[tz] Reason for removal of several TZ

David Patte ₯ dpatte at relativedata.com
Mon Dec 4 04:40:35 UTC 2017

I believe that most people consider that the tz designations are in fact 
the official 'American' equivalents for the official local designations 
- which they are not. There are no official 'American' designations, and 
the tz maintainers repeatedly state that their designations are not made 
by political bodies.

At the same time they certainly are not the local designations preferred 
by the locals, otherwise they wouldn't use English for Beijing, and 
numbers for Greenland.

In effect, they are designations currently seem to be decided at whim by 
the tz maintainers according to their belief of what the most locals 
would use if they spoke English, or by using numbers if they don't know. 
This is their right, as it is their database.

But clearly, as a tz database is required internationally and is of 
great significance, there should be clear rules stating how designations 
in the db are chosen or changed, or failing that, a database of 
internationally approved designations should be developed perhaps 
through an arm of the UN, and used separately.

David Patte

On 2017-12-03 21:24, Tim Parenti wrote:
> On 3 December 2017 at 21:13, <Paul.Koning at dell.com 
> <mailto:Paul.Koning at dell.com>> wrote:
>     It seems to me the notion of "official" doesn't always work. 
>     Sometimes a particular term is established merely by enough
>     usage.  In fact, that's how the English language works.
> Indeed.  The standard isn't "official", merely "widely accepted".
>     So perhaps the same thinking should be applied here: it doesn't
>     really matter where TZ names come from.  Even if they were
>     originally just an acronym thought up by PE or ADO, they become
>     "real" if enough people use them as such.
>     Now if you're dealing with invented names that haven't gotten any
>     significant currency, that's different, then deleting them makes
>     sense.  But if the pushback is "wait a minute, everyone around
>     here has been using that designation for at least a decade" then
>     that makes it real enough to be preserved.  That assumes there
>     isn't contrary input from an actual "official" source, of course.
> Oh, certainly.  Obviously official government documents would meet 
> that standard, but other things could, too, hence the requests for use 
> by newspapers and media outlets, for example. It's a big part of why 
> the Australian abbreviations were changed to reflect common usage 
> <https://github.com/eggert/tz/commit/62df86e10cb45ed931850f7298fa063ffea07544> 
> a few years back.  If it's indeed true that "everyone…has been using 
> that designation", then it's generally easy to point to prominent 
> examples.
> Unfortunately, most online compendia of world time zones — like those 
> Thomas linked — tend to source their data, knowingly or unknowingly, 
> from tz or its derivations, so they don't really count for these purposes.
> --
> Tim Parenti


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