Talk:Asia

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Asia#Stay_safe[edit]

I just read the stay safe section of Asia. I think it is a bit outdated. The situation in Iraq has improved and especially the northern parts are way safer today. Most civil airlines now fly to Baghdad. Sadly the situation in Syria develops into a civil war with up to 1 mn refugees. I stay my reasoning here, as stay safe changes are usually contested... Jc8136 (talk) 13:00, 3 October 2012 (CEST)

Yeah, should be updated. --Globe-trotter (talk) 16:32, 6 October 2012 (CEST)
I stared at this for a while, but couldn't settle on a good way to improve it. There's only so much you can give for advice that applies to all of Asia! Perhaps reword it along the lines of "the situation in the Middle East is especially fluid, investigate current conditions with particular care"? -- D. Guillaume (talk) 02:03, 7 October 2012 (CEST)
I think Dguillaume's suggestion work well. Specifics can't really be effectively incorporated into an article with such wide scope.Travelpleb (talk) 12:07, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

Caucasus[edit]

The Caucasus are in the Europe hierachy. So is Russia - mainly... sort of. So this article should probably acknowledge this. I suggest putting them in light gray on the map. This has an effect of bringing them to a level of prominence above regions outside Asia but below that of the regions in the Asia hierachy. For example, have a look at how the Russian North Caucasus are shown on the map of the Caucasus.Travelpleb (talk) 12:07, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

They're actually in both. As is Turkey. We still don't really have support for multiple parents being shown in the breadcrumb trail, but we shouldn't let current tech shortcomings drive our content. --Peter Talk 20:08, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
I could put in gradients, though, like at Template:Worldimagemap. --Peter Talk 20:09, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
They're both in Europe and in Asia, so I'm happy the way it's currently done. 95% of their territory lies in Asia, so they should be prominently featured here.Globe-trotter (talk) 20:14, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
I thought dual breadcrumb trails have already been invented. So, we can't yet put them on the Caucasus article? (Personally, I'd rather see the Caucasus as only in Asia but I'm not too bothered about it.)
I think there should be some way of identifying these ambiguous regions, it does appear confusing otherwise. Gradients might be a nice idea.
Also, has there's been a discussion somewhere that decided against the creation distinct European Russia and Asian Russia pages? Travelpleb (talk) 07:54, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
Part of the problem is that 95% of the population of the Caucasus doesn't want to be considered (just) Asian. If you edit the Caucasus article, you'll see both crumbs there, but the software only reads the bottom one (for now, anyway). I'd rather wait for the tech issue to get sorted out than to muck about with the content. If it were unsolvable, than yes, an Asian Russia page might make sense. Speaking of which, I don't think we actually have a bugzilla request for this yet. But maybe someone else entered one. --Peter Talk 00:19, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
In any given situation I'd happily trammel the opinions of the locals with what makes more sense but in this case I don't feel strongly about dual breadcrumbs for the Caucasus. And tech issues are beyond my comprehension, so I will leave that side of things alone. What I would like to try and do is come up with a way of clearly acknowledging (in the continent articles and on their maps) that such areas exist. The ambiguities seem to arise in two ways: a definite continental boundary that occurs within a country (e.g. the Urals & the Bosphorus) and a difficult to define region (the Caucasus). These should be dealt with (at least on the map) in different ways. I'll play with the SVG file and see if I can come up with something helpful.Travelpleb (talk) 09:53, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
Something like this? I think Russia looks quite good. The Caucasus could be improved. I've also standardized the shorter abbreviations and added a key, which I think would be an improvement either way.Travelpleb (talk) 13:29, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
I think that works pretty well. I tried using gradients for accuracy, but the Russia + Caucasus grouping starts to look weird when you put the gradient in for Kazakhstan (which does have a big chunk in Europe). They do belong together, but their borders only meet in Europe! I would suggest changing the color of the key, though—maybe a slightly transparent white/very light gray? I have used that on a lot of maps. Also, take a look at Template:Asiaimagemap, and see how that might interact with the key. I can adjust the template, of course. --Peter Talk 19:58, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
I like the template. I appreciate your attention to detail (including clickable PNG and Oz is a nice touch!). Should we go all out on accuracy and have Western Kazakhstan shaded out? That would mean also putting it on the Europe page... it may inspire someone to break from the Paris-Berlin-Prague Eurotrip stereotype! However, I anticipate grumbling accusations of pedantry at the Europe page should Kazakhstan try to make an appearance there (and I would probably sympathize with them).
The Causcasus does look a little strange. Given that on the Asia page we're celebrating both Russia's and the Caucasus' Asian characteristics (also consider the travel logistics of the essentially closed Russian border), we might want to group the Caucasus with the Middle East. Then in the description add something like "European looking and influenced by Russia, the Caucasus still shares much heritage with its Middle Eastern neighbors..."Travelpleb (talk) 10:14, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
The key now has a 5% gray background. European Kazakhstan has been shaded out. European Russia's shading has been matched to Kazakhstan's. Caucasus has been colored similar to Middle East. (Also a missing abbreviation has been added). Travelpleb (talk) 10:14, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
I thought the dividing lines between Europe and Asia were the Urals and the Caucasus, such that the Anatolian part of Turkey is in Asia, but Armenia across the border is in Europe. Where are you all drawing the line, and on what basis? Ikan Kekek (talk) 12:29, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
In Russia and Kazakhstan the line on the map follows the Urals, doesn't it? (I did draw the line freehand rather than trace a map). All lands west of the Urals, including Kazakhstan's Caspian Basin, is shaded out as part of Europe. I shaded out Western Kazakhstan as a homage to pendantry, I would understand if it were not finally in the Europe hierarchy. Anatolian Turkey is indeed colored as part of Asia; Eastern Thrace, European Turkey (the tiny bit west of the Bosphorus), is not. I too would happily see the Caucasus region as part of only Asia, but Peterfitzgerald puts a plausible case for its inclusion in both the Asia and Europe hierarchies. Therefore it has assumed stripes in the draft map as a possible means of denoting its ambiguous nature - because I think the maps should reflect the geographical hierarchy (whatever we end up deciding it to be); and if a region is in two hierarchies, the articles, certainly, and the maps, probably, should reflect this.Travelpleb (talk) 12:49, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
I remember all of the Caucasian republics in the Soviet Union being shown on maps as part of Europe, so why change that now? In my opinion, though I obviously stand to be corrected, the boundary line between Europe and Asia west of the Urals is the northern border of Turkey and Iran. Ikan Kekek (talk) 13:19, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
Apologies for the French but this map shows clearly that the Caucasus mountain range's center basically follows the Russian border.
Back in the hammer and sickle days, considering the Caucasus states as part of Europe may have been politically expedient, but today the geological/tectonic boundary of the Caucasus mountains forms an obvious frontier. However, as Ikan Kekek and Peterfitzgerald point out, there are cultural arguments in favor of the region's inclusion in Europe but surely that colossal mountain range says something about the continental boundary. See also [1].Travelpleb (talk) 14:24, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
My French is pretty good, anyway. I take your point about the "Grand Caucase," but there are still cultural reasons to put the boundary below the Caucasus states, and geographically, one could make a good argument that there really is no such thing as a European continent, but rather, Eurasia, with culturally-defined divisions between "Europe" and "Asia." You could make a much sounder purely geographic argument for India as a separate continent. See w: Eurasian Plate.
Boundary Europe and Asia
There is a universally agreed boundary between Europe and Asia, in which Armenia is 100% in Asia, and Azerbaijan and Georgia for 95% in Asia. If anything, these countries should be removed from Europe and kept here, however some cultural sensitivities seem to exist. So the current way it's done is fine, to have these countries in both continents.Globe-trotter (talk) 14:46, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
While indeed amalgamations of continents based on tectonics may be useful concepts in some areas (I think I even spotted an Afro-Eurasian construction), I doubt that they will see much light on Wikivoyage.
From the (western) traveler's perspective passing from Russia to Georgia or Azerbaijan is difficult if not impossible, which adds some support to our continental boundary following the generally accepted boundary of the mountain range.
However, as I have stated before, while I agree with Globe-trotter and have an opinion contrary to the status quo, I am not too bothered about altering the Caucasus' place in the Wikivoyage hierarchy. They currently sit in both the Europe and the Asia hierarchies and it is this dual listing I wish our maps and articles to make clear.Travelpleb (talk) 15:02, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
If you're really keen on details, a pretty full story is given here. And it does indeed say that the Caucasus states are incontrovertibly in Asia. However, trying to wheel the conversation back to how to treat continentally ambiguous areas: how well do the draft maps proposed for this article handle these boundary issue?Travelpleb (talk) 15:14, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
Looking at the maps, I'm not a huge fan of the gradient, especially with Kazakhstan. I've never heard of any part of Kazakhstan being part of Europe nor have I seen it listed anywhere as being partially in Europe. With Russia, while I see the point, to me, as far as the map is concerned, a nation is a nation so it should if it's given a color, I'd rather color it all. If others like having Russia half grey and half purple, though, I don't care to such an extent to press the issue. With Kazakhstan, I oppose the gradiant. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 15:14, 25 January 2013 (UTC)

