Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Icons/Archive 3

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A they look nice/scan better discussion

Stale: Discussion died off

Talk:Benazir_Bhutto_assassination#Flags,please comment Gnevin (talk) 16:37, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

Soccer team pages

Whats the policy on sport teams exactly? I go to American football team pages like the Dallas Cowboys and there aren't any flag icons when you look at the team line-up. On the other had, you go to a football (soccer) team's page like Club América and you see a sea of flag icons. Whats the deal?♣DeathRattle101 AKA LUX♣ (verbalizegenerosity) 05:05, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style_(flags)#Appropriate_use use in lists is the only thing that applies . As for American V Soccer well the difference is that American is generally only played by Americans , Gaelic by Irish where as Soccer clubs can have many nationality's which people feel the need to highlight Gnevin (talk) 09:01, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
To be fair to Wikipedia:WikiProject Football they do have a number of templates at proposal stage and keeping flags to a minimum has been one of the main points whilst they were designed. Although they still have to come up with a intuitive solution to the dual nationality problem. - X201 (talk) 09:10, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
Think this example is very interesting in reguard to this discussion and the problems these flags cause ,Harlequins_Rugby_League#2008_Squad [1] ,Gareth_Haggerty English born ,plays for Ireland Rugby league and so listed as Irish? Gnevin (talk) 09:39, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
The same as Mick McCarthy, born in Barnsley played for and managed Republic of Ireland and he gets an Irish flag next to his name. In the Wolverhampton Wanderers infobox I actually stopped the flip-flop editing of people changing the flag from birth nationality to international football nationality by removing the flag altogether. - X201 (talk) 09:46, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
I think the Guide needs to be updated , look at Harlequins_Rugby_League flags are all over the place . The guide needs to state . The when flags are used in a table like this they should show nationality not current International side. 12:34, 7 January 2008 (UTC) talk) 12:44, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
I disagree. Nationality is a very tricky thing. I mean, what kind of criteria are you going to use to define one's nationality. It's usually easy, but we'll still end up with hundreds of controversial cases. BanRay 22:27, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
Going to spin this off to separate discussion Gnevin (talk) 08:39, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

In sports, flag = intl. allegiance, not necessarily nationality

Resolved: Change the table header not the flags

Would anyone agree with this? See this revision [2] of Harlequins Rugby League, I know when i see a flag i think this person is from this country . Not this person has declared for the international team Gnevin (talk) 08:39, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

  • well, first of all nationality and country of birth are two different things and should not be confused, the former might be very difficult to establish, as for the latter, look at Edgar Davids, Clarence Seedorf, Aron Winter, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink - Dutch footballers, all born in Suriname. Christian Karembeu (New Caledonia), Derlei (Brazil) and what about those born in th Soviet Union? Soviet flags? Let's just stick to the current practice. BanRay 12:05, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes but the current MOS say flags are ok in lists like this unless i've misread. I know nationality is muddy waters at best some times .However we have a clear example of flag usage allow under this MOS which is confusing as hell with international team flags being used sometimes and other times not. I don't under stand what you mean when you say lets stick to the current practice can you clarify Gnevin (talk) 12:47, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
People decide to play for a certain team for a reason, so I think "NT flags" should be used. FIFA doesn't allow players to represent more than one national team (except for rare cases: post-soviet teams in the early 90s, montenegro etc.). Use national team flags on those with international experience, the rest - legal nationalities. BanRay 18:30, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
The column heading says "nationality" not "international team allegiance". If you mean the latter, you have to change the words in the table headers, or people will get confused. Cop 663 (talk) 12:59, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
So fix the column heading. Obviously. Even without any flags at all that heading doesn't make any sense, since what team a person plays for may have no bearing on their nationality at all. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 04:31, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
Of course not all the English players , play for the england international team and can change allegiance. Should they have no flag? Gnevin (talk) 13:11, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
If it's complicated and can't be boiled down to one simple statement, then get rid of the flags and use words. Cop 663 (talk) 15:29, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
Hear, hear. Words are better in an encyclopedia for adults. --John (talk) 18:33, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
For the sake of eliminating confusion, maybe something like whats done for the LA Kings article should be put in practice. Where you have nationality and place of birth. Look at the way they have the roster setup. It's neat, and makes things clear showing the difference between nationality and place of birth.♣DeathRattle101 AKA LUX♣ (verbalizegenerosity) 05:28, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
But your going to spell out the place of birth , why the need for the flags? Gnevin (talk) 09:39, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Never use flags for place of birth anyway; the guideline is clearer about that than it is about anything else! — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 04:31, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
The above about contents of tables is OK, but it still doesn't address the use of flags in info boxes wher you just have a name and a flag, what should a new reader assume from that flag? That person X is of that nationality? That would lead to some massive confusion with players born in one country allowed to play for the national team of another. - X201 (talk) 13:06, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
Fix the infoboxes to be clearer then; the problem is not with flags, per se, it is with infoboxes being too vague. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 04:31, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

Biographical use section is confusing

Resolved: Passage rewritten for clarity.

Special care should be taken with the biographical use of flag templates in the following situations:

  • Never use a flag for birth or death place, since doing so may imply an incorrect citizenship or nationality.
  • Do not use the flag and name of the former country in a case of reliably-sourced renunciation of citizenship of that country.
  • Do not use the flag and name of the former (or later) country where is is unknown whether legal citizenship applied (or applies);

What does this "the former country" refer to? Surely not the birth country? It wouldn't make sense. This needs clarifying, I don't understand the paragraph. When the article the is used, the thing that is talked about should have been mentioned before or be otherwise understandable from the context. Wipe (talk) 21:08, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

Yeah, I can't make heads or tails of those last two points. Kaldari (talk) 16:47, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
Just delete them. The first point covers everything perfectly well. Cop 663 (talk) 17:27, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
They make perfect sense to me. I don't see how anyone can be confused by it. If I change my citizenship from one country to another, obviously I have a former country and a new one. How is this not blindingly obvious? The points are important, because people with a weird PoV on this are going to push for, say, someone born German always being considered a German even if they became a naturalized Luxembourgian or whatever. The guideline is saying, "trust verifiable facts of citizenship over subjective b.s." This is not a trivial point to be making, but is one of this guideline's direct tie-ins to WP:V, WP:NPOV and WP:RS. The bullet points cannot simply be deleted on the logic give above, as they do not actually have anything at all to do with birth or death place. My sister was born (on a US military installation) in the UK, and is and has always been a US citizen, not a British one. If she becomes a naturalized Canadian and abandons US citizenship, her nationality will be Canadian, and her former country the US; meanwhile the UK doesn't factor into this at all, other than as her purely accidental/incidental place of birth. PS: If the text actually does say "where is is" in the third bullet, this should be corrected to "where it is". — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 04:39, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
Rewrote them anyway. They are really, really clear now. :-) "is is" typo fixed also. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 04:59, 26 January 2008 (UTC)


Resolved: Consensus explained

I cannot understand why anyone would care about a flag in an infobox, as I apparently do. I should say I don't see why editors would take the time to remove them en masse and rewrite policy out of view from the majority of editors (who are busy writing articles), and then pretend they have a consensus. What we have here is a bureaucratic, ill conceived, esoteric guideline. If we may implicate someone in terms of nationality accidentally, lets not give a place of birth even, just "You may be stupid, so we aren't going to inform you." Asinine! This style guideline is worthless, and goes to show what happens when editors with too much time on their hands do. Consensus is not a "few" individuals. (Mind meal (talk) 23:14, 26 January 2008 (UTC))

Every time i remove a flag i point here as i'm sure the majority of users here do , so it's hardly out of view Gnevin (talk) 00:59, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
And the other people with two much time on their hands are the ones who go around adding flags to anything that moves. Cop 663 (talk) 01:43, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
Mind meal is bringing this discussion here because of my flagicon removal edits on Elvin Jones, Roy Hargrove, Keter Betts, Charlie Byrd, Stan Getz, Lee Konitz, Gerry Mulligan, and apparently Wayne Shorter even though I have never made an edit to that page. Each of the edits I made had an edit summary of "Removed flagicon per WP:MOSFLAG#Not for use in locations of birth and death."
I don't see any valid reason to keep flagicons in your replies, while I think the page and in particular the section I highlighted give valid reasons that flagicons should not be used in this infoboxes. In both you talk about a small group of select people do not make a consensus. The number of people coming together to make a consensus is always a small number to the number of editors on Wikipedia, so by your definition we could never have a consensus on Wikipedia. Aspects (talk) 18:39, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
Mind Meal, people have been removing flags based on this guidelines for ages now, and hardly anyone ever complains. This suggests that the majority of editors either dislike the flags or don't care either way. Cop 663 (talk) 12:49, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

