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Difference between revisions of "Wikitravel talk:Naming conventions"

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(Articles that probably need to be renamed and/or disambiguated: Jackson County >> Jackson County (Michigan))
(Articles that probably need to be renamed and/or disambiguated: Belfast (Mpumalanga) >> Belfast (South Africa))
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::I disagree with creating pages called '''Place (disambiguation)'''. They serve no purpose unless the '''Place''' article is used by a page that should be disambiguated anyway. The purpose of a disambiguation page is that you find it if the article you wanted is disambiguated and you do not know that. How do you find '''Place (disambiguation)''' if you do not know that it is in the first place? Also I think that article names should be kept to their smallest common name, especially if that name is not used. Go back and read the article naming conventions. Remember: This is NOT Wikipedia. There are different rules here. -- [[User:Huttite|Huttite]] 23:29, 27 July 2006 (EDT)
::I disagree with creating pages called '''Place (disambiguation)'''. They serve no purpose unless the '''Place''' article is used by a page that should be disambiguated anyway. The purpose of a disambiguation page is that you find it if the article you wanted is disambiguated and you do not know that. How do you find '''Place (disambiguation)''' if you do not know that it is in the first place? Also I think that article names should be kept to their smallest common name, especially if that name is not used. Go back and read the article naming conventions. Remember: This is NOT Wikipedia. There are different rules here. -- [[User:Huttite|Huttite]] 23:29, 27 July 2006 (EDT)
* [[Belfast (Mpumalanga)]] - move to [[Belfast (South Africa)]] - ?
* [[Kurdzhali (city)]] - move to [[Kardzhali]] - ? (per talk page)
* [[Kurdzhali (city)]] - move to [[Kardzhali]] - ? (per talk page)
* [[Kurdzhali (province)]] - move to [[Kardzhali (province)]] - ?
* [[Kurdzhali (province)]] - move to [[Kardzhali (province)]] - ?
* [[São Paulo]] - move (back) to [[Sao Paulo]] - ? ([] [] see also [[Wikitravel:Requests for comment#Articles|Requests for comment#Articles]])
* [[São Paulo]] - move (back) to [[Sao Paulo]] - ? ([] [] see also [[Wikitravel:Requests for comment#Articles|Requests for comment#Articles]])
* [[Bergen (New Jersey)]] - move to [[Bergen County]] - ?
* [[Bergen (New Jersey)]] - move to [[Bergen County]] - ?
* [[Cook County]] - move to [[Cook County (Illinois)]] - ?
* [[Cook County]] - move to [[Cook County (Illinois)]] - ?

Revision as of 06:10, 26 December 2006

Previous discussions have been moved to Wikitravel_talk:Article naming conventions/Archive.

Accented characters discussion → Wikitravel talk:Article naming conventions/Accented characters

Official names discussion → Wikitravel talk:Article naming conventions/official names


Restaurant naming discussion moved to Wikitravel talk:Foreign-language_names#Establishment names.

Prefecture, provinces and other regional units

Most countries are administratively divided up into states, provinces, prefectures and such things. Should the naming convention for these be "X", "X province", "X (province)" or what? In eg. Thailand and Japan, it's very common to name the province after its biggest city, leading to a bit of a namespace conflict if only "X" is used...

My personal preference would be cities into "X" and province into "X province"; this allows at least reasonably sane linking, whereas "X (province)" can't be linked to in text without ugliness like [[X (province)|X province]]. Jpatokal 09:32, 22 Aug 2004 (EDT)

We haven't really had a big problem with this so far. Kansas, Northumbria, Bavaria, etc. all work out pretty well without an extra name at the end.
So, I don't think we need a special rule for it. If the province or prefecture is more often called "X province" than "X", then just use "X province" as the name. Some examples: County Donegal, Orange Free State.
If not, then use "X (city)" and "X (province)" (this is the first rule for disambiguation). If one or the other is sufficiently better known that the disambiguators are strange, use "X" for that one, and "X (disambiguator)" for the other.
Yes, writing disambiguators is a pain. There's not an easy way to get around it when there are two places with the same name, though. --Evan 14:25, 22 Aug 2004 (EDT)
Wikimedia automaticaly converts a space in title to "_" (ie,underscore) why not it also convert other charactres like ().'- to a single underscore. This will allow [[X (province)]] and [[X province]] link to same place. Also [[Sault Ste. Marie (Ontario)|]] will be same as [[Sault Ste Marie (Ontario)|]]. Also URL will look better than and which is also easy to read out to somebody ~Bijee
I fail to see why URL's should be rendered in a readily human readable form. I do not see the issue as being a MediaWiki problem. URL's tell computers where to locate resources, such as web pages. The only reason underscore and %numbers are used by MediaWiki is because a URL cannot contain a space or special characters like ().' The fact that humans can read URL's is a side effect of the people who wrote the internet standards thinking it would be good if humans could write down and type URL's. While I agree that having nice names for URL's is a tidy way to go, it does not reflect the reality. Technically [[X (province)]] and [[X province]] are different pages so need to have different URL's. Similarly [[Sault Ste. Marie (Ontario)|]] and [[Sault Ste Marie (Ontario)|]] are different because of the period, so should have different URL's. The reason for having naming conventions is so that everyone calls places by the same name and we do not have variations in spellings in the first place. - Huttite 07:02, 21 Oct 2004 (EDT)
Forget technicalities, I think Bijee's making some very good points here. I agree that the "X (province)" style is very clumsy and it would save a lot of redirects if "X province" would automatically resolve to the right page. Same with periods in place names. Jpatokal 09:34, 21 Oct 2004 (EDT)

Thanks Huttite, but please understand (sorry some technicalities) The fact that humans can read URL and HTML is NOT an accidental side effect it was the sole purpose of URL and HTML. I wonder know people remember those times, that is before URL there was better links facilities like OLE links in MS-Windows and other links facilities in other OS and DB Management Systems, pointers in programming languages etc. none were human readble, but much efficient for computer than URL. And for creating documents there was RTF format and other document formats far matured than HTML. Reason why founders of WWW choose/invented URL and HTML is to improve readability of the source text. But sadly tools like MS-Frontpage, DreamWeaver, MS-Office HTML Editor etc. start adding the fancy features and now web developers make a mess with HTML. Wikimedia site and wikitag are a big relief from those sh***. So I was only suggesting to improve URL in that way. I dont believe there is a chance of existence of two different palace one with name "X (province)" and other with "X province". If there is then we could always do "X (country)" for one of them. Please understand I am not asking to change title, I only want other to ask developers to modify software which generate nice URLs. Bijee 13:24, 21 Oct 2004 (EDT)

Georgia (state)| to Georgia (state)|Georgia

One of the advantage of writing in with wiki tag is, it is easy to read the source text. We could write [[Georgia (state)|]] to achieve [[Georgia (state)|Georgia]] which will be shown as Georgia. This saves typing, but sadly the wikimedia software automatically corrects [[Georgia (state)|]] to [[Georgia (state)|Georgia]] and this makes source less readable. It would have been better if we could turn off this automatic conversion of source text, but hide display of (state) automatically. ~Bijee

The correction is really a deliberate shorthand to save typing. The reason the MediaWiki software converts [[Georgia (state)|]] into [[Georgia (state)|Georgia]] is because the parentheses were used to enclose the disambiguation term for two or more pages that would otherwise have identical names. All wiki links have the form [[Page name|article text]] except when Page name is the same as article text, when [[Page name]] or [[page name]] is sufficient. -- Huttite 07:13, 21 Oct 2004 (EDT)
Thanks, but what is stopping us from creating one more new Wiki link standard of the form
[[Page name|<blank implied article text>]] -- Bijee 13:27, 21 Oct 2004 (EDT)
I would also prefer that this didn't happen at save time. I don't know how many times I've seen a link like [[Georgia (state)|Georgia]] and changed it to [[New York (state)|Georgia]] or some such. Bijee, it'd be nice if you could write this up as a feature request. --Evan 17:41, 21 Oct 2004 (EDT)

Rule 2 or 1

I find that rule 1 is more usefull as it shows the context, eg Georgia (USA) is more usefull than Georgia (state). My opinion is that the (<level>) notation should be used only when the lower level name refers to a location in the higher level, eg. New York (city). Just my two cents.

Foreign-language characters

So, I've severely abbreviated the section of foreign-language characters. It was contradicting, in part, the first section, which I think is the paramount rule (most common English name for a place). If the most common English name for a place has a non-ASCII accented character, we should of course use that name; it's not our job to make up names for places, just to fit in URLs. If there is no English name for a place (a very rare thing), we should use a romanized version of the local name.

