Template talk:Monterey County, California

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Ghost town additions (July 2009)[edit]

All the recent edits by Carlossuarez46 adding 'Ghost towns' is really too much useless information. And they're not really ghostowns, but more like historical sites. If you want to write an entry on all these sites, that might be useful, but filling up this info box with 35 stub articles is not useful. You clearly demonstrate no familiarity with the subject matter.

I recommend reverting back to the original format, and will do so unless there is an objection. Highspeed (talk) 16:22, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

Nationwide, we list ghost towns on county templates along with everything else. This includes areas where there were once communities but now have nor residents nor buildings. Why treat this template differently from the rest of the country? Nyttend (talk) 16:55, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
Mainly because these are not ghost towns, but are basically unknown archaeological/ancient sites that have no meaning in reference to modern counties & communities. At least true ghost towns have a historical significance in how subsequent (and still surviving) nearby communities came to be. But ancient village sites abandoned before Christ was born has little bearing on how modern (<200 years) towns were founded. Additionally, look at the contributions by Carlossuarez46 and you'll see a pattern of rampant stub creation of pages solely to populate this new section of the template. Twenty-one locations - a full 60% - (Animpayamo, Eslanagan, Guayusta, Kakonkaruk, Kalindaruk, Kulul, Lukaiasta, Paisin, Quina, Sapaywis, Seama, Soccorondo, Steloglamo, Subazama, Tecolom, Teshaya, Tetachoya, Tiubta, Wachanaruka, Zassalete and Zumblito) don't even have a precise location. Docas is one of several old railroad station names in this new list. Nobody ever lived at these locations and they are not ghost towns; they were never more than just a named location where trains could pass each other. Just because it is named on a map and is in the GNIS database does not make it a settlement or a ghost town. He created a new stub for Fort Ord Village, even though it is a variant reference to Fort Ord, which already has a significant entry.
The amount of editing needed to clean-up just this mess in Monterey County could take over an hour, a burden that far outweighs the creation of multiple stubs that are only referenced by a single template! Highspeed (talk) 08:50, 11 July 2009 (UTC)
It's hardly a mess: unless we have sources to say otherwise, we assume that something marked as a populated place (a cluster of inhabited buildings) is a community, and if one is marked as "historical", we treat it like a ghost town. Of course we don't list archaeological sites on these templates and places like that. Can you provide sources for these being something other than historic communities? At the moment, I don't see any source that says that they're not simply historic settlements of various Native American peoples, or saying that they are railroad-related sites. Nyttend (talk) 20:44, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
I agree with Nyttend, who asked me to comment. Highspeed has been blocked as a sock and for vandalizing my talk page, but his comments speak for themselves. I smell WP:IDONTLIKEIT - former communities are kept in templates all over, Highspeed's attempt to delete the various Native American communities met with utter failure - as it should have - and since we're beyong assuming good faith with a vandalizing sock, it may have had racist intent, but whatever, they should stay per normal templates. Carlossuarez46 (talk) 21:16, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
I stumbled upon this issue and, being interested in the GNIS database itself, spent some time researching what can and cannot be determined from a place being in the "populated place" feature class of the database. I think that despite the "populated place" definition given on standard GNIS entry pages ("...a permanent human population (city, settlement, town, village)...") it should not be assumed that a GNIS populated place is currently inhabited. It may in fact be long abandoned and might have had a maximum population only slightly above zero. Since it was the Dinsmores, California and Dinsmore, California that first caught my attention (somehow--the stumbling involved several steps--I am not personally familiar with these places) I made my argument there--specifically on the Dinsmores, California itself and the Talk:Dinsmores, California page. I tried to explain my understanding of the issue clearly, but the GNIS feature pages, FAQs, and metadata are annoyingly self-contradictory and vague in various ways. If you look into it closely enough I think it is clear that a GNIS populated place may or may not be currently inhabited. It should still have structures of some kind, but may be no more than ruins. If its structures have completely vanished it should be marked "historical". As the GNIS FAQ puts it, "a ghost town is not historical, only abandoned". In short, a populated place may be currently inhabited or may be a ghost town--one cannot tell from GNIS alone. If a place is marked "historical" in GNIS it does not mean it is a ghost town--rather it no longer exists physically. Anyway, I'm posting this here because unless I made a mistake in my research and understanding, this point ought to apply to all Wikipedia "populated place" articles that rely on GNIS alone. But I can't think of where on Wikipedia to bring it up except on talk pages like this, where the issue has come up. Perhaps I should make a subpage of my user page and make the case there, instead of on the Dinsmores page, but it might be hard to find time for a while. Pfly (talk) 08:01, 20 July 2009 (UTC)
I'm a little confused: are you seeking to see changes on this template? If so, could you please spell out what you want? If I understand you rightly, I agree with your statements. Nyttend (talk) 18:19, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
Oop, sorry, I had to finish up posting my comments quickly. I'm not really familiar with this template and don't know if it needs changes or not. I was mainly responding to some of the points raised above, like "...we assume that something marked as a populated place (a cluster of inhabited buildings) is a community, and if one is marked as "historical", we treat it like a ghost town. Of course we don't list archaeological sites on these templates and places like that." It seemed to me that this was a misunderstanding of the GNIS terms "populated place" and "historical". Also, the comment about archaeological sites confused me. The template lists "ghost towns and former settlements", and places like that are often archaeological sites. Further, the template lists a number of former settlements with unknown coordinates--their location is not even well known enough to become archaeological sites. The very first former settlement listed, Achasta, California, is of this type. The only source is GNIS, which says the location was "at Monterey", but the precise coordinates are unknown. The second listed, Animpayamo, California, is even worse. Again the only source is GNIS and no location information of any sort is provided, except "Monterey County". I suppose it is accurate to call these "former settlements", but if "of course we don't list archaeological sites", and these are not even archaeological sites, should they be listed? Also, what about places listed as "unincorporated communities"? I assume they are supposed to be currently inhabited, otherwise they would be "former settlements", no? So, what about a place like Camphora, California? GNIS describes it as a "populated place"--which says nothing about whether it is currently inhabited or not. A quick check of Durham, the other source listed, show Camphora described as a "locality". This looks a lot like the Dinsmore/Dinsmores distinction, with Durham using the terms locality and village. The sources don't seem clear on the matter, but I would bet the place is not currently inhabited. Should it really be listed as an "unincorporated community" on the template? In short, I was not seeking any specific changes, rather commenting on points raised in this thread. Being short on time I have to leave the issue of figuring out what, if any changes ought to be made to others. Pfly (talk) 05:45, 23 July 2009 (UTC)

