Wikidata:Requests for comment/Countries, subdivisions, and disputed territories

An editor has requested the community to provide input on "Countries, subdivisions, and disputed territories" via the Requests for comment (RFC) process. This is the discussion page regarding the issue.

If you have an opinion regarding this issue, feel free to comment below. Thank you!

Background edit

The question of which country a region or subdivision is part of can sometimes be quite complicated, and our current handling of this is very imprecise and occasionally inconsistent, particularly regarding disputed territories. I'd like to establish some standards for this and add them to the relevant documentation. To summarize some of the relevant things to take into account:

  • Some items correspond to regions: geographical features (islands, peninsulas, etc) or other areas which don't exist as a part of any county's set of subdivisions, but the territory of which is within one or more countries. Some items correspond to subdivisions, which may exist within the set of subdivisions used by only one country among a set of countries that the corresponding territory may be located in, or the same subdivision may be used by multiple countries that the area may be in. (That is, there are occasionally competing subdivision structures over the same area, with different items, and sometimes not.)
  • Territories can be controlled and administered by a country; a particular country can be "the government" over an area, in practice. Regular administration can be military or civilian.
  • A country can claim a territory as their own, regardless of whether they control the area.
  • A territory can be internationally recognized as being part of a country. Any country or group of countries can recognize an area as belonging to a country. There can be hundreds of different countries expressing opinions on this, so presumably we don't want to duplicate the whole list many times.

The existing properties used in this area are: country (P17), contains the administrative territorial entity (P150), located in the administrative territorial entity (P131), and territory claimed by (P1336). (Also somewhat relevant are coextensive with (P3403) and territory overlaps (P3179), which manage the relationship between regions and subdivisions of the same area.)

Proposal edit

I propose the following steps and guidelines to create a clear structure for how to model these situations:

  1. The properties "recognition" (qualifier only), "recognized by", and "not recognized by" should be created. They should be used in the following manner:
  2. A new property, "jurisdiction status", should be created to function as a qualifier for country (P17) and located in the administrative territorial entity (P131). Its accepted values should be "de jure (Q132555)", "de facto (Q712144)", and a new item with the label "de jure, de facto". "de jure, de facto" should only be used when the subject is contested between multiple parties. "de jure" in this context means with regards to the law of the claiming entity.
  3. The property territory claimed by (P1336) should be deleted.

Within disputed territories: For administrative territorial entities (ATEs) that only exist within the structure of one of the disputing parties, but not in the system of the other party:

Natural geographic features and other geographical non-administrative-territorial entities should link to all claiming parties and parent ATEs. Neither the recognition property nor the jurisdiction status property should be used as a qualifier for contains the administrative territorial entity (P150). ATEs that have overlapping territory and come from different countries' structures can use territory overlaps (P3179) and coextensive with (P3403) to link to each other. The type of government over an area can be set by basic form of government (P122).

The recognition qualifier should not be used to qualify country (P17) or located in the administrative territorial entity (P131) when recognition of the claim over the area is identical with recognition of the claimant itself.

Help pages for the relevant properties should be created and/or updated appropriately.

(Use of the recognition properties may eventually be extended for use in participant (P710) for belligerent status, or for disputed governments, but that is beyond the scope of this RfC.)

--Yair rand (talk) 07:22, 8 April 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Discussion edit

