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: Also note that administrative divisions are not the be-all and end-all of destinations: in your example, if there is no benefit to the travellers of splitting up the city and taluka, then don't. [[User:Jpatokal|Jpatokal]] 21:37, 4 Jan 2006 (EST)
 
: Also note that administrative divisions are not the be-all and end-all of destinations: in your example, if there is no benefit to the travellers of splitting up the city and taluka, then don't. [[User:Jpatokal|Jpatokal]] 21:37, 4 Jan 2006 (EST)
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Revision as of 20:05, 28 March 2006

Sidebars

So, there are some things that seem to me would make sense to have articles about, but I don't know exactly where they fit here. In "normal" travel guides, they'd be things that would be pulled out of the text as sidebars. That is, indepth articles about a very particular aspect of a place -- its culture, its history, its cuisine, etc. Examples might be:

  • Modernist architecture in Barcelona
  • Separatism in Quebec
  • Kansas City barbecue
  • Tango music in Argentina

Any opinions? These all seem like they could be slippery slopes, yet it seems hard to imagine that we'd leave them out, or just make them small parts of city or country articles. Any ideas? -- Evan 07:40, 30 Oct 2003 (PST)

I think that it is important to include this kind of information somewhere. Perhaps there can be a "Related articles" link as part of the standard template, to create a sidebar type of space. Hanzo 11:00, 30 Oct 2003 (PST)
I'll join the discussion late :-) I do not think it is a slippery slope. But that kind of articles fall rigth between WikiTravel and Wikipedia, so we would get a lot of overlap with Wikipedia. E.g. Wikipedia have both a Tango and a "Music of Argentina" article. If it were not for licensing problems we could almost have a special tag that would make a link to Wikipedia on online versions and an include into a a framed box on printouts. At least we should try to make such articles dual-licensed. -- elgaard 06:19, 12 Apr 2005 (EDT)



Dhum Dhum: I'm not sure I'm convinced by the exception for events. What information do we need to give on the Hajj that couldn't be covered in Mecca? How much detail of schedule, locations, etc., can or should we give on the Hajj? Could you justify this? I also think that the Hajj is a bad example; it's more of a journey than a destination, isn't it? -- Evan 07:30, 12 Nov 2003 (PST)

Indeed — I think the Hajj is more of an itinerary than a destination. But it should still have its own article. Jpatokal 00:07, 31 Mar 2005 (EST)

Granularity of Wikitravel; Cuisine cross-references for metropolitan areas

Moved from Wikitravel:travellers' pub by Evan

This is not a question about a specific page, but more a question on the Wikitravel goals and concepts that this page raises. I use the specific page only as an illustration of the larger question.

I recently created a page Bay Area (California)/Localized Chinese cuisine as an attempt to help travellers who come to San Francisco and are disatisfied with the Chinese food here (I and others have received such complaints over the years, at least partly because even Americanized Chinese food in SF is different from that found elsewhere). One Wikian commented that the page seemed too granular. So I was wondering, how granular is Wikitravel allowed to be? (Wikipedia can be quite granular, however, I realize the two Wiki's goals are not the same.)

I also perceive there is a need for some cross-referencing in general within a large metropolitan area. For instance, one could find all restaurants in an area by drilling down to all pages within that area, but they might not know to go to Fremont to look for highly authenttic Indian or Afghan food. In fact, they might not even know to look for Afghan food. The cross-reference would not need to list all restaurants in a region, only those Wikians felt worthy of being linked to from a regional page. (I do not recommend having restaurant reviews on the regional page, only links to the actual review or Eat section on the lowest level page.)

Perhaps the two ideas need to merge, and the content on San Francisco Bay Area Chinese Cuisine belongs in a same-named section on a page of Bay Area (California)/Eat cross-reference instead of on a page of its own.

Related to that is, would it make sense for neighborhoods or cities with a lot of restaurant reviews to have subheadings by cuisine, just as Stay has subheadings by price range?

I know the idea here is to plunge forward, but since there has been some questioning of the need for this new page, I'd like to get some general discussion going before doing any more plunging.

Notty 02:59, Feb 5, 2004 (EST)

It's good that you brought this up. We have a page on our goals and non-goals, pages on Wikitravel:What is an article?, and some ideas about how articles should be laid out. We don't normally use sub-pages (pages with "/" in the title) with the exception of for districts of a city.
We normally try to sort restaurants, bars, and hotels by price range.
The place for general information about cuisine and food is in the "Eat" section of a guide. If you want to talk about Chinese food in the Bay Area, it should go in the Eat section of that article. I'd say it would merit a paragraph or so there. This would also be the place to put information about good places to go for certain kinds of cuisine.
Probably the main disconnect for new contributors is thinking of Wikitravel as "only" a Web site. If that were the case, we'd probably be open to lots of teensy articles about tiny topics -- travellers could then just click through to find what they want.
But it's not the case. We really are trying to create compact, readable destination guides that are useful for the majority of travellers, in a variety of media -- print, Web, off-line digital format. So an entire article devoted to comparing types of Chinese food in one geographical region is kinda off-topic and not really what we want. --Evan 11:24, 5 Feb 2004 (EST)

Suburbs vs districts

Moved to Talk:Sydney although people's input still appreciated! -- Hypatia 08:39, 18 Sep 2004 (EDT)

