Wikivoyage talk:Guide articles

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For reference the old "guide articles needing attention" list has been archived at Project:Guide articles/Guide articles needing attention.

I added {{guidepark}} to the list of guide types thinking that there is such a thing (there is a {{usablepark}}). I think it's a useful difference. Could someone who knows how put together the guidepark template? (WT-en) OldPine 11:18, 14 August 2007 (EDT)

Wait, let me try. (WT-en) OldPine 11:20, 14 August 2007 (EDT)
Template existed, but was just not rewritten for parks. (WT-en) OldPine 11:24, 14 August 2007 (EDT)

Standards for addition to guide articles..[edit]

For articles as they are being built, it is better to have some information than none at all. The better the standard of the article, and as it grows, the greater the expectation of the standard of edits. This seem to reflect the reality of what happens here. Would there be any objections to including a para to this effect in description of guide and star articles? --(WT-en) Inas 20:32, 8 February 2009 (EST)

No, i think it's a good idea, as long as it's worded so that it still sounds welcoming to edit the article – (WT-en) cacahuate talk 21:28, 8 February 2009 (EST)
I've had a go at expressing this in the article. I'm not particularly happy with the wording yet, I'll have another go at improving it soon. --(WT-en) Inas 20:20, 8 April 2009 (EDT)

Who Determines What is a Guide Article?[edit]

I have read the pages about Usable articles versus Guide Articles, and am I correct in stating that anyone can make a page a "guide" just by placing the correct formatting at the bottom of the page? Is there a system that checks to make sure the page is really a guide?

I am working to at least get the Okayama page to guide status, and I was looking at some of the current guides, and the quality seems varied, so I was curious as to how it will be determined when a page has become a guide.

For example, these are guides, but they don't appear to be all that thorough (in my opinion): Luling Goris Shorjha

What makes them up to guide standards?

I realize there is work to be done on the Okayama page, particularly with the "Eat" category, but I was just wondering if it will be changed automatically once it reaches guide status or if I am supposed to decide that it's a guide and change the status myself as I see fit?(WT-en) ChubbyWimbus 09:35, 21 February 2009 (EST)

If you feel that it is guide quality, then you're free to change it to guide status. Although, there's a couple different schools of thought, at least in the past, as to what constitutes a guide article.... earlier on in the project I think articles were promoted long before they were ready. To me, a "guide" article is one that is at least as good as a comparable article in any printed guidebook like LP, rough guide, etc. So in the life of most articles, I see them spending the most amount of time at "usable" status, until they really shine and cover the destination nearly completely. I think "guide" articles are what we really aim and strive for. I almost feel that a map should be a requirement for a guide article, though that's not yet written in the policy. Star articles, I believe need to exceed pretty much anything else out there on the destination.... there's a temptation to think of the statuses as rewards for hard work... but I think they should be considered more an objective rating as to how well the destination is covered and in the quality of the writing, photos & map – (WT-en) cacahuate talk 12:16, 21 February 2009 (EST)
The best rule of thumb is the guidance given in the links at the bottom of Project:Article status. There's no formal review process for assigning guide status (unlike stars—anyone can add it, and anyone can move it back to usable. The cities you list are definitely not at guide status (easy to tell, since they have empty sections), and I've moved them back to usable. Feel free to do so yourself in the future! --(WT-en) Peter Talk 16:42, 21 February 2009 (EST)

Number of attractions and pictures needed for guide status[edit]

A spirited discussion at Wikivoyage talk:Destination of the month candidates#Too few attractions to be featured has resulted in a loud affirmation of the existing policy that any guide article can be featured as a Destination of the Month or Off the Beaten Path article on the front page, and that it is not acceptable under the rules to oppose its being featured on the basis that it has only one attraction and only one photo. That leaves a discussion of the minimum requirements for guide status as the only recourse.

So I would propose that any guide article must have at least 3 good photographs of clearly separate images (i.e., not 3 of essentially the same view from slightly different angles but, for example, different parts of a great cathedral would be fine) and at least two separate attractions, unless the one attraction is really spectacular, on the level of at least a two-star Michelin attraction (not merely "interesting" if you happen to be in the area, but "worth a detour" of a couple of hours each way if not an entire long trip by itself - e.g., the Great Wall at Badaling or the Grand Canyon).

(Incidentally, note the use of plural nouns in this notice:

This city travel guide to Guide articles has guide status. It has a variety of good, quality information including hotels, restaurants, attractions and travel details. Please contribute and help us make it a star!

It doesn't say "It has good, quality information about one attraction." So arguably, at least two each of hotels, restaurants and attractions should be required now, as a rule with exceptions.)

Since guide status is all that's necessary to be featured on the front page, will it also be necessary to have guide nomination discussions, as we do for proposed star articles? I don't see how this status can be exhaustively defined by strict measure, but I do think it's important to avoid featuring pages with little information on them because there is little to describe in a given place - and I say that without prejudice to the particular page under most recent discussion, but in the belief that a line of minimum content has to be drawn somewhere. So what do you suggest, since it seems like the only way forward is to have some rather rigid minimum requirements, for which we can probably find a lot of good exceptions? I have a feeling I'm missing something here, and I look forward to your thoughts. Ikan Kekek (talk) 04:39, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

