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Talk:United States of America/Archive 2003-2005

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This is an archive of all discussions started between 2003-2005 on Talk:United States of America.

Anyone want to start a discussion about how to break up the United States? I mean in the wiki article sense, not a revolution... I went ahead and took a stab at it, but I don't think it's quite what we want... suggestions?

Good idea. It is hard to write a country level article, as I discovered while doing Canada. Wikimedia not having any inherent sense of hiearchy doesn't help. One consequence of this is that you have to be careful about naming regions. I have taken a stab at rewriting your region names (e.g.: "Midwest" became "American Midwest" even though the text for the link still says "The Midwest" right now.) And Karen is right, some people might look for a list of all the states, so you should probably move that link up from the bottom of the article.

I would suggest as a next step going to the List of American States and trying to pick out what goes where. It would also add consistency to break up that list itself. For example, what about the Southeast? Florida and such? Do some states deserve their own "region" level article? (Ask yourself what each would contain an how they would be different before you answer that question ... it is harder than it seems! :) CL 02:38, 29 Oct 2003 (PST)

Should there be a hierarchy? I found it confusing as a first-timer, looking at the New England states. I would have guessed that you could look at the United States page, and then be able to follow some hierarchy to the region that you are looking for. The list of states is good, but maybe not sufficient.

However, California should be its own region. Hanzo

And, I think New England should be a region. Hanzo

Hazon, we really like having lots of different ways for people to get to content. So we already have a general A-Z lists of US states and now we are thinking of groupings for states, since it's a pretty long list to browse. So I think the first stab would be geographical regions, but there can be other ways too. Suggestions?

Well, I think that the New England states should be grouped as a region. They are Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Maine. A useful regional page could be written as an introduction, and since the states are small, visitors to this area can easily visit more than one on a single trip. Hanzo

Some notes: I changed the regions we have on this page to be a little more in line with common usage in the USA. I also added disambiguators to the names of the regions, except for those I thought were unambiguous (like New England).

I'm going to try to go through each listed region and add the appropriate states. I think one thing that would help would be to have a map of the US with our regions delineated, but we might just need to hack on this for a while. -- Evan 10:22, 29 Oct 2003 (PST)

New England is not really unambiguous: the northwest corner of New South Wales, Australia is also called New Enland. You'll even find a New England National Park in this region. D.D. 11:30, 29 Oct 2003 (PST)
Fair enough. I'm tempted to invoke the "better known" rule, but I broke down and just disambig'd the New England page instead. -- Evan 11:36, 29 Oct 2003 (PST)

I also want to note that the US is a challenge to our Wikitravel:geographical hierarchy. I think the solution is to think of regions as being nestable. That is, we can have regions in a country, which can themselves have regions, which can in turn have cities or attractions or what have you. Important destinations could be listed at multiple levels. For example:

  • California
    • Los Angeles (city)
    • San Diego (city)
    • San Francisco (city)
    • Inland Empire (region)
    • Central Coast (region)
    • Deserts (region)
    • Sierra Nevada (region)
    • Northern California (region)
    • Lake Tahoe (region)
    • Central Valley (region)
    • Bay Area (region)
      • Oakland
      • San Jose
      • San Francisco

San Francisco is listed twice -- once for California, and once for the Bay Area. It's important enough to be "promoted" to a link from the California page, even though it's actually "contained" in the Bay Area. Not all cities need to be listed at the California level -- just the ones travellers would be looking for there.

Anyways, just some ideas. -- Evan 10:30, 29 Oct 2003 (PST)

I agree with that-- I think the "good"/"important" stuff should appear all over the place. It's not uncommon for people to go to the United States specificly to visit New York or San Francisco. So some places will be local, state, and national destinations. Unless we get into something where everyone thinks their home town is worth visiting the country for ;-)Majnoona

I agree too. Overlaps happen more than we can imagine, don't they :-) D.D. 11:42, 29 Oct 2003 (PST)
OK, so, I added a note about regions-within-regions to the geographical hierarchy page. Comments welcome. I think that the USA has turned out nicely for us. -- Evan 12:12, 29 Oct 2003 (PST)

Isn't it a little tiring to type out "United States of America" everytime you want to link to [New England (United States of America)]? Wouldn't "United States", "U.S." or "USA" do the same job? Why use the full name? The United Kingdom article is not at United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. --Jiang 17:45, 3 Dec 2003 (PST)

So, as to the name of the article: it started out from the Wikitravel:CIA World Factbook 2002 import as United States, and it looks like I changed the name to United States of America sometime in early August. I can't remember why and I don't see mention of it on this page. Go figure.
Personally, as an American, I like "United States of America" better than "USA" or "United States". It looks kinda neat. I usually call it "America", even though that makes Canadians hopping mad when I say it, but it's ingrained. You think "United States" is better? Or USA? USA is an abbreviation, and we don't have any other articles that have abbreviations as a name. It seems kinda overcasual.
I believe all the common
As to using "United States of America" as a disambiguator: first, you just don't have to do it that often. Our article naming conventions don't really require any kind of extra geographical information unless the name of a destination is ambiguous. So, we've got Dallas instead of "Dallas, Texas" or "Dallas TX" or "Dallas, Texas, United States of America".
Sadly, most of the traditional regional names for parts of the US are pretty ambiguous ("The South", for instance). Fortunately, you just don't have to use them that often. The rule on the article naming conventions page is to use the name of the containing geographical unit to disambig, so that's what we do. Frankly, I figure it's a lot easier to just write out the extra 22 chars than to rack my brain for why this should be an exception. --Evan 18:52, 3 Dec 2003 (PST)

I'm not asking that this particular article be named "USA". That would be inappropriate. I think it only benefits to move it to "United States" though.

The abbreviation/acronym U.S./USA can be used for disambiguators, such as [[[New England (U.S.)]] as opposed to its current location. --Jiang 19:50, 3 Dec 2003 (PST)

So, I ripped out the geography stats for the US, then reverted a few minutes later. I really don't find tabular data all that readable, nor is it particularly useful for travelers. I think that kind of encyclopedic/almanac data is better provided by Wikipedia, and probably doesn't belong on Wikitravel. Yes, we have about a hundred country articles with tabular data, but those are placeholders that we we're trying to knock out one by one. It took me a long time to scrub this article of sorghum-production stats, and I guess I'm just kinda knee-jerk about working them back in. --Evan 19:03, 3 Dec 2003 (PST)

The history section of the US article doesn't seem very helpful to someone interested in travelling here. Is this the sort of thing we want for wikitravel? I was under the impression that one goal was to keep all content sharply focussed on the needs and interests of travellers. The needs and inetrests of historians are better served at Wikipedia. --TimShell

Hmm. I figured that a bit of history is necessary to put any kind of historical monument, building, or whatever in some context. Most travel guides I've seen have at least some history, however brief. Do you think we need to pull history completely out? --Evan 16:13, 21 Dec 2003 (PST)
I think history should be left in. If you walk around uptown Charlotte, you see signs that say "Jefferson Davis was here" or "this was the location of the naval shipyard" (I find that one hard to believe, as there are no rivers in Charlotte, just creeks; the closest river is the Catawba, on the other side of Pineville), and you have to know that North Carolina was part of the Confederacy to understand them. -phma 16:13, 22 Dec 2003 (PST)

  • Food: Most of the food in the US is less than perfect, in my experience. Now this is based on about seven year old data (last time I visited). Example: Most bread you get in the US is white bread. It's pretty difficult to buy healthy food in a normal supermarket. Correct me if I am wrong.
You are wrong. Only white bread? Did you actually look on the store shelves? Last time I looked there were all kinds of assortments of breads and I have traveled 49 US states. I will get up to Alaska soon... Mr.
So, have you read the United States of America#Eat section? Is there something missing there? --Evan 18:01, 8 Jan 2004 (EST)
  • Entry into US: Sensible topic. I feel that a warning should be put into the US section on current US policy. This includes harassment at airports by less than well trained security staff, the need for biometric data and machine-readable passports, and the latest addition, the taking of fingerprints. I'll let someone else write this up, as I haven't traveled to the US recently (and won't, for that matter), but I feel it should be in there somewhere. It is quite relevant to a great many people; just make sure to leave out political bias (either way).

-- Nils 23:11, 08 JAN 2004 (CET)

Leave out political bias? What is up with your statement that you won't travel to the US: " I haven't traveled to the US recently (and won't, for that matter)..." Sounds like you are trying to make a statement here too. Mr.
Sounds like a statement of fact. - Huttite 02:51, 28 Mar 2004 (EST)
There's a lot in United States of America#Get in about visa requirements, security, etc. I don't have accurate info on fingerprinting or other requirements, although there's probably some somewhere. --Evan 18:01, 8 Jan 2004 (EST)

In the By Train section, there is a brief description of the train from Oakland to Chicago. Corrections:

  1. The train runs daily, not "a few times a week"
  2. The western endpoint of the run is actually Emeryville not Oakland. But who cares.

Great article! : Cjensen 18:56, 5 Mar 2004 (EST)

I updated it, but c'mon! B-) It's apparent from your ability to work with Wiki markup that you've got the skills to do that yourself. Don't be bashful; plunge forward and edit the articles. We need all the knowledge and help we can get. --Evan 19:04, 5 Mar 2004 (EST)

Last set of edits[edit]

So this last round of edits by an IP address kinda bug me-- lots of changing "most Americans" to "all" and adjusting the tone/point of many sections. I'm almost tempted to rollback or unedit some of it. Can others take a look and tell me what they think? Majnoona 13:19, 26 Mar 2004 (EST)

I just rolled back the edits. I was going through re-adding information that was taken out, and eventually I just realized that it wasn't worth the effort. --Evan 13:58, 26 Mar 2004 (EST)
Mr., it would be appreciated if you could explain why you insist on your version of this article. I am not in a position to judge whether your changes are justified or not, but it seems to me (correct me if I'm wrong) that you prefer a bowdlerized or politically correct version. Articles in Wikitravel do not need either -- what they need is to reflect reality in the best possible way. Dhum Dhum Akubra 18:01, 26 Mar 2004 (EST)
Mr Akubra: I prefer a version without the "left coast" political slant that seems to permeate the USA page. You say "what they need is to reflect reality in the best possible way" and I agree, but not only the "left coast" distorted reality presented here. Mr.

