Wikipedia decided on Kolkata, after a poll. By the way, is there any way to import Wikipedia pictures to Wikitravel?
Pradiptaray 16:25, 20 Jan 2006 (EST)
Generally, you can't, due to incompatible licensing. See Wikipedia. Jonboy 16:28, 20 Jan 2006 (EST)
Calcutta should not be renamed to "Kolkata". Kolkata is city's official name; Calcutta is its most common English-language name, which is in accord with the article naming conventions. --Evan 08:05, 12 Feb 2004 (EST)
This article should be moved to Kolkata. Even though it is not as big a problem as for Mumbai, since Kolkata is not as common, we cannot continue to give incorrect naming to cities. I have given a more in-depth explanation at Talk:Bombay. It doesn't matter if they're the most common, they are incorrect! It's a bit like the Burma article, which remains Burma for no reason at all, when ALL countries of the world basically refer to it as Myanmar except the USA. Ronline 04:24, 6 May 2004 (EDT)
Without rendering an opinion on our naming policy.... I'd just like to say that I think the text should use the same name as the title of the article. And the text should use the so-called official name only if the title changes. -- 12:08, 3 Jan 2005 (EST)
I just made this change. I tried to avoid changing "Kolkata" to "Calcutta" in proper names. --Evan 12:12, 2 Dec 2005 (EST)
I notice that Evan's reasons for not changing the name used in Wikitravel from Calcutta to Kolkata were given in Feb 2004 - almost two years ago. I am curretly in Kolkata/Calcutta and can categorically state that the title Calcutta is obslete here. Internationally, however, Calcutta may still be the most commonly used name. If that is the case, then Evan's argument still stands. However, I think that it may be time for review. Apologies for changing the title without due consideration of the policy.
Honestly, I have no strong feelings either way, about Kolkata or even Mumbai, where I stay. On Wikipedia, I would have strongly supported official names, on the ground that a city is entitled to decide what to call itself. But this is Wikitravel, and understandably, the traveller comes first. Everyone who calls it Kolkata will know about Calcutta, but the reverse might not be true. On a travel site, change should necessarily be slower. -- Ravikiran 11:19, 30 Nov 2005 (EST)
I agree with your point, but I think that using old discontinued names rather than the new official one makes articles appear out of date. Likewise, deciding which name is the most popular one in English is subjective. Of course, if we google the name, the older one will show more articles because there have been more years over which to accumulate them, but that doesn't mean that the newer name is not presently the one favored in the English speaking world, especially by people who will be visiting the places to conduct business. Personally, I think that it would be easier if official names were used in the main article with a redirect link from the page with the old name. In this way, those who still use the discontinued name can find the article and, in addition, it would save the trouble of having to continuously reasses which name is the more popular in English - just a suggestion.
Your argument appears to be about the naming policy in general rather than Calcutta specifically. I suggest you make the comment on the appopriate page for discussing the policy in general -- Wikitravel talk:Article naming conventions. -- Colin 10:52, 2 Dec 2005 (EST)
Our goal is not to be behind the times, but to be exactly in the times -- neither ahead or behind.
Some more data points: I checked Google news search, and "Calcutta" is used in US and UK news sources about twice as often as "Kolkata" (I left out "black hole of Calcutta" and "Oh! Calcutta!"). In Canada, NZ, and Australia it was about even; Kolkata was about 8:1 in South Africa, and 5500:3400 in India proper.
Wikipedia uses Kolkata; the Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names prefers "Calcutta" and lists "Kolkata" as the "Bengali name". The Britannica Concise Encyclopedia has "Kolkata -- formerly Calcutta"; Webster's Online only has "Calcutta".
