Re: What can be encoded in 2011? (from Re: On the possibility of encoding webdings in Unicode)

From: Doug Ewell (
Date: Thu Jan 27 2011 - 12:36:17 CST

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    William_J_G Overington <wjgo underscore 10009 at btinternet dot com>

    >> 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.
    > Well, "compromised" is one way of expressing it. The phrase "updated by decisions made due to modern needs" is another way of expressing it.

    Without reopening the emoji debate again, the ability to communicate by
    drawing little pictures instead of writing text, or alongside text, is
    hardly a question of "modern" versus "old-fashioned." I solved (and
    created) rebus puzzles in workbooks 40 years ago.

    > Well, when there was only plane 0 many of the things that have since been encoded in plane 1 and plane 2 could not have been encoded, due to space considerations. Plenty of space is no reason to encode just anything, yet plenty of space does allow for encoding things that have merit for encoding that could not have been encoded before that space was available.

    Exactly. So you need to demonstrate merit for encoding, and leave space
    considerations out of the discussion.

    > Yes, an FAQ would be fine. Yet please let it be written on decisions taken in 2011 on the state of the art in encoding issues in 2011, not on decisions taken in the twentieth century. Those early decisions were necessary at the time in the context of the time, yet need to be reviewed in the light of the current state of the art in 2011, current research thinking in 2011 and the needs of 2011.

    This has nothing to do with 2011. Telegraphy code books existed over a
    hundred years ago that compressed sentences into short codes. That does
    not make the encoded items characters in any sense.

    > I feel that if the Unicode Technical Committee were to hold a Public Review on whether to encode some localizable sentences in plane 7 then there is a good chance that great progress could be made. I feel that whether that Public Review is held in 2011 should be a decision made in 2011 by the Unicode Technical Committee based on the state of the art in 2011, current research thinking in 2011 and the needs of 2011.

    Why don't you write a proper document describing this proposed system,
    including a starter list of sentences that would be appropriate for such
    a system -- a few thousand non-repetitive sentences ought to be a good
    start, given the expressiveness of human discourse -- and solicit (and
    accept) feedback, rather than asking the UTC to hold a Public Review
    without a base document. Be sure to include rationales for why you feel
    localizable sentences constitute "characters" in the Unicode sense (or
    why a character encoding needs no such requirement), and why you feel
    this unproven and unadopted system qualifies for permanent, worldwide

    Doug Ewell | Thornton, Colorado, USA |
    RFC 5645, 4645, UTN #14 | ietf-languages @ is dot gd slash 2kf0s ­

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