Talk:United States of America

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Separate "Studying in..." and "Working in..." articles[edit]

Following the discussions above (here and here), I have created Studying in the United States by bringing together text from the USA article and the Studying abroad article into one place. I have ensured that there are links so that readers can find the information easily. I think it works well.

I did not roll in Touring prestigious and notable universities in the U.S., which I know is a contentious article, and it would make the "Studying in..." article unwieldy.

These changes can be revisited if anyone finds them to be problematic, but let's discuss first. Ground Zero (talk) 22:55, 7 January 2018 (UTC)

After a while, if there are no objections, I'll try a "Working in..." article. Ground Zero (talk) 23:11, 7 January 2018 (UTC)
I've made this change to show what it can look like. See Working in the United States. It was strange that the Work section started with a discussion of people from overseas territories. I wrote a new introductory paragraph, and move the technical info to the new article. Ground Zero (talk) 04:05, 12 January 2018 (UTC)
Just in case you haven't seen, check out Working in China Andrewssi2 (talk) 06:22, 12 January 2018 (UTC)

Euros accepted?[edit]

"Euros may be accepted at high end retailers and restaurants in New York City."

As a New Yorker, that's news to me. Please name some retailers and restaurants that accept Euros. I'll bet the rate is terrible. At that point, why wouldn't you just use a credit card? Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:30, 1 February 2018 (UTC)

If it's anything like the US reactions to Canadian currency? Head even 100 miles from the border and all your funny foreign money will buy are blank looks. K7L (talk) 02:17, 2 February 2018 (UTC)
Well, there's no frontier with the EU, unless the large expanse of water between North America and Europe counts... Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:16, 2 February 2018 (UTC)

Respect and Trump[edit]

I thought we came to an (albeit uneasy) consensus that we couldn't advise for every single potential thing that could offend someone in America. ( Link of recent edits )

When it comes to Trump (and a multitude of other polorizing public figures from both sides of the political spectrum), I don't think we are going to be able to provide decent advice that satisfies our neutral tone. I believe that we have already covered politics in a general way already. Any objection to leaving out named people from this article when it comes to being respectful?

(as an aside, I do find it strange that we no longer even mention Trump is President) Andrewssi2 (talk) 00:41, 6 February 2018 (UTC)

I doubt there's anyone among our readership who doesn't already know who's POTUS. As for the recent edits re: Trump, I'd say the whole issue could likely be distilled into a generalized "don't talk politics with the locals unless you really know your audience", but wouldn't that fall under the Captain Obvious rule? -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 00:46, 6 February 2018 (UTC)
I get your point, but we're completely ignoring the elephant in the room? What elephant? Ikan Kekek (talk) 01:05, 6 February 2018 (UTC)
Pretty sure that mentioning 'Hillary' will trigger people in many circles. There are a lot of elephants (admittedly only one sits in the oval office). Andrewssi2 (talk) 01:14, 6 February 2018 (UTC)
As we've learned, mentioning either of these people by name will ensure never-ending attempts to tweak the wording and never-ending talk page discussions. If that's what we're here for, then go for it. I'd rather build a travel guide. Ground Zero (talk) 01:20, 6 February 2018 (UTC)
"but her emails" oh boy remember when Americans were known as the people who didn't talk politics with strangers? Hobbitschuster (talk) 02:28, 6 February 2018 (UTC)
I've met people who really hate Obama, people who really hate Bush and so on, although it seems to be true that Bush is in general not as hated among liberals as Trump for the most part. What perhaps distinguishes Trump from other recent presidents is his exceptionally belligerent attitude when it comes to foreign relations, but still, it is also true that if you talk about local politics in any country, you have the potential to offend someone. I'm pretty sure that if you go to Canada, you will find people who get triggered by you mentioning Justin Trudeau, and if you go to Australia, you will find people who get triggered by you mentioning Malcolm Turnbull. So even if Trump is unusually polarising, this may still be a case of Captain Obvious. The dog2 (talk) 02:31, 6 February 2018 (UTC)
What distinguishes Trump to Americans, too few of whom care greatly about foreign policy as long as it doesn't cause a war that engulfs the populace, is his outright expressions of bigotry, his intemperance and his personal moral turpitude. I understand a lack of desire to spend endless time on this talk page discussing him or other aspects of domestic politics in the U.S., but completely ignoring him because he's controversial? How are other travel guides, printed and online, handling the mention or non-mention of him? Ikan Kekek (talk) 06:53, 6 February 2018 (UTC)
In which traveller relevant contexts would you like to see discussion around President Trump? I would agree that there probably are some (limited) scenarios where we could do this in a relevant and 'fair' manner. Andrewssi2 (talk) 07:13, 6 February 2018 (UTC)
Can we, for instance, say that the rise of Trump and his Administration reflect and coincide with a greater degree of open hostility toward people of color, both domestic and foreign, than has existed in recent years? Statistics on hate crimes certainly seem to bear this out. How this affects individual visitors to the United States may depend a lot on their nationality, religion, color and where they travel, but the general trend in the last 3 years or so is unmistakable. Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:38, 6 February 2018 (UTC)
The hate crime statistics have increased since before Trump and Jews have continued to be the most targeted group, so for us to say Trump is responsible sounds like us trying to spin a narrative. We could just as easily say, for instance, that media obsessions with identity politics and making "news" out of random Twitter comments that relate to such topics, replacing news reporting with pundits, ascribing the worst intent to everything to push a "story", etc. are responsible. There are lots of possible reasons for crime increases and just looking at numbers certainly isn't enough to identify one culprit as responsible for all of the crimes. We do not know the circumstances or nature of the crimes let alone what might have made someone commit a crime (particularly when it's subconscious). Some editors aren't too keen on Trump. We got it the first time, and the time after that, and the time after that, and we get it this time... Was it too difficult to start a blog? ChubbyWimbus (talk) 11:35, 6 February 2018 (UTC)
So because there are disagreements, we pretend Trump isn't President? I phrased my remark quite carefully. Let me repeat: "the rise of Trump and his Administration reflect and coincide with a greater degree of open hostility toward people of color, both domestic and foreign, than has existed in recent years". That is not blaming only one person. And Jews are not targeted as much as black people; Jews are the most targeted for religion, which is where I think you got confused. Look, I think it's quite annoying that doing anything whatsoever to stop completely ignoring the elephant in the room leads to pushback. Until very recently, the genocide in Myanmar was completely ignored on the Western Myanmar and Myanmar pages, and the remarks are still pretty weak. Imagine if, ignoring Wikivoyage:Be fair, we simply allowed people to revert such mentions, either without argument or by arguing a Burmese nationalist propaganda line and causing us to conclude that it isn't worth some controversy to state a fundamental and salient truth about a dangerous situation in which people are getting murdered, raped and forced to flee. Granted, that's a more extreme situation than most people currently face in the U.S. (rather, it's more likely refugees living in the U.S. will be raped and murdered when forced to go back to their countries of origin), but the point is, we should be able to at least point out something factual, which is that the United States is a more bitterly divided country than it has been since at least the 1960s, that much of the division is due to bigotry and resentment of perceived enemies, both internal and external, and that people of certain nationalities, colors and religions might face more trouble trying to enter the United States and travel around the country now than they would have a few years ago. Being fair doesn't mean pretending we're all totally unaware of what's going on. No, it certainly didn't start with Trump, but Trump has certainly not made or tried to make the country more unified or tolerant, and that may be felt by visitors to certain parts of the country. Ikan Kekek (talk) 11:53, 6 February 2018 (UTC)

[Unindent] And let's please get back to my question: How do other printed and online guides address or avoid addressing the current political situation in the U.S.? Ikan Kekek (talk) 12:01, 6 February 2018 (UTC)