I think the scale is tipping towards Kolkata, but as far as I can tell "Calcutta" is still the most common English name for this place. --Evan 12:08, 2 Dec 2005 (EST)
Can we restart the debate??? It changed it's name FIVE years ago, and a city's name is what it decides to call itself, not what the world is stuck on. If most of the world started referring to New York as the capital of the U.S. would you put it down as the capital in the U.S. guide? I spent most of the last year in India, and pretty much everyone traveling there knows about Mumbai and Kolkata... and making it the official name on this site and others where people come to do their research before traveling will help to educate those who don't know, as opposed to continuing to drag out the issue. I propose instead of having the little reference 'also known as Kolkata' on the Calcutta page that it becomes 'previously Calcutta' on the Kolkata page... Wikitravel could do a lot to help inform more people... oh, regarding the last sentence in Evan's post, English is a major language in India, and any Indian speaking in English would still refer to it as Kolkata, including non-Bengalis. Cacahuate 08:40, 16 October 2006 (EDT)
Yes, it is definately time to change the names of the Indian cities to their official titles. So, unless there is any strong dissent, I propose changing Calcutta to Kolkata, Madras to Chennai, and Bombay to Mumbai with, of course, redirects from the old and now pretty much obsolete names. Personally, I think that the names used on Wikitravel should always be those used by the city itself. Unlike written guides where people may look for a familiar title, and miss a new unfamiliar one, Wikitravel has the advantage of redirect. So, in this way, the 'traveler first' policy is still protected, while at the same time its saves the almost impossible task of having to continuously assess which name is in most common useage - but that is a matter for a different debate. At the moment, I just want to propose changing the names of the cities mentioned above. Thanks. WindHorse 10:05, 16 October 2006 (EDT)
I see that the title of the Madras article has already been changed to Chennai. WindHorse 10:09, 16 October 2006 (EDT)
I have to prefer Calcutta since it's common and familiar for most English speakers. I think most Wikitravellers have a deeper understanding of cultures than most other travellers and we have to cater to the travellers that don't know as much about Indian cultures as we do. I'll use my friend as an example. If I showed "Kolkata" to my friend he would think it was a marsupial, that's commonly mistaken as a 'bear', native to Australia. If I showed him "Calcutta" he would know that it's a place in India. As for Bombay I'm neither for or against renaming it to Mumbai, since the official name is becoming increasingly known amongst English speakers. -- Sapphire 10:45, 16 October 2006 (EDT)
Mumbai is becoming increasingly known because people are using it, which is what I propose we do! i learned about 'Mumbai' when I was researching my first trip to india in 2002, and at that time it felt really silly to say it. Now most english speaking travelers in India use it. While Kolkata is still slightly behind, I hear it increasingly more often from foreigners as well, and exclusively from Indians... And a mistake being a common mistake doesn't make it a justified mistake... Cacahuate 10:55, 16 October 2006 (EDT)
Good point, Sapphire. I appreciate your feed back. However, I contest that if your friend typed in Calcutta, he would still get the info he wanted as there would be an automatic redirect Calcutta -> Kolkata (he wouldn't get a marsupial). However, I appreciate that he would have difficultly locating the place among the list of cities on the main India page, so to cover for that there would need to be 'a formely known as ...' bracket next to the entry. Furthermore, the opening line on the city article would refer to the fact that the city was previously called Calcutta - so there could be no mistake. As I said, it is always very difficult to assess which name is currently more popular. In the States the old name might still be in favor, but in Europe and English speaking areas of Asia, it might be different. If we google the title, then obviously the older one will show more hits as its had more time to accumulate them. Personally, I think its time to change, but if there is opposition to this, that's fine. We'll just leave it sit a few more years and then see how opinion flows. Thanks. WindHorse 11:20, 16 October 2006 (EDT)
Oh yeah, redirects. In that case I don't care either way. Maybe redirect Koala? :) -- Sapphire 11:24, 16 October 2006 (EDT)
Good idea, and Mumbai could be a redirect to what - maybe marsupial? WindHorse 11:27, 16 October 2006 (EDT)
