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Wikitravel talk:What is an article?

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Sidebars[edit]

So, there are some things that seem to me would make sense to have articles about, but I don't know exactly where they fit here. In "normal" travel guides, they'd be things that would be pulled out of the text as sidebars. That is, indepth articles about a very particular aspect of a place -- its culture, its history, its cuisine, etc. Examples might be:

  • Modernist architecture in Barcelona
  • Separatism in Quebec
  • Kansas City barbecue
  • Tango music in Argentina

Any opinions? These all seem like they could be slippery slopes, yet it seems hard to imagine that we'd leave them out, or just make them small parts of city or country articles. Any ideas? -- Evan 07:40, 30 Oct 2003 (PST)

I think that it is important to include this kind of information somewhere. Perhaps there can be a "Related articles" link as part of the standard template, to create a sidebar type of space. Hanzo 11:00, 30 Oct 2003 (PST)
I'll join the discussion late :-) I do not think it is a slippery slope. But that kind of articles fall rigth between WikiTravel and Wikipedia, so we would get a lot of overlap with Wikipedia. E.g. Wikipedia have both a Tango and a "Music of Argentina" article. If it were not for licensing problems we could almost have a special tag that would make a link to Wikipedia on online versions and an include into a a framed box on printouts. At least we should try to make such articles dual-licensed. -- elgaard 06:19, 12 Apr 2005 (EDT)



Dhum Dhum: I'm not sure I'm convinced by the exception for events. What information do we need to give on the Hajj that couldn't be covered in Mecca? How much detail of schedule, locations, etc., can or should we give on the Hajj? Could you justify this? I also think that the Hajj is a bad example; it's more of a journey than a destination, isn't it? -- Evan 07:30, 12 Nov 2003 (PST)

Indeed — I think the Hajj is more of an itinerary than a destination. But it should still have its own article. Jpatokal 00:07, 31 Mar 2005 (EST)

Granularity of Wikitravel; Cuisine cross-references for metropolitan areas[edit]

Moved from Wikitravel:travellers' pub by Evan

This is not a question about a specific page, but more a question on the Wikitravel goals and concepts that this page raises. I use the specific page only as an illustration of the larger question.

I recently created a page Bay Area (California)/Localized Chinese cuisine as an attempt to help travellers who come to San Francisco and are disatisfied with the Chinese food here (I and others have received such complaints over the years, at least partly because even Americanized Chinese food in SF is different from that found elsewhere). One Wikian commented that the page seemed too granular. So I was wondering, how granular is Wikitravel allowed to be? (Wikipedia can be quite granular, however, I realize the two Wiki's goals are not the same.)

I also perceive there is a need for some cross-referencing in general within a large metropolitan area. For instance, one could find all restaurants in an area by drilling down to all pages within that area, but they might not know to go to Fremont to look for highly authenttic Indian or Afghan food. In fact, they might not even know to look for Afghan food. The cross-reference would not need to list all restaurants in a region, only those Wikians felt worthy of being linked to from a regional page. (I do not recommend having restaurant reviews on the regional page, only links to the actual review or Eat section on the lowest level page.)

Perhaps the two ideas need to merge, and the content on San Francisco Bay Area Chinese Cuisine belongs in a same-named section on a page of Bay Area (California)/Eat cross-reference instead of on a page of its own.

Related to that is, would it make sense for neighborhoods or cities with a lot of restaurant reviews to have subheadings by cuisine, just as Stay has subheadings by price range?

I know the idea here is to plunge forward, but since there has been some questioning of the need for this new page, I'd like to get some general discussion going before doing any more plunging.

Notty 02:59, Feb 5, 2004 (EST)

It's good that you brought this up. We have a page on our goals and non-goals, pages on Wikitravel:What is an article?, and some ideas about how articles should be laid out. We don't normally use sub-pages (pages with "/" in the title) with the exception of for districts of a city.
We normally try to sort restaurants, bars, and hotels by price range.
The place for general information about cuisine and food is in the "Eat" section of a guide. If you want to talk about Chinese food in the Bay Area, it should go in the Eat section of that article. I'd say it would merit a paragraph or so there. This would also be the place to put information about good places to go for certain kinds of cuisine.
Probably the main disconnect for new contributors is thinking of Wikitravel as "only" a Web site. If that were the case, we'd probably be open to lots of teensy articles about tiny topics -- travellers could then just click through to find what they want.
But it's not the case. We really are trying to create compact, readable destination guides that are useful for the majority of travellers, in a variety of media -- print, Web, off-line digital format. So an entire article devoted to comparing types of Chinese food in one geographical region is kinda off-topic and not really what we want. --Evan 11:24, 5 Feb 2004 (EST)

Suburbs vs districts[edit]

Moved to Talk:Sydney although people's input still appreciated! -- Hypatia 08:39, 18 Sep 2004 (EDT)

Explicit exception for large airports[edit]

Following discussion on Wikitravel:Votes for deletion regarding Chubu International Airport, I hereby propose adding airports to the As an exception paragraph. Suggested wording:

  • large airports like Kansai International Airport, which are far from the cities they serve and major transit hubs (so many passengers travel through the airport without visiting the city)

Discuss. Jpatokal 21:54, 24 Mar 2005 (EST)

I agree. Chubu International Airport and Kansai International Airport conince me that it's helpful to give travellers a heads-up about airport oddities, that it's useful know in detail the many ways of getting from the airport to nearby cities (like the trains in Chubu; detail like this would overburden a city article). And when air travel becomes difficult, it's nice to know where the nearest hotel is. As major airports are an unavoidable part of large-distance travel, we should have articles on these challenges. -- Colin 02:59, 25 Mar 2005 (EST)
Agree (moved from Wikitravel:Votes for deletion): Big airports are becoming land transport hubs in their own right. Why travel into the city centre, when you can get straight there from the airport. London's Heathrow for instance has bus links to useful peripheral railway stations and coaches to all over the UK. Surely Wikitravel should be about making the nuts and bolts of travelling easier as well as giving informations on sights, towns & cities. DanielC 11:18, 24 Mar 2005 (GMT)
I do not know if an explicit exception should be made for big airports. Define what you mean by big anyway. I think the test should be pretty much as it stands in the guidelines now. The key is information overload. If you find you need to write more about the airport than the rest of the city then that may be a good sign it may need a separate article. Similarly if there is no city nearby, only the airport, then that qualifies already too. Perhaps more explanation is needed, but the rules should be simple and flexible. e.g. When an airport is a city, or town, in its own right (and some are) then it deserves an article. Also why limit ourselves to just airports? What about major ferry terminals, boarder crossings, railway stations, subways and other big transport facilities that the traveller is going to spend a lot of time in and have to navigate around. (I am not talking about every tiny little tinpot place, just the big ones with lots of platforms on different levels and with multiple access points, people, services and destinations.) Pinning things down too tightly could limit us in other exceptional cases that desrve articles as it limits discretion. -- Huttite 07:55, 25 Mar 2005 (EST)
I can't think of a single major ferry terminal, railway station or subway outside city limits. Shinjuku is the biggest station in the world and fits nicely in the district article, even if some kind soul someday draws a 3D map of the 100+ exits and 9 train lines within. Border crossings almost always have a small (or large) town on each side. Jpatokal 10:39, 25 Mar 2005 (EST)
I disagree. We can figure out exceptions on a case-by-case basis, without adding them here. --Evan 09:49, 25 Mar 2005 (EST)
Large airports are a class of exception and should be listed. The amount of ink already wasted on this, despite the fact that most everybody thinks Chubu's a decent article, shows that the rules are neither simple nor flexible by default. Jpatokal 10:39, 25 Mar 2005 (EST)
If we don't add large airports as a specific exception, then if someone nominates another one for deletion, then the presumption will be that they should be deleted and we'll need to debate it again for 14 days. If we add it is as a specific exception, then any relevant new articles are unlikely to be nominated. DanielC 22:40, 30 Mar 2005 (BST)
The question probably is: Where do you draw the line with large? Or with airports? I accept that some of these places should have articles, they probably deserve, even need, articles. I believe the criteria to be met already exist in the guidelines. Articles that satisfy the guidelines would not be deleted. Each of these places can be successfully dealt with on a case by case basis and, up till now, this has been the case. For myself, I ask that those who contribute to the exceptional article be prepared to give a reasonable explanation why an article is justified. For example: It employs 10,000 people who also live onsite or has 20 hotels with at least 100 rooms in each in its boundary or some other justificaton that says this is more than a piece of runway and an old drafty hangar that is used to keep the rain off waiting passengers. -- Huttite 05:21, 31 Mar 2005 (EST)

You'll note that my original definition specifies airports that are (a) far away from the cities they serve and (b) major transit hubs. If you really want, I can slap in numbers like "50 km" for (a) and "over 10 million pax/year" for (b), but I doubt this is what either of us are looking for.

The policy currently talks only about "attractions", which is not exactly the right word for an airport. I would suggest that, as a more generic approach, we merge "exception" and "another exception" paragraphs, and make it clearer that the list of examples below is just that, not an authoritative definition.

Here's a starting point:

We prefer that attractions and sites be included in the article for the place they're located (see where you can stick it for details). But we make rare exceptions for attractions or sites that are far away (too far for a day trip) from any city and would require an overnight stay, or so large and complex that the information about them would overload the city article. Some examples of possible exceptions include:
As with most decisions on Wikitravel, consensus drives the process, but we try to err on the side of consistency and not make these exceptions unless we absolutely have to.

Opinions? Edit at will. Jpatokal 05:42, 31 Mar 2005 (EST)

Sounds good to me. I await other opinons with interest. -- Huttite 05:46, 31 Mar 2005 (EST)
I like this formulation you have provided ("info... would overload the city article") for the exceptions. -- Colin 03:05, 6 Apr 2005 (EDT)
I took out the part about exceptions being "judged", since I don't think there's a well-defined process, nor should there be. I also added back in that exceptions are rare, and that these are attractions or features, not destinations. I think we really need to stay focused on travel guides, not just travel-related stuff that we feel like writing about. Otherwise, fine. --Evan 09:14, 6 Apr 2005 (EDT)
Sorry, I don't understand the reason you don't want "destinations". Most airports are hardly "attractions" and the same can be said for (say) border towns like Poipet, Cambodia (best snappy summary: "rhymes with toilet"), but travelers will still find themselves stuck there and thus Wikitravel should cater to them, no...?
So far we've mostly used "destinations" to mean cities, regions, countries and continents. Destinations almost always get their own article. I changed "attractions and features" to "attractions and sites". Do you have to use "destinations"? --Evan 10:36, 10 Apr 2005 (EDT)
Also, I think something has to be said to make it clearer that not every national park or large airport gets its own article, which is what the paragraph you cut out was trying to do. Jpatokal 06:09, 10 Apr 2005 (EDT)
"Rare exceptions"... "possible exceptions"... I thought it was clear, but I added in some more text to be specific that we want to follow the rules if possible. Edit at will. --Evan 10:36, 10 Apr 2005 (EDT)

I think we have consensus now and I've edited in the new definition. Yay! Jpatokal 11:21, 17 May 2005 (EDT)

> or so large and complex that the information about them would overload the city article

Does this means that as long as we have so much information on a specific airport that is enough to overload the city article, we can go ahead and publish that information, separating the airport into a separate article once we reach some reasonable limit in size? I.e. having enough useful information on airport, not its size or complexity of the airport itself is sufficient criteria for having a separate article for airport? --DenisYurkin 16:12, 15 February 2007 (EST)

Yes, at the end of the day. Jpatokal 03:41, 16 February 2007 (EST)

So, what is a good template for an airport article? Or should I just make one up?--Wandering 12:56, 12 July 2007 (EDT)

Ironically, the small city template fits large airports nearly perfectly. See Heathrow Airport for an example. --Peter Talk 13:08, 12 July 2007 (EDT)
Me too. See Kansai Airport or Chubu Airport for two more. Jpatokal 13:10, 12 July 2007 (EDT)

As we don't have a place where all airports listed, I stick it here.

Just came across a great resource on airports, http://www.cheapflights.co.uk/airports/. I think it's worth considering as a quite high-quality example of airport articles (and obviously a good source for research, too). --DenisYurkin 17:55, 3 March 2009 (EST)

Planes, Trains, and Cruise ships[edit]

So we have the conversation about airports above, one about Cruise Ships/Lines going on somewhere else and now train routes have come up. I just wanted to open up a general discussion of transportation-as-travel and how it should be handled. Personally, I love me a good train/boat ride, but I'm not sure how to deal with this intersection of destinations and travel topic. However it's done, it would be nice to see some consistency of course... Here's some articles for reference:

Ideas and thoughts please!

I see the articles about Transportation as travel as another way of seeing travel. Since transportation is generally how travelers travel, some article about the subject are reasonable. These sorts of article are generally continent wide things. Also, do not discount the value of these article for bringing website visitors and hence new contributors. Some other article for reference are:
In general, I see the transportation information as sitting in the Get in and Get around sections of a destination. However, when what you have to say starts needing to be repeated on every destination page in an area, country or region (and you are saying pretty much the same thing every time), AND it cannot be said in a few lines, THEN (and only then) should there be an article about it. There seems to be an undocumented cultural body of knowledge that local users of transport services know and acquire through everyday use that would help a traveler from out of town. For example: From Wikitravel articles I now know that in some parts of Europe fares are based on time on the service, not distance traveled, as is the case in New Zealand. Also, railway tickets are often purchased from a machine in the United Kingdom before boarding the train, rather than from the Guard on the train, as is customary in NZ. These sorts of cultural differences may upset or confuse travelers. Tips on saving money may also be helpful, (though copying the fare chart may not be - as fares change), as travelers can pay more than they need to, simply by not knowing the options. Knowing what to, and not to, expect is where these articles should go, in my opinion. We could even have a template!? -- Huttite 06:12, 9 Apr 2005 (EDT)
I just want to clarify that I think that these are important topics to cover and that the content has a lot of value. I'm just concerned about how to cover it. The Driving in Australia and other firm "travel topics" do a great job, but ig you look at the rail pages listed above, you get this weird place/topic intersection that I'm finding confusing. I guess the problem for me is the details-- in the Driving in Australia article no one is trying to explain what every road in Australia is like or every road trip. But Rail travel in North America has started to list all the major rail lines and where they go... maybe this is a good thing, I'm just not sure. Majnoona 10:27, 10 Apr 2005 (EDT)
Maybe I should throw my two cents in since I designed the Rail travel in North America format. I was trying to base the format off Discount_airlines_in_Europe. Also, I just noticed someone did a lot of editing. I'm not sure who, because I only have an IP. Some of the info the anon user added wasn't useful in the section it was placed in. I'll change that.
In the sub article Rail travel in North America/Amtrak Routes I note that there are 34 Amtrak routes and only list 8. These were the routes I (though some may disagree) thought have more importance/revelance than other routes. I tried to use routes that cover a major attractions. I.e. I explain routes that have multiple major destinations i.e. a Chicago; Salt Lake City; Reno, NV; and Sacramento, CA instead of a route that covers mostly NY state two Northern Ohio routes and Chicago.
Mostly we have tried to limit sub-articles on the grounds that having all of the information a traveller might need on a destination/topic in a single article is better for travellers. With very few exceptions travellers don't have access to the internet while actually exploring a new destination, etc. so we try to keep the information easy to print. It's easier to print a single web page than it is to print a parent page and a bunch of sub-pages. This is especially true if you are in an internet cafe and want to limit the time (and money) you spend browsing Wikitravel, but would like to print out some useful information about where you are or where you are going next. -- Mark 02:18, 12 Apr 2005 (EDT)
I think it may be wiser to use sub article to keep an article clean/easy to use. How this sub article should be formatted is a valid argument, because you can get into things like routes that cross regions or route names. I would go with the latter, because a lot of the time routes can cross multiple regions. Sapphire 01:52, 12 Apr 2005 (EDT)
P.S. I noticed that Huttite mentioned fares. I'm against adding fares to info, unless the author stresses its only an estimate. I refuse to add fare prices, because there are too many factors that can change a fare in a moment - oil prices, government assistance, lay offs, service changes. Sapphire 01:58, 12 Apr 2005 (EDT)
I mentioned fares in several contexts.
  1. The basis e.g. Based on time, sector or distance or some other measure, such as free or fixed charge. I think this sort of explanation is very helpful to the traveler and should be explained, especially if it is unusual.
  2. I think the tariff or charge per fare measurement unit should not be included in detail although a typical or maximum fare should be given to indicate expected cost. There should be a URL or contact details to allow one to find detailed and current fare information.
  3. Discount or money-saving options should be indicated.
  4. Purchase method and location should be indicated. E.g. Exact cash fare as no change given, Purchase at ticket office or vending machine before boarding or Electronic tickets - must be booked and paid in advance, etc.
- Huttite 07:26, 13 Apr 2005 (EDT)

Chicken Bus[edit]

I'm travelling right now in Guatemala. One colourful form of transportation is the chicken bus, a colourfully-decorated, insanely driven, overcrowded, underpowered bus used by the locals. It merits a sidebar in many of the Guatemala guidebooks I've read. It's described as a cultural experience worth sampling. The chicken bus options should be described in the Getting There and Getting Away section of most destination articles in Guatemala. Yet there is no article on chicken busses. Reading Wikitravel:What is an article?, I get the impression that Wikitravel doesn't have a place for an article on chicken busses. If so, we are missing the boat, err, bus here. Where should the chicken busses be written up? JimDeLaHunt 18:15, 20 Dec 2005 (EST)

Under Guatemala#Get around#By bus. Jpatokal 20:04, 20 Dec 2005 (EST)
Good suggestion. I think the topic is an appropriate place to write up the material. However, it's not straightforward to link to. It's easy for a novice editor to make a link to [[chicken bus]], but harder to come up with the link format of [[Guatemala#Get around#By bus|chicken bus]]. Maybe we need an article called chicken bus which redirects to Guatemala#Get around#By bus? JimDeLaHunt 20:07, 21 Dec 2005 (EST)
Go ahead. HTML-wise "Guatemala#By bus" will actually suffice. Jpatokal 20:25, 21 Dec 2005 (EST)
There's no reason for a "Chicken Bus" article. The information clearly goes into Guatemala. Here's the reason: One way people use Wikitravel articles is by printing them out. If we were to make separate articles for modes of transportation or attractions then you'd have to spend quite a bit of time printing out all the stuff you need for a given destination. If we include all of the pertinent information in the destination article then the user only has to print once. In fact the user is likely to only print once anyhow, so if your Chicken Bus info is in a separate article the user will never see it.
Agreed that printouts are one way to use Wikitravel, but what about on-line browsing? In that form, you can follow links. (This discussion arose because I did the wiki thing of linking to an article I thought should exist, in an article about a destination.) The merit of an article entitled chicken bus is that you can link to it from many articles. It can be a place to put more detailed information about chicken busses for people who expect to do lots of travel that way, and multiple photos for people who want to just learn more. The drawback of putting chicken bus info only in the [[Guatemala#by bus]] section is that we have to keep that part concise in order to keep the Guatemala article a reasonable length to print out. JimDeLaHunt 19:04, 23 Dec 2005 (EST)
It is all very well to create a link to an article about a chicken bus but that is a mode of transport and if we are having articles about transport we should have a hierachy for those, which would be Transport >Land > Public > Bus > Chicken. We do not have many, if any, other article about Buses, yet. So if we were to accept Chicken bus as a legitimate article topic then we would need to accept all the other modes of transport as legitimate topics. If you are going to be writing about the Chicken buses then you should first write about it in Guatemala and have perhaps a summary of information in each Guatemala article that you mention Chicken bus. If the article about Guatemala then becomes dominated by the information about Chicken buses then you have a case for having a separate article, but not beforehand. Besides, when I am reading a Wikitravel article on-line and I come across a term like Chicken bus I want to read about it immediately in the article rather than having to move away, wait for a new page to download, to find out what is being discussed, then come back - in other words it save the reader time. To paraphrase what we also say about external links: "We need the information here(now) not there(later)". Yes we may duplicate a paragraph a few times. But that is the compromise we have made by deciding the granularity of articles we write about. I also think that your question has already been answered in the discussion below too - in a similar way. - Huttite 20:36, 23 Dec 2005 (EST)
Mark resumes: Additionally we need for Wikitravel articles to be easy to find. I find it really unlikely that a traveller who doesn't already know about the Chicken Bus would ever type that phrase into the search box. However it's entirely likely that they would type "Guatemala". Therefore if you make a separate article for "Chicken Bus" it will have much much lower readership than if you put it in the article on Guatemala. I imagine you want the information read, otherwise you wouldn't be here, so don't go hiding it in its own article. -- Mark 02:56, 22 Dec 2005 (EST)
We can have sidebars in Wikitravel as well, so why not put it in one, in the By bus section? (Example: Tokyo#Get in) Assuming that chicken buses are among the most unique and interesting things in Guatemala -- we don't want too many sidebars.
Mark, wouldn't breadcrumb navigation/isIn, or whatever it's called, enable a user to print out a whole tree of articles, in this case automatically including Chicken Bus in the Guatemala tree? Of course that's when the system has been implemented, and I agree that right now (and even in the future) it shouldn't be an article on its own. -- Paul Richter 03:49, 22 Dec 2005 (EST)
No, I don't think breadcrumb navigation would help one find "Chicken Bus". IsIn and hence the breadcrumbs are for Geographical Hierarchy. It makes no sense at all to use them for modes of transport or attractions (apparently Chicken Bus is both) - to do so would screw up the RDF.
Besides even if there were to be some kind of breadcrumb for "Chicken Bus" that still would not help readers find the article in the first place. I'm going to stand by the notion that putting that sort of info in a sub-article effectively hides it. I want to be able to print once and have the entire destination guide. Already I have to print an extra time to get the map if any, which is a necessary evil I suppose.
For an example of a guide which has sub-pages for each and every little thing check out [1]. Try using it for actual travel. It's a PITA (IMHO). This is what we're trying to avoid here.
Now, I suppose that a sidebar which keeps the information there on the page would be fine, but I would prefer that we stick to the listing format we've got. What would be really cool is a Photo of a Chicken Bus. -- Mark 05:16, 22 Dec 2005 (EST)
Yes, I agree that Guatemala/Get Around/Chicken Bus is the best place to put this info. One side note: I would like to use some sort of RDF relationship to say, "Article X is closely related to Article Y". It wouldn't be the same spatial relationship as used in the IsIn template, but it'd be similar. --Evan 10:57, 22 Dec 2005 (EST)

Added an initial couple of paragraphs on Chicken busses under Guatemala#By bus. We'll see how it goes. It occurs to me that I could also carve out an article in Wikipedia too. There isn't one there now. JimDeLaHunt 11:23, 24 Dec 2005 (EST)

Template for regions with small centers of population[edit]

Moved from Wikitravel talk:Using Mediawiki templates --JanSlupski 04:39, 11 Apr 2005 (EDT)

I have one point I'd like to raise: I wonder whether a new format should be designed for regions like Everest in Nepal, possibly based on the 'small city' format. Although the centers of population along the trek are listed as 'cities' in Wikitravel, in reality they are generally no more than a few houses - the biggest village being about 50 houses, with many consisting of no more than two or three dwellings. If each or these villages are designated their own page, as in say the listings for cities in a country, I wonder what information could be used to complete the pages. At a stretch all the lodges could be listed under the 'sleep' section, though as they are all of similar design and cost and there are no street names or telephones, this would only be a list of names. Possibly the 'see' section could have information about which mountains are visible from a particular village. Otherwise, every village is pretty much the same. Also, I wonder of the benefit for the traveler to have this information spread out over 10 or 12 pages. In the 'small city' format, all information is convenietly included on the one page, irrespective of its location within the city - for example the western part of town may have beaches, while to the north there might be a castle. However, as neither of these districts have enough attractions to constitute being individual pages within themselves, they are included under the general heading of the city in which they are located. Anyway, just throwing out some ideas...