What you're missing is that by restricting guide status in this way, you're essentially saying that some destination articles can never be improved beyond usable, let alone become a star. I don't think that's a good idea. LtPowers (talk) 14:32, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
That is already policy, as I understand it. Some destinations are merged and redirected to other destinations for exactly that reason, are they not? So please either explain why I'm wrong that there is already a minimum amount of information required for an article not to be merged and redirected or/and engage the content of my proposal. Ikan Kekek (talk) 18:51, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
I suppose it might be suggested that what needs to be discussed is what can be an article in the first place, not what a guide is, but I think both are at issue. Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:35, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
I share Ikan's concerns about promoting an article to "guide" status when it contains barely a screenful or two of text. I also agree with LtPowers that we don't want a situation where a destination can never be promoted to guide status, so this seems like a failing in how we organize destinations into articles. While I don't think we should discourage creation of articles about such small places, if those articles develop to the point where we're considering promoting them to "guide" status and there is still limited content that seems a sign that maybe there isn't enough content to merit a standalone article, and a merge is warranted.
Peter provided an example that I think could be instructive - Damascus, Maryland is included in Rural Montgomery County due to its small size, which seems a reasonable way to create an article that gives the reader a reasonable amount of travel information, rather than numerous tiny snippets of info split into separate articles.
If we're going to change the guide article criteria to encourage broader coverage when promoting an article to guide status, I'm not sure I fully understand the photo criteria being proposed, but perhaps updating Wikivoyage:Article status as follows would achieve the same result:
"The article would be helpful for the average traveler, such as offering alternatives for where to stay and eat, what to see and do, how to get in and out, etc, with a minimum of 3-5 options in each section. But at least a few things are missing to make this a star article. It follows the manual of style in spirit if not in detail."
Exceptions will be common for destinations with lots of restaurants and attractions but limited bars or hotels, but provided most sections meet this minimum standard then I think it would address Ikan's concerns. The downside is that we'll need to work out how to handle grouping of multiple small towns into a more comprehensive article, but I think the example provided by Rural Montgomery County is worth considering. -- Ryan • (talk) • 19:53, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Personally, I don't like Rural Montgomery County. Nothing wrong with the content, of course -- it's as well written as anything Peter's produced. But take Damascus, for example. Until I just fixed the problem, we had no Damascus (disambiguation) and no link from Damascus to Damascus (Maryland) (or Damascus (Virginia) for that matter). Communities get lost and hard to find when they're conglomerated into regions. As well, the organization makes it hard to find things that are actually nearby where you are (or where you're going). Since listings for several communities are all jumbled together, it's harder to piece together a trip to a single destination. And we lose the ability to talk about each community as a community, including links to Wikipedia articles should they have them.
It very well may be the best solution for Montgomery County; I don't know. But I don't think one size fits all.
-- LtPowers (talk) 21:21, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
I definitely agree that one size doesn't fit all, and that's why I think these kinds of discussions can be important, but it's also why there are times that parameters out of context sometimes have to give way to specific cases. In other words, I'm again arguing for case by case judgments as sometimes being superior to in-theory guidelines.
About my proposals on photos, I really don't think a single image should be sufficient to feature an article on the main page (and thereby, for an article to achieve guide status). I think we need at least 3 good photos that don't show essentially the same view, although there will be exceptions for places with just one attraction that is spectacular (as in my examples of the Great Wall at Badaling, for which one photo could suffice if it were not a redirect to Great Wall of China, and the Grand Canyon, for which different photos of the canyon could certainly be sufficient, but in fact there are photos of other things, too). Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:20, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
I think the suggestion of a minimum three images is a good one, and should be fulfillable for virtually any destination. I'd suggest that a map could count as an image though.
The problem with a minimum number of attractions, though, is that some destinations are destinations for other reasons that sights. In particular, there are places that are destinations almost exclusively for the food or for shopping. Maybe a requirement that any locality-type destination would need a minimum of 3 listings in any section other than sleep? I can't come up with an example of a feature that did not meet this criterion. This might encourage people to consolidate tiny municipalities into a larger rural region article that would not require readers to sift through a multitude of articles with "tiny snippets of information" that could be combined into a more digestible and, frankly, more normal travel guide.
Of course, this would require that we have some sort of consensus that an article like Rural Montgomery County is preferable to separate micro-articles about Damascus, Poolesville, etc. It's worth pointing out that doing this would leave no place to put information about truly rural attractions, like the Sunshine General Store in that article (I don't think it's possible to a) improve our coverage of non-urban areas or b) meet our goal of no-gaps in coverage without using this method). I'm not terribly sure where to have this discussion. --Peter Talk 15:52, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
