Re: Fun with proof by analogy, was Re: Mojibake on my Web pages

Date: Fri Sep 26 2003 - 04:46:43 EDT

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    Peter Constable wrote,

    > > No, however if I receive a letter in the post written in German I'm
    > > going to ask someone to translate it rather than try to cope with a
    > > language (c.f. encoding) I don't understand.
    > Unlike Jame's cup of wine, this really is a good analogy. Suppose the
    > document is stored on the server in ISO 8859-1 and the browser requesting
    > the page understands only EBCDIC. The server must convert it -- if it
    > doesn't, it will appear on the client as complete garbage. As Jon
    > mentioned, the server is the last one to touch it, and this illustrates
    > why it is appropriate for the server to touch it.

    But, this simply isn't the case with Doug Ewell's web pages. Doug's
    pages are properly encoded using the world's standard for text
    encoding and properly tagged. The server isn't performing any
    conversion, it's just adulterating the content of the web pages
    by adding an incorrect protocol resulting in the display of

    Jon Hanna wrote,

    > However to enable a correctly functioning server to perform
    > such re-encoding *when asked to do so* we have to have the rule
    > that HTTP-headers over-ride embedded self-description for
    > text-based formats. This causes problems in cases like those
    > described, but not when the webserver has a rough idea of
    > what the hell it is doing.

    This is the operative phrase, "when *asked* to do so".

    > Author = Scribe
    > Document = Draft
    > Reader = em, Reader
    > Server = Editor.

    But, the notion that it is acceptable for a server to blithely assume
    that any given user is incompetent is repugnant. I no more want
    my server to generate incorrect protocols for my web pages than
    I want my server to run a spell-checker on the contents.

    Fortunately, rather than Doug's server assuming incompetence,
    it appears to be merely over-reacting to a mis-perceived
    security threat.

    Deepayan Sarkar wrote,

    > ... Or that any sufficiently advanced cup is allowed to take action
    > to remove any poisonous substance from the wine served in it.

    Ethyl alcohol is toxic, but, as miracles go... our postulated sophisticated
    cup's ability to tranform wine into water probably wouldn't be as
    widely acclaimed as the ability to do the opposite.

    Best regards,

    James Kass

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