Casefolding Sigma (was: Re: IDNAbis Preprocessing Draft)

Cary Karp ck at
Thu Jan 24 19:07:30 CET 2008

> Actually, I fully agree. However, the ietf will also be blamed for
> every case where it's standards lead to results that are considered
> to disregard (replace 'disregard' with stronger words if you want;
> probably stronger words will be used by the people affected) culture
> and customs. In this sense again, every design choice IS policy,
> even if it might not look that way.
> What we have to try to do is to find the best middle ground,
> not to design only in one direction.

I certainly agree that we need to curb exaggerated expectations about
the orthographic flexibility of IDN labels. Toward that end, we have
often emphasized the one extreme case by dismissing the notion of
domain names as vehicles for literary statements. Notwithstanding the
underlying technical parameters, there are serious political
considerations that we might also be well advised to keep in mind.

While we're arguing about the final form sigma, representatives of
national governments are busy considering localized representations of
the names of their countries specifically for use as IDN labels. What
happens when Cyprus is under consideration and the Cypriots wonder why
everybody else has the option of considering the full name of their
country, spelled correctly to boot?  (And whatever the answer to that
question is, if the constraint happened to be felt elsewhere, would we
be equally willing to convey the same message to a larger and more
influential speech community that might be inclined to consider a
localized proprietary alternative?)

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