Flags on articles about immigrant populations

I have been aggressively removing flags from articles about immigrant/ethnic minority populations. Been reverted in a few cases [3][4][5], so per WP:1RR, and because it seems from this talk page that this guideline is more controversial than I previously thought, I'm bringing it here for discussion. My view is that these flags are completely inappropriate on articles about ethnic minority populations. (I see there's a similar mention about British Arabs above). My reasons, from least to most shaky:

  • In articles about continental-scale descent (e.g. European American, Black Canadians, Afro-Guyanese), use of the flag of the European Union or African Union doesn't even include all the countries to which such people trace their origins
  • In cases where two or more governments can claim to represent the group in question (e.g. North Korea/South Korea and the Korean diaspora; People's Republic of China/Republic of China and the overseas Chinese), they're a violation of WP:NPOV
  • Large portions of many emigrant groups explicitly disassociate themselves from the government of the country they left, e.g. Vietnam War refugees who object very strongly to the display of the flag of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam [6]; again, putting the flag there is probably a violation of WP:NPOV
  • The ancestors of many members of such groups left the country of their ethnic origin long before the modern national flag came into use (and also, the hometown they left behind may have since been taken over by another country)
  • Not all emigrants can even reliably trace their roots to the country of their ethnic origin; their ancestors may have also lived in a third country for generations, as in the case of Malaysian Chinese who emigrate to Australia or members of the Indian diaspora in East Africa who went to the U.K.
  • Presence of the flags wrongly implies that the group in question are all or mostly bi-national and identify with both flags displayed

Comments? Counterarguments? cab (talk) 02:20, 2 February 2008 (UTC)

This all looks totally sensible to me. Ethnic groups don't (usually) have flags. Nations do. A person who identifies with an ethnic group (e.g. an Iranian) may not identify with the nation bearing its name (Iran). I was just chatting to a taxi driver who is ethnically Iranian but certainly wouldn't fly the flag of the country he escaped from. Cop 663 (talk) 03:10, 2 February 2008 (UTC)


This mainly has to do with sports teams, but is there an official policy on what to do for flags of UK people? The country is the United Kingdom, but a lot of sports articles use England/Wales/Scotland/Northern Ireland flags instead. This would be like using the New York or California flags instead of the United States flag. IMO, the only time those individual ones need to be used is if you are talking about a UK specific team (like a UK-based sports league where most of the players will be from the UK). TJ Spyke 04:46, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

That's an imperfect comparison, because there are many sports in which the four constituent countries of the UK compete as peers of other international teams. The most obvious of these are football, where ENG, SCO, WAL and NIR can all compete in the World Cup, UEFA tournaments, etc. Football players, therefore, tend to be identified individually by one of those four flags. The Commonwealth Games are another example. At the Olympics, however, there is a single GBR team, so it really depends on the context which flag to use. Are there any specific articles that you think are incorrectly handled? — Andrwsc (talk · contribs) 06:31, 7 February 2008 (UTC)
The Olympics is an odd situation since territories compete seperate from their mother country (the British Virgin Islands, for example, are a territory of the United Kingdom but compete under their own banner). In cases where the individual parts of the UK compete separately I don't have a problem. I raised this point after looking at the article the Rochester Raging Rhinos (the local American soccer team) and seeing English flags instead of UK flags on players. If someone from the UK is playing in a US sports league, then this is an example of where I think they should use their national flag (i.e. UK). TJ Spyke 06:40, 7 February 2008 (UTC)
I would raise this issue with the Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Football folks. I believe that the common convention they use is to display the flag of the national team the player would qualify for, and for football, that would be the England national football team. But best to check with them. — Andrwsc (talk · contribs) 16:56, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

Flag usage in Crazy_Nights_Tour

Resolved: Changing to flag of uk

What people opinion of this sort of flag usage, The Northern Irish flag is included and we all know the trouble that can cause Gnevin (talk) 14:42, 9 February 2008 (UTC)

I don't mind these so much, at least they give you a quick visual representation of the countries toured. I like the way the Canadian ones stand out from the American ones better than they would with text alone. But the NI flag should go; either (a) delete it, or (b) replace all UK flags with the Union Jack. Cop 663 (talk) 13:03, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

Flags usage in Template_National_elections

On going discussion Template_talk:National_elections#Flags requires input. Can someone have a look and clarify if infoboxes qualify under section 2 (listed below) Flag icons may be appropriate as a visual navigational aid in tables or lists provided that citizenship, nationality or jurisdiction is intimately tied to the topic at hand)

  • As nationality or jurisdiction is intimately tied to the topic at hand" or are as i contend not a table or list and so


  • Aren't a table or list and so two 'Flag icons may be appropriate as a visual navigational aid in tables or lists doesn't apply Gnevin (talk) 11:42, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
I think they qualify. —Nightstallion 20:21, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
They're harmless. The problems involving debates about which flag to use wouldn't normally apply because national elections are usually connected to one specific country, so there's no debate about which flag to use. They may not strictly count as lists, but there are bigger fish to fry. Cop 663 (talk) 22:32, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

Owe flags wiki does love you

Flag official for less than 1 day and already links to 156 main space and 532 pages in total ,Flagipedia here we come :)Gnevin (talk) 22:59, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

Pretty much all of that was because of flag template usage. All instances of {{flag|Kosovo}} and {{flagicon|Kosovo}} were updated in one fell swoop when the template was updated to use the new image. A similar thing happened when the Iraqi flag was updated recently. — Andrwsc (talk · contribs) 19:29, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

List of pages that need de-flagging

Have you found an article with a large number of unnecessary flags that would take ages to remove? Would you like to do it yourself but are too busy? If so, list it in this section. Maybe someone more zealous than you would enjoy the work. If you are such a zealous person, please remove the article from the list when you've finished. Cop 663 (talk) 22:43, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

The best thing to do in my opinion is to add the templates to AWB's find and replace to yeild something like this [7], however their is over 380 of these so would need help building a complete list Gnevin (talk) 23:49, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
Well, I think there is far more usage of the standard {{flag}} template than there is for those "shortcut" templates, mostly because the templates like {{USA}} only exist for the nations that have ISO 3166 country codes. Many of those articles also use flags for individual US states, French regions, etc. so the generic flag template is used for them (e.g. {{flag|California}} or {{flag|Brittany}}. There are over a thousand of those flag templates. Even worse, there are thousands of instances where editors used MediaWiki image syntax directly, instead of using a flag template, so you need additional AWB strings to search for those.... Every few months I go on a run converting flag icons to use the templates, but there are a lot left. — Andrwsc (talk · contribs) 00:22, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Captivity (film) (not a particularly arduous task, but I can't be bothered to edit the article on such a crappy film). :) Cop 663 (talk) 01:53, 24 March 2008 (UTC)
  • 2007 in film - Stars & Stripes overload for no real purpose. Cop 663 (talk) 19:42, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

Flagicons in tennis tournament article

I removed the flagicons from Delray Beach International Tennis Championships, but now another editor has added them back. I do not think the flags belong in the article, as the players are competing as individuals, not as members of a national team (note the mixed nationalities in the doubles teams). Anyway, I'm looking for comments before I decide whether to fight this. -- Donald Albury 23:40, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

Flag icons are common, the norm, and pretty much allowed by the MoS in such sports articles, even if there may be ambiguity about some athletes' nationality. Keeping them is easier than removing them altogether.--Boffob (talk) 23:48, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
The problem with this article is not including the country names. The list assumes that readers can identify flags like this one The Bahamas easily. The list should be restructured to include the country names. It would less ugly like that too. Cop 663 (talk) 23:53, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
One option for those tables is to use the country code wikilinked to the full nation name. That is a good compromise that should make it possible to make sports pages more user-accessible (and "compliant" with this MOS guideline), but not require massive efforts to re-layout those pages to accomodate names of nations. For example, use {{flag|BAH}} for  BAH.
Another alternative (used on hundreds of Olympic articles) is something like {{flagathlete|Joe Bloggs|BAH}} for  Joe Bloggs (BAH).
Andrwsc (talk · contribs) 00:14, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
A bot would be useful for this. There's a whole lot of articles on sporting events like that with tons and tons of tables with flag icons and no country name in sight. Doing it manually would take forever.--Boffob (talk) 01:36, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
It would have to be a very smart bot... There are literally hundreds of different table formats and page layouts to accomodate. — Andrwsc (talk · contribs) 01:43, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

