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Talk:United States of America/Archive 2006

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This is an archive of all discussions started in 2006 on Talk:United States of America.

Driving/renting a car with an IDP[edit]

The get around section needs to be updated with that information. How easy is it? Does the legality vary by state? Can I rent, but with higher insurance? --Ravikiran 07:09, 2 Jan 2006 (EST)

The ones I have checked (Hertz, Avis, Alamo, Thrifty) do not accept an IDP alone. I suspect it will be difficult to rent in the US with a International Driving Permit alone. Xltel 12:08, 4 Jan 2006 (EST)

IRS rules on tipping[edit]

I don't think your average furriner really needs to know how the IRS handles tips or even about the largely-theoretical employer compensation for insufficient tipping; I do think they should know that tips are both expected and an essential part of waitstaff salary. Jpatokal 03:32, 4 Jan 2006 (EST)

I consider that important since it further explains why tips are both expected and an essential part of waitstaff salary. Arbitrary deletions without complying to well-established policies may be as bad as biting newcomers. English Wikipedia has had some problems of this kind. Why should we have arbitrary deletions that may discourage less experienced users from editing?--Jusjih 03:50, 4 Jan 2006 (EST)
Well, no, actually it doesn't explain that; if anything, to me it seemed to obliquely imply that it's OK not to tip. Why not just say that it's legal to pay waitstaff less than minimum wage, because their tips are expected to make up the difference?
And it's not an arbitrary deletion if I explain the logic for it, which I did above. Newbies are nice, but I'm a fervent believer in tight prose and regularly revert edits that add a lot of bulk with little if any information (eg. [1], which seems a reasonable addition on the surface, but actually tells the traveler little if anything of use). Jpatokal 04:13, 4 Jan 2006 (EST)
You know I saw the little back and forth on the recent change list, so I figured I'd read what was removed - it didn't make any sense to me! I read it twice and still couldn't figure out how it affected how I should tip. I live in the US and deal with the IRS every year, so I think that someone from outside the country would be even more confused! Maybe if whatever that meant was translated into something straightforward, it'd be useful. -- Ilkirk 11:08, 4 Jan 2006 (EST)
I agree with Ilkirk. The IRS stuff struck me as being encyclopedic type information, but the writing to me seemed a bit, well, difficult to read. Perhaps the same thing could make a sort of entertaining inset box if it's done well though. -- Mark 12:43, 4 Jan 2006 (EST)
You may have misunderstood. I would like to say that since the IRS steps in to employers, undertipping will increase employers' burdens. It is what makes tipping more important. If you insist to remove contents without strong reasons, would you like to discourage others from editing or face more wasteful edit wars? In this case, I can use Wikipedia instead.--Jusjih 18:45, 4 Jan 2006 (EST)
Please don't take it that way! We understand that new users are sometimes discouraged by their edits not sticking, but unfortunately, while we want new editors to feel welcome and comfortable plunging forward we also have to make reasonable editorial decisions. Some of us do try to be very careful about explaining why we are doing things, but of course since anybody can edit Wikitravel then anybody can undo an edit as well.It seems to me that the removal was for two very strong reasons in this case: The information seemed tangential, and it was very difficult to read and understand. I think that you have made a good point (below) that some people will still refuse to tip regardless of how it hurts the employee, and that we have to point out that it hurts the employer too. I'll try to re-word the section to bring this out. -- Mark 12:43, 6 Jan 2006 (EST)

There's a very simple rule on Wikitravel: Wikitravel:The traveller comes first. Can you explain why is it relevant for travellers to understand the complexities of operating a business in the United States? If you can't, then I'm afraid it doesn't belong on Wikitravel. Jpatokal 21:19, 4 Jan 2006 (EST)

I have heard of certain Japanese travellers not tipping at restaurants at all, so I consider if we explain to them how the simple IRS rule affects restaurants, it is relevant to travellers since some travellers may not have fully understood why tipping is even more important. I do not consider my edits against that written rule here (Wikitravel:The traveller comes first), but your removal could become destructive. If you are still so persuasive against that piece of info as "encyclopedic", I can just add relevant links and info to Wikipedia instead of wasting too much time fighting your opinions while I have more important things to do. Next time, please use Wikipedia to move something encyclopedic thereto.--Jusjih 19:30, 5 Jan 2006 (EST)

Here's what it says now:

Theoretically, tipping is discretionary, but in practice, except in the most extreme cases (i.e. grossly substandard service which management refuses to address), Americans will always leave a tip. Indeed, because it's legal to pay waitstaff less than minimum wage, tips often form the majority of a waiter's or waitress's income.

Good enough? And you're welcome to contribute on Wikipedia, but due to the incompatible licenses I can't just take your text and put it there without your permission... Jpatokal 21:56, 5 Jan 2006 (EST)

Okay, I have moved the text to Wikipedia:List of faux pas myself using the same user name. Because I have written the text myself, is it good enough to comply with the license requirement?--Jusjih 05:08, 10 Jan 2006 (EST)

External links / hotel guides[edit]

An anonymous user today added, and a few others to the hotel section of this article, and the change was rolled back with the Wikitravel:External links policy being cited. However, for the entire United States aren't each of these primary sources for booking hotels online? When I travel from state to state that's what I would use to look for a hotel, so I don't see that they wouldn't be appropriate for someone visiting and looking for hotel info about the US. If the same links were added to a city article I could see that they would be inappropriate, but for the US article they seem like valuable resources. Any objection to rolling the change back? -- Ryan 16:49, 29 Jan 2006 (EST)

I reverted this because it appeared to be an attempt to add as a spam link. The addition of expedia and was attempt to vail the addition of The anonymous user had been adding this link to several cites over the past few hours. As far as having links to expedia, I would not think they are needed, but would not object to having the added. Hope that explains the revert. Thanks -- Xltel 16:57, 29 Jan 2006 (EST)
OK, didn't realize there was a spammer involved. I've added a brief mention of online hotel reservation sites (not including the spammer site) that is similar in format to the paragraph under "Get in" about online airline ticket sites. Since those outside of the US may not know what are reputable travel sites this should hopefully be useful info. -- Ryan 19:25, 29 Jan 2006 (EST)
The common booking sites are not primary sources since they are not the Official Sites of *any* hotel. A primary source is the Official website of something, which need not be the same as a Really Useful Website. So okay, not okay according to policy. I fear a slippery slope. It seems like every page which contains exceptions becomes a weblink dumping ground. Anyway, personally I choose to ignore the links for now, but if it becomes a dumping ground I'd be inclined to nuke the section. -- Colin 20:44, 29 Jan 2006 (EST)

Removal of General Hotel Booking Sites[edit]

I believe that your policy on external links, while in general appropriate to prevent spamming, appears arbitrary at best and most likely violates your own rules. The inclusion of certain links are clearly commercial in nature while excluding others has an arbitrary and capricious effect.

To the extent sites are linked that offer services or information that is useful to viewers in context to the subject matter, there is little substantive basis for imposing removal other than an editors attempt at determining whether something is intended as "spam". In the case of roomrate, expedia, orbtiz, etc.., the inclusion of the links is appropriate.

Similarly, the fact the contributor added other links also have contextual value appears not be a relevant basis for making a decision. On the face of it, the removed language and sites should be permitted.

In support of the above, I refer to the following as stated in goals:

"For on-line use by travelers on the road, huddled in a late-night Internet café in some dark jungle, who need up-to-the-minute information on lodging, transportation, food, nightlife, and other necessities"

Under non-goals:

Build a Web directory. Wikitravel articles can and should have links to external resources about destinations, itineraries, travel-oriented companies, and other travel-related Web sites. However, it's not a goal to collect all links about any destination. External links should support and complement the content of articles; they're not a goal in and of themselves.

Accordingly, it is requested that the material be restored.

Thank You

First, the external link policy does not care whether the linked site is commercial or not. Second, up-to-date info is about having information here at wikitravel, it is not about linking to useful sites -- if it was, we'd just replace the main page with a link to and declare ourselves done. Third, the links we allow are things like linking to when describing a particular motel, not linking for links to other stuff unaffiliated with the hotel like AAA. Lastly if you think your website conforms with the extlink policy, you need to read the policy much more carefully since it is crystal clear that your website is exactly the kind of thing the policy excludes. -- Colin 20:50, 29 Jan 2006 (EST)

Response by Editors[edit]

The response to my inquiry was a bit chilly, but I understand the nature of the constant abuse you must deal with. However, I do not understand how the submissions amount to spamming or any other type of untoward conduct. In this regard, I apologize for adding links that are in any way misleading or not useful, or contrary to the policies. However, as a general matter, I find it troubling that can not be included.

The fact that direct hotel sites can be listed but services that offer specific information about hotels for an entire city can not seems unfair.

The fact that the policy fails to mention "commercial" was not the point I was trying to raise. The point is that sites are added that are commercial while others are not. Either they should be added on the basis of merit or special relevance, or none should be added.

I did add several listings for a variety of cities (maybe 7) and I made the listings each linking to the relevant local links that match the destination content. I did not see that as spamming or abusive. I believed it constituted good and fair conduct. I did include other links to major sites not to "hide" spamming, but because it would be unfair to not include major brands.

Whatever your decisions are, I do apologize if you believe I was abusing the system. I do wish you would reconsider because I think it is fair and appropriate to include them.

I wish you well. I understand that you have to deal with abuse, and I understand the terse response, but that was/is not the intent.