I think there's a strong argument against using non-Latin chars in article names, but I think we were getting too caught up in accented character issues. Comments? Criticisms? --Evan 07:44, 18 Jan 2005 (EST)

I'm still thinking this through. I personally would like to have at least a native-language (and probably even native spelling) reference to the article. I'm still searching for reasons ;-)

One related question: what's with accented characters? Like "Baden-Württemberg", or "Fürth". Should there not at least be a redirect from the proper spelling? (I hate having to mangle my name to Juergen, so maybe I feel protective of those üs ;-) --Jae 09:14, 19 Jan 2005 (EST)
I believe the foreign language spelling should be a redirect to the English article. Indeed, I think every alternative name nentioned in the first line of the article probably should have a redirect. -- Huttite 04:18, 20 Jan 2005 (EST)
I'm with Huttite on this - The version with accents/diacritics could be used but there should be at least a redirect to/from the English alphabet version. Has a consensus on this been reached yet? The current conventions still don't look quite clear to me. Thanks. Rmx 11:34, 8 Dec 2005 (EST)

Consensus has been reached (after a long discussion which I can't find right now), and the policy seems fairly clear to me:

Use only Latin characters for all article names (not just place names). Latin characters are the letters A through Z, capitalized or not, with or without accents or diacritics.

This has been inconsistently applied though, and things get a bit hairy when trying to decide if the "most common" version of the name has accents or not. Jpatokal 21:43, 8 Dec 2005 (EST)

Foreign language characters in names

Swept in from Pub

There are a few of these about: Trollhättan, Copenhagen/Østerbro (Copenhagen/Osterboro redirects), Mexico City/Coyoacán, Wörthersee, Åre, Österlen, Åland. Should these all be moved to the closest English alphabet equivalent? Hypatia 17:14, 16 Dec 2004 (EST)

This has been debated before. My opinion — currently in the minority — continues to be that we should follow Wikipedia [1] and allow all characters in ISO-8859-1 (Latin1). Jpatokal 06:59, 19 Dec 2004 (EST)
why not unicode ? it's been around for a while already. Wojsyl 18:33, 27 Dec 2004 (EST)
Because some browsers (*cough* safari *cough*) molest some unicode characters when editing articles -- Colin 19:02, 27 Dec 2004 (EST)
I believe they should be move to the best anglicied version of the word for the page title. By all means show the unicode or whatever makes the characters look right in the text of the link but I think we should only use the characters A-Z for English articles. My logic is primarily that the sort order is disturbed as Å follows Z rather than A in unicode and hence English searches. If you provide both alternative spellings in the text then the name will turn up on a search even if the wrong character was used.
As an aside I notice that cafe is being misspelt without the accent - according to my dictionary - Any consensus on this? -- Huttite 19:43, 8 Jan 2005 (EST)
We Americans really do spell it without the accent. We're special that way. [2]-- Colin 22:38, 8 Jan 2005 (EST)
GOOD! - One benefit of an American spelling policy - no cafe with an accented e. I can agree with that practice. -- Huttite 03:19, 9 Jan 2005 (EST)
A cafe is a different beast from a Café. A cafe is a greasy-spoon fry cook kind of place where you can get bad food and bad coffee. A café is a place where you can get decent coffee and hang out and read or talk or whatever. If we're going to rely on wictionary I guess I'm going to have to change it there too. -- Mark 09:17, 9 Jan 2005 (EST)
Well we have a lot of greasy spoons in Wikitravel then. I put cafe -> café into the the spellingchecker list and it gives a couple of hundred pages. -- Huttite 09:23, 9 Jan 2005 (EST)
Don't do that, or you are going to wind up messing up the names of a bunch of places which call themselves "café". Seriously, if it says Café Kopi over the door it should be called that in Wikitravel too, but if it's called Kozy cafe on the sign then that's what we should call it too. -- Mark 09:29, 9 Jan 2005 (EST)

Shortest common form

I think this has been de facto policy on Wikitravel for some time, but based on the case of Santa Catalina I think it's good to record it as policy — so if there are multiple common forms, the shortest one should win. And in particular, this means leaving off trailing bits like "Island", "City" etc if they are not needed. Jpatokal 01:49, 1 May 2005 (EDT)

There is one major exception: U.S. Counties (the local unit of governement in most U.S. states) are always referred to in with the word county included, for instance Cook County. There may be a few exceptions, but I'm not aware of any. -- Mark
I'm going to take this out. No, the shortest one shouldn't win -- the most common one should win. That's why we have Prince Edward Island rather than "PEI", United Kingdom rather than "UK", and California rather than "Cali". Often, the shortest name is also the most common, but I don't think this works as a rule. All of the examples you gave are covered by most-common rather than shortest, anyways. --Evan 10:29, 1 May 2005 (EDT)
Interesting strawman you've constructed there, but I'm talking about shortest common forms, the assumption being that there are several common forms to choose from.
If there are several common forms, we choose the most common. I'm reverting your revert. --Evan 11:06, 1 May 2005 (EDT)
What I'm really interested in, though, is a policy on naming places like Tioman or Santa Catalina. Should it be Tioman Island, Pulau Tioman as in the original Malay, or just Tioman? I think the last, and I think Wikitravel tradition to date agrees, but it would be good to have a consistent policy on this. Jpatokal 10:40, 1 May 2005 (EDT)
Which is the most common English name? Use that one. --Evan 11:09, 1 May 2005 (EDT)
And when there is no most common English name? Yonaguni, Yonagunijima or Yonaguni Island? Even in Japanese both 与那国 Yonaguni and 与那国島 Yonagunijima (Yonaguni Island) are used. Jpatokal 11:47, 1 May 2005 (EDT)
Catalina is weird. In California, we usually use the San/Santa prefixes for Spanish-named places. Catalina is the only one I can think of where the Santa is routinely dropped. I'm unsure which form is the most common. I suspect without any actually facts to back me up that Santa Catalina is used more in print, and Catalina is used more verbally.
Hypothetically, however.... this brings up a number of interesting questions. If form1 of a name is used more often than form2 verbally but less often in print, what then? If form1 and form2 are pretty much equally used, what then?
Regarding JPatokal's proposed solution to the latter problem, I'd be fine with "use shortest form" as a tiebreaker. But it would need to be clear that this is only a tiebreaker policy and does not supercede existing rules; examples like "North Korea" vs. "Democratic People's Republic of Korea" are bogus since existing policy already favors the former form. "Langkawi Island" vs "Langkawi" is a good example since both are used. -- Colin 15:47, 1 May 2005 (EDT)

Revive discussion on using old, discontinued names vs new official names

Moved to Wikitravel talk:Article naming conventions/official names by Evan

City and province

I moved the city and province example out of the disambiguation "rules" and into the examples. I think that the case derives logically from the disambig rules, so it's not necessary to make it a separate rule. The rules are complicated enough as it is, after all. I think, though, that it's a remarkably common example that's worth calling out. --Evan 09:34, 7 Dec 2005 (EST)

The Ukraine vs Ukraine

I reverted the edit of an anonymous user who apparently objects to The being used with Ukraine, on the grounds that Ukraine is free and no longer part of the former Soviet Union. To me, however, The Ukraine is a common enough expression for it to be a common English name for Ukraine. Besides, the example given is recommending to not use the in any case. -- Huttite 20:01, 23 Dec 2005 (EST)

so you're reverting to an unused name again? Taking a look at wikipedia [3] I confirmed what I stated in my explanation: The Ukraine is a deprecated nomination, using it would be like using Lutea instead of Paris. I agree both are similar enough to recognize it, but I see this as an update of the current situation.
the explanation also clearly states that normally start with "the". here it doesn't... nowhere. If you don't revert it (or react) I will. If you feel it should stay, please update all references to Ukraine as it's never used with the -- 16:43, 25 Dec 2005 (EST) (User:Twopeak that can't seem to get logged in for some odd reason)
While I would not use Wikipedia as a primary source for confirming English usage, what that article does say is: "The country is often referred to in English with the definite article, as the Ukraine." And the reason for this usage stems from the country previously being formally called The Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in bygone times; with prefixing the definite article being necessary usage in English. This English article usage carried over into the abbreviated form of the Republic's name, which is now the country's name. This usage is still acceptable English - even according to the Wikipedia article - though many media organisations are now avoiding it for the sake of political correctness.
What Wikitravel's article naming conventions are saying about using the definite article is do not use The as a prefix to the article name about the country of Ukraine, because the place name is not always used with a the in front of it. I think it is already saying what you are trying to say, but for entirely different reasons. I would prefer to keep this example of the avoidance of including The in an article name for pragmatic reasons - because it is a common English construct for many place names - and in Ukraine's case also apparently Politically Incorrect and possibly inappropriate usage.
I am sorry if Ukraine's inclusion upsets you but I think it is The best example of when and why we do NOT prefix an article name with The, because many English speakers still say The Ukraine as if The were part of the country name. I think we both agree that Ukraine is better usage. -- Huttite 17:23, 25 Dec 2005 (EST)
PS: If you are switching between language versions you need to log on to each language version separately. -- Huttite 17:23, 25 Dec 2005 (EST)