I think Itinerary could be best option for this kind of article. --JanSlupski 04:39, 11 Apr 2005 (EDT)
  • Hi Jan, that's a good suggestion. However, it brings me to another question: What should 'Itinerary' pages be listed under on the main country page? I note that the 'Appalachian Trail' is listed as being in the U.S., but there is no mention of the trail on the U.S. page. So, for example, what should the Everest trek be listed under on the Nepal page? It is already listed under treks, but it seems that the format used on the page does not comply with the Wikitravel style. I'm very happy to amend it if someone points me in the right direction. Thanks again for your suggestions and for moving my question to the correct page.

A Comprehensive Travel Guide?[edit]

I've got it! It's called wikioutdoors! I've just copied the careys creek track article there. It's great to know where I can stick it! So maybe that's where flower ridge needs to go.Nankai 21:42, 25 February 2007 (EST)

I'm seeking wider discussion of the scope of WikiTravel as a "comprehensive travel guide". I wrote up the Flower Ridge node based on my dissatisfaction with local hiking guidebooks, but the feedback I've received suggests that this is outside the scope of WT. Considering you can sleep there, can someone point me to another general rule that excludes it? -- Vagary

I think it's within the scope of Wikitravel, but the formatting of the article doesn't really fall into either of the existing boxes we have, namely the Wikitravel:Park template or the Wikitravel:Itinerary article template. I think a trail is, by nature, closer to an itinerary because you're suggesting a route through a large destination — could you try reworking it as such? Jpatokal 22:56, 28 Jun 2005 (EDT)
So far we've just talked about the templates and the rule-of-thumb of do you sleep there?, but that's not really enough to answer the "why" question about doing it this way or that way. Here's why we do it that way:
Wikitravel is first and formost for travellers. This includes all kinds of travellers, those who can afford a fancy hotel, and all the books you can recommend, as well as those travellers who are on a shoestring and have been wandering for 2 years and have just happened into town with their backpack and are at an internet café trying to find something out about your town. This is why we primarily make destination guides. A destinati on guide allows someone visiting a given destination to print once and have all the information we can provide about that destination. Printing once is important because internet cafés charge by the hour, or sometimes by the minute. If you are at one and you discover that your destination, say Flower Ridge is documented as 40 trails on 40 different pages then you have a problem because you only have enough time/money to print 2 or 3 destination pages and check your email (this is vital to some contemporary travellers, pretty much the same ones who use Wikitravel).
This said, if you want to keep documenting your destination by individual trails, please go ahead! Your contribution is most welcome indeed! Thank you very much. Please don't be offended however when somebody combines the pages you contribute into a single destination page. -- Mark 01:23, 29 Jun 2005 (EDT)
This discussion touches upon something that I've been thinking about lately...how to cover subjects like specific trails and byways where you can follow the whole route from end to end, or simply see whatever section interests you. Take a look at http://www.byways.org . Many of the suggested itineraries cross state lines, and there is no obligation to see things in any sequence.
One good example is the Great River Road, which extends north-south along the Mississippi River. Another is Iowa's Loess Hills, which the state tourism office promotes as a destination in of itself, even though the hills meander here and there in the western part of the state. The Pacific Coast Highway might also fall into this category.
These examples may not be as compelling enough for an entire article in the same way as Grand Canyon National Park, but their size makes them harder to cram into a city listing. -- Mikito 01:53, 29 Jun 2005 (EDT)
The great river road, in my opinion, is a good example of an itinerary, especially since it passes through multiple states. I think it's also worth mentioning it in articles for destinations it passes nearby, in the Get in or Get out or possibly even Get around section (Quad cities?).
I think a single hiking trail is way way too granular though. Think about what it would be like to try to print out 50 different guides for the 50 different hiking trails in a given park in a situation where you are paying for access according to time. If you can sleep in the park, then it can be a destination and all the different trails can go in there.
By the way, Evan, can we get rid of the "this page is getting to big" warning? I believe it runs counter to our goals in this regard. -- Mark 05:15, 29 Jun 2005 (EDT)
I agree completely with Mark's points above. There is a point when a trail becomes an itinerary (the Appalachian Trail is one extreme example), but the limiting factor seems to be whether or not the trail is its own destination or whether it is within another destination. In the case being discussed, people don't visit the Flower Ridge Trail, they visit Strathcona Provincial Park. For the sake of clarity, if there is eventually just too much detail in the Strathcona article then it can be sub-divided into districts (that could potentially be based on trails), but it's a bit of a slippery slope to take an article that is little more than a stub and start out by creating sub-articles for each and every trail.

Hmmm. Does this mean that when you visit Careys Creek Track you are really visiting Careys Creek Conservation Area? Do I just not get it? A trail guide is a genre that has been around (in print) for years and years, the wiki method really ought to be the best way to run one. Trail guides in print in my part of the world suck. I really thought wikitravel would be the place for them. Just let's make a Trail template already - nankai 25 jan 2007

Still, this is a wiki, and every user is a contributor and an editor, so please plunge forward and add as much detail as you like, but be aware that other users may then attempt to integrate that information back into the parent. -- Wrh2 05:40, 29 Jun 2005 (EDT)
I've thought of one more way to try to clarify this: Wikitravel is not just a single travel guide, rather it is a collection of travel guides for a collection of destinations. We want every one of our travel guides to be comprehensive, which mean put everything you can think of about a destination into the guide.
A very fine level of granularity is a really easy trap to fall into on the web, but then you get pages which are almost all navigation and no substance. This is a problem we've observed with a few other travel guide sites, and we'd like to avoid it. -- Mark 05:22, 29 Jun 2005 (EDT)
Wow. Nicely said, sir. --Evan 11:00, 29 Jun 2005 (EDT)
Vagary: good question. I think that trail guides are extremely useful for hikers and bikers, but require a lot of upkeep, and they challenge how our other destination guides are laid out. I think they most closely match to itineraries. My initial suggestion would be to leave them out, since I think there are hundreds of trails in parks I know of, and expanding that around the world is a staggering task.
However, I do agree that hiking and biking are another way of seeing travel. I'd like to suggest that interested people start an expedition to see how trail guides fit into the rest of Wikitravel; to perhaps work up some scheme for linking trail guides from the "normal" park guide, and perhaps work on a few sample articles? I think that itineraries are a good start, but there are probably a lot of tweaks that would need to be made
Finally, I note that we don't use the word "comprehensive", but rather "complete".... which is admittedly more of a zen koan or a Borges short story than a realizable goal. --Evan 11:00, 29 Jun 2005 (EDT)

Festivals[edit]

In the current article on Mecca there is some discussion about having a link for the Hajj. According to Wikitravel:What is an article?:

"As another exception, and an even rarer one, certain exceptional or singularly important festivals/events could have their own articles. Examples are:"

At the moment I don't think there are any festival/event articles, and a strong case can be made that the Hajj can & should be described in the Mecca article, so can this exception be removed for now? If in the future there is a need for detailed articles on festivals then the issue can be re-visited. -- Wrh2 16:13, 30 Jul 2005 (EDT)

The problem here is that the Hajj involves a very large number of people crossing borders in order to attend an event in a single destination. The fact is that travellers from different countries will have different problems in reaching Mecca, problems which should not necessily have coverage in the Mecca artical. -- Mark 16:47, 30 Jul 2005 (EDT)
In that case since the article would mostly be about "different problems in reaching Mecca", if someone wrote such an article couldn't it be seen as an itinerary, and thus not need a special exception in Wikitravel:What is an article? The two concerns I have are 1) there should be some consistency between "What is an article?" specifically calling out the Hajj as an exceptional case, and the Mecca article not having the Hajj as a link and 2) exceptions should be made only when absolutely necessary (IMHO) so it seems premature to make festival/event articles special cases in "What is an article?" since none yet exist. -- Wrh2 17:13, 30 Jul 2005 (EDT)
I made an attempt to plunge forward and clarify things a bit. The examples of exceptions now all link to existing articles, and nothing in the current text would preclude something like the Hajj from ever becoming an article (events are specifically mentioned as possible exceptions). Hopefully this is an improvement, but if not revert away. -- Wrh2 15:59, 31 Jul 2005 (EDT)

Mountain Ranges[edit]

I noticed today that the Andes Mountain Range is the number two (and maybe now the number one) most wanted article, but it makes me wonder, is an article about the mountain range appropriate? I've found the Swiss Alps and the New Zealand Southern Alps have articles, but there doesn't seem to be any specific mention in the guide as to whether or not we should have them. Opinions? -- Ilkirk 15:45, 26 Aug 2005 (EDT)

It seems like they fit in under 'Continental Sections' as they:
  • can be large enough to span countries,
  • can be destinations,
  • and you can sleep in (on) them.
How about the Rockies or the Cascades? Himalayas? I would consider articles for these before I would have considered one for the Appalachian Trail, not that I don't think it deserves an article. For me, the (perceived) conflict comes from the direction to not have articles for single attractions. (also from: 'This is not an atlas.') I would also consider Andes Mountain Range before I would consider one for Disneyland or even Angkor Wat, based upon size and the amount that you would need to know if you were traveling there. -- repayne 16:40, 26 Aug 2005 (EDT)

Non-Destinations[edit]

What are people's thoughts on articles on non-destinations - towns etc. that are only really of interest to locals, probably not even other people from the same country. Recent examples in the UK are: Brackley and (to a lesser degree) Hitchin. There also seem to be quite a lot of places in the USA that appear to be only of v.minor interest. Are these just vanity articles by people just wanting to write about their home town?

For me, they only serve to distract attention from the actually interesting places in each county / state. Should they be highlighted as only of minor interest, or deleted?

P.S. I wrote this several weeks ago, but decided not to post it. Now someone has started to write articles on very minor counties in North Dakota, with only a few people living there. Is this this start of a new Slippery Slope? DanielC 16:02, 8 May 2005 (EDT)

We encourage people to write about their home towns -- there is no minimum size. The only requirements are those in Wikitravel:What is an article?. Keep in mind that we intend to be a guide for all travellers, not just tourists. So if someone needs to travel to Nowhereville (North Dakota) to visit their mom, we want to be helpful.
While I'm not fond of using counties to subdivide states into regions, it's a good solution for a state you're unfamiliar with. They can always be recategorized later. -- Colin 19:54, 8 May 2005 (EDT)
Highlighting non-traditional destinations is one of the things that sets us apart from other guides that only have room to focus on the obvious tourist spots. Minot North Dakota is one of our favorite examples-- you probably wouldn't plan a trip out of your way to go there, but people end up there for weddings, business, etc. If you're talking about User:Stavp-- he's covering all the places he ends up on business, and I assume he's not the only one at his meetings, there are people interested.
As for "vanity articles" -- who better to write about a place than the locals? When I moved to Geneva, my mom gave me a copy of a Switerland guide-- I looked up Geneva only to see a single sentence "Expensive and uninteresting: don't bother going here." Not very useful for someone about to move there... I'd hate for us to start judging the "value" of different destinations (I'd have to argue against most of Florida and Los Angeles for example ;-) Majnoona
Well, you can see why I had second thoughts about writing this the first time. Anyway, now you are listening...
Who are the travellers we are aiming at? My impression from the Wikitravel:Goals and non-goals page was that the primary audience was travellers/tourists planning and doing trips away from their home area for which the main purpose was travel/tourism (and with a secondary, far less numerous target of people who happen to "land" in a place). In which case one of the primary tasks of any guide is to highlight interesting (which of course is different for everyone) places that it is worth your time / money visiting. My concern is that if Wikitravel moves towards being "encyclopedic", information overload leads to Wikitravel becoming less, not more useful. The focus on vanity articles stems from this. Locals are often over-enthusiastic about their area and can lack the distance / perspective to direct people to the worthwhile places or even admit that their hometown is actually quite boring. Plus, the smaller the place, the less likely that other Wikipedians will rebalance the article / area. One thing you notice about printed guides is that they scale from guides about a whole continent to ones about a small part of country, down to individual towns, but each tries to highlight places that it's readers would most enjoy visiting. For Wikitravel, this task is much harder but this is the real "added value" real, informed, knowledgable and enthusiastic travellers bring.
Now my chance to agree (somewhat): Yes, articles on obscure places by informed writers are what can set Wikitravel apart. The Falkland Islands is a good example of this. I am half way through trying to do articles on lots of places in Sicily, and I will surely get upset if someone tells me that Sciacca isn't worth an article. I do think, however that an article on Munich in Cavalier County (North Dakota) is somewhat different. I am not (necessarily) proposing that there shouldn't be an article on it, but we should somehow find a way to put it's worth in context. In my "Rough Guide" (similar to Lonely Planet) to the USA , North Dakota has only 4 pages out of 1000 (0.4%) (it's way of (un)highlightimg the area's importance to "travellers"). The Theodore Roosevelt National Park is highlighted as worth visiting, as are about 5 other towns. As currently laid out, Wikitravel could have over 100 articles for this state. If we have decided to have all these articles, are we not doing a dis-service (readers come first) to our general readers planning trips unless we do more to adequately signpost to them only the principal attractions in this state, whilst leaving potential business travellers the opportunity to have an article on the town they will be staying in. We do have (almost) unlimited space, but do our readers have unlimited patience? DanielC 15:38, 9 May 2005 (EDT)
It doesn't matter how much patience they have, because they can read as much or as little as they like or don't. I really doubt that anybody will read every single page.
Now, think of it this way. If you are "stuck" in Minot some night, wouldn't you prefer that we have decent coverage so that you can figure out where to eat or find a drink? Or maybe you'd rather be left to figure it out on your own. Me, I prefer Wikitravel.-- Mark 15:50, 9 May 2005 (EDT)
I don't think Daniel is arguing for the complete elimination of "minor" destinations (although I could be wrong), but I think his point is that when planning a trip the "must-see" destinations should somehow be made more obvious. For example, when coming to San Francisco, information on Golden Gate Park, Chinatown, and Pier 39 shouldn't be buried by pages about Fremont, Walnut Creek, and other places that people are unlikely to want to see.
Would it be possible to add a "Highlights" or "Suggested Itineraries" section to the templates to provide a way of telling people "Hey, you really don't want to miss this"? That way someone stuck in Minot could still find hotel information, but a visitor to the US wouldn't necessarily think Wikitravel is putting Minot on the same level as New York (city). Wrh2 16:19, 9 May 2005 (EDT)
The region templates already include highlights for cities. And the See and Do sections list highlights and refer you to the correct article for more information. For example, Fremont is not a major destination, so it is only listed in the smallest enclosing region South Bay (Bay Area), but San Francisco is listed in Bay Area (California), California, and USA. Perhaps it's confusing that our Main Page includes featured articles rather than important articles. But if you just skip one level down by clicking North America, Africa, etc, I think you'll find major destinations strongly favored over the obscure in the directory (or at least, they are supposed to be). -- Colin 17:12, 9 May 2005 (EDT)

This just cropped again on VfD in the following good comment:

From the context, that test appears to have been formulated to distinguish between a destination (which can have its own article) and an attraction (which must be included in a larger article), not to determine whether a destination is signficant enough to require a separate article. What if a locale can't even fill out the "small city" template (e.g. lacking anything to "do" or "see")? Wikipedia has a rule that any article that will never be more than a stub shouldn't be its own article; wouldn't a similar rule be useful here? Otherwise, what's to stop someone from creating an article for every street in their city that has a motel (calling it a "neighborhood" or "district")? Not particularly useful to the traveller. Saying that any B&B could be put its own article simply because it passes the sleep-there test seems like a very slippery precedent. I also agree with Bill's comment about not wanting Wikitravel to become a Wikipedic census-dump. - Todd VerBeek 12:56, 30 March 2006 (EST)

My opinion is largely in line with Mark's — it's perfectly fine for every single podunk village in North Dakota to have an entry, as long as the creator can put some content in there. An empty Bent Arm Pit (Wyoming) is useless, but if the article lists Bob's Burger & Lube as a place to eat and the Spanked Monkeys Motel as a place to sleep it can do some good if somebody ever needs to go there. For any selective subset of Wikitravel content (say, a printed guide to North Dakota), the compiler can draft their own list of interesting places and just ignore the chaff. Jpatokal 10:33, 6 April 2006 (EDT)

We typically highlight the most important cities, towns, and parks by linking to them from higher region or country levels. For example, if one were doing a "pocket guide to Mexico", they could probably just do the main Mexico article, the articles listed in Mexico#Cities (and their districts), and the Spanish phrasebook. If you were to do a guide to the Yucatan, there would be smaller cities that may not show up in a guide to Mexico. As the microscope focuses in on an area, the types of cities that are in view are smaller. We hit a "hard stop" with cities, though, and only make articles about non-city things as exceptions.
Sitting in London or Chennai, one may think that a detailed guide to Lake Tahoe, made up of guides to each of the small towns and parks that surround that lake, is silly in the extreme. I can say quite clearly that such a guide is not only conceivably but provably useful, if we count the number of such guides that are sold. It's probably best to accept that the importance of a guide is a matter of perspective and distance; and that we should probably think 4 or 5 times before getting rid of a guide altogether. --Evan 10:48, 6 April 2006 (EDT)

Random chatter[edit]

Swept in from the Wikitravel:Travellers' pub:

I recently stumbled across Robert Young Pelton's Come Back Alive http://ComeBackAlive.com/ . It describes traveling to some places that normal, sane, rational people would never list in a travel guide. So, should we mention these places in WikiTravel ? :-) --DavidCary 18:38, 23 Apr 2005 (EDT)

Which places? Apart for the title and the skulls it seems fairly normal. We already cover Norhtern Ireland, Jungles etc. -- elgaard 19:37, 23 Apr 2005 (EDT)
If it is (or could be) a destination, why shouldn't Wikitravel mention it? Some travelers are not normal, sane, or even rational. Just because a normal travel guide doesn't mention the place is no reason not to have a article in Wikitravel. Consider Grytviken; no normal, sane, rational travel guide publisher would consider listing such a place - because there is no money in it. The fact Wikitravel does, in some detail, with a picture, because someone loves the place, is good enough for me to think the article worthwile. -- Huttite 21:16, 23 Apr 2005 (EDT)
A lot of the out-of-the-way places don't make it into major travel guides because not enough people visit those destinations to make a book profitable. Anyone visiting one of those places is then stuck to figure things out on their own unless a site like Wikitravel helps them out (having an indepth article on the Falklands would have saved me countless hours a year ago). Using Grytviken as an example, it gets at most a few pages in some of the travel guides on the Antarctic, but Wikitravel will eventually probably be the only place that fully covers the place, including such oddities as the bar in the British Antarctic Survey station and a bit of history on Tim & Pauline Carr (the only full-year residents). IMHO, the more obscure destinations are what most belong on this site, and even for the people that never visit them they're great to read about. Wrh2 22:03, 23 Apr 2005 (EDT)
I think WikiTravel is tailor-made to cover areas like this. As a perfect example, in 2003 a friend and I headed to East Timor; just a few months after indepdence and as the UN was beginning it's withdrawal. Although the country was safe to visit, there were no useful travel guides. The only info available was written during Indonesian occupation, and since then the government, language, currency and day-to-day life had all changed. Not too mention the complete lack of infrastructure after retreating Indonisan militias razed the entire country to the ground. My friend and I spent our four weeks in the country researching like travel writers just to get by: looking for accommodation (there usually was none and we had to sleep in police stations), grilling Dep of Tourism officials and asking for lots of local advice. If I'd known about WikiTravel after my return I'd have converted my notes into the most accurate travel guide available at the time. But I think that sites like Come Back Alive (and similar others out there part of the 'danger travel' subculture) are little warped in their focus: travelling to war-torn countries like Sudan and Iraq for the 'thrill' and danger of it seems patronising to the people who have to endure day-to-day life in those countries. Allyak 01:56, 31 Aug 2005 (EDT)

A conflict of goals[edit]

We want articles to be as self-contained as possible, i.e. a traveller should not have to go to multiple articles if he is going on a short day trip to a place, for example. We also want attractions to be listed in the specific city or other lowest-level geographic unit they are in. What do we do when these come into conflict with one another. This happens frequently in India - for example, a visit to "Alibag" will actually involve visits to Kihim and Mandwa beaches, and a trip to the Murud Janjira fort, all of these are in different villages, and in fact Murud is a different taluka which is two levels of hierarchy away from Alibag. The city of Alibag (as distinct from the taluka of Alibag which contains the city) is very small and contains nothing worth seeing. I've used common sense and put all the attractions under Alibag, as that is where a traveller will be looking for the information.

