by the way. Anyway IMO it was worth it. WV is cool and if we pick away at it one day the rest of the world will realize this too. It is only a matter of time. We must remember that the site is only 6 months only in this incarnation, even though the community is 10 years old. :-) Travel Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 05:13, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
I disagree. Projects do die here, there are many one may have never heard about that started, developed a community and ultimately failed. Wikivoyage seems "too big to fail", but it might just as well continue as something totally irrelevant to the general travel community unlike Wikipedia or Wiktionary. And with the money and effort spent by the WMF, it would have been a shame.
I do not think James was asking for a "feature" - we do have some brilliant developers here. I think he asked to be able to do the Google positioning himself, or rather ourselves, and use tools beyond the Wiki markup to help position our pages the best way we can. This is indeed something WMF has to help with, even if that would be unprecedented. But hey, development here is about doing unprecedented things, not the everyday stuff. Sometimes one needs to ask a thousand times for their request to be heard and understood as reasonable and worthwhile to fulfill.
I know who brought up the issue and I've seen the discussion, and the general tone is "why the hell did it cost that much". I do not think people at the conference should spend the first few minutes when their attention span still lasts finding out how this is all a conflict with IB that results in costs for WMF, as those who have been following already know (and seem to have pretty fixed positions on that), and those who don't care will probably not understand it correctly without going into intricacies, which is not something worth talking about IMHO. One may mention this at the end for those interested to dig deeper and find out what happened.
The important thing is that Wikivoyage is fun, useful and, despite a relatively small community, burgeoing in features as well as content. It only misses wider readership/recognition to really skyrocket like other MW projects have, and this is where other projects, communities and the WMF may help. We may develop as many cool features as we can, but without getting serious about improving out Google ranks this is not getting us multifold more users. This is the message at least I would love for the wider Wiki community to get. PrinceGloria (talk) 05:26, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
Yes good points. I will move the history discuss to latter in the article and first of all discuss the purpose of WV. Travel Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 15:57, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
If you need a screenshot of a dynamic map, here is the reference article: Tokyo/Roppongi. Nicolas1981 (talk) 09:27, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
I would suggest asking Joachim User:Mey2008 directly in German for more long term plans of the dynamic maps. One crucial aspect though is localisation of OSM maps, and I believe that some Wikipedia users are going to set up a OSM map tile server for each language in WMF labs, so we could piggyback on that. There's also already a screenshot here for Singapore/Chinatown. I might look over Hong Kong and add a dynamic map there soon. Re: OSM, I have asked a few questions regarding legal issues but nothing formal yet, though a few contributors have come by with some advice. Also please look over at Wikivoyage:Roadmap/Improved_editing_interface again, since I'm about to post a few new screenshots of a listing editor. -- torty3 (talk) 04:39, 28 July 2013 (UTC)
Okay we have expanded to 36 slides. Yes some of it will not be understandable as a stand alone review. Have moved discussion of the more controversial bit to near the end and started with more interesting bit. Travel Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 04:25, 1 August 2013 (UTC)
First a typo: in the 2nd bullet of your 19th slide, you mean "where," rather than "were." I particularly love the first 9 slides! I'm not sure how much your audience at the conference will be captivated with stats and diagrams, but I still feel like the stats on the number of articles being written, etc., are less important than the information on how to attract new contributors and potential for greater cooperation with sister sites. I would also add to Slide 29: Edit pages about the last few places you've been to. Have a great talk and a great conference! Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:02, 1 August 2013 (UTC)
Thanks and done. Travel Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 12:49, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
Some moderately famous advice for presenters, mostly stuff the Doc covered above.
My ex was working for a government group doing management training at one point; of course they weren't well managed, but that's another story. Instructors had to prepare slides then send them off to an in-house print shop to get converted into overheads with the logo added, etc. Her first batch came back with an a note saying roughly "We are professionals here. No more than four lines on a slide, or six words to a line. Please redo these." I think that is a bit too strict, and I can easily think of places where I might make exceptions to either rule. I might even change the numbers to five and eight, but basically I'd sat they are right. Too many words are fatal. Pashley (talk) 23:25, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
You might add areas near Hong Kong. Especially Macau; I'd advise anyone visiting HK for more than a couple of days to go there as well. I find it more interesting than HK (no, not for the gambling), transport to there is easy (fast ferry, not expensive) and visas are easy for many passports.
Visas for China are harder, but the Pearl River Delta right across the border is interesting and generally significantly cheaper than either HK or Macau. I especially like Zhuhai. If anyone wants to go further afield, we have an itinerary Overland Kunming to Hong Kong that starts from HK, and interesting places like Hainan or Xiamen are fairly close. Pashley (talk) 23:11, 2 August 2013 (UTC)

I've made quite a few changes to the presentation (I hope nobody minds!); not because the original wasn't good, but simply to highlight the wholegrain goodness of what was already there. :) I've changed the order of the slides around as well to try and help it flow a little better: it starts with a basic overview before becoming a little more technical; we then see WV's origins, its status quo and our goals for the future. Any thoughts? --Nick talk 03:11, 4 August 2013 (UTC)

I think you made it much easier on the eye, Nick, although, by the original authors' own adminission and my judgement, it still is rather useless for people viewing it offline and not already knowing the topics covered (otherwise, it is quite cryptic at times). Since you let yourself edit it, I also felt free to edit one slide - I have rearranged "future directions" to put "Search" in the first place, as this is the first stop for us is Wikivoyage is to go anywhere, plus I "downgraded" reviews (I, for one, firmly oppose this functionality and I believe it merits further in-depth discussion, but it is too early to start with so many other issues at hand).
I also don't think that at this point, with torty's brilliant listings editor, we need to list "easier to add listings" as a future direction, it is already happening now. Unless you mean something else.
OTOH, there are also "future directions" not mentioned, such as:
  1. all the fun mobile-based functionalities we could developed based on geolocalization and dynamic maps
  2. in general, making the site more mobile-friendly
  3. developing cooperation with local tourist organizations and professionals to make WV the place to put new / updated travel-related information at and a general source for that kind of information, much like WP has become for general info
Kindest, PrinceGloria (talk) 05:51, 4 August 2013 (UTC)
Thanks all. I have turned off the edit-ability of the presentation now to keep it stable for the presentation. Please send me any concerns you may have. Yes realize that some are against "reviews". It however could be a useful method of bringing more people into the project and it we keep the two separate as proposed it will not effect the current content. Planning on going to Guilin after Hong Kong. The new listing tool is not live yet is it? What should I say about mobile functionality? Agree that is important. Travel Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 08:48, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
James, that will surely be a nice presentation! One remark: after slide 23 where you mention maps I rather miss an example of a nice WV style map, like London Hampstead district map. Danapit (talk) 09:28, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
Quick question and sorry for breaking the threading, but it sounds like there are some long-wanted technical features that you've asked for and haven't gotten. Do you have a centralized wishlist somewhere? And perhaps you could point to the mailing list posts, the bug reports, or other places where you've asked for those things? Thanks! Sharihareswara (WMF) (talk) 20:39, 21 August 2013 (UTC)
I've been meaning to create such a wishlist. Probably the biggest priority, though, is the 7+ month-old Bugzilla:43977. --Peter Talk 21:08, 21 August 2013 (UTC)
Some lesser prioritized requests (while I'm thinking of this) include:
  • Add all sister projects to our RelatedSites, so we can create sidebar links to Wikinews, Wikisource, etc.
  • Allow multiple sidebar links to one RelatedSite (e.g., links to two Wikipedia articles from one Wikivoyage article).
  • Allow for multiple parents in the breadcrumb trail (e.g., Russia and its subdestinations should be able to direct back to Europe and/or Asia, so Vladivostok would no longer be displayed as part of Europe!).
Most other wishlist items, unless I'm forgetting something, are already actively being developed, or are on pause pending further integration with Wikidata. --Peter Talk 21:16, 21 August 2013 (UTC)
Thank you for the quick response, Peter. Would you mind if we broke this out into a separate thread at meta:Wikivoyage/Lounge to make it easier for us to collate together the Wikivoyages' wishlists? Also: I've also started asking some developers whether they could take a look at Bugzilla:43977 (it looks like Marius Hoch has some other items on his personal TODO list, and he certainly isn't the only person in the world who could work on that issue).
By the way, I completely understand the example of Vladivostok not being part of Europe (for bug 44590: GeoCrumbs doesn't handle cases where a destination on a region boundary #isIn: more than one region)! When I was in college, I visited St. Petersburg, Moscow, and the Solovki islands to study abroad. Before leaving the US, I of course went to get any medical shots and pills I'd need, and the person talking with me looked up "Russia" in a big binder and thought I'd need something to prevent Japanese encephalitis. I had to explain that the risk of Japanese encephalitis in Vladivostok did not apply to me. :-) Sharihareswara (WMF) (talk) 01:33, 22 August 2013 (UTC)
Ha! Yes, Meta will be a better place for these discussions, as other language versions might want to "join in" on requests. --Peter Talk 03:13, 22 August 2013 (UTC)
Great! meta:Wikivoyage/Lounge#Looking to gather a unified technical wishlist - let us plunge forward! Sharihareswara (WMF) (talk) 17:15, 22 August 2013 (UTC)

Why are we better than the rest?[edit]

Swept in from the pub

Why are we better than the rest? Another hard-hitting question, mere months after 'Is this project dying away?' appeared and scared a lot of us. Fear notː I don't write here in order to denigrate or deride; simply to open a discussion that I fear we've been avoidingː why would anyone use Wikivoyage above any other site? (ouch).

Unlike Wikipedia, Wikivoyage exists in a market swamped by free travel guides. When the 'Free Encyclopedia' launched, it was a true innovation and one that attracted much attention and acclaim. Our little online principality is landlocked by huge, commercial travel guides that provide very high-quality content on very high-quality websites for no cost. For the consumer, free access is extremely important, but we are by no means alone in that regard. In terms of competition, a lot of our efforts have been focussed upon that other place, but we must not forget that we are up against professional rivals who are willing to throw money at their sites in order to beat the rest.

