Talk:ISO 3166-1

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First topic[edit]

Some people are removing mentions of ISO 3166-1 codes in articles like Western Sahara and Canary Islands. I think that they should be mentioned for territories with a code but no top Internet domain. What do you think? -- Error 00:42 22 May 2003 (UTC)

They have been removed from everywhere (not by me, as it happens), those two were just some leftovers that the other people cleaning them up accidently missed. I can't see any point in mentioning them at all. Who on earth would want to know that stuff? There is an entry right here on ISO 3166-1 codes (and an excellent entry it is too) but messing up perfectly good and readable articles about particular countries with a whole jumble of meaningless letters and numbers makes no sense at all. If you think it's important that they be mentioned (I have no idea why anyone would think that, but - hey - different strrokes for different folks) then there is an obvious and useful place to put them where they will be easy for anyone to find: ISO 3166-1. Tannin 01:05 22 May 2003 (UTC)

Hey Tannin, do you think you are the wisdom on earth? Or why are you talking so arrogant? Tobias Conradi

Oh, I forgot to mention: I don't think there are any left as incomprehensible intrusions into the opening line in the various countries entries now, but if there, let me know, and I'll volunteer my time to cleam them up right away. Tannin

Just curious, but why was the "DD blabla" removed? It is valid information.

ISO 3166-1:DD was asigned to the former German Democratic Republic, also known as East Germany, but is currently no longer in use.

-- EmperorBMA / ブリイアン 08:50, 21 Mar 2004 (UTC)

It was removed because it was in the wrong place. There are lots of these obsolete codes, and they listed in the ISO 3166-3 article. --Zundark 09:35, 21 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Ah I see then. ^_^;; -- EmperorBMA / ブリイアン 19:53, 21 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Converted to table[edit]

Uniform data like ISO 3166 codes ought to be in tabular form, so I converted the page to a table. Not by hand, mind you:

// File:    convert-iso3166-1.cpp
// License: Public domain
// Author:  Ardonik
#include <iostream>
#include <fstream>
#include <string>

using namespace std;

int main() {
  ifstream infile("iso3166-1.txt");
  ofstream outfile("iso3166-1.table.txt");
  if (infile && outfile) {
    outfile << "{| border=\"1px\" cellspacing=\"0\" cellpadding=\"2px\"\n";
    outfile << "|- style=\"background-color: #a0d0ff;\"\n";
    outfile << "!Numeric!!Alpha-3!!Alpha-2!!Local ISO codes!!Country\n";
    outfile << "|-\n";
    while (infile) {
      string line;
      getline(infile, line);
      if (line == "") break;
      string numeric = line.substr(1, 3);
      string code3 = line.substr(5, 3);
      string code2 = line.substr(9, 2);
      size_t pos = line.find("]]", 12);
      string iso_link = line.substr(12, (pos - 12) + 2);
      string country_link = line.substr(pos + 3);
      outfile << "|" << numeric << "||" << code3 << "||" << code2 << "||" 
              << iso_link << "||" << country_link << "\n";
      outfile << "|-\n";
    outfile << "|}" << endl;
  } else   
    cout << "Couldn't open files?" << endl;
  return 0;

To use the program, you have to copy the ISO data from the old version of the page into a file called "iso3166-1.txt". Running the program will then give you the equivalent table. --Ardonik 23:18, Aug 8, 2004 (UTC)


I changed the column heading from coutry to coutry / region since not all the entities in the column are universally recognized countries (Taiwan, Palestinian Territories) and we shouldn't confer on them coutry status. 14:01, 17 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Then it should read "territory" instead of "region", since that is what the standard's languages uses. --L.Willms 07:06, 29 September 2007 (UTC)


Surely List of ISO country codes should be merged into this page, or vice versa? Or is there some reason to have the same information in two places? -- ALoan (Talk) 13:59, 3 August 2005 (UTC)

I concur: this article has more information, so the other should be merged into this. I have added the requisite notices. If and when I find my round tuit I might be able to do something more constructive—won't be fussed if someone else wants to do it mind ;-) HTH HAND —Phil | Talk 12:38, August 4, 2005 (UTC)
the only thing cold be, that we maintain one ENcoding table and one DEcoding table. But surely we don't need the same list twice. Tobias Conradi (Talk) 11:53, 9 August 2005 (UTC)
ok, there would be three decoding tables. so forget this. Everybody can use "search in page" to decode. Maybe for this, it is easier to have a pure list. Tobias Conradi (Talk) 11:56, 9 August 2005 (UTC)
which list would be retained ? The one in the 'List'-page is more compact; that on this page has more info; or both or -what I would prefer- a combination of both (the compact-style, with more information added)? B-t-w I'm currently adding the 3-letter acronyms to wp, if not available yet. Bart l 21:00, 25 August 2005 (UTC)

