[tz] KyivNotKiev

Philip Paeps philip at trouble.is
Sun Nov 29 01:08:43 UTC 2020

On 2020-11-29 05:20:45 (+0800), Brian Inglis wrote:
> On 2020-11-27 17:52, Philip Paeps wrote:
>> On 2020-11-26 19:27:30 (+0800), Andriy Ivanchenko wrote:
>>> What do I need to do for you to make such changes?
>>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KyivNotKiev
>>> Are such changes possible?
>> I'm generally in the knee-jerk "keep our identifiers stable" camp. 
>> Insert the usual paragraph about CLDR and such.
>> However.
>> Given that even the English language Wikipedia has changed though, 
>> perhaps it is time to consider doing a Calcutta on Kiev (or a Kolkata 
>> on Kyiv).
>> I don't think we need to duplicate the Wikipedia effort to research 
>> whether Kyiv is now the more dominant spelling in English.  I am 
>> happy to take their word for it.
> How often do you change database keys when someone wants to change how 
> something is labelled?

The only two renames I can remember are Calcutta -> Kolkata in 2008 and 
Godthab -> Nuuk in 2020.  Even if we rename Kiev -> Kyiv sooner rather 
than later, I don't think there's any risk of being seen to be cavalier 
about the stability of our identifiers...

> Leave the identifiers/keys alone and leave it to localization packages 
> to provide the labels.

As a general guiding principle, I completely agree with this.  However, 
while our identifiers should be stable, they can't be completely 

We should not rush to rename identifiers when places change names (see 
also Paul's example elsewhere in this thread about a city in Ukraine 
that's been renamed several times in recent years).  On the other hand, 
we shouldn't be clinging to the past either.  The identifier we grew up 
spelling Kiev, future maintainers and contributors will have always 
spelled Kyiv.

> Wikipedia and other political organizations changing all occurrences 
> may be the reason the web search results change.
> English readers/speakers are a lot more conservative and the names 
> being used during the Crimean war and WWI will still be more 
> recognizable, common, and current for decades, except for those with 
> political or other interests in the region, and that now includes 
> subscribers to this list.

It is true that there is a lot more noise about this than for previous 
renames that have affected the tzdb.  I don't think there is any value 
in speculating why.

Aside from the noise on the mailing list though, I think the writing is 
on the wall (pardon the expression) for the way we spell Kyiv.


Philip Paeps
Senior Reality Engineer
Alternative Enterprises

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