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Difference between revisions of "Talk:Marrakech"

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(Why were the Tours in the Do section wiped clean on October 1?)
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:: Thanks for the link; I've read over the policies. What I don't understand is why some listings were deleted and others not, when they seem to offer the same "value-added activity." In any case, I'm restoring the listing that I have personal experience with. I can't speak for all of them.--[[User:Spmenic|Spmenic]] 07:35, 23 October 2009 (EDT)
 
:: Thanks for the link; I've read over the policies. What I don't understand is why some listings were deleted and others not, when they seem to offer the same "value-added activity." In any case, I'm restoring the listing that I have personal experience with. I can't speak for all of them.--[[User:Spmenic|Spmenic]] 07:35, 23 October 2009 (EDT)
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== Removed "Tours" section entirely ==
  
 
I've removed the "Tour" section from this article entirely - it's not clear that any of the listed operators met the criteria outlined in [[Tour]], most of the listed tours were for sights outside of Marrakech, and the section was becoming a magnet for spammy edits. -- [[User:Wrh2|Ryan]] • ([[User talk:Wrh2|talk]]) • 12:06, 5 September 2010 (EDT)
 
I've removed the "Tour" section from this article entirely - it's not clear that any of the listed operators met the criteria outlined in [[Tour]], most of the listed tours were for sights outside of Marrakech, and the section was becoming a magnet for spammy edits. -- [[User:Wrh2|Ryan]] • ([[User talk:Wrh2|talk]]) • 12:06, 5 September 2010 (EDT)
  
 
: I disagree with you here, though I do agree that like hotel, restaurant, and attraction listings, these tour listings can attract spam. I think deleting the entire section, however, is a bit like throwing the baby out with the bath water -- to use a cliché. I'm not sure how much time you've spent in Marrakech (I lived just outside the city for three years), but it is a normal part of a tourist visit to Marrakech to take day trips or even an overnight trip while still basically "based" in Marrakech -- especially out to the desert or the Atlas mountains. After looking over the [[Wikitravel:Article_templates/Sections#Get_out|Article Template]] section concerning "Get Out," I think that these "day-trip" tours might better be placed there. You are right to say that they are not properly in Marrakech, but I think removing them completely ignores how so many tourists spend a week in Marrakech -- splitting time between the city and one or two day excursions around it, all while based in Marrakech. As a second point, I think we need to have some type of better defined criteria for tour listings than what [[Wikitravel:Activity_listings#Tour_listings|currently exists]]. You mentioned that it wasn't clear to you that the former listings met the criteria, but I can assure you that at least some of them did (see my [[Talk:Marrakech#Deleted_Tour_Listings|post]] below). I agree that perhaps every tour doesn't meet the grade, but I don't think we are very helpful to travellers if we have ''no'' listings whatsoever for any day trips into the desert or Atlas mountains -- this is Marrakech after all! Perhaps we could set up some criteria that make it easier to tell the good from the bad: 1) can the activity be completed in a day? (or two?) 2) does it start and end in Marrakech, or at least provide transport that picks you up and drops you off in Marrakech? 3) is the activity one that is normally "based" out of Marrakech? 4) finally...and perhaps most importantly...is there a long-time Wikitravel contributor (not just an owner) who has experienced it, has pictures of it, can vouch for it, and can vouch that it constitutes a "value-added" activity that a normal traveller couldn't do on his/her own? I think these discussion pages are too under-utilized, and perhaps we need to have a discussion when there is move to add (or remove) a listing (or set of listings) so that we maintain the community aspect of the wiki. On that note, I think [[User:Wrh2|Ryan]] makes a fair point about the listings not being part of Marrakech proper, but according to the [[Wikitravel:Article_templates/Sections#Get_out|Article Template]] they rightly belong in the "Get out" section. I'm going to restore the previous listings before the latest spam to that section and perhaps moving forward we can have a discussion about particular listings when someone wants to add/delete. [[User:Spmenic|Spmenic]] 15:04, 5 September 2010 (EDT)
 
