Talk:Continent

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Australia[edit]

"The names Oceania or Australasia are sometimes used in place of Australia. For example, the Atlas of Canada names Oceania,[9] as does the model taught in Latin America and Iberia" Australia = Country =/= Continent

I have never heard anyone call Australia a continent before (other than by young children), just the offical name Australasia and on afew occasions Oceania. Anyone else fancy changing this? It's only a simple mistake, but being somthing taught at primary school (makes me wonder how old the person who added that line is) it should definately be fixed, but I can't be arsed to fix more primary school errors on wiki. They really need to change it to the Free Ecyclopdia to edit for those who atleast have a basic school education, very tiring. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 212.50.172.166 (talk) 20:27, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

I have always know Australia as a continent, but I more recently have heard other names. I know it's the name of the country, but isn't the entire landmass named Australia? I've never considered islands or countries around it part of the Australian continent. There are several conventions of naming and counting continents, but I don't think any of them can be considered "wrong." Kman543210 (talk) 00:44, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
Countries and continents really have nothing to do with each other. Countries are political divisions and continents are geographical. I'm 48 years old and I've never heard anyone claim that Australia wasn't a continent until now. The official name of Australia is "Commonwealth of Australia" not Australasia. --AussieLegend (talk) 08:06, 25 June 2008 (UTC)
I'm sure this is Oceania, I think we should change it to that. Views? 92.3.48.22 (talk) 12:29, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

It's ridiculous for Britannica (the ref for the first line) to say Australia is the name of the continent which encompasses many of the southern Pacific islands. This really should be changed to Oceania.Phelim123 (talk) 12:36, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

I didn't think that 'southern Pacific islands' were part of the Australian continent. Associated with maybe, but not a part of the mainland continent. Kman543210 (talk) 12:45, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
Always known the continent as Australasia or Oceania myself. One example: just grabbed The Times Concise Atlas of the World (Aus/Nz) edition (1989), which refers to the continent as 'Australasia'. Our other atlas, Goode's World Atlas (1966), refers to 'Oceania'. I think there's just a few ego-centric Aussies saying otherwise here. Needs to be changed in my view. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 118.92.158.65 (talk) 09:38, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
Those atlases are refering to the REGION of Oceania / Australasia, not the CONTINENT.

It is not just the small Pacific Islands, you also have New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. Australasia and Oceania are the correct terms

So how about changing the references in article to OCEANIA? whould that be ok? since it seems we all taught the same at school :) HuGo_87 (talk) 14:05, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

It's not okay, because Oceania is a region, not a continent.
I just had this debate today and thought I'd check the Wiki, only to see the same debate. I'm an Australian, I have heard our continent variously refered to as "Australia", "Australasia" and "Oceania". To me the most salient point seems to be that New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Fiji, etc etc need to belong to a continent... which would make us "Oceania" not just "Australia" or "Australasia" (which has been described as only Australia and New Zealand). The decision to name our continent seems to be based on the geographic rather than the geopolitical. Let's correct this to read Oceania. Monique Antoinette (talk) 14:16, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

I am Australian, and have never heard anyone here refer to islands such as New Zealand, PNG, New Caledonia or any others being referred to as part of the Australian continent. Australian usage in my experience distinguishes between continents and islands. Usage may be different elsewhere. To an Australian, New Zealand etc aren't part of a continent because they are islands. Tasmania is part of the country of Australia but is not part of the continent of Australia, because it's an island.210.10.106.195 (talk) 04:06, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

The word Continent is incorrectly used anyway. Islands ARE included. The Netherlands for example, being part of Europe, has its own islands, but these islands are not referred to as separate 'continents'. By this logic, Australia and New Zealand etc are part of the Oceania continent. Australia is not a continent. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 84.26.132.106 (talk) 17:37, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

Ummm ... no ... Oceania is not a continent. It is a region.

I started this talk thread about this awhile ago. The general consensus seems to indicate that the "continent" should be described as Australasia or Oceania, so how come it hasn't been changed on the main page? Maybe somthing should be included in the main article as to the two different names this continent has? I have still never heard Australia being refered to as a Continent, as it's it a country. The Continent takes in to consideration islands aswell. If people think it shouldn't, then are we British not Europeans then? Which obviously sounds absurd as the UK is definately considered part of Europe, just as New Zealand/PNG ect. is considered part of Australasia/Oceania, not apart of Australia. Infact, I have a dare for anyone who still think New Zealanders are Australian, go and call a kiwi an Aussie and see how they like it. I bet the reaction will be less then "friendly".

  • edit* thought i'd add a defintion from wiktionary of a contient, "A large contiguous landmass that is at least partially surrounded by water, together with any islands on its continental shelf", this confirms that we should not be calling New Zealand, PNG ect as part of Australia, as Australia refers specifically to the the Country in control of the biggest land mass of Australisia/Oceania.

