The scope of Unicode (from Re: How can my research become implemented in a standardized manner?)

Asmus Freytag (t) asmus-inc at
Thu Oct 22 15:59:01 CDT 2015

On 10/22/2015 9:54 AM, Rick McGowan wrote:
> Personally, I think you're getting ahead of yourself. First, you 
> should demonstrate that you have done research and produced results 
> that at least some people find so useful and important that they are 
> eager to implement the findings. Then, once you have done that, think 
> about standardizing something, but only after you have a /working 
> model /of the thing sufficient to demonstrate its general utility.
> While I do not speak for the UTC in any way, observations of the 
> committee over a period of some years have led me to conclude that 
> they never encode something, call it "X", on pure speculation that 
> some future research might result in "X" being useful for some purpose 
> that has not even been demonstrated as a need, or clearly enough 
> articulated to engender the committee's confidence in its potential 
> utility.

To the degree that one can make a "general" statement, this pretty much 
sums it up - and, as my experience with standards, both as developer and 
consumer of them has convinced me, this is absolutely the right approach.

Well-intentioned innovation should not be what drives standards. 
"Standard" practice is what should drive them.

Seeming exceptions, such a programming language standards, have a strong 
community that works on testing and trying out new language features 
ahead of them being added to the language, so that people have a good 
idea how they will pan out - but ever there, the occasional feature ends 
up being still-born.

What concerns the original question, Rick is absolutely correct. The 
scope of the consortium is set by its members. Formally by the full 
members, but with an ear to what will make the Consortium strong (that 
is attract all classes of members and technical experts).

Originally, of course, there wasn't a Consortium. Just a number or 
people working on a common goal. They called themselves the Unicode 
Working Group, and developed a complete 700 + page draft, before 
deciding on using the Consortium structure as the most appropriate for 
their work.

This path, of creating new structure at the end of an informal 
collaboration of like-minded people is one of the more successful routes 
for new projects and ideas to spread. If an idea or concept is powerful 
enough to generate committed interest, then that is a good predictor for 
future staying power.

Conversely, if you cannot get people to work with you informally, trying 
to "make" some existing formal group accept your ideas isn't going to 
lead to any better results.

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