Wikipedia:British Isles Terminology task force/Channel Islands

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Question: Are the Channel Islands part of the British Isles?[edit]


Below are verified sources that provide a definition of the term 'British Isles'. There are grouped according to;

  • Definitions that unequivocally include the Channel Islands.
  • Definitions presented as being context-specific.
  • Definitions that show optional use, where the Channel Islands are included in the principle definition.
  • Definitions that show optional use, where the Channel Islands are a secondary definition to the principle definition (e.g. “can also include”).
  • Definitions that unequivocally exclude the Channel Islands.
  • Definitions that logically exclude the Channel Islands (via logical extraction).

The groups are not ordered by importance, and do not consider 'context' in the sense of singular, political or technical uses etc., nor do they consider 'value' in the sense of the quality of the sources. They are very much a work-in-progress, until it is decided by consensus that they fairly represent all the sources and source-types available.

As they are not part of the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands are not easily described in geographical contexts. The Interpretation Act of 1978 declared that the term "British Islands" means the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. For this reason, it is helpful to date the sources, as ones after this event can have different weight. Between 1801 and 1922 what is now the Republic of Ireland was part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, so sources from within this period can also bear a particular weight too – please give dates. Also, in the case of encyclopedias and dictionaries, the latest edition must be the one to use.

Please note:

The above sources are restricted to those that provide a definition of the term 'British Isles', which can often be seen as meaningful in itself in certain context-heavy cases. Sources of the term's use that follow a definition implicitly (or take one for granted) cannot be as easily 'key-worded' in search engines as those that detail a clear definition and include the term “Channel Islands”.

Appearing in the discussion below are sources that contain definitions 'logically extracted' from text in which the definition was only implicit. They will be eventually be detailed in the list above.

Categories of British Isles definition (Channel Islands)[edit]

Each group is contained within a show/hide template. Please click on "[show]" to see the list of sources in each group.

Definitions that unequivocally INCLUDE the Channel Islands
  • "British Isles: a group of island lying off the coast of northwestern Europe, from which they are separated by the North Sea and the English Channel. They include Britain, Ireland, the Isle of Man, the Isle of Wight, the Hebrides, the Orkney Islands, the Shetland Islands, the Scilly Isles, and the Channel Islands." - New Oxford American Dictionary
  • "British Isles: the group of island consisting of Great Britain and Ireland, and all the other smaller islands around them e.g. the Hebrides, Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man." - The Chambers 21st Century Dictionary
  • "For clarity it is worth pointing out that the term 'Great Britain' refers solely to the mainland of England, Scotland and Wales, whereas 'United Kingdom' refers to Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Neither term includes Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man which are, in fact, part of the British Isles." States of Jersey (i.e. the government of Jersey)
  • "The Channel Islands are a group of islands, islets and offshore rocks located in the English Channel within the Gulf of St. Malo off the north-west coast of France. Although the Islands form part of the British Isles they do not form part of the United Kingdom." Bailiwick of Guernsey (i.e. the government of Guernsey)
  • "The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are not part of the UK. The geographical term 'British Isles' covers the UK, all of Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man." - UK Government, Key facts about the United Kingdom (see below for another definition from the same website)
  • "British Isles: The major island components of the British Isles, geographically but not politically, are Great Britain and Ireland, 229 834 km2 (88 745 mi2). Great Britain comprises England, including the Isle of Wight, Scilly Islands and smaller islands; Wales, including Anglesey; Scotland, including the Inner Hebredes and the Orkney and Shetland Islands. Ireland, 83 851 km2 (32 375 m2), is divided into two parts: Northern Ireland, which until 1972 had an independent parliament and government under the British Crown and now is part of the United Kingdom, under direct British rule; and Ireland or Eire, which is an independent republic. From 1921 to 1937 the republic was known as the 'Irish Free State'. Smaller parts of Great Britain, but administered indirectly, are the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands." - Encyclopedia of European and Asian Regional Geology, Eldridge M. Moores et al.
  • "The islands [the British Isles] encompass both the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, which have maintained their own separate (from Westminster) system of government." - Human geography of the UK: an Introduction, Irene Hardill et al.
  • "The British Isles consist of two large Islands, Great Britain and Ireland, the Channel Islands, and numerous small islands lying off the the north and west coasts." Encyclopedia of World Geography, M. Ali Khan et al.
  • "The British Isles include, in addition to the United Kingdom, two interesting groups of islanders, those on the Isle of Man in the Irish sea and those living on the Channel Islands off the coast of France." The Development of the British Empire, Howard Robinson (NB: This source predate Irish independence)
  • "The geographic term, British Isles, refers to the archipelago off the north-west coats of continental Europe, which includes the main island of Great Britain an the island of Ireland together with their subsidiary islands, including the Orkneys, Shetlands, the Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands." - Principles of Plant Health and Quarantine, D. L. Ebbels
  • "The Channel Islands lie in the Gulf of Saint-Malo, just a few kilometers from et French coast, and have the sunniest climate in the British Isles." - Regional Climates of the British Isles, Dennis Wheeler et al.
  • "The British Isles: The British Isles constitute the largest group of islands off the European cost. They consist of two main islands - Great Britain (composing England, Scotland, and Wales) and Ireland - a number of smaller inhabited islands, and numerous small islets an docks that are of no economic value and even constitute a danger to shipping. … The British Isles are divided politically into (a) the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and (b) the Republic of Eire. … In addition, the Isle of Man and the French-speaking Channel Islands are considered dependencies, rather than parts, of the United Kingdom; they have their own parliaments, judicial institutions, and bodies of law, as well as administrations, and acts of Parliament do not apply to them unless specifically so stated." - An Atlas of European Affairs
  • "Geographically, the British Isles are made up of a number of islands, and there are also a number of different political components. Very often 'England' is used as a synonym of Britain, while 'Englishman' is employed as a blanket description for all the inhabitants of the British Isles. This, as any Welshman, Irishman or Scot will quickly point out, is incorrect. The United Kingdom consists of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The Isle of Man, in the Irish Sea, and the Channel Islands, off the coast of France (and formerly part of the Duchy of Normandy), are not part of the United Kingdom." - Modern Britain: an Introduction, John L. Irwin
  • "Although the Channel Islands (Guernsey and Jersey) and the Isles of Man are part of the geographical area known as 'the British Isles', they are not part of the United Kingdom." - Modern Treaty Law and Practice, Anthony Aust (emphasis in original)
  • "As such, the Channel islands represent the British Isles' most southerly territory and enjoy a climate of milt winters and cool summers supplemented with around 1,900 hours of sunshine a year (Guernsey or Jersey are often the sunniest places in Britain.)" - Channel Island Marine Molluscs, Paul Chambers
  • "Within the geographical perimeter of the British Isles, the Channel Islands (Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, Sark, an several smaller islands) and the Isle of Man are crown dependencies, governed by a lieutenant governor but with relative autonomy, and not included in the formal United Kingdom." - The History of Great Britain, Anne B. Rodrick
  • "Overall, the late Precambrian geology of the southern British Isles can be view as divisible into three superterranes (i.e. groups of terranes) that may be classified as Monian (Anglesey, Western Llynn, southeast Ireland), Avalonian (Sarn Camplex of Llyn, Central England, Welsh Borderland, southwest Wales), and Cadomian (Channel Islands)." - Atlas of Palaeogeography and Lithofacies, John Christopher Wolverson Cope
  • "The Flora deals with the British Isles, comprising Great Britain (England, Scotland, Wales), Ireland (Northern Ireland, the Irish Republic), the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands." - The Freshwater Algal Flora of the British Isles, D. M. John et al.
  • "Neanderthal skeletal remains are known from two sites in the British Isles: Pontnewydd Cave in Clwyd, Wales, and La Cotte de Saint-Brelade on Jersey in the Channel Islands" - England: an Oxford Archaeological Guide to Sites from Earliest Times to AD 1600, Timothy Darvill
  • "Still in the British Isles, Anglesey (Ynys Mon) and the Isle of Wight are counties; Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles are Island Regions of Scotland. The Isle of Man and the Channel Islands (separately as Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey (which includes smaller islands such as Alderney)) are British, but are not part of the United Kingdom and have much local responsibility under the British crown." - A Geography of Islands: Small Island Insularity, Stephen A. Royle
  • "Rockall apart, they are geographically the remote part of the British Isles, although 'remote' is not a word that most people would use to describe them. They are closer to the European continent that any other of our islands. They are warmer and sunnier, on average, than anywhere in Great Britain or Ireland. They are, of course, the Channel Islands." - Change in the Weather, Philip Eden
  • "'The British Isles' is a geographical term which refers to the large islands that contains the mainlands of Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Irish Republic, Wales, and England, together with a large number of other, smaller islands that are part of the territories f these counties: one island (the Isle of Man) and one archipelago (the Channel Islands) have a significant degree of autonomy with the state which encompasses the bulk of the British Isles, the United Kingdom." - A Handbook of Varieties of English: a Multimedia Reference Tool, Volume 1, Edgar Werner Schneider, Bernd Kortmann
  • "With the exception of the eastern coasts this species is found all round the British Isles, and is especially plentiful in the south-west of England and in the Channel Islands." - Grasses, Sedges, Rushes and Ferns of the British Isles, N. Barrie Hodgson
  • "The British Isles comprise all the islands belonging to Britain off the north-west European coast, the term being purely a geographical one. The political division of the islands are as follows: (i) England (ii) Wales (iii) Scotland (iv) The Irish Free State (v) The Isle of Man (vii) The Channel Islands." - Economic Geography, D. E. Willington
  • "[The United Kingdom] is part of those islands, known geographically s the British Isles (but more correctly as et British-Irish Islands), which lie of the north-west coast of continental Europe. The mainlands of England, Scotland and Wales form the largest island with the political title of Great Britain. Northern Ireland shares the second-largest island with the Republic of Ireland (Ireland or Eire), which has been independent since 1921-22. Smaller islands, such as Anglesey, the Isle of Wight, the Orkneys, Shetlands, Hebrides and Scillies, are also part of the British political union. But the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea and the Channel islands off the French coast are not part of the United Kingdom." - British civilization: An Introduction;;, John Oakland
  • "Two places in the British Isles of Man and the Channel islands, are not part of the UK, although they owe allegiance to the crown." - Monarchy, Nathaniel Harris et al.
  • "The British Isles consists of the United Kingdom plus the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man." - International Dimensions in Family Law, John Murphy
  • "There are or were other territorial languages within the geographical area of the British Isles, including Norn (last speakers disappeared in the eighteenth century from the Orkneys and Shetlands), Manx (last native speaker died in the 1970s), Cornish (the last native speakers died about 1800), and Channel Islands French (particularly Jersiais; some elderly native speakers of Channel Island French remain). The Isle of Man and the Channel Islands are of course politically independent administrations as far as languages and most other matters are concerned…" - Ideology and Image: Britain and Language, D. E. Ager
  • "Sadly, it has been also necessary to omit the more far-flung British Isles, such as Orkneys and Shetland, only acquired by Scotland from Norway in the 15th century and perhaps still looking more towards Norway that Britain, or the Channel Islands, remnants of the Norman Conquest, where no many Anglo-Norman institutions and terminology still survive." - The British Inheritance: a Treasury of Historic Documents, Andrew Prescott et al.
  • "Just for the record, the United Kingdom (UK) consist of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The island of Ireland consists of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland (also called Eire). 'British isles' is a geographical term of the whole group of islands that make up the UK, the Republic of ireland and some autonomous or semiautonomous islands such as the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man." - Great Britain, David Else
  • "What is perhaps most intriguing about this body is the inclusion of all the 'people' of the British 'isles'. As such it representatives of the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish Councils, as well as the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man;…" - The English Constitution: Myths and Realities, Ian Ward
  • "The term 'British Isles' is the widest geographical description, covering England, Wales, Scotland, all of Ireland and the various islands around the coastlines of those counties, including the Channel Islands." - United Kingdom, Paul D. Gordon
  • "British Isles, archipelago, north-eastern Atlantic Ocean, near continental Europe, from which it is separated by the North Sea, the Strait of Dover, and the English Channel. It consists of the large islands of Great Britain and Ireland; several island groups, namely, the Orkney Islands, the Shetland Islands, the Hebrides, and the Channel Islands; and the Isle of Wight, Anglesey, and the Isle of Man." Encarta
  • "Since 1920 there have been as a matter of historical fact two sovereign states within the British isles but there are many cultures, from the Orkneys to the Channel Islands." - Teaching History, Hilary Bourdillon
  • "Although this section has focused on the two larger islands, the British Isles include many smaller islands, most of which you can see on the map in this chapter. … In the Irish Sea between Great Britain and Ireland is the Isle of Man. The Channel Islands are in the English Channel off the coast of France, and off Land's End, in the extreme southwest of England, are the tiny Isles of Scilly." - The Complete Idiot's Guide to Geography, Joseph Gonzalez et al.
  • "British Isles, archipelago off the north-west coast of the continent of Europe, from which it is divided by the North Sea, the Straits of Dover, and the English Channel. It comprised Great Britain, made up of England, Scotland and Wales; Ireland; the Orkney and Shetland Islands to the north of Scotland; the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea' the Scilly Isles off the coast of Cornwall; and the Isles of Wight and the Channel islands in the English Channel." - Social Work in the British Isles, Malcolm Payn et al.
  • "The islands [the British Isles] encompass both the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, which have maintained their own separate (from Westminster) system of government." - Human Geography of the UK: An Introduction, Irene Hardill
  • "[p.211 - in the section on Channel Isles] An archipelago lying off the northern French French coast does not invite inclusion in a book on the British Isles, yet the Channel Islands have been Crown dependencies for nearly a thousand years. ... [p.249 - in a list of the islands and island groups that form form the British Isles] Channel Island: A small archipelago in the Gulf of St. Malo, off the Normandy coast of France. Jersey and Guernsey are the principal islands plus Alderney, Sark, Herm." - The Other British Isles: A History of Shetland, Orkney, the Hebrides, Isle of Man, Anglesey, Scilly, Isle of Wight, and the Channel, David W. Moore
  • "The British Isles: England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Cornwall, the Isle of Man, Jersey, Guernsey. … The island [the Channel Islands] are a part of the British Isles but not of the United Kingdom, being self-governing in terms of laws and taxes and with a special relationship to the EC." - One Europe, 100 nations, Roy N. Pedersen
  • "The extent of ocean covered by the British Isles is very great. They extend from Jersey in the south, to Unst in the Shetland group, over eleven degrees of latitude the night at Unst being, in the summer solstice, three hours shorter than it is at Jersey." - Eliza Cook's Journal,‎ Eliza Cook (1853)
  • "The British Isles consist of - Great Britain, comprising England proper, Wales, and Scotland;-Ireland lying west of this: the Hebrides west of Scotland: the Orkney Islands north of these last: and still farther north the Shetland Islands. South of Great Britain, are a small number islands, the most considerable of which is Jersey: to the south-west is the little archipelago of the Scilly Islands. Several others hereafter to be named, are scattered among et preceding. We shall begin our description with those nearest the coast of France-the Anglo-Normal Isles." - Universal Geography, Conrad Malte-Brun (1832)
  • "The archipelago [the British Isles] consists of two large islands - Great Britain and Ireland - and a multitude of smaller ones, which are arranged singly or in groups around the two principal. … Unst, in Shetland, is the most northern point of the archipelago; Jersey, in the Channel Isles, et most southern, Lowesoft Ness in Suffolk, the most eastern; and Dunmore Head, in Kerry, the most western." - Elements of Modern Geography, Alexander MacKay
  • "The Channel Islands capitalize on their favorable climate - boasting more sunshine that other parts of the British Isles, Norman-French traditions and culinary attractions. … The Channel Islands were the only part of the British Isles to be occupied by Germany during the Second World Wr, and the Occupation features in a number of heritage attractions." - Worldwide destinations: The Geography of Travel and Tourism, Brian G. Boniface et al.
  • "It [Jersey] is part of the British Isles (as a Crown dependency) but not part of the United Kingdom." - Offshore Lending and Financing: A Practical and Legal Handbook for Lenders, Vaumini Amin
  • "Sovereignty is a very slippery concept - the range of sovereign States in the world has changed greatly during et years of et SUSANNE project, and the application of the tag NP1c is not intended to depend on just judgements about political status. Within the British Isles, for instance, Guernsey and the Isle of Man enjoy a considerable measure of independence, whereas England as part of the UK as none at all; nevertheless English speakers regard England, but not Man or Guernsey, as a "country", and accordingly Englsnd is NP1c but Mn (or the acronym I.o.M.) and Guernsey are NP1p, as "provinces" of the British Isles." - English for the computer: the SUSANNE Corpus and Analytic Scheme, Geoffrey Sampson
  • "Turn to the map, and you will find Jersey placed in the very front of the advanced guard of the British isles, and engulphed in the very jaws of France, with mouth wide opening to devour her." - An Argument Addressed to His Majesty's Royal Commissioners in the Island of Jersey, E. Allen (1812)
  • "The British Isles extend from Jersey (lat. 49°-13), over 11 degrees of latitude, to Unst in the Shetlands (lat. 603-49), where the night in the summer solstice is three hours shorter than it is in Jersey." - The Census of Great Britain in 1851, Census Office (1854)
  • "The Channel Islands consist o some of the best known and loved tourist destinations in the British Isles. There are three main islands, Jersey, Guernsey, and Alderney, together with a number of smaller ones, notably Herm and Sark." - BEAline to the Islands: The Story of Air Services to Offshore Communities of the British Isles by British European Airways, Its Predecessors and Successors, By Phil Lo Bao et al.
Definitions presented as being CONTEXT-SPECIFIC
  • "In this book, 'the British Isles' is taken to include the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, Orkney and Shetland as well as mainland Britain and Ireland." - Language in the British Isles, Peter Trudgill
  • "The Norman or Channel Islands, geographical dependencies of France, are politically British Isles, having been possessions of the English crown since the eleventh century." - A Descriptive Atlas of Astronomy, and of Physical and Political Geography, Thomas Milner, August Heinrich Petermann
Definitions that show optional use, where the Channel Islands are included in the PRINCIPLE DEFINITION
  • "The British Isles is an area divided between two sovereign states, namely the UK and the Republic of Ireland. It includes the Isle of Man. Use of this term sometimes includes the Channel Islands, but this is not consistent"- UK Government, UK or GB (see above for another definition from the same website)
  • "The British Isles comprise more than 6,000 islands off the northwest coast of continental Europe, including the countries of the United Kingdom of Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) and Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland. The group also includes the United Kingdom crown dependencies of the Isle of Man, and by tradition, the Channel Islands (the Bailiwicks of Guernsey and Jersey), even though these islands are strictly speaking an archipelago immediately off the coast of Normandy (France) rather than part of the British Isles." - World Geography of Travel and Tourism: A Regional Approach, Alan A. Lew
  • "…the history of 'England' has overlapped repeated with that of other cultures within the British Isles (a term which should include the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands, Shetlands and Orkney, as well as the larger islands of Britain and Ireland)." - The British Isles: a History of Four Nations, Hugh Kearney
Definitions that show optional use, where the Channel Islands are a SECONDARY DEFINITION to the principle definition
  • "...Britain, Ireland and the Isle of Man, and sometimes also the Channel Islands" - OED Online (the current Oxford English Dictionary, updated quarterly) and the two-volume Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, 2007 (the shorter OED in print - giving the same definitions as the latest work-in-progress OED), and the OED Additions books (which ammend the 1989 edition).

