Talk:Brussels/Molenbeek and surroundings

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The Warning BoxEdit

Now my objections to what certain agenda driven editors wish to make this page into are by now well known, so I therefore propose to move the Warning Box here until such time as we can resolve whether to have it here at all and if so with which wording. I kindly ask those who wish to make "haha funny" jokes about "not getting out alive" to take a step back and think long and hard about what it is they are trying to say and convey and whether that meets an elemental status of fairness. Hobbitschuster (talk) 18:59, 23 July 2018 (UTC)

If the crime rate in a location is abnormally high, we say so; might be worth a glance? K7L (talk) 05:42, 24 July 2018 (UTC)
I agree with K7L, it was already determined from the discussion at Talk:Brussels#Brussels_districts,_several_important_things that the crime rate in the area is way above the Brussels average. This is not just an opinion of WV editors but based on statistical data from the Brussels government. That data also indicates that violent theft is on top of the list, which is very relevant to travelers.
@Hobbitschuster: Please do not remove warning boxes from articles without reaching a consensus on this first, you're putting travelers unfamiliar with the city at risk here! ArticCynda (talk) 07:37, 24 July 2018 (UTC)
I've reinstated the warning box, rewording to take out the hype and melodrama, without losing the content which helps travellers make informed choices. K7L and ArticCynda are right that there should be some form of warning in the article while we work out our disagreement. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 10:23, 24 July 2018 (UTC)
I still think the Warning Box as it stands is way too alarmist and as someone said somewhere (I think it was TT, but it may have been somebody else) the mere fact of a district having ten times the crime level as other parts of the town does not merit such a warning box. To give you a different example, while I would agree with putting a warning box on top of the Managua article currently do to the ongoing issues you can read about in the media which started in mid April 2018, I would not put a warningbox over a district article containing Mercado Oriental, even though said market is said to be a major crime hotspot and it does indeed have a lot of corners where it is very easy to imagine crime happening. I have been there once with two trusted Nicas by my side. I would not go there alone, fluent Spanish notwithstanding, and I would not advise anybody to go there alone. I did not to my recollection carry valuables beyond my wallet, but the fact that I am writing these lines should be indicative of what happened to me during my visit... Hobbitschuster (talk) 19:34, 24 July 2018 (UTC)

I removed the Special:Diff/3562248 travel advisories from the warning box. None of them mentioned International District or Molenbeek and only one "certain neighbourhoods" (I could of course have missed some mention), while touristy areas, transport hubs etc. were mentioned in many of them. Why weren't the alerts linked from Brussels instead? If they are to be linked that is where they belong. --LPfi (talk) 15:44, 25 July 2018 (UTC)

I am disappointed that the warning box is not clear about exactly which area it is referring to. It is not clear if it is about the whole district or just Molenbeek. I think that the article should have a stay safe section giving further details - exactly which main streets should be avoided. This district does have Brussels-Midi, one of the main train stations - is it safe to walk into town from here? UK Travel Advice does warn about muggers there. AlasdairW (talk) 18:13, 25 July 2018 (UTC)
I also do not think that a warning box which if I recall correctly is to be used to warn of clear and present danger to life and limb is the right thing to warn of "Crime levels that may be high for Europe, but are nothing out of the ordinary for the US. Or well at least they were in the past". Because, correct me if I'm wrong, after you strip away the brouhaha and the scaremongering, this is what remains, is it not? Hobbitschuster (talk) 19:36, 25 July 2018 (UTC)
There are plenty of other instances in which the red box has been used to warn of serious criminality, ranging from Harvey Illinois to Guatemala. If the area has absurdly high rates of unemployment and out-of-control street crime, we say so, even if placing such a label on a community with a high level of immigration from North Africa is not politically correct, safety comes first. K7L (talk) 02:23, 26 July 2018 (UTC)
I doubt travellers who just got mugged after wandering into the district because WV neglected putting up a proper warning, would care a lot about political correctness. Besides, the high level of immigration from North Africa in the district and its high crime rate/threat level are 2 purely objective facts about the district; the warning message never said that there is a connection between the two. ArticCynda (talk) 07:58, 26 July 2018 (UTC)
We do not tell about beautiful architecture in warning boxes, unless it distract you from holes in the street. Talking about ethnicity in a warning box clearly hints there is a connection. There might be, but it is irrelevant for the warning (I suppose there is an abundance of unemployed young men with failed dreams, which has a more direct connection, but also that rather belongs in Understand). --LPfi (talk) 08:14, 26 July 2018 (UTC)
Frankly, I do not know enough about Harvey to opine either way. What I can say is that the certain groups engaged in crime in Central America tend to be overwhelmingly armed (three guesses where those guns are coming from), overwhelmingly involved in the drug trade in some fashion and overwhelmingly ruthless (in part due to "super mano dura" which gives a caught criminal even with "just" a minor non-violent offense basically no future in life). I am not sure the same is true for any large group of European criminals, especially with regards to targeting random passers by. Mafias and the likes of course exist in Europe, but when they use violence, it is almost always against somebody they "know", whether that be a rival, former member, politician unwilling to take plata (and thus given plomo) or a journalist asking the "wrong" questions. I also recall somebody writing in one of the Molenbeek discussions that the crime rate is actually trending (steeply) downwards. If that is true, there would be even less case for the warning box. After all, we needn't inform people with a warning box about the fact that Hamburg-Schanzenviertel or Berlin-Kreuzberg, as those issues are now largely (not completely, but largely) in the past. Hobbitschuster (talk) 15:16, 26 July 2018 (UTC)
I follow your reasoning, but given the nature of the situation (and risk of people getting injured if a judgmental mistake is made here), I would very much apply the w:Precautionary principle and leave a strong warning box unless we can assure the traveler there is no elevated risk involved in visiting the district. ArticCynda (talk) 15:24, 26 July 2018 (UTC)
One question: Why? Why would or should we follow that principle? Hobbitschuster (talk) 16:01, 26 July 2018 (UTC)
We do not have a practice of putting warning boxes when we suspect there might be a risk, rather when there obviously is a risk, confirmed by official alerts. It seems the new Understand section gives a fair warning, but as I said, I do not know the neighbourhood. Is the situation in the rest of the district similar? --LPfi (talk) 16:31, 26 July 2018 (UTC)
Actually no, the template is there to warn the voyager of non-obvious dangers - and we don't require that the warnings come from governments (who sometimes provide useful info, but sometimes have their own political agenda). If a web search for "Molenbeek" finds newspaper coverage or other reliable sources, those too may be cited when we post a warning. K7L (talk) 17:01, 26 July 2018 (UTC)
Official sources are limited to police crime statistics, since the Brussels government probably would rather not have too much publicity on the safety aspects of this district. A google search on Molenbeek or Kuregem returns ample independent evidence of the situation, though.
With the w:Precautionary principle I meant that I'd rather give too many warnings than too few. Better have 3 warning boxes that are maybe unnecessary, rather than omit one and risk travelers getting hurt. ArticCynda (talk) 18:16, 26 July 2018 (UTC)
The warning box is, in my opinion, not necessary, since the content of the box perfectly fits into a "Stay safe" section. Also, there is quite clear advice on this issue on Wikivoyage:Where_you_can_stick_it#Stay_safe. Dangers should always be seen relative to their context, and scaring travelers or blaming ethnicities is very counterproductive (at the least). Localizing the dangers to specific well-identified areas is also much more helpful, and the current "Understand" section is at least attempting to do that. Xsobev (talk) 10:37, 27 July 2018 (UTC)
The decision as to when to use warningboxes is usually based on the severity of the danger. Try a web search for Molenbeek and it very quickly becomes very obvious that the warning box is indeed necessary. K7L (talk) 04:48, 28 July 2018 (UTC)
The Template:Warningbox#Article_placement mentions: "if the danger is localized or avoidable, place it under 'Stay safe'". Can we at least agree to move it to the stay safe section? As for whether using the box at all, it is stated that it should be used "sparingly", with examples such as "civil war in this region", "devastated by earthquake last week", "Ebola virus outbreak", or "death penalty for marijuana possession". None of this applies here. As you have suggested, I looked at a few newspaper articles that come up when searching for Molenbeek. First, the search only lists articles from around 2015/2016. None of them warn of going to Molenbeek. The closest to what might cause dangers to tourists are "criminal gangs" (source) mentioned only in one article. More importantly, two individuals were quoted:
  • Ahmed El Khannouss, the borough’s deputy mayor, said: “I know everyone thinks it’s a base for radicals and terrorists, but a lot of that is stigmatisation.” (source).
  • Turine [the Green deputy mayor of the district] warned against stigmatising any community or district. (source)
... and stigmatising we should not do on WV either. Xsobev (talk) 07:55, 30 July 2018 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I came across at least one article that went a bit like "I tried really hard to get mugged in Molenbeek. It didn't work". Hobbitschuster (talk) 14:59, 30 July 2018 (UTC)