Yes, it is strange, it is unusual, just like the political situation in the United States. We should ignore this issue because (a) it takes up way too much time, and (b) we can't tell the reader anything they don't already know. Let's move on. Ground Zero (talk) 12:03, 6 February 2018 (UTC)
You're really sure all potential visitors to the U.S. know what the current situation is like? I'll bet you're wrong. I feel sure some of them think it's much worse currently than it is and others don't realize that it actually has gotten worse than it was. Ikan Kekek (talk) 12:12, 6 February 2018 (UTC)
I can't speak for the situation in the US, I can only speak as a non-American travelling in other countries. People outside of the US are following the situation. The world is watching, and we're not laughing with you. Ground Zero (talk) 12:27, 6 February 2018 (UTC)
I still want to know how other guides handle the situation in the U.S. Ikan Kekek (talk) 14:34, 6 February 2018 (UTC)
I don't know if we have to follow the lead of other guides. Wikivoyage is in a class of its own. But if you want to know what the other guides say, you could look it up and report back to us. All of the big guides have websites. Ground Zero (talk) 14:52, 6 February 2018 (UTC)
I haven't read other guides yet but I can try to speak from the position of a non-white foreigner living in the US. I'd say that I have yet to encounter any racist incidents since Trump became president, even when I travelled through rural Utah and Idaho. Of course, that doesn't mean they don't happen, but I personally haven't encountered any. The only trouble I've had was with Immigration once when I was returning from a trip home, but the officer who gave me trouble wasn't white. For the most part, my biggest concern regarding Trump is whether my funding will get cut because I do scientific research in the course of my work, and Trump hasn't really been very supportive of the scientific community apart from NASA.
And I have met people who come from Trump country, and I have also met Trump supporters, and I feel I should point out that many people who support Trump aren't necessarily racist. From what I've gathered, many of these people, such as the coal miners in Pennsylvania and the white working class in the Midwest simply felt ignored by the "establishment", and when Trump came along, they were so touched that a national politician finally acknowledged them and promised to tackle their issues. So rather than being actively racist, many of these people considered ethnic minorities as acceptable collateral damage if Trump could give them back their jobs, in the same way that many feminists see innocent men falsely accused of rape to be acceptable collateral damage if it advances their cause. So while I would agree that Trump was not helping things by not condemning the alt-right after the Charlottesville riots, it is not fair to say that all Trump supporters are racists.
And this is just my personal take here, but I suspect Trump being elected could be in part a backlash against the extreme political correctness the American left has been pushing. One thing I've noticed is that left-wing Americans don't distinguish between jokes and genuine bigotry, and people get offended by things that are non-issues elsewhere (for instance, saying "Merry Christmas" to a Jew). Of course, things like these may be Captain Obvious to Americans, but foreigners not used to this level of political correctness, even if we may be somewhat left-leaning in our home countries, will notice this. The dog2 (talk) 16:09, 6 February 2018 (UTC)
I appreciate your remarks on your situation as a foreigner in the U.S. and will hold back on expressing my opinion on your take on the nature of the "political correctness" being flouted by Trump and objected to by many of his supporters, and what some would read as a false equivalency in your analysis, as we've been over this kind of stuff repeatedly. Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:19, 6 February 2018 (UTC)
I believe that we can all agree that things have changed in America since the election. Probably we won't be able to pinpoint exactly why it has changed or even the nature of the change itself. From the perspective of a foreign student/traveler one might notice nothing substantial at all has changed in their daily interactions, yet still be aware that 'America First' and 'Make America Great Again' has changed the overall tone. Andrewssi2 (talk) 21:33, 6 February 2018 (UTC)
If we can have a rough consensus about what you wrote in your last sentence, could we post that? I completely agree that we don't want to concentrate on current-day American politics on this article or overstate what's changed, but totally ignoring the current situation just seems like someone closing their eyes and ears and saying "La la la la la, I can't hear you!" Ikan Kekek (talk) 22:40, 6 February 2018 (UTC)
I think that would be fair. Certainly you can see a lot more polarisation in social media and even the mainstream media, but in terms of daily interactions, I haven't been affected that much. The only significance for travellers is that if you are from one of the countries targeted by Trump's Muslim ban, you'll have to give up your dream of going to Harvard or MIT, but otherwise, I still think that the vast majority of non-white visitors to the US will not be targeted by racist mobs when walking down the street, at least in the major cities. It may be true that the KKK and the neo-Nazis have been emboldened by Trump's election, but it doesn't mean that the vast majority of white Americans suddenly decided to join the KKK and the neo-Nazis because Trump got elected. The dog2 (talk) 00:01, 7 February 2018 (UTC)
I agree with all of that 100%. Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:06, 7 February 2018 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────There has been an increase in all sorts of hate crimes in many European countries, stuff that would have been way outside polite discourse has become "normal" and aliyah numbers among Jews in many countries are up. There is no one single cause of this but various political sides blame economic woes, the refugee crisis and right wing populism on this. Do we really need to sort out all those minefields? Should we say "avoid all parts of Austria where the FPÖ has gotten more than x%" should we say "avoid Saxony due to the AfD"? Or should we just roll over when some IP editor wants to paint certain urban neighborhoods as overrun by Sharia law and whatnot? Hobbitschuster (talk) 01:08, 7 February 2018 (UTC)

I don't disagree with Andrewssi's last sentence, but I am concerned that adding it will lead to endless attempts to tweak it or elaborate on it in one direction or another, or in all directions at the same time. This is a can of time-sucking worms that is best left unopened. Ground Zero (talk) 01:13, 7 February 2018 (UTC)
[Edit conflict] Look at Paris#Danger for identifiably Jewish people. If there is real potential in the short run for danger for Jews, Muslims, people of color or whomever, it should be noted in the relevant article. Your point that safety for identifiably "different" people may be better in most situations in the U.S. than in parts of Europe is well taken, though, and means that this article should avoid overly extreme warnings. Ikan Kekek (talk) 01:14, 7 February 2018 (UTC)
Ground Zero, I'm not satisfied with completely ignoring things just because it's been hard to agree on anything so far. Ikan Kekek (talk) 01:16, 7 February 2018 (UTC)
It's not a perfect solution, but i believe that the value-added for travellers is marginal, and the time-suck for contributors is excessive. We don't have unlimited resources. Let's use them wisely. Ground Zero (talk) 01:20, 7 February 2018 (UTC)
We can probably at least tell people not to bring it up. I have found that bringing up Trump in a conversation does result in more polarised feelings being aroused than bringing up Obama or Bush. The reasons for Trump's election are rather complex, as are the reasons for pretty much any other politician's election, and we probably cannot distill it into one single reason. Explaining all of them is probably too much for this article.
And as far as racism goes, I am from Asia and have travelled to many different Asian countries, so I can say that for the most part, countries like China and Japan are more racist than the US. Sure, violent attacks are extremely rare, but I can assure you that black people will face far more discrimination when applying for jobs, and will be stared at a lot more in China than in the US, which can make some people feel uncomfortable. And I'm sure some of you guys can remember that racist washing machine commercial from China that would never have been allowed to air in the US. So just to keep things in perspective, I got far more people staring at me in rural India than in rural America. Of course, we shouldn't pretend that racism no longer exists, but let's not go overboard with our warnings here. The dog2 (talk) 01:35, 7 February 2018 (UTC)
Applying for jobs is, for the most part, outside our project scope as our target audience is the short-term voyager, not someone looking to permanently relocate to these destinations and establish a career there. Racist policies like "Muslim ban" and "build a wall", OTOH, are concerns which directly impact our agenda as they are barriers to travel. K7L (talk) 02:53, 7 February 2018 (UTC)
I think The dog2 has it right. State that Trump is a particularly controversial president, especially in places in the U.S. which draw the most visitors, but don't overstate the gravity of the situation at the moment, or as compared with other countries. At this point, I'm satisfied with almost anything that could muster a consensus - I just think that _something_ should be said, because I don't like totally pretending. Ikan Kekek (talk) 03:12, 7 February 2018 (UTC)
I brought up the job searching thing just to highlight how you are actually better off as a black person in America than in China, and many young Americans go to China for a year or so to teach English. But that's besides the point. I'll go with Ikan Kekek on this one. Let's just state that Trump is controversial in the parts of the U.S. that foreigners are most likely to visit. The Muslim ban has already been covered in "Get In", and I guess we can mention that visitors should probably not discuss it unless they know someone's political persuasion. (And by the way, despite my misgivings about many things on the American left, the Muslim ban is something I most certainly stand with the left in opposing.) The dog2 (talk) 03:34, 7 February 2018 (UTC)
I don't think it is helpful to draw comparisons with other countries regarding racism. It is way too simplistic to say that China is more racist than the USA, and the comparison is just useless on so many levels. Each country has a different society with its own issues relating to race. A black person might have a harder time interviewing for an English language school in China, but also very unlikely to be shot dead by a nervous policeman. Which of those scenarios makes a country more racist than another? Andrewssi2 (talk) 09:22, 7 February 2018 (UTC)

(indent) The term "racist"/"racism" is thrown around way too loosely these days. "Muslims ban" and "Build a Wall" racist? Islam is not race. Anyone of any race can become Muslim. It was also a temporary suspension (not a ban) designed to evaluate current procedures/protocols regarding countries that were already on the radar before Trump. As for the wall, there are discussions to be had on the cost vs benefit and the effectiveness or lack thereof of such a thing, but there's nothing racist about border security unless you are of the belief that anything less than open borders is "racist". In which case, I suppose having immigration laws and trying to genuinely enforce them would be "racist", but most Americans (of all races) have been wanting immigration reform and stricter enforcement of immigration laws since long before Obama, let alone Trump. Concerning how that affects us, it actually doesn't, because Wikivoyage doesn't promote illegally entering countries for "Travel" (And let's not pretend people are hopping the borders simply to cut travel expenses.), so in that regard, physical barrier aside, we agree with Trump.

