Wikipedia talk:WikiProject United States regions/1

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This page is part of WikiProject U.S. regions space.

Original Proposal[edit]

Here is my proposal:

No regional articles will be deleted, quite the opposite more will be added. Emphasis should be on the census bureau regions (Midwest, Northeast, South, and West) there boundaries because they are set in stone. Emphasis would be placed by preeminence. They could be differentiated from the unofficial by carrying the more formal prefix US, while unofficial regions could carry the more casual American prefix. Example: US Northeast, American Southwest. Current articles would be moved to reflect this. I propose these guidelines for a hierarchy.

1. Official Regions are always listed first on both state and national pages
2. All possible regional interpretations will be listed with out ommission
3. Defunct Regions i.e.. Trans-Mississippi and Regions that are no longer some times included
4. All other information; largest city, capital, comes last

Here are two examples:

Texas (Tejas) is a state in the US South. Texas is sometimes considered part of the American Southwest, American South Central, and American Southeast regions. Texas was once part of the defunct Trans-Mississippi region.

Louisiana is a state in the US South. Louisiana is sometimes considered in the American South Central and American Southeast regions. Louisiana was once considered part of the American Southwest but is no longer even sometimes included in that region.

Also I think that sense so many regions over lap it might be more logical to have a map that only highlights one region at a time rather than trying to place them all on the same map at once and thus forcing states to be portrayed as exclusively one region on the map. This would also allow wiki to include all regions: the Pacific, the Mountain, South Central, ect. A color code could also differentiate between states that are always considered part of a region, is sometimes, and once was but is no longer considered part of a region (ex. Louisiana as part of the Southwest.) The official map would portray all four regions as there is no debate over how the government groups things.


I'm a little confused. Are we talking about how to write articles about regions, or how to reference regions in other articles, or both? I'd definitely like to provide a template to bring some uniformity to the handling of how we write articles about regions. However, I don't think its necessary that every article about US states talk about all possible regional designations in its first paragraph.
For example, it is significant that Washington and Oregon are in the (unofficial) Pacific Northwest; in fact, that is important enough to belong in a lead paragraph. The fact that the census bureau considers them part of the "West" strikes me as of little interest to the average reader.
Similarly, it is much more important to characterize Vermont as a New England state than as part of the census bureau's Northeast. The former relates to an important part of the history and character of the state. The latter is nothing but a bureaucratic designation.
-- Jmabel 07:36, 5 Jan 2004 (UTC)
The WikiProject is both. First of all the Census Bureau Regions are not just a bureaucratic design but contain many cultural and historical elements. For example, all of the states in the U.S. South either had slaves (Maryland, Delaware, Kentucky), were part of the Confederacy, or it's inhabitants sideded with it (Indian Territory, modern Oklahoma). These regions aren't perfect, nor are they completely fair. New England is a rather homgeneous place the same cannot be said of any other U.S. Region and has the distinction of being the only region, other than the Census Bureau regions, that's borders are agreed upon. Using only the "offical" or the "unofficial" regions would be a recipe for an article war.
For example, in my home state of Texas, is probably the most diverse and placing Texas in just more regions will and does offend many people. Right now Texas isn't even designated in a region. Right now in Texas because of current events regional tensions are at a bi-partisan boiling point, myself included. In the strictest geographic sense, if we choose a regional model it have to be would have to be the the "offical" one. Jfitts has expressed that he doesn't want to see the Southwest obliterated and I am inclined to agree. My part of the state East Texas is not going to relent when the U.S. government groups them in the cultural region to which they belong. El Paso however has virtually nothing in common with the South and will not give up it's cultural heritage no matter what the U.S. Government says. Similar problems abound in other states; Kentucky, West Virgina, Maryland, ect.
Only by acknowledgeing all regions, can we bypass cultural prejudice and get dwon to what wiki is all about articles. Each part of a state has as much claim to be in any of the unoffical regions as the next, but we don't want to force sates into regios either. The offical regions will simply become the standard for statistics and data statements. The unoffical articles can become a canvas for a detailed analysis of that region's culture, history and disambiguation.
-- JCarriker Jan 5 8:16 (CST)
"...all of the states in the U.S. South either had slaves..." Well, if you go back far enough, New York had slaves, but that doesn't make it southern. -- Jmabel 07:39, 6 Jan 2004 (UTC)
All I was pointing out is that their is a historical basis and cultural basis for the U.S. Census Bureau Regions an that they are not arbitrarily drawn. As to New England, obviously it is a defined region and it would be absurd to say, for example "sometimes Vermont is in New England." This is the type of nit-picking over which state is in which region that I am trying to avoid. By adopting a standard to use for data and having inclusive articles on all regions, no state is excluded form a possible regional interpretation. If Delaware is permenataly forced in the South or Texas torn from it people are going to be very angry and offended, the subject of U.S. Regions will also not be thoughtfully explored. This is similar to the problem of associatiing ethnic groups with nation states. As to the above reference as to a state being southern, I will not adderess that, yet, as I am tring to avoid an article "war" based on cultural affiliation.
-- JCarriker Jan 6 :16 (CST)
I like your proposal for using "US" and "American" to differentiate between the official and unofficial. Assuming that the examples you cite are proposed as the first lines of the Texas article and the Louisiana article, I would suggest that we not alter the first line of each which says "is a state of the United States of America." I think that has to come first. After that I would add the regions. As an example:
Texas is a state of the United States of America. Officially, Texas is located in the US South region. It is sometimes considered part of the unofficial American Southwest, American South Central, and American Southeast regions. Texas was once part of the defunct Trans-Mississippi region.
I am fine with all of this... but we should take care in going through other articles and replacing any instances of "American Southwest" or other unofficial regions. As in the case of the Dallas article, changing "Southwest" to "South" or "Texas" can change the intended meaning (or accuracy) of the sentence or paragraph. Of course, this may not be the case in all articles. Some references could probably be changed without changing the intended meaning, but this would have to be decided carefully on a case by case basis. Hopefully, adding the appropriate text to the unofficial region articles will make it clear that they are unofficial (with links to the official regions) and so eliminating all of the references to the unofficial regions in other articles will not be necessary.
So, as you can see, I'm not worried about the inclusion of the official US regions... I'm more concerned about modifying the existing references to Southwest, Mid-Atlantic, etc. What is your proposal regarding those references that exist throughout other articles?
Jfitts 22:46, 6 Jan 2004 (UTC)
There would have to be a reference in the Southwest article, to the specific grouping you are talking about. Possibly the "Traditional" or "Classic" Southwest meaning (AZ, NM, TX, OK), ther wouldn't need to be a seperate article just a definition in the Southwest article. Thus by placing Traditional or Classic in front of Southwest, California would be excluded and the accuraccy of the statement would be preserved. New England needs no specification as it is the only unofficial region that is clearly defined. Mid-Atlantic I'm doing research on, I don't feel that I am yet qualifed to make a suggestion on that region as it seems to have as large a diambiguation as the Southwest does.
Also I forgot. I concur with your change in the first paragraph of state article references. I don't think we have to specify that the Southwest, or the other "unofficial regions" are unofficial. I move that we adopt it.
-- JCarriker
Agreed. I second that we adopt it.
Jfitts 20:01, 8 Jan 2004 (UTC)