Following the hierarchy too strictly will end up fragmenting things, with one article per attraction. I suspect we are facing the same problem with Digha and Mandarmani, and probably all those beaches of Goa. Chances are, every single beach of Goa is named after the little village it is in, but there is no reason to have one article per beach. I don't know if other parts of the world have this problem. I supect the US doesn't because their cities sprawl, but other countries must be having a problem. I wonder how it's been fixed. --Ravikiran 09:17, 4 Jan 2006 (EST)

Thailand has had similar issues (eg. Phuket, Ko Samui, Krabi, all basically stretches of coastline with beaches dotted all over the place). I think the key is, as usual, whether there are facilities for somebody to sleep at the beach or fort in question. If yes, it's a destination, if not, it's an excursion from a destination.
Also note that administrative divisions are not the be-all and end-all of destinations: in your example, if there is no benefit to the travellers of splitting up the city and taluka, then don't. Jpatokal 21:37, 4 Jan 2006 (EST)

Monasteries[edit]

I'm wondering whether large monasteries should be afforded their own article if they pass the accommodation means teast. In many cases, a monastery is the sole attraction in a small town or village that they dominate, and by placing them under the name of the village does not allow for adequate discussion of the monastery's activities, history or architecture let alone providing info on 'eat' 'get in' 'sleep' etc etc. Of course, independent articles could only be for large monasteries that have sufficient attractions to deem them suitable as a destination. Smaller ones would still be placed under the heading of the local village/town. Recent cases of large monasteries being absorbed into an article of the nearest center of population are Eiheiji, Sera and more recently St.Joakim Osogovski Monastery (see discussion on vfd). However, on the other side of the argument are we opening a can of worms by doing this? Would university campuses also be eligable for a seperate article based on this criteria. Anyway, I'm sure that this question will continuously arise, and at the moment 'monasteries' are not specifically mentioned on the 'What is an article page? Maybe it should be. Anyway, I'm just throwing out some ideas here... WindHorse 4 April 06

I would think that it should be an exemption, however, I am against granting universities an exemption unless that university is the destination/town. Like the University of Cincinnati, sure its a very large university, however, you really can't sleep there, you can eat, and you can occasionally see performances, but I think it would make much more sense to put a link to the universities website in the town it is located in. Sapphire 23:22, 3 April 2006 (EDT)
The can you sleep there test is a rule of thumb, not an iron law. You can sleep on a doorstep, and you can sleep standing up in a subway train, but we're not going to have articles about specific doorsteps or subway cars.
I think that if a monastery (or university, or other large complex) is in or very near the village, the information should be in the village guide, too. We've got a way of making large attraction listings, and I think sleep, eat, drink (uh... probably more for universities than monasteries, unless they're brewin' monks) listings would fit OK, too. For example, if a monastery has a lot of interesting buildings, and a dormitory for guests, and an eating hall or restaurant, then put the monastery in an extended "See" attraction listing, list the eating hall separately in "Eat", and the dormitory in "Sleep". If there's some reason to be concerned that travelers might read about the monastery in "See" without knowing they could eat or sleep there, make a note in the attraction listing.
If the monastery (or university) is a good ways out of the village or town, such that it's kind of silly to associate one with the other, then, sure, I think it should be its own article -- much like a national park, a theme park, or other large out-of-the-city attraction. --Evan 10:20, 4 April 2006 (EDT)
Yup, that was the point I was going to make: we already have an exception clause for large attractions (ie Angkor Wat, Disney Land, etc) so I don't think we need a new guideline specificly for this type of thing. Unfortunatly this means that we have to go on deciding these things on a more-or-less case by case basis. How do folks feel about adding "Large Monasteries" and "Universities" to the Exceptions? I'm fine with this if it makes things easier. Majnoona 11:20, 4 April 2006 (EDT)
I don't like the idea of Universities becoming articles. I think they'll just be a place for graffiti, posturing and most of all, advertising. Every University/College is the "best" at this or won this academic/sports/intermural award, but how does that help a traveller? Universites can stay in the learn section. If they've got some absolutely amazing (which I doubt) food vendors, then list them in the Eat section. Any "Drink" style activities would be very unlikely to be officailly associated with the University itself, but instead on the perimeter of the campus, and thus they belong to the town. While there are plenty of University towns, I really doubt the University should trump the town itself. -- Ilkirk 11:15, 4 April 2006 (EDT)
I should have added the point that I can't actually think of an example of a university that would qualify... (though as a counter point I dont think we should avoid articles just on the possibility of graffiti/ect... oh, and outside of the USA lots of campuses have bars, even dorms...) so maybe just go with Monasteries for now? Majnoona 11:20, 4 April 2006 (EDT)
Kalahasti is another monastery article waiting to be either absorbed into the page of the nearest center of population or templated and established as an independent article. As I'm not sure what final conclusions were made regarding this subject, any ideas/suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks. WindHorse 9 April 06
It needs to be merged with Sri Kaalahasti, an article which already exists, and which happens to be the name of the town as well as the most famous temple in it. This is not an example of a monastery article. —Ravikiran 10:52, 9 April 2006 (EDT)
Now, as to the general question, I think that a monastery should have an article for itself if and only if it qualifies under the large attraction exception. If on the other hand, if it is a small monastery and a small village with nothing to see except a monastery, I'd actually prefer it if the information were rolled up to the region page - the county or district or whatever. I realise that this is just my preference, not policy. I think the superordinate policy is that an article should be as granular as a traveller would like it to be. I, as a traveller, would hate it if I had to go click-click-click, use the search function and ultimately get lost when I was planning a trip. Creating one article each for every village that happens to have a monastery close by seems like overkill to me. — Ravikiran 10:52, 9 April 2006 (EDT)

District named after a street[edit]

In many cities in the world, a district is named after a particular street. Two that come to mind immediately are San Francisco/Castro Street and Singapore/Orchard. It's a subtle distinction, but we've used it several times, and it's important to not apply the "streets don't get articles" idea toooo literally. Any way we can differentiate? --Evan 10:14, 24 June 2006 (EDT)

We could append the word "district" to them, but I'd rather not. One specific-case solution is that the Castro Street district is often called just "the Castro" so technically that's not the name of a "street". But as long as we make it clear in the intro of any such articles that they're about districts (e.g. "Castro Street is a district in San Francisco, named after the street where sequined leather chaps were first spotted in the mid 1960s..."), we avoid setting an unclear precedent. - Todd VerBeek 09:56, 19 July 2006 (EDT)

Theme parks[edit]

We've had a few articles about theme parks come into question recently (Knott's berry farm [sic], Six Flags Magic Mountain, Efteling, Cedar Point a few months ago). I can see value in having separate guides to some of them (as opposed to shoehorning that info into a "Do" listing in a city article), but I'm not sure our criteria clearly identify those. I think we all agree that Disney World should have its own article and that Deer Park Funland should not; the question is where to draw the line. Ye olde "can you sleep there?" test works well for disqualifying museums, nature trails, and all but the worst airports, but it's not as definitive with theme parks: many of them own a hotel which may or may not be within the park itself, and if they don't there's often independent lodging as close as the developer's real estate agents could get. And is the question of whether the nearest bed for hire is inside the gate or 100 yards away really the distinction we're looking for? I don't have an answer for how to decide, by the way... that's why I'm asking. - Todd VerBeek 09:36, 19 July 2006 (EDT)

"Can you sleep there?" fails to disqualify a bunch of things. You can sleep in a hotel, but we don't do individual hotel articles. Many streets contain a bunch of hotels, but we don't do individual street articles. I'm struggling with this myself with huge cities like Sydney and Melbourne that contain 200 tiny suburbs, 150 of which probably contain a motel or two (and almost nothing else of relevance to our users, ibarring 20 or so). We've clearly decided that some things that contain sleeping areas (individual hotels, streets, individual city blocks) aren't destinations worthy of individual articles. Therefore "can you sleep there" can't be a perfect rule. My own intuition is that things that aren't lived-in communities don't usually get their own articles, unless they're huge or have no obvious nearby community. So, no museums, no galleries, no airports and no theme parks. But that's not only less pithy than "can you sleep there?", but has just as many holes. Hypatia 04:51, 22 July 2006 (EDT)

What MIGHT NOT get its own article?[edit]

(a proposed addition to this page, after the "Exceptions" section, which I'd relabel "What MIGHT get its own article?")

At the same time, there are official places that might seem like they'd automatically be the subjects of articles, but really aren't good candidates for that. This is usually because the place isn't complex enough to be the subject of an article by itself, or the region boundaries are too artificial.

  • A small town or "census designated region" without lodging, restaurants, and/or identifiable attractions. (Info about these is usually best incorporated into an article covering a larger region.)
  • A government district or county that doesn't correspond to a useful travel region. (Sometimes a metropolitan area around a large city makes a better region, or a geographical area such as a river valley, lakeshore, etc.)

- Todd VerBeek 14:03, 28 July 2006 (EDT)

It might be nice to include some language explaining that the Wikitravel goal is to provide a guide that is useful for a traveler. Perhaps update your text to the following:
At the same time, there are official places that might seem like they'd automatically be the subjects of articles, but really aren't good candidates for that; not all towns are destinations, nor does every region need its own article. If a town isn't complex enough to be the subject of an article by itself then information about that town should be included in a parent region article. Similarly, if region's boundaries are too artificial or don't make sense from the traveller's standpoint then the region is probably not a good article candidate. As always, the traveller comes first and articles should support Wikitravel's goal of creating useful travel guides. Examples of places that might seem like article candidates include:
  • A small town or "census designated region" without lodging, restaurants, and/or identifiable attractions. Info about these types of destinations should instead be incorporated into a more-inclusive parent region article which will be of more use to a traveler.
  • A government district or county that doesn't correspond to a useful travel region. Sometimes a metropolitan area around a large city makes a better region, or a geographical area such as a river valley, lakeshore, etc.
-- Ryan 16:26, 28 July 2006 (EDT)
I like the way this is heading, but one thing: guidance like this isn't going to be "actionable," or at least not without controversy. How is this policy going to translate to Wikitravel:Votes for deletion? Shouldn't we at least mention that articles that are dubious on the grounds raised here may become candidates for deletion? Not quite sure what language to use, but it should be there. -- Bill-on-the-Hill 17:04, 28 July 2006 (EDT)
{{{itsfinehowitis}}}... Oh, wait, I haven't actually written that template yet. Anyways, I understand the motivation but I'd like to see the effort synchronized with Wikitravel:geographical hierarchy since some of these points are already made there. --Evan 17:22, 28 July 2006 (EDT)
I agree about synchronizing this discussion with the efforts to make the geographical hierarchy guidelines clearer, but I disagree with the "itsfinehowitis" comment - as Wikitravel is growing we're more frequently hitting issues for which the policy either doesn't exist or isn't as clear as might be hoped - the lengthy discussions currently ongoing on the Wikitravel:Votes for deletion page and the naming discussions on Wikitravel talk:Article naming conventions indicate that there are at least a few long-time contributors who should be familiar with existing policy and aren't finding clear, specific policies to help in guiding the decision-making process. That's not a criticism of Wikitravel's existing policies (which have served extremely well) but a growing pain brought about by the fact that the world doesn't conform to easy rules. We all want to see Wikitravel become the world's best travel guide, and these discussions are simply a way of trying to collaboratively figure out how to achieve that goal. -- Ryan 17:33, 28 July 2006 (EDT)
I agree, and I was more making fun of my own conservative tendencies w/r/t Wikitravel policies than making any comment on the proposal right now. The policies and guidelines here are made to evolve with the guide, and I think they always need to be revisited and refined. --Evan 18:01, 28 July 2006 (EDT)

A place for every single dot on a map?[edit]

I want to start up the discussion again due to the impeding debate on Congress. I think there is a place for small destinations on Wikitravel, but not when the place is so small geographically and if measured in population size that there's no eateries, shops, or things to do other than "hang out" as the author notes. Currently, policy is not clear on what may constitute as a destination and we're really going to need to develop the policy.

There are some people who think we should keep Congress simply because it is in fact a "place", but one of the non-goals is "Make an atlas. Although travel is intimately intertwined with geography, Wikitravel does not describe geographical features of the Earth just because they're there. Nor do we create separate articles for every crossroads with a name on the map."

I really can't fathom why we should permit villages with no accommodations, eateries, shops, or anything to do to have their very own pages. I can somewhat understand why we would let Wayne County's (Where Congress is located) Fredericksburg (Ohio) (which has rougly twice the population Congress does - 450 residents) have it's own page, because there are activities you can do, there is a place to sleep, and a restaurant and bar. I think the "Can you sleep there" litmus test needs to be extended to villages and cities, because if it can that's a better indication that the place may indeed be a destination and not just the ordinary speck on a map.

The prereqs don't exactly end there. You should be able to do something other than "hang out and relax". Sightseeing is a perfectly acceptable activity for me, but when there's nothing to see that's an indication that the place is not a destination. Lastly, there must be at least one restaurant and/or bar. Sadly, if we were to adopt the rules requiring one restaurant and something to do/see as the prereqs as the deciding factors to determine if a place is actually a destination half of the stops between Dayton and Toledo on I-75 would not qualify as "destinations" even though they have a gas station.

To clarify:

  • Extend the sleep litmus test to cities, towns, and villages.
    • If a place does have accommodation for travellers, not just family members, then things are looking up.
  • If the place has a motel, but does not have restaurants/bars or anything to do or see then it's not a destination.
  • If a place does not have accomodation, but has a lot to do, see, eat and drink then it's probably a valid destination. -- Sapphire 06:13, 16 October 2006 (EDT)
    • Bump. The issue that I see is not Congress, but whether because a "place" exists if that automatically grants it "destination" status. -- Sapphire 14:33, 17 October 2006 (EDT)
I like these, but with the caveat that even if a place has a lot to do, see etc. but nowhere to sleep it still shouldn't be considered a destination, for the simple fact that it wouldn't be possible for a traveller to spend more than a day there. There should perhaps be scope for extended listings for such places in the "Get Out" section of the nearest destination with places to sleep (I ran into just such an issue with Dalian, where nearby Lushun has a lot of attractions that can be visited but the town itself is closed to foreigners). --Paul. 06:03, 18 October 2006 (EDT)
I've thought about this a lot, just because it seems to matter so much to Andrew, Todd and others. I tend to protect the "rights" of a village to have its own article when I do get bored enough to cast a vote at the Votes for deletion page. Maybe there should be a "small village" template stating that there is little worth seeing or doing and no place to stay. Maybe they should be unorphaned differently than cluttering up a region. Yeah, probably neither of those ideas work. But those are two of the issues here. Otherwise, if your region article says to check out the amazing rock formations in East Podunk on a day trip, I'll want to know if there's a restaurant out there anywhere and whether I should pack a lunch even if there is... and whether my rock-hating spouse will have anything else to entertain her. So anyways, now I've wasted nearly an hour trying to craft a reply and I pretty much don't care which way this goes (but I strongly desire some clearer delineation). What I'd like to see if small villages/places are not acceptible as articles is the ability of admins (or two of them) to speedy delete clear instances of "too small" places. There could then be a place for someone to appeal the deletion. The amount of time spent on this is ridiculous. So much so that starting village pages has become a form of graffiti. Also, we shouldn't tell people to write about their home towns if we don't want to imply that every town can have an article. Let's face it, it's not just towns with no place to stay and nothing to do that make for weak articles. It's a very slippery slope. OldPine 07:32, 18 October 2006 (EDT)
Is Wikitravel:Votes for undeletion something you were talking about for appealing a deletion? -- Sapphire 07:54, 18 October 2006 (EDT)
Yes, and I was unaware of it. My thinking is that someone would at least have to spend some effort to get it reinstated. Perfect for protecting rights of those speedy-deleted would-be annoyers and others. Perhaps notice should be given at the time of deletion. OldPine 16:16, 18 October 2006 (EDT)
I just wanted to pipe up with the thought that not all travellers are tourists. In other words, sometimes you're in a place because you have to be, not because you want to sightsee. That said, I think that places that fail the "can you sleep there?" test need to have some other seriously redeeming feature (ie be Angkor Wat). All of this seems covered in our current policy. If you want to be more clear about "just cause it has a name doesn't make it a destination" that sounds fine, but you're going to have a hard time convincing me that places with a m/hotel aren't destinations. The reason we have that rule-of-thumb is exactly to avoid some people deciding what's a "worthwhile destination." We're just not going to get very far with something that says "you would want to go there" or "you should go there" or "it's worth a visit." Maj 10:09, 18 October 2006 (EDT)
I think your rationale for using Angkor Wat is somewhat flawed in this discussion because the reason why we allow Angkor Wat is because we make exceptions for places that are so large and complex that it is much easier to have its own page rather than include the information in the regional article or the "Get out" section of a page.
"In general, a good rule of thumb is that information about attractions, sites, and events should always be initially placed into the article for the place they're located in, and only when that information becomes large and complex should a new article be considered. As with most decisions on Wikitravel, consensus drives the process, but we try to err on the side of consistency and not make these exceptions unless we absolutely have to."
Most of these very small places are unlikely to become destinations for anyone other than the people that live there or that they can not qualify to have their own pages under the exception that was used to create Angkor Wat. -- Sapphire 10:41, 18 October 2006 (EDT)
I just meant to illustrate that we already have exceptions for places that dont have places to sleep, sorry if it confused the issue. Maj 10:48, 18 October 2006 (EDT)
Ai, nevermind I thought you were trying to say Congress was large and complex. -- Sapphire 10:57, 18 October 2006 (EDT)
My opinion on this issue has changed over time and is still evolving. I tend to share OldPine's opinion - if someone wants to write about their home town, I think we should find a way to encourage them to do so. The current Congress article has more info than many of the outline articles that are out there, and someone seemed (past tense, I think we've scared them off) interested in adding content to it. It is probably worthwhile to make it policy that articles for small towns NOT be VFD candidates, but instead be merge candidates; Template:Merge could be modified to provide more information about how and why to merge content, but I think we also need to find a way to make it clear that slapping a "merge" on an article is not a way to tell someone we don't want their content.
The flip side of the "home town" argument is our vandal friend who intentionally creates empty articles for map dots for the sake of getting attention; any article created for the purpose of trolling is obviously a subject for quick redirection/deletion, and I think we've been pretty good lately at handling those using the "admin discretion" clause in the deletion policy. -- Ryan 13:54, 18 October 2006 (EDT)
I agree that it's probably a good idea to let things grow a bit before discouraging development. Should we have a destination guide for every dot on the map? No. But I think that the bar is very, very low -- only the tiniest hamlets, without any amenities, should not get their own guide. I think in general it's best to give a location some time before VFDing it. --Evan 13:59, 18 October 2006 (EDT)
That's in line with my thinking. I'm not sure how much time you're thinking of there. There's a strong tendency is to lose track of anything not handled the same day. If we could track date the article was initiated and size of the article in bytes with some bot or something we could develop a list of dubious articles. Those with nothing in Sleep might be VFD'd after a certain time. Notice how I always want bots to do everything? :) OldPine 16:24, 18 October 2006 (EDT)
I really like the merge template idea. I would be nice to have some fairly friendly text specifically to prevent fear in the heart of new users covering their home towns... Maj 14:02, 18 October 2006 (EDT)
I've plunged forward and updated Template:Merge to hopefully strike a bit less fear in the heart. -- Ryan 16:27, 18 October 2006 (EDT)
I like the merge, too. Something else I didn't know about. Gotta get my head out of the articles and into this other stuff some time I guess. OldPine 16:33, 18 October 2006 (EDT)

Alright, so how about adding this to the policy:

We want you to create a guide to small towns, but ask yourself before creating the guide if it's actually a destination. If a town is so small it doesn't have very many activities, eateries, sights, or accommodations its unlikely to be a destination. Rather than creating a seperate article for this page include any relevant information in the nearest city/town's "Get out" section. Otherwise consider including the information in the region directly preceding preceding the place in the hierarchy.

