National Flags (again)

  • I've had a bee in my bonnet about the need for national flags on all and any scenery mod, because without the national flag, it is often difficult to identify just where a particular mod is located in the world.

    My reasoning is that without the flag, it will be near on impossible for anyone to carry out a search for a particular region's mods, and as such, mods not so tagged will soon disappear from the collective experience. That is a real pity.

    I have a couple of suggestions, actually.

    First, for local mods (all within one country) make it compulsory to include the country's flag, and for Global, or trans-national mods, allow the use of the UN flag to identify it as such.

    Second - airlines by their very nature are associated with a home country, as are helicopters, light planes, etc, so I'd suggest that the country flag become a compulsory addition to livery packs, as well. (Same runes - UN flag if a pack covers liveries from several countries)


    Adopting the second suggestion would allow us to search for liveries that are suitable for our areas of interest, rather than searching through the many liveries out there, just as it does for scenery mods.

    JohnG

    From Oz, Flight Simmer since FS1 - seriously since FS95

    Contributed to, and managed a site called ProjectAI for a time

  • What sort of ICAO code do you put on something like Lindsay Oil Refinery?

    And if you missed Lindsay oil refinery while it is on the New list, how do you easily search for it later on. Even worse - how do you search for scenery without flags if you don't even know it's available.

    To spell that out, if you, for instance, wanted to fly some country, and wanted to find what scenery was available for that country, you'd head for the Country list of downloads, right?

    But scenery xyz, which has no flag on it, wouldn't be in the country list, because the country isn't identified with the mod.

    As we see more and more scenery (and liveries) coming on line, the problem gets more difficult.

    As for identifying country of origin of members, I would say "why not?", but I suspect that many would object to them selves being so identified.

    I'm Australian, BTW, just in case you're interested.

    JohnG

    From Oz, Flight Simmer since FS1 - seriously since FS95

    Contributed to, and managed a site called ProjectAI for a time

  • Well, in small countries like ours(South Africa), I think we add the country for the most part, because that's the easiest way to make it findable for others from our country. Perhaps in larger countries with more users, they forget, because they assume what they are making is well-known, because it is to them.


    I would think that any scenery is linked to a country for the most part (we could add a no-country tag or something for scenery in the middle of the ocean or whatever else), and then maybe we can make it could be made a compulsory field when uploading?

  • First, for local mods (all within one country) make it compulsory to include the country's flag, and for Global, or trans-national mods, allow the use of the UN flag to identify it as such.

    Since most scenery already includes a country, it wouldn't be that hard to make a country selection compulsory to improve the search functions, and using the UN flag (or any other international flag for that matter) is a good solution for multi-country or no-country scenery. The issue comes with disputed territories (such as Taiwan or Crimea), we've had multiple instances of users uploading scenery in disputed territories marking their scenery with 1 of the flags of the countries which causes a lot of political discussion in the comments, which is something we try to avoid. While a UN flag could solve this, it does not make it easier for searching scenery in these areas. If you want to find an airport in Crimea, would you search for Ukraine, Russia or International? Also, if this were to become mandatory, either we would have to retroactively re-categorize all scenery already uploaded (which could take quite a while), or let the author do it themselves, which they might not do. We'll have to discuss this further within the team.


    Second - airlines by their very nature are associated with a home country, as are helicopters, light planes, etc, so I'd suggest that the country flag become a compulsory addition to livery packs, as well. (Same runes - UN flag if a pack covers liveries from several countries)

    While this would make sense for airliners (even though airlines often have multiple offices in multiple countries making it hard to identify what country to associate the airline with), it does not make sense for fictional liveries (such as VAs) or for most general aviation liveries. While you could argue that these liveries could then be marked as "International", this category would then soon be flooded with GA and VA liveries, which makes the entire category pretty useless. If we were to introduce this, we probably won't make it mandatory.

  • 1. The issue comes with disputed territories (such as Taiwan or Crimea), we've had multiple instances of users uploading scenery in disputed territories marking their scenery with 1 of the flags of the countries which causes a lot of political discussion in the comments, which is something we try to avoid.


    2. While a UN flag could solve this, it does not make it easier for searching scenery in these areas. If you want to find an airport in Crimea, would you search for Ukraine, Russia or International? Also, if this were to become mandatory, either we would have to retroactively re-categorize all scenery already uploaded (which could take quite a while), or let the author do it themselves, which they might not do. We'll have to discuss this further within the team.


    3. While this would make sense for airliners (even though airlines often have multiple offices in multiple countries making it hard to identify what country to associate the airline with), it does not make sense for fictional liveries (such as VAs) or for most general aviation liveries. While you could argue that these liveries could then be marked as "International", this category would then soon be flooded with GA and VA liveries, which makes the entire category pretty useless. If we were to introduce this, we probably won't make it mandatory.

