The purpose of this node is to promote understanding
. I originally wrote this for US-Centricity on Everything
, but that node is now full of bickering, whereas this one is full of advice. By following these guidelines
, noders can gain a better understanding of how things work in the rest of the world, and readers will be better able to understand their nodes.
There will always exist a certain amount of confusion caused by differences between locales. Most people are only familiar with their own country, and people often miss subtle differences
between themselves and the rest of the world. Items such as product names
, ethnic stereotypes
can be meaningless to a reader from a different part of the world. Of course, a writer cannot be expected to know the subtleties of all of the different reader's locations, but by sticking to a few conventions they can make the reader's job easier.
In general your usage of units should reflect your need for precision. Here are some pointers:
The standard for measuring time is GMT
). Of course, if you're saying something like "We went into Tokyo that night and got back about 4am", that doesn't need to be GMT. However, if you're talking about an event of global importance
, "The Hague
's verdict will be handed down at 13:00 CET
" isn't a sensible approach. Most people can't convert from Dutch time to their local time in their heads. You should also be careful about refering to events by the season they occur in, since the seasons are opposite in the southern hemisphere.
Again, the amount of precison required determines which style to use. If you are saying "what kind of dinner you can get for $3.27
", stating your currency is not critical. However, if you're talking about the salary of the Canadian Prime Minister
, it's worth clarifying if you're talking about Canadian dollars or US dollars.
Most of the world now uses metric, making this a no-brainer
. However, if your country isn't metric, stick with the same principles. "I walked up to the 6 foot blonde
and said 'hi'" is fine, but saying "The diameter of Pluto
is 1400 miles" is mostly useless.
Use your local spelling. There's no absolute correct
way of spelling colour
, so just use whatever your comfortable with. Local spelling and langauge adds flavour and style to your writing. If, like me, you've been away from home so long you don't know what your local spelling or usage is, mix and match as you desire, but be consistent
. See also learn how to spell
Try to bear in mind that different events have varying significance
to different people. Indian elections may not interest you, but there are a lot of people who are interested. Likewise, if something is old or tired news
where you are, don't be unfair to a noder who is still excited about its arrival in their own country.
The word "National"
Using the word "national" should set off alarm bells in your head. If you are constructing an argument, data supplied by the National Rifle Association
will be irrelevant to many of your readers, as will statistics supplied by a national census. You can still use these data, but clarify the context, and don't expect your argument to persuade everybody.
Similarly, if your country's name appears in an acronym, expand the acronym or clarify the context. The AMA
could refer to the American Medical Assocation
or the Australian Medical Assocation
equally. The purpose of the RSPCA
will be familiar to most readers, but you may have to clarify if your information is specific to New Zealand
The biggest problem with local knowledge is identifying it. You know that only a few people will be familiar with your local shopping centre, but what about celebreties? I know who Jim Lehrer
is, but a hardlink makes it easier for everyone. If unsure, Links
can flesh out details readers may be unfamiliar with without breaking the flow of your writing.
When in doubt:
if you are noding personal things, use your local style, if you are noding for everyone, use international style. Try not to let your bias confuse people.