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(17th century vs seventeenth century, minutes vs min)
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::Perhaps there is a way to add a small "Universal Access" symbol to the beginning/end/title of a listing which could link to or tooltip a short message, for example (a museum) "Elevator to all floors, Braille signage, hearing loop on large exhibitions"? I'm a newbie to wiki markup so not even sure if this is possible...
 
::Perhaps there is a way to add a small "Universal Access" symbol to the beginning/end/title of a listing which could link to or tooltip a short message, for example (a museum) "Elevator to all floors, Braille signage, hearing loop on large exhibitions"? I'm a newbie to wiki markup so not even sure if this is possible...
 
[[User:Kyebosh|Kyebosh]] 14:53, 27 June 2011 (EDT)
 
[[User:Kyebosh|Kyebosh]] 14:53, 27 June 2011 (EDT)
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:::Wow.  It took me forever to find this, but I'd refer to [[Talk:Tips_for_blind_and_visually_impaired_travellers#Disabled_travellers|this discussion that we had a few years ago]].  I'm still against a separate section and agree with LtPowers that the info should go into individual listings, or if a destination is so completely handicap unfriendly, then into a stay safe or cope section. -- [[User:Sapphire|Sapphire]] • <small>([[User_talk:Sapphire|Talk]])</small> • 19:51, 27 June 2011 (EDT)
  
 
== 17th century vs seventeenth century, minutes vs min ==
 
== 17th century vs seventeenth century, minutes vs min ==

Revision as of 23:55, 27 June 2011


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Contents

Am I being obtuse?

I'm having trouble understanding what an editor wants at Talk:Central_Europe#The_Central.2FEastern_Europe_debate. Comments welcome, maybe someone else can have better time of it. LtPowers 21:21, 3 January 2011 (EST)

Combining Wikitravel and OpenStreetMaps

I've added OpenStreetMaps support to the latest version of iTravelFree. (Well, to the Android version; the new iPhone release is still awaiting App Store approval. Offline OSM maps are next on the list.) This made me think: they're both open attribution-ShareAlike licensed data, so they ought to play nicely together, and OSM has lots of Point Of Interest (POI) data as well as the maps themselves. Are there any tools or protocols to add OSM POIs to Wikitravel, or to mark Wikitravel listings as OSM POIs? .. Rezendi 22:15, 5 January 2011 (EST)

There are some tools to create wikitravel style maps from OSM data. The process usually goes to add the Wikitravel POIs to OSM first, and then extract to WT. We are limited again, by an inability to do tech work in any integration effort, but I'd certainly be interested in discussing adding a reference to an OSM POI to WT listings, or v.v. --inas 22:46, 5 January 2011 (EST)

Spare time any American?

I did an article on Tipping, any of you Americans have a little spare time to check the US part of it. For me this part is rather complicated ;-) —The preceding comment was added by Swissbelg (talkcontribs)

A link to the article would be useful. LtPowers 16:30, 6 January 2011 (EST)
I am sooo sorry ;-) ---> Tipping <--- Swissbelg 17:06, 6 January 2011 (EST)
Seriously, why don't we put this information in the relevant country articles. What use is a common travel topic like this? It just duplicates stuff, we already have a USA#Tipping, which is a good guide. Similarly Australia#Tipping --inas 17:42, 6 January 2011 (EST)
Oh, the usual "everything is a bad idea" fraction is awake;-). Feel free to read the discussion page as well. The "Understand" section is the most important part btw, and copying that into every article is not so practical... Swissbelg 18:10, 6 January 2011 (EST)
I don't accept that my opinion is that everything is a bad idea, and I do find that aside offensive. I have read the article, and the discussion. You are asking for someone from the U.S. to review information on tipping in a new article, when many many people from the U.S and elsewhere have already worked collaboratively to make the current USA#Tipping section. Have you read that section of the USA article? --inas 19:05, 6 January 2011 (EST)
Good, that was intentional. Just wanted to take the needle out and sting back. I find your comment unappreciating and showing of not much collaborative spirit. What about "Nice work, but did you know there is already..."? No i didn't, I searched for tipping and results were nill. In most countries there is nothing about it, And there was also no travel topic about it, so i thought i "plunge forward". The Travel topic is meant as complementary background information, not just a list of "tip that much for this service, tip that much for that service". If you personally don't need this information, don't read it. Swissbelg 21:11, 6 January 2011 (EST)
I have no wish to prick anyone with needles, nor do I feel I have been stung. If I inadvertantly offended you I am sorry to have done so. I was merely trying to make my point concisely, so again, apologies if you saw my comment as terse.
However, I am still criticising the need for an article in the current form, so please do not take it personally.
Okay, back to the topic at hand. Now that we are both aware of the tipping sections in the articles, do you see the my reasoning for not duplicating that info? It is true enough that many articles don't have sections on tipping, but there is certainly nothing stopping us adding the info if we have it. Maybe we can modify the tipping article so it makes users aware of the tipping sections in the travel guides. --inas
Sorry as well,i didn't mean it that seriously. To the topic: I stated in the discussion part myself that i collected the information, and now we should find a place for it. I find your idea perfect to move it to the articles and making the users aware of it in there. Details we can discuss over the there in Talk:Tipping. Swissbelg 06:10, 7 January 2011 (EST)
Avoiding duplication with tipping information in destination guides is certainly sensible. But there are two advantages to the separate tipping article that I would prefer not to lose: 1) it is clear for which countries we lack the info, which should encourage a more rapid development of that information; 2) when necessary, we can have longer, more detailed sections. Point two could be satisfied by perhaps only splitting the information out for the most complex tipping cultures (basically, just the U.S.). --Peter Talk 23:16, 8 January 2011 (EST)

I don't see how having a travel topic makes it clear at all whether we have the info or not. There could be info in the travel topic, and not in the article, or info in the article, but not in the travel topic. This is the issue with duplicating info in two places. On a small site with limited resources, updating the info back and forth is a bad use of scarce resource, and likely to fall out of date quickly. --inas 17:05, 9 January 2011 (EST)

Peter has a point there. In an article people are not explicitly looking for it, in a travel topic they are. People have already started adding information btw. I don't know too much about the software behind wiki, i guess there is no way to link both together? Swissbelg 04:59, 10 January 2011 (EST)
There are bits of magic within mediawiki can interpolate text, but they aren't pretty or easy to maintain, and we don't generally use them here.
Some things, like Scuba diving, are another way of looking at travel. You can look at the places to dive and then decide on where to go. Tipping isn't like that - it is a fact about the destination.
Oh, but you can do that, that's why i don't travel to the US ;-P (Just kidding) Swissbelg 10:00, 14 January 2011 (EST)
So I dispute that people aren't going to be specifically looking for it in a destination guide. It is exactly where people will go to find out information about tipping at a destination. --inas 23:33, 10 January 2011 (EST)
Once again:i have no problems moving it to the articles, i just wanted to discuss it with you guys first. Mind if i move this discussion to the page's talk page? Swissbelg 10:00, 14 January 2011 (EST)


improving a particular aspect of destination guides, wikitravel-wide

The issue seems more general, and for me it looks similar to any aspect of article which is rarely covered well in a destination article, but someone is willing to create a coordination point for others interested in that aspect, to showcase the best-practice examples of how this aspect is covered in some destinations for other editors to follow, and to make it visible how few destinations are described well in this aspect, and how many more are actually needed.

Aspects may be various: dutyfree shopping in airports (will provide a link to a relevant discussion if someone is interested); business travel; travelling with children; facitilities for disabled traveler, gay/lesbian; how to find a great restaurant--to name only a few.

Looks like we don't have a good solution for the issue. Existing options I know are:

  • creating a travel topic with general info; provide a list of destinations where this aspect is covered well, or at all: see Travelling_with_children
  • listing "articles missing aspect" (and needing them): see Wikitravel:Regions_map_Expedition
  • (it seems to me there was an expedition aiming at improving one aspect wikitravel-wide, listing articles where the expedition succeeded in doing so)
  • (maybe there is some other way which I am not aware about)

Another way I am thinking of in the last months is to create a single article listing all [most important] we are interested in improving here at Wikitravel, and for each aspect to give one to several showcase articles where this aspect is described particularly well. For example:

Maybe implementing such a list can help in the above discussion. --DenisYurkin 17:23, 11 January 2011 (EST)

Perhaps we can look again at our article and listings templates? We could, for example, mandate a tipping second level heading in country articles. Including disabled, children, gblt friendly in our sleep/eat listings? --inas 18:31, 11 January 2011 (EST)
That would definitely help--at least to have more articles covering at least very basic pieces of these aspects. Do we need to also link to this discussion from Wikitravel talk:Article templates? (and/or other policy discussion--which one?) --DenisYurkin 17:22, 18 January 2011 (EST)
Sounds reasonable to me. I might also Plunge forward with the tipping heading, and see if it stimulates any discussion. --inas 17:26, 18 January 2011 (EST)

Road types..

I'm doing a bit of work around lesser traveled roads, and I'm essentially using the three categories..

  • Sealed road - meaning surface is paved, asphalt, concrete, etc.
  • Gravel road - graded and loose rock surface added and compacted
  • Formed road - just graded, road surface varies depending on terrain.

Are these meanings clear enough to everyone, or are they a local dialect? --inas 23:03, 6 January 2011 (EST)

I don't think it's a local dialect problem, but they are a bit technical—I didn't know formed road off the bat. I would suggest paved road, gravel road, and dirt road, but that may perhaps be my own local dialect ;) --Peter Talk 23:13, 6 January 2011 (EST)
I agree with Peter on dirt road vs formed road, as I would understand your 3rd meaning as dirt road, but formed road would be meaningless to me. I would guess that this would be shared by most English speaking South Africans, Can't comment on other parts of the English speaking world. I am easy on paved road vs sealed, with a slight bias to paved. For some parts of the world, you may need a fourth category for a road which is not even graded, or which may be graded on such an irregular basis that you should assume that it has not been graded. In parts of Africa these may be quite important routes. I suggest "Bush road" as a possible term. • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 01:50, 7 January 2011 (EST)
It is also called a trek, track or 4x4 track if that is what you mean. Swissbelg 06:32, 7 January 2011 (EST)
In the U.S. we call those "unimproved dirt roads." Not sure if this is in common usage elsewhere. --Peter Talk 22:03, 7 January 2011 (EST)
"Unimproved dirt roads" conveys the meaning pretty well to me, or maybe even just "unimproved road". "Graded road" or "Graded dirt road" is then another possible option for "Formed road" • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 02:06, 8 January 2011 (EST)
"Sealed Road" sounds too technical/stuffy to me. I think it'd be better just to say "road" or in the case of differentiating it from a dirt road, just calling it a "paved road". I have never heard "unimproved dirt road" although I'm American, but it definitely gives a clear impression of the type

of road. ChubbyWimbus 02:01, 9 January 2011 (EST)

"Paved" has the added advantage of including cobbled and other surfaces where bricks, stones or other form of laid slab surfacing is used, which technically may not be "sealed", as the joints are not watertight. • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 02:43, 9 January 2011 (EST)
I would support the following designations: "Paved," "Gravel," "Packed dirt," "Unimproved dirt," "Track," "Unmarked." A track is not even a real road, and would require a Land Rover, Jeep or the like (a 4-wheel drive vehicle), whereas an unimproved dirt road would be likely to be passable with care by ordinary passenger vehicles in decent weather (and overly muddy and rutted in the rain). Packed dirt roads would be passable even in rainy conditions, absent flooding or perhaps really big thunderstorms. "Unmarked" would refer to desert, where if someone didn't know where the road was, they would never find it. As an American, I don't know what a "graded" road is. I'm guessing "formed" means packed dirt rather than unimproved dirt, but I'm not sure. Ikan Kekek 16:40, 3 May 2011 (EDT)

Yeah, I wouldn't consider using sealed unless it was to somehow distinguish it. Like, there are two paved routes that cross Australia east to west. I'm happy with paved, gravel, and unimproved dirt. It would appear their meaning is at least apparent to all. Thanks all for suggestions. --inas 02:59, 9 January 2011 (EST)

I thought the two main categories were metalled and unmetalled roads? Metalled being tarmac or concrete roads. --SaxonWarrior 16:24, 3 May 2011 (EDT)

Roads that are dirt, but graded once in a while, we call "minimum maintinance roads"

Offline usage

Is there any plan to make available official archive of wikitravel for offline usage ? (for Linux, Mac or Win) It seems http://wikitravel.org/en/Wikitravel:Offline_Reader_Expedition is not quiet updated. It would be great to have some mediawiki and openzim archives https://openzim.org/Build_your_ZIM_file

Thanks -- Jul81.57.235.161 05:32, 11 January 2011 (EST)

It would be nice. It is not easy to generate offline copies - as scraping/spidering is the only way. It would be nice to have some sort of data dump available for download though, it is just a matter of someone building one and making it available, as I suspect the server owners are not going to. --inas 17:31, 18 January 2011 (EST)

Users dont know to click on thumbnails for larger image

Hi all, I have had comments and complaints by a number of users that they didnt know that they could click on an image to get a larger version. This is particularly relevant with maps, where there is usualy a dense amount of information, barely legible at the default display size. Has anyone else had this problem? I am considering adding a "Click to expand" note to the captions of my maps. I know that the little paired rectangle icon is supposed to suggest this but it is clear that a significant number of users don't recognise the hint, and it may be necessary to resort to less subtle methods. Cheers, • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 03:35, 12 January 2011 (EST)

I don't like cluttering the captions more; clicking to make an image bigger is a basic feature on many web sites and I'm having trouble with the idea that any more than a fraction of our readers struggle with the concept. LtPowers 11:28, 12 January 2011 (EST)
I agree with LtPowers. I'd hate to clutter things up with a text message repeated thousands of times across the site in every image. It should be common sense to at least try clicking on the image. Texugo 11:47, 12 January 2011 (EST)
I was only considering the note on map captions. Maps are frequently too small to be directly useful at thumbnail resolution, and are often very important information sources. Other illustrations on the other hand, are mostly decorative, so if the user doesnt know how to expand them, little utility is lost. • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 03:46, 14 January 2011 (EST)

I agree that it is inherently undesirable to add the clutter of text messages, however there remains the problem that common sense is not that common, and that I have been told on several occasions that users have not realised that they can click on images for a larger version. Unless this is an idiosyncracy restricted to people visiting Cape Town, which seems unlikely, I would guess that there are a large number of users throughout the world, who are missing useful information because it is not obvious that it exists. The question then becomes, do we write these users off as not worthy of help, or do we look into some way of making the fact of the clickable image obvious to a wider range of people. Having some idea of the frequency of the problem would be useful, hence my query. I will go over to Wikipedia and make enquiries. Who knows, they may have some useful information. I wont make any changes at this stage. Cheers • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 03:46, 14 January 2011 (EST)

The easy solution would be a change from the corporate overlords, but that's unlikely, so it might possibly make sense to start using a template for map thumbnails, something that would lend itself nicely to mass updates. That would be a lot of work, so let's see what you find at Wikipedia before giving it any serious consideration. -- Ryan • (talk) • 11:26, 14 January 2011 (EST)
I don't think everyone agrees with me on this, but I hold that maps should be readable without having to click through—if the thumbnail has to be big, let it be big. This isn't so much because people won't know to click through (although that is a valid reason too), but rather that it makes printing our guides so much more simple, especially for travelers in internet cafes, with limited software and clunky printing procedures at their disposal. --Peter Talk 11:43, 14 January 2011 (EST)
Agree with Peter, maps are absolutely crucial for the travel guide and I think should be readable from the get-go. Sure they can be clicked on to enlarge, but this should only make it easier, it shouldn't be mandatory to read it I think. --globe-trotter 20:24, 14 January 2011 (EST)
I think it would be nice, but realistically there is too much information on our maps to make them readable without clicking on them. The Chicago/Loop map is difficult to read from the page, but it was great to use to get around when printed out on its own. Can we have all of that information on the map and somehow make it easy to navigate without printing the map separately?
Most people who have issues with knowing to click the map are simply computer illiterate. It's a very basic thing for anyone used to the internet, and for those people that don't know, I don't think it is Wikitravel's job to teach them how to use the internet. ChubbyWimbus 22:32, 14 January 2011 (EST)
Within our realm, we could possibly make the caption itself clickable for a larger image. The software/browser usually make it more obvious when text can be clicked.. --inas 22:37, 14 January 2011 (EST)
Regarding a few comments above about the "obviousness" of clicking on an image for a larger version, having sat through a number of usability sessions for various web sites in the past few years I can guarantee you that there is a very, very large percentage of the population (likely > 50%) that regular users of this site would consider "computer illiterate". Wikitravel's usability is not the greatest, so if there are some easy ways to make things simpler and more obvious then I think we should consider them. Peter's suggestion of standardizing on larger thumbnails for maps sounds good to me, and if there is an easy way to update map thumbnail captions to improve usability then it is probably also worth considering. -- Ryan • (talk) • 23:06, 14 January 2011 (EST)
I agree with ChubbyWimbus that there can be too much information on a map to be readable at any reasonable thumbnail size, and with Peter that maps are critical information sources. However I disagree that it is not Wikitravel's job to teach people how to use Wikitravel. Ryan's figures for proportion of "computer illiterate" indicate that this may be a bigger problem than even I expected, so I am in favour of something that will make the site significantly more user-freindly, even if it looks a little clunky. Inas' suggestion of making the caption a link to the full size map looks promising as relatively un-clunky, so I am going to experiment on my scratchpad. The disadvantage is that it takes a little effort, which becomes a lot of effort when spread over hundreds of maps. The advantage is you can send people directly to the highest resolution version. So far, have not found anything useful on Wikipedia. and there have been no responses to my question at the Village Pump (miscellaneous). • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 06:06, 15 January 2011 (EST)


