Wikivoyage talk:Don't tout

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Introduction[edit]

I've been reading a lot of Wikivoyage guides that a have promotional, urgent tone to them. Although being proud of your town or business is a virtue, it's off-putting for readers. I wanted to come up with a guideline to say, "Describe, don't urge". This was the best I could come up with, but I'd like some help getting it right. Does the point come across? Is it important (I think it is)? Is it too negative? Please comment here and feel free to just edit away. --(WT-en) Evan 15:45, 7 Jan 2006 (EST)

Adding teeth[edit]

We're starting to get more cases where insistent touts keep adding the same hype again and again. Should we have some sort of policy that, if they keep doing this and especially if they're malicious about it (deleting the competition etc), the establishment in question should be 'blacklisted' entirely? (WT-en) Jpatokal 23:11, 3 August 2006 (EDT)

I agree in principle, but the language for this will have to be phrased very carefully. Deleting the competition is a clear no-no, but some of the other things may be harder to describe in ways that clearly identify malignant touts. -- (WT-en) Bill-on-the-Hill 00:47, 4 August 2006 (EDT)
I've noticed this recently as well, and for establishments that repeatedly delete the competition it might be a good idea to add a note on an article's talk page with a clear warning box to travelers indicating that the establishment in question has engaged in questionable business practices on Wikivoyage, and possibly also creating some kind of label that could be placed next to the establishment's name in the main article to indicate they have violated the Don't Tout policy. I don't think we can stop the touts entirely, and a blacklist could work against us - imagine someone removing their own establishment in order to make it look like a competitor should be blacklisted - but I do think it might be worthwhile to have some way of dissuading persistent touts from repeatedly removing valid information and replacing it with their own advertising. -- (WT-en) Ryan 00:57, 4 August 2006 (EDT)
Bump. I'd like to raise the idea again -- not deleting listing, but some kind of "touting flag" that's added for obnoxious behavior (eg. re-touting the listing multiple times) and links to eg. this page, and that can only be cleared by the business owner responding to the concerns raised here on Talk. (WT-en) Jpatokal 05:49, 14 July 2007 (EDT)

Legendary[edit]

I would add recommendation to explain abstract praises like Legendary, Recommended and maybe even Famous. It's OK to have any of them but I believe we'd prefer that contributors explain what exactly a particular hotel/restaurant/other business is legendary/famous/recommended for--and if it's legendary, try to detail that: among which sector of travellers it is famous (students/backpackers/business travellers/in US/among Russian travellers etc), and what for. Any support? --(WT-en) DenisYurkin 10:52, 27 January 2007 (EST)

I keep planning to make a page on Project:words to avoid. "Recommended", "highly recommended" and "suggested" would all be on it. They imply a particular recommender or suggester, which doesn't match well with a wiki-created guide book.
I'm not crazy about "legendary" except as applied to Odysseus and Paul Bunyan. It's not that it's inaccurate; it just doesn't contain much information useful to travellers. Maybe "well-known among backpackers" would be better? --(WT-en) Evan 14:56, 27 January 2007 (EST)
How can I help to start a page like that? --(WT-en) DenisYurkin 16:10, 27 January 2007 (EST)
I understand Evan's concern, but it's also quite useful for travellers to be able to pick out the "don't miss" places among a slew of good or just average places. How about some sort of "Docent's Choice" flag? (WT-en) Jpatokal 05:27, 28 January 2007 (EST)
I support the "Docent's choice" idea. Attributing recommendation to Wikivoyage docent is much better than using blind tout-like "absolutely recommended". --(WT-en) DenisYurkin 15:05, 28 January 2007 (EST)
I don't like that or anything that makes some contributors better/more authoritative than others. How about we only list places we recommend? And describe well-known and popular places as, say "well known and popular"?(WT-en) Maj 21:39, 28 January 2007 (EST)

Recommended by[edit]

So a search for "Lonely Planet" here on Wikivoyage coughs up results where various countries, hostels, beaches etc. are recommended by Lonely Planet. I see two problems with this. First, I don't have a copy of every Lonely Planet currently published for each country in the world, so I can't verify the claims. Second, is this really the right way to go? Something feels wrong about leaning on someone else for recommendations. -- (WT-en) Colin 18:16, 4 February 2007 (EST)

Gawd, that sort of stuff is one of the reasons I wanted to start Wikivoyage! Nothing gets me walking a few more blocks to find a hotel/bar/restaurant like a "Recommended by Lonley [sic] Planet" sign... I actually did a bunch of shopping in this one grocery store in Agra because they had a little cardboard sign on the door that said "Not in Lonely Planet. We wont bother you if you shop here." It was the best ad I saw in India... I'm really super down on guidebooks instead of traveller recommendations. Let's clear those puppies out and update the guideslines. (WT-en) Maj 22:38, 4 February 2007 (EST)
However, part of this list is things like "recommended by Lonely Planet BUT {is closed | is really bad | doesn't have this | since then prices went much higher}". I would vote to keep mentions like this--although it won't matter if "Lonely Planet" would be changed to a neutral "guidebooks". --(WT-en) DenisYurkin 01:08, 5 February 2007 (EST)
I agree with Denis (for a change). Project:Avoid negative reviews explicitly lists prominent mention in other guidebooks as a reason to keep negative listings. (WT-en) Jpatokal 01:38, 5 February 2007 (EST)
Yes you're right about saying "don't go there even though Lonely Planet says to." I'm definitely only interested in removing the "recommended by Lonely Planet" ones with no contrary advice. -- (WT-en) Colin 01:40, 5 February 2007 (EST)
Good point about the negative reviews. (WT-en) Maj 11:43, 5 February 2007 (EST)
I'd like to see these taken out if at all possible. I've always see the appeal to authority as a craven logical fallacy. Yes, we should probably leave in negative reviews when the place is mentioned prominently in other guidebooks, but I'd prefer to avoid mentioning the other guidebook (except in the Talk page, if needed). --(WT-en) Evan 11:07, 15 March 2007 (EDT)

Policy about advertising[edit]

swept in from the pub

I have come upon this excerpt when browsing through for the first time:

  • Hotel Cairoli , Via Cairoli, 14 cap 16124 Genoa - Ph. +39.010.2461454 - Fax +39.010.2467512 [2]. In the heart of Genoa, which, with its splendid Pallazzi dei Rolli was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July of 2006, the Hotel Cairoli is located on Via Cairoli, just a short walk from the Museum of the Risorgimento, the Aquarium, the Bigo and the Porto Antico. Singles Room from 55€, Double from 75€.

Now, this looks STRONGLY like advertising. What is the policy about this? I could not find a page or a guideline about this, but I'd like to have someone with me before editing to something like

  • Hotel Cairoli, Via Cairoli 14 CAP 16124 Genoa - Ph. +39.010.2461454 - Fax +39.010.2467512 [2]. Situated in the historical center of the city and close to the Museum of the Risorgimento, the Aquarium, the Bigo and the Porto Antico.

And I would cite the UNESCO thing only once when describing the city itself. In particular, I would avoid prices. (WT-en) Johann.gambolputty 10:51, 17 September 2006 (EDT)

  • I'd keep the prices; that's somehing a traveller needs to know. I'd also keep the UNESCO mention; that's interesting. I do think toning it down by removing "splendid .." and knocking out "just a short walk .." is good. Is this hotel listed in Grand old hotels? sounds like it should be. (WT-en) Pashley 10:59, 17 September 2006 (EDT)
  • Correcvtion; as I read the above, it as saying the hotel was a UNESCO site. A bit of web search to check; turns out it is the nearby plaza that is. So no need for it in hotel article, I now agree. Web search also revealed the text is a copyright violation from the hotel web site [1], so it definitely needs rewriting. (WT-en) Pashley 11:04, 17 September 2006 (EDT)
Ok, then I will reformulate that. (WT-en) Johann.gambolputty 11:14, 17 September 2006 (EDT)
I kind of like it as is. This is a travel guide, not an encyclopedia. If there's any change at all I'd just make "its" into "near the". -- (WT-en) Mark 08:38, 18 September 2006 (EDT)
Yes, please see Project:Accommodation listings. There's probably too much promotional language -- see Project:Don't tout -- and most of the facts in the description should be noted elsewhere in the Genoa article. --(WT-en) Evan 08:50, 18 September 2006 (EDT)
What is the limit for hotel details? Is it allowed to upload 1 image of the hotel? What about resort hotel on a beautiful island?
The current short listing format doesn't really support hotel images. On Japanese Wikivoyage, on the other hand, you can attach one picture to each hotel, and something similar may be implemented here too if the Project:Listings idea takes off. (WT-en) Jpatokal 13:06, 19 September 2006 (EDT)

Budapest[edit]

WHAT IS GOING ON WITH THE BUDAPEST PAGE ON WIKITRAVEL? Can a reader only suggest a revision that mentions a business if that business is personally favored by the editors? Or, are the editors getting paid off by the Hungarian government or mafia? I am serious. I placed a brief two sentence mention of a helpful Budapest travel guide on the website only for it to be deleted several times because it was called "commercial." Well, if you are going to treat that as commercial, then what do you consider Malev.hu, the Hungarian airline, that is a commercial enterprise, and owned partly by shareholders. And, what about the restaurants Gundel (gundel.hu), Pasta Dost (pastadost.hu), and TrofeaGrill (trofeagrill.hu), all of which have their names and links given. Come on, be fair if you are going to have standards, practice them throughout. If there are to be no commercial enterprises, there should be none, zero. If you are going to let one of them be posted, they should all be able to be posted. Otherwise, where do you draw the line between what commercial enterprise is accepted and which is not? Is it just the business that is paying you under the table?

Perhaps Wikivoyage is actually being controlled by Mr. Putin in Moscow, or some other radical? --(WT-en) Mike in Chicago 20:44, 12 October 2006 (EDT)

We neither favor nor avoid commercial products. Please read Project:External links for our policy. The short answer is that a hotel or restaurant's website should be linked as part of the listing of the hotel or restaurant. General guides (Lonelyplanet) or restaurant review guides (Michellin) should not. Please read the policy for a discussion of what and why, and raise the issue at Project:External links if you still do not understand. -- (WT-en) Colin 21:02, 12 October 2006 (EDT)

marking advertisements written by business owner[edit]

I have "de-touted" advertisement-style description of several listing items recently (mainly accommodation businesses), and I found that in many cases I neither can check that any fact in the original description is true, neither I have reason to remove any single fact. However, I normally re-write the advertisement-style description to a more neutral style, thus removing the chance to a reader to know that the description was originally written by a business owner, and in many cases should be "divided by 2" (taken with additional care).

I wonder if I can leave a special marker for cases like that, so that reader understands the origin of the description. In theory, I could use verify tag for that, but it doesn't have any warning text in it.

This is the most recent example from Budapest listings. I would see a marker to look something like this:

  • Beds N’ Roses hotel and guesthouse [2]. tel.: +36-20-332-6322. Elegant and intimate atmosphere, private rooms, each of them with own separate bathroom, extraordinary, romantic pedestrian downtown location by the famous Hungarian Opera House and... low prices. --The previous description seem to be written by business owner. Remove this notice if you can confirm these facts. Not reviewed by Wikivoyagers yet.