Note, the above is the latest full OED definition (from the quarterly published work-in-progress, due for full-volume print publication in 2037), and thus out-dates previous 1989 definition of "British Isles: a geographical term for the islands comparing Great Britain and Ireland with all their offshore islands including the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands."

  • "British Isles: group of islands off the northwestern coast of Europe. The group consists of two main islands, Great Britain and Ireland, and numerous smaller islands and island groups, including the Hebrides, the Shetland Islands, the Orkney Islands, the Isles of Scilly, and the Isle of Man. Some also include the Channel Islands in this grouping." - Encyclopedia Britannica
  • "The Archipelago off the west coast of Europe, which includes Britain, Ireland, the Northern Isles, (Orkney and Shetland), the (Inner and Outer) Hebrides (also known as the Western Isles), Man, Wight, and Anglesey but not usually the Channel Islands which, though British, are geographically closer to France. In Ireland, many people object to including that island in anything British, but the usage is ancient and no alternative name has been proposed." - Oxford Companion to the English Language
Definitions that unequivocally EXCLUDE the Channel Islands
  • The World Book Encyclopedia lists all the major islands including Orkney etc, but excludes the Channel Islands. It's definition is that the British Isles cover all islands that are “bordered by the English Channel” (they exclude the Channel islands because are the other side of the English Channel).
  • The Collier's Encyclopedia says "The Channel Islands of Normandy are not regarded as part of the British Isles.". It goes on to say, "the total area of the British Isles is 121,600 square miles (315,000 sq miles), or about that of New Mexico.”
  • "Not part of the British Isles but subject to the British Crown, with much the same characteristics of autonomy sovereignty as the Isle of Man, are the Channel Islands." - Britain in the European Union Today, Colin Pilkington
Definitions that LOGICALLY EXCLUDE the Channel Islands.
Chronicles of Britain (the history includes Ireland) has a shaded diagram of the "British Isles" that demonstrated different tree-types, and excluded the Channel Islands. The tome consistently uses the term 'British Isles' for Britain with Ireland (etc), but never mentions or portrays the Channel Islands when using the term. It does, however, cover the Channel Islands in the war section - and does not mention the term "British Isles" at that point, only “Britain”.

Statement by Rannpháirtí anaithnid[edit]

This should be a no brainer. If we don't know what a term means, we look to a dictionary. If the definition is different to what we had thought, we come away thinking, 'Well, you learn something new everyday.' We should not, as a project, change the definition of things to suit either our needs as editors or our own world view as individuals or groups of editors. That would be POV pushing and not the purpose of this encyclopedia.

There are (I don't doubt) references out there that treat the Channel Islands and the British Isles as being separate. In compliment to these are references that treat Ireland as being separate from the British Isles (e.g. "British Isles and Ireland" in Fortress Britain: artillery fortification in the British Isles and Ireland, Andrew Saunders; or Hitch-hiker's guide to Europe, Ken Welsh; among more). Do we treat Ireland as being separate on account of those references? No. Should we treat the Channel Islands as being separate on account of them either? No.

We stick to the definitions given in reliable sources, plain and simple. Otherwise it's a free-for-all to write anything we like, regardless of factual accuracy. In the case of the question of whether the Channel Islands are a part of the British Isles, the definition is straight forward:

  • "British Isles: a geographical term for the islands comparing Great Britain and Ireland with all their offshore islands including the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands." - Oxford English Dictionary (my emphasis)

(See also the list of references above.)

We are an encyclopedia. We do not have the privilege to change the definition of things to suit our POVs. Not on the Channel Islands, not on Ireland, not on anything.

--rannṗáirtí anaiṫnid (coṁrá) 10:15, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

Editors who endorse this statement[edit]

I agree with RA. We, as editors, are part of an encyplopedia; here to edit articles, provide sourced facts, and not to alter definitions solely on the basis of whether or not they coincide with our personal POVs. The references which have been provided above clearly demonstrate that the Channel Islands are part of the British Isles. Alternatives, such as Continental Islands is too vague, and would only confuse the readers.--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 09:32, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

In agreement with inclusion of the Channel Islands. There's more than enough 'sources' here. GoodDay (talk) 22:18, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

Statement by Matt Lewis[edit]

I personally find opening an RFC at this particular juncture a pushy act to say the least. I have spent a lot of time debating this over the last couple of days at Talk:Countries of the United Kingdom, and have promised more input (incl refs), and I need to catch up with the British Isles Specific Examples page at WP:BISLES too. There are plenty more refs out there, but they can't be target-keyworded in the manner of Rannpartis "channel islands" ones. It is a quirk of the internet that exceptions can be easily searched for (as they can be keyworded), whereas what is accepted is often harder to 'prove'. A library is often a better place fo the technical (i.e. non-sociological) sciences. The "no brainer" comment is a 'wind up' I can do without right now (that language is unacceptable as it has been countered so many times). Time is not that easy for me to find, and there is so much I can repeat myself before I am entitled to get tetchy. Most of my points have been studiously ignored by Rannparti (such as what is best for Wikipedia as an encyclopedia), and I hope he will not continue to do so in here. Supporters of the all-or-nothing definition tend to be IP's who stonewall progress in moderate guideline forming, as they often don't wish to see the term on Wikipedia at all (although others want it used without discretion).

Like Encyclopedia Britannica, Wikipedia is entitled to have its own preferred definition of BI. Britannica adds to their non-CI definition that "Some people include the Channel Islands", while in the children's edition it just excludes the CI's. Out there, there are non-Channel-Island 'archipelago' definitions, unfortunate-but-uncommon 'political' definitions, and "CI inclusive" for often-entirely-context-related-reasons definitions. Esceptions within disciplines also abound. Some dictionaries do offer single 'inclusive' definitions I concede - but so what? Some of Rannpartis presented examples have had caveats and actual inconsistencies in them - which is not uncommon at all regarding the complicated terminology surrounding the UK and the British Isles. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a dictionary - they are very different things. An encyclopedia needs guidelines in these cases. In Wikipedias case they must be online, as the editors are us!

It seems that the subject is a bit fraught right now, and for my own part I am only just getting back into it after a years absence from Wikipedia (partly at the bequest of someone else, who was clearly getting frustrated) and I not happy at all with this RFC being made at this particular moment in time. But it is... and I urge any new contributors to look a little deeper into the matter, and past what at first might appear "a no brainer". Wikipedia needs a guideline for the a moderate use of the term 'British Isles' (WP:BISLES was created to discuss this) as problems with the term have never gone away. For Wikipedia to advise on using the technical 'archipelago-only' use has always had the best support on Wikipedia. It makes sense, as it lies in between those who wish for alternative terms to be used insead of 'British Isles' (like 'Britain and Ireland' or whatever is suitable for the article), and those who want to see 'British Isles' used widely and freely without any consideration being made at all. Matt Lewis (talk) 12:53, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

  • I have updated the 'definition categories' above to better suite the options out there, and will be presenting a case for Wikipedia recommending the 'archipelago-only' definition in a British Isles guideline, when it is decided by consensus that all the various 'source types' have been properly represented in this RFC. Please note: the main British Isles article should of course always present the full picture: my aim is to suggest us returning to the creation of a sensible and encyclopedic 'guideline of use', that is inline with the major encyclopedias and the latest full OED. Please see Definitions that show optional use - where the Channel Islands are SECONDARY to the principle definition (e.g. “can also include”) for the top-level sources I will use for my argument. (I'll also use Collier's Encyclopedia, currently in the 'EXCLUDES' list, and any other examples I can find for those lists and the separate 'logically extracted' list I will create for non-defined examples of BI use without the CIs). Matt Lewis (talk) 22:28, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

Editors who endorse this statement[edit]


Matt, I opened this page on your suggestion: "We can't abandon this matter, so essentially we would be moving this discussion to somewhere else - most likely the talk pages of British Isles." Granted, I didn't open a new section on the BI talk page. I opened a subpage of the British Isles Task Force. Since there is a task force for these matters - and since the question affects multiple pages - that seemed most appropriate.

I also explicitly said that you should be given time to collect your sources and add a statement before it be advertised for wider input: "Before it's advertised anywhere, could you add a statement and sources (as it seems you['re] the strongest advocate of the opposing view to my own)."

Please recant your statement that "opening an RFC at this particular juncture [is] a pushy act to say the least".

For others, the entire discussion is here and the specific exchange is here. --rannṗáirtí anaiṫnid (coṁrá) 13:59, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

Oh come one. I merely asked for us not to "sideline" the matter, when you suggested we completely remove the BI Venn diagram from Countries of the United Kingdom. Removing the diagram was not a consensus decision anyway. As you know, I'm happy either way with having the Venn in that article, providing it is a both definition diagram when included (preferably without national flags on it). But plenty of editors want the diagram there, especailly the improved two-definition one made yesterday, I'm sure. But you know this of course, and you don't want to see the diagram improved at British Isles too, so you decided to push along its removal from Countries of the UK, and focus all the discussion in here! Your actions went from supporting your own 'CI-based' replacement version of the diagram, to deciding the diagram wasn't really needed after all, when someone replaced it with set the ball rolling for a 'both definitions' version! That is pretty transparent, as a revert back to your own would clearly have been unsupported. This partisan-begun RFC, in avoiding the British Isles talk page (where further changes would likely occur), could actually be regarded as gaming the system (though it would not the worse case I've seen).
I naturally thought this was an official 'RFC', which is likely to connect fresh faces to your clearly biased appraisals (don't get me working on "no brainer" again). As I told you that I haven't had time to catch up with WP:BITASK (where I assume you made the 'before advertising it..' comment), you should have informed me directly what kind of RFC this actually is!
I also think you rather make my standpoint on the British Isles look like it's an 'opposing' extreme - I do not wish to appear extreme in any way. I just happen to be the one who responded first to Mister Flash's question at Countries of the UK, and then to take your subsequent changes to the Venn diagram to task. My views on the 'BI matter' are actually very moderate. Like most people, I wish that the 'commonname' term for the archipelago didin't have the word 'British' in it, but that's life. Unfortunately some people also use the term interchangeably with (and sometimes in place of) 'British Islands', or the concept of them. But that doesn't mean Wikipedia has to follow suite (ie simply because you can source people using those terms). You must see that it is a form of WP:synthesis to force together so many different contexts and definitions. Some dictionaries may do that, but Wikipedia (an organic encyclopedia) needs to unravel them in this controversial matter, and then decide on an approach to recommend.
I don't like having to keep repeating my arguments when I'm already pushed for time either - despite the extra time you kindly said you'll give me here. You do make me repeat things, and Wikipedians tend to assume we all have all day all the time, which must be so off-putting to those who decide they can't effectively contribute here. Matt Lewis (talk) 17:28, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
A lot of what you write above has merit. It's unfortunate that you didn't take a "moderate" view earlier. It's unfortunate also that can't stop accusing me of dirty tricks in one way or another. It's unfortunate that you persist in trying to politicse this. All those unfortunate things drain wiki-engergy and willingness to co-operate.
So let's just open it to outside views and get it over with. --rannṗáirtí anaiṫnid (coṁrá) 20:04, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
Since you expressed a wish that only the community involved in British Isles topics be asked to participate in the discussion, I have only advertised it a Wikipedia talk:British Isles Terminology task force, Talk:British Isles, Talk:Channel Islands. I have placed a request also on Wikipedia:Requests_for_comment/History_and_geography. --rannṗáirtí anaiṫnid (coṁrá) 20:16, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
Two points:
1. I have not changed my views one iota. I've got progressively more narked I admit, but that has been down to repeating the above so many times now. Read back - you'll see I've making the same points. You've gone on some kind of wacky go cart ride the past couple of days, Rannpháirtí.
2. I never for a moment said this discussion should be for BI editors only! Part of the reason I set up the original WP:BITASK was to try and get others involved! I was just a question of timing - you opened this RFC when we were moving around both discussions and image files. I found it very disorientating, and I felt it was opened to avoid pending changes in the articles. I also felt the partisan way you began this RFC was to try and influence 'new blood'. I've never said that no new editors should participate in something like this! I've had little time lately, and it's all been spent on 'moderating' your actions - that's another reason I've been getting so peeved. Matt Lewis (talk) 21:18, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
I have also notified all who participated in the discussion at Talk:Countries of the United Kingdom. --rannṗáirtí anaiṫnid (coṁrá) 20:28, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
Notify who you want, inc the Wikiprojects if you wish. The matter certainly has to be sorted. Matt Lewis (talk) 21:18, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

