Since this is being posited as a model for a whole series of articles, I'm not going to pull any punches. In general, my problem with this article as it is written is that I think this is way more information than we need—in some parts not travel relevant, in others content duplication, and in others still by stating the obvious.
1) Format — the "Route" section is basically how I think this article should look. The regions/cities lists at the top should be worked into it, since this is not a region article. In other words, I think you should divide the Route section up by Wikitravel region (if you intend to mention them at all), and include the cities only there.
2) Talk — we don't use talk sections even for region articles, because they are redundant unless that particular region differs in language from its parent region.
3) Understand — actually, I don't have much of a problem with how this is written (because it is short), but I think the section is potentially a magnet for uninteresting encyclopedic information.
4) Get around — the whole section should go. The information is a) not specific to this itinerary, and/or b) too obvious to need stating.
5) Map — doesn't accomplish much of anything. If it doesn't show the linked destinations, and doesn't label the connecting roads, then I don't think it's worth including.
6) Route — is this listing every exit? If so, it shouldn't—we only need to highlight interesting detours, right? Either way, it's very rough on the eyes right now. I'd advise using the name of the town or notable attraction as the bullet header, and only mentioning the exit number within the item description.
7) See & Do — section should go as well, as it duplicates content that belongs in our destination guides. I don't see a reason to add listings to this article, as one liner-style bullets to linked destinations should suffice.
8) Eat — ditto. If there's a famous OtBP restaurant that needs calling out, do it in the one-liner description for that exit under "Route."
9) Stay safe — most all this information is not particular to this route, as it constitutes general rules of driving. I can imagine routes that might have unique stay safe information (like this one ), but I don't think that any of the major US highways would.
10) Get out — also seems unnecessary for an itinerary. It looks just tacked on from the region article template and isn't serving any real useful function.
So in summary, I mostly think this should be pared down to essentials, and for a reasonably short route as this, should be quite a short article. Especially since we want to avoid content duplication. --PeterTalk 18:47, 7 December 2008 (EST)
Thanks for your critique. Here's my thoughts in general and what I have/will do to improve this article.:
1) That's what I had in mind reflecting on this article, but I wanted to wait for feedback first.
3) Ok, I am leaving for the moment being. Added traffic laws.
4) Deleted...but I moved some traffic laws into Understand—but only non-obvious ones.
5) Well, learning to make maps is something on my to-do list. I found this map on Wikipedia and imported it from Wikimedia Commons. The article need a basic map. I agree that this one is not good, but it was the best I could find for temporary use. If we decide to go ahead with such an expedition, I think it would be great to create a template(another subject I need to learn about) in the upper-right corner, like the quickboxes on country articles, which includes:
Logo in place of a picture at top
A section corresponding to quick facts including: length, major cities (no more than 5-6 on the longest of routes), junctions with primary(1 or 2 digit) interstates, termini, and maybe states it passes through.
6) No this is not listing every exit. I attempted to only highlight exits of:
7 & 8) I'll get around to merging these things into the routes section soon. However, I disagree (to some extent) on how much should be described. In the Intention Statement on the Routes Expedition talk page, I noted that I intended not to replicate regional guides, but that the purpose of creating route articles is convenience for the traveller by road. Since two goals of Wikitravel are for off-line use and individual article printouts, I think that more than one sentence should be used to describe what can be found off of the route...otherwise these planned route articles will be little more than a list and the traveller on these roads may have to print numerous articles. Think of a drive along I-10 between Houston and LA, the traveller would need to print articles for:
Of course, we will link to town & region articles, but that shouldn't mean that no or only a couple points are mentioned in the article. My point is that there should be sufficient information so when a traveller decides to take a rest or is just looking for 2-3 places to stop on their journey, they won't have to plan well in advance or refer to numerous articles. Do you understand my point?
9) I see your point, it has been deleted from this article, but if a section is particularly prone to something, then maybe we could mention it within the route section.
10) I've deleted it for this article. AHeneen 21:54, 7 December 2008 (EST)
I think it's looking much better. Some more thoughts:
1) Route — is tough on the eyes. Ideas:
a) per 7+2, we try to avoid any lists greater than nine, as possible. Right now we have 23 listings in a row. Could we try breaking it into sections? Perhaps sections of listings between major stops on the road? I'm sure you have a better handle than I do, but I'd guess Disney World and Orlando would be good dividing points. Ideally we'd group this into a group of 7, 8, & 8, but it's not a good idea to force that.
b) follow the format of other 1 liner lists. (In particular, bolded exits and spaces around the mdashes would look much better.)
c) add a couple pictures of especially interesting stops to break up the text.
