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Wikitravel talk:Geographical hierarchy

51,175 bytes added, 22:19, 27 April 2012
Weak regions
: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. [[User:PerryPlanet|PerryPlanet]] 17:59, 25 March 2008 (EDT)
== Widely spaced attractions ==
''Swept in from the [[pub]]'':
So, I'm working on the [[Finger Lakes]] article. I added a bunch of cities to the article as I was building the map you see there now, because this is the lowest-level region in the hierarchy. (In New York right now, counties are linked but most don't have articles.) The problem with this is that outside of Rochester (especially) and some of the larger lake communities, most of the villages have just a few attractions here and there. There are also some attractions that would be of interest to Finger Lakes travelers but aren't located in a municipality that could support a standalone article. (Example: Finger Lakes Gaming and Race Track in Farmington -- it's really the only thing in Farmington, but it's an important location and arguably too far from Victor or Canandaigua to include in their articles.)
So how much of what the [[Wikitravel:Region article template|Region article template]] says ("Region articles tend to be more "soft", discussing the people, culture, climate, and cuisine in the region, rather than the legalistic stuff that's in a country article, or the addresses-and-phone-numbers stuff that's in a city article.") is universally applicable? Is it okay to have attractions in the region article alone, or must all attractions ("addresses-and-phone-numbers stuff") be in a city article of some sort? If the latter, at what level can we combine two cities (say, [[Waterloo (New York)]] and [[Seneca Falls (New York)]], which are about three miles apart, smaller than the size of the markers on the map)?
Thanks for any input.
-- [[User:LtPowers|LtPowers]] 15:57, 10 June 2008 (EDT)
:Hey there, welcome! Basically, an attraction or any sort of listing should go as low in the hierarchy as possible... if you have a lodge in a remote part of a county that's not in or just outside of a city, then you could list it in the region article instead. Or, if it's just outside of a city, list it in the "Get out" section of that city, which is meant for nearby towns and attractions (or likely next destinations).
:So in any given section on a region/county article, you'll possibly have a mix of two things: A description of highlights of the region, possibly including one-liners pointing to a specific attraction in a city... and then you'll have attractions, lodges, etc that are remote and can't be pushed further down the hierarchy.
:Regarding cities, our general rule is that if you can sleep there, it's ok to have an article on it. If Waterloo and Seneca Falls are two distinct cities, even that close, then we should have 2 articles... [[Islamabad]] and [[Rawalpindi]] are in a similar situation, but both deserve articles. Hope that helps! &ndash; [[User:Cacahuate|<font color="green">cacahuate</font>]] <sup><small>[[User talk:Cacahuate|<font color="blue">talk</font>]]</small></sup> 20:56, 10 June 2008 (EDT)
::OK, so generally, it's okay to have an article on a particular municipality even if there aren't many attractions to list?
::The other question that comes to mind is dealing with suburbs. In the case of Rochester, it's almost absurd to limit oneself to attractions within the official city limit, because the city limit is pretty meaningless to a traveler. Is it suitable to include suburban attractions within a city article, and if so, how far out? [[User:LtPowers|LtPowers]] 22:38, 10 June 2008 (EDT)
:::If the attractions are in places that are not destinations themselves (no or minimal places to sleep), then it's OK to put them in the city article itself, even if they are technically outside city limits. [[The traveller comes first]]. [[User:Jpatokal|Jpatokal]] 01:55, 11 June 2008 (EDT)
::::No, that isn't the case. There are plenty of places to sleep outside the city limits; in fact many of them will be the first choices for people visiting the city, precisely because the city limits are relatively meaningless to the average traveler. Even the airport is outside the city limits. What I'm saying is that in the city article, it seems silly to leave out (say) information on the area shopping malls simply because they're a couple of miles beyond the city border; the same goes for countless other restaurants and tourist attractions. [[User:LtPowers|LtPowers]] 09:38, 11 June 2008 (EDT)
:::::In that case I would do the same as I would do in a region article... list the attraction in the actual article where it should be, provided that the nearby city/suburb has its own article, and then put some sort of pointer on the metropolis page. See [[Los Angeles#Parks]], where I just did that with Six Flags Magic Mountain &ndash; [[User:Cacahuate|<font color="green">cacahuate</font>]] <sup><small>[[User talk:Cacahuate|<font color="blue">talk</font>]]</small></sup> 14:20, 11 June 2008 (EDT)
:::::If the city limits are meaningless to the average traveller, then they should be ignored in the travel guide as well. So if Motel 7 is just across the county line, and the said county has too little of interest to warrant its own article, then just slap it into Rochester. [[User:Jpatokal|Jpatokal]] 00:57, 12 June 2008 (EDT)
::::::Like how the Buffalo Bills are listed in the [[Buffalo (New York)]] article even though they play in Orchard Park? Thanks for the advice both of you. [[User:LtPowers|LtPowers]] 09:11, 13 June 2008 (EDT)
== Article Hierarchies ==
''Swept in from the [[Pub]]'':
How much information to add to a lower level article that is already in a high level article? For example every article in Australia for coastal cities seems to have the same information on staying safe at the beach, sunscreen, swim between the flags, what to do in rips. There are three possible approaches I can see.
