Wikimedia Foundation Launches Wikivoyage—the Free, Worldwide Travel Guide That Anyone Can Edit
(San Francisco, California — 15 January, 2013) The Wikimedia Foundation is excited to announce the launch of its newest project—Wikivoyage, the free worldwide travel guide that anyone can edit. Wikivoyage's mission is to create a free, complete, up-to-date, and reliable world-wide travel guide. Written by the traveler, for the traveler, it is built in collaboration by Wikivoyagers from around the globe. Our editing community invites the world of travellers to join them in creating a travel guide independent of commercial influence. Wikivoyage is currently available in nine languages: Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Russian, Swedish, Spanish and Portuguese.
All Wikivoyage content is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license—a copyleft license which allows (among other things) anyone the right to read, copy, print, save, download, modify, distribute, sell, and correct Wikivoyage content in any way, provided that: attribution is given to the creators of the content and any reuse or derivative works are made available under the same license.
Wikitravel, one of the first travel guide wikis, was started in 2003 by Evan Prodromou and Michele Ann Jenkins, using the MediaWiki platform. In 2006, Internet Brands (IB) purchased the wikitravel.org, .com and .net domains, as well as trademark and other rights for the name "Wikitravel". It took on the hosting of the Wikitravel content and moved it onto their servers. The content of the website remained under a Creative Commons license, meaning that the content continued to be owned by the community members who wrote it, and the volunteer community was left to edit and manage the travel guides on the site. IB intended to place advertisements in order to make a return on their investment in the site.
Concerned about the new site owners' plans, the majority of the contributors to the German version of Wikitravel decided to continue their project as a fork. Forking, the act of copying content over to a new wiki (often due to disagreement over policies or administration), is a normal activity in wiki communities, and is permitted by the Creative Commons license in use on sites such as Wikitravel. In order to facilitate the community's decision to fork, the German non-profit association Wikivoyage e.V. was founded and registered, and the wikivoyage.org website was launched on December 10, 2006 with content from the German Wikitravel version. An Italian version of Wikivoyage was launched on December 10, 2007, similarly with content imported from Italian Wikitravel.
In 2012, after a lengthy history of deep dissatisfaction with Wikitravel's host, Internet Brands, it was proposed that the remaining community at Wikitravel fork their work and merge with the community at the existing Wikivoyage site. The goal was to create a new travel wiki hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation. After lengthy discussion by users of all three communities, comments by their respective hosts, and confirmation by the Wikimedia Foundation that it would host a travel project if users wished, nearly all users with administrative rights at Wikitravel decided to fork their existing work to Wikivoyage.
The contents of Wikitravel in all languages, as well as its image repository wiki, were downloaded as a 'database dump' in preparation for such a migration on August 2, 2012. At the time, this was possible using the wiki software operated by Wikitravel, although Internet Brands disabled the function shortly after this date to forestall the attempt at forking. The extracted content became the starting point for all the Wikivoyage language versions except the German and the Italian versions which were already hosted by Wikivoyage. The community discussion at Wikimedia ended August 23, 2012 with 540 votes for and 152 against the creation of a Wikimedia Foundation travel guide. The project began in beta on WMF servers on November 10th, 2012.
As part of the migration, it is planned that Wikivoyage e.V. will remain involved as an associated organization affiliated with the Wikimedia Foundation "at an organizational level". Wikivoyage e.V. stated that, freed of the need to maintain its servers, it would be able to increase its work related to outreach, community support, discussion and information, and technical enhancements to the site's software.
The Wikivoyage community is now looking forward to building the best travel guide there is, based on the work of thousands of travellers world-wide, and with strong backing from the Wikimedia Foundation and Wikivoyage e.V.
About Wikimedia Foundation
The Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. is a nonprofit charitable organization dedicated to encouraging the growth, development and distribution of free, multilingual content, and to providing the full content of these wiki-based projects to the public free of charge. It operates some of the largest collaboratively edited reference projects in the world, including Wikipedia, a top-ten internet property. The Wikimedia Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit organization with offices in San Francisco, California, USA.
Wikimedia is not a traditional organization. It's a global movement. The core of the work is done by thousands of volunteers worldwide. This volunteer community is supported by a network of organizations, with the Wikimedia Foundation at its center, working in partnership with geographically focused local chapters in 39 countries. It's our volunteer community that enables us to accomplish so much with so little. Among Wikimedia's targets for 2015 are increasing Wikimedia's global reach to 1 billion people, dramatically increasing and diversifying participation, and improving the quality of all Wikimedia content. Wikimedia projects include: Wikibooks, Wikidata, Wikimedia Commons, Wikinews, Wikiquote, Wikipedia, Wikisource, Wikispecies, Wiktionary, Wikiversity and Wikivoyage.
This press release in other languages
- Travel Guide, Wikimedia Meta-Wiki. Accessed on 9 November 2012.
- , Travel Guide proposal on Wikimedia meta-wiki (Revision as of 20:12, 24 August 2012)
- , Wikivoyage Migration FAQ (Revision as of 23:15, 26 August 2012)
- , Discussions (towards the bottom) on Wikitravel's Travellers' Pub regarding the migration to Wikimedia/Wikivoyage (Revision as of 01:16, 26 August 2012)
-  Request for Comment on the Travel Guide proposal at Wikimedia meta-wiki, version at time that discussion ended
- Wikivoyage/Launch, Wikimedia meta wiki. Version as of 16:06, 12 November 2012 (UTC).
- Wikimedia.org website 25 October 2012: states "In preparation of Wikivoyage becoming part of the new Wikimedia travel guide..." and "Wikivoyage e.V. plans to hand over its domain and the responsibility for operating the Wikivoyage project to the Wikimedia Foundation. A corresponding resolution has been made by the general assembly in June 2012. Part of this resolution is the goal to keep Wikivoyage as an association, becoming affiliated with Wikimedia on an organizational level."
- See also Wikivoyage mailing listby Wikimedia Foundation] as at 25 October 2012: "The mailing list for Wikivoyage, a planned Wikimedia project"
- Includes content from Wikimidiafoundation.org/wiki/Home and Wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Frequently asked questions. A full list of contributors to relevant content can be found on those pages' histories (here and here).
- Includes content from the "Wikivoyage" page on Wikipedia. A full list of contributors to this content can be found here.
- Includes content from voy:Wikivoyage:Copyleft. A full list of contributors to relevant content can be found here.
- Important news about Wikitravel — Announcement of Internet Brands' acquisition of Wikitravel. Revision as of 01:59, 9 August 2010. Access 16 Dec 2012.