Also, theres no mention on wikipedia that Australia is a continent (other than this page), yet there are articles on Australisia and Oceania being the continent, how come this page is the only one stating differently? If this isn't changed by someone more literate then myself soon i'll change it myself. It's obviously wrong to call Australia a continent when other Wikipedia/Wiktionary pages contradict it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by N00b09123 (talkcontribs) 02:41, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

No mention that Australia is a continent? Have you read Australia (continent)? The truth of the matter is that some reliable sources consider Australia to be a continent and others do not (note, though: when people use Australia for a continent, they generally exclude NZ—so this is not about calling kiwis Aussies, which I agree would be foolish). We can't claim that one side or another is wrong, that would be original research. If you find an article where one of the views is given undue weight, please go ahead and neutralize it. —JAOTC 09:12, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

well , in that case why dont we call the UK another continent? 205.175.225.22 (talk) 20:15, 13 February 2009 (UTC)Sergio

Because nobody else does. Wikipedia is not the place for original thought. —JAOTC 21:27, 13 February 2009 (UTC)

My understanding is that the continent is called 'Australia'. The term was popularised by Matthew Flinders, the first man to circumnavigate Australia, in his publication 'A Voyage to Terra Australis'. For example, the colony of Western Australia was so called because it comprised the western portion of the Australian landmass. The country Australia did not exist at that time so had no bearing of the name of that colony. The political entity 'Australia' took it's name from the landmass. --MartianBeerPig 21:38, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

A continent does not have to be all above sea level. The continental landmass on which the island of Australia is located also includes the islands of Tasmania, of New Guinea, and the islands in the Torres Strait, etc. Wikipedia article Australia (Continent) goes a long way to explaining this. The main islands of New Zealand are on a separate microcontinental land mass not connected to Australia. Similarly the island nations of Oceania are located on the tops of seamounts which are completely unconnected with the Australia-New Guinea continental landmass or any other continental landmass. Oceania is a most inappropriate name for that continent which includes the island of Australia. Australia seems to be the usual term in the English-speaking world. However the English-speaking scientific community seems to be in favour of the name Australia-New Guinea for the continent. Gubernatoria (talk) 09:37, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
I believe this is a matter of perspective. I grappled with this too before making the change earlier, moreso given other content in the article. To clarify: as the Oceania article points out, and as sourced in this and that article, the term is often used in English to refer to one of the continents. Oceania -- which usu. includes Australia, New Guinea, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands -- is more inclusive and little different from, say, Europe or North America, which include islands approximate to the continental mainland (e.g., Iceland and Greenland respectively): in this instance, it is merely a much broader region. Your assertion that 'Australia-New Guinea' is the preferred term in the scientific community (though I don't disagree it is used) is unqualified; it so obviously gives prominence to New Guinea but excludes New Zealand (not insignificant islands which are also approximate to Australia). There is no debate about using just plain ol' Australia (which is also reflected/linked elsewhere in the article), and so I don't disagree with that change and rendition as such. Bosonic dressing (talk) 10:34, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
We all know the term 'continent' is somewhat fluid in definition, but anyway ... firstly there are 3 Australia's ... the big mainland island, sometimes refered to as a continent; the nation (Commonwealth of), which is a political (human created) entity (& includes Tasmania and smaller islands), and which seems to also call itself the island-continent (which just has to be wrong!); and the 'actual' continent, based on the continental shelf. This latter includes Tasmania and New Guinea, but not New Zealand (hence, to answer the above, why the alternate term is Australia-New Guinea, not Australia-New Guinea-New Zealand). Isn't it great that in general usage we have three differing continents of Australia ?!
Wider than this, 'continent' in the geological (continental shelf) sense falls apart, but is still used, although 'region' might be better, as we are back to human created 'political' grouping. Australasia seems to be Australia (continent) plus New Zealand, and islands local to these. Oceania is Australasia plus the Pacific islands. If you're going to split the world into 7 (or 6, etc) areas and include every nation on it within one of these areas, Oceania would be the correct term, even if 'continent' isn't. Clear as mud, hey ?! :)
It's true that if you are going to split the world into 7 regions, the Oceania would be a good way to lump the Pacific islands in with Australia. However, there is a difference between "regions" and "continents". In terms of the 7 continents model, certain islands must be excluded. This include the likes of Fiji, Samoa and New Zealand.
Can I suggest that when talking about Australia in these contexts (land masses, not country of), the big island be prefixed mainland Australia, & the Australian 'continent' refer to the continental shelf area. Any chance this being adopted across Wikipedia ? (Ha ha ha) The Yeti (talk) 00:07, 7 July 2009 (UTC)

It is NOT Australia. Australia is a country not a continent. The continent is Australasia —Preceding unsigned comment added by 130.123.128.114 (talk) 09:52, 19 July 2009 (UTC)

It is just a cultural difference. In the English speaking countries (and most notably in the Commonwealth). Australia IS considered as a continent without any discussion. On the contrary, in lots of other countries, I think most of mainland Europe, the continent IS Oceania without any discussion. Hence the surprise from the different contributors in front of one or the other solution. So the only solution for this article is not to pick one solution or the other, but it is to state clearly that the definition is not the same depending on the country. An interesting question is: what is the exact list of countries using "Oceania" (I think it is quite large)? Gpeilon (talk) 01:51, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

