Wikivoyage talk:Listings

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Embassy and Consulate listings[edit]

Swept in from the pub

While I agree that this should be kept as it is useful for travellers who want to get visas or renew their passports, in the interest of usefulness to travellers, I think we should perhaps agree on a set of rules as to what we should list to keep the lists from becoming too unwieldy. For instance, some embassies have separate chancery and consular locations, so in that case, I think we should only list the consular sections, since there is probably no reason for you to visit the chancery unless you are some important government official (and if you are, your government will make all the arrangements, and you probably won't be relying to Wikivoyage). In the Canberra article for instance, I don't think we should be listing the U.S. embassy since it doesn't provide consular services. Residents of Canberra would have to go to the consulate in Sydney if they want to apply for a U.S. visa, and likewise, U.S. citizens based in Canberra need to go to Sydney to renew their passports. And in most cities with a Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (with the exception of Shanghai), that office does not provide consular services, and you'll have to go to the Chinese embassy/consulate if you want to apply for a Hong Kong visa, so it makes no sense to list the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office.

There is one complication though. In Singapore for instance, there is a separate visa application centre if you want to apply for a Chinese visa, and the embassy does not handle visa applications. On the other hand, if you are a Chinese citizen based in Singapore and want to renew your passport, that is handled by the Chinese embassy itself. In such cases, how should we handle the listing? The dog2 (talk) 17:34, 17 January 2020 (UTC)

Yes, good points. There's no point listing embassies that don't offer consular services to the general public. I would hope diplomatic staff do use Wikivoyage during their postings, but not to find their own office!
Issues like the China Embassy in Singapore can be handled on a case-by-case basis; both offices in that case are useful to travellers, so they should both be listed. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 17:50, 17 January 2020 (UTC)
I agree that we should only list offices that provide consular services and visa application centres. This is not the place for trade office information. Ground Zero (talk) 17:53, 17 January 2020 (UTC)
Consular services for residents of a country are not just routine stuff like passports, but also support for those in prison, or support to business travellers. So I think it is OK to list a consulate if it doesn't handle the routine stuff but would be useful to a small business looking to export.
I think we should also think about how we arrange the listings. In most cases travellers are either interested in their country's consulate to get help or a particular country's consulate to apply for a visa etc. Travellers are not going to look at the list of consulates in a city to decide which to visit - it would be more useful to have a page which showed where all the consulates of a particular country are on the map - a set of pages like Consulates of Australia. AlasdairW (talk) 18:34, 17 January 2020 (UTC)
In the scenario you mentioned, I guess the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office would assist you if you own a business and want to expand into Hong Kong, because that falls under the umbrella of trade relations. On the other hand, if you are a Hong Kong resident who is arrested in a foreign country, it is the Chinese embassy/consulate that will provide you with consular assistance, not the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office.
And yes, I think it might be useful to have pages listing the consulates and embassies of each country, but we need to figure out what articles like that should be classified under. The dog2 (talk) 19:54, 17 January 2020 (UTC)
Speaking of which, I'm not sure how it works in different countries but in Singapore, even though Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland each have their own embassies, visa applications for all the Nordic countries (including Iceland) are handled by the Danish embassy, though each of those individual embassies will provide consular services for their own respective citizens, so I guess that is an additional complication. I've tried to reflect that in the Singapore article, so let me know if you think this is an acceptable solution. The dog2 (talk) 20:19, 17 January 2020 (UTC)
The Singapore list looks good. The small size of the country does eases one aspect of this - there is no question of do I look in Perth, Adelaide or Melbourne for the nearest consulate if I am in Coober Pedy. AlasdairW (talk) 23:16, 17 January 2020 (UTC)

Tours again[edit]

I'm not entirely happy with the policy at Wikivoyage:Listings#Tour_listings. I think it misses some types of listing that should be allowed, though I'm not sure how to allow them without starting down a slippery slope.

I'm mostly an independent traveller & almost never take tours, but there are exceptions.