# Include the info at every level of the hierarchy
# Include the info at the top level only, and assume that every visitor to the city/town level article should be aware of the info at the top level
# Include a link to the top level information at the city/town level, when it is relevant to the City/Town.
I'm inclined to do the third. I know we want the articles to be printable, etc, but there is some information which is contained in the guide that should be accurate and verifiable, and it is certainly easier to do this if the information isn't repeated 100+ times in every sub-article. Any other opinions? --[[User:Inas|Inas]] 20:00, 29 October 2008 (EDT)
:In general info should go at the highest level that it applies to... we don't need to describe what an autorickshaw is on every Indian city page, just in the India article. However if there's something specific about rickshaws in Bangalore that is relevant to the traveler, then it should be note on the Bangalore page. With safety info, I think pretty much the same should apply. But if riptides are a particular hazard at a specific beach in Australia, it should be noted I think on the city/beach page too &ndash; [[User:Cacahuate|<font color="green">cacahuate</font>]] <sup><small>[[User talk:Cacahuate|<font color="blue">talk</font>]]</small></sup> 12:10, 30 October 2008 (EDT)
:Yes, the third option is the way to go: generic/universal info at country level, and reminders plus links in from lower pages when applicable. Duplicating eg. safety info is still OK in my book (it changes rarely if ever), but fast-changing/extensive stuff like currency info, local cuisine etc should be on the main page only. [[User:Jpatokal|Jpatokal]] 15:49, 30 October 2008 (EDT)
::Do we really need links in every applicable article? It already leads to much duplication, and one-time contributors frequently expand every mention in lower level with some details that should belong to higher level (and sometimes are there already). See [[Spain]] and its regions / cities: [[Barcelona]], [[Bilbao]], [[San Sebastian]] as an example of much duplication. Why not the first option? --[[User:DenisYurkin|DenisYurkin]] 18:47, 30 October 2008 (EDT)
:::No, just when it's really necessary and applicable. If riptides are strong all along the California coast, then discuss that at [[California]]. But if they are particularly strong in Santa Barbara, then it should be noted on that page too, especially since it's a safety issue. &ndash; [[User:Cacahuate|<font color="green">cacahuate</font>]] <sup><small>[[User talk:Cacahuate|<font color="blue">talk</font>]]</small></sup> 19:47, 30 October 2008 (EDT)
::: In tropical Australia just about every article has some mention of Crocodiles. The information in every article is different, with different advice, and a different assessment of the relative chances of becoming supper. This info is really quite important, almost to the point that it should probably be referenced. Again, I might look at just including a reference to the common information in the higher level article, and any specific information for the location in the lower level. I'll see if it results in too much ugliness. --[[User:Inas|Inas]] 01:39, 31 October 2008 (EDT)
::::I agree with the above comments that advice should be at the highest level (usually this would mean country, but for big cities sometimes at the city level.) I don't see the need for cross referencing in most cases, though it sometimes may be appropriate, usually through a brief internal link. In particular, I think (though it often isn't done, which is why I'm mentioning it) that comments on food, safety, and scams should be put on the highest level unless they refer to special local conditions: if moussakas and souvlaki are described in the Greece food section, there's no need to mention them in the Mykonos section, unless you're recommending someplace there that does these dishes especially well. But local specialties should be described on the specific local page rather than the national one. [[User:Sailsetter|Sailsetter]] 19:19, 16 November 2008 (EST)
:Methinks that if we are going to want to say or refer to the same information in hundreds of articles, and it is going to be (almost) the same thing every time, then we need to say it once, in one place, definitively. Most Safety information about beaches in [[Australia]] is probably going to be similar to that in [[New Zealand]], [[Hawaii]], [[California]], [[South Africa]] and even [[Europe]]. If there is country specific variation in information this might still be able to be included in a general article. I think this falls into the [[Wikitravel:Other ways of seeing travel|Other ways of seeing travel]] and [[Travel topics]]. I would suggest, for this type of "we cannot stress this enough" or "if you ignore this you could die" safety information, a separate article that can be linked to is needed. Simply referring to the information within a country or regional article, or assuming it will be referred to even if it is not mentioned is inadequate. -- [[User:Huttite|Huttite]] 04:55, 13 January 2009 (EST)
==Extra-hierarchical regions==
| 455 km²
| 48,700
| [[Detroit]]
| 164,000
| 6
| 0
| 714,000
| 359 km2
| 27,300
| [[Kyoto]]
::::Who is being confused by this? Is there an interlinguistic problem? --[[User:Peterfitzgerald|Peter]] <small><sup>[[User_talk:Peterfitzgerald|Talk]]</sup></small> 01:03, 15 August 2011 (EDT)
:::::The more this discussion evolves, the more I am thinking that things should stay as they are. The confusion only seems to be apparent with WT editors. I think that users will understand perfectly well what a region is, regardless of the Wikitravel template used. --[[User:Burmesedays|Burmesedays]] 01:33, 15 August 2011 (EDT)
::::::The problem is that Bougainville could be considered a region in the traditional sense, but it is not a region on Wikitravel because it does not contain any destinations linked from it. A traveler would expect a region to contain linked destinations, instead of it being a destination itself. The discussion here is about our definition of a region: is it a large piece of land or is it a container that functions as an umbrella for underlying destinations? I've always used it in the latter sense. --[[User:Globe-trotter|globe-trotter]] 12:41, 15 August 2011 (EDT)
:::::::I'm not sure the average reader knows that "a region is a container that functions as an umbrella for underlying destinations." That's how ''we'' define an article that uses the Region template, but I don't think the "Regions" section heading was ever meant to mean exclusively "articles with a region template". [[User:LtPowers|LtPowers]] 08:59, 16 August 2011 (EDT)
The basic problem here is that we now are entering a phase in the evolution of the site where we get regions that have unbalanced subdivisions. If you imagine our hierarchy as a tree, our destination guides are "leaf nodes" -- or nodes in the tree that have nothing "below" them. Our article templates were designed under the assumption that all subnodes of a particular article are either leaf nodes or not leaf nodes, but here in PNG we have a case where some subnodes are leaf nodes and some are not.