That you've never heard of Kazakhstan lying partly in Europe is not surprising; but that in itself does not prevent part of Kazakhstan from lying in Europe. See the above map that Globe-trotter posted and obviously read Wikipedia. However, I will admit that it may not be most helpful for Wikivoyage to consider the far west of Kazakhstan in its Europe hierarchy.

As for Russia and Turkey, these countries span the continents and Wikivoyage acknowledges this in its articles. It should also do so on its maps. France, Spain and the Netherlands also span continents but I'm sure you're not suggesting coloring Reunion & Guiana; Ceuta & Melilla; and Bonaire, Saba & Sint Eustatius as part of Europe. Travelpleb (talk) 15:33, 25 January 2013 (UTC)

There's a clear difference between Russia and France/French Guiana. Eastern Russia and Western Russia are all part of the same land mass. France and French Guiana on the other hand are clearly located on different continents, as are Hawaii and the continental US. On the European map, Neither Turkey nor Russia have a gradient color, even though they span continents (although I see there is a proposed map now). Very little of Turkey is actually on continental Europe, but our map would look silly to have Asian Turkey greyed out or worse, when Istanbul is mentioned have it only link to Istanbul/Asian Side from the Asia article. The differences in these cases are mostly just political and even the geographical differences have no meaning to travelers. Asian Istanbul looks well-connected to European Istanbul. I'm not sure what the benefit is in not just coloring Russia one color. Even if a reader has no idea that Russia has land that is in both Europe and Asia, they are not at any sort of disadvantage when traveling. I don't see any travel benefits in knowing the difference or in splitting the country. All of Russia can clearly be seen on our Asia map, so why not just color it? ChubbyWimbus (talk) 11:40, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
so why not just color it?
Because Moscow is not in Asia.Travelpleb (talk) 19:47, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
Both the Asia article and the Europe article will link to the same "Russia" with no distinction between European and Asian land, so I still don't see a need to differentiate between Asian Russia and European Russia on the map. Once again: It has no value to the traveler whatsoever. There is nothing special that needs to be done in Asian Russia versus European Russia. This seems like an argument that may have merit on Wikipedia but does nothing here. Our African map includes Sinai in Egypt, although it's technically in Asia, but here again, what is the value of eliminating Sinai from Egypt on our African map? To me, it's better to keep them together and show the nation. The Russia, Turkey, and Egypt articles all state that these countries straddle continents. That seems enough to me. There are no dangers or penalties to a traveler who goes from Europe to Asia or vice versa within these nations without knowledge of which continent they are on. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 09:57, 27 January 2013 (UTC)
The only danger or penalty is ignorance and incorrect information, which for some reason you seem keen on promoting.Travelpleb (talk) 10:01, 27 January 2013 (UTC)
Tone the rhetoric down, please. We're all here for the same goal: providing travel information. Sometimes being pedantically correct gets in the way of providing practically useful information. In the case of a map, simplifications must sometimes be made. There is no distinction between "European Kazakhstan" and "Asian Kazakhstan" that has any value to a traveler, so there's no reason to show a distinction on the map -- especially if the fact is conveyed in text. For travel purposes, "Asia" includes all of Kazakhstan; no one planning a European trip would consider putting Atyrau on his or her itinerary. LtPowers (talk) 15:21, 27 January 2013 (UTC)
Agreed, there is no reason to be pedantic about this. Splitting up integral countries doesn't make any sense. The Marmara Region in Turkey, for instance, is in both Europe and Asia. The same goes for the Russian Urals region. Splitting these up doesn't make any sense for travelers. The Asia map should just fully color the countries we attach with it.Globe-trotter (talk) 18:37, 27 January 2013 (UTC)
There is a confusing inconsistency that should be fixed one way or the other. Our hierarchy does split up integral countries. Asian Russia articles (e.g. Omsk) show a breadcrumb trail that includes Asia > Russia (Asia) > but the European Russian articles show Europe > Russia >. Our article and map of Asia should show what we interpret Asia to be — especially as we adopt a non-standard definition — isn't that a major reason of their existence?Travelpleb (talk) 07:53, 28 January 2013 (UTC)
That Russia thing has only been recently introduced, and I am not in favor of it. If anything had to be done, I think it'd be better to make "Eurasia" show up in the breadcrumb trail, so it's indicated Russia and Turkey are a part of Europe ánd Asia. Globe-trotter (talk) 15:30, 28 January 2013 (UTC)
I think the map looks better with the gradient, which is instructive in that it points towards the fact that we list Russia (most importantly) in both Europe and Asia. I'm not sure what the big deal is. --Peter Talk 20:56, 28 January 2013 (UTC)
I had not noticed it, but even that Russia (Asia) link goes nowhere (well it goes to the 'sleeper car' section which isn't even a place), because we have no article for it. I agree with the Eurasia proposal. I really don't like splitting countries when all the territory is right there. It would accomplish the same goal and we could still have a UNIFIED Russia, Turkey, Egypt, Kazakhstan, etc. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 23:48, 28 January 2013 (UTC)

Other destinations:[edit]

The following was swept from the article submitted by Special:Contributions/37.16.68.81

  • Lumbini - the birth place of Siddhartha Gautam, known as The Light of Asia, located in the Rupandehi district of Nepal. It includes a lot of temples and it is one of the popular destinations for Buddhists.


Removal of Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh, and South Ossetia[edit]

These de facto countries, recognised by few states were removed with this edit: and the edit summary was: "rv addition of Abkhazia, S Ossetia, & NK — it looks really weird to put these here, let's please discuss it first"

Previously it has always been our policy to put the traveller first and consider facts on the ground rather than diplomatic niceties or whether their regimes stink or meet with our approval. If it's possible that travellers will go there and we need to inform them about practical differences with their neighbours, then we do so.

On the face of it, this editor who excised them needs to provide a rationale to make an exception to long-standing policy rather than anyone justify their insertion.

(Please note that I make no comment about the italicisation or otherwise - just that all 3 territories factually exist and, therefore, should be included.) -- Alice 09:41, 25 January 2013 (UTC)