--(WT-en) DenisYurkin 01:54, 13 March 2007 (EDT)

One of the greatest benefits of the wiki approach is that if a review is inaccurate, one or more people will eventually be able to correct it. In the mean time we should point over-enthusiastic contributors to this guideline and tone down obvious sales pitches (as outlined in this policy), but I'd be very opposed to a policy that appeared to call a contributor's honesty into question simply because they were apparently the owner of the hotel or restaurant being listed. In the specific example you've listed, unless the hotel in question turns out to not be an elegant, reasonably priced & private guesthouse then I don't see anything wrong with the listing. The wiki process is designed to weed out inaccuracy over time; it's frustrating that it sometimes takes months or years for such inaccuracies to be corrected, but we should trust the process and avoid stigmatizing any particular group of contributors. -- (WT-en) Ryan 02:16, 13 March 2007 (EDT)
I agree with Ryan on that... I would actually love it if WT was only written by travelers sharing info, but even if we stipulated that it wouldn't be possible to fully police. And because our policy right now is that anyone can add info, those anyones should all be treated equally. p.s., there was definitely not consensus reached to use that {{verify}} tag for your original intent, and it would be even more of a stretch to extend it to this kind of use :) – (WT-en) cacahuate talk 02:36, 13 March 2007 (EDT)
  1. We should encourage business owners to disclose that they are business owners.
  2. We should trust them. Unless we have information to the contrary, we should assume that they are mentioning facts fairly.
  3. But removing competitors' listings or slanting them negatively should be strongly deprecated.
  4. We should tone down listings that look too much like advertisements. In fact, we should convince business owners to be less touty, as that will make it more trustworthy. — (WT-en) Ravikiran 02:44, 13 March 2007 (EDT)
(WT-en) Ravikiran, I can hardly imagine wikivoyager arguing with your points, at least in theory. The question is how to implement these intentions into practice. I haven't seen much effort on practical side of these points in the last ~year--but maybe I missed something important on the subject. --(WT-en) DenisYurkin 14:40, 13 March 2007 (EDT)
I've added Ravi's points to the article. Some of the information is a bit redundant, but since we usually point overzealous business owners to this article it seems worthwhile to specifically include a section outlining how business owners can contribute. -- (WT-en) Ryan (talk) 02:55, 15 March 2007 (EDT)
We could really use a Welcome Message specifically aimed to guide advertising agencies, hotel owners, or just plain touts. -- (WT-en) Colin 03:03, 15 March 2007 (EDT)
I had the same idea: when we see an anonymous with only a single contribution which look much like an advertisement, we should provide a welcome message with hand, which include a link to Project:Don't tout#Business owners. I think this criteria is quite easy; even if our guess that it was a business owner is wrong, the message should still sound valid. --(WT-en) DenisYurkin 17:44, 15 March 2007 (EDT)
I see something like this:
Welcome to Wikivoyage! Thanks for your recent addition of (venue name) to the (article name) article.
It looks very much like an advertisement. Wikivoyage strives to avoid being an "advertising brochure" for any business, city, or service--so {please edit|I have edited} your text to describe the establishment rather than trying to sell it to a reader. I would recommend to read Project:Don't tout article before your future edits--and we would happy to see you back editing here but also respecting our guidelines ;-)
BTW, we would recommend you registering a login name at Wikivoyage to:
  • (list of benefits of having a login).
Opinions? --(WT-en) DenisYurkin 14:32, 16 March 2007 (EDT)
Plunged forward adding it to Project:Welcome message#Business owners. --(WT-en) DenisYurkin 17:00, 26 November 2007 (EST)
First: business owners are also Wikivoyagers. Everyone who works on Wikivoyage is a Wikivoyager. We're not going to start excluding some people from our private club because of the quality of their additions. Second, there's no way to tell who adds what to Wikivoyage, so making assumptions about the content based on your assumptions about the contributor is dumb. It's a teetering tower of ignorance. Third: "don't tout" is an editorial suggestion, not a behavioral one. It's everybody's responsibility to collaboratively edit uninformative, flowery, promotional listings.
Fourth: I'd like to start a page with words to avoid. "Elegant", "intimate", "extraordinary", are all empty words devoid of any information for the traveller trying to make practical decisions. How would you possibly verify these? Who has the authority to be a verifier?
The best thing to do here is trim out the flowers and lace and leave in the informative details (which are kind of scarce in the above listing). An edited version:
--(WT-en) Evan 11:19, 15 March 2007 (EDT)
Evan, thanks for starting the "Words to avoid" page--and we probably should link to it from "Don't tout" and some other places, right?
And thanks for your edition--I will try to use it in the article. --(WT-en) DenisYurkin 17:44, 15 March 2007 (EDT)
Great idea. I've added it to the see also section of the page. Can't think of anything off the top of my head, but will definitely add to it. -- (WT-en) Fastestdogever 00:51, 15 May 2007 (EDT)

I have another example where "Review written by business owner" looks useful to me.

It's a series of edits in Oia done from the same IP, where reviews for 3 businesses are added, and it's stated explicitly that they share the same owner.

I don't feel myself able to fix them towards our standards of objectivity, but I feel necessary to leave RFI for future contributors as it's not always obvious that they need work, and to help readers to distinguish these reviews from more likely to be objective. At the same time I'm sure none of them will dig into history of edits to find out that these reviews were added by a business owner. And I believe that adding a comment to Talk page will see attention much later than in the article itself--that's reality of today's Wikivoyage. --(WT-en) DenisYurkin 19:06, 26 November 2007 (EST)

should superlatives be sourceable?[edit]

I have comment on this edit [3]:

Avoid superlatives (the best, the biggest, the tastiest, the most fascinating) unless they can be sourced and are of specific interest to the traveler.

I think that we need to require that any superlative should be proved by an independent party. As we talk about touting, any tout would argue that his superlative is certainly of interest (and he will be right most of the time, as long as his fact can be proven--which is rarely the case).

Maybe we can just keep the original wording of this phrase? Or how can we improve it to reflect the above idea? --(WT-en) DenisYurkin 06:32, 21 September 2008 (EDT)

I'll disagree—my favorite thing about Wikivoyage, as compared with Wikipedia, is that this site welcomes original research. (That's actually the main reason why I write here instead.)
I can't source any hard study that Lem's BBQ offers the best rib tips in Chicago, but I've tried all the other top establishments, and I know that my opinion is confirmed by other non-professional reviewers on the web. So despite relying on original research, I used the superlative. I think it's fine to "police" questionable superlatives by just bringing up concerns on the talk page, as for any other WT concern. --(WT-en) Peter Talk 15:21, 21 September 2008 (EDT)
I'm fine with best, tastiest, most delicious, most comfortable and most charming--all the subjective things. But I'm not comfortable with measurable, objective things: tallest, largest, most popular, smallest etc--when they are used to describe businesses and commercial establishments. --(WT-en) DenisYurkin 15:53, 21 September 2008 (EDT)
In other words, facts must be true. Puffery is puffery. Reasonableness is in the eye of the reader. If I say that a shopping mall is the largest in California, it has to be so. If I say a restaurant serves the only Malai Kofta on the west side, then I wouldn't expect to find those tasty Kofta balls available elsewhere nearby.
Although I don't think we need to police them, I would hope our guidelines already discourage best ribs, or best pizza lines. Those superlatives are so cliched as to be near meaningless, and even more so on a wiki where every pizza restaurant in a town will be someone's favorite --(WT-en) inas 19:31, 17 September 2009 (EDT)

listings: examples of de-touting and summarizing[edit]

Swept in from pub:

I just realized that to de-tout a larger percent of long and flowery listings I see in my watchlist, I would find very helpful to have a reference Wikivoyage: page with a few examples for each of Eat/Sleep/Drink/Do of "before" and "after" de-touting by our gurus of de-touting and summarizing, ideally with a short explanation of why the resulting few words were decided as the best to describe the given establishment.

Anyone else interested in creating this kind of "how-to" page for would-be detouters? --(WT-en) DenisYurkin 15:18, 16 May 2009 (EDT)

I think that Project:Don't tout does a good job of explaining what we do and don't want, and points to other useful pages too. Getting a listing to read well and accurately describe the establishment is kind of a work of art, not so much a formula – (WT-en) cacahuate talk 21:39, 16 May 2009 (EDT)
I think an example or two could be helpful. Business owners/promoters often really do seem clueless as to how to write a proper hotel description for a travel guide, even after reading the policy. When they do censor themselves, the descriptions wind up just as useless. I'll try to save some "good ones" next time I clean up after my (WT-en) friends. --(WT-en) Peter Talk 22:00, 16 May 2009 (EDT)
Thanks, Peter! Overall, I initially meant a guide to de-touting janitors like myself, but now I agree, for business owners it could be helpful as well. --(WT-en) DenisYurkin 03:42, 17 May 2009 (EDT)
There are a bunch of "detouts" in this dif [4]. Perhaps one of them might be a good example? I'll try to look for more. --(WT-en) Peter Talk 19:13, 24 May 2009 (EDT)
Here's another [5]. --(WT-en) Peter Talk 04:57, 8 June 2009 (EDT)
To start with, I copied "before" and "after" into this page: User:(WT-en) DenisYurkin/Detouting. What we need now is:
  • remove non-changed listing fields (like phone numbers and business hours)
  • organize it into a table(?) to make comparing easier
  • (?) provide an explanation for most arguable removals/rewritings of text (where it may be non-obvious for a novice editor reading the page)
  • more ideas?
--(WT-en) DenisYurkin 08:43, 22 July 2009 (EDT)


De-touting vs Reversion[edit]

Jani thought I was being a little harsh with a few reversions yesterday like this one [6], with a hotel owner adding around 10 entries to different articles, all using the same touting language, and using first party pronouns. My current philosophy on reversion vs de-touting is..

  1. If a hotel is listed in an OTBP destination, with little accommodation information - always de-tout
  2. If a user adds a single listing - traveller or business owner - but they get the language wrong, or use first person pronouns - de-tout as long as there will some useful information left in the listing after removing the touting language other than the hotel name. Avery Inn - our hotel has luxury accommodation and spacious rooms in Avery, has nothing worth keeping at a mainstream destination IMO. See another example here [7].
  3. If a user is clearly a user with commercial interest, adding multiple entries for many hotels in a chain, or similar, and the entry is clearly a publicity piece, touting or first party pronouns, revert the addition leaving a reason in the reversion. it is then up to the user with a commercial interest to understand our policies rewrite accordingly.

I was wondering how that fitted with others take on things? Do we need a guideline on this, or just leave it to the normal revert - discuss if required cycle. --(WT-en) inas 19:53, 17 September 2009 (EDT)

In addition to our collaboration of the month, we could have a de-tout challenge of the day. This could be today's challenge [8]. --(WT-en) inas 20:32, 17 September 2009 (EDT)
I agree on all three points. On the first, I've been sticking to my old pledge to not simply revert additions until there are 9 sleep listings on the article. On the third, there is again the question of how many pages are getting spammed—when it seems egregious enough, I simply revert & leave my standard welcome, hotel spammer message on the user's talk page. I'm fine with leaving that judgment to patrollers' discretion.
With regards to how to detout—the quickest way is just to delete all the garbage, and leave the description short, often just a couple words (e.g., "Indoor pool & jacuzzi, free Wifi.") --(WT-en) Peter Talk 21:41, 17 September 2009 (EDT)

Advertising & SEO[edit]

This is similar to the "Revert vs. de-tout" discussion above (I agree with all three points, btw), but having just read one of several recommendations urging hotel owners use Wikivoyage for SEO purposes [9] I think it's time to add an explicit "don't use Wikivoyage for advertising / SEO purposes" section to this guideline. There already seems to be an informal agreement that "don't tout" means "don't advertise", but we could codify it as follows (note: some of this duplicates language already present):

Advertising & SEO
Wikivoyage is a travel guide, not a business directory or marketing tool, and while we welcome contributions from businesses, editors who add multiple listings that appear to be primarily for advertising or SEO purposes are likely to be reverted en masse. To maintain the quality and integrity of our guides it is expected that contributors working for hotel chains or similar businesses will remember that the traveler comes first and abide by the following guidelines:
  • Create an account. Create a user account and (ideally) specify the company you are working for. This makes communication easier, provides some transparency, and allows us to identify your edits.
  • Format listings correctly. Other editors will fix mistakes made by contributors who add only one or two listings, but if you are adding multiple listings then it is up to you to make sure they adhere to the Wikivoyage style guidelines and include full information, including price ranges.
  • Do not use marketing language. Promotional language is highly discouraged. Similarly, describe the business, not the attractions that are near it - "This five-star luxury hotel is a traveler's dream. The hotel is just minutes from the airport, and a half hour from downtown" is a description that will almost certainly lead to reversion.
Contributors who add multiple business listings that do not meet these criteria should unfortunately expect to see those contributions reverted, and in the worst case repeated violations of this policy may lead to blacklisting of the business in question. Additionally, while we welcome contributions from everyone (really!), because the goals of creating a travel guide often differ from those of hotel chains, tourism boards, and other business entities contributors should be aware that there are no guarantees that even properly-formatted listings will always be kept in Wikivoyage guides.

