Proposed new Firefox IDN display algorithm

Gervase Markham gerv at
Mon Feb 6 13:59:00 CET 2012

On 05/02/12 07:17, Yedidyah Bar-David wrote:
> While the entire policy is significant, important, and worth considering,
> this specific point, I think, is what some people here do not agree with,
> and I do not think the Mozilla project so far managed to convince about.

OK... although I would warn that there is limited utility in discussing 
this particular point too much. Final decisions about this sort of thing 
are made by our UI design team, not me. I can say why I think it's a 
good idea, but even if you convince me, that doesn't necessarily mean 
there will be a change :-)

> "Displaying the A-label has the significant advantage of removing the
> potentially confusable string from the user's view" is obviously correct,
> but so is replacing it with question marks, its base64 encoding, whatever.

That is true; the A-label has the advantage of losslessly representing 
the domain in question in a way which is transferable and decodable, 
e.g. in a "why doesn't this look right?" email to someone.

> By choosing specifically the A-label, you implicitely say to yourself
> something along the lines of "it's still similar enough to the U-label
> so that if we were wrong and should have actually showed the U-label,
> there is no big harm done". Well, at least that's my understanding.

Quite the opposite. The point is that the A-label is different enough to 
the U-label that it does not resemble it sufficiently that it might 
cause confusion or harm.

> The solution to "The grandma problem" isn't by showing A-labels or
> anything of that kind, IMO.

I am not expecting Grandma to understand the situation any more than 
"that doesn't look right - I should be suspicious". And getting her 
there will be hard enough.


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