Re: Is there a term for strictly-just-this-encoding-and-not-really-that-encoding?

From: Jim Monty (
Date: Wed Nov 10 2010 - 18:15:26 CST

  • Next message: Martin J. Dürst: "Re: Is there a term for strictly-just-this-encoding-and-not-really-that-encoding?"

    I like "lowest common denominator" as a helpful term. It's familiar and means
    just the right thing, euphemistically.
    Thank you, Asmus. You groked what I struggled to express.
    Jim Monty

    ----- Original Message ----
    From: Asmus Freytag <>
    To: Jim Monty <>
    Sent: Wed, November 10, 2010 1:38:55 PM
    Subject: Re: Is there a term for

    If you want to get that point across to a general audience, you could use a more
    colloquial term, albeit one that itself derives from mathematics.

    Text that can be completely expressed in ASCII is fits into something (ASCII)
    that works as a "lowest common denominator" of a large number of character sets.

    You could call it "lowest common denominator" text.

    Since ASCII is the only set that exhibits such a lowest common denominator
    relationship with enough other sets to make it interesting, and since that
    relation is so well known, it's usually enough to just refer to it by name
    (ASCII) without needing a general term - except perhaps for general audiences
    that aren't very familiar with it.

    In this kinds of discussions I find it invariably useful to mention that the
    copyright sign is not part of ASCII. (I suspect that it's the most common
    character that makes a text lose its "lowest common denominator" status).


    On 11/10/2010 11:41 AM, Jim Monty wrote:
    > Here's a peculiar question.
    > Is there a standard term to describe text that is in some subset CCS of
    > CCS but, strictly speaking, is only really in the subset CCS because it
    > have any characters in it other than those represented in the smaller CCS?
    > (The fact that I struggled to phrase this question in a way that made my
    > clear -- and failed -- is precisely my dilemma.)
    > Text that has in it only characters that are in the
    > ASCII character encoding is also in the ISO 8859-1 character encoding and the
    > UTF-8 character encoding form of the Unicode coded character set, right? I
    > need to talk and write about text that has such multiple personalities, but I
    > invariably struggle to make my point clearly and succinctly. I wind up
    > describing the notion of it in awkwardly verbose detail.
    > So I'm left wondering if the character encoding cognoscenti have a special
    > utilitarian word for this, maybe one borrowed from mathematics (set theory).
    > Jim Monty

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