Explicit exception for large airports

Following discussion on Wikitravel:Votes for deletion regarding Chubu International Airport, I hereby propose adding airports to the As an exception paragraph. Suggested wording:

  • large airports like Kansai International Airport, which are far from the cities they serve and major transit hubs (so many passengers travel through the airport without visiting the city)

Discuss. Jpatokal 21:54, 24 Mar 2005 (EST)

I agree. Chubu International Airport and Kansai International Airport conince me that it's helpful to give travellers a heads-up about airport oddities, that it's useful know in detail the many ways of getting from the airport to nearby cities (like the trains in Chubu; detail like this would overburden a city article). And when air travel becomes difficult, it's nice to know where the nearest hotel is. As major airports are an unavoidable part of large-distance travel, we should have articles on these challenges. -- Colin 02:59, 25 Mar 2005 (EST)
Agree (moved from Wikitravel:Votes for deletion): Big airports are becoming land transport hubs in their own right. Why travel into the city centre, when you can get straight there from the airport. London's Heathrow for instance has bus links to useful peripheral railway stations and coaches to all over the UK. Surely Wikitravel should be about making the nuts and bolts of travelling easier as well as giving informations on sights, towns & cities. DanielC 11:18, 24 Mar 2005 (GMT)
I do not know if an explicit exception should be made for big airports. Define what you mean by big anyway. I think the test should be pretty much as it stands in the guidelines now. The key is information overload. If you find you need to write more about the airport than the rest of the city then that may be a good sign it may need a separate article. Similarly if there is no city nearby, only the airport, then that qualifies already too. Perhaps more explanation is needed, but the rules should be simple and flexible. e.g. When an airport is a city, or town, in its own right (and some are) then it deserves an article. Also why limit ourselves to just airports? What about major ferry terminals, boarder crossings, railway stations, subways and other big transport facilities that the traveller is going to spend a lot of time in and have to navigate around. (I am not talking about every tiny little tinpot place, just the big ones with lots of platforms on different levels and with multiple access points, people, services and destinations.) Pinning things down too tightly could limit us in other exceptional cases that desrve articles as it limits discretion. -- Huttite 07:55, 25 Mar 2005 (EST)
I can't think of a single major ferry terminal, railway station or subway outside city limits. Shinjuku is the biggest station in the world and fits nicely in the district article, even if some kind soul someday draws a 3D map of the 100+ exits and 9 train lines within. Border crossings almost always have a small (or large) town on each side. Jpatokal 10:39, 25 Mar 2005 (EST)
I disagree. We can figure out exceptions on a case-by-case basis, without adding them here. --Evan 09:49, 25 Mar 2005 (EST)
Large airports are a class of exception and should be listed. The amount of ink already wasted on this, despite the fact that most everybody thinks Chubu's a decent article, shows that the rules are neither simple nor flexible by default. Jpatokal 10:39, 25 Mar 2005 (EST)
If we don't add large airports as a specific exception, then if someone nominates another one for deletion, then the presumption will be that they should be deleted and we'll need to debate it again for 14 days. If we add it is as a specific exception, then any relevant new articles are unlikely to be nominated. DanielC 22:40, 30 Mar 2005 (BST)
The question probably is: Where do you draw the line with large? Or with airports? I accept that some of these places should have articles, they probably deserve, even need, articles. I believe the criteria to be met already exist in the guidelines. Articles that satisfy the guidelines would not be deleted. Each of these places can be successfully dealt with on a case by case basis and, up till now, this has been the case. For myself, I ask that those who contribute to the exceptional article be prepared to give a reasonable explanation why an article is justified. For example: It employs 10,000 people who also live onsite or has 20 hotels with at least 100 rooms in each in its boundary or some other justificaton that says this is more than a piece of runway and an old drafty hangar that is used to keep the rain off waiting passengers. -- Huttite 05:21, 31 Mar 2005 (EST)

You'll note that my original definition specifies airports that are (a) far away from the cities they serve and (b) major transit hubs. If you really want, I can slap in numbers like "50 km" for (a) and "over 10 million pax/year" for (b), but I doubt this is what either of us are looking for.

The policy currently talks only about "attractions", which is not exactly the right word for an airport. I would suggest that, as a more generic approach, we merge "exception" and "another exception" paragraphs, and make it clearer that the list of examples below is just that, not an authoritative definition.

Here's a starting point:

We prefer that attractions and sites be included in the article for the place they're located (see where you can stick it for details). But we make rare exceptions for attractions or sites that are far away (too far for a day trip) from any city and would require an overnight stay, or so large and complex that the information about them would overload the city article. Some examples of possible exceptions include:
As with most decisions on Wikitravel, consensus drives the process, but we try to err on the side of consistency and not make these exceptions unless we absolutely have to.

