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Sex and drug tourism—Wikivoyage's soft underbelly?

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By Tony1
Prostitution ... apparently a prevalent motivation for male tourists as reflected in some parts of the Foundation's new site, Wikivoyage.
This picture and the one above are at Commons, but neither actually appears in Wikivoyage; they illustrate two problematic themes in Wikivoyage.

The Signpost has frequently covered the Wikimedia Foundation's newest sister project, Wikivoyage. Among the coverage have been reports on the complicated and expensive migration of the site from the commercialised site and the non-profit German site that forked from it, which has given its name to the new WMF project. We have brought to you reports on the legal action taken by the corporate owners of, Internet Brands, against two editors (also covered in the mainstream press), and the Foundation's legal "victory" in the matter. Wikivoyage now has 15 language sites, although all but the English and German versions are small and only marginally active.

In January we raised several potentially troublesome issues for the Wikimedia movement in taking on Wikivoyage, including the apparent inadequacy of the English Wikivoyage sex-tourism policy, hurriedly strengthened against mention of child sex after our inquiries. However, both sex-tourism and illegal-activities policies remain equivocal about how the site should treat entries about sex tourism more generally, and drugs that are classed as illicit in almost every country. The Signpost has found it remarkably easy to locate material in Wikivoyage that violates both the spirit and the letter of these policies.

Two relevant policies

The sex-tourism policy states:

Back in January, Wikivoyager Pashley told the Signpost that these policy areas are "tricky", that Evan Prodromou "was really uneasy about allowing this sort of material on the site at all" when he came up with the sex-tourism policy ten years ago. "There have been arguments for both a looser and a stricter policy." DerFussi, chairman of the German non-profit that hosted Wikivoyage until two years ago, told us: "The community has an eye on all edits."

The companion piece to Wikivoyage's sex-tourism policy is its illegal-activities policy:

The policy concedes that the site "needs to tread a fine line about giving information. The test is that information should be provided for a traveller's safety, rather than solely to promote illegal activities. When writing about safety issues with illegal activities, Wikivoyage articles must always emphasise that that activity is a crime when mentioning safety issues. ... Wikivoyage articles should avoid giving information about illegal activities that is useful only to those seeking it and which is not motivated by safety concerns."

Formulaic "warnings"?

The policies themselves reflect the sometimes contradictory aims of the travel site to provide free, balanced information to people in a wide range of demographics who are engaged in a highly consumerist leisure pursuit. The ambiguity underlines the blurred interface between informing, warning, and encouraging on the site. Whether by design or accident, many edits appear to introduce information about prostitution and drugs with a formulaic "warning" added. Random examples of the mixed messages that result are:

It is an open question whether these warnings actually function to caution travellers' behaviour beyond providing eligibility for inclusion under the policies.

Depictions of women

Another issue raised by the material is its potential to be perceived as treating women with a casual objectification, under an implicit assumption that readers are not women ("Classy little hostess bar ... A place for single men and loose ladies ... no pool table or food to distract you from the lovely ladies" ... "There are dozens of girlie bars ... Freelance girls are picked up at establishments like [several names provided]").

There is occasionally evidence that some contributors have taken offence, and that there has been an element of push and pull over the years about the inclusion of sexual content (e.g. "Sorry, but I thought the comment comparing Downtown Eastside prostitutes to cheap parking prices was a little offensive. I didn't realize this article was a guide for sex tourists"; and "Isn't there a Wikivoyage policy against including 'sex tourism' related topics on Wikivoyage? If so, why is there a section of this article titled, 'Prostitution'?").

However, on the other side, as one Wikivoyage administrator wrote in February: "Policing travelers' personal moral choices is not one of Wikivoyage's goals". The Signpost believes that there are only two or three female editors on the English Wikivoyage, not all of them active.

A number of articles link to external pages that deal explicitly with drugs such as cannabis. Among these are Utrecht where "mainly psychedelics, cannabis and energetic herbs" in the "Buy" section contains a link to a Dutch-language advertisement "Cooking with dope". Seattle gives good airtime to the annual two-day cannabis festival, with an external link that beckons readers to "become a member" and "party with hempfest all year!" Similarly, Ann Arbor provides an external link for its annual Hashbash that advertises ancillary products and asks for political donations.

Editorial resources and the competition

Whether directly in breach of the site’s policies or just deserving of deep community discussion, some material on the English Wikivoyage suggests that—contrary to Fussi's claim—Wikivoyagers don't "have their eye on all edits". But does Wikivoyage have the editorial resources to police the input of sex- and drug-related information? And just as central to the site's use of the Wikimedia Foundation's trademark and brand reputation is its ability to monitor commercial spamming. Of 56 listed admins who migrated from WikiTravel at the start of the year, only 23 are active; the list includes seven bureaucrats, of whom only two are active. Edits to Wikivoyage have declined by almost a third since June, from more than 34,000 to just over 18,000 in October (the latter figure is the Signpost's estimate from sampling the "Recent changes" list. This compares with more than 25,000 for Wikitravel.

One editor, who spoke to the Signpost on condition of anonymity, said:

The Signpost has noted an upswing in the creation of increasingly strange articles at Wikitravel, still a heavily commercial site in which google advertisements appear as side-bars on every article. Recent examples of such articles, which display thematically related advertisements, are Hair dryer tips and tricks for problematic hair, Bridging loans and its advantages [sic], and Jailbreak iPhone and its benefits. There are virtually no active admins on WikiTravel. Despite the lack of proper administration and evidence of the fusing of editorial and commercial content, WikiTravel is now ranked 2417 globally, up from 3162 in late July. Wikivoyage is a disappointing 20,451, even though up from 32,586 in late July. Its page views have dropped 12% from the levels in January when the new site was launched. Yet given the poverty of the competition, there appear to be many opportunities for Wikivoyage to boost its presence in the crowded market for online travel advice.

In brief

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Considering that a siteban was proposed for Tony1 on the English Wikivoyage, that does call into question the objectivity of this story: voy:en:Wikivoyage:User ban nominations/Archive#User:Tony1 --Rschen7754 21:47, 2 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Tony1 and I don't always see eye to eye, but that block, and the discussion leading to it, is one of the most pathetic things I've ever seen on a WMF project. Wikivoyage blocked a user for criticizing the project, plain and simple. His word choice was just the excuse that the blocking admin used. Could he have been nicer? Sure. Would that have mattered? After seeing that discussion, I seriously doubt it. Really, really sad. Sven Manguard Wha? 22:56, 2 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Rschen, since you're so keen to raise it, I am one of many—small fry—and it didn't matter to me personally; the worrying aspect was that it suggested the existence of a certain block-happy behaviour by a few admins (among others, you were named). Indeed, a Wikivoyager has pointed the Signpost to a number of recent instances of apparently gratuitous blocks. A weird one is this one just days ago, as intimidation against writing this. Given its falling numbers, the site can ill afford to turn away editors who lobby for change. You're welcome to continue this on my en.WP talk page; but the broader phenomenon is really for others, not me, to discuss. I just present the facts. Please note that I have authored or co-authored four substantial coverages of Wikivoyage over the past 15 months. Tony (talk) 23:50, 2 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Tony, just to make sure I don't misunderstand - in response to Rschen7754 claiming you have a COI due to being blocked, you are responding with the claim you don't have a COI because there exists another user on wikivoyage who has been blocked. Is that accurate? Bawolff (talk) 00:11, 3 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Well it's that, and also the use of quite provocative images that are used nowhere on Wikivoyage (knowing that most people won't read the captions)... just to prejudice the reader. I'm very disappointed. --Rschen7754 00:13, 3 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Those images are especially yellow journalism-esque. They clearly imply that they come from Wikivoyage, or relate to it in any way, but are really just random salacious images from Commons. - AdamBMorgan (talk) 04:25, 3 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

A discussion of whether Wikivoyage's policies on illegal activities, drugs, etc need updating, and how to improve monitoring of edits for problems, would be welcome at voy:Wikivoyage talk:Illegal activities policy. However, I would ask that anyone who is concerned about this issue to please read the relevant section(s) of the articles that are being referenced, as some of the quotes used in the Signpost article seem to lack context - for example, the quote from the Amsterdam article is three sentences here, but those three sentences come from different places within a six paragraph section in voy:Amsterdam#Cannabis and other drugs, and those six paragraphs are strongly slanted towards addressing safety concerns for the large number of visitors who choose to experiment with available drugs there. -- Ryan • (talk) • 22:04, 2 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

(edit conflict) This article on WikiVoyage is a rotting load of holier-than-thou tripe. All the puritan attacks on Commons sexual content were not enough. I suppose there is still a need to go all tut-tut on the fact that -gasp!- people do pay for sex and like to smoke pot? What about instead dealing with it, and acknowledging that we're not all Boy Scouts? I don't do drugs nor I hang out with hookers, yet I do not feel the need to judge who does or to censor information that they may find useful. --cyclopiaspeak! 23:58, 2 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

"This user has been a thorn in our side almost from Day 1". Wow, WikiVoyage is becoming a trolling den more and more, as it's hate of Wikipedia and Wikipedians, as well as of any criticism, keeps on growing. In this case I don't support censorship, but it's a very interesting issue that Tony should be commended for bringing more light to. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 02:52, 3 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

I too want to express my appreciation to Tony for taking the time to write a detailed, interesting article about this WMF project. I also want to add that that the claim that a "conflict of interest" might exist in this situation is totally wrong - such a claim is based on a misunderstanding of what underlies COI: two or more different roles, such as parent and employer, or newspaper columnist and spouse. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 17:18, 3 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