I've wondered what to do with attractions outside of populated areas before, as there used to be an outstanding Christmas/model-train store a few miles east of Childs. (It's gone now, so the question is moot in that case.) I don't think any conclusive answer was ever devised. The route Andre has taken with Buffalo's suburbs seems to be to follow the administrative boundaries -- as each county in New York is divided into cities and towns (civil townships) with no overlap and no gaps. That ensures coverage, but at the expense of boundaries that are fairly arbitrary as far as a traveler is concerned. For Rochester's suburbs, one of the reasons they're so undeveloped is that I can't wrap my head around how to organize them. Villages are easy. But for areas with a number of widely scattered concentrations of listings -- some that overlap town boundaries, some with distinct names and some without -- it's a bear to conceive.
Montgomery County's a bit of an odd duck: with all those cities contiguous with each other near D.C., what's left is a single region of reasonably similar size and shape to the outer suburbs. The places I'm talking about are very different, with a few villages and hamlets and neighborhoods that have plenty of listings, but each one is an enclave within the larger rural area. That's why I'm not sure the same solution will work as well.
-- LtPowers (talk) 18:44, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
Actually, a lot of the places in Montgomery County do not have official borders at all—even Bethesda, one of Maryland's major "cities" is an unincorporated area. I created the boundaries where they were lacking, invented a few names, and amalgamated quite a few neighborhoods (aside from the obvious "Rural" amalgamation). In the case of Childs, I wonder whether the whole of Orleans County couldn't be divided into just a few bottom-level regions: West Orleans County, East Orleans County, and Central Orleans County? --Peter Talk 19:17, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
I think a map should count separately from photo images. The point about places that are destinations for shopping or food, rather than sights is well taken. Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:47, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
I suppose you could divide it up that way, but I don't see any compelling reason to toss Lyndonville and Medina together, nor Kendall with Holley. They are small but valid destinations in their own rights. LtPowers (talk) 20:37, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
Just to clarify my original suggestion, I don't think all small destinations need to be lumped together, but in cases where there just isn't that much to write about, consolidation may make sense in order to create a more usable article than would be achieved with many tiny articles about small population centers in the region. If there's a tiny town with several attractions and a bunch of shopping then a strong argument can be made that it would definitely merit its own article, but for a counter-example that I'm familiar with, the town of Chicken is a likely stop for anyone traveling the Taylor Highway, but it's a "town" of two dozen people, and obviously a place that we won't have much to write about. We want information about that town in Wikivoyage, but it is probably more useful to travelers to include the information in a larger article about the Taylor Highway area, and such an article would be more deserving of a "guide" status, where "guide" represents a useful article. -- Ryan • (talk) • 21:00, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
Any more thoughts about what the guidelines for guide status should be? It would be nice to come to some kind of reasonable consensus. Ikan Kekek (talk) 10:16, 14 May 2013 (UTC)
Just that I think Chicken is a fine article as it is. Its charm and uniqueness would be lost in an article about a larger area. That's the problem with these rural area articles; it becomes difficult or impossible to convey the feeling and atmosphere of a community when that community's assets are mixed in with a bunch of other communities' assets. LtPowers (talk) 13:23, 14 May 2013 (UTC)
That article has 4 photos, 2 "See" listings, 3 "Do" listings, 3 "Buy" listings, 2 "Eat" and 1 "Drink" listings, 2 "Sleep" listings, and 2 "Go next" listings. I don't think anyone would have a problem with there being an article about this place. The thing I've been trying to get at is what kinds of clear guidelines we should have, because there has to be _some_ minimum amount of content for "Guide" status, and I think a single photo, 1 sight, and 1 place to stay is probably too little, unless there are a lot of "Buy" or "Eat" listings, etc. Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:23, 14 May 2013 (UTC)
Guide status represents article quality, not destination quality. LtPowers (talk) 22:17, 14 May 2013 (UTC)
I feel like we're talking in useless circles here. Do you or do you not accept that an article has to have some minimal amount of content in it to be a guide article? Ikan Kekek (talk) 22:29, 14 May 2013 (UTC)
I think that's the wrong metric to use. We define a guide article like so: "A guide article is a status rating for any article in Wikivoyage that is essentially complete. This is what a Wikivoyage article is intended to be. Not only would you not need to consult another guide, you'd really have no reason to want to: it's all here." The amount of content in a guide article is dependent upon the amount of content available to be put into it. If it's essentially complete, then it's eligible for guide status. If there is something significant missing then it's not. LtPowers (talk) 02:24, 15 May 2013 (UTC)
So does that mean you think this notice is incorrect and should be rephrased? "This is a guide article. It has a variety of good, quality information including hotels, restaurants, attractions, arrival and departure info." You think a guide article could be complete with, say, only one nondescript hotel, no restaurants, and no attractions? How about just arrival and departure info, but no listings whatsoever, because there is nothing to do, see, or buy and no place to stay? I can't believe you refuse to admit that there is some kind of minimum threshold for content, and that what we need to agree on is what that threshold should be, not whether there is one. Are you taking a Devil's advocate position for the sake of argument? Ikan Kekek (talk) 03:03, 15 May 2013 (UTC)
The descriptive notice in the Template:Guidecity box can't possibly cover every possible destination. And I really don't think the descriptive text was intended to be read as policy; it was written for the reader, not for the editing community. If there's "nothing to do, see, or buy", then we don't need an article on the destination. But if we have an article on a destination, there's no reason it can't become "essentially complete". LtPowers (talk) 12:47, 15 May 2013 (UTC)