: I disagree with you here, though I do agree that like hotel, restaurant, and attraction listings, these tour listings can attract spam. I think deleting the entire section, however, is a bit like throwing the baby out with the bath water -- to use a cliché. I'm not sure how much time you've spent in Marrakech (I lived just outside the city for three years), but it is a normal part of a tourist visit to Marrakech to take day trips or even an overnight trip while still basically "based" in Marrakech -- especially out to the desert or the Atlas mountains. After looking over the [[Wikitravel:Article_templates/Sections#Get_out|Article Template]] section concerning "Get Out," I think that these "day-trip" tours might better be placed there. You are right to say that they are not properly in Marrakech, but I think removing them completely ignores how so many tourists spend a week in Marrakech -- splitting time between the city and one or two day excursions around it, all while based in Marrakech. As a second point, I think we need to have some type of better defined criteria for tour listings than what [[Wikitravel:Activity_listings#Tour_listings|currently exists]]. You mentioned that it wasn't clear to you that the former listings met the criteria, but I can assure you that at least some of them did (see my [[Talk:Marrakech#Deleted_Tour_Listings|post]] below). I agree that perhaps every tour doesn't meet the grade, but I don't think we are very helpful to travellers if we have ''no'' listings whatsoever for any day trips into the desert or Atlas mountains -- this is Marrakech after all! Perhaps we could set up some criteria that make it easier to tell the good from the bad: 1) can the activity be completed in a day? (or two?) 2) does it start and end in Marrakech, or at least provide transport that picks you up and drops you off in Marrakech? 3) is the activity one that is normally "based" out of Marrakech? 4) finally...and perhaps most importantly...is there a long-time Wikitravel contributor (not just an owner) who has experienced it, has pictures of it, can vouch for it, and can vouch that it constitutes a "value-added" activity that a normal traveller couldn't do on his/her own? I think these discussion pages are too under-utilized, and perhaps we need to have a discussion when there is move to add (or remove) a listing (or set of listings) so that we maintain the community aspect of the wiki. On that note, I think [[User:Wrh2|Ryan]] makes a fair point about the listings not being part of Marrakech proper, but according to the [[Wikitravel:Article_templates/Sections#Get_out|Article Template]] they rightly belong in the "Get out" section. I'm going to restore the previous listings before the latest spam to that section and perhaps moving forward we can have a discussion about particular listings when someone wants to add/delete. [[User:Spmenic|Spmenic]] 15:04, 5 September 2010 (EDT)
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:: There is nothing at all wrong with listing day trips in "Get out" - that's what the section is for - but a "day trip" is very different from a tour operator, and as far as I can tell there isn't any valid reason for listing every single tour agency that offers a guide, camel, jeep, etc for that trip.  The [[Tour]] policy is explicitly designed to weed out travel agency listings for activities that a traveler with a decent guide book can complete on his/her own, and day trips, walking tours, and other similar activities fall under that umbrella.  To use an example that I'm more familiar with, there are all manner of tours operating from [[San Francisco]] to wine country, Muir Woods, Yosemite, etc, but we don't list the operators, we merely list [[San Francisco#Get out|suggested day trips]] and the linked articles then provide appropriate information about getting to/from/around the day-trip destination.  The same should be done here - if people visiting Marrakech typically take trips to the mountains, to specific camps, etc then list those under "Get out", but don't list every tour operator.  As to the four points you've raised above, those are probably best discussed on the [[Wikitravel talk:Activity listings]] page, which is where discussion about Wikitravel's policy on tour operators should take place. -- [[User:Wrh2|Ryan]] • ([[User talk:Wrh2|talk]]) • 15:27, 5 September 2010 (EDT)
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: Thanks for the discussion -- I appreciate the fact that you're engaging the points I'm trying to make. Without restoring the listings again, I'm going to try to explain why I think '''no''' tour listings, which appears to be your position, isn't a good one for the Marrakech page, even if it may be an appropriate position for other city pages like San Francisco:
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#'''Some of these ''are'' value-added activities''' - I totally agree with you that we don't want "travel agency listings for activities that a traveler with a decent guide book can complete on his/her own." I disagree that ''all'' tour listings fit that criteria. Indeed, my suggestion was that individual listings be held up to some type of debate....perhaps on these discussion pages. This would take a lot of work on the part of contributors, but I'm inclined to think that the easy solution here (deleting all tour listings) is the one that least serves users, especially if we are committed to the first group of travellers mentioned on the [[Wikitravel:Goals_and_non-goals|Wikitravels Goals Page]]. It is worthy noting, for example, that the actual [[Wikitravel:Activity_listings#Tour_listings|Tour listings criteria]] mention "a camel expedition into the Sahara" as a valid activity for which a tour listing can be given!!! And yet you mention tour operators with camels as one example of a tour listing that you think shouldn't be included.
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#'''Knowledge of what a traveller can do on his/her own is site specific''' - This point builds off the last. While it is reasonable to think that an English speaking traveller can tour Napa Valley on his/her own (using your example of wine country and San Francisco), I'm reluctant to think that the average English speaking traveller can manage a Sahara camel excursion on his/her own in Morocco or visit Berber villages in the Atlas mountains (where there are no restaurants or hotels) without the help of a tour operator. Both of these are examples of a value-added activity (I'm happy to explain why if it isn't clear to someone who hasn't experienced them), but that determination of whether a certain company's activity is indeed "value-added" is sometimes only able to be made by people who know the area -- and therefore know whether it is a reasonable expectation that a traveller can do it on his/her own. Your examples from San Francisco are perfect instances when a traveller '''could,''' but you know that because you know the area. I think people who know Marrakech should determine whether something is an activity that, in your words, "a traveler with a decent guide book can complete on his/her own."
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#'''Nobody is arguing for "listing every single tour agency":''' I appreciated your response because it was clear and substantive (many discussion responses are not). However, to some degree you presented a "straw man" of my position by claiming that "there isn't any valid reason for listing every single tour agency that offers a guide, camel, jeep, etc." Later you claimed that it is good to present day trip destinations, but "don't list every tour operator." No one was arguing that "every single" tour company should be listed. Indeed, I was arguing that people who have experience with Marrakech would be capable of discussing whether tour operators constitute a value-added activity (according to the criteria of whether a traveller can reasonably be expected to be able to do the activity on his/her own).
