Wikivoyage talk:Be fair

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Translations?[edit]

I notice that there are tags linking this to: [[fr:Project:Point de vue neutre]], [[it:Project:Punto di vista neutrale]] and [[ro:Project:Punct de vedere neutru]]. Does this mean those projects have a WP-like NPOV policy rather than a version of "be fair"? Pashley (talk) 17:10, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

Here it also used to be called "neutral point of view" until 2006. They translated this page at a time when we were still calling it "neutral point of view". --Globe-trotter (talk) 17:36, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

Consensus basis?[edit]

Swept in from the pub

I'm confused about how this can even be achieved - by definition, this project wil be working with entirely subjective information - what one traveller wants from a given destination is bound to be slightly different to any other traveller, so in order to create a truly comprehensive travel guide you would have to include every possible destination viewed from every possible mindset from the perspective of every possible traveller. And the world contains 10 billion possible travellers and counting. Therefore, so long as everybody holds slightly different opinions, there will inevitably be either massive generalisation, heavy marginalisation, or the supply of pure facts about every destination, and And we've already got that, or some combination of the three. For the sake of an example, I invite you all to examine one movie, any movie, from IMDB, move to the user reviews section and try to write some kind of review that accounts for all viewpoints expressed to some degree (if you disregard any particular viewpoint, that's bias) and attempt to definitively explain whom that movie caters and what kind of person will enjoy it. I can practically guaranteee that you will not be able to do it in any meaningful way because there are so many viewpoints in direct conflict with one another. This guide will be the same - for every hundred, or maybe thousand or so people who find the Taj Mahal to be 'one of the wonders of the world that no voyage to India is complete without', there's bound to several who find Agra far too pestilent to be worth it; several more who are too busy taking in the gritty real life of the city to care about such touristy trifles, that is, those for whom travel is an opportunity to find out how other cultures really live; some others who would rather be experiencing the open road through the seats of their Enfield motorcycles; and so on...

Travel guides work because they accept being the view of just one individual or organisation. The wikimedia foundation's cornerstones, by contrast, are verifiability and lack of bias. I simply don't see how the two ideas are compatable.

Damning scepticism aside though, it's an admirable idea and good luck with it. I would quite like to be proved wrong on this one.

86.129.209.87 17:31, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

Thanks. This wiki has been in development for almost 10 years; it has been a resource for millions of travellers. I think that's enough proof that the idea is sound. --EvanProdromou (talk) 17:33, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
There indeed is no such thing as an objective travel guide. A neutral point of view is not sought here; instead, our policy is to be fair in choosing what to cover and how. Ikan Kekek (talk) 18:20, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I also believe the IP editor may be mistaken about the cornerstones of the Wikimedia Foundation. The WMF is built on providing free access to knowledge. Verifiability and neutrality are cornerstones of Wikipedia, but these need not be adopted by all of its sister projects. Indeed, as noted, it's nearly impossible to impart useful travel knowledge without some degree of subjectiveness. We strive to be as fair as possible, but our readers should not expect to be able to corroborate every bit of information they read here. Like any good travel guide, it's built on trust. LtPowers (talk) 18:22, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
To look at your specific example, the intro section of our Agra article covers the main points you mention.
"Agra has three UNESCO World Heritage sites, ..."
"The city has little else to recommend it. Pollution, especially smog and litter, is rampant and travellers are pestered by swarms of touts and hawkers ..."
That text has been there for several years. I'm not sure now if I wrote any of it, but I certainly saw it not long after I joined the project in 2005. Pashley (talk) 18:45, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

Need NPOV policy[edit]

Swept in from the pub

After browsing for a few minutes, I've noticed some POV issues on some articles. Some views may seem offensive to others, so is the English Wikivoyage supposed to cater to Anglophone countries such as people from the US or UK? Or English-speakers in general no matter which country they're from? Because what some people find negative/weird about a place may not be necessarily negative/weird for others. 68.228.70.90 03:37, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

Please see Wikivoyage:Be fair for the relevant policy. Wikivoyage:Welcome, Wikipedians has some other details of how this project differs from Wikipedia. -- Ryan • (talk) • 03:41, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
It is an interesting question. We try to be fair rather than neutral. We try to maintain a conversational and sometimes lighthearted tone, but it shouldn't be disrepectful. English Wikivoyage reflects its contributors. If you see instances of disrespect for others they should be fixed, hopefully while maintaining a readable tone. We aren't seeking dull, grey and boring. --Inas (talk) 03:45, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
Ok I see. So the policy is to be as accurate as possible without exaggerating/promoting/playing down positive or negative experiences. 68.228.70.90 04:03, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
There is a particular POV we are writing from/for: the traveler's perspective. So Russia should be written for people who aren't Russian. But Moscow should be written for people who are not from Moscow (which includes a lot of Russians). --Peter Talk 04:35, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
The English Wikivoyage caters to all travellers who can read some English. Not only US/UK/Anglosphere. Nicolas1981 (talk) 11:20, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

Bias?[edit]

WP has a page on w:Wikipedia:Systemic bias and a project to reduce the effects w:Wikipedia:WikiProject Countering systemic bias.

I do not agree with everything said on those pages, but it occurs to me to wonder if we need some similar watch-doggery here. Pashley (talk) 16:39, 31 May 2014 (UTC)

Deathtrap revealed[edit]

Swept in from the pub

I have a dilemma.

I inspected a modern, multi-storey hotel today that has ALL the emergency exit doors (all properly signed with green, self-powered signs) permanently locked shut (and nobody knew where the keys were).

This is not the typical situation that one encounters all over the world where some exit doors constructed with internal crash bars are illicitly and illegally chained closed with padlocks. That sort of situation is fairly obvious to the discerning guest.

It's contrary to the Uganda codes of construction and fire safety (as everywhere else) for fire doors to have fitted mortice locks with no over-ride handle on the inside (for guests and other building occupants trying to flee) to open them in an emergency. The management said that guests could just smash the doors open with their bodies (they're made of ordinary plate glass - not safety or laminated glass) but I pointed out that the shards of broken glass would shred those trying to flee.