Bad links[edit]

This page is full of bad links. HND (Honduras), for instance, leads to Higher National Diploma and IND for India to disambig page that doesn't mention India, SqueakBox 03:48, 19 October 2005 (UTC)

  • I currently checking all the links (2 and 3-letter codes) and fixing (standardize them) the disambig pages if necessary. I'm currently at BLZ; see e.g. BEL/BE on how it's implemented (at the bottom I include the .be link too). Feel free to help too (start at the bottom for instance) !! Bart l 07:25, 19 October 2005 (UTC)
  • Links are still bad, I looked at the ISO Newsletters links. Thanks. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:15, 31 August 2007 (UTC)
  • Link in reference 1 "^ "ISO 3166 – FAQs – General questions". International Organization for Standardization (ISO)." goes to "Page Not Found" on I suggest "" as an alternate url.Jdiegeliv (talk) 18:42, 11 July 2012 (UTC)


This is a great list - are the authors thinking of nominating it as a featured list? -- ALoan (Talk) 19:56, 19 November 2005 (UTC)

  • Let's go for it. Bart l 19:44, 20 November 2005 (UTC)
    • Promoted. -- ALoan (Talk) 11:18, 30 November 2005 (UTC)

Linking two and three-letter codes[edit]

Is there any point to linking the codes in the table? The codes represent the countries, which are already linked from their names. Clicking the link yields a disambiguation page or the country page or some unrelated article. Wouldn't it be better if the codes were just regular black text instead of an irrelevant rainbow of blue and red links? Or link the code AF to ISO 3166-2:AF, instead of repeating "(ISO 3166-2)" in every row. Michael Z. 2005-12-2 18:32 Z

I agree, linking to hundreds of dab pages is useless. I'm going to fix this if there are no objections. Josh Parris#: 05:47, 30 December 2005 (UTC)
Did it. Michael Z. 2006-01-2 21:48 Z
I agree with Michael, the "ISO 3166-2" part of the code should be moved to the column header of the table and in each row, only the 2 letters stay. Kowloonese (talk) 21:41, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

Serbia and Montenegro[edit]

Somebody has put in new codes for Serbia and Montenegro to replace those for Serbia and Montenegro. No sources are cited and I cannot find these changes from the official ISO webpage [1] [2]. From the UN webpage [3], it does seem likely that Montenegro will get numerical code 499, while Serbia will get numerical code 688. I'm going to revert the changes for now until we get official changes from ISO. Chanheigeorge 18:16, 29 June 2006 (UTC)

Serbia's ISO 3166-1 Alpha-3 code is SRB while Montenegro's is CGR. You can find this on find this on the World Trade Organization's website. Here's the link to where these codes can be found -- Crna Gora 09:53, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
I don't think these are actual ISO codes. WTO doesn't use ISO exclusively (they use 708 for MKD, and TPKM for TWN), and the page has last been changed in JANUARY 2005 (!!). I strongly suggest we wait for official confirmation by ISO. —Nightstallion (?) 17:57, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
According to an article at B92, Montenegro has been given an ISO code. It appears ISO has approved MNE as the three-letter code and ME as the two-letter code. In saying that, I made have found what Serbia's two-letter code could be. Another article from B92 seems to state that RS and SRB have been endorsed by the Gov. as the codes Serbia prefers. If all of this ends up to be so, I have the code ready for the table, which renders thus:
table removed. - see sandbox.
(The numbers are from this UN list.)
Once ISO gives the word, this article should be edited, not before. - Thanks, Hoshie 09:20, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
It now appears that Serbia has accepted SP instead of RS for it's two-letter code; see B92. - Thanks, Hoshie 23:13, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

Table colours[edit]

In my browser (IE 6) the colours in the table "Map of alpha-2 codes reserved or assigned to countries or territories" don't work. Everything below "Colour legend" is completely black... looks like black text on a black background, but when I select the text (drag the mouse over it) I can see there's some text there. The legend suggests that there are seven different colours in the main table, but for me only two are distinguishable (or three at a real strain). Also, the unused codes stand out prominently (white on black) while the unused ones are de-emphasised (blue on a slightly darker blue), which is the wrong way round (the used codes should stand out). Something's gone screwy here.


There have been two recent edits to make the main table sortable. However, the grey dividers between the alphabets make the table not really "sortable". (You can see that by going back to the previous version [4], and clicking on the sort buttons, especially for alpha-2 and alpha-3.)

