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Difference between revisions of "Wikitravel talk:Geographical hierarchy"

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m (Reverted edits by 92.101.35.220 (Talk) to last version by LtPowers)
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::::::I came up with that number just off the top of my head, but upon checking what the Russian version has been coming up with, it is indeed 25 (although we're ''faaaaar'' away from having a finalized districts scheme). And of course, if we ever get one million bytes of content on Moscow (25 x 40,000), we'd have the best guide to the city in history, which is what we shoot for here at Wikitravel.  --[[User:Peterfitzgerald|Peter]] <small><sup>[[User_talk:Peterfitzgerald|Talk]]</sup></small> 00:29, 16 December 2009 (EST)
 
::::::I came up with that number just off the top of my head, but upon checking what the Russian version has been coming up with, it is indeed 25 (although we're ''faaaaar'' away from having a finalized districts scheme). And of course, if we ever get one million bytes of content on Moscow (25 x 40,000), we'd have the best guide to the city in history, which is what we shoot for here at Wikitravel.  --[[User:Peterfitzgerald|Peter]] <small><sup>[[User_talk:Peterfitzgerald|Talk]]</sup></small> 00:29, 16 December 2009 (EST)
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We forgot Bangkok ;-)
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{| class="wikitable" border="1"
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|-
 +
!  City
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!  Total bytes
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!  Districts
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!  Other articles
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!  Population
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!  Land area
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!  Bytes/district
 +
|-
 +
|  [[Bangkok]]
 +
|  620,741
 +
|  11
 +
|  3
 +
|  9.1 mil
 +
|  1,568 km²
 +
|  41,382
 +
|-
 +
|}
 +
 +
--[[User:Globe-trotter|globe-trotter]] 12:14, 29 July 2010 (EDT)
  
 
== Some useful clarifications ==
 
== Some useful clarifications ==

Revision as of 16:18, 29 July 2010

Contents

Regions & divisions

So, one of the main difficulties we're having with the GH is the difference between sub-country regions and the geopolitical divisions that often come at a sub-country level (e.g., states, provinces, departments, etc.). I wonder if there's a way that we could divide countries that could satisfy both camps -- those that feel a need to use the Man's definition of what the parts of a country are versus those who see more "natural" touristic or traveleristic divisions of a country.

For example, for the United States of America I'd see a few regions, namely:

Suggestion: http://wikipedia.org/wiki/Nine_Nations_of_North_America as a starting point.

If I were writing a travel book, say, the "L***** P***** guide to the USA", these would be the sections I would divide the book into. But maybe it would be possible to also divide the book into states, or provide an additional index to show the states? Like, as an orthogonal view of the whole country?

Another option would be to subdivide regions until it's a reasonable size for a few city articles... like, say, on the Gulf Coast region page, providing links to Alabama,Mississippi, and Louisiana? That is, geopolitical divisions such as states or provinces could be subdivisions of what we call "regions"? I'm not sure really where these two concepts work together -- looking for input from the Wikitravel community. Thanks, -- Evan 23:29, 7 Oct 2003 (PDT)

Regarding regions, http://wikipedia.org/wiki/ecoregion and more generally http://wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Ecoregions

Cities

The more I read WikiTravel, the more concerned I become about the use of the term City and specifically the Cities headings in many of the templates. I'd be the first to admit that partly this is because I'm a brit, and we have wierd rules on what constitutes a city, meaning that almost all the places listed under Cities heading on the UK pages aren't locally thought of as cities.

I accept that the MoS defines the english usage to be US and that is fine. But I'm concerned that we are not helping our users by talking about places as cities when no-one in the actual locality would recognise them as that. That simply invites mutual incomprehension or worse.

I don't know if this is purely a UK issue, or whether it applies in other parts of the world too. If it is a UK issue we could possible address it with a note somewhere on the United Kingdom page (although it may be overlooked by many there). If a bigger issue, perhaps we could consider allowing a more neutral term (say 'Communities') as a synonym for 'Cities' where the issue applies. Thoughts?. -- chris_j_wood 13:56 17 May 2004 (GDT)

I agree with Chris (although I admit I too am from the UK). There is simply no way you would call Tunbridge Wells or Rimini, to give just two examples, a city, but there is no other designation available for them. I don't think it will be a huge problem as long as all sufficient supporting information is present, but some people may find it something of a surprise if they decide to head for the "city" of East Grinstead expecting to find something akin to Philadelphia.
It is certainly something to be discussed, for the UK at least. What exactly to do about it, however...I'm afraid I'm not really sure. Sorry! -- Sjc196 10:03, 17 May 2004 (EDT)
I think "communities" is a little wordy, and has other connotations. I don't think there's another good word for what towns, villages, hamlets, unincorporated settlements, megalopolises etc. are except "cities". I don't think we need to be overcorrect on this, and I don't think there's another clear single word that's not going to sound forced. --Evan 23:52, 17 May 2004 (EDT)
I agree that there are many Towns, Villages, and others units that do not fit the City name, and residents would laugh at being called a city. However, I think the only area that creates any problem is in the Region template, where it has ==Cities==. and we are putting towns in there. Most other references are on the administration side and don't really effect the reader at all. I wonder if it could be satisfactorily addressed simply by allowing in the Region template the alternate wording of ==Cities and Towns== (or similar when appropriate) for that section. -- Webgeer 01:38, Jul 24, 2004 (EDT)
I agree that using more accurate headings when necessary makes sense. (For example, we use "States" for sub-regions in the USA, and we use "Provinces" or the like for other countries). I don't really like "Cities and towns" or "Cities, towns, villages, beaches, unincorporated urban areas", etc. I don't think it helps all that much to be overprecise. If we have 8 real cities and one beach resort town in a list, I don't think we need to make it "Cities and towns" . --Evan 11:47, 24 Jul 2004 (EDT)
Living in rural Maine, over an hours drive from any city, I must agree that it makes no sense to use the city designation. Perhaps Municipalities would be a better choice. I have found Wiki to be very urban oriented. Downtown Carthage has one store, that's it, but by Wiki rules, a complete guide to the area requires hotels and restaurants. While the store does sell food, I wouldn't want someone showing up looking for fancy fare. I believe that we need to start realizing that not everywhere is as urban as New York City.--KevinNSaisi
I believe this has loosened up since the 2004 discussion above. If a region has no large cities I believe it's OK to change the heading to "Towns". -- OldPine 11:44, 18 February 2008 (EST)

Districts

I think we need a rule of thumb for how many districts are appropriate for cities. I'd like to start off by proposing a variant of the rule used to gauge the need for subway lines: one million inhabitants == one subway line == two districts. So Berlin gets 6-7 and only truly giant monsters like Tokyo, New York or London can rack up several dozen. Jpatokal 12:01, 15 Nov 2004 (EST)

I think the intent should be not based on the size of the city, but the size of the article. Cities should be subdivided into districts when the articles start getting to large. I think that the districts should be large enough that it is reasonable to write an article about each district. In truly large cities, the districts may require further subdivision into subdistricts (I think that was done with New York) -- Webgeer 18:13, Nov 16, 2004 (EST)
Consider the NGA (National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency) solution of calling them "Populated Places" - and there are subtypes under that domain.

Cities vs metropolitan areas

Swept in from Wikitravel:Travellers' pub

Renamed discussion from Problem with London page hierarchy (Hypatia 05:30, 9 Oct 2004 (EDT))

Don't know whether anyone else has noted this as yet, but there is a problem with the hierarchy of London pages.... The various outer London districts and suburbs have not been integrated within the "breadcrumb" hierarchy that would be ideal and which has been used in such cities as Sydney and San Francisco.... Central London districts seem OK however. Fixing this inconsistency is going to mean a bit of page moving and reorganisation BUT better sooner (i.e. now), rather than later, right? Anyone got any objections? Any suggestions about how best to approach this? Pjamescowie 02:19, 30 Sep 2004 (EDT)

I think we use sub-pages only for districts (neighborhoods) within a city. For suburbs (individual cities close to but not part of a big city), make them their own top-level article. If you need to group them together into a big article, consider a region article like Greater London. --Evan 13:36, 30 Sep 2004 (EDT)
I still think this is problematic with Sydney -- the inhabitants don't really have any concept of Sydney/Greater Sydney, and with a very few exceptions (Richmond and Windsor for example, and some of the very oldest suburbs like Parramatta -- but not its immediate surrounds) the suburbs were created when the city grew outwards, rather than being absorbed by the city. If we use the strictest administrative divisions we'll confuse travellers because "Sydney attractions" like the harbour, and Bondi, and the beaches, for example, would be "near" Sydney, not in it. Anyway, I've brought this up (extensively) on Talk:Sydney. I have a feeling other Australian cities, particularly Melbourne, have exactly the same problem. To Australians they're one unit, and definitely cities not regions, to the Wikitravel guidelines they're a bunch of cities near each other with a very small "real" Sydney" (which actually only includes about a third of what you'd think of as the "famous" Sydney sights, in particular, the Bridge is arguable) and "real" Melbourne in the centre. -- Hypatia 03:20, 5 Oct 2004 (EDT)
OK, I sort of bowed to (became convinced by) the argument that Sydney should be a region article, so people might want to have a look at the 'proposal' section of Talk:Sydney -- Hypatia 05:39, 8 Oct 2004 (EDT)

It looks like Los Angeles has a similar problem: I don't know LA very well, but it looks like their districts are enormous. If the policy really is we prefer different parts of a large metropolitian area like London, Sydney or Los Angeles to be written up as cities, not districts, I think this needs to be spelt out somewhere -- Hypatia 05:30, 9 Oct 2004 (EDT)

I think you need to look at a map, and look at Talk:Southern California/Hierarchy. I think we have a pretty decent breakdown of the area. And, no, this isn't a hard-and-fast rule. It's just that we tend towards consensus in hierarchies, otherwise they don't get stable. We had problems with Southern California since people were writing articles that considered Los Angeles to be everything east of Phoenix and north of Tijuana. Tending towards legal and traditional boundaries makes it easier for everyone to work together. --Evan 17:27, 9 Oct 2004 (EDT)
Hmm, it still leaves me irreconciably confused about what to do with Sydney. It's either a city of hundreds of square kilometres with a few very large districts, a city of hundreds of square kilometres with hundreds of small districts, or a bunch of cities. The last doesn't fit the "traditional boundaries" test, and the first two are both incompatible with the way you view districts. Hence why I keep trying to draw people out on this question.
But noone seems to bite.
I'd like to do a lot of work on Sydney, but the existing districts are clearly inadequate (they have holes) and also much too large to be districts according to the Wikitravel definition. However, thinking of Sydney as thirty separate cities, with the Bridge, the Harbour, the Opera House etc etc becoming "day trips out of Sydney" and Sydney becoming "a very small city with very few residents located somewhat to the south of Sydney Harbour" (that's the legal boundary of the City of Sydney) is also weird. Hence why I am trying to draw people out on existing decisions. -- Hypatia 18:01, 9 Oct 2004 (EDT)

Disambiguation

Swept in from Wikitravel:Travellers' pub

The article naming conventions say that:

When the two places are on the same level of hierarchy, we take the name of the next place up in the hierarchy and add that in parentheses afterwards.

