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Wikitravel talk:Categories

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This is Spam so please revert it immediately[edit]

A spambot really likes to edit 1st sections of certain pages on our wiki including this one.

That's cracking me up. Way to set up a honeypot, Colin! --Evan 22:14, 26 Jan 2006 (EST)
Actual it's Mark's idea [1]. :-) -- Colin 23:01, 26 Jan 2006 (EST)

General Discussion[edit]

So, to start off, I just wanted to put up a page here to capture the fact that categories aren't working on Wikitravel sites yet. As with most new features in MediaWiki, I'd prefer to think them over first as a group before enabling them. What's good for Wikipedia isn't necessarily good for Wikitravel.

My main problem is that I think there is too much metadata to be put into Wikitravel pages to be shoehorned into the Mediawiki category framework. Off the top of my head, I can think of a few things:

  1. Type of article (destination guide, itinerary, travel topic, other...)
  2. Type of destination (continent, country, region, city, district, ...)
  3. Parent destination (for making breadcrumb lists; by saying Sydney is in New South Wales, we can make something like "Australasia -> Australia -> New South Wales -> Sydney")
  4. Status of article (stub, to be deleted, copyvio, destination of the month candidate, needs attention, ...)
  5. Copyright and license info (original author(s), source, license, ...)
  6. Geographical location (latitude and longitude; great for something like

I guess I just don't think that saying Phoenix is in category "Stub" and that it's also in category Arizona is really useful. I'd rather have two different ways of saying those two different things.

I have some preferred ways of doing this -- my main one is to use Turtle to embed metadata information into a page. I think this makes things infinitely flexible while retaining some understandability. I plan on implementing this for MediaWiki 1.X, where X is the version after 1.4.

But I'm wondering if anyone has good ideas for what we can use MediaWiki categories for. Where would they work? Should we just use them for all the information above? Or a certain subset? Or not at all? My feeling is not at all; we've gotten this far without them, and I'm not sure implementing them now is worth the effort. --Evan 17:39, 10 Oct 2004 (EDT)

Parent Destination[edit]

I've never used Categories, as this is the only wiki I've done any work on, but when I first heard of their existance, I thought this might be a way of improving navigation by being able to move up the geographic hierarchy (as you've suggested in #3.) Having looked over the meta-wiki page on categories now, they don't seem to be the greatest way of implementing this, but it may well be the only way (without customizing the software, which then makes it an even bigger hassle to upgrade).
It is an ability that I think is sorely lacking at the moment, and if categories is the only way to implement it, I'd kind of like to see it done. I see no reason to use categories for any other purpose, though.
-- Neil 01:01, 11 Oct 2004 (EDT)

How about Templates as an alternative to categories for the purpose of navigating? Like this example that could be on each of the Paris arrondisement articles: {{Navbox| subject_name=5th Paris arrondisement| previous=Paris/4th arrondissement| next=Paris/6th arrondissement}}

Other templates could simply list all the (major/interesting) cities in a state, the countries in Europe? I have used Categories on Wikipedia, but I also don't think they would fit here and they tend to get over complex and too hierarchical. Although it would be nice to click on something that shows all the related articles. -Wikibob | Talk 20:01, 2004 Oct 13 (EDT)

That's an idea, but instead of different articles at the same level, I'd much prefer something simple like:
Europe | Ireland | County Galway | Galway
But that doesn't work nicely as a template, because it changes significantly depending on exactly what page your looking at. Maybe there's some fancy template design method that might work, but I'd need to be directed to some instructions on how to make such things happen, and I'm not really sure how it could be set up.
Maybe what I want just can't really be done simply with a wiki, but if there is a way, it the first thing that I felt was missing when I started working on articles here.
--Neil 03:05, 14 Oct 2004 (EDT)

Categories would be ideal for your example, but let's see what's possible with templates; here is what one would type into an article: {{Navlevel|subject_name=Galway|county=County Galway|country_state=Northern Ireland|continent=Europe}} Which should produce this: {{Navlevel|subject_name=Galway|county=County Galway|country_state=Northern Ireland|continent=Europe}} This is awkward to copy-and-paste into articles, but it might be possible to use Template:Nav_lincolnshire which holds another Template, Nav_england, nested inside: {{Nav_lincolnshire|a=Lincoln}} produces this: {{Nav_lincolnshire|a=Lincoln}} Rather messy, unless someone can see a way to cleanup the layout and syntax. -Wikibob | Talk 12:17, 2004 Oct 14 (EDT)

  • Categories. This was developed for Wikipedia, and it's not clear that it's useful for a travel guide. I'd rather see some discussion about what we'd use categories for than leave them enabled and just have the idea develop willy-nilly. --Evan 15:48, 7 Oct 2004 (EDT)
I think "categories" would be a great idea, but not in their current form. Is there any way to adapt them so that we could use them like breadcrumb navigation? This could be done with subcategories, even though, like you, categories were developed for Wikipedia (and I don't particularly like them there either) and it would seem strange for a travel guide. With subcategories, we could have, for example, a category for Romania, a subcategory for Transilvania and then the article Cluj-Napoca. But then how would this show up in the article? Currently, it would show up at the bottom, which is not convenient! Ronline 10:21, 8 Oct 2004 (EDT)
Yes, I agree that additional metadata on articles (what region is this city in? What is the lat./long.?) would be useful. But the really creaky categories feature in MediaWiki isn't the way to do that. --Evan 12:32, 8 Oct 2004 (EDT)

Categories are Metadata[edit]

From their use on other Wiki's, my impression of Categories is that they are used to enable people to classify wiki articles in ways that are not stated in the text of the article. That is Categories are Metadata, not data or content. WikiTravel has probably not needed categories so far because the template format that most articles follow makes their classification relatively easy as all the necessary data is in the article.

In an encyclopedia, the Categories feature would be very useful because an article can be linked to its master index and thus be found easily through a what links here page. Explaining this categorisation in the article text may be difficult and possibly disruptive to the flow of knowledge.

