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Wikitravel talk:Star articles

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Starry districts of huge cities[edit]

So, shameless self-promoter that I am, I just rewarded myself for spending way too much time on a map by slapping a Star label on Singapore/Chinatown. But do I need to make a map for every district until I can list Singapore here and/or dub the main Singapore article a Star? Jpatokal 10:11, 1 Jan 2006 (EST)

A couple of things: first, fantastic job on the Chinatown map. I especially appreciate the map how-to and I'm going to try and do a couple of maps myself.
Second, it's probably counterproductive to think of a star rating as a "reward" to a particular contributor. It's just a way for us to mark the status of an article. (I know you're probably joking, but others might not.)
Third, most of the listings in S/C aren't in MoS format, so I've downgraded it from star to guide. Sorry to be a downer, but.
Finally, I think you've got a good point about the relationship between a huge city and its district articles. I can see a region article being star quality without each and every city and sub-region being stars, but I'm not sure that the same goes for a city and its districts. --Evan 14:20, 1 Jan 2006 (EST)
For what it's worth Paris was made DOM even though some of the district articles are still at outline stage. -- Mark 09:12, 18 Feb 2006 (EST)

Country/region articles as Stars[edit]

Expanding on Evan's point above... what exactly are the Star criteria for region or country articles? Obviously a map with individual attractions isn't very practical (unless we're talking about the Vatican...), but is a CIA factbook map sufficient or should we insist on a full-fledged vector map which points out the cities/regions listed in the article? Jpatokal 03:40, 3 Jan 2006 (EST)

I like your idea about the map-- can we generalize and say that a star article should have a least one map helpful to the specific area covered? So a city map would need to be helpful on a city level (ie with streets/attractions), a region map would need to show the location of cities mentioned, and a country map should show at least the major regions maybe along with the capital?
On a related note, I think it the guide rating that needs to have additional/different criteria for regions/ countries. One thing that makes a good guide at these levels is not having specific listings for hotels, restaurants, etc, but having good general information that refers to citie articles.
Districts I still don't know about. But I wouldn't want to see a star rating on a city page unless the majority of the districts are guides/stars as well... Majnoona 15:08, 25 Jan 2006 (EST)
Re: the maps, I also think they should include all listed destinations, the CIA factbook maps are better than nothing, but usually lack (and sometimes spell differently) many common tourist destinations... Cacahuate 06:00, 13 January 2007 (EST)

How Perfect is Perfect[edit]

Something that happens pretty often is someone has a fairly well-done article with maps, and upgrades it to star -- see Cleveland. When I asked for a star-review of Penticton, it appeared that the following kinds of things are requirements for the star rating:

  1. No deviations in Manual-of-style formatting.
  2. All listings must have phone numbers, addresses, hours, and usually some indication of price
  3. All sections must have content. The content should be good.
  4. Not mentioned in the review -- but is a map of the listings also a requirement?

Now I found it kinda fun to participate in perfectifying Penticton, but I'd like to make a couple of observations:

1. There is a huge quality gap between Guide and Star that is roughly comparable to the gap between vfd and guide. Did we mean for this to be? I'm kinda torn because I like seeing a "Quality Mark" that tells us all that an article is perfect (though always improvable). But on the other hand, it's a really difficult level to achieve -- Penticton just isn't very big so it was easier to accomplish.

2. One set of eyes is not enough for labelling a star. I think we should submit Star-candidates for review because I think it hurts a contributor's morale when we yank the Star away. And when people ask about "is this article ready?" they sometimes get very little response.

3. Our MoS changes occasionally. Some of our Stars appear to be grandfathered in and would not currently qualify for Star rating. In general, should they be downgraded to Guide? (I keep thinking I need to fix them instead of downgrading them since it's just formatting issues.) -- Colin 21:54, 12 May 2006 (EDT)