Do the people prefer to keep the grey dividers, or make the table sortable? I'm not sure if we can keep both (unless somebody comes up with a solution). Chanheigeorge 18:01, 11 October 2007 (UTC)

I think column sorting would provide more usefulness. –– Constafrequent (talk page) 05:06, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

I was just about to try making the table sortable, and looked here... Is there perhaps a way of shading all the Bs, Ds, etc., that would serve the same function as the dividers, but enable sorting? Starofwonder (talk) 01:52, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

UK vs GB[edit]

It shouldnt say the UK was given the ISO gb that is not correct. GB was given gb whereas Ireland was given its own one. GB is not the UK. --Cameron (t|p|c) 15:12, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

No, the UK was given GB, and Ireland (the republic, not the island) was given IE. --Zundark (talk) 10:28, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
Sorry I'm not very familiar in this area, I'm just questioning what I see as illogical. So northern Ireland have gb too? That's ludicrous! N.I. arent even part of Great Britain! --Cameron (t|p|c) 11:35, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
Yes, Northern Ireland is covered by the code GB, even though Northern Ireland isn't part of Great Britain. The bad choice of code was probably mainly due to the fact that "Britain" is a geographical term (and therefore favoured by ISO 3166), while "united" and "kingdom" are non-geographical. But I've heard it said that the Ukrainian SSR wanted the code UK (which may well be true), and that may also have influenced the decision not to give UK to the UK. --Zundark (talk) 11:54, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

This page is structurally uncomplete and cannot be a featured page[edit]

ISO 3166-1:2006 onwards also documents administrative language(s), script(s) and country name in that language(s). Making it a featured page when half of the information is missing creates confusion. Thank you if someone can remedy to this. (talk) 02:06, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

New template[edit]

I created a new template, Template:ISO 3166-1 (backlinks edit), for creating wikilinks to countries. SharkD (talk) 00:27, 19 July 2008 (UTC)

Where do you intend to use it? What's the purpose of it? Thanks — Andrwsc (talk · contribs) 00:31, 19 July 2008 (UTC)

Taiwan, Province of China[edit]

Should there be some indication somewhere (perhaps as a footnote) that the government challenges this designation and that a court in Swizerland has affirmed the right of Taiwan's government to pursue this in a Suiss court? ludahai 魯大海 (talk) 23:23, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

If the ISO 3166/MA changes the name in the published standard, then this article will change to match. If the ISO 3166/MA makes an official statement on the naming of Taiwan, a footnote might be appropriate if the statement says anything interesting. Otherwise, it's not relevant to this article. Anomie 00:45, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
Since the ISO 3166-1 is to provide a standard code set for countries, and for sure there will be some political concerns like if one "country" is wildly recognized as a country. So using UN's official country list may be one of the option. However, since it's a "country" code set, and UN considered Taiwan is a province of China, supposedly a "province" should not be listed in the "country" code set. So there is still some other concerns so till this point of time a "province" is appeared in a "country" list. Second thought is since this is Wikipedia, not ISO's web page, it is always good to try to provide more different reference information especially when they are in controversial. A footnote to remind that people in Taiwan has different opinion about the statement (Taiwan, Province of China) or explain why Taiwan is included in ISO 3166-1 is no harm. No need to bring in too many political pressure. § —Preceding unsigned comment added by Arithmandar (talkcontribs) 06:59, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
This article is about the ISO 3166-1 standard. We're not here to editorialize about their choice of names or their choice of political entities to include. Anomie 12:47, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

No matter what status of Taiwan is. I add the flag of it as Hong Kong, Macau have flags. DoddLu (talk) 01:44, 26 September 2009 (UTC)

I agree with Arithmandar's and DoddLu's comments. There's nothing wrong with putting in the official names of the countries, and inserting the flag, since so many places in the list (French Polynesia, Hong Kong, Macao, Isle of Man, etc.) have their flags shown. Unless there's a particular bias against Taiwan, I don't see why it should be singled out. If someone can show me that any of of the above-mentioned territories have official UN "country" status and hence is the reason it merits displaying its flag, please do. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mistakefinder (talkcontribs) 00:33, 10 January 2010 (UTC)

