Talk:British Isles/name debate

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The Irish Isles[edit]

- 'British' is a 'racial' as well as a political term (Ancient Brits being our ancestors) - how about 'Celtic Isles' to keep to the 'racial' unity of the Isles? Maccoby (talk) 21:07, 7 June 2009 (UTC)

Seeing as mainland Ireland is the largest island in the group shouldn't they now be renamed the Irish Isles or do you think they should remain the British Isles for the sake of tradition? YourPTR! 01:07, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

Well that is clearly not so and anyway we have to stick to common usage which is British Isles, SqueakBox 01:10, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

Yes I know we have to stick to common usage, it was just a suggestion to a possible future name for the islands. The fact is that mainland Great Britain has ceased to be an island since work on the Channel Tunnel got well under way and the main island of Ireland is now the largest island in the group whether we like it or not.YourPTR! 01:29, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

"work on the Channel Tunnel got well under way" - where have you been for the last decade? The tunnel was completed years ago and has been in use for quite some time! Anyway, the tunnel doesn't change Great Britain's status as an island. Moreover, this is not a discussion forum about possible future names for the island, it's a talk page about the article itself. Since you say "I know we have to stick to common usage", I really can't see what you're trying to achieve other than disrupting Wikipedia to make a point. Waggers 08:04, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
An Island is a piece of land completely surrounded by water. Doesn't matter if it has bridges or tunnels connecting it to something else, Great Britain is still a piece of land completely surrounded by water. Ben W Bell talk 08:08, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

User:YourPTR! is a known troll. Please see his talk page before responding here. --sony-youthtalk 11:41, 18 April 2007 (UTC)


The Point is the people of Ireland do not want to be categorized as "British" they are not british, and here the term is usually "British and IRISH Isles" how would you like it if you bought a geography cateorizing your Island as Irish? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 87.232.1.50 (talk) 19:58, 11 September 2007 (UTC)

Move list back to separate article?[edit]

User:sony-youth recently removed the list of islands from this article without consensus. I've reverted that edit so that we can talk about it first. I agree that the list doesn't belong in this article (the article is already very long) but don't agree that it should be deleted outright. Note that the list originally lived at List of the British Isles which was merged with and redirected to this article in accordance with WP:MERGE (in other words, having been tagged for over a week and with no objections being raised). A similar length of time should be allowed for users to raise any objections to the un-merge.

My proposal is we move the list from this article to List of the British Isles. Caveats are that any introductory section to List of the British Isles should be kept as short as possible, as part of the problem we had before was that List of the British Isles almost became another article on the British Isles instead of a list of them.

Note also that the list in this article is ordered by location (clockwise from the North around Great Britain and Ireland). This makes it different from, say, List of the British Isles by area which is, as it says, ordered by size. Waggers 11:30, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

Forgot to add: it's silly that List of the British Isles redirects here if this article doesn't contain a list. Waggers 11:32, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
Agree - and sorry didn't mean to cause harm when I cut it. I assumed the list was already out there, somewhere, when I took it out of there. --sony-youthtalk 11:35, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
No worries, thought that might be the case! Waggers 11:56, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
Agree with proposal to separate. But "List of British Isles" is begging for a revert war. You might get away with "List of islands in the British Isles". (I'd have preferred "Western Isles" myself, but that's been bagsed). --Red King 19:21, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
Maybe "List of islands in the British and Irish Isles".--padraig3uk 19:28, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
disagree - it does no harm where it is and it adds useful info to the article Abtract 23:00, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
I don't really care where you put it, on this page or on a separate one, so long as it's listed as "List of Atlantic Isles" or some such politically neutral term and not "british isles". Anarchocelt 06:55, 12 June 2007 (UTC)

Citizens of the Republic of Ireland do not like this term[edit]

I recently did a survey with a large group of other people and asked over 300 people in every city what do they think of this term,98% of people do not agree with this saying that Ireland is in the British Isles as it implies we are British when we are not.A majority of people noted that they do not think the term should be used like Scandinavia as the term Scandinavia is not based of one area of the part of Europe but of all of it.—Preceding unsigned comment added by Mikel-Fikel 82 (talkcontribs) 13:57, 18 April 2007 UTC

Ah, that great news, so it is! Just hope Hugh doesn't wet himself with excitment when he hears about your work. Now, hurry up and get it published so we can use it here, will ya, like good man. --sony-youthtalk 15:01, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
Ok, three things. (1) Please sign your posts. (2) The article already covers the controversy over the name. (3) Please read our rules about original research. Thanks. Waggers 15:05, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

May I just say I agree totally with User talk:Mikel-Fikel 82? Or will I be drowned out in sarcasm? (Sarah777 22:29, 18 April 2007 (UTC))

You agree that he did a survey? Were you there? It's still original research no matter how many people witnessed it. Waggers 07:27, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

Inviting trouble[edit]

This is probably going to invite a hell of a lot of trouble, but the post above got me thinking. In the absence of any other numbers, what is wrong with using the results of the boards.ie poll, so long as we don't make a big deal out of it? --sony-youthtalk 16:14, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

It seems to be on the blink, so I'll just write the results:
"Do you recognise the term 'British Isles' in reference to Ireland?"
yes 159 (25.65%)
no 377 (60.81%)
i don't care 84 (13.55%)
For those unfamiliar with boards.ie, you can read the wiki article. --sony-youthtalk 16:19, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
I hate to say so because it would support my PoV, but I don't see that we can use this. It is a tiny, self selecting sample. Not statistically significant. --Red King 19:29, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
Oh, it's easily significant (one variable, three levels, 620 samples - would be up there with a newspaper survey). The problem, as you say, is the self-selection - validity, specifically sampling bias - but do you think those who voted were so unrepresentative a sample of the broader Irish public so as to dismiss it? If it was included it would certainly have to come with the caveat of how and were it was selected. But you would see no problem from the point of view of validity of the source i.e. reporting an internet poll? --sony-youthtalk 19:59, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
As some who lives in Ireland (aka RoI, especially by Wiki) I can attest that the suggestion that the aggressive iridescent culturally imperialist term "British Isles" is viewed as utterly repugnant by the overwhelming majority of Irish people (as distinct from British people living in the sundered six). "Overwhelming" here means 80% plus; if the survey was "self-selecting" it was because it attracted an excessive number of British moths to the flame. (Sarah777 22:38, 18 April 2007 (UTC))
Well there you were "attesting" something and I waited with baited breath - and nah, you didn't provide a source. I could just as easily attest that the figure was 75%, or 60%, or 48.23% - and it would be equally invalid and meaningless. But to be honest I really doubt boards.ie attracts that many Brit users, apart from the odd tourist, maybe. User:Sony-youth - I'm not sure whether or not it could be used - are there guidelines anywhere specifically on internet polls? BastunBaStun not BaTsun 22:45, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
*In fact, least there be any residual confusion as to my stance on the issue, I suggest an infobox with this - 70px - as the ONLY symbol.
* And Sony, quibbling over whether the repugnance is 80% or 60% is like one of those anti-Lancet Holocaust deniers on the Iraqi issue. Does "boards.ie" not attract British Unionists from the sundered six? maybe I'm too conservative with 80%? Heck. make that 90% (Sarah777 22:51, 18 April 2007 (UTC))
Bastun, not Batsun, not Sony. Why not make it 98% like yer man in the section above? Sure may as well go for 100%! Fact is, until there's a reliable, non-self-selecting survey published by a reputable source, neither you nor I know what the figure is. BastunBaStun not BaTsun 23:43, 18 April 2007 (UTC) (Who, incidentally, watched a Galwegian interviewed on the Six-one news tonight protesting about the sludge from Mutton Island being dumped on farms, smelling the place out, and how "the Shannon - the longest river in the British Isles..." could get polluted - to approving nods from his fellow protestors).


Hmmm. Probably staged by RTE (aka Stickie Television). Obviously the water in Galway is starting to rot their frontal lobes. (Sarah777 00:47, 19 April 2007 (UTC))
An insult to the fine effluent of the watery Corrib.--Shtove 22:47, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

[reduce indent] I don't think a discussion forum / message board is a reliable source. It's a source of dubious reliability because it relies heavily on personal opinion and isn't a reliable, independent research organisation. Wikipedia policy is that sources like this should only be used if:

  • it is relevant to their notability;
  • it is not contentious;
  • it is not unduly self-serving;
  • it does not involve claims about third parties, or about events not directly related to the subject;
  • there is no reasonable doubt as to who wrote it.

There are at least two criteria there that this source fails to meet. Waggers 07:38, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

This is the kind of thing, I wanted to discuss - although the criteria above is for "Material from self-published sources in article about themselves [i.e. the author of the source]", not about sources generally. Is the issue the contentiousness? --sony-youthtalk 07:55, 19 April 2007 (UTC)
I think there are several issues to be worried about ...
  1. The contentiousness
  2. There's some doubt about who wrote it (presumably boards.ie is not immune from sockpuppetry so the voting could be skewed)
  3. Presumably any registered user can still vote in the poll, so the result can still change, resulting in our cited source showing different information to what we put in the Wikipedia article (therefore by definition it's not reliable)
  4. The source is arguably "self-serving"
Context is important here; we could use the results (as they currently stand) to illustrate the views of the users of boards.ie, but we cannot assume that this is indicative of the whole of Ireland, and it certainly isn't indicative of opinion anywhere outside of the Republic. I'm not dead against us using it in the article, but it must be worded very carefully to make sure it's clear that polls like this don't prove anything. Also, I think balance is important - we should really try to find a similar poll on a website aimed at a UK audience too. But as I said, poll like this aren't indicative at all and are easily manipulated.-- Waggers 11:19, 19 April 2007 (UTC)
That's exactly what I mean. The wording would be a killer and we'd have to keep a hawks eye on it in case it every sunk down and got digested into everything else. A complientary site in the UK would also be nice. I agree with all of your points 100%. --sony-youthtalk 12:06, 19 April 2007 (UTC)
(Replied to User:84.68.93.126 on my talk page.) --sony-youthtalk 20:03, 19 April 2007 (UTC)--sony-youthtalk 20:03, 19 April 2007 (UTC)
Interesting poll Sony-youth, thanks for telling us about it, personally I wouldn't object to it getting a mention in the article text and we seem to be getting nearer to someone doing a "proper" poll. Maybe one of us should ask Gallup! :-) MarkThomas 07:41, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

Only British people[edit]

From looking through this it seems only British people are the ones who insist that this terms if ok,People from the Republic of Ireland do not like this term and see it as a false one,People from a different country cannot claim something is right at one place when it;s not.# Mikel-Fikel 82 15:45, 22 April 2007 (UTC)

So very true. But I can't really say that 'cos Ben will be on my case! (Sarah777 15:54, 22 April 2007 (UTC))
That's because in much of the UK, the term's usage is neither ambiguous or controversial. I've followed this rambling argument for months now and came to an informed conclusion a while ago that the real problem is that the group of islands has no other label (in English or many other languages) which most readers would realise referred to the isles. The potential for misinterpretation, and the obvious offence it causes to some, is well referenced, and is discussed in a separate article. Your statement that People from a different country cannot claim something is right at one place when it;s not. (sic) is unsupportable, though. For example, Taiwan claims its right to be a sovereign state whilst the People's Republic of China says that is wrong. Bazza 12:57, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
I think what # Mikel-Fikel 82 was saying was that a bunch of British Wiki-editors are not going to make Ireland a British Island - nor, indeed, can they make Taiwan non-Chinese. They can insist that Ireland be called a "British Isle" on Wiki; but that doesn't alter the fact that it isn't - it only further exposes Wiki's Anglo-American establishment bias and POV. (Sarah777 20:26, 23 April 2007 (UTC))
Well if you'd like to tell the Irish senate, RTE and various Irish newspapers and news channels that the term can't be used to include Ireland then go ahead, as they seem quite willing to use it as has been proven many times in previous threads on this talk despite the total objection to the term that some seem to insist there is in Ireland. Ben W Bell talk 21:02, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
Ben, did I not explain the water-borne pathogen effect? And, we know there are Unionists in the Senate and the Oirish meeja is dominated by Stickies, anti-nationalists and crypto-Unionists. You'll never get a politician presenting for election in to the Dail using such a term???? (I rest my case)(Sarah777 21:59, 23 April 2007 (UTC))
Historically the British Isles has always referred to Ireland as well as Great Britain (the larger of the two), SqueakBox 22:02, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
In whose history? (Sarah777 22:42, 23 April 2007 (UTC))
I am specifically referring to pre-1916 when it was the history of the British Isles as Ireland did not exist till this date as a sovereign nation, SqueakBox 22:46, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
And how far back before 1916? Ireland wasn't part of 'Britain' until 1800.
So, for only 116 years out of the 10,000 years of human habitation it was (by the reckoning of the occupiers) part of 'Britain'? And not for nearly 100 years since then. Time to make the Wiki-name catch up with reality. China is no longer 'Cathay'; Thailand isn't Siam.
Ireland isn't British. (Sarah777 23:32, 23 April 2007 (UTC))

Guys - please see Section 1 above. BastunBaStun not BaTsun 23:36, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

Well, as you can see Bastun, I'm only responding...but now that you've drawn my attention to Section 1 above - it says:
* Talk pages are not for general chatter; please keep discussions on talk pages on the topic of how to improve the associated article.
* Talk pages are not strictly a forum to argue different points of view about controversial issues. They are a forum to discuss how different points of view should be included in the article so that the end result is neutral.
Obviously BOTH these aims are defeated by including Ireland in something called the "British" Isles.
So, I am striving to rectify this abysmal situation. Some support would be appreciated. (Sarah777 23:49, 23 April 2007 (UTC))

"Abysmal situation" (Sarah777)? Not so. Wikipedia must aim to represent reality. The reality is that there is contention and confusion around this issue, plus a changing situation. In past Atlases, newspapers, etc, the islands including the island of Ireland were widely collectively known as the "British Isles" despite some disagreement with this term within Ireland. That has grown in recent years and it is clear that some modern atlases now no longer use that term, whilst others do. Some media sources in Ireland and others in Ireland also sometimes still use the term. It's also clear that internationally the term is under review by some, whilst still used by many others. I think the intro needs to try to reflect all this and doesn't do a bad job at it. The POV would be either (1) to claim it's all settled and Ireland is categorically regarded as no longer or not or never in the British Isles, which wouldn't be a fair representation of all that goes on, or (2) that the British Isles has always or does categorically incorporate the whole of the island of Ireland, which is also demonstrably not the case since there clearly is a growing controversy of, and partial rejection of, the use of the term in that way. If editors have another way of describing this situation that does not blatantly use the (1) and (2) POVs outlined, I for one would be happy to support it. As it is, some of the above discussion points are within the POV and therefore not suitable. MarkThomas 07:22, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

Bang on. We've been over this before. No need to descend into this particular pool of POV posturing once again. --sony-youthpléigh 07:46, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

No,Ireland has not been apart for just 116 years,Before the Plantations Ireland was not apart of Britain,It has only been with Britain for 800 years previouse to 1916.So when you said

So, for only 116 years out of the 10,000 years of human habitation it was part of Britain'?

You were wrong,Since the 10,000 years of Human habitation Ireland has only been appart of Britain for 800 or so of those years.If you going to comment here please see you history books on what old Britain did to Ireland.# Mikel-Fikel 82 17:18, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

10,000 years? You would have to source they were called the British Isles for even a frac tion of that time. I sense some POV pushing going on here. They are called isles because there are 2 of them, that is not UK pov pushing as it doesnt negate Ireland at all, SqueakBox 16:41, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
# Mikel-Fikel 82: It was occupied by the Normans; then the English. To call it British before the Act of Union is not accurate; until the mid-1600s the Crown of England didn't even control the whole country.
And, while we're being personal, if YOU are going to comment here I suggest you attend some adult literacy classes, or pay more attention at school (as applicable).
Squeak, I'm sure there is a point in there struggling to get out. Same advice to you. (Sarah777 20:32, 24 April 2007 (UTC))
Typos are important in the article space not the talk space (often not worth straining the server fixing them). If you cant tell the difference between typos and literacy you probably need more experience in front of a keyboard. I actually find your personal attack re my literacy skills somewhat hilarious, but that is giving you the benefit of the doubt as attacks against real illiterate people would get short shop from me, SqueakBox 16:20, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
On your user page Sarah777, it says you "used to be a troll" - are you sure it's past tense? Apart from anything else, your comments above are against the spirit of Wikipedia. Can you try backing off the fueding for a bit? Thanks. MarkThomas 14:52, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
I don't think that the common usage of the term 'British Isles' when referring to Ireland and Britain in Britain really justifies its usage as the title of the article. The British public, particularly the English, tend to get very confused when it comes to the status of Northern Ireland. It is quite common to hear British people use the term Britain when they are referring to the UK. If common usage is judged valid criteria, then one could make a case that a wikipedia article on the UK could ignore Northern Ireland. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 87.198.252.179 (talk) 16:33, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

What Should These Islands be Called?[edit]

Why not just call them the Atlantic Isles? That's what they are, after all, is islands in the Atlantic. it's a neutral term that has wide acceptance among the irish as well as independence-minded scots, welsh, cornish, and manx and is regularly used in publications by the Celtic league and others. There's no need to tie their name to any specific nationality since there are many nationalities living within them. Calling them the Brittish Isles because great britain is the largest nation-state is like calling north America the Canadian continent because canada is the state with the largest landmass on the continent. it's just plain silly. Anarchocelt 01:00, 9 June 2007 (UTC)