It may just be a cultural difference, but I have reverted this recent edit. Obviously it was made without even consulting the linked-to references in that sentence (to Britannica and National Geographic) which very clearly and unambiguously indicate 'Australia'. As well, the edit was wholly unsourced: can you provide a reliable source that indicates that Anglo-Saxons reckon the landmass as Australia, etc.? That is not to say that the viewpoint is invalid: far from it, my Collins Atlas and the Atlas of Canada clearly refer to the continent as Oceania, which is particularly germane if one includes islands that are proximate to a main landmass. However, this viewpoint is already equitably dealt with in the article: by listing the two in tandem in the lead, equal weight is unjustifiably given to one variant. Bosonic dressing (talk) 06:12, 9 November 2009 (UTC)
Europeans don't refer to Oceania as being a continent. They refer to it as a region.

Ha ha, in the end, nobody gets anywhere. One of the countries in this debated continent (with the biggest land mass) is named Australia. The continent (which includes those islands around it), is called Oceania by the vast majority of people (sometimes Australasia). Look up Oceana on wikipedia and lets try to keep this encyclopedia consistent. Using 'Australia' is just wrong. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 94.193.12.57 (talk) 18:44, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

Another thing to add to the mix: Oceania =/= Australasia! Australasia is just Australia and New Zealand. But does not include Papua New Guinea amd many other islands. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Greggydude (talkcontribs) 20:52, 1 June 2010 (UTC)

Break[edit]

This point is sorted. The National Geographic reference which was in the intro clearly refers to Oceania. It should be said that in Commonwealth countries, Australia is considered is considered as a continent and that it is often ignored that most of the World refer to Oceania instead as a continent.Gpeilon (talk) 20:15, 2 March 2010 (UTC)