Commas and Brackets

From what I understand, using a comma in Huntsville, Ontario and Huntsville, Alabama is not standard. But I think people in real life use the comma and not brackets to show states. However, if it is to show the difference with places with the same name [ie New York (City)/New York (State) or Salzburg (city)/Salzburg(state)] then a bracket would be suitable. Kingjeff 00:49, 30 Dec 2005 (EST)

Pretty much repeating what I said on Talk:Huntsville (Alabama) and Talk:Huntsville (Ontario). -- Huttite 02:44, 30 Dec 2005 (EST)
I disagree. People will typically type Huntsville. The Wikitravel:Article naming conventions say we use the simplest English names. If two names are the same ONLY then do we disambiguate, so we then use Huntsville (Alabama) and Huntsville (Ontario), together with a Huntsville disambiguation page. Remember, this is NOT Wikipedia. (And I also think the people at Wikipedia got it wrong. But it was too hard for them to explain how it should have been done.) We have different rules. The current instructions even explain why.
I also think it makes less sense to call an article about a place Huntsville, Alabama than Huntsville (Alabama) because if I want to call it Huntsville all I write is [[Huntsville (Alabama)|]] not [[Huntsville, Alabama|Huntsville]]. It is less work, surprisingly! Besides we only need the (Alabama), or whatever, if there are two or more Huntsvilles.
In probably 90% - 99% of cases there is only one place with the name that we want to write about and have a page for. That means most of the time if we enforced a name, state format we would do too much typing and we would have a lot of redirects from places called name to name, state when there was no need. We might even end up with two articles, one called name and one called name, state. Besides this is also too UnitedStatesOfAmericaO'Centrick, nobody else in the world wants to put their state name after their place name, just to get a unique name. Other countries just call it by the place name and make sure that there is a good national place name approval process so that not too many important places get a duplicate name. And if they are duplicates then they are on the other side of the world, not in the State next door.
Another thing, if I write [[Huntsville (Alabama)|]],[[Alabama]] then I get Huntsville, Alabama and two links for the price of one and a bit. Each name takes me to the article the name represents and one qualifies the other.
Finally, if you are going to make a change like this there are lots of other disambiguated names that this will need to be applied to. A change like this is severely major and will be resisted severely due to the high existing investment in the current convention. You will also lose wiki functionality associated with the disambiguation feature Same_name (disambiguator) in article titles. I would counsel against it - strongly. -- Huttite 02:44, 30 Dec 2005 (EST)

I don't think this way is complicated unless you make it complicated. You still have to write the word Alabama and Ontario irregardless of which form you use. Kingjeff 11:03, 30 Dec 2005 (EST)

Taipei County and RDF

So here's a weird case. There's a huge, districted city called Taipei, and around it is a "county" (really more of a state/province) called Taipei County, which contains lots of full-fledged cities and towns.

Now, standard Wikitravel policy is that the first would be "Taipei" and the second "Taipei (county)". However, if we use isIn to lay out the breadcrumbs, "Taipei/District" would look like this:

: Taiwan : Taipei : District

And a city which isIn "Taipei (county)" would look like this:

: Taiwan : Taipei : City

In other words, the path is identical, even though they're actually geographically in different regions. The obvious fix would be to keep "Taipei County" so the paths become:

: Taiwan : Taipei : District
: Taiwan : Taipei County : City

Is this is a problem? Jpatokal 05:12, 3 Jan 2006 (EST)

I think Taipei County is OK. I have used Greater Wellington for a similar situation in New Zealand. Also a lot of US towns have SuchAndSuch County. I think it is Ok not to use disambiguators in such cases, especially if County is a common (or official) name for the greater area. -- Huttite 05:39, 3 Jan 2006 (EST)
I think what you're saying is that two different breadcrumb lines on two different pages may have the same text but different links. I don't think that's really that big a deal. Also, shouldn't Taipei-the-city be in Taipei-the-county? --Evan 13:22, 3 Jan 2006 (EST)
No, in Taiwan the major city of the area is surrounded by a generally more rural county of (coincidentally) the same name. However, administratively they are totally different units, i.e. the head of the county is not the city of the same name. For example, in Taipei County, Banciao City is the administrative capital, not Taipei City. Anon. 4 Jan 06
Thanks. I learned something about Taiwan today! --Evan 23:41, 3 Jan 2006 (EST)

Mount X or Mount X National Park?

There's a tendency on Wikitravel to place national parks and such under X National Park, but I think usually this goes against the most-common-name policy: for example, people would generally climb Mount Fuji, not the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, and go see the Grand Canyon, not the Grand Canyon National Park. Of course, life is occasionally made more difficult by the fact that eg. Mount Fuji is not the only attraction in Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, which thus also has an article (although it currently just redirects to Hakone). Could we come to some sort of consensus decision on this? I'll propose this for starters: Jpatokal 23:36, 28 February 2006 (EST)

Mountains and other destination-worthy natural wonders should use the most common name: Grand Canyon, not Grand Canyon National Park. Jpatokal 23:36, 28 February 2006 (EST)
I'm pretty sure you've just enunciated our existing policy. By contrast, Denali National Park is so named because people really do say the whole phrase rather than just the mountain name -- primarily because the mountain is just one attraction in the park. -- Colin 00:10, 1 March 2006 (EST)
However, if two or more names are popular (and a colloquial, locally used name may not show a high rating on Google), I suggest also using redirect(s) to incorporate the less common name(s). WindHorse 1 March 06
Yes, we do that too. Yosemite National Park. Grand Canyon National Park. Death Valley National Park. -- Colin 00:27, 1 March 2006 (EST)

So how's this: Jpatokal 01:24, 1 March 2006 (EST)

Mountains and other destination-worthy natural wonders should use the most common name: Grand Canyon, not Grand Canyon National Park. However, if there are multiple significant attractions within a national park, it's better to make a single national park article instead: Denali National Park, not Mount McKinley. In either cases, make a redirect from the other form.
My bad -- I liked your first phrasing best. Although the exception for stuff like Denali National Park will continue to exist, I think most people need to be steered towards using the "most common name" and your first version did that nicely. -- Colin 02:09, 1 March 2006 (EST)
If at some point the congressman from Nebraska(??) stops blocking the proper re-renaming of Mt. McKinley to Denali, then we can probably get rid of this exception too. -- Mark 07:21, 1 March 2006 (EST)
I'm guilty of using the "X National Park" naming. One issue that I see with using something like "Denali" is that "Denali" is the name of a mountain. Denali National Park is the name of the entire park area. Yes, people say they are "going to Denali" when they are going to the park area, but using "Denali National Park" as the article name with a redirect set up for "Denali" seems to make things clearer. I'm not sure that this same issue is there for cities, so the "most common" name seems to work there, but I think using the full name for parks is helpful.
For what it's worth, there are similar issues with Death Valley (the national park includes tons of land outside of the valley), the Everglades (the park doesn't include nearly all of the Everglades), Badlands National Park, etc. I may be in the minority, but it just seems to me that using the full name with appropriate redirects is clearer. -- Ryan 22:34, 1 March 2006 (EST)

Isle Royale National Park, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore all use the long form, and I created redirects from the short forms. Now that I see that the naming policy supports doing it the other way around, I'd like to fix that. Would someone with admin privilege delete the redirects so I can move the articles to those names? - Todd VerBeek 12:54, 13 April 2006 (EDT)

Unless there is a consensus to do so can we hold off on making these moves? I feel very strongly that the article should have the least confusing name, which in these cases are all with the "National X" name. See the "Making article naming more consistent" discussion below. -- Ryan 13:04, 13 April 2006 (EDT)

Article naming convention for US counties

This is probably already confirmed somewhere, but... #Shortest_common_form: There is one major exception: U.S. Counties (the local unit of governement in most U.S. states) are always referred to in with the word county included, for instance Cook County. There may be a few exceptions, but I'm not aware of any. -- Mark - just checking - should all US county article names follow the "Cook County" format?


