[tz] Proposal for a modern 'Collapsed' Namespace

Robert Elz kre at munnari.OZ.AU
Fri Oct 12 11:33:13 UTC 2012

    Date:        Fri, 12 Oct 2012 12:59:11 +1100
    From:        Walter <walter.stanish at gmail.com>
    Message-ID:  <CACwuEiMncemY8tf+aWuDoDumgaSzgAaQCBn5v5+kQp=QaDQbDw at mail.gmail.com>

  |  - The much referenced issue of 1.4 billion+ people on Beijing time
  | being semantically mismatched to their timezone entry, which for lack
  | of meaningful alternative timezone identification strings winds up
  | getting displayed to users.

The problem of user selection (and localised identification) of time
zones is a real one, and worth working on - though personally I'd
prefer that you set up a new project for this, and get the involvement
of people experienced in international UI issues, rather than people
who know about time and (perhaps) care about little else...

That is, this group might not be the best place to achieve a good
result for that worthwhile aim.

  |  - The lack of a functional entry for the widely used but unofficial
  | Xinjiang or Wulumuqi time of western China.

This one has been discussed before - my memory is poor, and I haven't
gone back through the archives to check, but I think the only real issue
was some doubt as to just how much those timezones are actually used.

If we get any good information that there's a timezone that is in use,
but we don't have, there's essentially never any problem adding it.

  |  - General accrual of crufty old timezones.

That's a mistake.  You're making assumptions about the way people use
the data that are not always correct.   Sure, if all the users ever care
about is "what is the time now" then zones that are different only wrt
times in the past seem superfluous - but when you need to look at a
historical timestamp, which people sometimes do, having the wrong zone
causes errors.

What needs to be done is for the UI to better educate people and guide
them to the correct timezone selection for their needs, which is all
part of the UI issue, which I don't believe belongs here (let this project
collect the data, and someone else figure out how to present it, each
needs experts from their own fields, which are quite distinct.)

  |  - The need for a shared database of decent multilingual timezone
  | names and descriptions.

An aspect of the first issue I believe (or at least, should be considered
as part of the same project).

  |  - The problem of how to display a timezone to the user that is
  | detected via zone.tab and GeoIP, or similar methods.


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