I do not believe we need to redefine the criteria for what gets an article nor the criteria for what a guide article is, but I do believe there can be such a thing as a guide article that should probably never be featured on the front page. My hometown, for example, has quite a few more things listed than some of the articles mentioned in this discussion. If someone pushed it to guide status, I think it would be great, but it would mostly be of interest to people from the region or state. I might recommend it to someone from Childress or Turkey (Texas) who has an interest in Texas Highways-style travel, in which case it would be great to have a guide or star article, but I still wouldn´t recommend it to a vacationer from the east coast, much less from abroad. Even as an OtBP, there are lots of more interesting options, even within Texas. I do not agree with the notion that the possibility of having an article featured on the front page should be held up as a potential reward for hard work regardless of the destination. I think it is the criteria for featuring that needs to be revisited, and they need not be the same criteria as those for guide articles. Texugo (talk) 13:15, 15 May 2013 (UTC)

Without specific reference to Pampa, which I'm not familiar with, I fundamentally agree with you on all points. Unfortunately, it seems to be impossible to get agreement on the idea that a lack of sufficient interest for visitors is a reason not to feature an article, so the only recourse seemed to be to attack the idea that an article could be at guide status (and therefore featurable) without a certain minimum number of items of interest. Even that seems to be impossible, since consensus requires virtual unanimity. I think this dependence on consensus is somewhat likely to eventually become this site's Achilles' heel if it becomes a big enough community. But at least it has no chance to be the disaster it was for the League of Nations. Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:51, 15 May 2013 (UTC)
I do hope we can resolve it without resorting to attacking our fundamental article status levels that have served us pretty well for years. I don't think they are the root of the problem here. I have always thought of OtBP as being places that only those "in the know" would know to go, places that are ahead of the curve that may one day become popular on-the-beaten-path destinations if a) infrastructure/accessibility is improved and/or b) word gets out that it's an enjoyable destination. As a featured item, I don't think "off the beaten path" should mean simply "any ol' destination which receives few if any tourists". It's fine for guide status to be one of the criteria for featuring, but I don't think it should be the only criteria. A destination needs something to recommend it to the world besides that simple fact that we have dubbed its article to be more or less complete. Texugo (talk) 20:13, 15 May 2013 (UTC)
We're veering back towards a discussion less relevant for this page, but... It's risky to have a "worthwhile" criterion for feature candidates, since different people have different ideas of what's worthwhile. There was a fair amount of opposition to featuring Walt Disney World, for example, on purely subjective grounds, and our policy happily allowed us to ignore that. I think one way to get around that problem would simply be to require that any feature must make a compelling case up front in the article for why someone should go there (or why lots of people do go there). That plus the suggestion here that we have a minimum amount of content in the article for guide status might resolve at least some of the concerns brought up. My suggestion for the content requirement was "minimum of 3 listings in any section other than sleep," which I think would do the trick, along with the three photos requirement. --Peter Talk 20:53, 15 May 2013 (UTC)
And what if a destination doesn't have three restaurants or three bars or three attractions? LtPowers (talk) 21:09, 15 May 2013 (UTC)
To me, that kind of article should still be able to reach guide status, as it currently does, but I don't think that automatically means it makes a good candidate for a feature. I like the idea that a feature nomination should "make a compelling case up front for why people would want to go there", but the "minimum of 3" rules make more sense to me as criteria for a feature, rather than criteria for guide status. Texugo (talk) 21:46, 15 May 2013 (UTC)
Also, LtPowers, I'd love to see a counter-proposal from you on what number of restaurants, bars, or attractions you'd support as a minimum. Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:47, 15 May 2013 (UTC)
I don't think an place that doesn't have three of anything should get its own article. --Peter Talk 22:16, 15 May 2013 (UTC)
That would represent a radical change to our longstanding What is an article? policy, I think. LtPowers (talk) 23:30, 15 May 2013 (UTC)
A change, certainly. But a change that would just be about us thinking more carefully about content organization, in order to avoid an overly granular structure which requires too much navigation to find information, and to ensure that there is a place to put all content, even when its not located in the type of populated place or government designated area that we have preferred for articles by default. --Peter Talk 02:03, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
Well all of the content I've been talking about is located in a populated place, so I don't know that this would solve whatever problem Ikan has with it. LtPowers (talk) 02:14, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
I already told you, Ikan: I think that's the wrong metric to use. I suppose, if you insist, it should be, say, 50% of the worthwhile restaurants, bars, and attractions in a given location. LtPowers (talk) 23:30, 15 May 2013 (UTC)
50% is not a meaningful answer, as 50% of 0 is 0. Ikan Kekek (talk) 23:40, 15 May 2013 (UTC)
If there's "zero", then the place doesn't get an article. LtPowers (talk) 23:50, 15 May 2013 (UTC)
Right. So once again, what is the minimum? You keep saying "it's the wrong metric." But you agree zero is too few, so what's the number you'd consider sufficient? Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:00, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
Sufficient for what? I thought you were asking about what number is sufficient for guide articles, but I don't agree that a flat number is appropriate to set as a threshold because different destinations have different amounts of content possible. So I expressed it as a percentage. But now you say "you agree zero is too few", a statement I made in reference to article existence, not guide status. So if we're talking about article existence, then I guess one is the number I would consider sufficient, as long as it's a real community where a traveler can sleep. Which, not coincidentally, coincides rather precisely with our longstanding What is an article? guideline that some people seem ready to throw out the window all of a sudden. LtPowers (talk) 02:14, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
OK, so at least we have something to discuss now. So when you say the number is 1, does that mean 1 listing of any kind (e.g., 1 sleep and 0 of everything else, including eat, drink, buy, see, do)? As far as preexisting guidelines are concerned, they merely represent a previous consensus and are not sacred, so while it makes sense to reference them, it would seem to me that they cannot constitute an appeal to authority, as all guidelines are subject to discussion and potential revision. Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:46, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
I would propose that "can you sleep there" remains a good test of whether a destination merits an article as it eliminates census designated places and other map dots that would barely support an outline. However, I believe that for us to call something a "guide" (as opposed to outline or usable) then it should meet higher level of scrutiny, and if the article has developed to the point where we are calling it "complete" and it still has a truly limited amount of content then it merits merging into a broader topic, just as we do with census designated places that wouldn't merit their own article. Where the "merge" line falls is a question to be determined, and unfortunately I can't offer a good suggestion at the moment. -- Ryan • (talk) • 03:00, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
We agree conceptually. Correct me if I'm wrong, LtPowers, but it seems to me, you believe that anyplace that merits having an article started about it is ipso facto potentially a star, and shouldn't be subject to merging at any point. Is that actually your opinion? Ikan Kekek (talk) 03:06, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
Yes, of course. Merging is always an option, if that suits the area better, but I can't see any reason it should be required before being considered an example of our best work. I don't understand why some people continue to conflate article quality with destination quality. It's very possible to write fantastic articles about lousy destinations, or small destinations, or hard-to-get-to destinations. LtPowers (talk) 12:10, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
Of course it is, but it is poor travel writing from an organizational perspective to write separate articles about every single point on the globe, even if they are good articles. If information is too spread out, granular, chopped up, etc., it makes it harder for readers to find what they're interested in. That's why we have wiaa to weed out "non-destinations" (although we certainly could write good travel mini-articles about them). The suggestion here is that guide status would be the point at which we have a second check to make sure that the organization of content (from the perspective of our site and geographical hierarchy, not the perspective of just the one article) makes sense. If there really isn't enough at a place to allow for the possibility of three listings in any category, then folding the destination into an article about a broader area makes sense, I think. So no, no one's conflating destination quality with article quality. --Peter Talk 15:58, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
I think it's completely the opposite. If information is too mixed in, homogenized, conflated, etc., it makes it harder to convey feelings and experiences to the reader. We've all talked about how hard it is to write good region articles, right? That's why -- because there's only so much to say about oftentimes disparate destinations that are lumped together for convenience rather than because they share much in common. Remember, an article on Wikivoyage is not analogous to a book; it is a chapter in a book, or even a page within a chapter. Why would any place that has a place for a traveler to rest his head, plus some sort of attraction to draw him there, not be worth a page in a travel guide? LtPowers (talk) 16:21, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

