Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Icons/Archive 8

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Icon guideline prohibits the portal template?

A recent change to this added the underlined text to:

"purely decorative icons should still have a useful purpose in providing visual cues or layout in long lists or tables. Avoid adding icons that provide neither additional useful information relevant to the article subject nor visual cues or layout that aid the reader."

{{portal}} I reverted, objecting that this change would outlaw {{portal}} (see example usage at right), which normally contains a purely decorative image that provides a useful visual cue, but my revert was reverted with the comment "the next sentence addresses usage in templates/portals". Sorry, but this guideline can't seriously be saying that {{portal}} (used in 2,500,000 pages) and similar templates are bad style. What's going on here? Eubulides (talk) 09:53, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

Gnevin replied at my talk page as follows:

"Just an FYI, template portal is on the main-space but not considered part of the main-space. That is it conveys wiki community or project information that is not encyclopaedic such at {{fact}} , {{stub}} ,{{unreferenced}} and as such MOSICON doesn't apply Gnevin (talk) 09:53, 3 March 2010 (UTC)"

Sorry, I don't understand this comment. First, it seems to be claiming that uses of {{portal}} in articles are exempt from the Manual of Style, but I don't see any basis for this exemption in the manual. Second, we're not talking merely about {{portal}}; there are countless other uses of purely decorative images that this wording would disallow, for no apparent reason. For example, {{Hong Kong}} is not a portal, and it uses Image:Hong Kong SAR Regional Emblem.svg in a purely decorative way, and there's nothing wrong with that. Why is there an attempt to prohibit this usage? Eubulides (talk) 10:05, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

This guideline deals with the encyclopaedic usage of icons, I've made a minor change to the intro to reflect that this is the current consensus. Portals etc are community or project content and so fall outside the scope of this guideline . I would argue that the Hong Kong emblem should go as it stands, if you change it to link to emblems of Hong Kong or something then it should stay Gnevin (talk) 10:13, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
I don't think anyone is seriously thinking the portal templates are at risk because of this. On the other hand, the MOS version support by Gnevin does avoid potential (non-portal) problems and vagueness. And it reflects current consensus usage. --Merbabu (talk) 10:18, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
So far, nobody in this thread has explained the need for a change, with a specific example of why it's needed. I've given specific examples of why the change is harmful. Please explain why the change is needed. Eubulides (talk) 16:49, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
The change just makes it clear that argument that icons are useful navigation tools only applies to area where navigation actually takes place such as long lists and tables . The two examples you provide have not been affected by this change, non main-space was always outside the scope of the MOS and the Hong Kong template's usage of the icon is purely decorative and provide no navigation aid and is also not affected by this change Gnevin (talk) 17:58, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
But the Hong Kong example is not in a long list or table. So it therefore doesn't satisfy the newly-added (underlined) part of the guideline that says "purely decorative icons should still have a useful purpose in providing visual cues or layout in long lists or tables". The Hong Kong example is a purely decorative icon that provides a useful visual cue, but it's not in a long list or a long table. Therefore, the change appears to be prohibiting common practice. Conversely, no example has been given of usage that this new wording prohibits, and should prohibit. Can you please give a specific example of that? I still frankly don't understand the point of the change: all the effects I see for the change are harmful. Eubulides (talk) 21:02, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
THe hong kong example is always collapsed and would require users to know that the logo is,it neither provides visual cues or layouts. It's purely decoration and really should go. The wording allows the likes of the flag usage Six Nations Championship and prohibits at least in my opinion Navy_seals#See_also Gnevin (talk) 21:46, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
So, the idea is actually to prohibit the Hong Kong template's image? If so, this is a fairly drastic proposal: it would prohibit lots and lots and lots of templates. Is that really intended? Also, I don't see why the proposed wording would ban Navy_seals #See_also but allow Six Nations Championship: the infobox at the start of 'Six Nations Championship contains far fewer flags than the list in Navy_seals #See_also. Eubulides (talk) 22:00, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
MOSICON has always at least in my interpretation discouraged the Hong Kong type of image. I mean when I open that template I see this red and white logo, it gives no alt text,has no thumb nail text, I can't click it. All I can do is look at it an be confused and wonder to myself what is this, also what is the relevance of the seal to Districts of Hong Kong? Very little .In the Navy seals the countries appear once so there is no need to scan , while in the six nations that argument has been made that you can scan for France or who ever by looking for their flag. Gnevin (talk) 22:08, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

(unindent) I made a bold change attempting to at least partially deal with the issue. Although to be honest I think this section already depreciated the use in the Navy Seals article. I don't have an opinion on templates, but I don't think there is consensus to depreciate image use in them. WFCforLife (talk) 22:19, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

I like your change ,I've changed visual to navigational Gnevin (talk) 22:24, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I like it too; thanks for doing that. Eubulides (talk) 23:34, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

Flag in BBC article?

Flag-related discussion at Talk:BBC. --John (talk) 06:09, 5 March 2010 (UTC)

Old nationalist flags in firearms articles

I'd like to draw readers' attention to a controversial flag-related debate at WP:Firearms that does not appear to be getting the attention it deserves. Thanks Socrates2008 (Talk) 08:12, 5 March 2010 (UTC)


Icons in these pages e.g. List of highways numbered 117 seem excessive. Any thoughts? Staecker (talk) 20:27, 9 March 2010 (UTC)

They only reason I could think of keeping them is the navigation argument however I don't think the navigation argument applies here as they require a knowledge of 50 states roads sign plus others and a lot of them are so visually similar that a quick scan isn't possible. They should go Gnevin (talk) 12:43, 12 March 2010 (UTC)
I agree that the icons are not helpful in that list. Eubulides (talk) 18:58, 12 March 2010 (UTC)
The icons help with identification; therefore, they should stay. --Rschen7754 03:51, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
I agree that the icons help with identification. In the my home state of Michigan, we use duplicate numbers. I-94 and M-94, US 8 and M-8. While they are often in different areas of the state, the route markers do denote the difference visually in addition to the way the names are abbreviated. Additionally, on most highway guide signs, the markers are used without supplemental text names. In the future, I'd suggest that when editors propose changes like this, they notify affected WikiProjects, in this case WP:HWY or its subprojects like WP:CRWP and WP:USRD. Imzadi1979 (talk) 04:01, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
So as someone from Michigan you know Michigan's signs just as I know Ireland's but most people don't know Ireland's or Michigan's signs . These don't help the vast majority of readers in anyway and as above they don't help people navigate as they are too similar Gnevin (talk) 16:37, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
I would disagree. The designs of the road markers in the US are as ubiquitous as meaningful here as the color schemes used on the signage in other locations to denote the difference between roadway classifications in other countries. The graphics are an aid to navigation and identification in the list articles, almost as integral as the names. In some cases more so because in many states of the US, all highways are called "Highway X" or "Route X" regardless of actual name, but the classifications are intuitively understood from the design of the sign. Imzadi1979 (talk) 21:29, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
You missed the point . The point is you can't quickly scan these icons because they look so similar and as such offer no quick navigation argument. Even if they where weren't so similar it would require knowledge of 1000's of different types of sign which no one has Gnevin (talk) 21:55, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
Just about every American can tell the difference between an Interstate shield, a US Route shield, and a shield that's not either of those. --Rschen7754 23:46, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
And what about the rest of us non Americans? And the point is not that Americans can't tell the difference the point is that they are so similar that you can't scan them quickly and use them as navigation Gnevin (talk) 23:56, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
I would dispute Rschen's claim here. Of course Americans (and anybody else) can tell that there is a difference between these: US 117.svg MA Route 117.svg. But ask most Americans which of them is a US route and which is a state route, I don't think that an overwhelming majority will know. Ask them which state the latter one is from, and nobody will know. Staecker (talk) 12:26, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
I disagree, the majority would know it's the former, not the latter in your example. The sign uses the shape of the "US Shield", a device used in the United States back to the early days of the republic on the Great Seal. The usage has been adapted since the debut of the system in 1926, when it looked like US 66 Arizona 1926.svg, but the shape has remained the same. The shapes and colors are unique to many states' systems. The FHWA's Manual of Urban Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) specifies that a circle be used as a default, which is used in several states. Most map makers consistently use the circle as the symbol for a state highway, when they use the Interstate Shield or the US Shield as the shapes for those highways on their maps. Wikipedia consistently uses the graphic road marker symbol next to the abbreviated name of a highway in highway articles' junction lists and infoboxes. This practice has been in place since before the 30 current US highway Feature Articles were promoted to that status, so the practice is well-ingrained in the minds of the readers of such articles. Imzadi1979 (talk) 18:00, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
What majority ? Are you aware there exists places in this world that are not in America? Gnevin (talk) 19:00, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
I totally agree with Gnevin here. If you're at List of highways numbered 117 and looking for a specific road, the only way to find it is alphabetically by the text description. The pictures give no help at all in navigation because there's so many of them and they all look pretty similar. Staecker (talk) 12:22, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
If California 117.svg, K-117.svg, MN-117.svg, New Mexico 117.svg or Vermont 117.svg look similar (except for the number) please let me know. I would like to refer you to a qualified optometrist or ophthalmologist. Seriously, the fact remains that on around the many thousands of highway articles in the US, plus additional such articles for Canada, the highway marker graphics are used, in conjunction, with wikilinked or unlinked abbreviations of the highway names in infoboxes, junction lists or exit lists. Just like on the guide signs on the roadways, the marker graphics are used for visual recognition purposes. Those discussing it here may not see the utility, but it does exist, which is why they are used. Imzadi1979 (talk) 18:00, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
You've cherry picked the most dissimilar icons and the fact remains there are literally 100's if not 1,000's of variants of these icons. No one knows them all and as such there are not useful navigation aids. An argument you've ignored several times now Gnevin (talk) 19:10, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
The shields look terrible and add no information so they should not be used in this way. --John (talk) 19:06, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

Is this campaign to remove graphics going to be extended the other couple hundred similar articles? This is only the 117th article in a series that extends quite a bit higher in number. P.S. to the comment that the samples I gave are dissimilar... all of the US and Canadian highway markers are fairly dissimilar, even the ones that use the standard black square/rectangular background with a white shape in the middle are fairly different. M-117.svg is not the same as MA Route 117.svg that would be above it in the list. As for the idea that no one knows them all, there's a group of people that do, roadgeeks.The American driving public may not know them all, but adding them in there gives a visual reference. If a searcher were looking for a particular highway off that list recalling the route marker posted, a text list does not provide that frame of reference. The fact remains that in the US, highways are identified by their markers first, text names second on the roadways. Off the road, print articles and other news stories are equally likely to refer to any highway as Highway 117 or Route 117 depending on the regional vernacular, obscuring the designations completely, even when mentioning highways from other states. It is fairly common online to see US highways shown with their markers like that list. Yes, I'm well aware that there are places that are not in America. I could care less if the markers are removed from non-US sections of the list, but leave them alone on the US section. Imzadi 1979  14:45, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

Are you seriously saying that all of the US icons at 117s are "fairly dissimilar"? The ME and MA icons are actually identical! Maybe that's a mistake? As I said above, if you're looking for a specific road, the only way to find it is alphabetically by the text description. Looking through all the icons to find the one you want would be silly. You seem to suggest that a list with just icons would better than a list with just text. This is absolutely against established WP practice for icons, and (IMHO) obviously false anyway.
Wikipedia should not be written for roadgeeks any more than pokemon geeks or Star Wars geeks or classical music geeks. As for "it is fairly common online" this is also irrelevant. And yes, if there are other lists as bad as this one, then they'll need to be cleaned up too. Staecker (talk) 16:27, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
I agree with Staecker here; an encyclopedia is mainly a text resource, and pictures and graphics exist to support the text, not vice versa. --John (talk) 16:30, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
I didn't say that the list should be only marker graphics, I said that the markers should supplement the links. A claim was made above that someone couldn't know all the different marker shapes, and I refuted that. There are people out there that can, and do. The images are an aid to identification. They are fairly dissimilar in that Washington State uses the silhouette of George Washington as their marker shape. Michigan uses a diamond, like North Carolina does, but Michigan includes the M as part of the number on the sign. Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas (certain classes) use outlines of their states. California has their miner's spade, Utah is a beehive, which both highlight themes from their respective histories. Pennsylvania, the Keystone State, uses a keystone. Guam's marker looks like a surfboard, which I find very appropriate for a tropical island territory. Yes, several states have plain circles, and both Maine and Massachusetts have identical squares, so there is some overlap in designs.
You seem to suggest that no one could look through the listing on the page looking at the marker designs to find a visual match to find the right article. That's false as well. A reader can use the images for visual identification just as well as they can scroll down the list for the state's location in alphabetical order. Both methods are equally valid, and should both remain in the lists. There is a regional identification and correlation between a marker design and a system or systems of highways, be it Interstate, US or the various state or territory systems. And no, WP shouldn't be written purely for roadgeeks, and I never said it should be. WP should be written for the general public. These images are not purely decoration. They do impart actual information in the context I have shown.
Your suggesting there is a someone who knows what every countries national, sub-national, regional,historical and super-national etc signs looks like . That is literally thousands of signs and thousands of formats. If there are people like this they would be extremely rare. Gnevin (talk) 20:03, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
I'll give you one last example. In the case of "Route 66", those readers not familiar with the fact that it was actually US 66 are still as likely to have see the US 66 shield design. It is used in most displays of that part of Americana. The List of highways numbered 66 should have that image there as an aid to identification of the US's Mother Road. If it didn't, readers from outside the US looking at this article for "Route 66" will be presented with several dozen possibilities, but only one correct answer. Yes, there is supplemental text after the link, but a quick visual scan also zeroes the eye on the list's version of the highway sign. Both means of identification (text, graphical) have their places, and my firm opinion is that a good compromise is to leave them be, at least in the US sections of the lists. Imzadi 1979  17:15, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
Interesting stuff. I am sure there are other sites out there which work in the way you describe. Our readers, however, can read, and text is therefore our primary means of communicating with them. --John (talk) 17:25, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
Yes, but text is not our only medium of communication. If it were, we would not have any images here on the site at all. Since we use both forms of communication, I see no harm in leaving the images in the lists as a secondary means of identification. I can make the argument that Wikipedia exceeds the "limitations" of traditional encyclopedias. They were limited to blocks of plain text or line drawings as a means to keep the overall size down. I can't imagine most paper encyclopedias covering highways in the US with the 10,500 or so separate articles that exist, but Wikipedia transcends a lot of those limitations. Text may be the primary means of communication, but all of our images, our photos and even our videos enrich the experience as secondary sources of communication. Imzadi 1979  17:44, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
"Doing no harm" is not a criterion for inclusion here. Some (including me) would contend that using images this way does do harm, as it interferes with the clear and readable style which we use here. It makes (in my opinion) articles look amateurish and untidy, without adding any benefit (apart from the fact that a few folk like yourself like them). In a disagreement like this the onus is on the editor wishing to retain or add the material. It might be a good starting point if you could show evidence (not opinion) that anybody finds articles easier to read when they are decorated with multiple, tiny, obscure icons. Are you able to do that? If not, there really isn't a discussion to be had. --John (talk) 17:50, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
This is a discussion of opinions. I've offered up my opinions with examples of why I hold those opinions, as have others. I've also offered up examples and opinions that clarify what has been characterized by others of my opinions and examples. Short of us pulling together a poll along the line or, "which to you prefer List A or List B?" and conducting an experiment that way, neither side will be full of evidence. You say that "doing no harm" is not an argument sufficient to retain the list as it was before, and back that up with your side's opinion. Another editor previously stated that the images "help with identification", and I've expounded on that point in reply. Essentially, both sides have stated their opinions, but neither has much in the line of evidence. There is no policy that says they must go. There is a style guideline which says: "Icons may be helpful in certain situations... They can aid navigation in long lists or tables of information as some readers can more quickly scan a series of icons due to the visual differences between icon. However, since not all readers can do this, the icons should be accompanied with names or the use of sortable tables or both." These lists in question do comply with that acceptable use. The list is a list of article titles, so the list has accompanying names for each icon. I've given examples on how some, but not all, readers can use the icons here to scan for a desired entry on the list. My preference, which I say is supported as an allowable use, is to leave them. Imzadi 1979  18:15, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
Just about anything short of copyright violation and defamation are "allowable" here; we're a very easy-going project. Unless there is actual evidence that this usage helps people, I am afraid they will have to go. Nothing to do with "sides", just common sense and policy. Regarding "help with identification", it is really hard for me to see how these graphics will help most readers (who are not road buffs) to identify anything. --John (talk) 19:26, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
A question for those advocating the removal of icons from these lists: How is the use of route marker graphics in a list like this any different from various lists using country or state flag icons? I certainly am not familiar with the design of each country's flag, but if I know what a certain flag looks like I can easily scan the list until I find it. Same logic applies with these route marker icons. -- LJ  20:05, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
I find the highway shield icons to be a useful navgational aid in the infobox and exit list tables of articles such as Interstate 95 in Maine (e.g. to quickly scan the list to find intersections with other interstates), but distracting, unnecessary, and not useful on the list articles mentioned above. This should not be surprising, that the same icon can be desirable in one context and undesirable in another. And that holds true for flag icons as well; very useful in some contexts, very distracting in others. Consequently, I find it necessary to step back and look at those articles as objectively as I can to avoid the ILIKEIT or IDONTLIKEIT response. I try to imagine what an uninvolved, casual reader of the article would experience and how they would react. I encourage other editors to think like that. In this specific case, I'd ask myself if it is easier to scan a list looking for a certain tiny graphic image, or to find the name of the state in an alphabetically ordered list. — Andrwsc (talk · contribs) 20:14, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
There are max 200 nation states with flags, these flags have wide spread usage outside Wiki and a well accepted usage in sporting contexts both on wiki and off it. The majority but not all of them are distinct at 20px and most importantly the have wide spread understanding by a large proportion of wiki users. A more like with like comparison would the sub-national flags which have very little usage on wiki unless there is a direct relevance Gnevin (talk) 20:17, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