This is being violated all over the place. Orange (New South Wales), to give an example of my own, should really be Orange (Central West), because the Central West (New South Wales) region is technically in between Orange and New South Wales in the hierachy.

To give another example, Professorbiscuit has put Birmingham (Midlands) up for deletion, and says that Birmingham (England) is a better article name, but according to the guideline above, Birmingham (Midlands) is actually more correct. And another: Perth (Australia) really ought to be Perth (Perth) according to a strict reading of the guidelines, because the surrounding region is called Perth too. (No, it can't just be Perth (city), because of the existance of Perth (Scotland)).

It seems to me that the guidelines are problematic for several reasons:

  1. Many city entries that need to be disambiguated are being created before the surrounding regions. Many times, when disambiguation is needed, only country or at most state articles exist above that city. When the regions get more fine-grained, the article name suddenly falls foul of the naming guidelines.
  2. Many very small regions have names that are very generic (Central West) and/or names that aren't very well known outside the immediate area. (Birmingham (England) is much more comprehensible to me as an Australian than Birmingham (Midlands).)

At the same time, it's not clear to me what a simple replacement rule would be. We can't use "highest point in the hierachy" because US cities in particular tend to share names with one another. Hypatia 17:14, 16 Dec 2004 (EST)

Would "highest point in the hierarchy that is certain to be unambigious" help? So the rule would be go as high as you can go and still be sure to be unambigious. For example, if I were to disambiguate San Jose, I wouldn't use San Jose (Bay Area (San Francisco)) because I can go higher in the heirarchy. Since I happen to know that city names are unique within US States, but are not certain to be unique within the US, I would choose San Jose (California) rather than San Jose (USA) regardless of whether or not any other San Joses exist in the US.
With this rule, the disambig would 1) never be higher than a country. 2) would be the country name for countries which ensure no duplicate city names exist 3) would be the state name for US cities. -- Colin 18:07, 16 Dec 2004 (EST)
I think that that's a fine suggestion, but like probably others (including the status quo) it's going to require some work on existing articles to bring them into line. Hypatia 18:46, 16 Dec 2004 (EST)
I most certainly agree that something needs to be done because this causes me endless problems when I fix dead-end / orphan pages. Also there is no consistency e.g. I noticed that someone has a link to "Glendale (california)" while others have simply used "Glendale". The actual article doesn't exist yet but it is possible that this will end up as two articles and there is no way to pick this up. (BTW, I found Glendale is also a suburb of Salt Lake City but this is correctly done as "Salt Lake City/Glendale". Making suburbs as sub-pages will sort this out). The "All Pages" feature only shows pages that exist.
Also, what happens is we have "abc (Region)" and "abc (City)" in two different countries?
And there needs to be format consistency e.g. is it "abc city" or "abc (city)" or "abc (City) or what?
I personally think that the bit of the top of the article should say "abc is a city in the state of xyz in mno". That way it could be "'''Birmingham''' is a city in the [[Midlands]] of [[England]] and the reference could be "Birmingham (Midlands)". --Nzpcmad 23:57, 17 Dec 2004 (EST)


Pushing attractions up

Swept in from Wikitravel:Travellers' pub

As far as I can tell (by pounding on Special:Recentpages), we have a lot fewer complete/good region articles than we do complete/good city articles.

I know from working on New South Wales and Central West (New South Wales) some of the reasons why this is: mainly, it can be very hard to write general enough info for some of the sections. (For example: New South Wales is enormous, and there's heaps of border cities you can drive in through -- yikes, makes Get in tough! Also, a bunch of sections -- especially Drink and Eat essentially read "see Sydney where 85% of the population of the entire state and about 95% of the restaurants live!")

But there is one concrete thing that people could work on to improve some of the region articles: taking the premier See and Do attractions from the listed cities and pushing them up to the region article (the style guide recommends simply "Attraction X in City 1" as the listing, so it's quite easy). You can do this for any region article that's got two or three city articles with a decent attraction listing. At the moment very very few region articles have a See or Do section at all. -- Hypatia 16:38, 7 Nov 2004 (EST)

Pakistan and South Asia

User: Sheely has been trying to move Pakistan out of South Asia and into Central Asia for quite some time. Unfortunately, geography does not allow it. So I've been reverting, but it wouldn't hurt to have someone other than an Indian to look at it. --Ravikiran 01:59, 22 Dec 2005 (EST)

Do we really want counties as destinations?

I am having a hard time with this. I don't see a US County as a valid destination in "most" cases. I can see the need for splits of the major regions in each state as it becomes more and more difficult to keep the city list to less then 10. But I am not convinced that counties are the best split in most cases. We have had some recent activity adding disambiguated pages for U.S. Counties and before we get too far down the line I would like to discuss the issue of using U.S. Counties as destination points as a general rule. The Anon user doing this has been very cooperative to hold off the edits while we discuss this, this person has been doing a log of good edits and clean up and the efforts are appreciated. There has been some discussion on this at Talk:U.S. counties (disambiguation), but I think we were talking apples and oranges. We if do decide to use Counties across the board, the disambiguation page would be good.

There are exceptions to using counties; California areas near the major cities come to mind like Orange County. I think Orange County is very famous and for sure should be considered a destination. We have 3100 plus counties in the U.S. and I don't see most of them as destinations for travelers. I expect we will find rural counties that don't even have a sleep.

To be honest, I could be convinced to change my mind, but I would like to hear the arguments fist. -- Tom Holland (xltel) 09:10, 15 March 2006 (EST)

I agree with you 100% that counties are generally not destinations and shouldn't generally get their own pages. Like you said there are exceptions, usually in suburban areas. I guess to Orange County I would add Nassau County (New York) (or is this one just "Nassau"?) and Westchester County New York. I don't think anything in Chicagoland should be done by county though, unless the Chicagoland article gets too big.
I think the anon user is right though that the pages should be made, but as redirects to the correct regions. For instance Cook County (Illinois), Lake County (Illinois), and DuPage County (Illinois) should exist, but only as redirects to Chicagoland. -- Mark 09:23, 15 March 2006 (EST)
What about counties as regions to hold cities in? It seems to me that a county which has 8-10 incorporated cities is the logical region article to hold them. Or is there a better way?
Secondly, what about large suburban counties where the cities pretty much merge into one another? For example, in Union county, where I am right now, someone who has business in Clark could very well stay in Rahway and look for dining options in Cranford. In such a case, wouldn't it make sense to move up a lot of this stuff to the county page? (Of course, I am not an American and I do not have a sense for how typical this situation is. ) — Ravikiran 10:32, 15 March 2006 (EST)
I think counties do make sense in some cases. For large metro areas where it "may" or may not sprawl across more then one county, I would use "Metro Area". Now the east coast is another exception as one city runs into another all along the coast so "Newark Metro Area" may not work and counties may be the best way to go. Ravikiran is likely a better judge of that. I am thinking about doing a "Tulsa Metro Area" and "Oklahoma City Metro Area" and they will cross county boundaries. -- Tom Holland (xltel) 11:43, 15 March 2006 (EST)
I don't see a real consensus here yet at least on a alternative for counties, and I am still torn on the "County" as a destination. The problem is I don't see a real good alternative and it seems like the Wikitravlers like to create them. Also as Wikitravel begins to mature and we get more and more users and contributors the Regions we have now in each of the states are going to have 30 plus cities listed, maybe a 100 or more in some cases. Does anyone have a proposed alternative to counties? The anon users suggestion for redirects is good, but what do we do about regions that get over burdened with city listings? -- Tom Holland (xltel) 18:43, 24 March 2006 (EST)
I have been thinking about this and watching the development of counties for a few months and I am changing my position on this. I really don't see any good alternative. When we get too many cities/towns/villages in a states region, then the best place to put these are in a County that is set up as a region. I am also one of those people that believe that even small villages and town deserve there own article. So, for the USA I think the counties are the way to go. Don't get me wrong... I don't plan on creating 3000+ county articles, but I will use that as a placeholder for some areas where there are a lot of small places that have articles to prevent orphans and regions with 20+ city links. As always, all comments are welcome! Tom Holland (xltel) 08:10, 26 July 2006 (EDT)
Coming in late on this, but: I don't think there's a one-size-fits-all answer to this one. For a place like Alaska, where individual counties (technically, "boroughs") are bigger than many entire states, a borough/county organizational structure may make sense. For Texas, which has approximately Avogadro's number of counties (many totally devoid of interest to the traveler, as far as I can see), a county-based breakdown is completely impractical, and for say Rhode Island, it's gilding the lily. I believe the correct policy is "do what makes sense," preparing to err on the side of redirecting seemingly extraneous county lists/organizational structures to superior regional structures, rather than deleting those lists/structures. -- Bill-on-the-Hill 12:07, 12 August 2006 (EDT)
Also coming in late on this one, but I think Bill is right on both dealing with counties on a more or less case-by-case basis and redirecting when needed. In some cases a useful travel region will also be a county, but in other cases they may not be one-to-one at all... Maj

Allow me to saunter in a year later and add, we're in the process of removing county articles from Washington (state). We divide the state into about 8 regions according to tourist interest, e.g. Puget Sound, and define those regions in terms of counties. Maybe we have subregion articles, e.g. Kitsap Peninsula based on geography and tourism, or King County based on government boundaries and local use. All destinations are linked to from a region, a subregion, or maybe the "Get out" section of a destination article. Someone was nice enough to create articles for all the counties in Washington, but we are making them redirects to the appropriate region or subregion article. Thus: counties are useful to define a region, but are not articles in their own right (unless driven by tourist logic, in which case they are subregions). See the discussion at Talk:Washington (state)#Proposal to eliminate counties from hierarchy. JimDeLaHunt 19:03, 11 June 2007 (EDT)

New Discussion

I'd like to revive some discussion about how to handle US State Counties, because I think it would be useful to have an official policy to follow and refer to.

The issue is: the vast majority of US State County articles are content-less Outlines (and will remain that way) because they are not valuable as State sub-regions and are even more useless as travel Destinations.

The political boundaries of state counties are too arbitrary for useful travel region breakdowns, and in most cases are far too specific an area. I think we should have some policy in place which discourages the use of State County articles, and sticks to the State>Region>Sub-Region hierarchy for State organization. I think in the majority of cases, the 3rd-tier State sub-regions are (or would-be) an area which covers multiple counties, and is the smallest area specification that warrants a region delineation.


Exceptions: Some exceptions might be:

  • Famous Counties like Orange County, which have value as a travel destination in themselves
  • Small States like Connecticut and Rhode Island, where counties are a significant part of the state

It has been suggested in the past that we make redirect pages from the County to the smallest region which subsumes it, and I think that is worth discussing, but first we should establish whether the opinion to discourage County pages is widely held or not.

