The genealogist may have a source of information that does not specify which side of the line the event happened on. It's better to use both than to leave it blank.
I don't understand this suggestion. Suppose (real example) that I have a death in Aurora, Colorado and that I don't know the county. Aurora spans Arapahoe County, Adams County, and Douglas County. Until and unless I can identify the county, I have entered the place of death as simply Aurora, Colorado. What is the alternate suggestion? For example, I'm extremely unhappy with Aurora, , Colorado. So are you suggesting, Aurora, Arapahoe County or Adams County or Douglas County, Colorado?
To me, this is one of several reasons why the word "County" is so important in place names. Absent the word "County", you are stuck with counting commas to determine what is a city and what is a county. And counting commas suggests that with the place name Aurora, Colorado that Aurora is a county when in fact it isn't. Aurora is a city. To get the counting of commas work right when the word "County" is omitted, you have to go with Aurora, , Colorado or Aurora, unknown, Colorado or Aurora, Arapahoe or Adams or Douglas, Colorado.
To me, the least bad solution is always to include the word "County" when it's a county and always to omit the word "County" when it is not. That way, the syntax tells you that with Aurora, Colorado that Aurora is a city/town/municipality rather than a county. You might argue instead that you "know" that Aurora, Colorado means a city rather than a county because you "know" that Aurora is a city and is not a county. But your reader might not know that, especially if your reader is not familiar with Colorado. But more importantly, this example is mixing syntax with semantics. The problem with mixing syntax with semantics is displayed more starkly when a city and a town have the same name, and the problem is especially stark when a city with a particular name is not even in the same named county. The exact same problem exists with townships, and for this reason including the word "township" or the abbreviation "TWP" is the least bad solution for entering townships.
I have tried to stay out of this thread because I have written so much about the place name standard in the past. In physics, things are right or wrong or not even wrong. "Not even wrong" is way worse than wrong. With truth, there is true and false when it comes to things like math and Boolean logic, but in the real world there is true and false and pants on fire. The place name standard is so bad it's in the "not even wrong" or "pants on fire" category. I feel strongly that standards should be followed as much as possible, but this is a standard that is so bad that it really shouldn't be followed.
But I have considered the following question: what if the place name standard actually was a pretty good standard. Would I follow it under those circumstances? The answer is that it depends. It seems to me that even a really good standard for storing place names and exchanging place names would not be a very good way for displaying place names in reports and Web pages, etc. So if the pretty good place name standard required that I slavishly follow it for reports and Web sites and such, then I probably wouldn't follow it. What I think needs to happen instead is that standards for storing and exchanging place names on the one hand needs to be separated from the reporting of place names on the other hand. RM actually contains a very primitive implementation of this idea, since it includes a Place Name, a Standard Place Name, and an Abbreviated Place Name. But RM's very primitive implementation of this idea is not well developed enough to be of much value to its users. Perhaps this is an area of RM that will be improved in RM8. One can only hope.