Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Countries/Templates

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"Countries of...", "Countries and territories of..." and similar templates[edit]

Copied from Template talk:Countries and territories of East Asia#Solidify the Template and the talk page?:

  • Suggest template becomes Template:Countries of East Asia (with the SARs listed as a subsection within) and therefore this talk page Template talk:Countries of East Asia. The "Countries and territories" is a remnant of my trying to distinguish between countries and – in this case – SARs (described generically as "territories") in the template's name; consensus, however, did not support this, so I'm planning to suggest all such templates are named "Countries of [continent/region]" with relevant subsections "Sovereign states", "Dependent territories", "Special administrative regions", etc, etc within each. Regards, David Kernow (talk) 01:12, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
  • If that's the case, can we get more input from other editors on this issue? -Penwhale | Blast the Penwhale 03:59, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
    Well, I was going to post something along the lines of the above somewhere in the WikiProject Countries area and leave links to it on each "Countries of" template talk page. I'll do so during my next Wikipedia session, unless you reckon something else might be easier / more effective...?  Yours, David (talk) 04:07, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
    • hi, this renaming issue is like a local skirmish in comparison to the huge tussles going on at Template:Countries of Europe, which has since split into two, with another for non-independent territories. It is also for this reason that only independent states, the most common definition of the word "Country", are included in Template:Countries of Asia. As a member of this hierachy of templates, the same should be applied here. Either it is named "Countries and territories", or we can call it simply as "Countries" and remove the non-independent entities.--Huaiwei 15:29, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
  • The Middle East one has to remain as "Countries and territories" anyway, as the Occupied Palestinian Territory (as the UN terms it) is not a country, and not part of any sovereign state, but needs to be included. That is, by the way, not an analogous situation to the question of autonomous territories elsewhere (e.g. Hong King SAR) which are recognised as part of the territory of a sovereign state. Whether the other such templates should be standardized to just "countries" or not is another question, but if so, a standardized version that suits them should not be applied to this case where it would be decidedly inappropriate and unhelpful. Palmiro | Talk 04:06, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

Standardization suggestion[edit]

Per the above, suggest:

  1. All "Countries of", "Countries and territories of" and similar templates – i.e. those templates listing countries by continent or region that appear at the bottoms of articles about countries – are named and titled "Countries of [continent/region]"
  2. All these templates consist of the following sections (where members for each section exist):

(...and other template formats)

Please indicate your support and/or suggestions for modifications and/or a different approach below and/or...  Thanks, David Kernow (talk) 03:16, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

I must say it looks cumbersome and difficult to implement. How do you decide what sorts of autonomous territories qualify? Does Hong Kong? Catalonia? Alto Adige? Northern Ireland? Texas? Guam? Réunion? The Russian autonomous republics? Nagorno-Karabakh (OK, that might fit in as "generally unrecognized). How does the template distinguish between the different sorts of autonomy involved, and how does it associate the autonomous territories with the state they form part of? And if it does neither, is it not likely to be more confusing than informative? Palmiro | Talk 04:11, 11 January 2007 (UTC)
Well, I guess the details per template as regards what to include in each section require consensus; I'd start with the current content for each. I'd say the overriding criterion for whether or not a territory or area is included is whether or not (there's evidence that) most people generally refer to it as (if it were) a country. (Personally, I think I'd omit Catalonia, Alto Adige/South Tyrol and Texas from the examples you suggest; probably the Russian autonomous republics too.)
Apologies if the template skeletons above look cumbersome and/or difficult to implement; essentially they're no different from the template formats already used by existing "Countries of" etc templates. I included them for the sake of visualization, but perhaps that idea has backfired; in short, just imagine those "Countries of" etc templates you've already seen, but with more consistent subsections!
Thanks for your feedback, David Kernow (talk) 18:17, 11 January 2007 (UTC)
Well, we've only heard from a small section of editors. Let's spread this info and have a discussion. -Penwhale | Blast the Penwhale 21:42, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

The current status of having each of the Countries of xxx templates being very different in name and format look unprofessional and need to be changed to a uniform style in name and format. The title of the template should be Countries of xxx and should not break down the entities into categories. All countries listed in the template should be listed on List of Countries. Any debate on the definition of what a country is and should a particular entity be considered a country should be debated on List of Countries only. Changes to templates and other pages should feed off of changes made to List of Countries. Having consistency makes Wikipeda look professional rather than amateurish.-- (Shocktm | Talk | contribs.) 23:40, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