In WikiTravel, most categorisation information should be mentioned in the article. Consequently, there is going to be relatively little metadata associated with articles as it is mostly included in the data already. A few wikifying links of a few (added) names will normally add value and improve an article. Unless Categories can add real value to articles above and beyond improving the article, I suspect they will be more trouble than they are worth. -- Huttite 17:30, 26 Dec 2004 (EST)

Type of article[edit]

(destination guide, itinerary, travel topic, other...)

WikiTravel articles fall into only a few different categories:
  • Places - The vast majority of articles are destination guides.
  • Itineries - A few favourites.
  • General topics - Some advice.
  • Project articles - WikiTravel: and User: namespaces, etc.

Type of destination[edit]

(continent, country, region, city, district, ...)

WikiTravel articles should have an appropriate template. Template layouts will indicate the type of destination.

Parent destination[edit]

(for making breadcrumb lists; by saying Sydney is in New South Wales, we can make something like "Australasia -> Australia -> New South Wales -> Sydney")

WikiTravel articles should mention which country, city or region an article is associated with. In particular the parent region should be given, so that one can get out etc. I do not think that breadcrumb navigation is necessary, and if it is then there are other ways to do this.
I'm strongly for using categories in order to build destination hierarchy trees. First of all they makes it easier not only to navigate but to efficiently access the correct information. When preparing a trip to a particular region I could simply go to the right category and have easy access to all the information on that area presented in a structured manner. Currently there is no mechanism for this and some information can be easily missed. Secondly, the wikimedia categorisation mechanisms allows to build hierarchies automatically. Face it: WikiTravel does not currently have any hierarchy that would scale up well. Above all: it allows for alternative hierarchies to coexist at the same time. This gives the travellers more flexibility in their browsing the information. Seriously, I don't see many cons here and the sooner we start the better (and easier) it's going to be. Wojsyl 13:34, 1 Jan 2005 (EST)

Status of article[edit]

(stub, to be deleted, copyvio, destination of the month candidate, needs attention, ...)

All these articles should have an appropriate notice added to them.

Copyright and license info[edit]

(original author(s), source, license, ...)

Surely this is adequately handled by the copyright notice at the bottopm of each page.

Geographical location[edit]

Are we talking about a map reference? If so, then that should be given in the article too.

Categories for books[edit]

As discussed here, I think it's time to start seriously looking at enabling categories for creating books. This way (for example) every article about Italy would be in Category:Italy, every destination in Sicily would be in Category:Sicily, etc. Then you could just create your Italy book by fetching every article linked to the Category:Italy page. Opinions? Jpatokal 09:38, 5 Sep 2005 (EDT)

The only downside I can see to categories would be that they should be implemented with very clear guidelines on how they are created and used, otherwise we will end up with a really messy hierarchy that could potentially include a lot of cruft. I can't imagine that there would be too much benefit in breaking things down to a "Category:San Francisco/Mission District" level, so perhaps an initial rule could be that geographic categories would be limited to a continent → country level, with a further level for state / province in large countries like the USA, Canada and China (and other selected countries, as defined by the category guidelines). Border areas could be handled by using a rule that only the smallest category that completely contains a region should be used, thus addressing places like the Rocky Mountains (North America).
Provided the geographic hierarchy works well we can later look at how to create hierarchies for travel topics, itineraries, and other items that don't easily fit into a geographic hierarchy. Thoughts? -- Wrh2
I agree completely. Jpatokal 09:04, 6 Sep 2005 (EDT)

Further Arguments For Enabling Categories[edit]

  • Some countries and regions have deep hierarchies; travelers who are not so familiar with the subdivisions of a region have difficulties to find the site of interest.
  • There are several writings for a lot of sites especialy in countries with non-latin languages. Maybe travellers do not know which transliteration was used. An index will help to find it. A very simple example is Cairo (English writing): Kairo (German), Le Caire (French), al-Qāhira, al-Ḳāhira (scientific transliterations). Other cases become more complicated, for instance if a source uses older (historical) writings.
  • It is not always usefull to add categories to the text.
  • Authors who edit a lot of sites must use otherwise the "Watch this page" option or function to get an overview of articles already written.
  • The index lists will be automatically generated, often authors do not know if a special "hand-made" list is already existent or not. These lists must be edited by hand at any time.


  • Categories should be restricted to regions, countries and sub-country regions.
  • Categories should be inserted as links of the home page of that region.
  • Maybe Categories should be added as link below th toolbox window.

Because a lot of countries and regions consist already of a lot of articles all types of categories (not only geographic) should be allowed to prevent multiple addition of Categories. I do not know if a breadcrumb trail hierarchy is necessary (in all cases).

But please start to enable it... Unger 10:31, 19 Sep 2005 (EDT)


Swept in from Wikitravel:Travelers' pub:

According to me, there should be some new categories. Like a "theme park" category and a "capitals" category.


Hello Evan, can you give me some examples how Turtle could work? Thanks --Roland2 16:14, 16 Nov 2005 (EST)

Can you be more specific? Do you want to know how the feature works, or what it is useful for? Or are you particularly interested in how Turtle could be used to define categories of articles? --Evan 16:24, 16 Nov 2005 (EST)

First I'd be interested in examples how the code within the articles could look like. Maybe sort of this?

@prefix rdf: <> .
@prefix wt: <> .

  wt:title    "Vienna" ;
  wt:type     "city" ;
  wt:parent   "Austria" ;
  wt:currency "EUR" ;

--Roland2 16:56, 16 Nov 2005 (EST)

Oh! There's a couple of examples here: Wikitravel:15 November 2005. I should probably get started on Wikitravel:RDF soon. --Evan 19:06, 16 Nov 2005 (EST)
Oh, strange title for that topic ;-) For example, how can I get a list of stubs? Can I combine several RDF attributes in a query? For example: A list of Austrian cities which are stubs? --Roland2 20:00, 16 Nov 2005 (EST)
I don't have it set up yet to allow user queries of the Rdf data. We'd probably have to use something like SPARQL to make that work. What I was planning to do was build special pages for each kind of query, but I agree that a general-purpose query page would be really interesting and useful. --Evan 23:34, 16 Nov 2005 (EST)
On review: the RDF library I'm using, RAP, uses RDQL rather than SPARQL (at least for now). Right now the RDF is on a per-page basis, but with a few tweaks that'd be fairly easy to change. As for your original question: we haven't actually defined how to say that something is a stub, nor really how to say that something is "in Austria". But, yes, that's a query that's not only possible but quite useful. Also: I've started a page on Wikitravel:RDF that's probably worth your time. --Evan 19:30, 17 Nov 2005 (EST)
Thanks for your efforts. I've been missing categories, however, RDF is more powerful. --Roland2 11:09, 18 Nov 2005 (EST)

Categories extension wanted[edit]

Swept in from the Pub:

I was looking for the extension some of you wrote for showing the sub-categories in the begining of every article. We couldn't find it on the site. Will love to have it!

