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Wikimedia Foundation Launches Wikivoyage

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the know-when-to-tip-and-when-to-bribe dept.

Announcements 47

jones_supa writes "The Wikimedia Foundation has marked its 12th anniversary by launching a Creative-Commons-licensed travel guide called Wikivoyage. Like other Wikimedia projects, Wikivoyage contains material written collaboratively by volunteers. The site has launched under the aegis of Wikimedia with around 50,000 articles and approximately 200 volunteer editors. Wikivoyage started in 2006 as a travel guide in German and Italian, backed by the German non-profit Wikivoyage Association. The transition to a Wikimedia project was initiated by contributors and the Association, and content is currently offered in Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Russian, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish. The purpose of the Wikivoyage is to promote education and knowledge of all countries and regions in the world, as well as understanding among nations. There's a huge global demand for travel information, but very few sources are both comprehensive and non-commercial. That's about to change."

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47 comments

Earth (5, Funny)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about a year and a half ago | (#42610685)

Mostly harmless.

Re:Earth (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42610783)

Mostly harmless.

Whoever wrote that never visited Kandahar.

Re:Earth (4, Funny)

SomePgmr (2021234) | about a year and a half ago | (#42610899)

Well, it does say mostly.

Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42610689)

Wikitravel has been very reliable in my experience. Another option is always appreciated.

Re:Great (4, Informative)

MrEricSir (398214) | about a year and a half ago | (#42610797)

Did you actually look at the site? Almost all the content was copied and pasted straight from Wikitravel. Maybe over time it will become another option, but for now the differences are very minor.

When this story broke a couple days ago the big question was: WHY did they create this site? There's already another perfectly good travel wiki. What's the motivation for creating a second one that has the same content? Why is this news? And why do all the articles about Wikivoyage neglect to mention Wikitravel?

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42611069)

What's the motivation for creating a second one that has the same content?

Apparently Internet Brands, who own Wikitravel, are a business. I mean... one that aims to make profits and stuff!

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42611147)

To be fair, Wikimedia is a business too. They just aim to make more money for their executives, rather than the business itself. You'd be surprised how many nonprofits exist solely to do that.

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42611207)

To be fair, Wikimedia is a business too. They just aim to make more money for their executives, rather than the business itself. You'd be surprised how many nonprofits exist solely to do that.

Crap. Jimmy Wales in personally told me that Wikipedia is all about kids in Africa and making the sum of human knowledge available to everyone and stuff. I remeber he was in a big banner ad at the top of the page when he said it.

Re:Great (1)

SolitaryMan (538416) | about a year and a half ago | (#42618477)

Jimmy Wales is not payed by Wikimedia Foundation.

Re:Great (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42611647)

Internet Brands is something of a juggernaut. I don't know enough about them to say there's anything terribly wrong with them, but they do have some history of buying up medium size web properties, packing them with ads, and setting the cruise control.

A popular niche site that I developed (but did not own) was bought up by them. They're still, by all outward appearances, running my code from nearly a decade ago.

Re:Great (1)

David Gerard (12369) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620139)

There's quite a lot terribly wrong with them [davidgerard.co.uk] . Look up VBulletin versus Xenforo too.

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42623197)

Thanks David. It's crazy how similar it sounds to the property I was talking about.

Re:Great (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42611225)

Answer. [gyrovague.com]

Embrace, Extend, Extinguish (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about a year and a half ago | (#42611269)

"Wikitravel is not a Wikimedia project"
http://wikitravel.org/en/Wikitravel:List_of_related_projects#Wikipedia [wikitravel.org]
http://wikitravel.org/en/Wikitravel:Cooperating_with_Wikipedia [wikitravel.org]

Wikipedia and Wikitravel have distinct goals, and forking large amounts of content from one project to the other creates wasteful duplication, and can actually stifle the development of creative, original content. In most cases, linking from one to the other would be a better choice.

As a rule, any significant copy-pasting of Wikipedia text to Wikitravel is not permitted, while borrowing the odd single turn of phrase when your writers' brain is stalling is allowed.

