Re: Upside Down Fu character

From: <>
Date: Mon, 09 Jan 2012 02:52:28 -0800

From: Asmus Freytag <>
> On 1/8/2012 1:41 PM, Doug Ewell wrote:
> > I think "if this were encoded, I think people might want to use it" was
> explicitly not a reason to encode something.
> Doug,
> I think you are possibly overstating this slightly.
> As often quoted, it's a maxim intended to guard against encoding
> characters for which there is no practical need (and which, perhaps,
> only the proponent wishes to use as characters, while other users tend
> to not use it in text, use graphics, etc.).
> In particular, it seems to apply best in situation where it is the
> *only* argument made in favor of encoding something.
> However, there are many situations, even involving things are clearly
> legitimate characters, where the following, almost identical statement
> turns out to hold:
> "if this were encoded, I think *more* people might want to use it" (or
> "will use it")
> Restated in this manner, it's just a truism, therefore neither an
> argument for or against encoding something.
> As presented below the argument appears to actually be something more like:
> "if this were encoded, I think people would use it in electronic data,
> not just print, handwriting, etc."
> On the face of it, the statement isn't that far different from the
> earlier lines. However, instead of being a warning against encoding,
> it's one of the standard rationales for it: if an entity exists in
> traditional forms of text, but not digital data, then the lack of
> encoding is a plausible explanation for that fact, and encoding the
> character would allow Unicode to cover such textual context.
> I have no opinion on the Upside-down FU ideograph as a candidate for
> encoding, but I think any analysis of its merits needs to be more
> nuanced than what your message seemed to imply.
> A./

While I generally agree with your more nuanced view on this matter, Asmus, I'm
afraid I have to disagree in this particular case. The upside down Fu has been
used decoratively for a thousand years (it's a Chinese pun), and if anyone
wanted to use it in plain text, they would have by now. With a character of
such antiquity, there really is no question of computer technology suppressing
its use. Put simply, people have either used this character in plain text, or
they haven't. If someone can dig up a couple example texts, then it's no
question. If nobody can find those example texts, I think that speaks volumes
on the utility of the character and its suitability to encoding.

Received on Mon Jan 09 2012 - 04:58:34 CST

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