Wikivoyage talk:Words to avoid

From Wikivoyage
Jump to navigation Jump to search

conveniently located[edit]

Not sure if we are ready to recommend something specific as alternative to "conveniently located". Judging by Project:Accommodation listings#nearest attractions, there is no clear consensus on this yet. Any contribution towards reaching it will be appreciated, however. --(WT-en) DenisYurkin 07:38, 7 February 2009 (EST)

I'd say things like "central", "near the North end of Elbonia beach", even "across the square from the cathedral" or "ten minutes' walk East of the train station" are fine, as long as they tell us where the hotel/restaurant/etc. is; the key question is "will this help a traveller find the place".
Giving info that is not there to help a traveller find the place, but for marketing is forbidden. Not "close to the museum and cathedral and only three minutes' walk from the gallows", for example. That is utterly useless for finding the place, pure marketing twaddle. Pashley (talk) 02:42, 21 January 2013 (UTC)

Adding to spam list?[edit]

Brainwave of the day: should some of these words be added to the spam lists? For example, I see no reason why any non-tout would ever use a word like "complimentary", and indeed a quick Google reveals a ton of spam using the word. (WT-en) Jpatokal 00:31, 8 April 2009 (EDT)

It would take a lot of work to just add this one term [1]. Most users just get confused when they hit the blacklist, and give up on editing the page (as evidenced by the many misguided bug reports we get for "uneditable" pages due to blacklisted terms). Regular users (including me) slip into these words now and then, and it would be nice to get a reminder via the blacklist to not do this, but I think it would totally throw off new and infrequent editors. Maybe this could work if we could alter the blacklist message to make it more user friendly? --(WT-en) Peter Talk 15:01, 8 April 2009 (EDT)
I actually changed it already yesterday, see MediaWiki:Spamprotectiontext. But yeah, ideally there would be a way to distinguish between dubious "tout-y language" and 100% blockable "xxx viagra!!!11!!" spam... (WT-en) Jpatokal 23:43, 8 April 2009 (EDT)

If you're looking for...[edit]

Here's one that's been annoying me for a while. I'd like to add this to the list:

If you're looking for ______, look no further! / this is the place! / etc.

It just strikes me as formulaic tout language and a waste of space since it doesn't really add anything interesting. Does anyone agree with me? (WT-en) Texugo 11:11, 20 March 2010 (EDT)

Yes, 100%. --(WT-en) Burmesedays 11:18, 20 March 2010 (EDT)
I think I used that language to help travelers find bull testicles in Chicago. --(WT-en) Peter Talk 13:22, 20 March 2010 (EDT)
Hehe. I can perhaps tolerate it for something unusual like that, but what I see most often is much more mundane, like "If you're looking for a burger and fries, this is the perfect place." --(WT-en) Texugo 13:39, 20 March 2010 (EDT)

Similarly, I'd like to add:

Whether it's A or B, C has what you're looking for.

How do we know what the reader is looking for? What if it is neither A nor B? And what place has absolutely every possible thing anyone could look for? (WT-en) texugo 07:16, 12 March 2011 (EST)

If it's neither A nor B, then it's not covered by that statement. This is really just another way of saying "C has A and B"; it's a bit wordier but also a bit less dry. (WT-en) LtPowers 09:58, 12 March 2011 (EST)

considered polite[edit]

Can "It's considered polite to do X" be simplified to "It's polite to do X" without losing any meaning? After all, manners and politeness are always a matter of local opinion, so saying that it's considered polite seems redundant. --(WT-en) BigPeteB 13:59, 4 April 2011 (EDT)

I see your point, but I'm reluctant to recommend against the wording. The "considered" phrasing helps emphasize that the advice is not universal. Take "It's considered impolite to shake hands with your left hand" versus "It's impolite to shake hand with your left hand." The former wording makes it clearer that it's a local custom not a universal expectation. (WT-en) LtPowers 16:47, 4 April 2011 (EDT)

Honestly i'd prefer that 'considered' was kept in there. MIVP - (I am prepared to assist. This way please.) (My main base.) 11:54, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

I'd agree with MIVP. Geopersona (talk) 17:13, 29 March 2013 (UTC)


"Tourist" has negative connotations? Really? "Very few English-speaking travellers identify themselves as tourists;" Any sources? I've never heard of this until now. "Recreational traveler" sounds like an absurd euphemism for something that doesn't need a euphemism. Certainly I happily describe myself as a tourist unless I live in a place or am visiting family (in both cases, merely because it seems inaccurate, since sight-seeing isn't my primary goal). Even if some tourists object (and someone must, to have added that entry), it sounds to me more like a weird phobia than a well established principle. —Quintucket (talk) 18:36, 18 January 2013 (UTC)

"Tourist" can certainly be a pejorative term among locals in places where there are a lot of tourists. So it does carry some negative weight; the term must be used cautiously lest that connotation be misapplied. LtPowers (talk) 19:11, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
It's used pejoratively by travelers too. I try to avoid it in writing travel guides, unless I'm using it the pejorative "touristy" sense. No one should use "recreational traveler," though—that sounds ridiculous. --Peter Talk 20:02, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
Certainly "tourist trap" is pejorative, when applied to some of the rubbish marketed at popular destinations. Use it if it fits and the label is intentional... K7L (talk) 20:17, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
I get what is meant when the OP says that "tourist" can be taken pejoratively, but in our case I think that it's a quibble. I see nothing wrong with using the word when appropriate, even though in my own mind I distinguish between "tourists" and "travellers". Seligne (talk) 06:41, 20 January 2013 (UTC)
I agree. I never or hardly ever edit "tourist" out of guides here, but I do edit out "touristic," which oddly enough isn't getting a red underline on my browser, but which I recognize as a Romance and not an English word. Ikan Kekek (talk) 06:49, 20 January 2013 (UTC)
I'm getting a red underline for "touristic" (Firefox/Linux, UK dictionary). I've noticed some pages in which the term "holiday maker" is being stuffed in with the rest of the CVB-marketing fluff, when did that start? Then there are the hotels where you are a "guest" when addressed to your face and a "transient" said behind your back. K7L (talk) 07:56, 20 January 2013 (UTC)
Also on Firefox and Linux, using the US dictionary, I see no redline, so it may be an American thing. The word sounds fine to me. I agree that "holiday maker" sounds weird to me, but I can't always tell when something British sounds weird because it's actually weird, as opposed to just being British. (For example: "different to" and "at the weekend" set my teeth on edge.) —Quintucket (talk) 18:54, 20 January 2013 (UTC)
I can kind of see the objection to "touristic," though not from questions of whether it's a valid word. In speech I'd use "touristic" or "touristy" interchangeably, to complain about a place that is overrun by slow-moving visitors gawking at the sites, with the attendant rip-off prices, aggressive hawkers, and attempts at scams. In Wikitravel, and in writing generally, I simply describe a place like that as "popular" since I don't want it committed to the record that I as a tourist sometimes like to complain about the effects of tourists. —Quintucket (talk) 18:54, 20 January 2013 (UTC)
"Turistica" and "touristique" are in no sense derogatory in Italian or French, in my experience, but instead refer to a sight that's really worth seeing. Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:03, 20 January 2013 (UTC)
Many words can have both a positive (or neutral) sense, and 'tourist' is one of them. Let's stick with it - if the tourism industry thought it was so negative then they'd call themselves something different, but they don't. Let's replace that piece of text. And whilst I'm at it, 'touristic' is gaining acceptance in English - it fills a useful hole and is likely to continue on that trajectory towards more acceptance. cheers Geopersona (talk) 17:11, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
I agree with you on "tourist." I don't see any reason to prohibit the word. I'm not as tolerant of "touristic," though. By the way, I don't agree with prohibiting "stunning," either, though I'm sympathetic to your plea for more description. Ikan Kekek (talk) 03:34, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

I agree with Ikan: "Touristic" somehow is grating, but I use "tourist" when appropriate. Seligne (talk) 03:55, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

Does anyone object to deleting the word "tourist" from the list of words to avoid? Ikan Kekek (talk) 03:42, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
No. I think it's a word to be aware of/careful with—not one to be avoided. --Peter Talk 15:29, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

Stars Ratings[edit]

Here is my own pet-peeve: the use of "5-star, 4-star, 3-star" or any other number of stars when referring (usually) to a hotel. Even our own Help Pages use the term with a straight face. My problem with it is that there is no referent: "4-star" by whose criteria? Off the top of my head I can think of only two cases where "star" ratings are appropriate: 1. When referring to stars awarded by the Michelin red book, and 2) Star ratings for French hotels awarded by the French government. In the latter case, mentions of star ratings would be restricted to France and its dominions. Am I off-base in my thinking here? Seligne (talk) 06:47, 20 January 2013 (UTC)

AAA/CAA award "diamonds" instead of stars... no idea if the criteria differ. K7L (talk) 07:53, 20 January 2013 (UTC)
No one talks about "4-diamond" hotels, so I don't think it's an issue. Seligne (talk) 08:25, 20 January 2013 (UTC)
Diamonds are used only in North America, and follow strict criteria that are checked annually by inspectors, making them very meaningful. Star ratings are worldwide, but they are pretty much just made up. --Peter Talk 08:49, 20 January 2013 (UTC)
A quick check of three random US cities came up with the following:
  • Portland OR: One 4-star hotel, no diamonds
  • Seattle Downtown: No star hotels, 3 diamond hotels
  • Dallas Uptown: One 5-star hotel, no diamonds

Seligne (talk) 09:27, 20 January 2013 (UTC)

I wasn't saying that we use diamond ratings—I meant that they exist. --Peter Talk 18:39, 20 January 2013 (UTC)

See w:Hotel rating for some background. Star ratings are not entirely meaningless, but there's no worldwide organization regulating their use. Some countries do have such an organization, and in those countries the rating could be said to be very meaningful and reliable. AAA/CAA Diamond ratings are the same. But, despite the lack of worldwide regulation, star ratings do have a fairly consistent character to them; one-star is pretty universally understood to be a basic, well-maintained room with en suite bathroom, bed, and telephone, while five-star represents the pinnacle of luxury and service. The specific requirements for a particular rating may not be universal, but the general concept is fairly consistent from place to place. LtPowers (talk) 15:47, 20 January 2013 (UTC)

I suppose we should watch for weasel words like "we offer five-star service", which technically doesn't claim that any external body (or which body?) actually gave the place five stars. (the Titanic can claim to offer "White Star Service" but that is a different animal.) K7L (talk) 21:20, 20 January 2013 (UTC)
Ha ha! According to the HotelStars Union criteria at the WP article referenced above, 90% of the hotels listed in the region I work on (SE Asia) do not warrant 1-star! Seligne (talk) 00:58, 21 January 2013 (UTC)

Applying hotel-style "star" rating systems to bed-and-breakfast accommodation is also awkward. If the system expects everything to be laid out as a hotel/motel where each room is self-contained (television and bathroom ensuite, huge lock on the door of each room) a B & B which is instead designed like a family home with the telly in the living room will rank poorly, even if the food is good. The system is designed for hotels, where restaurant and lodging are each rated separately as each is sold separately instead of in a B-and-B sized bundle. This is why we need full descriptions and not just "stars". K7L (talk) 01:30, 21 January 2013 (UTC)

