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|  455 km²
|  455 km²
|  48,700
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|  [[Detroit]]
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|  359 km2
|  27,300
|  [[Kyoto]]
|  [[Kyoto]]
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::::::::I would suggest you finish the article, adding every place that you think warrants it, and then it can be re-assessed.--[[User:Burmesedays|Burmesedays]] 06:33, 6 August 2011 (EDT)
::::::::I would suggest you finish the article, adding every place that you think warrants it, and then it can be re-assessed.--[[User:Burmesedays|Burmesedays]] 06:33, 6 August 2011 (EDT)
==Weak regions==
The vast, overwhelming majority of our region articles have failed to develop beyond bleak outlines containing links to cities and other regions. [[User:Gorilla Jones]] remarked to me a long while back that the weirdest thing about reading our guides is starting at a well developed country article, then moving down the hierarchy through several virtually empty garbage articles sprinkled with the occasional spam listing or vandal poo, and arriving at a brilliant huge city guide of a higher quality than any printed guide.
Why do our region guides suck? What do we need to improve our site with regards to them? Anyone like to join a brainstorm?  --[[User:Peterfitzgerald|Peter]] <small><sup>[[User_talk:Peterfitzgerald|Talk]]</sup></small> 22:46, 25 April 2012 (EDT)
:Because no one cares about region articles as a destination? There is a lot to write about countries. When a state or province is a well-known and well-defined destination, you can write quite a bit about them. But the overwhelming majority of regions are there only because they serve as placeholders to put cities in. For example, [[Western India]] or [[North Goa]] are hardly well-defined destinations. Very difficult to write about them. In many cases, they do nothing except make navigation even more confusing. The [[Goa]] hierarchy, for example, is a mess. Also, sorting it out requires someone who actually knows the place intimately and is willing to spend quality time on administrative stuff rather than about travel experiences, which is the kind of combination that is hard to find.  [[User:Ravikiran r|Ravikiran]] 01:10, 26 April 2012 (EDT)
::This is a bit of a brain spew resulting from a long try at formulating a coherent thought.  Given that caveat, I think all good destination articles (region or city) on the site should answer two questions:
::# Where should a traveler spend her time?
::# What are the logistics for visiting a destination?
::For the most part, the answers to those two questions are currently found in city and park articles, and the headings address them - "Get in" and "Get around" are for logistics, while "See", "Do", "Buy", "Eat", "Drink", "Sleep" and "Get out" typically answer the "where to spend your time" question.  At the city level this isn't a very subjective exercise - the Dr. Seuss museum goes in the "Do" section of the article in which it is located, end of story.
::The vision for the perfect region article is that it will provide an overview of regional highlights, but "regional highlight" is an ambiguous and subjective term, so regions end up empty or filled with vague generalities that are usually of little utility to a traveler.  Given that, it seems that the goal should be to provide a useful navigation hierarchy that simultaneously answers the two questions above ''without requiring a lot of subjectivity''.
::One option might be to re-think some region articles as primarily navigational aids.  In order to address the two questions above, these region articles would focus on the child regions or cities as their main content and provide much more detail than is currently done in the descriptions.  A minimal template might look something like:
== Understand ==
<!-- history, culture, and other useful background info -->
== Regions ==
<!-- map and the current Regionlist template go here -->
=== Sub-Region 1 ===
<!-- 1-4 paragraphs about this sub-region.  why go here? -->
=== Sub-Region 2 ===
<!-- 1-4 paragraphs about this sub-region.  why go here? -->
<!-- continue with remaining sub-regions -->
== Get in ==
<!-- what are the entry points to this region -->
== Get around ==
<!-- what are the main transportation routes for this region? -->
== Nearby ==
<!-- because "Get out" is a terrible heading -->
::If there is a specific reason to add additional headings then that could be done (for example, if there is a special regional cuisine then an "Eat" section might make sense), but this proposal would reflect the fact that most regions on Wikitravel are navigational aids, and would at the same time provide additional information to help users decide what to visit in those regions.
::Final caveat: this is just a brain dump, for discussion only.  I wouldn't propose changing the definition of a core concept on Wikitravel based on an hour's musing, but hopefully it will provide useful fodder for brainstorming purposes. -- [[User:Wrh2|Ryan]] &bull; ([[User talk:Wrh2|talk]]) &bull; 01:15, 26 April 2012 (EDT)
::: I think good region articles are hard to write. As Ravikiran and Ryan mentioned, it's fairly easy to add content to a City article (and Country articles). A region article will aggregate and summarize the highlights of the guides below it in the hierarchy. This requires a good understanding of the region, making subjective decisions and actually writing. That said, I think good region guides are important for travellers who are looking to move around and see more than just the main cities.
