Wikivoyage:What is an article?
|This page in a nutshell: Generally, articles can be created for destinations where a traveller can sleep, such as geographical units in the geographical hierarchy (e.g., countries, states, cities). Attractions, companies, transport systems and routine schedules generally do not have articles unless there is a compelling reason for an exception.|
In order to keep Wikivoyage organized and consistent, there are guidelines about when a subject gets its own article. In this area there are two competing principles:
- Articles should be relatively self-sufficient so that travellers can print them out, put them in their back pocket, and use them for travelling around.
- At the same time, articles should not be so long that they're impossible to read, print, or use.
So, here are some rough guidelines for what topics should have their own articles, and what shouldn't. Nothing here is set in stone, but exceptions to these guidelines should have good justifications.
The test for destination-style articles
The most common and quickest assessment of whether a type of place merits an article is "Can You Sleep There?" That is, is there any type of accommodation open to the public: hotels, hostels, campgrounds, cabins, wigwams, yurts, space station bunks, etc. If a place, such as a national park, has no facilities, but has rules for pitching a tent in the wilderness, that can work too. On the other hand, while there are numerous hotels and other lodging options in a city like London, you can't sleep in a museum or park within that city; such parks and museums should thus be listed as attractions within an article about the city.
Sleeping isn't all that travellers do, though, and there should be some content to fill out our other standard article sections. If there really is no place to find food, nothing to do, and nothing to see at a location, it's likely that the article won't meet the criteria established in this policy. Nonetheless, Wikivoyagers exercise wide discretion to group handfuls of smaller villages into one larger article or split huge cities into individual districts of manageable size, wherever this best suits the destination.
Asking "can you sleep there?" is a guideline. A particular division of territory into pages of reasonable size might make sense for the destination, but leave one article without a hotel. That's fine. Where no lodging in one district is safe or clean, simply note this and move on.
What does get its own article?
Geographical units in the geographical hierarchy should have their own articles. There should be articles about:
- Continents like Africa (formatted using the Project:Continent article template).
- Continental sections like Southeast Asia (formatted using the Project:Region article template).
- Countries like Brazil (formatted using the Project:Country article template).
- Regions like Normandy (formatted using the Project:Region article template).
- National parks like Yosemite National Park (formatted using the Project:Park article template).
- Rural areas like Turku countryside, as opposed to cities (formatted using the Project:Rural area article template).
- Cities like Tokyo (formatted using the Project:Huge city article template).
- Districts of a city like Greenwich Village (formatted using the Project:District article template).
Some small villages and hamlets may be best handled by merging and redirecting, consolidating listings to the article for a nearby town or combining several villages.
When dividing geographical units, keep in mind that boundaries of a "city" or "region" in Wikivoyage do not necessarily match legal divisions—nations, provinces, and cities—as the latter are created by governments for administrative purposes. If it makes sense to list a suburb (and its airport) as part of the city which it serves, do so. Treat vast, sparsely-populated areas like Anticosti Island as a single destination if that best fits the number of attractions. Divide huge cities like Montréal into manageably sized districts as needed. Geographical units should be large enough in scope to have at least 4 or 5 good quality destinations or attractions, while dividing overly-long lists into subgroups and avoiding gaps or overlap.
What does not get its own article?
Individual attractions should not have their own articles (in general). Their information should be listed in the guide to the destination in which they are located (or nearest destination for attractions located in the middle of nowhere). Again, the can-you-sleep-there test is a good quick tool for assessing whether something merits an article. With a few very rare exceptions (see below) there should not be articles about individual:
- Tiny or sparsely populated villages and hamlets that have no cultural or natural attractions, or hospitality venues. Their names can be redirected to a nearby or surrounding community, or a group of such communities can be covered in a single article (like Rural Montgomery County or Surinamese Rainforest).
- Companies, even those holding a de facto monopoly or those owned by the state (hotels, restaurants, bars, stores, nightclubs, tour operators, airlines, rail or bus operators, etc.) Monopolies that are likely to be used as frequent search terms may be created as redirects to the relevant article, such as Amtrak, which redirects to rail travel in the United States.
- Museums, statues or other works or institutions of art. World famous institutions like the British Museum, the Louvre or the Smithsonian can have redirects, but most museums should not.
- City parks, town squares or streets. Districts named after streets like San Francisco/Castro Street and Singapore/Orchard are OK, as well as itineraries which describe a significant trail, road or highway (such as the Alaska Highway or Oxfordshire Way).
- Small festivals or events which can be listed in the relevant city article, except upcoming large-scale international events such as the Formula One or the Olympic Games.
- Transport systems, stations or routine schedules, except those who qualify as an itinerary, such as Hurtigruten.
- People, animals, objects, or non-travel-related concepts (though sometimes notable people can be the subject of itineraries or travel topics: e.g., On the trail of Marco Polo and Astrid Lindgren tourism).