The way I see it, there are two main routes we could go to resolve this: 1) loosen our strict hierarchy-based article templates to allow for different types of subnodes, or 2) group all of the leaf nodes together into a region.
-- [[User:LtPowers|LtPowers]] 08:59, 16 August 2011 (EDT)
:That's an extremely helpful explanation of where we find ourselves. One thing I am sure of is that nobody other than WT editors will expect a region article to necessarily lead to other destination articles. --[[User:Burmesedays|Burmesedays]] 09:30, 16 August 2011 (EDT)
::Uh oh, I'm a WT editor who ''doesn't'' necessarily expect a region article to lead to other destination articles. But I do agree with Burmesedays' sentiment. Of LtPowers' two options, I prefer (1) for a couple of reasons. One, I think it better reflects the messy reality of the world (Bougainville is a good example). Two, I think the rigid hierarchy will cause us to create region pages just for the sake of having a container -- which I don't think is clear or helpful to the traveller (an example of this would be creating an Offshore Islands region just to deal with Bougainville). -[[User:Shaund|Shaund]] 14:15, 17 August 2011 (EDT)
:::Not necessarily, if we follow the precedent for Continental Sections on the [[Europe]] page -- note that we group [[Greece]], [[Cyprus]], and [[Turkey]] on the map and in the regionlist, but there is no [[Greece, Cyprus, and Turkey]] page. Maybe a similar approach would work for the outlying islands of PNG? [[User:LtPowers|LtPowers]] 15:11, 17 August 2011 (EDT)
::::That's true -- I did the same thing to deal with [[New Zealand#Regions|New Zealand's offshore islands]] -- and maybe it will work for PNG (I don't know much about PNG so I'll leave that to those who know better). But I'm not sure if that approach will work in all situations. For example, one of British Columbia's top-level regions can be broken down into three subregions, two that fit the WT definition of a region and one that would probably be a destination guide (large land area with a few hamlets that have stores while the activities/attractions are in parks and ranches in the middle of nowhere). I imagine there are other situations too, so I'd still like to see some flexibility in how regions are defined. -[[User:Shaund|Shaund]] 21:59, 17 August 2011 (EDT)
I attempted to add information on "Other divisions" to the policy article, and am hoping that I struck a note acceptable (if not perfectly in step with) the fairly diverse opinions in this and other discussions. If it seems objectionable, please help come up with a better compromise-ish version here, so we can change it for the better. --[[User:Peterfitzgerald|Peter]] <small><sup>[[User_talk:Peterfitzgerald|Talk]]</sup></small> 11:49, 30 September 2011 (EDT)
== Regional hierarchy ==
How do we handle the situation where a region straddles more than one state? E.g. [[Harz]] is currently subordinate to the state of [[Saxony-Anhalt]], yet the western half lies in [[Lower Saxony]] and there is even a small area in the state of [[Thuringia]]. This leads to a problem with towns in the Harz, like [[Braunlage]], looking as if they are in Saxony-Anhalt, when in fact they are in Lower Saxony. --[[User:SaxonWarrior|SaxonWarrior]] 16:39, 11 June 2011 (EDT)
:Whew, there are a lot of convoluted discussions I could link to answer this, but let me summarize and see if anyone takes issue:
:Treat [[Harz]] as an '''extra-hierarchical''' article. In other words, direct the breadcrumbs around it. Have [[Braunlage]], while linking elsewhere in the article to [[Harz]], direct to [[Lower Saxony]]. So: <nowiki>{{isPartOf|Lower Saxony}}</nowiki> instead of <nowiki>{{isPartOf|Harz}}</nowiki> (sorry if I'm over-explaining). --[[User:Peterfitzgerald|Peter]] <small><sup>[[User_talk:Peterfitzgerald|Talk]]</sup></small> 17:52, 11 June 2011 (EDT)
: [[Wikitravel:Geographical hierarchy#Overlap]] has details. In general try to avoid regions that span multiple parent regions except in rare cases (and this may be one). -- [[User:Wrh2|Ryan]] &bull; ([[User talk:Wrh2|talk]]) &bull; 23:24, 11 June 2011 (EDT)
::The Eifel region straddles both [[North Rhine-Westphalia]] and [[Rhineland-Palatinate]]. I have solved this problem by calling the area in NRW [[North Eifel]] and the area in RL-P [[South Eifel]], making the [[Eifel]] page a disambiguation. The same idea could be applied to the [[Harz]], making the pages [[Upper Harz]] and [[Lower Harz]]. --[[User:Globe-trotter|globe-trotter]] 08:38, 12 June 2011 (EDT)
:::That might work for the Harz (ignoring Thuringia) if the boundaries fit - I'll have a look at that. However, there is the risk elsewhere, I guess, of creating non-standard terms and regions simply to fit a Wiki format. "Ore Mountains" is another one: it straddles the German-Czech border. --[[User:SaxonWarrior|SaxonWarrior]] 07:29, 14 June 2011 (EDT)
::::Forcing awkward regions to fit our own structure is what we really should avoid. We need to have an unbroken breadcrumb trail leading back up the hierarchy from the bottom, but it's not a problem to have additional extra-hierarchical region articles that provide another way of understanding an area. This is something that sometimes trips up the people (us) doing the organization, but is very unlikely to confuse readers if done properly. --[[User:Peterfitzgerald|Peter]] <small><sup>[[User_talk:Peterfitzgerald|Talk]]</sup></small> 09:47, 14 June 2011 (EDT)
== Policy/convention question - hierarchy-related ==
So, the question [[Talk:New York (state)#Regions again, again|has come up]] regarding why we tend to divide regions into strict subregions, rather than allowing (as a matter of course) subregions to have multiple parent regions. Of course, we have for some time now allowed occasional exceptions where it would be perverse not to -- [[Lake Tahoe]], for instance. But it seems to me that in general, we prefer subregions to be entirely contained within a single parent region.