(de-indent) Andrwsc do you mind if I ask if your American or have spend a lot of time in that part of the world? Because when I look at Interstate 95 in Maine what I see is lots and lots of meaningless pictures, there are so many I can't create an association. I'm forced to tell my brain to ignore them as much as is possible . I much prefer M50_motorway_(Ireland) and M25_motorway is even better with the junctions listed normally Gnevin (talk) 20:29, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

PS I just noticed that since these articles are basically text on a background which conveys some information. What you end up doing it reading each icon and then making the association based on background or vice versa. So for M-46 – Saginaw, Kingston, Sandusky I read 46, then search for an associated image background , awe I think M and white and black is Michigan. Where as M-46 I read M for Michigan and 46 Gnevin (talk) 20:59, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
I'm not American, but one of my children is. Beside that, however, I'd have to disagree with your opinion of M25 motorway. The authors of that article thought that intersections with other motorways were significant enough to use icons to indicate them in the infobox, but in the main table, they are not highlighted, so every junction is equal. It is more difficult to find the M1, M3, M4, etc. junctions without the visual aids. The type of icon is the clue here, not my personal familiarity with the road system in that country. I haven't visited Maine since the 70s, so I have no clue what their state shield looks like. But if I am browsing Interstate 95 in Maine, I can easily see the three types of highway junctions (state, U.S., and Interstate) because three different icon styles are used. It's easier to find the important junctions, or highways of interest. But this is a bit of a digression; the original thread was about lists like List of highways numbered 66, which cover a world-wide scope. Each icon is only ever used once, and the states/provinces/countries/etc. are listed alphabetically, so there is no navigational purpose whatsoever in that context, and I agree that those instances should have no icons. — Andrwsc (talk · contribs) 22:30, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
Do you not find you read the icons, rather than recognise them as pictures? I agree we should focus on the lists Gnevin (talk) 22:41, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
No, I think I just see them as "image blotches" that I pass over as I read the text. The numbers inside the icons are secondary to the type or style of the icon. I think this mode of browsing would work better for me if the icons were aligned in a seperate column from the text (so that the text is left-aligned regardless of the number of images preceding it). I wonder if that would make a difference to how you see it? — Andrwsc (talk · contribs) 22:57, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
WOW!. Time for a change of venue to Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_U.S._Roads ? This project has a serious icon addiction Gnevin (talk) 15:19, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

I am prepared to run AWB on Category:Lists_of_roads_sharing_the_same_title if that is what users support Gnevin (talk) 19:59, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

Yes, please. Rettetast (talk) 15:26, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
Are you just going to remove all images? I say go for it unless there are some exceptions. I don't know these pages well enough to know if there are any appropriate images in any of them. (I looked through a few and didn't see any.) Staecker (talk) 15:59, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
All them Gnevin (talk) 17:27, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
Are you going to remove them because they're actually violating MOSICON or because you personally don't like them? After reading this and re-reading the MOS page, I feel it's the latter. —Fredddie 17:53, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

I tried to look objectively at the MOSICON criteria and apply it to how I see their usage with regards to WP:USRD. —Fredddie 18:10, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

Appropriate use
  • Icons are always accompanied by text; if they aren't, they are corrected quickly.
  • As most highways only meet another highway once, this is generally not an issue. An article like Maryland Route 2, where the the same route (MD 765) intersects MD 2 several times in a row, I agree the icon usage is a bit extreme.
  • Not applicable to this discussion.
Inappropriate use
  1. Do not use icons in general article prose - The vast majority of US roads articles follow this. Whenever something is found, it's corrected quickly.
  2. Clarity - Clarity was never an issue until this discussion began.
  3. Encyclopaedic purpose - The icons provide useful navigational cues.
  4. Do not use too many icons - One highway designation, one icon. As I said above, there are instances where icon usage is a bit extreme, but for the most part it's not.
  5. Do not repurpose icons beyond their legitimate scope - To my knowledge this has never been an issue.
  6. Do not distort icons - Not applicable.
  7. Do not illustrate or introduce unpublished ideas - Not applicable.
  8. Remember accessibility for the visually impaired - When WP:ALT was being enforced about a year ago, {{Jct}}, think of it like {{flag}} for roads, was modified to removed the alt text, treating them as purely decorative images. Not all articles use {{Jct}}, so there may be some articles that haven't eliminated the alt text.

Encyclopaedic purpose - The icons provide useful navigational cues. They do no such thing Gnevin (talk) 18:19, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

I would argue that these route marker icons do provide navigational cues in a dab list like this, at least to some users. -- LJ  21:31, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
What users? How do they provide navigational cues, the majority of them are black and white images that say 117, you have to look extremely close to notice the subtle difference by which time you've noticed they are listed alphabetically and that Washington is some where near the bottom not the black and white icon with 117 and when you look really closely you see Washington's bust Gnevin (talk)22:01, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
As someone from outside any high way WP, I say the icons are useful on said pages. If I know a state I'm looking for has a different color on their signs, or a different or odd shape, to me that is easier to scan for then the name of the state. CTJF83 chat 17:52, 8 April 2010 (UTC)
  • I am going to have to agree that the icons appear useful in these articles and do not see them detracting. The anti-icon constituency tends to take a very doctrinaire approach to any icons anywhere which I have never really understood. As long as the icon usage is not running into the articles themselves I think their limited usage in lists and infoboxes appears to be justifiable and helpful to the article. |► ϋrбanяeneωaℓTALK ◄| 15:07, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

Dead commanders

What is peoples opinion of the crucifix beside the commanders in FARC ,I've seen this in a number of places. I would contend it violates.

I think we should remove these and replace with words Gnevin (talk) 14:11, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

I'd object to them because it's not clear what they're supposed to mean. You say it means they're dead? That's not explained anywhere, so I'd say it fails to "conveys important information". Staecker (talk) 15:58, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
Template:KIA should be used instead of a bare symbol. And as the dagger article tells us, "In military history, a dagger is often placed next to the name of a commander who is killed in action." It most certainly isn't a Catholic-only symbol. Further discussion ought to go to WP:MILHIST. — Andrwsc (talk · contribs) 17:07, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
Agreed- the template adds in the needed information. Staecker (talk) 17:44, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
It's a dagger! Well you learn something new everyday. Once it's replaced by the template which offers alt text then I've no issue Gnevin (talk) 18:09, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
I would also agree that the KIA template is preferred (with alt text enabled) but before we go making massive wiki wide changes I think it needs to be discussed a little more first. Only because these daggers are often within templates and sometimes putting a template in a template can have unintended consequences. --Kumioko (talk) 18:46, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

Unicode icons

The policy only discusses image icons, not unicode icons such as . How can these types of icons be made to comply with the policy? SharkD  Talk  21:59, 21 March 2010 (UTC)


Please note that this page has been nominated to be consolidated with the primary Manual of Style page. Please join the discussion at the MOS talk page in order to discus the possibility of merging this page with the MOS. Thank you.
— V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 14:43, 27 March 2010 (UTC)

Earthquakes in XXXX

{{Earthquakes in 2010}} made my eyes hurt when I first saw it. Surely the earth icons should be removed. What about the flags that are not accompanied with country names? Rettetast (talk) 11:00, 31 March 2010 (UTC)

The earth icons should go for sure, the blue bold and underscore is totally unclear and should be replaced with * or something similar. As for the other flags in general I feel WP:CON is moving away from that type of eye burning usage however this MOS does allow icons in long lists Gnevin (talk) 18:17, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
I am getting reverted by an editor. It would be great to have more input at the talk page of the template. Rettetast (talk) 11:10, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
2010 earthquakes is pretty crazy too. I went ahead and removed the UN flag at least (which had been used for "World"). I would support removing most of the flags from that article as well, as they add nothing to the article. Kaldari (talk) 18:06, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
Removing the UN flag was correct per Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style_(icons)#Do_not_repurpose_icons_beyond_their_legitimate_scope. I personally feel the flags don't do much for that article but there is a legitimate claim of navigation there Gnevin (talk) 18:05, 11 April 2010 (UTC)

Infobox rail accident

Flag discussion at WT:TWP#Use of flags in infobox rail accident. Rettetast (talk) 17:17, 12 April 2010 (UTC)

The Use of "The Star of David" as an identifier of a persons religious affiliation

Extended content

I have inserted the "Star of David" on the pages of Jewish "Chairman of the Federal Reserve" articles. An edit war (actually more of a reverting process has taken place and there has been negative and false reasons for the reversions and accusations of vandalism on my part by Fat&Happy. Another editor GBfan [[1]] reverted the contributions with what was thought to be a constructive suggestion, then claimed that he didn't mean that because he considers it an Icon, and my intentions are to use it as a symbol, which has far more implications than the term Iconic in terms of cultural and national identity. Of the fourteen Chairmen of the Federal Reserve in the US since its present form since The Banking Act of 1935, ten have been identified as being Jewish, that would be approximately 72% of the Chairmen have been Jewish, where the Jewish population is less than 2% of the US population. The disparity in cultural identity shows a correlation that I intend to use in an article and it would benefit the reader to be able to identify the symbol as a reference rather than looking for the members religious or national reference where there may not be one. There are a few who have no affiliation. Thanks in advance for any constructive suggestions as to how the symbol Star of David, can be used without it being considered as just an image as the other editors have stated.Victor9876 (talk) 03:59, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

This is wrong on so many levels. I concur with the reverters. Using icons to convey unimportant information in a biography is unhelpful and borderline trolling. Rettetast (talk) 10:29, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
Totally agree with Rettetast. Unless someone's religion is relevant to their notability, why include it? Adding an icon for this purpose is daft. Sounds like the article that Victor9876 is working on might run into some OR issues. --hippo43 (talk) 11:06, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
Totally agree with both above. Should never be done Gnevin (talk) 14:37, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
Far too reminiscent of the Nazis' use of the yellow star. Yuck. Terminate with extreme prejudice. --John (talk) 14:46, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
Usage is so bad I've added it as an example in the MOS Gnevin (talk) 14:50, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

The above has been withdrawn due, in part, to a lack of discussion and comments by contributors that are making accusations of "borderline trolling", which is false and "trolling" in itself. I accept the limitations of my efforts and withdraw the request for further comments to prevent any further comments that may become inciteful, as John's ignorant use of invoking the Nazi term due his own limited view of intent.Victor9876 (talk) 14:59, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

I thought I struck the discussion as reported on others talk pages. If I didn't save it properly, I will now. Regards!Victor9876 (talk) 15:54, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

Reader who scan

[2] interesting read and make no argument about using icons Gnevin (talk) 11:29, 16 April 2010 (UTC) [3][4]. Any comments? Gnevin (talk) 14:53, 29 April 2010 (UTC)

Icons - Thoroughbreds

Note: this edit contains the content being discussed below. -- Quiddity (talk) 22:52, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

It appears User:Garion96 thinks only his opinion (snide) counts on this guideline. It does not. Those would make large contribtions on a specific subject, do. Handicapper (talk) 18:57, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

You might want to read WP:BRD. You were bold and placed the section, I reverted because I don't think it fits with the guideline, the next step is take it to the talk page and discuss the edit. Not revert again and discuss an editor instead of the edit. Garion96 (talk) 19:12, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
This is the second time I have encountered you and both times your attitude and snide commentary have been unacceptable. My edit on this subject stands. Let me repeat: your opinion does not superceded mine, or any other editor. That is policy. If you disagree, then in fact the onus is on you, not me, to take the appropriate steps to determine if my edit is inappropriate in accordance with Wikipedia policy. Handicapper (talk) 19:51, 18 April 2010 (UTC) And, BTW, forming a minor cabal, as you did previously, to have someone assert your apparent need for control will get such action to arbitration. . Handicapper (talk) 19:55, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
Please refresh my memory. Where have I encountered you? It is interesting to notice though you still refuse the discuss the actual edit it seems. Why should this section be added to this guideline? Garion96 (talk) 20:08, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style_(icons)#Use_of_flags_for_sportspeople , Flags should never indicate the player's nationality in a non-sporting sense; flags should only indicate the sportsperson's national squad/team or representative nationality.Gnevin (talk) 20:17, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

Handicapper, showing up and claiming that your opinion is valuable and someone else's isn't is not a good way to begin any discussion. Comment on content, not contributors; if you can't explain why your edit is necessary, there is no point continuing with this.
For what it's worth, I think this is an awfully small and limited issue to take up space on a project-wide MOS page. It seems like the sort of thing that can be sufficiently dealt with at Wikipedia:WikiProject Thoroughbred racing. rʨanaɢ (talk) 20:50, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

I disagree that that there should be any exception for thhoroughbreds. I can't see any reason for it. There is also a lot of flag problems in related articles and there should be a cleanup drive. Handicapper has been fighting for his flags for years and also left wikipedia after a flag dispute in 2008 so he should know that he does not have consensus for his edit. Rettetast (talk) 21:07, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
So that's where he "encountered" me before, thanks. Yes, it does look like it's the same dispute again two years later. Garion96 (talk) 21:15, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
Rettetast - You do not know why I stopped editing for a time. There is no "my Flags" issue with me, my issue is people who form cabals to control thyeir POV, and you and your tiny group of buddies epitomiize that. But now that Garion96 has "invited" others to look at this, I will too. In fact, and I repeat, Manual of Style (icons) is a guideline only and not policy. It is subject to change by consensus, not by an operating cabal (which in this case knows zero on the subject raised) and is illegal at Wikipedia as part of the five ironclad original rules governing editors as set down by Mr. Wales when Wikipedia opened in 2001. So, I will initiate a discussion at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Thoroughbred racing to help formulate any appropriate additions to this guidline as was done for "football", although I can't seem to find the consesus for that. Handicapper (talk) 21:20, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
One main point, and two minor points:
1) It's best to start discussions by explaining what it is exactly that you believe should be done. Specifically, point to or include the exact text under discussion (I've now done so at the top of this thread). If there is a discussion elsewhere (that formed a WP:Consensus) then link to that also (I searched the WikiProject Thoroughbred racing talkpage archives, and there were no discussions about flags or icons. Possibly you've discussed it somewhere else?). That's the main point.
2) It's not clear how you are distinguishing a WP:Consensus from a WP:Cabal... If a group of people all happen to disagree with a particular opinion, that doesn't automatically make them a "cabal", it just means they share an opinion or interpretation, and are expressing it. 3) Wikipedia is not a battleground. The written tone of your writing above is very aggressive. For anyone coming to this discussion without prior background (like me), there is no context of the item under discussion, just one editor aggressively making abstract demands and accusations. Explaining things clearly and politely will convince a lot more people than the alternative.
On the issue itself, I have no opinion, because I have been given no facts or perspectives to base an opinion on. Hope that helps. -- Quiddity (talk) 23:15, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
As already stated on this page, I will be initiating a discussion on this subject at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Thoroughbred racing where the issue raised will be understood. That will be done in due course once I have accumulated all necessary information and then the members' consensus will be acted upon. In addition, I plan to submit a proposal to a higher level with a view to ending this system whereby four or five people can establish a "guideline" then go about imposing their "guideline" on the more than three thousand other editors at Wikipedia. Wikipedia does not allow for Guidelines to be imposed, policy does. Guidelines of any kind that affect every type of article in any category requires far more input than a handful of people, and, as demonstrated in this specific instance, and continues to be demonstrated to this moment, requires input from people who know exactly what they are talking about. Handicapper (talk) 15:37, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
1) The content you wanted to add wasn't clear. It could mean either: Flags should be used for the "nationality by foaling" and "the country they race for", or, flags should just be used for one of those.
2) I was searching for previous discussions, but could not find anyone discussing the topic. The only single mention of flags, was in this thread, where he didn't sound enthusiastic about it. But please do start a new discussion. Discussion is almost always a good idea.
3) Individual wikiproject styleguides do not "trump" wikipedia-wide styleguides. They are subsidiary supplements to the wikipedia-wide styleguides. (like descendant wikiprojects).
E.g. If a wikiproject had a discussion and formed a "consensus" among the participants to always use white text on a black background for the articles within their scope (or to always use American English even if the article was about a Welsh topic, counter to WP:ENGVAR, etc etc), it would be overruled. The wikipedia-wide styleguides exist in order to promote consistency and accessibility. There can sometimes be nuanced differences between wikiproject styleguides and wikipedia-wide styleguides, but they will have logical reasons that are clearly expressed, not just "I am an expert and I think it is necessary".
4) You mentioned "football" guidelines above, but I cannot find any mention of "flags" in the various football-wikiproject styleguides. Which football guideline (or article examples) are you referring to?
If you explain your position (on the flag topic) clearly and politely, then everyone will know what you are wanting to talk about. You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. You'll convince more wikipedia-editors (on any talkpage, on any topic) by being clear and friendly. HTH. -- Quiddity (talk) 19:15, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

I looked at several of the articles in Category:Thoroughbred racehorses, and I think they are a textbook case of inappropriate icons. Articles that use {{Infobox thoroughbred racehorse}} tend to have a singular flag icon next to the name for the country parameter. Why should that lone infobox field be highlighted with an icon, giving it undue weight? Is that the defining trait for each horse? How is country = [[United States]] {{flagicon|United States}} any more helpful for the reader than a single link to United States? A screen reader would say "United States United States", by the way, which is poor for WP:Accessibility. I'd support an AWB run to remove those solitary icons from those infoboxes. — Andrwsc (talk · contribs) 18:09, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

I shake my head in wonder at people like Andrwsc who come here and make absolute statements in an assertive manner that declares they have knowlewdge of the facts but which actually shows they have no idea whatsoever about the issue. It only reinforces what I have been saying all along and is precisely why the knowledgable members at Wikipedia:WikiProject Thoroughbred racing are being forced to deal with it. Just amazing. Handicapper (talk) 11:07, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
I'll ignore your personal attack, but please answer this question: how is country = [[United States]] {{flagicon|United States}} superior to country = [[United States]] for this infobox? Why is the flag icon necessary? What is so special about this infobox versus others that don't highlight the Country field this way? What do the knowledgable members of your WikiProject have to say about it? (I see no discussion there whatsoever.) Instead of insulting me, how about educating me? Tell me why the flag icon is necessary. Convince me. — Andrwsc (talk · contribs) 18:25, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

FYI Gnevin (talk) 11:12, 27 April 2010 (UTC)

MoS naming style

There is currently an ongoing discussion about the future of this and others MoS naming style. Please consider the issues raised in the discussion and vote if you wish GnevinAWB (talk) 20:55, 25 April 2010 (UTC)


Thoughts and opinions on First Crusade? Gnevin (talk) 13:22, 29 April 2010 (UTC)

Third opinion request

I would appreciate any outside opinions to the use of both state and country flagicons in the roster tables at both Talk:2009–10 Kentucky Wildcats men's basketball team#Use of flagicons in award/roster tables and Talk:2010–11 Kentucky Wildcats men's basketball team#Use of flagicons in roster tables. I have tried to set up discussions with editor and have not received a response and an admin suggested getting a third opinion here. Thank you in advance, Aspects (talk) 04:23, 2 June 2010 (UTC)

Is this use of flag icon appropriate?

