Wikivoyage talk:Outline articles

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The old "outline articles needing attention" list can now be found at Wikivoyage talk:Outline articles/Outline articles needing attention. It is kept solely for historical reference.

Identification[edit]

Unless I'm just not finding it, I don't have the "Threshold for stub display" option in my preferences. Is this just outdated? --(WT-en) Peter Talk 22:36, 3 June 2009 (EDT)

I have a "Threshold for stub link formatting" under Preferences/Misc, which is presumably the same. Fixed the article. (WT-en) Jpatokal 22:49, 3 June 2009 (EDT)

Different message and tone between templates for outline articles and outline topics[edit]

Should the messages not be a little more similar in content and tone? • • • Peter (Southwood) (talk): 08:10, 22 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Outline articles[edit]

Swept in from the pub

Currently there are about 19 thousand articles at the outline status and within that there is a large range of varying quality. One thing I'm not that keen on is that any stub article can make it to outline status by applying the templated layout. What I would like to propose is that there is a new status in-between stub and outline, called start (or better name if one could be suggested) that would contain articles without any listings (not necessarily using the listing template) and don't have much info (could mainly be measured by size being under roughly 1500 bytes). Running a query for this on PetScan returns about 3400 articles (although a few of those could still be outline rather than start). -- WOSlinker (talk) 07:08, 29 August 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think this would make sense especially for regions or country articles. While it's quite easy to get bottom-level destination articles to 'usable' status, it is quite hard to do so for countries or regions, because it requires the most important destinations (or all destinations linked for countries) to be at usable or better level. So I think for those cases it would make sense to have something between outline and usable, to differentiate between a region with only the template and a region which is good, but where the destination articles are not yet up to standard. Drat70 (talk) 07:22, 29 August 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't think an extra low-level status would solve anything, to be honest, and I don't like the idea of further complicating the setup. I can see the point about regions, but for simple destination articles, the proposed extra status would make the difference between none and one or two listing, in practice. Three listings already make them usable. If an extra status is deemed necessary, I would suggest replacing or changing our current "stub" status. Placing a template on an article or redirecting it is hardly more work than adding a stub-rating, and its use is very limited. In the end, I don't think any of this makes much difference. While these status-ratings are important to our community's "organizers", users read an article first, and wil judge for themselves. The status is only at the bottom, and likely missed by the majority of users anyway. If we want users to take our ratings into account, they should be as simple as possible. JuliasTravels (talk) 11:20, 29 August 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We have had similar discussions in the past. One proposal was to have an addition maintenance tag. It was not given much support but maybe we should re-discuss {{Needsimprovement}}. --Traveler100 (talk) 12:24, 29 August 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Articles that have had so little info for a year or two could then be converted into redirects to a location nearby with more info. -- WOSlinker (talk) 16:18, 29 August 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I would not recommend this, unless you're very familiar with the place in question and are confident that redirecting is the best solution. I've done this a couple of times in the past and have managed to raise the ire of newcomers who are mad that their town/neighborhood isn't represented. PerryPlanet (talk) 17:47, 29 August 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Also, there is no consensus or policy to support redirecting valid destinations solely because they are currently outlines. Redirecting is fine for destinations that likely wouldn't be able to fill articles of their own, but for larger towns that could have their own articles, the fact that they are as good as empty is no reason for redirecting or deleting. Personally, I think redirecting is the worst possible outcome, as it's usually confusing and not helpful for readers. We've discussed it a few times, including last year: Wikivoyage_talk:How_to_redirect_a_page#Redirects_for_real_places_with_no_content. JuliasTravels (talk) 20:56, 29 August 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
But isn't there always a lot of outrage whenever a "real place" is proposed for deletion? Hence redirecting or keeping are the only options, or am I mistaken? Hobbitschuster (talk) 22:37, 29 August 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In fact, unless it's a small destination/neighbourhood that would fall under our redirect rationale, keeping is currently the only valid option. I know the empty outlines bother you (and me, too), but redirecting is not a solution that benefits the traveller in most cases. There was no consensus to allow deletion last time we discussed. Perhaps, that will change over time. JuliasTravels (talk) 09:08, 30 August 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

