Talk:United States of America/Archive 2013-2015

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3 Jan 2013 changes[edit]

The edit summary was too small to explain my changes here.

  • Travelpleb changed "Slavery would soon become integral to the Southern economy, a sad fact that would cause tremendous upheaval in the years to come." to "Slavery would soon become integral to the Southern economy, and would cause tremendous upheaval in the years to come." This completely changes the meaning of the sentence (as well as being grammatically incorrect, setting off a dependent clause with a comma). It was not slavery itself that caused the upheaval; it was specifically slavery's role in the Southern economy (and culture, to be fair). I also don't see what's wrong with the word "sad", but I did not reinstate it.
  • Travelpleb changed "General discount stores like Walmart, Target, and Kmart are ubiquitous. Many discount stores have either a small grocery section or a full supermarket; in fact, Walmart is the country's largest grocer, as well as being its largest retail chain." to "General discount stores like Walmart, Target, and Kmart are ubiquitous. Many discount stores have either a small grocery section or a full supermarket: Walmart is the country's largest grocer, as well as its largest retail chain!" The words "in fact" served to link the two sentences together. The colon doesn't do this as effectively, and I think the exclamation mark expresses more surprise than is warranted here. "In fact" is only often unnecessary; it is not a verboten phrase if its use is justified, as it is here. I changed it back.
  • Travelpleb changed "(Note that in areas outside the South, a private backyard party with food cooked outdoors may be called a 'barbecue', but they are more accurately called 'cookouts', with grilled (rather than smoked) chicken, hamburgers, and hot dogs.)" to "Outside the South, the more international definition of 'barbecue' holds: a private backyard party where the likes of chicken, hamburgers, and hot dogs are grilled outdoors (rather than smoked)." This is just blatantly false, as if anything outside the south called "Barbecue" is going to be a cookout, period. I changed it back, omitting the grievously offensive "Note that" introduction.
  • "The Visa Waiver Program grant visa-free entry to citizens...": I re-added back in the 90-day limit, which was not explicitly mentioned anywhere else.
  • The problem with this edit is that it separates the discussion of "bold italics" and what they mean away from the list that actually contains the bold italics! That's poor writing practice; it leaves the reader wondering what the writer is referring to until several sentences later. Second of all, "Most states usually, but not always, also observe..." is redundant; I've eliminated unnecessary verbiage. I also noted that states have their own holidays when local and state offices may be closed.


I am rarely wedded to my precise choice of words, but changing the meaning entirely is a problem.

-- LtPowers (talk) 19:07, 3 January 2013 (UTC)

Questions[edit]

I really don't understand this sequence of edits:

  • [1]: For someone who is worried about conciseness, this seems unnecessarily wordy, and I'm not sure what aspects of the old wording Travelpleb is trying to avoid here. The verbiage about "definitions" and "the rest of the world takes to be" seems unnecessarily long. I also find puzzling the assertion that "cookout" is "not an international term" while "barbecue" is apparently widely understood. Regardless, "cookout" was, I think, well-defined in the previous version, so I don't see what improvement it offers to pull the definition out into a separate, short sentence.
  • [2]: While the meaning of "dime" may not be immediately obvious, it seems odd to call it out in this way. We've already established that the 10-cent piece is called a "dime"; stating again that the "10-cent piece is called labeled 'one dime'" is redundant, isn't it?
  • [3]: Again, here, I don't understand the huge advantage offered by the change; a nineteen character difference doesn't make the revised text particularly more concise, so it seems like the change was made just for the sake of making a change.

-- LtPowers (talk) 21:03, 3 January 2013 (UTC)

The term "cookout" is not used outside the U.S. (and maybe Canada?) Elsewhere, the term "barbecue" describes a cookout and "cookout" is meaningless. Given this variety of definitions being used in different U.S. regions and by the likely readers of the article, careful wording is required. It is never my intention to sacrifice clarity for brevity. If you can reword this more concisely while making it unambiguous to any English speaker, please go ahead.
Knowing the names of most of the coins is not particularly important as they are simply labeled. A reader bombarded with information can happily let the names escape their attention and concentrate on other more important things, for example the 180 words devoted to gift cards. The emphasis on the dime brings attention to its esoteric, and not overly helpful, label.
Re slavery. The initial sentence is 21 words, the revision is 16. The 19 character difference is in a sentence of only 130. That's a significant difference. In its style, I'd also say it reads slightly better and certainly no worse.
By the way, thanks for all your help. We're making good progress towards getting this guide into shape.Travelpleb (talk) 11:10, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
I don't see the point in axing the info about entry requirements to Guam/CNMI/Am. Samoa. Any reason why this info shouldn't be kept on the U.S. page? The Guam-CNMI visa waiver program & Am. Samoa entry requirements belong on this page and especially worth highlighting is that (due to differing immigration/customs requirements) passengers must go through customs/immigration with traveling between Guam-CNMI and between Guam/CNMI & rest of U.S. (currently, just Guam-Hawaii flights). AHeneen (talk) 06:33, 7 January 2013 (UTC)
It's fairly esoteric information of interest only to people specifically seeking out those territories. I think a brief note stating that the requirements are different, along with a link to the appropriate articles, is sufficient. This article is long enough as it is without having to incorporate (and duplicate) the Get In sections for Guam etc. LtPowers (talk) 00:02, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
I agree with LtPowers on this. Well said. Ikan Kekek (talk) 12:22, 8 January 2013 (UTC)

Hospitals[edit]

This paragraph is bugging me, but I don't know how to fix it succinctly:

Hospitals are either publicly or privately owned. 70% of all hospitals are non-profit (which does not mean they are low-cost!). Private hospitals are more highly regarded; in poorer inner-city areas, public hospitals are can be overcrowded and run-down. The public hospitals will generally be the regional centers for 24 hr emergency specialist treatment.

It seems to conflate public hospitals with "non-profit" status; while I believe all public hospitals are non-profit, some private hospitals are too. But I'm not sure how to convey this nuance.

-- LtPowers (talk) 18:39, 4 January 2013 (UTC)

I'm trying to use these statistics [4] to help.
If we consider only "Community Hospitals", we can say something like (and this is now contrary to what I found on Wikipedia):
"Around 20% of all hospitals are publicly owned and most of the remaining privately owned hospitals also do not operate for profit. While 80% of all hospitals are non-profit, don't expect low costs."
Travelpleb (talk) 19:43, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
I would tweak this a little: "Around 20% of all hospitals are publicly owned and most of the remaining privately owned hospitals are also designated as non-profit - but don't expect them to be cheap." It's an odd fact that just because a business is classes as "non-profit" doesn't mean it doesn't or can't make a profit. I do believe insurance companies like Blue Cross/Blue Shield either are or recently were "non-profit," and that made them no less cut-throat than "for-profit" insurance companies. Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:01, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
I'm not sure if it's worth noting the difference between for-profit & non-profit hospitals. A couple decades ago when for-profit hospitals began to emerge, they basically would charge the same or slightly less (to gain patients) than other, nearby hospitals while cutting costs on everything (ie. buying poor-quality gloves, surgical instruments, devices, etc that would break/tear/fail often). Today, however, the difference is not very clear. Because of health care laws and contracts with health insurance companies, the standards for care are similar and many for-profits are aggressively fixing flaws in their systems that lead to cost savings, but improved care (administration, facilities, etc). Also, many for-profit hospitals will care more about attracting patients (more money) and will spend capital on facilities (specialty centers for cancer, children, etc) or be more attentive to patient needs (nicer rooms, more services like social work...financial planning, counseling, etc.). On the other hand, there are a lot of non-profit hospitals which haven't worked as hard to tackle management issues (higher administrative costs), are as or even more aggressive with collecting debt, pay their upper management handsomely, and charge more than local public or for-profit hospitals for the same care. And unlike for-profits, they may not feel the same pressure to attract new patients and have less of a focus on reducing systematic costs & provide better care or facilities. Of course, there are many exceptions to this, but what I'm trying to get to is that there's not a night-and-day difference between the types, and it probably isn't even worth mentioning since it has almost no implications for a traveler. The only reason/place this might be worth mentioning is Medical tourism. Although this is a topic that fits within our goals and we can write about it, I think the overwhelming majority of people coming to the U.S. for medical treatment are more affluent and won't be looking to a travel guide wiki for information. AHeneen (talk) 07:11, 7 January 2013 (UTC)
By the way, "non-profit" simply means that they aren't seeking a profit that gets shared with investors and doesn't necessarily mean that they don't seek surplus revenue or strive to provide cheaper services. A non-profit business, for example, might earn $1 million in revenue, have costs of $900,000 and use that surplus $100,000 to save for a rainy day, save for future expansions, put into research, or use to pay for charity work/services (eg. pay for items used when providing a service free-of-charge to needy persons). Amounts of surplus revenue and areas where it can be spent are limited by law. A for-profit that earns $1 million with costs of $900,000 would use the surplus for dividends to investors with a smaller amount devoted to research or charity. As stated above, a non-profit hospital might not be as keen on cutting administrative costs or, since they're usually older than for-profits, may be straddled with high pension costs, bad financing deals, older facilities that need more in repair/utility costs, or simply a bad location or reputation. Also, in the case of hospitals, insurance companies aren't going to pay much more for the services provided, so what they charge (for the most part) isn't too different. If you think about about, say, the National Geographic Society, they make a surplus (revenue - expenses) on things like their magazines, books, and some other commercial ventures, but that surplus is spent on promotion/preservation of the environment, history, and science rather than paying dividends to investors. AHeneen (talk) 07:37, 7 January 2013 (UTC)
I think you're right that it isn't of any real relevance to visitors that there are "for-profit" and "non-profit" hospitals, because the subtle differences between those categories won't have much effect on visitors. The only thing that could possibly be relevant is that public hospitals can't turn away emergency room patients, whereas private ones can stabilize them and then send them to public hospitals. But that's information visitors in an emergency are unlikely to be able to use, anyway. Ikan Kekek (talk) 12:21, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
Clarifying the distinctions is necessary as U.S. health care is arcane and its mercenary reputation does leads to questions such as "If they can't swipe my credit card, will they leave me to die?" being asked not always with irony.
However, it's not worth spilling too much ink over.
So, to convey succinctly that:
  • Hospitals nominally come in three flavors (public, private for profit, and private non-prfit)
  • Private non-profit hospitals are nearly indistinguishable from for-profit hospitals
  • No, you won't be left to die if you can't contribute positively to the hospital's accounting ledger
I suggest the second paragraph should become:
Around 20% of hospitals are publicly owned. The private hospitals are more highly regarded, and most of them are nominally non-profit making. In poorer inner-city areas, public hospitals can be overcrowded and run-down. While 80% of all hospitals are classified as non-profit, don't expect low costs! The public hospitals will generally be the regional centers for 24 hr emergency specialist treatment. Any hospital, public or private, cannot refuse to treat any life-threatening emergency case.
This also leads nicely into the following paragraph about emergency care.Travelpleb (talk) 08:21, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
Better, but I'm still concerned that readers will conflate the 20% and 80% and think they're opposite parts of a whole. I don't think the exact percentages are important; how about this?
America has a mix of for-profit and not-for-profit hospitals, but costs and standards of care are comparable, and the difference is invisible to most patients. Likewise, some hospitals are privately owned, while others are owned by the public, but the differences are minimal. Public hospitals in inner-city areas are likely to be more crowded and less well maintained, but they are also, in many cases, the primary regional trauma centers. Public or private, for-profit or not, all hospitals must treat any life-threatening emergency case, regardless of ability to pay.
Still a bit awkward, but I'm not feeling eloquent today. LtPowers (talk) 14:11, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
I would not include "nominally non-profit making" in any descriptions of hospitals, because I don't think the arcane status of "non-profit" is meaningful to visitors; rather, it's just confusing, in my opinion. Let's just say that public hospitals will often admit patients who have no medical insurance, while private hospitals are more likely to stabilize emergency cases and then send them to public hospitals if they need to be admitted. Or do you disagree with this? Ikan Kekek (talk) 14:55, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
"Trauma" is medical jargon that may not always be clear. In common parlence, aren't its phsychological connotations more commonly inferred? And when used in "primary regional trauma center" it's jargon overload. "Regional centers for 24 hr emergency specialist treatment", while longer, explains the reality more clearly... maybe we can drop "specialist", it doesn't really add anything.
Clarifying the distribution of hospital types may also be helpful and if we can do it clearly and concisely it would aid the reader's understanding of U.S. health care. (Who knows that only 20% of hospitals are profit making? The stereotype is way out of kilter with the reality and it's our job to fight disinformation.) While useful emphasis is gained through the repetition of the message that a lack of money won't let you be left to bleed to death on the curbside, re-using the phrasology "regardless of ability to pay" (used in the subsequent paragraph) is a bit weak in style.
So, considering everything. Let's try this:
To the patient, America's public (20%), private profit making (20%), and private non-profit making (60%) hospitals are generally indistinguishable. Inner city public hospitals may be more crowded and less well maintained, but as whole both costs and service levels are consistently high in all types. No hospital can refuse a life-threatening emergency case. Private hospitals may only stabilize such patients before sending them to a nearby public hospital, which will generally act as the regional center for 24 hr emergency treatment.
Travelpleb (talk) 09:32, 10 January 2013 (UTC)
Looks good to me, except that so-called "non-profits" don't necessarily make no profit, right? Ikan Kekek (talk) 16:35, 10 January 2013 (UTC)
I think that any non-profit organization (charity, church, foundation etc.) is allowed to make money, it's just not allowed to pay dividends to its owners and is bound by various rules. So this distinction isn't unique to "nongovernment Not-for-Profit Community Hospitals" (as they seem to be officially called) and, while being informative is our goal, I think we're going beyond usefulness by exploring the details of U.S. charity laws in the "Health care" section of the U.S.A. article. Plus if they're officially called "not-for-profit" I'm happy to use such a description (just in two words rather than three). I've plunged and changed the article.Travelpleb (talk) 10:42, 11 January 2013 (UTC)

By phone[edit]

The "By phone" section says "Telephone numbers are generally listed as 10 digits" and then refers to the area code as the "first three digits". This is true in many cases in the real world, but almost all of our U.S. phone number listings here on Wikivoyage are eleven digits, not ten, and the area code is digits 2-4. This has the potential to be confusing, but I'm not sure how to reword it without going back to the previous long-winded phrasing. LtPowers (talk) 14:21, 9 January 2013 (UTC)

I think the current version is OK. If a visitor needs information specific to a particular town or city, that should be covered in article for that town or city. Ikan Kekek (talk) 14:59, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
I'm not talking about information specific to a town or city; I'm saying that we're contradicting ourselves. We say that numbers are "generally listed as 10 digits", then turn around and list phone numbers ourselves in eleven. Since we write numbers as "1-NPA-NXX-XXXX", the "first three digits" are not the area code, which is also misleading. LtPowers (talk) 17:42, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
My solution:

Telephone numbers are generally listed as 10 digits (except on Wikivoyage, where the first digit is the number 1, the prefix that is used before the 3-digit area code; see below for more information).

Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:20, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
How about my recent edit? Better? AHeneen (talk) 22:14, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
I didn't know this:
Phone numbers on Wikivoyage guides are hyphened to separate the minimum digits which can dialed, for example +1 798 555-0100 can be dialed locally as just 555-0100 while +1-321-555-0100 must be dialed completely.
Ikan Kekek (talk) 22:52, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
I only realized that a month or so ago as I took the time to browse and re-acquaint myself with the MoS. From Wikivoyage:Phone numbers: "Our formatting method may differ from that seen most in the country concerned. We prefer to use hyphens to only indicate the (con-joined) abbreviated part of the whole telephone number that can be utilised for local dialling." And from the United States section: "A seven-digit local American number is formatted as: +1 808 959-5000 Some metro areas have multiple, overlapping area codes; these overlays require ten digits for a local call. These are indicated by hyphens in the format: +1 617-555-5555" That's not to say that all numbers on U.S. pages follow the MoS, but how else can this be explained? AHeneen (talk) 18:31, 10 January 2013 (UTC)
It's good, AHeneen. Ikan Kekek (talk) 18:34, 10 January 2013 (UTC)
I've re-structured this section so that the first two paragraphs give enough information to be useable in just about all cases. The reader can then neglect the subsequent details or gain a fuller picture if they choose.
  • About the North American Numbering plan, I read that calls between such countries can be dialed using only the 11-digit national pattern? See: [5]. Is this right?
  • I'm not sure how helpful this information is to travelers:
Phone subscribers are entitled to freely transfer, with some restrictions, their phone number between a mobile or landline and retain their mobile phone number when moving to a different area code.
so I removed it.
  • I can see no need for the elaborate algebraic explanations of saying that phone numbers sometimes have the area code in brackets. Many countries follow similar practices of sometimes putting area codes in brackets, so going as far to explain this at length seems unnecessary. Knowing that the area code is the three digits that comes after the initial "1" will equip the reader sufficiently to be able to identify the area code regardless of the inconsistent use of punctuation.
  • I'm also almost certain that in this guide and in every real situation (except perhaps a directory), the hyphenation of numbers will be haphazard. The statement about Wikivoyage's hyphenation now reflects this uncertainty. While it's a good listing policy, it may be hubris to state boldly that we always follow it. (To test this, the first number listed in the NYC article (Amtrak) did not comply. It does now though!)
  • Are Maryland and West Virginia, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles, & San Francisco the only areas that do not allow shortened dialing? If not, how much missing? If the examples covers all or nearly all cases, then it would be good to include them. If this gives a largely incomplete picture, it may not be worth mentioning examples at all.
Travelpleb (talk) 13:14, 11 January 2013 (UTC)
  • The information about number migration is only useful to travelers in indicating that a person with a particular area code may live in an entirely different area of the country.
  • We do not always follow the ideal hyphenation practice; in fact, I'm not even positive that it had widespread consensus.
    • Originally, our manual of style requested that the optional portion of a phone number should be placed in italics. But when we started using our custom listing code, that became impossible; the code didn't recognize MediaWiki formatting codes within the listing fields. We sort-of migrated to using hyphenation to distinguish required portions from optional, but a) it was never widely adopted, except by those in agreement with the format, and b) it's not clear whether the meaning of the hyphenation scheme is clear to readers.
  • I'm certain that list is woefully incomplete; AFAIK, the vast majority of city-based area codes that have split have used an overlay to do so, which is what requires the 10-digit dialing.
-- LtPowers (talk) 16:15, 11 January 2013 (UTC)
Is this the place to discuss surrendering an optimistic hyphanation policy to the chaos of reality? Even mentioning it in the article may render more confusion than clarity when it actually comes to the dialing of listed numbers.
Also, another case of potentially unhelpful examples: are Texas and Georgia the only areas that do not allow 11-digit dialing for local numbers? Travelpleb (talk) 11:26, 13 January 2013 (UTC)
Wikivoyage talk:Phone numbers has the history, and would be the place to discuss phone formats. I agree we don't want to detail our editorial practices on a content page; if our format isn't intuitive, that's our problem, not the readers'. LtPowers (talk) 15:17, 13 January 2013 (UTC)
So how do we handle this:
Wikivoyage lists numbers in the full 11-digit format; the hyphenation should denote the minimum digits which can dialed, for example +1 798 555-0100 can be dialed locally as just 555-0100 while +1-321-555-0100 must be dialed completely.
which is perhaps still too optimistic a description of the bulk of the listed number and so misleading. I'd be in favor of not mentioning that hyphenation may mean something because, for the most part, it doesn't.Travelpleb (talk) 16:58, 13 January 2013 (UTC)
I completely agree. LtPowers (talk) 19:10, 13 January 2013 (UTC)
Re About the North American Numbering plan, I read that calls between such countries can be dialed using only the 11-digit national pattern? that's almost correct. There are some rare instances where the US is a local call from Canada (or even has Canadian numbers), but I'm not sure if they're even worth mentioning as they're minuscule villages on the border. Definitely on a landline 011 +1... as an attempt to dial "overseas" from Windsor to Détroit will fail, likely without even waiting for the rest of the number. Windsor is long distance to Détroit, so +1-313-NXX-XXXX in the same format as a domestic long-distance call. 2001:5C0:1000:A:0:0:0:E97 22:50, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

History, Since before World War I?[edit]

An admission that the Second World War in Asia saw fighting much before 1939 does makes us look terribly erudite and progressive; however, conflating all Japanese expansionist activity into one continuous effort called World War II - which started in something like the 1890s (the annexation of Taiwan) or the 1910s (Korea) - makes us look like suckers.

Wikipedia says that the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945) is what we could consider WWII. This conflict started with the Japanese full-scale attack on China proper (not Manchuria). It does not even consider Japan's 1931 expansion into Manchuria to be part of the same conflagration.

I think we should be a little less eccentric in our definition of WWII and go with the 1937 date.Travelpleb (talk) 20:18, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

I think you spent more time writing that response than the topic deserved. =) The History section is probably too long as it is; we can remove pointless details like you mentioned, but we must be careful not to turn it into a simple recitation of facts. It still needs to tell a story. LtPowers (talk) 21:25, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
The History section is 1437 words long. Of which:
  • 127 are on Native Americans
  • 149 are given to the activities of Europeans pre-revolution
  • 70 describe the revolution
    • a further 63 describe the constitution and the establishment of DC
  • 99 describe the Louisiana Purchase and westward expansion
  • 96 are on the War of 1812
  • 112 outline the U.S. erosion Spain and Mexico.
  • 154 are devoted to the Civil War.
  • 59 describe what is essentially overseas empire building
Then follows some rather fleshy accounts of nineteenth industrialization (79 words), World War I and the Depression (117 words), WWII and the Cold War (116 words), and the road network and 20th century culture (150 words). Squeezed in among such lofty topics as "major chain stores" and "American consumer culture" is 37 words about bra burning and I have a dream (although King himself or his enduring rhetoric are not specificly mentioned.)
How long do we want this section to be and how should its content be allocated?
Italy, arguably the mothership of Western history, has a History section 968 words long; France has 1112 words. 586 words are devoted to Britain's history (about 100 words less than to its cycle paths). In Switzerland... they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock. Unfortunately the Switzerland article doesn't yet have a history section to which we could add Orson Welles' insights. Everything from Charlemagne to the Berlin Wall is told in 904 words. Somehow someone's written 818 words on Australia.
Given all that, I think maybe 900-1,000 words is reasonable.
I'm not sure how these words should be allocated. Any thoughts?Travelpleb (talk) 09:20, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
This shortening of the content is getting a bit excessive and that diatribe is unnecessary. Lonely Planet Britain...17 pages of history (not counting a few boxes detailing stories). Tahhiti & French Polynesia (Open Road Publishing)...22 pages of history (larger front than LP, though). Bradt Seychelles...6 pages (not counting boxes). Rough Guide to Romania...14 pages (not counting boxes). The point is: a history section is a key part of a decent travel guide and it doesn't need to be 2-3 short paragraphs! The history section can be long without being too encyclopedic. Just because no one has taken the time to write a comprehensive history section for the cited European countries doesn't mean the history section on the U.S. page should be shorter in comparison. Can we move along to more productive tasks instead of mutilating the U.S. page for sake of brevity! Having quality, comprehensive content is every bit as important (probably a little more important) as keeping things concise. The version we have is nice. Anyone else agree? AHeneen (talk) 09:50, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
Regarding the changes as a whole, I think Ryan (Wrh2) summed up the consensus in his 10 August 2011 post in the discussion above:
the US article is one of the longest articles on Wikivoyage, and it tends to stray from information for travelers into general information about the US, so we are constantly pruning it down to try to keep things relevant to travel.
Back in October 2011 the article was around 210,000 bytes. It then bulged to 257,000 bytes before this year's "mutilation". There has been a joint effort in restructuring and tightening the wording so that, despite losing words, the article has gained useful content. The restructuring is also making it far easier to navigate. Please say which of the recent changes you think make the guide less easy to use and we can work together to make an improvement.
About the History secion sepcifically: there are several mentions on this talk page of the History section being too long.
Lonely Planet guides' history sections using amazingly consice paragraph constructions. Their tight but not terse style is one that I hope to emulate here.Travelpleb (talk) 09:14, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
Concise is good; we just have to be careful. It's very hard to write comprehensively and with good style while still being brief. LtPowers (talk) 16:27, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
I'm not against being concise...but if we're creating a travel guide and competing against the likes of Lonely Planet, Fodor's, Frommers, Moon, etc, then there should be plenty of content. I don't have any guides covering the entire U.S., but for a large country, it's common to have 50 pages of background/practical info about a country...the U.S. page should be very long if we aim to have quality, comprehensive information. Limiting the page to a certain size or amount of content seems like a bad idea. Because of the very nature of the country—size, annual visitors, and the fact that there are a huge number of English-speaking domestic & foreign tourists—this page should be 500,000 bytes! The page can be long, but if the content is organized & tidy, then navigating the page shouldn't be an issue. AHeneen (talk) 06:11, 19 January 2013 (UTC)
Half a megabyte of data seems like an awfully specific number. How did you arrive at that figure? LtPowers (talk) 22:00, 19 January 2013 (UTC)
I didn't mean it to be precise...just a figure to represent that the page should be much longer. AHeneen (talk) 03:28, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
I'm just wondering why you think it should double in size. It's difficult to compare our USA article to books because we have a lot of content in regional and state articles. Is it just the History section that you think should be longer? What would you like to see added? LtPowers (talk) 19:42, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
Whereas I certainly believe that there should be well over 500KB about the United States of America, all of it need not be here. It can (and a lot of it should) be delegated to subpages. The History section, however, is one thing that I wouldn't delegate Purplebackpack89 16:54, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
  • Unaware of this discussion, I made some good-faith additions to the history section. Yes, I made it longer, and jiggered the ratios somewhat (for example, nothing I added was about Native Americans). Here's the thing: I believe we either need to have it long enough to get it right (and there were places where it was grossly oversimplified and had to be lengthened to get it right; one example was saying that the Declaration of Independence caused the American Revolution; in reality the French and Indian War and a series of British reactions to it caused both of them; another is that our history section seems to end at 1970) or just jettison it altogether. I don't see a history section being the equivalent of 2-3 pages long as a particular problem, provided that it is balanced out by other sections being at least as long. Purplebackpack89 01:15, 22 January 2013 (UTC)A history major; primarly author of w:simple:History of the United States
  • As for the United States article digressing, I don't see that as a problem at all. This article doesn't and shouldn't contain most of the things you'd find in a standard guidebook article. Accommodations, dining, and most attractions should be delegated to articles on smaller places. When you look at the the digressions (if you want to call them that, I'd call them "contextualizations" instead) in the context of the United States and its sub-articles (which take up <1MB of text), they seem much smaller indeed Purplebackpack89 01:15, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
  • One more thing: in regards to the "well, France and Italy are a lot shorter", I think that they are wrongsized and therefore a poor example Purplebackpack89 16:54, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
Digressions make the article difficult to use. Being informative is fairly easy, but presenting information accessibly and not losing it in a wandering jumble is a challenge this article in particular faces.
Your additions to the history section are mostly useful. I've tried to integrate them concisely into the text.
This history story has to end somewhere. We are telling a story here, not just reciting facts, and the story should have a some sort of conclusion. I think the story of the evolution of the U.S.A. into what it is today is told quite well at this level of detail (although, yes, the ending could benefit from a re-write). However, great detail on the late twentieth century would be less a story of how the U.S. became what it is and more a description of what it did after it became what it is. And this would detract from the narrative.Travelpleb (talk) 11:36, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
(Rewind sounds) So what you seem to be saying is that the U.S. became what it is at some point before right now? I don't think you can pick any one date where you can definitively say when the United States "became" what it was, and then anything else doesn't matter. I think you're arguing it ends in the 1960s. Consider the six following developments in America since then:
  1. Civil rights for blacks became a decided issue in the 1960s, what about civil rights for gays?
  2. Big government in the form of the Great Society was at its apex in the 1960s, what about the Reagan Revolution?
  3. The U.S. was at its peak of industrial production in the 1960s, what about post-industrialization?
  4. In 1960, most immigrants came to the United States from Europe; Latinos were a marginal demographic. Now, Latinos are an important demographic, and most of our immigrants come from Asia or Latin America
  5. In the 1960s, most of our foreign policy was geared toward the USSR, the Eastern Bloc, and Vietnam. Now, our foreign policy focuses on the Middle East and China
  6. Look at technology and media. In the 1960s, a computer was the size of house, a cell phone the size of a suitcase, and people still listened to records, used payphones, and watched Cronkite every night. Now, we have the Internet, smartphones, iPods, and hundreds of cable channels. The conversation we're having couldn't have happened in 1960s
Sure, the history section has to end somewhere, but the somewhere should be relatively close to the present day; probably no earlier than the election of Obama the first time amidst the meltdown. By the way, the six points I've made above could be a blueprint for writing U.S. History 1960-present Purplebackpack89 16:08, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
I don't want to be dismissive... well maybe I do, but post-1945 pax-Americana has held up fairly well, America remains the world's biggest economy, technology has advanced globally continuously since forever- it's not just a U.S. 20th century thing, the ephemera of fashion and music tastes is largely inconsequential, the Reagan revolution has none of the guns and massacring of the Texan Revolution, rights for gays is not quite as exciting as rights for blacks-they still got to go to school and vote. It's mainly just the same incremental developments that have occurred throughout the west with none of the fun stuff. I think it would detract rather than add to the story so far.Travelpleb (talk) 18:06, 23 January 2013 (UTC)

I've corrected a couple of howlers in the history section-- in the American Indian section there was confusion between the Cherokee and the Mississippian cultures, who were the actual Mound Builders that practically vanished ahead of the white settlement. I also corrected the impression that the Native Americans have nearly disappeared; hardly the case, especially in the West. It seems to be a common, but unfortunate, theme in American writing. Also, the War of 1812 had nothing to do with wanting to go after the British Loyalists in Canada-- it was more about the US wanting to assert itself against British hegemony on the high seas. More minor edits were made to ensure Washington was known mostly as a military leader before he became president; the wording made it seem he was the primary political leader as well. I clarified the status of pre-civil rights era blacks.

Actually, I like the history section on the whole, though. It's very hard to be brief, but I think the main points are there.PhilD86 (talk) 06:39, 8 May 2014 (UTC)

Thanks for taking this section on and editing it. I appreciate the corrections that you've made, but I have some comments about a few points. I know we Americans tended to be taught in school that the War of 1812 was over British impressment of US sailors, but the US also tried to grab Canada, right? And I don't agree with your take on the status of black Americans in the Jim Crow era. For the century after the Civil War, blacks, though technically equal citizens, suffered through strong social and economic, political, and social discrimination and state-sanctioned segregation, especially in the South. How do you call people who were prevented from voting and serving on juries (to take just the most obvious examples) "technically equal citizens"? I'm guessing you're focusing on the "separate but equal" nonsense, but "separate but equal" was far from the only kind of systematic discrimination against blacks. Recall the amount of opposition there was to anti-lynching laws, too. I don't think your language on Jim Crow should stand, but I'd like to hear your explanation. We also might want to tweak the language stating that the civil rights movement "emerged" in the 1950s. Au contraire, Plessy v. Ferguson was the product of organized action by a Creole civil rights organization in 1896, and the NAACP was founded quite a long time before the 1950s. We needn't go into detail, but perhaps it would be better to say that "a movement fighting for full civil rights for black Americans gained strength following World War II, when returning black veterans who fought against racism abroad came home to find they were still being denied service at lunch counters, hotels, and many other establishments." Ikan Kekek (talk) 08:06, 8 May 2014 (UTC)
Thanks. I mentioned the changes on the discussion page for just this purpose-- so someone could disagree. First, about the War of 1812-- although Americans had, since the Revolution, cast a covetous eye north, the conquest of Canada was not a war aim. The US had tried that in the Revolution, of course, but for just that reason they were aware that the population of Loyalists (who retained loyalty to the UK) and French (who were distrustful of the overwhelmingly Protestant Americans) would not flock to them. The invasion of Upper Canada occurred because that's where the British land forces were. The Americans were especially concerned that the British were supporting the Indian tribes in the Old Northwest. The early loss of Detroit to a combined British-Native American army confirmed this. If there was a hope for a land grab, it was actually for Spanish Florida, one of Britain's allies.
It seems strange to us that a relatively minor issue, impressment, could be a causus belli. But the Republican Party (not the same as Republicans today), who held power, were traditionally anti-British and pro-French. When the Federalists, who held opposite views, were in charge, we almost went to war with the French in the Quasi-War. I guess we had a chip on our shoulder. Between Napoleon's Continental System and the England's broad interpretation of contraband, the US felt disrespected. England was taking command of the seas and not taking any other power into account. President Jefferson tried to deal with it by shutting down all Atlantic trade-- a policy of admitted failure. Finally, with the support of the War Hawk faction in Congress (many of whom were Westerners-- remember the fear of British Indians?), Madison sent a war message. The war had little support in New England, stronghold of the Federalists, the Army was unprepared and understrength, and the Navy was competent but miniscule compared to the British. But Great Britain were more concerned with the French, and by the time the British could turn their attention to the US, the Americans had finally found their competent generals, and there really wasn't a reason to fight anymore.
So, that's my defense of my changes to the War of 1812. In other words, sorry Canada, but it really wasn't all about you.
My changes in the Civil Rights section were to make a subtle point: although the 14th Amendment did guarantee equality of citizens before the law, the truth fell far short in reality. This is typically American-- high ideals that are not always fulfilled, but they endure as something that we think should be. The "separate but equal" nonsense was not even the worst of the odious system; the political and economic oppression backed by violence was. The blacks in the South didn't like Plessy v Ferguson, but they reluctantly accepted it. They didn't accept the lynching and virtual peonage there. I thought of touching on the Great Migration as the reaction to intolerable conditions in the South; this would explain to the traveler the distribution of African Americans within the US and some families' cultural ties to the Southern US. What do you think? This section, like all of them, needs to be brief. If someone wants to learn more, there are plenty of resources out there.
As far as the specifics of the transition from the Jim Crow system to the Civil Rights era, I think 1954 to 1965 can be defended (Brown v. Board of Education to the Voting Rights Act). You are absolutely correct in noting the influence of returning veterans of WWII. But remember how brief and simplistic we will need to be. I wouldn't want to add very much verbiage. To add or change something we need to ask "Is it true?" then "Does it tell the visitor something they need to know to appreciate the US and their people?"
One more thing-- this should be written from the viewpoint of the US. Balanced, yet positive and enthusiastic. It may seem that we lose a lot of subtlety when we do this, but our purpose is just to whet the appetite for further study and travel. I think the section is the correct length. I worry that as we try to add more clarifying detail, we will get too deep into controversy.PhilD86 (talk) 05:40, 10 May 2014 (UTC)
I like a lot of your thoughts (thanks for your remarks on the War of 1812, which make a lot of sense), and we are certainly in agreement on being brief and to the point. My understanding is that the Great Migration was not an escape from racism at all, and that Northern cities like Chicago were also very racist; instead, it was triggered by the availability of factory work in Northern and to a lesser extent Western cities, and was paralleled by a migration of rural whites into cities like Atlanta and also from the South to the North.
Where we couldn't disagree more is the idea that the facts should be slanted toward an American view, if that's what you mean (of course, it may well not be what you mean, in which case, what I'm about to write should be somewhat disregarded). Would you like to also do that with North Korea, have the article give a description of the country that fits a North Korean party line? I don't disagree that we should be positive in presenting the US as a good place to visit for those who are willing to deal with the hassles of entry, but the history of this country is very problematic and should be presented accurately to the extent that's most helpful as background for visitors who want to understand what they're seeing and experiencing in some reasonable context. Ikan Kekek (talk) 08:22, 10 May 2014 (UTC)
I changed the paragraph on civil rights somewhat. See what you think of the changes, and of course feel free to edit further. Ikan Kekek (talk) 08:47, 10 May 2014 (UTC)
I have no problems with the changes you made. My view of the Great Migration is informed by the book "The Warmth of Other Suns" by Isabel Wilkerson, which tends to emphasize the oppression and violence in the Jim Crow era South. Like most, I was taught that this movement was a matter of the "pull" of economic opportunity. Wilkerson claims that the "push" was as important, or more important. I would trade the words about the veterans for words about this. But you are correct in pointing out the movement of Southern whites due to impoverishment as well. Alas, we are now getting into the realm of interpretation, in which good people will have to disagree.
As far as the issue of viewpoint, I would not expect any whitewash of USA. However, to use your example of North Korea, I would expect an emphasis on the positive aspects of the country without neglecting the more unsavory parts. Again, thanks for your comments!PhilD86 (talk) 20:22, 10 May 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for yours, and for your welcome efforts at improving this article. I would be completely supportive of adding a phrase about racist oppression and the term "Great Migration" to the sentence that already mentions the migration of black Americans northward. Please plunge forward and add any other clarification you feel is necessary or useful. Ikan Kekek (talk) 22:01, 10 May 2014 (UTC)

Should the trail of tears be mentioned in the history-section? imho it is quite an important historic event with repercussions up to the present day (e.g. the debate over whether Andrew Jackson was great or not-so-great as a president due to it) but than again I grew up with books by this guy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_May and films based on his booksHobbitschuster (talk) 03:24, 8 December 2014 (UTC)

The goal of a history section, generally, is to provide enough historical context for someone traveling to a destination, but not so much that we're writing an encyclopedia article rather than a travel guide. The Trail of Tears was an important event in US history, but is probably more suitable for a relevant state or region article, rather than adding to a lengthy history section in the USA article. -- Ryan • (talk) • 03:32, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
I see one issue with dumping Trail of Tears into a state-level article (presumably Oklahoma) - it by definition runs interstate from multiple Dixieland states westward; http://www.nps.gov/trte/index.htm claims it as a "national historic trail" and lists nine states. While it might be viable as itinerary, there might not be a lower region that includes the whole journey. K7L (talk) 03:45, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
Well there is one (albeit very stub-y) article on the itinerary... maybe we could put in one sentence like in (year) or around (decade) the "five civilized nations", among them the Cherokee were expulsed from their ancestral homelands as many of the people forced to make the trail died it is still a very controversial and often traumatic/shameful issue to both European-Americans and Native-AmericansHobbitschuster (talk) 03:53, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
As a standalone question, my response would be that I think it's fine to briefly mention the Trail of Tears in the History section. However, we do have to be mindful of not making that section too long. Ikan Kekek (talk) 15:26, 8 December 2014 (UTC)

Buying a car as a travel option[edit]

Should there be a discussion on buying a used vehicle to travel in the US? Although I don't know any visitors who have actually done this, I recall that the TV show Top Gear actually discussed this, and I have known visitors who had thought about this method of travel. Does anyone know any details on how it is done?PhilD86 (talk) 19:48, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

Yeah. You go to a used car dealer. It's easy to find used car dealers in any part of the US, and I think this option is too specialized to cover in a travel guide. Ikan Kekek (talk) 03:55, 21 January 2013 (UTC)

What is the USA?[edit]

In Government and Politics The United States is described as:

a federal republic comprising 50 states, the District of Columbia (Washington D.C.), and several dependent areas including Puerto Rico and Guam.