Let's be clear: we don't think that external links to aggregate sites are spammy or abusive. We understand that you have good intentions, and I'm sure your hotel information site is interesting and useful.
Our external links policy is to link to primary sources; it's clearly explained. I think we all realize that you meant no harm by adding your links; you just weren't clear about our policy.
I wish you well with, and I hope that this first negative response doesn't keep you from contributing information to Wikitravel in the future. --Evan 23:50, 29 Jan 2006 (EST)

America's attic?![edit]

I don't know about you, but an attic does not sound like a pleasant place to visit. Although the section on New England is otherwise quite solid, there's a somewhat pejorative slant to the description of this region as a musty storeroom. It's a clever turn of phrase but, I think, inappropriate in this context. -- Venicemenace 2/1/06

It is a clever turn of phrase. And let's put it in perspective here:
New England -- America's attic, home to gabled churches and antiques, New England offers rocky beaches, spectacular seafood, rugged mountains, frequent winter snows, and historic cities. These states are small, so you could visit all of them reasonably within a week.
Are you sure that really sounds pejorative? --Evan 16:50, 1 Feb 2006 (EST)

I still maintain, in the context of a travel article, it's not exactly an alluring description. Cleverness aside, I don't think it's particularly apt either. Two thumbs up on recognizing that the Midwest is more complex than its rep: here you simply echo New England's rep. The first sentence would be stronger without the first two words; and in addition, it would no longer be a run-on. Keep up the good work. -- Venicemenace

I think your change would be okay and accepted. I suggest you plunge forward and edit the page. I see you are signing with "Venicemenace", I also suggest you register with that name and join in on the fun. It's not required to register to edit, but it makes communications better. Your input and help is very much welcome. Thanks -- Xltel 17:29, 1 Feb 2006 (EST)
In all truth attics can be pretty durn nice. I always ask for an attic room when visiting a ski town for instance. Still I welcome Venicemenace to plunge forward, and put the axe to the attic if that's what she feels is necessary. Still I think there are probably better ways to fix the run-on (without making it dry).
On the utility of logging in, I see it as a mere convenience for the user, as logged in users are actually in some ways slightly more anonymous than un-logged in users. -- Mark 21:32, 1 Feb 2006 (EST)

Comments appreciated. FYI, I am a dude. - Vm

That would be another utility of logging in: in addition to masking your IP you get to create a user page which tells us about yourself. - Mark 04:46, 2 Feb 2006 (EST)

FYI: The Smithsonian Institution [ ] is colloquially refered to as 'America's Attic' because it houses in its extraordinarily diverse collection much of the most significant cultural artifacts of American history - eg. The Flag sewn by Betsy Ross and Archie Bunker's chair. One might also read: -- User:MatthewStevenCarlos/MatthewStevenCarlos 13:00 09 May 2006

President's day[edit]

Isn't President's day a holiday important to mention? I had to scramble for breakfast today because my usual place was shut --Ravikiran 13:42, 20 Feb 2006 (EST)

I just added it and Veterans Day; so all federal holidays are listed. It's a bit unusual for Presidents Day to close a restaurant, but certainly anything that closes banks and post offices is worth listing. Jonboy 14:02, 20 Feb 2006 (EST)

Religion in America[edit]

Dubious changes alert[edit]

Two IP users have made additions which look dubious to me [2] but AssumeGoodFaith prevents me from rolling back. Someone please check. — Ravikiran 01:46, 16 March 2006 (EST)

I agree with the deletion. The addition of Groundhog day serves no serious purpose. -- Colin 01:50, 16 March 2006 (EST)


Guys, you've got a great article here, but occasionally it treats the traveller like an idiot from the Stone Age. I'll give some examples:

One thing that may at first startle visitors from more conservative countries is the number of women that go to bars, both accompanied by men, unaccompanied, and in groups.

Take-out food is also very common. You will order by phone and then usually drive to the restaurant to pick it up and take it away. Many places will also deliver this type of food to your hotel or home.

Barbeque, BBQ, or barbecue is uniquely USA and can be delicious.

Hard alcohol is usually drunk with a "mixer", such as tonic water, cola, or another type of "soda"

One dance format probably unfamiliar to foreign visitors is country music, a musical form derived from traditional folk tunes but played with electric instruments.

Prior to the popularity of personal cell phones, public telephones ("pay phones" which accept coins)

America is a highly technological country, with over 75% of its population having Internet access.

People outside the US have heard of BBQ, they've had mixers before, they've experienced take-out, they've seen American women going out alone on TV, they know what a payphone is and, perhaps astonishingly, a they've heard of Shania Twain. It probably takes an foreigner to see this, but the article is actually pretty condescending. It assumes that people the world over are entirely ignorant of American culture. This is really not the case! Remember that everyone gets a lot of US movies and TV programs, plus music, food exports and celebrities.

You should worry more about dispelling incorrect preconceptions about the US (e.g. that everyone is a crazy fundamentalist, or that New York is permanently bathed in flattering light) than about educating travellers on every last wonder of American life (most of which we already have). Especially remember that this is an English-language website that will probably be used by relatively wealthy tourists from industrialised countries (Canada, Australia and New Zealand, the UK and Ireland, South Africa), so no need to go on about people from "conservative countries".

I'm going to delete most of those sentences, but keep a watch out for that kind of stuff creeping back in. Polocrunch, 19.04.06

Thanks, the US article is getting a bit long and probably does explain too much, so these look like good changes to me. -- Ryan 17:57, 19 April 2006 (EDT)
I'm generally in agreement with the anonymous user above that this article, while containing a lot of great information, has tended to become long-winded and to over-explain. I've edited down the "Culture" section a bit to remove (among other things) a description of what "culture" means and a discussion of statistics on immigration from a previous census. I don't think we necessarily need to remove that much from this article, but much of what is there can be stated more clearly and succinctly. -- Ryan 11:56, 27 May 2006 (EDT)
agreed. anyone who knows English well enough to use this article will probably know what a mixer and a pay phone are. Also takeout is common throughout the world, not just in the US.


  • Florida should be part of the South or Southeast.
  • Texas is part of the Southwest - it's debatable that California is too.
  • Perhaps the Great Lakes Region should be broken out from the Midwest. The character of the two regions are quite different, though the agricultural lands are similar.

--User:Mayor pez 05:50, 2 May 2006 (EST)

Northern Florida is part of the Southeast, but South Florida is more attached to the Gulf of Mexico and thus forms it's own seperate region. Texas is not part of anything. Parts of Texas however are in the Midwest, other parts are in the Southwest. Parts are in the Western Plains. As a native Midwesterner I disagree strongly that the great lakes is distinct from the rest of the midwest. -- Mark 18:11, 2 May 2006 (EDT)
Several Florida residents have already commented that it's a very different place from the rest of the south, and the consensus seems to be that it's better to separate it. Texas and California are most definitely not southwest - I live in California, and the idea that San Francisco or even Los Angeles is part of the southwest just wouldn't be accurate. In terms of Great Lakes vs. Midwest, I lived in Ohio for 14 years and always considered it to be Midwest. The Great Lakes is definitely it's own region, but I think it's a sub-region of the Midwest, rather than a separate place. Just my two cents. -- Ryan 18:54, 2 May 2006 (EDT)
I'm not convinced, Pez.
  • Although the Florida panhandle is quite arguably Southern, El Miami or Tampa/St.Pete has about as much in common with Savannah or New Orleans as, say, Philadelphia does. Florida is defined by the Gulf, the Carribean, and the Atlantic, which really aren't as influential in the rest of the South.
  • I could maybe see Texas as part of the Southwest, since much of it is similarly arid and Mexican-influenced, but California has so many other elements stirred into the mix (the beach communities, the entertainment industry, the People's Republic of Berkeley, etc.) that I'd have a very difficult time lumping it in with el paiz de las mesas.
  • I don't see a clear distinction between the Great Lakes and the Midwest. Michigan is obviously part of the former, but I live here and I consider myself a Midwesterner. Which would Michigan be? Granted, Des Moines isn't exactly Cleveland, and St. Paul isn't St. Louis, but I think this region holds together as well as any.

- Todd VerBeek 19:04, 2 May 2006 (EDT)

This comment referes to Regional Times as related to UTC/GMT: This article currently indicates that USA time is from -5 UTC to -10 UTC; however, during 'daylight savings time' periods (which the US Government plans to extend in late 2006) Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) is only -4 UTC/GMT .. I mention this because daylight savings time is in effect about 50% of the year in the USA, and during the most popular travel seasons. -- MatthewStevenCarlos 13:00 EDT (GMT-04:00) 09 May 2006.

West Virginia[edit]

I realize that proposals to move subregions around the hierarchy tend not to get much support, but one in particular has bugged me for some time. I think that West Virginia should be moved from the South to the Mid-Atlantic. I would argue that it is a common misconception by East Coasters (based on ignorance) that West Virginia's culture is somehow "southern," when in fact the Mountaineer culture is much closer to what you would find in Western Maryland, Pennsylvania, or even the Adirondacks. Moreover, I think its mining economy puts it pretty solidly in a category with the regions to the north. Finally, the only reason why the state even exists is that it split from Virginia in order to remain in the North.

I don't see any good reasons to keep West Virginia grouped with the south, but perhaps someone could point one out to me. There is, however, another good reason to move it—the South has a lot of subregions—2 more than we usually allow—while the Mid-Atlantic has only 5. Finally, speaking as a native "Mid-Atlanticist," the defining aspect of the Mid-Atlantic is that it is in between regions with more distinctive cultures and winds up falling somewhere between its regional neighbors. And West Virginia is a classic example of an in-betweener state. --23:27, 27 June 2007 (EDT)

As far as I'm aware West Virginia isn't commonly considered a Mid-Atlantic state - it doesn't border the Atlantic - and there have been a lot of arguments made as to why it is a southern state. Personally I always think of it as a Midwestern state, but that comes from years of living in Ohio. In any case, in the lack of a strongly compelling reason why from a travelers perspective West Virginia should not be grouped in the South I'd prefer leaving it as-is. -- Ryan • (talk) • 12:06, 29 June 2007 (EDT)
Just to add a bit more, here's Wikipedia's take on the subject:
The Census Bureau considers West Virginia part of the South because much of the state is below the Mason-Dixon Line, despite its northern panhandle extending into Pennsylvania and Ohio as far north on parallel to Staten Island, New York. Many citizens of West Virginia claim they are part of Appalachia, rather than the Mid-Atlantic or the South, while the state's Northern Panhandle, and North-Central region feel an affinity for Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Also, those in the Eastern Panhandle feel a connection with the Washington, D.C. suburbs in Maryland and Virginia, and southern West Virginians often consider themselves Southerners. Finally, the towns and farms along the mid-Ohio River have an appearance and culture somewhat resembling the Midwest.
-- Ryan • (talk) • 12:47, 29 June 2007 (EDT)


Removed a slightly condescending sentence in the "Learn" section that said that the reason why US colleges and universities were good was only because "top-caliber international students" go there for grad school. Honestly, as a college student, I see plenty of top-caliber US students as well as top-caliber international students. Not to mention I saw no proof of this claim; it lacked any additional info beyond an unverified statement. So I snipped it and kept the helpful part of the paragraph. -Sarah 10:22 EDT (GMT-04:00) 19 May 2006.