F16 11:02, 10 Jan 2006 (EST)
See breadcrumb navigation. It's not using categories but RDF. The RDF code is in the extensions module in CVS; I haven't packaged up the breadcrumbs module but I could if you really needed it. --Evan 11:11, 10 Jan 2006 (EST)
Started reading about RDF, can't say I really understand it's wide capabilities at the moment. Anyway, I'de love to get the breedcrumb Navagation module. F16 12:03, 10 Jan 2006 (EST)

Categories re-enabled in 1.6 -- ok to use on ja:?[edit]

So categories were (unintentionally?) re-enabled in 1.6 and over on ja: Shoestring promptly used it to create a category of hot springs. Is this acceptable or not, and if the answer is "no, use RDF", how can destinations-that-are-hot-springs be tagged? Jpatokal 22:57, 13 April 2006 (EDT)

{{tag|hot springs}} . See Template:Tag, Wikitravel:RDF_Expedition/Tags. Yes, that was unintentional, and apparently the flag that turns on categories has been hard-wired on.
Categories are a feature that I've never turned on, since most folks wanted them for geographical hierarchies, and I thought we could do better. I'm not going to go to a lot of trouble to disable them, but I hope that people have the good sense not to use them when we have more targetted features in the RDF toolset (e.g. breadcrumb navigation, geo-tagging, etc.).
The only thing I'd ask is that if ja: folks want to dive into categories, they do it thoughtfully and carefully. Using a feature just because it's there is a bad idea. Make sure it meets a real need.
Also, I'd recommend wrapping categories in a more semantic template to future-proof changes. We've done that on Shared:, for example. Like, say, for specialties of a destination, make a Template:Specialty that contains '[[Category:{{{1}}}]]', and link to it with {{specialty|hot springs}}. That'll make sure that if there's a more specific markup for specialties of a destination. --Evan 23:36, 13 April 2006 (EDT)
Hmm. How loudly would you object to sticking [[{Category:{{{1}}}]] into the Template:Tag code? That way the tags would be easily visible now, but the categories can be easily deprecated in the future if you add more behind-the-scenes magic. Jpatokal 00:05, 14 April 2006 (EDT)
Can we constrain categories to things that "tags" are for: adding little bits of subject information for destinations? I'd rather not see categories bleed out into other metadata (see Wikitravel:RDF Expedition for details -- I'm thinking article type, article status, licensing, geographical hierarchy, etc.), since I don't think they work well there. I think that if we have other ways of marking articles that are more specific, we should use them.
Tags also tend to be short and small, and have meaning in combination -- like glbt, bar, karaoke, cheap. Wikipedia, at least, has really deep hierarchies, and long category names like "Wikipedia:Category:Educational institutions established in the 1850s" that sum up all their parent categories. I'd rather see "taggy" stuff in tags than long hierarchical categories.
Lastly, can you paint a picture of how this would work? I'd love to know that this is going somewhere useful. I've always been underwhelmed with categories on Wikipedia. There's an immense amount of effort that goes into implementing, organizing and maintaining them, and I don't find the navigational advantages all that useful. I think the main reason people add them is because they can, but the second reason people add them is to capture some semantic data ("The subject of this article is a university; it was started in 1850; it is in France"). I think that there are other, better ways of doing that. --Evan 09:16, 14 April 2006 (EDT)
I think it better to use RDF (such as “bread crumb navigation”) when we want to navigate some topics hierarchically, because it is suitable to categorize them “vertically”. On the other hand, I think we have some wikitravelers or visitors who want to navigate the topics “horizontally”, by using the key words such as “hot springs”, “world heritage”, “natural parks in Japan”, and so on. And when we want to do it, the category is one of the best and most useful ways to describe them, because the category is one of the suitable ways to grouping some pages “horizontally”. In addition, if we can use such horizontal ways as one of our device, we can make Wikitravel more useful, and I believe it will meet our policy to make “complete” “reliable” guidebook, and it will also meet the demands of readers as well.
I fully agree with the idea that we should not duplicate navigation system, and should not put wordy category, but I think we can be segregated those “vertical” and “horizontal” system, and handle them well. If you worry about the chaotic situation by bringing category methods into our site, how about the idea that we make “Wikitravel:policy for using categories” at first, and pluck the inappropriate categories away from the pages?Shoestring 22:24, 14 April 2006 (EDT)
I agree that we should probably do that; I think Wikitravel:Categories is probably a good place to do that!
For national parks in Japan, I'd say we'd use a travel topic page like National parks in Japan, rather than a category. I think also having separate tags, like {{tag|national park}}, {{tag|mountains}}, {{tag|hiking}}, plus more accurate geographical info like geocoding and the hierarchy info in Breadcrumb navigation, gives us a more flexible faceted classification than [[Category:National parks in Japan that are good for hiking in the mountains]], which would have to be built into some kind of hierarchy to be useful. --Evan 12:24, 15 April 2006 (EDT)

Thank you for your response. Well, I have no intention to stick to the specific measures as “Category” at all, actually I don’t care which method we chose, only if we can achieve what we are aiming on this site (although I have not yet fully understand the difference between [[Category:hot springs]] and {{tag|hot springs}} (^_^;)…).

