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I moved the disambig stuff back to the article naming conventions page. These are such an important part of article naming, I think they need to be part of the page. --Evan 14:14, 28 Dec 2003 (PST)

Disambig pages vs links[edit]

Moved from Wikitravel:Travellers' pub - by Huttite 21:45, 2 Oct 2004 (EDT).

Can I ask for the rationale behind using disambiguation pages instead of links? Often, eg. St. Petersburg, one of the places being disambiguated is much better known and it feels stupid to have to write St.Petersburg every time I want to link to the bigger of the two. I'd prefer the Wikipedia style, where the main page is usually the Big One and has a link up top with "This page is about X, see also Y for the Z in Q". Jpatokal 04:18, 29 Jul 2004 (EDT)

Which city has more English-speaking tourists, the one in Russia or the beach resort in Florida? ;-) Personally, since this is a travel guide I prefer the disambig to make sure we're displaying the page the user wants when they do a search (cause they might skip the see also clause at the top and skim down). Conversely, in an Encylopedia, Moscow (Idaho) is pretty much never what the user wants when they ask for Moscow. (I'm gonna regret this when the other five Fremonts in the US are added) -- Colin 04:43, 29 Jul 2004 (EDT)
The mos does allow the first approach "if one place is so famous that the disambiguation is a hindrance rather than a help", giving examples of Paris and Los Angeles. I think you could probably make a case for St Petersburg under that exemption; although having three different names in the last 100 years certainly doesn't help that cities case.
But that is almost incidental. The vast majority of ambiguously named places are not like that; there is genuine cause for confusion. I live in Reading in England, but I know there is a Reading in Pennsylvania although I know no more than that about it. I guess most of the english speaking world have only vaguely heard of either, if at all. Which is the more important in a Wikitravel context?. I think the only sensible answer is 'it depends on the readers context', in which case disambiguation is the right approach. -- Chris j wood 07:38, 29 Jul 2004 (EDT)

See Talk:St. Petersburg -- 05:12, 13 April 2006 (EDT)

Disambig pages for famous cities[edit]

A policy question/suggestion for the 'famous' cities:

Given that there's famous cities that get the main article, such as London, what should we do about disambiguating other Londons? At the moment there seems to be three approaches:

  1. The famous city article doesn't mention the other city: Sydney doesn't mention Sydney (Nova Scotia). This is probably the most common.
  2. The famous city article links to the other city: London links to London (Ontario)
  3. The famous city article links to [[Famous City (disambiguation)]]: Atlanta links to Atlanta (disambiguation).

At the moment, I suspect #1 best reflects policy, because the full set of famous cities is meant to be on Wikitravel:Disambiguation page index (which is terribly out of date). I suspect #3 is borrowed from Wikipedia. Nevertheless, it doesn't seem like a terrible idea, especially since the link at the top would only need to read: This article is about London, United Kingdom, see London (disambiguation) for other places called London.

The major risks of adopting such a policy seem to be:

  1. People will see the major articles and think this is normal procedure, and start treating the default article as "first in, first served", so we start having [[Nowheresville]] and [[Nowheresville (disambiguation)]].
  2. It means the 99% of people seeking information about London UK have to read a bunch of text that doesn't contain that information at the top of the article.


Hypatia 05:41, 1 Nov 2004 (EST)

In-page disambiguation[edit]

I'd like to suggest that we do a MediaWiki template for the in-page disambiguation at the top of pages. This usually happens for pages like London or Paris or Ontario where we've exercised the by-far-the-most-famous naming rule. For example:

This article concerns London, capital of England and the UK. Several places exist by the same name, including London (Ontario) in Canada and East London in South Africa

Although this is useful for the Web site, it's unnecessary and confusing accounting work for print versions. If it was in a template, it could be safely ignored by printing software.

If we use Template:Samename, it would be formatted correctly, and be ignorable. --Evan 08:08, 8 Jul 2005 (EDT)

I'll give a thumbs up for this. Jpatokal 00:19, 17 Jul 2005 (EDT)
Template:Samename has been replaced by Template:otheruses. -- Ryan 18:21, 24 March 2006 (EST)

Similar pages[edit]

So, actually, it's not that difficult to determine automatically if there are other pages with a name similar to the one under discussion. Like, say, for Burlington (Vermont), it's relatively easy technically to trim everything in parentheses and surrounding whitespace and then search for other articles titled exactly "Burlington" or "Burlington (something)". I wonder if there'd be any value in showing links to these out-of-page, maybe near where the other sites/languages links are. --Evan 16:24, 9 Jul 2005 (EDT)

Provinces/prefectures and cities[edit]

(moved in from Wikitravel talk:Disambiguation page index)

About the differences between province and city in Spain, I think that there shouldn't be this kind of page. An example: Sevilla city and Sevilla Province. Every important city in Spain has a province with the same name (Frm Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Zaragoza, Granada, Salamanca.....), so this can be really confusing. I think that is much better to put Sevilla as the page for Sevilla city and then make a page named Sevilla Province. This page can be linked from the page of the region ie Andalucía, and froma the page of the city (maybe on the top of the page). What do you think about it? 09:47 pstng

Most all of Japan's prefectures are named after their largest cities, and if you say "I'm going to X" this will be by default assumed to mean the city, not the prefecture. For these cases, I thus think it makes sense to redirect X to X (city) and uplinking X (city) to X (prefecture), instead of creating explicit disambig pages. Opinions? Note that this is already the de facto state of affairs, I'm just trying to make it formal.

