Peter Constable petercon at
Thu Sep 4 02:27:33 CEST 2008

I concede that he is not our rubber stamp; but IMO he had better have pretty compelling reasons to stand as a lone objector.

Some years back, he stood alone against several people on a request that he finally approved (when re-introduced for the nth time over an extended span of time) after finally consulting someone off this list who said the same thing as people on this list but whom he happened to trust more than people on this list. That cost the original requester perhaps two years or more of inconvenience. I remain fearful of that kind of thing being repeated.


From: Mark Crispin [mailto:markrcrispin at]
Sent: Wednesday, September 03, 2008 12:23 PM
To: Peter Constable; Mark Davis; Tracey, Niall
Cc: ietf-languages at

Some of the most wretchedly bad technical decisions were made as the result of a majority.  Unlike political or social policy, technical decisions are best NOT made by democracies; that way ensures mediocrity at best and at worst...well the less said the better.  Even political or social policies should not be decided by majority choice alone; the worst tyrannies exist when a minority has no ability to exercise a veto.

For better or worse, the decision is Michael's; he is not our rubber stamp.  We are here to advise him.  As far as I can tell, he puts great weight upon the consensus of the rest of us, and is not arbitrary in the few cases when he chooses to do something other than what the consensus recommends.

-- Mark --
Democracy is two wolves and a sheep deciding what to eat for lunch.
Liberty is a well-armed sheep contesting the vote.

From: petercon at
To: mark at; niall.tracey at
Date: Wed, 3 Sep 2008 11:50:12 -0700
CC: ietf-languages at
Mark, Michael shouldn't be making unilateral decisions; his is only one opinion. If the majority opinion is that "zh-Latn" is better, then that's what he should approve.


From: mark.edward.davis at [mailto:mark.edward.davis at] On Behalf Of Mark Davis
Sent: Wednesday, September 03, 2008 9:52 AM
To: Tracey, Niall
Cc: Peter Constable; ietf-languages at

As I said, I have no objection at all to making the prefix be zh-Latn instead of just zh; I would prefer it. It is Michael Everson who wanted "zh" instead, so perhaps you should address him on this topic.

(For my part, I think it is more important to have the subtag registered -- and not have this drag out forever -- than for the subtag's Prefix to be perfect; in practice people will use Latn as a prefix anyway.)

On Wed, Sep 3, 2008 at 8:53 AM, Tracey, Niall <niall.tracey at<mailto:niall.tracey at>> wrote:
We all know that new tags don't gain sudden acceptance overnight. It would be one thing if there was a suppress-script for subtags -- in that case systems could update themselves automatically. As it is, that script information is in the free-text fields and requires human intervention to insert into systems, so it's going to be a while coming. In legacy systems, it may never happen.

If we issue advice saying that the text should be tagged zh-Latn-wadegile, it will be rendered correctly by all properly-written software systems.

If we tell people that zh-wadegile is enough, more of them will tag text as such and systems will attempt to render it in Hanji.

Izh-Latn-wadegile is surely the only fault-tolerant (userproof?) option.
Shouldn't we build fault-tolerance in at every level?


From: ietf-languages-bounces at<mailto:ietf-languages-bounces at> [mailto:ietf-languages-bounces at<mailto:ietf-languages-bounces at>] On Behalf Of Mark Davis
Sent: 03 September 2008 16:35
To: Peter Constable
Cc: ietf-languages at<mailto:ietf-languages at>


While I share that opinion, there were others that objected to it. And I can live with the required prefix being only zh; I think that reasonable implementations will also include Latn anyway.

On Wed, Sep 3, 2008 at 7:00 AM, Peter Constable <petercon at<mailto:petercon at>> wrote:
From: ietf-languages-bounces at<mailto:ietf-languages-bounces at> [mailto:ietf-languages-bounces at<mailto:ietf-languages-bounces at>] On Behalf Of Doug Ewell

> Here are the proposed new records and registration forms, for a two-week
> review period.  (Sorry, guys: RFC 4646, Section 3.7.)  Eligible to be
> added Wednesday, September 9 at 3:00 UTC, unless someone objects or
> finds a problem.
> ===

> Prefix: zh

IMO this should be "zh-Latn".

More generally, it has always been my opinion that variant subtags denoting a particular written form should always be prefixed by a script subtag except when Suppress-Script applies.

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