This is the result of my experiments. It works, but does anyone know of a simpler syntax that will do the same? • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 07:37, 15 January 2011 (EST)
We should not be linking directly to the high-res version of images, as it obscures the attribution information that is on the image description page. LtPowers 10:15, 15 January 2011 (EST)
The original "click on image" link still gets you to the image description page. The "click on caption" link just takes you directly to the highest resolution available. No attribution information is lost, all that changes is that there is an easy, fairly obvious route to a bigger picture. This has to my mind two advantages to compensate for the extra work involved.
  1. The "internet illiterates" or possibly more PC "internet procedurally challenged" have a better chance of discovering that there is a bigger picture, and
  2. The rest of us clever buggers can get to the biggest picture one click sooner, and at the speed that WT has been downloading to me today, that is not an insignificant gain.
Are you concerned about the possibility of a person ignorant of the image description page, clicking on the caption link and copying the picture, then using it without attribution? • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 10:55, 15 January 2011 (EST)
To an extent, but we also implicitly guarantee content creators that their attribution (required under CC-BY) will be readily accessible from wherever we display the image. (On Wikipedia, they've interpreted that to mean one click. Here, it's two due to the unfortunate technical issue of not being able to show the image page from shared without an extra click.) That's not the case if we display the full-size image without first passing through the image description page. LtPowers 15:57, 15 January 2011 (EST)
OK, that is fair comment. It does not appear to be possible to get directly to the image description page from the high resolution image. I wonder why the full resolution image is not on the image description page. • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 01:07, 16 January 2011 (EST)
I do like this idea of linking to the image through the caption - I'm not so crazy about increasing the size of the image on the page, mainly because if there are internet illiterates still out there, there are also dial-up users (dun-dun-DUUNNN!!!). PerryPlanet Talk 18:55, 15 January 2011 (EST)
Also fair comment. • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 01:07, 16 January 2011 (EST)
Note that while estimates are that 10% of internet users are still on dial-up in the US (and the US lags behind many English-speaking countries), if there's a significant advantage to using larger thumbnails for the other 90% then it's important not lessen usability for that 90%. In the past 2-4 years it seems that most companies have begun optimizing for the broadband use-case with the assumption that most people who are still on dial-up are either not very active online or else have accepted a degraded online experience. -- Ryan • (talk) • 02:16, 16 January 2011 (EST)
This may be so, but what do people use when travelling? WT should work for the person who is away from home and needs the information immediately. • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 02:40, 16 January 2011 (EST)
When I've hit Wikitravel from random internet cafes in little towns it hasn't bothered me that pages take a while to load, and the text was readable while images loaded. Perhaps others have had different experiences though. -- Ryan • (talk) • 02:54, 16 January 2011 (EST)
With slow connections, it's actually slower if you have to click through (twice!) to get to the full sized image, which you then will usually need to download the image to the hard drive to print it from a dedicated image viewing program. And sometimes that type of functionality is restricted! When you are on the go in an obscure part of the world, I think the ability to quickly print out the map itself is often the most important thing of all. --Peter Talk 15:42, 16 January 2011 (EST)
That makes sense. Following that logic would use a full width map in the article, or at least a width that is enough to clearly read the printed map. That brings up the question of paper width. I would guess that most of the world prints on A4 as default. Letter and folio are pretty close, so a compromise is viable. Question then becomes, what is the best display width in pixels for the screen, because a) it must print full width, allowing for margins, and b) it must display preferably no more than the width available on the screen, and there doesn't seem to be anything even remotely approaching a standard screen width anymore. Are there any suggestions for an optimum maximum pixel width for the thumbnail? Or is there some other way this should be handled? Of course this also bypasses the attribution and licensing information, but presumably that is OK in this case.
Another approach, or an aspect of this problem, is to make a style policy for a minimum detail size on a map as a percntage of width, so that when printed on A4 with standard margin the detail is adequately legible, perhaps that printed text should never be less than 8 or 9 points. (with my eyes I struggle a bit at 8 points, but I think most people can read it OK). If the map can not be done at this resolution, it should be split (with slight overlaps) until it can all fit in and print legibly on A4. Obviously this style would only be obligatory for star articles. Any usable map is better than none. In some cases then an overall map showing the layout of the detail maps may be necessary. It all gets a bit complicated, but should be workable • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 02:04, 17 January 2011 (EST)
Second example using default size thumbnail is linked to image description page on shared at http://wikitravel.org/shared/Image:Partridge_Point_reef_map.png. Code [[Image:Partridge_Point_reef_map.png|thumb|[[Shared:Image:Partridge_Point_reef_map.png|'''Map of the reef at the dive sites at Partridge Point''']]]]
This gives required attribution and licensing information directly, and another click will take you to the full resolution image: This is also less work as the file address is already available and does not have to be looked up. Would it be possible for one of us to write up a template that works like the ones below the edit window to automate the process, or is this something that IB would have to do?
I am going to run a few examples on some of the dive site articles and ask some friends to test the procedure • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 02:07, 16 January 2011 (EST)
I agree with LtPowers that license information should be presented along with the image. Linking directly to the image file circumvents the license information, which I think is not the way to go. I also think, if the problem should be solved, it should be done with a more technical solution than just adding a link, as this looks a bit clumsy. And would be a time consuming work to add this to all maps. By enlarging the maps, clicking wouldn't be necessary at all anymore, which would solve the problem without any special tricks. --globe-trotter 03:02, 16 January 2011 (EST)
Responses to Globe-trotter:
I will accept the objection to direct links to the high resolution image on grounds of bypassing the license information (it is also more labour intensive). The second example (above) avoids this problem.
Enlarging the maps would also be fairly labour intensive, though less so than modifying the captions to links.
What sort of thing do you have in mind as a "more technical solution", and in what way does converting the caption to a link look more clumsy than the caption before modification? The only change in appearance on my screen is the colour. (Unless you are advocating not using captions on maps). • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 04:58, 16 January 2011 (EST)

Turning captions into links should be able to be completely automated, and could be done with no manual labour at all. Enlarging images is so labour intensive as to be impractical, as far as I can see. There is no way you could automatically tell what is a map, or what is just a picture, and what will stuff up the layout. Speed issues for Internet access for me these days come from having to use 2G mobile data connections. You don't have to go too far off the beaten track to find one of those locations. --inas 18:23, 17 January 2011 (EST)

Would the automated caption to link conversion be able to distinguish between maps and other images? Or would it just convert everything? When I upload maps on shared I use the map template, does this not provide a way of distinguishing between maps and other images? I would be interested to know how the automation could be done, but suspect the answer would be beyond my understanding :-( Cheers, • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 01:43, 18 January 2011 (EST)
There are a few ways I could see to automate this. Most simply, you could scan each page for Image tags, read the image filename, and edit the caption to make it a wikilink to the filename. If there is some computer readable method of telling if something is a map or an image, then you could code that. However, if we are going to do this, we could consider replacing each Image tag with an image template. Some of the Wikipedia templates use pure html to format images, giving much greater flexibility. If we went down this path we would have to do some testing to ensure compatibility with our pages and browsers, but conceivably we could even have tooltips "click for a larger image". --inas 17:40, 18 January 2011 (EST)
Zing! +++Out of cheese error+++. Indistinguishable from magic. Sorry, this is beyond my technological event horizon. My brain has just collapsed into a singularity. The tooltips idea sounds useful. Cheers, • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 04:14, 19 January 2011 (EST)
I now get tooltips on the images. I take it that someone has done something. I like this as a solution and assume it now works all over Wikitravel (but will make some checks anyway). Is there a way to put a different message on a tooltip? In some cases the image file name is not helpful. • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 04:54, 28 January 2011 (EST)
On Wikipedia (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:Visual_file_markup ) there is a description of how to use "Alternative text" option in the image markup. This does not appear to work here on Wikitravel. (see third example: [[Image:Partridge_Point_reef_map.png|thumb|alt=Click on image to expand|[[Shared:Image:Partridge_Point_reef_map.png|'''Map of the reef at the dive sites at Partridge Point''']]]] ) • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 05:19, 28 January 2011 (EST)

Problems with printing maps

Two thoughts:

  1. when I recently tried first time to travel with printed-out guides having maps (it was Paris), I found it completely effortful to print a map for every district--and the only way to have them readable was to open map images in a separate tab and printing independently of the rest of the guide. This is definitely a problem making using our guides less convenient (and a bit reducing number of active readers I think).
  2. AFAIK, there's an HTML tag which is active only when a piece surrounded by it is printed, and its counterpart when it is viewed from screen. We can implement a template for inserting maps which uses such a tag. I will try to find details if there's interest for it.

Sorry I didn't read the whole above discussion--please let me know if my points were addressed somewhere above, and I will. --DenisYurkin 17:48, 18 January 2011 (EST)

Hi Denis, I dont think these points were addressed above: So far it has been about finding the high resolution map online, and what resolution should be default in the text. Issues of print quality are a related but different problem, so I am going to split this out into a subsection. • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 04:14, 19 January 2011 (EST)

Collaboration of the Month?

Hi, I'm still very new here but I wanted to know what happened to collaboration of the month. It seems like it has been Mauritius for 3 months already. Sumone10154 18:20, 17 January 2011 (EST)

Just waiting for someone to update it. Some collaborations take off, but others just languish as people focus on other areas. Feel free to plunge forward and be the driver of the next one. --inas 18:30, 17 January 2011 (EST)
I was changing the collaborations, but we haven't had a successful one for a long time, and talk on the page itself has virtually halted, so I stopped pushing them through in hopes of getting one that someone would actually be willing to contribute to. Mauritius is listed as being "too easy" for a collaboration on the page, but none of the "easy" work has been completed in three months (when I tried to complete tasks, I found it was not so easy...). It would be great to revive the collaborations! It's one part of Wikitravel with great potential but has waned over the last year. Niagara Falls is probably the best candidate at the moment. ChubbyWimbus 18:36, 17 January 2011 (EST)
Ok, I followed the instructions at Wikitravel:Collaboration_of_the_month#Updating the Collaboration of the Month, but it won't let me do number 5 (Update the Template:Current collaboration with the current COTM). Can someone help me?? Thanks! Sumone10154 12:26, 18 January 2011 (EST)
Done. The file requires autoconfirmed, so you will be able to edit it in a week or so. Scared (because of formatting concerns) to put two cities in there, though. --inas 17:24, 18 January 2011 (EST)
We could just link Niagara Falls or use piped links (as in "Niagara Falls (Ontario and New York)"). LtPowers 11:58, 19 January 2011 (EST)
The second option looks good. --inas 20:51, 19 January 2011 (EST)

how to organize extensive details on ClubMed

Moved from Wikitravel talk:Accommodation listings#more details than 1-3 sentences per establishment

I am considering to share my recent experience with ClubMed, an all-inclusive resort in Chamonix-Mont Blanc, France. Details are extensive, and they are both about:

  • deciding whether to stay there
  • and how to make most of the stay once you are there

One issue is that it looks like gonna take more than a single paragraph.

Another is that this is my first experience with ClubMed chain, and very likely half of details actually applies to ClubMed everywhere (but I'm not sure which half :-) )

So the questions are:

  • will both types of content be welcome here at Wikitravel?
  • OK if I put a concise summary for the business in Chamonix, linking for details to a separate article
  • based on our nursery approach, I am considering to create that separate article as a travel topic like "All-inclusive resorts" (or something like that) where (a) both general info on all-inclusive establishments should emerge some day, (b) generic advice and characteristics for ClubMed (and also other chains, if they exist) should be given, and (c) extensive details on individual ClubMed (and other-chain) establishments should be listed.

Anything wrong with my plans? :-) --DenisYurkin 15:35, 19 January 2011 (EST)

All-inclusive resorts are tricky to fit into our normal article structure. Might want to raise the question on the Pub for more visibility, since I don't know the answers to your questions. LtPowers 17:24, 19 January 2011 (EST)
It is a tricky thing.
I'll start by saying that I don't think that all inclusive resorts have enough in common to justify a travel topic, because really they don't all have that much in common. Some are in the snow, some are on islands, some have buffets, some are a-la-carte. Some arrange transport, some even have internal transport. Some include meals, some charge for some services, like motorised craft. I don't know what would be left to include in the article.
However, some resorts have as much to write about them as some small towns. They are like a cruise ship. When these resorts are on islands, we seem quite comfortable in giving them their own article. When they are in towns or cities, then we resist and put them in the Sleep section.
I don't have a solution here, but I can identify the problem.
I think we could maximise a Club Med travel topic. There really is enough unique to the Club Med chain that can be added as useful information. Information that could let people know whether they want to choose Club Med, and how to get the most of their stay. I think it would be a shame if we had to call the article All inclusive resorts just to fit. ON the other hand, I'd hate to see a Sheraton, Hilton, travel topics popping, so we'd have to be careful we don't set up too slippery a slope. --inas 18:01, 19 January 2011 (EST)
I'm fine with creating a travel topic for ClubMed alone if it's OK to put details on individual ClubMeds as well, and if there is no other objections/considerations.
As for Sheraton/Hilton risk, I think the differentiating criteria here may be:
a) most (or only several?) ClubMed resorts are destinations in itself, where most people spend all or most of their time, and they intentionally head there for that.
b) there's a widespread scenario "I want to go for vacation for ClubMed. Which of them to choose this time?" I.e. people first decide that it will be ClubMed, and only after that they choose a destination with a particular ClubMed that meets their criteria for resort (and then destination). For Hilton and Sheraton, they normally choose destination first, and only after that they seek accomodation within it (even with preference to a specific chain). --DenisYurkin 13:31, 20 January 2011 (EST)
Las Vegas casinos are a similar problem - a single casino may have 5-10 restaurants, 2-3 Broadway caliber shows, and all manner of sights and activities. Perhaps we need another sub-section under "Sleep" or "Do" for places that are destinations in their own right? If we create a criteria similar to the rental listing criteria stating that any such section must be discussed on the talk page first, and preface each one with something like "The following resorts/casinos are large enough to be vacation destinations in their own right" with a hidden comment stating that any additions required discussion, would that be sufficient? -- Ryan • (talk) • 14:03, 20 January 2011 (EST)
The difference is that anything common to all casinos [in Las Vegas area] can be sticked to LasVegas article, but what's a place for things common to all (or most of) ClubMeds around the world? And, again, I'm sure it's losing much useful content if we try to squeeze all the important practical details into a single paragraph of listing description within destination guide article. --DenisYurkin 14:17, 20 January 2011 (EST)
And in Las Vagas, a visitor may dine in one casino restaurant one night, gamble at another another night, and visit a show in a third. I would say 95% of people who go to Club Med bintan, for example, never leave the resort. They arrive on the Club Med bus, get the traditional Club Med greeting, and at most take a Club Med excursion to see the sights. --inas 14:45, 20 January 2011 (EST)
Admittedly I know next-to-nothing about Club Med, but I think we should be cautious about creating articles for specific companies - we started down that route with airlines and it didn't turn out well. Is Club Med so different from (for example) Four Seasons resorts or Disney resorts that a separate, Club Med-specific article is needed? If not then I would think a sub-section of an article with a few paragraphs about the resort would be a better approach. -- Ryan • (talk) • 15:05, 20 January 2011 (EST)
I agree with the challenges. I think Club Med is different from Disney or Four Seasons resorts. They have and promote a very distinct culture, across all their resorts. Inclusions, restaurant styles, services are all standardised across the resorts, and the % of people who don't leave them is much higher. They really do have much in common with a cruise ship. --inas 15:48, 20 January 2011 (EST)

OK, unless more objections appear, I am going to start ClubMed resorts article. Going to include detailed description of individual resorts and hoping someone will help to identify things that are common to the whole chain (which will go to the same article, under its own section). At the same time, respective destination guides will include summary of individual resorts, linking for details to the anchor in the travel topic in question. --DenisYurkin 17:29, 27 January 2011 (EST)

Article Statuses

I have a few questions about article status:

  1. For a district or small city article to become usable status, does it need attractions from both sections of See and Do? Or is just from See ok?
  2. For a region article to become usable status, how many important major cities and other destinations must be usable? Half? 2/3?
  3. Do guide articles need overview paragraphs? Discussion: Talk:Manhattan/Theater District#Guide Status?

It would be really helpful if someone helped answer these questions for me! Sumone10154 00:04, 21 January 2011 (EST)

Hi Sumone10154;

  1. According to Wikitravel:City guide status a Usable city guide Has at least a Get In section and one Eat and Sleep listing each with contact information. At least the most prominent attraction is identified with directions. No mention is made of both see and do. In fact "the most prominent attraction" is singular, so only one is essential.
  2. A Usable region Has links to the region's major cities and other destinations (the most important of which must be at usable status or better), and a Get in section describing all of the typical ways to get there. The most prominent attractions are identified with directions. This implies a minimum of one major city must be usable, as attractions dont generally have their own articles.
  3. There is no requirement specified in Wikitravel:City guide status for overview paragraphs in the sections as requested in Talk:Manhattan/Theatre District. Guide articles aren't necessarily perfect... just very close. For example, a city guide might not have a map, some of the listings might not exactly match our manual of style. If a City article can reach Guide without a map, then overview paragraphs do not seem critical to me. This is a judgement call. For me, in the case in question, I think they are not essential. Again, as a personal judgement call, I would suggest if you know the place well enough to do a good job, humour the request and write an overview paragraph. If you dont, say so and suggest the person making the request Plunge forward (the locally polite way of saying do it yourself if you really want it), but go ahead and rate the article guide if it meets the listed criteria and you think it is deserved.

If there are other references, it is not immediately obvious which take precedence, but I would say the name "Wikitravel:(Article type) status" implies that it is the primary reference, specially when it does not link to another page indicating that the other page must be consulted. So if anyone disputes this, it becomes a policy change discussion. Of course we have those all the time, whenever needed, and they are just part of the background.

