CyberTech Rambler

August 19, 2008

ISO rule mess?

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 11:59 am

As PJ pointed out, I did feel that the wording “[OOXML is] subject[ed] to no further appeals against the decision.” on ISO Press Release about rejecting the four appeals very strange. It is very strongly worded. I would had just simply said the “decision is final”. The way I see it, there are two possibilities: (1) Bad translation to English, or some cultural background by the writer creeping into the Press Release or (2) a strong suggestion to anyone who wants to mount a further appeal that ISO will view this dimly or worse, we made up our mind so any further appeal will be futile.

Bad translation is possible. There is nothing to say that ISO’s working language must be English. More likely is we have a cultural background of the writer creeping into the language. I write differently from my fellow citizen and our cultural predisposition flood into our writing, consciously or subconsciously. This is especially when one is multilingual and whose first language is not English.

The second possibility is of course very sinister. I do not think this is the ISO view. I am more incline to write the wording down to cultural predisposition as I feel it is the most likely cause. However, it does highlight one thing: Never write in a way that is so absolute especially when you are trying to convey the procedures/rules of a big corporation.

PJ had found what she think is a route for further appeals. I am not surprised if she is correct. I would not even blame the framer of the Press Release for conveying the wrong information if this is the case. ISO is a big corporation with complex rules. No one person knows all the rules, not even those whose job description means they are suppose to know it by heart.

I do have one worry. This OOXML process highlighted the fact that ISO rules are unclear to a lot of people, including participants from National Bodies. Some even have the appearance of being made up on the spot according to some loose ISO guidelines and are not subjected to proper check-and-balance. Is this another case of making up rules on the spot? If so, it must be stopped.

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