But does this oversimplify what constitutes the U.S.? Wikipedia cites the Supreme Court as defining Puerto Rico as "a territory appurtenant and belonging to the United States, but not a part of the United States." All the Unincorporated Territories appear to be not part of the U.S.A. Which I think leaves only the Palmyra Atoll as the only incorporated non-state territory. Is this right? This seems quite complicated.Travelpleb (talk) 09:12, 18 January 2013 (UTC)

So after cutting out a lot of information on the page for not being noteworthy for travelers, you're concerned about the precise definition/status of U.S. territories/possessions? The simple matter is that the U.S. has sovereignty over land that is not part of any state. Since the U.S. was founded as a collection of states yielding some sovereignty to a collective government, in the years after the Revolutionary War, there was a question of what to do with land that was not a part of a state but controlled by the U.S. Thus, the Constitution gave Congress the "Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State. Congress created many Acts between the late 18th century and early 20th century concerning the status & jurisdiction of lands possessed by the U.S. The reference to "not part of the U.S.A." refers to jurisdiction of the federal government and of the Constitution. To quote Wikipedia:
"An incorporated territory of the United States is a specific area under the jurisdiction of the United States, over which the United States Congress has determined that the United States Constitution is to be applied to the territory's local government and inhabitants in its entirety (e.g., citizenship, trial by jury), in the same manner as it applies to the local governments and residents of the U.S. states. Incorporated territories are considered an integral part of the United States, as opposed to being merely possessions." (w:Territories of the United States#Incorporated and unincorporated territories)
That means that the U.S. owns/possesses the unincorporated lands, but that Congress has not given those other lands the same status as the states and that the U.S. Constitution isn't the governing doctrine of those lands by default (the people of those lands must consent to governance/legal jurisdiction of the U.S. despite the U.S. having possession of those lands). There is also a distinction to be made between organized/unorganized territories. The term "organized" simply means that the territory's government hasn't had a government "organized" according to certain provisions put forth by Congress (namely an "Organic Act"). In the 19th century, this was an important step toward statehood, but today it just means that American Samoa (the only inhabited "unorganized" territory) hasn't been given extra rights by Congress (like citizenship). The term "Commonwealth" has no effective meaning.
For the traveler, especially because of immigration/customs requirements (although not 100% identical), Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands are a part of the U.S., while American Samoa is a grey area. American Samoa has a greater degree of autonomy than the other territories, including its own immigration/customs requirements (even for U.S. citizens visiting the island!). IMO, American Samoa can be considered a part of the U.S. because it is not completely sovereign (although largely autonomous) and has a U.S. national park...National Park of American Samoa. Is there any compelling reason not to include A.S. in the U.S.? Puerto Rico, U.S.V.I, Guam, & C.N.M.I are definitely a part of the U.S., despite the legal definition and difference in culture. AHeneen (talk) 06:03, 19 January 2013 (UTC)
The various territories mostly appear not to be legally part of the U.S.A. but are nonetheless U.S. possessions and some also have slightly different immigration requirements. This makes them seem to be similar to the British possessions, none of which is stated as being part of the U.K. The U.K. article clearly states the legal and practical aspects of its "Common Travel Area".
The U.S.A. article should also be clear and true in what it says. Currently it is neither. Puerto Rico, as an example, while not legally part of the U.S.A. (technically, the current wording is untrue), is within its customs and immigration area (the current wording is unclear). The article should have clear, helpful wording to this effect.
The Government and Politics section could begin:
The United States is a federal republic comprising 50 states and the District of Columbia (Washington D.C.) (and the Palmyra Atoll?). It possesses various island territories in the Caribbean and Pacific that, while not legally part of it, are closely tied to it. Many of these territories are within the U.S. customs and immigration area and so for practical purposes can be considered part of the U.S.A. (See Travel to U.S. possessions).
Travelpleb (talk) 10:09, 20 January 2013 (UTC)
It's a little strange to think of something "belonging to" but not "part of" a country. I suppose that's what a colony is, though, isn't it? I think the important thing is that we don't need to get into detail on the legal ramifications of various statuses; what's important is how the traveler sees the status. LtPowers (talk) 15:39, 20 January 2013 (UTC)
The legal aspects can affect the traveler, so it is important for this section not to imply incorrectly that the possessions are part of the U.S. If we're going to bother to have a section saying what the U.S. is, we should at least not just state the obvious... especially as it is not obvious! It would also be great if we could phrase it in such a way as to be technically correct without having to mention specifics like the Palmyra Atoll or chunky terms like "unincorporated territory with commonwealth status".Travelpleb (talk) 18:58, 20 January 2013 (UTC)
LtPowers, The Boston Tea Party is a good story regarding the implications of "belonging to" but not "part of"! (not that I'm suggesting there will be a San Juan tea party; quite the opposite looks likely to occur)Travelpleb (talk) 19:07, 20 January 2013 (UTC)
I believe we're largely in agreement. However, I note that the "incorporated" vs. "unincorprated" distinction appears to derive largely from how citizens of that territory are treated under the law. I agree it's not an intuitive demarcation and we should avoid using that specific language, either way. But I felt your proposed text underplays the ties between Guam/Puerto Rico/etc. and the rest of the U.S. LtPowers (talk) 20:38, 20 January 2013 (UTC)
  • I say keep as is. Granted, Puerto Rico, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, etc. have autonomy. But people there are U.S. citizens, mainland U.S. citizens can (with the exception of A.S.) freely travel between the mainland and these territories, and people entering them (again, A.S. excepted) face most of the same rules as they would with the U.S. Purplebackpack89 20:46, 20 January 2013 (UTC)
Purplebackpack89, while this is a complex issue, there appears to be unanimous agreement upon the U.S. possessions not being legally part of the U.S.A., so we cannot say that they are. What we have to do now is come up with a way of describing the situation while paying due regard to the truth and to the practical reality. Regarding "But people there are U.S. citizens": there are surprisingly many quirky examples of being from one place giving you entitlement to a citizenship of another place. Examples include South Ossetians and Abkhazians being entitled to Russian citizenship; Northern Irish being entitled to Irish citizenship; and, perhaps more closely related to this issue, citizens of British territories (Falkland Islands, Channel Islands etc.) being entitled to British citizenship. In none of these examples is the territory considered part of the country that issues the stated citizenship.
Thank you LtPowers for the advice on how to improve the first draft. Perhaps this may be a improvement:
The United States is a federal republic. Its major constituents are the 50 states and the District of Columbia (Washington D.C.); it also has various island territories in the Caribbean and Pacific that are strongly - but often not fully - integrated into the union. Many of these territories are within the U.S. customs and immigration area and so for practical purposes can be considered part of the U.S.A. (See Travel to U.S. possessions)
Travelpleb (talk) 08:04, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
Not bad. LtPowers (talk) 19:42, 21 January 2013 (UTC)

Hamburgers, hot dogs, ice cream, pie[edit]

I believe that hamburgers, hot dogs, ice cream and pie are a quintessential part of American cuisine, and that not all Americans would be familiar with them. User:Peterfitzgerald claims that to be a violation of WV:CAPTOBVIOUS. I don't see it that way, as 1) they aren't readily available everywhere on the planet (which is what the Capt. Obvious policy is for), and 2) There isn't anything in the Capt. Obvious policy that has anything to do with food. Can I get a 3rd opinion here? Purplebackpack89 19:55, 20 January 2013 (UTC)

Mentioning them is fine, defining what a hamburger or hot dog is, is silly. Also, neither ice cream nor pies are from the U.S., and ice cream is pretty much universally available. Defining ice cream... --Peter Talk 19:58, 20 January 2013 (UTC)
See w:Hot_dog#Hot_dogs_outside_North_America, w:Hamburger#Variations. Particularly with McDonald's being ubiquitous around the world, I would agree that this information should probably be left out of the US article. -- Ryan • (talk) • 20:00, 20 January 2013 (UTC)
That's ridiculous! Hot dogs and hamburgers are arguably the two most prominent meat dishes in America. The food section mentions much more oblique and uncommon foods, like fusion cooking. Why should it mention the oblique things and leave the common things out? It shouldn't! I still maintain Capt. Obvious is being misused here; the article should mention all major American foods, regardless of their ubiquity around the world. Bottom line: this article needs burgers and hot dogs Purplebackpack89 20:09, 20 January 2013 (UTC)
I think the problem is less mentioning the items than defining what they are. There's already a stereotype that Americans think of themselves as the center of the known universe, so including text in the article that tries to educate the rest of the world about a hamburger, hot dog, or ice cream seems patronizing and a bit condescending (IMHO), and definitely falls under the guidance that the obvious policy is trying to avoid. If you feel this information is important, could you word it briefly in a way that notes that hamburgers, hot dogs, ice cream and pie are staples that are ubiquitous in restaurants and at gatherings, but avoids the definitions of each of these food items? -- Ryan • (talk) • 20:16, 20 January 2013 (UTC)
I could cut the sentences that say "It's a beef patty", "It's a sausage", etc. Can I keep the condiments and sides? Purplebackpack89 20:37, 20 January 2013 (UTC)
I don't see what that proposal adds that isn't true in most other parts of the world. The point of the obvious guideline is that we want to keep travel guides focused on information that a reader wants and needs to know, so we should avoid including information that is common knowledge. I think the information you're trying to convey can probably best be summed up under the "Types of food" section as a single sentence such as "Typical American food items that can be found at most restaurants or large gatherings include hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, ice cream, and pie". -- Ryan • (talk) • 21:03, 20 January 2013 (UTC)

Highway rainbow, Parking rainbow?[edit]

We have a section on what the various colors mean in highway signage. Should we have what the colors mean for parking places as well? I.E. red means "no parking", "no stopping", or "fire lane", yellow means "loading and unloading only", green means "parking for a limited amount of time" (i.e. 20 mins, 1 hr, 2 hr) and blue means "handicapped only" Purplebackpack89 23:05, 20 January 2013 (UTC)

I'm not 100% sure these colors/meanings are universal. I imagine blue is definitely handicapped and red means don't park here. However, I'm less sure about yellow and green. Yellow in Florida is used along corners at intersections & at the end of the median at intersections (to draw attention as a danger, not with regards to parking)...I'm quite certain you can't wait/unload there. I've never seen a green curb. AHeneen (talk) 23:24, 20 January 2013 (UTC)
I've never seen colored curbs at all -- except perhaps yellow and white, neither of which carried any meaning in my experience. LtPowers (talk) 01:54, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
Red and yellow curbs are no parking zones (red is for fire lanes), which I think is pretty universal in the States. I've never seen any other colors, other than blue which as already stated is handicapped parking, which is also universal. Yes, yellow curbs can also be used to draw attention to them as well, but you also better not park there. Hawaiian Eskimo (talk) 20:10, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
Seems like policies vary by state. From Wikipedia-Parking space: "Curb markings in the United States are prescribed by the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). Local highway agencies may prescribe special colors for curb markings to supplement standard signs for parking regulation. California has designated an array of colors for curb regulations. A white curb designates passenger pick up or drop off. The green curb is for time limited parking. The yellow curb is for loading, and the blue curb is for disabled persons with proper vehicle identification. The red curb is for emergency vehicles only - fire lanes (no stopping, standing, or parking). In Oregon and Florida, the yellow curb is utilized to indicate no parking. In Georgia either red or yellow can be used to indicate no parking. In Seattle, Washington, alternating red and yellow curb markings indicate a bus stop." AHeneen (talk) 00:00, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
Weird. If I've ever been anywhere that had color-coded curbs, I didn't notice them. They certainly aren't universal. LtPowers (talk) 00:29, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
Maybe it's just a California thing, 'cuz I see them all the time here Purplebackpack89
When doing a Google search for "United States curb colors" a lot of the results were from California cities and (judging by the Wikipedia content quoted above) it seems like CA uses colors on curbs extensively. This might still be worth noting on the U.S. page though, something like: "In many U.S. cities curbs are painted to reflect the ability to park at a particular location. The colors used and the meaning of the colors used varies from city to city. In general, red (and sometimes yellow) means "no parking" and blue designates handicapped parking only (with appropriate license plate or placard). In California, yellow curbs designate loading only (goods/cargo), white designates passenger pickup or dropoff, and green indicates there is a time limit for parking (look at signs for time limit). Elsewhere, the meaning of curb colors varies. Always follow parking signs and, if you are uncertain whether parking is allowed at a particular spot, it's best to park elsewhere than receive a parking ticket or even have your vehicle towed and impounded (which will result in a large fee to retrieve). A parked vehicle should never block the entrance to a driveway/alley or block a crosswalk." How does that sound? AHeneen (talk) 05:13, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
I'd add fire hydrant, but otherwise it sounds good Purplebackpack89 05:30, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
Added. The last sentence was changed to "A parked vehicle should never block a crosswalk, fire hydrant, or the entrance to a driveway/alley."AHeneen (talk) 07:32, 22 January 2013 (UTC)

On a slightly unrelated note, I've added info about the types of signals. Like the curb colors, there are regional variations in the types of signals used, like just 3-light signal, 5-light signal (either 1 at top & 2/2 columns or 5 in a vertical/horizontal row), signals w/arrows, and use of flashing yellow arrows, flashing red lights, & flashing red arrows to indicate left turns (see w:Traffic-light signalling and operation). I felt it is especially worth noting the right of way for left turns...green circle indicates left-turning traffic must yield to oncoming traffic, while green left arrow indicates that left-turning traffic has the right of way when turning. It took a lot of searching on commons to find a 5-light signal, which I felt was important to show for foreigners who may see green arrow & red circle on such a light and not understand what it means (the pic is green arrow, green light, but I could find any green arrow, red light pics!).

One thing I couldn't find is the legality of turning right on red when the traffic light has a red, right arrow. I recall a couple years ago looking this up (after a discussion about this when I waited at such intersections while traffic around me turned...learned it's actually legal in FL) and found some source that said it is legal to turn right with a red, right arrow in all but 2 states (I think CA was one of them & other was in NE/Mid-Atlantic). However, after spending time browsing dozens of pages from a search, I can't find much besides personal opinions/anecdotes. I can only say for certain it's legal in FL & illegal in CA & TN.AHeneen (talk) 07:32, 22 January 2013 (UTC)

I'm getting a little uncomfortable with the level of detail on driving/parking laws in the U.S. It might be better to shunt it off to a Driving in the United States (or perhaps Driving in the United States and Canada) article. LtPowers (talk) 20:26, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
I agree. This information is certainly useful but is somewhat specific. Many travelers, probably a significant majority, will do their traveling not by private vehicle.Travelpleb (talk) 07:52, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
What would "Driving in the United States" encompass? Rules and regulations? Routes? Both? I personally believe that the Interstate and/or U.S. Highway systems (U.S. Highways are the ones with white and black shields) need at least one article to themselves Purplebackpack89 02:24, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
Well that's going at it a bit backwards (your initial question). The idea would be to split out content from this article, and then figure out a name for the new article based on what's in it. LtPowers (talk) 02:58, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
Have a look at Driving in Australia for an idea of what the page would look like. While driving info is getting long, it's not quite enough to split unless someone wants to spend some time creating the new page and adding a bunch more content.AHeneen (talk) 06:07, 25 January 2013 (UTC)

Regions map overhaul[edit]

Some ideas to improve our regions map:

  1. Simplify the map a bit, in terms of cities at least. We have a lot of rather small cities displayed, and I think we could reduce it to a more manageable number, allowing us to increase the text size and generally make a cluttered map a little easier to use. This would make the ODs way easier to find too.
  2. Switch to a horizontal layout. This would stack Alaska and Hawaii vertically on the right, and then allow us to display the map at a higher resolution, putting it above the regionlist template, rather than to the side (squishing the text).
  3. Make it clickable. I've been working on imagemaps lately, and think they are a cool, well-recognizable way of navigating our regions. Take a look at Europe#Regions or Oceania#Regions to get an idea of what this is like.

I think these three changes would really improve our regions presentation, but I'd like to hear others' thoughts. --Peter Talk 23:22, 24 January 2013 (UTC)

Something more like this? LtPowers (talk) 00:26, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
Nope, I'm suggesting a clickable map with a horizontal layout and fewer cities displayed, with larger text size for the remaining cities and ODs. --Peter Talk 03:40, 25 January 2013 (UTC)

Demotion[edit]

When demoting a number of articles to Outline status (such as UK and Philippines), an editor has advanced an argument at Wikivoyage_talk:Article_status#Terminology that a WV status covers the "Travel guide to that country" as a whole, including underlying cities and destinations. He comment "It's been a practice here for quite a while. If just the page itself is good, but underlying destinations are lacking, it'd be strange to call the guide to Philippines "usable"." "... it'd be strange if we'd just consider the country page itself now (that would mean hundreds of countries would be bumped to "usable" level without having the required content in underlying articles)."

I think that, while this may be considerable spur to the development of lots of undeveloped articles, we may need to take a look at the assessment criteria again. -- Alice 20:06, 27 January 2013 (UTC)

I think perhaps you meant to ask this in another location? LtPowers (talk) 02:39, 28 January 2013 (UTC)
No, I think it's useful to point out here that this article has been demoted using the same (controversial?) criteria. I thought some of the editors might like to comment at Wikivoyage_talk:Article_status#Terminology upon either the rationale or the result of applying that rationale: if we are consistent almost all of our Country and Region level articles will be demoted — except those with very few regions or sub-regions to be (quickly) brought up to scratch. -- Alice 03:44, 28 January 2013 (UTC)
I reverted, you must have misunderstood current policy. The United States fulfills all the criteria for usable, and is even pretty close to guide status (if not already there). See Wikivoyage:Country guide status. Globe-trotter (talk) 03:58, 28 January 2013 (UTC)
I think there has indeed been a misunderstanding. When you demoted the Philippines to outline status and the UK also your edit summary for the latter hinted "downgraded to outline -- there are articles at outline status" and I have also quoted you above. How can you hint that the US is a special case when it has, not just many underlying articles but, links directly from the main United States of America article that are only at outline status too? Personally I feel that you have either misinterpreted our existing policy with your spate of demotions or, if you are correct, the policy needs to be changed. What you should not do is play favourites by inconsistent application of a policy. Either both the US and UK articles need demoting or neither, since both these country pages were at similar stages of development before you only demoted one of them. -- Alice 09:00, 28 January 2013 (UTC)
Wikivoyage:Country guide status. --Peter Talk 09:40, 28 January 2013 (UTC)
Exactly. I quote from that Usable status for countries: "Has links to the country's major cities and other destinations (usable status or better)" This USA article does indeed have links but those other destinations are not all at usable status or better. ie the US is no worse and no better in this respect than either the Philippines or the UK! -- Alice 09:50, 28 January 2013 (UTC)
Name one. --Peter Talk 11:40, 28 January 2013 (UTC)
As I write this, this USA article does indeed have more than one link that is not at usable status or better. However, the reason I came here was not to tweak anybody's tail but to generate more interest and viewpoints at Wikivoyage_talk:Article_status#Terminology. Since it was largely you that wrote up the existing status policy, Peter, I shall wait until you have answered my questions there before I answer yours here — I think you may be surprised! -- Alice 05:32, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
I have reverted again. Stop messing with the status rating unless you're willing to read Wikivoyage:Country guide status. Globe-trotter (talk) 21:19, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
I have pored over that as if it was a dead sea scroll (and contributed to the discussion there). Does USA have "a valid regional structure" ? Perhaps we can all move on when Peter answers the questions posed (or someone answers them equally definitively) and a consensus is reached. And please remember that it wasn't me that started messing with major country articles' status. Not that you were necessarily wrong to do so, since you have highlighted that the status criteria for country level articles do need both clarifying and consistent application. -- Alice 21:32, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
I didn't "mess" with status ratings to solicit a discussion, I just applied the current policy. It's fine if you want to discuss changes to policies, but applying your changes before consensus is reached to stir up discussion is not the way things are done here. About the valid regional structure, obviously the USA has one. The USA has one of the best regional structures of any country.Globe-trotter (talk) 21:37, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
When I looked again just now, "one of the best regional structures of any country" seemed to have thirteen clearly defined (and coloured) regions incorporating all of the states of the Union and DC (and all shown clearly on the regional map) plus "a motley collection of non-state territories around the world" tagged on the end and not shown at all on the regional map. -- Alice 22:00, 29 January 2013 (UTC)

[re-indent]Trying to figure out who's doing the promoting and demoting of the page from the above discussion, but here's reasoning why the U.S. should be at Outline status. Per Wikivoyage:Country guide status: Has links to the country's major cities and other destinations (usable status or better) Does this mean that only the pages linked in the "Cities" and "Other destinations" must be at useable status or better, or does this apply to the entire page and imply that all links on the U.S. page must be at useable or better. Even if the former criterion is applied, the U.S. would still be at "outline" status, because Mount Rushmore National Memorial (in "Other destinations") is at outline status. In fairness, I just demoted that page (when browsing the status of all cities/ODs), but the get around, see, do, buy, eat, & drink sections of Mt.Rushmore Nat. Mem. are completely blank(!)...hardly a "useable" article. (Version at time of this edit, just in case anyone decides to add content to the page and make this comment inaccurate). AHeneen (talk) 04:48, 30 January 2013 (UTC)

Yes, only the pages linked in those sections. Otherwise I could wait until the USA article reaches star status, then insert a tangential mention to Ada (Oklahoma), and bingo! It's back to outline. I think you are judging Mt Rushmore per city guide status criteria, not Wikivoyage:Park guide status—it does have what it needs to be usable. I'll improve it a bit while I'm looking at it, anyway, though. --Peter Talk 05:40, 30 January 2013 (UTC)

How to write on an envelope[edit]

This edit [6] was reverted with the comment - "other countries don't have ZIP Codes".

  1. My revision still clearly say to use a ZIP code. It just omitted the how to write on the front of an envelope. There isn't much difference to the end user between a ZIP code and any other postal code in use worldwide.
  2. Are so many visitors to the U.S. really writing domestic letters to justify three paras on how to write on the front of one?

It is just more trivia bloat, at the expense of real travel info IMO. Anyone else think I'm wrong? --Inas (talk) 04:29, 29 January 2013 (UTC)

I think it's the age old judgement call of how much is too much and both of you have good-faith points to make. As a very general point, not aimed at this particular editor that did revert, reverting is often insulting and demeaning for the editor on the sharp end and should really only be used for self-evident vandalism and spam. In this case, perhaps the very act of re-inserting all that excised text might have given the reverting editor a hint of just how prolix the passage was - or not.
A generalised solution to this kind of judgement call is often to lay out the basics first - in as sparkling and and lively style as possible - and then add the grey (or gory) detail in subsequent paragraphs that the reader can skip if they don't find them relevant/educational.
PS: I love this discussion sub-section title!-- Alice 04:59, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
Editors on a site like this which anyone can edit need to suppress their irritation at their work being edited, including reversions. I wasn't really thinking about this until Inas worked on it. I think Inas is on the right track, but it's possible for there to be a compromise. How about including this, though without an example or further comment:

Addresses should be written in three (sometimes four) lines like this:

Name of recipient

House number and street name

City or town, two-letter state abbreviation, ZIP code

We hope our readers are intelligent enough to understand the structure given here, right? One guideline on Wikivoyage is not to assume our readers are idiots. :-) Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:49, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
And, being fair, this addressing information is actually not all that nco (Wikivoyage:No advice from Captain Obvious) for some nationalities — I know Austrians are used to writing addresses in (almost the reverse) order:
Postcode, City or town
Street name, House number
However, typically most Austrians I meet on my flights are also very well researched on their destinations and know that English speaking countries are typically little-endian. -- Alice 06:24, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
I agree. It's no harm to include this, but as briefly as possible. Ikan Kekek (talk) 06:38, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
If we're going to tell people how to write on an envelope we should at least tell them the way recommended by USPS (which can be found here [7]), i.e. capital letters and no punctuation. Otherwise, just leave it to common sense.Travelpleb (talk) 08:47, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
There is a tendency in these country level articles to expound on what is largely true everywhere. Most people learn how to write a letter and address it in elementary school. All we need here is a short sentence on how ZIP codes work. --Inas (talk) 19:02, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
Agree with Inas, it should just go. Country articles attract a lot of writing about obvious things... Globe-trotter (talk) 21:45, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
A couple of points I'd like to make that could give the point of view of a tourist (which I would be if I went to the US):
(1) Nearly every country has post codes, but as far as I know it's only you who calls them ZIP codes, so a 'translation' of the term is welcome and helpful and an explanation of the formatting is useful too.
(2) The example set out in the article demonstrates that the format to writing addresses does differ from how I write them and from how I've seen them written in other countries, so an example is again very helpful. I can't help thinking that perhaps the example could be of somewhere not in the capital, because wouldn't the format be different if writing to a resident of a state? Speaking of states, would it be possible to either list the abbreviations here or link to a page or website that does? Some of them (like NY) are rather obvious but some aren't (e.g. I'd automatically assume Texas was 'TE', rather than 'TX') and knowledge of the abbreviations isn't very widespread outside of your country.
Otherwise, I agree with previous posters that you don't need reams and reams of information about letters, most people don't write letters when they go abroad and those that do tend to be writing home like on postcards.
Anyway, that's my angle on it, make of it what you will :) Regards, --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 23:54, 31 January 2013 (UTC)
Yep. I didn't remove anything about the ZIP code explanation. All I removed was how to address a letter. Besides the obviousness here, if you're going to be writing a letter, the chances are you have the address, and you'll just copy that. If you write the state in full, it will still be recognised by the USPS. --Inas (talk) 01:14, 1 February 2013 (UTC)
Oh that's true (about probably knowing the address already). I don't know why I didn't think of that! Despite what you say about the state abbreviations, I still think the list I proposed would be useful in some capacity, even if not for writing a letter. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 02:00, 1 February 2013 (UTC)
  • I think the form of address needs to be in here somewhere, in addition to the fares and such. It's not the same around the world, as noted by how they do it in Austria Purplebackpack89 03:34, 1 February 2013 (UTC)
The same comment pointed out that Austrians know very well how to address letters in English. Well, if some Austrian comes to the U.S., who isn't familiar with how to write on an envelope, decides to write a domestic U.S. letter, doesn't have an address to copy, they will have a ready reference source here. The irony of course, is that the letter would be delivered just fine, regardless. --Inas (talk) 03:43, 1 February 2013 (UTC)
Yes, while the computers might not recognize the address, the human operator viewing the reject feed will easily determine the correct routing no matter what order things are written in. LtPowers (talk) 21:08, 1 February 2013 (UTC)
There's a reason why no one outside the US uses the term "ZIP code". It is (or was) a USPS trademark. K7L (talk) 16:28, 29 June 2013 (UTC)

-Seattle or -New Orleans, +Houston[edit]

To me, Houston is more than worthy to be included in this list of nine (why not ten?) than Seattle or New Orleans. Not only is it the fourth largest city in the nation, and home to NASA's mission-control, but it's the most international, multi-cultural, and financially important city in the south. Worth consideration at the very least. MrLewis (talk) 16:40, 7 February 2013 (UTC)MrLewis

New Orleans is probably more famous world-wide than Houston, and is the only thing we have representing the enormous region of the South (we try to spread geographic representation). Houston probably has the best claim of any not on this list for inclusion (because Philadelphia is so close to other listed cities), and Seattle probably has the weakest of any currently on the list. Then again, Houston is pretty close to New Orleans. The one anomaly regarding geographic spread is California, with both San Francisco and LA, but LA is the second biggest metropolis in the country and obviously world-famous, while SF is one of the top five most visited cities in the country, for the sole reason that people like going there. Tough calls, but fortunately not very important ones ;) --Peter Talk 20:17, 7 February 2013 (UTC)
If we replaced New Orleans with Houston, then Seattle should be replaced with Atlanta to keep a "Southern" city on the list. Texas is a region unto its own and not really a part of the South. Atlanta is the heart of the South and with Delta's super-mega hub, well connected with the world (despite most traffic being connections, not origin/destination). However, I support retaining the status quo...only mentioning this for reference in future discussions. AHeneen (talk) 00:34, 8 February 2013 (UTC)
Most Visited Cities in the USA ... Neither Seattle or New Orleans are mentioned on the list, which includes the top ten. Houston is number 8, but admittedly, there are cities not in our "nine" that rank higher than Houston. SF doesn't make the list. Also, if Texas is a region unto itself, then why no representation? MrLewis (talk) 21:03, 8 February 2013 (UTC)MrLewis
Looking at foreign arrivals (one of their criteria) can be a really bad metric to judge a "destination," since a lot of foreign arrivals are not actually going to that city. Atlanta is number 7 in terms of foreign visitors, but is Atlanta really a Top Ten draw for travelers world wide? We also discount business travel a bit in these lists, since business travelers are unlikely to be browsing through the hierarchy, and more likely to go straight to their intended destination's page for information. Popularity for domestic travelers is also less a consideration here, as the USA article is geared at foreign travelers (unlike the Texas article, which is geared at non-Texans, the Houston article geared towards non-Houstonians, etc.) "Interestingness" is another consideration, which weighs heavily in New Orleans' favor (see Sertmann's comment). Mention New Orleans to anyone in the world who knows anything about anything outside their borders, and they'll smile and mention carnival or jazz—they know it because it's so interesting and rich culturally. Houston, Atlanta, Seattle, Boston, Denver, etc.—much less likely.
Your point about Texas not having representation is very well taken. The reason, essentially, is that there are more than nine regions, so some will not have representation. All the same, I'd be OK with switching out Seattle for Houston. I'd be OK with not doing it too ;) In a borderline case like this, it's not inappropriate to look at the quality of the two articles—Seattle does have a much better guide at present. --Peter Talk 21:50, 8 February 2013 (UTC)
Thanks guys. :) MrLewis (talk) 13:24, 9 February 2013 (UTC)MrLewis
Seattle is known for a lot being on the tops of many lists, from one of the highest educated to the highest caffeinated and of course it is a major port and airport for travelers arriving from outside of the country but here are just a few of the recent travel related statistics to think about. 2011- Seattle is the # 9 top U.S. city in the annual Readers’ Choice Awards survey - Condé Nast magazine, 2011- Seattle ranked #10 for top summer destinations booked by American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), Seattle ranked 8th most photographed city in the world – Cornell University, June 2011 , Seattle is listed as # 10 for the top 25 favorite destinations in the Travelers’ Choice 2011 poll, Seattle ranked # 4 for top 10 destinations for singles this summer – Travelocity.com, 2011, 2010 – Seattle ranked America’s # 9 summertime tourist destination – American Society of Travel Agents, March 2010, 2009 – # 10 among favorite cities in the Continental U.S. and Canada, World’s Best Cities annual readers’ poll – Travel + Leisure, August 2009, 2009 – # 7 among the nation’s top 25 arts destinations – AmericanStyle magazine, April 2009, 2009 – Seattle among the top-10 U.S. travel destinations for the African American traveler – Travel Professionals of Color, January 2009, 2008 – Voted one of America’s Favorite Cities by travelers and scored highest for cafes and coffee bars, farmers’ markets, intelligence, environmental awareness, public parks and access to the outdoors in a poll conducted by Travelandleisure.com and CNN Headline News – September, 2008, Lumpytrout (talk) 13:02, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

State names[edit]

Swept in from the pub

Can we get a bot to go ahead and add redirect pages for City, ST and City, State for the US city pages currently as City and City (State)? Users will be searching for places with a variety of conventions, and we should have them all available (Wikipedia has redirects for different ways of writing for most US cities). Nicole Sharp (talk) 12:51, 31 March 2013 (UTC)

I know nothing about bots, but this sounds like a pretty good idea. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 01:13, 1 April 2013 (UTC)

marijuana[edit]

Recreational marijuana is now legal in Colorado and Washington state but the drug section in North America needs some work. To say that the federal government is taking a 'hands off' policy is putting it mildly. The feds are actually helping form some of the regulations and making sure that it is not being sold near schools etc. To say that federal law supersedes state laws and that it should be avoided is a cop out, it is becoming quite main stream here. At hemp fest it is common to see people talking to police and smoking a joint at the same time and my friend that is a wedding planner says its almost standard practice now to have it available at receptions. To say that it simply should be avoided is not doing any favors to travelers that are curious about usage and are looking for realistic advice. Is anyone going to object if I rework this a little? Lumpytrout (talk) 16:45, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

Go ahead and rewrite the section. What I think is important is to make sure that travelers know what local conditions are, so that they don't end up in prison for a long time while visiting a retrograde state. Ikan Kekek (talk) 15:37, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
Yeah, the last sentence as I read it was an attempt to go back to the national level as a general warning that travelers are best off avoiding drugs in the US, which is good advice in spite of the current tone suggesting that US laws concerning drugs are too much (aka: draconian). ChubbyWimbus (talk) 16:26, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
as a general rule I always take drug advice seriously when it comes from someone named Chubby. Lumpytrout (talk) 16:45, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
If emphasizing the hands off bit, make sure to mention that this could change post-Obama administration. --Peter Talk 17:42, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
I guess that is the beauty of a wiki, easy to change. Lumpytrout (talk) 09:58, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
While I don't live in either Washington or Colorado, I think it's still good advice for foreign travelers to avoid marijuana altogether. The last thing they need is to get caught on a drug offense. LtPowers (talk) 00:45, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
Honestly LtPowers, the previous wording just seemed patronizing. We owe it to our travelers to be more factual. America is a big country with wildly different norms, laws and expectations and we need to prepare travelers for that as well as possible. Maybe this might be a good place to talk about transporting drugs more. Lumpytrout (talk) 09:58, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
Whereas I don't think this is the best venue for a detailed discussion of the varying laws and regulations. The Washington (state) and Colorado articles can get into more details of what's allowed (or common) where, but in the general USA article, I think the best and simplest advice is to just avoid it. LtPowers (talk) 14:24, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
Reality check LtPowers, there are areas in the US where two gay men can walk down the street holding hands and nobody would think twice about it while in other areas they would get stared at in shock and be harassed. Should we just advise gay people not to hold hands in public? Or let them know how US norms vary from region to region? I think that when I look through the whole of the United States entry a major theme is the variations of climates, cultural norms, laws and customs throughout the country and we have a responsibility to prepare travelers for that. I will make sure that the Colorado and Washington (state) articles are kept more up to date with the specifics of the laws as they evolve and are implemented but the United States entry is not and should not be about gross oversimplification. The first rule of Wikivoyage: Our work is guided by what is best from the traveller's perspective. Note: You could call this our Prime Directive. Maybe this is a bigger discussion that we have tapped into but I feel that there is no way that giving sweeping generalizations about laws without arming travelers with a correct perspective is the right course of action. Lumpytrout (talk) 15:01, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
I really wish you would take a less combative tone. I don't think your analogy is particularly germane, since same-sex hand-holding is perfectly legal in every American jurisdiction. Getting caught with weed, on the other hand, can lead to deportation and the inability to return to the country. We don't yet know how the feds will handle foreign nationals caught with marijuana now that it's legal in two states. We do know that in the vast majority of the country, it means big trouble. "Avoid illegal drugs" remains good advice for U.S. visitors, even if we point out the small caveat that two states allow one illegal drug without major penalty. LtPowers (talk) 16:01, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
Yes, the analogy doesn't hold and incidentally, the variation in ways homosexuals are viewed/treated is dealt with just above the drug section. Although I find it funny that someone who calls himself "Lumpy" would feel superior to someone who uses "Chubby" in their username (my username is ChubbyWimbus, by the way, not Chubby), remarks like that will only hurt your argument and make you look like a troll. None of the comments aside from your own have been disrespectful. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 16:48, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
ChubbyWimbus, I'm sorry if my humble attempt at humor came across as as disrespectful in any way. A 'Chubby' is a slang reference for a joint. i.e. that dude can roll a phat chubby., and hence my failed attempt at a joke as you would be more of an authority than anyone else. I do feel that the homosexuality reference does hold some water as gay marriage is not a recognized law nationally but is dealt with state by state. A gay married couple has visitation rights in a hospital in Washington State that they would not appreciate elsewhere for example. Maybe a better example might be speed limits that change state by state? To simply state that travelers should go the minimum speed limit set by one state and give that advice on a national level seems a bit short sighted. I'm also sorry if LtPowers if I'm coming across as being combative, but I do feel strongly that this is an area where wikivoyage can really shine and give travelers solid and useful advice on a quickly changing basis rather than just a generic overview. Yes, travelers and anyone should avoid illegal drugs, but in Colorado and Washington at least there is nothing illicit about recreational marijuana and we owe it to our audience to give them as truthful as perspective as we are capable of. Lumpytrout (talk) 19:09, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
I understand you feel strongly about this, but I don't quite understand why. We should not be encouraging visitors to violate federal law, no matter how lax the enforcement in Washington and Colorado at the moment. LtPowers (talk) 20:06, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
I tend to think the advice here should be something along the lines of: "While it has been legalized in two states, it remains illegal per federal law, and penalties are very stiff for foreign visitors." More detailed info should be in Washington (state) and Colorado, but it should still caveat that we don't really know what the future holds for federal enforcement, and that any use should be discreet. --Peter Talk 20:37, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
I think the right tone is to mention that recreational use of pot is legal under state law in those two states but remains illegal under Federal law, so visitors can smoke pot at their own risk. Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:58, 18 May 2013 (UTC)

Thank you for your input everyone, I appreciate it and I'm glad to hear everyone's two cents on this topic. I'm starting a new paragraph just to keep everything in order. If you have not already, I would encourage you to look at the Netherlands and specifically Amsterdam articles to see how well developed this section could be. Marijuana use is illegal yet tolerated in parts of the Netherlands and they have well rounded articles dealing with that. I'm also going to start discussions about this on the Colorado and Washington State pages to see if we can get some more input. I am not eager to encourage travelers to 'violate federal law', nor am I eager to go into a long discussion on constitutional law and the rights and responsibilities of states when it comes to law enforcement. I am however interested in building the best, most complete, most honest and well developed travel guide that the world has ever seen and this is a small but important piece of that puzzle. Marijuana remains a schedule one drug under federal law and is considered by the feds to be right up there with heroin as dangerous to the public (cocaine for example is considered a less serious schedule two drug) but the reality of federal vs state drug enforcement laws is murky at best and it is the states that will be enforcing these laws. Most states come down on marijuana offenses less severely and could arguably be in defiance of federal law because of this. There was a time when Washington State and Colorado was lax about enforcement, but that is no longer the case. It is now legal under state law. Colorado is growing industrial hemp, Washington has official marijuana certification, its even common in mainstream advertising. We owe it to prepare travelers to the best of our abilities and this includes a thoughtful, well rounded discussion on drugs and legality. --Lumpytrout (talk) 12:05, 19 May 2013 (UTC)

The USA article is already very long; it just seems excessive to put more than a sentence or two on a single drug that has different status in two states. In Washington and Colorado, sure, go into detail about when and where. The U.S. article has to remain just a broad overview. LtPowers (talk) 14:41, 19 May 2013 (UTC)
I agree with LtPowers on this. It makes much more sense to cover things in more detail on the Washington and Colorado pages. Mention the special situation in the two states here, but do not go into detail. Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:00, 19 May 2013 (UTC)
here is how it reads now

Some drugs, such as non-prescription medicine, alcohol (for adults 21+), and caffeine, are legal and widely available; others are more highly restricted.

In general U.S. drug laws can be pretty draconian—even possession or transportation of small amounts can lead to prison and should be avoided by travelers. However laws and attitudes concerning the most commonly available drug—Marijuana vary wildly from state to state. 18 states currently allow medical use of Marijuana where persons can obtain marijuana for medicinal use with a doctor's prescription and "medical marijuana card" while both Colorado and Washington state allow limited recreational use of the drug. Technically illegal under Federal law, enforcement agencies have kept a hands-off approach and those laws haven't been enforced on consumers/sellers in those states.

I would be all for getting rid of that first sentence as Captain Obvious and maybe putting in an example of a state where it is still considered a felony? Lumpytrout (talk) 14:16, 20 May 2013 (UTC)

The first sentence seems too obvious for mention to me (is caffeine illegal in any country?). The rest seems fine.