There are over 3000 counties in the USA. Not only will the overwhelming majority require disambiguation, but most will need to be disambiguated in conjunction with places on different levels of the geographical hierarchy. With the Long Haul Ahead in mind, it seems to me that it would be a good idea if all US county article names used the "Cook County" format.

If this has already been done to death elsewhere, then apologies for proposing this and for my dire searching skills.

Sorry, yeah, but this has been pretty much settled. All county names in the US read like Cook County with popular names, like Lake County being disambiguated. After all, nobody calls the counties just plain "Cook". -- Mark 16:26, 12 March 2006 (EST)
Thanks, much appreciated - I'll add mention of this to the guidelines.

Disambiguation question

Both of the following are in Delaware:

  1. New Castle County - a county in Delaware
  2. New Castle - a city in New Castle County

How should the two articles be named?

  1. New Castle County <- should all US county articles use this naming format? - see "US counties" question, above
  2. New Castle (New Castle County) <- correct according to the current guidelines?


  1. New Castle County
  2. New Castle (Delaware) <- not according to the current guidelines, plus it's semi-ambiguous - probably ought to be a disamb. page


  1. New Castle County
  2. New Castle (city,_Delaware) <- unambiguous, but still wrong according to the current guidelines

New Castle (city) isn't a feasible option as there's more than one.

Here is my guess;
1. New Castle County and New Castle (Delaware) use New Castle as disambig page.
2. New Castle (county, Delaware) and New Castle (city, Delaware), again list both as disambig on New Castle.
There may be other opinions, but I prefer (1.), I don't think there is a naming standard for counties, I try and leave off the "County" on the end, unless there is a disambig issue. -- Tom Holland (xltel) 16:16, 11 March 2006 (EST)

Articles that probably need to be renamed and/or disambiguated

I disagree with creating pages called Place (disambiguation). They serve no purpose unless the Place article is used by a page that should be disambiguated anyway. The purpose of a disambiguation page is that you find it if the article you wanted is disambiguated and you do not know that. How do you find Place (disambiguation) if you do not know that it is in the first place? Also I think that article names should be kept to their smallest common name, especially if that name is not used. Go back and read the article naming conventions. Remember: This is NOT Wikipedia. There are different rules here. -- Huttite 23:29, 27 July 2006 (EDT)

Naming of disambiguation pages

Um, when and where was it decided to use "X (disambiguation)" as the preferred format in the first place? Why not just "X"? Jpatokal 02:32, 15 March 2006 (EST)

Bump. I'd really like to hear some opinions on this. Jpatokal 12:40, 15 March 2006 (EST)
Looking at Wikitravel:Article naming conventions#Disambiguation and Wikitravel:Disambiguation pages it doesn't appear to be explicitly spelled out what the name of a disambiguation page should be. The benefit I see of using "X (disambiguation)" is that in cases where the "most famous" rule applies we won't have a separate naming convention for disambiguation pages (see the current Paris and Paris (disambiguation) pages). In cases where the "most famous" rule doesn't apply then "X" could just be a redirect to the disambiguation page. The disadvantage of that approach is that we haven't been consistently using that format, so a lot of pages won't follow it. So opinion requested, opinion (albeit a mostly useless one) provided. -- Ryan 12:58, 15 March 2006 (EST)
I agree with your opinion. There's not much point to putting a disambiguator on the disambiguation page, unless the root name is already in use for the much-more-famous place (like Paris). --Evan 13:27, 15 March 2006 (EST)


  • Searching - see note here: User_talk:Wrh2#Redirection - helps a lot not only when working on disambiguations, but also when you're not necessarily thinking about disambiguations, and I suspect most importantly of all when you were previously not even aware that disambiguations exist. Instead of appearing to be "normal" articles, the "(disambiguation)" suffix provides - at a glance - the most valuable bit of information about the nature of what lies behind the link.
    • Why would a user care about disambiguations? They're looking for a specific place.
  • "what links here" - examples: [6] / [7] - direct links to "Someplace_(disambiguation)" are obviously intentional, links via a redirect page called simply "Someplace" are obviously unintentional and need attention; also by making it obvious that a link is from a disambiguation page (and thereby pointing out that such a page exists) - examples: [8] / [9]. Helps a lot when working on disambiguation issues and when cleaning up in general.
    • There should never be a link to a disambiguation page. Travelers don't want to go to someplace somewhere called Foo City, they want to go a particular Foo City.
  • If an article has a non-disambiguated name and it then becomes apparent that disambiguation is an issue but is not straightforward, a disambiguation page can be put in place without disturbing the original article, and the fate of the non-disambiguated article can be deliberated at will.
    • No changes should be done until a consensus is reached.
  • Likewise if an article is given a disambiguated name and it's then decided that the much-more-famous rule applies, it can be moved without disturbing the disambiguation page and any links to the disambiguation page won't require updating.
    • There should never be a link to a disambig page.
  • Potential for a single naming convention, and eventually for consistency for all disambiguation pages.
    • The naming convention is already clear enough, see below.
  • Potential to render the impossible-to-maintain Wikitravel:Disambiguation page index obsolete.
    • Template:Disamb already does.


  • Not found any yet.
    • The disadvantage is that it's butt-ugly and creates a lot of pointless redirects. See Wikipedia:Disambiguation#Page_naming_conventions and the associated Talk page, where this has already been hashed out in gruesome detail, and the consensus is as Evan suggests -- disambig pages should be called just "X", and only primary meaning exceptions like Paris should have Paris (disambiguation) for the chaff. Jpatokal 06:32, 16 March 2006 (EST)
The main advantage to putting disambiguation pages at the root name is that editors will make links like Ontario or Hamilton thinking that the link will go to the page for one or another place. Putting the disamb page there helps people fix the disambiguation problem. If we give all the places disambiguated names, and give the disambiguator a disambiguated name too, then there's nothing at the root name, and people will think quite wrongly that we don't have a page for that place, when in fact it exists but is in a different place. --Evan 10:23, 16 March 2006 (EST)
nothing at the root name - couldn't agree more, not a good idea - hence: Bolton / Brock / Caledon / Clarington / Georgia / Halton / King / Kingston / Nashua / Newmarket / Nome / Orange / Pickering / Richmond Hill / Uxbridge / Washington -- 17:21, 16 March 2006 (EST)
But why torture the user with something as ugly as this?
Bolton (disambiguation)
From Wikitravel
L (Redirected from Bolton)
when it could just say, drum roll, "Bolton". Jpatokal 23:44, 16 March 2006 (EST)
I think having Place (disambiguation) is pointless. The purpose of a disambiguation page is that it is the page you link to if you follow the naming convention but do not realise there is more than one place with the same name. That page then tells you where all the other places are with the same name. Consequently, you will allways link to Place, never Place (disambiguation). The only time I think Place (disambiguation) might be acceptable is when Place is well known or famous, but I think the usage then should be Place (less well known). I think Place (disambiguation) is a Wikipedia workaround that went out of control. We should not allow it here at Wikitravel. -- Huttite 23:20, 27 July 2006 (EDT)

Double disambiguations considered harmful

Names like La Paz (department, Bolivia) have been popping up a bit too frequently lately, so I'd just like to state my personal opinion that these are evil and should be avoided at all costs. In particular, the current naming rules state that in the common 'city and state share name', the city usually gets precedence. So the city is La Paz (Bolivia) (not "La Paz (city, Bolivia)") and the department is La Paz (department). Jpatokal 20:55, 12 March 2006 (EST)

Personally I agree. If someone has the interest it would probably be very helpful to add a lot more examples to the article naming convention page, and they should be real examples. -- Ryan 20:57, 12 March 2006 (EST)
La Paz (Bolivia) is indeed La Paz (Bolivia) (and not "La Paz (city, Bolivia)")
I'll go back through recent edits and check for any questionable city disambiguations.
La Paz (department, Bolivia) appears to be unavoidable as it needs disambiguating from La Paz (department, El Salvador) and La Paz (department, Honduras)
Agree that more real-life examples would be a big help.
I have been guilty of double disambiguations once — see Union. But I guess that's only because I did not know that I am supposed to append "county" to Union. (Sigh.. and I've just created a load of county articles for New Jersey) — Ravikiran 22:11, 12 March 2006 (EST)
It's for a very good reason though: Nobody calls it just Union. Seriously for another example if you were to ask a Chicagoan if they are from "Cook" they will probably just stare at you, or maybe even say "no". If you ask them if they are from "Cook County" they'll say "of course". -- Mark 00:59, 13 March 2006 (EST)

I went back 30 days, and these are the new "city" pages that I found (of which I created two):