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#'''A listing may belong even if there is not be a ''perfect'' place for it on the Marrakech page:''' Your earlier post made the claim that some of the activities offered by the tour companies don't necessarily take place within Marrakech proper. I acknowledged that you were right and that is why I thought perhaps the "Get Out" section might be more appropriate simply because, topically, it seemed to fit better. However, you suggested that "destinations for day trips" in the "Get Out" section should only include links to those pages themselves, not any tour operator listings. Here's the problem: imagine (if only hypothetically for the moment) that there was, in fact, a value-added activity through a tour operator whose offices are in Marrakech and the depart point and return point for the activity are Marrakech, even if the activity itself isn't properly within the Marrakech city limits (for example, out in the desert or mountains surrounding Marrakech). Where should such a listing be? The policy states that the tour operator's office has to be located in the city of the page it is on...so it can't rightly be listed in the middle of the desert or in some village of the mountains. The value-added activity is properly a "Marrakech" activity if it begins and ends there (assuming it '''is''' a value-added activity and not merely something the tourist could do on his/her own). You can't rightly tell a tourist to simply travel to the desert and '''then''' find a camel excursion. All the camel excursions into the desert depart from '''somewhere.''' Admittedly, there are other cities from which they also depart, but many companies are based out of Marrakech and operate exclusively from there. The same is especially true of tour companies that bring travellers into the Atlas mountains...by Wikitravel policies, they could only rightly be listed in Marrakech because that's where their offices are and that is where transport departs and returns. Again, I'm speaking about companies that provide a value-added activity, not generic travel agencies or companies that put together two week trips with transportation, lodging, and food all figured out.
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: All of the above said, I think deleting the entire "Tours" section from the page was a bit too strong a reaction to the recent spam. Blacklisting the offending site (as you did) ''was'' appropriate and helpful -- thanks. From my experience of Marrakech, however, I think that there '''are''' some value-added activities provided by "tour" companies that are rightly based in Marrakech and rightly listed on the Marrakech page. My instinct is that they were correctly located in the "Do" section -- where they have resided for a few years. I'm not sure if you would be willing to discuss the listings individually since you think none of them constitute a value-added activity (even though, as I stated above, a camel expedition is actually mentioned in [[Wikitravel:Activity_listings#Tour_listings|Tours]]). In any case, you have more power than I do, but as someone who has contributed to the Marrakech page for a few years, I think there should be some section with listings for appropriate value-added activities. The section has been there for a long time now and many people, admins included, haven't suggested removing it completely. I know this is a rather long response, but I hope you see it as a good-will gesture towards keeping the Marrakech page as helpful as possible and not as an affront to your good judgement. Thanks. [[User:Spmenic|Spmenic]] 21:08, 5 September 2010 (EDT)
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:: We may be disagreeing less on substance and more on whether this content belongs in the Marrakech article.  I agree with you that a traveler is unlikely to be able to "manage a Sahara camel excursion on his/her own in Morocco or visit Berber villages in the Atlas mountains".  However, such trips aren't specific to Marrakech anymore than a wine country tour is specific to San Francisco.  Again, using the [[San Francisco]] example, the way such tours are listed are:
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::# There is a pointer to [[Napa Valley]] in [[San Francisco#Get out]].  This listing includes a brief description of why a traveler might want to visit Napa, what they would see, etc.  There are no business listings since those belong in separate articles.
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::# The [[Napa Valley]] article has links to things like the Napa Valley Wine Train, various wineries, etc.  The city articles linked from the [[Napa Valley]] article contain even more specific listings.
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:: Regarding your fourth point above, something like a camel expedition or a trip to a Berber camp may originate in Marrakech and should thus be mentioned in the "Get out" section, but the business is really just providing transportation to/from a location, and thus really belongs in the "Get in" section of whatever article is appropriate.  Consider the alternative: if we list every tour company based in Marrakech we would end up with dozens if not hundreds of listings, with no way to differentiate them.  It's much cleaner (and follows examples in other articles) to provide a bullet list of places people typically go, and within those articles list options for getting to/from that destination.  To use another example from the US: while there are any number of bus companies offering tours from [[Las Vegas]] to the [[Grand Canyon]], that information is most useful in the "Get in" section of the Grand Canyon article, despite the companies being based in Las Vegas.  As a result we mention the Grand Canyon in [[Las Vegas#Get out]], but don't include listings for the various tour operators that run buses there. (Note: in this specific example, we actually trimmed individual tour listings from [[Grand Canyon#Get in]] since they are so ubiquitous and there isn't really anything to differentiate between companies, but the rest of the example matches the Marrakech use-case).
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:: Regarding the specific tour listings that were [http://wikitravel.org/wiki/en/index.php?title=Marrakech&diff=1536495&oldid=1536491 removed], here are my objections:
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::# The first is a tour company offering trips to Berber Camps.  Since the camps aren't in Marrakech this information belongs in a different article, although noting that Marrakech is a good departure point for trips to Berber camps, and then linking to the appropriate article(s), is fine.
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::# The second simply says "hot air balloons".  This listing may or may not be OK according to our policies, but it isn't clear that the company listed operates the balloon tour, there is too little information provided to know why to choose this operator, and given the spamminess of other listings it seemed best to err on the side of de-spamming.
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::# The third is a bike tour.  Typically bike tours and walking tours are removed if we start getting questionable tour listings since they are borderline for a "value-added activity".  See [[Wikitravel talk:Activity listings]] for previous discussions on this issue.
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::# The fourth is a non-descript travel company offering "Good oportunity to explore the mountains around Marrakech".  This doesn't meet the "cannot fulfill the substance on your own" criteria, and looks likely to be a reseller to me.
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::# The fifth is an adventure touring outfit.  I find it unlikely that this is not a reseller, given the array of options from hot air balloons to rafting to quad rental.
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::# The sixth is camel trekking.  This listing should go in another article since the trek does not take place in Marrakech, but linking to the appropriate article from the "Get out" section would be helpful.
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::# The last one offers "4x4 tours or Camel treks tours in the Sahara desert, including Sand boarding. Also has trips to the Atlas Mountains, and will organise skiing trips".  Again, this should go in the article for the destination being visited, not Marrakech.
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:: Hopefully that's clear.  I'm not opposed to all of the tour listings, but they should be included in the appropriate article and not here.  A key tenet of the [[Wikitravel:Don't tout]] guideline is that businesses should be listed once and only in the article in which they operate, and in the case of the businesses above I'd argue strongly that Marrakech is not the appropriate place for them to be listed. -- [[User:Wrh2|Ryan]] • ([[User talk:Wrh2|talk]]) • 21:50, 5 September 2010 (EDT)
  
