[Wikimedia-l] Travel Guide Wiki

Ryan Holliday ryan.holliday at gmail.com
Thu Apr 12 09:14:46 UTC 2012

On 4/12/2012 12:04 AM, rupert THURNER wrote:
> I am not to deep into this, so please bear with me if it already was
> mentioned before: what are the main issues you face with the current
> setting?

As with any diverse community different individuals will have different 
opinions, but some of the issues that led to the current discussion on 
forking are:

- The WT community does not have any control over the technical 
administration of the site.  Simple Mediawiki configuration changes can 
take months to get implemented (see for example 
http://wikitravel.org/shared/Tech:Enable_range_blocks), the current site 
is running Mediawiki 1.1.2 and in the midst of a promised upgrade to 
1.1.7 (note: NOT 1.1.8) that began in July 2011 and still has no clear 
completion date, and any enhancements to the site that would involve use 
of plugins or other technical enhancements must generally be dismissed 
as impractical given the current support situation.

- The existing community is no longer growing.  After many years of 
neglect from the site's owners several of the language versions lack 
active communities, while the active language versions are mostly 
treading water.  Most of this stagnation can be traced to frustration 
with current site management (performance problems, lack of 
responsiveness to technical requests, etc).

- The current site owners are intent on monetizing the site in ways that 
are expected to be detrimental to the site.  See 
http://wikitravel.org/shared/Talk:Advertising_policy for some of their 
advertising proposals, and 
http://wikitravel.org/shared/Tech:Add_booking_tool_to_WT for an upcoming 
change that has not received the support of any existing contributors, 
but that will be arriving soon nonetheless.

There are other issues, but this provides some insight.  The WT 
community has attempted to work with the existing owners for many years 
to address concerns, but at this point it seems pretty clear that they 
are either unable or unwilling to do more than the bare minimum required 
to keep the site viable, and that's not a scenario under which the site 
can come close to realizing its full potential.

It is believed that a move to WMF would immediately resolve all of these 
issues.  Given the WMF's established ability to competently managed 
large Mediawiki sites technical concerns should be greatly reduced. 
Similarly, the visibility of being a WMF project would enlarge the 
community, and the additional tools available (newer Mediawiki tools, 
access to plugins, ability to integrate with commons, etc) would free up 
the existing community to focus on the site rather than on simply 
fighting spam and dealing with technical issues.  Finally, concerns over 
misguided monetization efforts are unlikely to be a problem given the 
existing advertising policies of WMF.

Ryan (WT bureaucrat)

More information about the Wikimedia-l mailing list