To quote the article you link "A conflict of interest (COI) occurs when an individual ororganization is involved in multiple interests, one of which could possibly corrupt the motivation for an act in another." Tony's dispute/block on wikivoyage could quite possibly lead to anger, thus resulting in a potential corruption of his motivations for writing this article into revenge, or even just unconcious bias. (Furthermore the definition doesn't require this to have actually happened, only the potential for it to. I hold the view that this actually happened. Tony himself claims that he will be "... deeply committed to letting Wikimedians know what a corrupt and bullying power structure has developed [on wikivoyage]" [1]. Even if one doesn't hold the view that coruption of motivation happened, I still think there is extremely strong evidence that this could happen) This situation seems to fit the definition of CoI to me. Bawolff (talk) 19:09, 3 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Bounty and Reward Boards

Its good that the mention of these two boards being up for deletion are on here. I personally called to have both closed. Though with this, there can be more discussion so progress can be made towards the final outcome. GamerPro64 21:14, 2 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

signpost being used as a stick to beat other projects with

I'm kind of getting tired of all these attack the sister project stories on the signpost. Now please don't get me wrong, there are important issues involved, and its important to discuss them. However this type of one sided editorializing does not do this. Combined with the other lets beat on the sister projects with a stick articles that the signpost has published in the past (but never a negative article about wikipedia using this type of tone) seems mostly to foster an us vs them mentality then anything else. Bawolff (talk) 23:13, 2 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

+1 - Commons and Wikinews have been recent targets. --Rschen7754 23:15, 2 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
+1 Legoktm (talk) 23:16, 2 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
+1 Micru (talk) 12:15, 3 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
+1 Avenue (talk) 21:37, 3 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
I am afraid I have to agree.--Ymblanter (talk) 21:57, 3 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
+1 (generally speaking: less tabloidesque writing, and highlighting of just the conflicts, please. It does a dis-service to the neutral tone, and comprehensive coverage, that we're all so fond of.) –Quiddity (talk) 06:33, 4 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
+1. --Yair rand (talk) 07:58, 5 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
–1. Critical coverage like this is what journalism is all about. Discuss the issues, rather than shooting the messenger. Andreas JN466 01:05, 6 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Insert the word "tabloid" before "journalism" and you'd be close. The "messenger" here has a glaring conflict of interest, and has effectively poisoned any discussion here before it began. --Avenue (talk) 02:28, 6 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
If it weren't just about entirely factual, you might have a case. But instead, Avenue, you're crowding out any semblance of mature discussion about the serious issues raised by the story. And didn't someone once say that it's not journalism unless it's telling people things that someone doesn't want told? Tony (talk) 03:11, 6 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Re Andreas: I agree critical journalism is important. But one can be critical of someone while still being fair to them. A critical article is much more powerful when it involves logical argument instead of attempting to appeal to emotions, special pleading, etc. Furthermore to have an informed debate on the issue (Which I understand to be the intention of journalism), we need real news articles that present the good with the bad. Re Tony, I dispute that this article is "entirely factual". The larger problems with the article have been pointed out many times on this comment page by many people, but there is also all sorts of small opinions presented as facts without citation that prevent "entirely factual" from being an accurate description - e.g. Claiming wikivoyage was expensive to adopt without any numbers (expense is relative, so that's inherently an opinion, and one we can't judge for ourselves without knowing roughly how much money was spent), using scare quotes around the word victory in the phrase "legal victory" to imply that it wasn't quite a victory, without explaining why or giving any reference as to how it wasn't a victory. However even ignoring all these problems, the article could be entirely factual while still being a fallacious argument. For example, via Special pleading. Bawolff (talk) 05:12, 6 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
There's a big difference between the Wikinews article and this one, since the first was presented as an opinion piece. I agree with Piotrus (below) that this should have been an op-ed. —innotata 09:36, 6 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

VW page views

Stating "Its page views have dropped 12% from the levels in January when the new site was launched" needs to be put into context. I would say it is a sign of just how well WV has done. In January WV was getting international media attention. After that its viewership fell and now is nearly back to the level it was when it was getting this attention. That this occured after only 6 months is amazing. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 23:48, 2 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

There's also bugzilla:52688 which is probably throwing a wrench into it. Legoktm (talk) 00:06, 3 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
"Citation needed". How were those stats obtained? --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 02:52, 3 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Ah sorry you mean this [2] Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 06:07, 3 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

And what is wrong with sex/drug tourism, exactly?

Everyone seems to be taking it as a given that something wrong is happening here. So long as nothing illegal (both de facto and de jure) is going on then more or less everyone benefits from sex and drugs tourism. Women are lifted out of poverty, relatively speaking*, and drugs are either provided by the government in a couple of countries, or are cannabis - and the two obvious places to go for cannabis are either Christiana in Cophenhagen or most of the Netherlands.

I actually find this cultural imperialism of red state us hypocritical puritanism much worse than any so-called exploitation.

*yeah, they may still have pretty unpleasant living conditions by western standards, but relatively speaking it's a pretty decent deal.

Egg Centric 01:17, 3 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Often something illegal is going on, and the women involved do not get "a pretty decent deal". See forced prostitution. --Avenue (talk) 03:05, 6 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

This really should have been an op-ed

This raised some interesting points, and it's not as bad as the Farmbrough piece in the Arbitration Report a while back, but The Signpost really needs to do a better job drawing the line between articles and opinion pieces. Furthermore, it was a breach of basic journalistic ethics for Tony to not disclose his personal involvement here. I understand that The Signpost has a lot of work to do with relatively little resources, but I expect better than this. — PinkAmpers&(Je vous invite à me parler) 01:48, 3 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Fair point. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 02:53, 3 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
The ed17 is on vacation so there may be a delay before he sees this but I will leave a note on his talk page. As editor-in-chief this was his decision to make. I had no involvement in the writing or publishing of this piece, but FWIW I have some issues with how this piece is presented especially in N&N instead of op-ed as PinkAmpersand suggests. --Pine 07:00, 3 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, and it frequently makes references to "The Signpost" when it probably means just Tony1 himself. --Rschen7754 07:10, 3 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Indeed. Tony himself said 'Incidentally, the Signpost publishes only balanced material in its "News and notes" and is keenly aware of COI issues (although this is not necessarily the case in its occasional opinion pages).' --Avenue (talk) 22:07, 3 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
I can agree with the general premise in this section. However, I think we can cut Tony1 a little slack here (especially considering his hectic work schedule) and not shoot the messenger. (I suspect that Tony1 originally wrote a more balanced piece about Admin abuse at Wikivoyage but pulled it at the last minute precisely because of a perceived COI - we're human after all and I think can be permitted the odd, non-malicious mistake.)
If his opinion piece causes a bit of a re-think about attitudes to gender issues, anonymous editors, censorship and sex tourism policy at Wikivoyage, then so much the better.
If the tabloid proclivities of the (non-Australian, of course) press batten on this Op-Ed and the WMF Wikivoyage projects get some free journalistic plugs or interest (and they should have cleaned up there act a wee bit by then), then so much the better too. -- (talk) 23:16, 3 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

The search engine problem

As the unnamed editor indicated, Wikivoyage is not attacting enough readers and new editors because search engines virtually always rank its articles below Wikitravel's. And it's not just Google. Until that changes, WV will struggle. Can the wider WMF community not help with this? Nurg (talk) 03:12, 3 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Tony1 is following a long tradition of Australian journalism in trying (successfully) to sensationalise the ordinary and non-controversial.
However, he does raise, if only briefly and at the end, two important issues:
  1. When is it appropriate to censor prima facie good faith contributions that are not libellous/legally controversial, gross personal attacks, obscene or hateful (either by excising "offending" contributions or by blocking editors) in WMF projects? And, even more importantly,
  2. How can WMF get more bang for the bucks it has (nobly) expended on the Wikivoyage project by ensuring more eyeballs on their pages. The teutonic "Master of Puppets", Frank, has given Wikivoyage good advice as to how to achieve this, but most of the admins (Ikan Kekek, Nurg, Pashley, Peter Southwood and a few others nobly excepted) seem more interested in amateur sleuthing than taking up Frank's challenge. The bald fact remains that, as I write this, his test article still has the highest Google search ranking of any Wikivoyage article bar none. Just use a typical search phrase such as 'guide somerset tasmania' with the anonymised, non-personalised results from Google obtained by using the US site: to check that for yourself, dear reader...
-- (talk) 05:01, 3 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
PS: Alice has e-mailed to say that the full text of this part of her quote was: "The readership is actually static with rolling hills and troughs. It's just that it should be 8-150 times greater and should be topping Wikitravel - that will never happen unless and until they adopt proper SEO - what Frank suggested is just the bare minimum of what is needed."
She also apologises for using me as her "meatpuppet" but respectfully points out that, after more than 6 years, she is still blocked from editing EN Wikipedia. :-- (talk) 05:27, 3 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
I don't see any evidence at User talk:Alice that the block has ever been appealed. Nurg (talk) 23:39, 6 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
My understanding was that she can not edit any pages on WP (including in her own user space) but I will specifically e-mail her to confirm that. -- (talk) 05:22, 7 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
PPS: Alice has e-mailed me again to say that the full text of the relevant part of her separate e-mail to Tony1 (not that it makes much difference in my opinion to Tony1's "quote" to run the two e-mails into one) was:
"> Is the matter of spam taken seriously by en.WV?
Yes. it is but because Search Engine Optimisation is NOT taken seriously, (see the thread for more detail) our readership numbers are only a small proportion of the original Wikitravel site and that means we are not so attractive a target of the spammers.
At Wikitravel the automated spam attacks have reached truly appalling dimensions."
-- (talk) 05:43, 3 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  • There's no particular tradition of sensationalising in the Australian press—at least none that is distinguishable from the press in other countries. The article presents the facts, and if you think the context makes it sensational, perhaps Wikivoyage might reflect on how to react in a positive fashion. There's a desperate need to attract female editors and readers; reducing the turn-off factor for them would be a good start, and creating a more inclusive social environment at the site would help, too. But instead, the boys—yes, they are all boys—are gathered around the camp fire working out how to attack me ("a jerk", "a dick", "a crap article", and a call to arms: "attacks against the author are 100% valid"). Flicking an email to FOXnews would be a very bad idea ("If we publicize this, we both get more publicity and give the lie to the claim that we can't tolerate any criticism"). And may I say that the comment above that "Women are lifted out of poverty" through prostitution displays the very problematic thinking that has landed the site in this unsatisfactory state. There are misconceptions about women and a regrettable association between developing countries and opportunities for sexual exploitation that some people might see as linking sexism and racism (although I don't).

