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It shows that, as I commented above, ease of use ''within Wikitravel'' is a non-issue, and [[Wikitravel:Why_Wikitravel_doesn't_use_official_names]] doesn't make a good case for using "Bombay". -- [[User:Paul Richter|Paul Richter]] 07:34, 18 May 2004 (EDT)
It shows that, as I commented above, ease of use ''within Wikitravel'' is a non-issue, and [[Wikitravel:Why_Wikitravel_doesn't_use_official_names]] doesn't make a good case for using "Bombay". -- [[User:Paul Richter|Paul Richter]] 07:34, 18 May 2004 (EDT)
:Exactly right. That's what I've been trying to argue with all the people who seem to think that if an article is moved to Mumbai, they will be shot dead if they type in Bombay! Redirects work greatly, and I think the whole transition to Mumbai won't be a significant one... some people might not even realise. People ''might'' now find Mumbai if it's listed on the main page and they are really looking for Bombay. But there's slim chances for that and then again, neither can you do that on Lonely Planet or the other guides. There is, however, a point where it could be significant. Mostly, however, I think this issue is so heated due to theoretical correctness rather than actual practical problems. Cheers and I hope this gets solved~ (and then we can get back to renaming articles on the artist Prince ;-) [[User:Ronline|Ronline]] 08:57, 18 May 2004 (EDT)

Revision as of 13:01, 18 May 2004

Bombay should not be renamed to "Mumbai". Mumbai is city's official name; Bombay is its most common English-language name, which is in accord with the article naming conventions. --Evan 08:05, 12 Feb 2004 (EST)

Maybe the article naming conventions are flawed? F16 07:40, 8 Mar 2004 (EST)
Uh, well we spent a good long time working them out and they've held up, with some revision, pretty well. If you would like to join the conversation take a look at Wikitravel:Article naming conventions, oh and Wikitravel:The traveller comes first. Majnoona 11:04, 8 Mar 2004 (EST)

Mumbai, Mumbai, Mumbai

I think that in our quest to become suited to travellers and get away from the political correctness of, say, Wikipedia, Wikitravel has become, in many ways, incorrect. I understand we need to cater for travellers, but that doesn't mean giving incorrect or obsolete information.

Now, onto the actual topic - Mumbai. At, we can read that the name was changed nine years ago, in 1995, officially from Bombay to Mumbai. Mumbai is an official English-language term that is now used by the travel industry - airlines, travel guides, etc.

It is incorrect and insulting to India, in my opinion, to not only name this article Bombay and make it redirect from Mumbai, but stubbornly continue calling this city Bombay. I think it should be redirected to Mumbai, which should be the main article, and Bombay should redirect to it.

In conclusion, I stress again that: YES, we need to cater for travellers, but NO, we can't be incorrect. It would be exactly like calling Istanbul, Constantinople or like making the UK article redirect to "England". Bombay is not particularly more common than Mumbai... people are starting to use Mumbai nowadays and it is the only up-to-date, correct name. Ronline 04:20, 6 May 2004 (EDT)

Reversion of Change from Bombay to Mumbai

I reverted an anonymous user's change of name of this page because:

  1. The article uses Bombay throughout as the city's name.
  2. Discussion on which name to use has not reached a conclusion.

Until and unless the article is rewritten to refer consistently to Mumbai as the city's name I think it should remain as Bombay, if it is kept in its current form. While I agree that Indians refer to the city as Mumbai, the name change has not caught up with the rest of the world and Bombay is still considered to be a city in India by many. By all means feel free to transfer the information from Bombay to Mumbai, but if you do, rewrite the article so that it is about Mumbai, the city formerly known as Bombay. Do not just Redirect the content without any other editorial changes. -- Huttite 23:45, 7 May 2004 (EDT)