Agree - but its more than just silly; its the imposition of a politically motivated name by nationalistic British Editors, not on the basis of reason but by virtue of greater numbers of active editors. Maybe we need to get more American (as in USA) involved to get a more balanced view? (Sarah777 10:12, 9 June 2007 (UTC))
That's kind of the vibe i get from reading through this talk page Sarah, there seems to be a lot of that going on on wikipedia though, trotskeyists taking every chance they can to take a quote out of context and slur anarchists on the anarchism pages, anarchists doing the same thing to marxists, christians to muslims, mormons to anyone and everyone who dares to say anything even remotely critical of their church's explicitly white-supremecist history, and on and on. i've been a registered user for a little over a week after a couple years of reading and making the occasional anonymous edit and i'm about ready to hang it up already, there are reasons why none of my profs will accept wikipedia articles as credible sources. not to say that some of the articles aren't quite good, but it's the little things - the framing of debates & things like the name of this article - that are going to burn me out right quick. all ranting aside though, Atlantic Isles seems like a pretty obvious choice. It's the term i always use in my poli sci papers and the term I usually see used by people who are informed on current politics. several of the sources listed in the article already suggest "atlantic isles" or "atlantic archipeligo" as alternatives, so i know the information on alternative names has been part of this discussion for a while. given that, the heading of this talk section seems rather disingenuous. at the very minimum, a disambiguation-style sentence or two at the beginning of the article listing other commonly-used names would at least recognize that other names are commonly in use. That's a basic matter of accuracy and completeness that nobody but the most biased pro-british editor could object too. Anarchocelt 07:22, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
If you don't like Wikipedia policy, you can try and get it changed. Meanwhile, we all should abide by it, and that includes using the name that the majority of English speakers would most easily recognise - in this case, that's the British Isles. It isn't for us to decide what the article is called, that's determined by popular usage and Wikipedia policy. Whether we as individuals like the name or not is irrelevant. Waggers 08:22, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
and what about what my suggestion/point that "a disambiguation-style sentence or two at the beginning of the article listing other commonly-used names would at least recognize that other names are commonly in use." ? there are other names in use. they are relevant. everyone admits that the name "British Isles" is controversial, and not just among contributers to wikipedia. so AT THE MINIMUM recognize the controversy & list a few of the other names. failing to do so is not a neutral position, it's a position that actively asserts that the one and only correct name is "british isles", thus asserting a POV. That may be the majority POV, but wiki guidelines also discourage the "Big Number" arguments so a simple (and unproveable) majority is not sufficient grounds to justify framing bias. this isn't a matter of WP:IDONTLIKEIT, and i've had it up to my ears already with self-righteous ****** quoting rules that aren't even relevant. Besides, this thread was titled "what should the islands be called" and was started by a user saying that people who didn't like the name british isles should suggest alternatives, which is exactly what i did. Anarchocelt 08:39, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
This page is not for general discussion - that's made clear by WP:TALK and WP:NOT#FORUM. In my view, the original poster was wrong to start this discussion in that way - it was a clear breach of policy - but that's no excuse for everyone else to follow that wrong lead. We all have a responsibility to abide by the policies of the project; breaking them just because someone else led the way is not on. As far as mentioning the controversy is concerned, the other names are indeed mentioned in the introduction to the article. However, the BI article is about the British Isles themselves, not the naming thereof, so it would be wrong to draw more attention than is needed to the naming controversy - there's already another article dedicated to that subject. Waggers 09:08, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
actually waggers, you're dead wrong on that. this entire page is explicitly for the naming debate, scroll up to the top and take a look. it was seperated from the main talk page on the article for exactly that reason. so chill out why don't ye? also, having just gone and re-read the article, it most definately does not list other names in common usage in the english language anywhere near the top, which is all i'm asking for. so how about you take your nose out of your rulebook and pay attention to the real worlld for a couple minutes now and then, eh? grrr. Anarchocelt 20:21, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
This is quite true. I'll (attempt to) add some with references now. --sony-youthpléigh 21:14, 12 June 2007 (UTC)

Here's a civil reminder. It's also worth remembering that this is an article about the islands commonly referred to as the British Isles, not the ambiguous terms British and Britain; I've read through it (again) and still can't find the claim that the bulk of Ireland is British which people keep alluding to. I will ask again a question I asked some time ago. If the article about the group of islands off the northwest coast of Europe is not to be called British Isles, despite that being a commonly recognized name for them, what should it be called? Bazza 12:22, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

Warning to other editors: I assume that you meant that as a rhetorical question, Bazza. And so, when Sarah777 seperated your post from its context by adding a subheading above it (which I have now striked out), it grossly misrepresented you post. I feel that making edits to this page so as to misrepresent another editors' posts in this way constitutes vandalism. I would welcome the opinion of others. --sony-youthpléigh 13:18, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
Warning to other editors (2): You should really assume nothing except good faith Sony, on this issue Bazza was correct; he asked a simple question - I answered. The nature of my reply didn't especially trouble him, so, yet again, I ask you to CEASE reverting my edits in both Articles and now Talk Pages. Engaging in Edit-warring does you no credit.
Bazza, note the comments from the super-literate Mikel-Fikel below; any warnings for him? (Or only to my responses?)(Sarah777 14:43, 25 April 2007 (UTC))
I had assumed it was done in good faith. It made no difference to me, the same as your strike-out. I've asked the question before and never really got an answer. If Sarah777 can provide some good references, then it would be reasonable to include the name as an alternative in the article. I suspect, though, that the article will retain its current title simply because it's well understood what it refers to. To tell the truth, I find this constant going-round-in-circles tiresome and had (foolishly) assumed that most editors would concentrate on the article's content rather than its name, especially as that now has its own article. Bazza 13:26, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

Bazza, they should be called the Islands of Britain and Ireland. (Sarah777 13:01, 25 April 2007 (UTC))

Can you provide a reference for that name, or is it one you have made up? Bazza 13:15, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
I should have added: "Britain" is, as we all know, ambiguous; as is, although not to a similar extent, "Ireland". Bazza 13:17, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
How do you mean "not to a similar extent"? Isn't the extent exactly the same; ie "Britain" refers either to the island of Great Britan or to the UK, and "Ireland" refers either to the island of Ireland or to the Republic? The only difference is that "Britain" is not the formal name for either of its meanings while "Ireland" is the formal name for both. Naomhain 14:43, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

Sarah777 I actualy logged out when I relised the mistake I made so shut up and don't inulst some one over a silly mistake.

And some one said there was a refrence to the Anglo Celtic Isles,maby it could be hcnaged to that.Mikel-Fikel 82 13:17, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

It isn't moving - there is a "British Isles" and Wikipedia needs to have an article on that. I think some of you need to move to Usenet, you are discussing your POV and not this article. To be blunt. MarkThomas 14:46, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
Bazza, "Britain and Ireland" is the way most folk (in Ireland) would describe the islands (though some refer to "these islands", thus avoiding a name). You asked me what the should be called:
They should be called "Britain and Ireland"; simple.
MarkThomas; thanks for your POV. You are wrong of course, the Isles are not british and are not recognised as 'The British Isles' by many inhabitants, who find the name offensive. As the article contains the offensive term, we are therefore discussing the article. To be blunt. (Sarah777 14:54, 25 April 2007 (UTC))
Sarah, its nice to see you are as offensive on this page as you are on others. I guess here we go back down the hill to the name slinging and nationalist strutting that this page had been plagued with for so long and that many of us here had thought was behind us. I suppose it was too much to ask to contributors would behave in civil, mannered, rational, measured and sensitive manner. Its shameful. --sony-youthpléigh 15:36, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

This is not the place for this discussion. This talk page is for discussing improvements to the article, not for general discussion about the subject matter itself. This has been made clear both in Wikipedia policy and at the top of this page. Waggers 15:39, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

OK. I note an English Administrator has closed off the debate. I would just like to say that Sony's comments above are outrageous, insulting, aggressive and a serious personal attack. (By no means the first such attack on me by someone whose entire contribution to Wiki consists of pushing his POV on a handful of Irish article). (Sarah777 15:54, 25 April 2007 (UTC))

Doesnt matter where the admin came from. We dont discriminate against people based on nationality here at wikipedia, the international encyclopedia anyone can edit, SqueakBox 16:22, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
There is no such think as total objectivity in these matters; we are conditioned by our environment; they don't get a French referee to take charge of a match between France and Germany. Part of the problem with Wiki, and this article is a good example, is that the majority can just impose their will without addressing the arguments. Thus a valid claim that the CONTENT of the article cannot be divorced from the title chosen when that title is offensive to so many - is not addressed, but just brushed aside by those with the POWER to do so.
I make no secret of my views and perspectives; others who claim that, unlike me, they are free of BIAS are manifestly lacking self-awareness in several cases here. (Sarah777 16:31, 25 April 2007 (UTC))
Admins never get it right, they always lock pages on the wrong version, etc, hence I will never become one myself. You are right there is no objectivity in these kind of issues but with NPOV we do the best we can, SqueakBox 16:37, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
I agree with Sarah - the admin had no right to close the discussion. For the record I also agree with Sarah.--Vintagekits 22:05, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
The discussion was not about the article and has no place on this talk page. Where I come from or what my point of view is on what the islands should be called are irrelevant. Now please can we get back to making an encyclopaedia?! Waggers 10:32, 26 April 2007 (UTC)
On the contrary - the discussion was about the article. My original question was If the article about the group of islands off the northwest coast of Europe is not to be called British Isles, despite that being a commonly recognised name for them, what should it be called? I accept that the heading, which was not added by me, is not ideal. Bazza 10:41, 26 April 2007 (UTC)
Yes, looking again at your post I can see that - it was the heading that made the section appear like a blatant policy infringement. In any case, the discussion turned into a suggestion box for alternative names and a discussion around them, rather than anything to do with improving the article. The name is contentious, we all know that - but unless there is clear evidence that another name is more widely used, there is nothing to be gained for the article from discussing the pros and cons of alternative names here. Waggers 10:56, 26 April 2007 (UTC)


That's like saying unless we have clear evidence of a more widely used term for American black people we must call them 'niggers'. The term BRITISH Isles, used to include Ireland, is extremely offensive to many people. And I read in some Wiki-policy regarding 'Usernames' that the offence is not for the user to adjudicate. (Sarah777 22:58, 26 April 2007 (UTC))

And to not include it is extremely offensive to people living in Ireland too, SqueakBox 23:12, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

I am so pleased you picked that example Sarah because it may help you to understand that we simply have to have an article called British Isles, however offensive, because it is the most widely used term for these islands ... yes nigger is unspeakably offensive in the modern enlightened world but there is still a Wikpedia article nigger because it was (and sadly still is in some quarters) a word in common usage.Abtract 23:15, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

<reduce indent>But you'll find that the article on nigger discusses how and why the word is so offensive. It doesn't discuss [black people]. If you accept, Abtract, that British Isles is similar to nigger then you must also accept that we should change this article to discuss how and why the term is so offensive - but certainly not perpetuate its use by discussing the archipelago, in the same way that the nigger article does not discuss the race. (In any case, its not actually the term British Isles that's offensive, but the insinuation of being British - and I'm quite surprise to hear an English editor say that calling someone British is like calling them a nigger!) OK, only having some fun. --sony-youthpléigh 23:45, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

And here's me trying to be helpful ... I am off this article for a while now before I too get overinvolved.Abtract 00:00, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

Nigger is generally considered a racial slur whereas the British Isles, to the contrary, are a source of love, pride etc to many people, SqueakBox 00:02, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
Sony got there first! I was going to make the same point. As for the 'racial slur' - being called British may well be a source of pride if you are British; it isn't if you aren't! John may be flattered to be called manly; Jane will usually be rather offended. (Sarah777 00:37, 27 April 2007 (UTC))

Where should the name debate be held?Abtract 12:18, 26 April 2007 (UTC)[edit]

Where should the pros and cons of the name be dicussed of not here? If a better (more widely used) name for the article was to be found would that not improve the article? I know it's a fruitless task but, if we stifle debate, is that not a little close to censorship? This and similar debates have been going on here for some time (in my early days I got sucked in occasionally) and eventually each one settles down ... I agree it is a pity we can't spend our time more fruitfully but when editors have passionate beliefs they need an outlet and talkpages provide that, which is surely much better than them using the articles themselves. Despite all this seemingly wasted energy the article continues to improve slowly but surely. "Policy" is quoted several times above but does policy really prevent discussion about the name of the article?Abtract 11:17, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

I agree with you to some extent Abtract, but surely Wikipedia is not in fact an "outlet for passionate beliefs" as you say, in fact, those would be better on a blog, and that is the mistake some of the editors are making in this discussion. As regards the actual title of the article, I agree this can be discussed, there is no censorship, just an appeal to reason, which is that clearly that is a very widely used entity name and needs explaining on Wikipedia. The dispute is referred to in the introduction, and that also does credit to Wikipedia. If people strongly disagree with the intro wording, suggest alternatives here so we can discuss them properly, rather than engaging in bitter (and essentially pointless) point-scoring style disputation. We do need to focus on the article and Waggers is right about that aspect. MarkThomas 11:34, 26 April 2007 (UTC)
  • "Where should the pros and cons of the name be dicussed of not here?" - Wikipedia is not a discussion forum.
  • "If a better (more widely used) name for the article was to be found would that not improve the article?" - As I just said, if there's clear evidence that a more widely used term is available, of course it should be discussed here. But just listing possible alternative names without that evidence is not going to have any influence on the article and such discussion doesn't belong here.
  • "when editors have passionate beliefs they need an outlet and talkpages provide that, which is surely much better than them using the articles themselves" - No. Neither the article space nor the talk space are for that purpose. We call such abuse vandalism and editors who persist in doing it get blocked.
  • "Policy" is quoted several times above but does policy really prevent discussion about the name of the article? - Policy is that the most widely used (English language) name is what should be used for the article. Unless there is clear evidence that "British Isles" is not that name, there is no point in discussing alternatives here. Waggers 12:01, 26 April 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for two thoughtful responses. I could not trace anything on WP:NOT that mentioned discussion forum, could you lead me to the place please? We surely need editors with passionate beliefs; I always assumed that one of the jobs of admins was to steer their passion not stifle it. Look, I absolutely agree that the debate about the name is going no-where and should be stopped - but stopped by the participants not by a passing admin. Abtract 12:38, 26 April 2007 (UTC)
WP:NOT#FORUM is the specific bit about discussion forums, although admittedly it's mainly talking about the mainspace there. I'm not "a passing admin" - I've made several contributions to this page and discussions on this talk page before. The fact that I'm an admin has nothing to do with my actions here; I would have done exactly the same thing before I became an administrator. Waggers 14:36, 26 April 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for the link but as you say it is not relevant to this case. I think I have misunderstood the action of "closing the debate" which I took to be an admin action. Presumably it could be reversed by an editor then ... I will try it and see, thanks for the help.Abtract 14:58, 26 April 2007 (UTC)
Well I certainly understood the closure to be an Admin action. (I checked and Wagger is an Admin). Had I thought it was reversible by an ordinary plodding editor I'd have done so immediately. (Sarah777 00:43, 27 April 2007 (UTC))
Just because an action is reversible, that's no reason to reverse it! I still stand by my actions, and have yet to see any reason why the discussion should have continued. It was nothing to do with improving the article, it was about the wider issue of what the islands should be called. That's not for us to decide - at least, not here. Waggers 08:16, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
"Thanks for the link but as you say it is not relevant to this case." No, that's not what I said. I said "it's mainly talking about the mainspace". If you read WP:TALK you'll see that "policies that apply to articles also apply to talk pages. Research and debate should meet the same standards of verification, neutral point of view and no original research. There is reasonable allowance for speculation, suggestion and personal knowledge with a view to prompting further investigation, but it is a serious misuse of a talk page to continue to argue any point that has not met policy requirements." Waggers 08:20, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

Perhaps a disambiguation page of British Isles leading to a choice of articles?