What do you guys think? --Jtesla16 12:44, 21 June 2009 (EDT)

  • I agree that there's a lot of useless county articles, but I think the easiest way to handle this is on a case-by-case basis, not special "exceptions". If a county (assuming it is a region article) doesn't have a worthwhile number of cities (I'm thinking like 5 or 6), redirect it to the larger region and link the cities from the larger region. I think counties work as a way to break down regions, but only if there's enough towns in said county.
  • Well that brings up another related issue: Should every city in a state be linked through the organizational hierarchy? I think that every city deserves its own article, but I do not think you should be able to navigate to every city from a state page. Similar to how we do not list every hotel in a city (because this is not the yellow pages), I don't think we should continue breaking down regions into smaller and smaller sub-regions to list every city within a state. That is a level of comprehensiveness which hinders usefulness in my opinion. Any cities that are not linked from a state's sub-regions can still have the breadcrumb navigation which places them in a given region, but they will not be included in the 5-9 highlighted cities. This allows for pages to be made for every city, but limits the scope of hierarchical regions to a manageable/useful level. --Jtesla16 19:31, 21 June 2009 (EDT)
We've discussed this issue below. I think the answer is unequivocally yes, all cities/towns should be navigable via the geographical hierarchy, as it is the basic organizing principle of our guide to the world. This should not make the guides less useful, since the 7+2 rule prevents clutter at any given level of the hierarchy. If someone is interested in Central Maryland specifically, they can go to that page, while someone interested in only the major destinations in the state can just look at the links from Maryland. Going further, not everyone who would read about Central Maryland would be interested in information about slightly less important destinations in Baltimore County—they don't have to read it, but it's there for someone looking for a more precise region.
We limit the amount of things written about, both listings & destinations (via 7+2), but I see no reason to limit our site navigation to the articles that we have. --Peter Talk 19:44, 21 June 2009 (EDT)
I'm not a fan of county articles for the sake of county articles, unless they are the best way to break up a given region – cacahuate talk 20:19, 21 June 2009 (EDT)
So in the end, the amount of sub-sub-regions in a State will roughly be (# of cities in the State) / 9? This seems a little ambitious to me, but is that the final goal? --Jtesla16 20:40, 21 June 2009 (EDT)
Not really. Per the discussion below, regions at the bottom of the hierarchy (i.e., regions with no subregions) can have more than nine destinations in the cities & od lists. Montgomery County (Maryland) seems like a pretty good "end region"—more cities/towns could be added, even going over nine, since it would not make sense to subdivide further. Of course, if another 25 worthless town articles were created for insignificant communities, that should make us think about further subdivision (but that wouldn't happen, since the worthless articles would be deleted per Wikitravel:What is an article?).
This is unrelated to the question of using counties, though, about which I agree with PerryPlanet that we should treat it as a case-by-case basis. And by the way, a good way to avoid county articles is to come up with a robust regions breakdown at the state level. We tried to do this for Iowa, and I think it was pretty successful—none of those regions look like they'll need to be subdivided in the foreseeable future. --Peter Talk 20:50, 21 June 2009 (EDT)
These seem like reasonable arguments, but I have some questions. It seems to me like the vast majority of places that most people would call "insignificant" will still have a hotel, and therefore be eligible for an article. How then, do we strive to make all these cities/towns navigable, without regions that are mere outlines with a list of towns? I think eventually, Montgomery County could have 20+ valid city/town pages that it subsumes, and certainly all the Iowa regions will warrant sub-divisions. Seems like there needs to be some higher standard to qualify an article (other than a sleep listing), or these insignificant towns should not be navigable in the hierarchy. (Maybe I have misunderstood what qualifies an artcile though, so I am looking for some clarification).
I think Maryland is a special case, and falls into the Small State exception above, but think of how many levels of sub-regions it would take to get to that County level in a larger state. Are 4 or 5 sub-region tiers within a state tenable?
It's my impression that, long term, if there were an article for every town in American with a hotel, it would not be practical to make them all linked and navigable within the geographical hierarchy. I would be inclined to highlight the most notable cities in a region, down to a practical level, and then let all the remaining towns retain their breadcrumb navigation to the region they belong, but not be explicitly linked from a region page.
What are other User's visions of achieving the long term goal? --Jtesla16 23:04, 21 June 2009 (EDT)
I don't know how much this has to do with vision, but I don't see (ha) any way to avoid making sure every destination is linked. What's the point of having an article if no one can ever navigate to it? They could search for it, but if they don't know it exists, and can't get there via our hierarchy, why bother? LtPowers 09:34, 22 June 2009 (EDT)
That's a good point, but I think there is a growing tendency to make articles for every town that exists, including those "insignificant" ones with little to no travel interests, in order to reach a level of comprehensiveness on par with WP. My only point is that I think that level of comprehensiveness is problematic for a useful travel-minded hierarchy. --Jtesla16 16:45, 22 June 2009 (EDT)

(Unindent) I believe there are enough cases where counties are acceptable region divisions that we do not need to strengthen the current guidance on them. They do have a number of advantages over other ways of subdividing regions: they are well-defined, familiar to locals (the ones adding content), usually have their own tourism departments/web sites, and provide ready-made names. (For example, I'm thinking of subdividing Finger Lakes as there are a lot of communities listed currently, but none of the possible divisions have obvious names available. Using counties is not practical in this case (since the county lines run through the middle of the lakes), but if it were, it would at least solve the naming problem. =) ) LtPowers 21:30, 21 June 2009 (EDT)

Oh, and just for contrast, if I were to subdivide the neighboring Niagara Frontier region, I'd be sorely tempted to use counties, because no other option is any more useful to the traveler. LtPowers 21:34, 21 June 2009 (EDT)
I updated the page a little, I hadn't looked at this in quite a while, it needs a decent overhaul and condensing, but I lack the focus at the moment  ;) – cacahuate talk 20:24, 22 June 2009 (EDT)

When is a Country a Country?

Swept in from the Pub:

I've been looking around a bit to see if I could find a policy regarding how to divide places up by counties. It's obvious for most places, but there are enough disputed territories that it seems worth while: Jammu and Kashmir, Taiwan, Tibet, ect. It would also be fairly easy to do by listing a few criteria. I would suggest: Immigration control/rules (i.e. who issues the visa, controls the border post), and currency would be enough, although I'm open to more. These are two important things for travelers, but to clarify them would limit edit wars by people with political bias. I know that it's kind of already covered by "wikitravel is for travelers" but I do think it's useful to clarify it all the same as to how that relates to national borders. keithonearth 16:35, 29 Jan 2006 (EST)

If such a policy is drafted, currency wouldn't be a very good criterion, because it can muddy the waters more than it clarifies things. For example: the US dollar is the legal currency in several countries; the banks of England/Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland each issue not-entirely-interchangeable Pound Sterling notes; and some federations of countries share currencies (e.g. former French colonies in Africa, several Carribean islands, the European Monetary Union). In most cases it's clear enough what's a "country"... and where it isn't, I don't think any arbitrary site policy is likely to settle it. TVerBeek 19:34, 29 Jan 2006 (EST)
I'd not realized that about African former French colonies, and I don't know if any of them are engaged in border disputes, or how my seg. However in the case of Euro-zone countries there's no real debate as to where the borders are, it makes no difference in the UK to clarify or muddy the situation, nor are the borders disputed in the case of the countries using the USD. However, with regard to my above examples (J&K, Tibet, Taiwan) it does clarify things. Unfortunately I'm not knowledgeable enough of ambiguous areas outside of that. Immigration control alone could be useful too, again the EU is confusing to deal with (or more accurately the Schengen countries) but likewise it's not really an issue. I don't really think that your critisisms are enough to dismiss my idea alltogether, a more sensible approach might be to just be more explicit that it is De Facto boundaries that are the ones we are primarily interested in. Thanks for your answer.keithonearth 21:00, 29 Jan 2006 (EST)
My point is that currency isn't a sound criterion. If it isn't relevant to the status of Panama or Belgium or Burkina Faso or Saint Lucia as separate countries, why would it be relevant to Taiwan or Kashmir? And Northern Ireland is a disputed territory, where the question of whether Bank of Ireland notes can be used in England could very well be used to stir up the waters. Better to steer clear of politics and not declare what is/isn't a "country", and stick to simply describing places. 66.93.200.104 20:31, 30 Jan 2006 (EST)

Personally, I'm not a huge fan of treating countries/states as somehow separate from regions. It may not be that big of a deal, but this policy gives Wikitravel an unnecessary nationalist slant, opens the guide up to silly political edits, and makes this discussion necessary. I'm not a fan of the "special" quickbar we have for countries only, and I saw a bunch of edits today trying to "upgrade" Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland to country status; so this has been rattling around in my head today. To have a policy that would match our practice, we would assign "country status" to regions administered by a government which reports to no higher administrative unit—to regions with sovereignty. But of course that is more complicated within the EU. I know no one will support me on this, but why not just get rid of the whole country distinction altogether? I really don't see any advantage to it. --Peterfitzgerald Talk 19:21, 11 June 2007 (EDT)

Man, you're on a deleting kick, Peter! Seriously, though, there are some kinds of information that belong at the country level and rarely elsewhere. For example, information about visas and currency. I think the majority of countries are monolingual; we typically have a "talk" section at the country level and rarely at the sub-national region level.
Like it or not, countries have meaning to most travelers in the world, and ignoring their importance wouldn't make our guides more useful. --Evan 20:21, 11 June 2007 (EDT)

For what it is worth, the criterion of immigration/visas/passports/customs is probably the most useful to the traveller. Pbsouthwood 06:04, 20 October 2009 (EDT)

Depth and the templates

Swept in from the traveller's pub

I am very happy to have found Wikitravel, since this has been going round in my mind since I knew Wikipedia. I could contribute a lot of Information and pictures for Germany (my homecountry), Taiwan, Sint Maarten, Anguilla, Rhodes,... I am very unsure where to add Information, because despite many entries still being largely empty (Taiwan south), There is already a huge and very deep structure present: Of course, Kenting/Taiwan is Pingtung county, which is south Taiwan. But I cannot fill the Pingtung county template, and who will find the Kenting info there with all the empty templates in the way.

I would propose to do a top-down approach, splitting up files as they become too large or too much, instead of building an uncontrollably large structure first and then fill it bottom-up. Generating empty templates for an empty country doesn't help the project, as it annoys readers a lot. Plus, the climate for all of south Taiwan is tropical, which means hot and humid. It does not have to be stated for every single county or region.

Same goes for Munich/Germany, by the way. Yes, Munich can be split into hundreds of sub-units. But then no-one will find this nice restaurant in Rotkreuzplatz/Neuhausen/Munich in the first place. Too deep! I doubt that it is in the interest of the project if I go through these entries and prune like hell. Can someone point me to either the reason for the template-madness or a go-ahead to prune?