Essentially, I agree – but note that the formatting of the countries' names in the List of countries is not uniform. Some are bold (sovereign states), some plain (dependent/autonomous/etc territories), some bold-italic (generally unrecognized), etc. Perhaps what might work (i.e. be generally acceptable) is a single list of countries using these different fonts...?  For instance:
Seems a little "bold" on the eye, however; maybe a different font scheme would be required...
Thanks for your thoughts, David Kernow (talk) 03:58, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
Standardization is only a good idea if there is more to be gained from it than there is to be lost from it. This may well be the case for the Africa, South America, etc templates but attempting to impose such standardization on the Middle East template would be misconceived. I can guarantee you that if that template was amended to say "Countries in the Middle East" the Palestinian territories would be deleted from it regularly by sticklers, pedants and political zealots all of whom would be quite right to point out that it isn't a country; but the result would be that a non-sovereign territory not part of any state, with some governmental institutions, including one which issues residents with passports recognised for travel by most governments, an international calling code, a top-level internet domain, de facto membership in at least one international organization, etc, would not appear on a template where for practical purposes, it clearly belongs. Standardization that results in inaccuracy or loss of information does nothing to make Wikipedia look more professional; quite the opposite. Palmiro | Talk 04:23, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
Personally I wholeheartedly agree, having been the person to try the "Countries and territories of" names et al a few weeks ago. I guess, though, that having witnessed some of the stickling/pedantry/zealousness (cf Template talk:Countries of Europe and elsewhere) I'm trying to see if is possible to accommodate a (super)majority of opinions. One consensus that did seem to emerge was the use of "Countries of" but with non-sovereign territories clearly indicated as such. To me, this suggests one basic division (if no more): between sovereign and non-sovereign territories ("countries") in each template. So, to use the Palestinian territories example, would you feel able to accept a (say) "Countries of the Middle East" template that listed Palestinian territories on a separate line, prefixed by a header such as "Non-sovereign" or the like...?  Combined with an explanatory note on the template's page plus semi-protection, I'd hope something of that nature would be generally acceptable and able to withstand passing stickling/pedantry/zealousness...  Yours, David (talk) 08:31, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
I sympathise with your position, but really my view would be that the Middle East template isn't broken, so why fix it? Your solution might (but also might not) work, but in any case would be rather more complicated than the current version, which clearly does work. Also, I suggest that any further discussion about the Middle East template take place on its talk page, rather than here, as it is the one specifically involved and interested people are more likely to come across it there. Palmiro | Talk 19:55, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

Foreign Relations and Military[edit]

The featured article Australia has a separate section for foreign relations and military. In the wikiProject Countries Template this is included in Politics. Would it be worth standardising this separate section? Chipmunkdavis (talk) 05:32, 5 September 2010 (UTC)

My personal opinion on this is that foreign relations and military probably aren't a prominent enough subject to merit a whole section on their own, although of course a paragraph on this may be appropriate within the politics section. There are other topics of similar note, for example Transport and Tourism, and we can't really have sections for everything. The Rwanda article, which I have been heavily involved in, and which was loosely based on the featured Cameroon article, covers foreign relations (with the DRC, which is the most interesting one) and international membership in the politics section. I haven't touched on military at all, but maybe that is an oversight and a sentence or two on it would be appropriate.
Of course, just because we don't mandate it in the countries template doesn't mean individual examples such as Australia and Malaysia should definitely omit it. Although some standardisation is good, I also feel individual contributors should have some flexibility in how they lay out the articles under their scope and not every country has all aspects in equal quantities. Thanks  — Amakuru (talk) 22:41, 3 March 2011 (UTC)

Organisation of Country pages[edit]

A recent change in the template moved Geography before Politics and Administrative divisions. I have reverted, but as I have failed to receive comment from regular users of this wikiproject I'd like to open some questions up to wider community debate.
1) Should "Geography" come after the "History" section or after the "Politics" and "Subdivisions" sections?
2) Do "Foreign Relations" and "Military" belong under "Politics"?
3) Does "Etymology" belong under "History"?
Thanks, Chipmunkdavis (talk) 10:20, 18 January 2011 (UTC)

If possible, also comment on which of the two wordings of titles of existing sections is better. Two sections have disputed names. Chipmunkdavis (talk) 14:46, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

1 2
Governance Politics
Subdivisions Administrative divisions
My potisions:
  • 1) I personally prefer Geography after. This is because of the way the country article will read. First off is history, which tells the reader how a country arrived at a point. Then politics, administrative divisions, (and maybe foreignrelations/military) shows the internal workings of the country and its place in the wider world. After that you get an overview of the area the country spans, followed by information about its economy, then its people (demographics and culture).
  • 2) I don't think Foreign relations and Military belong under Politics at all. (I don't think it should be called politics, but that's another matter!) I think Politics should deal with the internal working in the government of a country (it's politics!), and the foreign relations and military should be in a different section which can deal with the countries place in the wider world (alliances, economic blocs, etc.)
  • 3) No. It's not a history of the country, just the name. Standard practice has it listed before, at least in Country Fine articles, so it should be a separate header

