Re: On the possibility of encoding webdings in Unicode (from Re: square bullets added to unicode.)

From: Asmus Freytag (
Date: Thu Jan 27 2011 - 12:31:01 CST

  • Next message: Doug Ewell: "Re: What can be encoded in 2011? (from Re: On the possibility of encoding webdings in Unicode)"

    On 1/27/2011 9:41 AM, Neil Harris wrote:
    > On 27/01/11 14:44, Doug Ewell wrote:
    >> William_J_G Overington<wjgo underscore 10009 at btinternet dot com>
    >> wrote:
    >>> Even if the door has been opened, I do not understand why the opening
    >>> of the door for encoding anything graphic as characters would be
    >>> considered to be wrong. There are many unused planes of character
    >>> codepoints. I feel that it is better to use some of them if some
    >>> people want to use them. Indeed I have various ideas for encoding
    >>> things as characters that are not just graphic characters, such as my
    >>> idea for encoding localizable sentences.
    >> The UTC and WG2 do have a set of principles and policies for what sort
    >> of things are appropriate to encode in a character encoding and what
    >> sort of things are not. Regardless of whether any of those principles
    >> were compromised by encoding the emoji, the door is NOT wide open for
    >> adding all kinds of encodable "stuff" to Unicode.
    >> The fact that there are 865,000 unassigned code points does NOT change
    >> this. It would not matter if there were 865 million.
    >> This needs to be an FAQ, if it is not already. I've seen several people
    >> besides William express this view; William is merely one of the most
    >> persistent.
    >> --
    >> Doug Ewell | Thornton, Colorado, USA |
    >> RFC 5645, 4645, UTN #14 | ietf-languages @ is dot gd slash 2kf0s ­
    > Yes, this definitely seems to be a FAQ.
    > As far as I can see, the goal of many of these proposals seems to be
    > to adapt Unicode to implement something on the lines of Leibniz'
    > _characteristica universalis_,

    Nicely put!
    > The core problem with these proposals seems to me not to be their
    > radical nature as novel writing systems and/or constructed languages,
    > but the pragmatic issue that their proponents believe they should be
    > encoded without having first demonstrated widespread use because of
    > their idealistic nature and -- to their proponents -- obvious inherent
    > worth that justifies them being made an exception to the normal
    > encoding rules.

    Which makes them different from boundary-pushing proposals from
    concerned group of stake-holders, where the interest is not idealistic,
    but pragmatic. They have identified a real problem and are looking for a
    practical, implementable, and, if adopted, readily supportable solution.
    And they don't hesitate to provide the necessary evidence, nor do they
    refuse reasonable technical alternatives, if these are identified in
    discussion and review of their proposals.
    > I wonder if the best approach to take to this class of proposals would
    > be to point their proponents in the direction of the Private Use Area,
    > and documentation on how to make their own fonts in freely
    > distributable formats, and then invite them to come back when they
    > have a large community of real-world users using their new writing
    > system to exchange plain-text messages for non-artificial purposes, at
    > which point they could then apply to go through the normal process for
    > encoding?
    This puts me in mind of my first physics conference I attended as a
    student. Among all the high caliber presentations was one that provided
    for an alternate history of the solar system, held together by
    electrical forces instead of gravity, among other interesting notions,
    most of which were violating at least one conservation law or principle
    of relativity. It soon appeared that the presenter was a regular, and
    that he had quite a fan club. Not necessarily of believers, but of
    people looking for a bit of diversion from the otherwise strenuous
    conference program. Rather than push back rigidly and be mired in
    eternal conflict, the organizers evidently realized the entertainment
    value of the situation.

    Yes, you can point proponents to the PUA, but I don't think for a
    moment, that you would be telling them something new.


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