Marc 05:30, 18 Feb 2006 (EST)

We are, for most part, using a top-down approach. Travellers going to Kenting will likely just punch in or search for "Kenting" and find the article, the regions are meant to help them find things that are nearby.
And I agree with you completely that cities should not be split into a million districts, just as many as logically needed and no more. Please suggest what you think would be a good division on Talk:Munich. Jpatokal 05:57, 18 Feb 2006 (EST)

Should every city be listed in *some* region?

I've run across two conflicting goals. 1) Limit the number of cities per region to 9. 2) "Un-orphan" city articles. I'm not big on #2, but I've noticed people adding cities to regions with the note that they're un-orphaning. If we're going to do both, it seems like any region with more than 9 cities (well, let's say significantly more, since we'd make an exception for a place with exactly 10 cities) should be broken up into sub-regions. The example I'm thinking of right now is Maryland, where I added an article for Brunswick which is certainly not one of the top 9 cities in the three-county Capital Region. It might be one of the top 9 in Frederick County, if we broke the region into sub-regions. For now I've added it as a "Get Out" from Frederick to un-orphan it, but I was wondering what the general consensus is in situations like this. -- Jonboy 14:09, 17 January 2007 (EST)

I think the solution here is to break things up into sub-regions, if possible. Yes, every city should be in some region. --Evan 14:21, 17 January 2007 (EST)
I certainly agree with the 9 limit higher up in the hierarchy, but once we get down to some lower levels, I don't see why there can't be more. If it's way out of control then as Evan says, break it up into more regions, though I also don't think we should make too many regions just for the sake of not having more than 9 cities listed in one region... many regions will have more than 9 cities in them but not require subdivision. - Cacahuate 17:49, 24 February 2007 (EST)
I disagree. There are many places where the abundance of tiny-but-still-destination towns is so great that they can only be listed in a region by either making the lists ridiculously long, or sub-sub-subdividing regions to the point that they are no longer useful. An alternative approach to de-orphaning should be sought, if resolving orphan articles is really that important (and maybe someone can explain to me why it is, I don't see it). One possibility that I've raised previously, via the pub, is creation of a "rural area" article type that could become a catch-all for such places. Maybe that should be reconsidered. -- Bill-on-the-Hill 18:05, 24 February 2007 (EST)
I think when a region has more than 9, that means some cities need to be moved to a subregion. If the subregions don't yet exist, then I think the cities should be left in the region anyway and treat it as "there is work to be done here." (Orphaning the cities also leaves work to be done, but because there is no big-honking list staring people in the face, it's less obvious that the task is unfinished). I only favor strongly enforcing the 9 limit once reasonable subregions have been created.
And that said, I think it is reasonable to leave some regions unsplit. In Bill's rural region example, I think you just have to sometimes live with the fact that there are more than nine cities and the region can't usefully be subdivided. -- Colin 18:12, 24 February 2007 (EST)
Full support. The no-more-than-nine guideline is good for making sure that our mid-level region articles don't get overly cluttered with specifics they shouldn't have, and a list of more than nine cities in a region is a good prompt to consider creating subregions. But that's not always going to make sense. If we have a dozen towns in Northwest Central Freedonia, splitting that into Upper Northwest Central Freedonia and Lower Northwest Central Freedonia is probably going to be harder for the traveler to wrap his head around than a list of 12 towns. - Todd VerBeek
I think that when a region gets filled up with >9 cities/towns, we should subdivide the region. But until those subdivisions are up, I think it is preferable to leave the excess cities/towns in the smaller regions until new subdivision are created. --Peterfitzgerald Talk 15:49, 2 June 2007 (EDT)
Why must we subdivide a region just because it has more than 9 towns in it? I'm as obsessive a control freak as you're likely to meet, but I think the no-more-than-nine rule ought to be ignored when we get down to this level (i.e. the "leaves" of the "tree"). It's no longer a problem of overwhelming people with a list of all 31 states in Mexico, such that they can't figure out what's where; if there are 15 destination-level towns in the Little River Valley, why can't we just list them? - Todd VerBeek 11:08, 10 June 2007 (EDT)
I agree that we shouldn't get too obsessive about that magic number 9. It makes a lot of sense as a hard limit for articles like USA that cover hundreds of thousands of destinations, but if there's a finite number in the region (10 islands, 11 villages, 12 cities), then it's much more sensible to just list 'em on the same page instead of doing some sort of completely artificial obfuscatory split. Jpatokal 11:20, 10 June 2007 (EDT)
I also agree that we should exercise a certain amount of flexibility and 'consensual' discretion regarding the number of cities listed on sub-regional pages, though I think sticking to the magic combination of 7+2 for main country articles is good idea as these are easy to spiral of control and with 'no recourse to the law' are difficult to reign in. WindHorse 11:36, 10 June 2007 (EDT)
7 +/- 2 is a guideline, not a rule. Having more than nine items in a list is an indicator that a list should be split up, but it is only an indicator - the rule is Wikitravel:The traveller comes first. Contra Costa County has twenty cities listed, but since there isn't any natural division in the county (North & South Contra Costa County? Nah...) and since the county article is basically just an index to the region it's not really to anyone's benefit to break things down further. Similarly, California has ten regions, but it just wouldn't add any value for travelers to create (for example) a Northern and Southern California article just for the sake of slipping under the magic number of nine.
Where this guideline is most useful as a rule is in listing things like cities in a parent region where child regions exist. There's no reason to list more than 9 cities for any state, country, or other region article when a sub-region is available. There is also an argument to be made that when we have more than nine restaurants, hotels, etc in an article that sub-sections should be considered, but again, that's a guideline for improving articles, and not a rule to be followed blindly. -- Ryan • (talk) • 12:31, 10 June 2007 (EDT)
My question is, if there are US counties that have been created that link to cities, towns and villages, should they be deleted as not being useful, regardless of the 7 +/- 2 rule (or suggestion)? I agree that in some cases it is alright to have more then the nine listed. I also believe that all locations should be un-orphaned in the hierarchy somewhere. -- Tom Holland (xltel) 14:17, 10 June 2007 (EDT)

When to districtify a city

Discussion moved to Wikitravel talk:Huge city article template#recommendations on when to (not) districtify a city

Listing sub-regions?

So we've got a little debate started over on Talk:New Zealand and Talk:Indonesia about how much info we can include in an article. Both countries had the top-level region's sub-regions listed on the main country page, which goes against our current policy. Personally, I don't see a good reason why we need to list them, as that is what the region pages are for in the first place.

It's been suggested though that for some destinations it's necessary to describe what's in them if they're vast, etc. I can sort of see a point to this for places like the USA, to know which states fall into which region at a glance. But then I would argue that the beautiful color coded map shows you that. It's also been suggested that we should mention them in the description of a region. I'm not so much for that either, though I don't mind as much the way it's done on India#regions since it's just touching on the highlights of the region, which is what the description is for. Anyway, it's already been a longish conversation, but I thought maybe we should discuss this in the right place so we can come to some sort of agreement on what should and shouldn't be. A place was included for sub-regions on Template:Regionlist, but I don't think the desireability of that was ever discussed, so shall we now? – cacahuate talk 16:44, 28 May 2007 (EDT)