Speaking of List of the National Parks in Japan, Umm… I think it is a little bit inconvenient to describe the “horizontal groping”, because it will work only when the readers can notice that page. On the other hand, We can put categories and tags (probably) on every related page, so it is much easier for everyone to notice that function. Probably the “tag” you’ve mentioned is the best solution so far. If you are preparing it, go ahead, please. Then, when will it work on wikitravel-ja? Hmm,…may be Jpatocal-san will tell us when…Shoestring 08:30, 17 April 2006 (EDT)

let's use categories for Babel tagging of users[edit]

Presently, there's no way to find users who live in specific area or city for considerable time--so now we can't easily find people to recruit for collaboration (or discussion) on specific area--like we need in Saint Petersburg#Stay Safe, for example. Let's allow people to easily specify what areas they can give really expert opinion on (or at least can check something on request)--and encourage them to tell that when they register. To start with, can we just allow categories for Babel so we can use language knowledge as a rough criteria for finding people who live in specific country? This is another 10 cents into retaining users. --DenisYurkin 12:21, 28 November 2006 (EST)

I think the "expert advice" bit is being done pretty decently by Wikitravel:Docents. And we also have a list of Wikitravellers by location that anyone is free to sign up. -- Ricardo (Rmx) 13:31, 28 November 2006 (EST)
Then, we should promote the listing and adding themselves there--like we need to promote Docents idea to the community. On the list-by-location, I've added a short note to Wikitravel:Tips for new contributors, Wikitravel:Welcome, newcomers and Wikitravel:Help; I also created a Wikitravel:How to tell about yourself, but that doesn't seem enough. Where else can we encourage people to add them to the list? --DenisYurkin 23:53, 28 November 2006 (EST)

categories already used?[edit]

I just found that categories are enabled and in use already, for example in Template:Usable and Template:Stub. Is it intentionally? Can we encourage contributors to use it wider already? --DenisYurkin 18:15, 29 November 2006 (EST)

Current Status?[edit]

I recently tried to implement a Template for use in countries which have visa/entry restrictions based on country of origin/visited country history, and it was kind of shot down with one WikiTraveller stating that Categories are not in use within Wikitravel. Whilst I understand that categories may be somewhat overused in some implementations of MediaWiki, I believe that there are some factes of WikiTravel which could be improved through their use. These extend not only to grouping articles for specific regions (whether within a country or consisting of a number of countries), but also countries which may have common characteristics/limitations/etc.

I see that alot of discussion has been made above, but alot of it is rather old (2004 in some instances) and there is no clear statement on the current decision regarding use of Categories - when they should and should not be used, etc.

In the "Plunge forward" and "Be bold" spirits shared by most Wikis, I would suggest that their use be encouraged wherever any contributors believe that they may add value, and then, if necessary and after a reasonable trial has been made, make a clear, measured and reasoned decision at that time (with a review a reasonable time further down the track to ensure that decision is inline with the developing community and usage). -- Lucanos 09:33, 15 December 2008 (EST)

Provided someone can come up with some broad guidelines as to when categories are appropriate / inappropriate I'd be in favor of allowing them on Wikitravel. They are a useful tool to grouping together articles and would (I think) be helpful. Before getting too deep into how this could be done, is there interest from others in making use of categories on Wikitravel? -- Ryan • (talk) • 11:14, 15 December 2008 (EST)
I would like to hear more about what these should be used for. A lot of the discussion above occured before we had breadcrumb navigation, gps tags, etc. What do we still need that categories can offer? By the way, I don't see how the visa restricted categories could be useful. Texugo 11:25, 15 December 2008 (EST)
I'd like to see the "related" tag updated to add a category, as most people miss the tiny left nav link (examples: UNESCO sites, United States National Parks, etc). You're right that it wouldn't make sense for geographical groupings, and I'm not sure about using categories for things like "visa restricted countries" as it's tough to imagine a traveler wanting to know all countries which they could visit to enjoy visa problems. I definitely don't think we want a Wikipedia-style mess of categories, but at the same time I do think that they can make sense on a case-by-case basis and should not be completely discouraged. -- Ryan • (talk) • 11:42, 15 December 2008 (EST)
With reference to your enquiry about the "visa restricted countries", I raised that category not because I wanted to visit countries where I would have problems, but instead to avoid them (a list of warning telling a user what not to do is often more useful than a massive list detailing everything they can do). Personally, I would rather not experience the difficulties of exiting one country to try and enter the next only to be turned around and stuck in no-man's land. For instance, knowing whether a specific country will refuse me entry if I go there after visiting another country is useful information, at least to me. And trying to find that information quickly and easily was my goal. But, then again, my travelling ideas and style may not be shared by everyone. -- Lucanos 11:37, 13 February 2009 (EST)


Swept in from pub:

If an article has a 'to do' category it will have an 'edit' and a 'add listing' radio button. When someone clicks the 'add listing' button a pop-up window opens up with various fields for information.

Now, if I were to create a sub category for 'casinos', the sub section will only have an an 'edit' but not the 'add listing' radio button.

If I select the 'add listing' radio button on the 'to do' category for a casino, it will incorrectly place the casino in the main category instead of the casinos sub-category.

I know this information can be moved with cut/paste action but a sub-category "add listing' radio button would be so much more convenient especially for making numerous listings.

Is there a way to format the sub-category so it will have a 'add listing' radio button of its own. Thanks TomNativenewYorker 10:11, 17 June 2009 (EDT)

Not sure about that, but I should let you know that when you click "edit" and the edit window comes up, there are templates at the bottom to choose from (attractions, activities, shops, etc). Essentially what "add listing" does is add one of those templates to the end of the category. AHeneen 14:12, 17 June 2009 (EDT)
I understand about the templates at the bottom of the page as well. I was just wondering if it is possible to format a sub-category section so that the 'add listing' pop-up window will show. If making numerous entries to a sub-category, the pop-up window would make editing quicker and easier than having to repeatedly copy/paste those templates.TomNativenewYorker 17:58, 17 June 2009 (EDT)


Just about all the phrasebooks have categories, which seems quite contrary to this policy. Should I just proceed to remove them, and replace them with the appropriate templates? --inas 01:46, 7 June 2010 (EDT)