This also applies to Thai prefectures, so I think we've got the beginnings of a rule here. Now to decide which model to follow:
# X redirects to X (city), X (city) uplinks to X (prefecture)
# X is the city, and uplinks to X (prefecture)
Opinions? Jpatokal 00:18, 17 Jul 2005 (EDT)
My opinion is that I think this case is pretty well covered by the disambiguation rules we have so far. However, I think that it may be useful to have some sort of explanation for this common case.
I think the current rules are as follows: use "X (city)" and "X (province)" (or region, or state, or prefecture, or whatever) to disambiguate places with the same name, and make "X" a disambiguation page. As an exception, if one is significantly better known, don't bother with a disambiguator for that one. For example, if the city is much much better known, use "X" for the city and "X (prefecture)"; if the state is much much better known, use the opposite "X (city)" and "X" for the province. I don't think there's been a case where the state is sufficiently more famous than the city that we could leave out the disambiguator (the best I can come up with is Chihuahua), but I don't think we can rule it out as a possibility.
Is there a good place we should put this? Maybe a section on Wikitravel:article naming conventions? --Evan 15:11, 17 Jul 2005 (EDT)
See, the problem with the current rule is that it requires that "much much" in there before the disambig page can be dispensed with. This makes perfect sense for the Paris (France) vs Paris (Texas) type of situations, but less so for Toyama Prefecture vs Toyama City cases where it's be a stretch to call either "famous".
My stab at a rule:

If a city X and its surrounding province/prefecture/voivodship/... share the same name, and the city is the better known of the two, then the city gets "X" and the province goes in "X (province)". Always uplink the city to the province.

So how? Jpatokal 04:10, 28 Jul 2005 (EDT)
I'm plunging forward and converting Japanese prefectures to use this convention (which most of them already implement anyway), but I'd like a few more comments before I go edit the policy. Jpatokal 23:42, 11 Aug 2005 (EDT)

The Rt. Hon. User: has gone ahead and disambigged a bazillion Thai provinces into X (city) and X (province). As Thai provinces are nearly always named after the largest city, I hereby will make the text above policy, and proceed with the mass renaming in a few days if there is no mass uproar. Jpatokal 21:41, 6 Dec 2005 (EST)

In the absence of uproar, how will the policy be applied for Thai provinces/cities (other than Bangkok & Phuket)?
Will the "Ayutthaya and Ayutthaya (province)" example apply to all Thai cities/provinces other than Bangkok & Phuket?
Yes, I think so. Common sense should be used, but I can't think of any other exceptions in Thailand at the moment. The same policy has already been adopted for Japan. Jpatokal 21:26, 7 Dec 2005 (EST)
Although this policy may be applied to Japan and Thailand, it has not been appied to the policy page first. Perhaps we should say the following:

If the main or gateway city of a region and its surrounding area share the same name then the main city need not be disambiguated, though the surrounding area should be. For example: Many Japanese prefectures take their names from their capital cities. This is also common in Spain and Thailand. In these cases the region should always be refered to in the first line of the article by saying the city is the capital/main city of the region. In other words: If you get to the place with the ambiguous name you also find yourself the middle of the region of the same name, then you do not need a disambiguation page for the destination name. In these cases, a disambiguation page is only needed where the ambiguous name also refers to other places that are geographically separate from the city/region pair.

-- Huttite 21:53, 9 Dec 2005 (EST)

Disambiguation lists[edit]

Can someone explain to me which of Wikitravel:Links to disambiguating pages or Wikitravel:Disambiguation page index we should update when we create a disambiguation page? Both? The latter seems really out of date. I know it's there so that there's extra data about disambiguated names without a disambiguation page, and about the "famous" locations without disambiguators, but having the second list of disambiguation pages as well just seems like a maintainence problem. -- Hypatia 03:57, 25 Oct 2004 (EDT)

This sounds like a good use of categories for me... just add Category:Disambiguation to each page and you have a self-maintaining list. Same goes for the list of itineraries. Jpatokal 04:27, 25 Oct 2004 (EDT)
When I first created the Wikitravel:Disambiguation page index article I had not discovered the Wikitravel:Links to disambiguating pages article. At that time there were about 30 disambiguation pages. The problem I had was that disambiguation pages were not listed anywhere. I created a list for disambiguation pages that had a manually created disambiguation message on them. Later, mediawiki messages were introduced and the disambiguation maintenance fuction came along. I have been trying to keep Wikitravel:Disambiguation page index up to date. I suggest you add pages to Wikitravel:Links to disambiguating pages first and then add them to Wikitravel:Disambiguation page index if you feel like it. -- Huttite 15:18, 9 Apr 2005 (EDT)

Disambiguation page standard[edit]

Would anyone be opposed to adding a standard format for disambiguation pages to this policy? Currently they're pretty scattered, with formats like Barrow, Albany, Ontario. My thought is that the Barrow format looks the nicest and is the most organized, with the format being:

There is more than one place called Name of place:
* Name of place (with region) - A town in Region.
* Name of place (with region) - A town in Region.
* Name of place (with region) - A town in Region.


