Re: charset parameter in Google Groups

From: Asmus Freytag (
Date: Wed Jul 07 2010 - 14:17:27 CDT

  • Next message: Kenneth Whistler: "RE: UTS#10 (collation) : French backwards level 2, and word-breakers."


    I think we all realize your frustration with well-meaning software.
    Because tags can be wrong for no fault of the human originating the
    I fully understand that Google might want to attempt to improve the user
    experience in such situations.

    The problem is that doing so should not come at the expense of authors
    who correctly tag their documents and whose servers preserve their tags
    and don't mess with them. That your message was broken exposed a bug in
    Google's implementation. And that was acknowledged as well.

    I have not seen any design details of the algorithm that Google uses
    (when correctly implemented) so I can't comment on whether it strikes
    the correct balance between honoring tags in the "normal" case, where
    they should be presumed to be correctly applied, vs. detecting the case
    of clearly erroneous tags and doing something about them so users aren't
    stuck when documents are mis-tagged.

    However, in principle, I support the development of tools that can
    handle imperfect input - after all, you as a human reader also don't
    reject language that isn't perfectly spelled or that violates some of
    the grammatical rules.

    There's a benefit to these kinds of tools, but, as you keep reminding
    us, there's a cost (which needs to be minimized). This cost is similar
    to that of a spell-checker rejecting a correctly spelled word. Still we
    are better off with them than without them.

    For that reason, I think you will find few takers for your somewhat
    absolutist position, whereas you would get more sympathy if you were
    simply reminding everyone of the dangers of poorly implemented solutions
    that can break correctly tagged data.


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