Thoughts? The "create a user account" is a particular departure from current practice, but it would make patrolling vastly easier since we could easily identify people that we had worked with and codify a policy to allow reverting anonymous contributors who were in violation. -- (WT-en) Ryan • (talk) • 02:01, 25 March 2010 (EDT)

Yes, please do add this. I would add an additional statement, though, to make it clear that even following these recommendations will not ensure that their listings remain, as the goals of curating travel guides often differ from the goals of people looking to expose their business. --(WT-en) Peter Talk 17:44, 25 March 2010 (EDT)
Updated with the caveat you suggested. Anyone else have any comments or suggestions? -- (WT-en) Ryan • (talk) • 18:28, 25 March 2010 (EDT)
Why duplicate the content from wbo here? Why not put it all there, and link from here. --(WT-en) inas 21:18, 25 March 2010 (EDT)
There is probably a larger discussion to be had about the relatively poor organization of our guidelines resulting in much content being duplicated or spread between articles, but in this particular case I think that the "don't tout" guideline is the proper place for policy specifically aimed against bulk edits made for SEO and/or advertising purposes. Aside from one line about advertising that links back to this guideline I don't see any specific callout against these practices in wbo - am I just overlooking it? -- (WT-en) Ryan • (talk) • 21:39, 25 March 2010 (EDT)
*Bump* Inas - I can't tell from your comment if you're opposed to updating the policy with the suggested content, so could you clarify? Does anyone else have any concerns, or is this update acceptable? -- (WT-en) Ryan • (talk) • 11:47, 27 March 2010 (EDT)
Not opposed. I think there are a few instances where policies like this get out of sync, because we update them in different places. I would like to see any policy changes concerning business owners kept consistent at wbo, rather than here - so we avoid mixed messages and admin overhead. But, I certainly wouldn't want to prevent the change going ahead. --(WT-en) inas 18:34, 28 March 2010 (EDT)
I've updated this guideline per the text above. Regarding placement of the info, I've always thought of wbo as a welcome page rather than a policy page, but perhaps at some point it might make sense to start something like a Documentation Expedition to try to review our current style guidelines, policy pages, and other articles in the Wikivoyage namespace and see if there isn't some re-organization and cleanup that could be done to bring things into better order. -- (WT-en) Ryan • (talk) • 21:16, 28 March 2010 (EDT)
It's offtopic here, but I would definitely welcome starting a Doc Expedition: I think I also have an item or two for it already. --(WT-en) DenisYurkin 17:37, 29 March 2010 (EDT)

Given the extremely good news on no follow links, I think Project:Don't_tout#Advertising_&_SEO needs to be re-written stressing that there is no longer any link juice to be gained from Wikivoyage. Ryan, I hope you do not mind me suggesting you do that :).

Also, I would like to propose that we draft an email to be sent to the SEO consultants who we know spend a lot of time placing links here. I have kept a note of some of these, and I know other users have as well. This is the surest way of getting the news out; it will be into the SEO blogosphere very quickly after I am sure. Any objections to me drafting that email and posting it here for comment?--(WT-en) Burmesedays 21:24, 6 April 2010 (EDT)
Please go straight ahead! I'm pessimistic that this will help us too much, since there are still obvious benefits to having your business listed here, but any help is welcome. At the very least, we should stop having twitters sent out there advising business owners to target us specifically... --(WT-en) Peter Talk 21:36, 6 April 2010 (EDT)
I've added a disclaimer that specifically references the nofollow implementation, but feel free to change. And while I'd be in favor of an email to the most egregious of the SEO touts, it looks like the current implementation of nofollow does not handle all links (I don't want to enumerate where this is broken, but browsing around the site will turn up some obvious instances) so it might be best to follow-up with IB first before sending a letter out. -- (WT-en) Ryan • (talk) • 21:47, 6 April 2010 (EDT)
That needs following up for sure. Looking around I am not finding any no follow tags.....--(WT-en) Burmesedays 22:12, 6 April 2010 (EDT)
Have a look at Culver City - the first link is nofollow, but others are not. -- (WT-en) Ryan • (talk) • 22:25, 6 April 2010 (EDT)
It might be a cache issue (?), but all links at Culver City, and other pages I have looked at are clean, with no sign of a no follow tag. --(WT-en) Burmesedays 22:31, 6 April 2010 (EDT)
It must have been as I am now picking them up. It seems that all links outside listing tags are marked no follow but inside the tags, same old story. Clearly this will help hardly at all, and IB have been alerted here. --(WT-en) Burmesedays 09:56, 8 April 2010 (EDT)
As an aside, the Firefox add-on to highlight which links are no follow is a useful tool. --(WT-en) Burmesedays 09:56, 8 April 2010 (EDT)
And no follow is now working across the board it seems. I will get on with drafting that email tomorrow and post it here for comment. I know that jan has a list of SEO companies who have placed multiple touty listings here, and I have noted a fair few as well. If anyone else has any specific touts they have engaged, please post details here, even if it is just an IP address. The sooner the word gets out, the sooner organised mass touting here will decline. We should also post details of this development to the SEO blogs that have previously flagged Wiktitravel as a soft target.--(WT-en) Burmesedays 10:17, 14 April 2010 (EDT)

Here is my first go at drafting an announcement. Comments please. --(WT-en) Burmesedays 02:23, 15 April 2010 (EDT)

The Wikivoyage community would like to inform you of an important change in the way that Wikivoyage.org treats external links.

As from April 12th 2010, all links placed at Wikivoyage.org are marked as no follow. This action has been taken after a long debate in the community, and is designed to lessen the volume of links placed at the site purely for the purpose of search engine optimisation. Dealing with the volume of edits driven by placement of such links, has caused strain on the volunteer team who keep Wikivoyage in order. This left us with little choice other than to make the site far less attractive for SEO purposes.

Wikivoyage.org has always embraced the business community and will continue to do so. We welcome hotel, restaurant and other travel related listings (see: http://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Welcome,_business_owners), that are added for the benefit of travellers. There is no change to this policy, other than the action taken to discourage SEO-driven placements. Wiktitravel is a hugely popular site which is often the first port of call for travellers planning a trip. It therefore remains in the best interests of good quality travel businesses to list with us, regardless of the lack of SEO benefit.

We would be very grateful if you circulated the news of this development throughout your organisation, and amongst your clients if appropriate.

Well written. One small comment: Maybe we should state why it is still a good idea for business owners to list their businesses at WT. I noticed you say that we still welcome their listings, but it could be useful to say why it is in their interest as well, --(WT-en) ClausHansen 03:16, 15 April 2010 (EDT)
I'd suggest one small change - "we welcome hotel, restaurant and other travel related listings that are added for the benefit of travelers". We've had enough trouble with the hotel chain marketers that it's worth noting that we don't want just any listing. -- (WT-en) Ryan • (talk) • 10:48, 15 April 2010 (EDT)
Thanks Claus and Ryan. How does it read now? --(WT-en) Burmesedays 00:51, 16 April 2010 (EDT)
Seems good. Thanks for taking the initiative on this. -- (WT-en) Ryan • (talk) • 10:49, 16 April 2010 (EDT)
I'd prefer to remove the last two sentences (Wiktitravel is a hugely popular site which is often the first port of call for travellers planning a trip. It therefore remains in the best interests of good quality travel businesses to list with us, regardless of the lack of SEO benefit.), as I don't think we want to advertise the utility of our site for advertising (even without the SEO benefits, it's still useful to a business to be listed in a popular travel guide). The last thing I want would be to hold this up, though, so feel free to go ahead if you disagree. --(WT-en) Peter Talk 12:38, 16 April 2010 (EDT)
My original did not have those last two sentences and I am inclined to agree with Peter. They were added to address Claus' suggestion. --(WT-en) Burmesedays 13:22, 16 April 2010 (EDT)
If there are no more comments in the next 12 hours, the version minus the last 2 sentences will go out.--(WT-en) Burmesedays 08:55, 18 April 2010 (EDT)

This is the first public response I have seen to the email release [10]. Encouraging and exactly what we should be hoping for. The SEO blogoshpere is very active.--(WT-en) Burmesedays 12:00, 22 April 2010 (EDT)

Kudos to you for getting the word out, and (with any luck) increasing the visibility of the Project:Welcome, business owners page in the process. -- (WT-en) Ryan • (talk) • 12:06, 22 April 2010 (EDT)

Well-written, but if we're going to be drafting letters on behalf of "The Wikivoyage Administration Team", some effort to at least notify "The Wikivoyage Administration Team" of the proposal would be appreciated in the future. (WT-en) LtPowers 08:54, 23 April 2010 (EDT)

I would have thought it appropriate to assume that any admins interested in this type of issue would be watching this seminal policy article, and thus be on board with the consensus here. Perhaps "Wikivoyage community" would be more accurate, but that's just a trifle of a quibble. --(WT-en) Peter Talk 09:46, 23 April 2010 (EDT)
The discussion was here for 16 days and this very important talk page has been extremely active during that period. If you did not find the discussion, then no apologies from me. I do think I could have signed it off The Wiktiravel Community, and my first draft did say that, but I thought it sounded a bit pompous.--(WT-en) Burmesedays 10:56, 23 April 2010 (EDT)
Honestly, our opinion on touting doesn't change that often, so it never occurred to me to need to watch the page for changes. Do other admins make sure they have all policy pages on their watchlists? It seems odd to me. (WT-en) LtPowers 14:26, 23 April 2010 (EDT)
And even if so, it would seem prudent to get some actual buy-in rather than simply lack of objection. I'm not upset or anything, I just think we should be looking at what the best practice is in this sort of situation. (WT-en) LtPowers 14:29, 23 April 2010 (EDT)
I am sure there are policy pages that I do not even know exist. But since becoming an administrator I have added to my watch list every one that has been edited in that time period, on the basis that the policy pages are really what our collective role is all about. Perhaps we should have some sort of flagging system for admins? I dunno. The majority of admins are invisible anyway. Rather like Peter, I just assumed that with 50 odd edits in the past couple of weeks, this particular policy page was unmissable for anyone with an interest in the subject matter.--(WT-en) Burmesedays 15:11, 23 April 2010 (EDT)
Selecting just the Wikivoyage_talk domain for special:recentchanges every now and then is usually a good idea, but I do think any admin should at least have Project:How to handle unwanted edits in their watchlist, since that is the page that governs the use of our tools. Given that touts are problem numero uno for keeping the site clean, I'd put this one at a close second. --(WT-en) Peter Talk 18:52, 23 April 2010 (EDT)

List of SEO[edit]

Burmeseday: I start a new section for my list of SEO and marketing guys:

  1. User talk:(WT-en) TravelStoreMaker.com Pretty active once in a while and responsible for a bigger part of my blacklist additions in march. Also he uses IP's 67.159.44.51 + 89.253.128.102
  2. User talk:(WT-en) Allan PREM Now just lists his hotel chain.
  3. User talk:62.189.228.130 My dear friends of Marriott Europe who once in a while add their hotels with non-compliant listings in German and Austrian cities
  4. Ryan seems to battle User talk:71.43.188.217 which isMarkmonitor Inc. (under an IP registered by Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. 4000 Warner Blvd. Burbank CA 91522) the Marriott chain too. Seems so that they are aggressively market their hotels.
  5. [11] Vienna hotels and apartments are a huge battle ground lately with SEO / Marketing companies with so my IP's (usually same range) i stopped listing them. Denis Yurkin and Burmeseday helped too so all IP that are regular undone
  6. IP 217.92.148.178 + 69.203.77.40 are regulars in Berlin

(WT-en) jan 10:47, 14 April 2010 (EDT) Shall we convert this into a bigger list? (WT-en) jan 11:07, 14 April 2010 (EDT)

Peter has a pretty comprehensive list at User:(WT-en) Peterfitzgerald/Touts. -- (WT-en) Ryan • (talk) • 11:12, 14 April 2010 (EDT)
Most of those will not be traceable any further than their host from an IP address, but I have a small list who I have tracked down over the past months. TravelStoreMaker from Jan's list is a big SEO hotel player, as are the likes of TravelClick, Hotelseo.org and xOtels on mine. Additionally, I have done quite a lot of consulting work for hotel groups myself over the years, and know the main SEO specialist players in that sector. Even if we have no record of those companies placing listings here, a round robin email to all of them has to be a good idea --(WT-en) Burmesedays 12:01, 14 April 2010 (EDT)
Peter is not maintaining anymore his list User talk:Peterfitzgerald#Wikivoyage_talk:Don.27t_tout.23List_of_SEO and suggests that we may start a new one and merge his list with the new WT wide one. What would be the best place for it? (WT-en) jan 14:08, 14 April 2010 (EDT)Maybe we could start a SEO blacklist for non compliant SEO editors similar to our current blacklist? (WT-en) jan 14:10, 14 April 2010 (EDT)

Hotel Marketers[edit]

After one of the more egregious hotel marketing abuses I've seen [12] (yes, that's 23 SEO keywords in the "alt" tag) (WT-en) Burmesedays suggested it might make sense to start emailing some of these hotels directly to let them know that whatever company they've hired is going to get them blacklisted. I think it's worth a try, so I crafted the following email. In this particular instance emails to the address listed on the hotel's web site are bouncing, but it might make sense to try this with a few more hotels in the future to see if we can get their attention.