The danger with moving the warning box to the Stay safe section is that not everyone scrolls down the page that far. There is a risk that travelers unfamiliar with the city and unaware of the criminals and terrorists roaming around here only look at the attractions section and then venture into the district unprepared for the threats they will be facing. That is why a warning box belongs at the top of the page, so that it cannot be overseen. ArticCynda (talk) 13:36, 31 July 2018 (UTC)

Discussion continued below

Pulled from Mainspace Page; up for discussion in wording and inclusion at allEdit

Original warning:

  WARNING: Best known internationally as the hideout of the terrorists responsible for the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris and bombing the Brussels metro and airport, Molenbeek and its surroundings are no longer the inviting residential neighborhoods they used to be. An expanding ghetto void of law and order, the district has become a hatchery for islamic fundamentalism and criminals of all trades. Going here alone is decisively not a good idea, and doing so may dramatically shorten your life expectancy. Crime rates in Molenbeek are 10 times higher than in the rest of Brussels, and tourists are often targeted because they are assumed to carry valuables.

Current warning:

  WARNING: Molenbeek and its surroundings have become unsafe, with criminals of all trades. Going here alone is decisively not a good idea, and it is advisable to avoid the area entirely after dark. Crime rates in Molenbeek are ten times higher than in the rest of Brussels, and tourists are often targeted because they are assumed to carry valuables.
I think the new wording, which is at the beginning of the article and directly above this comment, makes the warning box appropriate. I think we know this is a dangerous place, so it's okay to give a warning. But at the same time let's not go back to the above description again. I think the name of the district is also appropriate. And one other thing: should we mention terrorism the warning box? Selfie City (talk) 18:37, 30 July 2018 (UTC)
How dangerous is the district really? The WarningBox by its very nature and color and design is supposed to alert people of immediate danger to life and limb. War zone type of danger. Rampant disease kind of danger. Is this the kind of danger a visitor to this part of Brussels faces? And keep in mind that whichever terrorists there are in the area, they have thus far never struck inside Molenbeek, nor are they likely to. So why mention that here? Hobbitschuster (talk) 23:48, 30 July 2018 (UTC)
I'd moved the terrorism from the red box to the "Understand" section, but see that it has now been removed from that section in an attempt to downplay a real danger. I would support it being reinstated, either to the text or the warning box, as we don't withhold or downplay important factual information just to avoid hurt feelings. K7L (talk) 23:51, 30 July 2018 (UTC)
@Hobbitschuster: likewise there were no suicide bombing attacks during the time ISIL occupied Mosul, and yet, we still had a warning box on the page of that city... ArticCynda (talk) 13:30, 31 July 2018 (UTC)
Mosul was at the time a war zone. And whatever you can say about Molenbeek, they do not throw gays off rooftops or behead infidels there, do they? Hobbitschuster (talk) 13:36, 31 July 2018 (UTC)
It was not a war zone as long as the occupation lasted, per definition, since you can't be at war with yourself. And yes, the terrorists (or "freedom fighters" as you would probably prefer to call politically correctly) in Molenbeek are also an ISIL branch: the suicide squads responsible for the Paris and Brussels attacks all originated from this district, and the attacks were claimed directly or indirectly by ISIL. It was already pointed out as well that there is indeed a frightningly high and increasing support for sharia in Molenbeek and its surroundings. Do we really need to wait or the first gay travelers to be thrown off rooftops before you think a warning box is justified? ArticCynda (talk) 13:46, 31 July 2018 (UTC)
We are talking about very different things here. In Mosul being Christian or opposed to ISIL was probably enough to be beheaded, so the warning was indeed in place also when it was not a war zone (which it was for a significant part of the occupation). ISIL in Molenbeek (if present) is trying to keep a low profile to avoid being noticed by the police, concentrating on attacks elsewhere. An increasing support for sharia does not mean sharia is going to be imposed on tourists visiting the area. If you are to be taken seriously, you should keep such troubling developments (which can be mentioned in Understand, where relevant) separate from real dangers to tourists (which can warrant warning boxes and mentions in Stay safe). --LPfi (talk) 14:03, 31 July 2018 (UTC)
@Hobbitschuster: a Google Search on "Molenbeek" and "war zone" yields 27,200 results. Personal experiences of people who have actually visited the city aside, this might give an indication of the magnitude of problems going on there. ArticCynda (talk) 14:16, 31 July 2018 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I don't think we should decide whether or not to include a warning box based on statistics or even just facts — common sense should work effectively as our guide for writing this article. It should be common sense that — drawing from elements of logic, fact, and history — that Molenbeek is a dangerous place to visit. Let's remember this: just because nobody's been thrown off a rooftop in Molenbeek doesn't mean it's a safe place to visit. On the other hand, ArticCynda: just because Google Search yields 27,000+ results for "Molenbeek war zone" or whatever you entered doesn't mean that there are 27,000+ articles out there talking about Molenbeek being a war zone. Chances are that the first 100 pages shown on the Search results are about Molenbeek, the next 1,000 are about war zones in general, and the next 26,000 or so include either the word "war" or the word "zone" separately. Unless an editor has experienced Brussels or we can find a reliable online source proving that Molenbeek is extremely dangerous to the tourist, is there reason to include a warning box? Selfie City (talk) 16:27, 31 July 2018 (UTC)