 
== Deleted Tour Listings ==
 
== Deleted Tour Listings ==
 
I'm ''still'' not sure (see entry directly above) of the criteria for deleting a tour listing that very clearly adds a value-added activity according to the relevant [[Wikitravel:Activity_listings#Tour_listings|policy]]. It isn't a tout because ''I'' am the one who added it years ago after living in Morocco for three years as a Peace Corps volunteer and now living back in the U.S. as a high school teacher. I think it is a particularly valuable addition because it actually lets travelers encounter Moroccan culture firsthand -- something Peace Corps volunteers get to do when living in a country but the average traveler has little luck doing. I'll be honest, balloon rides and rafting are great, but they're not necessarily distinctive to Morocco or Moroccan culture -- indeed, the average Moroccan has never been ballooning or white water rafting! So I'm going to replace the listing and I'm happy to have a discussion about it. --[[User:Spmenic|Spmenic]] 14:47, 25 June 2010 (EDT) 14:46, 25 June 2010 (EDT)
 
I'm ''still'' not sure (see entry directly above) of the criteria for deleting a tour listing that very clearly adds a value-added activity according to the relevant [[Wikitravel:Activity_listings#Tour_listings|policy]]. It isn't a tout because ''I'' am the one who added it years ago after living in Morocco for three years as a Peace Corps volunteer and now living back in the U.S. as a high school teacher. I think it is a particularly valuable addition because it actually lets travelers encounter Moroccan culture firsthand -- something Peace Corps volunteers get to do when living in a country but the average traveler has little luck doing. I'll be honest, balloon rides and rafting are great, but they're not necessarily distinctive to Morocco or Moroccan culture -- indeed, the average Moroccan has never been ballooning or white water rafting! So I'm going to replace the listing and I'm happy to have a discussion about it. --[[User:Spmenic|Spmenic]] 14:47, 25 June 2010 (EDT) 14:46, 25 June 2010 (EDT)
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== airport taxis ==
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I am  not sure that "It also avoids hassle, as it's not always easy to haggle with a taxi driver after staggering off a long plane ride half-asleep" in ref to Grands taxis is very accurate. True that applies if you book through your hotel. But if you have not prebooked and have luggage and a family you will need a Grand Taxi. From memory all the Grand Taxi drivers are a bunch of crooks and we need to give some indicative prices here. [[User:Roundtheworld|Shep]] 02:49, 23 January 2011 (EST)

Latest revision as of 07:53, 23 January 2011

This article was the Collaboration of the week between 11 July and 17 July 2007.


Contents

Opinions and Comments from an Anonymous User[edit]

Watch out for tourist touts that offer to take you to the medievil dye pits!

1. They are not really worth the visit (unlike the excellent dye pits in Fez)

2. The touts work in pairs. The first takes you to the dye pit (which you could probably manage with a map) and then introduces you to his "friend" to guide you round the pits. The BOTH expect to be paid, and are prepared to follow you incessantly for a very long time if you do not give them enough money.

The main night market is definitely worth a visit, and the food is priced on menues so no hastle there. But the best food we ate there was in a little back street near the museum where a guy was frying fish. Ended going back there twice.

(moved by Nils 09:30, 13 Apr 2004 (EDT))

Advice for dealing with touts....[edit]

Smile! - shake their hand and politely say no thank you!

Works every time.

In addition, if someone decides to walk with you and you do not want to pay any money to them then, as soon as you meet them, tell them that you will not be giving them money.

With regards to giving money... If the person has actually performed a service for you that you found helpful, then a tip is definitely in order! - it would be rude not to do it!