The problem is that I can't find this convention clearly written down anyway. [[Wikitravel:Geographical hierarchy]] certainly implies it to me, but apparently not to everyone. Is there something I'm missing here?
-- [[User:LtPowers|LtPowers]] 13:51, 26 August 2011 (EDT)
: The [[Wikitravel:Geographical hierarchy#Overlap]] section was meant to cover overlapping regions, although perhaps it needs more detail? The three most relevant sentences of that section would be "If we have overlapping guides, readers don't know where to go to get travel information, and contributors don't know where to put travel information. It's also easier to draw maps for a destination if none of the parts of the destination overlap... No two regions at the same level of the hierarchy should overlap." -- [[User:Wrh2|Ryan]] &bull; ([[User talk:Wrh2|talk]]) &bull; 13:59, 26 August 2011 (EDT)
::Yeah, but we're not talking about overlap, but rather one region with two parents. So the cities on, say the west side of a county are in one superregion while the cities on the east side are in a different superregion -- but we have the county as a whole as a single region article with both superregion articles as parents. There's technically no overlap between "two regions at the same level". [[User:LtPowers|LtPowers]] 14:32, 26 August 2011 (EDT)
::: I think that's the same issue though - the county overlaps two parent regions. [[Lake Tahoe]] and [[Russia]] are obvious examples of where this rule is broken, and [[Wikitravel:Geographical hierarchy]] covers that case, but per the existing guidelines: "...if a subregion is commonly understood as belonging to more than one parent region... it is perfectly fine to list it in both parent regions as long ''as this does not create significant content overlap''. A region's breadcrumb trail, however, will display only a single parent region in a strict hierarchical fashion." If that guidance is being understood as a broad permission to create non-hierarchical regions rather than a rare exception I'd be in favor of updating the policies to make it clearer that overlapping regions should be a rarity in order to make it easier to keep the site organized. -- [[User:Wrh2|Ryan]] &bull; ([[User talk:Wrh2|talk]]) &bull; 15:37, 26 August 2011 (EDT)
::::There are several issues here that are getting muddled together under the notion of a "strict hierarchy/strict subregions" (I have no idea what that really means).
::::1) The way we prevent unhelpful overlap is to create a hierarchy that—at each level of the hierarchy—there are no gaps nor overlap. This is a simple enough rule to follow, and is useful to prevent the problem of people not sure where to put information (this is far more important at the bottom level, where we have actual listings, rather than creative descriptions and interpretations of various regions).
::::2) Single parents. This has been discussed several times, and the verdict both in discussion and the policy article itself has always been that, while single parents can do an excellent job, it never hurts to have two. Russia provides an elucidating example. It clearly belongs to both Asia and Europe, and to omit it from either continent article in pursuit of some vague parochial notion would be absurd. This does not create any significant problems of overlap, however, as the boundaries at each level of the hierarchy are defined: Europe and Asia are bounded by the Urals, Russia's official borders separate it from neighboring regions and countries. The only real problem is with our breadcrumb navigation, and this is a problem ideally solved via a technical solution, which would allow us to create a breadcrumb trail for Vladivostok (for example) that would navigate back to Asia, not Europe.
::::3) New York's regional division should be tweaked anyway, to do away with artificial county borders when they are formed in ways that are not helpful to travelers.
::::4) Non-hierarchical regions. These actually have nothing to do with what LtPowers is discussing. --[[User:Peterfitzgerald|Peter]] <small><sup>[[User_talk:Peterfitzgerald|Talk]]</sup></small> 16:42, 26 August 2011 (EDT)
:::::(edit conflict) Well, the issue in question is [[Ulster County]], which a new user would like to split between [[Hudson Valley]] and [[Catskills]]. And that's fine; our regions don't have to follow county boundaries. The problem is that he seems to want a single [[Ulster County]] article with two parents -- Hudson Valley for the eastern part and Catskills for the western part. While this sort of thing is allowed (Lake Tahoe is not in both Nevada and California simultaneously, after all; it's partly in Nevada and partly in California), I don't think it's the best option in this case. If Ulster County is to be split between two regions, we should keep it split. And I don't think the "overlap" section of the hierarchy policy page addresses that case. [[User:LtPowers|LtPowers]] 16:48, 26 August 2011 (EDT)
:::::: Is there a pointer to the discussion that "Single parents. This has been discussed several times, and the verdict both in discussion and the policy article itself has always been that, while single parents can do an excellent job, it never hurts to have two" ??? My impression has always been that this should be a rarity, and is only done in cases where it would be confusing NOT to do it - for example, claiming that Russia is in Asia only, or that Lake Tahoe is solely in California. In all other cases we generally try to come up with structures that are very hierarchical, and use disambiguation pages where that doesn't work (example: [[Knowledge Corridor]]). No? -- [[User:Wrh2|Ryan]] &bull; ([[User talk:Wrh2|talk]]) &bull; 17:31, 26 August 2011 (EDT)
::::::::[[Talk:Turkey#Who.27s_your_daddy.3F]] and [[Wikitravel_talk:Geographical_hierarchy#Single_parents]] are what I find right away. [[Wikitravel_talk:Geographical_hierarchy#Extra-hierarchical_regions]] is tangential, but still worthwhile reading. Bill's last comment especially.
