Re: Emoji: Public Review December 2008

From: Doug Ewell (
Date: Mon Dec 22 2008 - 23:53:23 CST

Kenneth Whistler <kenw at sybase dot com> wrote:

> Game, set, match! {Insert e-7D3 TENNIS emoji here}


James is right -- the ability to see private-use characters always
depends on having the correct rendering support, including font
coverage. (That goes for formally defined characters, too. If I found
a passage in N'Ko or Shavian -- say, the title of a Queen song -- and
pasted it into this message, a lot of people would see boxes or question

Obviously a DoCoMo phone, or a SoftBank phone, or a KDDI phone is
expected to have the necessary font coverage and other rendering support
(perhaps including animation) to handle the relevant emoji repertoire.
Those phones probably do not support other PUA repertoires, or N'Ko or

A suitable private-use mapping, documented by a private agreement (which
does not mean "secret," but simply "defined outside the formal
standard"), could solve whatever problem is deemed to exist here. That
the three Japanese vendors did not work out such a private agreement,
but chose different ranges of code points for their respective subsets
of the full emoji set, does not make Unicode responsible for unifying
the code points.

> Private use is *private*, from the point of view of global text search
> engines. If you want a search engine that works with your particular
> private use, you are always free to write one. ;-)

This is getting a bit off the topic of emoji, but if I search for
<U+E69B U+E6B4 U+E690> I don't see why the search engine shouldn't be
able to find a page containing <U+E69B U+E6B4 U+E690> regardless of what
it means.

> You conveniently ignored the example that I was commenting on,
> provided by Clark Cox. Those 4 emoji, even though used as an
> illustration of the process and not for their actual semantic values,
> were not transient text messages from one phone to another, soon
> forgotten. They were in a phone to internet email message, which was
> posted on a public email forum, and which is then automatically
> *archived* into that email forum message archive. And the archive is
> itself then indexed by various automatic processes which further munge
> and store its content in various *other* databases and archives.

The only reason that message made it to the public e-mail forum,
archive, etc. is that we were talking about emoji, and someone asked for
a sample. Are there many known cases of emoji in publicly archived
messages? Again, some evidence would be nice, instead of "the symbols
exist, therefore tons of people are using them."

Doug Ewell  *  Thornton, Colorado, USA  *  RFC 4645  *  UTN #14  ˆ

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