  • One is for complex attractions like the Forbidden City, D-Day beaches or Angkor Wat; sure I could go on my own & WV should provide info for that, but I'd prefer to have a local expert guiding me & I'd like WV to tell me where to find a good one.
  • The other is for attractions that are inconveniently rural; for example, on Bohol many people want to see the Chocolate Hills and/or the tarsier sanctuary. Sure you can get to those by jeepney or rent a motorcycle & ride to them, but most people go on small tour buses. I'd like WV to tell me which of the many bus operators are good: safe drivers, competent guides, good air conditioning, ...

I also often travel with Filipinos who are far more into tours than I am; e.g. I recently circumnavigated Siquijor by traysikel because that's what the gang I was with wanted to do. Should we provide info for people like them? Pashley (talk) 12:04, 20 March 2020 (UTC)

I don't have a problem with doing so in principle, but how would we design things so that only particularly good tours are listed? That didn't work before we banned tour listings. Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:26, 5 May 2020 (UTC)

Yelp is not a reliable source for phone numbers[edit]

Swept in from the pub

See Apparently, Yelp and Grubhub have inserted fake phone numbers, to drive business to Grubhub instead of local restaurants. Please keep an eye out for that if you're looking up contact information. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:13, 23 May 2020 (UTC)

Thanks for posting this. Is there any website where we could find a list of all phone numbers owned by Grubhub? We could then see if any are listed on Wikivoyage and replace them. —Granger (talk · contribs) 19:26, 23 May 2020 (UTC)
@WhatamIdoing: Thanks a lot for this but please don't use Google AMP. I've changed it to the proper URI and hope you don't mind. I recommend But yes, definitely do not trust Yelp and especially GrubHub for phone numbers. —Justin (koavf)TCM 19:30, 23 May 2020 (UTC)
When I create a listing for a place I have not personally been to, I always base the information on their own website. Where else would I get accurate information? Hobbitschuster (talk) 21:39, 23 May 2020 (UTC)
Not every place maintains a website. In that case, a web search is the normal way to find contact information. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:14, 23 May 2020 (UTC)

Google's "Black-owned" label: Should Wikivoyage mention owner ethnicity?[edit]

Swept in from the pub

Google has recently added a feature which marks a business as black-owned. [1] The labeling is controversial. Would there be any circumstance where the owners' ethnic origin, nationality or skin color would be relevant in a Wikivoyage entry? /Yvwv (talk) 22:28, 7 August 2020 (UTC)

