Skip to main content

Appeal to the IESG in reference to the mailing list (JFC Morfin; 2006-02-07) - 2006-02-07
Appeal - 2006-02-08

February 7, 2006 Appeal to the IESG in reference to the mailing list by JFC Morfin

This appeal concerns (a) my posting rights suspension on on RFC 3934 grounds,
(b) the process to indirectly confirm that mailing list as a substitute for RFC 3066/3066 Bis
It documents the context, the list, the possible COIs, and my posting rights suspension after one single (on-topic)
mail in 53 days.

Appendix includes the decision of IAB I quote, which is not yet published on the IAB site.

My technical, market and political context

I oppose the internationalization of the Internet, as being the Internet part of a targeted exclusive Unicode
globalization, together with the localization supported by their CLDR project. The globalization purpose is to
remove language barriers between English sources and non-English ends. I rather support and work on inclusive
multilingualisation. I could describe it as an open multilateral and cross-globalisation layer, for every
languages and modes, above unilateral layers such as the Unicode written language globalization.

This multilingualisation will not only competes with Unicode Members on language and culture oriented markets,
but will void the very possibility of any technical exclusive in that area. Multilingualisation is about
people's vernacular empowerment, on an equal linguistic opportunity basis, while globalization proposes
solutions obliging the use of English as a pivotal language, controlled by Unicode Members and less open to
innovation. Some perceive me as a blocking element on the path to a multibillion key market.

The IETF is used to people claiming having "THE" solution. Making me look one of them is a "reckless" move
(cf. IDNA) they chose to gain time and avoid technical debates. It will help neither them, nor the other
Unicode Members, nor the Internet. Multilingualisation is the demand of the WSIS and the need of 95% of the
world. Excellence in documenting character is warranty of competence in networking, new communications modes
and human relations.

My effort, using the Internet standard process, contributing to the WG-IDNA and WG-LTRU more than they would
like, has been to force the technical debate, in order to progress step by step towards the multilateral
architecture we need and we will have. Also to remove the new barriers they try to build.

The mailing list

Michael Everson documented the list (20 Jan 2006, IETF). He said: "I am the IETF
Language Tags reviewer, and the list in question for discussion of RFC 3066 is there, basically, for me.
People propose tags, there is some discussion, and we process or reject the proposals"

RFC 3066 says: "The language form must be sent to <> for a 2- week review period
before it can be submitted to IANA. (This is an open list. Requests to be added should be sent to
<>.) When the two week period has passed, the language tag reviewer,
who is appointed by the IETF Applications Area Director, either forwards the request to IANA@IANA.ORG,
or rejects it because of significant objections raised on the list. Note that the reviewer can raise
objections on the list himself, if he so desires. The important thing is that the objection must be
made publicly."

§ says assumes that
role. I object this. RFC 3066 says, "objection must be made publicly", this means that the list where
they are discussed MUST receive the management, publication, publicity and control of the IANA documented
in the RFC. Experience shows that top world lingual and cultural authorities are NOT even aware of that
list. When they send a mail to <> they get a response from
<> and give up.

§ there is no "IETF Language Tags reviewer". There is a "language tag reviewer", appointed by the
sole IETF Applications Area Director. I submit there SHOULD be one or co-reviewers. I submit they should
be appointed along a procedure and criteria similar to Area Directors or WG-Chairs.

In 10 years IANA language tags registry got 72 entries. RFC 3066 Bis change that with thousands of entries,
influencing multibillion dollars language, culture and operating systems industries; possibly conflicting on
technical grounds with national sovereignties and multiple interests.

§ my suspension was for commenting a thread continuing the RFC 3066 into
to the role of the new RFC 3066 Bis role without prior consultation with the IESG
and the Application AD. That thread started [Markus Sherer (2006/01/13)] as follows: " I realize that the
RFC 3066 bis registration process is not in force yet, but I would like to start the discussion on the
following registration request in anticipation of the new process."

Harald Alvestrand behaved in this case as if he had decided to keep the same list and the same "language
tag reviewer" to support RFC 3066 Bis, with the tacit approval of the Application AD. I object and appeal
against that de facto decision.

In addition the quality of the exchanges and the conclusion in the "EU" thread discussed below, show that
the list does not match the competence and responsibility obligations discussed by RFC 3935. .