Seattle & Boeing[edit]

An earlier editor indicated that Boeing has moved its headquarters from Seattle to Chicago, so I reverted this edit (and screwed that up - sorry for no edit comment). Boeing is still a big employer in the area, but for a simple city summary it doesn't seem like this is a big enough issue to start an edit war over - if anyone feels strongly enough about it then lets just re-write the summary in a way that mentions something about Seattle other than local companies. -- Ryan 18:51, 21 May 2006 (EDT)

How about instead referring to its "trend-setting cultural scene" (i.e. Starblechs, grunge rock, Bumbershoot, Frasier) and "the presence of international hi-tech giants" (i.e. Micro$oft, 9-10-do, Boeing-Boeing, Amazon). - Todd VerBeek 20:39, 21 May 2006 (EDT)
Looks good and should hopefully avoid the series of reverts we've seen lately. Thanks. -- Ryan 11:26, 27 May 2006 (EDT)

Quickbar pic[edit]

While I have nothing against the fine town of Oxford (Mississippi), I think we need to find a more "identifiably American" picture to start off the article with. The Statue of Liberty is nice and iconic, but it's portrait while the quickbar needs a landscape. Suggestions welcome, otherwise I'll go find Mickey Mouse posing in front of a burger stand somewhere here in LA... Jpatokal 23:13, 17 June 2006 (EDT)

LA, huh? I originally put in a NYC skyline image, however, TVerBeek changed it, because the USA article would have had two NYC images. I too would like to find something a little more "idenfidiable American," but what could that be? Go back to NYC? Maybe Chicago, Boston, LA, Seattle, The Midwest, or DC? I'd support a DC image, but there's only one image of DC and that's an image I took from the NPS. I do have a disposable camera of DC photos, but I've forgotten what I did with it so I can't get it developed. - Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 23:35, 17 June 2006 (EDT)
I like this one → [3] Not sure we want to have a Budweiser logo right up there though... and by "identifiably American", I'd actually prefer something symbolic that showcases something only-in-America (Las Vegas, Disneyland etc), not some crusty old building like the White House. Jpatokal 01:44, 18 June 2006 (EDT)
I'm not really a fan of that image. Also, there are theories that photographing logos and publishing them are copyright violations - See the Eiffel Tower article. - Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 01:53, 18 June 2006 (EDT)
How about an image of a city that has received the All-America_City_Award? - Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 01:55, 18 June 2006 (EDT)

I do like this Chicago image by Mark. - Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 02:45, 24 June 2006 (EDT)

In the interest of having an iconic image in the quickbar I switched it to a shot of Mount Rushmore - the picture isn't quite perfect landscape proportions, so feel free to find something better, but the quickbar shots should be something that symbolizes the country (IMHO), and the picture of downtown Oxford wasn't doing it for me. -- Ryan 22:48, 11 July 2006 (EDT)

Although I liked the the "Main Street" feel of the Oxford MS photo, and the ability for even a non-local American such as me to identify with it (which is why I picked it), Mt. Rushmore is OK with me. I'm just really tired of the common perception (at least where I've traveled overseas) that the US=NYC+LA+FL+DC, so I'd rather have an image from Anywhere Else in the country. On the other hand, if you want a photo from an All-America City, I'll go outside and take one; we're a 3-time winner. - Todd VerBeek 23:13, 11 July 2006 (EDT)

Revert of the day[edit]

I reverted a bunch of stuff I thought was unhelpful. One was highly mispelled, the other seemed awfully politically correct -- for example, removing the part about religion in America.

Here's what was contributed and why I removed it

  • Anon removed part about US being one of the most religious of industrialized countries. Since it's true and may or may not be expected by the visitor, I view this as useful.
  • Anon removed "powerful" from the list "largest, richest, and most powerful." I could go for removing all three since it's boring, but why just one? I got that one exactly backwards.
  • There seemed to be some attempt to carve the Midwest out of the Great Plains and call it more liberal. My one word response would be "Indiana." More importantly, we want general descriptions rather than describing each little subsection.
  • Anon removed part about French in Louisiana. I thought this was true, but I'm willing to stand corrected.
  • Anon said politics was a taboo topic at the end of a paragraph that guides the visitor in how to carefully conduct a conversation about politics. Besides being an unneeded warning at that point, taboo is way too strong a word.
  • Anon removed part about fast-food being contraversial. I kinda agree with this one, but since it amplifies the advice to avoid fast-food when possible, I'd druther leave it in.

I don't care what the picture is though. -- Colin 21:56, 21 June 2006 (EDT)

I reverted an edit grouping the Midwest in the "Blue states." Most of the Midwest actually leans toward the GOP party. Given a few Midwest states are constantly "blue" like Illinois. Ohio is essentially the only state that can go either way in Presidential elections, however, on a state level - governors, senators, US Reps most of the Midwest is "red." - Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 00:44, 22 June 2006 (EDT)

If you look up information on governorships, elected officials, and recent election results, the Midwest tends to vote Democratic. Like, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan, and Ohio going both ways. So the majority of them are blue.

As Ohio has a republican governor and two R senators, I'm going to suggest you do some research this first, then get back to us. Yes, some of the states swing left, and some right. If I were guessing, I'd wager that averaged out they are about center in the US. I would note that Indiana is screamingly Republican, and I can't think of any similar lunacy on the Demo side in the Midwest. Frankly, I think the whole red-blue thing is overblown: the country is more evenly distributed than most people realize: WikiPedia:Image:2004 US elections purple counties.png

2004 Presidential

More importantly... stop changing the part about the US being more religious than most industrialized countries. It's true. Probably most visitors are aware of it already, but it's good to confirm it so that travellers know that it's not just a stereotype. -- Colin 19:31, 23 June 2006 (EDT)
  • I can assure you Ohio, my homestate is not a democratic leaning state, except in the north near Cleveland. I have reworded the sentence that you keep changing to reflect how the Midwest actually leans in relation to the two parties. - Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 00:59, 24 June 2006 (EDT)
Guys, knock it off please. This has little or nothing to do with travel.
Besides, really taken as a whole the country is purple. The link points to a cool county-by-county map. Note the bright blue stripe across the deep south, and the blue patches in Colorado, Texas, the Dakotas, and even Idaho! For that matter NYC has a republican mayor for crying out loud. The blue-state red-state is simply a convenient myth.
That said when Europeans ask where I'm from I always say Illinois as opposed to the US, so maybe I've been drinking the same kool-aid. Har. -- Mark 02:02, 24 June 2006 (EDT)
Very true, curious as to how I lost my head. - Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 02:07, 24 June 2006 (EDT)


-Ohio: 2 R Senators, very tight election for senate 2006, expected D Gov. 2006, very tight presidential race, 2.6 million house R votes in 04 and 2.2 mill house D votes plus 2 uncontested seats so those could very well be even and or more D votes

-Michigan: 2 D senators, D gov, D in 04 for pres, 2.2 mill D house, 2.2 mill R house,

-Wisconsin: 2 D senators, D gov, D in 04 for pres, 1.3 mill R house, 1.3 D house

-Minnesota:1 D senate, 1 R senate (tight election and original D candidate died days before election), R gov tight reelection 2006, D in 04 for pres, 1.4 mill D house, 1 mill R house

-Iowa: 1 D senate, 1 R senate, D gov, expected D gov for 2006 election, bush 04 but gore in 00 (both tight), .8 mill R house, .6 mill D house

-Illinois: 2 D senators, D gov, D for pres in 04, 2.6 mill D house, 2.2 mill R house,

-Indiana: 1 D senate, 1 R senate, 1 R gov (tight race) formerly D gov, R in 04 for pres, 1 mill D house, 1.3 mill R house

House D:11.3 mill + 2 uncontested seats so it could be almost 12 mill

House R: 11.4 mill

Majority House votes: D

Senate D: 8

Senate R: 5

Majority Senate: D

Net dem 04 pres states: +1

Majority for pres in 04: D

Governor D: 4

Governor R: 3

Majority Gov: D

'Midwest: Majority D'