{{Shipboxflag}} produces a huge flag which is used in {{Infobox ship image}}. Is this appropriate flag use? It wouldn't be if it were in a people or company/organization infobox. __meco (talk) 21:26, 6 June 2010 (UTC)

I don't think they are appropriate . Should go. Gnevin (talk) 15:37, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
This seems to be used mainly for naval ships, which means those ships A) flew those flags specifically and B) worked directly for the government which the flag represents. Seems like appropriate usage to me. Orange Tuesday (talk) 16:01, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
In either case I feel like this should be decided on Wikipedia:WikiProject Ships, not here. Orange Tuesday (talk) 16:02, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

Flags in headings

To be absolutely clear, I'm not condoning the existence of this article. But are flags acceptable for use in section headers, such as here? Regards, WFCforLife (talk) 13:30, 1 July 2010 (UTC)

Nope, infact see Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Football/Archive_45#2010_FIFA_World_Cup_squads for a recent (2010 World Cup) football related discussion of using flags and links in headings. Rambo's Revenge (talk) 13:49, 1 July 2010 (UTC)
Thanks. I've removed them. I still question the usefulness of that article, but I dislike getting involved in multiple AfDs at the same time. WFCforLife (talk) 14:17, 2 July 2010 (UTC)

Request for Comments: Making Football squad templates compliant with MOSFLAG

A change was made to the Football squad templates to make it comply with MOS and it was reverted in dispute. Thus an RFC (Template talk:Football squad player#RFC: Changes to Football squad templates to comply with WP:MOSFLAG) is raised. The RFC is brought to attention here because it deeply involves the MOS, particularly the guideline for "Accompany flags with country names". Your participation in the RFC shall help to establish a record whether the templates should be brought into compliance with the MOS or they shall be exempt from it. Jappalang (talk) 21:40, 23 July 2010 (UTC)


A similar discussion has begun at WT:BASEBALL regarding use of flags in Major League Baseball roster lists. I would like to specifically bring attention to my comments questioning the validity of the sportsperson section of this guideline. (Capsule version: I believe that section of this guideline suffers from a case of WP:CONLIMITED and is questionable in light of the much broader actual practice in soccer, hockey, basketball and other sports articles. There's far more editors involved in those than there is here.) oknazevad (talk) 01:01, 25 July 2010 (UTC)

Singular flagicons to mark place in infoboxes

An editor has recently made edits to every article in Category:UCI Road World Championships by year, adding the flagicon of the country hosting the event in the infobox. I had a gut feeling that WP:MOSFLAG prohibited this, but having had a look I can't really see anything about it. I'm just wondering if WP:MOSFLAG says something I have missed or if anyone has any comments about such usage? SeveroTC 20:42, 26 July 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Mosicon#Do_not_emphasize_nationality_without_good_reason would apply. Gnevin (talk) 17:45, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

Hello again, another issue has arisen connecting to cycling infoboxes - this time {{Infobox cyclist}}. Over the past few months there has been a tendency for jersey icons to appear in the infobox, here for example. I first raised this (in connection with general infobox things) in April and an editor recently made a revision based on that but was immediately reverted (twice) and so the debate has been reopened and it would be good to get as many opinions as possible about this. (I apologise if this is considered "forum shopping" - just trying to get as many interested editors involved as possible). Thanks, SeveroTC 11:10, 2 August 2010 (UTC)

Flag disagreement

I've recently started editing at List of top-division football clubs in CONMEBOL countries, with the long-term aim of mirroring the work I'm doing at List of top-division football clubs in UEFA countries. I raised the issue with the editor on my talk page, and he or she responded at mine, stating that subnational flags should be used. Acutely aware of the fact that I've made three flag-related edits in recent hours, I thought the best thing to do was to raise the issue here, allow people better versed in policy (and when to make exceptions to it) than myself, and take a back seat until that time. Regards, --WFC-- 03:41, 6 August 2010 (UTC)

Definitely not. Subnational flags on sports pages are (marginally) applicable when a team represents the subnational entity, such as state vs. state or province vs. province competition. But used to identify the location of a team? No. That's just superfluous decoration. — Andrwsc (talk · contribs) 03:57, 6 August 2010 (UTC)

Too serious!

I have recently been noticing that some editors are taking this particular section of the manual of style to serious. There is one user (User:Gnevin) who is continually removing useful and uninterruptive images and icons. Some are understandable like having an unknown sketch of an animal in a box about a whole group of animals, but having the flag of china in a box all about chine could serve a useful purpose. Also, some things DO need aesthetic additions especially when small or using minimal words. Do you think additional text should be added to allow for a less strict policy or are some users just to direct? Andrew Colvin • Talk 22:18, 7 August 2010 (UTC)

What is ridiculous to quote your self is the use of icons like [5] ,[6] and [7] . These are not helpful. Gnevin (talk) 13:44, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
The icon in the first example is purely ornamental, and serves as a distraction (or "interruption") more than any informative purpose. I'm not sure about the second example. The third example is vastly more confusing than helpful, as the shape is clearly not representative of the borders at all times that the navbox covers.
I recommend you read the whole of this page (Wikipedia:Manual of Style (icons)) in order to get a better idea of what the community-as-a-whole thinks about icon-images. There are a large number of editors who object to superfluous icons. HTH. -- Quiddity (talk) 22:41, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
That may be the case in some places, but many icons deserve respect for placement. Additionally, things like the images on [8] and [9] may not seem to serve a purpose, but are of good use as aesthetic appeal as with many other navboxes. In [10], it says not to use them as decorative items. Well, then why is it that all the portals ([11] and [12] for example), template message boxes ([13]), and other templates (Template:Meta) use decorative and useless icons? I see no problem with this, but the use of images and icons in some places tend to add to appeal, inform of further information (such as learning what the flag of china looks like when seeing it next to the word china), and help direct into whole new articles of interest and relation (such as having the phylogenetic tree on the evolution template). As a matter of fact, having that phylogenetic tree on the evolution template helped me learn about trees such as that and directed me to the website where it was rendered from; further expanding my knowledge about the topic. It might be of more use to have a caption under the images describing what it, however, who does it hurt to have such an image? I am beyond sure there are not many readers saying, “That tiny image is distracting me from reading the word ‘evolution’!” Andrew Colvin • Talk 01:18, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
It's a subjective opinion on navbox prominence. Some people want navboxes to stand out, and some people want navboxes to fade into the background unless specifically needed or sought-out.
It's also a subjective variance between aesthetic minimalism and maximalism. To use an extreme example, compare Help:Contents/Site map now, with Help:Contents (Site map on one page) 4 years ago. Some people prefer one, some other people prefer the other.
In different situations, I support different decisions. Sometimes one, sometimes the other. It's subjective, and our audience/community is diverse, so in certain instances editors will always disagree with each other. HTH. -- Quiddity (talk) 05:00, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
Very true! I guess it is just something that will have to be tolerated civily. Andrew Colvin • Talk 06:20, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
Portals and other similar are not encyclopaedic content are not included in this guidelines scope. Template:Evolution3 is a large blurry swirls . While Template:Creationism2 has a catholic image on a topic in the scope of multiple religions . There may not be many users saying That tiny image is distracting me from reading the word ‘evolution’ but there are user saying What is that tiny image I can't see at . I wonder if its important Gnevin (talk) 08:17, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, and that question of the tiny image can allow for readers to learn even more about the subject they are exploring. I had never even seen that image before until I clicked on that tiny icon. That catholic image is the creation of Adam by god and it does represent creationism even if its multiple religions being represented. It isn’t perfect, and neither is the evolution image, but who does it harm? It can do more good than it can harm. Andrew Colvin • Talk 20:38, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
The argument that icons help readers learn is rarely true . Our readers expect to click links to find out more about topics. I don't click image to find out more as the image is often used in 100's of pages and its nearly impossible to find out which page has the information on the image. The picture of adam is pure decoration if it causes any harm at all it should be remove. I don't understand why you reverted [14] here . Anyway the CON is against pointless decoration and I will continue removing these sort of icons Gnevin (talk) 23:24, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
And I will keep doing what I feel is appropriate or inappropriate, as this is all purely subjective. Andrew Colvin • Talk 01:00, 11 August 2010 (UTC)
It's not subjective the con is not to use Icons to make things looking pretty which is what you are doing Gnevin (talk) 10:35, 11 August 2010 (UTC)
Fwiw, I do agree with Gnevin, that the "WP:Consensus" of the community leans heavily towards using fewer icons/flags/decorations. -- Quiddity (talk) 20:42, 11 August 2010 (UTC)
This small community you are referring to (probably less than a dozen) leans heavily towards instruction creep too. That doesn't make it right. Oicumayberight (talk) 22:53, 11 August 2010 (UTC)
The "community" I'm referring to includes: the thousands of editors that write articles, that debate points on talkpages, as well as the few individuals who speak up at MoS talkpages. I'm well aware that the people at guideline talkpages are not necessarily representative.
And yes, we all (do and should) try to avoid instruction creep... That's part of keeping WP:NOTBUREAUCRACY working. That's why I frequently oppose anyone enshrining their perspective (or "the communities perspective") in guideline/policy pages. That's why I often support WP:NOTAG. etc -- Quiddity (talk) 23:38, 11 August 2010 (UTC)
"It's also a subjective variance between aesthetic minimalism and maximalism." - Quiddity. See [15], [16], and pillar five of [17]. If you want to slap a bunch of “policy” in my face, be my guest. If my edits are not destructive and can only foster helpful additions to Wikipedia, then there is not a problem. Enough said. Andrew Colvin • Talk 05:51, 12 August 2010 (UTC)


There is currently discussion at talk:Air India Express Flight 812 about how nationalities are displayed with flags. That article has nationalities displayed at  Serbia etc, whereas on the Afriqiyah Airways Flight 771 article the same information would be presented as Serbia Serbian.

My view is that the latter is more encyclopedic, using the correct denonym for the nationality. Maybe this could be solved with a template that produces the flag, and links to the country with the correct denonym displayed. It may be that consensus is against my proposal so I'm opening it up for discussion. Mjroots (talk) 11:48, 25 May 2010 (UTC)

Existing templates can handle this already, such as {{flag|Serbia|name=Serbian}}. — Andrwsc (talk · contribs) 21:19, 2 September 2010 (UTC)

The use of flags and common sense

On this FLC of the article Joan Gamper Trophy, an editor opposes because MOSFLAG states that flagicons should be followed by full name of country. Being a sortable list, that would necessitate the creation of four extra columns which specifies nationality for each club. That is simply not doable. Should the MoS in this case be ignored or do people here genuinely believe that the article would be better without the flagicons indicating nationality? Sandman888 (talk) Latest PR 13:28, 25 August 2010 (UTC)

I genuinely believe the article would be better without flags. I find that the whole article looks quite messy. Especially the Participation by club section, plus all the Spanish flags. There also is a reason that flagicons are followed by the full name of the country. I recognise the flag of Spain and I know Barcelona is in Spain, but not every reader does. Even more readers won't recognise Flag of Hungary.svg or know Újpest FC is an Hungarian club. Garion96 (talk) 16:08, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
There are probably places were WP:IGNORE is appropriate. To me... the flags look awful in the "Participation by club" section. They look fine and are appropriate in the "Titles by club" section (although there is plenty of room for a separate "country" column there which may be better, which could arguably serve as a reference for the rest of the page, meaning there is no need for flag references elsewhere). Ambivalent on the flags in the main listing. To me they are pretty obviously all national flags; unfamiliar ones can be clicked on, and I don't see the repeated need for country names in absolutely every case, and often for a winners list it seems nice. But, that many columns of flags is a bit distracting to me. Carl Lindberg (talk) 17:49, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
Put a legend in the article, so that the full name is shown for each icon at least once. You don't need the full name for every instance, but once is necessary. — Andrwsc (talk · contribs) 04:40, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
Is the current solution acceptable? Sandman888 (talk) Latest PR 18:22, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
Not exactly. I don't think a table legend should be a top-level section in the article (i.e. marked by == so that it appears in the table of contents). You've elevated the legend to the same level as the list itself. — Andrwsc (talk · contribs) 03:54, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
The alternatives would be either to jump to a third level section straight after the lead, introducing a bolded heading to avoid that anomoly, or putting the key below the first occurance of the flag. I'm not entirely sure what else Sandman can do. --WFC-- 05:06, 27 August 2010 (UTC)

Use of flag icons in concert tours or festivals

Would it be appropriate to use the flag icons on international concert tour/festival articles next to the respective city for each tour date? Examples of international concert tour articles currently using flag icons include All Hope Is Gone World Tour, Hellbilly Deluxe 2 World Tour or Mayhem Festival 2010. Is this within the guidelines set up here? Fezmar9 (talk) 19:34, 19 August 2010 (UTC)