    I didn't want to make suggestions, but my research on the site led me to think that centralising advice on prostitution and drugs rather than allowing it to scatter all over the place would be a way of controlling the message. And the message does need to be controlled by responsible hands in the English Wikivoyage community, given the sensitivities of those topics. Centralised advice is offered on other matters at the site.

    Once you get over the initial anger and personalised attack stage, this and other possibilities of making the guidelines more functional might float to the surface. Thank you. Tony (talk) 05:38, 3 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

These efforts have my complete support if we can show that they work for an already established article. The difficulty with the article above is that it was newly created on both sites around the same time. It is thus not a good representation of 99% of the content on WV.
I tried all these techniques at the same time on a single article and while that article became more popular briefly, it was only briefly and WT's article while worse is now once again ranked higher. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 06:14, 3 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Tony, first of all, I think there are some folks at Wikivoyage who will be very surprised to be called men. But more to the point, it's interesting that you never edited or even, to the best of my recollection, commented on any content in violation of Wikivoyage's policy on sex tourism in all the time you were on Wikivoyage. If you had been half as interested in looking for such violations as you were on arguing about spelling policy, you could have actually done something constructive about it. Instead, you try to make a few out-of-context lines of text into something sensational after the fact. Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:04, 3 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]


Excuse me Viki Voyage, your Freudian slip is showing. Nurg (talk) 03:17, 3 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

We do need more editors on Wikivoyage

And this is so immediately apparent here. Even though we are not @Wikivoyage, the same usual stuff crops up which has nothing to do with advancing Wikivoyage but a lot with fixed personal agendas and (hurt?) personalities. This is becoming boring like an old sitcom - very predictable, with the same characters and writers out of ideas. So, we have:

  • The same guy as usual trying to make themselves better by proposing to formalize a policy on something moderately unimportant, and later building a whole campaign of personal self-gratification around it.
  • The same guy as usual complaining to high heavens because he can't link to Wikipedia
  • Not-logged-in people who ostensibly aren't Frank but somehow are only interested in said Frank, Frank's edits, Frank's proposals, Frank's situation with other users and discussing Frank

This sitcom is not "Golden Girls" and it's not getting any Emmys, it's just sad and boring.

So, if you're reading this and have absolutely no idea what's going on, just head over to Wikivoyage and start contributing. Despite all the negativity above, by and large it's just fun, rewarding and very easy. Once there are more of us, the sitcom becomes just an old TV rerun channel nobody watches. For now, it's getting undue prominence and gives the project a bad image. PrinceGloria (talk) 05:27, 3 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

More readers = more editors
wouldn't you think?
Do you think there is a more important topic for discussion and action than the poor (and static) readership of Wikivoyage nearly one year after launch? Please be part of the solution rather than part of the personality fixation you so graphically describe (it should be obvious to anyone looking up my IP that I'm neither Frank nor Alice - although, as I've clearly stated above, I have been engaging in an e-mail conversation with the latter.) -- (talk) 05:57, 3 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Yes I agree that the readership is poor. It is currently, from what I gather, about a tenth of that of WT. It however is not static. With the launch of WV we saw a great deal of press and with it a large number of readers (WV was briefly ranked higher than WT on Alexa). After this readership fell more than 60%. From this low point however it has more than doubled in the last 6 months.[3]
Could we do better? Yes definitely. Along with distinguishing the site from WT we also need to make it a lot better than WT. The site less than a year old in English. Will some SEO help? Possibly. And if there is good evidence that it will I am sure that the community will develop bots and adopt it. The evidence however is currently tentative. We would love the help of more people who know about this sort of thing. We would also love more people who simply wish to write about travel. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 06:25, 3 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

In response to some of the above comments

I am the Wikivoyage administrator who initiated the discussion on Tony's user block. I'm also responsible for the quote "This user has been a thorn in our side almost from Day 1", with which another editor above took issue. I stand by that quote, as well as my decision to nominate him for a user ban.

I'd like to address some of the comments that have been made here. Tony was not banned for censorious reasons. He was banned, if you'll pardon my bluntness, for being a dick. Civility is a fundamentally important part of user interactions on any wiki, and if Tony had expressed his concerns and suggestions regarding the direction Wikivoyage is taking in a civil manner, he would have had a much more receptive audience among his fellow Wikivoyagers. As other commenters have pointed out, these are frustrating times at Wikivoyage—and if anything, we heartily encourage helpful suggestions about how to make our site better, drive up traffic, and so forth. We do not, however, encourage disruptive and uncivil behavior. Many Wikivoyage administrators went out of their way to urge Tony to adopt a more civil tone in his discourse, but received hostile responses for their troubles. Blocking Tony was the only reasonable course of action we had. In point of fact, Wikivoyage policy states that user bans are a last-resort solution for dealing with problem editors, and we did not regard Tony's case as any different—especially given his fairly distinguished track record at Wikipedia and on other WMF projects. A thorough perusal of Tony's contributions at Wikivoyage will bear out everything said here.

It's worth mentioning that the writing of this article can reasonably be seen as the follow-through of a veiled threat Tony made to smear Wikivoyage in the Signpost upon his nomination for a user ban. Needless to say, we at Wikivoyage do not cotton to strong-arm tactics of that nature. And, also needless to say, all of the above-described baggage Tony has on Wikivoyage points to such a massive conflict-of-interest issue that it's frankly dubious what, if any, value this article may have. That's really a shame, because if Wikivoyage's policies on sex tourism or illegal activities are problematic, they ought to be rectified.

-- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 08:43, 3 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

I would like to add that while the English Wikipedia frequently does not enforce civility at times, other Wikimedia sites including the English Wikivoyage, take a much harder line on civility. --Rschen7754 08:45, 3 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
You guys really are just angry: blame the messenger, sure. Now, could I have diffs of this supposed incivility, please—or is it like the other blocks, trumped up, excessive behaviour by admins? And could we have evidence that the pack-attack culture that you and Ryan and Rschen perpetrate at Wikivoyage might end, to be supplanted by a more mature environment for editors? But before you start, the strategy of personalising the issues and attacking me is to distract from the issues in the article. I don't think readers will be fooled by this. Tony (talk) 08:51, 3 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
AndreCarrotflower: of course you are historically accurate in stating that Wikivoyage policy still states that user bans are a last-resort solution for dealing with problem editors. Why do you think this attitude has changed so much in the last year? Do you think it's some contagion that has been carried over from the extreme censorship practised by IBobi and other IBadmins in the times of strife before the fork or do you think it is like the siege mentality that led to recent US governments flouting the constitution and international law? Since I'm not aware of Tony1 ever causing problems for the Traveller - in article space - if you thought he was being a Dick (and many, perhaps the silent majority, didn't) why did we not regard Tony's case as any different to our historical tradition and simply ignore him?
Rschen7754: Will you continue to regard yourself as the sole arbiter as what is allowed to be discussed on the pages of the Pub?
Again, I don't wish to personalise this, but are you aware that diffs can be provided that show some very un-civil comments by bureaucrats (present and former) of the English language Wikivoyage? Until their attitude has a sea-change, your comments immediately above have the whiff of a double standard. -- (talk) 08:59, 3 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Your post was archived (NOT deleted) because it was disruptive, and it was trying to start a flame war. Before I had archived the post, several admins indicated on that very thread that they did not want the discussion to continue. --Rschen7754 09:05, 3 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
On the contrary, I have been very critical of the other Wikivoyage admins and policies throughout most of my time there. But I know better than to force a community into doing something, because we are a wiki that operates by consensus, and no one person owns it. --Rschen7754 09:08, 3 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
I accept that was your honestly held opinion and motivation, but there was no basis in policy for your action in prematurely archiving the discussion a few minutes after the last comment. Normal policy would be to wait until the topic had "gone cold" or to excise any part that was "grossly inappropriate". Have you learnt anything or, with the benefit of hindsight, do you think this could have been handled differently? -- (talk) 09:11, 3 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
I have never been a fan of following policy for the sake of following policy, especially when doing so will result in Yet Another Discussion About W.Frank And Alice (TM) in which several admins resigned in protest. --Rschen7754 09:17, 3 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, it seems that you are not the only graduate of the Internet Brands school of etiquette. Whatever happened to the egalitarian principles of many wikis that Admins are just there to perform mundane (but important) tasks of trust and not to bring in a nanny state of censorship and the Orwellian "correcting" of other editor's comments? -- (talk) 23:04, 3 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
No diffs are necessary; the very next sentence after your request demonstrates adequately the type of interaction for which you were repeatedly warned and subsequently blocked to cool off. The juxtaposition of the two sentences here, without any apparent recognition of the incongruity, goes well past ironic to simply mind-boggling. Powers T 22:10, 4 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
To address two of the worst bullies on the English Wikivoyage: which bit of multiple name callings like that I'm a dick, I'm a jerk, are not covered by your civility policy? Or does it not apply to administrators on voy.en? Tony (talk) 03:47, 5 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
I think there are two broad norms of behaviour: the first (obviously deeply engrained in the current admin culture of Wikivoyage) is what might be characterised as the "Eton fag" system where the greater your seniority, the more latitude you are given in interpreting policy and following the rules; the second model (that used to be more common on Wikis) is that the more senior you are the better example you are supposed to set for newbies.
Obviously we're all fallible in the heat of the moment, but what does stand out currently at the English Wikivoyage is the disconnect of the reasonable and egalitarian tone of most policy pages that are still current as I write this (and that were largely inherited from the more enlightened time of Evan and Maj(noona)) and the actual bullying tactics seen recently where even words of formal welcome are interfered with and subject to snide allegations of Sockpuppetry -- (talk) 06:43, 5 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

"Yes, they are all boys"? Oh no, they aren't!