On a side note, I don't think the contributor was scared away since he/she came back several times. -- Sapphire 17:07, 18 October 2006 (EDT)

---

The following moved here by request of Sapphire

  • Keep is my vote, separate article, not merged. Sounds like Wikitravel "will" be the most complete travel guide with coverage of places like Congress. I have got to say, may not be much of a place, but if I ever get close, I will visit. As time goes on we will see more people who are from small places, towns and villages finding the "wiki way" and making sure that their spot DOES have coverage. In my mind, the lack of coverage from anybody else, including some lady sitting in a town of 24,000 that thinks a place with a population of 197 "is nothing", is all the more reason for us to set aside a few bytes to coverage of Congress. I am not saying we need to cover a junction with or without a gas station, but if you go to Google, there are streets, people, post office and believe it or not.... It is a destination for at lease one Wikitraveler that created the article. If this one is deleted, then we need to come up with a policy of places we delete that are larger then just a crossroad and start doing a clean up, we have a lot of places that are small but bigger then a crossroad. Now, if we start including crossroads... then I know a few of those also. ha! -- Tom Holland (xltel) 06:26, 19 October 2006 (EDT)
I'm working developing a prototype of what a regional page may look like if we merge small places. I will probably always maintain that this is not a destination and I think we need to work out what exactly to do with these places. Congress has 1,346 bytes why not merge those 1,346 bytes and make Wayne County a much more useful guide? If you would please add your thoughts to the discussion about what to do about "every dot on a map". If you search for that phrase it should pop up. Anyhow, I'm working on this prototype I think it will make our regional guides much more useful and prevent fairly pointless guides from being created. Hopefully, I'll be able to 'unveil' it soon. -- Sapphire 06:52, 19 October 2006 (EDT)
I don't think any "other" change is necessary. I believe places this small with their own article is just fine as it is. No additional policy, merge template, hideitsomewhere template, treatitdifferent template, moveitwherewecantseeit template, or any other changes to policy or anything else to override the basic concensus that this is a "Keep" along with other small places that are covered in Wikitravel. Now, if this was "Yonkerville" in Missouri where at one time there was a combination gas station/bar/liquor store, but has long since closed, then I would say "merge", but this is a real "place" with real "people" and it does not need to be treated any differently then any other place just because it is small. I don't think it would be a good idea to list it on the Ohio main page, but why not a link on Wayne County or Wayne County (Ohio). gezzzzzz... give it up man and move on to something else then being the "king of small town delete". It's a little place that you don't like..... good.... don't go there! I suggest the lady in Wooster say away also. You really don't even have to click on the link and look at the listing if you don't want. But, please! just let it be. I am tired of saying "no, not that either". So, for your continued response to this in engergizer bunny style, my response is...... "no, not that either". thanks. -- Tom Holland (xltel) 07:29, 19 October 2006 (EDT)
The reason I'm spending so much time on this is so we don't get "Yonkerville in Missouri". (Plus, typing doesn't require too much energy) I was advocating that it be merged with Ohio. (Read VFD page for what I was suggesting.) I wasn't proposing to delete the content of Congress, but was instead proposing to move the content to Wayne County (I don't know where you got Ohio). User:Sapphire/Sandbox/Test is the type of merge that I'm thinking about and the reason I want it is for several reasons: 1. curtail a bunch of stub articles that won't grow (like this satire on "Owensville") with content, 2. Why are we sending users to another page to find out that while a small town is relaxing and romantic they can't sleep there, eat there, or golf there? If I were a first time Wikitravel user I would find that to be very annoying that I was sent to a different page to find out that a place while it has beautiful scenery and would be an excellent area to drive through if they want to see fall leaves there isn't much else. That type of guide does not require an its own page nor an additional piece of printer paper from a user's printer.
I kind of take insult to "King of small town delete" because it's a title I don't want and that's what I'm trying to prevent. I don't contest that Congress or anyother small village are real "places", but that doesn't grant them destination status automatically, because although travel is intimately intertwined with geography, Wikitravel does not describe geographical features of the Earth just because they're there. Nor do we create separate articles for every crossroads with a name on the map.
I don't have a problem with most small towns that are on Wikitravel, because they can actually become guides. For example: Fussen, Dalton (Ohio), or Kidron. The only time I do have a problem is when there is nothing for tourists, business people, or passersby to do, shop, eat, or see. That when the information does belong in the next highest guide in the heirarchy (in this case Wayne County (Ohio) or Wayne County). -- Sapphire 09:14, 19 October 2006 (EDT)
Opps... typo from a dumb small town hillbilly from the Ozarks. I did not mean to suggest the "content" of Congress be moved to Ohio, I ment to suggest that a "link" not be put on the Ohio main page. Sorry! My bad. As far as where the content goes, I think the concensus is it stays where it is. That was my vote. *Keep*. I am also sorry for getting personal, should not have done that and I appologize. As soon as we get it where towns, villages, and hamlets ARE listed and a crossroad where nobody lives is NOT listed (ie Yonkerville [2]) then all will be good. Not sure if that will fly, but I think it might. Hummmm thinking about a page for "Jolly Mill" [3] [4] in the Ozarks, naw.... it's an attraction and you can't sleep there, unless you have a tent. -- Tom Holland (xltel) 11:30, 19 October 2006 (EDT)
Clearly there's a deep philosophical split on this. No matter what the "outcome" there's always apt to be a battle about where the line is drawn. The result of the merge method is apt to be non-linked listings of all the small towns, combined with redirects of them back to where they are listed. I posted my first merge template yesterday on some town I don't remember in Maine. Gotta say, it didn't feel pleasing. There's something now hanging... it needs to actually be redirected some day... and the content merged if there was any. Empty is not so ugly and either way it needs to be listed somewhere anyways. What's the hang-up about a "destination". I gotta say I don't get it, either. Let's just keep these articles and say there's not much there and maybe give a general impression of the landscape or something. OldPine 12:00, 19 October 2006 (EDT)

Articles for state parks and national monuments[edit]

We have started to head down the slippery slope with these. I have defended keeping a national monument and lately there have been several articles created for state parks. If this is to be allowed, we need to open the policy a little wider for use of the park template and the policy about National Parks so these are allowed. I am all for this, but we need to get a consensus, change the policy OR put on the breaks and go a different direction. My argument for this is that these articles can be quite complex, off the beaten path and do not fit in a city article and get lost in region articles. I understand the test can you sleep there, but what does that really mean? A commercial place you can rent? I have slept in my car on the road and have stayed with relatives where there are no hotels/motels. A lot of parks close overnight and you are not allowed to sleep there, but there is normally somewhere close within a few miles. Wikitravel is growing and I think we should let it grow and go to the next level. -- Tom Holland (xltel) 09:24, 27 December 2006 (EST)

A very late reply to your post, but I have been delaying addressing the fact that we might need to go even further down this slippery slope. National and State (provincial in South Africa) Parks used to be the norm for nature conservation, but the world is changing fast. Some of the private reserves in South Africa are becoming as big and important as the National Parks. They are also starting to operate along the same model (and within the same legal and environmental frameworks) as the National Parks. Accommodation, game drives and other activities in these parks are often not offered by the reserves anymore, but by other private operators using locations in the reserves under concession licenses. Examples include Timbavati (Umlani Bushcamp is one of many accommodation options operating under concession in this reserve) and Klaserie (GwalaGwala is located in this reserve]). The two reserves mentioned above is luckily bordering on the Kruger National Park (with fences dropped between them) and we might be able to cater for them (and the other 20 or so private reserves bordering onto the park) under the get out section of the Kruger National Park or in something like a Greater Kruger National Park, but there are others private reserves that are growing and becoming more important and they are totally freestanding from any National Park. I am not yet ready to suggest that we allow articles for Private Parks, but it is probably something that we need to start thinking about as this trend towards private rather than National reserves will probably not only continue in Southern Africa, but also become common in other areas of the world. --NJR_ZA 16:14, 19 March 2007 (EDT)
I'd like to see Parks added as a class of valid article (for example, I think Muir Woods National Monument should be its own article since people are far more likely to visit it rather than Mill Valley. But that said, we'd also need to do something to encourage really tiny museum-like parks to stay within their enclosing article (e.g. the John Muir National Historic Site). -- Colin 16:23, 19 March 2007 (EDT)
National parks are well enough established as article subjects (article and map templates, featured articles, star/nominees) that they aren't really exceptions any more. State parks and national monuments that are similar in character to typical national parks (just administered by different bureaucracies) are the current "exceptions". I don't have a problem in principle with also making exceptions for private parks that are similar to national parks (just administered privately). I'll take a stab at adjusting the policy to reflect practice. - Todd VerBeek 16:39, 19 March 2007 (EDT)

activities-centric content[edit]

I am considering to add some content on baths in Budapest/Hungary. I expect that it will be about Golf in England in initial size / number of paragraphs.

I wonder what would be community recommendation for making it a separate article vs just another sub-section in Budapest / Hungary (where I will add much content beyond baths also). In my previous experience, articles like Golf in England and EuroVelo cycling routes should be definitely only sections in respective regions--but maybe I am missing something? --DenisYurkin 16:13, 6 January 2007 (EST)

It's a very tricky subject, and I don't think the Wikitravel community has reached a clear-line rule about it. Here would be my suggested rule-of-thumb: if an activity is something that non-specialist visitors could safely enjoy, and the level of detail isn't so much that it overloads the main guide for the destination, then the information should stay in the main guide for the destination. If not, it should be broken out into a travel topic page for the destination. I realize that's not very definitive, but that's the best I have right now. --Evan 21:08, 6 January 2007 (EST)

Airlines[edit]

We've had this discussion before, but I'll be darned if I can find it. So... should we have articles for airlines?

Previously, I said no. Now, I'm not so sure. I'm a great fan of Flyertalk, but I hate the way the forum makes it difficult to find concise summaries of information like like this, and Wikipedia doesn't quite cut it either when it comes to concrete info like which aircraft on which routes have good legroom etc. It's a bit of an expansion of scope for WT, but not a huge one (we already have travel topics), and there really isn't any reasonable single destination or topic where you can put bits like "Economy class on the MD-80 is the most spacious economy in the AA fleet". Jpatokal 12:28, 19 March 2007 (EDT)

I thought Flyertalk had a wiki, though. I'd be really concerned about this; it'd be opening us up to having articles about all kinds of businesses, not just airlines. --Evan 12:44, 19 March 2007 (EDT)
It does, but it sucks. However, now that FT has been swallowed up by mothership IB, maybe WT could try to assimilate it?
And I think airlines are a pretty special kind of business, because they're not fixed to any one destination. But then you do enter the same territory as FT: should Wikitravel also start reviewing hotel chains, car rental chains, ...? Jpatokal 12:59, 19 March 2007 (EDT)
Yeah, that's got me really concerned. I'm waaaay more interested in providing travel guides than travel consumer info. I'm really not excited for Wikitravel to become an encyclopedia of travel or something similar. However, I also understand that experimentation is a good thing. I'm just not sure this kind of article fits with our goals. --Evan 16:50, 21 March 2007 (EDT)
We've had this conversation about Cruise Lines before (Cruise ships and Carnival Elation were kept, Carnival Cruises was deleted). I saw the articles in question and didn't want them, but they were so darn well-written and informative. Can we just leave them as an experiment and see if they grow on us? -- Colin 14:13, 19 March 2007 (EDT)
I think there's a distinction with airlines--they provide an important travel product on a worldwide scale, and they have many intricacies that a newbie will not be aware of, particularly when it comes to frequent flyer programs and cabin/lounge products.
On the other hand, car rental chains are fungible, except for a handful of variables like which point/mile programs they're part of. Hotel chains are less fungible but their products are fixed in certain locations, and the variance between properties is usually high, so it makes sense to keep them on a local basis. And cruise lines are really ship-specific (what would you put in the article besides ship information?). - Sekicho 16:08, 19 March 2007 (EDT)
I'm on the fence, I would've said no before, but looking at the American Airlines article it does seem that it could be useful. If we do keep them it would be nice to keep them as small as possible, and just listing info that aids in travel, not becoming a Wikipedia-like article that details every little piece of trivia you wish you'd never known. The AA article does that pretty well, it's short and focused and travel-oriented. However if we do allow them, we'll be getting lots of articles on tiny little airlines like Silverjet that only serve 2 destinations. But maybe that's not so bad. Hmmm. It would definitely beg the question though, why allow airlines and not cruise lines? – cacahuate talk 02:03, 21 March 2007 (EDT)
Personally, I don't see a contradiction between these kind of articles and WT's goals of supplying info that benefits travelers. Of course, articles that focus on an airline's business credentials, dates of founding etc are obviously more appropriate for WP, but those that offer info on, for example, leg room, reliability (based on stats not emotions) or whether there is a charge for changing flight dates etc etc are, I believe, well within the boundaries of what could be called 'traveler-based' information. However, to keep that in focus, it might very well be worthwhile creating templates for such articles or even to limit them to regions, such as, for example, East Asian Airlines. In this way, several airlines, each with their own heading and standard sub-headings, can be listed on one page. Anyway, I'm just throwing out some ideas to add to the fabric of the debate here, and have no particularly strong opinions about it either way. WindHorse 05:28, 2 April 2007 (EDT)
To me the TTCF principle argues in favor of keeping these articles if in doubt. But is there a compelling reason not to, other than "we don't do that"? Legal issues? Difficulty in keeping the information up to date (which after all is one of our goals)? I don't see either of those two concerns as "compelling," but let's make sure we're not missing something before we agree to keep these. -- Bill-on-the-Hill 23:47, 4 April 2007 (EDT)
Isn't it time to admit that every major airline can have its own article?
As we already have these examples: American Airlines, Northwest Airlines, Silverjet and United Airlines... --DenisYurkin 04:14, 8 January 2008 (EST)
As long as each individual airline meets the criteria for a valid travel topic, I think we already allow them (and those examples are all excellent articles). But I'm all for deleting new airline articles that read as simple reviews or advertisements. --Peter Talk 04:27, 8 January 2008 (EST)
That's a fundamental difference: we delete stubs for airline articles, but we don't for destinations, however scarce information on destination we have so far. It is a very high barrier for any individual wikitraveler to write a good portion on what's now in the airline articles mentioned above--instead of adding bit by bit by a dozen of people. Why can't we change "guilty until proven innocent" rule we currently have for airlines to "innocent until proven guilty" which we have for destination articles?
Specifically, I am ready to share some info on Emirates airlines--like fleet details, meals and in-flight entertainment, but I don't feel that United Arab Emirates is a good place to go. But I don't have enough information for a full-scale article yet. Where to stick it? --DenisYurkin 12:31, 11 January 2008 (EST)
Maybe we should apply similar criteria that we do for airports... allow huge ones that actually have a sufficient amount of stuff to be written about them, and ban little ones with minimal routes, no frequent flier programs or lounges etc to write about. I don't agree that we should allow a lot of stubs to be created though... I think they should be treated the same as itineraries... if someone wants to put the time in to write a good article about it, then go for it... otherwise they're fairly useless – cacahuate talk 20:02, 21 June 2008 (EDT)
I agree with this, for whatever that's worth. Ikan Kekek 22:57, 23 April 2011 (EDT)

later from Talk:Travel topics: Airlines travel topic[edit]

Moved from Talk:Travel topics

I wonder is there any reason for not creating Airlines article that can be a base for the nursery approach to content on airlines. Currently there's no good place to stick info on airline which doesn't apply to a single country. Also, it can include List Of Airline Baggage Limits and other similar articles in future. Also, some existing airline topics can grow as a part of this article, until become large enough: LAN Airlines, Turkish Airlines. Opinions? --DenisYurkin 16:47, 6 July 2009 (EDT)

I think the idea about content on airlines is an excellent one. Would you incorporate Discount airlines into Airlines? Andyfarrell 17:30, 18 August 2009 (EDT)
But what would you put in the articles? Where and what they fly? You may as well just check their route map or timetable. Subjective opinions of the service they offer? Every airline has its fans and detractors. What is the content you would like to see on a an airline article that wouldn't just evolve into a list of information derived from their website? What info can a traveller add? --inas 19:07, 18 August 2009 (EDT)
See FlyerWiki or FlyerGuide for examples. (Unfortunately, FW is licensed CC by-nc-nd 3.0... which, incidentally, is a totally crazy license, how can a wiki be no-derivatives!?) Jpatokal 23:03, 18 August 2009 (EDT)

As I frequently see attempts in VFD to create articles on airlines, and most of them end up with Delete outcome, I'm here again with my original proposal. Anyone else interested in creating and maintaining the Airlines article?

As for "What would we put in the article", I think at least objective things helpful in choosing an airline will be a good starting point. Seat pitch per airplane type; typical service and meals set per type of travel (i.e. longhaul, overatlantic etc)--and anything else which is objective but can't be easily sticked into any single destination guide. --DenisYurkin 19:48, 1 September 2010 (EDT)

→ See also Wikitravel talk:What is an article#A possible alternative where User:PerryPlanet thinks it's a good idea to try a similar concept with cruise lines first, and then to adopt our experience with it to airlines. --DenisYurkin 15:02, 20 September 2010 (EDT)

I'd be in favor of using the approach suggested for cruise lines for airlines, provided the referenced suggestion is adopted. We don't need an article on every one of the world's airlines, but based on edit history and completeness people apparently find articles such as American Airlines useful. If we go in this direction I'd suggest outlining some guidelines on the "nursery" page about what airlines are appropriate (perhaps national carriers and airlines with 20+ routes?) and what the desired process is for splitting content into a new article (recommendation: discuss first to gain consensus). -- Ryan • (talk) • 15:38, 20 September 2010 (EDT)
Here is my first draft, with no content yet (will try adding as this at least gain some support from others): User:DenisYurkin/Airlines. Any comments would be extremely appreciated. --DenisYurkin 16:42, 3 January 2011 (EST)
If successful, some of existing airline-related articles seem to be should be merged in there:
--DenisYurkin 03:51, 27 January 2011 (EST)
Out of curiosity, why "no discount carriers"? Is it just to avoid duplication with the continent-level "Discount airlines in X" articles? Also, how do you envision this topic being organized? By continent? Alphabetically? By airline size? Without having given it much thought, a by-continent organization with an overview for each continent might be a good way to go, with airlines listed alphabetically. -- Ryan • (talk) • 12:38, 27 January 2011 (EST)
Discount carriers: I'm fine with making them sub-articles of Airlines, as most of them have enough content to be worth an independent article (maybe except only Discount airlines in Africa which is quite short).
The simplest organization I can see is alphabetically without breaking down to continents, at least until we have some content for specific continents (but why such content common to continent shouldn't go into a respective continent's destination article's GetIn/GetAround section instead?) But I'm also fine with by-continent breakdown, if you think it can help us to start. --DenisYurkin 15:44, 27 January 2011 (EST)
I'd say go ahead and get this started, although maybe don't do any merging of other articles just yet until others have had a chance to provide feedback. As to the continent-breakdown, I think solely listing all airlines would be unwieldy, so any way that the list can be broken up would probably be worthwhile. -- Ryan • (talk) • 15:58, 27 January 2011 (EST)
Don't like the continent grouping. If can think of several routes where you would have to check three continents to compare airlines. I think alpha is easier.
I think we should remain careful here. We are still a small site, and we have a lot of geographical articles still bare. Lets not bite off more than we can chew, and end up with many stale articles. Flight routes, aircraft, etc change daily and there are specialist sites in those. --inas 17:39, 27 January 2011 (EST)
We can start with alpha-ordered one section per airline, while having a "index" section where for each continent we merely list airlines based there, each linking to a respective section.
As for remaining careful: anything else we should define as not allowed in this article for the nearest future? Feel free to edit further: [5]. --DenisYurkin 19:32, 28 January 2011 (EST)

Cruise ships[edit]

There's been some discussion in the past - mostly at Talk:Cruise ships, Talk:Cruise Lines, and Talk:Carnival Elation - about whether to have articles about individual cruise lines or cruise ships, and as far as I can tell the closest it came to a resolution was "let's see how this works". Another cruise ship article (Carnival freedom) was recently started, and I was hoping we could reach a clearer consensus about it before it goes any farther.