Opinions? Edit at will. Jpatokal 05:42, 31 Mar 2005 (EST)

Sounds good to me. I await other opinons with interest. -- Huttite 05:46, 31 Mar 2005 (EST)
I like this formulation you have provided ("info... would overload the city article") for the exceptions. -- Colin 03:05, 6 Apr 2005 (EDT)
I took out the part about exceptions being "judged", since I don't think there's a well-defined process, nor should there be. I also added back in that exceptions are rare, and that these are attractions or features, not destinations. I think we really need to stay focused on travel guides, not just travel-related stuff that we feel like writing about. Otherwise, fine. --Evan 09:14, 6 Apr 2005 (EDT)
Sorry, I don't understand the reason you don't want "destinations". Most airports are hardly "attractions" and the same can be said for (say) border towns like Poipet, Cambodia (best snappy summary: "rhymes with toilet"), but travelers will still find themselves stuck there and thus Wikitravel should cater to them, no...?
So far we've mostly used "destinations" to mean cities, regions, countries and continents. Destinations almost always get their own article. I changed "attractions and features" to "attractions and sites". Do you have to use "destinations"? --Evan 10:36, 10 Apr 2005 (EDT)
Also, I think something has to be said to make it clearer that not every national park or large airport gets its own article, which is what the paragraph you cut out was trying to do. Jpatokal 06:09, 10 Apr 2005 (EDT)
"Rare exceptions"... "possible exceptions"... I thought it was clear, but I added in some more text to be specific that we want to follow the rules if possible. Edit at will. --Evan 10:36, 10 Apr 2005 (EDT)

I think we have consensus now and I've edited in the new definition. Yay! Jpatokal 11:21, 17 May 2005 (EDT)

Planes, Trains, and Cruise ships

So we have the conversation about airports above, one about Cruise Ships/Lines going on somewhere else and now train routes have come up. I just wanted to open up a general discussion of transportation-as-travel and how it should be handled. Personally, I love me a good train/boat ride, but I'm not sure how to deal with this intersection of destinations and travel topic. However it's done, it would be nice to see some consistency of course... Here's some articles for reference:

Ideas and thoughts please!

I see the articles about Transportation as travel as another way of seeing travel. Since transportation is generally how travelers travel, some article about the subject are reasonable. These sorts of article are generally continent wide things. Also, do not discount the value of these article for bringing website visitors and hence new contributors. Some other article for reference are:
In general, I see the transportation information as sitting in the Get in and Get around sections of a destination. However, when what you have to say starts needing to be repeated on every destination page in an area, country or region (and you are saying pretty much the same thing every time), AND it cannot be said in a few lines, THEN (and only then) should there be an article about it. There seems to be an undocumented cultural body of knowledge that local users of transport services know and acquire through everyday use that would help a traveler from out of town. For example: From Wikitravel articles I now know that in some parts of Europe fares are based on time on the service, not distance traveled, as is the case in New Zealand. Also, railway tickets are often purchased from a machine in the United Kingdom before boarding the train, rather than from the Guard on the train, as is customary in NZ. These sorts of cultural differences may upset or confuse travelers. Tips on saving money may also be helpful, (though copying the fare chart may not be - as fares change), as travelers can pay more than they need to, simply by not knowing the options. Knowing what to, and not to, expect is where these articles should go, in my opinion. We could even have a template!? -- Huttite 06:12, 9 Apr 2005 (EDT)
I just want to clarify that I think that these are important topics to cover and that the content has a lot of value. I'm just concerned about how to cover it. The Driving in Australia and other firm "travel topics" do a great job, but ig you look at the rail pages listed above, you get this weird place/topic intersection that I'm finding confusing. I guess the problem for me is the details-- in the Driving in Australia article no one is trying to explain what every road in Australia is like or every road trip. But Rail travel in North America has started to list all the major rail lines and where they go... maybe this is a good thing, I'm just not sure. Majnoona 10:27, 10 Apr 2005 (EDT)
Maybe I should throw my two cents in since I designed the Rail travel in North America format. I was trying to base the format off Discount_airlines_in_Europe. Also, I just noticed someone did a lot of editing. I'm not sure who, because I only have an IP. Some of the info the anon user added wasn't useful in the section it was placed in. I'll change that.
In the sub article Rail travel in North America/Amtrak Routes I note that there are 34 Amtrak routes and only list 8. These were the routes I (though some may disagree) thought have more importance/revelance than other routes. I tried to use routes that cover a major attractions. I.e. I explain routes that have multiple major destinations i.e. a Chicago; Salt Lake City; Reno, NV; and Sacramento, CA instead of a route that covers mostly NY state two Northern Ohio routes and Chicago.
Mostly we have tried to limit sub-articles on the grounds that having all of the information a traveller might need on a destination/topic in a single article is better for travellers. With very few exceptions travellers don't have access to the internet while actually exploring a new destination, etc. so we try to keep the information easy to print. It's easier to print a single web page than it is to print a parent page and a bunch of sub-pages. This is especially true if you are in an internet cafe and want to limit the time (and money) you spend browsing Wikitravel, but would like to print out some useful information about where you are or where you are going next. -- Mark 02:18, 12 Apr 2005 (EDT)
I think it may be wiser to use sub article to keep an article clean/easy to use. How this sub article should be formatted is a valid argument, because you can get into things like routes that cross regions or route names. I would go with the latter, because a lot of the time routes can cross multiple regions. Sapphire 01:52, 12 Apr 2005 (EDT)
P.S. I noticed that Huttite mentioned fares. I'm against adding fares to info, unless the author stresses its only an estimate. I refuse to add fare prices, because there are too many factors that can change a fare in a moment - oil prices, government assistance, lay offs, service changes. Sapphire 01:58, 12 Apr 2005 (EDT)
I mentioned fares in several contexts.
  1. The basis e.g. Based on time, sector or distance or some other measure, such as free or fixed charge. I think this sort of explanation is very helpful to the traveler and should be explained, especially if it is unusual.
  2. I think the tariff or charge per fare measurement unit should not be included in detail although a typical or maximum fare should be given to indicate expected cost. There should be a URL or contact details to allow one to find detailed and current fare information.
  3. Discount or money-saving options should be indicated.
  4. Purchase method and location should be indicated. E.g. Exact cash fare as no change given, Purchase at ticket office or vending machine before boarding or Electronic tickets - must be booked and paid in advance, etc.
- Huttite 07:26, 13 Apr 2005 (EDT)