::::::::[[Knowledge Corridor]] was created as a disambiguation page for an article which we did not feel met our article criteria—it's not really a travel region at all and does not merit an article. (For this reason, I didn't see why we needed the disambiguation page at all.) The argument, as I understood it, was that it might anyway be helpful with navigation. But again, this is a different issue from the question of parenthood—multiple parents is a way of having more intuitive indexing of our articles.
::::::::As an aside, I think we organizers sometimes get a little too wrapped up in the desire for internal neatness, possibly at the expense of intuitiveness and generally helpful organization for the reader. John's comment—''"I've spent a significant fraction of my life dealing professionally with geographic data architecture, and I don't think it's arrogant to assert that I know a lot about what does and does not work -- and an arborescence doesn't"''—is a stronger statement than I would make, but the basic point that geographical reality does not always conform to a perfect tree structure, and it thus can be counterproductive to try and force it, if our real goal is to produce travel content and navigation that is intuitive and commonsensical.
::::::::Lastly, lets really keep in mind Bill's comment in all of these situations: WTP? Because it's rarely clear to me. --[[User:Peterfitzgerald|Peter]] <small><sup>[[User_talk:Peterfitzgerald|Talk]]</sup></small> 17:53, 26 August 2011 (EDT)
: (Re-indenting) Re: WTP - the most significant is the breadcrumb trails, and given the current site ownership that seems unlikely to ever be fixed; currently it's misleading to see [[Siberia]] listed under [[Europe]] in the breadcrumb. The second is map-making: an occasional extra-hierarchical region is fine, but in any significance they can turn messy. I don't know that this is a desire for "internal neatness" rather than an attempt to be clear and consistent.
: That said, I'm still not sure whether you're proposing anything different from what LtPowers and I seem to be arguing: that extra-hierarchical regions be used only when it would make less sense NOT to use them. [[Turkey]], [[Russia]], [[Lake Tahoe]] and the [[Navajo Nation]] are all travel destinations and clearly-defined regions, and splitting them up for hierarchical purposes would be absurd. However, [[Ulster County]] may not make sense as a travel region and might thus make more sense as a disambiguation page, thus preserving a clear hierarchy. Does that make sense? Or are you proposing that extra-hierarchical regions aren't really something that we need to be trying to avoid where possible? -- [[User:Wrh2|Ryan]] &bull; ([[User talk:Wrh2|talk]]) &bull; 19:29, 26 August 2011 (EDT)
::I was more arguing that we are not talking about extra-hierarchical regions :P (And agreed, the one real problem is with breadcrumbs, but it would be a shame to let our tech mismanagement force us to fit our content and content organization to a bad technical set up.) But if we are going to discuss extra-hierarchical regions, then yes, I don't think they are so scary. Since they are extra-hierarchical, there is no reason to put them on the regions maps, since their purpose is just to better explain a real travel region, not for the purpose of navigating the hierarchy. I'll go back to my usual example of [[Great Lakes]]. It's not a part of our hierarchy, but it's a nice article to have, and does no harm that I can see. The [[Chesapeake Bay]] article is a lot less well developed and messy, but it seems obvious that we would want an article about it (I personally would certainly benefit read a well-developed travel article about it), and again, it's not doing any harm listed as an Other Destination. In that conversation linked above, I suggested calling such articles "travel topics," which presumably wouldn't offend anyone's organizational sensibilities, but that would just be us falling into a sort of parochial overthinking—the Great Lakes ''is'' a region. --[[User:Peterfitzgerald|Peter]] <small><sup>[[User_talk:Peterfitzgerald|Talk]]</sup></small> 19:37, 26 August 2011 (EDT)
:::So do you think we should have an [[Ulster County]] article ''and'' a (say) [[Eastern Catskills]] article that covers the same geographic area as the western part of Ulster County? That seems even worse than just having a single Ulster County article as a subregion of both Hudson Valley and Catskills. [[User:LtPowers|LtPowers]] 22:37, 26 August 2011 (EDT)
::::No, I do not. --[[User:Peterfitzgerald|Peter]] <small><sup>[[User_talk:Peterfitzgerald|Talk]]</sup></small> 22:48, 26 August 2011 (EDT)
:::::Okay, then I guess I'm looking for a policy or guideline that I can point to to explain ''why'' we don't want an Ulster County article if it's split between two regions. [[User:LtPowers|LtPowers]] 10:06, 27 August 2011 (EDT)
::::::The problem is the use of counties in [[New York (state)]] as regions, while counties don't match up with travelers' geography. --[[User:Globe-trotter|globe-trotter]] 11:11, 27 August 2011 (EDT)
:::::::(Edit conflict-- I was expounding on the same point:)
:::::::I'd say the question is mainly "should we even have all these county articles at all?" We eliminated them from most other states long ago, and even after all this time, New York's county articles are still not in good shape. All but one of New York's top level regions currently break down into counties (total of 45 mentioned), but almost half of them (21) are still red links, and the majority of the ones that ''have'' been created contain little more than a city list. Certainly if these counties are not the most useful way for us to divide the territory, and if they don't even match up with the parent regions (see [[Finger Lakes]] for yet 3 more cases of counties overlapping multiple parent regions), then I think we need to stop insisting on using them as regions at all. [[User:Texugo|texugo]] 12:02, 27 August 2011 (EDT)
::::::::I don't have any knowledge of these particular cases, but I suspect the issue is as pointed out by Globe-trotter and Texugo. New York State is a 2nd level region of the US. Then New York State is split into a further 9 third level regions, and then there are '''45''' bottom level regions (or counties). So a second level region (a state) has spawned a further 54 region articles. Surely, that can't be the right way to go.--[[User:Burmesedays|burmesedays]] 12:37, 27 August 2011 (EDT)
:::::::::We're getting off-topic here. Counties were used as a convenient way to measure where region boundaries should go, but we deviate from them where necessary (as with [[Finger Lakes]]). With [[Niagara Frontier]], I felt that county boundaries (with one county split in half) was the best way to organize the region. Other than that, we list counties a) because most NY regions haven't been otherwise subdivided yet, and b) because many of the counties mostly have their own tourism organizations and web sites, making them fairly convenient as travel regions.