I guess the point is rather to which region they belong.Caucasus is considered part of Europe and i agree that it's weird that they are in Asia. We need to notify travellers that due to the limited recognition, visa is a key priority and it is not easy to get them for the region (left alone the cross border drama). I guess we will need to decide Europe or Asia and on which level to name them. jan (talk) 09:49, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
Possibly. In the current edition of Wikivoyage, one region of Asia is listed as "Russia and the Caucasus" so I'll wait to see what the reverting editor writes. However, Nagorno-Karabakh is to the South East of Armenia and South of Azerbaijan, both of which we lump in with one of the regions of Asia, so I can't see the rationale in removing NK unless both Armenia, Azerbaijan are removed too. -- Alice 10:04, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
I 100% believe these three countries belong on the list and maps because they are defacto independent. Access across a border is required to visit. Similar situation to Taiwan/PRC or N/S Korea where they are clearly treated as destinations. I just put them back on the Asia country list.JadeDragon (talk) 10:37, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
See the above "Caucasus" discussion about the placement of the region in Asia and/or Europe. As for the de facto states... I favor their inclusion as separate countries (possibly italicized for emphasis of their "special" situation - but then, for consistency, would we italicize Taiwan? I suppose not) as that is the reality for the traveler and this is how they are treated in this guide's hierarchy.Travelpleb (talk) 11:27, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
I agree these de facto states should be included, as they exist in the reality of travelers; they'll need to cross a border to get to them. Italicizing doesn't make sense, then we'd also need to italicize Kosovo and Taiwan, which I don't agree with. Also, we'd be judging the legality of these states and politicizing the site, which shouldn't be our concern.Globe-trotter (talk) 11:35, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
About the Caucasus, 90% of the territory lies geographically in Asia, so they definitely should be included here. Globe-trotter (talk) 11:37, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
I think they should remain italicized because, unlike Taiwan or Kosovo, they have extremely limited recognition (N-K has none, Abkhazia/S.Ossetia are only recognized by Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela, & 3 small island nations), are hard to reach, and can cause problems when crossing borders or obtaining visas for neighboring countries. Kosovo is recognized by 98 U.N. member states and I don't think there is much difficulty in visiting Kosovo (border crossings/visas when travelling in region). Taiwan is recognized by only 23 U.N. member states, but there's no difficulty in travelling to Taiwan. AHeneen (talk) 22:23, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
Abkhazia and Nagorno-Karabakh are easy to visit and issue their visas in a way that does not mark your passport (a bit like Israel and Cuba). South Ossetia is more tricky. Government travel advice still says that Serbia may still cause problems to people with Kosovo passport stamps plus the Serbia-Kosovo border region is not the easy place to travel.
Either international recognition is an issue or it isn't. You can't make one rule for Taiwan and one for elsewhere.
So unless you want to italicize Taiwan (for its limited recognition) or Israel (for the potential visa headaches with its neighbors), then you are being inconsistent and your argument is of a politicized "West is best; Russia is dumb" type. Which is want we want to avoid.Travelpleb (talk) 07:25, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
If the general advice is 'whatever the traveller encounters is what we should go with', then any region that has separate visas and border procedures should be treated as a separate country. If these three disputed, Caucasus states fit that definition, they should be separated in the list, the map and the descriptions. It's the same situation with Kosovo, Taiwan, Somaliland, etc. JamesA >talk 08:18, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
This discussion is getting mixed up between Talk:Europe and here. But in short, the only country of these three that "behaves like a country" for the intents and purposes of any traveler is Abkhazia, and even that is a bit unusual. N-K functions like a "special region" of Armenia--you go to Yerevan, get a permit, then hop on a bus. South Ossetia is just a conflict zone with unresolved status--for almost all travelers, the only reasonable way to go there is to get a Georgian visa, then make nice with both the Georgian and Russian troops when you try to cross in your marshrutka. You can't fly to these places from a country outside the conflict, and you'll need a visa to that country, not the microconflict "de facto (supposedly)" state. We could add Abkhazia and leave the other two off, but why mess around with this so much? Common sense puts Taiwan on the map, but not Abkhazia, and we can skip the political science gymnastics and leave it at that. --Peter Talk 08:30, 26 January 2013 (UTC)

Interesting, Peter. So, presumably, you would argue that this sentence in our current NK article is exaggerated: "During the conflict, the Azeri population fled and the region is culturally a part of Armenia. However there is a distinct border complete with immigration formalities on the road from Armenia." The other difficulty is that it can't really be part of Armenia or Azerbaijan since (not only has the "the Azeri population fled" but also) our NK article also states "However, it remains internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan by every UN member state, including Armenia, which supports it economically and militarily." All these statements and yours can not simultaneously be correct. -- Alice 09:21, 26 January 2013 (UTC)

I'm not getting why "common sense" puts Taiwan but not Abkhazia on the map. Is the point that it's more difficult to find an Abkhaz consulate that a de facto Taiwanese consulate? What criteria are we using to determine when a de facto country with limited recognition gets treated as a country on this site, if we don't simply treat every de facto country that claims to be one and acts like one as being one, in the service of the traveler? Ikan Kekek (talk) 09:37, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
I also think the whole embassy/consulate thing is pretty irrelevant. I think the rule should be: when you visit there as a traveler, whose laws should you follow? These de facto states are in control of their areas, and as a traveler you have to follow their laws. To incorporate them as a part of their "recognised" countries (a political criterion ignoring facts on the ground) would be confusing. Imagine a traveler going to South Ossetia thinking it is de facto a part of Georgia, and doing something that is allowed under Georgian law, but forbidden under South Ossetian law. Travelers should be aware that these republics exist and act like states. Of course South Ossetia could be replaced with any other de facto state. Globe-trotter (talk) 12:10, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
Except, no, you're making a judgment that it is in control of its area, that it has police to enforce laws (that it may or may not have), etc. That certainly wasn't the case when I was following things closely in South Ossetia. Putting it in a list of countries in Asia is a political statement, and one that we don't need to be involved in. --Peter Talk 07:26, 28 January 2013 (UTC)
I fully agree with you on all points. Ikan Kekek (talk) 12:35, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
While I'm on your side of the debate, Ikan, I think the rules need to be clearer than that. Per your rule, w:Azawad, w:Wa State and some others should be treated as separate entities on maps, lists and the hierarchy as they have separate governments that control territory with separate procedures. Also looking at the continental and continental regions maps, Somaliland and Northern Cyprus should be separated. JamesA >talk 12:56, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
Agreed on Somaliland and Northern Cyprus. Azawad seems to be defunct, as it was captured by Islamists who don't recognize its independence. And on Wa State, from the Wikipedia article:
"Whilst the Wa State is de facto highly autonomous from the control of the central Myanmar government,[4][5] their relationship is based on peaceful coexistence and the Wa State recognises the sovereignty of the central government over all of Myanmar.[6]"
So I don't think it should be treated as an independent state by us, but as a special kind of autonomous region within Myanmar. Ikan Kekek (talk) 13:22, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
(Edit conflict) Ikan beat me to it, but I'll post anyway: Wa State recognises the sovereignty of the central government, and Azawad is not actually a state that exists (Northern Mali is a lawless territory without anyone in effective control, like Somalia). List of states with limited recognition gives a good list of the kind of states I meant. Globe-trotter (talk) 13:28, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
(Edit conflict) It does seem Azawad has been superseded; I was just going by my own knowledge which is obviously outdated. But if we were discussing this a few months back when Azawad independence was declared and they had control, would be immediately separate it? Maybe we in our policy should specify a time period over which open conflict must have ceased for a state/region to be treated as de-facto separate. Maybe that sort of rule will affect our treatment of Nagorno-Karabakh which is still highly-contentious, while Abkhazia has largely calmed down. JamesA >talk 13:55, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
I agree that we should have a waiting period for conflict territories. Conflicts should be frozen first and a relatively stable situation be reached before we implement such changes. Nagorno-Karabakh is contentious, all of these conflict states are, but the current situation has been relatively stable for decades. Globe-trotter (talk) 14:09, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
I thought that de facto control was the only criterion for Wikivoyage to recognize a state. Such a policy is simple enough to implement in the Asia article as the de facto states are pretty much stable and can be considered travel destinations (with the possible exception of South Ossetia; though even that is much more stable than, say, Northern Mali). Hasn't Nagorno-Karabakh been stable enough for travel since the 1990s' war, particularly away from the border?Travelpleb (talk) 19:44, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
Here's my issue, why are we in the business of recognizing states? Can we get out of that business? --Peter Talk 07:28, 28 January 2013 (UTC)
I agree. To your point, Globe-trotter, I would propose either 1 year or 2 years as a sufficient amount of time to recognize the de facto existence of an independent state, but we should agree on some round number, as an easy expedient for our purposes. Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:28, 27 January 2013 (UTC)
One year -- Alice 02:34, 27 January 2013 (UTC)

It seems a significant majority favor Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh, and South Ossetia being included in this article's countries list. Does that count as consensus?Travelpleb (talk) 10:43, 27 January 2013 (UTC)

Putting, say, Nagorno-Karabakh on the map of Asia is still seeming really silly, and seems more like an attempt to make a point about us not being about politics, and ironically making a much bigger political point. If the issue is "de facto" control, then why are we talking about N-K or South Ossetia? The Armenian and Russian militaries are in de facto control of those regions. Abkhazia, I'm less sure of, but the point is that we should be trying to not get involved in assessing these claims. --Peter Talk 07:34, 28 January 2013 (UTC)

I think the main driver here is less politics but the need for a logical and consistent way of categorizing our articles. Unfortunately, categorizing our articles requires us to have the fortitude to make judgments of what we consider a country to be; fortunately, we're free to choose our criteria of what makes a country. This has been decided as de facto control (do we have a precisely worded policy? As the use of terms such as de facto control and de facto existence could make a very significant difference.)

