Welcome to Wikitravel. Yes, even members of m-dash brigade are welcome here :-). If you need any help, please check out Wikitravel:Help, or feel free to ask any questions that remain unaswered in the pub. --inas 01:37, 6 May 2010 (EDT)
Indeed, even them :). --Burmesedays 02:06, 6 May 2010 (EDT)
Thanks for the welcomes. Okay, I'm new to this and kind of clueless about editing my user page and talk page, but what sort of "substantive edits involving established Wikitravel conventions" did you have in mind? I checked the Manual of Style and as far as I know I haven't violated its conventions (as I noted, the disputed m-dash spaces were not mentioned there and are used elsewhere on this site). I understand the issues of tone discussed in that guide, and I don't believe that I've made any substantive changes in that regard. In fact, I think I've only done sentence correction work so far. --KingRitz 02:21, 6 May 2010 (EDT)
Um, the only real discussion I'm aware of this kind of formatting is at this page, and the associated discussion that went on here.
There is one argument saying that Washington D.C may not be the best place to start, being a star article and all, its going to come under particular scrutiny. My argument would to do all your edits there, and if they get accepted, then you know you are on the right track! --inas 02:36, 6 May 2010 (EDT)
I would suggest that you start by spending some time familiarising yourself the format of our Star Articles. There are relatively very few of these, and each has been vetted by the Wikitravel community before attaining that status. You will find for example, use of mdashes similar to that which you have just changed in the DC article. If you want to debate the use of mdashes (and I would suggest there are rather more important things to deal with here), there is a whole discussion about them here. --Burmesedays 02:40, 6 May 2010 (EDT)
One clarification: The DC article says the following about itself: "This is a guide article. It has a variety of good, quality information including hotels, restaurants, attractions, arrival and departure info. Plunge forward and help us make it a star!" Is it a guide or a star article? How can I tell, if not based on that box? As far as what I intend to edit, I'm not here to be a pillar of Wikitravel or to fill in the world. I'm here editing Washington, D.C. because I care about that city, and I intend to work on places that capture my interest in that way. I also care a disturbingly large amount about relatively unimportant things like m-dash, serial comma, and sentence spacing conventions. Oh, and about the use of apostrophe-"s" as the possessive form even of names ending in "s". (Another one about which there is no consensus among grammarians.) --KingRitz 02:57, 6 May 2010 (EDT)
Oh. Good point. I see that the DC parent article is not a Star. Whoops. The following components are all stars, but not the parent:
The above is our pre-formatted welcome, and I also wanted to double check that you received my prior message. Again, I'd like to reiterate that you are doing fantastic work, and I can only hope to see more! Second, I do intend to revert the em dash spacing, as I have strived to keep the D.C. guides in conformance with the Chicago Manual of Style (except in cases where this would violate Wikitravel policy), and because it is indeed Wikitravel's preferred format, although we have not yet agreed to write it into our own style guidelines. --PeterTalk 06:04, 6 May 2010 (EDT)
I disagree fully with your editing claim, on multiple levels. There is no agreement on the proper convention for use of m-dashes, even on this very site. The "most common" standard in the U.S. calls for no spaces, but internationally the convention favors spaces. The U.S. convention likely arose largely from newspapers' newsprint-saving desires -- desires not applicable online. Besides, spaced m-dashes look better. I intend to continue to use spaced m-dashes, serial commas, single spacing to start sentences, and apostrophe-s as the possessive for names ending in s in all of my editing unless and until this is discussed at the top level on this site and contrary conventions about these points are written into the Manual of Style. Otherwise, I will not be editing on this site (or probably even using this site) at all. --KingRitz 12:03, 6 May 2010 (EDT)
There is really no need to be so petulant. We work by a process of amicable concensus here. Good point that the Manual of Style should probably address each of those points and it doesn't. If nothing else, it would mean no more of these type of discussions. Wikitravel convention, it should be said, is as Peter explains. You will find all sorts of variants though, and that is because most of us are far more interested in writing useful travel content than implementing obscure grammatical nuances.--Burmesedays 12:10, 6 May 2010 (EDT)
I've got to run now, but I'll address this later. I, for one, am EXTREMELY interested in "obscure grammatical nuances" and was pretty offended at Peter's simply announcing that he would be undoing my perfectly-acceptable edits. If you claim to be equals here, then he's sure acting an inappropriate amount like he thinks he's in charge. As far as conventions, I've got good reasons supporting each of my edits, and I'm happy to offer and/or discuss those reasons here later -- I already would have, if anyone had stopped to ask. --KingRitz 12:57, 6 May 2010 (EDT)
As far as spaced m-dashes, there are several issues. First, m-dashes internationally are frequently spaced, and the U.S. convention is hardly monolithically opposed. Second, like many instances of bad but acceptable style in the English language, unspaced m-dashes are probably a space-saving convention based on printing costs. (EDIT: I see that in this case the New York Times is in favor of spaced m-dashes because they work better with wraparound text in narrow columns. Who knew?) This resource is primarily online and does not operate a high-volume/low-margin print business. Any one of these conventions, each of which tends to ugly up the printed language and to create exceptions to standard usage, saves only the smallest amount of space (and money). No attention should be paid to issues of print in such cases. This particular convention tends to create difficult reading and linguistic confusion given the opposite usages of hyphens and m-dashes in the face of their similar appearances. Hyphens are a cue to tie together two words, and to speed up the reader. M-dashes, by contrast, are meant to create one of the largest "breaks" available in the English language. Not spacing in either case creates a momentary double-take for any reader not paying sufficient attention to the length of the dash. Spaces both distinguish these two marks and provide additional cues for the desired pause. Overall, this convention is cleaner, more attractive, easier to read, and more logical than the alternative. We should adopt it.