Deletions by anonymous user[edit]

Just noticed that the entries for Riad Dar Mimouna and Riad Kalila have been deleted by anonymous. Any particular reason for this? I don't know the hotels concerned, but their web sites seem to be running OK.

If this was done in error, or if there's no response from anonymous, I'll revert the changes in a couple of weeks.

- Michaelp

(Footnote 30 July 2006: No response, so I've now added the hotel details back in from a previous diff, but left all other changes intact).

Bargaining[edit]

I may be wrong, but Bargaining section looks to be better moved from Marrakech to How to haggle except Morocco-specific stuff which should go to Morocco#Shopping. In my experience, haggling in Marrakech is nothing different from Essouria or Ourzazate--and is likely the same in the rest of the country. --DenisYurkin 18:09, 9 November 2006 (EST)

content from http://elcuerpodecristo.com.ar[edit]

Dear 81.192.252.191, is content at http://elcuerpodecristo.com.ar/wiki/Marrakech only created by yourself? Otherwise, do you have a written permission to use its content at Wikitravel? Is its license compatible with Wikitraveller's? If not, we are not allowed to use their content. --DenisYurkin 13:35, 21 March 2007 (EDT)

Sorry for the (2months) delay. The content was created by me, yes. We had a really good time there :) --Runa 15:25, 3 May 2007 (EDT)

Hotel Riad Mogador[edit]

Warning to all travellers who think they are going to have a wonderful romantic break in Marrakech. We were told our hotel was close to the Market sqr. - it was if you call a 2 mile walk through a very dodgy bus station to start with then streets and streets of nothing but gangs of men peeing in ornamental gardens at the same time pointing you in the wrong direction and wanting money from you for the pleasure. Even our rep (who wasn't that interested) said don't walk back at night its not the best area!!! As for the hotel itself, what was that smell? The corridors and stairwells smelt of dead and decaying fish. We got to our room and the door had been broken into and instead of being offered a different room we were shown how to wiggle it locked. Once inside it was clean and tidy but not 3* by any standard, open the windows and the noise and smell of the bus station and the locals fighting ( we saw one man get glassed in the face because he deicided not to get on the illigal bus and wanted his money back) really made us feel welcome. I have travelled to many places often on my own, and have never felt so unwelcome or unsafe even with my husband as I did in Marrakesh. All I can say is I can strike it of my list of places I want to visit. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 80.5.62.26 (talkcontribs)

Re: Airline prices in the article[edit]

Perhaps its a little bit inappropriate to have such specific price guidance in the article, especially as these things can often change. Maybe we can have something like, budget airlines offer competitive rates on several routes, such as those operated between... and ... by....

Any thoughts?

Yoga Entry[edit]

The entry on yoga in the Do section provides no information for travelers to actually find a place offering yoga. Furthermore, after living three years just outside of Marrakech, I am quite sure that it is no more of an international yoga center than cities like New York, London, or Paris (none of which mention yoga on their pages). It seems terribly out of place, and if no one objects I'll remove it soon. Spmenic 22:57, 2 August 2008 (EDT)

Okay, I'm going to remove it. Spmenic 13:00, 17 August 2008 (EDT)

Text in an entry being chopped off lately, why?[edit]

Following a number of changes that were made to the original text for Riad Mur Akush, I originally thought that it was a competitor who was trying to start a “war”. The text kept getting chopped more and more and after I spend a couple of hours trying to see what was going on... Ah!! I realised it was not a competitor after all (for which I am very relieved as I am not into “wars” myself..): It was the administrator!

Dear Administrator, can you please give me some hints as to why the text was modified so much and maybe let me know what the criteria are for the text? I would like to improve the text from its current state to similar of the other entries but I do not want to step on anyone's toes. Grateful for your reply. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 78.150.19.39 (talkcontribs)

Listings as a rule should not have descriptions of more than 3-4 sentences. Also, please read carefully Wikitravel:Don't tout. --Peter Talk 05:00, 22 April 2009 (EDT)
I think that would be me. We are planning to feature this on the front page, and we need the sleep section not looking like an advertising brochure and more like a guidebook, before we can do so - don't worry, will get to your competitors too in good time. And as Peter said, don't tout is a good place to start. --Stefan (sertmann) Talk 06:03, 22 April 2009 (EDT)

GetOut: duplicates GetIn[edit]

I wonder why we need "By plane" / "By train" / "By bus" in GetOut. Normally we put all such info into GetIn. Does Marrakech have a special reason not to do so? --DenisYurkin 04:00, 1 October 2009 (EDT)

Just attemped to fix it myself: [1]. --DenisYurkin 16:06, 9 October 2009 (EDT)

removed details on Riad Zara[edit]

I've reverted removal of most of the details on Riad Zara for the following reasons:

  • how rich/poor is choice for breakfast is a criteria for some travelers
  • asking for help in getting in is really important, as it's quite difficult to find without help, especially if you never experienced medinas at all
  • candles and wine around the pool tells much about the experience you can expect in the riad--better than more objective facts that were left in the description.

