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Wikitravel talk:Article status

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I've been having some problems with the way that we mark articles on Wikitravel. It's been a problem for a really long time, and I think we need to change it.

Right now, we have two states of "doneness" for an article: either it's a stub, or it's a well-made, usable, perfectly formatted, excellent travel guide. In other words, we have just two ways of marking an article: perfect, or not yet perfect.

I think we should consider a more gradated list of article states that more reasonably reflects the level of completion of an article. I'm thinking that a 5-tier system makes more sense. Here's my idea; feel free to edit.

Wikitravel guide maturity values
Number Name Description
1 "Stub" An article with little or no information in it, or not formatted even close to the MoS. An empty template would have this state.
2 "Getting there" Has at least the template skeleton laid out for the article. Some of the sections of the template exist, but not all of them. Does not have enough information to get you to the destination and keep you alive.
3 "Usable" Has at least a Get In section and one Eat and Sleep listing each with contact information. An adventurous person could use the article without recourse to other information sources to get to the destination, eat, and sleep. They would probably be able to find at least the most prominent attraction at the destination.
4 "A real guide" The article is a usable 3 guide; in addition, it gives you different choices for accommodation and eating out, and information on attractions and things to do for at least a few days at the destination (if possible). Listings and layout closely match the MoS. There will be multiple ways to get in, some suggestions for moving out, and information on getting around. At least a few things are missing to make this a 5 article.
5 "Star quality" The article is a real guide; in addition, it has a tourist-style map showing how to get around the destination, with major attractions, restaurants, etc. that match the listings in the guide. Layout and listing formats either match the MoS exactly or are the exception that proves the rule. Prose is not only near-perfect grammatically but also tight, effective, and enjoyable. At least one good-quality photo accompanies the article; preferably 2-3 showing famous or important attractions. Enough variety of content is presented that residents and experienced visitors would have little to point out as absent. Changes to this kind of article more reflect changes in the destination (a museum closes or a hotel price changes) than improvements in the coverage.

I thought originally about considering an article on several dimensions (grammar and spelling, conformance to MoS, amount of information), but I think that this scale is clear and simple and more oriented towards usefulness to the traveler.

I suggest that we use this scale to markup the articles in Wikitravel, using a {{Template}} thingy. Better names would be welcome. --Evan 10:10, 31 Oct 2005 (EST)

I like this idea lots! Do you want to build the templates? -- Mark 11:56, 31 Oct 2005 (EST)
Bump. I dig the idea as well. I've got the time to build the templates if Evan is too busy with RDL/Turtle. Seems like the two would eventually merge, as well... -- Ilkirk 17:13, 17 Nov 2005 (EST)
Yes, great idea! Let's start Template:Status1, Template:Status2, Template:Status3, Template:Status4, Template:Status5 (unless someone has a better idea for naming scheme). We can also have a page called Wikitravel:Status levels (or something like that) to list out the above criteria for status levels. Sound about right? --Evan 17:20, 17 Nov 2005 (EST)
I've got status 2-5, choosing some one-word titles along the way, but I've got a problem with status1 - it's a stub! We've already got stubs, and it would represent a decent sized change. Should it be changed? -- Ilkirk 19:00, 17 Nov 2005 (EST)
Surely we can think of better names than integers? How about Template:Stub, Skeleton, Usable, Guide, Star? Jpatokal 23:53, 17 Nov 2005 (EST)
Those are great! --Evan 00:19, 18 Nov 2005 (EST)
I wasn't sure about the naming, so I just stuck with the integers to begin with. I'll go through a remake them today. -- Ilkirk 08:21, 18 Nov 2005 (EST)

Rated as

I think the wording "rated as" in the template notes is ugly. Why not say This article is a ... Rated implies some sort of censorship as well as being obtuse English. Using "rated as" also implies an opinion and that is not a neutral point of view. and why should it be in bold?

What we have with these article notes is more like a statement of fact, rather than an opinion, with a relatively objective an reasonable assessment criteria. Dropping the words makes no real diference to the meaning. All the Wikitravel main namespace articles will fit into one of these categories, or else Votes for Deletion or (former/proposed) Destination of the Month. (That implies there are some missing or duplicate categories.) -- Huttite 16:38, 18 Nov 2005 (EST)

I have no problems with changing away from "rated." I chose that word to be an active verb instead of a passive - trying to give the statement a little more... If you have a better word or words, please go for it. I dove into this knowing that it is a Wiki and things will change with everyone else's input... I've never felt as if it would be perfect the first time through. -- Ilkirk 10:30, 19 Nov 2005 (EST)
Using "status" is a better word, too. Also, let's not forget that part of the Wiki way is doing something first, and making it perfect as time goes on. Ilkirk got these status templates started, which is absolutely fantastic and worth some applause. Getting anything started means someone has to plunge forward. Let's improve them all together. --Evan 11:16, 19 Nov 2005 (EST)

Wording

I think the wording of each of the template notes needs to be discussed. I think the wording for each note should be different. Very different. The notes should be small and unobtrusive, with them getting smaller and less noticeable as the article improves. That way inexperienced Wikitravelers will tend to not to badly edit the really good articles but will be encouraged to edit the short, incomplete or really bad articles. -- Huttite 17:26, 18 Nov 2005 (EST)

Stub wording

Until it is discussed I have reverted the change to the wording of the stub template. Please discuss there, not here. -- Huttite 17:20, 18 Nov 2005 (EST)

Skeleton

I disagree with both the naming and wording of the Skeleton template. Skeleton does not really describe the sort of article we want. I think Outline is more understandable and familiar to most people and really describes the sort of article this template will be used on. I also think the current wording is verbose and the border should be dotted. I am discussing this at on the template talk page. -- Huttite 17:48, 18 Nov 2005 (EST)

