Wikivoyage talk:Avoid long lists

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Avoid long lists[edit]

The 7±2 rule comes up from time to time in discussion, but we don't actually have a policy about it -- it's referenced in Geographical hierarchy and Sleep listings, but not elsewhere. I'm pretty sure it applies beyond those two areas so I've taken a stab at consolidating it into one location. Let me know if I've captured everything / left stuff out / missed the point.

Draft policy: Avoid long lists

Cheers -Shaund 05:59, 23 September 2012 (UTC)

It looks good to me. As far as I can tell, a good summation of existing policy and consensus. If no-one objects I think it can be moved into project space and linked in the policy outline and anywhere else that is relevant. Just one point I think you have missed: The 7±2 rule applies to destination articles, not necessarily to itineraries, phrasebooks (particularly!) and travel topics, where different rules may be more appropriate. I think this should be mentioned in the lead. • • • Peter (Southwood) (talk): 08:24, 23 September 2012 (UTC)
I think we should adequately emphasise (perhaps even breaching our MoS -shock! horror! - by using red or green font) that Common sense should always apply (and the the travellers viewpoint comes first) rather than a zealot's application of this rule! --W. Franke-mailtalk 13:00, 23 September 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for comments and changes! -Shaund 14:22, 23 September 2012 (UTC)
Very good work! --Globe-trotter 14:27, 23 September 2012 (UTC)
We should stay off the red and green for accessibility reasons. I think they override the personal css settings, making it difficult for visually impaired to read. (Correct me if I am wrong on this. I get mixed up in these discussions on WP and only remember part of the explanation) • • • Peter (Southwood) (talk): 06:54, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
Excellent point about deprecated HTML and accessibility. There are approved methods of using CSS for this, though: W. Franke-mailtalk 18:22, 23 September 2012 (UTC)
Our current MoS is very restrictive about article style in the interests of consistency, and as far as I know our recommended style is good for accessibility. Perhaps we should add a note somewhere that policy changes should take accessibilty into account. Maybe in The traveller comes first. • • • Peter (Southwood) (talk): 06:54, 24 September 2012 (UTC)

I now think I oppose the vehement application of the 7+/-2 "rule". Consequently I propose changing the Nutshell to:

Long lists or large groups of items can be difficult to understand. If there are more than 9 items to group, consider if it would help the traveller to sub-divide into smaller groups of about 6±3 items.

and the rest of the article accordingly. --W. Franke-mailtalk 23:12, 29 September 2012 (CEST)

Number of Cities in each country/state/region[edit]

Swept in from the pub

This is just my opinion, but I don't think that 9 cities is a large enough number to show the best of a country/state/region. I think this should be increased, but that's just me. If anyone agrees, reply here. Donny (talk) 22:58, 13 June 2015 (UTC)