Except, one question; was the 'draconian' part added by you or already there? I personally don't feel that drug laws/enforcement are particularly harsh in the US compared to many other countries, so the statement is odd to me. I'm sure it depends on what country one is from and what drugs we're talking about, but in East Asia, for example, laws and punishments are much more severe if you're caught with drugs. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 15:14, 22 May 2013 (UTC)

Wikipedia says (without citation) that caffeine is legal in all jurisdictions (in the world, I infer). Some regimes tried to ban it in the past but that was hundreds of years ago. "Draconian" is not a relative descriptor; laws in the U.S. can be draconian even if there are laws elsewhere that are even more strict. LtPowers (talk) 17:29, 22 May 2013 (UTC)
Drug laws are pretty draconian everywhere, compared to penalties for other types of offenses ;) --Peter Talk 21:05, 22 May 2013 (UTC)
okay, I took everyone's input and deleted that first sentence and expanded the other language. Take a look at the article and see what you think. It might still be nice to have a conclusion sentence that sums it all up. Lumpytrout (talk) 12:37, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
It's much better, but I agree there needs to be a conclusion of some sort. We should also point out that if the feds get involved -- possibly due to transporting the drugs over a state line -- there can be severe penalties, even if the states involved don't care as much. LtPowers (talk) 15:14, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
Is medical marijuana even worth mentioning? An out-of-state visitor, much less a foreign visitor (to whom this article is geared), would not be able to get a license. --Peter Talk 15:25, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
I added a concluding sentence along the lines you mentioned, LtPowers. Peter, I think it doesn't hurt to mention medical marijuana, as it's one sentence and can be seen as purely informational. However, if you think it might confuse a visitor, "though visitors are not eligible for marijuana prescriptions" could be added. Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:10, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
Good conclusion and although I'm sure this could still use some minor tweeking I wanted to thank everyone for participating in this sometimes heated discussion. I think that we ultimately were able to hash out our differences to come up with something much better than where we started on a hot button issue. If that is not the American way than what is? Lumpytrout (talk) 22:01, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
The Wiki way? :-) Ikan Kekek (talk) 22:38, 23 May 2013 (UTC)

I'd say it is worth mentioning that the US has the highest percentage of its population in prison of any country on Earth and that about half the inmates are there for drug offenses. This puts the situation, especially the DEA claims that federal laws still apply even where a state has legalised, into perspective. Pashley (talk) 17:13, 26 July 2014 (UTC)

I certainly agree that it's worth mentioning briefly. Ikan Kekek (talk) 22:57, 26 July 2014 (UTC)
I don't see the travel relevance. Powers (talk) 18:23, 27 July 2014 (UTC)
It seems travel relevant to me for much the same reasons we warn about laws on alcohol, prostitution or homosexuality in various places. Travellers need to understand these local peculiarities to avoid trouble that might be unexpected and quite severe. Pashley (talk) 19:55, 27 July 2014 (UTC)
I agree. It provides useful context, but only if we restrict it to a single sentence. Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:30, 27 July 2014 (UTC)
I mean the travel relevance of the specific statistic, that the percentage of American citizens incarcerated is higher than in any other country. Powers (talk) 00:58, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
It provides relevant context (especially for men of color, but also just as general background and a cautionary tale). Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:23, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
I'm afraid all you've done is simply re-assert the relevance of this statistic without actually explaining it. Powers (talk) 20:27, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
OK, try this: Forget for a second that you're an American, and instead imagine that you are a potential traveler to the US from another country, who has watched a lot of American movies that show drug use and thinks that, therefore, it's routine to smoke a joint or do a line of coke and not get hassled by the cops in the US. Would it be in your interest to read about how many inmates there are who are there solely because of possession of drugs, very much including merely marijuana? My response would be: Damn right it would be in your interest, and it's almost as obvious to me as it is to mention that in Malaysia, there is a mandatory death penalty for possession of more than x-amount of marijuana. If you still aren't convinced, remember that it's part of our mission to help advise people how to stay safe and keep out of trouble. Ikan Kekek (talk) 23:09, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
A mandatory death penalty is definitely worth mentioning. So is mentioning that drug possession is illegal and often harshly punished. But mentioning that "the US has the highest percentage of its population in prison of any country on Earth" is just piling on for the sake of making the U.S. look bad. That fact has nothing to do with how careful a traveler should be about drug use. Powers (talk) 18:51, 1 August 2014 (UTC)
If people are doing life without parole for relatively petty dealings with marijuana, that's something the traveller should know. K7L (talk) 02:15, 2 August 2014 (UTC)
Well, yes. But keep in mind that those are usually (exclusively?) the result of repeat offenses (e.g., three-strikes laws) and thus a bit of a special case. Powers (talk) 00:02, 3 August 2014 (UTC)
Powers, I think it's quite inappropriate to be concerned with whether the US looks good or bad, when it comes to facts. There are loads of great travel destinations in the US, but drug offenses can be punished very harshly here, and inconsistently between states and even between judges, and the fact that the US has such a high prison population and over half of the prisoners are there for drug offenses is both interesting background for readers and a useful warning to scare people straight. I don't consider it "piling on" in the least. Ikan Kekek (talk) 03:53, 3 August 2014 (UTC)
One of our most basic principles is "Be fair". It is thus not at all inappropriate to be concerned with the image painted by the language we choose. The bare fact of the U.S.'s ranking in per capita incarceration rates is completely irrelevant to the traveler (because the statistic doesn't address travelers' imprisonment) and unnecessarily sensational, particularly when presented without context (e.g., the U.S. ranks first but how far behind is #2? What's the median? How do similar nations compare?). Powers (talk) 17:14, 3 August 2014 (UTC)
How can stating a fact be "unfair"? This isn't an opinion: These figures don't lie. The US has a fraction the population of China and India yet has more prisoners - not just a higher percentage per capita. And the comparison with the 2nd-place country isn't close at all. That's a fact. I think that providing the kind of comparative context you want is what would be irrelevant, but if you want to provide it, it will actually put the US in a _worse_ light, not a better light. Ikan Kekek (talk) 18:06, 3 August 2014 (UTC)
If you think facts cannot be unfair then we're never going to come to a consensus on this. The selection, presentation, and context of facts can all be molded to be more or less fair; that's a basic principle of public relations. Powers (talk) 15:42, 4 August 2014 (UTC)
If you're going to make that argument, then the counterpoint is that omitting salient facts can be in the service of propaganda. I really don't understand why you are so adamant on this. Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:36, 5 August 2014 (UTC)
Omission and inclusion go hand in hand and can serve to paint whatever kind of picture the author wants. Facts can be used to make any country look as good or as bad as you want. Quite often facts are removed here for being irrelevant, unfair, etc. I'm on the fence regarding the usefulness or relevance of this particular fact. I get the connection in that it's drug-related but I also see LtPowers' point that there are a lot of other factors involved that don't necessarily make it relevant to travelers. Not sure if it's worth it or not, but it would need to be put into context. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 14:53, 5 August 2014 (UTC)
The failed war on drugs is relevant to travel as it's a border issue in many locations. It seems bizarre that we mention all the US narcodollars and guns pouring into Mexico in the Mexico articles and then say nothing in this article? K7L (talk) 15:02, 5 August 2014 (UTC)

At least for gay men[edit]

I took out the words "at least for gay men" in this sentence: "Most cities have affordable or free testing and treatment centers for STIs at least for gay men, though hours may be limited and waits may be long."

Are most free testing centers for men only? Is that what it's supposed to mean? Seems unfounded and I highly doubt they're turning away straight men or suspected straight men, so if they do discriminate against women, let's just say "at least for men" or something like that. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 16:21, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

I thought your edit was a good one. First, though, I've never seen "STIs." I always see "STDs," and before that, it used to be "VD" ("Venereal Disease"), but that usage has been deprecated.
In any case, it would be ludicrous for anyone to claim that Planned Parenthood won't let a woman get screened for STDs, and I'm having trouble imagining any treatment center that offers STD screening turning women away and getting away with it. Just because Gay Men's Health Crisis was a leader in AIDS prevention and screening doesn't mean they refused to help women. Quite the contrary, was always my impression. Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:55, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
Apparently STI has supplanted STD in most of the literature and in school. LtPowers (talk) 01:49, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
I don't get why (I mean, illness is better than disease?), but I guess we have to go with the current acronym. Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:15, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
Infection, not illness. Wikipedia says "a person may be infected, and may potentially infect others, without having a disease." If the infection is asymptomatic, then there is no disease. LtPowers (talk) 14:21, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
That actually does make sense. Thanks for explaining. Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:56, 18 May 2013 (UTC)

Pagebanner[edit]

Can the image chosen for this page be transferred into commons? I would use in it:voy as well and I would avoid to duplicate it locally. Let me know, --Andyrom75 (talk) 21:32, 11 June 2013 (UTC)

It's in the public domain; you can do whatever the heck you want with it. LtPowers (talk) 14:55, 12 June 2013 (UTC)

Elections[edit]

I just don't understand why a traveler needs to know how the Congress is elected. Isn't this article long enough? LtPowers (talk) 19:30, 17 June 2013 (UTC)

I agree. This doesn't seem travel-relevant, and could encourage more about U.S. politics, which is something people love to write about, but is of minimal relevance to our purpose. --Peter Talk 22:26, 17 June 2013 (UTC)
In a similar discussion (Talk:United States of America/Archive 2006#Revert of the day) User:MarkJaroski made a comparison that I thought was very helpful in giving some perspective on how unimportant it is to provide information about government and politics in most articles:
Hi guys, just to give you a point of comparison if I could explain which departements are likely to go for Ségoline Royale, and which are likely to go to Nicolas Sarkozy in the next French presidential election would you find the information very useful for yourselves as travellers? How about if I work up some text about the ascendancy of the (center-left) Green party in Switzerland and its cost to both the Socialists and the center-right Christian Democrats, and Radicals. For that matter I could spend days writing about the right-wing UDC. Would you be interested in which Swiss cantons had voted which way in the most recent elections (there are 4 per year)?
While these things always seem more important when it's your home country, if you wouldn't care about the details of how parliaments are configured or political parties are aligned when visiting another country, then a visitor to the US is unlikely to care when visiting America. While there are obviously going to be some people who want that level of detail, the link to Wikipedia seems like a much better place for it. -- Ryan • (talk) • 23:03, 17 June 2013 (UTC)

School vs College vs University[edit]

So, I didn't originally write it, but I did restore this parenthetical after it was removed. Ikan has reverted my restoration, and I don't understand why. This very Learn section uses "school" and "college" interchangeably; I think it's worth a note explaining that this usage is very common in the U.S. Am I nuts? LtPowers (talk) 13:24, 14 July 2013 (UTC)

"School" is a much broader term than "college" or "university." The main point is that "college" and "university" are used interchangeably. It's OK to state that colleges/universities are types of schools, but that's as far as I'd countenance going on that semantic front. Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:08, 14 July 2013 (UTC)
After thinking about it, Ikan's comment seems right. The situation could be stated something like: "The terms university and college are used interchangeably by most Americans, while simply saying school can be sometimes used implying college/university studies." AHeneen (talk) 20:58, 14 July 2013 (UTC)
"college" and "university" are not used interchangeably. "I'm going to university" is a distinctly Commonwealth usage, unheard in the U.S. except in old For Better or For Worse comic strips. And no one would refer to a small liberal-arts college as a "university", even if the opposite applies. LtPowers (talk) 15:44, 15 July 2013 (UTC)
Points well taken. So how do you plan on explaining this? I don't think we want to get into too much detail in this article. I'll check the phrasing of the usage note I posted. Ikan Kekek (talk) 16:01, 15 July 2013 (UTC)
How about "In the U.S., 'college' is a catch-all term for any post-secondary education. Even if a student is going to attend a prestigious four-year university, she is still apt to say 'I'm heading off to college in the fall.'" Would that be enough? Maybe we need some non-Americans to weigh in? LtPowers (talk) 18:06, 15 July 2013 (UTC)
Is the usage note as it stands now pretty OK to you? Ikan Kekek (talk) 03:03, 17 July 2013 (UTC)
It seems a bit too wordy and overplays the interchangeability of the two words, in my opinion. LtPowers (talk) 14:53, 17 July 2013 (UTC)
Would you prefer only the two-sentence version you posted above? Ikan Kekek (talk) 15:03, 17 July 2013 (UTC)
Something along those lines. LtPowers (talk) 17:24, 17 July 2013 (UTC)
Try your hand at it in the article. Ikan Kekek (talk) 17:31, 17 July 2013 (UTC)
I'm perfectly satisfied with your infobox. Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:36, 18 July 2013 (UTC)

Racial profiling at US customs[edit]

Why is there nothing about racial profiling at US customs? This is a fact that many non-white people have to endure. This is also something Muslims have to endure. WTF? I can think of at least 3 celebrities who have gone through this. If celebrities are being racially profiled, what do you think the average Muslim/black person goes through? People get interrogated. People can lose tons of money by not getting refunds on plane tickets. People get harassed by police. This is no fairytale. This is real life depressing stuff folks have to go through. Someone should update the safety section soon or i will. 80.43.217.97 14:46, 18 July 2013 (UTC)

Go ahead and post something, but isn't the issue more profiling at security (where Muslims and non-Muslims from the Indian Subcontinent who ignorant TSA agents think could be a threat often get a lot of abuse) than at Customs? Ikan Kekek (talk) 15:45, 18 July 2013 (UTC)

Respect (again again)[edit]

Due to our continuing efforts to keep the Respect section free of bloat, it's currently fairly terse and perfunctory. This recent reversion rightly eliminated some obviousness and duplication, but I think parts of it were valuable. For one, a reminder that cultural norms vary depending on state is useful as an introduction to the section. Second, I think the part about punctuality is also valuable; many other cultures place little-to-no value on punctuality, but it can be a bit of a culture shock to come to the U.S. and be expected to show up within 5–10 minutes of the appointed time. Third, while the sentence reverted had some flaws, it might be worth mentioning that women are treated much more as equals than in some other countries. LtPowers (talk) 13:54, 20 July 2013 (UTC)

Differences between states are probably best covered in "Understand," not "Respect." As for your other points, if you want to try covering them very briefly, go ahead. My tendency is to err on the side of brevity in the "Respect" section. There are loads of things that could be in it, and a relative appreciation for punctuality is probably not the most important, but it could be in there. I guess it's important for people coming to the US for interviews and business meetings to know. Ikan Kekek (talk) 17:18, 20 July 2013 (UTC)
I think the punctuality point actually was useful (specific and brief). I'm less sure of the statement about gender equality, if only because the addition was so fluffy. Any replacement should avoid borderline non-statements like "most Americans support gender equality." Again, info in respect sections is only useful when it includes specific recommendations. --Peter Talk 17:29, 20 July 2013 (UTC)
I restored the remark about punctuality and slightly tweaked some of the other wording in the "Respect" section. Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:44, 21 July 2013 (UTC)
Good changes; thanks! LtPowers (talk) 15:59, 21 July 2013 (UTC)
Glad you liked them. I have to admit, I'm less sure about the changes I made to the "Culture" subsection of "Understand." Please have a look at those if you haven't already. Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:51, 21 July 2013 (UTC)

Ten-digit dialling[edit]

Does ten-digit dialling not work anywhere (still)? --Peter Talk 18:46, 21 July 2013 (UTC)

I'd thought that landlines in areas without an area code overlay still choke on 10 digits for local numbers... but I just tested it and it seems to work. Color me surprised. LtPowers (talk) 00:45, 22 July 2013 (UTC)
Huh, I also didn't know it worked in areas where it's not mandatory. Still, in places without overlays, phone numbers will almost always be listed and spoken as just 7 digits, so I don't think it's appropriate to instruct people to always dial 10 digits. Bigpeteb (talk) 14:12, 22 July 2013 (UTC)
I've updated the section, to hopefully make it a little easier to figure out: you can always use 10 digits, sometimes use 7 digits, and use 11 digits for toll free numbers. --Peter Talk 18:48, 22 July 2013 (UTC)
I believe long-distance calls still require the 1, meaning 11-digit dialing. LtPowers (talk) 20:09, 22 July 2013 (UTC)
Gotcha, from landlines. Can you make a local 10-digit landline call? And what happens if you dial 11 digits for a local call (can you get charged for long distance)? I find I hardly know how to use those things... --Peter Talk 06:25, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
I'm not sure. According to Wikipedia, some trunks will charge you long-distance if you dial the one, even if it's local, but I gather that's not universal. Local 10-digit dialing from landlines is possible, at least where I am, much to my surprise (as noted earlier). LtPowers (talk) 13:18, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
(And I should also point out that sometimes even a seven-digit number can be long-distance; when I call my parents, it's LD but they're in the same area code so I only dial 7 digits.) LtPowers (talk) 13:20, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

Looking at the discussion here, I'm not sure I like the currently simplified text. It says

  • "you can always dial a number using 10 digits" — false, since this isn't true for long distance and is directly contradicted below for toll-free numbers
  • "sometimes can dial a local number with only 7 digits" — true
  • "but always use 11 digits for toll free numbers"
  • doesn't say anything about domestic long-distance

I just found w:North_American_Numbering_Plan#Dial_plans, which has a thorough chart. It also says "Most areas allow permissive dialing of 10D or 1+10D even for calls that could be dialed as 7D" (emphasis mine)

Can we cover the possibilities without over-complicating it? Perhaps something like:

From a fixed line, you can usually dial 10 digits. Local calls can be dialed with 7 digits in non-metro areas (if a number is written as 7 digits, you can probably dial it that way locally). Domestic long-distance usually requires all 11 digits, but sometimes can be dialed as just 10 digits. (In a few exceptional cases, long-distance requires only 7 digits; when this happens, the phone system should automatically tell you how to dial it correctly.)

I'd also suggest moving the description of area codes up, so that everything follows a more logical sequence: description of number format (including area codes), how to dial, exception for toll-free.

How do I dial it?

  • Local10 digits (required in metro areas, usually works elsewhere) or 7 digits
  • Domestic long-distance11 digits (required in most areas) or 10 digits; rarely 7 digits
  • Toll-free11 digits

Maybe an infobox would be a good way to give a brief summary of the possibilities? Here's a first attempt on the right...

Let me know what you think, and I can take a stab at it. Bigpeteb (talk) 16:17, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

I don't understand what "metro areas" has to do with anything. LtPowers (talk) 17:20, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
I'm trying to think of this from the perspective of an international traveler, who just needs to know the bare minimum, just caring about how to make their call (not interested in the ins and outs of the system). So the simpler the better, and the less options the better. How about:
From landlines, you can always make a local call using 10 digits. Dial long distance and toll-free numbers using 11 digits. You may see these numbers written in other formats, but this approach will always work.
That's very simple, and quite possibly correct ;) --Peter Talk 17:37, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
Even if 10-digit dialing for local calls works everywhere (and I'm not sure that it is guaranteed, which is why I don't like saying "always"), it requires you to know the area code. If you're in a place with just 1 area code, phone numbers are often written as 7 digits. I think we can come up with a phrasing that doesn't say anything about metro areas and overlay plans, but still tells people "if a number is written as 7 digits, you can dial it like that locally". Bigpeteb (talk) 15:30, 24 July 2013 (UTC)
In fact, I see that in New York City, all calls must be dialed as 11 digits, even local ones. So to say that local calls can "always" be dialed as 10 digits is just not correct. You're right, we should keep it simple (something I struggle with sometimes :-p), but not so simple as to be wrong. Bigpeteb (talk) 15:46, 24 July 2013 (UTC)
Ay yay yay, what a headache ;) If we as locals can't figure out a rule that would be simple and usable, then maybe there isn't one. My biggest remaining question is whether it's ever a problem to dial 11 digits—can you wind up getting charged a long distance fee for a local call so dialed? --Peter Talk 21:27, 24 July 2013 (UTC)
Not always, but in some areas, yes. LtPowers (talk) 23:52, 24 July 2013 (UTC)
Hmm, so what actually happens if you skip the trunk number, and only dial 10 digits for a long distance (or local within NYC) call? --Peter Talk 06:38, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
I believe that you will most likely get a recorded message that says you have to dial a 1 before the number. But I imagine there must be some cases where the first seven digits of a ten-digit number could be confused with a local 7-digit number... LtPowers (talk) 19:50, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
I appreciate the education here, and think we have a much better section now ;) --Peter Talk 04:23, 30 July 2013 (UTC)

Public library internet[edit]

Our section currently reads:

Public libraries — have PCs with broadband for free public use. You may need to register with the library and get a library card. Non-locals may also need to pay.

Does anyone have any experience or evidence to confirm that non-locals would ever need to pay? Who would they even pay? I've never heard of that, and it seems directly counter to the national mission of bridging the digital divide by providing internet access in public libraries. I'm also fairly skeptical about the part saying that a non-local might need to get a library card, (registering definitely happens, though). --Peter Talk 04:28, 30 July 2013 (UTC)

Yes. The public library in Albuquerque made me pay in 2007. $4, I think. They said it was good for a year, I believe, but I was only going to be there for 4 days. It made me mad because you never have to pay in New York. Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:08, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
Yes. One local library charges $1 for a guest pass that is good for 3 days, while a couple others don't charge. Throughout the entire local library system, you need a login/password to access the computers that is tied to a library card. Those without a library card need to stop at the desk and get a login/password to use the desktop computers, while iPads can only be checked out if you have a library card and drivers' license/state ID to leave as collateral. I've also encountered a library which requires a login to access wi-fi. However, I too am skeptical about needing a "library card"...this could be changed to "You may need to register with the library to receive a login code and PIN/password to use available computers or wireless internet. Some libraries may charge non-locals a small fee to use their wireless internet connection and/or computers." AHeneen (talk) 14:14, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
The registering process sometimes simply has the library card attached to it so that you essentially ARE signing up for a library card in order to use the internet. I don't think it matters much if we say it or not. The library will inform the visitor of what they need to do to use the internet and if it means getting a card then get the card. I think it reads fine now but AHaneen's description reads just as good to me. The libraries all have their own way of doing things and tourists will do what they have to do (and the card process only takes about 5 minutes). Admittedly though I've never got one as a foreigner. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 04:20, 1 August 2013 (UTC)

Mobile Phones[edit]

I've rewritten the Mobile phones section. It's more comprehensive, but lengthy. It still needs a table for frequencies so visitors can determine which network(s) a foreign phone is most compatible with (if they plan on using it with a U.S. SIM card). This also entails noting which type of networks the carriers operate (GSM, CMDA, HSPA+, LTE, WiMax, EDGE, UMTS, etc). Hopefully that won't be overwhelming where it ends up looking like a long Wikipedia table! An alternative is to list the networks as a bulleted list with name, website (main page & coverage), and type/frequency. Other than that, is there anything else that should be added? It seems like the last paragraph about buying phones may be more appropriate in the "Buy" section, but content-wise, it fits in nicely here with the info about carrier practices (those %#&$!*@ contracts & locked phones) and it's noteworthy for visitors from countries where phones can only be sold unlocked who come here, see the low prices, buy a phone, and realize it's worthless when they take it home. AHeneen (talk) 15:20, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

I really don't like this. It feels very bloated to me, whereas the previous version was short and to-the-point. Why do we need so much detail about operating systems, network technology, and dozens upon dozens of external links (most of which ought to be front-linked as per new policy, BTW)?
I do think the section needs some expansion. Most visitors probably want to either use their phone from home, or rent one (something we have no mention of in either version). Long-term contracts are not viable for most visitors, and for those that it does apply to, a short description is all they need; they need to do more research on their own to choose a provider anyway. The advice about buying phones to bring home probably belongs in the "Buy" section. Bigpeteb (talk) 18:05, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
It seems like there's some duplication between the last paragraph and the first; can that information be consolidated? LtPowers (talk) 18:07, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
The info about the networks (standards & frequencies) is actually very important to people who wish to use their foreign phones in the U.S.—especially for data (mobile internet). There are too many network standards & frequencies for today's phones to support even half of the combinations. Much of the world uses just a few of the combinations and phone makers manufacture different models of the same phone (eg. iPhone, Galaxy S4, etc) with different radio receivers to best suit different regions or networks. I do not know of any companies that rent mobile phones, so just left the statement that was in the previous version. Given the low cost of a basic prepaid phone & minutes, that is probably a better alternative than renting for someone who is only staying in the U.S for a couple weeks. AHeneen (talk) 13:07, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
I took a stab at rewriting this. I tried to condense it as much as possible, and eliminate verbiage without sacrificing any information. I went with bulleted format, similar to what the article already has for airlines, and I put in a table for SIM cards, conceptually basing it on a similar table from Japan#Mobile phones.
Hopefully this will make the section easier to read while still conveying sufficient information for visitors. Let me know what you think. Bigpeteb (talk) 20:40, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
I think the table goes into way too much detail; leave specific pricing plans to the company web sites, since they're subject to change at any time. LtPowers (talk) 02:16, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
I'd recommend removing the table altogether. I also got rid of the "Americans have cell phones" introduction ;) --Peter Talk 02:37, 13 August 2013 (UTC)

LDS-Related Travel Needs[edit]

Given the spiritual (yet also note-worthy) disabilities of LDS Church members, I thought that using, much less mentioning this website search engine is the least I could do to keep them sane and tame like the Quicksilver Flood of Hermes. --Lo Ximiendo (talk) 01:11, 29 September 2013 (UTC)

If we're going to link a site for Mormons to find temples, do you also propose to link to such sites for Jews, Catholics, Baptists, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists, Wiccans, etc., etc.? It seems to me, this kind of link is probably not OK under our external links policy, and that it makes more sense to include LDS temples under "Cope" in relevant articles. Ikan Kekek (talk) 01:19, 29 September 2013 (UTC)
I agree with Ikan, and would also suggest that this is a 'slippery slope' direction to take. Also does this make sense considering LDS was actually founded in the U.S. ? --Andrewssi2 (talk) 01:47, 29 September 2013 (UTC)
I do not claim much knowledge in the area of LDS, however I suspect that "spiritual disabilities" is not respectful. "Spiritual Considerations" may be more appropriate. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 01:47, 29 September 2013 (UTC)
I agree. One thought, though, is that there could certainly be a Mormon Temples travel topic. Not only are there many Mormons around the world who would be interested in visiting temples, but Mormon temple architecture is quite interesting to many non-Mormons, too. If someone wants to start such a topic, they'll certainly have my blessing. Ikan Kekek (talk) 01:54, 29 September 2013 (UTC)
I would agree that Mormon Temples as a standalone article (or group of articles) would be great. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 01:58, 29 September 2013 (UTC)
A travel topic might be useful, but I don't think the purpose should be to simply list the locations of Mormon temples. I believe it is actually quite easy for Mormons to find temples where they exist, and a quick Google search or inquiry at one's own temple would be faster and cut out the middle-man (Wikivoyage) in helping them find Mormon communities outside their own. Mormons tend to be more aware about where their temples are and I believe also more thorough in locating these places around the world than most other religions. If an article is created, I suggest making sure it is travel-related, such as an article about noteworthy Mormon spiritual sites and places of interest (such as Mormon museums if they exist) rather than a "Mormon Temples" article which sounds like a list (and duplication of the site above) or encyclopedic description of Mormon temple architecture. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 00:47, 30 September 2013 (UTC)
That was my original concern about the 'slippery slope'. I understand that the LDS church is extremely savvy with IT, and I don't see how WikiVoyage could hope to be a relevant resource compared to what has already been done by them. Perhaps a one page overview on the subject for non members with a general itinerary of Mormon travel destinations (i.e. Salt Lake city) --Andrewssi2 (talk) 00:57, 30 September 2013 (UTC)
I should point out, ChubbyWimbus, that although only Mormons with temple cards can go inside a consecrated temple, it is not only Mormons who may be interested in visiting (the grounds of) various temples. LtPowers (talk) 01:20, 30 September 2013 (UTC)
Exactly. As I pointed out, Mormon temple architecture is quite interesting - to Mormons and non-Mormons alike. And I think it would be fine for the topic to be broader than Mormon temples, and for it to encompass all other sites of specific relevance to the history and current practice of the LDS Church. Of course it should be more than a list. There needs to be some minimal amount of general background, and each point of interest should ideally be described in some way, with a link to the article on the specific city or town where it's located. We already have other topics about types of religious architecture and other places of religious pilgrimage or other significance. Without checking them all, I think all of them are more than mere lists.
But all of this discussion is beside the point until or unless someone decides to start the article. Ikan Kekek (talk) 03:41, 30 September 2013 (UTC)
That's basically the premise of the two articles Christianity and Islam. I can't find it, but I remember starting a discussion somewhere about the creation of travel topics concerning individual religions. These would cover some of the basics of their beliefs/practices (just as you would find a couple paragraphs or even pages about local religion in a good travel guidebook) as well as topics like pilgrimage/noteworthy sites, architecture, cuisine, and respect issues. Those two articles have not been developed yet, but can serve as a guide for an article on Mormonism. AHeneen (talk) 03:23, 1 October 2013 (UTC)
Thanks AHeneen . As far as I can tell, no-one, including the original poster, has actually shown any enthusiasm for creating this article. As Ikan Kekek says it is somewhat irrelevant until someone does. Good that there is a template in case a volunteer appears. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 09:13, 1 October 2013 (UTC)

Homosexuality[edit]

Perhaps my understanding of American culture is very shallow, but based on what I know, beyond the Northeast and West Coast, the US is basically a strongly evangelical Christian nation. I have actually seen some of these evangelicals going out on the street and chanting homophobic and anti-Muslim slogans. Some states have even gone so far as to attempt to pass legislation to replace the Theory of Evolution with Genesis in biology classes (though none of those bills were ever passed). Of course, I know that acceptance of homosexuality in say San Francisco or New York City is as good as most of Western Europe or Australia. But wouldn't it be a safety concern for gay and lesbian travellers heading into the rural inland areas? It is well known that people from those areas tend to be deeply religious, and many of the more extreme ones have homophobic tendencies. The dog2 (talk) 02:14, 15 October 2013 (UTC)

The article puts a positive view on the acceptance of homosexuality in the U.S, and doesn't seem to cover the valid safety concerns that you have. I'd just say it is very hard to make generalizations about this subject in the U.S., and specific safety warnings should go into the article relating to each state. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 13:55, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
Yes, it's only natural that our many US editors want to show the country in a good light and - being fair - the majority of tourists do concentrate on the areas where religiosity is slight and tolerance and apathy more pronounced. That's why I think the approach advanced by Andrew is more likely to properly warn queer travellers. That said, most queer travellers are likely to be pretty aware already due to films, etc. --W. Frankemailtalk 14:16, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
I do think it's important to have some warnings, but although the US may seem unfriendly to LGBT people compared to Western Europe, the truth is most travellers probably won't have to worry about it. In almost all large and medium cities, travelers are unlikely to experience any difficulties. It's true that there are protesters and such, but actual violence is not common (although not unheard of, either). Re-reading what's written now, I think it's a pretty accurate description of the current state of things at a national level. (Things may be different when you get to Alabama or Mississippi, but as W. Frank points out, that belongs in articles for those states.) --Bigpeteb (talk) 18:04, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
I agree that most of the areas that tourists are likely to visit will be fine. I do not think we should portray the U.S. in a more negative light than it actually is. Sure, most people in say California or New York are generally accepting of homosexuality. And of course, we know that even New Orleans or Chicago, which are geographically part of the "bible belt" are fine too. But that being said, it's also true that the evangelical Christian influence is much stronger in the U.S. than it is in Australia, Canada or Western Europe. Having a warning box against homosexuality is a bit over the top. After all, this isn't Saudi Arabia where you get stoned to death for it. However, I think it warrants a brief mention that some communities are not very accepting of homosexuality. Of course, if a gay traveller just sticks to the major cities, it will not be an issue but we should also not assume that gay travellers will not be interested in visiting the rural South. The dog2 (talk) 19:20, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
I've never heard anyone say that Chicago is part of the Bible Belt in any way. I haven't even heard anyone say that the state of Illinois is part of the Bible Belt, though the southern part (Downstate) is quite a lot more conservative and Southern in culture. Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:08, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
I just had a look at the current language in the "Gay and lesbian" section of "Stay safe," and I think it's good. What do you want to change? Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:11, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
I may be wrong, although you seem to be suggesting that the cause of violence towards homosexuals can be directly attributed to the prevalence of evangelical Christianity in a given area. I would say that although the viewpoints of evangelicals can sometimes contribute to a hostile atmosphere towards homosexuals, it is rarely a direct cause of that violence. It is a rather complex subject, however religion is only one factor of many. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 00:25, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
I think you're right. There have been gay-bashing incidents in New York City - and a shooting/killing within the last 2 years, and I think that they've been clearly associated with anti-gay bigotry, but I don't recall (someone may correct me if I'm wrong) that they were associated with particularly Fundamentalist beliefs. Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:34, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
In some areas, it's not unusual for people to be uncomfortable with homosexuals (after all, Trail Life U.S.A. exists). However, in those same areas, it's not uncommon for a local to walk up to a stranger and start talking about his/her faith. Perhaps a better answer is Americans (taken en masse) are more Christian than most other developed nations, more open about their faith. For a large number (certainly not all, I'm a person of faith who's fine with LGBTs), that informs their politics Purplebackpack89 04:25, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
I don't really propose any major changes to it, but I think it's worth a mention that the acceptance of homosexuality varies widely from region to region. Of course, I'm aware that acceptance of homosexuality also varies between individual Christians, but it is also true that areas with a higher proportion of evangelicals tend to be less accepting to homosexuals than ares which are more relaxed with religious observance. Maybe I was going a bit overboard in suggesting that evangelicals might attack a gay for no apparent reason (I'm aware that some will, but they are by no means the majority), but I think it is worth mentioning that gays would probably not have any major issues in New York or Califronia, but in places such as Oklahoma or Kansas, they should also be prepared for unaccepting attitudes from the locals there. The dog2 (talk) 04:53, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
That makes sense. Basically, what it would amount to is, consider being circumspect while visiting highly Christian Right areas of the rural South and some other areas (e.g., Utah outside of Salt Lake City, Park City, et al., and probably parts of rural eastern California, but I really couldn't give an exhaustive list) if you are gay. You probably won't encounter any violence, but you may meet with disapproval. Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:07, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
"they should also be prepared for unaccepting attitudes from the locals there" Just to state the obvious, something that might make you feel uncomfortable does not constitute a Safety issue in any way. I would suggest placing this kind of information in the 'Cope' section. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 05:42, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
I think that's right, actually. Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:50, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
We already say the following:
"In general, Americans take a live-and-let-live approach to sexuality, but there are significant exceptions. It's generally not a problem to be open about one's sexual orientation, though you may receive unwanted attention or remarks in some situations. Attitudes toward homosexuality vary widely, even in regions with a reputation for tolerance or intolerance. Acceptance is most common in major cities throughout the country and smaller cities, suburbs and college towns especially around the Pacific Coast, the Northeast and Hawaii. Homophobia and anti-gay violence may be encountered anywhere, especially in some suburban and rural areas of the Southeast and interior West, but the chances of this happening to you are relatively low."
Does this not adequately convey the warnings you want to see, The dog2? --Bigpeteb (talk) 13:25, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
I'd change "relatively low" to "low," because the context makes it seem to refer to actual violence. Ikan Kekek (talk) 17:10, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
I guess it covers most of it, but perhaps we should uncouple homophobia and violence, since people who are homophobic may not necessarily be violent against gays. Perhaps the last sentence could be changed to something like "Homophobia may be encountered anywhere, though it is most common in some suburban and rural areas of the South and interior West, many of which are strongly evangelical. Unprovoked violence against homosexuals is also known to occur at times, but your chances of encountering it are low". The dog2 (talk) 00:00, 17 October 2013 (UTC)
Maybe it is just me, but I'm not understanding what the change is trying to achieve? You could possibly, maybe, under certain circumstances experience violence if you belong to a certain ethnic group, religion, own a dog, vote for Obama, don't vote for Obama, are over 60 years old, are under 60 years old, come from a Northern State, have an accent from New Jersey, go trick or treating on Halloween, go to the cinema, cut someone off in traffic... I just don't see a need to change the existing wording. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 00:36, 17 October 2013 (UTC)
Well, I just thought it might be useful to highlight that the U.S. is generally OK but not as gay-friendly as other Western countries. But well, since everyone is happy with the way it's written, I'll just leave it as it is. I don't wish to incur the wrath of all the American editors on this site. The dog2 (talk) 05:42, 17 October 2013 (UTC)
Be careful what assumptions you make. I don't see any wrathful American editors in this thread. And I think it's fine to say that the US is not as gay-friendly, overall, as most European countries. Ikan Kekek (talk) 06:30, 17 October 2013 (UTC)

Speeding, right to silence[edit]

The advice for driving currently says "If you are pulled over, be respectful, address the officer as "Officer," and express heartfelt regret at your excessive speed. You will nearly always get a ticket, but it never hurts to express regret as maybe you will get lucky and only receive a warning."

Legally, in many jurisdictions saying "I'm sorry for speeding" is considered an admission of guilt (you admit that you were speeding), and may leave you little or no recourse for defending yourself as innocent.

Although I would probably give people the same general advice, is it worth mentioning that you may also decline to say anything, or disagree with the officer ("I don't believe I was speeding") so as not to implicate yourself? Or is that just too much detail for a high-level overview? --Bigpeteb (talk) 14:28, 21 October 2013 (UTC)

Most travelers are just going to pay the fine and not contest the ticket anyway, so does it matter whether they admit guilt at the scene or not? LtPowers (talk) 14:41, 22 October 2013 (UTC)

British English Speakers[edit]

I didn't like this recent change to 'talk'.

"American English differs somewhat from the English spoken in the UK and other parts of the world. These differences are mostly minor, and primarily around minor spelling differences as well as pronunciation, so speakers of British English would not have any major issues communicating"

First issue is that there are not that many British speakers that they deserve a reference here. (i.e. should we accommodate Nigerian English speakers in the same way?). Second issue is that this 'fact' is already well known to British people! It really adds no value. I have simplified to address the whole English speaking world, however let me know if you don't agree. Andrewssi2 (talk) 07:49, 8 November 2013 (UTC)

That's fine. I just used the term "British English" since much of the English-speaking world used to be part of the British empire, so what they use tends to be closer to British than American English. There are former American colonies like Liberia and the Philippines, and these countries generally follow American usage. But I'm happy to leave it as you have put it. The dog2 (talk) 03:05, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
I really struggle to think of one country in the former British Empire that retains a 'British' pronunciation in the same way that Filipinos use the pronunciation of United States English. Even Australian English is distinct enough in terms of pronunciation. I guess my issue is that it is too simplified to categorize all English into either 'British' and 'United States'.
In terms of spelling, I don't believe any that any English speaker would have any particular difficulty reading both British and American English. In any case that was addressed in the link to 'English variants'.
What is perhaps more interesting is visitors from foreign countries with advanced English skills (such as Northern Europe) traveling to the deep south and not understanding anything :) --Andrewssi2 (talk) 03:42, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
Well for some reason British English is about as commonly taught in schools as is American English, maybe because people think it is more "correct" or "original" the situation with European and American Spanish is similar in this regard, at least in Europe.... Maybe a word of advice, that (as almost anywhere in the world) regional and class dialects (a upper-crust Bostonian will speak at least slightly different, than someone in Boston who lives off welfare) exist, and that they can hinder communication especially in rural areas, with elderly people (both because their dialects/accents tend to be stronger and because speech impairments increase with age) or - in the case of the US - with members of some minority groups. I also think that most first language English speakers should be able to reasonably understand most variants of English after a small amount of practice, whereas second language English speakers will have more problems with - say - a heavy southern drawlHobbitschuster (talk) 14:50, 8 December 2014 (UTC)

Stereotypes[edit]

I removed the following statement added by The dog2:

In general, individuality is highly valued in American society. This, in addition to its recent history of discrimination, as well as the current push towards equality means that Americans tend to be extremely sensitive towards any form of stereotypes or generalizations, be they positive or negative. Do not make any such statements, even as a joke, or even if you meant it in a positive sense, as most Americans, especially members of the groups concerned will be very offended by them.

I removed because:

  1. That Americans are not particularly exceptional in this regard. Most people in the world have the potential to be offended by stereotypes and therefore it falls under 'Captain obvious'
  2. Perceived American individualism is not relevant in this regard
  3. What exactly is the traveler supposed to do with this information? Modify their behavior how exactly?