By the way this article needs sorting sometimes it says Oceania, like in the National Geographic and sometimes Australia. And the map icon is of Oceania.Gpeilon (talk) 20:19, 2 March 2010 (UTC)
I have again reverted this change, owing to lack of consensus and source. The text of the Natl Geographic reference (which is in the footnote, and was changed)[1] clearly indicates Australia; the Britannica reference does so too. Please note that I am very cognizant of the usage of Oceania to sometimes describe that region as a continent (observe that article), but the usual moniker for that landmass in English is Australia. This ambiguity, nonetheless, is reflected (perhaps rightfully) in the article content. Otherwise, you have provided no sources (e.g., re usage in Commonwealth countries) to back your position, neither 4 months ago when you last commented on this or recently. Bosonic dressing (talk) 21:31, 2 March 2010 (UTC)
I endorse the position held by Bosonic dressing, and his recent reversion. I am an Australian and I can confirm that everyone in Australia believes they live on a continent called Australia (same name as the nation) and no-one in Australia considers the name of their continent to be Oceania. If some articles in Wikipedia suggest otherwise, those articles should be amended. Australasia is a term commonly used, and is generally understood to include Australia, south-east Asia and nearby island states such as New Zealand, Papua New Guinea. Australasia is not as clearly defined as Australia. Dolphin51 (talk) 21:58, 2 March 2010 (UTC)
There is a difference between "in England" (and beyond Commonwealth) and "in English". And I am fully aware of the fact that Australians are unaware of the fact that other people use Oceania. That does not make other region of the world use Australia... I fail to understand how my initial suggestion of an introduction presenting both names was deamed failing equitably by Bosonic who argued that "equal weight is unjustifiably given to one variant". The present introduction is on the contrary in a clear breach of equitability. Cleary several contributors have said that in their country Oceania is the name of the continent. The present article fails equitably as it presents Australia as the main option in the world. A simple look at other Wikipedia editions shows it is not. Without a specific order: Spanish (Oceania), French (Oceania), German (Australia/Oceania), Italian (Oceania), Portuguese (Oceania), Danish (Oceania). So the inclusion of Oceania in the introduction is the normal thing to do. Your request Bosonic to find a reference is all the more peculiar that you have one and that you could include it. It even comes from a Commonwealth countries ("my Collins Atlas and the Atlas of Canada clearly refer to the continent as Oceania"). So I fail to understand how the inclusion in the introduction of this term which is used in Europe and South America at least and is mentionned in a Canadian Atlas should not be included in the introduction for equitably. I suggest to mention in a neutral way in the introduction that the definition of this continent (which is as all the others a convention) is not the same in all the countries of the world.
I don't see why continental Europeans looking at this page should learn while reading this intro that they have been wrong all along about their definition of continents. Failing to present the other option is imposing one cultural definition. This is Wikipedia in English but it is not an English Wikipedia imposing a British vision to the world. As much as I understand that Australian find offensive to discover that other people do not consider their country as a continent, it is offensive for the culture of continental Europeans not to have their definition of a continent included as one of the main option in the intro of this article. Please think a bit about it and you will understand what I mean.Gpeilon (talk) 17:02, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
In addition to the references Bosonic gave from Collins Atlas and the Atlas of Canada, I easily found atlas on the internet using Oceania as well: the American WorldAtlas uses the term Australia/Oceania, while the American Mapquest uses Oceania. The French Encyclopedia Quid (which is also printed) uses "Oceania". The German online Encyclopedia online Welt-Atlas uses Australia/Oceania. All this evidence shows that the choice not to have the term Oceania in the intro is in breach of equitably.Gpeilon (talk) 18:47, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
I have proposed a balance intro which present the two terms and clearly indicates that the definition just varies accross countries in the World. This change is in agreement with the point of view of most of the contributors above, and I think I have given quite a bit of evidence about the fact that Oceania is well considered as one of the continent by a large part of the World. If Bosonic you still feel that we need a paper reference to add to the intro, I'd really appreciate if you could give your references from the Canadian Atlas or the Collins Atlas. Gpeilon (talk) 19:02, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
Oceania is also the option used on the Chinese Wikipedia suggesting that it is what Chinese use this definition instead of Australia. This certainly makes Oceania one of the the variant the most used in the World... As I said the previous intro, listing Australia as the natural option and discussion Oceania only marginally was in breach of equitably.Gpeilon (talk) 19:16, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
I have reverted these changes, yet again. As I previously noted in November, you have not provided sources to support the viewpoint of 'Anglo-Saxons' regarding the name of that continent. Nor have you garnered a consensus supporting your edits. It is acknowledged in this article, the talk page, and in related articles -- not to mention personally -- that the continent may be referred to as Oceania ... but, it arguably is already dealt with equitably. Case in point: we do not iterate in the lead that Eurasia is considered by some the name of a continent (particularly in the 'Soviet' states) comprising Asia and Europe, as the article expands on this. (This is also noted in both the National Geographic and Britannica references.) Or that 'America' is considered by some (esp. in Latin America) as one continent. In English, 7 continents are usually and basically considered -- as sourced -- and those are listed. Furthermore, even doing some basic Google counts reveals 9.8M instances of 'Australia' and 'continent', more than 4 times as many as with 'Oceania' -- so, to place it in the lead is giving it undue weight when other monikers (like Eurasia or America) may be more deserving. Bosonic dressing (talk) 20:32, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
Bosonic you told us that you have paper reference on the subject from the Canadian Atlas and the Collins Atlas. I have also given extensive evidence on the use of Oceania in the World. Its use is clearly more widespread than Eurasia, but if you wanted to add a mention of Eurasia in the intro, I actually think it would be a good think. Continents' definitions are cultural, what the present intro is doing is giving a one sided definition which comes from a specific cultural view point. This is not equitable.
I have not suggested in the last change to replace Australia, but to add the mention of Oceania besides. I think you have to explain why this is not equitable. It is the Your Google count is interesting but certainly does not count for anything relative to the evidence I put forward (you did not look for Oceania and continent in French, German, Spanish, Chinese, etc.). As you have been the only one to be against a balanced presentation in the intro, I will ask for a third opinion on this matter. I think that in the light of the evidence you have in your own atlas and of the evidence I have put forward, your strict refusal to mention Oceania in the intro is violating equitably. If the problem for you is Anglo-saxon, then you could have change this specific point instead of reverting everything. I suggest a new compromise, please consider it with the evidence I have put forward. It is clear that for a large part of the World, Oceania is the continent they refer to. I have shown it for many countries in mainland Europe and China, and I just found references from Brasil and Argentina. I have given references outside Wikipedia including a French Encyclopedia, a German Atlas and US Atlas. I just found a reference from a well respected Spanish newspaper, El Pais. Once again you said yourself that you found it in respectable Atlas from Canada, so I fail to understand why you tell me that there is no reference.

Ha, debate this all you want. The fact remains Wikipedia remains a laughable (well beyond unreliable) source of information to any educated person. It's honestly not worth debating, just use a credible source and ignore wikipedia and anyone citing it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 79.142.79.227 (talk) 22:05, 1 February 2013 (UTC)

Proposition:
Australia or Oceania (the definition of the area of this last continent varying across countries).
In addition to the present reference, I suggest to add several of the reference I have found. Your own reference are naturally welcome.Gpeilon (talk) 18:05, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
I disagree with this proposition, as Australia is a continent, but Oceania is not. It is a region, which is different to a continent.