Selfie City, I have lived in Brussels myself for a few years, and visited many times before and afterwards so I am writing from the perspective of firsthand experience. Secondly, if you search for "Molenbeek" + "war zone" you do only get results that mention Molenbeek and the combination "war zone" (and not just "war" or "zone"). ArticCynda (talk) 16:45, 31 July 2018 (UTC)
Oh, with a plus sign. As long as the plus function works on Google search, that's a different story. And I'm not doubting that Molenbeek is a dangerous place. But because you called the place a "Ghetto" and entered what some consider to be controversial edits about it, I don't think the other editors will trust your experience of Brussels. It would be helpful if we could get the opinions of some more admins (like Ikan Kekek and AndreCarrotflower) on the issue, and that could help us resolve all of this. Selfie City (talk) 16:54, 31 July 2018 (UTC)
ArticCynda seems to be operating exclusively from a European perspective here. European cities are among the safest in the world when it comes to crime, so "10 times as high as the rest of Brussels" doesn't mean a whole lot. People being thrown off the roofs of buildings was a specific hypothetical that was mentioned, so let's talk about murder specifically. Brussels' murder rate in 2017 was 3.6 per 100,000. Multiply that by ten and you have a murder rate roughly equivalent to that of Birmingham, Alabama, which has the 5th-highest murder rate among cities with populations over 100,000 in the United States (a country where the crime rate is somewhat higher than Europe but still far behind most of the rest of the world). There's no warning box on our Birmingham article, nor are there any on New Orleans, Detroit, Baltimore, or St. Louis, numbers 1 through 4 on said list of U.S. cities. So, regarding Molenbeek, I think it's fine to note the danger in the "Stay safe" section, but a warning box is overkill. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 17:37, 31 July 2018 (UTC)
Definitely there's quite a few American cities in the Midwest, along the Mississippi River, and the Atlantic coast that have high crime rates. However, these cities generally have a history of race-related conflicts (meaning more crime), something not the case in all of America by any means. In somewhere like Detroit, the downtown area is probably fine without a warning box but the areas around it, if they were individual districts, would need some kind of warning to travelers due to their crime level. Let's keep in mind that a lot of America — particularly in the parts where there are no racial divisions — are probably much safer than Molenbeek. I think the issue is that Molenbeek has a reputation for crime and terrorism, while cities like Detroit don't have a reputation for crime even though they have plenty of it. It's definitely a difficult decision. Selfie City (talk) 17:49, 31 July 2018 (UTC)
Also, remember that in a place like Molenbeek there are probably many crimes that go undetected. In America, I would think that number is much lower. Selfie City (talk) 17:56, 31 July 2018 (UTC)
It's irrelevant whether Molenbeek has a reputation for crime and terrorism. What's relevant is whether that reputation is deserved; in other words, how much danger tourists are actually putting themselves in by visiting the area. Furthermore, I'm sure unreported crime is an issue to some degree in Molenbeek, just as it is an issue in many impoverished neighborhoods of American cities. There are a lot of cases where numbers don't tell the whole story, but this isn't one of them, and in general we shouldn't be putting up warningboxes and dissuading people from visiting a certain place without a damn good reason. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 19:14, 31 July 2018 (UTC)
Yes, Selfie City, we should be restricting ourselves to facts only when determining whether to use a warningbox. If we don't restrict ourselves to facts, we risk falling prey to prejudice and poorly-founded claims that some people consider "common sense", but which are really common myths and stereotypes. I don't put myself up as any kind of expert on Belgium, a country I have yet to even visit, but facts have been brought to bear in this discussion, and they speak eloquently. Parenthetically, every city in the U.S. has "a history of racial issues", and connecting those with crime statistics makes no sense, because then you'd claim what? That racism in New York was cured because crime plummeted? Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:04, 31 July 2018 (UTC)
I hope no one is implying there is a connection between racial issues and crime in a city, because certain oversensitive editors will interpret that as racism. I agree, Andre, that European cities are among the safest in the world, and yes Selfie City, even in Europe Detroit is widely associated with a questionable reputation regarding safety. But that makes the situation with Molenbeek even more tricky because travelers would not expect the dangers and are thus unprepared for them. For instance, if European travelers visit developing countries like the USA, they naturally expect higher crime rates, and will be more alert. When this is not expected, as in the case of Molenbeek if it wouldn't have a warning box, travelers will be completely caught off guard. That is why, in my opinion, Molenbeek needs a warning box: to cope with the specific threats relative to the European safety context. ArticCynda (talk) 07:36, 1 August 2018 (UTC)
First, I completely agree with what User:Ikan Kekek and User:AndreCarrotflower said.
Second, I would like to point out that User:ArticCynda's claim of a "10 times higher rate of armed robberies" introduced in this comment is based on statistics with absolute numbers (see the data source in Dutch/French that was given by User:ArticCynda). The example provided by User:ArticCynda is for armed robberies (French: vol à main armée; Dutch: diefstal gewapenderhand) in 2017 comparing "Molenbeek-Saint-Jean" (77) to "Watermael-Boitsfort" (9), "Evere" (7) and "Ganshoren" (8). Not provided in this example is the figure for "Bruxelles" (the district that includes our Brussels/Centre, Brussels/Pentagon, and more). Here the figure is 241 ("three times higher than in Molenbeek-Saint-Jean"). To further set this into proportion, the total number of reported armed robberies in all of Brussels in 2017 is 802. Judging from that User:ArticCynda's claim is highly misleading. These statistics, as in fact any statistics, should be interpreted with great care. Aspects not considered here are for example the number of inhabitants or the size of each of the mentioned official districts, or other reported crimes. How User:ArticCynda's example turned into "criminals of all trades" and "Crime rates in Molenbeek are ten times higher than in the rest of Brussels" in our current warning box is unclear to me.
Third, regarding User:ArticCynda's Google search of "Molenbeek" + "war zone" that yields around 27.000 results. A search for "Pope Francis" + "war zone" yields around 75.000, one for "Germany" + "war zone" yields 1.210.000 results. Numbers obtained in this way do not tell us anything at all (not even do they "give an indication of the magnitude of problems going on" (User:ArticCynda)) with respect to our problem.
Xsobev (talk) 12:38, 1 August 2018 (UTC)

I think User:ArticCynda should re-eveluate their attitude. And let me state here for the record, that I do not consider Hamas, the Nicaraguan Contras of the 1980s, ETA, the IRA, the German RAF, the German NSU or any of those groups "freedom fighters" (unless in the same sense that firefighters fight fire). I also want to make it clear for the record, that unlike a certain politician in the UK, I do not have "friends at Hamas" and I think leaving the EU or Schengen are supremely stupid ideas. Hobbitschuster (talk) 12:44, 1 August 2018 (UTC)