I think we can agree that star ratings are not sufficient, and should probably only be mentioned if it conveys useful information the traveler (such as 'the only five-star resort within a hundred miles' or somesuch). LtPowers (talk) 01:35, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
Here, there is some discussion in Hotels and a Rating systems article. Pashley (talk)
Good stuff! I was not aware of these pages. Thanx. Seligne (talk) 04:05, 21 January 2013 (UTC)

The use of third person pronouns[edit]

I've been writing wikipedia stye, but I've seen some pages where "you" (wherein "you" refers to the reader) is used. Does that mean that it's okay to use those pronouns?? Thanks. Raykyogrou0 (talk) 06:30, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

Yes, it's fine, and it's actually second person. See Wikivoyage:Use of pronouns#Second person pronouns. Third person singular would be he/she/it/one. Ikan Kekek (talk) 06:50, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
Thanks and by "the use of third person", I meant if third person should be used like on wikipedia. Raykyogrou0 (Talk) 00:22, 8 June 2013 (UTC)


User:K7L added "a dining Mecca" (later changed to "a Mecca for dining" for better alphabetization) back in February, but I'm not clear on why. For at least 20 years, the word has been in use -- often lowercased -- to mean "Any place considered to be a very important place to visit by people with a particular interest." It's moved beyond allusion or metaphor to become an established part of the language. Its use may be an exaggeration, but I don't think it necessarily is. For example, if I described Walt Disney World as a "mecca for middle- and upper-class families with young kids", could anyone really object to the characterization? LtPowers (talk) 15:31, 15 July 2013 (UTC)

Without considering how the profane usage of the word is received by Muslims, I would say that the mecca metaphor is over-used on Wikivoyage. It could be relevant for a place of worldwide significance, but for most resorts it is an empty hyperbole. /Yvwv (talk) 15:58, 15 July 2013 (UTC)
I agree with Yvwv. And there are many good alternatives to the word. We could say it is teeming with such families, that it's a draw for them, that it's a favorite of them, etc. - none of those are perfectly synonymous with "mecca," but I would submit that any of them would probably be good enough. Ikan Kekek (talk) 16:11, 15 July 2013 (UTC)
I'm not really comfortable with "good enough" when we have a perfectly good word that means exactly what we want to say. LtPowers (talk) 18:08, 15 July 2013 (UTC)
I'm fine with how the line has been changed on the project page. It may be ok to describe the destination itself as a mecca for something (Disney World for families, Las Vegas for gamblers, etc.) but should generally be avoided for individual listings. Texugo (talk) 18:15, 15 July 2013 (UTC)
Listing an individual hotel or restaurant as a "mecca" is self-promotional. The result is hype like "Sackets Harbor is fast becoming a dining destination for tourists from throughout the US and Canada. Offering a variety of unique locally owned and operated restaurants on the historic Main Street, dining in Sackets Harbor offers options for every pallet and pocketbook... No trip to upstate New York is complete without a stroll through Northern New York’s dining Mecca: Main Street, Sackets Harbor." [2] Pure CVB fluff.
It's also being misued to the point where LGBT travel has at least one destination described as a "lesbian mecca" which looks really strange given the status of both women and gays in Saudi Arabia. The term is overused and often inappropriate.
It will, however, take more than just replacing words from this list to turn a promotional article into a fair one. K7L (talk) 20:51, 22 July 2013 (UTC)

This page vs. Wikivoyage:Tone[edit]

I've seen a number of edits to articles citing this page that have seemed like a degradation in style, usually making a point to remove the word because it's on this list, and not really thinking too hard about what's left in the article. This is a pretty good example—exclusive was absolutely the right word (if overused) to describe a neighborhood where there are invitation-only bars, neighborhood parties for only the politically well-connected, bars with $100 cocktails, etc.

Occasionally additions to this list seem like an attack more on the use of metaphorical language (like mecca). Edits made solely to excise words on this list can easily run afoul of Wikivoyage:Tone in dulling down prose, by replacing metaphorical language with lifeless neutral terms.

I think the initial purpose of this page was to keep writing from sounding like touting. We don't want fluff of that commercial–self-promoting sort, but we should be bending over backwards to encourage sincere attempts at original, creative writing. Stamping out all instances of given words is not likely to be a sophisticated approach to editing.

I'm starting to feel like it might be best for us to just refer to Wikivoyage:Don't tout to monitor for overly promotional fluff, and not try to create a blacklist of words. Another approach might be to make it clear that this list applies to descriptions of businesses. So while exclusive is precisely the right word to describe the D.C. neighborhood of Georgetown, it's usually going to see abuse in hotel listings. --Peter Talk 06:33, 17 July 2013 (UTC)

Much of the problem with the wording from this list is that it is promotional fluff; businesses are using it to describe their own properties, CVB's are using it to describe their own cities, but it conveys no useful information. One could just as easily claim that Hell (Hades) has "beautiful sunsets" and Sodom and Gomorrah have "friendly staff" without providing any useful information about either. As this isn't Wikipedia one doesn't have to be neutral, but avoiding overtly promotional language is necessary to be fair. K7L (talk) 21:22, 22 July 2013 (UTC)
The quality of sunsets and friendliness of staff seem like useful information to me. LtPowers (talk) 22:44, 22 July 2013 (UTC)
Especially in Hell. :-) Point taken, though. Ikan Kekek (talk) 22:51, 22 July 2013 (UTC)
I've rewritten the intro a bit to link to the various policies (be fair, don't tout, goals and non-goals, ttcf) and indicate this page as a guideline with the listed words as examples. Hopefully this should clarify things a bit, although the Gomorrah Convention and Visitors Bureau isn't going to like me for this. K7L (talk) 16:37, 28 July 2013 (UTC)

is located in, is situated in[edit]

This page says avoid using "is located in, is situated in" in articles whereas I noticed "is located in, is situated in" is being used very deliberately in majority of articles and even in some of our star status articles such as Khao San Road. I raised this issue because I myself often use this words in articles so I want to know whether I should stop using it in the articles or are we going to remove this word from this page. --Saqib (talk) 13:59, 23 March 2014 (UTC)

It's a tricky balance. In many cases, people add the unnecessary words because it sounds more formal and makes the sentence sound more advanced. In these cases, we should aim for simplicity and remove them. But there are other cases where using the extra word is either idiomatic or necessary for clarity, and it can be very hard to tell the difference between the two types of cases. Powers (talk) 16:01, 23 March 2014 (UTC)


I'm not sure we should scrupulously avoid "complimentary". There is a subtle difference between "complimentary" and "free"; the latter implies that the service can be accessed without charge, while the former that the service can be accessed without additional charge. For example, in a case that was recently removed: "Usually in converted houses or buildings with less than a dozen units, B&Bs feature a more home-like lodging experience, with complimentary breakfast served (of varying quality and complexity)." I fear that changing to "free" in that sentence removes the implication that the no-charge breakfast is only for paying guests and makes it seem as if the breakfast is served to anyone who drops in. Am I off-base here? Powers (talk) 21:18, 12 June 2014 (UTC)

If we need to make clear that the item isn't free but merely bundled into the cost of something else (the usual context in which marketing hype abuses "free!") perhaps "included" would be clearer than "complimentary" in this regard? "Complimentary breakfast served" infers that the merchant is offering some sort of favour, while "breakfast included" makes clear that the traveller implicitly paid for this as part of a larger, single-price bundle. K7L (talk) 23:08, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
Complementary would actually be more accurate than complimentary, except that "complementary breakfast" is not idiomatic and "complimentary breakfast" is. But "included" is definitely clearer, as you say, K7L. Ikan Kekek (talk) 23:11, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
I can see why you would make that inference, because you might say that the free services "complement" the paid-for services. But in actuality, "complimentary" is correct because it means something is being provided "with compliments" from the proprietor. Powers (talk) 13:23, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
Yes, like an amuse bouche being provided compliments of the house as part of a paid dinner. I get it. But I still agree with K7L, though I wouldn't make a Federal case about it. Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:45, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
"Included" would be fine, though it requires more involved work to reword the sentence. Either way, though, I don't think we should just replace "complimentary" with "free". Powers (talk) 21:12, 14 June 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, I think I agree on this. Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:46, 14 June 2014 (UTC)

"Comprised of"[edit]

Swept in from the pub

I saw an article this morning about a Wikipedia initiative to get rid of the term "Comprised of"

I noticed User:Helenabella has already made a start here.

I don't really have a strong opinion on this style either way, but it seems acceptance of this style is not universally accepted by WP. Are we comfortable with this wikignome initiative? Andrewssi2 (talk) 00:24, 6 February 2015 (UTC)