How about if we disagree? ;-) I'd be happy with the nice round number of 10, but it would create a lot of unnecessary work on all sorts of pages where the list of 9 was thrashed out on the talk page. If people would like to change from 9 to 10, I would support it, but I think making the list longer than 10 in non-bottom-level region articles risks making it cumbersome. Remember that there is no limit to how many cities can be listed in bottom-level regional articles, though if the list gets super-long, a further subdivision of the region might be worth considering. Ikan Kekek (talk) 23:14, 13 June 2015 (UTC)
I prefer keeping the limit at 9 per the 7 + 2 rule. Personally I believe that if there is a big gap between say, the seventh most important city in the region and the eighth and ninth most important cities, the eighth and ninth cities should be removed too. Prioritizing is a key element in writing a travel guide. What you leave out is just as important as what you include. We have to guide the reader in a particular direction. Travel articles lose value when they are very open-ended and just an indiscriminate collection of information. Gizza (t)(c) 02:23, 14 June 2015 (UTC)
I see the 7 + 2 rule as being used as a pretext to split province/states into regions which are split into more regions, just to have no more than nine villages in each. Most of these intermediate region articles are very empty and not particularly useful to the voyageur. K7L (talk) 17:46, 14 June 2015 (UTC)
Perhaps we need a "Beef up the Regions Expedition" - :) Matroc (talk) 19:10, 14 June 2015 (UTC)
If we disagree, so be it. I was just stating my mind, what I thought; doesn't mean it has to be right, but I was just saying. Didn't mean for it to go this far into conversation. Sorry for stating an opinion. Donny (talk) 21:20, 14 June 2015 (UTC)
I do see the problem. While Rio San Juan Region is a distinctive region with even some cultural traits (even more so if you discount Juigalpa and other places that were tacked onto it), regions along the line of Eastern County X or the regions that were more or less copied from de-WV (without much of the content) and contain one city anybody not living within a hundred kilometer radius from the place has ever heard of, are hard to write good non-stubby articles about. Maybe we should rethink our coverage on a number of small and tiny places that may be interesting for travel but also be a series of "village/suburban entity A is almost a carbon copy of village/suburban entity B as is village/suburban entity C" ad nauseam. Hobbitschuster (talk) 22:41, 14 June 2015 (UTC)
It's never wrong to state an opinion, unless the opinion is something purely inflammatory or something (which this of course is not). Ikan Kekek (talk) 22:45, 14 June 2015 (UTC)
Eastern County X should be a bottom-level article, not a region. Prince Edward County as a municipality would be one example. K7L (talk) 14:24, 15 June 2015 (UTC)
I believe the 7+/-2 rule is serving as well, however unnerving it can get at times. If anything, I'd propose taking a more favourable look at articles on entire regions whose individual destinations will never make for a really meaty guide, but we can write a bottom-level guide for them taken as a whole. PrinceGloria (talk) 14:34, 15 June 2015 (UTC)
I think regardless of the number of towns in regions, many of our bottom level regions need a thorough sweeping, as do many of the places that are only listed in our bottom level regions. In many cases combining several regions seems to me to be the way to go. In other cases there may simply not be enough substance to keep a certain article as a standalone "city" guide... Hobbitschuster (talk) 15:36, 15 June 2015 (UTC)
What the heck is Eastern Country X? Donny (talk) 17:34, 15 June 2015 (UTC)
A generic name for bottom level region like this one Hobbitschuster (talk) 17:52, 15 June 2015 (UTC)
Oh...kay. Donny (talk) 00:27, 16 June 2015 (UTC)
What I want to say with that is that we have too many small bottom level regions with hardly anything in them, that often link to even stubbier stubs for the "cities" they are composed of Hobbitschuster (talk) 16:18, 17 June 2015 (UTC)
Um...oh...kay. Donny (talk) 00:05, 18 June 2015 (UTC)
If you're not grokking what Hobbitschuster is saying, you're more than welcome to bow out of the discussion, but as it is now your tone is bordering on uncivil. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 02:34, 18 June 2015 (UTC)
Donny is a young man who started editing WV just this year and has made less than a thousand edits so far, and is a student in high school. I've never lived in the US and may be missing some verbal nuances of what Donny says (and I had to look up what "grokking" meant), but I'm not reading his comments as bordering on uncivil. I'm just wondering if we old hands can cut a bit more slack and be more positively encouraging for a young man and relative newcomer who is learning the ways of our site. Nurg (talk) 08:18, 18 June 2015 (UTC)
I do actually understand what Hobbitschuster is saying, but it's like its being figuratively thrown at me. Thank you Nurg for the backup. I never should of started this, but I just thought the whole "7 plus/minus 2" rule was restrictive on country and state articles only. And I could use without the fancy lingo like "grok", thank you. Donny (talk) 22:23, 18 June 2015 (UTC)
That rule applies to all non-bottom-level region articles. Let's keep in mind that it's often easy to misread tone online. I actually thought you were being uncivil, but it doesn't sound like you meant to be. On the other hand, having to look up a word now and then doesn't seem like a big deal to me, and it's OK for all of us to try harder to seem calm and collegial. I know I'm sometimes guilty of getting irritated too easily, myself. In the end, this is just a travel guide, and unless we give grossly dangerous advice somewhere, mistakes here are unlikely to get anyone killed. Ikan Kekek (talk) 22:36, 18 June 2015 (UTC)
I don't see how any of our advice could even possibly get non-stupid people killed. Well maybe apart from using the racist slur nickname of a certain NFL team. But back to the topic at hand: Are some floor level sub-sub-sub-sub-regions excessive subdivisions and if so how should we handle them instead? Hobbitschuster (talk) 22:47, 18 June 2015 (UTC)
Okay. Gotcha, guys. I thought it applied to the broader articles, but if it applies to lower level articles as well, then let it be. And some sub-sub-sub regions are excessive. My guess to handle them is to list them in the articles one level above from it. Just a guess. Don't have to go with it. Donny (talk) 12:47, 19 June 2015 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but I don't understand what you mean. What do you want to list in the article one level above from them? regions? Cities? Something else entirely? Best wishes Hobbitschuster (talk) 13:34, 19 June 2015 (UTC)
I thought that would've been vague, but I meant list things in each city in the region articles if the city itself is so small it would make a stub article. Say if Katy, Texas would end up as a stub if created, list the local hotels, restaurants and attractions in the region it is located, which in this case would be Greater Houston/Harris County/etc. I'm just stating if it would end up as a stub, which it is not, I don't think. Donny (talk) 16:02, 19 June 2015 (UTC)