Does anyone have an idea how to turn this into a relevant addition to the article? Andrewssi2 (talk) 23:21, 2 December 2013 (UTC)

I do understand that negative stereotypes are offensive anywhere in the world, but in the US, even positive stereotypes are offensive. For instance, saying that Indians make good curries would not be offensive in Singapore, but it is offensive in the US. An Indian American will probably interpret it as you trying to suggest that Indians only make curries and do nothing else. The dog2 (talk) 00:28, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
I strongly disagree with your example. I don't believe any Indian American (I assume you are not referring to native Indian Americans) would be offended in the slightest by that statement. Why does it imply they would do nothing else? Andrewssi2 (talk) 00:34, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I'd tend to agree with Andrew - negative stereotypes should be avoided everywhere, and I disagree that positive stereotypes are something a traveler would need to be warned to avoid in the US. In the example you provide, the level of nuance that would need to be conveyed to educate someone unfamiliar with US culture when and why it might be inappropriate to say that "Indians make good curries" would probably require several paragraphs to explain in a useful way, and that would be beyond the scope of this article. The existing bullet point about racial and cultural issues might deserve a bit more explanation, but I think we need to be careful that we're focusing on travel advice and not expanding the scope of this article to cover general etiquette. -- Ryan • (talk) • 00:44, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
In this case, I was talking about Indian Americans as in Americans whose ancestors came from India. Perhaps it was a one off case, but I know of incidents a Jewish American gets offended when someone says that Jews make good New York deli sandwiches, so cases like this are definitely not unheard of. The dog2 (talk) 01:05, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
I think you need to be careful when taking anecdotes of a Jewish deli sandwich incident (with little or no context) and making sweeping generalizations about the American nation. I could do the same for any country I'd care to think of and I would be wrong to do it.
I believe that I agree with Ryan in that there may be some sort of nuanced truth hidden (very deeply) behind all of this, and I would also agree that WV is not an appropriate place to explore it. Andrewssi2 (talk) 03:25, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
The dog, neither of the examples you give would be likely to cause offense. They are positive statements about Indian and Jewish food. Ikan Kekek (talk) 04:18, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
Hi Ikan Kekek, since I think you might be a New York resident, would it be true to say that sometimes the dry New York humor could be misinterpreted by people hailing from East Asia? Andrewssi2 (talk) 04:36, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
Some of our humor could be misinterpreted by anyone who isn't fluent in English. Other than that, I guess it's true that sarcasm isn't always clear to people who aren't used to it. I don't think visitors should worry too much, though; it's not like they'll experience anything close to a constant stream of sarcasm while visiting my city. I doubt that people tend to direct much sarcastic humor toward foreigners who are less than fluent in English. Ikan Kekek (talk) 04:48, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
Ostensibly positive stereotypes can be offensive too. Just try telling a Japanese that Asians are good at math. That said, I doubt the US is notably different in this regard. Texugo (talk) 10:20, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
Sure. That would be offensive, as would "Jews are good at making money," "blacks are good at playing basketball," etc. I just don't think "Indians make good curries" and "Jews make good pastrami" are among the "positive" stereotypes that would be likely to offend. Ikan Kekek (talk) 11:09, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
Neither here nor there, but isn't saying "Jews make good pastrami" kind of redundant, like saying "Mexico has the most authentic Mexican food"? Haha...Texugo (talk) 11:24, 3 December 2013 (UTC)

(indent) Well, "Indians make good curries" fits in with those examples as well. "Indians make terrible curries" would be blasphemous hate speech. Anyway, I like the way it's written now. I'm not sure how much individuality plays a role in issues of race. I really think it's the history (already mentioned) that makes race such a touchy subject in the US. The United States carries a ton of racial baggage. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 11:55, 3 December 2013 (UTC)

Speed traps[edit]

I feel like the driving section should have

In some states, speed limits decrease abruptly prior to entering rural towns. This is sometimes called a speed trap. Be very careful to comply with speed limits in these situations, particularly if driving a car with out-of-state license plates.

Thoughts? Purplebackpack89 01:06, 7 December 2013 (UTC)

Sensible. "Also watch out for reduced speed limits and rules against passing school buses in school zones" could also be added, unless people think it's obvious (I don't think it is, as there are doubtless many countries where either there are no reduced speed limits in school zones or they are not enforced). Ikan Kekek (talk) 01:11, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
It's not a "speed trap" unless the cops usually hide out looking for people who miss the change. What's this about passing buses in school zones? LtPowers (talk) 01:25, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
School buses have signs on them saying "Do not pass." You are supposed to wait until the children have been let out before passing them. Isn't that right? I'm not a driver; I just observe things. You're completely correct about the definition of "speed trap." Sorry for not catching that. Ikan Kekek (talk) 01:35, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
In the US it's always illegal to pass a school bus that's stopping to pick up or drop off children, regardless of which side of the road it's on. The only exception is if it's on a divided highway, and even then a couple of states still don't permit it. --Bigpeteb (talk) 14:36, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
Er, yes... but what does that have to do with school zones? LtPowers (talk) 20:29, 9 December 2013 (UTC)

Edit war in Respect section[edit]

These edits by The dog2 were undone by 12.197.246.197, which was then re-done by Saqib.

I think the anon user is correct in this case.

  • The text that was added ("Avoid making any statements, either positive or negative, about any race even if you meant it in a light hearted way, as these have the potential to offend someone from that community.") clearly falls under WV:NCO.
  • Even if it weren't, the beginning of that bullet is straightforward when it says "Americans are exceptionally touchy about issues of race".
  • As has been pointed out before, this article is very long and tends to accumulate a lot of cruft that just isn't necessary.

If there's a convincing reason why this text should be included, make it here. But I'm going to revert to the original version (the one that doesn't include this text) per WV:NCO until a case is made otherwise. --Bigpeteb (talk) 18:02, 26 December 2013 (UTC)

I redone it as I thought its vandalism. I never been to US yet but I guess US is amongst the least racist countries in the world so such advice is not necessary here. But few countries such as India and few Middle Eastern countries are most racist and we should probably have such advice there even though if it falls under WV:NCO. --Saqib (talk) 18:27, 26 December 2013 (UTC)
The US surely is not one of the least racist countries in the world (for example, I have a white Dutch friend whose boyfriend is a black Dutch man, and they never have any problems in the Netherlands but get some hostile stares when visiting the US, especially the South), but is probably one of the more race-conscious. That said, "Americans are exceptionally touchy about issues of race" is quite sufficient. If someone needs more details about that, maybe they need to read something other than a travel guide. Ikan Kekek (talk) 18:48, 26 December 2013 (UTC)
I have visited most of the countries that have a separate entry in this travel guide and in my subjective opinion, "Americans are exceptionally touchy about issues of race" is both true and probably both quite sufficient and well known. What is not so well known is their extreme sensitivity to bare feet which for many cultures borders on the pathological and may not be wv:nco... --210.246.33.93 18:58, 26 December 2013 (UTC)
Please enlighten us, because as an American, I have no idea what you're talking about. Do you mean that you can't walk into a store without shoes? What's unusual about that? Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:02, 26 December 2013 (UTC)
we are going offtrack here. The ‘no shoes’ comment is also wrong.Andrewssi2 (talk) 23:26, 26 December 2013 (UTC)
Au contraire. "No shoes, no shirt, no service" is a very common sign in the US. On the other hand, it's totally self-explanatory and doesn't need to be mentioned in this article, unless for humorous effect (but probably not at all). Ikan Kekek (talk) 23:38, 26 December 2013 (UTC)
"No shoes, no shirt, no service" is surely asking for a basic level of dress from customers, and not in any way related to the assertion “extreme sensitivity to bare feet which for many cultures borders on the pathological” ? Andrewssi2 (talk) 14:41, 27 December 2013 (UTC)
You are correct, but I was the one who made the "no shoes" remark. Ikan Kekek (talk) 17:22, 27 December 2013 (UTC)
Apologies, I didn't follow that correctly then. Please ignore. Andrewssi2 (talk) 11:48, 28 December 2013 (UTC)
I SUPPORT the removal of the text because it is exactly the wv:nco as in the previous ‘stereotypes‘ discussion. Andrewssi2 (talk) 23:26, 26 December 2013 (UTC)

Ambiguous sentence suggesting certain things are illegal on Sundays?[edit]

I noticed this sentence in 'Culture':

"Because of many Americans' strong religious belief, many businesses and institutions are closed on Sundays, and a number of areas in the South and Midwest forbid certain actions from taking place on Sunday."

I do not claim to be an expert on constitutional law however is this for real? Surely the clear separation of church and state would not allow any such legal restrictions on opening on Sundays? Andrewssi2 (talk) 14:04, 28 December 2013 (UTC)

You might think so, but that's not the case. You can have a look here and here. Key point:
"In the United States, the U.S. Supreme Court have held blue laws as constitutional numerous times due to secular rationales, even though the origin of the blue laws were for religious purposes." Ikan Kekek (talk) 14:16, 28 December 2013 (UTC)
Interesting, I was vaguely aware of 'blue laws' although I didn't realize they were directly connected to restricting activities on a Sunday. I might still suggest rewording this sentence, since 'actions' is still ambiguous, and it appears (from the WV link) mostly to do with liquor, hunting and car sales (an interesting combination of vices). Andrewssi2 (talk) 15:04, 28 December 2013 (UTC)

College sports[edit]

Help me out here -- what's the point of telling travelers about NCAA scholarship scandals? Powers (talk) 21:13, 28 December 2013 (UTC)

It's interesting, colorful, and different from most other countries. If sports scholarships are mentioned at all, and especially if it's pointed out that they are often not at all related to academic qualifications, it seemed natural to go there. I guess your feeling is that this kind of thing has no effect on most visitors, which would be true. So what would your approach be? Not to mention athletic scholarships at all? Ikan Kekek (talk) 22:11, 28 December 2013 (UTC)
I was thinking that the whole 'top places to get a degree in the united states' isn't really on-topic since it is not actually travel in itself, and the college sports aspect is another distraction from the goal to inform the general traveler. What would people think if we moved this subject to a new article called Study in the United States ? Andrewssi2 (talk) 00:53, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
My first remark would be: By all means. But one thing that occurs to me is, if you do that, consider merging Touring prestigious and notable universities in the U.S. into the article. Ikan Kekek (talk) 01:03, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
Interesting idea. I have to say though that there is very little 'touring', or indeed any discernible travel in Touring prestigious and notable universities in the U.S.. It seems to be a list of the contributor's favorite universities, and seriously why would anyone come to WV for that? I will of course think about ways it could be incorporated. Andrewssi2 (talk) 05:27, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
The scandals are anomalous enough that appears to be just anti-Americanism to mention them in a general-interest travel article, even if scholarships are mentioned. But you're right that the scholarships themselves are only barely related to travel. Powers (talk) 03:59, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
Are you accusing me of being anti-American? :-) Ikan Kekek (talk) 04:05, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
My knowledge of the subject is limited (more or less) to the film Blue Chips. I'd say the subject is not anti-American but rather zealous introspection. :) Andrewssi2 (talk) 05:02, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
I think the scholarships are worth mentioning, since it is a unique and probably not very well known way of getting to study abroad in the U.S. for cheap. But come on, we don't need to air our dirty laundry here. Unfortunately it is true that some student athletes perform poorly academically, but that's off-topic for a travel article. --Bigpeteb (talk) 18:59, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
I think a small sentence should mention it though. The point of adding this is to inform people who with to study in the US that sports scholarships are available as a source for funding. Studying in the US is really expensive, so sports scholarships are a viable option for international students who wish to study in the US without incurring massive debt. We do not go into details regarding all the scandals, but it is also true that if someone is very good in a particular college sport, he can get into say, Harvard, with a much worse academic record than a normal person. I think at least that warrants a mention (though there is no need to specifically mention Harvard). The dog2 (talk) 04:25, 8 January 2014 (UTC)
Is this not covered by the existing text: "College sports in the U.S. tend to get more attention than in other countries, with games between the top colleges often shown on television during prime time slots. Many universities offer sports scholarships to students, including international students, who are outstanding in a particular college sport." ? Andrewssi2 (talk) 05:01, 8 January 2014 (UTC)
I do have a proposal for a slight addition though. How about "Many universities offer sports scholarships to students, including international students, who are outstanding in a particular college sport, even if their academic record may be less than stellar." ? The dog2 (talk) 05:50, 8 January 2014 (UTC)

Page banner[edit]

Support please? --Saqib (talk) 21:17, 2 January 2014 (UTC)

Statue of Liberty light banner.jpg
I created the new banner simply because the silhouette image is not, IMO, "made from fantastic images that really make a destination shine" (quote from the Banner expedition). There are jpg artefacts around the silhouette even when viewed 100%, and the photo is not a "low sun turns everything into beautiful silhouettes", it's a mid-day image simply taken from the "wrong" side of the statue and the sky looks pretty dull. But LtPowers has reverted to the silhouette, not much I can do about it I guess. Armigo (talk) 23:14, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
I found your version better than the current one. --Saqib (talk) 23:23, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
I also like the non-silhouette better, but given the revert comment that "the silhouette was chosen deliberately" would prefer to understand why the silhouette would be preferred before making another change. -- Ryan • (talk) • 23:31, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
Talk:New_York_City#Page_banner. --Saqib (talk) 23:44, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
Statue of Liberty shadow banner.jpg
I believe it's important to consider that the precise objectives of our banners can vary depending on the article. For medium-to-large cities, a skyline shot is often used because they are widely available in high qualities, very common in depictions of the city, and do a good job of giving an overview of the city without focusing too much on one of hundreds of attractions. But for smaller cities and larger regions, that approach isn't workable (for different reasons). For small cities and towns, which don't usually have "skylines" per se, it's better to focus on their single main (or most photogenic) attraction to provide readers with an anchoring point, something they can latch onto as the community's identity. Large regions, on the other hand, have too many attractions and are too large to represent with a single overview shot, so we choose a single attraction to try to give a taste or sample of the region's offerings.
(Yes, there are always exceptions; I'm speaking generally here.)
However, countries the size of Russia, Canada, and the United States are a special case, in my opinion, due to their sheer enormity. In fact, they're such special cases that I think it's impossible to develop a one-size-fits-all metric or guideline that suits all of them. While it's true I originally made the banner for New York City, I've come to agree with PerryPlanet's observation that it was a little too generic to suit the whole city (though I still think my idea of Lady Liberty in the foreground with the city skyline behind her would work, if I could find such an image). But I also couldn't disagree with his observation that it suits the U.S. perfectly.
Using a silhouetted Liberty allows the image to act as an icon rather than a postcard. It changes the image from being "here's a statue that exists in the United States of America" to "here's something that represents the entire country". Coming up with a good banner for an enormous nation is very difficult, and I think we err if we go too far in the direction of mere documentation and avoid more abstract, iconic representations. We are not an encyclopedia, and the article on which this banner appears is not one for the Statue, or for New York City, or even for the state of New York. (The proposed banner would work great on an encyclopedia article for any of those!)
By all means, if someone can find a better quality silhouette source image, I'm all for it. But I will defend my aesthetic choice to use a silhouetted Liberty here. It turns the mundane into something much more dynamic and appropriate for representing the entire country.
-- Powers (talk) 00:49, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
I understand the rationale of Powers to an extent, although I still prefer Saqib's banner a great deal. As a non-American, I believe the non-silhouette actually better meets the criterion of "here's something that represents the entire country" since it is instantly recognizable to me. (The silhouette version takes a few nano-seconds more) Andrewssi2 (talk) 00:57, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
As usual, I seem to be unable to convey my point. The silhouette is intended to transcend a snapshot, a direct representation of a statue, and instead represent an entire nation. Yes, the statue herself represents the nation, but by going with a silhouette, I believe we're excising the middleman, so to speak. But this is why wikis are so well suited to encyclopedia writing and so poorly suited to travel writing; so much of art and aesthetics is subjective. Powers (talk) 02:30, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
I don't think it is to do with conveying your point, and more to do with the second part of your response which is the subjective nature of aesthetics. 'Traditional' Lonely Planet travel guides can impose a degree of conformity to achieve a single vision of aesthetics, although I guess that will not be possible here. Andrewssi2 (talk) 02:51, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
I also get the point of the symbolism being attempted, but I think the silhouette image is an inferior image. If there is a better image that conveys "America" without being a clear representation of a specific icon then let's consider it, but in the mean time I think that the non-silhouette image makes a better banner. -- Ryan • (talk) • 06:09, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
Well, yes, the quality is not as high; I've admitted to such. But it's not horrible; certainly not to the point of needing to blow up the whole point of the banner to replace it with a snapshot of a single sight. Powers (talk) 16:51, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
Re: "blow up the whole point of the banner" - we have a number of banners that are somewhat abstract and convey the idea that "this is a representation of this place rather than a representation of a specific sight". In this case, however, my impression of the banner is that it actually is a "horrible" image - I assumed it was just a very poor quality image of the Statue of Liberty and had no idea it was attempting to be anything else, and others seem to share that impression. If the goal is to represent more than a single sight I don't think this banner achieves that goal, and particularly since the USA is one of our highest-visibility articles I believe that we should replace it with something better. -- Ryan • (talk) • 17:15, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
It's possible my crop and extrapolation job introduced artifacts due to my failure to maintain best-practices for working with JPGs. I would welcome attempts to do better, but I really think the average user isn't going to notice them. Powers (talk) 01:06, 4 January 2014 (UTC)
I would also welcome help finding a higher quality source image, but I've come up empty so far. The closest I've come are silhouettes that use a much more level camera angle that doesn't have nearly the same inspirational value. Powers (talk) 01:08, 4 January 2014 (UTC)
For whatever it's worth, I also support the lit image vs. the silhouette. And since we aren't going to go for a pure symbol like an American flag, I think the Statue of Liberty, as a recognizable symbol representing an ideal, is superior to the Capitol, which represents the government, or some monument like the Lincoln Memorial, which represents a particular president and what he did and stood for, or any war memorial which is dedicated to those who fought that particular war, or the New York Stock Exchange, which represents money. One out-of-the-box idea is a photo of the bald eagle, the national bird, but unless someone has a really fantastic image, I think we should stick with Lady Liberty. Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:53, 4 January 2014 (UTC)
It would be worth a lot more if you'd explain why you prefer a direct snapshot of the statue over a more abstract representation, especially considering my extensive arguments in favor of the latter. Powers (talk) 19:16, 5 January 2014 (UTC)
It's just clearer, even as a symbol. What is Lady Liberty without a face? I understand your argument; I just don't happen to agree with it. Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:31, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
Which part don't you agree with? That it's better to go more toward the abstract than the concrete for this particular article? Or that the silhouette image in question accomplishes that goal?
I really think you guys aren't thinking about this from an artistic point of view, except so far as to note the basic image-quality issues that have already been identified. The proposed image is boring, and it overemphasizes a single sight in a single city in a single state, when we could be presenting something that is more iconic. Why isn't iconography desired over this more pedestrian imagery? That's what I don't get. Powers (talk) 02:13, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
Unless I've overlooked a comment elsewhere I don't think anyone is against more artistic banners, and if there is another banner image that someone could propose that is more abstract we could discuss it definitively, but given that we have an existing image and a single replacement that has been proposed, there seems to be a pretty clear consensus that the existing image is not being perceived as an abstract representation but is instead seen as an inferior image. At this point I think this has been discussed enough to warrant switching the two images, but that would not preclude us from continuing to try to find a better banner. -- Ryan • (talk) • 02:46, 6 January 2014 (UTC)

Two things I would like to say on this matter:

  1. I have to agree with LtPowers that the silhouette makes for a more symbolic image. Seeing the statue of liberty from up close is something you do while on vacation in New York City; seeing the outline of the Statue of Liberty appearing on the horizon is an iconic symbol of America's immigration history and multiculturalism.
  2. With that said, I don't like either image as a pagebanner. The big empty blue space lacks context within the limited dimensions and just looks like a random blue stripe when seen in the periphery. I feel like it would work really well if we were looking for a full-page background image, but trying to use a vertical statue as the only focus point of a 7:1 ratio horizontal image just doesn't work. I would much prefer a dynamic scenery shot, whether it be the Rockies, the Plains, the Mississippi, the coast...I'm sure there's plenty of good options.
    Thatotherpersontalkcontribs 03:06, 6 January 2014 (UTC)

I can, if I'm honest, see virtue in both sides of this argument, but here are a couple of alternative banners:

Banner 1 (looks a bit artificial?)
Banner 2 (is Lady Liberty too small?)

--Nick talk 03:21, 6 January 2014 (UTC)

Banner 2 makes me think Sydnet Australia for a moment (I believe the bridge is the same design as the Sydney Harbour bridge) Andrewssi2 (talk) 03:34, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
I created another discussion around this on the expedition page: Wikivoyage_talk:Banner_Expedition#Convention_for_country_level_banners Andrewssi2 (talk) 03:34, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
I agree about the blue sky. Another idea would be to find a good image of Mt. Denali/McKinley, the national mountain and tallest in the US. Ryan stated the argument well: A dark silhouette of the Statue of Liberty, or at least the one that's currently being used as the pagebanner, doesn't seem more effective as an "abstract" symbol than a better lit image with a clearer face. Ikan Kekek (talk) 12:01, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
I don't know how many different ways I can explain why the silhouette is more iconic, but you seem determined to ignore me. Apparently I'm incapable of persuading anyone to my point of view on any damn topic on this whole damn project. Powers (talk) 19:44, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
I don't consider my disagreement with you on this to be that important, and I wouldn't have even brought it up if others' thoughts hadn't prompted me to consider my position. I'm sorry if you feel that this disagreement is so important as to greatly frustrate you. But don't assume that the reason people disagree with you on this is that they don't understand or are ignoring your points. It's very possible to understand an argument and disagree with it. Ikan Kekek (talk) 23:59, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
By the way, the banner that's all yellow with the cranes in it sucks. :-) Sorry, but it's true. No way do we want a fuzzy photo with cranes in it to represent the United States. Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:02, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
I've made the change to the non-silhouette banner as there seems to be consensus (although not unanimity) to make that change. If we're going to make a further change to a more abstract banner, Nick's silhouette image (the one without the cranes) would be my preferred option of the two proposed, although to work as a banner the silhouette may need to be moved to the right so that we don't have text, a silhouette, and then a lot of empty blue space. Ideally it would be nice to get some other options, as I honestly think the new, non-silhouette banner works the best of all banners proposed so far as a banner that represents "USA" while also being aesthetically pleasing. -- Ryan • (talk) • 05:28, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
The banner Ryan just put at the article looks good, although I’m not against the former banner either. I would prefer not to have the one with the cranes and the bridge. When discussing Europe’s banner I said that we should not have one recognizable sight (e.g. the Eifel tower, Colosseum) - because that would be at the expense of all the other sights - but instead a medieval castle or Greek/Roman ruin to -how should I put it -“represent the spirit and history of Europe”. I think the Aristotle and Plato banner that’s now there is great. Similarly the USA is a very diverse country in all matters (almost like a continent) and therefore I think the USA article should have a symbol rather than a particular sight. That’s why I prefer a Statue of Liberty banner with just the statue, nothing else. ϒpsilon (talk) 05:58, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
But don't you think that silhouetting the statue makes it more symbolic and takes it farther away from simply showing "a particular sight"?
As far as I can see, the objections to the banner I had on this article are twofold: The quality is poor, and the other one is "better". I've acknowledged the quality issues, but it doesn't seem like that alone should be sufficient cause to throw out the entire concept behind the banner. The second objection I just don't understand. No one has really explained how a simple photograph of a single statue in a single city is "better" than a more iconic, artistic attempt at symbolizing the whole country. That's what I don't get. A bunch of people just said they like it "better" without explaining why. Why not make an effort to explain? Powers (talk) 18:48, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
The thing I like with the current banner is that the statue is brighter (more "positive") than the silhouette version and therefore is more consistent with its name Liberty Enlightening the World. I definitely agree that there should be symbolism in the banner for this article; the United States is geographically and culturally as diverse as a continent and historically and politically it's not just an ordinary country. I don't think showing the color of the statue would ruin the concept. ϒpsilon (talk) 20:23, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
I wonder why sometimes the discussions becomes too long on some very minor issues. --Saqib (talk) 20:25, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
As I have attempted to explain multiple times, "showing the color of the statue" turns the image from one that suggests Liberty as an abstract concept to one that shows you a picture of a statue. It completely changes the entire concept. Powers (talk) 23:29, 7 January 2014 (UTC)

Four more options[edit]

Well I just sorted through several hundred photos on Commons and it's proving harder than I expected to find a scenery shot that would make a good pagebanner. I managed to come up with two non-Statue of Liberty options as well as two more Statue photos with better sky in the background.

Statue of Liberty banner with light clouds.jpg

Nice coloration, but the source image puts the statue in a bit of an awkward spot no matter how you crop it.


Statue of Liberty banner with storm clouds.jpg

Statue in a better spot; pixel ratio isn't great.


San Francisco from Alcatraz banner with flag.jpg

Does the flag keep this one from being too San Francisco-specific?


Table Rock scenery banner.jpg

Just some nice North Carolina scenery. I don't know how the file size ended up being over 9MB when the original file was less than 4, but I suppose it could be compressed if people like this one. (File size reduced by 60%.)

Thatotherpersontalkcontribs 13:25, 8 January 2014 (UTC)

I prefer the first one to the current pagebanner. The North Carolina scenery, while nice, isn't particularly distinctively American. It would be good to use that pagebanner somewhere appropriate, though. Ikan Kekek (talk) 22:57, 8 January 2014 (UTC)
The first one is actually my least favorite of the four. I tried previewing the article with that banner and it doesn't absorb the TOC stripe very well, what with the photo cutting off so high up on the statue. I see the North Carolina one has already been added to a region article. Anyone think the resolution of Option #2 is a big enough issue to disqualify it entirely? Anyone think Option #3 puts too much focus on San Francisco to be used as a country-level banner? I personally like the third one quite a bit.
Thatotherpersontalkcontribs 07:36, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
I like the second one the best - the mixture of colors on the clouds with just enough of the statue to be easily recognizable makes for an interesting banner. However, as you've noted recommended banner dimensions are 2100x300 (Wikivoyage:Banner Expedition#Image size) and it seems like that should be an important consideration for such a high-visibility article. -- Ryan • (talk) • 07:43, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
The 2100 x 300 guideline is a purely arbitrary one - the banner template only uses an 1800px wide image fetched from Commons, so as long as it is clear at that resolution, it will display perfectly. --Nick talk 08:00, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
If the first banner is really unacceptable, I'm OK with the 3rd banner. Though it seems too San Francisco-centric, it does include an American flag. I don't like the 2nd one, with the overcast skies. Ikan Kekek (talk) 13:19, 9 January 2014 (UTC)

I've done a re-crop of Option #1 to push the statue as far up in the banner as I can. It no longer looks like she's drowning in the words Buy, Eat, Drink when you preview it with the Table of Contents across the bottom, although now the torch is practically bumping up against the top of the banner. Is this an acceptable trade-off? I like the new version a little better, but let me know if anyone thinks we need more sky buffer at the top.
Thatotherpersontalkcontribs 23:44, 9 January 2014 (UTC)

Given that we left-justify all of the text elements in the banner, I think it's going to look unbalanced to have the main graphical element centered. Proper balance would use the positioning of the current banner or the previous banner. Powers (talk) 14:01, 10 January 2014 (UTC)
I would have preferred that as well, but the source image doesn't allow it. -Thatotherpersontalkcontribs 08:44, 11 January 2014 (UTC)

One more[edit]

Mount Rushmore sunset banner.jpg

Just found that on Commons, unused. -Thatotherpersontalkcontribs 09:53, 11 January 2014 (UTC)

Gorgeous, though might be better on South Dakota. Powers (talk) 00:25, 12 January 2014 (UTC)
I actually find it acceptable for this article and wouldn't try to stand in the way of a consensus in its favor, if one develops. Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:53, 13 January 2014 (UTC)
I do like this banner and would be pleased to see it implemented if consensus develops. --Nick talk 02:56, 13 January 2014 (UTC)
Happy to see this used on the USA article, or if it is not used there then it should definitely find a home in another article as it's too good to go unused. -- Ryan • (talk) • 03:06, 13 January 2014 (UTC)
How would it be better on South Dakota? Any banner we could use is going to show one small part of the United States. I think a National Memorial featuring U.S. Presidents is about as country-level as it gets. -Thatotherpersontalkcontribs 06:16, 13 January 2014 (UTC)
I'd be afraid it's a little too political, and it shares the problem I've mentioned before of being about a single sight rather than about the whole country. Powers (talk) 19:06, 13 January 2014 (UTC)
The biggest problem I have with Mt. Rushmore is that it's sacred land that was illegally stolen from the Lakota Sioux, but land theft from Native American tribes is a central part of American history, so I see no reason to whitewash it. And otherwise, these are images of previous US presidents who most Americans consider great, so I don't consider it too political - it's not as if one of the presidents pictured is G.W. Bush or some other recent president whose administration is still a live controversy around the world. And because it is a series of images of presidents, it is about the whole country, in addition to being a view of a sight, just as is the case with the Statue of Liberty, even in silhouette (again: I understand your argument on that and disagree). If you really want to have a symbol that isn't a place, we'd have to use an American flag, a bald eagle, or money, and I'm not sure what else would qualify. Ikan Kekek (talk) 01:51, 14 January 2014 (UTC)
Obviously it's hard to come up with a banner that isn't a place; the question is what we can do to that banner to make it seem to represent the country rather than simply being a snapshot of a location. I believe the silhouette does that; I don't understand why you disagree. Powers (talk) 15:24, 14 January 2014 (UTC)
For me personally, as a non-American, the Statue of Liberty -however depicted- is a great icon for the US. I would most surely associate it with the USA first and only New York second, and it's in no way "just a snapshot of a location" for me. I understand the theory of an abstract version of it, but to be honest, the silhouette makes no difference at all in terms of representation for me. That specific picture is less catchy than the current banner is though, so I'd rally for the current one too. As an outsider, I'd say there are plenty of "places" or sights that scream USA rather than a specific location, although I understand it may be different for Americans. The flag, of course, and indeed mount Rushmore (to be honest, well-educated and well-travelled, I'm embarrassed to say I couldn't really point where that is on a USA map anyway :-)). Some red sandy desert where you'd expect a cowboy to ride into the picture or a vintage Route 66 sign... What I'm trying to say is that I think many of your ideas would work fine for most people in the world. They don't even have to depict any "truth" in that sense. JuliasTravels (talk) 16:55, 14 January 2014 (UTC)
Mount Rushmore represents the entire country no matter how it's photographed, so that should satisfy our goal of photographing a place in a way that represents the country. The old silhouette banner has been shot down pretty thoroughly by now. Do you have a preference among the other eight proposals? -Thatotherpersontalkcontribs 12:49, 15 January 2014 (UTC)
Both the current (Lady Liberty) one or the Mount Rushmore one seem great to me. JuliasTravels (talk) 12:55, 15 January 2014 (UTC)
Thatotherperson, you obviously don't understand my reasoning at all, if you think "that should satisfy our goal". Powers (talk) 18:45, 15 January 2014 (UTC)
You're the only one out of six so far who doesn't like the Rushmore banner, so it would seem to be satisfying everyone else's goals. Serious question: do you have any interest in helping choose another banner besides the old Shadow Liberty banner that has already been ruled out? -Thatotherpersontalkcontribs 11:50, 16 January 2014 (UTC)
It is impossible for me to contribute suggestions without understanding what it is people find objectionable about any attempt to abstract the banner to make it more iconic and less grounded in a specific location. The only explained objection to the previous banner that I've seen regards the quality of the photograph; those who oppose any sort of silhouetting or abstraction have not explained why. Without that explanation, I have no way of guessing how to satisfy their objections. Powers (talk) 16:08, 16 January 2014 (UTC)
An underexposed picture of New York is still New York. It's still just as city-specific with or without the silhouette. K7L (talk) 18:04, 16 January 2014 (UTC)
Even if the community at large agreed that the banner must be abstract in some way to represent the country as a whole, that wouldn't change the fact that we don't have a quality source image available to create the banner you have in mind. Is there a specific photo you prefer over the Rushmore banner, as opposed to simply preferring a different concept for the banner? Out of the options on the table, I think Mount Rushmore is the most visually pleasing way to introduce the page with an unmistakably American location that works well in a horizontal frame. Would you object to Mount Rushmore being given preference over the current non-silhouette banner?
Thatotherpersontalkcontribs 10:24, 17 January 2014 (UTC)
I would prefer the statue, I think, as Rushmore iconifies specific individuals whose visages have very little immediate recognition to visitors. Powers (talk) 18:34, 20 January 2014 (UTC)
K7L, it's not much but I think the silhouetting helps, however minutely. Powers (talk) 18:36, 20 January 2014 (UTC)

Consensus?[edit]

It's looking unlikely that any pagebanner will achieve unanimous approval. I believe the Mount Rushmore banner has the most support, although I must say I'm surprised at how many people don't mind the current banner being 80% solid blue. Do we have enough consensus to overturn the status quo? I'd prefer to get a few opinions on the status of consensus rather than just swapping in my personal favorite.
Thatotherpersontalkcontribs 06:46, 21 January 2014 (UTC)

I sort of think I prefer the Statue of Liberty here on the main page. I know it could be argued that it's overdone, but it's hard to choose something that's iconic but not overdone. I'd like to see the Mount Rushmore image on South Dakota though. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 07:33, 21 January 2014 (UTC)
The solid blue isn't a problem because these pagebanners are not just photographs; they're interface elements, to which large blocks of color are well suited. See, for instance, Walt Disney World/Magic Kingdom. Powers (talk) 18:38, 21 January 2014 (UTC)

Name[edit]

I don't know if it has been discussed before but I was wondering why we using "United States of America" instead of more snorters and more common "United States" albeit WP chooses it too. --Saqib (talk) 21:24, 2 January 2014 (UTC)

To distinguish them from the United States of México or various other countries which historically had used common terms like "united" or "state" in their names? K7L (talk) 03:17, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
I don't see this is a valid reason. If we using "United States of America", then to be consistent we would have to rename all similar articles. For example, rename "United Kingdom" to "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland", Mexico to "United Mexican States" or unless every country article is going to be moved to its formal name. Secondly, "United States" is more likely to be searched for as it is in common usage, even by travellers point of view as well and its unambiguous. There can be big chances of confusions between two Congo's so its fine to have them tilted "Democratic Republic of the Congo" and "Republic of the Congo" but there's not a slightest chances of confusion between United States and Mexico. Furthermore, many countries share some words such as "Republic", "Arab Republics", "Islamic Republics", "Democratic Republics", "People's Republics" &c but we use their short and common name. --Saqib (talk) 11:53, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
Certainly if we were naming the article today, we'd call it United States, but at this point, I think the longstanding (over 10 years at this name) and widespread use is sufficient to trump our usual naming conventions. Powers (talk) 16:53, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
I guess the rule of thumb is disambiguation. Sometimes, names are longer to be unambiguous (United States of America), sometimes they're shorter (Iran) Purplebackpack89 01:22, 9 January 2014 (UTC)

The +1-907 penalty[edit]

I'm a little wary of generalising that a US48-to-Alaska call is "domestic" and therefore cheaper than an "international" call like Maine to New Brunswick. That happens with some carriers (like AT&T) on specific rate plans [8] like "$3/month to call US 50+DC for a dime a minute, landline" but it's more a distortion created by the rate plan than a general pattern. Vitelity (for example) wants more than double the price of a Canada call to reach Alaska [9][10], although their rates to Hawaii are tolerable.

I therefore disagree with changing "lower 48" to 50 here. K7L (talk) 19:16, 11 January 2014 (UTC)

Fair enough. I did a very cursory internet search and everything indicated that they should be the same price as any other domestic calls, but I guess I was misled. --Bigpeteb (talk) 14:35, 13 January 2014 (UTC)
From w:Traffic pumping, it looks like AT&T actually loses money on a few out-of-the-way places like rural Iowa in order to offer a single-price US 50+DC plan. It'd actually be cheaper (at least at the wholesale rates) to use an Internet telephone to call Beijing, China. Go figure. K7L (talk) 17:47, 13 January 2014 (UTC)

Muslims discriminated against?[edit]

An anonymous user placed this piece of text in United States of America#Border Patrol

"Some statistics have shown that the Border Patrol is more likely to target ethnic minorities and Muslims."

