OK, how about this for a plan.

It may even be possible to implement it in 2.4.x if we're quick -- I'm
working on it now, so if you think this is a bad plan, speak up soon!

In June, I wrote:
> Whew, I unleashed something here.
> I think there's two things here: whether all these nations are enhancing
> the game and belong in the core Freeciv distribution at all (ignoring
> for a moment the impact on translators), and if so, how to help players
> navigate them, and then there's managing the impact on the translation
> team specifically.

The proposal here is primarily about helping translation, with a side
effect of providing a less overwhelming initial list to players.
There are clearly lots of things we can do in future to help navigate
the extended set; worry about them another time.

> If we are to be ruthless and somehow divide the nations into "core" and
> "extended" ones, well, I have no idea where to start :) I'd want to
> leave that up to Jos & co, if they are willing.

Jos has stepped up and devised a fair way to define a "core" of about 50
nations -- based on their past appearance in Civ games. Hats off, that
should hopefully save some arguments.
See <http://gna.org/patch/?3432> for the proposed list.

In this plan, all the nations would continue to ship with Freeciv, but
users would be presented by default with these "core" nations, and in
default gameplay, only those nations would come up. Users could easily
choose the "extended" set without installing anything extra, in the
knowledge that they might not be localised.

The deal for translators would be that you get a clearly-defined,
unchanging set of core nations to focus on. We can look into providing
separate stats or even separate pot-files for the extended set.
(Of course you should feel free to translate parts of the extended set
if you want -- for instance Hubert suggested translating nation names,
which come up in-game, and just leaving the legends alone.)

As for the technical issues, I've got a couple of proposals for how this
should work:
 - long-term (2.5.x+): <http://gna.org/patch/?3448>
 - short-term (2.4.x): <http://gna.org/patch/?3449>

Is everyone equally unhappy with that? ;)

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