Now that they've been forked, Wikitravel might as well close up shop.
All the eyeballs that ended up on their website will be landing on wikipedia instead.

Re:Embrace, Extend, Extinguish (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42614103)

All the eyeballs that ended up on their website will be landing on wikipedia instead.

No, I have Wikipedia black-holed in my hosts file.

Re:Embrace, Extend, Extinguish (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year and a half ago | (#42614179)

Nope. Wikitravel still ranks very, very high on Google for travel results. Especially once you get into smaller locations with less written about them and hence less competition in the search rankings.

Re:Great (5, Informative)

koavf (1099649) | about a year and a half ago | (#42611301)

I'm not sure if your (good) questions are legitimate and about the site or rhetorical and about the quality of reportage. If it's the former, then:

WHY did they create this site?
They didn't. It was forked from Wikitravel several years ago.

What's the motivation for creating a second one that has the same content?
Free culture. This site is run on a non-profit basis. At the risk of sounding pedantic, it's worth it to have free alternatives. This is like saying, "We already have a newspaper, so why have alternative weeklies?"

And why do all the articles about Wikivoyage neglect to mention Wikitravel?
That's maybe your best question and providing context to these stories will help to clarify *why* this is news at all. The Wikimedia Foundation probably doesn't mention them in their press because of litigious threats and the fact that Wikivoyage has (and has had) its own identity, but news outlets should do their research and post background information making your questions redundant rather than simply parroting press releases.

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42611895)

WHY did they create this site?
They didn't. It was forked from Wikitravel several years ago.

Technically, it was the German and Italian language sections that forked years ago. The English (and all other) language content was forked from Wikitravel in August 2012 as part of the move to the Wikimedia Foundation.

What's the motivation for creating a second one that has the same content?
Free culture.

Sounds all noble and all, but the actual reason is more along the lines of politics: "In 2012, after a lengthy history of dissatisfaction with Wikitravel's host and owner, Internet Brands, it was proposed that the community at Wikitravel fork their work" source [wikipedia.org] While having a "free" (speech or beer, take your pick) option played into it, a large part of it was that Internet Brands wasn't being considerate of the needs of the community. Their lawsuit against the people organizing the fork could be seen as indicative of that (but obviously not causative).

And why do all the articles about Wikivoyage neglect to mention Wikitravel?
That's maybe your best question

Agreed. Jimbo turned almost apoplectic when Colbert mentioned the name "Wikitravel" during their interview, simply correcting him on the name but not mentioning anything regarding the Wikitravel site - probably due in part to the various litigious threats.

The Wikivoyage/Wikitravel relationship should be better clarified in the news, but (somewhat ironically) the Wikipedia articles on each are an excellent place to get informed on the issue.

Re:Great (1)

David Gerard (12369) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620153)

I think it's that WMF is in litigation with Internet Brands so is opting not to mention it.

Speaking as a volunteer myself, IB are arseholes, and fuck 'em.

Re:Great (1)

Woogiemonger (628172) | about a year and a half ago | (#42613521)

I think Wikimedia Foundation figured they could do a better job than Wikitravel? Which I suppose is in the spirit of forking. For one thing, I noticed searching for "Charleston, SC" gets me a result in the more intelligent Wikivoyage and just "There were no results matching the query." on Wikitravel. Probably for the better that Wikivoyage is taking over.

Re:Great (1)

franciscohs (1003004) | about a year and a half ago | (#42615159)

From the FAQ:

Is it true that Wikivoyage's content came from Wikitravel?
It's true, more or less: when the English language Wikivoyage was founded in 2012, we brought over the travel guides from Wikitravel. (This is both legal and moral thanks to the free licence both sites share!) In fact, Wikivoyage was founded by a very large contingent of editors and administrators from Wikitravel—the very people who originally wrote much of the content we imported.

If you're interested in the gory details of why we forked the project, we have a page that provides a recap. But we are our own project now, and we're moving forward with great new content. As time goes on, our content will resemble Wikitravel's less and less—hopefully, by being more up-to-date, better organized, and more integrated with the other wikis of the Wikimedia Foundation.