Therefore, in terms of 'glossiness', we will struggle to better Lonely Planet et al, but that doesn't mean we should necessarily give up on that front - there is more we can do. A travel guide does not (to my mind) require the same studious atmosphere that an encyclopedia demands; we are more akin to a magazine. As such, I think aesthetically, we could stand to change a lot; as AndreCarrotflower said in a topic above, much of this site still looks a wee bit '90s' and we need to leave that behind. Whilst the Media-Wiki software is responsible for a lot of the 'design' of the site, there are things we can do. In a perfect world I would ditch the sidebar and move all necessary buttons to a horizontal toolbar. Whilst certain skins would allow us to do that, it would probably cause other problems so, at least in the medium term, it isn't worth doing. We could however hide the sidebar on the Main Page perhaps (using this code), making for a more immersive experience. This would also give us more space to feature other things on the front cover (of our metaphorical magazine) and perhaps to create some new features. In the spirit of our imaginary magazine, perhaps we could have a monthly column, written by a contributor, that talks about the experience of travelling or recounts a particularly exciting voyage. I'm not saying that we should become some sort of blog, but the odd bit of human interest might draw in a few more people.

On the topic of aesthetics I personally will not be sorry to see the demise of our current logo, although I know that some people are fans. I'd like the new logo to be a little bolder; sleek and confident. Whether that's what we'll get I don't know, but whatever is decided upon we will need to build upon it as a brand. We need to be trusted and authoritative but have the same jaunty style that keeps readers interested and travellers talking. In addition, I would not be averse to the use of video content (contentious though I know that is) or any other media that could help travellers - any item of quality that marks us out as different is a good thing.

That is not to say that appearance has been totally neglected since WV's public launch. The recent introduction of 'pagebanners' has added interest to almost all our articles, although the wall of grey that now greets the viewer on many pages concerns me a little. Part of me wonders if maybe the Russians (as mentioned in this month's Summit) are right to use generic, coloured banners where a custom one is unavailable would prevent a site that can look quite dark, especially when perusing articles that are thin and imageless anyway. Would something like this be inoffensive enough?

But wait there's more - beauty is only skin deep and we have other issues to contend with, including with our content. When comparing ourselves to other sites it's quite easy to say 'ah yes, but we have much broader coverage', but do we? Like commercial competitors our articles about large cities and particularly popular tourism destinations (with the added mix of a few destinations where Wikivoyagers happen to live) tend to be the most comprehensive. We may have articles for thousands and thousands of settlements around the globe, but an awful lot of them lack an awful lot of content. To pull one out at random, if I were holidaying in beautiful Newton Abbot, intrigued as I would be by the prospect of a 'Cheese and Onion Fayre', I would have to consult an alternative source to find anywhere to Eat or Sleep, whilst general information is lacking somewhat. This page, like many others, also suffers from 'The Grey Bar' at the top of the page, which immediately casts a shadow over the content, no matter how useful or extensive it may be.

"Fair enough Nick, but you're doing a lot of moaning here - what are you expecting? If you want to make it better, change it!"

That would be a fair sentiment to experience at this juncture and please feel free to express words to that effect below. The content issue is unlikely to improve until we get more people writing for the site. To what extent we can advertise on other WMF sites I don't know, but we need to spread the word as widely as possible, even if it's through personal online accounts and the like: every little helps. This situation certainly won't change over-night, but until it does we need to optimise what we've got. Perhaps some sort of (very) widespread campaign asking people to "describe their hometown" could be a starting point or we could mention articles here that need work on their counter-parts' talk pages on Wikipedia? Whatever we do, we need to do it soon - our Google ranking does not look set to change any time soon, so constant improvement appears to be the best way of increasing our popularity.

I think we also need to perhaps decide where we are going to take Wikivoyage over the coming years. To some extent we seem split between the desire to retain a site that can be easily printed, but also one that is full of rich content and is visually arresting. As internet technology improves these aims are going to become increasingly disparate and I fear that we will end up catering to neither camp. Personally, I feel prioritising offline use for an online travel guide when books still abound and print-outs will convey most (if not all) the necessary information feels like we are pandering to something of a niche audience. If I knew that I was travelling to a location without internet access I would seek a book as my first port of call rather than attempting to have my proverbial online cake and eat it offline. We should not forget these users and I think print-outs will always be needed, but we should not forget online users either. As the mobile editing tool becomes more popular, I would hope that more people will contribute whilst on the go, creating a cycle of information between site and destination.

So, after that barrage of unrelenting depression, what do we have? Well, we have a friendly, helpful community who have this project's best interests at heart. Whilst to an outsider that may seem unimportant, it means that WV will always be making some sort of progress. However, we cannot rely on this to be our unique selling point - people don't use Wikipedia just because they know it's got a community behind it. What else? We also have the WMF (*epic voice* The organisation that brought you Wikipedia), the importance of which is great - they provide us with a safe, secure location as well as opportunities for technical support. With these in hand then, we have several key ingredients for a good site - willing contributors and a benevolent owner.

Over the coming months we need to improve what we have, but develop it further. We must be an easily navigable and trusted source of information, but one that is exciting and different. That last one's particularly important when *another (more popular) site* shares so much of our content and holds a grudge against us; I think that once we have marked out our online territory we will hopefully be able to escape the spectre of WT and grow as a separate, better entity.

I am sorry if this has come across as one long moan or a complaint about all the time and effort that so many have invested in Wikivoyage. It certainly is not meant to be that and as I say above, it is Wikivoyage's community that will ensure its continued existence in a difficult and fractured market.

I'm sorry too if I've become a little rambling - as the clock ticks steadily towards 3 AM here in GB and the phrase 'Cheese and Onion Fayre' bounces around my skull's interior walls it's become a little difficult to concentrate, but I hope my general gist is clear. This is not intended as idle pessimism from an armchair sceptic, but as a statement of genuine affection for the future of a project that I have seen progress over several months and change rapidly (for the better) in that time.

Whilst this incredibly long post may not suggest it, I am confident about Wikivoyage's future. It may take months, it may take years, but I would hope that WV's best days are still to come. Not only can we surpass our friends at WT, but we can prove that the best travel guides aren't 'lonely' at all, but a community working together as one. --Nick talk 02:19, 14 August 2013 (UTC)

Our Google rank does seem to be improving. My test is a search for "Xiamen", an article I've edited a bunch. I've done that search every once in a while for months. When I started, we weren't visible at all. Now we are on the first page, still below WT and several other travel guides, but definitely better. Pashley (talk) 02:52, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
That's good to hear. Nick, you are one of the visionaries here, and you have good thoughts as usual. We do need imagination. But what we need most of all is more editors - both those who do the really important work of inputting geo coordinates and fixing URLs, interwiki links, and breadcrumbs, and those who create new and exciting content. We need more people creating customized pagebanners, inputting more good photos to Commons and inputting more into articles, and we need more people writing articles about places they know about, and about topics. For example, I got the ball rolling with Gothic architecture and several folks have helped enlarge and improve the article, but we also need articles about Romanesque architecture, Renaissance architecture, Baroque architecture, Rococo architecture, Neoclassic architecture, Beaux arts architecture, Art deco architecture, etc., and topics like Roman ruins, Ancient Greek ruins, Ancient Egyptian ruins, Mayan ruins, etc. The breadth of travel-related topics is almost (but not quite) limitless. We could have a worldwide topic about Jazz, with information about good places to visit to hear jazz in clubs and concert halls, plus summer festivals, and similar topics about Rock music, Folk music, Opera, Classical concert music, African pop, Kabuki, what have you. In terms of geography, it strikes me that what we need more than anything is more people who know a lot about Africa and can greatly improve existing articles and create excellent new ones. I'd love for us to feature more African destinations as Destination of the Month and Off the Beaten Path. Arusha was nominated - would anyone who's knowledgeable about the town like to adopt the article and whip it into sufficiently good shape to become a consensus selection for OtBP? Ikan Kekek (talk) 03:29, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
I was frankly astounded to learn about your "everything has to be printable" rule. It seems to want to deny all the benefits of the internet in favor of 1950s technology (yes, you do allow color photos!). The "printable rule" does make sense for places like Cambodia and Nepal, but it makes much less sense in places like London, Paris, New York, or even Fargo, North Dakota. Where do you think you get more readers from? I'd guess Fargo (leaving out the rest of North Dakota) beats out all of Cambodia by a long shot on a regular basis. Can everyone really get a good internet connection in Fargo? Yes, anybody who can find a McDonald's or Starbucks, or has a motel room. So why are you stressing the 1% of readers over the 99%? Why not just make the "printable rule" apply to Cambodia and Nepal and other places you might expect poor internet, and have it not apply in places where good connections are everywhere.
BTW, if you want to have better placement in Google searches the obvious way is to link both ways to Wikipedia as much as possible. Smallbones (talk) 03:45, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
I actually really object to the idea of Wikivoyage being like a magazine. When I think of a magazine (particularly a travel magazine), I think of a glossy sheath of paper that is all style and virtually no substance. This is what attracted me to Wikitravel - it didn't reek of gloss and had an air of professionalism, like it was a source I could actually trust, much like Wikipedia.
Which isn't to say that we should have no improvements in our appearance. But comparing us to a magazine is going too far for me. I like the fact that we don't do a bunch of columns, comments, or human interest stuff. At no point did Wikitravel/Wikivoyage try to be like Facebook or Twitter. And I'd like it to stay that way. PerryPlanet (talk) 03:53, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
What happened to "travel news"? That was a useful aspect of the former site. Ikan Kekek (talk) 04:06, 14 August 2013 (UTC)

I'm sympathetic to your argument about printability vs. online look, Smallbones. I think it's important for every guide to be usable in printed form, but I see nothing wrong with there being additional features that are online-only. Newspapers are changing to take advantage of the capabilities of the web and the expectations of the younger generation that doesn't remember a time before there was a Worldwide Web. Wikivoyage is a website. Pretending that we exist just as much to be a printed source as a site has never made sense to me.