- Bodies of water (actually, this one's a bit more complicated—see Project:Bodies of water). Cities or land regions named after bodies of water (like Lake Placid or Lac-Saint-Jean) are OK, as are dive guides, travel topics and itineraries which navigate significant waterways (such as the Mississippi River and the Rideau or Erie Canal).
- Uninhabited islands.
- Highly restricted government/military installations, or other places that are (for all practical purposes) impossible to visit. Note that just because a place is difficult to visit does not preclude it from having its own article - see next-to-impossible destinations for examples of places that most travelers will never visit, but still warrant an article.
We prefer that attractions, sites, and events be included in the article for the place where they're located; see where you can stick it for details. For example, a lake might be listed under the "See" section of the closest town, and a bar would be listed under the "Drink" section of the town in which it is located.
If an attraction or an event is really famous, and travellers may not know the city or region it is in, then create an article with the attraction name as title, but make it a redirect to the appropriate destination article, and put the actual description of the attraction in the destination article. For example, Taj Mahal redirects to Agra and Burning Man redirects to Black Rock City.
There are exceptions to every rule, and Wikivoyage is no different. Be aware, however, that if you think something deserves an exception you should be ready to defend your opinion. Cases where exceptions are made include attractions, sites, or events that are far away (too far for a day trip) from any city and would require an overnight stay, or so large and complex that the information about them would overload the city article. A good rule of thumb is that information about attractions, sites, events, and transportation should always be initially placed into an existing article, and only when that information becomes too large and complex (more than 3-4 paragraphs) should a new article be considered. For example, if you think a theme park deserves its own article, first add content for the theme park as a sub-section of the "See" or "Do" section in the article for the region or city that the park is located in. After that content has developed sufficiently it will help to demonstrate why a separate article is (or is not) warranted.
As with most decisions on Wikivoyage, consensus drives the process, but we try to err on the side of consistency and not make these exceptions unless they are clearly warranted. Before starting an article based on one of the above exceptions, start a discussion to explore whether it would be appropriate. In general, "exception" articles that contain only minimal content will be merged and redirected into an existing city or region article.
Some examples of possible exceptions include:
- Complex and remote state/provincial parks or monuments such as Mount Robson Provincial Park (formatted using the Project:Park article template)
- ...but not small, typical city or local parks for day use. New York City's famous Central Park is one exception as its size, complexity and number of attractions are comparable to a large-city district.
- ...but not individual ruins in or near modern cities.
- ...but not individual abandoned buildings or structures.
- Famous tourist trains that travellers ride for their own sakes, such as the Trans-Siberian Railway (as itinerary)
- ...but not trains only for transportation without extensive exposure to scenic beauty or on board entertainment.
- Ski resorts like Aspen and Whistler that function as towns, with all the services that a town would provide (more than one lodging option, restaurants, bars, shops, etc.)
- ...but not ski resorts that are part of or by a town, like Taos Ski Valley in Taos, which is part of the community of Taos that has a lot of "destination-like" features beyond the ski area.
- Upcoming huge international events like the Olympic Games or the soccer/football World Cup (as travel topics)
- ...but not purely-regional events such as the Windsor–Detroit International Freedom Festival, which are listed at city level. (After an exceptional event is finished, the article should be moved to [[Wikivoyage:Past events/Name of event]], with a redirect left from the original location.)
- Singularly huge and complex airports the size of small cities such as Kansai International Airport or Heathrow Airport (formatted using the Project:Airport article template)
- ...but not typical metropolitan or regional airports. Some specific guidelines as to when an airport merits its own article:
- It should serve as a hub with a large number of connecting flights. Travellers are unlikely to spend a lot of time at airports that are merely origin or destination points.
- It must have several food and shopping options available; if the airport does not have enough amenities to fill out a "Buy" and "Eat and Drink" section then it does not merit its own article.
- See also: Wikivoyage:Airport Expedition
Non destination-style articles
In addition, the following categories of articles are given their own articles:
- Itineraries should have their own articles (formatted using the Project:Itinerary article template).
- Phrasebooks should have their own articles (formatted using the Project:Phrasebook template).
- Travel topics should have their own articles.
We also have some extra article types for dealing with cases that do not fit elsewhere.
- Disambiguation pages for when the same name is used in multiple places. For example, Perth (disambiguation) links to Perth, Perth (Scotland) and Perth (Ontario).
- Redirects for when one place has multiple names. For example, the historic names Byzantium and Constantinople both redirect to Istanbul.
- Redirects are also used for extremely well-known attractions; for example The Alhambra redirects to Granada#The Alhambra.
- Extra-hierarchical region pages for regions that make sense but do not fit into the hierarchy of articles we use. For example, we naturally divide North America by country but the Great Lakes span the US-Canada boundary.
When in doubt
When in doubt, leave a message in the travellers' pub, the relevant article's talk page or simply plunge forward and create the article. Someone else will always be around to answer your question or to edit any mistakes.