The currently named article would be one choice from the disambiguation page and then there could be other articles for those who believe the current article name is inherently offensive/not objective/whatever. Broadly I agree with MarkThomas's appeal to consider the utility of naming from our reader's point of view. I personally find few geographical terms offensive but when I do I still am interested to see (for example) if the Celtic Sea extends all the way to the German Bight and whether it is coterminous with the Irish Sea or not......GaimhreadhanMap of Ireland's capitals.png(kiwiexile at DMOZ) • 02:09, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

I thought disambiguation pages were only for use when there were two subjects which shared the same name. That is not the case here: "When a reader enters this term and pushes "Go", what article would they most likely be expecting to view as a result? ... When there is no risk of confusion, do not disambiguate or add a link to a disambiguation page.". I believe that anyone who enters "British Isles" in the search box and presses "Go" will get the article they are expecting: there is no other entity called by the same name. (They might, of course, type "British Islands" but that is a completely different subject, as it explains.) The offensiveness, or not, of the label "British Isles" is dealt with in a separate article anyway. It's quite a good article and is worth a read. Bazza 07:52, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
Technically, you're right of course Bazza; my suggestion was intended to try and forestall the continual edit warring rather than address reader's search needs....GaimhreadhanMap of Ireland's capitals.png(kiwiexile at DMOZ) • 10:03, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
I don't think this is such a bad road to go down - not specifically having a disambiguation page, but to throw out some ideas for how to forstall edit warring. Could I suggest that we don't necessarily talk about guidelines and policies as yet (for the time being we could draw down on WP:IAR). We could discuss each of these by its merits.
An idea I have is to have a seperate subpage on this talk page for name issues. --sony-youthpléigh 10:18, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
I'm glad you mention that, the same thought was going through my mind. If nothing else, it would stop this page being dominated by the continuous repeats of the same boring discussions that we're currently suffering. A note of caution, though. WP:IAR has a condition attached - "If the rules prevent you from improving or maintaining Wikipedia, ignore them." If the discussion does nothing to improve or maintain Wikipedia, it must be subject to the rules, including (and especially) WP:TALK. Waggers 10:31, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
I meant invoking IAR only in the context of coming up with ideas for how to "forestall the continual edit warring." --sony-youthpléigh 10:44, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
Cool, that sounds like improving/maintaining to me :) Waggers 13:14, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
"the same boring discussions" - I never find discussions aimed at correcting error boring. Where is this "edit war" you guys speak of? I can't see it. (Sarah777 19:50, 27 April 2007 (UTC))
There is no error: "British Isles" is the most popular name in the English language for the British Isles, so it's not an error that the article is called "British Isles".-- Waggers 19:09, 2 May 2007 (UTC)
A reader chiming in here - 'British Isles' is the most commonly used name for the archipelago, but the name shouldn't be politicised. Perhaps a sentence could be added along the lines of "despite controversy, the name does not reflect political alliegence, but simply names the archipelago of more than 6,000 islands after the largest single island in the group" ? That makes it clear that the name doesn't actually have anything to do with the United Kingdom. After all, they were named the British Isles long before there was any such thing as the UK.
Really? At their time, the Roman called the group the Britannias, the largest island was called Albion. Shortly after the Roman invasion, Britannia came to refer solely to the area under Roman juristiction, it was only later during the early middle ages the island started to become known as Britain. Albion on the other hand reduced to be the area not controlled by the Romans, roughly the area north of the modern-day English border - approximately modern-day Scotland, which is known in Celtic languages as Alba.
The OED puts the first use of phrase "British Isles" at 1621, two decades after the Union of the Crowns, the first time that England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands came to be ruled by one monarch. He was the first monarch to adopt the style, King of Great Britain, known now as the British monarch. The author who coined the phrase openly explains that it was calqued from the Latin, dispite 1,500 years of disuse. His motivation? The importance of the Brythonic myth to constitutional matters of the day in England.
Today, as then, the name is politicised. A browse through the references [here] should shed some light on how it is. Or watch how carefully the phrase is avoided in political relations between the UK and Ireland. Desiring that "the name shouldn't be politicised", is a fine ambition, however, we are here to reflect the facts, and like it or not, it is. What motivation would there be to deny such an elemental fact? --sony-youthpléigh 14:49, 16 May 2007 (UTC)

Hallo! I was born in India, went to university in Australia, moved to Canada with my husband and now reside in the United States (for the past 5 months) and for what it's worth, in all my globe hopping experience I've only ever heard them referred to as the British Isles. 65.69.81.2 21:11, 23 May 2007 (UTC)

That's true, and thus the name of the article is British Isles. I note, however, that you were born, educated and lived in countries with profound British influences. --sony-youthpléigh 21:36, 23 May 2007 (UTC)

A Better Name, A Better Article[edit]

The term "British Isles" exists and Wikipedia should explain it. Do you have a proposal for moving it, if so, what is it? MarkThomas 13:29, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

Well, Wiki can certainly explain it, just not call Ireland and Briitain by that name. You ask a question which I have answered several times (perhaps you should read the full debate). It is The British Isles and Ireland; alternatively Britain and Ireland. (I think the "West Indies" redirect to Carribean is an excellent precedent for eliminating the POV that defaces this article. (Sarah777 20:04, 28 May 2007 (UTC))

"British Isles," for better or for worse, is the common name of the region. The common name should be used the title of the article. Objections to the term should be pointed out, but not in a way that distracts from the article or overburdens the reader. --sony-youthpléigh 22:20, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

Exactly. British Isles != British Islands. BastunBaStun not BaTsun 22:41, 28 May 2007 (UTC)
Nope. It isn't the common name in Ireland. Should we call "The Malvinas" the common name of the Falklands because 99% of South America uses that term? (Sarah777 23:12, 28 May 2007 (UTC))
I never hear the term being used in my sphere, so it's certainly not common in my experience. Britain and Ireland is used. There is an editor who claims that "Britain & Ireland" means a completely different concept, but that is his point of view, and not mine. My belief is that British Isles ceased to exist as an entity in 1922, but the situation is that an atlas cannot update itself, and many old maps still hang about. The term British Isles, no matter what spin is put on it, had a political conception, and was nurtured in a political cradle. Gold♣heart 23:28, 28 May 2007 (UTC)
Then, Goldheart and Sarah, you may need to broaden your horizons. Its clear ye don't like it, but "British Isles" is used here. Here are over 34000 examples. Yes, there are more (nearly 54000) for "Britain and Ireland", but I think 34000 hits is enough of a proof that the term is used on both of the two largest islands of the British Isles. BastunBaStun not BaTsun 23:56, 28 May 2007 (UTC)
Ah, the entertainment of Googling: comments on this story show no complaints about "British Isles", but many complaints about the English term "henge" ... hope that doesn't become another controversy! ... 00:20, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
Can I tell you something BaStun not BaTsun, I have travelled the world, I have seen all the great continents, and have stood on Mount Everest, but not the top, and I have never heard the British Isles being mentioned once. I usually come across the term in history books and on the BBC world service weather forecast. I hope you keep within the bounds of WP:NPA. Please do not personally attack other editors because you disagree with what they write. Please state your own objectives. Gold♣heart 00:12, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
I hope you keep within the bounds of WP:NPA too, Goldheart - and maybe have a quick read of WP:BEANS. Tell me where exactly have I made a personal attack against you? I note you haven't rebutted the existence of 34000+ uses of the British Isles term on Irish web pages. I doubt I'd hear the term used if I was standing on Everest, either, summit or basecamp. Why would you hear it when abroad? When I'm abroad and asked where I'm from, I say "Ireland", not the BI. I'd presume you would do the same. (In fact, depending on where I am, I'll usually try to introduce that fact early on in case I'm mistaken for English - service improves dramatically!) Regardless - the term is used in Britain, in Ireland, and in the rest of the world. As to my objective - simple: to prevent POV-pushing. BastunBaStun not BaTsun 00:24, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
Citing don't like it to another editor, can be viewed as a personal attack. Gold♣heart 00:38, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
Re renaming "Britain and Ireland": it's unacceptable because that term covers a different area and therefore has a different meaning. Re removing Ireland from the definition (the effect of "British Isles and Ireland"): that would be at best a highly original redefinition, incompatible with Wikipedia rules and at worse a downright lie, since the term, whether you like it or not, does include Ireland in all the definitions we have. I really don't understand why this keeps being suggested.--Lo2u (TC) 00:06, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
Because they don't like it? BastunBaStun not BaTsun 00:24, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
Well I think someone needs to say what the objection to the current article name is and to word it very clearly in terms of a violation of a Wikipedia policy. As far as I'm concerned there's nothing in those rules that calls for the elimination of articles on well-referenced terms because people don't like them. "Because millions of Irish don't like it and don't want anything to do with the word British" isn't there I'm afraid.--Lo2u (TC) 00:34, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
Well,I am out of this page. When the personal attacks begin, that's when it is time to go. Lo2u, I am not against the name BI. I honestly and sincerely stated my side of things, my "point of view", my POV. And that is what WP is all about. It's about many editors from differing points of view, sometimes arguing their point, and willing to differ. At all times we must assume good faith, and respect diverse opinion on any particular matter in question. It's the goodness and the honesty of the many editors on WP that makes it work. Once that is lost WP ceases to function. Gold♣heart 00:53, 29 May 2007 (UTC)


Well, Gold - despite the personal attacks on me by Bastun I ain't quitting. "Well I think someone needs to say what the objection to the current article name is". Did do not read the thousands of words of discussion over several years? You KNOW what the objections are. Your arrogance is breathtaking. So "millions of Irish" can object to an inaccurate, offensive term and that doesn't count because more people in Britain are happy to apply the name of their own country to a neighbouring island? So, what about the Malvinas then?
"Falkland Islands" is used in Britain so the name used by 500 million Latin Americans doesn't count? This isn't NPOV - this is a travesty. (Sarah777 01:02, 29 May 2007 (UTC))
Sarah I know perfectly well what your objections are. Please quote the whole of my sentence and explain clearly what Wikipedia policy supports your renaming.--Lo2u (TC) 01:13, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
and no you're right - in my breathtaking arrogance I haven't had the time to read ten pages of archives covering several years. Best.--Lo2u (TC) 01:17, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
"Millions of Irish don't like it." Prove it, this is one of the major problems people haven't grasped here. Wikipedia is based on verifiability, and no source has yet been provided to prove it isn't used in Ireland, and is hated and unused by the vast majority of people in Ireland. Verifiability. All dictionary terms provided include Ireland, all other encyclopaedias include it. A huge number of other languages use a translation of the term and include Ireland, and I haven't seen a decent verifiable source to say otherwise. Sarah777, Goldheart, your personal objections to the term are not enough to change things without providing some verifiable backup to your claims. Just remember one thing about all this, who is Wikipedia for. It's not for the editors, it's for the billions of readers out there in the world for whom the majority of languages and definitely English include the term, or a translation of the term. Ben W Bell talk 06:34, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
Sarah, yes the Falkland Islands are called the Falkland's on the English-language Wikipedia. GoldHeart, likewise I have never (ever!) heard anyone say the word Iberian Peninsula, yet I know it exists and that that is the common term for the area. If there is a more common terms for the place than "British Isles," it will be easy to demonstrate. Please cite a dictionary reference for "Britain and Ireland" letting us know exactly what it means. --sony-youthpléigh 06:43, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
Sony, are you suggesting we should redirect the Falkland Islands to The Malvinas? I'd support that. (Sarah777 12:57, 29 May 2007 (UTC))
I actually think that the Falkland Islands article should be renamed Falkland Islands (the Malvinas).--Vintagekits 13:42, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
In fact, I've been looking at this article; in Spanish Wiki the article is called "Islas Malvinas" - and is somewhat DIFFERENT from the British version. This indicates a solution to the current situation of competing names. Perhaps I'll start an article called "The British Isles and Ireland" and write it without the POV that afflicts the current effort? (Sarah777 13:08, 29 May 2007 (UTC))
No more that I would suggest that we should redirect Ireland to Isla de Irlanda. Do you think we should? Weird. --sony-youthpléigh 13:53, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
Not weird in the least. The names in South America and in the UK for the Falklands are different - the Spanish name isn't a translation of the English one. The names for Britain and Ireland are different in Britain and Ireland. And, as is evident from this dispute, the two sides don't speak what is nominally the same language. Words mean different things either side of the Irish Sea. (Sarah777 14:07, 29 May 2007 (UTC))
Ah I see what you're saying, you're saying that the article for British Isles should be renamed on the Gaelic Wikipedia as it's called something different there. Go suggest it then. Ben W Bell talk 14:11, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
That is not what I'm saying. I never mentioned Gaelic Wiki. (Sarah777 15:52, 29 May 2007 (UTC))
No, but you're comparing the name of an article on English Wikipedia with the name of an article on Spanish Wikipedia as how they call it different things in English and Spanish. In English it's called the British Isles, I don't know what the Gaelic is but that seems to be what you are saying by bring foreign language Wikipedia's into it. Ben W Bell talk 15:54, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
No Ben, I made the point that the Spanish version was different to the British version; not a translation of it - a completely Different name based on a different POV. Illustrating that in these matters there is no such thing as no POV, really. Just one POV v. another. So as the same words in English are obviously used to mean different things either side of the Irish Sea then we can solve this by having a different perspective on a roughly similar place; just like the Spanish/English versions do. The Irish perspective is being shut out by the fact that we don't have a separate language in wide use and so are been forced to accept a British slant, or POV, in matters such as this. I am proposing a solution to the problem. (Sarah777 16:17, 29 May 2007 (UTC))

Wow. Talk about a giant discussion page based on a single issue that's far less controversial than it's being made out to be. That being said, to quote myself on the AfD, Google hits for "British Isles and Ireland" = 25,000. Google hits for "British Isles" alone = 35 million. One would think that Jimbo's rules concerning a fringe POV held by a tiny minority would prevail here. Be damned to whether this is an "imperialistic" turn of phrase, it happens to be the turn of phrase that is the overwhelmingly common one of choice in the English-speaking world. (Hell's bells, "British Isles" out-Googles "British Isles and Ireland" by 60:1 on the Irish Google, specifying websites solely carrying an .ie domain suffix, which should put to rest the nonsense that it is a "hated" and unused term in Ireland) If this AfD doesn't suffice to put this issue to rest, I strongly suggest filing a RfC.  Ravenswing  16:33, 29 May 2007 (UTC)

Sarah I suggest you take your problem with the names of the Falklands to that talk page (or else to the island's inhabitants...), rather than discussing it here. They'll no doubt tell you, as you've been told more times than I can count, that Wikipedia names reflect common English usage. Every other contributor whether British or Irish, can grasp this fact and accepts it. Also the term "British Isles and Ireland" must logically, as a consequence of the definition, cover a different area from simply the "British Isles". How can your proposals logically be justified when one can't possibly mean the same as the other? Finally, once again, are you able to state, in terms of a violation of Wikipedia policy, what is wrong with the name of this article? --Lo2u (TC) 17:09, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
Sorry Lo, didn't spot this what with being banned by a selection of Anglo-American editors for annoying them. "Every other contributor whether British or Irish, can grasp this fact and accepts it." 'They most certainly do NOT!!! Can't you read?? They merely get fed up arguing or back-off at the threat of being censored (aka blocked)! What we need is more editors who will neither tire nor be intimidated. (Sarah777 15:20, 4 June 2007 (UTC))

Nameless archipelago[edit]

Quite off topic (if its assumed that the topic of this page is improving the article!), but on the issues of archipelagos without a name: what it the name of the archipelago containing Corsica and Sardinia? They clearly form an archipelago (see: satelite image), even in the strict sense of the word being an island chain, but is there any name for it? --sony-youthpléigh 07:55, 4 June 2007 (UTC)

Well, given the proximity of Gibraltar I think most editors in en:Wiki might reckon "The Southern British Isles" is the most neutral geographical term available. In the non-biased, NPV way they so congratulate themselves and one another on. (Sarah777 15:25, 4 June 2007 (UTC))
Eh? (sorry, Canadian moment). Give us one editor who would think that? Sarah777 you appear to be trying to provoke with silly comments like that. Ben W Bell talk 15:47, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
I don't know what a Canadian moment is. (Sarah777 16:39, 4 June 2007 (UTC))
See Eh#Canada. It's a common part of their vocabulary eh. Ben W Bell talk 17:19, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
Indeed. You might even call it trolling. Waggers 10:46, 5 June 2007 (UTC)
But if you did, that would be called a personal attack - or worse still CENSORSHIP! --sony-youthpléigh 10:49, 5 June 2007 (UTC)
Oh how I wish there were smileys we could add to talk pages :) Waggers 11:03, 5 June 2007 (UTC)
Not impossible, nice idea Waggers, is this a first!Gold♥Smiley.svg 19:08, 5 June 2007 (UTC)
Heck, I thought the FIRST thing you did when someone annoys you is to start flinging Wiki Policies at them. I learned everything I know from you guys. (Sarah777 15:50, 5 June 2007 (UTC))
I guess it never occurred to any of the (censored) that the comment on the SBIs might just have been a joke? Eh? (Sarah777 15:53, 5 June 2007 (UTC))
WP:BRIT vs. WP:SARAH777? --sony-youthpléigh 15:58, 5 June 2007 (UTC)
V droll! (Sarah777 16:28, 5 June 2007 (UTC))

British and Irish Isles?[edit]

User:Caomhan27 has edited all instances of 'British Isles' to read 'British and Irish Isles'. While I understand that this is a contentious issue and that some people have problems with 'British Isles', I haven't seen any reference to 'British and Irish' anywhere in the talk pages on the subject, and I haven't seen Caomhan27 discussing his changes on this page either. Hopefully this comment will provoke some discussion on these edits; until then, I'm reverting the article back to Sony-youth's latest edit. --Careless hx 01:39, 30 July 2007 (UTC)

it is at least a compromise and is a term used todayCaomhan27 09:47, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

I have never seen it used in any context ever. The main problem I had though was that the changes were made without attempting to discuss or even read the talk page and appeared to be a case of that editor imposing their own personal preference on a subject which has caused controversy in the past. Also, please sign your posts if you intend to be taken seriously --carelesshx talk 15:07, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

just because you have not seen it or perhaps heard it used does not mean it is not in use, it happens to be a bourgening term as all terms were at one stage check out irish politics.ie and other sites you will see irish people using it

How do you know if i read the talk page or not?, are you omniscient, it happened to be my first few posts and i was unaware of all the little intricacies that are required if one is to be "taken seriously"Caomhan27 09:43, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

While a handful of people might use the term "British and Irish Isles" as a synonym for "British Isles", the latter term is in far more common usage. This is an international encyclopaedia, not an Ireland-specific one; the popularity or otherwise of the term "British Isles" in Ireland does not outweigh its popularity elsewhere in the British Isles, nor indeed the world as a whole. Waggers 09:50, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

my reading of the regulations is that for the term to apply to ireland the local irish populace(when using english) is reqired to use the term

If for example tomorrow the german population was told to call germany and austria "great germany" and as a result the term was used by many germans who vastly outnumber their austrian counterparts who never use the term because they dont like it, should the article about the term in wikipaedia(which it would be as wikipedia does not mind the fact that it is offensive to austrians) include all relevant information on austria aswell as germany, or would you think just a austria heading with a link to the austria article itself would be they way the article should be approached and presented in wikipedia?

