Talk:List of sovereign states

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Former featured list List of sovereign states is a former featured list. Please see the links under Article milestones below for its original nomination page and why it was removed. If it has improved again to featured list standard, you may renominate the article to become a featured list.

Donetsk and Lugansk[edit]

Why they aren't in the list of unrecognized states like Transnistria, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, etc... — Preceding unsigned comment added by Stinusepsid (talkcontribs) 20:28, 14 July 2016 (UTC)

Becausethey are regognised by no other states. Gerard von Hebel (talk) 21:09, 25 July 2016 (UTC)
That isn't the reason. The reason is that they are still engaged in Ukraine's active civil war, albeit at a more subdued level than a few years ago, and so the states don't have stable boundaries. It's the same reason Azawad in Mali was never added, and the Islamic State is absent. The Abkhazia etc. conflicts had been cold for several years before they were added to Wikipedia. If a real cease-fire comes into play and Donetsk and Lugansk don't get reabsorbed into Ukraine, then they'd go here. Astrofreak92 (talk) 14:51, 26 July 2016 (UTC)
Not exactly. It's more the lack of sources calling them a state. Azawad actually did have stable borders, albeit for a very short time. It imploded from within not due to war. CMD (talk) 15:05, 26 July 2016 (UTC)
If you look back through the various lengthy discussions on the issue, its not that the DPR and LPR do not meet the declarative theory, its that we do not have a reliable source which states that they meet the declarative theory (as CMD stated above). Also, as CMD stated, Azawad was added to the list but was removed because its government no longer controlled any territory in the area it claimed. It then later rescinded its declaration of independence. XavierGreen (talk) 20:04, 28 July 2016 (UTC)
"Becausethey are regognised by no other states" This goes against wikipedia article about Sovereignty, you change the definition from
This governing body has the "full right and power [..] to govern itself without any interference from outside sources or bodies"
That is the one on the article, to
This governing body has the "full right and power [..] to govern itself without any interference from outside sources or bodies" as long as I think he has the "full right and power [..] to govern itself without any interference from outside sources or bodies" (talk) 14:46, 1 September 2016 (UTC)
There is also the (unstated) problem that these are not intentionally independent states. They are regions that were founded with the goal of annexation by Russia (as with Crimea). When that goal became politically untenable, then autonomy within Ukraine became a goal. Only if (near complete) autonomy within Ukraine is not achieved will independence become the goal. It has never been clear that complete sovereignty has been an unambiguously stated goal either separately (as two individual countries) or together (as a unified "Novorossiya"). Not only are there unstable borders and an unstable military situation, there is an unstable political situation as well. --Taivo (talk) 15:36, 1 September 2016 (UTC)

Faroe Islands[edit]

There should be a section on the Faroe Islands, as they are partially self-governing. I'll add it in. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Dbreagornks (talkcontribs) 00:40, 4 October 2016 (UTC)

Requested move 2 November 2016[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: There's no consensus for the move in the discussion. (non-admin closure) — Andy W. (talk) 01:12, 10 November 2016 (UTC)

List of sovereign statesList of countries – When people want to find a list of countries, they're expecting to find an article named just that, not some esoteric jargon that most people don't use. The difference between "country" and "sovereign state" is mostly just semantics and "List of countries" already redirects here. Both readers and editors can reasonably assume that "countries" refers to what this list currently calls "sovereign states", as opposed to constituent countries or other uses of the term, since the WP:PRIMARYTOPIC of a list called "List of countries" is most likely the former anyways. Other relevant guideline key words: WP:ASTONISH, WP:RECOGNIZABLE, WP:COMMONNAME Prisencolin (talk) 18:45, 2 November 2016 (UTC)

