Wikivoyage talk:Region article template

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Thanks! these needed to all be brought into line with the others....

Region Maps[edit]

A lot of the exist country pages under the Region sections do not have any region maps. Instead they seem to have basic country maps and there is no room to place an region map. But most of these region sections contain a list of the particular country regions but there is no easy way to see them. A good example is the Spain page. Ideally we want to include this outline map somewhere within the Spain pages. And do the same for other places

See and Do[edit]

So, I added two new sections: "See" and "Do". For regions, these would just be attractions that people shouldn't miss, or are more associated with the region than with the particular city they're in.

For example, Lake Tahoe#Do should include some information about skiing, and link out to the cities and ski resorts where you can actually ski. Similarly, Northumberland#See has Hadrian's Wall, and a link to the city where the main visitors' center is.

I don't think we need full attraction listings in the region pages -- just pointers to where to find the full listing.

I'm wondering whether it makes sense to have this at the country level, too.

Comments and criticisms very welcome. --(WT-en) Evan 17:13, 14 Apr 2004 (EDT)

Is there any real benefit of having "See" and "Do" separately ? Isn't it just confusing for the readers ? (WT-en) Wojsyl 14:18, 1 Jan 2005 (EST)


I'm adding a "buy" to the template. -- (WT-en) Nils 10:38, 22 May 2004 (EDT)

First, why? I'm not sure I understand why it's needed. Second, could you please add it to the full template with explanation, and not just the short part?
I'm going to remove it for now, until you have time to do the full job. --(WT-en) Evan 12:45, 22 May 2004 (EDT)
I'd like to suggest we include a buy section in this template. I don't see why it would be any different than "eat" or "drink"—it should simply include an overview of what there is to buy in the region -- what types of souvenirs would a traveler want to take home? This is also a good place to highlight major shopping destinations within the region, but not individual stores, which should be described only in the individual city articles. --(WT-en) Peter Talk 09:41, 21 September 2009 (EDT)
As long as it's optional, sure. (WT-en) LtPowers 10:20, 22 September 2009 (EDT)


I think sleep has a place in the region template. Just like in country and large city templates, it's an overview of the type of accomidations travellers can expect to find. It's a good place to mention if there is camping, hostels, or something unique-- with links to the specific articles with listings. I'd like it put back in, it can always be deleted if it's not needed. (WT-en) Majnoona 21:46, 5 Aug 2004 (EDT)


Where do "villages" fit ? Under "Cities" or "Other destinations" ? Not all the travellers like to visit cities. I for one usually prefer travelling to villages or other smaller settlements if I have choice. (WT-en) Wojsyl 14:18, 1 Jan 2005 (EST)

I'm usually a stickler for strict templating, but for this I agree that "Cities" is just not a sensible moniker for very, very sparsely populated places like Svalbard, Falkland Islands or South Coast (New South Wales). Is there any problem with allowing any one (1) of "Cities", "Towns" and "Villages", depending on the population? (WT-en) Jpatokal 06:13, 27 Sep 2005 (EDT)
I think that sounds fine. Just like we use the formal name of sub-regions if they exist ("counties", "states", "cantons", etc.) it should be OK to use Towns or Villages or whatever. However, I think it should be an exception, not a rule. --(WT-en) Evan 12:42, 27 Sep 2005 (EDT)
Villages should go in the same section as "cities". By "cities", we just mean "communities" or "settlements", not necessarily big metropolises. --(WT-en) Evan 12:42, 27 Sep 2005 (EDT)
Then why not say "communities" or "settlements"? (WT-en) Andy Mabbett 09:56, 15 December 2006 (EST)
Because we've said "Cities" for more than 3 years; because we've got 12,000 articles that follow that standard; because multi-syllabic words sound stuffy and overblown; because "community" also refers to the people in the area; because "settlement" sounds more like a colonial outpost. --(WT-en) Evan 11:52, 15 December 2006 (EST)

If a region officially has no cities, then for that region it makes sense (less confusing, more helpful, less misleading, more accurate, etc) to use ==Towns== instead of ==Cities== - yes? ~ 23:29, 17 December 2006 (EST)

Surely we can use a criteria based on population. For example, if say over 50,000 or whatever, it is called a city, if less then its a town and if less than say 1000 people then it's a vilage. We could also partially solve this by ranking the list of 'cities' not alphabetically but by size. The reason given above is that we should stick to the template because we have used it for 3 years, but that doesn't make sense because it is simply still makes it wrong. Also I think the casual reader upon seeing a list of towns and villages that they know are clearly not cities, listed as cities, then will instinctively make a judgement that this information is incorrect and not bother any further. (WT-en) Terence s 08:08, 13 September 2010 (EDT)

Would that be population of the CBD? Of the metropolitan area? What about unincorporated communities? (WT-en) LtPowers 08:34, 13 September 2010 (EDT)
"Cities" is just wrong in many cases. (WT-en) Pashley 09:20, 13 September 2010 (EDT)
We do have Project:World_cities which lists anyplace that is either over 100,000 or a capital city. I'm not sure if it is up to date or how "over 100,000" is counted. (WT-en) Pashley 09:46, 13 September 2010 (EDT)

Towns or Cities[edit]

Swept in from the Project:Travelers' pub:

I changed a lot of Town, Towns/Cities, Small Town etc sections to Cities according to our templates. Seems not everyone is happy about that. I just think we should stick to the templates or change the templates. I realized this sloppynes when I tried to parse som Italian region with my wtbook script. --(WT-en) elgaard 19:49, 15 Jul 2005 (EDT)

Yeah, it's a continuing sticking point, but I was glad to see that you'd done it. It's never a mistake to edit articles towards the MOS. --(WT-en) Evan 20:04, 15 Jul 2005 (EDT)

Towns or Cities, again[edit]

Swept in from the Project:Travelers' pub:

We are having a little discussion on South Coast (New South Wales), Talk:South Coast (New South Wales) about Towns vs Cities. Could we settle it here? --(WT-en) elgaard 20:26, 26 Sep 2005 (EDT)

The right place for this discussion is Project:Region article template#Cities. (WT-en) Jpatokal 06:09, 27 Sep 2005 (EDT)


The Itineraries addition to this template is not all that recent any more, yet I haven't seen a good example of one -- the "submersible yak-drawn cart" is an amusing mental image, but doesn't really help much in devising a realistic itinerary. Can someone recommend a good example from a real page? Or is this concept not taking off? -- (WT-en) Bill-on-the-Hill 18:20, 26 Dec 2005 (EST)

I'm not a big fan. I think the link between guides and itineraries are loose and I'd rather use RDF to associate itinerary articles with "guide" articles, and list them in the left navigation area. But that's just me. Three days in Singapore is probably a good example of what people want to see here. --(WT-en) Evan 23:15, 26 Dec 2005 (EST)
I'd like to remove this section of the article template and instead use Project:related articles to associate an itinerary with a city, region, country, or whatever. Objections, comments, criticisms, support? --(WT-en) Evan 13:08, 3 November 2006 (EST)
The related tag should serve the same purpose, and removing the Itineraries sub-heading gets rid of a somewhat confusing part of this template. Support. -- (WT-en) Ryan 19:23, 14 November 2006 (EST)
Objection. The itineraries should be clearly visible in the article, and the main issue is just that there aren't all that many itineraries yet. The related articles box is hidden in the navbar and is practically invisible; just look at how many people we get adding the Wikipedia link to the main body because "it doesn't work". (WT-en) Jpatokal 23:27, 14 November 2006 (EST)
I'm not opposed to including itineraries in an article if it works (Singapore#Itineraries works nicely), but I'm not sure it should by default be a part of the template - maybe just adding a note on Project:Where you can stick it would suffice? As it is we have hundreds of region article templates, most of which have either an empty "Itineraries" heading or else have had that heading deleted. -- (WT-en) Ryan 23:33, 14 November 2006 (EST)
I don't have much of an opinion either way on keeping or not keeping the default heading, although I'd lean towards keeping it: just like with other headings, it means that even if there isn't anything here, there should be. But I would object loudly to removing the existing sections and shunting their contents into the Related box. (WT-en) Jpatokal 23:37, 14 November 2006 (EST)

Order of cities[edit]

Is there a guideline for in what order cities should be listed (alphabetical, size, geographical)? -- (WT-en) Brendio 10:30, 22 Jan 2006 (EST)

Capital city first - then, following a one line gap, other cities in alphabetical order. At least that's the way I have always done it, and as nobody has ever changed the order or commented on it, I guess it's an acceptable formula. (WT-en) WindHorse 22 Jan 06
Sounds good to me. The only thing I'd add is a remineder that this does not need to be an exhaustive list of cities in a region... some of this lists are a little overwhelming. (WT-en) Majnoona 11:12, 22 Jan 2006 (EST)
I don't think alphabetical listings should be a standard, what we do every time. I see them as the default, what we fall back to if there's nothing better. If there is a natural order, such as I've used in Fujian, or the obvious West-to-East listing for cities in Mediterranean Europe, we should use that. Making sense to the reader is far more important than consistency. (WT-en) Pashley 01:14, 24 July 2007 (EDT)
My concern with deviating from an alphabetical standard is that most contributors here learn from example (chances are they will never find this discussion) and a lack of standard ordering in lists could encourage ordering schemes that I think we should avoid. For example: ordering cities by "importance" or "quality." Although as I write this, I realize that (WT-en) Marc and I did just that with the Chicago#Districts. Perhaps I should think about this more carefully. In any rate, there are other ways to convey geographical orderings. Maps are an obvious one; another that I liked was the "next destination" template idea for "get out" sections. --(WT-en) Peter Talk 01:32, 24 July 2007 (EDT)
Personally, I see the region and cities' lists as an index, and so feel that the present way of listing places alphabetically is fine. Furthermore, I think it would be difficult to list destinations using other categorizations and, to be honest, I can't say I'm convinced of the benefit of doing so. For example, we could use importance. That would be obvious for perhaps the first two or three places on the list, but generally not so for the remaining 6 or 7 and, anyway, under the present system the capital city has the premier spot. Geographically is a possibility, but how do we know where travelers will arrive and in which direction they will travel. If there is only one valley, then it might be appropriate to list the places in the order that a traveler will come upon them. This we already do on itineraries. However, most countries or regions are more complex than a single valley, and so listing them from north to south, for example, will not be helpful for someone who is traveling east to west. Using the alphabetical way to list destinations is not perfect, but I still contend that it is the most user-friendly system - both for contributors and readers. However, places listed under 'Get out', and perhaps 'Districts', have a different criteria. For one thing, they are often not well known (unlike the major cities on the main list), and so travelers are more likely to search for them based on their location, not name. Therefore, listing these destinations geographically is reasonable...Anyway, just my opinion.... (WT-en) WindHorse 09:34, 24 July 2007 (EDT)

Order of sections[edit]

I also wonder if if would be better to move the regions, cities and other destinations to the bottom of the page, as these are just lists and it means that you have to sometimes scroll three pages to get to the Understand page to start actually reading about a region. I think it would be better to see the list of cities etc. after you have read about the area, getting in etc. See the Bavaria page for an example of this. -- (WT-en) Brendio 11:57, 22 Jan 2006 (EST)
I'd like to eventually move them to the left navigation menu, along with the table of contents. --(WT-en) Evan 12:22, 22 Jan 2006 (EST)

I agree. I think that the 'understand' section looks better at the top, then possibly 'get in' as the second section. (WT-en) WindHorse 23 Jan 06

I would prefer to keep the Region, Cities and Other Destinations at the top of the page at present. These are rather like tables of contents for all the related articles. There is already an untitled Introduction/Understand section at the top of the page that can be used. At present it is only being used for a sentence or two but I see no reason why couple of paragraphs couldn't be here. You would then only need to have an Understand section on small article if you wanted to get really detailed. Bavaria is a good example of what can be done and is a very reasonable, though modest introduction. I am thinking of something more like the size of New Zealand's introduction for most articles. -- (WT-en) Huttite 16:29, 22 Jan 2006 (EST)
I am always unsure of what info should go in the intro and what should be in Understand. Perhaps that is part of the problem. -- (WT-en) Brendio 17:07, 22 Jan 2006 (EST)
What (WT-en) Huttite said is also true. The lists of cities and other destinations are like a table of contents in a book, and so obviously should be on the top. To continue the book allegory, I guess the the indroduction is like the blurb on the back cover: it offers a short and consise appraisal of the contents, whereas the understand section is more akin with a book's introduction, offering more depth and detail. In short, I would say the indroduction should state where the region is located, followed by one or two lines about its most notable features. The introduction can add further details about these, as well as an outline of the region's history and present status. Personally, I like to have some background knowledge of a place I'm visiting, not just information on tourist sites and restaurants. Anyway, these are just personal ideas... (WT-en) WindHorse 23 Jan 06

How small should one make (sub)regions[edit]

If a region can be broken into a subregion on local political grounds, should it necessarily be the case? If a region will have say 7 towns in it, is it worth breaking it down further into three subregions of around two towns each? I think not. Is there a minimum number of towns/cities that a region should have before it is considered. By the way, I mean towns and cities that are of interest to tourists. My example is the current subdivision of Franconia into Upper, Middle and Lower. I think the region page for Franconia is enough. -- (WT-en) Brendio 17:00, 30 Jan 2006 (EST)

We try to keep things in the 7±2 range, per the Project:geographical hierarchy page. --(WT-en) Evan 17:04, 30 Jan 2006 (EST)

How many is nine.[edit]

So the "Cities" section of United Kingdom says

Many cities and towns in the United Kingdom are of interest to travellers outside the capital city of London. Following is an alphabetical selection of nine - others are listed under their specific countries and regions:

And then it lists nine cities other than London.

Call me a crazy Yank, but that's ten to me. Or to put it in Project:Slippery slope terms,

Many cities and towns in the United States are of interest to travellers outside of the world-famous cities of New York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Chicago, New Orleans, Honolulu, and Miami. Following is a selection of nine of these other cities:

What do others think? -- (WT-en) Colin 13:50, 15 December 2006 (EST)

The capital is a bit of a special case, especially in countries like the UK where it's so dominant in size and tourism compared to the competition. If it's in the bullet points, then it's just one of nine, but if it's in the text body like that, IMHO it doesn't count. (WT-en) Jpatokal 13:58, 15 December 2006 (EST)
In this case, though, it's in the text like that precisely because someone wanted to get around the nine cities limit. I think we should stick with the bright line limit. -- (WT-en) Jonboy 14:01, 15 December 2006 (EST)
Note that this tactic has already been spread to the England article too by the "Leeds should be in the list" anonymous user who has used it as a means of finally getting Leeds in there. It's not his Leeds boosterism that concerns me; rather it's the precedent of boosting an item into the text for the specific purpose of injecting Just One More City into the list that concerns me.
Also in this instance London would clearly be in the list if it wasn't already in the text. - (WT-en) Colin 14:03, 15 December 2006 (EST)
So, I'm going to dissent on this. The "Nine rule" comes from the Geographical hierarchy, where we suggest using the 7±2 heuristic as a branching factor for our hierarchy. That is, each level in the hierarchy has a maximum of about 5-9 sub-levels. That way, when someone's looking at the page for the United States, they aren't confronted with 50+ sub-elements for all the states and territories, but instead with a more manageable set. People's brains are hard-wired (supposedly) to handle groups of 7±2 things pretty well; they feel natural, while bigger groups feel overwhelming.
But, it's not like that's the most important rule that trumps everything else. For example, I think that if there's a very small region with 10-12 villages in it, we're not going to split it up into two separate arbitrary regions with 5-7 villages apiece just to satisfy this rule. 7±2 is a rule of thumb that should be balanced against other criteria, not an iron edict to be obeyed above all others.
Now, that all said, the "Cities" list at the country or major region level is kind of special. It's not really part of the hierarchy. It's a way of making shortcuts, so that people who don't know much about Azerbaijan, for example, can find Baku without knowing that it's in the Apsheron Peninsula region. These are utility shortcuts so that people who don't know a lot about their destination can find that destination easily. One rule of thumb might be asking, Would it be ridiculous to have a guide about X without mentioning Y? If you can have a guide about Japan that doesn't mention Tsuruta, well, let's move that link further down the hierarchy. If you can't have an article about France that doesn't mention Paris, we should have a place on the page for that city.
Anyways, down to numbers: the 7±2 list is about as applicable for city lists as for hierarchy lists, but I think it's a soft limit. If there are 10-12 cities that people are going to feel are really missing from Germany or Australia, well, let's bend the rules a bit.
Finally, on the specific topic: Leeds is not one of those cities for either the UK or for England. And routing around these limits in order to shoehorn it into the list is a real waste of time, energy, and goodwill. --(WT-en) Evan 15:18, 15 December 2006 (EST)
I think that sets a bad precedent. It's already tough enough to stick to nine-cities-period, convincing people that their cities are not worthy of an exception will be even harder. (WT-en) Jpatokal 23:10, 15 December 2006 (EST)
I'm not sure I like the "is it ridiculous not to mention" guideline as it's too arbitrary - many people might think it's ridiculous not to mention any number of cities on the United States article, for example. My take on things is that the 7 +/- 2 guideline is something that generally doesn't need to be considered, but is useful for those cases where there's a question about what cities/regions/whatever are appropriate for a list. If a county has fifteen towns, it's clear that the list should point to all fifteen or (if appropriate) that the county should be sub-divided. However, if a state has 200 cities it's not clear what cities should be listed for the state article, and in that case a guideline is useful in helping people decide what should be included.
Regarding Colin's original point, I don't feel too strongly about it but if pressed would say that London should be included as a bullet in the list. -- (WT-en) Ryan 23:16, 15 December 2006 (EST)
Well, it is the point of the "Cities" section at country and region level. We "promote" cities higher up the hierarchy as a navigation aid only; it helps people get to the most common cities they're looking for faster. It's not a popularity contest or a judgment on the quality of the cities; it's just a way for people to get to the links they need faster. --(WT-en) Evan 23:27, 15 December 2006 (EST)
Agreed, but I think the discussion is where we draw the line in terms of which cities get "promoted". As it stands currently the guideline is that 7 +/- 2 get promoted. If I understand your earlier point you're suggesting we change that guideline to "is it ridiculous not to mention", and I think that opens the door to everyone's own interpretation. Also, since the 7 +/- 2 rule is a guideline we could always make an exception if there was a region that contained more than nine cities that absolutely had to be listed; however, that would probably be the rare exception. -- (WT-en) Ryan 23:44, 15 December 2006 (EST)

I'd like to suggest the creation of a template called Template:Ninecities that would look something like this: <!--We try to keep city listings to between 5 and 9 almost all the time. If you want to debate *which* nine cities should be here, or explain why this is one of the rare exceptions to this rule, please use the talk page.--> Then I could just do {{subst:ninecities}} when I edit a city list down to nine. (Which is fairly frequently.) This might prevent people from (understandably) thinking, "Oh, I just created an article for my favorite little place. I'll make it the 10th city on this list." (And then the next person makes it 11, etc...)

