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Blame ISO 3166 and nzkoz

Many open source projects received bug reports like this: “Taiwan is not a country, please fix it.”

Rails also did.

There are already a lot of precedents, including international enterprises and successful open source projects, for rails team to learn how to deal with this problem. eg. IBM, FreeBSD, Google, Apple, … etc.

However, some developers still use the ISO 3166 as a bad excuse to shirk their responsibility. Referencing the “ISO’s focal point for country codes“, they deprecate the neutral term “Taiwan” and prefer the term with political intention: “Taiwan, Province of China.” I don’t think it’s a clever way to ease a controversial issue by replacing a neutral term with political term just because the political term come with a so called “standard” for OTHER thing.

Furthermore, as lukhnos said, a standard isn’t necessary to be political correct in all contexts. eg. you may insult many people by simply adopt the definition of some terms in Webster 2nd ed. There is no reason you should blindly follow a standard if you know that’s problematic. There is no reason you just blame the questioners barking up the wrong tree without correct the error in your product.

In fact, we do have actions on ISO: Taiwan sued ISO for this one year ago. Twelve months past, Geneva court finally confirmed that Taiwan is eligible to sue ISO for referring Taiwan as “Taiwan, Province of China.” We’re still waiting for the final judgement of this lawsuit. However, if we win the lawsuit, chances are high that the final term will be “Republic of China (Taiwan)”, which is still controversial. Hence, my suggestion on this topic is, as many precedents did, just use the term “Taiwan” and change “Country” to “Country/Region”.

As a member of Rails Core team, nzkoz try to put public pressure on us questioners by stating that he would like to remove this helper function due to our comments. He did. His childish behavior did not solve the problem at all: instead of making their own list, people will still use the plugin containing the prickly term.

After his futile commit, he posted something cynical on his twitter:

Attention all open source programmers, don’t include a list of countries in your code. Unless you like offending people http://is.gd/2OlB

Look at how OPEN SOURCE PROGRAMMERS of FreeBSD did please.

許多 open source project 都接到過類似的 bug report: “Taiwan is not a country, please fix it.”

Rails 也是

面對這種事,已經有很多先例告訴我們該怎麼做,包括許多大型國際企業以及成功的 open source 專案,例如IBMFreeBSDGoogleApple…等。

但仍有某些開發者將 ISO 3166 奉為圭臬,將其視為開脫責任的藉口。他們遵從這個「國碼」的標準,捨棄掉中立的地區名稱「台灣」,而使用帶有政治意圖的「台灣,中國的一省」。將一個中立的名詞換成一個帶政治意圖的詞,只是因為這個詞在別的東西(國碼)的標準裡面出現,我想這不是一個用來平息紛爭的高明手段。

此外,就像 lukhnos 所說,所謂標準並不見得在所有時空背景下都是適合的。例如韋氏辭典第二版裡就包含了一些會污辱到大部分人類的條目(有些甚至你現在還可以在 Dr. Eye 中看到)。盲從有問題的標準是可笑的,特別是你知道這標準明明有問題。沒有理由只因有一個不適合的標準,就抱怨那些質疑者,為什麼不去找制定標準的人抗議,而不修正自己產品裡的錯誤。

事實上,我們有找制定標準的人抗議。台灣一年前就對 ISO 提出告訴。過了一年,日內瓦法庭總算裁定台灣有權訴訟,我們還在等此告訴最後的裁決。不論如何,就算我們告贏了,有很高的機會會改成「中華民國(台灣)」,仍然是一個帶有政治宣告的名詞。因此我的建議就是像其他前輩的解法一樣,保留「台灣」這個指涉地名的中立名詞,並且將標題的「國家」改成「國家/地區」。

nzkoz,Rails Core 的成員,嘗試藉著輿論的壓力對我們施壓。他宣稱因為這類的爭論,讓他想要把這整個 helper function 拿掉。而他真的拿掉了。除了將戰火移到別處以外,這個幼稚的舉動並沒有解決任何問題:人們仍會繼續使用 plugin 裡引起爭議的名詞,而懶得自己去更正。

之後,nzkoz 在他的 twitter上貼了:

Attention all open source programmers, don’t include a list of countries in your code. Unless you like offending people http://is.gd/2OlB

請看看人家 FreeBSD 的 OPEN SOURCE PROGRAMMERS 是怎麼處理這件事的。


Annotations RSS

“I spoke ruby but not rails (and likely won’t). However I think Zed may be right about this:

Fuck you Koz. You don’t speak.”

---yllan. 9/19, 2008

“[…] yllan.blog [296]:Blame ISO 3166 and nzkoz […]”

---微風夕語 — [網摘] RoR 與 Taiwan, Province of China。. 9/20, 2008

“[…] do not want to take this issue personally, but I agree every word yllan said in his blog post totally. Let’s face it, you can not solve a problem by putting it into another box. The […]”

---Just “Taiwan”, not “Taiwan, Province of whatever”, please. — hlb’s weblog. 9/22, 2008

“[…] 上面也已經不准許任何人留言討論。英文文筆佳的 yllan 跟 hlb 先後寫了一篇英文 Blog 來表達我們的抗議,我也根據 lukhnos […]”

---{|ihower.idv.tw| blog } | Rails country_select 事件懶人包. 10/7, 2008

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