These are only my interpretations, but I will argue them if pressed. Hope this helps, • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 01:58, 21 January 2011 (EST)

For #2 I think "the most important of which" is intended to be plural. In some cases, there may be only one major city that is "most important", but in others there may -- and probably should -- be more. For example, in Mid-Atlantic, I would consider New York City, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia to be the "most important" of the listed cities, plus Niagara Falls (New York), Adirondacks, and Appalachian Trail for the "most important" other destinations. LtPowers 08:56, 21 January 2011 (EST)
That is your interpretation. I am not saying it is a bad one, but based on the wording, there is no plural specified, and we have to guess at the intention if we were not involved in the original decision (uless you can point us to the records). There may even be cases where there is only one major city in a region, not that I can think of an example. If we want to require a plural except in exceptional cases, it should be specified, and in that case the preferred number should be specified for clarity (as is done for star articles), with the condition that if there are not enough to go round, a smaller number is acceptable. I think it is understood that a larger number is better, but that does not preclude an article from being usable and getting rated as such if there is only one. I think this is something that is best argued for a specific case • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 15:45, 21 January 2011 (EST)
I agree that in relation to #2 the wording in the policy does not necessarily imply that it should be more than one. But in my opinion, it does not make sense to define a region as usable if any important cities or any important other destinations are not usable. Therefore, I suggest that we change the wording to make it clear that all important cities/other destinations must be usable before a region is usable, --ClausHansen 17:10, 21 January 2011 (EST)
All could be a large number. Should probably be limited to the more or less standard 9. I think we have a case of serious upwards creep here for the standards. Changing this will mean that all existing usable articles will have to be checked and a large number may have to be downgraded. Do we want or need this?
My personal opinion is that an article can be usable even when important items are missing. Look again at the wording of the usable templates.
At Wikitravel:Article status, Usable is defined as: An adventurous person could use the article without recourse to other information sources. For most articles, this means they could probably get to the destination, eat, and sleep with just this information. It would probably enable them to find at least the most prominent attraction there. • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 00:59, 22 January 2011 (EST)
To me, that sounds like there should be more options. I would never consider promoting a city to "usable" status if it only had one attraction, one restaurant listing, and one hotel listing along with "Get in" info. Look at Mombasa, Lilongwe, or Soja. They don't quite look "usable" to me, but they seem to qualify with 1 sleep, 1 eat, and 1 see listing, and no one else has upgraded them either. I think part of it is that perhaps we all know/believe there is too much left out (especially with the African cities) to even make the claim that an "adventurous traveler" could get by on our current guides. We wouldn't still call Chicago "usable" if we hacked it down to the Sears Tower, Vito and Nick's restaurant, and the Hyatt Regency Chicago hotel, even though that would seem to be all we needed, because we all know that only giving that information would really not make it usable at all. There are definitely standards used that are perhaps beyond what is written. ChubbyWimbus 16:22, 22 January 2011 (EST)
Having written the article status guideline, I can say with some certainty that the intended meaning was plural ;) Granted, there may be some regions where really only one town is of any importance, and is generally the only place travelers visit, but that would only happen with bottom-level regions in obscure locations. The feeling in the discussions behind this criterion was that determining which cities need to be usable will always be subjective, and that that's OK.
For #1, See is all that is necessary. For #3, I think the answer is no. We have always held that to be a requirement for star articles, but not for guide status.
As an aside, it may differ from the text at Wikitravel:City guide status, but I tend to think that if a city has many restaurants and hotels, there should be at least a few in each section before calling the article usable (if, say, Indianapolis had just one restaurant listed, that should not be a usable article). --Peter Talk 23:33, 22 January 2011 (EST)
Yes, I think that's pretty much how I had interpreted it. Some smaller towns might be very usable (or even guides) with only 3 attractions while it would be absurd to apply that to huge cities like Beijing or Paris. Three listings would not even begin to list even the most famous sites in such large cities, and the same applies to the other categories (maybe not "buy" as much...). At usable status, I think we should be able to confidently say that our article is a good overview; it doesn't have everything but it does offer some good options. The number of options required can and should vary by city. Some locations that are more famous for their "Do"s than their "See"s also exist and that should be taken into account when determining status for such locations. ChubbyWimbus 00:09, 23 January 2011 (EST)
I have no objection to an upgrade of the requirement descriptions in Wikitravel:City guide status to comply with these last two opinions, as long as the new text is reasonably unambiguous. It should also preferably be clear to a person who has not been to the destination whether the article is likely to fit the status description or not. Any other opinions? • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 00:38, 23 January 2011 (EST)

I agree with ChubbyWimbus --inas 01:23, 23 January 2011 (EST)

  • Why do articles have to have a status anyway? Shep 01:41, 23 January 2011 (EST)
I guess that question equates to how necessary is it to have a measure of completeness? It can give us examples to emulate, and focus activity on less developed areas. --inas 02:17, 23 January 2011 (EST)
I think it is also important for letting casual viewers know that if XCity is an outline, it does not represent our best article. Having a standard to allow visitors to know that an article has not reached its full potential lifts some burden off us, I think, by providing acknowledgment that certain articles are substandard and not how we want them to be. Then when they want to blame us, we turn on them with the "Plunge forward" bit to place the blame for a poor article on THEM. lol It's also good motivation for someone working on an article to know that they don't have to go from nothing to a star just to get somewhere and gives us leads on possible features for DotM/OtBP. ChubbyWimbus 03:19, 23 January 2011 (EST)
I agree with the combination of reasons given by Inas and ChubbyWimbus: the status labels are useful to both contributors and casual users• • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 11:46, 23 January 2011 (EST)

Map Import/export

I'm currently travelling a lot and I find wikitravel useful. 2 things, I find missing

-for each location, you really need to give the different name: local name with local language, local one in local language written with extended us alphabet (for example, to give an arabish name to a local without being able to read arabic or same in chinese), same in international english

- for each location map, a kml/gpx file would be really useful. so anyone could use these informations in an interoperable way.


Thanks for your work-- Jul —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 196.204.160.79 (talkcontribs)

I agree those things would be nice, but where do we get the information? Are you referring to all the attractions, all the names of shops, reataurants, hotels etc, or just the name of the place the article is about?
For the kml/gpx file, what would you expect to find in it? • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 15:57, 21 January 2011 (EST)
As someone travels, if possible, he tries to export his POI or take some of OpenStreetmap (compatible licence ?). I don't know if there is other free sources which reference travel Point Of Interest.
With a quick search, I find this The Best Free POI Downloads for Your GPS Unit
I refer to all places (first transport facilities, next viewpoints and museums, after shops/hotels). The gpx/kml file would contain place name (both in local spelling, local name with english/roman spelling for pronunciation, and english/international name), some category/tags informations and gps coordinates -- Jul

Analytics

This may have previously been asked, so my apologies if it has been. Is there any analytics data available on Wikitravel? Yorke417 21:43, 27 January 2011 (EST)

It exists, but unfortunately the owners of the domain, won't share it with us. Google trends for websites is the closest you are going to get, we hover somewhere between 70.000 and 100.000 unique daily visitors if that's the number you are looking for --Stefan (sertmann) talk 22:23, 27 January 2011 (EST)
Wow. I'm surprised to see that there are more visitors from Japan than anywhere else. Interesting! Texugo 22:36, 27 January 2011 (EST)

Anyone have this Inkscape problem?

Putting this here to attract more attention. I use Inkscape to operate on maps, as most of us do, but I have an issue that I haven't been able to find a fix for elsewhere online. When I use the fill function, it's very slow and after filling 2 or 3 areas, it crashes entirely. I'm using Windows 7, and I updated to the most current version of Inkscape but the problem persists. Does anyone know of a fix for this? Or does anyone have a suggestion for another free, open-source vector graphics program? I'm trying to go on a map-making spree for Brazilian regions, and this is frustrating me greatly. Texugo 10:48, 3 February 2011 (EST)

I know I am. Either it's my computer, the new version of Inkscape, or the map files we're using these days are just too much for my computer. I just can't make maps at the pace I used to. PerryPlanet Talk 14:02, 4 February 2011 (EST)
I am using Inkscape 0.47 on XT and dont seem to have anything like your problem. Maybe I misunderstand, so could you explain in more detail what is happening with an example I can download and do comparative test. I have tested a map of about 3.8MB with about 50 layers at a guess. Selected all objects in a layer with 10 objects, blanked the fill and replaced it with something different. process time order of a second - you could see it happening, but only just. • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 06:50, 6 February 2011 (EST)
The best answer is of course to use a fully developed vector drawing program like Illustrator :). More seriously, the object fill function has had problems in every version of Inkscape I have used. Some of the map files I have drawn are relatively huge (especially so when using imported PDF plot points), and the fill function routinely hangs after changing the opacity slider (for example). I understand your frustration Texugo. --Burmesedays 22:30, 24 May 2011 (EDT)
After making about 6 Brazil state maps, I put the project on hold out of frustration with Inkscape. I may look in to getting Illustrator or something, because there are still dozens of maps I'd like to make...texugo 22:43, 24 May 2011 (EDT)
I've never had a problem. What version of Inkscape are you using? LtPowers 13:36, 25 May 2011 (EDT)
Long-standing problems with the Inkscape fill function were also discussed here.--Burmesedays 20:19, 25 May 2011 (EDT)

John F. Kennedy International Airport

I've noticed that JFK airport was deleted in the past. I think it is large enough to deserve its own article so would it be ok if I created an outline (including eat and sleep sections) for it? Heathrow Airport was created this way and wasn't deleted. Discussion: Talk:John_F._Kennedy_International_Airport#Airports –sumone10154 22:08, 13 February 2011 (EST)

I'd like to hear what useful information you plan to add that isn't already contained (and can't be contained) at New York City#John F. Kennedy International Airport or Queens/Jamaica#Sleep. As was pointed out elsewhere, we shouldn't make a separate article unless the useful info is overwhelming the destination article. texugo 23:25, 13 February 2011 (EST)
I already said I would add eat and sleep sections (a restaurant in the post-security area of the airport should not be listed in Queens/Jamaica. And I'd move New_York_City#Shopping_in_airports there as well; it shouldn't belong in the shopping section for New York City and should go with the airport instead.–sumone10154 02:20, 14 February 2011 (EST)
I just want to know in what way is the status quo overwhelming the NYC article? Hotels can still go in the district article (there are not many there now), plus restaurant selections in the post-security area are usually not terribly unique or even recommendable-- how do you respond to Cacahuate's comment that "we don't exactly need an article about JFK that describes the variance between TGI Fridays in Terminal 1 and TGI Fridays in Terminal 2"? texugo 02:38, 14 February 2011 (EST)
It would still be useful for travellers to know what restaurants there will be in each terminal. And for several of the same reasons on Heathrow's vfd discussion. –sumone10154 14:55, 14 February 2011 (EST)
And it would be easier for travellers looking for information if we put all the information we already have on one page instead of having readers search for information in several different sections and pages (getting in at New_York_City#John_F._Kennedy_International_Airport, shopping at New_York_City#Buy, and hotels at Queens/Jamaica#Sleep.) –sumone10154 19:37, 15 February 2011 (EST)
I'm also a little sceptical regarding the usefulness of a separate article for the airport. If there really is that much more that should be written about the airport, I think it's best to try doing so in the New York City#By plane section first, to demonstrate the need. It's fine to put restaurant and shopping info in that section directly, although I'm not sure how necessary even that would be. Kansai Airport seems like a good exception to our usual rule of disallowing airports, since it is not only a major international port of entry, it also is far outside the major cities it serves. O'Hare and Heathrow are a good deal busier than JFK, but even those aren't terribly necessary. If we didn't already have a bang-up guide to O'Hare, I would might have argued against creating one for it—and it's the world's second busiest! The one airport article that I'd particularly find useful would be one for the confusing Charles de Gaulle, but even that has been taken care of really nicely at Paris#By plane. --Peter Talk 19:59, 15 February 2011 (EST)
In Wikitravel:What_is_an_article?#Exceptions, it says, Some examples of possible exceptions include: Huge airports the size of small cities such as Kansai International Airport or Heathrow Airport. Does JFK airport not count as huge? With 7 terminals and the busiest airport in the United States by international passenger traffic[1]? Do you just oppose creating any new airport articles, but want to keep the ones we already have? –sumone10154 13:25, 16 February 2011 (EST)

Districtfication for Little Rock

The article for the capital of Arkansas is incredibly long. Since Little Rock is such a huge city (about 200,000 in the city itself; over 300,000 if you include the neighboring independent cities of North Little Rock, Maumelle, Sherwood, and Jacksonville), I think this article is a worthy candidate for districtfication. Jonathan 784 13:06, 19 February 2011 (EST)

? According to this wordcount tool, the Little Rock article is only 7,000 words long (whereas, say, Milan is nearly 20,000 words.) It seems neither "incredibly long" or "a huge city" to me. Do you really think it's so unwieldy as is? If so, why? Rezendi 13:31, 19 February 2011 (EST)
Looks quite small and compact to me. Not nearly enough real information to justify didtrictification at this stage. Maybe a little heavy on listings, but that does not qualify it for breaking up. Also many listings are incomplete, but that is another issue. • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 01:11, 23 February 2011 (EST)


It may need districtifying later, but based on the distrification within the article, it would end up with a decent "Downtown" article but a lot of small outline articles for the other districts. City size and population don't necessarily matter if there is enough to see/do, but right now, I just don't see any districts aside from the downtown with enough information to hold their own articles. ChubbyWimbus 05:03, 23 February 2011 (EST)

Wikitravel + OpenStreetMaps > iTravelFree

The latest Android version of my iTravelFree app (Android Market link) allows users to download an OpenStreetMap map for later offline use (with mapped Wikitravel listings optionally superimposed on them.) I'll soon be adding this capability to the iPhone version as well. Right now only a small number of maps are available - in particular, London and Paris - but that list will grow. This feature is very much in beta test; I'd appreciate it if people would a) try it and provide feedback b) suggest other maps that should be made available. As the name suggests, the app is completely free, though a paid version with some additional features does exist. Thanks! Rezendi 21:30, 19 February 2011 (EST)

Great news! What do you mean--"suggest other maps that should be made available", for testing purposes (as for normal use as wide coverage as possible is required)?
BTW, with [2] there's no more plans on Google Maps offline--what happened? --DenisYurkin 02:37, 20 February 2011 (EST)
So far I've only made a small number of prebuilt map packs available. (Users can roll their own, too, but it's a complicated procedure.) As for Google Maps caching, unfortunately that would be a violation of their terms of service. Rezendi

Wikitravel:Destination_of_the_Month_candidates

Hi! We have a significant shortage of suitable nominees for Dotm/OtBP. Feel free to comment and work on current nomination or add more suitable articles! Thanks in advance, jan 10:32, 22 February 2011 (EST)

OSM export woes [venting]

Error

The load average on the server is too high at the moment. Please wait a few minutes before trying again.

I'm trying to re-use your map tiles in a really productive way! Let me download your tiles! Graaaahh! --Peter Talk 17:00, 23 February 2011 (EST)

Disney Cruise Line

Could someone check this edit? An IP editor has repeatedly made these changes with a number of comments such as "could have been written by the Mouse himself" and "Revert to less promotional language", and I have reverted on the basis of Wikitravel:Tone. Despite my invitations to discuss the issue, no discussion has been forthcoming. Am I in the wrong here? LtPowers 21:05, 24 February 2011 (EST)

Your reverts seem fine, particularly if the anonymous user is unwilling to discuss. I took a stab at restoring most of the changes, but left in the references to "Canadian and US" customs since they seemed relevant. -- Ryan • (talk) • 23:06, 24 February 2011 (EST)

In need of a substitution script for listing tags on pt:

I posted this on Shared a few days ago, but the pub here is busier, so I thought I'd post here too:

Listing tags were partially implemented on pt: a while back with a translation of the wizard interface but without translating the actual tag names or attributes. Now I know how to translate those and I think it would be best to do so, but the problem is now that lots of those tags have been inserted in articles-- if I make the translations on the MediaWiki attribute pages, all the existing listings will immediate stop working, and there is no way to search and change the tags manually because the search engine (apparently) ignores things within brackets <>, not to mention the fact that there are a lot of them and changing them manually would be extremely tedious. If we had a substitution script to go through all the articles and change some strings like "<eat" to "<coma", "name=" to "nome=", "address=" to "endereço=", etc. it would solve this problem and I could go ahead and complete the tag translations so that everything works in Portuguese so that users would be more likely to use tags in the future. However, I know absolutely nothing about writing and running scripts. Would anyone like to work with me to create a script for us? Or, can anyone think of a different solution to this problem (i.e. a way to make the system accept tags and their attributes in both English and Portuguese)? Any help would be greatly appreciated!! Texugo 10:58, 21 February 2011 (EST)

Yet another reason I'm baffled as to the implementation of our listings tags. If they'd been done with MediaWiki templates, it'd be a simple matter to wrap the English template in a Portuguese wrapper. LtPowers 22:08, 26 February 2011 (EST)
But they do seem to be done with MediaWiki templates-- those listed at the bottom of Wikitravel:Listings. The problem is that the English template was already implemented in lots of listings there on pt:. If I translate the template now, all those existing English ones will stop working, and finding and replacing them manually would be an inordinate pain in the arse without a script.texugo 02:44, 27 February 2011 (EST)
No, by "MediaWiki templates", I mean the ones in the Template: namespace. Pages in the MediaWiki: namespace are interface messages. LtPowers 20:17, 27 February 2011 (EST)
Ah, gotcha, but you understand my problem, right? Know how to make a substitution script? texugo 21:28, 27 February 2011 (EST)
No, I'm afraid not. I could probably write one, but I wouldn't know how to tell you to execute it. =) LtPowers 16:18, 1 March 2011 (EST)

Warning Boxes

I see warning boxes pop up on many articles prematurly, usually by people who have never been to the country in question and may make blanket assumptions such as "there are protests in some parts of the Middle East, so every country in the Middle East needs a warning box"

This turns into edit wars, and since the number one rule of wikitravel is that the traveller comes first, I think maybe there should be a medium level warning box. Maybe... a yellow "caution" box or something like that.

