Here's another impetuous suggestion: get rid of all respect sections. Do any of them rise beyond the level of drivel? Do they serve a purpose other than to attract inane blather? --PeterTalk 00:29, 19 August 2008 (EDT)
I've never read a Respect section I liked. However I can see the point of them as it annoys the hell out of me every time I hear the words "English" and "British" used interchangably. If I was from outside the UK and didn't understand the difference then I would probably be grateful for reading about it on Wikitravel and therefore not rubbing the locals up the wrong way when I got here. That's just a local example. Tarr3n 05:37, 19 August 2008 (EDT)
I share the disdain for this section. Often it seems to be directed to those without common sense. It can serve the traveller occasionally when there are important cultural mistakes to avoid, but then that would get covered anyways (without the section header), would it not? Perhaps under "Understand". OldPine 07:56, 19 August 2008 (EDT)
Allow me to be the voice of dissension, then. I find a well-written Respect section to be fascinating. Perhaps it would fit better as a subsection of "Understand", but either way I think it's a useful grouping for cultural issues that may arise. The one in the United States of America article is particularly illuminating, even for me, a lifelong resident. I also have found the one in the Japan article interesting. LtPowers 09:00, 19 August 2008 (EDT)
Agreed with OldPine--to me the English/British conflation is more a mark of ignorance than disrespect, and therefore should be in the Understand section. Ugh, and that reminds me of that groaner from the England page, "Why aren't you wearing a tweed suit and bowler hat?", "Why don't you have a posh accent?", or "What time do you have tea and crumpets?" etc. Remember these clichés don't accurately reflect the English people or their culture, and never have done, and they are likely to cause either offence or bemusement. If anything, this did want to make me ask these questions, just since they seem absurd to the point of comedy—but more worrisome is that this has seemed to be the most popular paragraph to edit in the section...
Nice counterexamples too. I'm tempted to rule out Japan as a useful example for covering any other country, since, to mis-quote Buddy Guy, "she's a superstar, she's in a class of her own." Japan also has a bathe section, but I don't think we should start using that elsewhere! The US respect section was long a disaster area and an embarrassment to the rest of the article. What did eventually get things looking better was to limit all discussion to focused bullet points (although some silly ones still remain, like the advisory to not joke about the 9/11 terrorist attacks—perhaps a travel topic on the intricacies of travel for the purpose of mocking foreigners' national tragedies?). That page also benefits from the fact that so many regular users vet any edits to it.
I do think merging respect sections into "Understand" would be a good way to help prevent the "respect" details from rambling on too long. I'd also really like to limit the proliferation of respect sections to only country articles (in the case of the UK, putting respect info on the home nations pages instead of the UK one might be worthwhile). --PeterTalk 11:37, 19 August 2008 (EDT)
Respect is an optional section... all of the arguments above are reasons to rewrite or delete badly written ones, but I think they have a time and place and can be useful. I could care less whether it's its own section or a subsection of Understand, but I'd vote for leaving it as is since it would be a huge waste of time changing them with absolutely no gain. I'd be all for continuing to delete irrelevant or overly obvious info and keeping them neat and tight, but I don't think we should banish them altogether, and I think they should only show up when they really have something relevant to say – cacahuatetalk 17:32, 19 August 2008 (EDT)
As I can be dumber than a doornail sometimes, I do appreciate the Respect sections, that is where I learned WASP's are not welcome in Mecca, and one should not go to Mexico without some appreciation of Machisamo. So, I would rather keep them. You know, like Travel for Dummies. 2old 12:04, 23 August 2008 (EDT)
I just added the "local country" page which aims to put all main pointers into one page. As the most useful knowabouts on sensivities are the same everywhere, I guess putting it all into one page is something that can be done and simplifies things (in world travel books, these things are also mentioned in just a few pages.
For places like Saudi Arabia, a Respect section can come in mighty handy. So no, they should not be removed wholesale, but they should just be edited more tightly to remove crap. Jpatokal 12:17, 24 August 2008 (EDT)
The initial aim of this article is to just have the obvious rules of respect that apply in general to all destinations, so that only significant deviations need be placed in specific articles. Much like Stay safe outlines the general rules for staying safe, with only significant local factors requiring mentioning in local destination guides. Hopefully it will simplify and remove some of the trivialities from the respect section of the destination guides. --Inas 20:39, 17 May 2009 (EDT)