Do I just remove the hotel's entry ("avoid negative listings")? I'd like to keep the listing but with a warning box to warn unsuspecting guests on the basis of ttcf in the hope that the management will be shamed into spending the few hundred dollars required to become code compliant. What do Wikivoyageurs think? -- Alice 18:57, 23 May 2014 (UTC)

Anr also says that if it is highly likely that visitors will patronize the deficient establishment anyway (for example it's the largest, most famous or only hotel that's otherwise decent in the town) we should keep it and add a fair warning to its listing. I think you should do just that. ϒpsilon (talk) 19:13, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
Do we really want a TripAdvisor situation where we are effectivally reviewing each establishment? We often have issues with hotel owners deleting competitors listings, and adding health and safety advice to specific hotels seems like another potential method of abuse.
Why not add your observations to the Uganda article's 'stay safe' section? Andrewssi2 (talk) 00:07, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
If this is a common situation in the city or country, add it to stay safe. e,g For China, the idiocy with bicycle locks on fire doors is worth a mention.
If it is the specific hotel, I'd say add the warning box. To me, the 'avoid negative listings' policy is for a different situation, perhaps a noisy place with unreliable elevators; just removing the listing is fine for that. This is a different problem, needs the warning. Pashley (talk) 00:22, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
I'd say it's best not to give them a listing at all, but instead, to give a specific warning in "Stay safe" only. Giving them a listing risks promoting them, and we shouldn't do that for such a dangerous hotel. Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:51, 24 May 2014 (UTC)

@Andrewssi2:Unless our Sleep listings are to be a dry-as-dust, directory style listing of addresses, phone numbers, websites, etc culled second-hand from other internet sources, there will inevitably be a subjective or review type element. However, in this case the danger is real and the facts are clear and have been verified by the police on the ground today. I think you know that I'm not a competitor of this establishment and my concern is the welfare of unwitting occupants.

I have not travelled every corner of Uganda, but this is an unusual situation. There are not that many multi-storey hotels outside of the capital, Kampala and the fire officers there would never allow such a reported situation to continue. This is a highly specific situation limited to this one hotel as far as I am aware.

@Ikan Kekek: I have taken the advice of Ypsilon and Pashley because this hotel is so prominent in Entebbe, I believe unwitting patrons need to be alerted to the danger. In any case I am hoping that the warning is only needed temporarily since, otherwise, this hotel is quite reasonable lodgings and they claim now to have found the keys.

This is the warning that was posted until a brand new editor, Ramon with his very first edit on Wikivoyage (after a 6 year absence from editing WMF projects), removed the fire hazard warning without leaving an edit summary that provided a rationale an hour or so ago:

The 7 Seasons Hotel is the first tall building you will see on the left of the dual carriageway when coming from Entebbe airport. It is particularly prominent at night, when it is one of the few buildings with a large, high level, neon sign.

Unfortunately, and contrary to Uganda's Fire Safety Regulations, this hotel was constructed with the glass panelled fire exit doors on each floor fitted with mortice locks. These locks have no interior handle or "crash bar" for occupants to open the locked doors and flee in the event of fire or other emergency.

When inspected at 15:15, 23 May 2014 (UTC) every single one of these emergency exits were locked shut and staff said they did not know where the keys were.

There were no adjacent key boxes with a glass panel to break to obtain the key. Both the upper and lower plate glass panels of the fire doors had no markings visible indicating that they were either tempered or safety glass. Consequently, fleeing occupants would, presumably, be shredded by sharp shards of broken glass if they succeeded in smashing the lower panel and crouching low to exit through the 1m high opening that they managed to create.

Two days later, when contacted by phone at 13:15, 25 May 2014 (UTC) and after the local police had become aware of this dangerous situation, the owner promised "to rectify the situation within 48 hours".

This particular hotel is a member in good standing with the Uganda Hotel Owners Association. Their Executive Director is Mr Samuel G. L. Balagadde Mobile: +256 (0)755 406425 Email: sglbalagadde@gmail.com if anyone wished to alert him to this situation.

-- Alice 18:54, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

That's five entire paragraphs about one hotel. We normally don't devote that much text to a single property even if it is worth visiting. One or two sentences at most should suffice. That said, someone with no edit history appearing once only to remove content looks fishy. K7L (talk) 22:08, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
"User:Ramon" just went and deleted it again without any explanation. I agree with K7L that the warning doesn't necessarily have to shouldn't be that long, but I think we definitely should have a warning for the hotel. ϒpsilon (talk) 04:52, 26 May 2014 (UTC)
Our listings don't need to be detective novels. We don't "inspect" places or do investigative work nor do we need all the silly dates and times (15:15, 23 May 2014). Just say they've been known to lock emergency exit doors. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 07:24, 27 May 2014 (UTC)
There may well be a better word choice than "inspect". However, the idea that we are just a purveyor of re-gurgitated second hand material from secondary sources like Wikipedia and can not rely on the evidence of our own senses is abhorrent to me. If all our listings are reliant on just re-hashing whatever the hotel's website or tripadvisor, etc, says and you've never had the opportunity of visiting and "inspecting" the up-to-date situation on the ground for yourself, then our listings are the poorer for that. In this particular case I have evidential photographs and tape recordings so that I can rebut any action for defamation. As should be clear from the original notice, the accuracy and timings of the information were sufficient for the owner to give her promise of action. I'm going bush shortly, but I hope to be able to remove the notice when I return to Entebbe in a few days after the owner has kept her promise. This is not a case of "now the doors are locked, now they're not". They've been permanently locked shut since the hotel was built.
On the more general point, dates for warnings, prices, timetable revisions, etc are not necessarily a bad thing. -- Alice 09:47, 27 May 2014 (UTC)
I never advised you to avoid saying anything about it. I just don't think it's worth much more than a sentence, perhaps bolded since you say it's among the most popular hotels. Dates have their place, but it's rare, and even rarer for the listings themselves to be dated. We cannot and don't intend to do annual inspections of hotels, so to say that a user stayed on X day and found X violations crosses the line from a listing to being more of a review. I'd say we aim more for trends and conditions that are (or appear to be) more permanent. At any rate, in this case, as I and others have said, a one-liner (or two) is sufficient and if you're going back, there is potential for even that to be unnecessary. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 16:34, 27 May 2014 (UTC)
I'd say the shorter version K7L added is good. ϒpsilon (talk) 16:44, 27 May 2014 (UTC)

the word "occupation"[edit]

wouldn't it be better to change the word "occupation" in the example on the disputed territories to "de facto control" I think it would sound more neutral, but of course it'd be a bit ironic to start a flamewar in a part of an article that describes how to avoid flamewars ;-)141.30.210.129 14:18, 22 September 2014 (UTC)