It doesn't seem right that "Warning there is a war in this country and you are likely to be shot if you go here" should be the same magnitude as "There are some protests in neigbouring countries, this country is currently safe, but be sure to moniter events closely in case of change"

Just my $0.02. Would something like that be possible? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Kayla (talkcontribs)

This issue was raised previously at Template talk:Warningbox#Overuse of warningboxes but did not elicit many responses. -- Ryan • (talk) • 14:07, 2 March 2011 (EST)
I'm trying to plan a trip to the Middle East, and I'm finding it really hard to decide which countries are "relatively safe" and which are "warzones" when any country in the Middle East is apparently being given arbitrary warning boxes. I know for a fact that Oman is fairly safe, but for others I don't know enough about them to remove the warning boxes. Warning boxes feel like they are saying "absolutely do not go here unless you want to die" but maybe only I read them that way... Kayla 14:27, 4 March 2011 (EST)
This seems to be a problem with a wiki-based travel guide - it's not always possible to know how credible an editor is, and anytime something is in the news then lots of people without first-hand knowledge tend to plaster warnings across the site. While we don't use citations on Wikitravel, warning boxes might be a place where they would make sense. -- Ryan • (talk) • 14:51, 4 March 2011 (EST)
Agreed provided personal experience is allowed as a reference. Signed personal experience. With a username, not an ISP number. (a real name would also be OK as long as it is verifiable). Cheers, • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 00:21, 6 March 2011 (EST)
That's not a road I want to go down. We don't cite anything else in our guides; why would we cite warning boxes? LtPowers 15:22, 6 March 2011 (EST)
This discussion should probably be moved to Template talk:Warningbox, but since the purpose of a warning box is to warn travelers against a "non-obvious danger to life and limb" it seems reasonable to at least provide an additional level of reassurance as to whether or not a traveler's life really would be in danger when visiting a place, or if someone merely read an article on CNN and slapped a warning on ten different articles. Additionally, it would make these boxes easier to remove since editors could simply check the link provided to see if the danger has ended. Also note that I wouldn't propose that warning boxes without a citation should be removed, merely that using citations as an additional resource with warning boxes might be helpful. -- Ryan • (talk) • 17:58, 6 March 2011 (EST)
A thought. Warnings should dates for specific dangerous events to act as a type of expiry date so that the traveler can decide if the danger has passed. Something like "On 13/03/11 there was street fighting in district X". Violent protests tend to be short lived, as are natural disasters, so the warning may not be relevant by the time the traveler gets there. On going dangers are best included in the main text. - Cardboardbird 21:25, 12 March 2011 (EST)

Randolph

I'm trying to move Randolph to Randolph (Ohio) because there's other places with the same name (Randolph (Massachusetts) and Randolph (New Jersey)), but Randolph (Ohio) already exists as a redirect so can somebody delete that? Thanks –sumone10154 15:14, 2 March 2011 (EST)

Done. -- Ryan • (talk) • 15:18, 2 March 2011 (EST)

Ski resorts

What do you all think about Big White and Silver Star? Do they meet our what is an article criteria? LtPowers 16:25, 8 March 2011 (EST)

I think enormous ski resorts qualify as articles (in the same way that Disneyland or, perhaps more germanely, Whistler do.) However I question whether the latter, in particular, is sprawling enough to warrant its own article, just as I wouldn't think that every Six Flags would qualify. It seems to me that it would make sense to combine both into one article. I also think that there's a tout-y tone to both at the moment, but that's a separate issue. Rezendi 01:03, 9 March 2011 (EST)
Well, they certainly don't need to follow a region template, so I removed the giant list of cities and the regional info from Big White. If all those eat listings are actually at the resort and there are sleep listings actually there and not in a nearby town, perhaps it should get an article, but there isn't enough info for me to decide. texugo 01:48, 9 March 2011 (EST)

Wikitravel in the news

Australian news sites have Wiki threat to guidebooks running in the travel section at the moment - Cardboardbird 23:05, 12 March 2011 (EST)

Tourist office information

Should not there be a standard section with information about Tourist offices (e.g. web addresses, physical addresses, opening times, phone numbers) ?

Indeed, I had the same question. Sometime it is at the end of the "Understand" section. Should this become a standard? It could be put in "Cope" too but this section is optional and rather at the end of the page; and Tourist office info is something people probably want to know pretty early. Joelf 16:04, 13 March 2011 (EDT)
I've always seen (and placed) this at the end of "Understand" under the heading "Tourist Information". ChubbyWimbus 17:18, 13 March 2011 (EDT)
Huh; I could have sworn we had a standard written down somewhere for that. Anyway, I've added "Visitor information" to Wikitravel:Article templates/Sections#Understand. LtPowers 21:22, 13 March 2011 (EDT)
We do-- Where you can stick it indicates the Understand section.texugo 23:56, 13 March 2011 (EDT)

Shortcut links on edit pages

On WT-French version, when editing a page, I don't have the table listing all the template shortcuts (attractions, restaurants, hotels...) contrary to the English one. How can I set this up? Is it a mediawiki config?

Additionally, I'd like to have the "add listing" link next to each section as well. Any thought? Thanks! Joelf 15:55, 13 March 2011 (EDT)

To add editing tools is easy-- you can just change Mediawiki:Edittools.
Adding the listing editor function is more difficult. First you need to translation a number of tag files-- see the list at Wikitravel:Listings#Translations to make listing templates in Fr:. Make sure you edit the Fr: version, not the En: ones. Then you'll have to petition IB to turn the functionality on. texugo 20:37, 13 March 2011 (EDT)
Ok, Edittools works fine. I'll probably keep it simple stupid and not translate the tags since French accents are a pain and there are already many English tags in the French version. For the "add listing", I can survive without them for now. Thanks a lot texugo for your quick answer! Joelf 04:01, 14 March 2011 (EDT)

April Fool's day article 2011

After little more than two weeks it is April 1st again. Any suggestions for this year's joke article? How about Atlantis? Ypsilon 05:18, 16 March 2011 (EDT)

I'd love to do a pair of articles on Tlön and Uqbar, but unless other current users are familiar with the story to help on it, I could easily support Atlantis.texugo 06:32, 16 March 2011 (EDT)
I nominate Mesoamerican Barrier Reef -- felix 11:14, 20 March 2011 (EDT)

How about a region from Pokémon? (ie. Kanto) Or just the Pokémon World in general? –sumone10154 18:59, 22 March 2011 (EDT)

Just three comments and April fools day is after four days? I've read the short story by Borges a couple of years ago so I guess I could come up with something on that. Mesoamerican Barrier Reef... well, I don't really get it. The Pokemon idea seems ok too, if the article won't be filled with just tsunami, Fukushima [3] and earthquake jokes. Ypsilon 08:35, 28 March 2011 (EDT)

I think anything Japan-related would be disrespectful at this point. Besides, we have an article for the real Kanto region on which the Pokemon map is based. texugo 09:46, 28 March 2011 (EDT)
Sorry, I wasn't thinking about Japan when I nominated the Pokémon idea. I've never read the story about Tlön and Uqbar and I don't get the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef idea either so I'll just support Atlantis. –sumone10154 10:54, 28 March 2011 (EDT)
I was not actually serious about Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, it was just that texugo posted both the Mesoamerican and the April fools comments at around the same time and could not resist it. On a more serious note, if Mesoamerican Barrier Reef is not an April Fools joke then it should probably be deleted as an article as it does not seem to be good for anything much else. -- felix 13:32, 28 March 2011 (EDT)
  • Neverland may also be a good one. Whatever it is should be chosen soon. There are only a few days left to make it suitable. ChubbyWimbus 18:40, 28 March 2011 (EDT)
    • That's a good one; it has several well-defined locations and it's old enough that there may be public-domain media that can be used. LtPowers 11:15, 29 March 2011 (EDT)

So it's April Fool's day already and the article isn't created yet! I'm assuming the article will be Atlantis right? –sumone10154 12:17, 1 April 2011 (EDT)

Not too many comments in this section, seemingly. IMHO there's nothing wrong with Neverland, but Atlantis has got three supporters, in a few hours it's already April 2 here in Europe so I'll create Atlantis right now. Otherwise we must wait a whole year until the next April Fool's day :(. Ypsilon 14:36, 1 April 2011 (EDT)

Mesoamerican Barrier Reef

This article was vfd'd before (see the discussion on its talk page), but that was 4 years ago, and the article remains completely blank. It is a nebulous cross between a body of water and a cross-regional dive site region article, neither of which we really do, and contains no destinations because the few islands here belong in their respective country hierarchy. Can we revisit this? texugo 22:28, 19 March 2011 (EDT)

Universities and colleges

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)

"too promotional"?

So we've got one guy trying to change the lead on Chicago because he thought it sounded like it was written by a local tourism board. And we've got one guy trying to change Disney Cruise Line because it's "too promotional". "Sounds like a brochure". "Hyperbole". Neither one wants to take 'no' for an answer, and I'm getting a little tired of having to constant reverts on both articles. Am I nuts? Is there some universal truth I'm missing here, that a travel guide shouldn't try to promote its content? That a bit of excitement about one's destination should come through in the writing? Or do these articles really go too far? LtPowers 20:21, 14 April 2011 (EDT)

With respect to Disney Cruise Line, the text seems OK and if the anonymous user isn't willing to try to gain consensus for a change on the talk page then a revert is warranted. With respect to Chicago it would be good to get some of the major contributors to that article involved (as you've suggested on the talk page), although they seem to have temporarily gone missing. That article's lede isn't my favorite, but I'm not convinced that the anon's changes are much of an improvement. -- Ryan • (talk) • 22:36, 14 April 2011 (EDT)


While the anon on the Chicago article made some decent points, his/her mix of lies and jokes in his/her edits make it very difficult to accept any changes s/he makes (at least back when I was keeping up on it). That user appeared to be more willing to discuss things and I think I recall some decent suggestions/edits if they could just cut out the jokes and sarcasm.
The only thing that might sound promotional on the Disney article is "but Disney has placed their focus on quality over quantity. They've taken the design principles and customer service standards that make a Disney theme park such a memorable experience and adapted them to fit the cruising industry. I haven't looked at the Disney article." It feels a little promotional, since it states these things as though they are definite and universally known/accepted. It could be softened by saying that they've "attempted", "tried", "seem to have achieved..", some other wording that leaves the level of success of their efforts up to some debate by the traveler. The other parts of the user's deletions seem to be deleting adjectives and other descriptive words/phrases that keep the article lively. If the user refuses to discuss on the talk page, they could be temporarily banned or the page could be temporarily protected.
I think a good travel guide has to promote the destination, though. Even articles about places with a lot of drawbacks like Somalia should be written in a way that showcases all the great things that it has to offer. Otherwise, why bother having articles if there is nothing good worth saying? A general positivity about each destination is in line with both the tone and "be fair" policies. ChubbyWimbus 23:43, 14 April 2011 (EDT)
Can I say I don't really care for either version of the lead on the Chicago article? Both strike me as being too literary and difficult to understand. I like when Wikitravel articles are fun to read, but in both versions I make it as far as "hog butchering" and realize I have no idea what I've just been told. "Heart of comedy"? "Jazz found its swing"? The second and third paras are much easier to understand, right until I get to "pride of tired feet and eyes raised once more to the sky", which I'm still trying to decipher the meaning of. --BigPeteB 01:19, 15 April 2011 (EDT)


Adding a listing for churches/religious services/places of worship

I have recently added a listing for the church I attend into the Golden Horseshoe page because my church is a multi-site church and I thought that any visitors to this area might be looking for a church to attend. Also, I thought it might have been helpful to put individual listings on the page for each city where there is a site for the church so visitors could easily find it if they happen to be in that area. Unfortunately, all my additions and listings got summarily deleted and each individual page got reverted back to its state prior to my last edit by one of the administrators, stating that I was proselytizing. It was by no means my intentions to force people to come to my church or tell them that my church is right and everybody else is wrong. The pages affected were: Brampton, Burlington (Ontario), Halifax (Nova Scotia), Hamilton (Ontario), Kingston (Ontario), Kitchener, London (Ontario), Oakville (Ontario), Ottawa, Parry Sound, Toronto, and Waterloo (Ontario). Now, I would like to know, how can I (if I can) add a listing for a church/place of worship/religious service without appearing to be "proselytiz-y"? I noticed that there is still a listing for religious services under "Cope" for Windsor (Ontario). Can it stay or should it be deleted as well? If it can stay, can I use that as a template? Thanks for your help. ElectroSpace 01:59, 17 April 2011 (EDT)

