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Wikitravel talk:One-liner listings

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Please also see relevant discussion at Wikitravel talk:Spelling

One-liner listings

this section/discussion moved to here from Wikitravel talk:Manual of style#One-liner listings

For example most ==Cities== sections, etc. (as opposed to See/Do/Eat/Drink/Sleep etc)

Is there already a guideline somewhere for how simple all-one-liner listings should usually be formatted? If so, where is it? - and if not, how about adopting the Wikitravel:Manual of style page format, which I think is by far the most common (and which until I just tidied it up was a good example of some of the variations that can creep in [1])?


  • Alphabetic - preferred, if appropriate and there's no reason not to
  • Bold for the caption - optional if it's a link; if mixed, consistency preferred
  • But not bold [2] - for footnote-style links
  • Capitalize - first word of caption, but not description (except proper nouns, etc)
  • Dash - just one simple one, not -- or — or —
  • Description - short and sweet, no full stop

(Obvious exception to alphabetic being ==Cities== sections, where capital cities/towns go at the top)

Any objections? ~ 17:01, 24 September 2006 (EDT)

One, and only one: Alphabetic. I do the listings by price with the cheapest whatever first. -- Mark 18:16, 24 September 2006 (EDT)
Not sure, could you please provide me with an example? -- Sapphire 18:20, 24 September 2006 (EDT)
Example by price - cheapest way to get from Abc to Def:
  • $5 - Boneshaker Bus Co., takes 14 hours, departs at noon
  • $8 - share taxi from the marketplace, takes 9 hours
  • $32 - Acme Air, two flights daily each way
(NB: I'm not suggesting the price would actually have to be the caption!)
For the order, all I'm trying to propose is that "logical" is preferable to "random"; if (and only if) there's no more appropriate "logical" order (ie price, distance, north-south, day of the week, whatever) then "alphabetical" as the default, rather than "random". ~ 21:56, 24 September 2006 (EDT)
Sorry, I'm not getting what you want to do. Would you please edit User:Sapphire/Sandbox/Places/Cincinnati or User:Sapphire/Sandbox/Places/Ohio to show me what exactly you want to do. Feel free to go nuts editing either page because I do want to know/see what you're talking about -- Sapphire 06:44, 27 September 2006 (EDT)
User:Sapphire/Sandbox/Places/Ohio#Cities is a good example of what I'm proposing, except two lines ended with full stops and one did not - all I did was delete the two full stops. ~ 06:55, 27 September 2006 (EDT)
And User:Sapphire/Sandbox/Places/Ohio#By_plane as an example of a one-liner list that doesn't begin with links. ~ 06:59, 27 September 2006 (EDT)
That makes sense to me, but what's with the above example with prices? -- Sapphire 07:01, 27 September 2006 (EDT)
Maybe it's just a really atrocious example. ~ 07:05, 27 September 2006 (EDT)
Ok, if the edits you made on Ohio page is what you were suggesting I have no problem with the proposed changes. Ok, now I understand where the confusion over prices came in. I have no objections. -- Sapphire 07:09, 27 September 2006 (EDT)
Both those Ohio edits are now preserved for posterity here ~ 07:20, 27 September 2006 (EDT)
I'm coming across these a lot as I go through multiple pages as well, should we come to a definite agreement and incorporate it into the article instead of just the talk page? The only thing I would semi object to is the " - " instead of the " — ", which is far sexier... Cacahuate 06:38, 3 December 2006 (EST)
Yes, but it's HTML markup, and kind of hard to understand. I'd be happy with an actual long em-dash —, but short of that I think a colon or en-dash - is preferable, since it's on most English keyboards.
Otherwise, I think that the only places we do single-liner listings is for parts of a place (cities in a region, regions in a country, districts in a city). --Evan 09:22, 3 December 2006 (EST)
I proposed " - " because that's what the overwhelming majority of contributors use, and some will have great difficulty with any of the alternatives; plus in one-liner listings it's virtually always going to follow text which is formatted as bold or as a link (or both) so in practice its purpose will be extremely obvious and unambiguous.
I don't think the question of where one-liner listings occur is an issue. In reality, appropriate use of one-liner listings can and does crop up in almost any section; I think a general one-liner listings format guideline would be helpful for all. ~ 01:54, 18 December 2006 (EST)

Still not a fan of the simple dash as a policy... the longer ndash or mdash looks far nicer. I don't think they're that difficult to use... certainly no more of a problem than some other things, notably trying find the ~ key on a Nicaraguan keyboard – cacahuate talk 02:44, 7 January 2008 (EST)

