From: =?iso-8859-1?Q?Marc Brugui=E8res?= (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Wed Nov 02 2005 - 14:31:00 CST
Kenneth Whistler answered:
> Marc Bruguières asked:
> > > The convention of using rulings over strings of Latin letters
> > > to indicate higher values should be handled by styles, rather
> > > than by individual insertion of combining lines over single characters.
> > Why? (I can imagine a reason but please explain yourself.)
> The Roman numeral overscoring convention takes a *chunk* of text
> and scores it -- that is built into the definition of the convention.
> It could be emulated in print by concatenating a bunch of individually
> scored letters (using combining marks in a Unicode encoding), but
> that is basically using forks to dig holes instead of using shovels.
First of all, thank you for this longer answer.
So you are limiting what is plain text by a perceived technical difficulty (I personally see no problem considering things differently: each letter is multiplied by a diacritic which is in any case associated to it, so no problem during cut and paste and such)?
> To my mind this is comparable to claiming that "arguably" a
> superscript number has a plain-text meaning that should be
> encodable as such. And reasoning from that conclusion that arbitrary
> spans of superscripted (or subscripted) numbers should then
> be represented in terms of distinguished encoded characters,
> rather than as superscript or subscript styles.
> I think it is clear that the better, more generic representation
> of superscript and subscript elements is via styles.
For formulae, styles are not even sufficient, but I don’t think that basic numbers (not something to the power of something) that may appear outside formulae should be encoded using styles. Of course, you will maintain that those numbers are not simply evocation of large numbers but formulae. I would disagree when one simply mentions natural numbers.
> > Why is an indication of a thousand multiplication less
> > worthy of plain text encoding than a macron in other places.
> Well, to start off, it isn't a macron, but an overscore.
Okay. But let’s not nitpick here.
> For a *single* character, as seen in the table Philippe
> cited for the French Wikipedia entry, use of combining
> overscore is perfectly appropriate as a way to represent
> such text elements. For construction of entire, long,
> numerical expressions, it is not.
Sorry, this is still not clear.
> > Well, perhaps, but why not in general and why not here?
> > A thousand multiplier, simply a macron,
> It isn't simply a macron.
There we go; you don’t answer and hit the ball off sides.
Let’s go again: “A thousand multiplier, simply an overline,”
> > a simple enough and clear enough plain text sign looks to me.
> > What is your definition of plain text?
> See the Unicode Standard, 4.0, p. 18
A pointer would be so much better (I don’t have money to buy the book)
But in any case I see “that it represents content only and not its appearance. […] /Plain text must contain enough information to permit the text to be rendered legibly, and nothing more/”.
If you remove the thousands multiplier and banish it to styling, this is clearly not true anymore: the plain text does not contain enough information to permit the text to be rendered legibly.
> > Right know your “arguably not” sounds as arbitrary as
> > "those who know when something should be coded in plain text,
> > those who do not know, don't know what to code in plain text."
> Huh? Something incomplete there.
Indeed. I correct:
/Right know your “arguably not” sounds as arbitrary as “those who know when something should be coded in plain text, know; and those who do not know, don't know what to code in plain text.”/ An esoteric and occult art of a sort. But I must say, I rather like the explanations you gave about spans (stateful encodings) – at least it is a reasonable argument – although I’m not convinced it applies here (for basic natural numbers), at this stage.
> People can and have come on this list claiming, for example,
> that text color should be "coded in plain text", despite the
> fact that the standard suggests otherwise. In such cases, it
> shouldn't be too surprising that people retort, "arguably,
> not..." without feeling the need to recapitulate the standard's
> discussion of plain text for each email exchange.
A basic sign (you mentioned overline) that already exists does not seem very comparable to the request of using colours. I’m not sure I like what this analogy entails regarding the request I made (it was as foolish as?).
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