As I was one of the two people who removed many of these listings, User talk:ElectroSpace#Meeting House Listings has some of the reasoning. Wikitravel isn't currently anti-religion, and as Wikitravel:Where you can stick it#C states, places of worship that aren't otherwise tourist destinations can be listed under the "Cope" section of an article, but I have concerns about listings for religious "services" being copied to more than a dozen articles. For example [4] says to "call ahead" and that "locations vary" - to me, listing a building with an address and regular services is something helpful for travelers, but listings for "services" that vary in schedule and location crosses a line and starts us down a slippery slope. If others disagree then these listings can be easily restored, but I think some discussion definitely needs to take place first. -- Ryan • (talk) • 02:40, 17 April 2011 (EDT)
ElectroSpace, consider what this site would look like if we listed every church in every city in the world. We can't, and in fact one of our explicit non-goals is to be a directory listing of all the [restaurants/hotels/churches] in a given location. Now, people who travel often do need to know where they can find an appropriate house of worship, but for reasons of pure practicality, we have to limit such listings to a reasonable number. We may not have hit that target everywhere, but that's our goal. LtPowers 15:26, 17 April 2011 (EDT)
My specific reasons for eliminating your listings were 1) multiple listings, 2) description of the beliefs of the church, i.e. claims about the "real Jesus", and 3) extraneous details like the name of the pastor and the mention of where else the church can be found. Beyond that, I have a general sense that most Christians on vacation forego religious services, and those that don't are dedicated enough not to be shopping for a new denomination to try out. I feel that your listing was trying to appeal to people to come try out your church, and I think that is something that is outside our scope at Wikitravel.
Incidentally, aside from User:Jonboy's question on the WYCSI talk page back in 2006 and User:Jpatokal's subsequent addition of it into the WYCSI list, I can't find any actual discussion of the appropriateness of listing non-tourist churches at all, and I think it is something that should be revisited, because this is something that is an inherently un-policeable slippery slope:
  • Unlike other types of listings, people general tend to stick to their own chosen denomination, so any listing we have basically serves only the fraction of the population that already belongs to that denomination. Wikitravel has no business trying to offer descriptions of beliefs or exhortations about how welcoming the service/congregation/pastor is, because people are unlikely to change to a new type of church anyway, and we are not in the business of encouraging them do so.
  • We can't possibly hope to cater to even a majority of faiths without allowing a virtual phone directory of possibilities. Even within Christianity there are so many denominations: Catholic, Orthodox, Southern Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal, Lutheran, Unitarian, Anglican, Adventist, Church of God in Christ, Church of Christ, Mormon, Jehovah's Witness, Presbyterian, many subdivisions within these, many other less populous denominations and so-called non-denominational churches, not to mention all the many denominations of Islam, Hindu, Buddhism, and other major world religions. While it hasn't become a problem in the vast majority of articles, if we allow non-tourist churches to be listed then we must, to be fair, allow all types of worship service to be added-- how can we prune a long list of churches without someone saying "Why did you cut my church? It's not fair."
  • There are quite often multiple churches for the same denomination within a city, even quite small ones. There is no way for Wikitravel to recommend one over another-- obviously the people who go to each church are partial to their church for whatever reasons, and there is no good way for us to choose which one(s) to list, nor to police edits and additions in this regard.
  • For those who speak English well enough to utilize our guides in the first place, it is easy enough in the English-speaking world to pick up a phone book and choose one from the giant list in the phone book. For those in a non-English speaking country, if their mastery of that language is good enough to appreciate a church service in that language, they are also good enough at it to use a phone book there.
  • This point is rather an aside, and it would be quite difficult to come up with statistics to show it, but my gut feeling is that the majority of travellers are prepared to forego religious services during their trip anyway.
With these reasons, I would propose that non-tourist churches be disallowed, period. The only exceptions I might consider allowing are churches in non-English-speaking countries that have services in English, since that is something that would be hard for a non-speaker of the local language to track down, and since it would be fairly obvious what should or shouldn't be included and the list would likely be always short and manageable. I'd like to hear more opinions on this, and probably the discussion should be moved elsewhere, though I'm not sure where offhand. texugo 02:15, 18 April 2011 (EDT)
You make some good points. It does seem like listing specific churches may be a bad slippery slope (though many of the same points apply to removing listings for embassies and consulates, and I lost that argument). Certainly an overview (in the Cope section) of the types of religious services available in a destination would be appropriate, but I wouldn't mind a prohibition on individual listings. LtPowers 09:12, 18 April 2011 (EDT)
Support. Churches, temples etc. that fit into "see" do of course have their place here, but this isn't the Yellow Pages. And who should then decide which places should be included and which not? It will mean trouble and a lot of angry people complaining about their place of worship being removed. Ypsilon 10:12, 18 April 2011 (EDT)
I'd be a bit uncomfortable with a blanket ban on listing churches in the "Cope" section since many people do attend a church while on vacation, and many that I know will attend a different denomination's services if their preferred denomination isn't represented. That said, I agree that very long lists are to be avoided, so would something similar to the rule on rental car companies work, ie if there are ten or more churches in a locality that they should not be individually listed? Similarly, I'd also suggest we avoid listings for "services" where the group in question doesn't have their own, single-purpose building to avoid a plethora of non-traditional listings that most travelers would not be looking for. -- Ryan • (talk) • 11:02, 18 April 2011 (EDT)
Ryan, in the US at least, even tiny towns of only 10000 people usually have ten or more churches. texugo 11:18, 18 April 2011 (EDT)
In my hometown of Pampa, Texas, for example, population of only between 15 and 16 thousand people, I stopped counting at 50 churches when I did a Google search. How can we ever fairly choose a helpful handful of those to recommend on our guide? texugo 11:27, 18 April 2011 (EDT)
I don't dispute that in most cases this policy would result in the article not listing individual churches, but for out-of-the-way places, some district articles, and smaller cities it would provide a way for places of worship to be included. Additionally, just as with car rental agencies I'd suggest that we wouldn't need to do any trimming until the list begins getting excessive, so if an article only has 5-10 out of several dozen places of worship listed there would be no need for any trimming to be done. -- Ryan • (talk) • 11:54, 18 April 2011 (EDT)
Ten seems like a lot, I'd be tempted to go with five as a limit if we don't exclude it entirely. LtPowers 20:06, 18 April 2011 (EDT)
And Ryan, how would you answer to my point that there can be absolutely no fair criteria for trimming once it does get more than whatever limit we set? I'm afraid we are setting a trap for ourselves later. What's wrong with leaving them a phone book to find their church out of Los Angeles' literally thousands of places of worship? Who's going to choose which of their 566 Baptist churches to recommend? And on what criteria? texugo 21:49, 18 April 2011 (EDT)
I'm not proposing that we trim - I'm proposing that if there are more than 5-10 listings we remove all individual listings for the article. That's what we currently do with car rental agency listings (see the final bullet point under Wikitravel:External links#What not to link to). -- Ryan • (talk) • 21:54, 18 April 2011 (EDT)
With car rental agencies, most places don't have many and customers generally don't have this kind of loyalty to one company over another. We decided to not list them if there are a lot there because it should be easy enough for travellers to find one, hence the "don't link to them in places where they are common" policy you linked to. With churches, they have a much higher degree of loyalty, and the vast majority of destinations have far, far more than 5 or 10, and hence already surpass the "easy to find" and "common" thresholds. Are you just suggesting it be first-come-first-served for people to highlight their preferred church until it reaches a magic number and then we blank it? I don't think that is a very fair or comprehensive approach.texugo 22:20, 18 April 2011 (EDT)
I think this may be an agree-to-disagree scenario, both with respect to church listings and why the rental car policy was put in place. My opinion remains that there isn't harm in allowing a handful of churches/synagogues/mosques to be listed in articles so long as the list doesn't grow too long, but it looks like I'm in the minority on this one. I do, however, think we should avoid religious "services" that aren't in a fixed location on a fixed schedule since that starts us down a slippery slope towards some potentially questionable areas. -- Ryan • (talk) • 11:05, 19 April 2011 (EDT)
We dont list supermarkets, we dont list dentists, we dont list places of worship. We list tourist attractions, places and services that are useful to the traveller in general. The usefulness of listing places of worship is limited to those travellers who subscribe to the particular religion, if that. If a place of worship is a tourist attraction then it gets listed as such, and many are among the architectural and artistic treasures of the world. Most are not. Most are as aesthetically inspiring as your average strip mall. I am very much against starting a bandwagon of religions touting on Wikitravel. That way lies disaster. If you think we have problems with car hire and apartment touting, we will look back on them with fondness as the good old days. A couple of religious fanatics starting a spam/flame war could trash the whole project. Next thing we have a fatwa, (and beware the Pastafarians http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_Spaghetti_Monster). Religious neutrality is the only way to avoid this problem. This means no listings, all listings or only listings that are totally non-contoversial. That would mean listings that are completely acceptable to persons of all religious convictions. Listings on Wikitravel are traditionally limited to a maximum of 9 per destination. In other words, as soon as anyone protests a place of worship or deletes its listing, or adds a 10th listing, it is gone forever. Extrapolating from historical precedent in religious agreement so far, this level of agreement between religions will never happen. Far easier to go with no listings at all. If people feel strongly that they or co-religionists need to know where their places of worship can be found, a travel topic could be the way to go. That way only people who have some interest in that particular religion are exposed to the list of addresses. There could be topics on pilgrimages, that would fit in with Itineraries, and could even be moderately interesting. There are some classic pilgrimages.• • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 02:35, 21 April 2011 (EDT)
I don't disagree with your point of view on listing places of worship, but I have indeed seen listings for supermarkets, such as in district articles within cities, and such listings can be very useful for travelers. I believe I've seen listings for dental clinics under "Cope," too, and consider such listings very useful, if they're limited to clinics that take people 24 hours or/and in emergencies, for example, or in places where there is only one or a few dental clinics in the area. Ikan Kekek 03:04, 21 April 2011 (EDT)
OK you got me there. "Never mind what I say, listen to what I mean". Clearly I didn't do my homework on this one. Anyway, I think the supermarkets and dental clinics can be, as you suggest, useful to the average traveller, they were just the first examples that came into my mind of things we dont really want exhaustive lists of for every destination, and they are less likely to cause trouble too, or at least the dentists are not likely to start touting on Wikitravel. Not so sure about supermarket chains though... • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 05:00, 21 April 2011 (EDT)
I think we should be flexible enough to take some things on a case by case basis. I actually have seen a few instances of touting by dentists, but I don't think that's a good reason to forbid listing dental clinics in any situation, and I just specified a couple of reasonable exceptions to such a blanket ban. Similarly, while we definitely don't want lists of supermarkets hundreds of items long, a few mentions of good ones in particular neighborhoods can be useful in certain cases. So, to brainstorm, I think the way this relates to listing religious institutions is that famous ones, visited by a really large number of tourists or/and pilgrims, should be listed. And sometimes, the interest is not mainly architectural but cultural. For example, the Abyssinian Baptist Church is a venerable Harlem institution, in terms of history, advocacy for civil rights and the rights of the community, and Gospel services. It amply meets any test for inclusion in the Harlem and Upper Manhattan guide, though its architectural interest is moderate at most. Ikan Kekek 10:17, 21 April 2011 (EDT)
Touting by dentists comes as a bit of a surprise to me, I suppose it is because in my part of the world the medical council frowns on that sort of thing. No matter, In a large enough universe many weird things will happen. The Abyssinian baptist church you refer to surely qualifies to be listed under "See", for the reasons you give. I am not against anything thet is a bona fide place or object of interest for travellers, or is of general utility to a significant proportion of travellers, but keeping religion out of destination articles is a general principle I think we should stick with as it is not so much a slippery slope as a bottomless precipice. • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 03:27, 22 April 2011 (EDT)
We are essentially in agreement. If anything, my emphasis is slightly different, in that I'm arguing more for retaining a reasonable level of flexibility, while you're rightly pointing to the "bottomless precipice" that could suck us up. So where I come down is that a great deal of caution is needed, but that we still need to look at entries on places of worship on a case-to-case basis and resist the desire to promulgate a rule that's too rigid, but at the same time, any guideline on such listings should state that they need to be justified by cultural interest to travelers or/and historically well-established interest to pilgrims, or in cases where English-language services are unusual in a given non-English-speaking locality. Does that sound reasonable to you? Ikan Kekek 14:42, 22 April 2011 (EDT)
This is Wikitravel, no rules are totally rigid. You just have to adequately justify breaking with consensus. I have no problem with listings that are of cultural interest, and pilgrimage sites would normally fall ito that category (but have no problem with them anyway, some travelling is required to make it a pilgrimage). Places where English language services are offered in non-English-speaking locality are arguable, but lets expand locality to region. • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 08:45, 26 April 2011 (EDT)
Region or city is where I would come down. Ikan Kekek 15:51, 26 April 2011 (EDT)

(Coming in late, and sorry not to respond to all topics touched on above.) Travelers do often need info on availability of religious services, but listing all churches, synagogues, mosques, and what have you would just bog down our site. My experience is that travelers have one of three questions on this topic:

  1. Where is the closest X of my denomination?
  2. Where is the most famous X of my denomination?
  3. Where the heck can I find anyone to worship with from my denomination?

The first, I think, we should define as out-of-scope—much as we do with barbershops, for instance—simply because we cannot reasonably do so without overwhelming our other content. The second and third questions, however, are within our capabilities. The one example that comes immediately to mind is Chicago#Religious services. That section succinctly takes care of the two travel needs that I think we can reasonably cover, and cover reasonably succinctly! This type of section would by no means be desirable for every article, but it fit well in that huge city guide. --Peter Talk 19:53, 2 June 2011 (EDT)

I ran into this. Any comments? Ypsilon 02:26, 3 June 2011 (EDT)
Considering the size of the place that's not bad: something for everyone, yet short and succinct with just the key info. The only thing missing might be a contact no. The only quirk is the title "Cope", which is bizarre; even "Refresh" might be better! A priority here, of course, should be English language services in non-English speaking countries; there won't be many, but they're an oasis for English-speaking holidaymakers. This article shows that a sensible balance can be struck for larger articles. In smaller articles if the one or two churches are a point of interest mentioned elsewhere, we could just add times of services and contact no, rather than repeat info in a separate paragraph. --SaxonWarrior 07:47, 23 June 2011 (EDT)

OtBP

Are we going to have an April OtBP? It's 4 days late and no one has commented for a long time... ChubbyWimbus 01:36, 19 April 2011 (EDT)

The only ones that appear ready are Oxford, Wakkanai, and Jeju. If we do Oxford, that's two U.S. destinations in a row. Wakkanai is in Japan, which really doesn't need tourists right now. Jeju would probably be our best bet. LtPowers 09:44, 20 April 2011 (EDT)
Actually, it would've been three in a row, but no worries. I got Jeju up now. We don't seem to have (m)any users working to get articles up to guide status for featuring like we used to... ChubbyWimbus 00:25, 21 April 2011 (EDT)

Patrolling

I see good patrolling from various contributors, but lots of edits get through without being patrolled. For some parts of 2010, I made sure that everything was patrolled, but stopped as the work load was too much. As I see it, we really need to do something to prevent our content from degenerating. If we were seven people who would take the responsibility to take one week day each, we could make sure that everything was patrolled. I am happy to do one day a week, so now we only need six more, --ClausHansen 21:28, 24 April 2011 (EDT)

It is a vital task at Wikitravel and one which can be a bit soul-destroying if it is not shared. Claus is one contributor who has done sterling work on this front for a long time. I hope to be able to help again and put myself forward as one of the seven.--Burmesedays 22:47, 24 April 2011 (EDT)


@Claus/Burmesedays: Great to see both ofyou back at WT, work overload was pretty bad here in the last months. I will be very busy during for the next months to finish a project by July. Therefore i can only offer irregular patrolling like in the past. I focus now mostly to maintain my favourite articles and the DoTM/OtbP as they are in desperate need of articles. I think its a good idea and we should start a table at the project Home to encourage other admins/users to join you. Best regards, jan 14:02, 25 April 2011 (EDT)
If the daily patroller thing works then I'm very supportive, but I'm a bit hesitant to sign up for something that sounds disturbingly like a job - Wikitravel is a great escape for me, and I try to patrol as time allots, but I'm hesitant to sign up for a task that turns an escape into a chore... are there perhaps any other thoughts about how we could encourage more people to patrol without assigning shifts? Would a statistics page that captured "top patrollers", some sort of barnstar (10,000 pages patrolled, etc) or something similar do anything to encourage more people to join in? Statistics would be fairly easy to generate from Special:Logs. Just a thought, and many thanks to those who have been patrolling in obscurity. -- Ryan • (talk) • 23:08, 25 April 2011 (EDT)
Statistics could be a good idea, see one [5] that I made for 2010Q1, --ClausHansen 03:55, 26 April 2011 (EDT)
I am with Ryan on this, I sometimes spend a lot of time patrolling but I would be loath to make a commitment to do it to a quota or roster based system lest I lapsed and did not fulfill the undertaking. I don't know about others but my own style and approach toward patrolling varies considerably from day to day and even during an editing or patrolling session. Sometimes I just look over the recent edit and either mark as patrolled and move on or make any basic corrective adjustments that may appear to be required. Other times I may dwell on the wider scope of the section or the entire article and do a wider review of other recent edits or sweep through the section or entire article copy-editing or reviewing listings or article page formatting. That is often a potentially very time consuming task and would result in quite spotty performance in terms of a daily clearance volume. I assume others are the same and have a mixed style and approach toward this task. To regiment it into a volume driven or performance oriented task may not be that good a thing to do. If patrollers felt they had a quota to fulfill it may rob the articles of other essential input incidental to the patrolling. The other problem is that I am sure that many of us have specific areas of knowledge and some specific articles that we take greater individual interest in. I normally pay attention to these first and then do a general look around if I still have time. Some articles I do not feel comfortable with if I do not have sufficient knowledge of the location so I can only reasonably deal with policy or formatting issues unless it is just a simple correction of some obvious and outstanding editing absurdity. I worry that a volume based approach may rob the activity of the required focus, prior edit investigations and User activity enquiries that are often required to work out what is going on in some articles. Then again of course setting up such a system does not mean we all have to follow it. Maybe it will suit some better than others. Certainly there is quite a volume of stuff that simply gets missed. --- felix 07:08, 26 April 2011 (EDT)
I agree with Felix's points. For the record, my life is way too complicated and busy for me to make any kind of commitment. This is volunteer work, whereas there are other things in my life that simply must be done. So there could be weeks when I don't log on even once. But I salute anyone who may be able and willing to make specific commitments. Ikan Kekek 17:34, 26 April 2011 (EDT)
As an aside, the number of un-patrolled edits [6] is very, very low at the moment. A hearty well done to all who have worked so hard on this.--Burmesedays 10:06, 10 June 2011 (EDT)
On another aside note, this [7] (i.e., choosing the day limit as "30", as opposed to "7", which seems to be default) will provide a larger number of unpatrolled edits. – Vidimian 12:23, 10 June 2011 (EDT)
Indeed, but the number is still very low.--Burmesedays 22:24, 10 June 2011 (EDT)
Sure, no disagreement on that. :-) – Vidimian 07:10, 11 June 2011 (EDT)

Watch and unwatch pages

Is there any way we can toggle the tab between "watch" and "unwatch" to show clearly whether or not a page is on our watchlist? And does the action really need a confirmation? It would speed things up if it didn't. --SaxonWarrior 16:01, 6 May 2011 (EDT)

Technical changes such as that would require intervention from the corporate overlords, who tend to not be very responsive. In this particular case Wikitravel's caching architecture would make implementing the more standard Mediawiki behavior problematic since the tabs are initialized by Javascript in order to lessen server load. -- Ryan • (talk) • 16:13, 6 May 2011 (EDT)
Hmm, shame. Also when you "ok" watching a page it says "If you want to remove the page from your watchlist later, click "Unwatch" in the sidebar." But there is no unwatch tab anywhere let alone in the sidebar... Slightly confusing. --SaxonWarrior 16:41, 7 May 2011 (EDT)
That, at least, we should be able to change, if we can find the right page in the MediaWiki: namespace. LtPowers 21:44, 7 May 2011 (EDT)
Sounds a bit technical but.... cool! --SaxonWarrior 06:30, 8 May 2011 (EDT)

Atlanta Regions - request for feedback

User:BigPeteB has proposed some changes to the regional structure for Atlanta at Talk:Metro Atlanta that would benefit from additional comment from those who either know the area or have some time to examine his proposal. -- Ryan • (talk) • 13:51, 8 May 2011 (EDT)


Counter

Does anyone know of a template where at the article anyone can see how many people have viewed that article??? I remember seeing it somewhere but I cant find the template, this helps out I think as I see more people visiting the page, that more work needs to be done :) —The preceding comment was added by Ralphzztop (talkcontribs)

I'm not aware of any way to obtain pageview statistics. LtPowers 22:14, 8 May 2011 (EDT)
Ok maybe someone here might know or we can make a template for that, ive seen it though before I swear, I think it would be a intresting thing to see how many people see the articles we all work so hard on :)
If such a template either exists or can be created, I would agree that this would be good information to have. --Burmesedays 22:38, 8 May 2011 (EDT)
The {{NUMBEROFVIEWS}} magic word will provide this information, but on wikis that use caching (such as Wikitravel) the data is meaningless since statistics aren't generated for pages served from cache. Additionally, on the version of Mediawiki currently in use (Special:Version) this function seems to not yet have been implemented. -- Ryan • (talk) • 23:36, 8 May 2011 (EDT)
Ralphzztop (talk) you might be thinking of something you have seen on Wikipedia. per http://stats.grok.se/en/latest/insertnameofarticle or by licking on the page link described as Page view statistics in the list of External tools appearing at the top of an article History page.
* External tools: Revision history statistics · Contributors · Revision history search · Number of watchers · Page view statistics
I note at the bottom of the stats display "This is very much a beta service and may disappear or change at any time." -- felix 12:52, 9 May 2011 (EDT)

Volunteer travel — is it an activity or is it a tours/travel agency listing

Recently while reviewing edits to Nepal and New Zealand I have paused to consider the listing of volunteering activities which appear to be travel service promotions with a feel good skin. Some of these listings are looking a bit borderline in terms of our activity listing policies in regard to listing by tour guides and travel agencies. Frankly in my opinion much of the international volunteering tourism activity is just feel good commercial travel and tour business activity marketed using emotionally driven messages and packaging. Certainly some of the volunteering activities are entirely legitimate, however a few of them seem to be using volunteering as a means to market and promote tours and maybe they should not be listing here on WT when other quite legitimate tour, tour guide and travel agency enterprises are not permitted to do so.

International Student Volunteers Inc http://www.isvonline.com/: "ISV allows you to combine meaningful volunteer projects with action-packed adventure travel into the ultimate life-changing experience. Impact your World by contributing to the 250,000+ volunteer hours provided each year by thousands of ISV participants to hundreds of projects around the world that focus on conservation and community development." International Student Volunteers Inc, is the highest rated Volunteer & Adventure Travel Program in the world and has been selected as one of the Top 10 Volunteer Programs by the U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy. International Student Volunteers Inc, (ISV) has 12 offices around the world with international headquarters in the USA. For the past 28 years ISV has conducted international travel programs for tens of thousands of students on six continents.

Volunteers Nepal http://www.volunteersnepal.com/: "The Chhahari Group Nepal (CGN) is a non-profitable and non-government organization based in Nepal and conducting volunteering and internship opportunities in south Asia on nominal and affordable cost. Our aim is to encourage the international students to visit cultural heritage of Nepal and gain the life time experience on affordable cost". See http://www.volunteersnepal.com/program_fees.php for a cost breakdown.
Their website describes:

  • Homestay Tours; Sirubari Village, Bandipur Village, Balthali Village, Chepang Village, Briddim Village, Kopan Village, Godavari Village
  • Travel Services; Sightseeing Tours, Adventure Trekking, Jungle Safari, White Water Rafting, Mountain Flight, Hotel Reservation, Tibet Tours, Bhutan Tours.

This edit to the Nepal article and several following brought my attention to Volunteers Nepal.

