Avoiding Problems by Avoiding Decisions

George Staikos staikos at kde.org
Fri May 14 05:35:34 BST 2004

On Thursday 13 May 2004 22:14, Andreas Pour wrote:
> >    1) We do not have the right to decide who is and who is not a country,
> > nor do we have the ability or facilities to determine this ourselves. Nor
> > can we determine what they should be called.  Period.  I don't see -how-
> > you can debate this.  We may have this one day (when there is no more
> > code to write?), but we most definitely don't now.
> It's very simple:  call people what they ask to be called.  You want to be
> called George Staikos, so that is what I call you.  I don't argue with you
> about it, or claim my uncle was named "George" and you have no right to
> take his name.

   If this is how we operate that list, I have some additions to make.  I can 
think of a group of 3 million people who are not being called what they ask 
to be called.  I can also think of another x million who are not being called 
what they ask to be called.

> Deferring to the ISO standard, which is simply a regurgitation of the UN
> names, means calling people what they do not want to be called, which IMO
> is far worse than offending officious meddlers.

   How do you know this?  Hard numbers please.  x% of population of country Y, 
for x > 50, claim that they are being called Y but wish to be called Z.  
Supporting evidence is required.  If you're so much better than the UN, prove 
it and I will gladly accept.  If you have another source that is so much 
better than the UN, prove it and I will gladly accept.

> >    2) We are hypocrites if we decide to ignore a standards body such as
> > ISO because we want to make a political statement (which is -exactly-
> > what it is when we make our own country list and edit it as we feel fit
> > to do), but them complain that software companies don't follow open
> > standards.
> Software standards are meant to allow binary programs to interoperate.
> If you want to standardize non-technological issues, then let's decide what
> is the official dictionary of each i18n language and make sure all i18n
> strings comply with those ;-).

  The i18n team can do that.  If you read the rest of the thread, I pointed 
this out.  Every i18n team can make their own decision about what to call 
things.  They can't add or remove (and our list is already severely broken in 
that it lists nonexisting countries and doesn't list existing countries).  We 
are arbitrarily deciding who gets classified as a country or not.

   I asked the i18n team from that region what they wish to be listed as and 
received no response so far.  That was the first part of my email.  The 
second part is policy for deciding who is and is not on the list, and what to 
use for the English translation, barring obvious corrections and 

> >    3) I don't care what that list says about Taiwan, Greece, Macedonia,
> > Canada, or any other country.  If I have a problem with it, I'll take it
> > to ISO.
> I cannot take you seriously.
> Here's a test, though:  why don't you propose Iraq be renamed to "Iraq,
> Occupied Territories of", mutatis mutandi for Afghanistan and Chechnya, and
> see how far you get?

  What part of "I don't care" don't you understand? 

> >    So, I propose taking an international standard and basing a
> > [controversial] decision on that, irrespective of content, and I am
> > declared to be acting in national interest of various countries. 
> > Meanwhile, the accusers insist on retaining full control of the contents
> > simply so that they can -arbitrarily- dictate who is included on the
> > list, who is not, and what they will be called.  *wow*
> Picking the name, a people chooses for itself, is not "arbitrary".

   Deciding based on a sample of less than 1/100th of a percent of the country 
is very arbitrary or random.  Furthermore, proof by google is not an 
acceptable form of proof.  Nor is some website run by the country.  I'm not 
going to get into the politics involved in that at all.

George Staikos
KDE Developer				http://www.kde.org/
Staikos Computing Services Inc.		http://www.staikos.net/

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