Uh, when I was in India all the locals called it "Bombay" -- maybe we should check around before deciding what offends other people... 14:54, 8 May 2004 (EDT)
I think it is offensive to keep the article at Bombay. This explained in my comment above (Mumbai, Mumbai, Mumbai). I will move this article to Mumbai soon, with the editorial changes that refer to Mumbai instead of Bombay. Ronline 21:31, 8 May 2004 (EDT)
Ronline, the Wikitravel:Article naming conventions say that we use the most common English name. If you do not agree with this, then please explain why on that talk page.
Internationally speaking, I think Bombay is still used more frequently than Mumbai. If this has changed, please tell us where we can find that information. Then, of course, the name should be changed.
Also, why do you think Bombay is insulting? As far as I can gather from your explanation above, it is only in your opinion. I am not saying that your opinion does not count, but it is not the only one that counts. If I, and only I would call the shots here, I would also use official names for a number of reasons. But I am not calling the shots here, and right now I don't have the time and energy to propose other conventions and to defend them. So, unless we agree on a change of the article naming conventions we should follow what we have right now. Akubra 06:21, 9 May 2004 (EDT)
OK, maybe calling Bombay "insulting" is taking it a bit too far, but what I mean to say is that it is totally arrogant of us to ignore official name changes such as that from Bombay to Mumbai. The fact is that Mumbai is now used in the travel industry, so it is very common (in fact, I remember in 1999 when I was flying from Sydney to Singapore and the flight terminated at Mumbai - and at that time I didn't know where Mumbai was, but nevertheless, it was used by the airline). Why it is arrogant is, as I mentioned above, that fact that we fail to recognise official name changes. People might colloquially call the city Bombay (such as Hey! How was your trip to Bombay?), but formally, and that includes travel guides, which are formal pieces of text, call it Mumbai. Lonely Planet calls it Mumbai. Rough Guides Travel calls it Mumbai. Why shouldn't Wikitravel. Therefore, we can see three problems with Bombay.
  1. it makes Wikitravel appear old and outdated
  2. it is arrogant, if not insulting, to India's decision on name change
  3. it is non-standard, incorrect, obsolete and not used by the majority of established travel guides.
If people still don't agree on the naming, then maybe we can have a vote (sort of like a mini-referendum) on whether we should use names like Bombay, Madras and Calcutta, or whether we should use Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata. Because, as Akubra said above, he would agree with the name change. I would too. Maybe others would as well. The fact is, opinions aside, the article should be changed, but a vote would probably make that decision more valid. Ronline 09:39, 9 May 2004 (EDT)
Mumbai beats Bombay on Google by 4,780,000 to 4,360,000. It is the most commonly used English name for the place. It should be changed. And I think that the article naming conventions should change to the official name in any case. A vote, perhaps? Professorbiscuit 11:08, 9 May 2004 (EDT)
Yes, I think we should have a vote, but even with a negative result in the vote, we need to remember that, yes, Mumbai is the most popular name (as was proven not only by the Google hits but also by other criteria). How could we organise such a vote? Ronline 03:00, 10 May 2004 (EDT)
I reckon that any referendum on the Wikitravel:Article naming conventions should take place on Wikitravel talk:Article naming conventions. Looks like said page could also use an archive, so if someone who cares deeply about this issue would like to clean the page up and prepare it for recording a vote somehow, I guess that would be the way to go. -- Mark 03:54, 10 May 2004 (EDT)
I still don't get how you can decide what is insulting-- it's downright condescending to say how someone from India might or should feel. Now if we change this to Mumbai it will be 1)Through consesus and 2)Because it is the most helpful to travellers and _not_ because it is the PC option or the personal opinion of anyone here. In India the name change has long been held as something of a joke, something snuck in by one politician (part of the Hindu nationalist Shiv Sena party in coalition with the BJP) trying to make a point. Whether it will turn out to be the commonly used name is yet to be seen, but we're not the ones who get to decide based on what we think it "should" be. So can we continue this without mention of "insults" ?Majnoona 15:35, 13 May 2004 (EDT)

Interesting history:, Majnoona 15:39, 13 May 2004 (EDT)