My take on this is that being fair doesn't require bending the truth, and whether a place is or is not under military occupation is really a factual question. Ikan Kekek (talk) 16:02, 22 September 2014 (UTC)
Correct. --W. Frankemailtalk 16:27, 22 September 2014 (UTC)

Rewrite of "political disputes"[edit]

I rewrote the section, I think making it much more complete & readable. Comment solicited. Pashley (talk) 15:31, 26 September 2014 (UTC)

Thank you. The way it is now it is much much less prone to flame-wars and much more helpful to the traveller. Good work!Hobbitschuster (talk) 21:05, 17 February 2015 (UTC)

Where to bring up the concept of a "tourist trap"?[edit]

Swept in from the pub

The derogatory term tourist trap is used for expensive venues which do not provide a genuine experience. Can this term be used objectively for some destinations? Should any travel topic (maybe budget travel) bring up the general concept about how to identify attractions which are not worth it? /Yvwv (talk) 17:19, 29 April 2019 (UTC)

We're allowed to have opinions in Wikivoyage. If it's a tourist trap, we should say so. I don't think "tourist trap" necessarily means that "it's not worth it", but that the prices will be high, and the other visitors will be tourists. Tourist traps still have their charm. Clifton Hill in Niagara Falls, Canada, has that tacky, touristy vibe that is fun to experience from time to time. Definitely a tourist trap. Ground Zero (talk) 17:32, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
There are borderline cases, such as Vikingaliv on Stockholm/Djurgården. It is run for profit with a hefty price tag even for Stockholm, and gotten through in 30 minutes. While the artifacts are replicas, they are historically correct, and in general it is interesting as a first stop to learn about Vikings. /Yvwv (talk) 17:49, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
I think it's a great idea to mention borderline cases, with descriptions of the pros and cons. Then readers can make up their own minds. Ikan Kekek (talk) 18:14, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
Made a description of the concept in Budget travel. /Yvwv (talk) 08:56, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
We do mention these at Shopping#Good and bad places to shop. Something might be added to Common scams about tourist traps provided we make it clear these are generally not actually crooked, just overpriced. Pashley (talk) 12:04, 1 May 2019 (UTC)

Media bias[edit]

Swept in from the pub

While I understand that we are non-partisan here at WV, and we do not take a stand on political issues, I think that in the interest of fairness, we should state the biases of the main newspapers and news channels in our country articles. In my view, this does not imply approval or disapproval of any particular political view, but simply provides our readers with information. For instance, in the U.S., it is known that MSNBC has a strong left-wing bias, and Fox News has a strong right-wing bias, while in the U.K., BBC News is to my knowledge somewhat centre-left while Sky News is somewhat to the right of BBC News. I do think such information is useful for travellers visiting these countries so they can make an informed decision as to what news source to rely on. The dog2 (talk) 21:14, 30 May 2019 (UTC)

We should probably also say a little about the media regulations in countries. The BBC is under much more obligation to present all sides of a political issue than a UK newspaper, particularly in the weeks before an election. AlasdairW (talk) 21:36, 30 May 2019 (UTC)
And more restricted on reporting directly after the voting. (watched news channels in other EU countries for exit poles and results of votes around Europe). Could be a difficult topic as every person's view will be a little different, particularly when viewing from another country. --Traveler100 (talk) 21:49, 30 May 2019 (UTC)
Or how about we focus on improving the travel content of the articles of this travel guide? There are lots of articles for smaller places that remain outlines. There are lots of articles that have really, really outdated content (like, from 2006). There are lots of articles that are a mess of bad grammar, touting, and bad formatting. Working on these issues would be the most effective way of bringing Wikivoyage up to the sort of travel guide that more people would use (and contribute to). Just a suggestion. Ground Zero (talk) 22:09, 30 May 2019 (UTC)
I am in no way suggesting that we include political commentary here on WV. That is obviously out of our scope. All I am saying is that in our "Cope" sections, under "media", we can write something like "The main newspapers in Country X are the left-leaning Newspaper X and right-leaning Newspaper Y". That's all. That's enough to give visitors to a country enough information to be able to keep up with the news while visiting. The dog2 (talk) 22:19, 30 May 2019 (UTC)
Not much point if we don't provide sites to visit, places to sleep in, and restaurants to eat in. Those are more important for travellers than newspapers. Don't most travellers get their news online now? I know I do. Are we sure that newspapers are still being printed? It's 2019, after all. I'm not saying it's a bad idea, just that there are more effective ways of providing information that travellers need. There is, at times, just too much focus on politics for a travel guide. Ground Zero (talk) 22:30, 30 May 2019 (UTC)
The concern I have here is that we'll start focusing on this, rather than our travel guides. Anyway, defining Fox News and BBC by political spectrum is completely opinion and each person will see it differently, so I think it's likely to create more debate than agreement. We have Wikipedia for this kind of information and anyway, people should know that Fox News is to the right and BBC is to the left. With local papers, there's usually only one or two so bias is not a central issue. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 22:40, 30 May 2019 (UTC)
At the very least though, I think information about media regulation should be provided. What AlasdairW said is true is that if you watch BBC News, you will notice that they make some effort to cover both sides of an issue. If you watch American TV news, what might come as a surprise to foreigners is just how polarised the media is, and you generally have to watch multiple channels to hear both sides of the story. Of course, in a place like China, media is tightly controlled by the government so all news sources have a strong pro-government bias. The dog2 (talk) 23:06, 30 May 2019 (UTC)
The concerns about it becoming a distraction are valid, but I do think there's value to giving readers a very basic overview of the media landscape in a given area. When I visited Israel not too long ago, I recall reading some local news of relevance to me, and struggling a bit to figure out which outlets had which bias. It would've been very useful to have the Wikivoyage guide lay things out a bit. And while "bias" is always necessarily going to be a fuzzy concept, I don't think saying that Fox News is to the right of MSNBC violates BF any more than saying that you'll get better service at a Hilton than a Motel 6. - Sdkb (talk) 00:52, 31 May 2019 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I think, though, it would (if we go ahead with this) be necessary that editors write about the networks in their own country and not others. Otherwise we could easily get information completely wrong, and that would only add to confusion for travelers. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 01:32, 31 May 2019 (UTC)

