I’m probably not alone in considering that what sets AO apart from other tourism sites is right there in the name, it highlights Obscure locations. The guides on the site say “Cool, Hidden, and Unusual Things”, two of these adjectives could be seen as opposite the notion of well-known.
However, this is not always the case on the site. As confirmed by the Places team, their selection criteria has changed over time, so some of the most well-known attractions on the website date to previous years. On the other hand, some have been published recently (a couple even submitted by myself).
What to me seems like a good way to create a genuine quantifiable quality of when a Place isn’t obscure is its “Been There/Want to Go” ratio. If far more people have been to a Place than want to go, then it’s probably too well-known and easily accessible to be called “obscure”. Examples are the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona (published in 2013) and the Fourth Plinth in London (published 2022). Both have nearly or more than triple the “visits” than stars:
The ratio idea is not perfect, as there is no verification whether someone actually visited or not, but it’s still a method. The way I see it, there are two possible “deadlines”. One could be time-related: if a Place has double the visits after a year or two, then it’s “popular”. The other could be just numbers, if it’s double after 100 or 200 “wants”, same result.
I had previously suggested a “Legacy” header along with a deprioritizing of these Places on the guides, but the team said it wasn’t being considered at the time: #19. That being said, maybe this is something that could be reevaluated now or in the near future.
I’m opening this to debate, what do people think about the ratio, should it be double, maybe triple? Time or number-based, and if so, what are the cutoffs? Finally, if you don’t like the previous idea, what would be your suggestion?