RE: Shades of Gray

From: Peter Constable (
Date: Sat Mar 05 2005 - 18:51:45 CST

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    > From: []
    > Behalf Of

    > People think I'm being absolutely horrible.

    Not at all. Some may find you just a bit frustrating, though, because

    - you appear to have come here with questions about the Standard without
    having attempted to find answers to basic questions by reading the

    - you appear to have come here declaring what conceptual models should
    be used (along with some new terminology), and declaring what the
    mandate of Unicode *is*, as though the founding members of the Unicode
    Consortium didn't have enough insight to establish what the mandate was
    at the outset before they started sinking millions of dollars into the
    work of the Consortium, and as though the technical experts who have
    worked on the Standard in some cases for 15+ years hadn't figured out
    long ago what conceptual models should apply, and

    - some of your remarks appear to be trolling.

    > But you should be more sympathetic.

    Let's make a deal: We'll try to be more sympathetic, and you start
    reading the Standard, adopt an approach in which you start off a thread
    by saying what problem you're *really* trying to solve (you were never
    trying to solve any Serbian problems), asking for thoughts on *that*
    problem, and when people push back on a suggestion you might make, show
    some willingness to accept that their response just might be

    > And I saw that Unicode was
    > having
    > to answer complex and finely gradated questions with the bluntest of
    > answers:
    > black or white. Codepoint or not. And it occurred to me that what was
    > called
    > for conceptually, was one or more shades of gray...

    > I brought up an example of this with the Serbian 't'. My approach has
    > sound conceptual basis...

    > But I was told, no, there is simply a better way of doing this:
    > tags".
    > And so I grudgingly accepted this, and moved on from my example given
    > familiarity -- a local variation of the Cyrillic script -- to an
    > interest, obscure but highly comparible local variations of the Greek
    > script.

    The problem here is that you fail to deal appropriately with the shades
    of gray that Unicode has been juggling all along. You used the Serbian
    example for reasons of familiarity and got one answer, but then you
    assumed in a black-and-white way that that same answer is the one to
    apply to anything that looks at all similar. Which is wrong.

    It appears that *you* are not adequately allowing for shades of gray.

    > I said OK, now show me how "language tags" are going to apply to this,
    > get
    > the glyphs needed for these Greek script variants to display. And
    after a
    > very
    > long frustrating process of non-answers, the dirty little truth came
    > "Language tags" are a fib.

    Not at all! They're just not the answer to every little glyph variant
    someone wants to display.

    > The actual answer for the Serbian 't' is: Unicode chooses not to deal
    > with
    > this, Unicode absolves itself of all responsibility for dealing with
    > and
    > Unicode absolves itself of all responsibility for following up that it
    > dealt with elsewhere -- and incidentally there might be some technical
    > someday, outside of Unicode, to do something as insignificant as
    > displaying that glyph, by means of a standardized language tag.

    Unicode chooses not to deal with it because it was, and always has been,
    out of scope for the Unicode Standard. It does not need to absolve
    itself of responsibility for this since it was never part of Unicode's
    mandate. That's all I'll say to this troll.

    Peter Constable

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