Wikivoyage talk:Continent article template

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Continent pages[edit]

Moved from Project:travellers' pub by (WT-en) Evan

Half of the continent pages (North America, Europe and Asia) are divided into (1) Sections, (2) Popular Destinations, (3) Countries and (4) Other Destinations. The initial idea was to differentiate real countries under the Countries header and other territories like colonies, outlying territories, etc. under the "Other Destinations" header. Without the "Popular Destinations" there I see no problem. But the current divisions are somewhat confusing: the differentiation "Countries" vs. "Other Destinations" is not obvious, and it's easy to think that there are "Popular Destinations" on the one hand and "Other Destinations" on the other. I think there are two possible solutions:

  1. We rename "Other Destinations" ("Territories" or something else?)
  2. We regroup the "Countries" and "Other Destinations" into one division ("Countries and Territories"?)

My personal preference is no. 2 because on this level it is not really that important to know if something is a territory or a country. (WT-en) DhDh 12:36, 5 Feb 2004 (EST)

Actually, the solution I'd prefer is just not to have the "Popular destinations" section. I'm not sure it makes a lot of sense at the continent level. If it's required, we could rename it to "Cities", like we do for popular cities in Countries or Regions. --(WT-en) Evan 16:10, 9 Feb 2004 (EST)

Creating the project page[edit]

So I created the page with very rough outline... not that it's of urgent importance, but I noticed today how all over the place the different continent articles were and already made a few changes to them, so just trying to standardize it a bit, and maybe establish what sections we do and don't need on those pages.

I left out a few on this template, and I'm thinking the "buy" section could probably come out as well... feedback and section rewrites encouraged... (WT-en) ::: Cacahuate 08:00, 20 January 2007 (EST)

We're still all over the place on which section headers to use for continent articles. Have we made any progress? --(WT-en) Peter Talk 05:35, 23 January 2008 (EST)

related pages[edit]

and, I've added the travel topics on the Australasia page to the "related" box, but should they also still be included within the article? (WT-en) ::: Cacahuate 08:19, 20 January 2007 (EST)

Cities & OD´s[edit]

I just noticed that these are being re-added to some of the continent articles.... just wanted to start a discussion to see if everyone thinks they are necessary.... if so, we should add to this template and make it official  :) I lean towards not.... I think continents are too gigantic for a list of 9 cities to be relevant.... I think people will look at these articles for choosing a country to go to, but I think below that is irrelevant and clutters these pages.... Personally I like the continent pages to be short and concise.... general overview of the continent, things to know if you´re traveling through large swathes of it, things that apply to all or most of the countries within like types of transport, etc.... but otherwise.... thoughts? – (WT-en) cacahuate talk 20:09, 22 December 2009 (EST)

I wonder why we even have a "continent" article template in the first place. A continent is just a region, just a top-level one. You're right that it's hard to choose nine cities or destinations, but when people look at a region, they probably want to visit somewhere in that region. When looking at the Netherlands, big chance I want to see Amsterdam. I think the same logic applies for continents. Many Americans visit Europe, big chance they want to see Paris or London. I think these sections can show the best cities and destinations a continent has to offer, and a good first start for a traveler preparing a trip to an interesting continent. (WT-en) Globe-trotter 20:28, 22 December 2009 (EST)
Well I don't think they hurt, And I actually think OD's could potentially be really useful if well thought through and done right. --(WT-en) Stefan (sertmann) talk 20:52, 22 December 2009 (EST)
I agree with Globe-trotter, and I think we'll do ourselves a big favor by making good examples of the most prominent region articles, to encourage writers to improve the rest. --(WT-en) Peter Talk 22:10, 22 December 2009 (EST)
The cities and ODs are not meant as suggestions but as shortcuts. It's so the traveler can jump right to a destination of interest. Anyway, there's really no need for this template since we have all of the continent articles we're ever going to have (or so we would hope). =) (WT-en) LtPowers 22:26, 22 December 2009 (EST)
I also think that, although we may not expect someone to search from the continental level, since the continents are linked from the Main Page, people will definitely use them for navigation that way, so they are important. (WT-en) ChubbyWimbus 01:01, 23 December 2009 (EST)
This template was made so that there is a standard to refer to, outlining what we do and don't want continent articles to be.... I created it when there was very little info in the cont articles as a base for discussion.... at the time they were all over the place :) It seems everyone thinks that cities and od's are useful here, so it shall be :) – (WT-en) cacahuate talk 12:14, 26 December 2009 (EST)

