It was originally a fork of Wikitravel that started in 2006. In 2013, it became a project of Wikimedia Foundation, the same non-profit organisation that owns and operates the popular online encyclopedia Wikipedia.
Wikivoyage is built in collaboration by volunteer authors from around the globe who write without pay, with the spirit of sharing knowledge that makes travel so enjoyable. Whenever travellers meet each other on the road, they swap info about the places they came from and ask questions about places they're going. We want to make it easy to share that knowledge and let others share it; our copyleft license means that the facts you know can spread far and wide. Anyone with Internet access can write and make changes to Wikivoyage articles and editors can contribute anonymously, under a pseudonym, or, if they choose to, with their real identity.
To create Wikivoyage we use a tool (or a process, or a technology) called a wiki which lets any Internet reader create, update, edit, and illustrate any article on the website. We all share our pieces of knowledge, edit them, distill them, and assemble them into a pleasing and cohesive whole. The more people that use the Edit link, the better Wikivoyage becomes.
Wikivoyage is a live collaboration, differing from paper-based traditional guide books in important ways. Unlike traditional guide books, Wikivoyage is continually edited and updated; unlike traditional travel guides, which are revised monthly or annually, Wikivoyage's guides are edited and updated continuously, as information changes rapidly. Vandalism is usually reverted within minutes.
At some point you may ask yourself: "Why edit and use Wikivoyage when there are already well-developed travel guides such as Lonely Planet?". Here are some good reasons.
- The great thing about Wikivoyage is that it is open content, released under Creative Commons license, as opposed to traditional guide books, whose copyright owners can decide how others can use or share their contents. Knowing this encourages people to contribute: they know it's a public project that everyone can use.
- While traditional travel guides might be revised monthly or annually, Wikivoyage's guides are edited and updated on a regular basis and information often changes rapidly.
- Errors to Wikivoyage guides are usually corrected as soon as they are found, rather than within months or years, as it would be for a printed travel guide. If someone sees something wrong within an article or if a restaurant or hotel shuts down, they can amend the page themselves. Compare that to the long, arduous and tedious process that it requires to report and fix a problem in a printed travel guide.
- Unlike traditional guides, where one needs to be an experienced writer, Wikivoyage has no qualification requirements. Even if you're not the best at writing, you're most welcome here. In addition, there are no assignments, meaning that anyone can find an article on a part of the world that interests them and edit it immediately.
- Wikivoyage guides are very easy to edit. Anyone can click the "edit" button and get to work. Obtaining formal peer review for edits is not necessary at all, since review is a communal function here and everyone who reads an article and corrects it is a reviewer. Essentially, Wikivoyage is self-correcting: over time, articles improve from a multitude of contributions. There is an entire infrastructure for people seeking comments, or other opinions on editorial matters. We prefer (in most cases) that people just go in and make changes they deem necessary; the community is by and large quick to respond to dubious edits (if any) and either revert or question them – and to improve wording and formatting where needed. This is very efficient; our efforts seem more constructive than those in traditional guide books.
- Unlike Wikipedians, we're not bound to provide sources of what we write. We're allowed to freely express a destination, but in fair manner. See also Wikivoyage:Wikivoyage and Wikipedia.
- And last, but not least, Wikivoyage is part of a great organization supporting free knowledge for everyone, the Wikimedia Foundation – a sister project of the world-renowned Wikipedia.
- "[Crew] wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages. Bitter cold. Long months of complete darkness. Constant danger. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success." – Apocryphal recruitment poster for 1914 Antarctic expedition of the Endurance
Wikivoyagers are travel writers and members of a world-wide community of contributors to Wikivoyage. Wikivoyagers are not a special secret organization or a limited group. We are people just like you. Some of us are interested in travelling, some are interested in their local communities, and others are interested in wiki-housekeeping and organisation. What all of us have in common is that we want to share what we know with travellers everywhere. You can become a Wikivoyager right now! We need your help to make this project a success. We have a long way to go – and anything you can do to contribute gets us that much closer.
- Goals and non-goals – what the Wikivoyage community is trying to do (and not trying to do)
- Help – the entry to our documentation
- Namespace index – an index of all the pages in the "Wikivoyage:" namespace
- Press coverage – what the news media have said about Wikivoyage
- Technical details – for the geeks in the audience, a description of the software behind Wikivoyage
- List of related projects
- Wikivoyage and Wikitravel