  • Oppose. Sadly, because of a terminological quirk in the wording of the United Kingdom, Wales, Scotland, and England are also "countries" and certain editors would want to include them as separate entities (we've had this discussion before). It's the equivalent of trying to name this list "List of states" and having American editors then want to add Texas, Utah, California, etc. as separate entries. That's why the word "sovereign" is important (to keep out Texas) and the word "states" is important (to keep out Wales). --Taivo (talk) 19:31, 2 November 2016 (UTC)
  • In that case I don't see why other political entities such Scotland, Wales etc. can't be included on this particular along footnotes indicated that they are not considered sovereign states. This list should seek to use the broadest definition of "country" possible since the usage of the term is so vague. As far as google can tell me, there are no other contemporary political subdivisions that are referred to as countries, at least in English, so there probably shouldn't any more non-sovereign countries to list. Either that or it's just an American thing that country=sovereign state, but this isn't a type of WP:ENGVAR as far as I know.--Prisencolin (talk) 01:49, 3 November 2016 (UTC)
So you don't just want to rename the list, you want to completely repurpose it?
Or more precisely, you want to have a list of sovereign states that randomly puts England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in as well. The bias that this would create in this list - through the implication that these four uniquely should be considered equal or equivalent to sovereign states - is extreme and entirely intolerable. Plus it would leave Wikipedia without a list of sovereign states (or, of countries meaning sovereign states), an extraordinary omission in any encyclopædia. My oppose is strongly reinforced. Kahastok talk 18:53, 3 November 2016 (UTC)
Basque Country, Greenland, Aruba, Nagorno-Karabakh, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Somaliland, Sint Maarten, Curacao, Palestine, Tibet come to mind. Then we have all the entities which are not usually described as countries but sometimes act like them - members of FIFA, of the IOC, so that's Puerto Rico, Faeroe Islands, Bermuda, Gibraltar, Virgin Islands (both US and British), Macau, New Caledonia, etc etc. Enough complications? --Super Nintendo Chalmers (talk) 22:19, 3 November 2016 (UTC)
Nope. It's clear systemic bias to restrict ourselves to English sources. The German word Land means "country" and is the standard constitutional term for the 16 constituent parts of Germany. Austria too has "federal countries", Bundesländer. There is basically no limit to what might be included if we're going based on anything anyone has ever called a country. That's why we have limits. Kahastok talk 19:26, 4 November 2016 (UTC)

Strong Oppose - your description of our naming policies is either misguided or disingenuous. The actual policy calls for judgement, balancing of criteria on five principles (Recognizability; Naturalness; Precision; Conciseness; Consistency). At times, we treat them equally. At other times, we might chose to prioritise one of these over the others. To quote "It may be necessary to favor one or more of these goals over the others. This is done by consensus." In this case, the title favours precision over the others (as you've identified). The word country is vague in the English language, in multiple ways; the difference between sovereign state and country is not just semantics, but very important in the lives of many people on a daily basis. It would not improve this page, the encyclopedia or (and importantly) the practical management of this article to rename. As noted, the page List of countries redirects here so anyone searching for the natural/recongizable name is taken to the correct article. What a rename would entail would include a much longer textual element describing why some countries are here and others aren't, making it much less usable (unless we expanded this list to include different entries, making it a fundamentally different page). Our main competitor (Enyclopedia britannica) uses 'List of countries (nation-state)', recognising the need to clarify but in a much more convoluted way to keep the recognisablityy - I prefer our approach! In addition, the page has been at this title since 2003. While things can be moved after a long time, a further key naming policy is that we should not move from long standing names without significant reason - I don't see that List of countries is a significantly better name than the current one. At best, it solves some problems by creating new ones.

BTW - the UK example give is relevant but by no means a main reason. I think it would be better avoiding individual national cases in this discussion. Super Nintendo Chalmers (talk) 22:10, 2 November 2016 (UTC)

Oppose - This is not a list of all countries, it is a list of a specific subset of countries, only those countries which are sovereign states. The article title should accurately reflect the content. The distinction between countries and sovereign states is not merely semantic, hence why we have separate articles on the two subjects. Per WP:PRECISION, the title should unambiguously define the subject, which the proposed title does not do as it conflates the two subjects. If the OP believes that the primary topic of "countries" is "sovereign states", I would suggest nominating sovereign states for a rename. This article should defer to the consensus on the primary topic there, and so in the absence of a change to a consensus on that article we should not change this article's title. TDL (talk) 23:16, 2 November 2016 (UTC)