Cities Revisited[edit]

I'd like to re-open this discussion and suggest removing the "Cities" and "Other destinations" from continent articles. The justification for these lists is that they are shortcuts to the city/destination, but as the recent spate of edits shows, these two sections at the continent level seem to cause more confusion than help - if we're providing shortcuts to be helpful to users, those users don't seem to understand why Tokyo is listed in the Asia article but not Mumbai. Furthermore, I would argue that at a continent level that listing the sub-regions (countries) should suffice for shortcut purposes, and any truly great cities or destinations can then be mentioned under "See", if at all. -- Ryan • (talk) • 16:44, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

I agree, rather strongly. Pashley (talk) 17:40, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
I disagree. The same arguments in favor of having these sections on Continental Section, Country, and Region articles still apply even at the Continent level. New users will need to be educated as to why we limit the lists to nine; this applies at all levels, not just Continent. LtPowers (talk) 19:56, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
To offer two counter-arguments: First, the argument is slightly different than with countries/regions because a user planning a trip to a country or region will primarily be trying to decide what cities/destinations to visit in that country/region, while a user browsing a continent article is primarily trying to determine what countries to visit within that continent (yes, there are some exceptions for huge countries, but this generally holds true). Thus, at the continent article, the purpose of the city list seems far more arbitrary than on any country or region article. Second, if we need to spend a lot of time "educating" users then I think it strongly indicates an area where our template is confusing to users, and we should consider ways to improve it, and the huge numbers of edits to the continent articles currently adding cities seems like strong evidence that this may not be a particularly clear part of our template. -- Ryan • (talk) • 20:19, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
I would favor making it more clear, if that's possible (we've all seen how readily people ignore HTML comments). But not throwing it all out. LtPowers (talk) 20:26, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
I agree with Ryan. At any level above the country level, we should not have linked cities, though a few could be mentioned in prose highlights. Even at the country level, we have problems, because there are so many big, interesting cities in countries of near-continental size like India and China that selecting only 9 is very difficult. Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:39, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
Ryan has put forward very convincing arguments, in my opinion. I'm all for the change and I don't think it's possible to make it any more clear than we have in years past. -- Sapphire (talk) 20:46, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
I don't care strongly enough either way, but I did want to point out that this is a matter of confusion for contributors, not readers. --Peter Talk 20:58, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

My other concern is that removing these sections would make Continent articles seem even less like "real" articles. Part of what ties the site together is the consistency of article structure from page to page; I think readers expect to find that shortcut list of cities and other destinations, and removing them would disrupt that harmony. LtPowers (talk) 00:07, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