:::::::::But the issue here is that we have a user who wants to place information in the Ulster County article while insisting that the county be both in the Catskills region and in the Hudson Valley region. He said he read [[Wikitravel:Geographical hierarchy]] and that the "Overlap" section validated his plan by allowing multiple parent regions. My contention is that it should be avoided where possible, but I don't have any policy document to point to. [[User:LtPowers|LtPowers]] 13:41, 27 August 2011 (EDT)
::::::::::I think John seemed amenable to retooling the hierarchy? While this discussion has been interesting, I don't think this particular matter is as much a matter of policy as it is a matter of rethinking the particulars of the NY state divisions. --[[User:Peterfitzgerald|Peter]] <small><sup>[[User_talk:Peterfitzgerald|Talk]]</sup></small> 21:59, 27 August 2011 (EDT)
:::::::::::The problem is that the county was only listed as being in the Catskills region, while a part of it also lies in the Hudson Valley. Thus, the user got confused when looking at the Hudson Valley page and not seeing the county listed there. For this situation, two parent regions are necessary as the county spans two tourist regions. This is possible and done before, such as with the [[Harz|Harz Mountains]] in Germany, a region with both [[Lower Saxony]] and [[Saxony-Anhalt]] as parent regions. The only problem with this is the breadcrumb trail, but there is no real solution for that (and probably not anytime soon). In the New York case it would be even better if these counties were eliminated at all, and turned into tourist regions (and it seems like the Hudson Valley needs to be reconsidered, as the region on Wikitravel looks out of touch with the map at the NY tourist board []. Also the Metro New York region is problematic, and probably needs to be an extra-hierarchical region or be left out altogether as it spans multiple states). --[[User:Globe-trotter|globe-trotter]] 01:11, 29 August 2011 (EDT)
::::::::::::<s>None</s> Only one of our New York regions matches the state's tourism site. I didn't realize that was a problem... it's never been a problem before. [[User:LtPowers|LtPowers]] 21:47, 29 August 2011 (EDT)
:::::::::::::Obviously the regional scheme doesn't have to match those of the tourist board. But I think some changes could be made, especially to the Hudson Valley and Metro New York (and maybe also cut off Long Island east of New York as tourism there is of a different nature than in the big city). County borders could help in some of these divisions, but are confusing in others (such as the Hudson Valley). --[[User:Globe-trotter|globe-trotter]] 22:05, 29 August 2011 (EDT)
== How to deal with villages ==
I wonder where do we really list villages or rural areas. Do we place them under the "cities" list or under the list of "other destinations"? In [[South Limburg]] this has become a problem, where small villages are listed in "other destinations" while the bigger towns are listed under "cities". The same logic is applied at [[North Zealand]]. However, I believe the Other Destinations section was originally aimed at destinations like national parks, ruins or other geographical features like canyons and volcanoes. How should we deal with this? --[[User:Globe-trotter|globe-trotter]] 17:36, 5 August 2011 (EDT)
:If a village has its own article, I would put it under cities. But if an articles covers several villages or a rural area, I would put it under other destinations, --[[User:ClausHansen|ClausHansen]] 17:56, 5 August 2011 (EDT)
::Yes, the MOS allows the "Cities" heading to change to whatever is necessary to describe the communities listed therein -- but whatever you call it, all communities go in there. [[User:LtPowers|LtPowers]] 18:56, 5 August 2011 (EDT)
:::I'm sorry, that was my mistake, I confused up the titles. I meant to use "Other towns and villages", like Burmesedays suggested on [[Talk:Limburg(Netherlands) and like he did in [[Central_Java]]. I'll change that now. For South Limburg, putting all the villages under cities would be far to many. The area has 18 municipalities and tens of villages, most of which have several options to stay and eat since it is a touristic region. And then I'm not even talking of all the hamlets, which in some cases meet the article criteria too.