These de facto states' articles each state that they are not treated as part of any other country; they lie in the first level of the regional hierarchy alongside the "real" countries; all first level constituents of the various regional groups are listed on the Continent page; ergo these states should be listed on the continent page. That's just good housekeeping. If you want to suggest that South Ossetia or Nagorno-Karabakh are instead de facto regions of Russia or Armenia (you do have possible grounds to construct an argument for this) then each case should be discussed separately.Travelpleb (talk) 13:07, 28 January 2013 (UTC)

Peter, I don't think we want to make decisions based on which countries have troops in other countries, because if we do, do we consider Kabul part of the US? How many African countries do we consider part of France? I don't think our policy can be based on anything other than that a land claims to be independent and is not actually administered by whichever other nation(s) claim it. Ikan Kekek (talk) 13:15, 28 January 2013 (UTC)

Here is a proposed policy on Limited Recognition Countries:

=>While most of the globe is clearly part of an internationally recognized sovergn nation, there are areas where soverignty is in dispute, or which fall outside the control of recognized soverign nations.

=>Every inhabited place on the globe should be covered by Wikivoyage - once and only once in the hiarchy to best group travel information for the benefit of travellers.

=>If an area of the globe has a reasonably defined border and (internationally recogonized or unrecognized but defacto) government distinct from that of any other country, it is a travel destination that Wikivoyage should cover at at the 'country level".

=>This policy should be applied regardless of what other county(s) claim the territory or which armies occupy the ground.

=>The existance of a rebel group in control of a fluid area during a civil war (say in Mali or DR Congo) that has not declared a separete state does warrent "country level" coverage.

=>The presence of a foreign military in occupation or support of the government (ie Iraq, Afganistan, South Oddessa) should not be justification one way or the other for country level coverage. —The preceding comment was added by JadeDragon (talkcontribs)

Here's my case: First, we don't need a policy for everything™. We could have a policy like
"In continent articles, list all countries as sub-items of their respective regions. In the case of our continent articles, list countries with wide official recognition of nationhood, and leave out those that do not, unless doing so would clearly go against the needs and expectations of the traveller, e.g., Taiwan."
But we don't need such a policy, or one that defines years of stability of de facto control of territory, yada, yada. Common sense, literally, says we should list what people expect to see. We go into detail on micro-debatable-states in Caucasus article, but don't have to at the continent article (honestly, who needs to click on N-K from the Asia page?). The clear disadvantage to deviating from expected, usual country lists, is that we invite conflict unnecessarily by creating the appearance of having our own politics (and having the arrogance of thinking that our "recognition" is important in anyway).
This is just a matter for how much detail we use on the continent page (which is principally intended for basic navigation), not a matter of how we treat the actual information on these places, which is already in line with what people seem to want. --Peter Talk 14:44, 28 January 2013 (UTC)
I would suggest to link all these regions to Caucasus and Caucasus is then part of both Europe and Asia. Imho we should honor existing physical borders and reflect existing visa regimes on the regional, not the continental level. I think the link to Caucasus would allow us to point to the real problems. jan (talk) 14:54, 28 January 2013 (UTC)
Peter, we do need a policy for this and I hope this discussion forms the basis for one; otherwise this discussion will be sustained and/or repeated ad nauseam to the benefit of no-one.
  • The traveller comes first policy states that we choose "regions, price classifications etc." based on the "convenience and expectations of travellers". I imagine that most contributors to this discussion would favor the inclusion of these "unexpected" states for the greater "convenience" of the traveler.
  • Our categorization of articles requires us to recognize states. This is something we cannot escape. It is important to the logical structuring of the guide. This is a difficult task, but a coherent and usable structure is something we should try to achieve. I cannot see how your proposal to obfuscate things in an attempt to be un-provocative is helpful. The wording of the article will no doubt draw attention to our reasoning and there will be enough watchers to jump on any politically-motivated changes. Arrogance is a tricky one, who are we to decide "what people seem to want"?
As the article itself links to countries, the answer to your question "who needs to click on N-K from the Asia page?" is anyone who would click on a link to Armenia or Azerbaijan.Travelpleb (talk) 10:40, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
Placing Taiwan or Kosovo in the list is also a political statement, and not placing South Ossetia is also a political statement. Actually, placing Kosovo and not placing South Ossetia is a very clear political statement. I just think we should list all units that act like countries that travellers have to deal with; and we should cover the whole world. The Faroe Islands are also listed on the Europe page without being a country; it's not like we support some kind of Faroe Islands independence claim, it's just a practical distinction. This has actually already been a practice here for a long time. Also, not placing South Ossetia would suggest site visitors have to add travel information about it to Georgia, which is not current practice. Globe-trotter (talk) 03:11, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
Are we likely to see a resolution here?Travelpleb (talk) 10:02, 31 January 2013 (UTC)
Sure, since I'm the only one (apparently) who thinks this is wrongheaded. I'll state again, that having a list of countries that sharply differs from standard lists of countries is going to needlessly draw controversy, and that adding Abkhazia, N-K, and South Ossetia to a navigation list for the continent of Asia isn't actually helping the traveler in any appreciable way, and that South Ossetia and N-K don't even meet our standards for "de facto country" status... but consensus isn't unanimity, so sweep my concerns into the corner and go ahead ;) --Peter Talk 23:42, 31 January 2013 (UTC)
I think that, like many, you are continually confusing and muddying the differences between countries and sovereign states. Fortunately, we are not an arm of the US State department and do not have to decide whether to grant or withdraw recognition from governments. All we are concerned about here is whether the people or peoples of a particular area of this planet think of themselves as a country (with the consequent differences from their neighbours as regards concepts of national identity, cuisine, varieties of language, laws, norms, etc that implies) and then, most importantly, whether they have then erected any practical differences or difficulties to be negotiated or enjoyed by the traveller as a consequence of that perceived national identity (such as visa and border formalities, different currency, police force/militia, etc.) On this purely practical test, San Marino is less of a country (in Wikivoyage terms) than South Ossetia. Please remember that the borders of most of the states in the world (especially in Africa) contain many overlapping "countries" in a cultural sense and, from time to time (and often only after a long struggle such as in the case of Kosovo or East Timor or South Sudan) their boundaries become clear enough to be recognised by Wikivoyage (and then, afterwards, by the US State department).
And now a difficult question that, like most of my difficult questions, I expect you to ignore: Where can I see your "standard list of countries" (the ignoring of which, you write "is going to needlessly draw controversy") ? Is it the silly Microsoft pick list that many US internet commerce websites ask me to pick my "country" from for postal dispatch (and that is never listed) or something more accurate? -- Alice 00:37, 1 February 2013 (UTC)

(Re-indenting) Please don't derail this discussion starting a personal vendetta. However, what I think is that sovereign states, states with limited recognition and outlying areas should all be listed on continent pages, even though these might not officially qualify as "countries" or "sovereign states". Sovereign states are obvious why they should be listed. States with limited recognition should be listed because travelers have to follow their laws while being there, and because it would be illogical not to (for example, placing Nagorno-Karabakh under Azerbaijan, while politically accepted, isn't the reality on the ground, as N-K cannot be visited from Azerbaijan). Outlying areas should be listed because it would be the logical place to find travel information (the Faroe Islands are far off from Denmark, and site readers are not going to the Netherlands article for travel information about the Caribbean island Bonaire (politically an integral part of the Netherlands). Also, all these state-like units have to be listed on the continent page, as else we'd present a navigation with gaps in it (and we strive on being a world-wide travel guide without any gaps). Globe-trotter (talk) 03:05, 1 February 2013 (UTC)