(unindent) Donny: What you're suggesting sounds like what we already do in some cases. Take a look at Rural Montgomery County. Theoretically we could break down that article into its constituent cities, but they would most likely all be stubs. Instead, we treat it as if it were a city itself, including listings in the See, Eat, Drink, Sleep, etc. sections. —The preceding comment was added by AndreCarrotflower (talkcontribs)

I wouldn't want to see individual listings for food and lodging being pushed into the region articles; that creates an awkward precedent where every owner of a five-room motel in the middle of nowhere tries to list it in United States of America#Sleep just to get a higher placement in the hierarchy - they might even try to promote themselves by listing the same property at multiple levels of region/subregion/locality. That gets spammy quickly. Better to create articles which cover a small city surrounded by individually-listed regional villages (like Cobourg) or a large rural area (like Prince Edward County) and put all the country motels and B&B houses there. K7L (talk) 17:10, 19 June 2015 (UTC)
K7L, the proposal as I understand it isn't to simply allow listings in region articles willy-nilly. It's to take second-from-the-bottom level region articles whose bottom-level articles are all stubs, and convert them into bottom-level city articles with listings and the whole bit (and, I imagine, the bottom-level stubs redirected to their parent article). -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 17:35, 19 June 2015 (UTC)
That's reasonable, if the article is converted from a region to a city/locality destination page first. The proposal needs to be more clearly worded, however, as it looks at first glance like an invitation to stick purely-local listings for businesses in rural villages into the region article while it remains at region level... and that would encourage a lot of spam. K7L (talk) 17:45, 19 June 2015 (UTC)
Since this went further than I wanted it to, with just a simple question, I'm out. This is the end of my participation in the conversation. Donny (talk) 17:47, 19 June 2015 (UTC)
I like the idea, though I am not sure whether calling the default bottom level place "city" helps a lot in that. Maybe we should create a new category along the lines of "rural destination" (which could than also include my earlier "island" proposal for places like Sylt which are currently "cities"). Nevertheless, this is a line of thinking that merits further discussion / movement in that direction imho Hobbitschuster (talk) 21:36, 19 June 2015 (UTC)
To clarify: islands should if they are a distinct unit (unlike islands you can get in by subway and through fifteen different bridges or tunnels) and are decidedly non urban should be covered as one single "rural destination" if and where it makes sense. Hobbitschuster (talk) 11:41, 20 June 2015 (UTC)
I'd suggest "locality" as the general term for a bottom level (city-level) article which may contain any of {one individual city, a small city surrounded by rural villages, a cluster of small towns, a small village surrounded by parkland or open space, a large rural area}.
"Island" should not be treated differently as an article type. If an island contains a city (like Montréal), use the huge city template; if it just contains one borough (like Manhattan, what do you expect for $24?) it's probably a district, if it contains a large (Anticosti-sized) rural area, treat it like any similar large rural area. If an island is split between two countries (like Hispaniola), create two country-level articles and put the two pieces in them. If there are a thousand islands ranging in size from "individual private cottage" to "small, under-1000 person rural farm village", then expect to group these multiple small points to something of usable size (not a thousand articles with one listing in each). K7L (talk) 14:47, 20 June 2015 (UTC)
Manhattan is not a district. It's a borough with a bunch of different neighborhoods that are covered separately as districts. Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:45, 20 June 2015 (UTC)

(starting at the left end again) I do agree that not all islands should be treated differently because they are islands. But often enough treating one island or a group of islands as a single entity just makes organic sense. take for example Ometepe. While it does have two "cities" (Moyogalpa and Altagracia) many people stay in neither town but instead somewhere else on the island, e.g. the Maderas side of the island. Maybe we could cover that under a (clumsily named) header like "Maderas side of Ometepe". The whole article would probably get too long if we listed all accommodation (including that in Altagracia and Moyogalpa) in one place but it would make even less sense to give an article to every speck on the map the size of Redford (New York). Maybe there are even articles about "Paper towns" that somebody created in a blatant copvyo of some map or other... Hobbitschuster (talk) 11:23, 22 June 2015 (UTC)