    1. The disputed territory is an interesting one. You would either have to include both flags, or, probably more easily, identified the (relatively few) countries that are disputed, and create another symbol (other than a flag) for them. Taiwan could have a plain flag with a Chinese ideogram (perhaps the ideogram for "Peace (), and for the Crimea, a similar solution, using, for instance, the same text in Tatar ()). The plain flag could be in a "neutral" color - one that doesn't usually appear on flags, such as brown, or purple.


    2. I think you just solved your own problem with "disputed territories. They MAY currently be disputed, but they are within borders that have long been recognized as national boundaries, especially with the Crimea. Taiwan is an interesting case, as it was once a member of the U.N., and it isn't just Taiwan that is "disputed territory", here. Indeed the whole of mainland China is also disputed - or rather the government of mainland China is disputed - by the government of Taiwan. This being the case, does it make any sense allowing the Chinese flag, while denying the flag of Taiwan? As for retrospectively forcing the application of a flag - that shouldn't be a problem. Just make sure that when anyone uploads an update to a package, that they will be forced to select the flag when they do so. And flag selection MUST be a simple, quick task to accomplish during the upload process (and if they have already selected a flag on a previous upload, just automatically carry this across to the new update)


    3. VA's may be an exception, except they are usually "owned" by one or more people from one or more countries. They also often operate either as international (UN flag) or within a region (National flag). As for individual aircraft liveries - often the markings will tell you where they come from, especially for such as the helicopter, where many of the liveries are unique to an individual country. Adding a national flag to these repaints would make it much easier for those seeking liveries to find the appropriate ones for their own country / region. The ONLY liveries that would qualify as "international" would be those that just color the aircraft, without identifying where it can normally be found - examples of this being Asobo's default liveries, and those packages that contain liveries that are local to more than one country. But a trainer with RAAF markings could / should be identified with the Australian flag, for instance. And as for everyone just selecting "international", they would be effectively minimalizing the use of their addons, especially if there were a strong take up of national flags, plus, for instance, the ability to identify nations when looking at "what's new", and developers actually LIKE people to download and praise their efforts, so there would be quite an incentive for them to use the flag system.

    Over, as they say, to you.

    Code

    JohnG

    From Oz, Flight Simmer since FS1 - seriously since FS95

    Contributed to, and managed a site called ProjectAI for a time

  • You would either have to include both flags, or, probably more easily, identified the (relatively few) countries that are disputed, and create another symbol (other than a flag) for them.

    While this sounds like a good solution, there will always be people opposed to using an unofficial flag and would rather just use the flag of the home country (be it Ukraine or Taiwan). We will probably just keep it as is for now (meaning people can choose their own country but we will correct countries based on reports and international borders)

    This being the case, does it make any sense allowing the Chinese flag, while denying the flag of Taiwan?

    Currently, people are able to choose whichever flag they want and we hope they choose the "correct" one, both the flag of China and Taiwan are available to choose from. The issues comes with people labeling a scenery as being in Russia for example whereas it's in Crimea so the flag should have been Ukraine. In that case, there are often quite some comments from people saying that the country is incorrect, after we either correct the country or remove it altogether and also remove and disable any comments (to prevent any further political discussion). We will probably keep this as is although an international flag, although it would make searching more cumbersome, would be a better solution than having no country at all.

    Just make sure that when anyone uploads an update to a package, that they will be forced to select the flag when they do so.

    I'm not sure if this is feasible, and many authors don't come back to return their package after some time, but we'll see if this is possible.

    VA's may be an exception, except they are usually "owned" by one or more people from one or more countries.

    This brings up a post from earlier where people may not want to be identified by a country flag, and the same goes for VAs.

    Adding a national flag to these repaints would make it much easier for those seeking liveries to find the appropriate ones for their own country / region.

    I agree with this, but with the amount of liveries already on the website, it would again be hard to convince users to select a country and knowing which country to pick would pose an even greater challenge. While it might seem obvious to some, people will probably consider different repaints to be of different countries or they might not know when to pick "international". This could of course be explained but we've learned from experience that many people don't bother reading which would just result in an even more chaotic search page.

    And as for everyone just selecting "international", they would be effectively minimalizing the use of their addons, especially if there were a strong take up of national flags, plus, for instance, the ability to identify nations when looking at "what's new", and developers actually LIKE people to download and praise their efforts, so there would be quite an incentive for them to use the flag system.

    While this could be the case, this would also mean that people who are rightfully choosing the "international" category would have less exposure for their repaint since it's already filled with people not knowing what country to pick.


    TL;DR: we will see whether we can introduce an "international" flag for sceneries and make country selection mandatory to help improve the search experience. However, for liveries, we probably won't introduce a country selection right now because it would probably cause more confusion from people not knowing how to categorize their liveries.