2) Back to See & Do, and Eat — I'm warming to these sections. I still think attractions (see listings) categorically belong in the route section in the exit descriptions.
a)But the time-specific events would clutter the route section unnecessarily. I'd prefer to see those in a separate Do section (or even perhaps removed altogether, since they are of only marginal importance to the average traveler).
b)I think buy listings should be kept to a bare minimum, and included in the route section. I'd imagine the shopping destinations of note would be only major outlet strips and perhaps small towns especially notable for folk art or wineries.
c)The more I think of it, I like your Eat section. Knowing that an exit has an immediate strip full of great cheap ethnic food would be marvelous on a long car ride. The one big danger is that this list could grow chaotically as users add their favorite restaurants. We'd have to have strict rules limiting what to include (especially unique and famous restaurants as well as major dining strips are what I think belong here). Maybe a hard limit of nine listings, changeable only via discussion on the talk page, would be a useful rule as well.
I'm warming to this project generally as this article develops. I can see how it could be very useful to print out this type of article for a long interstate drive. I am still rather cold to the understand section, though, especially the traffic laws subsection. --PeterTalk 19:29, 10 December 2008 (EST)
I'm glad you're warming to the idea of this project. I have merged the "route, see/do, & eat sections", chopped down the understand section and moved it into the opening paragraph, divided the route into sections, formatted the exits and mdash, and added a template to the top (which still should be tweaked, see below). I have left the festivals for the moment being...there may only be a couple, but this is an example article for routes and I think for longer routes (I-10, 95, 80, 40, etc), listing some seasonal festivals could aid the traveler by alerting them to interesting opportunities if they are on the road at that time and maybe help them in deciding when to make the trip. I put a "notable districts" section(which I started and will finish later) as a way of listing certain areas known for something...such as shopping, entertainment districts, and ethnic enclaves. I think this will be a way to avoid exponential growth of eat listings and highlight areas where the traveler may wish to take a break for a little while or book a hotel and spend the evening. AHeneen 10:35, 11 December 2008 (EST)
I like the way this article is coming together. I think it summarizes the exits pretty well and the Route section looks much better with the headings. My only concern is using counties as a way to divide the highway into sections. I'm not familiar with them at all so when I looked for Orlando exits (the biggest city I know on the route and the reason I'm guessing most people would be on it), it took me a couple of minutes to realize it was in the Orange County section. I see the existing section headers tie in with other articles, which is nice, but I think the Route section might make more sense to a traveller if it was broken down by major destinations -- something like Tampa, Tampa to Orlando, Orlando, Orlando to Daytona Beach. Then again, I live in an area that doesn't have counties at all, so if it's common to know them, I'll take it all back. :) Shaund 00:49, 12 December 2008 (EST)
If counties are the region scheme in place in that area I think it's fine to use them (although I hate using counties as regions in the first place). I still think this highway article only works the way it does because it's only 132 miles long, and hence does not make a good case for starting other articles on highways, but that is a discussion for the expedition page. Texugo 01:19, 12 December 2008 (EST)
Read first sentence under East Central Florida: "Interstate 4 serves as the primary artery for traffic in the Orlando area, which begins at US 27 (exit 55) and continues through US 17/92 (exit 104)." Also: "Exits 82C-85 — Orlando's Central Business District" I also described Tampa under West Central Florida: "Interstate 4 begins at "Malfunction Junction" (with Interstate 275) on the northwest corner of Tampa's Central Business District. Interstate 4 between Tampa and Interstate 75 passes through urban areas." Even though I have not made a complete list of exits, there are a lot of important ones and so to keep with the 7±2, I needed to break the region down further than just E & W Central FL and in this region, all the counties are articles. If I clumped "Orlando" exits together, there would be more than 9. I do see you point though. AHeneen 05:42, 12 December 2008 (EST)
I have went ahead and changed the headers as per Shaund's request. If it looks worse, it can always be undone. AHeneen 05:53, 12 December 2008 (EST)
I definitely like the current organizational scheme better than the by county version. If a section exceeds 9 exits, that's not such a problem—since we shouldn't try to force things—but it's probably an indication that we could cut back on the number of exits listed. I also think we can do away entirely with the east central florida and west central florida headers and descriptions—they strike me as clutter, and I would skip over them when reading if I were using this guide. I definitely think less is more in this type of article (especially since we'd be applying this "template" to far longer routes). I'm going to try and cut out what I wouldn't be interested in in the article. Please feel free to undo whatever changes strike you as too much, and we'll discuss further. --PeterTalk 03:32, 13 December 2008 (EST)