I think what we need to avoid here is the idea that every possible angle of every issue needs to be pointed out. What a travel article should do is alert a traveller to possible issue that may come up. In some cases this means pointing out negative aspects of a destination, but I really don't think the orginal article was in any way unfair-- I mean it was mostly written by Americans (I'm one too). I'd like to invite Mr/Ms to discuss their problems with the article here on the talk page-- or better yet, direct their energy towards other articles than could use their help. I'm also going to rollback the .215 rollback. Majnoona 18:55, 26 Mar 2004 (EST)

The IP address is in Romania. Is this one of the Romanian Wikitravelers who doesn't have an account here? -phma 19:03, 26 Mar 2004 (EST), several people invited you kindly to discuss and explain your views of this article. Until now, you haven't done that. Instead you insist on your version without any explanation. This is not how Wikitravel works and it is not going to get you anywhere. If you have reasons why you think the article should be changed, I advise you to use this talk page to communicate. Dhum Dhum Akubra 07:39, 27 Mar 2004 (EST)
Would it make sense to add a note to him like Evan did in ? -Colin 07:52, 27 Mar 2004 (EST)
That might do the job of getting his/her attention. I really hope his/her actions are the result of an unfamiliarity with the "wiki way". So, we should explore every option soft security gives us. Dhum Dhum Akubra 08:19, 27 Mar 2004 (EST)
Okay, I did that. Hope it works. Colin 17:19, 27 Mar 2004 (EST)
Wow, this is kinda new for us I guess. This person is really uncooperative. The latest change comments:
  • "(no facts given to backup this statement (environmental...)"
  • "(removed amateurish sounding redundency (really, really big))"
  • "(should not be advocating illegal actions = abandoning a car)"

Suggest a very, very strong opinion that doesn't really agree with the WikiTravel Way-- I mean, since when do we care if something is illegal? Or need to back things up with stats (actually, I'd hate to see this start). Not jump to conclusions, but is this maybe a Wikipedia person? Things tend to be a little more confrontational over there, and this guy/gal seems to have started off ready for a fight. I'd really like to try all the soft security options anyone can think off... Majnoona 16:13, 27 Mar 2004 (EST)

Since when do we care if something is illegal? What a statement... Next are you going to say that if you don't agree with the vegetarian hating cattle State wahoos that you should buy a gun and shoot them (then abandon it)? There is a big difference between making an observation of what people do (illegally abandoning a car) and giving the suggestion that it be done. The compromise of placing "illegally" in the sentence is better though. Mr.

OK, So lets try some compromising, OK?

  • "(no facts given to backup this statement (environmental...)" The statement is that "Most Americans..." well, I'm an American and I'm concerned with the environment so that means that it is a fact that "Some Americans" are concerned-- how's that?
Look at the sentence: Although some question their busy lifestyle and its effect on the environment, most consider technological progress to be beneficial and inevitable. Some? Who is the writer talking about? Some Americans, some Europeans, some Asians, some cats and dogs...? And worse, before the compromise it said "Many..." If you are talking about Americans then say "Some Americans..." - the sentence is not clear. I also question the reason why an environmental statement like this is even included in a travel website. I realize that the people who have contributed the most to this page (you and Evan) are "left-coasters" and probably have very "liberal views" on the subject, but why not just leave this out? It is politically slanted and doesn't belong here. If you want to say something about pollution in the US then it would be better to cite examples than to make a unsupportable and generalized statement like this. Mr.
The point is about American culture, and thus it makes sense to talk about Americans' love of technology and faith in technological progress. Saying "All Americans consider..." would be factually inaccurate. --Evan 03:20, 28 Mar 2004 (EST)
I agree. Still it is not clear who is "some". I have edited this passage. Roll it back if you want... Mr.
  • "(removed amateurish sounding redundency (really, really big))"

Uh, this wasn't "amateurish" (who/what would be "professional?"), but why don't we nix it for the sake of cooperation?

Oh, come on! It reminds me of a statement a brain dead cartoon character would make... weally, weally big... LOL! I am glad you finally removed this because it makes the USA page sound like it was written by a 3rd grader or worse... Mr.
  • "(should not be advocating illegal actions = abandoning a car)"

Well, mentioning that some people choose to do something illegal is not "advocating," it's informing. So maybe mention that this is illegal and can get you in trouble?

Look at the sentence: Another option for long-distance car travel is to buy a car in the United States, and try to sell it again (or, just abandon it illegally) when leaving. Starting out with "Another option..." makes it seem that you are giving advice which included abandoning a car. This is irresponible. Even with the compromise (adding illegally) it still sounds like you are suggesting abandoning the car as a possibility. The whole sentence should be rewritten, actually. Mr.

Anyone want to try the others? All this rollbacking is making me dizzy. And there are so many other pages that actually need editing! Majnoona 16:22, 27 Mar 2004 (EST)

OK, I went ahead and made the above compromises-- I hope this will put an end to this so we can all move on to something more useful. Majnoona 16:32, 27 Mar 2004 (EST)
I like the sound of ... big. Really, really big .... Douglas Adams used this same phrase to describe the Universe; but then I suppose that means it is a copyright violation from The Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy - So I suppose we will need to wait a few years before we can use the phrase again. -- Huttite 21:07, 27 Mar 2004 (EST)
See my comments above... Mr.
Actually I was observing that we cannot use that particular phrase as it could be a copyright violation, though it would liven up the article if it could be used. - Huttite 02:15, 28 Mar 2004 (EST)

Mr. Speaks[edit]

Actually I have commented in line with some statements above...

Regarding my attempted edit of the used car prices: "(even the cheapest used automobiles in the US run about $1000)" Change this to $500 and it would be more accurate on an average in the whole of the US. It would well serve the writers to remember that the USA is not only California and New York. Better yet, rewrite the sentence to say that "even the cheapest semi-reliable used automobiles in the US run about $1000" or "even the cheapest used automobiles worth owning in the US run about $1000". Fact in point - a friend of mine visting the US for a few months purchased a used automobile for $200, drove it from state-to-state with no break downs, and upon leaving and with a little cleaning sold it for $250. Mr.
I probably wouldn't recommend travelling the US in a $500 car, but, sure, fine. --Evan 03:20, 28 Mar 2004 (EST)
I wouldn't recommend it either but it happens. I am not sure whether it is a good idea to travel the US in a $1000 car. Thanks for the edit though: $500-1000 is a better number and the illegal abandon revision is much better. Mr.

Regarding this paragraph: Vegetarians will normally not have too much of a problem in urban areas, but it can be difficult getting much more than the fast-food "vegetarian special" -- french fries and a vanilla shake -- in some rural regions. Be forewarned: vegetarianism is considered a dangerously extreme political statement in some regions of the country, especially where the cattle industry is a major employer. It's best to be discreet.

My former girlfriend is a vegetarian. We traveled extensively and even in small towns of 10,000 people she was able to purchase a vegetarian "Big Mac" at McDonalds or a vegetarian "Whopper" at Burger King (I know... still not very healthy but she was kind of nutty that way anyhow). So the statement that "french fries and a vanilla shake" is the only thing you can get is incorrect and slanted. Most all chain retaurants such as Bob Evans and Cracker Barrel also serve meals that are acceptable to vegetarians. Finding vegetarian meals throughout the USA even in small towns is not the problem the writer makes it out to be. I question the tone of the the statement about vegetarianism in cattle industry regions. Is this from direct experience by the writer or just a "left coast" distortion of reality? Mr.
That's from my direct experience growing up in the Texas Panhandle and travelling North America by car for 15+ years, as well as from recommendations from other vegetarians.
Finding vegetarian meals is difficult in some areas; considerably more difficult than in, say, Europe. I think it's fair to say that if you have to check menus at a few restaurants before finding something to eat, it's "difficult". Often you have to put together a number of side dishes -- fries, a salad -- or eat breakfast food like eggs or pancakes for dinner.
And, yes, in many places vegetarianism is frowned upon as a threat to local industry. There are states in the US where "denigrating" meat is a civil offense.
McDonald's restaurants have vegetarian burgers in most of Europe and in Canada (that I know of), and in parts of the US but not all of it. Burger King has the recently-introduced BK veggie.
Lastly, thanks for joining the conversation. --Evan 03:20, 28 Mar 2004 (EST)
Points taken... I still would like to see the writing a little less slanted (or a little more moderate) towards the anti-vegetarianism side. I think your personal views are tainting the main points that should be made in the discussion . Basically you make it sound like most of America is anti-vegetarian except the "enlightened" urban areas. I call that biased writing. I take it you are a vegetarian?Mr.
I want to get across a couple of main points for vegetarian travellers (after all, this is the "Eat" section), and especially for ones who aren't from the USA. I think the two main points are a) it can be hard to get veggie food (for an admittedly arbitrary definition of "hard"), and b) vegetarianism has a political angle.
If I was going to add anything else in for vegetarians, it might be c) America has some really great food choices, and d) you can really get some great produce in the US.
The last thing I want to do is make Americans come off as some kind of superstitious yahoos about vegetarianism or anything else. I don't think it's ever necessary to denigrate the local population in any article on Wikitravel. Personal bias would probably make me more adamant about citizens of my country in particular. Sad to say, there are some things that it's hard to be "neutral" about.
Anyways, I'll make an attempt to rewrite the veggie paragraph a bit. --Evan 04:29, 28 Mar 2004 (EST)
Just to put a little twist on things, I'm a vegitarian, and pretty much have always been, and I'm from nowhere near either coast originally. That said, I think that any warnings about being able to feed oneself as a Vegi are in fact overdone. It could be that I stick close to college towns, or maybe it's because I really don't mind a grilled cheese now and then, but I've never had much trouble. Heck, I like truck-stops. In my travels I've found that a vegetarian lifestyle is actually harder in say, Lyon than it is in Champaign-Urbana. I don't feel like playing the "can I word it perfectly?" game so I'll leave it to y'all to fix up the USA page... but if I was gonna contribute to the vegi bit I'd say something along the lines of how a vegetarian can actually do pretty well across almost all of the country.
Meanwhile, Mr., consider registering for an account. You seem to have a really good grasp of how Wiki format works, and you're not shy about contributing. You and I might have words on a particular edit somewhere down the road, but I think it's always better to have these conversations rather than to not have them. -- Mark 14:53, 29 Mar 2004 (EST)
I agree that very few people who are vegetarians will have a problem when traveling the US. My former girlfriend is a vegetarian and she had very little problem in all the traveling we did in the US with vegetarian meals. Agains, I think the vegetarian comments on the USA page should be moderated a little.
I've reworded the vegetarian paragraph to remove the value-laden word "difficult" and "hard", and rather point out what you need to do to eat veggie in the US. --Evan 11:41, 30 Mar 2004 (EST)
As far as registering, Mark, I am still undecided. When I came to this website I read the section "newcomers" and "plunge forward". One point made in "plunge forward" was this: "Ignoring authority. You have as much right to edit anything on Wikitravel as anyone else does. Don't bother asking whether it's all right to edit something. It is!". This all sounds fine and dandy until you make some edits to the USA page only to have them all undone by a few of the dictatorial-like members, hidden messages written to you, called "really uncooperative", etc... It really makes me want to contribute all right... Mr.
You're under no obligation to register; it just gives you a chance to set up a user page and have a more recognizable presence. I for one am really glad you took the time to "plunge forward"; I think this article is a better one thanks to your contributions. --Evan 11:41, 30 Mar 2004 (EST)

