Re: Three modest proposals

Date: Sat Apr 02 2011 - 18:45:30 CST

  • Next message: Julian Bradfield: "Re: Three modest proposals"

    From: Andrew West (
    > On 1 April 2011 21:27, Julian Bradfield <> wrote:
    > >
    > > Of course, the same goes for mah-jong, playing cards, and all sorts
    > > of other junk in Unicode. That's not a reason to add more junk. Every
    > > added character makes a lot of work for anybody trying to provide
    > > complete coverage, or complete non-Han coverage.
    > That's one of the worst possible reasons not to encode new characters
    > that I've ever heard. If everyone had that attitude then Unicode
    > would never have taken off in the first place, and we'd be stuck with
    > ASCII because it is easier to support than Unicode.
    > Andrew

    Actually, it's an incredibly potent reason to /not/ encode items that aren't used as characters.

    Obviously, Peter has indicated a hesitation based on the fact that they tend to be used as fill paterns, instead of as independent characters. I think it's a fairly valid point - what does it open us up to, and shy should the semantics of the preexisting characters be extended to heraldic use? I also think that getting a couple texts where there is a little sheild or square with those fills used in-line with plain text would be a significant factor in overcoming that particular objection. If these examples exist - if they are actually used by knowledgable people in the field to refer offhandedly to gules and verd and or and argent, then that's the ball game.

    The one thing I don't know how to articulate is why I so instantly accept the tarot additions as simple extensions of an existing set, while the heraldic hatchings seem so clearly more tenuous. Like I said, the heraldic hatchings would move from 'extreme caution' in my mind to 'let's go for it' if we could just find the hatchings used within plain text - not as an explanation to the laity of the hatchings used in a diagram, but where one expert-in-the-field is writing to others, and he just assumes that everyone knows what those little filled squares mean.

    And I disagree with the characterization of playing cards and mah-jongg tiles (pun intended) as junk. Possibly because of the importance of games in my family, I have seen simple playing cards and mah-jongg tile images used as plain text elements before. Admittedly, I have more often seen A♠ than 🂡, but that does not pejorate the use of playing card "images" in plain text, in my mind.


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