Geographically, the Channels islands appear more a part of mainland Europe, as opposed to Isle of Mann which is snap dab in the middle of Great Britain and Ireland. -- GoodDay (talk) 20:21, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

I in no way doubt what you say, GoodDay. That is certainly what "appears" to be the case. But what do you think about the OED definition above etc. that says otherwise? (See the references on top.) Do you think Wikipedia should go with what is supported by reliable sources; or should Wikipedia go with what "appears" to be the case? --rannṗáirtí anaiṫnid (coṁrá) 20:28, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
That depends, on whether or not there are reliable sources supporting the 'exclusion' of Channel Islands. GoodDay (talk) 20:43, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
Indeed it does. So far: 20 say 'yes', 0 say 'no', and 1 says 'maybe'. I got tired transcribing definitions that include them so take that 20 as being only a small sample. In any event, I err on the side of the Oxford English Dictionary when it comes to the meaning of words and phrases. --rannṗáirtí anaiṫnid (coṁrá) 21:03, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
I'm gonna give Matt some time to come up with reliable sources to back his argument. If he's not able to? I shall side with the inclusion argument. GoodDay (talk) 21:07, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
I'm also taking into account, that the past discussions at talk:British Isles concerning an alternative term Britain and Ireland being used, often mentioned that such an alternative term was inaccurate do to its excluding both the Isle of Mann & Channel Islands. -- GoodDay (talk) 21:50, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
Sounds wise. --rannṗáirtí anaiṫnid (coṁrá) 22:09, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
To be honest, I don't think there is much value in taking past editors comments into account (esp in terms of catching them out) - this is about creating a workable guideline that will end the disruption, not a headcount of what people have said and done on Wikipedia. It's been a learning curve for all involved. Nobody will find a perfectly-sourced solution as there simply isn't one, but if we want to be free form the disruption we have seen, we are going to have to find a workable solution of our own that suits Wikipedia. I've always been confident that when the right guideline is finalised, it will be the end of the major problems with BI on Wikipedia. For most people this is only an awkwardly/unfortunately-worded descriptive term, not a major-league political one like 'ROI' etc. An unambiguous guideline that admins can support as well as editors is all that is needed.
Regarding compiling the sources, I'll have to take my time as I have a lot less than I once did, but they will be done sooner rather than later. I'll be deconstructing the 'inclusive' sources as much as presenting solid 'exclusive' ones, eg by denoting context etc. So far my spare time has been taken up commenting on 'side' issues. It probably looks pointless of course, but it is usually necessary, as you can never be sure what turns Wikipedia will take when people are allowed go on 'rides' unheeded. I'm hoping to pass by the library tomorrow, and I'm going to do some web searching now too (if I can stay awake tonight): basically it will be done when it's done. Rannparti has made this a basic battle of sources now (which he is entitled to do of course), so I'll need to have a solid group of undeniable references, like we did in the tables at Countries of the UK. If I deconstruct Rannparti's likely support references as well as many of the ones he has compiled, he'll find he has a lot less than he first thought to draw on. Hopefully we can then all accept that there are a number of 'definitions' in common use, many of them context based, and including - without any doubt - a widely-used unambiguous 'archipelago' one, which is clearly the best one for Wikipedia to recommend. Then we can hopefully move forward on finalising the guideline in terms of when and where the term is recommended. Matt Lewis (talk) 23:49, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
What happens if there's a virtual tie between opposing reliable sources? GoodDay (talk) 23:54, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
I only need to show that the 'archipelago-only' use is widely used. Rannparti denies that it is. It would help if I can 'flatten' some of his examples - ie show they have flaws. I've always said that the word has been used flexibly by people - that's one of its problems (the other being the word 'British' of course!). It is up to us as an encyclopedia to have a 'Wikpidia recommended definition' we can recommend. This definition-deciding approach is as old as Wikipedia itself - we won't be making or breaking any rules. Matt Lewis (talk) 00:02, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
Hopefully, a solution can be reached. PS: time for me to allow others to have their say. GoodDay (talk) 00:05, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
"...this is about creating a workable guideline that will end the disruption..." Correct. That will come from working with reliable sources. Thus far working with sources has moved you from declaring that the Channel Islands are definately, "Out. The term is geographical and is universally used as such, with only relatively few exceptions when you look at the whole picture. The Channel Islands are not in the archipelago of the British Isles. ... The first job of the British Isles guideline was to give Wikipedia a clear geography-only definition of the word; given the weight of sources, it makes full sense to use the scientific 'archipelago' approach."
I've provided you with what the Oxford English Dictionary and a range of sources from across the scientific spectrum has to say and you've since tempered those words - a lot. Let's see what you can come up with in contradiction. --rannṗáirtí anaiṫnid (coṁrá) 10:02, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
You have to look at the "whole" (ie global) picture, as I said. I haven't 'tempered' my words in any meaning-effecting way at all - if I have at all it's just the ebbing nature of discussion. I stressed the 'archipelago' definition as having the most value (I always have), and I've always claimed that it's use is the most 'universal' in the wider global sense - which I'm in the process of proving for you. I will admit that it was in the intrinsic difficulty of finding proof where I initially misjudged! Many of your intrinsically easily-found examples contain caveats of some kind that extend meaning to include the keyword "Channel Islands". People will do this if it suits them, and there is no human law to stop people being flexible of course. I've always acknowledged the complexity surrounding the term - perhaps that is why your steadfastly simplistic approach has been winding me up so much! Also there are exceptions everywhere - but I'm not going to go into all of the arguments again. I need to show you that people are universally using an archipelago meaning, by proving what does not specifically need (in their context) to be spelled out. Yes, the CIs have popped in and out over years for various reasons, but it's no wonder considering what and where they are! It is so foolish of us to argue this way about such an obviously exceptional matter, that I can't help feeling that you are trying to demonstrate that there is a 'political' basis (if not beginning?) intrinsic to the term here. Do you feel the terms has always been - deep down - a nationalistic tool? I would have to say that is a separate argument to mine, which entirely regards the term's unpolitical 'archipelago-use' and the value of that to Wikipedia. Anyway, I think the reason I keep repeating my flipping arguments is because you tend to respond by ignoring them, or suggesting that I have none or am changing them. And the sources are coming, so you don't have to suggest they are not there. The clearest CI-excluding examples are the visual British Isles maps which deliberately leave out the corner of France, even when it is a tradition to show it as a land reference - ie so the channel islands are specifically excluded. Searching for 'excluding text' online is not so easy, as we all know. The internet is full of stuff, but not necessarily full of what you need. It is full of surface meaning. It looks like I may have to demonstrate where people are clearly not including the CI's via their actual practice. If I have problems in the library I might actually contact some people for advice on where to look too. Matt Lewis (talk) 13:15, 2 December 2009 (UTC)


"The British Isles archipelago consists of the Island of Great Britain, the Island of Ireland, and the adjacent islands."

What is un-clear about this? The Channel Islands are apart of this "adjacent islands" bit.

ArmchairVexillologistDonLives! (talk) 03:10, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

The CI's are apart for sure, and could never be called part of the archipelago. What we have to prove is that an 'archipelago' definition is actually universally in use by people. Matt Lewis (talk) 13:15, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

In my view this is a waste of time debate. They're neither objectively in or out. Politically it makes sense to include them. Geographically they're really much more part of what we British would call 'Continental Europe'. Some sources mean them when they say British Isles. Some sources explicitly exclude them. Most probably forget about them. You'll never get an answer because there isn't one. --Pretty Green (talk) 09:18, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

See the list of references above. Could you give an example of a source that explicitly excludes them? --rannṗáirtí anaiṫnid (coṁrá) 09:32, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
As has been pointed out, the difficulty with the explicitly excluding point is that such sources are linguistically difficult to find, though there are plenty of examples of use where 'the channel islands and the British isles' occur ([1][2][3], [4]), I accept that these are use rather than definition and should be treated as such. I would argue that the very fact that many sources have to state the CI are in the BI, or are being included in their use, means that they are not naturally be part of the definition. Anyway, I couldn't give two hoots whether people believe the CI are in the BI or not. The point I wanted to make above (badly) is that we should explain the conditions under which they are included and not state whether not they are - for example, I think the current wording of British Isles does a good job of this (though you could remove the latter part of that sentence so that it says 'and, by tradition, the Chanell Islands'). I think a debate about whether they are 'actually' in or not is a waste of time. --Pretty Green (talk) 11:55, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
It seems like it's a complete waste of time, I agree - but underlying this debate is a need for a guideline that gives specific directions on the best way to use term in various Wikipedia articles - ie it's about more than directing the term's use via the explanations on the British Isles page. If we can all agree that an 'achipelago-only' definition does actually have widespread use out there, then we can think about offering guidelines that perhaps recommend it as the Wikipedia-recommended definition. This is only a proposal of course, but I think it's the best way to avoid (as much as we can) the political issues surrounding the word. Articles have been locked over the way it's been used before now. Matt Lewis (talk) 13:15, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
I think the word "explicitly" is the key, isn't it. People aren't so often explicit about what they take as written. The whole case goes a bit further that the starting precepts of WP:Verify. Matt Lewis (talk)
Pretty Green, absolutely. I (in another life) was the originator of that wording on the British Isles page for the exact reasons you state. It is not always appreciated that they are included or why they would be. That they are, and the reason why, is a verifiable and so I added a reference for the "by tradition" part a few days ago.
I disagree that it should be difficult to find contradicting references. The OED, to give just one example, explicitly state the Channel Islands as being a part of the British Isles. They are far from alone. Look at all of the other dictionary, atlases, reference books and so forth that do so also. If they are incorrect, there will be references out there that say that they are incorrect. If there is a elusive "archipelago-only" definition out there, that will be defined and, no doubt, contrasted with the "incorrect" or "socio-cultural-political" definition that can otherwise be so easily references.
As I pointed out above, and you do also, there are references for "Channel Islands and the British Isles", just as there are references for "Ireland and the British Isles". We can't take isolated (mis)use as being definitive. We cannot infer this or that from uses depending on our perspectives. That sort of thing is what causes so much heart-ache around this and other topics.
And that is just what we would be doing if we decided to "agree" to go with an "archipelago-only" definition. It might satisfy our short-term needs as editors but it would not live up to verifiability or the goals of this encyclopedia - and would only shore up more trouble for later when someone else would come along with a bag full of references exposing it as a fabrication.
We're not here to amend knowledge to suit our needs as editors. Or to 'tidy up' things we imagine to be 'untidy'. Or to gloss over parts that don't suit our POVs. People often do neglect the Channel Islands a being a part of the British Isles. That's something we should point out. And explain why they are. But definition after definition from reliable source after reliable source explicitly state otherwise: the Channel Islands are a part of the British Isles. It is not our job to present anything else as being fact. --rannṗáirtí anaiṫnid (coṁrá) 14:02, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
Honestly, it's such a slur to accuse experienced editors of "ammending knowledge". You have pitched youself completely outside of the core of the debate, and yet I am spending my time appeasing just you. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Matt Lewis (talkcontribs) 21:32, 2 December 2009

Sources Update[edit]

I only 5 had minutes in Cardiff Central library today (just before it closed) but it was so revealing I thought I'd post my findings here.

  • “..Britain, Ireland and the Isle of Man, and sometimes also the Channel Islands” (2-vol Shorter OED 2006)

The latest OED is the £95 2-volume 'Shorter OED' from 2006, which is essentially the working-version of the main 20 volume OED (currently only a third of the way through its third edition). The next 20-vol OED will have the above definition, plus include an about two hundred thousand more obscure words and terms. The problem has been that the various compacted OEDs, like the Concise OED, have occasionally offered all-inclusive single definitions. I'm happy with the latest OED as a foundation from which to work from. “Sometimes also” is about right in the real (non internet) world.

I also had a chance to quickly look at 3 multi-volume encyclopedia's (again jotting notes) before getting kicked out:

  • The World Book Encyclopedia (I didn't get the date) gave a list of all the major islands including Orkney etc., but excluded the Channel Islands. It's definition was that the British Isles cover all islands that are “bordered by the English Channel” - i.e., they exclude the Channel islands because are the other side of the English Channel.
  • The Encyclopedia Britannica (2003) seemed to leave them out completely: “British Isles, group of islands off the north-western coast of Europe. The group consists of two main islands, Great Britain and Ireland, and numerous smaller islands. See England; Ireland; Northern Ireland; Scotland; Wales.” I did not see any other mention of the CI's in the text.
  • The Collier's Encyclopedia I quickly looked through, I couldn't take notes on, but it gave a fairly long list of all the notable islands and a total size too. It did not include the Channel Islands. Next time I get a chance to go in I'll take a copy of the whole thing, as anything that gives the size is especially useful. I think there was another multi-volume encyclopeida in the library too, probably the Americana.
  • LIBRARY UDATE: Collier's says "The Channel Islands of Normandy are not regarded as part of the British Isles.", which I don't find particularly well-phrased I must concede - but it clearly based on their chosen archipelago-only definition. The multi-volume Colliers is one of the major enclopedia's, and all of them, like the full OED, put the archipelago first. It goes on to say, "the total area of the British Isles is 121,600 square miles (315,000 sq miles), or about that of New Mexico. I had just another short time in the library today, which was frustrating as it opened till 7 too. Why do I feel panicky over this? No one trusts each other on this subject, that's why. I did find a huge book in the reference section called Chronicles of Britain (the history crosses of course with Ireland), which had a shaded diagram of the "British Isles" that demonstrated different tree types and excluded the CI's. The tome consistently uses the term 'British Isles' for Britain with Ireland (etc.), but never mentions or portrays the Channel Islands when using the term. It does, however, cover the CI's in the war section - and does not mention the term "British Isles" at that point, only Britain. It was clear to me reading the book that the editors did not see the CIs as being in the British Isles. Matt Lewis (talk) 00:33, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

So no encyclopedia I looked at in the library included the Channel Islands, and the up-to-date S.OED gave the “sometimes also” qualifier.