The likelihood of a black person to be shot by a "nervous police officer" is highly unlikely in both China and the US. The proportions of black suspects vs white suspects getting shot by police in the US have shown white suspects actually a bit more likely to get shot than black suspects. Comparisons between countries can be helpful for perspective, though, as thedog said. Some Americans seem to like thinking their country is the most racist and intolerant country on earth, even claiming modern America is akin to the days of slavery, Nazi Germany, etc. Comparisons can keep us grounded and can be helpful in determining how needed certain advice is, whether its Captain Obvious, etc. It's part of the reason this discussion is being had after all. There are strong elements of Captain Obvious as we know similar advice applies to almost all other countries, yet some people feel there is something "special" or "significant" about what is happening in the US and we are struggling to pin it down so that it doesn't sound obvious. I don't think waiting to rush to judgment on modern events is "pretending" anything. Similarly, the implied accusation above that the lack of information in the Myanmar article about a specific event indicates there must be some user(s) who don't want it mentioned is faulty reasoning and assumes bad faith to a slightly conspiratorial degree (I looked at those articles, and the discussion that brought up the lack of info was simply not responded to. I myself don't "Watch" any Myanmar articles nor do I read them, so I was unaware that anyone even had a problem with them, Unless there is discussion elsewhere, it's much more reasonable to assume people didn't see it). The strong polarization of political parties though definitely predates Trump, as well. There was a rapidly growing rift already present under Obama (some analysts believe it played a significant role in Trump's election). It's difficult to write about without sounding like Captain Obvious, but maybe if we acknowledge that fact, it would help to convey the message better. Also, I think in order to keep this from being politicized one way or the other, it's best to avoid mentioning specific names. I also think it's just generally more honest, because none of what is being discussed was new with Trump nor would it go away if Trump were to walk away tomorrow, so how about something like:

"While it may seem obvious to avoid political discussions, in recent years, Americans have become especially polarized in their political beliefs and party allegiance can take precedence over reason and civility. If it even sounds like you might be saying something positive about a political figure or policy that someone is against (or speaking ill of a figure or policy they support), you may receive some verbal hostility. Violence however remains almost unheard of." ChubbyWimbus (talk) 11:51, 7 February 2018 (UTC)

While it is true that the travel ban is not explicitly called a Muslim ban, if you look at what Trump and Giuliani have been saying, it is very clear that the ban is meant to pander to Trump's rural conservative Christian voter base, many of whom have never met a Muslim before, and only hear about Islam when they see the news about some terrorist attack by an Islamic extremist. It's pretty obvious he's been extremely selective in only condemning Islamic extremist and, to an extent, left-wing extremist violence, while failing to condemn violence by white supremacists, neo-Nazis and fundamentalist Christians.
But I've also noticed that the left tends to automatically cry out "racism" everytime a black or Latino person gets arrested without even bothering to consider and verify all the facts of the case, which in my opinion is counter-productive. At the same time, I have black colleagues who live in bad neighbourhoods and complain that they get stopped by police when driving home because someone just got murdered on their block, and about how annoying they find it because they are making an honest living and have never committed a crime, so let's also try to understand it from their perspective. Of course the idea that America is the most racist country on Earth is absolute nonsense; the vast majority of Americans, even conservative ones, accept black people as Americans, while if you go to China, a black person will never be accepted as Chinese, even if he/she was born and raised there.
Anyway, it is not true that violence is almost unheard of. Just look at the rioting that goes on when a conservative speaker like Ben Shapiro is invited to speak on campus. And of course, let's also not forget that a counter-protester was killed in Charlottesville during a white supremacist rally last year. While it is true that a visitor's chances of encountering random violence are slim, I think the responsible advice would be to just tell people to stay away from political discussion, and avoid stirring the hornet's nest. The dog2 (talk) 18:43, 7 February 2018 (UTC)
I didn't say that the reason for the almost complete ignoring of the genocide in Myanmar is opposition to mentioning it, but there was at least one instance of someone attempting to delete the mention of Rohingyas without comment, and my point is that there are some current events that ought to be mentioned and shouldn't be left out of the guide because someone opposed to their mention may unfairly object.
As for your proposed statement, I think it's reasonable, except that I'd oppose "violence remains almost unheard of" and support "political violence is uncommon". Anyone who follows events in the U.S. knows that there are a lot more murders here than in many other countries, although it's less well known that, in spite of the highly-publicized mass shootings, the overall crime rate is way lower than it was a few decades ago. Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:19, 7 February 2018 (UTC)
I'd say that's fair enough. Political violence in the US is most certainly not unheard of, but it is true at as a tourist, you are unlikely to encounter it. The dog2 (talk) 03:08, 8 February 2018 (UTC)
"The proportions of black suspects vs white suspects getting shot by police in the US have shown white suspects actually a bit more likely to get shot than black suspects" - wow, an awesome example of 'alternative facts'. Statistics show there were 191 fatalities of Black people (12.3% of US population) by police shootings compared to 392 shootings of white people (73.6% of US population.
Frankly if something as obvious as this makes some of our contributors uncomfortable to face truths, then I don't really see how we could come to a consensus about how to treat this subject. Andrewssi2 (talk) 03:43, 8 February 2018 (UTC)
Not "alternative facts", you just didn't read correctly. I didn't say the black population; I said suspects. Black people commit more crimes in the US, so they have more interactions with the police than white people. However, the proportion of those interactions that result in police shooting the suspect are lower for black people than for white suspect interactions with officers. It's rather funny that you claim we can't come to a consensus on the grounds of my being a part of it when I am the one who authored the proposed addition that seems to be mostly agreed upon (with one suggested tweak). Are you saying you don't support the additions because you don't like/trust the author? You are the one who falsely claimed Islam was a race, after all, so how can you arbitrate what is "obvious"? I'm sure we're both mistaken on some things and hopefully everyone is open to abandoning certain beliefs if new credible information is presented. With that said though, there is nothing in my proposed statements about shootings of any kind. Attempting to nullify any possible consensus on the grounds that you don't agree with me on a sort of off-shoot discussion that doesn't even impact the proposal looks an awful lot like an attempt to politicize Wikivoyage or at least this page and usurp the consensus-building process. There are no policies that would support the nullification of a consensus on the grounds that one participant has a different view than another (or others or all of the others)...
Ikan Kekek: Regarding the "Violence remains almost unheard of", I was thinking that in the context of someone saying something positive/negative about Trump/Obama around people who vehemently hate them, the possibility of violence on those grounds is almost unheard of. Do you think the likelihood of violence in that context is still enough to say "uncommon". Maybe "rare" is better? ChubbyWimbus (talk) 11:44, 8 February 2018 (UTC)
In that context, I do believe "rare" would be accurate, yes. I'll avoid discussing the tangent, as it's not important to debate everything about the situation in the U.S. here. Ikan Kekek (talk) 12:49, 8 February 2018 (UTC)
We could, I guess, tell people to avoid political gatherings in the interest of safety, but then again, I feel that this applies to pretty much any foreign country you visit. The dog2 (talk) 22:35, 8 February 2018 (UTC)
I wouldn't support such a global warning. The women's marches, for example, have been a lot of fun as well as serious, and they've been overwhelmingly peaceful and safe. Ikan Kekek (talk) 22:37, 8 February 2018 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Good point. And avoiding a white supremacist rally if you are not white is pretty much commonsense. I guess we can say that “Political violence occurs on occasion, but as a tourist, your chances of being targeted are very slim.” If anything, it’s black Americans who get targeted by white supremacist attacks, and not non-white tourists. The dog2 (talk) 22:51, 8 February 2018 (UTC)

I think even "Political violence occurs on occasion" is pushing it a little bit, I think. Racist violence occurs on occasion, but I wouldn't necessarily characterize every incidence of racist violence as "political". If it happened at a Black Lives Matter rally, or during a Charlottesville-style alt-right gathering, then yes, but I think only a small minority of incidents like that occur within such explicitly political contexts. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 22:59, 8 February 2018 (UTC)
Definitely correct, IMO. Ikan Kekek (talk) 23:00, 8 February 2018 (UTC)
Even racist violence is quite rare. The only racist incident I've encountered in the US (and that was before Trump got elected) was a bunch of teenagers driving through San Francisco Chinatown shouting racist slurs. And even in that scenario, I won't discount the possibility of those kids just being trolls.
So I guess we can leave the last part of the paragraph as "As a tourist, your chances of encountering violence is slim." The dog2 (talk) 23:17, 8 February 2018 (UTC)
I agree that the chances are slim. That's another way of saying "rare". Ikan Kekek (talk) 23:28, 8 February 2018 (UTC)
Have we agreed on a form of words? If so, let's insert it into the article. Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:50, 12 February 2018 (UTC)
I don't think it is clear how this has ended up. It would be best to present the proposed wording clearly, and then allow for wordsmithing here (if any is needed), rather than putting something in the article that people may then want to change. Ground Zero (talk) 01:08, 12 February 2018 (UTC)