That said, I don't think we should take any step just in order to get better placement in Google searches. The argument that ultimately made sense to me in the latest long discussion about the possibility of adding more Wikipedia links is that we need to create more content here, and that an excess of content links to other sites enables laziness. If I could just link to Wikipedia articles about the elements of Gothic architecture, I would not have been inspired to create a Wikivoyage article about it (which took hours to start). Which goes back to the need for more knowledgeable and inspired editors, so that more such topic articles can be created here. Ikan Kekek (talk) 04:24, 14 August 2013 (UTC)

My thoughts:
  1. Agree on views of "magazine" - let's not go glossy. Wikipedia looks no better and people go there. Google looks positively sombre as well. Simple, very legible looks aid usefulness, and I most prefer going to websites where it is easiest for me to navigate around and grasp ropes, and I guess most people would as well, given the success of Wikipedia or Google (against, e.g., Yahoo).
  2. No editorials please. We need standardization here, and more specifically spreading of high standards all devised to help the traveller the most. Editorials are subjective and we may be getting all possible qualities of content that way, and the lowest common denominator would probably win (e.g. people who feel the most they need to share their thoughts, not the best writers, who may decide they'd rather work on a guide instead).
  3. News may be a fun feature, but with the small number of editors we have, I would rather concentrate our efforts on standardizing and enhancing the core content we have at hand. As our Google ranks are improving, we do not want casual passers-by to go away disappointed by incomplete guides, outdated info and inconsistent use of dynamic maps.
  4. I am not really sure we need articles on things like Gothic architecture. We are bordering on becoming a small Wikipedia here. I find this topic always better covered by Wikipedia, but we don't need to link to it everytime Gothic is mentioned. If anything, we might use some "Gothic architecture" itineraries perhaps.
  5. I agree the current amount of external links and the policy serves as well, no need to reconsider that at this moment
Have a great day everybody, PrinceGloria (talk) 04:44, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
You have good thoughts, PrinceGloria, but I differ with you on travel topics. As I see it, the point of travel topic articles is to help travellers who have an interest in a particular type of sight or activity that is not localized in only one area, and it also should have sufficient background information to help other travellers understand the topic, but that background, though important, is not the main purpose of the article. There are definitely good itineraries that cover Gothic and Romanesque architecture. For example, my family did a kind of "apocalypse tour," a self-driven itinerary concentrating on depictions of the Apocalypse in tympana of cathedrals like the one in Autun and also the polyptych of the Apocalypse by Sluter at the Hotel-Dieu in Beaune and the Tapestry of the Apocalypse at the Chateau of Angers. But that would be a different kind of article than one that covers highlights of Gothic and neo-Gothic architecture around the world. And the difference in purpose and emphasis differentiates this kind of travel topic article from an encyclopedic one on Wikipedia that goes much further into history and details of construction, and is linked to from the travel topic here, for those who want to do more background research. Whether travel topics should be linked to all the time is another, less important issue to me, and it could be discussed separately at Talk:Travel topics if it's important to do so (I'm not sure it is, either way). Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:04, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
At any rate, if you have the time and enthusiasm to create an article on Gothic architecture, it is only for the better and you should by all means be applauded for that. I just wouldn't want for us to become a priority to have an article on Rococo over having good destination guides. You will probably find out yourself over the course of your development of said article on Gothic architecture whether you are not starting to create a mini-Wikipedia article.
I forgot to mention that after my recent experience of actually trying to use Wikivoyage as a guide to a region I did not know (as opposed to experiences of previous weeks of doing the contrary, i.e. putting my experiences and discoveries from past travels into WV), I now understand why printability is important, even where Internet access is plentiful and easy. We also need to bear in mind the users of our mobile versions. Both offline and mobile users are served better by simpler layouts. And before we jump off to the conclusion that we should have separate versions of pages for them, let us stop and think of the complicated maintenance involved (you would have to view every edit affecting three different page views), as well as the need to be able to print what you see. Cheerio, PrinceGloria (talk) 05:11, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
PrinceGloria, I agree, and I think everyone else will agree that destination articles are the core of this site, and that making more of them and more of them better is the most important task.
I'd love to hear more from you on printability. I know for my part that I had an important task to accomplish in Berlin over the summer that benefited from my printing out lists of names of art galleries with their addresses and opening hours, numbering them according to the order I would visit them, and printing out Google maps that showed me the route I would take to walk. I had the use of a borrowed smart phone and used it while on the go, too, but having my walking lists which also constituted paper to write notes on was indispensable. Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:31, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
Since Nick seems to be soliciting suggestions for improvement, here are thoughts I've been wanting to raise but haven't had the time to follow-through on. I've linked to the appropriate talk page in case there is interest in starting more detailed discussions:
  1. Wikivoyage talk:Goals and non-goals: For the most part that list of goals hasn't changed since the days when a "wiki" was something few people had heard of, "online travel site" meant Travelocity (and nothing else), and and smart phones didn't exist. Overall those guiding principles have stood the test of time quite well, but they would benefit from a discussion about what needs updating, including the point others have mentioned about whether the priority given to printability is holding back online development.
  2. Wikivoyage talk:Plunge forward: I think the many years of struggling merely to keep the site viable under the old host has created a culture where we have become too averse to change and experimentation. I'm not suggesting that mainspace should become a playground for any crazy idea that people have, but now that our most active contributors don't have to spend nearly as much time combating spam/marketers/trolls and aren't limited by technical constraints we need to find a way to return to encouraging new ideas and incorporating the best ideas into the site. We do this well in some cases - Wikivoyage:Banner expedition is a good example - but we still say "no" or cite "status quo bias" a lot, and don't really have a culture where we (for example) suggest more expeditions, encourage people to experiment in userspace, encourage Wikipedia-style essays, or tag more contributions as "experimental". "Plunge forward" is supposedly a core principle of this site, but we seem to have strayed from it.
  3. Wikivoyage talk:Consensus: Related to #2, I think our consensus-building process is experiencing growing pains. It is no longer possible for everyone to follow every discussion or review every edit, and with more people involved the chances of subjective disagreements are higher. We should still strive to find solutions that everyone can agree upon, but it might be time to formalize something like the process we used for changing "Get out" to "Go next" (Wikivoyage talk:Article templates#Get out, again) for cases where we just can't seem to come to an agreement through discussion.
  4. As editors it is too easy to overlook where we are failing from a reader's perspective. A big hole I see is in our sub-region articles - we have a ton of regions that exist solely for navigational purposes (example: North Shore (Illinois)) that realistically aren't going to develop into useful articles anytime soon. Wikivoyage talk:Geographical hierarchy#Weak regions was one proposal for changing our region article structure that might be worth re-visiting. Similarly, we have a lot of empty or nearly-empty city articles that are useless to readers. Adding any content to those articles is something that would likely be a huge improvement, even if it isn't perfect - dynamic maps are apparently coming to most city articles, but we might want to brainstorm other options, such as automatically adding yellow page hotel or restaurant listings when those sections are empty, populating empty "Understand" sections with content from Wikipedia, etc.
  5. Wikivoyage talk:Manual of style. It would be much easier for people to figure out how to edit the site if we could consolidate and condense policies and other pages in the Wikivoyage namespace. For example, I was amazed at how much useful information is conveyed in w:Wikipedia:Manual of Style, whereas our MOS page is a link farm that includes a lot of pages that might be better consolidated - do we really need a separate Wikivoyage:Bodies of water article, or would it be easier to find that info if it was a small section within Wikivoyage:What is an article? If you read through our MOS page you might be shocked at what we actually have separate policy pages for, and more shocked at how often they disagree with one another. A documentation expedition might be a good way to get a handle on what has become a tangle of confusing instruction.
There are a ton of other issues - Wikivoyage:Roadmap, SEO, integration with other language versions, integration with other Wikimedia sites - but there's only so much we can focus on at a time and I'd love to see attention given to any of the above. -- Ryan • (talk) • 06:59, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
I celebrate you all for taking on this discussion :-) I agree with Nick and Ryan a lot, and often doubt if I really should put my time in this project when it sometimes seems a bit hopeless and behind. As for the magazine stuff, I don't think we should compare ourselves to Wikipedia just like that. I'm not saying we should go all glossy but the first thing I do when considering a new travel destination, is buy a Lonely Planet guide. Despite all the practical information there might be here on this site, I first need to get a feel for the place, flip through the pages to see pictures and read the nicely written intros. For me, they make all the difference. And then afterwards, if I actually go, it's practical information I need. And there we can in fact make a difference. I returned yesterday from a short road trip to Luxembourg and the LP guide is only 30 pages for the whole country. So much is missing, and so much to gain for us. It made me think about our near-empty articles though. LP makes an obvious and justifiable choice when it comes to destinations of small interest. They write a short intro, perhaps make one or two in-text listings, and that's that. It tells the reader everything: that it's not a destination you should go to unless you have too much time or have to go for other reasons, and if you are there, what the most important sight is. It has hardly any info and yet it doesn't have this "empty" feel over it. Perhaps we should think again about that kind of minor destinations, consider not using a template to start them, even if it does meet the criteria. Or perhaps we should keep them, more like they do, as text sections in a wider region article. I don't know. I just know that I started the Ettelbruck article, which now has far more information than the LP has on this town, and yet it's a total outline here and it's not really a place that should have any priority. Anyway.
I think we have 2 major advantages over most other travel guides:
  1. we have no size limit. We can be as complete and up to date as possible, in theory.
  2. we are part of that hugely useful family of Wikimedia projects. I find it such a shame that we're not exploiting that connection more, and that there's such "underdog" fear. I find it absolutely nonsense. Wikivoyage has so much to offer that WP never can, and the other way around. I'm convinced that if we can optimalise that relationship, make it easy for people to use WP as an addition to WV, and WV as an addition to WP, we'd not only draw in way more audience but also stand out from all the other travel guides.
Just my 2 cents. JuliasTravels (talk) 08:56, 14 August 2013 (UTC)

This discussion is going to be very disorganized. Are we supposed to simply throw in ideas? Does it make sense to continue in Wikivoyage:Roadmap and create different subpages for the design, features, outreach, etc?

