Use Wikivoyage

Nicolas_Raoul Nicolas_Raoul
Created: 4 years and 1 month ago • Updated: 4 years and 1 month ago
Hello all!
I use DuckDuckGo a lot because it returns more results from Wikipedia and similar reference websites.

One regrettable thing is that Wikivoyage does not appear.
As you might know, Wikivoyage is the travel guide anyone can edit, the latest project of the Wikimedia Foundation.
Currently, DuckDuckGo only returns results from Wikitravel, an advertisment-ridden platform from which the whole community has moved a year ago in favour of Wikivoyage.

By the way, Wikivoyage has data dumps (unlike Wikitravel who never releases data).
You might want to use the Wikivoyage data dumps directly or via Wikidata.
https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Q1416994#s...
http://dumps.wikimedia.org/enwikivoyage/

For the subsequent step, Wikivoyage also has open data (price, hours, website, etc) about individual attractions, hotels, restaurants, bars. This data is regularly extracted to a easy-to-use CSV file: https://sourceforge.net/projects/wikivoy... It is not as urgent as linking to articles themselves, though.

Cheers!
Nicolas Raoul
Wikivoyage editor.

This forum has been archived

Thank you all for the many comments, questions and suggestions. Particular thanks go to user x.15a2 for constantly monitoring, replying and helping so many users here. To continue these discussions, please head over to the DuckDuckGo subreddit.


anonymous
DuckDuckGo seems to treat Wikipedia entries as a special case, where they are often displayed before the main search results. No idea if anything similar exists for any of its sibling projects, like Wiktionary, Wikinews, Wikivoyage.
posted by <hidden> • 4 years and 1 month ago Link
x.15a2
What you are describing here is a DDG Instant Answer (IA, sometimes referred to as a "goodie" or Zero Click Answer). DDG uses specific terms to trigger IAs, one of them being a country name. You can read more about IA's at this page: https://duckduckgo.com/goodies

Regarding displaying one web site before another: It is important to remember that DDG retrieves results from multiple sources then orders them in terms of relevance. The amount of manipulation is minimal (removing know malicious sites, etc). If one site is displayed. Results that appear closest to the top have the most relevant content for the search criteria provided.

By the way DDG already has !Bangs in place for both !wikivoyage and !wikitravel, so you are free to use whichever one best suits your specific needs and preferences.

Thanks!
posted by x.15a2 Community Leader4 years and 1 month ago Link
clel
Might there be an IA for with Wikivoyage at some time?
posted by clel 4 years and 1 month ago Link
x.15a2
You can submit an IA request from the New Post button and selecting It's an idea for an instant answer (not a general suggestion!) . When submitting and AI suggestion, be clear as to the intended results of the AI, keywords that might be used to trigger the AI, etc. While it is important to note the suggested site to provide the AI information, it is more important to specify the purpose and intended results of the AI. Take a look at some of the previously posted suggestions in the Instant Answers section of these forums, specifically those that are Live, Need a Developer, etc.

If a user wants to be assured that their search will return results specifically from (in this case) wikivoyage, they should use the above mentioned !bang or use the site: option as in site:wikivoyage.org Chicago
posted by x.15a2 Community Leader4 years and 1 month ago Link
anonymous
I'd presume the trigger keywords would almost always be place names (with rare exceptions) and, if Wikivoyage already rates the quality of its own articles (stub, outline, usable, guide, star) it'd be useful to only return the usable guide entries while conveniently ignoring the stubby outlines.

For the displayed summary? I'm tempted to suggest taking the "Understand" section (if present) in preference to that bit at the top with the GeoCrumbs and "Manhattan is a large city in New York". We want to know why this place is worth visiting, after all.
posted by <hidden> • 4 years and 1 month ago Link
clel
I guess you are referring to the links on the right side below "Try this search on:"? I also support the idea to include Wikivoyage.
posted by clel 4 years and 1 month ago Link
Nicolas_Raoul
While "Try this search" would be a good idea as well, originally I was actually speaking about normal search results.