I'd say so (I think a well-meaning user added them recently). If we want the category, it would be much more efficient to add it to the appropriate article template. --Peter Talk 22:48, 9 June 2010 (EDT)
Since we've currently got Category:Phrasebooks, and it seems like a category that is actually useful, is there any support for adding it to the various phrasebook templates such as Template:Outlinephrasebook? Alternately, would it make sense to put together a template similar to Template:Cityguide for phrasebooks that includes this category? -- Ryan • (talk) • 17:39, 26 August 2010 (EDT)
I think that we should add the new template placed on all phrasebooks. Currently, outline and stub phrasebooks have no template on them which can distinguish them as phrasebooks. Itineraries and traveltopics have a template which places text at the top of the screen, and all guidebooks are covered by the various *guide templates like continentalsectionguide. So phrasebooks is the only hole here. Once we have that in place, we can easily add or remove the category:phrasebook to all of them at one stroke. So we can try it and if it is a problem, one edit to revert for all. The template is for managing them, the category is for dispaly and for the user. I don't know if we need the new template to include any rdf code, just an empty template or one that just includes the category is enough. --Bill in STL 11:30, 27 August 2010 (EDT)

Revisited - when are categories OK?[edit]

At present we don't really have a policy about categories - we use them for article status and a few other instances, but strongly discourage their use otherwise. Users from Wikipedia and other sites expect to be able to use categories, so it seems time that we create some guidelines. I'd like to propose the following:

  • We create a Wikitravel:Category nominations page. Before creating a new category it should be nominated and discussed for three days and a consensus reached to create the category before using the category on the site.
  • Categories should NEVER be used for organizing articles geographically. "Category:Africa", "Category:English towns", etc are not appropriate.
  • Categories should NEVER be used for grouping information that is encyclopedic rather than travel-related. "Category:Islands", "Category:Socialist countries", "Category:Indonesian volcanoes", etc are not appropriate. Note that while a traveler might be interested in visiting islands, socialist countries or Indonesian volcanoes, those groupings are not common enough to warrant categories.
  • Categories MIGHT be useful in grouping articles by type when that "type" is a common travel subject. "Category:Amusement parks" might be helpful for Disney World, Cedar Point, etc. "Category:Phrasebooks" might be helpful for phrasebooks. "Category:UNESCO World Heritage Sites" might be useful for UNESCO sites.
  • We should err on the side of having fewer, broader categories. Having too many categories makes them less effective, so it should be a goal never to have more than 1-3 categories on any article, and to never have categories with fewer than 15 articles.

Thoughts? Categories appear regularly throughout the site, so it would be nice to finally standardize how they are used and what our policies are in relation to using them. -- Ryan • (talk) • 15:11, 25 February 2009 (EST)

Why not "can be used for grouping information that is encyclopedic rather than travel-related"? --DenisYurkin 12:54, 28 February 2009 (EST)
The criteria I came up with were aimed at limiting category usage and keeping them relevant to making articles more useful, rather than more cluttered. "Non-encyclopedic" seems like a way to eliminate a vast array of potential categories that are of limited use to travelers - it's hard to see how a list of every island in the world would be particularly useful, or how a grouping of all socialist countries would be relevant to a significant number of travelers. If there are other suggestions for better criteria for more clearly spelling out when categories should be used then it would be great to get that input - the list above was merely my attempt. -- Ryan • (talk) • 13:41, 28 February 2009 (EST)
After giving it a second thought, I thing it's a good point to start--and practice will bring exceptions/corrections if needed. --DenisYurkin 17:46, 3 March 2009 (EST)
Could we work up a short list of acceptable categories as examples? Texugo 18:07, 3 March 2009 (EST)
Personally I'd like to see most of the "Wikitravel:" namespace organized into categories - something like "Category:Wikitravel policies" and "Category:Wikitravel help pages". "Category:Travel topics" would also be helpful for organizing travel topics, and similarly for "Category:Phrasebooks". Additionally, some of the articles linked to from our various "List of ..." pages could benefit from category tagging, such as "Category:UNESCO", "Category:United States National Parks", etc. I'm sure others will have additional suggestions, but the basic idea would be to improve site organization by giving users additional ways of finding topics that they expect to logically be grouped together. -- Ryan • (talk) • 20:38, 3 March 2009 (EST)
Plus: Airports [2], nearly every section in the Travel topics; destination X with children; winter sports in destination X?
--DenisYurkin 18:40, 4 March 2009 (EST)
What would be the value-added in adding categories to travel topics and phrasebooks, since they already should link back to List of phrasebooks and Travel topics. Those pages not only collect all the relevant articles in one place, they also provide useful information about them—something a category does not do. --Peter Talk 03:47, 25 March 2009 (EDT)
I think there are two issues: one, many editors here expect to be able to use categories, so it would be good to create some guidelines for when they are (or are not) OK. And two, provided we keep the implementation limited, categories are useful in providing an additional way to navigate to a topic, and they do so in a way that is familiar to people who use other Mediawiki sites. For example, while United States National Parks is more useful than a category given that it shows maps and organizes parks by state, adding a category for national parks adds one more path to park articles for users trying to find national parks, and we can then add a pointer on the category page to the list page to guide people to the more useful index. I think we want to keep any implementation limited, but at the same time I think we are reducing Wikitravel's usefulness by forbidding them entirely. -- Ryan • (talk) • 10:07, 25 March 2009 (EDT)
There hasn't been a ton of discussion either way on this topic - I'm not sure if the nomination process is overbearing, categories are simply not popular, or people have simply missed this discussion. If anyone else has further comments it would be great to hear them, otherwise in the spirit of Wikitravel:Plunge forward I'd like to propose tagging articles in the Wikitravel: namespace with one of these three categories, as appropriate (and based on Wikipedia's structure):
Any thoughts, suggestions, or objections? I'll wait a couple days, and if the deafening silence continues I'll take it as tacit approval. -- Ryan • (talk) • 00:13, 25 March 2009 (EDT)
For reasons I cannot identify, categories on Wikitravel (especially if used on destination guides) rub me the wrong way. Nonetheless, I think any additional organization we can add to our messy namespace would be welcome. --Peter Talk 03:47, 25 March 2009 (EDT)
I support implementing the namespace categories. Even after a couple of years working on the site, I still struggle to find some of our policy pages (been there once, but then can't find it when I need to go back months later).
I also support rolling it out in a limited fashion to destination articles. Our hierarchy is good if you're looking to travel a region, but if the point of a trip is say, common activities, our hierarchy isn't so useful. The National Parks is one example, another thing I was thinking of would be "Ski resorts in Western Canada" since its quite normal for people to fly out to Calgary or Vancouver and then hit several of the resorts in the region. Right now, if someone didn't know where the resorts were, they'd have to read through many articles to find them; the category would make is much faster to find them. It probably should be done as an itinerary or travel topic to complement the category, but I don't think everyone needs that level of detail and it takes time to create a good one (plus, I agree with however above said people don't always notice the related articles). Shaund 11:10, 25 March 2009 (EDT)
As a newbie trying to make my way around the site, I would love to be able to use categories to locate the various useful Wikitravel: pages. Just being able to get a single list of useful help or policy pages with a category search would go a long way to helping learn. There are about 1,045 pages in the Wikitravel namespace, so just listing everything in the namespace is hopeless. Some get linked from other help or policy pages, but you can't follow all the links you find and remain sane, and some aren't linked from where you are looking. And then you find some pages in "wikitravel:" which are old, maybe obsolete (or are they?). You might think the Help namespace would be helpful, but there's only three pages, and they are all redirects. There's some great information in the template talk pages, but just try finding it.
In the MAIN: namespace, there appear to be about a dozen pages where someone has spent the effort to compile a list of other pages, such as UNESCO, UK National Parks, List of volcano destinations, or list of Sacred sites of the Indian sub-continent, and which appear to be good candidates for an initial list of allowable "categories" in the MAIN namespace. The likelihood of someone finding these list pages now is low, and categories would make them much more visible. These dozen pages can be found by looking at the "Special Pages: Prefix Index", pages starting with "List of". (You'll also see a dozen other lists which would not be candidates for categories, such as "list of country calling codes" if you look at the prefix index.)
I like the idea of only permitting use of "approved" categories achieved through consensus; we can look at wikipedia to see what happens otherwise. Bill in STL 20:25, 3 August 2010 (EDT)
Hi I just pop in, because i wanted to check which are all places we have in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is when I saw theres no categories, and i came in this discussion, which is actually still on! So I think it would be usefull to have categories, not to detailed, or maybe even dynamical? Like when a category becomes with more then 300 items (or so) should be subcategorized, like for all towns in Bosnia, that might be it, but if it become more, we have to make a geographical subdivision.
Ah, I see a minefield coming (no pun intended), like what to do with all the almost empty pages? But with having categories with only classified pages - like "a usable page", and put al non-usable pages in a junk category, itll become quite a hassle to take care of all that.... i wish us good luck here! -- Eiland 10:06, 9 April 2009 (EDT)