The text is firstly not informative in any meaningful way. Secondly I object to 'Muslims' being called out here. Is it just me? Andrewssi2 (talk) 12:59, 19 January 2014 (UTC)

Could be correct. --Saqib (talk) 13:09, 19 January 2014 (UTC)
Well, it isn't particularly news that border police would target people who could be foreigners. However does the added text help you in any way if you were ethnic minority or Muslim? (And I'm also not sure Muslim would not fall under 'ethnic minority' in this sense anyhow) Andrewssi2 (talk) 13:17, 19 January 2014 (UTC)
Islam is a religion, not a race. The term "some statistics" is vague; if the Fourth Amendment protections go out the window the moment a traveller sets foot in a US Customs house, say so directly. There's also the issue of ethnic and religious profiling in airports, which has become much worse post-9/11. Calling out Muslims specifically is appropriate if discussing the misguided "war on terror" and the damage it's done to civil rights in the US. Anything specific to border patrol, customs, airports or transportation does affect travellers specifically and therefore is well within our scope. We just need to stick to reliably-sourceable facts (even if we're not Wikipedia) and not mere vague generalities. K7L (talk) 17:13, 19 January 2014 (UTC)
Although Islam is not a race, I'm not sure sure how they could be targeted in this context without some ethnic profiling (perhaps their dress?).
On reflection, I guess I don't like the text because it isn't actionable in any way. I'd be happy for someone to rewrite it with better context and clearer direction. Andrewssi2 (talk) 23:57, 19 January 2014 (UTC)
It's certainly true that people who by name or dress are identifiably Muslim or South Asian are routinely harassed by the TSA, et al. I don't have the time to track down reliable sources now, but there are reams and reams of them, and this really is not a reasonably arguable point. Ikan Kekek (talk) 03:49, 20 January 2014 (UTC)
Results of a quick Google search on "Muslims targeted by TSA". Read up and then see if any of you would like to argue that "Flying While Muslim" is not a real phenomenon in the US. Ikan Kekek (talk) 04:17, 20 January 2014 (UTC)
I made the point about my concern very badly (The title didn't help). In any case, if anyone wants to rewrite the text so that it provides more context and actual practical actions a traveler can make then that would be great. Andrewssi2 (talk) 04:49, 20 January 2014 (UTC)
It's not our place to tell travellers "board a US flight", "don't board a US flight", "remove all outward religious symbols", "keep the faith" or anything else. All we can do is inform the traveller objectively or fairly of the situation on the ground and let them decide for themselves. K7L (talk) 04:53, 20 January 2014 (UTC)
I agree with this. And I don't know what "practical actions" you'd be thinking of, Andrew. Not wearing a turban or hijab? Changing one's last name from Muhammad to Smith? Nope, not for this site. And I really can't think of practical actions that would be very likely to help. Ikan Kekek (talk) 04:56, 20 January 2014 (UTC)
I think these things need to be put into some context. As it is written, the border patrol information sounds very normal until we throw in the wrench at the end that non-whites are harassed at the border without any context or clarification. The "minorities" that we are talking about are mainly Hispanics/Latinos, correct? Those coming in by land at the Mexican border? If this is the case, then include a blurb about it with a little context. I've not heard of East Asians, black people, etc. experiencing any significant level of harassment by border patrol. Just saying "minorities" all the time is not helpful.
In response to the Muslims, I think the same thing applies. State that as a result of the 9/11 attacks, Muslims and those who are assumed to be Muslims (such as Sikhs) have been disproportionately targeted for additional screening at airports. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 07:16, 20 January 2014 (UTC)
I'm tempted to say the warning that Border Patrol is more likely to target ethnic minorities and Muslims is advise from Captain Obvious in this world, especially for anyone who can read English. It's not a US only issue at all, (although US border patrol is notorious in this matter) and applies to all kinds of nationalities, religious groups and minorities that may be associated with terrorism in any way. The main problem with this addition in the guide is that it's a rather empty warning. What does it mean? Are we talking about denial of entrance or about long and tiring interviews? If we want it in, it should be more specific, I think. JuliasTravels (talk) 12:19, 20 January 2014 (UTC)
That's exactly what I'm saying; give it context if it is there. But you do raise a good point; this discrimination does not seem to have led to denial of entry. Mostly, it just forces people into patdowns and luggage checks which all passengers should actually be prepared for since the screenings are 'random'. Perhaps it's really not worth mentioning? ChubbyWimbus (talk) 13:29, 20 January 2014 (UTC)
I disagree that the racial profiling and harassment is Captain Obvious material. Placing "this country is a communist dictatorship" on North Korea is obvious (we do so anyway), but the US has delivered an endless barrage of claims to be a land of freedom and liberty with much reference to the constitutional 1st, 4th and 5th amendments. If these claims aren't quite true because of some legal loophole or pitfall, that is a non-obvious danger. For instance, the USG will claim that someone being harassed on racial or religious grounds at a customs house technically isn't in the US because they haven't successfully cleared customs yet... so all those much-vaunted constitutional protections all magically go out the window - possibly along with the right of the traveller to consular assistance or legal counsel. That they're physically on US federal government property in the contiguous US is irrelevant. "Bill of rights, void where prohibited" is a non-obvious danger and we do need to factually disclose the situation. w:Maher Arar might make the picture clearer as to what can go wrong? The question of how to handle this is delicate as we need to be fair and maybe even break with our usual modus operandi by finding Wikipedia-style reliable sources before making any generalisations as anything said will be questioned. K7L (talk) 15:49, 20 January 2014 (UTC)
Maher Arar was mistreated BUT he did have a history that had to be cleared in both Syria and Canada, so he doesn't seem like an example of just a run-of-the-mill traveler who happens to be Muslim. Reports of Muslim discrimination that I have seen were just that they seemed to always be "randomly selected" for the patdowns or to have their bags checked. There is no need for us to scare Muslim travelers into thinking they're in danger unless someone truly has evidence that there is widespread detainment. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 05:15, 21 January 2014 (UTC)
That'd be like removing "it sank" from the RMS Titanic article because it only happened once and is therefore not a widespread phenomenon. If something bad can happen but happens infrequently, say so. K7L (talk) 15:58, 21 January 2014 (UTC)
Not at all. There are plenty of things that DO happen in every country that we would never warn people about. We don't have any giant warnings that travelers may be kidnapped and murdered or sold as sexual slaves or otherwise in our Aruba article (or any Caribbean article) even though we can cite Natalee Halloway as high-profile proof. Would you propose we add this to those articles? In my research I actually found most of the occurrences were rather old among the TSA and much of the articles written about it are speculatory. I think what I outlined above is enough. We don't need to take an isolated instance of an atypical man and present it as if his experience is representative of any trends because it's not. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 06:31, 22 January 2014 (UTC)
If that were the standard, we would remove the duplicative warnings from North Korea on the presumption that Kenneth Bae is an atypical man and his continuing captivity there an isolated incident. We don't. There's nothing speculatory about what's been published; we are, however, only seeing the tip of the iceberg as Maher Arar's case would have been ignored by the media were he not a Canadian citizen with money and lawyers who spent years trying to get justice. Many of the other reports of racial profiling by TSA only made the news because the victims were journalists. The racial profiling of Hispanics in Arizona only made news because an inter-governmental jurisdictional dispute reached the courts - Obama insists that immigration is federal and the laws passed by governor Jan Brewer somehow infringe that.
If there's something unusual about a country which directly affects the traveller, we report it. That doesn't necessarily mean the big red {{warningbox}} we put on war zones, but if the normal assumption is that visitors to a country have access to consular assistance if taken captive by that country's government, any exceptions should be duly noted. When it's governments in their official capacity (and not random street criminals) doing these things, as a matter of official policy, there is no such thing as an "isolated incident". K7L (talk) 14:17, 22 January 2014 (UTC)
Is there any country in which there isn't the possibility of a foreigner being detained for being foreign? Powers (talk) 15:27, 22 January 2014 (UTC)
Arar was a suspected terrorist, so he wasn't even profiled, which adds further to LtPowers question: Is there a country that would not detain a suspected terrorist? You stated in your initial post that you were concerned about the "be fair" policy, but the information you've proposed be added to the article is highly sensationalized and without much basis. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 15:53, 22 January 2014 (UTC)
The claim that "this discrimination does not seem to have led to denial of entry. Mostly, it just forces people into patdowns and luggage checks which all passengers should actually be prepared for since the screenings are 'random'. Perhaps it's really not worth mentioning?" is false and shouldn't be used as a basis for article text. This can go beyond denial of entry; the Arar case was fully scrutinised in a Canadian court (so not "highly sensationalized and without much basis") and discredits the claim that the worst that can happen is an arbitrary delay on entry. If one were to claim that "increased scrutiny post September 11, 2001 may lead to additional delays for Muslims travelling by air to the US" and leave it at that, that much is verifiable from reputable journalistic sources, but an added claim that the problems will never go beyond a simple delay is an unsourced statement which should be omitted. K7L (talk) 16:30, 22 January 2014 (UTC)
The idea of adding it to this article is what makes it highly sensationalized and a single instance of things gone awry makes it baseless as a standard of what Muslim travlers can expect when they enter this country. That is what I meant by that comment. Once again, we are not even talking about a Muslim being profiled; we're talking about a suspected terrorist/associate of Al Qaeda. They went off information that was given to them specifically about Arar, so being Muslim had nothing to do with his detainment. The only thing his case demonstrates from a traveler's perspective is that if you are a suspected terrorist, you will likely be detained upon entry to the US. Stating that in the article however, would surely be a Captain Obvious situation. This is not to mention that it is now not even that recent of an event.
No information has been cited here regarding any Muslims who were profiled without reason beyond extra screenings being required of them, and in recent years, there is even less information about even that aspect of profiling.
Also, in your citing above of the North Korea article, feel free to change it. It's not optimal anyway as the intro paragraph even uses the words "probably qualify" in its description of what should not be speculatory assumptions of what is prohibited. There is much room for improvement there. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 03:41, 23 January 2014 (UTC)
The racial profiling is ongoing and it does affect the traveller. There's a huge difference between a problem "being reported less" and it actually being resolved. The amount that can be stated in the article is limited as this is a country-level page and therefore less detailed, but one line or two indicating that "increased scrutiny post September 11, 2001 may lead to additional delays for Muslims travelling by air to the US" (and leave it at that) is reasonable. No need to give full details of each of the individual cases in the article itself. K7L (talk) 05:32, 23 January 2014 (UTC)
That is essentially what I proposed above with: "as a result of the 9/11 attacks, Muslims and those who are assumed to be Muslims (such as Sikhs) have been disproportionately targeted for additional screening at airports". I was under the impression that your point in bringing up Arar was because you wanted to make it a stronger message/warning to instead say that Muslim travelers may be detained and/or deported at random and without cause. For us to state or even imply such a thing, would require some evidence as justification. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 07:01, 23 January 2014 (UTC)
That looks reasonable. K7L (talk) 16:59, 23 January 2014 (UTC)

Historical atlas online[edit]

U of Richmond] have put a Historical Atlas of the US online. The 1880s book it is based on is long out of copyright, but I have not found licensing info for the web version. I suspect we cannot use the material directly but it may be a good reference for some US articles. It might also be a worthwhile link in the History section. Pashley (talk) 13:57, 3 February 2014 (UTC)

Merry Christmas vs Happy Holidays[edit]

I admit that I'm relatively new to living in New York, so I don't understand all the nuances. However, to date one piece of advice locals have given me is to say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas", due to the fact the Christmas is a Christian festival and referencing it is considered to be insensitive to the non-Christian minority. And I've even read articles online where American Jews write about how annoyed they get when people wish them "Merry Christmas" without first bothering to check whether they were Christian. Perhaps the way I wrote it was too exaggerated, but one thing I have noticed here is that department stores in New York City tend to display the greeting "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas", the latter which is almost universally seen in places overseas such as Singapore and Melbourne. Perhaps something that mentions that "Happy Holidays" is more politically correct would be useful here. In fact, since coming here I have heard of campaigns to replace the term "Christmas tree" with "Holiday tree" to "make it a more inclusive term". The dog2 (talk) 05:28, 10 March 2014 (UTC)

And then there are fundamentalist Christians who get upset when anyone says "Happy Holidays" to them, or when they see such inclusive language in signs at malls, etc. I think this is neither a simple enough nor important enough issue to address in this article, but if you must, the point to make would be something like: "To be as inclusive as possible, many stores and individuals use the greeting "Happy Holidays" in place of "Merry Christmas," when dealing with clientele or individuals who do not celebrate Christmas. But a sincere wish is rarely taken poorly, so don't worry too much about this." Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:35, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
Wouldn't 'Seasons Greetings' be a generally neutral way of saying this, or is that not employed much in the US? Andrewssi2 (talk) 05:58, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
I think that issues around "Merry Christmas" are something generally trumped up by a small but vocal minority in this country, and is another area (like #Stereotypes above) that is probably out of scope for a travel guide. Attempting to explain who will take offense at either "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays" (and why) is not particularly important for a traveler, and would not be easy to explain without several paragraphs that would take focus away from issues that actually would be important to a traveler. Aside from that, my personal opinion is that if someone gives you a seasonal greeting and you take offense, the problem is not with the person issuing the greeting. -- Ryan • (talk) • 06:08, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
I agree, Ryan. None of it is important. If you take offense at people wishing you a happy holiday, regardless of what it is, you are a jerk. To Andrew: "Seasons Greetings" is used but has largely been replaced by "Happy Holidays." Ikan Kekek (talk) 06:20, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
I too think it's dumb for people to get to get offended by "Merry Christmas", or for that matter, "Eid Murbarak", "Happy Diwali", "Happy Hanukkah" or other similar greetings. After all, the other person is wishing you well. But as a point of interest, I recently read an article comparing Christmas in New York and London, and it mentioned how "Merry Christmas" could potentially be offensive to an American Jew, but would almost certainly be absolutely no issue for a British Jew. But yeah. I forgot to take the fundamentalist Christians into account, so that makes the issue way too complicated for a travel guide. Since both of you grew up in this country, I'll take your word for it. I just hope that most Americans remain sensible like the two of you. The dog2 (talk) 06:43, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
Not saying "Merry Christmas" to anyone in a Chasidic black hat, yarmulke, or haji hat seems like a captain obvious to me. The others, if they're offended, tough. Ikan Kekek (talk) 09:10, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
I wouldn't say it's Captain Obvious since in Singapore, you would have absolutely no issue saying "Merry Christmas" to a Muslim, a Hindu or a Buddhist. Honestly, my first time hearing of "Merry Christmas" being offensive was after I came to America. I grew up in Singapore, and spent several years in Australia, and in those countries, it has never been an issue. My view may be biased but it does seem that many Americans are starting to get really sensitive over trivial matters, but that's a debate for another day. But well, if those people are just a small vocal minority, then I'm happy leaving it out. I agree that it is virtually impossible to please everyone. The dog2 (talk) 20:10, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
Some "former Christians" are probably the ones who most likely would get infuriated by a Christmas greeting... ϒpsilon (talk) 20:17, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
While this would be interesting in a cultural compendium, the Respect section of WV articles is just about avoid grave mistakes. It's inappropriately detailed to dive in to every minor cultural intricacy, and this rates pretty low on the list of possible offenses. As some people like to say, if we went in to that level of detail, there would be no point in traveling anywhere; you could just read about it instead. I say this emphatically does not belong in this article. --Bigpeteb (talk) 22:27, 10 March 2014 (UTC)

U.S. region lede images[edit]

The regions of the U.S. were recently updated to include locator-style maps at the top of each article (example). In some cases, this involved moving an existing lede image down to another section. I'm not sure this was a good idea. We already have region maps for each region, so now each article has two maps right at the top. The maps are different in size and style, making them look uncoordinated. And carefully selected lede images are now just another image in the article rather than being given pride of place at the top. Perhaps if the locator maps are important to retain, they can go down in Get In? Powers (talk) 19:58, 10 March 2014 (UTC)

When added I felt the locator maps could be implemented better (best case) or were unnecessary (worst case) but didn't want to just revert them on the grounds that it was just my opinion, and a non-American would likely find the region location valuable. Moving them to "Get in" seems like a good compromise. -- Ryan • (talk) • 20:29, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
I agree that if we're going to use locator maps they should go in Get in, but I would prefer if we didn't restore the lede images. Aside from the aesthetic awkwardness of having a photo right up against the banner, several of those photos were pushing the state maps lower than they should have been.
Thatotherpersontalkcontribs 08:03, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
I like the locator maps and would actually like to see a lot more of them (I mean in other articles that could use them), but I think they're certainly helpful to non-Americans planning a US vacation. Ikan Kekek (talk) 08:16, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
If the lede images push maps too far down, then the solution is to write longer ledes, not remove the images. I agree that the locator maps are occasionally useful but a) the region maps generally provide sufficient context to understand where the region is within the U.S., and b) most of the time readers will be coming from the United States page where the regions' relationships are clear from the map. There's also the aesthetic issue that the locator maps do not visually compliment our region maps. Powers (talk) 21:05, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
Really? You want certain photos to be at the top of the page badly enough to suggest writing large bricks of unnecessary text to create artificial image slots? Articles with custom banners don't need lede images anyway: certainly not badly enough to be worth intentionally cluttering up the text.
Thatotherpersontalkcontribs 06:26, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
Who said anything about unnecessary text? Our lede sections in general are often too short, period -- whether there are layout issues or not. Powers (talk) 14:46, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
I'd say the locator maps need to go, period. That's a WP-style logic we've intentionally chosen not to use here thus far — city articles get a map for getting around within the city, region articles show maps for getting around within the region; any maps showing wider placement within the surrounding region belong in the next level up in the hierarchy (which is already taken care of in this case). It is corollary to our logic of not repeating other types of national/regional info in every child article. Our hierarchy gives our article organization a logic which is necessarily different from that of Wikipedia. The whole point of the breadcrumb navigation is so you can "zoom out" and get the bigger picture, making locator maps for everything unnecessary. Otherwise, if we follow this logic of needing locator maps for everything, we'll end up doubling the number of maps in every article, with an extra region map in every city article, an extra country map in every region article, and an extra continent map in every country article. Completely unnecessary. Texugo (talk) 14:58, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
I'm sure some meaningful text could be added to the ledes, but it would take multiple extra paragraphs to make a lede image fit some of these pages, and that still wouldn't solve these ridiculous situations where we've got two photos of the Grand Canyon bumping up against each other[11] or two photos of snow-covered mountains bumping up against each other[12].
Thatotherpersontalkcontribs 01:11, 16 March 2014 (UTC)

How to proceed[edit]

Nothing was ever done about this, though I'd say we have clear consensus that the current situation isn't the answer. Should we just remove the maps? I don't necessarily agree with Texugo's strong opposition to the entire concept of using locator maps, but the maps under discussion here don't provide any information you can't find in the main United States map, so I find myself leaning more toward removal of the maps rather than placing them under Get in. Whatever happens, we certainly can't keep using these maps in their current spot wedged awkwardly between the banner and the other map. Support for deletion? Other ideas?
Thatotherpersontalkcontribs 04:04, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

Support for them is limited at best. I say remove them. Powers (talk) 17:51, 14 April 2014 (UTC)
I'm confused. Which map is the locator map, and which is the main US map? The locator map, I'm thinking, is the very small world map that also mentions the capital, Washington, D.C., the currency, the U.S. dollar, etc., right? And people would like to delete that little contextual map for what important reason? No, the regions map, albeit probably much more useful, and what I mistakenly thought was the locator map when I commented above, does not show the position of the US relative to the rest of the world to nearly the same extent. I really don't understand why we would want to delete either map. Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:02, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
You're not following, Ikan. We are not talking about the one on the country page that's part of the infobox; all countries have one of those. We're talking about the extra ones on some of the US region pages (but not others), such as the ones at South (United States of America) or Rocky Mountains (United States of America). Texugo (talk) 11:14, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for explaining. Now that I think I understand what you mean, I definitely see the point that the larger maps showing the states in those regions are clearer than the smaller locator maps, so while the locator maps, which show the regions in relation to the entire country, are doing no harm, I would not oppose deleting them. (Unless you mean the maps that show the states, in which case, I would strongly oppose deleting those, but I'm pretty sure you don't mean those.) Ikan Kekek (talk) 11:44, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
Done. I would still oppose it, but if anyone wishes to advocate reinserting such things, it would be more consistent if we first at least a) had a full set that included all the regions and not just some of them, and b) had them in a style which didn't clash so much with the WV-style maps we already have. Texugo (talk) 11:59, 15 April 2014 (UTC)

New 'Racism' section[edit]

I'm not sure whether this new 'Racism' section is needed. The biggest problem I see with it at the moment is that it doesn't actually tell the reader anything useful. It basically says "racism is more likely to be seen in some areas than others", which is certainly close to Captain Obvious-level information. It even says that most travelers aren't likely to see any problems. Given that, do we really need to mention it here? Powers (talk) 14:06, 26 March 2014 (UTC)

Oh, previous discussion here: Talk:United States of America/Archive 2011-2012#Racism Powers (talk) 14:07, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
The wording is rather vague, "there are laws against racial discrimination" should indicate which public accommodations are subject to those laws in interstate commerce. K7L (talk) 14:31, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
It bugged me, too. I'm glad I wasn't the only one. Ikan Kekek (talk) 14:54, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
A "Racism" section would imply that racism is relatively common in the United States. Maybe compared to a handful of European countries, Australia, New Zealand or Canada. Racism is more likely to be seen in most other countries than in America.
"racism is somewhat more prevalent in areas not frequently visited by foreign tourists" also sounds weird. Isn't it living close to and interacting with people different from oneself every day that makes people less racist? ϒpsilon (talk) 18:04, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
Sometimes, sometimes not. Jews were highly integrated into German society until 1933 or so. Ikan Kekek (talk) 18:26, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
This section should be removed since it is not informative. It also includes dreaded assertion that 'younger people' are not racist which is not true at all. And yes, you could copy and paste this to every country in the world (changing city names). Andrewssi2 (talk) 11:16, 27 March 2014 (UTC)
Instead of removing it, why not get the factual information and replace the section with specific legal information on what to do if encountering discrimination on the road? Including personal opinion is useless as that just invites the next editor from this country to change the text to their own opinion that racism doesn't exist, or knock the section out entirely. K7L (talk) 12:39, 27 March 2014 (UTC)
That's a pretty broad remit. Would we single out racial discrimination over other kinds? Also, discrimination in general is not illegal; it's only illegal under certain circumstances and when performed by certain entities. And while there are some countrywide commonalities, those details vary from state to state, as would any specific legal information regarding a remedy. Can you give an example of what you would like to see in this rewritten section? Powers (talk) 14:17, 27 March 2014 (UTC)
It comes down to scope, and I personally think we should be wary of turning WV into a guide to living life.
Legal recourse for racism experience whilst traveling would certainly be in scope, but needs specific and practical information as to what that is. I would suggest that this kind of information can only be written by a contributor with a very specialized background, and should this contributor not step forward then we should consider removing the section as is. Andrewssi2 (talk) 07:49, 28 March 2014 (UTC)
In addition, litigation in the US takes many years and can be very expensive for litigants. Ikan Kekek (talk) 08:30, 28 March 2014 (UTC)
Rather than advise the traveler as to how to litigate, perhaps we should guide them to the ACLU? Or would another rights support group be more appropriate?
Please see my suggestion below: Andrewssi2 (talk) 07:47, 31 March 2014 (UTC)

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The prevalence of racism varies widely throughout the country. As in most places in the world, the more urban and cosmopolitan the area the less likely you are to encounter racism. There are laws against racial discrimination throughout all the States, although taking legal action can be very lengthy and costly. The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) may be able to provide guidance to you.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The NAACP is a better place to steer people. The ACLU focuses more on civil liberties (free speech, freedom of religion, freedom not to be imprisoned without due process), and the NAACP focuses on fighting for civil rights, particularly for black people. There are a number of other organizations that help other communities, like National Council of La Raza for Hispanics, the Anti-Defamation League for Jews, CAIR for Muslims, Lambda Legal for gays and lesbians. I'm not sure how many of these we really want to list - the NAACP, for example, is mainstream, but some of these organizations are more or less controversial. Ikan Kekek (talk) 08:27, 31 March 2014 (UTC)


I don't think we should be listing these racially-specific groups. I don't think they'll be that useful for travelers and it seems too out-of-scope. If I saw all of these listings for a country in a section about racism, it would give me the impression that said country might be unsafe/unwelcoming to the listed minorities. Racism in modern America tends to be very covert and difficult to detect/prove and much of it doesn't affect tourists. We don't seem to have a good or even policy on how to write about racism. I reviewed some articles and found that the topic of racism is covered to varying degrees in Italy, Mexico, South Africa, and Canada (<--very touty) and not mentioned in France, Australia, Germany, Spain, or the United Kingdom (incidentally, my little search brought to my attention how disorganized our "Respect" sections are in many articles).
I agree. The vast majority of travelers going to the states are not going to experience racism directly, and in trying too hard to explain it may definitely give the wrong impression of the country. (Disclaimer, as a white male I never had any issue in the States, so definitely open to other points of view) Andrewssi2 (talk) 12:51, 31 March 2014 (UTC)
There are still some blatant examples of bias crimes, and the NAACP and other civil rights organizations help represent or arrange representation for victims of such crimes. I think there's probably no harm in mentioning the NAACP, as they are one of the oldest civil rights organizations in the country and would be likely to steer anyone to the help they need, and furthermore, black people are still far and away the most frequent victims of bias crimes in the US. But there's no reason to attempt to be comprehensive. Ikan Kekek (talk) 03:03, 1 April 2014 (UTC)
I still think it'd be odd to list the NAACP specifically. Most non-white tourists in the US are not black. Asians are much more common. How many travelers want to get involved in the lengthy litigation processes of sueing for discrimination anyway? Even when the locals are wrong, travelers are best advised to toe the line and leave the situation (if the situation didn't simply come and go on its own which is most likely). Going beyond this is providing information we don't give in any other articles, including Italy where racism seems quite prevalent, so we'd need to make sure we're being fair and provide it all over. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 07:07, 1 April 2014 (UTC)
Agree again. So what should we do? As it stands the section does not help the traveler in any meaningful way, and I think that we are in agreement that attempting to address it would be trying to address the extremely complex state of racial relations in the United States. I'd like to just remove it. Andrewssi2 (talk) 00:33, 4 April 2014 (UTC)
My gut feeling is that the kind of racism that's most likely to affect travelers is "driving while black" (i.e., getting shot because of being black and stopped for a routine traffic violation or sometimes for no good reason), so if we want to touch that with a 10-foot pole, we'd probably just be best off advising anyone who's stopped by a policeman or state trooper on the road to be polite, let them see your hands, and never reach for anything in the presence of a cop without specifically saying something like "I'd be happy to get my driver's license out of the glove compartment." You may have better advice. It is a real risk, especially for black drivers. Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:42, 4 April 2014 (UTC)
I already removed the new section, yesterday. Given the difficulty of writing such a section, perhaps it should be drafted here before being put into the article proper. Powers (talk) 17:50, 4 April 2014 (UTC)

Detroit - By foot[edit]

By foot - "There are many border crossings in urban areas which can be crossed by pedestrians. Crossings such as those in or near Niagara Falls, Detroit, Tijuana, Nogales, and El Paso are popular for persons wishing to spend a day on the other side of the border. In some cases, this may be ideal for day-trippers, as crossing by car can be a much longer wait."

Is this correct? Is there any Detroit crossing which allows pedestrians or cyclists? 2001:5C0:1000:A:0:0:0:D45 23:27, 26 March 2014 (UTC)

It's being proposed for the new bridge, which should be completed between 2016-2020, but is by no means certain to be included. [13][14][15] K7L (talk) 18:43, 31 March 2014 (UTC)

Proposal for Credit History Section[edit]

This isn't mentioned here, but since coming to the US, I have realised that credit history is particularly important here. In fact, many incoming expats have problems getting US credit cards due to a lack of credit history. What makes the US particularly unique in this aspect is that in say, Singapore or Australia, you can easily get approved for a credit card so long as you can demonstrate substantial income. On the other hand, in the US, it is much harder to get approved for a credit card if you don't have credit history in the US, and this often trips expats up. Perhaps we should add a section advising incoming expats on the importance of credit history, and some tips on how to get their first credit cards. The dog2 (talk) 04:38, 6 April 2014 (UTC)

I'd rather not. If they have credit cards from home, they can use those. What you're talking about is getting a US credit card for an extended stay, and I don't think we have to give advice on that in a travel guide, least of all in the general US article. Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:06, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
The destination articles are not intended to be 'how to move and live long term to the United States'. If we take something like credit history, then we should add sections liking buying a house, obtaining a driving license, installing internet, planning your retirement etc.
My suggestion would be not to add non-traveler specific information to this article, but rather create a new article called Immigrating to the United States or something similar. I believe there is some precedent for this kind of thing in the Retiring abroad article. Andrewssi2 (talk) 05:36, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
I would support the creation of such an article, but I think it would be controversial and end up being deleted through the Votes for deletion process. Retiring abroad is somehow the exception to the majority opinion that articles on this site shouldn't cover anything but short-term travel. Ikan Kekek (talk) 06:50, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
See Wikivoyage:Votes for deletion/March 2013#Marriage in China for related discussion. Ikan Kekek (talk) 06:52, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
And also Wikivoyage talk:What is an article?#Scope. Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:11, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
I was unaware of that discussion so thanks for that. I am in strong agreement with the notion that expatriates are not travelers in the scope of Wikivoyage (although expats may of course avail themselves to the short term travel information contained here).
The problem is given the existence of Retiring abroad without a reason as to why it is an exception, it is hard to argue against creating a separate article with the content that The dog2 proposes. Andrewssi2 (talk) 08:10, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
And yet, you'll see in those threads that the opponents of a more expansive view of travel manage to make the arguments. I've never found them the least bit convincing, but you can read them. Ikan Kekek (talk) 08:48, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
It was agreed upon (I believe in that discussion) that retiring abroad was not an "exception" so much as the extent of information we are willing to provide, and there is still focus on the actual TRAVEL part of it (namely, getting there legally). It's enough for someone to get started but not a guide to living. Similarly, we have the teaching abroad guide but we do not intend to create a bunch of Teaching in Country articles. Our article is focused namely on the travel aspect and getting started. Going beyond that to give information about teaching strategies, discipline, effective activities, how to effectively conduct language lessons to foreigners strictly in your native language, etc. is beyond our scope. For retiring abroad, it's the same. We do not intend to create Filling out tax forms in Country articles, etc. It's just not travel-related. The "Voyage" gets you there, but we are not here to provide information on how to do your job and/or live your life. Does that make the difference clearer? ChubbyWimbus (talk) 16:04, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
Only if all of the people who approve of the Retiring abroad article would also approve of a similar article about immigration. Ikan Kekek (talk) 18:50, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
What would an immigration article contain that the retiring abroad article wouldn't/couldn't? Most of the information in that article is relevant to those immigrating (that's essentially what retiring abroad is for many people) but with added information for retirees. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 03:12, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
There's a lot of overlap, but rich retirees are often treated differently from younger immigrants, the purposes for moving are often different, and different kinds of visas are sometimes needed. And there are considerations involved with work and family that are different. Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:37, 8 April 2014 (UTC)
For example, a common way to Australia are skilled migration visas are available to those aged 40 and below. Retirees would have a much different (and harder) experience trying to immigrate there.
Is the core question why we would allow retiring abroad and not working abroad? To my mind the scope is very similar. Andrewssi2 (talk) 22:54, 8 April 2014 (UTC)


In this case, it would be somewhat relevant to travel. You need not necessarily be migrating to the US permanently to want to get a US credit card. People like international students, and those on work visas who only intend to stay for a few years would also probably want to get a US credit card. And especially for incoming expatriates, that's one of the first things you would want to do when first arriving in the US. And it's also true that relative to many other countries, it is harder to get approved for a credit card in the US without a US credit history, even if you are a millionaire with a high paying job. On the other hand, in somewhere like Australia, a millionaire with a high paying job will have almost no problems applying for a credit card, unless his credit history is really terrible. I don't think we need too much detail on how the entire credit system in the US, but perhaps just a short segment about how important credit history is in the US, as well as some tips on getting the first credit card for incoming expats who have no US credit history. Of course, advice like paying off your balance in full every month and not busting your credit limit are true everywhere, so that would be a Captain Obvious. The dog2 (talk) 21:16, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
Did you read any of the linked discussions? At least a large minority of regular editors here doesn't want to emphasize things that affect only or mostly people who are living somewhere for a year or more. If you think this is important for students, see if it fits into the Studying abroad article. Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:27, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
"somewhat relevant to travel" - you can really make the argument that pretty much anything in life is 'somewhat relevant to travel'. A student who goes to study in the United States for a year is not a traveler but an expatriate. They may have traveled to get there, but WV is not the place to describe their life experiences during their stay as a resident in the United States. As Ikan says, issues around students acquiring credit cards could be covered in Studying abroad if it is really needed. Andrewssi2 (talk) 23:19, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
I don't think any information on obtaining credit cards is necessary beyond a sentence or two about them being sometimes hard to get for non-residents. Purplebackpack89 21:33, 9 April 2014 (UTC)
In what country are credit cards not "sometimes hard to get for non-residents"? That's bordering on Captain Obvious. I don't really think it needs mentioning at all. Texugo (talk) 21:38, 9 April 2014 (UTC)
+1. Acquiring credit cards in another country is just not relevant to a travel guide. Andrewssi2 (talk) 23:14, 9 April 2014 (UTC)


US National Park Visitor Ranking[edit]

Swept in from the pub

This is from an article in the Seattle Times that I thought was worth sharing, US National Parks based on number of visitors. I'm not sure how to interpret this data since some parks are a lot easier to get to than others, but I thought it was worth a look.

New statistics from the National Park Service show Olympic park visitors numbered 3,085,340 last year, up from 2,824,908 in 2012. The increase came despite the October shutdown of Olympic and most other national parks across the nation for 16 days caused by congressional de-funding of the federal government.

Here’s the park service’s Top 10 list (out of 59 national parks) and the number of visitors to each:

America’s most-visited national parks (2013)

source: http://blogs.seattletimes.com/northwesttraveler/2014/03/10/olympic-moves-to-no-5-among-most-visited-national-parks/ —The preceding comment was added by Lumpytrout (talkcontribs)

Thanks! To make it a little easier for reference, I have linked them above. Texugo (talk) 13:48, 11 March 2014 (UTC)

recent edits[edit]

I have strong concerns about these recent edits, especially the expansion of the Culture section to include detailed descriptions of individual ethnic groups in the United States. But I didn't want to simply revert a new user, as I've been criticized for that in the past. Thoughts? Powers (talk) 00:12, 26 June 2014 (UTC)

It feels like Wikivoyage (and United States in particular) is often used as a dumping ground for every nuanced opinion that people have of this country, and this is turn makes for an extreemly long article that actually serves the traveler less the longer and less relevant it becomes.
If the message if 'be careful when discussing politics' then it should be placed as a one liner in the 'Respect' section. Andrewssi2 (talk) 00:50, 26 June 2014 (UTC)
I agree with both of you. I would delete all of that edit, except for the info about cell phone roaming for visitors from Canada. I disagree that it's generally considered impolite for a foreign visitor to ask Americans for their views of religion, as opposed to, say, ridiculing their religion (but that's always a bad idea anywhere). The rest of this is a combination of questionable generalizations verging on stereotypes, excessive detail, and captain obvious: "criticism of the United States, its history and its leaders may be met with resistance or even anger." No kidding. And on the other hand, some Americans get apoplectic at the mention of the current U.S. President. But we don't need to mention any of this. Ikan Kekek (talk) 01:21, 26 June 2014 (UTC)
Essentially, the advice is that if you're from Western Europe, don't act like a prick, so yes, I'd say it is safe to delete that. Most people who go abroad and act like that are doing it on purpose anyway to get a rise out of the locals, so informing them is pointless anyway. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 16:18, 29 July 2014 (UTC)

Buying a mobile phone[edit]

"Buying a mobile phone" is currently a subsection of "Buy". This has a huge potential to overlap any info in "Connect", should this be moved there? K7L (talk) 18:01, 27 August 2014 (UTC)

I don't think so. Before your recent edits, the section was exclusively about how to buy a mobile phone in the U.S. The information you added certainly goes better in Connect, if it's not too detailed for this level of article. Powers (talk) 20:20, 27 August 2014 (UTC)
I've reverted for now, but even with the old version it seems odd to devote this much "Buy" space to the evils of CDMA handsets without also blasting ATSC TV sets, region-coded NTSC DVD's, motorcars with the steering wheel on the wrong side for British roads or whatever other non-standard and incompatible North American technology (right down to the expectation of a centre tap on the 240V AC line) is likely to disappoint European travellers when they get home. I only noticed this was part of "Buy" after I'd edited it. A lot of this sort of info is already in electrical systems, maybe "United States of America#Buy" should refer the traveller there? K7L (talk) 21:30, 27 August 2014 (UTC)
I don't necessarily disagree. I just don't know how common it is to buy a phone in the U.S. for use overseas. Powers (talk) 23:12, 27 August 2014 (UTC)
The bits about purchasing a mobile phone to bring to one's home country was originally added by someone else, interspersed in "Connect". It made the Connect section very confusing, since half of the advice wasn't directed at travelers who just want a phone that works in the US. I separated it out into the Buy and Connect sections the way you see it currently. There's some duplication, but not too much since the reasons are different (buying a phone to take home, the type of network matters more, whereas network coverage in the US only matters for a phone you're buying to use in the US).
I see your point about discussing cell phones but not other US-specific standards, but I think it's the kind of exception that makes sense, and that there's precedent for. I don't think many travelers would come to the US to buy a TV (DVD maybe, but wouldn't you just buy that online?), whereas I have met people who have come to the US to buy a smartphone. As for precedent, Japan#Buy discusses buying video game consoles (TV standards and region locking), anime/manga (TV standards, not to mention language), and electronics. Do "many" travelers do this? Probably not. But the geeky people who edit wikis probably do :-) so that's who wrote it and that's who the article targets. --Bigpeteb (talk) 14:15, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
Japan is known for manufacturing cameras and electronics as one of its largest industries. The same is not true (or not true any more) of the US, where that battle was lost long ago. Google sold the Motorola mobile telephone line to China's Lenovo, who also make the IBM PC line. Zenith went bankrupt and is owned by LG (Lucky Goldstar, Korea). The RCA brand has been operated by Thomson (France) since 1986; GE as consumer electronics is more of the same. Westinghouse pretty much no longer exists, except in network broadcasting. Apple uses a weasel-worded "designed in USA" claim for a handset assembled in commie China. Nokia is Microsoft-owned, but still based in Europe. Most of the credible name brands in mobile telephony are Korean (Samsung, LG), Chinese (Huawei), Japanese or European.
I'm tempted to split telephone service for travel to create articles specifically on mobile telephones and Internet telephony. Buying electronics to take home belongs in electrical systems or in a travel topic about electronics. The main United States of America article is already a kitchen sink into which anything and everything is being dumped, when it should really be just a very general overview. Enough should be here so that travellers can get dial tone while visiting this destination, but only that. K7L (talk) 16:02, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
I would suggest deleting the entire 'Buying a mobile phone' section. I think it have used to be relevant when certain phones were only available in the US, such as the hysteria around the release of the original iPhone 1, but these days all new models are available pretty much everywhere at any given time.
As the section itself mentions, most phones are SIM locked to carriers anyway. Andrewssi2 (talk) 01:23, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
w:Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act (2014) protects consumers seeking to unlock their phones. Our information on w:SIM locks may need to be updated? K7L (talk) 02:05, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
Even so, most phones will still be locked. It just won't be illegal to unlock them.
Again, we should promote advice that is relevant to the traveler, not on how people in the US generally buy and use their phones. Andrewssi2 (talk) 02:36, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
I disagree with the suggestion that the section should be deleted. While there continue to be many phones that are available in the US a few months ahead of other countries, many visitors buy phones in the US because of the lower price. This is mostly by middle/upper-class people from developing countries. I can assure you that Orlando & Miami shopping centers are plagued with Brazilians who come to shop for quality or big ticket items due to the high tariffs Brazil has on imported goods; many everyday items and electronics cost half as much in the US (example from a 2012 article: "The iPhone 4S with 16 gigabytes of memory costs $1,515 without a contract on Apple's Brazilian website. The same phone retails without a contract for $649 on Apple's U.S. website"). On Android forums, there are also lots of questions about how to unlock phones (bought phone in US, took home, & now stuck with an expensive brick because it's SIM locked) or determining which phones are compatible with their home networks so they can buy in the US & take home. If anyone feels the section is too long, then I wouldn't be opposed to splitting it off as a topic. However, in such a case there should be a short (3-4 sentence) section about buying electronics & the associated issues. AHeneen (talk) 21:43, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
I suggest splitting out this topic to mobile telephony. This page is a very general overview of the US as a sightseeing destination, not a series of instructions on getting US-model iPhone 4S handsets to work in Brazil. Fine detail usually does not belong at country-level, unless the 'country' in question is Montserrat or something comparably small. K7L (talk) 00:15, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
I don't doubt that some Brazilians may come and purchase iPhone in the US, but at best it is a secondary travel topic and certainly not a primary one for the majority of visitors. I would support the article creation of Mobile Telephony as K7L suggests. There is some equally useful advice to be given to buying mobile phones in China (Xiaomi brand) and well as Hong Kong. Andrewssi2 (talk) 11:01, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
It's not just Brazil, many middle/upper-class people visit the US from Latin American and other parts of the world to buy electronics (phones being perhaps the most sought-after item together with laptops). This is a notable topic. AHeneen (talk) 16:09, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
Travel for shopping is common also in Western Europe. Middle Eastern and Eastern European tourists and immigrants going back to visit family and friends often bring with them all sorts of electronics and other stuff. Us Scandinavians do that too, to some extent. ϒpsilon (talk) 16:40, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
It looks more suited to a travel topic than a section in an already bloated country-level article. How would the proposed travel topic buying electronics abroad differ from our existing electrical systems and telephone service for travel articles? K7L (talk) 18:10, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
The significant difference from electrical systems should perhaps be the focus on mobile devices (phones, handheld game consoles, laptops, tablets etc) . These devices do not generally concern the voltage differences between the traveller's home country and place of purchase (i.e. your iPhone will charge from a USB socket everywhere). Also they don't concern differences in television standards (PAL vs NTSC).
We would still need to concern how region locking on certain devices would cause issues, as well as data communication standards (i.e. 'standard' 4G mobile phones can not use the 4G networks available in China) Andrewssi2 (talk) 01:09, 31 August 2014 (UTC)
Region locking is already in electrical systems with the rest of the video equipment. For mobile telephony, we have basically the same info in three places: Mobile telephones#North America (a dog's breakfast split out from telephone service for travel), United States of America#Mobile phones and United States of America#Buying a mobile phone. (Mobile telephones#North America also overlaps a fair chunk of Canada#Mobiles.) If the 4G network in China is anything other than standard LTE, wouldn't that affect both Americans bringing US handsets to China and Chinese bringing US handsets to China somewhat equally? K7L (talk) 20:06, 31 August 2014 (UTC)

Patrolling support for the it:voy article[edit]

I'm not sure how manage this change. I think that both links should be deleted but I'd like to have the opinion of others (maybe from US). --Andyrom75 (talk) 07:51, 21 November 2014 (UTC)

Do you have the same external links policy we have? If so, neither link should be allowed. Besides, would it be really hard for an Italian to find an insurance agency or travel agency in their home town that would sell them a travel insurance policy? I doubt it, but you'd know better. Ikan Kekek (talk) 08:18, 21 November 2014 (UTC)
We follow the same principles. I wasn't confident about the content of the two sites. Clearly it's easy for us (and most of time more convenient) to get an insurance in Italy for any visited country. I'll delete them both. Thanks Ikan. --Andyrom75 (talk) 14:33, 21 November 2014 (UTC)
You're welcome. I don't think the content of the sites is as much of an issue as the lack of need for the links. On the same basis that we don't link to tours that an independent traveler could easily do on their own without paying a tour agency, we don't link to commercial insurance agency sites when it would be easy for a traveler to take care of this in their own way. Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:26, 21 November 2014 (UTC)

Relevant respect advice?[edit]

User:Hobbitschuster has added the following items to the 'respect' section. As with all observations about things ih the United States, I think the first three are not particularly relevant. The fourth (public nudity) is somewhat valid from a Northern European perspective, although American attitudes vary widely depending where you are, and northern Europeans are frankly in a global minority for this anyway.