All of the flags you mentioned are recognized by the country which is recognized as the holder of the sovereignty of the territories, e.g., Hong Kong's flag is recognized by the PRC. The UN and ISO's viewpoint is that PRC holds sovereignty over Taiwan, and of course PRC do not recognize the flag of ROC. It's also clear that the ISO's "Taiwan" do not equate to the Republic of China, e.g., the codes ISO 3166-2:TW do not include Kinmen and Matsu Islands, which is currently administered by the ROC. To impose a contrary viewpoint to this list, which is basically cited directly from the ISO standard, is POV, and the article has clearly stated what the situation is in the article. So I'm going to revert your changes. Chanheigeorge (talk) 08:05, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
Maybe we should just remove all the flags? Anomie 14:52, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
None of the points made in the Manual of Style seems to cover this problem. Of course, one can make the case that since the ISO does not officially recognize flags per se, they should not be part of this table. But then, only 3 territories out of the 246 do not have an appropriate "official" flag: Antarctica, Western Sahara, and Taiwan. When we have the name "Taiwan, Province of China" (which most of us agree should be followed), I just can't see how having the ROC flag or wikilinking to the ROC article is appropriate. Chanheigeorge (talk) 16:12, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
What's so touchy on the flag that's waving over Taiwan at the moment? It's being displayed in many contexts and organizations (CIA factbook, TECOs, as an invitation to PRC delegation in the Czech parliament or even in PRC movie The Founding of a Republic, so it can't be that much of a hurt if some Chinese sees it). As stated before, the ISO doesn't say anything about the flags and here on Wikipedia we have the flag in question available, so why not use it? Isn't it ultimately PRC's POV, if we omit it? Yankyo (talk) 19:06, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
Huh, qui tacet consentit? Yankyo (talk) 16:05, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
On the same note, why don't Hong Kong and Macao carry their S.A.R. designations when Taiwan has the 'Province of China' designation? I also wanted to change it to just Taiwan as it is written in almost any other drop down list based on this standard, such as the one in Windows, but I'll leave it be for now due to the extensive explanation at the top of the article. The flag should be added though for teh reasons stated above.

Western Sahara Flag[edit]

There is no official flag of Western Sahara as it's not a sovereign country. The UN statute of Western Sahara is a non-self-governing TERRITORY. ISO 3166-1 relates countries and territories codes. My proposal is to keep Western Sahara and get rid of the flag to get a certain consistency on Wikipedia pages. The flag is the one of the 'Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic' the republic backed in Tindouf South Algeria and claiming independence in Western Sahara.--Moroccansahraoui (talk) 11:02, 4 December 2008 (UTC)

If the flag is incorrect, bring it up at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Flag Template. They can have it corrected across Wikipedia and not just on individual pages like this one. Please don't bring your edit war here. Anomie 13:12, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
OK. thanks.--Moroccansahraoui (talk) 13:15, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
I have to agree with Moroccansahraoui on this one. While the ISO does not endorse any flags for each country, the use of unofficial flags (at least according to UN) is problematic. For example, on the one hand, we always insist on using the official ISO name "Taiwan, Province of China", but on the other hand, we have the Republic of China flag next to it, which completely contradicts with the name. So it may be better to leave the flags out in some of the more controversial case to remain politically neutral. Chanheigeorge (talk) 06:50, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
For now, I've removed the flags for Antarctica, Taiwan and Western Sahara. Please post here if you have any comments. Chanheigeorge (talk) 07:08, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
I do not see how "no flag" is more polically neutral. Using the official ISO name is logical: it's an integrated part of the norm but keeping the ROC flag for Taiwan would make sense as it is de facto the flag of the authority in control of the territory. I mean, .tw is the TLD for ROC, TWD is the currency of ROC and every system in the world relying on ISO 3166-1 probably uses TW to refer ROC, not the purely de jure Chinese province. The UN-related political choice on the name should not interfere with Wikipedia's decision on the flag IMHO. Same goes for Antartica and Western Sahara --Piksou (talk) 13:25, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

Macedonia naming[edit]

If nothing else, WP:IAR applies to this article with respect to Wikipedia:Centralized discussion/Macedonia/consensus. Using anything other than the name in the ISO 3166-1 standard goes against the first two of our the five pillars:

  • Wikipedia is an encyclopedia and therefore strives for accuracy. We cannot claim the ISO 3166-1 standard uses any name other than the name it actually uses without purposefully introducing errors.
  • Wikipedia has a neutral point of view, and using anything other than the name in the standard is succumbing to a POV.

This is exactly the same issue as "Taiwan, Province of China" and "Palestinian Territory, Occupied"; some people may not like it, but this article exists to report on the ISO 3166-1 standard, not to "correct" it or to editorialize about it. No matter how well-intentioned the "correction" might be. Anomie 02:30, 19 July 2009 (UTC)

Support use of IAR in this case. The names used for the entities included are as much part of the ISO standard as the entities listed and the code elements defined. Using any other name for any entity - and Macedonia is hardly the only case in which the ISO does not conform to strict political neutrality and/or Wikipedia naming conventions - introduces inaccuracy and should be avoided. Pfainuk talk 09:46, 19 July 2009 (UTC)

ISO 3166-2[edit]

Should the ISO 3166-2 column of the table be deleted? It has its own article and it is not part of ISO 3166-1 which is what this article covers. McLerristarr (Mclay1) (talk) 02:01, 24 May 2010 (UTC)

Question BLM[edit]

