Re: Emoji: emoticons vs. literacy

From: James Kass (
Date: Thu Jan 01 2009 - 15:59:56 CST

Asmus Freytag wrote,

>That's digressing and therefore irrelevant. The current practice is
>using ":)" or "8)" or ":evil:" in contexts where the sender inserts them
>by selecting a picture from a list and the receiver sees that picture
>inserted into the text stream. That makes ":)" etc, function like *markup*.

It is axiomatic that plain-text does not include little multicolored
pictures. Therefore, any application which inserts little multicolored
pictures in place of text strings is not a plain-text application.

It has been said that, 'a committee is an organism which feeds
on itself'.

Let's consider the committee as organism for a moment.

The instinct for self preservation is essential to the survival of
any higher organism.

Unicode has been around for a while. The majority of the world's
writing systems and textual symbols have been encoded. The "pipeline"
continues to shrink. The remaining candidates for plain-text
encoding are mainly historical items entailing little or no controversy.

This seriously threatens the committee-organism. No more paid
positions serving as liaison for this-or-that 800-pound corporate
gorilla. No more junkets to exotic places (at somebody else's expense)
like Tahiti, Bora-Bora, or Redmond. Darkness at the end of the tunnel.

But, wait! What if we trash our axioms?

Suppose we decide that plain-text *can* include little multi-colored
pictures? Suppose we propose to include an existing icon set from
Japanese telephone vendors? Of course, we'd have to slide it by
everyone else. This might be accomplished by announcing a public
review of the proposal while insisting that comments must be
positive and supporting. This proposal should be presented as
a "done deal". We could just ignore anything posted by those who
have faithfully supported our efforts in the past, such as legitimate
requests for pertinent information. We would have to be careful to
refrain from responding to rabble-rousing list members, of course,
as our position is really indefensible. When we *do* respond, we
should be careful to offer nothing of substance, but rather we
should provide all manner of attractive red herrings. Remember,
once we start down that 'slippery slope', we open the door to all
sorts of non-textual symbols, ensuring our continued survival.

Sound far-fetched? Take a moment to make an informal mental
survey. Ask yourself in general...

Who is supporting the proposal? (Committee members unanimously,
and a few others.)

Who is opposing the proposal? (Independents, many of whom are
unpaid volunteers, or whose livelihood does not depend on the
encoding process.)

That tell you anything?

(This is one time I wouldn't mind being wrong.)

Wouldn't it be more honest for those interested in icons, signage,
avatars, western brands, logos, styles, colors, and so forth, and
their own continuing existence, to start a new standard?

"Unicode-plus" could ensure a standard for exchanging all manner
of rich-text. Please leave plain-text axioms alone.

We must not allow those who disdain plain text to define it!

Best regards,

James Kass

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