Hello,

We have recently removed a listing for your hotel from wikivoyage.org, the largest independently run wiki site outside of the Wikia/Mediawiki framework and an award-winning travel site.

Your hotel was removed due to a significant violation of our policies against aggressive marketing (http://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Wikivoyage:Don%27t_tout). If you have recently hired a marketing company to do online promotion work, please contact them and ask them to read our policies prior to spamming Wikivoyage with further advertising content, otherwise your business will unfortunately be blacklisted from our site, and potentially from other sites who re-use our blacklist.

We welcome contributions from businesses but request that all contributions be made in the interest of the traveler, and not to promote any specific business or chain of businesses. Thank you!

Ryan Holliday
Wikivoyage Administrator

See http://en.wikivoyage.org/w/index.php?title=Honolulu/Waikiki&diff=prev&oldid=1468532 for the edit in question. There have been nearly twenty contributions from this IP address that violate our policies, and the contribution in question contained no less than 23 keywords whose purpose is clearly search engine optimization.

-- (WT-en) Ryan • (talk) • 10:45, 2 June 2010 (EDT)

Well done Ryan and thank you. I am ever more of the opinion that the internet marketing industry is the refuge of the truly dim-witted.--(WT-en) Burmesedays 11:15, 2 June 2010 (EDT)
They wouldn't do it if it didn't work. (WT-en) LtPowers 11:40, 2 June 2010 (EDT)

Trip Advisor[edit]

swept from pub:

What is the policy on mentioning organizations like Trip Advisor and Lonely Planet. e.g. is "This hotel rated #1 out of 500 hotels by Trip Advisor" OK? (WT-en) Shep 14:11, 9 February 2010 (EST)

Certainly, just as long as we don't link to them. But, of course, it's best not to overdo it, since we want to provide "value-added" travel advice. --(WT-en) Peter Talk 14:43, 9 February 2010 (EST)
I personally tend to remove those references unless they're followed up with something like "... is rated highly by Whoever due to its excellent service, recently-renovated pool, etc, etc". My experience has been that a listing that includes only rankings is generally of little more use than a listing with no details at all, and most times these rankings are all that are included. -- (WT-en) Ryan • (talk) • 14:59, 9 February 2010 (EST)
Hm. So would it also be okay to mention that Victoria and Albert's is the only AAA five-diamond-rated restaurant in Central Florida? I'd avoided that mention in the Walt Disney World article because I didn't think we wanted to reference other guides, but AAA is a respected evaluator of restaurant and hotel quality and saying that a restaurant won the Five Diamond Award is a clear signal that the place is indisputably in the top echelon of service. (WT-en) LtPowers 15:44, 9 February 2010 (EST)
I share the skeptiscm of LtPowers & Ryan because e.g. AAA is known by Americans but no European traveller has a clue on how to value it. Also ratings needs to be updated and it's very time consuming to annually update this rankings. I personally delete text that say trip advisor Top5 in 2007 because the management etc. could have changed. (WT-en) jan 16:10, 9 February 2010 (EST) P.S. I like the hint if a hotel is a member of Luxury hotels of the world or member of the Designhotel brand because i get an idea what to expect because it is rather timeless. (WT-en) jan 16:13, 9 February 2010 (EST)
To say that we can reference other guides, as long as their is no URL link to them, is a little odd. If that is what we want to do, then we should pin down exactly what we want before we stray too far down that path.
I like tripadvisor - and I never stay anywhere without reading the reviews, but just extracting the rating is problematic. Many people rate a hotel badly for poor value for money, and if I find a price half what they paid for it, then I'm doing fine. Many people rate it badly because the receptionist didn't smile, or was a bit gruff, which is exactly how I like check-in process - just gimme the key and get out my way. I've said before that I think Wikivoyage would be served by a partnership with an established comment and rating type site, so we can focus on the facts and facilities, and that reviews don't suit the wiki medium.
Until that time, I think most people who make it to wikivoyage are aware of the existence of Lonely Planet and of tripadvisor. If they want to know the Lonely Planet recommendation or tripadvisor recommendation, or their other preferred source of recommendations, they know where to find them. --(WT-en) inas 17:18, 9 February 2010 (EST)
Overdoing this would be unhelpful (and I'm not sure what value should be placed on LP recommendations, since the recommendations are followed by the places being overrun with travelers, and rates being raised accordingly). But #1 out of 500 in a city from Tripadvisor, or, say, one of the top ten hotels in the world per Conde Nast, would be something worth mentioning. --(WT-en) Peter Talk 17:49, 9 February 2010 (EST)
But as I say, giving examples of what might be okay, and what might not be, is only useful if we can phrase a policy around it. Saying that we won't use LP, but we will use CNtraveller, or we will only use #1 in tripadvisor out of 500, but not 2 out of 10, gives us an arbitrary framework, really. And for all we know, a good rating a CNtraveller, tripadvisor has just as much effect in that market segment, and LP does in theirs. --(WT-en) inas 18:10, 9 February 2010 (EST)
We don't need (and can't frame) a policy for everything. If something looks like a good description, keep it, if it's not, ditch it. If there's a disagreement, take it to the talk page. I'm just saying there's no need to ban any and all mentions of what others say, if a contributor thinks it's really worth knowing. --(WT-en) Peter Talk 18:21, 9 February 2010 (EST)
Re: Jan, I wasn't aware I was expressing skepticism. I was just asking, if these are okay, would mentioning a 5-diamond rating from AAA be okay? (WT-en) LtPowers 18:22, 9 February 2010 (EST)
Everybody receives a favourable mention somewhere. Look at any publicity poster for a bad movie. We have a strict policy over external links, no links to guides. Now we are saying that we can mention guides, quote reviews from guides, as long as we don't have a URL pointing to them, but there are no guidelines at all for how we do that, because we can't frame a policy for it. Instead we are going to try and resolve each case individually on the discussion page, with no guideline to follow? Hmmm.. We aren't even going to provide the link for veracity or context. --(WT-en) inas 18:45, 9 February 2010 (EST)


Everybody receives a favorable review from some person, and that person might add it to our site and recommend it. If I saw someone mention in a useful description that "X hotel was in Conde Nast's top 10 hotels in Europe," I wouldn't revert. If I saw a description that didn't say anything beyond "X gets high marks on Yelp" (omni-review/social networking site), I might revert that, or at least replace it with something more worthwhile. It just boils down to whether the description is worth reading/useful/interesting/etc., and that's in no way limited to just this issue. (And yes, I'm fine with Ryan's suggestion below—edit conflict.) --(WT-en) Peter Talk 19:09, 9 February 2010 (EST)
It sounds like there might be some consensus around a policy such as:
Avoid references to third-party rankings unless the ranking is truly exceptional. For example, "Lonely Planet approved" should be avoided since there are thousands of businesses that are "Lonely Planet approved", but "rated the #2 hotel in the Middle East by Travel Magazine in 2010" might be worth mentioning. Note that listings that include rankings but that provide no mention of why the hotel is highly rated provide little value to travelers, so do not use a ranking in lieue of actually describing the establishment.
I think this would address Peter's concern about mentioning when a hotel is #1 out of 500, while also addressing other concerns about our existing policies with respect to third-party guides. Thoughts? -- (WT-en) Ryan • (talk) • 19:04, 9 February 2010 (EST)
As an aside, maybe an important one, user-driven ratings are a very different thing from so-called approval by a travel guide. Like Inas, I go to few places without checking TA first. Conde Nast ratings are also quite excellent, being driven by an educated and demanding readership. Appearance in a travel guide like Lonely Planet is nothing of the sort. Rather, a badly paid editor or 2 does a tour around a destination and writes down the details of places they like, the inclusion of some of which on the itinerary of visited businesses may be driven by traveler comments. Rough Guides are little different (although often rather more creative and interesting). This is very different from ratings compiled from a broad spectrum of unsolicited, independent user reviews. So our including "approved by Lonely Planet" (or whoever) should not even be a discussion and it's a resounding no from me. Respected, broad market, user-driven reviews are different, but should still surely be used here only in moderation.--(WT-en) Burmesedays 19:24, 9 February 2010 (EST)

I get that some people are happy to just revert, because it just seems wrong, and then take it to the discussion page. Personally, when I see a person adding something in good faith, and I'm going to undo their work, I want some sort of guideline to fall back on, at least as a starting point for discussion. I find it helpful, and perhaps others do too. I also think it can save new editors time, if they can be guided towards what is likely to be acceptable and uncontroversial. I'm happy with Ryan's guideline, although the use of the word, 'ranking', probably could do with a bit of clarification. I like the 'truly exceptional' threshold, though. --(WT-en) inas 20:29, 9 February 2010 (EST)

I haven't seen this practice as often as others apparently do, but Ryan's guideline strikes me as sensible & workable. (WT-en) Gorilla Jones 20:50, 9 February 2010 (EST)
A google search like this [13] shows quite a few examples... --(WT-en) inas 21:01, 9 February 2010 (EST)
Hopefully this slightly modified text addresses Inas' concerns. If so, what would be the appropriate place to add it? Project:External links#What not to link to? This isn't really about external links, so maybe there's a better place for it?
Avoid references to third-party ratings and rankings unless they are truly exceptional. For example, "Lonely Planet approved" should be avoided since there are thousands of businesses that are "Lonely Planet approved", but "rated the #2 hotel in the Middle East by Travel Magazine in 2010" might be worth mentioning. Note that listings that include such references but that provide no mention of why the business is highly rated provide little value to travelers, so do not use this information in lieu of actually describing the establishment.
-- (WT-en) Ryan • (talk) • 21:40, 9 February 2010 (EST)
Can we change in lieu to something from more simple English? And another question from the third world reader:) -- is Travel Magazine ONE OF THE MOST authoritative sources, or it's just <put name of your any favourite magazine on travel>? --(WT-en) DenisYurkin 01:34, 10 February 2010 (EST)
I'm happy. Lets change in lieu to 'instead' - thats simple, and make it clear 'Travel Magazine' refers to the generic. I would put the policy in Project:Don't tout, as it is really a restriction on how we present such things. --(WT-en) inas 06:16, 10 February 2010 (EST)
Why not [also?] in External Links policy? --(WT-en) DenisYurkin 09:12, 10 February 2010 (EST)
Because it isn't much to do with an external link, really, it is more about the language, content (particularly promotional content) of listings. It is disorganised to have the same guideline or policy in two places - someone will update or discuss at one location, and not the other. We can always link to it to the extent it is relevant to the existing text. If we really can't agree on where it should go, lets just create a short policy article Project:Using ratings and rankings and link from both. --(WT-en) inas 17:01, 10 February 2010 (EST)
I completely agree that we should define policy only in one place, and only link from the others.
As to why it should be mentioned at XLinks: it's also largerly on referring to external and third-party sources (even if without actually giving an URL link). Especially that it already says:
Avoid links to:
*Restaurant guides and reviews in restaurant guides
*Other travel guides...
We should avoid links to other travel guides, to ensure we have travel information in Wikivoyage, not linked from Wikivoyage. This is an incentive issue; if we have lots of links to other travel guides, we lose the impetus to create our own. In addition, one of our goals is to produce a guide useful for printing or offline use, and therefore we need information to be within the article rather than linked to at another site..
--(WT-en) DenisYurkin 23:20, 10 February 2010 (EST)
In the interest making sure something constructive comes out of this discussion I've added the proposed text to Project:External links#What not to link to, although as Inas pointed out there might be a better place for it. -- (WT-en) Ryan • (talk) • 15:47, 11 February 2010 (EST)
If it's only me, I absolutely don't mind if the policy is sticked wherever you feel best. With my previous interest in admitting that there are guidebooks that are better in some aspects, and in helping traveler to find a best reference for their different needs*, I definitely see such a policy as a huge step forward. Thanks to Ryan, Inas and everyone contributed for that step!
(*) If someone missed it, see User:(WT-en) DenisYurkin/Paper travel guides. --(WT-en) DenisYurkin 15:58, 11 February 2010 (EST)
Perhaps it is more of an issue with the Project:External links page itself. I contains substantial amount of policy, and probably has outgrown its initial focus. --(WT-en) inas 17:07, 11 February 2010 (EST)
Would anyone mind if I move this bit out of Project:External links and over to Project:Don't tout. It doesn't fit perfectly into the latter, but it really has nothing to do at all with external links. Links to reviews are ruled out categorically; this is just about mentions. Its inclusion in the WT:XL page seems to have already caused some unnecessary confusion [14]. --(WT-en) Peter Talk 00:19, 7 March 2010 (EST)
Maybe it's really a good time to split the whole policy on paper guidebooks and third-party review mentions to a separate article? (pityfully, I'm not volunteering :-) ) --(WT-en) DenisYurkin 17:17, 9 March 2010 (EST)
I think that makes sense. We could also cover in detail what we are looking for from literature/read sections. --(WT-en) Peter Talk 17:49, 9 March 2010 (EST)