Chipmunkdavis (talk) 10:26, 18 January 2011 (UTC)

My position is not tied to a personal feeling or individual taste. Rather the observation of the defacto practise in existing Wikipedia country appearance should lead to a format (or the recommendation).
The 1. observation is that Geography related parts (in the majority of all country articles) the are first mentioned in the introduction, thats why Geography deserves a high position in the TOC.
The 2. observation is that high quality articles (FA) like Germany have a coherent bloc of History which includes Etymology. I believe this makes sense, because the Etymology parts usually is story told with history related matters. Even more important, Etymology to me is not a strong section in the first place, its a sidenote, which is never mentioned in the country introduction and therefore does not deserve a main section.
The 3. observation is the defacto existence of main articles called "Politics of ...". These articles in general include "Foreign relations". In the real world of politics and governmental structures one can find a "Ministry of Defense" (military) as dependent part of Politics. It is no mistake therefore to mirror these realities here in country articles as well.
4. Everybody should be aware that all country articles will change over time, so a one-fits-all -encompassing solution is not entirely realistic. Nevertheless a recommendation (template for organization) is useful and should take orientation from existing structures and FA articles. Hope this helps. Italiano111 (talk) 19:34, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
1) That is an interesting point with the lede, do you have statistics?
2) You're completely wrong. Most FA have it separate, as the first section. Also, as it cannot exactly go into a subpage, it belongs in the main section.
3) They don't, and in FA (by your argument above) they were often separate.
4) It should take from current FA's. See here for the structural layouts of those articles. Chipmunkdavis (talk) 04:19, 19 January 2011 (UTC)

1) Every country article lede begins with a geographic description of the location and its neighbours. That is obvious.

2) Please read the MOS in History. I´m not a bureaucrat but the locic of putting Etymology in a History section makes sense.

3) Main articles that are named "Politics of ..." are the defaco standard name regime and include "Foreign relations" Italiano111 (talk) 14:43, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

Look, the recent changes are minor and removed contradictions within this Project Page. Your reverts have reinstalled a misleading logic or naming conventions, please stop this. Thanks in advance Italiano111 (talk) 14:46, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

1) Um...not obvious, most may, but a body and a lede don't have to follow each other's structures at all anyway.
2) I've read it, believe it or not. The relevant statement is "Details of the origin of the name should be placed in this section; if there is sufficient material an Etymology subsection should be created within the History section." The only logic is possibly that the origin of the name is described. However, the name is not the same as the country.
3) Not commenting on the Defacto standard name regime (existence of those articles not that important), but Politics of Afghanistan doesn't include them, neither does Politics of Zimbabwe. For good reason too, politics is often not about foreign relations, considering it is a domestic affair.
Statement on titles I think Governance is better than politics, and is more applicable to general information about a country. However, Politics does seem to have ingrained itself so far as the main page at least. I prefer Subdivisions over Administrative divisions, as not all divisions are administrative (statistical for instance) Chipmunkdavis (talk) 14:59, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

It is hard to pinpoint a statement from your argumentation. You seem to cite irrelevant or weakly organized country articles. I interpret your last comments as an agreement on "Politics". The change has been enacted therefore.

Concerning the "Administrative divisions": Here again the defaco widespread standard in country articles is to use the recommended main article "Administrative divisions of ....". IN order to ensure this neutral term as a title is therefore logic and useful. it enables the reader a quick orientation. Would be great to see you agreeing on that one as well, because I´m rather interested in making decisions. Thanks in advance Italiano111 (talk) 20:19, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

I don't cite country articles, I show WP:FA country articles as examples of previous standards.
No agreement so much as inviting a third opinion. Not reverting the change though, as it does standardise.
No it's not. Most articles have the title of the country divisions as the article, eg. States and territories of Australia. Subdivisions is also neutral and useful, and allows for more flexibility.
Perhaps we should wait for more opinions? Chipmunkdavis (talk) 02:45, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
Chipmunkdavis put a note on my talk page requesting that I add my comments to this discussion. Here are my thoughts:
  1. It doesn't really matter where the geography section is placed, so long as it is consistent. Looking at the featured articles about individual countries, there doesn't seem to be any consistency at the moment. My instinct is for the geography section to come after the history section.
  2. The foreign relations and military subsections definitely belong in the politics section; politics are not only internal.
  3. Etymology is historical; it makes sense to put it in the history section.
  4. "Politics" and "Administrative divisions" are more accurate, more pertinent, and more widely accepted than "Governance" and "Subdivisions"; the standard naming of these sections should remain as it is.
Remember to stay cool when the editing gets hot. Neelix (talk) 21:24, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
I got here from the RFC page listing while trying to learn more about RFCs. Italiano111 propositions make sense to me. Specifically:
  1. Geography is static and while borders change, they are usually influenced by the history of a nation or a region. Best to have geography first, before history.
  2. Foreign relations are definitely a part of politics. The first line of a relevant article reads Civilian control of the military is a doctrine in military and political science that places ultimate responsibility for a country's strategic decision-making in the hands of the civilian political leadership... So I support Italiano111 position that both should be under politics.
  3. Etymology could go anywhere but I would go with Italiano111's viewpoint.
  4. Politics over Governance is a better choice. Administrative divisions makes sense to me. Zuggernaut (talk) 16:36, 3 February 2011 (UTC)