Where is the 7 +/- 2 Rule Spelled Out?[edit]

Is there somewhere where we officially note the 7 +/- 2 guideline? I was looking and didn't immediately find anything and would have thought that this page was a good place for it. Specifically, I added an orphaned article to Central Maryland as that was the smallest parent sub-region for the town in question. In this case I believe that it increased the city list for that region to more than 9, but since there was no smaller region to use I believe this was OK as all cities are supposed to be listed in a parent region. Is that indeed the case? See Contra Costa County for just one of many examples where there are more than nine cities listed - it doesn't make sense to break that region down further simply to create a list of fewer than nine cities. If that's NOT the case, then what's the official policy with respect to orphaned articles?

Also, just to be clear, the region article template does note "if there are more than 10 consider breaking the region up" but doesn't really go into any detail about why, when more than 9 is totally not OK, when more than 9 IS OK, etc. -- (WT-en) Ryan • (talk) • 11:18, 8 September 2008 (EDT)

The common practice is to allow more than 9 regions, but not cities. It's ideal to have less than 10 regions, but if it doesn't make any sense, we haven't been forcing it. A good example of when to do this is when you have, say, 7 top level regions in a state that make perfect sense, but then want to break those down by county and have 11 counties in one of those regions. There's no better option, so we keep the 11. The rule is spelled out at Project:Geographical hierarchy#Dividing geographical units at the useful shortcut of 7+2. But you're definitely right—we haven't spelled out the intricacies of our practices anywhere. Maybe it would be useful to write a separate policy on dividing geographical units? --(WT-en) Peter Talk 11:51, 8 September 2008 (EDT)
And yeah, it's OK, even desirable, to have more than 9 cities when there is no smaller region to put them in. We talked about that at Project:Geographical hierarchy#Should every city be listed in *some* region? --(WT-en) Peter Talk 11:57, 8 September 2008 (EDT)
I contend, though, that it's useful to put those below the list of 9, so that when/if we subdivide further, it's obvious which 9 cities to keep in the original list. --(WT-en) Peter Talk 11:59, 8 September 2008 (EDT)
Thanks for the pointers - I remembered several discussions on the matter, but a quick search didn't find anything. Would it make sense to add the following to Project:Geographical hierarchy#Dividing geographical units, and then add pointers to that section to Project:Region article template#Cities and other relevant places:
  1. Whenever possible lists should be no longer than 7 +/- 2 items.
  2. For city lists on region articles where a sub-region exists the list MUST NOT exceed 7 +/- 2.
  3. For city lists on region articles where a sub-region does not exist the list MAY exceed 7 +/- 2 in order to ensure that all cities within the region are listed, but consider long lists as a sign that sub-regions may be needed.
  4. In cases where lists exceed nine cities due to a lack of sub-regions, keep the nine most notable cities at the top of the list to make future breakup of regions easier.
That's a quick & dirty summary, please add & expand as needed. -- (WT-en) Ryan • (talk) • 12:21, 8 September 2008 (EDT)

Telephone number subsection[edit]

I've proposed a Telephone number template for use in articles. Would it, perhaps, be sensible to have a "telephones" sub-section to the "understand" section, or elsewhere, in each article? (WT-en) Andy Mabbett 10:37, 29 December 2006 (EST)

Get out[edit]

This came up in Western India. For really large regions such as Western India or Midwest (United States of America), it makes no sense to have a Get out section. What can one write there? Suggesting daytrips will sound silly. So I want to amend the explanation here to allow the section to be left out for really large regions. — (WT-en) Ravikiran 05:12, 22 February 2007 (EST)

I agree with Ravi, some regions are way too large to have a Get Out section. We have to bend the rule for such places. After all, Western India and Midwest (United States of America) are bigger than many countries in size. (WT-en) Upamanyuwikivoyage 08:24, 22 February 2007 (EST)
I modified it. Please comment or change if needed. — (WT-en) Ravikiran 06:27, 23 February 2007 (EST)

See, Do, Eat instructions[edit]

Could the region template have a (commented out) instruction installed with the template indicating that these sections are not to be filled with listings, but rather an overview? (WT-en) OldPine 12:21, 4 July 2007 (EDT)

Actually, this is still a little fuzzy, as there are occasionally some places that just don't fit sensibly in a "destination", eg. the Miho Museum in Shiga (deep in the mountains near no town of any size, yet with no places to stay). Islands like Penang are also tricky, because there's one identifiable town (George Town) and then a scattershot of other attractions elsewhere. (WT-en) Jpatokal 13:09, 4 July 2007 (EDT)
Good point. The instruction language could indicate an exception for this situation. I dunno. Nevermind. (WT-en) OldPine 23:20, 4 July 2007 (EDT)

Get in[edit]

This section says it's OK to "just leave it out" if there is no clear entry point. Wanting to know whether that meant leave the section empty or remove it, I went to the example given: Midwest (United States of America) but there the Get in section is filled in. Some other sections have this language, too. Does "just leave it out" mean remove it or leave it empty? (WT-en) OldPine 07:04, 5 July 2007 (EDT)

I think it should mean remove it. Empty sections look ugly and I'd never support an article with an empty section as a guide or a star. Plus, they are a magnet for pointless information. That is the approach I took with "Get out" for region articles (see above.) That said, I am hard put to think of a situation where region articles will not have a get in section. — (WT-en) Ravikiran 07:14, 5 July 2007 (EDT)
I just removed the bit about leaving out the Get in section (not having seen this discussion). It's actually a requirement for usable status, so it stands to reason that it must be a requirement for the template in general. If there is no one clear entry point, then you could just give an overview of the various entry points, and why you would choose one over another, or of the main transportation routes into the region. There's certainly no clear entry point for this region article, but the section is still a useful thing for any visitor just starting to read about the region, I think. --(WT-en) Peter Talk 09:37, 21 September 2009 (EDT)

Article status descriptions[edit]

.... are wrong in this template. Eg: This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow! I am sure this will confuse users (it did me initially until Peter F kindly took the time to explain) and this does not represent the usable status bar for regional articles. Indeed indvidual listings of hotels and restaurants would seem inappropriate in a regional article. --(WT-en) Burmesedays 00:19, 21 September 2009 (EDT)

Yes the generic usable template jars with region articles—it's necessary to use Template:Usableregion. That template was not at all up to date either, though, but I've now fixed it. --(WT-en) Peter Talk 09:12, 21 September 2009 (EDT)
Thanks Peter for clearing that up.--(WT-en) Burmesedays 11:19, 21 September 2009 (EDT)


Why is there a separate "Talk" section in this template? As far as I have experienced, it attracts a lot of nonsense and encyclopedical information about language families and such. Travelers don't need to know that much about languages, and what they need to know, I think easily could fit under a sub-section of the Understand section of an article. --(WT-en) globe-trotter 11:15, 24 February 2010 (EST)

I don't know about folding it into understand, but I do think we should remove it from the region article template, since most regions will not have a different language than their parent region, leading to content duplication. Unlike country articles, I think it would be best to leave it optional for regions. --(WT-en) Peter Talk 12:53, 24 February 2010 (EST)
Seconded. "Talk" should be required in Project:Country article template, and included in regions only if absolutely necessary. -- (WT-en) Ryan • (talk) • 19:15, 24 February 2010 (EST)
I largely agree, although I'm not sure it's true that the majority of regions have nothing new to say about dialects and language. =) (WT-en) LtPowers 09:08, 25 February 2010 (EST)
Agreed. It should be optional and only used when appropriate.--(WT-en) Burmesedays 09:15, 25 February 2010 (EST)

Other destinations[edit]

swept from pub:

I am sure there is a better place for this question, and an existing discussion but I cannot find it. Should Other destinations listed in the spirit of 7+2, be articles or attractions? My understanding has always been that they should be articles about places that are not towns/cities, and that attractions should go into the See section. I have made a few deletions on that basis, but figured I ought to check for sure before making anymore. --(WT-en) Burmesedays 22:50, 16 April 2010 (EDT)

I don't think there is a clear answer to that, because I know both have been used. Generally I think you are correct that they are supposed to be places that are not towns/cities, but it seems that attractions that are famous enough are also accepted. (WT-en) ChubbyWimbus 23:41, 16 April 2010 (EDT)
I have always moved attractions from other destinations to see when I have come across them. I have just looked around but could not find any discussions on this. But the country and region templates show linked other destinations suggesting that it should be articles, and where you can stick it only mention national/state parks as examples of other destinations. I cannot think of any reason to list attractions, which are not large enough to have their own article, under other destinations. Also, is it not implied in the name, other destinations, that this should only be destinations?, --(WT-en) ClausHansen 02:35, 17 April 2010 (EDT)
Come to think of it, I think I've also seen the "Other Destinations" used to house towns/cities in areas that don't have "other destinations" in regions with more than 9 cities but not enought for further regionalization... (WT-en) ChubbyWimbus 04:08, 17 April 2010 (EDT)
I have seen that too, and have moved those cities from other destinations to cities. I think it is more important to put destinatins in the correct category than to restrict the number of cities to nine. Further, as I understand it, the nine rule does not apply for lowest level regions, which can not be split in subregions, --(WT-en) ClausHansen 04:19, 17 April 2010 (EDT)
That's correct. At high levels, we absolutely should restrict O.D.s to non-city destination articles. At lower levels in the hierarchy, however, that's not always feasible, and sometimes we have to fudge a bit. For example, in Pennsylvania, Gettysburg is a major tourist destination, and it's an incorporated community, so by all rights it should go in "Cities". But the truth is that no one goes there for its food, nightlife, or culture; they go there for the battlefield. So we put it in Other Destinations and list it as "Gettysburg National Military Park". In other places, we use subregions as Other Destinations (see, e.g., Mid-Atlantic and its use of Finger Lakes as an O.D., or Napa Valley in California).
I think that was me who wrote the above. I still think it applies. (WT-en) LtPowers 19:33, 13 August 2010 (EDT)

[unindent] I think we need to discuss this further. Please see, for example, Talk:Switzerland#Other destinations. I thought the standard was that anyplace that is defined as a city cannot be listed in "Other destinations" in a region or country article (see discussion at Talk:India#Are hill stations cities? for a clear previous example), and that it was really for great uninhabited or at least non-city/-town/-village attractions like parks, huge temple complexes (e.g. Angkor Wat), and other great attractions (Iguaçu Falls and the like) that either aren't in the middle of cities or eclipse them. However, I see that there is not agreement on what should be in "Other destinations." I should say that I personally really don't care if cities are among "Other destinations," but it frustrates me for there to be no agreed-upon standard or guideline, because then we can't go to the next step and create hidden text that would by default explain to users how to use this section. Ikan Kekek (talk) 18:10, 13 February 2015 (UTC)

I think practice has always been that it is acceptable to link to city articles when it is clear that the link is for the destination being linked rather than the city itself. As examples, we link to Niagara Falls from North America#Other destinations since the waterfall is the attraction, not the two towns that happens to be located next to it. Similarly, Colorado#Other destinations includes Aspen and Vail, both of which are nice little towns, but the links are there for the very famous ski resorts of the same names. I'd like to see that practice continue - it would be a shame to have to exclude Niagara Falls or the two most famous ski resorts in Colorado just because they happen to be covered in city articles rather than park articles. -- Ryan • (talk) • 18:37, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
I mentioned above "that it was really for great uninhabited or at least non-city/-town/-village attractions like parks, huge temple complexes (e.g. Angkor Wat), and other great attractions (Iguaçu Falls and the like) that either aren't in the middle of cities or eclipse them." In the case of Niagara Falls, the falls are an attraction that eclipses the city, and a strong argument can be made that the ski resorts in various ski towns eclipse the towns, but is it OK to simply link the town and mention the ski resort? As I said, I don't really care much what direction we go in; I just want clarity. I think that lots of people are confused about what belongs in "Other destinations," and I used to think it was fine to put cities there, period. Ikan Kekek (talk) 18:48, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
I can't really see why it would not be OK to add a place to the Other destinations just because it has some permanent population. As I've understood it until now, the Cities section is for large cities with a lot of attractions and the Other destinations is for, well, other destinations ie. everything else. This would include national parks, but also ski/beach resorts and cities/towns that are otherwise non-notable but have one very famous sight in the city or nearby. I think this is logical and works.
But if the destinations in the Other destinations section may not have any inhabitants, then it would effectively mean that we'd have to remove most destinations listed in the Other destinations sections of our country and region articles. That would make Other destinations about as useful as the Learn and Work sections. ϒpsilon (talk) 19:02, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
I think it makes sense to mention a beach as an "Other destination" if the city where the beach is in is not mentioned in "Cities," but it's the beach and not the city that should be listed in "Other destinations," if we're going to maintain the idea that "Other destinations" means "Non-city destinations." Same with ski resorts - so that it makes sense to list Aspen Ski Resort as an "Other destination" in Colorado if Aspen isn't among the up to 9 "Cities" listed. But if we simply list Aspen, aren't we once again confusing the issue? I want everyone to clearly understand what should and shouldn't be put in "Other destinations." If we can't agree on anything that's sufficiently clear, maybe we should change the name of the section, perhaps to "Top 9 attractions" or something (but I don't think that phrase would be accepted here). But I think there are a lot of problems with article templates that go beyond this, as for example there's often a lot of confusion in this template between "Other destinations" and "See." We've been discussing these things at User talk:Wrh2/Why Wikivoyage was not my primary travel planning tool, and perhaps we should be discussing a reform to "Other destinations" in that talk page, too. Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:19, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
I believe current practice is exactly as Ryan describes. "Other destinations" may be major attractions that happen to be covered in a city article but where the lure for travelers isn't the city amenities. These are exceptions to the normal practice of restricting "Other destinations" to non-city articles, so they should be treated as such, but there seems to be wide agreement that they're acceptable when warranted. Powers (talk) 22:18, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
Should we revisit hill stations in the Indian Subcontinent on this basis? The traditional reason to visit them is not for the city amenities but to cool off and enjoy hilly areas with great views. If not, I think that listing the city per se in "Other destinations" on the basis of its attractions confuses the issue, and, for example, instead of listing Aspen in other destinations, we should list it as Aspen Ski Resort. Does that make sense to you? I just want to avoid confusion. Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:23, 14 February 2015 (UTC)
I don't know anything about hill stations. Yes, the listing in "Other destinations" should list the attraction, pipelinked to the destination; that's standard practice AFAIK. Powers (talk) 03:07, 14 February 2015 (UTC)
I don't really think there's quite a standard practice, in actuality, but it's good to see we both understand this the same way, at least. Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:42, 14 February 2015 (UTC)

Regional tourism link[edit]

Hi there, new to Wikivoyage, though been with Wikipedia a while. Where should the tourist info link for a region go and in what format? For instance, Haida Gwaii has Go Haida Gwaii. I've read the lede is a good place for it, but would I just add a sentence saying "Tourism info is available here.[1]" Doesn't seem right. - (WT-en) Wmcduff 00:57, 27 September 2011 (EDT)

See Project:External links for guidance. If that URL is the official link for the tourism board of the region then it would go in the opening sentence following the destination name: "The Queen Charlotte Islands or Haida Gwaii [2] (Islands of the People) are in British Columbia, Canada." -- (WT-en) Ryan • (talk) • 01:04, 27 September 2011 (EDT)
Aha. Thank you. And it is the official one, brought to us by the "local Destination Marketing Organization". I'm pretty sure that means "local tourism board." - (WT-en) Wmcduff 01:14, 27 September 2011 (EDT)

empty see/do, eat/drink, sleep sections[edit]

We seem to have a mess of continent > country > large region > province/state > region > subregion > city > district listings where at every level the standard sections (get in/get around, see/do, eat/drink, buy, sleep, get out) exist even though listing the same info at multiple levels of regionalisation becomes rapidly pointless or duplicative. If we already say that maple syrup grows on trees in Canada, repeating this information for Ontario, then again in eastern Ontario, then again in southeastern Ontario, the Ottawa Valley and every other subregion of Ontario gets boring and futile quickly. The end result is usually that these sections are left blank in all of these pointless subregions, which were only created as pages because each had 7 +- 2 towns or villages and enough text to fill the "Understand" section. Dining in southeastern Ontario isn't much different from dining anywhere else in Ontario, so the sections are empty.

To say that "Ottawa is home of the Canadian Parliament, a terminus of the Rideau Canal and offers many national-level museums" once is fine, but do we need to repeat this in Canada, Ontario, eastern Ontario and the individual subregion? If not, what goes in the subregion article beyond a general description and its area of coverage?

