From: William Overington (WOverington@ngo.globalnet.co.uk)
Date: Wed Jun 25 2003 - 07:26:25 EDT
>>I am rather concerned that the name HANDICAPPED SIGN is being used without
any justification or discussion of the name of the character.
>The Name Police approved. ;-)
>>I am rather concerned about the Orwellian nightmare possibilities of this
and believe that vigilance is a necessary activity to protect freedom.
>Oh, spare us.
Well, it is like the Millennium bug problem. People took it seriously and
spent a lot of time and effort in preventing it causing chaos. When nothing
happened a news anchor on British TV in early January 2000 asked an expert
in the studio if, as nothing had happened, all the concern had been just a
lot of hype.
The expert explained that it was only because of the concern and the care
taken that nothing had gone wrong on 1 January 2000.
In like manner I feel that it is very important that care be taken now over
issues such as the possibility of an Orwellian nightmare then when it does
not happen although we might not be sure whether our vigilance prevented it
happening or whether it would not have happened at all, nevertheless it will
not happen: whereas if we do not bother who knows what practices might exist
with databases in ten or twenty years time.
>Likely WHEELCHAIR SYMBOL is a more accurate name.
That is a good suggestion. Perhaps WHEELCHAIR SYMBOL could be used instead
of HANDICAPPED SIGN please.
A guiding principle for encoding symbols could be that the description
applies to the symbol not to any person whom it might be used to describe in
>There is a DISABILITY SYMBOL http://www.mdx.ac.uk/awards/disable.htm which
is different; it's called the TWO TICKS SYMBOL as well.
Where I have seen the two ticks symbol in use is to indicate in brochures
and advertisements that an organization claims to take care to treat people
who have disabilities in a fair manner, doing what is necessary to help them
use facilities or be employed. It is not applied, as far as I know, to
individuals who have a disability.
>>An Orwellian nightmare scenario of just encoding the symbols and "leaving
it to" people who use Unicode as to how they use the symbols is not
>Rein in those hares, William, please.
Well, I realize that what I say may, at first glance, possibly appear
extreme at times, yet please do consider what I write in an objective
manner. If Unicode has a WHEELCHAIR SYMBOL then that is a symbol, if
Unicode encodes a HANDICAPPED SIGN then that is a description of someone to
whom it is applied, a Boolean sign for all, whatever the disability may be,
whether it is relevant to the matter in hand or not. I do wonder whether
the encoding of the symbol as HANDICAPPED SIGN would be consistent with
human rights as it would be assisting automated decision making with a
Boolean flag and providing an infrastructure for such practices.
However, hopefully those of you who have the power to vote on these matters
will act to change the name from HANDICAPPED SIGN so as to take account of
these concerns. For me, WHEELCHAIR SYMBOL seems fine as the name simply
describes the symbol. However, it may be that other people might have other
views on the name.
25 June 2003
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