RE: more flexible pipeline for new scripts and characters

From: Doug Ewell <>
Date: Wed, 16 Nov 2011 09:06:07 -0700

Peter Cyrus <pcyrus at alivox dot net> wrote:

> In other words, people could propose a new script or character and
> rather than have it discussed before encoding and then encoded in
> permanence, with no possibility even to correct obvious errors as in
> U+FE18, instead it would be provisionally accepted but still subject
> to modifications as implementors worked with it. Hopefully, most
> mistakes would be unearthed early and corrections applied before much
> text had been encoded. As time passed and the encoding became more
> stable, the size of mistake open to correction would be reduced, e.g.
> to spelling errors, until it was frozen as a result of this process
> before being declared permanent.

As Asmus points out, users tend to want to jump the gun and start using
anything that appears to be even "provisionally" approved. Look at all
the health warnings that UTC has to include on the Pipeline and
beta-review pages.

> My thought is that some of the problems that I've seen discussed might
> have been discovered and addressed had a community been using the
> proposed standard before it became immutable. In the current process,
> that transition may occur too early to be useful. It may be easier to
> fix all the existing text if very little time has passed, than to
> "fix" all future text forever.

Spelling errors like BRAKCET and name errors like LATIN LETTER OI really
don't tend to matter much, in the real world. We do talk about them a

> This idea could also be extended to new characters and scripts that
> might or might not make it into Unicode : Unicode could offer a
> provisional acceptance that allowed users to demonstrate the utility
> of the proposed changes once they're in Unicode, even if they're later
> modified or withdrawn.

This is one of the things the PUA is for. Unfortunately, it has become
very popular to tell people to stay away from the PUA, that it is evil
and unsuitable for any sort of interchange, and so people tend to look
for alternative solutions which shouldn't be necessary.

> This policy might have prevented the recoding of Tengwar, Cirth,
> Shavian, Phaistos Disc and Deseret as they moved from the PUA to the
> SMP.

The PUA is a kind of sandbox for encoding experimentation. For exactly
the reasons you give elsewhere, there was no guarantee that Shavian and
Phaistos Disc and Deseret would be encoded exactly as they were found in
the ConScript Unicode Registry -- indeed, the layout of the Deseret
block was different. They would have had to be "recoded" anyway. The
same is true for Tengwar and Cirth (which, by the way, have not been
approved or even reconsidered recently).

Doug Ewell | Thornton, Colorado, USA | RFC 5645, 4645, UTN #14 | | @DougEwell ­
Received on Wed Nov 16 2011 - 10:09:44 CST

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