(indent) From what I gather, it is the last sentence that people want to see changed, so does it read well now: "While it may seem obvious to avoid political discussions, in recent years, Americans have become especially polarized in their political beliefs and party allegiance can take precedence over reason and civility. If it even sounds like you might be saying something positive about a political figure or policy that someone is against (or speaking ill of a figure or policy they support), you may receive some verbal hostility. Violence of this nature remains rare." ChubbyWimbus (talk) 12:22, 12 February 2018 (UTC)

Thanks ChuubyWimbus. A couple of suggestions to trim unnecessary emphasis that set some people off:
"While it may seem obvious to avoid political discussions, in recent years, Americans have become especially polarized in their political beliefs and party allegiance can take precedence over reason and civility. If it even sounds like you might be are saying something positive about a political figure or policy that someone is against (or speaking ill of a figure or policy they support), you may receive some verbal hostility. Violence of this nature remains rare."
Ground Zero (talk) 13:01, 12 February 2018 (UTC)
I don't think this information is necessary, but if we must include it, I don't think we should include the link to Captain Obvious, which is a Wikivoyage policy rather than part of the travel guide. In fact, I think the whole phrase "While it may seem obvious to avoid political discussions" doesn't really add much. —Granger (talk · contribs) 14:02, 12 February 2018 (UTC)
Agreed. Unless Captain Obvious is a captain of a steamboat (which we would list in "get in" or "get around") he shouldn't be linked from a destination article... and Uncyclopedia says that he's not a ship's captain at the current time. K7L (talk) 14:15, 12 February 2018 (UTC)
It's true that in the original formulation the two introductory clauses together served to bury the lede, but I'd say if we're cutting out "while it may seem obvious to avoid political discussions" then we should restore "in recent years". Also, I'd insert a "however" into the last sentence, which currently reads brusque and needs more of a connection and flow with the preceding text. Here's my proposal:
"In recent years, Americans have become especially polarized in their political beliefs, and party allegiance can take precedence over reason and civility. If it even sounds like you are saying something positive about a political figure or policy that someone is against (or speaking ill of a figure or policy they support), you may receive some verbal hostility. However, violence of this nature remains rare."
or "...Violence of this nature, however, remains rare."
-- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 14:40, 12 February 2018 (UTC)
I have a purely writing style-based objection to the phrasing of the last sentence, because "violence of this nature" is unclear to me. I'd make a slight edit:
"In recent years, Americans have become especially polarized in their political beliefs, and party allegiance can take precedence over reason and civility. If it even sounds like you are saying something positive about a political figure or policy that someone is against (or speaking ill of a figure or policy they support), you may receive some verbal hostility. However, physically violent reactions to political statements remain rare." Ikan Kekek (talk) 17:39, 12 February 2018 (UTC)
I think that looks good. The dog2 (talk) 22:21, 12 February 2018 (UTC)
"In recent years" is vague and unnecessary. Travellers need to know the situation now, which is what "Americans have become especially polarized" (or "Americans are especially polarized"). The past is the past and belongs in Wikipedia. "In recent years" sounds like we're trying to imply that this came about because of the election. We shouldn't imply things. Either we should say it was because of the election if we feel that the political commentary is necessary, or we should leave it out if we are content with being a travel guide. I vote for the latter. (There is a reason why "recently" is on our list of words to avoid.) Ground Zero (talk) 00:55, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
It certainly predates the 2016 election and was true of people who hated President Obama, too. To a somewhat lesser degree, it also applied to G.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, but I think that things have been getting increasingly worse, as reflected by the degree of conflict and dysfunction in Congress, as well as the degree of vituperation from people with and without substantial audiences outside of Congress. I think it would be nice to indicate that increased polarization is not just something happening now but an increasing trend, because unless something unforeseen happens (and though the situation is much less critical here, I'm thinking for example of the negotiations that produced the Good Friday Accord that ended most of the intercommunal terrorism in Northern Ireland that seemed intractable to that point), trends are likely to continue for a while.
So would you be satisfied with this?
"Since at least the 1990s, the trend has been for Americans to become increasingly polarized in their political beliefs, and nowadays, party allegiance can take precedence over reason and civility. If it even sounds like you are saying something positive about a political figure or policy that someone is against (or speaking ill of a figure or policy they support), you may receive some verbal hostility. However, physically violent reactions to political statements remain rare."Ikan Kekek (talk) 01:23, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
I really don't think the history/political commentary is appropriate, but it is better than "in recent years", so if everyone else is okay with it, I'll live. Ground Zero (talk) 01:29, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
That's fine too. I vaguely recall that when I visited the US on a high school summer programme, people weren't as polarised and in general not as sensitive, though it might be because we were all high school kids. The dog2 (talk) 02:01, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
That works for me. I wasn't married to the "in recent years" verbiage so much as I felt there needed to be an introductory clause to frame the paragraph rather than just plunging right into "Americans have become especially polarized...", which sounded a bit abrupt to me. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 03:32, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
If everyone is at peace with this language, we can insert it tomorrow and feel happy that we were able to agree on a statement that addresses the state of American politics in a reasonable, non-partisan way. Ikan Kekek (talk) 04:45, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
I'm not sure that the 1990s is the best place to set the pin on when the escalation of polarization got so bad (I'd at least place it in this century), but I don't think it matters so much, so I'd say it's okay. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 11:13, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
I think it started around 1994 with the Speakership of Gingrich and the impeachment of Clinton and has gotten steadily worse since then. Some people might date the beginning of it back further, but that's enough to me. Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:10, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
I think Ikan Kekek has it right. There were certainly some pre-1994 forerunners to the current era of partisan intransigence - the Reagan Revolution; Watergate; you could even push it as far back as Barry Goldwater's failed but influential campaign for the presidency in 1964 - but you rarely if ever saw the two parties outright refusing to work together, and consequently creating legislative gridlock for protracted periods of time, until the Clinton years. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 00:09, 14 February 2018 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Let's not forget Lincoln and the American Civil War; I don't think it has gotten that bad yet. But what I've heard from different people is that there has been increasing intolerance of the other side in the last ten years or so. And I know this is going off on a tangent, but from what I know, Lincoln was a Republican, and the Democrats were the ones engaging in racist politics back then. It beats me how the two major political parties in the US actually ended up swapping their political platforms; in Australia, Labor has always been left-wing and the Coalition has always been right-wing. The dog2 (talk) 01:48, 14 February 2018 (UTC)

Regarding "you rarely if ever saw the two parties outright refusing to work together", obviously I'm talking about within living memory. As for your last question, I could expound at length on the political effects of desegregation, the Civil Rights Movement, and the aftermath of the Great Depression, Nixon's "Southern Strategy", and the effect of the differences between federal and parliamentary systems on party discipline, but that would be abandoning this discussion's last remaining tenuous links with the scope of this site. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 03:25, 14 February 2018 (UTC)
The dog2, are you OK with this phrasing? Anyone object to anything in it? Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:18, 14 February 2018 (UTC)
It works for me. You guys have been in the US longer than me, so you'll know better when this increasing political polarisation started. And I must say that we've done very well in coming to a consensus despite our diversity of political opinions here. The dog2 (talk) 05:25, 14 February 2018 (UTC)

Media Bias[edit]

One thing I was thinking of is mentioning under News and Media about the political biases of television news. For instance, it is most certainly known that MSNBC has a strong left-wing bias, while Fox News has a strong right-wing bias, and most of the others, such as ABC, the main NBC, CBS and PBS are somewhat centre-left. At least my view is that this is something that is good to know so people can make an informed decision on where to get your news from, and perhaps even consult different news sources to get the whole picture.