I would choose the latter but of course this is wikipedia's editors choice but i will outline why mainly because one heavily populated country should not arbitrarily create/manufacture a term then after creating it out of thin air, claim credence for the terms inclusion of a different country merley because that country has a much smaller population when looked at under the manufactured term

I am not disputing the fact that the term british isles is used in its country of origin heavily populated britain a lot and due to this fact a heading with ireland should be included despite it being offensive to many irish people but as with the austria germany "great germany" i think it should be handled with a modicum of sensitivity as i would the great germany article

this is done again with a ireland heading but only essential details together with a link to the british and irish isles or IONA

what do you think?Caomhan27 13:10, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

The first thing to say here is that the guidelines you refer to - presumably WP:PLACES and WP:NCGN - are conventions not hard-and-fast rules, and WP:IAR always takes priority where necessary in such instances. Wikipedia is not a bureaucracy.
The second is that the guideline around the "majority of English speakers" is unqualified. In other words, the correct name for the article on Someplace is what the majority of all English speakers everywhere would recognise, not just those who live in Someplace, or even some part of Someplace. So you're right, if suddenly Austria is officially part of "Great Germany" but colloquially the majority of English speakers refer to it as Austria, then the article stays as Austria. Nevertheless, there would also be an article created on "Great Germany" which would include any information relating to that entity, including a description of the history and geography of the whole thing. Within that there would of course be links to the articles on Germany, Austria, the Alps, etc. The article would naturally also mention the history and controversy around the terminology.
The third thing is a somewhat off-topic question; why is it that every discussion on the British Isles name seems to end up with Irish editors making some reference to Nazi Germany, or Germany occupying other countries? Waggers 13:35, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia taking a political stance?[edit]

I understand the wikipedia policy/reasons for entering a the term

however i believe that this is not simply "a term" and should be looked at under slightly different criteria

firstly its offensive to most of the populace of ireland(roi) this is clearly demonstratably via the government of irelands view of the term and their request that the irish embassy in britain moniter the media there and object to its use, the fact that it is now not used in irish geography books, the fact that the british-irish council does not use the term, the fact that the british government avoids its use, the fact that it is now the british and irish lions etc etc its ludicrous to suggest that simply because their is no existing poll of which i know to actually show this that maybe its not true. the poll would be a waste of time and money as everyone(in general) in ireland(roi) would be like minded in their aversion to its use in the above context Its merely a reflection of reality it would be like asking for a poll in england as to if they would like to be included in the new irish isles silly

secondly and most importantly by wikipedia lending credence to the term in regards to its inclusion of ireland(roi) it is treading on very dangerous ground and goes far beyond the simply inclusion of a popluar term for various reasons(popular in its country of origin and some of its colonies)

the existance of the articles heading "british isles" is fine however through its content subsequently agreeing (bar the inclusion of controversial)with its contention that today ireland(roi) is part of that said title, it is lending credibilty to this contention regarding ireland(roi, therefore overiding the peoples and governments wishes of the democratic UN and EU sovereign member state of ireland,that they do not wish the term applied to them

this means that wikipedia is taking a political stance as stated the "term is not recognised in any legal or inter-governmental sense."

if the term is to be used it should be in a past tense regarding ireland(roi)and should not include statistical data etc on ireland(roi)today

it could possibly state that it was at one time forcibly included under the term during britains occupation of the island, and is sometimes is still mistakenly included by people in the much larger populated english speaking countries like britian (64 million) etc and is therefore utilised more than the the newer politically correct terms such as IONA etc Caomhan27 08:46, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

At the bottom of every single page on the project, you'll find a links to "About Wikipedia" and our disclaimers, which includes Wikipedia:Content disclaimer. Please read WP:CENSOR, it really couldn't be more clear. Whether something is offensive or not is not a criterion for inclusion or otherwise in this encyclopaedia. Waggers 11:27, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

your totally missing the point the offensive part is just the lead in Caomhan27 21:19, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

Every definition of the British Isles that I've ever seen in a reliable source includes Ireland. So if your objection is that Ireland should not be included in the British Isles article, you need to provide some reliable evidence that the term "British Isles" is defined as excluding Ireland more often than including it. Waggers 07:54, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

'Mumbai is the main article, bombay article contains nothing (it simply states it was once called bombay) WHY?'[edit]

wikipedia's main article is on mumbai with a simple Bombay (disambiguation]at the top but this contains virtually nothing at all merely stating mumbai was once called this name etc all relevant information is on the mumbai article

this is exactly what i stated should be done regarding the british isles

it is a clear example of double standards bombay was/is clearly the more widely known term you claim that its common usage by pure numbers (not giving due consideration to the origin of population numbers)and that you dont care about the government/people wishes of that country

however this is a clear case of that not applying in some cases

This is total double standards and the situation regarding ireland and the british isles should be rectified immediatley Caomhan27 20:12, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

Mumbai and Bombay are the same places. There's no other term that's in popular use that refers to exactly the same entity as the British Isles. Moreover, both articles as they currently stand follow the Wikipedia guidelines, and both use the most popular local name. Nevertheless, Mumbai is a city, which is a different kind of entity to the British Isles; the relevant guidelines for cities is WP:PLACES while the British Isles falls under WP:NCGN. Waggers 07:51, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

actually this example is given in the Naming conventions (geographic names)

Bombay or Mumbai? Bombay officially changed its name to Mumbai in 1995; but this is not the basis for our choice of name. That depends on two claims: that usage in English by locals (and wider English usage as well, to some extent) has changed to commonly use Mumbai, although many local institutions do not, and that Indian English, as an official language, should be followed, in accordance with our policy on National varieties of English. Both were necessary.

so lets apply the same logic to british isles term including ireland

firstly it should depend on usage in english by locals as stated above

Ok in ireland basically no one uses the term british isles (and especially not in relation to ireland,it is not taught as such in irish schools and is not present in our geographic books

so first criteria is satisfied

the second criteria is wider english usage

with regards to mumbai the qualifing statement was "to some extent" this actually implies that it does not have to be the most common term in usage (which would have to be true for mumbai) in wider english but all that is required is that it is present to some extent

the term IONA its is used in wider english to some extent

second criteria is satisfied

i think it is quite clear from this example as to how the article british isles should be constructed in relation to ireland

the british isles article

should have just have relevant information on the british Isles excluding ireland

ireland should be mentioned under its own heading but under it there should be no relevant data but simply a short line stating the ireland was included in the this geographic title but today the term is IONA(disambiguation) is the more utilised term when including ireland in ireland itself and to some extent in wider english Caomhan27 09:09, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

"firstly it should depend on usage in english by locals as stated above...Ok in ireland basically no one uses the term british isles" You write as if the only "locals" in the British Isles are those in the Republic of Ireland. You may be surprised to learn that most of the rest of the islands are populated too, including Great Britain. The most common term used for the islands by the people who live on them is British Isles.

that is a groundless arguement the entire problem is that ireland and its people do not recognise your inclusion of them in this entity you wish to call the british isles

this debate is strictly about irelands inclusion under the term nothing else(you can still use the term in reference to your own country and islands if you so wish) therefore when discussing irelands inclusion or exclusion using that term the local populace is irelands no one elses,

so like i said prior the first criteria is therefore satisfied in that the local populace do not use the term and in fact find it offensive

"the term IONA its is used in wider english to some extent" The term IONA ("Islands of the North Atlantic" is itself misleading. Taken at face value it would have to include Iceland, Greenland, the islands of the east coast of North America, and all islands off the west coast of mainland Europe, plus possibly some off of the west coast of northern Africa. Hardly the same entity as the British Isles. Secondly, IONA is nowhere near as commonly used, either worldwide or within the British Isles themselves, as the term "British Isles". Waggers 09:37, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

the fact is that as shown in the mumbai case(bombay being the more world wide known term) IONA does not have to be more commonly used world wide than british isles it merely has to be used to some extent which IONA is

so again the two criteria are satisfied

the term IONA may not be perfect but it does not blanket a different culture and people and a sovereign state in a term i.e british used to describe another countries people and culture and so not only is it misleading it is also offensive

IONA does not imply being part of a particular country or culture and is therfore a neutral term

the british isles term can still have its article

this should have just have relevant information on the british Isles excluding ireland

but as stated above in reference to ireland

ireland should be mentioned under its own heading in the british isles page akin to the bombay mention

however there should be no relevant data but simply a short line stating the ireland was included in the this geographic title but today the term is IONA(disambiguation) is the more utilised term when including ireland in ireland itself and to some extent in wider english

i think i have proven the case as to how the british isles should be written under wikipedias own regulations and how ireland should be addressed in that article using a point in caseCaomhan27 10:29, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

"the entire problem is that ireland and its people do not recognise your inclusion of them in this entity you wish to call the british isles"
  1. There's no evidence to show that the entire population do not recognise the term "British Isles".
  2. "your inclusion / you wish to call" - my wishes are irrelevant. The entity is called the British Isles, whether I wish it or not. The British Isles includes Ireland, whether I wish it or not. This is not a matter of personal opinion.

the british isles is simply a term what it refers to is not an absolute and it can easily change due to peoples and governments opinion of what it refers to

i said the entire problem not the entire population but like i said before there is no need for a money wasting poll its a reflection of reality that people in ireland and their government etc do not like the term "when it is used to include their country"

i never said it was a matter of personal opinion i showed the mumbai case as an example(which was outlined by wikipedia) of how ireland should be dealt within in the article under the term british isles

"this debate is strictly about irelands inclusion under the term nothing else(you can still use the term in reference to your own country and islands if you so wish) therefore when discussing irelands inclusion or exclusion using that term the local populace is irelands no one elses,"
Wikipedia does not need your permission to include anything in the encyclopaedia. The British Isles article should describe the British Isles, in the way that that term is most commonly used. That includes Ireland, every time.
who said anything about permission the crux of the issue in criteria number one is "the local populace" you deem this to
mean the population of britain ireland and the other nonchantly included islands in this arbitrarily created term
who gave your country permission to firstly define and create a term to describe these specific islands in question
and secondly attach to that term a name that defines your culture and people and why just beacuse your own countries
people use it does that give the term in relation to ireland any more credibility
britain etc is no more local to ireland than iceland etc different people different culture etc
in addition i see no need for a term that describes my country and islands in addition to yours and others but if a term
is to be created all independant countries that wish to be included in such a term should be consulted an a name agreed
upon by all
in the absence of this as is the case right now, the "local populace" refers to no particular conglomerate of islands
therefore irelands people rightly do not acknowlege use or accept a term that has been created in a different country by
a non local populace when no consensus regarding that term had been reached


"so like i said prior the first criteria is therefore satisfied in that the local populace do not use the term and in fact find it offensive"
Not true at all. The local populace includes the population of the UK, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man. "British Isles" is in common usage throughout all those areas. Overall, in the British Isles, "British Isles" is the most commonly used term for the entity.
again who gave your country permission to arbitrarily create a term to include ireland and then after creating it to
include certain countries outside your own with a smaller population, then claim credence for the their inclusion under
the term using the manufactured term itself as evidence together with its the usage in your heavily populated country
its beyond hipocrisy
your country could just of easily included iceland greenland etc in the created term and still claim credence for the
created term given that the "local populace" is then those who are described under the manufactured term
(which would still be mainly composed of britain)
its a complete sham
the manufactured termin one country should not be used to determine the local populace its akin to gerrymandring
"the fact is that as shown in the mumbai case(bombay being the more world wide known term) IONA does not have to be
more commonly used world wide than british isles it merely has to be used to some extent which IONA is"
No, that's not what the policy says. If I suddenly decided to call the British Isles "Fred", then "Fred" would be used to "some extent" and therefore, according to your argument, we'd have to move the BI article there if we want to include Ireland. It's ridiculous.
its not my qualifing criteria its wikipedia's its there in black and white
you bring up a relevant point so now can you explain to me exactly how many people have to use the term before
"to some extent" becomes viable in relation to a term?? hmmm
IONA is used as is British and Irish isles but pray tell how many people have to use these terms before it is given the
same treatment as mumbai
"IONA does not imply being part of a particular country or culture and is therfore a neutral term"
The same is true of "British Isles" - it's only your interpretation of the term that is causing you any offence. There's nothing inherently offensive about the term "British" - and even if there were, Wikipedia is not censored to avoid offending people.
you actually believe? that or are you not being truthful?
"The term "British" is often used to describe something unique to the UK, for example 'the British way of life' or 'the British weather'. Sometimes it is accidentally used to describe some English, though it is usually over looked because English is British"
you see no implication that through the use of that word the people who populate the countries included under
this manufactured arbitrarily created term might be misconstrued by others to be british??
"the british isles term can still have its article"
Well, thanks again, but as I said, we don't need your permission.
never said you did but i was suggesting in the interest of fairness that ireland be treated the same as bombay under that heading (that is no relevant data just a link to either IONA or british and irish isles
"this should have just have relevant information on the british Isles excluding ireland"
Why? The term "British Isles" always includes Ireland. It would be factually incorrect to exclude Ireland form the article on the British Isles.
i have expained above how ireland should be treated with regard to this article
ireland is mentioned alright not excluded but all relevant data of it in conjunction with the other areas should only be present in the IONA or a british and irish isles link like the bombay example
"ireland should be mentioned under its own heading in the british isles page akin to the bombay mention"
Why? The British Isles article describes the entity as a whole. There are already separate articles on the separate parts of it.
you really dont get what im saying it should be a simple one line link like bombay to IONA or british and irish isles
this can then include all relevant data with respect to ireland together with the other countries that fall under
that acceptable term
"however there should be no relevant data..."
This is an encyclopaedia. Why would we create an article with no relevant data to it's subject?
the data regarding ireland should only be present in the IONA or british and Irish isles link the same way there is no information regarding bombay until you go to mumbai
"but simply a short line stating the ireland was included in the this geographic title but today the term is IONA(disambiguation)"
We can't state that because it isn't true, and there are certainly no reliable sources to verify it (because it isn't true). "British Isles" includes Ireland today as much as it ever did.

well simply state that people in britain sometimes include ireland in reference to the british isle's (many don not) however this term is not accepted in ireland in reference to their country, then give the link to IONA or british and irish isles which will include the relevant data on all the countries simple

"IONA(disambiguation)
is the more utilised term when including ireland in ireland itself and to some extent in wider english"
Not true. "British Isles" is in much more common use than IONA.
true the british isles term is not acknowleged in ireland as having anything to do with ireland, the terms IONA and the british and irish isles are used more but again you nor i can quantify if it meets the "to some extent" criteria sufficiently
"i think i have proven the case as to how the british isles should be written under wikipedias own regulations and how ireland should be addressed in that article using a point in case"
All you have proven is that you don't understand Wikipedia policy, you keep making statements that are patently untrue and have no evidence to back them up, and you have yet to find what the Shift key on your keyboard is for.

Waggers 12:05, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

maybe this time you will actually read and comprehend the points i am trying to get across and thanks for the heads up
on the shift issue but i am newCaomhan27 02:52, 3 August 2007 (UTC)
If you left my comments in tact and responded to them in the way I did above - by copying any sections as applicable, I would be able to "actually read and comprehend the points you are trying to get across". As things stand, the above is a complete mess and I'm not going to waste my time trying to decypher who wrote what and what point you're trying to make. It seems pretty clear that you're simply trying to disrupt Wikipedia to make a point, and that point is based often on untrue statements. I have better and more constructive things to do with my time than feed the trolls. Waggers 08:05, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

  1. "your inclusion / you wish to call" - my wishes are irrelevant. The entity is called the British Isles, whether I wish it or not. The British Isles includes Ireland, whether I wish it or not. This is not a matter of personal opinion.x

the british isles is simply a term what it refers to is not an absolute and it can easily change due to peoples and governments opinion of what it refers to

i said the entire problem not the entire population but like i said before there is no need for a money wasting poll its a reflection of reality that people in ireland and their government etc do not like the term "when it is used to include their country

i never said it was a matter of personal opinion i showed the mumbai case as an example(which was outlined by wikipedia) of how ireland should be dealt within in the article under the term british isles

Wikipedia does not need your permission to include anything in the encyclopaedia. The British Isles article should describe the British Isles, in the way that that term is most commonly used. That includes Ireland, every time.x

who said anything about permission the crux of the issue in criteria number one is "the local populace" you deem this to mean the population of britain ireland and the other nonchantly included islands in this arbitrarily created term

who gave your country permission to firstly define and create a term to describe these specific islands in question and secondly attach to that term a name that defines your culture and people and why just beacuse your own countries people use it does that give the term in relation to ireland any more credibility

britain etc is no more local to ireland than iceland etc different people different culture etc in addition i see no need for a term that describes my country and islands in addition to yours and others but if a term is to be created all independant countries that wish to be included in such a term should be consulted an a name agreed upon by all

in the absence of this as is the case right now, the "local populace" refers to no particular conglomerate of islands therefore irelands people rightly do not acknowlege use or accept a term that has been created in a different country by a non local populace when no consensus regarding that term had been reached

Not true at all. The local populace includes the population of the UK, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man. "British Isles" is in common usage throughout all those areas. Overall, in the British Isles, "British Isles" is the most commonly used term for the entity.x

again who gave your country permission to arbitrarily create a term to include ireland and then after creating it to include certain countries outside your own with a smaller population, then claim credence for the their inclusion under the term using the manufactured term itself as evidence together with its the usage in your heavily populated country its beyond hipocrisy

your country could just of easily included iceland greenland etc in the created term and still claim credence for the created term given that the "local populace" is then those who are described under the manufactured term (which would still be mainly composed of british people)

its a complete sham the manufactured term in one country should not be used to determine the local populace its akin to gerrymandring

No, that's not what the policy says. If I suddenly decided to call the British Isles "Fred", then "Fred" would be used to "some extent" and therefore, according to your argument, we'd have to move the BI article there if we want to include Ireland. It's ridiculous.x

its not my qualifing criteria its wikipedia's its there in black and white you bring up a relevant point so now can you explain to me exactly how many people have to use the term before "to some extent" becomes viable in relation to a term?? hmmm

IONA is used as is British and Irish isles but pray tell how many people have to use these terms before it is given the same treatment as mumbai

The same is true of "British Isles" - it's only your interpretation of the term that is causing you any offence. There's nothing inherently offensive about the term "British" - and even if there were, Wikipedia is not censored to avoid offending people.x

do you actually believe that? or are you not being truthful?