Oppose (but see below Kahastok talk 18:53, 3 November 2016 (UTC)). I broadly agree with the others.
"List of countries", by my reckoning, would be a legitimate name for this article. Wikipedia rules, such as at WP:SAL, are quite clear that selection criteria in the article itself define the list, whereas the title of the list only describes the list. As the vast majority of English-speakers will read it, the primary meaning of list of countries perfectly accurately describes the contents of the list and the concept described by the selection criteria for the list.
But this is not the only concept that it might describe. The word "country" ambiguous, having multiple closely-related but distinctive meanings. And this ambiguity has been actively exploited in the past by some users pushing some points of view in related lists. The ease of managing the list is a significant issue here, and renaming the list to remove precision does make it harder. Indeed, we used to have a "list of countries" separate from this list - which was a FL for nearly three years - but it was redirected here precisely because it became impossible to manage. (It didn't help that its inclusion criteria were difficult to defend.)
There is no reason in policy why we cannot or should not use the current title. It is concise, and perfectly well describes the concept with reasonable precision. In this case, it is reasonable (as per SNC) to suggest that a more precise title is ultimately of benefit to Wikipedia. The redirect list of countries leads here, so it's not like people looking for a "list of countries" won't get here. I think we're better off with the status quo. Kahastok talk 23:29, 2 November 2016 (UTC)
Switch to strong oppose because it is now clear that the OP's intention is not just to rename the list but to repurpose in a way that would create enormous WP:POV problems and leave Wikipedia without any list of sovereign states at all. Kahastok talk 18:53, 3 November 2016 (UTC)
Ditto. If the OP wants to spin List of countries off into a new article, monitor it, make it properly referenced and avoiding original research, then they can give it a go - but that's not a reason to move, rename or change this page. Super Nintendo Chalmers (talk) 22:10, 3 November 2016 (UTC)
Woah calm down there, I was just throwing a suggestion out and looking for feedback. I didn't say I was going to repurpose the list definitely. Come to think of it I may as well just strike that comment out.--Prisencolin (talk) 22:23, 3 November 2016 (UTC)
  • Rename but do not repurpose. I agree with the OP that this distinction, while absolutely meaningful, will fly over the head of 98% of the readership. On the other hand, I wildly disagree with the OP that the likes of Wales or Scotland should be misleadingly added, as they are not what the same average reader means by countries. So keep the lede as is, saying sovereign states and explaining the distinction. SnowFire (talk) 19:59, 3 November 2016 (UTC)
  • I'm thinking of withdrawing this RM and just putting the list of countries redirect up for WP:RFD. That might be a more appropriate action for this situation. Any objections to closing this?--Prisencolin (talk) 08:26, 4 November 2016 (UTC)
I think that would better reflect the article that you're imagining. However - can I suggest that you look at the talk pages on the old 'List of countries' article? As suggested above, the reason we scrapped that page is that it was unmanageable following Wikipedia's policies. I think a good version of that article is possible (and introduction of better semi-protection and pending changes since 2009 would help), but it would require a sustained amount of work to create it, reference it and perhaps most importantly manage it. So as above - if you're up for that then go for it, but if it's just a case of creating it and then letting it evolve then I think it would soon revert to the sort of uneyclopedic mess that it previously was.Super Nintendo Chalmers (talk) 09:30, 4 November 2016 (UTC)
We actually thrashed this out in a previous RFD where a very similar proposal was made.
I actually think it very unlikely that there is any viable alternative definition of "country" that might be used for a "list of countries" allowing a coherent and stable list without WP:OR and WP:POV and without duplicating existing content. And I see no reason why a new list is useful or beneficial to Wikipedia. Plus changing the redirect would remove a useful redirect to this page, which almost certainly contains the information that a reader looking for "list of countries" wants (including e.g. listing England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, in their proper place as the constituent countries of the United Kingdom). Kahastok talk 19:26, 4 November 2016 (UTC)
In my opinion, one of the main issues with the current setup is WP:CONSISTENCY when referring to the use of "countries" in the titles of other articles. Articles like List of countries by Human Development Index, have the same inclusion criteria as this list, except this article is called list of sovereign states. This could probably be more easily solved by retitling those kinds of articles to include "sovereign states". Furthermore the topics of sovereign state and country are separate articles, but according to this article country should be a WP:PRIMARYREDIRECT into sovereign state. It would also be nice to have some standaline list that has all the kunds of entities contained in the various Lists of countries and territories. As far as potentially a list of countries with a very broad definition that borders on WP:OR and WP:NPOV, we already have these in the form of those country and territory topical lists.-Prisencolin (talk) 07:52, 5 November 2016 (UTC)
Note that Lists of countries and territories is somewhat misleading as a guide to article titles because it goes through redirects in order to maintain a consistent presentation. The topical list naming is inconsistent. Some lists refer to "countries", some to "sovereign states", I think some refer to "sovereign countries". Quite a few (most?) of the lists also include dependent territories: in some cases "countries" includes dependent territories, in others we feel the need to mention them separately.
Many years ago, I actually tried to do something to wrangle this into some kind of order. There were a number of editors back then who were apparently furious about the use of the word "country" to refer to sovereign states in those lists. So furious, in fact, that they refused to do anything about it.
In terms of inclusion criteria the conclusion we reached back then was that:
  • Lists based on a single source should use the source. If we're replicating a CIA or World Bank list, we replicate it in its entirety, even if that means listing the European Union or NATO or something.
  • Lists based on multiple sources should start from an external standard - ISO 3166-1 being preferred - while making appropriate and neutral allowance for the states with limited recognition (which you can easily define as entities on the list of sovereign states not already included).
  • Where context dictates some other rule, common sense applies. A list of countries by number of registered football (soccer) players is probably best done by association, for example.
Any list out there that does not have a clear selection criterion, or that has a selection criterion that fails WP:OR and/or WP:NPOV, needs to be improved to meet the policy standard. That's a fair bit of work and it's not going to happen overnight. But there's not a need or benefit in the interim in our creating a list that also fails those standards. Kahastok talk 09:24, 5 November 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose and keep List of countries redirecting here. We thrashed all this out some years ago, at a time when it actually was called "List of countries", and we ended up with tihs title in part because people kept asking why Wales and Scotland weren't on the list despite being "countries". On the other hand, there is no encyclopedic value in a list of entities that may at one point or another have been called a "country", and the vast majority of people would expect roughly the list we have here when looking for "List of countries" so it makes no sense or delete or repurpose that redirect. In short, the current setup has been stable and uncontroversial for some years, and there's no reason to change it.  — Amakuru (talk) 15:28, 6 November 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose Sovereign is used to stop disputes over what can be considered a country, for instance the pierre and miquelon islands are under france, but almost fully autonomous, so are they a country? Yes, are they sovereign, no. Iazyges Consermonor Opus meum 23:19, 8 November 2016 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