For #1, yeah, I think it's intentional and should stay that way. "Star" basically means 'throw away your Rough Planet, this is all you'll ever need". I like the review idea though. And the solution to #3 is the planned move to listings, where you just need to enter the data in a machine-readable format and the formatting is handled automagically. Jpatokal 22:26, 12 May 2006 (EDT)
My opinion is that we are not at a star level until a guide is comparable to a Lonely Planet, Rough Guide, Fodor's, Let's Go, or Frommer's -- in readability, reliability, and consistency. I don't just think that's achievable -- we have existence proof that it's achievable.
Is that setting the bar too high? I don't think so. I'm kind of glad that we've made some intermediate article statuses between stub and star.
You're right about 2, by the way. I'm going to add some more comments on Santa Fe and try to put some time into stellarizing it. Also, I think articles like Santa Fe are great candidates for collaboration of the week; if everybody does 1 or 2 listings, we can finish it really quickly.
For 3: yeah, I think so. Hopefully our MoS is going to get more and more stable and the target stops moving so much. But it doesn't really change that often. --Evan 22:36, 12 May 2006 (EDT)

1. I don't see the leap from Guide to Star as that huge, certainly not as great as between VFD and Guide. It's largely a matter of dotting the t's and crossing the i's, and dressing it up with visuals. (And since most articles already have photos by the time they reach Guide, the latter probably just means adding a map.) Tightening up and/or punching up the prose is a lot less burdensome than filling out the freakin' Sleep section on a city where you don't happen to be a call girl who already knows the local hotels. ;)

2. I agree about the need for multiple eyes. I only put a Star on Isle Royale because Ryan told me I should, and I still hestitated – waiting for someone to tell me I shouldn't – because I didn't really feel qualified to. Even with supposedly objective criteria, there's enough subjectivity to evaluating the prose, and cussed nitpickiness to evaluating MoS compliance, that a nomination/voting process or an "X-number of editors agree it's a Star" requirement would be helpful. (Since the number of Stars is still pretty small, it might not be a bad idea to run them all through a confirmation process.)

3. The MoS should be stable enough by now that any changes should have little bearing on whether a Star falls from grace. I'd be more worried about subsequent additions and changes to the article (and there will be, even on "perfect", "complete" ones) degrading its status. - Todd VerBeek 22:38, 12 May 2006 (EDT)

I've created a page for Wikitravel:Star nominations, and a Template:Starnomination to be put at the bottom of any article being nominated, inviting comments. - Todd VerBeek 09:44, 15 May 2006 (EDT)

add date an article became starred[edit]

Are there any objections to adding date here when each article became rated as Star? (only to Wikitravel:Star articles, not to a section on the Main Page). Presently there's really few Stars -- dates will show both how long ago articles started to receive Stars. Plus, dates will show dynamics of the community: when we're launching many new Stars (this can be some measure of our productivity, and when we're achieving no new Stars for a long time. Thoughts? --DenisYurkin 16:11, 25 November 2006 (EST)

Sounds good to me. --Evan 20:47, 10 December 2006 (EST)
What can be a next step towards achieving that? --DenisYurkin 04:29, 11 December 2006 (EST)

Maintaining star status[edit]

So this has been touched on already, but what to do about articles that are already stars but have new problems or new rules that create problems? Paris/4th_arrondissement is missing some critical info (see the "see", "do" and "buy" sections), for example... Flores (Guatemala) is nominated for star status, and has less problems than this article (considering its size), but will probably (rightfully) not be upgraded, since we're being more strict now... What about something like creating a template infobox that goes on top of the page in question that says "This Star article no longer matches the MoS, and will be downgraded to Guide status if the problems aren't fixed in XX # of days"? Then on the talk page for the article the person adding this template can detail what they think needs fixin'... Cacahuate 05:57, 13 January 2007 (EST)

Star Potential[edit]

swept in from the pub

I wonder if there would be value in creating a block on the Wikitravel:Project page, and then an article to elaborate, for "Stars in the Making" -- articles that definitely don't qualify for Star status yet, but could be pushed to Star with comparatively little effort. I see this as distinct from CotW in two regards. CotW seems to be getting applied to articles that are a long way from Star, and the improvements being brought about via CotW usually aren't all that significant, so that using it for Star aspirants isn't likely to meet the goal. Second, pushing to Star can be one of those chance-encounter things where someone peruses the list of candidates, notices one that he/she knows something about, and says, "hey, I can fix that!" By having a list of possibilities there, rather than the one single article that is CotW at any given time, the chances of such a random encounter are increased.