Anyway, I decided to draw a line, because I wanted to say something different. I believe that we no longer have the dichotomy between an "online travel guide" and "printed travel guide". We also have the new opportunity of making offline travel guides that can be downloaded in a cell phone or tablet and used electronically. This is something that Wikivoyage could provide easily. I see two ingredients of such travel guides. First, a nicely formatted *.pdf or *.epub file with an article (unfortunately, the PDF extension is far from being perfect, and I don't even understand whether it is still being developed). Second, a map showing all POIs linked to relevant parts of the Wikivoyage article, so that you click on the POI symbol and get all information about this POI. In fact, OsmAnd provides all the necessary functionality and opportunity to download(!) OSM maps. Moreover, it supports the download of Wikipedia articles. It would be awesome to integrate Wikivoyage content there. I am wondering if any of us has interest and technical skills to go in this direction.

We could also do a lot of improvement in the design of our articles, even without being "glossy". But I think that we should move this discussion to a different page. --Alexander (talk) 09:07, 14 August 2013 (UTC)

I'm really glad that my post has sparked such discussion and debate and I do feel that this is the place for it. I would however be happy for it to be split if that were considered preferable.

I'm sorry if my use of the terms 'glossy' and 'magazine' have caused some consternation. I think we all agree that WV could look better, and by using those terms I suppose I meant that we shouldn't be afraid to be image-led and attractive, although that would not necessarily mean losing any clarity or ease of use in the process.

My suggestion for a monthly 'column' is not my attempt to make WV a blog through the back door, but to provide a more conversational alternative to the news that we had on WT. News would probably be untenable with the number of editors we have, but a monthly opinionated article about (plucked from mid-air) 'Why is air travel so slow?' Would provide an opportunity to link to pages across the site, as well as to grab the interest of people who don't need a travel guide at the moment, but are interested in travel.

I would also say that I would not support making our pages unusable once printed, but I don't think that factor should lead (or stymie) our progress with online features.

Thanks for all your great ideas and opinions so far - I think it's great that we're having this discussion. --Nick talk 09:52, 14 August 2013 (UTC)

I think we should keep brainstorming here, and move ideas to the Roadmap afterwards.
What are our advantages versus our competition? First we have to be aware of what is our competition: 1) Traditional travel guides, 2) Other travel info sites. On #1, we're going to win. Plain and simple—printed guides are dying out. Frommers is basically dead, Lonely Planet post-sale to Nashville is most likely going to become more and more a #2 than a #1. Wikitravel is owned by seriously evil people (and I mean that in the sincere, they're going to hell sense), and will die a slow death, probably milked enough with ads and bookings, worked on legacy search ranking, to make it worth IB's while. (Bradt guides offer us serious competition in traditional format (they provide impressive breadth on destinations we haven't figured out how to cover well), but that's niche competition.)
Moreover, we've already made the transition from print-only guides to online guides, since online is our bread and butter. We also offer personalized, custom printing, which is a big advantage over other #1s. And we're multilingual.
#2 should be our real concern:
  1. TripAdvisor is the king right now
  2. Other review sites: Yelp, Foursquare, etc.
  3. LP's Thorn Tree forum
  4. Booking sites (Travelocity, Expedia, etc.)
  5. Human travel agents
We have one major advantage over all five: our traditional travel guide content. It's a proven useful and desired format, and the above aren't seriously trying to provide that content, at least for now, which gives us a running start. Complacency would be disastrous, though. The other big advantage wrapped within this advantage is our usefulness in online formats: printed and offline. I agree wholeheartedly with Ryan that we can't let our online content lag out of the desire to have everything printable, but we still need to make sure that our core content is printable and usable offline.
The other advantage we have is less important, but it is that we're an altruistic not-for-profit, not riddled with awful ads (Tripadvisor is the worst offender).
On to the individual competition:
  • 1 and 2: When I travel with a mobile device, I use these extensively, and I trust the information much more than I trust our listings' desc= field, not because the individual contributors there are privileged (ours are usually more savvy), but because the content is deeper. We offer a 2-3 line blurb, avoid negative reviews, and are more susceptible to business owner manipulation. Also, people like writing reviews more than guides. That means that these sites grow and grow, while we struggle to build a casual user base. We can compete with review sites. Integrating reviews into something resembling an actual travel guide is something Tripadvisor is trying and mostly failing to do, while we could do it so easily. The information could be shared in a listings database akin to what Wikivoyage had pre-WMF. We can link to a review page (separate from the destination guide) from each listing. We can put a personal review field either on that page or accessed via the listings editor. The integration with our guides would be the main selling point vis-a-vis other travel review sites, but our advantage of not having a insanely shitty design like Tripadvisor that is aimed purely at maximizing revenue is another significant advantage, and is the main reason I think Tripadvisor is a paper tiger ready to be destroyed. We're not evil; we're not mercenary ;)
  • 3: My personal nightmare scenario is best discussed offline... Email me if you want to talk about it, so I don't give competitors really good ideas, which they may or may not already have. We have a proto-forum that aims to basically do the same thing as Thorn Tree, and our incentive to work here as always is our main draw (people will come independently for the destination guide content, and we can entice them from there to check out the forum). But until we have far more eyes on our site, the Wikivoyage:Tourist Office will continue to be just an experiment.
  • 4: I don't think these are really competition at present. They don't offer much useful information beyond price comparisons, and a basic, objective idea of what's there. And we're not planning to offer bookings—frankly, as part of the Wikimedia movement, I don't think our relatively ideological fellow Wikimedians would let us. They're worth monitoring though, as they evolve, since they have such enormous user base.
  • 5: Well, here's an interesting idea: we could compete with travel agents. That's not even going to be a medium-term goal, but we have our docents. Don't laugh ;) I've used the docent system to great results. But I think I may be the only person to use it. Giving readers access to local experts is something we can and should do—we just need to figure out how. --Peter Talk 19:52, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
Lastly, I occasionally notice fear of expanded content, like Nick's suggestion of travel essays. I'm guessing at the reasons behind such fear—maybe that it will distract our users from working on our core content, or a simple dislike of that type of content? Both of those reasons are wrongheaded. People will work on what they want to work on, so if we say we'll delete your travelogues, instead of featuring them, people will write travelogues on a different site. Ditto reviews, travel forums, etc. You could say, that's fine, since we're just aiming to be a great travel guide—let people do other stuff elsewhere. But that would be a mistake for content that can be integrated into what we do. E.g., let people write about their travels, with wikilinks to our guides. Let people write reviews accessed through our guides. Add a link to our guides in virtually any and every post in the Tourist Office. Do you get the idea? All this extra original content will boost our search profile, drawing more eyes to our site generally, and send those eyes at every opportunity back to our destination guides ;) As to the second reason, if you don't like it, please just ignore and keep working on the destination guides! --Peter Talk 19:52, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
New namespaces could be used for new types of content, and new article formats to go with the new namespaces. • • • Peter (Southwood) (talk): 08:11, 15 August 2013 (UTC)
Do you all remember the Extra section back at the old site? How about opening a similar "free town" here on Wikivoyage - a place for those personal itineraries that don't fit in here, for columns and similar texts like Nick said, even some video clips and who knows what else. Perhaps the Tourist Office could be integrated into that section too. It also looks like the IB is refurbishing that section and the logo in the address bar tells me that they are collaborating with World66. So why shouldn't we also open up a section like that? Of course they "might get a bit upset" if we'd call it WV Extra so how about WV Bonus, WV Personal, WV Backstage, WV 2.0 or something similar? What do you think?
On the other hand I fully agree with PerryPlanet's comment above. The first time I ran into WV (of course it was called WT then) I was really happy to finally find a site with well organized and legible articles after trying to squeeze information out of a dozen of official and unofficial "tourism" pages that looked more like on-screen amusement parks (and really only included what we include in "See" and "Do"). This is important especially for independent travelers who plan their trips form scratch. Let's keep it (the mainspace) that way.
A third thing: Wikipedia is integrated into Google Earth's geographic layer since 2006. I believe that quite many Google Earth users are either dreaming about going/planning to go/going to places they look up in Google Earth and therefore it would be useful to them to find a Wikivoyage icon to click on. And useful to us, as every new reader is a potential future contributor. ϒpsilon (talk) 10:31, 15 August 2013 (UTC)
Something akin to Extra certainly sounds like a good idea; perhaps we could call it My Wikivoyage? Despite its name, it wouldn't be a new kind of social network, but rather an opportunity to talk about travel. We could include the Tourist Office in that section, as well as personal itineraries, columns, a site tour (?), video clips, generated user maps and perhaps even reviews, separating them from WV's 'pure' content.
I'm really not suggesting that we make Wikivoyage look like a MySpace page circa 2003, but rather that we make it cleaner and fresher. I like the clarity with which our articles are displayed, but I don't think that need prevent them from being presented in a beautiful manner. Larger photos, bolder headings and a less intrusive sidebar could all assist with that.
It would be great if we could get WV included on Google Earth, but I think we would struggle a little at present. We are still somewhat unproven and our comparative unpopularity (even with their search engine) is unlikely to endear them to the idea, but perhaps in the future this would be an excellent avenue to consider.
In more general terms, I agree with both Peter and Ryan above that we should absolutely not be afraid to experiment. Unlikely many things in life, Wikivoyage has a built-in 'revert' button: there are very few things we could do that would totally destroy the site. --Nick talk 23:39, 15 August 2013 (UTC)
Er, just what's wrong with the sidebar? LtPowers (talk) 23:43, 15 August 2013 (UTC)
Sorry,, I'm not declaring war on the sidebar, or on any other part of Wikivoyage's virtual furniture. It's just, as I said in my (rather lengthy) original post, I'd prefer to reserve that space for content (particularly on the Main Page) and make the bar horizontal. Outside of the Main Page, there's little we could do about it, so I perhaps mis-worded my comments. I would like to see it hidden on the Main Page, but I'm happy to let it be elsewhere. --Nick talk 23:47, 15 August 2013 (UTC)
Ok, as per mine and Ypsilon's comments above, here's an idea of what 'My Wikivoyage' could look like. Any thoughts? Please feel free to edit the page itself. --Nick talk 02:27, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
I'm sorry to say but the design looks bulky and reminds me of a certain clumsy OS that I stopped using in 2008. How about something like the current portal with the logo in the middle, links to the topics around it and another background picture? ϒpsilon (talk) 19:21, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
I've tried to make it look bold and bright in order to contrast with the more muted colours of 'pure' Wikivoyage. You will struggle to make anything looking like the current portal on here as mediawiki doesn't like background images, floating objects or any design elements really. I think colours with small pictures are the best we're going to get without reams and reams and reams of CSS code. If you have any ideas as to how it could be improved, please let me know! Would quieter colours be preferable? :) --Nick talk 19:30, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
Ok, I must admit that I don't know anything about how MediaWiki works in practice and what you can and cannot do with it. So if we then go on with your current design, I would prefer a little more space between the boxes and maybe rounded corners to make it softer if it's possible. ϒpsilon (talk) 20:14, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
Don't worry - to be honest I'm no expert! I only know, having fought with the site to make a Main Page mock-up, MediaWIki doesn't like mixing photo and tables. MW's a very good basis for an online encyclopedia, but it's not so good at making things look pretty. :) --Nick talk 20:32, 16 August 2013 (UTC)