I should add that reading the whole discussion above shows that numerous contributors have been surprised by the use of "Australia" given that it is not the convention in their countries. Overall, the evidence I have put forward and the contribution of the other contributors show that Oceania is the option in continental Europe, South America and China. It is also regularly mentioned in North America, Canada and the US (as the Atlas references show). It is on this basis that the current intro violates equitably. The previous proposition aims to have a neutral statement about this reality of the different continent definitions in the World. If you disagree with this proposition Bosonic, please let me know where I failed to credibly show that this definition is widely used in the World.Gpeilon (talk) 18:17, 6 March 2010 (UTC)

In my opinion, your proposition(s) is insufficient. It is contingent on YOU to garner a consensus to change the current article, and that does not include passing editorial commentary, not on me to defend it. You have not done so, nor have you provided references to support the specific changes you have proposed (e.g., regarding Anglo-Saxon reckonings, etc.). What's more, you have glazed over other comments above regarding the commonality of other terms that may be more prevalent than Oceania (e.g., Eurasia, America). In essence, major references provided -- which were pointed out to you in November and one of which, in your recent misquotation, you used to justify your changes -- have clearly noted the 7 usual continents as named in English (and, different wikis cannot be used to dissuade), and alternate names/reckonings are equitably dealt with further down. To do otherwise as you propose, as would be the addition of other variants noted above, would place undue weight on relatively minor terms/concepts. It would also unfocus the lead and render it less useful, like what is what? My total reversion of your nonconsensual edits is based on the above, and I see little reason to change. If you want to change the lead as proposed, provide specific references that explicitly support said changes. Bosonic dressing (talk) 01:52, 7 March 2010 (UTC)
I understand it is your opinion Bosonic. I am surprised you dismiss all the evidence I have put forward and still refer to the "anglo-saxon" to dismiss my last change while I have dropped this reference in the last edit I suggest purposely, to answer your concerns. I will ask for a third party opinion because I am a bit at a lost with your argument. You ask me for references whilst you say it is said in your own Atlas.Gpeilon (talk) 16:47, 11 March 2010 (UTC)
You misunderstand: I do not dismiss the evidence as such, but it must be put into perspective and balanced with other quite substantial evidence, per NPOV policy. Two major references in the lead very clearly support the current content, i.e., not noting Oceania. In actuality, you have provided little hard supporting evidence, specifically regarding your specific edits (e.g., Anglo-Saxon reckonings). Dropping that doesn't end my concerns about your desired placing of undue weight on relatively uncommon terms, particularly to the potential exclusion of others, or perhaps trying to prove a point. Find a reference that says, "the 7 continents are x,y,and Australia or Oceania" and you may get more support. Until then, little more can be advanced on this front. Bosonic dressing (talk) 18:02, 11 March 2010 (UTC)
Searchtool-80%.png Response to Third Opinion Request:
Disclaimers: I am responding to a third opinion request made at WP:3O. I have made no previous edits on Continent and have no known association with the editors involved in this discussion. The third opinion process (FAQ) is informal and I have no special powers or authority apart from being a fresh pair of eyes. Third opinions are not tiebreakers and should not be "counted" in determining whether or not consensus has been reached. My personal standards for issuing third opinions can be viewed here.

Opinion: It appears to me that this dispute is only over the question of whether Oceania should be mentioned in the lede of the article. I believe the case has been fully made that Oceania is often used in place of Australia. My opinion is that Oceania ought to appear in the lede here to avoid confusion. In an article about automobiles which lists the parts of an auto in the lede, for example, I would for the same reason support the inclusion of "hood or bonnet" and "trunk or boot." What doesn't belong in the lede, however, is any explanation of why both terms are there, especially if it is going to take more than one or two words. That's already explained adequately in the body of the article and shouldn't take up space in the lede. The inclusion of the term in the lede, with a footnote tag or two sourcing it, does not in my opinion violate WP:UNDUE but taking up space to explain it could.

What's next: Once you've considered this opinion click here to see what happens next.—TRANSPORTERMAN (TALK) 18:35, 11 March 2010 (UTC)