Any suggestions? If not, would anyone object to adding this example to the policy page? -- Ryan 16:03, 19 March 2006 (EST)

Done. -- Ryan 04:59, 23 March 2006 (EST)
Suggestion: how about taking out the __NOTOC__ ? On shorter pages (ie few regions) the TOC doesn't appear regardless, on longer pages it's very useful ~ 13:56, 14 July 2006 (EDT)
I wouldn't be opposed although I like it as-is. If Evan's new TOC-on-the-right-side change is ever implemented then I think removing the NOTOC makes sense. The reason for putting it there initially was that it just didn't seem very useful to have half a screen taken up by a TOC when the full article length was unlikely to exceed one or two screenfuls of text. -- Ryan 15:13, 14 July 2006 (EDT)


I just created Template:otheruses to add a link to the disambiguation page for articles meeting the "most famous" rule, ie adding a link from Paris to Paris (disambiguation). We didn't implement this consistently, and I figured it would be a non-controversial thing to do. I should have known better, and having just read some comments about disambiguating Paris I'm adding this discussion - any user searching for "Paris, Texas" will probably start out by typing "Paris" into the search box, in which case they are taken directly to the Paris, France article. It seems useful and inobtrusive to me to add a link to the dismbiguation page to the top of that article, thus the "other uses" template was created. I've added that template to a few articles already, but will hold off on doing any more until people have had a chance to comment. -- Ryan 05:43, 23 March 2006 (EST)

I'm taking the lack of comment as a hopeful sign -- if no one is opposed I'll go ahead and update the remaining "most famous" destinations. Any reason not to do so? -- Ryan 13:59, 23 March 2006 (EST)
I'll take the lack of comment as tacit approval and go ahead and make the changes - I really think adding a link to the disambiguation page for "most famous" articles should make the site a bit more user friendly. -- Ryan 03:24, 24 March 2006 (EST)
Sorry for the short reply. Have you seen Template:Samename? Why have two templates for the same purpose? --Evan 10:14, 24 March 2006 (EST)
See Template talk:Otheruses. Short answer is that I didn't see Template:Samename until after I had created Template:Otheruses, but I agree one should be deleted since we now have two. Since Samename merely prints the message passed to it, and thus requires more user work and more maintenance to keep things consistent, while Otheruses can be used by simply entering "{{otheruses}} and is also consistent with the naming used on Wikipedia I'd lean towards keeping that one, although if Samename was modified to be easier to use then I'd be OK with keeping that instead.
Somewhat related, but Wikitravel:Using Mediawiki templates seems quite out of date and is definitely missing a LOT of templates that are currently available. Would there be any objection to updating that to include all currently available templates? Otherwise, is there a list somewhere else of what's available? -- Ryan 11:45, 24 March 2006 (EST)
No objection from me. I think otheruses is better than samename, so lets replace the places that samename is used with otheruses and VFD samename. Also, I wonder if we shouldn't move the list of templates to a different place than the template policy page. --Evan 11:49, 24 March 2006 (EST)
Continued at Wikitravel talk:Using Mediawiki templates#Template:otheruses.
I've gotten through Memphis on the most famous list. Anyone else who wants to jump in and do a few feel free, I'm heading off for a bit. -- Ryan 07:05, 24 March 2006 (EST)

Spanish provinces[edit]

Moved from User talk:Wrh2:

Ryan, I saw that you recently changed Cadiz into the city page, making a disambig and province page. This seemed to make a lot of sense as a lot more people want to link to the city than province. I think there is scope to do this to some other spanish city/province pages. Do you fancy having a go at: Malaga, Valladolid,Salamanca & Granada(?). Cheers, DanielC 16:43, 3 April 2006 (EDT)

Just to confirm before making any changes, are each of these cities "much more famous" than the surrounding province, as desribed in Wikitravel:Article naming conventions#Disambiguation? I would assume so since you're bringing this issue up, but I'm not familiar enough with these areas to be certain. -- Ryan 16:48, 3 April 2006 (EDT)
To the general traveller, the "regions" of Spain are of much more use and more well known than the provinces. To them the cities are much more often used than the provinces. However, for residents of Spain I do think that they refer to the provinces a reasonable amount, but they do always still refer to them as XXX province. -- DanielC 17:03, 3 April 2006 (EDT)
Malaga, Alicante and Salamanca are done. Granada and Valladolid are also the names of a places outside of Spain, so I've left those pages as a disambiguation and moved the city articles to Valladolid (Spain) and Granada (Spain). -- Ryan 17:37, 3 April 2006 (EDT)