I would also have to say I'm not a fan of the mock-up and find it pretty chunky and oversized, and while I do like the idea of creating this type of space, I am not liking the name "My Wikivoyage" at all, as it directly reminds me of My Space and all the cheese that came with it. I keep thinking back to that very cute little picture you made of Wikivoyage as a village with the pub and the info center and the consulate etc. I wonder if we couldn't do something more with that concept? (not that graphic in particular, but the village/town concept behind it) Texugo (talk) 20:57, 16 August 2013 (UTC)

Oooh... I like that idea... any thoughts? --Nick talk 21:06, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
I would like the front page to look something like Bing.com, where one amazing image completely dominates the front page (and you can choose pictures of other destinations with arrows).Also, in such a design, I'd like to see the left sidebar completely gone and replaced with a horizontal TOC on top. But I guess such things are difficult to implement in MediaWiki software. Globe-trotter (talk) 23:40, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
Yes - I'd be very much in favour of something along those lines. From the research I've done, everything you've suggested is possible (the horizontal TOC would be tricky) but quite complicated! I might try and have a play... --Nick talk 23:46, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
Ok, this is extremely rough, but here's a very quick mock-up along the lines of what Globe-trotter has suggested. It's a bit of a mish-mash and I've cannibalised parts from across the WV template spectrum. We would need to convert the pagebanner code here to run on links rather than the TOC (any ideas?); make the temporary WV logo and search box scale with the rest of the page and find a way to make this sidebar hiding CSS (copy it into your Common.CSS file for the full effect) affect the Main Page alone. At present, the image displayed is should be randomly selected from three (although any number is possible), so the current featured article categories could still make an appearance. I'd like to have a small description in one of the bottom corners eventually as well to describe the on-screen image. Any thoughts? As with the other page above, please feel free to edit it (particularly if you're good at making things scale!). --Nick talk 01:23, 17 August 2013 (UTC)
Once again, I'm sorry, but to me it seems to be jumping the gun somewhat to be making mock-ups already, before we even have a clear idea of the elements we are trying to cover. Can we try to focus first on the concepts first and worry about the aesthetics later please? Texugo (talk) 06:02, 17 August 2013 (UTC)
True, but I think it's important that people have something to see. I'm sorry if I'm jumping the gun, but I do quite enjoy this sort of thing and I feel Globe-trotter's idea has lots of potential; it was as much a technical exercise as anything else. If we were to implement something along those lines, I'm certain it would look very different indeed. What would your favoured concept be? (PS Is now the time to split this topic up?) --Nick talk 12:05, 17 August 2013 (UTC)
I agree that the front page would need a fresh look and I like Globe-trotter's idea a lot with one image dominating the front page. One of the featured banners could appear randomly and using arrows you could move between DOM, OtBP and FTT. Discover and Get involved could stay underneath. And I think it is great that Nicholas can give us an impression what we are talking about with a mock-up. Danapit (talk) 08:26, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
We're now talking about a parallel part for the site, right, a bit like the old Extra? Although I think the idea is fun and the quick mockup looks nice, I wonder if it's smart to go ahead with that now. Do you guys really think it will draw in lots of audience? I'm tempted to say the main site has a better chance of that, and when it does, some kind of forum/blog/editor interaction-like thing would be cool. I'm just not convinced it's an answer to the question "what makes us better than the rest?", at this point. I'm a bit worried now it could become a mostly empty, dead thing with a fun review or story here or there. It could give an opposite effect. I don't know. I think it's still worth considering giving such things a place in our current structure now, even if we intend to move them later, when there's sufficient content for it and editors. JuliasTravels (talk) 09:44, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
JuliasTravels is right, any "extra" feature at this point has a great potential of going nowhere and ending up being detrimental rather than attractive. I am OK with any improvements to the front page, but to me the main improvement would be losing the sidebar and other "wikipedish" elements, like our landing page has. Otherwise, this is redressing the same thing and not addressing the problem. PrinceGloria (talk) 09:52, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
It seems like discussions are becoming a bit muddled indeed. I meant it as an idea for a new Main Page, I'm also not in favor of launching something like Extra. I do think the mock-up looks very promising! Globe-trotter (talk) 09:59, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for your comments; I can see the concerns about creating an 'extra' site at this time, so we would have to look into that further. I've split out several of the topics that were discussed here below. Please continue there. If I've missed any topics that have been raised above, please feel free to add them. --Nick talk 10:32, 19 August 2013 (UTC)

Printability vs Online Content[edit]

Wikivoyage 'extra' / My Wikivoyage[edit]

You can see a page mock-up here.

Main Page Design[edit]

You can see a mock-up based on previous discussions here. To hide the sidebar, you may use this CSS code.

My Voyage[edit]

Hi!

This has come up previously (see above), but for whatever reason the topic of conversation moved somewhat My Wikivoyage is the idea for a sort of 'Readers' Portal' (sort of analgous to the Community Portal) that gives the people who use our site a far more personal experience. 'What users?', I hear you cry; whilst this does not have any immediate SEO benefit, it does differentiate us further from another travel-based wiki.

The page I've linked to is only a quick mock-up of what such a page could look like. I'm certainly not suggesting that this is the finished article and would welcome your ideas and comments. My one caveat would be that this probably shouldn't be as complicated a page as our Main Page: MediaWiki doesn't really like images, hence the minimalist look I've gone for (would it be preferable to have all the squares in the same colour?).

Furthermore, the sections alluded to on that page are mostly fictitious, although based in the realms of the possible. Here's a quick description of the ones that don't currently exist:

  • This month's travel article - A space for a travel themed essay by a WV contributor. Still fairly controversial, but suggested previously.
  • Create an itinerary - An opportunity for readers to pull several articles (and listings within?) together to create an itinerary for their next trip. Suggested previously.
  • Where in the world? - Terrible name, but probably where users could go to make a map of their travels thus far. A long-term roadmap resident - is this possible?
  • Trip reports - Link to a directory of trip reports and opportunity to write their own. A button on that page would open a skeleton template to create a report within the user's space and would categorise it so that it would automatically be included in the directory.
  • Reviews - Link to 'How to write a review' and search box for specific locations. Could reviews be a separate tab above a page (between 'Page' and 'Talk'?) where listings are automatically copied (but aren't editable). Users could then write reviews and give a standardised star rating.
  • Notes from the field - Perhaps a description of the latest goings on within WV's editing side. This would be a means of turning readers into editors.

