Wikivoyage talk:Travel topic status

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This page is great! Good job, Todd! --(WT-en) Evan 18:56, 17 April 2006 (EDT)

Good start[edit]

Despite my exuberance above, I think this kind of status is only getting started. Wikivoyage's travel topics are our least-developed feature (or perhaps tied with itineraries), and it's not really clear what a star travel topic would be. The boilerplate text in this guideline is misleading -- it's unlikely that there are any listings in a travel topic, and the layout is not as strictly defined as for destination guides.

As usual, the main criterion for a star article is that it be of unimpeachable quality and professional grade. If I were put on the spot, here's what I'd suggest as star criteria for travel topics:

  • Article is well-organized in a way that introduces the reader to the topic well, and gives them easy access to more advanced topics.
  • Prose is readable, concise, informative, concrete, and active.
  • Prose follows the section on "writing style" in the Project:manual of style.
  • Divided into reasonable sections that aid in understanding the topic, and follow our rules for Project:section headers.
  • Article is comprehensive; it covers the topic fully, either in geographic scope or in conceptual scope.

Comments welcome. --(WT-en) Evan 11:27, 5 January 2007 (EST)

Covering a topic "fully"[edit]

In the current debate about whether the Teaching English article qualifies as a "Star Topic," a key question has to do with just what it means to cover a topic "fully" as currently required in the guidance. Clearly, the business of teaching English as a second language is so complex that there are books on the topic, and one cannot expect any WT article to cover "fully" matters that really require a book. There must be plenty of other topics in this position. So does this mean that --

  1. Some topical articles can never reach Star status, no matter how well they're written?
  2. We should reassess just what a Star Topic requires?
  3. I'm too anal-retentive about what "fully" means? :-)

Discuss, please... -- (WT-en) Bill-on-the-Hill 19:40, 30 August 2007 (EDT)

We certainly should not have star criteria that are unreachable by certain travel topics. Star status is useful as both a motivator for good work and as a pointer towards excellence worthy of emulation; it should always be a possibility. I've got only one reasonably clear thought in my head at present about how to get around this impasse:
Clearly delineate Teaching English as an overview travel topic. This would allow for more fine grained articles to develop related to specific aspects of teaching English, which could then be linked to the overview article. This would treat Teaching English as though it were the first chapter to a book on teaching English abroad, as an introduction. Having delineated the "topic" of this article as an overview/introduction, it would be easier to say that it covers the "overview/introduction" fully.
This would be a move towards having more systematic classifications for travel topics, which IMO would be a good thing. If we do categorize travel topics more strictly, we could even come up with star criteria specific to each classification. --(WT-en) Peter Talk 21:53, 30 August 2007 (EDT)

Outline status for travel topics[edit]


I'm a bit confused about the layout requirements and status determination of travel topics. Maybe I'm looking on the wrong page, but it seems to me that travel topic outlines are different from destination outlines, in that they will apparently be deleted if not edited for a year. Looking at Project:Travel_topic_status, it seems that that warning is the only template outline travel topics can bear. Why is that? In practice, some outline travel topics have been given a "normal" outline template (e.g. Rock climbing) while others have been tagged "usable" despite being fairly short (e.g. Round the world overland). I imagine this might also be the result of people trying to get rid of the deletion warning, and indeed it it would be strange to delete these topics.

Now, I was trying to save windsurfing from deletion, but I'm unsure what that would require? There doesn't seem to be a set article template for such topics (and I would say that's a good thing), but what would it need to be usable and thus off the hook? Or should I give it just the standard outline status? (WT-en) Justme 06:39, 13 January 2012 (EST)