Sure. We've never really done hierarchical lists for regions, and I'd prefer not to. I think that if there's something really important to note about some particular region, it should be noted in the description. We don't need to list sub-regions and sub-sub-regions and so on. --Evan 17:03, 28 May 2007 (EDT)
I do not think listing full hierarchy schematics (like Talk:Russia/Geographic Hierarchy) on country pages is desirable. As it is, country articles tend to be too long and cluttered because many editors seem to want to put the whole country travel guide on the top-level page. I think that approach is something we should discourage.
Also, I think all countries that have regions should have a regions map. But the absence of such a map is not a good reason to throw everything on to the country page, it is rather a hole to be filled with a new map. The color coded regions maps are actually not that difficult to produce, and there are plenty of editors at Wikitravel who are willing to help new mapmakers.
I think it is sometimes a good idea to list key subregions in region descriptions, but in general I think less is more—long region descriptions make the lists look cluttered. I'm also not a fan of the sub-regions section of the Regionlist template because I just don't think it is necessary. Less is often more. Of course, we have some bigger problems when the geographic hierarchy does not make sense, as in England where there are overlapping subdivisions, some of which can't be reached through the top-level divisions (e.g., Cumbria/Chester). --Peterfitzgerald Talk 17:13, 28 May 2007 (EDT)
I think the subregions section is necessary when the split is not obvious. For example, for Indonesia most people have no idea what on earth Nusa Tenggara is, so you need to explicitly list its major islands (subregions), such as Bali. As a counterexample, as Kalimantan is split into the thoroughly obvious Central, East, West, and South Kalimantan, there's no reason to list these. See Indonesia#Regions for an example.
Also, I don't think we can assumed that maps can replace these lists, even if they are gorgeously done (like the US one). They're handy if you're already familiar with the country's geography, but how quickly can you find the Kurgan Oblast on a map of Russia, or Oita (prefecture) on a map of Japan? Jpatokal 22:25, 28 May 2007 (EDT)
I suppose that doesn't bother me so much, nor does the way it's done on India#Regions. I'd definitely rather it not list all of the subregions though, just big attractions that someone might be looking for. But then that's subjective. I don't know where Oita prefecture is in Japan, but I also don't care ;) The main country page can't solve every possible problem that might be encountered, it should solve the most common ones. If I'm looking for something specific and obscure, I would be expecting to have to dig around a little. If someone told me they were from Lubbock and I didn't know what state that was in but wanted to find it, I wouldn't expect to find a direct link to Lubbock on the USA page. – cacahuate talk 22:43, 28 May 2007 (EDT)
The jury is out on this one. In general, I think it unnecessary to add sub-regions to the front page article. If a sub-region is more famous than the main region it is categorized under (as in the case of Nusa Tenggara and Bali), then it can be mentioned in the description as in the Bhutan article. However, to avoid the scenario that Jpatokal mentions, where an oblast in Russia or a prefecture in Japan cannot be found easily when only listed on a regional article, especially if travelers are unfamiliar with the country (and we should assume that they are), then perhaps they can be added on the front page as long as it is done so in an unobtrusive way - take a look at the Taiwan and China regional lists as examples. However, obviously the sub-regions listed should only be the next sub-category, not every village or hamlet. Anyway, just throwing some ideas into the pot. WindHorse 23:24, 28 May 2007 (EDT)
Nusa Tenggara is a good example of a region for which subregions should be mentioned in the one-line description—Bali is something people looking at an Indonesia page expect to see. Kurgan Oblast is a good example of why we shouldn't be listing subregions on country pages because it is not relevant for 99% of the people who check out the Russia page; in any rate, anyone specifically seeking information on Kurgan would just search for it. In order to have Kurgan up on the main country page, we would have to flood all viewers of the page with subdivision details. It is for this reason (avoiding overwhelming the reader with information) that we have a limit to how many regions can be listed on one page and listing US states in the regionlist template, for example, does seem like sneaking around our 5–9 limit. I think we should resist the (for some reason) ever-tempting impulse to cram entire country guides on the main article. --Peterfitzgerald Talk 00:09, 29 May 2007 (EDT)
Bali is a great example. Bali is much more famous than the Nusa Tenggara in general -- it should be a top-level region of its own. --Evan 07:30, 29 May 2007 (EDT)
I actually wouldn't mind that for this particular example, but it's a bit of a dangerous path to take. New York is much more famous than Nebraska -- should it also get a top-level region? Jpatokal 11:53, 29 May 2007 (EDT)
There's definitely an argument to be made there: it's not only more famous than Nebraska, but it's also more famous, and more important as a travel destination for Americans and unAmericans alike, than most of our top-level regions. In some versions of the USA page New York has been a top-level region. I'll see if I can dig up the reason it was removed. Another good example is London in England. --Evan 13:03, 29 May 2007 (EDT)
London and New York (at least New York (city), the überdestination in question) are both listed on those country pages, under "Cities". If a major destination that's tucked away in an obscure region isn't a city or "Other destination", I don't see why it couldn't be called out in that region's description as a special case (e.g. "Nusa Tenggara - Also known as the Lesser Sunda Islands, the "Southeast Islands" contain scores of ethnic groups, languages, and religions; the location of Bali") - Todd VerBeek 13:55, 29 May 2007 (EDT)
Yeah, I think better to list it in the description like that then make it a top level region just because it's famous, if for every other reason it would make more sense to have it within another region – cacahuate talk 15:08, 29 May 2007 (EDT)
The list of states in each region within the US article was just removed, with this discussion as the pointer. I think that action makes the article less useful, and at a quick glance I don't see anything above that calls for removing these lists - a comma delimited list of states would seem to be OK and not fall into the bulleted list trap that has been discussed. In any case, the map on the US page isn't large, and I think we're more likely to avoid arguments about regions when we list the states that make up those regions. -- Ryan • (talk) • 23:21, 26 June 2007 (EDT)
Well, this discussion has bounced around from topic to topic, but my reading of the discussion (which was initiated by Cacahuate explicitly to vet the use of subregions lists in the Template:Regionlist) is best summed up by Evan's comment: "if there's something really important to note about some particular region, it should be noted in the description. We don't need to list sub-regions." Jani commented that subregions lists might be useful "when the split is not obvious." I contend that a color-coded map right next to the regionlist template makes regional divisions quite obvious and is much more design-friendly than unpacking subregional hierarchies.
Moreover, although we continue to have this discussion, I always thought that this was clear-cut per The 7±2 rule and our general practice of avoiding the slippery slopes of adding subregional content (i.e., more cities, more regions, subregional listings) to articles. In part, though, I did remove the states list on the USA page because I didn't think this conversation reached a wide enough audience. --Peter Talk 23:42, 26 June 2007 (EDT)
I've read through this thread now - it seems like there are two camps in this discussion. One group is pushing regions as as way to sub-divide unwieldy large areas, while the other sees regions as a table of contents to a large area. In the first group Indonesia would be broken into sub-regions, one of which would contain Bali, while the second group would make Bali a top-level region to make it faster for users to find. Granted, there is a lot of overlap in these two groups.
It seems that the old list of regions on the US page with a comma-delimited list of states would satisfy both camps: the US broke down nicely into a manageable number of regions, and those looking for New York state (or any other state) had a link within the Mid-Atlantic region listing to click on. I think that addresses the concerns of both groups, and I don't see any real downside. The concern, as I understand it, is that an article would contain a bullet for "Mid-Atlantic", with a sub-heading for "New York state" with infinite number of sub-headings below that. I don't think the "regionlist" approach encourages that, and I would be in favor of using it where it makes sense. -- Ryan • (talk) • 00:19, 27 June 2007 (EDT)
I agree with Ryan. My rule of thumb would be that if Wikitravel is using an arbitrary region grouping (say, "Mid-Atlantic"), then the non-arbitrary units it's composed of (states, provinces, etc) should be listed. Having a map doesn't make the grouping obvious — the state names are illegibly small in this particular example, maps are not clickable, and in general we can't rely on users having access to images. Jpatokal 04:59, 27 June 2007 (EDT)
My basic objection to what we are doing on the United States of America page is that we have listed 58 regions. That's way more than our suggested limit of 9. One of the main things I strive against here on Wikitravel is the oddly alluring temptation to cram all available information on to single country pages. The most useful tool in fighting such cramming is the The 7±2 rule, and I would prefer that we follow it whenever practicable.
And what is the point of even having region pages like the Midwest or South if we are just going to list all their subregions anyway? It is unsurprising that our USA region pages are underdeveloped because we are not taking them seriously—whereas I think they have the potential to be fine and useful travel articles.
Finally, I mentioned the regions maps because I thought that would make the "unclear regional groupings" argument go away, but there is a more obvious reason why our regions section does not need to list regions twice removed: they are already listed on the appropriate regions pages! Why duplicate that content on the main country page (or continent page for that matter)? And why are our regional groupings unclear if they are listed on the region page? Ultimately, I think this is a matter of whether we want to actually use regional hierarchies to organize content or not and whether we think region pages are worth writing. --Peter Talk 04:28, 29 June 2007 (EDT)
Keep in mind that 7+/-2 is a usability guideline - throwing a bulleted list of thirty items at a user generally reduces usability. Similarly, regions (in my view) are a way of breaking large amounts of content into more manageable pieces to improve usability; it's impractical to think that the US article could contain exhaustive detail about every facet of the US. Being overly strict in applying the 7+/-2 guideline introduces a danger of reducing usability in the interest of following a rule, which would be bad. If someone is visiting Arizona it's logical that they might expect a link to Arizona in the US article - the same goes for Bali in Indonesia, or France in Europe - and we would do a disservice to users by eliminating those links for the sake of a 7+/-2 guideline.
Regarding the comments about "why have region articles if we're going to list some sub-regions", I agree with Jani - if there are non-arbitrary units like states or countries that a user is likely to be looking for, it doesn't hurt to list them in the regionlist template. Having a larger region that includes several of these units, however, allows us to group them and provide more granular detail about travel opportunities in (for example) the Midwest (United States of America) without overwhelming the parent article. Again, it all boils down to usability, and I think the balance we've found with the current US hierarchy (including the state lists) is a good one. -- Ryan • (talk) • 15:01, 30 June 2007 (EDT)
Hmm. That argument seems fair—in a situation like United States of America or a continental section, nearly all the subregions will be prominent and famous enough where a link is expected. Since it won't be possible or desirable to simply include links to all of them in the region description (as it is with Bali), it becomes useful to list them in the regionlistitems. I'm satisfied with that!
I think our continental sections would stand to gain from using the Template:Regionlist for this reason. As of now, they are using our deprecated long, bulleted lists. --Peter Talk 16:25, 30 June 2007 (EDT)

US Counties

We have people all over the board on this one. Some like them, some don't and it applies across the board between users and admins. We need to figure out if they are allowed, to be deleted, to be redirected, used as place markers and how they fit. We are all over the board on this and to be honest I have flopped around on it as well. But we are going to have issues with this until we get a hard set rule. So, let's get after it and come up with a solution, even if we have to go state by state and region by region. What do we want here and how do we handle them? I will comment later on, once and will be brief. -- Tom Holland (xltel) 15:04, 10 June 2007 (EDT)

I think they should be used if they make sense... it's going to be hard to make a set rule on whether or not to use them. The rule should be that a place is divided into chunks most manageable by travelers... and if counties fits that description for a certain place, then great. But I don't think we should create county articles just because the county exists. If Western Example is remote and has little of interest in it and can easily be summed up in one page, yet contains 4 counties, I'd vote against7 creating the 4 county articles. – cacahuate talk 15:31, 10 June 2007 (EDT)
My thoughts are:
  1. Do use counties and groups of counties as part of the geographic breakdown when they make sense as subregions.
  2. Consider using counties if they are "close enough" to a good breakdown to be good enough. For example, we break the United States into whole states even though words like "Southwest" commonly include portions of additional states.
  3. If you use a group of counties to define a region, you are not obligated to break the region into those county articles. For example, one might define the Bay Area in California as a specific set of counties and yet break the Bay Area into subregions like "East Bay" or "South Bay" instead of breaking the Bay Area into counties. Or as cacahuate says, you might not need to break the region down at all.
  4. If a region desperately needs a subregion breakdown and no one is knowledgeable enough about the region to break it down intelligently, go ahead and use counties as a placeholder. Someday an editor will come along with better knowledge and can propose a new breakdown.
  5. If a county breakdown is replaced by a "better" breakdown, the better breakdown should still have well-defined borders. The old county region articles should either be turned into redirects or disambiguation pages so that we don't need to maintain two distinct article hierarchies for the same place.
-- Colin 15:48, 10 June 2007 (EDT)
I think that creating counties as "place holders" until someone knowledgeable does a better regioning would be a mistake. That doesn't postpone the decision; it makes the decision. At that point the precedent is set, and it's going to be followed: that region will be further divided by counties. Odds are its sibling regions will follow the pattern as well. And they'll stay that way until someone with a masochistic streak and a personal knowledge of the region decides to change it. That will be at least as difficult as re-districting a badly-districted hugecity, and comparable to re-regioning a haphazardly-divided country. P.S. I'd like to express the opinion that having more than nine cities doesn't constitute "desperately needing a subregion breakdown". "The traveller comes first" outweighs the "7+/-2 rule"... not the other way around. - Todd VerBeek 18:32, 10 June 2007 (EDT)
I agree the 7±2 rule need not be followed just for the sake of following the rule and that larger numbers should be tolerated rather than creating haphazard regions. Of course, if someone is familiar enough with the place to break it down, they should, but not otherwise. -- Colin 02:04, 12 June 2007 (EDT)
There's a pretty clear consensus that they (like any administrative region) should be used where they make sense, and that they should not be used otherwise. The only real question is where they make sense, and I don't really see all that much disagreement there either. They make sense in places where the counties were shaped by settlements, such as the UK (where we use them) and much of the 13 colonies (where we sometimes do, and it works). They make sense in some urban areas where the county has become synonymous with the metro area or where (God help the locals) counties actually help carve up the megalopolis. In places where the county lines are mostly drawn with a straightedge at right angles and often narrowly missing city limits (e.g. the Midwest, Great Plains, Texas, Rockies, and Southwest), it's hard to see how they're going to be useful to anyone but a Wikitravel editor trying to keep a city list under 10 items. - Todd VerBeek 18:48, 10 June 2007 (EDT)
Strongly agree about the 7+/-2 rule... it works at the higher levels, but I don't think we necessarily need to let it dictate how we break things up further down. It makes sense on a country article to only list a selection of 5-9 cities, but maybe not so much on lower levels. I would never break up a region only because it has more than 9 cities in it, unless it really made sense to for other reasons. – cacahuate talk 20:04, 10 June 2007 (EDT)
Thought I'd chime in here, because I've been explicitly breaking up regions in Maryland once we hit more than 9 cities. Taking Capital Region (Maryland) as an example, once we had more than 9 cities with articles, that seemed like a good time to break things down further (to the county level), rather than have a list with 10 cities. Could I have waited? Sure. Would it make sense to do subregions if there were only 10 cities total? No. But in certain instances, I think it makes sense to use hitting more than 9 cities as a warning -- "hey, there's too much information for this to be the smallest subdivision". In the case of Maryland, each of the counties (let alone 5 major regions of the state) could probably have 20+ articles, so I don't feel bad breaking them down further. --Jonboy 23:43, 10 June 2007 (EDT)

