Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Countries

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Discussion of significant changes to featured Japan article

Please come participate in the discussion here. Thank you. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe · Join WP Japan! 20:33, 4 May 2017 (UTC)

Popular pages report

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Opening sentence readability

I'll start off by saying that I'm not an active contributor to this project, but I'd like to make a recommendation on the opening sentences in country articles. Currently, I believe the opening sentences of these articles are too busy with with pronunciation and official name jargon that it hurts readability. (See MOS:LEADALT) For example:

Vietnam (UK: /ˌvjɛtˈnæm, -ˈnɑːm/, US: /ˌvətˈnɑːm, -ˈnæm/;[1] Vietnamese: Việt Nam [vîət nāːm]), officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV; Vietnamese: Cộng hòa Xã hội chủ nghĩa Việt Nam (About this sound listen)), is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. With an estimated 92.7 million inhabitants...

99% of readers don't care about the pronunciation and official name details. They scan past all of that that until they see " the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula..." so they can keep reading. I'm sure most of you do it too. I am recommending that this WikiProject adopt a footnote policy for information like this in the lead. For example:

Vietnam,[a] officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam,[b] is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. With an estimated 92.7 million inhabitants...


Vietnam[c][d] is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. With an estimated 92.7 million inhabitants...

I think this drastically improves readability and invites the reader in nicely into the lead, instead of asking them to strain their eyes just to read the first sentence. This policy was adopted over on the Video Games project for Japanese titles with success (WP:JFN). Thoughts? TarkusAB 22:29, 5 June 2017 (UTC)


  1. ^ Pronunciation: UK: /ˌvjɛtˈnæm, -ˈnɑːm/, US: /ˌvətˈnɑːm, -ˈnæm/;[2] Vietnamese: Việt Nam [vîət nāːm]
  2. ^ Abbreviated SRV; Vietnamese: Cộng hòa Xã hội chủ nghĩa Việt Nam (About this sound listen)
  3. ^ Pronunciation: UK: /ˌvjɛtˈnæm, -ˈnɑːm/, US: /ˌvətˈnɑːm, -ˈnæm/;[3] Vietnamese: Việt Nam [vîət nāːm]
  4. ^ Officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV; Vietnamese: Cộng hòa Xã hội chủ nghĩa Việt Nam (About this sound listen))


  1. ^ Jones, Daniel (2003) [1917], Peter Roach, James Hartmann and Jane Setter, eds., English Pronouncing Dictionary, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 3-12-539683-2 
  2. ^ Jones, Daniel (2003) [1917], Peter Roach, James Hartmann and Jane Setter, eds., English Pronouncing Dictionary, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 3-12-539683-2 
  3. ^ Jones, Daniel (2003) [1917], Peter Roach, James Hartmann and Jane Setter, eds., English Pronouncing Dictionary, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 3-12-539683-2 
Nobody??? I might take this discussion to one of the more popular country pages with this issue then... TarkusAB 22:31, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
@TarkusAB: - Sounds like a great idea to me. See also Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2017-06-09/Op-ed. Kaldari (talk) 21:33, 20 September 2017 (UTC)

RfC on unrecognized bordering countries

This stems from the current disagreement about the inclusion of the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh Republic) among bordering countries in Iran's lead. It raises the question of including also other self-proclaimed countries not recognized by any UN member (Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic, Republic of Somaliland, Donetsk People's Republic, Luhansk People's Republic and, in future, potentially others) among bordering countries in other articles on countries (which AFAIK is not directly covered by any relevant policy or guideline, such as WP:LEAD or WikiProject Countries#Lead section).

