policy wrt politics (was RE: be-tarask language subtag registration form)

Karen_Broome at spe.sony.com Karen_Broome at spe.sony.com
Tue Apr 3 00:44:38 CEST 2007

I don't think anyone's disagreeing that there are at least two variants of 
the orthography of this language. I think the politics come in when the 
variants represent certain political sectors and you have an instance, 
such as Wikipedia, where a 2- or 3-character regionless ISO language tag 
is desired. While speakers of American and British English haven't had a 
particularly hard time contributing to the same Wikipedia (a greater 
amount of content and slightly less spelling consistency is seen as 
advantageous for all, given limited resources and time), this is not 
always the case.

As far as the "be" Wikipedia, the two groups are not amenable to working 
together because of political biases so WMF needs to make a choice as far 
as what content populates its "be" namespace. That's very political 
because it implies a preference. On the other hand, I'd like to think that 
we don't represent a bias as to the "right" variant of a language.

We should be careful now and in the future to disregard the politics of 
the implementation that led to the request and consider requests on their 
descriptive merits. I don't think the descriptive needs for these tags 
were ever political or debatable. If I'm wrong on that, I'm sure someone 
will enlighten me.


Karen Broome
Metadata Systems Designer
Sony Pictures Entertainment

Stephane Bortzmeyer <bortzmeyer at nic.fr> 
Sent by: ietf-languages-bounces at alvestrand.no
04/02/2007 05:46 AM

Peter Constable <petercon at microsoft.com>
"ietf-languages at alvestrand.no" <ietf-languages at alvestrand.no>
Re: policy wrt politics (was RE: be-tarask language subtag registration 

On Sat, Mar 31, 2007 at 08:34:50AM -0700,
 Peter Constable <petercon at microsoft.com> wrote 
 a message of 301 lines which said:

> So, what's the best policy for this list when we get requests for
> subtags that have associated political issues?

> a) Reject any request with political issues to ensure this list
> avoids politics?

Certainly not. This would give veto power to anyone in the
world. Anyone could shout "This proposal is politically wrong" and
then stall all the process.

> b)      Evaluate any request solely on non-political criteria? 

b) is certainly a very sensible choice but:

> (We would still need to ensure that subtags are non-offensive.)

Unrealistic: even saying that Taiwan is a country (a pure fact) is
labeled "offensive" by the Chinese dictators. 

In many countries, there are similar cases (until very recently, there
was officially no Kurds in Turkey, only "Mountain Turks"; of course,
there was noone speaking kurdish - ku - for the same reason). (See for

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