So are we in agreement for change? Anyone want to do the honors? WindHorse, you sound like you have all of the details down about which things need to go and direct where... Cacahuate 01:46, 17 October 2006 (EDT)
I'll leave it sit a few more days to guage sentiment, because it is not just a matter of arranging a redirect, but references to Calcutta in all articles will also need to be changed - and I don't want to have to revert everything if someone calls foul later. WindHorse 02:46, 17 October 2006 (EDT)
If we're willing to stick with the current rules, let's see if "Kolkata" is yet the most common English name. I realize that "most common English name" seems subjective, but it's fairly easy to find backup support for some of these points. Here's my latest search of Google News references:
Google news stats
Once again we've got North America with strong trends on using the traditional name, an ambivalent result in the UK, and some strong usage of the new name in the rest of the world. Comparing this to the results I got last year (see above), I think the preference for Calcutta is eroding. I'm not sure it's clearly swung in the other direction, though. --Evan 12:21, 18 October 2006 (EDT)
Interesting results - what's your feeling - wait a while or take the plunge for change? By the way, if you think we have difficuties deciding what to name places, check this out: WindHorse 12:27, 18 October 2006 (EDT)
My feeling is that we've seen most of the other Indian city name changes take hold, but the bigger and better-known cities are taking longer. It seems likely, barring another name change, that Kolkata will eventually become the most common name for this city. I think moving this article now will be slightly confusing for North American and UK residents, but I'd rather not waste more time and energy on this issue. --Evan 12:43, 18 October 2006 (EDT)
Yikes, from the numbers above it seems pretty clear to me that Kolkata is winning even more than I would have expected... only the Americans are holding things up and they need to learn... I'm American and I vote for Kolkata, but I'll let it rest if you want it to rest :) Cacahuate 04:15, 22 October 2006 (EDT)
Thinking more about this... Kolkata is sooo much more in use now within India that any traveler who's going there will be hard pressed not to know this name by the time they leave. Booking trains online, for instance, the Indian Railways site doesn't recognize Calcutta, you must type in Kolkata. Even if the majority of North Americans still refer to it as Calcutta, the majority of North Americans aren't going to India. This site is for those that are - the majority of which I personally think will already know about this name change. A few won't, naturally, but at this point I would argue that we'd be making the "traveler come first" by educating the few that don't know about the name change before they get there, helping them to avoid potential problems.
Also, is Kolkata any less the most common name than the other controversial ones that have all since been changed to official names? (Mumbai, Chennai, Myanmar) I really do think it's time to make the move on this one - Cacahuate 03:29, 20 February 2007 (EST)
I 100% agree. I was in Kolkata last year, and apart from a few public buildings, there was little evidence of the old name. Likewise, perhaps of more use to the traveler, airlines and trains now all use the name Kolkata. WindHorse 03:42, 20 February 2007 (EST)
Alrighty, I'm makin' the move! This is going to be interesting, so many links... - Cacahuate 21:15, 8 March 2007 (EST)
Just wanted to note, I've overhauled the see section and divided it up... there was a ton of info there, and it was even bordering an itinerary or a walking tour, so I just want to throw a link here to the previous version in case anyone wants it for reference to create one of those or to make sure I didn't get rid of anything valuable. Cacahuate 07:20, 18 December 2006 (EST)
Please. Could someone find a map of Kolkata? I don't think I've ever seen one and the page needs it desperately!--Wandering 20:30, 15 June 2007 (EDT)
I've been meaning to make one for quite a while... I'll see if i can't do that in the next few weeks. It would at least be nice to have one that maps out the districts. Thanks for all your work on the article lately! Good job! – cacahuatetalk 21:46, 15 June 2007 (EDT)
Kolkata isn't any new york. It's filthy, congested, stinking and last but not the least, awesome.
I agree, the Kolkata/New York analogy is problematic. New York is more like Mumbai, since both are major ports and the finicial capitals of their large countries. I think the metaphor should just be dropped since Kolkata may not have a good city to compare it to in the US.