Supplement to Third Opinion: I'm adding this before anyone else responds (or if there's an edit conflict before I can get this in, without reading the other response first). I do recognize that including Oceania suggests that Eurasia and Australasia ought to also be included, but I don't think so. I think that Oceania or Australasia needs to be included to not only recognize the variation in terms, but to also help avoid the impression that the island of Australia is, by itself alone, a continent. If it is felt that the inclusion of Oceania compels the inclusion of those two terms, then I'd favor a construction which gives "Eurasia (or Europe and Asia) ... Austrailia/Oceania/Australasia," but I really think that just including Oceania is enough. — TRANSPORTERMAN (TALK) 18:50, 11 March 2010 (UTC) (Typo corrected. — TRANSPORTERMAN (TALK) 18:52, 11 March 2010 (UTC))
Thanks for the opinion, which is unconvincing. I find curious your contention to include Oceania, yet not Eurasia or America ... terms which are rather more prevalent. (Two of the sources in the lead at least mention the former.) So, the inclusion of one term is tied to inclusion of others. Requests for added sources to support equitable inclusion of Oceania in the lead, based on edits made to date, have not been forthcoming, particularly in light of sources that may indicate otherwise. Yet, adding all of the terms would rather muddy the lead -- after all, the smallest continental landmass is Australia (which itself can comprise the continent without nearby islands) not necessarily Oceania (which sometimes excludes Australia). So, the inclusion of this term may instead promote confusion, something which the the rest of the article (in its encyclopedic treatment of topic matter) expands on. Bosonic dressing (talk) 19:14, 11 March 2010 (UTC)
I wonder if Transporter's opinion is based partly on a misconception, because he/she says we should "avoid the impression that the island of Australia is, by itself alone, a continent". That is exactly how it is usually considered where I live (with Tasmania and sometimes New Guinea included, if people think of them). So it's difficult for me to fully accept an opinion that discounts this possibility. That said, I am not opposed to mentioning variations in usage (America vs N. and S. America, Australia vs Oceania, perhaps Eurasia) in the lead, which I think is currently far too short for an article of this size. -- Avenue (talk) 22:38, 11 March 2010 (UTC)
Perhaps: glance at the Australia article/history for issues regarding it being the 'island continent' and the weight of that assessment. Anyhow, I don't think anything is being discounted; in fact, this is reflected in the very language of the lead: "[Continents] are generally identified by convention rather than any strict criteria, with seven regions commonly regarded as continents..." And, my sources notwithstanding, I have yet to see another major reputable one that supports looser, muddier (IMO) wording noting Oceania or other entities. (Curiously, the Oxford dictionary I have refers to "North and South America".) And if they do, I wonder if a distinction is being made between continents and regions (for socioeconomic groupings and such). This is part of the problem. Nonetheless, I think the lead is an appropriately concise summary, with details below and aside. Bosonic dressing (talk) 00:28, 12 March 2010 (UTC)
I was responding to Transporter's opinion, which may have discounted a fairly mainstream view of Australia as an island continent. Sorry if I was unclear. I agree that our article doesn't discount this. Regarding sources, Lewis and Wigen discuss the history of the term Oceania briefly in their 1997 book The Myth of Continents, going back to Conrad Malte-Brun's use of it in 1827. I think it's interesting that it originally included Indonesia and the Philippines (see e.g. this 1842 map), and often did until after the second World War. They refer to one author (Bartholomew) explicitly defining Oceania as a continent in 1873. But you're probably looking for a recent source; I didn't find anything very authoritative in a quick search, but will look again later. -- Avenue (talk) 01:32, 12 March 2010 (UTC)
Gotcha. Interesting -- similarly, per our article (with source), the definition of Oceania can include all islands in the Pacific, including Japan and the Aleutians. The ambiguous nature of the term for this region, to me, is added reason why we needn't note this in the lead about continents. Bosonic dressing (talk) 16:09, 12 March 2010 (UTC)
I also disagree with this notion of pretending that Oceania is a continent, when it is, in fact, a region.
Actually, Australia is a continent but Oceania and Australiasia are not continents. They are "regions". Ninety per cent of the debate on this page stems from this basic mistake regarding definitions. In any case, you still need to amend the map so that New Zealand and the Pacific Islands are a neutral colour (those countries are not part of the continental model). —Preceding unsigned comment added by 125.240.61.2 (talk) 02:17, 13 July 2010 (UTC)
This. Australia was always taught to be the only country that is also a continent. This means PNG, NZ, and all the islands of the Oceanic/Australasian REGION are not to be included, when the continent of Australia was always taught to be and only be the country, Australia. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 203.108.43.77 (talk) 03:55, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
It's nonsense to suggest that the National Geographic reference can stand, because there are other, more reliable and earlier sources conflicting with that. The definition you discussed with the Latin derivation labels a continent as a large portion of land; groups of islands do not fit that definition. It is incorrect to say that Pacific Islands etc must be part of a continent - they are scattered islands, so are obviously not part of a "large land mass". Islands close to the mainland have traditionally been considered to be close enough that they still count as part of that nearby continent. Pacific Islands do not fit that pattern. 'Oceania' might be a useful name for you (even though NZ is the only other country in that region that has any sort of similarity with Australia), but it just isn't a 'continent'. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Owen214 (talkcontribs) 08:46, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
As a professor in geography, allow me to state that I find this debate most amusing. It appears to stem wholly from a semantic mistake - you are all (or at least, most of you) assuming that the terms Oceania and Australasia are used to refer to a continent. They are not - Oceania and Australasia are REGIONS. A REGION is not synonymous with a CONTINENT. Australia is a continent. It includes the Australian mainland, Papua New Guinea/Iryan Jaya and surrounding islands. It does NOT include New Zealand and the majority of the Pacific islands (New Zealand and most of the Pacific islands are not part of the seven continents model and the poster way up the top of this page who says they should be a neutral gray on the graphic is correct). New Zealand and the Pacific islands ARE part of Australasia/Oceania, but Australasia/Oceania is NOT a continent, but rather a region. You certainly must not say anything in the article that suggests that Australasia/Oceania are continents. I hope this helps clarify things for you all... —Preceding unsigned comment added by 203.82.80.100 (talk) 12:59, 15 January 2011 (UTC)

