[tz] Undoing the effect of the new alike-since-1970 patch

Paul Eggert eggert at cs.ucla.edu
Thu Jun 10 17:37:15 UTC 2021

On 6/9/21 2:41 PM, Stephen Colebourne via tz wrote:

> It would be clearer to place an explicit statement in the charter or
> theory file.

Sure, we could make this statement a guideline in the theory file 
(that's where the guidelines are) instead of just a NEWS entry. Would 
that do?

> Country-based politics can be avoided by outsourcing the decision to
> ISO-3166.

That would help, but it would not be nearly enough. Country codes are 
not our biggest political issue, as witness our long discussions over 
how to spell certain entries, which city should be used in an area, when 
exactly some foreign power controlled some location, etc. The more 
unnecessary Zones we have, the more of these unnecessary discussions 
we'll have, particularly as the unnecessary Zones will be present purely 
for political reasons. (And ISO 3166 does have a country code for 
Kosovo, so even the country-code issue can and plausibly will be disputed.)

Besides, we're better off the less we couple to the UN or to the ISO or 

> Once the premise is accepted that the backzone data is
> a meaningful part of the project

Nobody is saying backzone is meaningless. However, it doesn't logically 
follow that because backzone has meaning to some, it must be used by 
all; or even that backzone should be maintained to the same standard as 
the mainline data (which it's not).

Being lower-priority isn't the same as being frozen: as I wrote last 
week <https://mm.icann.org/pipermail/tz/2021-June/030181.html> we can 
take good patches for 'backzone'. Goodness knows it needs them; it has 
too many errors and inconsistencies and unfairnesses.

That being said, I urge potential contributors to focus on the mainline 
data instead, as we have trouble enough with there and our collective 
but limited resources are best focused there.

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