emoji (was Re: I-D Action: draft-klensin-idna-rfc5891bis-00.txt)

Shawn Steele Shawn.Steele at microsoft.com
Sun Mar 12 23:27:32 CET 2017

> The approach that IDNA2008 
> took was that the DNS did not need to permit any label anyone might 
> want, but instead needed to permit effective mnemonics that people 
> could use reliably.

But that's apparently not how people want to use IDN/DNS.

> Emojis are poor choices for mnemonics because they tend to ambiguity. 

Yup, but those aren't the requirements the users want.

> They're a useful and fun tool for lots of purposes, but they're not 
> especially good for Internet-scale identifiers

I'm not sure why.  Sure, they aren't great mnemonics, however if you resolve I♥NY.com to an IP address, then, then that server has been identified.  I may not be able to reliably tell you how to type it, even if I stick it on a yellow sticky note - but then again, I can't tell you how to type a Chinese IDN either.  I might be able to do a barely recognizable attempt at Cyrillic or Greek, but you'd better know what I meant!

There are lots of identifiers that aren't great.

> Reliable interoperability often requires that particular features cannot be 
> relied upon, and so far emojis appear to fall into that category for 
> stable, Internet-scale identifiers.  That's what IDNA is designed to 
> support.

I'm not sure how any unicode codepoint would prohibit interoperability.  They're all just numbers, so the only thing that impacts interoperability is whether or not systems prohibit different sets of characters or map them differently.  For emoji there pretty much aren't any mappings, so interoperability of emoji is more trivial than many of the more linguistically interesting cases.  English even.

(Well, if it round trips through a lossy mechanism, like Windows-1252, but Unicode is a prerequisite of IDN).

Unless, of course, by interoperability you mean "round tripping through non-machine humans".  Then, sure, many emoji based IDN labels would be tough.  As would pretty much every other non-Latin label (and even Latin for many users).

Modern use of domain names isn't about finding an IP address.  It's about branding.  That may not be an answer that engineers are comfortable or happy with, but it's how normal people use the Internet.


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