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Wikitravel talk:Country surgeon Expedition

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Revision as of 08:52, 21 September 2011 by Globe-trotter (talk | contribs) (National parks & World Heritage Sites)
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Country surgeon Expedition

Swept in from the pub:

Our "See sections" on country articles tend to be empty, despite being potentially the most useful section for giving people an idea of how to spend their time in the country. I think Iraq#See is a decent example of how useful this can be (and I wrote that with just a couple hours of research and nearly no prior knowledge). I've organized a list of countries that need see sections, or at least better developed see sections, which could serve as a checklist, in the same manner as we do at the Wikitravel:Regions map Expedition. We have been discussing this issue at Wikitravel:Collaboration of the month#Update Country See and Do Sections.

So in short, I'd like to start the Wikitravel:Country surgeon Expedition! --Peter Talk 18:15, 24 August 2011 (EDT)

Full support from me. Critical to the success of this venture will be clearly defined guidelines as to the presentation of the country See and Do sections. The Iraq see section is beautifully written, and as the attractions are all in similar theme (bar in the final short paragraph), it works as several blocks of prose with no headings. For countries with a larger variation of themes, I think sub sections make sense. I have started along that route at Indonesia for example (unfinished).--Burmesedays 00:24, 26 August 2011 (EDT)
Good project. Large countries like Indonesia will always require subsections in the See section as there is so much to see. --globe-trotter 15:51, 26 August 2011 (EDT)
I took a stab at re-writing New Zealand's See section. I wouldn't mind some feedback on length/content/etc. I find this kind of writing hard so I wanted to practice on a place I'm very familiar with before trying others. There's probably more scenery stuff to add, but I'm not sure if it will make it too long. -Shaund 01:33, 10 September 2011 (EDT)
Good idea, I did the Netherlands before and Suriname now. Perhaps I'll do a few others later. Why are some countries bold? Are they considered more important?
Also, did you talk about those guidelines for see and do yet? The Suriname article has a bunch of natural reserves under "do", but I included the main natural sights also in see. Frankly, I'm wondering if those descriptions under "do" aren't copies from elsewhere, considering the limited content of the rest of the Suriname article and the fact that highly similar text can be found on other websites. I guess there's no way to find out if they got if from us or if someone copied it here, right? Justme 07:12, 9 September 2011 (EDT)

See and Do

One of the challenges is dealing with the crossover between See and Do, and to a lesser extent Understand. For example, it is difficult not to repeat information from a Natural Attractions sub-section of See, in a Trekking sub-section of Do. The Culture sub-section of Understand likewise has crossover with Cultural Performances in Do. It's tricky. --burmesedays 09:35, 9 September 2011 (EDT)

Yes, when trying to write See in Europe, I quickly got to a kind of history section, so it's definitely not easy. The same goes with trekkings in Thailand, describing cultures in See, while those cultures would often be visited as part of a trekking (which would need to be in Do). I guess we just have to try and be creative for each country and get more experience in how to write these sections over time. --globe-trotter 11:25, 9 September 2011 (EDT)
National Parks are definitely a little tricky. I tend to think the major parks themselves should be mentioned in See, but any well known treks, rafting, etc. (activities) within should be in Do. --Peter Talk 03:29, 11 September 2011 (EDT)
Actually, when writing, I find that crossovers with the "cities" and "other destinations"-listings are just as much a problem. It depends heavily on the size of the country, the number and kind of attractions, of course. For at least some of them, like Latvia, the most prominent sights are towns and town centres that are mentioned in those listings, be it somewhat differently formulated and with different levels of detail. I don't really see any way around doubling info then, is there? I guess it's less of a problem to have the main attractions listed double. Justme 19:16, 14 September 2011 (EDT)
I don't think that overlap is a big problem. The OD list is mostly a list for navigation, while the See and Do sections are supposed to be prose, and can be a lot more detailed. --globe-trotter 19:25, 14 September 2011 (EDT)
I think it would be particularly tough to write both the OD list and See section in one sitting. But if the OD list is already written, you can just make a point not to look at it while writing something else more original ;)
Since we already have a good idea of what a See section should contain, the task may simply be to define what belongs in the Do section at the country level. Glancing at the USA article, there is music, sports, and festivals—all easy and useful things to discuss at the national level. The parks information as written in that section looks like it might have a better home in the See section (where the information is largely duplicated, and better written, already). --Peter Talk 22:30, 14 September 2011 (EDT)


I have started on a See section for Brazil, but it is not complete yet. Brazil is way bigger than the Netherlands, and I'm not sure how it would be possible to write a single succinct paragraph for each subsection, so I am doing bulleted points in each subsection for now. Let me know how you think it looks.