Thoughts? A good beta test would be Albuquerque, which User:PerryPlanet has done a fantastic job with recently, yet it's clearly not gonna be a Star until it has a map, at the minimum. -- Bill-on-the-Hill 13:03, 28 December 2006 (EST)

I think that's a fantastic idea, I would certainly pay attention to it... Cacahuate 09:55, 15 January 2007 (EST)
How about {{starpotential}}?
This article has Star potential. It’s well written with great and near-complete information, and now needs a few sets of eyes to make it perfectly match the Manual of style before we can nominate it for Star status. If you see how it can be improved please plunge forward or point it out on the talk page.
This also addresses Colin’s issue in a way, about there being a step between Guide and Star status. And addresses other concerns raised on the Wikitravel:Star nominations page about that page being reserved for articles we think are already stars and just need confirmation, not ones that need feedback and pushing, or that someone unilaterally declared a star. So by the time an article reaches that page it will likely just need a yes or no vote with simple critiqueing if anything.
As Bill mentioned above, CotW seems to be working in a different way on other issues, not to mention that it’s only for a week. I would see this more as an article status than just a collaboration, it would remain {{starpotential}} until it’s nominated for star status. A list of an articles problems or suggested fixes can be detailed on the talk page... Thoughts? Cacahuate 00:58, 18 January 2007 (EST)
It sounds like this proposal is basically creating another status level between guide and star. While there is currently a fairly big difference between "guide" and "star", we would need clear criteria if a new status is added. If we aren't talking about adding a new status then I'm not sure that the added bureaucracy of a "nomination for nomination for star" process is necessarily a good idea. -- Ryan 01:17, 18 January 2007 (EST)
I'm all for bureaucracy and red tape, but adding another template and status is just going to make things more complicated as we drive ever closer to the Indian model of efficiency. Anywho, what's the problem with the guide status template that says 'plunge forward and help make this guide a star'? -- Andrew H. (Sapphire) 01:38, 18 January 2007 (EST)
Well, the fact that there is a sea of guides, many of which are nowhere near Star status. I personally am thinking of a new status I guess... I'm almost thinking that this would replace (or make irrelevant) the slushpile... Right now, if someone thinks an article is a star or wants to know what else it needs (beyond what they can see themselves) they don't have a lot of options other than posting a message on the talk page (unlikely to gain much attention) or nominate it for Star status. An example would be Wikitravel:Star_nominations#South_Africa - the user nominated it because he's done all he sees to do, it's a great article, but there's things he hasn't thought of yet that need fixing. Tim pointed out that the subsections aren't guides, and I would guess now beyond that it's probably not going to garner much more attention, will sit there for a couple weeks and then be slushpiled. Whereas if he could say that it has star potential, a page that after a while would hopefully have an audience, then he would be inviting more feedback than "it's not there yet, but keep trying". Cacahuate 01:45, 18 January 2007 (EST)
I like the idea of drawing peoples attention to articles that are "nearly stars" in an attempt to push them that last little bit so that they become star status. However, we do already have 5 levels of article quality - do we really need another? In my understanding, the Guide level is when an article reaches a level of quality where it can be used almost completely on it's own for planning/doing a trip. The Star level is when you have enough info to not need anything else at all - all the info you need is in the guide. So in that sense, the Guide level is the "star potential" level that has been proposed. What I think happens too much is that people push usable articles up to "Guide" status too early, when they should still be at the "usable" level. SO I reckon rather than introducing another status level we try and make the original status levels far more clearly defined.
I created Template:failedstarnomination to draw attention to articles that were nominated but weren't quite at star status, in order to help people realise what needs to be done to get them to star. Maybe we should merge the starpotential and failedstarnomination? I'm aware that failedstarnomination isn't particularly visible - I didn't want to stick a banner at the bottom of the page saying this article isn't good enough, because I don't want viewers to read that and not take the article seriously - so maybe we should alter that and stick it at the bottom of the page where usual status templates go? -- Tim 08:29, 19 January 2007 (EST)
Yeah... what I like about the starpotential is that it's more positive and would feel like you're helping articles on their way up instead of saving sinking ships, otherwise we could just let a million articles get nominated then slushed, and just promote the slush pile.
I would certainly say (as you suggest) that it would go onto the failed nominees pages, but I also think it should be applied to guides that are nearing star, so they can be perfected before being nominated... template aside though, I think Bill's suggestion about putting whatever is decided upon on the project page, and having a page about it also, is what will potentially draw in the perfectionists... Cacahuate 08:58, 19 January 2007 (EST)
Just saw the first paragraph of your post Tim, I also agree with that, making guide status more strict would help the problem. While I do think that starpotential could be another status level, it also could just be a project for perfecting guides before they get nominated... Cacahuate 09:07, 19 January 2007 (EST)
Laying aside the banner issue (btw, I'd personally prefer starpotential to failedstarnomination and would suggest a merge), my original thought was that there is a need to make Star candidates more "visible." Putting a banner on the Star candidate only accomplishes that if you actually read the candidate article already; it doesn't particularly call one's attention to the fact that the article exists and is nearly of Star quality. For that, mention on the main page or project page seems like the preferred way to go. I don't think the process for that has to be too bureaucratic. (BTW, Andrew, that shot has a considerable resemblance to my own office -- and I am in fact part (American) Indian. :-) )-- Bill-on-the-Hill 10:08, 19 January 2007 (EST)