Tony1 is presenting himself as someone very familiar with the foul conditions at WV which makes me wonder why he makes this strange (sexism?) claim. For the record, there are several female frequent contributors and admins at WV. Might be they are invisible to Tony1's eyes, because they try to concentrate on other parts of WV work, like adding content, filling empty articles, and making the site up-to-date and attractive to readers rather than escalating academic arguments about spelling.

I would like to avoid generalizing, so I speak for myself, but maybe it is also something to do with female pragmatic approach to work on wiki projects, that we are not so prone to getting involved in feeding the trolls? Danapit (talk) 13:01, 3 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

a less generous view is that the gender gap is a hot button issue on wikipedia. By appealing to that perhaps Tony hoped to cause those on wikipedia who felt strongly about that issue to redirect their anger to wikivoyage. The photos in this article are clear appeals to emotion. It wouldn't surprise me if other arguments made were intended as such. Bawolff (talk) 13:38, 3 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Interesting theories you're both advancing. Tony (talk) 14:28, 3 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
I take it that by "interesting" you are suggesting both theories are false? In the article I read your argument as being, the editorial practises on wikivoyage relating to prostution are objectifying hence resulting in a low number of female editors at the project. (Please correct me if I misunderstood). Followed by a conjecture that there are only 2 or 3 female editors, possibly non active in an attempt to back up the first claim. Now the first claim (objectification being bad for gender ratios) seems at least reasonable at first glance, assuming such objectification is pursasive and this isn't just a couple of isolated examples taken out of context (which to be blunt I somewhat expect to be the case). The second claim is the one I have a problem with. It seems to just be numbers pulled out of a hat. How did you find this number? People don't usually disclose their gender publically. People often don't use gendered usernames and when they do its often for the wrong gender. On top of that wikimedia as a whole has gender balance issues. Any discussion of gender bias on a specific project (and thus implicitly comparing it to other wikis) should be done in terms of percents, and compared to percents on other projects to factor out the gender imbalance caused just by being a wiki. Thus I came to the conclusion that the talk of gender balance was more to invoke emotions stemming from a hot button issue, then a serious argument that whatever prostitution related content wikivoyage may have is actively lowering female participation below what it would otherwise be, since the supporting evidence seems to just be claimed without citation. If I have misunderstood your argument anywhere, or have a flaw in my reasoning, please let me know. Thanks. Bawolff (talk) 15:17, 3 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Reject censorship

The first few batches of quotes above are not disturbing in any way. Wikivoyage should accurately portray the conditions that tourists will meet. We should not forget that these are sovereign nations that have the power to crack down on prostitution effectively, or the right to legalize it entirely: we are not the judges either of their citizens or of the foreigners who visit their country. It is true that they should avoid a discriminatory tone against women as described later, because that tone does nothing to advance their educational purpose, but I hope those are merely rare random abuses found in crowdsourced content. Where legally necessary to avoid potential accusation of collusion in illegal activities, Wikivoyage may be forced to enact restrictive policy to preserve its mission, but we should recognize that that is "sacrificing a doctrine to save the church", not a slope we should want them to roll down to the bottom. Wnt (talk) 00:28, 4 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Well said! -- (talk) 10:27, 4 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
I'm not sure I entirely agree. Taken to extremes this would allow some quite objectionable material. For example imagine if wikivoyage contained information on how to poach endangered species from national parks. I would consider that going too far. Thus I don't agree with no cencorship ever in principle even if Im not to worked up about drugs. Bawolff (talk) 11:58, 4 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
As I alluded above, I'll acknowledge (without really knowing, as I'm not a lawyer) that there might conceivably be legal risk if an editor specifically instructs people that they can call a particular number and ask for Jerry to help them hunt a rhino. However, if there really is a general phenomenon in a country that tourists are doing black market hunts, there's no use trying to conceal that, or even trying to conceal the general outlines of how they go about doing it, such as where they start. Certainly a serious poacher would have little trouble finding out the same information from Mr. Google; but by describing that we can give other people more of a feel for the character of the place before they get there. Wnt (talk) 15:16, 4 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Editor's thoughts

Thanks to everyone for your comments. I have been unavailable to comment since this article was published as I was on vacation and in no mood to look at Wikipedia; I'm now just catching up with all this. I greenlighted a Wikivoyage story in September, because while I'm certain that information on finding prostitutes and/or drugs is helpful to some people, I'm equally certain that they don't appear in reputable travel guides—which is what Wikivoyage is striving to be. As such, this topic is one of public interest, and we enjoy fostering healthy debates (good example) when they appear. Wikivoyage's editors are, of course, free to choose their own path. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 03:32, 4 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Suffice it to say that I am very disappointed in this response, and I think that it reflects badly on the entire English Wikipedia. A more "healthy debate" would have been at least giving the editors of Wikivoyage a chance to respond, rather than publishing a rather one-sided story like this. --Rschen7754 04:01, 4 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Heavens, Rschen, you've all had ample time and space to respond here, but all I see are personal attacks against me, not substantive debate. What is stopping you?

I offered a few positive things to consider, somewhere above, but no one has taken them up; these included centralising the messages about prostitution and drugs so the message is coordinated, avoiding putting women off and normalising certain ways of thinking by young males about their travel activities (thinking that may not always lead to positive experiences for them or others). Many travel-guide outlets—newspapers in particular—don't touch sex or drugs and manage to be stimulating and insightful for readers (and if they do, they do not talk in terms of "girlie bars" and "pick ups"—that can be really offensive to women). I'm no prude and I'm happy to see the topics treated in WV, but I got the feeling on researching the site for this story that the policies and the treatment both need to evolve. A centralised advice page—even if it gave information about prostitution or drugs in each country/city—could contain health information, advice as to best and safe behaviour, and legal warnings. At the moment it's all over the place: the entries of dozens of casual/anon editors need to be audited.

I'm pleased to see that Ryan has chimed in above with substantive points; I hope this prompts others into debate, which is what the Signpost expects and hopes of its coverage. Debate cannot proceed on WV itself, since that is likely to lead to blocks by the alpha males; on a big wiki such gratuitous blocks—documented with casual arrogance that disregards the notion of justification—would result in action against the admin. Tony (talk)