I'm a little surprised by this statement: "I hope no one is implying there is a connection between racial issues and crime in a city, because [[User:Hobbitschuster|certain oversensitive editors]] will interpret that as racism." I'm just saying the true statement that there are cities in parts of the US where racial tensions are high — anyone who has been reading the news over the last several years knows it's true. There are cities where this hasn't been a problem, but if we're going to stick to facts that is true. Of course, no-one has backed up ArticCynda's claim, and surely people will recognize that it's not racism as ArticCynda claimed. Selfie City (talk) 13:52, 1 August 2018 (UTC)
I fear User:ArticCynda is engaging in a bit of "throwing stuff at the wall see what sticks" and "putting a few rods into the water and see if any fish bites". It's not the kind of behavior I think conducive to making the best worldwide travel guide there is, but what do I know? At any rate, I think we would all be well served to stick to objective facts and remember that while some tourists care whether terrorism is financed from Riyadh, that needn't influence the safety of a visit there. Likewise, this guide should largely be focused on what happens to people who visit Molenbeek, not on what people from Molenbeek have done, are doing or might do when they leave their district. Hobbitschuster (talk) 23:02, 1 August 2018 (UTC)
I disagree. Terrorism very much does impact travel and isn't something that we'd downplay or trivialise. K7L (talk) 03:03, 2 August 2018 (UTC)
I agree with K7L, we must not risk putting travelers in danger by downplaying threats. Where the terrorists came from and who's funding them might be interesting speculation for the Understand section indeed, but what is critically important is that they are there (or at least, they were until very recently). That these terrorists do not pose a threat is nonsense, should I remind editors here that they bombed metro line  1   in 2016 which has its terminus station Weststation in the centre of the International District itself? And even if they're not killing people, attacking and robbing them to finance their terrorist activities is despicable and should not be taken lightly. I also agree with User:AndreCarrotflower that the official crime statistics are probably a huge underestimation of the actual criminal activities going on in Molenbeek since reporting so called petty crime is pointless if security services have their hands full with hunting ISIL terrorists around the corner.
To put that in perspective from the traveler's point of view: the 2016 bombings killed 19 tourists. If Molenbeek doesn't deserve a warning box, why does Iraqi Kurdistan need one even though not a single tourist has been killed there since the invasion of Iraq in 2003? ArticCynda (talk) 09:26, 2 August 2018 (UTC)
On December 2, 2015, 14 people were killed and 22 others were seriously injured in a terrorist attack in San Bernardino. Should it have a warningbox? What about Paris, which has been the target of several mass killings by terrorists? The real question is how likely is it that a visitor today or tomorrow will be subject to danger to life and limb (property crimes, unless the risk is truly extreme and unmanageable, can be dealt with in "Stay safe"). Terrorism is actually often an oversold threat, in the sense that its effect is more sensational than much more common causes of death. For example, at the height of the Second Intifada in Israel, when hundreds of civilians were being murdered in Hamas terrorist attacks, it was still much more dangerous to be on the road than in any kind of building, because of the likelihood of getting killed in a road accident. Similarly, plane crashes get disproportionate coverage because the loss of life when a plane goes down is large, but flying is the safest mode of travel today, such that the most dangerous thing you do when you fly is to take ground transportation to and from the airport - unless perhaps if you are flying one of the world's most dangerous airlines. Of course I agree that terrorism is outrageous and no-one should support it, but that isn't really the relevant question when considering the need for or wording of a warningbox. Ikan Kekek (talk) 10:38, 2 August 2018 (UTC)
Again, I completely agree with User:Ikan Kekek's comment.
User:ArticCynda claims that s/he does not want to "risk putting travelers in danger by downplaying threats". At the same time s/he thinks the topic is funny enough to make jokes about it ("Getting in is definitely easier than getting out alive ... After visiting this district, your next destination will probably either be a hospital or a crematorium, depending on how lucky you were.", or "If you're traveling with full body armor and curious to see what mass immigration with failed integration looks like, you could consider exploring Brussels' notorious 'International' district"). With these edits I cannot take her/his claim seriously.
User:K7L, I'm not "downplaying or trivialising" terrorism, my aim is to bring this discussion back to a normal level by pointing out that part of the original and current warnings are based on wrong, highly misleading, or unsubstantiated claims provided by User:ArticCynda (see for example my comment here). S/he just made another misleading claim by suggesting that the 2016 Metro bombing took place in "the centre of the International District". It did not - it took place in the Brussels/European Quarter.
If there are safety issues for travelers that are backed by reputable sources, then they should be added. A good example is this edit, which is backed for example by the UK government travel site (although, the edit summary probably should have additionally mentioned at least one link where this info came from). So I would suggest to remove the unsubstantiated information completely, giving other people the chance to add verifiable information not motivated by racial prejudices. Other constructive proposals are definitely welcome. Xsobev (talk) 12:18, 2 August 2018 (UTC)
If there are safety issues for voyagers, we say so, period. The possibility that pointing out a real danger might offend someone's racial sensibilities doesn't enter into it. Safety first. Furthermore, it's the non-obvious dangers which we point out first. Travellers know that highway collisions are deadly (although we will point out specific locations where the roads are unusually dangerous or drivers unusually aggressive). Terrorism in some wretched place that's been overrun with ICE, ISIS or other extremists might be an obvious reason not to travel to these places, but is terrorism in Belgium obvious? It's supposedly an industrialised, Western nation and visitors would expect it to be safe. If one area is not safe, we say so. K7L (talk) 13:30, 2 August 2018 (UTC)
Does traveling to Molenbeek carry a non-negligible risk of being a victim of a terrorist attack? I doubt it. —Granger (talk · contribs) 14:04, 2 August 2018 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── If people behaved in accordance with the true danger of things, there would be much, much, much more rigorous security on cars and there might even be serious calls to ban them entirely inside built up areas (another common misconception is thinking of highways as more dangerous than rural or urban streets. The opposite is the case). On the other hand, the danger to die in a terrorist attack is indeed negligible. It rises for certain "high risk" groups like politicians in places where the terrorists specifically target those or Jews in, well, pretty much all terrorists have a penchant for targeting Jews for some reason... Do we have loud and screaming warnings not to upset people on either side of the (London)derry name dispute and the things that cause it? Should there be a warning box about sports stadia? After all, the police presence at some games looks like they are barely keeping World War III from happening... I think it would help if all sides tried to lay off the snark (yeah, yeah, guilty as charged) and argued on the basis of facts, not feelings. And the fact of the matter is that there have likely been more traffic deaths in Brussels since the terror attacks than the terror attacks themselves killed. Oh and another thing: The main people who did 9/11 were exchange students in Hamburg. That article doesn't even mention that. Hobbitschuster (talk) 15:51, 2 August 2018 (UTC)

First of all, I completely agree that banning cars from residential areas/cities is a great idea and I would support that proposal. So Hobbitschuster, there is at least one thing we agree on!
That aside however, I think K7L has a strong point: almost everyone knows that crossing a street in busy traffic is dangerous, and that wandering into Rio's favelas would incur threats. But much fewer visitors would be aware of the dangers in Molenbeek, hence why a warning is necessary. The chance of getting killed by terrorists in Molenbeek is certainly low, but the chance of getting injured while getting robbed by terrorists seeking to finance their activities is very high in comparison to the rest of Belgium. Getting mugged violently may not be as bad as getting murdered, but unaware victims would certainly have appreciated a warning.
@Xsobev: please refer to Wikivoyage:Tone, it explicitly states that humor, careful generalizations and a lively writing style are welcome. My writing style complies to these guidelines, whether or not you like them. ArticCynda (talk) 22:58, 2 August 2018 (UTC)
@ArticCynda: The following, referring to your previous comment, should be obvious:
1. The acceptability of humor doesn't mean that you can joke about dying, blowing up buildings, etc.
2. Careful generalizations are supposed to be careful generalizations, not stuff like the following (which I quoted before at Talk:Brussels):

North-East: "A residential and commercial district, and home base of the NATO headquarters, making it the perfect target for tactical nukes. Don't forget to bring a flak jacket when visiting! Otherwise of relatively little interest to the average traveler."

Uccle: "Upscale residential district bordering the Sonian Forest to the south, and inhabited by those with more money than brains. The Louise quarter in the shadow of the Law Courts building is the most overpriced shopping area in the city."

Matonge: "Brussels banana republic, home to much of its African population, and thriving on hakuna matata and unemployment. Worth a visit for the distinct African vibe, the colorful outfits that go with it, and the many African specialties that can be purchased in this neighbourhood."

Centre: "The small medieval centre of Brussels, with at its heart the Grand Place, the most beautiful square in the world and  UNESCO World Heritage site. The centre is a pedestrian only area with small streets, and dotted with attractions and oblivious American tourists 'trying to do Europe'. You'll find ample opportunities to try waffles, Belgian beer or fries here."

Oh, yes, there's a new one:

"After visiting this district, your next destination will probably either be a hospital or a crematorium, depending on how lucky you were."