Given that we don't have the volunteer yet to split up xl, can we proceed to follow Peter's and my suggestion to move this to dt. It really does seem out of place at xl, because we don't permit a link that is exceptional. --(WT-en) inas 01:48, 21 May 2010 (EDT)

Michelin stars and TripAdvisor Top Value badges[edit]

swept from pub:

OK, as we agreed on mentioning other guides and rankings for exceptional hotels and restaurants, does this mean that we can mention every 3-star Michelin restaurant here at WT, and also mention its Michelin rating in the listings description?

And on a related note, but not on that exceptional cases: what about TripAdvisor Top Value badges (see [15] for example: the first page shows only TopValue hotels for the whole Rome)--can we mention them here, if hotel otherwise qualifies for a listing by our standards? Here is what they call Top Value:

A Top Value icon means that a hotel offers a high-quality stay at a great price, as judged by the TripAdvisor community. To identify excellent value hotels, TripAdvisor looks at the relationship between a hotel’s quality and price, taking into account input from real travelers on TripAdvisor, as well as third party data. “Top Values” are updated frequently to reflect the most recent prices and quality ratings.

--(WT-en) DenisYurkin 15:25, 12 February 2010 (EST)

Looking at the list of tripadvisor "top value" hotels in Los Angeles, 9 of the 284 results are "top values", all are chain hotels, and none seem particularly special. Extrapolating, I assume this means that there are literally thousands of hotels that are "top values", which wouldn't meet the "exceptional" bar from the guideline. I'm less familiar with the Michelin guides and thus can't comment on those. -- (WT-en) Ryan • (talk) • 15:38, 12 February 2010 (EST)
If the restaurant would otherwise be listed, I would think that a Michelin 3 stars would be the most significant thing about it. Make sure to include price ranges though! --(WT-en) inas 17:36, 15 February 2010 (EST)
I think if these type of ratings are mentioned casually by an editor, then not a big issue. I would though oppose making their inclusion an objective, and I do not think we should be searching such guides and adding listings based on them, as Denis has suggested here. --(WT-en) Burmesedays 03:32, 17 February 2010 (EST)
As for researching user-generated ratings and adding listings to WT based on them--why would you object, could you please detail it? --(WT-en) DenisYurkin 06:04, 17 February 2010 (EST)
I view Wikivoyage as an added value site, not one that uses other travel or rating sites as a source of listings. I use TripAdvisor myself as an aid when culling long lists (for example), but would not want to take listings from there and add them to an article.--(WT-en) Burmesedays 12:43, 17 February 2010 (EST)
So you would prefer to have an article which doesn't really help with finding a good restaurant at a given destination--than to have a compilation of the places which are mentioned both at TA and some other authoritative user-generated sites? It definitely adds value: we give a concise description rather than dozens of individual feedback texts; we are printable and available offline; we split into districts; we provide contact details much more carefully than any other site/guidebook does. Not to mention that this way we raise a barrier for touts adding their establishments, as they already have most serious competitors they can't beat most of the time. --(WT-en) DenisYurkin 13:14, 17 February 2010 (EST)
I think current policy explicitly states that when we are thin on listings then using external sources for research to help fill out data is fine. Similarly, if we have a number of listings with little information beyond address/URL then going to external sites to research more helpful info is fine. If I understand Burmesedays correctly, however, he's saying that absent these two situations we should not be going to TripAdvisor or another third-party site to verify that we have all of their top listings in Wikivoyage, and I'd agree with that as we want to complement these other sites and not duplicate them. -- (WT-en) Ryan • (talk) • 15:07, 17 February 2010 (EST)
Thanks for clarification, Ryan--it really helps. Now, back to Barcelona: my experience using WT there 2 years ago showed that we have very few listings for that city (at least, on restaurants). Does anyone disagrees with that on Barcelona? --(WT-en) DenisYurkin 15:24, 17 February 2010 (EST)

If we only wanted first hand traveller info in the guide, I'd support that. It would take us longer to make a comprehensive guide, The current reality is that most sleep and eat info is added by people promoting that business, and the irony of stopping user review summaries while allowing PR companies would be too much for me. In both cases travellers are free to modify the listings. --(WT-en) inas 14:47, 17 February 2010 (EST)

Inas, I'm not sure I understand you point at all. Would you support adding summaries for the most famous and best-value picks from TripAdv and the like--or not; and if not--why? --(WT-en) DenisYurkin 14:57, 17 February 2010 (EST)
To clarify. I support summarising third party reviews for the Sleep and Eat sections on Wikivoyage. I believe this is also supported by current policy and practice. I would change my position if Wikivoyage policy ever changed globally to only permit entries by people who had experience (stayed or eaten at) the places they are commenting on. --(WT-en) inas 17:02, 17 February 2010 (EST)
Thanks, Inas--now it's very clear for me :-) --(WT-en) DenisYurkin 17:17, 17 February 2010 (EST)

Format for dual entries[edit]

Swept in from the pub:

Many hotels or guest houses have good restaurants as well. I understand we're not supposed to list them fully twice, but if our readers are looking for a place to eat, they won't intuitively look under the "Sleep" section and vice-versa. Equally I understand that we don't want to repeat information unnecessarily.

To make our great guide more user-friendly, how about if we have one "full entry" with all common details plus those relevant to accommodation under "Sleep", and one "short entry" under "Eat", with just the name and comments about the restaurant plus a remark like: See "Sleep" section for details. --(WT-en) SaxonWarrior 14:28, 16 October 2011 (EDT)

Seems reasonable, but I would limit it to destinations that don't already have an overabundance of listings in one section or both. (WT-en) LtPowers 07:34, 17 October 2011 (EDT)
I object to this, there are listings which are a guest house, restaurant, cafe, dive shop and tour agency all in one; listing them five times isn't going to improve our guides. I think our current policy suffices—if some guest houses are also good restaurants, this can easily be noted in the Sleep section, as I have done at Bangkok/Dusit#Eat. --(WT-en) globe-trotter 11:00, 17 October 2011 (EDT)
I object as well. I think our current policy works just fine. I don't want to see us start duplicating stuff. (WT-en) texugo 11:14, 17 October 2011 (EDT)
I see no reason to make a reader look in both "Eat" and "Sleep" when perusing their restaurant options. How does that benefit the traveler in any way, shape, or form? (WT-en) LtPowers 18:49, 17 October 2011 (EDT)
The current policy has served us well and I see slippery slopes everywhere. I would strongly oppose any change.--(WT-en) burmesedays 22:38, 17 October 2011 (EDT)
Duplicate listings for one place are bad, but if someone wanted to include in prose in the Eat section that several hotels or bars also serve good food, I don't see any issue with that. The main info should be with the main listing, though.. --(WT-en) inas 23:40, 17 October 2011 (EDT)
How would it benefit the traveler to have the same listing in every category? Places like Khao San Road and Ko Chang will be pretty awful to read, as nearly every listings there at least a guest house, cafe, and restaurant in one. --(WT-en) globe-trotter 02:30, 18 October 2011 (EDT)

It which case it would benefit the traveller to have a single line in the eat section that states just that. --(WT-en) inas 06:25, 18 October 2011 (EDT)

Yes I agree with having a pointer in the other section, like the example I gave above. --(WT-en) globe-trotter 07:38, 18 October 2011 (EDT)
Yes, yes, I can understand the objection for places that are rife with such options. But for small destinations where there are two separate establishments that are owned by the same people and maybe operate under the same name, I don't see the point in refusing to provide a full restaurant listing as well as a full hotel listing. You don't sleep in the dining room; why would you look at "Eat" for information on where to sleep? (WT-en) LtPowers 08:39, 18 October 2011 (EDT)
I agree with everyone that we shouldn't duplicate information. I was only proposing listing the name twice; nothing else would be duplicated. There would be:
  • one long listing with common information (directions, tel nos, etc) plus accommodation details under "Sleep"
  • one short listing with just name and restaurant info under "Eat" plus a pointer to the main entry.
Minimal duplication; maximum user-friendliness. I'm looking at it from the traveller's point of view. They'll miss stuff otherwise and our guide won't have achieved its aim. --(WT-en) SaxonWarrior 12:35, 18 October 2011 (EDT)
The current policy has developed to stop an average hotel with a restaurant and bar from just adding three listings for their establishment. The policy has been around just about forever, and I think would need a strong consensus to change it. I agree with [User:Burmesedays|burmesedays]] that there are many slippery slopes adding dups, even abbreviated ones. I do think that, where appropriate, some prose pointing out the hotels that also have a good restaurant or lively bar is entirely within the current guidelines, and adequately meets the needs of the traveller. In a small town that may only mean casting your eye back a paragraph or two. --(WT-en) inas 23:14, 18 October 2011 (EDT)
I'll stick by my objection and answer that allowing that would mean that every hotel-with-a-restaurant/restaurant-with-a-few-rooms will suddenly feel entitled to both, when in reality the vast majority of their secondary offerings are unremarkable and would probably otherwise not be recommended in our guide.(WT-en) texugo 23:16, 18 October 2011 (EDT)


A thought here. It seems the main objection involves hotels that also have a bar/lounge/restaurant in the lobby. That strikes many people, including myself, as not really 'two separate establishments' and undeserving of separate listings. It's clearly a hotel that just happens to have a restaurant on the premises, as many upscale hotels do.

But those of us looking to allow occasional exceptions are coming from a different angle. A listing that is primarily a restaurant that happens to have rooms available nearby strikes me as fundamentally different somehow than a hotel with a restaurant inside. People might expect to read about a hotel's restaurant in the Sleep listing, but would be surprised to read about a restaurant's rooms in an Eat listing. (That is, "Eating" is part of the hotel experience; "Sleeping" is not part of the restaurant experience.)

Can we agree that hotel restaurants shouldn't have separate listings, while considering that perhaps rooms adjacent to a restaurant might (given certain other conditions like a lack of other lodging nearby)?