The English language is currently a sadly imperfect language, and there are few areas of difficulty over which any of us actually have any control. Areas of stylistic disagreement are those areas, so rather than simply deferring to a basically descriptive style guide unconcerned with advancement of the language in areas of dispute, we should take this rare and valuable opportunity to improve what we can (without violating any rule of the language or this site). In short, I categorically reject simply deferring to ANY external style resource on matters lacking overwhelming stylistic consensus. Beyond that, if it's so trivial and inconsequential to everyone else, if the rules and usages of the language and this site are silent or ambivalent, and if one person *does* really care about such a technicality, then there seems to be little reason to make an issue of it.
If there are any objections to the other style points I raised, I don't mind addressing them too. --KingRitz 15:32, 6 May 2010 (EDT)
Sorry if my first comment was clumsy—I had all of about 3 minutes this morning to write it.
No one is in charge here—we operate by Wikitravel:Consensus. Please see the section of that article titled Wikitravel:Consensus#Status quo bias. That policy exists for several reasons, prominent among which is that we want people to work together, not against each other. If you assert that your changes are the only acceptable ones, and I disagree, we would wind up in an edit war, which would be unproductive. Instead, our practice is to revert to the status quo in case of a disagreement, and to discuss the proposed changes until some sort of mutually acceptable agreement is reached. This discourages bullying and infighting, and encourages all parties to focus their efforts and talents on work that everyone agrees is productive.
I do maintain that it is worthwhile to keep the guide up to publishable standards, which means sticking to one publishing style guide. The one I have followed while formatting the articles is the Chicago Manual of Style. I don't think there is a compelling case to change it, or parts of it, unless there is a conflict with Wikitravel policy. If you would like to propose a change to our policies, such as mandating spaced em dashes, I would recommend you do it in a new section of Wikitravel talk:Spelling (please put new discussions at the bottom of discussion pages). --PeterTalk 20:25, 6 May 2010 (EDT)
I have already read every guide and rule cited by you and everyone else in this talk section. (In fact, when you first removed some of my editing, as well as when you stated your intention to do so again, I definitely noted the statement in the Consensus page that "Unless it is clearly vandalism or graffiti, simply reverting somebody else's changes will normally be unhelpful.") Anyway, I am not proposing a change of policy, because I don't accept that the Chicago Manual of Style IS policy since it's not in Wikitravel's Manual. The "Status Quo Bias" section is irrelevant in the face of the total lack of consensus here (a prerequisite stated in that section). There isn't even really a status quo, in the context of Wikitravel. You're not exactly operating by consensus if you just declare your view to be the unwritten default. Your personally choosing it doesn't make it policy, and I'll fight a war if I have to. Furthermore, I see absolutely no case for your claim that "publishable standards" require sticking exclusively to a single external style guide. Rather, "publishable" would seem to require only that the article be internally consistent and not violate any clearly established standard of English grammar. None of my edits violate any clearly established standard of English grammar, so they are all "publishable". Again, I am NOT proposing any change to Wikitravel's agreed upon standards. Instead, I am simply stating that in the absence of a rule against my perfectly correct and valid edits, I will continue to fight as hard as I have to for those edits. If I lose that war, you can be sure that you'll no longer be getting any help from me in editing or frequenting this site. I'd be more than happy to take my ball and go home. --KingRitz 02:18, 7 May 2010 (EDT)
I am going to be totally out of order here, but I don't care. Do you really think anyone gives a flying turd about whether you edit here or not? These threats are distasteful and reflect very poorly on you, particularly after you have been given such a warm welcome to this community. You can sure of one thing, your threatened war will not happen because we do not allow behaviour of that nature here. --Burmesedays 03:19, 7 May 2010 (EDT)
I consider my editing so far to have been valuable and much-needed. If you don't care, well fine, but I'm not going to waste my time on an effort that you care about only enough to undo half of my work as soon as it's done. The welcome I received here was.... mixed. Some of you, including you personally, gave me a very pleasant welcome. Others started trying to push me around from the second I began working. --KingRitz 06:48, 7 May 2010 (EDT)
I think you're misunderstanding our bias for the status quo. It means that things about which reasonable people can disagree should be left as-is until a consensus is formed to change it. That means, when we have some people who want spaced em-dashes and some people who want unspaced em-dashes, we leave the article as it was (that is, with unspaced em-dashes) and try to hash out an agreement on a talk page somewhere. We don't simply keep reverting until one of us gives up. LtPowers 09:37, 7 May 2010 (EDT)
Well, I made the point that currently this site lacks consistency from one article to the next, so the status quo of a single article is really irrelevant. Beyond that, I care far, far more about results (including on this and other issues of style) than about how they are obtained. Regardless, I understand perfectly what Peter and others are saying. If he's first on the ground and then won't budge (and, especially, if almost nobody else really cares much either way), then he gets his way because nobody can change anything without consensus. I'm not interested in playing that game in any form, so, unless I hear by email that "status quo" has changed, well, bye. --KingRitz 16:54, 7 May 2010 (EDT)
On a wiki, how the results are obtained are of paramount importance. I hope you can come to understand that. LtPowers 17:21, 7 May 2010 (EDT)