I don't think that is necessarily a good policy. Sometimes, editors may have their own personal biases that affect the way they view their own country's media, and you may need a foreigner who is not invested in that country's politics to provide a more neutral viewpoint. But I agree that is should only be written by people who know the country's media landscape well, be it a local or a foreigner who has lived there or travelled there frequently. The dog2 (talk) 01:37, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
User:Sdkb raises a good point. While I'm not sure about how travel-relevant political slant or stances on economic issues are, it is true that travelers may find themselves in a position where information is needed that may affect them. For example, a traveler could be in Catalonia when some independence protests break out, and a pro-independence news source may downplay the danger being near a protest. I can foresee some ways this can tie in with travel. ARR8 (talk | contribs) 01:53, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
This topic is really fraught with quicksand and booby traps and likely to lead to endless arguments from partisans. I don't think we have to cover every controversial question in the interest of travelers, but if you all really do think so, at least proceed with great caution! Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:34, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
I can suggest that instead of explicitly using the word "bias", we can instead use language such as "catering to a specific demographic". Using the U.S. as an example, perhaps we can say that "MSNBC caters to a more left-wing viewer base, while Fox News caters to a more right-wing viewer base." I hope all reasonable people can agree that a statement phrased like that would be factually accurate and uncontroversial. Alternatively, we can use the term "perceived bias" instead of just "bias", since a perceived bias can be real or imaginary, and by doing so, we are not taking a stand but simply conveying what large segments of the population feel. The dog2 (talk) 03:13, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
"catering to a specific demographic" - Yes. "perceived bias" - No. We don't want to have the argument about whether the New York Times or Washington Post are "perceived" by someone to be left-wing but actually are not. Ikan Kekek (talk) 04:08, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I think we're better off not opening this can of worms. Most travelers are going to rely on their home countries' news sources anyway, and they're unlikely to be familiar enough with local politics for local news biases to mean much to them. (The US and UK might be exceptions, and to a limited extent other English-speaking countries.) For example, to ARR8's point, how many travelers in Catalonia are going to rely on Catalan-language news sources for information about protest safety? I'm guessing not many, and those that do surely know enough to figure out a source's biases. Plausibly the information could be useful to some travelers, but I don't think it's useful enough to be worth the arguments it would inevitably cause. Circumlocutions like "caters to a more left-wing viewer base" don't help.
In countries like China, I think it's fine to mention that all news sources are pro-government. —Granger (talk · contribs) 04:10, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
Agreed with Granger, and frankly I would appreciate an end to the agenda-pushing. Just because it's been a few months since the last time this user was told to cool it with the political stuff doesn't mean we don't still need him to cool it with the political stuff. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 04:19, 31 May 2019 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Where am I pushing a political agenda here? I am merely expressing an opinion about whether certain information is useful to travellers. If you disagree with me, that's fine, but I would kindly appreciate it if people stop misrepresenting me here. I have not started a discussion about any political issue here, and I don't intend to. This is merely meant to be a discussion about how we should approach sections telling travellers about where to get the news. The dog2 (talk) 04:30, 31 May 2019 (UTC)