We might need to discuss the status ratings for regions countries and continents. Or at the very least their current wording. Hobbitschuster (talk) 16:37, 29 August 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I don't understand what a new status below "outline" would entail. Once you add the appropriate template's section headings, it's an outline. We have so few stubs as it is; I don't see a point in adding another status below "outline". Powers (talk) 01:10, 30 August 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm also skeptical about adding another status; to address the original concerns my preference would be to expand the definition of "stub" to include articles that are either missing a template or contain a template without any content. That said, overall I think our current "status" rankings need a massive overhaul - star nominations are lingering for months, country and region articles containing pages of useful information are "outlines" because a single child destination is incomplete, a mostly-complete article is kept at outline because one section is missing data while a barebones article with just the name of an attraction, a restaurant, and a hotel can be promoted to "usable", etc. -- Ryan • (talk) • 01:24, 30 August 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Adding a category between stub and outline wouldn't make much sense, as promoting the article to outline only requires adding the section headings. What perhaps could be added is a category for countries and regions, for cases where the country or region article itself is informative and otherwise in a good shape but only the bad status of articles below it prevents it from becoming usable (or guide). I think somebody already suggested this a few months ago. ϒpsilon (talk) 04:20, 30 August 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, regions need a separate approach. To get back to the original idea posted here, there's one other option to limit the number of empty outline articles for cities. I've suggested it before, but it was buried under another discussion. Rather than adding an extra category, we could add an extra information box to a stub page, refraining from adding a template and making it an empty outline directly and offering the benefits of a redirect without actually redirecting. Maybe it's a terrible idea, I don't know, but I've made a quick example here. I'm not even sure where it should link to (just the edit version of the page, a templated page or an info page), but you get the general idea. Personally, I think such stub pages are friendlier to the eye and more useful to travellers than almost empty templates are. We could then proceed to add a template when there's some more information. JuliasTravels (talk) 09:31, 30 August 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well the correct solution is to add some information to the empty articles. Take a look at Wikivoyage:Germany Expedition, Wikivoyage:England Expedition and Wikivoyage:Wales Expedition; in particular do a history compare between current and start of project. The table numbers need to be updated manually but clicking on an entry gives you an actual list of article. Pick a country or state/region. The first thing to tackle is the bottom right field, articles with no listings at all, the bulk of these can be addressed with formatting then take a look at Wikipedia for sights of interest. Next group to tackle is has no - sleep (bottom left) look at Google maps for hotels in the area or check out another travel website to add one or two entries. During this process finding places without accommodation identifies the articles to merge. While doing this keep eye on those in the green needs only - check, these may well be usable status candidates, just need a little cleaning up. Next task is then generally looking at the articles with no see listings. Usually during this whole process start to look at the bottom level regions and clean them up. --Traveler100 (talk) 10:58, 30 August 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Those expeditions are interesting. I didn't realize we had them for countries/regions. On the topic of outline and stub articles, It's odd to me that a user would want to put forth the effort to adding a template box and locating nearby cities to link to but NOT want to put forth the minimal effort it often takes to add some content to the article. Why is there so much interest in marking/deleting/banning low-content articles but none in adding content? If there is a particularly problematic area, why not just bring that up instead of always proposing some massive overhaul of all articles sitewide? If a user stumbled upon 53 empty outlines in Cape Verde (for example), asking if we can delete some might actually get support, but proposing a deletion of all such articles on WV or adding a template on that basis just seems like a lot of effort put in for no meaningful gains (and potentially some losses). The bar for usable status is quite low, so I don't see how adding another status would be that useful. If it would merely be to separate empty outlines and outlines with at least 2 sentences, I think the user is better off just doing that work when they find it to eliminate their own problem. The region status is a separate issue. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 14:43, 30 August 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The bar for "usable" is indeed quite low for city articles. However, with all the child articles needed it can be quite high - if not to say too high - for continents, countries or larger regions. And the current text for outlines suggest that Europe or Canada lacks content (both are ranked "outline"), which frankly is an absurd statement to make. Hobbitschuster (talk) 16:02, 30 August 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You're mistaking our status templates as article status templates. They are not. They indicate the status of the entire guide, which is hierarchical and can include hundreds of pages for large countries. Powers (talk) 22:06, 1 September 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well the way they are currently formulated does not indicate that. It is true in essence that our status ratings are hardly ever of the article in question alone, but they are formulated as if they were. Hobbitschuster (talk) 21:36, 2 September 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If it's confusing, then we should look to clarify that somehow. Powers (talk) 22:24, 4 September 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It wouldn't be obvious for someone coming here from another wiki (such as Wikipedia) where the status box on the talk page is indeed rating the individual content page only, and not whatever subtopic articles may fit under it. From Talk:Canada#Destination article statuses it looks like Terra Nova National Park is holding the whole country back? That's not obvious without reading policy very carefully. K7L (talk) 01:15, 15 September 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