How to create a new Disambiguation page[edit]

Swept in from the Pub:

Sorry for the newbie questions, I'm probably missing something here but in the articles on the subject I cannot find how to create a new disambiguation page for two existing locations, namely Rabat in Morocco and Rabat in Malta. PeterW 06:30, 14 Feb 2006 (EST)

It's just an ordinary page with a link of places to go. However, for this particular case I think the one in Morocco (capital of the country, pop 1.2m) is much more famous than the Maltese one (pop. what, a couple of hundred?), so they should go in Rabat and Rabat (Malta) respectively. Jpatokal 08:24, 14 Feb 2006 (EST)

Links to related Wikipedia disambiguation[edit]

I added information to the main article policy about adding a link to the related Wikipedia disambiguation page. I have been doing this for some time and think it is useful. I have also notice others doing this as well. I plunged forward on this, so if there are any disagreements, lets talk about it here. I am not against changing this if there are valid concerns or arguments. -- Tom Holland (xltel) 12:41, 17 September 2006 (EDT)

Disambiguation pages considered useful[edit]

Archived from the Pub:

This tragi-comic story [1] (tragic for the person concerned, comic for everyone else) serves as an object lesson in the usefulness of diambiguation pages. — Ravikiran 05:56, 31 December 2006 (EST)

Wow! That is really interesting! Thank you for posting it. We do need to be very careful. -- Tom Holland (xltel) 08:46, 31 December 2006 (EST)

several townships named washington in new jersey[edit]

Swept in from the pub:

hello, I am having trouble with the disambiguation of the township of washington in New Jersey. Where I live, there are two Washington townships practically right next each other. One in Morris County (commonly known as Long Valley because that's the name of the post office), and one just a few miles away in Warren County. Right now, the morris county one is listed as "Washington (Morris County, New Jersey)" on the disambiguation page and I"m not sure how it got there, or do I know how to get the warren county one on that page, either. They both need a lot of work, but it's a start. My main concern is that when I tried to redirect the page called "Long Valley" to the morris county page and it said "This action cannot be performed on this page." Has this ever happened before? thanks Kire1975 04:29, 20 July 2008 (EDT)

It looks like you added the Warren County one just fine. To create the redirect, just edit Long Valley and put #REDIRECT [[Washington (Morris County, New Jersey)]] in the edit box. LtPowers 11:05, 20 July 2008 (EDT)
Is it much more commonly referred to as Long Valley? Cause if that's the case then we should name the article that, we prefer most common over official names, per our article naming conventions. If not, and we do need to differentiate between the two, then they should both be shortened to "City (County), rather than City (County, State) – cacahuate talk 23:30, 20 July 2008 (EDT)
sounds fine to me. I'm very tired right now. I'll get to it soon, I promise. Kire1975 20:46, 21 July 2008 (EDT)

cacahuate, I've always been confused about how to change the names of pages once they are created, is there something that could help me figure out how to do all that. Do I have to create a new page with the right name, transfer all the information, and then nominate the old page for deletion? or should I redirect something somewhere? I'm sorry. Once I figure this out, I should be good for awhile.

Also, I've got another one for you, very similar:

Sussex (New Jersey) is a town in Sussex County (New Jersey). How should that be handled on the disambiguation page? Where would I put the word town? And also, like above, how is that done? Thanks Jargas 06:34, 23 July 2008 (EDT)

There's a tab at the top of every page that says "move". Use that to rename an article, and a redirect will be created from the old name to the new one. As for Sussex, just add Sussex (New Jersey) to the bottom of the list and say it's a town in New Jersey. LtPowers 11:37, 23 July 2008 (EDT)

How to make a disambiguation page for Kenwood?[edit]

Arcived from the Pub:

I wanted to work on Kenwood Ca, a town very close to my home town, but after typing in Kenwood I was redirected to Chicago/South Chicago Shore.

I would like to make a disambiguation page but I don't know how. I would love to learn. Anyone want to teach me?

--Trew 19:13, 2 December 2008 (EST)

Create the Kenwood (disambiguation) page. Copy another, say look at Sutherland (disambiguation). Then decide whether the Kenwood page redirect should be changed to Kenwood (disambiguation), or whether a link to the disambiguation page should be added to the top of the Chicago/South Chicago Shore article. The former is easy just change the redirect page by editing the Kenwood page. If you decide to do the latter, look at the the way it is done in Sydney. If you can't decide which to do, just discuss it on the article talk page, and reach a consensus. It really depends on the significance of the other Kenwood for travellers. --Inas 19:35, 2 December 2008 (EST)
Disambiguated. -- Sapphire(Talk) • 16:41, 5 December 2008 (EST)

Thanks for all your help. I am going to get started on making the Kenwood, Ca guide once the holidays are over. Trew 19:54, 18 December 2008 (EST)