Saying that you wrote a bad article is not a personal attack, Tony, no more than it's a personal attack to say that a mainspace article has POV issues. — PinkAmpers&(Je vous invite à me parler) 15:39, 4 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
But it's not a bad article: it's precisely the kind of coverage on a WMF project that is appropriate for journalism. The fact that these issues are not raised on the project itself are a symptom of the bully-boy mentality among powerful editors there; you see them ranting and attacking on this talk page, too, trying to discredit the messenger rather than grapple with the issues raised. That is a pity. The fact that this has prompted some soul-searching, at least among some Wikivoyagers, is a helpful sign. Let us hope that this boys' anger stage passes and the movement can reflect on how to build Wikivoyage into a better site with a more balanced tenor where sex and drug tourism are concerned. Tony (talk) 03:42, 5 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
IMO it's an highly misleading and unbalanced article, and quite inappropriate for the Signpost's New & Notes section. It should prompt some soul-searching, yes, but primarily among the producers of the Signpost. So far I do not see much sign of this. --Avenue (talk) 06:35, 5 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Whether or not you agree with Rschen's critique is immaterial to whether it's a personal attack. Since it's in fact a personal attack to frivolously accuse people of personal attacks, I'd kindly request that you strike your accusation. — PinkAmpers&(Je vous invite à me parler) 07:36, 5 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Ed, you're doing a 'No real Scotsman' here. If I understand your point correctly, you are saying that other travel guides don't have information on finding prostitues and/or drugs, and therefore wikivoyage won't be a reputable travel guide if it has. I don't think that's a valid argument. It's a tricky issue, and good arguments can be made in favour and against inclusion of this information, but this isn't one of them. Martijn Hoekstra (talk) 07:21, 4 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Ed, the topic of this report is ok. We can have healthy and civil debates about important issues while keeping the tone of N&N carefully neutral. This piece's tone is aggressive and I think will do more harm than good. --Pine 08:05, 4 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Which bit is "aggressive", please? Tony (talk) 03:32, 5 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
I don't think this is actually accurate. I've read detailed accounts in Lonely Planet and Rough Guide of Amsterdam's peculiar toleration of drugs and prostitution for instance, something that in that case is arguably of general interest as "local color". Just picking up a Rough Guide to India, it has a section on drugs that briefly describes what drugs are common in India and what law enforcement is like, and that's pretty standard with these sorts of guidebooks, in my experience. Information about prostitution isn't unheard of either, at least in places where it is legal. (I remember reading in some "reputable guidebook" a detailed description of how to negotiate with a prostitute in Amsterdam's Red Light District--probably written in the 1990s I don't know if they would do so today). Wikivoyage is not that far out of line. (talk) 12:18, 4 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Agreed. If you go hunting for travel guides in a brick and mortar bookstore in the U.S. you may not even find anything but Lonely Planet, and they certainly do not censor such information: [4] I do not approve of the exploitation of women, especially not their abuse under so many regimes where they are punished for their nominally illegal prostitution in order to subjugate them to pimps who hold power with the government, but a travel guide should describe this world, not some fairyland of the imagination where the mountains are made out of caramel. Wnt (talk) 15:21, 4 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
So the story was "greenlighted [...] in September". Did you notify the Wikivoyage community about the planned story at that point, or did you decide to launch a sneak attack instead? I don't believe the latter was your intent, but nonetheless, that's effectively the decision you faced. --Avenue (talk) 03:28, 5 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
It's not a sneak attack any more than almost every News and notes story in the past year has been. We are not in the habit of broadcasting the themes we're working on. That would not be in the public interest. Tony (talk) 03:32, 5 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Why not? Are you afraid there will be some attempt at a cover-up? That seems completely pointless on a public wiki like Wikivoyage. If the community is notified and the problems get addressed appropriately before publication, surely that would be the best possible outcome for the Wikimedia movement.
This "habit" of keeping future themes secret is counterproductive at best, and should be overturned immediately. What themes does the editorial team have lined up for future editions, and has it failed to notify any of the relevant editing communities? --Avenue (talk) 06:28, 5 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Hello Avenue, thanks for your posts. Unfortunately, you've far oversimplified the problems here if you think that many of the problems we've reported on could be fixed with a few backchannel conversations. Take my critical takes on the English Wikipedia's adminship process, for example, or Tony's excellent reporting on the decision to decline Wikimedia Hong Kong's grant ambitions. Furthermore, we're not a public relations agency looking to sanitize potential problems—we're a news outlet, and investigative reporting is not something best done in the public eye. When I greenlighted this story, I saw it as a way to kindle a healthy debate within the Wikimedia community; I think it still has the chance to do so, should people be interested in discussing it. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 06:58, 5 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
I'm certainly not arguing that critical reporting has no place here. I do however feel it is counterproductive for the Wikipedia Signpost to jump on a moral high horse whenever someone is unhappy with how some issue is being handled on another project, particularly when that person is not heavily involved in that project and the difficulties they've faced there may well be more due to their behaviour or unfamiliarity with the project than anything else.
I am not arguing for backchannel conversations, but for following the appropriate processes within other projects, and for not giving the complaints of a single individual undue weight. I'm not arguing that passionate critics should be censored, but I do think they need much more careful editorial management than seems to have been the case recently; witness all the inaccuracies and misleading aspects of this report, for instance.
I have no real concern about the Signpost's reporting on matters concerning English Wikipedia or general Wikimedia matters. Those seem naturally within its ambit, and the Signpost seems less likely to succumb to the dangers of having more enthusiasm than knowledge there. --Avenue (talk) 08:18, 5 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
I'm sorry, what "inaccuracies and misleading aspects"? Or is this like the accusations of "inflammatory language" and "aggression" I see bandied about by the allies of the bully-boys on Wikivoyage? Could we have specific examples? Tony (talk) 08:43, 5 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
I didn't think it was necessary to repeat them all, but since you ask, here's a list of things that have already been raised here: quotes lifted out of context, underestimating the number of women editors, misleading description of readership trends, image use, describing smaller Wikivoyage editions as only marginally active, and failing to acknowledge a conflict of interest. That list could easily be doubled in length, but that would be getting off topic. This article is just one example of broader Signpost problems IMO. --Avenue (talk) 11:44, 5 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
"quotes lifted out of context"—rejected. Show how the larger context for any of those quotes would affect their meaning unduly. "underestimating the number of women editors"—information from a female voy.en editor, who would know more than you, I suspect. "misleading description of readership trends"—rejected. "image use"—what on earth are you going on about? "describing smaller Wikivoyage editions as only marginally active"—go have a look at the stats. "failing to acknowledge a conflict of interest"—there is no conflict of interest, and if you think a bunch of bullies at some site is going to constrict my journalistic scope, you're wrong. You'll have to do better than that. Tony (talk) 13:46, 5 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
If you want to try to refute those charges, you should do so where they have been raised elsewhere on this page. This section is about the editor's response (or lack thereof) to the problems people have highlighted regarding the Signpost's editorial practices. We have taken too big a tangent already from that. Your article is just one example of the problems. --Avenue (talk) 21:26, 5 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
I"ll do so where I please, thanks very much. Tony (talk) 00:08, 6 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Sure, it is up to you. And it is up to me to think that you just screwed up and have no good arguments and has no guts to apologize, for whatever reason.--Ymblanter (talk) 03:17, 6 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
"Screwed up" and "no good arguments" is starting to be uncivil and offensive. What exactly is it I should apologise for? It's important coverage, and as much as there are claims that it's opinionated, no one will point to specific examples. I would write the piece again, and in the future no doubt there will be a need for further coverage of Wikivoyage. Tony (talk) 10:27, 6 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Great to know you stick to your opinion. You may find it useful to know that I do not find your arguments in the least convincing, and stick to mine.--Ymblanter (talk) 20:31, 6 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
I can only return the compliments: you've screwed up in your posts here, too, and have no convincing arguments. Tony (talk) 22:59, 6 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Look, I did not write an opinion piece in Signpost. You did, pretending you have done some research. You have been pointed out (not just by me, but in fact almost everybody edited this page) that (i) the quality of research was substandard; (ii) you had conflict of interest; (iii) the POV opinion piece was presented as an objective research. Except for the argument that you do not accept that, the only other arguments you have are personal attacks., QED. I do not think anybody is going to take your opinions seriously anymore. Definitely not me.--Ymblanter (talk) 08:22, 7 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Who would take a substandard mind like yours seriously any more? For what it's worth, the abusers, the shouters, the yellers are wasting their breath. Nothing on this page has changed my opinion of the piece or its subject one iota. It has served a very good purpose. Tony (talk) 08:51, 7 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
A good indication of your attitude. Indeed, we are losing time here.--Ymblanter (talk) 10:10, 7 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

As for some of the other comments here, I'd like to extend an invitation to all editors to use my talk page, my email, or the Signpost's suggestions page to point us towards positive stories that are coming out of the Wikimedia sister projects. As I said on my talk page earlier today, we're well aware that the bulk of the stories coming from the movement are positive ones. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 07:00, 5 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Well said.
That's the wiki way of openness and transparency. -- (talk) 07:19, 5 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Well, Wikidata had its 1 year anniversary, and it was even mentioned on the suggestions page... and there's even some material to criticize the project with (the borked Commons launch, for one). --Rschen7754 09:11, 6 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Alternative proposal

Rather than censoring information, Wikivoyage should address issues of this kind by adding more information. For example, in the case of prostitution, editors should ensure that the article describes:

  • Rate of HIV infection of the prostitutes (definitely relevant travel information, not to mention a sure-fire way to dampen the tourist's ardor outside of a few enlightened jurisdictions)
  • Legal penalties for tourists who are caught (both actual and theoretical, with an emphasis on the former)
  • The relative risk of robbery or violence for "johns" in the region, and, if available, the probability that the prostitute is not actually a willing participant

The articles also should, of course, be properly sympathetic to all persons, including the sex workers, and avoid any snarky, dismissive language meant to denigrate them. Wnt (talk) 15:31, 4 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

This would be good, all we need is someone who has the information and the interest to go ahead and do it. A link to a Wikipedia article on the subject would be even better, as that would be required to cite references, and this would be encyclopaedic information. • • • Peter (Southwood) (talk): 11:45, 29 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
I agree with both of you that this would be a more fruitful and useful approach.
To editor Pbsouthwood: Ever since I started editing (what was then Wikitravel that forked into Wikivoyage) many years ago (using a huge variety of IP's, mostly in New Zealand), you have stood out as one of the Wikivoyage admins that has taken a thoughtful and fair approach.
I hope, therefore, you don't mind me pointing out that almost every time anyone over at Wikivoyage adds an in-line hyperlink to any language version of Wikipedia it is quickly removed (usually by other less perceptive Wikivoyage admins) as being directly contrary to Wikivoyage policy since currently "External links guidelines do not permit links from Wikivoyage articles in the Main namespace (travel articles) to Wikipedia articles...". Personally I think this policy is daft and contrary to our prime directive of being helpful to travellers but because of the way consensus "works" at Wikivoyage, your excellent suggestion is a non-starter right now.
I also think this unfraternal policy is not helpful to encouraging new editors who have a working knowledge of MediaWiki software to assist us over at Wikivoyage, but that's another topic... --118.93nzp (talk) 04:25, 1 December 2013 (UTC)[reply]
I am on record as favouring a policy allowing more useful links to Wikipedia in particular and where applicable, other sister projects. So far this has been resisted, and much as I would like to see some changes, I would like to see them develop with a minimum of incivility and disruption to the progress of the content. The current method of adversarial debate with ad hominem arguments and denial of good faith by the opposition, so common on English Wikipedia and now increasingly on English Wikivoyage, is more likely to result in a deadlock, where everybody loses in some way. I prefer to stay out of the mosh pit. Consensus is not achieved by telling other people they are wrong, but it may be possible when one looks at the alternative proposals to try to find what is good about them. A system where existing policy is entrenched because any change requires consensus is particularly resistant to modification by attempting to force the issue. I take no sides with or against people who are only known to me by an alias, only with ideas and behaviour, which can always be improved. • • • Peter (Southwood) (talk): 05:54, 1 December 2013 (UTC)[reply]
I certainly agree with you Peter - and I'd also like to think I understand your points. Most of us are human and, consequently, find it very difficult to separate the message from the messenger and objectively evaluate it. --118.93nzp (talk) 06:54, 1 December 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Inaccuracies and mischaracterizations in the en.voy piece