I don't want to come down hard and fast here so I will sit on the Fence . This MOS used to have a section which suggested readers could scan for the flag they where looking for quicker than reading the words. I removed that section as I could see no evidence of it being true . So as the MOS stands now I think they should go, as it was before my edit they can stay per the scan argument. I'll ask User:WFCforLife for their opinion Gnevin (talk) 15:22, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
(I've only looked at All Hope is Gone). My opinion is that the biggest problem is the way it's being done. For the United States, flags can't be used in lieu of the country name. Besides, there is extremely questionable benefit to flags where the entire column consists of one country. The only parts of the article that make a good case for it are the European section, and maybe the US and Canada leg at the bottom. Even in those sections, I think the implementation should be like this:
Date City Country Venue Ref
June 6, 2009 Nürburgring  Germany Rock am Ring and Rock im Park
June 7, 2009 Nuremberg  Germany
June 9, 2009 Warsaw  Poland Torwar Hall
June 10, 2009 Ostrava  Czech Republic ČEZ Aréna
June 13, 2009 Donington Park  England Download Festival
June 14, 2009 Interlaken   Switzerland Greenfield Festival
June 16, 2009 Zagreb  Croatia Dom Sportova
June 17, 2009 Belgrade  Serbia Belgrade Arena
June 19, 2009 Nickelsdorf  Austria Nova Rock Festival
June 20, 2009 Nijmegen  Holland Sonisphere at Goffert Park
June 24, 2009 Arendal  Norway Hove Festival
June 26, 2009 Gothenburg  Sweden Metal Town Festival
But to be clear, in All Hope is gone I don't think flags (or a country column) would be in any way beneficial in the completely US or completely Canadian sections. Hope that helps. Regards, --WFC-- 18:11, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
Agree with these comments; flag icons are only useful (in my opinion) when there is a diverse mixture of countries in a list or table. An all-USA tour (perhaps with the occasional Canadian stop) does not need icons to help the reader navigate the table. But also in WFCforLife's example, I cringe at {{flag|Holland}}. Better to use "Netherlands" for this nation. — Andrwsc (talk · contribs) 18:44, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
The readers who scan argument doesn't really work and is no longer part of this MOS Gnevin (talk) 11:07, 21 August 2010 (UTC)
My bad. I copy-pasted the source code, and didn't really think about it. Netherlands is correct, although in fairness to the author "Holland" was consistent with "England", which should probably be changed to "United Kingdom". --WFC-- 19:33, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
Since these flagicon removals I thought I would respond here, so thank you Gnevin for alerting me to this discussion. I would have been here earlier, but life got in the way.
I removed the flagicons with the edit summary "Removed flagicons per WP:ICONDECORATION, removed overlinking and fixed tables" because I felt the flagicons were nothing but decoration since the countries names are also in the table. I removed flagicons from quite a few tour pages also due to most of the other tour articles not having the flagicons. I have been reverted on some of them with either no edit summary, basically calling it vandalism, to being called a vandal for removing them, being told they are pretty and make the articles look better and being told most tour pages already have them or are getting them when that is not true. In the example of Mayhem Festival 2010, here is what my improved chart looked like, [18], because I think the vertical listing of July and August in the current version looks terrible.
Here are two other examples of the worst ones I have seen, The Mars Volta tours, that uses numerous European flagicons and then behind some of them have "not EU" for countries like Switzerland. Another example is the entire separate column in articles like 2008/2009 World Tour (Judas Priest) before even the city is listed. Here is the revision I changed the table to, [19], that combined the countries together instead of having a huge list in a row of "United States", actually provided links to the countries and removed the section headings in the table that I have never seen used in tables here on Wikipedia. This was reverted with the edit summary of "Restored flag icons, used as navigational and layout cues as stated in the WP:ICONDECORATION guideline." which so far has been the only response I have had as an articulate response, but I do not understand what layout cue the flagicons have and I do not feel they have navigational cues. Of course none of the table improvements I made were commented on, but were still reverted. Aspects (talk) 23:58, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
I agree your version is better . I've reverted maybe a second user will change this users mind Gnevin (talk) 14:58, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
I honestly don't believe anyone can disagree on the fact that in a "listing" article the flags help locate on fgast scrolling the different continents or areas which a user is looking for. Thi shas been discussed before way more widely than this tiny (for now) discussion, and that was the general consensus. General article flags-ridden: no. Listing article with flags to help the scrolling: yes. It's just general common sense. I do not understand why Gnevin and Aspects work jointly towards damaging articles this way, and with such a fury, and I mean this in a no bitter way, but you try so hard and so fast anf furious, that the results are youi roll back to outdated versions, full if mistakes, like Gnevin did without paying attention before damaging the current version which was up there, and never apologizing for that which I regard as vandalism at worst, and lack of care at best. In a listing article, such as concert tours, flags help the scrolling, period. Last but not least, I am not afraid to admit and add that yes, flags do make the article look better, instead of terribly bland and empty, but all this does NOT affect the quality of the article, actually quite the opposite. What do you guys think? Let's discuss this before we forced our (outdated, sometimes) way in, ok? This is the spirit of Wikipedia. Let's be calm and discuss my points. cheers! Eyesbomb (talk) 13:48, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
As I've said to you before where is the prior discussion and the notion the flags help readers scan has be rejected Gnevin (talk) 14:03, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
Which discussion was that? I ask honestly, because the only one I've seen was your cryptically written comment linking to one source article explaining your removal of the paragraph on readers who scan. A single article that lacked thoroughness, in my opinion. If that's the discussion you mean, I honestly don't think it was sufficient to off-handedly dismiss anyone's call for a more scanable article.
There are many different ways to read, and in my education career I can honestly say that younger (<30 yrs) readers (many of them now college graduates) having been raised in a digital media environment, do readily respond to multimedia visual content in their reading. So saying that images should always be removed is, in my experience, an outdated concept, and citing one article claiming against that as proof is simply not enough.
And before you start talking about WP:OR, this isn't an article, it's a guideline. What we decide is all that's needed. Your opinion is informed by your reading, mine on professional experience. We need more than just those two to decide the content of this guideline.oknazevad (talk) 02:50, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
I find myself agreeing with oknazevad, naturally. Unfortunately, had I remembered where was that discussion from some good years ago, I would have linked it already guys. I am sorry I did not answer all this early, but I was blocked by Aspects who had me blocked so that while so, he could edit back the article as he did. I frankly believe that this behaviour is not really acceptable nor constructive enough, and I reiterate that we should look for and reach a larger consens before we jointly (Aspects and Gnevin)) raid all the articles like these on Wikipedia and force our way through, articles that have been there for years (I've been taking care of this article for a good part of my life since I myself created it!). At this point, I should have these two guys blocked two or they will just proceed and force their ideas despite reaching a larger consensus at all costs, but I want to demonstrate that there is always a more democratic and mature way to settle things, so I will not. Instead, I will revert the article back 'til we have some other opinions, and I hope that finally the two guys will accept a democratic discussion! I have no reason to doubt they will. And yes, an article of 'listings' like this makes it leaps abnd bounds easier and smoother to read and find sections with flags, until it's demonstrated that it doesn't, the flags should stay indeed. And once again, though a minor issue, it does come out as nicer, which is ok when nicer does not affect readability, and in this case, it's the exact opposite. Who doesn't agree?Eyesbomb (talk) 15:22, 3 September 2010
Icons aid navigation you say ? So prove it as I've seen no evidence of it Gnevin (talk) 18:32, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
You keep forcing your way throiugh with that article, you just wrote hungry instead of Hungary, you just seem very confused and nervous, I encourage you to calm down and akwowledge that consensus says they aren't useless, the flags, yet. Someone could report these two users perhaps? I promised not to do it, even if they keep trying to block me. Eyesbomb (talk) 22:22, 3 September 2010
I can assure you I am quite calm and I am not confused nor nervous. Please discuss my arguments not me. As for Con it would appear to me that me, Andrwsc, Fezmar9, Aspects and WFCforLife are against how the flags are used or against them altogether . Only you and perhaps oknazevad are in favour (if I've misrepresented or misunderstood anyone please feel free to strike your name). You are being blocked for violating WP:3RR no one is forcing you to revert constantly . You could discuss the issue and gather a CON and then revert Gnevin (talk) 22:31, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
I am actually neutral on the matter. I just wanted to see what this MOS had to say about it since WP:CONCERTTOURS does not exist. Fezmar9 (talk) 22:47, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
You obviously lie, Gnevin. WFC isn't in favour, andrwsc isn't in favour, and Oknazevad isn't perhaps against, to put it that way is pathetic at best and false at worst. Only the gang of the two of you is in favour, not aknowledging that it facilitates the scrolling to have the flags, it facilitates nothing not to have them. I encourage more people to state their CON so to revert this awful situation, and I encourage you not to put words in people's mouth, it's makes us all cringe. Please, more people comment and state their CON, because this is just ridiculous. It's more like a 3-3 draw at this time, if users are 'forced' to vote, so this does not entitle you gang of two to keep bulying and forcing your way through it. Stop. Eyesbomb (talk) 23:23, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
People don't have CON they have an opinion. I drew up the list of users as I honestly saw it. I also told users to correct me if I was mistaken , which so far one user has. No one is bulling but saying an editor is lying and your tone don't help Gnevin (talk) 23:28, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
Gnevin I am sorry buit to enlist them the way you did was hypocrital, as everyone can see, it's like you -wanted- to see it. Moreover, the topic really is controversial, despite you putting words in people mouth, so I really wouldn't be so stubborn regarding this topic and keep on editing the article like you and your mate keep doing obsessively. Yes, indeed someone denied your claims ahnd disregarded them as wrong and the others didn't even see this thread anymore otherwise they would have done the same, but this, well, doesn't entitle you to not look for more consensus before keeping on reverting that topic, and this is also valid for the other of the gang of two, Aspects. My tone comes from the fact that I was BLOCKED upon your request guys so that you could force your way through the topic and protect it like it was yours, instead of lookinf for MORE consensus than this or at least not pretend that people against were in favour. Now once again the article is outdated because Aspects rushed to re-edit it back, and so some details are missing and some names' updates are not there anymore, like Fest instead of Festival; this is just like when you rushed and forced your own dominance over the article writing things like Hungry instead of Hungary and other amenities. This is not the way things are done. I've been generating and 'running' this article for years and years, basically all by myself with immense dedication, and even thought I have well clear in mind I cannot consider it as own property (this would be completely against wikipedian spirit) and I wouldn't want to, out of respect for the enormous amount of work and my opinion on it, supported by people's opinion falsely claimed as in favour of (what I see as) the atrocity it would be immensely more classy of you two guys to step back, be humble and say "ok, we always fuck it up here and there just to rush to revert it as we like it/ yes, I was wrong, I claimed some users' opinions were what they weren't, falsely/ this article ain't mine and ain't yours, but out of simple, kind respect for an article you've been working on for years and years and years, I will look for more consensun than a 3-3 before forcing it once gaain, blocking you, or attempting other things like that". That I would appreciate. Can we get that? Eyesbomb (talk) 2:18, 19 September 2010 (UTC)

Ad hominem isn't helpful. Please discuss how you think this guideline is incorrect, suggest changes or build a clear consensus on the article talk page or here that this article should ignore this guideline Gnevin (talk) 12:16, 19 September 2010 (UTC)

Dude you are mistaken, it's YOU who has to look for consensus to change a status quo, as a 3-3 isn't enough even if you falsely claimed about users' opiniuon that were in fact different! You must build consensus, and THEN keep forcing your way reverting the original article. :) SPeaking about facts, as aknowledged by someone else on this same thread, in 2010 kids are used to polichromatic viewing experiences, and so the flags help locate faster, when scrolling, the different (geographic9 sections, especially the ones other than the US-robust seciton, like even someonelse also stated on tuis very thread. This is my main point, what is your valid technical point AGAINST the flags? State it, find consensus to change the status quo, and THEN force your way, not before. Others are still welcome to say if the flags help the scrolling or not, despite the false claims which have been denied we are still 3-3. Eyesbomb (talk) 12:10, 20 September 2010 (UTC)

What does this mean

but purely decorative icons should still have a useful purpose in providing layout cues outside of article prose. What are layout cues? Gnevin (talk) 12:39, 18 September 2010 (UTC)

Flag in Infobox

Just want to make sure I've understood it correctly. The use of flags in infoboxes for representing an individual's nationality is inappropriate like this:

Nationality:  United States


Another question: Is it generally fine to indicate someone's nationality in his/her infobox or it's better not to mention it there and only indicating it in the first line of the article would be enough?-- And Rew 00:22, 20 June 2010 (UTC)

Your understanding on flags is correct. As for the mention of nationality, it should generally be avoided, due to ambiguity. Is a man born in Italy who acquires American citizenship Italian, American, or Italian-American? What if one of the parents was Spanish?
The only times where nationality should be explicitly mentioned is if the person publicly identifies themselves with a nationality, or if nationality is central to a person's notability. For example someone who is notable because they're an international athlete, or have a similar achievement in another field which required them to be a certain nationality (for instance Miss Sweden). WFCforLife (talk) 01:46, 20 June 2010 (UTC)
I think nationality actually refers to someone's status of citizenship, if that man who was born in Italy has 2 passports (Italian and American) then he is Italian-American but if for some reasons he has given up his Italian passport his nationality is American although he was born in Italy. Regardless of that I understand your concerns about not emphasizing too much on someone's nationality.-- And Rew 03:32, 20 June 2010 (UTC)

If we we discourage in general using flags for indicating nationality in individual infoboxes, this should not just be mentioned for sportspeople. I'll move/restore it to the bio section. --Tikiwont (talk) 08:29, 12 October 2010 (UTC)


Just one question regarding WP:FLAGBIO. What if birth place and death place is same as nationality? Then flag can be used, as it is not any kind of mistake, and flag removal in that situation can be just blind obedience to the rules? --WhiteWriter speaks 22:49, 12 October 2010 (UTC)

What would the flag add in this situation? --John (talk) 23:03, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
What you call "blind obedience to the rules" is consistency between different articles. As far as I know it is general practice not to use flags for birth and death locations or nationality (outside a sports context). It would look very messy if we started doing that for all those people for whom it's all the same, but not for the others. It's also rather pointless unless you want to demonstrate how proud you are that a certain person belonged to a certain country. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a place for demonstrating you nationalist pride.
Oh, and if you were referring to this article, then you have provided incomplete information: For this person the country of birth was apparently the Kingdom of Serbia, after that he was probably a citizen of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, then of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, then presumably of Serbia and Montenegro, and only then of today's Serbia, which appears to have a flag similar but not identical to that of the Kingdom of Serbia. These are more than enough good reasons not to make an exception in this case, don't you think so? Hans Adler 23:07, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
Flag removal in this instance would be another improvement to the encyclopedia. A flag would provide nothing in this case (ie, the article is not about the flag), and would merely be a "coz I can". How many books do you notice that use flags in such a manner? Remove graffiti. --Merbabu (talk) 23:18, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
I'm sure I've said this many, many times on this talk page, but I fail to see any value in a singular flag icon in an infobox, such as a "nationality" field in a biographical infobox, or an "origin" field frequently seen in TV, film, book, etc. infoboxes. I believe that it creates WP:UNDUE weight to that field. — Andrwsc (talk · contribs) 23:32, 12 October 2010 (UTC)

Are we totally eliminating the flags entirely now?

Listing the country something was created in(film, manga/comic, anime/cartoon, television show, etc) is now being removed from various infoboxes. Shouldn't we just eliminate flags from the infoboxes altogether then? Do one clean sweep? Currently the national flag of where something was produced is gone, but the national flag of the various companies that distribute it is still listed. Seems ridiculous to keep the later if the former was removed. Dream Focus 04:57, 4 November 2010 (UTC)

I'd suggest asking WP:FILM to see why they made this decision Gnevin (talk) 09:25, 9 November 2010 (UTC)
The WikiProject has had guidelines at the film infobox documentation about removing flag icons for some time now. The documentation says, "When using the field, do not use flag icons, as this places an unnecessary emphasis on nationality." It's referencing MOS:FLAG where it says, "Do not emphasize nationality without good reason." The majority of films happen to come from a certain country. The instances where a film's nationality is explicit (propaganda films?) are minimal, and it's not worth the grief to discuss when to use them and when not to use them. I believe that most reviewed articles do not use flag icons and that most seasoned film editors know not to use them. I can't recall if anyone's ever tried a total removal of flag icons from the film infobox, but it is fine with me. Erik (talk | contribs) 12:34, 9 November 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, I thought it had been pretty much the norm not to use flags at all in infoboxes for some time. Flags without country names is a no-no per MOS:FLAG due to accessibility issues. Having both the flag and the country name seems to me to be unnecessary decorative clutter.--BelovedFreak 23:39, 9 November 2010 (UTC)

Too much clutter, right. GeorgeLouis (talk) 16:53, 16 November 2010 (UTC)

I don't see anybody objecting, so I'll just plunge forward and add this to the guidelines. Jpatokal (talk) 10:02, 9 December 2010 (UTC)
Add what sorry? Gnevin (talk) 10:21, 9 December 2010 (UTC)
That flags should generally not be used in infoboxes, barring a few exceptions like athletes representing a country internationally. Jpatokal (talk) 11:36, 9 December 2010 (UTC)
I think this already covered but if you want to add some think to make it clearer have a stab at it Gnevin (talk) 12:14, 9 December 2010 (UTC)

A partly flag-related misunderstanding

Here. Savvy advice from folks familiar with good flag usage would be appreciated. --John (talk) 21:56, 15 November 2010 (UTC)

Scope of this guideline?

I have a question about the scope of this guideline, growing out of a discussion taking place at Template talk:Intelligent Design and some related templates. At the top of this guideline page is a statement of the meaning of "icon" for these purposes. Does this guideline apply to all smallish images used in Wikipedia, or only to images of the sorts, like flags and logos and such, that are listed as examples? --Tryptofish (talk) 23:45, 6 December 2010 (UTC)

There is not clear defined size of a icon, however generally pictures on templates would be considered icons by me Gnevin (talk) 11:34, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
I've argued strongly against the use of little flag icons in articles - for me they look their worst in long lists. However, I don't have a problem with the use of pictures (and not just icons) that were being unilaterally removed from subject templates over the last few days. It never occurred to me that they could be removed based on the MOS. Indeed, didn't the MOS distinguish between graphics in nav templates? The removal of all those graphics was unfortunate. --Merbabu (talk) 11:42, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
Thank you both for your comments. What I think I see in these two comments is a lack of clarity amongst editors about how to interpret this. My own take on the issue is to agree with Merbabu. --Tryptofish (talk) 17:46, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
I think I'm in agreement there too. I think the problem here is that the MoS structure is flawed. This shouldn't be an icon issue, it's more of an image issue, and MOS:IMAGES really offers no guidance whatsoever for image usage within navboxes, infoboxes, etc. So in general I am not opposed to an image appearing at the top of navigation boxes created with {{Sidebar}}, but specifically for the pocket watch image used in {{Intelligent Design}}, I fail to see how it illustrates the topic appropriately. That image is mostly used with {{Portal|Time}} (via Template:Portal/Images/Time) to link to Portal:Time, so I don't see the connection with intelligent design. Contrast this with {{Criminal law}}, {{Contract law}}, {{Property law}} etc., which use the well-known scales of justice image to associate these articles with each other. In my opinion, that is an effective use of a sidebar image. But we shouldn't be adding navbox images just for the sake of decoration and nothing else. If there is no better image to describe intelligent design, then that pocket watch image ought to be removed. — Andrwsc (talk · contribs) 18:22, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
The intent there is the Watchmaker analogy. But we should discuss that at the specific template talk page; here, I was asking about the guideline scope in general. --Tryptofish (talk) 18:39, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
Seems like there is some agreement here. There is no specific reference to images in templates in the MOS. There may (or may not) be a case for particular images in particular templates, but they are different to long lists of flags. Discussion on the suitability of a particular image from the intelligent design template is not consensus for the wikipedia-wide removal of these images which we saw by one editor in the last few days – indeed, there doesn’t even seem to be consensus to remove the image from that template, let alone the rest.
While a strict “no decoration” interpretation of the MOS might preclude the images (assuming they are actually even mentioned), the fact that some consideration has actually gone into the graphic chosen within the template actually bodes well for their inclusion. This compares with flags where there is no consideration – a country’s flag is a country’s flag – and that is why some of these lists look so appalling and amateurish. Further, with the template image, they are contained neatly within the template, and unlike flag icons, are not intended to signify a country (which a flag does poorly in comparison to the country’s written name).
IMO – a well-chosen template image can be a positive to wikipedia (in a way that flag icons generally aren’t), and there is nothing in the MOS to rule out their use. On the other hand, trying to explicitly state this in the MOS just increases its lenght and is scope for disagreement - perhaps continue with the implied acceptance as far as I know, it has only been challenged recently and by a single editor. --Merbabu (talk) 01:44, 8 December 2010 (UTC)
Thanks! This discussion has been very helpful. --Tryptofish (talk) 01:46, 8 December 2010 (UTC)
I'm sorry to throw a spanner in the works but I can see no reason why WP:MOSICON doesn't apply. For the purposes of this guideline, icons are any small images. These are small images and are purely decoration . It's been challenged by more than a single editor, in fact I've removed these types of images/icons before without objection and with objection. I think it says a lot when they only argument in favour is WP:ILIKEIT Gnevin (talk) 09:37, 8 December 2010 (UTC)
Examples of an icon (left), and an illustration (right) --Tryptofish (talk) 18:15, 8 December 2010 (UTC)
I first asked this question because exactly the passage that you quoted here is ambiguous as it is written, and I guess this discussion just draws attention to how there is still some disagreement as to how it should be interpreted. But please do not claim that those of us who disagree with you are simply saying ILIKEIT. That is clearly not what has been going on in this talk thread, or elsewhere where this issue is being discussed. I think that Merbabu made a very salient observation in saying "the fact that some consideration has actually gone into the graphic chosen within the template actually bodes well for their inclusion". The discussion hasn't been a matter of simply "oh doesn't that look pretty!". Just look at the discussion currently at the talk page for the ID template, where editors are discussing whether the history of the watchmaker argument is better explained by an image of the interior of a watch, or by the exterior. I reproduced above an image pair that I used to illustrate the distinction between an icon and an illustration at that template talk page. Equivalently, one could substitute on the left, a flag icon, and on the right, a photograph of people standing at the base of a flagpole and saluting a flag. Or, on the left, the corporate logo of a computer company, and on the right, a photograph showing the structure of a computer motherboard. If one takes a strict reading of "any small images", one is inevitably forced to the conclusion that no image of any sort may ever be used in such sidebars, and I think that it is becoming increasingly clear that consensus is against such an absolutist view. --Tryptofish (talk) 18:15, 8 December 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict) What is "small"? I would claim that the 150px image in that navbox is not small; after all, it is much closer to the default image thumbnail size than it is to the default flag icon size. In my opinion, the failure of this part of the MoS is that it singles out "icons" (however defined) instead of expanding upon MOS:IMAGES to clarify where image placement and size is appropriate and where it is not. For example, we have a whole paragraph devoted to the minutiae of "Do not use flags to indicate locations of birth and death", whereas a more inclusive, useful statement might be "do not use singular inline images where text is sufficient". As for navboxes, the MOS needs to state that illustrative images are acceptable if they have clear relevance. So in this case, the only debate is whether any particular watchmaker-related image is appropriate or not for the topic of intelligent design. Similarly, are the scales of justice appropriate for a law-related navbox? I think so. Are the stylized flag icons of {{CinemaofGermany}} and {{Germanyfilmlist}} useful for those respective navboxes? I can see arguments both ways. Is the flag of Malaysia needed on {{MSC Malaysia}} as suggested by Template:Navbox/doc#With image, without groups? No (and thankfully, the template does not follow the suggested example on the navbox doc page!) — Andrwsc (talk · contribs) 18:38, 8 December 2010 (UTC)
It depends on the context. The key question to ask is
Is the image or attempting to be of iconic of something like the scale is iconic of the law, the clappers is iconic of film or is the image illustrative of the topic
In the example above the ball an icon of the game ,while the picture is illustrating how the game is played Gnevin (talk) 22:04, 8 December 2010 (UTC)

