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Wikitravel talk:Country article template/Archives

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I've split Coming/Going in Coming/Going and Crisscrossing. From experience I know that arriving in and departing from a country is an entirely different thing than travelling around that same country. D.D. 12:28, 6 Aug 2003 (PDT)

Ok, I'll buy that. I think my idea was that was more specific to regions/cities/sites, but some general ideas of options would be good in the country page as well. --Maj

Another issue Evan and I talked about was nixing the -ings. So you'd have "Arrive, Come/Go, Spend, Learn, Talk, Respect, etc. Sounds a little sharper I think. Thoughts? This change would apply to all the suggested templates, so I might move this discussion to the templates page.--Maj

I HATE the 'ings'... they sound hopelessly kitschy to me. What's wrong with using the proper English words for them? Why not have 'Language', 'Money', 'Getting There' and 'Travelling Around' (or 'Getting Around')?
I'd also suggest moving a lot of the factbook statistics to a seperate page called 'Facts and Figures' that people can look at if they want. It's going to be hard to integrate them into an article without making it seem awfully longwinded. And the country page needs to have links to the 'regional' articles as close to the top of the article as possible so that people can find them without having to wade through a lot of stuff that they might not be interested in. KJ 23:20, 7 Aug 2003 (PDT)

So, I removed the '-ing' part, and reworked some of the section titles. Comments and criticism and reverts, please. B-) -- Evan 06:03, 8 Aug 2003 (PDT)

I just made a few more changes. If you want to revert them go ahead... 'Staying safe' just seems more logical than 'protect'. Protect what? The native wildlife? Your luggage? etc... there's got to be a better descriptive label than 'zap' too, but I can't think what it is. KJ 18:03, 8 Aug 2003 (PDT)

I like "Staying Safe"-- or would it be "Stay Safe"? Also, shouldnt the "Getting In/Out/Around" be "Get In/Out/Around" to match the others? And where did "Zap" come from? What was wrong with "Contact"? "Zap" really donesn't describe the section very well IMHO. Majnoona
Aha! How about calling that last bit 'Keep in touch'? Or 'Stay in touch'? Or even 'Phone home' lol :P I don't think all the headers have to have the same number of words and tense as each other as long as they make sense. Active is generally better than passive. It's probably just as silly to have them all tweaked into a one-word format as it was to force them all to end in 'ing'... KJ
I like "Keep in touch" or "Stay in touch" those are great and clear. "Contact" was a little vague. I agree with all that... Majnoona

Another issue is where to put the "Highlights" or "Regions/Cities" section. I'd like to see it at the top for quick navigation, but should it go before or after Know/Understand? (btw I know those are not quite as clear and simple as the rest of the headers, but I think they really convey the feel for the intro graphs). Majnoona

Finally, I'm going add a disclaimer at the top of all the templates that these are recommended, but in no way manditory. One of the reasons we wanted to go with headers/etc that were a little different was to jar people out of the idea that they can just cut and paste from their Lonely Planet or Rough Guide. The upside of everyone using the same-- or a sub/superset of the same-- format is ease of navigation for users, and that we would be able to make automated changes to pages using a bot. Not something we're planning, but it would be nice to have as an option.... Majnoona

Amen to both these. Yes, we really wanted to make sure Wikitravel didn't look and feel like "other" guides at the most basic level. Personally, I like the short, sharp saxon "Sleep" better than long latinate "Accommodations". It's more concrete and clearer. Also, I always forget how many m's to put in "accommodations", but I rarely forget how many e's go into "sleep".
As far as consistency: yes, yes, yes. I have a tiny little mind, it is has a bugbear wielding a mace +2, and that bugbear is consistency of style in Wikitravel. For readers, it's much easier to find something in your 30th Wikitravel article if it's got the same layout, headers, and format as the other 29 you've already read. Automatibility is a bonus, but shouldn't be taken lightly.
As far as "mandatory" is concerned: I'd think that any template is both a starting point and an asymptote for wiki growth. Some people are going to copy the template over directly when they start a country page, and that's just great. Other people are just going to glop down whatever crap they know ("Montreal is a big city. The word for 'liquor store' is 'depanneur'. It has a skate park up near the old factory") and other people will come in and edit it towards our style goals. Both ways work; both ways need a good template. -- Evan 06:48, 11 Aug 2003 (PDT)

Moved from article to talk page by Evan.