Should the articles about countries mention self-proclaimed entities not recognized by any UN member among bordering countries? Brandmeistertalk 20:42, 20 September 2017 (UTC)


  1. No, but with a possible efn note. Most articles appear to follow the long-standing standard - bordering countries are presumed to be sovereign UN states, as on most geographical maps and in major encyclopedias. As the Republic of Artsakh is one of the self-proclaimed entities not recognized by the UN community, it is not labelled on most geographical maps, so in my view this is WP:UNDUE. Also, as some entities not recognized by the UN are currently disputed territories, mentioning them among bordering countries is WP:POV. As my proposal to mention Artsakh in a footnote failed, Iran's article appears to be one of the few that mention non-UN entities among its bordering countries. Perhaps a relevant provision could also be made in related policies/guidelines. Brandmeistertalk 20:42, 20 September 2017 (UTC)
  2. No, per WP:UNDUE, although I agree that a footnote is appropriate in such circumstances. Kaldari (talk) 21:31, 20 September 2017 (UTC)
  3. Yes I don't consider such proposal to be of undue weight. It just needs to be made very clear in the article that such country is unrecognised (I don't like how it is done in the Iran article, I think it needs to be placed last before recognised countries in a separate sentence). There also needs to be some defined limit, which would be no micronations. Inclusion of those is undue weight. Please, no mentioning of the Imperial Throne!😄 (talk) 21:50, 21 September 2017 (UTC) (User:My name is not dave, who has placed his account on enforced wikibreak).
  4. No but I'd be ok with a footnote. Chris Troutman (talk) 17:19, 22 September 2017 (UTC)
  5. Either, leave to local consensus. Provided the territories in question are described as an unrecognized state etc. I don't see how including them is an NPOV issue. We're not saying Wikipedia endorses their claim to statehood (which would be absurd), just that they exist and they share a border. On the other hand I also don't see any reason to prescribe their inclusion/exclusion in all cases. It should be left to editorial judgement on individual articles, because conceivably there are some cases where the existence of a bordering unrecognized territory is significant (e.g. the Donetsk People's Republic is clearly relevent to our articles on both Ukraine and Russia), and some cases where it isn't (e.g. Iran doesn't appear to have any involvement or relations with the Artsakh Republic, so why bother mentioning it?). See Wikipedia:Avoid instruction creep. – Joe (talk) 01:10, 23 September 2017 (UTC)
  6. No - does not seem to meet the definitions of Country and particularly Sovereign state mentions the role of recognition. If the WP:COMMONTERM or WP:WEIGHT]] of mentions are predominantly saying it as a nation, then perhaps a footnote. If it is a de Facto or de Jure state, then that would be said - but not that it is a country. Markbassett (talk) 02:40, 23 September 2017 (UTC)
  7. Noting that this RFC has received interest from few of the regulars at List of states with limited recognition, who would normally be able to discuss this in a general and informed manner (I may advise editors there that it is here). I think the premise of saying "yes" or "no" in this RFC is a case of WP:CREEP. We don't need a general rule, we need editors to reach an editorial decision based on policies and guidelines, according to the facts of the individual situation. That having been said, one of the policies that must be taken in account is WP:WEIGHT. The prevalence of the view that these are states - and that includes both those with strictly no international recognition and those with little international recognition - is far below that of those that are undisputed or little-disputed (including all UN member states) and that difference needs be taken into account. I struggle to think of any article on which you could neutrally include Artsakh alongside Armenia and Azerbaijan on a list without qualification. So in the case in question I would either not list Artsakh or include it only as a footnote. Kahastok talk 19:07, 23 September 2017 (UTC)
  8. Yes - Statehood is independent of recognition by other states as per Sovereign state#Declarative theory. As long as the state meets the criteria set out by the Montevideo Convention, i.e. if said state has a) a permanent population; (b) a defined territory; (c) government; and (d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states, then it should be included provided it is made clear that it is not recognised. The aforementioned criteria would exclude micronations from inclusions.-- Kzl55 (talk) 19:58, 23 September 2017 (UTC)