I also strongly object to a style policy mandating hyphens in one liner lists. This was also discussed (briefly) at Wikitravel talk:Spelling, a discussion which bears witness to the fact that we do not have a consensus behind this policy.
I do not think that our style policies should be based on what is easiest to type. If we did, we should not be using the listings tags for listings, for example. Style policy should be drafted with three considerations in mind: presentation, feasibility, and consistency. Any of the dashes as a policy would fulfill the consistency requirement.
I think we are in agreement that an en dash or an em dash is superior in presentation for purely aesthetic reasons. But there are grammatical reasons as well that favor the use of the em dash. As a conservative ideologue in punctuation matters, it does irk me a small bit to see either hyphens or en dashes used for the purpose of a conversation-style break in thought, which is in essence what the one liner dashes indicate. Hyphens really should only ever be used as a mathematical minus symbol or to hyphenate a compound word or phrase. En dashes exist for the sole purpose of expressing a closed range or a comparison in values. So there are significant presentation issues favoring em dash use for one liners.
In terms of feasibility, hyphens are superior because they are a regular key on most English-language keyboards. But I don't think that this superiority is that significant. As Cacahuate points out, they really aren't that difficult to use. For one, users can simply copy the em dash from one liners already present in properly formatted lists. Also, we could simply add the em dash to the edittools box in the edit window, as we do for any symbol that is not on standard American English keyboards.
Sorry for the long punctuation tirade. Above all, I just think that the hyphen looks bad in these lists. --Peter Talk 04:27, 7 January 2008 (EST)
I'd also like to emphasize that I don't think we should be making edits yet based on this draft policy. I would argue that replacing en dashes or em dashes with hyphens in lists actually constitutes a disimprovement in the quality of our guides (in their presentation). No style policy should promote efforts that decrease the quality of Wikitravel articles. In that case, no policy and inconsistency across articles would be preferable IMHO. --Peter Talk 05:10, 7 January 2008 (EST)
Strongly agree with Peter. Hyphens look weak in these kind of listings – cacahuate talk 10:31, 9 January 2008 (EST)

Description - short and sweet

This is a main problem with one-liners everywhere they're used, imho:

  • for regions, cities and other destinations, it should give a summary of what's special there (the main thing why traveller should consider it for his plans), not just a flowery general supplemental text that doesn't help with making a choice--but very rarely it gives such summary
  • roughly the same with GetOut.

I don't think just 'short and sweet' reflects this idea--I think it clearly needs more thought. --DenisYurkin 02:26, 8 January 2008 (EST)