There are very good reasons for the fork (IMHO), more here:
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikivoyage/Migration/FAQ [wikimedia.org]

Re:Great (1)

David Gerard (12369) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620125)

That's because it's a fork, because Internet Brands tried to sue the volunteers involved [davidgerard.co.uk] .

At present, Wikivoyage is running about 500 edits an hour, Wikitravel around 500 edits every 15 hours - most of those being spam and spam cleanup.

To be clear... (4, Informative)

yelvington (8169) | about a year and a half ago | (#42610763)

Wikivoyage is largely a fork of Wikitravel, which has been around for years, but is under the control of a private business.

Re:To be clear... (2, Interesting)

Epicaxia (2773451) | about a year and a half ago | (#42614227)

As a long-time contributor to Wikitravel, I'm very glad to see Wikivoyage managed by Wikimedia. Internet Brands, the organization that took over Wikitravel some time ago, has been turning their site into a classic example of ham-handed monetization; compare intrusive travel booking banners [wikitravel.org] and horrendously limited search [wikitravel.org] to their respective [wikivoyage.org] alternatives [wikivoyage.org] . For a while, they were even several versions behind the MediaWiki platform itself. I abandoned contributing to Wikitravel last year, and I'm very happy to have a new place to which I can contribute content. More importantly, I suspect I'm not the only one.

Tourist info from Wikimedia? (2)

Marcion (876801) | about a year and a half ago | (#42610781)

Your tourist site with ancient historical monuments is non-notable and the article has been deleted.
See our top article:Twilight Land

Firs7 post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42611097)

Clothes or be a It wiil be among

So it's Wikitravel. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42611151)

What's the point of this again? I use Wikitravel all the time (I even used it to find new places to eat in my home area), but this doesn't seem to offer anything WT doesn't already have.

Re:So it's Wikitravel. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42615391)

"this doesn't seem to offer anything WT doesn't already have."

How about competent site administration, and no advertising?

Same info from the same abusive Wikimedia. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42611265)

Wikipedia employs abusive paranoid admins who obviously don't take their medications. Just look at the Wikimedia global account log to see some of the loony behavior from admins who stay up for 12 hours straight. [wikimedia.org] Wikimedia should be held with the same scrutiny as gun and video game manufacturers before we have another Aaron Schwartz or Sandy Hook on our hands. See also the Gibraltarpedia scandal which violates their own conflict of interest guidelines and is ran by the banned user Gibraltarian.

Wiki Search? (1)

aNonnyMouseCowered (2693969) | about a year and a half ago | (#42611275)

It's their resources, so it's theirs to decide WTF they want to do with it. But here's a thought. What the Web sorely lacks isn't another Wiki dump of specialized topics that can be found in other Wikipages, something a web robot can do. The Wikimedia foundation is in a good position, more than any other non-commercial group, to start its own search engine to rival the corporate offerings of Google and Microsoft. Besides Google, Bing and specialist search sites for products, pr0n, and pirate wares, the other search "engines" are mostly Google/Bing scrapers. Wikimedia has the chance to change that, with its already extensive catalog of human verified links, aka citations required.

Another great step for freedom (4, Insightful)

Master Of Ninja (521917) | about a year and a half ago | (#42611401)

As people before have noted Wikivoyage is a fork of the Wikitravel [slashdot.org] , and I thing this is a great thing for Internet freedom and collaborative work. For all the critcism Wikipedia has had, there is the goal to make knowledge free. Whilst Internet Brands abused the old wikitravel website, hopefully we can get a reformed great collaborative travel guide, and something to balance Tripadvisor

Re:Another great step for freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42613517)

So that means we can look forward to editors staking out their territory and reverting edits with reckless abandon?
Or maybe we can user contributions about potential sites to vist obliterated by arbitrary not-notable enough declarations?

That would be a great contribution as a travel site on par with Tripadvisor, no?

offline version (1)

jbeaupre (752124) | about a year and a half ago | (#42611495)

They have a mobile version of the web site. But I sincerely hope they make it possible to download offline packages for different areas. Pair it up with OpenStreetMap data , and you'd have a great app.

