WIKI AND ITS DISCONTENTS
So, Nick seems to be less than impressed with the <a http="http://www.wikitravel.org/">Wikitravel</a> interface. And with good reason: Wiki interfaces are to suck. Editing text in a browser is miserable, and Wiki markup is laughable for anyone who's done serious markup in a reasonable markup language. The process is frustrating, especially for non-trivial edits.
There's a project to make a <a href="http://meta.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dedicated_Wikipedia_editor">dedicated client</a> for the <a href="http://wikipedia.sourceforge.net/">MediaWiki</a> software. We'll see how that goes. There's also a <a href="http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Syntax_highlighting">modes for VIM and Emacs</a> to edit MediaWiki articles, and I believe someone's coded a full client in Emacs lisp.
One thing he didn't point out is that the navigational interface on the pages is nearly impossible to handle. Every single function you could ever need is on every page -- a serious faceblast of links. Hard to find what you need from all that linkage. I think there's some possibilities for fixing that -- maybe with Javurscript to do twist-down interface menus or something. I dunno.
Nick also pointed out that the templates can be kind of intimidating. I'm also kind of ambivalent about <a href="http://www.wikitravel.org/article/Wikitravel:article_templates">templates</a>. It's a three-edged sword: if we have no guidance on how to structure articles, people get weirded out, and argue a lot about what should go where. If we <i>have</i> guidance, they complain about the rigidity, or they feel like they can't make free-form edits. I don't remember what the third edge is.
There's also a problem with too many or too few articles. People seem to feel more comfy adding to an existing article than making a new one. If a page is empty when people start, they get freaked out that they don't know where to begin. If a page has stuff on it already, they get worried they're going to mess something up, or they can't find the area they want to edit in all the Wiki markup.
The <a href="http://www.wikitravel.org/article/Wikitravel:CIA_World_Factbook_2002_import"> CIA World Factbook 2002 imports</a> are probably the worst culprit for this. We wanted to get something in place early, to give at least a little navigation structure to the site, but they ended up being more problem then they were worth. They're just placeholders for real articles, of course. We're trying to <a href="http://www.wikitravel.org/article/Wikitravel:How_to_de-factbook_a_country_page">defactbookize</a> them as they get edited, but it's a slow process. You can compare the <a href="http://www.wikitravel.org/article/Central_African_Republic">Central African Republic</a>, a purely CIA Factbook import article, with the <a href="http://www.wikitravel.org/article/United_States_of_America">USA</a>), which is defactbookized and pretty well fleshed out.
Overall, it's good to hear some criticism. I actually am employed right now -- doing some contract work -- but Wikitravel does take up some time. I was happy that Mister Bad Jr. was able to do such a fantastic job on <a href="http://www.wikitravel.org/article/Oahu">Oahu</a>, <a href="http://www.wikitravel.org/article/Hawaii">Hawaii</a>, <a href="http://www.wikitravel.org/article/Honolulu">Honolulu</a>, and <a href="http://www.wikitravel.org/article/Oakland">Oakland</a>. Hearing about her initial problems makes this even more of an impressive task. Despite all the interface obstacles, she r0x0red again. Beaujolais to her!