So, sports articles get a bye, no matter how ugly they are. Well, I do have other things to worry about. -- Donald Albury 15:19, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

They don't "get a bye" if you argue it on that article, make your points, and persuade the other editors on that article. If you do it there, and you or others do it on other articles, then that changes consensus -- or shows consensus changing -- on the sports articles. You've made a good case here for why it's better for this article to not have them, so I would definitely make that point on the article. --Lquilter (talk) 16:27, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
Who said they "get a bye"? I just said it was an enormous amount of work. — Andrwsc (talk · contribs) 16:49, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

Anachronism in historical articles

While reviewing Battle of the Little Bighorn, I noticed the infobox contained flags next to each of the Native American groups that where represented in the battle. Their presence stood out as an anachronism so I removed them in this edit. Upon further inspection of those flags, I noticed they were included in several other articles about historical battles. In some cases, the flags represent now-established reservations or federally recognized tribes rather than the then extant nation of peoples in whatever form they existed at that time. (To what degree there is a difference between the two may be a matter for debate and will likely vary from tribe to tribe.) However, it seems that in keeping with historical context, flags should not be used in this manner. Thoughts? ++Arx Fortis (talk) 06:57, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

Military history is the one place where the use of historical flags is unambiguous, that is the flags on the page should be entirely verifiable as the ones used by each faction at the time. If a particular group had no flags, then there should be no flag representing them on the page.--Boffob (talk) 07:05, 24 February 2008 (UTC)
Yup. Native Americans at that time did not fly flags. Cop 663 (talk) 13:49, 24 February 2008 (UTC)
Of course at the size the 37 star flag is displayed it's pretty much useless Gnevin (talk) 14:24, 24 February 2008 (UTC)
I think that at the time of the battle that the details of a flag far away would be difficult to distinguish, so that tiny flag is not anachronistic.  :-) -- SEWilco (talk) 15:04, 24 February 2008 (UTC)
Gnevin and SEWilco, you're missing the point of my post. This isn't about the American flag, it's about the Native American flags that were originally on the article. Did you read my original post? ++Arx Fortis (talk) 22:30, 24 February 2008 (UTC)
I did , but Boffob and Cop seemed to have covered all the bases so ,I though I'd raise a side issue Gnevin (talk) 22:37, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

Missing section?

In the section Use of flags for non-sovereign states and nations, there's a direction to "See also #Direct relevance of non-national flags", yet when I click, it goes nowhere useful. --Sturm 20:05, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

Fixed it. Cop 663 (talk) 20:20, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

Unnecessary flags in footers

I've started a thread over at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject International relations#Flags_in_International_relations_footers over what I see as spurious use of flags in some of this project's footers. Circeus (talk) 19:39, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

Correct Usage of flagicons

Is it correct to use flagicons in lists such as List of post-rock bands? where there is no obvious reason to emphasise nationality and it has no bearing on the list criteria. I fear this is simply for decoration or nationalism. --neonwhite user page talk 01:30, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

I think you're right, there they merely detract and have no real reason to be anyway (what if the band members are of different nationalities?). They should be removed.--Boffob (talk) 02:01, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
In my opinion, unless nationality is of primary important to the entries of the list, such as sportspersons, world leaders for instance then there can be no possibly purpose. it's an attribute of the entry and no more important than any other attribute say, date of birth etc. The only difference is that this attribute has a pretty flag icon so therefore they are being used as decoration contrary to the guidelines. --neonwhite user page talk 21:29, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

First off, I would like to tell Boffob that most band members in a band are of the same nationality. Sometimes you do come across a rarity, though. If you check out all the metal lists they handle this by putting two flags by the band or sometimes just the flag the band originated in. That's what this is about. The flagicon in those lists are important. They establish something. They are not in danger of changing neutrality. They just tell what country the band is from. People like to know that bit of information usually. They are not being used as decoration. This has been argued many times and consensus has always come back to the same thing. Keep flagicons in lists of bands. At least for all the metal lists it has always come to this consensus. I wouldn't know about other lists. People want those flagicons there. Blizzard Beast $ODIN$ 21:48, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

Without country names, they do no follow the guidelines. Then you have country flags but sub-UK ones (might as well put this flag: Saguenay (Sagamie) 11 Jun 1938.gif next to Voivod). And they are not necessary in the lists (emphasizing nationality for no reason), as the info on country of origin should be in each band's article anyway.--Boffob (talk) 22:24, 7 March 2008 (UTC)
The flags are clearly unnecessary decoration at best; at worst they clutter the page and make it look like a plate of fruit salad. They add nothing and should be removed. --John (talk) 22:29, 7 March 2008 (UTC)
Shouldn't 12Twelve use Flag of Catalonia.svg and Jesu (band) have Flag of Wales 2.svg and Flag of England.svg for its english member ?These are only two i've found at random the flags here imply more than they can clearly define, but of course the flag look pretty lot are not open to reasonGnevin (talk) 22:31, 7 March 2008 (UTC)
As an anarchist, I have a negative view about nationalism but I really do not see how the mere use of the flag icons on the wiki lists emphasise nationality. Seems to me that they demonstrate the country of origin for the band and nothing more. I think they serve a very useful purpose in that one can discern the localisation of a particular music genre by looking at a list with flag icons. For instance, if one were to take a look at the list of folk metal bands, one can easily tell that the music genre is heavily localised and concentrated in Europe with little to no representation from the other continents. Just by looking at their respective lists, we can see that folk metal is more of a European phenomeon while post-rock is more of an North American speciality. Looking closer, one can see that there are certain countries with a lot of folk metal groups - Germany, for instance, stands out. So we know that there exist a folk metal regional scene in Germany (known as Mittelalter rock). On the other hand, there's little to none for a country like the Netherlands or France. So just by looking through the list of folk metal bands without clicking on each and every page contained within the list, we can tell that there's a regional scene in Germany but there does not exist a regional scene in the Netherlands. Isn't that a piece of useful information? I think it is, especially when many anonymous fans like to go through the metal subgenres and add some country or another to the regional scene category in the infobox. The presence of the flag icons in the list will also help to avoid original research in the infobox with regards to the cultural origins and mainstream popularity entries. Which is pretty important for a genre like folk metal where little has been written about it in the English mainstream press. I doubt that there exist an authoritative statement on the non-existence of a folk metal regional scene in the Netherlands but readers can pretty much figure it out for themselves with the list of folk metal bands. There are also a few things on the list of folk metal bands that you would not ordinarily see in other lists. Some bands like Midnattsol and Leaves Eyes are from two countries (Germany and Norway in both cases) and so there are two flags next to the bands. Folkearth actually has the flag of the United Nations next to it because it is an international project with members from over ten different countries. Waylander does not have any flag next to it because they are from Northern Ireland and there's apparently some controversy about the use of the Northern Irish flag. Despite all these irregularities, I would say the list of folk metal bands is of a decent quality especially when compared to some other similar lists.--Bardin (talk) 01:50, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

Jesu shows just how ridiculous the use of flags, or even the emphasising of nationality is in the first place. Two members of the band are from Birmingham (in England for clarity) and the other is from either New York or Norway (sources are contradictory, some say he was born in Oslo, some say he moved there)! They don't have a single Welsh member! One Night In Hackney303 02:15, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