:::Now, [[South Limburg]] lists only the largest towns (under cities) and most interesting (arguably, of course) other settlements. I was in fact wondering what would be ideal. I do think it is most useful for a traveler to have an idea of which towns are the more interesting ones, with a link there. But what is the policy? Should a regional article ideally have '''all''' the settlements linked? Splitting up into regions might seem good from a "systemic" point of view, but really isn't from a travelers one (as discussed on Talk:Limburg too). The South Limburg region as a whole is commonly and broadly regarded as "one" travelers destination so a solid overview article with pointers on where to go seems best. However, the whole "cities" header is more a systemic functionality, as a place like Geleen or Heerlen is less interesting than some of the tiny places around. [[User:Justme|Justme]] 19:34, 5 August 2011 (EDT)
::::Twelve (which is the number of communities listed on [[South Limburg]]) is around the point where we like to see a region subdivided into subregions. But if there's really no good way to do so, twelve is probably a tolerable number (we prefer five to nine). But however you do it, they all go under the same heading. You could, if it's really useful to the traveler, have two lists under that heading, each alphabetized individually. [[User:LtPowers|LtPowers]] 20:29, 5 August 2011 (EDT)
:::::Here is an example of how a grouping of villages can be treated as an Other destination. At [[Bali]] you will see [[Amed]] listed as an OD. The Amed article covers 7 villages along a 14 km strip of coastline.--[[User:Burmesedays|Burmesedays]] 20:46, 5 August 2011 (EDT)
::::::Ah, looks good. Quite similar as I have done for [[Wijdemeren]] at [[Gooi and Vecht Region]]. [[South Limburg]] could easily be turned into a couple further subdivisions as shown by the tourist board. --[[User:Globe-trotter|globe-trotter]] 22:28, 5 August 2011 (EDT)
:::::::Well, splitting up is an option, although.that is a rather arbitrary thing, with the Tourist board having their own version. For them, it is just a further split with '''all''' info also directly available through their main portal. Since the region /as a whole/ is the destination for most people (it's just a 20 x 20 km stretch with some millions of tourists spending the night each year), I do think the main [[South Limburg]] article should list the most interesting places across any subregions.
:::::::It's not 12 communities, that's just the ones I believe are most interesting, plus the largest ones. However, it now does /not/ list all (18) municipalities. A place like [[Epen]] is a popular destination and should be mentioned in [[South Limburg]], but it's not a municipality of its own. I don't think this region is comparable really to [[Wijdemeren]] or [[Amed]]. South Limburg is highly touristic, with many village receiving so many people that they have a tourist office of their own. A place like Valkenburg has some 6000 inhabitants but 1.2 million tourist overnight stays per year and millions of visitors for the day. [[User:Justme|Justme]] 06:28, 6 August 2011 (EDT)
::::::::I would suggest you finish the article, adding every place that you think warrants it, and then it can be re-assessed.--[[User:Burmesedays|Burmesedays]] 06:33, 6 August 2011 (EDT)
==Weak regions==
The vast, overwhelming majority of our region articles have failed to develop beyond bleak outlines containing links to cities and other regions. [[User:Gorilla Jones]] remarked to me a long while back that the weirdest thing about reading our guides is starting at a well developed country article, then moving down the hierarchy through several virtually empty garbage articles sprinkled with the occasional spam listing or vandal poo, and arriving at a brilliant huge city guide of a higher quality than any printed guide.
Why do our region guides suck? What do we need to improve our site with regards to them? Anyone like to join a brainstorm? --[[User:Peterfitzgerald|Peter]] <small><sup>[[User_talk:Peterfitzgerald|Talk]]</sup></small> 22:46, 25 April 2012 (EDT)
:Because no one cares about region articles as a destination? There is a lot to write about countries. When a state or province is a well-known and well-defined destination, you can write quite a bit about them. But the overwhelming majority of regions are there only because they serve as placeholders to put cities in. For example, [[Western India]] or [[North Goa]] are hardly well-defined destinations. Very difficult to write about them. In many cases, they do nothing except make navigation even more confusing. The [[Goa]] hierarchy, for example, is a mess. Also, sorting it out requires someone who actually knows the place intimately and is willing to spend quality time on administrative stuff rather than about travel experiences, which is the kind of combination that is hard to find. [[User:Ravikiran r|Ravikiran]] 01:10, 26 April 2012 (EDT)
::This is a bit of a brain spew resulting from a long try at formulating a coherent thought. Given that caveat, I think all good destination articles (region or city) on the site should answer two questions:
::# Where should a traveler spend her time?
::# What are the logistics for visiting a destination?
::For the most part, the answers to those two questions are currently found in city and park articles, and the headings address them - "Get in" and "Get around" are for logistics, while "See", "Do", "Buy", "Eat", "Drink", "Sleep" and "Get out" typically answer the "where to spend your time" question. At the city level this isn't a very subjective exercise - the Dr. Seuss museum goes in the "Do" section of the article in which it is located, end of story.
::The vision for the perfect region article is that it will provide an overview of regional highlights, but "regional highlight" is an ambiguous and subjective term, so regions end up empty or filled with vague generalities that are usually of little utility to a traveler. Given that, it seems that the goal should be to provide a useful navigation hierarchy that simultaneously answers the two questions above ''without requiring a lot of subjectivity''.
::One option might be to re-think some region articles as primarily navigational aids. In order to address the two questions above, these region articles would focus on the child regions or cities as their main content and provide much more detail than is currently done in the descriptions. A minimal template might look something like:
== Understand ==
<!-- history, culture, and other useful background info -->
== Regions ==
<!-- map and the current Regionlist template go here -->
=== Sub-Region 1 ===
<!-- 1-4 paragraphs about this sub-region. why go here? -->
=== Sub-Region 2 ===
<!-- 1-4 paragraphs about this sub-region. why go here? -->
<!-- continue with remaining sub-regions -->
== Get in ==
<!-- what are the entry points to this region -->
== Get around ==
<!-- what are the main transportation routes for this region? -->
== Nearby ==
<!-- because "Get out" is a terrible heading -->
::If there is a specific reason to add additional headings then that could be done (for example, if there is a special regional cuisine then an "Eat" section might make sense), but this proposal would reflect the fact that most regions on Wikitravel are navigational aids, and would at the same time provide additional information to help users decide what to visit in those regions.