    The problem with the Montevideo Convention is that it is in no way controlling international law, and its definition is severely lacking, and both under and over inclusive. U.S. states and Indian tribes meet the definition under the Montevideo Convention. Further, micronations are in fact recognized and are in fact members of the UN, so your point seems merit-less. ‡ Єl Cid of ᐺalencia ᐐT₳LKᐬ 04:34, 27 September 2017 (UTC)
    It may be your opinion that US states meet Montevideo, but others have other opinions. I've seen a whole spectrum of positions from the very inclusive to the very exclusive argued on Wikipedia. Per WP:NOR we as Wikipedians have no business determining whether any given entity meets Montevideo or not - that's for reliable sources to do. The real problem with Kzl55's argument is that in every case that this discussion affects you are likely to find sources arguing both sides. The argument treats Montevideo as clear-cut and unambiguous, where in fact it is open to wide interpretation. As an aside, note also that no micronation is a member of the UN - you're thinking presumably of microstates. Kahastok talk 21:01, 27 September 2017 (UTC)
  9. Objection the situation with each disputed/non-country/frozen conflict is unique. In this case Atlrtsakh is defacto independent and a disputed territory hetween two other countries in the list of bordering states. As written "is bordered to the northwest by Armenia, the de facto independent Republic of Artsakh, the Republic of Azerbaijan, and the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan; to the north by the Caspian Sea..." is appropriate because it is a frosen conflict and Iran is not a perty so we are not making a political statement about Iran's territory. I would not agree to listing the rebel areas of Ukraine as "bordering" Ukraine or Russia as that is a hot conflict with actively shifting front lines and involves Russia invading Ukrainian territory. Legacypac (talk) 20:38, 23 September 2017 (UTC)
  10. No - Because statehood is determined by the recognition of other nations and international organizations. A footnote would be acceptable if the footnote clearly explains that recognition (or lack of it) of the putative "state". Beyond My Ken (talk) 06:33, 24 September 2017 (UTC)
  11. No as default position, but a footnote or similar could be apt in some cases as suggested by others when WEIGHT demonstrates de facto existence. Pincrete (talk) 13:12, 24 September 2017 (UTC)
  12. No, footnote (Summoned by bot) Undue, and needs to be UN recognised just for simplicity and to stave off nationalist zealots. L3X1 (distænt write) 23:38, 24 September 2017 (UTC)
  13. No as a user with little experience in geopolitical editing – this legitimises such entities to the point of WP:UNDUE. For example, labelling Hutt River Principality as a country bordering Australia would verge on the absurd, so some standard must be applied, and that standard exists. No objection to an efn. Triptothecottage (talk) 11:56, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
    FTR, the distinction between a micronation and a state with limited recognition is well-established in the literature. If we were to list the states with limited recognition such as Artsakh, it would not mean listing micronations such as Hutt River. Kahastok talk 17:46, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
  14. Yes - with efn or other indication this is not a fully (or at all as the case may be) recognized country. The reality on the ground is that an Armenian proxy entity is on that stretch of border. Same is true of other unrecognized states that de-facto control ground (if it is just a claim - not interesting) - as the geopolitical reality is that if you drive over that stretch of border - you'll be arrested by Armenians. If there is a shooting conflict between Iran and Armenia - this area will be involved as well. Listing Principality of Hutt River would be UNDUE and absurd. Listing Artkash, South Ossetia, Luhansk/Donetsk, Transnistria, etc. - is not. The question to be asked should be - is a military force in actual control of this region.Icewhiz (talk) 06:48, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
    For visiting Artsakh, which the UN considers a de jure part of Azerbaijan, you're currently required to gain a permission from Azerbaijani authorities (same as Crimea in case of Ukraine, for example). I don't think there's a serious border control enforced at the Artsakh border, given it's not diplomatically recognized. So theoretically after getting an Azerbaijani permission, you can cross the territory at some uncontrolled stretch of the border. Brandmeistertalk 08:21, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