"The term "British" is often used to describe something unique to the UK, for example the British way of life or the British weather. Sometimes it is accidentally used to describe some English, though it is usually over looked because English is British"

you see no implication that through the use of that word the people who populate the countries included under this manufactured arbitrarily created term might be misconstrued by others to be british??

oh and i didnt say ireland should not be included because it causes offensive and strictly speaking ireland is included but only under a heading explaining why if you wish to see irelands information in full together with the other countries mentioned you should look under british and irish isles or IONA capice

thanks again, but as I said, we don't need your permission.x

never said you did but i was suggesting in the interest of fairness that ireland be treated the same as bombay under that heading(that is no relevant data just a link to either IONA or british and irish isles

Why? The term "British Isles" always includes Ireland. It would be factually incorrect to exclude Ireland form the article on the British Isles.x

i have expained above how ireland should be treated with regard to this article ireland is mentioned alright not excluded but all relevant data of it in conjunction with the other areas should only be present in the IONA or a british and irish isles link like the bombay example

Why? The British Isles article describes the entity as a whole. There are already separate articles on the separate parts of it.x

you really dont get what im saying it should be a simple one line link like bombay to IONA or british and irish isles this can then include all relevant data with respect to ireland together with the other countries that fall under that acceptable term

This is an encyclopaedia. Why would we create an article with no relevant data to it's subject? x

the data regarding ireland should only be present in the IONA or british and Irish isles link the same way there is no information regarding bombay until you go to mumbai

We can't state that because it isn't true, and there are certainly no reliable sources to verify it (because it isn't true). "British Isles" includes Ireland today as much as it ever did.x

well simply state that people in britain sometimes include ireland in reference to the british isle's (many do not) however this term is not accepted in ireland in reference to their country, then give the link to IONA or british and irish isles which will include the relevant data on all the countries simple

Not true. "British Isles" is in much more common use than IONA.x

the british isles term is not acknowleged in general in ireland as having anything to do with ireland,the terms IONA and the british and irish isles are used more but again you nor i can quantify if it meets the "to some extent" criteria sufficiently Caomhan27 09:22, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

well enough babying, i hope you can somehow manage to remember which parts are yours but just in case i put a little x beside your answers, hope that helps you remember what you wrote

As has been stated clearly elsewhere, the term "British" as in "British Isles" predates the UK, so your assertion that the term "British Isles" was somehow invented by the UK is bunkum. Secondly, you keep talking about Bombay as if there's an article called "Bombay" - there isn't. Bombay is a redirect to Mumbai. I strongly suggest that you take the time to familiarise yourself with both the issues at hand and the way Wikipedia works before making further comment here. Your views of "how Ireland should be treated" are your personal opinions and you're welcome to them, but they are not neutral and therefore not suitable for implementation here. Waggers 10:01, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

oh right so you are not going to give a retort to the above yes the british did invent the term "british isles" a couple of hundred years ago

not that it is even relevant there is considerable confusion and parapharsing about the early use of terms relating to these islands, there is no conclusive evidence of what name if any was generally applied and to what exact places, as regards the oldest greek names this vagueness encompasses terms that have been translated as (Pretanic Islands)

this would match with the fact that the romans had no collective name for the islands in the post-Roman period used the general term "oceani insulae", simply meaning "islands of the ocean Great Britain was called "Britannia" and Ireland was called "Hibernia" and also, between about the fifth and eleventh centuries, "Scotia". The Orkneys ("Orcades") and Isle of Man were typically also mentioned in descriptions of the islands. No specific collective term for the islands was used other than "islands of the ocean".

The term "British Isles" entered the English language in the seventeenth century no who do you suppose came up with that?


you keep talking about Bombay as if there's an article called "Bombay"

and why do you think that is?, when bombay is the most commonly known term?

once again

Bombay or Mumbai? Bombay officially changed its name to Mumbai in 1995; but this is not the basis for our choice of name. That depends on two claims: that usage in English by locals (and wider English usage as well, to some extent) has changed to commonly use Mumbai, although many local institutions do not, and that Indian English, as an official language, should be followed, in accordance with our policy on National varieties of English. Both were necessary.


Your views of "how Ireland should be treated" are your personal opinions

I do have my own POV but my views are based on the mumbai template which is shown as a wikipedia example shown above
the reason bombay has no article like you said is due to two criteria set out by wikipedia
1. local usage

for a term to apply to ireland i deem this to mean that the irish populace is reqired to use the term) why? because one heavily populated country can not arbitrarily create/manufacture a term then after creating it out of thin air, claim credence for the terms inclusion of a different country merley because that country has a much smaller population when looked at under the manufactured term


2. use in wider english "to some extent"

again can you explain to me exactly how many people have to use the term before "to some extent" becomes viable in relation to a term?? British and Irish isles for exampleCaomhan27 12:32, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

I've answered these points already. As far as (1) is concerned, I dare say there's a minority of people in Mumbai who prefer the term Bombay and don't like Mumbai, just as there's a minority of people in the British Isles who don't like the term British Isles. You keep on about this as if there's some kind of inconsistency; there isn't. With (2), the guidelines are pretty clear - use the most commonly used term. That is "British Isles", whether you like it or not. Beyond that, you're WP:TROLLing, WP:POINTing and WP:GAMEing, and I'm not playing. Waggers 12:50, 3 August 2007 (UTC)



I think we may be losing sight of the purpose of this discussion here. The point of the article British Isles is to discuss the geographic/geological/whatever features of a particular group of islands. Culture and politics are amply covered in other articles and need not be restated here. The objections to the term 'British Isles' are cultural and political and therefore have no place in an article that pertains only to physical features. The term British Isles has always been taken to mean 'that group of islands to the north of mainland Europe comprising the British mainland, the Irish mainland and various smaller outlying islands'. The fact that mainland Britain is the largest island in the group can be used to justify the naming from a geographical perspective. Anyone objecting to the use of this term must be able to suggest an alternative term which is equally satisfactory in describing the islands from a geographical perspective. Terms suggested as alternative terms in British Isles and British Isles naming dispute include:

  • These Isles or The Isles, as used in parts of the Good Friday Agreement. These terms provide no geographical information about what is being discussed are therefore useless in an article about geography
  • Great Britain and Ireland. This describes political entities and does not include the Isle of Man and therefore does not adequately describe the geography of the area
  • British Isles and Ireland. This would appear at first glance to be valid. However, it implies that the Irish isle is somehow separate, which, in a geological sense, it is not (it is still a part of the archipelago)
  • UK and Ireland has the same problem as Great Britain and Ireland
  • Islands of the North Atlantic (IONA). This term fails at the most basic level, in assuming that Iceland, Greenland, the Azores and so on are somehow not islands in the north Atlantic. Also, there is an island off the coast of Scotland called Iona.

It seems clear to me that the term British Isles should be used exclusively within this article until a suitable alternative term can be decided upon. In any case, the argument can be made that the word British as relating specifically to these islands dates all the way back to Ancient Greece, thus vastly predating the idea of Britain as a colonial power and any political baggage that this attaches (sorry for the horizontal line above, there is a lot of text up there and it can often be difficult to determine where a comment starts and ends. If it offends anyone, remove it) --carelesshx talk 16:49, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

No no, I'm only too happy to see a line drawn under the discussion above, both metaphorically and literally! I agree with all you say, except for the implication that it's up to WP editors to find an acceptable alternative name - that would effectively amount to original research. "British Isles" is the most commonly used English language name for the islands and until that changes (or WP policy changes), the name of the article shouldn't change either - even if (by some miracle) all the contributors agree on some alternative name. Waggers 21:33, 2 August 2007 (UTC)
There are plenty of other names: "IONA", "Anglo-Celtic Isles", "Britain and Ireland", my personal favourite, and apparantly the most popular althernative from looking around, is the "Atlantic Isles". (And, please, no more talk about these being inaccurate names - they are every bit as accurate as calling them the "British" isles.) Not to mention the euphamisms. What's strange is the apparant blockade against using these in the article. Of course, the article itself should remain at British Isles, but what is the big fuss about having to call it that when there are so many other names that it goes by? And so many references to people saying its (sometimes at least) better to use another. --sony-youthpléigh 14:35, 3 August 2007 (UTC)
In a word, consistency. It's fine to list the alternative names, but the article itself should be consistent. If an article reads, "In year1, event1 happened in placename1. In year2, event2 happened in placename2" if can make it hard for the reader to know that we're talking about the same place. Waggers 14:45, 3 August 2007 (UTC)
Good lord! How ever do they manage it over at Holland/Nethlands, Gdansk/Danzig, United States/America ... it must be hell! Hell, I tell you! Hell!! (Or maybe they just don't treat their readers as idiots and can write contextively.) Don't you have a WP:... to guide us through this? --sony-youthpléigh 15:01, 3 August 2007 (UTC)
Calm down, Sony. Waggers 09:56, 6 August 2007 (UTC)
Fair enough :) But cases such as this are quite obvious moments in which to use alternatives since the organization in question does not use the term. --sony-youthpléigh 10:06, 6 August 2007 (UTC)
Yes, I was wrong to make that change (although for slightly different reasons). Waggers 10:51, 6 August 2007 (UTC)

@Careless&Waggers...a number of suitable alternatives have been decided on. Apparently they´re not yet used by everyone and some less aware people are still using the old term. For instance, my mother has a copy of the Readers Digest Motoring Atlas of the British Isles. It´s a 1980s copy. The same publication is today called the Readers Digest Complete Driver´s Atlas of Great Britain and Ireland. Michelin and others have done the same. Irish TV hardly ever uses BI. The Govts avoid it. British publishers are searching for a better term (although they´re still not sure that there is one) etc.,etc.,etc.. Meantime, the BI term is rejected/found objectinable/disliked/pick your verb by one of the main islands in the group. @Waggers, as for the purpose of the article being to describe the geography/history etc, of a particular group of islands, one has to wonder whether - since the "group" is a group created by politics (The Channel Islands are NOT in any sense part of the same island group as Ireland or Britain unless you look at politics as the defining definition), does the group change if the politics changes? I only ask.. Hughsheehy 11:12, 6 August 2007 (UTC)

Yes. Wikipedia policy has long been to verify things according to what reliable sources say. I certainly agree with you that in pure physical geography, the Channel Islands aren't part of the British Isles. Nevertheless, there are several sources that say they are part of the British Isles. It's our role to report that in the article, and if the situation changes, yes we report that too. Waggers 13:20, 6 August 2007 (UTC)

Roman imperialism[edit]

Personally, I object to the imperialism implied in the term "Britain". It harks back to the exploitative Roman occupation and demeans my nation. ;¬> Folks at 137 19:43, 24 September 2007 (UTC)

400 years of repression, eh? Not a bad idea - to reverse the lot. Give England back to the Welsh! --sony-youthpléigh 07:50, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

British Isles is... or was...[edit]

It seems Irish editors at Wikipedia, have issue with the term British Isles. I wunder if British Isles here should be descibed in past-tense? Just curious. GoodDay 20:19, 3 October 2007 (UTC)

That would imply that the British Isles no longer exist (false) or that the term is not currently in popular use (also false). Waggers 08:04, 5 October 2007 (UTC)
The British Isles ceased to exist when Ireland won Independence. Sarah777 (talk) 02:06, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
Nope, the islands are still here and so is their name. Waggers (talk) 08:40, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
The islands are still here and saving climate change and nuclear holocaust will for quite some time to come. However, literature on the subject reports that the name "British Isles" is considered to be less tenable following Irish independence. This is not just the "Irish" view on the matter, as is often suggested here, but reflects a global view of the situation, including both British authors and others worldwide. For example the British historian Norman Davies ("The Isles ceased to be British precisely fifty years ago when the Republic of Ireland left the Commonwealth, though few people in the British residue have yet cared to notice.") or the Spanish anthropologist Begoña Aretxaga ("Indeed, many feel that the 'British Isles' is no longer a viable term, given the imperialist associations with 'British'.") It is published sources that count, not our opinion. --sony-youthpléigh 10:18, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
Couldn't agree more. Incidentally, I haven't yet stated my opinion on this matter, but will do now: British Isles is a stupid name for the islands, it's misleading and causes confusion. Hopefully it will, in time, be replaced. But in the meantime, it is still the most commonly used English language name for the entity, and that's what Wikipedia should reflect. Waggers (talk) 10:26, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
Also agree, hence my view that the term should be rephrased where possible (e.g. Britain and Ireland) on Ireland-related articles, but used as appropriate elsewhere. --sony-youthpléigh 10:31, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

Time to change the name?[edit]

Having just seen the truth suppressed yet again and British POV imposed on this article I wonder is it time to reconsider the name of the article? Sarah777 (talk) 01:08, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

The name of the article is in accordance with policy, convention and consensus. A few contentious edits to the article itself have no bearing on the article's name. Waggers (talk) 12:08, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
Certainly not consensus; the name is utterly reject as an abomination by most Irish people. Not convention either. And the only "policy" being applied here is the tyranny of the superior numerical strength of British editors. It is merely a wiki-expression of British Imperialism. Sarah777 (talk) 21:21, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
Eh? Wikipedia's naming conventions, which have been decided by consensus, state that the most commonly used name - in this case, British Isles - should be used. If you choose to read anything else into the fact that this article complies with a project-wide naming convention, then that's your decision, but please keep all this anti-British nonsense to a minimum - you're skating on very thin ice. Thanks. Waggers (talk) 19:57, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
It is not consensus; the name is utterly reject as an abomination by most Irish people. Not convention either. And the only "policy" being applied here is the tyranny of the superior numerical strength of British editors. Does that make the TRUTH any clearer for you Waggers?Sarah777 (talk) 20:14, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
And btw; your comments here are a prime example of what I am talking about. Your smug assertion that the greater number of British over Irish editors equals consensus. It does not. Period. End of discussion. Thanks for the threats. Sarah777 (talk) 20:17, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
Stop trying to twist this into something it isn't. I was quite clear: the naming conventions were decided on by consensus. Do you deny that? The naming conventions say we should use the most common name. Do you deny that? The most common name for the British Isles is, like it or not, the British Isles. Do you deny that? There's no smugness going on here, nothing to do with editors' nationalities, and not even any threats (there were warnings, which I still advise you to heed). You really need to learn what "assume good faith" means and start applying it. Waggers (talk) 22:30, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
The most common name for the British Isles is, like it or not, the British Isles. Do you deny that? Yes. And I couldn't care less what you call them so long as anything called "British" doesn't include Ireland. "British Isles" is not the most common name for any entity that includes Ireland. It is almost never used in Ireland, because the term is repulsive. Oh, and btw, stuff your threats and warnings where the sun don't shine. OK? Just reading some of your responses above. You are one of the most insufferably arrogant smug ******'s I've come across on Wiki. Just one example; you response to the Bombay question above is pure bull. Sarah777 (talk) 02:04, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
Great. So you keep harping on about "The Truth", bias and personal attacks and then in one post deny an established fact and engage in petty name calling. For goodness' sake, Sarah, grow up. Waggers (talk) 08:37, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

Proposal[edit]

it seems very clear to me that the older term "British Isles" is no longer acceptable. There is clear evidence that culturally in Ireland and to some extent in Britain, and at a governmental level between Ireland and Britain, the term is no longer used and has no official recognition. The assertions that it is still the most common term may be based on older evidence and does not appears to take into modern political changes. The term "British Isles" has lapsed from being a modern geographical term and is currently only used as a political term (and seen by many as an offensive one). Let's recognize this, and deal with it appropriately. The term should be dropped as the main article title, which should be moved to a different titled article, and a redirect from this term to the new article should be set up. Bardcom (talk) 23:37, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