Global Volunteer Network's YOUNG AT HEART TOUR (50+) This tour has been designed for mature volunteers who are young at heart and ready for their next adventure! Starting May 9 2011 described at http://www.globalvolunteernetwork.org/young-at-heart-tour/ looks to me to be in conflict with tour listing. Sure they seem to be doing something worthwhile whilst travelling but it is still tourism and it is a group of people on a tour. It appears to have an "application fee" of US$350 + a "Program Fee" of US$1247 10 days. I understanding from reading their promotional material that US$200 of this goes toward a 'project'.

I am curious what other editors think about this. -- felix 09:13, 9 May 2011 (EDT)

I'd be in favor of a policy that stated that the Volunteer article was the only appropriate place for listing individual volunteer organizations, and that country/region/city articles should then link to that article (ex. [[Volunteer#Nepa]]) for locations where volunteering is a common activity. I agree strongly that many of these "volunteer" listings have become questionable over time, and I've seen a number of cases where an organization plastered numerous links across many articles in a way that seemed very spammy. -- Ryan • (talk) • 14:23, 10 May 2011 (EDT)
Agreed. Also, the volunteer article should be edited to point out how to detect the scams. Pashley 03:05, 10 June 2011 (EDT)

Region and town templates

I appreciate that we don't necessarily want infobox overload, but IMHO if well done they improve the professional appearance of articles and enable key facts to be displayed neatly and clearly instead of padding out the text. In particular, could we consider infoboxes for:

I may be able to create the infoboxes based on the de.wikitravel ones. --SaxonWarrior 02:16, 10 May 2011 (EDT)

The trouble with infoboxes (or quickbars, as we call them here, since "infoboxes" are something else) is that they encourage the inclusion of non-travel-relevant information. Even our country quickbars are bloated with basically decorative information. They also don't lend themselves well to nuance, which can be much more usefully described in prose. LtPowers 08:57, 10 May 2011 (EDT)

I get that. So let's restrict the information displayed. For example, the Lower Saxony state article on de.wikitravel (de:Niedersachsen) only has the following info:

  • Photo (which occupies the normal place of an image in the header)
  • Location map - showing where the state is in the country
  • The state flag
  • Capital city
  • Status i.e. "federal state within the Federal Republic of Germany"
  • Area
  • Population

This is less than we have at country level, which also includes: language, currency, calling code, internet and time zone, none of which are needed (unless it's a large country where time zones vary). --SaxonWarrior 13:38, 10 May 2011 (EDT)

I would be in support of adding something that more clearly identifies top-level regions such as states, but ideally it would be something less intrusive than the quickbars used for country articles. I don't think that flag is particularly necessary, but a location map, capital, and perhaps a quicklink to the "Cities" section would be helpful. -- Ryan • (talk) • 13:57, 10 May 2011 (EDT)
I will work up a template for consideration if that's acceptable. BTW do we use sandboxes here? --SaxonWarrior 09:31, 12 May 2011 (EDT)
Under the auspices of the Region maps expedition, I have started an awful lot of region articles, and it had crossed my mind before that a tailored quickbar would be helpful. I look forward to seeing what you come up with. And yes on sandboxes - see: http://wikitravel.org/en/Graffiti_wall --Burmesedays 11:00, 16 May 2011 (EDT)
For regions: we don't need a bespoke infobox because we can just use the Template:Quickbar for countries and leave out any irrelevant parameters - see Lower Saxony for an example.
For cities and towns: as a trial I have created Template:QuickbarPlace - see it in use at Cologne. I don't particularly like the location map (too large, no detail and yuk colour) - see the template example - but that is a function of other templates, not this one. I'd also like to make the data column wider at the expense of the parameter column, but don't know how. I think most of the info is about right. If you want to visit a city or town it's a good idea to have a feel for its size, location, visit the official and tourist office websites and, while you're there, have a streetmap, know what numbers to ring in an emergency, etc, and how people could phone or write (hence dial code and post code). --SaxonWarrior 04:55, 19 May 2011 (EDT)
I'm pretty sure that infoboxes for city articles are something that was decided against and eliminated long ago. I would ask you not to include it anymore articles for now. I have a feeling most of the community is going to come down against this one, starting with me. texugo 11:06, 19 May 2011 (EDT)
I would agree with Texugo that the usefulness of an infobox for a city seems limited. For the region, I think the map is useful, but the flag seems unnecessary to me, and overall I'd like to see the box be a bit smaller so that it's not taking up so much space. As noted above, I think location map, a quicklink to the "Cities" section, and capital would probably be sufficient. -- Ryan • (talk) • 11:13, 19 May 2011 (EDT)
Truth be told, many people have found the quickbars unnecessary (or at least cluttered) even for countries. LtPowers 17:24, 19 May 2011 (EDT)

I think Template:QuickbarPlace looks great at Cologne and am wondering why folks think this is an undesirable move? A quick, organised reference for stats seems to me a lot less cumbersome than writing the same in long sentences. --Burmesedays 22:28, 19 May 2011 (EDT)

My disagreement boils down to two issues: I don't think the information presented in the quickbox for cities is particularly important for travel, and I like the idea that quickboxes are used relatively sparingly to provide a UI clue that an article is special - for example, current quickboxes provide a fast visual clue that you're viewing a country article. Regarding the first point, it's debatable how valuable the country-level quickbar info is, but I think it would be tough to make an argument that it isn't more important to know the government type, calling code, capital and currency of a country than it is to know the height above sea level of a city. I can possibly see some value if we used this box for top-level regions and huge cities as a way to quickly guide readers to the sub-region and district sections of the article via shortcut links, but I don't think it works well as part of the standard template for every city article on the site. -- Ryan • (talk) • 22:43, 19 May 2011 (EDT)
Yeah, I'd say that it basically comes down to this:
  • Population, if relevant, can be easily mentioned in the lead in prose in an approximate way (as is already in Cologne in addition to the infobox). There is no need to have exact census figures.
  • Area is largely irrelevant because it's quite relative to how the given country divides up their space, and also it's ultimate meaning is dependent on population density as well. Seeing the area of a city doesn't help me get an idea of what to expect, and we usually deem it extraneous encyclopedic information, even when it gets added in prose form.
  • Height above sea level is irrelevant to the traveller except in cases of a certain few cities with exceptionally high elevation, where it can be mentioned in prose.
  • Local dialing codes are already included any place that we list phone numbers, and lists of dialing codes for any large city or metropolis are likely to be very long. Ultimately they are useless unless you already have a full phone number to dial, in which case you already have the exchange number as well.
  • Time zone is info that belongs to only the country or region article because it will be the same for the surrounding region or country, hence we don't need to list it in every city.
  • Official website already has its place in the opening line of the article, just after the first mention of the city name.
It really doesn't leave much use for an infobox at all. texugo 23:00, 19 May 2011 (EDT)
Hmmm. An assumption there that our region articles are of any practical use. They are of course mostly empty and remain the single most unloved things at Wikitravel. The massive efforts made on a couple of specific regions have not had the desired effect of encouraging a wider effort. A region quickbar template would at least encourage some information appearing in those all those empty articles.
There is lots of information that we include in City articles (even in Stars) that in theory would be more appropriate in a Region or Country article - climate comes to mind immediately. The fact remains that the theory is largely ignored as nobody (with very few exceptions) does any work on region articles.
As an aside, I believe altitude is of interest to every intelligent traveler. For example, go anywhere in the tropics and see the effect of moving from sea level to even 500 metres - a very minor elevation change which will significantly effect temperature and humidity levels. --Burmesedays 01:18, 20 May 2011 (EDT)
Seeing the altitude alone doesn't help you predict anything, though. A wide variety of other factors influence climate as well. That's why we have the climate template. texugo 01:48, 20 May 2011 (EDT)
As a newcomer to Wikitravel, I think a smart city infobox give an article a professional and attractive appearance that encourages the reader to read on. With the right information it can also provide a useful rapid orientation.
I have taken the format straight from German Wikitravel, where, clearly they are very happy with it. However I think it needs improving in 2 ways: first, it should be reduced to the same size as the country infoboxes. Second, the maps (not a function of this template) need improving e.g. with a small country map as an inset and a region or state as the main map. I'd go for a less "in your face" colour too. Wikipedia has some good examples. I don't like the current map and would leave it out - see Bispingen
As for the info provided - that's a separate debate. I'd keep it relatively short: key facts only.
Finally, a newcomer comment: if we're too prescriptive about things that are relatively subjective (and this is one) we will put people off helping to improve and maintain Wikitravel. That would be a shame.
I propose we allow the infobox to be kept, but focus on improving it. --SaxonWarrior 02:33, 20 May 2011 (EDT)
For what it's worth, as a collector of atlases when I was a kid and beyond, I like facts and figures about places. I'm not the only one, and those who aren't interested can easily skip over the info boxes. Clearly, I vote "Yes" on them, at least in principle. Ikan Kekek 02:43, 20 May 2011 (EDT)
PS I've reduced box width to 250px and font size to 85%. This matched the country infobox and looks better - see Bispingen - but note that if the map is included it widens the box to 300px for some reason. For now I'd leave the map out until we sort it. --SaxonWarrior 07:03, 20 May 2011 (EDT)
Box content is not a separate issue-- if there are only one or two things it's going to contain, then there is no need for a box to be crowding up the lead of every article in the first place. I like facts and figures too, but they belong in an encyclopedia, not here. Please remember that if we allow this template, then it's probably going to have to go into every city article. (The linked discussions below make some good points about the immense amount of work this would imply, with our tens of thousands of city articles.) And do we really need an infobox listing every zip code and dialing exchange in New York City?? (I have already demonstrated the uselessness of having dialing codes in the box anywhere, and we've already deemed zip codes to be so irrelevant that we don't even allow them in listings.)
This is not the first time this idea has come up-- see Template talk:Quickbar#Quickbar for cities, and while I didn't participate in the discussion then, I will add my voice to those that shot it down the first time. A number of people already want to chop down the country quickbox and or move it, or just eliminate it entirely and I count myself among those too. Quickbars squash the lead and give prime real estate to information that is basically a list of irrelevant curiosities.texugo 07:37, 20 May 2011 (EDT)
I take your points, Texugo. Your arguments are very convincing, in my opinion. I think I'd still argue somewhat to keep infoboxes at the nation-state level, but your point that if we allow them for some cities, they would be expected to be put in all of them tends to win me over in regard to cities, unless some other logical rationale for where the templates should and should not be included that makes some kind of logical distinction between cities can be advanced. Ikan Kekek 08:14, 20 May 2011 (EDT)
I don't find Texugo's arguments convincing at all. 1. No one's proposing an infobox with only "one or two things". 2. The lede has to be punchy and attractive, box or no box, so it'll be crowded with something either way. 3. No one's proposing adding a box to every article. 4. There's no immense amount of work - articles can be improved over time. That's the point of a wiki. I'd just like to use them for our region. 5. Re New York City: we can pick and choose what the box displays for any given city or omit the box entirely. 6. Surely you're not suggesting we can only discuss an idea once? 7. Clearly there are some for and some agin, and probably some in between. 8. No one's suggesting the box should contain irrelevant curiosities. I believe some articles look far more professional and attractive with a decent infobox, good photo and some crunchy facts alongside a short lede. Far more likely to attract travellers - which is surely the aim. --SaxonWarrior 13:39, 20 May 2011 (EDT)

I think it would be great to have quickbars for all region articles. As I see it, it would be helpful to readers to have an overview map showing where the region is located, and also giving a quick way to direct to subregions and cities in the region. In relation to cities, I am not convinced that it would be good to have it for every city, but for huge cities, I think it would be helpful to have such quickbars including an overview map of the location and quick links to city districts. I am not convinced by the arguments about information not being of interest to travelers, we should of course restrict the information to travel related facts, but I do not see why information about flag, height, area, population etc should not be relevant, it is certainly something I would be interest in for any region or city I visit. Besides, quickbars will make our articles look more uniform and professional, --ClausHansen 17:51, 20 May 2011 (EDT)

It sounds like there may not be consensus to include quickboxes for all city articles, but that there might be hesitant support for high-level region articles (there is some strong disagreement, but several people have expressed support as well). Would it make sense to try this out by (for now) removing the boxes from city articles but adding them to the articles for German states? That would allow people to tweak the implementation, discuss something concrete, and hopefully move this discussion towards some sort of resolution. I think Saxon's point that "if we're too prescriptive about things that are relatively subjective (and this is one) we will put people off helping to improve and maintain Wikitravel" is a valid one, and sometimes there is too much resistance to change - that can be a good thing when it comes to keeping things consistent, but it also hinders progress and innovation, which is a danger for a site that relies on having a vibrant community. -- Ryan • (talk) • 19:02, 20 May 2011 (EDT)
That sounds like a very sensible suggestion to me Ryan. --Burmesedays 22:16, 20 May 2011 (EDT)
That sounds really helpful. I also notice that Michelin guides have a different set of key facts in their "infoboxes" - which I guess is based on customer research. I'd like to trial that and see how it's received against a) no infobox and b) a cut-down version of what we have here. Could I therefore also propose as a trial that we be allowed to experiment with different city boxes for just a very limited area e.g. Lower Saxony. I can get some folks working on this, so we can have fresh minds and I may be able to do a "customer survey". We can then decide downstream which way to go. I think Wikitravel is a brilliant concept and was intending to have my team get this area at "guide" standard by Christmas anyway and this could just be part of that work. --SaxonWarrior 22:49, 20 May 2011 (EDT)
Not saying that I will ultimately support its use, but I can agree to let you demo test a quickbar only on the 16 German state articles. A city quickbar is still totally and completely out of the question because, again-- yes, essentially you are proposing something that would have to go in every city article because, for the sake of consistency across the site, and for the sake of patrollability we need clear criteria. Even if we decide to allow a quickbar for only top-level regions/states, that is still going to mean many hundreds of quickbars that need to be created, which is indeed an "immense amount of work". Let me just go ahead and respond to your points above:
1. No one's proposing an infobox with only "one or two things".
No one has demonstrated the usefulness of more than one or two of the items either.
2. The lede has to be punchy and attractive, box or no box, so it'll be crowded with something either way.
I'm talking about squeezing the physical format of the text into a little column between the TOC and the infobox, which is one of the reasons some don't like the country quickbars we already have and have expressed interest in moving them down to the Understand section.
3. No one's proposing adding a box to every article.
That is exactly what you are proposing, by default. Unless you have some spiffy criteria for allowing contributors and patrollers to know when and when not to include them, then it's a free-for-all on several hundreds of top-level region article, or worse, tens of thousands of city article pages. Again, an enormous amount of work to bring the site back close to being consistent again. It's even worse than a site-wide article template change, because each quickbar would require some research to fill it out properly.
4. There's no immense amount of work - articles can be improved over time. That's the point of a wiki. I'd just like to use them for our region.
Yeah, see above.
5. Re New York City: we can pick and choose what the box displays for any given city or omit the box entirely.
No, no and no. That would open up a huge can of squabbles over what to display or not display here or there. Consistency benefits readers, contributors, and patrollers alike, and we've always strived for consistency across our articles. I don't expect us to stop now. Plus, you are never going to convince me of the utility of using prime real estate at the top of the page to tell me what area code is already included on every phone number on the page, no matter what the size of the city. Those codes by themselves are meaningless.
6. Surely you're not suggesting we can only discuss an idea once?
Of course not. But I do want to point out that the opinions expressed about the first attempt are equally valid now and must be addressed if we are to move forward.
7. Clearly there are some for and some agin, and probably some in between.
As Ryan said above, there is some tentative support, mostly from relatively new users, to try it out on top-level regions. And sure, some think the box looks nifty, but I'm not sure everyone has fully realized the implications here. This would be a massive site-wide transition that will take months. If people support the idea and talk about it in realistic terms, demonstrating its value to be worth months of quickbox research/insertion work, I will be much more willing to listen than if it's just "facts are neat-o, let's put 'em in".
8. No one's suggesting the box should contain irrelevant curiosities.
We appear to disagree on the relevancy of the items you have included. I have already stated why I think most of them are irrelevant and still wonder why you think it's useful to include dialing codes when they are already included in all listings, duplicate emergency numbers that are the same for every city in the country, duplicate the same time zone info for every city in the country, duplicate the website link when it's already at the top of the page, etc. As a sidenote, Wikitravel has a strong bias against duplicating identical info in every article.
So yeah, go ahead and create a test for German states. Just don't expect this to be an easy fight to get the go-ahead for rampant quickbar proliferation. We need to demonstrate the real usefulness and desirability of it because it's a lot bigger policy change than you think it is.texugo 02:35, 21 May 2011 (EDT)


I am also sceptical about their usefulness below country articles. I wonder if the real problem is just that people are not looking at regional articles with content/maps. Looking at Chugoku, for example, I think the map is enough as is to showcase the region without an info box. Other information can easily be put in the text. Of course, I will wait to see how these German articles look and what content is placed there. ChubbyWimbus 03:27, 21 May 2011 (EDT)
I am not sure that the tentative support is from such relatively new or inexperienced users as stated. I have made about 20,000 edits here and I suspect that Claus would have a similar number to his name.
I look forward to seeing how the German top level region articles look with this template.
A key benefit here could be having region articles that actually contain some helpful content.--Burmesedays 05:05, 21 May 2011 (EDT)
I was referring to the other two users.texugo 06:24, 21 May 2011 (EDT)
@Texugo. I have no desire for a fight; I only wish to develop the outstanding potential of Wikitravel for the benefit of others. I'd also like to understand better how changes are achieved here. Is there a consensus approach or a panel that approves changes? If so, what's the process? And does anyone check what customers want to see? Also does every article have to look the same? It seems a pity if the format is universal and fixed for ever with no room for variety or creativity? I apologise for my inexperience on Wikitravel, but would appreciate constructive help and support. It will avoid nugatory work by me and others here. --SaxonWarrior 15:05, 21 May 2011 (EDT)
Wikitravel:Consensus is the guiding principle for decision making. Achieving consensus can sometimes take a while, but in this case there seems to be some agreement that adding quickbars for the German states is a good starting point for further discussion so I think you would be fine to move ahead with that, and it should give everyone involved the ability to come to some sort of agreement using a concrete implementation for discussion purposes. I think one of the fears many people here have (myself included) is that it is a significant amount of work to agree to standards and guidelines on a wiki, so anything that introduces major changes (in this case a modification to high level regions) tends to require a lot of time and discussion to find a mutually-acceptable solution. In the end, however, things usually work out for the best :) -- Ryan • (talk) • 15:38, 21 May 2011 (EDT)
Thanks Ryan, I can understand the nervousness, especially when time and effort has been spent getting it to where it is today. --SaxonWarrior 16:05, 21 May 2011 (EDT)

I think adding a quick bar would be useful for regions and cities, as they would provide necessary information that is hard to write about in the Understand section. To get a scope of what a city/region is like, it is useful to know its amount of inhabitants and its sq. km., but writing this out in prose is kind of dull. Also, quick bars could make the site look more professional, just like Wikipedia features quick bars on most of its places.