    De-jure, Ukraine might claim soverignity over Crimea. De-facto - it is an internal flight (or ferry - bridge coming soon) from Russian turf. Should you attempt to enter by Ukraine - you will stop at a Russian checkpoint. Regarding visiting Artsakh - Azerbaijani permission papers won't get you far. Nor would crossing over the semi-hot border from Azerbaijan be easy. Entering from Armenia - would be easy - as you might see here - Visa policy of Artsakh. De-facto - the Armenian proxy force controls this territory. The reality on the ground is such that Azerbaijan has absolutely no sway internally - though visiting Artsakh will prevent you (unless there is a detachable stamp provision - might be) from entering Azerbaijan. [1]. Regarding the border with Azerbaijan - it is highly militarized with a hot shooting conflict occasionally (e.g. in 2016) - Attempting to cross over in a "uncontrolled stretch" - quite possibly will get you shot by the Aremenians or the Azeris. Diplomatic recognition - has little to do with the actual physical reality here.Icewhiz (talk) 08:36, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
    You're talking about the Nagorno-Karabakh line of contact. The border does not appear to be militarized alongside Iranian state border and, probably, from the north (at least not to such an extent). Brandmeistertalk 08:52, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
    The border with Iran (inside NK proper, and in the territory controlled by the Armenian military between NK and Armenia) - is probably less guarded. However Azerbaijani permission is irrelevant (both because NK authorities, in control of the ground, won't recognize it, and because the Azeris aren't likely to grant such permission). To the best of my knowledge - [2][3] - "legal" (per NK) entry to NK is only possible via Armenia. So - if you want to play hide and seek with Iranian and NK/Armenia border guards.... I guess that is possible, probably not advisable.Icewhiz (talk) 09:14, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
  15. Yes, provided of course the border with the entity is described in reliable sources. If you have an infobox, ideally you would write, what? Borders with "Armenia (military occupying Azerbaijan)"? Borders with "Azerbaijan (Armenian occupation)"? Borders with "Azerbaijan" without mentioning there is more than one government and border involved? The first two options are each incomplete without the other, and the last is unacceptable because if hostilities broke out people would rush to Wikipedia to find themselves confused that a border war is going on with a state that doesn't border Iran. It is optimal to say the entity name, say it is internationally unrecognized, say who it is aligned with, say who it is formally considered owned by by diplomats from abroad, say who runs it etc. But if space is ever lacking, the name with link gets you the rest. Wnt (talk) 12:06, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
    As has been noted above, such reliable sources, including reference works, are in minority. And equating a state border with the border of a self-proclaimed non-UN entity is mixing apples and oranges. Specifically, per WP:UNDUE, "Wikipedia should not present a dispute as if a view held by a small minority deserves as much attention overall as the majority view. Views that are held by a tiny minority should not be represented except in articles devoted to those views (such as Flat Earth). To give undue weight to the view of a significant minority, or to include that of a tiny minority, might be misleading as to the shape of the dispute. Wikipedia aims to present competing views in proportion to their representation in reliable sources on the subject". The only place I can think of for such cases is an explanatroy footnote. Brandmeistertalk 14:24, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
    I feel skeptical about that, but I'm not going to argue about it - that's an article specific content problem. If a large majority of sources list the bordering countries of Iran and omit that, then you can follow the sources without concern, but that varies by article. Wnt (talk) 21:40, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
  16. No, but a footnote may be appropriate. (see below 06:07, 5 October 2017 (UTC)) The lede of an article is not the appropriate place to be mentioning the claims of non-UN states, and would be undue weight. A footnote of appropriate length or a sentence or two in a "Geography" section could clarify that the de jure country does not actually control that area of the border. From a public policy standpoint, if these were included in the lede, it would just attract more edit warring which can easily be avoided. ---- Patar knight - chat/contributions 20:42, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
    You're treating these unrecognized states as if they were mere territorial claims, like various parties make in the Himalayas or the South China Sea. But, I mean, the Wikipedia article ought to represent the facts on the ground. If you could physically walk into a territory and see street signs and post offices for the Artsakh Republic, then that is not some fringe claim, it's what is. Wnt (talk) 21:47, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