I have to say that's no kind of summary of the above discussion!
"British Isles" is in use - on Wikipeida and globally - and there are so many other examples around the world where geographical names are not ideal - but are still used. I can't find any evidence of people seriously using an alternative to the "British Isles" (though certainly people may avoid using it), and Wikipedia should never lead the way. To me it simply poses the question - does Ireland own the Irish sea? Shall we rename it the "Celtic and Anglo-Saxon sea"? British Isles may have been coined when Ireland was conquered, but so what? Show me a country that has never been conquered? A Dublin historian was saying on the fantastic Coast the other day (a series about the "British Isles" coastline) that Dublin was built by the British - it's just life.
I have fought against creating situations where the label "Britain" could be seen as a superior word to Northern Ireland, Wales etc - but when it comes to the term "British Isles" I personally don't see any problem (and that's with all the genuine sympathies I have always had for all of Ireland).
There is a Discussion on draft essay "Wikipedia:Nationality of people from the United Kingdom", where I've recently proposed renaming it to include the term "British Isles" (so it could include Ireland, as its history with the "mainland" has entwined so much that both the present and historical usage of the guide would benefit from it). --Matt Lewis (talk) 15:26, 25 February 2008 (UTC)
Bardcom sums up the current situation rather well. Recent usage (since 2000) would likely show the term is obsolete. As for discussion the 'nationality of people in the UK' - what's the problem? unlike the "British isles" at least the United Kingdom exists. Sarah777 (talk) 20:51, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
How can the British Isles not exist? What about the programme Coast (etc)? You might not want to use it yourself, but you shouldn't be saying it's an "obsolete" term - that's just not true. My very argument for using it is that our archipelagos actually physically does exist, where the "United Kingdom" is just a transient political identity (that was coined because of Ireland, and has changed because of Ireland)!
What else can I call these islands other than by their given name, the British Isles? If there was another commonly-accepted name, I'd be happy to use that instead. I happen to need a term for everything that is (and ever was) covered by the British Isles - from Jersey to Ireland, Britannia to Wales, Britain to the Isle of Man etc.--Matt Lewis (talk) 21:30, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
"Ever was"? What nonsense. "Britain and Ireland" is the common current usage. Sarah777 (talk) 21:42, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
And Coast? Follow the link, why don't you? "Britain" is a political word - we must be careful not to enforce it (that's why 'land masses' have their own names - becasue they are neutral and constant). You seem to be enforcing the loaded use of Britain over the home nations onto other people, just so you can remove yourself from a recognised benign term that you simply don't want anyone to use. A bit selfish don't you think? And a bit crazy too - "British Isles" is clearly the technical term of use. (RE the Contents of my 2005 World Atlas: "British Isles 1:4 400 000"!)--Matt Lewis (talk) 22:11, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
just so you can remove yourself from a recognised benign term. Benign????! Read your history of the British Empire or of the British State in Ireland. About as "benign" as the Third Reich to the Jews. (and BTW - if I am to be banned from pointing out this simple TRUTH - then all references to the term "British" being "inoffensive" or "benign" should be banned too. OK? Sarah777 (talk) 22:17, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
I find that in bad taste given all the sweat shed for peace. Stormont did not come with your 'never die' attitude, did it? Are you reading what I am writing, anyway? You don't mind calling me (a Welshman) directly "British" at all do you? As long as it is not, even this weakly, connected to yourself! You can never remove the past. Nobody has renamed the "British Isles" for the same reason that the British Empire did not renamed the "Irish Sea". We live in a practical age, not a Barbarian one! Lets have some perspective here. As bad as the British were in Ireland, it is just foolish to mention the Third Reich. Do you live in poverty like a Palestinian? No you don't, so show some perspective. You should rise above the term - Ireland is CERTAINLY strong enough to do it. --Matt Lewis (talk) 22:38, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
Do I live like a Palestinian? No. Since we got rid of the British in most of Ireland my country has risen to the top of the world ranking for prosperity, well ahead of England or Wales as a matter of fact. From the cultural genocide and mass starvation inflicted on us little over a century ago by the British. And are not Welshmen "British"? Or did I miss a vote for independence recently? Sarah777 (talk) 01:01, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
Ironically, you have a slightly racist tone. Are you the proverbial scoundrel?--Matt Lewis (talk) 01:44, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
Hardly racist - I doubt we are different races anymore. Different cultures; different polities. Different perspective. And I resent being called "proverbial" :-) Sarah777 (talk) 03:25, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
  • The point being made is that we appear to be in a state of transition. On one side, evidence supports the fact that the term is no longer in use by most people that are up-to-date with the situation, and is not used at the governmental level, and this change is being promoted by what appears to be Irish promoters. On the other side, many people point to the fact that the term is still in use, and that an alternative term doesn't exist. Both sides are right. What alternative term is acceptable at, let's say, the governmental level? Do they use the term "Britain and Ireland" or "these Islands"? Anyone have a source to verify? Bardcom (talk) 22:00, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
Science beats "governmental level" for me! They will exercise choice (hence Ireland will be less likely to use it if they don't need to). I'm interested in the geographical side of things.
Australia - just found that
"British Isles and gov.uk - lots in here! --Matt Lewis (talk) 22:11, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
These is they similar to the way I want to use it: FSA.gov site (uses Jersey etc)
I don't think the Irish gov use it that much, but I've just seen this: this gov.ie page.--Matt Lewis (talk) 22:21, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
The sources linked here (including the "scientific" one) are nearly all British. proves my point really. Sarah777 (talk) 22:24, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
I've no doubt that you can trawl the internet and find references to show that some people break official protocol or revert to older terms. It takes time to transition, and some people stubbornly refuse to use new terms. Some old people I know still say Pounds and Pence in Ireland even though the Euro is the official currency. The point is that the term is being deprecated. It will take time. Some people will resist. "Science" doesn't name things, people do (unless your name is Science, in which case Science can name things...). I'm still curious as to what alternative term is "in use".... Sarah777 says "Britain and Ireland", but that doesn't include the other islands commonly included. Bardcom (talk) 22:33, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
Used in Ireland you mean? Look, the French and Spanish call the English Channel "La Manche" (or similar), but it is known throughout the rest of the world as the "English Channel"? Do the French try and stop that? We have to live through the day, you know. I'm big on politics and identities, but I think this is abusing things. Just because the Ireland gov seems to be quietly choosing not to use the term, then I and rest of the world have to stop? Give over. --Matt Lewis (talk) 22:49, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
No, I mean used anywhere - is there an alternative term in use anywhere? As to "La Manche", is this official French policy? And it's a bit different anyway because nobody actually "lives" on the stretch of water so it's harder for people to get upset (although not impossible). I can tell you're big on politics and identities, but I'm not. So your position is that the Irish Gov is quietly choosing to not use the term? That's progress at least - so you accept that the term is objectionable at a national level? Bardcom (talk) 23:07, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
No - not from the fact that the Irish gov might not be using it, no - not at all. I expect they do actually use it when they really have to, otherwise they just go another route. I don't think most Irish are daft enough to want to out-date every single World Atlas (like my 2005 one) - any more than to remove Britannia from her lofty place in the civic centre in Dublin. Govs always have cultural initiatives - I come from a land of bilingual signposts, general bumf and questionnaires etc. I find the word "Principality" objectionable, but live with it when I see it (I've even used it in the essay/guideline I'm here to promote). History is history. It all comes down to the past - in the expedient light of the present-day there is no argument for this at all! Stormont has shown the past can be risen above - the real grievances are so important that the petty grievances (and this is surely a petty one) cannot possibly help! Doesn’t this belittle what really matters - such as peace, practicality, forgiveness and remembrance? If people's attitude ever radically changes on this, people like me will hear the clamour, and things will eventually reflect that - but it HAS to happen in that order. I think most Irish would be embarrassed if people thought they were proposing some kind of ‘official’ change to the globally-recognised name of a land-mass (or archipelagos to be exact), like the British Isles. It's the kind of loopy and impractical proposal that occasionally makes the EU a laughing stock to almost all of its wider members! --Matt Lewis (talk) 23:47, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
the French and Spanish call the English Channel "La Manche" (or similar), but it is known throughout the rest of the world as the "English Channel"? Is it indeed? The Chinese call it the "English Channel" do they? I'd have thought they'd use Chinese - but there you go! The arrogance (and provincialism) of so many English editors on Wiki takes the breath away. Sarah777 (talk) 00:52, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
You need to slow down and think a little. --Matt Lewis (talk) 01:44, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
Where to start...? to want to out-date every single World Atlas (like my 2005 one) - so using this logic, why did you have to buy a 2005 one? Why not use a 1995 one, or 1905 one? Or could it be that atlases can be updated to reflect changes? I find the word "Principality" objectionable, but - whoa! wait! Get your own page for that one! the real grievances are so important that the petty grievances (and this is surely a petty one) cannot possibly help! - Grievance? This is a discussion about a name. Let's not get carried away. The argument is that, for whatever reasons - political, religious, cultural or whatever, and without having to discuss specifics for any reason, whether the term British Isles is no longer an acceptable name, and whether Wikipedia should relect this fact by moving the article to a new page with the term "British Isles" turning into an article that reflects this. I think most Irish people would be embasassed if people thought ... - Let me guess - you're not Irish, are you? No? Well, let's ask some Irish people, shall we? loopy and impractical proposal that occasionally makes the EU a laughing stock - Loopy? Impractical? Ha! Those exact same words were used to describe the "Euro" as a currency. And the Channel Tunnel. And Congestion Charging. Very conservative thinking. If history shows us anything, it shows that change happens all the time. If everyone used the logic of "But that's the way it's always been", we'd still be living in caves. I like looking forward rather than backward. Bardcom (talk) 01:18, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
Hmmm, you seemed to acting so calmly too. My simple point was that you need a VERY good reason to out-date the current atlas! Do you have a good reason? The fact that altlases get out-dated anyway is an insane reason! I also showed that in 2005, the term "British Isles" was clearly in use (and you originally concluded that it was no longer in use). It doesn't look to me like I'm getting "carried away" to suggest some people in here have a "grievance" with the term "British Isles"!! Regarding your rant on "looking forward" - I'd try looking down sailor, or you might fall off! --Matt Lewis (talk) 01:44, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Matt, I've added a private comment on your talk page.
You make the point that because atlases get out-dated anyway is an insane reason! Your previous point argued that the name should remain the same because it would require updating of all atlases. I pointed out that atlases are updated all the time anyway. You now appear to be implying that changing the name *because* atlases get updated would be insane. The point I am making is that there is no logic in using the excuse that the name shouldn't change because it would require changing atlases. I am not implying that one causes the other, or is even remotely connected to the other. Atlases will get updated whether the name changes or not.
Your other point was that I concluded that it was no longer in use. For accuracy, I did not use this term in an unqualified way (please re-read the opening paragraph above) and I am aware that the term is still in widespread use. We appear to be at a point in time where the term is slowly being deprecated. It hasn't happened yet, etc, etc. References that show the term is still in use are widespread and not disputed. But newer references are now appearing to show that a change is occurring. It will take time for change to occur, in the future.
Your point about people having a "grievance" is most probably true as a stand-alone comment, but it is off-topic within the context of replying to my points, which is what I pointed out. It also acts as an invitation to divert the conversation into a discussion about grievances in general. I did not suggest that you had gotten carried away, the term was used to avoid the conversation being diverted into a general discussion on grievances.
Matt, to try to keep the discussion on track, and please correct me if I summarize this incorrectly, but you appear to be disputing the opinion that change is afoot (regardless of the underlying reasons), and that any evidence to the contrary are localized pockets of individual groups. My position is that we've either passed the tipping point of change, or we're at the tipping point, and that there is now a sense of inevitability to a change in the term. The question we need to consider is whether Wikipedia should reflect the position I am representing, or the position yours represents. Finally, if Wikipedia should represent the position I am representing, what changes are required? Bardcom (talk) 12:10, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
I honestly think it's a classic example of 'the few' trying to keep something alive, by exaggerating out of all proportion (hense my rather sarcastic 'flat earth' sailor comment). Wikipedia is based on weight - where are the citations to back it all up? Honestly - where are they? If this was a 'tipping point' the proponents should be spoilt for choice - and I for one certainly wouldn't complain if I saw any real evidence. The only evidence I've seen is the hole-filled 'Folens kids atlas' example, which I've gone into below. Folens freely admit they never actually had a single parental complaint about "British Isles" being in the atlas - which says more to me than their strange decision to take one teacher’s advice and remove the single reference. I wonder if they had any complaints over its removal - ie. it being patronising and censoring to the child? You know, I bet they have. --Matt Lewis (talk) 00:02, 28 February 2008 (UTC)
Hi Matt. Question. If you *did* see evidence, would you change your opinion? Bardcom (talk) 13:01, 28 February 2008 (UTC)
Of course I would! I'm not arguing for the sake of it!! But the evidence I need is of a significant groundswell. Where is it? I have mainly seen evidence against that (like the Folen example turned out to be). Someone I read said he didn't mind either way - that is not a groundswell. So far I've just seen a page of selected quotes from mostly academic texts - and so much has been written on Irish history that this isn't enough for me (every 'academic' these days is published, as it's so easy to do). -And the Folen example. If that guy from Folen said they had so many complaints from parents that they had to remove it - then I would be impressed. But Folen had no parental complaints at all (unless they did get some for actually removing it - which, given the publicity, I'm sure they did to some degree). You can't push the river and expect Wikipedia to sail your way. --Matt Lewis (talk) 20:09, 28 February 2008 (UTC)
Hi Matt, Great! So we can now try to quantify how much groundswell we need to see. But you must also factor in something else - many Irish (again, need to quantify, but it's more than a minority for sure) find that to be referred to as British is insulting. This should dramatically reduce the groundswell you need to see in order to accept a tipping point has been reached. You make the point that the term is a geographical one, and not a political one - but all geographical names are political (and names are powerful political instruments). So now you can understand why my "groundswell" appears less than yours - it seems that I am weighing the insult heavier. Bardcom (talk) 21:40, 28 February 2008 (UTC)
I don't mean to belittle any individual's feelings - I'm talking about a movement for change. I've yet to see evidence of a wide interest in change (or even the widely-felt repulsion). I'll just wait for the evidence. --Matt Lewis (talk) 22:31, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

A Modest Proposal[edit]

The term "British Isles" is offensive to Irish people, and is not used by the Irish government. The most neutral alternative would appear to be "Britain and Ireland", but that term seems to encounter some resistance among British editors.

So the only alternative that I can see is to call it the "Irish Isles". This usage has obvious historical validity, since it was Irish monks who who brought christianity to Britain and whose scholarship was belatedly imitated by upstart institutions like that place in Oxford ... and of course it was Irish labourers who built Britain's canals, railways and roads.

It seems to me to best to follow wikipedia's principle of neutrality and use the term "Britain and Ireland" ... but since the British editors prefer something with the word "Isles" in it, I think that "Irish Isles" might be a suitable compromise. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 01:48, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

That isn't funny. "The term "British Isles" is offensive to Irish people, and is not used by the Irish government. " Some people here are daft enough to take-up on that. The world doesn't centre around Ireland. That's three times I've been called a "British" editor, which given the topic (and the issues surrounding it, including my own nationality) I take as a fully loaded insult. There is a racist smell in this room - and it's not from the so-called "British". Will I be bullied though? It's all about intent. No-one is attacking Ireland by using the term "British Isles" - it is frankly stuck-up, arrogant, and superior to suggest people are doing that. Man I hate superiority. --Matt Lewis (talk) 02:09, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
Deep breath...cool down. I'm amazed you are taking the word "British" as an insult given that the Welsh are, are they not, British? Got this on the "British" Isles talkpage:
Maybe you should trade in that 2005 Atlas for a 2006 version (!_!) Sarah777 (talk) 03:14, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
I'll overlook the repetition of a dim-wit! I've got an adult Philips atlas - how old are you? I'm not sure that the Irish Childrens publishers Folens actually went through with it in the end. I don't think the Irish Times were too over-impressed given that they wrote this:
The introduction of the Folens atlas follows a recent entry on the online encyclopaedia Wikipedia on the term "British Isles" which stated that the phrase could be "confusing and objectionable to some people, particularly in Ireland".!
Interesting that the Folens said they never had any complaints, and that it was just a pre-emptive decision after a suggestion by a geography teacher! A man after your own heart, perhaps? I wonder where all those legions of angry Irish got to? It's such a sad little story I have to subtitle it "The exception the proves the rule". One would of thought Folens would have had at least one actual complaint! I guess the story proves that no-one but a few controlling Wikipedians, Mr. Patchy the Geography teacher, Mr Itchy the nervous exec, and a few stuffy Irish bureaucrats were ever bothered.
Seriously, the "British Isles" was coined 400 years ago, and the word "Britain" has ancient origins - why would a prosperous, peaceful and independent Ireland wish to change it now? This is just Wikipower if you ask me - any old Joe with a keyboard, some block-weights and a POV.--Matt Lewis (talk) 04:19, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
Well my British buddy; if I were to question your age and imply you were a 'dimwit' and you were a British Admin I'd probably be suffering another abusive block at this stage. But don't worry. To their sad wee minds you probably appear to be making sense! the word "Britain" has ancient origins - why would a prosperous, peaceful and independent Ireland wish to change it now? Eh, maybe because Ireland is not British and is not part of "Britain"? The Swastika is much older than the term "British" but that doesn't make flying it very acceptable these days, does it? Sarah777 (talk) 23:00, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
As long as we have Irish Sea? we'll have British Isles. GoodDay (talk) 23:15, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
No. As long as we have "British Isles" we'll have Irish Sea. A totally different proposition! Sarah777 (talk) 23:26, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
They're interchangable. GoodDay (talk) 00:20, 28 February 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps if citizens of the Irish Sea objected, and there was a movement away from the term, we'd have reason to start a discussion. Otherwise I don't see the relevance. Bardcom (talk) 23:29, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
Btw; do you think that moron above should be blocked for calling me a dimwit - or do only Irish editors get blocked for WP:CIVIL? Sarah777 (talk) 23:28, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
It's not my choice as to wheiter you should report somebody for insulting you (that's your choice). Also, non-Irish editors have in the past, been blocked for being uncivil. GoodDay (talk) 00:19, 28 February 2008 (UTC)
"I'm not sure that the Irish Childrens publishers Folens actually went through with it in the end." I await also to see what National Geographic do. That said, it probably won't stand out too much, it's easy for a map maker to simply ignore the term (as virtually all maps of Europe do) or to use other terms, such as "Britain and Ireland", as National Geographic already do (examine the map here for use of the terms interchangeably with "Britain and Ireland" prioritised).
Is this a Wikipedia thing? Certainly not. It as been noted often enough in published sources for that myth to be put to bed. But why have you not encountered the issue yourself in "real life"? Surely these people must just be a bunch of internet cranks and crack-pots, if you have not? Well, how often do you use the term "British Isles" in real life? Very rarely, I would imagine. When you do (if you do), how often is it in the presence of an Irishperson? Rarer still! And even if you did, would you really expect them to bounce up and down with rage before your eyes, no matter how obnoxious they found the term? Probably not, that doesn't sound so realistic to me - does it sound realistic to you?
So why does it happen on Wikipedia? Well, Wikipedia is a very unique situation. Here, we have to reach an agreed language. We also prioritise "precise language". Whatever language we choose will be written down, with little room for the kind of flexibility that spoken language affords. That situation has revealed a disagreement that many of us were unaware existed.
(RE: Irish Sea ... happy to "trade it" for a better name for the archipelago. Manx Sea, anyone?) --sony-youthpléigh 00:23, 28 February 2008 (UTC)
I see where you are coming from - but this still doesn't actually prove that the term is found "obnoxious" - it only gives reasons why people might not have come across people finding it obnoxious. In the early 90's I used to have a gf from Dublin who wasn't sure about the term "mainland" - but she still used it out of habit, as it was a common term she had grown up with on her typical Catholic estate. Without wishing to sound patronising to some people, the young are naturally rebellious - adding 'weight' tends to come with age. I am very political person, but I still can't see any weight here - only folly.
National Geographic are certainly not prioritising "Britain and Ireland". They labelled it their "British Isles Political Map" on the website, and "British Isles" is given on the map too. The reason they have "Britain and Ireland" in the largest print on the map is because it is a "political map" - cartographers distinguish between "political" and "geographical" maps (which are set differently, with different information).
It has always annoyed me that so very often Wales is left off maps (where UK and Scotland both appear) - cartographers are actually very conservative politically, and the UK is all they need regarding Wales. I'd be utterly amazed if they suddenly stopped using "British Isles" in the geographical or political sense - I still can't see why they would? (real-life) References please!
I think Wikipedia is often a battle between loud minorities and a mostly silent majority. The paradox of consensus on Wikipedia is that it can rarely be 100%. There is no doubt this place can be cultish too - it's almost designed for it, being a sounding board for practically everyone. The strength of argument is what matters to me. --Matt Lewis (talk) 01:53, 28 February 2008 (UTC)
"mainland" - ?? Matt, while I'm sure that your ex hard heard that phrase in the way you mean it, I find it very hard to believe that it would have been a common term anywhere in Dublin outside of a very small number of typically Ango-Irish niches. I can remember clearly as a child a scene from a Sunday-night soap opera called Glenroe (a kind of mix between Heartbeat and Emerdale Farm) involving a typical commical excange between the elderly Anglo-Irish gentleman character and the elderly Irish cottage farmer character. In almost all ways, the Anglo-Irish gent was inextractable a member of the community (which the cottage farmer epitomised) distinguished only by the size of his residence, an interest in fine art, and above all else his peculiar turns of phrase. On this occasions, he used that term to describe where he was going for a week's break. The elderly farmer character then became particularly irate in comical fashion which the Anglo-Irish gent appeared utterly oblivious to. I can remember it clearly because I had to ask my parents he had meant by "mainland" in order to get the joke. I think as a scene it captured a lot of what we are experiencing here. (My own perspective, is that it is clearly preposterous as a term and smacks of "Fog in Channel"-ism. Surely to any neutral observer we are two islands; the mainland is to our south. There is of course a case for reference to the UK-mainland in relation to Northern Ireland.)
Back to "British" Isles. There are many "real life" references in the link I posted earlier, but a practical example is the studious way in which the term is avoided in British-Irish relations, generally leading to the euphimism "these islands". There is a wonderful comment among the quotes on the linked page that while this is useful for a speaker physically located on British or Ireland, it's utterly impractical for anyone else. What would they call us? "Those islands"? That said, as a euphemism, I can remember it coming into fad about the mid-90s, but now I hear it quite often from any number of sources in Ireland in a way that a casual listener simply wouldn't notice.
You asked above, "why would a prosperous, peaceful and independent Ireland wish to change it now?" It brings to mind an observation I read somewhere about the process in Northern Ireland. I won't do it justice, but the gist was that a barrier to peace was that both sides were unable to appreciate gestures made by the other party. It was not out of unwillingness that they were unable to appreciate them, but simply out of a lack of understanding about the magnitude and meaning of something that through their eyes was just so small and normal. They couldn't believe that what was being asked of them in return for such petty gestures from the other side. In reality, however, both sides were offering to make enormous sacrifices to their own values, but their opposites were unable to perceive the substance of these sacrifices because their values were so diametrically opposed each other's.
There is no small measure of that here too, I believe. The archetypical Irish nationalist geography is that there are two islands north-north-east of France. One is called Ireland. Another is called Britain. In this encyclopedia, we can describe Ireland and we can describe Britain, but it is, at best, meaningless to describe the two at once (and more likely ridden with POV). It would be like describing Australia and Indonesia as one. Yet, what we have here is a disproportionately large number of Irish editors working on an article that describes Britain and Ireland in the same breath. The name is an issue, and why would it not be? You're British. I'm not. If this is genuinely a shared space, as it seems you believe it is, then surely it is a little unfair that your should have your name, and your name only, above the door. Like the participants in Northern Ireland, being wiling to imagine Britain and Ireland as one space is quite a large gesture, but one very easily missed or unappreciated by a party to whom it would seem only common sense and normal and being asked to make a returned gesture which seems to them to be an incredible demand to make for something so small. --sony-youthpléigh 11:02, 28 February 2008 (UTC)
Why do I find it a little unsettling? - I do, you know. It's too much patriotism, to me - it's going too far. You mention NI, but where is the fight here? What would it achieve? My "mainland" example (and she was from a Dublin estate, btw) - I can see will have no-doubt died-out simply over time. "Mainland" is a geographiocal term - but like you say, it's not exactly suitable - as "mainland Britain" is just a larger island. The term clearly stemmed from the idea of a "British Isles" though (an idea beyond the British empire). Harbouring anamosity towards a past or present Britain is not the best foundation to instigate something like this (I don't mean from you, btw). It just doesn't seem to me wise at all - and I personally expect the wider Irish public can see that. So many people in this world simply have to continue their identity out of the ashes of colonised past. Look at Palestine - it will never get fully back to where it was - we can only hope it can be allowed to equally combine with Israel. Ireland will never remove Britannia from Dublin. What would Ireland be saying if it did go to Europe over this name? What example would it give? I just can't see it happening. As a Welshman I live-with the name, and I'm hoping the Scots will choose to in 2010. Forget the empire - the symbiosis is rock and roll. It's in the same mould Oscar Wilde has that obvious element of "Britishness" about him (not just technically - spiritually). We are all so connected that it is hardly surprising that people have left the "British Isles" as it is. It's just geographical term from a past that you can draw what you will from: Beatles or Plantation etc. --Matt Lewis (talk) 21:12, 28 February 2008 (UTC)
Replying on your talk per Waggers advice below. --sony-youthpléigh 23:35, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