The changes made on Wikivoyage so far have all been to change "comprises of" to more appropriate wording, which is an appropriate cleanup since "comprises of" is incorrect grammar. -- Ryan • (talk) • 00:29, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
@Andrewssi2: When it comes to our copy here, the two most important things are keeping it interesting for readers (which occasionally means colloquial or somewhat non-standard language) and making our copy different from Wikitravel. Honestly, the latter should be the number one priority at this site because it will significantly effect our SEO. If someone changes these "comprised of"s, then that's a good thing. —Justin (koavf)TCM 01:34, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
Good thing in my opinion. Gnomes also often improve the wording. The only thing that would be negative would be changing the tone to make it sounds encyclopedic, which is not our goal. Nicolas1981 (talk) 03:03, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
I would strongly oppose any such initiative. First of all, we have bigger fish to fry here. Second, and more importantly, just because Wikivoyage has joined the WMF family does not mean we need to be a clone of Wikipedia. And one of the things that makes editing Wikivoyage fun for me is that editors are given a wide latitude to write in their own style, within a framework of standards and guidelines that is designed to be as generalized and unobtrusive as possible. The last thing we need at Wikivoyage is to import to our site the petty, picayune, heavy-handed grammar-Nazism that's made Wikipedia such a drag. For that matter, it bears emphasizing that "comprised of" is actually perfectly grammatically correct; ergo, what's going on at Wikipedia is little more than one overbearing user imposing his personal taste on the whole site by fiat. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 04:40, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
Also, regarding differentiating ourselves from Wikitravel, I've said it before and I'll say it again: SEO should never be the primary reason why we do anything at this site, at least in terms of altering our content. I would much rather slow down the inevitable and ongoing demise of Wikitravel a little bit than compromise the quality of our product. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 04:52, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
I think I agree with Andre on this. Even if I do prefer "consists of" for stylistic reasons, this seems like a really petty thing for us to worry enough about to dictate in policy. I mean, this is practically on the level of coming up with a policy about oxford commas or double negatives — that is, a practice that may not be technically correct grammar but is wide-spread enough that the vast majority of users won't notice either way. PerryPlanet (talk) 05:36, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
I don't think we need to micro-manage this sort of edit unless someone is bothered by the change. These types of edits are harmless, and if someone feels strongly that "comprised of" should be changed (or any other copyediting matter) and wants to change it, so long as no one is hugely attached to the original text it seems a bit petty of us to tell them not to do it. Where I would say we need to take a stand is if someone wants to codify a style guide for these sorts of trivial copyediting matters, or if someone else disagrees with the changes being made - an example of the latter would include past efforts to change English to British spelling (or vice versa) where concerns were raised about inconsistent spelling across articles.
Overall we want to encourage contributions, and if an editor is making harmless changes I don't see any value in telling them to stop. -- Ryan • (talk) • 05:51, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
Ryan - as I see it, this has little if anything to do with discouraging users from making constructive edits, nor frankly even with a preference for one wording over another. Copyediting articles on a case-by-case basis to improve the flow of their wording happens all the time on Wikivoyage, and rightly so; however, any crusade to completely eradicate a perfectly grammatically acceptable turn of phrase based on nothing more than one individual's subjective opinion of what constitutes appropriate tone does not constitute constructive editing, and in fact would be heavy-handed and would fly in the face of the democratic, consensus-based approach that's fundamental to the policy of our site. Particularly when such a change is effected on a "one size fits all" basis without regard to context: certainly "comprised of" will not be the optimum wording everywhere it crops up, and sometimes it may even be downright inappropriate, but the context in which it is used is different in literally every single instance. There's absolutely no way to believably argue that "comprised of" is never acceptable under any circumstances. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 06:30, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
The word 'crusade' actually sums this up for me. I was not suggesting banning these edits in anyway, just remaining vigilant against 'single purpose' edits that do not further our mission in any way in either quality or substance, and frankly make the experience less fun for other contributors. ( see the various incarnations of user 118 )
Also in response to Justin, I don't see changing every instance of this term making any real impact to our SEO. Adding more original content will always be more effective. Andrewssi2 (talk) 06:43, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Where I have concerns is when "democratic, consensus-based approach" is used to mean minor issues have to be agreed-upon in advance - we want users to plunge forward. When there's disagreement we should discuss it, but so far as I can tell no one has any disagreement with the edits that have been made, the concern is that a change might be made that is "downright inappropriate". If someone wants to make edits that seem pointless to me, but that are important to that user, it's counter-productive of me to object unless I disagree with the substance of the change; only if I have a disagreement would it be appropriate to ask the user to stop. -- Ryan • (talk) • 06:45, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
@Andrewssi2: No doubt. The best thing is a lot of new, good content. But that is hard to come by. —Justin (koavf)TCM 06:45, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
"Comprises of" is incorrect and should be changed. Editing out "is comprised of" is another matter and a totally silly thing for people to waste their time on, in my opinion. I use "is comprised of," and I don't support the tyranny of Strunk & White. Ikan Kekek (talk) 06:56, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
Ryan - I don't see making indiscriminate, context-ignorant changes to our articles' wording on a sitewide basis as a "minor issue". Particularly not when the justification for said change is a half-baked, poorly-thought-out statement of position that's not even official policy of the wiki it was written on, let alone this one. And particularly not when said change is instituted by someone with no prior contribution history and who didn't even bother sounding out the Wikivoyage community's thoughts on the matter beforehand (maybe because anything approaching consensus has so far eluded him/her at Wikipedia?) -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 21:50, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
Ikan Kekek is quite correct when he mentions the grammatical incorrectness of "comprises of". It's fine to change instances of that phrasing, but in my opinion we should quickly revert any alterations to otherwise appropriate instances of "comprised of". In addition to being astoundingly bad Wikietiquette, it sets a bad precedent vis-à-vis the importance of consensus and the relationship (or lack thereof) of Wikivoyage's policies to the policies of other WMF sites. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 21:54, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
I would strongly oppose "quickly reverting" edits solely because someone has changed one type of phrasing to another, and would potentially revert the revert. Yes, such edits seem silly to me, but clearly they are important to the person making the change. A revert would be justified if someone disagreed with the substance of the change, but absent such a disagreement there is no justification for reverting that edit. We've got a small enough editing community as it is without shrinking the tent further by excluding editors who make edits that others perceive as trivial. -- Ryan • (talk) • 22:25, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
Andre seems to have taken a firmer stance on this than I'm willing to. I should probably clarify that I don't really have a problem with an individual user editing out individual instances of "comprised of" (unless said edits disrupt the conversational, informal tone we look for in our guides), since I don't really have a strong opinion either way. Like Ryan said, if it's important to that user, I say let 'em at it; no need to micro-manage. My concern is that, as administrators, I wouldn't want us to give backing to some sort of wider initiative to change all instances of the term, since I believe that would give it the weight of policy.
The original question asked was "Are we comfortable with this initiative?" My answer is that I'm not going to get in the way of it (unless it starts posing problems), but I don't really want to lend it my support either. PerryPlanet (talk) 23:02, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
I use "comprised of" frequently, so perhaps I'm taking this a bit personally. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 23:14, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
I am not sure if you folks are aware - but there a few editors on english wikipedia whose edit history shows that they spend most of their time simply trawl through spelling and minor grammar issues by hand for years to try to clean up... As we have a much smaller domain here in comparison, I think that certain words and phrases may be a problem - if we already have a '[3] words to avoid' in this project, which includes phrases as well - why not consider such a list as an advisory as such, and use it as the point of where we can place such phrases... It is in effect an advisory, not specific 'prohibited list', and that may balance the various concerns made above sats (talk) 00:35, 7 February 2015 (UTC)

(unindent) Most of the entries in our "words to avoid" section are buzzwords notoriously used by touts and destination marketers. There is very little if anything on that list that's proscribed for reasons of style. The editing culture that has evolved at Wikivoyage simply doesn't place a great deal of importance on issues like that, at least as long as no full-fledged grammar errors rear their heads. Now if minor grammar issues get more attention on Wikipedia, fine and dandy, but a culture clash arises when an overzealous Wikipedian comes to Wikivoyage and starts upsetting the apple cart based on a wrongheaded assumption that what flies at Wikipedia flies here.

And of course, there's a whole other issue too as to whether this anti-"comprised of" effort really "flies at Wikipedia": a quick look at the user talk page of the campaign's mastermind shows quite a bit of strongly worded opposition from other Wikipedians, and even The Guardian is calling the whole thing out for the nonsense it is.

-- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 02:09, 7 February 2015 (UTC)

Oxford is the first source I've seen that claims "comprised of" is standard English; most other sources say it's non-standard. A very good reason to avoid it is because self-antonyms are confusing. The only reason it even became a thing is because people confused it with "composed of". Powers (talk) 03:24, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
I agree with User:PerryPlanet's point of view. I don't see the point in editing out instances of "is comprised of," but I don't see a reason to be greatly attached to the phrase, either, so if someone wants to edit out instances of it, so what? And why are we spending so much time discussing it, especially if it isn't happening here as of yet? Ikan Kekek (talk) 22:00, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
That escalated quickly. There are two types of 'comprises of' that seem to crop up here. One is 'comprises' v 'comprises of', which looks to be up for debate (for those who actually have an opinion). The other is far more clear cut - 'comprises' where 'features' (or similar) is intended. In this case, the words have different meanings. Apologies if the grammar edits bothered anyone - I try to push through a few best practice edits 'wether'/'weather', 'their'/'they're'/'there' et cetera where I can, as it's a tiny contribution I can make on my lunch break. Helenabella (talk) 01:42, 9 February 2015 (UTC)
Thank you for your edits and for weighing in here, Helenabella. I apologize if my vehemence put you off. Copyedits to fix grammatical mistakes (and general Wikignoming) are of course always welcome here at Wikivoyage. But the anti-"comprised of" campaign seems quite controversial at Wikipedia, so in my own opinion it would be preferable to gauge the opinion of the Wikivoyage community before importing it here. Admittedly, you have not altered any instances of "comprised of" here yet, but given the fact that you cited w:User:Giraffedata/comprised of in your (AFAIC uncontroversial) edits to instances of "comprises of", it seemed to me like an issue worth addressing. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 02:03, 9 February 2015 (UTC)
To me — natively a speaker of Canadian English but one who has lived abroad much of his life and worked with a lot of Brits & Aussies — "comprised of" is completely normal and correct English. I'd need a lot of convincing to even entertain the notion that eliminating it might make sense.
On the other hand, I've been both an ESL teacher and an academic editor at various times and am really picky about (some) grammar issues. Wearing that hat, I'd say misuse of "comprise" is a rather common problem. In particular, "comprises of" is, as someone points out above, invariably an error. (At least in standard English; I see it fairly often in articles on India or Pakistan & wonder if it might be normal in their English.) To me, it is an obnoxious & irritating error, and eliminating it wherever it occurs would be a useful bit of gnomish work.
I tried a search for "comprises" and nearly every instance I saw would be better without that word. In most cases it could just be replaced with "includes". As for "comprises of", it can just be replaced with "is comprised of" to get a grammatical sentence but often some other rewrite would be better. Pashley (talk) 15:40, 9 February 2015 (UTC)
Having now read this whole section, I now seriously doubt that "comprise" is even a word. Imho: If the changes do no harm let us just keep them if there is a controversy we address that than. But we should not imho form a policy or anything either way. The use of British v. American English already causes enough controversy and sometimes headache (I for one usually change the pseudo French spelling centre and metre (as well as theatre) whenever I encounter them, but that may be because the German spelling follows the American). However I usually don't edit an article just to switch from one variant of English to another and neither would I advise to do that on the comprise issue, but to each his/her own. Best wishes Hobbitschuster (talk) 21:56, 9 February 2015 (UTC)
Hobbitschuster: wikt:comprise. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 22:20, 9 February 2015 (UTC)
It's notable that the usage notes in the Wiktionary article that I linked mention that the definitions of the word "comprised" that are at issue here are "often considered incorrect" in formal language, but "are usually informal" and "becoming increasingly common in nontechnical literature, while American Heritage Dictionary and Random House Dictionary state that it is an increasingly frequent and accepted usage." This recalls the difference in tone between Wikipedia and Wikivoyage: while Wikipedia's encyclopedic tone makes it arguably understandable to edit out instances of "comprised of", the phrasing lends itself well to the informal tone of the language we endeavour to use at Wikivoyage. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 22:24, 9 February 2015 (UTC)
I was (in part) referring to the theory that a word sounds less and less like a real word the more you use it in a debate about it. Hobbitschuster (talk) 22:46, 9 February 2015 (UTC)
I agree (also native speaker here), I don't see what the problem with this phrasing is, if it's used correctly. To use an example sentence from
  • "The advisory board comprises six members." Correct.
  • "Six members comprise the advisory board." Correct.
  • "The advisory board is comprised of six members." Correct (according to multiple dictionaries and common usage). This is the passive form of the previous sentence.
  • x "The advisory board comprises of six members." Incorrect. "Comprised of" would also be incorrect.
I'd be in favor of removing the last usage, but not any of the others. --Bigpeteb (talk) 02:07, 10 February 2015 (UTC)
First, I completely agree with Perry ([4] above) in that I don't want to give an official blessing that would encourage seemingly pointless copyedits, but I also very much feel that it's counter-productive to stop someone from making edits that he feels are valuable solely because I think the edit is pointless (so long as that contribution is also harmless). That said, the "comprised" debate has caught the attention of the wider world, and I thought it was amusing how the outside media views these sorts of changes: [5]. -- Ryan • (talk) • 20:05, 10 February 2015 (UTC)
Of Bigpeteb's examples, the second strikes me as problematic because the word means the exact opposite of what it does in the first example. That can lead to ambiguity. Powers (talk) 02:19, 13 February 2015 (UTC)

