Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Countries

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RFC: History in the Lead Section

The consensus on how much "history should be included in the lead section of a modern country's article should depend on the country.

Cunard (talk) 01:01, 17 December 2017 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

How much "history" should be included in the Lead Section of a modern country's article? How much is too much and how much is too little? For example, Finland's history represents about half the lead, Canada's represents about a third, Switzerland's is less than a quarter, whereas Federated States of Micronesia has almost none at all.

A subquestion, for anyone really interested, is what is the appropriate balance between pre-modern and modern history in the lead.

Any consensus from this discussion will be added to the guidance at Wikipedia:WikiProject Countries#Lead section. Onceinawhile (talk) 09:09, 14 November 2017 (UTC)

  • It depends on the country. I don't see how you can make a hard and fast rule. Some countries might have little relevant history as an entity (e.g. a newly formed federation of several disparate states with distinct histories). Other countries might have little modern relevance (other than becoming a country by a quirk of history), yet be steeped in history. Same goes for modern/pre-modern - in some cases, Greece and Israel come to mind, the far ago ancient history might have been the impetus for the modern formation. In other cases ancient history might even unknown or not reliably recorded (e.g. Australia) - leading to reliance on archaeological / anthropological / fossil evidence of the pre-contact civilizations.Icewhiz (talk) 11:46, 14 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Leave to local consensus per Icewhiz and per WP:CREEP. The appropriate balance will depend entirely on the article in question and I see little value in attempting to enforce uniformity. Kahastok talk 18:31, 14 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Lead Section as a portion of the total text The correct course would be to restrict the lead section to an approximate percentage of words of the main text of the whole article (i.e. excluding references, bibliography, etc). This would follow the lead section's style rules, and specifically the rule about its length: "The appropriate length of the lead section depends on the total length of the article." While, indeed, every Wikipedia article is a different animal, the rules are quite specific in that there should be a modicum of uniformity. We should follow the established rule in this too and accordingly ascertain the approximate length of the lead section (which is "not a news-style lead or lede paragraph") for every article; not just articles with biographies or about countries. -The Gnome (talk) 08:44, 16 November 2017 (UTC)
Some editors have misunderstood so perhaps it's better that I elaborate a bit. I did not suggest that all articles about countries should have the same amount of text about their history in the lead. I suggested that the length of the text in the lead paragraph should reflect the length of the text in the rest of the article, i.e. in the article's main body. I'm suggesting ratios (per MOS:LEAD) and not absolutes. Articles with different totals of words in their History sections would reflect this difference in the respective leads. Thus, there is no question of "limiting" or "exaggerating" the lead; it'll be a function of the whole. Every country's history is indeed different - and this is why we have articles with varying lengths! The main texts are what defines the leads. -The Gnome (talk) 16:18, 7 December 2017 (UTC)
  • It depends on the country: Different countries have different things about them that are notable, so imposing uniformity could be very restrictive in some cases while requiring uninteresting filler in others. Different countries will have different sorts of histories that are divided up in different ways. For example, for an article about Iraq it would make a lot of sense to at least mention this this was one of the cradles of cradles of civilization, while in an article about Chile, the recent economic structure might be more interesting to feature. The examples above given look perfectly fine in all their diversity. OtterAM (talk) 20:13, 3 December 2017 (UTC)
  • It depends on the country. Per everyone else except User:The Gnome. Countries are all very different from each other; there is no productive way to say that all countries articles must have this much amount of history in the lead. Adotchar| reply here 09:55, 6 December 2017 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Which level of country to list in a table (England/Scotland vs UK)

Hi all. Wikipedia has many tables of things that have a column labelled "Country": ones I edit range from List of battles and other violent events by death toll to List of Yes concert tours (2000s–10s). What I see is a lot of editing back and forth over whether the country listed should be the United Kingdom, or should be England/Scotland/Wales/Northern Ireland. List of Yes concert tours (2000s–10s) long used to say England, Scotland etc., although it now says UK. List of battles and other violent events by death toll has long said UK, but -- and I my prompt to come here today -- there's currently an edit dispute there (e.g., this). Personally, I feel for consistency we should say UK because we don't split the US into States, the UAE into Emirates or the Soviet Union into Republics. But, knowing Wikipedia, there are probably editors who feel deeply that we should do each of those. But I haven't gone against any longstanding status quos.

Is there any actual guideline or advice here? I found Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Countries/Lists of countries, which supports UK over England/Scotland, but is answering a different question, and wasn't entirely conclusive. Bondegezou (talk) 17:21, 20 November 2017 (UTC)