I moved Template:failedstarnomination to Template:Starpotential per the above discussion... now we just need to create Wikitravel:Star potential and see what that develops into - having sat on this a little longer, I'm less inclined to follow my previous thoughts about it being a new article status, and more inclined to continue to more accurately define the existing article statuses. I'd still love to see Bill (or someone) follow his idea and put a box on the project or main page. We do need some sort of project that draws attention to Guides that are nearing Stars so that people can solicit help before nominating an article. - Cacahuate 20:50, 22 February 2007 (EST)

This is a great proposal - I'd love to have a venue for peer review of articles I've worked on. Gorilla Jones 21:06, 22 February 2007 (EST)

Returning to this after some time away: The intent of "star potential" is rather different than "failed star nominations." The latter are a subset of the former, pages that have been through the nomination process and found wanting. However, there are a lot of articles out there that have not been through the nomination process yet because it is known that they would fail, yet could be pushed to Star with comparatively little effort. The Albuquerque straw man applies here: nobody is nominating it for Star, because it is missing one sine qua non (map), yet fill that in and it sure looks like a Star to me. I'll try redoing that template and we can see what happens. -- Bill-on-the-Hill 17:42, 12 August 2007 (EDT)

It would be useful to have a category of pages like this. If all that's missing is a map, I would usually be happy to make one. But I wasn't aware, for example, that Albequerque is otherwise ready. --Peter Talk 22:52, 12 August 2007 (EDT)
So I tried a go at Wikitravel:Star potential, please modify it as you wish. We still need a though. And why do we add the Star potential to the Talk Page? Isn't it better just at the bottom of the Main article? Globe-trotter 17:49, 17 December 2009 (EST)

distribute Star articles in a printed form?[edit]

Archived from the Pub:

Recurring to the early-years idea to distribute Wikitravel articles in a printed form (and thus findind new contributors, not only helping people to travel smarter): have anyone tried to distribute articles in Star status? They are definitely the best candidates to start... Maybe start talking to the hotels and cafes that we recommend in those articles? --DenisYurkin 19:00, 26 November 2006 (EST)

If we're not ready yet to start doing specific talks with specific hotels, what about helping those wikitravellers who may have good contacts with some hotels? Can we encourage them to talk about distribution, and have some place at Wikitravel where they can ask for help/we talk on policies etc etc? Or the plan is just dramatically different? ;-) --DenisYurkin 04:35, 11 February 2007 (EST)

BUMP :-) --DenisYurkin 18:01, 13 February 2007 (EST)

Personally I don't care either way if they ever get distributed in printed form... I think they're most handy as an online guide that you can print last minute and have the most up to date version. But even if the goal is to print them someday, I think we're still in the stage of needing to write them instead of what to do after they're written, for the most part - Cacahuate 11:26, 16 February 2007 (EST)
I would vote for ReleaseEarlyReleaseOften here--even if we start only with a few articles which are already Guides or Stars. Otherwise the feedback reward for the community remains in too distant future, and noone believe it will ever happen--while we keep referring that "we ultimately write a printed guide, not really so much an online guide". --DenisYurkin 12:12, 16 February 2007 (EST)


The star articles should be something that we want the world to see, and a great starting point for aspiring writers. But this page/list is ugly, and IMO not a great portal for newcomers. I'd like to see something more colorful and eye catching, and tried a first draft here [1].