I have read all of this long discussion. The main divergence is on the definition of a continent as a geological region or as a historical-cultural region. If you want to use the geological region, then Australia is a continent, but there are not 5-7 continents but 14 major continental crusts and 40 minors (see for example: Zealandia (continent), see also the French Plaque tectonique article as a ref). I am sure nobody wants to cite them all here because everybody associates the concept of a continent with a region, so that all countries in the world can at least be put into one continent-region (like here: List of sovereign states and dependent territories by continent). For those reasons, I will change Australia to Oceania/Australia (I let Australia only by respect for the controversy) as the third opinion advised us to do. Adrien16 (talk) 12:30, 8 March 2013 (UTC)

As you are aware, I reverted the changes you made. Contrary to the inference in your comments on my talk page, it is not that "Australian are taught that Oceania does not exist, that Australia is their continent and that the Pacific Islands do not belong to any continent", nor are Australians the only ones who consider Australia a continent. As far as I know, Merriam-Webster, the OED American English and World/British English editions, Random House Dictionary, Collins English Dictionary, or American Heritage Science Dictionary are not published in Canberra, but rather represent a broad spectrum of contemporary English-language usage. Fat&Happy (talk) 17:28, 8 March 2013 (UTC)

Attempt at summary: I, too, have struggled all the way through this thread, and wanted to try to draw together some observations as a disinterested observer. Note I don't intend to make any changes, just suggest a position for consensus to perhaps coalesce around:

  • There is, manifestly, no consensus here, nor can any be expected to form around any of the existing positions any time soon. Each position seems to have backing from significant different clusters of users.
  • Much of the above, from all positions, resorts mid-discussion to unreferenced statements of opinion, and arguments from inference. These are not good WP policy, and have made the actual referenced points of dispute super hard to follow. (No criticism implied; this will tend to happen with monster discussions like this)
  • The crux of the dispute is whether the "continent" (common usage) centered on Australia should be known as Australia, Australasia, or Oceania.
  • No-one is disputing that all three terms are valid for this area, I don't think. It's the narrower issue of whether these describe a continent, or just a region.
  • Notable references can be found to support all three terms as describing the continent. I think I also see references specifically excluding various of these, which is really not helping consensus. This appears to be in part correlated with the nationality of the author of each source, but perhaps not consistently. There is no overwhelming weight of sources behind any given position.

So, to me, this is a classic case for outlining the dispute in the article, per WP:NPOV and WP:NOTABLE. FWIW, I (British) was taught at school that the continent was Australasia, but am happy to acknowledge that there are solid and defensible positions behind each position. I actually thought the original phrasing waaay back at the top of this section...

"The names Oceania or Australasia are sometimes used in place of Australia. For example, the Atlas of Canada names Oceania,[9] as does the model taught in Latin America and Iberia"

...was pretty fair (though perhaps with too much emphasis on Australia over the other options, and it implicitly implies Australia is favored everywhere other than the named places (&refs...?)). I like the fact this is nice and specific though, and at least partially referenced. If consensus is going to be reached, it will be by notable references, not by inference or opinion. Let the onus be on those who want to push one position over another to find some (new!) references. Because, frankly, the above is a pretty bad deadlock. DanHobley (talk) 06:15, 9 March 2013 (UTC)

New references: use of Oceania in English-language world[edit]

In discussing with many native speakers, mostly British or American, but even Australian people, all educated in Oxford University, I realized Oceania is definitively a common way to refer to that continent in the modern world.

Of course, in Wikipedia, referencing is the way of demonstrating, so here are some English-language references for Oceania as a continent.[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11]

I think it is now fair to mention both Australia and Oceania in the introduction. What do you think? Adrien16 (talk) 02:44, 16 March 2013 (UTC)


References
  1. ^ The Times Atlas of the World : 10th Comprehensive Edition (London)
  2. ^ "Philip's E.A.E.P Atlas". 2003. p. 79. 
  3. ^ Scholastic Atlas of the World. 2003.  "Oceania is the smallest of all the continents"
  4. ^ Chambers Reference Atlas. 2003. 
  5. ^ Barnes & Noble Quick Reference World Atlas. 2006. 
  6. ^ "Continental statistics of the United Nations". Retrieved 2013-03-15.  "Composition of macro geographical (continental) regions, geographical sub-regions, and selected economic and other groupings -- Oceania is listed as a continent."
  7. ^ Harper Collins Concise World Atlas. 2004. 
  8. ^ Rand McNally Answer Atlas. 2006. 
  9. ^ "Collins maps".  "Headers refers to the Oceania as a continent"
  10. ^ "World Atlas".  "Australia/Oceania is one of the continents"
  11. ^ The World - Continents, Atlas of Canada

Well, still no opposition to that?Adrien16 (talk) 14:38, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
Most of the pages for which links are provided do not specifically refer to Oceania as a continent, which makes your interpretation of the offline-only sources open to question. However, the lead as it now stands is a bit short and doesn't fully summarize the various viewpoints discussed in the main text, which it should do. Some sort of explanation/disclaimer that the seven areas mentioned are the primary view in the English-speaking world, but that other significant views exist – specifically mentioning Eurasia, a single America, and an extended Australia/Australasia/Oceania – could be added, but once that is established other mentions throughout the article should continue to refer to the names as they have been shown until now. Fat&Happy (talk) 16:20, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
You are right, many of the references are not available online, but on this web page ([2]), you can find scanned pictures of some of those atlas, so you can check that they refer to Oceania as a continent like Europe or Asia. I like your compromise because it will make that article more neutral. Adrien16 (talk) 17:08, 17 March 2013 (UTC)