When does an outline template need to be removed?[edit]

Swept in from the pub

I've recently been adding to an outline article, but there's a lot more information now and I'm not sure whether I'm supposed to remove the outline template. If anyone could explain when to remove it that would be great! By the way, the article is Belgrave. Thanks! Freyr Brown (talk) 04:33, 2 June 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Please have a look at Wikivoyage:City guide status. The next status up after Outline is Usable. As you'll see, these are the requirements for Usable status for cities:
Has at least a Get in section and one Eat and Sleep listing each with contact information. At least the most prominent attraction or activity is identified with directions. If the destination lacks a hotel or restaurant, the article says so and proposes possible alternatives. If possible, listings have geo-coordinates.
(By the way, this should really be Wikivoyage:City article status, and all the other analogous names should be changed.) Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:34, 2 June 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We don't really have articles; we have guides. If anything should be changed, it's the name of the second-highest status. Powers (talk) 15:18, 4 June 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm not going to check right now, but the word "article" is used on several pages in Wikivoyagespace. Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:37, 4 June 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Deleting empty outline articles[edit]

Swept in from the pub

I don’t have a strong opinion on this currently, but as it as been suggested to start a discussion, I’m opening this proposal. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 19:32, 30 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I support this proposal. For those who remember, we did this when it came to User:AnglaisEP's students (English teacher in France), and personally, being red linked in my opinion will create less disappointment than finding out what they already knew. SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 23:59, 31 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Oppose. See earlier discussion, starting at Wikivoyage_talk:Deletion_policy/Archive_2014-2019#Deleting_NEW_empty_articles and continuing into later sections of that page. Everything I would want to say here, I already said there. Pashley (talk) 04:15, 1 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Eh, this is a proposal to delete all empty outline articles? Strongly oppose! Is that a serious proposal? If someone just started an article and is going to work on it, you'd delete it immediately? Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:34, 1 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Nah, probably wait a month or two. SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 05:35, 1 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'd suggest taking a case-by-case approach. We don't like it when users on Commons are in such a rush to delete everything; we shouldn't emulate that. Ikan Kekek (talk) 06:22, 1 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