I only edit WP pages of that type to resolve ambiguities (i.e. links to DAB pages: uncontroversial factual issues). I don't know enough about the topic under discussion to have a worthwhile opinion. But - thanks for, very properly, copying me into this discussion. Narky Blert (talk) 23:41, 23 April 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • If I am reading the proposal correctly, then the "de jure" value seems to applies to almost all parties of most modern territorial claims, except maybe a few cases that can only be considered as merely military occupation? C933103 (talk) 21:59, 23 April 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @C933103: Generally correct, I think. Relatively few current territorial disputes involve the controlling party not making a proper claim over the area, as a simple military occupation. --Yair rand (talk) 01:37, 24 April 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Interesting, but is it enough? Take two places on the en:West Bank: en:Ariel (city) and en:Nablus: both are on Israeli occupied territory (de jure); Ariel is governed by Israeli law (de facto), Nablus is in theory govern by the Palestinian authorities, alas Israel intervenes when they want. Therefor saying the Palestinian authorities is de facto authority, isn't quite right either. I frankly don't see an easy solution to this. Also, I assume de jure can accommodate more than one value: eg en:Golan Heights are claimed by both Syria and Israel. Huldra (talk) 22:20, 23 April 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Certainly if there are conflicting de jure claims to a territory, we should indicate both and cite for both. - Jmabel (talk) 00:13, 24 April 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • I would think the matter was similar where de facto control is not entirely clear. - Jmabel (talk) 00:13, 24 April 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Huldra: Yes, multiple statements can use de jure. The proposed system is sufficient for things like the Golan Heights and Ariel (and most disputed territories, I think), but I don't know how to handle the additional complications of areas like Nablus or certain condominia or other complicated areas with multiple countries in partial control/administration. Perhaps we could have some additional qualifier, or extend jurisdiction status to have more specialized values, or something like that which could include sufficiently specific data. Whatever the solution, I doubt it would be incompatible with the proposal here, so this framework will probably work as a good start point, at least. --Yair rand (talk) 01:38, 24 April 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • @Yair rand: Just wondering why a new item called "De jure, de facto" is needed instead of using both items? To allow only one value on the new property due to somewhat incompatibility on certain wikis? --Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 04:50, 24 April 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      @Liuxinyu970226: I strongly suspect that a very large portion of potential uses for this are both de jure and de facto, and this qualifier is going to be needed in a very large number of items, and that requiring two extra qualifiers instead of one would be somewhat harder to work with. --Yair rand (talk) 05:24, 24 April 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  •   Support Why not? --Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 23:10, 23 April 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I'd also like to see some fully worked examples, especially where the new "De jure, de facto" item would be used. It's very difficult to comment on the proposal without seeing how it would actually look in practice. --Oravrattas (talk) 06:16, 24 April 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Oravrattas: I posted some examples at Wikidata:Property proposal/Recognition, recognized by, not recognized by, jurisdiction status. Taiwan (Q22502) would have country (P17) Taiwan (Q865) "de jure, de facto", but People's Republic of China (Q148) "de jure", and Senkaku Islands (Q29460) would have country (P17) Japan (Q17) "de jure, de facto", while "de jure" for China and Taiwan, for example. --Yair rand (talk) 06:53, 24 April 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Yair rand: Those are certainly useful, but I think this would be better with more fully worked examples, using something like Template:Statement+, to show how competing claims would look side-by-side, if each were more fully filled out. I'm assuming, for example, that there would usually be additional qualifiers on each of these claims, so I'm wondering if it might be better to have separate claims for the de facto control and the de jure control, even where those point at the same country, as the nature of those are often slightly different things (and may date from different point, etc).
    It would also be useful to think through the sorts of queries that are likely to be made against this data, to make sure that the modelling works well for the most commons ones. So, for example, "Who had de facto control over <place> at <date>?" or "When did <country> cease its de jure claim over <place>?" --Oravrattas (talk) 07:28, 24 April 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Oravrattas: Queries:
# Which country de facto ruled ?place at ?date?
?place p:P17 ?statement .
?statement ps:P17 ?country .
OPTIONAL { ?statement pq:P580 ?start. } FILTER ( !bound( ?start ) || ?start <= ?date )
OPTIONAL { ?statement pq:P582 ?end . } FILTER( !bound( ?end ) || ?end >= ?date )
FILTER NOT EXISTS { ?statement pq:(jurisdiction status) wd:Q132555. } # Not just de jure
# When did ?country cease its de jure claim over ?place?
SELECT (max(?end) as ?end_claim) WHERE {
  VALUES ( ?place ?country ) { ( wd:... wd:... ) }
  ?place p:P17 ?statement .
  ?statement ps:P17 ?country;
             pq:P582 ?end .
  FILTER NOT EXISTS { ?statement pq:(jurisdiction status) wd:Q712144. } # Not just de facto
  • The additional single line at the end to filter to jurisdiction status seems simple enough, I think. (I'll see if I can try to add some fuller examples later.) --Yair rand (talk) 17:13, 24 April 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Please, stop ad hominem (Q189183) here
請停止在此ad hominem (Q189183)
يرجى التوقف عن ad hominem (Q189183) هنا