Re:offline version (2)

xaxa (988988) | about a year and a half ago | (#42611667)

They have a mobile version of the web site. But I sincerely hope they make it possible to download offline packages for different areas. Pair it up with OpenStreetMap data , and you'd have a great app.

I'm certain they will -- that's one of the reasons for the fork of Wikitravel. Wikitravel made it very difficult to do a bulk-download of the content, which meant it was difficult to write an offline Android app, for example.

Re:offline version (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42613065)

Check out Wikisherpa for Android and iOS. It really helped when I was in Japan, it supports offline browsing and helped me find hostels on a number of occasions.

Re:offline version (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42614401)

I have whole countries packaged into individual PDFs

http://tripestry.com/?l=wikitravel [tripestry.com]

Offline Wikivoyage app available (1)

aikawa (776347) | about a year and a half ago | (#42678187)

Offline Wikivoyage [google.com] app now available on Google Play Store.

More popular than Michelin for two reasons (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | about a year and a half ago | (#42613091)

1. Somewhat cheaper.
2. Has the words "DON'T PANIC" in large friendly letters on the cover.

But will it allow negative information? (1)

dorpus (636554) | about a year and a half ago | (#42613641)

What matters most to me when traveling is avoiding the negative experiences. The internet is increasingly censorship-oriented, and quickly deletes posts that are critical of a place. I've been on other travel forums where the moderators will quickly delete my account if I say that e.g. most Mexican food in Austin, TX is bland and overspiced with raw jalapenos. I've had much better Mexican food elsewhere.

Re:But will it allow negative information? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42614983)

What matters most to me when traveling is avoiding the negative experiences. The internet is increasingly censorship-oriented, and quickly deletes posts that are critical of a place. I've been on other travel forums where the moderators will quickly delete my account if I say that e.g. most Mexican food in Austin, TX is bland and overspiced with raw jalapenos. I've had much better Mexican food elsewhere.

Difficult to do on both a collaborative web site or a commercial web site. On a collaborative web site the locals have a much stronger commercial incentive to make themselves look good while visitors have no such strong incentive and so the collaboration shifts in the local's favor and on a commercial web site the advertisers don't like it. At least with wikipedia they make an effort to show all reasonable points of view so maybe wikivoyage can do the same.

Re:But will it allow negative information? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42615041)

Facts are important.. Comments that are opinion matter less. Your palate simply doesn't appreciate the flavors from Austin Tex-Mex. There is a difference between Mexican and tex-mex foods. Are you from NYC, so you never learned the difference? Mexican food is often bland. Some people actually prefer tex-mex and are disappointed when traveling in the deep south, west coast and many other places because the "mexican foods" are so very bland.

What makes food good is highly subjective. That is all that I'm saying. Generalizing all restaurants for an entire city is not likely to be the truth, though I will agree that there are some really bad restaurants everywhere, including Austin.

Re:But will it allow negative information? (1)

franciscohs (1003004) | about a year and a half ago | (#42615387)

You mean negative subjective information?, I wouldn't like something like that. While what you're saying may be mostly true for a majority of people, "better mexican food" is really a matter of opinion. Maybe I'd accept an article stating that the food is more or less authentic in some place, comparing it to the original, which while still rather subjective, it can be measured or compared on specific ingredients, way of cooking, etc.

Re:But will it allow negative information? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42615407)

The contributors to Wikitravel have always supported the inclusion of negative information. Instead of requiring NPOV (which is counterproductive in a travel guide), the principle has always been "be fair". The folks as Wikimedia understand this, and it isn't going to change.

Dysfunctional (1)

Vintermann (400722) | about a year and a half ago | (#42614907)

Another project Wikipedia can export its dysfunctional culture to... though to be fair, it seems German wikipedia is a lot less dysfunctional than the English.

It's time someone did to wikis what distributed revision control did to software projects. Easy to fork, easy to maintain specialized trees without duplicating effort.

Crowdsourcing (1)

Bosconian (158140) | about a year and a half ago | (#42616911)

I can't wait to visit the spot in North America where George Washington [flickr.com] manipulated our nation's Great Stick and made a speech concerning public health.
Visiting history, one edit at a time!
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