Should, in this article, Wikipedia include SAINT BARTHÉLEMY/Saint Barthélemy (now that a three-letter code BLM has been designated?) doktorb wordsdeeds 21:13, 15 July 2010 (UTC)

You're about 3 years late. Anomie 01:25, 16 July 2010 (UTC)
Whoops :S This is what happens when I don't get enough sleep. Pardon! doktorb wordsdeeds 05:17, 16 July 2010 (UTC)


Where is Zaire code? I think that is ZR but no is in the list. Sorry if I don't change it, I don't know how. :P -- (talk) 10:36, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

The country formerly known as "Zaire" is now known as "Democratic Republic of the Congo", with code CD. Anomie 11:11, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

Netherlands Antilles[edit]

A suppose that new codes will be allocated to Curaçao and to Sint Maarten following dissolution of Netherlands Antilles. Davidships (talk) 12:45, 1 November 2010 (UTC)

Ask ISO 3166/MA. When they publish an update, we'll update the article. Anomie 18:58, 1 November 2010 (UTC)
Usually takes a few months for the codes to be assigned. Chanheigeorge (talk) 01:25, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
BQ has now been assigned collectively to Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius. However, they do not form a single political entity so isn't that an anomaly? Surely each of these new territories should have been assigned their own code? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:42, 9 January 2011 (UTC)
Again, ask ISO 3166/MA. Anomie 15:38, 9 January 2011 (UTC)
Same case applies for Svalbard and Jan Mayen and the United States Minor Outlying Islands. Neither groups of territories form a single political entity but are coded collectively in ISO 3166-1. Chanheigeorge (talk) 04:02, 10 January 2011 (UTC)

There is a mistake in the associated image/map[edit]

A map of Europe, with ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 codes in place of the names of countries and other territories.

In the article it is listed that the code for Turkey is TR; however on the map TK (the code reserved for TOKELAU) is stamped on Turkey. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:41, 13 March 2011 (UTC)

Thanks. Also Gibraltar (GI) is missing. The image has been removed from the page until it is fixed. Chanheigeorge (talk) 04:30, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
Fixed TR and added GI. Anything else? Chipmunkdavis (talk) 04:56, 13 March 2011 (UTC)

flags (a reversion of an IP edit to Taiwan made me look into it)[edit]

We are currently having a rel. stable page here that has no flags for Taiwan, Western Sahara (argument: no UN member states), but we do have flags for the BES islands (NL flag), Hong Kong and Macao (own flags). Is there a reasoning behind that that I am missing? or should for consistency all countries that are not UN members have no flags? L.tak (talk) 13:45, 8 April 2011 (UTC)

The problem is they recognise Taiwan as "TAIWAN, PROVINCE OF CHINA", and I don't think that the Chinese province has its own flag. Hong Kong and Macau, the BES islands, Aland, etc., do have flags. Chipmunkdavis (talk) 14:25, 8 April 2011 (UTC)
Well, as far as the BES islands, Svalbard and Jan Mayen, are concerned, I am wondering which flag you are referring to? The sovereign country flag?
::Another way of looking at TW: I agree that TW here is Taiwan, Province of China here; but it seems that it is ROC that is administring the ISOxxx-2 entity. Wouldn't it be arguable that we choose the administring entity as the one from which we choose the flag (Curacao uses Curacao's flag, not because the Kingdom of the Netherlands so demanded, but out of their choice) L.tak (talk) 14:59, 8 April 2011 (UTC)
Another point is the palestinian territories, which is currently represented by the palestinain authority flag, which also does not sound as an entity requiring a noflag? L.tak (talk) 15:04, 8 April 2011 (UTC)
I'm referring to the official flag of the area (official as defined by the controlling power acknowledged by the ISO). Curacao has an official flag (being whatever its legal status is) which is used in Curacao, and has legal status there in the eyes of the Dutch government. Svalbard, as a counterpoint, has no flag, so I the Norwegian flag is used. While I do see the argument for administering entity, I feel that this list, since it is completely defined by the ISO, should follow their POV (although I wouldn't go so far as to put the PRC flag on Taiwan). Palestine is "PALESTINIAN TERRITORY, OCCUPIED", so while I'm amused by that political statement, I think it should also be noflagged. Chipmunkdavis (talk) 15:25, 8 April 2011 (UTC)
Ok, seems like a defendable standpoint to me. Flagging TW with a PRC-flag seems to be taking it a bit too far indeed ;-)... Will change the Palestinian entry... L.tak (talk) 15:51, 8 April 2011 (UTC)
It must be added the flag of Taiwan for Republic of China (Taiwan), no matter political recognition by the UN.
1. It is truth that Republic of China is not recognized by the UN, but this article is not relevant with United Nation.
2. ISO does not belong to UN, and ISO defines itself as a non-governmental organization.
3. Adding country flag is to make readers more visually know the countries or places. This is what wikipedia is for. Otherwise in ISO website in Switzerland, it does not offer any nation flag. Due to this reason, should we remove all nation flags!
4. It is truth that the name of TAIWAN, PROVINCE OF CHINA is used in ISO website, and it should not be changed until official changes. But it is strongly recommend that adding a footnote to explain the real status of Taiwan or link into relevant reference. It is bad to left flagicon blank without any explanation.
5. To conclude, Adding the flag for Republic of China (Taiwan) is necessary and suitable for this article Consistency. The name of TAIWAN, PROVINCE OF CHINA will not change. Adding a footnote to explain the real status of Taiwan, such as good example in zh-edition of it.David30930 (talk) 21:54, 11 June 2011 (UTC)

