Re: Three modest proposals

From: Doug Ewell (
Date: Sun Apr 03 2011 - 12:16:44 CDT

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    Julian Bradfield wrote:

    > I don't read Western playing-card literature, but I have most English-
    > language mah-jong books, and a fair selection of other languages
    > (including Chinese), and I've never seen mah-jong tiles used in a way
    > that says to me "this is intended as a plain text character", rather
    > than "this is a picture embedded in the line of text". That usage
    > seems exactly analogous to children's word-picture books - will
    > Unicode encode pictures of ducks, pigs and so on because people
    > publish children's books in which they use pictures to replace words?
    > (OK, I know many of them are already in the emoji characters, but
    > let's not go there again.) I am surprised if the same is not true of
    > playing cards.

    For better or worse, it seems that many symbols have been encoded
    largely on the basis of one or two books that show the symbol embedded
    in a line of text, with no distinction drawn as to whether readers would
    perceive the symbol itself as text or as an embedded image.

    This is now supplemented by the power of precedent; it becomes
    increasingly easy to argue that these characters should be encoded
    because those characters are already encoded, and could form part of the
    same set.


    Doug Ewell | Thornton, Colorado, USA | RFC 5645, 4645, UTN #14 | | @DougEwell ­ 

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