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Wikitravel:No advice from Captain Obvious

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Thank you, Captain Obvious!

When visitors arrive from far away, locals usually love to give them advice. Unfortunately, this often leads to a temptation to offer advice for everything under the sun. On Wikitravel, this translates to Respect and/or Stay safe sections a mile long, with the result that actual useful information is buried in an avalanche of platitudes and things most of us learned in kindergarten.

To prevent this, Wikitravel's rule of thumb is No advice from Captain Obvious. In other words, if the piece of advice is true for every city and country on the planet, it does not bear repeating in every single article on Wikitravel.

Actual examples of advice from Captain Obvious include:

  • Remember to brush your teeth.
  • Wear a seatbelt when driving.
  • Cutting in front of people in line is impolite.
  • Jokes about wars and terror attacks are best avoided.
  • Don't stagger down dark alleyways at night when drunk.
  • Wear a condom if engaging in sex with prostitutes.

That said, remember that obviousness must be considered from the traveller's point of view, not a local's. Leaving 15% tips in restaurants is obvious to Americans and never sticking your left hand in communal dishes is obvious to Ethiopians, but visitors should be told about both.

The Respect article covers a wide range of more universally applicable information. If it's in there, it's unlikely to be needed anywhere else.

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