§ I wander about possible COIs when the owner/manager of is a Director of
Unicode. The Application Area Director is an employee of a major Unicode Member. The "language tag reviewer"
is a consultant of Unicode. The author of the new registry entries is a Unicode Member. The discussed RFC
3066 Bis document is co-authored by the President of Unicode and an Unicode Member’s employee.

These points are important for the credibility of the IETF lingual proposition. MUST
be organised, published and controlled by the IANA. Its decisions should be reviewed by the GAC or by an
International entity should ICANN cease to manage the IANA.

13 January 2006 suspension on RFC 3934 grounds

§ Objection 1: the decision is illegitimate

My 13 Jan 2006 suspension does not legally differ from my 20 Nov 2005 suspension. The IAB said about that
last one they "reviewed the appeal as it applies to the administration of IETF mailing lists and specifically
to the removal of posting rights. In particular, the conclusions described here narrowly apply to the process
used by the IESG in upholding the 20 Nov 2005 suspension of Mr. Morfin's posting rights on the ietf-languages
mailing list. Finally, in considering the appeal, we observe that the IESG noted that no existing explicit
mailing list policy RFC was applicable in this case."

I note that Brian Carpenter saw the involved difficulty: "Harald, I believe it would have better if you had
phrased it as "by analogy with RFC 3934" rather than "according to RFC 3934" which is specific to WG lists.
But indeed people should note that the languages list is an official IETF non-WG list (shown at The IESG has considered in the past that applying RFC
3934 by analogy is reasonable for such lists (including the appeal process, which JFC is currently using
for his previous ban)."

The IAB addressed that point further on: " the IAB agrees with the IESG that no specific mailing list process
RFCs directly apply in this case, its response is not sufficiently clear why RFC 3934 is considered applicable
"by analogy". Further, it is also unclear from the IESG's response what the scope of applicability of RFC 3934
might be, or when other process RFCs might be applied "by analogy". Therefore, the IESG's action does not meet
the clear and public requirement outlined above and the IAB annuls the IESG's decision in this appeal and sends
the matter back to the IESG for resolution."

§ Objection 2: the real target is not the one claimed

When Harald Alvestrand "suspended my privileges according to RFC 3934, section 2, which does not permit longer
suspensions under the rules of that RFC", Michael Everson asked "Why is a list run by subject to
RFC 3934?"

Harald Alvestrand answered:

§ "It's a list run to fulfil the requirement for a mailing list specified in RFC 3066 and 3066bis. The way
I try to make sense of how the IETF works, if it didn't behave as if it was subject to RFC 3934, the IETF would
be justified in asking someone else to take on the job of running the list." does not mention RFC 3066 Bis. Harald expresses the idea that
it might not in the future, should he not masquerade a WG to preserve status quo. This makes a very weak argument
to decide of the IETF private management of suich a core issue as human languages (for a reason I still ignore
computer languages are not supported).

§ "Besides, I still hope that the IESG will take action eventually and perform a PR-action".

This self-explanatory “hope” regards a usually silent trouble making competitor.

§ Objection 3: my post was on topic

For the first time in 53 days I sent a mail on the mailing list. I commented the three main issues
of a thread on the registration of "EU" as a region. They were:

§ an either incompetent or insulting approach of the European Union (EU). However rightfully described as
"European Union" and documented in ISO 3166 as applying "to any application needing to represent the name European
Union", it was confused (by the author of the Registry) with a UN region extending outside of its boarders,
discarding some of its territories and citizens. It discussed its political nature and development, concluding
against its interests - string of the European expertise of a list member having grown in Europe.

§ the reason why the European Union, as a leading economical and political power needs a country subtag in
the IANA language tag registry.

§ the list vs. the RFC 3066 Bis registration process by the mailing list.
Markus Sherer started the thread as follows: "I realize that the RFC 3066bis registration process is not in
force yet, but I would like to start the discussion on the following registration request in anticipation of
the new process."

I addressed these three points:

§ in commenting an unconscious attack of the European Union’s identity by Doug Ewell: "There are already
region subtags not only for Europe (150), but also for Northern Europe (154), Southern Europe (039), Eastern
Europe(151), and Western Europe (155). So it is difficult for me to imagine what would be gained by also
having a subtag for "European Union."" This followed other mails questioning status of non-continental EU
territories and populations, or the EU historic development model.