Categories for the Wikitravel: namespace[edit]

Apologies for not following through on this back in March 2009 when it was first proposed. Having had more time to think, I'd suggest something like the following as a start if others are interested:

It seems that the Wikitravel: namespace would benefit the most from better organization and would be a good place to start. If there's support for this type of categorization then we can see how it goes and then revisit the category nomination idea (above) and start considering categories for things like phrasebooks and "list of" pages. Feedback would be appreciated, particularly if people have better category name ideas or alternatives for the category breakdown. -- Ryan • (talk) • 22:53, 3 August 2010 (EDT)

You forgot Wikitravel Expeditions. =) I'm not a fan of "nominations"; perhaps "discussions"? LtPowers 13:52, 4 August 2010 (EDT)
Add "Wikitravel expeditions" to the list :) (should the second word be capitalized or not?) Is there another word besides "discussions" that would connote that the page is for nominating/voting on something? Discussions might be overly broad. -- Ryan • (talk) • 13:59, 4 August 2010 (EDT)
Wikitravel:Expeditions makes clear that it's a proper noun; thus, it should always be capitalized. =) LtPowers 15:25, 4 August 2010 (EDT)
I like this approach. Organizing this better and making it accessible in another way will greatly help people to get the hang of wikitravel. And with so few categories to start with it's definitely not going to hurt. --Sebindi 09:47, 6 August 2010 (EDT)
Any further comment? I've got time available this weekend to start on this tagging, but it would be good to resolve the "nominations/disussions" naming issue first (I'm partial to "nominations", but am not married to it), and also to get further input from people who might have other thoughts on category structure, naming, etc. Additionally, we typically implement categories via templates (doing so allows removing/adding categories from a single place amongst other advantages), so in this case I'm thinking of a "WikitravelDoc" template that would add the category and could in the future be used to add a message or other text, if desired. -- Ryan • (talk) • 12:43, 6 August 2010 (EDT)
I've added the sample implementation template at Template:WikitravelDoc. Any thoughts or feedback would be greatly appreciated. -- Ryan • (talk) • 13:01, 7 August 2010 (EDT)
I think I'd prefer shorter argument names. If you're going to go with the long form, it seems like simply saying [[Category:{{{1}}}]] would be easier. =) LtPowers 14:58, 7 August 2010 (EDT)
I dropped the "Wikitravel" from all of the argument names, which is shorter and looks nicer to my eye, but further suggestions for improvement are appreciated. As to simply using [[Category:{{{1}}}]], I think it's better not to simply drop the argument in as the category name since the current approach offers more control over what categories are allowable; if we simply re-use the argument as the category name then a well-meaning user could potentially implement a new hierarchy without first discussing the change, thereby circumventing our "limited category usage" guidelines. -- Ryan • (talk) • 16:09, 7 August 2010 (EDT)
(re-indenting) We also need a category to organize all of the old Wikitravel log pages such as Wikitravel:10 April 2007, so I've added a "Wikitravel logs/Archive" category to Template:WikitravelDoc. -- Ryan • (talk) • 11:36, 8 August 2010 (EDT)
I've made a very minimal start at tagging a handful of Wikitravel: pages - browsing from Category:Project shows what's been done thus far. Since I suspect this work may garner more attention than the above discussion did, I'll stop for now to see if there is further comment, and if not will continue either later tonight or during the coming week. Once it's clearer that there aren't significant objections to this project, if others want to join in then I'd be grateful for any help. -- Ryan • (talk) • 13:11, 8 August 2010 (EDT)
Going through the Wikitravel namespace I've tagged everything alphabetically up to Wikitravel:Administrator's handbook. I'll continue plugging away, but if anyone is interested in collaborating on this simply pick a range of articles and we can hopefully get through this reasonably quickly. -- Ryan • (talk) • 22:41, 8 August 2010 (EDT)
There are also a number of pages in the Wikitravel: namespace that are about Wikitravel itself, such as Wikitravel:Awards and Wikitravel:10K Party. Since these don't fit well into any of the above categories, I added a "Wikitravel site" category. Alternate suggestions are welcome. -- Ryan • (talk) • 23:16, 8 August 2010 (EDT)
I'm up to Wikitravel:Bots and taking a break. Anyone who wants to join in the fun please feel free to do so. -- Ryan • (talk) • 23:33, 8 August 2010 (EDT)
Everything has been tagged through the letter "D". I'm off to bed. -- Ryan • (talk) • 01:34, 9 August 2010 (EDT)
E, F, G done, --ClausHansen 06:46, 9 August 2010 (EDT)
Done through K L O Q R S T V Z. -- Ryan • (talk) • 19:03, 9 August 2010 (EDT)