Is it OK to remove some or all of these?  :

++++++++++

  • Discussing politics with strangers is usually a thing to avoid, if you have American friends don't be surprised if they put political issues very bluntly
  • As the English language lacks a distinction between a formal and informal "you" and because of its strong anti-aristocratic tradition Americans are usually very casual and friendly with strangers, calling people "friends" that are really just acquaintances. Also bear in mind that a sentence like "yeah you should totally come over for dinner some time" is not necessarily actually an invitation for dinner, but often rather polite conversation.
  • Americans love watching sport and many (especially men, but also some women) are very passionate about their team. While a friendly conversation can do no harm insulting their favorite team or even sport is by no means a good idea. That especially includes the discussion whether American Football should be called "football".
  • Americans are more concerned than most Europeans about nudity in public. While there are some exceptions baring genitals (both genders) or breasts (women) for any reason, even at the beach is usually frowned upon and may be prosecuted as indecent exposure. One exception is breastfeeding, even though it still far from commonly accepted for a woman to breastfeed in public

++++++++++

--Andrewssi2 (talk) 01:20, 8 December 2014 (UTC)

Well sure I obviously wrote that from my own biased Northern European perspective, but than again most travellers coming to the USA are from Europe and thus from a traveller's point of view I think it is important to bare in mind that the USA is not as prude as Saudi Arabia, but also not as liberal as Sweden (and if you look at some Italian beaches, I'd very much doubt the "northern" part in Northern European) I mean I could argue that being on time is pretty much universal in Europe, North-America and big parts (population-wise) of Asia but imho we (as, I do assume non-Chinese or Indians) are a global minority anyways, however I think a good portion of the readers of this article are of the skinny-dipping rather than the burka-crowd. Also what is wring with the other things? Are Americans not passionate about sports? Are they not more casual than people in many other places. I don't know that awful many Americans, but those I have met were always very casual, wiling to strike up a conversation and calling people friends two days after they first met... Am I mistaken? Is this really so irrelevant as to be deleted from the article's (rather small) respect section? btw: maybe I am mistaken if consensus says it shouldn't be said, so be it....Hobbitschuster (talk) 01:31, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
The "Respect" sections of country articles tend to get filled with a lot of general information that might be considered WV:Obvious, so we created a generic Respect article that contains that generic advice as a compromise to allow moving that type of information out of individual country articles. Things like "don't discuss politics" and "avoid public nudity" are covered in the generic article and do not need to be repeated in individual country articles. -- Ryan • (talk) • 01:52, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
So should we then mention in the "Respect" (or some other) section of the Finland article or the Mecklenburg Vorpommern that public nudity is accepted and normal in some contexts (e.g. saunas or swimming) I think we should put at least a link to the general respect article in, as the traveller that just wants to look up what to avoid in the US of A to not offend people, might not be aware of the existence of said articleHobbitschuster (talk) 02:26, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
These points are, as Ryan says, very generic and we don't add obvious things. Being polite and respectful about other people's sports teams and political beliefs is not something you need to do specifically for visiting the United States.
Also the assertion that "most travellers coming to the USA are from Europe" is not accurate at all. Please see w:Tourism_in_the_United_States#Statistics . We don't want to write WV solely from a European perspective just because a lot of our contributors are from that continent. Andrewssi2 (talk) 02:39, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
Huh didn't know that... although thinking about it, it should have been obvious, as somebody living in e.g. Toronto crossing the border for a few days obviously counts as a tourist the same way a European does... As I said it is always hard keeping the bias of where one is from out of articles... so what about American casualness than? I do think it is noteworthy and leads to a lot of misunderstandings between Germans (yes they are very blunt/honest and love to talk about politics with people they hardly even know) and Americans, wouldn't know about other people, though... previous comment is mine, forgot to signHobbitschuster (talk) 03:00, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
Do you mean casualness to friendship? I lived in Germany for many years, and I appreciate that the casualness of American friendship will be very jarring. That said, someone from Spain (for example) would think nothing of it.
Germans can be blunt, but again I feel that you probably want to be careful discussing politics in any country, not just the United States. Andrewssi2 (talk) 04:32, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
Well yeah I think compared to Germany and (I think) some other places the word "friend" gets thrown around a lot, without necessarily meaning anything, same with "invitations" that are - once you get down to it - just polite conversation. I DO think that many people, who speak a good deal of English don't know this and that this page should be here to clear up misunderstandings... Also what exactly IS the American attitude towards public breastfeeding? Is there any relevant law/court ruling or is it so different from -say rural Alabama to New York City that putting it here would need generalizations that put it next to meaningless. Recently a woman in a high-price hotel in Britain was asked to cover her baby while breastfeeding causing a "Shitstorm" (German meaning: heavy and protracted criticism via the Internet & social media, wouldn't know about the English meaning) by breastfeeding advocates141.30.210.129 13:51, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
Forgot to log in, previous comment is mineHobbitschuster (talk) 13:53, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
Not much point posting to the English-language Wikivoyage that the English language has no direct equivalent to the formal "vous". Most reading this already speak some English, non? K7L (talk) 03:11, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
As for discussing politics? It's the same everywhere. You can stand in front of Capitol Hill, proclaim that the president of the United States is an utter and complete idiot, and there will be no consequences. Likewise, you can stand in front of the Kremlin, proclaim that the president of the United States is an utter and complete idiot, and there will be no consequences. America is just like Russia! K7L (talk) 04:44, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
Well, the consequence in Russia would be a free beer. ;) Andrewssi2 (talk) 04:53, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
My reactions to these bulleted points: (1) Some Americans are happy to talk about politics and others are not. No reason to include this remark. (2) Some Americans are more casual about calling people friends or being really friendly than others, and this is partly regional (I think you get less automatic seeming friendliness in New York City than in the South, for example). The only part of that that might be worth keeping is that "We should hang out" or the like is not always a real invitation, but in how many places is it always? (3) In my opinion, soccer-crazed countries like Italy are far more sports-crazy than the US. How many visitors to the US have ever been killed or injured by a sports hooligan? I don't support leaving this in the article. Sports info is most appropriate in "Do." (4) I'd simply mention that state laws differ on female toplessness (it's legal throughout New York State, by the way) and that total nudity is generally acceptable only in specifically designated nudist beaches. Ikan Kekek (talk) 15:26, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
I can live with that. But I do think American obsession with college-sports (there is nothing of the sort in most European countries) and the sheer number of sports and their draw (NFL most attended league by average attendance per game, and by a lot, MLB most watched spectator sport by attendance figure per season) is - yes I'm going there - unmatched in the world... I mean... In France there is association football (soccer to use the Oxfordian term) and maybe rugby, in England it is quite similar in Germany there is Handball (in the north) and the state religion Bundesliga in most of the rest, but no country I would know of has FIVE major league sports (MLB, NBA, NFL and - yes - MLS and NHL) and "minor" sports such as lacrosse or college sports that still draw crowds that many countries don't have in their first division major league sports. I mean even Bayern München doesn't sell out every game a season. The Green Bay Packers have done so since at least the seventies. And the point about European soccer hooligans being more violent is one that I think we should discuss with some of the cliché Philadelphia (you know, the Santa Claus incident...) or Oakland or maybe Cleveland football-fans...Hobbitschuster (talk) 16:06, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
I'd simply say that "Do" is the place to address the diversity of sports in the US and the fact that college sports (especially football and basketball) have a lot of fans. For what it's worth, I wouldn't call MLS a major sport in the US, as it's probably (though I haven't checked attendance or revenue figures) a distant 5th to the NHL, which is the 4th major league sport in the US. Ikan Kekek (talk) 17:17, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
w:Major_professional_sports_leagues_in_the_United_States_and_Canada#Traits_of_these_major_leagues compares the five leagues (and the CFL) and yes, MLS is indeed a distant fifth, but it's growing several orders of magnitude more quickly than any of the other leagues. Attendance figures are hard to compare between sports (NHL and NBA attendance is limited by the need to play indoors, for example), but in revenue and number/stability of franchises, MLS lags quite a bit... though it's closing the gap quickly. Powers (talk) 21:54, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
To bring this back to a conclusion regarding the 'respect' section, I believe that the discussion above has consensus to remove the four points as they are all either 1) Inaccurate, 2) Not accurate for the whole of the country or 3) Rather obvious advice applicable to most countries of the world
Please note that good intentions aside, there are a lot of people who want to contribute their ideas about the United States in particular, and we need to maintain some control. Andrewssi2 (talk) 22:17, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
As there was no objection I've removed the new material, although it was suggested above that some of the sports-related info might be relevant under the "Do" section, so that could definitely be re-incorporated back into the article if desired. -- Ryan • (talk) • 00:52, 12 December 2014 (UTC)

History[edit]

I think someone mentioned that the "history" of the USA seems to just arbitrarily "stop" somewhere after the Civil rights movement. Maybe we could include sth. along the lines of:

After the collapse of the Soviet Union the United States remain the sole superpower and continue to have a dominant military, economic, political and cultural role in world affairs. Hopes that after the fall of America's chief rival expensive and sometimes disastrous wars (such as Vietnam) were a thing of the past sadly haven't proved true and the Bush, Clinton and Obama administrations all had to deal in one form or other with the threat of rogue states (notably Iraq under Saddam Hussein), terrorism and a rapidly changing global political landscape. The terrorist attacks of September eleventh 2001 are still very much an open wound and influence the political debate to this day, with heightened security measures at airports just one way in which terrorism (or the fear of it) has affected travellers. around 2007/2008 a bubble in the housing-market burst and the effects of the global recession this caused are still notable, although unemployment and economic growth are almost back to pre-crisis-levels as of 2014Hobbitschuster (talk) 17:12, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
I'd edit that a bit to say "the Bush, Clinton and Obama administrations all dealt in one form or other with what the U.S. considers 'rogue states'," because the idea that Saddam was a threat to the US is very dubious, and instead, it could easily be said that the US was the rogue state in that conflict. But I like your thoughts. I'd say go ahead and put the content in, and then it can be edited if people want to do so. Ikan Kekek (talk) 17:22, 8 December 2014 (UTC)

Should the Monroe-doctrine and her main consequences ; US-isolationism in European wars for over a century and treating Latin America as a "back yard" with heavy political influence in Cuba, Central America and South-America since at least the Spanish-American war (Nicaragua was first invaded by (although not government-backed) American in the 1850s) as well as violent "regime change" through coups, covert operations and open interventions (both before and after the Cold War as well as during it); be mentioned? I think it has been (and still is thinking of Ron Paul) tremendously important in shaping American politics and culture as well as America's image abroad as a champion of freedom and decolonization (America to Americans) as well as a sometimes oppressive quasi-colonizer ("Banana-republics", the very existence of the state of Panama). This might also make it understandable why Pearl Harbor and 9/11 were such big deals. America was never attacked by a foreign power on her own soil after the war of 1812 and the Monroe-doctrine was a major factor in that imho. Still some of this is probably beyond the scope of a travel article. But isolationism and interventions in Latin American countries (for good reasons (disaster relief in Haiti comes to mind) as well as bad ones) have played an important role in US politics for at least one and a half centuriesHobbitschuster (talk) 21:09, 9 December 2014 (UTC)

putting all this in something that might be put into this article's history section we might write:
In 1823 the Monroe-doctrine was formulated that in its core says that the US would not tolerate European colonies on American soil and react accordingly if US interests were threatened in the view of the US government yet keep a mostly neutral position on most European affairs. This led the USA to be very reluctant in joining the fight in both world wars whereas US troops have intervened often (sometimes decisively) in conflicts in the Americas since the second half of the 19th century Hobbitschuster (talk) 21:14, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
I agree that this is important, but a couple of comments: First, it's the Monroe Doctrine, not "Monroe-doctrine." Second, your impression of it is slightly but crucially inaccurate. This is from w:Monroe Doctrine:
The Monroe Doctrine was a US foreign policy regarding Latin American countries in 1823. It stated that further efforts by European nations to colonize land or interfere with states in North or South America would be viewed as acts of aggression, requiring U.S. intervention. At the same time, the doctrine noted that the United States would neither interfere with existing European colonies nor meddle in the internal concerns of European countries. The Doctrine was issued in 1823 at a time when nearly all Latin American colonies of Spain and Portugal had achieved or were at the point of gaining independence from the Portuguese and Spanish Empires; Peru consolidated its independence in 1824, and Bolivia would become independent in 1825, leaving only Cuba and Puerto Rico under Spanish rule. The United States, working in agreement with Britain, wanted to guarantee that no European power would move in.
So the point is not the the US pledged to fight all European forces in the Americas, but that it pledged to fight against efforts at new colonization or military meddling by European powers. And the original context for this was US support for Latin-American independence from Spain and Portugal, though the Monroe Doctrine was much later cited when the USSR supported the Communist revolution in Cuba. Ikan Kekek (talk) 03:21, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
Okay so what should we write in the article and in which part of the history-section? After the part about the war of 1812? or before the modern history part? btw. the Monroe-Doctrine also came up in the Falkland war when Argentina said, the US should intervene on their behalf as the Falklands are a "colony" of a European power in the Americas (how transferring 3000 Brits from an administration they are fine with to one they have resoundingly rejected in several referenda counts as decolonization is beyond my intellectual capacities but than again I digress)Hobbitschuster (talk) 15:00, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
Yes, I remember the discussion of the Monroe Doctrine in relation to the Falklands.
I'm not sure where this content should go, and I'd like the input of some other users on how much history is too much. The US is obviously an extremely important country, and its history definitely has a huge influence over the policies and conditions in the country and beyond, but we should be careful not to turn this site into a Wikipedia-lite. That said, I think anything very important could be mentioned, though as briefly as reasonably possible, and if we're going to mention the Monroe Doctrine, it seems most logical to input the information around the time that it was promulgated - 1823. Ikan Kekek (talk) 16:59, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
I agree that we should move forward with caution and await consensus as a overly detailed "history"-section does as little good as a brief and inaccurate one. There is a fine balance to find here, but I think, things that influence people or buildings a traveller is likely to become aware of or come in contact with today should be mentioned. However that being said, I tend to err on the side of inclusionismHobbitschuster (talk) 17:07, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
I'm afraid the current wording is still needlessly tortured: "... recent administrations have all had to deal in one form or other with what they call the threat of 'rogue states,' terrorism, and a rapidly changing global political landscape." The phrasing "rogue states" is more controversial than I'd realized, but the solution to that is not to disclaim the phraseology through scare quotes and excess verbiage, but to choose a different term. The threats from nations like North Korea and Iran are real, if less potent than they'd like us to believe. Powers (talk) 22:05, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
Well it always depends upon what you consider to be a "potent" threat. While North Korea can certainly not bring about a cataclysmic "end of the world as we know it" event that was a possible outcome of the cold war if it ever were to become truly "hot", I do think someone living in the greater Seoul area might perceive North Korean nuclear weapons and artillery aimed at Seoul to be a "threat" and I don't think it is unfair that North Korea is a rogue as a rogue state can get, having a dead man as president and people in jail because their grandparents were not loyal enough during the Korean war. Iran is slightly less rogue, but if I lived in Jerusalem I would be very afraid indeed of a country that quite probably aims to become nuclearly armed and has the destruction of Israel as officially stated policy. And as both the countries that are most threatened by the rogue states' "rogueness" are (close) US allies, I do think the continued existence of regimes like the "islamic republic" or the third generation communist hereditary republic with a dead man as president does and should form a legitimate concern of US foreign policy. But if the phrase "rogue state" is something that reeks of taking a position on political matters, I think we can live with something along the lines of: "countries such as Iraq under Saddam Hussein or the current North Korean and Iranian regimes"Hobbitschuster (talk) 23:25, 10 December 2014 (UTC)

I admire foreign accents so therefore I change my own??[edit]

Sorry, I'm just really confused by this sentence in the talk section:

Nowhere should this pose any problem to a visitor, as Americans often admire foreign accents and most will try to use a more standard accent to help you understand them.

What is the connection between 'admiring' a foreign accent, and then as a direct consequence 'trying to use a more standard accent' ? --Andrewssi2 (talk) 20:43, 16 February 2015 (UTC)

It is definitely a non-sequitur. I think what is meant that some Americans are "Oh my gosh your accent is so cute where's it from..." and some Americans try to talk more Midwest/Newscaster if they see/hear you're from out of town. But the first thing has not much to do with the second. Also what does "Let's play ball" mean? And - but that is maybe just a personal quirk - I find sports metaphors to be all over the place in pretty much any language and it is very much like a fish swimming through water that you don't notice them. Soccer metaphors are for example very prevalent in German news, politics and day to day speech and I do think a lot of English speakers (especially those from that island north of Calais) should be made aware of the fact that American use more words that differ from what you hear in a language course or read in a dictionary than truck instead of lorry or color instead of colour. But I am certainly willing to cede my point on that one as the talk section is long. maybe too long as it is, all the while telling not much more than "Americans speak English, duh!" "If you wanna speak Mexican go to California or the Southwest, duh!". Sorry for the snarkiness. Best wishes Hobbitschuster (talk) 21:21, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
Thanks , although I was referring to the non-sequitur and not your edit about sports Andrewssi2 (talk) 21:37, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
I know. So How do we restructure that paragraph for it not to be a non-sequitur? Hobbitschuster (talk) 21:51, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
Well, the sentence consists of two assertions, both that I don't believe are correct.
1) "American admire foreign accents" - Do they really? Some (but not all) might like a 'British' accent (for example) and some might call the authorities upon hearing a 'middle eastern' accent. I'm guessing most Americans don't go as far to admire foreign accents as a generalization.
2) "Americans try a use a more standard accent with foreigners" - Again... I don't think so. I've met Texans around the world who don't appear to be making that much effort. If they do make an effort, then I would say it is in line for how people around the world generally interact with foreigners and not specific to the United States.
Therefore I suggest just removing this sentence. Andrewssi2 (talk) 00:29, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
Yeah I think the sentence is awkwardly worded and it asserts something that isn't even necessarily true. Maybe for some "libruhl elites" that ride the subway and like trains and don't watch fox "news"... scnr. And also: How is this doubtful assertion of any value for the traveller? Either American admire your accent (than they will tell you first chance they get) or they don't (than they won't tell you) and either they will try to midwesternize their own speech (than you will notice) or they won't (than you might be in rural Texas or somewhere...). Bottom line: In most parts you will make yourself understood with English even if it isn't flawless. And some - though not all - Americans are capable of code switching between like a totally like Southern Californian like accent and like you know normal English while some are either incapable or just can't be bothered. I thought we had a no advice from captain obvious thing round here, didn't we? Best wishesHobbitschuster (talk) 01:10, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
We do, which is why "some people use sports metaphors" doesn't really belong. =)
I believe the part about admiring foreign accents is intended to make the point that foreigners needn't worry about making sure their pronunciations are book-standard. Most Americans are enchanted by (or at least indifferent to) foreign accents; they don't make fun of people who pronounce words slightly differently. Is that obvious? It doesn't seem so to me, but I'm American. Powers (talk) 01:31, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
I guess where America is exceptional is that (as far as I can tell) they do indeed see it as (generally) bad form to make fun of foreign accents, whereas even apparently enlightened liberal Europeans can sometimes make fun of such things. Of course exceptions exist, but I think the sentence can be rewritten to reflect this. Andrewssi2 (talk) 10:05, 17 February 2015 (UTC)

(indent) "Enlightened Europeans" haha. The Enlightenment ended long ago. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 11:13, 17 February 2015 (UTC)

I would doubt that. There is (with most people at least) some sort of hierarchy: French accent? cute and admired. Eastern European accent? meh. Arabic/middle east or Indian accent? You are lucky in some parts if they "only" make fun of it. Kind of like many people automatically assume somebody with a southern accent is less intelligent and/or has certain political views and/or is a bigot. What I know for a fact to be relentlessly mocked are domestic accents/dialects. But that could be because there is a much higher density of that in Europe. If you go practically any distance (unless you are on the east coast) in the US accents won't deviate all that much from what you hear on TV news. (except for like California and the South). If you go 100 km in Europe you may have crossed over to a territory where people consider their dialect its own language (Catalan and Castillian [i.e. Spanish] in Spain) or where you are considered "not from here" unless you can effortlessly pronounce Shibboleths like "a mamaladn aamala hamma aa dahamm" (Franconian) or "Oachkatzlschwoaf" (Bavarian) or where the word for "yes" has suddenly changed ("Nu" in Dresden versus "ja" in standard German). What (some) Americans do appreciate is the time and effort it must have cost you to learn English (unless of course you are a Brit or Aussie or a Kiwi or an Anglo- South African or... but than they might indeed admire your "cute" accent because they heard something positive about your country on TV or once where there on vacation). But that is also true for almost any country on earth where any attempt at the native language will be greeted with approval even if it is halting or has a strong accent. Best wishes Hobbitschuster (talk) 12:51, 17 February 2015 (UTC)

I think what's important to keep in the article is an explanation that Americans don't have a problem with foreign accents. It probably has less to do with "admiring" them as it does a cultural history of immigration. It's hard to generalize about the "average" American, but I think many Americans who have to communicate with someone who clearly speaks English as a second or third language will simplify their speech and enunciate more... to me as an American that's automatic, but I've found that in other cultures it doesn't happen, perhaps because there's less cultural history of immigration and dealing with non-native speakers. --Bigpeteb (talk) 21:31, 17 February 2015 (UTC)

To conclude this, should we take in the comments above and state: "Americans have a long history of immigration and are very accommodating towards foreign accents, and will take the effort to help you". ? 21:43, 17 February 2015 (UTC)Andrewssi2 (talk)
Changed Andrewssi2 (talk) 23:26, 8 March 2015 (UTC)

Abuse filter[edit]

Would anyone object to me creating an abuse filter that prevents vandalism like this to this article?

It would just impact non-autoconfirmed users on only this article who attempt certain keywords. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 04:09, 27 February 2015 (UTC)

https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Special:AbuseFilter/23 --Andrewssi2 (talk) 04:21, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
Please go ahead. It was mildly funny once, but... Ikan Kekek (talk) 04:54, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
I object. Filling the abuse filter catalog with highly targeted filters decreases usability. Powers (talk) 16:14, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
How does it decrease usability? Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:45, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
Perhaps Powers is referring to the usability of the abuse filter itself? If false positives start turning up then the filter in question can be identified from the message page.
In terms of this filter, I was going to disable after a week and then delete (hopefully this thread is not being read by the CCCP person). It should be noted that the similar 'Rocky' filter has successfully prevented all abuse (5 instances) from that vandal last week, and may have been successful in dissuading them from vandalising the site any more. (again, that filter will also be disabled and deleted) --Andrewssi2 (talk) 20:20, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
As long as we can be diligent about removing single-use filters that are no longer needed, I suppose it's okay. I still think it's best for these to be used primarily for high-volume, high-frequency, long-term, or hard-to-detect vandalism. Powers (talk) 18:21, 1 March 2015 (UTC)
With no hits since Feb 27th, I have disabled the filter. We can delete it in the coming weeks if the CCCP guy doesn't return. Andrewssi2 (talk) 23:23, 8 March 2015 (UTC)
I have now deleted this filter. Andrewssi2 (talk) 06:30, 5 April 2015 (UTC)

Incidence of Lyme disease[edit]

In "Stay healthy," Lyme disease is described as "rare". Here are some CDC figures. There were some 35,000 cases in 2013, the last year charted by the CDC. The US population in 2013 was over 315,000,000, so that makes the incidence nationwide more than 1:10,000 but way less than 1:1000. However, look what happens when you map the locations where the disease was reported. It is certainly not rare in the Northeast, and neither is it uncommon in some of the Great Lakes states. So would it be more accurate to warn readers that is it endemic to the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states and not uncommon in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois but less of a concern in most other states? Ikan Kekek (talk) 10:56, 2 April 2015 (UTC)

Also, note this remark:
Each year, approximately 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported to CDC by state health departments and the District of Columbia. However, this number does not reflect every case of Lyme disease that occurs in the United States every year.[...]
Preliminary results from three different evaluation methods suggest that the number of people diagnosed with Lyme disease each year in the United States is around 300,000. Notably, this new estimate does not affect our understanding of the geographic distribution of Lyme disease. Most Lyme disease cases reported to CDC through national surveillance are concentrated heavily in the Northeast and upper Midwest, with 96 percent of reported cases occurring in 13 states. Ikan Kekek (talk) 10:59, 2 April 2015 (UTC)
Rabies, also described as "rare" really is truly rare among humans in the US. Ikan Kekek (talk) 11:01, 2 April 2015 (UTC)
Rabies is "rare" primarily 'cause it kills ya. And very fast at that. I think especially (Central) European travelers (but also some Americans) are not aware just how dangerous getting bitten by e.g. a bat in the US can truly be. And with Lyme disease I would agree that 300 000 cases per annum in a population of roughly 300 000 000 is anything, but rare. Best wishes Hobbitschuster (talk) 11:31, 2 April 2015 (UTC)
I think it may be that the reason rabies is rarely contracted by humans in the US is that very few pets get it anymore, and wild animals that are obviously diseased tend to either die before they might attack a human being or get captured and euthanized by Animal Control. Ikan Kekek (talk) 11:54, 2 April 2015 (UTC)
That and the average American knows to get medical attention for any wild mammal bite. The text that is currently there is fine, though it's a little ambiguous whether the adjective "prevalent" refers to the ticks or to the disease. Not every deer tick carries Lyme disease, and the average traveler who stays out of tall grass, shrubs, and forests is at very low risk. Powers (talk) 00:16, 3 April 2015 (UTC)
Yes, if you stay out of deer tick habitat, you are at very low risk of catching Lyme disease, but the fact that hiking in forests, etc., can put a person in danger is the point, I thought. I do take your point the what's "prevalent" is ambiguous. I'll see if I can improve the phrasing. Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:58, 3 April 2015 (UTC)

Article status[edit]

Maybe we have bigger fish to fry, but I would like to know the rationale (if there is one) for this very article still being "usable" despite it being way, way better than the equally ranked article on Nicaragua. Best wishes Hobbitschuster (talk) 13:33, 12 April 2015 (UTC)

Please read Wikivoyage:Country guide status. Take note of the opening phrase in the criteria for Usable status:
Has links to the country's major cities and other destinations (usable status or better)
Do you still think Germany is not an Outline? Ikan Kekek (talk) 13:53, 12 April 2015 (UTC)
In the case of this article... Which one of those is not yet usable? Hobbitschuster (talk) 15:27, 12 April 2015 (UTC)
All the regions also have to be Usable or better. Ikan Kekek (talk) 15:51, 12 April 2015 (UTC)

"theatre"[edit]

For the record, the buildings in which movies or plays are presented are indeed "theaters" in the United States, but when referring to "theatre" as a genre, Americans often spell it in the British/Canadian fashion. Not always, but often. Powers (talk) 13:48, 14 April 2015 (UTC)

For the record, my American spellcheck says "theatre" is not correct American English. But funnily enough it also says the same thing about "spellcheck"... Hobbitschuster (talk) 14:13, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
I think you've gone a bit far with this "spellcheck" thing... Wikivoyage has long accepted "traveller" as valid, yet you keep changing it to "traveler". K7L (talk) 16:40, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
Sorry but this has more to do with this having originated on some obscure other site... I mean idiosyncratic spellings are fine with me, but I don't get the rationale for this one. Maybe we should change all instances of "traveller" to "voyager" :-D Hobbitschuster (talk) 17:06, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
In New York, "theater" and "theatre" are truly interchangeable. Many of the Broadway theatres are spelled in the British way. This is the first one I thought of. Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:46, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
There is one character in a book series I like (upper-class east cost, probably old money) who says petrol even though he is American... It appears that in some aspects East Coast dialects retain Britishisms that Modwest/Newscaster has lost... Hobbitschuster (talk) 21:07, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
Petrol is an uncommon term in the US, so I wouldn't make any connection between some American's idiosyncratic use of that term with common New York spellings of theatre. Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:13, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
See wikt:theatre for usage notes in the U.S. Powers (talk) 15:20, 15 April 2015 (UTC)

Pruning of History section?[edit]

This article is lengthy, especially the History section. With the US Historical Travel article series (Early United States history etc), could we consider pruning the History section in this article? /Yvwv (talk) 17:23, 14 May 2015 (UTC)

Way too much history[edit]

Do we really need a big list of other articles at the top of the History section? Powers (talk) 17:48, 14 May 2015 (UTC)

I think we can prune the history section of this article if we're farming out most of the details to the other articles listed and linked at the top of it, and we could list those in the sidebar instead of the article, but I think it's more user-friendly to list them within the article. There is another alternative, though, which is rather Wikipedia-like but might work well: To have a single "History of the United States" article that summarizes US history and is where 1-liner links to all the more focused history of the US articles are kept. That could be more elegant, though it would require an additional click. Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:10, 14 May 2015 (UTC)
No, I don't think the proliferating history travel topics are a substitute for a brief but comprehensive overview within this article. And going to an encyclopedic model is definitely the wrong direction. Powers (talk) 01:02, 15 May 2015 (UTC)
Although I personally dislike the trend to cram as much historical information as we can into country articles, I agree that the creation of dedicated separate history articles would mean that we are 100% just recreating Wikipedia content, which shouldn't be what we are about.
The history travel tropics are an interesting experiment nevertheless, and I want to see them develop. I'm just not keen on integrated them too closely with destination articles at this stage. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 01:20, 15 May 2015 (UTC)
Are the historical topics the same as on Wikipedia? the difference should be that the topics here have a travel focus, but if that isn't really a difference, that's problematic. Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:19, 15 May 2015 (UTC)

(indent) In reading the history section, I must say I find it to be quite nicely written and generally very concise without being overly simplistic or confusing. It's much better now than it's ever looked in my opinion. As far as the topics go, I do think they should be linked within the article but they cannot be used as substitutes. It wouldn't be very informative for the history section to say, "For things that happened early on in American History, press 1". It's not helpful or convenient for the traveler to not have a single summary on the page. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 03:50, 17 May 2015 (UTC)

I think you're right. Ikan Kekek (talk) 09:39, 17 May 2015 (UTC)
Cutting down the history section too much risks making it worthless. Either we want to give a brief overview or we don't. If we don't, we have to ask ourselves what the purpose of the history travel topics is in the first place. I do agree, that we should link to them were appropriate and make the link an organic part of the text rather than a clumsy list of "see also"s... Hobbitschuster (talk) 12:54, 17 May 2015 (UTC)
Wikipedia articles have a 'See also' section at the very bottom for those hungry enough to get that related information. Could we employ something similar for Country level articles? Andrewssi2 (talk) 22:52, 17 May 2015 (UTC)

Gotobus[edit]

We list this booking agent as a service to travelers for booking Chinatown buses. Based on the discussion at User talk:Ikan Kekek#Bus booking agent links, should it be de-listed? I will say that this fact is not salient in whether to list Gotobus or not: "it kind of sad that we are linking to a tool for finding bus companies that are often shutdown and operate in violation of the FMCSA and the DOT." This should be mentioned, but if travelers would like to travel cheaply at a somewhat greater risk, who are we to deprive them of a way to do it? We don't normally link booking sites, though. Ikan Kekek (talk) 22:20, 14 June 2015 (UTC)

I'd imagine a huge number of vendors would love to be listed at country level; most of these are pushed out of this article into states, regions, cities and districts. The top-level page for a country should be an overview, not a kitchen sink into which to dump anything and everything. K7L (talk) 23:04, 14 June 2015 (UTC)
I agree with that. Ikan Kekek (talk) 23:16, 14 June 2015 (UTC)
I removed Gotobus from the article. If anyone feels that doesn't serve the traveler well, go ahead and revert my edit, with a note here. I don't feel strongly either way. Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:47, 15 June 2015 (UTC)

Spin off air travel[edit]

The United States are probably the country with the most plane trips and most likely also the one with the most per capita. As it is also a huge country, plane travel is not really straightforward, especially for foreigners who are used to buses and/or trains being the cheapest or the only option if you don't have a car. As the section on flying domestically in the US has grown considerably in recent times, maybe it is time for a guide on air travel in the United States or air travel in North America ? I did not want to raise this on the requested articles page, as I get the impression that only a certain subset of contributors sees what happens there and not necessarily the same that knows about air travel in the US. Hobbitschuster (talk) 11:59, 15 June 2015 (UTC)

That sounds like a great idea, although just like the other modes of transportation (train, car), this article should retain at least a brief overview. --Bigpeteb (talk) 14:24, 15 June 2015 (UTC)
Of course. Hobbitschuster (talk) 15:06, 15 June 2015 (UTC)
Rail has already been split out as rail travel in the United States with a standalone article on Amtrak, the National Railroad Passenger Corporation(Amtrak looks to be a redirect to that page). Doing the same for air travel is reasonable, as this article is getting to the point where "get in", "get around" are becoming larger than the actual lists of things to see and do. K7L (talk) 15:12, 15 June 2015 (UTC)
I went ahead and created the article, copying content from the "by plane" section here. Please trim down the section in this article, to make it a good "first glance" overview. Hobbitschuster (talk) 10:17, 19 June 2015 (UTC)

Making the US a star![edit]

As we now have the first country to reach guide status officially (Germany is very close to it, though) and the article on it being closer to perfection every day, we may ask ourselves: What would be needed to make it a star? I think it would be awesome if the article on one of the most popular destinations in the world were a star. As this is somewhat uncharted territory (there being no other star countries) we will probably have to set a precedent in some cases what the star criteria mean in detail at the country level. Best wishes Hobbitschuster (talk) 11:16, 16 June 2015 (UTC)

Star status of articles that are not at the bottom of the hierarchy must prove to be starworthy from the bottom-up. Star status for a country requires a lot from the states and their subregions. Here, for example, upon checking how our state articles look, I have to say the answer is "not good". None of the state articles that I checked (Kentucky, Illinois, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Texas, Minnesota, Wyoming, Arizona) are of very high quality. It's a noble goal to get the US to star status, but I think that goal is much farther away than it seems. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 14:06, 16 June 2015 (UTC)
For what it's worth, Singapore was actually the first country article to reach star status, although given its size it is organized on Wikivoyage as a huge city article. -- Ryan • (talk) • 14:31, 16 June 2015 (UTC)
(edit conflict) We do have one Star country; Singapore. As our article status rules now are, it's not just the article itself that has to be near perfect but also everything below has to be in a very good shape. For Singapore this means ten city districts. For the US, several regions each made up of several states, each made up of one or two layers of regions each containing tens of cities (sometimes districtified), national parks and whatnot. ϒpsilon (talk) 14:33, 16 June 2015 (UTC)
Note the rules are that the major destinations of the regions below the country have to be at least usable, not that every bottom level region is in good state.--Traveler100 (talk) 14:50, 16 June 2015 (UTC)
With few exceptions (Texas, Florida and the two states not in the lower 48) the regions of the US immediately beneath the country level are not states. Thus if I do not misunderstand the rules, they don't immediately matter for the country getting star status, do they? Hobbitschuster (talk) 14:59, 16 June 2015 (UTC)
I'm actually shocked this article is a Guide now. Let's take a moment to celebrate that and congratulate everyone who helped make it happen! Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:47, 17 June 2015 (UTC)
Hobbitschuster, they do matter, because if they do not meet standards, then the regional article above them cannot be promoted. Our hierarchy is structured from the bottom up. Also, for a place like the United States, saying that ONLY Texas, Florida, Hawaii, and Alaska are necessary for star status would be ridiculous. Star Status is supposed to mean that we have everything covered about the location. To say that our US article is a star article is to say that no matter where you go in the country, we've got close to everything you need. We are nowhere near that, even if we only look at those 4 states. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 11:24, 17 June 2015 (UTC)
The way I understood the status, for them to be guide the sub-regions immediately below have to be usable or better for guide status. Meaning that sub-regions below the South for example (i.e. states like Alabama) do in fact not matter, at least for guide status. This may indeed be different for star status. If you require all immediate sub-regions to be guide or above to even come close to achieving that all subregions of those subregions have to be usable or above. For example if Pacific Northwest wants to be guide status, both Washington state and Oregon have to be usable or better. Which of course requires additional work to some of the cities in these states if the requirements are not met. Hobbitschuster (talk) 11:37, 17 June 2015 (UTC)
Yes. For a Star, all immediate subregions need to be Guides (as well as all 18 Cities and Other Destinations), and that means every state has to be at least Usable. Powers (talk) 15:02, 17 June 2015 (UTC)
But what If some places are not further subdivided? What if say, Texas has no regional subdivision? Doesn't that mean at the end of the day that from a "letter of the law" perspective no sub-regions and no coverage is better than outline sub-regions and some coverage? Btw: I think it is amazing that the gargantuan task of making the US a guide has been completed and would like to thank everybody involved in that. Hobbitschuster (talk) 15:32, 17 June 2015 (UTC)

(indent) In theory, if you wanted to make a location a star but didn't want to do the work involved in getting everything below it up to standard you COULD leave out a bunch of cities and not create subdivisions to create a false star if you were able to convince anyone who questioned the coverage that there was not missing content. However, if a region were nominated and someone brought up the fact that tons of cities were missing, the red links would then be added and the region would likely be demoted usable. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 10:41, 18 June 2015 (UTC)