    It's fine if it appears in a footnote or in another section as long as it's not in the lede. The territorial disputes of Armenia and Azerbaijan are not so relevant that it has to be mentioned in the lede of a third country. The respective ledes for Armenia and Azerbaijan mention the dispute, as they clearly should. Wikipedia articles on countries already have issues fitting all of the most relevant topics about their own country without devoting space to those of others. ---- Patar knight - chat/contributions 22:32, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
    I must emphasize that the question above wasn't about the lead: "Should the articles about countries mention self-proclaimed entities not recognized by any UN member among bordering countries?" - that is an extreme and unreasonable position as written, not just a soft comment about where to put what. I think we ought to all recognize that the main article text needs to mention such things, and indeed, should mention regions even when they are not even slightly claiming independence, e.g. "Canada occupies much of the continent of North America, sharing land borders with the contiguous United States to the south, and the US state of Alaska to the northwest." I would still say though that the lead depends on the article - for example, Albania mentioned Kosovo in the lead in 2005, long before the province had claimed independence. [4] Wnt (talk) 10:58, 29 September 2017 (UTC)
    You're correct, but most irrelevant. Just like ledes of country articles, the country articles themselves are balancing acts which involve figuring what relevant information about the country is in or not. Mentioning Alaska in the Canada is fine, because the US indisputably controls Alaska, so that's not a good comparison. I guess a more nuanced take would be Usually no, but they should be assessed on a case by case basis, and a footnote for self-governing regions should generally be appropriate. The "among bordering countries" is also problematic. If they are mentioned in the article text, it should be specified how they are different from the recognized countries. ---- Patar knight - chat/contributions 06:07, 5 October 2017 (UTC)
  17. Under no circumstances- it has no recognition by any UN member states. It is an unrecognized nation, even less legitimate than Kurdistan, which is unmentioned in the leads of Iraq and Turkey. I don't understand the argument for including it. There are formal mechanisms in place for the international recognition of states. As none of these have been successful, it is not a state. Again, I don't see any merit in claims that it should be included. Individual U.S. states recognizing it are beyond irrelevant - the Executive Branch is the sole organ of the U.S. government capable of granting recognition to countries. ‡ Єl Cid of ᐺalencia ᐐT₳LKᐬ 04:31, 27 September 2017 (UTC)
  18. Rarely. IMO, if a region claims to be independent, its claim is notable, and no country enforces (or even tries to enforce) other rule over that area, then it should be listed as a bordering country. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 06:51, 28 September 2017 (UTC)
  19. No. Stick with the weight of international recognized countries and let the world sort it out. We don't want to get into the business of trying to weigh assorted unrecognized claims that someplace is a new country. Alsee (talk) 17:11, 28 September 2017 (UTC)
  20. No - Somaliland, Donetsk, Transnistria, and other similar territories might be self-governing, but they are not considered sovereign states by the overwhelming majority of UN members. If we were to treat them as though they are, then we are in effect suggesting that they do have international recognition, or that their self-proclaimed independence is widely endorsed. This is incorrect, and per everyone else, runs contrary to WP:UNDUE. Kurtis (talk) 03:13, 29 September 2017 (UTC)
  21. Mu Political geography is complex and changes over time. Each case should be judged on its merits rather than trying to build a hard rule around a recent institution. Andrew D. (talk) 08:34, 1 October 2017 (UTC)
    @Andrew Davidson:, mostly out of curiosity - but maybe also a slight help to whomever closes this. In the context of this RfC, what would be the difference between "mu" (negative in Japanese and Korean, so WP says) and "no" (negative in English)? - Nabla (talk) 12:09, 8 October 2017 (UTC)
    An answer of "no" would tend mean that we have a rule which says that we should not have such content. "Mu" means that that the OP is begging the question. My position is that we should not have a general rule but that each case should be judged on its merits. My position is based on the policies WP:BURO, WP:CREEP and WP:NOTLAW which counsel against such proliferation of vexatious rules. See also hard cases make bad law. Andrew D. (talk) 12:35, 8 October 2017 (UTC)