Good points! I totally agree. My efforts putting in the ROC flag a year ago got reverted by someone insisting the UN membership standpoint. Thanks for pointing out that not only is ISO not part of the UN, more importantly Wikipedia is NOT part of the UN and by not displaying the flag but showing the rest of the flags is non-NPOV. Would anyone disagree? I will reinsert the flag when I got some time. Mistakefinder (talk) 18:23, 27 June 2011 (UTC)

I don't see any reason to not include the flags for Antarctica, Palestine, Taiwan, and Western Sahara. They are not part of the standard and we're not claiming they are – we're just including them for reference. In fact, there should be a note to that effect. We have the images, they are used in the articles on those places and elsewhere. We should include them here. —[AlanM1 (talk)]— 00:22, 12 August 2012 (UTC)

Personally, I think we should just remove all the decorative flags. But as long as it doesn't cause an increase in the number of nationalist editors who want to change the names away from those used by ISO 3166-1 (or a dramatic increase in the number of nationalist editors screwing around with the flags), I don't care that much. Anomie 16:23, 12 August 2012 (UTC)
FWIW, GeoNames GeoTree shows the subject flags, apparently without complaint in their forums or elsewhere. They use WP as a source for their territory and country subdivision flags (probably including those at issue), too :) —[AlanM1 (talk)]— 14:47, 14 August 2012 (UTC)
Err, good for them? Anomie 16:32, 14 August 2012 (UTC)

So, this controversy is alive again. Someone added the Taiwan flag, so I boldly added the flags for Antarctica, Western Sahara, and Palestine. I also added what I believed to be an accurate description of the position of the ISO in listing these areas, and WP in so doing and showing their flags, as being totally unrelated to their political status or independence. Both edits were then reverted, citing no consensus.

I contend that, by omitting some flags while choosing to show others, WP is actually making a political statement, which is wholly inappropriate. It should be all or nothing, IMO, but I'd hate to see yet another article damaged by "throwing the baby out with the bathwater". We have those flag images, and they are shown elsewhere. They are somewhat informative, and add some decoration to an otherwise dry article. Other non- or partially-independent territories are shown in the table, some with their own flags, without implying anything about their political status. —[AlanM1(talk)]— 09:54, 17 September 2012 (UTC)

  • My thinking is in line with Anomie; if this table invites nationalist strife, then removing flags would help reduce friction. They're just decorative, anyway, and as far as I can tell the flags are not actually part of the standard. (Hence some flags get used on multiple rows, which seems a little odd for a standard setting out unique designators for each different territory). However, if we did have flags, it would be better to include them all rather than have selective omissions which would effectively be OR (editors, not sources, would be choosing whether or not to put a flag on each row). bobrayner (talk) 14:39, 21 September 2012 (UTC)

Simple solution: remove all the flags. They are not part of the standard and are simply decorative, misleading WP:FLAGCRUFT. Jpatokal (talk) 02:00, 24 September 2012 (UTC)

Sorted. No flags, no controversy, no IP edits (less likely because templates scare fly-by IP editors), no 3RR, no nothing. doktorb wordsdeeds 03:38, 24 September 2012 (UTC)

Not quite. I think they are useful. Yes, I don't know them all, but it makes it a lot easier to identify countries and have an idea of what's in. Non-text icons can be called cruft (why not) or decorative (why not), but I go for: visual identification. The fact that in some locations that has strong political connotations, does not mean we shouldn't use them at those places where it's not.... — Preceding unsigned comment added by L.tak (talkcontribs) 07:20, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
It's not up to us, though, to decide where the supposed "political connotations" should prevent showing the flag. That's taking a side in a political dispute. It's sad that has been allowed to result in losing them all, instead of showing them all. —[AlanM1(talk)]— 07:31, 24 September 2012 (UTC)