3. Lively writing, like humor, does not mean that you can joke about dying, blowing up buildings, etc. I think Molenbeek is a dangerous place, and we should recognize that fact and take steps to warn travelers accordingly. But the above quotes are not the way to do it. Selfie City (talk) 03:14, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
And I also noticed that Wikivoyage:Tone, which ArticCynda used as a reason for his writing, states the following: "Avoid sarcasm as it often doesn't work well in written form or across cultural boundaries." Seems to apply well to statements like "After visiting this district, your next destination will probably either be a hospital or a crematorium, depending on how lucky you were." Selfie City (talk) 03:26, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
Thanks, User:SelfieCity, I completely agree.
I also want to point out the following racist statements that I removed in this edit from this district page just now, and that were inserted by User:ArticCynda in this edit. There were more like this.
So I will again suggest to remove unsubstantiated information. Just like any other factual errors are removed from WV. Xsobev (talk) 07:00, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
Please keep in mind that this is a travel guide and not an encyclopedia. By its nature of advising travelers where to go and what to do, it means a travel guide can not only rely on factual information that is referenced somewhere. On the contrary, the strength of a travel guide like WV is that it uses personal experiences of travelers to help other travelers, and it is normal that includes (personal) opinions as well. Opinions you are, of course, free to disagree with in a respectful manner.
I therefore disagree with the proposal above, which would refuce WV to a travel oriented encyclopedia instead of a pleasant to read travel guide. ArticCynda (talk) 09:56, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
We're not talking about opinions on which restaurant or sight is best or most interesting. Bigotry and stereotyping are inimical to responsible travel, which ought to be about some kind of respectful interaction between people who live in different places. Arguing in favor of prejudice is something that I would hope would go over on this site like a lead balloon. Ikan Kekek (talk) 10:07, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
And it's unfortunate but not that surprising that in addition to being anti-Muslim and anti-African, you are also anti-Semitic. Do we have to ban you, or will you curb your desire to use this kind of language and restrict yourself to fair observations? Ikan Kekek (talk) 10:09, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
I would have been willing to grant ArticCynda to just having made a mistake of wording (missing a "not" or a subject/object confusion or what have you) but his silent seems to speak volumes on the antisemitism front. Unfortunately proclaiming an opposition to antisemitism (which mind you, is not the same as being free of antisemitic sentiment, but I digress) used to be a nobrainer among "polite society" but those days apparently seem to be over, sad to see as that is. Hobbitschuster (talk) 14:37, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
Political opinions aside, it seems unfair and hypocritical to criticize editors for doing the effort of contributing missing attractions, particularly by those whose "contributions" seem to focus mainly on complaining and censoring. Maybe you don't like how someone formulates the descriptions of new attractions, districtifies articles, or draws maps. But you had the opportunity to take the initiative at any time, however chose not to put in the effort. If you think you could have done it better, why not take the initiative first? It's always easy to complain afterwards in the role of Captain Hindsight.
Needless to say, turning a debate about a warning box into a personal attack on certain contributors to draw attention away from one sides apparent lack of solid arguments to fuel said debate, is a very childish strategy. ArticCynda (talk) 16:42, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
The fact that you take a statement that you are a bigot as an insult, rather than openly embracing your prejudice and taking it a compliment, is irrelevant. You have been repeatedly thanked for adding listings and for all the other positive contributions you've made. What you are being criticized for is something different, and don't try to talk past it. You will not be thrown off Wikivoyage for merely being a racist and a bigot, but you simply must stop using any kind of racist language in destination articles, and if you do not stop, other measures will have to be discussed. Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:10, 3 August 2018 (UTC)
User:ArticCynda, consider the reaction to your discriminatory edits a clear warning. User:Ikan_Kekek and User:Hobbitschuster made very good comments about your situation. Let me add to their statements that I won't tolerate racism or any other kind of discrimination - neither here on VW, nor anywhere else. Xsobev (talk) 06:34, 6 August 2018 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── The claims of racism and discrimination are so far fetched that formulating a defense against them feels like a waste of time. Since many editors here do not seem to understand what is racism or discrimination, and what is not, I'll only make the following points:

  • As Hobbitschuster and Selfie City already pointed out, the concept of "race" is merely a social construct, not a scientific one. There is only one "race". If I were "racist", which I am not, then I would be hating myself, which is obviously ridiculous.
  • Discriminating people based on factors they did not choose, and cannot influence or change, such as country of birth, eye/hair/skin color, gender, or sexual orientation, is completely unacceptable. That is what I would define as racist discrimination. Needless to say, I never added any such discriminative remarks or content anywhere, so I don't know where those accusations come from. So what is discrimination and what is not? An example:
  1. It is advisable to swat wasps because they're yellow and black. — This is a discriminative comment, since a wasp didn't choose its colors and can't change them.
  2. Beware of wasps since they're more aggressive and more likely to sting than bees. — This is not a discriminative comment since behavior is a choice, and the claim is based on facts.
If you don't see the difference then that is pitiful, but it doesn't give you the right to insult other editors. Consequently, writing "beware of Jews when visiting the Gaza Strip" is not a racist or antisemitist comment, since it is an objective fact that over 2,000 people were killed there by Jews since the begin of the millenium. Hard numbers are facts, and are independent of political opinions.

I do not see a reason to change my attitude or writing style only because some editors do not understand what is discrimination and what is not. ArticCynda (talk) 09:31, 6 August 2018 (UTC)