Indeed, Geography needs a higher position. It trumps Politics because of the non-changing constant nature. I also remember old (written) encyclopedias starting with geographic feature when introducing a country. FR and Military are certainly Politics related. And because Etymology is already recommended to be part of History at the proaject main page it should be mentioned here as well. Italiano111 (talk) 23:14, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

Hi guys, only just spotted this conversation. Here are my answers to the above questions:
Question 1: Politics should definitely follow History, as the two are interrelated - History typically covers from the beginning of time up until some arbitrary point in the past. Politics then picks up that thread by describing the state of the country as it exists today. Subdivisions follow on from Politics too, so Geography should maintain its place after Subdivisions. So your revert of the reordering was a fair one, Chipmunk.
Question 2: I have answered this in the section above (originally posed last September so I'm a bit late on that one, sorry :)). In summary, I don't particularly think we need Foreign relations and military.
Question 3: I'm a bit unsure about this one. Etymology is an interesting matter for many of the countries, and should be there, but is usually a bit short to exist in its own whole paragraph (and in the case of Rwanda, the only thing we could say is that no-one knows where the word came from - it's lost in precolonial antiquity). But then again, is it strictly History? Probably only if there was some very disinctive event which led to the name itself. As a new idea on this (and it's only an idea, not sure if it would work) - could we put this in the infobox? As it's often only one line or a link to a wiktionary word, it would probably fit in most cases. And would also allow for a simple unknown case.
On the naming conventions, I prefer the second column I think. Governance is not a word I use much so maybe this is just an WP:ENGVAR issue. Administrative divisions is also a little clearer than Subdivisions. I have sidestepped the first case when writing the Rwanda article actually by following the lead of Cameroon and calling it "Politics and government". Not sure if you think that's overly wordy.
Thanks and I'll try to monitor these pages a bit more in the future, particularly as they may impact my current major project Rwanda.  — Amakuru (talk) 23:02, 3 March 2011 (UTC)

Geography traditionally is mentioned first or second when considering historic encyclopedias. Because of the non-stable changing matter politics like economy is of secondary priority. Italiano111 (talk) 17:26, 5 March 2011 (UTC)

@Italiano: Instability doesn't make something a secondary priority.
@Amakuru: I think Etymology will have to be flexible per country. Some countries have Etymology articles (eg. Etymology of Scotland), some have name article (eg. Names of India), some are random (eg. Iran (word)). For some, such as Rwanda, there's really not that much information about it I suppose. Chipmunkdavis (talk) 17:58, 5 March 2011 (UTC)

Hmm... this seems to have developed into a slow running edit war, which we would obviously hope to resolve through discussion here. I initially assumed that there was a historical discrepancy between the Main Page and the Templates page over article ordering, but I now see that is not the case - the ordering (and wording) up until 29 December 2010 (which is a recent development in Wiki-time) was as follows:

  • History - An outline of the major events in the country's history (about 4 to 6 paragraphs, depending on complexity of history), including some detail on current events. Details of the origin of the name should be placed in this section; if there is sufficient material an Etymology subsection should be created within the History section. If the history section grows large enough for a sub-article it should be named "History of X", and a link provided.
  • Governance - Overview of the current governmental system, possibly previous forms, some short notes on the parliament. Sub-articles names: "Politics of X", and "Foreign relations of X".
    • Subdivisions - Overview of the administrative subdivisions of the country. Name the section after the first level of subdivisions (and subsequent levels, if available) (e.g. provinces, states, departments, districts, etc.) and give the English equivalent name, when available. Also include overseas possessions. This section should also include an overview map of the country and subdivisions, if available. The CIA World Factbook Maps can be used as a basis for the map, but plenty of other sources are available.
  • Geography - Details of the country's main geographic features and climate. Sub-article name: "Geography of X".
  • Economy - Details on the country's economy, major industries, bit of economic history, major trade partners, a tad comparison etc. Sub-article name: "Economy of X".
  • Demographics - Mention the languages spoken, the major religions, some well known properties of the people of X, by which they are known.
  • Culture - Summary of the country's specific forms of art (anything from painting to film) and its best known artists. Sub-article: "Culture of X".
  • See also - Aim to include relevant information within the article and reduce the See also section. See WP:See also.
  • External links - Links to official websites about the country. See WP:External links

So broadly as the templates, except that "Subdivisions" was listed as a subtopic of "Governance". I've restored the ordering as it was before 29 December, so that we use are using the stable version as our starting point (although I have not restored the exact wording of the pre-December version or the fact that Subdivisions was a subtopic; if there is any strong feeling that those were also correct then that too can be reverted).