Try searching for "Haiti": https://duckduckgo.com/?q=haiti
- Wikitravel comes 4th
- Wikivoyage comes 54th

Despite better content, no ads, more open, Wikimedia-official, Wikidata-linked.
posted by Nicolas_Raoul 4 years and 1 month ago Link
clel
Ah, ok. But I guess that DDG sorts the results by relevance and I do not know, whether they simply could put Wikivoyage before Wikitravel.
posted by clel 4 years and 1 month ago Link
anonymous
Wikipedia often appears above all of the normal search results, in its own box. I'd suspect there are a few other instances (such as dictionaries, mathematical calculations or "official" home sites for various open-source projects) which are handled this way.

Search for '867-5309' and the first thing that appears is Wikipedia's article about the Tommy and the Tutones song, then the ever-helpful "867 - 5309 = -4,442" (gee, thanks for that), then the organic search results - where again Wikipedia is on top.

It's not just a question of "sorting by relevance" - there seems to be a handful of trusted sites
posted by <hidden> • 4 years and 1 month ago Link
clel
The box which displays a Wikipedia article is an Instant Answer. Maybe DDG could also create Instant Answers using Wikivoyage. I do not know, whether they can/want to influence normal search results.
posted by clel 4 years and 1 month ago Link
anonymous
That would be a pity. Wikitravel is much more established (11 years old, versus voyager which is only 1 year old in the English language version), has many, many times the number of contributors that voyager does, and therefore much more frequently updated info. A simple peek at the recent changes of each site tells the story. There is a reason voyager doesn't appear in Google searches: it's still 95% the same articles copied from Wikitravel. You'll see that by and large when you search for a destination on Google or any other engine, Wikitravel is usually in the top 3-5 results. Voyager doesn't show up for pages and pages. Because they are just a duplicate site. I have looked at both and see more new listings on Wikitravel, consistently.
posted by <hidden> • 4 years and 1 month ago Link
anonymous
You are almost correct.

It's Wikivoyage, not voyager. The EN version has existed for over a year and a half on Wikivoyage, and nearly that long on the current servers. Yes, Wikitravel is much older than wikivoyage, and there are a lot more contributors. But I know that those few who do edit at wikivoyage view themselves as the "real" travelers so they do their best to make up in quality what Wikitravel crushes them on in quantity. You can judge for yourself how true that is (I actually find that if there is a new article on either site, it's valuable in and of itself; but with content that originated on Wikitravel (as you said, this is the vast majority of what's on wikivoyage since they copied wikitravel), it's more or less the same. The advantage being that because Wikitravel is listed very high in Google results, as a highly established and trusted website, many more people visit Wikitravel, and therefore write new content there bit by bit, as opposed to the more editorial wikivoyage approach (which, admittedly, can get prickly since their editors are unfortunately very Wikipedia-like in their contentious attitudes).

For my money, I'm staying with Wikitravel for the forseeable future. Maybe in a few years there will be enough new at Wikivoyage to merit it being *added* to the search here, but never replacing Wikitravel. It's just too good.
posted by <hidden> • 4 years and 1 month ago Link
anonymous
You're joking, right? I've looked at both sites. While neither is a match for Wikipedia in terms of level of detail or citation of neutral, reliable secondary sources, one can't help but notice that Wikitravel has become an ad-laden mess of hôteliers posting self-serving, laudatory opinions about their own hotels. The content is also becoming badly out-of-date. Pity. A project of the same calibre as Wikipedia would have a legitimate role to play, but letting hotels review themselves with no editorial approach to clean up the most blatant abuses is no way to build a "highly established and trusted website".
posted by <hidden> • 4 years and 1 month ago Link
Nicolas_Raoul
Just compare these 2 for instance:
- https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Roppongi
- http://wikitravel.org/en/Tokyo/Roppongi

Wikitravel:
- says newly open for a 10 year-old complex
- has a lot of entries that have obviously been written by owners
- lists many places that are actually closed