Conclusion: Wikivoyage's organizational hierarchy considers stable de facto states that control an area of territory in the same way that it considers more widely recognized states. The travel implications that come with such states' limited recognition will be clearly explained in the appropriate destinations' articles.
Now we need some stone tablets and a chisel.Travelpleb (talk) 08:04, 1 February 2013 (UTC)

Proposed Eurasia breadcrumb[edit]

Let's clarify the proposal. Is the idea to use this breadcrumb only for countries that can be thought of as being partly in Europe and partly in Asia, or/and for all countries that are in Europe or/and Asia? Ikan Kekek (talk) 23:52, 28 January 2013 (UTC)

I'd say let's only do it for the tricky countries (Turkey, Caucasus, Russia, and arguably Kazakhstan). But where will that breadcrumb actually link to? Destinations? --Peter Talk 00:00, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
Yes, Turkey, Russia, and the Caucuses seem to be the most contested in regards to continental placement, so those should have it. Kazakhstan seems to have support for just being placed in Asia, but if I'm mistaken then we can add it, too. (I'm the only one who really talked about Egypt's dual-continent position but just to make sure we're covering all bases with this discussion, I'd leave it in Africa rather than creating an Afro-Asian category just for it.)
The Eurasia category could just link to a page that says Eurasia consists of Europe and Asia, since its purpose is only for the breadcrumb trail rather than to become an article. If more information is wanted, we could add a little blurb about the places mentioned above that span both continents. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 01:10, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
Kind of defeats the point of the breadcrumbs, doesn't it? LtPowers (talk) 02:20, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
I don't think so. and our current breadcrumb trail which goes Asia>Sleeper Cars (aka:Russia (Asia)>Russia>etc is not a proper breadcrumb trail. Eurasia eliminates the need to split the countries or choose a continent. Using "Russia (Asia)" would still require us to create a proper article and then the subregions would still be undefined, because some territories have areas that span both continents, so the problem remains. With Eurasia, we eliminate the entire debate. If you want to make it a full-blown article, that's fine. I see it as being more like Honshu, but it doesn't matter to me if someone wants to make it more. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 02:48, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
I'm surprised you're even suggesting it could be a full-blown article. One of our basic precepts is don't duplicate information; wouldn't a full Eurasia article duplicate the information on Europe and Asia? And if it's not a full article, then putting it in the breadcrumb trail is misleading to our readers; the breadcrumbs no longer take them back to a real article from which they can access neighboring articles. LtPowers (talk) 19:14, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
I agree it's not ideal, but is there another solution? Turkey and Russia are clearly in both continents, and Caucasus arguably is too. If Eurasia is the disambiguation page it is now, there is no duplication and it's not misleading, as it clearly points the reader to our Europe and Asia articles. Globe-trotter (talk) 19:25, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
Turkey is clearly a European country and belongs in that hierarchy. I think arguably Russia is as well given its population distribution; this despite the majority of both countries being physically on the Asian landmass. Kazakhstan is conceptually Asian, as are the Caucausus countries. —The preceding comment was added by LtPowers (talkcontribs) at about 19:51, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
Is there not a convenient way for us to acknowledge that Asia and Europe meet at the Bosphorus, Caucasus, and Urals? There's something rather strange looking about Europe bordering Iraq and Iran and reaching east into the Bering Strait to get within 3 km of Alaska. Travelpleb (talk) 20:11, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
Turkey is both a European and an Asian country and has to be listed in both continents. I doubt there's any dispute on that. Ikan Kekek (talk) 23:41, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
It's probably worth pointing out that adding a Eurasian breadcrumb would be a fix in face of a technical problem—lack of breadcrumb functionality. We should get rid of it if we are able to overcome the technical hurdle. --Peter Talk 00:29, 30 January 2013 (UTC)
Russia (Asia) is now a redirect to Russia, not Russia#Asia.Travelpleb (talk) 07:49, 30 January 2013 (UTC)
I only mentioned the possibility of making it an article in the event that someone decided to make it an issue. As I said, I think it makes sense as a disambiguation page. Even with Russia (Asia) now linking to Russia, it still doesn't eliminate the subcategories located on both continents. Eurasia would eliminate that annoying little problem. I don't think functionality in this exceptional case is disturbed. We could add to the disambiguation pages mention of these truly Eurasian countries (Russia, Turkey, etc.) and even add the Trans-Siberian Railway as a bullet in the disambig if people want them. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 09:08, 30 January 2013 (UTC)
Useful idea that I support. -- Alice 09:33, 30 January 2013 (UTC)
This is Asian Russia as defined by what links to Russia (Asia). The standard continental boundary is the Ural Mountains (shown yellow). Travelpleb (talk) 10:13, 30 January 2013 (UTC)

It is important that we are clear in displaying (or informing about) the continental boundaries - both those used by Wikivoyage and those generally accepted. Making our own use clear to the reader is necessary for user-friendly navigation of the geographic hierarchy.

I am not pushing for our interpretation to align exactly with the standard definition, but I do want clarity. Borders are inherently interesting to travelers even if there's no paperwork or immigration officials. The continental marker near Yekaterinburg (not added to this map or the map of Russia by me!) is a tourist attraction in itself; and part of Istanbul's magic is that it straddles the continents. I do not think that ignoring this is helpful. Whatever we come up with it should be clear in expressing our definitions and at least acknowledge reality.Travelpleb (talk) 10:13, 30 January 2013 (UTC)

That's a very good point, well presented, and well taken. Ikan Kekek (talk) 10:18, 30 January 2013 (UTC)
An "Asian Russia" article serves no purpose and doesn't help navigation (and the map is even wrong!). Our travel regions in both Russia and Turkey do not comply with the Europe/Asia border, and adapting our travel regions to a in some ways arbitrary border doesn't make any sense. However, placing a line on the Russia map showing where the border is, I have no problem with that.Globe-trotter (talk) 15:03, 30 January 2013 (UTC)
Agreed; there is perhaps no continental boundary more arbitrary than the Eurasian one, so hewing to a strict definition in lieu of a functional one does not serve the traveler. LtPowers (talk) 15:11, 30 January 2013 (UTC)
In all our articles where the country spans continents we already have mention of the boundaries as far as I know. Isn't it enough to say that the Urals mark the boundary between Asian Russia and European Russia? If you feel that in addition to stating that we should also clarify that we color the entire countries on our maps even across the continental borders of those that span continents for the benefit of the traveler, it's a bit long-winded but I suppose we could do it if you think it's something readers should know. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 15:54, 30 January 2013 (UTC)
This is the corresponding map of European Russia, i.e. the regions that did not link to Russia (Asia). While tangential to our handling of the Asia article, I disagree with Globe-trotter's assertion that Asian Russia is a meaningless distinction for travelers. European Russia is generally easily accessible from Moscow and from other countries, it's got the vast bulk of Russia's history and population, and it's where most visitors go. Asian Russia is rugged with astonishing distances, poor infrastructure (except the train line) and natural beauty. Traveling is different between the two - it is the Wild East out there. As for the continental boundary itself: in the north, the mountains are big and form a physical barrier between regions (as already recognized by the regional boundary used in this guide); in the south, given the importance of the Volga river system for transport and tourism (there's cruises all over the length of the river, including from Ufa - not shown on this map but it's a big river city in the western Ural region) there is a fairly strong case for the joining of the western Ural region to the Volga region. However, that is a discussion for another page.
  • Globe-trotter, I cannot see what is wrong with the Asian Russia map. Please say what error you found and whether I propagated it to the European Russia map. I am almost certain that only Siberia and Russian Far East linked to Russia (Asia).
  • LtPowers, Many boundaries are arbitrary (e.g. North & South Dakota, and Manitoba & Saskatchewan) but that does not prevent them being used clearly and precisely by Wikivoyage. As stated in the map caption above, even within a country the Asia-Europe boundary is tangible and relevant. But regardless of whether it is a mountain range or a line in the prairies: Wikivoyage's hierarchy demands that however functional the chosen border, it will have to be strictly delineated. If we come up with some technical fiddle, we have to explain it clearly too.
As long as Wikivoyage categorizes the Eurasian landmass into Asia and Europe, we need a clearly defined and user-friendly way of dealing with this split. The current way of handling it is confusing, unclear, and unrealistic. Most importantly the pages of the continents themselves is the most obvious place to inform the reader of how we treat the divisions between them.Travelpleb (talk) 09:55, 31 January 2013 (UTC)

The map is wrong because the Europe/Asia border cuts right through the Urals. In your map, the Urals is "Europe", which just isn't correct. However, this is a pretty trivial discussion. Europe and Asia are constructs and different geographical features have been proposed as the border, making it cut right through countries. Europe is an idea, North Dakota is a well-defined state. The Europe/Asia border is not relevant, because there is nothing to be seen at the border, except maybe a sign with a pole in the ground. Should we also split up Arctic Norway, because there happens to be a sign in the ground? Or cut Ecuador in half with the northern and southern part of the Equator? And those are even geographical boundaries, the Europe/Asia border is a complete arbitrary construct. Arguments about where the Europe/Asia border is or should be can be placed on Wikipedia.

