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|Headquarters||Nominally Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada|
|Affiliations||International Federation of Vexillological Associations|
Flags of the World (abbreviated FOTW or FotW) is an Internet-based vexillological association and resource. Its principal project is the Internet's largest website devoted to vexillology, containing comprehensive information about various flags, and an associated mailing list. The mailing list began as a discussion group in about September 1993, while the website was founded by Giuseppe Bottasini in late 1994, and Rob Raeside took over as director in 1998. Flags of the World became the 56th member of the FIAV in 2001.
Flags of the World describes itself as "...an Internet group, the sole purpose of which is the advancement of the pursuit of vexillology, that is the creation and development of a body of knowledge about flags and flag usage of all types".
Both the website and the mailing list operate in the English language, though there are members from around the world and as such information from many languages is translated and included. The mailing list is monitored by the FOTW Listmaster, while work on the website is coordinated by the FOTW Editorial Director.
An editorial staff of 21 unpaid volunteers manages and edits the FOTW website, which (as of 2013) contains more than 81,000 pages about flags and more than 179,000 images of flags, and also includes an extensive online dictionary of vexillology.
The website is updated once a week with fresh material. Due to the high amount of material there is an editing backlog, causing some areas of FOTW to contain outdated information.
By its own admission, the quality of the information published on the website varies greatly: it contains not only well-known and official flags, but also drawings and contributions based only on rumors, which are documented accordingly. The published contributions are explicitly declared as private opinions. FOTW declines any responsibility for the truthfulness and accuracy of the published information.
The source for material on the FOTW website are contributions to the FOTW mailing list, which has over 1,000 members, of which some 100 are active contributors. The mailing list has notable minorities of Portuguese, French, Dutch, and Russian speakers. A staff of three unpaid volunteers manages and moderates the list.
The FOTW website features sections on flags of different countries such as North Macedonia, which contains subsections about the proposed flags for the country, including documentation of the proposals made by The Flag Institute. Another documentation made by the website is about the Moroccan flag, which contains information about the symbols that were used by Morocco since the Almoravid dynasty. In 2016, the website had more than 9800 pages on flags with an estimated 18000 images.
FOTW displays standardized flag images in GIF format, usually at a height of 216 pixels. While the GIF file format is capable of displaying 256 colours, the site's standard calls for a more restricted "FOTW palette" of 32 colours.
The organization's flag is a design by Mark Sensen, which was selected over 10 challengers in a poll of FOTW mailing list members and was adopted 8 March 1996. Since then, March 8 has been regarded as FOTW's Flag Day. Sensen described its symbolism:
White on the hoist stands for peace, blue on the fly for progress. The six colours of the stars are the main colours used in flags. The stars help to make one bigger symbol. The way the stars are all connected to each other represents the Internet.
The flag is thus used as a rare representation of the Internet on a flag.
Gallery of FOTW flags
FOTW's flag hanging vertically
A proposal for a burgee by contributor Ivan Sache
A 20th anniversary commemoration flag for FOTW
Flag of the current director of FOTW
Flag of the keyword co-ordinator of FOTW
Flag of the FOTW map editor
- "Current Members". Fédération Internationale des Associations Vexillologiques. 2016. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
- "Flags of the World mailing list". Yahoo! Groups. Archived from the original on 4 December 2012. Retrieved 9 December 2012.
- "FOTW Editorial Staff". Flags of the World. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
- "Flags of the WorldDictionary of Vexillology | NAVA.org". Archived from the original on 2020-05-13. Retrieved 2019-12-15.
- "History of FOTW". Flags of the World. 2015. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
- Flags of the World mailing list rules, Part 4, Article 1.
- "FOTW Editorial Staff". Flags of the World. Retrieved 12 July 2009.
- "Welcome to Flags of the World". Flags of the World. Retrieved 3 December 2022.
- "Disclaimers and Copyright – Controversial subjects / Accuracy". Flags of the World (FOTW). Retrieved 29 December 2021.
- "FOTW mailing list". Yahoo! Groups. Archived from the original on 2013-08-19. Retrieved 2017-01-14.
- Jonovski, Jovan (2021-06-22). "Македонското знаме на страниците на Флагмастер - Macedonian flag on the pages of Flagmaster". Мaкедонски Хералд - Macedonian Herald (16): 36–51. doi:10.47763/mher21160036j. ISSN 2671-3136. S2CID 237986773.
- Babas, Latifa. "Red, white and other stars… the different flags Moroccan dynasties raised in the past". Yabiladi. Retrieved 2022-11-26.
- Trinkle, Dennis A.; Auchter, Dorothy; Merriman, Scott A.; Larson, Todd E. (2016-12-05). The History Highway: A 21st-century Guide to Internet Resources. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-315-28959-5.
- "FOTW colour guide". Flags of the World. 2015. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
- "FOTW Official Flag". Flags of the World. Retrieved 19 October 2007.