So does sub-national regions include regions of states? For example, New York State is traditionally divided into Upstate, New York City, and Long Island. Note that "Long Island" in this sense is not the same as the physical island of that name, because Brooklyn and Queens are physically on the island, but are not part of the region of that name.

Similarly, the term "Cascadia" has some currency to refer only to the part of the Pacific Northwest on the "wet" side of the mountains, stretching from Northern California into British Columbia, but including only part of 3 states and a province. -- Jmabel 00:35, 10 Jan 2004 (UTC)

I believe that based on the article, Pacific Northwest, it would be a non-official region because it includes all of Oregon and Washington. The term Pacific Northwest can be discussed as a disambiguation in the American Northwest Article and Cascadia Articles. I added a link to the Pacific Northwest under the name American Northwest in the non-official regions list. Hopefully they can soon be merged. Cascadia is definitely be a sub-region, and one definitely deserving of an article. I will replace, the Pacific Northwest link in subregions with one to an eventual Cascadia article. I only hope we don't offend any one in Canada by listing a province in a "U.S." Regions list. There is also a WikiProject that covers EcoRegions, they may already have a purely geographic article waiting to have the culture filled in.
Sub-regions can be found exclusively in one state, so Upstate New York is viable and necessary article. Thanks for bringing it up. I love geography, so even though I have never been to New York or any where near it for that matter I am familiar with the concept of Long Island you speak of and believe that it should be addressed in the Long Island article, or in a new article that's name some how distinguishes it from the original article.
Jmabel do you support Jfitts proposal. If you do that would make the vote on state referencing unanimous and we could post the policy on the WikiProject U.S. States Talk Page. I'm assuming that since you didn't object to it in your post that you do, I just want to make sure that we are all in agree ment. I also hope you liked the New England compromise.
Thanks, fellow Wikipedians it looks like we finally have a real project on our hands.
- JCarriker
I don't actively support all of this, but I have no real objection to any of it, so I'm certainly not blocking consensus if it's otherwise there. My only issue - but I'm not going to push it - is whether the first paragraph of each article about a US state should really start out with talking about regions. I'm not sure that the census district California happens to lie in is less important than its being equivalent to the world's seventh largest economy (I think that number is right). -- Jmabel 06:18, 10 Jan 2004 (UTC)
Most articles already start with the region the state is in. Originally states were only mentioned as being part of the United States, but somewhere along the line they were changed to reflect non-official regions. We are simply dealing with a Genie that has already been let out of it's bottle. This is a clean up job, more than an active effort to place regions in state articles; they are already there. We are not voting on wether or not to place the region in the first paragraph, that became a standard procedure long before this project existed. The vote will only decide how to amend the current practice.
-- JCarriker
Given that, I have no other issue. Count me as a yes. (Now does anyone want to help me with the quagmire of ethnic groups?) - Jmabel 08:18, 10 Jan 2004 (UTC)
I will make the changes to the page.
-- JCarriker