[tz] [PATCH 0/2] Follow Australian common usage and update CST/CST to CST/CDT and EST/EST to EST/EDT etc [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]

Timothy Arceri T.Arceri at bom.gov.au
Wed Apr 10 23:50:04 UTC 2013

After reading the 'Procedures for Maintaining the Time Zone Database' document and the comments in the Australasia data file about how the Australian abbreviations were decided I've come to a better understanding of the current situation and the tz database maintainers position on using common usage for abbreviations.

I've come to the conclusion that while I still think 'A' should be added to the front of the Australian abbreviations, we are yet to give conclusive evidence that this is in fact what is the most common usage in Australia (even though as an Australian I know it is). Despite the that fact that these abbreviations are defined on multiple government websites the TZ database maintainers have clearly laid out the terms for changes (no matter how much I disagree, and how difficult proving common usage is)

However there *is* one abbreviations common usage that we have proven using the similar methods used by the maintainers for surveying usage. Which is backed up by each government website regardless of the inconsistent use of a leading 'A'.
The 'Procedures for Maintaining the Time Zone Database' document clearly states we should first attempt to resolve any concern with the TZ Coordinator, but so far Paul has remained silent on this issue choosing rather to respond only in regards to the use of the leading 'A'. I'm appealing to Paul to please respond either accepting this patch or voicing any remaining concerns. For those that missed our results here they are:

* Google search results, do Australians more often use "EDT" or "EST"?

   875,000 "Eastern Standard Time (EST)" site:.au
   655,000 "Eastern Standard Time (AEST)" site:.au

                6 "Eastern Summer Time (EST)" site:.au
              64 "Eastern Summer Time (AEST)" site:.au
     30,500 "Eastern Daylight Time (EDT)" site:.au
   180,000 "Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT)" site:.au

   357,000 "Central Standard Time (CST)" site:.au
           316 "Central Standard Time (ACST)" site:.au

               4 "Central Summer Time (CST)" site:.au
               0 "Central Summer Time (ACST)" site:.au
    19,600 "Central Daylight Time (CDT)" site:.au
          157 "Central Daylight Time (ACDT)" site:.au

Here we are only looking at cases where the time zone abbreviation has been defined as anything else is misleading. These results show that the abbreviation for Daylight time EDT/AEDT/CDT/ACDT is overwhelmingly greater than the usage of the abbreviation for Summer time EST/AEST/CST/ACST.

The reason for the current situation is documented in the Australasia data file:
>From John Mackin (1991-03-06):
"We in Australia have _never_ referred to DST as `daylight' time. It is called `summer' time.  Now by a happy coincidence, `summer'  and `standard' happen to start with the same letter; hence, the abbreviation does _not_ change..."

There is no survey of common use, just one man's assertion that this is what the abbreviation should be no matter how ridiculous it is to use the same abbreviation for two different phrases within the same time zone. Aside from the many other problems I have with his statements (such as not a single reference to show the use of the abbreviations) there is one thing that I would like to point out. These three letters are used as identifiers so that they can be associated with a phrase by human (its already been stated they are useless computationally), and in Johns own words they are abbreviations or as a trusty dictionary will show 'shortening something by omitting parts of it'. It does not matter what letter the word starts with its not an acronym it's an abbreviation. Take the this Australian island for example 'C'o'c'os Islands 'T'ime (CCT). Using the same abbreviations for different phrase's while probably done with good intentions has been a confusing mistake all along with no references of its common use.
Having said all this the survey results speak for themselves. Please fix this issue.

The following two emails contain patches for the Australasia and Antarctica data files. As well as the abbreviations I have updated the comments section for Australia to include the justification for this update and also updated a couple of out-dated links.

Thanks for your time,
Timothy Arceri
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