(indent) Hold up! I also oppose deleting empty articles that were just created, but I think there is merit to deleting empty skeletons that have been around for a specific amount of time. I'm thinking 1 year. We of course do want to give people time to build the article and immediate deletion is really unwelcoming to new editors (or any editor, really). But 1 year should be enough time to create an article and add SOME information beyond "X is a city in Y". We could even give them mention in the pub or on the vfd page just prior to deletion so that an editor who wanted to edit but forgot or lost track of time can do so (although in these cases, the articles can also just be created again since they are real places). In the above discussion, Ground Zero had mentioned that a lot of the pages he's redirecting (or has considered redirecting but decided to add content to) are pages that have been empty for 10 years. Others have said the same in previous discussions. There is a desire among editors/admin to do something about these articles and without the delete option, they get redirected which has led to other issues that have also been discussed a handful of times. While some editors feel that these articles should be left alone, that option doesn't sit well with other editors, which leads to the redirects. Having a deletion option with a specified amount of time would seem to solve a lot of these small issues that keep coming back: An editor is less likely to waste time with redirects if s/he knows that it's been around for 7 months and can just be removed after 3 more months, and the concerns that admin would go nuts deleting articles is removed by the 1 year (or whatever amount of time we set) time frame. The admin would be aware that a 4 month old outline must remain 6 more months as is before taking action. Having a place to post the articles could also alleviate any concerns of rogue deletion. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 11:25, 1 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'd be OK with discussing what to do with a virtually blank article after 1 year, as long as there is no automatic outcome. Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:48, 1 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yeah, ChubbyWimbus is right about "the concerns that admin would go nuts deleting articles". That's a really big problem. Those admins driven crazy by the awesome powers they wield. (I am being free with sarcasm here because that continues to be the tone of the discussion.) We have provisions for admins that abuse their powers, so we don't need to worry about that.
I would not want to see any restriction applied in the case of a page-creation vandal or someone who just creates an article or two and never comes back.
In the case of an established editor, what would they be doing creating an article that says "X is in Y", and then walking away? For a skeleton article, I think one month is a reasonable time to give them to start developing an article.
For a short article ("X is a historical village in Y, and you can get to it on the Z highway"), one year would be reasonable to see if it is going to develop further. Ground Zero (talk) 22:25, 1 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The reason sarcasm isn't warranted is that if something becomes a guideline, someone is likely to go through the site editing everything to conform to that guideline. But on the specifics, I'd give skeleton articles 3 months, or at least 2. And of course there is not and never will be any restrictions on deleting pages that are created by vandals! Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:54, 2 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
So, after developing a consensus to adopt a new guideline, we should hope that editors ignore it? Okay, that justifies the sort of hyperbole that derailed this discussion before it even got underway. Ground Zero (talk) 01:01, 2 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think that comment was unwarranted. The point is that trusting admins to always be reasonable might be wishful thinking. I hope it is true here, but it is not on en-wp or Commons, and there have been some cases of drama around that at sv-wp. To avoid an admin (or another user) going crazy, guidelines should be carefully worded. Still, guidelines are guidelines, and they are supposed to be applied using some discretion, not blindly as the Roman judge ideal.
For the subject matter, I will wait and follow the discussion, as there seems to be firm opinions I have not yet fully understood. It might be too costly to get what I thought would be a few improvements on the way we treat the weak outlines.
LPfi (talk) 04:25, 2 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"So, after developing a consensus to adopt a new guideline, we should hope that editors ignore it?" Did you really think I meant that? I just want deliberation before articles that are not obviously vandalistic or copyvio are deleted. I remember when an article about a town of over 5,000 in Pennsylvania, I think a county seat, with a nice historic zone was nominated for deletion. Being thus alerted, I decided to take the time to do some internet research and turn it into a usable or at least decent outline article, with some help from others. If a nearly blank or weak article is threatened with deletion now and then, such efforts can take place, but I hope we don't see lists of dozens of articles for destinations with enough potential listings to merit real guides being nominated for deletion at the same time, because then the challenge, if they merit decent coverage, will be comparable to when dozens of photos are nominated for deletion on Commons and we're left to scramble to salvage the work before it's deleted. Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:07, 2 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No, it was just hyperbole, like "the concerns that admin would go nuts deleting articles". I'd prefer if everyone took the rhetoric down a notch, but others seem to be okay with it.
Deleted articles are quite easily restored, especially when they have no content. Either we redirect skeletons or delete them. We have 15 years of data that show that keeping them around because someone some day might add some text isn't working just a lot of cases. There is no reason why an article for the Pennsylvania town showing why it warranted an article couldn't be created after the skeleton had been deleted. Deletion is not forever. Ground Zero (talk) 11:00, 2 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Deleted articles are easily restored if you are an established contributor who knows how things work around here. If you are a newbie who sees the automatic message that Tinyville was deleted (displayed to anyone who tries to re-create deleted articles), you might well conclude that we had deliberately decided not to have an article about that location, and give up. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:06, 2 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Many of the skeleton articles have been created by users who are just passing through, so they don't seem to find it that difficult. Ground Zero (talk) 17:10, 2 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Creating an article that has never existed before ≠ re-creating one that was previously deleted. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:00, 3 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(edit conflict) I don’t think any articles with more than a thousand bytes should be deleted. This number is what typically indicates a decent amount of content, though of course the quality of content must also be taken into account. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 11:04, 2 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Even articles at 700 bytes have at least a little content that would have to be merged into another article, which I think means redirecting rather than deleting, so I don't see this being a problem. Ground Zero (talk) 11:27, 2 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