So where do we go from here? I am in favour of the stable arrangements myself, as outlined above. This also seems the path of least resistance as the majority of articles, particularly those recently developed follow the guideline more or less. I will also attempt to answer a few of the points made above which suggest Geography needs to be elsewhere than its current position. Thanks  — Amakuru (talk) 08:39, 24 March 2011 (UTC)

I'm moving this from the Countries Project talk page per advice from Amakuru

I'm not a member of the project, but I 'surf' across articles of modern and historical states. It seems to me that this Project hasn't quite realised that all the states that hat at some stage existed are also part of the project.

It is often difficult to readily find information in state articles because they are not consistently structured.
Also, it seems to me that editors are not sure about how to write continuity between sections so the prose flows a bit more rather than ending abruptly.
Having thought about this for a few weeks, I came up with a new structure matrix (below), and obviously would appreciate feedback, but also naturally the possibility of its adoption by this project

  • Regional environment -> Geology, Hydrology, Geography, Climate, Soil science, Biodiversity (Flora, Fauna and Waterborne),
  • Human habitation -> Territoriality, Demographics, Human rights, Social conflicts, Urbanisation, Natural resource management,
  • History & future -> Regional history, State history, Local history, Historical preservation, Current affairs, National aspirations,
  • Governance -> The State (Head of, Symbols, Location, etc.), Representation, Legislative, Executive, Judiciary, Public Service, Administration, Civil Society
  • Economy -> Economic history, Agriculture, Mining, Development, Sciences, Technology, Infrastructures (Health, Transport etc. ), Public utilities (Water, Energy, etc.), Commercial sectors (Manufacturing, Services, etc.),
  • International relations -> Diplomacy (Interests & Influences), Memberships, Trade, Conflicts, Defence, Humanitarian activity,
  • Culture -> Language, Architecture, Lifestyle, Culinaria, Cultural institutions, Religions, Performing arts, Visual arts, Literature, Sports, Education, Public communications,

It seems to me that the same uniform structure should apply to Former Countries also

On the initial questions:

1) Should "Geography" come after the "History" section or after the "Politics" and "Subdivisions" sections?

  • 1.1 - Geography comes before History because it is independent of historical change that transpires over it.
  • 1.2 - Geographic subdivisions of a state are in fact not a part of politics though they sometimes serve as electoral subdivisions also. However, Subdivisions are almost alwasy part fo state, i.e. public administration.

2) Do "Foreign Relations" and "Military" belong under "Politics"?

  • 2 - Foreign Relations are not part of either Military or Politics, but are in fact another word for Diplomacy, or international relations. Politics refer to the aspirations of the domestic population in choosing leaders who can produce best version of the future for them. Foreign Relations is how those leaders negotiate this future with other states, and Military is what happens when negotiations fail. In peace Foreign Relations sit somewhere between Economics and Military since usually diplomats negotiate trade.

3) Does "Etymology" belong under "History"?

  • 3- Etymology is in fact a branch of Linguistics, and therefore Language sub-section of Culture section. I have always felt that it was given undue prominence right at the start of the articles but was not prepared to start over 200 arguments :-\
and a signature Koakhtzvigad (talk) 09:05, 24 March 2011 (UTC)

OK, as promised, here are my comments (rebuttals, if you like) on some of the reasons given above:

  • "Geography related parts (in the majority of all country articles) the are first mentioned in the introduction, thats why Geography deserves a high position in the TOC."
    The assertion about the lede is likely true, but is not directly relevant. The lede is a single block of text, intended to be read in its entirety, whereas sections are standalone blocks. Also, WP:LEDE requires a typical lede to be around 3-4 paragraphs, while the template calls for seven core paragraphs and some countries may include others as well. So inevitably there will be some merging of separate sections into single paragraphs, including the opening gambit. With that in mind, and given that the opening sentence is always of the nature of "X is a country in Y continent, bordering A, B and C", it would not make sense for History to follow on directly from the opening sentence of the article; it makes much more sense to continue with this Geographical theme. The History is then dealt with from the opening of the second paragraph and Politics, Subdivisions after that. In Rwanda I have devoted the entire second paragraph to History, while the opening paragaph is a split effort between Geography and Demographics. However, when you get down into the body, History is the starting point. We already know the basics; what country we're talking about now and we want detail on how it got to be how it is. Politics tells you how it is now, and subdivisions is strongly tied to politics. Then on to Geography and so on.
  • "Geography is static and while borders change, they are usually influenced by the history of a nation or a region. Best to have geography first, before history."
    If Geography is influence by History, isn't that more reason to have it after?
  • "Indeed, Geography needs a higher position. It trumps Politics because of the non-changing constant nature."
    As with Chipmunkdavis comments above, I am not aware of any policy that suggests that "non-changing" data deserves either preference in terms of content or preference in terms of order. One of the strengths of Wikipedia over paper encyclopaedias is that it is nearly always up-to-date at the point of reading.
  • "I also remember old (written) encyclopedias starting with geographic feature when introducing a country."
    If you could provide a reference or evidence of such a written encyclopedia I would be interested to see it. In my experience most "articles" in the traditional encyclopaedias do not go into anything like the depth we do (except maybe the in depth topics of Britannica), but I don't have direct evidence for this right now.