We are presently eliminating counties from the hierarchy in Washington (state). As the one doing the work, I strongly agree with Todd VerBeek that inserting county regions "doesn't postpone the decision; it makes the decision". It's a tedious bit of work to move content out of those inappropriate shells and into regions that make more sense. I like Colin's list of principles above, except for #4 about putting in counties as a placeholder. In the case of Washington (state), someeone followed #4, and undoing it not fun. JimDeLaHunt 21:48, 13 June 2007 (EDT)

Not much I can add here. There really does not seem to be a clear consensus. Some like them, some don't, some think they are okay some say don't even create them. I am mixed on it as well.
I did see one region that was split by counties, but the regions had a more interesting name then the county name. The article reverenced the county as the boundary for the region. That might work in some areas where the county boundaries make sense. It seems even when people don't like the counties they rename them or combine two or more to create a sub-region. I know that in some cases it really makes sense to split a county into two or more regions as the top half may be the mountains and the bottom have the valley with all the cities or other variations.
The discussion for Washington (state) region realignment was good. As a minimum I think that should at least discuss changes before we make a big change at the US State level or splits on the major regions in a state. If someone wants to change the method used, let's discuss it and develop a plan. If anyone has any other comments, they are welcome. I was really hoping we could come to a consensus, but I am not sure that is possible. -- Tom Holland (xltel) 18:15, 14 June 2007 (EDT)
What is the current policy on US Counties? Although it is discussed here that using counties may be undesirable, that opinion is not explained on the policy page, as far as I can tell. In my opinion, US Counties are somewhat useful as a very low level regional breakdown, especially if tourist information is organised and available at the county level, rather than a higher level such as a State. Also, because Wikipedia has a good deal of information about each US county, they serve as entry points into Wikitravel, so even if we do not use them directly, they can at least point visitors to the most relevant regional article. However, I am not sure that a single hard and fast policy is required here. In some cases, using counties is appropriate, in other cases it is unnecessary, though not necessarily undesirable. - Huttite 00:00, 21 November 2009 (EST)
In my opinion, there needs to be a formal policy statement made about using administrative entities, such as US or Irish counties, Indian Districts, Australian shires New Zealand Regions, etc., as regions. It could be this statement : Use a natural geographic region in preference to an administrative region. Use an administrative region to plug a gap in the geographic hierarchy, only when it is reasonable and practical to do so. If an administrative region has only one main city or town that administers the region, especially if it has the same, or similar, name, then use the administrative city or town rather than creating a separate region article, i.e. the city or town includes the surrounding region that it administers even if some of it lies outside the official town boundary. A separate regional article may be justified if several destination articles each refer to the administrative region's attractions and that duplicated information would not easily fit into a single (smaller) destination or (larger) regional article. - Huttite 20:56, 12 December 2009 (EST)
I don't want us to get too precise in our proscriptions, as the nature of subdivisions is always a subtle matter. The simple way to handle these concerns, I think, would be to alter this bullet point:
Political or legal definitions. Some countries are divided into states, provinces, counties, cantons or what have you by their governments. It sometimes makes sense to use these if they're the best way to break up a region, and when they're not so numerous they'd violated the 7±2 rule. For example, Mexico has 32 states — far too many for the top level regions.
I'd rewrite it:
Political or administrative definitions. Use government designated divisions (states, provinces, counties, cantons, etc.) only when they make for sensible travel articles. Don't use them if this will lead to countless articles about tiny administrative divisions with little content. As a general rule, divisions based on geography, history, culture, and other institutions relevant to travel, are better. It often makes sense, however, to draw boundaries for larger regions using the boundaries of administrative divisions, as this makes it clear where the lines are drawn.
Hopefully, that would be clearer. The question of to where to redirect "non-regions" should be addressed at Wikitravel:How to redirect a page, not here, I think. And I don't think this article should explicitly discuss what to do with U.S. counties, since that is a complex question better suited to the type of discussion above than a one-size-fits-all proscription, and because the article deals with the world, not just one country. --Peter Talk 22:00, 12 December 2009 (EST)

"Districtify" template considered useful

I plunged forward and added information to the Huge City and Districts section suggesting use of the {{districtify}} template. I think Template:Districtify is quite helpful. See, for example, Vancouver#Eat. But when I wanted it, I had a hard time finding instructions about it in the MoS. If there are concerns or objections please post here. JimDeLaHunt 00:31, 12 June 2007 (EDT)

Yep, looks good! – cacahuate talk 01:09, 12 June 2007 (EDT)

Single parents

"A "hierarchy" actually means that no two places overlap. Each geographical unit should be contained by exactly one 'parent' unit."

This part of the policy seems misguided to me. Travelers often expect to see subregions listed under multiple regions. Good examples are Turkey, which is located in both Mediterranean Europe and the Middle East, and France, located in Mediterranean Europe and Western Europe (see very relevant discussions at Talk:Middle East#African countries and Talk:Mediterranean Europe#NOT FRANCE ??). In both these cases (as well as other cases like Russia's inclusion in both Asia and Europe), our practice has been to list the region/country in question in both parent regions. To arrogantly quote myself, this practice "is a practical way of indexing the country (in regions for which the country is very often on a traveler's itinerary) and does not cause any significant content overlap, which is the concern of the "avoid overlap" policy."

We do have to choose a single parent region for the purpose of breadcrumbs, but that is no reason to avoid putting a link to a region on multiple parent regions. What we have been doing is to put region A into the regions list of only one parent region X, but when readers would also expect to see region A in parent region Y, we note that and provide a link to region A. If that was too abstract, take a look at the Rocky Mountains article, which acknowledges that Utah and New Mexico are also Rocky Mountain states, without actually including them in the subregion list (they belong to the Southwest. In a few cases, we have actually listed a region in more than one parent region—the most prominent example being Russia and the Caucasus, located in both Asia and Europe. I see no problems with this practice as long as we don't create serious content overlap (for an example of overlap and navigation problems caused by poor hierarchy, check out Cumbria and Lake District).

This one section of our hierarchy does not match our (sensible) practices and I think should be changed to a less rule-oriented, simple admonition to avoid content overlap when sorting out regions. I have updated the "Overlap" section, but if this was inappropriate, please feel free to revert and we can discuss it here. --Peter Talk 04:46, 25 June 2007 (EDT)

The point about a single breadcrumb is not totaly true. At one point about a year ago Evan indicated that the breadcrumb would be updated so that multiple breadcrumbs could be added if a region appeared in more then one parent region. Not sure what the status of that is, but at the time the go ahead was given to add multiple breadcrumbs. At this point the last one in the list is what shows, but when the new functionality is added there will be multiple breadcrumbs in the heading if there are more then one parent. Take a look at Ozarks as an example and Wikitravel_talk:Breadcrumb_navigation#isIn_more_than_one_breadcrumb for the discussion. -- Tom Holland (xltel) 10:20, 25 June 2007 (EDT)
I changed the wording a bit: from "must choose one parent region for breadcrumbs" to "breadcrumbs will only display one parent region." I suppose we can change this section again when the new functionality arrives. --Peter Talk 14:23, 25 June 2007 (EDT)

Several content organization issues

Hello all. I have a handful of content reorganization proposals that no one has commented on. Unlike some of my more impulsive proposals (e.g., "Delete countries!"), these are all proposals I have been thinking about for some time. But I don't feel comfortable altering existing hierarchical schemes without some sort of "yes this is a good idea" comment; accordingly I would appreciate it if anyone would take a look at them. I suspect that I am just being ignored on some fronts, but others may just be flying under everyone's radar, so here's a list:

Finally, there is another woefully incomplete discussion at Wikitravel talk:Geographical hierarchy#Listing sub-regions? that I think requires some serious thought.

Thanks! --Peter Talk 04:30, 29 June 2007 (EDT)


San Francisco Districts

...cont'd from http://wikitravel.org/en/Talk:San_Francisco

Hi, yep sure.."Many American Cities"....not San Francisco though, and in any event, Non-Governmental District or not, the boundaries are delineated by politicians, and with the greatest respect, not Wikitravelers. Demonstratively, I might decide as a matter of personal interpretation, that my house was "distinct", as you say, from my neighbors - it doesn't follow that we're in two separate Districts, simply because I may wish it so.

Anyway, Colin what you said was interesting and it got me thinking. Is there not an obvious physical constraint here - doesn't the file size of an article act as a de facto determinant of what it can contain? That is to say, that isn't there a point where you have to start breaking articles up due to their length? The fact of the matter is that even though there are circa 34 neighborhoods listed, in reality there are probably over a hundred neighborhoods in San Francisco [1] - and lets say that's about 10 per district. Surely, no matter how one delineates a district, or area, or whatever, there cannot be between 11 and 13 articles covering San Francisco - too much information surely?? Colin mentioned Chicago - that has circa 40 articles. So in any event, we were probably going to have to break them up anyway. There are also logical constraints, for example, if you look at either proposal, both have Union Square listed with the Tenderloin. They may be geographically neighbors, but boy are they different. I can't imagine a meaningful list of "Budget Hotels" in the Tenderloin listed side by side with the budget options of their much ritzier neighbors.