I'm thinking that each subregion really only needs a basic description with the "understand" information and the list of cities and towns. Anything more is already in the province, region and locality pages so there's no point in listing (get in/get around, see/do, eat/drink, buy, sleep, get out) again. K7L (talk) 20:53, 29 December 2012 (UTC)

Standard of 9 "Other destinations"[edit]

Hi, everyone. We seem to have adopted the standard of no more than 9 "Other destinations" in region articles that are not bottom-level regions, but I don't see that policy on the project page. If we agree on the policy, it should be made explicit, because we can hardly refer new users to mere customs. Ikan Kekek (talk) 09:57, 13 September 2014 (UTC)

I'm pretty sure it's never really been a problem, has it? Powers (talk) 18:35, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
Well, I wanted to point a user to such a policy yesterday, and that's why I came here and then found that there is no such policy typed up - or at least not here. So do you have any objection to making the policy explicit? Ikan Kekek (talk) 18:38, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
I suppose not. Powers (talk) 22:11, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
Please have a look at how I edited the text of the policy page and see whether you agree or disagree with it, and please tweak the wording at will. I don't think I clarified before that the reason this has come up is that loads of non-bottom-level regional articles about India have extremely long "Other destinations" lists. Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:20, 14 February 2015 (UTC)
It looks like a fairly straightforward change to me. Powers (talk) 03:08, 14 February 2015 (UTC)

Placement of "Talk" section[edit]

Why is it that it's placed after "Understand" in this article template and after "Get around" in Wikivoyage:Country article template? That inconsistency seems strange and also makes it confusing to figure out where to put it in other templates where it's optional, such as Wikivoyage:Huge city article template. This just came up on the Delhi article. I think we should end the inconsistency in favor of one order or the other, and it doesn't matter much which. Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:20, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

I'd suggest making the "Talk" heading optional for the region template and removing it from the defaults since, at this point, most high-level regions have already been created, and the remaining regions are probably not going to have differences in language from the parent. Regarding placement (in the cases where the heading is needed), I don't have a preference but agree it should be consistent. -- Ryan • (talk) • 20:45, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
Isn't it already an optional section in this template? If not, I don't have a big problem with making it optional. Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:44, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
The "Talk" heading is included in the skeletons used when creating new region articles: Wikivoyage:Quick region article template & Template:Region skeleton. If it is supposed to be optional then I'd suggest removing it from those, as well as from Wikivoyage:Region article template -- Ryan • (talk) • 21:51, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
Does anyone object to this? Ikan Kekek (talk) 22:33, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
There seemed to be unanimous support when this issue came up previously (#Talk), so I'd say go ahead and remove it. -- Ryan • (talk) • 22:38, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
I removed it from the quick region article template and the region skeleton, but I'm not sure I want to remove it from Wikivoyage:Region article template because I like the instructions:
If there are any language issues with the region that are different from the country as a whole, or the surrounding region, point them out here. Regional dialects of the national language, for example, are worth listing, as well as large local minority languages. Even local slang or sayings can be helpful to a first-time visitor. Consider linking to the phrasebook for the local language, if it's different from the country's language. If there really aren't any language issues, just leave this section out.
This sounds optional to me. But if we do let it remain in Wikivoyage:Region article template, we still have to harmonize the placement of the section with the standard placement in Wikivoyage:Country article template. Ikan Kekek (talk) 11:20, 1 March 2015 (UTC)
The operative question would be whether we had a good reason for putting "Talk" after "Get around" in country articles, or if it's just a quirk of history. The talk page of the country article template isn't very helpful on that front. Powers (talk) 18:29, 1 March 2015 (UTC)
What's your view about the best placement for the section? Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:59, 1 March 2015 (UTC)
I couldn't say without knowing what the argument was for placing it below "Get around". Powers (talk) 22:20, 1 March 2015 (UTC)
It's possible that the people who made that decision might not be reading here anymore, but I'll try posting to Requests for comment and see if that rustles up any more interest in this thread. Ikan Kekek (talk) 22:33, 1 March 2015 (UTC)
Maj put it below "Get in" but didn't explain why in the edit summary. I think that if we standardise it would be better after "Understand", but I don't feel especially strongly about it. Nurg (talk) 07:38, 2 March 2015 (UTC)
I think I agree, since "Talk" helps people understand something about a country or region and doesn't relate directly to getting around. But like you, I have no strong feeling on where to place the section; I'd just like a consensus to pick one spot or another. Either way, lots of article will eventually have to be edited accordingly, though it's hardly an urgent fix. Ikan Kekek (talk) 08:01, 2 March 2015 (UTC)
I'm tempted to suggest that ===Talk=== be a subsection of ==Understand==, as its importance tends to be variable at best. France will speak French, England will speak English, so it's almost Captain Obvious to the rescue to include it. It's useful in *some* regions, such as Flanders and Wallonia as Dutch/French split geographically in bilingual Belgium, but treating this as a standard, second-level section instead of something third-level and optional gets it put into regions where it's superfluous - there was a Thousand Islands#Talk before that article was moved to bottom (large rural area) level like a city or town, even though it mostly contained comments of questionable importance on regional dialect. K7L (talk) 04:54, 4 March 2015 (UTC)
I'd agree that the importance of regional dialect is often superfluous. You will always get people claiming their regional way of speaking is so unique that it demands categorisation as a unique language. It does happen though... Western visitors will visit Shanghai without realising that there is another dialect going on around them.
Although useful to know that such dialects exist, I don't think there is any value for the casual visitor to Shanghai to learn Wu though. (Other Chinese don't see a need either)
I'd support making this an optional section though, and not a sub-section under 'Understand' that will confuse our general structure more. Andrewssi2 (talk) 06:04, 4 March 2015 (UTC)
This is now already an optional section in region-level articles but it is a default section in country-level articles, and I think that's right, because in countries where English is not the first language of most residents, it's important for potential visitors to be informed about how much English is spoken. I see the point of folding the section into "Understand," but I don't think it's terribly compelling and don't consider it worth the effort. However, we can discuss this more at Wikivoyage talk:Country article template after we've made a decision on where the section should be placed while it's (still) a separate section. I take it, you guys would approve of putting it right after "Understand" (providing it isn't folded into "Understand")? Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:23, 4 March 2015 (UTC)
I support this. Andrewssi2 (talk) 20:40, 4 March 2015 (UTC)
Sure, that sounds reasonable. K7L (talk) 04:03, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
It looks like we have a consensus of a small number of people in favor of moving the "Talk" section to right after "Understand" in the Wikivoyage:Country article template, to match its placement as an optional section in region and other articles. Does anyone object? I see no urgency in making the change, so I'll wait at least a couple of days to see if there's any opposition. Ikan Kekek (talk) 04:28, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
Moved accordingly, since after 2 weeks, no-one else commented. Ikan Kekek (talk) 03:41, 20 March 2015 (UTC)

Is 'Regions' subsection required?[edit]

There is a 'Regions' section at the top of the template, but if there is no need to link to further sub regions then is it actually required? --Andrewssi2 (talk) 00:07, 1 October 2015 (UTC)

It is not required: "If this region contains other regions, list them here with brief info about each. If not, leave this section out." -- Ryan • (talk) • 00:12, 1 October 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, not sure how I missed that text the first time. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 02:40, 1 October 2015 (UTC)

Rethinking region articles - request for feedback[edit]

In just over ten years Wikivoyage has developed a lot of great articles. However, with a few exceptions there seems to be a broad agreement that region articles are a category that have fared poorly (see also Wikivoyage talk:Geographical hierarchy#Weak regions - "why do our region guides suck?"). With the caveat that there are a few really good region articles, the fact that those good region articles are such a tiny, tiny minority on a wiki that has been around for more than a decade seems like a strong indicator that something isn't working. Personally, my experience of trying to use Wikivoyage travel guides to plan a long trip was a difficult one, with the poor region articles being one of the main culprits (see also User:Wrh2/Why Wikivoyage was not my primary travel planning tool). I had two primary issues with region articles:

  1. In practice Wikivoyage just uses regions as a way to subdivide the geographic hierarchy, so most region articles are just skeletons with lists of cities or child regions without enough information to help a traveler differentiate between those cities & child regions.
  2. The region article template is designed to present an overview of the region as a whole, but in ten years we haven't really figured out what an "overview" of a region's attractions, activities, etc means, and even longtime editors struggle to figure out what to include in a region's "See", "Do", "Buy", "Eat" and "Drink" sections. The result is that in the vast majority of region articles today, these sections either contain a list of random individual business listings that are then tagged with {{movetocity}}, or else the sections are just empty.

In an effort to improve our region articles, and based on preliminary feedback from several Wikivoyage editors, here are two specific change proposals for the wider Wikivoyage community to consider that would make region articles 1) more useful for travel planning, and 2) easier to write:

  1. Recommend 2-5 sentence descriptions for child regions, cities, and other destinations - In practice region articles are primarily used to organize the geographic hierarchy, so make that organizational structure the focus of the region article. Treat the entries in the "Cities", "Regions" and "Other destinations" sections similarly to listings in city articles, giving a 2-5 sentence description about the highlights of that destination and providing the reader enough detail to make a decision whether to click on the article and read more. In addition to benefiting readers, this change would make life easier for editors - for example, despite having lived on LA's Westside for ten years I'm not really sure how to write a "See" section for Westside (Los Angeles County) that isn't just a long, subjective list of attractions, but I can easily summarize some highlights of Marina del Rey and Beverly Hills into 2-5 sentence descriptions. Note that this proposal would require changing the Wikivoyage:One-liner listings policy.
  2. Make the "See", "Do", "Buy", "Eat", "Drink" and "Stay safe" headings in Wikivoyage:Region article template optional. While there are some exceptions, in the vast majority of cases we haven't really figured out what to do with sections where the goal is to provide an overview of the region as a whole. If we change the focus of the region article to its role in guiding users through the geographic hieararchy as outlined in #1, these "overview" sections could be made optional. Thus, if you're writing about a wine region like Napa Valley or the Finger Lakes and a "Drink" section makes sense, include it and write as much as you like, but for the majority of regions where it's less obvious what to include, the section would not be included in the article. This change would require removing "See", "Do", "Eat", "Drink" and "Stay safe" from Wikivoyage:Region article template, noting in Wikivoyage:Article templates/Sections that editors should add these sections to region articles when relevant, and updating Wikivoyage:Region guide status to reflect the template changes.

For some examples of what this proposed change would look like in practice, see:

Note that nothing in the above proposal would stop someone from creating a region article like Bali (one of the rare examples of a good region), but it would mean that the default template would be simpler and the goal of most regions would change from "here is an overview of the entire region" to "here is an overview of the region's geographic hierarchy". A change to how we handle regions is obviously a big deal, so hopefully others can weigh in on whether they would like to see this change pursued, or if they have other ideas on how to improve upon the status quo. -- Ryan • (talk) • 00:46, 13 November 2015 (UTC)

I support your proposals and applaud your efforts. I have some other thoughts about what regional articles need, but more in the nature of missing content in "Understand" sections and such (I did some basic work on region articles for Tuscany, Umbria, Lazio and Central Italy last night, and User:ThunderingTyphoons! and I did some work on adding photos to Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur in the past few days). However, I think those issues should be discussed separately from your proposed structural and policy changes and should probably wait until this discussion comes to a resolution before we, perhaps, create a Region Articles Expedition. Ikan Kekek (talk) 01:02, 13 November 2015 (UTC)
I have yet to do more than skim through the proposed changes, which I will do, but pre-emptively I support any changes that would strengthen our region guides so long as they would not require any massive changes to old-style region guides that are currently in good shape (e.g. Gaspé Peninsula). -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 01:26, 13 November 2015 (UTC)
Support, this will cut out all of those pointless sections that say little more than "As with the rest of Turmezistan, this region bla bla bla...". Though I do think one role of the region articles should be to give an overall 'feel' for the region (is there a less nebulous way of describing this?) as a destination, not just what smaller destinations exist within its boundaries. The reason I say this is travellers can and often do decide to visit a region before they decide on a particular locale to stay or know the places they want to visit, so it is helpful to have all the relevant information, and something to hook people in, in one place, i.e. the region article. Photos and the descriptions we use for the 'listings' can go a long way toward conveying that, as can the 'understand' section. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 01:49, 13 November 2015 (UTC)
I would say that's one of my strongest concerns. Without the clearly delineated sections of "See", "Do", "Buy", "Eat", and "Drink", it shifts a very strong burden for explaining the region to the "Understand" section. To take the Central Coast example, the lede seems very perfunctory before launching into a long list of destinations. To me, that says "Here's the real content you were looking for; ignore the rest of this article." I don't know if I like the idea of turning regions into nothing more than directories.
I won't deny that writing a good region article can be a chore, but it seems like we could include better information about subregions and cities without sacrificing useful prose about a region's cuisines and activities. And even if we make "Buy", "Eat", and "Drink" highly optional, "See" and "Do" are critical; the reader needs to know what the highlight attractions are.
Powers (talk) 02:49, 13 November 2015 (UTC)
You are correct, 'see' and 'do' are essential. But the lead of any article can always be lengthened. I personally prefer leads that are 2 or 3 paragraphs precisely because there is room to give that hard-to-capture "general feel" --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 03:48, 13 November 2015 (UTC)
Consider me an enthusiastic supporter of this proposal. I think this is a very pragmatic approach that understands how we treat most regions (as geographical units rather than destinations) while still allowing room to talk about regions as traveller destinations should it fit the region in question. Honestly, a lot of the stuff that currently goes into "See" and "Do" in region articles today could be easily folded in to the descriptions for the cities/other destinations on the page. PerryPlanet (talk) 03:45, 13 November 2015 (UTC)
Support. I like the longer descriptions -- it gives a better flavour for what the subregion or destination is about, and the longer description can incorporate some of the highlights so it's easier to decide if I want (or don't want) to go to a destination. If the See, Do, Eat, Sleep & Drink sections aren't used, it definitely shifts the burden to the city/region descriptions or the Understand section or the lede, but I think that's doable. -Shaundd (talk) 06:43, 13 November 2015 (UTC)
Support the proposals. Some of sections should definitely be optional. There may be better sections to include in regions instead which don't apply elsewhere. I can't think of any right now but I agree they need a separate structure to most other destination articles. Gizza roam 08:36, 13 November 2015 (UTC)
Agree the state of regions are very poor and I also sometimes find it difficult what to put in the see, do, eat and sleep sections. Although is this that there is nothing to say or just there has been no effort to get regions from outline to usable. The proposal for 2-3 sentences for cities and other destinations is a good one. I am however not sure about making the other sections optional. Yes sometimes it is not possible to think of a unique food style for a region but I think if made optional it should be a proactive action to remove the section not a proactive move to add it. Not having the the section will not encourage people think about it. For example, for someone from the area of Leicestershire it would be obvious that curry and fish and chips are the things to eat, but it should still be stated for those readers who no nothing of the region. Also as a region has between 6 and 12 destinations it should be possible to extract out a few see and do listing, maybe order them by subject like at Anglesey#See. How about making listings for regions more image based like this experiment? Maybe more controversial how about a second mention on the region page of the best hotels and restaurants in the area. Orange_County_(California)#Eat maybe a little too far but you see the idea. --Traveler100 (talk) 08:46, 13 November 2015 (UTC)
Support. Longer descriptions would allow readers to decide where they want to go. Some regions don't have any very particular food so no need to force an Eat paragraph in all regions I would say. By the way, I would love to know what proportion of our regions have a static map. Syced (talk) 08:47, 13 November 2015 (UTC)
Good point by Traveler100 above: "Yes sometimes it is not possible to think of a unique food style for a region but I think if made optional it should be a proactive action to remove the section not a proactive move to add it. Not having the the section will not encourage people think about it." Maybe this is correct: That these sections are optional but that the default will be to include them in our templates. But I think there is also a very strong counter-argument, which is that in so many region articles, these sections are blank because no-one could think of what to put in them. I would support making them optional either on the basis of optional removal or optional addition in the templates, but let's keep in mind what most region articles actually look like when making this decision. Ikan Kekek (talk) 09:08, 13 November 2015 (UTC)
Good work on this proposal Ryan which I understand you've been putting quite a bit of thought into for a long time. You have my support on both counts. However, I don't think the main issue is not knowing what to write; it's duplication. If a destination has a really prominent landmark, should it be mentioned in each See section at every level of the hierarchy? That just does travellers a disservice and makes ours guides confusing and repetitive, especially if they are being printed and used together, or we ever progress the idea of PDF books. Regions should be giving users a taste of an area, and helping to direct them further down the hierarchy.
To give an example of my own, I recently split the Goldfields region of Victoria (state) into further subregions due to a large number of towns. However, I don't really know what can be said for the Eat section in Goldfields, as there's no real prominent food apart from the usual Australian selection. That's even more true for a lower level such as Loddon. So I do agree that some sections should be optional, but by default present in the new article template. James Atalk 10:07, 13 November 2015 (UTC)
I support the suggested changes and must say, I think I've been somewhat flexible with region guidelines for a long time. If we re-write policy or explanation pages, it might also be a good time to include some exceptions we use in practice; e.g. the structure used for underdeveloped regions like Surinamese Rainforest, which we treat like a lowest level region. Same for combining eat&drink sections or see&do sections where that makes sense.
Adding to what JamesA is talking about, I've been struggling in the past with some specific situations where the 7+2 rule works against travellers' interests, imho. This is a different discussion, but let's have it anyway. While I had wanted to let sleeping dogs lie, perhaps I should give the example of South Limburg. A few years ago I worked extensively on this region. After I asked for advise in the Pub, I stopped my efforts of expanding the article and creating entries for the many towns (there are still at least 6 that should have an article), out of fear that others would decide the region "needed" to be geographically sub-divided. I know that would be a disservice for travellers to this region, which is widely treated as a singular destination for several reasons. There's the limited size of the region and the fact that where-ever you are staying, you can get to any other "sight" in 30 minutes at most. There's also the fact that most people are not staying very long, but just want to pick a few places based on their interests (urban exploring, culture, hiking, nature), instead of based on area. I made a personal decision that in this case less information is better than divided information, and I would still rather delete a few towns than chop the article up. It's not the way it should be, though. It would make sense to (in selected cases) allow a region to hold more than 9 destinations, but with some other logical division. I think this will also make way more practical sense for many of our India regions. I honestly feel that trip planning is our Achilles' heel. Our breadcrumb and regions structure is a plain disaster when planning a trip to a larger region (say, a country). Combined with the lack of "highlights" sections and our historic dislike of "3 weeks in..." suggested itineraries - there you have it; the reason I love editing this travel guide, but almost never use it myself. JuliasTravels (talk) 13:01, 13 November 2015 (UTC)
At the risk of getting slightly off topic, 7 +/- 2 is a recommendation but is rarely a hard limit - see Wikivoyage:Geographical hierarchy#Dividing geographical units, which notes that long lists are an indicator that sub-division should be considered, but that if subdivision doesn't make sense then common sense should be used. California has ten sub-regions, and Contra Costa County has 21 cities listed; in both cases, creating sub-divisions just to meet an arbitrary limit wouldn't really make much sense. Our guidance on that subject may not be clear, so if you can update any relevant policy pages to make that fact clearer please do so. -- Ryan • (talk) • 16:10, 13 November 2015 (UTC)
I support Ryan's proposed changes, with the optional sections omitted from the default template. The template documentation description for optional sections should also cover sections that are already optional but useful for some regions, e.g. Talk is used in Catalonia and Scotland but can & should be skipped for most regions.
I also share Julia's concerns. I think our policy on what a region article should look like needs to be quite flexible, leaving most of the decisions on organisation to whoever knows the region and does the work.
There are related issues we might consider along with this. One is whether we need a separate tag for historical regions. Currently some, like Mughal Empire, are tagged as travel topics while others like Ferghana Valley are extra-hierarchical regions and Inca Highlands is an itinerary. That works, but there might be a better way. Pashley (talk) 14:15, 13 November 2015 (UTC)
When I first started I was honestly perplexed by the strictures on regions and region articles, of the requirements of how many were allowable, and how they are defined -- where flexibility might be introduced into the process - I support. JarrahTree (talk) 14:51, 13 November 2015 (UTC)
I think this is basically a good idea and support it. Our region articles are on average far behind our country, city and park articles. This is, I believe, not surprising as people (in general) travel to countries and "places" rather than to regions per se and therefore don't edit the region articles (e.g. someone who just visited Paris may edit that article and possible the one for France and be unaware that we have an article about Ile de France even if they've taken a trip to Versailles too).
To address some of Powers’ concerns, how would it sound to put Understand right under the lede, above the destinations and subregions? In that way the reader could get an overview of the region first before moving on to the next article. Editors should of course have an option to add other headings as well if for instance there is some activity the region is particularly famous for. Actually, I have a crazy (?) suggestion; what do you all think about having Eat, Sleep etc. as optional subheadings under Understand?
As Ryan just mentioned, our current policy is not so strict about the 7 2 rule. "Common sense (and the traveller's viewpoint) should always apply, so if a region has more than 9 cities in it and there's no helpful way to divide it into subregions, don't split it. This applies especially for bottom level regions." ϒpsilon (talk) 16:28, 13 November 2015 (UTC)
If I may, why is everyone bolding the word "support"?
I don't like putting Understand first. We rightfully moved it back down in Country articles once we ditched the long quickbars because it reduced the navigational utility of our region pages. Also, it would tend to encourage the sort of perfunctory lede we see on the Central Coast article.
I agree with Ikan that removing standard sections from region articles should be an affirmative, consensus decision, rather than the default. And I still think every region needs at least a "See and Do" section in order to explain the highlights. (There may be an exception or two out there where literally the only reason to visit a region is for its cuisine, but I can't think of any off-hand.)
-- Powers (talk) 19:48, 13 November 2015 (UTC)
I didn't say that. I said that that's a good argument, but that there's also a strong argument for making the headings optional and not part of the default region articles template: "Maybe this is correct: That these sections are optional but that the default will be to include them in our templates. But I think there is also a very strong counter-argument, which is that in so many region articles, these sections are blank because no-one could think of what to put in them." I'm OK with either decision, but if we continue to make these sections default sections, I believe many of them which are blank or really don't provide any useful information will and should be deleted, creating more work for us. Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:27, 13 November 2015 (UTC)
I think that the examples stated at the start prove the point that many regions have blank sections, not because there is nothing to put in them but that no one has put the time and effort in (yet) to add content. Changing the guideline may be a good idea but is not going to change the state of articles. --Traveler100 (talk) 21:34, 13 November 2015 (UTC)
We should have a Region Articles Expedition. But I do think that some of the blank sections are blank because people couldn't figure out what to put in them or simply didn't feel motivated to do so because they figured the content would be boring. Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:56, 13 November 2015 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Two points:
  1. I think there is unanimous agreement that information about sights and activities belongs in region articles, but there is a difference of opinion as to whether our current practice of using separate "See" and "Do" headings to organize that information works. My argument is that the city and child region descriptions are a more natural place to describe sights and activities, and that it is easier for editors to create descriptions of specific cities or sub-regions than to generate an overview of an entire region's sights and activities using separate "See" and "Do" sections.
  2. To the point that people "haven't put the time in (yet)" to fill out these sections, I would argue that it's been ten years, so I think the problem is deeper. As noted in my original comments, I've been editing here longer than most and I'm not really sure what to put in Westside (Los Angeles County)#See that isn't just a bunch of individual listings. LtPowers has been working on Finger Lakes for as long as I can remember, yet the minimal content in that article's See and Do sections should arguably be moved to city articles if we follow our current guidance on regions. In those two specific instances, lack of attention from editors doesn't seem to be the problem.
With a few exceptions it seems that there is a broad consensus that overall our region articles are a disappointment. Given the quality of many city articles and the fact that it's been ten years, I don't think it's just a lack of editors that is the issue, thus the suggestion to revisit the way we approach region articles and align that more closely with actual practice, instead of sticking with a status quo that strives for an ideal that we don't seem to be making any significant progress towards reaching. -- Ryan • (talk) • 21:59, 13 November 2015 (UTC)
While I agree with your analysis, the examples you mention are easily fixed when we make these sections optional. In an article that does receive attention from a user who knows the region, such sections would now be quickly removed. What strikes me as a bigger issue are the countless regions that we create for organisational reasons, but have no deeper knowledge of. For a random region in say India or China (to just name a few huge countries), I'd have no idea if deleting the "optional" sections is warranted. I don't really like the idea of adding wiki-text to the template, but would it be better to have the main optional headers visible in the edit-version but not showing on the page, as default? As a way of making the step of adding them smaller? JuliasTravels (talk) 22:15, 13 November 2015 (UTC)
Just because something is difficult doesn't mean it's not desirable. Instead of looking at Finger Lakes (which I haven't fleshed out because there's so much work still to do in the lower levels of the hierarchy, so attempting to summarize them is pointless), what about New York (state)? Specifically the See, Do and Eat sections? Aren't those at least as valuable to the traveler as more region-based summaries? Powers (talk) 20:57, 14 November 2015 (UTC)
Aren't states and provinces (when there are a manageable number) special cases of region articles? I think it makes perfect sense to require an overview of things to eat in each US state, each Indian state, each Chinese province, each Italian traditional region (Tuscany, Umbria, Campania, etc.), each Mexican state and so forth. The upshot to me is that we need two different conceptions of regions: One which requires all these sections and another which doesn't. And it's possible that should be reflected in our default article templates. Let me bring up a comparison that might be useful. We have different templates for cities: Wikivoyage:Huge city article template, Wikivoyage:Big city article template and Wikivoyage:Small city article template. I don't think we should use "big" and "small" for regions because that's likely to cause too much confusion about area vs. population or importance, but why don't we think about the possibility of having a "Primary region" template that looks just like the current default region article template and a "Secondary region" template that's designed for smaller or less populous regions that might not have distinctive styles of food, drink, lodging, etc.? Ikan Kekek (talk) 23:34, 14 November 2015 (UTC)
My first instinct is to support two region templates as a nice compromise, but my second is to wonder how we would decide when a "See" or "Eat" section was required for a region, as opposed to something someone would add when there was content worth including. Would it make sense to (for example) suggest when a region is complex enough that it has grandchild regions that it should probably use the "primary" template? -- Ryan • (talk) • 00:41, 15 November 2015 (UTC)
That sounds like a good rule of thumb, though there will be exceptions. For example, some Malaysian states may not have grandchild regions, but each state is distinctive enough that all of them should probably still use the "primary" template. Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:48, 15 November 2015 (UTC)
Having two region templates sounds reasonable to me. I'm OK with the idea that a region with grandchild regions should (but not always) use the "primary region" template, but I think there needs to be flexibility both ways. I agree with Ikan's point above, and there are several Canadian provinces that also don't have grandchild regions but should probably use the full template. On the other hand, if a state or province has four layers for some reason, I'm not sure a mid-tier region should be required to have the full template if it doesn't make sense or would create a lot of redundancy because each layer of the hierarchy says much the same thing. -Shaundd (talk) 06:20, 15 November 2015 (UTC)
I agree that a mid-tier region shouldn't be required to have a full template. I think this will continue to be a judgment call, just like the differences between city templates. Ikan Kekek (talk) 06:49, 15 November 2015 (UTC)
Reduced criteria for mid-tier regions sounds like a good idea. --Traveler100 (talk) 07:06, 15 November 2015 (UTC)
I think it is a great idea to make most of the section headings under regions optional. The WP style hierarchy approach just doesn't work in practice.
I also feel that perhaps Region articles should rely on images more than text. For example a well designed sequence of showcase images for finding oneself around a region. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 22:50, 13 November 2015 (UTC)
Yes the See section should be ordered by topic rather than location with images. Here is the start of an idea. --Traveler100 (talk) 08:40, 14 November 2015 (UTC)
How many images do you plan on putting in that "See" section? There's an awful lot of white space in the Haddon House listing, just in order to make it stay in a row with an image. Ikan Kekek (talk) 09:15, 14 November 2015 (UTC)
  • I would just say that I Strongly support these proposed changes. --Saqib (talk) 03:51, 15 November 2015 (UTC)