Abandoning a car vs Parking it long term[edit]

Is it really illegal to abandon a car on a street in the United States of America? Surely not. It may be illegal to take one if you do not own it, but to leave one that you do own... I think not. It may be an offence to park beyond the time limit, and city authorities and landowners may sieze vehicles that have overstayed their welcome, and sell the vehicle to recover costs, maybe even try to send the irresponsible owners a bill. But what ordinance makes simply leaving the vehicle illegal, meaning you can be imprisoned for doing so. If this were the case then the Police could arrest every driver who was issued a parking ticket! I don't think Homeland Security has got that strict.....yet. - Huttite 02:47, 28 Mar 2004 (EST)

Sorry Huttite, but if you do just a little research you will see that it is indeed illegal for an owner to abandon an automobile. We are not talking about parking the automobile for a few weeks or months here. Also, if you look at most city ordinances, leaving a vehicle parked on a city street unmoved for more than a certain period of time is prohibited. They can tow and impound the car if it exceeds the stated period of time. All that aside: Do you think it is responsible or even ethical to suggest that someone purchase a car when visiting the US and then abandon it when they are done like some unwanted trash? I doubt that you would like it if someone put the suggestion on the New Zealand page that "Another option is to go ahead and throw you unwanted trash on the streets of Wellington, after all you are only visiting - you don't have to deal with it..." Mr.
But can they arrest you and throw you in jail for abandoning the car? Will they extradite you from another country or ban you from coming back. Or is abandoning a car simply littering, a misdemeanor, as it is in many countries, where you are subject to a fine, and a bill for the removal costs. I would say that imprisonment makes it illegal, a fine means you have been irresponsible. Huttite 03:37, 28 Mar 2004 (EST)
Illegal means it is against the law. Do you think it is a good thing to suggest that someone buy a car when visiting the US and then just abandon it? Mr.
If someone buys a car when visiting for four weeks, surely the slugs at the DMV will not have sent you your new pink slip yet. And without a pink slip, how to you sell a car? Colin 03:57, 28 Mar 2004 (EST)
You only get a pink slip when buying a car on credit. If you pay cash for a car then it is a one day process to get the title changed and registered with plates. The process is: The owner signs the title over to you if front of a notary (most banks have notories who will do this for free), take the title to the Title Dept. and pay the fee, they print out a new title and hand it to you, take the title to the Licence and Registration to pay for the license plates. All done in one day. Who would buy a car on credit then abandon it anyhow? Mr.
Sorry, pink slip is the official "Proof of Ownership" document that you get in the mail from the DMV. You get a pink slip in the mail after about six to eight weeks if you buy using cash, as I did with my last vehicle. (In the old days, the Ownership papers were pink). The Important Part is that, at least in California, you must fill out a form THAT IS ATTACHED TO THE PINK SLIP in order to resell your vehicle. So my question was serious.... what is the method used to sell a car when you do not have the pink slip in your hands? And will this method be a LOT more hassle than leaving your car on the street with a TOW ME sign on it? Colin 04:18, 28 Mar 2004 (EST)
For details of the whole process visit the California DMV's website at The "pink slip" that you are referring to is a California Cerificate of Title. I have never purchased a vehicle in California so it might be true that the DMV is very slow in issuing a Certificate of Title. Did you purchase you last vehicle from a private party with a clear Title or from a used car dealer? Or was it a new vehicle? Did you go directly to a main DMV office or through some DMV office that has to forward the request to a main office? Six to eight weeks seems like a very unreasonable delay when most other States take only minutes to print out a new Certificate of Title.
I have purchased vehicles in many other US States over the years and when paying cash for a vehicle it has usually been possible to get the Title and Registration done in one day unless it was over a Sunday. Purchasing the car on credit from that bank usually is a longer process since you will get a Memorandum of Title from the bank with the bank listed as the first lienholder on the vehicle. The bank (or creditor) keeps the Certificate of Title until the loan is paid off. So if it is not possible to go to the DMV office in California and recieve the Title the same day in the case of a cash purchase then what you are saying is true enough for California. Please realize that the USA is not just California when writing articles here though. Mr.

Left Coast Bias[edit]

What is, and where is, the left coast bias in the article? The article is written from a neutral point of view. Personally I disagree with most of the edits proposed by Mr., however he has raised some valid points that need exploring. I believe the article generally follows a neutral point of view. The use of the words some and most are intended to indicate that there is a wide range of opinons and posibilities to be catered for. Saying it is difficult to find an item on a supermarket shelf does not mean it is impossible, but is something that the traveller needs to think about. I agree that the statements in this article are generalisations but that is what this article has to be - general - to cater for the wide range of travellers. Personally I have never had the opportunity to travel to the United States of America, but that does not mean I do, or do not, want to go there. Just I haven't been there yet. I have heard some interesting things about the USA, and have an opportunity to watch US TV news on occasions. It brings a different perspective to the world that I see from New Zealand. - Huttite 03:19, 28 Mar 2004 (EST)

It does not surprise me that you do not understand the "left coast" bias comment since you have never been in the US. If you want a Californian's or New Yorker's view of the US then then the USA page supplies that. Fortunately the USA does not consist of only those regions. Mr.
I am glad to hear the United States of America is more than California and New York. Many of those other parts obviously have differing opinions. Perhaps you could contribute some commentary on the political bias that people in different parts of the country have so those from downunder can understand why a country that advocates free trade has agricultural and industrial lobbies that appear to be highly protectionist, isolationist and Americocentric. - Huttite 07:40, 28 Mar 2004 (EST)
Would you rather that the US government outlaw all special interest groups such as the agricultural and industrial lobbies you mention? I would rather see the representatives in Congress do what is good for the American people instead of being the whores of lobbyists like some are today. By definition the lobbies are special interests that do not represent the general population's wishes. You need to separate the acts of special interest groups and the desires of the American people. There are greedy people everywhere - I bet even in New Zealand. (I have spent some time in New Zealand.) I don't think I need to explain further to you about political bias in the USA as you seem to have already mastered the art in your preconceived notions above about the USA. By your own admission you haven't ever visited the US to form a first hand opinion. Try that first before coming to conclusions supplied by others or the news media. Mr.

"Do" Section[edit]

That section should really be cleaned up. It advises that one of the best things to do is shoot guns. That is not exactly how the it should be interpreted. More importantly, the Constitution only grants the right to bear arms to citizens.

This is a terrible sentence: <<There is also plenty of land in the United States covered with houses, lawns, parking lots, and strip malls - perhaps more so per major urban area than in most other countries.>>

Sample Cities[edit]

US Cities should be ranked by destination travel statistics (see last edit). Any cities added beyond the top 10 visitors stats or top 15, etc., appears to be steering - like who's going to KC?

It seems odd that the nine sample cities does not include Las Vegas. Why not make it an even ten? Or remove New Orleans or Seattle.

Seattle and New Orleans are listed because there is a consensus that they belong there. You are free to try to build a consensus for replacing one of them with Las Vegas, but I'm just guessing it's going to be an uphill battle (I for one don't care much for Las Vegas). At any rate, you'll fare better if you sign your posts to the talk pages. It's really easy, just type -- ~~~~. Thanks. -- Mark 08:46, 12 May 2006 (EDT)
If we make it ten, why not eleven? Or a dozen? Or a baker's dozen! The line has to be drawn somewhere, and nine is a pretty good number; beyond that you're not giving a sample... you're making a list. I've got nothing against Vegas, but if someone from another country is trying to figure out where to spend their visit to the US (which is what I gather the purpose of this list is), I can think of at least nine cities I'd suggest ahead of it. - Todd VerBeek 09:13, 12 May 2006 (EDT)
I would argue that the notion of a "sample" as being the goal for this section is off base. The general United States of America article should include only cities that are top international travel destinations. The list as it stands is good, but the lack of Las Vegas did stick out in my mind as I read the article - Las Vegas is a principal travel destination, indeed often the only destination, for a large number of visitors to the United States. In any rate, if we're going for an arbitrary number (and I can certainly see the practical value of this), 10 seems more natural than 9. And Todd, I'd suggest just about every other city in the US ahead of Las Vegas, but it nonetheless beats them on popularity. --Peterfitzgerald Talk 18:04, 5 March 2007 (EST)
Hi Peter, you can find the answer to your question regarding why lists of sample destinations consist of nine places, rather than say ten or some other number, on this page: Wikitravel:Geographical hierarchy#Dividing geographical units. Hope it answers your question satisfactorily. WindHorse 21:52, 5 March 2007 (EST)
I agree with the Las Vegas idea. I compared the list of our 9 "notable" cities to the list of cities by population (not that population alone makes a city notable), and our list of 9 seems a bit strange. Aside from my feeling that Las Vegas should be on a list of 9 notable U.S. cities, why is Boston on the list and not Philadelphia? Surely Philadelphia has equal colonial and historical credibility, but it also has triple the population of Boston and Philadelphia was the former capital of the U.S. It's also strange that, although Houston, San Antonio and Dallas are all three in the top ten most populous cities, not one Texas town gets on the "notable" list. Lastly, I feel compelled to urge replacing Seattle with Portland, Oregon. Blackberrylaw 05:14, 29 March 2007 (EDT)

