Talk:Off the beaten track in Japan

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This is a little unusual for an itinerary, but I needed a place to link together my articles of obscure Japanese destinations. Will be enhancing this with photos and a bit more data later. (WT-en) Jpatokal 02:34, 24 Sep 2004 (EDT)

I think this is a really good idea -- a great way of seeing travel. --(WT-en) Evan 13:48, 30 Sep 2004 (EDT)

Re: the recent addition of Yakushima, while I have no doubt that it's a great off-the-beaten track destination (and on my personal to-do list), it would be nice to write it up before adding it! (WT-en) Jpatokal 04:20, 24 Apr 2005 (EDT)

adding a link to this article?[edit]

Would it be appropriate/acceptable to add a link to a forum on this article? Secret Japan - Travel off the Beaten Tracks is a forum where members publish their own guides about destinations that are seldom visited by foreign tourists : http://www.secret-japan.com/forum . It is a good starting point to find new places to visit in that country.

Sorry, Wikivoyage is meant to be self-contained. (WT-en) Jpatokal 00:20, 6 November 2006 (EST)

Will be Deleted[edit]

It seems to me that this article is not the type of article that will become a "guide", because it is a list, so does the "will be deleted after 1 year" rule apply to this? (WT-en) ChubbyWimbus 03:08, 1 July 2010 (EDT)

Kanazawa[edit]

Kanazawa is a great city, but considering it is on our "Top 9" sites in the nation on the Japan article, it doesn't seem to make sense for it to then appear here as an "Off the beaten track" destination. Shouldn't it be one or the other? (WT-en) ChubbyWimbus 07:51, 26 January 2012 (EST)

Text over images[edit]

I don't think I've ever seen this before on Wikivoyage, but the text is running over the images for me. Is anyone else seeing this? Do we need this specific layout for the thumbs in the first place? JuliasTravels (talk) 20:13, 25 August 2014 (UTC)

Yeah, I was seeing it too. Somebody added an html div in there which was responsible. Removing that cleared it right up. Texugo (talk) 20:28, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
Ah yes, seems fine now :) Thanks. JuliasTravels (talk) 21:22, 25 August 2014 (UTC)

VFD discussion[edit]

Off the beaten track in Japan[edit]

It's a seemingly well-liked article that is prominently linked to in Wikivoyage talk:Destination of the month candidates and (if I remember correctly) been brought up in a number of previous VfD arguments as an example of why list articles shouldn't be deleted. And I suppose that's a big part of why this article has avoided the chopping block for so long, but if we're to avoid being hypocrites, it needs to be VfD'd like the above two.

Especially because it openly describes itself as a list article: "This is not really an itinerary... but rather a listing of interesting places scattered around Japan."

Also worthy of note is the article is classified as a travel topic and has not received any updates since July 2013, so the one-year rule applies.

