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Wiki TravelI even have been a contributor on Wikitravel for a very long time now. I was not too apprehensive when Wikitravel was bought by Internet Brands (which has already shown interest in buying CouchSurfing ). But I have been aggravated by the shortage of database dumps at Wikitravel for a very long time now.

Nevertheless, in Wikitravel’s case, I really feel confident in predicting the answer: the new fork will win, by a mile. Many of the explanations are clear — Wikitravel’s license allows copying all the content, almost all editors and admins will soar ship, and the Foundation’s technical skills in running MediaWiki are second to none — however one takes some explaining.

I hacked collectively enough of a prototype with LaTeX and a forked version of Deplate to persuade myself that the first technological challenge, turning Wiki pages into a e book-like PDF, was solvable, and then received in touch with Wikitravel founders Evan and Michele to see if they have been involved. They were, very a lot so, but there was a significant catch: they were proper in the midst of promoting the web site to Internet Brands (IB), and I had to cool my heels until that was all sorted out.

Now Evan and Michele, being sensible cookies, had already made a point of retaining print rights to the Wikitravel brand. However, Internet Brands still had a say on who could use those rights and how, so we needed to fly over from Singapore and Montreal to Los Angeles to meet IB, pitch the concept, draft agreements, get legal professionals to look it all over and so on, all an pointless price and distraction compared to if had it been just the three of us. The deal we came to was honest enough, and primarily boiled down to IB giving us free ad area on the site and fairly free reign in print in trade for a cut of any future profits. But right here, too, lay another seed of destruction.

IB made many guarantees on the time to respect the neighborhood, maintain developing the site and tread fastidiously while commercializing it. The German and Italian wings of Wikitravel didn’t consider a phrase it, so they rose up in revolt and began up Wikivoyage , the primary fork of Wikitravel, which did successfully supplant the original for these two languages. But the rest of us, including myself, opted to provide IB an opportunity and see how things turned out.

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