That's the other thing I neglected to mention: some bands are created in and associated with cities/countries that have nothing to do with the nationality (or nationalities) of its members. That's one more reason not to put flags in those lists.--Boffob (talk) 02:25, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
I think a few of you are confusing the purpose of the flag icons by unnecessarily conflating the issue with nationalism. Let's use a famous band as an example. The lead singer for AC/DC since 1980 has been Brian Johnson, a British citizen. Yet the band is identifiable all over as an Australian act. Nobody goes around saying AC/DC is a British-Aussie band. The article for AC/DC on wikipedia is categorised under Australian heavy metal musical groups not British heavy metal musical groups. Judas Priest is described as an English band in the very first line of the band's article page here on wikipedia. Their drummer Scott Travis is American. Black Sabbath is also described as an English heavy metal band even though some of their past members like Dio is American. On wikipedia, an article page for a band should include an infobox. One of the entries for that infobox is origins. I don't hear anyone complaining that AC/DC's origins is listed as Australia even though the Angus brothers were born in Scotland. That entry for the origins should generally match whatever flag icon is used to identify the band's country of origin. Duh. As far as Jesu is concerned, the entry lists the United Kingdom, as does the Metal Archives and the band's own official myspace page. Seems to me the United Kingdom flag is the obvious one to use, regardless of whether an individual band member is from Norway or New York. ::On the list of folk metal bands, we have two acts - Leaves Eyes and Midnattsol - with two flag icons each (both Germany and Norway). Look up the band's article page here on wikipedia and you'll see the entry for origins listing both Germany and Norway. This is not because the band members are simply from two different countries but because both bands did really originated in two countries. There's no issue or doubts there.
So yes, bands that are created in and associated with cities or countries that have nothing to do with the nationality of the members should have a flag icon reflecting the country are associated with, which in most cases would be the country they originated from and came to public consciousness as. I do not think that there should be a policy for the use of flag icons in lists of bands. If you do not want it in a particular list like that on post-rock, open up the debate and discuss it on the talk page for that article. For me, I see much value in having flag icons in a list like that for folk metal bands. I do not appreciate the idea that flag icons in that list might be in jeopardy just because some of you do not see any value in having flag icons in some other list. --Bardin (talk) 04:30, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
Maybe we could list the bands country wise, with the flagicon alongside the country's would make everybody happy. Listing them alphabetically within that country heading. Personally I find the flagicons a bit lame, because we cannot guess a country from just seeing a small thumbnail of its flag. We have to take the pointer over that flag and wait till the text shows up. Weltanschaunng 17:54, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

Can someone explain why flag icons are better than words? Cop 663 (talk) 19:21, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

Cop the pro flag lot for lack of a better term will never answer that question see Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Ice_Hockey/Navboxes for an example of Vicky Pollard like arguments Gnevin (talk) 20:52, 9 March 2008 (UTC)
I normally stay away from these discussions, but I need to jump in on this one. Flagicons should be used on music lists, especially List of black metal bands.(that's an example) It is NOT nationalist pride. It's an educational feature. Certain places have certain styles of music. That is known around the music world. For example, if you go up to a metal fan, and ask him or her to name a black metal band from Norway, they would be able to belt off names like Dimmu Borgir because they can associate the country with the style. Most music lists do not use flagicons as nationalism, but as education. That is a fact. There are differences between American black metal, German black metal, and Norwegian black metal. (if you do not believe me, go listen to the groups). It's a matter of education, not pride. Undeath (talk) 21:53, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, but that argument is wrong, and that's coming from someone who saw Emperor play back in 1993 and Cradle of Filth in 1990. While there are recognised styles of black metal by country, it does not logically follow that every band from every country stick to the style of the country they are from. One Night In Hackney303 22:07, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
You are right. Not every band is recognizable by country, but in today's modern music world, most of them/a great deal of them are. (just wondering, where did you see CoF in '90, I saw them in 'late '91 and didn't really like it) When it comes to bands, the flags do not represent pride by a long shot. That is just a quick way to justify deleting the flags. As the editor who was deleting them found out, all the editors who actively engage in editing the lists want the flags kept where they are. (Also see that the edits that take away the flags from lists are undone, not by me, but by others) The flags provide a general, quick educational value to the reader. Undeath (talk) 22:23, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
But why flags and not words? Cop 663 (talk) 00:23, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
As Welt noted above, why not order those band lists by country instead of just alphabetically. It would keep the country information there while getting rid of the sometimes unidentifiable flag icons. I made such propositions on two talk pages so far, I'll have to check if anyone is going to agree or not.--Boffob (talk) 01:13, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
Ordering a list by country can also be a bad idea. For one, a country list would make it harder to find the band you are looking for. Some people do not know the origin of all the bands they listen to. (I used to not know where Cryptopsy came from) The alphabetical list is the most helpful. People are used to it. Undeath (talk) 02:22, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
Most browsers will let you find words on webpage via the Edit->Find in This Page button. So does the search function on Wiki to find articles. The other solution is to get rid of the flag icons altogether, as actually most list of bands articles do not use them at all (country of origin doesn't seem to matter so much except apparently for a handful of genres like death metal and post-punk). They are really not that helpful unless you know them in the first place. Can you identify this flag Singapore on sight?--Boffob (talk) 04:48, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
First off, the flag of Singapore is easily recognizable for me. (lol, I've been there) A better example would have been this Principality of Sealand. Also, the icons are not limited to death metal and post punk. Look at most newer genres of music.(for example, List of black metal bands has the icons in place too. There is really no blatant violation of WP:FLAG when using the flags in a music list. It's definitely not a pride issue. When I browse a page, if I put my mouse over the flagicon, it tells me flag of ... (That will always work unless popups are enabled.) Undeath (talk) 05:59, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
Wiki has sortible tables, so you can list by country and alphabetically Gnevin (talk) 08:59, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
That's not what I meant. There are some countries that do not have a band for every letter. This could confuse some readers. A list by country would mean that the reader would have to know where their band is hailing from. Not every person knows where all the bands they listen to come from. The overall alphabetical list with the icons is the best way to list bands. It would be different if the majority of the bands were American, or English, but they are not. It's not a list dominated by one flag. Undeath (talk) 12:08, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

I believe what Gnevin's referring to with the term sortable tables is the use of a table format with separate columns for the name of the band and the name of the country they're from. Thanks Gnevin for reminding me that these sortable tables exist. It took a bloody long time but I made the change for the list of folk metal bands. Those of you wondering what we're talking about should visit it for an example of a sortable table. No flagicons needed. The name of the country is in a separate column next to the band and one can sort the list by each column - the name of the band or country. I added a couple of other columns to the list of folk metal bands that I felt would be useful but other editors might not want those columns on whatever list they're working on. The only problem I had was with the two bands that come from both Germany and Norway. I just placed one country ahead of the other in the column but sorting the table by country would result in the band appearing under one country and not the other. If anyone know of any solution, please let me know. --Bardin (talk) 15:47, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

Well I just implemented my own solution on the list of thrash metal bands (plus some bios for bands) and it already looks much more like a featured list. IMO if attribute:country is to be given any importance, let it determine the sorting method of the list, instead of the sorting attribute:alphabet, which conveys no information whatsoever related to the list in question. Weltanschaunng 09:53, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
Bardin ,well done on your solution to the flag issues in list of folk metal bands, looks great , Welt maybe you could update list of thrash metal bands to that format Gnevin (talk) 11:06, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

Opinions needed to stem infobox edit-war

A slow edit war is brewing at Template:Infobox German Bundesland relating to the use of flag icons. Both parties have made their reasoning known on the talk page.

As the creator/maintainer of this template, I have no strong opinions either way regarding the flags, although the pro-flag argument given is IMO shaky and point 1 of WP:FLAGS seems to speak against their inclusion. Anyway, given my involvement, I would be more comfortable if someone else had a look at this. Thanks. - 52 Pickup (deal) 07:59, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

This template was protected a while ago to encourage discussion. See the template talk page. Points on both sides were made, but the slow edit warring has resumed (one party occasionally reverting while not logged in). It looks like the only way to put an end to this is to indef protect the template.
After all that has been said, I would conclude that the disputed flags in this case are merely decorative and should probably be removed. But again, since I am in some way involved here, I should not be the one to protect it. Therefore, I ask people here (particularly any other admins) to have another look at this issue. Thank you 52 Pickup (deal) 07:42, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
I have seen this kind of usage in many different geographic infoboxes, so I think there is some (weak?) consensus for keeping them. One possible solution is based on a change I just made — by using the standard {{flagicon}} template, it is possible for users who don't like flag icons to disable them from their own preferences. See WP:WPFT for details on how to edit your monobook.css to do this. — Andrwsc (talk · contribs) 15:48, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

Hello, how you doing?