I also went into Borders bookshop and found a book called something like 'Aerial photographs of the British Isles' (I've forgotten its exact name now), that did not mention the Channel Islands at all, and crucially did not include photographs of them either. I'll find many more examples like that – i.e. ones don't mention or include the CI's. They are the ones that are hard to search for on the net.

Also in Borders I picked up a DVD called 'Flowers of the British Isles' (wild flowers, technically) and it actually only covers Great Britain, which it calls both 'Britain', and 'Great Britain' when being technical (i.e. when giving statistics). I expect that another company had already used the term “Flowers of Great Britain”, but I thought it showed how loosely (or carelessly) 'British Isles' is used sometimes. As the DVD is technically about wild flowers, it could be about copywriting names.

It was all I had time to do, but I found it extremely telling that when OFF the internet, the reality that immediately confronts you is markedly different. You can't 'keyword search', so you have to see.

Anyway, I'm not going to bust my guts after finding the above, so I've posted this today. It might be the weekend now before I post anything else. Matt Lewis (talk) 21:32, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

You two fellas sure make it difficult to decide. GoodDay (talk) 21:39, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
What do you think is difficult about the above? Even the latest OED say "sometimes". Matt Lewis (talk) 21:41, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
Currently, we've got 20 sources backing 'inclusion' & 3 sources backing 'exclusion'. GoodDay (talk) 21:49, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
You have to be joking Good Day. If this was simply a citation 'shoot out' it would make Afghanistan look like a winnable war! In any case, there has been about 10 sources now in this debate that (at least) clearly demonstrate that there are two definitions. The decent CI-only sources count less than 10 - when was there 20? You have to be more critical, Good Day. It isn't a case of either/or either - Ranniparti is claiming the 'archipelago definition' is effectively non-existent. I simply have to prove it is widely used - I don't have to 'out shoot' anyone. I found 5 'archipelago' sources in town today I've detailed above (and I wasn't ignoring any 'other side' either) so I don't know where you get your maths from! You cannot count an old OED defintion against a bigger-volume and more recent one too. And that is the defining blow as far as I'm concerned. Matt Lewis (talk) 22:30, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
Eh, no. We have 20 for "inclusion", 0 for "exclusion", and 2 "sometimes". Is time for me to get another 20? --rannṗáirtí anaiṫnid (coṁrá) 22:06, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
That is borderline trolling - you have 20:0 nothing, and you are now seriously breaking WP, so be very very careful. I spent a lot of my free time today, and I know full well you will try and make me waste as much time as you can before you let go. Matt Lewis (talk) 22:30, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
Does the World Book/Colliers references actually say the CIs are out or just neglect to mention them? The Britannica definition also leaves out the Shetlands, Mann, etc. for example. (All of these are tertiary sources BTW.) The OED definition is solid.
Neither cover them at all as far as I could see - but I will double-check as I was pushed for time. Colliers gave a total area that didn't include them in a pretty long list. That, a few sold technical sources, and the latest OED definition better be enough. Matt Lewis (talk) 22:30, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
Your anecdote about Flowers of the British Isles is a telling story about reading into how a phrase is used. From that example are we to draw a third ring around Britain and say that some defitions exclude Ireland, Mann, the Shetlands, Orkneys and the Channel Islands?
Don't be so silly. The 'anecdote' was to show how people often use what they see as appropriate at the time. A fact that weakens your 'CI-and-nothing-else' argument, but does not effect the multiple meanings arguement. Matt Lewis (talk) 22:30, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
Again though, the OED definition is good. --rannṗáirtí anaiṫnid (coṁrá) 22:06, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
What do you mean - the "OED definition is good"? You actually accept it? Matt Lewis (talk) 22:30, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

WP:V is my decider here. Let's include the Channel Islands, folks. GoodDay (talk) 22:15, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

Folks? Has anyone ever reported you Good Day? I think it would teach you a well-needed lesson. Sometimes you seem to inflame situations as much as you can. Matt Lewis (talk) 22:30, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
I've withdrawn from this Taskforce/Channel Islands. PS: I'm not pleased with what you're getting at. GoodDay (talk) 22:36, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
Fair play GoodDay, you do get out that little olde spoon and stir things up from time to time. I've always assumed its deliberate but not malicious by the way, but other editors may take a different view. Sorry to come late to this,, but as far as I can see from the evidence, and from my own memory there are different uses of the term. If we were being strictly geographical then anything not on the same "shelf" would not be included and the CI would be out (as is the case for some sources). However as the term has historically being used as "political" it has also come to mean everything owned directly or indirectly by Britain. The political use causes issues on several pages where it is either removed and inserted to make a political point. Any definition needs to reflect the different uses. --Snowded TALK 22:41, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
So you would go for creating a per-context guideline? It's one of the possibilies on offer, but could it be managed? Remember the technical problems I had working on WP:BIDRAFT2. What is for sure it that without accepting the archipelago definition exists we are not going to get anywhere. I personally wouldn't want to use a term that (according to Wikipdia's guideline on use) does and doesn't include an area, and is/isn't political. But the problem is that people will always demand it's use. I think the non-political version is most likely to suit all sides. It is not uncommon at all for Wikipedia to recommend a single definition/approach in these cases. It is not coincidence I think that all the big multi-volume encyclopedias seem to be approaching it in the same achipelago-based way. And the new OED is a clincher regarding the CI definition being an extra-meaning of the term. Matt Lewis (talk) 22:59, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

This may not help the discussion, but does anyone know how the French describe it? Do they consider it part of the British Isles? For that matter, do other countries include it as part of the British Isles? Not sure how this will help matters but I'm curious as to how the rest of the world look on it. Jack forbes (talk) 22:58, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

It would be interesting to know, though of course this is the Enlgish language Wikipedia. The English Channel is La Manche to the French of course. But if they use a direct translation of 'British Isles' for a technical definition for the archipelago it would actually say quite a lot. They would be generally free of UK politics too, or any cultural/context need to include the CI's. They might be more (or less?) inclined to see them as part of France. It's certainly worth a look. (I've reindented if you don't mind) Matt Lewis (talk) 23:06, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
How about including the RfC at France, Normandy and Brittany? It may get some results. Cheers, Daicaregos (talk) 23:29, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
Sounds like a good idea. I was, out of curiosity, going to ask at the French wiki if they had a direct translation of British Isles and if the Channel Islands were included in their encyclopedias/maps etc but, alas, my French does not come up to scratch. Jack forbes (talk) 00:11, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

I've added another 20 references. "What do you mean - the 'OED definition is good'? You actually accept it?" Of course. Daicaregos, I only advertised it on a limited number of places because Matt didn't want to "connect fresh faces to [my] clearly biased appraisals". Initially, he has requested that it be a thread on Talk:British Isles. I opened it here because I though it was more appropriate. --rannṗáirtí anaiṫnid (coṁrá) 00:16, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

I told you to go ahead and advertise the RFC wherever you want! I didn't say I was against fresh faces (that is a half-falsified quote), and I've told you above that I didn't say that too. You are simply not allowed to keep ignoring my points and misquoting my comment. There are rules on all types of behaviour, and we've already seen tonight how your 'commenting style' can mislead people to the point where they can cause arguments between others. I more than welcome 'fresh faces' being involved (and set up BITASK partly for that reason) - I merely objected to the partisan and exaggerated way you opened the RFC (you should have been neutral, not try and influence from the outset), and the timing; this RFC was (pretty transparently in my eyes) created to avoid discusion being moved to British Isles, and the inevitable image change you didn't want to see happening. The partcular timing of it was very close to gaming the system, and IMO you are starting to sound more and more like the IP accounts of the period you say you were IP-editing outside of this area, too. You repetitive use of the figure '20' when I've even found errors in some of them is so reminisent of someone in the past that I almost need to lie down. In fact I will - night, night. Matt Lewis (talk)
  • "I told you to go ahead and advertise the RFC wherever you want!" After I had advertised it. By all means advertise it elsewhere.
  • "...this RFC was (pretty transparently in my eyes) created to avoid discusion being moved to British Isles..." The RFC was advertised on Talk:British Isles.
--rannṗáirtí anaiṫnid (coṁrá) 00:57, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
Those two 'points' do not detract at all from my above comments - they are just words. I had no idea you did it or advertised it it was so quickly.. you started it unknown to all, made sure you got your highly-partisan say in it, then mentioned it at our debate on Countries of the UK, and advertised it on BITASK and BI. You stopped the precedings on the images by redirecting all the debate to here, and clearly wanted to keep this a 'close knit' taskforce page in the flimsy guise of an RFC. What kind of RFC is only open to all the current editors (even to "begin with")!? It's like no RFC I've ever seen. How you can say I asked you to keep it small isn't just complete rubbish, it's completely hypocritical. What you did/have done is as transparent as it gets. Matt Lewis (talk) 00:33, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

Came across a definition that did not included the Channel Islands. Ironically, maybe, it's from a politics book. --rannṗáirtí anaiṫnid (coṁrá) 00:47, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

Its a very messy term. For that reason its OK on things like species distribution, but the minute it gets used as a way of grouping entities (as have been done on British Empire) then it fails as its not an accurate or agreed term. --Snowded TALK 08:50, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
The term itself, I agree, should be used with caution. It is not suitable for all things and sensitivity to the topic being discussed has to be borne in mind. That's a different matter though. I think to have a different "British Isles" for every topic would be a recipe for disaster.
The substative point, that it's a "messy" term, is important. Usage is inconsistent. Like Matt's Flowers of the British Isles example, usage can mean just Great Britain. Sometimes usage is to exclude the Republic of Ireland - even explicitly so; or the contrary: to explicitly include it in contrast to other usage. Usage can be to neglect the Isles of Man or Shetland. Usage is different to definition though. The verifiable definition is clear-cut from the examples references above. Usage aside. --rannṗáirtí anaiṫnid (coṁrá) 09:50, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
Britain in the European Union, by Colin Pilkington. "Not part of the British Isles but subject to the British Crown, with much the same characteristics of autonomous sovereignty as the isle of Man, are the Channel Islands".[5]. Now, that's an example of the Channel Island not being considered part of the British Isles. I certainly don't argue that there are many sources that do include them, as you have shown but, it is not always as clear cut as it may appear. As Snowded already commented, it is a very messy term. Jack forbes (talk) 10:07, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
That reference is listed above. I added it last night. --rannṗáirtí anaiṫnid (coṁrá) 10:27, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
Quick question, Jack. The nut of this question is whether two rings should be drawn around the British Isles in diagrams: one with the Channel Islands in, one with the Channel Islands out. Indeed, the intital position was that they should be excluded altogether.
Now we know that there are definitions (and usage) in the reliable sources that exclude the Republic of Ireland from the British Isles. They few in number, like the one above regarding the Channel Islands, but they are there. If you would draw a ring excluding the Channel Islands on the basis of the reference above, would you draw a thrid ring excluding the Republic of Ireland on the basis of those other ones?
I would not. Both the question of the Channel Islands and of the Republic of Ireland can be left to be discussed/described (where approprate and as necessary) in the text of an article. --rannṗáirtí anaiṫnid (coṁrá) 10:51, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
I think your comparison with Ireland and the Channel Islands don't really stand up. No one says that ireland is not part of the same archipelago. The Channel Islands though are not so straight forward. As from this reference [6] which states that it is part of the British Isles though it is a different archipelago. This is what it makes it such a messy term, as you can see from the explanation of the Geography term at the British Isles (Terminology) article, which includes the Channel islands as part of the archipelago, when it is not.
There has, in my opinion, have to be two maps to explain the different terminology of the term British Isles. Jack forbes (talk) 13:32, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
It might help if we bigin by asking, 'What is an archipelago?' It is an extensive group of islands. No requirement that they be on the same geological shelf (although all of the British Isles, including the Channel Islads, are on the same shelf). Or that they have to be on the same side of teh English Channel. An archipelago is just a group of islands. No more, no less. Culture, history, politics, language and identity can be as much a basis for that grouping as being as on the same side of a narrow channel.
The book you link to says that the Channel Islands are a part of the British Isles. (I listed it above already.) Regarding sources that exclude the Republic of Ireland, at least one is listed above:
  • "The British Isles consists of the United Kingdom plus the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man." - International Dimensions in Family Law, John Murphy (2005) (emphasis in original)
That reference is no more of a reason to draw a third ring excluding the Republic of Ireland than defitions tham the handful that include Rockall or exclude the Channel Islands. We can note the issues in article texts. We don't need to overload images with rings of all shapes and sizes with made up names for denote one "definition" from another.
--rannṗáirtí anaiṫnid (coṁrá) 13:57, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
Are you saying that politics are as major a factor in defining an archipelago than say, geography? Jack forbes (talk) 14:11, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
Not politics so much as humanity. Otherwise it would be a geological term. Flanders, for example, is a term in geography. Like the British Isles, it only roughly conforms to a region bordered by geological features.
In any event, this is a discussion we can do without. The soruces say they are in. A few may say they are out. As with those that say the same about the Republic of Ireland, we can refer to them in the text. There's no need to clutter a diagram with every possibile perumation of sources. We can just go with the major one and refer to anomolies or issues with this in the text. --rannṗáirtí anaiṫnid (coṁrá) 14:24, 3 December 2009 (UTC)


Per Wikipedia:Verifiability, I propose we adopt the following guideline:

  • The Channel Islands are regarded as being a part of the British Isles for the purposes of the encyclopedia. Where appropriate, it can be noted in the text of an article that they are not physically a part of the island group.

--rannṗáirtí anaiṫnid (coṁrá) 00:57, 3 December 2009 (UTC)


Per Wikipedia:Verifiability, I propose we adopt the following guideline:

  • The Channel Islands are not regarded as being a part of the British Isles for the purposes of the encyclopedia. Where appropriate, it can be noted in the text of an article that they are politically part of the island group.