There is no such thing as 'Australia' as a continent. Its Australasia or Oceania. I'm not very wiki savvy and can hardly successfully argue that with the powers-that-be, but 'Australia' as a continent is a gross mistake IMO :) Wiki on! — Preceding unsigned comment added by 70.80.39.215 (talk) 06:00, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

It has nothing to do with "wiki savvy", and everything to do with where you were educated or what source you look in. Australia as a continent is exactly what is listed in many sources. The problem we keep coming across here is that people are simply taught that "these are the continents" and are not taught WHY the particular list that they are taught has been chosen and are usually not taught that there are any other lists being taught elsewhere in the world. There quite simply ISN'T an unambiguous definition of what a continent is. --Khajidha (talk) 17:11, 22 May 2013 (UTC)

Doesn't the name Oceania or Australia for the continent changes according to the continent model you are using? I think we should focus on the consideration that each continent model makes. For example we know the 7 continent model has Australia as the name of the continent, other models call it Oceania. But for some reason in the table of the article every model has the continent named Australia and none has it as Oceania. Why is this? 83.39.80.34 (talk) 17:26, 15 November 2013 (UTC)ggcc

Correction required in the graph titled "Comparison of area (by tens of millions of square kilometers) and population (by billions of people)"[edit]

In no way Antarctica's population could be more than Australia's !

Appreciate an immediate correction.

-Sam — Preceding unsigned comment added by Sam.pnbe (talkcontribs) 06:11, 4 December 2013 (UTC)

I'm not sure what correction you're looking for, the graph displays Antarctica as having a smaller population than Australia. WilyD 10:09, 4 December 2013 (UTC)

Dueling Continents[edit]

I do find it somewhat disconcerting that we have to define Australia as Oceania (AUS/NZ/New Guinea/Indonesia) and then continue to call it Australia, so that someone finds an Indonesian mountain as Australia's highest point, and other Indonesian facts included in Asia. :-( The first line of the article Indonesia says it all. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 174.73.22.113 (talk) 21:45, 18 January 2014 (UTC)

The article should use the correct definition of "Continental Australia" (mainland, Tasmania, and New Guinea). A note could be appended to that section of the article giving the values for the "Australasia" and "Oceania" alternatives. --Khajidha (talk) 17:03, 23 January 2014 (UTC)

Mistakes in the Graphics[edit]

This article contains several variations of a graphic which wrongly labels the region encompassing Australia, New Zealand, Papua and the Pacific Islands as "Australia". This is just wrong. The region encompassing Australia, New Zealand, Papua and the Pacific Islands can be described as the region of Oceania, but NOT as the continent of Australia or Australasia (and yes, I have read the massive argument below - even the few people trying to argue that Australia is a continent are not contending that the Australian continent extends to New Zealand or the Pacific Islands). The region encompassing Australia, New Zealand and Papua can be described as Australasia, but NOT Australia (because NZ is not part of the Australian continent). The region encompassing the Australian mainland might be described as the continent of Australia. Suggestion for fixing this: Either "grey out" the Pacific Islands and NZ or change the label from "Australia" to "Oceania". — Preceding unsigned comment added by Newzild (talkcontribs) 08:53, 16 March 2014 (UTC)

How many continents? America as a continent?[edit]

Can you add in the article that North and South America are not considered as 2 continents everywhere (maybe it's an American point of view), in Europe, we consider America as only one continent (see wikipedia in other languages for the word "continent".) I believe it's important to have a general point of view in an article, not only from one country, or some countries, and explaining the differences of point of view, readers from all around the world read these articles.

— Preceding unsigned comment added by 2A01:E35:8A8D:FE80:D33:B118:7116:5565 (talk) 11:23, 24 March 2014 (UTC) 
Uh, did you read the article? The various combinations of continents usually considered is explained in some depth. And of course, many Europeans use the seven continent model - the point is discussed in more depth at Continent#Number_of_continents. WilyD 13:36, 24 March 2014 (UTC)
In my country, we have short attention spans. Readers from all around the world read these articles.208.68.128.90 (talk) 20:21, 13 June 2014 (UTC)

Clarification of clarification[edit]

I removed a note from a reference because it made the point even harder to understand. If anyone can actually straighten out what this means it might be worth readding. "Note and clarification on the above: the sometimes used in Greece 5 and 5+1 continents models mentioned above are equivalent to the 6 (inhabited) continents combined-America model excluding/including (separately mentioning) the uninhabited and once lesser-known or unknown Antarctica; they don't refer to some other 5 or other number continent modeling scheme." The 6 inhabited continents model is a separated America model. --Khajidha (talk) 17:02, 11 June 2014 (UTC)