About language flags in OGS Link Collection

Hello and sorry for opening a new topic about this.

In the page Play Go at online-go.com! | OGS every resource is listed along with a flag to indicate its main language.
Then, at the bottom of the page, a section “Organizations” lists various national associations/federations, also accompanied with a flag, where it has a quite distinct meaning - to indicate the country.

Now, I do not mean to be polemic about this, but in the resources that are available in English, it seems a bit off to have the American flag next to them. Same could be said if they had an UK flag!

My modest proposal - since 80%+ of the links are offered in English, which is mostly the default language of the internet, why not dispense showing a flag altogether for the English-only resource?
This would make the page look a lot lighter, too.

Where multilingual content is provided, like for example Falling in love with Baduk, Go Pro Yeonwoo or 81 Little Lions (9x9 intro), I would use both the British and American flag side by side, to avoid this eerie “star-and-stripe-washing”, if you’ll pass me the term.
Anyway, just my two cents.


If I may quote from List of territorial entities where English is an official language - Wikipedia, English is an official and major language in:

  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Botswana
  • Burundi
  • Cameroon
  • Canada
  • Dominica
  • Eswatini
  • Fiji
  • Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • India
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • Kenya
  • Kiribati
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Malawi
  • Malta
  • Marshall Islands
  • Mauritius
  • Micronesia
  • Namibia
  • Nauru
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Palau
  • Papua New Gunea
  • Philippines
  • Rwanda
  • St. Kitts and Nevis
  • St. Lucia
  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Samoa
  • Seychelles
  • Sierra Leone
  • Singapore
  • Solomon Islands
  • South Africa
  • South Sudan
  • Sudan
  • Tanzania
  • Tonga
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Tuvalu
  • Uganda
  • Vanuatu
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

In the same way, Spanish isn’t only spoken in Spain; Portuguese isn’t just spoken in Portugal, nor French only in France, or Arabic only in Saudi Arabia.

My personal style would be to use the flag of the “linguistic homeland”, ie. the place where the language originated. In the case of English, that’s England, so a St. George’s Cross is appropriate.

image English Resources

In general, what I find happens is that British (obviously) and European organisations usually use a Union (UK) Flag, and North American ones a USA or split US-Canadian flag. Sometimes you’ll also see a split US-UK flag, or even a St. George’s Cross.

Of those alternatives, the split US-UK flag is probably least controversial, but might be unclear small.

We could also use a combination:

image image image English Resources

The Union Flag includes the UK and hints at the Republic of Ireland. The US-Canadian flag includes the USA and Canada. The Australian flag includes Australia and hints at New Zealand.

Although, perhaps the Australian flag is redundant since the Union Flag is already in the canton.

So either image English Resources or image image English Resources would be my pick.

Actually, the best flag to represent the English-speaking world is probably image – the flag of the Commonwealth of Nations. It has three issues, though; the USA isn’t in the Commonwealth, the flag doesn’t hold up well at small sizes, and it has low public recognisability even uncompressed.

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Me: You see, this flag unifies the Anglophone world by combining the Commonwealth and Ameri–

@Gia: I see we’ve been conquered by Macedon again

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I think that flag might be chosen by your browser settings or something, because they’re not american flags for me for example.

Any resource in particular you’d like to ‘flag’ and we can compare?

None of these have american flags for me for example. I’m not sure what setting to toggle however to change these flags.

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Actually I take that back, they’re american if I’m not logged in. It’s probably some user setting so. I’m still not sure which setting.

Edit: Okay it is tied to the flag you pick on your profile in some way. It might default to a certain flag though if your flag doesn’t match the language of the resource in some way.

It’s a bit too hard to pick apart the typescript and other things that probably control that page.

In any case I don’t really mind what the default flag settings are, whether it shows one two or none - it probably won’t affect me in any way.

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Sure! Here is an example of how I view it.
Scrolling down to the middle of the page (section: “Sites”), I see:

I’ll try to fiddle a bit with whatever default flag settings I have (possibly the language for the interface, if that is given as an option somewhere)

This would look awesome, in my opinion - for the multi-lingual sites. The sites that “only” offer English, I would go with no symbol at all