'the perfect gift'[edit]

I'm afraid I don't understand this addition at all. It's confusingly worded and seems to go into more detail than necessary. On top of that, it fails to understand that a "gift shop" is not a shop that gifts things to customers for free; it's a shop at which customers may purchase gifts for their friends and relatives back home. Powers (talk) 14:30, 29 April 2015 (UTC)

I second these concerns. I think it would be fine to discourage the phrase "the perfect gift" as being vague and instead encourage a description of what kinds of items are being sold, but the text placed here is totally confused; it's perfectly legitimate to speak of a "gift shop" or selling gifts, etc. Many shops even self-describe as gifts shops, and it has absolutely nothing to do with giveaways/freebies or whether they offer wrapping/packaging services. Texugo (talk) 15:21, 29 April 2015 (UTC)


The addition of "popular" to the list of words to avoid severely hampers my ability to describe establishments I haven't personally visited. Sometimes the only way to explain why a place is worthy of a listing is to say that it's popular among locals or visitors or both. Powers (talk) 14:43, 29 May 2015 (UTC)

The page's name is Words to avoid, not prohibited words. "Popular" could be a meaningful word in the right context. /Yvwv (talk) 15:24, 29 May 2015 (UTC)
While the caveats given are good advice, I still rather think "popular" is not actually a "word to avoid" in the same sense as other things on the list. Texugo (talk) 15:43, 29 May 2015 (UTC)

"Words to avoid" means "not prohibited"?[edit]

I find this edit confusing. "Avoid" means "not do". If we're telling people to avoid words, saying they are not "prohibited", even if strictly true, just muddies things. "The words listed below are examples only and are presented as a guideline" is much clearer. I would suggest reverting the latest edit. Ikan Kekek (talk) 11:04, 28 February 2016 (UTC)

I´m also unsure about "If a venue is totally off limits, there is no need to mention it at all." Occasionally, something is notable because it's locked down in some Cold War-like manner, DMZ (Korea) and Area 51 come to mind. There's also the possibility that something the voyager would expect to be possible is no longer there or no longer open to the public - in which case they'd want to know? K7L (talk) 18:03, 28 February 2016 (UTC)
You're right. I'd simply add "In general" to the beginning of that sentence. Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:09, 28 February 2016 (UTC)
Recommending avoidance doesn't necessarily mean the words are to be avoided at all costs. Powers (talk) 00:16, 1 March 2016 (UTC)
Exactly. So does anyone object to my changing reverting the edit I started this thread by discussing? What about adding "in general" to the sentence User:K7L brought up? Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:50, 1 March 2016 (UTC)
No-one has any further comment? Going once, going twice... Ikan Kekek (talk) 22:11, 3 March 2016 (UTC)
Be welcome to change the wording. /Yvwv (talk) 23:41, 3 March 2016 (UTC)
Thank you for being generous and flexible. Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:51, 4 March 2016 (UTC)

Suggested additions to the list[edit]


readers don't know when you've added the information, so specify the year, rather than "recently"

Just or Only (with a distance, time or amount)

"just five minutes away" or "only $3 for a beer" is unnecessary - the amounts are clear, so let the reader decide whether they are small or large.

Any objections? Ground Zero (talk) 16:52, 7 January 2017 (UTC)

Seems good. /Yvwv (talk) 17:00, 7 January 2017 (UTC)
The absolute amounts are clear but it's not clear how they compare to local averages. I don't see a problem with those words. Powers (talk) 00:47, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
In my experience, they're usually used instead of giving actual prices, and for the purpose of touting. There certainly can be exceptions, but in general, I think it's best to avoid these words unless they really explain something that can't be easily explained by providing figures. Ikan Kekek (talk) 01:05, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
I'm not clear on how those words would be used without providing figures. Powers (talk) 03:31, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
"Only a few [name of currency]"; "just a short walk to the beach"; "just a few minutes to the airport". Ikan Kekek (talk) 04:26, 9 January 2017 (UTC)
Touche. Though even in those cases they're useful terms, don't you think? Is it necessary to give exact figures in those cases? Powers (talk) 20:15, 14 January 2017 (UTC)
How are those phrases different from "a few [name of currency]"; "a short walk to the beach"; "a few minutes to the airport"? Are the units of currency smaller if we add "only"? Is the walk shorter if it is "just a short walk"? Are the minutes shorter if they are "only a few"? If "only" or "just" are being used to imply a comparison, it would be better to make the comparison explicit: "it is cheaper than other restaurants - just a few units", "it's closer to the beach than other hotels", "unlike other brothels, it's just a few minutes to the airport". Ground Zero (talk) 20:26, 14 January 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── The problem with removing every use of recent(ly) is that sentences sometimes lose a lot of meaning without them. Furthermore, sometimes saying "in recent years" or "in the last few decades" is and reads better than giving a year or saying "since the 2000s" or the likes. Hobbitschuster (talk) 12:14, 31 March 2017 (UTC)

In my wanderings through Wikivoyage, I find myself in articles - quite a lot of them - that have not been edited substantively since 2008. Once a reader understands this, "recent" means nothing. Giving a year or a range conveys meaning better than using words that mean something only to the writer. A hotel than in 2008 was "recently renovated", i.e., in 2006, is looking pretty tired now. Ground Zero (talk) 12:39, 31 March 2017 (UTC)
{{warningbox|Due to a recent armed insurrection, King George III is currently advising loyal subjects of His Majesty's [[United Kingdom]] to '''defer unnecessary travel''' through [[Boston]] and the 13 colonies until public order is restored. God Save the King.}} K7L (talk) 12:37, 31 March 2017 (UTC)
Wait, King George? I thought King Charles and his rampant popery were defeated and executed by the right honorable Oliver Cromwell. Hobbitschuster (talk) 12:39, 31 March 2017 (UTC)
How recently? K7L (talk) 16:20, 31 March 2017 (UTC)
Point hilariously made, K7L! But to further address your point, Hobbitschuster, "words to avoid" are not always to be avoided. There can be some contexts in which they can be appropriately used, with caution. Ikan Kekek (talk) 17:16, 31 March 2017 (UTC)
I think that recently is usually ok in sentences giving advice - "Don't drive if you have recently had a drink". Of course it might be better to give more specific times, but the advice applies whenever it is read. AlasdairW (talk) 20:28, 2 April 2018 (UTC)
Another example is "Cinema A shows recent films, Cinema B shows vintage films". This is likely to be true whenever it is read - In 2018, I can see a film released in 2017 in Cinema A and one released in 1987 in Cinema B. In 2048, I expect Cinema A to be showing films released in 2047, and Cinema B might have one from 2017. AlasdairW (talk) 22:00, 2 April 2018 (UTC)

[Unindent] We should also add at the time of writing to the list. I've seen that a surprising number of times, it bothers the Hell out of me, and it was often added 10 or more years ago. Of course the substitute is "as of [month year]." Ikan Kekek (talk) 18:07, 31 March 2017 (UTC)

Hell damn fart[edit]

Swept in from the pub

Hello! Can you say "shitshow"? Not sure if you can "work blue" here. Pretty sure this is the first swear I wrote in a guide, so figured I'd check with you fine people. Thank you! --ButteBag (talk) 02:56, 1 March 2017 (UTC)

Actually, I can't see any direct prohibition against this in Wikivoyage:Tone or Wikivoyage:Words_to_avoid. Maybe another policy? Andrewssi2 (talk) 04:44, 1 March 2017 (UTC)
Invite your mother to become a contributing member of Wikivoyage, and then she can rap your knuckles, and we get another contributor. Ground Zero (talk) 05:40, 1 March 2017 (UTC)
Wikivoyage:Tone says "Be conversational and informal" but not "all-out slang informality". I think vulgar language is too informal. Also, is that a regionalism - I'm not sure what it means. Also in that edit, what does "the shockingly amazing location" mean? Is that an in joke perhaps? Is it a restaurant in an electricity substation or something? There should be an indication of what is shockingly amazing about it. Nurg (talk) 08:58, 1 March 2017 (UTC)
I agree with Nurg on this. While I personally take no offence from a word like "shitshow", I do think words that might be considered vulgar slang are to be avoided. Wikivoyage needs to be a good source for all travellers, my grandma included ;-) It's not a matter of words to avoid so much, but rather of common sense. It's not hard to find another word and in all honesty, I don't think too much slang makes for pleasant travel writing anyway. JuliasTravels (talk) 13:13, 1 March 2017 (UTC)
Agreed, I'll rephrase. Swears are a cop out half the time anyway. I'd consider at least a mention of this in a policy page somewhere. User:Ground Zero ha, that was my first thought as well! User:Nurg thank you so much for the feedback! I agree with your comments and am very excited to get writing feedback like this. Feels like I just learned something. Thanks again everyone! --ButteBag (talk) 15:20, 1 March 2017 (UTC)
That's cool, ButteBag. My own writing skills have improved a lot through editing wikis. Nurg (talk) 09:43, 2 March 2017 (UTC)
So what happens when someone gives a real place a name like Sheshatshit (Labrador)? Or Dildo? Or Fucking? K7L (talk) 15:50, 1 March 2017 (UTC)
That's the problem of whoever lives there, not travel guides, lol! --ButteBag (talk) 16:05, 1 March 2017 (UTC)


WTA includes:

it should be noted that...
Go ahead and note it, then.

I have assumed that the intent here is to cover similar phrases like "Note:", "you should be aware that", "be advised that" -- all of these phrases say, "I'm about to tell you something". These phrases take up space while providing no information or colour. They are like eating cardboard: it provides neither taste nor nutrition, and we should be able to safely take them out without losing any meaning.