I don't think that Wikitravel can provide substantially more - or more useful - information about an individual ship than the cruise lines themselves can (and do). The information we might include in Sleep, Eat, Drink, Buy, Do listings are all there in the cruise lines' web sites and brochures. Also, my sense from the limited cruising I've done is that cruise travelers are more interested in the itinerary than the craft (though many have definite opinions about specific cruise lines). That is, they don't (usually) decide that they want to travel on the Grand Princess and then look to see where it's sailing this season, so the ship itself is not a destination as such. - Todd VerBeek 10:24, 24 April 2007 (EDT)

Seems similar to me to the airline discussion above... we should try to reach a consensus on these types of articles, that would maybe apply to both... – cacahuate talk 18:27, 24 April 2007 (EDT)
I'm against all articles for individual airlines/airplanes/cruise lines/cruise ships. The information is, in general, too hard to keep up-to-date. Let the individual companies do that. I am, however, all for general articles that provide information about airlines/cruise lines/cruise ships in general. I do like the idea of providing information about which cruise line/airline is reliable, or loses all of its passengers luggage. -- Sapphire(Talk) • 18:36, 24 April 2007 (EDT)
I strongly agree with Sapphire - general travel topic articles like Cruise ships and Discount airlines are a good idea for getting general info, but if we do anything more than that, then where do we stop? Suddenly every airline/air route/ferry route/bus route can have it's own article which won't add to the travel guide and will take a lot of effort to police and keep up to date. Why not have a list of Cruise ships/routes/companies on Cruise ships and leave it at that? -- Tim (writeme!) 11:18, 30 April 2007 (EDT)
I disagree, I think if a cruise ship, airline, or bus page is providing relevant information it should be allowed to stay. Cruise ship websites are large are the information on the pages is scattered, it is helpful to have a page that provides a concise overview of the most relevant information. Reading the information on one wikitravel page is much more useful than searching the web for this information in numerous pages. The cruise pages all answer: Get in, Get around, See, Do, Buy, Eat, Drink, Sleep, and Get Out so I consider them to be relevant and think they should stay. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Cruisejenny (talkcontribs)
Even just a list of routes would be difficult to maintain. In addition to the major ocean-liner cruise companies there are countless one- or two-ship outfits, plying this river or that lake, so the list would be huge. Routes change every year, and one ship might spend this season cruising the Carribean and the next the Mediterranean. The only way to stay on top of all that is to watch the companies' web sites. I'm supportive of a page describing cruise lines as a whole (in as much detail as we would a hotel), but the details of what ships they have and where they go can only be maintained effectively by the companies themselves. This is a perfect example of when a link to an external web site is appropriate, and why we allow them for primary sources. - Todd VerBeek 17:16, 30 April 2007 (EDT)
Todd, I'm trying to follow you, but when you say you'd support a page describing cruise lines as a whole are you talking about a generic page like Hotels? For me that's the only type of article I'd be willing to keep around and as far as I know that's what Cruise ships or Cruise Lines could morph into. -- Sapphire(Talk) • 17:24, 30 April 2007 (EDT)
I can see where Todd is coming from, but I'm of mind to keep cruise ship articles. A cruise ship can be compared with other "resort" destinations such as Disney World - places where one's entire trip will be on the spent at the resort. Even though one can get plenty of information about Disneyworld from the resort itself, it can be very useful to have an "unofficial" guide created by people who actually go there, as opposed to the company running it. Likewise with cruise ships - it could well be the one restaurant is better than anothers, that one activity is great while another lame -- these are all things I as a traveler would like to hear. Incidently, some of the most useful contributors to cruise ship articles would like be cruise ship employee themselves. SONORAMA 09:41, 1 May 2007 (EDT)
When I say an article for a cruise line, I mean something like "Princess Cruises". Not that I'm all that excited about it, but at least I can see some value to it, because there are probably things you can say about Princess that distinguish them from Carnival and from Disney etc. In my admittedly limited experience with cruise ships (three voyages, and a bit of research) once you've seen one ship from a given line, you've seen them all. Same restaurants, same bars, same rooms... Having separate articles for the Disney Wonder and the Disney Magic would be pointless, because they're twins; having a single article about both of them... might not be. A page of listings for cruise lines with basic info about them (e.g. "Disney ships don't have casinos") would be a better place to start. - Todd VerBeek 00:24, 10 May 2007 (EDT)
I'm still unsure how I feel about pages for individual ships. I think it would be more helpful to have generically titled itineraries, linked within region articles, which would give an idea of the main stops for cruise ships within the region as well as give "hotel-style" listings for individual lines/ships. For example: Greece could have a Cruising the Greek Isles itinerary, which would include straightforward hotel-like entries for cruise lines (e.g., Big Hulking Vessels 'R' Us, 23 235 234332 (). 3,000$ for the week)..  edit
We could create a slightly different template for cruise lines that would include stops. --Peterfitzgerald Talk 11:05, 1 May 2007 (EDT)
But how would it work when certain ships do routes round different places at different times of the year? Also, I'm not sure it's a good comparison to compare a cruise ship to Disneyworld... Disneyworld has multiple places to stay and choose between - do cruise ships have this option or do you book a certain type of room? Maybe we should define an article to be somewhere where you have a choice of where you stay, i.e. 2 hotels or a hotel and a campsite, or a hotel in the city and a hotel in the next city. Under that reasoning, a cruise ship no longer warrants an article any more than a large hotel with a few restaurants and other things to do... -- Tim (writeme!) 13:38, 1 May 2007 (EDT)
I agree. There is only one "hotel" on the Atlantic Queen and very limited choices - if any - for dining. Where this differs for a huge amusement park is that there's too much there to See/Do in a day, so you have choices there, but even on the hugest cruise ship your actual See/Do choices come from the shore excursions, which are a function of the intinerary, not the ship. - Todd VerBeek 00:24, 10 May 2007 (EDT)
Any more thoughts? – cacahuate talk 23:42, 9 May 2007 (EDT)
I agree with Sapphire above: I'm against all articles for individual airlines/airplanes/cruise lines/cruise ships. The general article Cruise ships is fine, can contain comments on particular companies or ships, and links to more info. I'd also be in favour of more narrowly-focussed articles, say Greek islands cruises or Caribbean cruises if someone wanted to write those, but I think going down to the level of a single ship or even a single line is overdoing it. Hard to maintain, more detail than you want in a guide, and on a slippery slope toward touting. Pashley 05:31, 19 May 2007 (EDT)
Perhaps a blurb about a cruise ship at its departure point? For example, in Miami, Florida - right now there is a blurb in the Get Out section: "The Port of Miami is a major cruise ship embarkation port." This could be expanded just a bit: "Cruise Ship Brand-name [6] departs from the Port of Miami for 3-day and 7-day cruises to the Caribbean" etc. This would give enough information for curious travelers to look up more details on their web site, but not enough so Wiki becomes and Ad Agency for them. Gamweb 10:51, 9 August 2007 (EDT)
I think Gamweb's suggestion works, maybe even in a "Do" section. Still, large numbers of ships embark from some ports--and would that lead to listings of ships at ports of call?? On a general note, having taken 18 cruises, I probably should weigh in. I agree with Todd that the cruise lines are the best source for details about ships and intineraries. Ports of call are well covered at www.cruisecritic.com in discussion boards (and we can cover many of the excursions in the port articles. The more subjective elements are too elusive as passenger reviews at various cruise agent sites consistently demonstrate that two people on the same cruise can have opposite evaluations about food, service, personnel, activities, entertainment--basically everything. General reviews about ships at these sites are mostly too generalized to be useful. It is all well covered elsewhere and I believe Wikitravel's cruise ships article is sufficient for here. The only thing I might find useful is a listing of each ship's cabin and notes as to noise, view obstructions and the like, and that's only because it's not readily available elsewhere. Can't see that as fitting in here though. OldPine 13:17, 9 August 2007 (EDT)

Round 2[edit]

This discussion never really came to a conclusion and has be re-ignited by the Disney Cruise Line‎ discussion at VFD. If we do allow articles about cruise companies or individual ships, I really feel there is potential for a severe slippery slope, and would urge great caution. If we allow these, what next? Hotel groups, credit card providers, bus companies.....? "The Wikitravel consumer guide to..."? Surely that was not the original aim of this community. I think allowing airline articles was a mistake and makes it all the more difficult to disallow other articles about a corporate activity or service, and that we should readdress that issue at the same time.--Burmesedays 22:09, 11 April 2010 (EDT)

I'll just reiterate what I said over at the VFD discussion and say I think we should take a very hard line here; absolutely no articles for cruise lines whatsoever (I would say the same for airlines as well). Looking back through this discussion, I can see that some suggestions were made about having a section on Cruise ships with a list of specific cruise lines, and I don't mind that, but I think that should be the full extent of info on specific cruise lines - contact info, a primary departure point, and a link to their website. That's it; no itineraries, no info on the specific ships - allowing any of that is just opening a big fat can of worms, plus I feel it's too unmaintainable for Wikitravel. PerryPlanet Talk 23:40, 11 April 2010 (EDT)
Which strikes me as a ridiculously hard line. What is it about cruise ships that makes their information any more unmaintainable than a hotel listing? LtPowers 08:06, 12 April 2010 (EDT)
Maintainability aside, I fundamentally agree with Burmesedays and PerryPlanet. I would consider a cruise to be basically a form of commercial all-inclusive package tour. We don't keep itineraries for package tours for any other kind of company, and I don't see any reason why we should start. I think it would also create a slippery slope where other types of tour operators feel entitled to have articles for their tours as well. Texugo 09:44, 12 April 2010 (EDT)
Looking at the two Disney cruise articles, there is not very much in either of them. The corporate article probably meets no criteria for inclusion here in any form. Disney Magic could just be an activity in the article where it starts - Brevard_County. Those two are dealt with quite easily I think. But we need to sort out the principle here, and I am pleased others are seeing the slippery slope as clearly as I do.--Burmesedays 09:56, 12 April 2010 (EDT)
I see no reason to allow articles for cruise lines/ships, I cannot think of any useful information which is better presented in such articles than in destination articles. However, I do not follow the arguments about slippery slope or maintainability: if we concluded that cruise line articles would be in the best interest of the traveler, I see no problem in stating in a policy that we allow cruise line articles but not hotel etc articles, --ClausHansen 10:22, 12 April 2010 (EDT)

I think we ultimately kept the existing cruise ship articles as somewhat of an experiment, to see what would develop and whether it would be worth keeping. Years later, I think the answer is not much and no—the disadvantages posed by the slippery slope (writing an article about what is essentially a single listing) outweigh the very modest value of the existing articles. For some reason, I remembered them as being more useful than they are, but these seem to not really have any value added over the company brochures, much less sites that are wholly dedicated to in-depth reviews of cruises. I don't think we would be losing much in disallowing articles for cruise ships.

I think Sandy above came up with the best formulation for how we should deal with cruise lines/ships: "I'd also be in favour of more narrowly-focused articles, say Greek islands cruises or Caribbean cruises if someone wanted to write those, but I think going down to the level of a single ship or even a single line is overdoing it." That is, if we are to write about cruise lines/ships, we should do it in dedicated regional cruise travel topics. --Peter Talk 10:34, 12 April 2010 (EDT)

I think those type of regional articles might work. If combined with a simple activity listing in some articles, that should cover it.--Burmesedays 10:41, 12 April 2010 (EDT)
I'm in agreement here. And to answer LtPower's question above, I see having info on cruise ships as unmaintainable because the itinerary and the cruise ships used are subject to change, and often does on a seasonal basis. Hotels at least stay in one place. PerryPlanet Talk 13:44, 12 April 2010 (EDT)

I cannot even begin to express my amazement and, yes, extreme disappointment, that there is so much support for virtually ignoring a very very large segment of the travel industry on a site supposedly dedicated to travel in all forms. Cruising is simply another way of seeing travel; to ignore it because it's "unmaintainable" strikes me as just an excuse, although I can't imagine what the alternative explanation for the opposition would be.

Several points were raised; let me try to address each. First, putting information on the Disney Cruise Line in Brevard County strikes me as absurd. Yes, that's where Port Canaveral is, but no traveler thinks like that. We're here for the traveler, not for our own convenience, remember. No one says "We're planning a trip to Port Canaveral; I wonder if there are any cruises that depart from there!" They decide to take a cruise and then find out where the ship departs from. Small cruise lines may fit better into that mode of thinking, but not the big ones like Disney, Carnival, and Royal Caribbean.

Second, while some cruises may be little more than a tour with a moving hotel, I don't think it's at all fair or accurate to paint all cruises as nothing more than commercial tours. First of all, you can't deny that there's a distinct value-added service when "touring" on a cruise ship. =) But more importantly, the ships each have a number of on-board attractions of their own, to the point where shore excursions become quite optional in some cases. Take a four-night Disney cruise: Port Canaveral --> Nassau --> Castaway Cay (which probably should have an article, BTW) --> day at sea --> Port Canaveral. If one doesn't even get off the ship at Nassau -- not unusual at all -- it becomes virtually absurd to call this just an itinerary or tour.

Third, cruise ships really are not fundamentally different from other information we happily place in our travel guides. If a potential traveler wants to go on a cruise, they have a number of options for cruise companies and specific ships -- no different from a traveler who wants to go to a particular location and has a number of options for hotel companies and specific hotel properties. We cover the amenities and prices of those hotels in detail, but if the hotel happens to be a floating one you all want to ignore it?

I seriously do not understand this at all. Cruising is travel; we should cover it in as much detail as we do other forms of travel.

-- LtPowers 21:41, 12 April 2010 (EDT)

I agree that we shouldn't ignore cruising as travel, and I don't think it makes sense to try to cover cruises solely using city articles, but I've got severe reservations about setting a precedent that it's OK to create articles for cruise lines, and especially for cruise ships. With most articles we start out with a broad topic ("Paris") and then begin creating smaller articles as needed ("Paris/1st arrondissement", and if it was eventually warranted "The Louvre"). I think a similar approach to what Peter suggested is best - start with an article on Cruise ships, and as that article becomes large and complex, break it into sub-articles based either on types of cruises or regional destinations. Starting out with articles about individual cruise ships seems backwards to me and puts us in the awkward position of having to deal with stub articles when someone helpfully tries to create a new article for every vessel in some cruise line's fleet. -- Ryan • (talk) • 21:57, 12 April 2010 (EDT)
LtPowers wrote:
If a potential traveler wants to go on a cruise, they have a number of options for cruise companies and specific ships -- no different from a traveler who wants to go to a particular location and has a number of options for hotel companies and specific hotel properties. We cover the amenities and prices of those hotels in detail, but if the hotel happens to be a floating one you all want to ignore it?
I don't think anyone is advocating ignoring cruises entirely. You're absolutely right-- it is no different: While we give options and details for hotels, we don't give them each their own articles, which is what this discussion is all about. Vegas hotels or beach resorts like XCaret contain a lot of their own attractions too, and not even they get their own pages. There are travel topics about certain kinds of accommodation, sure, but no articles about X Hotel Chain or any individual hotel. Why then would we allow that for cruise companies and individual ships? Texugo 23:40, 12 April 2010 (EDT)
I don't think anyone is suggesting we ignore cruising as travel. We already have Cruise ships and many cruising activities are covered as just that in the Do, Get around and Get in sections of existing articles. That, combined with the idea of regional cruise articles, would seem to cover the field. Ryan's point about 'doing it backwards' is also very perceptive. A general or region article (when there is enough content), listing the various operators and options would seem to be more in line with our normal approach.
Given the low number of individual cruise articles we have and their general emptiness and poor quality, what's the big deal? That's the best indication that there is really not much interest. I am actually far more concerned about the wider implications if we tacitly allow individual ships or operators to have an article. If Disney Magic requires an atricle, why doesn't the Grand Hyatt Jakarta? If Carnival Lines requires an article why doesn't Four Seasons Hotels? Consistency of approach should be a key aim here.--Burmesedays 00:06, 13 April 2010 (EDT)
I agree that individual ships don't need articles, but it seems to me that some cruise lines are more akin to destinations than to attractions. Disney Cruise Line in particular; it's the line itself that is the destination for most of its customers, not the ports of call at which the ships stop. With hotels, it's different, because each property in a chain has a defined location; with a cruise line, we don't have any destination article in which the information would fit. It seems to me that a cruise-line article is the most appropriate location for much of that information. I'd be willing to take a stab at fleshing out Disney Cruise Line if I had some assurance that the effort would not be for naught. LtPowers 08:26, 13 April 2010 (EDT)
Disney Cruise Line isn't really that different from others I think. Any Alaska cruise would also contend that the scenery from the boat is the main attraction too, and how many more tour operator articles would that let in? Texugo 09:07, 13 April 2010 (EDT)
I thought there were more, but Cruising the Baltic Sea is a good example of the Cruising X Region idea. I'm sure that template could be improved, but it's a good starting point, I think.
Couldn't Disney Cruise Line info go into Cruising the Caribbean, or something like that? Part of the point is that we don't want too much info on each operator—as I think Evan said, we're not a travel consumer info site, we're a travel guide site. Best to leave the in-depth reviews to dedicated review sites. --Peter Talk 10:41, 13 April 2010 (EDT)
Good examples from Peter of how the region ideas would work. On Disney, isn't it a small operator with just two ships? I had never heard of Disney Cruises until this article appeared yesterday. If their routes are into the Caribbean, then Peter's suggestion makes perfect sense and that article would also be appropriate for the large Caribbean cruise players like Carnival and Royal Caribbean. The really obvious other one is Cruising the Mediterranean - a vast number of cruises operate there.--Burmesedays 11:05, 13 April 2010 (EDT)
Texugo, an Alaskan cruise is almost exclusively for sightseeing; very different from a Disney cruise in which the attractions are pretty much all on the boat, plus a few shore excursions at ports of call. And both are very different from, say, a Mediterranean cruise that features long stays at each of several port cities -- there, the cities are the attraction and the cruise ship merely a (particularly entertaining) mobile hotel.
As for stuffing DCL into Cruising the Caribbean, it won't work. When DCL's third ship launches, the Disney Wonder is going to move to the West Coast and start cruising there. They also have a Mediterranean cruise planned this summer, I believe.
Far better, I think, to treat Disney Cruise Line almost like a destination, with information on how to "get in", on the things to do and see (shore excursions included), places to eat, and treat each individual ship as a hotel in the Sleep section.
As an aside, it's no secret to anyone who's looked at the source code for the Walt Disney World subarticles that I'm working on a Wikitravel Press book for WDW. I hope to include a chapter on DCL because it is so closely tied with WDW (land-sea vacation packages, free transportation, etc.), but I can't do so if we don't have a Disney Cruise Line article. And I really think the guidebook will be incomplete without it. That's my primary concern here.
-- LtPowers 14:23, 13 April 2010 (EDT)
It doesn't need to be an article on Wikitravel for you to put it in a WTP book (example). Why not try developing the article in your userspace to give everyone an idea of what you intend, and a chance to review whether its a type of article we want on Wikitravel. If the decision is no, keep it in your userspace and put it in the book anyway.
Based on the rough consensus emerging, I think it would be fine to cover the Disney cruises in Cruising the Caribbean, Cruising the Mediterranean, and Cruising the West Coast. The point being—regional cruise articles, rather than company articles. --Peter Talk 15:00, 13 April 2010 (EDT)
I just don't think that's where most DCL cruisers would expect to see it. The majority don't say "Let's go on a Mediterranean cruise; I wonder what companies do that?" The majority would say "Let's go on a Disney cruise" and then see what's available. LtPowers 15:44, 13 April 2010 (EDT)
I think if they've already decided which cruise line to take, Wikitravel isn't going to be the place they look - they're going to go to the Disney Cruise website. I really like the regional idea, because I think the majority of people actually do say "Let's go on a Mediterranean/Caribbean/Alaska cruise, I wonder what companies do that?" I would never say "I want to take a Royal Caribbean cruise," I would say "I want to take a cruise to the Caribbean." If they've already decided which cruise line to take, then Wikitravel isn't going to help them very much. PerryPlanet Talk 16:12, 13 April 2010 (EDT)

We want to have information on all aspects of travel, including cruise ships. We want to have information on the Grand Hyatt Jakarta, and we want to have information on the Queen Mary II. Two problems. Firstly, it is apparent where the info on a Jakarta hotel should go - a geographical article. Its not clear where the information on the Queen Mary II should go - to put it in Southampton is just odd. A set of "cruising the..." articles is not going to cover the field. Secondly, we can count on a few hundred people a night staying in the Hyatt, each one with the opportunity of writing on their experiences. The number on some cruise ships numbers in the thousands per year, so it is a very small writing pool, and we are competing with specialist sites for their reviews and reports. My guess is most of the info would be copied from a website somewhere - which isn't really useful. When we can't even whip airline articles into shape, what chance do we have with a cruise ship. I'm firmly in the camp of lets only let one or two articles through, and see if they can evolve to anything useful. I wouldn't oppose creating the "cruising the..." set of articles, as they are already a valid travel topic, but I don't hold too much hope for them. --inas 02:04, 4 May 2010 (EDT)

I agree with the starting big idea. Just create an article for cruises with "Mediterranean", "Alaska", "Caribbean", etc. as subheadings. I think that sort of article will last a long time. If we happen to get overloaded with cruises from a certain region, we can talk about regionalizing it, but I don't think we need to go far beyond that. ChubbyWimbus 03:17, 4 May 2010 (EDT)

Proposed Moratorium[edit]

Since this discussion hasn't reached a consensus, I'd like to propose a moratorium on creation of further cruise ship articles until there is some consensus on how to handle them. An anonymous user has recently created a handful of articles for a relatively small cruise line, and with no clear guidance on how to handle cruise lines it isn't clear whether these can be deleted or not. As a result, I'd suggest that any new cruise line links be redirected to Cruise ships, and if people are unhappy with that redirection then they can revisit this discussion and try to come to a consensus on how to handle articles on cruise lines / ships. -- Ryan • (talk) • 16:50, 2 September 2010 (EDT)

Ryan, there are several vfd's on ships and cruisee companies outstanding. I'm very strong in favour to delete these commercial articles as they are introduced by Cruise lines and their agencies. E.g. User Brickell does nothing else like these Apartment touts do in Barcelona. We need to keep Wikitravel free from marketing articles by companies. Only few articles are actually created by travellers and most of the cruise articles are a clear violation of dt, SEO, tone, style etc. I will delete as long as they violate our policies. jan 16:58, 2 September 2010 (EDT)
One note: The constant reinsertion of ads by users as User:Brickell reveals their commercial motivation very clearly. I think if we allow these articles a fast and big touting wave will convert WT into the yellow pages very fast! jan 17:10, 2 September 2010 (EDT)
I'm aware of the outstanding VFD nominations - the lengthy discussion above this one was started because we had outstanding VFD nominations for cruise ships and cruise lines - see here - and we decided to try to first come to some consensus (see above) on how to handle cruise lines / cruise ships in order to resolve them. Thus far there is no consensus, and despite the fact that the VFD page is again being used to debate this issue the above discussion remains the current status quo. That aside, all that I'm proposing is that until there is some consensus we redirect any new cruise ship articles and avoid the problem of having lots of questionable articles spring up, and in the mean time the discussion above can continue. -- Ryan • (talk) • 18:32, 2 September 2010 (EDT)
A moratorium makes sense, as does my proposal above to move to "cruising in X region" articles ;) Vfds cannot be used to get around this discussion—we'll need to hash it out here and forge a way forward. --Peter Talk 19:48, 2 September 2010 (EDT)
It was not my intention to get around the discussion through vfd but some articles, that are created by marketers, are in clear violation of our agreed policies. All i wanted to clarify is that marketing articles will not be covered by this proposal because otherwise this would render all dt related policies useless. jan 02:46, 3 September 2010 (EDT)

Is there anyone besides LtPowers who thinks individual lines should get their own articles? Although to me this kind of article is clearly and obviously speedy delete kind of material, I could agree with a moratorium, but we haven't put it into action yet on the vfd page. —The preceding comment was added by Texugo (talkcontribs)

Speedy delete? On what grounds? LtPowers 16:48, 18 September 2010 (EDT)

Any further comment on the proposed moratorium on new cruise ship / cruise line articles until this discussion is resolved? There are two VFD nominations that I'd like to resolve by redirecting them to Cruise ships (as proposed above), but would appreciate any further input from those who feel strongly on this issue. -- Ryan • (talk) • 20:58, 4 October 2010 (EDT)

I'm fine with a moratorium for now, especially if it only applies to new articles. I really do intend at some point to try to whip Disney Cruise Line into shape, but I've been pretty busy as of late. LtPowers 06:51, 18 October 2010 (EDT)

A possible alternative[edit]

One thing about cruise ships that is undeniable: You can sleep there. I dont think that this alone is sufficient reason to allow articles for every cruise ship. You can sleep on a chartered sailboat too and that would be the way to madness. However, I do think that there is scope for cruise ships in general as a Travel topic, and in some cases, as in the Disney Line, the ships themselves may be the reason for the travel, and therefore a legitimate destination. (not that I would personally want to travel on a Disney ship, but some people clearly do...). A possible solution to this impasse is to treat the subject in a similar way to Scuba Diving, where the information is restricted to a major topic — Cruise ships — until the information on a specific cruise line is of sufficient quality and quantity to justify a full sub-article, such as Cruise ships/Disney Line in a way similar to that used for the dive site sub-articles in Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay and a few other regions. In this case if someone like LtPowers has the enthusiasm, skill and information to produce an article of the quality of the Disney World articles, he/she can go ahead and do it, and it will improve Wikitravel by its presence. anything that does not meet the criteria for a cruise line sub-article gets listed in the main article, like most of the dive sites in Scuba Diving, which are barely described beyond their existance and rough geographical reference.