Chicken Bus

I'm travelling right now in Guatemala. One colourful form of transportation is the chicken bus, a colourfully-decorated, insanely driven, overcrowded, underpowered bus used by the locals. It merits a sidebar in many of the Guatemala guidebooks I've read. It's described as a cultural experience worth sampling. The chicken bus options should be described in the Getting There and Getting Away section of most destination articles in Guatemala. Yet there is no article on chicken busses. Reading Wikitravel:What is an article?, I get the impression that Wikitravel doesn't have a place for an article on chicken busses. If so, we are missing the boat, err, bus here. Where should the chicken busses be written up? JimDeLaHunt 18:15, 20 Dec 2005 (EST)

Under Guatemala#Get around#By bus. Jpatokal 20:04, 20 Dec 2005 (EST)
Good suggestion. I think the topic is an appropriate place to write up the material. However, it's not straightforward to link to. It's easy for a novice editor to make a link to [[chicken bus]], but harder to come up with the link format of [[Guatemala#Get around#By bus|chicken bus]]. Maybe we need an article called chicken bus which redirects to Guatemala#Get around#By bus? JimDeLaHunt 20:07, 21 Dec 2005 (EST)
Go ahead. HTML-wise "Guatemala#By bus" will actually suffice. Jpatokal 20:25, 21 Dec 2005 (EST)
There's no reason for a "Chicken Bus" article. The information clearly goes into Guatemala. Here's the reason: One way people use Wikitravel articles is by printing them out. If we were to make separate articles for modes of transportation or attractions then you'd have to spend quite a bit of time printing out all the stuff you need for a given destination. If we include all of the pertinent information in the destination article then the user only has to print once. In fact the user is likely to only print once anyhow, so if your Chicken Bus info is in a separate article the user will never see it.
Agreed that printouts are one way to use Wikitravel, but what about on-line browsing? In that form, you can follow links. (This discussion arose because I did the wiki thing of linking to an article I thought should exist, in an article about a destination.) The merit of an article entitled chicken bus is that you can link to it from many articles. It can be a place to put more detailed information about chicken busses for people who expect to do lots of travel that way, and multiple photos for people who want to just learn more. The drawback of putting chicken bus info only in the [[Guatemala#by bus]] section is that we have to keep that part concise in order to keep the Guatemala article a reasonable length to print out. JimDeLaHunt 19:04, 23 Dec 2005 (EST)
It is all very well to create a link to an article about a chicken bus but that is a mode of transport and if we are having articles about transport we should have a hierachy for those, which would be Transport >Land > Public > Bus > Chicken. We do not have many, if any, other article about Buses, yet. So if we were to accept Chicken bus as a legitimate article topic then we would need to accept all the other modes of transport as legitimate topics. If you are going to be writing about the Chicken buses then you should first write about it in Guatemala and have perhaps a summary of information in each Guatemala article that you mention Chicken bus. If the article about Guatemala then becomes dominated by the information about Chicken buses then you have a case for having a separate article, but not beforehand. Besides, when I am reading a Wikitravel article on-line and I come across a term like Chicken bus I want to read about it immediately in the article rather than having to move away, wait for a new page to download, to find out what is being discussed, then come back - in other words it save the reader time. To paraphrase what we also say about external links: "We need the information here(now) not there(later)". Yes we may duplicate a paragraph a few times. But that is the compromise we have made by deciding the granularity of articles we write about. I also think that your question has already been answered in the discussion below too - in a similar way. - Huttite 20:36, 23 Dec 2005 (EST)
Mark resumes: Additionally we need for Wikitravel articles to be easy to find. I find it really unlikely that a traveller who doesn't already know about the Chicken Bus would ever type that phrase into the search box. However it's entirely likely that they would type "Guatemala". Therefore if you make a separate article for "Chicken Bus" it will have much much lower readership than if you put it in the article on Guatemala. I imagine you want the information read, otherwise you wouldn't be here, so don't go hiding it in its own article. -- Mark 02:56, 22 Dec 2005 (EST)
We can have sidebars in Wikitravel as well, so why not put it in one, in the By bus section? (Example: Tokyo#Get in) Assuming that chicken buses are among the most unique and interesting things in Guatemala -- we don't want too many sidebars.
Mark, wouldn't breadcrumb navigation/isIn, or whatever it's called, enable a user to print out a whole tree of articles, in this case automatically including Chicken Bus in the Guatemala tree? Of course that's when the system has been implemented, and I agree that right now (and even in the future) it shouldn't be an article on its own. -- Paul Richter 03:49, 22 Dec 2005 (EST)
No, I don't think breadcrumb navigation would help one find "Chicken Bus". IsIn and hence the breadcrumbs are for Geographical Hierarchy. It makes no sense at all to use them for modes of transport or attractions (apparently Chicken Bus is both) - to do so would screw up the RDF.
Besides even if there were to be some kind of breadcrumb for "Chicken Bus" that still would not help readers find the article in the first place. I'm going to stand by the notion that putting that sort of info in a sub-article effectively hides it. I want to be able to print once and have the entire destination guide. Already I have to print an extra time to get the map if any, which is a necessary evil I suppose.
For an example of a guide which has sub-pages for each and every little thing check out [1]. Try using it for actual travel. It's a PITA (IMHO). This is what we're trying to avoid here.
Now, I suppose that a sidebar which keeps the information there on the page would be fine, but I would prefer that we stick to the listing format we've got. What would be really cool is a Photo of a Chicken Bus. -- Mark 05:16, 22 Dec 2005 (EST)
Yes, I agree that Guatemala/Get Around/Chicken Bus is the best place to put this info. One side note: I would like to use some sort of RDF relationship to say, "Article X is closely related to Article Y". It wouldn't be the same spatial relationship as used in the IsIn template, but it'd be similar. --Evan 10:57, 22 Dec 2005 (EST)