Summary (16-November)[edit]

This discussion has garnered a lot of feedback (thanks to all who have participated!), so it seems useful to try to summarize where it stands:

  1. Regarding the proposal to recommend 2-5 sentence descriptions for the cities and child regions within a region, there haven't been any objections raised. We should let the discussion continue, but at this time it appears that proposal is one that is heading towards implementation.
  2. Regarding making "See", "Do", "Buy", "Eat", "Drink" and "Stay safe" optional headings, while this isn't a vote, there seems to be fairly robust support for change (by my count 14 individuals have expressed a desire to implement this change and two have expressed concerns). Obviously we want to try to find a solution that works for everyone, and in that effort Ikan has suggested a "primary" and "secondary" region template. If I'm understanding correctly, the "primary" template would basically be our existing region template, while the "secondary" template would be the proposed update that does not include the optional headings by default. The tentative guideline for identifying "primary" vs "secondary" regions would be whether or not the region has grandchild regions - example: California (primary) → Central Coast (California) (secondary) → Monterey County (secondary) - but the expectation is that common sense would play a larger role in determining region type than any rule of thumb.

Changing how regions are handled is a substantial change so ideally we will find something that everyone can accept. I would think that for a change this large that two weeks is probably a minimum time to let this discussion continue, so hopefully additional individuals can provide feedback and we can make an effort to find a solution that works for everyone. -- Ryan • (talk) • 03:29, 17 November 2015 (UTC)

That all sounds right to me. While I will not oppose such a model for the sake of consensus, I'm not a great fan of the primary/secondary model. If I'm understanding it correctly, it's too rigid, with the primary template requiring all subheadings, with the secondary template only requiring the mandatory ones. I'd prefer a unified region template whereby select headings (potentially See/Do, but definitely Buy/Eat/Drink/etc) are optional but included by default in the template. Then we can cull empty headings on a case-by-case basis, with guidelines stating that larger regions guides with child regions generally should keep all the subheadings. However, like I said, I won't oppose the primary/secondary model if that's what's needed to find a consensus. James Atalk 03:45, 17 November 2015 (UTC)
For what it's worth, I'd prefer a single template as well, but if two templates helps to address concerns raised then it seems like an acceptable compromise. If we did use a single template then further discussion is probably needed on whether the optional headings would be included by default - I was assuming that they would not be, and others seem to be assuming they would be. My concern with including them by default is that people will then be afraid to remove them, which would somewhat defeat the purpose since it wouldn't significantly change the status quo of our current army of skeleton regions with "overview" headings that no one is quite sure what content to populate with. -- Ryan • (talk) • 03:52, 17 November 2015 (UTC)
On the contrary, I think that would solve the perceived problem. If no one's sure what content to populate it with -- that is, if it's clear there's not much to say about the region as a whole -- then the heading can be removed. I just don't want us to get into a paradigm where editors don't even stop to think about whether those sections need to be filled or not. The headings are an invaluable prompt for such consideration. Powers (talk) 18:31, 17 November 2015 (UTC)
While I understand what you're saying and agree that the headings prompt consideration, I also share Ryan's expectation that in practice, having the headers there by default will result in leaving the situation largely unchanged. I'm not sure the question should only be whether "it's clear there's not much to say about the region as a whole". I thought that through this change, we were also making a choice to leave out the headers for regions where it's unlikely someone will fill them soon. For many of the large regions in China or India, I imagine there is something to say. It's just that leaving all the headers in will in practice mean having very empty articles for -most likely- a long time. Is there any other way we can prompt consideration? JuliasTravels (talk) 22:05, 17 November 2015 (UTC)
Given enough time, I'd say there probably are sufficient things to fill every heading in every single region article we have, it is just that when someone visits Barcelona for a few days they have generally little to say about Catalonia as a whole. We need to recognize that contributors are generally enthused in writing about cities and countries, and much less so the regions in between them.
I think this flexibility to include headings is a good idea, and I am someone making efforts to fill in regional information for South Korea and Australia presently. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 22:23, 17 November 2015 (UTC)
To reply specifically to JuliasTravels's point: I think we're in agreement about "large regions in China or India" if by that, you mean subdivisions of Indian states and Chinese provinces. However, I would not countenance removing all of these subheadings from first-order subdivisions of those two countries. To take one example, in general, each Indian state and Chinese province has its own cuisine, and all are notable. Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:30, 18 November 2015 (UTC)
My point was rather that we need to make clear which problem we are trying to solve. Is it the issue of empty articles for regions where there's simply not much to say (which I imagine is only a small percentage) or is it the issue that region articles in general (so thousands of them) are empty because there might be something to say about them (by someone who knows the region well), but no-one here can or wants to now. To me, the first issue isn't really much of an issue at all; I've always considered policy and practice to be flexible enough for common sense, and I've incidentally changed and deleted headers in all kinds of articles if I know them to be irrelevant for that particular destination. I think, it's the second issue that makes our website look bad, and we need an (intermediate) solution for the big pile of empty region articles. JuliasTravels (talk) 10:43, 18 November 2015 (UTC)
Are we not looking at this the wrong way? Most regions you can fill the sections with something but having does this for a few interim regions it is a lot of effort and understand why it is not done often enough. So if there is nothing to say on a region or no one want to put the time in to say something, then remove the page. Move the city articles up the hierarchy until there is a region with content. Now keep the limit of 9 articles to the main cities list but have a new section called something like Further Destinations or Additional Destinations. Here list the small settlements and outline city articles, but list maybe 4 or 5 per line and organize by the removed regions.--Traveler100 (talk) 07:44, 18 November 2015 (UTC)
Hold on, I really don't like the idea of removing structure (either article or hierarchy) that may be needed in the future just because we haven't gotten to it yet. Wikipedia has a principle: Wikipedia:There is no deadline. Just because something isn't quite ready yet isn't a reason to avoid or undo the establishment of a structure for future contributions. If the problem that Ryan was trying to solve is that the region articles aren't useful enough, then removing sections and removing region articles doesn't do much to fix that. The part of his proposal that addresses that problem is expanding the sub-element descriptions so that the reader has some guidance. If the problem being solved, though, is supposed to be simply the fact that some sections are empty, I have to ask what's the big deal. There is no deadline, and unless we've actively determined that there's nothing to say on a particular topic for a particular region, why remove the structure? Powers (talk) 15:25, 18 November 2015 (UTC)
I'd also be concerned about removing region pages just because there isn't sufficient information. I suspect it would result in many of those regions never being created and the parent regions having long lists.
As to the issue of empty sections, WP and WV aren't the same. WP doesn't have standard article templates so it isn't always obvious when an article is incomplete, whereas our use of standard sections makes it look like we're missing information. I definitely think readers could equate incomplete with unreliable, and that's a problem. With Ryan's proposal a lot more information is included in subregion/destination descriptions, the Understand section and the intro -- if these expanded sections can competently cover off the main attractions, specific cuisine, etc. for a region then it makes sense (in my mind) to remove the See, Do, Eat (etc) subheaders (i) to reduce redundancy, and (ii) so we don't have a bunch of blank or marginally filled sections that potentially make our site look unreliable.
Another way I find of looking at it is to think back to the old LP paper guides. Each top level region had its own chapter with multi-paragraph introduction, highlights box and map. Those top-level regions were sometimes broken into smaller subregions to make the larger region more comprehensible (or I'm assuming that's why). The subregions were called out with a different style heading, but the intro was only one or two paragraphs and there was no highlights box. I think there's a great deal of sense in that. My perception is a lot of our mid-tier regions are creations we've made to help the reader navigate the larger province/state/cultural/traditional region. As such, I think it makes more sense to focus subregion guides on the destinations rather than treat the subregion as being equal to the province/state/cultural/traditional region. -Shaundd (talk) 18:09, 18 November 2015 (UTC)
This is a wiki! We want incomplete guides to look incomplete. Incomplete guides that look complete don't get edited. Powers (talk) 18:13, 18 November 2015 (UTC)
Yeah, I guess that's one of the tensions with using a wiki to provide a service/product. Wiki authors are attracted to incomplete looking guides; the people relying on our guides for advice want something that is reliable (and that includes looking complete and reliable). I don't have an answer for that one, other than waving my magic wand and hoping we get more authors! :-) -Shaundd (talk) 18:21, 18 November 2015 (UTC)
In more seriousness, what I was trying to get at in my post is what is "complete" and should it be different for some (say, mid-tier) regions? Does Thompson-Okanagan, for example, really need as much detail as its parent (BC) and, more specifically, does it really need a bunch of detail about wineries when it will also be covered in a child region (Okanagan) and its parent region (BC). My position is no (provided it is covered in the region/city description or Understand), and so the guide would be complete without all of the extra sub-headings. -Shaundd (talk) 18:29, 18 November 2015 (UTC)
(edit conflict) To clarify the intent of this proposal, as stated in the initial comment in this thread, I don't think the main problem with region articles is lack of attention from editors leading to incomplete region articles, and I'm not suggesting we remove headings just to make articles "look complete". Instead, I think the problem is that we've structured the region template with sections that ask editors to describe the sights/activities/food of a region like Desert (California) in a way that doesn't just involve creating a list of attractions that duplicates content in lower-level articles. Shaundd summarized the goal of the proposal well, but to reiterate, our region articles would still include relevant information about sights, activities, etc, but that information would primarily be contained in the "Cities", "Regions" and "Understand" section. Thus in Desert (California) editors would be adding descriptions that mentioned highlights in Barstow or Death Valley, which is a more logical way to cover that information than a "See" or "Eat" section for the entire region. -- Ryan • (talk) • 18:42, 18 November 2015 (UTC)
I don't think it's necessarily more logical to do it that way. I'm certainly in favor of adding more information to the sub-element listings (Cities/ODs or Subregions), but I don't see how you could comprehensively cover a region's broad attributes solely with a location-based approach -- and especially so not in just 3-5 sentences each. Powers (talk) 00:49, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
Well, that depends on the region. Sure, sometimes you have a region where describing the individual cities and towns alone isn't enough--hence a case where you include See, Do, Eat, etc. But I think more often than not our region pages are more like this. I think a location-based approach like Ryan is proposing would work just fine there. PerryPlanet (talk) 02:32, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
Possible ways to add content to intermediate regions (have been looking into this). For See and Do summaries what is in some of the city articles by subject such as Anglesey#See #Do. For Eat, Drink and Sleep, advice on which cities have the best or list a few highlights such as Inland Cities (Orange County)#Eat #Drink #Sleep.
I think Inland Cities (Orange County)#Sleep is a good example of an optional section that could be added by someone who has a useful overview to include - note that "Sleep" is already an optional heading for regions, so in that particular example nothing changes from how we do things today. I think Anglesey#See is actually sort of an example of the problem of these "overview" sections since it seems like a haphazard list of attractions and business (including a photographer?), which isn't really what those sections are meant to contain. I think Bali#See is a better example of what a region's "See" section should look like, but again, if someone is knowledgeable enough to write a section like that for a region they are welcome to add an optional "See" section and do so, we just wouldn't require it by default since that information can be more easily captured in the city and region descriptions, or in the "Understand" section for broad generalities. -- Ryan • (talk) • 19:52, 18 November 2015 (UTC)
I agree with Ryan. To me -- and apologies in advance because I'm not meaning to rubbish Traveler100's hard work even though it probably sounds very critical -- Anglesey highlights the weakness of our current approach to regions. I know nothing about Anglesey and after reading through the guide (usable status), I still don't know how to approach a visit to the region. I've learned the names of towns and villages and I know there are some historical buildings, beautiful beaches, parks and hiking trails, but there isn't enough information for me to really differentiate the destinations or what I should be excited about and thus plan my trip around. Some of this is probably related to the way I use a travel guide, but I do think applying the structure proposed by Ryan would make Anglesey (and many of our regions, including ones I've written) more useful. -Shaundd (talk) 00:07, 19 November 2015 (UTC)