For the purposes of this guideline, icons are any small images, including logos, crests, coats of arms, seals and flags which do not clarify the subject by serving as an example or comparison. Gnevin (talk) 22:12, 8 December 2010 (UTC)

It's funny - a splattering list of flags with no coordination that makes articles look like someone has thrown up pizza on them allegedly saves the lists from being incomprehensible is OK, yet stylised and bordered images in History Templates are not? I accept that not all are particularly helpful - like the picutre of the British Museum shoe-horned into the Museum template, but others are actually quite beautiful and a net benefit to wikipedia (yet I'm loath to mention which ones lest they become the targets of the zealous image icon removers. --Merbabu (talk) 22:50, 8 December 2010 (UTC)
<don't take this literally>Perhaps images in all infoboxes should be removed as very few would actually sum up the article topic completely.</don't take this literally> Ie, the Sydney article sports a picture of the central business district and the opera house, yet the article is about a city and metro area of 4 million people, not the CBD and opera house. Ie, this pic is purely decorative and should be removed or replaced with a satelite image of the 50km x 50km metro area. But even that would not represent the types of housing used in Sydney, the demographic makeup, the climate, the cultural and entertainment aspects, transport, etc.--Merbabu (talk) 22:58, 8 December 2010 (UTC)
You don't need to sum up the article completely but help illustrate the topic . So a panorama of Sydney even if its a subset of the city helps illustrate the nature of the city. They should serving as an example or comparison both of which the Sydney image does Gnevin (talk) 23:33, 8 December 2010 (UTC)
OK - the template images/icons I have in mind serve as an example or comparison. And they look nice too. --Merbabu (talk) 23:36, 8 December 2010 (UTC)
Which templates? Certainly not the ID template Gnevin (talk) 23:40, 8 December 2010 (UTC)
Smiley.svg That's an icon, but it illustrates rather well what I think about Merbabu's very astute observations! --Tryptofish (talk) 23:20, 8 December 2010 (UTC)
No it iconic of happiness it does not illustrate happiness Gnevin (talk) 23:33, 8 December 2010 (UTC)

←I think images are an essential part of this encyclopedia, for both illustrative purposes and for navigational purposes. But images can be abused, and the threshold of abuse is difficult to define. I think the little American flag in the Tiger Woods infobox is redundant, but the flag icons used for other golfers in the Tiger Woods#Career achievements section are useful. I think the image in the {{Airlines of Japan}} navbox is pointless, but the images in {{Ministries of Japan}} make some sense. So are my opinions divergent from most other editors, or are they close to consensus opinion? And if so, how do we write a reasonable MoS guide to reflect that? I think this current guide misses the mark. — Andrwsc (talk · contribs) 23:53, 8 December 2010 (UTC)

I agree that images both 'illustrative and navigational are essential. However I don't understand your choices. If the flag of Japan isn't important in {{Airlines of Japan}} then why are they needed in {{Ministries of Japan}}? And in golf people don't compete for a country they compete for themself so why is it important to know the nationality of the loser? Gnevin (talk) 00:04, 9 December 2010 (UTC)
Irrespective of image choice in the two Japan template examples, I think the image placement is the real problem there. Just shoe-horned in there - I've got notes magneted to my fridge in a neater manner than that. As for flags - as usual, just bad news. More pizza vomit. --Merbabu (talk) 00:09, 9 December 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict) The national flag and seal images are relevant for a navbox about the government of the country, but the flag is not as relevant for a navbox about a list of companies based out of that country. And nationality is quite important in golf; look at the television and web leaderboards for any major tournament and you'll see those media using flags extensively as well. — Andrwsc (talk · contribs) 00:13, 9 December 2010 (UTC)
Of course nationality is important in the cases you cite - it just shouldn't be expressed with flag icons. The TV leaderboards have a lot more design thought put into them a wikipedia list, and who's saying it's a good idea to immitate the appearance of TV? What's wrong with country names in good old writing? (and the shading in those tables is dodgy too, but that's another issue). --Merbabu (talk) 00:17, 9 December 2010 (UTC)
Agree that the color coding in the tables is horrible—and it is also a violation of WP:Manual of Style (accessibility)#Color for multiple reasons. As for flag images versus "good old writing", I'm somewhat indifferent either way. I think the nationality column needs to be relatively compact within the table, so the alternative would be something like Ernie Els (RSA) instead of South Africa Ernie Els, I would think. — Andrwsc (talk · contribs) 00:34, 9 December 2010 (UTC)
If nationality is considered important in golf then fair enough, then I agree with you but still think the second Japanese example requires no icons Gnevin (talk) 09:17, 9 December 2010 (UTC)

Flags for companies

Simple question: is there ever a good reason to add a flag icon next to a company's name or the location of its headquarters? (See eg. Singapore Airlines, festooned with random flags.) My thinking is "no." Jpatokal (talk) 09:59, 9 December 2010 (UTC)

Simple question, simple answer: No. --Merbabu (talk) 10:01, 9 December 2010 (UTC)
I've said this many times before, but it bears repeating again. We should simply state something like "avoid using singular flag icons, because the country name is sufficient". Flag icons can be useful for lists or tables of many items, but I have never found them useful for individual infobox fields. Further, it tends to draw undue weight to that infobox field. — Andrwsc (talk · contribs) 18:38, 9 December 2010 (UTC)

Town-twinning and flags

There are some questions that come up occasionally in connection with town twinning:

Question 1. When listing the "twins" of a town/city, do we use flags for them?

Question 2. If we use flags, do we use (a) one flag only for each "twin", or (b) several?

Question 3. Which of the following types of flag do we use? (a) The flag of the greatest applicable national/sovereign entity. (b) The flag of the smallest applicable entity that people think of as a "country", "state" or "nation". (c) The flag of the twin town or twin city itself.

There are obviously some complicated relations between these questions, and some possible answers raise even more questions. For example, many citizens of the UK seem to be longing for Balkan-like conditions and claim that it makes more sense to use the flags of the four constituent countries of the UK than it does for Bavaria (which has a longer history as a separate country and still calls itself a "free state"), Quebec (which has a different language than the rest of the country and a large degree of autonomy), Alto-Adige/Südtirol (ditto), or California (almost as much population as England).

Here is an artificial example, consisting entirely of cases that show the problem:

Example 1 – No flags at all
Example 2 – Only top-level flags
Example 3 – Only flag of bottom-level surrounding entity
Example 4 – All applicable flags

Hans Adler 18:13, 3 October 2010 (UTC)


While I obviously have some personal preferences, I think it's objectively true that the third example contradicts the spirit of this guideline: These subnational flags are merely decorative, and have no chance to help readers recognise the geographical areas / political entities in question. I think it's important to fix some solution and stick to it, since editors are going around through the project, changing twinning entries related to a single region between the second, third and fourth scheme. Many of these seem to have political/nationalist motives, while others merely want to enforce their reading of this guideline. Hans Adler 18:13, 3 October 2010 (UTC)

"... many citizens of the UK seem to be longing for Balkan-like conditions ..." Really? NPOV as ever I see, Hans Adler. Why do you feel the need to be so offensive? Setting out your battleground, perhaps? The best solution is none of those given above, but would be for the flags shown to be of those to which the cities belong. Thus, from the example given above:

Example 5 – Only country flags

Daicaregos (talk) 19:17, 3 October 2010 (UTC)

Can you explain why in your example you have selected Wales and Tibet, but not Arizona, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, Republika Srpska or Ontario? Is this based on political sympathies or objective, verifiable criteria? Hans Adler 11:32, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
Ideally since this is primarily an item of local importance, local representation should take first place. I've noticed some articles using town emblem instead of or as well as any Flag. for instance:


From Dundee
However I have reservations about the original discussion that sparked this question, Yes, national level icon is important but within WP we already have exceptions that relate to which nation of the UK an individual is identified with hence WP:UKNATIONALS can be considered when dealing with WP:MOS. For that reason I would say that a similar consideration for WP:MOSICON should be made, and the Welsh Flag Wales should be used in relation to Swansea - whether that can or should be extended to other similar cities depends on the case by case basis. Stuart.Jamieson (talk) 19:29, 3 October 2010 (UTC)
Thank you for raising this topic, I feel it would be good to get a solution once and for all. I personally feel your second example is correct, with exception of having the Welsh flag instead of the union flag in regards to Swansea. The facts on the ground are that, in cultural exchanges, the countries which form the united kingdom seem to refer to their respective country rather than the union. The countries which make up the UK are not 'Subnational' as you state... Ask any kid from England which country won the world cup in 1966 they're unlikely to say 'no country won... it's was a sub national entity'.
Looking at Mannheim's own website [20] it has Swansea specifically listed in Wales (not the united kingdom). It's unlikely that they would have done this without first asking the relevant authority in Swansea who agreed. There are numerous examples of this on various government websites in many different countries. If websites reflecting democratically elected governments list the twinnings like this, why should we add our own individual political agendas to the corresponding wiki article? --Richardeast (talk) 19:30, 3 October 2010 (UTC)
People from the smaller constituent countries of the UK often insist that these are treated as if they were fully sovereign states. Authors of PR material for the twinning partners of settlements in those countries will usually defer to these "experts" as a matter of course. Mannheim's website does not try to be a neutral, accurate encyclopedia. For Mannheim's city council there is nothing wrong with promoting a little bit of Welsh nationalism in a place where it doesn't belong – it's good for their relations with Swansea and has no other noticeable effects. The situation for us is different: We are trying to write neutral, encyclopedic articles, and one aspect of this is a certain degree of cross-article consistency. Cross-article consistency is also necessary for article stability, so it's not a good idea to argue your case as if this was only about Mannheim–Swansea. Hans Adler 11:29, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
Sorry Hans, but your point falls down on so many points. Just taking Wales as an example; culturally we are essentially an independent state with all matters decided by our own legislature in Cardiff[21]. Exactly as just as we are with sports... Are you seriously trying to argue that Wikipedia should ignore the realities on the ground so we can pigeon-hole everything into a single one size fits all box? Should we replace the England flag with the union flag on 1966 FIFA World Cup? I accept we want to be neutral, which is exactly why we should follow the unanimous undisputable and neutral sources rather than adding our own opinions, no matter how good our intentions are. Twinnings are decided in Wales by Towns who describe themselves as Welsh... I don't see what right you or anyone else has to think they can decide what nationalities they're allowed to call themselves! --Richardeast (talk) 12:04, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
Please try to keep the general principles in mind. I have no idea what you feel about all the other potentially problematic subnational entities in my examples above. Do you want to treat them all the same way? If not, you had better find objective criteria to distinguish between them. Anything other than a clear-cut rule such that you feed "Wales", "England", "Scotland", "Northern Ireland", "Südtirol", "Tibet" into it and it gives you a definite answer as to what flag to use, with no reasonable debate possible, is asking for cross-article disruption by opposing nationalists. We currently have such a rule. It's an entire paragraph. But apparently you have chosen to ignore it because in one sentences it uses the word "subnational" with an obvious meaning which you have chosen to misunderstand because the wording is not optimised for the UK situation. Hans Adler 12:17, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
Well - my solution would be... to use the respective national flags when it's relevant. Clearly it's not correct to have a Welsh flag on a page listing Member State of the European Union, but equally, as per my example - having a union flag is wrong when discussing the 1966 FIFA World Cup - While trying to force through any rule about sovereign states in an article like 2010 Ryder Cup simply isn't going to happen. A nice definite answer on flag use would be great - but there are so many different situations it's going to be impossible- which leaves us to having a case by case bases. And, in the case of cultural issues such as town-twinning, which here are almost exclusively done on a national level it's logical to use the respective national flag rather than the union flag. --Richardeast (talk) 15:56, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
What purpose are the flags serving ? Icons for the sake of icons Gnevin (talk) 10:32, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
Exactly. As I hinted further above, I also have a personal favourite – and that's no icons at all. I will give some arguments for that later on. Hans Adler 11:17, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
Icons both enhance the visual appeal and improve the visitors experience by enabling instant recognition of the countries where that town is twinned with. Sure, we don't 'need' them just as we don't need any images, logos or photos anywhere on Wikipedia - but the web's not command line DOS and if it enhances the user experience , why not have them? --Richardeast (talk) 11:50, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
The instant recognition argument like readers who scan is simply not true. I would disagree we don't need any images, logos or photo there are plenty of cases where the addition of these items helps the readers understanding Gnevin (talk) 12:53, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
(ec) In addition to my long comment below, one reason for not using flags in this context is to avoid spreading disputes about various forms of UK identities all over Wikipedia's city articles. E.g. if we use only the Welsh flag, then what do we use for England? Only the English flag doesn't seem feasible. And, very importantly, what do we do about Northern Ireland? Shall we use the Irish flag to refer to Belfast? Currently we are using the union flag because we have a clear-cut rule that you don't like. Can you imagine the drama across dozens of articles if we abolish this rule? Hans Adler 12:08, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

It's important that we stay clear of WP:ICONDECORATION, and that we also take WP:UNDUE into account:

  • An icon-decorated list inside a town/city article stands out a lot. This draws the reader's attention to the twinning programmes. While this may be appropriate in a few cases, in most cases twinning simply isn't more important than sections such as local transport, government structure, or even history, none of which usually has such an attention-getter.
  • The effect of an icon-decorated list is maximised if the icons used are unusual. The effect is strongest with coats of arms, but it also comes with rarely seen flags. An exotic flag draws a lot of attention to twinning with a city from an exotic country, regardless of how important or active that twinning is. Sub-national flags such as those of Wales or Arizona are de-facto exotic outside their national context. (Yes, I know about the divergent UK "nation" terminology, but I choose to ignore it because when people re-define every word at some point there are no words left to use.) Having more than one icon on the same entry also causes unwarranted attention. Cities in centralised countries are not inherently less worthy of attention than those in countries with historically grown chaotic government structures.
  • If we choose flags of sovereign countries, then in most cases readers will recognise the flags and be able to use them for orientation. I am not sure this purpose is enough to justify their inclusion, but at least it's a legitimate purpose other than decoration.
  • If we display flags of smaller entities or coats of arms, most readers will not recognise them. I.e. we will say things like: "This is what Mannheim's coat of arms looks like", in an article on Swansea. This is an obviously inappropriate thing to say in an encyclopedic article, as the information belongs under Mannheim, not under Swansea, and is of no specific relevance to Swansea. (There may be some borderline cases, such as Heidelberg and Cambridge, which have enough in common that one might want to compare their arms. But even there it's too tangential.) It's also not appropriate to draw intricate nuances of the UK system into hundreds or thousands of articles, saying something like "oh, and by the way, did you know that people in the UK think of Wales as a country?" across all of them. That's not even very relevant to the articles on locations in Wales (or Scotland; with some additional complications one might mention Northern Ireland and England as well) themselves. Much less so in articles on their twinning partners. Hans Adler 12:08, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
Seeing as you bring it up (again). Just because your POV is choose not to consider Wales as a nation, it does not make it so. Plenty of reliable sources say it is e.g.[22], [23], this (pp. Xvii, 88 &601), [24], [25], etc. Furthermore, Wales has numerous political, cultural and sporting institutions that explicitly cite 'national' in their title: the National Assembly for Wales, the National Library of Wales, Welsh National Opera, National Museum Wales, the National Botanic Garden of Wales,National Theatre Wales, BBC National Orchestra of Wales,National Eisteddfod of Wales, etc., etc. Numerous Governing bodies of sports in Wales regulate their sport at a national level and compete internationally against other nations. You can visit the Wales National Velodrome, the Wales National Pool, the National Wetland Centre Wales, the Welsh National Exhibition of Showbirds, Welsh National Forest,Welsh National War Memorial, apply for aWelsh National Bursary, watch National League football and sing the Welsh National Anthem (see here) etc., WP:V says that Wales (and Scotland, etc) is a nation, not a sub-nation. Please accept it and show a little NPOV. Daicaregos (talk) 12:30, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
Now we are in exactly the kind of silly discussion that I don't want to have spread over hundreds of city articles. "Country" and "nation" are just words for abstractions, and for different abstractions depending on context. It doesn't make sense to claim that Wales is, or is not, a country or a nation, without setting this context. E.g., type "define:nation" into Google and see what it comes up with. I ask you: Is "Wales" really "a body of people"? Very strange. I thought it was a geographical region with a political and cultural identity, and would have referred to the body of people as "the Welsh", "the Welsh people" or "the Welsh nation". People in the UK apparently get this wrong because of sporting terminology that is different from almost every other use of the word "nation". Hans Adler 12:55, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
Are you really saying that people in the UK don't understand the English language, but you do of course? Interesting concept Hans Adler. btw, no individual editor is the arbiter of which matters are discussed at individual articles. Those who think they are have delusions of grandeur. Daicaregos (talk) 14:27, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
When we discuss whether Wales is a nation, a country, sovereign etc. we are not going to get to any agreement so long as everybody implicitly uses their own favourite definition, which may have been formed by studying politics (excellent), following sports commentators (not so good), reading Wikipedia articles, books or party manifests, or any other random way, and may in some cases be very fuzzy. I am not trying to dictate a position, I am arguing a point against three editors who appear to me to be Welsh separatists trying to secede Wales from the UK in Wikipedia as a substitute for doing it in the real world. Once we get more activity here from a wide range of editors I am likely to become a bit more relaxed. Hans Adler 16:36, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

What the guideline currently says w.r.t. subnational entities

There are two relevant sections:

Do not use subnational flags without direct relevance

Subnational flags (regions, cities, etc.) should generally be used only when directly relevant to the article. Such flags are rarely recognizable by the general public, detracting from any shorthand utility they might have, and are rarely closely related to the subject of the article. For instance, the flag of Tampa, Florida, is appropriately used on the Tampa article. However, the Tampa flag should generally not be used on articles about residents of Tampa: it would not be informative, and it would be unnecessarily visually distracting.