SelfieCity claims "We have 15 years of data that show that keeping them around because someone some day might add some text isn't working ..." and yes, we do have some articles that have been stubs for over a decade. However, it seems to me they are mostly harmless. Throw in a WP link & geo co-ords (copied from WP) if those are not there already & then leave them. This is no more work than merging & redirecting.
Yes, if they are too tiny to have a WP article, consider deleting, but also consider redirecting. Quoting myself in the earlier thread (link above):
Specks on the map may not have any reason for tourism but they do get visitors. For example, as a kid I visited Kelwood, Manitoba (pop. < 500, no WP or WV article) because my grandparents were there. Also, it is moderately common for overseas Chinese, descendants of various European immigrants to the New World and others to want a look at the ancestral home, and that may well be some obscure village. They are moderately likely to search for the village name, in which case a redirect will be helpful.
Also, we have some data indicating that empty outlines sometimes get expanded. Quoting myself again, from the same thread:
Checking back a year and a half after the discussion petered out, I find the examples above — Danao City, Sipalay, San Carlos (Negros Occidental) and Catarman — have all been expanded; certainly none of them are great articles, but they are now all better than nothing.
The best example is Catarman. It is a provincial capital with nearly 100k population & links from at least half a dozen other WV articles; deletion should never have been considered. Despite that, it was deleted twice as an empty outline & I restored it as almost empty; see Talk:Catarman. It still isn't much of an article, but definitely better than nothing. Pashley (talk) 12:40, 2 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Pashley: For the sake of clarity in this discussion, GZ made the claim regarding outline articles, though I’m inclined to agree with him. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 13:33, 2 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ooops. Apologies to both. Pashley (talk) 13:52, 2 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Nobody is going around mass deleting stubs, or redirecting every article with little or no content. These are hypothetical problems. I don't think we should try to anticipate every hypothetical situation and write a policy or guideline about it. Editors who start doing mass deletions or redirects can be dealt with on their talk pages, or with blocks if necessary.
Individual cases, such as those you cite, are easily dealt with by adding content, as I did for these skeleton articles yesterday and today [1], [2], [3]. Deleting or redirecting articles does not mean that they cannot be recreated and expanded later.
As far as cities like Catarman go, I don't see cities being deleted or redirected anymore. Suburbs are another matter. North Richland Hills has 70,000 people, but had only one listing. It is more useful to travellers to list that place in the Fort Worth article, where they are more likely to find it, than to tuck it away in a separate article of its own. If Fort Worth becomes too long someday and there are enough listings for North Richland Hills, it would make sense to split it out then. Ground Zero (talk) 15:48, 2 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
With the caveat that I don't know much about the Fort Worth area, stating in an article that it also includes the nearby suburbs of X, Y and Z is usually perfectly reasonable, except in cases like New York City in which there's a sharp distinction between the city and its suburbs. Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:24, 2 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes. One good example is Dumaguete#Understand. Pashley (talk) 22:49, 2 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think we have two unrelated subjects being discussed here. One is about whether we want nearly-empty articles. The other is about what The Rules™ say.
On that second point, I want to expand on what Ikan said earlier: The best practice in writing a policy is to assume that, at some point, your rules will be interpreted and applied by an idiot. Sometimes the idiot will be well-meaning rule-follower; sometimes the idiot will be a wikilawyer; sometimes the idiot will be a manager at work, but we can predict that if a workplace writes down a rule that says there is zero tolerance for age-related harassment and the outcome is always firing people, then someone's eventually going to get fired for organizing a birthday party. Similarly, here, if we write down a rule that says Thou Must Redirect or Delete empty skeletons, then someone will insist that this rule be implemented even when it'd be stupid to do so, and if we write down a rule that says Thou Must Not Redirect Places with a Population of 70,000 That Contain One Listing, then someone's going to insist that North Richland Hills, which could be a separate article but which is probably best handled (at least for now) as part of the larger metro area, be kept separate.
I think it is a bad idea to write down clear "game-able" rules when we need to make decisions based on good judgment and case-by-case circumstances. Because of that, my inclination of the first point is to suggest that the process for deleting "empty outlines" continue to be a discussion at Wikivoyage:Votes for deletion, and that the current state of an article not be the primary factor in deciding whether we should have an article about that destination. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:09, 3 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I oppose this per my earliest comments and broadly agree with Pashley, Ikan Kekek and WhatamIdoing. Further, I strongly oppose deleting or redirecting articles that have some content beyond "X is in Y", which I've seen happen. There have been articles which have their own banner, a sentence on how to get in and one listing that have been deleted/redirected. Those articles have unique content and despite being small, probably add more value to the website than the articles which just information transferred across from Wikipedia, even if it is attributed correctly, because that information is not unique. Gizza (roam) 02:32, 3 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

(indent) On WhatamIdoing's point, the problem that seems to be recurring is that the redirect option already makes it "game-able" against those who prefer articles to be left alone in favor of those who are against skeleton articles or near-empty articles. I don't believe our actual policy or guidelines have changed to oppose the existence of skeleton or outline articles with just a few sentences yet, we have seen here, in the 2015 discussion, and others, that an anti-skeleton approach is pervasive enough to have been noticed by multiple different users at completely different times (years). My proposal (or rather Andrew's proposal) to delete skeletons after a year (some are saying 3 or 6 months) is an attempt to compromise so that empty skeletons don't sit forever but we also don't get redirects that "destroy" regions. Yes, it means real places will be deleted, but it's without prejudice. They could be recreated, and the timeframe places a clear limit. I think putting it somewhere, as Ikan Kekek mentioned, for transparency but also to allow users who may not have thought about it but may be able to edit to do so and potentially make the article better, is a great idea. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 12:16, 3 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]