Hi! Thank you for all those who are working together to maintain this wonderful platform.
I was looking at the profile page for the players, and I realized that there is Catalonia but there is no Québec. There are movements in both places Québec and Catalonia for the independence, while the movement has not been succeeded yet. I think for many players living in Québec, it will be delightful to include Québec in the list of the flags in the profile page.
There are several examples of controversial “countries/regions” (such as non-universally recognized independence movements) in the available flag list. There are also many examples of uncontroversial, sub-sovereign-state regions (like Réunion, Isle of Man, Wales).
I think it’s a problematic to draw a firm policy that every flag must represent a sovereign state since:
That’s inconsistent with current practice.
Taking a firm stance that flag choices may only represent “countries” would imply a political statement, which OGS might not want to officially make, since such statements might result in blocking/censorship by some states.
I believe the flag list is part of the open-source portion of OGS, and I think people could propose new flags by submitting a pull request. I don’t see an issue with allowing people to add various provincial flags, if they are willing to put in the effort to add them.
How about adding a “Black Lives Matter” flag? What about a rainbow flag ?
So let’s not draw a firm line in this and allow all flags.
If not (and I was never averse to exercising just a little bit pressure), let’s start a new thread called All flags of the world (with some chit chat added, so it will be educational).
The questions of national identity and what counts as a “country” are very serious issues (at least to many). People suffer oppression and risk imprisonment and even death over these distinctions and the struggle to change them. Please don’t trivialize the causes that others are willing to sacrifice their lives for.
Of course, such questions are often highly controversial. Asserting an official policy that the flag list should represent only “countries” may imply that OGS is taking a stance on such questions. That’s okay in many places where political statements are protected under freedom of speech, however, since OGS aims to be an international website, there should be concerns over how such statements might impact the position of OGS with respect to certain states that impose very harsh penalties against even just making such statements. I would not want to see OGS censored and blocked in certain parts of the world, even if I do not necessarily disagree with the statements that could attract the attention of the censors.
I would recommend that OGS maintains a flexible and ambiguous policy with respect to the flag list. Given that the flag list already contains at least dozens of instances of sub-state regions, I believe that is already the status quo. Thus, I recommend that flag suggestions for sub-national regions not be outright rejected.
Just to be clear, I’m not saying that OGS should allow all flags. For example, I would want hate group flags (like Nazi, confederate, KKK) to be rejected. I’m just saying that we should not automatically reject something on the grounds of “not being a country”.
If OGS does wish to take a firmer stance on supporting or rejecting particular cases, I think those decisions and their potential impacts should be very carefully considered by the entire OGS team.
I actually remember one instance couple of years ago, when not-to-be-named user actually got offended on ogs having flags of Taiwan, Tibet and Hong Kong “like they were independent nations and ogs taking strong political stance.”
Point is: flags can be really sensitive subject for some people, while others consider nationalism just as a joke. I, as someone who has the pirate flag in their profile, am 100% in favor of having all kinds of flags if someone wants to use them.
This server already highly values freedom of expression, and the flag-options are big part of it. I say that lets expand this even further, lets have all the flags that somebody wants to wave!
I like the idea that people feel both welcomed and recognized on this platform. I can only imagine being a go player from an under-recognized region (such as Western Sahara or Kosovo ), or belonging to an underrepresented ethnic group (such as Berber , Sámi , or Oglala Sioux ) and the joy and sense of recognition I would experience from seeing my flag being included on the platform.
I don’t see how the political nature of some of these flags can pose a problem for the platform (except if we add flags affiliated with hate groups; which we definitely shouldn’t include). After all, even flagging the Taiwanese flag can be interpreted as political for a Chinese player (although I hope they don’t see it as such). Also anyone is free to write whichever political statement in their bio (as long as it is not moderated for violating the TOS) such as Free Tibet etc.
In short, I think the sense of inclusiveness we generate by including flags of under-recognized nations, regions, and ethnic groups is worth sacrificing a little political neutrality for, in the hope that more players feel as welcomed here as they possibly can. So Québécoise and Québécois that don’t like it when people call them Canadians definitely deserve to proudly flag their flag.
I definitely agree with @runarberg but would point out an issue I had recently, trying to display countries for players in the “through the years” tournament: when player’s “country” isn’t in the ISO Alpha-2 list we can’t draw maps of it.
So pirates, GOT fans and trekkies are out of the map. I guess there must be also some real place that doesn’t meet this requirement.
It would be nice if each player could choose both a flag to wave and an actual country, not necessarily related.
This way a québequois could proudly show his beloved flag but also be correctly placed on a map and counted with all other players from Canada.