No-one's misinterpreting anything. This is not the first time you've suddenly decided to promote an obviously divisive topic that is not of really vital importance to travelers. Anything that's really important for them to know because it's an emergency will be covered plenty on, say, U.S. media. -- Ikan Kekek (talk) 04:42, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
I know there is the internet today, but many people still turn on the TV to watch the local news channel when they get back to their hotel, and many hotels still deliver print newspapers to guests on request, so such information is not entirely irrelevant. And let's not also forget that many non-English-speaking countries also have English-language news channels to cater to expatriates and business visitors. My view is still that we can provide basic information about what the options are and how they differ without getting too far into the weeds, and leave it up to the reader to decide what (s)he chooses. But if the consensus is that such information is too controversial, then I will respect the consensus. That is why I decided to start this thread to see what the consensus is before moving forward with anything. The dog2 (talk) 05:01, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I was inclined to assume good faith before, but less and less so as time goes on. It seems more than mere coincidence that the pot-stirring temporarily ends every time the idea of a topic ban or other such deterrent is yet again floated, only to restart a few months later when the coast is clear. Also, I find it hard to avoid characterizing the mock-innocent question "where am I pushing a political agenda here?" as an attempt to sidetrack the focus of the discussion away from what you know full well to be an unacceptable behavior pattern on your part. I'm ready to say from now on, no more adding divisive political material to articles and no more pushing on talk pages for such material to be added. There are only so many times we're willing to give you the same response to the same proposal, or proposals that are slight variations on the same theme, before the proposals themselves are deemed disruptive and we start to take measures to prevent them being brought up in the first place. So unfortunately, we're now perilously close to following through on the idea of a topic ban (when we last dealt with this issue, the conclusion was "there's not going to be an unlimited number of opportunities for you to heed our warnings about not inserting controversial information... Ikan, Andrewssi2 - can we agree that this is the last warning before a topic ban goes into effect?", and the answer was yes). And that would be a shame, because you're generally a valuable contributor when you stick to non-divisive material. So, at long last, I'm begging you not to force our hand here. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 05:09, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
Although I don't think it is totally irrelevant today - I think it is certainly heading that way shortly. I don't think I'm the world's best futurist to say that we would be adding info that increasingly unimportant. People are increasingly taking their mobile devices connecting to the local WiFi and watching what they want to watch, reading what they want to read. Increasingly the TV channels are being globalised so people are familiar CNN and Fox news in any hotel room around the world. And I'm as likely to read the WaPo or WSJ sitting in Sydney as I am in DC. USA Today has pretty much shrunk to nothing, and doesn't have a plan other than to fade away with the last hotel copy distributed. I haven't stayed in one for a couple of years that has offered a free newspaper (that I noticed), and increasingly I find that they offer free subscriptions to multiple brands via their WiFi.
I think it's backwards looking at this point, to invest additional time in additional details of local news sources. --Inas (talk) 05:35, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
And as for topic bans - There isn't such a thing on WV. And I wish people would stop importing policies as they feel the need from WP. --Inas (talk) 05:35, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
I respectfully ask that you stop suggesting that Wikivoyage policy cannot be inspired by, or even ported directly from, other wikis. It's a patently false statement, as the existence of Wikivoyage:Deny recognition proves, and your repeated arguments to the contrary, regarding this issue and other recent ones, are equally as disruptive as Thedog2's push for inclusion of political material. You're an admin; you of all people should know that forum-shopping is not a practice that's looked highly on. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 14:16, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
We don't auto-import WP policies here. WV is a separate wiki. Go to WP, and mention to them that they are forum-shopping when they choose not to apply WV policies. Argue your case for topic bans if you believe they are needed and supportable. I may even support you. But don't ask two other admins if the three of you agree you can go ahead an implement a new policy in the pub. That's not consensus, and not the way we do things. --Inas (talk) 07:12, 3 June 2019 (UTC)
Please familiarize yourself with the definition of "forum-shopping", to wit: bringing up the same issue on multiple talk pages hoping for the sympathetic audience you didn't receive on the previous go-round. You've raised concerns about importing policies multiple times before, in multiple forums, and despite those concerns having been rejected by consensus every time you've brought them up, you refuse to let the issue go, and it's become disruptive. I'm asking you, for the second time now, to please stop this disruptive behavior pattern. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 15:23, 3 June 2019 (UTC)
I'm a contributor to WV/WT now for over 12 years. I've worked and contributed constructively to thousands of policy discussions. I fixed vandalism and worked on improving thousands of articles. Tens of thousands of edits. Hundreds of new and comprehensive travel articles. If you seriously believe that I am the problem here, then I think you need to take a very hard look at your threatening and banning approach to working on a travel guide. It's not appreciated, and grossly offensive. Please stop. Let's get this straight. You and one or two other admins are not a cabal that run this site. There is a policy basis that has been developed by hundreds of contributors over decades, and you and don't get to go around banning people to achieve your personal objectives --Inas (talk) 00:18, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
Hi AndreCarrotflower, I've been away for a while (for life reasons, not WV reasons) and with some perspective I would agree that this contributor isn't purposefully trying to be disruptive, it is just that they are fascinated by the current left/right political conflicts currently being waged in Western countries and just can't help wanting to insert their discoveries into WV. WV is however supposed to be a travel guide, not a repository for all the things one finds fascinating.
I think that we held off on Topic Bans for a good reason, however would an update to Wikivoyage:Goals_and_non-goals with wording around not pursuing political agendas be workable? Andrewssi2 (talk) 08:24, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
I may have gotten a little carried away previously, but I don't think I am being treated fairly in this particular discussion. I have not raised any political issue or brought up any politician's name in this discussion, and I have provided travel-related justifications for my position. I mentioned the U.S. as an example simply because I happen to be more familiar with U.S. media than say, German media. That's all there is to it. Nobody has brought up anything political here, and there is no political debate going on in this thread. Every country with a free press has newspapers that lean in either direction of the main political issue, be it left vs right in the West, pro-Beijing vs pro-democracy in Hong Kong or whatever, and I thought that it would be useful for visitors to have this information for the major outlets so they know what to expect when they are in that country, and can decide for themselves what outlet to rely on, provided the characterisation of that outlet is clear cut and uncontroversial. If there is a controversy, then we stay away from that. If the consensus goes against me, I respect that, but please stop levelling all these accusations at me about promoting political agendas when I have already been careful to stay away from political debates in this thread. The dog2 (talk) 13:33, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
You're mischaracterizing the problem people have with you. No one accuses you of having a political agenda, at least not in the sense of pushing a particular political point of view. The agenda you are pushing is that of including more information about politics in our articles, specifically information of the type that you have been told time and time again is insufficiently travel-relevant and is likely to lead to time-consuming and equally non-travel-relevant bickering like we saw at Talk:United States of America a while back. I'm aware that you've provided justifications of why you feel the information you propose to include is travel-relevant; others have rebutted those arguments already and I have nothing to add to those rebuttals. But please, for your own good, I would just suggest to you to resist the temptation to stray into this type of territory. No matter how travel-relevant you think it is, no matter how careful you are not to advocate particular political positions yourself, just don't do it because it's only going to lead to disputes like this one. If the information is truly essential, someone else will notice its absence and take care of it. And if it's not really all that essential, the article will be fine without it. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 14:09, 31 May 2019 (UTC)

On including political stuff[edit]

I want to particularly thank User:ARR8 for the example of political protests, as I was struggling to think of an instance in which a traveler might be affected by the political perspectives of a given media outlet.

The only two types of local news that I have ever cared about while traveling are (a) the weather report, and (b) natural disasters and similar emergencies. I don't usually turn to local media for the weather report these days, but when I have in the past, I have not noticed any significant political content.

As for natural disasters and similar emergencies, they've all pretty much been on the same page in terms of the content that I actually cared about. It doesn't really matter to me whether the answer to my questions (e.g., "Is the airport still open?") is phrased as "The efficient and well-prepared government has temporarily closed the airport until safety checks have been completed" or "The government ought to resign in disgrace because they can't even keep the airport open". All I really care about is the facts.