My immediate thought is that travellers might want to seek out a place that's locally owned—I think "locally owned" is a perfectly fine descriptor in a listing. For mom-and-pop shops, the nationality of the people who run it can be part of a description of what the establishment is like ("A quiet three-room bed-and-breakfast set back in the woods, run by an elderly German couple" or whatever). Ethnic origin can sometimes be relevant for restaurants ("authentic Bai cuisine"). I'm not sure one way or another about "black-owned", which seems more controversial. —Granger (talk · contribs) 23:10, 7 August 2020 (UTC)
Sometimes the ethnicity of a business's owner is irrelevant, sometimes it's downright essential. As an example of the latter: in Buffalo, the African Heritage Food Co-Op is a neighborhood grocery store that also functions as a business incubator operated by a local not-for-profit to help local African-American entrepreneurs get set up in business. They host a Black Business Bazaar every week (or they did before COVID) with pop-up vendors, and their official motto is "Anything Less Than Ownership Is Unacceptable". I can't imagine how it would be possible to create a listing for that place that is complete without mentioning that it's black-owned. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 23:41, 7 August 2020 (UTC)
In tourist towns like Dumaguete we mention nationality for some foreign restaurant owners & chefs. Also for one place "Run by a Filipino chef who trained in Thailand. If you like spicy food ..." More controversially, in Tibet some tourists seek out locally-owned businesses, trying to avoid giving money to colonisers. Pashley (talk) 23:58, 7 August 2020 (UTC)
Depends on what. For instance, you might want mention that a soul food restaurant is black-owned, because some tourists might want to support black-owned businesses and African-American culture. The dog2 (talk) 00:51, 8 August 2020 (UTC)
It is information for the readers. Many readers won't care. Others readers will care. I think we provide the information and let readers decide for themselves whether it matters to them. I don't think that we should take the position that readers should not care about whether a business is Black-owned or not, which I think is what a policy against identifying Black-owned businesses would be saying. Ground Zero (talk) 01:01, 8 August 2020 (UTC)
I understand the sensitivity about these kinds of designations because, for example, in the past, some Jew-haters have avoided or attacked shops because they were Jewish-owned, but in non-genocidal situations, I agree with Ground Zero - it's simply information that readers might or might not care about. Ikan Kekek (talk) 01:12, 8 August 2020 (UTC)
Most of the time it would not be relevant. Sometimes it would be. You could mention other characteristics of the business owner, who may be a woman, somebody from the LGBT community, a veteran, someone who is paraplegic, blind, on the autism spectrum, etc. but there has to be a relevant connection between the aspect of their identity and the business. Knowing the ethnicity of the business owner also doesn't tell you where all of your money is going. The employees, landlord and suppliers could all be of a different ethnicity. Gizza (roam) 01:37, 8 August 2020 (UTC)
I recently bought wine by a Black-owned Ontario winery to support Black-owned business, and because someone in my wine club said it's good. I haven't tried it yet. There is no connection between the race and wine, at least in this case, but I think it should be my choice whether I want to support Black-owned businesses or not. I make no judgement about those who choose not to use that information making purchases. Ground Zero (talk) 01:55, 8 August 2020 (UTC)
I generally agree with what others have said. Our job on WV is to write a lively description of places. Sometimes, mentioning background details about a shop's proprietors adds some nice flavor or context to the description, and I don't doubt we already have a number of listings that do this. I also think that a liberal interpretation of WV:Boring implies that of course we should look for and recommend minority-owned businesses. I don't think, however, that we need to try to flag every business we list that's black-owned, women-owned, LGBT-owned, veteran-owned, or whatever. Every business is owned by somebody, and the attributes of who owns it are not always important or interesting, even when they are a minority. A reader who's looking exclusively for that is looking for an index, not a travel guide (or they're looking for "Blackivoyage, the free worldwide travel guide to black-owned businesses that you can edit" :-P, which Wikivoyage is not). --Bigpeteb (talk) 02:04, 8 August 2020 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── If you go to New Orleans, Willie Mae's Scotch House and Dooky Chase Restaurant are two soul foods places that are not just mere restaurants but institutions precisely because of their connection to African-American history and the Civil Right Movement. Both businesses were owned by African-American women who lived into their late nineties, and are still run by the same family. So in the case of both those businesses, the race of the owners is absolutely relevant to people who are interested in African-American history.

Anyway, I think we should take a sensible approach to this. Not every black, Latino, LGBT or whatever-owned business needs to be specifically identified as such, but I would not support a blanket ban on mentioning it. The dog2 (talk) 02:43, 8 August 2020 (UTC)

I feel like that's the right balance, too. It's optional to mention and might be useful information to some reader. Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:50, 8 August 2020 (UTC)
I agree with the overall consensus, and add that "Black" – that is, the whole idea of seeing the entire world as divided into four races, so that a Cameroonian person and a Jamaican person and an African-American person are basically 'the same' – seems to mostly be an American thing. Other parts of the world focus more on sub-groups, so that "Cameroonian" or "Black" is less important than whether you are a Fulani vs a Highlander. With that in mind, I think that any labels provided ought to be relevant to the destination. "Black-owned" is potentially informative for US destinations, but it wouldn't make sense for many destinations. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:00, 8 August 2020 (UTC)
Yes to most things said above. I'll add that it often is difficult to know who really run a place. Like DaGizza said, not only ownership matters. And there are people trying to ride on people wanting an authentic experience or wanting to support a special group. How do we know who owns the place? Do we check the business records? It works for small places, where you spoke to the owner and he or she told you about the business, but trying to put this label on places beyond that, you will often get fooled. Tell it where it is an important aspect and you know, but don't try too much. --LPfi (talk) 05:18, 8 August 2020 (UTC)