We include Missouri in the Midwest. But I think you have demonstrated the point that it's about even. If you want to work on expressing the relative evenness of the political situation instead of the blue/red oversimplifications, that would be fine. -- Colin 22:33, 25 June 2006 (EDT)
I wish we could count on the polls you provided, however, I'm deeply sceptical of election polls, because I sat watching TV all night in a Munich hostel for the results of the U.S. Presidential Election and deeply believed that if Kerry had won Ohio and Flordia (Like a USA Today poll predicted) he was going to win. A small issue with the Ohio U.S. Senate race I have to raise is that no one in the Southern part of Ohio has ever heard of Sherrod Brown! (I'm mean that figuratively) Despite what the current polls (Remember polls before May 25, 2006 were often in favor of DeWine) say I have a hard time believing DeWine is going to lose the US Senate race. If, Paul Hackett hadn't been forced out by the DNC (The DNC has lost it's favor with moderate Republicans and Democrats in Ohio's 2nd because of it's handling Hackett's campaign) DeWine would have lost in November. If Hackett ran against Jean Schmidt in Ohio's second (Where I live) she would've lost this November, but he promised other Republican & Democratic politicans he wouldn't run in the '06 election. Can you rewrite the entire political entry, because let's face it America is just one big purple blob. Ohio can't really be called Republican or Democratic because, as the national media has branded Ohio, is the "swing state," though in the recent past the GOP has been given the jobs to lead the state. - Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 23:42, 25 June 2006 (EDT)
Given that the traveller comes first I've trimmed the political stuff a bunch. A visitor from outside of the US really isn't affected by the voting patterns of Midwesterners in the past few years, and removing all mention of red vs. blue doesn't (IMHO) make the article any less useful. Revert if needed, but if the content is re-added it would good if it was done so in some way that allows us to eventually find a resolution to the "is the Midwest red or blue" debate. -- Ryan 00:06, 26 June 2006 (EDT)
I ran into an edit conflict with Ryan. I attempted a rewrite and here it is. Please feel free to comment and proofread (Especially grammar and where I put commas) and if this seems like a good compromise insert it.
Politically, the country has recently been divided almost equally between its two major parties - The Republican party and Democratic party. Often pundits attempt to categorize a state as either a "red state" or "blue state," depending on if a state tends to vote for Republicans or Democrats respectively. Southern, and Southwestern states tend to vote for the Republican party, while New England, Pacific Northwestern states and California tend to vote for the Democratic party. The Midwest is famous for voting either way, especially Ohio, which is one the only states that presidential candidates will make multiple campaign trips to. Americans sometimes joke that in reality the country is "purple," meaning that out of the two major political parties either could win any state. In a similar way, urban areas tend toward the left while rural areas tend toward the right. Politics in America are very fluid and geographic allegiances have varied substantially over the decades. Americans are also highly mobile, and many people in one area may have grown up in another, bringing their political preferences with them. In the last presidential election, only three states gave more than two-thirds of their vote to a particular candidate, so most "red" states have plenty of "blue" voters, and vice versa! Americans also have a tendency toward centrism; far-right or far-left political movements that might take hold in other places tend to do poorly in America. - Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 00:10, 26 June 2006 (EDT)
Hi guys, just to give you a point of comparison if I could explain which departements are likely to go for Ségoline Royale, and which are likely to go to Nicolas Sarkozy in the next French presidential election would you find the information very useful for yourselves as travellers? How about if I work up some text about the ascendancy of the (center-left) Green party in Switzerland and its cost to both the Socialists and the center-right Christian Democrats, and Radicals. For that matter I could spend days writing about the right-wing UDC.
Would you be interested in which Swiss cantons had voted which way in the most recent elections (there are 4 per year)?
Or perhaps we should talk Danish politics instead? -- Mark 01:00, 26 June 2006 (EDT)
I'll settle for Ukrainian politics and the Orange Revolution. :) - Sapphire
I disagree with your point here Mark. I think there are many people around the world who are in opposition to current American policy, but may have been led to beleive that only certain regions of the US are responsible for it. Maybe they are thinking "hey, I'll go to Oregon and avoid those Texan gun nuts." If they go to rural Oregon, they'll quickly find themselves effectively in Texas. So to the extent that it helps the visitor select places to visit where they are more comfortable, I think the text is helpful. If US policy was less important to the world, then these explainations would be less important too. I think Ryan's text improves the focus on what matters to the traveller, and is therefore helpful. -- Colin 02:17, 26 June 2006 (EDT)
Good point. I totally agree with you here, which is why I posted the link to the purple map. I think my complaint was aimed more at the arguments being made against you and ryan. Sorry if that was unclear.
Besides, there are some other things which might surprise people about Oregon, like the huge desert, etc... -- Mark 06:52, 26 June 2006 (EDT)

Nine cities[edit]

Our anon contributor added Philly as a tenth city to the U.S. list of cities. Where exactly is the policy that says a region can only have nine cities displayed in the "Cities" section? Do we make an exception to the U.S. and if not, which city goes? - Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 16:08, 24 June 2006 (EDT)

I vaguely remember a very long discussion about how many cities to list for the US (the list was getting long) and settling on nine. I'm honestly not sure where that discussion was, but the fact that there is a comment in the article specifically saying "please discuss before adding more", AND that the first discussion on this talk page is about which cities to list, AND that this anonymous user is trying to bully through changes, makes the addition of Philly a good candidate for reversion. Note that I'm not against possibly adding Philly to the list, but that opens a whole can of worms about do we allow ten cities, eleven, do we take one away, which one gets dropped, etc. Settling on nine is kind of like the policy on having no external links - it's not perfect, but it solves a lot of potential headaches. -- Ryan 17:43, 24 June 2006 (EDT)
Wikitravel:Geographical hierarchy#Dividing geographical units. This same issue comes up all over the place: how many articles to list per section on the Main Page, how many cities to list in California, US, and England. If we increased the number, I'm convinced we would still have the exact same problem. -- Colin 02:06, 25 June 2006 (EDT)

Euphemism alert[edit]

I appreciate the attempt at cultural commentary, but the "Euphemism alert" infobox is both inaccurate and begging for an edit war over what to include.

  • Neither "toilet" nor "toilet paper" is offensive; it's just that they used to be considered uncouth, so euphemisms were invented. Today "bathroom" is simply the standard US-English word for the room where you shit, and "toilet" is the word for the thing that you sit on and shit into. If you say that someone is "in the toilet" you'll get chuckles, not because the word is rude, but because it conjures up an image of them with their ass soaking in the basin. There were TV adverts 30 years ago where they said "toilet paper" in a stage whisper, poking fun of that fact that none of their competitors used the term; I don't think anyone today would get the joke.
  • Referring to the remaining terms as "euphemisms" is itself likely to be construed as offensive, because that implies that there's something inappropriate or embarassing about someone being black, native, or male. Some information about "Politically Correct" terminology in the US and/or our difficulty dealing with the whole issue of "race" might be useful, but not in the context of an infobox about excretory euphemisms. It should also recognize that no one outside of the People's Republic of Berkeley is likely to be seriously offended by a foreigner saying "Indian" or "chairman". In fact, a person of light skin color may instead be snickered at for saying "African American" (in the hood you'll sound like a guilt-ridden liberal, and on the range you'll sound like... a guilt-ridden liberal).

- Todd VerBeek 09:06, 12 July 2006 (EDT)

Plunge forward! I was told off by my Jr. High teacher when I made the mistake of saying "TP" out in full, and this wasn't exactly 30 years ago. But you're right, these are separate issues and should probably split into one box (phrasebook?) for American-vs-Commonwealth and the race/PC thing. Jpatokal 09:55, 12 July 2006 (EDT)

Edits to Stay Safe section[edit]

I have made some enhancements to the Stay Safe section. These include deleting some wordy and verbose sentences that do not add usable information ("there's some merit to this stereotype, the America that is portrayed in Hollywood movies isn't what one finds in real life") as well as creating sub-headings to make the whole sections more readable. I also added a brief sub heading about laws against vice crimes in the US.

Keep in mind the purpose of the "Stay Safe" section is to provide USEFUL information about crime, hassles or law enforcement of specific relevance to travelers. If someone does not agree with my improvements then please DISCUSS IT HERE or even ADD YOUR OWN CHANGES do not simply revert to a version that has long, unnecessary sentences and unneded opinions about guns. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by SONORAMA (talkcontribs)

This whole article is becoming to long and unweildy[edit]

This article is getting out of hand and needs to be pared down to improve the amount of useful information available. Already the article is almost 3 times the recommend maximum file size.

In particular I feel the "History", "Learn" and "Buy" sections are irrelevant and better covered by other web sites specific to those interested in the history of or needing information about studying in the US. How does the group feel about deleting or massively paring down these sections? Let's increase the amount of usable info here and decrease the excess verbage and needless opinions. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by SONORAMA (talkcontribs)

I agree and disagree. I think there is far too much hemming-and-hawing language in this article, and that we are spending too much time trying to assuage feelings rather than taking the extra effort to be fair and tell it like it is. But, general overview information is crucial to making a good travel guide. That these issues are covered on other Web sites is irrelevant; a person reading a printed guide doesn't have access to those Web sites. So, rather than deleting sections in their entirety, I suggest trimming down the prose to be more compact and readable.
You might want to take a look at our goals and non-goals, and also using talk pages. --Evan 11:10, 14 July 2006 (EDT)
The "Learn" section had gotten especially unweildy and was full of generalized advise about full time university study in America. I significantly shortened it to one paragraph and changed the focus to the type of courses that travelers (as opposed to prospective full timestudents) are likely to seek. SONORAMA 09:21, 15 July 2006 (EDT)
I agree that the Learn section was getting a bit long-winded, but have you considered that "travelers" can include prospective full-time students? In fact, many young adults use study abroad as a way to travel to other countries (to say nothing of possibly getting a better education that way), and information about their options for doing so in the U.S. is definitely appropriate. - Todd VerBeek 09:35, 15 July 2006 (EDT)
Of course travelers include prospective full time students. And wikitravel is a great place for them to plan their trip. But advice about college studies per se is beyond the mission of Wikitravel and more useful information about choosing a college or getting a student visa is found elsewhere on the web. SONORAMA 09:41, 15 July 2006 (EDT)
Don't think "Web site", here. Think of what the "study abroad" section of the Lonely Planet or Rough Guides guide to the USA would have: an overview of the US education system for people considering using "study abroad" as a way to travel to the US. --Evan 09:56, 15 July 2006 (EDT)
Again: "This information can be found elsewhere on the web" is not a sufficient reason to remove it from Wikitravel. Although we certainly don't aim to be a student's only source of information about enrolling in a U.S. college, I think it is within our mission to be their first source of information. From reading your part-time-non-credit-only version, they may not even realize that full-time enrollment is even an option for foreign students. Some basic orientation about how the U.S. educational system is set up (which is very different from that in many other countries), and pointers to get foreign students started, are as appropriate as information about our transportation system or our travel-visa policy. - Todd VerBeek 09:59, 15 July 2006 (EDT)
I have no objection if someone wants to add some additional, useful information to the Learn section. But please, let's not make it anywhere near as long and wordy as the previous version, which had everything from Harvard's endowment, to application fees, to a comparison of US elementary schools with other countries. SONORAMA 10:09, 15 July 2006 (EDT)
Thanks for your "permission"; now that I know you won't revert it, I'll go ahead and restore some of the info you deleted. - Todd VerBeek 10:20, 15 July 2006 (EDT)
I'll have to hand it to you. You did a good job with your revision -- kept it brief and relevant. I'm especially glad you opted to write original text rather than just a revert. There are several other sections that hopefully can be enhanced by an renewed application of brevity and style. SONORAMA 12:07, 15 July 2006 (EDT)

Sales tax info[edit]

As I pointed out in my edit summary, we don't need to list which states have 0% sales tax rates in this article. The fact that Montana has no sales tax is not relevant to someone visiting the Gulf coast of the United States; it is relevant only to someone visiting Montana. That information can and should be put in the article for each state. - Todd VerBeek 10:11, 15 July 2006 (EDT)