I tend to agree with LtPowers in this regard. I'm not sure it's that simple in a lot of cases, Peter. Let's take the example of Glenrio, a ghost town on the TX/NM border, for which we have an article with a bit of get in/around info, 3 see listings of abandoned buildings, a rest stop visitor's center, and not much of anything else. And it will never have anything else since it's a ghost town. (If it matters to you that it passes the "3" threshold, just imagine for a moment that it had only two). If we were to say that the right thing to do here is to merge it somewhere, your options are:

  • Adrian, TX - pop. 140, at 23 miles away, which also may not merit its own article under the proposal
  • San Jon, NM - pop. 300, at 19 miles away, another semi-ghost town, which also may not merit its own article under the proposal
  • Vega, TX - pop. 896, at 36.5 miles away
  • Tucumcari, NM - pop. 5363, at 42 miles away
  • Amarillo, TX - pop. 190,695, at 73 miles away

What would you have us do in this situation? I don't really think any of the merge options make sense at all, especially if you consider that you may have three or more such small towns to place somewhere. I agree with LtPowers idea of this just being a page in a chapter, and that combining this kind of thing into other articles would be worse organization, not better. Texugo (talk) 16:38, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

I definitely don't think it should be merged into another town. But merging it with several of those (maybe Adrian, San Jon, and Vega?) might make a lot of sense. That is how any other travel guide would do it, unless Glenrio was spectacularly important and merited an exception—if, say it had a bunch of famous sights. As of right now, Glenrio looks like it violates wiaa, and Adrian would just barely make it. That's part of our current problem: where to put information about Glenrio, which is interesting, but is a non-destination per our policies simply because it lies outside a populated point and is not part of a special designated area like a park. An article that combined those three micro destinations (maybe West I-40 Texas?) would be a bit more helpful anyway, since readers wouldn't have to click through so many articles. --Peter Talk 17:24, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
Agree. And I don't understand why one needs a full article to convey his/her feelings. You can convey feelings in a single sentence, simply find good words for that. --Alexander (talk) 17:40, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
West I-40 Texas would not cover San Jon, since it's in New Mexico. If you don't include San Jon, then where does it go? If you do, you've just created our first bottom-level cross-hierarchical destination article, which will not fit nicely into the breadcrumb navigation. Complicating things further, you've got other local "dots on the map" like Channing, TX and Nara Visa, NM, which are not on I-40, and Conway, which is on the other side of Amarillo to the east. If we are going to start clumping small places into collective "rural community" articles sitewide, there will be a lot of them, and finding an appropriate name for each one will be a big problem in most cases since we will have to just invent something. Texugo (talk) 18:04, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
And by the way, I don't actually think it would be too hard to find a print travel guide where Glenrio or Adrian get their own page or section instead of being treated collectively. It wouldn't be an internationally-oriented commercial guide on the same broad scale as LP of course, but I'm sure you could go out and buy one. And why should we limit ourselves to covering things only at the same broad scale as the big publishers? Texugo (talk) 18:10, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
So my concern is 1) we're spreading content throughout too many articles, and that means that readers will read less of it, have to load/print more than needed, and we have to patrol more; 2) we don't have anywhere to write about random interesting things off in the desert, woods, plains, whatever, just because it's not in a locality of some sort. This gives us an overwhelming urban focus that is out of proportion with how people actually travel.
The organization task here is pretty big, but so was creating our regions hierarchy as it currently exists, which was a total and complete mess when I started participating in this project 6 years ago, but is now in pretty great shape after 6 years of collective effort (coordinated at the Wikivoyage:Regions map Expedition). I think that thinking about how to organize rural content is a very worthwhile long-term project, and that the idea of thinking about it in terms of guide status could help focus that project. People could still start articles about little points and get contributing content easily, but when content starts to get built up in an area, we start working on optimizing the content organization. --Peter Talk 18:51, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
I agree that thinking about how to organize rural content is a worthwhile project, but I'm not convinced we have hit upon a good solution just yet. Let's refrain from actively promoting the creation of collective rural community articles until we have thoroughly discussed and studied a good variety of cases. I think there is going to be a lot of variation in needs and content for different regions that we would have to learn to deal with consistently. Your proposal would also likely result in a new article type/model which would need to be better organized for dealing with multiple non-contiguous towns, and there are likely repercussions on the existing regional hierarchy that would need to be considered. Texugo (talk) 19:16, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
That's fair. I've been meaning to try writing articles about southeastern Utah, which obviously can't work by our usual method of writing about a town and maybe mentioning that there's other stuff outside the town... somewhere in the article. --Peter Talk 21:00, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