Thanks  — Amakuru (talk) 09:07, 24 March 2011 (UTC)

Oops, another one has been added:

  • Geography comes before History because it is independent of historical change that transpires over it.
    This is actually not true. Geography in a global sense is (mostly) unaffected by human history. However, "Geography of X country" is potentially a fluid beast, simply because the country itself is a human construct. So, for example, because of the *historical* development that Sudan is splitting into two later this year, the *geography* section of the Sudan article is changing. Any information pertaining to the Southern Sudan area will have to be removed, or amended so it only refers to geography of the north.  — Amakuru (talk) 09:14, 24 March 2011 (UTC)

Have a look at the CIA World Factbook [1]: Historic summary 1., Geography 2. ! I have no stance which one should be used at Wikipedia first or second because many arguments can be made for either proposition. But one thing is clear: geography has a higher priority than politics or other main issues. Etymology to me seems to unimportant (though necessary for country articles) to justify a single main section. Because of the country names changing nature it seems no mistake to include etymology in history. This recommendation was already given before the discussion here. Honestly, I doubt that a too detailed template can be a truely effective tool for the country articles. Too many people with too different concepts of order are out there. I believe a simple order of the main sections should be (if anything) enacted first. I believe 1.History, 2.Geography, 3.Politics, 4.Demographics and 5.Culture would be an easy recommendation to start with. Once the majority of country articles has reorganised the next step could be discussed. Italiano111 (talk) 19:29, 25 March 2011 (UTC)

We don't have to follow the CIA, and we shouldn't. We don't have a section on transnational issues for example.
The vast majority of all country articles was organised, following the original format. It was only when you went and changed half the European countries formats that everything became out of wack.
Lastly, don't edit war and continue to make the changes when you clearly don't have consensus. Chipmunkdavis (talk) 02:39, 26 March 2011 (UTC)
It is good that someone has begun this discussion. I have the feeling that sequence hasn't been touched for awhile. The outlines at Cities and States/Provinces/etc. is a bit more robust and has been developed.
I like History first.
Geography second.
Probably Government. Try to avoid the word "Politics." Americans (I'm one) do NOT understand that word and can't be made to! They think it is what people fight over in bars and television. So separating "Politics" and "Elections" is extremely difficult in American minds and therefore articles and ones we are documenting outside the country. About half of our "Politics in (State)" articles are a mess. There are not enough non-US editors (or interest in US articles!) to keep us straight, so any help in structure or wording will be most helpful.
I think Elections and Politics should probably come under Government.
Administrative Divisions should probably come under Government. But if not, then Geography. Shouldn't be a stand-alone subsection IMO. Student7 (talk) 13:02, 8 April 2011 (UTC)

The US Department of State categorizes country information as well: [2] Geography comes first. The arguments for Geography to have a higher recommended position in this Wiki Project are now convincing. A coherent recommendation is needed with the first page and there are a majority of users to advocate a high rank of Geography. Italiano111 (talk) 10:00, 13 April 2011 (UTC)

You can't just wade in here every month or so and change things back the way you want to. Chipmunkdavis (talk) 11:01, 13 April 2011 (UTC)

Please stick to good arguments made by several authors Chipmunkdavis. There is a convincing consensus by the majority here as well. Italiano111 (talk) 12:39, 13 April 2011 (UTC)

You cannot judge consensus, you are involved in discussion. Let me do a tally. There are 7 people who have commented. 2 like the status quo. 2 would prefer geography after history. 1 wants consistency, but is leaning towards geography after history. 2 want geography before history. Consensus does not exist. Chipmunkdavis (talk) 12:48, 13 April 2011 (UTC)

There is a majority of editors who believe that Geography has the highest or the second highest priority. Personally I have no preference to wether History or Geography should be ranked as the 1. main section. Nevertheless I have added evidence that major external sources also rank Geography very high when it comes to present country profiles. You Chipmunkdavis, have contributed no such evidence nor a convincing argumentation. Taken the amount of editors and the good arguments (external sources) it seems more than justified to bring the Geography section in a higher priority. Italiano111 (talk) 13:00, 13 April 2011 (UTC)

