Representing Additional Types of Flags

Doug Ewell doug at
Tue Jun 30 16:57:19 CDT 2015

Re-posting my comments and questions on this PRI to the list. I've
already submitted them as formal feedback.


I support this proposal. I have the following questions:

1. The existing RIS-based flag mechanism is based on ISO 3166-1 (TUS 7.0
§22.10). In this proposal, "valid" tag sequences would instead be
determined by CLDR data and LDML specification. Is there any precedent
for CLDR to define the validity of Unicode character sequences?

2. What is the policy on generating flag tags with deprecated
unicode_region_subtag or unicode_subdivision_subtag values, such as
"[flag]UK"? How "discouraged" would such a tag be? Should tools allow
users to create such a tag?

3. The subdivisions.xml file contains a "subtype" hierarchy, reflecting
the "parent subdivision" relationship in ISO 3166-2. So region 'FR'
contains subdivision 'J' (Île-de-France), which itself contains
subdivision '75' (Paris). Is there any significance to the "subtype"
hierarchy as far as flag tags are concerned, or are "[flag]FRJ" and
"[flag]FR75" equally valid?

4. The entry for "001" in subdivisions.xml contains each of the
two-letter codes for regions (countries) that have their own
subdivisions. This is less than the set of all regions; for example,
Anguilla (AI) does not have ISO 3166-2 subdivisions and so is not
listed. This implies that a tag like "[flag]001US" is valid (and
equivalent to "US" spelled with RIS, which is preferred) but
"[flag]001AI" is not valid. Is this intended? If not, can it be

5. Will any preliminary examples of CLDR 4-character subdivision codes
be made available before any such codes are actually assigned?


The PRI #299 mechanism is clearly and intentionally oriented toward
representing flags of well-defined geopolitical entities.

Any proposal to extend the mechanism to cover the many other types of
flags -- for historical regions, NGOs, maritime, sports, or social or
political causes -- must be systematic and well-planned, not ad-hoc or
haphazard, to assure interoperability and extensibility.

The documentation for the PRI #299 mechanism should state clearly that
(e.g.) the Confederate battle flag, the Olympic flag, the Esperanto
flag, the LGBT rainbow flag, and the naval flags used to spell out
"ENGLAND EXPECTS" can be represented only via a proper extension to the
mechanism, not by ad-hoc means such as the use of unassigned or
private-use combinations. This is at least as important as ensuring the
stable coding of geopolitical flags.

Doug Ewell | | Thornton, CO ����

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