Also, you seem to want to create some Wikivoyage reality, where we create our own world and then inform the reader about it. I think we should reflect the reality on the ground, not create our own because we happen to have technical deficiencies. Russia is a reality for the traveler, and for a traveler it is a country that lies both in Europe and in Asia. That's all a traveler needs to know.Globe-trotter (talk) 10:23, 31 January 2013 (UTC)

You misunderstand what the map is demonstrating. The Asian Russia map demonstrates only what linked to Russia (Asia) - I made the map to demonstrate the disparity between reality and what our hierarchy said. The continental divide is demonstrated by the Ural Mountains marked in yellow.
Have you been to Asian Russia?
As I said, Asian Russia is different in this case. I'm not suggesting we split Marmara.
However, reality on the ground is that Istanbul gains part of its tourist appeal by being in two continents. We should acknowledge this in some way and that requires us to be definite in delineating the continental boundaries.
We have already created "some Wikivoyage reality", it is a necessary part of structuring the guide. It follows similar reasoning to the above discussion about recognition of de facto states. I want "Wikivoyage reality" to reflect "real reality" as closely as is reasonably possible. For example Sinai is in Asia in "real reality" - in "Wikivoyage reality" it is in Africa. That's not such a big deal. Asian Russia is such a massive area that it is too large to gloss over without making the guide look ridiculous.Travelpleb (talk) 10:42, 31 January 2013 (UTC)
It doesn't look ridiculous. No one denies a part of Russia is in Asia. It's not at all similar to de facto states. De facto states exist on the ground and travelers have to deal with them. Europe and Asia are ideas, travellers don't have to deal with them on the ground.Globe-trotter (talk) 13:27, 31 January 2013 (UTC)
But we already very clearly state both in the Turkey article and the Istanbul article that the country/city span the continent. In the case of Istanbul, the Asian side is actually called Asian, but we have no need for an "Asian Turkey" which is nearly the entire country. Actually, I'm surprised Turkey's breadcrumb currently leads to Europe over Asia. While someone mentioned above it is 'clearly' European, I see it as 'clearly' Asian, both culturally and geographically (Middle Eastern), making Eurasia attractive there, too, to avoid another debate. Even in the Egypt case, the "Wikivoyage reality" is still that Sinai is in Asia. It's clearly stated in the Egypt article. It is not on the Asia map, but it features on the Middle East map, as does Turkey (including the Euro bit). In Russia, too, the official borders are stated, and does the Euro/Asian divide not split the real subdivisions of Russia as well? It's not an administrative border like Alberta or North Dakota. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 13:28, 31 January 2013 (UTC)
  • Europe > Russia > Russian Far East > Primorsky Krai > Vladivostok... ridiculous.
  • I shouldn't have mentioned the de facto states, what I meant is that the correct treatment of both continents and de facto states is important to a logically structured guide. I should have just said that delineating the continents correctly and clearly is important in a well structure guide. Sorry.
  • I think there might be some usefulness in a Eurasian breadcrumb, but I'm still thinking about it.Travelpleb (talk) 14:29, 31 January 2013 (UTC)
Countries are prime travel destinations, not continents, so I think we shouldn't split them up. I agree with you that the breadcrumb looks strange, but that's only a technical problem on this site: Russia cannot have two parent regions, while it should. I don't think we should let our content be driven by technical deficiencies.Globe-trotter (talk) 14:56, 31 January 2013 (UTC)

(undenting) Strong support. Europe & Asia are in many ways a single continent. Geographically the borders are somewhat arbitrary, as indicated by the disagreement above about just where they go. Culturally & historically, they are even more arbitrary. Quite a few Empires — Alexander, Genghis Khan, Ottoman, Russian, ... — have extended across both. Pashley (talk) 23:02, 31 January 2013 (UTC)

My concern is that a breadcrumb called "Eurasia" sits awkwardly as something outside the existing navigation chains. I suggest calling it Asia & Europe — this makes quite clear in stating what we're doing... that is: we are not creating a meta-region of Eurasia, but rather stating that somewhere is in both Asia and Europe.Travelpleb (talk) 07:43, 1 February 2013 (UTC)
Ah, but that doesn't work for breadcrumbs. Vladivostok is not in Asia & Europe. --Peter Talk 08:28, 1 February 2013 (UTC)
Would it be such a big deal if the country level articles didn't have an IsPartOf? i.e the countries were the highest level of the breadcrumb trail? We could still have Asia and Europe articles and link down. Who really ever wants to link up from a country to a Continent? --Inas (talk) 04:30, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
Very true, Inas! -- Alice 04:44, 4 February 2013 (UTC)!
It would be bad, because then you can only use the breadcrumb trail for navigating inside a country. I think we should actually have a "World", "Index", "Destinations" or otherwise named level in the trail, so you can use it to get to every destination in the world. Globe-trotter (talk) 10:18, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
We do have a Destinations page. We could make Eurasia a redirect to it, and then make it the parent for Turkey, Caucasus, and Russia. That's simple and easy. --Peter Talk 15:21, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
(indent)That sort of works, except I can see arguments that destinations is not Eurasia. I still think a short disambig page listing the three exceptions would suffice. Also, the current use of Russia (Asia) doesn't work well when you actually click it and it says:
Europe > Russia

(Redirected from Russia (Asia))

Very awkward. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 15:40, 21 February 2013 (UTC)

Southeast Asia MIA: Brunei Darussalam[edit]

FYI, Brunei is shown on the map of Asia, but it is absent from the choices of countries with articles in Southeast Asia. Brunei is a small, wealthy Islamic nation on the northern end of Borneo, sharing land borders with Malaysia and Indonesia.ReveurGAM (talk) 02:10, 29 January 2013 (UTC)

It's first on the list of Southeast Asian countries. Was that added after you posted this? If it wasn't there, that was an unfortunate oversight, but in the future, if you ever see an oversight, please just add it. Thanks, and I'm glad you're on board. Ikan Kekek (talk) 04:04, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
DOH! I don't know, but thanks!ReveurGAM (talk) 10:58, 29 January 2013 (UTC)

Indonesia[edit]

FYI, Indonesia's proper name is the Republic of Indonesia, and it is abbreviated as "R.I." or just "RI". You can see this just about anywhere, from the state TV station, TVRI, to the national police headquarters, PolRI. I'll also mention this on its own page.ReveurGAM (talk) 02:14, 29 January 2013 (UTC)

Wikivoyage uses the names that are common among English speakers. Therefore Indonesia, rather than Republic of Indonesia, and China, not Peoples' Republic of China, are used. It also save a lot of "Republics of..." being listed. But go ahead and mention it on the Indonesia page.Travelpleb (talk) 11:15, 29 January 2013 (UTC)


Subcategories[edit]

This article's "See" listings are ridiculously broad and the "Do" section is also rather weak. What subheadings would be best? Follow the Africa format (minus safaris)? (Flora and Fauna, Ancient Civilizations)? Should something like "Spiritual Sites" be worth a category? I don't know if anyone is working on the collaboration in this article but I think it would be easier if we at least decided on some categories to get things started. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 12:59, 18 April 2013 (UTC)

Intro[edit]

The way the intro has been worded, especially the second paragraph, has been bothering for some time. It felt like people were just tacking on their favorite destinations to the end of the paragraph. While I liked the diversity shown, the whole thing didn't show much unity. I've plunged forward and revised it somewhat, but I still think it needs work and figured I should put it up here for comment/suggestion since it seems Continents are COTM right now. It could still be a lot better (I really like the intro for Africa; it shows the diversity of the continent very well). Rastapopulous (talk) 21:43, 7 October 2013 (UTC)

New "Countries" list of 9?!?[edit]

A new section with 1liner descriptions of 9 countries (only) has just been added.