[unindent] I think there are various possible good outcomes of this discussion, but there is one that is not good: No change. No change means that a slew of region articles continue to be useless for readers and travelers. I hope we don't lose sight of that and keep it in mind while thrashing out precisely what should change and in which types of articles. Ikan Kekek (talk) 04:28, 19 November 2015 (UTC)

Not sure if mentioned already, but sites such as Lonely Planet have a more visually engaging, if somewhat information poor, way of presenting regions: Andrewssi2 (talk) 05:25, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
They aren't able to link to Commons, though, which is an advantage we have here. Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:29, 19 November 2015 (UTC)

Summary (21-November)[edit]

In an effort to move this discussion to a conclusion, here is where things seem to stand:

  1. There is sufficient support to move forward with the proposal to recommend 2-5 sentence descriptions for the cities and child regions within a region.
  2. There is sufficient support to make the "See", "Do", "Buy", "Eat", "Drink" and "Stay safe" headings for a region article optional, although it is unclear if they should continue to be a part of the default region article template or not.

Since the main sticking point seems to be when when to include these headings and when to leave them out, our options would seem to be the following:

  1. Include the headings in the default template, but note that they are optional. Based on the fact that there seems be a consensus to allow the headings to become optional, this would be the default option if there isn't agreement on an alternative.
  2. Exclude the headings from the default template, but note that they should be re-added when relevant.
  3. Create two region article templates, similar to how we handle WV:Small city article template vs WV:Big city article template. The "primary region article template" would include the optional headings by default, while the "secondary region article template" would exclude them by default. The proposed rule of thumb for primary vs. secondary would be whether or not the region contains grandchild regions - example: California (primary) → Central Coast (California) (secondary) → Monterey County (secondary) - but the expectation is that common sense would play a larger role in determining region type than any rule of thumb.

After reading everyone's feedback, I've changed my original opinion and would be most in favor of option #3. With that option we would still essentially have a single region article template, but having an "optional headings included" and an "optional headings excluded" view of that template should hopefully address concerns about the fact that the optional headings are more likely to be useful in high level region articles like Canadian provinces or Indian states, while still ensuring that they are generally excluded from regions at the bottom of the hierarchy where they are less valuable. Using this same approach of having different templates with optional headings sometimes excluded by default has worked well for city articles and would seem to be a useful model to follow for regions.

As an aside, many thanks to everyone who has commented on this thread. In general proposals for significant changes to Wikivoyage tend to be hopelessly convoluted and frustrating discussions that result in nothing ever getting done, but in this case people seem to be open to considering a change to a longstanding site practice, and the discussion has been civil while productively raising concerns and alternatives. -- Ryan • (talk) • 18:51, 21 November 2015 (UTC)

Of those three, I think option #3 would be my preferential choice as well; it lays out what to do and what we would expect in fairly clear terms. While I could live with the other two options, I think option #1 would lend itself to slow change since the sections would still be included by default in regions where they would never be filled, and I could see some confusion arising from new/future users under option #2 in terms of when these sections are relevant. #3 seems like a happy compromise in that it clearly illustrates both approaches and would (presumably) demonstrate the benefits of both and when to use them. PerryPlanet (talk) 20:42, 21 November 2015 (UTC)
Thank you for the summary. Ryan. All things considered, I also agree option 3 is the best one to address most of the concerns raised. Just for the record, I agree with the concept of "no deadlines". In a city article, empty headers actually give a fairly honest view of how "usable" an article is. I just don't think the same is true for (lower level) region articles. I feel the empty region articles (sometimes 3 layers deep) give potential users the impression that Wikivoyage coverage for a certain country or state is quite poor, when in reality the coverage in terms of destination articles (city's/parks/diving areas) is sometimes better than any printed guide. One important difference between Wikipedia's "there is no deadline"-approach and ours, is that Wikipedia does not use empty templates to start with. The fact that many articles in the same categories have more or less the same layout there, is the result of regulars structuring information when it becomes too much for one paragraph to hold. The proposal to make headers optional for part of the regions brings us in a similar position, but with the added value of having a ready to use structure of sections available whenever it makes sense. JuliasTravels (talk) 21:00, 21 November 2015 (UTC)
I'm afraid I still strongly disagree with allowing a template to exclude subheadings -- ESPECIALLY See and Do. In my opinion, See and Do (or "See and Do" together if necessary) are essential in virtually every region guide. And even for the other sections, I'm afraid I just don't see the harm in retaining them by default and only excluding when there's a positive consensus that they are unnecessary. I think, in a wiki, the illusion of completion is a much greater risk than the illusion of incompletion. And I think we should assume there is something to say about a region's cuisine or nightlife or shopping options unless we have evidence to the contrary. Powers (talk) 03:04, 22 November 2015 (UTC)
I had a feeling you'd object. But there are so many region articles in which it's very difficult to name or describe any sights or say anything much about the food and drink that shouldn't already be either in the descriptions of cities in the region (and restricted to them as peculiar to individual cities, not the entire region) or more generally applied to the entire state, for example (in cases in which we're talking about Southwestern Nebraska or what have you). Ikan Kekek (talk) 03:14, 22 November 2015 (UTC)
Should that be the case, then it should be simple to come to a consensus to remove the irrelevant sections. Powers (talk) 21:40, 23 November 2015 (UTC)
On the contrary, that doesn't sound like a simple matter at all. If consensus has to be sought prior to removing sections on any region article, how many people are likely to get involved in a discussion about some place like (hypothetically) Southwestern Nebraska? Not every region page has lots of eyes on it; in fact, many don't. This is an area where I would want to encourage people to plunge forward, not set up a hurdle for them. PerryPlanet (talk) 22:19, 23 November 2015 (UTC)
A hurdle to what? Removing section headers? I'm afraid I just don't see the urgency. If a region article is up for a starnom, then the issue of empty sections becomes relevant, and at that point there'll be plenty of people to participate in a discussion. Before that, if no consensus can be formed, what's the harm?
And I should point out that consensus doesn't require a large discussion. Lack of objection to a proposal constitutes consensus, as long as interested parties have had a fair chance to comment.
-- Powers (talk) 00:11, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
I'm foreseeing someone proposing the Secondary Region Template for a bunch of articles, you objecting on a global basis because you object to the template, and a consensus thereby never forming in favor of the new template in any article. Can you reassure us about this as a likely outcome if a proposal to change the template is required for each individual region article? Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:25, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
Hold up, hold up, let's assume good faith here. I may disagree with LtPowers on this one, but I certainly don't think he's that petty. PerryPlanet (talk) 00:37, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
I'm not assuming bad faith. I think that Powers has good reasons to want to maintain the full region template for every region, so if he were to oppose the removal of empty section headings in every case, it would be for a principled reason. Yet I would still like the reassurance I asked for above. Ikan Kekek (talk) 01:03, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
Why should it take a starnom to draw people to a discussion as to whether or not to remove section headers? Also, I want to point out that our own consensus policy clearly says "Consensus is not created without participation." I don't think lack of objection alone really constitutes "consensus" under that framework. PerryPlanet (talk) 00:32, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
While I think it's healthy to discuss differences of opinion and to try to find common ground, at this point there does not seem to be a solution that works for everyone, and while it's not unanimous, based on the opinions expressed in this thread we seem to have a clear consensus for allowing the region "See", "Do", "Buy", "Eat", "Drink" and "Stay safe" section headings to become optional. Once that change is implemented, if someone objects to an optional heading being removed from an article then that would be a basis for a discussion (just as we do today), but if we have agreement that these headings can be optional then no discussion would be required before an editor chooses to remove them. -- Ryan • (talk) • 01:00, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
I'm fine any with any of the three options as long as there is some guidance to when See, Do, Eat & Drink need/don't need to be completed. We've already created many region articles in the project, so I'd guess a lot of the work will be addressing how to fix existing regions rather than creating new ones. I think #3 will probably provide the most clarity, but I'm not too fussed one way or the other. -Shaundd (talk) 04:56, 23 November 2015 (UTC)
I would have to disagree. #3 would be rather confusing since there is no criteria whatsoever for a 'full region template' and a 'partial region template'. It just comes down to 'common sense', which doesn't mean a lot since typically you would have to start filling in a region article before you know for sure if those sections are needed or not.
I would prefer option #2 , since it would be a clear communication as to what a region article should be at a minimum. Andrewssi2 (talk) 22:48, 23 November 2015 (UTC)
I have some counterpoints to your argument. First, has the type of city template used for articles been tremendously controversial and confusing? Hasn't the selection of the small, big or huge city template been mostly a matter of "common sense", except in cases in which districting needed discussion? Second, don't you think everyone would agree easily that the following should get the "primary region template"?
US states; Canadian provinces; Australian states; nations (England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland) of the UK; traditional regions of France, Italy and Spain; Chinese provinces; Indian states; South African provinces; the North and South Islands of New Zealand.
I think that we should build in a policy of when in doubt, choose the "primary region template". The fact, for example, that not every Mexican state has a good region article doesn't mean that it doesn't merit a primary region template. Ikan Kekek (talk) 23:47, 23 November 2015 (UTC)
I tried reading the proposal again between 'primary' and 'secondary' regions. I'm wondering, are there really that many potential 'Primary' regions still left to create?
If there are not many left, then wouldn't it be confusing to provide the option to create one? --Andrewssi2 (talk) 01:51, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
No, because at some future point, there may be a decision to change the regions of a country - for example, when provinces are shifted or a new one is created. But what you really point out is that the primary region structure would require no change, so all that we're talking about is changing regions that are pretty indisputably secondary to the secondary region template. And again, when in doubt, we shouldn't change. Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:34, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
Just to explain my thinking on why I said "I think #3 will provide the most clarity", it's because I feel two templates provide more opportunity to explain why one would be used over the other. Info like Ikan's list of regions above that should get the "primary region" template or Ryan's proposed rule of thumb (re grandchild regions) can be included in the preamble/description at the top of the template. I think it would be harder to get that level of description into options 1 and 2. -Shaundd (talk) 04:54, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
Ryan's summary seems fair to me. I think LtPowers concerns are not unjustified in principle, but some of the underlying assumptions seem flawed:
  1. ) The assumption that all the empty region articles do no harm. I really think they do. As I said before, users who browse through our country breadcrumb navigation (sometimes through 3 layers of semi-empty regions) might very easily gain the impression that our coverage for that country is poor, when in fact our destination coverage (cities, parks, dive sites) is better than any printed guide.
  2. ) The assumption that having empty headers somehow encourages editors to fill them up, or that not having them might inhibit expansion. I'm not sure this is the case at all. For me personally, the giant empty region pile is off-putting, if anything. More importantly, Wikipedia never used the empty headers and it seems to fill up just fine, and we have plenty of high-profile article examples where (almost)-empty headers remained almost untouched for many years. (Just think of all the empty See sections in our country articles).
  3. ) The assumption that not having these sections gives a harmful illusion of completeness. I own a large pile of printed travel guides, and with a few exceptions, I consider most of them proper and easy to use guides. None of them use the level of detail we have. While there's always something more to be said, it's perfectly possible to write a good guide for a state or country without having sleep and do sections for all lower level regions. In fact, especially for smaller countries or regions, we see loads of double information when certain sections are filled out. While I'd be fine with requiring a region to have all sections filled for star-level, and while I also agree that primary regions typically need those sections to be good guides, missing sections in lower level regions do not necessarily mean a guide is incomplete.
As for the method of implementation: I believe #3 is best suited, but I can live with the other options. I agree seeking consensus beforehand is not a good idea and also not needed in this current consensus to make sections optional. I think Shaundd might be right that having the distinction, like we also have for cities, might actually make it more clear what the choices are and why. JuliasTravels (talk) 12:41, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
Great points, JuliasTravels. I find it hard not to agree with all of them. I especially like your observation that having a bunch of empty sections in a guide for Southwestern Nebraska or some-such lower-level region can be offputting for the editor as well as the reader. Ikan Kekek (talk) 12:55, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
Can we agree on a few axioms for context?
  1. Wikivoyage is not Wikipedia. The methods and tropes involved in writing a good encyclopedia article are entirely different from those involved in writing a good travel guide.
  2. Wikivoyage is a wiki, and a functional public wiki requires cues that encourage readers to become editors, and for existing editors to continue.
  3. Taking incremental, uncontroversial steps and examining their results before proceeding to further changes is usually the best way to make changes to operational procedures.
Can we agree on these? -- Powers (talk) 15:43, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
I don't agree that taking the smallest possible steps is usually the best way to change things. Instead, in situations where glaring problems exist, it may be better to take momentum that comes from the time we've taken to have a discussion in order to overhaul things and really make a difference. I'm also not convinced that agreeing on a series of axioms would help in dealing with the specific issue(s) we've been spending time discussing. Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:49, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
So, off-wiki stuff has kept me from weighing in so I will try and raise a couple of points in no particular order:
  • Regions are by far the worst offenders when it comes to outline vs guide proportion; Districts are the best in that statistic. Make of that what you want
  • It may be that some regions were subdivided wholly or in part because of the 7+/-2 rule. de-WV chose to throw out that rule (with imho not all that good results), but they still subdivide regions to a sometimes even more ridiculous degree than we do
  • Our coverage of groups of rural places in general is poor. Whether this is do to an urban bias of our editors or of our processes, I don't know
  • IIRC in some isolated cases like Thousand Islands things that have previously been a "region" were converted to a "city"
  • I think some articles like Eastern County X don't have good things to fill into a "eat" section, whereas others (like Franconia) do.
  • The sleep section is the most difficult to fill out for a region, no matter where it sits in the hierarchy. What is there to say about accommodation in New York state that's not WV:obvious yet still true for the entire region?
  • In isolated cases there may be stuff to say for sleep but none for eat (e.g. accommodation in rural Antartica tends to be sparse)

I think my main point is this: We do a poor job at covering many (though not all) rural places, while our coverage of cities is really good. Generally speaking bigger cities are covered really well and some exceptionally so. Another thing is: No debate about how to deal with marginal outlines (i.e. outline articles that have little more than the lede and a template) is helped by saying "but if we nominate an article for star status..." There is also the issue of region articles not being ineligible for status promotion due to quirks in their child regions. But I don't want to raise that issue again. Overall I am thankful we are having this debate and I hope that we have any outcome that differs from the status quo, as bare bones templates about Easter County X and other places are an embarrassment for the wiki and may very well keep us from drawing more editors... Hobbitschuster (talk) 16:52, 24 November 2015 (UTC)

In regards to the empty sections looking ugly or off-putting, I know that when there are empty sections on Wikipedia, there is usually a template saying something like "This section is empty. Please expand!". Make of that what you will. I think this point is more of a wiki thing than an encyclopedia thing and is still relevant for a travel wiki. I personally don't like the look of empty sections without at least something in them.
There seem to be two types of empty sections in Wikivoyage. Sometimes the section is clearly useful but happens to be empty because nobody has added any information yet. At other times the section will never contain anything useful for a traveller. The former is found everywhere while the latter is mainly confined to region articles, and is why these sections should become optional. Gizza (roam) 11:22, 27 November 2015 (UTC)
Something I haven't yet said but I think is significant is that, regardless of what happens, this proposal has awoken an interest in our region articles that I've never experienced before, and I hope this is true of others as well. For me, region pages have always been the tedious extraneous pages that never felt inviting to contribute to and instead were mainly just a dumping ground for content that didn't easily fit into any specific city article. As JuliasTravels suggested above, an empty "See" section never felt like an invitation to add content, but rather a massive undertaking that never seemed worth the time. It can be hard enough to summarize a huge city's attractions into a nice, pleasing paragraph; when you're dealing with a region that might contain cities, suburbs, towns, rural areas and wilderness — in short, a huge variety of settings with very different characteristics and types of attractions — it can seem nearly impossible to come up with a meaningful way of summarizing all that in a way that isn't just a list of the most popular attractions in the region. Not only does that fail to be in any way comprehensive, but they're awkward to put together because you wind up essentially just copying content from the lower level articles, which seems antithetical to the spirit of travel writing on Wikivoyage; after all, this is a place where we avoid using the same pagebanner for more than one article.
On this website (and Wikitravel before it), I'm the kind of content creator who tends to migrate from one set of guides to another (and back again) as it strikes my fancy, going through brief but intense periods of content generation for that relatively short period of time that doing so holds my interest. And in nearly a decade of doing so, I can't think of a single instance when a region guide held my attention for one of those periods. A passing contribution here or there, sure, but never an instance where I really sat down and tried to build an excellent region guide. And until this discussion, it never occurred to me that maybe the reason why that had never happened was because what these empty region guides have always asked of me was unreasonable.
tldr: contributing to region guides has never been fun, engaging, or rewarding. Ryan's proposal gives me a new hope that all of that will soon change. PerryPlanet (talk) 19:18, 28 November 2015 (UTC)
I can understand being reluctant to copy content from subarticles for use in "See" and "Do" sections, but I'm not clear on how Ryan's proposal solves that problem. The whole idea is that it will make region articles easier to create because one can just take information from each subarticle for use in the corresponding expanded listings. One is still just copying content. Powers (talk) 02:10, 29 November 2015 (UTC)
My experience has been similar to PerryPlanet's - region articles have never been something that I was really comfortable with, and as a result I've added very little content to those articles. Summarizing highlights of city articles is something that I find much easier to do, and since proposing this change I've been going through the Central Coast (California) region and contributing more to region articles than I probably have in my past ten years on this site. Everyone's experience will obviously differ, but I find it much simpler (and more interesting) to expand content within a section like Monterey County#Cities than I ever did with a similar "See" or "Do" section where I struggled to figure out what information was appropriate. -- Ryan • (talk) • 17:25, 29 November 2015 (UTC)