There is, to my knowledge, no hard and fast rule beyond the basics like WP:NPOV. That said, I would suggest that it is not neutral in general to treat modern England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as though they were equivalent in status to sovereign states such as France, China or the US. They are not.
(Of course, this is in general. If you're talking about footballers then clearly it won't normally make much sense to insist on referring to the UK. And there's the standard admonishment to avoid anachronism. And so on.)
Those making the case the other way have tended - in the slightly-different context of lists explicitly of countries - to argue primarily based on the use of the word "country". The argument holds that you have to treat as a "country" anything that you can reliably source as ever having been called a "country" - though in practice if you suggest other examples (and there are many) they tend to get rejected out of hand. Kahastok talk 19:12, 21 November 2017 (UTC)
This problem often arises with people rather than places, the general rule there is that the person must identify, and be identified, as Sc, Eng, Welsh or Ir, otherwise they are British. Because it is more common for Sc, We, N.Ir to identify as such (the English generally can't be bothered - part of our cultural arrogance!) - the result is that fewer people are described as English on WP. I don't think it is possible to make a hard-and-fast rule about places. Some events are distintively E,S,W or NI, sometimes the clearest description would be the component country, otherwise default to UK, but I wish people would not get so hot-under-the collar about this. If the decision were mine alone, of the example you give, I would put 'Lockerbie' in Scotland, because it is more exact and the event acquired some distinctively Scottish elements, and is generally thought of (in UK) as 'Scottish', but I would put 'Westminster' as UK, because the UK Parliament was under attack. As Kahastok suggests, the four countries compete seperately in most sports events (and Sc+Eng have their own leagues for football) - except the Olympics. The nearest comparison I can make to US, is that sometimes it would be more useful to say that something happened in Alaska or Hawaii, or with a general descriptor like New England, mid-West etc. rather than US. … … ps personally, I would think that saying BOTH Scotland (or England) and UK was overkill, don't most people know where Scotland is? Even if they don't exactly understand the constitutional subtleties of Eng/GB/UK, which half of us don't! Pincrete (talk) 19:06, 25 November 2017 (UTC)
In an article such as List of battles and other violent events by death toll we would never even consider populating a field headed "country" with "Alaska" or "New England". If the parallel is the US, then the only possible choice is United Kingdom. Kahastok talk 21:49, 25 November 2017 (UTC)
Wikipedia guidance is that we should not presume the reader necessarily knows such things: thus, it makes sense to me to use the best known level, which is "UK" or "USA", rather than terms like "New England" or "Wales". Bondegezou (talk) 20:09, 28 November 2017 (UTC)
Alaska and New England, are of course NOT countries, therefore they should never be in infobox as such, I wasn't suggesting that they should. Pincrete (talk) 09:50, 4 December 2017 (UTC)
The "nearest equivalent" is probably not the US, it's more likely to be somewhere like the United Arab Emirates, a federation of historically independent emirates. But even there, "nearest equivalent" does not mean that we should treat the UK in the same way. The position in the UK is complex. Setting that aside, the overriding issue should be the prohibition on edit-warring, and discussion on each article talk page. Consistency would be both impossible to achieve and, in my view, unnecessary. Ghmyrtle (talk) 10:10, 4 December 2017 (UTC)
The country listed should be the United Kingdom. I've always equated England, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland with Alberta, Saskatchewan, Quebec etc etc or Tennessee, Alaska, North Carolina etc etc. PS: Note that the world map on this WikiProject shows the UK entirely in one color, as it should. GoodDay (talk) 13:34, 4 December 2017 (UTC)

Disambiguation links on pages tagged by this wikiproject

Wikipedia has many thousands of wikilinks which point to disambiguation pages. It would be useful to readers if these links directed them to the specific pages of interest, rather than making them search through a list. Members of WikiProject Disambiguation have been working on this and the total number is now below 20,000 for the first time. Some of these links require specialist knowledge of the topics concerned and therefore it would be great if you could help in your area of expertise.

A list of the relevant links on pages which fall within the remit of this wikiproject can be found at

Please take a few minutes to help make these more useful to our readers.— Rod talk 14:42, 3 December 2017 (UTC)

Abkhazia infobox

There is currently a dispute on the Abkhazia article about whether to include the infobox featuring the Republic of Abkhazia (its flag, symbols, etc.) The Republic of Abkhazia is a partially-recognized country. Other partially-recognized country articles (such as South Ossetia and Transnistria) have infoboxes representing the partially-recognized state. With Abkhazia, there is no infobox. Whenever someone tries to put the infobox back on the Abkhazia article, it gets reverted. Currently, that infobox is not on any English-language Wikipedia article, though it is on nearly every Abkhazia article in other languages. It doesn't make sense that the Abkhazia article doesn't have an infobox while other partially-recognized countries do.LumaP15 (talk) 03:27, 11 January 2018 (UTC)


I'd be interested in the project's thoughts on the above article. It's the top hit for the subject on Google, so obviously it's important that it's reliable. To me, it reads like an advocacy page, rather than a Neutral article. It's almost completely unsourced, and of those few (3) that it has, the first is a blog, the second is a broken link (but wasn't independent anyway), and the third, the only vaguely good one, is over 10 years old. There's a 2011 debate about the lack of neutrality on the Talkpage, but it didn't get very far, ending with the (self-appointed?) Consul General declaring the editor's efforts to be "treasonable"! To me, it just doesn't look right, but I'd be interested in others' thoughts. KJP1 (talk) 10:02, 14 January 2018 (UTC)

I should have added; the, few, reports on this issue that I can find, e.g. this [1] indicate that it is obviously an ongoing, sensitive and controversial area which needs careful handling on here. All the more reason for needing a Neutral article. KJP1 (talk) 10:54, 14 January 2018 (UTC)

RfC on transliterated and Russian names of Belarus' in the lede

There is currently an RfC about the transliterated and Russian names of Belarus' in the page's opening paragraph. Your input would be appreciated. It can be found here. – Sabbatino (talk) 13:19, 30 January 2018 (UTC)

Timelines in main pages

Are timelines acceptable in main pages of countries' or country groups' as can be seen at Nordic countries#Timeline? This has also been added to Baltic states page, but I have removed it. If I remember correctly these were removed at some point from every pages regarding cities, countries or country groups, but I cannot seem to find the discussion about it. Any help would be appreciated. – Sabbatino (talk) 17:39, 12 February 2018 (UTC)

slavery stats

Could I ask for some comments on the inclusion of slavery stats at Talk:Dominican Republic#Slavery.


You are welcome to discuss the newly created {{Infobox folk song}} and its future here. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Tamtam90 (talkcontribs) 05:51, 18 March 2018 (UTC)

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