[tz] Theory - proposal to delete the reference to population

Russ Allbery rra at stanford.edu
Sat May 19 00:03:35 UTC 2012

Tobias Conradi <tobias.conradi at gmail.com> writes:

> "If two ships enter territorial waters of HM would the Olson-Eggert-IANA
> time zone database give them advice for how to set their clocks?"

This is not a sufficiently specified scenario to be analyzable.  Missing
data includes why they're setting their clocks and what they're trying to
coordinate with each other.

Have you been captaining a ship entering those territorial waters and had
a specific problem around time zones?  If so, please do explain; that
would be useful information to have in deciding what the database should

If not, I would suggest that this is an artificial, invented problem that
may never have occurred and may never become real, at which point the
standard best practices of software development kick in.  Adding
prospective, theoretical database entries to solve problems that we don't
fully understand and that have never been specified by someone who is
attempting to solve that problem is a bad idea.  Such code or data is
almost guaranteed to be buggy and wrong when the situation actually
arises, since the real world rarely behaves like our preliminary guesses.

Of equal or greater importance as completeness is to decline to state a
rule when there is no known rule to state.  Artificial accuracy can cause
as many problems as missing data.

Russ Allbery (rra at stanford.edu)             <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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