User:ArticCynda, why make hypothetical examples, when there are enough examples of your own writing, including the one that I pointed out earlier, and that you did not comment on:
  • "One of its [the National Museum of the Resistance] goals is to raise awareness an sensitize citizens to the dangers of undemocratic systems and Jewry, whatever their forms are, and the risk of escallation of these threats into devastating conflicts. Since 1972, the civic purpose of the museum is to continue transmission of the ideals and spirits embodied by the Resistance, as to warn young generations to the present dangers of extremism and Jewry of any kind." (Special:Diff/3537958)
  • "[...] Van Overstraeten died 3 years later at the young age of 31 after being attacked by Jews, and the cholera he had contracted from it." (Special:Diff/3532438)
  • "After a heavy fire destroyed much of the building in 1911, presumably after being set on fire by Jews, [...]" (Special:Diff/3532451)
  • "English movies are screened in original version (OV) with subtitles in Dutch and French. For viewers with a lower IQ, there are also dubbed versions in French (VF) which are just as horrifying as you imagine them, so be careful when choosing which version you want when purchasing your ticket [...]" (Special:Diff/3568928)
  • "Note: groups of Moroccans are also known to roam around in Oceade, so keep an eye on younger kids and don't leave your personal belongings unattended." (Special:Diff/3535082)
  • "Océade is not only popular among locals and tourists, but also a hangout for young Moroccan immigrants who operate in groups to steal valuables, and are also known to harass girls and women." (Special:Diff/3568905)
  • "[...] the district [ Brussels/International_District ] lost all of its charms after mass immigration from north Africa turned many neighborhoods of this district into islamic ghettos." (Special:PermanentLink/3561518)
If you really are not being racist or discriminatory as you claim in your previous comment, then you're trying really hard to make people believe otherwise, which is certainly not in the interest of the travler. In addition to that, you're providing false information in the first three examples. Xsobev (talk) 14:18, 6 August 2018 (UTC)
@Xsobev: I'm glad you acknowledge the information provided in the 4 last examples is at least correct, which seems a great leap forward towards understanding my point of view.
The incredibly aggressive yet naive point of view of some editors participating in this discussion makes me wonder how many have actually visited Brussels at all, and how many of those have ventured into the districts we're talking about here. When I added a listing for Océade for example, it was based on the combined experience of 3 visits to Océade. What makes you think you know the place good enough to justify censoring my contributions, Xsobev? How much time have you spent there?
With all respect to editors from other countries (I'm not racist, after all!): what is the value of a crowdsourced travel guide like WV if the experiences of people who know the city well are considered less important than those who have only read about the city but never visited at all? A very dangerous evolution for our Wiki project, in my opinion. ArticCynda (talk) 17:51, 6 August 2018 (UTC)
Hold on. There are plenty of things left out here. First, I don't think I ever said race is purely a social construct. Second, the examples of racism that Xsobev are using are not all racism: some of the above quotes, if they are true, are not racism. Third, I'm not quite sure what "Jewry" is supposed to mean. I've assumed from the first time I saw the word (which was a few days ago) that it was an antisemitic term, which it seems to be, but I'd like a clarification of what it means if possible and appropriate.
Fourth, I think the fact that ArticCynda is not saying he isn't a racist is relevant. If he/she really was a racist, I think he or she would embrace the fact that he/she was, but wouldn't deny it. Fifth, here's what I really think about the issue, looking at the big picture: ArticCynda is an excellent contributor, but he/she for some reason has a great interest in the Brussels articles — particularly with emphasizing issues that are well-known for being controversial and should therefore be avoided (like talking in-depth based upon race or even racism, in certain cases). ArticCynda has used racist comments, therefore, to get attention to the Brussels articles and get them properly districtified. But this plan has of course backfired. So we can set it right by either avoiding race/religion in articles whenever possible or by making sure ArticCynda never edits a Brussels or Brussels district article again. Selfie City (talk) 20:28, 6 August 2018 (UTC)
Selfie City, as you agree that the comments made are indeed not racist, there is nothing to set right because no mistakes were made in the first place. I started work on the Brussels article because there is a broad consensus it is one of the most important cities in the world (being the capital of the second largest democracy in the world, after India, and the headquarters of the NATO military alliance), yet the article we had on Brussels was beyond shameful. Being apparently one of the few WV editors who actually knows the city well, I was obliged to plunge forward. I therefore find your call for censorship alarming: how could articles improve beyond the level of ordinary travel guides if you ban editors with actual travel experience to the destination from contributing to their articles?
Certain editors seem to have made it a personal crusade to attack me personally at every possible occasion, which is not only inappropriate in the context of a community project like Wikivoyage, but also highly unproductive. I can only guess what their reasons might be; I suspect it is a result of jealousy and frustration resulting from not having had the chance yet to visit Brussels themselves. ArticCynda (talk) 07:46, 7 August 2018 (UTC)
(technical edit conflict) For the record, I did not acknowledge the factual accuracy of the last four examples. I made a statement about the first three examples. Apologies if this was not clearly formulated.
User:ArticCynda, in which year/month were your three visits to Oceade? Did you observe groups of young Moroccans steal valuables, or harass girls and women? Did they get arrested, charged, and convicted? Did that happen each of the three times you were there? How do you know they were Moroccans? How can you generalize from your individual visits making a statement that (all) young Moroccans are potentially dangerous, in that they allegedly steal valuables, or harass girls and women and one should watch out if one sees them? In what way is it important to know that they were Moroccans?
User:SelfieCity, if I understand your comments, I think you're trying to mediate between the two sides, which I apprechiate very much. I exposed a few edits of User:ArticCynda that contain wrong information (including the false claim that the crime rate in Molenbeek is 10 times higher than in the rest of Brussels), and I have exposed a few edits, which I think are of discriminatory nature. I always provided examples or evidence that can be inspected by everyone to support my claims. I'm interested in a constructive conclusion of this discussion, and am willing to admit whenever I made a false assumption, conclusion or a mistake. But, I expect the same from anyone else.
User:SelfieCity, I am also open to both your proposals how to set the situation right.
Since User:SelfieCity is asking for clarification of the example using the term "Jewry". The direct religious discrimination is to say that Jews are dangerous, and extremists. Making that statement in the context of a museum that raises awareness of the wrongdoings of the Nazis, whose victims were Jews, makes it even worse. Now it's User:ArticCynda's turn, as the author, to answer this specific question of User:SelfieCity.
Xsobev (talk) 07:47, 7 August 2018 (UTC)
For the record, User:ArticCynda's and my comment before this one were saved almost at the same time, so neither of us saw each others comment before they were posted. I changed the indentation of my comment adding one level, because my edit was saved slightly later. Xsobev (talk) 08:05, 7 August 2018 (UTC)
User:ArticCynda, would you care to also comment on your most recent edit you made just now: "After the Second World War and the defeat of the Jews, [...]." (Special:Diff/3576751) Xsobev (talk) 09:03, 7 August 2018 (UTC)
Oh my God, what an absolutely evil remark. User:SelfieCity, I hope you won't try to make excuses for that remark. Ikan Kekek (talk) 09:57, 7 August 2018 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── As I've just been informed of a proposal to ban me, it appears constructive discussions and debate to reach an agreement have ended. I find it most disappointing that certain editors seek such measures to enforce their political beliefs upon others. Forcefully eliminating opposition is, in my opinion, not the correct way to resolve a dispute about the warning box — although that topic seems to be lost in the mist of accusations spread around by some editors. ArticCynda (talk) 10:32, 7 August 2018 (UTC)

If you keep inserting comments that are hard to read as anything but blatant antisemitism and refuse to comment on them or explain what you actually mean by them, then I fear I cannot help you. There is really no purpose in debating antisemites. The only reason one would ever try to "understand" or "explain" antisemitism is to better combat it. If you think this is a personal crusade against you personally, then you are not exactly doing anything to further your position. Also, Brussels, despite it often being called that is not the capital of the European Union. It is not even the sole seat of its most important institution, the European Parliament (Strasbourg being a secondary seat). And I dimly recall that there were previously edits by somebody of a nature as to call Brussels a dismal city that only ever showed up on the tourism map because Eurostar touted it. (example) At any rate, writing a good travel guide can be accomplished entirely without uncalled for racist or antisemitic or otherwise bigoted comments. Trust me, I could write paragraphs upon paragraphs of stereotypes about Eastern Germans and could even come up with pseudo-justifications for them but a) I personally know East Germans who aren't like that and b) it has no place in a travel guide. If you shouldn't go to certain places at night if you are a visible minority or visibly leftist, we should say so. But painting all East Germans as racist Nazis, even if racist parties gain 25% or more of the vote is not helping anybody and is not what a travel guide is about. It also goes against our WV:Tone. Hobbitschuster (talk) 12:13, 7 August 2018 (UTC)
That recent discovery, if it was really inserted by ArticCynda, is just total insanity. "Defeat of the Jews?" That's just obviously not true, unless they're speaking in the context of German Jews, which was not clarified so it therefore cannot be assumed. Here's the thing: I'm surprised that ArticCynda just won't stop making these comments or apologizing for causing such a disruption on the site. I've said that I'm happy to help out with the Brussels districtification if you stop writing content about obviously controversial issues. If a user really can't stop or apologize and revert the edits they made that were derogatory, yes, we do have to consider a block, if not an indefinite ban. Selfie City (talk) 14:26, 7 August 2018 (UTC)
Yes, Hobbitschuster, I agree with your recent comment. A good travel guide is possible without any reference to controversial issues. And a travel guide that avoids controversial issues, and taking stances on them, is the best travel guide, and is how this one should be. I'm not worried about ArticCynda's edits if he/she apologizes, but the way things are going this user will simply not return to sanity.
Ikan Kekek, it has become increasingly obvious with time what this editor is really doing. Before you were involved in this discussion, the edits of ArticCynda that we knew about did not truly seem harmful. And I'm still not totally sure whether ArticCynda is just using political incorrectness to get attention or not. But these recent comments about Jews are tipping the balance toward a user who really is a racist. I'm surprised, really, that such people exist, but the evidence is here now. Selfie City (talk) 14:32, 7 August 2018 (UTC)
I also don't like statements such as "User:SelfieCity, I hope you won't try to make excuses for that remark" when I've attempted to be neutral on the situation. I have not been a supporter of what ArticCynda has written; it's clearly not fit for the website. I think Hobbitschuster and Xsobev, in particular, have dealt with this situation quite well. Except for the side-comment about the "person who shall be nameless" on the user ban page, I think Ikan Kekek has been on the right side of this as well.
What maybe is different is that ArticCynda's contributions are not shocking to me. Please do not read this as if I'm accepting what he wrote, because that's obviously twisting my words. But that is maybe why this whole time I have not been as strong on this as others have. Selfie City (talk) 17:47, 7 August 2018 (UTC)
You misread my remarks on the user ban talk page. You can see on that page who is trying to argue that racist "warnings" are in the interest of the traveler. But please understand that members of targeted groups take it personally when people attempt to be "neutral" in the face of attacks on us. And no, the German Jews weren't "defeated" by the Nazis; the Nazis seized them and murdered them en masse. "Defeat" suggests a war between two combating sides, not seizing and murdering a people en masse. And also, to those who think the Jewish people were "defeated", learn the Hebrew words "Am Yisrael chai". Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:14, 7 August 2018 (UTC)
Oh it annoys Antisemites to no end that the Jewish people refuses to disappear from this earth, no matter what they try and do... At any rate, I have asked ArticCynda on their own talk page to address the antisemitism accusations (I personally think that calling an antisemite an antisemite may be ethically the right thing to do, but is often unproductive as not all can see antisemitism the way somebody who knows a bit about its scholarly definitions can) and will take failure to respond within a reasonable time frame as an admission... Hobbitschuster (talk) 22:23, 7 August 2018 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Oh, okay, you weren't referring to me. Sorry that I assumed you were. And, of course, saying the Jewish people were defeated is nonsense, but at the same time nonsense that shouldn't be on the website. The discovery of ArticCynda's antisemitism has also turned me from being neutral on the situation; as I stated on the talk page of the user ban nominations, I now support a block, and the support of a block has grown as this whole discussion has progressed. And yes, ArticCynda should probably read the Book of Esther... Selfie City (talk) 14:49, 8 August 2018 (UTC)