As requested, I have copied my comments from Switzerland to here

I've done some radical cutting and rearranging to put facts in the table and reduced the map. I also don't like the headers in the template but will go with the flow. Any thoughts on the changes? Tiles 01:57, 11 Aug 2003 (PDT)

I have not touched the template but tried to cull a lot of the CIA data or organise it into a reformatted table. Would this table be useful? Is it OK to reduce the map and provide a link to the original larger version? What should we keep or what should we ditch from the CIA info? I have ditched a lot.

I agree with a standard template as it will give a wikitravel "look and feel". If this project is going to be worthwhile, presentation and content have to be high quality, original and unique. Once we have sorted out what we want from the CIA stuff it will be easy to format that in all country pages. Can we have a project to reach agreement on content before we go too deeply into form? I will weed out what I think is irrelevant but I need to be monitored. Tiles 22:26, 11 Aug 2003 (PDT)

A few comments and questions:

  • Templates are a good idea.
  • I also like the sharp verb headings
  • Where does information on medical services go? I'd stay "Staying Safe"... or maybe we want a separate section, like Medicate. ;-)

Stephen Gilbert 21:16, 16 Aug 2003 (PDT)

"Staying safe" doesn't really make me think of medical services, but rather of things to do or avoid for your own safety (such as not walking in a particular city neighbourhood after dark). What about "Staying healthy"? D.D. 11:38, 17 Aug 2003 (PDT)
I like having both "Stay Safe" and "Stay Healthy." I'm going to go ahead and add them. Majnoona

Stat Info

I've winnowed the Dominica article into what I'd call 'useful' information. The communications section is iffy so I left it alone (if the country only has 1 ISP it's a pretty good clue that you're not going to find an internet cafe on every street corner! lol Ditto for phones etc.). I think transportation is valuable (except 'merchant marine') but that could be moved down to 'Get Around' rather than being in the 'Know' section. Electrical production is also iffy... it's useful to know but not essential. There's probably more that can go - I'm open to argument.KJ 19:08, 8 Sep 2003 (PDT)

Quick comment: I think that the stats stuff should be outta there. Most of it should be prosified. Why do we need a tabular format for a country article? Why not a nice paragraph or two? I see the point of the CIA factbook stuff as providing a facade until someone wants to actually get in there and write about the country. After a page is hand-edited, I'd expect that tabular-format stats stuff to disappear. Just one man's opinion -- Evan 20:02, 8 Sep 2003 (PDT)

I kinda like the sidebar. It's a quick glance at some facts-- and it helps break up the pages. People reading online don't always like the look of endless 'graphs and I don't see a lot a reason _not_ to have that information (the way Karen has done it) there. Just one woman's opinion. Majnoona

Headings In the heading structure, I miss an item like "Eat and Drink" or however you want to call it. This could be the place for writing about typical food, delicacy or just special remarks on the food in that country. Don't you think that this could be important for travelling? --- Hansm 15:55, 2003 Sep 10 (PDT)

We have "Eat" and "Drink" in the City guides. I'm pretty sure I'm already using them in the country pages too. I'll go ahead and make it part of the country template too. I just want to make sure we dont end up with actual restaurant/bar listings at the country level. Majnoona

I don't think we need 'eat and drink' in the country template. Food is something that's regional at best, and the country template is already ridiculously long with the things that are actually relevant at a country-wide level. I'd leave it for the city/region listings where it can be more directly addressed. KJ 23:33, 13 Sep 2003 (PDT)