And one more thing we could perhaps mention is to perhaps mention YouTube news channels. For instance, for people who lean left, The Young Turks would probably be the YouTube news channel of choice and for people who lean right, perhaps Ben Shapiro's The Daily Wire will be what they want to watch. The dog2 (talk) 18:27, 13 February 2018 (UTC)

sigh. Didn't we remove some sentence(s) to that effect in one of the culls in the course of the last year? Hobbitschuster (talk) 19:03, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
Someone else did, but it was not discussed here. My view is that it should be mentioned in some form, but I'll wait and see what the consensus is. The dog2 (talk) 19:06, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
I thought consensus was a year ago that we should stop wasting so much time on this one article. Seriously. There are so, so many state articles below USA that could do with some eyeballs instead of this repetitive discussion of literally a handful of words here or there saying this or that or the opposite. Hobbitschuster (talk) 19:09, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
Let's please avoid discussing media bias in the U.S. here! No-one will profit from that. And visitors who watch or listen to the news at home will certainly be able to tell the difference. Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:09, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
I agree. Look at how much time we spent on the above edit. Please, please move on to other articles, and please, please, please focus on information directly related to travel. Arguing over contentious political issues tangentially related to travel is not a good use of time, as several editors have told you before. Ground Zero (talk) 21:17, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
Many travellers watch the evening news when they are in the US. And these biases are actually widely known in the US, so it's for the most part not a political debate on whether these biases actually exist. But if the consensus is against mentioning them, I won't push the issue. The dog2 (talk) 23:19, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
The biases are well-known in the rest of the world too. I've never been to the U.S. and knew all about the "fake news" long before it was cool :-) Putting in this info is well within Captain Obvious territory. The U.S. is the most influential country in the world, and its media is probably the single most influential aspect of American culture on the world stage, ergo everyone knows about the media in the U.S. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 23:39, 13 February 2018 (UTC)


Correct me if I'm wrong, but the article currently says Tex-Mex is "localized Mexican food". Isn't at least the origin of that food the food of Texas in the 19th century combined with the food of Northern Mexico to some extent? IIRC Chili con Carne is traditionally Tex-Mex but cannot in any way shape or form be described as a "localized" version of any dish somebody from DF would be all that familiar with. Now Taco Bell is of course something else entirely, as attested by their repeated failures to enter the Mexican market and the reaction to it by Mexicans... Hobbitschuster (talk) 21:10, 5 March 2018 (UTC)

I wouldn't say that Tex-Mex is "localized" so much as Americanized. The usage/exact definition may be regional. In the Midwest, Tex-Mex is any kind of Americanized Mexican food (some would even include Taco Bell in that category), especially if you put cheddar cheese and sour cream on it. I agree that historically the term originated in Texas but (if you allow me to wax poetic for a bit) I feel it describes a trend of taking Mexican foods and adjusting them to American palates and ingredients, not a specific type/style of food. DethDestroyerOfWords (talk) 22:01, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
"Tex-Mex" refers to a hybrid cuisine based on Mexican but native to the U.S. and with American touches, rather than Americanized versions of individual dishes that also exist in authentically Mexican versions. Furthermore, Tex-Mex restaurants in the United States are rarely billed as such - they almost invariably call themselves "Mexican restaurants", with the potential customer left to figure out for him- or herself which restaurants are Tex-Mex and which are the "small authentic Mexican taquerías" that have been increasingly popping up even away from the border and the large metro areas. (Sadly, in fact it's only recently that the American everyman - at least away from the Mexican border - has even come to realize that there is a difference between Tex-Mex and authentic Mexican.) -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 22:12, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
Let's just use your wording in the article. I feel it sums up my thoughts better than I can. That bit about not being advertised as Tex-Mex is a big one that I couldn't articulate. DethDestroyerOfWords (talk) 22:15, 5 March 2018 (UTC)

Hey, let's remember that this isn't an article on "Food in the United States", and Tex-Mex is just one of many cuisines. This should be high-level, not a detailed section. If you want to add something, please consider removing something else to keep this article manageable. Thank you. Ground Zero (talk) 22:25, 5 March 2018 (UTC)

I still think it would be worthwhile to have a formal policy mandating that all contributions to this article must have a net-negative length, since the article length invariably creeps back up as soon as we divert our attention. Note that my additions re: Tex-Mex cuisine came on the heels of several previous net-negative contributions. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 23:02, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
I've had this discussion before on fairly sophisticated, knowledgeable food discussion boards. The consensus there was that Tex-Mex, properly speaking, is the authentic cuisine of Texans that is indeed part of a continuous tradition going back to when Texas was part of Mexico (and "continuous tradition" in no way means "no change"). Similarly, there are Cal-Mex and New Mexican cuisines. Ikan Kekek (talk) 06:51, 6 March 2018 (UTC)

Dietary Restrictions[edit]

As for my edit that was reverted, I understand people's concerns about length, but I think that we should briefly provide information that is relevant to Jewish and Muslim travellers as well. We have a lot written for people with gluten-free diets, vegetarians and so on, so I think it is only fair that we also have some information pertaining to people with religious diets. Many Jewish and Muslim travellers do visit the United States after all. The dog2 (talk) 01:10, 6 March 2018 (UTC)

I agree with you, but I don't think there is such a profusion of kosher delicatessens nowadays, which serve pastrami, corned beef, tongue and other huge meat sandwiches. Rather, we'd be talking about kosher shops and restaurants. Ikan Kekek (talk) 06:43, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
I agree that a brief summary of kosher and halal information is worth including. —Granger (talk · contribs) 11:45, 6 March 2018 (UTC)

In an article that gets as many edits as this one two people is hardly a consensus. This should not have been restored so quickly, in my opinion. But instead of arguing over it, I've demonstrated that it was possible - in fact, easy - to trim down the bloat in the section in order to accommodate the new text.

It is up to the person who wants to add stuff to do this editing. Adding a bunch of new text and inviting others to edit it down is not constructive. Next time text is added and the editor spends time on the talk page arguing why it should be added instead of trimming other text to make space, then maybe the safest option is to just revert the edits. This is not the only article in Wikivoyage, and it is in pretty good shape, even if it is really long. It is time to work on improving other articles, and leave this one alone. Ground Zero (talk) 00:43, 7 March 2018 (UTC)

I'd like to see this article as DotM someday (dare I say it?), so I think continuing to shorten and simplify content to improve readability is a worthwhile pursuit. Other than that particular activity, I agree that attention should be turned elsewhere than this article. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 01:39, 7 March 2018 (UTC)

The length of this article, again[edit]

@AndreCarrotflower: Regarding your edit summary that you're "going to start simply reverting edits that add text without removing text elsewhere": I sure hope that was an exaggeration. You made that proposal before, and it still has not gotten consensus. I for one oppose any policy that edits must result in a net decrease in article length. Sometimes a useful and important addition means increasing the length of the article a bit. Users who are concerned that the article is too long can always continue cutting things down. —Granger (talk · contribs) 01:53, 7 March 2018 (UTC)

I second this; consensus simply doesn't work that way. By all means, continue to simplify existing text, and move text to other articles that are more appropriate; those will still help to decrease the total length of the article. But do not remove or undo edits simply because they add length. That is not a policy on this or any other WV page, and several of us do not agree with the idea. --Bigpeteb (talk) 02:05, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
But which side of this argument is more guilty of ignoring consensus? Consensus also holds that this article needs to be shortened, yet despite repeated admonitions there are many of us happily undoing others' efforts to slim down the text here. Obviously there are certain extenuating circumstances where a necessary bit of information has been overlooked, but in cases like the anonymous editor who I reverted with the edit summary at issue here, where the information added nothing of value, then I will have absolutely no compunction about reverting. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 03:38, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
I think that additions should be a clear improvement, but adding information for people on kosher and halal diets seems like an obvious improvement to me, not something to be reverted just on account of length. I also would like to know why Super Bowl Sunday was removed from the list of holidays, since the effect of the day on visitors would be quite pronounced. Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:08, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
Ikan, the edit referred to here was this one. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 05:11, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
That edit really didn't add anything of importance. Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:18, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
Agreed. For the record, I have no argument with the information about dietary restrictions, especially now that Ground Zero has trimmed it down and excised some other text for a net negative effect (or, at least, more-or-less a wash) in terms of length. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 05:26, 7 March 2018 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────"Consensus also holds that this article needs to be shortened". No, I don't think it does. I think the consensus is that this article tends to bloat, and that we need to be vigilant about adding so many little details and factoids that the article's length becomes a hinderance for readers. But that doesn't imply that the article must always be made shorter. If we find something important that's been left out, we should add it. If something changes (e.g. political or legal issues) and warrants coverage, we should add it. If we notice one day that something is inaccurate or poorly explained, we should fix it, and while it's a good goal to always improve the text to be more succinct, sometimes an edit will make the text longer.

