How to recognise a real micronation even when it is not defined as such
Think you know what a micronation is? Maybe you are even a credible micronationalist, and you think your single micronational situation corresponds to all there is to know about micronationalism. However, chances are good you probably wouldn't be able to recognise a micronation unless the media, or the organisation itself, defined it as such.
According to the Wikipedia's latest revision of the "Micronation" article, "[a] micronation, sometimes referred to as a model country or new country project, is an entity that claims to be an independent nation or state but is not officially recogni[s]ed by world governments or major international organi[s]ations" .
Even though there is some truth to the Wikipedia's definition of what is a micronation, the Wikipedia spends no time defining what is a micronationalist, and that fact makes its definition of micronation very suspect.
How do you recognise a real micronationalist? He or she is someone who 1) identifies with, and 2) materially supports, a micronation, although both conditions do not occur, or do not apparently occur, in all cases of micronationalism.
A micronation is not officially recognised by world governments (UN member states). If the nation is officially recognised by one or a few world governments, then it is a state with limited recognition, and may still essentially be a microstate.
Sometimes a micronation can be compared to an actual government department, agency, or ministry in media articles, but while the government department, agency, or ministry is treated respectfully by journalists, the micronation is not treated in the same way, and experts and/or their testimony are usually employed to make the micronation, and/or its services seem less legitimate.
A micronation is not officially recognised by major international organisations (United Nations, Universal Postal Union, International Telecommunication Union, World Health Organization, Antarctic Treaty Secretariat, International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization, European Union, Commonwealth of Independent States, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Arctic Council, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, African Union, Organization of American States, etc).
If the nation is/was recognised by the Organization of African Unity (now the African Union), by the League of Arab States (or the Arab League), or by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, then it is a national liberation movement or active separatist movement recognised by intergovernmental organisations. If the nation is recognised by UNPO, then it is an unrepresented or marginalised nation.
Sometimes a micronation can be recognised by newer or more marginal intergovernmental organisations, but since these are usually not supported by members that are governments or government agencies of unrecognised states, the organisations are technically non-governmental organisations (NGOs), not intergovernmental organisations (IGOs).
If the micronation is represented by a party, the party has never reached the legal electoral threshold (usually requiring at least 3% or more of the votes in Europe), and thus has never secured any representation within a UN member state. At least in Europe, it is possible today even for a micronation, or a national diaspora which has escaped from oppressive non-European regimes, to secure some degree of representation .
If the micronation is represented by a party, usually the party representing the micronation also does not have a well-developed and very specific political narrative or platform that has significant support within at least a single UN member state.
If the micronation is represented by a party, often one or more of the party's representatives are in prison on risible charges, or constantly subject to politically-motivated harassment. This harassment probably goes on without any actual media report of it in so-called democratic or developed countries.
Sometimes a micronational leader can be compared to an actual incumbent politician in media articles, but while the incumbent politician is treated respectfully, and the journalist may even emphasise the politician's rhetorical skills, the micronational leader is not treated like a challenger or non-incumbent politician, but more like a baffoon. This is done quite deliberately to oversell the value of decrepit, but fully official, political institutions.
If the micronation is represented by a party, usually the party does not have a history going back 5 years or more. Micronations are often new nations, or they are represented by entirely new parties.
If the micronation is an island, the micronation's population does not approach 10,000. Outside of the Vatican, which is actually a rump state, not a normal microstate, full diplomatic recognition — that is, with no dependency status — is factually impossible unless the nation's population lives on a single island or archipelago, and approaches 10,000, as in the extremely positive cases of Nauru and Palau. However, there are still many islands that have dependency status with populations below 850,000 — such as Réunion (France).
If the micronation enjoys some level of support from an incumbent politician, the support is never by direct endorsement, and can only be implied by similar philosophies or visions.
If the micronation wishes to join a UN member state, or form any other kind of alliance through a well-established IGO, or by founding or joining a new IGO, it is still a micronation, as a micronationalist is a pananarchist. Panarchism is the political philosophy emphasising each individual's right to freely join and leave the jurisdiction of any governments they choose, without being forced to move from their current locale. So while many micronations strive for full independence, or at least for a high degree of autonomy, it is absolutely not true that all micronations exist "by expressing a formal and persistent, even if unrecogni[s]ed, claim of sovereignty over some physical territory" , as the Wikipedia states. In fact, there is at least one case in which a real and official city government has actually formed an experimental micronation in an attempt to improve the status and the quality of life of a single neighbourhood .
If a micronation does have significant participation in sports, it is usually only through soccer or association football, and it is not through FIFA, but through the UN ECOSOC-recognised N.F.-Board. Currently only two real micronations participate: Saugeais and Sealand. However, one real microstate, Monaco, also participates in the N.F.-Board, and Monaco also has a football team participating in the more official French football league system (AS Monaco FC). Territories with dependency status usually participate in the Football at the Island Games, and also have multi-sport options through the International Island Games Association.