--DenisYurkin 16:08, 2 October 2009 (EDT)

Fair enough, was doing a round of all the hotels, since we are likely to feature this soon. And I really don't like promotional language on articles we highlight. Of course this can be objective, so I guess it's all fine - I would like to add, that I deleted the paragraph, not because it was "un-factual" but because it was added by the hotel owner, I love personal descriptions like this of our hotels, I just don't trust hotel owners own fancy concepts. One thing though, if asking for directions is critical in the Medina, it should be noted in a introduction, not in the description of each and every Riad, so I re-reverted that part :) --Stefan (sertmann) Talk 16:46, 2 October 2009 (EDT)
This specific review was originally added by myself, and I don't remember it was ever edited by the owner. And I restored the piece on asking directions, now in introduction (I'm sure you were going to do that, just missed this piece :-) ). --DenisYurkin 17:18, 2 October 2009 (EDT)
Whoops, two slaps on the wrist for me. --Stefan (sertmann) Talk 17:38, 2 October 2009 (EDT)

Why were the Tours in the Do section wiped clean on October 1?[edit]

Can someone please state the criteria for deleting listings in the Tours section? The prior listings were fairly recognized groups, and the ones that are included now are not necessarily more "Marrakech" than the ones that were deleted on October 1st. If there is a policy, please state it clearly. One could easily get the impression that the deletions were commercially motivated. If you are going to include one tour company that offers treks, 4x4, and Sahara excursions.....then why were all the others deleted? Many of those listings have been on the page for some time, and many were added by wikitravel contributors (myself included). --Spmenic 07:11, 23 October 2009 (EDT)

I suggest you have a look at the relevant policy and also guidelines on touting. If after that you think some of the deleted tour listings meet the bar then reinstate them and others can then have an opinion.--Burmesedays 07:24, 23 October 2009 (EDT)
Thanks for the link; I've read over the policies. What I don't understand is why some listings were deleted and others not, when they seem to offer the same "value-added activity." In any case, I'm restoring the listing that I have personal experience with. I can't speak for all of them.--Spmenic 07:35, 23 October 2009 (EDT)

Removed "Tours" section entirely[edit]

I've removed the "Tour" section from this article entirely - it's not clear that any of the listed operators met the criteria outlined in Tour, most of the listed tours were for sights outside of Marrakech, and the section was becoming a magnet for spammy edits. -- Ryan • (talk) • 12:06, 5 September 2010 (EDT)