Wikivoyage:
- Has a zoomable map on which you can see all points of interest
- Is more pleasant visually (top image, fonts)

Wikitravel gets little more than spam.
Wikivoyage is the clear leader in terms of constructive edits.
The Google ranking is slowly changing, and has already inverted for some destinations.
It is only a question of time before the most open one (Wikivoyage) takes the lead in readership as well.
posted by Nicolas_Raoul 4 years and 1 month ago Link
anonymous
I'd suspect the issue here, much like the issue for a long list of sites whose authors have left Wikia to form independent wikis with their own proper domains, is that the Wikivoyage content is under a Wikipedia-style open licence, Creative Commons By-Sa. The authors of the text still own it, but can't stop anyone else from using or abusing it at will - just so long as the license and attribution is left intact.

Wikia is a large wiki farm which has long ridden on the coattails of Wikipedia to get ill-deserved credibility - but which evidently is not Wikipedia or Wikimedia. The pattern is that Wikia staff turn up (often uninvited) in various communities, claiming "we'll host you for free" and "the content belongs to the community". Maybe, but the domain name belongs to the corporate wiki farm. Sooner or later, that corporation will do something which isn't in the interest of the community (like an ad-heavy forced reskin, or censorship of content to not offend the advertisers) and the original authors will take their ball and go home. This is their right, under that creative communist free license, and is the way the system is intended to work... except for one not-so-minor problem. The search engines have no way of knowing which is the actively-edited version and which is abandoned, outdated duplicate content left over when the wiki farm keeps the old version up and has their staff censor all of the info about where (and why) the original authors moved.

There's a huge list of these (unofficially, http://awa.shoutwiki.com/wiki/Moved_wiki...) and that is likely not comprehensive - especially since it lists just projects leaving one wiki farm. The Wikitravel/Wikivoyage situation is actually worse than the usual wiki farm mess due to frivolous litigation by one of the sites against its own unpaid contributors. There's a reason why the original authors are gone. In their absence, and with the abandoned wiki still open and editable, we get to see the Hell (Hades) Convention and Visitors Bureau praise their destination's beautiful sunsets, friendly staff and refreshing, cool river breezes - all completely self-serving and useless to the traveller, but without the army of volunteers which used to remove promotional spam, pretty much inevitable. There's a reason why DMOZ/Open Directory editors find travel to be the second most-difficult category (behind pornography) to control for linkspam - every one is a middleman or a travel reseller and they're all trying to get their name in first.

It would be a shame if the search engine were returning the abandoned version and marking the updated version as duplicate, as this result isn't helpful to the user. In some cases, hotels are still in Wikitravel even though their closure was reported in local newspapers during the last recession. Woe be to the traveller who shows up, luggage in hand, only to find at the end of a long journey that charming little hotel which sounded so good on the Internet hasn't been open since 2009.
posted by <hidden> • 4 years and 1 month ago Link
anonymous
Well, I could cherry-pick an article that was specifically worked on at Wikitravel but not Wikivoyage too, but that wouldn't serve much purpose, would it ;) Nice try.

Wikitravel gets amazing contributions from hundreds of users around the globe every day. I know you wikivoyage guys are ganging up here to try to spread your rumors and your hopes for your unseen site (you're losing traffic by the way http://stats.wikimedia.org/wikivoyage/EN...). But the reason wikitravel gets spam is because they have readers :) Whereas your site has none -- who would bother to spam it? Lol. And WT spam is dilligently removed within minutes or hours by a dedicated team of editors.

Again, nice try. Wikivoyage is a dead project. Keep working away at it though :).
posted by <hidden> • 4 years and 1 month ago Link
x.15a2
I'm going to kindly ask that the parties involved here please follow the Forum Rules and not make the DuckDuckGo a battlefield for warring web sites.

I attempted to explain in my previous posts in this thread how DDG orders search results as well of offering alternate search methods using DDG. The thought that DDG should elevate one web site over another based on individuals' or factions' preferences seems to go against the tenants that DDG is built on.