I keep on finding strange new comments on Wikitravel since you and Evan came and accessed the site most recently. Like this one. We can continue without mentioning insults but only if you stop using "traveller comes first" as a handy shield from any real, constructive opposition. Wikitravel is a travel guide. Lonely Planet is a travel guide. Rough Guides is a travel guide. The rest use Mumbai. Wikitravel uses Bombay. Period. Notice any inconsistency there? Ronline 02:58, 14 May 2004 (EDT)

I think that the change of Bombay to Mumbai is merely a polical move from the BJP as explained above. And I know what I am talking about. I lived there for 4 years. Now the fact that Mumbai comes ahead of Bombay in Google is something new. Yann 15:01, 14 May 2004 (EDT)

Thank you Yann. This issue of "what the Indians call it" is not as straight-forward as some outsiders think. I've noticed that none of the Indian wikitravel contributors have spoken up here (probably because it's kinda a silly argument), but it's good to hear a local perspective. It's not as if India took a vote for the name change (though they may have been voting _against_ this sort of thing in last weeks election ;-).

I'd also like to say that the "Traveller comes first" is one of the most basic goals of wikitravel. It's not "Rough Guides comes first" or "Governments come first" and I don't see that changing any more than we're going to stop being a wiki... Majnoona 23:56, 17 May 2004 (EDT)

Referendum Open

Due to recent discussion on this topic, a referendum is now open on Wikitravel talk:Article naming conventions. Please vote. Ronline 04:56, 10 May 2004 (EDT)

Don't bother. We don't have referenda on Wikitravel; we come to decisions. --Evan 15:14, 13 May 2004 (EDT)
If you read my comment on Wikitravel talk:Article naming conventions you'll see that I am totally bewildered by your response. I mean, voting is a necessary part of wikis in general. Through voting we come to decisions. Yes, consensus is also good, but it can sometimes result in a freeze - it can't be decided what's good or bad. Therefore, voting is the best way. The reason why we introduced voting is that, for half a year or more, we haven't solved this issue. Evan, the majority of people are against the use of Bombay and yet it is still being used. Ronline 02:24, 14 May 2004 (EDT)
How can the "majority of people" be 6 out of the 500 plus registered users, plus all the other un-registerd contributors? Voting isn't going to work because we have a constantly changing population. If you and the five other voters stop working on wikitravel, or 10 others show up to contribute to an article, how do we explain why the article has that name? We can either stand by numbers-- ie Google news counts (which worked for the "Burma" issue just fine) or say "well these six guys that were here for a while voted." Do we take a new vote every week? Btw, I think the article should be Mumbai, but for the right reasons... Majnoona 23:53, 17 May 2004 (EDT)

News survey

So, I started doing some checks on Mumbai vs. Bombay on Here's what I came up with:

Overall, Mumbai 7950, Bombay 3840.
USA, Mumbai 459, Bombay 1550.
Canada, Mumbai 23, Bombay 57.
UK, Mumbai 129, Bombay 217.
Australia, Mumbai 29, Bombay 57.
New Zealand, Mumbai 3, Bombay 18.
India, Mumbai 7020, Bombay 1630.

It looks like, outside of India, Bombay is still much more used than Mumbai, by about roughly 2 or 3 to 1. Within India, it's overwhelmingly used, although that would probably be expected. Maj mentions that Indian newspapers are required to use the official names.

It's probably also worth noting that "Bombay" shows up in a few unrelated English terms, such as Bombay Sapphire gin and the movie Salaam, Bombay!. This probably skews the results towards Bombay somewhat.

I don't know what this all means means, but it's interesting, at least. --Evan 15:32, 15 May 2004 (EDT)

This morning I listened to a long standing Indian radio correspondent reporting from India on that country's recent elections. He discussed what was happening on the Bombay stockmarket while the government was being formed. If an Indian reporter calls the city Bombay, what am I to conclude? -- Huttite 06:05, 18 May 2004 (EDT)

What's next?