I make this proposal to point out that we could implement either one, or, we could do as Snowded suggested and take it case by case. I think the proposal is far too premature anyway. Jack forbes (talk) 01:17, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

There are 40 references at the top of the page that contradict that proposal. Are there any that would support it? --rannṗáirtí anaiṫnid (coṁrá) 08:17, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
Stop misleading people Rannpharti, and just cool down. You can't keep tolling up bad (or since debunked) sources, or ignore all the counter sources you don't like. 40 is actually nothing anyway and you are a fool to carry on - there is probably an average of 40,000 sources on the internet for 'alternative definitions' of anything. Take your pick on the subject – you know what the internet is like. You are now making almost constant demands for specific "doesn't include" citations. Aside from being provocative, it is totally at odds with Wikipedia's developed policy on verification. Repetitive abuse of policy will surely end up attracting admin, even on a BI topic. Verify is NOT a head count. The existing-consensus 'multi-definition' argument now has the latest Oxford English Dictionary AND the major encyclopedias on board; either excluding the CI's entirely, or saying that the CI is an extra-meaning definition. Along with a Wikipedia consensus on the matter, what more do we need? Matt Lewis (talk) 13:57, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
I now have to prove how people are not including the Channel Islands by methodically demonstrating their absence in examples, knowing that they will be ignored by Rannphairti because they don't "keyword" on Google in the way he demands it. Unless I employ academic workers, I am always going to 'lose by numbers' against the amount of his easily-found motley sources, many of which are context-based and weak, or full of other mistakes - and we can all see the amount of them now anyway! I feel like I'm being forced to work without end, after my argument had already been proven. I will stress this again: all that was INTENDED AND NEEDED to be proved was that the major sources (and I have the major dictionaries and encyclopedias) actually accept an archipelago-only definition. But in actuality: THE MAJOR SOURCES MAKE IT CLEAR THAT 'ARCHIPELAGO-ONLY' IS THE PRINCIPLE DEFINITION! Beyond that it is ridiculous to demand endless exactly-phrased “does not include the Channel Islands" citations: people simply just don't bother stressing it the way Rannpahirti insists they must.
According to my rock-solid sources, the Channel islands are technically an inclusion (clearly context/political/mistake-based when reading Rann's examples) - not the base meaning of the term. Yes, according to my own sources - but they are top of the heap sources. I will (as soon as I can) detail a solid group of examples that (in practice) technically exclude the Channel Islands in factors surrounding the British Isles. I realise that they will have to obviously archipelago-only, or it will be claimed that the CI's simply do not 'crop up'. When I do, I sincerely hope that Rannnphairti will not continue to flatly ignore any 'non-simplistic' arguments presented to him, and will stop gloating over his victory in this utterly childish number game. Matt Lewis (talk) 13:57, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
Matt, your "rock solid" sources for an "archipelago-only" definition are two that say the British Isles can include the Channel Islands. I provided the only source we have that excludes them. Meanwhile, we have 40 more published, reliable, book-based sources that explicitly say that the Channel Islands are very definately "in".
Also, when talking about consensus: you realise "Channel Islands in" has been the consensus on British Isles and Terminology of the British Isles for some years now.
Hold your hands in front of your eyes, and try and read them all again (more than 2 you weasel!). Like all the sources I've given you (including reversing some of your own), they show that 'archipelago-only' is a valid definition, typically by it being the principle definition. Whether they say you can add the Channel Islands or not is neither here nor there! Your foolish argument completely debunked the idea of archipelago-only use - my examples and arguments shows it is very much the principle use. That people add the Channel Islands when it suits them has been made clear by you many many times now. Sociologically speaking, it is pretty obvious why people would do it when 'Britain' is concerned, so you don't need to keep piling on the evidence for it any more - it is simply ignoring the main argument.
I see people falling for your repetitive exaggerations, that's why I SHOUT at times! Your 40 nill and counting rugby scores will just make you look like a fool when I tally up and finalise this debate. I find it too demeaning, as we go, to tally the single and dual-definition sources you are so rudely ignoring, and re-align your own sources into a more honest number that excludes your failed ones, like your own dual-meaning sources! So just carry on showing yourself up.. When I'm working these hours on things like this I do see it as personal, I can't help it - you ought to know I see it like that, just in case you casually assume nobody here has any kind of real life! You do remind me of Wikipeire, and his tedious counter-accusations, protestations and demands for more proof, before finally always falling at checkuser. (no I don't think you are him).
What evidence do you have to say that "channel islands in" has been the long-standing consensus? I don't see any people backing you up here. Since I've been editing on the subject most people have expressed a wish for the term to be 'geographical' (the word people have been using for archipelago-only) as much as anything because it was less messy - that's been my clear experience. You might play with words (geographical/archipelago), but that is the truth as I've witnessed it. The BI articles offer both meanings (saying variations of "archipelago/geographical term.. and by tradition also the Channel Islands" etc) and they have done so for a long time. On Wikipedia at least, the quirky definition of the British Isles being non-political and geographical with the channel islands included is largely your own. Most people here want to fashion at least some kind of positive use for the term 'British Isles', rather than negatively implode it - and make it look more clumsy than it already does - by synthesising every context-sufficient meaning that can be found on Google into a 'super-meaning' that is bound to be even more problematic in use. Why would anyone want to do that I wonder? Matt Lewis (talk) 13:00, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
You might also reconsier telling another user to "cool down" and then proceed to type in bold capitals followed by an exclamation mark? --rannṗáirtí anaiṫnid (coṁrá) 14:15, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
I'll hold back until Matt brings more of his sources to the table, then maybe we will get the full picture of this debate. Jack forbes (talk) 14:22, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
Wise. --rannṗáirtí anaiṫnid (coṁrá) 15:12, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
Update, there's 1 to support "politically part of the island group". 1 to support "not regarded as being a part of the British Isles". And 40 that flatly contradict it. --rannṗáirtí anaiṫnid (coṁrá) 08:45, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

Is it just me or does it appear to others that there is a lack of input from other editors. Has this been advertised broadly enough or clearly enough? Perhaps many editors have decided not to contribute to this task force but, it seems a little unusual. Jack forbes (talk) 01:06, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

I would need to be supplied with an armoured tank before I venture onto this battlefield again. There's just too much shrapnel flying around here, which is not beneficial to one's health.--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 09:11, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
I did not comment previously as I agree with ML that the process was too immature to be sorted by RFC. My own opinion, please note I have read very little of the input here, Is that wikipedia should provide the History of the CI's, inclusion/Non inclusion in the debate. If the Current BI article were correct (and it is not - It is a barefaced lie by a British National Element) that the BI are the invention of the ancient greek then, for the majority of BI's history, the channel Isle were excluded as there is simply no link between the two island groups. If instead we were to use only WP:RS we would know that BI are a more recent political concept and hence can include the Chanel Isles when politically expedient. Relevent quotes:
The Archipelago off the west coast of Europe, which includes Britain, Ireland, the Northern Isles, (Orkney and Shetland), the (Inner and Outer) Hebrides (also known as the Western Isles), Man, Wight, and Anglesey but not usually the Channel Islands which, though British, are geographically closer to France. In Ireland, many people object to including that island in anything British, but the usage is ancient and no alternative name has been proposed. ref Ed Tom McArthur Oxford Companion to the English Language Oxford University Press 1992 ISBN 019214183X
British Isles Until 1949 a collective title for Great Britain, Ireland, and the numerous islands surrounding the two larger islands, including the Isle of Man. In 1949 the Republic of Ireland left the British Commonwealth and so could no longer be included in the title. ref "British Isles" Concise Dictionary of World Place-Names. John Everett-Heath. Oxford University Press 2005. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press.
Þjóðólfr (talk) 08:51, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
Two excellent references that do an very good job of showing the "messiness" with the term (as Snowded put if, if I understood him correctly). My position here is:
  • On whether we should be deciding that it would be better for Wikipedia if we went for an 'archipelago-only' definition, I don't beleive that we should be trying to 'tidy' things up where we see them as being messy. Or to correct definitions where we see them as we see them as "incorrect", "inaccuarte" or "unscientific". Or to tighten them up, where we see them as being "loose". We should write based on sources.
  • Regarding diagrams: We certainly should not be drawing the boundary of the British Isles to exclude the Channel Islands in diagrams. On the question of whether we should be drawing multile rings showing multiple boundaries, with the CIs in/our (or ROI in/out, or Rockall in/out), I think that it's a bad idea to go down that route. I think that it is an even worse idea to place labels such as "Goegraphical British Isles" or "Socio-Political British Isles" on such boundaries (since there are no references that support these labels as being accepted delimiters for a multi-boundary definition). We would not be able to do proper treatment to the "messiness" of the subject in a diagram with multiple boundary rings. We can leave discussion of the "messiness" to articles text.
  • In articles (where and as appropriate at least), the "messiness" of the term should be explained - regarding the Channel Islands, the ROI, Rockall and everywhere else.
(Just as a note on the the process being "too immature" for an RFC, Matt suggested moving the discussion from Talk:Countries of the United Kingdom to another location. I opened a centralised RFC here because I though it more appropriate - Matt had suggested Talk:British Isles.) --rannṗáirtí anaiṫnid (coṁrá) 09:46, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
I never used the words "too immature", I complained about you frankly gaming the system by curtailing live discussions/edits (I'm not going to be so polite about that any more). You've been 'pushing' so much Rannphairti, that people are taking your deliberately-incorrect statistics, and your comments and arguments, as the truth. The way you opened this suspiciously-limited RFC was way too sneaky and partisan, and you know I was heading to British Isles from Countries of the UK to continue with the images discussion/changes - so you speedily started this. It was gaming the system, and (like you did before you 'vanished' last year) you basically really 'went for it' on manipulating the 'British Isles' into to be dealt with the way pretty much only you want it to be. Crucially, you have had no initial support as far as I could see, and have only found a couple of agreements with the horribly-righteous (and absolutely inappropriate) "Wikipedia must never be abused!! The truth must out!!" argument. It is fully inappropriate in this matter, and a slur on me and my intelligent arguments, which you repeatedly steamroller. Difficult cases need intelligent discussion.
Dealing with each Wikipedia use of 'British Isles' per article, per context (changing definitions as suits) is what Wikipedia does by default. Why on earth are we arguing here if that is the best way? Why is there a taskforce on British Isles at all? We are here because articles have been blocked over this, and because the 'everything goes' approach does not suit terms as dirtily messy as this one. The term is simply too intrinsically disliked, and there are simply too many variations of uses of it. It is not just messy, it is dirty too, as you know all too well.
Wikipedia is perfectly happy with picking major source/s in case of these muddy definitions: like all the other encyclopedias. I was advised on that last year by an admin - and it is sound advice. Hold your ears, I am about to shout: IT IS NOT AGAINST THE SAINTLY GOODNESS OF WIKIPEDIA TO SEPARATE THE MEANINGS OF THIS TERM! Flowers will not die, old ladies will not wail, and monuments to Rannparti will not fall. You didn't advertise the RFC to anyone until you had your fully partisan "no brainer" opening here. You completely gamed the system, the the various consequences of your partisan approach have been seen. I'll present your acts as abusing policy without hesitation if this all seriously goes awry.
But this argument will be won on verifiable sources: I actually have provided the highest-level ones: the latest/biggest OED and the major encyclopedias. I simply can't so-easily keyword the inter-textual uses you are dropping now like fliers (knowing full well that the number of them says proves absolutely nothing). The archipelago definition simply exists, and is one that people have appended the CI's to for various contextual reasons. The major Encyclopedias like Britannica, Colliers, World Book (and Wikipedia?) have realised that you cannot synthesise all the uses of 'British Isles' into one single super-definition. Wikipedia has to recommend a principle meaning - it is all that I ask – and I am not crushing meadows in doing do so. You have simply been too pushy Rannpharti, but you have started and continued on absolutely wobbly ground. But that is entrenched POV for you. I am determined that a moderate guideline WILL be achieved, mark my words. Or the fight will never end, eh? One thing I'll make sure of – presenting Verify as simple citation race, and being hyper-moralistic about Wikipedia's supposed 'inclusiveness' (in synthesis as well as subject), will only get you so far. They are Wikipedia-old tricks, and they never seem to change, whatever the subject..Matt Lewis (talk) 13:00, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
Matt, it was me who used the term (If I had my time again I would have rephrased it better) and I think RA was commented against that. Þjóðólfr (talk) 13:51, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

Look ... all geographical terms have some political content. The British Isles defined as "the archipelago containing the Island of Great Britain, the Island of Ireland, and the adjacent islands" covers all-the-bases. There is nothing "messy" about it.

ArmchairVexillologistDonLives! (talk) 12:18, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

They have inherent political content for sure (the islands are inhabited with people, form different states too), but politics doesn't have to be part of every definition. The term British Islands exists as a political one, and it excludes the Republic of Ireland - which isn't British is it? Politics ia s transient thing, scientific terms set out to be more solid, and are used for different purposes. We don't need to use 'British Isles' politically - there are plenty of other ways to express political areas. Matt Lewis (talk) 13:00, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

Why would the Channel Islands not be a part of the British Isles Archipelago?[edit]

So why would the Channel Islands not be a part of the British Isles Archipelago?

ArmchairVexillologistDonLives! (talk) 02:41, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

The English Channel is actually inbetween the British Isles and the Channel Islands (as the World Book Encyclopedia clearly states in its archipelago-only definition of British Isles). The Channel Islands are offshore islands of the European landmass. Oh, "not be apart" - a double negative! I see what you mean. Rann is arguing that almost nobody uses an archipelago-only definition. He is doing it by piling on examples where people have included the CI's in various uses of the term, which of course doesn't prove it at all. Matt Lewis (talk) 14:20, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
I see you ammeded what was a typo in your comment, but I can't see where you lie on this though. What is the purpose of this section - for more sources/debate? Did my answer fit? Matt Lewis (talk) 12:50, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

Hello Matt Lewis.

On a personal note, I find you very polite, thoughtful, and forthright ... I enjoy talking to you. You have an interesting mind, indeed.

As per the Channel Islands, in my opinion they are a part of the British Isles archipelago. Just because they are closer to the coast of the French Republic makes no difference. The inclusion of an island, or group of islands into a bigger group of islands, is in the end a matter of choice (i.e., arbitrary). No geographic term is ever entirely "a-political". So ... the Channel Islands ... they are in!

ArmchairVexillologistDonLives! (talk) 16:34, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

I suppose archipelagos like the BIs and CIs could be grouped as one in a technical sense - it seems some have used this approach, some haven't. It seems to depend whether the CI's are needed to be included or not: ie it is context-based. Hopefully my eventual proposal; on us focusing on the BI usage guideline, and recommending an 'archipelago-only' definition (or 'single-archipelago-only' definition if you prefer), will persuade you to support my approach. Nothing might be apolitical on a 'philosohical' level perhaps, but I think Wikipedia can get close-enough for a perfectly operable encyclopedia on the BI issue if are properly focused on achieving it. At the moment, we don't have that. Matt Lewis (talk) 22:51, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

Norman Isles[edit]

Let's just call them the Norman Isles and close this over long discussion which is clearly going nowhere.--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 12:23, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