A majority out of seven for a guideline affecting over 203 articles? And in that majority a divide between position? I'm blown over by the consensus here. Anyway, myself and Amakuru have presented arguments previously. If you want me to randomly throw out other external sources, the BBC doesn't even have a geography section in its country profiles. Wikipedia does not have to copy other sources. Chipmunkdavis (talk) 13:05, 13 April 2011 (UTC)

You demanded a broader review, a longer time and more editors to comment on this. The outcome favours Geography being either first or second. Italiano111 (talk) 16:39, 8 May 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia is WP:NOTADEMOCRACY Italiano, and far be it from you to choose first or second. The outcome so far favours nothing. Besides, other issues were discussed here besides Geography. Chipmunkdavis (talk) 01:46, 9 May 2011 (UTC)

The reasoning for the higher Geography position has been provided. The majority here after a long period indicates a support for a higher priority. The high position of Geography is already backed and implemented by many important articles like France. Italy. USA. UK. Japan. China. Germany. Canada. Brazil. Italiano111 (talk) 15:06, 9 May 2011 (UTC)

You mean you went and changed all those articles and are using them for backing for your position? Brilliant base of argument, I'm in awe. I'm not going to say the fact that the vast majority of FA's you haven't mentioned follow the structure provided, as indeed did most of the ones you mention before you went in and messed around with them citing these guidelines. Chipmunkdavis (talk) 15:10, 9 May 2011 (UTC)

WikiProject Former countries[edit]

On behalf of the WPFC, I would like to recommend a section for predecessor countries to be added to the Template:Infobox country/doc. The purpose of this section would be purely for navigational purposes, and should function similar to the "|p1 =" field on the Template:Infobox former country. An example of this functionality is best seen on Empire of Brazil, which directs the reader to the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves as its predecessor. Please let me know whether you will take this into consideration. Thank you,
Xuxalliope (talk) 12:34, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

Add health to the default[edit]

Hi I've recently been doing some work on updating the 'Health in X' articles for various countries around the world, and updating their associated templates. I'd like to add 'Health' as one of the standard high-level sections for each country - in my experience this already exists for most countries, but there are still a few where basic health statistics or description of the health system does not exist. Would you be ok if I made some proposed revisions to the templates to include 'Health in X' - see Category:Health_by_country --Karl.brown (talk) 22:13, 5 April 2012 (UTC)

In my experience health is often included under the general demographics header. I find it hard to imagine that it would have enough important information to make its own section in every country article. Some statistics are important yes, but I find health sections often degenerate into a list of hospitals and rankings, rather than forming encyclopaedic prose. CMD (talk) 09:37, 6 April 2012 (UTC)
Yes, sometimes it's under demographics, sometimes it's a separate section, sometimes it's called healthcare, sometimes it's called 'health and education' - I would argue that have a consistent section would help, so people can always know that the high-level description of a country's health can be found - key health indicators, links to health-specific page(s). I'm still not sure why it is sometimes blended with education, which doesn't have that much to do with health... Whether this is under demographics or not is not a big deal, but I think making it consistent would be useful. --Karl.brown (talk) 14:26, 6 April 2012 (UTC)
It's been included under education for years in some articles, probably because both are about social development. I would expect that readers looking for health information would go to "Health in X" articles, which should probably be the main focus of development. THe link should be in the article somewhere though. CMD (talk) 14:37, 6 April 2012 (UTC)
Yes I agree; the reason I brought this suggestion up is, I've been reviewing these, and in several cases there was a 'Health in X' but no link or section or mention of health anywhere from the main country article - I've been trying to fix this. In other cases, there are countries (like Tunisia) where there isn't a 'Health in X' and not even a 'Health' section in the main country article. My thought is, we should start small, with a small section on Health - then if it gets big enough, it can be pulled out into its own article (and in about 75% of countries, the Health in X article already exists). At least if we suggest 'Health' as a section in the template, people who are revising country articles will be inspired to try to find/research info about health, which already exists in voluminous quantities for any country in the world. --Karl.brown (talk) 15:07, 6 April 2012 (UTC)
I'd venture to say we have a large number of, well, really bad country articles (and I don't think it's much of a venture). I still don't think that most countries should have a health section, as I doubt it's especially important vis a vis other aspects of the country. However, you're right we should suggest they do try to include health somehow. Why not include under the Demographics header "Include basic information on population, languages spoken, ethnicities, religions, health and healthcare, and education, along with other notable points of information"? That should inspire some research. We could also put a link Health in _ in the suggested See Also so editors working on countries can identify it as something they should have a whole article on. CMD (talk) 17:04, 6 April 2012 (UTC)

Suggestion: Add infrastructure to the template[edit]