Places with unclear status[edit]

Continuing the conversation from above, since it never went anywhere--a number of the places that were added to this template are, it seems to me, of uncertain status as to whether they ought to be listed as "Unincorporated communities" or "Former settlements". As I described above (and in footnoted detailed at Dinsmores, California and Talk:Dinsmores, California) a GNIS "populated place" entry by itself does not distinguish between current and former settlements (unless marked "historical"). In the Durham book also used as a reference on some of these pages there is a distinction between places called "town", "village", "settlement", etc, and those called simply "locality". My interpretation of Durham is by "locality" he means "former settlement". But I am not totally sure about this, which leaves open the basic question--places listed on this template whose pages use only a GNIS reference or GNIS and a Durham "locality" reference may be currently settled places or may be abandoned settlements--in some cases long abandoned by the way Durham describes them. There are perhaps 20 such cases now listed as "unincorporated communities" on this template. The best thing would be to research each of them and figure out what they really are. I don't have time for that. I would like to take them off the template at least until someone does want to take the time to figure it out. In addition, if there is time, I would edit each place's page to say they are "localities" rather than "unincorporated communities", since the references are not clear on the matter. Edits similar to the Dinsmores page, but without the paragraph of details about GNIS and Durham. Make sense? As it stands I think we have about 20 places listed as "unincorporated communities" that probably ought to be "former settlements", but for which the sources provided do not allow such a distinction to be made. Here's the list of such places--those whose references are only a GNIS entry and a Durham "locality" description (some are not in Durham at all): Ambler Park, California, Blanco, Monterey County, California, Camphora, California, Coburn, California, Confederate Corners, California, Cooper, Monterey County, California, Corral de Tierra, California (Durham calls a "land grant"), Dean, California, Del Monte, California, East Garrison, California (Durham calls a former military base, or part of one), Elsa, California, Harlem, California, Jamesburg, California, Lonoak, California, Martinus Corner, California, Metz, California, Molus, California, Moss, Monterey County, California, Nacimiento, California, Nashua, California, Natividad, California, Neponset, California, Oak Hills, Monterey County, California, Old Hilltown, California (Durham describes as a "land grant"), Penvir, California, Plaskett, California, Pleyto, California, Posts, California, Santa Rita, Monterey County, California, Spence, California, Spreckels Junction, California, Sycamore Flat, California, Valleton, California, Watsonville Junction, California, Welby, California, and Wunpost, California. If anyone can provide additional information about any of these places that resolves their unclear status, please do! Pfly (talk) 01:29, 27 September 2009 (UTC)

I concur with your suggestion. Many of the locations mentioned above are railroad sidings; most are 'former' but a few are still in use. These were unpopulated, but were often named on US topographical maps because the were very reliable and fixed locations that made for useful reference points when there may have been few nearby settlements. Perhaps "Ghost towns and former settlements" should be changed to something like "Miscellaneous localities" (as an example) that would include never-populated locales named on maps. A new separate entry at the bottom should be "Indigenous localities" to include all the sites whose locations aren't even known by modern man, but were added and now cannot be deleted. Highspeed (talk) 05:30, 27 September 2009 (UTC)