I think there are good points on both sides of this discussion, but my feeling is, as you all know, that if we do not change the criteria for guide articles, we need to allow discussion of a place's interest or lack thereof to be one factor in deciding whether to feature that article or not. So should we resume that part of the discussion in Talk:Destination of the Month candidates or wait for this discussion to get played out first? Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:21, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
Yes, regardless of what becomes of Peter's suggestions, I feel strongly that article status cannot be the only criteria for being featured. Not every destination was created equal, regardless of how well we have covered them. Destinations are not like people; I don't think we have some kind of egalitarian obligation to pretend that they are all equally well-endowed and worthy of being visited. That would be analogous to saying any and every hotel should be listed provided its info is complete, ignoring the quality. In this sense, we are here to judge, i.e. recommend places. Texugo (talk) 19:29, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
And why wouldn't you recommend Childs or Chicken to someone? LtPowers (talk) 00:46, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
I am not familiar with either of those personally, but I have already demonstrated with my hometown above that there are destinations which, regardless of their article's completeness, I would not necessarily recommend outside of certain groups. I think the more pertinent question is why you think all relatively complete articles should be regarded as equals in terms of being recommendable/featurable. Texugo (talk) 01:21, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
I may be a lot happier with Childs when User:AndreCarrotflower has had a chance to take and insert a few more good photos and possibly something else we can't foresee yet. But I think that's exactly the sort of thing discussions about potentially featured destinations should deal with - a feeling by one or more users that there aren't enough photos in an article or that there isn't enough of interest (whether because more interesting things need to be added or because there are no more interesting things in the destination). It may or may not be remediable, but it shouldn't be off-limits for discussion and should be a usable criterion, as Texugo eloquently explains in his analogy with hotels above.
As for Chicken, I think it would be a fun place to feature as an OtBP, and that's undoubtedly in large part because the article includes a fun banner, 4 photos, 2 sights, 3 things to do, 3 buy listings, 2 eat listings, 1 drink listing, 2 sleep listings, and is a stop on a long, scenic and historically important Alaskan highway that might be good for an itinerary article someday. The entire context needs to be taken into account, but if the Chicken article is turned into a guide (and another photo, of beautiful scenery outside of town in "Go next" would help), I would vote to feature it and think it is actually an excellent example of the type of place that should be an OtBP entry. However, I would also be prepared to defend my opinion on the basis of it being a fun, off-beat place of some interest, and to discuss the context, with a lot of links to external sites that promote the Taylor Highway as a scenic, interesting route. I don't actually find Chicken a difficult case, given the amount of content and contextual interest of the place. Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:30, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
So there's just something about Childs you don't like? I don't understand. I really don't. I'm baffled, frustrated, and concerned. LtPowers (talk) 13:37, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
First, I think this entire discussion is not based on whether Childs itself is just over or just under the line for a good feature article, but is more about where to establish a line that, it seems to me, you are reluctant to admit really exists at all. But that said, the article about Childs just doesn't have that much content, and it's not in an area where a place with only one attraction seems notable to me - basically, I think the article is certainly usable but I don't think it makes a strong case for Childs as a place that's worth more than a brief stop while on the road, unless the Fair Haven Inn is really beautiful - something more photos by AndreCarrotflower may make a stronger case for. But being "concerned" about my opinion on this could be a bit excessive. That seems like an emotion that might be reserved for really important off-line things like my recovery from an illness that's lasted for over a week. Disagreements of this kind are not a big deal in the scheme of things. Ikan Kekek (talk) 15:31, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

What is a "Guide article" exactly?[edit]

Swept in from the pub

Wikivoyage:Guide articles mentions only that the definition is fluid, and that guide articles for bottom-level destinations should contain plenty of listings. Well and good. However, I was just now looking through [[Category:Guide articles]] for destinations that would be suitable as OtBP for the upcoming winter, and I came upon Bisbee and Bihoro, which are classified as guides (or, in the latter case, was classified as a Guide before I made the executive decision to demote it to Outline status) but would never cut the mustard as featured destinations. If any article that is Guide or better is supposed to be eligible for featuring on the Main Page, and if the guidelines for what makes a Guide article are so vague as to not, technically speaking, exclude either of the foregoing articles, I think it's high time we made our policy on what does and does not constitute a Guide article quite a bit clearer. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 18:46, 3 June 2014 (UTC)