Why should someone looking for a no sales tax state have to look through 50 state articles to get that information? Many state articles don't even list sales tax. Also, I'll point out, my version is about 30% shorter while at the same time more specific that the previous version. If we're going to talk about sales taxes at all, let's be specific and useful rather than verbose and general. SONORAMA 10:18, 15 July 2006 (EDT)
This is an article about the whole United States of America; being general is a virtue. But your version was certainly shorter: at the expense of correctness. It implied that there was no sales tax on restaurant meals and failed to explain that posted gas prices do include sales tax. If sales tax rates are missing from state articles, then add it to them, because that specific information belongs on those specific pages. Now, I realize that (e.g.) Philadelphians will drive to Delaware to avoid sales tax when they buy a new fridge, but is this the sort of information that foreign visitors to the United States are likely to use to pick which state to visit? Or is it something they will want to know after they decide to look at California as a travel destination... and are therefore looking at California? - Todd VerBeek 11:42, 15 July 2006 (EDT)
Sales tax indeed is seldom a deciding factor when tourists consider where to go. But since a paragraph about it is included in the United States section, I opted to put specific and useful information rather than vagaries. Incidentially, your generalized verbage is inaccurate: many states do charge sales tax on gasoline. Sales tax regulations for each state are sometimes more than ten pages long. Should the article have ten pages of legalese about tax policy? Of course not. Let's cut to the chase and describe what it is, how it is charged, and where its not charged. Frankly, this issue is almost too insiginicant to argue over, but is an example of how the article has gone from being a useful text to a endless list of generalities. In any case, short and specific wins out over long and irrelevant. I will revert back to my text. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by SONORAMA (talkcontribs) 12:00, 15 July 2006
Yes, states do charge sales tax on gas, but that tax is included in the posted price. That is useful for any car-renting visitor to know, which is why I am trying to add it back to the article. Yes, that makes it trivially longer, but I think the usefulness of this information is worth it. Likewise, since visitors do most of their eating in restaurants, it is very useful for them to know that these business do collect sales tax in addition to the prices on the menu. I'm relieved that you've finally allowed me to replace your incorrect generalization about "food" being exempt, with the more precise "groceries", but why can't we "cut to the chase" and actually say that restaurant food is taxed? Look, I'm not suggesting that we list the various states' tax codes. I'm trying to point out just the most travel-relevant aspects that apply nation-wide, without distracting the traveler with useless detail. And a list of tax-free states is - by your own admission - not particularly useful to them, so I see no reason to keep reverting back to it. - Todd VerBeek 14:37, 15 July 2006 (EDT)
First, I really like the way the two of you are condensing the information in this article - the US article had started turning into a sort of PC nightmare, with every obvious opinion and counter-opinion about everything being expressed, and far too much detail on many subjects. In the case of the sales tax section, a single, short sentence that includes what states don't charge sales tax seems OK to me - as a resident of the US reading the article I was unaware that any state other than New Hampshire didn't charge sales tax, and could conceivably see making a side-trip to one of those states in the future if I was planning a trip to a nearby state and needing to buy something expensive. As long as we don't get bogged down (again) with details like "states X, Y, and Z have no sales tax on products A, B and C" then I think we're OK. -- Ryan 15:34, 15 July 2006 (EDT)
As long as the useful information gets left intact (I've put it back, rephrased), I don't much care about the useless part. It was the utter illogic of insisting that it remain - while arguing that certain useful info that had been removed from this article could be found elsewhere - and (re)introducing errors into the text in the reversion process, that I found objectionable. - Todd VerBeek 16:00, 15 July 2006 (EDT)
For those purchasing a car to drive across America, knowledge of which states are tax free is hardly useless. But never mind. Now that the information we both wanted there, is there, I propose we leave the section as it is. I agree with Ryan, the article was getting too unweildy. Perhaps there are other sections that can be pared down. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by SONORAMA (talkcontribs) 18:56, 15 July 2006 (EDT)
I think travelers would prefer only a short commentary on Sales Tax in the main country article, if there are variations across the country. More detailed information could appear in each state article, especially if travelers and residents are taxed differently. At the country level, simple information like the range of tax rates, country wide exemptions, whether it is included in or added to the posted price and how prices should be treated if no mention is made about tax. As I come from a country that has a 12.5% tax on all goods and services, I am familiar with the concept, but not necessarily the customs and culture around sales tax. In my country, failing to mention there is tax means one assumes tax is included in the price. And not giving the tax included price, in a retail environment, is considered misleading - and open the way for a legal dispute! As a traveler, the main thing I would want to know is if the posted price is the price I pay, or not, and what my chances are if I should argue the difference. -- Huttite 21:52, 29 July 2006 (EDT)


Hey all. We seem to have a reacurring problem here with folks adding more cities to the cities section. I think that's pretty much inevitable considering the size of the US of A. Perhaps we should re-think this problem? Maybe it would be better to have a number of "cities" sections with 5+-2 entries each.. like this maybe:

Major Cities (by size)[edit]

  • New York
  • Los Angeles
  • Chicago
  • Atlanta
  • Huston

Major Cities (as destinations)[edit]

  • San Francisco (since NYC is in the list above)
  • New Orleans
  • Las Vegas
  • Miami
  • Boston

Historical Cities[edit]

  • Philidelphia
  • Baton Rouge
  • Nashville
  • ...
  • ...

Regional Capitols (if not officially)[edit]

  • St Louis
  • Kansas City
  • Cleveland
  • Denver
  • Memphis

Smaller Cities well worth Visiting[edit]

  • Austin
  • Madison
  • Santa Fe
  • Morgantown
  • Ischia
  • Charleston

Aging industrial cities that really aren't that bad[edit]

  • Detroit
  • Toledo
  • Cleveland
  • Pittsburg
  • Acron
  • Milwaukee


So, what do people thing about this? My main thesis is that it makes more sense to divide the USA up by ideology and purpose than by geography. -- Mark 18:07, 24 July 2006 (EDT)

The main value of the no-more-than-nine rule is that it keeps high-level articles from being bogged down by long indexes of cities. All this would do is partition that oversized list into themed sections. And instead of solving the problem, we'd instead have several lists to police, and people would be tempted to add more lists (e.g. "Beach destinations", "Aging industrial cities that really aren't that bad", "Cities with casino gambling"). - Todd VerBeek 18:34, 24 July 2006 (EDT)
I agree here: the point is to aid the traveller, not the editors, and so far this seems to aid the editors more than the traveller. I feel like there's something to it, perhaps as a separate article of some kind ("US by flavor" or something, I'm bad at naming articles). But having it heading the article seems like too much: too many travellers are reading for something else and aren't interested in a breakdown of cities. Hypatia 19:36, 24 July 2006 (EDT)
I think a separate article could be made with suggested destinations for different views of travel in the US -- see Japan's Top 3. But it doesn't belong in the US article. -- Colin 17:31, 25 July 2006 (EDT)
side notes to say:sorry about the rollback there, I forgot what tab I was in... think I fixed it... Maj 17:41, 25 July 2006 (EDT)

Inaccuracy in "Learn"?[edit]

I'm no US expert, but:

Although all colleges are open to students regardless of race, gender, religion, etc. some were originally established for a particular group (e.g. African-Americans, women, members of a particular religion) and may still attract primarily students from that group.

Aren't there still some women only colleges? Not just majority women, but colleges that actually don't admit men (this is very foreign to an Aussie...). [4] suggests that there are a few. Hypatia 19:31, 24 July 2006 (EDT)

You are correct; I've fixed the text. - Todd VerBeek 19:59, 24 July 2006 (EDT)
I corrected some information about the numbers of colleges in the US. The NY state system, SUNY, has more than 50 campuses, not 20 as the article read. And the four all-male colleges (Hampden-Sydney, Wabash, Morehouse, and Deep Springs) are not just remaining but thriving: enrollments are up and they have recommitted to remaining single sex. SONORAMA 10:52, 25 July 2006 (EDT)
The article didn't say that SUNY had 50 campuses; it just used "20" as a general example of how many a state might have. The exact number of all-male colleges is not important, and is subject to change. It is better to make general statements that will remain true over time rather than obsessing over exact numbers. - Todd VerBeek 12:11, 25 July 2006 (EDT)

Silly Warningbox[edit]

I'm sure the person who added the warningbox against "simply" joking that there were bombs in their bags meant well. But screwing with customs is a pretty sure-fire way of getting bounced out of any sane country at the border. I've heard of Canada doing this to US citizens, and there are few countries more welcoming than Canada. So perhaps we need some general article about border crossings and what to do and not to do (e.g. I always shave and take off my sunglasses before I cross the Canadian border because having customs search my whole truck is something I don't want to waste time on again -- it's just boring man), but this isn't specific to the US. -- Colin 21:06, 29 July 2006 (EDT)

I agree that the warning box was too much, but I'm gonna add back a note about not joking about that stuff - I agree that messing with customs officials is just a really bad idea, but it can't hurt to have a brief mention of the fact that joking about a bomb in your bag is a sure way to be delayed for an hour or so. -- Ryan 21:23, 29 July 2006 (EDT)
I am the writer of the warning box, and in retrospect I suppose such a prominent warning was not neccesary, however some form of warning to Europeans is required, because, despite the claims of many americans to the contrary, US procedure differs massively from the EU surely someone must agree. -- DAN 21:17 GMT, 29 July 2006
There is a warning that has been added under the "Get in" section that reads as follows:
As in most countries, it is also important to note that customs officials are required by law to treat any comments about bombs, terrorism, or other security issues extremely seriously; unless you are looking for an excuse to spend an hour or so being interrogated do not make even the most flippant remark about any of these subjects within earshot of any customs or other security official.
Do we need something more than that? I do agree that it's a bit retarded that an 80 year-old grandma can joke about having dynamite in her purse and then be interrogated for an hour, but I don't think it's that unique - I recall going to Canada on a 7th grade school field trip and being told that the previous year the bus had been pulled over and searched for an hour because a twelve year old kid made a joke about something or other. Similarly, I've gotten the impression in Malaysia, Chile, Cambodia and other places that the border control folks were absolutely humor-less. If you feel that the warning above is too little maybe you can expand it slightly? I'd just rather not see us go overboard with what is common-sense to most people traveling to foreign countries. -- Ryan 16:42, 30 July 2006 (EDT)
I'm not familiar with the specific incident that you seem to be so upset about, but on the whole, I believe that security personnel on both sides of the Atlantic (and elsewhere) take jokes about bombs very seriously indeed. In fact, it was in Europe (the UK in particular) where I first learned from a stern lecture many years ago that bomb jokes simply were not funny, never to leave a bag unattended, etc... things that Americans were (in those days) naively ignorant about. All that's changed is that the US is treating these things like Europe has for decades, and Americans are starting to learn what Europeans have known all along: don't joke about bombs. The advice in your warningbox was simple common sense that applies to riding the Tube, for heaven's sake; it is not specific to the flying into United States. - Todd VerBeek 18:59, 30 July 2006 (EDT)
Agreed: it's generally good advice that one shouldn't make jokes about bombs or other security threats to officials at border crossings or to airline staff. It's in Tips for flying. As for general air security 'heaviness', I found the US, the UK and Australia equally strict and serious, and continental Europe somewhat less so, but not so much that I would think it was acceptable to make jokes about bombs there! So it doesn't seem to be a US thing. Hypatia 07:24, 31 July 2006 (EDT)

In the news [5]. -- Colin 14:26, 3 August 2006 (EDT)

Budget, Mid-range, Splurge[edit]

As an American I've never really thought how the three categories are categorized so I'd like to create a rough consensus on what is Budget, Mid-range, and Splurge in the good ole U.S. or A.