I'm sure that both sides are passionate about their respective web sites but that is outside the scope and nature of the DDG forums. We ask that you respect our forum rules.

Thank-you.
posted by x.15a2 Community Leader4 years and 1 month ago Link
alexander95015
As an editor on Wikivoyage, I second this!
posted by alexander95015 Translation Manager4 years and 1 month ago Link
DuckyKaren
Lol:)
posted by DuckyKaren 4 years and 1 month ago Link
anonymous
I tried a search on 'merrickville tour guide'. DDG returned in 11th place a 15-kilobyte Wikivoyage piece updated late 2013, DDG returned in 1st place a 6-kilobyte Wikitravel entry in which the only update since 2011 is to remove a broken web link (just the link, not the actual listing) to a glassblower who left Merrickville for Alexandria years ago. The rest of the bad/outdated data is still there. Businesses which went out of business years ago, businesses which have moved out of town.

Utterly useless to a traveller, even though this place is a popular day trip from Ottawa and is part of the UNESCO-listed Rideau Canal system.
posted by <hidden> • 4 years and 1 month ago Link
anonymous
Although I'm sure "Merickville Tour Guide is a real hotbed of travel searches, maybe we could look at a realistic example? Let's say "Rome."



The Wikitravel article has been updated over 100 times since February of this year, most recently 2 days ago. Recent edits include removal of a touting edit, and the addition of a section for gay travelers.



Wikivoyage has been updated... 5 times since February. Most recently in late March. And that was... oh my, it looks like the reversion of a very large vandalism attack. Not terribly useful to travelers, but perhaps indicative of how the Wikivoyage administrators treat people?

We can play this game all day. Wikitravel is the gold standard. Wishing and hoping for its demise won't make it so, nor will it drive to wikivoyage the readership that's necessary to a thriving crowdsourced wiki. So long, and good luck with that. :)
posted by <hidden> • 4 years and 1 month ago Link
zac
Before this gets too out of sync, let me clarify a few things for the readers at home :)

Tl;Dr The *best* source should always be the one used. The general community, community leaders, and DDG Staff determine which source is the best for a particular instant answer, based on the necessities of each IA.

1. This conversation is about instant answers (not organic links). Instant answers can be made by anyone. Our links come from a variety of sources.

2. There are certainly times when 2 sources compete for an instant answer's query_space (i.e. which types of searches should show the instant answer and which source should be used for that instant answer)

3. When more than 1 source would like to answer a specific search type (query_space)....
-the sources are discussed by the community for the merits which make the instant answer most useful (best information, best speed (if API), most reliable, necessary features, etc).
-whichever source is determined (by the community, community leaders, and staff) to be better, is the one that's implemented and the other source can still be used and restricted to it's own namespace as a trigger (e.g. if WikiVoyage were to be used for travel instant answers---WikiTravel can still be an instant answer but only trigger when someone explicitly types, "wikitravel")
(**In the case that there's an existing instant answer and another source wants to take over those queries, then they must prove to be better than the current instant answer. If they are better for a particular reason (e.g. their API is faster), then the original source must be contacted to see if they can provide matching functionality**)

So, for the purposes of this thread--please keep the conversation going (but civil)! If you'd like to submit an instant answer for a source, check out DuckDuckHack but be prepared to defend the source chosen (e.g. the developer checklist) when you submit and if another should come along and challenge the space.
posted by zac Staff4 years and 1 month ago Link
anonymous
I'd presume some of the code already exists, as the MediaWiki API and the XML download files are in the same format on Wikipedia and Wikivoyage (unsurprisingly, as they're on the same servers and WMF created MediaWiki). What would it take to re-use this?

Likely, a search for "(placename)" should return the Wikipedia instant answer, but "(placename) tour", "(placename) travel", "(placename) guide", "(placename) voyage" should return the Wikivoyage answer if a usable page exists there - or return both.
posted by <hidden> • 4 years and 1 month ago Link