Suggestion for improvement: "Dynamic opening hours"[edit]

Swept in from the pub
OsmAnd screenshot with opening hours

One update could be quite convenient for travellers: Instead of showing the opening hours in the old school "Lonely Planet" way (e.g. Mo-Fr 9:00-18:00), wouldn't it be nice, if the website could parse it to something like live opening information? Examples:

If the place is still closed

  • "Closed. Opens in 26 mins" or
  • "Closed. Opens on Monday at 8:00" (in case it only opens further in the future)

If the place is open

  • "Open"
  • "Open. Closes in 20mins" (in case it closes soon)

OpenStreetMap-based OsmAnd, the navigation app I am using, is able to do that (please see screenshot on the right). There seem to be libraries to parse the "opening_hours" OSM tag. So the effort should be moderate.--Renek78 (talk) 11:31, 10 August 2020 (UTC)

Dynamic hours would be great for people using Wikivoyage while travelling, but static hours are better for people who are planning a trip: I don't want to go to Leipzig on a Monday if all of the museums are closed then. Ground Zero (talk) 11:54, 10 August 2020 (UTC)
Yes, I too think it'd be good if readers would have the option to toggle between the live information and the opening hours for each weekday. They're not necessarily going to the place they're reading about immediately. --Ypsilon (talk) 12:31, 10 August 2020 (UTC)
I am really irritate on places that provide only dynamic info. I want to plan when to go based on what is open, which makes me have to guess at a million dates and then check each place (and transportation) for all of them. Tell me what you regard off season! A related observation, which probably should be told in a suitable travel topic, is route planners and booking engines claiming there is no service on days for which they don't have information yet (which in corona times sometimes is next week) – or when they don't cover the provider offering the service. –LPfi (talk) 12:47, 10 August 2020 (UTC)
Some of our information is out of date. We can't be certain enough of opening times to authoritatively say "opens in 25 minutes" or something of that sort, unfortunately. It is a good idea that we could implement one day when we have enough editors to keep all business listings up-to-date. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 12:57, 10 August 2020 (UTC)
No. We should not say "opens in 25 minutes" when there is a "closed today" sign on the door. We cannot have editors check every shop and sight daily. This is another thing I really hate about dynamic info. The dynamic web page can continue giving such exact times as long as the web contract subsists, never mind the business went bankrupt last year. If it says "daily 10–15" and the clock says 9:35, who needs the "in 25 minutes"? (Let alone the "in 3 minutes" when they opened early.) When it would be useful is when there are umpty different times depending on day of week and the phase of the moon. Good luck parsing that info. –LPfi (talk) 15:03, 10 August 2020 (UTC)
But sorry, I did not check the map nor read carefully. In that context the dynamic feature is worthwhile. You could colour code or mask listings on the map depending on whether they are open (now or at a specified time). Also without the map, if you have a list of several listings, quickly seeing which ones are open, open soon or are open long enough would be useful. We don't necessarily need updated info on them all to do that. –LPfi (talk) 15:13, 10 August 2020 (UTC)
Good points. (The other issue LPfi mentioned should be mentioned in the Aggregators article, I'd say.) —Granger (talk · contribs) 15:08, 10 August 2020 (UTC)

I can definitely see this being a useful feature, and something to help us keep on par with other sites and apps. But how do we implement it? I would be a little wary of basing it strictly off of the hours field in our listings. For one, that field only has a semi-structured format currently, and there are a number of listings that only make sense when read in English such as unusual non-regular hours, listing times for tours rather than opening hours, bars that are open until "close", etc. More importantly, I think having a live "open/closed now" leads users to expect a higher level of accuracy; how do we ensure the data remains accurate? It's quite annoying when multiple providers have conflicting data for opening hours (Google Maps, OSM, Yelp, etc.), and we might just be one more source of incorrect data.