Since we already mention all the countries of Asia in our "Regions" section I'm not convinced this is either helpful or useful. It'll certainly provide scope for some edit warring when our visitor numbers rise... --118.93nzp (talk) 04:16, 12 January 2014 (UTC)

I agree. This should go.
We could add some discussion of major tourist attractions in the Understand section, keeping it very general. Pashley (talk) 06:34, 12 January 2014 (UTC)
Also the description of each country is somewhat strange (likely non-native speaker). If you are proposing to remove then I will not bother correcting. Andrewssi2 (talk) 06:56, 12 January 2014 (UTC)

More specific 'See' list?[edit]

I noticed the 'See' listings for Asia were:

  • Amazing natural wonders of the world
  • Birthplaces of all ten of the world's major religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Sikhism, Shintoism, Taoism, Jainism and the Bahá'í Faith
  • Famous buildings
  • Unique cultures
  • Dynamic cities
  • Rare species of flora and fauna
  • Beautiful islands and beaches
  • Friendly people

All good I suppose ('friendly people' being rather subjective), although we can copy and paste most of this list for every continent. Can we try and adapt it to Asia's distinctiveness?

  • The birthplaces of ten major religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Sikhism, Shintoism, Taoism, Jainism and the Bahá'í Faith (I reworded this slightly as to not offend other religions)
  • The world's fastest growing cities
  • The widest range of exotic cuisine (I believe this is a safe claim)
  • The world's highest mountain ranges
  • Some of the world's most ancient cultures

I'm opening this up as a discussion because my initial list can be improved a great deal. Andrewssi2 (talk) 08:18, 12 January 2014 (UTC)

I had brought this up above a while ago. I asked if we should start with the same template as Africa. It really shouldn't be a list. That was done to give it content after it was decided to have countries contain those sections but was never supposed to remain as such. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 06:08, 15 January 2014 (UTC)

I agree with what's said above, and think it's finally time to tackle the task of the Asian See section. A structure similar to Africa would work best, as each person has different ideas of what they would like to see. It could be beneficial to brainstorm what are the highlights of each 'category' that we wish to include. After that's done, I can work on some fancy wording and prose. So here are the categories I came up with below, and please add to them! James Atalk 13:01, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

Flora and fauna[edit]

Natural landscapes[edit]

Historical civilizations[edit]

Modern attractions[edit]

Cultural sites[edit]

Add links too[edit]

Use links, either under Other destinations or See, to UNESCO_World_Heritage_List#Asia and Itineraries#Asia. Travel_topics#Asia does not currently work. The ghastly Travel_topics_index#Topics_in_Asia or Category:Topics_in_Asia do, sort of. Pashley (talk) 13:54, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

The above list is good for some ideas on some sites we might want to include but I think it may be more helpful to think in terms of categories, such as mountains/volcanoes, beaches (belong in "Do" section), etc. As for the historical civilizations, I prefer to go through history and regions like Africa and give mention of the places that best showcase the creations of that time in that region. Otherwise, there's nothing really connecting the sites on the list above. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 14:09, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

do and see sections[edit]

It is perhaps a general problem for articles on the continental level (see South America which recently had the same problem) but shouldn't the do and see section be more than just a long list of places? Best wishes Hobbitschuster (talk) 17:41, 25 March 2015 (UTC)

Yup. Best get to writing. =) Powers (talk) 01:25, 27 March 2015 (UTC)
I made an attempt at See, it took a little while to write it. ϒpsilon (talk) 09:26, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for taking that daunting task on. I did some copy editing and, so as not to ignore a temple complex that might seem obligatory to mention, added Angkor Wat to the list of highlights of religious architecture. Ikan Kekek (talk) 10:40, 9 August 2017 (UTC)

The image at the very top of this article[edit]

There is currently an image at the very top of this article, which prominently displays a swastika. Now I know, that the context is different from the one a European would associate Swastikas with, but is this really the best image to represent Asia in the top section (apart from the Banner)? Maybe we should have another image without that symbol. What are your thoughts? Hobbitschuster (talk) 13:57, 9 June 2015 (UTC)