Summary (28-November)[edit]

Here's the latest attempt to capture the status of this discussion:

Feedback and tweaks to the wording used in the policy page updates would be appreciated. Ideally, as people begin making updates to regional articles based on the changes from this discussion we will hopefully gain more clarity on whether or not the default template needs to change or not. Also, there is obviously still some disagreement about making headings optional, so that discussion should continue, although given the fact that there was very strong support for making a change and this discussion has continued for more than two weeks it should hopefully not be controversial that I've plunged forward and updated policy pages based on the original proposal. -- Ryan • (talk) • 04:50, 29 November 2015 (UTC)

I do not understand why you and others continue to push forward with the drastic step of making those content sections optional by default instead of making the very simple compromise of requiring consensus to make the the sections optional. No one has attempted to address my concerns regarding the negative effects of this major change, beyond expressing doubt that they'll occur. Perhaps we should set up some metrics to potentially measure the effect? That would be a lot easier with a smaller change.
I'm afraid I don't approve of the change to the one-liner listings policy. One-liner listings must remain "short and sweet". Your proposal was to use longer descriptions for immediate subregions and for cities and other destinations in bottom-level regions. In my mind, those are no longer one-liner listings. Changing the definition of one-liner listings and making the previous definition the exception, as you did, is misleading and puts too much focus on the region-article format for listings. I would prefer to call the expanded listings something else. They're not one-liners anymore.
-- Powers (talk) 18:10, 29 November 2015 (UTC)
I just tried applying some of the new template principles for Shropshire, and I think it looks much better already. Note that we do keep content such as 'Talk', so it is still keeping some optional sections where it makes sense. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 00:05, 30 November 2015 (UTC)

[Unindent] Andrewssi2, shouldn't there still be a "Go next" section in that article? Ikan Kekek (talk) 15:04, 8 December 2015 (UTC)

Without the changes to the one-liner listings policy, the change in lower-level region articles that we've taken the time to discuss over the last couple of weeks and more wouldn't happen at all, so I approve of the changes. However, Powers is right: A 5-sentence listing is no one-liner. Should the policy be retitled "brief listings" or something? Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:10, 30 November 2015 (UTC)
No, we still use one-liner listings in many other places; this is just one singular exception to the usual format. We should keep the previous policy at Wikivoyage:One-liner listings and either expand the existing exception for region articles or create a new "brief listings" policy.
I'm afraid I disagree that Shropshire is in a good state. There is absolutely nothing in the article about accommodations or activities -- not even in the city listings, which are far too short if we're going to follow new region guidelines.
-- Powers (talk) 23:54, 30 November 2015 (UTC)
My feeling is that at the country level, descriptions should normally be no more than a couple of sentences or so, but you'll note, for example, that not all of the descriptions in United States of America#Regions are limited to a single sentence. I'm not sure what's sacred about a single sentence w/o period, anyway. The more general point is, don't make your writing more verbose than is necessary for the purpose of summarizing a place. Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:01, 1 December 2015 (UTC)
As I said, though, we still use one-liner listings in many other places, not just for describing places. I agree that the descriptions you point out in the USA article are not a single sentence; they fall under the already-existing exception I mentioned. But you'll note that the listings in the same article for "Cities" and "Other destinations" do comport with our one-liner listing format, and it's that type of listing (as well as listings of non-places) that we need to preserve. The changes Ryan made to the policy reverse what's the exception and what's the rule. Powers (talk) 00:41, 1 December 2015 (UTC)
When I updated the policy I couldn't think of any place on the site where one-line listings would still be recommended, except for "Cities" and "Other destinations" in country articles and high-level regions, so I made the "phrase with no full stop" the exception rather than the rule. If there are other locations I've overlooked I apologize, but if that guidance really does apply to just those two locations then I'm not sure it makes sense to call it out as if it was the default. On a related note, I agree with Ikan that WV:One-liner listings is a misleading name for that policy page, and given its limited scope we might want to consider merging that advice into more relevant policy pages rather than having a standalone policy page. -- Ryan • (talk) • 00:52, 1 December 2015 (UTC)
"Go next" is supposed to use 1-liner listings, too, but I can't think of any sections other than "Cities", "Other destinations" and "Go next" where that's been expected or required. Are "Regions" supposed to be summarized in a single phrase, too, in articles for continents, countries and large regions? Powers, which other sections use 1-liner listings? Did I miss any? Ikan Kekek (talk) 03:06, 1 December 2015 (UTC)
"Go next" is supposed to use descriptions that are less than a sentence long??? That section really needs sufficient detail to describe why a traveler would want to click on the article to learn more, and even if one policy page calls for super-short descriptions, in practice the descriptions are typically 2-3 sentences - just grabbing a handful of star articles, check San Francisco#Go next, Chicago#Go next and Bali#Go next, all of which use 2-3 sentence descriptions. -- Ryan • (talk) • 04:50, 1 December 2015 (UTC)
Actually, I just checked article templates, and there is no requirement to use a 1-liner listing in "Go next"; the instructions are to "Provide a brief description", not a 1-line description. Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:23, 1 December 2015 (UTC)
So it's not in the article templates, but it has been in Wikivoyage:One-liner listings since that page was created in January 2008. Just saying. Nurg (talk) 06:33, 1 December 2015 (UTC)
The format described in Wikivoyage:One-liner listings is our default for any lists not requiring more elaboration. For example, the list under United States of America#Museums and galleries. The Itineraries subsection should also use the one-liner listing format, so it's not just Cities and Other destinations. (I stand corrected on Go Next, though it's clear there's been some disagreement historically.) Powers (talk) 02:57, 4 December 2015 (UTC)
That begs the question of how much "elaboration" things need. My feeling is that we should use whatever structure is most useful to the reader/traveler, and whenever the structure we've adopted isn't practically optimal, we should consider changing it. I doubt you'd disagree with me at that level of abstraction. But my feeling is, while you disagree with some of the steps being taken, the adequate never precludes the ideal, so anyone who has the knowledge, time and motivation to produce a more complete region guide like Bali for "Northwest Nebraska" or what have you is always welcome to do so.
And note what I've been doing lately: I see that, seemingly, a lot of articles about US states lack any photos at all, or perhaps one. I'm not going to adequately decorate them all with photos by myself, but my God, I mean, California had room for a bunch more photos, and the profusion of breathtaking Featured photos of California on Commons went to at least a second page (I didn't look further than that). States like Vermont lack much in the way of photos in special Commons categories, so I had to look through the regular search results. New Hampshire required some searching in more localized Commons categories. Anyway, my point is, there's a lot that can be done to improve region articles and if people get more motivated to do so, they may obviate the need for further debates on Wikivoyage standard formatting someday. Ikan Kekek (talk) 10:51, 4 December 2015 (UTC)
I don't think I was begging the question at all. Can you explain where you found a fallacy in my reasoning? Powers (talk) 01:51, 8 December 2015 (UTC)
I didn't mean to suggest there was any fallacy in your reasoning, just that while less than a sentence is needed for some lists, others will need more than a sentence, so saying that 1-liner listings are for lists that don't need more elaboration doesn't indicate exactly which lists those are. Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:32, 8 December 2015 (UTC)
So far, the only ones we've identified are ones used for navigation to immediately lower levels of the hierarchy. Powers (talk) 14:56, 8 December 2015 (UTC)
But not in every case, right? In the United States of America article, you support the use of more than one sentence for descriptions of some regions, do you not? Ikan Kekek (talk) 14:58, 8 December 2015 (UTC)
Er, yes, those are immediately lower levels of the hierarchy. Powers (talk) 19:29, 8 December 2015 (UTC)
Powers, sorry, I misread you to have said the opposite of what you meant. Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:50, 8 December 2015 (UTC)
That would appear to be because I wrote the opposite of what I meant. Powers (talk) 18:26, 9 December 2015 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────So I guess we are right now at another tangent, at least in part... What this debate as well as the current debate in the pub(and many other debates since basically the day I started editing on policy pages) shows imho is that WV has still not found the holy grail: How to effectively handle rural areas. Most of those regions are rural in nature and/or arguably an "excessive subdivision" along the lines of "Eastern County X". If for example we are to redirect real (but small) places to their parent region, they obviously have to get more than one liner listings... And sometimes places are mentioned in a "go next" but don't deserve a standalone article... In that case, one liner listings are also too little Hobbitschuster (talk) 18:26, 8 December 2015 (UTC)

One-liner listings[edit]

I do apologize, but I can't let this drop. The change Ryan made to Wikivoyage:One-liner listings means that policy page no longer describes one-liner listings, which (I emphasize) we use in several other places besides just "Regions" sections ("Cities" for bottom-level regions). What the page describes are multi-line listings; it then describes our one-liner listings as an "exception". I believe this is precisely backwards. We still need to describe our one-liner format, and not just as an exception to the multi-liner region-article format. Powers (talk) 02:22, 19 December 2015 (UTC)

Where would true "one-liner" listings be used besides the "Cities" and "Other destinations" sections of high level region and (some) country articles? "Itineraries" is the only other section that has been mentioned, but that isn't called out on the policy page, nor is it true in practice (see San Francisco#Itineraries and Singapore#Itineraries for two star articles that use multiple sentences). If true one-liners really do have such a limited use case, what about just rolling the existing guidance into WV:Country article template and WV:Region article template, and then getting rid of the current policy page? I don't think it is valuable to have a separate policy page for something with such a limited scope. -- Ryan • (talk) • 06:29, 19 December 2015 (UTC)
That seems like enough to me. It's not just high-level regions; it's every region except the lowest ones. I'm sorry I haven't found any more cases where the format is in use, but as you know there's really no way to search for them. I do note that the policy page itself uses the format as a self-referential example, a fun little 'easter egg' that no longer makes sense given your changes to the page. Powers (talk) 02:32, 21 December 2015 (UTC)
Can't we just change the title and distinguish between real one liners and other short descriptions in the text? JuliasTravels (talk) 10:57, 21 December 2015 (UTC)
What do you mean by "distinguish between real one liners and other short descriptions"? Powers (talk) 14:28, 21 December 2015 (UTC)
We can have a paragraph about the situations where we use actual one-liners, and a paragraph about the situations where we use short, 1 to 5 sentence descriptions, or am I missing something? JuliasTravels (talk) 15:21, 21 December 2015 (UTC)
Well it takes more than a paragraph for each, I'd say, but that seems like a decent starting point. To be clear -- the text before Ryan's change already allowed for expanded descriptions where appropriate, though 2-3 sentences rather than up to 5. I'd thought Ryan's proposal simply involved further expanding this exception to the one-liner listing format, but his changes were more extensive than I'd expected and, I think, unwarranted. Powers (talk) 22:16, 21 December 2015 (UTC)

Which section headings may be omitted[edit]

Obviously, "Regions" can be omitted in bottom-level region articles. "Cities" can be omitted if a place is completely uninhabited, I suppose, or edited as appropriate (e.g. to "Bases" in East Antarctica. "Other destinations" can presumably be omitted if there are none. I think "Understand" can be omitted if a region doesn't need more than a sentence or two in the lede. "Talk" is optional. "Get in" and "Get around" are where the rubber meets the road: I can definitely think of reasons to combine these sections (e.g., access to the region is only by camel or boat), but can you think of any good reason to omit these? My feeling is, if there's no content, something should be added. "See" also seems necessary to me, though it can be combined with "Do" if need be. I think the rest of the sections can all be left out if that's for the best.

So to sum up, it seems to me that the following sections are obligatory, and if empty, should have information added to them:

  • "Get in" plus or combined with "Get around"
  • "See", combined with "Do" when appropriate

Would you agree? Ikan Kekek (talk) 01:07, 17 January 2018 (UTC)

There was consensus a couple of years ago that "See" and "Do" were optional. Are you suggesting we should change that? -Shaundd (talk) 07:15, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
I think it's OK to omit those sections if the sights and activities are briefly covered in descriptions of "Cities"/"Other destinations". So I guess I'm OK with leaving out either "Cities"/"Other destinations" or "See/Do", but not both. But what about "Get in"? Could you ever see a good reason to delete that section heading? Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:40, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
I can't think of any reasons to delete "Get in".
I'm curious about where you're going with this (if there is an end destination in mind). Were you thinking of making changes to the region article template? -Shaundd (talk) 16:50, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
I agree that "Get in" and "Get around" (possibly combined) seem like they should always be included. Everything else seems like it could be optional, I guess, but I think some of them (at least "See" and "Go next", and maybe some others) are almost always useful and should only be removed if someone is familiar with the region and is sure that there is nothing to put there. —Granger (talk · contribs) 18:18, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
The reason I'm asking this question is that I noticed someone removing "Get in" and "Get around" from some region articles about Egypt because the sections were empty. I promised not to ping him in this thread, so this is just a discussion for the record that could be linked to in the future. However, one of the things that came up was that although there are some sections that are specified to be optional, there is no section that is specified to be obligatory. So if we agree that "Get in" and "Get around" are obligatory, it would be best to state that clearly for everyone's reference. Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:01, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
OK. I agree "Get in" and "Get around" should be mandatory (although, like you said, there may be situations where they can be combined). I'd also say "Cities" should be mandatory, except when the region is the bottom-level article. -Shaundd (talk) 05:37, 18 January 2018 (UTC)
Do we ever use region article templates for bottom-level articles? Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:02, 18 January 2018 (UTC)
I suppose not, officially, but I certainly do check the template when writing or expanding "city" articles on rural areas. --LPfi (talk) 07:29, 18 January 2018 (UTC)
Rural areas, as bottom-level areas, can have city article templates. Ikan Kekek (talk) 10:27, 20 January 2018 (UTC)
Yes, and they usually do. Still, the small article template, which is the suggested one, is not written with rural areas in mind, at least not to any large extent. I'd for example include a Villages section, or some substitute in Understand or Get around. I think taking a look at the region template makes it easier to get something that looks familiar to our readers, and which probably is closer to what we come up with when we finally get some standard than what I'd do reinventing the wheel. --LPfi (talk) 11:46, 22 January 2018 (UTC)
I'd like to see your proposal. But for the purposes of this thread, how should we phrase instructions on obligatory sections? I'd like to come to agreement on that and make the agreed-upon changes. Ikan Kekek (talk) 14:39, 23 January 2018 (UTC)
  1. I do not see a reason why the region template should not be adjusted from time to time. The changes up for discussion do not have an immediate impact on the region articles, they are merely, IMHO, improving the picture (over time).
  2. If you have edited a region article once, you will know which chapter are relevant and which not. Why do we have the template in the first place if now the goal is to move editing help into the actual articles. This does not make sense. Furthermore, I am actually more open on the questions what should be there and what not. I strongly believe each region article is different and some justify a standard template where for others it does make sense to include sleep listings and other chapters that you would not usually expect there. Why should we restrict ourselves with a stiff template that can never cover all circumstances? We are discussing so many things, currencies, time formats, etc. why not also whether somethings makes sense on region level or not. I think we have done that before for the Baltics where we agreed to put some Sleep listings into region level. Reasonable discussions and decisions can never be replaced by inflexible and supposed to cover all rules.
  3. I still do not get where suddenly the relevance of the "Get in" and "Get around" chapters comes from when there is a comprehensive "Get around" section available on country level. Many region definitions are highly of arbitrary (see Israel or Estonia) often not coinciding with regions description of other sources. How can this be a good basis for distinct "Get in" and "Get around" descriptions to begin with?
  4. I prefer something that is consistent for all chapters, because valuing some region chapter over another is really depending on the country itself in my opinion. But how about settling with a solution where we aggregate all chapters "See, do, eat, ..." and "Get in and get around" and then write a short "Please see on city/country level for details." if there is no information available (yet)? This way, editors can always separate chapters again and to readers it at leasts looks like something is happening.
  5. We have so many countries with unnecessary and even multiple regions levels like Greece and Italy. Do you really feel it leaves a good impression with the reader leaving such a stub labyrinth intact with article contain empty chapters for the sake of its template instead of giving the impression that the regions article function as a good direction sign instead.
  6. As I have tried to explain to Ikan before, I feel this constant sticking to stiff rules and not being able to have a discussion or at least some flexibility on a case by case basis does actually lead to many new editors (including me) getting frustrated. I mean, I updated the Egypt articles with new information, cleaned them from missing information and I decided to round up my work with some nice and fitting region articles - of course this being highly subjective. Nevertheless, why not leave it with this? Why not appreciate the effort but instead de-value it with such an insignificant discussion? I mean sorry, we are discussing whether an empty chapter should be listed or whether not, we are not discussing arbitrary deletions of relevant information or similar severe issues.
Cheers, Ceever (talk) 14:54, 23 January 2018 (UTC)
Your contributions are greatly appreciated and very helpful. You've brought up a lot of issues, and I won't be able to address them all now. I just want to focus on the specific point that the lack of content in a section does not mean none exists or can be added. And the reason there has so far been agreement in this thread that "Get in" is an obligatory section is that if you can't get into a place, you can't do anything there, so there's a basic question of practicality when a guide lacks that information. In terms of referring people to "Name of country#Get in" or "Name of country#Get around", that's definitely better than blank space or deleting the section header, but it still means the information isn't in the article. Having printable articles that are usable in themselves is getting less and less important, as smartphone ownership and connectivity are improving apace, but offline usability is still one of this site's goals.
I definitely welcome responses to all of your points and look forward to reading them. Ikan Kekek (talk) 15:37, 23 January 2018 (UTC)
Even in somewhat "arbitrary" regions, "Get in" and "Get around" are still almost always useful. See the four regions of Uruguay for examples—there isn't that much to say about how to get in and around the Central Interior (for instance) beyond what's already in the country article, but there's still enough for the sections to be worth including. Frankly, I can't think of any destination article on Wikivoyage where a "Get in" section wouldn't be useful. —Granger (talk · contribs) 21:59, 24 January 2018 (UTC)
The reason for the large number and extra layers of regions (including many which are frankly useless for the traveller) is the 7+2 rule. I'm generally supportive of the 7+2 concept and think it works well with cities and listings, but I wonder if we should tweak its application to regions. Gizza (roam) 22:26, 24 January 2018 (UTC)
The traveller comes first absolutely trumps the 7+2 rule for number of cities and "other destinations" in bottom-level regions. No way should region articles be created only because of the number of cities in a larger region. If you can think of specific cases, please post to the relevant talk page so that we can eliminate the unhelpful subregions. Ikan Kekek (talk) 10:06, 25 January 2018 (UTC)
I suppose nothing hinders breaking up a long list of cities in a region article, so that the 7+2 still works. If there is no other reason to break up the region, one can e.g. have the "subregions" as subheadings in the cities list, use two-level bullets or mention nearby destinations in the one-liners. I think the current guidelines are silent on these possibilities, though. --LPfi (talk) 12:15, 25 January 2018 (UTC)
That might be a good thing to do in a lot of cases, in fact. Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:27, 27 January 2018 (UTC)

What to do with listings that belong to a region, but not a city.[edit]

Hi all, I want to flag an issue with region templates, the guidance for which says they shouldn't have any listings. I've added a handful of listings to the Worcestershire page because these are not associated with any major settlement, so were not listed. These are things like country parks, large woodland reserves, and stately homes in the middle of the countryside.