I simply do not agree that this article needs to be shortened in every single edit, and I don't even agree that it needs to be shorter in general. If anything, every other country article needs to be improved until they all have this level of detailed coverage! --Bigpeteb (talk) 18:33, 7 March 2018 (UTC)

After that post from AndreCarrotflower and Ground Zero that was clearly targeted against me, I was trying to do my part to trim some stuff. We did mention Super Bowl Sunday under the section about Sports, and it is not really a holiday, which was why I thought we could perhaps remove it. We do not list the Champions' League final as a holiday in the European country articles, and neither do we list the AFL Grand Final as a holiday in the Australia article. But I most certain felt that before my edit, information about halal and kosher food for practising Muslims and Jews was lacking, and it was something that should be mentioned even if the article was lengthened a little bit. My comment on asking people to trim was to trim down stuff from my addition in case it was too long-winded. The dog2 (talk) 19:10, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
The dog2 deserves full credit for the trimming s/he did after the comments above. Those edits demonstrate how bloated this article is. The edit history of the article shows that the grows pretty unrelentingly over time. There is a tendency for editors to want to add stuff to this high profile article, and there is little interest in removing stuff that is out of date, too detailed, too local, too historical. If we don't ask contributors to trim while they add, how will the bloat be controlled? If the answer is "someone else should do it", then we know exactly what the problem is and what the result will be: the USA article will become a dumping ground for every bit of information about things in the USA that editors decide to add, rather than a article that is useful for readers.
That "Halal Guys" is a big chain that started from a food truck is interesting, but what the heck is that info doing in the United States of America article? Commentary on gluten-free food fadism? Not important for an article about this huge diverse nation. Repetition and repeated explanations? Please give our readers some credit for being able to understand plain English words. Stating the obvious? We have a policy on that.
Obviously important missing content should be added, but there is nothing wrong with asking editors to take less important or outdated stuff while they are doing it. Ground Zero (talk) 19:38, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
Nobody in Europe gives a crap about the Champion's League Final. I'd wager there are more avid watchers of the Super Bowl than there are avid watchers of the who cares which company spent more money this year final of scoreless draw ball. Hobbitschuster (talk) 20:04, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
I can tell you for a fact that the AFL Grand Final is a really big deal in Australia. It is to Australians what Super Bowl is to Americans, and even Australians who typically do not regularly watch Australian Rules Football will often turn on their TVs just for this game. The pubs will also be absolutely packed full of people watching the game. The dog2 (talk) 20:16, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
That may be, but the Champion's League is overhyped stuff that works better in the foreign market than any given domestic market. Mostly because the vast majority of European soccer fans hate the half dozen teams that usually wins it all. And casual fans are too, well, casual... Hobbitschuster (talk) 20:32, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
Please expand upon this in the Australia article. Hobbitschuster (talk) 20:35, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
Ground Zero, gluten-free diets are not only for faddists. There are people who actually have gluten intolerance, and they travel, too. I do think this article should be shortened, but maybe we can do that with more copy editing. I'll try doing a little. Ikan Kekek (talk) 23:47, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
I'll give my two cents as someone who works in science. Yes, it's true that some people have coeliac disease or some other form of gluten sensitivity, and these people need to have gluten-free diets. But there are also many people who go on a gluten-free diet as a fad. There is just so much misinformation in the media about gluten that give people this idea that gluten is something inherently bad for your health. Of course, if you've studied toxicology, it's true that anything is toxic if taken in a large enough dose, even water, vitamin C and oxygen. But in general, there is absolutely no benefit to going gluten-free if you don't have some form of gluten sensitivity. Many people who claim gluten sensitivity just came to this conclusion on their own without consulting a doctor, so it is true that gluten sensitivity is one of the most self-misdiagnosed conditions in the Western world right now. Of course, it's people's choice what diets they want to follow, but I will say that unless someone has seen a doctor and been medically diagnosed as such, take it with a pinch of salt if someone tells you that they have gluten sensitivity. The dog2 (talk) 00:02, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
Certainly. Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:36, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
Ikan, we should provide information for people who follow GF diets and leave it at that. What I removed was commentary about how some people are following a fad while others have medical issues (I can't remember the exact wording). My point was that we don't need to get into that discussion in the USA article. I have my own opinions on the GF fad (as distinct from coeliac disease), but I don't think anyone needs to hear them in a travel guide. Ground Zero (talk) 02:09, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
Oh, I see. Yes, we are in full agreement. Regardless of the facts about gluten, it's no more necessary to get into that discussion here than to express an opinion about whether liberal or conservative politics is superior. Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:27, 8 March 2018 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────While I think the text in that section is good as it stands, I will say that I believe that even though we should refrain from partisan politics here on WV, factual accuracy is still important for our articles. I believe at as a community, we have a consensus (or at least I hope we do) that everything written in the articles should stand up to the test of science, even if some people may believe in alternative facts. The dog2 (talk) 03:42, 8 March 2018 (UTC)

I was out of commission for most of yesterday, but getting back to earlier events in this discussion: The dog2, I appreciate your contributions to slimming the article down, and I see no value in pointing fingers and assigning blame for this article's bloat to any particular editor or editors. My statement above says it all, "the article length invariably creeps back up as soon as we divert our attention". It's not necessarily anyone's "fault", per se, but it is something that we should be keeping in mind more than we are now (or had been until a couple days ago). Bigpeteb, you seem to be under the mistaken impression that an article's length and level of detail are directly proportional to its quality. We've never held that to be the case on Wikivoyage. The number one rule of thumb is that articles should be readable and usable for the actual traveller, and particularly the offline user. If this article were to be printed out onto paper, it would be 66 pages long. No one is going to read that cover to cover, especially not while travelling, and for those looking for something specific, it's exceedingly difficult to sift through that whole glut of information to find a needle in the haystack. However, I don't support deleting any information that's valuable to travellers - everything a traveller might find helpful has a place on this site, but, and this is the kicker, not necessarily in this article. There's some information specific to certain regions that can be devolved to the respective subregion article, as I did a few weeks ago with a lengthy tangent on Southern cuisine in the "Eat" section; there's also the option of creating new travel topic articles to which to move detailed information on a particular topic, as Ground Zero has done with Studying in the United States, Working in the United States, and perhaps some others I've missed. I'm cognizant of the fact that United States of America will probably always be among the longest articles on this site, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't slim it down where possible. As I said elsewhere, I'd like to get this article on the Main Page as DotM someday (though probably not soon, given how the schedule is looking for 2018 and '19), and I think 200KB is a good length to shoot for. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 15:49, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
Thank you, User:AndreCarrotflower... that's a much more nuanced perspective on the matter, and I can't really disagree with any part of it. You're especially right that because we use wiki format, a lot of information may be appropriate to keep, but best moved to other articles.
Without meaning to be argumentative — merely informative — I did a quick experiment: I just grabbed several paperback travel guides from my shelf and checked their intro sections that cover the same things as WV's country-level articles. All of them are longer than 66 pages. (Let's Go guides for 4 different countries ranged from 84 to 109 pages, and Rough Guide to Japan had 75 pages of text plus another 23 glossy pages of overview and photos.)
I admit, it's not a hugely meaningful comparison. Those printed guidebooks include a lot more listings and itineraries in their country-level description than WV does. And "printed pages" is a meaningless number if you don't control for how much text fits on one page (although at a glance, it appears to be similar). Nevertheless, to me that suggests that country-level articles are naturally going to be long, as they have a lot of information to cover. --Bigpeteb (talk) 18:46, 8 March 2018 (UTC)

Spin off a travel topic for something along the lines of "traveling to the US" or "US customs and immigration"[edit]

Given that this section was rather long and some of what has been excised since then may seem obvious to some but isn't to everybody and the potential consequences of getting deported, maybe we want to have a standalone travel topic with subsections like "Can I apply through Visa Waiver", "Do I need a visa", "Which type of visa should I get", "What if my plans change?", "What if I want to visit Canada or Mexico, too?" and so on and so forth... Hobbitschuster (talk) 20:39, 7 March 2018 (UTC)