In looking further at the article, a few more ideas come to mind. 1) We should avoid as much as possible listing exits for obvious destinations. I'm on the fence regarding really important exits like Disney World, which seem as though they should be included in any guide, but then again, travelers won't need a guide to find them. But most junction exits, and exits leading to relatively uninteresting towns, I think, should not be listed. If someone is going there, they'll know that ahead of time. 2) I don't see anything in the "Notable Districts" section that couldn't be merged into the route section. That would help reduce redundancies like that for Ybor City (which looks like a fantastic destination, by the way—definitely a cause to stop by Tampa next time I'm down there). 3) I think we should avoid listing nightlife destinations that are focused on big shows, since travelers would presumably need to have bought tickets in advance. Moreover, if you're traveling, it rarely will make sense to stop for nightlife, because it will impede your further travels in a way that stopping for a sight or food would not. --PeterTalk 03:48, 13 December 2008 (EST)
Well I disagree with a few of the exits you cut out of the article, but I won't change it back for now (except for the Orlando CBD, which should be noted). The idea I had in mind for the article was more or less a guide. I think a map is needed for the traveler, because a guide should have a map. If not, then why does Wikitravel have city maps? I decided to make the notable districts section to highlight a few places...as in ethnic areas, shopping (which I started but never finished), and entertainment districts. Entertainment districts aren't just nightlife...they are places where shopping, food, and entertainment mix (and most shows sell tickets at the door), they are as great in the day as well as night. I think trying to fit these areas into the route would either make for a long entry (and clutter the route section) or they would get lost in the route section. Making a separate section highlight them. This freeway is only 132 miles long...most are several hundred miles long and could potentially have 50-100+ listings (or else it could be made into segments like districts of huge city articles). Anyways, I think there are many travelers keen to shopping or ethnic areas, so highlighting them makes things easy for the traveler. Other subjects besides shopping, entertainment, and ethnic areas that could work well with outer routes are: history, antiques, nature, etc. AHeneen 20:22, 13 December 2008 (EST)
I have created a preliminary template for this article. Just like countries have a quickbox, I think such a template would be helpful to the user. It needs a map like the interstate sign so that it blends with the background. I have tried following the directions for mapmaking, but am still confused/unable to make a map...so if someone could do that, it would be great. Also, I am a novice at making tables (I spent about 40 minutes learning how to resize the box, change colors, chnge font, etc.)...so don't be harsh with that, I know the formatting of it does need to be tweaked some. The important thing is content. AHeneen 02:53, 11 December 2008 (EST)
Content-wise, I think the template looks good. Perhaps some approximate travel times would be useful? It can be a bit variable depending on stops, but I find them quite handy when I'm planning a trip.
I'm pretty busy right now, but if you don't have any luck with the map, I could probably do one in January. Shaund 00:56, 12 December 2008 (EST)
Travel times would be useful, although they might be better placed directly under the subheadings in the route section. The facts look useful to me, but I'd get rid of both the shield and map. The shield is of no relevance to travel—if someone wants to know what it looks like, they can just get on the highway and see for themselves. The map is relevant, but it will make formatting easier to keep it out of the template, especially since different routes will have different needs regarding map size and shape.
The other content I'd suggest removing would be states & cities, since those should be obvious from a rudimentary map. But of course, we don't have one yet ;) --PeterTalk 03:54, 13 December 2008 (EST)
I know I'm dredging up an old conversation here, but I am starting to take a greater interest in this expedition. I think the highway shield is quite useful; it serves the same purpose here as it does on the highway: as a quick and easily recognizable identification of the route. Of course it should be optional, as in some cases the marker will be copyrighted or not available, but in cases where we have it, it can be useful to the traveler who doesn't know what sign to look for.
As for the map, I see the point but they're all going to be rectangular, aren't they? The template could be configured to allow a number of configurations, if that's a concern. And the lists of states and cities are useful for visually-impaired users who can't see the map. LtPowers 08:59, 31 May 2010 (EDT)