[tz] Some thoughts about the way forward

TJ tj at sheer.tj
Fri Sep 24 16:03:06 UTC 2021

Not sure if my previous msg went through, apologies if this is a duplicate.

Paul Eggert via tz <tz at iana.org> writes:

> On 9/24/21 7:06 AM, Mark Davis ☕ wrote:
>> By the fact that you are completely dodging the question ("A person in
>> Kenya will be better off by having Oslo merged with Berlin because:..."), my
>> only conclusion can be that in fact you have no answer
> Yes I do have an answer. Fairness is not about whether A would be better off if
> a change is made. It's about how A is treated relative to B.

I'm trying my best to understand your point of view. Although I would
prefer the tzdb to adopt more of a linux kernel philosophy of never
breaking userspace as first principle, I don't see how this is promoting
fairness either.

Perhaps I read too many of Abraham Lincoln's works when I was younger,
but I've always thought of fairness as equal opportunity rather than
absolute equality.

In that context:
1) Everyone in the world has the opportunity to add zones and data.
2) No one is at a systematic disadvantage to doing so.

I'm having trouble seeing where tzdb is being unfair to anyone at all
under this definition. Some volunteer added historical zones for X, Y,
Z. Other volunteers can add zones for places that they are interested
in. Everyone has equal opportunity to do so.

As far as I can see right now, this change seems more unfair to
people who have done the work to investigate and provide the data for
certain zones.

Perhaps I'm naive to the situation, but using an equal opportunity
definition of fairness seems pretty apolitical to me and doesn't seem
like there's a systematic disadvantage to anyone? I'm sure there would
be different areas of concern, but perhaps the delta could be
smaller. And, of course, perhaps I missed some relevant examples among the
many emails.

Under the absolute equality definition of fairness, which I believe you
are going for, there are various issues with data stability. Are there
any reasons not to adopt the definition of fairness being equal
opportunity rather than absolute equality? That could perhaps maximize
both stability and fairness, and also keep the focus on improving the data.

I've been trying to understand the situation better, could someone point
me to a the relevant policy change document / rationale? I'm unfamiliar
of where to look.

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