I kindly responded by comparison with his own country to make him understand he insulted mine: "Delicious...
This is also true for America. For the same reasons I suppose you will agree in removing "us". The golden rule:
KISS. However, may be someone can tell me if Hawaï is part from America or from Asia?"

§ explaining the needs of "EU" as a specific lingual space. This was to correct Doug Ewell’s anti-European
detrimental position: "I understand the desire to say "French as spoken in Europe," perhaps akin to the oft-cited
"Spanish as spoken in Latin America," but to my mind fr-150 serves the first purpose just as well as es-419 serves
the second. I don't support the proposal to add the subtag EU."

I explained: "en-eu is sometimes quite different from en-uk and en-us. Specially in the European intergovernance
area where some meanings had to adapt to more advanced concepts by non common laws nations."

I note that Lee Gillam, detailed that point later on (without being considered), saying: "I guess en-EU could
describe items such as the word "concertation" in English documents emerging from various places, particularly
the IST programme. The EU does publish terminology resources:".
Terms such as "concertation", "global", even "internet", etc. have EU specific meanings. The same for possibly
conflicting terms between two or more countries of same languages.

§ I explained this list fits in the post-Tunis context and should preserve continuity and compatibility
with other approaches (currently mainly European) if we mutually understand each other's. This is deadly on
topic, when the list is precisely discussing and opposing the "EU" registration, creating an unnecessary
conflict I am to inform the list and to contribute to reduce, as a loyal member.

"Dear Markus, A few weeks ago a major decision changed the purpose of this list. This was a decision made
by the Congress of the United States of America. It said that the internationalized US Internet, as
documented by the IETF, is managed by ICANN, of which the IANA langtag registry management is a function.
This mailing list and the RFC 3066 Bis therefore concern a US industry and national system spanning abroad."

"This creates a vacuum: the lack of an equivalent registry and architectural support for the
Multilingual/Multinational Internet. We all prefer both to be as much continuity as possible. This is the
transition organised by Tunis. This is why I asked IAB guidance on the way to proceed. This is also why
I finalise an appeal to the IESG against some RFC 3066 Bis, to make the US system interoperable quality
wise with the expected World system. My proposition is even that the US system can be used as a default,
at least during the transition period."

"I note that this kind of debate is a good example of the difference of vision between US internationalization
and multilingual harmonisation, and the problem of compatibility we will face. For example, non-US Govs and
people are not interested in countries as such, as are the USA and as is RFC 3066 Bis. This is simply because
they are the countries. They are interested in their own network communities and in domains. They do not name
domains and languages for e-commerce, but to be support their users. "eu" is a top level geographic domain
equivalent to "us", "uk", "je", "in", "gg", etc.: it will obviously be technically treated equal. But many
other geographical zones will be treated the same. We see the language naming as a service, not as a
constraining control tool."

"I suppose that many things will also have to adapt with the support of ISO 639-6".

I accept that one may disagree with my positions: this why we debate. This is why the decision of Harald
Alvestrand does not make sense (I quote and comment Harald's 23 Jan 2006 decision):

§ "Once again - this is an off-topic message for the ietf-languages list."

No it is not. I documented that.

§ "This is not a list for political posturing or meta-discussions about what the rules for language
tags ought to have been, it is a list for discussing the registration of language tags according to the
procedures of the relevant IETF documents."

I do not feel I "postured" anything. I do not know what a "meta-discussion" can be. I documented the
reality, and the way it affects the "EU" registration being under discussion. If the debate of the
thread does evolves according to the procedures of the IETF relevant documents (RFC 3066 Bis not applying),
the debate should have been closed after my mail. The continuation of the thread along the same lines and
discussing European Union specifics irrelevant to the case, might lead to think this would be an ad-hominem
gesticulation, posturing to the benefit of external public.

§ "Posting privileges suspended until February 13, 2006, according to RFC 3934 section 2, which does
not permit longer suspensions under the rules of that RFC. I think this is the fifth time."

The casualness in managing participants posting privileges and counting decisions, seems to imply a lack
of serious. It would to confirm the idea of a gesticulation for other purposes in mind.