Added an initial couple of paragraphs on Chicken busses under Guatemala#By bus. We'll see how it goes. It occurs to me that I could also carve out an article in Wikipedia too. There isn't one there now. JimDeLaHunt 11:23, 24 Dec 2005 (EST)

Template for regions with small centers of population

Moved from Wikitravel talk:Using Mediawiki templates --JanSlupski 04:39, 11 Apr 2005 (EDT)

I have one point I'd like to raise: I wonder whether a new format should be designed for regions like Everest in Nepal, possibly based on the 'small city' format. Although the centers of population along the trek are listed as 'cities' in Wikitravel, in reality they are generally no more than a few houses - the biggest village being about 50 houses, with many consisting of no more than two or three dwellings. If each or these villages are designated their own page, as in say the listings for cities in a country, I wonder what information could be used to complete the pages. At a stretch all the lodges could be listed under the 'sleep' section, though as they are all of similar design and cost and there are no street names or telephones, this would only be a list of names. Possibly the 'see' section could have information about which mountains are visible from a particular village. Otherwise, every village is pretty much the same. Also, I wonder of the benefit for the traveler to have this information spread out over 10 or 12 pages. In the 'small city' format, all information is convenietly included on the one page, irrespective of its location within the city - for example the western part of town may have beaches, while to the north there might be a castle. However, as neither of these districts have enough attractions to constitute being individual pages within themselves, they are included under the general heading of the city in which they are located. Anyway, just throwing out some ideas...

I think Itinerary could be best option for this kind of article. --JanSlupski 04:39, 11 Apr 2005 (EDT)
  • Hi Jan, that's a good suggestion. However, it brings me to another question: What should 'Itinerary' pages be listed under on the main country page? I note that the 'Appalachian Trail' is listed as being in the U.S., but there is no mention of the trail on the U.S. page. So, for example, what should the Everest trek be listed under on the Nepal page? It is already listed under treks, but it seems that the format used on the page does not comply with the Wikitravel style. I'm very happy to amend it if someone points me in the right direction. Thanks again for your suggestions and for moving my question to the correct page.

A Comprehensive Travel Guide?

I'm seeking wider discussion of the scope of WikiTravel as a "comprehensive travel guide". I wrote up the Flower Ridge node based on my dissatisfaction with local hiking guidebooks, but the feedback I've received suggests that this is outside the scope of WT. Considering you can sleep there, can someone point me to another general rule that excludes it? -- Vagary