Enough![edit]

This page is for discussing the name of the British Isles article, not for general discussion of the subject itself. The above discussion has gone on long enough and doesn't seem to be achieving anything (or even attempting to). Can we leave it now? Please?! Waggers (talk) 12:54, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

Surely they are one and the same? As an admin, shouldn't you 'assume good faith' regarding editors intent? There has certainly been relevant debate above - and the use of "British Isles" on Wikipedia effects other articles too. --Matt Lewis (talk) 00:09, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
I have on my watchlist British Isles/name debate ; now a red-link as you can see. What happened to it? Agree totally with Matt Lewis, I don't see any possibility of stability regarding this naming issue as there is a clear imposition of a political name on a country which detests it. Sarah777 (talk) 21:49, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
I'm in agreement with Waggers on this discussion. These protestations are getting boring. GoodDay (talk) 21:59, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
PS- I don't know who deleted the article? but I agree with it's deletion. GoodDay (talk) 22:08, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
Well I don't find them the least bit boring so therefore "boring" must be in the eye of the beholder. You agree with the deletion - why? Was the mere existence of the article threatening to those whose certainties are being challenged? Sarah777 (talk) 22:18, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
Also I would have thought that editors involved in the article British Isles/name debate should as a matter of courtesy and good practice, have been informed of the AfD. Don't you? Sarah777 (talk) 22:21, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
Why boring? personal opinon. Why support deletion? The page was a political lightning rod for both sides - But, you're correct, we shouldn't been notified of an Afd (assuming the article had an Afd). GoodDay (talk) 22:25, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
Also the deletion of British Isles/name debate leaves this talkpage as the only available forum to discuss the misnomer issue. The fact that some pro-"British Isles" editors find such discussion unproductuve or whatever is not a reason to remove/cease such discussion I humbly suggest. I would regard that as a rather arrogant approach, frankly. Sarah777 (talk) 22:27, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
And how can an article be removed without an AfD??! Please tell me that can be done and I'll immediately remove "List of massacres" Sarah777 (talk) 22:29, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure how it's done. Also, when are you gonna visit/post at my talk page? GoodDay (talk) 22:33, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
I'm guessing the article was prodded. GoodDay (talk) 22:40, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
Prodded???? Sarah777 (talk) 23:13, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
That's my guess, but I'm not certain & I'm not sure how to find out. GoodDay (talk) 23:15, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
No, I mean...what does prodded mean?? I am unfamiliar with the term. Sarah777 (talk) 00:03, 1 March 2008 (UTC)
It's wiki-slang for an article that was deleted through proposed deletion. Waggers (talk) 14:46, 1 March 2008 (UTC)
I'd suggest you ask an Administrator. To avoid possible political frictions (seeing as you're not pleased with some Admins), I'd recommend you ask my fellow Canadian: Administrator Nat. He could explain it. GoodDay (talk) 00:16, 1 March 2008 (UTC)
British Isles/name debate never existed. This talk page was created as a fork of Talk:British Isles, nothing more. Waggers (talk) 14:43, 1 March 2008 (UTC)
It certainly did exist - it was on my watchlist. So far as I recall it was created specifically to try and avoid having the naming issue discussed here . I am getting curiouser and curiuouser about this case. Who took the unilateral decision to delete it? And how are you supposed to find this page if it isn't already on your watchlist? Sarah777 (talk) 12:32, 2 March 2008 (UTC)
How do people find this? There's a notice at the top of Talk:British Isles links here and one at Talk:History of the British Isles as well. Let me satisfy your curiosity: nobody took a unilateral decision to delete anything because there was never anything to delete, British Isles/name debate (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views) never existed. If it did, it would not be a "sub page" of British Isles but a completely unrelated page, see Wikipedia:Subpages for the ghastly detail. Angus McLellan (Talk) 19:29, 2 March 2008 (UTC)
When you add a talk page such as this one to your watchlist, the wiki software will conveniently add the corresponding mainspace title as well, irregardless of whether that title exists or not.—eric 23:35, 2 March 2008 (UTC)
So I have now figured out. I tell you this - for us members of the Paranoid Association that is not a bit convienient. Sarah777 (talk) 11:05, 3 March 2008 (UTC)

Another (very) Modest Proposal[edit]

I havent a clue how to "wiki" so apologies if I screw things up :) - but anyways,
I wanted to make a few comments here having read the page in question and a lot of this page here too..
First,
I should say I grew up in Ireland (south) and I think it's fair to say that a majority of people there would find the term "British Isles" objectionable and/or offensive. Most just wouldnt be bothered enough about it to try and figure out how to "wiki" or to write to Folens..
Now looking at the page in question:
Sentence #1
"The British Isles ... are a group of islands ... "
Sentence #2
"The term British Isles is controversial ...."

A subtle but profound difference (in my opinion) would be to use the word "term" in the first sentence, e.g.
"The term "British Isles" is used to describe a group of islands..." or
"The words "British Isles" are used to describe a group of islands..."

I feel this would pay much more respect to the people(s) who find this term objectionable and reflect the fact that while it is in common use, it is a term as opposed to .. hmm not sure what there something set in stone and agreed to by all. As a "term", there is a bit of distance created which might allow for less offence to be caused by this article.

Oh yes, also wanted to say that I believe the Irish sea was given that name was because it was the route to Ireland in the sense the road leading out of Manchester in the direction of London could be called the London road
hope I'm posting in the right place, Tom Tomosullivan (talk) 23:07, 15 March 2008 (UTC)

I'm not sure could that also be reflected in the title of the article as well - maybe just put it in inverted commas "British Isles" (in the title)Tomosullivan (talk) 23:16, 15 March 2008 (UTC)
Personally? I'd prefer sticking with British Isles covering both islands (Great Briain & Ireland). I always 'balance' the two terms 'British Isles' & 'Irish Sea'. GoodDay (talk) 23:26, 15 March 2008 (UTC)
hello GoodDay, I think the issue is about the term British Isles Tomosullivan (talk) 23:28, 15 March 2008 (UTC)
I'll let somebody else respond, as I'm not overly familiar with this article. GoodDay (talk) 23:31, 15 March 2008 (UTC)
I don't get these daft tictacs, because it's still anecdotal, anyway! It couldn't be clearer to me that people are simply struggling to compile effective evidence. All this tells the story to me. --Matt Lewis (talk) 23:31, 15 March 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure what exactly you're saying Matt, I'm just talking about treating people with respect while describing the use of the term. I'm actually quite happy with the article as it is apart from the minor edits above that I would like to see - what do you mean by evidence - are you looking for "proof" that people in Ireland dont like the term? The Irish sea thing was just BTW and as I said to GoodDay not really relevant I believe Tomosullivan (talk) 23:40, 15 March 2008 (UTC)
Hi Tom, welcome to Wikipedia and congratulations on picking up talk page etiquette as well as you have; many more experienced editors still seem to struggle with it. Anyway, I'm not keen to see the first sentence changed to "The term British Isles..." since the article is about the islands, not about the terminology (there's a separate article on that). A similar suggestion, though, would be something along the lines of:

::::: The group of islands commonly referred to as the British Isles (Irish: Oileáin Iarthair Eorpa, Manx: Ellanyn Goaldagh, Scottish Gaelic: Eileanan Breatannach, Welsh: Ynysoedd Prydain) are located off the northwest coast of continental Europe and include Great Britain, Ireland and a number of smaller islands.

This makes it clear that the article is about the islands, but presents the name in a slightly softer way. Any thoughts on that? Waggers (talk) 21:13, 16 March 2008 (UTC)
Also, agree with Waggers. I remember something being in the manual of style about not phrasing opening sentences like that for the reason that Waggers said. I would be happier if we could have an alternative phrase in there to provide balance. I think this would have the same effect i.e. not assert British Isles as being "fact" whereas every thing else as "opinion".
The manual of style does have suggestions about opening sentences, but it doesn't deal with disputed terms. Even so, I think that Waggers suggestion is a good one. Bardcom (talk) 20:42, 18 March 2008 (UTC)
Matt, there is plenty of "evidence", see here. My favourite quote is that, "the term ‘'British Isles'’ is one which Irishmen reject and Englishmen decline to take quite seriously." --sony-youthpléigh 10:37, 17 March 2008 (UTC)
I've already commented on the article you link to: you could cover the Irish Sea with academic words (let alone amateur tracts) on Ireland - it's partly a sign of the times (esp academics - there's a lot more of them, it's easier to get published etc). That link just isn't living evidence to me - you can complie pages like that on a great many things. It's people I'm interested in - where is the ground swell? Why did no-one complain to Follet?
"Most just wouldnt be bothered enough about it to try and figure out how to "wiki" or to write to Folens..".
If that's true, then is it up to Wikipedia to push them into action? --Matt Lewis (talk) 13:37, 17 March 2008 (UTC)


