[tz] Wikipedia - blocking time zone contributors - massive insertion of errors by AlanM1 - win-win if people cooperate

Tobias Conradi tobias.conradi at gmail.com
Wed Jun 6 02:53:39 UTC 2012

On Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 3:34 AM, Alan Mintz
<Alan_Mintz+TZ_IANA at earthlink.net> wrote:
> At 2012-06-05 17:31, Tobias Conradi wrote:

> Seemingly coincidentally, I did some work on WP at the same time as RdM
> because I realized there were issues after first reporting to this list
> about a minor one. He seems fixated on the order in which things happened. I
> certainly don't care.
No evidence for that. But you made false claims about actions by RdM
and I thought it would be fair if you would correct it.

> ... I simply want to get
> things right,

> and you can no longer do that,
Wrong. I too want to get things right, that's why I emailed.

> given that your past actions
> have you banned indefinitely.
I didn't ban me :-)

>> BUT NOW THE REAL PROBLEM. AlanM1 is deleting IANA time zone from
>> Wikipedia e.g. Shiprock, South_Pole, Longyearbyen, Ljubljana
>> http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=List_of_tz_database_time_zones&diff=496194923&oldid=495945650
> I've spent a bunch of time on this in the last couple of days. I worked with
> the 2010e release on which the WP data was supposed to be based, and found
> numerous inconsistencies. Today, I decided that, versus correcting those, I
> might as well just use the latest data available - 2012c.
Great! I would have done the same! Thanks a lot.

>The list on that
> page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_tz_database_time_zones) is now
> consistent with what comes out of the Perl DateTime::TimeZone package, based
> on the 2012c release, merged with the zone.tab file from the same release
> (to get the coordinates and comments, which are not part of the perl
> package). This is also consistent with the 7 continent files.
But the page stated it shows the data from zone.tab. And where is
Ljubljana and the South_Pole?

To get things right be suspicious about extra steps and go closer to
the source which is the zone.tab itself.

> I still have to explore the relatively small list of diffs (including those
> you mentioned) to see why they were there before and not now. I suspect they
> are links. Note that the whole thing is a work in progress. I hardly had
> time to go get a burger after finishing hours of work on this before your
> drivel hit the list.
Maybe don't publish broken stuff on the world's most read encyclopedia
before your drivel hits the burger.

>> and at the same time introducing
>> | [[ISO_3166-1:|ISO_3166-1:]]
>> |
>> | [[PST8PDT]]
>> into a list that claims to be based on a zone.tab listing. PST8PDT is
>> not in the current zone.tab file.
> No, it doesn't claim to be based on the zone.tab file.
One claim changed by AlanM1 on 00:22 to refer to the tar. The other
still is "The four columns in the file zone.tab are mapped into
columns 1–4 (marked with *) in the table below."

> It's based on the 7 continent files.
No claim in WP that the data comes from the continent files.

>> Also the minus signs are changed into hyphen minuses, so that UTC
>> offset articles which use the minus sign are now reached via
>> redirects.
> OMG, the sky is falling! The way I read WP:MOS, I've used the correct
> character. The fact that the individual UTC* articles (which you created)
In July 2005 (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=UTC%E2%88%9201:00&oldid=19471381)
and this is supported by ISO 8601.

> use a different character doesn't change that at all. I will, however,
> investigate.

> What does this nitpicky bit of WP style have to do with the TZ
> mailing list? Is it really the right tone to take?

I think the IANA time zone database and Wikipedia can benefit from
most proper presentation of information.

>> Furthermore the order of the elements in that list is not more the
>> same as in zone.tab, and the first column that allowed sorting in that
>> order got removed by AlanM1.
> Why is that order important?
Because it is the one in the source file named zone.tab.

> They are in order of the TZ identifier, which
> is the primary key of the database, and the logical order one would expect a
> list in,
Maybe the one called Alan Mintz. Other ones not.

> instead of the arbitrary
I think Paul and Ado didn't design it completely arbitrary.

> and seemingly purposeless
purpose was mentioned: "the first column that allowed sorting in that order "

> and undocumented
> number that was there.

And it was AlanM1 who removed the zone.tab comment from the list page:


# The table is sorted first by country, then an order within the country that
# (1) makes some geographical sense, and
# (2) puts the most populous zones first, where that does not contradict (1).

>> Maybe some readers here with an account on Wikipedia can revert the
>> introduced errors and explain to AlanM1 what the errors are.
> You have yet to report anything that would be considered an error,
Do you consider Ljubljana removal not to be an error?

> and
> certainly not in a tone that would make
> anyone want to continue working with
> you (or at all).
I think people that are interested in correct data presentation and
trustworthy statements more than in tone will still like to work with

>> E.g. due to South_Pole removal in the data templates, at
>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_in_Antarctica
>> there is now "[[ISO 3166-1:IANA time zone id not in
>> Template:Tz/country code|IANA time zone id not in Template:Tz/country
>> code]]"
> As I said, work in progress. Fixing any broken links is next.

>> Also due to not using the data templates at
>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_tz_database_time_zones
>> Wikipedia is now open to inconsistency between this list and data
>> display in other places. Before the change the list showed to a wide
>> extend the data contained in the templates, so people could easily
>> check for correctness.
> I did use those templates, and the data in the individual column templates
> are now all in sync. The problem is that I was unable to save the
> template-using version of the "List of tz database time zones" article,
> apparently because of the resulting complexity of all those template
> transclusions. If you had read the change log, or given me time to document
> it on the talk page, you would have seen my note about that:
> "(Update to 2012c, data added directly to article because of performance
> problems when templated. This may be a temporary problem - will try again
> later.)"
> You never saw this problem because you didn't use the templates for the last
> 140 or so rows. I spent quite a lot of time on it, trying to reduce the
> number of transclusions and ultimately gave up, hoping that the problem was
> temporary.
Maybe MediaWiki has a limit on calls per page. So data cannot be
maintained in one place. Thanks for telling.

> I'll note that your last version of the page
> (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=List_of_tz_database_time_zones&oldid=494477358)
> takes almost a _minute_ to appear, while my current version of it (with the
> data in the page instead of transcluded) takes about 3 seconds.
I have never seen that page taking so long, but now see that loading
takes a lot of time. Maybe you can document that in the talk and in
the source.

>> If the data in the templates is well maintained then it could be used
>> in the infoboxes on the city pages, then thousands of articles could
>> display information offset information obtain from IANA.
> It is.

And thanks again for your work in Wikipedia with respect to
time-related articles.

Tobias Conradi
Rheinsberger Str. 18
10115 Berlin


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