Side note: "the people at IANA" (was: Re: Current requests)

Luc Pardon lucp at
Thu May 21 15:28:48 CEST 2015

On 20-05-15 20:50, Doug Ewell wrote:
> Luc Pardon wrote:
>> If IANA rejects gl-ao1990, it actually says "writing Galician in a
>> Portuguese orthography is NOT RECOMMENDED" (BCP 4.7 3.1.8 negated) and
>> "in our view, this practice it too insignificant to draw attention to
>> it".
>> I can't see how the people at IANA would think that a good idea.
> I think I know what you mean, but just in case...
> "The people at IANA" don't care about something like this. That's not
> their job. They are the official record-keepers, the escrow agent if you
> will, of the Registry. Their role is to make the Registry and
> registration forms generally available at a well-known and stable
> location, and to accept well-formed records and registration forms and
> make the appropriate changes to the Registry and post a fresh copy. If
> we want to register, or not register, a particular change, that's
> entirely up to us as far as IANA is concerned, so long as the jots and
> tittles are in order.
> I realize that IANA maintains some registries where they have a
> technical role to play in approving entries, but this isn't one of them.

I don't dispute anything of what you say, but a) yours is the inside
view, from within the machinery, so to speak, and b) it's the view as it
stands today.

  a) Seen from the outside, the registry has IANA's name on it, it is
published on etc. So if there is something in the registry that
some people find offensive, they'll be looking at IANA. If those people
feel like throwing bombs or lawyers, it's IANA that will be at the
receiving end. Legally, IANA are the publishers of this registry, and
what's more, they are also the actual maintainers. Yes, they voluntary
agreed to do the maintenance with their eyes closed, but that won't
normally get them off the hook. It would certainly take more than waving
a few RFC's at the judge.

  b) As of today, the contents of the registry have brought no trouble
from outside, so IANA has no reason to care, and so they don't. That may
change. IANA is applying our changes with their eyes closed because they
trust us to do the "Right Thing (tm)". For example, refusing a tag
because it violates the RFC rules is most certainly the Right Thing, and
IANA can't blame us even if it should bring trouble from outside. On the
other hand, taking positions in linguistic debates (e.g. by rejecting
'ao1990' because we think the underlying convention is "rubbish") is
definitely _not_ the Right Thing, and that might be a reason for IANA to
loose trust.

Of course the question is what it would take for them to start caring.
Would that happen only after they (or ICANN) are actually sued? Or would
they act preventively, i.e. as soon as they realized that something is
amiss with the records that we are sending them?

I don't know the answer, and finding out is certainly not what I'm
advocating. It would be much more productive to _not_ give them reason
to worry.

Luc Pardon

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