Proposed Charter for the IDNAbis Working Group

Paul Hoffman phoffman at
Thu Mar 27 17:51:56 CET 2008

At 12:04 PM -0400 3/27/08, John C Klensin wrote:
>--On Wednesday, 26 March, 2008 09:17 -0700 Paul Hoffman
><phoffman at> wrote:
>>>  In
>>>  particular, IDNs continue to use the "xn--" prefix and the
>>>  same ASCII-compatible encoding, and the bidirectional
>>>  algorithm follows the same basic design.
>>  This is not true at all. The bidi algorithm in IDNA2003 was
>>  all about single labels standing on their own; the proposed
>>  changes in IDNA200x is about making full names present better.
>>  We can remove the last clause completely: it is already
>>  covered in the bulleted list earlier.
>I think "same basic design" is correct.  The "look at the whole
>domain name" requirement is one that I personally hope we can
>avoid, regardless of whether "making full names display better"
>is the motivation.

This is very distressing. Those of us not in the design team have 
been going on the assumption that the design team had a unified 
vision of the design. That idea was heavily embodied in the first 
proposed charter, and is still central to the current proposed 
charter. Now you say it isn't so.

draft-alvestrand-idna-bidi-04 is completely clear on this:
    o  In a display of a string of labels, the characters of each label
       should remain grouped between the characters delimiting the

    o  These properties should hold true both when the string is embedded
       in a paragraph with LTR direction and when it's embedded in a
       paragraph with RTL direction, as long as explicit directional
       controls are not used within the same paragraph.

>I certainly hope the WG will discuss the
>tradeoffs between better display and full-name interactions (if,
>in fact, that is the best way to state the issue) in depth.

Do the other design team members agree with this? That is, if we get 
rid of all the parts of the bidi spec that look beyond the current 
label, does the whole design team agree that we do *not* need to 

>However, I don't believe that the basic design is changed by
>looking at adjacent labels, any more than I believe that a few
>provisions of RFC 3490 make it fundamentally about full domain
>names rather than labels.

Please be specific where in RFC 3490 you think those provisions are. 
If they exist, they are errors in the protocol that no one has 
noticed before now.

>But I wish that we could confine charter discussions to
>showstoppers and/or issues that would have a significant effect
>on what the WG does and how it does it, rather than trying to
>achieve perfection in every sentence.

I consider it a show-stopper that those of us not on the design team 
cannot figure out where those on the design team do not agree.

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