Discussion continued at Wikivoyage talk:User bans and User talk:ArticCynda

I want to draw more eyes on Brussels/International DistrictEdit

Swept in from the pub

I excised some of the verbiage I considered absolutely beyond the pale and advise discussion about whether to have a warning box and what it should look like. I can only urge User:ArticCynda in the strongest possible terms to step away from this if they cannot at least try to write a guide about this region without smearing it in a frankly uncalled for attempt to be "funny". I think this is really a debate about more than one specific guide about one specific neighborhood, it is about whether we want this to be a wiki that gives honest but fair advice about even perhaps not-so-commonly-visited neighborhoods, even if they are "a bit rough around the edges" or whether we want this to be a wiki that paints certain places with a broad brush as "ghettos" and places where you "won't get out alive". I for one do not consider this either a joking matter or a matter on which we can afford to be callous. If it really is "Lord of the Flies" down there, the flippant tone does us no favors. If the reputation is more smoke than fire, we should really refrain from "jokes" like that. And I also kindly ask for this to not be prematurely swept. Thank you. Hobbitschuster (talk) 19:08, 23 July 2018 (UTC)

The wording was wrong and removing it was the right thing to do. However the article does deserve a stay safe section as the area is not one to wander into as a tourist unexpectedly. Take guidelines from articles like St. Louis or Chicago suburbs. --Traveler100 (talk) 19:21, 23 July 2018 (UTC)
I agree with Traveler100 on this one. As a travel guide we must adequately warn travelers who are unfamiliar with the city. Opinions aside, there is overwhelming evidence of the dangers: official crime rate statistics, terrorism analysis reports, and numerous independent reviews of the area. Keep in mind that, according to police reports, the islamic fundamentalists/terrorists in the district mentioned above are an European branch of ISIS/ISIL, and an appropriately worded warning box (like the one for Iraqi Kurdistan for example) should be in place. ArticCynda (talk) 07:52, 24 July 2018 (UTC)
A warning box is fine, as is a comprehensive and factual 'Stay safe' section. I still see no reason to use the word 'ghetto', when there are many more descriptive and accurate ways of conveying the district's troubles to travellers. The hyperbolic nonsense you wrote in several parts of the International District article, including the warning box ("doing so [going to Molenbeek] may dramatically shorten your life expectancy") has no place in Wikivoyage, and I'm surprised that you thought that kind of tone was appropriate. If you can't take this subject seriously, maybe you should move on to other articles. If, on the other hand, you can dial it down a bit and think before you post, we can still work together to find a solution that we can all live with. It's not like you're a bad contributor - most of the stuff you've done for the Brussels articles is amazing. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 10:14, 24 July 2018 (UTC)
Perhaps we don't need a separate article for the so called International District, if it apparently is just dangerous there and not really one of the Brussel's highlights anyway. Look at the articles for Rio de Janeiro, possibly the world's most dangerous major tourist destination. We don't have a warning box there (though an extensive Stay safe section), nor a separate district article for the favelas. --ϒpsilon (talk) 11:17, 24 July 2018 (UTC)
But we do need to completely districtify a city, so if the International District doesn't get its own article, then it must be included in a larger district. Personally, I have no opinion on whether it should or shouldn't get an article, but if Brussels is divided into districts, they should cover the whole city one way or another. ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 11:23, 24 July 2018 (UTC)
Yes of course, but if the International District just has a few attractions, and is otherwise not a place to go to, those could be covered in an adjacient district. If really necessary, a warning could be added to that district article. ϒpsilon (talk) 11:30, 24 July 2018 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── it is quite conceivable that the Brussels districts are too fine grained. The "Sonian forest" one contains basically no attractions of any sort for one. I also do not understand what is wrong with calling the district around Molenbeek "Molenbeek and surroundings"...

At any rate, saying that any part of the EU is akin in danger to a war zone is palpably absurd and I think you comparing it with Iraqi Kurdistan which was the site of some intense fighting quite recently bodes ill for what you're writing about the area... Hobbitschuster (talk) 12:13, 24 July 2018 (UTC)

Alternatively, the district could be mapped out but not have its own article, such as with the Industrial District which doesn't have any touristic value at all. However, the risks associated with Molenbeek probably deserve a proper warning rather than a few lines of text in the Stay safe section of an adjacent district. ArticCynda (talk) 13:01, 24 July 2018 (UTC)
The current warning box says criminal figures are ten times that of the rest of Brussels. I do not know about Brussels, but if some district in Turku had ten times more crime than the rest of the city, I would not take any special measures going there. If it means you could stay ten years in Brussels until being unlucky, and just one year in Molenbeek, I do not see a war zone like warning appropriate. Somebody spending a day there would still have quite low risk. Usually in such neighbourhoods violent crime is mostly a problem for locals, and dressing modestly and having your valuables out of sight should diminish the risks to a reasonable level, at least with some carefulness. I do not know about Molenbeek, but I'd like to hear whether the troubles rally are of an exceptional scale (terrorists hardly attack random passers by). --LPfi (talk) 13:28, 24 July 2018 (UTC)
It's not just "a danger to locals" if theft and robbery run rampant in one particular area or destination. Voyagers who are unfamiliar with the area and likely to be carrying items of value are, as in other high-crime districts, at immediate risk. As a travel guide, we warn of these issues. Nothing new or special about that. K7L (talk) 16:39, 24 July 2018 (UTC)
No, but one can state that in different ways. Talking about terrorists and Islamic fundamentalism in the warnings is probably unnecessary (are religious fundamentalists more likely to rob you?). And the question is how big the danger is. Earlier it looked like you were more or less guaranteed to get killed if you entered the area. Now the warning is milder, but such a radical change in one day does not seem convincing. Is the new version written by somebody who knows the situation? --LPfi (talk) 17:30, 24 July 2018 (UTC)
It was rewritten by me, and no I don't know the situation. I simply took out the obviously false "you're going to die if you set foot here" vibe. With regard to terrorists, they seldom seem to shit on their own doorstep, if you'll forgive the language. There is a constant risk of attacks in most major western cities, but these are, historically speaking, much more likely to hit central locations, big landmarks or key transport infrastructure. Therefore, I doubt jihadis pose an increased threat to people within Molenbeek as opposed to the rest of the city. Though of course other non-ideological criminals will not hesitate to opportunistically take advantage of a vulnerable traveller, and this is more likely to happen in crime-ridden neighbourhoods such as Molenbeek, rather than central tourist areas which are heavily policed with loads of witnesses everywhere. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 18:38, 24 July 2018 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── How current are our facts? I've found official crime rates per neighborhood at (through 2014; see for a map – click "locaties : tonen" to make the neighborhood names appear). Crime rates appear to be on a sharp downward trend in these neighborhoods (~25% decline over a few years, with the timeline corresponding to a significant increase in police presence). shows a map of the neighborhoods that shows these in the same color as approximately half the city. It is reasonable to expect that most travel-related advice is a little outdated, since it is based on what happened in the past, but being out of date can be unfair, too. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:13, 25 July 2018 (UTC)