Editorial guidance I'm surprised and disappointed in how negative and inaccurate the Wikivoyage story is. E.g. the claim that there aren't active Wikitravel admins (e.g. me--I perform maintenance there multiple times a day) or the fact that the spam articles that Tony1 mentioned are almost immediately deleted. There is a serious spam issue at Wikitravel but it's being addressed with heavy moderation (not the best possible solution but it's something). This could have been fixed easily by having someone verify his claims. I blame the lack of editorial guidance on this site more than the author. —Justin (koavf)TCM 18:15, 4 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Kudos to you, Koavf, for recently starting an heroic task in IBobiland's fief at Wikitravel and for really getting stuck in. However, I think you'd be the first to admit that Wikitravel is a pale shadow of the community it once was (before most of the active community left and you were nominated as an admin by one of the very few "old timers" left).
Sure, I've moaned about block-happy, censoring, "I-don't-like-it-and-my-Da-is-bigger-than-your's" admins abusing Wikiquette and policy at Wikivoyage, but that all pales into insignificance compared to the heavy manners of the IBadmins at Wikitravel! -- (talk) 02:23, 5 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Just wanted to add that the blatantly incorrect statement that all Wikivoyage versions save for English and German are "only marginally active" does not add the credibility to the article.--Ymblanter (talk) 18:22, 4 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Yup, I know from personal knowledge that Texugo does great work at the Portuguese version and the French version is also making great progress. I neither read nor write Russian, but I assume that you would also want to tell us that the Russian version is going great guns too. Is Peter B Fitzgerald from Georgetown still active there on that language version? -- (talk) 02:23, 5 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Koav, "There are virtually no active admins on WikiTravel." You might do us the courtesy of using the actual wording. An examination of the admin list revealed that almost all accounts were inactive. One or two appeared to have performed some maintenance work. I see that one of the sex-tourism excerpts mentioned here in the story has just been removed from Wikitravel. That's more than one could say for Wikivoyage. Ryan, whose bank account and business we all paid hundreds of thousands of dollars of legal fees to protect last year, has stated above that he's just fine with the price list of prostitutes in Tijuana quoted at the top of the story. Nice. BTW, there's a spam article there now for you to delete. Tony (talk) 03:23, 5 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
While I think it would be better to keep this discussion focused on the article rather than on individuals, since my full name has now been used three times in comments (edit: I have now replaced occurrences of my full name with just my first name, which I believe is acceptable per WP:DOX - Ryan), thus ensuring that this page will come up in search results for anyone researching me or my company, I would like to clarify that no one in these comments, including myself, has said that they are "just fine" with "price lists" of prostitutes being included in Wikivoyage articles - in fact, that is something that voy:Wikivoyage:Sex tourism policy#Prostitution explicitly states should not be included in articles. I have previously made only one comment in this discussion [5], and the purpose of that comment was to invite further discussion at Wikivoyage on how to better monitor the site for problem edits and how to improve the site's policies related to drugs and sex tourism. With respect to the WT lawsuit, I don't see how that is relevant to a discussion of Wikivoyage's policies on drugs and sex tourism, but should anyone want to discuss that issue then ping me on my talk page and I would be happy for any opportunity to again express my deep gratitude to the amazing people at WMF for their assistance. -- Ryan • (talk) • 04:17, 5 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Actually, I don't see any reason why giving general prices for a region should be excluded. For example, our Wikipedia article Prostitution in Nevada says "If the customer chooses a woman, the price negotiations take place in the woman's room, which are often overheard by management. The house normally gets half of the negotiated amount. If the customer arrives by cab, the driver will receive some 30% of whatever the customer spends; this is subtracted from the woman's earnings. Typical prices start at US$200 for 15 minutes." Given that it's appropriate here, why shouldn't it be there? Wnt (talk) 04:35, 5 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Ryan, you say: "I would like to clarify that no one in these comments, including myself, has said that they are "just fine" with "price lists" of prostitutes being included in Wikivoyage articles - in fact, that is something that voy:Wikivoyage:Sex tourism policy#Prostitution explicitly states should not be included in articles". Then why did you write this earlier on this page: "The first few batches of quotes above are not disturbing in any way."

You say: "With respect to the WT lawsuit, I don't see how that is relevant to a discussion of Wikivoyage's policies on drugs and sex tourism, but should anyone want to discuss that issue then ping me on my talk page and I would be happy for any opportunity to again express my deep gratitude to the amazing people at WMF for their assistance". The relevance is that you've turned out to be a block-happy bully on Wikivoyage, turning off editors and perpetrating a nasty environment. Why did we support you? Tony (talk) 06:00, 5 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Unless you're accusing me of sock-puppetry, it is clear that I made no such comment. As to your second statement, while I disagree with it I don't see how it is relevant to Wikivoyage's policies on drugs and sex tourism, but would be happy to discuss it elsewhere so that we aren't hijacking a discussion to debate an unrelated topic. -- Ryan • (talk) • 06:12, 5 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  • The diff is there. Wnt ... that's you, isn't it? Tony (talk) 06:14, 5 November 2013 (UTC) No, I misread the n for an r—apologies, it's not you. But what a pity that I mistook the constructive post above "Alternative proposal" as coming from you. Tony (talk) 06:31, 5 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

We rightly supported Ryan and Dr Heilman because they were victimised and persecuted by Internet Brands and to clarify that forks are a legitimate (final?) response to the wilful and egregious breaking of both implicit and explicit agreements with their editor community. Yes, it is a pity that some folks don't learn from the lessons of history (pacé Sabras and Palestinians?) but I still think it was the right thing for the WMF to have done and I do hope that the "old boy's club" mentality of some of the current EnWV admin corps mellows and becomes more welcoming of new editors and less accusatory so that those dollars turn out to be well spent. Yes, Ryan is one of those most resistant to change, but he's a thoughtful guy and should prove capable of learning some lessons so that admin discussions may take place more publicly and on-Wiki(voyage) in future... -- (talk) 07:02, 5 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

You know, this particular criticism is becoming extremely tiring. Are you aware that our active admin corps is now dominated by users who didn't really edit Wikivoyage before 2012? We have successfully integrated dozens of new active editors into the community, but when two or three fail to grasp our community norms, all of a sudden we're not welcoming to new editors? Utter nonsense. Powers T 14:20, 5 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
LtPowers: I assume from the indentation, your comment (currently immediately above - until and unless someone disturbs the chronological thread again) is addressed to myself.
Are you now prepared to reveal here the the "old boy's club" fora where the discussions to block Tony1 (and where PeterFitzgerald, Jan and others abused Dr Heilman and threatened to "take their ball home" if other Wikivoyage editors were not permanently banned) took place? That way we can all see the truth (or otherwise) of whether or not proceedings were (and are?) indeed dominated by the "old boy's club" in less public discussions off-Wiki(voyage).
Yes, criticism can indeed become extremely tiring - especially when it fails to mention all the hard work and positive efforts that have been put in over the years by our volunteers. However admins are admins precisely because they have "police" powers and someone needs to be capable of blocking users in extremis. It's an overly dramatic analogy but, here in New Zealand, a policeman is typically only allowed to abuse his powers once before being stripped of his special powers. In police work, exercising those special powers is usually made more difficult by time pressures and the extreme urgency of making often critical decisions on the spur of the moment with limited information. However, if an innocent party gets shot because of a clear abuse of standing orders and demonstrably poor judgement then - however many suicides that officer has rescued, or thieves they have arrested, or youth rugby teams they have coached over the years - that officer's special powers are suspended. At Wikivoyage things are rarely that time critical that there is not sufficient time for judgements to be made in line with publicly promulgated policies and mature reflection. Nobody expects Wikivoyage admins not to lose their temper ever or get miffed by perceived insults, but policy at Wikitravel and then subsequently the forked Wikivoyage always used to make clear that blocking someone was a really big deal. The recent state of affairs with Wikivoyage admins being crassly uncivil, blocking folks for criticism of processes or being wrongly accused of sockpuppetry (or even simply not wishing their words to be completely twisted out of context when welcoming a user by employing and then modifying appropriately another user's "Welcome!" template) is simply unacceptable for a WMF funded travel guide.
Having checked, I am now aware that, in terms of sheer numbers, Wikivoyage is now dominated by both ordinary editors and admins who didn't really edit the pre-fork Wikitravel before 2012. Almost without exception (Rschen?) - and perhaps remarkably given the poor and deteriorating example they have been set by the dominant members of the "old boy's club" - it is not those new admins that have been block happy or exhibiting other problematic behaviours. Those new admins seem to have been busily improving templates and content, reverting vandalism and touting, designing and implementing new listings editors, making suggestions for using blogs, SEO, videos, and new logos. From what I've seen none of those new admins (again, Rschen excepted?) have a censorious, intolerant stick-in-the-mud attitude opposed to "new-fangled stuff" like dynamic maps, user boxes on our own user pages or being allowed to internally link to Wikipedia or other WMF projects. It only ever seems to be the dominant members of the "old boy's club" that exercise these bitey behaviours. Never mind Tony1, did you see what happened to Burmese Days? Sure he should have been more patient when discussing his point of view about black and white images and huge sizes but, bearing in mind his terrific contribution record, did it really have to get to the point where he felt so hounded out? (off topic and too personalised)
I know it can be difficult to be publicly criticised but, rather than just circling the wagons and dismissing criticism as being totally without foundation, please instead try and learn something from these discussions. -- (talk) 00:57, 6 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Given the numerous times that I have harshly criticized the "old-school" admins on the travellers' pub for all to see, this is quite entertaining. --Rschen7754 01:08, 6 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
I shall study your contribution record further, Rschen. If that record reveals that it is indeed true that you have not been vying hard to become a hardline member of the dominant members of the "old boy's club" but instead attempting to row back to our liberal start philosophy of allowing civil but robust debate on discussion pages and that blocks are a very last resort for problematic edits to articles (ie in main namespace), then I will deliver a retraction and apology here. Meanwhile, I do indeed see that you seem to be [ the first green shoots of a "signing up for a more thoughtful and productive approach. -- (talk) 05:22, 7 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]