I'm inclined to disagree. I think there is a danger that effort will therefore be duplicated in describing the same place over and over across different articles. I agree that the one liner should explain what the main attraction is for a traveler, but I think that should be done as briefly as possible. To really understand the destination, a reader will nonetheless need to click the link. --Peter Talk 04:00, 8 January 2008 (EST)
I do favor short and sweet too... it's usually pretty easy to get the basics of a place in one line. These are kind of the equivalent of the cheesy little one-liners on Lonely Planet maps that point out 5 or 6 of the most popular destinations in a country... – cacahuate talk 10:40, 9 January 2008 (EST)
Of course clicking for more is essential. But "short and sweet" is just not enough. Consider this page. Descriptions for India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan fit well into "short and sweet", but give no idea what to travel there for, or what are the key differences between these countries. Shouldn't they? --DenisYurkin 10:44, 9 January 2008 (EST)
Actually, I think they should not. These types of lists are meant to only be navigational tools akin to a table of contents—extra text would clutter the list and make it a little less navigation/design friendly. I think the key differences between the countries (in this example) should be discussed throughout the understand, eat, drink, and other sections of the region article. South Asia looks like it's been a bit neglected in this regard! For links to smaller destinations (like a town, rather than India), it's usually feasible to mention the main attraction in just one short phrase or two. --Peter Talk 15:22, 9 January 2008 (EST)
Also, it may be worth noting (wrt the South Asia example) that most wikitravel users aren't looking for a reason to visit India, Pakistan, of Sri Lanka. Most likely, they've already decided to go and are looking for practical (survival :-))advice, itineraries, highlights, places to stay and eat, things to do, etc. That's one reason I hate the cheesy smart-alecky LP one-liners (like these ones on Thorntree). Simple and straightforward is a much better way to go. --Wandering 16:20, 9 January 2008 (EST)
Peter, I don't agitate that it shouldn't be short, I'm only focusing on sweet. Consider Hungary#Cities: although not everything is sweet there (and not perfect overall), almost every city has a descriptive annotation, giving a rough idea of what to go there for.
Wandering, but there are always people who never been in South Asia and at some point they start thinking which place to choose, and why. My point is that we should help them from the one-liners on. And the Thorntree one-liners you gave definitely do help to start for those having no idea what these regions are all about. If we don't like the way they're written there, we can change it at WT. But I disagree that we shouldn't have such stuff at all. --DenisYurkin 12:35, 11 January 2008 (EST)
I'm not against one-liners as long as they are not cheesy. The TT one-liners, for example, definitely don't help in thinking about which place to choose " Not only elephants, snake charmers, price rises, immodium and curry in a hurry,"Supplement your Shoestring with the word from the road," - why bother writing anything at all! Finally, I think that any description should try not to be western-centric, or even outsider-centric. The TT descriptions tend to be written from the point of view of a western traveler, when, any TT user of say the Indian Subcontinent, clearly knows that a good 25-30% of the regular contributers are Indians. And, we should want the millions of Indians who travel every year in their own country to check wikitravel before they leave. So (1) not cheesy, and (2) not western-centric (and (3) short and sweet) are essential (IMHO, of course!).--Wandering 13:20, 11 January 2008 (EST)
Hmm, we may just be having a semantic difference then—"short and sweet" is a colloquialism that basically just means short. The sweet part just means that the brief content should be meaningful, not fluff. The Hungary cities' descriptions all look good to me (although perhaps Budapest deserves a little more). I definitely agree that one liners should try to hit on exactly why someone should visit the destination, although this becomes rather impossible for enormous, wildly diverse destinations like India. I'll try and see if I can make the wording a little clearer and less jargony.
I do take a little issue with Wandering's advocacy that our writing not be outsider-centric, because ultimately our guides are written for the traveler. Who the outsider is, exactly, varies at each level of our hierarchy, so the content written about India generally should be geared to an outsider (of India), while content written about New Delhi should be geared to outsiders of that city (i.e., people not from New Dehli). Agree strongly though that we should do our best to avoid western-centric writing—that's not something we are always that successful with, unfortunately. But I suppose this no longer has much to do with one-liners ;) --Peter Talk 17:55, 11 January 2008 (EST)
Makes sense to me (the outsider centric part). Perhaps the focus should be on why people visit a country. Less of the immodium (no one I know visits India because of an immodium addiction) and more of the reasons. The current description "Rich and exotic culture , several languages and a billion people" for India is pretty good but perhaps overemphasizes the short. Hmmm. Isn't that what DenisYurkin was saying in the first place? (I still think though that these descriptions are closer to aesthetic fillers than to useful text.) --Wandering 18:07, 11 January 2008 (EST)
A quick clarification (and I'm still thinking through this so my apologies for any apparent inconsistencies). I'm not advocating that we write travel articles for local people (unless we start doing an insiders guide series), just that we write travel articles that local people will read. A flip description of a country or region creates the impression that the site is operated by outsiders for outsiders. We shouldn't want the site to be a turn-off. --Wandering 10:36, 13 January 2008 (EST)
Peter, this edit reflects the meaning I voted for. Thanks for resolving the misunderstanding, it was mainly my fault to be unaware of the colloquialism. --DenisYurkin 18:49, 11 January 2008 (EST)


As the "Dash - just one simple one, not -- or — or — or –" line has just been removed [3], can the {{disclaimerbox|This is a draft policy and consensus has not yet been established behind it. Discussion is underway on the talk page}} tag be removed now? ~ 04:12, 17 January 2008 (EST)

Sure, I think we have at least a tacit consensus on all other points. I've removed it. --Peter Talk 16:25, 17 January 2008 (EST)

Full stop

Can someone explain why one liner listings don't have a full stop at the end of the sentence? I understand the notion behind one liner listings but without a full stop at the end of the sentence, it looks unfinished. I think it can be short and sweet with a full stop. --MarinaK 13:29, 3 September 2008 (EDT)MarinaK.

We don't have full stops because the descriptions are supposed to be phrases, not sentences. That's a limiting measure to keep them from growing too long, since information should principally be on the city article, not the region article. We often have phrases that grow by liberal use of semicolons, which isn't that great, but that underscores the usefulness of keeping the descriptions to phrase rather than paragraph form. Not to say I'd necessarily object to the policy change you recommend, but I'd like to see more discussion and more arguments pro first. --Peter Talk 17:04, 3 September 2008 (EDT)
Thanks for explaining Peter. It would be great if there was some discussion about this, but I appreciate the explanation. --MarinaK 18:23, 3 September 2008 (EDT)MarinaK.
I prefer without as well... these are similar to the little boxes on LP maps pointing out highlights... no full stops either, just quick phrase – cacahuate talk 20:55, 3 September 2008 (EDT)
Having worked at LP for over four years, I think its more clear in a printed guide that these are one liner listings- i.e, they're in a boxed text, as a caption, or italicised. Without some sort of differention that they are one liner listings, at LP we would never let them appear without a full stop. On a wikitravel article, there is no differention that these are one liner listings, so ignoring a period at the end of a sentence seems unnecessary. --MarinaK 13:34, 4 September 2008 (EDT)MarinaK.