But at Talk:Calp, I have been told that "Note:" is not covered by WTA, so I am proposing to specifically include it and the other phrases above in the existing point on "it should be noted that". Comments? Ground Zero (talk) 00:33, 24 July 2017 (UTC)

Unnecessary pedantry. We cannot possibly include every possible variation of the phrases on this page, so we should not do so lest we imply that all other variations are allowable. (That said, there may be a case to be made for any specific usage of an avoidable word, like "Note:".) Powers (talk) 01:42, 24 July 2017 (UTC)
The use of the word 'Note:' here is to draw extra attention to a particular point which might otherwise be glossed over by the reader without resorting to the use of a warning box. Here is another case where I believe 'Note:' is appropriate, while in this example a warning box is clearly warranted.
A quick search shows countless other cases here on this site where 'Note:' is used. Is the proposal to remove each and every one of these instances too? –StellarD (talk) 05:45, 24 July 2017 (UTC)
By the time the reader gets to the sentence that starts with "Note", or some variant, they are already reading it.
The argument that it is used elsewhere doesn't work. Wikivoyage is loaded with typos, bad formatting, grammatical errors, touting, and stiff, overly formal writing. The fact that this stuff exists doesn't mean we shouldn't remove it when we see it. Wikivoyage should always strive to become more informative, and easier and more fun to read. Ground Zero (talk) 11:10, 24 July 2017 (UTC)
I do agree that writing out 'it should be noted' as well as other variations is unnecessarily wordy; however my point is that to add 'Note:' (instead of writing it out) is a shorthand way of pointing out to the reader that the issue merits extra attention, especially if the reader is just skimming the text (which many people, including myself, often do). Apparently we will never agree on this, so it would be helpful if some other editors could weigh in here so we don't circle endlessly like two lawyers (sigh). –StellarD (talk) 11:52, 24 July 2017 (UTC)
I believe I did weigh in. As with everything listed on this page, exceptions can and will exist. The important thing is to understand why words and phrases are listed here and use that guidance to determine if any specific usage is appropriate or not. Pointing out that "Note:" is not specifically listed on this page isn't helpful, as there is an entry which covers much the same ground. And we certainly don't want to litter our guides with such labels to an excessive degree. But there might be some merit to having a way to call out important information short of using Template:Cautionbox. In general, I tend to think that if something is important enough to call out with a label, then it's important enough to use Cautionbox, but others might disagree. Powers (talk) 13:48, 24 July 2017 (UTC)
We do have a policy on Wikivoyage:Creating emphasis, and using words like "Note:" or "be advised that" isn't it. We use italics. The Wikivoyage community has spoken on this matter. If you don't agree, you can propose changes to our policies.
@LtPowers:, I understand your point about not listing every possible variation of phrases, but listing a few examples, as is done elsewhere in the list, to illustrate that we are meaning to be general and not specific, could avoid arguments like this. I suggest something like:
note:, it should be noted that, be advised that....
Go ahead and note it, then.
Ground Zero (talk) 02:20, 26 July 2017 (UTC)

I think using italics for more than one line of text is excessive, when the same can be accomplished with 'Note:'. Given the number of other pages on this site which use the same phrasing, I think you'd have to get more people to buy in to your proposal before unilaterally changing policy (and a lot of other editors' writing) simply because it suits your personal preferences. –StellarD (talk) 07:55, 26 July 2017 (UTC)

You can use italics for a few words to provide emphasis. You don't have to italicize whole lines. You just put two single quotation marks before and after the words you want to italicize.
Who is changing anything unilaterally? Not me. I made a proposal for discussion that I believe clarifies the intent of the existing policy. LtPowers agrees with that view of the existing policy, but does not agree that the policy needs the clarification. He thinks the policy applies to "Note". It is your personal preferences that are out of line with policy.
And the "other stuff exists" argument isn't going to convince anyone. Again, the same argument could be used to justify typing all-in-caps, touting, grammatical errors, bad formatting, and all manner of other stuff that violates policy and is commonplace in Wikivoyage. Ground Zero (talk) 10:54, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
Selectively picking out some points while ignoring others does not make your argument more convincing. Lt. Powers also said there may be a case to be made for any specific usage of an avoidable word, like "Note:". Just because you don't like it doesn't mean my point is invalid. –StellarD (talk) 12:34, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
I should speak for him/her, but I understand his/her point to be that, as with any "word to avoid", "Note" can be used on an exceptional basis, where there a specific reason to do so. It shouldn't be used just becaise you like the style. In the case in question, emphasis, if it is needed at all, can be provided with italics per Wikivoyage policy. Ground Zero (talk) 13:03, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
And I gave you my specific reason, for a specific case, not for general use. Personally I've used 'Note:' here on this site I think just twice, and no, it's not because I like the style – it's because I found it more suitable in these two cases than using a caution box or italics. Again, just because you don't like it doesn't mean my point is invalid. –StellarD (talk) 13:10, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
All right, guys, take it down a notch here. This is a fairly minor point and not worth the virtual ink already spilled on it. Since this is a talk page for a policy guideline I'd like to keep the discussion here general, and I think I've said my piece on that. You've both correctly noted aspects of my interpretation of policy but I'm not an authority, just another editor. Do you think wider discussion of this guideline would be helpful, or should we focus specifically on how to apply that guideline to Calp (preferably at Talk:Calp)? Powers (talk) 13:54, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
StellarD has already edited Calp to remove the "Note", so that issue has been settled. I think it is that wider application of the guideline that would benefit from others' input. Ground Zero (talk) 14:21, 26 July 2017 (UTC)

I cannot think of a proper use of the word "note" (other than maybe in a warningbox or infobox or the likes, where it is arguably redundant anyway). Maybe we could have a clearer and less emotional discussion if an example were provided? Hobbitschuster (talk) 14:05, 26 July 2017 (UTC)

Note: The car ferry to St. Pierre-et-Miquelon is no longer running.
Something which needs emphasis as it can break your plans, not quite enough to merit a {{cautionbox}} or {{warningbox}} but in the same general style.
Not the same as "be aware that it should be noted that Belgium overcharges visitors exorbitant prices for their famous fries by pricing a single serving at an absurd €7 or so, then claiming to offer a 'discount for locals'" – a valid point, but this could be expressed much more succinctly without "note that...", "be aware that..." and the like. K7L (talk) 14:49, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
The explanation for why we recommend avoiding "it should be noted that" is not succintness, it is "Go ahead and note it, then." Don't tell us you're going to tell us something, just say it. In the example you use, italics could provide the emphasis you're looking for per Wikivoyage:Creating emphasis. Ground Zero (talk) 14:56, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
Traditionally we've avoided italicizing entire sentences or long phrases; italics for emphasis are intended for one to four words or so, such as in the examples on the Creating Emphasis page. Powers (talk) 19:24, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
True, but "it should be noted" is not good for creating emphasis either... Have a look here on how a canceled (or is it?) boat could be handled. Hobbitschuster (talk) 19:37, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
So the way Creating Emphasis encourages us to create emphasis is something like "The car ferry to St. Pierre-et-Miquelon is no longer running." rather than with "Note", or something like that, as is covered by WTA. Ground Zero (talk) 19:40, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
Should probably be boldface, not italics. Use italics where there would be vocal emphasis in speech. Powers (talk) 18:21, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
I haven't heard of that approach before. That change would be better discussed at Wikivoyage talk:Creating emphasis. I wonder about the merit of changing our style after the project had been running for so long under the existing style, but nothing is set in stone, so you can propose a change if you want. Ground Zero (talk) 21:27, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
That's not a change. Wikivoyage:Creating emphasis says "When you're writing prose, it's sometimes necessary to emphasize a term to mirror its emphasis in spoken English. To emphasize a term, use italics." (Italics mine.) If you would not emphasize "no longer running" in speech, then italics aren't the best option. Powers (talk) 23:50, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
"Note that" in a sentence is unnecessary, but "Note:" at the beginning of a note is OK with me if it's the best way to indicate something in a given instance. Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:25, 26 July 2017 (UTC)

Usage of the words "as of"[edit]

Swept in from the pub

Now first off I am - as may be known - not a native speaker of any dialect of the English language. Furthermore, I lack knowledge of the finer points of some varieties of the English language. But is there every a case in which "as of" can mean " since"? I have stumbled across this several times here and will point to an example if asked (I don't want any given user to look bad if indeed it turns out to be a wrong wording). The use for "as of" I know and would myself use in this travel guide is "at [date] the situation was as follows". So "As of May 2017 the train is no loner running" means "In May 2017 the train did not run; there is no clear indication as to when it stopped running nor when it will begin running again. Or "As of December 2012 the planned opening date is 2018" - the information from 2012 points to an opening date for 2018, but it may well get later and it is also possible that it opened already as it was ahead of schedule. Am I wrong here? Hobbitschuster (talk) 22:55, 6 November 2017 (UTC)

What the dictionary has to say about the matter I don't know, but in colloquial English at least, "as of" can be used either way and thus sometimes, for our purposes, can be a misleadingly ambiguous term. I'd be in favor of altering the wording to clarify in cases where it's necessary. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 23:01, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
"As of", almosts always means since. So "As of December 2012 the planned opening date was 2018", means thats the planned opening date since them, and there is a subtle implication that the opening date was set or changed at that date. So, "As of December 2012 the train line was closed", means exactly the same as "since". and "as from".
You can use "as at" to say what was in effect on a day. "As at December 2012 the train was scheduled to open in June 2017", means at that time, that was the scheduled opening date. It may have changed since. In think in a WV context, "as of" should be avoided or clarified. Inas (talk) 23:13, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
Inas, "as at" may be a regionalism. American English doesn't use it. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 23:15, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
At the very least I would never presume "as of" to mean "since" unless context (or my own background knowledge) makes that immediately clear to me that it has to mean that. "as at" just sounds weird to me, which means it's not something I have encountered much previously. It may however be that due to sheer ambiguity of the term(s) we should add them to some of our style guide pages and give hints how to word "With the information being current in [x] the situation was [y]" with the least amount of ambiguity. This is, after all, one of the most important things a travel guide has to do; say when information might be outdated and give a hint as to when the last reliable information was obtained. It also makes it easier for subsequent editors to see which information needs checking and updating the most. Hobbitschuster (talk) 23:24, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
I'm a native speaker of Canadian English. To me, the Hobbit has this exactly right; "as of" is the normal way to indicate "at [date] the situation was as follows", & I cannot think of a situation where it could legitimately mean "since". To me "as at" seems plain wrong, but perhaps as Andre suggests that is a dialect question. Pashley (talk) 23:53, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
As a New Yorker, I agree with Pashley 100%. Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:17, 7 November 2017 (UTC)
I concur with Pashley and Ikan. Powers (talk) 01:24, 7 November 2017 (UTC)
Interesting. I've found a few grammar pages that concur with my interpretation, so I'm still inclined to think it's a regional thing rather than my interpretation being wrong. Perhaps the phrase is best avoided? Inas (talk) 02:16, 7 November 2017 (UTC)
What alternative wording would you suggest? Ikan Kekek (talk) 03:43, 7 November 2017 (UTC)
As a native Midwestern United States English speaker, "as at" does not sound correct and "as of" means "at such-and-such time". "As of" is used to say particularly that something may not be the case now or wasn't at some further point in time but definitely was true at a certain time. "Kevin was still in the bathroom as of noon when I went on lunch break—for all I know, he's still in there an hour later." —Justin (koavf)TCM 03:49, 7 November 2017 (UTC)
WP seems to use as of fairly often to mean that a fact was true as of a particular date, but may not be current now. K7L (talk) 04:34, 7 November 2017 (UTC)
I also read "as of" like "something has been true at a certain time, but not necessarily any longer". "As at" is probably the Australian way of saying this. ϒpsilon (talk) 08:42, 7 November 2017 (UTC)
So which advise (if any) should we give and if yes where should it be given? "Words to avoid"? MoS? Hobbitschuster (talk) 12:47, 7 November 2017 (UTC)
Well, have a look at this, which was the first google result, and a Canadian source. I done some more reading to show that using 'as of' to mean 'as at' is a common grammatical error, particularly common in the U.S. I'd say is is a word to avoid Inas (talk) 05:22, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
Just for the record, User:Inas has edited WV:Words to avoid to add the wording you see. I am not entirely sure we've yet established a consensus that bears out this wording, but I don't want to unilaterally revert, either. Hobbitschuster (talk) 10:35, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
There is no consensus; I have reverted.
Putting "as of" on the list of words to avoid is absurd. I honestly don't see the ambiguity. Whether "As of June 2016, the trains are no longer running" means "Since June 16, the trains have no longer run" or "In June 2016, the author of this sentence found the trains to be no longer running" is a nuance of detail that doesn't really matter. The information conveyed is still the same; the trains no longer run, and haven't done so since (at least) June 2016! Is there some extra layer of potential misunderstanding that I'm missing here? --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 10:44, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
Well, the confusion was raised by Hobbitschuster. And the regional meaning supported by a team of our North American friends. My understanding of the ambiguity, is that in one case, a visitor found the trains to no longer be running on a date. In the other case, the trains stopped running on a date and are still no longer running. I'd say we would like to know which is the case. Did the railway line close? Or were the trains not running on the day you visited? Inas (talk) 10:51, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
There's a world of difference whether something is closed since 1994 or something was the case in 1994. And I just want to point out, that "as at" sounds weird to so many people, I doubt it's very common in all that many varieties of English. Hobbitschuster (talk) 11:17, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
After reading Inas' link, I realize that "as of" does usually carry a connotation that expects the situation to have been maintained since that point, though not a necessarily a guarantee. If the tense of the associated verb is past, then it is equivalent to Inas' "as at". If the verb is present-tense, then it is very close in meaning to "since". Compare "As of last month, the road is closed" to "As of last month, the road was closed." Powers (talk) 15:49, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
I've had another hack of WV:wta. Hopefully less controversial? If we revert this one, I'll give it away, I promise.. Inas (talk) 22:17, 9 November 2017 (UTC)