I've reverted L.tak's edit (which had put all the flags back except the 4 that they thought did not belong in the article). I contend that the discussion above shows absolutely no support for leaving the article in that state. Some of us prefer all the flags, while others prefer none if all is a problem. So, none it is. Right? Please don't revert unless you can demonstrate support for showing only some flags. (Note that I also fixed a number of other problems with spurious brackets and inconsistent sorting that had crept in with all the hacking) —[AlanM1(talk)]— 07:52, 24 September 2012 (UTC) (First sentence above clarified/dis-ambiguated —[AlanM1(talk)]— 13:53, 24 September 2012 (UTC))

Thanks Alan, those spurious bits came from Microsoft Word's find+replace function and it being very early in the morning :) I have to say that usually I would argue in favour of keeping flags, indeed during a discussion about flags on Wikipedia I tried to advocate a "flags for everything" policy. HOWEVER, we can't have the push-me/pull-me repetition going on with this article. The amount of reverting and re-reverting was far too much for an article which hasn't got flags as its central focus. Removing the flags seems to be the logical solution. doktorb wordsdeeds 08:07, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
My statement (+ reversion as I missed the consensus on this change; procedurally I would have done this differently) was merely one of disappointment. I am not planning on having much discussions on it (there are much, much more interesting discussions then to focus attention on). Its a pity... L.tak (talk) 08:50, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
Yes, it is a pity. —[AlanM1(talk)]— 13:53, 24 September 2012 (UTC)


I understand the reason why GB is used instead of UK. I don't understand why is US not also covered by the rule. Would anybody care to explain? (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 20:05, 15 January 2012 (UTC).

I don't have a reference, but it may be that in the case of the US the words "United", "States", "of", and "America" are all covered by the rule ("America" being the name of the supercontinent containing 35 countries), which leaves nothing on which to base the abbreviation. Or it could just be that "US" and "USA" were already so widely used that they decided not to mess with it. Or both. If anyone does have a reference, please do provide it. Anomie 23:20, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
I've never understood that one, either, and I think we just have to accept it as ISO being inconsistent. The term "UK" is just as common as "US". The argument "America isn't just the USA" isn't any different from "the UK isn't just Great Britain" or "the Arab world isn't just the United Arab Emirates (codes AR and ARE)". Arguments about words like "united" and "kingdom" not being significant are defeated by USA, the UAE ("emirate" being equivalent to "kingdom") and the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM, rather than, say, MIC). Dricherby (talk) 12:37, 6 July 2012 (UTC)

Element 9: Administrative Languages[edit]

Element 9 of the standard is "Administrative Languages", which is wikilinked in the article to Official Language. Is this correct? If so, the data are appropriate for use in the country articles' official_languages parameter in their {{Infobox country}}, right? —[AlanM1(talk)]— 03:44, 28 August 2012 (UTC)

Edit notice[edit]

I've decided to be bold and create Template:Editnotices/Page/ISO 3166-1, which is shown above the edit form when someone goes to edit this page. Hopefully it will stop at least some of the drive-by IP editors who continually change "Taiwan, Province of China". I stand ready to adjust the wording or remove the editnotice subject to any consensus formed here. Anomie 14:29, 14 October 2012 (UTC)

I think that's an excellent idea, though I'm not optimistic that it will work, given the number of IP editors who've ignored the prominent comment around Taiwan's entry. There have been four or five such edits in the last few weeks, all from IP editors: is it worth suggesting semi-protection? Dricherby (talk) 15:03, 14 October 2012 (UTC)
I considered semi-protection, but I just don't see that the current level of disruption rises to the level required at WP:SEMI or WP:ROUGH. Feel free to ask at WP:RFPP if you disagree, though, as I don't normally handle protection requests so I'm not really familiar with the criteria used in practice. Anomie 15:19, 14 October 2012 (UTC)
I agree this is helpful. Will edit it a bit to conform a bit more with the wiki-philosophy... L.tak (talk) 15:26, 14 October 2012 (UTC)
Brrr, it's protected! L.tak (talk) 15:28, 14 October 2012 (UTC)
Yes, all editnotices are protected to prevent certain kinds of sneaky vandalism that could make it impossible for most people to figure out how to edit the page. What changes would you make? Anomie 15:37, 14 October 2012 (UTC)
It's a pity that's needed.... I'd like to change it to:
L.tak (talk) 16:28, 14 October 2012 (UTC)
Why invite people to start discussions that have zero chance of success, since using a country name other than that in the ISO 3166-1 standard in this article would go directly against WP:V and WP:OR? If by some evil miracle consensus actually does decide to do that, we can change the editnotice then. Anomie 16:37, 14 October 2012 (UTC)
Because explaining over and over again is way better than dictating and saying: forget it, it's not going to happen. IMO, users should be pointed to procedure while at the same time be shown this is not likely to change. See also the edit notice on Jesus... L.tak (talk) 16:42, 14 October 2012 (UTC)
The difference is that the issue at Jesus is a MOS issue subject to local consensus. Since a local consensus here is not going to overturn WP:V and WP:OR, I still don't see the need for inviting people to start discussions just so that can be repeated over and over again. But I wouldn't be opposed to changing the first sentence of the current notice to something like "Wikipedia's policies on Verifiability and No original research require that we use the country names defined in the ISO 3166-1 standard when stating what the standard contains." to make that more explicitly clear. But let's see what anyone else here thinks. Anomie 19:11, 14 October 2012 (UTC)
Yes, let's have the input of others indeed (but I do like the text you proposed 1 line up (although the word country should be "countries and territories" or the like))... L.tak (talk) 19:57, 14 October 2012 (UTC)
(1) I'm not familiar with the details of semi-protection, either, and was just putting it out there as an idea, rather than pushing for it.