IMO this is why we have the vfd process. We won't vote to delete an article that is being developed, or has travel content. --(WT-en) Inas 06:01, 14 January 2012 (EST)
I get that, and I'm not worried that windsurfing will be deleted now, but the vfd is meant to evaluate individual cases, judging them based on policy and common practice. In principle, we try to develop articles without making use of the vdf. So that leaves my more general questions about why travel topic outlines are different from destination articles. If there's no explanation, I don't see why we wouldn't replace the "warning-this will be deleted if not edited for a year" template with the "normal" outline template. (WT-en) Justme 06:30, 14 January 2012 (EST)
You can look at the development of the policy here, Project:Deletion policy#Incomplete travel topics and itineraries.
I kind of see your point. I see this policy squarely aimed at "Visiting secondary sewage processing plants in Southern Europe with kids", type article, rather than a single sport or such.
Practically, however, the threshold for being "usable" is quite low. If the article is usable, then apply the usable template. If it really is an outline (headings, introduction, and no travel content) then it deserves to be considered for vfd after a year.
Despite of some of the comments on the vfd page, I think it is one of the most effective collaborations on the site. It brings out the strongest arguments in content and policy, regularly rescues articles and images, and leads to policy development. I don't think I've ever seen a vote that I'd consider removes useful travel content.
Would you have contributed to the windsurfing article if it hadn't been there, or would it have been a content-less disaster for the next decade? --(WT-en) Inas 23:09, 15 January 2012 (EST)
Thank you for that link, Inas, it explains the rationale :-) Although I don't believe it's a proper policy for mainstream travel topics (like windsurfing or any other sport) I can see why it's been developed and how it is useful. When the usable threshold is quite low, it shouldn't be much of a problem. A final question again though (sorry), a writer is in principle free to choose headings, right? There's no template? Thanks! (WT-en) Justme 08:10, 16 January 2012 (EST)
Yes, the writer is in principle free to choose headings in a travel topic, however, there is a tendency to reuse existing headings where they fit, and use the imperative phrasing also.
I think there are an infinite amount of things that could become travel topics, and a finite set of contributors. We generally don't create a travel topic articles in advance of a contribution. Unfortunately, in my view, that contribution can be a non-contribution - with no travel content, and we still tend to keep the article. An equivalent non-contribution in an existing article may well be removed. I see travel topics as needing curating during their early days if they are going to be successful, and if they are created by a passer-by and no regular contributor steps up, they languish. --(WT-en) Inas 17:09, 16 January 2012 (EST)

Outline topic warning doesn't always apply[edit]

Template:Outlinetopic applies the "one-year" warning message to everything tagged as an outline topic, but do we really need such a warning for all pages? I find it weird that pages like March, April, May, etc. should need such a warning. And at what point do we say, "OK, this is usable now"? How complete do they need to be, and how do we determine that? I don't think any of the calendar pages would actually be subject to deletion if not edited for a year... Should there be an alternate outline tag for use in such cases? Texugo (talk) 13:04, 14 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Actually, the same goes for some itinerary articles too. Routes of Santiago de Compostela in France or Estrada Real may be at outline status, but they are established routes and will surely not ever end up being deleted. In fact, Estrada Real has already been through the vfd process once and kept for this reason. Texugo (talk) 13:38, 14 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Everything you've linked strikes me at first glance as usable per Wikivoyage:Travel topic status and Wikivoyage:Itinerary status. --Peter Talk 20:32, 14 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, I was just considering that the calendar pages are all currently at outline and all probably lack some headings, and Estrada Real is not actually usable: I just added some Get in info today, but the route is not fully described, i.e. most of the stops are missing still and the ones listed are too far apart to hike/bike between in a single go. Anyway, isn´t it a valid concern in principle? I can think of at least three other Brazilian routes that haven´t even been created yet but which, once created, should certainly be exceptions to the one-year deadline rule... Texugo (talk) 20:42, 14 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have seen this happen with diving topics too. There have been some topics that technically did not qualify for usable status because of one or two empty sections with standard headings. In some cases this occurs because the information is not readily available - someone would have to actually go there to get it, or do some serious research. The article is nevertheless worth keeping as it may be the most information currently available in one place about the site or region, and the editors can be seriously annoyed and concerned that their work may be deleted. It could lose us goodwill and editors, but it is nevertheless enforced as policy due to a consensus decision at an earlier date. The problem may lie with the current definitions of usable. An article can manifestly be useful when some sections are empty, and it is better to leave the headers visible so everyone can see we are looking for that information. A more flexible definition of usable may be better for travel topics. • • • Peter (Southwood) (talk): 06:40, 15 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Criteria for usable[edit]

The criteria for usable currently reads:

Has at least a good overview of the topic, and some useful material under each heading.

This means that if a travel topic article has a good overview, it can be made usable by removing empty and nearly empty sections. That is not what we do in other articles, and I find an article with a well thought-out structure much more valuable than one where the omissions are hid by removing the headings.

I find that the most common problem with new travel topic articles is that many are created without a clear definition on their scope or how they could be made usable in the common sense of the word. For destination articles the templates and the criteria clearly tell how you can improve the article. I think the creator of a travel topic article should always have a vision on what they think the article could be like when developed to the point of being guide. This vision should be outlined by the headings. Discouraging making the vision visible is very counterproductive.

Wouldn't it make sense to instead demand the following?

  • a good overview
  • an outline structure that covers most aspects of the topic with no obvious omissions
  • useful content covering the most important aspects

LPfi (talk) 08:32, 6 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]