OK, so it seems this whole Bombay-Mumbai problem has dragged on for so long, with so many responses in so many different pages: here, on talk pages, on Wikitravel talk:Article naming conventions, etc. I think we should now collect all of our arguments and really decide whether we should use Bombay or Mumbai. As a start, here are my arguments why Mumbai is a better bet:

  • The majority of Wikitravellers agree with it. - I know this very fact has provoked sort of a scandal, but it's true. In the official-names poll, there were 6 YES votes and 2 NO votes. Although this fact alone doesn't provoke the change, it should at least signify that most people are for changing it to Mumbai.
  • Mumbai is the official name. - This is perhaps the strongest point. Mumbai is the official, short, English-language name. What I mean is this - I am in no way saying we should name the article "City of Mumbai" or whatever the official long name is. However, if the English-language media in India use Mumbai, we should too. It's the official name, it's what should be used in an official, public travel guide.
  • Most other guides use it. - Again, this is an important point. Lonely Planet use Mumbai. Rough Guides use Mumbai. Yahoo Travel uses Mumbai. Frommers uses Mumbai, and so on. Therefore, we should too. If all these well-established guides can afford to use this name, so should we.
  • We have to be politically-correct and instill this in our travellers. - It's not OK to say that just because everyone uses something, it's the right way to go about. Just because Bombay might be more popular in the USA or Canada, or even in the UK, doesn't mean it's correct. For street-talk it might do, but in a respectable travel guide, it will not do. We have to be politically-correct as well. Yes, we need to serve our travellers well, but no at the expense of being incorrect. Mumbai is the correct term, we need to teach travellers this as well.

There's more of course, but these are the main pro-Mumbai points I have. BTW, there is a good set of pro-Bombay lists at Wikitravel:Why Wikitravel doesn't use official names - Ronline 06:07, 17 May 2004 (EDT)

Here's my responses.
1. The vast majority of registered Wikitravel users never participated in that poll. In addition, our article naming conventions don't talk about majorities, votes, polls, or anything of the like. We do what's appropriate for our goals and what complies with our style guidelines (which derive from our goals), not what a handful of registered users say in an straw poll.
2. Our article naming conventions are for the most common English name, not the official name. Bombay seems to still be the most common English name. Evidence to the contrary is welcome.
3. This is a good data point for making Mumbai the most common English name.
4. I 100% absolutely disagree that we have to be politically correct, and I 200% disagree that we have to indoctrinate travellers into any particular political belief system. According to whose politics? According to what criteria? If we want to be non-sexist, we'd change the name of United Kingdom to United Realm. If we wanted to be sensitive to Latino issues in the United States of America, we'd move Mexico, Texas, California and most of the Southwest into a guide to Aztlan. If we want to propound National Socialism, we would move most of central Europe into German lebensraum.
But we try to keep a neutral point of view and not espouse any particular political agenda. I realize the above are extreme examples, but I think that even though most Wikitravellers would feel that cultural sensitivity is a worthwhile cause, I think adjusting our guide away from being useful, efficient, and navigable to something "politically correct" is a very dangerous road to take.
In whole, I think we're getting some good evidence that Mumbai may be hitting a tipping point for most common English name, but I'd rather not worry about these other factors. --Evan 00:10, 18 May 2004 (EDT)
By mentioning of Nazis you have now lost this debate by default... but nevertheless, there's a significant difference between United Realm/Aztlan/lebensraum and Mumbai: the former exist only the imagination of zealots, while the latter is the city's official name. This has nothing to do with political correctness! Jpatokal 00:48, 18 May 2004 (EDT)
This is not a debate -- it's a discussion. We're trying to figure something out, and not trying to win some points. I agree, though, that political correctness should have nothing to do with how we name articles. --Evan 01:31, 18 May 2004 (EDT)
Why not hold the page at Mumbai, have an automatic redirect from Bombay, and start the Mumbai page with "Mumbai (formerly Bombay) is a city in..."? Then people can type in "Bombay" in the little search box, but are then smoothly made aware that there are two common names. They find the information (what Wikitravel is for), and they learn - harmlessly - that they may offend Indians if they use the "wrong" name (a useful thing to know).
What we must also remember is that any maps that the traveller buys/refers to in-country, along with train timetables, bus routes etc, will have the local name on them, and if our guide does not refer to this name then they may have some trouble getting to the place - in which case this guide becomes useless anyway.
Some points to ponder, anyway. -- Sjc196 03:23, 18 May 2004 (EDT)
Currently Mumbai and Bombay direct to a single page, which lists both names. As far as I can tell, all articles with disputed names have redirects from all names in use, and those names are mentioned in the introduction. And of course, this absolutely ought to be done.
The thing that puzzles me is, with this structure in place, how anyone can say that either name makes things easier, or "puts the traveler first". Redirects make everything as easy as they need to be. -- Paul Richter 04:08, 18 May 2004 (EDT)
I agree completely with Sjc196 and Paul Richter; put the page under Mumbai, mention Bombay in the first sentence, and redirect from Bombay. Problem solved. Evan, what exactly is wrong with this?
And as far as popularity goes, "mumbai city" gets 2.2m hits while "bombay city" only manages 1.5m on Google... Jpatokal 04:53, 18 May 2004 (EDT)
Because Evan would rather put the page under Bombay, mention Mumbai in the first sentence, and redirect from Mumbai. It seems you're both missing the point. All of that redirecting and mentioning in the introduction has always been there! With redirects, ease of use within Wikitravel a non-issue.
On the other hand, ease of use while traveling is the real issue, as Sjc196 points out. If you're stuck in a small Indian town, scrambling to catch the last bus back to the city, frantically scanning the posted destinations, what do you want to look for, Calcutta or Kolkata? That is the real ease-of-use issue, and that's what should determine naming. All this arguing so far has been either about politics or misguided goals of ease-of-use within Wikepedia.