I found an objective measure of top U.S. Cities for tourism. They are as follows according to a random website from 2001: CITY (MARKET SHARE VISITATION (000)) New York City 22.0% 4,803 Los Angeles 12.9% 2,816 Miami 11.7% 2,554 Orlando 11.3% 2,467 San Francisco 9.0% 1,965 Oahu/Honolulu 8.0% 1,747 Las Vegas 6.9% 1,506 Washington D.C. 5.5% 1,201 Chicago 4.9% 1,070

Boston 4.9% 1,070 Atlanta 3.2% 699 San Diego 2.7% 589 Tampa/St. Petersburg 2.3% 502 San Jose 1.9% 415 Philadelphia 1.9% 415 Houston 1.9% 415 Ft. Lauderdale 1.9% 415


Thanks for the input. The figures you've provided are a useful reference. However, the list of sample cities is not decided on tourist figures alone, but considers various factors. A city that has a large corporate presence such as, for example, Seattle will receive a large number of visitors, but they are not tourists. Cities with strong baseball teams may also attract a large number of visitors, but again these are not tourists. However, in both cases the visitors will still require information about the city they are visiting. Geographical considerations are also taken into account. For example, on a tourist survey both Miami and St Petersburg might rank high, but only one would be considered for listing as they are both within the same region. Anyway, thanks again for seeking out the above list. As I said, the information will be a useful reference for choosing the cities to be included in the sample list, though for reasons I stated it cannot be a decisive factor. Take it easy. WindHorse 23:26, 12 August 2007 (EDT)

Almost all except -> all except[edit]

I changed "Almost all Americans, except the native population, are descended from immigrants" to "All Americans [...]". I can't think of anyone who's not American Indian who's not descended from immigrants. --Evan 04:44, 28 Mar 2004 (EST)

How about African Americans? They did not descend from immigrants. I wouldn't call forced slavery the same thing as immigration.

Websters says To enter and settle in a country or region to which one is not native.
I don't see any reference as to force or lack thereof. It would be presumed, that slaves did settle here, yes? 11:40, 18 Jul 2005 (EDT) (wp:user:Guy M)

what about Puerto Rico ?[edit]

The "United States" section of the CIA Factbook mentions these "Dependent areas":

American Samoa, Baker Island, Guam, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, Midway Islands, Navassa Island, Northern Mariana Islands, Palmyra Atoll, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Wake Island

They don't seem to be included in any "Region" at the moment.

Should we give them a separate "Region" ? "U.S. Islands", maybe ?

If we do that, should we demote Hawaii to be just part of that region, rather than an entire region to itself ?

-- DavidCary 17:24, 2 Apr 2004 (EST)

What about calling them Dependent Territories (of the United States) rather than U.S. Islands. Hawaii and Alaska were once both territories, before they became states. -- Huttite 20:37, 25 Dec 2004 (EST)

OK to categorize Florida as just another state in the South ?[edit]

I can understand making Texas a region all its own. But I would have lumped Florida in with the "South". But then, I still haven't visited Florida. I'd be happy if someone who has visited Florida would say "yes, it's definitely in its own category". -- DavidCary 17:24, 2 Apr 2004 (EST)

Yes, it's definitely in its own category. --Evan 23:23, 2 Apr 2004 (EST)
Yes, it's definitely in its own category. Very specifically, every winter, Florida becomes a province of Canada. (I've heard that 1/10 of Canada's population visits Florida every winter.) The northern part of the state (Jacksonville, the Panhandle) are part of The South, but the southern part of the state shares more, culturally, with the Northeast and with the Caribbean. Chip 00:29, 8 Jul 2004 (EDT)
Yes, it's definitely in its own category. I grew up in Florida, spending over 20 years there. It is increasingly competing with AZ for being the "State of the Living Dead", thanks to the relocation of aged retirees. And, now that the State goverenment has destroyed the citrus industry, it's sole primary industry is tourism entertainment, unlike GA which still produces marketable crops.

[[User: David L. Mohn}}

Former residents of Florida like to call it "God's Waiting Room". Jordanmills 21:02, 23 April 2006 (EDT)
just because florida is different from the rest of the south due to higher rates of tourism and retirement doesnt necesarily make it deserve its own heading in "regions". when I go through regions I dont think cultural regions I just think divisions of territory. with that said I think texas (despite its size and importance) should be lumped into a region as well and maybe put hawaii and alaska into "non continental us states" or something to that effect.

traffic accidents 4 times as tragic as shootings[edit]

"America has the highest rate of shootings in the industrialized world, by several orders of magnitude."

What is the source of this statement?

I don't know about other countries, but here's stats for the U.S.:

2001: in the United States:

  • 47,288 Deaths Due to Unintentional (Accidental) Injuries: Transport Accidents
  • 11,348 Deaths Due to Assault: Assault by firearm


That says, contrary to what I see in the movies, that over 4 times as many people die in traffic accidents than from firearms. Perhaps, in our article, we should put 4 times the emphasis on traffic accidents as on shootings.

So what are the stats for other countries ? Are traffic accidents also much worse in the U.S. than in other countries ?

-- DavidCary 18:38, 2 Apr 2004 (EST) (study compares violence against among children, but a general point can be taken too)
I think the important point to emphazise is that the US is a more violent country than most industrialized nations. There are lots of historic and cultural reasons for this, none of which are particularly interesting. The important things is that travelers need to know that just because the majority of Americans look like Europeans doesn't mean they will act like Europeans. So a traveler from China, for example, who has experience with traveling to Europe should not automatically assume the US is just another European country.
-- Colin 19:17, 2 Apr 2004 (EST)

Also, there is nothing special about U.S. death rates on roads
In fact, I would arge that given that the U.S. has more freeway driving going on, driving in the U.S. might actually be safer than many industrialized nations. (I'm such an optimist). Using the same logic (tell travelers what they don't already know), I don't see why we should warn anyone about the auto accident death rate, although it might be nice to reassure travelers that their own driving is still the most likely way they will die in the U.S. -- Colin 19:31, 2 Apr 2004 (EST)
I think it's worth an aside saying that the thing you really need to worry about is getting run over crossing the street. Actually the US is just about as safe as any other country for drivers, but it (along with Great Britain) is unusually dangerous for pedestrians. There have even been studies by the insurance industry showing that the police almost always report auto-pedestrian accidents as the pedestrian's fault, so not only are you likely to be run over if you are not extra careful, but you'll also wind up with a giant hospital bill if you survive. -- Mark 12:26, 6 Jan 2006 (EST)

Critique of the article[edit]

Today I stumbled across this article on the United States. I confess I didn't like it very much. But at first I was not sure why. So I went back and read the whole thing over again.

To provide some context for my comments, let me say I am seventy years old having spent the first 30 in a far west suburb of Chicago and the next 40 in Pittsburgh.

In my re-reading the first thing that caught my attention was the heading, "Culture". I thought, This couldn't have been written by someone who knew the country well. Then I thought, Well maybe that's good in a travel article, an outsider's perspective. But the more I read the more I felt that it was constructed of all the negative stereotypes that one reads in the European press. In some sense stereotypes are true, yet at the same time the article is biased in that there were next to no positive stereotypes to provide balance. Then I thought, Well my skin is just too thin. So for an unbiased comparison I thought I would read the "Culture" sections for some other countries. I checked Germany, Norway and numerous others: no "Culture". Well these countries certainly are regarded by many as having a culture, but maybe they're just too small for Wikitravelers to spend time on that aspect of them. So I checked China and Brazil, not pigeons for sure. Still, no "Culture" sections.

That, I think, goes a long way to explain what is distasteful about the US article: While the author(s) of other articles seem content with providing useful information for travelers, these author(s) felt an urge to go farther. For example:

Given America's place on the world stage, it may seem strange to non-Americans how they picture themselves: warm, thoughtful, friendly, uncomplicated, and righteous. Most Americans consider their place in the world as that of common sense and homely living -- "Mom and apple pie", as the saying here goes. The flipside of this attitude is a general anti-intellectualism, with "real people" being more respected than "snobs" and "bookworms". The simple sentimentalist and violent streaks in American media are a strong reflection of this attitude.

What is being said here? The sentence structure is convoluted but it sounds as though we picture ourselves as "warm, thoughtful, friendly, uncomplicated, and righteous". Well, some of us do and some of us don't; some of us are and some of us aren't. And, of course, all of this is true about people anywhere in the world. So what is really being said to the traveler here? Watch out for the cowboys? The author(s) don't come right out and tell us. In the same vein, they continue with the stereotype of anti-intellectualism. It is difficult to quantify intellectualism, but in any sense that one might actually measure -- scholarly journals, advanced degrees, political criticism, books published, things invented, I don't think we stack up too badly. But maybe they are only saying that we don't like intellectuals, not that we don't have them in full measure. In either case what is the message they are providing to the traveler?


... people from other countries, especially in Asia and Latin America, are often viewed with suspicion. Americans have an ideal of what the "real" American culture is like, and although they may and often do experiment with immigrant cuisine and music, non-natives are considered by some as a threat to what's "really" American. Some foreign travelers may feel uncomfortable under the scrutiny of America's xenophobic side.

While it is certainly true that some Americans view people from other cultures with suspicion, in my experience it is not true that people from other countries are "often" viewed with suspicion. I suppose it depends on what the meaning of "often" is. And its meaning here should be, "compared to what other country". Who here shall cast the first stone? Are Americans more zenophobic than other people? Typically, the author(s) has again chosen a stereotype that is difficult to quantify. "non-natives are considered by some as a threat ...". The word "some" is convenient here because in any substantial population it is always true; so we can't fault the author(s) for making an untrue statement. But let us compare countries a little bit, for that is the real interest of the traveler after all. Should one be especially nervous as a foreigner in America? One could as well ask whether all Germans welcome the Turks with open arms? All French, the Algerians? All Italians, the Albanians, and this is to name only a few. Well I have taken the trouble to check the Wikitravel pages for these countries to see if travelers to these countries are properly cautioned. They aren't.

I will not continue further, though it would be easy to find much more in the same vein. My basic point here is not that Americans are perfect, though if we had any doubt about it we are nowadays informed regularly that we are not. My point is that much of this article does not belong in a travel-focused article, as witnessed by the fact that information of this type is not contained in other countries' articles, and conversely, if it does belong, then "culture" should be in the "country template" (it is not -- and probably a good thing too or we should really see the fur fly).