I'd suggest we consider whether the best implementation might be to not store opening hours ourselves, and instead obtain it from another data source. Since we already integrate with Wikidata, perhaps that's the best option. This would require each individual store/restaurant/bar to have its own Wikidata item, and I'm not sure if that's within the goals of Wikidata or not. However, it would bring a lot of advantages. Wikidata would force the data for opening hours to be stored in a structured format. It allows sources to be linked, which would make it easier to verify information and keep it updated. Wikidata items can be linked to other sites such as OSM, so an OSM POI could be used to auto-fill missing data in Wikidata, and updating one could prompt a corresponding update to be made in the other.

Unfortunately, a very quick search suggests that Wikidata doesn't yet have a property for the hours that a business is open. --Bigpeteb (talk) 17:17, 10 August 2020 (UTC)

And that property would need a complex data structure, so I wouldn't hold my breath. Items for each restaurant/whatever is indeed not regarded in scope at Wikidata at the moment. The worst problem however is how to make the updates. Would passersby and business owners update the wikidata data? Then we need to provide an easy to use user interface to that complex data structure. How do Google, OSM & al get the data? –LPfi (talk) 17:33, 10 August 2020 (UTC)
Unless there are some bots that are searching for potential changes (and OSM is historically rather anti-bot), I would guess that in OSM it's being entirely crowdsourced. :-/ (OSM editors are really dedicated to have done so much work manually.) In Google Maps, it scrapes websites and probably some other data sources that Google knows how to deeply index to made educated guesses that "there's a business here" and what its hours are, but a business can also claim ownership of a listing to set its info, and it's also partly crowdsourced as anyone can submit corrections to a listing. --Bigpeteb (talk) 17:52, 10 August 2020 (UTC)
Technically, you don't need to bother OSM with bots, since wikipedia sync's the maps into kartographer daily. However, AFAIK there's one unsolvable blocker - OSM doesn't have stable IDs for anything outside relations. So basically there's no way to reliably refer to a restaurant in OSM, even if it had the opening times. You'd have to do it the other way - create WD entry and then store the WD ID to the OSM entity... That could be semireliable, but basically you'd have to duplicate half OSM into WD to do this :-( -- 20:31, 10 August 2020 (UTC)
I consider this an inessential feature, so if it can't be done now, no big loss. If you don't know what time it is where you are or where you plan to be and don't realize you can do a simple web search to find out what the current time is anywhere, if indeed your phone or computer doesn't show you because you're already in town, you have bigger problems than can be solved by this kind of feature. Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:19, 10 August 2020 (UTC)


Dynamic opening hours can be a useful mean for travelers. But it is not easy to realize it.

  1. The up-to-date information must be stored in the article or at Wikidata (I am not sure if we can access to OSM data at the WMF's map server). This info had to be stored in a standardized uniform manner -- which is to specify -- and to be translated at non-English wikis. From my point of view the current way of storage at Wikidata (P3025 -- P3028) is not convenient. There should be the same listings as used at OSM and in the listing templates. So we had to discuss the property change at Wikidata. This will take time and needs some additional programming by the wikibase programmers team.
  2. At German Wikivoyage there is a tool named listing info with a button beside the listing edit button. This info shows additional notes for instance on online travel companies and is planned to show opening hints and features of the establishments.
  3. Calculating times is not an easy task. We need the current time (from the WMF web server -- I hope that it can be done with JavaSript), the uniform opening hours, and some country- or region-dependent data on time zones and daylight saving time. Some structures like country data are already prepared at the German Wikivoyage and can be expanded. These data are placed in the html code which gives fast access to JavaScript scripts.

-- RolandUnger (talk) 06:18, 11 August 2020 (UTC)