A common example of use of subnational flags is in tables or lists of sporting information with regard to subnational teams; in such contexts, the appropriate flag is not the national one, if multiple entries in such listing would end up with the same flag. Another applicable situation would be that of a list concerned with subdivisions of a specific country.

Use of flags for non-sovereign states and nations

The exact definition of a "state", "nation" or "country" is often politically divisive and can result in debates over the choice of flag. For example, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are referred to by the British government as "countries" within the United Kingdom [26]; the Canadian House of Commons recently recognised the Québécois as "a nation within a united Canada";[27] and the United States recognizes many Native American tribal groupings as semi-independent "nations". Some people may feel stronger identification with such entities than with the wider state of which they are a citizen, and editors sometimes choose, for example, to use an English flag rather than a British one. Such choices can cause debates, or can sometimes mislead if the editor's own political bias is the motivation for the choice, and does not represent the views of the article subject.

In general, if a flag is felt to be necessary, it should be that of the sovereign state (e.g. the United States of America or Canada) not of a subnational entity, even if that entity is sometimes considered a "nation" or "country" in its own right. This is partly for the sake of consistency across Wikipedia, but also because a person's legal citizenship is verifiable, whereas "nationality" within a country can be porous, indeterminate and shifting. An English person's passport describes them as a "British citizen", for example, not "English"; being English is a matter of self-identification, not a verifiable legality in most cases. Many editors, however, feel that the UK's subnations in particular are an exception in sporting contexts, and disputes are likely to arise if this sovereign state maxim is enforced in articles on subnational British topics.

I have marked two very relevant passages in red. I think we need to come to a consensus on how to interpret these sections in the context of twinnings. There are special rules for sports, but sports is not exactly the same situation, so this needs discussion. Hans Adler 12:49, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

(edit conflict)Passage 1: Does not appear to be relevant to England, Scotland or Wales, which are, verifiably, nations. It is telling that the section uses Tampa as an example.
Passage 2: You will note that it begins 'In general ...': meaning 'not always' This is a special case, as the national flags are relevant, which is also the case in sports. Daicaregos (talk) 13:04, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
Re passage 2, I think you are referring to this: "In general, if a flag is felt to be necessary, it should be that of the sovereign state [...] not of a subnational entity, even if that entity is sometimes considered a 'nation' or 'country' in its own right." If you think that twinning, like sports, is another exception you will have to argue why it is an exception. I am not sure what the standard case is, though. Where would we be using flag icons other than for sports, twinning and people's origins? Hans Adler 14:12, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
Hans all this talk of Wales etc seem a little like WP:FORUMSHOP to me. Can we just discuss in general terms are these icons useful. If it is agreed they are then if can deal with the UK and it's members Gnevin (talk) 12:59, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
These questions are connected with each other. If we can't agree on how to handle Wales, that's one argument for not using flags at all because they are simply not worth the disruption. Hans Adler 14:12, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
And of course there is no dispute about where a town is located - Cardiff is clearly in Wales. Its also clear if you look at the twinning of towns from the UK that Wales, Scotland or England and generally used in events and exchanges than the more ambiguous UK. Its much closed to sports. Also for individuals it has long being established that self-identification has priority in terms of nationality. This needs to be determined in context rather than trying to wield a bureaucratic bludgeon --Snowded TALK 13:01, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
We have a very clear, unambiguous rule: In general, only use flags of sovereign entities. There can be exceptions to this rule, but an exception that affects thousands of articles must be codified through inclusion in the guideline itself or at least a clear consensus in a discussion on its talk page. So far this has not happen. There seems to have been a recent drive for dual flags for UK towns, and I am trying to contain the potential outfall before various other nationalists start similar things. Hans Adler 14:28, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
Playing Devils Advocate, the EU defines it's Sovereignty as:
The European Union (EU) is not a federation like the United States. Nor is it simply an organisation for co-operation between governments, like the United Nations. It is, in fact, unique. The countries that make up the EU (its ‘member states’) remain independent sovereign nations but they pool their sovereignty in order to gain a strength and world influence none of them could have on their own.
Yet the formation of the United Kingdom was done on a similar sovereignty pooling basis; which holds that if we do not accept the EU as sovereign over all countries within Europe then we cannot hold the UK as singularly sovereign over the nations which constitute it. Stuart.Jamieson (talk) 14:59, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
I have already been accused above of lecturing native speakers of English about the meaning of English words, but still: Are you sure you are referring to the technical meaning of the word "sovereignty"? Let's look at what Wikipedia says about the matter:
  • Welsh independence is a political ideal advocated by some people in Wales that would see Wales secede from the United Kingdom and become an independent sovereign state.
  • Scottish independence is a political ambition of political parties, advocacy groups and individuals for Scotland to secede from the United Kingdom and become a sovereign state, separate from England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  • English independence is a political ideal advocated by some English people that England, the largest and most populous country within the United Kingdom, should secede from the UK and become an independent sovereign state, separate from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
(My italics in all cases.) The constituent countries have been getting additional powers recently, and this is known as devolution. Here is what that means:
  • Devolution is the statutory granting of powers from the central government of a sovereign state to government at a subnational level, such as a regional, local, or state level.
(My italics.) As usual, the language has not been harmonised with the peculiar use of the word "nation" in the UK. The UK's constituent countries may become sovereign at some point in the future, but they are definitely not sovereign now. (Maybe you are confusing this with the concept of parliamentary sovereignty?)Hans Adler 16:21, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
But Hans, on the UK Parliamentary sovereignty page it states "It can be argued that legal sovereignty has been lost as EU law is now supreme in the UK[17], but Parliament still retains a degree of political sovereignty in that it represents the electorate; however "absolute parliamentary sovereignty no longer exists in Britain"[18]".
I'm not going to argue for this one way or another, but rather that your argument that a state must be 100% sovereign for their national flag to be displayed anywhere in Wiki falls down since the UK herself is not 100% sovereign. So therefore surely we left with displaying the flag which is relevant for the page - be it an EU flag on the 2010 Ryder Cup, the union flag on EU member states or the respective national flag on cultural or sporting pages like the Welsh flag on Mannheim twinning. Whether a state is 100% sovereign or is a member state in a political union of countries (be that the EU or the UK) is not is not really relevant in my opinion. --Richardeast (talk) 16:35, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
The normal way of finding out who is the sovereign over a territory is by looking at who appears on the passports of the people living in that territory and who sends ambassadors to other countries. You have argued that MOSICON didn't say that Swansea is to be represented by the union flag, so I explained why it does in fact say so. As far as I know there are no Welsh passports and there is little chance of a Welsh government being taken seriously if they tried to join the UN, for example. Wales, while called a nation in purely UK contexts (oddly so, because "nation" usually refers to people, not territorial entities) is in fact no such thing in international contexts, but is instead a subnational entity. Hans Adler 16:44, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
hummm... I'd disagree with you there. There's numerous cases where your passport = sovereignty theory falls down - just off the top of my head Åland have their own passport - as do Hong Kong and Macao... while Taiwan still issues passports for the whole of China[28]!
As for the other bits, I'm not sure you read my post... or are you seriously trying to argue that you'd like the England flag removed from the 1966 FIFA World Cup because England don't issue their own passports? I'm sorry, I'm sure your intentions are good but I just don't think your arguments reflects the realities between countries whose union forms the UK --Richardeast (talk) 17:06, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
Your examples are no counterexamples at all. On the Åland passport it says "Suomi - Finland - Åland". They are obviously issued by Finland, which of course has the right to issue different kinds of passports to different kinds of citizens. On the Hong Kong and Macao passports it similarly says "People's Republic of China", and they are issued by Hong Kong and Macao for the PRC. (Note the words "issued [...] under the prerogative of the Central People's Government of the [PRC]" in both articles.) Sovereignty can be delegated, but the question is who had it first. The European Union appears on our passports and by now they all look rather similar. But it is still the local governments that issue them. If the UK or Germany decides to instruct their ambassadors to issue the old type of passport freely to everybody they consider to be possibly a UK or German citizen, then there is nothing the EU can do against it except perhaps if this breaks an international treaty. While we are on the path to a federation of European states that would assume our national states' sovereignty and then delegate part of it back, there is still a long way to go.
Sports is an entirely different matter. We have an explicit exception for sports. If you want to argue that an analogous exception should be made for twinning you will have to give specific reasons why the reasoning for the general rule is less applicable to this new special case. The alternative would be to change the general rule. Hans Adler 17:27, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
Hans - Town Twinnings are cultural exchanges, aspects of life which are dealt with on a national level here! Most would see this as a clear cut case and truth be told I'm at a bit of a loss to see in what way you so passionately believe it right to make them differ from other cultural events such as sports or music! I admire your arguments but I can't help feeling there is a 'cultural gap' between my Welsh and your German culture since your notion that someone's passport defines their nationality simply doesn't work here - Surveys have shown 90% of people in Wales consider their nationality to be Welsh and only Welsh - not 'british', nor 'Welsh and british' nor 'Welsh and european'. We're in a political union our neighbours with whom we share our little island - but few would see that as an all assimilating cultural union.
That's why there's a special Wiki article specifically for WP:UKNATIONALS. Furthermore, the 'subnational' point you raised in WP:MOSFLAG is only stated for 'Political issues' (not that Wales is 'subnational'... but still) - I'm not sure any of us would disagree the Welsh flag doesn't belong outside the UN HQ but nor I think many would any claim town-twinnings are a political issue! Wiki's not here to make judgements based on agenda and if, in the case of Mannheim, the relevant authorities felt it correct to list Swansea - Wales rather than Swansea - UK, WP:NPOV dictates that neither you nor I nor anyone else should make a concious decision to ignore that indisputable, Verifiability and independent source here. --Richardeast (talk) 18:42, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

←I've noticed the inconsistency with flag icon usage for twinned-towns, so was interested in this discussion topic. But once it degenerated into political debate, I lost most of my interest. WP:TLDR. But I will say from a user-interface perspective that the only possible choice that has any amount of navigational value—by using widely recognizable images—is example 2 in the original post above. Example 1 (no flags) is also viable, as it is debatable whether or not a list of that size needs any navigational aids. I think tables like the one in Glasgow#Twin towns and sister cities are horrendous. I'm sure that some editors think (in good faith) that these decorations and details enhance the article, but I disagree. The coats of arms of other cities—especially at icon size—are irrelevant to the article of the city in question. But you can see where some people get this idea. Our twin towns and sister cities article itself shows a photograph of a list like this with only national flags and another photograph also decorated with coats-of-arms. — Andrwsc (talk · contribs) 18:34, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

Yes, you're right - Glasgow's tables are horrendous! Sorry if it's become political, I don't think any of us intended it to go like that! but thank you for your input --Richardeast (talk) 18:47, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
Can people stop propagating the navigation myth Gnevin (talk) 20:00, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
I totally agree. Examples 1 (no flags) and 2 (the most widely recognised flags) are the only two that make sense. The first, because such flags have little if any value, the second because if they are to have any value they must be recognisable.
One important difference between the sports context and the twinning context: In the sports context we have readers scanning a list (sometimes a huge one) for the flag of their own country. To stay with the UK case: In this case a reader from the UK will recognise all the flags of the UK's constituent countries, and readers from other countries will be less interested in the UK-specific results. In the twinning context a reader interested in a town in country A will see a list of towns in other countries. The reader may be generally interested in what countries the town has twins in, but cannot be expected to know the flags of the subnational entities. Personal anecdote: Even though I grew up in Mannheim (twinned with Wales) and my first computer happened to be a Dragon 32, until relatively recently I did not associate dragons with Wales at all and would certainly not have recognised the Welsh flag.
Regarding the alternatives: A reader looking at something like Example 3 will get the message that the town only has twins in obscure exotic countries and will not see at a glance in which geographic regions they are. Example 4 is visual overkill (and in the more realistic case of only a few places having a second flag this option gives undue weight to locations in non-centralised areas). Example 5 appears to be based on arbitrarily recognising some entities as "countries" and others not, so it's a sure path to large-scale disruption. Finally, the coats of arms totally contradict the spirit of MOSICON in this context as they have no relevance to the article where they would appear and no benefit other than distraction. Hans Adler 20:49, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
Hans, if flag recognition is more important to you than article accuracy or for that matter following indisputable, verifiabile and independent sources - why don't we simply whack the EU flag on every european town and be done with it? I'm curious though why you feel your personal definition of a someone else's nationality is more important than the opinions of tens of millions of people in Wales, Scotland or England, the UK government's own legal definition or for that matter, in Swansea's case, Mannheim's own official website?
Someone not having travelled enough to recognise a countries' national flag isn't really a good enough reason to ignore the realities on the ground especially on the English version of this encyclopaedia - or, to describe how I read your statement a different way, I've a good friend from Lichtenstein and 95% of the people he speaks to when he comes to visit have never heard of his country (and his ID is never accepted for alcohol!)... but should we delete his country because of someone else's ignorance? As I've described above at 18:42 - Example 5 seems to perfectly fulfil the spirit of MOSICON in regards to cultural articles such as town twinnings and, most importantly, it also matches the realities in the 'real world'.
Glad you had a dragon... a little before my time but if you'd like to learn a bit more about my little country I'd happily teach you our national anthem[29] :) --Richardeast (talk) 23:09, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
You don't understand MOSICON, do you? Let's look at the first sentence: "The use of icons in Wikipedia encyclopaedic project content, [...] can provide useful visual cues, but can also present a number of problems." So this is primarily about visual cues. A list of mostly EU-flagged entries is obviously no more sensible than a list of entries flagged by unrecognisable flags. Flag icons that users don't recognise and repetitive flags that also don't convey useful information fall into the same category as blinking "under construction" signs and other 1990s website atrocities. There is a strong Wikipedia-wide consensus against that.
As to people's nationalities – are you seriously arguing there is such a thing as a Welsh, Scottish etc. nationality? Let's look at where the Wikipedia articles redirect:
Note that in all cases except the first, the word "nationality" doesn't even occur on the redirect target page.
Regarding Liechtenstein: National flags are presumed to be known. This makes sense because they can be seen rather frequently in international contexts, and the lesser known flags are lesser known precisely because they occur infrequently in the real world and in Wikipedia. What you are trying to do is push subnational flags that are very rarely seen in international contexts (other than probably things like the Commonwealth Games) into an international context on Wikipedia. Hans Adler 11:39, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
"You don't understand MOSICON, do you?". Thanks for implication that that I don't understand basic English there Hans. WP:AGF and please and lay off the insults (especially regarding my nationality and country). I understand MOSICON perfectly thanks while it was you who was trying to claim the section specifically relating to 'Political issues' were somewhere relevant for Cultural issues like town-twinning. I don't need to argue if a Welsh, Scottish or English nationality exist - I simply need to look at the official UK government census which lists for someone's nationality the options Welsh, Scottish, English or Irish [30]!! So - I'll turn your somewhat rude and, really quite an insulting question back to you - are you seriously arguing there is not such a thing as a Welsh, Scottish etc. nationality? And then too answer why do you feel your personal opinion is more valid than the reality that tens of millions of people in England, Scotland or Wales consider their nationalities be be English, Scottish or Welsh? or more valid than the opinion of our own government here? or more valid than indisputable verifiable sources like the BBC [[31]]? Maybe it would help your understanding about the difference between someone's citizenship and their nationalities if you read up on WP:Citizenship and nationality.
As for your comment that 'National flags are presumed to be known' - I couldn't agree more, so please, if you don't personally recognise a national flag of a European country - don't blame that country for your own ignorance.
It was officially recognized as the Welsh national flag in 1959. Flag of Wales.
p.s. There's a useful article listing the Flags of Europe which may help if there's any more national flags you're unaware of. --Richardeast (talk) 13:09, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
Facepalm 1. Your (apparent lack of) reading comprehension when faced with a complicated technical text has nothing to do with your command of basic English.
Facepalm 2. I am not aware that I am insulting your nationality or country, under any interpretation of these words. I am merely trying to make sure that your pushing of a nationalist POV on Wikipedia is not successful.
Facepalm 3. Apparently my failure to respond to your obvious misreading of the heading 'Political issues' now makes you even more convinced that you are right. Sorry for misleading you: This heading is clearly meant in the same way as 'Inappropriate use' and 'Historical considerations', which come before it, and not in the same way as 'Biographical use' and 'Use of flags for sportspeople', by which it is followed. The entire text of this section makes it clear that we are still in the general case there and that it isn't just about politics (of which twinning would be a borderline case anyway).
Facepalm 4. After brief research I am reasonably sure there is no such a thing as "Welsh nationality" in the UK census. The article you have cited has "Welsh nationality" in its headline and the bold text below (the parts that are typically written by uninformed staff members). The body only uses more precise formulations. What you mean is national identity. This is something quite distinct from nationality and has no business being mentioned in the context of sovereignty, nationality and passports, other than in political discussions about getting the last three in line with people's conceptions of national identity. If it is really the case that tens of millions of people in England, Scotland or Wales can't distinguish between nationality and national identity (I doubt it, actualyl), then this is sad but clearly not my fault.
Facepalm 5. Thanks for the interesting pointer to WP:Citizenship and nationality. Did you notice that this proposal failed? Could this perhaps have to do with the fact that it was actually not talking about the subtle nuances between citizenship and nationality but about the major difference between citizenship/nationality and national identity, but using the wrong terminology? Hans Adler 14:36, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
Hans - I have neither the time nor energy to get into a slagging match with you. Though I do invite you to come to Wales or Scotland and tell a few local that you've decided we're in fact not Welsh or Scottish to see if their actions towards you reflect the conclusion you seem to have dreamed up. On the most part I think if there's any editors who have the time to read over this discussion will see what indisputable sources say or even read Wiki's own pages [32] which should help them make their mind up... In the meantime, as per Wiki policies the Mannheim page should follow the WP:SOURCES, notably their own website, when deciding the country the twinned towns are from... if you have a more veifiable source, please present it to us within the next 24 hours.... if you don't like it, then follow your own advice, go Change the real world first, then come here and update Wikipedia.
On a side note... next world cup, I think I'll support England over Germany.--Richardeast (talk) 15:21, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
Hans, you are quite clearly trampling over a complex geopolitical situation. I'll try and keep this on Topic.
  • Point of fact 1: The UK has no Legally defined "National Flag" The Union Jack (A Naval flag) and the Royal Standard (Of which there are two versions) are the most common but neither has a Legal position of representing the nation. [1]
  • Point of Fact 2: Only in the past 92 years has the Union Jack become popularly considered representative of the UK.
  • Point of Fact 3: Up until recently it was illegal for civilians to fly the Union Jack and Government offices could only Fly it on certain days.
  • Point of Fact 4: Most of the constituent Countries of the UK do have a legally defined National Flag.
  • Point of Fact 5: It has never been illegal for the Legally Defined National Flag of the constituent Countries to be Flown by Civilians.
  • Point of Fact 6: The Popularity of the Union Jack (over the past 100 years) has been Strongest in England (Though certain sections of the population in each of the constituent countries also find it popular).
  • Point of Fact 7: Due to the illegality of the Union Jack, Popularity in other Constituent Countries has favoured the Constituent National Flag (Ireland however has an altogether more complex situation in not having a legally defined national flag)
  • Point of Fact 8: Over the Past 10 Years, popularity of the St George Cross has been growing in England, possibly overtaking the popularity of the Union Jack. Concerns about political correctness have hampered this growth along with Pro-Unionist legislation designed to promote the use of the Union Jack but has not stopped it.
Without a legally defined national flag WP is not in a position to define one and it is up to editors to use the Flag that is most appropriate based on sources. In the case of Mannheim identifying a cultural connection with Wales it should be the Welsh Flag.
On the other issue of should we have icons at all, I have to agree with the editors who have said that navigation is not a suitable reason - particularly in this case where for the most part the lists are small. I do however think it is useful to have a visual reference that is representative of the connection. I've made my preference of a Town Emblem clear above, but this is based on personal experience of how I would expect the link to be represented and in many cases I find the emblem informative and representative of the twinned city's history and culture - By contrast I do not find a flag of the country the city is in to be notable or informative or encyclopaedic. Stuart.Jamieson (talk) 13:23, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
(ec) The question whether Wales is a sovereign country or not is not "a complex geopolitical situation". It is a simple yes or no question with a simple answer: No. According to some the answer is "not yet", but that need not concern us so long as "it's not clear" does not even come close to a reasonable answer. Re your "points of fact", which are in fact quite off-topic:
1. I don't think this is an unusual situation at all. With this logic there would be many well-established country flags that we couldn't use. But we do, because everybody does.
2. You seem to be advocating to take the advice of WP:RECENTISM a bit further than it is meant.
3. Wikipedia doesn't "fly" flags, so this totally irrelevant.
4. So have all of the constituent states (German: "Länder", lit. transl.: "countries") of Germany. So have all of the constituent states of the US, Canada and many other countries worldwide. And if the Welsh flag didn't exist we wouldn't be in this discussion anyway, so I don't see your point.
5. See 3.
6. Is this a popularity contest? We are talking about flags to be used as visual cues on articles unrelated to the UK. What's the flag you see on many European websites, as a visual cue for language choice? The English one or the Union flag? Could this be because rather than serving as a visual cue the English flag would merely puzzle the visitor?
7. See 6 (and 3; there is a stark contrast between a flag being reserved to official use and its illegality).
8. In England. We are primarily talking about flags used as visual cues on articles related to locations outside the UK. Hans Adler 14:56, 5 October 2010 (UTC)