Yes, of course. The "letter of the law" denotes minimum standards and don't require immediate promotion just because they appear to be met on a superficial level. Powers (talk) 14:44, 18 June 2015 (UTC)
So, basically, Delaware has three subdivisions - each individual counties with little or no content at subregion level - which were created just so that there are no more than 7+2 villages in each subregion. Toss out the extra layer of subregions (DE is, along with RI, one of the smallest states after all), restructure the bottom-level pages to divide the entire state into nine "cities" and leave it at that... and the guide has improved, despite adding nothing new? K7L (talk) 14:48, 18 June 2015 (UTC)
Wait, what? Powers (talk) 14:54, 18 June 2015 (UTC)
K7L, if you were to delete all but 9 cities in Delaware, you'd be creating redlinks, so the article would suffer rather than improve, even if you brought all 9 of those cities to star status. Furthermore, you'd be quickly labeled as a user whose goals are harmful to the project and banned. There always seems to be surprise that country and regional articles require so much of other articles (those below them), but it just makes sense; How useful can a country-level article be in planning a trip if there are no city articles or if those articles are mediocre? You cannot go to the "United States" without arriving in some city/town. It would just look silly to say that our US article is a star when articles like Tennessee are so scant. Those with star status dreams should not be starting from so high up in the hierarchy, especially in a place like the United States where there are tons of sub-regions with sub-regions with sub-regions. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 15:16, 18 June 2015 (UTC)
(edit conflict) In general, we don't delete real places. We merge and redirect. Furthermore, many of the points listed as "cities" in DE are also listed in "Other destinations" as beaches. We don't need to list the same article twice in this manner. A nine-city Delaware with exactly the same amount of content as the current three-level structure (Delaware, subdivided into Northern Delaware (New Castle County)/Central Delaware (Kent County)/Southern Delaware (Sussex County), then further subdivided into bottom-level cities and localities) but with no subregions would theoretically fare better under our article rating system due to a quirk in the system - we hold back regions from promotion if the layer under them is rotten, and Northern Delaware is just a skeletal list of three cities with no other content, Southern Delaware is little better and the only real descriptive prose in Central Delaware focusses solely on Dover (Delaware) and would be just as much at home on that city's page. There's no guarantee that eliminating the subregion tier would get Delaware's state-level article past "outline" as there are other obstacles (no "See" section is a biggie), but certainly the empty shells of subregions would render the state-level page unpromotable at some point because of the way our page ratings are structured. I'm not sure how pointing this out is harmful to the project or banworthy, it is what it is. K7L (talk) 15:41, 18 June 2015 (UTC)
If you take your line of thinking to the logical conclusion, User:ChubbyWimbus, making any country bigger than say, Singapore or Nauru a star or even guide is next to impossible. And no, in my experience, the vast majority of travelers care about the "big name destinations" first and foremost. There is a reason why lonely planet prints guides solely on New York City and covers Upstate New York together with several other destination in the area. Most people who click on Europe want to "do Europe", i.e. see the most important towns/attractions. While coverage on Forchheim or Kassel is nice to have, it does not matter to the vast majority of people who read our guide on Germany. They want to know what the major sights are, and what the people are like and whether there are notable regional differences. The US is "usable" for a good number of tourists as soon as it covers LA, NYC, Chicago, Frisco one or two of the "big name" national parks and maybe the odd "off the beaten path" destination (marketing speak, none of those places are in any meaningful way) like New Orleans or Houston. And we are now having a discussion in the pub as to whether several rural towns/suburbs should not be dealt with in one combined article rather than creating several bare outline with only one or two listings at best. And there are alternatives to redlinks. redirecting is one of them. And in many cases it might be the best one Hobbitschuster (talk) 15:34, 18 June 2015 (UTC)
Having had a look at Delaware I do somewhat agree, that the regional subdivision appears to be superfluous or even harmful at this point in time. Also given the number of destinations, I don't see how it would so grossly exceed the soft limit of nine for bottom level regions as to not justify reintegration. And in addition some of the "cities" appear to be, in fact, "other destinations". This issue should however be raised at talk:Delaware before any further actions are taken.Hobbitschuster (talk) 15:50, 18 June 2015 (UTC)
My comments about Delaware were simply about deleting actual cities and places simply to promote the state article. If there are articles about non-destinations then of course, those could be merged. Unless you have a lot of personal knowledge about Delaware, I would not recommend trying to merge a bunch of cities/articles simply to make it easier to promote the state's status. That kind of meddling can create quite a mess.
Lonely Planet has limited real estate, since their medium is a book and travelers are not going to carry a full volume of encyclopedias with them as they travel however, our goals are not to become Lonely Planet. LP must make decisions on what to put in and what to cut out; we don't have that problem. We don't have to weed out cities or destinations to make them fit nor do we want to. Our strength is that we CAN cover the full range of options and we aim to take advantage of that. While I understand that you are interested in making the United States a star, I don't see a need to lower our standards to do it and talks about merging and deleting content that is inconvenient for you makes me very uncomfortable... ChubbyWimbus (talk) 16:04, 18 June 2015 (UTC)
I don't see a problem with deleting (or redirecting) Northern Delaware and moving all of its cities to the parent article. I don't know much about the place, but it seems to be a rather small state with few destinations. Should the list of destinations grow again it can always be subdivided again. Right now those subdivisions don't appear to serve the traveler. And while I do agree that we are for the most part not paper (unless we are, because we have to keep printable guides in mind), the reason why Lonely Planet decides to print a standalone book of some 500-odd pages on one city is because that one city is just so damned important and so many people visit it every year. Rural Alabama will never earn that distinction (unless New York City relocates there) and so whoever is going to cover it will have less extensive coverage of the place. That appears to be to me just the way things are. Now I would argue that we treat what is important as if it were important and what is not as if it weren't. It just clashes with my notion of the value for the reader/traveler, that we should not promote an article that does a very good job indeed of covering one of the most interesting countries on this planet (whatever its faults) because some rural destinations have too many subdivisions for their own good. And just as with elections in some places where less votes can actually mean more seats in odd cases, here we have a de facto application of policy that can result in the odd conclusion that less coverage (9 cities in Franconia instead of 12) can get that place a higher status rating, because according to our "soft ceiling" of nine cities and the rules of the usability of subdivisions less cities mean less empty outline sub-regions. And in a way the empty outline bottom-level region that often has the physical size of a ranch in Australia appears to be at the heart of the problem here... Hobbitschuster (talk) 16:19, 18 June 2015 (UTC)
We can and should discuss Delaware at Talk:Delaware, but I'd like for us to be on the same page about the 7+2 rule: It doesn't apply to bottom-level region articles, except inasmuch as if there are way more than 9 cities, a further subdivision might be worth considering. In other words, there's no obvious good reason having 12 cities in a bottom-level region article should be any kind of problem. Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:29, 18 June 2015 (UTC)
I agree. Hobbitschuster (talk) 22:43, 18 June 2015 (UTC)
The text at Wikivoyage:Avoid long lists is vague. "Common sense (and the traveller's viewpoint) should always apply, so if a region has more than 9 cities in it and there's no helpful way to divide it into subregions, don't split it" makes sense as far as it goes, but doesn't make clear that one should avoid creating multiple, otherwise-empty subregions just to split bare lists of cities (with no further descriptive text) into arbitrary, 7+2 sized chunks. Certainly, a subregion which is just a fragment of a list of cities is not helpful, but MOS needs to be clear that we don't need to create Eastern County X if we have nothing in particular to say about Eastern County X beyond a list of hamlets. K7L (talk) 01:32, 19 June 2015 (UTC)
I agree with K7L. sometimes Eastern County X might be better described as if it were one single city. Or maybe not at all, if the hamlets are tiny enough. subregions that consist only in a list of cities but nothing else should in the long run disappear from this site. Either by getting useful content or by merging and redirecting and integrating their cities into the parent article. And in some cases by recreating as a single "city" Hobbitschuster (talk) 10:21, 19 June 2015 (UTC)
I think the text at Avoid Long Lists is perfectly clear. It may be somewhat subjective, but that's the nature of the task. If there's "nothing in particular to say" about a subregion, then the division was not helpful. Powers (talk) 19:36, 19 June 2015 (UTC)

Obvious advice[edit]

Does this recently-added advice constitute "obvious" advice? Powers (talk) 19:58, 19 June 2015 (UTC)

Yes, pretty much. Do we need an explanation of what a fire truck is? :D ϒpsilon (talk) 20:08, 19 June 2015 (UTC)
Although observance to the advice is variable throughout the world, it is applicable to any country. Remove. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 20:22, 19 June 2015 (UTC)
I would have simply removed it without checking, but these are this user's first contributions and I don't want to be too bite-y. How should we handle this? Powers (talk) 23:57, 19 June 2015 (UTC)
You could ask the user why they chose to put it in quotes and define it. Perhaps it would give us insight as to another part of the English-speaking world that doesn't use the term. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 01:07, 20 June 2015 (UTC)
The 'fire truck' term is irrelevant. Advice to get out of the way of emergency vehicles doesn't belong here. period.
Can we move the paragraph to an area under Driving since that is where it belongs? --Andrewssi2 (talk) 23:32, 20 June 2015 (UTC)
It can be deleted as far as I'm concerned. Powers (talk) 00:47, 22 June 2015 (UTC)

Too much detail?[edit]

Recent edits such as this are really drilling down into the amount of detail that can be expanded on. They also often give advise on subjects that are applicable in every country in the world, not just the US.

The contributor obviously means well. What would be the appropriate way to handle? --Andrewssi2 (talk) 01:51, 29 June 2015 (UTC)

Start reverting. Some of them, like explaining how the white pages work, are simply not needed. Hopefully this person will notice the reverts and join a conversation about their edits. If they don't, and particularly if they start edit-warring without talking about it, maybe a total revert and block would be appropriate. --Bigpeteb (talk) 15:25, 29 June 2015 (UTC)

Holiday section too long and complicated?[edit]

I feel the current holiday section is way too unwieldy for a visitor to the United States.

Additionally federal holidays are marked in bold italic, but in the list's current state I have difficulty to make them out.

Would anyone object removal of the following holidays since the impact to the general traveler is limited?

  • Chinese New Year - not an official holiday
  • Passover - very limited impact on travelers
  • Mother's Day - not an official holiday
  • Father's Day - not an official holiday
  • Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur - very limited impact on travelers
  • Hanukkah / Chanukah - very limited impact on travelers
  • Kwanzaa - very limited impact on travelers
  • New Year's Eve - This isn't actually a holiday

I could even propose a separate section for 'local cultural celebrations' as an alternative? --Andrewssi2 (talk) 22:54, 29 June 2015 (UTC)

  • I say delete them. Most of them mean nothing to travelers. For New Years, just "New Years" is good enough. Why separate it into New Years Day and New Years Eve? I'd also include Cinco de Mayo and Lincoln's Birthday for deletion. Was Super Bowl Sunday added as a joke? I'm not sure. It's certainly a major non-holiday celebration, but it's not a holiday... ChubbyWimbus (talk) 11:38, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
Super Bowl Sunday is probably the most important "holiday" after Fourth of July, Christmas and Thanksgiving, at least from a traveler's perspective. Almost anything that can find an excuse for closing will (but there will be little congestion and fewer lines at the places that are open) food delivery experiences its busiest day (tip accordingly) and everybody who doesn't give a rat's ass about American Football suddenly second guesses the play-calling and line up of two of the best coaches in the world (though to be fair, passing on any down when you are at the one yard line with goal to go is a bone-headed move and it doesn't take a degree in Football to know that...). I say Super Bowl Sunday is - from a traveler's perspective at least - one of the more important holidays and not a joke at all. As a side note: we do mention "black friday", don't we? Hobbitschuster (talk) 11:51, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
Black Friday is not listed as a holiday on that list. Super Bowl Sunday is not a real holiday though. Is this supposed to be a real holiday list or just a list of days that may have special events or inconveniences? ChubbyWimbus (talk) 12:00, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
I would agree that the Jewish population is too small for Jewish holidays to be important nationally, though in places like Metro New York and New Jersey, it's a different story. Cinco de Mayo has some effect beyond areas with huge Mexican-American populations because there are bars that promote drinking Mexican drinks on that day. But whatever you do, make sure to note somewhere how important Super Bowl Sunday is. It doesn't have to be noted in "Holidays", but it should be noted in the article. Similarly, Mother's Day needs to be mentioned because it is the worst possible day to eat out in a restaurant, and it's important for people to know that in a majority of places, if you didn't get reservations in advance, you're out of luck, and you will probably be limited to an annoying, expensive prix fixe menu and have slammed, slow service. For similar reasons, Valentine's Day is important to mention. Always keep in mind what's important for the traveler. And that being said, Black Friday absolutely needs to be mentioned because it's the most ridiculous day to try to go shopping and should be avoided. We might even mention Tax Day - April 15 or, if on a weekend, the next Monday - as a day to consider avoiding use of the post office. Ikan Kekek (talk) 12:09, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
Maybe holidays specifically linked to certain ethnic groups should be mentioned in the region articles where those groups are most notable. Hobbitschuster (talk) 12:20, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but this ridiculous. "Not an official holiday"? There are only 10 federal holidays; surely we're not considering stripping the list down to just those ten? If not, then "not an official holiday" is a meaningless criterion. Powers (talk) 20:59, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
'not an official holiday' just means, well, not an official holiday and no significant rationale to include it save for it being important to some people in the US on a given day. (And actually I would guess every day of the year has some religious/secular significance to some group in the US) Andrewssi2 (talk) 21:37, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
I think that most people got my point that we want a useful list for travelers. If I am going to the United States then I want to know firstly which days are going to impact my travel plans (i.e. shops closed or 'Black Friday' shopping chaos). Banks being closed is also significant to me as a traveler. I would have a secondary interest in cultural holidays that I would be interested to see people celebrate. Does the following make sense?

National Holidays

The following holidays may see many businesses, banks and attractions closed, and travel options limited.

  • New Year's Day (1 January) — most non-retail businesses closed; parades; brunches and football parties.
  • Martin Luther King Day (third Monday in January) — many government offices and banks closed; people volunteer in their communities; speeches, especially on African-American history and culture.
  • Presidents Day (third Monday in February; officially Washington's Birthday) — many government offices and banks closed; many stores have sales.
  • Memorial Day (last Monday in May) — most non-retail businesses closed; some patriotic observances; trips to beaches and parks; traditional beginning of summer tourism season.
  • Independence Day / Fourth of July (4 July) — most non-retail businesses closed; patriotic parades and concerts, cookouts and trips to beaches and parks, fireworks at dusk.
  • Labor Day (first Monday in September) — most non-retail businesses closed; cookouts and trips to beaches and parks; many stores have sales; traditional ending of summer tourism season.
  • Veterans Day (11 November) — government offices and banks closed; some patriotic observances.
  • Thanksgiving Day (fourth Thursday in November) — Family dinners; many people fly or drive to visit extended family. Airports in particular will be extremely crowded on the Wednesday before and Sunday after Thanksgiving. Almost all businesses closed, including grocery stores and many restaurants. The next day, known as "Black Friday," major Christmas shopping traditionally begins. Many non-retail employees are given Friday off or take it as a holiday.
  • Christmas (25 December) — Families and close friends exchange gifts; Christian religious observances. Almost all businesses, grocery stores, and many restaurants closed the evening before and all day.


Culturally significant dates

The following days will see a good deal of activity in all or certain parts of the nation:

  • Chinese New Year (January/February — varies based on the Chinese lunar calendar) — Chinese cultural celebration.
  • Super Bowl Sunday (usu. first Sunday in February) — The Super Bowl is the annual championship game of the NFL American football league and the most-watched sporting event of the year; supermarkets, bars, and electronics stores busy; big football-watching parties.
  • Lincoln's Birthday (second Monday in February) - Holiday in several states; many stores have sales.
  • (St.) Valentine's Day (14 February) — private celebration of romance and love. Most restaurants are crowded; finer restaurants may require reservations made well in advance.
  • St. Patrick's Day (17 March) — Irish-themed parades and parties. Expect bars to be crowded. They will often feature themed drink specials. The wearing of green clothes or accessories is common.
  • Easter (a Sunday in March or April) — Christian religious observances. Depending on location, many fast-food restaurants may be closed, but sit-down restaurants are more likely to be open. Major retailers generally open; smaller shops may or may not close.
  • Passover (varies based on the Jewish calendar, eight days around Easter) — Jewish religious observances.
  • Cinco de Mayo (5 May) — A minor holiday in most of Mexico often incorrectly assumed to be Mexican Independence Day, but nevertheless a major cultural celebration for Mexican-Americans. As with St. Patrick's Day, expect bars to be crowded, even in places without large Mexican-American communities.
  • Mother's Day (second Sunday in May) — Children and adults give gifts to their mothers. Most restaurants are crowded; finer restaurants may require reservations made well in advance.
  • Father's Day (third Sunday in June) — Children and adults give gifts to their fathers. Many restaurants and sporting events are crowded, although not to the same extent as Mother's Day.
  • Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (varies based on the Jewish calendar, September or early October) — Jewish religious observances.
  • Columbus Day (second Monday in October) — many government offices and banks closed; some stores have sales. Italian-themed parades in some cities. Columbus Day can be controversial, especially among Native Americans and Latinos, and is not as widely observed as it was in the past.
  • Halloween (31 October) — Children dress up in costume and go trick-or-treating (knocking on other houses' doors to get candy and other treats). There are spooky attractions, such as haunted corn mazes, hayrides and costume parties. Some small family-owned shops and restaurants may close early in the evening.
  • Hanukkah / Chanukah (varies based on the Jewish calendar, eight days usually in December) — Jewish religious observances, often culturally associated with Christmas.
  • Kwanzaa (26 December – 1 January) — African-American cultural observances.
  • New Year's Eve (31 December) — many restaurants and bars open late; lots of parties, especially in big cities.


Andrewssi2 (talk) 21:37, 30 June 2015 (UTC)

Easter (the Sunday after the first full moon after the equinox, late March or early April)? I'd be surprised if much of anything were open, other than food, fuel and lodging - the bare basic necessities of the voyager.
I'm sceptical of listing things whose origins are in other countries (such as Hanukkah, Cinco de Mayo or the Chinese New Year) at country level if these are the same (and on the same days) worldwide. An exception would be statutory holidays, where some level of government directs shopkeepers to give their people the day off. Something that's on a different day in different countries (Thanksgiving, Labor/Labour Day vs. May Day...), or causes a substantial disruption to travel (and not just "the restaurants are really busy" or "the air and rail terminals are crowded") may be of interest. If Passover or Valentine's Day are on the same day everywhere, what's special about them in this specific country to require a specific mention at country level? K7L (talk) 02:42, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
I was thinking that to make this easy the first step would be to split up the lists into two (as above). We could then discuss which cultural holidays to keep or lose in the second list. Any objections? Andrewssi2 (talk) 05:50, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
No objections here.
Valentine's Day surely is not so important in some other countries, right? I think we have to list VDay for the reasons I stated above, and I would like for it not to be any more controversial than listing Christmas, which is also the same throughout the non-Orthodox world. I think the Jewish holidays don't need to be listed nationally, because the percentage of the US population that's Jewish is around 2%. Let's list those in places where Jews are highly visible, like New York (state) and New Jersey. Chinese New Year is celebrated mostly in a few cities with Chinatowns; it can and should be listed in the guides to those cities, but doesn't need to be listed nationally. Cinco de Mayo and Mardi Gras could be mentioned because of bar specials and such, but I think they're less essential nationwide than St. Patrick's Day, when a lot of people start drinking in the morning and drink green beer all day. I think we should list Kwanzaa because African-Americans are 13% of the population and it's a holiday a lot of people from outside the country won't know about. It doesn't affect anything anyone wants to do, but mentioning it gives the article some local color. Ikan Kekek (talk) 08:01, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
I do think busy travel days (like the fact that unlike in Europe, Christmas is not the main "visit family" season, but rather it's thanksgiving) have to mentioned in a travel guide. Dates with regional importance should be mentioned in regional articles. I think there should be at least a couple of words about Cinco de Mayo in California and about St. Patrick's Day in Boston, just like the Jewish holidays should be mentioned for New York and some places in the environs. Hobbitschuster (talk) 10:04, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
Yes, listing the National Holidays is noncontroversial. The others are debatable. I don't necessarily think that the Jewish holidays need mention anywhere unless they truly affect travelers. The list says "Religious observances". If that is all, then do we really need to inform Jewish people about their own holidays? Passover, Rosh Hashanah, etc. are not specific for American Jews, so if a person is Jewish no matter where they're from, they'll already know these holidays. If however, in New York Passover is a big deal with parades and store closings then of course it should be listed but having a high population of celebrants does not necessarily warrant listing the holiday.
I agree with comments about Chinese New Year and Cinco de Mayo; only mention them where there are big celebrations. They're not American-specific holidays and for most of the country, Cinco de Mayo is for high school Spanish classes. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 11:49, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
Regarding Easter, it varies a lot. I'm in Georgia, somewhat in the Bible Belt, and it's inconsistent. Some shops close, including a few major retailers like Target, but many do stay open. (Actually, I was surprised to see Target closed, as I'd expect large businesses to stay open while smaller shops close, but it's really just inconsistent.) --Bigpeteb (talk) 13:25, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for all your inputs! I cleaned up the second list by removing the Jewish holidays and some others mentioned. I kept Valentine's day and St. Patrick's day for now since they appear to be busy event that the traveler should plan around. I merged Father's Day into the Mother's day item, only because I'm guessing that day will have limited traveler impact.
Halloween doesn't really fit my criteria since a traveler is unlikely to be affected, but I appreciate that it is a significant American cultural event for kids.
Easter does seem borderline, but left in for now.

Culturally significant celebrations

The following days will see a good deal of activity in all or certain parts of the nation:

  • Super Bowl Sunday (usu. first Sunday in February) — The Super Bowl is the annual championship game of the NFL American football league and the most-watched sporting event of the year; supermarkets, bars, and electronics stores busy; big football-watching parties.
  • Lincoln's Birthday (second Monday in February) - Holiday in several states; many stores have sales.
  • (St.) Valentine's Day (14 February) — private celebration of romance and love. Most restaurants are crowded; finer restaurants may require reservations made well in advance.
  • St. Patrick's Day (17 March) — Irish-themed parades and parties. Expect bars to be crowded. They will often feature themed drink specials. The wearing of green clothes or accessories is common.
  • Easter (a Sunday in March or April) — Christian religious observances. Depending on location, many fast-food restaurants may be closed, but sit-down restaurants are more likely to be open. Major retailers generally open; smaller shops may or may not close.
  • Mother's Day (second Sunday in May) — Children and adults give gifts to their mothers. Most restaurants are crowded; finer restaurants may require reservations made well in advance. A corresponding Father's Day runs on the third Sunday in June, and is not as crowded.
  • Columbus Day (second Monday in October) — many government offices and banks closed; some stores have sales. Italian-themed parades in some cities. Columbus Day can be controversial, especially among Native Americans and Latinos, and is not as widely observed as it was in the past.
  • Halloween (31 October) — Children dress up in costume and go trick-or-treating (knocking on other houses' doors to get candy and other treats). There are spooky attractions, such as haunted corn mazes, hayrides and costume parties. Some small family-owned shops and restaurants may close early in the evening.
  • Kwanzaa (26 December – 1 January) — African-American cultural observances.
Does this work? Andrewssi2 (talk) 13:41, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
Exactly where is Lincoln's birthday important? I've never heard of it being celebrated as anything special? Also, with Kwanzaa, I personally feel that if we're not going to explain it then we might as well not list it. "African-American cultural observances"? Nobody knows what that means. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 13:51, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
Isn't there that thing in Futurama "what the hell is Kwanzaa"? Hobbitschuster (talk) 13:57, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
Probably. There are plenty of jokes where the premise is "What the hell is Kwanzaa?" Many of them told by African-Americans. Using statistics of blacks in America as indicators of Kwanzaa observers is completely off-base, because many (most?) do not celebrate and many do not know how it is even celebrated. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 14:00, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
I Can't Believe that the Grinch Stole Arbor Day, Charlie Brown! Arrgh! Some of these are notable only for banks or post offices being closed, so might not need more detail than a passing mention that "in some states, X (date), Y (day) or Z (whenever) is a holiday; banks or government offices also close on A (day) and B (date)." Listing an individual football game might be a bit much? In general "many stores have sales" isn't particularly helpful as merchants screaming "buy our cheaply-made trinkets because it's (whatever day)" happens, on one pretext or another, basically every day of the year. Just be glad there isn't a "Pearl Harbor Day" sale on Japanese-brand electronics in the US... yet. K7L (talk) 14:22, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
Why is Super Bowl Sunday not relevant? It According to the ratings half of Americans watch it (and probably more than that are in sports bars or similar places) and if you are anywhere near the city it is held in, hotels will be packed (with the requisite price gouging) and people will go crazy. Heck even New York - a place where "normal" does not exist - went to a state far from normalcy when the Super Bowl Circus was in town (or rather East Rutherford, New Joisey) Hobbitschuster (talk) 14:28, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
It's relevant in the American football article and should be listed there, much like Mardi Gras is listed in the page on New Orleans. The country page is an overview of things which directly affect travel nationwide, such as statutory holidays on which businesses close. K7L (talk) 14:39, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
This is the Understand section. Context on important cultural dates is important.
Overall, I am stunned by this discussion, particularly some relevant facts that seem to have been missed.
  • Cinco de Mayo is celebrated only in the United States and two Mexican states; it is not a worldwide celebration, and its presence is nearly as important as St. Patrick's Day.
  • Lincoln's Birthday is a state holiday in several states.
  • Columbus Day is a federal holiday and should not be omitted from the list thereof.
  • A chronological list is superior to a split list; the traveler needs to be able look at the dates he's traveling to see if there are holidays.
  • I don't mind losing Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah, but the absence of Hannukah is jarring (the problem here being that the other two are more important holidays to Jews than Hannukah). Chinese New Year is celebrated in virtually any city with significant Chinese, Korean, or Vietnamese populations (since those three New Years coincide), not just in a few major cities with Chinatowns.
  • If we add a description of the holiday's meaning to the Kwanzaa entry, we'd have to do it for all of them.
-- Powers (talk) 14:51, 1 July 2015 (UTC)

(indent) Looking at Wikipedia, Lincoln's Birthday seems confirmably unimportant on a nationwide scale (only 7 states care about it). I still don't think Chinese New Year is that big on a nationwide scale either, and it's a holiday known worldwide so it's not like its omission here is going to make travelers unaware of its existence. Cinco de Mayo doesn't mean much in my part of the country, but I'm not from the Southwest or New York. In spite of that, after Super Bowl Sunday and Columbus Day, Cinco De Mayo would be a faraway next in events that are national and affect travelers. Hannukah is not a national holiday that has any effect on travelers at all. Why do we NEED to list a Jewish holiday if none of them affect travelers? The only reason we list Christian holidays is because there is a high chance that they can affect travelers and some of them do have nationwide celebrations or they're national holidays.

But what meaning does listing Kwanzaa have if there's no explanation and travelers will never encounter it? Most of the other holidays are rather self-explanatory.

We are always trying to keep this article as short and concise as possible, and getting rid of holidays that you'll not likely encounter and/or are not actually nationwide events seems like an easy way to do that. Travelers should still check their specific destinations for what's big there. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 16:14, 1 July 2015 (UTC) Just to add, most of our other country articles that I could find that have a "Holiday" section only list national holidays. Most strictly stick to national holidays. Very few addressed non-official holidays. Mexico unhelpfully notes a few. The China and Japan articles were the main ones I found that list just a few. Japan dealt with its seasonal events with a paragraph rather than incorporating them into the list. China did what was proposed above. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 16:32, 1 July 2015 (UTC)

None of the region articles list any holidays whatsoever so far. It would be an issue best handled at the state level (gah! I sound like one of those "states rights advocates). No; in all seriousness, if a holiday has regional relevance to travelers, it should be listed at the highest level of hierarchy where it affects a significant number of people throughout. Cinco de Mayo for example if it is not listed at the national level has to be listed in the Southwest and California at the very least. Some things might only merit a mention in several district articles. Hobbitschuster (talk) 16:26, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
The list really isn't that long. It's better to err on the side of inclusion here than to force travelers to look in multiple places for holidays. And I reject the notion that this list is purely to warn travelers of travel-related disruptions. Powers (talk) 21:11, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
Jews form about 2% of the population, and Chanukah (various transliterations) is a minor Jewish holiday whose importance has been exaggerated because of its proximity to Christmas. If we were to list Chanukah, not only should we list a bunch of major Jewish holidays (Purim would be a good starting point), but we would need to list Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha and should consider listing other holidays of relatively small religious minorities.
But that's in this guide. The question about why we should list Passover in the New York City and New Jersey guides "if it doesn't affect travelers" has an incorrect premise, because there is terrible traffic on the roads during both of the first nights of Passover in this area. It would be foolish and unhelpful not to give travelers notice about that. But not if they're traveling to Nebraska or Wyoming.
All that said, I think I'd rather err on the side of inclusion, too. But only so far. So list Cinco de Mayo, but I don't see why a guide for the entire country should list any Jewish holiday. Instead, we can say "Jewish, Chinese and Muslim holidays are notably observed in places with significant Jewish, Chinese and Muslim communities" or something like that. Ikan Kekek (talk) 23:11, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
I have a strong aversion to excluding significant religious minorities. I realize it's easy to dismiss Jews as "only" 2% of the population, but they have an influence and presence in society that exceeds that tiny number due to their concentration in New York, Washington, and Hollywood. Jews are much more visible and influential than the raw nationwide numbers would imply. Many cities and towns put up menorahs; stationery shops sell Hannukah cards, bands and radio stations play Hannukah music. Yes, it's a minor holiday in the Jewish faith, but it's a significant holiday in American culture. Powers (talk) 23:22, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
The Muslim population is about the same (5-7 million, estimated) as the Jewish population in the US. Should we also list Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha? Also, I haven't spent the winter in any part of the US without a significant Jewish community, that I can remember. Is there much visibility for Chanukah in the Bible Belt (outside of Atlanta, if we count that city), the Midwest outside of major cities and perhaps some university towns, or the Mountain states outside of, perhaps, Denver? I think if we do list Chanukah, at a minimum, of the various Biblical Jewish holidays (e.g., Succos, Simchas Torah, Shavuos), we should add at least Purim, because Orthodox communities have parades then which could be fun for some spectators. Actually, hell, add Simchas Torah, too, for people who'd like to see congregants dancing in the streets with the Torah. But again, I do have some doubts about these as _nationwide_ holidays. Mardi Gras is probably more influential, as people way outside of Louisiana go to bars and drink up in celebration, while very few non-Jews celebrate Purim or Simchas Torah unless they have Jewish friends or loved ones. Ikan Kekek (talk) 23:46, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
I'm not clear on why, after I just explained that the raw numbers don't tell the whole story, your response is to bring up another group with similar numbers but nowhere near the same cultural influence and visibility. Have you never walked into a Hallmark store in the month of December? Powers (talk) 00:37, 2 July 2015 (UTC)
I live in New York City. I also happen to be Jewish, as I think you're aware. I'm also well aware that the rest of the country is very different from New York City. Are there are a lot of Chanukah cards in stores in Casper, Wyoming and Huntsville, Alabama? Maybe you know. I don't, but I'm very reluctant to overstate the influence of Jews in the wide open spaces of this country. Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:46, 2 July 2015 (UTC)

[Unindent] Easter is not a national holiday? I thought it was, and I'm pretty surprised to see some people argue that the 2nd-most-important day in the Christian calendar might not be mentioned. That's very strange, in my opinion. A lot of people have not only Easter Sunday but the Monday after that off from school or work and at least in New York, there's a big parade, to boot. And a lot of people go home for Easter vacation, though not nearly as many as for Christmas break or Thanksgiving, but still. Ikan Kekek (talk) 10:56, 2 July 2015 (UTC)

The fact that the discussion on Jewish holidays has been about Hallmark cards and the existence of "influential people" seems further proof that these holidays do not affect travelers on a national scale. The New York situations described are truly exceptional cases that definitely warrant mention there, but New York is one of the few truly international cities in the world, so it's not a great example for anything on a nationwide scale. While there is no question that the US has plenty of influential Jewish citizens, that seems like a very strange rationale. I lived in a Jewish neighborhood and never saw or heard of any big public events that would have warranted adding them to the city article let alone the region or country article. If a spiritual/religious holiday is meant to be celebrated privately among believers, I don't see why it would be offensive to leave it off the list. Americans are used to seeing Chanukah on holiday lists for the reasons mentioned above (closeness to Christmas), but once again, this is a travel guide listing. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 12:38, 2 July 2015 (UTC)
The whole point of this discussion is that the list of potentials holiday we can list in the United States article is pretty endless. The are many days in the Buddhist religion that we don't list, and it isn't because we don't respect people of that faith.
I still hold that a jumbled list of 'hard' holidays (Federal days when most businesses are closed') and 'soft' holidays (e.g. St Patrick Day) is just really confusing. Maybe you personally like them but you are seriously confusing the traveler. Keep them separate and choose a sane list of the 'soft' days which truly reflect the American nation as a whole. Andrewssi2 (talk) 12:35, 2 July 2015 (UTC)
Agreed that keeping them separate is best. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 12:44, 2 July 2015 (UTC)
What is the American nation as a whole? I mean the very motto is (and the only motto the founders cared to make official) "e pluribus unum" - out of many, one. If there is one thing that is definitely American, it is diversity. And as a traveler I don't care whether the streets are crowded due to some federal official holiday or because the Flying Spaghetti Monster has a huge following in Northern Wisconsin. Our perspective should be the traveler's perspective. Not the federal government, not any of the state governments, not the minister of propaganda or the census bureau and certainly not the NSA define what our perspective is. If a day is not officially a holiday but has an impact on travelers (isn't there this one holiday that is traditionally celebrated by going to a national park? If that is not mentioned, we should) it has to be mentioned. If a day despite being made some form of official does not matter to most visitors, why should we mention it? Best wishes Hobbitschuster (talk) 12:47, 2 July 2015 (UTC)
Probably because all official holidays (with the possible exception of Lincolns birthday) have a big effect on all travellers. Andrewssi2 (talk) 23:56, 2 July 2015 (UTC)

There are two ways that a national or regional holiday may affect the voyager:

  • There are business closures on that day; a visitor finds banking institutions closed when seeking to exchange currency or postal service closed when looking for stamps to send postcards
  • There are events on that day, such as a parade or fireworks, which the visitor is likely to want to attend. Mardi Gras in New Orleans is one obvious example. If cheese and spaghetti go divinely well together in Wisconsin, to the point that someone would travel to the state on one specific day to celebrate this, note it in the state or region article.

These are two different animals and should be treated accordingly. K7L (talk) 16:49, 2 July 2015 (UTC)

There is another way certain days affect travel: Through travel. While the first day of the French summer holidays is nationwide, it is not an official holiday. But good luck trying to drive anywhere on that day or getting TGV or plane tickets... The same goes for the several dates Germany starts their vacations (this is once again Ländersache or a state's right in Germany) in and around Fulda, Kassel and the various lovely off-ramps that are only known to the population at large for being bottlenecks for congestion. Once again the day with the national parks I heard about (can somebody please tell me whether it exists and which it is?) Is probably something the voyager needs to be acutely aware of. Best wishes Hobbitschuster (talk) 16:58, 2 July 2015 (UTC)
I don't see any reason to limit the list of holidays to those that have a specific effect upon a traveler. Cultural context is an important function of the Understand section, of which Holidays is a part. Powers (talk) 23:32, 2 July 2015 (UTC)
I agree. Any holiday that's likely to have an effect on a traveler must be listed, but it doesn't follow that others that are unlikely to have an effect on a traveler thereby shouldn't be listed. Ikan Kekek (talk) 23:47, 2 July 2015 (UTC)
I didn't read above anyone suggesting otherwise. Simply that we should shorten the list of non-official holidays, not eliminate them. Andrewssi2 (talk) 23:56, 2 July 2015 (UTC)
I wasn't talking about "official" holidays (a word whose definition I'm still not clear on in this context), I was talking about holidays that affect the traveler. Hobbitschuster even said "If a day ... does not matter to most visitors, why should we mention it?" I was trying to provide a reason for doing so. Powers (talk) 19:42, 3 July 2015 (UTC)
In general, I don't think we need to muddy the list with holidays that are either not open to travelers/private and/or do not affect the travelers. Non-holidays that travelers nationwide may find burdensome like the first day of a long break mentioned could be dealt with in a paragraph prior to the actual listings, like the Japan article has, but I am opposed to giving such days holiday listings themselves. Similarly, if we want to use this section to tout America's diversity, a sentence could be added that in places with significant foreign/minority populations, you may find celebrations from their cultures, such as Chinese New Year. Mentioning that many Jewish holidays are at least well-known in America can be dealt with in a paragraph, as well, but the actual list should be convenient and relevant. It's NOT useful for travelers for us to list Chanukah, Ramadan, the most important celebrations of every Native American tribe (which sadly very few Americans could name any), etc. when these holidays are neither fun/public events nor cause for avoidance of travel on a nationwide scale. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 02:38, 4 July 2015 (UTC)
I think you're taking a far too limited view of the holiday list. I don't like making it purely utilitarian. There's too much of that already in this article. Powers (talk) 14:25, 4 July 2015 (UTC)

(indent) As someone who has looked at holiday and festival lists, it's really annoying to see a bunch of holidays that are meaningless to me as a traveler, so I think if it's not a useful list, then it's not a worthwhile list. I also don't want to debate what minorities are worthy of being called "significant" enough to place their holidays on the list; rather just focus on whether or not the holidays themselves are national and relevant. I hold that if we want to tout a few holidays to showcase America's diversity, it could be done in a paragraph at the beginning but we should reserve the list for holidays that are national and meaningful to travelers. Perhaps I could be convinced to change my mind on Cinco de Mayo. Although it's nothing more than a day to eat tacos in Pittsburgh, if others believe there are more authentic celebrations on a wide enough scale (and not simply counting Mexican or Hispanic populations which does not necessarily correlate), it may warrant addition. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 17:56, 4 July 2015 (UTC)

I think Cinco de Mayo should be listed if only for the fact that it is pretty much US-exclusive. Yes it is known in Mexico and there are some celebrations in some places, but it definitely not the Mexican (and by extension Latino) holiday outside the US. St. Patrick's day seems to have a similar tendency when compared to the same event in Ireland (or so I've heard) but it has now largely spread globally at least in terms of green beer and Irish themed special at your local pub. Hobbitschuster (talk) 19:28, 4 July 2015 (UTC)

(indent) Reading through the very long discussion above, I believe there is a sufficient consensus (with one loud objection) to at least splitting the list between Federal ( 'official' ) holidays and all the others. Can we go ahead with this now? We can address individual cases such as 'Cinco de Mayo' afterwards. Andrewssi2 (talk) 23:52, 4 July 2015 (UTC)

What is the justification for this? The average traveler has no interest nor need to know which are federal holidays and which are not. The traveler will barely notice Columbus Day or Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, but will definitely notice Halloween or Super Bowl Sunday. Powers (talk) 15:16, 5 July 2015 (UTC)
Because it's actually confusing to see "Super Bowl Sunday" listed as a holiday when it's not. It's just silly. We've done it in other articles, and I think it actually improves usability to separate them in large part because of what you just stated; often national holidays indicate days that certain businesses may be closed but not necessarily days with anything interesting to do as opposed to cultural holidays which will have festivities.
Would you care to address my solution to write about the cultural sites in a paragraph above the list of National Holidays as done in the Japan article? Lots of important non-holidays such as cherry blossom season and non-national holidays like Tanabata are listed there with the benefit of providing a description of what they might mean to a traveler. Is there a reason you won't address this solution? Would it not be both more useful to the traveler and let you have your way by giving more of them mention?

ChubbyWimbus (talk) 16:30, 5 July 2015 (UTC)

I'm not clear what cultural sites have to do with a section on holidays. Would it help if we renamed it to "important days"? I don't see any reason not to treat Super Bowl Sunday as a holiday. It has all the traits of any other holiday except for official designation in a book of laws. It's a Sunday, so banks and post offices are closed anyway.
It would be a good idea to describe some cultural celebrations in prose, but I don't see how that's a substitute for a concise list organized by date.
-- Powers (talk) 23:07, 5 July 2015 (UTC)
I just reread this discussion. Travelers will notice Presidents' Day and Martin Luther King Day if they need to perform a transaction at a bank or go to the post office, because Federal offices are closed for those Federal holidays. Therefore, they should be mentioned. I do agree with you on Super Bowl Sunday. Ikan Kekek (talk) 06:42, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
Any idea how to move this forward? I wanted a clear and useful list for the traveler, but I felt that some people were just too personally invested in some of their 'culturally significant locally but low traveler relevant nationally' holidays to make any meaningful changes. Andrewssi2 (talk) 06:58, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
I think you're probably right, but it doesn't look like a consensus will be attained, and maybe that's not so bad, because the US is nothing except a diverse and contentious place. Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:17, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
While it's true that travelers may have cause to take note of dates on which federal offices are closed, I don't see any reason why those particular dates should be considered more important than other dates on which non-federal offices might be closed, or other special circumstances that travelers might need to take note of.
It seems to me that what's most useful to the traveler is a list of dates on which business as usual may not be able to be conducted for various celebratory or commemorative reasons. Moving purely cultural celebrations like the Jewish holidays to a separate section may make some sense, but surely we have to acknowledge that having everything in a single chronological list makes the most organizational sense? Powers (talk) 18:52, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
I see the point about a single chronological list. We could use a star to separate Federal holidays from other ones, if people would like that. Ikan Kekek (talk) 12:01, 3 October 2015 (UTC)

Further above in the thread I raised the question of a holiday that is traditionally celebrated by going to a national park. Is there? Hobbitschuster (talk) 12:55, 3 October 2015 (UTC)

Not that I'm aware of. But perhaps I'm unaware of it because the closest national park to me is 250 miles away. Powers (talk) 19:42, 3 October 2015 (UTC)
I'd say no, no holiday in particular. Arbor Day is about planting trees, but it's not a major holiday nor traditionally celebrated by going to a national park, though it's the only vaguely relevant holiday I thought of. Ikan Kekek (talk) 10:20, 4 October 2015 (UTC)

Archiving[edit]

This talk page (as can be expected for such an important destination) has become rather long and there has not been an archiving since 2012 (which was probably done for... reasons... back than). I think we should go ahead and archive at least most of the 2013 discussions, if not the early 2014 discussions as well. Best wishes Hobbitschuster (talk) 15:28, 1 July 2015 (UTC)

I think it was me that did that. Basically any discussions that were concluded on the old WT site were archived.
For most articles, all WV discussions since 2013 do not really need archiving, however the United States possible needs it owing to the much higher than average discussions taking place. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 12:09, 2 July 2015 (UTC)
I guess it is a good idea to archive as some of the topics of discussion even concerned themselves with a rather low number of edits or sentences where a consensus wording has emerged. Hobbitschuster (talk) 12:52, 2 July 2015 (UTC)
Traditionally this talk page has been archived once it got very long (see box at the top of the page for archive pages). If you want to archive threads from 2013 and earlier that should be non-controversial. -- Ryan • (talk) • 13:20, 2 July 2015 (UTC)

American accents[edit]

This is from the beginning of the "Talk" section:

Almost all Americans speak English. They generally use a standard accent (native to the Midwest), popularized in the 20th century by radio, TV and movies. In many areas, especially the South and Texas, in New England, in New York City, and in the upper Midwest, you'll find distinctive regional accents and dialects.

