Re: Facepalm gesture/emoticon proposal

From: Asmus Freytag (
Date: Thu Mar 03 2011 - 17:31:15 CST

  • Next message: Andrew West: "Re: Facepalm gesture/emoticon proposal"

    On 3/3/2011 2:27 PM, Doug Ewell wrote:
    > Asmus Freytag<asmusf at ix dot netcom dot com> wrote:
    >> OK, I admit, I've done it myself - and would to it again, in cases
    >> like
    >> Hexadecimal Digits
    >> Localisable Phrases
    >> Pixel instructions
    >> Common to these proposals is that they are not plain characters, but
    >> rather have elements of control or layout function and that they are
    >> not (arguably) about representing a *symbol* used in writing *text*
    >> (to paraphrase Ken's excellent recent contribution). In these cases,
    >> and similar examples, it's much harder to conceive of a way that they
    >> could be made to fit the scope of Unicode, and I've not been hesitant
    >> to express that view. :)
    > Actually, I thought the hexadecimal digits (unlike your other examples)
    > were clearly plain-text characters, just as much so as compatibility
    > Roman numerals. No doubt, they had other critical problems, such as
    > confusability with Basic Latin and lack of an essential input method,
    > and were the wrong way to go about solving the stated layout problem.

    OK. Point taken - the issue with them is more in the line of having been
    rejected with prejudice before.
    >>> lohmatii's original question to the public list was whether it was
    >>> "possible" that his suggested symbols would be encoded.

    Actually, in this particular case, I thought the poster's question was
    more like "when will you guys get around to it" rather than a "should I
    bother to submit it". At least how I read it. The wording was very
    ambiguous, I admit.

    >>> Since the
    >>> public list has no standing in the decision to encode or not, perhaps
    >>> the stock answer to all such questions should be, "I don't know;
    >>> write up a proposal and find out."
    > You didn't respond to this, but when someone comes onto the list and
    > says "Is it possible that X could be encoded?", the only possibilities
    > seem to be:
    > (a) handicapping the potential proposal
    > (b) laying out the process, precedents, policies and criteria
    > (c) "I don't know; write up a proposal and find out"
    > (d) ignore the post

    OK. let me respond more specifically:

    Generally, in a case like that, (b) would seem to me the preferred
    response, as in "nothing will happen without somebody doing the work to
    formally submit a proposal".

    There's a distinction between what I call handicapping and something
    similar that you didn't mention, and for which I don't have a nice term.
    It's partially captured in the "criteria" part of (b).

    The closest thing I can think about, outside Unicode, is the
    "extraordinary claims need extraordinary levels of evidence" thing.

    In other words, I think it's fine to point out the *difficulties* in
    presenting a particular proposal - but it can be done in a way that
    points out how these difficulties might be met. I think it's also
    useful, to not just respond but to try to get more information.

    In this case, there are considerable hurdles that the proposal would
    have to take. Their nature is clear, but whether they can in the end be
    surmounted depends on details we usually don't know in the very early
    exploratory phase.

    Now, going back over the thread, I think that your initial reply was
    much closer to what I just described than your later attempts at
    summarizing (although I wouldn't have written the first paragraph quite
    the same way ;) ).

    > Since (b) is so easily misinterpreted as (a), and (c) doesn't help the
    > poster decide whether it is worth his time to write a formal proposal, I
    > guess I'll stick with (d).

    I'm not trying to keep you from responding to posts - and your point of
    view that is highly skeptical of certain symbols adds a useful
    counterweight to others who have a more encouraging stance.

    lohmati netizen hasn't been back, and we don't know why.

    I would have asked him: "Do you consider this a symbol? Why? Have you
    seen it used in writing text? Where?"

    Perhaps we could have found out a bit more.


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