-- anon

I created Elk City, Ponca City, Boise City, Midwest City and Del City. For those cases, that is the actual name of the city. In other words, "City" is part of the name of the town. Looks like this applies to Plant City and Ellicott City also.-- Tom Holland (xltel) 08:08, 13 March 2006 (EST)
I think we have to include the word "city" in the name of a place if that's what people call it. I've long thought that New York (city) should in fact be New York City for exactly this reason: People almost always pronounce the name that way. This is also the reason for the US counties rule.
Second, I don't care at all if you log in, but would you be so kind as to sign your posts? It makes it easier to follow the conversations on talk pages. All you have to type is: -- ~~~~ to get something like this: -- Mark 00:56, 13 March 2006 (EST)

Special cases

I rolled back the US counties special case, as I'm not sure that US counties are in fact a special case. If a county is usually called "X County" (which most counties usually are), then that's good, but some other counties (the boroughs of New York City, for example) don't usually come with "County" attached. --Evan 01:24, 13 March 2006 (EST)

Queens, Manhattan, and the Bronks are just about the only exceptions I can think of (maybe just maybe you might count San Francisco too, in each case the bourough or city name and county name are co-terminous. Brooklyn on the other hand is King's County, and Staten Island is aka Richmond County, -- Mark 04:49, 13 March 2006 (EST)

Making article naming more consistent

Following up on the "Mount X or Mount X National Park" discussion above, as well as some thoughts I had while thinking about the naming discussion on Talk:Mendocino, I'm a bit uncomfortable with some of the arbitrariness of our naming conventions. For example, the article about the "Grand Canyon National Park" is titled "Grand Canyon", despite most national park articles having the "National Park/Monument/Lakeshore" name. There could be some question about whether the article for "Mendocino County" should be titled "Mendocino", despite the fact that almost all US county articles have "County" in the name. The problem here is that there isn't a clear guideline that everyone can agree upon about what is the "most common" name -- if you call a place "X" and I call it "Y" do we compare Google hits to choose the article name, wait for three other people who have been there to chime in, or use some other solution?

The argument against using the full name for something like "Grand Canyon National Park" is that it's not the "most common" name. However, I don't think it could be successfully argued that for an article about the park area (and the Grand Canyon as a region includes more than just what's in the park) that "Grand Canyon" is "much more famous" than "Grand Canyon National Park". Thus I think it might be worthwhile to modify the policy as follows:

In cases where a place is known by multiple names, if one name is significantly more common than another then it should be used as the article title. If there is no name that is significantly more common then the least ambiguous name should be used. In either case, the unused name should be set up as a redirect.

This rule would cover cases like "Democratic People's Republic of Korea" vs. "North Korea" since "North Korea" is significantly more common. In cases like "Mendocino County" / "Mendocino" or "Grand Canyon" / "Grand Canyon National Park" then the more specific (less ambiguous) name would get the article, while a redirect would be set up for the more ambiguous name. This eliminates confusion, and since a redirect is set up for the other name would not make things any more difficult for travelers using the site. Granted, this won't solve all ambiguous naming issues ("Chennai" vs. "Madras" being an obvious example) but it will clear up quite a few corner cases. Thoughts? -- Ryan 21:23, 30 March 2006 (EST)

Any objections? Some of the naming debates have been pretty heated, so I'll wait a couple more days for comment before making any updates on the policy page. -- Ryan 14:30, 1 April 2006 (EST)
Thanks, please don't. I'm not sure I 100% understand your proposal, so I want a little while to ruminate on it. A couple of things that come out first: how 'significant' does the difference have to be? Is 60%-40% OK? 40%-30%-30%?
What's "too close to call", so to speak? Also, most places have more than one name in different languages. Do any of those count? And does "least ambiguous" mean "has the least number of other entries in Wikitravel with the same name?" --Evan 15:13, 1 April 2006 (EST)
Is your concern simply an issue of wording? I'm not sure that the wording on the disambiguation rules is really any clearer ("if one place is so famous that the disambiguation is a hindrance rather than a help, it remains without a disambiguating") but we could use something similar, such as:
In cases where a place is known by multiple names, if one name is so famous that using any other name would be a hindrance rather than a help then it should be used as the article title. For example, the "Democratic People's Republic of Korea" is another name for "North Korea", but travelers will almost universally use "North Korea". If there is no name that is significantly more common then the least ambiguous name should be used. In either case, the unused name should be set up as a redirect.
The goal is just to try to come up with a way to determine an article naming guideline that can be applied consistently, rather than always having to open long and often inconclusive discussions about whether Grand Canyon / Grand Canyon National Park, Mendoncino County / Mendocino, etc is the correct article name. -- Ryan 16:02, 1 April 2006 (EST)
Regarding the "what does least ambiguous" mean, in the case of "Mendocino" vs. "Mendocino County" the "Mendocino County" title would be less ambiguous since it refers specifically to the county, leaving no question as to whether the article is about the town or the region. "Grand Canyon" vs. "Grand Canyon National Park" is a similar situation. In either case, a redirect or disambiguation page is then set up for the unused term - in the above examples "Grand Canyon" would end up as a redirect, and "Mendocino" would be a disambiguation page for "Mendocino County" and "Mendocino (California)" (the town). -- Ryan 16:12, 1 April 2006 (EST)
Umf. My issue with this is that I think "Grand Canyon" and "Mendocino" are both shorter and thus better names than "Grand Canyon National Park" and "Mendocino County", and it could well be argued that both are "significantly more common" than the long version. So the suggested policy doesn't really solve all that much...? Jpatokal 22:32, 1 April 2006 (EST)
As always, I'll bow to others on this one, but it seems very, very wrong that if I create an article about (for example) "Everglades National Park" that the thought process behind naming would have to go something like the following:
  1. A majority of people who aren't very familiar with the area simply use "Everglades" when referring to the park, so should the article be given the name used by that majority?
  2. Anyone familiar with the area would think of the "Everglades" as a region that includes the national park, Big Cyprus, and much of the area up to Lake Okeechobee, so "Everglades" would not be a name that the majority of people familiar with the area would necessarily use.
  3. Most of our national park articles use the "National Park" name, so perhaps it's more important to be consistent with other article names?
It honestly seems like there should be a clear set of rules to determine the article name in the majority of cases. If the rule is to always go with the shorter name then that would help clear this up, although I don't see why a shorter name is necessarily a benefit, so long as a redirect is set up for the name that isn't used as the article name. Is there an advantage to short names that I'm missing? The advantage I see to using a less-ambiguous name (in cases where there isn't a "most famous" name) is that we get rid of some ambiguity (is "Everglades" about the park or the region?) and we also have a clearer rule for determining an article name, instead of the "Google has 3 million hits for 'Everglades' but only 2.7 million for 'Everglades National Park'" rule that's currently applied. Is this not a problem that others have encountered? -- Ryan 23:38, 1 April 2006 (EST)

To answer your question: No, I don't see it as a problem. Consistency shouldn't overrule convenience or common sense. Granted, in some cases you need the full name or it doesn't make sense (e.g. Saguaro National Park). But if we need to distinguish between the Everglades as a region and Everglades National Park as a destination, we can do that the same way we distinguish between Townville and Townville County: by name. Toss an "otheruses" template on the less explicit one if needed, and an "IsIn" template if appropriate. In some cases (e.g. Isle Royale) the difference between the place and the park is totally trivial, and no one calls it by the long form except the NPS. In many cases, the park designation is just plain awkward (e.g. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore). But it seems that in most cases, the articles about Such-n-Such National Whatsit aren't really about the park in particular or even the feature for which they're named, but the area that includes them. So the simpler, shorter name is appropriate. For example, Grand Canyon covers not just the canyon for which the park was named, and not just the park, but the nearby places where visitors to the canyon/park will eat, drink, buy, and sleep. In that sense, calling it "Grand Canyon National Park" would be a misnomer. - Todd VerBeek 15:13, 13 April 2006 (EDT)

