Re: Facepalm gesture/emoticon proposal

From: Andrew West (
Date: Thu Mar 03 2011 - 19:13:38 CST

  • Next message: William_J_G Overington: "Re: Facepalm gesture/emoticon proposal"

    On 3 March 2011 23:31, Asmus Freytag <> wrote:
    > 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.

    From the perspective of someone who is not familiar with the character
    encoding process, the argument probably goes something like this:

    1. Unicode encodes emoticons.

    "The universe of symbols is rich and open-ended. The collection of
    encoded symbols in the Unicode Standard encompasses the following: ...
    emoticons" (

    "open-ended" ... sounds to me like it is an unfinished set that we are
    being invited to help add to.

    TUS clearly states that "the five cultural symbols encoded in the
    range U+1F5FB..U+1F5FF ... are encoded for compatibility with the core
    emoji sets used by Japanese cell phone carriers, and are not intended
    to set a precedent for encoding additional sets of cultural landmarks
    or other pictographic cultural symbols as characters" (p.503).
    However, there is nothing in the text about emoticons on page 503 to
    suggest that emoticons are also only encoded for compatibility, and
    that no more may be added in the future, so evidently there is no
    similar restriction on the encoding of more emoticons.

    2. The facepalm symbol is an emoticon.


    People use this emoticon in semantically meaningful ways to transmit
    messages across the internet:


    3. Therefore Unicode should encode the facepalm emoticon.

    I expect that they overlooked it, but if I tell them about this widely
    used and ever so important emoticon they will jump at the opportunity
    to improve the emoticon coverage of Unicode.


    As someone who is familiar with the character encoding process I could
    perhaps find some holes in this line of argument; but it seems to me
    that Unicode is intended to facilitate written communication, and if
    some people feel the need to communicate in emoticons rather than with
    "proper" letters or ideographs, then who are we to snootily turn them
    away? Are the needs of millions of internet message board users
    somehow less important than the needs of a handful of academics
    studying some obscure, extinct, and barely deciphered script that has
    not been used for communication for hundreds of years?

    Andrew 🙌

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