Sorry this is so long and rambles a bit; let me know what you think! --Nick talk 23:10, 16 September 2013 (UTC)

I love the general idea of something like this. Something interactive is just what we need to differentiate ourselves with professional travel guides and that other site. Your mock-up leaves a lot to be desired, but I know you just whipped it up and weren't going for perfection. My concern about the layout would be mobile support—if we have something like this we'll get a lot of visitors directly from locations on their mobile devices. If this project ends up going forward, please put emphasis on that.
As for the individual features, each have their strengths and weaknesses so I'll discuss them individually:
  • "This month's travel article" – I'm not sold on this, but don't really have string feelings about it—it's not the best or the worst.
  • "Create an itenerary" – I like this idea. It's simple, but it helps the traveller.
  • "Where in the world?" – It needs a better name, but I definitely like this! It gets the traveller engaged and interested. I wonder, though… Could we put this into Wikivoyage through an open-source dynamic map? Is it possible to adapt one to fit these purposes?
  • "Trip reports" – I like this. This would not only provide stuff for readers to read but also help us, the editors, to improve articles. We could have a group of editors who patrol these to find any useful information and transfer it to articles. That could greatly help us improve articles that have very little content.
  • "Reviews" – Not sure I like this. What exactly would be the point? It wouldn't help us improve Wikivoyage.
  • "Notes from the field" – Yes, yes, yes, yes! This would be extremely helpful in getting those readers who ignorantly think that editing Wikivoyage is a tedious and thankless job. This would be a great way of showing that it's actually fun! :)
This is a great idea and I hope it makes it off the ground. Thanks! Nick1372 (talk) 02:05, 17 September 2013 (UTC)
Thanks very much for your comments! What do you think would be a better way of displaying the page? I'll have a play, but I'd welcome your ideas! I confess, 'Where in the world?' was a name before it was anything else - I'll get changing the name! Reviews have been on the Wikivoyage:Roadmap for sometime, though I do realise that lots of people's feelings towards them are mixed. I think the hope with those was that a higher level of interactivity (i.e. writing reviews) would draw more people in.
I'll keep working at it, but any more comments would be welcome! :) --Nick talk 10:30, 17 September 2013 (UTC)

Ok, I've completely rebuilt it from the ground up, with mobile compatibility in mind. It's now effectively lots of pagebanners at 9:1 scale, that would act as links to the pages in question. It's still a little rough around the edges, but hopefully this is aesthetically preferable! There are still couple of issues, but in appearance at least, I'd hope that we'd be able to use something like this. See the revitalised, revamped and renovated page here. --Nick talk 14:39, 17 September 2013 (UTC)

The appearance is much improved and no longer reminds of the crappy Windows 8 start page. Regarding the individual features, my thoughts pretty much echo those of Nick1372 in every case. Additionally, as I mentioned before elsewhere, I do not like the name "MyWikivoyage", as it conjures up MySpace and all the cheese that came with it. Texugo (talk) 15:04, 17 September 2013 (UTC)
Glad to hear you prefer how it looks! The name can be changed very easily, so if you have any ideas for better ones, do let me know! Not all the features currently listed would probably survive until implementation (if it is implemented at all), but I think it's best to list as many things as we have ideas for the moment and see what everyone thinks. --Nick talk 15:13, 17 September 2013 (UTC)
The new layout is definitely an improvement. Great job! Nick1372 (talk) 01:30, 18 September 2013 (UTC)
Thanks very much! If you've any ideas for improving either the aesthetic or the content, I'd be glad to hear them! :) --Nick talk 01:34, 18 September 2013 (UTC)

What does everyone else think about its features? Are there any ones that have been missed or should be removed? I've not had that many opinions about the actual concept itself. --Nick talk 11:58, 19 September 2013 (UTC)

I do not like the notion of 'trip reports' at all and am inclined to be quite leery of 'create an itinerary'. We want most information to go into destination articles, not into such reports, and we don't need a bunch more itineraries that may be incomplete or may not meet our criteria for keeping them once the original writer loses interest. We may already have too many itineraries in some areas; see Talk:Banana Pancake Trail#Consolidation? for one discussion.
Of course it is possible to create reasonable itineraries after a trip. I started Yunnan tourist trail and Overland Kunming to Hong Kong after one of mine. With a bunch of contributions from others, I think those are now both worthwhile articles. It seems clear to me that having 'trip reports' is not going to lead in that direction. It seems possible that 'create an itinerary' could, but how do we ensure that? An experienced user could probably just go ahead & create an itinerary with existing tools and get it more-or-less right; see World Heritage Sites Tour in Sri Lanka for a recent example. However, if we are going to encourage new users to create itineraries, then I think we will need to give them quite a bit of guidance.
I am less certain about reviews. They seem to carry a large risk of biased edits, exploitation by marketers, etc. Of course those risks are already present and we have procedures in place for dealing with them. But will allowing reviews overstress those? Pashley (talk) 17:39, 13 October 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for your thoughts! The trip reports would not be instead of articles, but in addition - people like talking about their holidays! Te reports would provide us with a mine of photos and information and users would of course be encouraged to edit the corresponding articles at every step of the way.
'Create an itinerary' would simply be a way for users to string articles together for their ease of use - the tool would not be for creating Wikivoyage itinerary articles; I've perhaps not made that plain enough.
Reviews are quite a controversial topic (not unlike videos), but we could perhaps delay that feature. I've effectively tried to incorporate as much as I can from the roadmap into My Voyage and seen what I could get away with! --Nick talk 23:55, 14 October 2013 (UTC)

Names[edit]

And now, a few ideas for names if you're not a fan of 'My Wikivoyage':

  • Voyagers' Club
  • Departure Gate
  • Check-in desk
  • VoyageWiki

Any thoughts or different ideas would be gratefully received! :) --Nick talk 23:27, 17 September 2013 (UTC)

I don't have any strong feelings about these alternate names except "VoyageWiki". The use of the word "wiki" isn't helpful at all; it might make visitors think they're in something that requires them to learn wikicode & edit.
I actually like "My Wikivoyage" the best. I don't see an issue with confusing it with MySpace. Keeping the two words apart should be enough of a distinction, no? If that's a bigger problem then I think, though, how about just changing it to be "Your Wikivoyage"? That has pretty much the same effect. Nick1372 (talk) 01:30, 18 September 2013 (UTC)
I think I agree about My Wikivoyage - it's simple, personal and, if we keep the words separate, shouldn't conjure up too many memories of MySpace cheese. The names I've suggested above are pretty second-rate if I'm brutally honest... --Nick talk 01:32, 18 September 2013 (UTC)

Perhaps "Mon voyage" (my voyage) as a variation on "bon voyage"? No need to include the word "wiki". K7L (talk) 01:57, 18 September 2013 (UTC)

I don't think anyone relates "My" to "Myspace" any longer. Its a common descriptor to a personal view across an account - "My Ebay", etc. However, I agree we should consider dropping the wiki. My Voyage. The only problem is, we're not going to own the domain. --Inas (talk) 03:20, 18 September 2013 (UTC)
"My Voyage" sounds good to me too, though as you say, we'd have to check trademarks and the like beforehand. Do either of you have any thoughts about the content and appearance of the page itself? At present, for example, we don't really have a way of creating user maps, unless I've missed something. On that point, is there anything that you'd like to see included that I've left out? As it's My (Wiki)Voyage I'd like to somehow integrate the user page into all of this, though I'm not quite sure how that would work. --Nick talk 07:29, 18 September 2013 (UTC)
A trifling matter, I know, but should it be called My Voyage or MyVoyage? --Nick talk 23:45, 8 October 2013 (UTC)
CamelCase is kinda passé, IMO. LtPowers (talk) 16:10, 9 October 2013 (UTC)
I think you're right. It also means I don't have to move the page again, which can only be a good thing! What do you think the way the page looks now? --Nick talk 16:12, 9 October 2013 (UTC)

Next steps[edit]

Hi! Now that a major issue with the structure of the page has been fixed (Thanks Shaun and Ryan!), I was thinking that we could perhaps look into taking the next steps with the freshly re-christened My Voyage. Not all of the features listed are currently ready or approved, so we could do with thinking about that. I've created a few of the sub-pages, but there's still much to do. If you have any other thoughts or ideas about the page or concept as a whole, I'd be very glad to hear them! Wikivoyage has had a difficult week, so it would be good to keep our momentum on things like this going. --Nick talk 21:00, 6 October 2013 (UTC)

Help![edit]

Hi!

I've got some of the proposed features working on the My Voyage page, but some of them are still proving rather difficult to engineer. Whilst we've decided that reviews should probably be put on hold for the moment (see below), it would still be nice to get most of the rest functioning. At present, I'm struggling to think of a way to set up easily creatable itineraries (that might work like the watchlist?) and interactive maps that record a user's travels. If you've any ideas, I'd be really interested to hear them! I was also wondering whether the 'Video' section could be a link to a WV YouTube channel. I realise that videos on the site itself are still highly controversial, but, when mooted at the same time, a YT channel received a slightly less damning reception.

Let me know what you think! :) --Nick talk 16:48, 13 October 2013 (UTC)

Nick, I don't see any possibility where a user can create maps on-wiki unless they request for one and the requested map will be created manually. --Saqib (talk) 17:23, 13 October 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for that Saqib - I was hoping there'd be a way of doing it through JavaScript or something, but we shall see. Any ideas about the rest of it? --Nick talk 18:50, 13 October 2013 (UTC)
Perhaps we will require to install a extension which will allow a user to create and publish customised maps but I'm not sure which one. --Saqib (talk) 05:34, 14 October 2013 (UTC)
A YouTube channel seems like a good idea. We should expand to as many platforms as possible to reach a younger audience. However, I'm a little confused as to what the actual content of the videos would be… Nick1372 (talk) 22:23, 13 October 2013 (UTC)
I'm not sure to be honest either - it just seemed like something we should have! Perhaps travelogues and things? It would give us something to tweet about at least! Are there any features that you feel uncomfortable with? --Nick talk 22:35, 13 October 2013 (UTC)
Not sure I understand the question… Are we still talking about YouTube? Nick1372 (talk) 02:01, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
Whoops! :) The first part of my response is referring to YT . I got a bit confused yesterday and the second part is sort of referring you to Pashley's comments above. Do you have any thoughts about the other proposed features? --Nick talk 02:04, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
Okay. About the specific features themselves, my thoughts are pretty much the same as what I said way back when this discussion started; maybe except for the fact that I like the idea of reviews even less. However, I did look at your mockup. It's coming along nicely, but the Trip Reports part doesn't make it clear enough that the user would not be creating an article. Your participants need to know that their work won't be examined with a microscope against the MOS & that they won't need to learn the complexities of MediaWiki. You'll have a lot more participants if you tell them that they'll have the freedom to write without limits.
Of course, you must also remind them that they don't have complete freedom. You should start making up a concrete policy of what to do with offensive submissions and whatnot.
Just a general note: You should decide now whether the page is going to be in British English or American English.
Other than that, the page looks great. Mobile compatibility is fine, and the starting page images are attention-grabbing. I hope you won't mind if my OCD and I do a little copy editing, though… Nick1372 (talk) 02:40, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
Thanks very much for your thoughts! As stated somewhere on this page (below, I think?) we'll probably exclude reviews, at least for the moment. Please feel free to do whatever you'd like with the pages - it's nice to have someone else working on it as well! :) --Nick talk 03:02, 15 October 2013 (UTC)