I disagree with you here, though I do agree that like hotel, restaurant, and attraction listings, these tour listings can attract spam. I think deleting the entire section, however, is a bit like throwing the baby out with the bath water -- to use a cliché. I'm not sure how much time you've spent in Marrakech (I lived just outside the city for three years), but it is a normal part of a tourist visit to Marrakech to take day trips or even an overnight trip while still basically "based" in Marrakech -- especially out to the desert or the Atlas mountains. After looking over the Article Template section concerning "Get Out," I think that these "day-trip" tours might better be placed there. You are right to say that they are not properly in Marrakech, but I think removing them completely ignores how so many tourists spend a week in Marrakech -- splitting time between the city and one or two day excursions around it, all while based in Marrakech. As a second point, I think we need to have some type of better defined criteria for tour listings than what currently exists. You mentioned that it wasn't clear to you that the former listings met the criteria, but I can assure you that at least some of them did (see my post below). I agree that perhaps every tour doesn't meet the grade, but I don't think we are very helpful to travellers if we have no listings whatsoever for any day trips into the desert or Atlas mountains -- this is Marrakech after all! Perhaps we could set up some criteria that make it easier to tell the good from the bad: 1) can the activity be completed in a day? (or two?) 2) does it start and end in Marrakech, or at least provide transport that picks you up and drops you off in Marrakech? 3) is the activity one that is normally "based" out of Marrakech? 4) finally...and perhaps most importantly...is there a long-time Wikitravel contributor (not just an owner) who has experienced it, has pictures of it, can vouch for it, and can vouch that it constitutes a "value-added" activity that a normal traveller couldn't do on his/her own? I think these discussion pages are too under-utilized, and perhaps we need to have a discussion when there is move to add (or remove) a listing (or set of listings) so that we maintain the community aspect of the wiki. On that note, I think Ryan makes a fair point about the listings not being part of Marrakech proper, but according to the Article Template they rightly belong in the "Get out" section. I'm going to restore the previous listings before the latest spam to that section and perhaps moving forward we can have a discussion about particular listings when someone wants to add/delete. Spmenic 15:04, 5 September 2010 (EDT)
There is nothing at all wrong with listing day trips in "Get out" - that's what the section is for - but a "day trip" is very different from a tour operator, and as far as I can tell there isn't any valid reason for listing every single tour agency that offers a guide, camel, jeep, etc for that trip. The Tour policy is explicitly designed to weed out travel agency listings for activities that a traveler with a decent guide book can complete on his/her own, and day trips, walking tours, and other similar activities fall under that umbrella. To use an example that I'm more familiar with, there are all manner of tours operating from San Francisco to wine country, Muir Woods, Yosemite, etc, but we don't list the operators, we merely list suggested day trips and the linked articles then provide appropriate information about getting to/from/around the day-trip destination. The same should be done here - if people visiting Marrakech typically take trips to the mountains, to specific camps, etc then list those under "Get out", but don't list every tour operator. As to the four points you've raised above, those are probably best discussed on the Wikitravel talk:Activity listings page, which is where discussion about Wikitravel's policy on tour operators should take place. -- Ryan • (talk) • 15:27, 5 September 2010 (EDT)
Thanks for the discussion -- I appreciate the fact that you're engaging the points I'm trying to make. Without restoring the listings again, I'm going to try to explain why I think no tour listings, which appears to be your position, isn't a good one for the Marrakech page, even if it may be an appropriate position for other city pages like San Francisco:
  1. Some of these are value-added activities - I totally agree with you that we don't want "travel agency listings for activities that a traveler with a decent guide book can complete on his/her own." I disagree that all tour listings fit that criteria. Indeed, my suggestion was that individual listings be held up to some type of debate....perhaps on these discussion pages. This would take a lot of work on the part of contributors, but I'm inclined to think that the easy solution here (deleting all tour listings) is the one that least serves users, especially if we are committed to the first group of travellers mentioned on the Wikitravels Goals Page. It is worthy noting, for example, that the actual Tour listings criteria mention "a camel expedition into the Sahara" as a valid activity for which a tour listing can be given!!! And yet you mention tour operators with camels as one example of a tour listing that you think shouldn't be included.
  2. Knowledge of what a traveller can do on his/her own is site specific - This point builds off the last. While it is reasonable to think that an English speaking traveller can tour Napa Valley on his/her own (using your example of wine country and San Francisco), I'm reluctant to think that the average English speaking traveller can manage a Sahara camel excursion on his/her own in Morocco or visit Berber villages in the Atlas mountains (where there are no restaurants or hotels) without the help of a tour operator. Both of these are examples of a value-added activity (I'm happy to explain why if it isn't clear to someone who hasn't experienced them), but that determination of whether a certain company's activity is indeed "value-added" is sometimes only able to be made by people who know the area -- and therefore know whether it is a reasonable expectation that a traveller can do it on his/her own. Your examples from San Francisco are perfect instances when a traveller could, but you know that because you know the area. I think people who know Marrakech should determine whether something is an activity that, in your words, "a traveler with a decent guide book can complete on his/her own."
  3. Nobody is arguing for "listing every single tour agency": I appreciated your response because it was clear and substantive (many discussion responses are not). However, to some degree you presented a "straw man" of my position by claiming that "there isn't any valid reason for listing every single tour agency that offers a guide, camel, jeep, etc." Later you claimed that it is good to present day trip destinations, but "don't list every tour operator." No one was arguing that "every single" tour company should be listed. Indeed, I was arguing that people who have experience with Marrakech would be capable of discussing whether tour operators constitute a value-added activity (according to the criteria of whether a traveller can reasonably be expected to be able to do the activity on his/her own).
  4. A listing may belong even if there is not be a perfect place for it on the Marrakech page: Your earlier post made the claim that some of the activities offered by the tour companies don't necessarily take place within Marrakech proper. I acknowledged that you were right and that is why I thought perhaps the "Get Out" section might be more appropriate simply because, topically, it seemed to fit better. However, you suggested that "destinations for day trips" in the "Get Out" section should only include links to those pages themselves, not any tour operator listings. Here's the problem: imagine (if only hypothetically for the moment) that there was, in fact, a value-added activity through a tour operator whose offices are in Marrakech and the depart point and return point for the activity are Marrakech, even if the activity itself isn't properly within the Marrakech city limits (for example, out in the desert or mountains surrounding Marrakech). Where should such a listing be? The policy states that the tour operator's office has to be located in the city of the page it is on...so it can't rightly be listed in the middle of the desert or in some village of the mountains. The value-added activity is properly a "Marrakech" activity if it begins and ends there (assuming it is a value-added activity and not merely something the tourist could do on his/her own). You can't rightly tell a tourist to simply travel to the desert and then find a camel excursion. All the camel excursions into the desert depart from somewhere. Admittedly, there are other cities from which they also depart, but many companies are based out of Marrakech and operate exclusively from there. The same is especially true of tour companies that bring travellers into the Atlas mountains...by Wikitravel policies, they could only rightly be listed in Marrakech because that's where their offices are and that is where transport departs and returns. Again, I'm speaking about companies that provide a value-added activity, not generic travel agencies or companies that put together two week trips with transportation, lodging, and food all figured out.