Ok, this is a weird case because I happen to have direct experience with all of the places mentioned. IMHO Mendicino is Mendicino, Mendicino County is Menicino County, Sequero National Park is just that, and Everglades National Park is The Everglades. The reasoning is simple: Call the article what you think sombody searching for the article is most likely to type into the search box. Even if you think the thing most likely to be typed into the search box is just plain wrong, use that! The idea is to make a useful travel guide; we let Wikipedia make an encyclopedia. OK? -- Mark 15:38, 13 April 2006 (EDT)
Maybe this is where my disconnect is: as long as someone typing "Everglades" or "The Everglades" into the search box is taken to the article about "Everglades National Park" then I don't see how the site is any less useful. A redirect allows this behavior - search for "Denali" and the result takes you directly to the "Denali National Park" article. Is there something I'm missing? The major disadvantage I see to using "Everglades" as an article title (besides the fact that we then need to debate what is the "most common" name) is that it's not completely clear that "Everglades" is about just the park - it could be about the entire region. Similar for "Denali" - if we have an article titled "Denali" is it about the park, the mountain, or the state park? I really, really think that changing the naming policy to use the (second) suggested text above would be good - it eliminates abiguity over what the article covers, and in cases where there is a dispute over the name it gives us another guideline that is easier to apply than the current "most common" rule. I feel that I'm either not making my argument well or else missing a key point, so please let me know where I'm going wrong. -- Ryan 16:01, 13 April 2006 (EDT)
Just an additional note since I missed Todd's comments, but anyone not familiar with "Isle Royale" won't know it's a national park. This is a minor advantage, but using "National X" in the name is an easy way to tell someone "Yeah, this is a place that the US thought was special for some reason". I know when I travel if see a sign for "Destination Y" I'm less likely to investigate then if I see a sign for "Destination Y State Park". If the argument is that this guide should be as useful as possible for travelers, my personal opinion (which may be wrong) is that providing an additional bit of information through articles names (provided this isn't a hindrance as in the North Korea example) is a good thing. -- Ryan 16:09, 13 April 2006 (EDT)
So, I think if I had to boil down the rule, it'd be: When you can, be accessible and natural. When you can't, be specific. Is that roughly it? I think it actually makes the most sense when we're using disambiguators, since it's so much nicer to say New York State and New York City rather than New York (state) and New York (city). Mendocino Town and Mendocino County work better than the parenthesized versions, too. (And I like "Mendocino Town" -- it sounds so hobbitish.) --Evan 16:21, 13 April 2006 (EDT)

Disambiguating Holland

Currently the Holland page is a redirect to the Netherlands. However, there are numerous places in the world named "Holland", including Holland (Michigan), so we should have a disambiguation page. Adding Template:otheruses to the Netherlands article would link to "Netherlands (disambiguation)", which isn't right, so the other possibility is to change "Holland" from being a redirect into being a disambiguation page. That would seem to violate the "most famous" rule, so I'm stuck. I'd vote for a disambiguation page for "Holland", but what do other people think? -- Ryan (04 April)

Forgot to sign my post yesterday, sorry. Anyhow, I'm thinking that Holland should be made into a redirection page since there really isn't any other way to create a disambiguation page for the less famous Hollands. Any objections? -- Ryan 10:18, 5 April 2006 (EDT)
Continued on Talk:Holland.


Question: What is the consensus for naming districts? The issue is with Munich/Ostbahnhof. User:Flip666 brought this up on the discussion page for the Ostbahnhof district article. The article name is not the name of the district as it is known by locals. The district is known as Haidhausen by locals, however, I used "Ostbahhnhof & Kaultfabrik" as the district name, because the train station - Ostbahnhof and the club neighborhood - Kultfabrik are more well known amongst travellers than Haidhausen is. Should the district name be changed to reflect the local name or left as is, which in my opinion would be more helpful for users, because they can easily identify the district as Ostbahnhof & Kultfabrik? Sapphire 08:31, 7 April 2006 (EDT)

Unless you think that this issue challenges the conventions laid out on this page, let's take the discussion to Talk:Munich/Ostbahnhof. --Evan 09:25, 7 April 2006 (EDT)
It doesn't help at all that St. Petersburg has just become a real tourist destination in the last couple of years. -- Mark 15:44, 13 April 2006 (EDT)

"Much more famous" and defining an order of magnitude

So there's been talk over at Saint Petersburg about just what "much more famous" means. Evan quoth:

If I had to put a rough number on it, I'd say a place needed an order of magnitude more famosity over all other places with the same name combined for it to be reasonable to drop the disambiguator, and maybe two.

I think an order of magnitude is a pretty good rule of thumb, and I'd like to propose a way of measuring it: count the number of actual articles under "What links here". (User pages are OK, because they measure popularity, but talk pages aren't.) By this count, the one in Russia gets 23 and the one in Florida gets 6 -- so that's 5x more links. I think that's a pretty big difference, but where do we want to set the line? 10x is a little unrealistic because few pages on Wikitravel have less than 3 incoming links, while very few have more than 30, making this bar very high indeed. Jpatokal 07:08, 13 April 2006 (EDT)

I think there are other sources of data, e.g. Google page hits and ranking, Wikipedia page, etc. I think they can all inform our discussions, but I don't think I'd want to make editorial decisions based on just one number. After all, we are intelligent, rational human beings working towards the same goal, and I think we can make decisions together without handing them off to one or another algorithm. --Evan 09:32, 13 April 2006 (EDT)
Sure. However, the number of incoming links has the unique advantage that it accurately reflects popularity on Wikitravel. Much of the Wikipedia discussion revolved around the fact that the Russian St. Pete is historically, culturally etc more important, which is undoubtedly true, but this doesn't necessarily reflect travel popularity. Jpatokal 10:55, 13 April 2006 (EDT)
Nor does "What links here". Wikitravel is still a rather sparsely-populated database (e.g. my state, where tourism is our #2 industry, has only three or four articles that are more than outlines, and a bunch of popular travel destinations don't even have stubs). Using its contents as a measure of "famosity" would be very non-representative of how well-known a destination is. - Todd VerBeek 11:08, 13 April 2006 (EDT)
Why so? Remember, the topic here is disambiguation, and the main reason disambiguators are a nuisance is that it makes it hard to get links from other articles right. Ergo, if article A has lots of incoming links but article B doesn't, A has a better claim on an undisambiguated name. Jpatokal 11:43, 13 April 2006 (EDT)
The topic isn't just link disambiguation; it's also ease of searching. A person might sit down at the main page of Wikitravel, and type "Paris" into the search box. We take them to Paris because it's a safe assumption that's where they want to go. But we can't make the same safe assumption about St. Petersburg, because there are two fairly famous instances of that name, and someone might very well be unaware that the other one exists. (Like I said, Americans are often embarrassingly ignorant about the rest of the world.)
"What links here" is a bad metric because Wikitravel is incomplete. Very incomplete. Parts of it have received a lot of attention already, and are full of well-developed articles.... but others are nearly empty. That doesn't mean that destinations in the latter regions aren't "famous", just that the articles that would link to them haven't been written yet. Keep in mind that the kinds of people who are most likely to get involved in Wikitravel (at least so far) are not a represenative sample of travelers in general. They tend to be either adventurous Americans who probably don't care for huge cookie-cutter U.S. beach resorts flooded with vacationers, or non-Americans who don't care about U.S. resorts at all. Small wonder that there are more articles about European destinations mentioning ol' Petrograd than articles about Florida mentioning St.Pete-Tampa. (But guess which one gets more English-speaking visitors.) - Todd VerBeek 12:52, 13 April 2006 (EDT)
Let me also point something else out: before we were using Template:Otheruses, and Wikitravel:RDF Expedition/Related articles, I think that giving one destination guide an ambiguous title made finding the other guides with disambiguators much harder.
I think that situation has changed, and that using the otheruses template makes giving an ambiguous title less of big deal. It's still annoying, but less so. --Evan 10:43, 13 April 2006 (EDT)

Naming too many articles "YY National Park"

I am concerned that we are going overboard naming articles "YY National Park". Surely we should be using the most common name? In many cases people don't use "National Park" when they talk about an area. In the UK, people talk about the Lake District rather than the Lake District National Park and Peak District , rather than Peak District National Park. -- DanielC 12:54, 30 April 2006 (EDT)

You are correct. The full name should only be used if it is the most common name for a park. -- Colin 13:00, 30 April 2006 (EDT)
I agree. However Ryan has objected to this, here and here, above. - Todd VerBeek 13:11, 30 April 2006 (EDT)
Yes, I see, the second was a rather long discussion too. Wan't that discussion a bit USA-centric though? My impression is that in the USA many National Parks are in wilderness areas with few towns/cities, wheras in other countries, especially the UK, National Parks are regions in themselves with many towns inside and thus more suited to a general title and template (no permits etc)., rather than a "National Park" one. -- DanielC 13:20, 30 April 2006 (EDT)
I'm not sure that the discussion above was US-centric as your example and the Mount Fuji example shows. To sum up the discussion, the argument being made (mostly by me) was that the current naming rules can be applied differently by different people in some cases, and that it seemed more useful to have article names that weren't ambiguous, with redirects set up for other common names. That would hold true for your "Lake District" example since the article may be about the entire region, the park area, or something else entirely. That said, either my arguments or my debating skill were inadequate, and the counter-argument of "I just like short names better" was one that proved difficult to refute. While I'm still vehemently in favor of the "less ambiguous" rule for places with multiple names, the consensus seems to be to keep the "most common" terminology, so that's the rule to apply. -- Ryan 13:45, 30 April 2006 (EDT)