WP:MOSICON is not the place for this discussion. IF any where is , it is WP:UKNATIONALS Gnevin (talk) 14:52, 5 October 2010 (UTC)

I am sorry that due to the surprisingly large number of nationalist Welsh editors with an interest in the question, it appears impossible to keep the discussion focused on whether we should use flags at all and which general criteria to apply. Two of them are clearly arguing whatever seems to suit the goal of getting the Welsh flag into as many articles as possible, regardless of whether the arguments make sense. I do not see the relevance of WP:UKNATIONALS at all. We are not talking about how to describe the national identities of people from the UK. We are talking about the visual cues to be used (or not) for locations in the UK. Obviously futile attempts to claim that Wales is a sovereign state or that the there is such a thing as a Welsh nationality are clearly misplaced on both talk pages. Hans Adler 15:10, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
It is not within the scope of this MOS to decide what is and isn't a nation and what is and isn't a nationality. In fact this MOS is quite vague on the entire subject . Terms such as "country" and "nation" as used below should be understood to also apply to other uses of flags, such as national subdivisions, international organisations, etc.. The visual cues follow from deciding the nationality of people or place in the UK . This is what WP:UKNATIONALS discusses . Gnevin (talk) 15:24, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
I am not aware that there is any such thing as the "nationality" of a place, and if there were, WP:UKNATIONALS would still not be about it. It is explicitly about the nationalities of people, not of animals, not of cars, not of places.
MOSFLAG is not vague about this. The note in italics which you are referring to as vague defines the scope of the MOSFLAG section on flags. There is no dispute that this scope includes the flags of Wales, England and Scotland. Later on, where it becomes relevant, MOSFLAG does distinguish between the flags of the likes of the UK, the US, Germany and the People's Republic of China on one hand, and Wales, Arizona, Bavaria and Hong Kong on the other hand. Because the context is an international one, this section uses the standard international terminology with the national/subnational distinction. The only way in which the UK is really special is that its terminological traditions are so convoluted that it has become impossible to express this distinction in a way that is acceptable to readers from the UK who choose the read it out of context because that suits their purpose. Hans Adler 17:40, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
@Gnevin Thank you for your Input I agree with those points.
@Hans Adler 1. I am not a Welsh Editor, 2. I was very clear on my view on Flag Inclusion , Preferring no Flag Inclusion but where appropriate City Emblem Icon Inclusion which I believe to have encyclopaedic value. 3. You chose to ignore #2 4. Your argument in places is based on the meaning of the terms National and Sub-national, my defence is based on the principle that the idea of National and Sub-National within the UK are different perhaps even unique compared to other countries WP:UKNATIONALS exists for this reason and Gnevin is correct when saying this element of the discussion should have occurred there, but you chose to word it as part of your question here so the debate occurred here. Stuart.Jamieson (talk) 16:50, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
I was not referring to you.Hans Adler 17:40, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
Possibly not, but you do seem to be trying to make this a political issue by assigning motivations to other editors. No one is arguing that Wales, Scotland and Ireland are fully sovereign although they do have legislative assemblies. That however is irrelevant to this issue which is really very simple. In a cultural exchange it is the identity is the constituent countries that counts - just look at the web sites and descriptions of activities. This is like football and rugby teams where the national (which does not always mean sovereign) flags are used. You seem to be trying to create a bureaucratic universal rule to eliminate all national flags which are not of sovereign nations, and attempting to piggy back that position by ascribing sundry political motivations to editors who oppose you. Can we please deal with this on a case by case basis. If the context is clearly international then we are talking about the UK and the Union Jack, but if the Welsh Assembly send a delegation to Washington (as they did) we see the Welsh Dragon all over Washington (including a rather impressive laser display) not the Union Jack. Common Use and clear contextual explanation please. --Snowded TALK 17:57, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
I would be arguing that Ireland is fully sovereign but I expect that is a typo  :) Gnevin (talk) 19:09, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
There is nothing bureaucratic about a universal rule that we use no subnational (again, like MOSICON I am using the term with its standard, international meaning) flags. MOSICON explains why. The explanation applies for town twinning as it does for the large majority of other cases. The explanation does not apply for sports, and indeed for sports MOSICON contains an explicit exception. There is no such exception for twinning, and if we take the justification for the use of icons in this case seriously there cannot be such an exception. It's national (again, using the term with its internationally accepted standard meaning) flags or no flags at all. Everything else is mere decoration. Hans Adler 19:31, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
Well then everybody, if Hans is concerned that the wording as highlighted by Gnevin (with whose point about this not being a debate for here I agree with) is not specific enough, lets re-write MOSICONS to match the real world as it is right now for town twinnings. Be it Mannheim, Nantes,Raciborz, Agen, Annapolis, Hordaland or even little towns like Redu and Breuillet - almost all external twinning links I could find seemed to agree that the national identity should be the key factor in deciding which, if any, flag and country name to include with the town with whom they twin - not whether that country is 100% sovereign. Although not always the case (Cork helpfully lists 'Swansea, Wales' and 'Coventry, UK') it seems clear to me than towns that twin should, if a flag be displayed, be the relevant once agreed by the towns who're twinning, not by politically motivated editors on Wikipedia - regardless of them being nationalist or unionist!
This could be the Catalan flag (as is on the 'welcome to' sign in Soual - the town next to me), or national flag for countries in the UK on the Mannheim page. If it's the most relevant flag agreed on the ground - surly we should match it here without our own moderation. --Richardeast (talk) 21:20, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
I encourage everybody who thinks Richardeast might have a point to follow the links he provides. It turns out that one (1) of them shows the Welsh flag, at least two have nothing except the union flag on the page (for language choice, not related to the twinning), and the rest have no flags at all. Maybe Richardeast pestered all the webmasters to put up the Welsh flag on these sites and for some reason assumes that they have done it. Apparently not. In the case of the Mannheim link, which Richardeast brought up earlier, I have already pointed out to him that the union flag is the only remotely relevant flag on the page, so there is no excuse for him offering this list an apparently nobody checks his easily refuted claim about what's on the pages. And even if they all did show the Welsh flag (which they don't with one exception) that would prove nothing because a city website has very different criteria for such things compared to a global encyclopedia. Hans Adler 08:48, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
Hans I encourage you to read Richardeast's comment again he said "national identity should be the key factor in deciding which, if any, flag and country name" - The Point he made was that the listed country (flag or not) should be the one that we represent - even if that country is not sovereign. If we decided that the use of flags is acceptable in the case of twinning then it should be the one that represents the country identified by the sources - not the flag of another nation that may have sovereignty over the one identified by the source. Stuart.Jamieson (talk) 10:24, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
He very clearly claimed that a substantial number of those links point to pages with the Welsh flag on them. Not explicitly but by insinuation.
And your last sentence is simply wrong. We have explicit guidance on use of flags. If you don't like it, you must argue (1) why it must be changed, or (2) why, as in the case of sports, an exception for twinning is appropriate. I have already explained why the reasons for the sports exception clearly don't apply to twinning. The sports flags are directed to readers who live in or near the area covered by the flag. The twinning flags are directed to readers who live somewhere entirely else and typically have never seen these subnational flags. So they have no chance of doing the only thing that WP:MOSICON allows them to do: "provide useful visual cues". "Swansea lies in an exotic country, not in the UK, as you thought" is not the kind of visual cue we want to provide to our readers. I am perfectly happy with no flags at all for twinnings because this avoids the silly problem and, even more importantly, takes the extreme undue weight of these attention-getters from the extremely minor topic of twinning in our city articles. But if we want flags, then it must be flags that are in principle capable of giving adequate visual cues. The general consensus, as encoded in this guideline, appears to be that this excludes subnational flags. (And again, because British editors are so prone to misunderstanding whoever chooses to use standard international terminology rather than UK-centric deviating terms: "subnational" includes the constituent countries of the UK, even if people in the UK tend to confuse nations, national identities, nationalities and whatnot. We are not in a pub here, we are in an international encyclopedia and at the moment we are primarily discussing articles on cities outside the UK.) Hans Adler 10:58, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
No he didn't, he's very clear that that the links are to be used primarily to identify which country the twinning is associated with and that if the link has a flag that should be taken into account as well. Please read it again, your propensity to use Ad Hominem suits taking an interpretation against his actual meaning.
On my last sentence you are right we do have explicit guidance on the use of flags. That guidance says "Do not use subnational flags without direct relevance" clearly the sourcing on each of these twinning pages identifies that sub-national identification is of direct relavance to the twinning and the benefits provided by the exchange. For visual clues, the visual clue has to be of a subject of relevance using a national flag when the twinning has no bearing on national connections is clearly wrong particularly when sources about the twinning identify a sub-national entity as relevant. As for the people in the UK confusing national identities, nations etc - Again I contend that you are comparing the UK union to other unions in other countries - the UK arrangement is more complex with the majority of unified nations (NI, Scotland, IOM, Jersey, Guernsey, Sark) retaining far more sovereignty than a comparable state within a true federal system like Germany or Spain and this was true before the misleading devolution of power and has become more so since - in many respects they are comparable to a sovereign state such Monaco who has given some of it's sovereignty to France or Liechtenstein who have given some of their sovereignty to Switzerland . Wales is the least complicated of the nations because it's acts of union were intended to strip Wales of any sovereignty rather than for it to share sovereignty with England but even it has a complexity and increased sovereignty that cannot be dismissed as easily as you attempt. Stuart.Jamieson (talk) 14:14, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
Come on. You can't get an academic job at Catalonian university unless you prove along with your application that you speak Catalan at a very high level. The Basque Country is a country by name and has a unique language and culture; it also has a history of war with Spain while being part of Spain. South Tyrol is a German speaking province that changed hands from Austria to Italy under the fascists but, after a series of terrorist attacks, got a large degree of autonomy in 1972. Hong Kong has a very special history and a huge deal of autonomy, yet is now no longer treated as a separate country by Wikipedia but simply as a part of the People's Republic of China. Tibet has less autonomy, but otherwise the situation is similar. All these cases are special in some way, but we have one clear rule that is very easy to apply, normally avoiding all dispute: We only use flags of sovereign states.
I didn't get involved because I hate subnational flags or am a UK unionist or anything like that. I got involved because I keep seeing various kinds of nationalists changing the flags in twinning lists back and forth. That's ridiculous. They are carrying their silly disputes (all nationalism is silly, whether unionist or separatist) into hundreds, if not thousands, of articles that have nothing to do with them. That's severely disruptive. We can only deal effectively with this disruption if we have a bright-line rule that does not allow any reasonable dispute about which (if any) flag to use.
Wikipedia is not going to explode if we have a huge discussion like this one on every single talk page of a town or city that is twinned with one that is located in some subnational entity. But that's going to give new editors, who often look at their home town's article fairly early, an extremely bad impression. They can see that some completely irrelevant twinning programme that was started 30 years ago and fell asleep 10 years ago without being officially terminated is not content with grabbing the reader's attention away from the things that really matter (current attempts to deal with high unemployment; a mayor who has been convicted of election fraud; declining tourism; a new metro being built; or whatever matters in that location) – no, it also spawned a huge dispute about the status of some remote subnational entity monopolises the talk page. Hans Adler 16:21, 12 October 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────To be clear: That was only the rationale. The guideline, that was probably motivated by this rationale or something very similar, is itself clear enough: In general, if a flag is felt to be necessary, it should be that of the sovereign state (e.g. the United States of America or Canada) not of a subnational entity, even if that entity is sometimes considered a "nation" or "country" in its own right. Whenever it says "in general" in a guideline this is a sign that if you have good arguments that a situation was not foreseen by the guideline and is not adequately handled by it, then you can treat it as an exception. But an interpretation under which almost everything becomes an exception is not acceptable. I am not aware of any major use of flags other than in sports and twinning. Unless I am missed another major use, then if we really want twinning be another exception, then it seems that the guideline must be rewritten. Hans Adler 16:28, 12 October 2010 (UTC)

  • Why not just get rid of these flags in this circumstance? They look stupid and don't add any information, so why would we keep them? Our readers can read, and don't need the additional scaffolding of a little Welsh dragon or a tiny Union Jack to figure out where Cardiff is, especially when it is linked! --John (talk) 16:47, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
    • I have already said that I agree and why, but here is another argument: We are not supposed to fill articles with lists. (See WP:MOS#Bulleted and numbered lists.) Look at the second paragraph of Leeds#Governance. That could just as well be in list form, but even though the information is a lot more important than a twinning programme, we are using a compact paragraph – as is standard. An important side-effect of the flags is that they discourage editors from converting the inappropriate bullet lists or tables into proper format. As a result nobody ever adds relevant information such as the relative activity levels of several twinning relations or noteworthy joint projects that grew out of them.
      For example consider Detroit. It was featured with the totally appropriate sentence "Detroit has several sister cities, including Chongqing (People's Republic of China), Dubai (United Arab Emirates), Kitwe (Zambia), Minsk (Belarus), Nassau, Bahamas, Toyota (Japan), and Turin (Italy)." Now it has a list with flags in a separate section. That's definitely a step backwards in terms of style. Hans Adler 18:06, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
There is nothing to prevent editors from adding information to the section should they so choose. Daicaregos (talk) 19:50, 12 October 2010 (UTC)

Arbitrary break

MOS guidance says "Do not use subnational flags without direct relevance". It has been shown that almost all external twinning links highlight the town's national identity, and that it is this identity that should be used to determine which, if any, flag and country name to include with the towns twinned. This shows that each town's national identity is directly relevant. It is time that MOSICONS be re-written to match the real world use wrt Sister Cities. Daicaregos (talk) 19:50, 12 October 2010 (UTC)

No, that has not been shown. If you think MOSICONS should be rewritten I won't keep you from starting the discussion. Hans Adler 20:13, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
I've just found this discussion specifically related to the twin cities - i haven't read all of it. It does seem clear to me though that they are not an improvement to an article - I agree with the comments above that it draws undue attention to sister citiy programs which are mostly tangential to the rest of a city article's content. And, as usual, they look plain ugly as they do in any article usage - the longer the list, the worse the affect. Again, nationality is one attribute that gets a pretty/distracting picture (ie, a flag) because there is a pretty/distracting picture for it. Not because it actually helps. Good help us if there were colourful symbols for numbers - we'd have colour symbols against every number in wikipedia. The MOS is clearly against flag use, yet once again, we are arguing over making exceptions. --Merbabu (talk) 08:16, 30 December 2010 (UTC)

Having read through the entire discussion I find that:

  • Too few participants
  • Too little readiness to move towards a consensus
  • No consensus
  • The discussion is stale.

