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RE: Special ordering for BIDI URLs

From: Jonathan Rosenne <rosennej@qsm.co.il>
Date: Tue, 25 May 2010 23:20:30 +0300
To: "'John C Klensin'" <john-ietf@jck.com>, "'Slim Amamou'" <slim@alixsys.com>
Cc: "'Mark Davis ?'" <mark@macchiato.com>, <public-iri@w3.org>, <bidi@unicode.org>, "'Shawn Steele'" <Shawn.Steele@microsoft.com>, "'Murray Sargent'" <murrays@exchange.microsoft.com>, <aharon@google.com>
Message-ID: <008001cafc47$bb96f2f0$32c4d8d0$@co.il>
Both (1) and (2) are useful and necessary. Since everyone seems to promote
(2), I keep pointing out (1).

BTW, amongst Israeli Arabs, Arabic-Indic and European (Arabic) digits are
interchangeable, depending on inclination and mood. They should not be
distinct in URLs.

Jony

> -----Original Message-----
> From: John C Klensin [mailto:john-ietf@jck.com]
> Sent: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:39 PM
> To: Jonathan Rosenne; 'Slim Amamou'
> Cc: 'Mark Davis ?'; public-iri@w3.org; bidi@unicode.org; 'Shawn
> Steele'; 'Murray Sargent'; aharon@google.com
> Subject: RE: Special ordering for BIDI URLs
> 
> 
> 
> --On Tuesday, May 25, 2010 13:51 +0300 Jonathan Rosenne
> <rosennej@qsm.co.il> wrote:
> 
> > It certainly is a misunderstanding. A kid in Egypt or Israel
> > who has not yet learnt a second language should be able to use
> > the internet in his own language and script, i.e. exclusively
> > RTL.
> 
> Jony (and others),
> 
> In principle, I agree.
> 
> In practice, this opens up several groups of problems.  I do not
> expect us to reach agreement on solutions (or even whether
> solutions are needed), but I think it would be helpful if we
> could agree on the nature of the problems / difficulties.  I've
> got a bias about the right answer -- almost everyone who has
> thought about the issues does even though their/our conclusions
> differ -- but I'm going to try to write what follows as
> neutrally as I can.
> 
> (1) One can optimize for identifiers (including, but not limited
> to URIs/ IRIs) that make good intuitive sense for people without
> much computer sophistication and without a global perspective.
> I assume you "kid ... who has not yet learnt a second language"
> would fall into that category, but I think it is broader than
> just those kids.    Doing that optimization implies identifiers
> that are not globally usable, at least for other people of the
> same type but from different cultures, since conventions and
> assumptions differ.  And, of course, normally RotL environments
> aren't the only issue.  Some would argue that matching of
> Simplified and Traditional Chinese; US and British spelling of
> English; matching of Kana and Kanji or Hangul and Hanji spelling
> of strings; matching Eastern Arabic-Indic, Arabic-Indic, and
> European digits; and so on are equivalent problems in which an
> unsophisticated user may have different (but entirely reasonable
> to themselves) expectations from someone with a better
> understanding of how things work.
> 
> (2) One can optimize for globally-useful identifiers.  Doing so
> makes export of identifiers from one environment to another much
> easier and more obvious.  It makes it far easier to construct
> search engines that work globally, browsers and other
> applications software that are largely locale-independent, and
> so on.  By requiring that the same identifiers work everywhere,
> it makes it far easier for people who travel to faraway places
> and borrow machines or use local kiosks to access the Internet.
> In some contexts, those advantages are probably more about
> "possible" than they are about "easier".  But the price is that
> things require more learning and become a lot less intuitive for
> much of the world's population, including all of those who are
> the greatest beneficiaries of the first optimization.  For
> historical reasons (at least), the further one's language or
> writing system are from Western European Latin-based forms, the
> less intuitive and more difficult the obvious global identifiers
> are likely to seem (although I was recently told, quite
> convincingly, that we could solve many of our problems by
> changing our global identifier script from Basic Latin to
> Hangul).
> 
> (3) It is not clear that there is a middle ground.  Certainly it
> is hard to deduce one from the positions taken by the passionate
> advocates of one or the other of the optimizations above.  Some
> of those who think there is such a position say things about
> global identifiers that are not routinely seen by end user and
> that can be localized by some sort of layering mechanism.  While
> several such proposals have been sketched out, none have gained
> traction, in part because the one thing the advocates of the two
> optimizations above usually agree on is that they don't like
> such middle grounds.
> 
> The problem is very hard and I've gradually gotten pessimistic
> about whether real progress is possible (at least before things
> get worse).  But it has become clear to me that the difference
> between those first two optimizations rests on rather
> fundamental philosophical assumptions and that trying to
> persuade people from one camp of the rightness of the positions
> of the other by citing the needs of children, people without
> Latin characters on their keyboards, or the horrors of a world
> in which some URIs/IRIs (or some email addresses, etc.) are
> inaccessible to lots of people is not working well... or at all.
> 
> best,
>    john
> 
Received on Tuesday, 25 May 2010 20:20:57 GMT

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