  • Merge where appropriate to corresponding destination articles, then redirect to Japan. see below. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 22:19, 23 August 2014 (UTC)
I concur. Ikan Kekek (talk) 22:23, 23 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Keep. Skeletal itineraries & travel topics should be deleted; we have a policy on that & I agree with it, but this one is not skeletal. It has decent one-line descriptions of nearly all the attractions, in accordance with policy, plus a few longer descriptions which might well be justified exceptions; if not, they could easily be edited down. It also has a nice collection of photos. I'd say promote it to usable. which seems justified & gets it clear of the 'delete outlines after a year' policy.
There is also a broader issue; index-type articles with many links are good for search engine ranking, so we should be trying to create more of them wherever that is reasonable, definitely not to delete existing ones if that seems avoidable. Discussion at Wikivoyage_talk:Search_Expedition#Index_articles. Yes, rubbishy indexes should go and we should not create silly new ones, but we should be looking for opportunities for useful indexes. Pashley (talk) 01:22, 24 August 2014 (UTC)
The answer, then, is that we need to clarify our policy. I was under the assumption that we did have an actual policy written somewhere that concurs with what Ikan said above, "this site frowns upon list articles", hence my nomination of this article and my now-struckthrough vote to merge and redirect. However, a later search for any such policy text came up emptyhanded.
Does Wikivoyage, in fact, have a clear policy against list articles? If so, are all list articles included in that prohibition, or are they sometimes allowable? If so, under what circumstances? On the other hand, if there is no such policy, is the disdain for list articles just the personal opinion of one or more editors? Or is it something that has broad community consensus but we simply didn't get around to officializing?
Before we start nominating list articles for deletion, we need answers to those questions. Otherwise, we lack a uniform standard by which to make judgments on a VfD of a list article, and the outcome of any VfD decision depends on the random chance of which editors comment on the nomination and/or the arbitrary personal whim of whichever editor performs the deletion.
-- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 03:05, 24 August 2014 (UTC)
Wikivoyage:Goals_and_non-goals does explicitly mention as non-goals both being a "yellow pages" for all of a town's hotels and restaurants and being a "web directory" collecting masses of external links. There are perhaps exceptions; for example Retiring abroad is rated a star article but it has many external links as well as many internal links. There are also articles like Volunteer travel that look to me to badly need cleanup because they are too much a web directory now.
I do not think an index-type article with large numbers of internal wikilinks is at all problematic in terms of those policies, and I do not know of any other policy that would apply. Pashley (talk) 03:37, 24 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment - While it's unavoidable to have list articles in cases like packing list I think we should avoid them when it comes to destinations per the policy against yellow page-like articles. In the past we've also even deleted outline itineraries because they were personal ("one week in X") and not referring to an official route. From that POW I'd say redirect to Japan and merge the content into the regions. On the other hand, if people think the article is useful for something like SEO it can be kept. ϒpsilon (talk) 07:32, 24 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment - User:ChubbyWimbus has put in a lot of effort into the Japanese articles in general, so perhaps he would have some insight? I personally would suggest turning this into an Itinerary article (even though, yes, it states clearly that is not what it is). It could even be multiple itineraries within the same article. Andrewssi2 (talk) 09:24, 24 August 2014 (UTC)
User:Jpatokal has also contributed a lot to Japanese articles in general and he started this one way back in 2004. It would be nice to hear from him as well. Pashley (talk) 14:24, 24 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Keep. I have been to Japan a couple of times and have made a point of visiting places off the beaten track (but not on this list) each time. The article is a useful list and may be good for SEO, but could be improved by stating the criteria for inclusion, and by showing the places on a map. I am not sure about converting it to an itinerary, as that would probably best be a mix of places off and on the beaten track. The article is ten years old, and I think that we should only delete articles that have been around that long if there is a really good reason. AlasdairW (talk) 21:41, 24 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Keep. I think our aversion to list articles was more specifically aimed at avoiding yellow page-type listings and things like the many list articles they have on Wikipedia. The above nomination for Ohio Museums is primarily a yellow-pages-style directory of names and addresses of museums, but the main reason I nominated it was that the museums themselves are not particularly unique or notable even on a state level, just the regular local museums that small towns have almost anywhere, with no particular reason to be all listed together and nothing very likely to help shape anyone's potential trip to Ohio. This article, however, I feel is more than a simple list, but more importantly, is full of things that are notable, on a national level, and would easily enhance the research and preparation experience for anyone preparing for a trip to Japan. Texugo (talk) 02:46, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Keep, although as the article's original creator and former primary maintainer of sorts my opinion on this is obviously unbiased. That said, I think the page is useful, sufficiently complete to be usable, and cannot really be transformed into any other article type we have: it's not a sensible "itinerary", for example, because nobody is going to visit every place on that list sequentially. I do agree that a map and clear inclusion criteria would be useful. Exclusion criteria might be a good start: cap the number of places at N (3?) per top-level region in Japan and require discussion on the Talk page for any changes once the cap is hit. Jpatokal (talk) 03:11, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment: This is exactly the kind of commentary that is generated when we try to VfD articles for reasons that are not based in policy. Off the beaten track in Japan is well-written, it's useful for travellers, it's a list of notable sites rather than little rinky-dink ones, it helps our SEO - those things may all be true, but wouldn't they also be true for Off the beaten path in Alberta if it were developed to its full potential? If so, why are the votes running unanimously against that article and unanimously in favor of this one?