Bihoro is obviously not up to the standards of a guide, but what's wrong with Bisbee? Looks pretty dang good to me for a page about a small town. PerryPlanet (talk) 19:21, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
I'm not sure there's a problem with our guidance on the subject, except perhaps that Wikivoyage:Guide articles doesn't point you more directly to WV:City guide status, WV:Region guide status, WV:District guide status, etc., where you can see more somewhat more specific criteria for how each type should be rated. (We can't get too specific because there is a wide range of sizes, types, and contexts for cities.) Also I think it a little bit off to think that simply having the article at guide status would automatically mean that the destination itself is suitable for featuring. Just because our coverage of a place is as good as can be reasonably expected doesn't necessarily mean that the place itself is among the more recommendable ones out there. I doubt if Bihoro should ever be featured, regardless of the status rating of our coverage of it. Texugo (talk) 19:32, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
(edit conflict) The Bihoro article technically qualifies as usable as it tells you how to get there, has something to see, a place to eat and a place to sleep...
I'd say the criteria for when an article would qualify a guide depends on how large the destination is and how much it has to offer. In articles for really small destinations (like Childs) there cannot be very many POIs because there are just a handful of them in the town. According to WP Bisbee has 5,575 inhabitants, which means that the town cannot be a very large one and subesquently that our article already contains much of the town's interesting things, restaurants and hotels and therefore can't get any more better. On the other hand, if these would be e.g. our Buffalo and Helsinki :) articles, they would for sure not qualify as Guides.
Another thing, maybe there's nothing wrong with the current article status policy. It might also be that editors are not aware of it and either upgrade articles to guide when they feel like or in other cases write guide-worthy articles but forget to upgrade their status. ϒpsilon (talk) 19:38, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
Bisbee has plenty of listings; that isn't the problem. The problem, in fact, is that's pretty much all the article has. It strikes me as a virtually context-free list of tourist attractions, events, restaurants, bars and hotels. For instance, what is Bisbee all about, exactly? What is its historical importance? What kind of experiences, generally speaking, await a visitor to Bisbee? Those things should be covered in the Understand section, which at present is three sentences long. The Muheim Heritage House Museum is a fully-restored family home, built in 1898; fine. Who were the Muheims, and what was their significance to Bisbee's history? What kind of things will I see in the house? How long does a tour typically last? Are they guided or self-guided? These questions should all be answered in the listing's descriptive blurbs - but there's only a sentence or two for each one. (Compare the aforementioned Childs, where the listings are fewer in number than Bisbee but properly contextualized with an abundance of background information; in my mind there's no question that Childs is at Guide status.)
Again, we'd never allow an article on the Main Page that gives such dry, bare-bones information, yet it still technically qualifies as a Guide. Texugo suggests that we should restrict the requirements for featured articles rather than the requirements for Guide status, but I think that misses the point. A Guide article, whether it's featured or not, is supposed to be so detailed that "not only would you not need to consult another guide, you'd really have no reason to want to: it's all here". But if I were taking a trip to Bisbee, regardless of the fact that it's a small town, I would want a lot more information than Wikivoyage's Bisbee article gives me.
-- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 20:36, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
I wasn't suggest any further restrictions, I was just pointing out that "guide status" only defines the quality of our coverage and does not necessarily imply that the destination itself is worth putting on our front-page pedestal. Texugo (talk) 21:02, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
Actually, by definition, it does. "The destination isn't good enough" isn't a valid reason to oppose a feature proposal, per the instructions. There's no reason not to feature a destination just because you don't think someone ought to go there.
To Andre's concerns, it sounds to me like the Bisbee article is borderline Guide status. All the essentials are there, it seems; it's just missing the spit and polish it would take to bring it up to Star status, yes? Powers (talk) 21:13, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
I think there is a problem with our definition of Guide; for some larger places, it is very difficult to meet current criteria because all the next level down need to be at usable first. See Talk:Shanghai#Getting to guide? and Talk:China/Archive 2003-2012#Status of this Article for examples.
I am not sure how this might be fixed, or even that it should be, but it definitely causes some frustration. Pashley (talk) 21:36, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
Per Texugo I've added links from the various status pages (Project:Guide articles, Project:Star articles, etc) to the type-specific criteria pages (Project:City guide status, Project:Region guide status, etc). Hopefully that makes it clearer how to determine what the criteria are for each article type. -- Ryan • (talk) • 21:53, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
I guess for Pashley's concern it's the difference between evaluating each page as it is or evaluating based on the depth of content available under it as a part of the status of the whole. If a person looks at the China page by itself, they'll probably think "This page should be a guide". However, if you look at the status as an indicator of the depth of information we have on China, then usable seems like a fair assessment. We've gone with the latter way of assessing our guides, so that if we say we have a guide status China guide, readers can expect to find satisfactory information about each region, province, and major destination. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 07:25, 5 June 2014 (UTC)

Non-standard formatting[edit]

In this discussion, there was a disagreement about whether the fact that an article had 77 footnote-style external links was a good reason to downgrade it from Guide to Usable. Fortunately, the problem was taken care of (thank you, Ryan!), but I think we should discuss whether there should be a time limit on how much we will tolerate legacy formats in Guide-level articles, given this language:

| Guide | [...]Listings and layout closely match the manual of style.[...] |-

I've been routinely reverting all new listing tags, but all the old ones were long since converted. The conversion of old footnote-style external links has been much less comprehensive and effective than the conversion of listing tags. But don't you think that the change to front-linking happened long enough in the past for us to stop accepting large numbers (say, over 10) of footnote-style external links in Guide articles? Ikan Kekek (talk) 22:17, 20 May 2015 (UTC)