So I was thinking if somebody would be interested in joining this discussion. Believe me, it'd be best if you replied there instead of here. I'm not watching this talk page, and it's very unlikely that I will be able to see your reply if you replied on this talk page instead of the other one. Thank you. TheBlazikenMaster (talk) 16:52, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

Is this an example of decorative usage?

This article is lousy with flagicons, International reaction to the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, and I am thinking that the wikilinkage to the actual names of the organizations is more than enough. I am thinking the images are decorative, redundant and unnecessary. Thoughts? - Arcayne (cast a spell) 16:05, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

Well, it could be justified under the sentence "Flag icons may be appropriate as a visual navigational aid in tables or lists". The idea is that for some people the country's flag may stand out better than the name if you're scanning the list looking for a particular country. Hence they could be defended as not entirely decorative. Cop 663 (talk) 16:12, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
What about the use of organization flags there? Some organizations have no flag at all, hence no flag icon, and they sort of disappear in the text compared to other organizations that do have them. Sounds like undue weight to me.--Boffob (talk) 18:41, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

I didn't think about the undue consideration. With respect, Cop 663 - your eyes are probably sharper than mine, so some of those flags seem a bit too small for recognition to me. As we use the search tool by adding words to it (and not flag icons, which would be pretty awesome - image searching and all), isn't it just better to use the word which links to the country/org/etc., where one can see the flag somewhat larger? - Arcayne (cast a spell) 18:48, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

I think if you do know the flag of the country you're looking for, you won't have trouble recognizing it even if it's small. I mean, Sri Lanka this might look fiddly to some people, but if you're interested in Sri Lanka you'll know what it is. I usually hate flags but I don't mind them in lists like this. BUT I guess the problem is, if you're going to have flags, you've got to have flags for everything or it doesn't work, as you've noted. And that so-called Al-Qaeda flag seems pretty spurious. Cop 663 (talk) 22:14, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
The "Al-Qaeda flag" appears in a lot of military conflict infoboxes, such as Operation Enduring Freedom, so there is a lot of potential removal if that flag is not appropriate. — Andrwsc (talk · contribs) 22:40, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

This sort of setup appears to be common for listing international reactions to certain events (e.g. International reaction to the 2008 Kosovo declaration of independence) or other lists (e.g. List of countries and outlying territories by total area). I agree with Cop 663 above in that the use of flag icons in situations like this is not simply decorative but a navigational aid. As for the orginisations that have no images present (e.g. Amnesty International), it would be possible to use a logo if it weren't copyrighted. - 52 Pickup (deal) 06:13, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

It's not just a (potential) copyright issue; it directly contradicts this MOS guideline, per the Inventing new flags and using non-flag stand-ins section. A logo is not a flag. — Andrwsc (talk · contribs) 08:11, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
What's wrong with using a logo, though? Why does it have to be a flag, not a logo, on a page like that? Cop 663 (talk) 11:48, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

This question appears to stem from a debate regarding flag use in Talk:Fitna_(film)#Flags_in_Post-Response_section. The page has now been orphaned to International reaction to Fitna. My logic is that the use of flags serve to aid in visual navigation, as many of the different countries' responses run into one another, making it hard to distinguish. Also, as a political article that is intimately linked with nations and their response, the use of flags would be justified. I think that Arcayne's point of not using flags in general prose is not applicable here; as with the Benazir Bhutto and other political articles mentioned above, their use is not in 'general prose'. An earlier version with flags added can be viewed old version with flags here.
The use isn't decorative imo, but is used in context with a country's governmental or political response, and also aids in the presentation and navigational legibility of the articles. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Kapowow (talkcontribs) 01:17, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

Actually the question exists on its own, but thanks for connecting the problem articles. I think that arguments about 'well, I have an affinity with the flag' doesn't trump the idea of the actual name of the country that the flag belongs to. It bears notice that the article for the country has the flag in it. Therefore, flagicons are decorative nonsense when used in article text. Flagions are spiffy when discussing things like how flags change as political change occurs within the country, like in the former Soviet Republics, etc. - Arcayne (cast a spell) 01:34, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

It is not about one or the other; both are used. It is about a matter of clarity, usefulness, legibility of the overall article, representation of a political entity, and style. Just because a word links to the country, and that country shows its respective flag, that means nothing. Why do flag icons exist, if their singular and only use is in an article about flags? That would be entirely redundant. Once more, their use is not in an article's text (prose); rather, as an introduction to that particular country's official response or stance. Using flagicons to represent how flags change over time, as in the example you gave re the former Soviet Union, would be useless in identifying a flag (owing to a flagicon's size), and could seemingly lend weight to its use within general prose as a means to aid tricky political terms. The choice of whether to use a small flagicon or not seems to be based upon a) if the article in question bears substantial relation to the country or organization (eg, the EU); b) if its use is not redundant; and c) if it aids in navigation, legibility and overall improves the look/feel/read of the article. Kapowow (talk) 03:18, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

