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Talk:Countries and regions

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[edit] The continent where New Zealand is

According to Wikipedia, New Zealand is on a continent called "Australia". I haven't looked into in which authorities agree or disagree, but I suspect this is an outdated nomenclature which isn't used by the average person on that continent (or at least, not by people in the countries other than the Commonwealth of Australia). Since I don't live there, I'm obviously open to correction. For now I've used the name "Oceania" for that continent. Yes, I know that "Oceania" has other meanings, but if there's no perfect answer, then I'll opt for the name the least likely to cause confusion/annoyance. Ciaran 05:41, 13 August 2009 (EDT)

I could not find a reference to New Zealand as a part of Australia. Wikipedia does seem inconsistent though. It says that:
  • Australia is both a country and a continent.
  • New Zealand is part of Zealandia, a continent nearly half the size of Australia that is otherwise almost completely submerged (I'd suggest Zealandia is a continental plate rather than a continent).
  • Oceania is treated as a continent.
  • Australasia is a region of Oceania and comprises Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea (implying that Australia is part of the continent of Oceania).
  • "Continent" includes Australia, but not Zealandia or Oceania.
I'll bet the standard reference works are equally confused too. So I guess we can group things pretty much as we like. Given that Tuvalu hosts so many .tv domains, I wonder whether it's patent laws might be significant enough to be covered by en.swpat.org? If so, then "Oceania" is our best choice. If we are content to confine our Pacific coverage to Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea then the other possible choice is "Australasia". steelpillow 08:01, 14 August 2009 (EDT)

[edit] Latin vs South America

Discussion moved from User talk:Ciaran

Would "Latin America" be better than "South America"? The former has been given a category, but the latter has not. steelpillow 16:40, 13 August 2009 (EDT)

I'm not really sure. I think the Latin America category is good since Mexico, Cuba and other central American countries are linguistically, culturally, and economically closer to South America than they are to the USA and Canada. By contrast, a "North America" or "Asia" category probably wouldn't be very useful since the countries in those regions are much less interdependent/homogeneous than the countries in Latin America (or Europe).
As for what label to use in the countries and regions table, I can't think of any strong reason to choose either over the other, except that if we use "Latin America", we'd have to change the "continent" column heading to something vague like "region". (I know "Oceania" isn't exactly a continent, but I put a note on Talk:countries and regions about that.) Ciaran 19:20, 13 August 2009 (EDT)
I think that "South-plus-Central", i.e. Latin, is culturally more sensible although Mexico's economic ties to the USA and Canada might lead to minor anomalies. Then, if we go for "Latin" and "North" Americas then we can put Mexico in whichever we prefer. I do not think there is a sensible substitute for the word "Continent". If we explain that we use it in a cultural sense as much as geographic, that would allow us leeway for both Latin America and Oceania. steelpillow 08:18, 14 August 2009 (EDT)
Ok, I've changed it to Latin America and added a note. Eventually, someone from central America will tell us if we've done the right thing or not. Ciaran 08:47, 14 August 2009 (EDT)

[edit] Language discussions

I added a new column linking to the "Discuss this wiki" pages for different languages. Please revert if you don't like it.

I don't know which countries speak Portuguese vs. Spanish, so I could only fill in half the list.

Also, wouldn't it be better if these pages were titled in the discussion language, for example "Discuss this wiki in French" should move to "Discutez ce wiki en Francais" (or whatever an educated Frenchman would say)?

steelpillow 12:13, 14 August 2009 (EDT)

(In Latin America, Brazil is the only country that speaks Portuguese.)
The reason for non-English discussion pages having English titles is so that us English speakers can spot when someone's made a non-discussion page in a foreign language. If someone makes a page called "ฟต์แวร์", I can't tell if that's ok or not. I can't even tell if it's spam or not. But if that page is "Discuss this wiki in Thai", then I know that's grand. I'll still have difficulty separating spam from real discussion on that one page :-) but that's a risk I'll take.
(FWIW: the original plan for dealing with other languages was that we'd soon have an fr.swpat.org, es.swpat.org, etc. Seeing how much work it's been getting one wiki to this stage, I'm now wondering if there's a less ambitious / more achievable goal we could set for providing info in other languages. Maybe this wiki should be in English and the endsoftwarepatents.org site should contain a few summaries which could be translated) Ciaran 12:22, 14 August 2009 (EDT)
I wonder what could be done to avoid encouraging non-English speakers to go to their own language page (although the blankness of the non-English pages implies this isn't an urgent problem :-) ). The Portuguese discussion page is useful if there's a gang of Brazilians discussing a Brazilian topic, but if a Brazilian can speak good English, then for general topics, it would be best if they joined in the common discussion in English. Ciaran 12:32, 14 August 2009 (EDT)
Well, I see several scenarios here, but I am not sure which one/s en.swpat.org has in mind:
  • en.swpat.org discussions: Do we expect people to chat in say French before one of them writes up the outcome in English? I am not sure that non-English-speaking French people would dig that far into an English-language wiki.
  • Global campaigning: Is there any value in an internationally-based sister site to en.swpat.org in any other language? Unless en.swpat.org gets constantly translated across, I cannot see such a site gaining anything like the same content.
  • Local campaigning: A local campaign in say France would be conducted mostly in French. It is obviously impractical for us English-speakers to maintain a locally-focussed fr.swpat.org. IMHO the best we could do would be to offer fr.swpat.org wiki space to French speakers, on the basis that they maintain the content themselves.
Once we are clear about our approach to other language speakers, then what to do about it should become clear too. steelpillow 14:12, 14 August 2009 (EDT)
A reading knowledge of English is quite common in many non-English-speaking countries. Writing is harder. If the France page is mostly being written (in English) by French-speaking people, then maybe it's best to let them conduct their discussions about France topics in French. ...but this is all theoretical, since nobody's said anything on the other language pages. For now, the only thing I think we can be sure of is that plans should start modest. Making other-language wikis as campaigns tools might be good, with no anonymous posting and some good spam blocking software to minimise the need for maintenance. I'm still thinking this over... Ciaran 00:37, 16 August 2009 (EDT)
Makes sense. Either these folk are ignoring us for a reason or they just don't know about what we offer. Maybe the next step could be to contact local FSF members/patent campaigners and start a dialog to see what they would find useful. 'Fraid that's out of my field though. steelpillow 07:48, 16 August 2009 (EDT)
I've been trying the outreach approach a bit already. When I send out an ESP mail looking for info about a region, I usually search for related groups etc. and contact them. I'll keep that up, but I think the path to victory is via making an important site that people point each other to and that people find via search engines. I've started a page to attempt to monitor progress: en.swpat.org:Progress. Ciaran 08:46, 16 August 2009 (EDT)

[edit] Patent offices of countries

I found a good list of patent office websites and just wanted to note it somewhere:

done. Ciaran 23:42, 26 August 2009 (EDT)

[edit] The 7 regions, or 8 or 9

We currently have 7 "regions" (previously called "continents"). That's fine, but I just wanted to note that Middle Eastern countries probably don't fit very well into an economic region called "Asia". They might deserve their own region (probably called "Middle East"). That said, India and surrounding countries are also huge and more linked to each other than to China or the Philippines, so maybe they should also get their own region.

But this is just a note about an idea in passing. Since we don't have any articles about countries in the Middle East, and only one article about the countries of the "indian region" (india itself), this isn't an issue right now. Ciaran (talk) 04:39, 17 June 2013 (EDT)