Fire the programmer (was: Re: Appeal to ISO 639 RA in support of Elfdalian)

Doug Ewell doug at
Fri Apr 29 21:29:42 CEST 2016

Shawn Steele wrote:

> Sure, if there's tons of value and it's the right thing, then go ahead
> and add a bajillion 5 letter tags. Just make sure that the benefits
> outweigh the downsides.

Well, we can only add about 11.8 million or so. After that we'd have to
move to 6-letter, and so on.

But seriously, nobody has suggested adding a bajillion of these, and the
RFC makes it clear that this step is for exceptional circumstances only.
What happened was, implementers (by which I do NOT just mean the
developer who pounds the keyboard) read all the cautions and
protestations in the RFC as "this will never, ever happen," and that,
I'm pretty sure, is not what we meant to say.

Having said that, it doesn't really matter whether we add one or a
bajillion, because from an implementation standpoint, this is the sort
of feature where you either support it or you don't.

Clearly the list would prefer a world where the RA agrees with the
appeal, reverses their earlier decision, and assigns a good old 3-letter
code so we can add it to the Registry. If we didn't, we would have done
what the RFC says, and gone ahead and assigned the 5-letter subtag after
the first rejection slip from the RA. Instead, we're giving the 639-3
process a second chance.

Doug Ewell | | Thornton, CO 🇺🇸

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