It is difficult to be fair and restrict the number of cities listed in a continent article to 9 (except for Antarctica). Be fair is more basic policy than 7+-2. We can be more fair by either allowing more cities (all capitals would be a more fair constraint) or none. • • • Peter (Southwood) (talk): 06:54, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
If we used the be fair approach and included the names of all capital cities, then there would be a list of 30+ cities on the North America guide, making the list unwieldy and too cumbersome for readers. Hence, why I feel its more sensible to remove the sections from the template. Also, I don't believe the site would unravel or that continent guides would be less "real" if we simply adjust one template. -- Sapphire (talk) 13:59, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
I don't have a strong opinion, but Ryan's arguments make sense to me (so that's slight support for removing the Cities section). -Shaundd (talk) 07:30, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
LtPowers, I'm not sure that a cities list is needed for consistency - Wikivoyage:Region article template even notes "If there really aren't any cities to list, leave out this section.", and most of our templates exclude headings that don't make sense for the article type. As noted previously, my biggest concern is that the cities list at the continent level is much, much too arbitrary, and thus is both confusing to readers and contributors. Saying that this section is a shortcut, but then limiting it to 9 and thus leaving cities like Shanghai, Delhi or Kuala Lumpur off of the Asia cities list, makes it a shortcut of limited value whose implementation is more likely to confuse readers than actually help them, and I think the experience of the recent launch backs up that conclusion. -- Ryan • (talk) • 19:39, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
The Asia situation may not be ideal, but I think the lists work pretty darn well for every other continent (and note the unique solution found for Antarctica). There was some controversy about Athens regarding Europe, but everyone seems content with the current situation, more-or-less. I guess what it comes down to is this; if someone wants to read about Paris, should we really make them find and click on France first? LtPowers (talk) 20:48, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
The prose under the "See" section could include a link to Paris when mentioning highlights of the continent ("I would argue that... any truly great cities or destinations can then be mentioned under "See", if at all"). In your example, Athens (and Copenhagen, Saint Petersburg, Budapest, Vienna...) is currently left out of the Europe list for no apparent reason aside from an arbitrary "max 9", so the same argument about making a user click-through applies. The same holds true for North America (Montreal, Chicago, San José...), South America (Quito, ...), etc. I don't think we can provide a good explanation for this section other than "that's the nine we agreed on", whereas for the vast majority of regions the cities list is "these are the major destinations in the region". Antarctica would be a good exception, but only because there are only about nine places that aren't sub-regions that would get their own article, and thus the list isn't nearly so arbitrary. -- Ryan • (talk) • 21:08, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
Well that's almost as bad; the user then has to read through the whole See section. Remember, these are shortcuts, and any argument that the shortcuts can be replaced with other links applies equally well to Continental Section, Country, and large Region articles. Removing them here seems like a slippery slope to removing them everywhere. (After all, the United States is as large as Europe, so if the nine cities are too arbitrary for Europe, then why aren't they too arbitrary for the U.S.) LtPowers (talk) 15:53, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
I'm not arguing that shortcuts aren't useful, or that we shouldn't put them in articles when doing so makes sense - I have argued extensively elsewhere on their utility. HOWEVER, in this particular case I'm making two arguments which I'll repeat below:
  1. At the continent level there are too many cities that should be listed to make a list of nine meaningful. If we're listing Paris because it is a useful shortcut for users then Athens (and Copenhagen, Saint Petersburg, Budapest, Vienna...) should be there, too. Our justification for leaving out a city that draws hundreds of thousands of visitors each year is "sorry, we only include a list of nine", which undercuts the "this is a list of useful shortcuts" justification for having the section in the first place.
  2. A reader at the continent level is most likely looking for countries, not cities, so the country list is the more useful shortcut list. It isn't until a user navigates to the country article that he is likely trying to figure out what cities to visit.
As to the slippery slope argument, as I noted above, for very huge countries the cities list ends up being arbitrary, but that is the exception (applicable to perhaps 3-5 countries in the entire world), and I'm not suggesting we change the country template to deal with a problem that affects a very small percentage of our country articles. -- Ryan • (talk) • 17:07, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
Now we're using continents very prominently for navigation, so these city lists got even more important. It seems like maybe these links are going down in their own success, as they are heavily used. I don't find your arguments convincing. There are always way more than 9 cities to choose from, except in the lowest level of the hierarchy, and they'll always have to be picked (and are always somewhat arbitrary). Why is picking 9 cities for the United States acceptable, but for Europe a problem? We also had a long debate about whether Leeds should be in the England list or not, it happens for all regions. Just because some editors want to have "their" city high up the navigation list isn't a convincing reason to change what we present the reader altogether. Globe-trotter (talk) 22:58, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
A cities list is definitely useful for Europe since it's probably the only continent that people try to visit all at once. If you were going to attempt to "do Europe", the 9 cities listed wouldn't be a bad way to do it. For North America, the biggest problem I can see is that most of the important cities are in one country, but in the interest of fairness we try to represent each region equally. If you were really going to list the 9 most important cities for travelers in North America, Toronto and Mexico City would probably be the only ones outside the U.S.. Maybe the fairness doctrine is the problem and we should just use an out side ranking like the global cities index. Take Oceania. Brisbane, Perth, or Adelaide would make a lot more sense than Apia.Godsendlemiwinks (talk) 01:19, 21 April 2013 (UTC)

