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Guides to rivers?

Travel Forums Wiki Travel Guide Guides to rivers?

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1. Posted by lil_lil (Travel Guru, 462 posts) 28 Nov '09 02:49

Hi everyone - I've been baffled by blank internal links to various rivers in many of the articles of Travel Guide. Are they necessary? Is there a plan to write guides on various rivers (which I think potentially will end up sounding more like Wikipedia than Travel Guide)?

I know we do blank internal links for names of cities/towns etc so that (a) it'll show up as popularly requested places for articles and (b) when the articles for those cities/towns are written it'll automatically be linked to other articles without the editors having to trawl through the various guides.

What is your opinion - should the rivers remain linked (and likely be left empty) or are those gratuitous and should be un-empty-linked?

2. Posted by Peter (Admin, 5463 posts) 29 Nov '09 17:52

I think rivers *can* be destinations unto themselves, which is why these links are in place. For instance, an article about the Danube could be quite useful, covering information on how to travel down it, what sights you can see along the way, etc.. It doesn't need to be overly technical like a Wikipedia article would be. Nearer to home, a river like the Murray could easily have an article like that as well.

That said, unless you have a plan to write an article about that river, then it's probably not really necessary to create a link.

3. Posted by t_maia (Moderator, 3291 posts) 2 Dec '09 11:17

Since I am a cycle tourist myself I can assure you that rivers are very popular destinations among cycling tourists.

I have some tentative plans to write up some guide articles on rivers which are mainly aimed at cycling tourists, so please leave any links to rivers that are already in place even if they lead nowhere right now.

Since you are from France, maybe you could start an article on the Loire with particular attention to the Eurovelo 6 route?

http://www.eurovelo6.org/

4. Posted by lil_lil (Travel Guru, 462 posts) 2 Dec '09 11:53

Thanks for the responses. It didn't occur to me re river destinations and now that you mention it, I can see, Amazon, Nile etc would be interesting. (As you can gather, I've not been a "river tourist" so to speak.)

The reason I asked was I saw, say, article on France, linking to Garonne, Saonne, Loire, Seine and Rhône but my impression is nobody is going to write them. Not that I know anything of them to write either.

This brings me to t_maia's request - I'm afraid while I travel to France a good bit, I am not from France nor do I know enough of tourism along the river to write it. However, when I have some free time, I could try to look into it but anything written up would be based solely on research and not from first hand experience. Will that be ok?

5. Posted by Peter (Admin, 5463 posts) 2 Dec '09 14:36

Quoting lil_lil

This brings me to t_maia's request - I'm afraid while I travel to France a good bit, I am not from France nor do I know enough of tourism along the river to write it. However, when I have some free time, I could try to look into it but anything written up would be based solely on research and not from first hand experience. Will that be ok?

Yeah, it's fine to write from research. It's hard to write in depth on certain topics, but for some things it's just about the only way to write. For instance, sections like weather, geography, etc.. are really things that usually need to be looked up. Of course, it is *best* if someone who is very familiar with the location eventually drops by and fixes any errors + adds some personal experience. But sometimes that's much easier to do if someone else has already laid the groundwork.

6. Posted by lil_lil (Travel Guru, 462 posts) 2 Dec '09 15:56

I guess. There are certainly things that can be written purely based on research, like, as you pointed out, weather and geography, and also major attractions of a city/country. It's the nitty gritty little details, like transportations, tips, and non-touristy stuff that only someone who knows it well can give the most details on.

For now, most stuff I've been writing is based on experience and friends' recommendations (usually re places to eat if I haven't been to the place myself) so they're relatively straight forward. I do do some fact checking to make sure places are still there (especially tricky with eating places - I found out today a place I used to go in Paris is now closed, so good thing I checked or I would have included it in the guide) but inevitably not every place has a website and can be checked easily unless I'm in the city myself (which I currently am not).

Accommodation, so far, has been based on the magic accommodation table

7. Posted by Peter (Admin, 5463 posts) 2 Dec '09 16:15

Quoting lil_lil

I guess. There are certainly things that can be written purely based on research, like, as you pointed out, weather and geography, and also major attractions of a city/country. It's the nitty gritty little details, like transportations, tips, and non-touristy stuff that only someone who knows it well can give the most details on.

For now, most stuff I've been writing is based on experience and friends' recommendations (usually re places to eat if I haven't been to the place myself) so they're relatively straight forward. I do do some fact checking to make sure places are still there (especially tricky with eating places - I found out today a place I used to go in Paris is now closed, so good thing I checked or I would have included it in the guide) but inevitably not every place has a website and can be checked easily unless I'm in the city myself (which I currently am not).