The only thing I'm not sure about is regions that do not have official borders, such as Northern Germany. Adding a quick bar for those regions does not make sense as there are no criteria for what "Northern Germany" actually consists of. --globe-trotter 14:17, 1 June 2011 (EDT)

I would love to never do this... This should be no surprise given my diatribes here, where I (and others) have listed complaints against this dreaded template in great detail (so I won't repeat them all here). I would prefer to eliminate them from countries instead, as it takes up too much space, duplicates work that should be done in the subsections of the article, adds all sorts of unwarranted emphasis to trivial pieces of information, and generally look like an awkward Wikipedia import that do not further our aims. Just my opinion of course, although I was sort of under the impression that we were moving at least in the direction of getting rid of them altogether prior to this discussion. --Peter Talk 19:59, 2 June 2011 (EDT)
I think there is a distinct split in opinion here, even amongst some seasoned WT veterans. I would be very surprised if we ever reach concensus for a change - some folks clearly like the idea of a neat, tabulated solution for stats, and others like a prose-driven approach.--Burmesedays 22:48, 2 June 2011 (EDT)

Puerto Escondido

Puerto Escondido—Proposed vote on listing rental property bookers
Hi all, could some experienced editors please have a look over the outline of edit/listing content for several listings in the Puerto Escondido article and either give an opinion or a vote on the appropriateness of these listings. The listing contributor is a business operator and although not new to WT it appears their experience of the policies, guidelines and MoS have been pretty much limited to a listing established in the article a long time ago. Recent activity has involved re-establishing their previously deleted listing and adding 3 more resulting in what appears to have been some unintentional non-WT MoS appropriate outcomes. They then got a bit upset and became a little belligerent when things started getting deleted and edited. Essentially the issues were some mild listing touting language, front linking, multiple listing and cross (front) linking a gift shop enterprise to a (shared) URL with a travel agent and vacation rental service provider operated by the same business entity. As listing an external link to a travel agency service is not permitted and the listing of a rental booker requires consensus and establishment of an appropriate section I accordingly de-linked the gift shop from the travel agent vacation booker. I de-frontlinked another listing by the same contributor, de-touted a restaurant and a surf shop listed by the same contributor and then removed the vacation rental listing to the discussion page, de-touted it and it remains there awaiting a consensus vote or similar decision as it requires a Rentals section to be established in the article. We also need to decide whether it is appropriate for this business operator to multiple list with the gift shop and the associated travel agency and rental booker. (nb; I do not recall them actually mentioning the travel agency in the article, however the URL points to a travel agent and vacation booker). Many multiple activity/services providers are denied a multiple listing where they have a range of defined yet quite separate services and undertakings working in synergy. A large resort or entertainment complex being an example. They normally only get to list once despite having many things going on. I personally see the restaurant and the surf shop as being separate businesses and I suspect this person is looking after IT related things for them rather than it being a 'shared' enterprise. The Travel service, gift shop, design services and rentals agency are all under the one roof and clearly directly associated. I would appreciate some input and hopefully some sort of consensus vote on this so it has come closure for both the contributor and the article.

The contributor has slowly come to an understanding of what is going on and I think now understands that the process is non-adversarial and that a positive determination will actually serve to assist in protecting their listing/s and a negative one will clarify that the listing is not appropriate. They have also now expressed an understanding of the nature of promotional language and the WT Don't tout policy. Thanks -- felix 12:23, 14 May 2011 (EDT)

Maybe someone else would like to look this over and give an opinion.-- felix 11:40, 19 May 2011 (EDT)

Site times out

The last week or so, I've been getting very frequent time outs when loading pages, regardless of whether I'm editing or just viewing. After a minute or so it will pass, but I have to reload the page several times before it will finally load. I'm reasonably certain it's not a problem with my connection, because WT is the only site I've been having problems with. --BigPeteB 07:24, 16 May 2011 (EDT)

I've had the same experience for the past few months. Some days its quick and others close to unusable. Reloading the page (usually only once) is the only fix. I cant pin it to particular times of the day. It seems to happen randomly but not infrequently. I put it down to server problems and a lack of concern to address them by the powers that be. - Cardboardbird 08:20, 16 May 2011 (EDT)
It's a frequent problem. The server reliability of this otherwise great site is completely shocking.--Burmesedays 11:47, 16 May 2011 (EDT)
See also Talk:Main Page#this website is. Perhaps if a few other people sent descriptions of the problem to the "tech at wikitravel.org" email address it might get some attention, although responses from IB seem to be very hit or miss. -- Ryan • (talk) • 12:04, 16 May 2011 (EDT)
Are things particularly bad today? I'd guess that three out of every four page requests is timing out. I'm on the latest version of Chrome, in case that turns out to be relevant. -- Ryan • (talk) • 18:58, 18 May 2011 (EDT)
This problem has been driving me crazy for months. Also uploading an edit sometimes takes several attempts and a long time to resolve the page reload. I have assumed it is both a server issues and some sort of conflict with scripts. -- felix 10:35, 19 May 2011 (EDT)
I have been having similar problems (IE8), and have assumed it is just IB attitude problems. Most days uploads are slow, and I expect multiple failures. I have noticed that edits are much worse than just viewing articles, which usually goes quite fast and very seldom fails, so my guess is that IB are under-resourced and are biasing service towards viewers because that is the where the short term profit lies. • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 02:55, 22 May 2011 (EDT)
Who is our main contact at Internet Brands these days? They have always been rubbish at responding to anything posted here, but an email often used to get a reaction. I am just out of touch as to who the main contact person is. I think it would be useful to put that person's name and email address here and as many users as possible should make the point about the unacceptably slow server response times. It has got so bad that I often give up. If I am doing that, then more casual visitors must be. --Burmesedays 00:19, 27 May 2011 (EDT)
shared:Internet Brands has contact info. I've had intermittent luck in the past with the "tech at wikitravel.org" address (most recently in October 2010), but I don't know if any of the other contact emails on that page are still active. -- Ryan • (talk) • 00:27, 27 May 2011 (EDT)
Is IBSteph (Stephanie Gerber) still a valid contact do we know? The last contact I had with her was in May 2010 when her title was "Online Community Manager- Travel & Leisure".--Burmesedays 00:38, 27 May 2011 (EDT)
Nope -- Steph is no longer here at IB. Hi all, this is Paul O'Brien, the Community Manager for WikiTravel. I post under IBobi. The contact info for IB is up to date at shared:Internet Brands so please refer there with any questions/comments/concerns like this, as it's pretty tough to monitor the whole site for issue reports. If you'd like to use that page for reporting tech issues, or create a different central repository for them, I'm game too. Most important is that you are able to reach me when you need me. To that end: paul.obrien@internetbrands.com and I'm on PST (Los Angeles) so keep that in mind as far as reply timing goes. I've made our tech department aware of the posting slowness/timeouts (I have not made many posts/edits but have read a LOT of content here, so I had not noticed a particular lag).--IBobi 20:21, 27 May 2011 (EDT)
Hey guys, Dick the tech guy here... It looks like the timing of the reports are about the time of some network issues that we've been having intermittently. I'm running the site through our normal checks, and I'm not seeing too much latency, although this is my first attempt at editing. We'll take a look but hopefully this is a symptom of our network disruptions that should be behind us. IB-Dick 13:41, 31 May 2011 (EDT)
I can definitely confirm that today as of 11:40 Pacific the problems are still occurring. An easy way to see this issue is to go to Special:RecentChanges and open a few of the "diff" links in multiple browser tabs (this is the way people most commonly patrol edits). Similarly, editing pages, viewing topic history, marking edits as patrolled, etc are all generating 404 timeouts about 50% of the time on average - at some points all edits fail for several minutes, at other times most are successful, but the average I'm seeing is that about half of all such actions fail. -- Ryan • (talk) • 14:44, 31 May 2011 (EDT)
The behavior your describe above is right inline with what I'm seeing on the database. Those pages are locking tables and are queries that we can't cache. We're working on the appropriate solution, but fair warning-- we might need to schedule some downtime to fix this. Paul (IBobi) will be able to communicate that to you. IB-Dick 20:15, 31 May 2011 (EDT)
Wikitravel has been really slow today, to the point it was pretty much unworkable to make edits. Oddly enough, it worked a little bit better in Firefox than in Google Chrome. I hope you can fix these issues in the near future. --globe-trotter 15:37, 31 May 2011 (EDT)

Thank you to both Paul and Dick for responding. The functions that seem to cause extreme slowness of server response are very important for the site. My call would be that you should take the downtime needed to implement a proper fix. Obviously you should give us some notice about this - date, time, approx downtime etc - so that we can post a notice about the same. --Burmesedays 07:40, 1 June 2011 (EDT)

If you're having a downtime anyway, maybe this would be the moment to update the Wiki software to the newest version? I think by now we're running Wiki software that's quite some years-old. --globe-trotter 14:33, 1 June 2011 (EDT)
Globe-trotter, my understanding is that that is in fact built into this database downtime -- laying the groundwork for a software upgrade. Dick and I will certainly give everyone as advanced and detailed a heads-up as we can before any scheduled downtime occurs. IBobi 21:19, 1 June 2011 (EDT)
That is great news :) --globe-trotter 16:23, 2 June 2011 (EDT)
Please see the discussion (continued from the 2010 archive) at WT shared Talk:Advertising_policy regarding implementing the travel booking engine that was discussed last year/early this year. We'd love to get some feedback, as the development resources we are bringing online to update the site are the same ones who are developing this new booking functionality. Beta will go live in a matter of weeks.--IBobi 19:53, 14 June 2011 (EDT)

Any sailors about?

I've been working on Retiring abroad, and of course that could use more contributors. However, this post is not about that.

One way to retire is to get a nice boat and sail about. Seems to me that might suit some better than buying a house abroad, so I'd like to link to sailboat or some such article, but as far as I can see there isn't one. I cannot write one; I do not know nearly enough about the topic. It cannot be just a section in the Retiring abroad article because there are lots of non-retired travellers who sail.

Any volunteers? Pashley 11:05, 28 May 2011 (EDT)

Big topic. Name should be Cruising rather than "sailboat", as that is how it is generally referred to by those who do it. I haven't done any for years (decades actually) and am certainly not an expert. These days power and sail cruising are both popular, and a lot of the cruisers will rent boats for a short cruise, while the dedicated will buy and live aboard on extended travels over decades and oceans. I will have a go at setting up a base article, but don't expect too much ;-) Cheers, • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 05:47, 30 May 2011 (EDT)
To the casual traveler, "cruising" involves Cruise ships. LtPowers 10:38, 30 May 2011 (EDT)
OK, do you have an alternative suggestion? To the cruising yachtsman(person) the term was always cruising when I was involved. I suppose cruising has other connotations in other contexts too, and we wouldnt want them to be confused. So a disambiguation page looks like the first step... • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 04:00, 31 May 2011 (EDT)
There are several topics here, I think.
Like diving (a fine example; well done Peter at al.!), sailing can be a recreation where travellers plan trips to good areas, get training (are there certifications?), rent equipment, and so on. I'd like to see an overview — I guess at Cruising with a link to Cruise ships — maybe eventually a structure like our group of scuba articles, with overviews for the main areas. It seems to me it would not need as much detail as some of the articles on specific dive sites, but that can be left to sailors to decide.
Unlike diving, it may need some specific additional articles on other aspects. Chartering a yacht to cruise about, living on one, retiring on one, making a living by chartering it out, travelling by working as crew, ...? We quite rightly do not cover the profession of diving; it is too specialised and not entirely travel-related. On the other hand, arguably we should cover living on a boat, since that is a way to travel. Pashley 05:21, 31 May 2011 (EDT)
Agreed. I think we will have to wing it a bit, but that looks like a good way to start. I am away for the day, but will take a look at getting it going tomorrow unless someone else feels like starting earlier. Cheers, • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 03:35, 1 June 2011 (EDT)
We have Crewing as a redirect to Freighter travel. I thought there was something about working on yachts, but now cannot find it.
Cruising is currently a redirect to Cruise ships. I changed the few non-talk-page links that pointed to it so they now go direct to the ships. Pashley 09:32, 1 June 2011 (EDT)

Discussion copied to Talk:Cruising on small craft Please continue discussion there. • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 03:41, 2 June 2011 (EDT)

How to handle information about trains

Hello

I have noticed that the Get in-sections of many cities mostly focuses on air travel and information about rail travel is scarce, I hav been trying to fill in some gaps mostly in Eastern European and Russian cities. I have been trying a few diffrent approches, in some cases adding train numbers and departure times for the most important routes. At other I have only added which cities have direct connections and added travel time in brackets. I think we should try and develop this section a bit more and find some standardised method. See for example Bratislava#By_train or Samarkand#By_train. --Jonas Ryberg 11:15, 29 May 2011 (EDT)

Does Wikitravel:Routebox_navigation help? Pashley 19:46, 29 May 2011 (EDT)
Your contributions to both articles look good and useful. All the better if you can add price information and a little more details on trains (for example, do they have sleeper and restaurant cars?). I think instead of forcing standardised sections throughout the entire site, it would be better to run the information given in a section against a subjective usefulness test on a case-by-case basis. And that's easy—think of yourself as a traveller in some distant, foreign land with no information source but article print-outs from Wikitravel. Would you be satisfied with the information given? – Vidimian 17:20, 3 June 2011 (EDT)

Problem with uploading new version of file on Shared

MV Princess Elizabeth general arrangement plan.png

I want to upload a new version of a file on shared, but the option is not provided on the file description page for that specific file. Others are no problem, and I have uploaded several new versions of maps over the last few days. Has anyone seen this happen before? Know what is happening? File is shown as thumbnail here. Cheers, • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 05:56, 30 May 2011 (EDT)

The option shows just fine for me. Are you sure you didn't just forget to click over to the Shared description page instead of the local one? texugo 06:47, 30 May 2011 (EDT)
Quite sure, and have just tried it again. Still no option to upload new version. The option to edit using an external application is there, and always was. The page background is pink and has the 'shared' logo at the top. Pretty sure I am at the right place, as I got there by clicking on the 'file description page' link, which is how I usually go about uploading a new version of a map. Most odd that it works for you but not for me. I will check on the laptop and see if it makes any difference. Cheers, • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 08:24, 30 May 2011 (EDT)
Same problem from the laptop, so I assume it is not my OS or browser, as they are both diffent on the laptop. • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 02:35, 31 May 2011 (EDT)
Weird. What if you try a direct link? : [8]
texugo 08:50, 30 May 2011 (EDT)
Direct link worked fine. Anyone care to speculate on whats happening here? Beats me! Thanks, • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 02:30, 31 May 2011 (EDT)
I have seen this happen before, though without any particular rhyme or reason. You can still upload a new version of the file via the regular Upload File link -- just make sure you set the filename to be the same as the file you want to overwrite. LtPowers 10:37, 30 May 2011 (EDT)
Thanks for that too. Problem bypassed, though I can't claim resolved... Should we put a description of the workaround up somewhere? FAQ? Cheers, • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 02:30, 31 May 2011 (EDT)

WYSIWIG

As long as there's some chance to upgrade to latest MediaWiki, maybe it's also possible to set up a WYSIWIG plugin? WYSIWIG is used for long at Wikia wiki hosting, and works perfectly (I had some experience with http://paygsimwithdata.wikia.com/). Looks like they are running this extension [9], although I'm not absolutely sure.

Benefits are obvious: much lower barrier for one-time contributors, therefore a higher conversion to regular contributors, therefore more useful content, therefore more pageviews and ads served--so there's even a benefit for IB :-) --DenisYurkin 15:12, 1 June 2011 (EDT)

Downsides include horrible code created by WYSIWYG editors (especially FCKeditor) making editing harder for those who don't use it, and sometimes even showing up as garbage in an article, as well as increased server load. 219.90.179.249 06:38, 21 June 2011 (EDT)
Can you demonstrate this by an example text and a simple editing scenario which a inexperenced user can reasonably have, which results in horrible code/makes editing much harder? --DenisYurkin 01:31, 22 June 2011 (EDT)

Using Google Analytics

It is very surprising and shocking that Google Analytics (A 3rd party free and closed source tool) is being used to track user visits on wikitravel. As a regular user of wikitravel, I personally would not like to be tracked by Google (or any other company), or let my ipaddress be stored on some remote server which is controlled by Google. Although I understand that Google Analytics is a great tool to visualize user-traffic, it is possible that a significant portion of the visitors are unaware of the fact that wikitravel uses Google to track their visits. Besides, this raises several other questions such as who is given access to these data ? How can I trust that wikitravel would protect my privacy/anonymity ? I do not trust Google and certainly wikitravel should not endorse Google. Wikipedia does not track users through Google Analytics. I suggest that Google Analytics be removed.

131.107.0.71 06:21, 4 June 2011 (EDT)

As I have no knowledge whatsoever about Google Analytics, I must ask questions before I can have any useful opinion.
  1. How do you know Google Analytics is being used?
  2. Is this something that the Wikitravel community have any control of?
Cheers • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 07:18, 4 June 2011 (EDT)
Google Analytics is being used at WT as it is on a huge majority of websites around the world. You can see the Google analytics tracking code by viewing the page source code of the Wikitravel homepage. We have no control over this - the code is placed on the site by our hosts. It is a very useful tool for any website owner to use to track visitor stats (country, web browser used, how many pages are viewed per visit etc etc etc - it is almost endless). The Google conspiracy theorists out there will not like the presence of this code, but any site that relies on Google generated ad revenue (like WT) would be kind of nuts not to use Google Analytics. --Burmesedays 07:28, 4 June 2011 (EDT)

Questions about images

Some photos have been deleted from Bangkok/Khao San Road page, because allegedly they were promotion. This one [10], because it shows a restaurant sign. This one [11] because it shows a hotel room. And this one [12] as it is a bowl of soup offered by a restaurant near Khao San Road.