I disagree. I could see demoting a star due to legacy formatting not being updated (though it'd be better to just update the formatting), but guides are a different story. Since we aren't strict about having perfect formatting in guide articles, there's no need to demote it just for using a style that was once standard. Powers (talk) 00:06, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
What do you think "Listings and layout closely match the manual of style" means, specifically? In other words, what elements of standard style do you believe are needed for an article to be a Guide? (I mean this as a serious inquiry, not a rhetorical or argumentative question.) Ikan Kekek (talk) 09:03, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
It just means that some deviations from the manual of style should not prevent an article from being at Guide status. I don't know that I would want to identify specific elements that are needed or not needed. Powers (talk) 15:12, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
Why not? I'd like to know what you generally look for. We don't have to consider your answer to be eternally binding, just an example of your current thoughts. Ikan Kekek (talk) 09:03, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
Because I think it's more important to look at the article holistically than to have a litmus test that says "If X is missing, then it can't be a Guide." Powers (talk) 14:04, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
At first glance, I see the point you're making. But if an article were missing a title, an "IsPartOf" or any number of other basic things, I'm sure you wouldn't even consider it Usable, and probably not even an Outline (which it would not be), so I think you're just evading the point for no good reason. :-P However, if that's what you want to do, there are more important tasks on and off this site, and meanwhile, no-one else has even noticed this thread and/or cared enough to post anything. Have a great day! Ikan Kekek (talk) 15:03, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
Lack of responses in this thread may be more a result of the fact that article status isn't a particularly important topic to most people - a request for suggested tweaks got only five responses and was never followed up on. For the current question about guide articles, I have two comments. First, personally I think article status should more heavily emphasize utility to travelers with a much diminished focus on manual of style since the point is to educate readers about how complete the destination information is likely to be. Therefore I would suggest de-emphasizing MoS except for significant deviations, and I don't think footnote links are a significant barrier to an article's utility. Second, to the general point about "didn't the MoS change happen far enough in the past", I think that partially depends on the magnitude of the change - a major functional change like a new article header should be considered standard practice in a matter of days since we can just run a bot to change all existing articles, but a minor style change that requires mostly manual updates like moving away from footnote links likely merits a grace period of perhaps a year. -- Ryan • (talk) • 15:49, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
Ikan, why would you think I'm "evading the point for no good reason"? That's an unfair characterization. I assure you I was not. I'll admit I hadn't considered bedrock items like you mentioned, but they seem like edge cases to me. (I'm not even sure how one would go about creating an article without a title.) I wouldn't demote a Guide article if some essential item was missing; I'd just add the essential item (or, much more likely, revert the change that removed it). Powers (talk) 20:32, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
Count me as another person who thinks article status should be primarily about how useful the article is to the reader. When I evaluate an article on whether it is useable vs guide, I look at is there useful information in each section, are the listings representative of the quantity and diversity of attractions, restaurants, etc, and are the listings and article sections reasonably close to our MoS.
Stuff that would disqualify an otherwise OK article from being a Guide to me would be a blank section or a majority of listings being poor quality (i.e., it has the required info but has poor grammar, rambles, uses upper case, may not use our listing tags). If an article is well written and pretty complete, I wouldn't demote it to Useable just because the external links aren't the right format or the name doesn't meet our naming conventions because it makes little difference to the usefulness of the article. I also wouldn't demote an article if it lacks an IsPartOf tag, Geo tag, WP link or any of those things -- they should just be added.
If we want to be picky, the guidance is listings and layout should closely match the MoS -- so, strictly speaking, external links outside of listings don't need to match the MoS for Guide status. :-) -Shaundd (talk) 03:47, 23 May 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for your input, everyone. One minor point, though: Is it really less than a year since the structure of external links has been changed on Wikivoyage? It sure feels longer than that to me. Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:38, 24 May 2015 (UTC)
It's been two years, actually, but if we're really going to demote articles en masse for having the "wrong" format, it would be better to fix them all en masse instead. Powers (talk) 14:36, 24 May 2015 (UTC)
Bots were supposed to have done that, but they weren't nearly as effective as some of us (or was it just me?) expected or hoped. Ikan Kekek (talk) 17:33, 24 May 2015 (UTC)
I ran the bot that did the initial conversion and noted in the script nomination that it would only convert a very specific pattern ('''Bold text''' [http://www.example.com]) in order to avoid false positives - see Wikivoyage:Script nominations/Archive#External links. The problem with trying to be too aggressive with a bot is that you end up with too many links converted incorrectly, and I'm not sure that the upside of getting rid of footnote links outweighs the downside of doing 10% or more of them incorrectly. As an alternative to an automated bot I've written a custom set of rules for Auto wiki browser that are more aggressive about converting external links (since changes need to be reviewed, individuals can revert false positives before saving), but for whatever reason that hasn't become a very popular tool on Wikivoyage. As a plug, from my own experience the job of copyediting articles to fix issues that AWB is set up to recognize is orders of magnitude faster than doing so by hand. -- Ryan • (talk) • 17:53, 24 May 2015 (UTC)
I understand. How big a program is AWB? I'm very close to running out of space on my solid-state drive. Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:44, 25 May 2015 (UTC)
It's 2.5MB on my laptop. Technical documentation isn't my strong suit, so if you decide to use it and anything on WV:AWB isn't clear let me know how that page can be improved. -- Ryan • (talk) • 03:37, 25 May 2015 (UTC)
Sure. Thanks, Ryan. Ikan Kekek (talk) 03:41, 25 May 2015 (UTC)