University of Canberra/RCC2011/All about Wikitravel
The wikiTravel session was attended by several people including Mark Dilley, Laura Hale, John Vandenberg, Jutta, Jani Patokallio and Ken Hoetmer.
wikiTravel is owned by a used car dealership. They are not focused on updating the existing software, developing improvements or building community. They care that they make money on the Google ads. This means they have little stake in the development of the community on the wiki.
This session ended up becoming a question of could wikiTravel fork and asking a broader question of what is needed to successfully fork.
One opinion in this session was that you needed four successful components to fork: A tech person, a person to network and rally the community around the need to move, a person to handle promotion and SEO, and another person to help with content development at the new location.
One of the forks that was looked at was wikiFur. It successfully left Wikia. The issue with wikiFur is that they actually controlled the domain. Wikis like Uncyclopedia cannot easily fork because they do not control the domain. In the case of wikiTravel, forking would also be difficult because they don't control the domain or the trademark. The community would need to effectively rebrand. This is possible as the German and Italians have created a successful fork of wikiTravel in their own language, called Wikivoyage. (see here for their account of this fork)
We tried to come up with examples of successful forks. One successful fork mentioned was Conservapedia.
wikiHow was discussed. The founder, Jack Herrick, has told his community that they have a right to fork if they want to.
A lot of people don't fork because they are scared to do so. Success is clearly defined and wrapped up in their current project. Leaving is very scary.
There are a lot of complications on the technical end with trying to fork, such as bring the history of all the articles with it the history of the chat. It would probably take a good technical person three weeks to figure out and implement a technical solution to moving all the content over and trying to get the user database possibly moved over and trying to address the issue such as media needing to be copied over.