I did not read all the comment here, but it seemed like some people have missed this point: That some of the articles there can be viewed as facilitating sex-tourism/drug-tourism is illegal in many places possibly including the United States. Wikimedia still have to observe US law, mind you. WMF will have to take a look at this, I am afraid.SYSS Mouse (talk) 16:45, 5 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

I think you miss the point. If there is a problem with certain pages or policies on Wikivoyage, surely the first place to try to address that is on Wikivoyage, rather than trying to drum up some sort of moral panic on English Wikipedia (which has its own equally problematic articles on these places/activities). --Avenue (talk) 21:01, 5 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
I counsel editors not to do that: they'll get blocked. Tony (talk) 04:23, 6 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Certainly that has been true in the past.
However, I now detect perhaps the first green shoots of a "Wikivoyage Spring". If this is indeed true, then all is forgiven. -- (talk) 04:30, 6 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Certainly not, has it been true. Claiming otherwise is a blatant lie. We only block users when their attempts to edit the Wiki violate community standards. Powers T 00:35, 9 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
To me, a lie is a falsehood known to be false at the time it is uttered by the liar. My perception (and I could justify that perception by extensive diffs) is that users who robustly stand up against "old guard" bullying at WV get blocked in short order, but those who support and advance that "old guard" bullying are nurtured with at least tacit approval by the "old guard" admin corps - of which you are an illustrious member. I know it can be very difficult to stand out against your mates, but why did you not block PeterFitzgerald for a token 60 seconds when he began flouting "community standards"? If you had, he might have paused for earnest self examination and subsequently not have painted himself into such a corner that he felt forced to take his ball home in a sulk.
At least one problem is that those "community standards" have been egregiously flouted by many of the "old guard" bureaucrats and admins at Wikitravel that forked into Wikivoyage even when there were bright red lines and the "standards" were relatively well defined. Surely "community standards" should have protected Tony from the personal attacks he sustained if you and others had been enforcing them equally?
It only aggravates an already heated situation when a Nelsonian blind eye is seemingly turned towards personal attacks that advance the agenda of the "old guard" bureaucrats and admins at Wikitravel that forked into Wikivoyage, while the mere hint of an opposing viewpoint is censored and blocked with missionary zeal. -- (talk) 04:08, 9 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
We tend to look at the totality of a user's contributions when evaluating whether a failure to observe our community standards is a momentary lapse or a recurring pattern. That's the key piece of information your analysis fails to take into account. Powers T 23:34, 12 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Please remove the gratuitously sexualized image

Please remove the gratuitously sexualized image used to illustrate the Wikivoyage article. It might be excusable to use that image if it was actually used to illustrate a sex tourism related article on Wikivoyage, but it's not. This is precisely the kind of unthinking sexism that turns off women editors; it takes a lot of work to manage to offend me but you've done it with that image. I don't look to the Signpost for cheap tabloid journalism. Risker (talk) 21:13, 5 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

The picture is not going to be removed. Let me get this right: you're offended by a photo of a woman in a red dress, but not by a graphic description of "two ladies perform lesbian acts while covered in shaving cream"? That's weird. Did you actually read the story? Did you not find it out of place that WikiVoyage readers are being urged to use drugs? You don't find it profoundly offensive that one of the comments on this talk page says prostitution is "unpleasant living conditions by western standards, but relatively speaking it's a pretty decent deal" since it "lifts women out of poverty". Maybe you'd prefer a photo of prostitutes in Bangkok—young girls sitting on the street with numbers attached to them. Tony (talk) 00:12, 6 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
The images are the most salacious and horribly biased thing about this article. They're completely misleading and have no connection to the actual story. Neither of those images are actually on Wikivoyage (the "prostitute" image, for example, is originally from German Wikipedia). Their only purpose is for sensationalism and unconcealed scandal-mongering. You've managed to produce something that would get a British tabloid in trouble. I can't speak for Risker but that's what's wrong with the images in my book. - AdamBMorgan (talk) 01:22, 6 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
In fact, looking deeper, the sexual image is used on 20 wikipedias (including English Wikipedia), 2 wiktionaries, and 3 pages on Commons (including 2 personal galleries). The drug image is also from German Wikipedia and only used there. If we are going to complain about alienating women with inappropriate content, perhaps this should focus a bit more on Wikipedia? - AdamBMorgan (talk) 01:28, 6 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
That is somewhat ironic, although it is mainly used to illustrate Wikipedia articles on topics like "brothel" and "prostitution", which could be defensible. I think Risker was probably objecting more to the gratuitousness of its use in this Signpost edition than to us using the image at all. --Avenue (talk) 02:56, 6 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
I find it telling that you people are skirting around complaining about a picture of a clothed woman (nothing about the huge bong, though ... I guess that's not a problem), but are silent on the issues raised by this factual story. The Signpost almost always uses at least one image for its News and notes page as a matter of standard practice. You might have a leg to stand on if the caption didn't explain their role ... but it does. Waiting for substantive discussion of the issues, or is it all to be smoke and mirrors here? Tony (talk) 03:06, 6 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
People have complained about the bong image (Multiple times in other sections). However no one has complained that the bong image is sexually objectifying. Personally I don't see how the bong image could be seen as sexually objectifying so this is unsurprising to me (This section is about an irrelevant "gratuitously sexualized image". It has a title saying so and everything. It isn't about images in general). As for substantive discussion, there seems to be a lot on the ethics of the signpost which is a serious issue worthy of discussion - entirely separate from the issue of material about illegal activities on Wikivoyage (Or immoral activities depending on your world view. To be honest its kind of unclear whether the complaint in the article is about immoral material or illegal material). Bawolff (talk) 05:28, 6 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
I don't understand most of your previous comment. You say: "To be honest its kind of unclear whether the complaint in the article is about immoral material or illegal material". The article deliberately does not represent a "complaint"—that would be POV; or at least if it had given voice to a specific complaint, it would have sought opposite opinions and presented them. No, the article presents a long sequence of facts. Yes, the choice of theme was mine, but facts are facts. My previous coverage of Wikivoyage has involved both the sex-tourism policy and other issues, if you'll click on the link towards the top of the article.

That I went onto the site in January to research this and other themes on the English Wikivoyage with a view to covering them in the public interest should surprise no one. That Ryan, Andre Carrotflower, Lt Powers, and other bullies conspired to issue a punitive three-day block during my research is surprising. But hey, if you're not prepared for twists like that when you investigate, you shouldn't be in the game of writing journalism. Tony (talk) 07:07, 6 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Oh, I think we're looking at POV in the rear view mirror here. The images are especially egregious (the quotes are taken out of their context, usually under a "Stay safe" heading, but at least they are actually part of Wikivoyage) but there are flaws throughout and your story doesn't hang together (for example, research implies reading, which blocking would not affect; if you were really going undercover as a journalist, going in as an IP or with a sock account makes more sense; you only have 274 edits on Wikivoyage but some spot checking on your contributions shows no evidence of you doing anything about sex tourism, research or otherwise—you seemed to have mostly been bothered about spelling variations, time/date formats and other style guide issues). It's hard to assume good faith at this stage. There may be a valid point buried in this article but it's masked by the problems, Wikipedian (NPOV, COI and so on) and journalistic (salacious muckraking, unsourced quotes, opinions asserted as facts, and so on). - AdamBMorgan (talk) 12:21, 6 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Oh, I'm sorry you think that way, and I can't imagine why you think that a purely factual piece is "salacious muchraking". Where are the unsourced quotes and opinions asserted as facts, and what do you mean by "and so on". I really don't give a toss about your views if you express them in that way. Tony (talk) 13:19, 6 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
First, don't post threats on my talk page. If you are going to threaten me, keep it here.
I started by assuming good faith. This good faith was eroded by the article and your subsequent behaviour in the comments. I had no dog in this fight to begin with, I am not a major contributor to Wikivoyage and have only recently started editing there. Apparently you were blocked for aggressive and uncivil behaviour. Your responses just serve to validate that decision.
You wrote on my talk page "I'm not in the business of cleaning up sex-tourism on Wikivoyage, and you should not feel free to lampoon me for that." Aside for the fact that I feel free to lampoon anyone for any reason, you have made it your business by writing this article. Your editing history at Wikivoyage does not show any indication that you were concerned by sex tourism while you were there. This is relevant because you have now made some high-profile allegations about the project. It certainly gives the impression that this new area on interest is merely motivated by bitterness.
I suspect you see neither the irony nor the hypocrisy in threatening "If you make further uncivil and denigrating comments I'll take action against you on this site" for criticising you while also complaining about Wikivoyage's alleged "bully-boy mentality" and that your block was "a clear strategy to get rid of critical voices".
Since you have dismissed, threatened and attempted to intimidate me in response to my criticism I will, just to make this clear, address some points through the medium of a table:
Accusation Reasoning
NPOV The caption for the first picture reads: "Prostitution ... apparently a prevalent motivation for male tourists as reflected in some parts of the Foundation's new site, Wikivoyage." That's pure opinion. Neutrality is not just a Wikipedian virtue; it is expected in respectable journalism as well.

Further, the tone of the article is very aggressive. The tone of every comment you have made here is even more aggressive and confrontational.