I suggest that LtPowers draw up a proposal for a template for a cruise ship/line sub-article for discussion. This could be based on the intended layout for the Disney Line article for a start. Peter (Southwood) Talk 12:06, 20 September 2010 (EDT)

I like this idea - it seems like a good compromise and it would alleviate many of my concerns. Having such a central location for cruise ship information will make it easy to remove any touting by private companies, and it allows for some experimentation (we could try regional articles as well as articles for specific cruise lines). This might also be a good template for dealing with such things as airlines, but I'll wait and see how this turns out first. ;) PerryPlanet Talk 13:04, 20 September 2010 (EDT)

Further comments on reading the existing articles:

  • It is not clear that the Disney Cruise Line article needs sub-articles for each ship. I suggest writing the article with both existing ships as sections until it becomes apparent that a split is desirable.
  • A different format for the cruise line entries in the main article should be designed, so that cruise lines where only a moderate amount of information is available can be accommodated. This could be a variation of the listings format.
  • It may be advisable to include a date when the ship itineraries were last checked, so the reader can have some idea of how likely they are to still be valid. Peter (Southwood) Talk 14:16, 20 September 2010 (EDT)
Peter's (PB's) suggestion matches the way that we handle cities, districts and attractions on Wikitravel (only create articles on specific subjects when the amount of content warrants it) and is one that I'd support. Provided there is some consensus we would just need a group of people to volunteer to look at existing cruise articles and begin doing some refactoring. -- Ryan • (talk) • 14:55, 20 September 2010 (EDT)

Private parks in South Africa[edit]

I have mentioned before (Wikitravel talk:What is an article?#Articles for state parks and national monuments) that South African private parks might become an issue since they are growing in size and becoming as important (and serve the same function) as the National parks.

Someone has now created a Tswalu Reserve article (should be renamed Tswalu Kalahari Reserve) and I am not sure if I should vfd this.

At 100 000ha (1000 km2, 380 mile2) this park huge. By comparison to

At 600 km2 places like Timbavati and Klaserie are no smallfry either.

Many of these reserves offer multiple accommodation and see/do options with many of the activities provided not by the reserves themselves, but by the surrounding communities operating under concession on the reserve property. These places often dominate travel (as well as economy) in the region surrounding them.

Now the question. Shall we allow really large and important private reserves and if so, how do we decide what constitutes an allowable reserve? We definitely do not want to open it up to each and every farmer that has a couple of springbok and a tent in his back yard.

--NJR_ZA 09:04, 15 July 2007 (EDT)

I don't see what's wrong with allowing them as national parks, as long as they fulfill the "Can you sleep there?" test. The line for what's permissible and what's not can be drawn case by case — remember that national parks don't automatically qualify as their own articles either. Jpatokal 11:30, 9 August 2007 (EDT)

Mountain ranges guidelines[edit]

Swept in from the pub:

This edit looked like an indication to me, however I could not find any direction concerning mountain ranges on Wikitravel:What is an article?. A lot was said here some time ago, but it doesn't look conclusive to me. My initial supposition is that mountain ranges can either be continental sections or regions depending on size. But may be it would be desirable to formulate a straightforward guideline towards them? LukeWestwalker 16:56, 16 October 2007 (EDT)

Hmm, the first edit is mine, and you've given me second thoughts about it. My instinct is to delink anything that appears to be no more than a geographical feature. That's perhaps my bad and I think I picked that up from the "Bodies of water" exclusion in Wikitravel:What is an article?. There are indeed valid regions with the same name as mountain ranges, and perhaps reasons to have articles about mountain ranges per se (not just as a region article), but I wonder if this is a slippery slope. -- OldPine 18:14, 16 October 2007 (EDT)
I think that the tendency has been to de-link mountain ranges that don't have existing articles so that we don't encourage the creation of lots of articles that are outside of the existing regional hierarchies, and also so that we don't give the impression that every geological feature is article-worthy (Wikitravel:What is an article?). However, when people have created articles for regions named after a mountain range that's generally been seen as perfectly OK - see Rocky Mountains (Canada), Alps and Ozarks for a handful of examples. In this case OldPine's edit looks fine, although it probably wouldn't be out of line to create a region article for the mountain range and then restore the link, if that's something someone wants to do. -- Ryan • (talk) • 01:04, 17 October 2007 (EDT)
Thanks for your answers! To summarize them, I'd like to draw following conclusions (correct if neccessary):
  • OldPine - in favour of m-ranges as regions, not travel topics on mountains
  • Ryan • (talk) - in favour of m-ranges as regions
Shouldn't it be clearly formulated as a guideline somewhere?(see Appalachia below) If yes, where? LukeWestwalker 15:00, 17 October 2007 (EDT)
Rather than being regions in them self, mountain ranges generally tend to separate regions. They also tend to be very large structures that cover a lot of diverse ground and it seems a better idea to covers specific regions in the range in other region articles, rather than try to have an region for the whole mountain range. A good example of where this went horribly wrong is the Drakensberg. The original submitter created the article with the main focus on the Northern and Central Drakensburg, but that does poses a number of problems: 1)since the range is located in multiple countries it is hard to find a place in the hierarchy for that article to fit in, 2) the range covers a huge area and it will be impossible to have complete See/Do listings for the whole range in that one article. Dealing with it in pieces in the existing hierarchy seems to work a lot better, for example Southern_Africa#Landscape and Ukhahlamba Drakensberg and Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park. Having said that, I'm sure there will be the odd exception where it will make sense to have a mountain article. --NJR_ZA 01:12, 17 October 2007 (EDT)
May be I am missing your point, but I think Drakensberg is not a good ex in this discussion (IMO it's encyclopaedic and should be vfd'd). I just would like to make allowed region templated articles entitled with some m't'n name - as for ex. Ukhahlamba Drakensberg is (nb. See or Do may be described more or less generally - according to the region area - ex Alps#Do, which is general but inspiring). Should any of two points you've made above be considered as a limitation rule towards such articles (for I have not got you clearly...)? LukeWestwalker 15:00, 17 October 2007 (EDT)
The solution to the Drakensberg problem may be creation of a disambiguation page. Something similar was done for the Rocky Mountains, with descendant nodes as cited above. Back on the original issue, I personally would like to see mountain ranges used where appropriate as destinations, not just regions. Many ranges contain places to eat, sleep, etc., that are unaffiliated with a town -- in fact, that's usually the point of those eat/sleep places, to be able to "get away from it all" and have nothing resembling a town nearby. Not only is it technically inaccurate to try to fit such places into an urban-oriented hierarchy; it does the traveler a disservice by failing to communicate what the real essence of the place is. "Most" ranges probably are adequately presented as regions with discrete destination articles under them, but if the range really is a destination in its own right, I don't see a compelling reason not to treat it as one. -- Bill-on-the-Hill 15:17, 17 October 2007 (EDT)
The point is that regions are the top priority here, not mountain ranges. If we take the USA for example, there are several mountain ranges in it. But in the case of Appalacia, it wouldn't make sense to have it as a region since it would be duplicating areas that are already covered in the South and Mid-Atlantic region articles. If a mountain range happens to make a very good region article for a particular area, then there's no problem with calling it by that name. But just because a mountain range exists doesn't mean it needs to have an article written about it. Just like we don't have an article about the Atlantic Ocean. Unless they're good region articles, or you want to write up a nice itinerary for the range, it probably doesn't need to be created. – cacahuate talk 15:22, 17 October 2007 (EDT)
p.s., Himalayas is an example of a budding itinerary – cacahuate talk 15:26, 17 October 2007 (EDT)
I agree as regards Appalachia; it's too big to be a destination, too diverse to be a region, and too amorphous to be an itinerary. (There ought to be some way to accommodate cases like this, but that's a separate issue -- maybe revisit our long-standing allergy to categories?) However, a blanket no-more-ranges declaration risks throwing out the baby with the bath water. The term "mountain range" may describe something continent-spanning like the Appalachians, Rockies, Andes, etc., but it is also used (more often, in fact) for hunks of real estate that are much more local in scope. Get into Basin and Range country in Nevada, for example, and the individual range becomes a perfectly natural "quantum" for defining a destination. There should be no reason not to treat such places as destinations if it makes sense to do so. And if an article based on a range starts to look like it's covering too much ground, well, that's what discussion pages are for... -- Bill-on-the-Hill 15:53, 17 October 2007 (EDT)

Attraction Template[edit]

Swept in from the pub:

Shouldn't there be one? For example, the British Museum, the Louvre, the Met Museum, and the recently added Villa d'Este and Villa Adriana are all worthy of a long articles in their own right but there is no template for that sort of thing. Perhaps something along the lines of:

The British Museum is a museum in London blah blah

Understand some background info

History if there is one

Getting there

Ticketing (packages, city discounts, tickets, etc.)

See Egyptian section, American section, Amravati, Elgin

Do gallery talks, etc.

Eat info about cafes

Buy the shop

Nearby attractions Russell Square, University of London, .....

Just a thought (perhaps there already is one!).--Wandering 13:01, 30 October 2007 (EDT)

I do not believe there is a need for such a template. I have been to the Louvre on two occasions and never found that the place required a separate article on Wikitravel. Sure, it's big, popular, and interesting, but you cannot sleep there and the museums do enough to give visitors instructions, details, maps, and tours to fill in the visitors about the stuff you mention. -- Sapphire(Talk) • 13:15, 30 October 2007 (EDT)
Where do those two new articles - Villa d'Este and Villa Adriana - fit in respect of the Wikitravel:What is an article? guidelines? ~ 124.157.226.129 13:25, 30 October 2007 (EDT)
I'm not so sure. It would be nice to know before getting to the Metropolitan Museum (or the Louvre) what all I can do there, the kinds of things I can buy (at the Metshop as well as on the street outside), and what I can get to eat at the rooftop cafe versus at the bar or the cafe or the restaurant. Of course all this info is on their website as well but that's not the same thing as a guidebook opinion. And there are tons of place in the third world where nothing is available (the National Museum in Delhi the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon but there is lots to see, buy, and, of course, it would be nice to know what one's eating choices are. Thing is that if we pack too much info about a single attraction in the See section of a city, the attraction list becomes a tad imbalanced. And, we still have the Villa d'Este and Villa Adriana problem. --Wandering 13:36, 30 October 2007 (EDT)
If there's no accommodation at Villa d'Este and/or Villa Adriana then those pages should be redirects. ~ 61.7.152.106 13:41, 30 October 2007 (EDT)
Sorry if I've got it wrong - I'm quite new here and by all means change it, if necessary. Of course there are places to stay near both villas - but I have only stayed at one that I didn't particularly want to recommend. I thought these headings were an invitation to others with knowledge to fill in. I'd be grateful for an explanation and I'll try to avoid further offence as I've done with other matters.Davidx 10:19, 1 November 2007 (EDT)
As per Wikitravel:What is an article?, attractions don't generally get their own articles, and if you really think about it, rarely need them anyway. As a travel guide we're just trying to give a general idea of what a site is about, why it's popular, and then the contact details, hours etc... if someone wants to know they entire detailed history of Villa Adriana they should head to Wikipedia or by a book on the subject. I'm redirecting both of those articles to Tivoli now, where they should be in the first place :) – cacahuate talk 14:36, 30 October 2007 (EDT)
I agree with Cacahuate. I think "long form" attraction listings generally cover the important attractions in sufficient detail. -- OldPine 17:25, 30 October 2007 (EDT)
Well, I'll just disagree and leave it at that. I don't think it a great idea to have an incomplete guide, nor do I like the idea (for reasons of symmetry, of excessive imbalance in the "See" section. --Wandering 20:02, 30 October 2007 (EDT)
Define complete though... we aren't being any less complete than any of the printed guidebooks... LP wouldn't devote 10 pages to the Taj Mahal, they'd write a paragraph or few and give the hours, etc. We do have a couple separate articles for attractions like Disneyland because it's practically a mini city with several eating and sleeping alternatives and "districts". If a site requires a little more than usual you can make a sub-section of See such as San Francisco#Golden Gate Bridge. I see it the same way as a city article... we have an Understand section which we can write a paragraph or two to describe the city, and even make some sub-headings for larger places... and if they care to dig a lot deeper than that, do as they've always done... by a book specifically about that location. As a travel guide we're interested mostly in the practical details of traveling to a place... not being the end all be all source of endless info on history, etc... I hope I'm helping you understand and not just giving you more things to disagree with ;) – cacahuate talk 20:49, 30 October 2007 (EDT)
Well, I'm not sure if LP is a good standard to look up to (though I never leave home without it!), but, even LP often has pull out kind of pages for major attractions (the Shwedagon Pagoda, the Valley of the Kings). Michelin Green Guides, on the other hand, have detailed sections for attractions. For example, the Paris one (mine is over 10 years old) has 36 pages on the Louvre divided into "The Museum", "Practicalities", "What to see and where" (highlights and their location), and then detailed guides for each wing and section. It's no big deal, but, if I had paid my 30euros and planned to spend the entire day in the Louvre, a handy portable section telling me practical things like where to dump my bag, which entrances are better, what to eat and where, where the hightlights are, and what I can buy there (French Ad posters, for example!) that I can pretty much only buy there would all be a great resource. --Wandering 11:47, 1 November 2007 (EDT)
I oppose the use of an attraction template, but only because I think that the few major attractions around that really warrant full, separate articles are often too different from each other for a boilerplate template to be very useful (in this, they are similar to travel topics).
But there is a part of our "you must be able to sleep there policy" that I fundamentally disagree with (although that policy sure is useful for weeding out non-articles). The Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, for example, surely warrants an article of its own, despite the fact that it won't let tourists sleep over. The LP guide to the city certainly devotes a "Wikitravel-article-length" piece to the museum, which is a virtually endless collection housed in a palace accommodating to virtually endless interesting anecdotes, and which charges visitors for basic information like museum maps and information about the collections in foreign languages. And the fact that I managed to spend 70-80 hours of my life exploring the place makes it seem to me worthy of its own article.
The Roman Forum also comes to mind—our current 5-sentence description is almost a parody of the disadvantages to our "must be able to sleep there" policy. Any self-respecting guide to Rome should provide a blown-up map of the forum accompanied by detailed information about each of the sites (Palatine Hill should have the same treatment).
But then again, I suppose we can always make articles for places like this, though, by riding the wet 'n' wild slippery slope that is the travel topic. So I think I side with Wandering on this one, but I recommend to just keep abusing travel topics to get around the restriction ;) I'd be more than happy to see the Wandering guide to the Met. --Peter Talk 04:02, 31 October 2007 (EDT)
I think my words may not actually convey what I think. I believe we can have articles for attractions, but I do not support an article for every big museum (Like the Louvre) and that a case must be made why such attraction deserves its own article. I might VFD articles simply for purpose of ensuring that that we don't get too far down the slippery slope. -- Sapphire(Talk) • 05:46, 31 October 2007 (EDT)
I cannot object to the idea of a separate article for something like the British Museum. You may not be able to sleep there, but you can certainly spend more than one day exploring it. Is that a possible criterion that helps us avoid the slope? However, I'm not sure how such an article could be classified. It is not a travel topic the way pickpockets or altitude sickness is, something that applies in many destinations. Nor is it a destination in our usual sense (Can you sleep there? (TM)) or any other sense I want to use. I think it comes closer to an itinerary like Literary London than anything else. Pashley 06:41, 31 October 2007 (EDT)
The text I'd add to Wikitravel:What is an article?, as an exception at the end of the "What DOES NOT get its own article?" section, would be:
There can also be exceptions for really major attractions like the British Museum. If both the attraction is large enough one might spend several days exploring it and we have many paragraphs of text about it, then consider moving it to its own article. That article should be formatted using the itinerary template. The city or region article should have a brief description of the attraction with a link to the itinerary. Pashley 07:08, 31 October 2007 (EDT)
Support. --DenisYurkin 17:29, 31 October 2007 (EDT)

Ski resorts[edit]

Sun Peaks is currently up for VFD, but I think we should clearly decide what our criteria are for acceptable ski resort articles, if any at all. Apparently we already have a few, can someone point them out? According to "where you can stick it" ski resorts should be in the "Do" section of the nearest city; though I can see the logic of really large resorts like Whistler that are practically small cities with multiple hotels and restaurants having their own articles. What do we think? – cacahuate talk 01:19, 24 June 2008 (EDT)

Some of these might actually be towns that act as a ski resort, others might just be resorts; there is no clear distinction

and a number of the entries on Alpine skiing --Nick 03:23, 24 June 2008 (EDT)

I would say that large ski resorts, where all available lodging and restaurants are closely associated with the resort and there are no nearby municipalities are fine to get their own articles. I'm not sure we'll be able to set up a hard rule for this. LtPowers 08:25, 24 June 2008 (EDT)
Maybe the distance (in time? miles?) from the nearest "real" town/city could be used as one of the criteria for deciding whether a ski resort deserves its own article. There are legitimate towns and cities that have grown up around what were originally ski resorts - I'm not sure which category Vail and Lake Placid fall into of those, but they might be good examples of towns that were once just ski resorts, and have grown over time. Somewhere like Sun Peaks would have a year-round permanent population too (though I'm not sure what it would be), unlike some smaller ski resorts that may not be worthy of their own articles. Occasional Traveller 09:21, 24 June 2008 (EDT)
  • Apparently, there have been discussions with the British Columbia government to have Sun Peaks incorporated as its own municipality [7].Occasional Traveller 09:32, 24 June 2008 (EDT)

Bill said it well I think on the VFD page: The basic criterion that has worked in places like Colorado and New Mexico is that a ski resort that is part of a town (e.g. Taos Ski Valley, which is part of the community of Taos that has a lot of destination-ish features beyond the ski area) doesn't get its own article, but is subordinated to the town's article. If the ski resort is the town (e.g. Red River, one that I happen to be familiar with and know is not "part of" any town but itself) and provides the services that a destination provides, then it is as valid a destination as anywhere else. Unless there's any objection to that, I'll condense it and add it into our policy page – cacahuate talk 21:12, 24 June 2008 (EDT)

Not objecting, just throwing in a wrinkle: doesn't a cruise ship or an all-inclusive tropical resort meet that criteria too? --Peter Talk 23:32, 24 June 2008 (EDT)
The cruise-ship analogy is disingenuous: a cruise ship is a boat (a really big boat, but still a boat), not a town. However, you're onto something with the resort analogy, and indeed there are probably resorts that it would be OK to treat as a destination. It would make sense to develop a similar body of "case law" and guiding principles to distinguish island resorts that are destinations from those that aren't. While that is being addressed, do the case law and principles for this situation allow sensible decision making that follows the TTCF principle? I think so, but I'm obviously biased, although I would also be so arrogant as to say that my views of ski resorts are pretty well informed. -- Bill-on-the-Hill 00:10, 25 June 2008 (EDT)
Hey now, please assume good (or ingenuous) faith. Resorts (neither tropical nor wintry) are also not "towns." The only difference I see between a resort and a cruise ship is that the former is stationary, and I don't see why that should make such a difference. (Don't get me wrong—I also don't really want to see cruise ship articles, but I do want to make sure our reasoning is on firm ground...) I'll add that I can't think of a tropical resort that I'd like to have an article for, but I suppose that's usually because you can just put a listing for them on the island page, which usually functions like a small city article. Lastly, what does TTCF stand for? --Peter Talk 00:20, 25 June 2008 (EDT)
Out of curiosity, where would you put travel information about (major, multi-day) cruise ships? Taking a cruise on one of those ships isn't just something someone might do while visiting Port Canaveral, for instance; they're destinations in their own right. LtPowers 08:33, 25 June 2008 (EDT)
I certainly didn't mean to imply any lack of good faith, merely that the situation with cruise ships strikes me as clear. As for tropical resorts, the limiting case (and very definitely paralleled by some ski operations) is Lanai, which at one time (and maybe still today) was owned outright by a corporation, even though it's quite a large island. You're right, there aren't a lot of those out there. However, there may be others that haven't surfaced yet, so let's continue to think about whether the precedent makes sense; I think it does. -- Bill-on-the-Hill 12:00, 25 June 2008 (EDT)
Having been a few times to Whistler, since it's near where I live, I'd say Whistler is a good example of a town that's grown up around a resort, but which now merits a destination article as a town in its own right. The resort information is spread through the town's article. Thus, I don't see it as a good example of a resort meriting its own article. I'm comfortable with the "is part of a town" / "is a town" policy. It fits the current Whistler article well. The three other ski resorts near Vancouver would be covered under Do of the appropriate Vancouver district. JimDeLaHunt 02:32, 25 June 2008 (EDT)
I'm also comfortable with the "is part of a town" / "is a town" policy as it applies to ski resorts. I'm not sure it applies to resorts in general however. -OldPine 07:18, 25 June 2008 (EDT)