Ahhm but there's the rub, isn't it? You argue that the glagicons are not redundant, aid in navigation and improves the "look/feel/read" of the article. It does not. Name one article where the use of flagicons as descriptors better suited the article more than linking words would to the same effect. The fact of the matter is, flagicons are pretty, like infobox coloring of US Presidents, or our favorite TV show. However, prettyness is not encyclopedic. We use images in Wikipedia, but those images communicate material that is not redundant to the text but supports the text. Flagicons do nothing but present a extremely small representation of a flag that might be Australia or might be New Zealand, or China or Singapore. The problem with flagicons is that they are nothing but decorative in almost every article they are present in. They detract from the "look/feel/read" of the article in that they interrupt the flow of the article at every turn. As presented in the two article examples above, they are cluttered beyond belief. There is a reason we limit image clutter in articles.
You argue that if they are not to be used in normal articles, why have them at all? I would point out that many former items have become something vestigial, like WP:SPOILER or the host of other bad ideas that have come and gone in Wikipedia. For lists, flagicons are wonderful. For regular articles, they are tree stumps in an otherwise placid, well-made article. It begs the question, if one wants such decoration, how bad off is the article? It would appear to me that a person advocating the usage of flagicons in an otherwise fine article is not unlike a person making a Dagwood sandwich; in small doses, flagicons are palatable. When more and more are added it likely becomes mental constipation; it slows down readability. - Arcayne (cast a spell) 04:52, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
You say flagicons are wonderful for lists, but surely we are talking about lists here aren't we? The Benazir Bhutto article is list of international reactions. So is the Fitna article, albeit with rather long entries. I agree they shouldn't appear in regular article prose, but I'm not sure these instances do. They're more like bullet points, aren't they? Cop 663 (talk) 16:46, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
Incidentally, I tend to find the flags more useful in long lists than in short ones. This is genuinely useful for navigating a long list. This is just redundant prettifying since the list is so short. Ergo, the more flags the better... That's my 2 cents anyway. Cop 663 (talk) 16:52, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
Okay, I can dig that, but if you look at the Bhutto article again, the proper and more efficient navigational tool is already in place - the wikilinked text identifying the source of the comments. Flags that small are difficult to see, and might be confused with one another (noting the prior examples of Australia/New Zealand and China/Singapore/New People's Army), whereas the actual wikilinked names aren't open to interpretation, and navigate you right to the topic. I tend to think that the flagicons tend to interupt the flow of reading, as they create a full-stop wherein the person has to look at the flag, and they spend moments trying to discern the nature, accuracy and or/similarity of that flag with one similar (or subconsciously note the differences between that flag and their own), instead of continuing on through the text for the intended message.
Flags as identifiers are okay when their primary purpose is used. The Olympics example you provided (as an unnecessary usage) is actually a good example of when flagicons are useful. As the Olympic athletes wear symbols of their flags on their uniforms, and news/event coverage uses the icons to note the relatively unknown athletes by country, using the flagicons in articles here the use of flags is as a primary identifier is in keeping with the nature of the article. International responses are unlike this in that the flag is not the primary identifier. When most people think of Al Qaeda, my immediate connect is not with the flag but the bin-Laden, or the Cole, or the Towers. That it is used in military articles (like the previous example Enduring Freedom) is a similar situation to the Olympics or military articles, wherein the symbol of the players is vital. It isn't in the Bhutto article or the old Fitna version as the words of the representatives is more important
The purpose of the flagicon is to help the reader, and in some instances, it does. The Bhutto and Fitna articles aren't examples of that helpfulness, to my reckoning. - Arcayne (cast a spell) 18:33, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
Well, I'm afraid we just have to agree to disagree there. Most of the responses in the Bhutto article are the official responses of governments, so it seems perfectly logical to me to associate them with the state flag of those countries; if it was the responses of individuals I would agree with you. And I don't really understand your point about the wikilinked text - if the flags were on their own, it would indeed be ambiguous, but since they're accompanied by text, anyone who briefly mistakes Australia for New Zealand will be confused only for a fraction of a second. No-one's forcing you to look at the flags; some people are visual thinkers and some people aren't. And I just come back to my point about long lists. In this long, complicated Olympics list they are a very useful visual navigational aid. In this short one, they're not doing anything useful since the list can be comprehended very rapidly. But we're just going round in circles. Cop 663 (talk) 21:40, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
Okay, we disagree. I would point out that most people are a combination of all three learning types (visual, audial and tactile), so a visial component is going to affect each reader (though, as you said, to a different degree). And I disagree witht he logic presented by the statement "no one is forcing you to look at the flags" - of course the reader is. That is how we are hardwired as humans.
As I said, if the text wikilinks the countries involved (as the names of the countries and not the flags) are being used to link to articles about the countries, then the images of the flagicons becomes redundant. You already have the wikilink to the article about the country/org; why is anything else necessary? - Arcayne (cast a spell) 22:38, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
Circular again; it's because some people like the way the flags may stand out more than the words in a long list. No, they're not necessary, but they're useful. Think of it this way: in the Benazir Bhutto list, it isn't necessary to have sections headed 'Africa' and 'South America', etc., and it isn't necessary to have a section headed 'international organizations'; after all, we all know Al-Qaeda and the UN aren't countries. The headers are not there because they're necessary but because some people find them useful navigational aids. Same principle with the flags. Cop 663 (talk) 23:16, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
Apples and oranges, Cop. The sections break up the commentary by classification. The flags don't do that. They are redundant. Sections aren't.- Arcayne (cast a spell) 23:22, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
I am all about removing flagicons where they are being used inappropriately, but this is one case where I think the use of flagicons is appropriate. In these cases head officials of countries/organizations are releasing statements that are the official responses of the countries/organizations. Aspects (talk) 22:13, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
Oh, so they are appropriate for usage when refering to the official response of a country/organization? Could I trouble you to point out where in the the guideline it says that, Aspects? Since we both know it isnt there, I think we need to heal the would rather than try to stretch a band-aid too small for the task. - Arcayne (cast a spell) 23:22, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
Actually I think it is there, as in the guideline summary: "Flag icons may be appropriate as a visual navigational aid in tables or lists provided that citizenship, nationality or jurisdiction is intimately tied to the topic at hand". An official governmental response by a country concerning an international political incident easily fulfills that requirement. Also, I think that their use in the examples here falls under: "The flag icons were created for use in lists and tables..." and Accompany flags with country names, to respond to earlier points you made. The flags' use is to help in the visual navigation of an article. Kapowow (talk) 00:44, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
(outdent) Thanks for contributing politely, Kapowow. The guideline - as you noted - noted tables or lists provided that citizenship, nationality or jurisdiction is intimately tied to the topic at hand. Unfortunately, that still leaves my question about flagicons representing the official response of a country/organization. As well, your suggestion proffers another question: where in either article is that proviso met? The incident isn't intimately tied to the citizenship,nationality or jurisdiction of the subject. As well, you yourself have argued that the Fitna old version and the Bhutto assassination articles aren't lists but prose. Therefore, it fails the summary criteria #2, as well.
Lastly, I understand that you maintain that the flagicons (and lets be clear - not flags but tiny pixelated versions of such) are visually helpful. What I haven't seen yet is something indicating that this perception is accurate. Could you somehow prove that they are useful to either article outside of personal preference? With respect, this is but one study that indicated that text (versus multimedia) information was better recalled when asked for correct answers to questions. Granted, that's just one study, but I am pretty sure that a concerted search could produce more with far more complicated regimens and the same results. - Arcayne (cast a spell) 01:02, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

- Arcayne (cast a spell) 00:58, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

My contributions are always polite, Arcayne. Please forgive my ignorance, but how is a nation's official governmental response not initimately linked to its citizenship, nationality or jurisdiction? A country's national symbol (ie, its flag) is not giving the response, the country as a whole, or its government, is, and using a flag is indicative of the country it represents. A nation's official response to an incident, such as the Benazir Bhutto or Fitna incidents, is manifestly and intimately linked to the 'citizenship, nationality or jurisdiction of the subject'. Country X says this; country Y says that.
I have not argued that any article is prose or otherwise. A list may be prosaic, dependent upon its sentence formation and structure. A "Top 10" list of box office movies is clearly not prose; however, a list detailing the 100 worst political coups with precise and informative sentences is indeed prosaic. The point about Not for use in general article prose means to not use flags within the general flow of an article, as exampled with: "They should not be used in the article body, as in, "...and after her third novel was published, Jackson moved to Bristol,  England, in April 2004, then...""
Consensus, precedent and the Manual of Style show that their use is warranted, as in: "They can aid navigation in long lists or tables of countries as many readers can more quickly scan a series of flag icons due to the visual differences between flags". Helping people accrue and access information easily and without hinderance is the main reason for flag use; not a pretty layout. Kapowow (talk) 01:26, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for again posting politely, Kapowow. I wasn't suggesting you were ignorant at all; I was suggesting that your claim that a flagicon best represents a nation's governmental response was more of a personal interpretation than what is actually used. A nation's response is just that, it's response. As response is not noted (explicitly or implicitly ) in the summary criteria for inclusion from WP:FLAG and is not representative of anything but a governmental statement, it isn't part of an argument for inclusion.
As the wikilinked name of the country more accurately and speedily navigates the reader to the source of the information, and as the flagicons (by virtue of their miniscule size and the availability of interpretational error), as well as the previously cited study indicating that multimedia usage does not aid in comprehension of the information as well as text, I posit that the flagicons, as used in large doses is unnecessary and decorative. They are certainly not more informative than the readily clickable wikilinked text. - Arcayne (cast a spell) 23:24, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
Strongly Support I agree with the balance of the editors here with the usage of flagicons in the Fitna response section. There is ample precedent and they easily allow the reader to navigate the page. They serve a proper function and give a level of clarity, adding to the substantive content, not detracting. (talk) 23:26, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
I think its obvious here that concensus is for keeping the flags as no one has supported his position. (Hypnosadist) 00:07, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
Forgive me, but I am not sure I see that consensus you are speaking of. I believe I've supported my position, at least, with both policy and outside sources. Has anyone else done that that I am not aware of? With respect, if you want to change how the current policy works, set forth a proposal. In its current state, the guideline doesn't allow for the articles' excessive, over-the-top cluttering of flagicons. Maybe you'd like to call for an informal vote, so we can take the temperature of the contributing editors this far? - Arcayne (cast a spell) 00:36, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
I did not suggest or imply that flagicons "best represent a nation's governmental response". IMO flagicons, as used in the two articles mentioned here, aid in the visual navigation of the article as a whole. It is "actually" used in this manner; not how I personally use it. Must every single possible hypothetical implentation of flags or flagicons, or for that matter any guideline, be subject to rigid, explicit codes and criteria? I shan't go round in circles with you. All the arguments have been made. Their use as in the two articles mentioned here declutters the article. As mentioned in Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (flags)#'Useful, not decorative', there is no arbitary rule for what constitutes "excessive, over-the-top cluttering of flagicons": just because there are 20 of them - none repeated, note - that does not inherently make it excessive, over the top, or anything. Just bbecause there happen to be 20 or 30 countries, that could only lead to 20 or 30 flags. Should flagicons be only used in articles that mention 2 or, say, 4 countries at most? You want a vote? Fine. I vote for things to remain the way they are: used reasonably and responsibly when appropriate. Kapowow-on-holiday (talk) 20:57, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
But see, that's rather the point, Kapowow; the articles presented here as examples are examples of how the guideline is being used incorrectly. The names of the countries are already wikilinked, providing all the 'purdy pictures' of the flags - flags that, as icons, tend to inhibit comprehension of the written material (as proven by external reference) - for the reader to see. Because of the smallness of the flags, the tendency for confusion of flags with similar colors and design is significant.
Both articles need rewriting, without a doubt. We don't do lists here (as per NOT), and converting the text into paragraphed prose is best - all the better to remove the lazy temptation of adding flagicons to abbreviate comment, or even be seen as a viable option. Enjoy your holiday. - Arcayne (cast a spell) 18:07, 13 April 2008 (UTC)
How do the flags 'abbreviate comment'? Cop 663 (talk) 23:55, 13 April 2008 (UTC)
(←dent) Sorry, Cop663, I hadn't even seen your post until I was making my walkthrough of my watchlist. I didn't intend on leaving you hanging there. As this has grown rather convoluted, I've started a new discussion at the bottom of the page. - Arcayne (cast a spell) 05:14, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