Imagemaps instead[edit]

An alternative to having the cities lists would be to integrate them into the imagemaps, which we are now using at the continent level. It would be very easy to add relevant cities to the maps and make the cities clickable. That would free us up to put more than just nine, since the graphical presentation eliminates the problem of overwhelmingly long lists. --Peter Talk 02:15, 24 January 2013 (UTC)

I've thought about that, but it might make it hard to click on certain countries (think Havana, Amsterdam, Lilongwe, or Taipei). LtPowers (talk) 15:16, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
It would be confusing too, because the colors on those maps show the continential sections, so you'd expect to go there by clicking on the map. Globe-trotter (talk) 15:31, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
Amsterdam would be tricky, but I think those other examples wouldn't be too hard. I'd just use our usual round/star city markers from the regions map template, so it should be clear that you're clicking on something else, even if you don't watch for change in url in the status bar of your browser. I'll mock up an example, and see what people think. Europe will be the trickiest, so I'll start there. --Peter Talk 21:00, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
Or wait, this won't be hard at all—the links are to the continental section region pages, not to individual countries. The only exception I made to that was for Oceania, which will have few cities outside Australia displayed anyway. --Peter Talk 21:17, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
I have made this live in the Europe article. I also reduced the number of cities displayed on the map and made the text readable at the in-article resolution (had been meaning to do that anyway). How does this look? I thought about possibly making the city name text clickable too. --Peter Talk 22:56, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
I have now made the city name text clickable too, and I think it works much better. I think this is a huge improvement over the cities lists, actually. This won't work as well for ODs, but we could scrap that list and put the information down in #See very easily. --Peter Talk 23:14, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
Imagemaps are not accessible; we can't just scrap the Cities and OD lists. LtPowers (talk) 00:27, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
It can definitely not serve as a replacement. I think 90% of users will not even understand that the map is clickable, especially when it's aligned at the right side of the page like this. Also, clicking the cities makes it a lot harder to use the map for clicking on regions. I have to actively move my mouse pointer to an open spot in Central Europe simply to get to that region. Another thing is that now the country names are left out. Isn't the most important task of this map? If I'd visit Europe, I'd first want to know where which country is.Globe-trotter (talk) 00:37, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
I converted the map into a thumbnail, to add a "click a city or region" message. I don't think clicking on a region is hard—my concern was more about the clickability of cities, which are much smaller. Also, the regions are prominently displayed just to the left of the map. Leaving out the country names was my mistake (layer was turned off), and I'll restore.
LtPowers, I assume you mean accessible in vision-impaired users? If so, good point. I like, though, that it's pretty inaccessible for editors, since the bar would be too high for petty edit wars in terms of editing an image map ;) Might there be an alternative for accessible use that wouldn't require the cities list? I'm not familiar with how text content on the internet is made accessible. --Peter Talk 00:53, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
Also, I'm hearing a lot of "can'ts," but it looked like almost everyone above is in favor of getting rid of the cities & ODs lists. I'm trying to find a way to preserve the good elements of that navigation-focused content, even if the lists are removed. --Peter Talk 01:05, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
Well, that's my point, the lists shouldn't be removed :-) As we use the continents mainly for navigation, it'd better to remove all sections under "Cities" than the Cities section itself. Else you'd have to click on British Isles > United Kingdom > England > London to get there. Globe-trotter (talk) 01:20, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
Peter, yes. I know we don't have a strong Wikivoyage:Accessibility policy, and we may be a long way from w:Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Accessibility's recommendations, but I would strongly oppose a move that actively makes our guides less accessible. LtPowers (talk) 02:52, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
Except, if we remove the cities lists for the reasons people list in the above discussion, our site would be more accessible with the clickable map than without it... But anyway, what do you think of the map? Suggestions for improvements, if I'm going to do this for the rest of the continent articles? --Peter Talk 03:43, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
I like having the cities clickable. I think it would be good if clicking the country names brought you to the country page, but I think some areas of the map are too small for it to work well (at least with the size of the map on the screen).
This is more of a pie in the sky idea (and a bit off topic, sorry) but what are people's thoughts on setting up an alternate means of navigation using only maps? It would start with a map of the world and clickable continent sections. Clicking on the continent would bring up a map of that continent (not the article page). Clicking on one of the regions on the map would bring up that region's map while clicking on city or country/region name would bring up the travel guide. This would let people click through maps to more and more detail, kind of like you do on Google or Openstreetmap. It would also provide an was out to a travel guide although I'm not sure how intuitive ir would be. It would also allow us to use bigger maps for navigation. Perhaps it's just me, but I find the small size of the maps in when they're used in the guide a bit limiting. Cheers -Shaundd (talk) 17:40, 25 January 2013 (UTC)