Destination consisting of several towns[edit]

Is it possible to create articles for attractions that are known under a common name but consist of several towns? If yes, what template should I use? Specifically I was thinking of creating an article for the World Heritage Site Jesuit Missions of the Chiquitos. It consists of six towns which are geographically spread over a large area but otherwise quite similar. For a traveler they would appear as a single destination and therefore merit a separate article. Currently the destination is mentioned in Santa Cruz (department, Bolivia). Bamse 07:11, 21 February 2009 (EST)

If it's spread over a large area and separate towns, what about creating an itinerary for them? You could give an overview of them and their history, and describe the route(s) between them... – cacahuate talk 12:22, 21 February 2009 (EST)
An itinerary would definitely be the best way to handle this, since you could then separate the information into sections by town. And I'd be thrilled if you wrote this—very interesting destination. ;) --Peter Talk 16:11, 21 February 2009 (EST)
I started to write the Jesuit Missions of the Chiquitos itinerary. Since it is my first wikitravel article I would be glad of some feedback and possibly contributions. Will add a map soon. Also, I did not make it to San José, so it would be great if somebody could fill in that part. Bamse 13:49, 22 February 2009 (EST)

Notability[edit]

I think many of you will understand Wikipedia's notability concept. Although this is a different site with different policies, how small and/or insignificant can a place be to have its own entry in Wikitravel? What's your policy on original research?--ChrisChanSonichu 20:37, 24 June 2009 (EDT)

See Wikitravel:What is an article. We don't have an article for every crossroads. Can you sleep there is one test, designed to eliminate places that are really attractions rather than destinations. Experiences of travellers and locals is encouraged, as long as they are fair. --inas 22:04, 24 June 2009 (EDT)
See also Wikitravel:Welcome, Wikipedians for a capsule summary of the (many) ways we're different from WP. Jpatokal 22:25, 24 June 2009 (EDT)
And original research is the backbone of travel writing. I wish more contributors would do some good research! --Peter Talk 23:52, 24 June 2009 (EDT)

Proposal for a Meta-region article template[edit]

After numerous interminable discussions about what to do with body of water articles, mountain range articles, desert articles and other types of regions like Maremma which offer ways of dividing up the world that are likely search terms and legitimate subjects for travel info but which fall outside of a comprehensive no-gaps-no-overlaps geographical hierarchy, I have come to the conclusion that it is time for a new kind of article template. Whether they are region-crossing areas like Lake Superior, the Andes or the Chihuahuan Desert, or simple rings of communities which don't represent a specific hierarchical land region like Lake Patzcuaro or Lake Balaton, a traveller may still legitimately want to see general information on them such as starting points for exploring.

There may also be some general information which applies only to such "meta-regions" which may not properly belong in the parent region(s) but which nonetheless unites the contained communities or regions. However, Meta-regions usually have no need for the extensive sections typical of other articles such as Get in, Get around, See, Do, Eat, or Drink. That kind of info is already covered in the corresponding sections of the contained destinations and/or their respective region articles and does not need to be duplicated.

What's left would basically be a extended form of a disambiguation page, though I prefer the term meta-region because it serves to group rather than remove ambiguity:

Blablabla is a lake/desert/etc. in/between/spanning region(s). Extra introduction information, borders.
Regions/Cities
What destinations are contained? Short descriptions tell how that destination is important in the context of given meta-region, i.e. which are common access points, which have certain attractions or amenities for the traveler, etc. If describing regions, use the lowest level regions crossed, categorized by country or state if necessary.
Understand
More detailed description of what is exclusive to the meta-region. Can be broken down into History/Climate/etc if necessary. If it's very short leave this section out entirely and put everything in the introduction.

I think that is probably enough in the majority of cases. In some cases an argument might be made for certain other sections if there is no other appropriate place for the information. I don't think they need to be in the standard template.

Breadcrumb navigation, if any, should reflect the lowest parent region which contains all of the meta-region. In all cases, contained destinations should reflect only the hierarchical geographic parent region.

Meta-regions which do not cross geographical hierarchy boundaries may later be promoted to standard regions if a) information not duplicated elsewhere has been added in substantial quantity, and b) it is part of a logical land subdivision scheme of the parent region.

That's it, a first draft. Let's hear some opinions now. Texugo 00:42, 2 October 2009 (EDT)

Would an article like Navajo Nation be best converted to this format, or is it better to keep it as a full (but extra-hierarchical) region? What about converting a disambiguation page like Niagara Falls to this format? (Just looking for your opinion based on your intended scope.) LtPowers 06:59, 2 October 2009 (EDT)
It looks like a reasonable proposal. I have just spent some time reading through the discussion on Talk:Bodies of water, and this might allow dealing with those problems in a useful way. However, I think the Understand section is central to the whole concept of a meta-region. If there is not a need for an Understand section, is there a need for the meta-region in the first place? Pbsouthwood 13:04, 8 October 2009 (EDT)
Having said this, I now realise that there may be classes of Meta-region that will be fairly obvious or self explanatory. My own contributions of regional diving guides are in a way meta-regional, and there are other possible travel guide types which might also fit best into non-politically bounded, but nevertheless hierarchical constructs. There are two travel/recreational activities that come to mind that would fit into such a system: Diving, and small boat cruising, both of which tend to be mainly constrained by coastlines and bodies of water. These may be a special case, but there may be other special cases I have not yet thought of. The point here may be that in some cases a destination as generally accepted on WT may not be the goal of travel. Pbsouthwood 13:17, 8 October 2009 (EDT)
The proposal really doesn't seem to change that much from the existing practice. At the moment, we can and do create a region articles outside the geographical hierarchy. These tend to have a region template, but don't always do so, sometimes they have city templates. In many cases many sections are left blank. All this proposal says, is that we can cut down such articles to only include whatever headings are needed.
Somewhat ironically, I feel that this strategy could almost be better used with the regions in the geographical hierarchy, which tend to have less consistency and less to actually group and identify the region that some of these "meta-regions".
Really, what headings we use in an article template is an ancillary issue. The tough question here is when do we create regions outside of a geographical hierarchy, and how to we stop a proliferation of these to the extent that they cause confusion. This situation arises when there are a set of attractions that are in a region that can be accessed from a few different cities or towns, but there is no city or town directly associated with the attractions. --inas 19:08, 13 October 2009 (EDT)

Coming back to this after a long while, the underlying reasons that caused me to propose this in the first place have not gone away. They continue to come up over and over again, and I still think this is a good idea. LtPowers pointed out that I never answered his questions above, so here goes: I think that Navajo Nation has already passed the threshold of exception, through much discussion-- it's a big area and there is a lot to say that unifies the area. As far as I can tell, the disambiguation page for Niagara Falls, on the other hand, doesn't represent a region at all-- it's an attraction, which still doesn't merit an article, and it's also two adjacent cities with the same name, a classic disambiguation page. I'd say that candidates for the meta-region "extended disambiguation page" template are regions that have something in common touristically but that, for whatever reason, do not jive with the geographical hierarchy. These would include:

  • Historical regions, which often have historical factors that hold them together (Silesia, Bukovina, etc.)
  • Bodies of water, which often have various destination articles around their shores but which do not in other ways represent an actual land region, including lakes and river valleys which fall on political borders but are for touristic purposes a single destination region (See my partial list of potential candidates)
  • Deserts, mountain ranges, forests, etc., which usually cross hierarchical boundaries but which may be united by flora, fauna, and other types of information. (Andes, Rocky Mountains, Altar Desert, Thar Desert, Bavarian Forest, etc.)
  • Other touristic regions which happen to cross state boundaries/country boundaries/etc.

So... I'd like to stir up some more commentary on this. What do you think now? texugo 11:09, 26 May 2011 (EDT)

I very much agree we need a way to handle extra-hierarchical regions and other terms that users might search for, but I think that it would be best to handle these with the same format as we use for disambiguation pages rather than introducing a new template. In the example currently being debated on the VFD page, the Knowledge Corridor page would turn into 1-5 sentences describing what the Knowledge Corridor is, followed by a list of cities and/or sub-regions in the Knowledge Corridor. I think adding an "Understand" section might be a bit too much and encourage contributors to treat these as articles rather than index pages for reaching articles. Additionally, I agree that in some rare cases such as Lake Tahoe and Navajo Nation that it makes sense to continue allowing full extra-hierarchical regions provided there is agreement to do so. -- Ryan • (talk) • 11:19, 26 May 2011 (EDT)
In most cases, yes, it would be no more than 1-5 sentences or so, which would go into an untitled intro to the disambig page, so in most cases this proposal would do no more than allow more an introduction than simply "There is more than one place called ____." However, I think that in more than a few cases, sticking to only the introductory paragraph can be pretty limiting when it comes to talking about regional history or flora/fauna common to the region. I think that including a message stating This is a meta-region article or This is an extended disambiguation page might help keep people from creating other sections. Also, if we keep the disambiguation portion at the top, it helps to change the look and signify that it is not a typical article. Essentially, what I'm proposing is not a new template, just a redefinition of what a disambig page is, and a new allowance for them to contain Understand sections when appropriate. texugo 11:28, 26 May 2011 (EDT)
This is a fine idea, solves a perennial problem. Pashley 12:03, 26 May 2011 (EDT)
Agree, this appears to be a good idea, --ClausHansen 12:46, 26 May 2011 (EDT)
I agree that a standardized message at the top is key. I'd like to see this be a different category of page than disambiguation, but I'm happy to start there if that's the consensus. LtPowers 21:05, 26 May 2011 (EDT)
I'd also prefer a different category. A disambiguation page serves to disambiguate places anywhere in the world that happen to have the same name. A meta-region groups things geographically but in a secondary way that overlays geographic hierarchy boundaries. texugo 21:47, 26 May 2011 (EDT)
This discussion seems to have stalled again, but there seems to be support from those who have commented. Since the Knowledge Corridor VFD was the trigger point for re-launching this discussion, would there be any objection to converting that article to this new "meta-region" format so that we have something concrete to discuss, and use that to try to come to a conclusion? I'm still hesitant about having an "Understand" section, but with an actual example to review it may not seem as questionable as I'm imagining. -- Ryan • (talk) • 11:59, 29 May 2011 (EDT)
OK by me! texugo 12:16, 29 May 2011 (EDT)
Done → Knowledge Corridor. -- Ryan • (talk) • 19:25, 29 May 2011 (EDT)
I like the meta-region tag you created at the bottom. I moved the Understand section down under the destination list to see how it looks there, as discussed above, though I think in cases like this where it's a single short paragraph, we probably don't need to make an Understand section at all-- we can just put it all as an intro paragraph. What if, instead of Regions and cities, we just put Destinations? texugo 23:08, 29 May 2011 (EDT)
To be consistent with other templates I think it would be better to have "Understand" at the top, but moving it below the "Cities and regions" section wouldn't necessarily be a deal-breaker for me. My only concern with "Destinations" as a heading is that the "Other destinations" section of articles is often abused to include everything from cities to parks to businesses, so I think "Cities and regions" makes the purpose of the section clearer, but that's also not a deal-breaker to me if there is a consensus to use that heading. -- Ryan • (talk) • 23:48, 29 May 2011 (EDT)
Actually, I was trying to be consistent with other templates-- our region articles put the destination breakdown before Understand, so I thought the meta-region articles should follow suit. As for that section title, I just thought that "Regions and cities" was a bit long for a standard heading, and that using "Destinations" might help to differentiate the page from other types of pages. texugo 00:20, 30 May 2011 (EDT)
(outdent) I agree the "Understand" section is unnecessary as long as it's short enough to be in the lead -- which should be the case for the majority of these pages. I'd like to see an indication of some sort that the Pioneer Valley is in Massachusetts and the Connecticut River Valley is in Connecticut -- but one must be careful not to imply that the entirety of those states is part of the meta-region. LtPowers 10:33, 30 May 2011 (EDT)
What about that? I changed it to read "The Pioneer Valley region of Massachusetts" and "The Connecticut River Valley region of Connecticut". texugo 10:39, 30 May 2011 (EDT)
This type of "not-exactly-a-disambiguation" looks fine to me, although I'd rather ditch the awkward-looking understand section at the bottom and move that paragraph just under the titular intro, sans header. I would not like to see this impede the development of worthwhile articles, though, if someone is up to the task of actually writing them. A strict rule still seems elusive, though, as I see a meta-region article being unnecessary for Lake Superior (would we actually link everything on the lake?), while an Andes article could potentially be a nice article—even an introductory chapter for a traditional guidebook! One could argue that there was no need for a Great Lakes article, but would anyone actually want to get rid of the nice region article we have there? (It would be good to trim that cities list, though). --Peter Talk 20:08, 2 June 2011 (EDT)
I dunno, I wouldn't want to discourage an index-type article that explains what communities are on a lake (or the Great Lakes). It should be restricted to communities that have significant lakefront attractions, but within that criterion I think any of our destination travel guides could be fair game to be listed. I actually think the list on Great Lakes is pretty good, though a geographic ordering might be better than alphabetic. LtPowers 21:31, 2 June 2011 (EDT)

New discussion - April 2012[edit]

It seemed we had a rough consensus that this type of article is something we could use, and that the needs of these accessory-region articles are slightly different from those of a straight disambiguation page. Would anyone object to the creation of a few additional prototypes as examples? Knowledge Corridor still resembles what we'd like one of these pages to look like, and Great Lakes is perhaps on the edge of what would be considered acceptable (perhaps with some paring down). But I'd like to take a stab at, say, Lake Ontario or Niagara Falls and see if what comes out is something we'd like to codify. LtPowers 14:21, 22 April 2012 (EDT)

100% support from me. I think the important clarification for when such a page is needed is that these pages aren't standard disambiguation pages, which are used for geographically-dispersed areas, but are disambiguation pages for recognized regions that don't fall within the Wikitravel hierarchy, and thus may need a bit of additional explanation. -- Ryan • (talk) • 14:24, 22 April 2012 (EDT)
I am still for it too. Let's try it out... texugo 21:02, 22 April 2012 (EDT)
I'm still leery ;) I won't stand in the way, of course, if I'm alone. But I still don't see why a) we would want we would want anything less than a complete article for a valid destination article (e.g., Great Lakes), and why we would want something more than a disambiguation for an article we expressly don't want (e.g., Knowledge Corridor).
I should say that I fully disagree with Ryan, if he's saying that we should not allow complete articles on regions simply because they do not fit within our hierarchical navigational structure. Having spent a great deal of my work here on creating that structure, I'm intimately familiar with how arbitrary it can be (since the focus was on division, not narration), and I wouldn't like to see all that work put to the task of ruling out good and frankly necessary travel articles! --Peter Talk 15:48, 23 April 2012 (EDT)
I think the issue there is that what Peter is suggesting allows for overlap, which leads to duplication, which leads the traveller to have to look in multiple articles to see which article is most complete. texugo 19:45, 23 April 2012 (EDT)
I'm not completely sure I understand Peter's comment, but to clarify what I'm getting at:
  1. Cleveland (disambiguation) is a traditional disambiguation page - there are multiple places around the world named "Cleveland", so this page is an index that points at individual articles with no further explanation needed.
  2. Knowledge Corridor is a region that crosses multiple Wikitravel regional boundaries, thus in order to avoid duplication we provide pointers to where a reader will find information, and also provide a brief "Understand" section to provide an overview of the region.
Similar examples to #2 that have been raised recently: Monterey Bay (spans multiple counties and regions in the Wikitravel hierarchy) and Niagara Falls (spans two countries).
Current site policy is that we try to avoid regional overlap (see Wikitravel:Geographical hierarchy#Overlap), but travelers expect an article to exist for Monterey Bay and we can't easily redirect it since it spans two regions. My understanding was that there was general agreement to create a new "meta disambiguation" page to handle such regions, but perhaps I misread previous comments. -- Ryan • (talk) • 20:02, 23 April 2012 (EDT)
OK, then I definitely disagree, and feel strongly that this would be a bad policy (at least if strictly enforced). I think that excluding region guides on the basis of whether or not they were convenient to division in creating the geographical hierarchy, rather than the basis of whether the guide in question is something that travellers would find useful, would be a disservice to those who use our site. Let me get into some examples, before going abstract again, and I'll include a little summary here:

Peter's argument
1. There are two good reasons for allowing extra hierarchical regions:
*When a well defined region spans other well defined regions,
*When regions problematic for division would still make for a different and useful way of approaching travel in the area.
2. Content duplication is a serious problem in bottom-level articles, not so much for mid-level regions.
3. Content duplication will be prevalent throughout top and mid-level region articles anyway.
4. People will think we're crazy if we stop them from writing about well-known travel regions.


1. Navajo Nation, Lake Tahoe, and the Chesapeake Bay are great examples of how our tiered approach excludes necessary region guides from the hierarchy itself. We, naturally, use U.S. states as a level of subdivision of the U.S., but certain important, cohesive, and widely understood (and expected!) regions, such as these three, span more than one state. There is therefore no way to include them neatly into the hierarchy, but they beg for guides. People will want to know the main ports of entry, unique regional challenges to getting around, regional highlights for attractions, festivals, shopping centers, etc., what are the local culinary specialties, which towns have the best lodging options, what sorts of unique lodging options are available, and so on and so forth.
I don't know Monterey Bay enough to say, but it appears that it might be a similar sort of case? One that is a well understood travel destination, but one that spans the division that we used for our hierarchical purposes (state counties in this case). If this is the case (and if I'm wrong, please forgive me), then I think it would be a mistake to refuse to write an article for it, in preference for focusing our attention on less than scintillating state county guides, which hardly attract any writers at all.
2. Andes and Great Lakes are (mostly) good examples of how extra-hierarchical regions that we didn't use (but could have) in our hierarchy can complement the article in our hierarchy by providing a different way of considering travel in the area. (Great Lakes also hits problem #1 of spanning a national border.) Unlike the three examples for the previous point, I don't think these are necessary articles, but they are potentially useful, and I don't think there is a compelling reason to exclude them. My hunch is that others will think it's OK to keep Great Lakes (since I took the time to make it an example of what such an article can look like), but that the stubby Andes article should go. But I actually think Andes is the more important one!
For a real world example of a reader: I'm in the very advance stages of planning an Andes vacation. I don't have any strong preference regarding which countries I go to, but I would like to find a place with great hiking and the potential to rent a snowboard (Do), a place where I can pitch a tent without having to worry too much about permits, fees, or finding established campgrounds (Sleep), and a place that will satisfy my street food wanderlust (Eat). If we don't have an Andes article, I would have to comb through each country article, and let's be honest, the information is not going to be presented across those country articles in a standard enough way for me to make a determination—by the time I finish researching, the vast bulk of which I will do on other sites (since the article is as of yet just an outline), I will be ready to go ahead and write the article myself.
3. Back to the abstract. I think the only worry being addressed by this proposal is content duplication, right? I think content duplication is a problem regarding bottom-level destination guides. If we have overlap between Detroit and Grosse Pointe, then it's not clear where listings belong—basic things like where to look for information on a museum's hours. For regions this is less of a problem, because they provide different vantage points for considering a destination. There is some overlap between the information at Navajo Nation and Northwest New Mexico, Northern Arizona, and Canyon Country, but most of the information is unique, as those articles are serving different and likely complementary purposes.
Moreover, the bigger source of overlap between our region guides actually happens not between those in the hierarchy and those without (as the extra-hierarchical region guides tend to have a more purposeful narrative), but rather across region guides at different levels of the hierarchy. For some examples of this with which I am intimately familiar, skim through this chain: Mid-Atlantic : Maryland : Capital Region : Montgomery County. Information is duplicated all over the place throughout those articles, but it's not problematic for readers, because the article they choose to read simply depends on the purpose of their travel. Will they just be visiting Rockville and its surroundings? Then they should stick to the county article. Put in terms of an extra-hierarchical region, is our traveler someone spending a weekend in Chestertown (Maryland), or a sailor looking to cruise the Bay for a month?
4. Two final worries: A) If we tell new contributors to, say, stop writing about Lake Titicaca, since it's not in some esoteric "Geographical Hierarchy," we will alienate them, and they will think we're a little nuts. B) We might get stuck rehashing a lot of the geographical hierarchy in extremely messy fashion in order to allow useful region guide articles, after having put a full mountain range of effort into breaking down the world and mapping it.
Sorry to write so much, but I hope I make my reasoning clear, and that any of it presents something novel people here haven't thought of—region guides are something I've spent a lot of time thinking about. --Peter Talk 20:40, 25 April 2012 (EDT)
Perhaps I erred in bringing articles like Great Lakes into this. I think our concerns are more about smaller locations like Knowledge Corridor that aren't important enough to travelers to merit a full-blown region article, and Niagara Falls, which would need to be wary of content duplication with the sister cities on either side of the border. I think there's a general sense that these sorts of articles don't need the full region template, although some of them could support one if fully developed (which is how I brought Great Lakes in, thinking it was an example of this). LtPowers 21:22, 25 April 2012 (EDT)
I've spent a while trying to craft a response to Peter's points, but after starting and stopping a few times my thoughts basically boil down to the following:
  1. I don't think Wikitravel does a good job of handling regions. This has been stated by others elsewhere (and is a whole separate discussion), but it's relevant in that we don't often have a good answer for the question "what is a region article for" aside from "to organize geographical units into smaller pieces".
  2. I think that as a result of #1, the focus on regions tends to be for organizational purposes, hence the focus on hierarchy. Given that as it exists today 95+ percent of Wikitravel's regional articles exist solely to organize a large area into smaller pieces, it seems fair to look at how a region fits into a hierarchy when deciding whether a region article is appropriate or not. The only relevant site policy on the matter - Wikitravel:Geographical hierarchy#Overlap - seems to directly reflect that thought, although even that policy is a bit dyslexic in that it says to avoid overlap and then lists several examples of acceptable overlapping regions.
I don't disagree with the idea that a great region article could be written about the Great Lakes, the Knowledge Corridor, or Monterey Bay, but in its current form Wikitravel uses regions to guide a user to the next level of the geographical hierarchy, and thus for most out-of-hierarchy articles a stripped-down "meta-disambiguation" template seems sufficient. However, given the reality of my point #1 above, maybe the answer isn't a stripped-down template, but a re-evaluation of how to answer the question "what is a region article for". That said, I'll withdraw my objections in the comments above and defer to whatever consensus comes out of this discussion. -- Ryan • (talk) • 22:08, 25 April 2012 (EDT)
If the proposal here is simply to allow greater flexibility with disambiguation articles, such as Niagara Falls (which would benefit from a treatment of what the pros and cons are of visiting each side, for example), then I am absolutely all for it. I'm only against ruling out region guides on the basis of whether they are part of our hierarchical divisions, for the reasons above. We really do need a serious discussion on how to promote better content in our region guides (and a big piece of the problem may ultimately be that we aren't attracting many writers in general anymore...), but as you say, that's a different discussion. --Peter Talk 22:40, 25 April 2012 (EDT)
Niagara Falls is perhaps a bad example because it is both an ambiguous name and a potential extra-hierarchical region. It causes the terminology to get confused. =) LtPowers 14:09, 26 April 2012 (EDT)