Disambiguation section - clarification on when not to disambiguate

Would it be appropriate to amend the Disambiguation section to make it clear that when creating an article, a disambiguated name should not be used unless another article already exists that conflicts with the one being created, or that would be confused with the one being created? ~ 23:08, 16 July 2006 (EDT)

I think so. This is coming up in the context of disambiguators for U.S. counties, which unimaginatively routinely re-use the same names from one state to another. But since Wikitravel is not an atlas, not all of these counties are going to be the subject of actual articles. Sometimes a metro region will be big enough to make the county (or counties) it's in irrelevant. Sometimes several counties will be so sparsely populated with so few towns that it makes more sense to lump them all into a single region under a name that describes them all (e.g. "Wiki River Valley"). Most states have counties that were drawn by a bureaucrat with a straightedge, so they aren't meaningful from a travel perspective, which is the standard for creating Wikitravel regions. Rather than trying to head off any possible naming conflict by disambiguating county names in advance, let's at least wait until we know we have an article-naming conflict before we resort to disambiguating them. - Todd VerBeek 23:34, 16 July 2006 (EDT)

Use of "North" considered harmful

I see articles here and there with names like South (Brazil) and North (Canada), and they pose a few problems. They get parsed into article titles like "North travel guide - Wikitravel", which looks silly. I can't imagine anyone in Canada saying "I'm going to North" (or "Je vais en Nord") and getting anything other than puzzled stares in response. Even including a definite article ("I'm going to the North") still doesn't sound like a destination, but a direction. The only advantage I can see to names of this sort is the fact that they get displayed in the breadcrumbs as "Canada : North : Yukon". A neat trick, but... {shrug}. My city's breadcrumbs read "Michigan: Western Michigan : Grand Rapids", which is correct because we actually call it "Western Michigan"... not "West". Granted, there are a few places that are really referred to as just a direction (e.g. the South or the Midwest in the U.S.) but they should be one-off exceptions, not so commonly used that we need a disambiguation page for North. In most places, I think we'll find that the name people really use is something like "Southern Brazil" or "Central Sri Lanka", and names should be preferred over mere adjectives. - Todd VerBeek 21:33, 18 July 2006 (EDT)

I'd agree - something like "Northern Arizona" is better (to me) than "North (Arizona)". Adding a rule indicating that the non-disambiguated name should be used unless it's not a common name would be OK with me. -- Ryan 21:46, 18 July 2006 (EDT)
Qualified agreement, but... I think the South is what we call that region, by a far margin. Canadians do refer to the North as a region, but to a lesser degree. These sound bad without the initial definite article, I agree, and I think we should make a point of using "Northern X" or "East X" rather than "North (X)" where there's an alternative. There are just some parts of the world that are called "The [name of compass bearing]" and making up other names isn't going to work. But I definitely agree that these should be the rare exceptions, not the rule.
As to "North travel guide" -- maybe we should do a little RDF-twiddling to set the title. Like, for articles where the default title looks stupid, people can put {{title|Travel guide to the Canadian North}} and that's what shows up in the HTML title. Impressions? --Evan 22:06, 18 July 2006 (EDT)
No question: there are a handful of cases where "(The) South" is in fact the best-known name for a region. And while there are some cases where the local shorthand is to call something "East", they usually have a better, more widely-understood name like "East Los Angeles" or "East Grand Rapids"). For North (Canada), I was going to suggest Territories (because they all are) or Great White North (because it's more fun... and true). - Todd VerBeek 22:58, 18 July 2006 (EDT)
I can't speak for North, but I know that when you talk about the Southeastern US, that "The" is part of the name. People don't call it South, they call it The South. Note that when you write The South, you capitalize the T in The. -- Mark 23:34, 18 July 2006 (EDT)
I've added a specific note to the policy noting that "South (Foo)" is only appropriate when "South" is the commonly used name. The existing guideline of "use the common name" already covers this, but having an example can't hurt. If someone wants to expand that to include the suggestion of only using "South (Foo)" when a better name is not available then that would be all good. -- Ryan 19:14, 1 August 2006 (EDT)

"Next place up in the hierarchy"

The rules here say that when disambiguating, the "next place up in the hierarchy" should be added in parens. The problem is that this is often very unintuitive (and also not consistently done). For example, my neighboring city of Holland, Mich. is currently called Holland (Michigan)... but that's "wrong" according to this rule, because the next level up in the hierarchy is Western Michigan, so it should be Holland (Western Michigan)... or at least it was until the Lake Michigan Beachtowns sub-region was created, so it should now be Holland (Lake Michigan Beachtowns)... which is a long strip along the coast, so someone may decide to break that up further so it becomes Holland (Ottawa County), which no one except someone from around here would even know where in the world it is!

That whole re-disambiguating song and dance should be unnecessary, though. Other than a city within a county (or similar arrangement), we're never going to find two places of the same name within a state or province; there's never a city of Darryl, Vermont, and also the other city of Darryl, Vermont. Holland (Michigan) will always be sufficient to uniquely identify this place, and has the added bonus of being the name (give or take punctuation) that most people would use to find it. But a strict literal application of the rules says it's wrong, and also gives us new article names like Monrovia (Los Angeles County) instead of the more intuitive Monrovia (California).

In the U.S. and Canada, the state/province is the clearest disambiguator. Does Australia, Mexico, or Germany often have inter-state naming conflicts, or would the nation name be enough to fully disambiguate its cities? In countries with more central and less "federal" governments (i.e. fewer well-known administrative regions), using the nation is clearer. For the UK, I'd suggest England/Scotland/Wales/N.Ireland, because the counties are mostly unfamiliar to foreigners ("Shropshire?"), and doing it at the country level ought to be sufficiently unambiguous. What if we amend the rules to say that what should be added in parens is "the state, province, or nation they are in (whichever is most clear)"? - Todd VerBeek 12:33, 21 July 2006 (EDT)