Hi Sony-youth, Waggers, I've been thinking about it since I posted here... Waggers, you say the article is about the Islands, but unfortunately that *is* bound up with the "terminology" - the way you suggest is certainly a lot better than as it is now. Personally, I would prefer to see something that creates a bit more distance.
How about an extreme example:-
if wikipedia had an article about a term that was used to describe a race of people. Say that term is not accepted by many of those people - how would wikipedia start that article - I'm sure they would be open to the idea of starting it with "XYZ is a term ..." ????
This is a "milder" situation you could say, yet very comparable.
@Matt, you didnt reply to - "I'm not sure what exactly you're saying Matt, I'm just talking about treating people with respect while describing the use of the term. I'm actually quite happy with the article as it is apart from the minor edits above that I would like to see - what do you mean by evidence - are you looking for "proof" that people in Ireland dont like the term?" or maybe I should say you didnt reply in a way I understood at any rate! And re getting a campaign to get people to assualt the pages of wikipedia, I think while people are very happy to use wikipedia, and maybe even to moan about something they dont like in there I think the fact is very few would bother contributing - either way. -Tomosullivan (talk) 20:05, 17 March 2008 (UTC)
Matt, re: "groundswell" - well, the term simply isn't possible to use at inter-governmental level, the major schools publisher in Ireland has removed it, the National Geographic Society in the USA have indicated that they will do so also, the Rugby Union team has been renamed ... I don't know what kind of "groundswell" you might expect - we are talking about non-use here. It's not as if there will people on the streets chanting for change. Life will kind of move on as normal. In fact (shock! horror!) it is, and I'm pretty sure, Matt, that you are participating in this miniature revolution yourself. --sony-youthpléigh 23:48, 18 March 2008 (UTC)
Miniature revolution? Apart from a bunch of ubiquitous people on here, I can't even see a microscopic one!!! (apart from lots of '...', which are very tiny I admit!) I'd be on it's side if I saw a decent one!! The National Geographic Society in the USA? That's not about the combined "British Isles and Britain and Ireland" political map (ie not geographical one) I explained away before is it? I haven't heard the rugby union example - what's that about? The Lions I suppose. Where is the "Isles" bit? It's a rugby team (and if you think about it, the fact it lasted so long says volumes - it's a sporting team and should surely have been changed a long time before 2001!? - and that is 7 years ago anyway). I always get given examples that reinforce my feelings, rather than proof that changes them (which I am very receptive to, before anyone asks!).--Matt Lewis (talk) 01:49, 19 March 2008 (UTC)
Matt, on the questions you ask:
  • The National Geographic will apparently refer to the islands as "the British and Irish Isles" in future (ref)
Well you've finally found an example and it's an Irish-American lobby group ho hum. Certainly the example that cheesed them off was an extreme usage - I'd agree there. Sorry - I don't believe National Geographic are going to stop using it in the way the Sunday Tribune suggests they are. --Matt Lewis (talk) 16:25, 19 March 2008 (UTC)
Sorry Matt, the 'Sunday Tribune' is accepted as a reliable source on Wikipedia, whether or not you believe it to be reliableTameamseo (talk) 17:33, 19 March 2008 (UTC).
In your opinion!!! Isn't it a tabloid? (and with 'ads by Google' it's hardly the Guardian!). Putting it simply, it looks like a bit of amateur 'web-edition' writing to me: I've just had a look on Google but can't find a better source. Can you back it up with something? It's a fair question for me to ask.--Matt Lewis (talk) 19:44, 19 March 2008 (UTC)
The Tribune is a broadsheet. I don't think they have a "web edition". I don't know who handles the Guardian's advertising, but if 'ads by Google' are a measure of worth then it places the Tribune alongside the Times of London. Ultimately though, none of this matters. The source meets verifiability. --sony-youthpléigh 11:49, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
And is a single and weak citation that has not yet been backed up - with anything! The picture has been clearly painted for me - so I'm out fo here. You can rest assured that I won't be attempting "British Isles" anywhere in the title of Jack's biography essay/guideline - I don't want a handful of barmy proverbial "scoundrels" grinding it to a halt! --Matt Lewis (talk) 16:09, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
True. The only other reference to it that I can find is on a BBC hosted blog, but then again, it's hardly major news, isn't? I agree that it should be treated with some skepticism for the time, and not give it too undeserved weight, being that doesn't rule out that we can say that it had been reported. --sony-youthpléigh 20:39, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
  • The name of the Rugby team was the "British Isles Rugby Union Team" and was renamed the "British and Irish Lions" in 2001 (colloquially, it had been known as the "British Lions", though this was not the team's official name)--sony-youthpléigh 09:35, 19 March 2008 (UTC)
But who knew that? The name everyone used - "British Lions" - was clearly the problem! --Matt Lewis (talk) 16:25, 19 March 2008 (UTC)
"But who knew that?" I did. Did you not? "'British Lions' - was clearly the problem!" Also a problem. --sony-youthpléigh 11:49, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
You knew of the term "Bitish and Irish Isles Rugby Team" before 2001 when they changed it?? I'm losing a faith now, so I'm out of here. It's taken you til now to bring it up (when you've been using weaker examples instead) - that just doesn't add up, Sony. --Matt Lewis (talk) 16:09, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
I knew the (official) name of the team was the "British Isles Rugby Union Team" prior to its name change. Was that not the rhetorical question that you posed? --sony-youthpléigh 20:39, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
Matt, it's kind of ironic, but part of the problem is you very rarely hear the term "British Isles" in Ireland. So if you live in Ireland and dont look at maps it doesnt tend to be a burning topic! On the other hand you rarely hear it (naturally) because it is rarely used. I've asked a few people about it, some correctly recognised it as a geographical term, none use it, all objected to it - the people I know are *very* far from republican fanatics they're not even political as such. In fairness I'm talking about a generation born early/mid sixties and school history in the 70's had an anti-English bias I would say - it's taken me a long time to even *begin* to understand e.g. the difficult position of the Unionists in the North.
I quote "I always get given examples that reinforce my feelings..."
- what are your feelings?! - I havent read this whole page so apologies if I'm asking you to repeat yourself. I guess from the way you're talking that your stance is "British Isles" it is and that's it? Do you not want wikipedia to acknowledge that there is dissent/disagreement about the term? --Tomosullivan (talk) 11:31, 19 March 2008 (UTC)
It already does. Waggers (talk) 12:05, 19 March 2008 (UTC)
I know :) --Tomosullivan (talk) 20:39, 19 March 2008 (UTC)
Bless! I love to see newbies "catching on" so fast.--Matt Lewis (talk) 22:05, 19 March 2008 (UTC)
Matt, 1) don't bite the newbie; 2) it would better serve the purpose of this discussion to acknowledge Tom's question ("Do you not want wikipedia to acknowledge that there is dissent/disagreement about the term?") rather than make derisible replies. --sony-youthpléigh 11:49, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
Oh come on! Why sanctimoniously throw policy at me when you know perfectly well I'm being ironic?! How easy is this discussion to find for an oldie, let alone a "newbie"?? a history of 10 single goes all on this single page! You (and all genuine “readers” – that ancient art) ought to know my benign answer to his question too - if you yourself can remember our discussions (which I'm not actually sure you can amongst it all). I’m getting bored with the whole pantomime now - some will argue til the end of time - this is going round and round and round (I've seen the main Talk too - though wisely avoided it). Careful you all don't go barmy with repetition!!! Wikipedia is not an online forum, or a hustings. Patriotic fervour simply goes too far imo, and there are better places for my time. --Matt Lewis (talk) 16:09, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
I didn't know you were being "ironic". (And, yes, it is repetitive.)--sony-youthpléigh 20:39, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
Please people, let's not have anymore 'modest proposals' for awhile? GoodDay (talk) 16:15, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
Matt,
I thought "debate" included meaning that people of different "opinions" could help each other to understand their opposing views. It's clear that you (at this stage) just want "proof" and arent interested in debate as I was thinking of the term and obviously that's fair enough.
I also see my 10 edits now makes me a veteran (?) - lets see, 3 of the 10 edits you mention were adding a forgotten signature, two were afterthoughts or throwaway comments - but I'm being stupid and getting defensive. It doesnt matter how many edits I've made, or how "new" I am - that's not the point.
My point is that none of this is call to be rude or obnoxious to me directly or indirectly, or "ironic" - as you describe it - which translates as plain bitchy in my book. --Tomosullivan (talk) 12:10, 23 March 2008 (UTC)

This page must have been created in order to makes space on WP for a slanging match. What's wrong with "the British" calling these islands the "British Isles" and the Irish (those of them who are offended, probably very few) calling them something else? Otherwise, we've got political correctness running rampant with one group controlling the language of another group. Grow-up, people! 86.156.111.207 (talk) 22:19, 27 April 2008 (UTC)

post by User:Monowiki[edit]

Jeez , people of Britain and Ireland - can't we keep the title and write the article to clearly educate people why the name is potentially confusing and out-of-favour for various reasons?

Its irresponsible to use Wikipedia to gloss our histories like this - we should write *about* the term, including current attitudes to it and suggested uses (or not) of it.

Currently as I write this the title reads 'British Isles', the content discusses the usage and controversies but the summary states ..[archipelago in north-western Europe not including ireland]. [BTW, Ireland has a capital 'I', whoever wrote that].

But the article DOES imply that the term "British Isles" DOES include Ireland (although it notes throughout, that this is not a universally accepted term).

Can't we say right at the top, something like 'In Ireland the term is no generally accepted' and 'still in common usage in the UK' or something ?

At a certain level (not to trivialise the history here), this is like the term 'American' being used (in both the USA and outside) to mean a citizen of the USA, even though Canadians and Mexicans (and South Americans) could be included - or like when people say 'Europe' to mean 'mainland Europe'. Monowiki (talk) 21:01, 9 November 2008 (UTC)

The "not including Ireland" thing was vandalism that hadn't been spotted - I've now reverted it. waggers (talk) 09:15, 11 November 2008 (UTC)


The Real Name of the Country of Ireland[edit]

It is stated in Bunreacht na hEireann (Irish Constitution) what the real name of this great country is. See Article 4 (page 10) on: http://www.taoiseach.gov.ie/attached_files/Pdf%20files/Constitution%20of%20IrelandNov2004.pdf -- KieranC15 (talk) 13:48, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

Hello Kieran.
The tradition is for countries to have a long-form name, and a short-form name. The long-form name consists of more than a single word and is considered to be the official name.
The short-form name is traditionally derived from the long-form name and is usually ONE word (sometimes two words e.g. New Zealand, South Africa)), and it is considered to be the un-offical name.
The Irish Constitution (Éire, 1937) was the FIRST English Language Constitution of an independent country to violate that accepted convention.
ArmchairVexillologistDonLives! (talk) 20:34, 18 February 2009 (UTC)

Only Sometimes called British Isles[edit]

"British Isles, Name sometimes given to
Great Britain, Ireland, and the adjacent
islands. Its divisions are, England, Wales,
Scotland, Northern Ireland, Irish Free State,
Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.
They cover 120,489 sq. m., and have
a pop, estimated at 48,000,000." The New Standard Encyclopedia, Odhams Press Limited, 1936.

British Isles is just "a name", and apparently not even the common name. The New Standard Encyclopedia has the above historic reference. The first paragraph could be changed to fit the description "sometimes", as with modern and historic references. Views? PurpleA (talk) 20:09, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Do as ya'll like, as I've no concerns with the content of this article. I'm just keen on this article's title, remaining. GoodDay (talk) 20:14, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
"Sometimes" does not mean "in a minority of cases". "Sometimes" could still mean "99% of the time". There's still no evidence that "British Isles" is not the most common name - and there's a good reason for that. waggers (talk) 08:34, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
We might as well add "sometimes" to every single article in that case. Chair - a name "sometimes" given to a specific item of furniture, for example. To include "sometimes" is POV. ðarkuncoll 10:27, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Exactly my point. So the article ought to reflect that it is not a universal term. It mainly depends on a "point of view", as British people are more likely to use the term, but not used internationally. And the article should reflect that. PurpleA (talk) 13:15, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
The article does reflect that not everyone is comfortable with the term. As for "not used internationally", do you have a reliable source to back up that claim? The term certainly is used outside of the UK. waggers (talk) 15:02, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
Agree with you, it is sometimes used outside the UK, but it's not the universal term for the islands. PurpleA (talk) 15:20, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
It's also sometimes used in Ireland, and is commonly used in other languages. It's sometimes used in the US, Canada, Australia and all over the world. And sometimes it's not. Sometimes is a meaningless word with encyclopaedias. Canterbury Tail talk 19:16, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
  • You are exactly making my point for me, the islands have no official name, they are "sometimes" called "Britain and Ireland" too, and most of the time Great Britain is called England, and even Scotland is called England. Ireland is nearly always called Ireland. That's where Wikipedia is making errors based on a "point of view". The islands in question are not the British Isles, they are "sometimes" called the British Isles. Why is this truth not allowed in the article? PurpleA (talk) 19:47, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
The British Isles is the most common term for the islands, and the other names, controversy etc are already covered in the article. The country of Ireland is sometimes called Down South, Eire, The Republic and several other names, should it be changed to Ireland is a name sometimes used for the country that occupies most of the island of Ireland? Canterbury Tail talk 20:08, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
Indeed, and as Thark said earlier, there is no need to add "sometimes" to every single article on Wikipedia, just because some things are also occasionally known by alternative names. This is absolutely no exception to that rule. waggers (talk) 20:25, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
Sometimes it's not good to add sometimes. GoodDay (talk) 20:35, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

Sometimes "sometimes" is true, as per The New Standard Encyclopedia. "British Isles" is the 'British name'. International organisations of good standing do not use the term because it is the British name. Therefore "sometimes". PurpleA (talk) 20:43, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

The French word for the islands is les Îles Britanniques, and I really don't think anyone can accuse the French of being pro British. The United Nations has used it, and I think they're an international organisation of good standing. The Ireland tourist board uses it, it's been used by members in the Irish parliament, and by RTE. Used by the European Parliament, and the Irish Association (one article posted on which even includes the line "and the creeping realisation that Ireland is part of the British Isles." Are these really all organisations not of good standing?
There are plenty of sources for its use outside of the UK, and they are all linked in the various talk page archives attached to the appropriate pages. Canterbury Tail talk 20:57, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

And there are plenty of sources that say Britain and Ireland. Therefore the little word sometimes is called for. PurpleA (talk) 21:09, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

No. The existence of alternative names does not mean that the word "sometimes" is required. How many times do we need to explain that? waggers (talk) 21:20, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

I'm up against a force, no doubt. PurpleA (talk) 22:44, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

British = (English + Welsh + Scottish + Irish)[edit]

Ahem...

British = (English + Welsh + Scottish + Irish)


hence the term British Isles eh.

ArmchairVexillologistDonLives! (talk) 20:45, 18 February 2009 (UTC)

Er no, the Irish aren't called British these days. Why don't you learn the real definition of British? A simple google search will show you some definitions
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=%22British+definition%22&meta=
This is an inflammatory comment and while I won't assume it is or isn't trolling, it looks rather like it. 143.239.68.104 (talk) 10:19, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
(That's why the rest of us have ignored it!) waggers (talk) 13:09, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

Inflammatory ... why?

British Isles

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/British%20Isles?qsrc=2888

–plural noun

a group of islands in W Europe: Great Britain, Ireland, the Isle of Man, and adjacent small islands.

53,978,538; 120,592 sq. mi. (312,300 sq. km).

ArmchairVexillologistDonLives! (talk) 18:38, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

Look up the definition of "British". Current usage of the term "British" is not the same as what the word means in the context of the British Isles. Not everyone who lives in the British Isles is British. This has been discussed to death already, please take a look at the archives. waggers (talk) 22:26, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

The inhabitants of the Province of Northern Ireland are British are they not?

ArmchairVexillologistDonLives! (talk) 07:33, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

Yes they are, but some might not like to be called that. Technically they are, as Northern Ireland is owned and governed by England. --KieranC15 (talk) 20:24, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

Suggestion from an outsider across the pond[edit]

Please excuse my ignorance if I have blundered anywhere in this post.

If you exclude those with opinions at the most extreme ends of the spectrum, it seems most would acknowledge that the term is mostly historic, but has a small amount of current usefulness and usage as a description of isles in a certain geographic area, with some common roots.

So, folks who would want to wipe the term off of the face of the earth (or erase it from Wikipedia) are not correct.

But, for example, trying to "cover" current Ireland in an article about the "British Isles" would be like trying to "Cover" the current USA in an article about the 1750's British Empire. And to me it appears that the "British Isles" article tries to do this for the included territories. (This analogy is only useful regarding coverage, due to huge differences in elapsed time, the situation is very psychologically different.) So, besides such coverage being out of place, it would tend to imply much more current relevancy of the term, and somewhat imply that all of Ireland is "British", which would get many folks justifiably angry.

Why not change the "British Isles" article to about a one page article which gives it's historical definition, has a map and that nice venn diagram, acknowledges that it is largely a historical term, but has a small amount of current usage & usefulness. Move all of the other coverage to the articles on the countries, and include links or references to the articles about those countries (or other most-relevant current divisions) to learn about them.

Sincerely,

75.24.138.102 (talk) 17:24, 21 January 2010 (UTC)

You appear to believe that "British Isles" is a political term, analogous to "British Empire". In fact it's a geographical term dating back to the Ancient Greeks, so Ireland is still very much part of the definition, despite the attempts of a handful of people to politicise the issue. In the phrase "British Isles", "British" does not refer to the state (UK), and predates it by some two millennia (indeed, the state was named after the geographical entity, and not the other way round). It would be like the people of Canada or Brazil, say, objecting to being described as being part of "America", since that term is nowadays very often used for the state (USA). ðarkuncoll 17:58, 21 January 2010 (UTC)


I specifically understand it to be exactly as you describe it. I think that you mistakenly thinking that my analogy was claiming to be analagous in that respect, which it is not. 75.24.138.102 (talk) 19:00, 21 January 2010 (UTC)

Probably too hard to get one's voice heard here to bother with this. But isn't the problem that like it or not the term British Isles is political. The existence of this page shows it. SO why not use instead--or at least refer to-- the purely geographical, non-political term, which is at the same time completely familiar, completely transparent, and completely correct. The archipelago consists of two principal islands, Britain and Ireland. SO just call it that. Since most people think of Britain and Ireland first as the British Isles, this probably has to stay, but a clear discussion of the neutral geographical terminology seems appropriate. Obviously the group cannot be called the Atlantic Islands because the term is not regularly used by anyone, and it is ambiguous (the inhabitants of Iceland, the Faroes, Azore, Canaries, Cape Verde Islands etc etc etc might object. This is evidently not the case if we stick with the correct geographical designation. Dala-Freyr (talk) 09:16, 14 June 2010 (UTC)
Indeed. User ðarkuncoll, no one that I've seen is disputing the fact that the term (and its etymological antecedents) are nothing new and did not originally have any kind of political connotation. What you are not acknowledging is that "British Isles" presently and for at least a century or so very much is a political term in Modern English, for many speakers/writers and hearers/readers of the term, sometimes regardless of their own intention or reference, and no matter what the Ancient Greeks had in mind with their version. I haven't looked at this page in years, but the debate has not abated one tiny bit. It is clear that the the content on this page needs to move (there are numerous suggestions, but as Dala-Freyr and various others point out, Britain and Ireland is simple and accurate), and British Isles reduced to something very short, explaining that it is a collective term, used by some and avoided by others, for the islands of Britain and Ireland and smaller islands like the Channel Islands and Isle of Man, and conclude with a cross-reference to wherever the article content moves to. The entire British Isles page can be one paragraph. Basically, WP:COMMONNAME has to be moderated with WP:COMMONSENSE. And, frankly, the espousers of the far extremes of the politics of the issue need to just shut it, and quit using WP as a WP:SOAPBOX. This isn't your personal blog, any of you, and it isn't Usenet, either. — SMcCandlish Talk⇒ ʕ(Õلō Contribs. 08:48, 18 June 2011 (UTC)

The "nice Venn diagram" forces-in the channel Islands (to force it to be political and thus problematic) - so how can we call the article "Britain and Ireland"? I'm afraid the harder-line nationalists (and that's not a slur unless they choose it to be - most people's politics are pretty open here) want Wikipedia to use the term "Atlantic Isles". I agree that the BI article should be short. Unfortunately on the other side of the spectrum we have political inclusionists like Tharkunkol, who see the term as a vital force in Britain's mystikal arkaic Diktionary: so it's all or nothing I'm afraid. Don't you guys know these things?

British Isles terms.gif

The diagram that fits all the major encyclopedia entries of British Isles (not the includive dictionary definitions) is the diagram on the right:

(the similar and better 'venn' version of this was copied-over years ago, and discussion on it has always lead to other areas and the associate page-locks, 1RR issues etc - the one we have was never a 'stable consensus' despite what some people say.)

I would agree that the term "traditional" for the inclusion of the Channel Islands is a bit fluffy (I'm not sure there is even a source for it), but it's been a BI compromise for a while, as a group of people simply won't allow the term to be geographical/archipelago-only on Wikipedia. Unfortunately having a MoS usage guidelines surrounding that is only sensible way to deal with it. This is (supposed to be) an actual encyclopedia after all, and they have to have various definition uniformity guidelines.

If someone wants to see how jealously fought-over the British Isles are on Wikipedia (but nowhere else), just try and put a different diagram in! Someone above says "The existence of this page shows that the term in political" - but does the existence of Wikipedia really prove anything? Articles like this are simply a collection of everything that extremely dedicated people can piece together to get other people on their side - you can have a dedicated Wikipedia page on almost anything these days it's got so bloated. Matt Lewis (talk) 11:25, 18 June 2011 (UTC)