  • I added a Natural wonders section, which I definitely think should be one of the sub-sections. Possible other bulleted points (i.e. Peaks:Pão de Açucar, etc.)?
  • I know that beach listings usually go in the Do section, but I'm wondering, in the case of a country (where we are giving a more general overview), whether it might not be better to put them either in their own See section or under Natural wonders, leaving the Do section to give an overview of the activities themselves.
  • I think the "colonial architecture" blurb I recently added should be expanded to a Colonial heritage subsection to include some things not directly related to architecture, get into a little more detail about what things to look for and answer some common questions (e.g. "What is a pelourinho?).
  • The Oscar Niemeyer blurb I recently added can likely be expanded into a third section of Modern architecture or Modern cities, to talk about not only his works but give examples of other important structures/buildings as well.
  • Any other suggestions?

Looking forward to your comments. texugo 03:42, 10 September 2011 (EDT)

I don't think we have to keep it to a single paragraph per subsection. I noticed Burmesedays has two or three paragraphs in each subsection for Indonesia. I'm proposing to do it the same way in New Zealand. I think each of the bullet points (waterfalls, Pantanal, Atlantic Forest, etc.) could be turned into a paragraph and that would be fine.
That's a good question about the beaches and I was wondering the same thing. I'm leaning towards keeping them in Do, just for consistency with city articles (but very amenable to reasons to put them in See).
I'm struggling quite a bit with how much detail to include. My initial thought is details and answers to common questions would be good material for infoboxes or the Understand section, but I'm not sure. It's a good question. -Shaund 15:24, 10 September 2011 (EDT)
There is a discussion on beaches here. I think WT has got this one wrong and needs to make that distinction. That may be because the guideline was formulated by urban-leaning folks who are used to beaches being a playground rather than a natural attraction in their own right.--burmesedays 21:03, 10 September 2011 (EDT)
On bullet points, I think we should try to avoid them altogether. Rather, well organised, succinct prose should be the aim.--burmesedays 21:05, 10 September 2011 (EDT)
I'd avoid the bullets as well. Texugo's current work is very good prose on its own, and the bullets could be easily removed without needing to change the content. But the presence of bullet points generally attracts lazy one word or broken phrase contributions further down the line. --Peter Talk 03:38, 11 September 2011 (EDT)
I wouldn't want to dismiss bullet points all together. It's a matter of taste, I guess, but I for one like them in places where there's lots of prose. Something to decide per case, I think. Frankly, for huge countries I'm expecting extensive see-sections. I could even imagine a bullet point-highlights table on the side, just to give people a first glance at the best stuff. Justme 04:21, 11 September 2011 (EDT)

Featured region

One of the more successful things we did with the country region maps was to feature a certain region and all focus on finishing it, so that we could tackle the world piece by piece. I'd like to do that here too, once we've finished cutting our teeth on the countries we all personally know best (or are simply most interested to start writing). Maybe in a week or so, we could try featuring a specific region. Any suggestions for which one? --Peter Talk 03:44, 11 September 2011 (EDT)

I think maybe we should do the countries in bold first. And there are some countries I'd like to see bold (like South Africa and Malaysia). --globe-trotter 18:49, 11 September 2011 (EDT)
By all means, bold away! --Peter Talk 19:31, 11 September 2011 (EDT)
Agree with doing bolded countries first. -Shaund 23:04, 11 September 2011 (EDT)
Yep, me too.--burmesedays 00:00, 14 September 2011 (EDT)

National parks & World Heritage Sites

Another question I've been running into. Somehow, it seems to me that World Heritage Sites and National parks should generally all be mentioned. There are a few obviously most impressive examples but for the rest it seems.. presumptuous to choose between world heritage sites. However, for places like France or Italy the lists are long and we want prose, not bullet points. I've been struggling to find a balance, also for national parks. Could I name a few and then refer to a list of heritage sites or parks elsewhere? And if so, where then? Justme 04:31, 21 September 2011 (EDT)

I don't think all should be mentioned, just write some general prose about what you can see and give the best examples. Like write about jungle in Indonesia and name the most important World Heritage Sites as examples. The rest should go in the region articles. --globe-trotter 04:48, 21 September 2011 (EDT)