  • Budget: Anything under $50 a night.
  • Mid-range: Anything between $51 - $130
  • Splurge (Apparently my bank account's new favorite): $131+

Eat (Per person)

  • Budget:Anything under $15
  • Mid-range: $16 - 34
  • Splurge: $35 +

Thoughts? -- Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 05:54, 13 August 2006 (EDT)

I'd hike down Budget to $50 (youth hostels, camping are well below) and $10. You also need to note regional variations: $100/night is cheap in NYC but pretty darn expensive in Minot. Jpatokal 06:56, 13 August 2006 (EDT)
To be honest, I think it's a disservice to travelers to try for a one-size-fits-all definition of these categories for the US. Let the descendant nodes have definitions that are regionally/locally useful instead. -- Bill-on-the-Hill 17:21, 13 August 2006 (EDT)
I'd tend to agree with Bill that's there is too much variance across the country - a room in northern New Mexico can be had for $20 a night, while in downtown San Francisco $100 is a steal. I think Jani was trying to address this problem with Template:Eatpricerange, although I'm not sure where the discussion stands on that issue. -- Ryan 17:49, 13 August 2006 (EDT)
Ryan, if you know of a place in northern New Mexico where you can get a room (without bedbugs or bloodstains) for $20, I'd like to buy it. :-) But yes, this is exactly the point. Jani's template, or equivalent verbiage (I'd prefer verbiage, actually), is the city-by-city solution. -- Bill-on-the-Hill 18:29, 13 August 2006 (EDT)
I wasn't intending on this becoming policy or even defacto policy. I just realized that I may have a warped sense budget, mid-range, and splurge compared to someone in Texas. I just want a rough idea/consenus on what these price ranges are so if I'm editing an article on Florida I can place listings in a somewhat appropriate category. If I'm going into a large city my expectations change drastically or if I'm travelling around Western and Eastern Europe my expectations change too so I'm in no way wanting this to become supreme law. -- Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 17:54, 13 August 2006 (EDT)
Understood, so let me suggest a different approach: at least for US lodging, let the amenities describe the three ranges. That part, at least, can probably be applied with some consistency across the whole country. A "Splurge" hotel in Frozen Gopher, Minnesota should be expected to offer about the same level of services as one in NYC, right? (At least exclusive of the "services" beyond the hotel itself.) Some descriptive text for each of the three classes of service can probably be developed without too much controversy. -- Bill-on-the-Hill 18:29, 13 August 2006 (EDT)
I hereby declare you a genius. It's amazing how we occasionally overlook the obvious solution. -- Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 18:39, 13 August 2006 (EDT)

"Capitalist government"[edit]

As regards my rollback of a few minutes ago: In my opinion it is entirely fair to indicate that the economic system of the United States is "capitalist;" that is actually useful information for the traveler coming from a place with a centrally planned economy, who may find some things different than at home in unexpected ways. There may be a place in the article itself to introduce that statement, if it isn't in there already. However, it is simply erroneous to state that the form of government is capitalist. The method of representation, choosing representatives, etc., is independent of the economic philosophy/ideology of the people being elected, or the people voting. The infobox should be factual, and the facts should be correct. -- Bill-on-the-Hill 10:28, 25 August 2006 (EDT)

and far be it from me to argue with an american's blind patriotism! ridiculous! I will now, under your implied advice, remove the word "communist" from the government type in China and North Korea articles-- Dan
As they say on Wikipedia, don't be disruptive to make a point. -- Colin 11:34, 25 August 2006 (EDT)
And why would a "patriotic" American object to his country being described as Capitalist? Not everyone accepts "Capitalist" as a term of insult you know... — Ravikiran 13:35, 25 August 2006 (EDT)
There's nothing patriotic about it. Capitolism is an economic system, not a political system regardless of how messed up it is. I can point this out without liking the system one little bit. The cooresponding policy is refered to as laissez-faire, which is French for "let do". The idea being that the political system stays out of the way of the economic system.
Of course many of us find this inadequate, and believe that some degree of regulation or control is required to prevent abuse. This is why some of the other "isms" are in fact political systems rather than economic ones. For instance socialism, which is about policy protecting people from the excesses of an otherwise capitalistic economy. Note that the word political derives from the word "policy".
But you see, Dan, that doesn't change anything about capitolism being an economic system. It's not political until you try to do something about it. -- Mark 15:19, 25 August 2006 (EDT)
Just to be clear with ya'll, I don't think Dan much cares about this issue. He's really complaining about Talk:China#Chinese Government Type, Talk:North Korea#Government Type, and Talk:Cuba#Communist State?. Rather than continue here, if anyone has an opinion about those other subjects it'd be better left on one or more of those discussion pages. -- Colin 16:53, 25 August 2006 (EDT)

Acceptable form of ID for alcohol[edit]

An anonymous user has added a statement that California law does not recognize foreign passports or drivers licenses as acceptable IDs for the purpose of buying alcohol and that shops are bound to refuse them. I have purchased alcohol with my passport or license a number of times in California, and service was never refused (though people gave me curious looks, or had trouble finding the birth date on the license). I have trouble believing all these people put themselves into risky illegality. Submarine 19:59, 25 August 2006 (EDT)

That was me. I looked it up -- consider yourself lucky you got served :-) Most likely the server was ignorant of the law. The basic problem is that most of our beloved citizens can't find Canada on an unlabeled map of North America, so they really aren't competent to distinguish between a Finnish passport and a Baffin Island passport. Asking them to follow instructions like "Maine Driver's License okay, Newfoundland not okay" is also overtaxing on their brains since they're both states, right? -- Colin 20:13, 25 August 2006 (EDT)
Do you have a legal source for this? Submarine 20:32, 25 August 2006 (EDT)
If you Google it, you find that the State of California's website says the IDs must be a "governmental id". I had to go to a bartender's site to find the actual interpretation. But it kinda makes sense that the State would only accept an ID from a governmental unit that is legally "bound" to the same system of law. -- Colin 00:42, 29 August 2006 (EDT)
I have bought alcohol in California. They insisted on a government id, did not accept my driver's license (I suspect it was because she had never seen a handwritten id issued by a government), but she did accept my passport. — Ravikiran 14:43, 29 August 2006 (EDT)
I've used my Swiss Carte de Légitimation dozens of times, at lots of places. Nobody ever questions it since it has my DOB printed right below the photo, even though the label is in French. That said I'm pushing 40, so maybe it's pretty clear that I'm of age. -- Mark 15:39, 29 August 2006 (EDT)
It's been well over a decade since I've been carded. I think we should add something to the effect that most servers won't know that the passport is insufficient, so you'll likely get away with it. I'd just hate to see a traveller make a fuss when refused alchohol. -- Colin 15:45, 29 August 2006 (EDT)
I hosted a German student, whi was over 18, but since German passports are written day/month/year in the numerical form it appeared that he was born September 02, 1985 instead of February 09, 1985. Anyhow, since the clerk didn't know that they wouldn't sell him cigarettes. So using a passport can be a bit of trouble, unless I'm confusing his passport with his Government ID. -- Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 15:50, 29 August 2006 (EDT)

Parenthesis for state name[edit]

Probably too late to discuss this now, but why on earth do US municipalities follow the standard of City (State)? I've seen this used frequently for subnational divisions in Europe, e.g. provinces of Spain and maybe departments of France, but never in the US. As in Wikipedia the accurate US standard is City, State. Unfortunately I have no time to write a bot to correct these. Cheers, PhilipR 14:14, 3 September 2006 (EDT)

It's a MediaWiki work around if you click on the Kent (Ohio) article. At the top of the page it says : "North America: United States of America: Midwest: Ohio: Northeast Ohio: Portage County: Kent." The parens hide the additional information contained within the parens. For example in the above breadcrumb if the title of the article was "Kent, Ohio" like it would be in Wikipedia the breadcrumb would look like this: "North America: United States of America: Midwest: Ohio: Northeast Ohio: Portage County: Kent, Ohio", which would kind of look weird since it's already mentioned that the city is in Ohio. -- Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 14:32, 3 September 2006 (EDT)
In any event, it's moot since there is normally no need for the state name to appear in the article unless there's a need for a disambiguator -- not uncommon, since many place names in the USA are duplicated in several states, but still more the exception than the rule. When in doubt, leave the state name out entirely when making a new article on a US city/town, and take care of the disambiguation if it arises. -- Bill-on-the-Hill 14:57, 3 September 2006 (EDT)
It sounds like the workaround wasn't implemented for US-standard names then, hence is an insufficiently internationalized workaround. Not a major deal, but a little unfortunate. - PhilipR 00:12, 4 September 2006 (EDT)

Shooting Guns[edit]

According to U.S. v. Day, 476 F.2d 562 (6th Cir. 1973). Citing Miller, the court merely concluded, in reviewing a challenge to the statute barring dishonorably discharged persons from possessing firearms, that "there is no absolute right of an individual to possess a firearm." Emphasis added. Since there are certain narrowly defined classes of untrustworthy persons, such as convicted felons and, as here, persons dishonorably discharged from the armed forces, who may be barred the possession of firearms, it is a truism to say that there is not an absolute right to possess firearms. In so saying, the court implicitly recognized the individual right of peaceful and honest citizens to possess firearm. So while yes, US citizens may have that right, it is not the right of foreign nationals to come over here and fire guns at a gun club or whatever.