What we have in this article is editorializing in the guize of travel writing. I do not say this is intentional. I prefer to think merely that the author(s) is somewhat naive, or has expressed him- or herself poorly.

Sincerely, William M Goetsch 22:00, 2 May 2004 (EDT)

The Culture section should stay, but I agree that some of the negative POV should be removed. It's not true that the USA is the only country on Wikitravel with a culture section. Austria has one. If other large countries don't, it's because their entries are incomplete.
And yes, you can generalise about a country's culture, as long as you're making clear that you're generalising. You're essentially stating the mean of a Gaussian distribution, which will only overlap to a certain extent with a Gaussian distribution of another country. For example: If you bump into an American on the street, there's a 90% chance that they're of an uncomplicated nature. In Germany that chance may only be 10%. Thus it's not wrong to say that "Americans are, in the whole, uncomplicated, whereas Germans aren't" -- 11:02, 16 Sep 2005 (EDT)
I think your critique is right-on, at least in that it's not really possible to write about the U.S. having a culture. Checking the page history and noting the author of the "Culture" bits I think I can form a theory: the author is actually writing about his childhood home in the Texas Panhandle, as opposed to the U.S. as a whole.
I actually think it would be easy for any of us to fall into this trap. I have a totally different view of the U.S. having grown up mainly in a college town and then having lived in the inner city of Chicago, and later San Francisco. As such I've requesed myself from writing about the U.S.A. as a whole. I just really don't know what the Culture of the U.S. is.
I do suspect that anybody attempting to write about "American culture" is going to have the same exact problem. See I can't even decide what to call it. ;) -- Mark 04:03, 3 May 2004 (EDT)
Mr. Goetsch: feel free to make changes to the article to give more accurate information on the USA. Most of the parts that you found unpleasant were written by me. I am an American born and bred, and I tried to give as much info as I can about differences between the US and other English-speaking countries. You can consider it an insider's outsider's view.
The USA is more complete than other country articles, but that's not because we don't want this information -- that's what the Understand section is for. I'd love to see Germany or Norway have the depth of analysis as this page has.
It's hard to write about the culture of a place as big and diverse as the US without a lot of generalization. I especially tried to cover the aspects of US culture that seem to puzzle international visitors; these tend to be some of our country's less savory qualities. --Evan 01:34, 4 May 2004 (EDT)
Evan: I would like to do some work on this but I don't want to get into a pissing contest, especially with you who have originated the whole site. I believe you should rule in this matter, even if it is perhaps not the wiki way. Here is what I propose: I will rewrite the article in my own namespace incorporating all the good factual stuff from the present article. I will stick very close to the country template and I believe it will turn out somewhat shorter, but still plenty rich. I prefer not to put in a great deal of history -- which, after all, is not in the template. I believe it would more properly be in an encyclopedia. Maybe we can link to Wikipedia.
BTW: Although still a "newbie" I detect, perhaps wrongly, some tension between Wikitravel and Wikipedia. I wish you would confirm whether this is a valid hunch on my part, as I think Wikitravel would benefit from such cross-referencing and then we could focus more tightly on the traveler, which is, presumably, our primary remit. And we would then be able to use our resources more efficiently to fill in some of the many, many gaps in Wikitravel. And if we don't like what's in Wikipedia, why we can change it. Wikipedia would also benefit from our inserting external links in it to Wikitravel articles.
Anyway: After I'm done -- it will take maybe only a couple days -- then you read it. If you like it, or feel it is a better base from which to work, then fine, we'll move it in. If not, that will be the end of it and we'll stick to what's there. If you have invested in the present article to the point where even without seeing my approach you would like to keep what you have, please tell me. It'll save my effort. I won't have any serious regrets and there's plenty of other things to work on here. William M Goetsch 14:51, 4 May 2004 (EDT)
PS: I've done a little here that you can look at to help make up your mind, but I'm going to stop now till I hear back from you.
Bill: A couple of responses. First, Maj and I don't claim any special privileges on Wikitravel. We happen to have been around since the beginning, so we've probably got better long-term perspective than newcomers, but besides that we don't get any final say. The traveller comes first around here, not the founders.
Second, there's no bad blood between Wikitravel and Wikipedia that I know of. Cooperating with Wikipedia is part of our Fellow Traveller Expedition, and we have special ways to make links to Wikipedia. Many Wikitravellers are current or former Wikipedians.
That's not to say that we're exactly the same as Wikipedia. We have a different culture, different goals, and different ideas. We're separate, but amicably so.
Third, it's always a good idea to link to Wikipedia, but it's also good to remember that Wikitravel is not just a Web travel guide. These guides are supposed to be useful when printed out, so just linking to other sites isn't enough. I think the history of the USA on this page is about the smallest capsule history we could come up with. It has just enough info so that someone visiting a Civil War battlefield (say) would have some idea what the Civil War was.
Lastly, I'll try to take a look at your ideas and comment on them on that page. It's usually easier for everyone if you just update the page you want to change, though. Thanks again for your help, -- Evan 16:26, 8 May 2004 (EDT)

Editing of the article[edit]

Though "history" was the major change, I started at the beginning and worked through history. So I made some other changes besides just history. I took out Cincinatti as a major travelers goal, for example, and I reworked "geography" some too along the way. I plan to edit "culture" next. My aim is to clean it up, condense it, and make it more objective, though much of the original text is remains.

My general feeling is still that the article is too long, and that history would be better addressed by a reference to Wikipedia (although I haven't looked at the quality of theirs which can be spotty). If I am going to Britain I would certainly not desire to read its history on Wikitravel.

Still, I have tried to use a scalpel here, not a sawzall, in deference to the work that has been put in to it. William M Goetsch 13:41, 9 May 2004 (EDT)

More work on the article including Get In to Eat and Drink. Some typos injected. Will get them later. William M Goetsch 12:10, 10 May 2004 (EDT)

Editing complete down to Drink. William M Goetsch 12:27, 11 May 2004 (EDT)

Hi William. I appreciate your contributions to this article, and like most of the improvements.
I wanted to make a mild objection to one of your removals though. I thought the old 'Respect' section had useful and vital advice for the traveler. In particular, I think travelers from other countries need to be aware of the dangers of discussing race with an American (my favorite quote from before: The subject is extremely nuanced, and it is highly unlikely that any foreign traveler will be able to navigate the minefield of American race relations without stepping on something extremely explosive), Okay, maybe it was a bit strong before, but at the very least we need to say to someone "don't try to initiate a conversation about race unless you really know what you're doing." To me, the parts of the old 'Respect' section which were a bit overdone did, at least, seem to serve the purpose of explaining to the traveler exactly why they need to avoid racial topics like the plague.
I'd like to see Respect brought back, but of course I'd also like to hear from you first since you've put so much effort into this of late -- Colin 00:54, 17 May 2004 (EDT)
Colin: Curiously, my parents lived in Fremont, I believe in the 70s, and I visited them there several times. Anyway, re: "Respect: My reasons for removal of this section, strangely enough, mirror my reason for removing the section on topless bathing: It has unfortunately not been my experience to see many women at a beach willy-nilly stripping off their bras without first looking around to what others were or were not doing. Visitors usually have pretty good sense. In a more serious vein, I have frequently, in my travels, introduced "locally sensitive" issues in my conversations -- to the extent my Spanish, or my interlocutor's English, permitted -- and as a consequence I sometimes learned things I would not have otherwise. In any case, "social warnings" like these, as opposed to warnings about walking alone at night in questonable places, do not usually have serious consequences, as locals usually make allowances for traveler's faux pas, if such they are. Regards, William M Goetsch 10:58, 17 May 2004 (EDT) (Bill).
And I had another thought, perhaps more directly to the point you raise: In my view it would be desirable to have a traveler bring up "race relations" in a conversation here. They probably already have a worse view of Americans in this respect than is actually the case. In the same way, were I conversing with a serious person in, say, Lebanon, I would not hesitate to bring up the topic of Islamist terrorism, a similarly fraught subject I'm sure you will agree. This is how the world and gets to know one another and, in the longrun, hopefully, straightens itself out. Travel is all about breaking down barriers. Bill William M Goetsch 11:25, 17 May 2004 (EDT)
I have to say I agree with William here. During my travels I talked about a number of sensitive subjects in different countries. In Turkey I had conversations about the Kurdish situation, in Malaysia about the tensions between the Chinese, Indian and bumiputra population, in Australia about the situation of the Aboriginal people, in Argentina about machismo, ... and I never felt any hostility from the people I talked with. Of course, you don't lecture people about what you think is right or wrong. But if you listen to them you can learn something about the topic and why it is the way it is. And most of the times it is not an offence to tell them that you and the people in your country think or act differently for such and such reason. Akubra 16:41, 17 May 2004 (EDT)
That said, I think having a 'Respect' section is helpful to make travellers aware of the local sensitivities and give some clues on how to behave (such as taking off your shoes before entering a Hindu temple). Blatantly telling a Turkish soldier that you support an independent Kurdistan is not the way to go, but you can always talk to me about the Flemish-Walloon situation in Belgium when you happen to be here :-) Akubra 16:57, 17 May 2004 (EDT)

Road Nomenclature[edit]

So here in the United States, we have the original highway system (Route 66), the Interstate Highway System (Interstate 80) and also state routes (California Route 1). Sometimes a state route (California 97) preserves the same number across a few states (Oregon, Washington 97) or provinces (B.C. 97). It seems like we really ought to have a standard way of specifying the roads. I see stuff on wikitravel like I-80, I80, Interstate 80, Route 66, US 66, SR 97, CA 97, etc. Shall we standardize how we type these darn things in?

So here's a proposal to start things off. I'm not much attached to these! This is just to start the conversation.

  • I-80 for Interstate 80. I see this dash stuff all the time on interstates. I don't know why it's only interstates that get the dash
  • US 66 for Route 66. Most maps don't make it clear that Route 66 is the same as US Highway 66 so it's nice to specify the US instead of Route
  • SR 97. It's an abbreviation for state route. Each state has a differently shaped sign for their state routes.