I think it's within the scope of Wikitravel, but the formatting of the article doesn't really fall into either of the existing boxes we have, namely the Wikitravel:Park template or the Wikitravel:Itinerary article template. I think a trail is, by nature, closer to an itinerary because you're suggesting a route through a large destination — could you try reworking it as such? Jpatokal 22:56, 28 Jun 2005 (EDT)
So far we've just talked about the templates and the rule-of-thumb of do you sleep there?, but that's not really enough to answer the "why" question about doing it this way or that way. Here's why we do it that way:
Wikitravel is first and formost for travellers. This includes all kinds of travellers, those who can afford a fancy hotel, and all the books you can recommend, as well as those travellers who are on a shoestring and have been wandering for 2 years and have just happened into town with their backpack and are at an internet café trying to find something out about your town. This is why we primarily make destination guides. A destinati on guide allows someone visiting a given destination to print once and have all the information we can provide about that destination. Printing once is important because internet cafés charge by the hour, or sometimes by the minute. If you are at one and you discover that your destination, say Flower Ridge is documented as 40 trails on 40 different pages then you have a problem because you only have enough time/money to print 2 or 3 destination pages and check your email (this is vital to some contemporary travellers, pretty much the same ones who use Wikitravel).
This said, if you want to keep documenting your destination by individual trails, please go ahead! Your contribution is most welcome indeed! Thank you very much. Please don't be offended however when somebody combines the pages you contribute into a single destination page. -- Mark 01:23, 29 Jun 2005 (EDT)
This discussion touches upon something that I've been thinking about lately...how to cover subjects like specific trails and byways where you can follow the whole route from end to end, or simply see whatever section interests you. Take a look at http://www.byways.org . Many of the suggested itineraries cross state lines, and there is no obligation to see things in any sequence.
One good example is the Great River Road, which extends north-south along the Mississippi River. Another is Iowa's Loess Hills, which the state tourism office promotes as a destination in of itself, even though the hills meander here and there in the western part of the state. The Pacific Coast Highway might also fall into this category.
These examples may not be as compelling enough for an entire article in the same way as Grand Canyon National Park, but their size makes them harder to cram into a city listing. -- Mikito 01:53, 29 Jun 2005 (EDT)
The great river road, in my opinion, is a good example of an itinerary, especially since it passes through multiple states. I think it's also worth mentioning it in articles for destinations it passes nearby, in the Get in or Get out or possibly even Get around section (Quad cities?).
I think a single hiking trail is way way too granular though. Think about what it would be like to try to print out 50 different guides for the 50 different hiking trails in a given park in a situation where you are paying for access according to time. If you can sleep in the park, then it can be a destination and all the different trails can go in there.
By the way, Evan, can we get rid of the "this page is getting to big" warning? I believe it runs counter to our goals in this regard. -- Mark 05:15, 29 Jun 2005 (EDT)
I agree completely with Mark's points above. There is a point when a trail becomes an itinerary (the Appalachian Trail is one extreme example), but the limiting factor seems to be whether or not the trail is its own destination or whether it is within another destination. In the case being discussed, people don't visit the Flower Ridge Trail, they visit Strathcona Provincial Park. For the sake of clarity, if there is eventually just too much detail in the Strathcona article then it can be sub-divided into districts (that could potentially be based on trails), but it's a bit of a slippery slope to take an article that is little more than a stub and start out by creating sub-articles for each and every trail.
Still, this is a wiki, and every user is a contributor and an editor, so please plunge forward and add as much detail as you like, but be aware that other users may then attempt to integrate that information back into the parent. -- Wrh2 05:40, 29 Jun 2005 (EDT)
I've thought of one more way to try to clarify this: Wikitravel is not just a single travel guide, rather it is a collection of travel guides for a collection of destinations. We want every one of our travel guides to be comprehensive, which mean put everything you can think of about a destination into the guide.
A very fine level of granularity is a really easy trap to fall into on the web, but then you get pages which are almost all navigation and no substance. This is a problem we've observed with a few other travel guide sites, and we'd like to avoid it. -- Mark 05:22, 29 Jun 2005 (EDT)
Wow. Nicely said, sir. --Evan 11:00, 29 Jun 2005 (EDT)
Vagary: good question. I think that trail guides are extremely useful for hikers and bikers, but require a lot of upkeep, and they challenge how our other destination guides are laid out. I think they most closely match to itineraries. My initial suggestion would be to leave them out, since I think there are hundreds of trails in parks I know of, and expanding that around the world is a staggering task.
However, I do agree that hiking and biking are another way of seeing travel. I'd like to suggest that interested people start an expedition to see how trail guides fit into the rest of Wikitravel; to perhaps work up some scheme for linking trail guides from the "normal" park guide, and perhaps work on a few sample articles? I think that itineraries are a good start, but there are probably a lot of tweaks that would need to be made
Finally, I note that we don't use the word "comprehensive", but rather "complete".... which is admittedly more of a zen koan or a Borges short story than a realizable goal. --Evan 11:00, 29 Jun 2005 (EDT)

Festivals

In the current article on Mecca there is some discussion about having a link for the Hajj. According to Wikitravel:What is an article?:

"As another exception, and an even rarer one, certain exceptional or singularly important festivals/events could have their own articles. Examples are:"

At the moment I don't think there are any festival/event articles, and a strong case can be made that the Hajj can & should be described in the Mecca article, so can this exception be removed for now? If in the future there is a need for detailed articles on festivals then the issue can be re-visited. -- Wrh2 16:13, 30 Jul 2005 (EDT)

The problem here is that the Hajj involves a very large number of people crossing borders in order to attend an event in a single destination. The fact is that travellers from different countries will have different problems in reaching Mecca, problems which should not necessily have coverage in the Mecca artical. -- Mark 16:47, 30 Jul 2005 (EDT)
In that case since the article would mostly be about "different problems in reaching Mecca", if someone wrote such an article couldn't it be seen as an itinerary, and thus not need a special exception in Wikitravel:What is an article? The two concerns I have are 1) there should be some consistency between "What is an article?" specifically calling out the Hajj as an exceptional case, and the Mecca article not having the Hajj as a link and 2) exceptions should be made only when absolutely necessary (IMHO) so it seems premature to make festival/event articles special cases in "What is an article?" since none yet exist. -- Wrh2 17:13, 30 Jul 2005 (EDT)
I made an attempt to plunge forward and clarify things a bit. The examples of exceptions now all link to existing articles, and nothing in the current text would preclude something like the Hajj from ever becoming an article (events are specifically mentioned as possible exceptions). Hopefully this is an improvement, but if not revert away. -- Wrh2 15:59, 31 Jul 2005 (EDT)

Mountain Ranges

I noticed today that the Andes Mountain Range is the number two (and maybe now the number one) most wanted article, but it makes me wonder, is an article about the mountain range appropriate? I've found the Swiss Alps and the New Zealand Southern Alps have articles, but there doesn't seem to be any specific mention in the guide as to whether or not we should have them. Opinions? -- Ilkirk 15:45, 26 Aug 2005 (EDT)

It seems like they fit in under 'Continental Sections' as they:
  • can be large enough to span countries,
  • can be destinations,
  • and you can sleep in (on) them.
How about the Rockies or the Cascades? Himalayas? I would consider articles for these before I would have considered one for the Appalachian Trail, not that I don't think it deserves an article. For me, the (perceived) conflict comes from the direction to not have articles for single attractions. (also from: 'This is not an atlas.') I would also consider Andes Mountain Range before I would consider one for Disneyland or even Angkor Wat, based upon size and the amount that you would need to know if you were traveling there. -- repayne 16:40, 26 Aug 2005 (EDT)

Non-Destinations

What are people's thoughts on articles on non-destinations - towns etc. that are only really of interest to locals, probably not even other people from the same country. Recent examples in the UK are: Brackley and (to a lesser degree) Hitchin. There also seem to be quite a lot of places in the USA that appear to be only of v.minor interest. Are these just vanity articles by people just wanting to write about their home town?