(2) Everything on Wikipedia can be overturned by establishing a consensus so I don't see any point in advertising that, hey, in this specific case, the "page policy" (for want of a better term) can be overturned by establishing a consensus. Anyone who cares enough about Wikipedia to start such a debate and contribute meaningfully to it, already knows they can do so.

(3) I fully agree with using the same names for territories as ISO uses but I disagree that it's against WP:V or WP:OR to use different terms. The article links to a particular interpretation of the phrase "Taiwan, Province of China": why is it unverifiable or original research to say that the code TW means Taiwan but verifiable and not original research to say that it means "Taiwan, Province of China" and then wikilink to Taiwan? It's manifestly obvious that ISO is talking about that particular country/territory/entity, in the same way that it's manifestly obvious that, say, this news article is talking about this Lance Armstrong and not this one. Dricherby (talk) 21:26, 14 October 2012 (UTC)

It's against WP:V to say that the ISO 3166-1 standard says TW is "Taiwan", because that is not verifiable: the standard actually says "Taiwan, Province of China". And us trying to decide what the standard "really should have said" would be against WP:OR. In places where we are not directly quoting the standard, such as the non-direct-quote portions of ISO 3166-1#Naming and code construction, we can and do paraphrase it to the accepted common name. And just because our article on the political entity is under a different title doesn't mean we can't wikilink to it. Anomie 22:28, 14 October 2012 (UTC)

Akrotiri and Dhekelia[edit]

Does any one know why (by reference to sources, not interested in guesses) why the above is not included on the list? Thanks. Frenchmalawi (talk) 23:14, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

Did you read ISO 3166-1 § Criteria for inclusion and the cited ISO source? There are many small dependencies and micronations that do not have their own codes. Such places are included within the code of the their governing nation by default – there has to be a specific reason to create a separate code for them (like UN stats division needing separate stats on them). —[AlanM1(talk)]— 22:25, 12 January 2013 (UTC)
I wrote the ISO 3166/MA about this years ago. They told me it would have been up to Akrotiri and Dhekelia to apply for ISO codes. They then told me to write to the Akrotiri and Dhekelia authorities. I never did this as I don't live there. - Thanks, Hoshie 02:40, 24 June 2014 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 6 August 2015[edit]

I wanted to edit the Current codes section and add information related to Kosovo now that it has XK ISO 3166 code a

Thanks, Emmanuel

Diamondzdwag (talk) 13:38, 6 August 2015 (UTC)

Not done This is not the right page to request additional user rights.
If you want to suggest a change, please request this in the form "Please replace XXX with YYY" or "Please add ZZZ between PPP and QQQ".
Please also cite reliable sources to back up your request - Please note Wikipedia is not a reliable source. - Arjayay (talk) 14:16, 6 August 2015 (UTC)


In the ISO list itself, several countries include "the" in their titles, (for example "Congo (the Democratic Republic of the)" which has two) but these are not replicated here, nor on the country pages themselves. Is the ISO list the definitive reference for how each country styles itself? In which case, should every country page be reviewed to ensure they conform precisely? An arduous job if warranted. H7dders (talk) 16:29, 9 November 2016 (UTC)

I think we should replicate the ISO list literally, including "the", at least on this page. Note that it currently is not consistent, as Macedonia is listed as "Macedonia (the former Yugoslav Republic of)". I'm not sure about the individual country pages. Lonaowna (talk) 16:58, 9 November 2016 (UTC)
This page should reproduce the ISO list, specifically we seem to use the "short name lower case" version from e.g. [5]. Other articles not related to this standard, including the country articles themselves, generally follow WP:COMMONNAME, and if you want to try to change any of them it would be best to discuss it on those articles' talk pages first. Anomie 21:22, 9 November 2016 (UTC)

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