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ISO 639 language identifiers are alpha-2, alpha-3, and alpha-4 strings. The future may even give us longer strings. There are hundreds of possible "conflicts" with other coding systems and applications of various coding systems.

The issue here is not "www" as in "www.prettymuchanything.com", but the fact that one application, the Wikipedia (albeit "important"), has chosen to use ISO 639 identifiers to designate subdomains. When an application choses to use items from a different code space in this way, it needs to realize that it has its limitations. ISO 639 was there before the Wikipedia; whether "www = Wawa" was assigned before or after the time that the Wikipedia started the current practice, isn't relevant.

It so happens that Wawa is an "unimportant" language. Is that relevant at all? So Wikipedia is "important" and Wawa is "unimportant"; how important and unimportant do things need to be for the principles of ISO 639 stability to be broken? There are many other "important" two-, three-, and four-letter words and abbreviations. How many should be on the list of "items that are reserved because someone might want to use them for something else"?

Best regards,
Håvard

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Håvard Hjulstad
  prosjektleder / Project Manager
  Standard Norge / Standards Norway
  [log in to unmask]
  http://www.standard.no/
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-----Opprinnelig melding-----
Fra: ISO 639 Joint Advisory Committee [mailto:[log in to unmask]] På vegne av Michael Everson
Sendt: 21. juli 2011 15:55
Til: [log in to unmask]
Emne: Re: ISO-639 code 'www'

I think I have shown that Peter's points are not actually very good. 

There is no harm to the Wawa in retiring a problematic code and shifting to another one. And "ftp" should certainly be reserved.

On 21 Jul 2011, at 14:33, Guenther, Rebecca wrote:

> Good points, Peter. We also should stick with our principle not to change codes.
> 
> Rebecca
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: ISO 639 Joint Advisory Committee [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Peter Constable
> Sent: Wednesday, July 20, 2011 6:45 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: ISO-639 code 'www'
> 
> I'm reluctant to take this change. It is based on a poor design in consuming applications or protocols in not isolating language identifiers from other pieces of information. For instance, one could equally imagine someone asking for a change to the alpha-2 ID for Catalan because some application or protocol has a conflict between "ca" for Catalan vs. "ca" for Canada. In the IETF discussion, there was a suggestion that perhaps "ftp" should also be permanently reserved in ISO 639. To me, this is not sensible.
> 
> Wrt lables like "ftp", when used in "ftp://", those are protocol identifiers that never interact with language identifiers. There is absolutely no basis in this case to claim collision with ISO 639.
> 
> Wrt the Internet domain name system (including internationalized domain names), there is nothing inherent to the domain name system that points to requirements being placed on ISO 639. Top level domains names are controlled by ICANN and will never collide with ISO 639 IDs. Registered domain identifiers that fall under a top-level domain are basically at the discretion of the registrant (subject to availability, of course); these should never be used in conflict with ISO 639, and if anybody tried to make such a claim it would not be supported by ICANN. Deeper level domain IDs, including "www", are entirely at the discretion of the individual registered-domain owner; someone could design their naming conventions to conflict with any number of ISO 639 IDs (or ISO 3166, or ...), but IMO we should not ever accommodate such requests.
> 
> 
> Peter
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: ISO 639 Joint Advisory Committee [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Guenther, Rebecca
> Sent: Wednesday, July 20, 2011 1:01 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: ISO-639 code 'www'
> 
> We say that we only deprecate a code for compelling reasons. This may be a compelling reason, however. Plus the language code probably isn't that frequently used. 
> 
> Rebecca 
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: ISO 639 Joint Advisory Committee [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of ISO639-3
> Sent: Wednesday, July 20, 2011 3:04 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Fwd: ISO-639 code 'www'
> 
> Dear ISO Committee members,
> 
> This request came to me a bit earlier in the spring. I put it out to the IETF and received varying replies. I am hesitant to deprecate a code for practical reasons which have nothing to do with language encoding, but would like to hear your input.
> 
> Melinda Lyons
> ISO639-3 RA
> SIL International
> 7500 W. Camp Wisdom Rd.
> Dallas, TX 75236
> 
> 
> 
>  --- the forwarded message follows ---

Michael Everson * http://www.evertype.com/