"And much more"[edit]

Swept in from the pub

Hi, everyone. I deleted or edited out a lot of instances of "and much more" at the ends of lists, but it's quite a common cliche/promotional phrase, so I could really use some help if anyone would like to take up where I left off. Of course we have to be careful when using search results for "and much more" because it can be part of meaningful phrases like "and much more interesting" or "and much more expensive", but as a phrase at the end of a list, it's gotta go. And once we banish it, continued vigilance will be needed to revert or edit out new instances of it. Ikan Kekek (talk) 12:04, 7 March 2018 (UTC)

Thanks for starting this. There are variations of this like "and so much more", "and much, much more" and other similar touty phrases that we need to delete too. Gizza (roam) 00:37, 8 March 2018 (UTC)
Yes indeed. The end of this task is in sight, but this is still a big job. Anyone who would like to help would be doing a good service and saving me from feeling impelled to do the rest of this by myself. :-) Ikan Kekek (talk) 10:14, 17 March 2018 (UTC)
Just "and+much+much+more"&title=Special:Search 16 left for "and much, much more". I got most of them but need to get offline for a while. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:19, 18 March 2018 (UTC)

Can I ask what the problem, is with this phrase? Is there a better way to indicate that a particular list isn't exhaustive? Powers (talk) 20:49, 12 May 2018 (UTC)

I'll admit to being a bit disappointed that you'd ask a couple of months after all the effort I and some other put into getting rid of it. But my answer is that it's an empty promotional phrase, lazy and a terrible cliche, and even worse with an exclamation point at the end. The best way to indicate that a list isn't exhaustive is to start it with "including". Other options are "etc." at the end or "for example" at the beginning. Of course those aren't totally synonymous, so it depends on the exact meaning that's desirable. Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:04, 12 May 2018 (UTC)

Is "technically" a word to avoid?[edit]

Swept in from the pub

So it appears that User:Ground Zero has been removing the word "technically" from quite a few articles recently. Given that it appears that I am one of those who use the word quite a bit, I'd like to hear some community input on the issue, so that I might adjust my writing if need be. Hobbitschuster (talk) 15:30, 27 March 2018 (UTC)

I don't think it should be avoided in all cases, but there are some times when it is superfluous (the removals on Ruta del Tránsito strike me as examples of this).
However, "technically" does seem to me to add an extra meaning to the other two examples you've cited, given that it is implied that although San Ysidro and Neuwerk are treated as their own place, they do in fact technically (legally, actually) belong to San Diego and Hamburg, respectively. The use of "technically" highlights this. I would go as far to say that without technically, the following sentence is unclear: "Although part of the City of San Diego, San Ysidro is separated from the rest of the city by the entities of Chula Vista and National City just to the north." So it's part of the city, but also separate from it? No, it's "technically" (legally) part of SD, but is physically separate. That makes better sense. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 15:51, 27 March 2018 (UTC)
I am removing it only where it doesn't add any meaning or is vague. I am sure that we can agree that:
  1. San Ysidro is part of the city of San Diego?. The modification "technically" doesn't change that. The rest of the same sentence explains that "San Ysidro is separated from the rest of the city by the entities of Chula Vista and National City just to the north", which provides clear information to the reader.
  2. the lighthouse in Neuwerk is the oldest building in Hamburg, because Neuwerk is administratively part of the city. There is no older building in mainland Hamburg. In what way is itthe lighthouse not the oldest building in Hamburg?
  3. the ferry from Ometepe should be able to accommodate a horse. The question posed in the rest of the sentence is whether the operators are willing to do it. In what way is the sentence ambiguous and in need of clarification?
In these cases, "technically" is a filler word that adds no meaning.
In other cases, like here and here, "technically" is used to distinguish between the physical challenge of a hike, and the technical challenge of a hike, e.g. the requirement of climbing skills. So I wouldn't say that "technically" should be avoided everywhere, it's that it should be used where it adds meaning that isn't already clear from the sentence, and not where it doesn't.
I was caught in an edit conflict while typing this. In response to Thundering Typhoons' comments, I don't think these are unclear, but if someobe else does, there are ways of providing clarity that are not vague as "technically" is. San Ysidro is administratively part of the city of San Diego, but geographically separate from it. (I've made this change to the article.) The Neuwerk article already provides the "administratively" clarification. The problem with "technically" is that the writer understands what s/he means by it, but we can't expect the reader to do so. Ground Zero (talk)
Imagine the following: New York City annexes some minor island in the Caribbean where there is an old Spanish customs house from the 16th century. Hence it would "technically" be the oldest building "in" New York City, but most people would not consider it a building in New York City at all. Hence the "technically". Hobbitschuster (talk) 16:09, 27 March 2018 (UTC)
In that case you should explain exactly what you mean instead of implying it. The point of writing is so that other people understand it. Ground Zero (talk) 16:15, 27 March 2018 (UTC)
I don't think technically is vague; however the insertion of administratively and geographically on San Ysidro has made it clearer. Few Hamburgers (tehehe) or anyone else would consider some random lighthouse on an uninhabited island several miles out to sea to be the oldest building in a city that isn't even on the coast! So the use of any word that highlights the unusualness of the situation is preferable in my books to having none. I'm not fussed whether that's technically, actually or something else though. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 17:51, 27 March 2018 (UTC)
In the San Diego example, I think technically is a better choice than administratively because it better suits the informal tone that we aim for on Wikivoyage. I don't see how the word technically is ambiguous in that example. —Granger (talk · contribs) 19:40, 27 March 2018 (UTC)
With respect, Mx. Granger, "technically" is fine for the writer who knows what s/he means, but "administratively" is clearer for readers who may not know what the writer means. An informal tone is fine until it doesn't convey the intended meaning, as in this case? That San Ysidro is part of San Diego is not a technicality. It is a factual matter of municipal administration. Ground Zero (talk) 22:33, 27 March 2018 (UTC)
If I understand correctly, the intended meaning is that San Ysidro is legally part of San Diego but is physically separate from the rest of the city. To me, it seems like the sentence with the word technically conveys that. Maybe it's ambiguous or unclear in some way that I'm not seeing? Anyway, I think the word administratively is fine, just a little too formal, so I won't press the issue. —Granger (talk · contribs) 23:05, 27 March 2018 (UTC)
It's not ambiguous at all. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 23:20, 27 March 2018 (UTC)
I don't think it's ambiguous without the modifier, but if someone else thinks something is unclear, I think the best approach is to try another approach to make it better, as I did, rather than just saying "you're wrong". Ground Zero (talk) 23:51, 27 March 2018 (UTC)
Do you think it's unclear? So far you technically haven't said, you've just said other people may find it unclear :-) Still, I've changed the wording at Neuwerk per my comments above. If you want to make it even better, go ahead. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 08:09, 28 March 2018 (UTC)
After reading these edits, I'd say that the first two changes are clearer after the edit than before. In the third edit, the use of the word technically in the first of the two removals is necessary. What does it even mean to "technically" accommodate a horse? I think it means there is room but we don't know if it is permitted, and it's clearer to say that. The second edit in the third diff seems to change the meaning. So, I don't think it's a word to avoid in the correct context, but it's an easy word to insert rather than saying what you actually mean. And these edits I'd consider 3 from 4 to be improvements, so that's pretty good odds. --Inas (talk) 21:37, 27 March 2018 (UTC)

Adding the word "Ghetto" to WV:Words to avoid (with a few certain caveats, which should be obvious)[edit]

Swept in from the pub

So after we've had a certain brouhaha at Talk:Brussels because someone who shall remain nameless considered it a good idea to call a district "Ghetto" (yes, really!), I think that we should make policy abundantly clear where I thought it didn't have a need to be. Let us please add "Ghetto" to the list of WV:Words to avoid with the caveat that its proper use in historical contexts, particularly Shoah remembrance and the history of Jews, particularly in Europe is of course encouraged where that term is the one that was in use historically. Is there anybody still of the opinion that we do the voyager or anybody else for that matter a service by randomly calling certain parts of certain towns "Ghetto" just because someone read somewhere once that "evul peepull" live there (which, to me, is antithetical to what travel should be about, but I digress)? If that be so, may they speak up now or hold their peace forever. I for one am frankly a bit shocked that we have to clarify this at all, but maybe not all here are English native speakers and maybe to some, the word isn't offensive? I don't know... At any rate, that's the proposal. Hobbitschuster (talk) 17:35, 20 July 2018 (UTC)