Major Cities[edit]

Philadelphia is much larger than Atlanta and thus should be in the major cities category and it is a great tourist destination and so should be in the second category as well. Also how you have Seattle on that list and not Philadelphia is beyond me. While Seattle is certainly interesting and a great place to visit as well as a regional powerhouse, it is nowhere as interesting or notable as Philadelphia which is choc full of hilstorical places as well as its famous museums, restaurants and other fine places.

The "major cities" list you're referring to is just one individual's opinion on this talk page - see Wikitravel:Using talk pages for more information about talk pages, but a talk page is just a place to discuss things, and the list on this page is just an idea put forth by one individual. No one is saying that Atlanta is a major city and Philadelphia is not, the discussion was prompted by the many contributors who try to add their favorite city to United States#Cities list, despite the prominent warnings that we want only a "representative sample of nine cities" in the list. Five to nine is an agreed upon number that is considered to be a reasonable length for a list, and it gives us a way of avoiding debates such as whether Atlanta or Philadelphia (or Detroit or Kansas City or ...) is a better choice as "representative" of the US.
As an aside, you can sign your posts with four tildes (~~~~) to make communication easier. -- Ryan 02:43, 15 September 2006 (EDT)


Why is there no respect section here? I think it's needed as the US is one of the most nationalistic nations in the world, we really should warn that anti-Government/anti-gun/Pro-Communist comments will be treated with hostility -- Korea dan 08:00, 1 October 2006 (EDT)

Thanks for the good catch! The "Respect" section was lost back in May 2004 and never restored. I've reinstated the section as it was then. --Evan 09:18, 1 October 2006 (EDT)
What does everyone think of the warnings being added in Respect. Are they needed? Overstated? I don't think they are needed, but I am looking at it from a US standpoint and not as a visitor to the US. -- Tom Holland (xltel) 15:37, 1 October 2006 (EDT)
Well as the contributor I feel I should explain myself, there have been some occasions where foreigners have been detained for anti-US/terrorist sympathetic comments, I have discusses this with Xltel in more detail on his user talk. I think it is needed to state that america is very patriotic, and also that locals dont take kindly to anti-us government comments Korea dan 15:50, 1 October 2006 (EDT)
come on people.. this stuff is serious, why is it being removed. notably Bill on the hill please explain? Korea dan 15:54, 1 October 2006 (EDT)

The comments Tom is asking about:

Americans are generally very patriotic, 
and an insult or negative comment towards the 
country will be met with hostility or even aggression, 
this has become more prominent since the 9/11 attacks.	 

Also with the current terrorist situation, 
any kind of sympathetic comment for Islamic Extremism or even the 
North Korean government could land you in serious trouble, 
either with locals, or the security agencies (CIA, NSA)
Those comments are ridiculous. Few people will be harassed for saying "Bush is a moron", or whatever variation (Just don't say that to George, because he may take it personally).
I don't think anyone is so stupid to shout "Death to America! Allāhu Akbar! Allāhu Akbar! I love bin Laden!" Yelling something like that in any country (with the exception of a few war zones) will get you in trouble so I don't understand what the point of including this in the US article is.
I wouldn't get into a debate with the police or secturity officals anywhere about control, because what's the point? Police in almost every country carry guns. Talking about guns, or bombs, or supporting the murder of innocent people anywhere is inappropriate and is asking for trouble so I think it is pointless to be so overly cautious and try to paint America as a overly protective nation when doing the exact same irrational behavior would give rise to trouble in Russia, Germany, Venezeula, Canada, the UK, and New Zealand. -- Sapphire 15:58, 1 October 2006 (EDT)

Okay, folks, I am about this far from protecting this page. See Wikitravel:Protected_page_policy for the policy, why it is very rarely invoked, and why it is appropriate here. (Tom, in particular, see note about admins being involved; please don't do this yourself.) My only reason for reverting -- and for the moment I will revert every change until the edit war dies down, regardless of whether it's being made pro or con -- is to stabilize the article until calm heads can prevail again. -- Bill-on-the-Hill 16:00, 1 October 2006 (EDT)

ok ok. lets leave the respect section.. for now. although a naive editor will get his own way (tom) but still.. what can ya do. oh and sapphire, if you mention support for the iraq war in america, would you be arrested for that? no! see its not about the murder of innocent people, its about not opposing the americans Korea dan 16:03, 1 October 2006 (EDT)
I personally, do not have a problem if someone says anything anti-U.S. policy, but you say even saying "terrorist sympathetic comments" will get you in trouble in the U.S. - You're right, but it will get you in trouble in any other nation too. -- Sapphire 16:06, 1 October 2006 (EDT)
I don't think this is an appropriate use of the protected page policy per tradition. But since I'm not certain, I'd like to start a discussion at Wikitravel talk:Protected_page_policy about it. -- Colin 16:45, 1 October 2006 (EDT)
Just an idea for re-wording, what if I was to say "man americans take pride in thier nationality, and insults to the country may be taken personally?" or possibly "due to tension caused by the 9/11 attacks, political subjects should be handled with care?" what do we think? --Korea dan 08:21, 2 October 2006 (EDT)
The danger of a "respect" section is that it can overlap other sections of the article (such as Culture or Understand) or get bogged down in obvious stuff (such as - don't discuss bodily functions in mixed company, don't scream out to border officials that you're fond of terrorists). Wikitravel needs to assume a certain amount of common sense in its readers. Common sense is that a political discussion critical of US policy might be entirely appropriate on a college campus or anywhere people like to hold such discussions. On the other hand an "in your face" rant about politics would not be welcome by your airplane seatmate or your innkeeper. Do we need to carefully define how and when to debate politics? I think that's beyond the scope of this article; people either have common sense or they don't. I propose leaving the section as is.

SONORAMA 12:20, 2 October 2006 (EDT)

  • This is getting ridiculous, again. I'm very tempted to protect the page, but I will not do so without input from others. -- Sapphire 17:26, 5 October 2006 (EDT)

Hey, how come you deleted my section? It wasn't obvious stuff: "If you criticise the United States government, recognize that you are upset with the government, whose policies do not represent all Americans' indvidual beliefs. Some people will respond very negatively to your critcisms; while others will respond much more openly. Choose your debate partners wisely.

Not all Americans are the same! Do not stereotype with such comments as, "You Americans are so...(stupid, racist, etc.)," which are offensive, especially when made to a person's face.

If English is your foreign language, it is very easy to pick up the bad habit of swearing, because it is so common amongst certain circles, especially younger generations. However, swearing is quite rude and should generally be avoided. Do not be tricked by others' uncouthness into thinking that foul language is acceptable in polite society." Well, maybe the first two sections could be seen as obvious. But, the last was deifintely legitimate. Maybe you don't know too many foreign students in the U.S., but I do. And, they have a real problem with swearing! -- eratoclio

All of your content is still there, but I tried to shorten it - at this point the US article is too long, and editors frequently have to condense information that's in it. The info on swearing is now the last section in the article, but it's common knowledge in most countries that foul language is a bad idea, so I shortened that section - feel free to edit it if you'd like, but keep in mind that we want a useful travel guide, so try to focus on what's most important to the traveler! -- Ryan 16:46, 16 November 2006 (EST)
Ryan, thanks for your comment. I'm sorry; I didn't see that you shortened it. My bad. Also, you're a good, concise editor! Thanks. -- eratoclio
I made a few changes and condensed the "respect" section. For the record, I'm an American who has lived about half my life overseas. I eliminated the "Americans dislike arguing/don't discuss politics" part...actually I hear more discussions, arguments and debates about politics in America than almost anywhere else. I left most of the rest of the section intact, paring down some excessive verbage, and redacting some off-topic material such as the price of cigarettes. SONORAMA 13:12, 5 March 2007 (EST)


This page has been protected per bullets four and five of the Protected page policy. I did not want to do this, because the protect button is one I should not have used! I'm suggesting that the page remain protected until 19:40 (EST). -- Sapphire 17:40, 5 October 2006 (EDT)

Here's my take on it. If the page is to be protected, then dont name the time protection will be removed. Otherwise people set alarm clocks, sad though it may seem, and take up where they left off before, as evidenced by the changelog. I notice no discussion has been entered into with this user - however fruitless this may seem or eventually be I think this should be the first course of action. Other people reverting will also discourage the lone vandal to eventually give up. -- Snecklifter

Thanks for the input. The discussion is noted above this section. If anyone really thinks it's such an issue that I noted the time he/she may remove it from my edits so long as the general point is not lost. -- Sapphire 17:52, 5 October 2006 (EDT)
There are more people here who are interested in helping than vandalizing, so vandalism will eventually get cleaned up; page protection isn't really necessary or useful in combating vandalism, as this guy has shown. To deal with these folks it's generally easiest to just ignore them, let whatever changes they've made sit on the site for a bit, and then go in and clean up after they've wandered off. Most of these folks will return occasionally, but overall they're mostly harmless. -- Ryan 17:56, 5 October 2006 (EDT)
Couldn't agree more. Most people wandering across vandalism will revert. Tis the wiki way... -- Snecklifter
I'm open to reverting the protection (I'd rather do that). Shall I?
Actually a lot of discussion has been done. This user has an unusual worldwiew (see his support of North Korea, for example at Talk:North Korea) which is a fine and dandy thing to have, diversity being a good thing and all. But his changes have been 95% about his political views and he is unwilling to accept that the consensus of editors is clearly against him (see talk and contribs by all his accounts User:Korea dan, User:Xxxdanxxx, User:Ok, and User:Hate usa). Basically, he's been informed that he should generate consensus on talk pages before attempting contraversial changes. So although he wasn't messaged much about the current USA changes, pretty much he was already on notice not to do that and he already has been informed of the proper procedure for lobbying for consensus support of a contraversial change. -- Colin 18:01, 5 October 2006 (EDT)

I've reverted the protection.

