[tz] Breach of tzdb charter: Merging timezones is not within the charter

Matt Johnson-Pint mattjohnsonpint at gmail.com
Thu Jun 3 01:57:05 UTC 2021

I second this, for the reasons stated by Stephen. Please revert.

Matt Johnson-Pint

On Wed, Jun 2, 2021, 6:03 PM Stephen Colebourne via tz <tz at iana.org> wrote:

> This is a formal request to revert the recent patch to merge country
> timezones. I, and others, consider the patch to be utterly
> unacceptable. The patch causes meaningful harm to the status of tzdb,
> and will cause downstream projects significant pain to effectively
> revert the changes - amounting to an effective fork of the project.
> Specifically, the patch merges the timezone history of completely
> separate countries, effectively wiping places like Norway and Sweden
> off the map to replace them by Germany. (Many other countries are also
> proposed to be wiped off the map).
> The reversion MUST occur as soon as possible, and MUST be before the
> next tzdb release.
> The tzdb coordinator is expected to operate by this charter:
> https://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/html/rfc6557
> """
> The TZ Coordinator is empowered to decide, as the designated expert,
> appropriate changes, but SHOULD take into account views expressed on
> the mailing list.
> ...
> The criteria for updates to the database include the following:
>    1.  New TZ names (e.g., locations) are only to be created when the
> scope of the region a name was envisioned to cover is no longer
> accurate.
>    2.  In order to correct historical inaccuracies, a new TZ name MAY
> be added when it is necessary to indicate what was the consensus view
> at a given time and location.  Such TZ names are usually not added
> when the inaccuracy was prior to 1970.
>    3.  Changes to existing entries SHALL reflect the consensus on the
> ground in the region covered by that entry.
>    To be clear, the TZ Coordinator SHALL NOT set time zone policy for
> a region but use judgment and whatever available sources exist to
> assess what the average person on street would think the time actually
> is, or in case of historical corrections, was.
> """
> I contend that to date, the TZ coordinator has not actively shown any
> serious willingness to accept that the proposed changes are
> unacceptable to a significant segment of tzdb users. As such, the
> coordinator has not taken into account the views of the mailing list.
> I also contend that the "cleanup" being proposed is not within the
> charter of the project. Point 1 refers to new zones, thus is not
> applicable. Point 2 refers to correcting historical inaccuracies, yet
> it is clear that the proposed change *adds* historical inaccuracies.
> Point 3 refers to changes, but only in terms that reflect what people
> in the relevant location would have considered the time zone to have
> been, yet clearly the proposed change does not do that. No part of the
> charter permits the coordinator to willfully harm the database, nor to
> merge timezone regions, nor to increase the number of historical
> inaccuracies.
> Justifications for the proposed change based on "consistency" or
> "politics" are not rooted in the charter of tzdb and should be
> considered null and void.
> Given the above, I contend that the actions of the tzdb coordinator
> are in breach of the charter of the project, I therefore request that
> the changes are reverted immediately.
> Stephen Colebourne
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