I think the common practice is to always use the country as the disambiguator, with a few exceptions. The US & Canada use state / province, Australia also seems to use state, and England uses something different as well (county?) but it's inconsistent. There may be other exceptions, but I think changing the rule to be "use the country as the disambiguator except for the following cases" and then have a table of exceptions and the preferred disambiguator would be the easiest way to match theory to practice. -- Ryan 12:52, 21 July 2006 (EDT)
I think that if there's a "namespace" already for the name -- like states in the US -- then we should use it, otherwise stick to the existing rules. --Evan 13:16, 21 July 2006 (EDT)
Update: I added a note to Rule 1 that if there are "natural" or "traditional" disambiguators, those should be used. Is the wording useful? Does it need to be more algorithmic? --Evan 13:34, 21 July 2006 (EDT)
In how many cases is the disambiguator going to be something other than the country? Wouldn't it just be easier and clearer to say the following?
When disambiguating cities, the disambiguator should be the country name (for example St. Petersburg (Russia)) except for the following cases:
That would be clearer and it avoids the problem of people having to determine what the "namespace" should be for a place they may not be very familiar with. Thoughts? -- Ryan 13:46, 21 July 2006 (EDT)
In lots of cases; there are ambiguous things within the same country; a very typical example is a city and the province or prefecture that surrounds it having the same name. Can we leave it at "choose the next biggest thing your doohickey is in, or use an even bigger one (like a country) if that seems better?" It seems to me that the country is favored pretty heavily in the description right now, and that if we try to make rules on a case-by-case basis, we'll be sorry we did.
For your examples: I think Bath (Somerset) is an example of us sticking strictly to the rules as they stood before today, Birmingham (England) is us being flexible (it used to be at Birmingham (Midlands), IIRC -- see Talk:Birmingham (Midlands). --Evan 16:06, 21 July 2006 (EDT)
(Follow-up to Even, but re-indenting) I agree that there are ambiguous things within a country / state / whatever. For example, Wisconsin has a ton of towns with the same name. However, those are generally rare exceptions, and in such cases we'll probably end up having a discussion about naming anyhow - is it "Foo (province)", "Foo (province, Spain)", etc. Changing the wording to make the common-case obvious ("use the country except for USA, Canada, Australia where the state/province is used) and then adding a note about what to do in cases where further disambiguation is needed (which is what??? "Wisconsin City (Wisconsin County)"?), seems clearer and easier to follow.
Also, the naming in England is all over the place. See Halifax (West Yorkshire), Ripon (England), Wakefield (West Yorkshire), Durham (city), Berkeley (Gloucestershire), Gloucester (England), and a ton more. Having a simple rule that says "use the country, except for A, B, and C where the state/province is used" would allow us to resolve those and have a bit more consistency. -- Ryan 16:30, 21 July 2006 (EDT)
The simple algorithm that we've used for years has served us well. It is arbitrary and not perfect in any way, but we've made common-sense exceptions where the algorithm has resulted in titles that didn't make sense. I really, really don't want to change it now. If you'd like to revisit some of the English cities and counties with an eye to the newly formalized exceptions, I'd be happy to help with that. However, I'm not excited about having to start over from scratch with these. At the very best, what we'll achieve is a lot of work shifting around not the name of things but the disambiguator of things -- a real waste of time and energy. --Evan 17:05, 21 July 2006 (EDT)
Hi Evan - I'm not sure where our disconnect is occurring. You refer to "newly formalized exceptions", but those "exceptions" cover 99% of the disambiguated articles on the site. Todd and I are arguing that those "exceptions" should be clearly stated as being the rule. I honestly don't see how changing #1 on Wikitravel:Article naming conventions#Disambiguation to read like the following suggested text would entail "starting from scratch" or "achieve lots of work shifting around not the name of things but the disambiguator of things".
  1. Disambiguators should use the country of a location as the disambiguator - for example St. Petersburg (Russia). There are three exceptions to this rule:
  1. Places in the United States of America use the state as the disambiguator - for example Venice (California).
  2. Places in Canada use the province as the disambiguator - for example Windsor (Ontario).
  3. Places in Australia use the state as the disambiguator - for example Hamilton (Victoria).
This language would provide clear, obvious rules for naming that match the current Wikitravel usage. In cases where this rule isn't enough we've still got rules #2-4. The only work that is required would be to clean up places like England, which is no different than (for example) moving Monrovia (Los Angeles County) to Monrovia (California). It's not a lot of work, it creates a very clear rule for people to follow, and it makes something better that even you describe as "arbitrary and not perfect in any way." We're both intelligent people (or in my case at least I've got a mostly-functional brain) so I'm assuming there's a miscommunication here somewhere - please let me know what I'm misunderstanding. -- Ryan 17:56, 21 July 2006 (EDT)
The city-in-a-region-of-the-same-name situations are special cases, and already handled (in all but the most specialest cases) without the next-highest-level rule even being applied. We're better off leaving them out of this discussion altogether, because they're an entirely different subject with a different set of rules (which work pretty well in that space). We're talking about rule #1 here. Evan, that formula's "been serving us well" mostly because people are ignoring it. They read it and think "that doesn't make sense" (or they don't read it), and name the article Holland (Michigan) instead. Where we run into problems are when people take it literally and create Monrovia (Los Angeles County), and in the UK where the rule is too vague and the people themselves are of different minds as to whether the counties count (they're technically just arbitrary subdivisions drawn - and redrawn - by the national government, after all). - Todd VerBeek 18:28, 21 July 2006 (EDT)
OK, I think I finally see what you're saying. We're just going to replace rule #1, and instead of using the nearest enclosing geographical container, we use country first, except where a traditional diambiguator is more natural, like for US and Australian states or Canadian provinces. All the other rules will stay the same -- this is just providing a different default for geographical disambiguators.
If I'm getting you right... I think I like it. It does work better than the existing rule. My only requests: I'd rather say, "except where there's a traditional disambiguator, like US or AU states or CA provinces", rather than listing all the traditional disambiguators. There are a lot of countries in the world, and lots of naming conventions, and I'd rather we didn't list them all here. Calling out those three is probably going to get us pretty far.
Second, it'd be nice to have some iterative rule for when the two places are in the same country. A good example would be the various Gulf Coast regions in the USA. Suggestions? --Evan 21:01, 21 July 2006 (EDT)
The only concern with not explicitly listing AU, US, and CA as the only exceptions (and as far as I'm aware they are currently the only countries other than England where Wikitravel doesn't use the country as the disambiguator) is that it leaves the same uncertainty about whether to (for example) use French departements, which could be considered "traditional disambiguators". I won't run out and commit hari-kari if the language is more ambiguous, but but I do think having clear and obvious rules would be easier to follow. And as always, if an exception came up where a "natural disambiguator" was called for it could be dealt with on a per-case basis (although I can't think of any examples).
As to the Gulf Coast regions, aren't they all getting disambiguated by state? It seems like they are covered nicely by this rule. Something like the Midwest (United States of America) might not fit in as nicely, but I think it's implied that a region that covers multiple states cannot use a state as a disambiguator. -- Ryan 21:39, 21 July 2006 (EDT)
I'd like to leave the door open for other traditional disambiguators (I just don't know how people dab cities in Brazil or Kenya or Pakistan or whatever) but I'm OK with whatever. It seems like a good change. --Evan 22:40, 21 July 2006 (EDT)
Agreed that if Brazil (or some other country) needs to use a finer-grained disambiguator then we should allow it. I've updated the text to include my original suggestion while also trying to incorporate your concerns, but it's not as readable as I'd like - if anyone can finesse the language to get the point across better it would be a good thing™. -- Ryan 03:40, 22 July 2006 (EDT)
I've done some work on the wording. I'd still like to establish an explicit standard for the UK, though. It's not immediately clear in that context whether "country" means the United Kingdom or the nation (England/Scotland/Wales/Northern Ireland), and we currently have articles using everything from the kingdom to the county. I'm not aware of any naming collisions between UK nations (no Canterbury in Scotland, or Aberystwyth in England), but that still seems the most intuitive level to disambiguate at, and appears to be the most common (despite instructions to the contrary). Disambiguating by nation has the added bonus of respecting the national identity of the locals. - Todd VerBeek 10:52, 22 July 2006 (EDT)
(Response to Todd, but re-indenting because nine levels of indentation is scary) The note about using the kingdom/nation for the UK seems fine to me - changes that make the guidelines clearer and easier to follow are good. -- Ryan 13:49, 22 July 2006 (EDT)

English Disambiguation Question

It's not clear to me how these should be disambiguated:

The current rule would be to use "England" as the disambiguator, but both of these cities are in England. Should further disambiguation simply add another level of specificity, ie: "Amberley (Gloucestershire, England)" and "Amberley (West Sussex, England)", similar to the city/region disambiguation example for Albany? Note that the disambiguation could be done by just using the names as they exist, but I think using "England" in the disambiguation helps provide context that there is more than one in England. For what it's worth, this issue will come up again with some of the towns in New York and Wisconsin as they seem to repeat names within the state as well, so it would be nice to settle on a rule and then add the example to the disambiguation guidelines. -- Ryan 16:48, 27 July 2006 (EDT)

I'm going to bite my tongue here and not point out that I asked about this above (Second, it'd be nice to have some iterative rule for when the two places are in the same country.). Or... not. Anyways, since we threw out the old bottom-up rule, I'd suggest starting with the country if possible, then working down through containing regions until you get to two that are different. I think that long disambiguators are a pain, so adding the extra comma-delimited "England" is extra typing for no real value. I'd stick with the two disambiguators above if it were up to me, since they're clear and recognizable. --Evan 23:39, 27 July 2006 (EDT)
I agree about the compound disambiguators being unnecessarily cumbersome. In the rare cases where disambiguating at the standard level doesn't work, disambiguate at a smaller level that does work. - Todd VerBeek 23:55, 27 July 2006 (EDT)
The language you suggested about having an iterative rule is included in the current guideline, but my concern here is trying to figure out what the disambiguator should be when that rule kicks in. In the very rare cases where two locations of the same name are located in the same state/province/country, do we use "(region, country/state)" or just "(region)", and what should the region be? In the US, is it counties since they are more static, or should we use the Wikitravel region, which is a "higher level" but less static. For the articles above they are using counties, but there are "higher level" Wikitravel regions that, based on the current guidelines, should be used instead. My hope in bringing this up was that we could decide a clear example that would guide us in the future when we encounter these situations since I don't think the current (or past) rules were very clear.
Anyhow, I'd prefer to use the counties (as they do now) rather than the Wikitravel region (South East (England)) as the disambiguator. I assume then that Amberly (England) should be set up to redirect to Amberley to avoid further confusion. Let me know if that sounds right. -- Ryan 00:20, 28 July 2006 (EDT)