The responses here duck the real issue, which is whether or not we want this type of article on Wikivoyage. Ikan Kekek says we frown on list articles here, but we're falling all over ourselves to prevent the deletion of this list for reasons that, at the end of the day, are arbitrary. I know that crafting policy on Wikivoyage is a minefield, and no one likes to do it. But if we want a policy basis to VfD this article or any other list articles, including the two nominees above which are all set to be deleted, we need to continue this discussion on the relevant policy page. I'll shortly be beginning a discussion at Wikivoyage talk:What is an article? and I hope to see you all there.
-- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 13:24, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
The clear deletion rational comes in where it says "was last edited on 20XX-XX-XX and will be merged or deleted if not modified for one year." If we decide that any of these should be upgraded to "usable", they'll be saved, if not, they should go. I'd argue that both this one and the Alberta one are useful enough, and therefore "usable", while the usefulness of the Ohio museums one is highly questionable unless you happen to already be an Ohio history buff with some plan to make sure you don't miss any small-town museum in the state. Texugo (talk) 13:54, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
It certainly wouldn't hurt to develop guidelines for what an "Off the beaten track" article should be like, though. I think they are much more likely to end up being useful than a bunch of "list of museums in X" articles could ever be, but there is still going to be a notability threshold. It's doubtful that we need "Off the beaten track in Random County, Minnesota". Texugo (talk) 13:59, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
I'd suspect the guideline is that, if "One day in X" or "Off the beaten path in X" contains nothing other than a duplicate of the main article on X, then the page can be proposed for {{merge}} as duplicate. For instance, Off the beaten path in Labrador would be all of Labrador while Off the beaten path in Manhattan would likely be empty. Conversely, Quebec has a clearly-defined "beaten path" through the southern portion of the province and the St. Lawrence river valley while the north is empty, frozen wilderness; Saudi Arabia has an even more obvious "beaten path" trampled by Hajj pilgrims. Certainly our list articles need to be more descriptive, for instance archaeological sites lists everything from Nineveh to l'Anse-aux-Meadows but doesn't explain what makes these places notable. The topic is valid, though, and VfD is not a substitute for repair. K7L (talk) 16:31, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
The statement that "VfD is not a substitute for repair" appears to be at odds with the current policy that says we delete outlines that aren't improved for a year. If sitting untouched at outline status for a year or more is not sufficient for VfD then we shouldn't say that on the {{outlinetopic}} tag. Texugo (talk) 16:50, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Keep, but only because I feel it ought to be at usable status. If it was truly nothing but an outline, then deletion would be called for. Powers (talk) 18:48, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
I don't know what to say anymore. This article is a list, though a pretty well-annotated one. If a majority of you would like to keep it, I think that's OK, but it seems to me that more people would be looking for these "Off the beaten path" attractions in articles for the regions in question, rather than a Japan-wide list with links, though I do see that it's linked to from Japan#Other destinations. I really think it's important to arrive at a clear policy on list articles, for the benefit of article-starters, people posting requests in Requested articles, and for the sake of judgments right here in Votes for deletion. I propose a moratorium on any deletions of list articles until we arrive at a consensus on a clear policy wording. Ikan Kekek (talk) 23:00, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
Heartily seconded. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 23:20, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
And yes, though it got away from me today, I do intend to launch the policy discussion I mentioned above. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 23:20, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
I agree that having a policy discussion would be the best way forward. This wouldn't be just to define new 'rules and regulations' but rather clarify what should be a relevant article content for the goals of Wikivoyage. Andrewssi2 (talk) 03:31, 26 August 2014 (UTC)
  • I don't have any strong opinions on this (keep vs delete), but I do believe there is a difference in this article versus the Alberta one above. The Alberta article's name may be "Off the Beaten Path", but in fact it is a list of Alberta travel topics which (if enough content is found) could easily each be their own article but there it makes no sense to have a list of roadside attractions in the same article as First Nation sites. The content simply doesn't match the title. I would also argue that Alberta itself is kind of Off the Beaten Path, so it seems odd to have an article about what's off the beaten path of the unbeaten path.
This article attempts to list sites that are less commonly visited while maintaining that the sites found in these places are likely of interest to enough travelers to warrant mention. Arguments could be made against a few (Hirosaki and Mount Koya are rather well-known and popular among visitors in their respective regions), and some regions could use a few more listings, but I think it meets its goal pretty well.
I don't personally have anything against lists, particularly if they are official. These sorts of arbitrary lists will always be called into question (or always deleted if such a decision is reached), but I don't personally have a strong aversion to lists if there is a clear and useful purpose (and perhaps if they are developed enough). ChubbyWimbus (talk) 17:11, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
Resolution: promote to usable and keep Pashley (talk) 17:36, 9 September 2014 (UTC)