The Nazi swastika is also tilted 45° compared to the Buddhist one, though many readers probably don't know its so. It's hard to decide what to put as a lead pic for the probably most varied continent in the world. Though if I'm not mistaken, East or Southeast Asia is the first thing people think of when they hear Asia, so something from that area would probably be good to have as lead picture. A lively night market, perhaps? Lanterns — without swastikas? A palace or temple? ϒpsilon (talk) 14:30, 9 June 2015 (UTC)
I don't think we really need to change things on the premise that someone "MIGHT be offended". That picture has been there for many years and to my knowledge no one has complained that it offends them. I think the ignorance surrounding the so-called "Buddhist swatstika" was prevalent in the 1990s but today is better known. Even if it's not, if the traveler is truly serious about Asian travel, why not educate themselves about it now? If they're going to East Asia, South Asia, or Southeast Asia there's a good chance they could come across the symbol.
I really don't want to ascribe to the PC culture where fear guides our decisions even when things are quite clearly not offensive. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 16:00, 9 June 2015 (UTC)
Better that people who are not aware of the symbol's origins, be educated while reading about a destination than being confronted with it when they get there and react incorrectly. --Traveler100 (talk) 16:26, 9 June 2015 (UTC)
I was not arguing the issue from a PC standpoint, but from the question whether the swastika really represents Asia better than say, Chinese characters (also used in Taiwan, Japan and South Korea to some extent, as well as historically in Vietnam and North Korea). Imho we could and should definitely mention the issues regarding swastikas in Asia and maybe we could even include the image, but I don't think it is wise to do so at the very top of the page. Hobbitschuster (talk) 16:42, 9 June 2015 (UTC)
I'll check in in support of the image, for whatever it's worth. Ikan Kekek (talk) 18:24, 9 June 2015 (UTC)
I couldn't care less about the swastika -- it doesn't resemble the Nazi symbol in any significant way -- but the image itself seems decorative and not very informative. It's an odd choice for the top of the page. Powers (talk) 20:59, 9 June 2015 (UTC)
This is an article about Asia using a swastika symbol that originated in Asia that is widely used throughout Asia.
Frankly, censoring Swastika symbols in Asian articles would be for us to actually support its misappropriation by the Nazis. The swastika as depicted in the article is applicable to modern Asia, and European hangups about its use in Germany can not be used to censor. Andrewssi2 (talk) 23:26, 9 June 2015 (UTC)
What's wrong with a decorative image? Besides, it does inform the reader of what some lanterns look like in Japan. Ikan Kekek (talk) 03:41, 10 June 2015 (UTC)
Though if someone decides to move the image down the page and have something else worthy at the top, that wouldn't bother me. Ikan Kekek (talk) 03:42, 10 June 2015 (UTC)
The original question was whether this is the best image to describe Asia, with some implication (as I understood) that swastikas are bad. I disagree with that completely.
If the question is rather 'where should we position this image in the Asia article?' then yes, it really doesn't matter that much. Andrewssi2 (talk) 03:50, 10 June 2015 (UTC)
Exactly. The swastika is not and should not be an issue. Ikan Kekek (talk) 03:55, 10 June 2015 (UTC)
  • My own proactive suggestion is: let's put the Taj Mahal picture on top, substituting the swastikas on the Taj picture's former spot. I believe the Taj "represents" Asia much more than Japanese lanterns. My opinion. Ibaman (talk) 12:41, 10 June 2015 (UTC)
    Considering our image-use guidelines, which suggest keeping the number of images low, it seems strange to give such prominent placement to an image that does nothing but show "what some lanterns look like in Japan." Powers (talk) 17:21, 10 June 2015 (UTC)
Just a question now that someone changed the image from lanterns to the Taj Mahal... do we actually need an image here at all? I think the introduction section would look better without one. Andrewssi2 (talk) 22:46, 10 June 2015 (UTC)
Africa has a lede photo (giraffes) but I do notice that North America, South America, Europe, and Oceania do not have any. I actually liked the more nondescript lantern picture that gave an "Asian feel" over the Taj Mahal which is definitely just India. I also feel that most people think "East Asia" when they think "Asia", so to me it's odd/interesting that our top photos would be from Central Asia and South Asia. Also, the lanterns don't make any sense in the "See" section. That is the section where very specific images of icons definitely belong, so nondescript images are not appropriate there. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 14:07, 11 June 2015 (UTC)
There are several issues with continent pages here at WV. While I think less people read them than the country articles and hence we should maybe focus on the latter, we only have one "usable" continent and several outlines and - maybe due to their sheer size - we seem to be unable to agree on what a continent article should look like more or less. As evidenced by the picture dilemma. Best wishes Hobbitschuster (talk) 14:12, 11 June 2015 (UTC)
North Americans may think "East Asia" when they think of Asia, but I doubt that's true of Britons, and probably in Australia, most people are thinking of Southeast Asia most of all, as it's the closest part of Asia to them. Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:18, 11 June 2015 (UTC)
Weighing in late. I see no problem at all with a swastika in an Asian article, though in some places (not here) it might need an explanation. It is an ancient Hindu symbol, and later Buddhist, common in much of Asia. The Nazis mis-appropriated it and, depending how it was used, I might object strenuously in a European article. Similarly, the term Aryan is fine here despite Nazi absuse of it.
I have no strong feelings on photo positioning. Looking at the article, though, I think adding a few more good photos would be useful. Pashley (talk) 19:40, 11 June 2015 (UTC)
Of course there's nothing wrong with the use of a swastika image, but it's also not the most convenient image to use, simply due to the ignorance of many potential readers. I'd find such an image much more useful in a place where there's some information about the topic to be found. While I have a pic of Taj Mahal on my userpage, and it represents one of my favourite places in Asia, I think that's a poor choice here too though, as it's such an incredibly famous landmark of India. People who know close to nothing about the continent will still think India when they see it, while there are plenty of (famous) temples with a great "Asian" feel to them, which far fewer people will identify specifically. We should rather use those, and more general things you might find in several Asian countries, like Buddhist statues, a pagoda, rice fields, a beautiful beach, a wide Central Asian landscape or a metropolitan image. I'm with Ikan on the lanterns; there's nothing wrong with a decorative detail. In fact, it's often a good idea to have one of those to keep the image set more divers, especially since we also avoid pictures of people. We can put them outside the see section, although I don't think that's an issue. I'm finding myself at a temporary complete lack of time, but frankly, I think (apart from the banner) the images for this article are generally not as great as they could be. Maybe we should just come up with a complete new set :-) If no-one does, I'll look into it at a later moment. JuliasTravels (talk) 20:04, 11 June 2015 (UTC)
A photo of a mosque that's not obviously identifiable to all as representing a particular nation might be good, too, in the continent where Islam arose and which has by far the largest number of Muslims in the world. Plus more geographic photos - perhaps of desert (Thar or Gobi?) and the Himalayas. Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:56, 11 June 2015 (UTC)
I think those suggestions run into the same issue I pointed out above. Our banner is already a natural site, so the lede should be manmade. Central Asia has a lot in common with the Middle East, too. If we choose a Middle Eastern image, such as a mosque, the head of the article no longer looks Asian at all. We need something from East Asia or possibly Southeast Asia. East Asia is "Asia" to a large number of English speakers. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 11:56, 12 June 2015 (UTC)
I don't really care about keeping the lantern or changing it, but changing it to the Taj Mahal, as has already been done now, means that both the banner and the lede image are from India, and that does bother me. Texugo (talk) 12:44, 12 June 2015 (UTC)
I didn't say the lede should be a mosque, or at least that's not what I meant to say. Instead, I mean that one of the photos that's added could be a mosque, and that a mosque whose nationality isn't obvious at a glance to all might better serve this article than a photo of the Taj. Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:47, 12 June 2015 (UTC)

Should Asia have a history section?[edit]

On the one hand, there is very little that can be said about historic events that affected all of Asia and nothing else (such things are much easier to find for North America, Europe , Africa and South America), the total lack of a history section may also not be ideal. How about giving a (very) broad strokes overview and directing the reader's attention to individual country or region articles for more in depth coverage of specific regions? Hobbitschuster (talk) 13:51, 2 August 2016 (UTC)

Also link to Mongol Empire, Persian Empire, Chinese Empire, Russian Empire, Silk Road & Marco Polo. Pashley (talk) 02:23, 3 August 2016 (UTC)
Also British Raj. Ikan Kekek (talk) 04:21, 3 August 2016 (UTC)
The expansive nature of this article means that frankly most content is not applicable to the whole of Asia. There is a western concept of 'Asia' that could be written about (Marco Polo etc), but I don't think that would resonate with non-Westerners. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 04:54, 3 August 2016 (UTC)
I created Asia#History. Comment or contributions welcome. Pashley (talk) 07:12, 3 August 2016 (UTC)
I think that's fine and sufficient. Trying to do more in this article is a fool's errand, unless there are relevant links we forgot that would be good to add. Is there any article about ancient Mesopotamia, the Fertile Crescent or the Islamic Empire of the original Caliphates? Checking now...Ancient Mesopotamia is a stubby outline, so no point in linking yet; no Fertile Crescent article, no Islamic Empire or Caliphate article. But you see the direction I'm going in. If there's more to link, fine. Otherwise, you said it: "Even a reasonable summary would be much more than a travel guide could sensibly attempt." Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:28, 3 August 2016 (UTC)
The section as written seems very self-referential. I realize we don't avoid that as scrupulously as Wikipedia does, but it feels awkward here. Or is it just me? Powers (talk) 21:25, 9 August 2016 (UTC)
What would be better? A true "History of Asia" would be of encyclopedic - not to mention multi-volume - scope. Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:58, 10 August 2016 (UTC)
I have to agree with LtPowers. Any detailed overview of any general topic covering the whole of Asia would be a multi-volume work. In writing outlines, we make choices. My bookshelf has at least 5 weighty books that cover the history of Europe as a whole, and at least a few dozen others that cover specific parts of it. That never kept us from having a quick overview with relevant internal links in our Europe article, though. That said, I applaud this first go at the Asia section, and think it's better than nothing for now. If someone feels up to the task, they can always improve it. JuliasTravels (talk) 10:31, 10 August 2016 (UTC)
To answer the question, I don't think continent and continental section articles need history sections at all. They are far too broad as topics to be at all useful in a travel guide. An outline would be so perfunctory as to be useless, IMO. And a section that basically says "Asia's history is too complicated for us to write about here" is just redundant. Powers (talk) 14:41, 10 August 2016 (UTC)
I agree with your last point, but I do think that a little framework/overview that links our relevant articles is interesting and no less useful than our sections about geology, culture, or anything else, or the history sections in country articles. I could imagine not having a history section (and instead having them in our Central Asia, Southeast Asia etc. sections), but then the same should apply to some of the other sections. JuliasTravels (talk) 15:35, 10 August 2016 (UTC)
That would be fair. I just think that as written it goes on a bit long about how hard it is to write about. Powers (talk) 19:34, 13 August 2016 (UTC)
Yeah, the current history section isn't a history section at all. It's a copout that isn't completely truthful. Should start at Mesopotamia, Indian, and Chinese civ, migration, top innovations, Rise and influence of major religions to specific regions, Mongolian Empire, etc. Asia is big and diverse, but there are links and it's not any less possible to write about than the other continents. We shouldn't have what is now a long section that says we don't feel like writing about it. Those links should be linked within the section as they're mentioned, not repeat the itinerary list page. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 15:54, 14 August 2016 (UTC)