For me, they only serve to distract attention from the actually interesting places in each county / state. Should they be highlighted as only of minor interest, or deleted?

P.S. I wrote this several weeks ago, but decided not to post it. Now someone has started to write articles on very minor counties in North Dakota, with only a few people living there. Is this this start of a new Slippery Slope? DanielC 16:02, 8 May 2005 (EDT)

We encourage people to write about their home towns -- there is no minimum size. The only requirements are those in Wikitravel:What is an article?. Keep in mind that we intend to be a guide for all travellers, not just tourists. So if someone needs to travel to Nowhereville (North Dakota) to visit their mom, we want to be helpful.
While I'm not fond of using counties to subdivide states into regions, it's a good solution for a state you're unfamiliar with. They can always be recategorized later. -- Colin 19:54, 8 May 2005 (EDT)
Highlighting non-traditional destinations is one of the things that sets us apart from other guides that only have room to focus on the obvious tourist spots. Minot North Dakota is one of our favorite examples-- you probably wouldn't plan a trip out of your way to go there, but people end up there for weddings, business, etc. If you're talking about User:Stavp-- he's covering all the places he ends up on business, and I assume he's not the only one at his meetings, there are people interested.
As for "vanity articles" -- who better to write about a place than the locals? When I moved to Geneva, my mom gave me a copy of a Switerland guide-- I looked up Geneva only to see a single sentence "Expensive and uninteresting: don't bother going here." Not very useful for someone about to move there... I'd hate for us to start judging the "value" of different destinations (I'd have to argue against most of Florida and Los Angeles for example ;-) Majnoona
Well, you can see why I had second thoughts about writing this the first time. Anyway, now you are listening...
Who are the travellers we are aiming at? My impression from the Wikitravel:Goals and non-goals page was that the primary audience was travellers/tourists planning and doing trips away from their home area for which the main purpose was travel/tourism (and with a secondary, far less numerous target of people who happen to "land" in a place). In which case one of the primary tasks of any guide is to highlight interesting (which of course is different for everyone) places that it is worth your time / money visiting. My concern is that if Wikitravel moves towards being "encyclopedic", information overload leads to Wikitravel becoming less, not more useful. The focus on vanity articles stems from this. Locals are often over-enthusiastic about their area and can lack the distance / perspective to direct people to the worthwhile places or even admit that their hometown is actually quite boring. Plus, the smaller the place, the less likely that other Wikipedians will rebalance the article / area. One thing you notice about printed guides is that they scale from guides about a whole continent to ones about a small part of country, down to individual towns, but each tries to highlight places that it's readers would most enjoy visiting. For Wikitravel, this task is much harder but this is the real "added value" real, informed, knowledgable and enthusiastic travellers bring.
Now my chance to agree (somewhat): Yes, articles on obscure places by informed writers are what can set Wikitravel apart. The Falkland Islands is a good example of this. I am half way through trying to do articles on lots of places in Sicily, and I will surely get upset if someone tells me that Sciacca isn't worth an article. I do think, however that an article on Munich in Cavalier County (North Dakota) is somewhat different. I am not (necessarily) proposing that there shouldn't be an article on it, but we should somehow find a way to put it's worth in context. In my "Rough Guide" (similar to Lonely Planet) to the USA , North Dakota has only 4 pages out of 1000 (0.4%) (it's way of (un)highlightimg the area's importance to "travellers"). The Theodore Roosevelt National Park is highlighted as worth visiting, as are about 5 other towns. As currently laid out, Wikitravel could have over 100 articles for this state. If we have decided to have all these articles, are we not doing a dis-service (readers come first) to our general readers planning trips unless we do more to adequately signpost to them only the principal attractions in this state, whilst leaving potential business travellers the opportunity to have an article on the town they will be staying in. We do have (almost) unlimited space, but do our readers have unlimited patience? DanielC 15:38, 9 May 2005 (EDT)
It doesn't matter how much patience they have, because they can read as much or as little as they like or don't. I really doubt that anybody will read every single page.
Now, think of it this way. If you are "stuck" in Minot some night, wouldn't you prefer that we have decent coverage so that you can figure out where to eat or find a drink? Or maybe you'd rather be left to figure it out on your own. Me, I prefer Wikitravel.-- Mark 15:50, 9 May 2005 (EDT)
I don't think Daniel is arguing for the complete elimination of "minor" destinations (although I could be wrong), but I think his point is that when planning a trip the "must-see" destinations should somehow be made more obvious. For example, when coming to San Francisco, information on Golden Gate Park, Chinatown, and Pier 39 shouldn't be buried by pages about Fremont, Walnut Creek, and other places that people are unlikely to want to see.
Would it be possible to add a "Highlights" or "Suggested Itineraries" section to the templates to provide a way of telling people "Hey, you really don't want to miss this"? That way someone stuck in Minot could still find hotel information, but a visitor to the US wouldn't necessarily think Wikitravel is putting Minot on the same level as New York (city). Wrh2 16:19, 9 May 2005 (EDT)
The region templates already include highlights for cities. And the See and Do sections list highlights and refer you to the correct article for more information. For example, Fremont is not a major destination, so it is only listed in the smallest enclosing region South Bay (Bay Area), but San Francisco is listed in Bay Area (California), California, and USA. Perhaps it's confusing that our Main Page includes featured articles rather than important articles. But if you just skip one level down by clicking North America, Africa, etc, I think you'll find major destinations strongly favored over the obscure in the directory (or at least, they are supposed to be). -- Colin 17:12, 9 May 2005 (EDT)