Third opinion

Hey. Someone requested a third opinion for this page. I've removed the request since it's not really applicable here; 3Os are usually reserved for pages where there's a disagreement between two users. There's at least four active editors here, so it doesn't quite apply. I'd recommend an WP:RFC to gain consensus if there's a problem. — HelloAnnyong (say whaaat?!) 19:16, 9 April 2008 (UTC)


Not quite flags, but somewhat related. There are proposals for a coloured infobox at Talk:Wales, along (it seems) the lines of (non-statutory) national colours. Input there welcome. --Jza84 |  Talk  14:08, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

Since this was not yet resolved I've set up a RFC: link - 52 Pickup (deal) 21:15, 27 April 2008 (UTC)

Scottish stub

{{Scotland-stub}}, opinions on this? Should the flag go ?Gnevin (talk) 14:57, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

Many stub templates have logos, icons or symbols (e.g. {{Math-stub}}). I have no problems with flags there.--Boffob (talk) 15:46, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
Agreed. --Jza84 |  Talk  16:22, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
Not a problem. Most stubs templates have little pictures or logos, so what else would you have for the Scotland stub? A haggis? Cop 663 (talk) 01:55, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

Comments welcome

Template talk:Infobox Television#Flag usage Gnevin (talk) 13:43, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

Question mark flags

This is really lame: - since the Mayans and Aztecs inconveniently refused to have flags, they get given a huge question mark instead.[8] I'd like to remove these now, but does anyone know if they're widespread? Cop 663 (talk) 23:58, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

About 500 pages , including non main space , can give an official main space only count using AWB tonight [[9]] see File linksGnevin (talk) 08:48, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
Yikes. Does this come under "Using non-flag stand-ins?. It looks awful. I could almost deal with a blank white space or something, but a question mark makes it look like there was be a flag but no-one's sure what it was, which is not the case for Mayans and Aztecs. Cop 663 (talk) 12:04, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
100% under the inventing new flags.No flag is better than a made up one ,I'd suggest tagging the image for discussionGnevin (talk) 12:10, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
Agree, that image should be tagged for deletion. Kaldari (talk) 19:18, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
Strong disagree! First, the image is on Commons, and according to CheckUsage, it is in high-use (>100 pages) on 11 projects and used at least once on another 83 projects. Therefore, it does not seem very prudent to propose deletion on Commons. Second, the image has utility here on as a way of identifying pages that need attention. I certainly use it to find (and fix) instances where {{flagicon}} et. al. is called without any arguments. I would agree that we should attempt to delete all instances of the "flag" in the main article space, but not by deleting the image. Instead, we should find the most appropriate solution for each instance. On pages such as Viceroyalty of New Spain, I think the correct action is to change the parameters to {{Infobox Former Country}} to remove those "flags", but perhaps also to modify the template to allow a text string next to the wikilinked arrow. — Andrwsc (talk · contribs) 21:24, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, deleting the image won't fix the problem it has to be case-by-case. Annoying. Cop 663 (talk) 13:19, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

Flagicon usage issue

In a few earlier discussions1,2, the usage of flagicons was called into question in a since-reverted version of Reaction to Fitna. It was later compared alongside articles like International reaction to the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Operation: Enduring Freedom as reasoning for the article's usage of flagicons. The opposing view was that the usage of flagicons in these articles violated the letter and intent of WP:FLAG's summary of what constituted appropriate usage, specifically all provisions but #4, #6 and #8.
Matters went back and forth on this issue without real resolution or consensus, and it promised to kept re-occurring as an issue. I am thinking we might need to tweak the guidelines for flagicon usage so as to present a more cohesive message to the editor.
I imagine that most users add flagicons to long list-y sorts of things, like the Bhutto article, because they believe it punctuates each country, separating it from other entries. They likely feel that the icons serve as a "legibility" of identification and a navigational aid, etc.
In order to understand the nature of the divergence of interpretation, it is useful to see how the MOS currently deems as appropriate criteria for flag and flagicon usage:
  1. Flag images should be useful to the reader, not merely decorative.
  2. Flag icons may be appropriate as a visual navigational aid in tables or lists provided that citizenship, nationality or jurisdiction is intimately tied to the topic at hand, such as comparison of global economic data or reporting of international sporting event results. They should always be accompanied by their country names at least once.
  3. Flag icons should not be used in general prose in an article.
  4. Flag images, especially flag icons in biographical infoboxes, should not be used to indicate birth or death places, as this may imply an incorrect citizenship or nationality.
  5. Flag images should not be used as stand-ins for images of people or other article topics.
  6. Flag images should have alt text and/or captions for accessibility (the standardized flag icon templates do this automatically).
  7. Flag images should not be used inappropriately, and should explain their applicability in the caption if usage of the flag is limited in some way.
  8. Non-national flags should be used only when directly relevant (e.g., articles on a city may include the city flag). 3
For some, the divergence occurs over the decorative/navigational aid nature of especially flagicons, while others consider the flagicon to perpetuate a list that would be better off converted to written paragraph format. As well, many editors confuse the relevance of the flagicons' usage, imparting a number of tasks the image is supposed to resolve. For the visually impaired using Wikipedia-en, flagicon usage is nigh on useless without alt text- and a great many articles utilizing flagicons dispense with the alt text completely, trusting that someone will accompany the image with a wikilnk.
Flagicons are not shorthand. Wikilinks (like this) are. Some editors using flagicons expect the tiny little images (many of which are readily confused for one another or are too small to distinguish unless you know the flag on sight) to serve as a "legibility" and navigational aid. In at least one of the articles, they are in the midst of prose and present the information as a list by continent. In at least one quickly-found study, it was determined that of the two groups (one reading information using multimedia with imagery and the other using only text), there was found to be a:
...marginally significant difference in how test subjects correctly recalled story information that was presented in text vs. using multimedia. When asked to recall information about names and places, participants who received information in text were more likely to answer questions correctly.4
and that furthermore:

Users who received information in text form seemed to have better recall of specific factual information.

I am sure that there are other studies out there that complement these results. I am not inferring from this study that any image is going to make comprehension and retention plummet. I am suggesting that we should not be imparting to flagicons the responsibility of serving as more than the images they are.
Unfortunately, many flagicons do not even serve as simple units of information. As has been pointed out before by User:Cop 633, some flags are so small that they aren't even readily identifiable, like a previously noted example: Sri Lanka or states like Uganda or Belarus; if you are from there, you might be able to spot them. If you aren't, its more than likely that they are simply little multicolored rectangles.
As well, since many flags share similar elements, they can be confused for one another, like the following flagicon examples:
  • Jordan* Kuwait
  • Singapore and Indonesia and Poland
  • United States and Malaysia
  • Australia and New Zealand
  • Egypt and Yemen and Iraq and Iran and Sudan
  • China and Turkey
  • Italy and Republic of Ireland
  • Saudi Arabia and Arab League
  • Kyrgyzstan and Tunisia and
  • and and and and and