I am therefore thinking that it's not an important subject for us to cover. At most, in the case of political protests, I might recommend checking "the international media" (or some such vague phrase) instead of local media. This approach could be used both in places like Catalonia (where individual local sources might differ) and in places like China (where state-run media has a standing policy of ignoring protests). WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:46, 31 May 2019 (UTC)

I was in Hong Kong in late 2014, as the Umbrella Protests were in progress. I read international media to get an overview of the situation, but I looked at the South China Morning Post for the street level detail of where the protests were happening, and adjusted the sights I visited accordingly. I think that we should list local media, but there is no need to try to describe its political viewpoint. It is difficult to concisely describe a newspapers viewpoint, there is likely to be some edit waring, and it will tempt some editors to add every newspaper, so that the one which backs the wiki party is included. AlasdairW (talk) 21:12, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
The problem is that, in the current society, politics is everywhere. You can hardly get away from it. Does Wikivoyage need to be another example of that (setting aside the essentials, like war zones, etc.)? --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 22:29, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
Even if we avoid detailing the politics of each media outlet, we are still going to encounter 'whataboutism' and get pushed to list others in the name of 'balance'. If that happens then we unavoidably become political (i.e. are right wing/nationalistic views being represented fully?) . I'd rather, as always, keep well away from that sort of thing.
Please also note that no traveler is 100% reliant on Wikivoyage. You want to Google/Baidu news in your local area then you are fully empowered to do so. Andrewssi2 (talk) 00:41, 1 June 2019 (UTC)

People of African descent[edit]

Swept in from the pub

I know this is a minor issue, but I'd like to gather people's thoughts for this as a synonym for black people. While the term is most commonly understood as such, I see some potential for ambiguity for the following reasons:

  1. If you go back far enough, all humans are of African descent since the human race originated in Africa.
  2. Could this term potentially also refer to, say, an American whose parents are white South Africans?
  3. What about people with ancestry from the Arabic-speaking North Africa, in particular the Maghreb? Many of them look more similar to Greeks and Italians than to the Bantu peoples of sub-Saharan Africa. It certainly wouldn't be wrong to say that these people are also "of African descent", and there's no reason not to consider North Africa a part of Africa.

So yeah, just let me know what everyone thinks. The dog2 (talk) 20:42, 29 July 2019 (UTC)