Random chatter

Swept in from the Wikitravel:Travellers' pub:

I recently stumbled across Robert Young Pelton's Come Back Alive http://ComeBackAlive.com/ . It describes traveling to some places that normal, sane, rational people would never list in a travel guide. So, should we mention these places in WikiTravel ? :-) --DavidCary 18:38, 23 Apr 2005 (EDT)

Which places? Apart for the title and the skulls it seems fairly normal. We already cover Norhtern Ireland, Jungles etc. -- elgaard 19:37, 23 Apr 2005 (EDT)
If it is (or could be) a destination, why shouldn't Wikitravel mention it? Some travelers are not normal, sane, or even rational. Just because a normal travel guide doesn't mention the place is no reason not to have a article in Wikitravel. Consider Grytviken; no normal, sane, rational travel guide publisher would consider listing such a place - because there is no money in it. The fact Wikitravel does, in some detail, with a picture, because someone loves the place, is good enough for me to think the article worthwile. -- Huttite 21:16, 23 Apr 2005 (EDT)
A lot of the out-of-the-way places don't make it into major travel guides because not enough people visit those destinations to make a book profitable. Anyone visiting one of those places is then stuck to figure things out on their own unless a site like Wikitravel helps them out (having an indepth article on the Falklands would have saved me countless hours a year ago). Using Grytviken as an example, it gets at most a few pages in some of the travel guides on the Antarctic, but Wikitravel will eventually probably be the only place that fully covers the place, including such oddities as the bar in the British Antarctic Survey station and a bit of history on Tim & Pauline Carr (the only full-year residents). IMHO, the more obscure destinations are what most belong on this site, and even for the people that never visit them they're great to read about. Wrh2 22:03, 23 Apr 2005 (EDT)
I think WikiTravel is tailor-made to cover areas like this. As a perfect example, in 2003 a friend and I headed to East Timor; just a few months after indepdence and as the UN was beginning it's withdrawal. Although the country was safe to visit, there were no useful travel guides. The only info available was written during Indonesian occupation, and since then the government, language, currency and day-to-day life had all changed. Not too mention the complete lack of infrastructure after retreating Indonisan militias razed the entire country to the ground. My friend and I spent our four weeks in the country researching like travel writers just to get by: looking for accommodation (there usually was none and we had to sleep in police stations), grilling Dep of Tourism officials and asking for lots of local advice. If I'd known about WikiTravel after my return I'd have converted my notes into the most accurate travel guide available at the time. But I think that sites like Come Back Alive (and similar others out there part of the 'danger travel' subculture) are little warped in their focus: travelling to war-torn countries like Sudan and Iraq for the 'thrill' and danger of it seems patronising to the people who have to endure day-to-day life in those countries. Allyak 01:56, 31 Aug 2005 (EDT)

A conflict of goals

We want articles to be as self-contained as possible, i.e. a traveller should not have to go to multiple articles if he is going on a short day trip to a place, for example. We also want attractions to be listed in the specific city or other lowest-level geographic unit they are in. What do we do when these come into conflict with one another. This happens frequently in India - for example, a visit to "Alibag" will actually involve visits to Kihim and Mandwa beaches, and a trip to the Murud Janjira fort, all of these are in different villages, and in fact Murud is a different taluka which is two levels of hierarchy away from Alibag. The city of Alibag (as distinct from the taluka of Alibag which contains the city) is very small and contains nothing worth seeing. I've used common sense and put all the attractions under Alibag, as that is where a traveller will be looking for the information.

Following the hierarchy too strictly will end up fragmenting things, with one article per attraction. I suspect we are facing the same problem with Digha and Mandarmani, and probably all those beaches of Goa. Chances are, every single beach of Goa is named after the little village it is in, but there is no reason to have one article per beach. I don't know if other parts of the world have this problem. I supect the US doesn't because their cities sprawl, but other countries must be having a problem. I wonder how it's been fixed. --Ravikiran 09:17, 4 Jan 2006 (EST)

Thailand has had similar issues (eg. Phuket, Koh Samui, Krabi, all basically stretches of coastline with beaches dotted all over the place). I think the key is, as usual, whether there are facilities for somebody to sleep at the beach or fort in question. If yes, it's a destination, if not, it's an excursion from a destination.
Also note that administrative divisions are not the be-all and end-all of destinations: in your example, if there is no benefit to the travellers of splitting up the city and taluka, then don't. Jpatokal 21:37, 4 Jan 2006 (EST)

my

My articles are good