You've been chatting to Good Day to much, Jeanne! What do you think of my reply to ArmcharVexicologist above? British Islands, Britain and Ireland etc - plenty of terms can be used for political meanings. We only need to use 'British Isles' in incidences that are politically neutral, like mountain sizes etc. The best sources that it is possible to find (the latest full-size OED and the major encyclopedias) back up an archipelago-only definition. All we have to do is recommend sticking to it. It's as simple as that, and Wikipedia recommends this approach all the time in cases like this.
You ought to know that the purpose of further-muddying the term with enforced CI-inclusion, is either to enforce British politics on a term that includes the republic of Ireland, or ultimately to stop the term from being used at all, ie to make the term untenable (a, for want of a better word, 'pro-Irish' view). Ireland vs Britain (or vice versa) is a very difficult area on Wikipedia, as at the extremes often fight on the same ground. When you are in the middle (like me) you can be shouted down by both sides of course!
I would add that that the term 'British Isles' perhaps should only be used on Wikipedia when really needed (and fully sourced perhaps?). But that is an arguemnt for guideline dicsussion - we can do that at WP:BITASK. At the moment the guideline is being bogged down by this elementary issue. And 'bogged down' is the key, I think.
The main British Isles article of course should explain all uses. Matt Lewis (talk) 13:35, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
Ok, let me lay all my cards on the table and declare where I stand on the issue. Firstly, I consider CI to be part of the British Isles geographically. Politically, they are British Crown Dependencies, and historically they are part of the ancient Duchy of Normandy, hence my half-serious, half-facetious suggestion to call them The Norman Isles. By the way, the Channel Islanders are ethnically Norman. As for GoodDay, I happen to respect him both as an editor and person.--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 13:44, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
I think I must also add that one should not hesitate to take a stand for fear of angering or incurring the contempt of other editors. Having made my position clear as to the Channel Islands and my unequivocal support for GoodDay, I am prepared to withstand any onslaught of verbal arrows other editors wish to unleash in my direction.--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 13:53, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
Lol, first arrow coming in. JB do you consider Chausey to be part of the BIs? Þjóðólfr (talk) 14:01, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
Absolutely not seeing as it's under French jurisdiction as well as geographically nestled under France's wing like a wee baby bird. OK, shoot another poisoned arrow through my hea-ar-art.--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 14:06, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
So you see no sense in recommending the archipelago-only definition. I suppose my response would be: would you use the term freely across Wikipedia, or do you respect that a guideline is still needed to address people's concerns with the term? (I am assuming you would not like the term to be used in 'political' cases). My concern with your approach is that nothing will change, as including both the Channel Islands and the Republic of Ireland in a term called "British Isles" is intrinsically political. The word 'geographical' is just too-loose as a context, and could make many of the politicised sources usable in articles. Only the achipelago-only definition makes the term non-political (as much as it can get given its name), hence its use by the OED and the major encyclopedias as a principle (or only) definition. Context-driven outside sources can do and say what they want, but Wikipedia is an encyclopedia of course and surely has to be more careful. Matt Lewis (talk) 14:34, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
Þjóðólfr, is there a reference to support Chausey being part of the BIs? If no, it's a non-question. --rannṗáirtí anaiṫnid (coṁrá) 15:18, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
Chausey is an island that forms part of the Channel Islands from a geographical point of view, but because it is under French Jurisdiction, it is almost never mentioned in the context of the other Channel Islands Ref Mentioning: Webster's Quotations, Facts and Phrases. Þjóðólfr (talk) 16:05, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
Well, there you go. Not only are they almost never considered part of the Channel Islands, but - more to the point and without relying on synthesis - there is no reference to say they are a part of the British Isles.
The reference and Chausey does make for an interesting counter example: Chausey, of the same physical archipelago as Jersey and Guernsey, but not considered part of the Channel Islands; the Channel Islands, not of the same physical archipelago as Britain and Ireland, but considered part of the British Isles.
There is a poor habit among Wikipedians. We feel the need to fit things into neat boxes. In reality, most things are overlapping and incongruent. Wikipeidans are uncomfortable with this, like we have a mild autism, and try to "fix" them or deny their incongruency. That is not how to treat a topic properly. --rannṗáirtí anaiṫnid (coṁrá) 17:45, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
I would say synthesis occurred when you changed almost never mentioned to almost never considered part of Þjóðólfr (talk) 18:07, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
True, true. Who am I to say what people think but do not say? :-) But you get my drift? --rannṗáirtí anaiṫnid (coṁrá) 19:18, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
Kind of (I think)...anyway Channel Islands (Îles Normandes) Group of islands on the S side of the English Channel, W of the Cotentin Peninsula in NW France: British except the Chausey Is. ref Channel Islands (Îles Normandes). Penguin Encyclopedia of Places. (1999). Þjóðólfr (talk) 13:16,
Channel Islands plural noun group of islands in the English Channel, off the NW coast of France, consisting of Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, Brechou, Great Sark, Little Sark, Herm, Jethou, and Lihou (British crown dependencies), and the Roches Douvres and the Îles Chausey (which belong to France) ref Channel Islands. Collins English Dictionary. (2000) Þjóðólfr (talk) 13:19, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
Great references for the question of whether Chausey is a part of the Channel Islands. I cannot find a reference that lists Chausey among islands of the British Isles, in contrast to Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney or Sark and so on. Or as being a part of the Channel Islands in that context. For example, it's not listed at all in The Other British Isles: A History of Shetland, Orkney, the Hebrides, Isle of Man, Anglesey, Scilly, Isle of Wight, and the Channel (David W. Moore, 2005):
  • "[p.211 - in the section on Channel Isles] An archipelago lying off the northern French French coast does not invite inclusion in a book on the British Isles, yet the Channel Islands have been Crown dependencies for nearly a thousand years. ... [p.249 - in a list of the islands and island groups that form form the British Isles] Channel Island: A small archipelago in the Gulf of St. Malo, off the Normandy coast of France. Jersey and Guernsey are the principal islands plus Alderney, Sark, Herm."
Is there a reference to support Chausey as being part of the British Isles? --rannṗáirtí anaiṫnid (coṁrá) 15:55, 5 December 2009 (UTC)


The Duchy of Normandy was ruled by William the Bastard. In 1066, at the Battle of Hastings William became William the Conqueror ... he founded the Kingdom of England. Yes, he did.

From there, the Normans went on to found the Lordship of Ireland 1171, and re-defined legally the Principality of Wales (Statute of Rhuddlan 1284).

The Kingdom of Scotland was never over-run by the Normans (or their descendants). In 1603, the Union of the Crowns occurred, and in 1707 the United Kingdom of Great Britain was founded. The geographic term, the British Isles stuck ... live-with-it ... please (Oi ...oi).

ArmchairVexillologistDonLives! (talk) 16:13, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

The nations you mentioned all existed long before William and his Normans (and Bretons, Flemings, etc) arrived at Hastings.--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 19:49, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

Howdy Jeanne Boleyn.

The Lordship of Ireland did not exist before A.D. 1171, and the Statute of Rhuddlan A.D. 1284 re-defined legally the entire Principality of Wales.

Correct me if I am wrong ... but prior to A.D. 1066 the Kingdom of England did not exist as a unified State.

Take care eh ArmchairVexillologistDonLives! (talk) 04:13, 5 December 2009 (UTC)

Prior to William, King Harold II ruled over the Kingdom of the English. The lordship of Ireland was not recognised by the Irish whose kings continued to reign in their own kingdoms, while the Welsh Princes didn't accept the Statute of Rhuddlan. Correct me if I'm wrong.--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 08:10, 5 December 2009 (UTC)

Howdy Jeanne Boleyn.

You know your history very well. You are correct on ALL POINTS. My historical bent is from the English point-of-view. Everything "English" (post-1066 "English"; pre-1066 "Anglo-Saxon") began with the Battle of Hastings A.D. 1066. Would you concede that the Kingdom of the English was the predecessor of the Kingdom of England?

Take care eh ArmchairVexillologistDonLives! (talk) 17:42, 5 December 2009 (UTC)

Note: to Jeanne
The Kingdom of France came first, then came the Kingdom of the French, then the French Republic,
then the Empire of the French.
In a similiar vein-of-thought, the Kingdom of the English came first, then came the Kingdom of England.
Take care, and best wishes, Don ArmchairVexillologistDonLives! (talk) 15:50, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
Jeanne, DNFTT see prior history of this editor. --Snowded TALK 09:53, 5 December 2009 (UTC)

Whit a pathetic, futile an' longwinded argument we hae abune. Th' situation's clear; th' Channel Islands arenae geographically part ay th' British Isles but ur included "by tradition" when usin' th' term. It coolsnae be clearer, see British Isles fur an explanation. Ye lot! Ye hae nae reit tae use Wikipedia tae manipulate th' situation tae suit yer ain biased, political views oan th' matter. Mister Flash (talk) 13:52, 5 December 2009 (UTC)

Show me where I have displayed political bias?--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 14:02, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
Ye excepted. Mister Flash (talk) 16:29, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
I don't know if you think I am "manipulatin' th' situation tae suit mi ain bias" or nae - but I fully agree with you, Mister Flash. --rannṗáirtí anaiṫnid (coṁrá) 17:12, 5 December 2009 (UTC)

New sources[edit]

Matt, most of the new sources are good. Well done. I also think the new way of dividing them up is useful. There's only three things I disagree with:

  • The Collier's Encyclopedia references would appear to fit more within the "unequivocally EXCLUDE" group.
  • Does The World Book Encyclopedia exclude the Channel Islands? Sources that explicitly include the Channel Islands also say that the English Channel divides the British Isles from continental Europe (e.g. NOAD). Can you provide a quote from this reference showing that it excludes (or includes as a secondary definition) the Channel Islands form British Isles?
  • Similar WTR the Chronicles of Britain reference. Can you provide a quote to show that it excludes the Channel Islands from what it means by the British Isles?

Rather than provide our own interpretation on use (or non-use), can we stick with quotations only? --rannṗáirtí anaiṫnid (coṁrá) 22:36, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for fairly criticising my changes. When I get back to the library I'll fill out the details and get dates etc. I'll get a full quote for the World Book definition - probably photocopy it. It will then be quotation-only. Good point about Colliers - I'll move it to the section I created for the job! I'll be moving Chronicles to a separate list of 'extracted' (ie non-quoted) definitions - I just haven't had much time to get them together. Matt Lewis (talk) 23:05, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

In modern times...[edit]

Possibly "In modern times, the Channel Islands have come to be known as part of the British Isles..."

Isn't this really a naming convention issue, rather than a truth or history issue?

It's the history of the naming convention which will tell us when this joint grouping began. 7390r0g (talk) 18:49, 31 December 2009 (UTC)

Some of the sources above are from the mid 19th century, earlier sources also include them. For example this one from 1795. --rannṗáirtí anaiṫnid (coṁrá) 02:38, 2 January 2010 (UTC)
I am not challenging that. My concern is to see us agree as to when any current naming convention(s) came into play. Has the popular vernacular changed to a point where a single current description is most prevelant? If not, we need to mention that it's variously described as being "part of" and as "not part of". If there's good sources for both, we need to mention both. This is not a matter of "truth" but of editorial neutrality. 7390r0g (talk) 20:01, 2 January 2010 (UTC)

Comment on sources by Matt Lewis (by someone else)[edit]

"The above sources are restricted to those that provide a definition of the term 'British Isles', which can often be seen as meaningful in itself in certain context-heavy cases. Sources of the term's use that follow a definition implicitly (or take one for granted) cannot be as easily 'key-worded' in search engines as those that detail a clear definition and include the term “Channel Islands”. Please give dates. Also, in the case of encyclopedias and dictionaries, the latest edition must be the one to use.

Appearing in the discussion below are sources that contain definitions 'logically extracted' from text in which the definition was only implicit. They will be eventually be detailed in a separate list.

  • The World Book Encyclopedia lists all the major islands including Orkney etc., but excluds the Channel Islands. It's definition is that the British Isles cover all islands that are “bordered by the English Channel” - i.e., they exclude the Channel islands because are the other side of the English Channel.
  • Chronicles of Britain (the history includes Ireland) has a shaded diagram of the "British Isles" that demonstrated different tree-types, and excluded the CI's. The tome consistently uses the term 'British Isles' for Britain with Ireland (etc.), but never mentions or portrays the Channel Islands when using the term. It does, however, cover the CI's in the war section - and does not mention the term "British Isles" at that point, only “Britain”."
Perhaps we need an expanded and definitive definition of the term Britain? Certainly I think the content of Britain should moved to Britain (disambiguation) and the eponymous article changed to include the commonly used meaning of the term. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Fmph (talkcontribs)
Can you expand on this? I've put quotes on the extract text from the Intro that you started with - I don't understand why it's been copied here though? Matt Lewis (talk) 19:55, 2 January 2010 (UTC)
Using up-to-date references is good but bear in mind that there are different publications which "look" the same e.g. there is the compact, short and full OED. Neither does this strike me as the kind of thing that would change in definition greatly over time. Indeed we have references from as 1795 to 2009 all saying the same thing. --rannṗáirtí anaiṫnid (coṁrá) 13:16, 2 January 2010 (UTC)
Just so there is no confusion - I'm going to explain again how the OED system works. I used to sell the SOED, and it perhaps needs to be fully described. Matt Lewis (talk) 19:55, 2 January 2010 (UTC)

Explaining how the Oxford English Dictionary works[edit]

  • The 'OED' is a continual work in progress, and is published around every 40 years in a 20 volume set (the current edition being OED2 from 1989). The 2-volume Shorter OED (or 'SOED') is published every 5-10 years, and is the printed working-version of the 20-volume full-set OED, minus the thousands of obscure words most people will never need. All the definitions in the Shorter OED are, in full, the definitions that have been prepared for the next complete OED in 2037. The 2-volume Shorter OED is the only OED that most institutions need, and costs around £95 compared to the current £750 with Addition books.
  • The current full-set OED from 1989 is called 'OED2', as it is the second edition. The next edition, 'OED3', is less than half way through completion, and is estimated to be available in 2037.
  • So the latest OED definition comes either via the printed or CD-ROM Shorter OED, via an 'OED Additions' publication, or via an online subscription to OED Online, which updates the latest OED3 definitions quarterly.

When it comes to the OED, I object to any definition being used other than the very latest from the working OED. Most of the larger networked libraries will subscribe to OED Online, I would have thought. The key sources must be the respected dictionaries and encyclopedias, not the countless small ones. None of the 'multi's' say the Channel Islands are inclusive - they all say essentially that they can also be included, or in the case of Collier's and the World Book encyclopedia, not included at all. Matt Lewis (talk) 19:55, 2 January 2010 (UTC)

I'm not sure what to say: is this a case of WP:OR or WP:CRYSTAL? How about this, let's stick with published sources (note: past tense). --rannṗáirtí anaiṫnid (coṁrá) 15:54, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
No Rannpairti - you stick with the latest edition of dictionaries, and don't pit old editions against new ones, like you have with your latest revert to your un-policy want. The quarterly updated Oxford Online is published online at a fee. Also the OED Additions books supercede your 1989 dictionary. Can you be bothered to read my work, or are you counting on someting happening before you have to? This is not some kind of cyber-guerilla performance art - we are supposed to be building a perfectly normative internet encyclopedia: not an excessively politically correct one. There is a dinner-lady vacuum on this subject because admin just don't know what to do with it. BI is too-often a playground, and I feel like I'm being pushed into losing my temper by you. It won't happen. I do not spend my time creating Original Research. I go further then anyone I know to explain myself and my actions. I dot every 'i' and ALWAYS think of the unseen reader. I actually respect Wikpedia policy, though I struggle at times with staying constantly stoic I admit - there is only so much childishness anyone can take. My aim is to make BI usage reader, editor and admin friendly. What actually is your aim, Rannparti? Matt Lewis (talk) 18:41, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
I agree that we should use the latest online OED unless there is a wiki policy against it which I doubt. It is as Matt says verifiable. However matt can you not take disagreement so personally --Snowded TALK 19:03, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
Mere disagreement I never do. You can't deny that I end up working like a maid sometimes, just to get us past the silliest details. I do actually have an off-wiki life too. 20:47, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
Fair enough. I took removed the full OED reference off the list and eagerly await 2037. "This is not some kind of cyber-guerilla performance art..." Very culourful and agreed. There is no reason to assume that that is how I or any other editor might approach it. Please chill. --rannṗáirtí anaiṫnid (coṁrá) 19:31, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
I am putting the OED Online, OED Additions book, and SOED definitions together with an explanation why, as they use the same definition database: it is a definition that claerly suits me, so objections would be just silly. I'll also edit the SOED article if it is not clear enough there. What really gets to me is that when I provide explaination for readers on these matters, it still gets removed. I'm replacing the source notes too - this RFC is not a policy guideline, or Rannparti's personal baby, despite him opening it (ie it is not WP:OWN). I wish to offer notes after certain of the sources provided, so I will - because I'm fully entitled to do it. Please do not remove my legitimate talk page comments - I take all removal of my work very seriously. Reverting me is not just about who hits 3RR first - it is a question of you infinging my editing rights and contravening editing policy. This is only an RFC - its all about comments, notes and sources. Matt Lewis (talk) 20:47, 3 January 2010 (UTC)

The exclusion of the Channel Islands from the British Isles makes no sense[edit]


A group of islands is known as an archipelago. The inclusion of an island, or a small group of islands, into a larger group of islands (i.e., an archipelago) is an arbitrary choice.