So, if I am correct about that, would that not really satisfy both camps. You could use the official Districtal classification, and for those Districts that are of lesser interest to travelers, you could simply have one article pertaining to the entire district. For other more popular districts, you would have artistic license to merge or concatenate 'Neighborhoods' as you saw fit. Sure, as Colin says, its kinda cheating a little but I think it's here (at the Neighborhood level) that one would really have poetic license to express the culture of the city etc. and you would get to draw lots of colorful lines within the existing Districtal demarkations. So, PerryPlanet would also get to list more popular neighborhoods like Fisherman's' Wharf, separately. As long as they came under the correct Districtal headings on the main San Francisco page, then travelers wouldn't confuse 'Neighborhoods' with 'Districts'. Just a thought. Oops, I feel like I'm holding up the show here, I am happy to go along with the consensus is - I just feel a little uneasy about cracking out the Crayolas and drawing new districtal lines over a city, but if that's the decision - no probs! Asterix 17:07, 25 March 2008 (EDT)

Ah, on second thought Asterix, you might want to post this in the talk page for San Francisco. When I said we should continue the discussion over here, I just meant the bit about the word "districts" and if we should use a different term. I meant it more as a question of general Wikitravel policy rather than about specifically San Francisco (which seems to be the theme of this post). Sorry about the confusion, I really should have made myself more clear. PerryPlanet 17:59, 25 March 2008 (EDT)

Extra-hierarchical regions

We have some regions that are not a part of our geographical hierarchy, but which nonetheless need articles because of their travel importance. Ones that come to mind are Navajo Nation, Great Lakes, Appalachian Mountains, and Alps. Per the suggestion at Talk:Navajo Nation#Travel topic?, I'm asking whether others think it would be a good idea to move away from the region article template for these extra-hierarchical regions and turn them into travel topics instead. Not that this should be a strict rule, but an option for dealing with this quandary. --Peter Talk 21:24, 3 February 2009 (EST)

While I mostly like this idea, would this be a rule or a simply a recommendation? An area like Lake Tahoe really should have its own region guide rather than forcing users to visit the relevant region articles for California and Nevada. Similarly, of the examples cited by Peter, I'd suspect that Great Lakes might be better represented as a disambiguation page. Provided any policy change indicates that extra-regional areas should be redirects, disambiguation pages, travel topics, or actual region articles (in that order of preference) would seem to be the option that best fits in with Wikitravel's existing practice, and best meets the goal of producing an organized and useful travel guide. -- Ryan • (talk) • 21:46, 3 February 2009 (EST)
I think it's a good idea, but it would probably be best handled on a case-by-case basis. An article like the Navajo Nation would, in my opinion, make an excellent travel topic because it's a well-defined place with a unique culture, and there's plenty of advice to offer to travelers regarding that culture and how to travel here. Lake Tahoe in some regards looks like it could definitely be a good travel topic, but on the other hand I'm not entirely sure that's the best direction for the article to take. All I'm saying is we should take a careful look at the place the article is for before we slap the travel topic tag on. PerryPlanet Talk 22:03, 3 February 2009 (EST)
I think we're overanalyzing this. Navajo Nation is a perfectly sensible "region," with a "feel" for the traveler that is more integrated and region-like than the "regions" that contain it. Our guidelines/rules are flexible enough to allow for exceptions if they make sense -- or, if you prefer, "prove the rule." Why get wrapped around the axle when such exceptions arise? -- Bill-on-the-Hill 01:13, 4 February 2009 (EST)
The main problem with overlapping regions is breadcrumb navigation. Should Window Rock be IsIn Navajo Nation or Northern Arizona? Right now it's got two IsIn templates but we can only display one set of breadcrumbs. LtPowers 09:04, 4 February 2009 (EST)
Geographically, Window Rock is in Northern Arizona. WTP? -- Bill-on-the-Hill 09:08, 4 February 2009 (EST)

Deleting outlines

There have since been discussions on the above topic elsewhere, and the main objection to the creation of extra-hierarchical regions is that there is simply no end to the possible pages that could be created, potentially leaving us with endless, pointless region articles. That same argument applies to itineraries, and we have finally come up with a policy to handle those. I suggest we apply the same rule to extra-hierarchical regions—if one sits around for a year and remains an outline, lets delete it. --Peter Talk 10:32, 3 May 2010 (EDT)

I don't think these are as clear a case, especially if the article titles are potential search terms. An extra-hierarchical region like Lake Ontario might never reach beyond an "outline" -- that is, it may never be more than a list of destination guides for cities on the lake, but that doesn't mean it's not worth keeping around. LtPowers 13:31, 3 May 2010 (EDT)

Does every destination deserve a mention in a regional article..

This may have been addressed somewhere already.

Although we only like to have 7-9 things in a list, does every article at least deserve a mention in the higher level regional guide? Or should a region that has so many sub-destinations be divided? Or should it just omit some? --inas 20:33, 6 July 2009 (EDT)

See #New Discussion and #Should every city be listed in *some* region?. -- Ryan • (talk) • 20:43, 6 July 2009 (EDT)
Yeah, I think the goal is to make every destination navigable within the hierarchy, and included in the breadcrumb trail. Functionally, that means if a Region has many more than 9 dependent cities, we should consider further breaking it up into sub-regions. So ideally every destination is mentioned in the immediately higher Region that subsumes it (but obviously may not be mentioned in the region two tiers up). --Jtesla16 21:02, 6 July 2009 (EDT)
Thanks for the pointers to above. --inas 21:27, 6 July 2009 (EDT)
I wonder if we should state this clearly on the policy page as follows. Every destination should be mentioned, with a wiki-link, in at least one other destination article. Cities and Other destinations should be mentioned under those section headings in at least the surrounding Region article. This should normally be the same article mentioned in the IsIn or IsPartOf template. Regions should be mentioned in both the next larger region up in the hierarchy and in all the destinations within that region. Destinations that are close to each other should be mentioned in each other's Get out section, especially if they are not in the same regional hierarchy. Major destinations could and should also be mentioned higher up in the hierarchy, if there is room for them. -- Huttite 23:15, 20 November 2009 (EST)
Bump! Does no response mean acceptance or consensus? In the absence of any comment I am going to now add the above to the policy page. - Huttite 23:18, 4 January 2010 (EST)
If we have a valid article then I'd agree it should be listed in another article somewhere. That said, it is very difficult to come to agreement on regional hierarchies, and if a random user creates a region article that doesn't fit within the existing hierarchies it does more harm than good to add it to another region, so in that case I think that it should either be redirected or deleted. -- Ryan • (talk) • 23:27, 4 January 2010 (EST)
Broadly speaking, I would agree with this, with the same caveat as Ryan gives. I do not think though that we should specify that close destinations should be mentioned in the get out section of an article. Sometimes that makes no sense at all. Get out should be for interesting "where next" options which are easily reached, not necessarily those nearby. --Burmesedays 23:46, 4 January 2010 (EST)
I have to admit to never having understood why everything needs to be linked to, and what the problem is with "orphaned" pages.... I understand linking to popular and likely destinations.... But a tiny one horse town that will only be visited by those with a reason to go will be easily (and more probably) found via search, rather than navigating down from higher regions. Am I missing something else? – cacahuate talk 09:25, 5 January 2010 (EST)
IMHO it's a matter of completeness and organization - regions are very often merely an index, and it makes sense to include a full roster of cities within that region. If a place is truly so small that it doesn't meet the Wikitravel:What is an article? criteria then we would obviously leave it out, but if we have an article it seems like a good rule of thumb that we should figure out where it belongs in our hierarchy and list it there. Giving travelers multiple ways of finding a place (search & region) seems like a win without any real downside. -- Ryan • (talk) • 12:39, 5 January 2010 (EST)
Interconnectedness of pages is part of the basic ethos of a wiki, often referred to as "building the web". The links between articles are the key navigational property of a wiki; any search function is non-optimal in many ways, and generally shouldn't be the primary point of entry for users. It is also not for us to say that some destination is so insignificant as to not be worth mentioning anywhere else -- that a user should only find it if she is looking specifically for that destination. LtPowers 13:36, 5 January 2010 (EST)
that sounds to me more like a yellow pages approach than a travel guide approach. The whole reason to write a travel guide is for the discerning opinion that it provides.... That's it's very nature. So are we a travel guide that uses the wiki framework in a way that serves a travel guide, or is it the otherway around? I want our regions to read as great travel guides, comparable to any other travel guide, which doesn't seem as feasible when they are thought of as indexes, and arranged for those purposes – cacahuate talk 16:54, 5 January 2010 (EST)
Except that we do discern between important and unimportant destinations in deciding at what level of the hierarchy to list them. I definitely agree with your latter point, though, that it hurts our guides when we think of regions as simple indexes—while they often serve the purpose of navigation, there's no reason why we can't also aim to write great region articles, as Burmesedays has done for Bali. --Peter Talk 17:46, 5 January 2010 (EST)
Cacahuate's question presupposes a dichotomy that I don't think necessarily exists. Wikitravel is more than just a collection of travel guides; it's a set of interconnected travel guides. Building those connections wherever possible is what separates us from more pedestrian works. LtPowers 18:54, 5 January 2010 (EST)

7 ± 2

As I understand it, the main guidance here is to divide an area into sub-regions when there are many more than 9 listings, so that the groupings can be made of 7 ± 2 items.

It seems like this idea is also taken to mean 7 ± 2 items per list. I think that's a good policy, and makes sense for the psychological reasons noted. However, it seems like far too often, the guidance of “5-9 listings” is taken to mean “limit of 9,” with few lists displaying the reserve to actually name only 5 to 7 things.

One example of this is that nearly every US state lists 9 top Cities. How can we strengthen this policy to encourage more reserve in list making, or do you prefer the “limit of 9” interpretation? --Jtesla16 20:03, 22 July 2009 (EDT)

It is pretty much a limit usually, the longer lists are ones that just haven't been pruned.... the real exception is closer to the bottom of the hierarchy, we don't want to create new subregions that don't really need their own articles simply to not have more than 9 cities listed in a region – cacahuate talk 20:42, 22 July 2009 (EDT)
That's sort of peripheral to my point. To be more explicit, I don't think every list necessarily has 9 deserving entries. If the guidance is "5-9," then to me the majority of lists would have 5-7 listings, with strong arguments made to allow 9, the hard limit. This is for lists of cities, other destinations, etc., for regions which are already properly subdivided. Like US states, where the list of cities is more in the sense of top cities. --Jtesla16 21:04, 22 July 2009 (EDT)
I think it's just that most regions have so many cities worth visiting that in most cases there's no reason to have fewer than nine. On Mid-Atlantic we never could come up with a ninth city that was far and away above the other unlisted ones, so it's been left at eight. LtPowers 21:29, 22 July 2009 (EDT)
Uh, I kinda forgot we agreed to add Atlantic City to Mid-Atlantic, so never mind that. LtPowers 10:08, 24 July 2009 (EDT)
(Holds true for Mid-Atlantic other destinations, though.) --Peter Talk 10:37, 24 July 2009 (EDT)
Yeah but I was just thinking that there are a couple things missing we could add. LtPowers 13:57, 24 July 2009 (EDT)

7 ± 2 destination rule when no regional breakdown given

One problem with the 7 ± 2 rule is that it is being applied too literally by some editors when there is no deeper regional breakdown given. In my opinion, having 7 ± 2 destinations in an article should be the trigger point for starting to create a new sub-regional hierarchy for that region.

  1. Thus if there are more than 4 destinations given for a region, start thinking about a sub-regional breakdown for that region.
  2. There needs to be at least 2 sub-regions, but try to create 7 ± 2 sub-regions if that is practical and reasonable to do.
  3. If there are no sub-regional breakdowns when the list exceeds 7 ± 2 articles then the list of destinations should be split into two parts, the 7 ± 2 destinations that should stay on the regional page and the destinations that should move to the sub-regional pages. Remember that each destination mentioned in both parts of the lists will also need to appear in a sub-regional article too.
  4. Only after the sub-regional articles have been created and all the destinations listed in those articles should the regional destination list be culled to 7 ± 2 articles.
  5. If destinations are removed from regional articles prematurely, they may become orphan pages. Once this happens it may be extremely difficult to find a home for them, without putting them back onto the regional page they have been removed from; which is a waste of effort.