I'd like to feature the star articles a little more prominently on the Main Page once we have moved to a more attractive, user-friendly format, so that we put our best foot forward to the world. --Peter Talk 22:22, 1 November 2009 (EST)

I see what you're going for, but I think there's also some value in having a compact easily-browsable list. Category:Star articles is a compact list, but it's not usefully organized by geography like this list is. Also, adding a picture for each Star article makes for a lot of whitespace, which means a lot of scrolling. It's a good start; I'll give some thought to how it can be improved. LtPowers 10:02, 2 November 2009 (EST)
I support the idea, and I think colorful and eye-catching is a good thing here. If this is a format for a separate page on Star articles, maybe use 2- or 3-column format, with pictures on outer sides (if 2-column format used)? And, it would be very inspiring to see the world/continent map with regions having Star articles highlighted--not sure how to make it easily comprehendable, though. --DenisYurkin 10:30, 2 November 2009 (EST)
I actually was hoping to put together something more stylish, more compact, in columns, and without all the whitespace ;) But since my first attempt was both clumsy and too time consuming, I decided to just get the content in place. --Peter Talk 17:29, 2 November 2009 (EST)

And Denis, how does this look:

Star articles throughout the world

--Peter Talk 23:44, 2 November 2009 (EST)

I think the map is a great start towards better visualization! --DenisYurkin 01:52, 3 November 2009 (EST)
It might be nice to highlight the countries in which the stars appear, but that might conflict with any future region-level star articles. LtPowers 11:51, 3 November 2009 (EST)
I think we could indicate region-level stars just by outlining them, or even giving them a different color. I really liked the idea, and have updated the map. If we're lucky, such a map could spark a little nationalist-motivated hard work ;) --Peter Talk 19:45, 3 November 2009 (EST)
That's even better, and nationalist motivation is a good side effect I seeked in the first place :-) --DenisYurkin 03:06, 4 November 2009 (EST)
Nice map, but in the article I don't think every destination should have it's own picture. It makes a way messy appearance. At least just one picture per city (so not district) and we should even leave some out of those, so it's not too crowded. But I like the idea. Globe-trotter 19:07, 7 December 2009 (EST)


OK, I've tried an additional two versions after Version 1 [2]. Version 2 [3] keeps all the information from version 1, but puts it into columns, as previously suggested. Version 3 [4] is more minimal, but still way more eye catching than what we have now—I've done away with text and tried turning it into a gallery a la Previous Destinations of the month.

I wanted to try using separate wiki section headers as in version 3, but with the text and pictures of version 2 displayed in columns within each section, but I couldn't quite figure out how to make that happen.

I don't like the idea of treating different star articles differently, such as giving pictures only to city articles, but not district articles. The rewarding feeling of seeing an article into which you have put a lot of work featured here is a good incentive to keep people doing the kind of rigorous, difficult, and sometimes tedious work of creating new stars. I wouldn't want us to undermine that in any way. --Peter Talk 23:05, 2 May 2010 (EDT)