Not just for identical names[edit]

Sometimes we use disambiguation pages for an area like New Guinea, where a plain redirect can't be used because it isn't clear which part of the area we are redirecting to, and where the area doesn't justify a region article. This seems to be de-facto policy, so in the absence of any objection, I'll make the change to the main article. --Inas 03:29, 11 December 2008 (EST)

Sounds good to me. --Peter Talk 15:48, 11 December 2008 (EST)
Rewrote some other bits as well. Hopefully clearer now. --Inas 05:30, 12 December 2008 (EST)


Given the above (that articles like New Guinea are considered disambiguation pages), what should we do with links to them? The page currently says that links to disambiguation pages should be corrected, but I can imagine some cases where we might want to link to articles like New Guinea, Great Lakes, or Northern Tier. LtPowers 17:45, 29 June 2009 (EDT)

I've looked at every article that links to New Guinea, and in each case I would regard the link as being an error. There is little point linking to a page contains no information, and just links elsewhere. Can you see any use where it appears valid on the face of it? --inas 19:41, 29 June 2009 (EDT)
New Guinea, in its current state, no. But the other two (which are not currently formatted as disambiguation pages, admittedly) do have valid incoming links. I think the most likely scenario is linking to a body-of-water guide that has relevant itineraries listed (or something like the current Do listing in Great Lakes). But if the consensus is that these should be for searching purposes only, I'm sure it can be worked around. LtPowers 21:54, 29 June 2009 (EDT)


Inspired by the contentious vfd for Madam Tussauds, I thought it might be worth deciding whether we should ever disambiguate non-articles—that is, whether we should disambiguate some term that then links to non-articles (in this case, what is basically a "see" listing). None of the Madame Tussauds would qualify under our article criteria, but some are arguing that we should disambiguate the term, and provide links to each location. This policy page currently does not recommend such a disambiguation, but there is a precedent at SeaWorld, and in the practice of redirecting non-articles under the conditions listed at Wikitravel:Deletion policy#Deleting vs. redirecting.

I'll argue we shouldn't, pretty much exactly for the reasons Ryan gave in the vfd:

If instead we create a disambiguation page it puts us into the uncomfortable position of having to figure out where to draw the line between "useful to travelers" and spam. Does SeaWorld get a disambiguation page? If so, does the Ripley's Believe-it-or-not museum? Does the Hard Rock Cafe? Seems like a slippery slope that we could avoid by just saying "any attraction that does not warrant its own article should not be given a disambiguation page".

I don't think that our practice of redirecting non-articles to destinations is really a precedent, since that was done for the express purpose of saving time—anyone can make a redirect, so we don't need to clutter the vfd page (and vfd cleaning process) with redirected attraction articles. Disambiguating them, and deciding which cases are OK to disambiguate, on the other hand, would wind up using extra time better spent elsewhere, IMO—better to have a simple policy to decide when to disambiguate, rather than have our most productive contributors kept busy debating the value of each and every possible disambiguation.

Regarding utility for readers, I think the search function should suffice. --Peter Talk 15:24, 20 December 2009 (EST)