What do people think of this? -- Huttite 23:41, 20 November 2009 (EST)

I think we basically have already reached these conclusions at Wikitravel_talk:Geographical_hierarchy#Should_every_city_be_listed_in_.2Asome.2A_region.3F. --Peter Talk 03:36, 21 November 2009 (EST)

Optimal districts schemes

Inspired by Stefan's comment here [2], I thought it might be interesting to audit the content size of various well-organized huge cities and compare the size to the districts structure. Here are a bunch, listed in number of districts:


City Total bytes Districts Other articles Population Land area Bytes/district
London 748,000 39 0 7.6 mil 1,610 km² 20,777
New York City 610,000 30 0 8.3 mil 789.4 km² 20,333
Tokyo 436,000 27 0 ~12.8 mil ~21,675 km² 16,148
Chicago 1,088,000 21 4 2.8 mil 588 km² 51,809
Paris 405,000 21 0 2.2 mil 86.9 km² 19,285
San Francisco 750,000 14 0 .8 mil 121 km² 53,571
Beijing 446,000 14 0 17.4 mil 16,801 km² 31,857
Rome 313,000 13 0 2.7 mil 1,285 km² 24,076
Washington, D.C. 626,000 12 0 .6 mil 177 km² 52,166
Singapore 407,000 10 3 5 mil 699 km² 40,700
Copenhagen 487,000 10 0 1.1 mil 455 km² 48,700
Kyoto 203,000 5 0 1.5 mil 1,780 km² 40,600

Note that Beijing, Tokyo, and NYC are possibly not at the final total of district articles they could reach. Other articles (itineraries and travel topics) don't tend to be very long—Chicago's four total to just 71,000 (so the total of districts + main article = 1,017,000 bytes).

Some things stand out as interesting. Chicago, unsurprisingly, has a lot more content than any other city guide. Most Asian cities are a little underdeveloped on our site. The most telling factor in how many districts we get per city seems to be land area x content, with population playing a much smaller role.

Ultimately districts breakdowns will need to be highly tailored to the unique aspects of the city, and we won't be able to determine number of districts arbitrarily, but the land area x content figure is intriguing to me. Another factor that I expect will play a big role in determining the number of districts is actually wealth. Poor cities (per capita) will likely have fewer things for travelers to do, or at least for us to write about in terms of restaurants/bars/hotels/etc., than rich cities, which will have a much greater concentration of travel amenities. We have hardly any data to work with on that front, but Beijing does seem to conform to a land area x content x wealth hypothesis, given the enormous territory it covers. --Peter Talk 17:26, 15 December 2009 (EST)

As per my point on the Shanghai districtification, I think a bytes rather than people or km²'s should be the guiding principle. A useful rule of thumb for an undistrictified city, could be to divide the current size of the city guide with about 20,000 - and try to organise the city into that number of districts - and then work to get them all up to the optimal size, which seems to be ~30-40,000 bytes judging from the current list. --Stefan (sertmann) talk 19:12, 15 December 2009 (EST)
Well, I wouldn't try to force it too much. In particular, I don't think 40,000 bytes is at all an optimal "ceiling" for district articles. Most star district articles are ~50,000+, I believe. Chicago/Loop is about 70,000—and if anything, I think that article is still a little shallow. --Peter Talk 20:39, 15 December 2009 (EST)
Might just be badly worded, what I was trying to get at, is around that ballpark, we start to see districts that "works" well, certainly not trying to say they shouldn't be bigger. --Stefan (sertmann) talk 20:48, 15 December 2009 (EST)
Interesting analysis and Stefan's line of thinking about using bytes analysis to flag districtification is very much on the right lines I believe. A couple of random asides:
  • Isn't it great to be able to call London a well organised city? In no time at all it has gone from an unloved and very ugly duckling to a set of articles that just might end up as something special.
  • If you want a real horror show of a large city, Jakarta. Six district articles and not a piece of prose in sight. May as well be a photocopy of the Yellow Pages. --Burmesedays 22:23, 15 December 2009 (EST)
The reason I included land area & wealth (in addition to bytes) is for considering district schemes for articles that lack content, but some day will probably need to be districted. For example, mega-city Moscow has about 1,000 km² of territory, 10.5 mil people, and a ton of potential content, but terrible coverage on our site at present—less than 100,000 bytes, and no districts scheme. So just looking at land area and population, you might figure we'd one day wind up with >35 districts. Factor in wealth, of which there is plenty, but which is in the hands of a small fraction of that population, and bring that number back down into the twenties.
I came up with that number just off the top of my head, but upon checking what the Russian version has been coming up with, it is indeed 25 (although we're faaaaar away from having a finalized districts scheme). And of course, if we ever get one million bytes of content on Moscow (25 x 40,000), we'd have the best guide to the city in history, which is what we shoot for here at Wikitravel. --Peter Talk 00:29, 16 December 2009 (EST)

We forgot Bangkok ;-)

City Total bytes Districts Other articles Population Land area Bytes/district
Bangkok 620,741 11 3 9.1 mil 1,568 km² 41,382

--globe-trotter 12:14, 29 July 2010 (EDT)

Some useful clarifications

The discussion at Eastern Cambodia is very relevant to this article and I place a link here for future reference. --Burmesedays 23:39, 4 January 2010 (EST)

Handling eat/drink/sleep entry when not in a destination

swept in from the Travellers' pub

I've been wondering this a long time but haven't seen it addressed before. What if you want to add a nice restaurant/bar/inn/whatever, but it's sort of all by itself - not near a city or park. For example "Chinati Hot Springs" [3] - a rustic resort in remote West Texas that's not really near anything (I can think of plenty of other examples, though, too). Marfa and Presidio are probably the closest towns, but it's about equally far from - and quite out-of-the-way of - both. Should I create an a new page for one of the border towns that it's close to, just so this article can have a home (even if there's nothing else to add to that page)? Or can we just add it to the Region (the Help section's literature seems to indicate we should not)? In general, what is the policy? Thanks, Army of me 02:30, 29 September 2009 (EDT)

I'm not sure about policy, but for towns that can never sustain a usable status by itself, I'd prefer it if we used the lowest level regions instead. --Stefan (sertmann) Talk 04:22, 29 September 2009 (EDT)
It might be appropriate to describe such venues in prose rather than as a bulleted listing in its relevant lowest level regional article? If listings start appearing in regional aricles then it opens up a bit of a hornet's nest. --Burmesedays 20:29, 29 September 2009 (EDT)
Nothing is close to anything else in west Texas; even 100 miles is considered close out there, so in this particular case, and since it's a resort, I'd say put it in the Get out section of whatever the nearest town is. Texugo 00:14, 30 September 2009 (EDT)
Before posing this question, I was initially going to handle it as Stefan suggested but I will gladly do it another way if need be. Supposing I did put it in the Get Out section, would I still format it the same way as, say, a Sleep entry (in reference to my example)? Would I include it in both the Marfa and Presidio articles, since it's about as close to both (and thus duplicate information)? I still wonder how to deal with this in general, though - say if it was a restaurant or a bar, would people still be comfortable with putting it in the Get Out section? If it were just prose in the lowest-level regional article, wouldn't the users miss out on useful info such as prices, hours, contact info, etc.? Perhaps it's a flaw in the current system - rigidly boiling down things to a town or a park, that is. Army of me 01:07, 30 September 2009 (EDT)
This is a dilemma. Having any listings in a region article invites others to add listings to that article, and then creates a model upon which new users will think that region articles should have listings, leading them to add listings to other region articles, when they in fact belong in city articles. This causes two problems: touts love putting their listings higher up in the hierarchy, and if a listing belongs in a city, it will often get duplicated in the region article, which is a waste of our work.
But that leaves us with the types of listings you've identified, which really don't belong in the "nearest" city article. I agree with the above, that we should either put these in the get out sections of the nearest article (although that can lead to more duplicate content, as you point out) or in the appropriate lowest-level region article. Neither is a great solution. --Peter Talk 02:44, 30 September 2009 (EDT)
A third option would be to create an article for the resort area. If it's that isolated, it should have a suite of amenities available, shouldn't it, enough to support a stub destination article at least? LtPowers 09:20, 30 September 2009 (EDT)
The term "resort" is actually a bit tongue-in-cheek here. The rooms are somewhat rustic and there's no dining or activities officially "offered" at the resort (though there's plenty of independent hiking and wildlife viewing to be done). But it is known as a waypoint for more adventurous travelers and for its awesome spring-fed baths and pools to soak in (natch) and would be a shame to not include it at Wikitravel. Thanks to everyone for the responses; I can see it's not at all a cut and dry issue and darned if I can see what the best solution is.... Army of me 00:51, 5 October 2009 (EDT)

Very often I stay in "the middle of nowhere" pansions which either are not in a village at all, or are in a village that have no other interest for a traveler. For Sleep, I don't support putting it into GetOut (I'll never find it there when I'm looking for accommodation in the area) or creating a article for a village that worth absolutely no other content (same reason). I vote for sticking to "Sleep" for the nearest town (if there is any), or to a region level--with some policy to patrol additions that should belong to a town level. --DenisYurkin 12:01, 30 September 2009 (EDT)

Cities and Regions

swept in from the Travellers' pub

In my work on China and Denmark I have noticed that a certain region will often have a number of municipalities (or prefectures) each having one large city and a number of smaller towns where the large city is large enough to have its own article but where the other towns are not. Is it then acceptable to create an article for the large city and include listings also for the surrounding towns in that or would it be better to create both a region article for the municipality/prefecture (with listings for the surrounding towns but no listings for the large city) and a city article for the large city (with listings only for the city)? And if the first alternative is chosen, should it then be considered a city article or a region article? ClausHansen 18:13, 29 September 2009 (EDT)

Are you sure the towns can't support their own articles? A town has to be pretty darn small not to be considered worthy of a destination article. If there's anything to do there, you might as well create an article. LtPowers 18:49, 29 September 2009 (EDT)
As for Denmark, I presume we are talking about the small towns on Zealand eh? they usually don't have a place to sleep, and hence disqualifies. I tend to put such listings in the largest nearest town, or breaking the MOS and putting them in lowest region article in the hierarchy. --Stefan (sertmann) Talk 19:02, 29 September 2009 (EDT)
I agree with with LtPowers that if there anything significant to see or do there, and it is more than just an attraction seen from another town, it should have its own article. If the town is an attraction best seen from another city, and there is nowhere to sleep thee, include the info in the neighboring city article. Regions should be summary articles, and not contain see and do information for towns without hotels. --inas 01:55, 30 September 2009 (EDT)

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