I would like to suggest to have in the template a section heading called "infrastructure". Here we could put information and a link to transportation (which currently appears in the template under "See also"??) but also information and links to water supply and sanitation. Here we could suggest to people (I mean other editors) that they could draw on the information provided for many countries by this project which has created standardised pages for water supply and sanitation in many countries (or see the list here). However, that information should be double checked and only be seen as a starting point as it might in some cases be outdated. It is a good starting point though, and anyone who knows that country or the water sector in that country could probably quite easily add some useful content based on that. See also [here] on the talk page of User:Moxy . Another option could be to place a sub-heading unter the existing title of "Economy", but I am not sure if that would be better? - What do other people think, is "infrastructure" sufficiently important to show up somehow at the table of contents level? I think it would be as it affects many other aspects of the country. EvMsmile (talk) 23:27, 29 October 2015 (UTC)

I have no problem with a sentence or 2 linking the main sanitation article added to country articles in the appropriate section. Wikipedia:WikiProject Countries suggest that to be under the "Economy" sections. I would say a whole sub-section (as in 2 or 3 paragraphs) is a bit much for an overview country article. Simply not that important to warrant a subsection in parent article of this nature. -- Moxy (talk) 05:29, 6 November 2015 (UTC)
Good to see your reply here, Moxy. I think this is the best place where we should discuss this (and possibly also on the talk pages of affected articles). I was actually surprised that nobody else has commented so far after I made the post a week ago. I thought there would be many, many members to this important WikiProject on Country pages. I am not sure that "infracstructure" fits so well under "economy", at least not in the case of developing countries. If you look at many country pages, they actually already have a sub-section on infrastructure. So I may not be the only one who'd find such a subsection important. It can include transport, water supply and sanitation (and anything else? Communications?). Of course one could argue that infrastructure should be a level 3 heading under ecnomoy but then this should be reflected in the template, too (and changed in those articles that currently have a separate infrastructure section?). I am keen to hear opinions of many different people on that who have been involved with this WikiProject. - Also the suggestion that had been made about health above was a good one, I think, and has not fully been resolved in my opinion. EvMsmile (talk) 09:01, 6 November 2015 (UTC)
P.S. The template currently suggests to put under See also:
  • Communications in _
  • Transportation in _

In my opinion one could easily build a case for rather moving these into a new section called "infrastructure". I looked for your statement that "Wikipedia:WikiProject Countries suggest that to be under the "Economy" sections" but couldn't find it listed like that in the template description? Where must I look? EvMsmile (talk) 09:05, 6 November 2015 (UTC)

Less then 30 people watching this page (perhaps a WP:RfC). As for an "infrastructure section" this may be ok in smaller countries. This is because infrastructure in a big country varies weather of a large country. Also municipalities or states are unusually responsible for these things (municipalities do there best to comply with federal statutes). This water info would be great to add to big cities articles or to country article where water quality is actually a concern. For me water and sanitation is like weather best to discuss at the local level (where it is dealt with). All that said an"infrastructure section" talking about national highway systems, national rail lines or national oil/gas pipe lines and the like would be good to add to large country articles.--Moxy (talk) 18:04, 6 November 2015 (UTC)
Oh yes, great idea about WP:RfC. Could you please do this? I have never done it before, I guess I could try but I am not sure which "topic area" to pick? I think these country articles are really very important, particularly those dealing with "lesser known" countries, which I guess is mainly the developing countries. I am not sure if I agree with you that infrastructure in a big country varies that much - I mean the responsibilities for the infrastructure are usually quite clear. The variation is more between urban and rural areas and here the disparities are greater in developing countries. Also what is your definition of a "big" country? Big in area or big in population? Is Germany a big country with 80 million people? Yes, there'd be variation from one state of Germany to another but not that much as it would fall under a unified policy system. You would not expect the highway or sewage infrasctructure to be so different from one part of the country to another. Same with the US or Canada - except for very remote, sparsely settled areas. - I think it gets most interesting for developing countries where infrastructure can indeed vary enormously from one part of the country to another and that's exactly what the articles on "water supply and sanitation in country X" describe and therefore I think they are worth linking to from a section about infrastructure on the main article page. - Why do you think national highway systems, rail lines or oil/gas pipe lines are more important than saying something about the water supply and sewer infrastructure in that country which would also be governed by a national level ministry to some extent? I think it's all equally important and should be captured in a section on all of the major infrastructure. EvMsmile (talk) 01:20, 9 November 2015 (UTC)
By the way, I think I have found an acceptable solution e.g. for the article on China where I have now named it as "other infrastructure". At least the other editors seem to be OK with it so far. Perhaps a good compromise and something that can be progressively built on, as more editors find time to flesh out that section. EvMsmile (talk) 00:38, 19 November 2015 (UTC)