The region template says this is not allowed, so an editor has added a tag asking for them to removed. However they have nowhere else to go, so I think this is possibly something in need of a policy tweak. JimKillock (talk) 09:25, 5 December 2018 (UTC)

This is something that pops up now and then. For some parks separate park articles can be created, and sometimes one could create a city article on the area surrounding the attraction. In many cases they can be described in a "nearby" city even when far away (when a certain city is a logical base for a visit). But when the attraction is equally close to several "cities" and there is nothing to create an article about in the surroundings, we have no good solution. The problem with including them in the region article is that they then look as the most prominent attractions in the region, although they often are marginal compared to what is found in the cities. --LPfi (talk) 10:10, 5 December 2018 (UTC)
Reposted from Talk:Worcestershire:
I understand the dilemma, but just how far are each of them from the next town that has a Wikivoyage article? Also, it's possible to have an article just for discrete rural areas. Rural Montgomery County. Uppsala countryside is another example. It does list "Settlements" but doesn't provide links for them because they are not intended to have their own articles.[...] Ikan Kekek (talk) 10:09, 5 December 2018 (UTC)
Anything from five to twenty miles? Most are also not easily reachable by public transport from these towns. It's not obvious that say Hanbury Hall should be listed under Droitwich, or Bromsgrove, or perhaps Feckenham, as it is a few miles from each, and has no transport links to any of them. I guess we could move this information to a "Worcestershire countryside" template. But would that really help people find the information they want? I'm not so sure. JimKillock (talk) 10:46, 5 December 2018 (UTC)
One way to address that could be to create redirects for each village or other likely search term to the countryside article that's created. I do get the issue, though. This site doesn't cover rural areas nearly as well as cities, and we have yet to find a really good solution for that problem. Ikan Kekek (talk) 11:12, 5 December 2018 (UTC)
All the attractions are within easy driving distance of a town. With Handbury example it is less than 4 miles of Droitwich town centre. If you are staying in the town it would be somewhere to consider for a visit. Or if you do some more research there is a small hotel and a couple of country pubs that serve meals in the area, enough even to make an article. For Handbury I would move to Droitwich, for Hagley I would create an article for the village that covers the parish (which includes a train station). --Traveler100 (talk) 11:42, 5 December 2018 (UTC)
Fair enough re Hagley Hall, which is close to Hagley. However, a visitor to Hanbury Hall would be far more likely to be staying in Worcester, which is maybe five miles from Hanbury. Or maybe Bromsgrove, which is twice the size of Droitwich, and also about four miles from Hanbury Hall. I think if I was a visitor to Worcester I might want to look for sites in Worcestershire, but I would find it very hard to predict that I should look through all the other town pages to find attractions that are maybe close but maybe not. Either the region page or a general countryside page seem much better solutions to me. JimKillock (talk) 21:35, 5 December 2018 (UTC)
Did we not agree about a year ago that it ok to have listings on region level when they do not fit into a specific cityor are far from reachable on a day tour? I mean, the Israel articles are a great example that this approach works very well. A region is between the country and the cities. Why not have let it behave this way?
@Ikan, would you support a discussion towards softening the region conditions a little to include those cases or listings on region level?
Cheers Ceever (talk) 11:58, 5 December 2018 (UTC)
That approach works in some regions, but when the countryside attractions are competing for region article space with more important attractions in towns with city articles, and the traveller does not know those towns are worth visiting, then we have a problem. Creating a city article should not effectively hide away an attraction otherwise listed. --LPfi (talk) 14:28, 5 December 2018 (UTC)
The region articles are an overview, nothing more. Individual listings go in city articles; this is done by having each city end where the next begins (by various means, ranging from including small-city suburbs as part of the city, sticking outlying villages in sections like Cobourg#Nearby, grouping rural settlements like Rural Montgomery County into a single bottom-level article or treating Anticosti-sized entities as if they were one geographically-large, sparsely-populated city or park). If Quinte-Northumberland#Eat is a general overview of local produce such as apples, strawberries and pumpkins in their respective growing seasons, it would be out-of-place to randomly find one individual listing for one novelty architecture restaurant in tiny Colborne (Ontario) stuffed in with the overview of strawberry farming in the entire region - and it would make this one POI look more important than is justified. I wouldn't expect individual listings for non-notable small village eateries to be in the region overview; they belong in bottom-level articles like cities or towns. K7L (talk) 19:10, 5 December 2018 (UTC)
LPfi laid out the problem with having only listings not in cities in region articles well. I also think it's totally fine to list an attraction that's close to a city that has an article and simply mention that there's no way to get there by public transportation. Some people rent cars or other vehicles. I will also say that if there are any cases in which there is simply no reasonable solution other than having full listings for some attractions in a region article, the relevant sections (See/Do, etc.) should begin with an overview in prose of the top sights, including those in cities, and then make very clear that the listings being presented in full are only for attractions in the countryside that don't really fit in any city article. Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:52, 5 December 2018 (UTC)
I think what is clear to me is that the policy here isn't very user friendly. Thinking about readers trying to navigate information, the current policy will lead to some of the following results:
  1. A listing that is near several settlements, but nearest a small one, ends up marooned on a page most people don't visit.
  2. Listings that are relevant to visitors of an area are spread across several pages despite being only tangentially associated with these places.
  3. Content relevant to a region is split across a "countryside" page for the region, and also a page for the region.
In my view, this is not ideal. It requires a lot of users. They must either visit lots of pages, or several pages that appear to duplicate perspectives. It may also explain why coverage on Wikivoyage is rather city-centric currently, as noted by someone above.
However, as I read Ikan Kekek's advice I will try to follow this for Worcestershire – the listings there are essentially in that category. JimKillock (talk) 09:34, 6 December 2018 (UTC)
It's completely possible to mention in other articles' "Go next" sections (or even possibly "See" or "Do") that x, y and z are covered in the [City Name] article. Ikan Kekek (talk) 09:45, 6 December 2018 (UTC)
That is also not hugely satisfactory to my mind. For instance, take the way that the maps work. These are a great tool for getting an overview of what is in an area. The more the information is buried or split across pages, the less the map tools can work. When the listings are in countryside areas, and travellers might access amenities that are out of urban areas, or from several different urban locations, the more helpful it is to view these listing together, and on a map.
This might also just be a development request, but if there are ways to link listings from different pages onto a map that links back to them, that might help solve the problem. JimKillock (talk) 09:50, 6 December 2018 (UTC)
Yeah, that's a very good idea, to show listings outside the boundaries of a particular article in a blown-up dynamic map. Ikan Kekek (talk) 10:14, 6 December 2018 (UTC)
I agree—something along those lines could be a real improvement. Maybe it would work to have some tool that would produce a map for a bottom-level region that showed all the listings in all the articles in that region. —Granger (talk · contribs) 14:40, 6 December 2018 (UTC)

Proposed change re "See" and "Do" sections[edit]

I propose to add to the "See" and "Do" sections the following instruction:

"Individual points of interest in this section should not be listed in a template. They may be included in paragraph."

Ground Zero (talk) 03:23, 27 August 2019 (UTC)

I'd suggest just "use prose, not a listing template" in parentheses. Ikan Kekek (talk) 03:56, 27 August 2019 (UTC)
Something along these lines is needed. --Traveler100 (talk) 05:50, 27 August 2019 (UTC)
Obviously, that's the ideal case. But it requires someone knowledgeable about the region to produce such a thing. I can't even do that for my country's regions, so how will some random stranger do it? I reckon he will just input nothing and we'll have regions with just city markers - while the IMO ideal situation is having top-9 (or however) in each region, in at least some form. Of course, if the list of POIs gets to a reasonable state, it's best to (re)write (to) some prose and summarize the possibilities better... Any editor can do that, but this would be better suited for the edit-a-thons, than as a rule for everyone. -- 11:19, 27 August 2019 (UTC)
What would make it impossible for you to write a summary of the most important attractions in a region of your country in a prose narrative style? What makes that too difficult to do? Ikan Kekek (talk) 14:00, 27 August 2019 (UTC)
It's not that it's hard / impossible. But IMO we should let/encourage the contributors (including/especially the random passers-by, who could know their regions best) prepare the lists of 'best of' for the regions in any form - and the experienced editors can come at any time, and convert it to something more readable (I think many of the local editors like to copyedit, in the end). -- 14:21, 27 August 2019 (UTC)
New users are always encouraged to add useful information. That doesn't conflict with site policy; it is site policy. This kind of page is not likely to be frequented by new users, but it will be useful to people who want to edit articles for optimal style and structure. Ikan Kekek (talk) 14:28, 27 August 2019 (UTC)
How about "Individual points of interest in this section should not be listed in a template. They may be included in paragraph as prose, not a listing template, with possibly a link to the relevant city article where the detailed see/do listing is. Listing template may be used, if appropriate (i.e. there is a website and telephone number) for region wide topics such as government offices or regional transport organisations" --Traveler100 (talk) 18:24, 28 August 2019 (UTC)
Why would government offices or regional transport organisations be listed under See or Do? This seems to be a long way of saying the same thing as my proposal. I'd prefer even Ikan Kekek's very concise "use prose, not a listing template" in parentheses over this. It's overkill. Ground Zero (talk) 20:34, 28 August 2019 (UTC)
Agreed. By the way, whatever we agree on will be a guideline, not an absolute prohibition on having listings in region guides. There may remain exceptions in which it's the least bad solution, but if so, there has to be an introduction that mentions highlights in general and then explains that only attractions far outside of cities are listed in full below. And it's always best to avoid that kind of situation in a region article, if it's at all possible to avoid. Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:59, 29 August 2019 (UTC)
Yes use prose. The prose could refer to very notable points of interest or it may not. It can be a general description and just mention types of listings for that region (e.g. this region is known for its beaches and outdoor activities). Gizza (roam) 03:46, 29 August 2019 (UTC)

Seeing no further discussion, I will add "use prose, not a listing template" in parentheses. Ground Zero (talk) 20:13, 2 October 2019 (UTC)

Sorry that I missed this discussion, but what I still do not understand is that in countries where there are only a few cities and town, why do we have to force listings into city articles, even if a sight is too far away to be even remotely relevant for the traveller visiting this city? I mean a region does not just consist of city entities but also of the space in between. Cities are cities with limited reach, not completely region covering entities, right? Why force listing into cities then? Why to decide which city to put it in, if it is close to several cities? How to prevent duplication? Why not have a mixture of city and country style on region level? What is the point of putting a sleep listing into a city when it is actually 50 km away somewhere in the county-side where it would be more relevant to the traveller instead of vanishing in between numerous other sleep listing in the city article?
This proposed mixture of country and city article works great for Israel, in my point of view. Why not take this as a good example to change the current practice towards a more flexible guideline that acknowledges that there are many countries in the world that are far less densely populated than the Western World and our point of view on listings and cities just is not very practical to the traveller?
Cheers Ceever (talk) 20:17, 23 October 2019 (UTC)

Options approach: If there was a right way of doing this that fitted all circumstances, someone would have thought of it by now. But POIs and their surrounding territory are too variable for that, so perhaps instead the guidance should just lay out the options, and leave it to contributors’ good sense to pick the best. Here are some statements that might be made, to be fleshed out with examples of pages where each option has worked well:

  • By “listing” is here meant the definitive detail of a place, regardless of whether it has a listing format, a map marker, or just text description. All other mentions on other pages of WV are just signposts and cross-references.
  • Does the place deserve listing at all, if it’s out of the way? Would someone travel to reach it, or be vexed if they passed by and didn’t realise it was there? If in doubt, don’t waste time agonising but plunge forward and list it somewhere, anywhere. That puts it on the record and grabs the attention of readers who know the region well – they’ll often get an automatic alert. They won’t be slow to say (constructively) where you ought to stick it.
  • One-show town: this means creating a “city” page that effectively only contains this one listing. There are many examples of such pages eg across Europe with remote castles and shrines. It’s a fair solution if there’s a local service town, so the rest of the page can later be populated. It’s less satisfactory if there’s little prospect of this, with just a car park and a few kiosks nearby - still it’s better than failing to list a significant attraction.
  • The listing is the entire page: this only works for major attractions that are so big that even when they are within a city, you couldn’t neatly fit all the detail there. They then get a marker and a brief description on that city page, or are flagged as “other destinations” within the region if they’re isolated.
  • Expand the city limits: put the listing in some city that may not be anywhere near, but that nevertheless acts as the base for visits. It may help to create a subsection within “See” (or “Sleep” etc) called “Further out”. Or the “city” might be just a village with not much to it, where the whole point of coming is to get into the surrounding countryside. For these, make sure that other outlying attractions are also listed there, and re-draft the introduction to explain the expanded scope of the page. Another approach is to create a “district” of the city for all these (probably donut-shaped), but that’s a lot of extra work when all you set out to do was add a listing. Same goes for sub-dividing the region into a county or quasi-city.
  • List it in the region, which might be called a “county” or “province”. WV tries to avoid this, but it may be the best solution for thinly populated areas with attractions dotted about, and where the “cities” are irrelevant – they’re small and distant and the traveller wouldn’t use them to reach those attractions.
  • Blurred or mixed categories don’t much matter: eg the host “city” might be a “park” page or otherwise extra-hierarchical. One example Barbados is divided into four pages: one is called a city (Bridgetown), the others are called regions but with no lower level so they contain the listings. This makes practical sense, and suppose some outlying centre grew to a point that its facilities were grouped onto a new page called a “city” whilst others were left as is, it wouldn’t invalidate the approach.
  • Differences of approach are inevitable but this is normal business on WV. If you see a better way of doing things than previous contributors, explain in the edit-bar or on the Talk pages in the usual way.

- Grahamsands (talk) 09:29, 18 April 2020 (UTC)