::: Not sure how to deal with this though (it's too late for me to think right now). Probably something similar to what Ryan mentioned, although I'd want to see the main cities/towns covered and why someone would want to travel there. -[[User:Shaund|Shaund]] 01:33, 26 April 2012 (EDT)
::: I agree with Ryan's idea. In addition, in cases where some regions serve only to provide a hierarchy, they should be rolled up to the main article. Coming back to [[North Goa]], given that there is nothing worth writing in the understand, get in or get out sections that isn't already covered in the [[Goa]] article or in the individual beach articles, we shouldn't have a North Goa article. We should just sub-section the "Regions" section of Goa and list everything right there.
::: In addition, I propose that this distinction be entirely fluid. Let's say that you have a state with one well-defined region that has a lot to write about, and a vast and remote hinterland we don't anticipate writing much about. It should be entirely acceptable to create an article only for that region and have no article for the hinterland. &mdash; [[User:Ravikiran r|Ravikiran]] 02:09, 26 April 2012 (EDT)
::::Disorganized thoughts:
::::I think region articles are incredibly useful, as the starting point for travel planning, unfortunately! I've also noticed non-WT-savvy friends immediately gravitating towards our regions for answers, not finding them, and then figuring there must be nothing underneath.
::::The most important purpose a region article should ideally serve, I think, is to identify priorities in the region—'''how to choose between the linked destinations''' for your next clicks. [[Capital Region (Maryland)]] is a good example of what I think would be ''ideal'' for a fairly bland region, with a quick overview of where you will find what.
::::Right now, we do that by breaking down information into our standard see/eat/buy/drink/sleep sections, but maybe we could reduce the lot of them to a section called "Highlights," or something like that? Or just generally relax the template, since no one seems interested in filling the sections out?
::::I find that these articles are in a way exceptionally easy to write, since the various sections do not require much work—just mention a few of the towns with the most accommodations options, and you have a sleep section. The difficulty, though, is that most of our army of anon contributors are adding small bits of specific knowledge, while to write region article sections, you need to be familiar with all or at least the most important of the region's sub-destinations. Our collaborative model is less successful here, since each region will need someone with a certain amount of expertise. I can't think of any solution to that problem other than to grow our base of regular users.
::::The other big obstacle to improving our region guides is just that we have so few good examples. New contributors will go through our site for days before running into a good, basic region article, most of which are either in [[Maryland]] or [[Bali]]...  Thus, directionless contributors toss in little bits and pieces of information into the region outlines, which don't ever add up to decent prose, and generally just make the article more muddled.
::::Whatever we do decide here, I'd like to see us trying a range of ideas, and looking for more flexibility, rather than a one-size-fits-all solution, at least to start. Allowing a little creativity to be put to work might eventually point to the solution.  --[[User:Peterfitzgerald|Peter]] <small><sup>[[User_talk:Peterfitzgerald|Talk]]</sup></small> 03:48, 26 April 2012 (EDT)
:::::I have long felt that the primary problem is finding someone with knowledge of the entire region to write the darn articles.  I've been trying to work on [[Finger Lakes]] for quite some time, but I've never been to most of the destinations in the region.  It's hard for me to provide an overview of the highlights without that personal experience.  But someone else intimately familiar with, say, Ithaca, might never have been to Letchworth State Park.
:::::I would be curious to know what you think of the Finger Lakes article as it stands.  The See, Do, Eat, and Sleep sections still need work, and I'm in the process of subdividing it into four subregions (as you can see in the Cities section), but is the scope and tone appropriate as it stands?  [[User:LtPowers|LtPowers]] 14:21, 26 April 2012 (EDT)
:::::: I think the Finger Lakes article illustrates the problem, to some extent.  The "Eat" and "Sleep" sections contain single listings that should probably be removed and replaced with... what?  The Drink section is OK, but it's a wine producing region - most regions probably won't have much to say there.  The best part of this article is probably the "Cities" section, and I say that mostly because there are descriptions of each pseudo-sub-region in that section that provide some way to differentiate between them.  However, there is then little or no information for each city to aid a reader in determining whether or not that is a city they should investigate.
:::::: Regarding the comment "It's hard for me to provide an overview of the highlights without that personal experience", I think that's the core of the problem.  An individual can write about their favorite restaurant or museum, but the number of people with broad enough knowledge to cite the highlights within a region is minimal and requires a massive amount of subjectivity.  While ideally a region with an overview of highlights should be something to strive for, the reality is that it will probably be the exception rather than the rule for the near future.
:::::: Final note: the above is not in any way meant to criticize the work [[User:LtPowers|LtPowers]] did on the article, but more as an example of how for even an article that has received significant attention we may not do a good job at either "region as overview" or "region as navigational aid".  As noted earlier, my opinion is that failure is probably due to the current region concept/template, and not due to a lack of contributors or a lack of effort from those contributors. -- [[User:Wrh2|Ryan]] &bull; ([[User talk:Wrh2|talk]]) &bull; 18:15, 27 April 2012 (EDT)

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