Here's another example: Western New York. It's not really a disambiguation page (despite the template being present); the term isn't ambiguous, and the article has breadcrumbs. It's a coherent region, one that many people have heard of and are likely to search for. But expanding it to a full region article would require significant duplication with Niagara Frontier, Finger Lakes, and Southern Tier. A "meta"-region article, something between a disambiguation page and a region article, seems like it would be ideal. LtPowers 19:29, 28 April 2012 (EDT)

starting new pages with no info[edit]

Swept in from pub:

I notice that ClausHansen has this evening just created about ten new pages with only the line "xxxx is a city in Zealand". What is the purpose of this? Does it not just enable Wikitravel to claim that it has lots more articles than it really does?Shep 16:51, 12 October 2009 (EDT)

No, the purpose is to start with a clear structure for the region and then afterwards begin to fill contents into those new articles. Is it a problem to do it that way? ClausHansen 16:56, 12 October 2009 (EDT)
Me and Claus is trying to organize the whole island into a sensible hierarchy, making sure all attractions has somewhere to go (per Talk:Southwestern_Zealand). I would have liked it if we had finished North Zealand first, but all those cities are slowly (but steadily) filling up, so I guess there is no harm done. --Stefan (sertmann) Talk 17:01, 12 October 2009 (EDT)
Creating blank guides is not a bad thing. Contributors are more likely to add to a guide that already has an outline than they are to start the page themselves. For a traveller searching for a guide, these pages make it more frustrating. In this case, the articles were being created for organizational purposes, but in cases where articles are simply created and left as outlines, I don't think it's an issue unless it is done in excess. ChubbyWimbus 19:07, 12 October 2009 (EDT)
I have no problem with the "creating a structure or hierachy" approach (although I get my kicks from finding somewhere I know that no one has written about and then trying to write about it!) but it appears to be that every time we do an "x is a city in y" the number on the front page stating "So far we have 22,399 destination guides" changes. This seems dubious at best. How can " x is a city in y" be regarded as a destination guide?Shep 00:52, 13 October 2009 (EDT) Don't you think that people might not rapidly get pissed off with Wikitravel if every time they do a search all they get is "x is a city in y"?Shep 00:55, 13 October 2009 (EDT)
I do not see any problem with this at all, especially when structuring or re-structuring an article which has sub-articles/sub-regions etc. It is by far the easiest way to organise the structure. In any case and as already stated, starting an empty article is often a good way to get others to plunge forward using a proper template.--Burmesedays 00:59, 13 October 2009 (EDT)
Shep, if you'd like your browser to show you a different link color when there's a stubby "non-guide" article at the other end of the link, go to Preferences > Misc and change "Threshold for stub link formatting" to a suitable number (say, 500). Alas, the front page counter isn't smart enough for this kind of thing... Jpatokal 06:21, 13 October 2009 (EDT)
Thanks, but I am more worried about the casual user of Wikitravel. If someone goes right now to South Zealand they get a long list of links to what they must assume are helpful articles. After clicking on five or six links and finding virtually nothing they might well conclude that Wikitravel is a waste of time. The South Zealand page can provide the structure, you do not need the individual pages until you have something to say. I've been doing a bit of work on Umbria. Someone has added a few cities to the list but they don't have pages and it should be clear to the slightly more than casual reader that there is nothing there. Is this not a better way of presenting things? Shep 13:41, 13 October 2009 (EDT)
Every article has to start somewhere. I agree it might be better to leave redlinks until there is something substantial to say about a location, but I'm not about to suggest deleting even the stubbiest of stub articles either, so long as they're valid destinations. LtPowers 15:00, 13 October 2009 (EDT)

Uninhabited islands[edit]

I propose that we remove this category. Islands like Navassa Island, Heard Island and McDonald Islands seem to be quite legitimate. We seem to be happy to keep these significant uninhabited islands for the possibility of an expedition or a trek to them. Likely you can set up camp there. --inas 02:33, 28 May 2010 (EDT)

I think "significant" is the key word, and I would not like to open up Wikitravel to a mass of articles about uninhabited islands. Perhaps the wording can be qualified somehow to make it clear that generally uninhabited islands do not warrant articles, but in some cases, they might?--Burmesedays 02:55, 28 May 2010 (EDT)
We could just add "insignificant" to uninhabited to achieve that purpose, but that would be a tautology - as it is globally true. I really think there is no reason why we shouldn't remove uninhabited islands according to the same criteria we apply to anywhere else. Why is an island special? --inas 03:12, 28 May 2010 (EDT)
But what are those criterion? I thought "can you sleep there?" was relevant, but apparently that seems to be open to debate as well. In practical terms, most uninhabited islands are not going to have articles nor could they sustain one, so we just need to make that clear in some way. --Burmesedays 04:24, 28 May 2010 (EDT)
Can you sleep there is a helpful question to ask. Having a policy to generally remove uninhabited islands as a rule is silly, when we do the opposite in many cases. We may remove a small uninhabited island that is easily visited from somewhere else. We can and do remove small inhabited island on the same basis. We build up guide articles on uninhabited islands that you are not allowed to visit, or require full expeditions to visit. Lets face it, the criteria of whether someone lives there or not (whether it is inhabited), is really not relevant to whether we keep it or not. The choice is to keep the policy and ignore it, or remove it. I'd be interested if any article has every been removed on the basis of it being an uninhabited island, compared with the many uninhabited island articles we have. --inas 07:27, 28 May 2010 (EDT)
Do we have many uninhabited island articles? And why should we have them? The two you list seem to be exceptions because of their political status, which is a practice I personally don't like, but I do recognize that we privilege articles on that basis.
We have a lot of "rules" in this article, but I think they basically are there to serve the same purpose: we should not be writing travel guides that cannot possibly develop into a nice, full travel article, with useful information throughout our primary section headers. If an island has no drink listings, no eat listings, no sleep listings, no buy listings, no see listings, then what exactly is the purpose in writing about it? If there is one thing notable about it (e.g., you can sleep there via camping permit), then we can just note that as an unlinked OD in the containing region article. This basic rule, of avoiding guides that cannot support a well-developed article, is applied in all the careful work we do splitting up cities into districts, and regions into subregions.
Another reason to avoid articles about places with no amenities is to avoid spreading our content too thinly, and thus require too many clicks to get to the good stuff. Having 130 articles with barely any content in any of them for French Polynesia doesn't seem to me helpful for the traveler—it would be far more useful to break it down into manageable chunks aggregating lots of the uninhabited, and inhabited, islands. Content organization is tricky enough as it is, and this rule helps us stop well-meaning contributors from muddling our hierarchy before we even get a chance to sort it out.
We don't have to rule out any articles about uninhabited islands, but I think they should be exceptions, and determined via consensus (and the same goes, really, for privately owned islands without any travel amenities). So, Galapagos Islands clearly should stay, but --Peter Talk 09:07, 28 May 2010 (EDT)
Peter said most of what I would have said. If an island is uninhabited then the driving criteria needs to be whether or not there is enough to say about it to warrant a separate article - see South Georgia Island#See for some examples of how we've dealt with this issue for some very interesting islands (Bird Island, Willis Island) that you actually can camp on (if you purchase a very expensive permit) and that have very interesting wildlife and terrain, but that are really best served as mentions in the parent article. -- Ryan • (talk) • 10:30, 28 May 2010 (EDT)
Peter has very eloquently expressed what I was incapable of earlier in this discussion. Articles on uninhabited islands should be the exception, not the rule. This is actually a rule that stopped me wasting time early in my WT "career" when I wanted to start articles on a couple of uninhabited Indonesian islands. I can see very clearly now that these would have been a waste of time.--Burmesedays 11:01, 28 May 2010 (EDT)

I agree with what everyone is essentially saying. We don't want articles on privately owned islands that can't develop into guides. We don't want articles on every island in the Indonesian archipelago. Most islands with no amenities won't get articles. The only thing is that someone living there makes no difference to how we apply the criteria that have been discussed above, they would all apply equally well to islands that are inhabited or not. That being the case, why distinguish an island that is uninhabited in the policy? --inas 01:27, 29 May 2010 (EDT)

Do we really want counties as destinations?[edit]

Archived from Talk:U.S. counties (disambiguation), which was deleted:

I am having a hard time with this. I don't see a US County as a valid destination in most cases. I can see the need for spilts of the major regions in each state, but I am not convinced that counties are the best split in most cases. Maybe I am short sighted and this is the best way to go, but I would like to discuss this before we get too far down path. -- Tom Holland (xltel) 18:24, 13 March 2006 (EST)

In the case of a county that's considered not to warrant its own article, should there be a correctly disambiguated redirect page - so that if someone searches for that county (or perhaps follows a link that a contributor has mistakenly created within another article), they automatically get taken straight to the article that does cover it? -- 218.208.237.175 19:22, 13 March 2006 (EST)
I would say No, if the county does not warrant an article, I don't want an edit page to open or a disambiguation page that offers a link that opens an edit. The disambiguation page even less so, as that to some extent that validates we "want" the county article. If it is county that warrants an article (few of those) then the opposite applies. My point really does not apply to the question of how to disambig counties, I just don't like counties as destinations across the board. The consensus may disagree with me, but I would like to discuss the issue before we get too far down the slope. This page brought that to the front burner for me. I don't mind setting a policy on how to disambig counties, I just don't want to do 3000+ of them on one page at this point. Others may disagree. Let's talk first and get a conensus. I am going to be quiet for awhile and others comment. --Tom Holland (xltel) 19:57, 13 March 2006 (EST)
I think you mean "Yes" then - creating a correctly disambiguated redirect page for a county that does not warrant an article would prevent the edit page (of the "unwanted" county article) from opening; the redirect would instead return whichever article does cover that county. -- 218.208.237.175 20:50, 13 March 2006 (EST)
No, I really mean no. Maybe this conversation should be moved over to the talk page for Wikitravel:Geographical hierarchy. Just to wrap up here. I think this should wait till we have a consensus on counties in the hierarchy. I really don't even want a redirect page with the county name on it. Now, again... there are exceptions to this and I do believe we need a policy on how to disambiguate counties, if in "some" cases counties are needed or desired as travel destinations. But, back to the need for counties, which again maybe should be discussed on the talk for Wikitravel:Geographical hierarchy, I have created 6 large regions for Oklahoma and populated those region with links to 89 cities and towns, which each city has then been created with a template. This is all good, but I just don't see the need to ever "create" the 77 counties in Oklahoma. I just don't see the counties as valid destinations for travelers. All most all of the counties have their largest town or city under 10,000, now all the towns and cities will need at some point their own travel page. Maybe the regions can be split and of course at some point we can split out Oklahoma City and Tulsa in metro areas. But I really don't ever see the need for all 77 counties from a traveler’s point of view. Now what I would like is to hold of on creating this page, county disambiguation pages, county pages and county redirect pages until we can get comments from others and come to a conensus on how we are going to handle counties in the Wikitravel:Geographical hierarchy. In the end conensus may say lets go with counties. At that point I will create and do my best to populate all 77 counties in Oklahoma. -- Tom Holland (xltel) 09:16, 14 March 2006 (EST)
Hi Tom. Actually I think you are both right, and that you are sort of cross arguing. I think the redirect the anon user suggests above will achieve exactly the effect you are after in that they will make it very unlikely that anybody will go to the trouble of removing the in order to make a real page, rather users will get dumped into the appropriate region page.
One of these days I intend to do exactly that with the list of swiss cantons, which as with us counties are probably not all destinations. -- Mark 10:40, 14 March 2006 (EST)
Yes, to use Oklahoma as an example - if there are 77 counties in Oklahoma which it would be better not to create individual articles for, then in their place we should create 77 redirects using the exact same correctly disambiguated names, each one a redirect to the article that does cover that territory (presumably in every case this will be to one of the 6 large region articles). Otherwise, it's inevitable that sooner or later someone will come along and see that Muskogee isIn|Green Country (Oklahoma) and will think "ah! - no it's not, it's in Muskogee County and Muskogee County isIn|Green Country (Oklahoma), I'll plunge forward and fix that" - and then they'll discover that no Muskogee County article exists, so they'll create it, and outline it, and mention which other cities and towns it contains, and then notice that those other cities and towns also say isIn|Green Country (Oklahoma) and start changing them to isIn|Muskogee County too... which is exactly what you would prefer to avoid. So we should create Muskogee County now, and it should be a redirect to Green Country (Oklahoma). Maybe it should also contain a brief comment (which, because it's on a redirect page, would only be visible at http://wikitravel.org/wiki/en/index.php?title=Muskogee_County&redirect=no or http://wikitravel.org/wiki/en/index.php?title=Muskogee_County&action=edit ) saying something like "before deleting this redirect and replacing it with an outline, please see..." blah blah blah. -- 218.208.238.135 14:31, 14 March 2006 (EST)
You are talking about 3100 plus redirects plus maybe another 1000 disambig pages that will give a list anyway... with the redirects of course to all the disambig'ed counties. Why? How many people are going to be typing in a county name? How will they type it? Will they conform to the 3100 entries with "County" on the end? Will we need to create a base disabig page without "County" on the end? Then if it finally does work and they get redirected to a region, they will likely say; "How the heck did I get here?" My point is I don't think we should do counties. We have 7700 articles and you desire to create 3100 plus pages as redirects for articles that don't exist, plus all the disambig pages. I still don't get it. How soon do you think you will have it finished? I guess it could be scripted, but why? Now, back to the point. Do we want to do counties or not? That is the question. If there is a consensus that we do want counties, then the redirect discussion is mute. You are attempting to solve an issue that does not exist yet. -- Tom Holland (xltel) 15:02, 14 March 2006 (EST)
The issue I was attempting to solve was disambiguation.
Do we want to do counties or not? - seems to me that for sure there's a need for some, and that for sure there are many that will be better covered by more regional articles; and that in the case of the latter, some will be more urgent candidates for a redirect than others. -- 218.208.238.135 15:31, 14 March 2006 (EST)

I'm thinking that it's best to create a more tourist oriented region and then create redirects from both county names. -- Mark 14:35, 14 March 2006 (EST)

Not sure I follow what you mean by "both county names" - ? -- 218.208.238.135 14:43, 14 March 2006 (EST)
Mea culpa. I was reading "Green Country" as "Green County". -- Mark 15:09, 14 March 2006 (EST)

This is an old discussion, but I want to add my two bits: "Do we really want counties as destinations?" NO! U.S. Counties are (more often than not) a really bad way to break up a travel guide. Look at a map of U.S. counties such as [8] and you'll see just how artificial and arbitrary these pigeonholes are. Let people figure out what works locally; if it's a county, great, but they should not be the default or standard way of dividing up states. - Todd VerBeek 21:42, 27 July 2006 (EDT)

I'll disagree on this... not on the spirit, but on the details. I think there are a lot of counties that locals think of as "real" local regions. Marin County and Orange County are two famous ones in California; Westchester County is a famous one in New York. In addition, counties have the nice property of being legally defined and thus not subject to (much) argument. --Evan 23:45, 27 July 2006 (EDT)
Like I said: If what works locally is a county, great. The fact that they're legally tidy is a bonus (something I recently argued in favor of for Maine). But cities (especially metro regions) often cross county lines (Holland (Michigan) has one going through downtown), and being a legally defined region doesn't necessarily make it a useful one. I keep going back to two Wikitravel:Geographical hierarchy guidelines that have become rather unfashionable, but held a lot of wisdom: that the definition of "city" should be flexible enough to include/exclude suburbs and satellites depending on the individual case, and that regions don't have to follow what some government says they should be. - Todd VerBeek 00:20, 28 July 2006 (EDT)

To add another No to this old discussion, I am just finishing up with the elimination of county articles in Washington (state). They were useless (in all but a few exceptional cases) as travel destinations, and had very little content in them. Those counties that deserved it became region articles, the rest became redirects to the corresponding region articles. JimDeLaHunt 03:51, 31 August 2007 (EDT)

Universities and colleges[edit]

Swept from the pub:

I have an idea: individual articles for universities and colleges. In the U.S., high school students visit their prospective universities to take tours and meet faculty so they can decide where to apply and learn what the campus is like. Also, faculty travel around giving talks at various universities or attending conferences.

It seems like it would be helpful to have pages for each university/college summarizing how to get there, how to get around campus, what's in the area, and maybe have some useful links like a campus map.

Any thoughts? --BigPeteB 18:44, 3 April 2011 (EDT)

Don't the university web sites already cover that? Pashley 18:57, 3 April 2011 (EDT)
I don't know if Wikitravel really has much more to offer than the university websites. I think universities should be on our maps, because they are good landmarks, but if the school's website is not enough, then they should probably schedule a campus visit. Campuses with legitimate attractions are listed under those attractions in articles, but what sort of help could we offer prospective students beyond university websites? ChubbyWimbus 19:36, 3 April 2011 (EDT)
Yeah, I agree with Pashley and ChubbyWimbus. Plus, we really don't even list universities and colleges in our articles unless they are of historical value in their own right or offer short term classes that a tourist might take, and it is well established that we are not here to help students choose a potential school. Why would we then turn around and make thousands of articles for them? texugo 21:03, 3 April 2011 (EDT)
In total support of not having Universities listed. One of my pet peeves is long lists of schools in articles. Utterly useless to almost all travellers. - Cardboardbird 22:19, 8 April 2011 (EDT)
A Studying abroad article has been suggested before Talk:Pakistani_students_coming_to_Finland. Certainly many students travel to study, either within their country or internationally. The international exchange is by no means all in one direction,"Third World" students going to Western countries, either. I'm at a Chinese university that has dozens of Africans, a fair number of French students and at least some Iranians, Americans and I'm not sure who else. Others have hordes of Indonesians, East Europeans, Americans, ...
I do think we need something on travel for study, but it is not clear what. Pashley 01:22, 9 April 2011 (EDT)
The Indian articles in particular seem to act as a magnet for academic institution listings and are often problematic. They sometimes start getting promotional then requiring management. Frankly unless they are of historical or similar interest such as possessing stand out museums, libraries of national or international significance, have significant architectural characteristics or are a significant in some in some other iconic way then they I think they should just be removed. I suggest that Cambridge University probably rates a mention, however the Wagga Wagga TAFE probably does not. I suggest that as we do not necessarily know of the individual 'iconic' status of any particular listing that all listings should be moved across to the articles discussion page and only come back into the article if the reason for listing is abundantly clear. In the case of lesser know institutions the re-listing should then be achieved by a consensus. Bangalore is a good example. That city is clearly notable as a research and learning centre, I do however question the value of listing out the individual but never-the-less notable individual institutions (as per WT is not a phone book or the yellow pages). Unless a visitor is actually going to visit them then the matter should be dealt with in article prose. I would value the opinion of others on this matter. -- felix 07:24, 9 May 2011 (EDT)

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