Outline sounds good to me - that may be a better term than Skeleton, and still carry the same connontation of being incomplete. -- Ilkirk 10:52, 19 Nov 2005 (EST)
One problem is that most of the long-standing "Stub" articles (as opposed to the ones targeted for this designation in the new scheme) in fact do follow an "outline," i.e., one of the templates. Do you want to use this terminology if it means having to go through and sort the current "stubs" according to whether they follow a template or not? If you (we) don't do that, the term will be misleading, but it'll take a lot of effort. -- Bill-on-the-Hill 11:02, 19 Nov 2005 (EST)
I think there will be a shift... there are plenty of articles that have stub reminders that will have to change up - it will be a community-wide type of change and will be labor intensive. I don't it'll be a situation where everyone of them will be located and re-evaluated right in the beginning. As we work through the articles, we'll spy a stub that is really something that should be a different state and change it.
To paraphrase, I think the definition of a stub is changing... -- Ilkirk 11:10, 19 Nov 2005 (EST)
I concur. I see the REAL stub articles as being articles that have been contributed by anonymous or inexperienced users that do not have any (or only one or two) sections. (Often the do not even have a stub notice.) These are the ones where there is no table of contents and no template sections to guide contributors about what needs to be filled in. The Outline has, as a minimum, an introductory paragraph and a template added. In other words Stubs are all those articles without templates - if that makes categorisation easy. Outlines are all those pages with templates and a stub message ... which is probably about 5000 articles. Changing the messages sounds like a job for a robot. At this stage I would suggest that we just change the templates for articles to put a different note on the bottom. We then migrate pages as they get edited from the Stub state to the Outline state as we find them. I.e. It is still a stub while it has the stub note on it, unless somebody (including a robot) assesses the page and decides to change it to something else. -- Huttite 19:43, 19 Nov 2005 (EST)

Note borders

I think the solid border on some of the notes is too obtrusive. It looks like a rubber stamp that says Top Secret or Confidential and implies the article is complete, when it may not be. That will tend to inhibit editing. I think a broken border should be used for any article that is not substantially complete. This would indicate the article has holes in it. Borders could be made more solid as the article changes status. -- Huttite 17:59, 18 Nov 2005 (EST)

I think that makes sense. Start with dots, move to dashes, then single line and finally double line? -- Ilkirk 10:53, 19 Nov 2005 (EST)

Stub border - solid or dotted

I noticed that the stub note border has changed from dots to a solid line. This will introduce an inconsistency with stub notes on existing articles. Unless someone is going to refresh every page, I suggest that the old dotted border be returned. Besides where is the discussion for changing the border? I cannot see anything recent. I also think that the other borders should vary too. -- Huttite 16:48, 18 Nov 2005 (EST)

Until it is discussed I have reverted the change to the stub template. Please discuss there not here. -- Huttite 17:20, 18 Nov 2005 (EST)
So, I can refresh all the pages on the server in a few minutes. I'm going to try and build in a refresh-this-page for use by any user and refresh-all-pages for admins only. I hope that caching issues don't get in the way of design decisions, here. -Evan 17:36, 18 Nov 2005 (EST)
I was not aware of that sort of facility. Good to know it exists. However, I think the issue here is more about change management, rather than technical issues getting in the way of the design. Irrespective of what features can be used, major style changes need to be discussed considered and agreed to by a broad range of users, especially when the change will affect a lot of articles. -- Huttite 18:00, 18 Nov 2005 (EST)
Ryan just changed all statuses to use the same border. I liked the old style better: you could tell the article rating at a glance just from the 'completeness' of the border, without actually needing to read what the box says. Jpatokal 04:33, 3 April 2006 (EDT)
I missed this discussion before changing. The borders seemed to be somewhat inconsistent, but I'll revert my changes on the status articles for now. -- Ryan 04:37, 3 April 2006 (EDT)

(Meta)Article Name Change? - The concept of states

I think the name of this (Meta)Article should change to Wikitravel:Article status. The use of the word rating gets to me. It has connotations of opinion, not fact. It also implies a relative or subjective comparison, not an absolute or objective one. There is also the issues of popularity, censorship, criticism that come with the word rating.

What this meta article is really describing is an assessment of an article's completeness or usefulness and how one goes about assessing, describing and representing that. Although it talks about how to assess articles for a particular category, the relative merits of any two articles within a category are not assessed. Also the existing categories, while having an implied ranking, if looked at from one point of view, are not necessarily linearly related but are really descriptions of the various states that an article can acquire.

As such there are other states that articles can acquire. The current states reflect articles by usefulness as a travel guide but what about the other states that articles might be in. There are already the following article states that do not fit the current linear scheme, including: disambiguation page, famous place, CIA factbook country article, article needing attention (because something is wrong with it), non-article (because it is off topic) and vote for deletion. Each of these article states could do with a template message, and some already have them.

I believe that by confining ourselves to rating rather than status we are left with needing to have a separate meta article about all the other states an article can be in. Instead we should bring all these states together on one meta page. -- Huttite 20:10, 18 Nov 2005 (EST)

I'm good with changing the name to "Article Status"... and I think the reasoning makes good sense. Like I said eariler, I wasn't making this as a defintive process, simply plunging foward like we've all been charged to do. I was, and have been, slightly uncomfortable with "Rating", but that was all that I could seem to drag from my head at the time. -- Ilkirk 10:39, 19 Nov 2005 (EST)

Maintain article list with Whatlinkshere

moved from Wikitravel talk:Skeleton articles needing attention

How about linking (integrating the contents?) of the [http://wikitravel.org/wiki/en/index.php?title=Special:Whatlinkshere

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