Remove EU entry[edit]

Please remove the wrong information "Member of the EU" at the United Kingdom entry. Janomoogo (talk) 20:08, 18 November 2016 (UTC)

The UK is currently still a member of the EU, Brexit vote or not. Until they actually leave, the note will stay. Astrofreak92 (talk) 20:36, 18 November 2016 (UTC)

Year of formation/establishment?[edit]

Any reason why this couldn't be added for each state? I don't think Wikipedia has a simple sortable list of which active nations are longest lasting or sortable by order. This could serve that role. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:51, 20 November 2016 (UTC)

We have List of sovereign states by date of formation. But the question becomes complicated particularly in Europe and Asia where dates may be unclear or open to interpretation. I would not include the information here because it would be potentially controversial and tangential to our purpose. Kahastok talk 18:42, 20 November 2016 (UTC)
It is often unclear when a state was established. TFD (talk) 18:54, 20 November 2016 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 4 December 2016[edit]


The flag for New Caledonia is NOT the independentist one. It's the french blue, white and red.

Thank you for correcting this big mistake. Hoppihoppa (talk) 06:00, 4 December 2016 (UTC)

Not done: it's not clear what changes you want to be made. Please mention the specific changes in a "change X to Y" format. -- Dane2007 talk 06:15, 4 December 2016 (UTC)