::Final caveat: this is just a brain dump, for discussion only. I wouldn't propose changing the definition of a core concept on Wikitravel based on an hour's musing, but hopefully it will provide useful fodder for brainstorming purposes. -- [[User:Wrh2|Ryan]] &bull; ([[User talk:Wrh2|talk]]) &bull; 01:15, 26 April 2012 (EDT)
::: I think good region articles are hard to write. As Ravikiran and Ryan mentioned, it's fairly easy to add content to a City article (and Country articles). A region article will aggregate and summarize the highlights of the guides below it in the hierarchy. This requires a good understanding of the region, making subjective decisions and actually writing. That said, I think good region guides are important for travellers who are looking to move around and see more than just the main cities.
::: Not sure how to deal with this though (it's too late for me to think right now). Probably something similar to what Ryan mentioned, although I'd want to see the main cities/towns covered and why someone would want to travel there. -[[User:Shaund|Shaund]] 01:33, 26 April 2012 (EDT)
::: I agree with Ryan's idea. In addition, in cases where some regions serve only to provide a hierarchy, they should be rolled up to the main article. Coming back to [[North Goa]], given that there is nothing worth writing in the understand, get in or get out sections that isn't already covered in the [[Goa]] article or in the individual beach articles, we shouldn't have a North Goa article. We should just sub-section the "Regions" section of Goa and list everything right there.
::: In addition, I propose that this distinction be entirely fluid. Let's say that you have a state with one well-defined region that has a lot to write about, and a vast and remote hinterland we don't anticipate writing much about. It should be entirely acceptable to create an article only for that region and have no article for the hinterland. &mdash; [[User:Ravikiran r|Ravikiran]] 02:09, 26 April 2012 (EDT)
::::Disorganized thoughts:
::::I think region articles are incredibly useful, as the starting point for travel planning, unfortunately! I've also noticed non-WT-savvy friends immediately gravitating towards our regions for answers, not finding them, and then figuring there must be nothing underneath.
::::The most important purpose a region article should ideally serve, I think, is to identify priorities in the region—'''how to choose between the linked destinations''' for your next clicks. [[Capital Region (Maryland)]] is a good example of what I think would be ''ideal'' for a fairly bland region, with a quick overview of where you will find what.
::::Right now, we do that by breaking down information into our standard see/eat/buy/drink/sleep sections, but maybe we could reduce the lot of them to a section called "Highlights," or something like that? Or just generally relax the template, since no one seems interested in filling the sections out?
::::I find that these articles are in a way exceptionally easy to write, since the various sections do not require much work—just mention a few of the towns with the most accommodations options, and you have a sleep section. The difficulty, though, is that most of our army of anon contributors are adding small bits of specific knowledge, while to write region article sections, you need to be familiar with all or at least the most important of the region's sub-destinations. Our collaborative model is less successful here, since each region will need someone with a certain amount of expertise. I can't think of any solution to that problem other than to grow our base of regular users.
::::The other big obstacle to improving our region guides is just that we have so few good examples. New contributors will go through our site for days before running into a good, basic region article, most of which are either in [[Maryland]] or [[Bali]]... Thus, directionless contributors toss in little bits and pieces of information into the region outlines, which don't ever add up to decent prose, and generally just make the article more muddled.
::::Whatever we do decide here, I'd like to see us trying a range of ideas, and looking for more flexibility, rather than a one-size-fits-all solution, at least to start. Allowing a little creativity to be put to work might eventually point to the solution. --[[User:Peterfitzgerald|Peter]] <small><sup>[[User_talk:Peterfitzgerald|Talk]]</sup></small> 03:48, 26 April 2012 (EDT)
:::::I have long felt that the primary problem is finding someone with knowledge of the entire region to write the darn articles. I've been trying to work on [[Finger Lakes]] for quite some time, but I've never been to most of the destinations in the region. It's hard for me to provide an overview of the highlights without that personal experience. But someone else intimately familiar with, say, Ithaca, might never have been to Letchworth State Park.
:::::I would be curious to know what you think of the Finger Lakes article as it stands. The See, Do, Eat, and Sleep sections still need work, and I'm in the process of subdividing it into four subregions (as you can see in the Cities section), but is the scope and tone appropriate as it stands? [[User:LtPowers|LtPowers]] 14:21, 26 April 2012 (EDT)
:::::: I think the Finger Lakes article illustrates the problem, to some extent. The "Eat" and "Sleep" sections contain single listings that should probably be removed and replaced with... what? The Drink section is OK, but it's a wine producing region - most regions probably won't have much to say there. The best part of this article is probably the "Cities" section, and I say that mostly because there are descriptions of each pseudo-sub-region in that section that provide some way to differentiate between them. However, there is then little or no information for each city to aid a reader in determining whether or not that is a city they should investigate.
:::::: Regarding the comment "It's hard for me to provide an overview of the highlights without that personal experience", I think that's the core of the problem. An individual can write about their favorite restaurant or museum, but the number of people with broad enough knowledge to cite the highlights within a region is minimal and requires a massive amount of subjectivity. While ideally a region with an overview of highlights should be something to strive for, the reality is that it will probably be the exception rather than the rule for the near future.
:::::: Final note: the above is not in any way meant to criticize the work [[User:LtPowers|LtPowers]] did on the article, but more as an example of how for even an article that has received significant attention we may not do a good job at either "region as overview" or "region as navigational aid". As noted earlier, my opinion is that failure is probably due to the current region concept/template, and not due to a lack of contributors or a lack of effort from those contributors. -- [[User:Wrh2|Ryan]] &bull; ([[User talk:Wrh2|talk]]) &bull; 18:15, 27 April 2012 (EDT)

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