All of the above said, I think deleting the entire "Tours" section from the page was a bit too strong a reaction to the recent spam. Blacklisting the offending site (as you did) was appropriate and helpful -- thanks. From my experience of Marrakech, however, I think that there are some value-added activities provided by "tour" companies that are rightly based in Marrakech and rightly listed on the Marrakech page. My instinct is that they were correctly located in the "Do" section -- where they have resided for a few years. I'm not sure if you would be willing to discuss the listings individually since you think none of them constitute a value-added activity (even though, as I stated above, a camel expedition is actually mentioned in Tours). In any case, you have more power than I do, but as someone who has contributed to the Marrakech page for a few years, I think there should be some section with listings for appropriate value-added activities. The section has been there for a long time now and many people, admins included, haven't suggested removing it completely. I know this is a rather long response, but I hope you see it as a good-will gesture towards keeping the Marrakech page as helpful as possible and not as an affront to your good judgement. Thanks. Spmenic 21:08, 5 September 2010 (EDT)
We may be disagreeing less on substance and more on whether this content belongs in the Marrakech article. I agree with you that a traveler is unlikely to be able to "manage a Sahara camel excursion on his/her own in Morocco or visit Berber villages in the Atlas mountains". However, such trips aren't specific to Marrakech anymore than a wine country tour is specific to San Francisco. Again, using the San Francisco example, the way such tours are listed are:
  1. There is a pointer to Napa Valley in San Francisco#Get out. This listing includes a brief description of why a traveler might want to visit Napa, what they would see, etc. There are no business listings since those belong in separate articles.
  2. The Napa Valley article has links to things like the Napa Valley Wine Train, various wineries, etc. The city articles linked from the Napa Valley article contain even more specific listings.
Regarding your fourth point above, something like a camel expedition or a trip to a Berber camp may originate in Marrakech and should thus be mentioned in the "Get out" section, but the business is really just providing transportation to/from a location, and thus really belongs in the "Get in" section of whatever article is appropriate. Consider the alternative: if we list every tour company based in Marrakech we would end up with dozens if not hundreds of listings, with no way to differentiate them. It's much cleaner (and follows examples in other articles) to provide a bullet list of places people typically go, and within those articles list options for getting to/from that destination. To use another example from the US: while there are any number of bus companies offering tours from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon, that information is most useful in the "Get in" section of the Grand Canyon article, despite the companies being based in Las Vegas. As a result we mention the Grand Canyon in Las Vegas#Get out, but don't include listings for the various tour operators that run buses there. (Note: in this specific example, we actually trimmed individual tour listings from Grand Canyon#Get in since they are so ubiquitous and there isn't really anything to differentiate between companies, but the rest of the example matches the Marrakech use-case).
Regarding the specific tour listings that were removed, here are my objections:
  1. The first is a tour company offering trips to Berber Camps. Since the camps aren't in Marrakech this information belongs in a different article, although noting that Marrakech is a good departure point for trips to Berber camps, and then linking to the appropriate article(s), is fine.
  2. The second simply says "hot air balloons". This listing may or may not be OK according to our policies, but it isn't clear that the company listed operates the balloon tour, there is too little information provided to know why to choose this operator, and given the spamminess of other listings it seemed best to err on the side of de-spamming.
  3. The third is a bike tour. Typically bike tours and walking tours are removed if we start getting questionable tour listings since they are borderline for a "value-added activity". See Wikitravel talk:Activity listings for previous discussions on this issue.
  4. The fourth is a non-descript travel company offering "Good oportunity to explore the mountains around Marrakech". This doesn't meet the "cannot fulfill the substance on your own" criteria, and looks likely to be a reseller to me.
  5. The fifth is an adventure touring outfit. I find it unlikely that this is not a reseller, given the array of options from hot air balloons to rafting to quad rental.
  6. The sixth is camel trekking. This listing should go in another article since the trek does not take place in Marrakech, but linking to the appropriate article from the "Get out" section would be helpful.
  7. The last one offers "4x4 tours or Camel treks tours in the Sahara desert, including Sand boarding. Also has trips to the Atlas Mountains, and will organise skiing trips". Again, this should go in the article for the destination being visited, not Marrakech.
Hopefully that's clear. I'm not opposed to all of the tour listings, but they should be included in the appropriate article and not here. A key tenet of the Wikitravel:Don't tout guideline is that businesses should be listed once and only in the article in which they operate, and in the case of the businesses above I'd argue strongly that Marrakech is not the appropriate place for them to be listed. -- Ryan • (talk) • 21:50, 5 September 2010 (EDT)

Deleted Tour Listings[edit]

I'm still not sure (see entry directly above) of the criteria for deleting a tour listing that very clearly adds a value-added activity according to the relevant policy. It isn't a tout because I am the one who added it years ago after living in Morocco for three years as a Peace Corps volunteer and now living back in the U.S. as a high school teacher. I think it is a particularly valuable addition because it actually lets travelers encounter Moroccan culture firsthand -- something Peace Corps volunteers get to do when living in a country but the average traveler has little luck doing. I'll be honest, balloon rides and rafting are great, but they're not necessarily distinctive to Morocco or Moroccan culture -- indeed, the average Moroccan has never been ballooning or white water rafting! So I'm going to replace the listing and I'm happy to have a discussion about it. --Spmenic 14:47, 25 June 2010 (EDT) 14:46, 25 June 2010 (EDT)

airport taxis[edit]

I am not sure that "It also avoids hassle, as it's not always easy to haggle with a taxi driver after staggering off a long plane ride half-asleep" in ref to Grands taxis is very accurate. True that applies if you book through your hotel. But if you have not prebooked and have luggage and a family you will need a Grand Taxi. From memory all the Grand Taxi drivers are a bunch of crooks and we need to give some indicative prices here. Shep 02:49, 23 January 2011 (EST)

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