In the past year, Wiki Loves Monuments teamed up with Wikivoyage, the free travel guide, to organize a page banner competition; bringing a new twist to our continual quest for cultural heritage. Participants in Wiki Loves Monuments were invited to also upload their photos cropped for the use as headers in Wikivoyage travel guides. Compared to regular submissions, the banners put forth additional requirements. They should fit to the strict 7:1 format and serve as a visual introduction to travel destinations, similar to the one shown right below.
Today we are delighted to announce the results of the banner competition. Each banner received a grade depending on its usage and the number of jury votes. Those in use got an additional factor of five to the jury score. This helped us to balance artistic value of the banners and their relevance. Whenever several banners were uploaded by one participant, their grades were added up, and the special Wikivoyage prize (a guidebook to Moscow and a photo book of Russian nature) was awarded for the best overall contribution. Our winner in 2017 is Elena Tatiana Chis who scored 76 points. She uploaded banners from 7 countries for 10 different destinations. Three of her uploads are used in Wikivoyage travel guides of Aït-Benhaddou (Morocco), Machu Picchu (Peru), and 16th arrondissement of Paris (France).
The global banner competition covered all countries but Russia, where a separate competition was held already for the third time. The Russian participants are quite familiar with the concept and upload more than 150 banners each year. We were thrilled to receive about the same number of submissions in the international round, 171 banners, but this time coming from 26 different countries! The largest contribution is from Ukraine (57 uploads), one of the countries that traditionally also submits lots of images to Wiki Loves Monuments.
What happened behind the scenes? During the month of September WLM participants uploaded their page banners, typically crops of WLM photos, but also panoramic images designed exclusively for the banner contest. After September 30, participants could take a break, and it was now a busy time for Wikivoyage editors who had to sort out the banners and discuss literally each of them. We sought to choose only those submissions that combined visual beauty with an interesting setting and conveyed the feel of the destination in a comprehensive and artistic manner. Some of the banners filled the gaps in articles where Wikivoyage has not had any banner yet, but most of the uploads had to compete with existing banners crafted by Wikivoyagers earlier. Every time is was a hard but well-thought decision to replace an older banner with the new one uploaded during WLM-2017. Eventually, 35 banners found their slots in Wikivoyage travel guides covering destinations as distant and diverse as Baku in Azerbaijan, Kremenets in Ukraine, Pula in Croatia, and Montreal in Canada, the venue of Wikimania-2017.
All in all, the banner competition sets an important milestone in bringing WLM to Wikimedia sister projects. Travel and cultural heritage are inextricably intertwined, and we plan to continue with new travel-related ideas within WLM-2018. In the meantime, Wikivoyage offers a different form of participation, the February edit-a-thon dedicated to the 5th anniversary of Wikivoyage as Wikimedia sister project. Plan your trips, take photos of cultural heritage, and update our travel guides. Travel with Wikivoyage!