Comments please? -- Colin 23:51, 7 Jul 2004 (EDT)

There is no "California 97." It's "US 97," a route that continues with the same identity into Oregon and Washington. There are many highways like this, though they are not as predominant as they were prior to the advent of the Interstate Highway system. There are also "State Highways," officially and unofficially identified differently from state to state. (In some states, some abbreviation of the name of the state may precede the highway number, such as M-xx in Michigan; in others, the designation may simply be the word Route or Highway, while in others, the state's name may be used in full.)
State highways that cross state lines may keep the same number in both states, or the number may change as one crosses the border. In some cases, a state highway in one state will connect with a local road without a number in another. 01:14, 29 December 2006 (EST)

Oops, I hadn't seen this! I guess I agree with your proposal but it's also important to have some context for people. If you start just talking about "use the SR 97 to get there" it might not be clear that it's a road (versus a train or bridge or whatever)... And is "SR" a commonly used abbreviation? I haven't seen it... I'm just not sure how obvious the US road system is to someone from say, India, or Africa... but maybe I'm making assumptions. Majnoona 17:55, 30 Oct 2004 (EDT)

AAA uses the SR nominclature. This makes a small bit of sense to me since 1) you don't have to figure out the two letter abbrev for the state route (CA for California is obvious, but what does Idaho use?) and 2) if a state route crosses a state boundary, the number is frequently preverved.
You're right that this will confuse visitors from afar. So if we can agree on some kind of standard, we should explain the plethora of road names and how they are expressed in the USA article. Of course, this only helps folks who consult the USA article before going somewhere, but that's kinda how we do other stuff like phone numbers, so it seems like our style of doing things. We do, I think, need to at least explain the US Route / Interstate / State route division in the article.
I'm not super-attached to my proposal above. It was more just a point of reference for discussion. Do you have a preference for spelling out State Route or any other ideas? -- Colin 18:32, 30 Oct 2004 (EDT)

I'd prefer to refer to the highway by whatever name it is locally known (i.e. what it says on the signs). If a road is called "M-37" in Michigan and changes to "Indiana 37" in Indiana (it doesn't, but just for example), then call it "M-37" in articles about Michigan and "Indiana 37" in articles about Indiana. Because I honestly wouldn't recognize "State Route 37" or "S.R. 37" as being "M-37" (a road that nearly runs through my backyard). While it might be nice to nail down whether it's "US-69" or "U.S. 69" or whatever, I don't think completely consistency nationwide is necessary. (P.S. The reason interstates have a dash in the name is to make sure people don't mistake "I96" for "196".) - Todd VerBeek 19:06, 10 April 2007 (EDT)

I agree that if there is a local way of doing it, we should follow it. Here in Northern California, most people call it "Highway 11" whether it is a US Route, State Route, or Interstate. Though for Interstates, "Interstate 11" is just as common. And those darn Southern Californians call it "The 11" regardless of what it is. So we need an overall standard, but then alter that for states where they do have a commonly-used way of saying it. -- Colin 09:07, 12 April 2007 (EDT)
What people say probably isn't as useful as how it's identified on signs. People drop the prefixes, use traditional names, etc. in conversation, but I don't think we should do that here. What I meant is that, if state highways in Michigan are named "M-xx", then that's what we should call them in Michigan. - Todd VerBeek 08:10, 2 May 2007 (EDT)

Road designations[edit]

(Following section swept in from the Pub)

I'm not sure where a section should be inserted, or if I should declare style policy with at least some attempt at consensus, but it would be nice to have something. I posted the below to the MoS discussion page:

I can't find any other place discussing it, so I'll just kind of stick it in here. I've been using (at least in the US articles) what I think is the official designation system. Interstates are prefixed with "IH-", Non-interstate federal highways are prefixed with "US-", state roads are prefixed with "SH-" (I had to kick myself several times to stop using the prefix "TX-", which we Texans know isn't really official, but use any way), and others that might not be so popular across the country (I really don't know), like County Road ("CR-" here), Farm-to-Market Road ("FM-"), and Ranch Road ("RR-") are just spelled out. I wouldn't mind having a stated consensus on this though, especially with "FM-" (In Houston, at least, if you ask for "Farm to market road one nine six zero", you'll get a blank stare about half the time, but everyone knows of "FM ninteen sixty").

But I'm not familiar enough with even the whole US to tell which road types are widely known, and which just stick in my head. Please comment on the following list:

  • Interstate Highway "IH", widely known
  • US Highway "US", widely known
  • State Highway "SH", widely known
  • Farm-to-Market Road "FM", somewhat known
  • County Road "CR", mostly local
  • Ranch Road "RR", mostly local

Jordanmills 13:36, 10 April 2007 (EDT)

In my experience, interstates are always prefixed with "I-", and state highways vary by state (e.g. here in Michigan they're prefixed with "M-"). I don't think most people would understand "IH-" or "SH-". "FM-" and "RR-" are completely foreign to me, but if that's what the designation for a particular road is, so be it. The bottom line is that roads should be identified to by whatever name people use for them. - Todd VerBeek 16:40, 10 April 2007 (EDT)
I've seen it mostly as "IH-", but a quick look at the NHS web site [1] (which, I guess, is about as official as it gets) shows their regular use of "I-". I'd venture to say that your usage is more correct here. While I've also seen "SH-" and "SR-" used interchangably, the DOT/FHA also uses state-specific abbreviations for state highways and state routes. Additionally, there is apparently some difference between a "U.S. Highway" and "U.S. Route". Though I can't wade deep enough into the paperwork to figure out what it is. I may have dug myself too deep here. Jordanmills 18:44, 10 April 2007 (EDT)
Talk:United States of America#Road Nomenclature. I think we should have a Manual-of-Style entry for countries (or at least the major ones) describing our writing conventions. The country MoS would cover addresses, phone numbers, and highway stuff. The MoS for a country would not override the project-wide MoS, of course. -- Colin 17:30, 10 April 2007 (EDT)
Oh goody, link and discussion. I think country-specific MoS entries for country-specific naming conventions sounds like a good plan. Jordanmills 18:44, 10 April 2007 (EDT)


Net State has detailed historical information on each state. Would this be appropriate to put in the United_States_of_America article ?

Probably not. We have Wikipedia links in the sidebar so that people can go to Wikipedia for more info on a location that's not strictly travel related. But putting in other links is too much of a slippery slope: there are heaps of sites about the history of many of the countries and destinations we list. -- Hypatia 13:15, 1 Nov 2004 (EST)

Internet TLD[edit]

Hmm, I would rather focus domains like .gov, .mil, .edu in quick bar. Domain .com is much more in international use.

To be precise, .gov and .mil are explicitly limited to the U.S. government and military respectively. .edu was originally a global TLD for educational institutions, but is currently restricted to those with U.S. accreditation (though some non-US institutions are grandfathered). On the other hand, .com, .net, and .org are international both in intended and actual use. There isn't any real logic in showing .com as a "US domain", nor in showing it but not .net and .org, unless commercial sites are the only sort of interest. Dtobias 15:20, 20 Aug 2005 (EDT)


So, someone obviously worked really hard on this article recently, and I rolled back their changes. Here's why:

  • Having every single state listed under Regions is just waaaaaay too much info. It's better as it is now: links to general regions (like New England and the Midwest , with each region having links to particular states.
  • We don't need to have every single city in the US linked from Cities. We already picked out a small selection of really major cities for travellers; we don't need links to the top 20 or the top 50.

I think the key thing is remembering the 7+/-2 rule: make groups of links of around 5-9 items. If you have more items, break them down into sub-groups, and make new pages. --Evan 01:09, 7 Mar 2005 (EST)

Whoever did the work on the US today also expanded some of the region descriptions and other minor info. Since those changes looked good I've restored them. Hopefully that's OK. -- Wrh2 02:30, 7 Mar 2005 (EST)

No pictures![edit]

The USA article currently has seventy-one (71) kilobytes of text and zero (0) pictures to accompany it! Surely there's a decent pic or two to slot in somewhere? Jpatokal 00:14, 5 May 2005 (EDT)

How about grabbing a couple of iconic images from the state/city pages? Maybe the Statue of Liberty shot from the New York (city) page and a Golden Gate Bridge shot from San Francisco? I'm sure there are probably other images that people associate heavily with America, but those are two suggestions. -- Wrh2 00:52, 5 May 2005 (EDT)

Scaring away the customers[edit]

As each author adds their own particular bugbear to this article the US is getting scarier and scarier and the article longer and longer. Gay bashing, monster storms, and my personal favorite: "[visitors] should familiarize themselves with the local climatology and pack clothes or items as appropriate." Sound as though our visitors are children: Be sure to pack your galoshes girls.

As to gay bashing I will challenge this paranoid author to name a city or state where there is no gay community, as he especially warns us to beware of. Start with Peoria Illinois ("If it plays in Peoria...). Doesn't he watch TV?

We can't put foam rubber on the playground of the whole US of A. Soon, reading this article, even if they can get a visa, they won't come. That would be too bad. Hey, a little wild and wooly is good for the soul.

Let us give a thought to balance.

William M Goetsch 16:29, 23 May 2005 (EDT)

Yes, junk does accumulate. Pointless stuff like "learn the climatology" should be deleted since it's obviously true for every destination. The gay bashing warning is exactly one short setence and pretty much says "you should be careful outside of SF/NY." I think that's fair. I live 30 miles from SF, and I think acting openly gay here would carry risks from some members of the local idiocracy. I reckon it could be fatal in parts of Mississipi. It's not that we are saying everyone outside SF is a homophobic murderer, it's just a "be careful" in case a gay visitor from another part of the globe is under the misaprehention that the US is filled with only accepting people. Colin 23:44, 23 May 2005 (EDT)
Well I'm not planning to take the warning out. I'm simply saying that the article on the United States seems to be building up with warnings much faster than any other country article. If one is gay and planning a trip to Morocco let's say, one is probably somewhat cautious before walking down the street holding hands with one's boyfriend. Yet, without looking, I would be willing to bet that the article on Morocco has not issued the same warning as does the United States article. I remember that a while back the United States article had a warning about nude beaches which I think I removed. I did this on the basis that rational people do not generally strip their clothes off at a beach willy nillie without looking around a little bit first. This is simply common sense. The United States article seems to be getting out of sync with comparable articles about other countries. I would prefer that authors with such fears, after adding them to the United States article, would add them as well to articles on other countries. And I would ask you whether you have taken the trouble to do this. The way it stands now, it looks like the United States is a pariah country out of sync with the rest of the world,yet in fact it is far more liberal than is most of the rest of the world, let's say Africa, the Middle East, India, China, Indonesia, and in fact the bulk of the population of the planet. So this displays us in a false bad light And plays on negative stereotypes which are building up around the world about our country. This discourages travelers From coming here which I feel is a bad thing. This is what I mean by balance.

