Doug Ewell doug at
Tue Sep 30 15:02:09 CEST 2008

I wrote, among other things:

> Let's not hold these requests up over petty squabbles over the exact 
> form of the subtags.

I received a rather angry private response to the effect that I was 
trying to squelch debate when it was inconvenient.

Of course it's not inconvenient.  We can and should debate any aspect of 
any request that concerns us, including the subtag value.  I apologize 
for the inflammatory phrase "petty squabbles" and did not mean my 
comments to be nasty in any way.

My personal opinion, as a contributor, is that when we have subtags 
called '1606nict' and '1694acad', and are about to have '1959acad', and 
were seriously considering 'hpin1958', that human scrutability has not 
been proven to be a factor that deters approval of a subtag.  And when 
we have 'fonipa' and 'fonupa', two subtags that are built systematically 
from a prefix ('fon' for phonetic) and a suffix that differs in only one 
letter, easy visual differentiation has not been proven to be as 
important a factor as descriptiveness and accuracy.  'arevmda' and 
'arevela' are another example where we placed accuracy and avoidance of 
generic words higher than visual distinctiveness.

I recognize that we have had lengthy debates recently over the exact 
form of proposed subtags.  As I tried (badly) to express, I believe the 
Pinyin debate goes deeper than the subtag value itself; it is a question 
of what the scope of the subtag should be, whether it should cover all 
Pinyins or just one Pinyin, which is fundamental.  And the Belarusian 
debate became a question of whether 'academy' was sufficiently 
generic-looking that it would seem to apply to any language variant 
endorsed by an academy, somewhere in the world.  These are both 
weightier questions (again IMHO) than whether the values were optimally 
descriptive, or visually distinct.

I've expressed my opinion about the subtags Michael proposed.  We have 
||: two weeks :|| to discuss any aspect of these requests that anyone 
feels should be discussed.  Let the debates resume, and again I 
apologize for stating my position badly.

Doug Ewell  *  Thornton, Colorado, USA  *  RFC 4645  *  UTN #14  ˆ

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