-- (WT-en) LtPowers 08:41, 19 October 2011 (EDT)

In many rural places almost the only place to eat in the evening is an hotel. I have no objection to dual listings in such places - places where the total number of restaurants (listed in the phone book etc) is less than 10. For example Barra has several dual listings, including 3 hotels in Eat - but there are only two other possible places to eat on the island - the airport cafe and another hotel.
The main listing (address phone etc) should always be under Sleep, with eat or drink just listing the name (and where appropriate district). This secondary listing will generally just a single sentence with a (horizontal list), but sometimes a full review is appropriate. In bigger places a hotel restaurant should only be listed if it is "surprising" - a very good restaurant in a 1 star hotel, or a cheap one in a 4 star hotel - somewhere that is full of locals. Restaurants in places to See or Do (e.g. a museum cafe) should only be listed separately if you can eat there without paying an entry charge, and it is good enough to visit when not sightseeing.(WT-en) AlasdairW 18:18, 19 October 2011 (EDT)
Just out of interest, what do you see as the difference between a hotel with a restaurant, and a restaurant with some adjacent room. How would you tell one from the other? --(WT-en) inas 18:27, 19 October 2011 (EDT)
I know it when I see it. If someone asks you where the restaurant is, and you say "inside the ___ Hotel", then it's a hotel with a restaurant. If someone asks you where the hotel is, and you say "upstairs from ____ restaurant", then it's a restaurant with a hotel. (WT-en) LtPowers 14:24, 20 October 2011 (EDT)
Hmmmm... If it is separate, then there is nothing against it in our existing policy. The restaurant next to the pub, the shop on the floor above the backpackers hotel. I don't think the "know if when we see it", is sufficient for a WT policy, although I think I see the idea.. --(WT-en) inas 19:26, 20 October 2011 (EDT)
My main objection is not limited to hotels that have a restaurant/bar (and vice versa). The problem is much wider than that. For example hotels that have a restaurant (or several), bar (or several), spa, dive shop, surf school and a yoga centre. If we start making exceptions, how would we deal with such an establishment? To date, we have managed to create a site with great travel guides by simply mentioning this under the main category listing, or by simply mentioning it in prose. I am struggling to see why this approach creates a problem?
I do accept that some travellers might be dim enough to not realise that a hotel in a small town will most likely have a restaurant, but we can't always cater to the lowest common denominator. --(WT-en) burmesedays 20:50, 20 October 2011 (EDT)
Take, for instance, Saint Marys (Pennsylvania). I have Gunners listed twice: the restaurant under "Eat" and the lodging under "Sleep". There are only a few hotels in the city, so I hate to omit Gunners from the list just because they're primarily a restaurant. But likewise, it's a top food option, so it would be silly to omit them from "Eat". And I don't want to clutter the restaurant listing with information about the rooms upstairs.
Consider also, Childs, where there's only a single restaurant and one lodging establishment in the hamlet, and they both happen to be owned and run by the same people. If I omit either the restaurant or the lodging listing, the corresponding section would be entirely empty. That's not useful to the traveler.
-- (WT-en) LtPowers 22:01, 20 October 2011 (EDT)
Still nothing a prose mention wouldn't remedy. I think it's important to keep this rule, and it's not the rare cases you pointed out that I'm worried about-- I'm worried because relaxing this rule will start an uphill battle to keep people from double, triple, quadruple-listing their business in the vast majority of destination articles that don't have a scarcity of options. That is what the rule was intended to prevent in the first place. (WT-en) texugo 23:46, 20 October 2011 (EDT)
Childs is in fact a good example of how to deal with 3 businesses that have common ownership (gift shop, restaurant and accommodation). --(WT-en) burmesedays 01:47, 21 October 2011 (EDT)
Yeah, that's very good. I think it probably works better in a guide for a small town that has very little in any category (Buy, Eat, Drink, Sleep), though, than in cases of large cities where my comment below might be more applicable, simply because there are numerous hotels and numerous restaurants, and people might be quite a lot less likely to look for information about 3-star restaurants in hotel listings or for luxury hotel listings in restaurant listings. I'm thinking about the idea that one of the two categories should just be a referral in prose, though. I'm a bit skeptical, in regard to the exceptions I mention, but if we do go that way, I think the websites of both the hotel and the restaurant should be linked in a single listing in such cases. (WT-en) Ikan Kekek 02:14, 21 October 2011 (EDT)
I wouldn't agree with a blanket policy like that if it allows for no exceptions, and I thought it was generally accepted that restaurants in cities like New York that are famous in their own right and happen to be in hotels, like Jean Georges, merit their own entries, since they are destinations for way more people than will ever stay in the hotels they occupy a small part of. Actually, my current favorite restaurant in New York, Ai Fiori, happens to be on the second floor of the Setai Hotel, and if there's no entry for it in the relevant district article, I plan on posting one. Would you advise me against doing so? Sorry if I'm bringing up an irrelevant point; I'm not entirely sure and thought it would be best to address this again.
And to sum up: I think that if the restaurant can be clearly shown to be as famous as or more famous than the hotel it's in, it's OK and probably good to list it separately, and otherwise, it should be mentioned in the hotel's entry only. Does that work as a standard for reasonable judgment calls?
All the best,
(WT-en) Ikan Kekek 01:59, 21 October 2011 (EDT)
Per Project:Don't tout: "That said, exceptions can be made on a case-by-case basis if, for example, a hotel has a famous, separately named bar or restaurant that also draws significant numbers of non-resident customers.".
I think that covers the case LtPowers mentioned where a hotel and restaurant occupy the same building but aren't necessarily associated, and cases such as the one Ikan mentioned where a hotel restaurant draws a significant number of non-hotel patrons. A similar example from my current hometown is the Standard Hotel, which has an exceptionally famous rooftop bar that is a great "LA" experience - it would be silly not to mention it under the "Drink" section of Los Angeles/Downtown solely because the bar is on the roof of a hotel, but luckily the "draws a significant number of non-resident customers" guideline provides an exception that allows this listing while excluding other non-notable hotel bars. -- (WT-en) Ryan • (talk) • 02:31, 21 October 2011 (EDT)
Yeah, I really think the current policy already allows for reasonable exceptions. The apparent proposal under discussion here is a loosening of the rules, not a tightening, and while I'm pretty firmly against loosening the rules, I'm fine with the standing policy quoted above... (WT-en) texugo 07:40, 21 October 2011 (EDT)

Double listings or not for small cities/villages?[edit]

Swept in from the pub

Question. I read somewhere (but can't find it now) that double listings should be avoided. How should I list hotel/restaurants in smaller villages? I was just working on Vijlen, but almost all the restaurants there have a hotel facility too (or the other way around). Do I list them double (under sleep and eat) or only at one place, and if so, under which of the two? (WT-en) Justme 09:31, 9 August 2011 (EDT)

Definitely stick to one listing per business only. For a hotel, you may for example like to mention that they have a restaurant. Likewise, for a restaurant you could add that accommodation is attached. But never maker two separate listings.--(WT-en) Burmesedays 09:47, 9 August 2011 (EDT)
Project:Don't tout#General guidelines is the guideline against multiple listings for a business. I'd say list only once and where it makes most sense. If the place is famous for its restaurant, make it an "eat" listing, and vice versa. Some articles are heavy on either "eat" or "sleep" listings, then it might be a good idea to stick your listing to the emptier section. – (WT-en) Vidimian 10:03, 9 August 2011 (EDT)
Okay, thanks. Kind of difficult to choose then, but very well. I guess it's not an option to combine the sleep and eat section into one, hm? :-) (WT-en) Justme 10:17, 9 August 2011 (EDT)
I disagree with the above advice. In Saint Marys (Pennsylvania), I listed an establishment twice because it's primarily a restaurant that happens to have rooms upstairs, but there aren't a lot of hotels in the area so I don't want to miss mentioning it in Sleep. The rule at Project:Don't tout, the way I see it, is intended primarily for hotels that happen to have restaurants in their lobbies and for restaurants that have full bars (or pubs that serve food). As with everything the traveler comes first, and when it comes to very small destinations, presenting a full picture to the traveler requires double listings. (WT-en) LtPowers 10:55, 9 August 2011 (EDT)
Menzies, a star article on a (very) small town has a similar instance (Menzies Hotel) and IMHO it does its job of notifying readers without resorting to having multiple listings beautifully. I don't know if anyone intends on expanding it later, but Gunners hotel listing at Saint Marys article currently didn't look really useful to me—it could be a sentence at the end of the restaurant listing ("... also has rooms upstairs, for $80...") just as well. Bolding "rooms" would be ever more eye-catching, so users wouldn't miss it. However, I agree that everything on Wikivoyage should be decided on a case-by-case basis and the traveler comes first should be the number one guideline, overruling all others. – (WT-en) Vidimian 17:38, 9 August 2011 (EDT)
Well, if you want an extreme example, how about Childs, where the Sleep section would be empty if I had followed this rule to the letter? =) (WT-en) LtPowers 19:50, 9 August 2011 (EDT)
Slippery slopes all over the place there... one rule for the touts and another rule for the rest of us? The Project:Don't tout#General guidelines are extremely clear. The traveler comes first is open to all sorts of interpretation. "Only list a business once" (with defined exceptions) isn't. My advice to Justme remains exactly as given and in line with both policy and general practice here. --(WT-en) Burmesedays 23:01, 9 August 2011 (EDT)
Small towns can be troublesome to make complete coverage of all sleep/eat options, limited as they may be, without resorting double listings. I agree with the list under the section it is best at aproach. Some average hotels have great restaurants and vice vera. It's not a bad idea to add a line like "The restaurant at Hotel X is pretty good if you've tried all the others" to point reader to listings they might not have read. - (WT-en) Cardboardbird 03:28, 10 August 2011 (EDT)
I see the slippery slope here, but I do agree with LtPowers that the traveler might not be best served when that rule is strictly followed. "Under the section it is best at" isn't easy either. Firstly, because only those who have stayed and eaten there would be able to tell and secondly because with not much options around, a place that is "better" as a restaurant may still be one of the best (or only) places to sleep. Would it be problematic to make the description longer? That is, to add more than just "also has rooms for $80" to a restaurant listing? (WT-en) Justme 03:51, 10 August 2011 (EDT)

"Only list a business once" was intended to stop touts from spamming hotel bars and restaurants, not to prevent listing legitimate (and sometimes solitary) options in small villages and towns. If making the latter explicit is necessary to make people feel better, then I propose we do so. (WT-en) LtPowers 16:03, 10 August 2011 (EDT)

There is currently an exception clause stating "That said, exceptions can be made on a case-by-case basis if, for example, a hotel has a famous, separately named bar or restaurant that also draws significant numbers of non-resident customers". I would be fine with something similar for very small towns (less than three hotels/restaurants/bars?) that would make it easier to fill out sections, but I very much understand (WT-en) Burmesedays concerns about slippery slopes, particularly in regards to the Southeast Asian articles that he has authored where businesses almost always have a restaurant, bar and hotel. -- (WT-en) Ryan • (talk) • 16:37, 10 August 2011 (EDT)

Why not having a combined "Sleep / Eat" section for such small towns? --(WT-en) DenisYurkin 16:14, 10 August 2011 (EDT)

The rare exception listed by Ryan is important (like the Plume at the Jefferson in Washington, D.C./Dupont Circle. For small towns, though, I recognize this problem and think it is best dealt with via a mention in the eat section, rather than a full listing (e.g., "In addition to the restaurants below, X Guest House also does a fantastic plate of Kazakh goat eyeballs for dinner, open to non-hotel guests). --(WT-en) Peter Talk 19:18, 10 August 2011 (EDT)
How is that in any way better than a full listing? (WT-en) LtPowers 20:50, 10 August 2011 (EDT)
That's very much the approach I have used; eg Four Seasons Ubud listed as a hotel and a mention that it has an exceptional restaurant in the prose blurb in the eat section.
As Ryan states this is a big issue in many Asian destinations. Not only a hotel, bar and restaurant at the same address but also often various combinations of spa, dive-shop etc. Listing a business once only is a guideline that has served WT well.
Many English country towns would be another, different example. The pub will often be the only place to eat, drink and sleep in the town. List it just once and say that in the description. Seems very straightforward and in line with the traveller comes first. It is much easier to read one listing rather than 3, only to then realise that all 3 are talking about exactly the same place.--(WT-en) Burmesedays 21:52, 10 August 2011 (EDT)
In Thailand there are listings that could be listed in nearly all sections (a guest house (sleep) with a bar/restaurant (drink/eat), a cooking school (learn) and a massage service (do). Adding a listing in multiple sections I think never should be done, as it is very confusing to have the same listing twice or more. Most accommodation listings have some sort of eating and drinking available, so those listings could be spread all over the article. Like Burmesedays, I have always just written it down in the description which I think makes most sense (for example: Bangkok/Dusit#Eat). --(WT-en) globe-trotter 23:23, 10 August 2011 (EDT)
I'm also going to say there is no case for a double listing. A bit of prose to redirect the reader to the appropriate section will suffice. (WT-en) texugo 00:51, 11 August 2011 (EDT)
Agree. The hotel name can appear twice, but only one entry needs a full listing, the other can say "See Eat section" or similar. --(WT-en) SaxonWarrior 02:13, 11 August 2011 (EDT)
I can see how that works for really small towns with up to 3 places, especially with a note above the eat-section saying something like "several of the restaurants are attached to hotels, so see the Sleep-section for more options" I do feel however that there should be the same info for the restaurant as it would get in a separate listing, so it does become a longer listing. Bolding "restaurant" or "rooms" doesn't seem to help in making it clearer, see Vijlen#Eat.
There's nothing like symbols on Wikivoyage, right? I mean, would it be an option to place a small colored star/fork/whatever at the beginning of such a listing to just indicate that it has a restaurant as well?
Last thing, I think sights with notable restaurants should be listed double, especially in longer articles. That link between "see" and "eat" is less clear. (WT-en) Justme 04:23, 11 August 2011 (EDT)