William M Goetsch 15:00, 24 May 2005 (EDT)

I think the gay bashing warning goes too far. For example, the United Arab Emirates safety section says this: "The crime rate is extremely low in the United Arab Emirates, so there is nothing in particular to be concerned about, just be vigilant." Yet, homosexuality is punishable by death. I'd say that's something to worry about. If there are statistics that show a significant threat to homosexual tourists, then I think the comment is legitimate but the statistics should also be provided. In general the article seems absurdly anti-American and I'm a liberal blue-stater.

Feel free to plunge forward and make changes in the tone and content of the article. --Evan 15:50, 7 Jan 2006 (EST)

Auto-favorable bias[edit]

I changed much of the auto/train/bus entries. There is a difference between acknowledging widespread auto use in the U.S. and the author's assertion that this is "what America prefers." A little research into free-market economics will enlighten one to why auto-use is so popular, given its inefficiencies with energy use and its limited use in creating the places most likely to be visited in the U.S. (SF, NY, Chicago). Subsidized infrastructure for autos, of which there is no toll for use, will undoubtedly be chosen in favor of paying for travel on private lines which must maintain their own rights-of-way, or even government lines that are woefully underfunded and expected to maintain some semblance of national service. Er go, widespread auto use.

In terms of legibility your changes were much for the worse and I've reverted half of them. This is not Wikipedia and our focus is not on subsidized infrastructure, but getting around the US as the traveler sees it, and "America's love affair with the car is legendary" is a fact even if you, or for that matter I, don't like it. Jpatokal 21:27, 22 Jun 2005 (EDT)

POV in "Drink"[edit]

The drink section of this article seems to be very POV or non-sensical. Sentences such as:

  • Asking for liquor plus mixer will sometimes get you funny looks, but you'll get what you want,
  • You will find that the wines served in most bars and taverns in America is of the "bulk" variety, not very good, and often not served in proper glasses.
  • Of course this fad may become extinct at any time.
  • Some states also have a weird thing called 3.2 beer which is 3.2% alcohol.

I don't know enough about this stuff to change it myself, so I thought I'd put it here. Bob rulz 23:27, 26 Jul 2005 (EDT)

The article says that 80% of Americans drink regularly. I don't know where the author found this number, but it seems way to high. The American Council for Drug Education says nearly half of Americans over twelve drink, so 80% seems pretty ludicrous and may need to be ammended. Ajrhobby 23:49, 7 May 2006 (EDT)

Less than half seems improbably low to me. I just did some quick Googling for stats and what I found was all over the map... I suspect it depends a lot on how you define drink "regularly". Regardless, we don't need a statistic; just saying that its commonplace (as you changed it) is good enough. - Todd VerBeek 07:54, 8 May 2006 (EDT)
Hi Bob rulz. Are you aware that Wikitravel has no NPOV requirement? A travel guide, unlike an encyclopedia does not need a neutral point of view. Rather we try to be fair. Just thought you should know before you start complaining about POV. -- Mark 11:58, 8 May 2006 (EDT)
"Bob" posted those comments almost a year ago; I'm not sure he's still watching this page. :) And his criticism of some of it as nonsensical (or just odd) is valid, which is why most of that verbiage is gone now. - Todd VerBeek 12:14, 8 May 2006 (EDT)
I know. I just like to stomp all over POV and NPOV when I see the issue raised. Wikipedians dragging NPOV over here and insisting on it is one of my pet peeves, so I'd rather not leave an instance of somebody calling POV in a talk page unanswered. -- Mark 12:33, 8 May 2006 (EDT)

Mobile phones[edit]

" Consequently, one you purchased in another part of the world will probably not work in the US. "

I'm not too sure about that, most phones now days at Tri-band and should absoloutley work in the states as most GSM providers here from Cingular to T-mobile have roaming agreements with foreign carriers. I took my Tri-band GSM phone to Europe and used it all over the continent and the British Isles without a problem.

GSM works pretty much everywhere; other types of cell phones might not. Also, though GSM is standard in most of Europe and Asia, it's not in the US.


I'd just like to throw in my two cents in favor of the existing regions. Only a bureaucrat could love, or even understand, what eg. "North West Central" is supposed to mean... Jpatokal 23:00, 19 Sep 2005 (EDT)

What he said. -- Colin 23:05, 19 Sep 2005 (EDT)
Here, here. -- Ilkirk 13:11, 20 Sep 2005 (EDT)

duh. I read that diff a little too quickly[edit]

and yep, it's Dallas, Texas (like San Francisco, California))

Planned Parenthood[edit]

Planned Parenthood has long been listed as a resource in this article, and is persistently deleted. Many of us routinely restore the section and I thought it best to add a discussion here of this so that anyone who thinks it inappropriate would have both the reasons for it and a place to discuss it further. Here are my reasons why I think it appropriate:

  1. PP provides general reproductive services and counseling. A traveller who stays a few months could reasonably have a need for any of the services.
  2. I assume the traveller already has an opinion about abortion. The article does not provide advice about the subject, but merely an informational pointer. Note that this info serves to prepare the traveller about what to expect from Planned Parenthood -- even an anti-abortion traveller might want to know about this in order to either avoid PP altogether or to plan on refusing PP's advice before receiving counseling.
  3. Some travellers -- particularly young and unwealthy travellers from countries with socialized medicine -- need all the pointers to free medical services they can get. Thus we also point out that emergency rooms must serve the poor and uninsured.

-- Colin 02:42, 21 Oct 2005 (EDT)

Thanks for getting the discussion going. I think this is a good case where the traveller comes first.
I'll be a little more pointed: I think that for many 20-40 year old travellers, reproductive services (including birth control and, yes, STD treatment) are going to be their main non-emergency health need.
By the way, I also think we could use some info on how to get other medical treatment with national health cards from various countries. --Evan 21:14, 21 Oct 2005 (EDT)
As far as I know, hospitals are required by law to treat all patients with emergencies, regardless of ability to pay.

There is simply no good reason to include a mention of abortion in a travel section. The traveller is unlikely to stumble into a Planned Parenthood office in the first place, and even if one who did was pro-life, they probably would not be overly offended anyway.

The traveller here for a few months who finds him or herself in need of "reproductive services" could easily find them by themself, in the phone book or on an internet search.

This kind of reminds me of the many travel books that almost assume or at least implicitly accept the traveller will engage in (usually) promiscuous sexual activity while travelling.

--User:Jakes18 16:27, 22 Oct 2005 (CDT)

First, it is not easy finding services like this in the phone book in the US. Some Pro-life groups routinely advertise deceptively described services to trick someone into visiting them instead -- and then become advocates against various behaviors. Second, the pointer does no harm to someone not seeking the services. Third, is it your theory that young Frenchmen (as a randomly chosen example traveller) will suddenly adopt the mores of conservative US while visiting?
Romance and travel do go together. And while by no means is it a universal sentiment, one ought to acknowledge that for many locations on the planet, sexuality and romance go together. Sure, you and I may think it unwise, but we don't get to decide the actions of the individuals involved in a romance, do we?
Lastly, we make decisions here by consensus. You must first lobby for a change in consensus -- which clearly is against you at present -- before you make a change in the article. Playing dictator upon the article will not work. -- Colin 18:34, 22 Oct 2005 (EDT)
This is getting a little silly. I don't care either way, but it seems that this revert war has got to be settled in some fashion... -- Ilkirk 14:26, 24 Oct 2005 (EDT)
I personally don't care either way whether planned parenthood stays or goes, but any effort to bully a change through without discussion is going to get reverted. At the moment there is one person arguing vehemently that it be removed without (IMHO) providing any compelling arguments, and several people arguing that it is a valuable piece of information. The policies of Wikitravel are very clear that in that case the information stays, although people should work together to find some text that is more acceptable to everyone. -- Wrh2 14:53, 24 Oct 2005 (EDT)
So it looks like we have the options of either pandering to Jake and letting his edit stick, or reverting it a couple of times per day until he gets bored. Perhaps somebody should write a "Jake's edit war" bot to deal with this specific unwanted edit? -- Mark 05:46, 25 Oct 2005 (EDT)
He'll get bored eventually and it's not like clicking "[rollback]" every now and then is going to be a major chore. I'm just afraid that this is just the harbinger of future Wikipedia-like flamage when snack packs of assorted nuts discover (Former Yugoslav Republic of) Macedonia, (Illegally Occupied) Northern Cyprus, (Part of China) Taiwan, etc... Jpatokal 05:58, 25 Oct 2005 (EDT)

Size rankings[edit]

A user keeps changing the size ranking of the United States based on comparison with China combined with Taiwan. I believe we should recognize the objective existing state of things rather than concern ourselves with the subjective of what some people wish things were -- especially since there are various groups with different, mutually exclusive subjective wishes.

At the very least, go fight it out on Wikipedia first. -- Colin 20:26, 2 Nov 2005 (EST)

Just to muddy the waters, the CIA world factbook colors the China map to include Taiwan, but lists the total area of China as 9.59 million square km ( Personally this seems a silly thing to argue about, so maybe we could just re-word the offending sentence to read something like "The United States is one of the largest countries in the world based on land area (9.6 million km2) and on population (approximately 300 million)". -- Ryan 20:31, 2 Nov 2005 (EST)
That will just make him target the China area stat next. I'd prefer to just follow Wikipedia's decision on this -- they have more time for arguing than we do :-) -- Colin
I say we just let him have his way. A traveller only needs ballpark figures anyhow. -- Mark 23:36, 2 Nov 2005 (EST)
I don't care about the status of the US in a list. I care that we don't establish a practice of allowing Irredentist claims or other transnational claims, of which there are a slippery-slopeful, to override reporting about the actual facts on the ground. As an example of this principle, we have an article about Transnistria despite the wholehearted lack of international recognition (or even any example of disinterested recognition) for the country. How many countries claim bits of Antarctica, for example. Arguing about the current facts on the ground will forestall involvement in arguments regarding which country has the "right" to each piece of dirt. -- Colin 02:43, 3 Nov 2005 (EST)
I'm right there with you on the annoying nature of Irredentism. For me the important thing is that the thing travellers need to know about a place is who is in charge now. It might be interesting background that somebody else claims a place for some reason, but that's not the main point. I want to stress that the reason we mainly talk about current control is that that's what matters to the traveller. -- Mark 04:44, 3 Nov 2005 (EST)
The population of Taiwan is about 22 million. I don't understand how including or excluding Taiwan from the totals for China (1.3 billion) would change the ranking of the United States (295 million) as third in population behind China and India (1 billion). Is there a reason that Taiwan matters even in the slightest in this comparison? --Evan 23:54, 2 Nov 2005 (EST)
Duh -- I see now. The question is about area rather than population. The CIA Factbook area rankings includes Taiwan and still shows the US as larger. --Evan 00:03, 3 Nov 2005 (EST)

This is really easy to understand. The US breaks China up in it's statistics for a purely political reason, and who is the US to say how large China is? The CIA statistic excludes Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan, which are ALL a part of China.