Should we include screaming warning boxes about racism?Edit

Swept in from Talk:ArticCynda

So given your enthusiasm about portraying certain European neighborhoods as bell on earth, may I ask you whether you are willing to ring the same alarmist bell - or indeed to make similar uncalled for "jokes" - about racism in Europe. I'll just leave an assortment of links here without further comment.

What about the "ghettos" where terrorist groups like w: national Socialist Underground originated? Should we write crass jokes about visiting there reducing life expectancy? Hobbitschuster (talk) 12:19, 24 July 2018 (UTC)

If said racism poses a direct threat to the traveler, then a warning box may be appropriate for those areas yes. In such cases, it must be demonstrated that the area is indeed more dangerous to the traveler than comparable (i.e. adjacent) districts, though, for example because it has higher prevalence of theft (pickpocketing, robberies), violence, shooting incidents, and so on. Only an opinion or feeling of insecurity does not suffice, such instances should instead be supported by credible evidence of structural problems such as official crime rate statistics etc.
On the other hand, if there is strong evidence of a specific racial group targeting/assaulting another racial group, for example in the case of the New Year's Eve assaults in Cologne and Hamburg, then I do not object against mentioning specific racial groups in said warning boxes as long as it is in te best interest of the traveler, and can help the traveler to take the necessary precautions. ArticCynda (talk) 13:37, 24 July 2018 (UTC)
In case there would be any doubt, I want to emphasize that racism (discrimination of a group only because of their race or ethnicity) does not have a place on Wikivoyage, and cannot be tolerated. Any and all such hateful content should be immediately removed. ArticCynda (talk) 14:28, 24 July 2018 (UTC)
Which "racial group" would the targeter and the targeted be in that case? Hobbitschuster (talk) 19:36, 24 July 2018 (UTC)
See w:New_Year's_Eve_sexual_assaults_in_Germany. ArticCynda (talk) 07:19, 25 July 2018 (UTC)
That doesn't answer the question. I could argue that this is a question of men attacking women, why do you make it about "race"? And which racial groups were the participants here? And on a side note, which races are there to begin with? Hobbitschuster (talk) 13:54, 25 July 2018 (UTC)
You're absolutely right, I'm sure the victims who were in a hospital recovering from rape or violent robbery that night would have felt a lot better if you'd have told them they were not just a victim of racism, but of sexist racism. That knowledge really could have made all the difference to them... ArticCynda (talk) 08:04, 26 July 2018 (UTC)
There is also strong scientific evidence that "races" are just a made up label, and that there is no such thing as different races. Which effectively makes the entire concept of racism a hoax as well. ArticCynda (talk) 08:21, 26 July 2018 (UTC)
I've largely ignored your comments, but this is just ridiculous. Race is a social construct, but racism is certainly real, just as are religious prejudice, homophobia and other forms of bigotry in which a dominant group oppresses another group, however defined. I suggest you stop engaging in this kind of ranting and concentrate on things that actually help travelers. Ikan Kekek (talk) 09:30, 26 July 2018 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────The fact that races do not, biologically speaking exist, does not mean that racism doesn't exist. Just like most Antisemites who beat up somebody for wearing a kippah won't back off and say "Oopsy, my mistake" when confronted with unmistakable evidence that they actually just beat up a goy. To deny the existence of racism would be foolish. To say that racism against Germans in Germany is any sort of real problem is right wing nonsense that the CDU/CSU engages in from time to time to try (and fail) to get some AfD voters to come back to them. And of course the AfD does much worse anti-scientific bovine manure, but they are beyond the pale of civilized political discourse in my book anyway. Oh and on a note that might not seem related but I am increasingly convinced that it is, the AfD in Berlin is also the party most strongly opposed to any measures in favor of trams, cyclists and basically any mode of transport not a car, whereas "red-red-green" is at least paying lip service to the expansion of bike lanes and trams and so on. Hobbitschuster (talk) 15:24, 26 July 2018 (UTC)

What I find surprising is that, ArticCynda, you're inserting words and phrases that are obviously not fit for WV just to get the Brussels district articles attention. Honestly, most of what you've been doing has been no reason for a block or even disciplinary action in my opinion (except for about one instance), but I'm worried that to keep attention for the Brussels article you're going to get more and more unreasonable with the things you contribute. If that really becomes an issue, maybe we should just protect the Brussels and International District articles for a while and be done with all this. Selfie City (talk) 16:19, 4 August 2018 (UTC)
But are we sure that ArticCynda is being racist? Or are they just trying to get attention to the Brussels articles? I'm not sure this is really all that political, just trying to get attention. We all need you, ArticCynda, to answer this question honestly: are you adding this information to get attention or something else? If it's just for the attention of getting these Brussels districts done, you can stop now and I'll personally help where possible with the Brussels districtification so this can be resolved. If you have other reasons for writing what you're writing, just avoid writing about political or racial issues in future. It's that simple. Selfie City (talk) 18:05, 4 August 2018 (UTC)
And one more comment for the moment: no, races are quite obviously do exist, but at the same time we should remember that it's an individual's character, not their race, that makes them an individual. So why does race even need to be mentioned on Wikivoyage (with very, very few exceptions)? As I've said before, this doesn't need to be a political debate. All it requires is decent travel writing without reference to race or religion. ArticCynda, why can't you just do that? Selfie City (talk) 18:09, 4 August 2018 (UTC)
This is a totally sidetracked discussion, but please refer to Our sister project on whether or not there are biological reasons to talk of "races" in humans. We all know or maybe can learn if we do not know that the social and ethnological definitions of race have varied widely in different cultures and eras and continue to do so, including cultures which historically had no concept of "race" in humans... Hobbitschuster (talk) 19:21, 4 August 2018 (UTC)
Before we get sidetracked, though, let's move this to Talk:Brussels/International District since it doesn't seem very appropriate to take this onto someone's own talk page. Selfie City (talk) 22:55, 5 August 2018 (UTC)
It's irrelevant whether the edits were trolling and trying to bring in other editors to make changes or they reflected genuine racism. Neither is acceptable under any circumstances. Gizza (roam) 08:50, 8 August 2018 (UTC)


This is bound to be a "fun" discussion, but here goes... Is the name "International District" well established outside of Wikivoyage? What does it refer to? Is it a euphemism somebody came up with? What if we simply call it "Molenbeek and surroundings" or "Molenbeek x, y and z" or some such? Hobbitschuster (talk) 13:59, 7 January 2019 (UTC)

Return to "Brussels/Molenbeek and surroundings" page.