Flow[edit]

Swept in from the pub

Flow is a new discussion technology for Wikis, it might replace areas like this page. They are looking for volunteer wikiprojects. While we are not a wikiproject, should we ask to join as a prototype? Nicolas1981 (talk) 06:13, 15 October 2013 (UTC)

Flow looks pretty cool, and it'll be really helpful once it's deployed. I for one would be interested in this site joining as a protoype. Either way, it can't hurt to ask. Nick1372 (talk) 23:33, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
If we wanted to become a WikiProject, we could hijack w:WP:TRAVEL or one of its subprojects, they are as dead as dirt. K7L (talk) 13:32, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
1-hour IRC chat 2013-10-24 18:00 UTC until 19:00 UTC at #wikimedia-office I can't attend unfortunately, anyone willing to attend and propose ourselves as a Flow beta test? Nicolas1981 (talk) 09:06, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
I like the idea en-WV becoming a Guinea pig for testing Flow, I would certainly support anything that can make discussions easier to follow, mainly changes in individual threads. I can't attend the chat though. --Danapit (talk) 09:44, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
Yeah, one reason why I think the Traveller's Pub hasn't changed much is because central archives and auto-archiving doesn't really solve the clunky wiki discussion format in terms of multiple simultaneous threads, though I don't know if being the guinea pig is a good idea. Let the WikiProjects have the first round. -- torty3 (talk) 14:09, 22 October 2013 (UTC)

Reviews[edit]

Swept in from the pub

Hi there!

Reviews have been a long-term resident on the Wikivoyage A-Z of the future, but I thought I'd mention the concept here as it's part of the My Voyage (subtle plug, see topic above) suite of user tools and enhancements that I'm meddling with at the moment. I understand that reviews are among the most controversial features (along with videos) on the MV mock-up, so I wanted to gauge opinion on the subject here. At present, I don't know of a way to implement the reviews as suggested in the roadmap, however, here's my alternative plan:

Reviews occupy a separate tab (next to 'Discussion') at the top of the page. There, all of the listings are automatically copied, but are read-only (is this possible?). Users may then leave comments and ratings (out of 5 or 10?), the latter of which is then averaged and displayed on the main article page alongside the listing in question.

I, like all of you I'm sure, have no desire for this feature to replicate the excesses of sites like trip advisor or for this to become our main endeavour, however, it is a fairly simple way in which users who are unwilling to write for the site may provide content. It's also yet another way of distinguishing ourselves from WT and hopefully boosting our search prospects at the same time.

Any thoughts would be very welcome! --Nick talk 23:18, 8 October 2013 (UTC)

I'd suggest out of 10.
How do we stop IP's gaming the system?
Registered Users may assess only? - then there will be a perverse incentive for hoteliers and restaurateurs to either register multiple accounts or get all their employees signed up. That's what I hate about the Tripadvisor blackmail site. --W. Frankemailtalk 23:41, 8 October 2013 (UTC)
  • For ratings: Unless/until we get all our listings templated and then all integrated with corresponding Wikidata items, this whole idea will be next to impossible to implement because we would undoubtedly need a database to keep track of and average the ratings. If we do that and if Wikidata allows us to store that type of non-factual information there, we could probably set up some kind of thing similar to the listing editor to pop up and allow users to put in a rating, but we will then still have the very challenging problem of keeping it fair, as mentioned above.
  • For reviews: This would probably also be best done with a kind of database so that a page could be dynamically generated to show the reviews for only whichever listing you click on. Otherwise things will quickly become a big mess with multiple written reviews for multiple listings of multiple types all on the same page. This is another type of non-factual info that I'm not sure Wikidata will be willing to accommodate, and will require intensive patrolling on our part, wherever it is stored.
Overall, I'm not convinced that this won't be far more trouble than it's worth, if it is doable at all. I certainly wouldn't want a giant distraction from our main goal of writing great travel guides. Texugo (talk) 00:01, 9 October 2013 (UTC)
I think I'm probably inclined to agree with you - it would require a lot of work to make it usable and we have larger problems at the moment. Any thoughts as to how we could make user-generated maps or easily creatable itineraries? --Nick talk 00:09, 9 October 2013 (UTC)
I have far too little time for WV now to get involved in every discussion, but I just wanted to make sure you are aware that there is a group of editors/community members who believe adding the review feature is a very bad idea and strongly oppose it. Please do not push that through. PrinceGloria (talk) 06:23, 13 October 2013 (UTC)
Would I be right to think that you include yourself in that number PrinceGloria? :) Nothing will or should be 'pushed through' without community approval, although the community sometimes needs to speak a little louder and sooner. --Nick talk 18:54, 14 October 2013 (UTC)
I can't do anything about "sooner" except playing with time tags, but you can count on me shouting "NOOOOOOO" at the top of my lungs. Whenever you wouldn't be sure if it was a no, do let me know and I'll repeat it strongly and clearly. :D PrinceGloria (talk) 21:11, 14 October 2013 (UTC)
I mostly agree with Texugo's thoughts about the implementation, and it would really require a lot of moderation. It's not something to be carried out half-heartedly. Anyway, all the pros and cons from User:Jmh649/Travel reviews, Wikivoyage talk:Roadmap and Wikivoyage:Roadmap/Enable_listings_reviews needs to be summed up and concluded, so anybody new or unfamiliar with the site can understand why it's been considered and not been carried out. Any volunteers? -- torty3 (talk) 12:04, 15 October 2013 (UTC)

2016 Wikivoyage Wishlist[edit]

Swept in from the pub

With 2016 already here in some parts of the world, it would be interesting to hear people's wishlists for Wikivoyage in the coming year, whether they're big items or merely a personal desire to improve a specific article. Here are a few of mine:

  • I'd like to see the number of contributors increase noticeably in 2016, which I think is the single biggest key to making this project a success. Efforts towards improving project visibility like Wikivoyage:Social media and Wikivoyage:Search Expedition/Missing links from Wikipedia, at making contributing easier through tools like Wikivoyage:Listing editor and dynamic maps, and more clarity about how to contribute (including the recent changes to Wikivoyage:Region article template and current discussions about rural destinations) are all moves in the right direction that hopefully will pay dividends in the coming year.
  • As a personal goal, I'd like to see the Wikivoyage Culver City article move to the first result on a search for "Culver City travel guide", and the Yosemite article in the first ten results for a similar search. I've been using these two articles as my benchmarks when trying to improve search engine ranking, and it would be gratifying to see their ranking continue to improve.
  • I'd like to see a big improvement to the region articles for California. Central Coast (California) has been a recent project and is much improved of late, but my home state still has lots of skeleton region articles and thus plenty room for improvement.

There are obviously about a million other things that would improve the project in the coming year, but those are a few I'd like to see. What else would people like to see in 2016? -- Ryan • (talk) • 19:29, 31 December 2015 (UTC)

I hope to see a lot more improvement to our region guides. The recent changes to the region article template have given us much more flexibility in terms of how we approach those guides, which I think is just what we needed to encourage some creative and enthusiastic endeavors there. Here's hoping it pays off! PerryPlanet (talk) 19:42, 31 December 2015 (UTC)
I think we should have a regions expedition or collaboration of the year or month. Ikan Kekek (talk) 04:06, 1 January 2016 (UTC)
Ryan: I just hope we may able to install the new proposed region list template that you created, this year. During 2015, my activity on Wikivoyage was too low so I hope I may able to give much more time to Wikivoyage this year so that ore Pakistani destinations could be brought up-to guide status. Anyways, happy new year to everyone from frozen Russian Far East. --Saqib (talk) 08:53, 1 January 2016 (UTC)
Happy New Year to you and all other Wikivoyagers! I didn't realize you were still in Russia. Greetings from brisk Oakland, California. Ikan Kekek (talk) 11:17, 1 January 2016 (UTC)
Well been here for more than two months but the thing is I'm still not tired of Far East. But anyway I may leave Russia within this month. --Saqib (talk) 14:14, 1 January 2016 (UTC)
I'd like enough time to do even half the things I want to get done... never seems to happen though! Otherwise, continue cleaning up and rounding out coverage of British Columbia's regions and underlying destinations, and finally get around to the refresh of North Vancouver and Vancouver so they can hopefully get some first page love from Google. -Shaundd (talk) 17:58, 1 January 2016 (UTC)

AndreCarrotflower's 2016 Wikivoyage wishlist:

Personal goals

  • Get better at keeping up-to-date on creating DotM banners. It's one of my favorite things that I do here at Wikivoyage, and I'm pretty good at it if I do say so myself, but so often it gets away from me and I find myself within a few days of not having a banner to slot into dotm#Next change for the next feature (i.e. right now).
  • A walking-tour itinerary article based around the Heritage Townscape Murals in Kenora, Ontario. I took this tour last July and have plenty of photographs with which to illustrate such an article. Ideally this would go up for FTT next summer, but given the volume of other work I have to do around here it might have to wait until 2017.
  • Add images to the listings in the Buffalo district articles. It's easy enough to do, all I have to do is get off my rear and get to it.
  • Quite simply, devote more time to Wikivoyage. My presence here, while still fairly consistent, has dropped off some since Buffalo's run as DotM. Obviously that was a major accomplishment of mine, and I knew I would need a breather after the culmination of all that work, but by the same token, come on, that was half a year ago already. I don't feel that my work here is anywhere near done.