(Re-indenting) The clickable maps could be an interesting gimmick, but not something we should make our site navigation depend upon. For now, it's confusing that both cities and regions can be clicked on. I'm not a design expert, but this doesn't feel intuitive at all. Another thing is that it's not possible to click on the map anymore to see a larger version of it. I used to do this a lot. The Europe map is quite small, and clicking on it for a larger version was very useful. Globe-trotter (talk) 17:59, 25 January 2013 (UTC)

That's a good point about not being able to bring up the larger size map. We can try to redo the maps so the names are more visible but there is a lot of info packed into the Europe map. I wouldn't want it to be less useful just to allow clicking. -Shaundd (talk) 18:13, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
If Peter changes all of the maps to be thumbnailed, you can click on the thumbnail icon at the right side of the caption to view the image description page. LtPowers (talk) 18:22, 25 January 2013 (UTC)

See & Do[edit]

Since we're talkin, how about "See"? Do we think it's reasonable to have, or will this only become an extension of the OD & city sections? – (WT-en) cacahuate talk 12:14, 26 December 2009 (EST)

I think it should be just like other regions, and they also feature a See section. It's obviously harder for a continent, but there is certainly something to be said. People go to Asia for it's tropical islands, beaches, Asian cuisine, unique cultures, etc. I think certainly something of that could fit in the See section of the continent. People to go Africa to see its cultures, animals, etc. Europe has a unique style of architecture, medieval historic town centers, Latin America has amazing remains of Native American cultures, etc. (WT-en) Globe-trotter 15:12, 26 December 2009 (EST)
I suppose time will tell if it can be done in way that doesn´t act as an extension of the 9 cities and od´s – (WT-en) cacahuate talk 16:14, 26 December 2009 (EST)
Africa#See is shaping up pretty nicely. We didn't have see sections for country articles for a long while too, but I can't imagine why (any other travel guide would certainly provide a page or two discussing the types and highlights of attractions in a country...). I just wrote Iraq#See, with which I'm reasonably happy not having actually traveled there. And yes, it will be in a sense an extension of the OD & City sections, but those are there principally for the purpose of navigation—"see" gives us an opportunity to add some depth, and to mention some less well known destinations that didn't make the 9x9. --(WT-en) Peter Talk 10:06, 14 January 2010 (EST)


In continents, should Understand be at the top (like Europe) or below regions, cities and ODs (like Africa)? --(WT-en) globe-trotter 12:24, 22 June 2010 (EDT)

Rarely is a continent a user's primary destination. (Europe may be the main exception to that). Given that, it's most useful to the traveler to have the countries or continental sections listed prominently on the page for navigation ease. We moved the Understand section on country pages primarily to push the map farther down and out of the way of the quickbar. =) (WT-en) LtPowers 16:37, 22 June 2010 (EDT)