עצור את ad hominem (Q189183) כאן. --Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 04:28, 7 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  Oppose without prejudice, because one participater @C933103: is still removing country (P17) and territory claimed by (P1336) values with just luckly reasons like "too faraway". -- 06:11, 26 April 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I am not interested in repeating what I have said many times already.C933103 (talk) 07:23, 26 April 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And I'm very happy to repeat that you're the base of edit wars, so you MUST STOP firstly, otherwise you're losting trusts. --2409:8902:9021:E391:E6E6:3F77:A39A:C1B3 02:23, 27 April 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yep, we should anti-Judaism here. -- 01:31, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It is your freedom to declare anti-religious stance but that have no bearing on the topic that we are currently discussing. And are you using different IP addresses to support your own comments? C933103 (talk) 04:39, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@C933103: Because you first antied, my comments are just counterattack. -- 06:15, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I am not responsible for your emotion. C933103 (talk) 06:17, 5 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  •   Support. It seems really interesting. I have to read all the comments written here, but the proposal makes sense to me. Regards, Ivanhercaz (Talk) 15:22, 13 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  •   Support Seems like a useful approach, if some small problems later, can easily be fixed.Selfstudier (talk) 17:06, 17 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  •   Support I would also request for the ISO-2-letter code of the recognising (claiming) country to be added, this would make data integration so much easier as country names are spelled differently across various data sources. AddNP 12:14, 19 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  •   Comment @Yair rand: For ATA, initially we used P17=ATA. As some contributors didn't like that we now have P17=no value. I don't see much benefit in moving claims from "territory claimed by" there. Guano Islands are somewhat similar, at least in the past, as one or several countries claimed them, without the claim necessarily being recognized by others or the somebody actually being present on the claimed country. I think your model could work for complex situations, but shouldn't actually replace "territory claimed by". --- Jura 11:35, 19 July 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Jura1: ATA is *NEVER EVER* a country, please avoid P17=ATA in anytimes, any cases, any places, and anymore. --Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 06:15, 26 January 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  •   Support sounds good Iwan.Aucamp (talk) 23:11, 8 October 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I also nominated P1336 for deletion recently. --Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 00:14, 15 November 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  •   Support --Lymantria (talk) 06:51, 11 April 2021 (UTC) Good steps. Refinements may be needed at some time, but this is the basic step we need. Lymantria (talk) 06:51, 11 April 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  •   Comment As some editors have already pointed out, this is an essential first step in moving forward. But I wonder if it should also be done when armed organizations control a defined territory as the Islamic State did for a few years or those involved in the Yemen and Libyan civil war are doing now? --KajenCAT (talk) 10:19, 25 April 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • @Yair rand: could you elaborate few examples on Wikidata Sandbox (Q4115189), Wikidata Sandbox 2 (Q13406268), Wikidata Sandbox 3 (Q15397819) to illustrate typical cases? It would help me (and maybe other to see whether this proposal have issues). Pamputt (talk) 09:27, 1 November 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Pamputt: I posted some illustrative examples here. (I don't know how to place examples on sandboxes, since the properties haven't been created yet, sorry.) --Yair rand (talk) 07:03, 7 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  •   Questions. I'm wondering how the recognition-items would look, beyond having recognised by and not recognised by properties. Taking “recognition of Crimea as a part of Russia” as an example, it should have some properties with values Crimea (Q7835) and Russia (Q159) to define its scope. Do we have any properties like item has subject and item has object? How about item has relationadministrative division (Q56061) (or similar)? If these sound like item-level equivalents of a claim Crimea (Q7835)located in the administrative territorial entity (P131)Russia (Q159), then that's no mistake. The reason for needing a relation-item is that we can't chain qualifiers more than one deep. (It's analogous to how you represent a many-to-many relationship in an RDBMS, by splitting out the relation from a column to a separate table. Here we're raising a statement to an item, to allow it to take additional levels of statements and qualifiers.)
    But then a single recognition-item could be linked to by multiple statements, either as main value or qualifier. E.g.
In that case, which of those would we include as properties of the recognition-item? Do we add main subject (P921) as a grab-bag containing all of {Q7835, Q159, Q15966495, ...} to represent in a less-structured way that “recognition of Crimea as a part of Russia” is “about” all those things? Or would it be like a near-blank node, with just a label and a instance of (P31), and its meaning defined by what links to it? ⁓ Pelagicmessages ) 18:19, 31 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Apologies for harping on about Crimea, if it's a sensitive subject for anyone reading. Short of coming up with a fictional case, I had to pick some concrete example. (Perhaps “Lilliput (Q102424699) just annexed some territory from Blefuscu (Q1931914)” would have been safer.) Also, apologies for the somewhat long exposition, but this is an instance of a possibly general approach to wider structural issues (qualifiers can't have qualifiers, statements can't be the subjects or objects of other statements).
  • @Pelagic: I'm not sure that backlinking the recognition items to their subjects is strictly necessary, though I suppose it could be useful. I personally would favor the mostly "blank node" approach, but it's left as an open issue. --Yair rand (talk) 06:56, 7 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • @Midleading: The recognition items would exist to describe the recognition of the particular overall territorial claim. The countries of the world do not have a position on Republic of Crimea (Q15966495)'s administrative structure (or Sevastopol (Q7525)'s, associated with the same claim but not part of either mentioned ATE), they have a position on the sovereignty-association of the corresponding area. If Russia decided to reorganize things to administratively divide Republic of Crimea (Q15966495) into five separate federal subjects, that would not change the aspect of international recognition. --Yair rand (talk) 06:58, 7 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]