OK, I think I solved the problem once and for all :) -- Paul Richter 03:51, 18 May 2004 (EDT)

I don't think this really solves the problem ;-) How about moving it to Mumbai? Or, if now, at least leave it at Bombay. See reasons for Mumbai change at Wikitravel talk:Article naming conventions. Ronline 05:52, 18 May 2004 (EDT)
Not solved. I reverted the move to The City formerly known as Bombay because it does not solve the problem, only shifts it to something worse. Calling it The City formerly known as Bombay effectively implies the city does not have a name, perhaps even more insulting than using the historical name. That naming also violates several Manual of style guidelines. (e.g. Use of The, capitalisation of City, shortest practical name, etc.) The article is written as if the city is called Bombay and it does not make sense to give the page any other name. If the page is to be moved to Mumbai then the article needs to be rewritten - it cannot simply be moved. -- Huttite 06:20, 18 May 2004 (EDT)

I moved it only as a joke [1], and fully expected it to be moved right back. Seriously, however, note that even if it's absurdly renamed, Redirects make everything as easy as they need to be. You could still search for, or link from, Bombay or Mumbai and go right to the article about the city.

It shows that, as I commented above, ease of use within Wikitravel is a non-issue, and Wikitravel:Why_Wikitravel_doesn't_use_official_names doesn't make a good case for using "Bombay". -- Paul Richter 07:34, 18 May 2004 (EDT)

Exactly right. That's what I've been trying to argue with all the people who seem to think that if an article is moved to Mumbai, they will be shot dead if they type in Bombay! Redirects work greatly, and I think the whole transition to Mumbai won't be a significant one... some people might not even realise. People might now find Mumbai if it's listed on the main page and they are really looking for Bombay. But there's slim chances for that and then again, neither can you do that on Lonely Planet or the other guides. There is, however, a point where it could be significant. Mostly, however, I think this issue is so heated due to theoretical correctness rather than actual practical problems. Cheers and I hope this gets solved~ (and then we can get back to renaming articles on the artist Prince ;-) Ronline 08:57, 18 May 2004 (EDT)