while some flagicon differences may be easier to spot the than others, add in the variable that some people will be viewing these images on school or work computers and monitors - and the substandard quality of some displays will render the flags of Italy and Ireland practically identical.
This similarity - and the resulting confusion and article flow interruption (while people ponder which flag they are actually seeing) - overrides many potential advantages of flagicon use. While this is discussed in the FLAG:MOS, I think that renewed emphasis needs to be placed on how these flags are used,and not simply drawing attention that names should accompany the flags.
As it is, flagicons are largely redundant, in that by simply wikilinking China and USSR, the flagicons China and Soviet Union become unnecessary, except as a decorative image which - as noted before - has been shown to impede rather than enhance understanding of the subject.
Lastly, we do not live in a static world - the collapse of the former Soviet Union and dissolution of the former Soviet bloc clearly indicates how flags can change very quickly. Flags are useful in an article about a specific country. They are eminently less so if a country's flag changes in short order. All the more reason to simply use wikilinked text to denote countries. While a simple view of the former country flag can tell us all the articles it appears in, it is more efficient to simply have the flag in the parent article and upload the new image there - one edit versus many.
For the reasons noted above, I think we should revisit how we use flagicons in Wiki-en articles and tweak our policy accordingly. - Arcayne (cast a spell) 07:06, 15 April 2008 (UTC)
Have to say I agree with a large amount of that as the nutshell states This page in a nutshell: While flag icons and similar images can be useful in Wikipedia articles in some circumstances, there are also problems associated with their misapplication and overuse. Words are clearer. Now for me the circumstances where flags are useful are
  • Country /City page
  • The flag's page
  • International Sporting events
  • Wars -However if the flag change in the middle of the war it's a pain
I like this
...marginally significant difference in how test subjects correctly recalled story information that was presented in text vs. using multimedia. When asked to recall information about names and places, participants who received information in text were more likely to answer questions correctly.4

,its should be added to the MOS somewhere.

See discussion here for how unclear the words decorative are Gnevin (talk) 08:48, 15 April 2008 (UTC)
thanks fr the discussion link - it was very helpful, and tells me that a change will do us good. - Arcayne (cast a spell) 21:42, 15 April 2008 (UTC)
Arcayne, thanks for explaining your point of view so clearly. I agree that you're raising important problems. However, there is one major area of muddle in your points which was constantly causing blockage in the discussion above.
I agree that the following is very confusing:
  • Australia Population 30 million.
  • New Zealand Population 3 million.
However, the MOS insists that flagicons should always be accompanied by country names. The following is not confusing:
It is not confusing because the names confirm or deny ones suspicions about which flag ones is looking it. OK, obviously in a short list like this one, such flags would of course be merely decorative. But in a longer list involving many other more recognisable flags, it has navigational use: a 'visual thinker' who is scanning for the blue rectangle of NZ will not be confused because they can in a millisecond confirm their success or failure in locating it by glancing at the word next to it. And those who are not 'visual thinkers' can simply ignore the rectangles if they wish. No one has to sit there 'squinting at rectangles', because the words are there to explain what they mean. You may think people who 'read' visually like this are crazy, but, sorry, that's how my brain works and other users above have said similar things.
Maybe the MOS needs to stress this more, e.g. rewrite #2 as "flags accompanied by the country's name can be a useful navigational aid for visual thinkers in long lists or tables of countries". I would advocate removing the sentence at the end about only needing the country name once. The lack of names is precisely why the flags in Operation Enduring Freedom are stupid and need to be removed because one cannot distinguish the different Taliban groups.
You make other important points and I will return to those but I wanted to make this point about accompanying flags with names because we keep constantly coming up against it. Pure squinting unaided by words should never be necessary IMO. Cop 663 (talk) 12:58, 15 April 2008 (UTC)
Concerning the example of the muddle, allow me to suggest that avoiding the usage of the flags altogether avoids the visual confusion that could occur between the similar flags of Australia and New Zealand:
Even clearer and more succinct, right? I get that we have visual learners/thinkers, but I would submit that clear (as opposed to tiny) images makes the process of info assimilation easier. Images can be helpful; tiny, hard to see images are less so.
I would think that your MOS alteration seems a pretty good idea. Can you think of anything else about flag/flagicon usage that we should address as well? - Arcayne (cast a spell) 21:42, 15 April 2008 (UTC)
Sigh. The answer to your point about the tiny images is contained in my comment above and I will not go back into that circle.
Regarding other issues, I think the main (and common) problems you've raised are (a) ambiguity when flags are used without names and (b) historical issues. Most of the time, flagicons don't cause these problems. Sometimes they do. And the reason for keeping them is usually 'but they're used in other similar articles'.
Example: the article Guadalcanal Campaign uses the standard 'battle' infobox which involves flags that indicate the nationalities of the commanders. Is this decorative? Probably, but the military history types seem to like it, so whatever. The point for now is, it's clear: it's clear what the flags mean from the little key above the commanders so no-one can possibly be confused. Now, compare this with the example you pointed out, Operation Enduring Freedom, where the allegiance of the various Taliban-linked commanders is completely unclear because the various jihadi groups all (apparently) fly the same flag. In this infobox, it is obviously imperative that the flags be replaced by words. There are two solutions. The first is to persuade the military history editors to remove all flags from all their infoboxes. But that would probably start a huge fight because they presumably like them. Here's a better solution: the MOS should state If the use of flags in a list, table or infobox makes it unclear, ambiguous or controversial, it is better to remove the flags even if that makes the list, table or infobox inconsistent with others of the same type where no problems hsve arisen. A bit long-winded, but in other words, you can replace the stupid flags in Operation Enduring Freedom with words even though battle infoboxes 'normally' have flags that are normally harmless.
Now it's your turn to make a useful suggestion. Cop 663 (talk) 00:23, 16 April 2008 (UTC)
I would elucidate that here, "controversial" should not mean that one or more editors have taken a dislike to flags; rather, the controversy lies with the flags themselves, and not their use on Wikipedia. Otherwise we'll have no flags left ;) Kapowow-on-holiday (talk) 12:34, 16 April 2008 (UTC)
Yes, by controversial I meant such things as political issues that can arise; e.g. the absurd Nazi flag in the List of Nobel Peace Prize winners... Cop 663 (talk) 13:51, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

The flags can arguably be useful to help with quick identification of diverse items in a table, where the country is relevant. Examples: Invasion of Normandy, Short track speed skating at the 2006 Winter Olympics.

But when they are sprayed onto a simple alphabetical list of countries, they serve no function. Examples: 2006 Olympics#Participating NOCs, T-72#Operators, International reaction to the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. The list items are easily found by the process of reading, which can sometimes be aided by subdividing the list into relevant regions or categories.

Icons should also never be used where they are redundant with list bullets.

"No-one's forcing you to look at the flags" is simply untrue (no one "forced" you to look at the goatse photo either). A confetti of brightly-coloured squares on the page distracts the reader's eye. There's a reason you'll never find this technique used in a professionally-typeset publication. It is not merely useless decoration, it detracts from appearance and function. Michael Z. 2008-04-28 14:41 Z

Flag adding editor

Please change this into a policy otherwise some editors won't follow it. In other words, can I ask a second opinion on User:Handicapper insistence on adding flags in birth and death locations. Garion96 (talk) 19:32, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

I wish it was that simple, unfortunately flag icons have too many applications in different contexts and formats that it would be impossible to reach wide consensus on all points to call it a policy. The birth and death part is quite clear though, and most abide by it. Also the way this particular user was doing was completely against the guideline: putting a flag icon instead of a country name is obscuring information (see the Australia, New Zealand example above). Hopefully there won't be an edit war over this.--Boffob (talk) 20:00, 15 April 2008 (UTC)
I know, I was being sarcastic. :) He keeps on adding flags and is reverting earlier removals. Really tempted here to rollback the lot. Garion96 (talk) 20:04, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

Using Names Alongside Flags

The text of this section already makes the point why names should appear next to flags: "not all readers are familiar with all flags". And anyway, the M.O.S. should not assume what readers are familiar with or not - whichever flag is chosen as the example of "unfamiliarity" there will be several million people who are familiar with it. There is no need to single out a particular flag. The Red Hat of Pat Ferrick t 20:56, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

does this count as flagcruft?

-- (talk) 09:07, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

No but Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style_(flags)#Use_of_flags_for_sports_people applys Gnevin (talk) 09:13, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

Use of Flags in Television Infoboxes

We are trying to guage a final consensus as to whether flag icons should or should not be used in television infoboxes. If you have a view on this, please go HERE, and voice your support/opposition/neutrality. Thank you. TalkIslander 14:24, 2 May 2008 (UTC)