To give a more consistent layout for readers of Wikitravel, we use article templates for most destination-style articles. You can use the following templates either to start a new article, or as guidelines for reformatting or adding to existing articles.
- Country article template -- for countries
- Region article template -- for regions, states, counties, and provinces within a country
- Small city article template -- for villages or towns, and cities without a lot of tourist attractions
- Big city article template -- for bigger cities with lots to do
- Huge city article template -- for cities so big that they must be broken up into districts
- District article template -- for districts within a huge city
- Itinerary article template -- for travel itineraries
- Phrasebook template -- for language phrasebooks (see also: Phrasebook Expedition)
How to use the templates
There are two main ways these article templates can be useful.
- For creating new articles. When you're creating a new article, look for the template that most closely fits the subject of your article. For example, if you're making a new article about a region, copy-and-paste the Wiki markup from the region article template, and then start adding in the information that you know. Please make sure you remove the instructions (all italicized text); otherwise, it will be confusing for the next editor.
- For editing existing articles. If you want to add a new restaurant listing to New York, you can refer to the huge city article template to see how it's done. Similarly, if someone else has added in a bunch of stuff to an article, and you want to reorganize it, you can refer to the appropriate template to see how we like to have stuff organized.
This is a response to some common questions about the templates.
- Why does every city article have to look (about) the same?
- We think it's great to have simple, logical sections to each destination guide on Wikitravel. This makes it easier for readers to find the info they need on any particular destination. Sure, it cuts down somewhat on contributors' creative license, but the traveller comes first around here. We want travelers to get the info they need as easily as possible.
- There's really no hotels or campgrounds in name of small city. Do I still have to have a "Sleep" section?
- No. If there are sections of the template that don't really fit your destination, well, just leave them out. The sections aren't mandatory (although it would probably be worth mentioning that there is absolutely nowhere to sleep!). If you're going to have restaurant listings, we'd prefer if you made them in the format of the "Eat" section, but if not, then don't bother with "Eat".
- Why do all the sections have such weird names? What about "Lodging" and "Restaurants" instead?
- The main reason we do this is because we don't want Wikitravel guides to look just like any existing commercial guides. Why not? Well, first, so Wikitravel stuff looks distinctive. People should see a guide and say, "Hey! See, Do, Eat -- this came from Wikitravel! Those guys rock!" The other is to discourage wholesale copyright violation by well-meaning but ill-informed contributors. We don't want folks copying stuff in directly from their tattered 1974 Europe on a Shoestring guidebook. We figured that if the formatting and stuff was different enough, that would be too much of a hassle to deal with.
- I have a section I want to add, but it's not about Eat, Do, See, Sleep, Get In, or any of those. What do I do?
- First, make sure it really doesn't fit in with the templates. Where you can stick it gives some ideas for where to put different kinds of info. Usually you can fit it in as a sub-section of one of the main sections -- such as "Understand". If your information really doesn't fit anywhere, sure, go ahead and add the section. If you think it's something that is really general, that we'll need for all countries/regions/cities/whatevers, then add it to the template, too. Give an explanation of why it's needed, and how to use it.
- I have an article I want to add, but it's not a city, region, country, or anything else with a template. What do I do?
- First of all, make sure that your contribution is really something we want to have on Wikitravel. Check our goals and non-goals as well as What is an article?. But if you're really superabsolutelypositively sure, just start the article without a template.
- What's the difference between a small, medium, and large city?
- Well, it's more a matter of the size of the article than the size of the city. But you could break it down like this: small cities are cities that aren't going to have a ton of information on them. We just take some of the most important sections about a city -- where to eat, where to sleep, what to see -- and put them in the small city's article. Big cities are cities big enough that we need all the sections about a city in there. A huge city is a city that's so big that we can't fit all the information into one page. So we just get some overarching information and highlights about the city onto the main city page, and then put other info into the pages for the districts in the city. So, there's nothing really rigid about the differences -- just different ways of writing about the cities.