  22. No, but in such cases perhaps add a footnote such as "Additionally, the unrecognized states of ...".  Sandstein  12:32, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
  23. Yes. Wikipedia needs to best reflect the situation on the ground in my opinion. These articles should mention these entities as neighboring states with limited recognition. i.e.
    In the case of Iran I would have the article say:
    "Iran is bordered by the following, in a clockwise fashion, starting from the North; the Caspian Sea, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Gulf of Oman, the Persian Gulf, Iraq, Turkey, Azerbaijan's exclave of Nakhchivan, Armenia, the mostly unrecognised Republic of Artsakh, and Azerbaijan."
    In the case of Armenia I would have the article say:
    "Armenia is bordered by the following, in a clockwise fashion, starting from the North; Georgia (country), Azerbaijan, the mostly unrecognised Republic of Artsakh, Iran, Azerbaijan's exclave of Nakhchivan, and Turkey."
    In the case of Azerbaijan I would have the article say:
    "Azerbaijan is bordered by the following, in a clockwise fashion, starting from the North; Russia, the Caspian Sea, Iran, Armenia, and Georgia (country)."
    (Note: It will naturally state elsewhere in the Azerbaijan article about the break-away region.)
    In the case of the Republic of Artsakh I would have the article say:
    "The Republic of Artsakh is bordered by the following, in a clockwise fashion, starting from the North; Azerbaijan, Iran, and Armenia."
    I know from a personal perspective, that if I was traveling to a certain country and I wished to cross the border into a neighboring country, then I would like to know what the current status was of the territory that I was crossing into was. Wiz9999 (talk) 18:55, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
    • Edited to add: Note: the only states I would consider doing this with are the ones very strictly defined on List of states with limited recognition, meaning Donetsk and Luhansk are out, as these are not unrecognised states. - Wiz9999 (talk) 21:21, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
  24. Yes for entities maintaining de facto control, but with clear description of the status; I think Wiz9999's verbose response here covers that pretty well. But only when it's not ridiculous; I wouldn't include microstates, for example. But it would seem inaccurate not to mention Transnistria as bordering Moldova or Ukraine, for example. — OwenBlacker (talk) 20:41, 3 October 2017 (UTC) via the Feedback request service
    • Edited to add: I would probably not expect to see non-UN-member / not-widely recognised states mentioned in an infobox row, but possibly in an infobox footnote. But I could probably be persuaded either way here. — OwenBlacker (talk) 20:45, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
  25. yes, and no, that is, yes but with due weight, just about as OwenBlacker (just above), or Sandstein (higher up) explained - Nabla (talk) 18:10, 7 October 2017 (UTC)
  26. Yes but use a dotted line - There is something that makes me wonder though. Would it be violating WP:NPOV for doing one or the other as it is a controversial issue? I do think the best way to avoid this would be to use a dotted line for it. Cartography has more decisions than people think as it's wondered if they should use the current situation which can change from day to day or use the official borders and in that case, who do they listen to? I think a dotted line would tell people that it is not exactly recognised by all countries yet but there are claims to it so I suggest a dotted line on maps. The Ninja5 Empire (Talk) 02:20, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
    I assume you are referring to the maps listed in said country's articles. Yes, this is quite a standard practice when showing unrecognised countries on maps. However, the principal discussion here I believe is with regards to the list of neighboring countries in the lead section of the country's article. - Wiz9999 (talk) 14:43, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
  27. Yes, though indicating the status in some manner. The information is important and relevant. DGG ( talk ) 16:47, 14 October 2017 (UTC)
  28. No (invited by the bot) Does not fulfill the common meaning of the word "country". North8000 (talk) 12:03, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
    I find your reasoning here interesting, in that you based it specifically on the word "Country", and not say "Sovereign State" or something. I'm curious, what to you would be the common meaning of the word "country"? Under this definition would the Vatican City be considered a country? Taiwan? How about the Cook Islands or Palestine? I will point out, none of those places are UN members. - Wiz9999 (talk) 19:34, 16 October 2017 (UTC)

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