I've now been checking the other Bangkok articles for similar pictures, and if signs are promotion, then many pictures would need to go. The rationale behind the removing of the pictures was that "they are not attractions". But then which things are attractions and which aren't? The picture removed from Khao San Road was a restaurant. So then we can also not show bars or clubs? What about shopping malls? Some examples of photos that could be seen as promotion and would need to be removed:

  • White Lodge Hotel [13]
  • FoodLoft food court [14]
  • Brick Bar [15]
  • Chacrit Muay Thai School [16]
  • Emporium Shopping Mall [17]
  • Condom Compendium Restaurant [18]
  • Long Table Restaurant [19]
  • Narcissus Club [20]
  • Nana Hotel [21]
  • Central Plaza Pinklao Shopping Mall [22]
  • RCA 808 Club [23]
  • RCA Plaza Mall [24]

Most of these pictures are from Bangkok/Sukhumvit, just to give an example. This is logical, because at places like Sukhumvit and Khao San Road, there are no attractions. There is not much more to do than drinking, clubbing and going to restaurants. Almost any picture would be promotion, except for those just giving an overview of the road.

Then there is a second problem: recognizable faces. Bangkok is a busy city, and there are people walking around everywhere. Some pictures were already removed, but this also puts open a plethora of images that need to be removed. Some examples:

  • Khao San Road lead image [25]
  • Chinatown [26] - shows people on the road, the road itself, but also some signs, so could also be seen as promotion
  • Yaowarat cloth seller [27]
  • Yaowarat market [28]
  • Khao San Road market [29]
  • Tuk-tuk on Khao San Road [30]
  • Soi Cow-boy [31]
  • Soi Pat-pong Night Market [32]
  • Siam Square Soi 7 [33]
  • Hualamphong Station [34]
  • Oriental Hotel lobby [35]
  • Tuk-tuks and people on the road [36]
  • Soi Thaniya [37]

Many of them are markets, which are nearly impossible to photograph without people on them. Others just show the road, and well, also people as there are people on the road. Where do we draw the line on which pictures can stay and which need to go? --globe-trotter 19:34, 8 June 2011 (EDT)

In addition I see that they were images that were considered acceptable during the star nomination process. As they were not criticised during that process it seems reasonable to assume that those of us who bothered to participate didn't consider them objectionable at the time. Cheers, • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 07:08, 9 June 2011 (EDT)
On the "promotional"" complaint, Wikitravel Shared image policy [38] states: As a general rule, photos of individual businesses, especially those seen to be promotional, will be deleted. Exceptions include images that are meant to be illustrative of the type of business establishment in a certain region, or those of exceptionally famous establishments.
It would seem to me that the Bangkok images in questions absolutely fit the category of being "... illustrative of the type of business establishment in a certain region". They certainly add to the articles in that respect.
On recognisable people, the Wikitravel shared policy [39] makes an exception as follows: ...in public spaces people give up a certain degree of privacy, which means that they can be photographed (and cannot stop the process). At Wikitravel, this is generally interpreted conservatively to mean that identifiable people in a picture should be peripheral to the picture content. For example, you can upload a picture of a crowded market or plaza, as long as you could take out or substitute any given person in it without materially affecting the picture. That surely covers any photographs of crowded streets, markets etc. --Burmesedays 08:43, 9 June 2011 (EDT)
I know Khao San Road and Yaowarat passed the Star nomination, but this discussion took place after it. What about signs, like the Narcissus Club sign? --globe-trotter 09:05, 9 June 2011 (EDT)
I don't see anything wrong with the soup picture; it should be restored. The sign picture is arguable, but it's pretty tasteful and I don't think it's blatantly promotional. The hotel room picture is pointless, as it looks like a generic hotel room; I don't think it'd pass muster at Shared VfD. LtPowers 09:51, 9 June 2011 (EDT)
I would like to get back to the point that if the images were approved by consensus to be OK for a star article, they should not be removed without further discussion, unless to be replaced by a better image. If someone disagrees with the star nomination consensus they can discuss the difference of opinion on the talk page before making a change, in case there was a good reason for the use of that image. Of course the reasons may be recorded in the discussion, which should also be on the talk page, but it is quite possible for the star nomination process to miss a detail, or for best practice style to change over time. Presumably any changes made after the date of elevation to star have not been vetted by peer review, and may be patrol edited without prior discussion.
This does not prevent anyone from simply plunging forward and unilaterally changing something which was accepted by peer review, but then they should expect to be challenged and required to explain and defend their actions.
Based on this line of reasoning, I think it is acceptable to simply revert the deletions and open a discussion on whether the images are inappropriate. As one of the participants in the star nomination process, I must have accepted all the images as appropriate at the time. • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 02:22, 10 June 2011 (EDT)
To clarify re: wts:Image_policy#Photos_of_businesses—I wrote that section for the express purpose of dealing with touts. If it's an image uploaded and added to the article by a regular like Globe-trotter, then I see no reason to remove it simply on those grounds. --Peter Talk 03:21, 10 June 2011 (EDT)
I agree with this principle. I think that the photos improved the article. Not that it would be impossible to find better ones, but we use what we can get until someone finds better. • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 14:30, 11 June 2011 (EDT)

Regional hierarchy

How do we handle the situation where a region straddles more than one state? E.g. Harz is currently subordinate to the state of Saxony-Anhalt, yet the western half lies in Lower Saxony and there is even a small area in the state of Thuringia. This leads to a problem with towns in the Harz, like Braunlage, looking as if they are in Saxony-Anhalt, when in fact they are in Lower Saxony. --SaxonWarrior 16:39, 11 June 2011 (EDT)

Whew, there are a lot of convoluted discussions I could link to answer this, but let me summarize and see if anyone takes issue:
Treat Harz as an extra-hierarchical article. In other words, direct the breadcrumbs around it. Have Braunlage, while linking elsewhere in the article to Harz, direct to Lower Saxony. So: {{isPartOf|Lower Saxony}} instead of {{isPartOf|Harz}} (sorry if I'm over-explaining). --Peter Talk 17:52, 11 June 2011 (EDT)
Wikitravel:Geographical hierarchy#Overlap has details. In general try to avoid regions that span multiple parent regions except in rare cases (and this may be one). -- Ryan • (talk) • 23:24, 11 June 2011 (EDT)
The Eifel region straddles both North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate. I have solved this problem by calling the area in NRW North Eifel and the area in RL-P South Eifel, making the Eifel page a disambiguation. The same idea could be applied to the Harz, making the pages Upper Harz and Lower Harz. --globe-trotter 08:38, 12 June 2011 (EDT)
That might work for the Harz (ignoring Thuringia) if the boundaries fit - I'll have a look at that. However, there is the risk elsewhere, I guess, of creating non-standard terms and regions simply to fit a Wiki format. "Ore Mountains" is another one: it straddles the German-Czech border. --SaxonWarrior 07:29, 14 June 2011 (EDT)
Forcing awkward regions to fit our own structure is what we really should avoid. We need to have an unbroken breadcrumb trail leading back up the hierarchy from the bottom, but it's not a problem to have additional extra-hierarchical region articles that provide another way of understanding an area. This is something that sometimes trips up the people (us) doing the organization, but is very unlikely to confuse readers if done properly. --Peter Talk 09:47, 14 June 2011 (EDT)

Food tours

A business owner has been placing his food tours on the Bangkok page. I reverted [40] this edit, citing policy that we don't add tours that are not "value-added". The business owner objected [41] to this on my user page, and cited that there are some other WT pages that feature food tours, including Miami [42], Stratford [43] and even Star-quality San Francisco [44]. As the last one is peer-reviewed by the community, would this constitute that food tours fall within policy? I am wondering what the community thinks of this case. --globe-trotter 08:51, 12 June 2011 (EDT)

We are not perfect, and letting some listings slip through in a star nomination is not a suicide pact. If we missed a typo in a star article, that doesn't mean that proper spelling is no longer required. That said, these sorts of listings are right on the borderline. The food sampling could be seen as a value-added activity since it allows you to try a variety of foods for a single flat rate. In this case, I'd be tempted to say it's okay: the flat rate means the company likely has an agreement with the local vendors, and it's not just some dude in a van driving you around to different restaurants. But I'm open to other arguments. LtPowers 09:36, 12 June 2011 (EDT)
The anon's argument ironically sums up why I don't wish to see this type of tour listed: Most food tours around the world that I have been to usually bring travelers to restaurants or local eateries that are "not tourist-adjusted". So these tours do support local neighborhoods that most of them are not within reach by most travelers. These are exactly the type of eateries and deep coverage that we want in our guides, not available only via link. --Peter Talk 17:45, 12 June 2011 (EDT)
Do you think the listing in 'cisco's Chinatown article ought to go, then? It seems legit to me. LtPowers 11:25, 13 June 2011 (EDT)
Actually, to my eye, despite being very well presented, the whole walking tours section looks like a violation of the tour policy. Sometimes I'm loathe to remove tours that are in violation, though, like the one at New Orleans/Tremé#Do—I imagine that many travelers would be nervous to tour the area without a guide, but I would hate that to stop people from exploring the area on foot, and that tour seems likely the best way to get people with a lower urban comfort level to do so. --Peter Talk 16:49, 13 June 2011 (EDT)
As LtP says, this is a borderline case. I'd be inclined to give it the benefit of the doubt, leave it in unless it gets toutish. I can readily imagine travellers wanting to know that for $x they can visit $n out-of-the way restaurants. I cannot imagine anyone wanting to read marketing hype here, though. Pashley 07:06, 15 June 2011 (EDT)

New starnoms

Just a heads up: there are two brand spanking new starnoms up, and they are both very short articles, so it should be easy to give them a look and a thumbs up or down as need be! --Peter Talk 17:54, 18 June 2011 (EDT)

Anonymous survey request

Working on the research portion of my Master of Arts thesis, which involves begging people to fill out this online survey regarding people's travel habits. I'd be enormously appreciative if anyone reading this would fill it out for me... It's completely anonymous. Again, thank you so much... https://spreadsheets2.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?hl=en_US&hl=en_US&formkey=dGs4aGNIQjZDRmo3Z04wTEZhaHVyR1E6MA#gid=0

—The preceding unsigned comment was added by Bouchette1 (talkcontribs)

I cannot do it because Google Docs are currently blocked in China. Seems to me a weird way to run a survey anyhow. Pashley 02:00, 21 June 2011 (EDT)
I did it. Worked fine. No big deal. texugo 02:04, 21 June 2011 (EDT)
Eventually, it sort of worked for me too. It just took over 5 minutes to load the page. Then it crashed when I tried to save answers. Dunno if that was before or after answers were delivered. Pashley 03:25, 21 June 2011 (EDT)

Layout issues

Vancouver squashed.png

So, who can see the problem in the image to the right? LtPowers 18:36, 22 June 2011 (EDT)

The break between "nightlife and" and "accommodation listings — consider"? --Peter Talk 18:39, 22 June 2011 (EDT)
Yes, specifically, and the very small amount of width available to the lead in general. Vancouver's hardly the only article with this problem (and it seems to show up a lot more often when the ad column on the right is wider due to having a graphical ad, as it is here). Having the TOC on the left and an image over (say) 350px on the right makes for a very very narrow lead section. I really wish there was a way to get the TOC out of the way, but barring that, I think we should think about limiting lead images to 350px. LtPowers 18:45, 22 June 2011 (EDT)
Instead, perhaps we could revisit this: Wikitravel_talk:Article_templates#Updating_how_we_display_articles. You seemed against the idea, but I think that opposition was mainly because you didn't see much need to make the change? I'm still a fan of a more colorful table of contents in any rate, but avoiding the squishing problem (which is also a big problem on articles with quickbars) would be a clear advantage. --Peter Talk 19:12, 22 June 2011 (EDT)

Suggestions for accessibility info

Hi there, Just wondering if there's any standard for adding info specific to wheelchair accessibility. If not, are there any suggestions?

A few options I can think of:

  • Inline - Easy to find but may bloat articles
  • Section per article - My suggested method
  • External page per article - Comprehensive but much redundancy, bloat

I think this is an important market to include, as comprehensive access info is hard to find & fragmented currently. What would be your thought on users adding an "Accessibility" section per article? Where should it be? Welcome any feedback. Kyebosh 02:34, 23 June 2011 (EDT)

In general, I support including such information at its natural position within an article, with any details that don't fit elsewhere going in "Stay safe" or "Cope". For U.S. destinations, for instance, lack of accessibility would be the exception rather than the rule, so we should only call it out when we have to say that there may be difficulties. LtPowers 14:32, 23 June 2011 (EDT)
Unfortunately that's not at all true, speaking from much experience. Good accessibility is very much the exception especially for (but most certainly not limited to) any constructions more than ~15 years old. I like the readability of adding access info in-line but fear it could bloat the articles (considering the info would irrelevant to many readers).
Perhaps there is a way to add a small "Universal Access" symbol to the beginning/end/title of a listing which could link to or tooltip a short message, for example (a museum) "Elevator to all floors, Braille signage, hearing loop on large exhibitions"? I'm a newbie to wiki markup so not even sure if this is possible...

Kyebosh 14:53, 27 June 2011 (EDT)

Wow. It took me forever to find this, but I'd refer to this discussion that we had a few years ago. I'm still against a separate section and agree with LtPowers that the info should go into individual listings, or if a destination is so completely handicap unfriendly, then into a stay safe or cope section. -- Sapphire(Talk) • 19:51, 27 June 2011 (EDT)

17th century vs seventeenth century, minutes vs min

When looking over Staraya Russa I noted that "seventeenth century" is being used rather than 17th century. I am curious to know if we have a clear WT policy on this? As it (is/was) a pending Star article I am assuming that aspect was applied to due scrutiny. Same query applies to 2nd floor vs second floor, or second bus service of the day.. vs 2nd bus service and similar. I also noted that minutes is being used rather than min. ie "with the trip taking about 90 minutes", rather than the shorter 'with the trip taking about 90 min'. Of course to economise on space the abbreviations make sense but do we actually have a clear policy on this. As the Staraya Russa article has been subjected to some rather close scrutiny in regard to other issues I am curious as to the min, hr, Xth, km, mi and other abbreviations that I understand are a common guideline or to-policy in regard to usage in WT articles. Is it a shorten in listings, run with full word in prose guideline, possibly similar to Jl (in listings) and Jalan (in prose) in the Indonesian articles (as kindly explained to me by Burmesedays some time back when I needed some guidance on that matter), or is it a universal application of the shortenings. Or is it not really defined as a hard and fast rule with a Mos guideline. I note that Wikitravel:Abbreviations gives no information on this, nor does Wikitravel:Time and date formats. I have been using min. hr 2nd floor and similar in many article edits and I would like to know that I am doing the correct thing here regarding the MoS, most especially as no doubt I am sometimes changing other established editors work when doing this. I have been assuming that most of us often just use the full word without regard to the potential shortening, certainly I often do myself and sometimes find I am going back and 'correcting' my own edits. I guess whilst considering the 12/24 hr question at Wikitravel talk:Time and date formats it would not hurt to visit the other abbreviations and standardisation policies/guidelines as well. Thanks -- felix 11:30, 23 June 2011 (EDT)

As you note, we do not have a policy requiring shorter versions of certain words, with the exception of "Road", "Street", "Avenue" (etc.); months; days of the week; and the like within listings. Outside of listings, I see no reason to abbreviate most of the time. LtPowers 14:28, 23 June 2011 (EDT)
I was surprised when I saw Peter 'spelling out' seventeenth century in the Staraya Russa article, not that I have a problem with it, I was just surprised and that was the primary motivation in my comments above. Knowing that Peter has a well tuned concept of WT policy and guidelines it stirred up a few lingering concerns with my own interpretation of abbreviation policies for prose content. I imagined that abbreviations were possibly more appropriate especially in listings such as Do, See, Sleep Drink and Eat but possibly less so in the intros to those sections. As the Understand and similar sections are more likely to include prose and broader descriptive content then possibly abbreviations are less appropriate as it can sometimes 'chop' things up a bit. I will continue with my current assumptions however I wanted to ensure I was not missing out on something that I should be aware of. Thanks for your comments. -- felix 11:29, 24 June 2011 (EDT)
I think outside of listings this is really something that should be up to the editor's discretion. The way I look at it, listings are something we want to have consistent formats, because they're throwing a lot of info at you in a very short space (This is a Restaurant, 83 Wherever Ln, +00 000-000. Su-Th 9-9. Exceedingly generic. $5-$10.). But outside of the listings, we're establishing a more informal tone with our reader, a conversational tone. When reading it, I imagine it as a friend telling me why I should go to this town, in which case I want him/her to talk to me in plain speech. I'm not against using abbreviations outside of listings, but requiring them just seems silly. PerryPlanet Talk 12:09, 24 June 2011 (EDT)
Probably a good idea to keep it that way, especially in light of the recent events with the Staraya Russa article. So I am hoping that no one has a problem with things being abbreviated sometimes, and not at other times within the prose. I would suggest that an article should have some reasonable internal consistency though and that abbreviations should be applied appropriately in the individual listings, most especially for clarity and to assist in reducing clutter. -- felix 13:16, 24 June 2011 (EDT)
FWIW, I thought I had been roughly following the Chicago Manual of Style guidance for abbreviations, by writing out numerals one–twenty (after which the hyphenated numbers get cumbersome: twenty-one, twenty-two). Turns out the CMoS actually recommends writing out numerals one–one hundred [45]. Go figure. I don't like the looks of single digit numerals in general prose at all, but they look fine in listings details. A basic level of consistency within an article, or even within, say, a huge-city collection of articles, is best. But I wouldn't be excited to try to come up with a site-wide policy on this one ;) --Peter Talk 19:51, 27 June 2011 (EDT)

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