I didn't remove all that information. Merely some that seem obvious, as well as some repetitions. Some of these are true for any and every country. For instance, where else will you go after picking up your bags from the carousel? To the exit of course. That's just commonsense. And for no country does a visa guarantee you entry. Any country's immigration officer can refuse you entry and deport you even if you have a valid visa. That information probably belongs in the "Visa" article instead of this one. And baggage allowance is something that you should be checking with your airline about. Every airline has its own rules, and we can't possibly cover all airlines that fly to the US in this article, so the best we can do is to ask travellers to check with their airlines under one of the "Flying" articles. The dog2 (talk) 16:00, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
I agree with The dog2's changes and with Hobbitschuster's proposal. I think we could say something like: "Please see the US customs and immigration article if you:" followed by a bullet point list. I don't think separate paragraphs covering citizens of Micronesia, Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos, etc., are appropriate for this article. Only about a hundred people live in these places, and some of them don't read Wikivoyage, so it would be safe to branch the information off to another article. Details on the quantities of perfume, etc., that you can bring in could also be moved. Ground Zero (talk) 10:58, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
My immediate reaction is that instead of having articles about stuff like this, we should refer people to the official websites that will always give them up-to-date information and otherwise, cover just the basics. I don't see why we would want to duplicate this stuff in detail.
I should also say that at this point, I am far from panicky about the length of this article. I think it's OK, and readers can skip any sections that don't interest them. Ikan Kekek (talk) 11:04, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
I agree with Ikan Kekek on both counts. I don't really like the idea of splitting off a separate "US customs and immigration" article, because customs and immigration are something all (or almost all) visitors to the US need to worry about, unlike, say, Driving in the United States or Fast food in the United States and Canada. I do think it's a good idea to remove obscure, niche issues like importing raw milk; we can direct travellers with very unusual customs concerns or passport situations to the official websites for detailed, up-to-date information. —Granger (talk · contribs) 12:04, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
I don't think we should moving all of the customs and immigration info. We should leave the key information that is applicable to make St travellers, and move the niche information to a separate article. Links to the officials sites are a good idea, but people are coming to Wikivoyage as a starting point to get general info about travelling to the US, so I think we should provide it where we can. Ground Zero (talk) 12:20, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
I think general info has to be covered in this article either way. For obscure and niche info, why not just rely on the official site, which will always be more detailed and more up to date. I just don't see how we're adding value by creating a separate "US customs and immigration" article. —Granger (talk · contribs) 17:55, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
That's true of information for places to see, things to do, restaurants, hotels, transport information. Where Wikivoyage adds value is by bringing it all together in one place. Readers will always know that official sources are best for legal information, but Wikivoyage can provide an introduction. I'm not in favour of deleting information from Wikivoyage (unless it is incorrect), and encourage you to stop doing so while this discussion is ongoing. Ground Zero (talk) 20:55, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
I'm happy to stop removing information from this article. I was trying to help with the effort to make it shorter, but I'll stop doing so until this discussion is resolved. My feeling is that customs and immigration information is different from places to see, things to do, and so on, in that it is already all in one place: the US government website. What kind of information would we put in the proposed spin-off article that isn't already available at the US government website? —Granger (talk · contribs) 22:36, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
The point would be to gather all the information directly relevant to travelling in one place, Wikivoyage. The US government website does not list places to see, restaurants, hotels, transportation information. And it isn't as witty and amusing as Wikivoyage, but that's another issue. Ground Zero (talk) 01:12, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
I think we should keep customs and immigration information at the country level and not spin it off. However, I think that we can remove overly detailed information and simply refer people to the appropriate U.S. government website for accurate, up-to-date information. For example, we should refer them to the Department of Agriculture website in regard to what kinds of foods they can bring in. The generalization about cheese being OK to bring in is unhelpful, by the way, because there are young raw milk cheeses that are specifically banned from importation to the U.S. Ikan Kekek (talk) 01:19, 11 March 2018 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I agree with this. Let's not spin it off because visas, immigration and customs affect every single foreigner who wishes to enter the U.S. But let's keep this focussed on the most common issues for travellers. For detailed information that only a very small minority of travellers will need to know, we can just direct them to CBP's web-site. But we should definitely mention that getting a U.S. visa is exceptionally cumbersome. For most other countries, you just fill up a few forms and hand your passport over to a travel agent, and they'll take care of it for you, but this does not work for the U.S. You have to actually go to the embassy/consulate and be seen in person. Thankfully, my visa interview was very straightforward (I guess because Singapore is considered a friendly country), but I've heard other people talk about being asked weird questions and even having their passports taken for several months while the U.S. government conducts background checks. The dog2 (talk) 05:06, 11 March 2018 (UTC)

So what to do about special information for people from obscure places? Do we provide info for Canadians and Europeans but send Micronesians, Cayman Islanders and Turks and Caicos Islanders to another website? Ground Zero (talk) 11:47, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
I'll admit that's a grey area, but I'm leaning towards keeping them in. You won't find this information on the web-site about the VWP, so WV is a good place to compile all this information about visa-free travel to the US. On CBP's web-site, the VWP, the waiver for Canadians and Bermudians, and all the other waivers are all over the place. What I would say we don't need to go into detail about though, is about things like the procedure to get a work visa. And we need not go into details about how to apply for a visa except when there are some issues specific to the U.S. that tourists applying for visas for other countries do not face. The dog2 (talk) 22:37, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
Ground Zero, what kind of information are you thinking of? Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:30, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
Under United States of America#Visa-free entry, there are five or six paragraphs covering residents of jurisdictions with few residents - Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, and Palau, Turks & Caicos, Bahamas, American Samoa, and the Cayman Islands. I can't see removing it from Wikivoyage, or keeping it in the country-level USA article.
I am confused about the comment about details on applying for work visa - I don't see those. I think they have already been moved to the "Working in the US" article, which should be referenced and link in this section, but isn't. Ground Zero (talk) 05:50, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
Keep the content at "Visa-free entry" in the U.S.A. guide, but remove the remark about people born in U.S. territories being American citizens/nationals. They all know that, and if they don't, they don't need to read Wikivoyage to find out. I will remove this paragraph if there's no objection:
People born in the U.S. overseas territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, U.S. Virgin Islands and Northern Mariana Islands are considered to be U.S. citizens [my comment: by the way, they aren't merely considered to be but are U.S. citizens]. Those who are born in American Samoa are U.S. nationals. Therefore, they do not require a passport to travel to or live in the United States (unless they are travelling from non-U.S. territories). Ikan Kekek (talk) 06:11, 12 March 2018 (UTC)

My fear is that directing people to official sites might leave then with too much of a puppy dogs and rainbows impression when the actual US border regime is notorious for drastic punishments of even minor infractions and stuff a visitor wouldn't have suspected. And unlike being disallowed from visiting the glorious people's democratic national reorganization god fearing kingdom of the Republic (which might get a new [visa] regime next year) the article avoiding travel through the United States shows that the US are kind of a big deal if for whatever reason you can't enter... Hobbitschuster (talk) 06:27, 12 March 2018 (UTC)

That kind of stuff should be in this article! What I think we should omit is a list - especially an inaccurate list - of what foodstuffs an individual traveler can import. For details like that, a referral to the relevant official page (in this case, presumably one on the Department of Agriculture's site) should be provided. I'd like to delete that entire little subsection. In other words, I'd like to keep this sentence and add a link to it: "The legality of agricultural products varies by the product." I would like to delete the subsequent 3 lines of bullet points. As I've pointed out, much cheese is illegal to import to the U.S., but we don't need to detail that, do we? Ikan Kekek (talk) 06:38, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
I am surprised that there is such eagerness to purge relevant information from Wikivoyage. My focus in making this article more usable had been in moving information to other articles, and providing useful information more concisely by removing redundancies, and background/context stuff that is not needed to describe the current situation. I don't understand the objection to moving the overly detailed parts of this topic to another article so that it is still available in Wikivoyage for readers. With links, of course, to official websites, as we always try to do. Ground Zero (talk) 06:41, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
I don't really care greatly about decreasing the length of this article per se. I don't have a huge problem with leaving details in this article, but let's please not have inaccuracies like a blanket assurance that cheese is OK to bring into the U.S. from other countries. Try doing that with some young Epoisses and find out what happens if they catch you. Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:05, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
No one ever objects to removing inaccurate or obsolete information. That isn't an issue here. Ground Zero (talk) 07:14, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
OK, but I also would like to delete those 3 bulleted lines saying what foods you can and can't bring in. However, if it's really important to leave them in, I guess we have to state what makes a cheese OK or not OK to bring in, and its a bit complicated, because with raw milk cheeses, it depends how long they were aged. Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:44, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
My view is that there needs to be a short summary about bringing food in. At the very least, we have to tell people that all food must be declared. Sure, the US is not as strict as Australia in this regard, but it's still pretty strict by most standards. Like Australia, even if the food is permitted, you still have to declare it, and you'll get fined, or even prosecuted if you don't. The dog2 (talk) 16:34, 12 March 2018 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Speaking of which, I think we should remove the mention of Mexicans from the list of visa-free nations. Mexicans need a visa to visit the US, and the border crossing card is just a regular tourist visa in card form. The requirements and procedures for getting a border crossing card are exactly the same as a regular tourist visa. I have spoken to a Mexican from Tijuana with a border crossing card about this before, so I'm pretty sure this is the case. The dog2 (talk) 16:53, 12 March 2018 (UTC)

I agree on a short summary about bringing food in, as The dog2 outlines. Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:55, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
For reference, we can look at the Australia article. Perhaps something along those lines will be good. The dog2 (talk) 04:26, 13 March 2018 (UTC)
Agreed. The direct link is Australia#Customs and quarantine. Ikan Kekek (talk) 04:55, 13 March 2018 (UTC)
So if there are no objections within 24 hours, I guess we can proceed with the edit. I don't object to the removal of information for US overseas territories citizens, so you can do that too. And as previously mentioned, let's also remove the bit about Mexicans, because the border crossing card is just a tourist visa in card form. Unlike Canadians, Mexicans cannot visit the US without a visa. The dog2 (talk) 19:33, 13 March 2018 (UTC)

World class museums in San Francisco[edit]

Since the article specifically mentions SF as a place for those, can someone please name them? I think L.A. has them beaten by a mile on that, but tell me where to go on my next trip to SF. Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:10, 8 March 2018 (UTC)

The Legion of Honor and De Young are good ones that I have been to. I've heard good things about the Asian Art Museum too, but I've never been there myself. The dog2 (talk) 00:13, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
Are they world-class to you? Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:19, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
I'd say the Exploratorium is a world-class museum. I haven't been to any other museums in SF recently enough to be sure about them. —Granger (talk · contribs) 00:26, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
IMO, those two are good, but not as good as the Met in NYC, the British Museum in London, the Prado in Madrid or the National Palace Museum in Taipei. I'd visit them over the NYC's Guggenheim anytime though. The dog2 (talk) 00:35, 8 March 2018 (UTC)

Region descriptions[edit]

Maybe we can shorten some of these. How about the Mid-Atlantic one?

