UAX #9: applicability of higher-level protocols to bidi plaintext

Shai Berger via Unicode unicode at
Thu Jul 19 02:38:18 CDT 2018

On Wed, 18 Jul 2018 02:55:17 -0700 Asmus Freytag  wrote:

> On 7/18/2018 1:51 AM, Shai Berger via Unicode wrote:
> > The trade-off you seem to prefer is to make the "plain text
> > is universally readable" idea from the core Unicode definition, not
> > applicable to BiDi text.
> Your idea would simply outlaw being able to view text with a
> reader-defined stylesheet imposed on it. Such a stylesheet should be
> perfectly able to impose a paragraph direction.

This argument is essentially circular: My point is exactly
that such a stylesheet should not be able to impose paragraph
directionality, just like it should not be able to impose any other
random word reordering. Again, text directionality is an issue of
content, not presentation.

(I am well aware that the W3C's CSS definition include directionality
controls -- I'm arguing that they're appropriate for HTML, but not for
plain text)

> Just as you might make sure that your application gives you a choice
> of using a stylesheet that "imposes" default paragraph direction.

And again -- the point is interoperability. If I cannot trust that
people I communicate with make the same choices I make, plain text
cannot be used. If the Unicode standard does not impose a
universal default, it does not define interchangeable plain text.

My main point, whose rejection baffles me to no end, is that it should.


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