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In my world, a civil war was fought between a united human government, and the human colonies that felt alienated from the republic. Despite lacking in conventional weapons, the colonials used terraformers to destroy entire planets, by ruining the existing planet's biosphere and replacing it with whatever the terraformer was set to. terraformers are depicted as massive bipedal robots (due to rule of cool).

After the colonies terraformed Earth, the surviving population eventually forgot the culture and knowledge they had once had known, and were sent back to the stone age. The new people of earth formed a religion worshiping the decrepit bodies of the terraformers, with their holy book (the Libre Terra) being a owner's manual for the terraformers.

In the Libre Terra, I want to reference standards for the use and regulation of the terraformers, but I have little idea how standards work, especially for use of a widespread technology, or what kind of standards organization (like ISO) that this would fall under.

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  • $\begingroup$ ISO standards have designations of the form ISO nnnnn-pp:yyyy, for example ISO 10303-21:1994 (specifies the file format associated with the Standard for the Exchange of Product model data, aka STEP); nnnnn is a 1 to 5 digits number identifying the subject matter of the standard, e.g. ISO 16 specifies the frequency of the musical pitch A above middle C; -pp is optional and specifies a part, when the standard is too complex to be handled as one single specification, e.g., ISO 8859 is eight-bit coded character sets, and ISO 8859-15 is specifically the Latin Alphabet № 9; and yyyy is the year. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Aug 15 at 12:30
  • $\begingroup$ But you don't want to say "ISO" standard. ISO is a trademark of the International Organization for Standardization, and they don't like people taking their name in vain. So make up a fictitious standardization body, let's say, Unistan (long name Interplanetary Unified Standards Board), and a scheme for designating standards; for example, the operation of terraformers could be Unistan T.4402-XII, management of terraforming projects could be T.4166-III etc. Moreover, the "regulation" of anything is never a standard, but rather a matter of national or local law. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Aug 15 at 12:34
  • $\begingroup$ Relevant: theregister.com/2012/06/22/reg_standards_vid $\endgroup$ – The Square-Cube Law Aug 16 at 2:09
  • $\begingroup$ This isn't a worldbuilding question. How to write a manual that references standards from credentialed standards organizations is, at best, a question about technical writing (which I've done). Standards organizations are complex, the standards they promote are complex, and explaining how it all works is well beyond the intend of [worldubilding.se]. Frankly, inventing a bunch of TLOs (three-letter-acronyms) and some random number/letter formats will be easier. But, nonetheless, this isn't about the development and consistent use of rules for a fictional world. $\endgroup$ – JBH Aug 16 at 3:19
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Owners manuals are pretty lacking in international standards, and full of dry detail carefully explained.

Look at the owners manual for other massive, complex bits of technology:

If you're trying to build a society where people worship a dry boring document something along these lines is going to be a struggle, the context is almost always recoverable from looking at a single page.

However if the documents had decayed, and only, say the warnings, which were printed in bolder ink, were readable, that might do. Skimming through these manuals only reading the warnings one example is: "Be certain the water heater is full of water and does not contain air. If the water heater is not full of water, damage to the heating elements may result when electrical power is turned on to the unit." Add in some mistranslations and some words whose meanings change over time, and you've got yourselves a nice parable.

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It was translated into English via Google. It sounded like Zen mantras initially... and then they turned it into a religion. Throw in some language drift.

"Cleanse the outlets eliminating the smell" is an instruction, not a holy commandment to wipe your butt better. Despite what priests might claim.

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