The word archipelago comes from the Greek arkhi- (i.e., chief) and the Greek pelago (i.e., sea), meaning Chief-Sea. This was the original long-form Name of the Aegean Sea in ancient times.

The English word Island is synonymous with the English word Isle. The Latin Insula means surrounded by water, whereas the Latin Paeninsula means almost surrounded by water, and their English language equivalents are Island, and Peninsula, respectively.

ArmchairVexillologistDonLives! (talk) 20:06, 2 January 2010 (UTC)

The arbitrary nature is precisely why Wikipedia, as an encyclopedia, needs a guideline definition. All encyclopedias have there own terminology guidelines, or there would be complete chaos. Unfortunately with Wikipedia, stubborn editors can prevent those necessary guidelines from happening (for whatever complicated reasons they might have). The British Isles articles (and there are anough of them for Pete's sake) can explain the all the details. The term needs a favoured definition, and then a guideline informing on when it is best used. It is basic encyclopedia stuff, and something admin can hang their hats on - because they have nothing right now, and are frankly all over the place, and are clearly as unhappy as many of the editors. What we have all been part of is chaos. That might suit some, bit it doesn't suit me. Matt Lewis (talk) 20:27, 2 January 2010 (UTC)
Hello Matt Lewis, ... Happy New Year!!
Upon inspection of the Aegean Sea map show above, one will see several Greek Islands that are literally "on the door-step" of the Turkish coastline. So if the Channel Islands are close to the French coastline, then they can be apart of the British Isles, as the analogy of the Greek Isles (i.e., Greek Islands).
ArmchairVexillologistDonLives! (talk) 20:38, 2 January 2010 (UTC)
Armchair, that is "original research". You need to use reliable third paryy sources --Snowded TALK 20:42, 2 January 2010 (UTC)
"Happy New Year" to you too... Snowded. Oi. ArmchairVexillologistDonLives! (talk) 20:49, 2 January 2010 (UTC)
I'm not arguing over the definition of 'archipelago' though. I'm simply suggesting we choose the non-CI definition (whether we express it in 'archipelago' terms or not doesn't really matter). The main reason I go for the the non-CI definition (and from defering to the the OED I think it is fair to say we can be either inclusive or exclusive) is that their inclusion complicates matters politically to the point where consistency (or peace) across articles is pretty much impossible. As a further decider, I can see that the CI's have obvious continental ties, and when I look at them without the UK mainland in view, they are not recognisable to me as anything other than a couple of islands off the coast of a large landmass: they don't feel to me part of the UK/IRE archipelago in my head, not even sentimentally. And I don't want the term to be used politically - only geographically. The English Channel looms very large when you think of matters as I do - it just seems impossible to include them in a non-political sense. If they were entirely French, no-one would dream of doing so, surely?? This is not a historical area of masses of islands, it is up in our little corner, and right now. It is all arbitrary, like you say - but we must either include them or not. Including them would make the term unusuable to some editors, which you need to understand is why some editors want to include them. Happy new year to yourself btw. Matt Lewis (talk) 21:18, 2 January 2010 (UTC)

Howdy Matt Lewis.

  The three monarchies that compose Scandinavia according to the strictest definition
  The possible extended usage
  The maximal extended usage that takes Scandinavia as synonymous to the Nordic countries

Britannia (i.e., British Isles) and Scandinavia are another analogous comparasion. Land of the Britanns, and Land of the Scandinavs are analogous. The latter can be composed of the Island of Greenland, the Island of Iceland, the Faroe Islands, the Peninsula of Juteland, the Peninsula of Scandinavia (excluding Russian Karelia).

As with the Kalmar Union in Scandinavia, there was the Union of the Crowns in the British Isles. The parallels are un-deniable.

ArmchairVexillologistDonLives! (talk) 21:48, 2 January 2010 (UTC)

It's just more like heavy political/linguistic history than the kind of transparent non-politicised geography you need for an encyclopedia. I really do not want to see anything political surrounding this term - I really don't. That is to say, the politics involved has to be as minimal as possible - which is the best Wikipedia will get, and I believe is enough to make the term stable - provided political concerns surrounding the insensitive use of the term are incorporated into the guideline, so that it is used judiciously and not over-used. I've thought about ways we could de-politicise the root word "Britain/British" (I'm sure it is possible in theory and context) but it is just too heavy and academic for Wikipedia I'm afraid. It's a simple place for simple people, and Britain is primarily a modern political country, it's as simple as that. Matt Lewis (talk) 22:32, 2 January 2010 (UTC)
Hello Matt Lewis.
Linguistics and History do have a fundamental, and paramount place in how we indentify places. You know really, it is not always complicated if one can understand the "underpinings" of the lingo. For example, what if you and some fellow colonists we dropped off eons ago on the Norwegian Island of Spitzbergen.
What would you call the first Village you founded after a year?
Suppose you were not sure if the Village Name should have a "Male" or "Female" Name ... say a "Neuter" (i.e., Neutral) Name. Well one might Name the Village Long-Year-Village. But, the word Village back then was By (e.g., Derby, Whitby, Crosby). So Long-Year-Village would become Long-Year-By. But we have to add the -en ending to be a Neuter Name so , Long-Year-By becomes Long-Year-Byen. Now back then, we didn't use dashes so Long-Year-Byen becomes Longyearbyen. Does such as place actually so up .... ?
Longyearbyen, Svalbard Archipelago (i.e., Spitzbergen)
Hmmm ... seems pretty clear to me eh. "A simple place, for simple people". ArmchairVexillologistDonLives! (talk) 00:39, 3 January 2010 (UTC)

Changes to list of sources[edit]

Matt, the changes I made were as follows:

  1. I moved your personal commentary to a new section in the discussion area
  2. I reordered the groups of sources into a more logical sequence
  3. I remove two references that were based an original interpretation of 'usage' (rather than on a statement made in the source)

I'm going to re-do these changes and restore the post] by another user that you reverted also.

Please don't leave incivil messages on my talk page. --rannṗáirtí anaiṫnid (coṁrá) 15:36, 3 January 2010 (UTC)

I asked you to re-do your various actions in separate edits, so that I and others can actually understand them, and deal with them in turn, and I've asked you not to put my name to actions which aren't my own, and also not ot delete my content (ie my notes by the sources). You yet again revert me. Act like this again and I will certainly report you on grounds of simple editing rights. I have a basic right to make talk page comments, even notes in the lists - so do not remove them. You can counter them, but I'm asking you again not to remove them. This is not a policy page - it is just an RFC, and the fact you started it means nothing.
For the third time (and I'll ask this each time you behave like this) - I request to see your IP edits for last year when you were between accounts. I just cannot find you credible with eveything considered when you act like this - you are simply beyond AGF for me, when you act like this. Which is a real headache. And presenting to everyone here that 'diff' above, of me getting angry with you, while removing it unarchived from your talk page is just another head-scratcher to me. If you find it rude enough to delete (it is merely me getting tired), why display it to everyone here? You are effectively asking me to warn you over policy etc in here too. I don't know what you are trying to achieve. Matt Lewis (talk) 20:41, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
"I asked you to re-do your various actions in separate edits..." - OK. I didn't strike me as being a particularly complicated edit but I'll take it slow in future where I think you may have an interest.
"I've asked you not to put my name to actions which aren't my own..." - I didn't. It was a comment by you that I moved it to a different location so that it didn't get lost.
"You yet again revert me. Act like this again and I will certainly report you on grounds of simple editing rights. I have a basic right to make talk page comments, even notes in the lists - so do not remove them." - Eh ... Matt, you reverted me because, and I quote, "Too many edits in one go..."
"I request to see your IP edits for last year when you were between accounts." - I would if I could, Matt, but I can't. They were just random edits. Don't worry about it. Please, if you have a concern take it to ANI, CheckUser or RFC/U, otherwise assume good faith.
"I just cannot find you credible with eveything considered when you act like this - you are simply beyond AGF for me ..." - Take it to ANI. I'm assuming faith with you, Matt. It's a thing to give, not to request, so I'm not asking for it in return but you need to chill. --rannṗáirtí anaiṫnid (coṁrá) 21:05, 3 January 2010 (UTC)

Both Guernsey and Jersey officially say yes to BI[edit]

I would say that the correct description is "Channel Islands" and leave it at that. But, what do the residents of Jersey and Guernsey think? See Guernsey's web site: They say nothing of "British Isles". Additionally, we already know that the Island of Guersey itself is not the same geographic age as the British Islands in that the British Islands did not break off from Europe mainlaind due to rising sea levels when Guersey did. Read this: Some people in the dispute here seem to be confusing political loyalty with geography. Web sources for Jersey were less useful, but I'd say that the distinction we are hung up on does not appear to be important to Guernsey, as it is not mentioned on their web site. My reasons to say "Channel islands" and not say "British Islands" are as follows:

  1. Lack of proximity
  2. Geographic age of the BI and CI are not the same
  3. Guernsey, a major CI island, does not mention being part of BI on its relevant pages

If it's super-important to some people, and sources support it, we can say "some sources say CI is part of BI..." and mention BI that way. But if it were up to me, I'd say it's not. Because to me, the differing ages and lack of proximity of the two sets islands is the most determinative - these poiints, combined with Guernsey silence on the matter, shouts "not" to me. And take note of this interesting quote from the Guernsey home page "The States of Guernsey reserves the right to change the graphical and information content without prior notice." I'd agree with that assertion - they are self-determinative and the questions of (BI includes CI?) is clearly a political one as there is no clear-cut geographic history to support a "yes" assertion. As a result, CI will determine this for themselves and it appears Guernsey already did. 7390r0g (talk) 16:06, 3 January 2010 (UTC)

With regards to the governments of Jersey and Guernsey, the government of Jersey put it thusly:
  • "For clarity it is worth pointing out that the term 'Great Britain' refers solely to the mainland of England, Scotland and Wales, whereas 'United Kingdom' refers to Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Neither term includes Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man which are, in fact, part of the British Isles." States of Jersey
The government of Guernsey puts it thusly:
  • "The Channel Islands are a group of islands, islets and offshore rocks located in the English Channel within the Gulf of St. Malo off the north-west coast of France. Although the Islands form part of the British Isles they do not form part of the United Kingdom." Bailiwick of Guernsey
(It is for reasons like this that I have been repeating the problems with regards to original interpretations of usage.)
With respect to the rest of your arguments, whilst interesting, are they based on what sources have to say about this question or are they based on original thought? Please, let's stick with sources - they are they experts.
(I'll add these reference to the list above.) --rannṗáirtí anaiṫnid (coṁrá) 16:32, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
If your sources point to official government opinion - and they surely seem to - then I would say the matter is settled: Does BI include CI? The answer is "yes". But, perhaps we should somehow make clear that the timelines of island formation differ? My research indicates it does. Not that this matters a whole bunch because now that I re-think it, a contradictory example (to my original reasoning) would be that some of the Hawaiian islands came later, but are still part of the HI islands. Also, proximity is greatly varied there. All in all, I'd say my previous thoughts are completely silenced by the very good links you added. 7390r0g (talk) 16:48, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
The current intro to the British Isles article reads that they are included by "tradition" and that they are "not physically a part of the island group". I think that sums it up best. See also how it is handed on the 'terminology' page. The actual substance for this RFC is twofold:
  • In diagrams of the British isles, a two editors (one not active in this discussion) think we should we should draw two rings around the British Isles: one with the CIs in and one with the CIs out.
  • One user thinks Wikipedia should adapt a MOS standard whereby we exclude the Channel islands from "our definition" across the 'pedia, .
On the first question, I think it is superior to leave such discussions to text where they can be handled more appropriately and clearly (and thereby also avoid employing made-up titles for two supposed definitions). On the second, I think we already have a MOS for these kinds of issues: verifiable sources. --rannṗáirtí anaiṫnid (coṁrá) 17:16, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
BTW the the website you link to above does count Guernsey as part of the British Isles. As does the equivalent website for Jersey. --rannṗáirtí anaiṫnid (coṁrá) 16:41, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
This is another good find, but less powerful evidence as it is more anecdotal. I'd say that the (2) official government statements you linked to are best. 7390r0g (talk) 16:48, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
Absolutely. I'm not going to add those to the lists above. --rannṗáirtí anaiṫnid (coṁrá) 17:16, 3 January 2010 (UTC)

Not so fast - UK says different[edit]

Read the official UK statement here So far, we have Guernsey and Jersey saying "yes", but the UK itself while not excluding them, seems to say that the they are not always referred to as such, "The British Isles is an area divided between two sovereign states, namely the UK and the Republic of Ireland. It includes the Isle of Man. Use of this term sometimes includes the Channel Islands, but this is not consistent". Now what? I'd lean towards "yes" because UK does not exclude, but G and J do include. 7390r0g (talk) 17:05, 3 January 2010 (UTC)

I don't see where the UK *excludes* them. The site says use of the term is "inconsistent". Indeed the very same UK government website has this to say on another page:
  • "The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are not part of the UK. The geographical term 'British Isles' covers the UK, all of Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man." -
If the term does "sometimes" include the Channel Islands, it would seem to be one of those occasions where the "some" of the "times" is a majority. See my reply above for a description of the substance of this question and how the question is currently handed by the 'pedia. --rannṗáirtí anaiṫnid (coṁrá) 17:16, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
I'll add both of these refs above. --rannṗáirtí anaiṫnid (coṁrá) 17:18, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
I agree with you and based on the relevant governmental authorities, of UK, G and J we should include. There remains one question though: Is it possible that such compelling geographic evidence could exist that it would be unreasonable to include them, regardless of these sources? I'd say no, I don't see any geographic evidence being strong enough empirically to override what the involved governments say. It's not as if they might be trying to say that Australia is a British Isle, which of course would be preposterous. 7390r0g (talk) 17:30, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
Agree. Also, look at it from the other side (literally). In 1488 Norway sold Shetland to Scotland for cash. Henceforth, Shetland became a part of Scotland. Today, we don't question whether Shetland is a part of the British Isles (it is) - but had Norway not been in financial trouble in 1488, I believe we would think of Shetland in the same way as we think of the Faroes i.e. not a British Isle. (But now, of course, we're in the realm of pub talk.) --rannṗáirtí anaiṫnid (coṁrá) 17:44, 3 January 2010 (UTC)