COI You were blocked from Wikivoyage less than a month before posting this article. This creates a conflict of interest as you have a personal interest in attacking the project out of revenge. Whether this is the case or not is immaterial to the concept of Conflict of Interest. You have multiple interests here, one of which could possibly corrupt the motivation for an act in another.
"...apparently a prevalent motivation...", "It is an open question whether...", etc. If it were clearly marked as an opinion piece this would be OK but this is the "News and notes" section.
Salaciousness The images, as already mentioned. There is a note on the second image but this is not justification enough. The images have been seen, many won't read the caption (or may only read the first caption) and the inference is that they come from Wikivoyage. They will be the first thing any reader looks at and this colours the entire article.
Unsourced quotes You quote "One editor, who spoke to the Signpost on condition of anonymity". There is a tradition for this but it is the only quote that supports your argument and, given the erosion of my assumption of good faith, I have become sceptical that this is a true and faithful quote (not that I suspect there is any lack of disgruntled editors on any Wiki project).
Quoting out of context Almost all of the leading quotes from Wikivoyage are from larger sections headed as "Stay safe", intended to warn the reader about crime (as well as diseases, wild animals and similar).

For example, the paragraph before the Vietnam quote read "Prostitution is illegal in Vietnam. The age of consent is 18. Vietnamese penal law proscribes penalties of up to 20 years in prison for sexually exploiting women or children, and several other countries have laws that allow them to prosecute their own citizens who travel abroad to engage in sex with children." (It has since been reworded to remove the ambiguity.)

This changes the tone of the information but you omitted it from your quote.

Assertions You wrote: "The Signpost believes that there are only two or three female editors on the English Wikivoyage, not all of them active." There is no way for anyone to know this. Even getting rough figures about the much more heavily researched Wikipedia took a long time, and those figures have since been disputed. You back this up in the comments by giving your source as "information from a female voy.en editor, who would know more than you, I suspect". That is hearsay and equally inaccurate. Being a female editor doesn't grant magic abilities to detect or quantify other female editors. Even if it did, the unsubstantiated opinion of another editor should be identified as such, even if you have to visit the "anonymous source" well again.

It should also be mentioned that, while not the article itself, you have gone on to assert a "bully-boy mentality among powerful editors" on Wikivoyage without providing any evidence.

Factual errors This is not so bad, everyone can make mistakes, you have been quick to engage other points while ignoring this. You wrote "Its page views have dropped 12% from the levels in January when the new site was launched." This is technically correct but misleading. Wikivoyage had a spike in page views on its launch (17.3M) which is standard for the launch of any product. That spike was an aberration that skews the data. The February page views were 6.8M and there has been a steady rise to October's 13.3M page views; with an almost linear rise of 1.1M per month since April. Wikivoyage's page views are quite healthy and compare well against Wikipedia, which dropped page views from January to June this year, before picking up again towards the autumn.
Please don't try to just reject these points (as you did to another user above). Rejection is not refutation. Rejection is just saying "Nuh-uh" or "Is not!" in the face of criticism. Please refer to Argument.
This is a bad article and, as I have described, I now doubt it was motivated by good faith. It is not up to The Signpost's standards. The Signpost is linked from the main page, so it has a responsibility to not embarrass Wikipedia or its users by representing the project with this kind of yellow tabloidism. - AdamBMorgan (talk) 19:24, 6 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  • I'm sorry you feel so angry. That's just too bad. I've already refuted just about every point you've chosen to highlight with flashing lights above in that table, and I don't have time to indulge your bad faith right now. Your bold, ugly table contains factual errors and wrong assertions. I hope you had fun constructing the table, because it was wasted time. Maybe you'd like to keep it as a template to splatter on the talk pages of our future coverage of Wikivoyage. Tony (talk) 23:08, 6 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
I add my name to the request for an image change. Please use an image that is actually in use on WikiVoyage. This isn't Buzzfeed, you can't just use a random unconnected-except-in-theme image. –Quiddity (talk) 09:00, 6 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
I certainly did use it, and it's staying. Tony (talk) 10:29, 6 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
I see, Tony. It's terrible and awful when WikiVoyage talks about paid sex on their pages (and note, I've got no problems with the gist of the article you've written), but it's okay for *you* to glorify paid sex on a completely different project. You're complaining that WikiVoyage is excessively sexualizing their content. Pot, kettle. Your response is even more offensive than the image, and is absolutely typical of the "lad" environment for which this project is critized. The origin of that photo can't even be traced properly because its original upload history was on German Wikipedia until it was transferred to Commons. It's a photo deliberately intended to promote the very kind of problem you're trying to address in your article. Way to go. Risker (talk) 13:53, 6 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Not worth replying to this—except to say that your assertion that in using the image I am glorifying paid sex is ridiculous and offensive. Tony (talk) 13:59, 6 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
You've diluted your message by including an eye-candy image, thus making the sex trade look like a healthy, normal field of work. There were no images of sex workers that were less attractive? That came from one of the countries you mention in the article? There wasn't a single image in Commons category prostitution that illustrated the dire circumstances of prostitutes in those countries better? Frankly, I found half a dozen more appropriate images in a 2-minute search in that category. Hence my position that you've deliberately chosen the eye candy. Risker (talk) 14:08, 6 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
I do not believe the image dilutes the message. Is it eye candy? I'm not in a position to tell. I searched the very category you cite, and was frustrated to have so little to choose from that wasn't unsuitable. Compared with some of the text I found on Wikivoyage, that picture is rather tame—clothed, upside-down. And the picture is meant to be sexualised, because the text is sexualised. Are you suggesting this? I didn't think this was appropriate. The maps, early sketches, and other artifacts didn't seem very relevant. And no, there seemed to be nothing from the countries related to the textual quotations—although I see this one ... but she's getting towards naked, and I'd not be comfortable with that. I didn't think much of the red-light-district pics, except for one that I used in my previous article on Wikivoyage's sex-tourism policy. Maybe this one ... it's used on the Dutch Wikivoyage, but not the English Wikivoyage. I did hunt for a while. And besides, compositionally and in terms of colour contrast, the pictures are a good match. If you can find free pics of prostitutes in Latin America or east Asia, perhaps, but I think there might be other sensitivities involved in using them. Unless you mean something like this? Too much for me. The current picture is, frankly, mild compared with the advertising we are all exposed to every day, without much noticing it. Tony (talk) 14:30, 6 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Tony, read what you've said there. You're openly admitting that you chose the image for its aesthetic. It's a very old image (uploaded in 2006 or earlier), it has no personality rights attached, and there is a special derivative work of the same model for "publication" that obscures her facial features. The image itself is on the very borderline of what's even acceptable at Commons; it's taken in a non-public place, and we don't have any evidence that the model agreed to have the word "prostitute" attached to it, or that she even agreed or was aware of its potential uses. If you absolutely *must* have an image, use something that doesn't make assumptions about the identifiable human subjects of the image; the red doors should be fine. Risker (talk) 16:11, 6 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
The image was uploaded by a former board member of Wikimedia Germany, who was herself a sex worker and completely open about it. Her uploads are the LEAST questionable of all such uploads on Commons. Andreas JN466 17:52, 6 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Andreas, please tell me that you of all people aren't excusing poor practice because of who the editor is rather than the reality of the situation. I'm completely certain that you wouldn't say the same thing if the uploader was a former board member of some other chapters, or if you didn't know the former employment of the uploader. It doesn't matter if it's a Flickr swipe or one uploaded by the subject herself; it's still not up to standard. You can always ask the initial uploader to remedy those faults, which is the appropriate step, and would be preferable to trouting me for pointing out that the image doesn't meet current personality rights expectations. I thought you were one of the BLP crusaders who wanted all the i's dotted and the t's crossed. Risker (talk) 19:52, 6 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
She is a semi-celebrity in the German language area. Her (past) sex worker career and Wikipedia contributions have been the subject of national sympathetic and respectful media coverage in Germany, including similar illustrations, as mentioned previously. Given this background, I just do not see that privacy and personality rights are an issue to get excited about in this specific case, especially given the fairly chaste nature of the image. She has it on her own user pages, and there is nothing wrong with that. A personality rights warning has been attached to the Commons file since January 2012. Andreas JN466 23:45, 6 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
What's your point, Andreas? None of the information about the uploader of the image is available to the casual reader unless they dig for it very extensively, so it's completely irrelevant. The only justification for using the image of a clearly identifiable person is that it looked good. Red doors would have conveyed the same information. It is one thing for me to find a picture of a prostitute on Prostitute and a completely different thing when I look at "News and Notes" on Signpost. It plays against the principle of least astonishment for that image to be front and centre of the page. Risker (talk) 00:08, 7 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Move for retraction

The images are, like the rest of the article, highly misleading, as they do/did not occur at Wikivoyage at all. Honestly, I never even thought the author would stoop that low - I wrote my comments supporting Wikivoyage above assuming they were in fact in use there. The Signpost is a periodical publication, and this issue came out October 30, but people have been editing the article trying to make it less bad right up until the 4 of November. That's not what you do to fix an article like this, nor is removing the misleading image --- what you do when a periodical publishes a bad article is that you retract that article, in its entirety. Note that I am not saying "delete" - retracted articles always remain available, but the point is a public acknowledgment that editorial standards were not met. Wnt (talk) 17:57, 6 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Yawn. You did read the captions, didn't you? It's just wonderful how everybody is falling over themselves trying to shoot the messenger here. Andreas JN466 18:08, 6 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

This article appears to be all froth and no substance

If it wasn't for the images and taken out of context quotations there would be no story here. I genuinely cannot see what the issue is that this article seeks to bring to our attention. I suppose it's successful journalism in that a story and consequent storm in teacup has been created out of nothing. Am I correct in assuming the purpose of Signpost is to create a reaction rather then discuss issues? (talk) 23:32, 6 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]


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