If you don't mind my asking — what does this have to do with Wikivoyage? Do we use the term "African descent" on Wikivoyage? --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 21:07, 29 July 2019 (UTC)
I've seen it occurring in some articles. And there are times when referring to somebody's appearance is appropriate. For instance, if you want to apply for a job as an English teacher in East Asia, a white people will have a much easier time than a black person. I've actually heard of cases in China where a white Russian is offered an English-teaching job while a black American is rejected (I know this makes no sense, but it happens). And let's face it here. If you understand Chinese and look at Chinese social media, you will see all kinds of derogatory comments made about black people and ethnic Indians that white people are not subject to. So is it possible that foreigners encounter different degrees of discrimination depending on their skin colour? The answer is clearly "Yes". The dog2 (talk) 21:10, 29 July 2019 (UTC)
It appears on these pages, and if I came across it, I'd assume it meant someone blessed in the melanin department.
But still, what's the relevance to Wikivoyage? Your longer reply does nothing to address this. In fact, this seems like one of those conversations you keep being asked to not bring up, and yet here we are.--ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 21:18, 29 July 2019 (UTC)
I'm not planning to get into politics here. It's just about whether or not we should just stick to the term "black people" instead of the term "people of African descent". In a previous discussion, it was determined that "people of European descent" was too ambiguous to use as a synonym for "white people" whenever there was a need to reference race. So given that, would "people of African descent" also be too ambiguous? That's all. The dog2 (talk) 21:24, 29 July 2019 (UTC)
If people of Australian descent are to be included, clearly "of African descent" is not a good wording. I suppose one should talk about apples if apples are meant, and what is meant should primarily be discussed on the talk page of the article in question. Only if there are arguments on the principles (or if the problems are too widespread to be easily fixed) we need a discussion here. Or is "black people" or "people with dark skin colour" offending wordings? If so we are perhaps searching for a non-offending one. Of the 25 pages found by the linked query, 2 seemed to refer to black or dark-skinned people, the rest to people of African descent. Additionally, in a few cases it seemed plausible that somebody had exchanged the terms without checking the context. I'd say fix the two, check the few that could be mistakes and forget about it. --LPfi (talk) 21:41, 29 July 2019 (UTC)
Not everything has to be quantified or pinned down with a hard-and-fast definition. Despite hypothetical nitpicks about white-skinned South Africans and the origin of the human race in the Great Rift Valley, in terms of the actual real-life usage of the term, everyone pretty much knows who "African descent" applies to: people who 1) are dark-skinned and either 2a) live in Africa or 2b) have ancestors who emigrated from Africa recently enough that they themselves haven't yet completely assimilated to the culture of the place where they currently live. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 22:07, 29 July 2019 (UTC)
I'm sure I'm not the only one who is getting frustrated by these nit-picky, political discussions that in 99% of cases have little relevance in a travel guide. All of these debates on whether a word can cause offence or can have multiple meanings in different contexts or whether President/Prime Minister X did Y or Z. It's getting ridiculous. Gizza (roam) 22:21, 29 July 2019 (UTC)
You're not (the only one) --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 22:22, 29 July 2019 (UTC)
Me too. Imagine telling African-Americans as a group that they are wrong to prefer that label to "black". I think it's good policy in life to call people what they ask you to call them. Ground Zero (talk) 22:37, 29 July 2019 (UTC)
IMO, this would be better described as unnecessary semantic nitpicking than as unnecessary political nitpicking. I would counsel The dog2 (and I had intended to make this point in my earlier post, but apparently never got around to it) to remember two things. Firstly, that it's not always (or ever, really) necessary to "get out in front" of issues of ambiguous phrasing. Far better to wait and see if anyone actually gets confused by the phrasing rather than "solving" a problem that might not actually be a problem at all. Which leads into my second point, namely that sometimes a certain degree of ambiguity is okay. We don't always have to circumscribe strict parameters for when a particular word or phrase is allowed to be used, and it's okay for the definition to be a bit fuzzy around the edges just as long as everyone pretty much knows what's being talked about. Do North Africans of Arab descent, or white people whose families have lived in South Africa for generations, count as being "of African descent"? Maybe in the most nitpickily technical sense, but in reality, you show me someone who sees the phrase "of African descent" and professes confusion about whether either of the two aforementioned groups are included and I'll show you someone who's not operating in good faith. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 23:49, 29 July 2019 (UTC)
Consider Stay Safe in Lithuania : "Members of ethnic minorities, (particularly those of African descent), may experience some form of racism". Sad as it is, I think "blacks" would have been more precise and helpful ... "However non-whites might be stared at by locals" is better than non-Europeans ... "the presence of several Afro-American basketball players in the Lithuanian league does help" makes sense if American is understood as having played in "NBA" Elgaard (talk) 13:47, 30 July 2019 (UTC)
  • I agree with all of those here who say this is a waste of time. As User:AndreCarrotflower says, the term "African descent" is straightforward enough in the vast majority of cases. As a travel guide, our #1 goal is travel information, not technical correctness. I don't think anyone will mind which term we use, as long as the term is appropriate and reasonably logical. Can we just decide to end this discussion there? (Not that I'm against discussion, but this one seems pointless to me beyond what has taken place so far.) --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 19:40, 30 July 2019 (UTC)
    I'm going to disagree. I don't think it's clear enough or accurate enough to use as a synonym for "dark-skinned" when we have perfectly acceptable alternatives (like "black" or "brown"). Powers (talk) 01:30, 31 July 2019 (UTC)
I've logged in after a long break, and it is really depressing to see this type of discussion still doing the rounds. Probably pointless to mention yet again, but Wikivoyage is for travel, not to work out how we categorize people into neat racial boxes. I really question the motivation for this. Andrewssi2 (talk) 12:59, 31 July 2019 (UTC)
I'm sorry to say, but I think it is time that we more seriously considered, and perhaps implemented, a topic ban. It would need to stop this user from bringing up these kinds of discussions in high-profile discussion pages like the pub. I do not really like the idea, but I think it is necessary so we do not waste time arguing over irrelevant issues. If there is support for a topic ban here, one of us can take it to Wikivoyage:User ban nominations. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 13:39, 31 July 2019 (UTC)
I would support continuing to monitor TheDog's edits closely, but I don't think this is the incident to hang our hats on in terms of a topic ban. I think maybe we've been approaching this problem from the wrong angle. I would refer again to the distinction I drew in my earlier comment between political nitpicking and semantic nitpicking, and I would also say that we're being perhaps too quick to assume a political motivation for TheDog's edits (though that assumption is understandable given the character of some of his edits in the past). Andrewssi2 decries the "characteriz[ation of] people into neat racial boxes", but I think the operative part of that statement is not "racial" but "neat... boxes". To me, it looks like TheDog's predilection is to try to fit everything into neat little boxes. Maybe it comes from his background in science - I can certainly see how it would be difficult to go from a realm where everything has to be precisely defined and quantified into one where a certain degree of vagueness is unavoidable - but that's just speculation. In any event, yes, it's annoying when he constantly brings up these questions in the pub that we find to be overly punctilious, but is that really something a topic ban would solve? If we forbade TheDog from talking about politics or racial issues, I suspect he'd simply find other hairs to split. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 15:43, 31 July 2019 (UTC)
I agree with you, actually. (Though I don't disagree with Andrew.) It's not so much political motivation to the left or right, as it is a desire to nitpick over complex issue not worth addressing in a travel guide. You can see my discussion at User talk:The dog2 and you can make out of it what you want. Personally, I see it as controversial issues that are the problem here — controversial meaning either political or non-political. If there is no consensus for a topic ban, I will not press the idea. I just want what is best for us here. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 19:46, 31 July 2019 (UTC)
I think there is merit in a topic suspension (for a particular period of time) if a ban is seen as too harsh. Then we can see whether it is effective or not. We've lost productive editors because of this nitpicking. Doesn't matter whether you call it semantic or political (I think it's a combination of both) because ultimately editors that were contributing to Wikivoyage get dragged into this nonsense, feel like they are wasting their time, and in the worse case scenario, lose the motivation to do actual work here and improve the travel guide. There are consequences to these never ending petty discussions that create a sense of controversy over things where everyone should just use their common sense and get on with it. Gizza (roam) 22:19, 31 July 2019 (UTC)
Another controversial discussion has started at Talk:United Kingdom#History section. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 20:22, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
Well, I don't know if I would class that as "controversial". Although TheDog2 has, sensibly, asked for opinions there before proceeding, I am a bit aggravated that it seems that it's always about the Understand section, and never about the See, Do, Eat, Sleep listings, which are the vegetarian patty of this travel burger. I wonder (and I'm not serious at all about starting a discussion on this) if we wouldn't have been better off putting Understand at the end of the articles. (Too late now anyway.) If my comments in that discussion do or don't reflect the feelings of others, please weigh in. Ground Zero (talk) 20:39, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I'm at a loss as to what to do here. The discussion at Talk:UK has me even more convinced than before that the problem with TheDog isn't political in nature and isn't solvable by means of a topic ban, but it also has me more convinced than before that it is a problem and can't be swept under the rug anymore. One thing I found very interesting was Ground Zero's observation that TheDog prolifically adds content to just about every part of Wikivoyage except the "See", "Do", "Eat", "Sleep" etc. listings that are supposed to make up the real meat-and-potatoes of our site. That's a noteworthy element of his M.O., but I don't think it follows that we can simply require editors to contribute to those sections as a condition of remaining in good standing. Because on the other hand, editors whose contributions go no further than correcting misspellings and grammar errors, or addressing technical issues, are not only tolerated at Wikivoyage but welcomed and recognized as indispensable elements of our community. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 20:44, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
And I do a fair bit of wikignoming myself, in addition to adding travel content. I take your point. Ground Zero (talk) 21:00, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
This is not a recommendation, exactly, but a few communities have imposed participation requirements. I have heard that one mid-sized Wikipedia requires editors to make a minimum of 30% of their edits to the mainspace to be considered participants in good standing. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:17, 4 August 2019 (UTC)
I think the "understand" section should absolutely be kept on Wikivoyage, since it is uncontroversial during the majority of the time and provides necessary background in many articles. It's worth noting here, however, that whatever problems we may have with thedog2, he is a far better contributor than W. Frank or Turbo ever were. (And you guys didn't block them first thing.) I agree that the problems are with the "Understand" section, and in my opinion, that's because it is the most controversial section of our Wikivoyage articles. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 20:58, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
He edited a stay safe section. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 22:19, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
For the record, I actually found this a reasonable question, though one of minor importance, and not IMO worth the level or passion, annoyance or engagement seen here. I also agree that "Understand" is inherently more likely to be controversial than most other sections of articles, with the sometime exception of "Cities", as 9 cities are often difficult to agree on. Ikan Kekek (talk) 23:18, 2 August 2019 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Seeing that more discussion about me has been occurring, I'm going to respond to some points. First of all, I don't think it's fair to say that I hardly ever add listings in See, Do, Eat or Sleep. Unfortunately, the nature of my work means I don't get to travel that often, but whenever I do, I try to update those. I added quite a few listings to the district articles of Bangkok after I made a trip there. I also made some additions to the American cuisine article, and I added quite a number of Southeast Asian listings to the Hinduism and Islam articles. Secondly, I don't see what's the problem with wanting a good history section in our articles. Many people travel to see historical sites, and a good history section will cover the highlights of a place's history, and this will in turn help potential travellers to plan their trip if they want to visit the important historical sites. In fact, much of what I've been adding in the history sections of some African country articles is to add in information about the kingdoms that existed in those areas and the locations of their capitals, which is clearly travel related since it gives people information about historical sites they can visit. And besides, I don't see what's so controversial about what I brought up in the talk page of the UK article. I highly doubt medieval history is going to be politically charged.


