Re: Revised N2586R

From: William Overington (
Date: Thu Jun 26 2003 - 07:24:44 EDT

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    Peter Constable wrote as follows.

    > .... the name is simply a unique identifier within the std.

    Well, the Standard is the authority for what is the meaning of the symbol
    when found in a file of plain text. So if the symbol is in a plain text
    file before or after the name of a person then the Standard implies a
    meaning to the plain text file.

    > A name may be somewhat indicative of it's function, but is not necessarily

    Well, that could ultimately be an issue before the courts in a libel case if
    someone publishes a text with a symbol next to someone's name. A key issue
    might well be as to what is the defined meaning of the symbol in the
    Standard. Certainly, the issue of what a reasonable person seeing that
    symbol next to someone's name might conclude is being published about the
    person might well also be important, even if that meaning is not in the

    > You could call it WHEELCHAIR SYMBOL, but that engineering of the standard
    is not also social engineering, and people may still use it to label
    individuals in a way that may be violating human rights -- we cannot stop
    that. No matter what we call it, end users are not very likely going to be
    aware of the name in the standard; they're just going to look for the shape,
    and if they find it, they'll use it for whatever purpose they chose to.

    Certainly. Yet a plain text interchangeable file would not have the meaning
    built into it by the Standard. I agree though that there may well still be
    great problems.

    William Overington

    26 June 2003

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