Whether Taiwan is part of China or not is highly debatable. I would contend that it is not, and historically never been, except for a few decades in this century. However, whatever Taiwan's status, its land area is very small compared to that of the mainland, so it shouldn't make very much difference as to China's ranking in size.
Honk Kong and Macau are much smaller than Taiwan, at least in terms of land area, so whether their area is included or not is irrelevant. 01:22, 29 December 2006 (EST)
It's even easier to understand that this is not an encyclopedia. The important thing is that Travellers don't care. Just round the numbers off, and say "the US and China around around the same size". And please sign your posts. -- Mark 04:02, 3 Nov 2005 (EST)

"Mountain states" rather than "Rocky Mountains"?[edit]

There is discussion currently occurring on the Rocky Mountains (United States of America) article, as to whether a different name for this region should be found. The problem is that --

  • on the one hand, it is misleading to lump states (notably Utah) into this region that don't have much to do with the actual mountain chain, since people not familiar with the Rockies will want a useful guide to them; while
  • on the other hand, there is a lot more to the states covered in the region than merely the Rockies.

My proposal is to call the region either "Mountain states," "Mountain West," or "Rocky Mountain States," in each case with the obvious (United States of America) extension, and then modify the existing article so that it is part of the Rocky Mountains hierarchy rather than describing a region of the US. Content can then develop as appropriate for the two distinct articles in a way that makes them coherent and useful. Any thoughts on this? -- Bill-on-the-Hill 18:36, 31 Dec 2005 (EST)

I think that Mountain States is a good name. I do not think ther is a need to disambiguate with (United States of America) because Mountain States is also a play on words as in the States for USA, so Mountain States is fairly obviously the States in the United States of America that have Mountains in them, or are at least in the Mountain time zone. I do not think Mountain States would be confused with any other country's states with mountains, though if that does happen then we could disambiguate, or call it a famous place. -- Huttite 19:19, 31 Dec 2005 (EST)
OK, if there is no dissent in the next few days, I'm going to make this change. Speak now or forever be subjected to edits... -- Bill-on-the-Hill 18:59, 7 Jan 2006 (EST)
Would this not confuse people about other mountain areas in the US? You have the Appalachians, Ozark Mountains, Black Hills, Cascade Mountains and many others. Would all of these be "Mountain States"? I think the name should be more specific, as Mountain States is very ambiguous. Just my 2-cents. Xltel 21:41, 7 Jan 2006 (EST)
"Mountain West," then? Point is, Rocky Mountains is unsatisfactory. -- Bill-on-the-Hill 21:54, 7 Jan 2006 (EST)
I know that I am joining in very late on this discussion and of course I am more then willing to go with "Mountain West", but could I suggest a couple of alternatives, "Western Mountain Region" or "Western Mountain States". Any comments? Xltel 22:15, 7 Jan 2006 (EST)

Last call for discussion on this. There appears to be consensus that there is value to the change, and "Mountain West" appears to have the most advantages and fewest problems. Accordingly, unless there is dissent, I'll make the change to "Mountain West" over the weekend, with Rocky Mountains (United States of America) becoming a sub-region (which is about to get populated with all sorts of stuff). -- Bill-on-the-Hill 23:48, 20 Jan 2006 (EST)

Go for it! -- Mark 05:46, 21 Jan 2006 (EST)
I missed the last call, but I agree! -- Xltel 12:32, 21 Jan 2006 (EST)
I find the name "Mountain West" sub-optimal. I would never call this area "Mountain West", and I don't know anyone who would. I realize that "Rocky Mountains" and "Mountain States" are both ambiguous, but we're writing a travel guide, not a geography text book.
Considering our only difference right now between Rocky Mountains (United States of America) and Mountain West (United States of America) is that New Mexico is part of the first but not the second (which doesn't even really make sense, if the second is part of the first), could we instead just put an advisory on the Rocky Mountains page that other states have Rocky Mountains in them (and, indeed, parts of Canada)? --Evan 12:55, 21 Jan 2006 (EST)
No! No! NO!! The Rocky Mountains are a mountain range; the Mountain West is a region! They are distinct concepts. The Mountain West region contains a lot of other stuff beside the Rockies, and it is severely misleading to restrict that region, in the eye of the reader, to the mountain range. Meanwhile, the range fits neatly within the region apart from the New Mexico outlier, and also ties nicely to the overall Rocky Mountains article with its Canada counterpart.
The floor has been open on this one for a couple of weeks now, with what I think is a pretty clear consensus that the change could and should be made. -- Bill-on-the-Hill 13:07, 21 Jan 2006 (EST)
Bill -- sorry I didn't pipe in before; I realize you've done a lot of work on this already and I should have spoken up before.
I realize that the Rocky Mountains are a mountain range with a specific area that does not directly map to the borders of these states, but I think the "Rocky Mountain region" is a pretty well-established term in the vernacular. The Mid-Atlantic region is not literally in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, but we use the term to refer to that section of the Eastern seaboard. The Great Plains extend into more than the states mentioned -- some of the Rocky Mountain states, for example.
I've reverted your change; I'm sorry, but I just didn't like the way it worked. I've tried to answer some of your concerns by making some other changes. First, Utah is now unambiguously in the Southwest, which seems to have been a source of difficulty. I've also noted that NM isIn the Southwest but contains a significant portion of the Rocky Mountains, so it's also isIn Rocky Mountains. I'm working on the code to show more than one breadcrumb list on the top of the page (we need it for a lot of areas, not just NM), so in the next week or so NM will appear in both regions.
We typically don't have articles about geographical features like bodies of water, mountain ranges, plains, deserts, etc. However, I can see setting up some "extra-hierarchical" regions for particularly important features. I don't think we need to interpose another level of hierarchy into the system to note the relationship.
What if we change the name of the Rocky Mountains region to "Mountain States" (no disambiguator) and make a new article, Rocky Mountains, to specifically discuss the mountain range? And if we keep the two regions ("Mountain States" and "Southwest") more or less composed as they are now? With notes that Utah and New Mexico straddle both? --Evan 13:40, 21 Jan 2006 (EST)
I really disagree with this change for a couple of reasons, the biggest being that "Montains West" is not the most commonly used name for the area. Seeing it out of context, I'd have no idea what you're refering too. "Rocky Mountains" or "Rocky Mountain region" on the other hand, is used by every tourism authority I could find, plus libraries and map cataloging and classification systems ([2] defines is as "Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming"). A google search for "united states" "mountains west" doesn't get you anywhere. I just don't see this change being useful to travellers. I would go along with a clarification such as "Rocky Mountain States" (even though that doesn't quite go along with our usual naming conventions...). I'd be less happy with "Mountain states" but even that is clearer than "Mountains West" -- though it makes me think we'd spliting the country up by time zone or something. Majnoona 14:35, 21 Jan 2006 (EST)
I disagree with Mountain States for reasons stated previously. Just too ambiguious. I am sure the "Green Mountain State" of Vermont would for sure want to be in the Mountain States. Anyone not from Vermont is called a "flatlander". I think the name should have "West" and/or "Rocky" in it. How about "Rocky Mountain Region". Just add a disambig. Xltel 15:18, 21 Jan 2006 (EST)
Is Vermont also mad about not being included in the Mountain Time Zone ;-)? I think we usually try not to include the label in article names (ie not "California State" "Mission District" "Downtown Neighborhood"), but is that's really the only compromise we can find, I wont argue against "Rocky Mountain Region" Majnoona 15:28, 21 Jan 2006 (EST)
Alrighty then. For the record my observations tell me Vermonters are pretty passive. :) But, I am a hillbilly from the Ozarks.... ahhhhh... (more mountain states!!!) and only spent six months in Vermont I didn't really think of any division across time zones and I have seen cases where we have overlap in regions, districts, states, etc. I was just thinking of people recognizing the area for people in the U.S. and if any foreign visitor is asking someone about "Mountain States". True, The real mountains in the states are the Rockies, but there are some people that will not accept that, heck I lived in Poteau, Oklahoma for 27 years and they are sure they have the "World's Highest Hill. I certainly will to go with the consensus also. Thanks.... Xltel 18:21, 21 Jan 2006 (EST)

Sigh ... Look: the problem, however we want to wordsmith it, is that another page is needed that fits more smoothly into the "regions" hierarchy than Rocky Mountains (United States of America) does. There are a number of reasons for this, one of which is a newcomer in the form of the (welcome) ability that we'll soon have for doing two isIn breadcrumbs per article. The existing RM(USA) article fits nicely under the upper-level Rocky Mountains article, but something else is needed for the US regional hierarchy.

I really don't have a powerful preference for "Mountain West" over "Mountain States" over "Rocky Mountain States" over "Rocky Mountain Region" over who-knows-what, but let's do something and have it stick. I thought -- thought -- we had arrived at "Mountain West" via the usual and proper process of consensus building. Apparently not. So how about "Rocky Mountain Region (United States of America)" for the region name? Does THAT satisfy everybody? I repeat: we need a new name, and I would like to start working soon on populating the things the next ply down from this region. Can we FINALLY reach closure on this? (P.S. Thanks for the e-mail, Evan.) -- Bill-on-the-Hill 22:27, 21 Jan 2006 (EST)

Ah, that's the problem. The usual and proper process for consensus building in a wiki is as far as I can tell to do something and see who complains. There have been those who argue for trying to talk something out first, but for some reason that sort of conflict avoidance seems to leave questions unresolved for months or even years. Plunging forward will bring consensus quicker. That's why I said "Go for it". -- Mark 04:31, 22 Jan 2006 (EST)