And to the point about me not bringing up the other sections on talk pages, that's because I just add to them without bringing them up on talk pages. There is nothing to discuss when it comes to adding listings, and the only thing to do is plunge forward and add. A history section is, on the other hand, a little less straightforward since people can disagree on what is important enough to consider a highlight, so that is something where consensus building will be useful in getting a good section that covers the highlights but does not get too bogged down in unimportant details or events. The dog2 (talk) 00:56, 3 August 2019 (UTC)

Most regular contributors are doing "armchair research" on listings, just as you're doing armchair research on history, etiquette, etc. It is easy to look up listings on review websites and add them in, and its most useful for building a travel guide. There are some articles where a re-write of the Understand section would be of real benefit. SelfieCity has started a project, Wikivoyage:Rewriting Expedition, to focus on articles that have had few edits in the last six years, which leads to us being penalized in search engine optimization. Re-writing and updating those articles would provide a big benefit to Wikivoyage. Ground Zero (talk) 04:12, 3 August 2019 (UTC)
I took a look at Talk:United_Kingdom#History_section and it was relieving to see that it wasn't that controversial. I would agree with the sentiment that adding a few pages of British history over 2000 years into the min article is not going to help the traveler and that is why we have history articles (want to create an article detailing the history and locations of important Anglo-Saxon battles between 600AD and 1066AD? Go for it).
Definitely we would SEO benefit from rewriting some articles that are similar to WT, however United States and United Kingdom are definitely not among the ones we should focus on. Andrewssi2 (talk) 06:39, 3 August 2019 (UTC)

Do we need to say so?[edit]

From the article:

"if a restaurant is crowded, loud, and overpriced, we need to say so. If a hotel has bugs, smells like urine, or is dangerously badly built, we need to say so. If a tourism site is ugly, annoying, or not worth the effort, we need to say so."

Some of this contradicts Wikivoyage:Avoid negative reviews. For the most part, if a restaurant is crowded, loud and overpriced or a hotel has bugs, smells like urine or is dangerously badly built, we wouldn't list it. Tourism sites are different because there are tourist traps that are promoted so much that many or most visitors are likely to see them unless warned off. What do you all think? Ikan Kekek (talk) 08:21, 12 October 2019 (UTC)

WV:Avoid negative reviews says, "There's no reason to clutter the guide with lists of places travellers shouldn't go." Therefore, I agree with you that we should remove the content you quoted from WV:Be fair. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 12:30, 12 October 2019 (UTC)
Let's rewrite it, maybe, but not remove it completely. In many cases an establishment is flawed but worth listing anyway, and in that case we shouldn't ignore or whitewash the flaws. For instance, a budget hotel in an expensive destination where most of the options are high-end may be worth listing even if the bathrooms smell like urine. Or we might list an amusement park that's worth visiting but mention that the only restaurant inside the park is "crowded, loud, and overpriced". —Granger (talk · contribs) 14:46, 12 October 2019 (UTC)
If there's a fair risk the traveler will stumble upon a place even if it's not listed (say, one of three places to eat on an island) we definitely should warn them. In the hypothetical worst case they've read Wikivoyage before going to the destination, know about our project's collaborative nature, and intentionally pick that place to eat in order to add a listing and improve the article. --Ypsilon (talk) 15:21, 12 October 2019 (UTC)
I agree with Granger and Ypsilon. The place has to either be otherwise worth recommending or one a visitor is likely to go to even if it's not listed. Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:05, 12 October 2019 (UTC)

[unindent] So how about this rephrasing?

"if a restaurant is crowded, loud and overpriced, but visitors are likely to go there anyway, we need to warn them. If a hotel has bugs, smells like urine, or is dangerously badly built, but it's hard to avoid, we need to say so. If a tourism site is ugly, annoying, or not worth the effort, we need to say so."

Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:29, 14 October 2019 (UTC)