[rfc-i] open issues: character encoding of names

Andrew Sullivan ajs at anvilwalrusden.com
Thu May 31 10:47:08 PDT 2012


In response to the RSE's suggestion that individual topics marked as
not having consensus get discussion, I thought I'd pick a few and
respond to them in independent threads.

This message is about the item, "Need broader character encoding for
author names".

The argument for encoding author names with characters outside the
ASCII range is that this allows us to spell people's names correctly.

The argument against it is, apparently, that people who don't speak
the language of the author won't be able to read the author's name.
Therefore, a transliteration of the author's name into English is
required.  This is appropriate, it is argued, because the language of
the IETF is English.

Each of these has some merit, but it seems to me that there is no
justification for not providing both facilities, since there is
certainly no technical impediment.  Therefore, in my view, it is
desirable to provide this facility, and to do so with a transliterated
English form of the name (and address and other contact data) as
required.  The latter extends to fallback mail addresses for cases
where the EAI extensions are not available, and to A-label forms of DNS
names for those who cannot use the U-label form.  

As someone whose name is easily spelled in English without any
characters outside the ASCII range, I don't feel personally strongly
about this, but I am supportive of any action that allows authors to
write their own names correctly according to their local custom.  I
would like to understand the reasons why it would not be acceptable to
do this in combination with a transliteration into English.

Best regards,


Andrew Sullivan
ajs at anvilwalrusden.com

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