[tz] Timezone error (Kyiv not Kiev)

Stephen Trainor (Crookneck) stephen at crookneckconsulting.com
Tue Jul 5 22:09:20 UTC 2022

Steve Summit wrote:

> What end-user interfaces are there that present raw tz identifiers
> for selection, and that might therefore confuse or offend users
> if the spellings are culturally inappropriate?

I’ve seen them shown (and have used them myself 'as-is') in multiple astronomy apps. (I double checked some apps today, and they are there.)

I’ve never quite understood the "don’t show them to the user" argument. When I first became involved in using time zone data in a desktop application some years ago (via geonames and other downstream tzdata repackaging projects), from memory there was no mention of this guidance. It would be wrong to assume downstream consumers even know about it.

And given that TZ IDs conspicuously pass the "duck test” it’s hardly surprising to see them making public appearances. They appear perfectly suited to show in a UI (with underscores replaced by spaces, I suppose).

That said, replacing them with an anonymous identifier (e.g. 7252) would be a major negative for usability of the data (at least from a development/testing perspective). And while it would kick the problem downstream, it’s not going to eliminate it. I imagine many of the new set of downstream TZ ID-to-human readable translation errors or disputes that would undoubtedly ensue would land back on this list anyway.

> As regulars well know, but newcomers may not, time zone identifiers
> are just that: identifiers.

True, but clearly there’s major inertia when it comes to changing them, as evidenced by the last several years of debate on K**v. So which is it? Easily mutable identifiers that users supposedly never see or human consumable ‘readable’ IDs? 

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