Generally, fagicons are used in twin town lists, and it can be concluded that the practice is an expression of tacit consensus by the community to do so. There have recently been cases where editors have unilaterally decided to embark upon a campaign to remove flagicons from short twin town or sister city lists, to the point of gratuitous incivility and edit warring. This is not the way that policy or consensus is changed. "I don't like it" is not the way this encyclopdia is built or unbuilt. Time for a proper RfC. --Kudpung (talk) 08:06, 30 December 2010 (UTC)

I'm not sure some of your choice of phrasing is helpful but I agree there is no consensus Gnevin (talk) 14:56, 30 December 2010 (UTC)

Decoration as an encyclopaedic purpose ?

Icons should serve an encyclopaedic purpose other than decoration. Is decoration an encyclopaedic purpose? Gnevin (talk) 10:58, 20 December 2010 (UTC)

If you like flags, then of course it is. --Merbabu (talk) 11:00, 20 December 2010 (UTC)
How so , I don't think I like it is a strong argument here Gnevin (talk) 11:02, 20 December 2010 (UTC)
Well spotted - it's a pathetic argument in fact. :-P But, I'm sure someone will actually make it and be serious. --Merbabu (talk) 11:10, 20 December 2010 (UTC)
Sorry ,my sarcasm detector must be malfunctioning today :) Gnevin (talk) 12:17, 20 December 2010 (UTC)

Even if someone were to misinterpret that to mean that decoration is encyclopaedic, the statement makes it clear that decoration alone is not enough to justify the inclusion of icons. That's better than the alternative of implying that decoration and useful information are mutually exclusive. Oicumayberight (talk) 17:53, 20 December 2010 (UTC)

Position of decorative icons

As far as has been brought to my attention to this point in time, our accessibility rules mean putting decorative icons prior to the text they accompany. However, in some road articles (where we use a table to show all the major junctions), there is a line at the top and/or bottom of the table that often shows what the road continues as when you cross a provincial or state border, linking to that next article.

This often results in a line like so:

Division Location km Destinations Notes
 Highway 17 continues west as PTH 1 towards Winnipeg

Personally I find this very unattractive; the icon interrupts the text. So I instead created the following format. However, it is often reverted on the grounds of the accessibility policy, and this guideline on icons.

Division Location km Destinations Notes
 Highway 17 continues west towards Winnepeg as PTH 1

I was wondering what is inherently wrong with having the icon after the text in this case, and whether it is a good case of WP:IAR - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 16:46, 26 December 2010 (UTC)

In the second example given, the marker for PTH 1 is linked to the text "Winnipeg" and not the text that's applicable, "PTH 1". In all other cases of highway articles except one, the marker graphic is before the name/abbreviation of the highway. (The lone exception is in the browser section at the bottom of infoboxes that have such a section. Then the next highway in the sequence has the marker next to the arrow on the right.) Imzadi 1979  16:50, 26 December 2010 (UTC)
I'm looking to get that same exception here for identical reasoning. I rearranged the sentence so that the marker is attached to PTH1, and it represents "(icon)X becomes Y(icon)" - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 17:51, 26 December 2010 (UTC)
There was a big discussion on these icons before and my opinion hasn't changed. They are not helpful and shouldn't be used in the text of articles. Gnevin (talk) 17:31, 28 December 2010 (UTC)
Well, consensus was obviously established then, and that isn't the question that I'm asking. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 16:34, 30 December 2010 (UTC)
It's a case of WP:ACCESS not this mos so Gnevin (talk) 20:10, 30 December 2010 (UTC)
They're configured with link=|alt= so they shouldn't affect screen readers or cause any accessibility or visibility problems. - ʄɭoʏɗiaɲ τ ¢ 08:41, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
As I said it would be best to ask over at WP:ACCESS Gnevin (talk) 11:14, 17 January 2011 (UTC)

Flags without explanation

Consensus among association football editors is that for a variety of reasons, flags are appropriate for football squad templates. That will not change, so please don't raise the issue. However, I was wondering if users here had opinions on established users socking (unless of course this just happens to be a passer by) to remove MOS-compliant implementation (such as, but not specifically, this) in favour of implementation that does not comply with the MOS (such as, but not specifically, this)? Thanks in advance, —WFC— 04:44, 13 January 2011 (UTC)

My dissatisfaction with the current state of the football squad template will not be news to WFCforLife or anyone else who has been party to WT:Footy discussions on the matter; however, I would be more inclined to see the IP editor's intervention as having been about consistency between club items in the use of that (flawed) template than railing against the principles of MOSFLAG per se. Unfortunately, the lack of edit notes means that this is AGF conjecture on my part rather than our anonymous friend having explicitly declared his intention. Kevin McE (talk) 07:17, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
I find it hard to AGF on this issue; why would any IP would use their only three edits to the project for that purpose? On topic though, I know for a fact that the template was at one point used on a couple of dozen articles, and was under the impression that the primary reason it was not implemented universally was the difficulty in using an automated process to do so (primarily because of the difficulty in sorting names). Am I misrepresenting/missing something on that front? And if I'm correct, surely we should now be encouraging a gradual switch over to the version that doesn't assume that all readers know all 200+ applicable flags? —WFC— 07:50, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
I don't find it implausible that someone looks at a few football club sites, notices this is different, and thinks that it shouldn't be. May not be his only edits: many providers (including mine) generate a dynamic IP number, and many editors (including me) will occasionally have edited not realising that they have unwittingly logged out. But equally plausible that it is sockpuppetry, as you seem to suspect. Kevin McE (talk) 20:02, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
I guess it's my fault that this went off on a tangent. Are there any comments on the relevant 90% of my last post? —WFC— 06:53, 16 January 2011 (UTC)

RFC on the use of flagicons in infoboxes

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
Consensus supports the amendment and the amendment has been made. (Please feel free to clean it up though if it sounds better another way, but within the same context). -- DQ (t) (e) 18:39, 17 July 2011 (UTC)

This should be cleaned up. The exception for military conflicts is mentioned two sentences before this addition. There is no need to repeat it. Wouldn't the guideline on ship articles be more appropriate for the WP:SHIPS Manual of Style?--SaskatchewanSenator (talk) 18:05, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

Basis under which this RFC was filed

This is a request for comment on the use of flagicons in infoboxes, and whether or not WP:MOSFLAG needs to be amended to take into account of flagicons in infoboxes should consensus be that they should be used. Mjroots (talk) 15:14, 22 May 2011 (UTC)

The issue

WP:MOSFLAG does not adequately cover the use of flags in infoboxes. There are cases when the use of a flagicon in an infobox is inappropriate, such as with biographical articles. However, it is long established practice that the use of flagicons is appropriate in infoboxes of ship and military conflict infoboxes, such as SS Masuren and Franco-Prussian War. Mjroots (talk) 16:33, 22 May 2011 (UTC)


This RFC has been listed at WP:CENT, and WP:AVIATION, WP:MILHIST, WP:SHIPS, WP:TWP and WP:UKRail have been informed. If any editor knows of other Wikiprojects affected by this discussion, please publicise this RFC and note here which Wikiproject has been notified. Mjroots (talk) 16:47, 22 May 2011 (UTC)

Notified Wikipedia:WikiProject Darts.Curb Chain (talk) 00:18, 26 May 2011 (UTC)

Proposals by Mjroots

  1. That the use of country-related flagicons and signal flags in infoboxes for ship articles is appropriate.
  2. That the use of flagicons in infoboxes for military conflicts is appropriate.
  3. That WP:MOSFLAG be amended to reflect that the use of flagicons in infoboxes is appropriate in certain areas, and inappropriate in others. Mjroots (talk) 16:33, 22 May 2011 (UTC)
  • Support. Clearly not every article needs a little flag, that would just be ridiculous, and that is the kind of daftnees the MoS is trying to prevent. However, in some areas, particularly those related to the military, country and nationality become a bit less trivial. The use of flag icons on a wide scale, though, should be strongly discouraged. It's also worth noting that I've seen plenty of articles that violate the letter of MOS:FLAG get through GAN, FLC and FAC. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 21:58, 22 May 2011 (UTC)
  • I can agree with this. @HJ again, I don't think that "strongly discouraged" is required here, but generally we're... close. In the same ballpark, at least.
    — V = IR (Talk • Contribs) 23:23, 22 May 2011 (UTC)
  • Support - Napoleonic Wars is an example where flags are quite useful in the infobox. One can simply match the flags from commanders to see what country they were affiliated with, rather than having to click on every single link. In addition, this is long-standing practice across many projects, which seems to indicate widespread support for the idea. Parsecboy (talk) 13:02, 24 May 2011 (UTC)
  • Support I misread the proposal and I support there use in military infoboxes and would like to see it more explicitly state which infobox there use is acceptable in. Mo ainm~Talk 14:42, 24 May 2011 (UTC)
Well, aren't flags appropriate if the written form accompanies it? I think it is not acceptable to use just a flag as not everyone can recognize flags immediatly. Would you expect a grade 5 doing a research project to adequetly recognize instantly what kind of flag is located in the infobox with doing much research? What about WP:ACCESSIBILITY? Forcing readers to hover over a flag rather than stating the what the flag is actually trying to represent defeats the purpose of being available to everyone. We have to take into account the people in the off chance who are not using a mouse. Look at BRICS and BRIC, where an edit war occured because of the issue of flags and that consensus determined that flags should not be used and the text should be instead. This precedent establishs that symbols can not be the only representer.
    • As far as I can tell, we are talking only about military/historical infoboxes here. Parsecboy (talk) 14:58, 24 May 2011 (UTC)
No I don't think we are, but for belligerant events, I can see the advantage.Curb Chain (talk) 06:42, 25 May 2011 (UTC)
  • mosicon already supports the milhist and ships usage Repeated use of an icon in a table or infobox Gnevin (talk) 16:04, 24 May 2011 (UTC)
  • Support HJ Mitchell has aptly summed up my thoughts. Wikicopter what i do s + c cup|former 23:58, 24 May 2011 (UTC)
  • Support. Many countries have civil and naval ensigns that are different from the national flag. Maritime law requires every ship to fly her correct ensign at all times. Each article about an individual ship should therefore carry whatever was the relevant ensign of the country in which she was registered at the time she was registered there. Ensigns emphasise whether a ship has been flagged out. For example, MV Mavi Marmara may have been considered a Turkish ship but a flag helps to draw the reader's attention to the fact that she is registered in the Comoros Islands.
Some ships have changed their port and nation of registry several times, some nations have changed their ensigns and some ports have changed nations during the time that a ship has been registered there. However, if the flags are only small icons this does not cause undue clutter.
Showing now-defunct historic ensigns adds to the informativeness of an article. It is only thanks to reading Wikipedia articles about historic ships that I have learnt that German Empire mail ships such as Prinz Eitel Friedrich flew a special ensign for mail steamers and the Weimar Republic had a merchant ensign that combined the German Empire's trocolour with Germany's 1848 tricolour in its hoist. (You could question whether such knowledge is of any practical use to me, but that could also be said of most of Wikipedia's history articles that absorb me!)
I suggest that whether infoboxes should include a merchant ship's house flag should be a matter for discretion. If a ship has had only one or perhaps two owners, house flags would not add clutter. If a ship has had numerous owners, adding all the house flags could become untidy. Many readers will be unfamiliar with house flags. If an infobox is to carry a house flag at all, an icon is likely to be too small to recognise then I would I suggest a larger image. However, this means that if a ship has changed owners several times it may be unwise to put all of its successive house flags in the infobox.
I like adding the signal flags for a ship's four-letter identification code. However, some ships seem to have changed this code each time they changed owners. This can lead to an infobox that some may consider very pretty but others may consider over-large and cluttered. Take for example wrote SS Burgondier, which I wrote 10 months ago adding every ensign and signal flag that I could attribute to her. Looking back, I don't know whether I made the article more informative or merely cluttered it up with pretty colours. However, I imagine that signal flags are a legal requirement whereas house flags are not. Hence if something had to go, I would keep the signal flags in preference to any house flag(s).
In summary, I would give first priority to keeping ensigns in infoboxes but in some cases icons may be a wiser choice than larger images. I would give second priority to signal flags in infoboxes, as they are essential signal information but I realise that we may have to rationalise to keep infoboxes, er, shipshape. I would give third priority to house flags and am open to further comments as to what we should do about them.
I apologise for not saying all the above with more brevity. Fortunately I've just heard from the smoke room that the steward has just broken out the rum, so I'll leave off here and leave the rest of you salts to thrash it out! ;o) Motacilla (talk) 14:21, 25 May 2011 (UTC)
I've rewritten the infobox for SS Burgondier. Mjroots (talk) 09:35, 17 June 2011 (UTC)
This is a two part reply. Part 1, the signal flags really need to go, they add nothing but visual clutter. Why not have binary representations of the letters, Japanese characters or the Village people? part 2 of the reply is here Wikipedia_talk:Manual_of_Style_(icons)#Rationale_for_flagicon_use_is_needed , I know this is unusual so I hope yoy don't mind. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Gnevin (talkcontribs) 22:01, 25 May 2011 (UTC)
I disagree with you on this one, Gnevin. Code Letters were not flown all the time, but it is a legal requirement that a ship identifies itself when asked to do so. Before the days of wireless telegraphy (radio), a ship would hoist its Code Letters, as show by the image linked to in the opening post. On man's visual clutter is another man's visual improvement to an article. House flags were not a legal reqirment, an their use is harder to justify in ship infoboxes. Mjroots (talk) 05:12, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
Simply because a subject was legally required to have X doesn't mean that we must display an image of X in our articles. Employers in many countries are legally required to have liability insurance; many manufactured items are legally required to have a type approval certificate; birth certificates are vital to most people; most notable buildings are required to have emergency exit signs and fire extinguishers; and of course there are various other legal formalities which merchant shipping must comply with, apart from signal flags - but we don't clutter up articles with such things. Navigation lights are even more important, but we don't put little red/green/white blobs on every ship article, nor do we frame every port article with a red buoy image on one side and green on the other. I can only assume the flags stems from an overly-literal interpretation of the word - we have flagicons, so it's assumed that we ought to use them to display anything connected to the word "flag", even casually. It's like putting a picture of a miserable-looking woman at the top of Great Depression - because she looks a bit depressed, and here we have an article about a depression; such a simple step to take... bobrayner (talk) 14:38, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
  • Support – I don't have any problems at all with flag icons. Obviously, they shouldn't be used in prose but other than that, I would support their use. McLerristarr | Mclay1 13:59, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
That is my position. Code Letters are mentioned in the text of the article where they appear in the infobox, but the actual visual representation of the flags is confined to the infobox, and occasionally they may be discernable in an image. Mjroots (talk) 17:23, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
  • Support for wars, oppose for signal flags. As the original author of MOS:FLAG, I don't think it was ever intended to prohibit uses that are clearly nationalistic and space constrained. I think most people agree that that is one of the few cases in which using flag icons might actually be a good idea. That said, I don't see any legitimate reason for using flag icons in place of country names for ship infoboxes. There's plenty of space in the infobox section, and the country name is more easily understood and accessible. Kaldari (talk) 23:26, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
  • Support with the stipulation that the definition of "inappropriate" is loosely defined in such a way that disincentivizes superficial enforcement.   — C M B J   08:49, 28 May 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment On my latest ship article, MV Empire Darwin, I've included the names of the relevant countries in the infobox with the flags. The name of the UK is on the second useage because that way it keeps all three flags together without a break. Adding it to the first useage makes the infobox a line longer. Is this the way we need to go with flags in ship article infoboxes? Mjroots (talk) 14:01, 28 May 2011 (UTC)
No, I don't think so: I think you should put it back to the first instance (the first line) because this is less confusing. The way to work around this is to maybe allow the infobox to hide or some sections to hide.Curb Chain (talk) 08:39, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
In which case, we may as well name the country on every use - would that work?. As to the suggestion of allowing the infobox sections to be hidden, that will need to be discussed by WP:SHIPS members. Mjroots (talk) 09:37, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
No, I think the first appearance of flag of the country can be accompanied with the text.Curb Chain (talk) 07:07, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
  • Support All three proposals. Including for signal flags. Manxruler (talk) 14:20, 16 June 2011 (UTC)

Clarification on Proposals by Mjroots

Can those who support the proposal by Mjroots indicate if they also support the usage of signal flags? As a number of those supporting don't seem to mention signal flags. For me I support the proposal by Mjroots expect for the signal flags Gnevin (talk) 16:48, 26 May 2011 (UTC)

Agreed. I support the proposal except for the signal flags part. I'm not sure it was helpful to lump them into the same proposal. Kaldari (talk) 23:28, 26 May 2011 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.