Unfortunately, the search function does not suffice, and here's why: -- Ignore the first two results, which would go away under this proposal, and note that Orlando, San Diego, and San Antonio are nowhere to be seen. LtPowers 17:07, 20 December 2009 (EST)
Well yes, but that is because the name is SeaWorld, without a space [2]. --Peter Talk 17:21, 20 December 2009 (EST)
I know that, and you know that, but we can't count on the average traveler -- one who doesn't even know where they all are -- to know that. LtPowers 22:19, 20 December 2009 (EST)
We are constantly putting ourselves in the position of deciding what is useful for travellers and what is not. We already have to figure out what is a spam, and what is an attraction when we create travel guides.
A disambiguation page is really just a special form of redirection where there is more than one possible target article. It also can take far less effort to create than a vfd.
Currently our deletion policy says to redirect rather than delete. That is both to save time, and help the next traveller looking for the same thing. If there is more than one target for a redirect - we should disambiguate.
We should apply our common sense and experience to determine whether an attraction is major enough to be a likely search term, and whether a fall-through to the search engine is more useful that a disambig --inas 20:02, 20 December 2009 (EST)
As Inas says we are constantly putting ourselves in the position of deciding what is useful for travellers and what is not. And that is precisely why we need clear policy and to stick to it. The logic seems clear to me - if the term warrants an article then disambiguate, if it doesn't then delete or re-direct as appropriate. As an aside, SeaWorld is in my view a poor precedent and should not have been diambiguated. --Burmesedays 21:03, 21 December 2009 (EST)
I don't get this. If there was only one Seaworld attraction would you redirect it? I can understand why we might want to delete all attraction articles, and if we want a policy which says that, I'm fine with it. What I can't understand is the logic which says if there is one major attraction with a name, we redirect it to a destination article, but if there are two at different destinations we delete rather than redirect to the two articles (i.e disambiguate). --inas 21:52, 21 December 2009 (EST)
If there was only one SeaWorld then yes, per Wikitravel:Deletion policy#Deleting vs. redirecting it would be redirected. However, redirections are merely a convenience, and in cases where there is absolutely no good redirection target I think that we should delete rather than disambiguate - unlike a redirect, a disambiguation requires effort to create and maintain, and more importantly turns Wikitravel into a site that creates pages for all attractions, something which we specifically don't do. If the consensus is that all attractions should be given a redirect or a disambiguation page then I suspect we will open ourselves up to seeing thousands upon thousands of new pages created that may be of questionable value and will definitely push the envelope of what is really of value to a traveler. -- Ryan • (talk) • 22:36, 21 December 2009 (EST)
Disambig articles and redirect articles are our index. They are the way we direct people looking for stuff to the article that contains it. I can see why we don't want to list everything in an index. I can see why we could use a search and drop the index. But I don't think a large index is a slippery slope to suddenly starting to write articles about attractions. --inas 01:51, 22 December 2009 (EST)
To clarify, I don't think it's a slippery slope to "writing articles about attractions", but I DO think it's a slippery slope to creating a lot of extra work dealing with any one of the thousands of borderline attractions/topics that a traveler might think up. Off the top of my head, examples such as Planet Hollywood, double-decker buses, Harrah's Casino, Ripley's Believe-it-or-Not Museum, camel rides, etc, are all things that we could potentially need disambiguation pages for, depending on a consensus. This wouldn't be the end of the world to spend time figuring out what to do with all sorts of random attractions, but I think it's a more valuable use of people's time to keep our focus on existing articles and guidelines rather than opening ourselves up to requiring a new debate about (for example) whether the Ripley's museum is famous enough / too spammy / whatever to warrant a disambiguation page. -- Ryan • (talk) • 02:06, 22 December 2009 (EST)
It may lead to disambiguations like Museum of Natural History, Grand Mosque, etc. Do we want ambiguation pages for these attractions? —The preceding comment was added by (talkcontribs)
I don't buy that slippery slope, either. SeaWorld is a legitimate attraction that one might specifically organize a trip around. It's also a likely search term, as someone might see that Disneyland has an article and then search for "Sea World" looking for something similar. But, as I demonstrated above, the search function is not forgiving of spelling variations, making it inadequate compared to a simple disambiguation page. LtPowers 11:38, 22 December 2009 (EST)
A read over Wikitravel_talk:Votes_for_deletion#deleting_vs_redirecting might help explain the rationale for Wikitravel:Deletion policy#Deleting vs. redirecting (although that discussion is a little more convoluted than I remember)—it's above all to save time and effort. "Redirect attractions, but not other listings" is simple, categorical, and should reduce the load on the vfd page, since anyone can do it, and because "Delete, per Wikitravel:Deletion policy#Deleting vs. redirecting," should end discussion with a simple application of clear policy. A policy of "disambiguate some attractions" is much more complex, and will lead to a heavier load on the vfd page. --Peter Talk 17:25, 22 December 2009 (EST)

Here's a suggested compromise:

"Disambiguation pages for topics that do not merit their own article (example: SeaWorld) should be an exception rather than a rule. Disambiguation pages for non-articles should only be created for attractions that are major travel destinations in their own right, that new editors commonly re-create (example: Atlantic Ocean) or that there is a consensus to create. When there is doubt as to whether a destination meets any of these criteria a consensus must exist to keep a page, otherwise it should be deleted."

This suggestion obviously needs further refining as it's still a bit too loose (what constitutes a "major travel destination"?) but it addresses LtPowers' and Inas' concerns about usability while also putting the burden on the creator to justify keeping a page rather than on the community to justify deleting it. -- Ryan • (talk) • 11:50, 5 November 2010 (EDT)

Seems reasonable, although I worry about the "consensus to keep" requirement. LtPowers 16:10, 5 November 2010 (EDT)
I'm a fan, actually, of both the wording and intent. We generally are able to pull off reasonable consensuses in these cases.I don't think, for example, that we would have trouble agreeing that a disambiguation for SeaWorld is indeed useful to aid searchers. If this discourages borderline cases (e.g., Madame Tussaud's), I think that's fine—it will save us time debating things that aren't very critical. --Peter Talk 22:31, 5 November 2010 (EDT)
*Bump* Any further comment, or is it OK to update existing policy with the proposed wording and refine it further in the future if necessary? -- Ryan • (talk) • 18:53, 15 November 2010 (EST)
I've updated the policy page with the suggested text. -- Ryan • (talk) • 22:19, 18 November 2010 (EST)

Geographic features[edit]

This discussion copied from Wikitravel:Votes for deletion#Lake James (disambiguation)

If this is deleted, are we okay with people getting a list of search results when they look for "Lake James"? It doesn't come up with two of the three pages listed on the disambiguation page; Northern Indiana is listed but "Lake James" doesn't appear in the blurb. LtPowers 09:47, 5 November 2010 (EDT)