Not relevant here, but in huge cities like New York, I think it is in some exceptional cases reasonable to list a hotel and a restaurant in the hotel separately. A possible example would be Jean Georges, a New York Times 4-star and Michelin 3-star restaurant that is extensively patronized by people who are hard-pressed to even remember the name of the hotel (it's in the Trump Tower Building, I believe - I'd have to check the exact name, myself). There are several quite independently famous restaurants in New York that happen to be in hotels which may themselves be famous. So I would argue that we should allow for occasional, unusual exceptions to this rule of no double listings, but probably only in huge or at least large cities, where not listing Jean Georges and whatever hotel is there (I think it's called the Meridien and it may be in itself notable, though as a native New Yorker who's never stayed in a hotel here, I wouldn't know for sure) could cause one or the other to really be lost in the shuffle. (WT-en) Ikan Kekek 05:43, 11 August 2011 (EDT)

Jean Gorges is a separate listing, it is a restaurant that happens to be in the Trump Hotel. That's not what we're discussing here. To Justme: the length of the listing is no problem, you can extensively write out all its sleep, eat, drink and other facilities available, that's no problem at all. About See and Eat -- can you give an example? --(WT-en) globe-trotter 05:58, 11 August 2011 (EDT)
The case of Jean Georges is already perfectly covered by the exception to the rule.
On See and Eat, there are many examples where an attraction has a decent restaurant. Again though, just mention that fact in the listing as an attraction. --(WT-en) Burmesedays 06:10, 11 August 2011 (EDT)

I did know about the exception. I mistakenly omitted a phrase from my post. I just wanted to clarify things because I was seeing posts to the effect that there should _never_ be a listing for a restaurant in a hotel, separate from the hotel listing. I see that the "never" is specifically in the context of villages and small towns. (WT-en) Ikan Kekek 17:13, 11 August 2011 (EDT)

@globe-trotter: an example to me are some chateaus in Europe. The city Maastricht is a currently underdeveloped article but should eventually be as large as Amsterdam or so. The castle of Neercanne there, e.g., is the only terraced castle in the Netherlands, beautiful as an attraction, with a vineyard and wine cellars in grottoes. There's also a restaurant, not just "descent", but a Michelin star one, considered to be one of the most classic dining opportunities in the area. I do think it should be listed separately under Eat, splurge options in Maastricht. (WT-en) Justme 06:27, 11 August 2011 (EDT)


Advertising[edit]

While the "Don't tout" policy originally started out as something relating to writing style, it has since become the de facto guideline on Wikivoyage for how we try to deal with users who are abusing the site for advertising purposes. As a result, it seems like it might make sense to re-focus the article on the fact that Wikivoyage should not be used for advertising. Specifically:

  • Update the opening paragraphs to focus on the fact that Wikivoyage should not be used for advertising, rather than on writing style and tone.
  • Consolidate the three "guideline" sections into one with a handful of bullet points that includes all of the style guidelines ("describe, don't urge", "don't list the same place many times", etc).
  • Add a separate section such as "How to contribute without advertising" that includes several of the "Guidelines for business owners" items (create a user page, include prices, etc).
  • Add a new section for dealing with edits that appear to be advertising - basically, discuss them on the talk page, re-write if it's blatant, revert en masse for users who make multiple contributions, etc.

Thoughts? If there isn't any objection I'd be more than happy to attempt a rewrite. -- (WT-en) Ryan • (talk) • 13:11, 28 November 2011 (EST)

I don't object, per-se, but I'd regarded wbo as the guidelines for the would be advertisers, and this policy more relating to tone. We don't want to duplicate the same policy in too many places. --(WT-en) Inas 17:02, 28 November 2011 (EST)
I've always seen the "Welcome, XXX" pages as just informational pages for certain types of users (ie pointers to policies, tips for getting started), rather than policy pages, but maybe that's incorrect??? -- (WT-en) Ryan • (talk) • 17:59, 28 November 2011 (EST)
I'm sure may have been the intention, but that page does contain policy elements for advertisers. I've no objection to that being here, but perhaps we prune back some of that with a cross-reference if we are going to target this article more specifically at advertising. --(WT-en) Inas 21:50, 28 November 2011 (EST)
I would support these changes, and also the pruning of Welcome, business owners, with an obvious (and emphatic) pointer to this article. --(WT-en) Peter Talk 02:21, 29 November 2011 (EST)
(Re-indenting) I've attempted a rewrite. The article is now much less about tone and much more a general guideline on not using Wikivoyage for marketing purposes. Rather than three "guidelines" sections there is now just one ("Identifying touting"), with a follow-up section with pointers to let business owners know how they can contribute constructively. I didn't do a "dealing with touting" section, but one could be added if it would be valuable. Feedback and updates would be appreciated. -- (WT-en) Ryan • (talk) • 00:39, 4 December 2011 (EST)

Link to article creation[edit]

if an article about the town has not yet been created, create it.

Can we drop the link from here to how to create an article? My understanding is that we are developing this as our landing point for touts - and in 99% of cases I think it is best for them to add to an existing article. --(WT-en) Inas 20:02, 16 January 2012 (EST)

It's not often that an appropriate article won't exist, but even if it happens one time out of a hundred that's still going to account for 1-2 marketers per week. Is your concern that marketers will create articles of dubious value, or topics that really shouldn't be an article? -- (WT-en) Ryan • (talk) • 20:59, 16 January 2012 (EST)
I think if they are concerned enough as to how to do it properly, then the info is easy enough to find in the normal help pages. A small hurdle to overcome in this case is reasonable for someone who has been referred here as a tout. --(WT-en) Inas 21:44, 16 January 2012 (EST)
I think it's good to leave the link here; what's the harm? (WT-en) Ikan Kekek 23:25, 16 January 2012 (EST)
There is the possibility that articles like Verona (Ontario) will be created just to accommodate one or two listings for a place too small to stand alone as a city/town article. For instance, a tiny village may have something to do, or somewhere to eat, but can you sleep there (or vice-versa)? If not, the larger rural area with all the local villages should either be one article or be attached to the nearest city as one section ==Nearby== if they're rural villages, inline with the main text if they're non-notable suburbs of the city. Blindly sending new users to Wikivoyage:How to start a new page (which encourages the creation of stubs) without imposing any minimum as to what is an article will leave pages created for places too small to justify an article. K7L (talk) 20:12, 20 November 2012 (UTC)

Fluff in example[edit]

I don't understand this reversion. The two words that were removed are indeed extraneous and arguably don't belong in an example we're holding up as "good". (WT-en) LtPowers 11:44, 25 June 2012 (EDT)

If others agree then please restore the change, but this wasn't something listed on Project:Words to avoid and I don't see the harm in differentiating amenities from things like "activities" or "services". -- (WT-en) Ryan • (talk) • 11:52, 25 June 2012 (EDT)
I don't think the word "amenities" should be categorically discouraged, but in this case, for the sake of having an example of good, concise writing, I agree that they should be eliminated. (WT-en) texugo 11:56, 25 June 2012 (EDT)
As long as we're on the topic, though, the "good" example is a bit dry. But then, we don't want business owners or others with a vested interest trying to write lively descriptions, do we? (WT-en) LtPowers 15:23, 25 June 2012 (EDT)
I also think the example is better off with the fat trimmed. "Amenities" is one of those words that generally does distinguish marketers from, er, real people. I also agree with LtPowers that, since this article is for business owners, a more creative example might not be appropriate. We mostly want them to take a step back and try to write something objective. --(WT-en) Peter Talk 16:45, 25 June 2012 (EDT)
The example uses entrée for a restaurant meal, which Wikivoyage:Words to avoid says not to use as "Can cause confusion, meaning the main course or first course depending on where you are". Perhaps this should be changed to avoid a contradiction between these two pages? K7L (talk) 21:02, 20 November 2012 (UTC)

Be concise[edit]

The problem with these so-called "lively descriptions" is that we end up with two paragraphs or more of fluff or self-laudatory text. We want just the facts; including the vendor's opinion of their own product is rarely useful and creates bloated listings like:

Casual, Licensed waterfront patio with spectacular view of the Kingston skyline. Homemade burgers, fresh cut fries, beer battered fish and chips and lots more!
Live music Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons through July and August. A true Island summer getaway!

instead of:

Casual. Licensed waterfront patio with view of the Kingston skyline, live music on weekends through July and August.

In this one case, half the "Eat" section for one page was devoted to a single restaurant, which is unreasonable unless this were the only restaurant in the entire region. We don't need the entire menu (although it might be worthwhile to include enough to identify whether this is a sushi bar or a steakhouse), "and lots more!" says nothing useful and the owners claiming how "spectacular" they are as "a true island summer getaway!" is pure fluff. To say that an eatery serving "fish and chips" also has "fries" is redundantly redundant. We don't need more than one line or so (and certainly nothing longer than a paragraph) for one restaurant. Keep it short, simple and factual or it will be trimmed back or removed. K7L (talk) 17:21, 20 October 2012 (CEST)

Odessa[edit]

Is this touting [16]? What do you think? Jjtk (talk) 17:02, 22 January 2013 (UTC)

Strictly speaking, no; there's no "visit our hotel, it's the best!"-type langauge. But it is pretty clearly not the sort of thing we encourage. In cases like that, we sometimes revert but should always take a moment to explain to the user that we need more than just contact info and open-ended price ranges. LtPowers (talk) 20:22, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
The username is "Black Sea" (in Russian) and the content is an ad for a chain of four hotels named "Black Sea". It isn't anything that would fill a Project:Words to avoid BINGO card, but four listings for locations of the same business in the same city is a bit much. K7L (talk) 01:16, 31 January 2013 (UTC)

Hotel marketers[edit]

We've struggled with hotel marketers for some time (see Special:Contributions/66.194.200.166 for one example today), and have taken increasingly hard lines against these users. Marketers are paid to promote a business, and thus any information added is biased in a way that is difficult to trust, so I'm wondering if it is time to update the don't tout policy to state that marketers may update existing listings to correct factual inaccuracies, but they SHOULD NOT add new listings. Since we're not a yellow pages, adding every Hampton Inn in Jacksonville isn't a particularly valuable edit, nor is adding every Vagabond Inn in Nevada and California.

Specifically, I'd propose updating policy with something like the following:

If you are working for a hotel chain or an agency helping to market hotels, please do not add new listings to Wikivoyage articles. You are welcome to correct factual details in existing listings (such as incorrect URLs or phone numbers), but Wikivoyage is not a yellow pages, so adding every individual location for a hotel brand is not in the best interest of the traveler. Accounts that add multiple chain hotel listings should expect to see contributions removed, and in extreme cases the account may be blocked from further editing. If a hotel is truly exceptional, or if a city has a very limited number of lodging options, please propose new listings on the article's talk page, but do not add it yourself.