I think this is the code you are looking for. Basically, it sets the flag to the user country, or defaults, in this case, to US if the user doesn’t belong to an English speaking nation. Does the same for all the highly-imperialist European countries, although English is the only one where the glory is not given to the original empire :joy:

export function getLanguageFlag(language: string, user_country: string, default_flag: string) {
    if (language === "english" && ["ca", "gb", "au", "nz", "pk", "ng", "ph", "za", "sg", "ie", "us"].indexOf(user_country) >= 0) {
        return sanitize(user_country);
    if (language === "spanish" && ["mx", "co", "cl", "ar"].indexOf(user_country) >= 0) {
        return sanitize(user_country);
    if (language === "french" && ["ca", "be", "cd", "ci", "ch"].indexOf(user_country) >= 0) {
        return sanitize(user_country);
    if (language === "german" && ["at", "de", "be", "ch"].indexOf(user_country) >= 0) {
        return sanitize(user_country);
    if (language === "italian" && ["it", "ch", "va", "sm"].indexOf(user_country) >= 0) {
        return sanitize(user_country);
    if (language === "portuguese" && ["pt", "br", "mz", "ao"].indexOf(user_country) >= 0) {
        return sanitize(user_country);
    if (language === "dutch" && ["nl", "be"].indexOf(user_country) >= 0) {
        return sanitize(user_country);

    return getCountryFlagClass(default_flag);

This function gets called in GoResources.tsx, where the “default” is set.

Some are just regional clusters of countries with the same language, but they have a imperialist past as well I guess.

I find Switzerland in the french, german, and italian list, which is correct if you just take the mail languages of the country into account, but it hides the language of the source to them. Not everyone in Switzerland speaks all 3 languages.

I think a much smaller fraction of the world would recognize the flag of England and understand it as a symbol for the English language. A lot of Americans think that this :uk: is the “flag of England”, would not recognize the St. George’s cross, and might even get confused if they could not find the :us: flag to indicate English.

In practice, I think the clearest and most common solution is to display both the USA and UK flags like this:

:us: :uk:

Even though it seems a bit America-centric, it should be noted that the USA has the largest population of English speakers, significantly more than any other country, and a large share of the global internet audience. Further, the flags of the USA and UK are both very widely recognized (compared to those of other English speaking countries) and it is widely understood that most people in both countries speak English.


A lot of Americans think that this :uk: is the “flag of England”


To be fair, flags aren’t that easy to learn without repeated exposure.

I used to be big into flag-learning with Anki, but even then I couldn’t nail down all ~200 national flags. The African ones are always more of a challenge than you think for that reason, because there’s so little casual exposure.

I think image has more American recognisability than you think, though, because it’s the most represented subnational flag in the world in international sporting events like football and rugby.

For instance, in the last Women’s World Cup the American matchup was against England image, not the UK and the Union Flag.

Glad someone said it. I never for the life of me would have known that was England (I do know that England != UK though!). Best guess would have been Denmark? :joy: :denmark:

I kind of like the combined flag if possible as well:

us-uk flag

Third option: Maybe just choose the flag based on how the resources spell “colo(u)r”!

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It’s part of a larger issue of Americans often conflating England, United Kingdom, Great Britain, and/or the British Isles. You might also hear Americans interchangeably use phrases like “Queen of England” or “Queen of Great Britain”.

Diagrams like below are probably obvious to the people living there, but for people outside of that region, it helps clear up a lot of confusion.


Using national flags as symbols for languages is always horrible idea, precisely for this reason.

For example, UK flag also includes (or should include) languages like gaelic and welsh / Canadian flag refers to both english and french / USA doesn’t even have an official language / castellano is not the only language spoken in Spain, and its more widely used outside Spain than in Spain itself / Finland is techically bilingual country (tho only about 1 out of 20 people speak swedish as their native language)

And so on…


I had to look this up on Wikipedia just now, but the dark blue outer area should be called British Islands.

The dark blue area is itself a zone in an expanded diagram, like:


I think using flags is an imperfect idea, for the reasons that you mentioned, but it is also convenient method to convey information visually without using any particular language, which is useful since it is typically done in the context where the audience have varying language proficiency and one cannot assume a common language. Another example of the problem with flags is how to represent the many various languages of India.

Avoiding flags, one could list languages in each language, like done on Wikipedia

However, a drawback is that it takes up a lot space, while a flag is just a small icon. I think it is ultimately a design decision to use flags as an imperfect shorthand for language designation in order to avoid using more screen space.


The setting just says “English” and then it picks a flag based on your profile settings.

Where you see American flags I see Australian flags

Worth noting, where needed, it is possible to be more specific than “English”

On the Team page, most mods listed English as a spoken language but one wanted to specify Great Britain instead.


Don’t give Brits/the English too much credit here. A surprising number would struggle with the difference between UK, GB and British Isles. I for one would have included the Channel Islands in the British Isles. (And surely the British Islands is not a thing? I’ve never heard of it)

And I think this is fine. The Queen is both of those things and more!

[And on the topic, I think using the American flag for English is fine as it is generally most recognised as such in the context of language references on the internet. However given the position of English on the internet (due to America of course) having no indicator would also be fine I’d say.]

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It’s 2021 and you still talkin’ flags…