Accommodation, so far, has been based on the magic accommodation table

Yeah, the nitty gritty is where it gets difficult. And the introductions are quite hard to write if you haven't been there either. I've done a few articles on smaller towns in Victoria where I've really had to look up things closely to work out what's what. These are places I've visited generally, but describing how to get there by bus for example does require some leg work :) Still, it can be quite accurate based on online schedules etc..

I don't like writing something I don't think is accurate, so recommendations on restaurants are pretty much always from personal experience. In fact, places to eat is probably one of the hardest parts to write about without having spent a decent amount of time in a place. Usually it takes a while to work out which ones are worthwhile and which ones aren't. Very hard to write that from research.

Maybe we'll need to do something like the accommodation system for other things like restaurants. That's a pretty good way to blend comprehensive information with personal opinion, since the best ones naturally float to the top based on user ratings. The risk is that the table formatting just looks too technical.

8. Posted by lil_lil (Travel Guru, 462 posts) 2 Dec '09 16:36

Quoting Peter

Maybe we'll need to do something like the accommodation system for other things like restaurants. That's a pretty good way to blend comprehensive information with personal opinion, since the best ones naturally float to the top based on user ratings. The risk is that the table formatting just looks too technical.

I'm not sure if I like something like this. I know eating and taste is a very subjective thing, but an auto table like for accommodation is not going to be accurate. Even the accommodation table, which is a great system by the way, often have incomplete information or wrong information. I've only looked at a couple of them so far, and as I'm familiar with the places, I've already noticed some inaccuracies. Not that I've done anything to correct them either (except one, for Ipoh, where the accommodation I removed is actually located near Lumut, some 90 minutes drive away!), because I don't know how regularly are these tables regenerated to include new properties etc, and I don't want to be spending time on the corrections just to have an auto-table update replacing them soon after.

Plus, there are so many ways to categorise the places to eat. Kinda like the accommodation really, with hostel/ hostel/ apt classifications. Generating in an auto table means they'll get jumbled up.

9. Posted by Peter (Admin, 5463 posts) 2 Dec '09 16:57

Quoting lil_lil

Quoting Peter

Maybe we'll need to do something like the accommodation system for other things like restaurants. That's a pretty good way to blend comprehensive information with personal opinion, since the best ones naturally float to the top based on user ratings. The risk is that the table formatting just looks too technical.

I'm not sure if I like something like this. I know eating and taste is a very subjective thing, but an auto table like for accommodation is not going to be accurate. Even the accommodation table, which is a great system by the way, often have incomplete information or wrong information. I've only looked at a couple of them so far, and as I'm familiar with the places, I've already noticed some inaccuracies. Not that I've done anything to correct them either (except one, for Ipoh, where the accommodation I removed is actually located near Lumut, some 90 minutes drive away!), because I don't know how regularly are these tables regenerated to include new properties etc, and I don't want to be spending time on the corrections just to have an auto-table update replacing them soon after.

Plus, there are so many ways to categorise the places to eat. Kinda like the accommodation really, with hostel/ hostel/ apt classifications. Generating in an auto table means they'll get jumbled up.

You're right that there would be a lot of challenges in creating a good list of food places aggregating people's opinions. That's pretty much why it hasn't already been done :) Food does have some advantages over accommodation when it comes to ratings though. The big one is that people have more places they can rate/review. I've stayed in 2 hotels in Melbourne, but I've eaten at hundreds of places. Ratings can be built up much faster as a result. So there are some benefits. There are also some interesting ways of handling content that is subjective in a somewhat more objective way. For instance, imagine a system that operated something like this:

  • Member reviews + rates restaurants in Melbourne
  • Other members vote on whether the review was helpful or not.
  • The most helpful review is displayed in the guide. The restaurant with the highest aggregate rating shows first in the list.

That allows a personal opinion to show in the guide, but at the same time ensures that the selection is broad based.

But yeah, it's not easy and would need to be done carefully.

I don't know how regularly are these tables regenerated to include new properties etc, and I don't want to be spending time on the corrections just to have an auto-table update replacing them soon after.

At the moment, there is no automatic updating of tables. People have to go in manually to update them. And that is not happening on a large scale. I am planning on creating a system that will ensure custom changes to these tables are handled well and new additions to the accommodation area need to be fed in automatically as well to keep it fresh.

10. Posted by lil_lil (Travel Guru, 462 posts) 2 Dec '09 17:21

Wow, that would involve a good bit of coding I imagine. To be honest though, how often do we really hunt down recommended restaurants when we travel? I know I'm more inclined to play it by ear and if I see something nearby that's interesting to me, I'll probably head in there first ;)

Re accommodation: again, speaking from specific that I've noticed. I think it'll be handy if the addresses supplied by the accommodation table includes post code (which is not always the case). That way, any major post code deviation can be noted right away, and increasing the chances to identify properties that shouldn't have been included. Additionally, for city like Paris, the post code is informative in telling people in which area it is located within the city (or not) at the first glance.