Very good work and a huge step forward from the existing presentation. I really like Version 2 [5], and certainly agree with the point about not treating star articles differently according to hierarchical position. A minor point: in Chrome at least, the column widths in Version 2 are displaying as different (first column is wider). --Burmesedays 23:21, 2 May 2010 (EDT)
I kind of like the third one. It keeps the page compact while still catching your eye with the picture. Although I agree that the districts should be featured equally, do you think it would be better to group them under their city as a category? Obviously Chicago is the best example of this; There are so many districts from the same city, it just seems to make sense to group them together under the city rather than floating among the cities. ChubbyWimbus 01:12, 3 May 2010 (EDT)
I like #2 also, looking good.... and once the whole city is a star, I don't see why it would be necessary to continue to list the individual districts as well, especially as the # of star articles grows – cacahuate talk 02:23, 3 May 2010 (EDT)
I would make a strong case for featuring all star articles be they districts of a starred city or cities within a starred region or whatever. From experience, I can say that it is a huge slog bringing a city or district templated article up to star standard, regardless of the status of its parent article, and we should in no way be demotivating users to do that.
I do though like ChubbyWimbus' idea of grouping the articles.--Burmesedays 02:52, 3 May 2010 (EDT)
Peter, that's great! Personally I like #2 as well. One comment: maybe it's better to re-balance contintents across the columns to aviod "Continent (continued) on top of the 2nd column. Also, I think current captions for pictures add confusion. We'd better either remove them at all, or duplicate article name there. --DenisYurkin 03:00, 3 May 2010 (EDT)
I prefer Version 2, too. I think the attribution is important and on the other hand might motivate people from grey parts to flip the coin. jan 05:50, 3 May 2010 (EDT)
The problem I have with version 3 is that it omits the sparkling text that is supposed to be the keystone of a star article. Images are great, and absolutely needed, but it seems a shame not to include a bit of the text that is so important to gaining that star icon. =) As for columns within sections, it seems like there ought to be a way to do it. Wikipedia has templates to handle columnizing, but apparently they don't work in IE or Opera. Other than that, maybe tables are the only way to handle it. LtPowers 10:08, 3 May 2010 (EDT)

2 clearly seems the most popular, so I've made a bunch of the suggested revisions to it: Version 2 revised [6]. Image captions are gone (which I agree helps, and which mirrors our DotM features), thumbnail boxes are gone, Europe is subdivided by top-level regions, ToC is gone, and North America is now no longer split across columns. This makes the NA column long, leaving whitespace on the left, but this strikes me as less of a problem than it did before. Hopefully "The Rest of the World" will get its act together ;)

Re: grouping districts by huge cities. I already did this? Or are you suggesting I strip the huge cities out from the top-level regions? --Peter Talk 10:14, 3 May 2010 (EDT)

I am not so sure the captions were a mistake - I rather liked them. But no big deal. On groupings, it would make sense to me if Bali were followed by its two sub article stars — Nusa Lembongan and Ubud — rather than Singapore jumping into the middle. This is very good work. Well done done Peter.--Burmesedays 11:00, 3 May 2010 (EDT)
Looks great now! --DenisYurkin 15:22, 3 May 2010 (EDT)
Agreed — this is really nice work. Gorilla Jones 19:14, 3 May 2010 (EDT)
Along with grouping the Bali regions, I was thinking that once there are a few districts from the same city, we give the city its own subheading like we would do if we had enough cities in the same country. The United States has already been given regional subheadings, and since there are plenty of Chicago districts (as well as the main city page), I think it would make sense to give "Chicago" a subheading. I think this will inevitably have to happen when we get more stars anyway, but Chicago is already ready for it. ChubbyWimbus 20:58, 3 May 2010 (EDT)
Point taken, since Chicago articles comprise 40% of our stars right now! I've added that extra subheading. I'm sure there are more possible improvements to the way this is presented (maybe giving a subtle background color to each subheading?), but I've reached the end of my ugly and incompetent css/html attempts. I figure I'll give this a week to see if anyone objects to the new format, then make it live. --Peter Talk 23:32, 3 May 2010 (EDT)

OK, I've now made the change, and I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out! It would be nice to spruce up the star section of the Main Page too—maybe make it more eye catching with use of the star icon? I really would like the star articles to be a main point of entry for new users. --Peter Talk 21:48, 11 May 2010 (EDT)

Could we set up a section with a random selection of star articles? I wouldn't want to lose the "newest" list, though, so if it's too much to have both we should just stick with newest. LtPowers 22:53, 11 May 2010 (EDT)

Diving Sites[edit]

The diving site just added is in Africa, but isn't the article a travel topic? Should it go there? ChubbyWimbus 03:13, 4 December 2009 (EST)

Yes, dive sites are travel topics and should be listed under that headline (for the same reason Chicago skyline guide is there and not under "Midwest"). LtPowers 09:42, 4 December 2009 (EST)

WT stars map — colours[edit]

I find the blue dots used to identify location of the subjects of our star articles do not show up well on the map. I suggest a higher contrast colour. Maybe something really bright — after all stars traditionally are points of light in the surrounding darkness. Cheers, • • • Peter (Southwood) Talk 03:02, 7 October 2011 (EDT)