It is not about 'does or doesn't' - it is about 'do or don't'. Which should Wikipedia recommend? Governments are political bodies - Wikipedia needs to recommend a definition that (as much as possible) removes the politics from the issue as much as it can. That is why I favour the no-CI definition (like the other encyclopedias do) - it is the only one that we have chance of creating an effective guideline with. Some people wish to keep fighting it out politically like some kind of endless BRIT vs IRE war, but I see that as utterly futile. Matters like resigned admin and 1RR on British Isles lay testament to how bad this issue can get. In my eyes, it is all because (like at Ireland last year) both extremes want to 'fight the good fight'. Only stable guidelines can get around that kind of nonsense. Matt Lewis (talk) 21:12, 3 January 2010 (UTC)

Nobody has talked politics in this issue except you, Matt. Seriously, you're seeing a problem that just isn't there. And CI or no CI will do nothing to resolve the question of IRE/IRL or no IRL/IRE.
We stick with sources - nothing more nothing less. Arriving at our own definitions of terms just because they suit us is not the way to go. The issues around the Channel Islands can be amply described in the text of articles, just as the issues around IRE/IRL. Let's not go drawing circles around islands based on what we would like to be in or out (for whatever reason). That's a can of worms that we don't want to open and it does not satisfy WP:VERIFY. --rannṗáirtí anaiṫnid (coṁrá) 21:51, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
You are doing this for the sake of Wikipedia, I know you've said it before. I'm aware of Verify every second I work on Wikipedia - but I also read the other policy/guidelines as well, and Verify past its first line too. I have verified sources, and will get more of the difficult 'implicit' ones you are so-pointlessly demanding. The inclusion of the Channel Islands will make it impossible to de-politicise the term regarding Ireland (the real issue here), and you know it. The question of "this doesn't make sense" will constantly come up - because it doesn't make sense outside of a politicised label. British Isles is an intrinsically difficult term. People can use it however they want in the real word (and supply thier own context too). But Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. All other encyclopedias (and the latest OED) pick the no-CI definition as their central one because it is the only way they can make sense of it in encyclopedic terms.
We have 1RR at British Isles, tiredness of when and where to use the term, techiness, locked articles, resigning admin, pissed-off admin, admin who won't go near and are happy to say that openly, pissed-off editors, quarrelling by people on the same side, patience being lost with old hands, socks and socks again, a half-made guideline - where is the progress? I spent hours and hours on the guideline when it was first started - I know as much as anyone how difficult this matter is. Ireland has now had some kind of resolution (though hardly a satisfactory one many will say) - the next hurdle is the Channel Islands. It is just not good enough to say you don't want a guideline when so many other people do.
And what 'can of worms' are you talking about? The non-UK Channel Islanders demanding Wikpiedia recommends the inclusive definition of BI instead? Or the anti-BI disruptors kicking up a fuss, which happens anyway, along with the pro-BI disruptors. But there will be no 'can of worms' - that is just fear mongering. There will merely the very good chance of having stability on BI matters. Most people really don't give that much of a hoot about the term. No-one will stand and fight so much against a reasonable guideline, which would be a really, really helpful thing to have anyway - as people are genuinely confused as to how to best use the term in articles. Your (in effect) 'it can be ironed out in Talk' philosophy simply hasn't worked. It just hasn't worked. Matt Lewis (talk) 22:55, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
You're the only one kicking up a fuss, Matt. This is a non-issue. It has been sorted out on talk pages. The status quo with regard to Channel Islands in graphics and in text has been stable for two-and-a-half-years. And the whole caboodle is thoroughly referenced. (And even 'Ireland', as you say, is fairly well resolved these days.) --rannṗáirtí anaiṫnid (coṁrá) 23:19, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
That is fully misleading and you know it. The entire article, including the map, was never stable. The article was constantly locked when I used to frequent the talk page. Now it is on 1RR for heavens sake. I had consensus on my own graphic at some point last year, and a number of people made variants. The 'controversy' issue with BI and the Irish was always the main arguement (And he Irish naming issue then completely took over) but when the CI came up people nearly always said "geography only", and the general consensus seemed always to be that the CI was out. But it never got to the central issue. It was before anyone compiled sources etc. And at the time you edited BI, if it was possible, at your peril (just like now). But you were not editing on British Isles as an IP in 2008, were you? Why do keep making me repeat these things? You remind me so much of a couple of other editors of 2008, who seem to be missing now. To even suggest BI isn't the problem it is is such an insult to the time people have spent trying to resolve it. The 'Ireland' matter (despite your typically personal work on Ireland's actual MOS unecessarily stating a moratorium until "2011" - which I have noticed, but I haven't had time to address) - has upset a great deal of people - as much as anything in the way it was dealt with by admin and arbcom. Don't forget that, before you wind too many people up about it. Matt Lewis (talk) 00:15, 4 January 2010 (UTC)
Two and a half years, Matt. Across three articles (main, terminology and controversy). Status quo. Stable. Remember, this discussion began by a (Scottish) editor objecting to the "CI out" diagram (which was added earlier in the year). --rannṗáirtí anaiṫnid (coṁrá) 00:35, 4 January 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, but for me that is pretty insulting, Rannparti. I've been neck-high in the thick of it with that article. Its about 40 archives of Talk pages. Almost nobody was happy with the article, and nobody could get to it. There was no status quo - just the last locked edit. The Channel Islands came up periodically and people went so far as making other diagrams, including me, which you have seen. I made it in MY TIME - don't you dare belittle it. It had consensus (which you had seen) but the article was simply a no-go zone at the time, and more important BI matters held everyone's attention. Yes - 2 and a half years ago in a 'previous identity' you put you own diagram in (and you have a habit of over-writing old diagrams, don't you eh?) but the article has been in trouble pretty much since then. Status quo and 'stable' on anything to do with BI? You are having a laugh. But I'm not. BI has not been remotely easy to edit (or even possible to edit) for years, which you know all too well. Matt Lewis (talk) 01:01, 4 January 2010 (UTC)
Matt, I was out for twelve months only. The image was on the main BI article and the terminology article for two-and-a-half years and was stable. The same with the means of describing the relationship of the Channel Islands.
If you don't think it was stable - if you think it was only down to the page being locked (for a full twelve months?) - sure we can do an experiment. We can leave it be while you gather your sources and we can see what happens. If you're right the world will come crashing down. If I right, it won't. Seem sound?--rannṗáirtí anaiṫnid (coṁrá) 01:11, 4 January 2010 (UTC)
You are simply misleading people, and you clearly started this Rfc to avoid a new two-definition diagram being put in again (via a seeming consensus). I'm happy to wait for this RfC. Finally (at 2 in the morning) I have the OED sources back in place, and this page is relatively settled again. What a wasted day of difficult Wikipedia editing. Not everyone has the luxury of total concentration, and seemless edit time. Matt Lewis (talk) 02:07, 4 January 2010 (UTC)

Seamount of Rockall map seems to show the Channel Islands "are in"[edit]

If one looks at the map for the Seamount of Rockall the Channel Islands appear to be in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland economic zone (i.e., the shaded "purple area" of the seafloor). The Republic of Ireland has its own economic zone (i.e., the shaded "green area" of the seafloor), and the Seamount of Rockall (i.e., the shaded "blue area" of the seafloor) is disputed by countries other than the Republic of Ireland (i.e., the UK and Éire have an agreement that makes Rockall the UK's).

The British Isles presumably makes up the area of all three of the economic zones (Seamount of Rockall, the Republic of Ireland, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland),... so why are we trying to excluded the little Channel Islands that are already included in the shaded "purple area"?

ArmchairVexillologistDonLives! (talk) 20:00, 4 January 2010 (UTC)

No-one is denying that the Channel Islands are Crown Dependencies, or that when you politicise the term British Isles you can clearly easily include the CIs within them. If you want, you can also simply extend the more neutral term 'archipelago' to include the CI's - as you have demonstrated above (though I would argue that this is most typically used to designate island 'areas' that are, or were in the past, 'political' is some way). People clearly do whatever they want with this term - whatever suits them, in whatever context they want. If you have good examples of use, please add them to the lists above. Matt Lewis (talk) 21:30, 4 January 2010 (UTC)

Moving forward[edit]

I think it is unfortunate that the Rfc was set up to ask the question "Are the Channel Islands part of the British Isles?", as in itself this question leads nowhere, as there are clearly number of ways the term is approached and defined in the dictionaries and encyclopedias. That much became obvious weeks ago, and things have been more of a competition to find the most sources ever since. As someone who has worked a great deal on a BI guideline (which was put on hold in late 2008 for a number of reasons), it is clear to me that when the source collection is finally over, the following questions will have to be asked;

1) Is it accepted that The British Isles is numerously defined, by dictionaries, encyclopedias and in general use. Whether including or excluding the Channel Islands; it has been used as a neutrally geographical term, a political term, and even an incorrectly-used term most typically to mean Britain, or Great Britain. Further problems occur when the term is used for historical periods (from pre-history, through the Norman conquering of the Channel Islands, the inclusion of Ireland into the UK, and onwards), or simply to define an ‘archipelago’ that does not include any continent-related land, which has a different geological history.

2) Shall Wikipedia recommend a particular definition to follow in the usage-guideline that is being built? (HighKing and I – the two biggest contributors to date - will certainly be completing and eventually proposing it when it is finally possible to do so – according to consensus, of course).

3) Will the guideline recommend a definition that excludes or includes the Channel Islands, or suggest editors can keep it 'open'? (In my opinion, the last two options will render the guideline un-usable, while all the various encyclopedic issues detailed in point (1) above can all be made to work using the first 'excluding' option - hence the major encyclopaedias like Britannica choosing that way too.)

Ultimately, the principle question that needs to be asked is "do we have a consensus for a guideline or not?" For me, it really is the salient question - and is at the crux of all this. I will poll this question at some point at the main BI taskforce page, but I have an inbox full of sources to get into the EXCLUDES lists to level the 'sources collection' stage first, which will hopefully close it as a stalemate. I've started to email myself various data from the library, found via its clever database - there are masses of examples all over the 5 floor building. I'll try and get them in this week, but I simply have to edit at WP:CDA beforehand. Sorry to postpone again, but that's life. Before too long now, progress of some kind will be made here. Matt Lewis (talk) 21:30, 4 January 2010 (UTC)

This is essentially a political, not scientific question[edit]

And for that reason, a scientifically sound "rule" will not be achievable. It's a political question because:

  1. The land formation data is not clearcut enough that we could scientifically conclude CI is obviously NOT part of BI
  2. BI itself is essentially a political construct

For these two reasons, we are really only left with one question: Who will WP recognize as the best authority for a political unit(s) self-description? My answer to that is the controlling authority of the political unit(s) in question. In this case, it's the UK, Jersey and Guernsey governments. And from the sources above, all three of them come down on the YES side. There is no question about it; when you use the best sources, which is the publically stated views of the three involved governments, BI does include CI. If we had powerful science, cited to worldwide consensus of experts, we could trump the political view, but without it, we can't. We must include CI in BI. 7390r0g (talk) 06:46, 6 January 2010 (UTC)

British Isles is not an official 'political construct', and we just cannot force-politicise it. Various gov bodies may have used the term at places within their huge body of text, but it will be in the context-driven manner it is most typically used in as a flexible term. British Islands (not Isles) is the official term regarding the Channel Islands - not British Isles, which means different things to different people. The Republic of Ireland is certainly included in the British Isles, but the Republic is certainly not a British country, so the Channel Islands are not actually the most awkward element of the term. British Isles simply cannot be a 'political construct' in the context of the Republic of Ireland, unless you see nefarious re-unifying undercurrents in the term's use (as some do on Wikipedia, as the Republic was British between 1801 and 1922, but such a use would be impossible to prove).
So British Isles is basically a term with different meanings for different people, that has varied and context-based use. It has to be stressed that 'BRITISH ISLES' IS NOT A POLITICAL UNIT, NOR AN OFFICIAL TERM. British Islands (not Isles) is the relevant 'offical' term, and it does not include the Republic of Ireland, but does include the Channel Islands.
A guideline is seriously needed, and Wikipedia doesn't have to prove any single definition as definitive to recommend it. What Wikipedia must do, is address the whole matter in encyclopedic terms, and see how multiple definitions of a contoversial subject need to be made sense of if the encyclopedia is to be uniform and stable. The other major encyclopedias have gone with de-politicising the term as much as possible (by making the inclusion of the geologically-European non-UK Channel Islands a secondary definition), because 1) it best fits all the actual encyclopedic uses of "British Isles", and 2) de-politicising is the best way of dealing with the most awkward element of the term: the hard fact that the Republic of Ireland isn't British.
In short, including the Channel Islands because they are politically British;
1) Suggests that all the Irish are politically British too.
2) Weakens the geological context.
3) Muddles usage across the Wikipedia, as sometimes the Channel Islands cannot be included.
Matt Lewis (talk) 12:32, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
Matt you are muddying the waters here. The issue regarding the CI is a distinct one from the Ireland conumdrum, in that there are strong emotions attached to the Ireland conundrum which do not attach here and must be examined from alternative perspectives than this one. Why? Because the relevant authorities and public opinions of UK, G and J are not in any dispute and therefore, there is not a body of alternative opinion suggesting that the usage of "BI includes CI" is wrong. And yes, BI is a political contruct as it is being used by governmental bodies (UK, G, J) to encompas what they think it emcompasses. This usage is clearly self-determinative and based on political authority, hence it's a political contruct. If indeed there were some clearcut scientific method to conclude based on the features of the land masses in question "yes/no", we could defer to that. But, since there is not, we are left with the views of the players involved, and the players involved are the relevant governments. Please do not let your dismay about Ireland cause you to conflate the issues and muddy the waters here. This particular question, on an ad hoc basis, is clear and the answer is "yes" BI does include CI. 7390r0g (talk) 14:51, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
I'm not sure it is me who is muddying the waters though - I am honestly doing all I can to clear them. I do find it genuinely interesting (and it might be to others who know my stance on the British Isles) that you are assuming I have "dismay" over the inclusion of the Republic of Ireland in the British Isles, as I happen to see the 'stength' of the controversy issue as a largely Wikipedia-based phenomena, and have always argued it is exaggerated here (though it unquestionably exists). I'm a middle-ground 'British' editor, who simply wants to see a working encyclopedia I can edit without continually seeing the corner padlock. You are simply wrong to suggest the term is used officially by the govs of UK, Jersey and Guernsey - it simply is not, and cannot be. It does however crop up all over the place in a manner of different guises, even on some gov material (where things like this do happen) - which is the whole problem: the term has no official capacity, and is used differingly pretty much everywhere. It is a rather complex curio of a term that nodody 'owns'. Even the Oxford English Dictionary has changed its stance on it over the years (to stating "and sometimes also the Channel Islands"), so Wikipedia simpy has to take charge in a guideline, and I am sugesting we follow the de-politicising path of Britannica et al, for the reasons I give in my comments above. Matt Lewis (talk) 21:38, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
If the Channel Islands and most dictionaries say that they are in, then far be it from WP to say they are out. It's perfectly possible to imagine a situation where Ireland moves out of the British Isles while the Channel Islands stay in, so the two issues are entirely separate. Also, there's a reference to Colliers further up which says something along the lines that the Norman Channel Islands are not considered to be part of the British Isles. These islands are the French Channel Islands and the clear implication is therefore that the English speaking Channel Islands ARE part of the British Isles. Similarly, the term The British Isles should only be used is it's appropriate, i.e. that all of the various elements are involved. (talk) 19:24, 8 April 2010 (UTC)