That's a bit harsh, but additions from marketers aren't edits that I trust, so I think this may be something we now want to take a hard line against. -- Ryan • (talk) • 17:18, 30 January 2013 (UTC)

Limiting these to one listing added by any given owner might be an option; that would address those who list the same property under multiple headings (usually eat/drink and sleep if there's a restaurant in the hôtel), the same property under multiple districts, or multiple properties under common ownership (the chain hôtel problem). Prohibiting a merchant from including statements of opinion (the hôtelier's opinion of their own hovel is worthless to us) is also advisable. K7L (talk) 22:34, 30 January 2013 (UTC)
Just to clarify, I'm not proposing changes for individuals that add a single listing - this proposal is meant solely to apply to the hotel chain marketers as called out in Wikivoyage:Don't tout#Marketers and SEOs. -- Ryan • (talk) • 22:41, 30 January 2013 (UTC)
That still leaves the problem of chains removing negative info about their properties; I recall one in the last few days where an Embassy Suites removed a complaint about an unstable Internet connection in-room. K7L (talk) 22:46, 30 January 2013 (UTC)
I think this wording makes sense, and I was meaning to start this discussion myself. Removing an addition by a marketer shouldn't be something a patroller has to justify each time beyond a pointer to this page, and a "hard line" wording like this would take that extra work off our janitorial team's shoulders.
To K7L, business promoters are already prohibited from removing negative reviews about their businesses. --Peter Talk 22:56, 30 January 2013 (UTC)
The way you've worded this, I know that some marketer will try to write off every negative review as a "factual inaccuracy" and attempt to "correct" it. Annoying, but not a surprise to anyone. K7L (talk) 23:40, 30 January 2013 (UTC)
Does the following address your concerns? The following would be a complete replacement for the text now present in the "Marketers and SEOs" section:
Note: Wikivoyage implements rel="nofollow" so there is no SEO benefit to listing a website here.
Because there is an inherent conflict of interest when someone is being paid for their edits, if you are working for a hotel chain, a marketing agency, or a similar organization then you may not add multiple listings for that business to Wikivoyage articles. Wikivoyage is not a yellow pages, so adding every individual location for a hotel brand or restaurant chain is not an appropriate use of this site. If a hotel is truly exceptional, or if a city has a very limited number of lodging options available, you may propose a listing to be added on the article's talk page, but do not add the listing yourself. Marketers that add multiple business listings should expect to see their contributions reverted, and in the worst case repeated violations of this policy may lead to blocking of the contributor's account and possibly blacklisting of the business in question.
Marketers and paid editors may make factual corrections to existing hotel listings, but these changes should be strictly limited to non-subjective information such as URLs or phone numbers. As explained above, do not remove negative information from a listing without first discussing the change; if a listing states that a hotel has a dated interior but the property has undergone recent renovation, point out this fact on the article's talk page and let someone else update the listing.
-- Ryan • (talk) • 00:15, 31 January 2013 (UTC)
I'm good with the above language. -Shaundd (talk) 05:29, 31 January 2013 (UTC)
Looks good. Do it. K7L (talk) 10:28, 31 January 2013 (UTC)
Done. -- Ryan • (talk) • 18:48, 31 January 2013 (UTC)

Local additions[edit]

I think that marketing people from chain head offices should be encouraged not to make edits themselves, but to get the on-site management of the hotel to sign up and make the edit. The manager of an individual hotel is much more likely to take care over the edit and could also make useful edits to the rest of the city article. The local hotel manager may realise that if the whole city article is improved, more people may come to town and stay in the hotel. This should also reduce the common mistake of marketeers of editing the wrong page - like listing hotels in South Dakota on Aberdeen in Scotland. AlasdairW (talk) 00:01, 31 January 2013 (UTC)
Just so long as the local people put the local attractions and activities in "see" and "do" instead of in the hotel's "sleep" listing (and resist the temptation to claim to be 'near' every landmark in a city and every adjacent municipality)... and please no CVB-style spam where the entire town's description is turned into fluff like (in "Eat":) "(Town) is fast becoming a dining destination for tourists from throughout the US and Canada. Offering a variety of unique locally owned and operated restaurants on the historic Main Street, dining in (town) offers options for every pallet and pocketbook... Main Street is a protected Historic District and all the buildings retain their original and unique charm. No trip to (region) is complete without a stroll through (region)’s dining Mecca: Main Street, (town)." or (in "Get out/Go next":) "If you find yourself in (destination), it's likely for the isolation and natural beauty of the area. With little surrounding towns or villages, getting out should be the last thing to worry about while on vacation in this beautiful, un-disturbed, natural wonder." If anything, the CVB fluff is worse as it turns an entire article into advertising and hype. K7L (talk) 02:46, 31 January 2013 (UTC)

I think it would be efficient if we channelled business promoters energies and enthusiasm to our own ends. I think we should go a little bit further and I propose an addition to our existing policy:

In addition to the guidelines above, note that business promoters must format listings correctly. Other editors will fix mistakes made by good faith contributors who add only one or two listings, but if you are adding listings to promote your business, then it is up to you to make sure they adhere to the Wikivoyage style guidelines and our goals. You must include full information, including price ranges, a properly formatted address (do not include city/state or province/postal code) and a useful, factually accurate description of the business with correctly formatted phone numbers; otherwise, your contributions will probably be consistently removed.

Does anybody think that would be too much to ask? -- Alice 07:39, 31 January 2013 (UTC)

Um, a business shouldn't be beyond the "add only one or two listings" if they're merely adding themselves for promotional purposes; two listings is already one too many. The only thing we need to say about adding every hotel in an entire chain to the guide with a single-purpose account is "don't do it". Properly-formatted spam is still spam. K7L (talk) 10:10, 31 January 2013 (UTC)

Shortcuts and headings[edit]

While I think they were well-intentioned, I don't think the recent layout changes to this policy page were an improvement. What was once a reasonably concise list is now a dozen sub-sections, apparently done for the purpose of adding shortcut links that I don't think were needed - pointing someone to this policy page is generally sufficient, without a need to link specifically to the "Avoid superlatives" bullet.

I don't want to simply revert this change as others might prefer this format, but my preference would be to remove the sub-headings and go back to the shorter list format, which I think was more readable. As to the shortcuts, I think shortcuts can be valuable, but we don't need links to every sub-section of every policy page, and should (IMHO) reserve them for sub-sections that are actually being cited in edit summaries or on talk pages. -- Ryan • (talk) • 07:12, 31 January 2013 (UTC)

Atheistically unpleasant, and likely to be underutilized. I think the older version was better. --Inas (talk) 07:47, 31 January 2013 (UTC)

Naturally and as per my edit summary, I disagree on at least two grounds:

1) Formatting into subsections rather than bullet points means that more precise shortcuts can be used that link to the specific policy. eg: better to write "1url only, please" or "don't shout" or please don't qjump" in the edit summary rather than an imprecise and generalised "don't tout" where the target may not quickly grasp what the heck you're on about. This formatting really makes it much easier to give succinct but exact policy advice and I do think that, at least in this case, utility is more important than your feeling of what is aesthetically more pleasing.

2) The "angels" can quickly scan down the list of contents to get the coconut shell of this policy.

Please remember that in the months to come and as we become vastly more popular and well known to business promoters, this may save a lot of patrolling time and be extremely educational. -- Alice 08:05, 31 January 2013 (UTC)

I think we should return to the old format. We need one policy don't tout, not a dozen policies with unlikely names (as shortcuts) in mainspace like multiple and qjump. Usually, a problematic listing is going to trigger more than one of these (excessive multiposting, owner posting opinion of own establishment, fluff/words to avoid, excessive length and at the same time key factual info missing) as, when these are fluff, they're pure fluff all the way through. We're already needing to cite multiple pages, wbo but don't tout and these are words to avoid in listings. Don't add a dozen more fragments to the list. The message needs to be short, direct and complete. K7L (talk) 10:01, 31 January 2013 (UTC)
Agreed; people pointed here should read the whole policy, not just a single section anyway. Same with Wikivoyage:Measurements. LtPowers (talk) 14:10, 31 January 2013 (UTC)
I agree. But these shortcuts are introduced everywhere, not just here. I already started a discussion at Wikivoyage talk:Shortcuts#Shortcuts for everything. Globe-trotter (talk) 14:12, 31 January 2013 (UTC)

Since there is some concern about the layout changes I've reverted to the earlier version. -- Ryan • (talk) • 18:41, 31 January 2013 (UTC)

Is it the way to do of all the Administrators of Wikivoyage[edit]

Swept in from the pub

I'm a contributor for several months after my last add on the page of "Les Saintes" I received this post:

[les Saintes]

And this action against me: MediaWiki talk:Spam-blacklist#craigarush dot com, lessaintes-booking dot com

Is "Ikan Kekek" alone when he insultes the "integrity" of a regular contributor or it is the new commun spirit of Wikivoyage ?

Les Saintes (talk)

This looks like you are trying to advertise your own business on Wikivoyage? You may want to look at Wikivoyage:Welcome, business owners and Wikivoyage:Don't tout. There are also restrictions on what we link - we may link to the "official" site for a destination or an individual venue, but do not link to booking agencies or other middlemen. We also avoid links to other travel guides. If you wish to post factual and fair information about a city or destination that primarily benefits the traveller, by all means go ahead... but please avoid promotional hype and blatant advertising. K7L (talk) 00:53, 2 September 2014 (UTC)
URLs aren't put on the spam blacklist except in cases of repeated abuse, which you can see I detailed. You are not an official governmental site and cannot promote your site here. Ikan Kekek (talk) 04:06, 2 September 2014 (UTC)

Please stop the bullshits and ask around U We are in charge to promote the tourim activity in Les Saintes... we are not a real estate!!!! or a travel Agency !!!!?????

The "tourist" "Books" directly with the Owners, there's no fees, no charge or no "Strange threat" behind this site...

Please have a look on the site to understand how its work!

Sorry for your "plot Theory" we hare not the rights guys for you !

Les Saintes

I'd suggest that maybe you shouldn't be in charge of tourism of Les Saintes if you can't help swearing on a public website. Andrewssi2 (talk) 14:55, 2 September 2014 (UTC)
Furthermore, Les Saintes, I would suggest that if you want to continue editing Wikivoyage that you refrain from behaving in an abusive manner toward other editors. Civility is something that is taken very seriously here, and if you can't control yourself we can and will ban you from editing, so consider yourself warned. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 15:55, 2 September 2014 (UTC)
Can we slow down a bit here?
Yes, this user seems to be advertising a web site in a way that violates our policy at what we link. He claims it is the official site; I'm willing to assume good faith (the claim is made honestly), but I'd need evidence before actually believing it. Googling "Les Saintes tourist office" turns up several other sites making similar claims and I cannot tell if any are valid. Our Guadeloupe article links to an apparently official site which has a Les Saintes section; until and unless I see evidence otherwise, I'll assume that is the official site for Les Saintes, hence the only one we should link to.
On the other hand, checking the user's contribution record, I do see positive contributions. K7L says above "If you wish to post ... by all means go ahead"; it seems to me this user has already done some of that, so I'd say a ban beyond the three-day cooling off already imposed (Wikivoyage:User_ban_nominations#User:Tourtravelets) should not be considered. The problematic link is blocked and should remain so unless evidence is presented to justify unblocking, so there is no need to block the user. Pashley (talk) 17:01, 2 September 2014 (UTC)
First of all, Pashley, Tourtravelets is a separate case involving a completely different user. Les Saintes is not currently the subject of any ban, of any duration. However, between swearing at K7L and leveling baseless accusations of ethnic prejudice at Ikan Kekek, I think that in the event of a continuation of the behavior pattern displayed above it would be completely reasonable to impose a similar three-day cooling-off ban on Les Saintes. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 18:33, 2 September 2014 (UTC)
According the human rights and in a lot of modern country: a person is presumed innocent and after strong evidence she could be judged guilty…

If I understand your rules," lessaintes-booking" is presumed guilty and for some of you already judged guilty….

After a look on The Guadeloupe page and its private and personal links, my honesty can't be offended anymore.

To resolve the problem I propose to ban "Myself" forever …

Les Saintes

Les Saintes: All we ask of our editors, and all we are asking of you, is to follow policy and treat other editors collegially and respectfully. The vast majority of Wikivoyagers, both newbies and old hands, have no problem with those two things, but you have openly refused to do either of them despite numerous instances in which you have been advised. Accordingly, perhaps the resolution you propose is best for everyone. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 23:08, 2 September 2014 (UTC)
Les Saintes, Pashley stated above that he found other sites that also claim to be the official site of Les Saintes. You bring up the courts, but in fact, if this were a court case, the burden of proof would indeed be on YOU to prove that your site is the official site. If it is the official site, your time would be better spent inquiring as to HOW you can prove it rather than swearing at people. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 11:25, 3 September 2014 (UTC)

Touting in a nutshell[edit]

This could perhaps be added to some appropriate section of the Don't tout policy page (obviously just the description and nothing else, otherwise we'll be touting the restaurant ;)). It's like a caricature of a touty listing except that it's apparently for real. ϒpsilon (talk) 20:34, 3 October 2014 (UTC)