He started at 13:02 and finished at 14:03, so it looks like his dime ran out at the internet cafe. -- Colin 18:11, 5 October 2006 (EDT)

Penny vs cent[edit]

It's formally called a "cent", but it's often called a "penny", and that's why travelers need to know the alternate name. Jpatokal 03:34, 10 October 2006 (EDT)

Concur. Also, knowing that "penny" is an informal term is irrelevant.... I didn't know this until five minutes ago, and it has apparently never affected my ability to conduct a transaction. -- Colin 03:40, 10 October 2006 (EDT)

isnt "penny" a bit old. cent would be alot better, as forginers would be able to understand it more, considering cent is used in alot more countries then penny

The first line of the "Buy" section already says "The official US currency is the United States dollar (symbol: $), divided into 100 cents (¢)". The coin, though, is a penny. Jpatokal 04:00, 12 October 2006 (EDT)


I've removed the suggestion that shooting firearms is a readily available activity for any visitor to the the U.S. This is untrue because only legal residents of the US may purchase or use firearms in the U.S. The Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986 (PL 99-308) forbids anyone with a nonimmigrant visa from obtaining a weapon. Additionally, many state laws require background checks before someone can rent or purchase a firearm.

The section also vaguely suggests importing firearms is acceptable, but federal law requires anyone importing a firearm to prove that importing a firearm will be used by a federal, state, or local govenment agency; for scientific research; or for manufacturer testing purposes. The 'bring your own gun' comment may have meant that U.S. residents may bring their own weapons but U.S. residents will already, or at least should, know about the applicable laws that govern firearm contol in their respective state or territory.

Lastly, firearms are not "uniquely American". -- Sapphire 16:42, 15 November 2006 (EST)

You imply that nonimmigrant foreigners cannot hunt or participate in shooting sports in the US. This is simply not the case. The law you quote above provides specific exceptions for those foreigners who are who 1) have a valid state-issued hunting license and 2) have resided in the US at least 90 days. For those whose stay in the US will be less than 90 days, there is a mechanism to temporarily import guns and ammunition (ATF Form 6 NIA) for use in lawful hunting or sport shooting. I've cited ATF article in the article.
No, firearms per se are not "uniquely American", however the United States is one of a few countries where guns can legally be kept and used by the population and there are likewise probably more gun enthusiasts and rifle ranges in the United States than in most other countries. Hunting, skeet shooting, and competitive shooting are activities that foreigners can enjoy with a bit of preparation. So I've restored the paragraph on shooting guns, however, I've added some of the important legal considerations that you allude to. SONORAMA 09:51, 17 November 2006 (EST)
Where do you get the idea that the US is one of the few countries where guns can legally be kept? AFAIK you can legally keep guns in all but a handful of countries. -- Mark 10:54, 17 November 2006 (EST)
Sadly, there are only a few countries with a culture of lawful gun ownership. A few, like Switzerland, require men or heads of household to keep a gun in the house for civil defense purposes. In other places, guns may be everywhere -- but in the hands of criminals or corrupt government officials. The US is unique in embracing the positive side of gun ownership, and in granting its citizens the specific right to keep and enjoy them. SONORAMA 20:15, 17 November 2006 (EST)
I think it's kind of weird that you think that the US is alone there. That's just not true. Pretty much the only country I can think of where gun ownership is not allowed is Japan. France, England, Scotland, the scandinavian countries and the eastern European countries, oh and South America for instance have a very similar relationship to firearms ownership to that of Americans. It's just a simple fact.
Meanwhile in many parts of Africa or the middle east you can actually walk around in public with serious military weapons - something you cannot do, and which would be looked at very much askance in the USA. -- Mark 17:31, 18 November 2006 (EST)
Mark, show us the web site of just one country that says, "Yes, please bring serious military weapons here for your enjoyment." You won't find that because, officially, they don't allow weapons or place many restrictions on them. Sure there are some countries where people walk around bearing all kinds of arms -- but that is more a symptom of the breakdown of law and order. Those people are carrying guns to defend themselves or to intimidate others. They aren't families going our for an afternoon of skeet-shooting. If you don't believe me, just try to arrange a safari including importing weapons to a 3rd world country -- believe me it's a helluva a lot more complicated than you think. But in any case, this article is about United States, and fortunately, one can keep, bear and shoot guns in the US for one's own enjoyment and leisure, and not just for self defense. SONORAMA 23:11, 18 November 2006 (EST)
Um, show me the US gov website which says you can bring guns into the country for leisure. Then prove to me that I can't go to a shooting range in France, for example. That's going to be a pretty hard thing to prove to me, btw, since I've done it. Besides this time of year every restaurant you go to is all about this and that animal that some hunter has shot and brought in.. which can make it hard to eat out if you don't eat meat, let me tell you.
Seriously, what I really think is going on here is that you have an agenda to promote your pro-firearms point of view, and you are somehow trying to use our travel guide to do it. Meanwhile, no serious world traveller would think, hmmm... if I want to go somewhere where I can shoot guns, I guess that would be the USA. Most can do the kind of sport shooting you are talking about right at home. -- Mark 03:16, 19 November 2006 (EST)

Here's why I'm against including this information.

  • States are in charge of regulation. The U.S. Constitution may grant Americans the right to bear arms, but states have the power to regulate and restrict firearms in it's territories, not the federal government. So, while the U.S. government may say "In our opinon, you should be allowed to bring your gun in for a hunting competion in Wyoming" that's not necessairly what Wyoming will say. They may say that type of weapon is forbidden within the state's boundaries. We cannot adequately convey every firearm law at federal and local levels.
  • Other nations do say "Yes, please bring serious military weapons here for your enjoyment." Since this discussion has started I've begun to closer look at the laws of other nations and even tightly regulated countries like Germany allow recreation firearm use by aliens within Germany. As does Canada, France, the UK. I believe Poland allows the importation of firearms for recreational purposes, but it has been two years since I've checked.
  • This information panders to a very limited group. I think we can safely assume any dedicated hunters or recreational firearm enthusiasts that are aliens to the U.S. will probably belong to some form of a hunting association and will have access to informations about the importation and participation in firearm related activities in other nations.
  • Democrats. Democrats have taken control of the U.S. House of Reps and Senate and another assualt weapons ban is likely. The last Congress did not extend the past assault weapons ban and the only reason semi-automatic AK-47s are available for purchase is because of the failure of the Republican controlled Congress to extend the bans length of time. Previously, the Democratic Party has indicated support for a ban and any information pertaining to the importation and use of firearms by foreigners may rapidly change.

If you really need information from the embassies of the nations that I note above I will give you the links. -- Sapphire 00:32, 19 November 2006 (EST)

This converstation is getting way off the topic of editing the web page. I respect all the views presented about firearms. I never expected a tiny one line entry to the page would engender such controversy. Sapphire, to address your points -- they are valid, and in fact they could apply to many parts of most any article here. Information changes frequently regardless of who's in congress. Most individual line-entries of articles do appeal (you say pander) to only a very limited group. Also, states in the US are in charge of a great deal of regulations. Back to my opinion -- There is no point arguing pro or against guns here, we all have our own points of view. Given the # of rifle ranges, hunting clubs, etc. in the US, the activity of shooting obviously has its fans, and it is reasonable to expect that some travelers may want to participate.

If I can throw my 2 cents in, I think the # of travelers wishing to participate would be a fraction of a percent, and I agree that this should be removed from Do or at least cut way down, and definitely put at the bottom of the hopefully soon-to-be-expanded Do section. I think the section's sparseness is what makes it so jarring, coupled with the fact that it's the first thing in the list following the 'things not to be missed' introduction. I suppose the next comment will be something to the effect of 'plunge forward', so I'll say that I'm drawing a blank at the moment on what should be added... but the section needs something! Cacahuate 07:57, 19 November 2006 (EST)

Firstly, I don't think that the question is just whether gun-ownership is legal, but whether the cultural acceptance of shooting as a recreational activity is distinctive enough to mention. To give an analogy, while I am sure one can ski both in the US and in Switzerland, it makes sense to include skiing in Switzerland's "Do" section, but not in USA's "Do" section. Secondly, we aren't necessarily talking of buying, owning or importing guns, but of shooting - can a traveller go to a range, rent a gun and practise some shooting? Thirdly, it is a matter of editorial judgement whether we should include such information here. Is it likely to interest a sufficient number of travellers? I am a vegetarian and I have never fired a live gun in my life. The idea of killing defenseless animals with guns repels me, but the idea of learning to fire a gun and doing some target practice does interest me. It is not on the top of my list of things to do in the US, but I will not find it ridiculous to see it in a list, and other travellers might have different priorities.
Finally, and this is not strictly focused on the topic, but I do wish that when people support or object to something, they should come right out and state their biases and separate factual questions from editorial judgement. I've seen this happening in the sex-tourism policy discussion, and I am seeing it happen here. I know that many people have strong opinions about guns, and probably feel that we shouldn't mention it at all. If so, it is better to come out and say it. I think that there is place for editorial judgement in Wikitravel, much more than in Wikipedia. Many things are a matter of taste and will not yield objectively right or wrong answers. It is tough enough to obtain a consensus in the matter of taste; we will make it tougher if, instead of accepting that it is, and declaring our taste, try to make it sound like a factual question. — Ravikiran 20:34, 19 November 2006 (EST)
After talking with Mark I think the best thing that we can do about this is create a topic like Recreational shooting or such. That way we can satisfy the concerns that I have and provide information to travellers that the information may be useful for.
I think that would be the best solution, for now, and I wouldn't be opposed to listing firing ranges, but I am opposed to trying to explain the firearm laws on the U.S. guide and states' articles.
As for Ravikiran's wish that we state our biases I'm pro-gun and I'm completely against another assualt weapons ban as US law, but I don't think this activity is so uniquely American that it needs to be covered on the US guide. The select group of people this info panders to may very well want to travel somewhere else, closer to home, or another country that may have easier visa laws for travellers. That's why I vote for starting a new travel topic. -- Sapphire 21:09, 19 November 2006 (EST)