So, one drawback to using a template for categorization is it makes category sorting harder. In most cases, {{PAGENAME}} is exactly what we want, so it works for that, but sometimes it's useful to have a different sort key for some pages. For instance, Wikitravel:Expeditions could be sorted with a blank sort key so that it always shows up first in Category:Wikitravel Expeditions. LtPowers 18:56, 9 August 2010 (EDT)

It should be possible to add a second option to the template to allow an alternate sort key if you think it's needed - the sort would then be [[Category:Wikitravel Expeditions|{{{2|{{PAGENAME}}}}}]], assuming I'm not screwing up the syntax. -- Ryan • (talk) • 19:03, 9 August 2010 (EDT)
It's a minor point, but it would be useful. The syntax looks correct to me. LtPowers 15:23, 10 August 2010 (EDT)
Done. Please make any further changes that are needed. -- Ryan • (talk) • 21:24, 10 August 2010 (EDT)

I wonder why MoS and Wikitravel:Manual of style for the US are help, not policies. --DenisYurkin 14:14, 11 August 2010 (EDT)

Please update anything that seems incorrect - updating a LOT of articles quickly is bound to cause some mistakes, and I'm sure a few will need to be shuffled around. -- Ryan • (talk) • 14:43, 11 August 2010 (EDT)
Done--just thought there's some reasoning behind. --DenisYurkin 15:02, 11 August 2010 (EDT)
The reason they ended up in "help" was because we've got a number of pages that are both policies and HOWTOs. In this case the MOS contains links to pages that are both help and policy pages, so I threw it into "help", but you're right that it's more suited to "policies". There are numerous similar examples - Wikitravel:External links contains HOWTO info on formatting Wikitravel external links and also the policies for when external links can be used. My hope is that once everything is tagged it will make it clearer what documentation we actually have and hopefully make it easier to do some refactoring to make it more organized and more usable. -- Ryan • (talk) • 15:21, 11 August 2010 (EDT)
Is there any reason not to add both categories for Wikitravel:External links or other similar cases? --Peter Talk 13:41, 12 August 2010 (EDT)
The reason I haven't done so thus far is that I'm hoping we can tag everything and then revisit pages that are both policy & HOWTO. Currently it's awkward to point to Wikitravel:External links in reverts when a not-insignificant focus of that page is "how to format an external link" rather than what external links are OK; the Apt guideline is even worse - it's a policy buried in a page about how to format attraction listings. I think we really should have a clear divider between policies and HOWTOs, although that's a bigger discussion. My fear is that tagging pages as both policy & HOWTO would simply promote what has thus far (IMHO) been a bad precedent. -- Ryan • (talk) • 13:48, 12 August 2010 (EDT)
Wouldn't it be easier to find such cases if they were tagged with both categories? =) LtPowers 14:05, 12 August 2010 (EDT)
My experience has been that if something seems broken then it stays on people's radar and gets addressed, but if there's an "OK" fix in place it gets forgotten. That said, I'm not opposed to double-tagging, so long as it's not done at the expense of eventually addressing our somewhat woeful organization of documentation. -- Ryan • (talk) • 14:19, 12 August 2010 (EDT)

LtPowers made the suggestion above of using "discussions" rather than "nominations". Now that the tagging is more than 2/3 done, I think he's right. I'm going to update the template to support both "nominations" and "discussions" for now, but will hold off on updating Category:Wikitravel nominations and Category:Wikitravel nominations archive for a bit to see if there is any dissent. -- Ryan • (talk) • 12:28, 14 August 2010 (EDT)

Well, one potential problem that I hadn't thought of before was that "discussions" usually take place on talk pages, but this category is for slightly different things. LtPowers 18:12, 14 August 2010 (EDT)
The other term that occurred to me was "collaborations", although I think "discussions" is better than that. Basically, we need something that encapsulates pages in the Wikitravel: namespace where discussions occur such as Wikitravel:Votes for deletion, Wikitravel:User ban nominations and Wikitravel:Travellers' pub. "nominations" is clearly too narrow. -- Ryan • (talk) • 20:22, 14 August 2010 (EDT)
Would anyone else care to weigh in on "collaborations" / "discussions" / "nominations" ? The next batch of pages alphabetically is the "Votes for deletions" pages, so I've been holding off on updating those pending further input on what to tag them as. For the moment I'm leaning towards "discussions", but would welcome a better alternative. -- Ryan • (talk) • 20:14, 15 August 2010 (EDT)
"Collaboration" in the singular might be best? --Peter Talk 20:33, 15 August 2010 (EDT)
Sounds fair. LtPowers 10:51, 16 August 2010 (EDT)