Ranging from New York in the north to Washington, D.C., the Mid-Atlantic is home to some of the nation's most densely populated cities, historic sites, rolling mountains, the New Jersey Pine Barrens, the Lehigh Valley, and seaside resorts like the Long Island beaches and the Jersey Shore.

I'd shorten it to:

"Ranging from New York in the north to Washington, D.C., the Mid-Atlantic is home to some of the nation's most densely populated cities, historic sites, rolling mountains and seaside resorts."

To me, that's enough. If you disagree, why? And how about the other regions? Here's Midwest:

The Midwest is home to farmland, forests, picturesque towns, industrial cities, and the Great Lakes, the largest system of freshwater lakes in the world, forming the North Coast of the U.S. Known for their simplicity and hospitality, Midwesterners are a welcoming people.

How about this:

"A region of simple, hospitable people; farmland; forests; picturesque towns; industrial cities; and the Great Lakes — the largest system of freshwater lakes in the world, which forms the North Coast of the U.S."

I'll bet we could do that with some other descriptions. Should we discuss each one's wording here, or should we feel free to plunge forward? Ikan Kekek (talk) 01:48, 8 March 2018 (UTC)

Those look good to me. The dog2 (talk) 03:44, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
I'll insert the one for the Midwest. I'll wait a little on Mid-Atlantic in case someone wants to argue that it's really important to specifically mention the Pine Barrens, Lehigh Valley, Long Island and the Jersey Shore at the country level. I don't think it is, but I don't want to cause offense by plunging too far forward without consensus. Ikan Kekek (talk) 03:54, 8 March 2018 (UTC)

[unindent] Here's Great Plains:

Travel westward through these flat states, from the edge of the eastern forests through the prairies and onto the High Plains, an enormous expanse of steppes (shortgrass prairies) nearly as desolate as in the frontier days, but filled still with pockets of quirky and diverse history.

Westward is how the pioneers traveled, but you can travel in any direction. I think this is really the point, and I'd propose this shortened/edited version:

"Where there are not huge farms or the occasional town, there are still enormous expanses of praries, some of them nearly as desolate as in the frontier days, but filled still with pockets of quirky and diverse history."

Maybe someone has a better suggestion. I guess "flat" is a good description for most of it and should stay. Hmmmm...Lemme try again:

"In some places flatter than a pancake, this region used to consist of endless grasslands. Much of it is now one huge farm after another, with occasional towns, but the remaining prairies are still vast, sometimes desolate, and redolent with history today."

That's intermediate in length between the original and first edited version, but I like it best. Any other ideas? (And by the way, Kansas was actually calculated by a mathematician to be flatter than the average pancake.) Ikan Kekek (talk) 04:05, 8 March 2018 (UTC)

Sorry about my roll back. I didn't even see that I had done that. I fully agree with tightening up the region descriptions. Regards, Ground Zero (talk) 08:45, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
No problem. I've inserted my second edited version of the "Great Plains" description, for whatever that's worth. Ikan Kekek (talk) 10:40, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
"Redolent" means "suggestive" or "reminiscent". Saying the Great Plains are "redolent with of history" (and it should usually be "redolent of") implies that the Great Plains suggest history or remind you of history, not that they actually have history! Perhaps you meant "replete with" instead, which means "full of"? But I'd prefer to just use a simpler word. --Bigpeteb (talk) 19:04, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
Also, I wonder if the first phrase would be better as
Often describe as "flatter than a pancake",
It turns out that some scientists calculated that Kansas really is flatter than a pancake (although that's now disputed!), but "flatter than a pancake" is both an Americanism and a saying particularly applied to the Great Plains, so I think quoting it would be better. (Given the difficulty of English we use in this article already, it's not really worth considering "what if the reader doesn't know what a "pancake" is?".) --Bigpeteb (talk) 19:16, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
I'll have a look. Thanks for your feedback. Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:20, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
I edited it. I frankly am not up on how the Prairies are historic, and I'm not sure just stating that is meaningful, so I instead had the description start with "A former Wild West frontier land". I think that fits. Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:26, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
I also plunged forward and put in the edit to the Mid-Atlantic Region description. Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:29, 9 March 2018 (UTC)

Root Beer[edit]

The question here is whether root beer is even worth a mention. You can easily find it at any convenience store or supermarket in Singapore, and I drank it multiple times before I even made my first trip to the US, so it is absolutely untrue that it can only be found easily in North America. The dog2 (talk) 20:05, 8 March 2018 (UTC)

I'm shocked! I had always heard it was a fairly American curiosity that isn't known or available elsewhere. w:Root beer confirms that you're right, though. Very well, away it goes! --Bigpeteb (talk) 20:12, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
I have heard it is one of the main things Americans miss when abroad for extended periods of time. Hobbitschuster (talk) 22:24, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
I've heard that repeated many times, too, but I suspect it shows up on a lot of listicles as a small bit of "Yay, America!" without anyone actually questioning whether it's true. I like root beer well enough, but even when I drank soda often, I still rarely had root beer because it's so sickly sweet. When I'm abroad, I'm more likely to miss things like large glasses of bottomless ice water! --Bigpeteb (talk) 00:05, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
I did miss it in Uruguay, where it's unheard of as far as I can tell. —Granger (talk · contribs) 00:31, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
I did notice that it was not very common in Australia when I was living there, though you can still find it if you know where to go. I'm not the best judge though because I don't drink soft drinks that often. But for sure root beer is very common in Singapore. Just go to any neighbourhood supermarket and you will find cartons to A&W root beer there. The dog2 (talk) 02:10, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
Speaking of which, Ikan Kekek, since you have lived in Malaysia, what is your take on this? The dog2 (talk) 02:42, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
There was one A&W restaurant in Petaling Jaya (the largest suburb of Kuala Lumpur) that was already well-established in 1975 and popular, so it was possible to get root beer there then. Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:44, 9 March 2018 (UTC)
In addition to the above, it is widely available in Canada and carried by Tesco and other supermarkets in the UK. I think we can remove this. Ground Zero (talk) 17:14, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
You can get root beer in Finland too, hypermarkets often have a selection of exotic American soda and snacks. --ϒpsilon (talk) 17:44, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
Would that it were so easy to get Finnish food in the U.S.; I have to go to Canada every time I get a craving for salmiakki. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 17:55, 10 March 2018 (UTC)

Private Property[edit]

I think we should discuss about where this should be. Someone has written it under "Respect", and while it's a valid point, the question is whether it belongs under "Respect" or "Stay Safe". Things that could get you killed or arrested would typically belong in the "Stay Safe" section. I actually wrote a small bit about it being legal for property owners to shoot trespassers in the section about guns, so some of that paragraph is repetition, but I'm not sure how we can combine the two paragraphs into one. The dog2 (talk) 20:29, 9 March 2018 (UTC)

I think this is definitely more of a "Stay safe" issue. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 21:02, 9 March 2018 (UTC)

"Go next" section[edit]

I'm loath to suggest anything that would lengthen this still somewhat bloated article, but don't Guide-level articles require one of these? -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 15:28, 10 March 2018 (UTC)

City guides do. Region guides might. Country guides do not. Ikan Kekek (talk) 16:05, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
Ok, I stand corrected. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 16:14, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
Go next is indeed not part of the country template, and I don't think such a section would be very useful in a country article (other than perhaps for small countries). ϒpsilon (talk) 16:58, 10 March 2018 (UTC)

No tip or one cent tip?[edit]

When it comes to tipping I have heard that a one cent tip more directly expresses extreme displeasure with service than no tip at all. No tip might just have been a forgotten tip after all. Hobbitschuster (talk) 22:03, 13 March 2018 (UTC)

That's true, and should be covered in Tipping if it isn't already. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 22:12, 13 March 2018 (UTC)
It is already covered under Tipping. I removed the part about leaving out the tip in extreme cases of bad service because I have never encountered a situation where it's acceptable not to tip. I have encountered several very rude taxi drivers in New York City, and even then I was still expected to tip. And I've never heard of a situation where a customer is assaulted by the waiter, so I don't think we need to cover such an improbable scenario. The dog2 (talk) 23:30, 13 March 2018 (UTC)
I had a taxi driver once who tried to make a wrong turn on my way home, and it was not at all ambiguous. I yelled at him to go straight and asked whether he had smoked too much ganja, and he laughed. That kind of crap deserves no tip. Ikan Kekek (talk) 03:40, 14 March 2018 (UTC)