Sitewide goals (major issues)

  • As Ryan said, growth in our community of regular editors.
  • A definitive resolution to, or at least accelerated progress in, our SEO issues. That is to say, continued improvement in our Google page rank, a continued increase in the percentage of visitors referred to us by Google searches, more instances of Wikivoyage articles ranked higher in Google searches than the analogous article on the other site, and fewer instances of searches for Wikivoyage articles auto-redirected by Google to the analogous article on the other site.

Sitewide goals (minor issues)

  • Banff is the second featured article in a row to go on the Main Page with fewer than four "support" votes. There's nothing officially enshrined in policy that requires four votes, but all the same, I'd like to see the community participate in DotM in ways that go beyond simply adding new nominees. We should take time to review and vote on nominated articles, and where areas are pointed out in which nominees could maybe use a bit of improvement, we should pitch in and help with the fixes. (I should say that Ypsilon has been very good about giving nominees that final spit-shine before they go up on the Main Page, but he shouldn't be expected to do all the work himself!)
  • Saving the most well-developed idea for last: we need to revamp our guidelines for the routebox navigation system. I've been doing a lot of work on those lately, and the more I do, the more I notice the deficiencies in our current policy. In many cases, the end result is a navigation system that is barely usable. I know this isn't really the right venue in which to go into this in such detail, and I plan on adapting this section of my post to a formal proposal that will be presented on an actual policy page, but for the record, my wish for routeboxes is that by the beginning of next year:
  • every destination referenced in a routebox is presented as a link to an active Wikivoyage article – no redlinks, no bare-text place names (except in cases where the terminus of a route is located in a destination that currently does not have a Wikivoyage article, in which case the destination should be rendered in bare text, as per current policy).
  • there are no routeboxes where "junctions with other highways" are placed where either major or minor (but especially major) destinations should be. In other words, there should always be two actual destination articles on each side of the template for any given route, one major and one minor; where junctions with other highways appear, they should be in addition to, not in place of, those two destination articles. In the current scenario, if you're following a particular route across a junction, you can't always know what the next actual city is that you'll come to, and the chain is broken. The ultimate goal should be for the chain never to be broken.
  • all routes are covered from beginning to end – that is to say, currently there are numerous cases where on City X's routebox it says the next destination along Route Y is City Z, but Route Y does not appear at all on City Z's routebox. Again, the chain should never be broken.
    • So does that mean it is fine to create new city article that have no information except a routebox at the bottom? --Traveler100 (talk) 06:34, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
  • there is across-the-board consistency among all routeboxes as to which cardinal direction appears on which side of the template (this is an especially common problem for north-south routes in destinations on the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, where south often appears to the left; there are even some articles in which north-left and south-left routes appear on the same routebox).
  • we eliminate the "preference for routes most often used by travellers in a given area" cited in current policy. First off, this approach funnels our readers into uncreative, one-size-fits-all methods of travel (why shouldn't we provide information for those outside-the-box thinkers who want to drive across Central America or take a passenger train across the American West, for example?); secondly, the fact is that the vast majority of cities don't have so many routes going through them that we would need to pick and choose an Interstate highway over an Amtrak line, for example. In the case of major cities where that's not true, such as New York City and Chicago, it's easy to come up with creative ways of dealing with the issue.

-- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 22:34, 1 January 2016 (UTC)

Increase the number of contributors - yes, indeed, but that's not easy. Here are some thoughts:
  • Are we (existing editors) encouraging new editors to stay, or are we too impatient with their newbie ways, leading them to cease (note the previous thread)?
  • Could we attract back major contributors who ceased, now that the cause of their leaving has been dealt with? Eg, @Peterfitzgerald: and others?
  • Improving search engine rankings and other means of attracting new readers and editors is a slow, incremental process. It is good to find actions that may give an outsize return for the effort involved. I think the Search Expedition/Missing links from Wikipedia project may give an outsize return in increasing traffic, so I'm delighted that is happening. The most effective way to improve search engine rankings seems to be to rewrite articles in order to reduce content duplicated from WT, but this is a slow, time-consuming, article-by-article process. Are there actions that might give an outsize return in improving rankings? Well, things that apply across many articles may do this. And many of our Category:Article classification templates still duplicate a lot of wording from those on WT. How about a project to rewrite those templates to make them as different as practical from those on WT? It will have only a slight effect on the ranking for each article, but thousands of articles have the templates, so a "slight effect" will be multiplied by thousands. Across the whole of WV it may make a worthwhile difference. In any case, there are only a couple of dozen templates involved, so even a modest benefit could be an outsize return for finite effort. Nurg (talk) 22:45, 1 January 2016 (UTC)
Some interesting ideas above - reinvigorating the collaboration of the month, inviting absent editors back, improving region guides, etc, etc would all be great to see - hopefully those interested will push those ideas forward in the coming months. I forgot to mention it in my earlier comments, but if people have ideas for things they'd like to see done with a bot, I'd also like to find more ways to automate some of the site's more trivial tasks in the coming year; I know others are proficient programmers, so perhaps an expedition or "bot suggestion" page might also be worth pursuing in 2016. -- Ryan • (talk) • 03:52, 8 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Along the lines of what is being suggested by Nurg. I'd like to see a shake up of our article structure again. This will help our rankings, and give our articles a bit more excitement. The See/Do delineation has never been clear. What about 'Events', 'Outdoors', 'Culture', 'Architecture', 'Free' Lets have some to choose from depending on the city. I can't wait to see the end of 'Drink' - originally intended to highlight the 'party scene' making no sense in countries where drinking isn't the party scene, and even less when populated by coffee shops. We can start slow, by just permitting a few more headings than what we do now.. --Inas (talk) 07:27, 8 January 2016 (UTC)
Your ideas are interesting, and we should discuss them more, but not all of them will be applicable to every place (though that's true with the current structure, too). What would you propose to substitute for "Drink", and why isn't that a good heading for pubs and coffee shops alike? Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:45, 8 January 2016 (UTC)
I think that's my point - that we can pick or choose from a wider selection of headings more applicable to each place. As far as 'Drink' goes, it was clearly intended for nightlife, bars & pubs etc. In places like Australia I think it's weird to put a coffee shops that generally open for breakfast and light lunch, in with nightlife, and put restaurants in Eat, it is all mixed up. Some other cities may make more sense where coffee isn't just a morning drink. And of course when you associate 'Drink' with nightlife, it implies alcohol. I don't want to go too far down the alternatives. There are obviously many, but it's a two step process to decide to change, and then what to change to. --Inas (talk) 08:39, 8 January 2016 (UTC)
I look forward to seeing you flesh out your ideas at greater length. Where do you suppose the best place would be for this discussion? Ikan Kekek (talk) 08:51, 8 January 2016 (UTC)

PDF download, include map and place button centrally[edit]

Swept in from the pub

Dear fellow enthusiasts

I was wondering whether it might be worth a discussion for the future of WikiVoyage to also add maps from the GPS points of a place to the beginning or end of an article when downloading it as PDF, like Lonely Planet and others are doing(?) I know it is possible to download the GPS marker file, however, I believe, not many people are firm with this kind of thing.

At the same time, could it also be meaningful to have a more direct download icon to each article (maybe together with the GPX download icon). I believe many people have problems finding/noticing the PDF link on the left side and might just print out each page, which add a lot of burden on the environment.

Cheers Ceever (talk) 19:52, 5 January 2017 (UTC)

I'm in favor of usability improvements but I'm having trouble visualizing what you're suggesting. Can you give examples, perhaps with screenshots? Powers (talk) 01:22, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
1) Here is an example of a Lonely Planet page: http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2194/2055215075_3d17498971_b.jpg They always got an overview map with listings for each place. It would be meaningful to have something similar produced automatically for the PDF or Book download you can do with WikiVoyage, now that many places include GPS tags for their sights. 2) Furthermore, for each WikiVoyage page there are two icons in the upper right corner above the page title, one for GPX download, and one for OpenStreetMap view. I believe it would help to also have the PDF download link here, instead in the left sections of numerous links. Maybe also combining it with the book creation opportunity.Ceever (talk) 17:20, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
We definitely could improve our print options. We don't maintain the PDF feature, however, so I'm not sure how much control we have. It might be worth putting a feature request in. Powers (talk) 21:04, 14 January 2017 (UTC)
There are some discussions about changing/improving the PDF situation going on. mw:Reading/Web/PDF Rendering is probably the clearest explanation. User:Melamrawy (WMF) is probably the best person to ask about it, if you have questions or want to help. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 21:18, 6 February 2017 (UTC)

Generating guidebooks for missing languages[edit]

Swept in from the pub

I am thinking of writing some code that generate a kind of guidebook on-the-fly for languages that do not have a Wikivoyage edition (yet), such as Telugu.

It would mostly take:

  • data from the Wikivoyage listings database,
  • breadcrumb from Wikivoyage,
  • banner and maybe other facts from Wikidata,
  • a dynamic map,
  • a gallery of all images found on Wikivoyage articles

... then embed that in Telugu strings.

Compared to a real guidebook it would be very shallow (zero prose and listing names not translated), but this might be the first ever guidebook about Elmwood in Telugu. With links back to Wikivoyage, this original content might gain us some Telugu readers and incoming links, which could eventually gain us some Google love.

My question: Has someone already done this, so that I don't waste my time on it? Or has someone started something similar?

Thanks! Syced (talk) 10:23, 23 October 2017 (UTC)

You might know the Lsjbot project at Wikipedia in Swedish, Cebuano and Waray, creating articles on lifeforms and places. I suppose Lsj could share some useful code and some insight in benefits and probable problems. There were 1M+ articles created. --LPfi (talk) 20:18, 23 October 2017 (UTC)
Yes I have seen it many times when merging items on Wikidata, and that's the kind of content I would like to create, thanks for the tip! I would not create new Wiki articles though, instead just putting the web pages somewhere (probably a Github-hosted website). Cheers! Syced (talk) 03:24, 25 October 2017 (UTC)