I was about to delete this article and just noticed this comment. I'm personally OK with search results for cases like this one - I think it's better to rely on search for corner cases rather than trying to manually maintain a disambiguation page for all non-article destinations, but since the disambiguation policy page suggests discussion and consensus for handling corner cases then this discussion would be the place for any discussing. -- Ryan • (talk) • 22:28, 18 November 2010 (EST)
You're okay with the search results even though they don't come up with two of the three pages currently listed on the disambiguation page? LtPowers 08:40, 19 November 2010 (EST)
100% OK. Just as I don't think we need to make sure that a search (or disambiguation page) for something like "Hard Rock Cafe" shows every single location, I don't think "Lake James" is a destination that is worth creating an index for when our search index will suffice. Coming at this from another angle, there is a "Saint James Lake" in Minnesota - if we keep the disambiguation page, should that be included? What about the likely dozens of other places with the same (or similar) names - at what point do we draw the line? -- Ryan • (talk) • 11:26, 19 November 2010 (EST)
That seems contrary to the principle behind Wikitravel:The traveller comes first. We should be taking pains to get the reader to the destination he or she is looking for, not throwing up roadblocks. LtPowers 18:34, 19 November 2010 (EST)
But per our rules, none of the Lakes James qualify as destinations. To illustrate, if one of them were, we would have a page for it, and no mention or possibility of reaching the other two non-article lakes. --Peter Talk 10:46, 20 November 2010 (EST)
Likewise, if we're speaking in hypotheticals, if there were only one destination that had a Lake James, we'd redirect it and the reader would have no problem finding the correct article. LtPowers 13:16, 20 November 2010 (EST)
Right, but the reason we do that as a matter of policy is not for the sake of navigation, but for the sake of saving time on this page, as anyone can make a redirect. --Peter Talk 13:42, 20 November 2010 (EST)
Getting the user to the right article ought to be a bedrock principle, not a mere side effect of a rule intended for editor convenience. LtPowers 14:38, 20 November 2010 (EST)
Where I disagree is threefold:
  1. I don't think we should be anticipating everything a user might be looking for. Whether such an effort would be useful for travelers is debatable since it would likely lead to a great deal of inconsistency in how disambiguation pages are managed and created. Invoking the slippery slope argument, if lakes are valid topics for disambiguation pages, are hotel chains?
  2. I don't think disambiguation pages for attractions are particularly beneficial to travelers except in the case of major attractions. Using the example above of "Saint James Lake", the user still won't find what they wanted on the "James Lake" disambiguation page. For the majority of these cases relying on the search engine seems entirely valid.
  3. On a wiki I don't think you can discount the value of having clear editorial guidelines by invoking a possible benefit to users. Our Wikitravel:External links policy clearly eliminates content that would be beneficial to users, but on a freely-editable site it's often preferable to have clear rules to help avoid a profusion of questionable contributions.
Summing up, I think that at some point we simply need to say "the search page is good enough", and the recent changes in the disambiguation policy were an (apparently failed) attempt to define that dividing line. Note that if search isn't turning up an article with the name "Lake James" in it (as you mentioned) then that's a technical issue with search, but not something I think we need to create a disambiguation page to work around. -- Ryan • (talk) • 15:39, 20 November 2010 (EST)
Well I tend to consider most geographic features to be likely search terms. Maybe all of the Lakes James are minor enough that no one would ever search for them; I don't know. LtPowers 15:56, 20 November 2010 (EST)
(Re-indenting) I think there is room for compromise on clarifying policy with respect to redirects and disambiguation pages for geographic features such as lakes, rivers and mountains. That said, I don't think there is a need to have a disambiguation page or redirect for each of Minnesota's 10,000 lakes (for example) so there is still a need for some sort of dividing line. I'm not sure where that line should be, so do your or anyone else have suggestions? -- Ryan • (talk) • 14:59, 21 November 2010 (EST)
I would lean toward any lake or river or forest or the like that's a significant attraction within a destination ought to redirect to that destination, or, if that's not possible due to ambiguity, be a disambiguation page. But I'm open to counter-arguments. LtPowers 20:37, 21 November 2010 (EST)
I think "significant attraction" is where clarification is needed. It could be argued that any lake that a person might want to go fishing or boating on is "significant", but that would account for about 99% of the lakes in the world, and I think having a page (or disambiguation page) for each is an unnecessary editorial burden and is confusing for users since thousands and thousands of pages will be needed to get full coverage, resulting in users facing a partially-implemented set of disambiguation pages for the foreseeable future. If there is some metric that can be used to clearly define "significant" for the vast majority of cases I'm all for it, otherwise I'd lean towards the current "if it's not article-worthy or something that a new user may think is article-worthy (ex. SeaWorld) then it probably doesn't need a disambiguation page" guideline, leaving the search engine to handle the rest. -- Ryan • (talk) • 17:23, 24 November 2010 (EST)

Link to every possibility?[edit]

Another question that has cropped up in multiple discussions is whether we should provide a link to every possible use of a term when disambiguating. That is, whether we should A) link to all places that use that name, B) link to all places which we expect to qualify for an article, or C) link to all places that actually have an article.