Having read all of and taken part in a bit of the Brussels discussion, I strongly support this proposal. ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 17:55, 20 July 2018 (UTC)
What about this passage from Buffalo/West Side?
"Less hip locals will try to dissuade you from crossing west of Richmond Avenue. It's 'dangerous', they'll tell you. A 'ghetto'. And while it's true that the West Side has had a rough go of it over the past half-century and it's still a ways from exorcising its demons when it comes to crime, poverty and other social ills, this is probably the neighborhood that best embodies Buffalo's phoenixlike rise from the ashes."
This is a case where the word is used judiciously to address and then dispel local prejudices about certain places. I agree with the spirit of this proposal but I would hope that whatever the new policy ends up being would allow for usages like this. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 18:36, 20 July 2018 (UTC)
If the word "ghetto" is used in quotes like it is in AndreCarrotflower's comment, that is different because the travel guide is just quoting others. It's when the travel guide labels, to the tourist, the place as a ghetto that it becomes an issue. Selfie City (talk) 18:43, 20 July 2018 (UTC)
I second the sentiment of AndreCarrotflower and hope that we can either arrive at a wording that makes it sufficiently clear that such use is allowed or that we are all mature enough to understand the difference between such use and the one that started the whole discussion... That said, saying "the neighborhood has a bad reputation" may in some cases achieve a similar thing, but then we can justifiedly argue the old Mark Twain adage about the difference between almost the right word and the right word. Hobbitschuster (talk) 19:14, 20 July 2018 (UTC)
I disagree with a policy placing a blanket ban on the word "ghetto". Some uses, such as "student ghetto" to refer to a university off-campus housing district controlled by mostly absentee landlords, are valid and inoffensive. They don't live there, their tenants leave after a few years whether the housing is any good or not, so what's the incentive to maintain anything well? There's also the voyager-comes-first principal where, if a district has an unusually-high crime rate or poses other specific and identifiable hazards, we say so. The people living in the district with the highest crime rate in the city won't like us for that (and may even start editing the pages themselves to whitewash the situation) but the traveller's safety takes priority over local promotion or pride. K7L (talk) 20:38, 20 July 2018 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Saying an area has a high crime rate is not the same as calling it a ghetto. Frankfurt has insanely high white collar crime and offenses related to border violations, drug trafficking and so on. Which part of it is the "ghetto"? And just the same we should not go around calling places "shithole countries" even if they do present certain, shall we say, challenges, to the visitor... Calling a spade a spade doesn't mean insulting for the sole purpose of insulting Hobbitschuster (talk) 21:03, 20 July 2018 (UTC)

I definitely support a policy against labelling places as "ghettos", "shitholes" and similar such insults. It's just an application of the WV:Be fair rule. There's a difference being frank to the traveller and describing the negative or dangerous aspects of a destination and just insulting for the sake of insulting as Hobbitschuster said. There is also a difference between the way the word ghetto was used in the Buffalo example or the way K7L uses it and the way it was used in Brussels. Using these labels isn't even all that useful for the traveller. Does the place have a high crime rate, no electricty, no water, high drug usage, beggars, water but not clean water, not actually that poor but has rundown, dirty housing that makes it look like a slum on the outside? Not every third-world shitholes faces the same issues. Gizza (roam) 01:12, 21 July 2018 (UTC)
But then there's the flipside; we wouldn't label something a "glorious workers' paradise" if the appropriate term is "tyrannical dictatorship", much like we don't claim a hostile invasion of a weaker country by a stronger one to be "restoring democracy" if it's being done solely to install an oppressive puppet régime the invading country can more easily control. A description filled with euphemism violates Wikivoyage:Be fair just as surely as just insulting for the sake of insulting does. K7L (talk) 01:53, 21 July 2018 (UTC)
I agree completely. But I haven't yet come across a city or district called "XYZ/Paradise" for example. I'm against the labelling (which is a personal judgment) rather than the describing (which is more neutral), especially if there's context (which group of people think a place is a hole or paradise). Gizza (roam) 03:03, 24 July 2018 (UTC)
  • I wonder if this is necessary. Searching for the word, it has only 100 appearances sitewide and about 3/4 of the mention of "ghetto" are already Jewish and Holocaust-related sites. Other mentions seem pretty apt as descriptors of places that have been known as "ghettos" in their respective cities/countries, typically also in a historical (but not Jewish) context, with a few in China and the US among other places. There also seems to be a few bars/drinks with "ghetto" in the name. A couple "backpacker ghetto" mentions as well, that I find interesting as descriptors, as well as lively writing. I don't see the term being thrown around liberally at all or being used to intentionally make places appear like something they aren't ("insulting just to be insulting"). Many of the non-Jewish ghettos are describe as historical ghettos that actually sort of add to the intrigue of the location. It's also not being used as an adjective which is when the term often sounds most offensive. "Ghetto" is like "slum" (I would not say it is akin to "shithole", which is profane and more judgmental than descriptive) in that it is a negative descriptor, so there is always potential to offend, but avoiding "negative" words doesn't change the situation or conditions on the ground and often "ghetto" can sum up a place much more succinctly and even less offensively than trying to describe all of the elements that make it a "ghetto" without using the term; if the place is a "ghetto", alternative descriptions are not going to make it sound better without lying. It seems unnecessary to ban the use of a word we are using correctly due to a single dispute. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 02:49, 21 July 2018 (UTC)
I just read the discussion at Talk:Brussels. I could agree that the word "ghetto" shouldn't be used in a European context except when describing a place to which Jews were restricted. However, in the U.S., the word has a different meaning - a neighborhood into which black people were de jure and/or de facto segregated and/or redlined (effectively forced to live by real estate agents), generally a place of widespread poverty, poor living conditions and neglect by local and higher levels of government. It is probably not necessary to use the word in the American context, but I would have to judge this on a case-by-case basis. Ikan Kekek (talk) 08:17, 21 July 2018 (UTC)
I disagree with banning the word ghetto, and second user K7Ls opinion on this. The word has a legitimate use even if not linked to Venice or Jews, as Wikipedia defines it as "a part of a city in which members of a minority group live, typically as a result of social, legal, or economic pressure." In the example of Brussels, it indeed seems that the proposed area is inhabited by a large community of economic immigrants, so it satisfies the definition of the word ghetto.
Please keep in mind that Wikivoyage aims to provide the traveller with honest information, including dangers. We're not a ministery of tourism, and don't have to draw as many tourists as possible to a specific destination. If the conditions are dangerous then we should say so, there is no point in using euphemisms. If you call a ghetto an adventurous residential neighborhood then you could just as well call a drug dealer an unlicensed pharmacist or a rapist a freelance gynaecologist. ArticCynda (talk) 08:55, 23 July 2018 (UTC)
I think we can trust our users to exercise common sense and judge any controversial additions of the word as they come. Like I said, the word is generally most offensive when used as an adjective, but if someone were to add "The ghetto waitresses distract from the food" we'd easily be able to justify a revert/rewrite without needing a "ghetto ban". ChubbyWimbus (talk) 14:54, 23 July 2018 (UTC)
I think the word "ghetto" has clearly entered the common venacular and can be used broadly to describe any empoverished and unfriendly neibourhood. No its not polite- but it's frank and usefull to travelers because it's universally understood.

Sure we shouldn't label a place as a ghetto just to be rude, and it's a claim that might often be subjective, but I'd argue it has its place because the pejorative is often applied accurately. Many poor or dirty or ethnically segregated neibourhoods are entirely safe-but when someone says a place is a ghetto I know exactly what to expect going there. -willthewanderer

I think we ought to go back to what was said in Talk:Brussels: there's a big difference between saying that a place is a ghetto and calling a city district "Ghetto" — in Brussels, a district was actually called "Ghetto".
I normally would support the proposal, but after ChubbyWimbus's statement that there are only 100 uses of the word "ghetto", and many of these refer to it in a historic context, I don't think adding the word "ghetto" to WV:Words to avoid is necessary. We may as well just deal with the word on a case-by-case basis unless it starts to appear in articles much more frequently in the long term. Selfie City (talk) 00:58, 24 July 2018 (UTC)
Yes the key point is that "Ghetto" should rarely be used as a proper noun. In particular it shouldn't be used when it isn't by any other travel guide, news article, book or source. And on the flipside, calling a district Heaven or Paradise would be just as biased. Gizza (roam) 02:56, 24 July 2018 (UTC)
Regardless of its definition, which is broadly applicable, the word ghetto has entered mainstream vocabulary in the sense that (nearly) everyone interprets it as an unwelcoming, run down neighborhood with numerous safety and health concerns. If used to refer to such a neighborhood, I don't see a problem with using it. ArticCynda (talk) 07:43, 24 July 2018 (UTC)
I agree that "Ghetto" should not be part of the Wikivoyage name of a district unless that's an official name, as in Venice/Ghetto, if Venice is ever districted on this site. -- Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:57, 24 July 2018 (UTC)

Well there is a certain unicorporated Nevada community legally called Paradise... Hobbitschuster (talk) 12:15, 24 July 2018 (UTC)

User:ArticCynda, you're saying: "[...] If used to refer to such a neighborhood, I don't see a problem with using it." People here pointed out many good reasons why it is problematic. Here is a summary, with some comments from me:
  • it's imprecise (everyone seems to have a different understanding of the term) and acutally describing what the area is like (what and where the dangers are) is much more useful for the traveler
  • it has strong negative connotations (at least in a European contex) with what the Nazis did (and this is actually the first definition that comes to my mind when hearing the word)
  • using it as Wikivoyage district name gives such a problematic word too much attention (distracting from the actual problems or benefits of visiting the district)
  • it is unfair and insulting towards the people living there most of which are innocent of the conditions they (have to) live in
  • you're picking out one meaning of the word (claiming it's the mainstream meaning everywhere around the world), ignoring other more problematic usages
I'm unsure about adding it to Wikivoyage:Words_to_avoid (which is actually not banning its use, but clarifying that it should be avoided and why), because I think a discussion is much more beneficial for everyone involved. Xsobev (talk) 13:28, 24 July 2018 (UTC)
If you have a policy proposal, post it at Wikivoyage talk:Words to avoid#Ghetto. /Yvwv (talk) 14:39, 24 July 2018 (UTC)


Wikivoyage:Travellers'_pub#Adding_the_word_"Ghetto"_to_WV:Words_to_avoid_(with_a_few_certain_caveats,_which_should_be_obvious) has brought up issues around the word ghetto, which hopefully leads to a consensus around usage of the word. Concepts such as slum and shanty town could also be brought up for discussion. /Yvwv (talk) 14:38, 24 July 2018 (UTC)

We call a spade a spade; if there's poverty, if there's crime, if there are conditions which represent a danger to the voyager we say so. We're a travel guide, not a destination marketing organisation's promotional brochure. K7L (talk) 16:43, 24 July 2018 (UTC)
"We say so". Exactly. We say "There's poverty, there's crime" and so on. We do not say "X is a ghetto", because that is an entirely meaningless word on its own. It would be a bit like saying "Religious movement x is a cult". Highly inflammatory and opinion driven, but essentially saying nothing. It would make much more sense to say "Leaders of religious movement x have been proven in a court of law to engage in [list of cult-like behaviors] they have furtheremore been accused of [other bad behaviors] by [footnotes to who is doing the accusing]". A similar thing is to be said about "ghettos". And I also question a bit the wisdom of that particular Brussels example which cites that Molenbeek was the place where certain terrorists lived. Well several of the 9/11 guys were foreign students in Hamburg, Jena was of course the last place of residence of the w:National Socialist Underground and we could add to that list. Does that help anybody learn anything of value other than reinforcing certain stereotypes ("Small towns in East Germany are full of Nazis", "German intelligence agencies are incompetent" and so on) Hobbitschuster (talk) 19:46, 24 July 2018 (UTC)
Whether an object is a spade is objective. Whether a part of town is a ghetto is somewhat subjective and relative because the word has different connotations to different people. How poor or dangerous does a place have to be in order to be a ghetto? But more importantly, labelling the whole area "Ghetto" is even more opinionated, not factual or useful at all. Calling it "Molenbeek" is factual. Gizza (roam) 07:11, 25 July 2018 (UTC)
No place should be named "Ghetto" on Wikivoyage unless that's an official name, such as Venice Ghetto. Whether it should be used as a description is probably best decided on a case-by-case basis. As I said on the discussion in the Pub, I can agree that the word should not be used to describe neighborhoods in Europe unless it's an official designation. In discussing neighborhoods in the United States, I'm not sure we should adopt a hard-and-fast rule, though the designation is probably unnecessary in every case, so I won't oppose a listing in "Words to avoid". Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:43, 25 July 2018 (UTC)
While we strive to be fair, I would oppose a "words to avoid" listing as we don't water down warnings which affect the voyager's safety merely to avoid offending local sensibilities. From Wikivoyage:Tone, "For example, North Korea's human rights situation can and should be summed up as an 'Orwellian nightmare', as opposed to noting that 'some organizations have expressed concern about less than full compliance to international human rights standards, a charge vigorously denied by the Foreign Ministry.'" K7L (talk) 13:32, 25 July 2018 (UTC)
Agreed - not merely to avoid offending local sensibilities. Wikivoyage:Be fair is a useful standard. That said, I think we should avoid any language that could smack of racism, and therefore, words like "ghetto", when not official descriptions, should be used carefully if at all. As has been pointed out already, objective (or at least more nearly objective) descriptions of a neighborhood's condition and potential threats to visitors don't have to include this term. Ikan Kekek (talk) 15:35, 25 July 2018 (UTC)


WTA was recently amended to add: "Seems to be, might, possibly, could and other indicators of speculation: We don't deal in speculation - either verify that the situation is indeed so, or don't say so. Speculation seems to be unhelpful for most travelers who might possibly be confused by it."

