I had the incredibly good fortune to spend an hour with Ward Cunningham yesterday. Among other things, we discussed WikiWiki at length. In parting, he suggested I check out a newish wiki called travelwiki.org.

 

For avid armchair travelers and nostalgic backpackers like me, travelwiki has promise.  I can't quite figure out their revenue model but then, I guess it doesn't take much to prop a site to the Web and run. Or does it? From a technology perspective, here are a few notables:

  • MediaWiki
    Runs on the same software as Wikipedia.
  • Login
    Besides setting user preferences and enabling other readers/contributors to email me (anonymously), I can't figure out what purpose Login actually serves! Anyway, I appear to be the 336th user (http://www.wikitravel.org/en/article/User:Korby_Parnell).
  • 'Seed Content' is raw HTML... and from the CIA (!)
    "Many of the country pages have significant chunks (the entire page in some cases) imported from the
    CIA World Factbook 2002. This means that when you edit these pages you see a lot of confusing HTML. Do not be intimidated by this, just leave it and put your own contribution on top of it using the normal Wiki markup method. "
  • "Talk Pages"
    Pages behind pages ala Wikipedia where contributors can discuss things.  Avoids threaded discussions on the main pages.
  • Differentiation of Minor and Major Changes
    "If you are
    logged in to a user account there will be a This is a minor edit checkbox for marking your changes as "minor". The idea with this is that people reviewing page history or recent changes can filter out unimportant changes. It's up to you to determine what makes your changes "minor" -- usually, spelling corrections, grammar, or formatting changes are "minor", and changes to the real information on a page are not."
  • Languange Separation
    Q: Sorry, I don't speak English very well. Can I put articles in my own language in Wikitravel?
    A: Not really. Wikitravel is starting to become a multilingual travel guide, but there are currently only Wikitravel versions in English and Romanian. So yes, if you speak Romanian, you can put articles in your own language by going to the
    Romanian version of Wikitravel. Remember, however, to use only English in the English version of Wikitravel. They just launched a Romanian version: http://www.wikitravel.org/ro/.  Note that it is a separate wiki.
  • WikiTravel FAQ:
    http://www.wikitravel.org/en/article/Wikitravel:FAQ
  • Wikitravel:Travellers' pub
    The Travellers' pub is the place to ask questions when you're confused, lost, afraid, tired, annoyed, thoughtful, or helpful. Please check the
    FAQ before asking a question, though, since that may save your time and others'.