I think the practice has been A. That usually takes a lot of work to research when disambiguating, and I'm not sure it provides a whole lot of extra benefit for that time. Franklin is a good example—are all of those towns worthy of articles? Ultimately, though, when we are disambiguating official place names, this isn't going to be too much of a problem, so I'm not inclined to debate that point.

The problems arise when we are disambiguating unofficial article names, which have most likely been created by us. Namely, for regions and districts. In these cases, I think we should disambiguate, but that we most certainly should not link to every possibility (we should follow practice C). So if we have an article like "East Coast", we should create a disambiguation for only existing articles that actually bear that name, rather than every possible East Coast we could have, like "East Coast (Azerbaijan)," "East Coast (England)," "East Coast (East Franklin County (United States of America))," ad infinitum. Ditto district articles—see Hyde Park for a good example of how I think we should handle these types of disambiguations. --Peter Talk 15:36, 20 December 2009 (EST)

I don't think it works for all unofficial place names, though. It only works when the districts we create are destinations. That was the issue with Downtown. "East Coast" may not be extremely practical, but it is an actual designated name that people use for U.S. If we create an arbitrary "East Coast" that would not really be known to the natives, then I don't really support linking it on the disambig page. For example, do Brits use "East Coast" as a term for the region or just us? Do the Azerbaijanis use it for that region (in their language), or just us? 15:46, 20 December 2009 (EST)
I agree with both Peter and 74.98 here. LtPowers 17:07, 20 December 2009 (EST)
I think I agree, although I can't get the essence of what the final policy text would be. Sometimes the districts we create are less well known than other unofficial names. For example, in Sydney, we now have Sydney/City East, which is a Wikitravel made up district name. Oxford Street, however is an unofficial and common name. Disambiguating City East is absurd - like disambiguating downtown. Disambiguating Oxford Street seems sensible. --inas 20:09, 20 December 2009 (EST)
I guess the difference is that regions with directional names still may need to be disambiguated. We can avoid this by using "Southwestern Georgia," instead of "Southwest (Georgia)" (although, in that example we still wound up with a disambiguation for the republic and the U.S. state). Still, it's certainly conceivable that we could have two or more legitimate article titles of "Southwest." Southwest is the proper name for the region of the U.S., and if we have any other such regions, we'd need to disambiguate with something like Southwest (United States of America) as the title, and then a dedicated disambiguation page at Southwest, for the other articles someone may have meant to reach.
Looking at that particular disambiguation page, Southwest, I think we should be more restrictive in which articles we link—not just anything located in the southwest of any given region. To me, it seems that someone may mean to go to the Australian, Chinese, Scottish, or American page—the others are too contrived. To avoid this, I'd propose language like:
Disambiguate unofficial place names for region articles only for articles that essentially have the same title, e.g., disambiguate South West (Western Australia) and South West (China)—but not Southwestern Georgia.
Districts are different, since the title includes the city name—no one would enter West, meaning to go to Kyoto/West. Ditto "Downtown." Language could be:
Include city district articles in disambiguation lists only if the district (or well-known neighborhood within the district) has a well known proper placename. E.g., include Chicago/Hyde Park in a disambiguation page for Hyde Park, but do not include Jakarta/South in a disambiguation page for South.
Look good? --Peter Talk 21:19, 20 December 2009 (EST)
I don't know what "proper' means in "well known proper placename". Can we just say "well known placename" - meaning - in effect - well known outside of Wikitravel. Proper has overtones of "official", which I don't think we mean. Apart from that it looks good to me. --inas 22:29, 20 December 2009 (EST)
That looks good! ChubbyWimbus 01:16, 21 December 2009 (EST)
Well, this smells a lot like consensus (to my great pleasure), and it's held up for a month and a half, so I've introduced it to the article. --Peter Talk 17:07, 4 February 2010 (EST)

I noticed you put the word "well known proper", in the modification. I know it is a little trivial, but as per my point above I can see some dispute arising at some stage over what constitutes a "well known proper" place name. I don't understand what you mean by it, and how it a "well known proper" place name differs from a "well known" one. --inas 17:10, 4 February 2010 (EST)

Oops, fixed. --Peter Talk 17:25, 4 February 2010 (EST)

Non-place disambiguation[edit]

The help page seems to say that disambiguation would only apply when you have two or more places (destinations, cities, bodies of water, attractions, ...) -- things which have specific geographic places. It also seems to suggest that the "region" header levels would always apply. However, we also have disambiguation pages for topics such as Backpacking, Skiing, Creole languages, words like Czech.

When I was about to add a disambiguation page and wanted to be sure it was appropriate, I came here and was unsure, until I went out and found some examples of non-places. I would suggest one extra bullet after "bodies of water" for topics, and one sentence under "format" that indicates regions should be used except for non-geographic topics. Bill in STL 02:20, 16 August 2010 (EDT)