The second and third sentences seem to contradict each other. I think the second sentence is untrue, and I refer you to these maps. Ikan Kekek (talk) 08:03, 2 July 2015 (UTC)

I agree. I think it valid to state that the Midwest accent is considered to be the neutral standard, which you'll hear most often on national news broadcasts, but I think it's better to emphasize the variety over the so-called standard. California, Hawaii, and Minnesota/Wisconsin might also be added to the list of distinctive ones. Cool maps, by the way... Texugo (talk) 11:26, 2 July 2015 (UTC)
The accents may be distinctive to you, but maybe not apparent at all to other native English speakers (for example I couldn't tell a Hawaiian or a Californian accent if I heard it) I would urge caution before listing too many out. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 12:12, 2 July 2015 (UTC)
I guess what could - and should - be emphasized is that the US has surprising uniformity in accents, especially when compared to Europe or even Latin America. Just one example: I can immediately tell the difference between somebody from Costa Rica and somebody from Nicaragua by their Spanish accents. Somebody from Nicaragua would even hear the economic background and whether that person grew up on the countryside. I cannot, however tell the difference between somebody from Nebraska and somebody from Kansas. And neither could most Americans not actually from either of those places. In general (almost) all Americans are able to at least approximate a "Midwestern" accent apart maybe from a few idiosyncratic words. Whether they are willing to is a different question, but with most people this should also not be an issue. Hobbitschuster (talk) 12:26, 2 July 2015 (UTC)
Well, you did just choose two neighboring Midwest states to make that claim — if you compared Florida and Alabama or Illinois and Wisconsin, it would be much harder to make that claim. But anyway, we aren't talking about the traveller's ability to hear an accent out of context and pinpoint exactly where it's from — the important thing is that any native English speaker can hear that there is a difference between a Minnesota accent, an East Texan accent, a New England accent, and a Midwest one, etc. They may not recognize or be able to pick apart what the differences are, but they can hear that they are different. I don't know that anyone's ability to "approximate a Midwestern" accent is relevant either, given that most people generally don't do that in their home region contexts (in my experience, most Americans are not very conscious of curbing their accent to help a foreigner understand). And what about AAVE? Texugo (talk) 12:53, 2 July 2015 (UTC)
The Hawaiian accent is highly distinctive. Andrewssi2, I don't believe that if you heard a Californian and a Hawaiian, you wouldn't be able to tell the accent apart. Ikan Kekek (talk) 13:04, 2 July 2015 (UTC)
It is possible that I would find Hawaiian highly distinctive, but as of today I can't at all think what it sounds like. Perhaps the only Hawaiian I can think of is President Obama, and I'm guessing he doesn't use a Hawaiian accent? I also spent some time in San Francisco and Seattle and didn't notice any difference --Andrewssi2 (talk) 22:57, 2 July 2015 (UTC)
Probably just my ignorance, but for me it is Boston accent, New Jersey accent, southern drawl and 'standard American'. I'm sure it is much more complex than that, but those are the ones I would pick out as distinctive. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 22:57, 2 July 2015 (UTC)
President Obama does not have a Hawaiian accent. There's a lot of Hawaiian Pidgin in this video, but you can also hear the Hawaiian accent. Most native-born Hawaiians I met spoke perfectly understandable English, but with at least some degree of this accent. Ikan Kekek (talk) 23:13, 2 July 2015 (UTC)
Well I think the "approximating a Midwestern accent" thing is a common phenomenon in almost all areas that are used to foreigners. In Germany most people will "approximate a Hannover accent" (and usually fail miserably, especially in Saxony or Baden Württemberg or that one backwards mountain region) if they don't try out their English right away. But in my contacts with Americans (well given that most Americans I know live or have lived at either coast and have been abroad, that may not be a fair sample) almost all tried to cut down on the slang and the idiosyncratic expressions or were at least willing and able to explain them. Hobbitschuster (talk) 13:18, 2 July 2015 (UTC)
As an American, I'm completely unfamiliar with people who aren't newscasters, radio announcers or perhaps actors or voiceover artists making an effort to approximate a Midwestern accent, and the Midwestern accent is less of a national standard for broadcasting now than it was 40 years ago, so there's a lot less pretending. Reducing slang and speaking clearly do not a Midwestern accent make. I have to wonder what you'd think my accent was. I have what some people call an "Upper West Side accent," because that's the neighborhood I grew up in. It's not a drastic New York accent, but it's immediately recognizable as at least an accent from the coast north of DC and usually as a New York accent by everyone from outside the area, though absurdly, some people with really exaggerated New York accents, mostly Long Islanders, think my accent is somehow British. I don't think any native New Yorker would ever try to sound Midwestern, nowadays, and I certainly don't. Ikan Kekek (talk) 13:29, 2 July 2015 (UTC)
There seems to even be an opposing tendency among some people in the media (I'm talking about Fox News in case anybody was wondering) of "approximating a Southern accent" (Connecticut born president buying a ranch in Texas, anybody?) but I thus far thought of it as a minority phenomenon at best. So out of curiosity, Ikan, you do not vary the extent of your accent depending on whom you speak to? Like if you are in the Upper West Side or talking to family you would speak differently than when talking to somebody in - say - Green Bay? In my family and among my friends this is a rather common phenomenon. So much so that I can immediately hear when my mother talks to her parents due to the different dialect she speaks (it would even be obvious to somebody to whom German is a second language). Maybe Midwestern has lost (some of) its role as "standard" in recent times. After all, there was a time when the "Meißner Kanzleisprache" was considered the "best" and "purest" standard German. Hard to imagine if you compare modern Saxon to German "standard /newscaster"... Hobbitschuster (talk) 13:54, 2 July 2015 (UTC)
So far as I'm aware "approximating an accent" is not something Americans do - as Ikan notes, people will use less slang around visitors, but that's common everywhere in the world. If approximating an accent is something that a small number of people do, it's too much of an edge case to merit a mention in the USA article.
To the original point, I think the following change might address Ikan's concern:
Almost all Americans speak English. The majority of the country speaks with a Midwestern accent, popularized in the 20th century by radio, TV and movies, although regional accents and dialects can be found throughout the country, especially the South and Texas, in New England, in New York City, and in the upper Midwest.
-- Ryan • (talk) • 14:19, 2 July 2015 (UTC)
I do not believe it accurate to say that "the majority of the country" speaks with a Midwestern accent, especially given that the majority of major populations centers are outside the Midwest. Texugo (talk) 15:16, 2 July 2015 (UTC)

(reindent) As an American, I'd like to throw my thoughts in if I may. The problem is that the description is written from an American perspective, whereas the Talk section is inherently for visitors who don't speak [American] English. From a US perspective, yes, there are broad regions where there are different accents, but compared to other languages (or even other countries like Britain) the differences in accent are comparatively minor, and spread over much larger regions. With a few exceptions, it's almost impossible to pinpoint what US city someone is from by their accent, whereas I know in Britain this is very common.

Incidentally, I do think the majority of the country speaks with a fairly neutral accent. Even in regions that have strong regional accents, such as the South or New England, it may only be 50-50 local accent versus standard generic accent. In big cities, where a lot of people may have come from elsewhere and didn't grow up in the region, it's often much much lower. But again, this is my perspective as an American; maybe the "standard" accent isn't as standard to someone else's ears as it is to mine.

What it comes down to is, how do ESL speakers, or English speakers with a different native accent, perceive American English? Are the regional accents fairly noticeable? Do they impact your ability to comprehend? Those are the questions that should drive the description of US English. --Bigpeteb (talk) 15:28, 2 July 2015 (UTC)

BTW Texugo, see w:General American: "The General American accent is most closely related to a conservative, generalized Midwestern accent". This is the general "accent-free" American English that's being referred to, which is not the same as the modern regional accent in the upper Midwest. --Bigpeteb (talk) 15:31, 2 July 2015 (UTC)
Thus neither do people in the Midwest actually speak "General American" nor do people in Hannover actually speak "General German" (or so I've been told). Which raises the question who apart from the obligatory "newscaster" actually speaks that way? Or is it that somebody who has spend time in A and B will sound like B in A and like A in B (which raises the question how (s)he sounds like in C....) Hobbitschuster (talk) 17:03, 2 July 2015 (UTC)
For the purposes of this discussion we should be able to treat "General American" the same as a "Midwestern accent" the same as "no accent". Aside from small groups here and there, that "accent" covers the majority of the country, with the exception of the areas highlighted as having regional accents (the South, Texas, New York City, New England, the upper Midwest). To address your "newscaster" question, most of the people outside of the specific areas with regional accents can be considered to speak "General American". -- Ryan • (talk) • 17:42, 2 July 2015 (UTC)
And Hawaii. As is pointed out upthread, the Hawaiian accent is very distinctive.
But considering how many tourists in the US are themselves Americans, I think it's erroneous for the "Talk" section to be only from the perspective of a foreigner.
As for my accent: I have tutored EFL students from China and other countries, and those who were taught a different accent first (especially British English) can have trouble understanding my (and others') New York accents at first. My recourse is not to pretend to speak in another accent, but to speak slowly and clearly and write things out when necessary. If I didn't teach them how to understand a New York accent, I wouldn't be helping them to understand people here better. But in any case, no, I really don't "vary the extent of my accent" consciously, except in pronunciations of words like "water" ("wooder" isn't understood in many places). My accent is not thick, but it is a New York accent. Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:43, 2 July 2015 (UTC)

"General American"[edit]

You folks who are claiming that most Americans speak a "General American" accent are apparently ignoring the second sentence of w:General American:

General American (abbreviated as GA or GenAm) is an umbrella variety of American English—a continuum of accents—considered to be spoken by a majority of Americans and popularly perceived as lacking any notably regional, ethnic, or socioeconomic characteristics. However, no historical or current linguistic evidence actually supports the notion of a regionally "neutral" language variety, leading to ongoing debate about the precision and usefulness of the term. [emphasis added]

If there's no current or even historical linguistic evidence that there is such a thing, in fact, as "General American," why are any of you claiming that most Americans speak this seemingly nonexistent dialect? Ikan Kekek (talk) 22:47, 4 July 2015 (UTC)

I don't believe anyone is denying the point that the United States has a diversity of accents.
If the point of describing accents is to give some color to the description of the United States then fine, but if the intent is to provide useful information then I'd say it is very limited in that respect. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 23:47, 4 July 2015 (UTC)
Well, I would maintain that some people used to other kinds of English will find it difficult to understand, for example, Southern, New York, Boston area and Hawaiian accents. Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:28, 5 July 2015 (UTC)
On the whole the US has less different accents per square kilometer than most other countries. I think this point should still be made clear. Hobbitschuster (talk) 10:02, 5 July 2015 (UTC)
I'm not contradicting that. Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:40, 5 July 2015 (UTC)
Then again, it's not hard to find 1km² of Adirondack Park where the only voices are bird calls. So what? K7L (talk) 21:06, 5 July 2015 (UTC)
The US is simply a much bigger country that almost all other countries, and that plus largely ship- train-, car- and airplane- driven settlement patterns means that most (but not all) accents have wider spread than in much smaller countries where each village was for most of its history a day's walk or more from the next. But there still is quite a significant difference between the way people speak in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, Cape Cod, Hawaii's Big Island, Minnesota's Iron Range and the Mississippi Delta. Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:15, 5 July 2015 (UTC)
I think the sentence you highlighted in the WP article is overly pedantic for this discussion. Yes, from a linguistic standpoint, there is no such thing as a "neutral" accent. Whether it's General American, or Received Pronunciation, or Tokyo dialect, or Standard Mandarin, those are all each accents/dialects, and there's no linguistic reason to say that they're any more "neutral" or "correct" than any other accent/dialect. But the social perception, which is what we care about here, is that those are the "standard" accents/dialects, the metric which all others are compared to.
Let's get back on topic: the Talk section is about how to listen and talk with Americans. In Japan, we wouldn't tell people to learn the Osaka dialect, because it's not widespread; it's a localized regional variation, and learning the Tokyo dialect will sound more "standard" and be easier for both parties. Likewise, the average American speaks with a General American accent, and this is what others should expect to hear in most places. If you watch American movies, probably 90% of the actors are speaking with a General American accent (unless it's a location piece set in Boston or somewhere else with a notable accent). I'm unclear why you think it's either inaccurate or harmful to state that General American is both the most widespread accent, and the one perceived as "neutral". --Bigpeteb (talk) 14:11, 6 July 2015 (UTC)
What exactly is this discussion about? I've read it and read the current wording: "They generally use a standard accent (native to the Midwest)" which does not use the term "General American English". Is someone actually trying to change it to say General American English? There are a lot of personal accounts and linguistic discussions surrounding a term that does not even appear in the article. For what it's worth, I think what is written now is fine. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 15:22, 6 July 2015 (UTC)
As you know, I disagree that what's now in the article is fine, but in answer to the question of where the term "General American" is being used, look at Ryan's post above. Ikan Kekek (talk) 17:28, 6 July 2015 (UTC)
My comment might have been misunderstood. I agree with Bigpeteb - for our purposes the technical details of accents and linguistic rules are unimportant to a traveler. What I was trying to say is that whether we call it "General American", a "midwest accent", "no accent", or something else, travelers will encounter what is essentially the same accent throughout the majority of the country, with the exception of a few areas that are currently called out as exceptions (the South & Texas, New York City, New England, the Upper Midwest, possibly Hawaii). Insofar as this thread started as a discussion about changing a paragraph in the existing "Talk" section article text, I would still propose that this comment seems like it should address the issues raised. -- Ryan • (talk) • 17:47, 6 July 2015 (UTC)
And I still doubt it's really true that the majority of Americans have the same accent, but at least your proposed language doesn't seem self-contradictory. I'm not sure there's (yet?) a consensus behind it, though. If it becomes clear that there is, I'll accept it, add Hawaii to the places with distinctive accents (I assume that's not going to cause controversy now?) and be done with it. Ikan Kekek (talk) 18:18, 6 July 2015 (UTC)

(indent) I think the important part is that the Standard American English that originates from the Midwest and Ohio is the most widespread and easy-to-understand nationwide and that most Americans are in fact able to tone down local/regional peculiarities to speak it. It is also the least controversial, especially for foreigners. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 11:44, 7 July 2015 (UTC)

Tone down regional peculiarities, sure (the way I put it is simply to speak slowly and clearly and try to avoid slang and big words), but I don't know where you get the idea that ordinary Americans (i.e., not actors, et al), nowadays, ever try to speak like Midwesterners. Also, even within Ohio, there are different accents. Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:22, 7 July 2015 (UTC)

I never said they try to speak like Midwesterners. I prefer to say that it is believed to originate in the Midwest than to say it is Midwestern. We are talking about what kind of English is this English that is the model when we eliminate what are considered to be regional vocabulary. It doesn't matter whether or not other accents exist. Western PA is also considered to speak accentless English with the exception of Pittsburgh but Pittsburghese's existence doesn't negate the fact that it's most common in that area, even in Pittsburgh itself. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 00:39, 8 July 2015 (UTC)

So if I eliminate Yiddishisms (local vocabulary for New York), my speech is now believed to originate in the Midwest? Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:45, 8 July 2015 (UTC)
Your words and grammar will be. What is Pittsburghese without its vocabulary? That doesn't mean that everything will sound Midwestern, though. Your New York or a Southern accent will still be detectable to those familiar with them, but there will be no questioning of what you're saying based on your words or grammar and many dialects will virtually disappear. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 00:55, 8 July 2015 (UTC)
Is there such a thing as Midwestern grammar? I thought we were talking about accents. Ikan Kekek (talk) 03:29, 8 July 2015 (UTC)
I guess there is at least such a thing as "Southern Grammar" in that the singular form of "you" and the plural form "y'all" (in the South) are differentiated, which most other English dialects don't. This may be minor, but its the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about grammatical differences... From what I've heard AAVE is even more distinct grammatically. Hobbitschuster (talk) 10:50, 8 July 2015 (UTC)
Yes, Black English is actually grammatically different from standard English and influenced by some African grammatical structures, but I don't think there really is a distinct Midwestern grammar.
By the way, there are other regional forms of "you (plural)". Some people in Brooklyn say "youse" and in Pittsburgh, there's "yins" (and neither of these should be mentioned in this article) — but if you think about it, these words don't actually change the grammar: All they do is substitute for "you". By contrast, "You was goin'" and "They ain't goin'" are differences in grammar from "You were going" and "They aren't going". Ikan Kekek (talk) 11:16, 8 July 2015 (UTC)
Well you could argue that the lack of a "plural you" is a distinct form of "Midwestern Grammar", just one that has become accepted as "standard" (though it would shock Shakespeare as well as several of the passengers of that one ship from 1620 to hear that). And while I do agree that AAVE is more grammatically distinct, I would not agree that the you/y'all you/yins you/youse distinction is minor. While it does not change verb forms (as the old thou/you distinction did), it is easy for native speakers of dialects that don't have this distinction to get stumped by it. (Leading to people trying to imitate a Southern accent and addressing a single person as "y'all"... and they say Southerners are ignorant hillbillies... but I digress). Anyway, in the general scheme of things people who don't directly request such dialectal specialties are unlikely to hear anything but the Southern y'all or some aspects of AAVE, I suppose. So maybe those local uses should - if at all - mentioned in the region article(s) where they apply. Hobbitschuster (talk) 11:26, 8 July 2015 (UTC)
That's why I don't like to say that it IS the Midwestern dialect, because that can be confusing but saying that it originates there seems clear. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 16:00, 8 July 2015 (UTC)
I really don't think it's clear. English was spoken on the Eastern Seaboard when what we now know as the "Midwest" was Indian country, devoid of any European settler. By the way, Hobbitschuster, I understand there are parts of Texas, for example, where "y'all" is differentiated from "all y'all". Someone can clarify whether that means a singular "y'all" is used. Ikan Kekek (talk) 17:56, 8 July 2015 (UTC)

(indent) Ikan Kekek, you're being needlessly pedantic. Yes, we know English started on the Eastern searboard where the settlers arrived, and before that it started in England somewhere, and before that it started in Anglo-Saxon tribes. None of that is relevant! The present day "General American" started in the 20th century somewhere around the "Midwestern US"; the exact area can be debated, but it's not really relevant since the point is just that there is a fairly standard accent that is quite common across the US.

Can we get this back on track? What specific complaints are there about the current text: "They generally use a standard accent (native to the Midwest), popularized in the 20th century by radio, TV and movies. In many areas, especially the South and Texas, in New England, in New York City, and in the upper Midwest, you'll find distinctive regional accents and dialects. Americans have a long history of immigration and are very accommodating towards foreign accents, and will sometimes take the effort to help you by speaking in a more standard accent." The only concrete changes I can see are

  1. possibly remove "(native to the Midwest)" since it's confusing and not relevant to what the modern-day standard accent is
  2. possibly add Hawaii as a region known for its distinctive regional accent (Having been to Hawaii, I question how common it is, as a lot of Hawaiian residents moved there from elsewhere and don't have a Hawaiian accent, but I won't complain if it's added)

Any other complaints? This discussion has gone in circles a lot, and doesn't seem to be accomplishing much. --Bigpeteb (talk) 20:24, 8 July 2015 (UTC)

How about this? "Most Americans speak in accents that are recognizably similar to one another and to one traditionally associated with the Midwest, which was popularized in the 20th century by American radio, TV and movies. Although many Americans can discern differences between quite a few accents, the ones most likely to be heard as distinctive by foreign visitors as distinctive include those commonly spoken in the South and Texas, New England, the New York City area, the upper Midwest and Hawaii." Then Black English should be mentioned. Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:59, 10 July 2015 (UTC)

African American Vernacular English[edit]

Actually, what strikes me now as a glaring omission is that there's no mention of w:African American Vernacular English (AAVE, sometimes called "ebonics" although this term can be controversial) or any other dialect with racial origins.

Sure, the current text does say "In many areas... you'll find distinctive regional accents and dialects" and mentions immigrants as well, but I'm not sure AAVE quite fits under either of these banners. It's not due to immigration (well, not recent immigration anyway), it's not exactly "regional" since AAVE is actually pretty consistent across the country... but it does have racial connections that make it a more sensitive topic. Pointing out someone's Southern or Boston accent is generally harmless or even funny. Pointing out someone's AAVE could be very offensive.

Is it worth mentioning AAVE (and any other similarly notable dialects you can think of) at all, or is that just trying to be too inclusive without really improving the quality of the article? --Bigpeteb (talk) 19:12, 6 July 2015 (UTC)

Yes, it's worth mentioning that some African-Americans speak a dialect called "Ebonics" or "Black English", but not dwelling on it. There's also Spanglish (a mixture of Spanish and English). But any visitor should expect Americans, regardless of color or ethnicity, to speak English they can recognize, and should under no circumstances expect people to speak in dialect just because they are black or Hispanic. Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:18, 6 July 2015 (UTC)
Does this discussion non-native English speaker's viewpoint? :) I haven't encountered any form of American English that would be hard to understand but can only single out 3-4 dialects that really stand out like the Southern states dialect. To be honest the rest really sound the same to me — that'd be "General American English". I think we can go with Ryan's version above but we should definitely add African American English. ϒpsilon (talk) 20:04, 6 July 2015 (UTC)
AAVE itself is not offensive to anyone who isn't racist. It is different from standard English, but like many things that are unique to or were started by African-Americans, the white majority portrays AAVE and those who speak it in a bad light. AAVE is no more or less "offensive" than the Southern accent. Southerners may not be offended by their own accent, but Northerners use it to paint them as uneducated hillbillies. While I agree that AAVE should be mentioned, I strongly oppose adding it with any tone that is not neutral. There is no reason to treat this differently than the rest of the dialects by labeling this particular one as a "negative". ChubbyWimbus (talk) 11:36, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
You're right, but I'm sure you'll agree that expecting anyone to speak a certain way merely due to their color is offensive. Some of my African-American friends feel very strongly about speaking "correct" English as opposed to "incorrect" English. That's their attitude, not mine, but I'm reporting it here where it's relevant. Ikan Kekek (talk) 11:43, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
I think if we mention it, we have to point out that not all African Americans speak AAVE. (Are there non-black people who speak AAVE or something similar to it?). Maybe we should also mention Hawaii Pidgin (was that what was meant by the "distinctive Hawaii accent"?) as another ethnic based dialect/accent/language. Also Spanish is fast replacing Yiddish as the go to foreign language for comedians and even non Latinos often know a couple of Spanish phrases, especially in places like SoCal. Hobbitschuster (talk) 11:47, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
Yes, I don't have a problem with including that it's not spoken among all black people and since black people live in all parts of the country, you will find many that speak standard English or the dialect of their region. I just don't want to label any specific accent as "offensive". ChubbyWimbus (talk) 11:57, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
The accent as such is not offensive. But it may be controversial especially when it comes to classifying it as an accent/dialect/language/whatever. And it may indeed be associated with class issues so pointing out that somebody speaks it may in fact not be wise. Or am I mistaken? Hobbitschuster (talk) 12:18, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
On Hawaii, the accent is one thing and Pidgin is another, but there are certain Hawaiian-language and perhaps a few Pidgin words that are commonly used in Hawaii in non-Pidgin speech, too. If we want to mention other minority forms of speech, traditionally, there has been a Louisiana Creole. I think it's spoken a lot less now than it used to be, though, and may be kind of dying out.
Yes, there are non-blacks who speak AAVE because they grew up with black friends and neighbors who speak it, and AAVE has a greater or lesser degree of influence on overall slang and colloquial American English in general. Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:20, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
Just a question about this this long and lively discussion. What is the end game here?
Are we looking to rewrite the section with a paragraph that describes the major accents / dialects to be encountered in the United States?
If so then it would be good to be clear that we are just concerning the major ones (Including AAVE), and not an excuse to list every minor dialect that one could possibly encounter. Andrewssi2 (talk) 01:29, 8 July 2015 (UTC)
I rather agree. Hawaiian Pidgin is best mentioned in the Hawaii article, though I wouldn't object to a very brief mention in this one.

Conclusion[edit]

As the discussion appears to be going in circles and focusing more and more on minutiae, I would like to focus on drawing some sort of conclusion here. We may still debate the finer points of AAVE and "general American" in their respective subsections, but this here subsection should be dedicated to come to some sort of consensus as to which changes (if any) should be made to the namespace article. Best wishes Hobbitschuster (talk) 20:39, 8 July 2015 (UTC)

I will suggest what I suggested above as a substitute for this text: "They generally use a standard accent (native to the Midwest), popularized in the 20th century by radio, TV and movies. In many areas, especially the South and Texas, in New England, in New York City, and in the upper Midwest, you'll find distinctive regional accents and dialects.":
Most Americans speak in accents that are recognizably similar to one another and to one traditionally associated with the Midwest, which was popularized in the 20th century by American radio, TV and movies. Although many Americans can discern differences between quite a few accents, the ones most likely to be heard as distinctive by foreign visitors as distinctive include those commonly spoken in the South and Texas, New England, the New York City area, the upper Midwest and Hawaii.
Many African-Americans and some other Americans also speak African-American Vernacular English (AAVE), which has somewhat different grammar and vocabulary than styles of American English usually regarded as standard. AAVE has had a great effect on more general American slang and colloquial language, in particular. Never assume that just because a person is black, s/he will speak AAVE, and also be aware that many African-Americans can switch back and forth between AAVE and standard American English effortlessly. Spanglish — an admixture of Spanish and English — is similarly commonplace in many areas with large Hispanic populations, and code-switching between Spanglish and standard American English is similarly commonplace.
I would then append this sentence to the next paragraph, about visitors being expected to speak and understand English: "Americans have a long history of immigration and are very accommodating towards foreign accents, and will sometimes take the effort to help you by speaking in a more standard accent."
I would also mention Hawaiian Pidgin very briefly right after the mention the "Hawaiian is the native language of Hawaii". My addition: and Hawaiian Pidgin, a mixture of English, Hawaiian, Portuguese, Cantonese and several other languages, is also spoken by many people born in Hawaii.
Does anyone have any objections? Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:12, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
Let's try again: Does anyone object? If not, I will insert this and might be a bit perturbed (though not unduly so) if someone suddenly objected after the fact. Ikan Kekek (talk) 14:04, 26 November 2015 (UTC)
Let's do this. Hobbitschuster (talk) 20:05, 26 November 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, Hobbitschuster. I'll wait at least until tomorrow evening, in case some of the interested parties are busy with Thanksgiving today. Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:14, 26 November 2015 (UTC)
Sounds reasonable, given the fact that this is the article on the US... Hobbitschuster (talk) 20:16, 26 November 2015 (UTC)
That proposed text looks great. Go for it. --Bigpeteb (talk) 14:50, 30 November 2015 (UTC)
Thanks. I'll make the change later today or tomorrow, unless anyone objects in the interim. Ikan Kekek (talk) 15:12, 30 November 2015 (UTC)
I've made the changes. Perhaps the Pittsburgh area would also be one with a recognizable accent. Should we add it? Ikan Kekek (talk) 06:26, 1 December 2015 (UTC)
I don't think there's a need to. The text already says "the [accents] most likely to be heard as distinctive by foreign visitors include...". That already indicates that it's a non-exhaustive list. There are already 5 accents listed, so bumping it up to 6 doesn't change much. And honestly, I don't think Pittsburgh has enough of a distinctive accent to be worth mentioning. We don't mention Boston, either, which is much more distinctive and widely known. --Bigpeteb (talk) 21:55, 1 December 2015 (UTC)
I take your point. On Boston, we do mention "New England"; I think I'll change it to "the Boston area", because it's much more distinctive than Connecticut. Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:59, 1 December 2015 (UTC)

Travel times instead of distances[edit]

I may be vastly mistaken, but most of the times I hear Americans refer to the distance between two points they feel comfortable driving between they say it's an "x hour drive" rather than it is "y miles". Of course, you won't find this on street signs, but we also mention the customary use of non-official or semi-official units in other countries. And - once again unless I am mistaken - the car hour has become as much a unit of distance as the day's march in the days of yore... Hobbitschuster (talk) 14:27, 5 August 2015 (UTC)

As an American, I agree; this is totally normal, and I understand it's unusual and uncommon in the rest of the world. I think the description that was added made perfect sense, and I'm in favor of keeping the text in question.
But I see LtPowers' point about it maybe being in the wrong place. There's already a paragraph under Get Around By Car that mentions miles and gallons, so that probably is a better place to put it.
As for the paragraph under Units of measure, maybe what would help, since that paragraph is getting a little long, would be to split it into bullet points. One for distances, one for liquid measures, one for temperatures. That would break up the large block of text. --Bigpeteb (talk) 16:49, 5 August 2015 (UTC)
Sure, it's common. But what about it needs explaining? Is it confusing? Is it ambiguous? Powers (talk) 17:43, 5 August 2015 (UTC)
For that matter, is it even particularly US-specific? K7L (talk) 17:51, 5 August 2015 (UTC)
In my humble opinion it is. In Germany for instance most people know the plain kilometer distance between most points, because there are at least two common alternative modes of transport (train and car) with vastly differing travel times, so referring to the amount of time a car would take between - say - Köln and Frankfurt makes no sense as the train takes a vastly different (in this case lower) amount of time. The US being the land of the car (and to a lesser degree that of aviation) this applies way less imho Hobbitschuster (talk) 02:23, 6 August 2015 (UTC)

Recent cases of police violence / abuse[edit]

While I probably risk the danger of creating a flame-war by bringing this up, there has in recent times been a surge in (the perception of) police violence, particularly as directed against unarmed African Americans, but also against other groups and individuals. While the media may or may not overstate the seriousness of the issue, I do think it is of value for the voyager to know that these things exist and how to best avoid them. Especially if one compares the US to other Western countries like Britain, Germany or - the most extreme example - Iceland, the use of force and especially deadly violence by police is much more common in the US. As almost all people spending time in the US are likely to have interactions with police, a "quick guide" on how to deal with those situations and peculiarities of US cops (as far as generalizing statements are valid, as police vary a lot between the hundreds of jurisdictions in the US - or so I've heard) and their reactions to e.g. reaching for something. A cop in Iceland will usually not assume that somebody is reaching for a gun when getting their driver's license from the glove compartment, many a cop in the US will. This of course might seem obvious to many Americans, but to many visitors this has to be explained in no uncertain terms. Or am I mistaken? Hobbitschuster (talk) 16:19, 10 August 2015 (UTC)

The issue is nothing new. All that's changed is that people are a bit more aware of their rights and more of these incidents are being caught on video. There were no smartphones during the 1960s race riots, now they're ubiquitous. I'm wary about offering legal advice (which WV is not qualified to offer) but a real, non-obvious danger should at least be disclosed. This also needs to be addressed, as an unlawful search can have very severe consequences for the motorist. K7L (talk) 17:02, 10 August 2015 (UTC)
That's in part why I phrased my contribution the way I did. There has been a surge, though I am unable to tell whether it is mostly in the events themselves or in their being noticed (through cell phone videos for example). Of course we should not veer into the territory of legal advice, especially not in the exact interpretations of the first ten amendments of the US constitution, which probably have more legal treatises written on them than there are religious works on the trinity. But some general hints like: "Cops are more likely to assumed you are armed than in most other countries; don't do anything to encourage that assumption, even rapid hand movements or reaching for things without explaining what and where. Failing to do so may very well result in you getting shot at" can do no harm imho. Hobbitschuster (talk) 17:48, 10 August 2015 (UTC)
I think the current United States of America#Police section is sufficient. In general I'm skeptical about edits inspired by news events, and in this particular case I think any more stringent warning is both unnecessary and likely to generate a lot of politically-motivated edits from both sides of the issue. -- Ryan • (talk) • 18:01, 10 August 2015 (UTC)
Question is what else do you warn about. Having been in Ferguson district from my experience I think it would be more important to warn about not walking into certain areas as a white male. Also having been stopped twice in the USA by the police in the last year, I can only say if you are calm and polite then the police treat you fine (but maybe some will say that is because I am not black). I think not really a topic we should dig too deep into. Gets political too quickly. --Traveler100 (talk) 19:11, 10 August 2015 (UTC)
Moreover, I think this comparison is valid only with other western countries. In e.g. the Middle East or Latin America you probably shouldn't try any fun hand tricks when you've been stopped by the police. ϒpsilon (talk) 19:43, 10 August 2015 (UTC)
Don't be too harsh on backward third world countries, most have the best police money can buy. 2001:5C0:1000:A:0:0:0:AF 22:20, 10 August 2015 (UTC)
Experiences with police in the global south can vary widely. Often between neighboring countries and often from person to person. And I don't have any numbers but are we really sure that a country like Brazil or Russia shoots more or less people per year by police than the USA? Hobbitschuster (talk) 07:28, 11 August 2015 (UTC)
I think that it would be correct to add the following sentence to the first paragraph of the "Police" section: "For your safety, it is particularly important for you to appear calm and cooperative if you are a non-white person, as people of color are much more likely to be the recipients of police violence than white people." I would suggest not shrinking from adding this sentence. All of my black friends are well aware of this truth and ever-present danger, but a black person from another country who comes to the US for the first time might not be aware of it. Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:37, 11 August 2015 (UTC)
I agree with Ikan that the skin color aspect of it should be mentioned at least. There might also be need for emphasizing that this for one is not or at least not only a "Southern" problem, as unarmed black people (and also some whites and people of other ethnicity) have found themselves dead in police custody or at the hand of police in Northern cities as well... Hobbitschuster (talk) 07:58, 11 August 2015 (UTC)
Yes indeed, it's very much a nationwide problem, and I agree that that should be clearly stated (perhaps by adding "throughout the country" or some similar phrase to a sentence like the one I propose to add). Ikan Kekek (talk) 08:35, 11 August 2015 (UTC)
Does anyone object to adding the sentence I suggest three replies up from here? I think it's important and serves the non-white traveler to this country. Ikan Kekek (talk) 06:59, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
I'm going to add this very soon unless anyone objects. Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:32, 2 November 2015 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I don't object, but it may prove controversial in the future... Hobbitschuster (talk) 00:35, 2 November 2015 (UTC)

I know, but the fact that some people would rather not acknowledge or state a truth doesn't mean that truth doesn't serve the traveller and isn't fairly stated. Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:38, 2 November 2015 (UTC)
I agree. Hobbitschuster (talk) 00:45, 2 November 2015 (UTC)
I added this sentence: "It is particularly important for you to appear calm and cooperative if you are a non-white person, as people of color are much more likely to be subjected to police harassment and violence in the United States than white people." I think this is not automatically obvious to foreigners of color and that knowing it could save their lives. Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:31, 3 November 2015 (UTC)
Note what I hope is not the early stages of a politically-motivated edit war. I have solicited a statistically-based argument from the IP user in question. Perhaps they'll show up and lay out an argument. Ikan Kekek (talk) 06:48, 5 March 2016 (UTC)

"By car" section gutted[edit]

I can't even link (let alone undo) the edits that excised large portions of the Get Around: By Car section, because of intervening edits, but what in the world are we doing? This is exactly the sort of ham-fisted mass deletion that I feared would occur when we started creating so many sub-articles as has been the recent fashion.

I won't deny that the section may have been a bit too long, but this is ridiculous. Edits should be made with a careful hand, not simply the result of deleting entire subsections. And that goes double when the excised text is not placed in the referenced subarticle!

I would ask that the removed text (probably the by Train stuff too) be replaced and specific removals be discussed before we cause more damage to this article.

-- Powers (talk) 20:59, 4 September 2015 (UTC)

In order to prevent this kind of result, would it not be preferable to be more judicious in general with United States edits? There are plenty of 'pearls of wisdom' throughout the article that are not actually needed by the traveler and gives the impression that the article needs pruning.
Sometimes we should ask ourselves if very long articles actually put off potential viewership, which I believe is the current case for United States. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 22:00, 4 September 2015 (UTC)
Indeed, we should and usually are fairly judicious with allowing additions for exactly that reason. But these wholesale removals do not improve the guide. Powers (talk) 23:35, 4 September 2015 (UTC)

Florida description[edit]

I think the Florida quick link description leaves much to be desired and doesn't reflect the true Florida. It also seems to imply that North Florida lacks sandy beaches. I'm proposing rewording the section to something more generalized and descriptive. Here is a first draft.

Much more dynamic than its 1,200 miles of sandy beaches, Florida is culturally rich offering a diverse range of destinations and visitor attractions, including major resorts in Central Florida, Caribbean-influenced South Florida, and Southern-influenced North Florida.

Input anyone? Mathew105601 (talk) 11:54, 7 November 2015 (UTC)

Also have a look at User talk:Ikan Kekek#USA. I found this description a little bland. I actually think the current description has more specifics and is, therefore, better, but I could certainly imagine a better description than both. Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:33, 7 November 2015 (UTC)
I'm not American but frankly, most of those descriptions sound a bit dull. I could surely imagine a more lively tone. I don't know... maybe something like... Snowbirds and spring breakers alike love this semitropical peninsula for its wide variety of attractions. From the Caribbean vibe of bustling Miami to the resorts of Orlando and from the 1,200 miles of sandy beaches to the wetlands of the Everglades, blabla. Or maybe something completely different :-) JuliasTravels (talk) 21:55, 7 November 2015 (UTC)
Your approach seems good to me, JuliasTravels. Ikan Kekek (talk) 09:40, 11 November 2015 (UTC)
Always in favor of less dullness! Hobbitschuster (talk) 18:40, 11 November 2015 (UTC)

Foreign Muslims flying to America[edit]

There have been a few headlines in the British press in the last few days around British Muslims who have had their American visas cancelled shortly before flying. Here and Here. This is not just visas that were declined for security reasons but travelers who had approved visas, purchased tickets, and then had the visas cancelled at the last minute before boarding by a nervous US immigration official.

When I look at the 'Get In' section, I don't see any mention of this situation. I think it should be expanded on because it is a genuine traveler issue (albeit rather political as well). --Andrewssi2 (talk) 05:33, 30 December 2015 (UTC)

At the moment, these look like isolated incidents, and largely unconfirmed at that. I don't even know what we would say. Powers (talk) 13:58, 30 December 2015 (UTC)
They maybe isolated, but hardly unconfirmed. Perhaps the rationale for revoking the visas is not forthcoming, but that is actually why the issue needs highlighting. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 22:35, 30 December 2015 (UTC)
Well one of your links is Buzzfeed, and both links seem to comprise hearsay and not much else. Is there any evidence that this is actually a trend? Powers (talk) 02:07, 31 December 2015 (UTC)
It would appear there are a few cases but not a trend. Lesson for the family is do not joke about radical Islamist groups on Facebook. --Traveler100 (talk) 06:46, 31 December 2015 (UTC)