That's a very comprehensive treatment of this question, though definitely have a look at the section above this one if you haven't already. Some comments:
  • Does the place deserve listing at all, if it’s out of the way?
I don't think that's the right question. Regardless of whether it's out of the way or not, if it's interesting enough to mention, someone will want to be adventurous, and therefore, it should be mentioned (though if it seems questionable whether it's worth the trouble to get to, that should be stated, too). Then the question is how best to mention or list it. I do agree that it's best to plunge forward and list it somewhere. Your next three examples are all good, though I'd like to comment on this:
  • Another approach is to create a “district” of the city for all these (probably donut-shaped), but that’s a lot of extra work when all you set out to do was add a listing.
On the face of it, as you may be implying, that doesn't sound like a good reason to districtify a city. Moreover, it's irregular to create a single district article and not districtify the whole city, so if it's only for the sake of a single listing, I don't think this is a really good way to deal with it. What I'd add to this option is that if the attraction is really not that nearby but perhaps a long day trip away, under certain circumstances, an exception to normal "Go next" policy might be made to create a listing there. But really, a "Day trip" section of "See" could work, too.
  • List it in the region, which might be called a “county” or “province”. WV tries to avoid this, but it may be the best solution for thinly populated areas with attractions dotted about, and where the “cities” are irrelevant – they’re small and distant and the traveller wouldn’t use them to reach those attractions.
OK, so it's important to consider what the problem is with putting full listings in region articles. A region article is supposed to summarize the entire region. Putting full listings of only far-flung attractions overemphasizes them by comparison to all the major attractions that may be listed in city articles, and we don't want to compound the problem by duplicating existing listings that are already (or should be) in city articles. So that's a major reason why I don't like relegating listings to region articles. If we do it, though, there needs to be an explanation stating that listings are given only for remote rural attractions, with urban attractions summarized with links to the relevant city articles. However, I think the effect would still be to overemphasize them, purely based on how their prominence relative to urban attractions will be likely to affect the reader.
I think how to best cover rural areas is always a good topic for consideration and discussion on Wikivoyage, and since this is a time of enforced cessation of travel for so many of us, this might be a particular good time to reopen this discussion and see if we can come to an agreement about how to best do this. Ikan Kekek (talk) 10:21, 18 April 2020 (UTC)
Not surprisingly, I'm somewhat repeating myself. If you didn't see this post above, in this very thread, have a look:
Agreed. By the way, whatever we agree on will be a guideline, not an absolute prohibition on having listings in region guides. There may remain exceptions in which it's the least bad solution, but if so, there has to be an introduction that mentions highlights in general and then explains that only attractions far outside of cities are listed in full below. And it's always best to avoid that kind of situation in a region article, if it's at all possible to avoid. Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:59, 29 August 2019 (UTC)
Ikan Kekek (talk) 10:25, 18 April 2020 (UTC)
Graham's long comment gave a lot to think about.
A couple of things about listings in regions. Yes, I agree it should be avoided where possible, but it's also better to list an attraction somewhere on WV rather than nowhere. If I'm just adding a listing, and the right city article doesn't already exist, I'm not necessarily going to bother creating a new article just for my listing, and if I do it's likely to be empty other than that listing. Putting the listing somewhere (i.e. the region article) lets readers know the POI exists, and may give someone the impetus to go to the trouble of creating an actual city article that can at least be called usable. Also, it's not just attractions that might be listed in a region; Bourgogne-Franche-Comté#Eat lists three Michelin-starred restaurants that are in small villages with nothing worth writing an article for. France especially has lots of these out of the way restaurants or vineyards that are miles from anywhere. While putting them as listings into the region may not be optimal, it's better than not including them at all.
That sort of brings me on to the next point, in which I think that on a case by case basis, a 'city' split into just two districts donut-fashion (1: the core settlement, 2: surrounding villages, and rural attractions) could be a handy way to stop random listings from ending up in region articles. Or if there really isn't enough content to justify a split, then make it clear from the lede onwards that the article is about the town plus its surrounding countryside.--ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 13:41, 18 April 2020 (UTC)
Why wouldn't listings that are not in a city be listed in the "Nearby" sectioning the nearest city? Travellers will usually be using a city or town as a base for visiting the POI, so putting it in the city article would usually be the most convenient for readers. I think that would be best advice, and then there would be the rare exception to the guideline where it doesn't make sense to put it in "Nearby", and it would have nowhere to go but in the region article. Ground Zero (talk) 15:54, 18 April 2020 (UTC)
Yeah, that's fine in many countries, particular English-speaking ones. But the "exceptions" are not as a rare as you think. Some countries, including France, but also lots of developing countries, don't have the article density for it to be practical to list things in "Nearby". Look at the dynamic maps for, say, Hauts-de-France, Grand-Est, or the departments of Brittany, and you see big white spaces - great swathes of countryside and village that we don't (yet) cover, not because there's nothing there, but because those areas don't get the same attention from a rather limited editorship. I'm not arguing for one approach or another in all cases, just that we should be flexible and adapt our approach to the situation.--ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 16:52, 18 April 2020 (UTC)
I agree we should be flexible, and I also agree with Ground Zero that typically the best option is to put it in the closest city article. Sometimes no city is particularly close, though, or there may be two cities that are often used as starting points to get to the attraction. (In that last situation, I think it's a good idea to have a link from both city articles to wherever we put the main listing.)
Another option is the "rural area" city article, exemplified by Rural Montgomery County. —Granger (talk · contribs) 18:20, 18 April 2020 (UTC)
Trattorie in the countryside that serve cucina tipica (basically, authentic home-style cooking) are popular in Italy, too. But ThunderingTyphoons! and everyone else: Don't you get my point that emphasizing only far-flung attractions (in this case, eateries) in a region article has the effect of giving the reader the misimpression that the major cities in the region aren't as interesting as the countryside or small towns that don't have their own articles? Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:30, 19 April 2020 (UTC)
These are all valid arguments for why a particular solution might not work well on a particular page; but it's clear that there's no single right way. My argument therefore is that the style of the guidance should be to set out these options with their pros and cons, and positive examples, so the contributor can mull those over or discuss. It also captures what we already actually do - and if there are other solutions let's hear them. I suspect that casual readers will opt for "hell this is way too complicated, I'll just mention the place on Tripadvisor and forget WV". Negative glaring examples belong on a Talk page, to attract editorial attention to remedy them. Grahamsands (talk) 09:38, 19 April 2020 (UTC)
That's fine, as long as the con that I mention is acknowledged. It's not clear to me that everyone is even willing to recognize it, but I think that historically, it's been the main reason that we've frowned upon leaving listings in region articles. Of course the point isn't to discourage people from adding listings in general. Ikan Kekek (talk) 10:05, 19 April 2020 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── @Ikan Kekek: There have been a lot of points made by different people over the previous paragraphs, and if we all responded to every single point made by everyone else, we wouldn't get anywhere. That said, I recognise the problem of giving undue weight to small attractions at a region level, and have no problem with it appearing as a "con" in a list of pros and cons.--ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 10:20, 19 April 2020 (UTC)

I think the ideal situation is for every area that has any points of interest of whatever kind to be covered by a bottom-level article. Whether that bottom-level article is in fact just of one city, a city and environs, a bottom-level district (county, etc.) with no separate articles for the villages in it or some other kind of bottom-level region article with a city article template is not a problem. If there are any specific areas that are a concern in this respect, we should discuss them. If we would prefer to ignore listings in region articles for now as not a priority during the pandemic, we can do that, too, although this could also be a good time to tie these loose ends. Meanwhile, perhaps we should have another thread to give specific examples of localities that need better coverage, so we can figure out how to best cover them. Ikan Kekek (talk) 10:52, 19 April 2020 (UTC)
Even I would see the restaurant listings in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté as 'temporary' (albeit indefinitely temporary, until a better solution is found).--ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 11:49, 19 April 2020 (UTC)
@Ikan Kekek: I agree that overemphasizing far-flung attractions can be a problem. That's a factor that should be taken into account. I think now is a good time to deal with this issue, if anyone has specific examples of articles that we can look at. —Granger (talk · contribs) 13:00, 19 April 2020 (UTC)
I'll throw this idea out to see if it has any traction. To address the "undue weight" concern about having descriptive paragraphs about the food of a region, and two or three remote restaurants, what about creating a separate section for listings that would be preferably shifted to a destination article when one is created? Ground Zero (talk) 13:44, 19 April 2020 (UTC)
What name are you thinking of for the section, and where would you place it in the context of the article template? Ikan Kekek (talk) 01:16, 20 April 2020 (UTC)
This isn't a fully developed idea, so I'd welcome suggestions. Maybe "Places of interest" after the See, Do, Buy, Eat, Drink sections, with introductory text below the heading that says: "Here are some places in the region that lie outside of its cities and towns. Please check the destination articles for more listings." If others think this is a good idea in principle, let's work on the specifics together. Ground Zero (talk) 01:42, 20 April 2020 (UTC)
I'd be open to it as an optional section that represents a temporary holding place, with the caveats discussed above. Ikan Kekek (talk) 01:56, 20 April 2020 (UTC)
Please add whatever wording you think would capture those ideas so that we can get others thinking about it. Ground Zero (talk) 02:13, 20 April 2020 (UTC)
"Rural attractions"? Ikan Kekek (talk) 06:35, 20 April 2020 (UTC)
I was thinking of something that could include remote restaurants and hotels. I don't think readers would think of them as "attractions", generally. Ground Zero (talk) 12:13, 20 April 2020 (UTC)
Surely we already have the option to do something like this, with subsections called "Rural" or "Further out" or whatever? I suggest an experiment (which shouldn't cut across Ground Zero's idea) - Ikan, name us three of your worst examples where putting listings in a region has seriously messed up that page. If these could represent varied terrain (eg rural, semi-urban, or developing country) all the better. We discuss each on its own talk page to see what a better solution looks like. Put a time limit on this, because if the answer's not obvious within 2-3 days then that's an answer in itself. What comes back here is the summary outcome, it establishes case-law or precedent, and as a bonus you've had three horrible pages attended to. Meanwhile the other conversations and angles to the issue can continue here uncluttered. Grahamsands (talk) 09:50, 20 April 2020 (UTC)
There are really two related situations: "movetocity" and "movetodistrict". We can concentrate on the "movetocity" issues on this page, but it'll take a considerable amount of time to look through a whole bunch of region articles and find the issues. Seems like a good cotm. I quite honestly usually just patrol recent changes and otherwise work on whatever I like, rather than doing the Collaboration of the month tasks, but I may propose looking for listings in non-bottom-level regions and districted cities and dealing with them in whatever way seems most useful (usually but not always by moving to city/moving to district). Ikan Kekek (talk) 10:21, 20 April 2020 (UTC)
Here is a partial list of region articles with "Eat" listings. This should get us started. That said, I suspect in most of these cases the restaurants aren't remote or isolated, it's just that no one has gotten around to moving them to the correct city article (or the city is still a redlink). —Granger (talk · contribs) 13:24, 20 April 2020 (UTC)
That's quite a list, with some 202. I would like to have a go at the examples from Ireland because that nation has been on my to-do list for a long time. A first glance suggests exactly as you say, most of them just need folding into the relevant city. However my interest in this topic is that the nature of the land is such that many may remain unassigned, and I anticipate that the county pages will be a good home for them. Counties continue to have a strong identity in Ireland, where you've got the fascinating Museum of Pigs Ears way in the wilds with no plausible "city" home, and so on. But I'm reluctant to work on the place if disproportionate grief will ensue from adopting that solution. Grahamsands (talk) 14:59, 20 April 2020 (UTC)
I doubt there will be much grief about adding a fascinating attraction to a county article, even though some of us may feel it's not the ideal place for it. Having clear examples to look at should help us in comparing different options too. I think you should plunge forward, and when you get to examples that are relevant to this discussion, please share them. —Granger (talk · contribs) 15:24, 20 April 2020 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I'll also give an example of a listing I added to a region article, at Northern Gulf Coast. In this case it's not an isolated restaurant, but a large and fairly complex attraction. It's most conveniently visited on tours from Hua Hin or Cha-am (but tours from Bangkok are available too), but it isn't very close to any one of those cities, so listing it in one of the city articles didn't make much sense to me. In addition, since it's such a noteworthy and fascinating attraction, I wasn't too worried about overemphasizing it by placing it in the region article. But I'm interested to know other people's thoughts about this example. —Granger (talk · contribs) 15:36, 20 April 2020 (UTC)

Good listing, and a worthy example; anything with elephants is a must see for lots of people, so referring to it in the region article, and as possible excursions from Bangkok and Hua Hin, would make sense. But I don't really know why it isn't a 'Do' listing in Cha-am - it looks close on the map.--ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 16:16, 20 April 2020 (UTC)
I thought about listing it in Cha-am or Hua Hin. It does look close to Cha-am on the map, but the shape of the roads means that in practice it's not that much closer to Cha-am than to Hua Hin. On my tour, the driver first picked up two passengers in Cha-am, then stopped in Hua Hin to pick up four or five more, then drove to the wildlife center. Another factor is that Cha-am is a small, off-the-beaten-path destination compared to Hua Hin, so I have the sense more visitors do the trip from Hua Hin. —Granger (talk · contribs) 16:34, 20 April 2020 (UTC)
Another example: where should Capulin Volcano National Monument be listed? Raton? Clayton? Northeast New Mexico? Or should it get its own article? —Granger (talk · contribs) 17:53, 20 April 2020 (UTC)
My question would be how long would the articles for the volcano monument or the wildlife rescue centre be. We have a sizable Usable article for Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and articles for a number of volcanoes around the world. The wildlife centre feels less likely to work as a complete article on its own, but I don't know. Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:56, 20 April 2020 (UTC)
The volcano monument seems to be smaller and less complex than Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. There are no campgrounds within the park, though there is one nearby. I'm guessing it might be on the edge of viability as a separate article, but I don't know for sure. More info here.
The wildlife rescue centre does include a small lodge, but at best it would be a very short article. I don't know of any comparable existing articles—our park articles are generally for much larger, more complex places. —Granger (talk · contribs) 11:47, 21 April 2020 (UTC)
Task done on the Irish county pages, which had almost 200 listings. About 2/3 of them duplicated listings on a city page, and it looks like they were copied outwards by someone trying to populate a sparse county page - is this the pattern elsewhere? A third needed migrating and I picked the nearest city, which in some cases was very approximate and unlikely to be their long-term home. A dozen or so had no plausible home and were left as is. This does render them more prominent than other POIs, but not glaringly so. I think it will be a non-problem once all the county and constituent city pages are properly built, but that will probably be the same day that WV is able to display markers for crocks of leprechaun gold at the ends of rainbows. Grahamsands (talk) 08:09, 22 April 2020 (UTC)
Hah! You're probably right. Thank you very much for all this diligent work! I've gotten sidetracked by a request to help translate an article from it.voy. Ikan Kekek (talk) 09:20, 22 April 2020 (UTC)
And just when I thought Ireland's counties were done, I saw listings on higher-level pages, so that was another 30, and still there are the parks to clear, such as Burren. It feels more like tail-gunning than editing. To see if this pattern might be typical, I looked at Aegina near Athens and Pilbara on the northwest coast of Australia. Both would easily resolve by broadening a nearby city page, eg Karratha's scope could include Dampier, Roebourne and Point Samson, 50 km is nothing in that vast territory. Also several examples on Granger's list are called "regions" or equivalent but are the lowest level of the local hierarchy, so listings do belong there. What I'm coming to is, there's a legacy problem with misplaced listings that mostly has swift solutions, but we've no reason to get antsy over the few that might remain or later get added. It's better than not listing, and we need to make life easy for occasional contributors. So that's what the guidance needs to reflect. Grahamsands (talk) 14:20, 23 April 2020 (UTC)
Could you give some examples of "region" articles that are the lowest level of the hierarchy? As I understand it, most of those should probably be tagged as "park" or "city" articles instead, like Rural Montgomery County. —Granger (talk · contribs) 15:45, 23 April 2020 (UTC)
Okay here are some:
- Many islands are single pages, the majority called cities but others are regions eg Jersey. In that example, it was de-structured by merging the main town and a dozen itsy-bitsy villages. Barbados is divided into four pages: one is called a city, Bridgetown, the other three are called regions, with no lower structure.
- The Western Desert of Egypt has five oases, which get a page each. They’re the size of counties and are called regions. Their towns are small dusty places, and the POIs are antiquities lying some way out that haven’t been built over.
- Some examples are mixed. Thus, County Limerick has pages for the city of Limerick and the small tourist town of Adare. But beyond that, attractions are scattered: the listings don’t belong to any obvious centre and sit well at county-level. The second-largest town doesn’t have a page, nor is there much reason to create one, there’s little there and it wouldn’t cover those POIs. I expect this will be a common situation across rural Ireland.
- There are counter-examples of bottom pages called cities that are actually regions. McMurdo Station in Antarctica covers all the POIs in the NZ sector of the continent, a vast terrain, because it was broadened to include whatever you’d visit from there.
None of this should matter to the reader / traveller, so long as they easily find what they’re looking for. Is there some rationale around curatorship of the knowledge base why bottom-level pages need to be cities? Grahamsands (talk) 13:48, 24 April 2020 (UTC)
Agree that our internal terminology shouldn't matter to the reader. I suppose it's useful to follow the standard that bottom-level pages are called cities or parks instead of regions—that makes it easier to apply guidelines like Wikivoyage:Region guide status and Wikivoyage:City guide status, and avoids cluttering maintenance categories like Category:Empty regions. —Granger (talk · contribs) 14:58, 24 April 2020 (UTC)
Yes, the standard is useful for templates and guidelines, but as they are confusing to readers they should be as invisible as possible, not as in "This city travel guide ..." for non-cities. --LPfi (talk) 15:22, 24 April 2020 (UTC)
Good point. Should we modify Template:stbox so it doesn't show the word "city"? Alternatively we could modify it to allow editors to choose whether to display "city" or "rural area". —Granger (talk · contribs) 16:43, 24 April 2020 (UTC)
I'd prefer it not to show. There are many cases where neither fits well, and on one hand many editors will leave the default wording, and on the other, if one is supposed to make up a wording, they will vary widely. It would be good, though, to give some visual clue, so that more seasoned editors see which template is used (perhaps the categories are enough, do people look at them?). --LPfi (talk) 17:46, 24 April 2020 (UTC)
We could remove the word "city" in case of city/rural area guides, while leaving in "region", "country", "park", etc. for other articles. Then editors who see that the type of article isn't specified in the template would know that it's a city-level guide. Would that work? —Granger (talk · contribs) 15:44, 12 May 2020 (UTC)
I think that would solve the worst problem for me, although "country" may still be problematic for disputed territories. --LPfi (talk) 17:51, 12 May 2020 (UTC)
Good point, that's a reason for relying on categories and making the type of article visible only to editors. That would be fine with me. How do others feel? Should we gather wider input with a message in the pub? —Granger (talk · contribs) 18:06, 12 May 2020 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Seeing no objections, I've plunged forward and made the change. If anyone disagrees, we can discuss some more. —Granger (talk · contribs) 17:19, 4 June 2020 (UTC)

I don't think this change was publicized enough considering it touches nearly every guide on the site. I would ask you to revert it and post in the Pub to get wider opinions. In particular, by removing the article types, we also lose the links Wikivoyage:Geographical hierarchy, which is a useful page for the reader and not just for the editor. Powers (talk) 02:05, 8 June 2020 (UTC)
We don't have to revert the changes in order to continue the discussion. By all means, start a thread in the pub and make your argument there for why we should undo this work. Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:18, 8 June 2020 (UTC)
Are you serious? That's not how status quo bias works. (Plus, this is a huge change proposed at the end of a long, unrelated discussion, which isn't good form even without notifying the Pub.) Powers (talk) 17:27, 8 June 2020 (UTC)
  • As a side note, without any knowledge of this discussion I have been moving listings in region articles in Florida Panhandle and other Florida region articles to city articles. Now I'm aware of this discussion, does anyone disagree with those changes? --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 17:59, 8 June 2020 (UTC)
@LtPowers: I don't mind if you'd rather revert the change while we have a wider discussion in the pub. It's true that not many people commented on the proposal here. —Granger (talk · contribs) 18:43, 8 June 2020 (UTC)

Just another list of arguments pro "Region as a mix of Country and City style articles"[edit]

Let me make some points here why I feel the Region article style should actually be a mix of Country article style and City article style (including specific listings):

  1. Most region articles will never reach the level and comprehensiveness of a country article, still they have to stick to pretty much the same rules.
  2. There are often many city-like topics/listings that would wonderfully fit into a region article but are really lost in city articles.
  3. We already have so many region stubs lying around, especially where we decided to have e.g. 3 levels of regions (see Greece, Italy, Brazil) that are barely ever going to be filled with useful information (or if mostly with duplicate information) because all have to stick to the country style and are often just too similar. Having the rule that also listings can go into region articles would definitely give the feel that region articles are actually of any use.
  4. We have now introduced the Rural area article style for listings outside of cities, but I feel this just adds more complexity to the already diffus WV and makes it even less readable. To me WV always seems like a maze, not to imagine what travel information newcomers are actually able to find without the awareness of the complexity and different article levels.

Maybe these can be used in a future discussion ...

Cheers Ceever (talk) 10:40, 5 August 2020 (UTC)