Looks like we definitely need discussions. Do we have enough collaborations and nominations for a separate category for each? --DenisYurkin 15:50, 16 August 2010 (EDT)

I think a single category would be best since there aren't a lot - see Category:Wikitravel nominations for the ~16 pages currently in that category. -- Ryan • (talk) • 16:08, 16 August 2010 (EDT)
You are right; then doesn't make a huge difference for me. --DenisYurkin 16:22, 16 August 2010 (EDT)

I think all of the Wikitravel: articles have now been tagged. The next step will be to make sure that things ended up in the right place, and potentially to then look into what further changes and cleanups can be made to make our documentation more useful. Comments and feedback are appreciated. -- Ryan • (talk) • 23:00, 17 August 2010 (EDT)

I agree with Ryan's proposals as amended and modified but would like to suggest that some categories that are not useful to our readers be hidden categories and I shall amend the long outdated policy page accordingly. This being a Wiki, anyone who has a contrary view that a consensus has not been reached, is very welcome to revert me - as long as they expound their rationale here! --118dot93dot73dot30 17:22, 12 March 2013 (EDT)

Travel topics[edit]

Thank you for all the articles you created! Truly great job! Thank you also for categorizing the articles. On your User Page you mentioned you would need some help with that, let me know. Also feel free to make a note on the pub. Cheers! IBAlex 14:50, 12 March 2013 (EDT)

Thanks. I am just at the beginning, and there are many more articles I wish to create. Plus there is a lot more I wish to add to the articles I have already written. Rome was not built in one day, of course. If you wish to help out with the categories, feel free to do so at your own pace during your free time. I don't know whether or not you are familiar with how articles are categorized on Wikipedia, but I am trying to follow that structure. Every article then would fit into up to several categories. There are many categories yet to be created. Mousy mouse 15:29, 12 March 2013 (EDT)
Thanks for your reply! I have just done a small research about the categories on Wikitravel and I found this page. It actually says that However, unlike Wikipedia, Wikitravel has made the decision not to use this feature, except in very limited way. Therefore, i am actually puzzled if we should carry on with creating the categories. Warm regards, IBAlex 16:34, 12 March 2013 (EDT)
This discussion page might also be a suitable place to discuss new categories (and reasons for having them) in advance of their actual creation... --118dot93dot73dot30 17:33, 12 March 2013 (EDT)
The problem with this system is that it doesn't work for a project that contains over 80K pages. When you have that many pages, you really need to categorize them in the same way you do with Wikipedia. The current system has a single page called Travel topics, which is a list of many different pages with no rhyme or reason to their order, and no guideline as to what the include here or how to organize it. It is also very long, so it is hard to search for anything here. Mousy mouse 18:28, 12 March 2013 (EDT)
It doesn't change the tenor of your arguments, Mousy, but there are actually about sixty thousand fewer real article pages that need concern us in regard to visible categorisation. (Before IBadmins began their herculean effort) we did have a lot of bot created spam user pages and we still have lots of re-directs and other non-travel article pages.
Of these remaining 20,000 odd, I think we need to distinguish between (mostly editor focussed) maintenance pages (that probably should be secret - see my comments in the sub-section above) and categories that are helpful to readers if they appear at the foot of our travel articles.
Please also remember that our geographical hierarchy (and consequent breadcrumb trail if the pertinent templates are applied properly - eg: Europe : Central Europe : Germany : Northern Germany : Lower Saxony : Brunswick Land : Schöningen) should take care of the vast majority of our geographical (or "destination" type) articles.
That said, I do indeed believe that we can make much better use of both visible and invisible categories, However, at this stage, I am still in favour of prior discussion of new visible categories - if only to save all that admin effort of deleting ones that might not properly be thought out - not that I'm pointing a finger at any participants in this discussion! --118dot93dot73dot30 22:08, 12 March 2013 (EDT)
Categories of the advantage of helping people locate articles pertaining to a place. For example, one who is traveling to Australia can first visit Category:Australia, then pick the subcategories of the part of Australia they wish to see, then see in the subcategories thereafter what they are interested in. One who is planning a trip to Hawaii could see what there is to do in Hawaii this way.
There is again the argument that there is another system. But there are good reasons to have multiple systems in place. Wikipedia uses categories, lists, and navboxes that are seemingly redundant to each other, but they have an explanation on one of their policy pages explaining why it is important to have all three.
What got me to bring up the issue over the lack of categories is from seeing the page Travel topics. It is very disorganized. It contains general topics applicable anywhere. But it also has many country-specific articles. It only lists them for certain countries. Not because there is any more weight given to those countries, but because someone along the way simply listed them there. If such articles were listed on every country in the world, the list would be chaotically long. But then again, there is a need to catalog these articles.
It doesn't matter if there are 80K or 20K articles. Any 5-digit number is a large number. More than anyone can comprehend at once. They are not all going to be listed on a single page. And placing a large number of them into a general category such as "usable articles" or "travel topics" does not go a long way to help people narrow down to what they are looking for. Mousy mouse 01:31, 13 March 2013 (EDT)
I think I understand your points - do you think you understand mine?
Do you understand that categories such as "usable articles" or "travel topics" should be hidden, since they are "maintenance" rather than "reader" categories?
Is there a difficulty with proposing categories that are going to be seen publicly at the foot of the categorised article? --118dot93dot73dot30 03:22, 13 March 2013 (EDT)
118. are you saying that if we create "hidden categories" this message will not show up in the bottom of the article? If yes then I don't think this is a good idea. This message actually encourages users to plunge forward and help Wikitravel grow. Hiding this message from public view will actually work against us. Therefore, as for now we are not planning on setting up 2 different categories (hidden and visible). If this idea gets a strong community support we can reconsider it. Thank you! IBAlex (talk) 20:51, 29 April 2013 (EDT)
Categories and Templates are too different tools (although both substituting or transcluding a particular template onto a page can, depending on the contents of the template, automatically categorise the page into one or more categories, hidden or unhidden). --118dot93dot73dot30 04:47, 30 April 2013 (EDT)