The Collins Dictionary identifies as synonyms for "arguably": possibly, potentially, conceivably, plausibly, so it falls into the list of speculative words. This site proves that anyone can argue anything. If we're not willing to stand behind the statement, it shouldn't be there. Ground Zero (talk) 01:38, 1 August 2018 (UTC)

(indent) I don't think "arguably" is quite the same, and "arguably" is not used simply because someone or some people refuse to look at or believe evidence (or are trolling). I think arguably can be useful and its less formal nature sounds better than trying to spell out the same thing. In looking up the word "arguably", I think a lot of the uses read well, such as:

  • "This was arguably the largest migration of the human race in such a short time." Gold Coast
  • "Bangkok is arguably the best city in Southeast Asia for fine dining..." Bangkok
  • "Europe runs the whole spectrum Cycling in Copenhagen - the original and arguably still most bike friendly city" Transportation
  • "Hanauma Bay in Eastern Honolulu is arguably the best place for snorkeling in the islands," Oahu
  • "M'Hamid gets fewer visitors than Merzouga and is arguably more "authentic."" M'Hamid
  • "Holocaust was neither the first nor the last genocide in world history, it is arguably the most thoroughly documented and researched crime against humanity." Holocaust remembrance
  • "Popeye's is arguably the best place in Tokyo, if not the world, to try Japanese microbrews." Tokyo/Sumida
  • "Lewis offers clean, beautiful and empty beaches and arguably the best breaks in Europe." Lewis

These I think could be better worded:

  • "Raleigh's crime rate is below average for an American city of its size (and arguably one of the lowest in the Southern USA)..." Raleigh
  • "Istanbul's Karaköy district, arguably deriving its name from Karay — the Turkish name for the Karaites" Judaism
  • "Cascade volcanoes, is easy to access and also provides views of Mt. Shuksan, arguably the most photographed mountain in the United States." North Cascades National Park

A lot of the use of "arguably" are in restaurant listings in relation to the unofficial "best" ethnic restaurants, such as:

  • " Long established and arguably the best South Asian restaurant in the Whitechapel area." London/East End

Read the quotes (and look it up yourself if you're curious to see others), but I think "arguably" has a place here. Sometimes there are things you cannot verify to be "offical" but with strong evidence or strong favorability, it is very much worth noting and useful to the traveler. "Arguably" is a good word for such situations. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 11:43, 1 August 2018 (UTC)

I tend to agree. It depends on how "arguably" is being used. Gizza (roam) 12:48, 1 August 2018 (UTC)
I fear that adding that word would lead to "search and replace edits" that just remove all the "arguably"s, just like all the "currently"s, even where meaningful or used properly are being removed... Hobbitschuster (talk) 13:13, 1 August 2018 (UTC)
That was also a concern I had. Putting too much on the list starts to impede on our "lively writing" by pushing towards a list of set phrases for specific circumstances, especially if the "search and replace edit" method is used, which should be avoided. We don't want to language police too much. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 13:40, 1 August 2018 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure I have used the word "arguably" myself on this website, and I think in most situations there is nothing wrong with using the word. A list of words to avoid could easily get too long, and let's remember what "arguably" means: that something can be argued. Is that really speculation? Selfie City (talk) 14:40, 1 August 2018 (UTC)
True. The idea seems to have been to describe one specific issue – the promotional hype that destination marketing organisations tend to dole out liberally for every city and town, which is laudatory and superlative but vague enough to tell us basically nothing. "Beautiful sunsets, cool breezes, mouth-watering cuisine and well-appointed lodging with friendly staff and every amenity combine to make our destination ideal for business and leisure travel, great for getaways, fun for the whole family and a shopping and dining Mecca unequalled anywhere..." could be the convention and visitor bureau blurb for, well, anything - as seen by its promoters. Print this page as a BINGO card, hit Special:Randompage, first to call BINGO just found the destination where someone copy-pasted the CVB blurb verbatim instead of describing the destination fairly from the point of view of the voyager. Someone posting sales hype as 'content' isn't going to claim "the steaks in Sheep's Hoof, Montana are arguably a cut above what's being served in the city", they're going to hype this to "the steaks in Sheep's Hoof, Montana are unequivocally the best on the planet, bar none, making the village a world-class dining Mecca for pilgrimages by discerning gourmets world-wide".
If we're unsure about something, or a statement is merely one person's opinion, claiming to be certain when we're not does more harm than good. That's not what this list should be being used for, much like watering down important safety warnings to avoid hurt feelings by locals in "ghetto" or "slum" areas isn't what the list of words to avoid is for. It's just a description of one particular pattern of vague promotional hype - and yes, there is a fine line between promotion and lively travel writing. Some of us, working in computers or technology all day and describing everything in painstakingly-neutral and bland detail, need to adopt a different tone here than there - as many would consider the words "technical literature" to be an oxymoron and purely-descriptive text may take that dry, almost-repetitive encyclopedaic tone at times. K7L (talk) 14:52, 1 August 2018 (UTC)
I agree with the well-stated opposition to including "arguably" on a list of words to avoid. Ikan Kekek (talk) 17:11, 1 August 2018 (UTC)

It does look like the s proposal is not going anywhere, but I will make these remarks:

  • It is bizarre that Hobbitschuster, having added "possibly", etc., to this list now objects to adding its synonym, "arguably" to the list. Whether he likes it or not, "arguably" is a synonym of "possibly".
  • His comment that "adding that word would lead to "search and replace edits" that just remove all the "arguably"s, just like all the "currently"s, even where meaningful or used properly are being removed..." is equally ridiculous. As he well knows, when I copyedit, I remove touting, I update, I fix time, date and currency formatting, and I remove words that are meaningless or repetitive in line with the advice of WV:tone that "Writing should describe the destination or attraction in a lively and concise manner. Avoid exaggerations, superlatives and vague, flowery language." And yes, I know that he doesn't like seeing his writing edited for clarity, brevity and to avoid repetition, but he should come to expect that his work here will be edited by others, because that is the nature of a collaborative project. I will also note that when I copyedit, I am always willing to discuss edits on an article's talk page and work with others editors to improve text.
  • All of the example statements that ChubbyWimbus provides above are equally true if you make them negative:
  • "This was arguably not the largest migration of the human race.... (i.e. because there was one that was larger)
  • "Bangkok is arguably not the best city in Southeast Asia for fine dining..." (i.e. because someone thinks that Singapore is better)
because, again, anyone can argue anything. "Arguably" is simply meaningless, and adding meaningless weasal words does not make our writing more lively. Quite the reverse.
  • There are no "language police" on Wikivoyage, there are just copyeditors who want to make Wikivoyage more enjoyable to read by cutting out repetition, and filler words that are more about makng the writer feel important than about providing information to the reader in a clear, concise, enjoyable way.
  • The speculative weasal word "arguably" can be replaced easily by "one of":
  • "This was one of the largest migrations... one of the best cities for fine dining... Copenhagen - the original and still one of most bike-friendly cities"

If we're going to leave "arguably" alone, then we should remove its synonyms from the list for reason that others have identified above. Ground Zero (talk) 18:56, 1 August 2018 (UTC)

There are shades of meaning. "Arguably the best" is stronger than "one of the best". "One of the best" could be the fifth-best, but "arguably the best" means that whoever is writing probably thinks it's the best but isn't positive there might not be some better place they don't know about. Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:35, 1 August 2018 (UTC)
So it's a weasal word to get around our proscription against saying something is "the best": WTA says to avoid "best... Or any similar superlative. Unless you've actually tried all the others, this is a presumptuous comparison." Why allow this loophople? Ground Zero (talk) 19:40, 1 August 2018 (UTC)
  • I would like to present an example that I wrote myself, on the Roman Empire article: "Lugdunum (today's Lyon) was arguably the most important city in Roman Gaul, the birthplace of emperor Claudius". I think that this usage is fine, and the word in question, here, should not be avoided. But that's just my opinion. Ibaman (talk) 19:47, 1 August 2018 (UTC)
    • I would argue that it wasn't the most important city just because it was the birthplace of an emporer. Massalia (Marseilles) was a major port and trading city. Narbonne was the capital of Gallia Narbonensis. They would be candidates, but that's just my opinion. Do you see my point? "One of the most important cities" would avoid this. Ground Zero (talk) 20:03, 1 August 2018 (UTC)
Ground Zero, it's not a "loophole"; it introduces a note of humility instead of sticking to absolutely black-and-white language. You've done a lot of good in reducing the use of unnecessary words, but I think you want to go too far in the direction of absolute certainty by avoiding all indications of possible unintentional error or arguable opinions. Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:01, 1 August 2018 (UTC)
Adding an element of uncertainty is sometimes a good thing. Other sources of independent travel information don't always express things in absolute terms. I find it hard to believe that a word with 46.5 million Google hits is meaningless and redundant in every way it is used. If we add arguably, we would have to add equivalent phrases like "it can be argued that" and "it may be argued that" (both getting about 10 million hits on Google). Gizza (roam) 01:13, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
  • I think that we should not add "Arguably", and should also allow some use of the other terms. Arguably is often used as a way of expressing a subjective judgement: "arguably the best pizza in town", which to me sounds much more like it has been written by somebody who has eaten there - remove arguably and it sound like marketing talk. Informed speculation, such as the likely completion date of construction work is ok, but speculation about future construction that has not yet been started is not. AlasdairW (talk) 13:42, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
Hey, that's more than a thousand times the hits for "Molenbeek war zone". And arguably I should have debated the edit about speculation before I made it, but there were quite a few things in Antarctica related guides that boiled down to "whoever wrote this doesn't know but wants to opine"... Hobbitschuster (talk) 14:46, 3 August 2018 (UTC)