Re: Upside Down Fu character

From: Peter Cyrus <>
Date: Mon, 9 Jan 2012 21:56:25 +0100

This discussion has veered close enough to my pet project (the Shwa
script) to comment.

I plan to implement it in the PUA, both to demonstrate its value and
viability and to find the problems and correct them before they get
frozen into Unicode (if ever). I accept that means an eventual
recoding, which I hope can be applied without changing the last two
hex digits of the encoding, e.g. changing just the pages. That seems
to me a reasonable and viable route to inclusion.

What worries me is the number of technical decisions that will have
been made long before an application for inclusion into Unicode. It
seems to me there is a risk that those decisions will then become
written in stone for compatibility reasons, and will never have been
exposed to the debate they would engender on this list, for instance.
There seems to be a gap in the process.

One solution would be to institute a sandbox in the PUA, inspired by
the ConScript Unicode Registry except with non-permanent entries.
There, new characters and scripts could enjoy widespread use and
delayed stability until they were ready for inclusion, while at the
same time profiting from the scrutiny of the Unicode community.

If this "Unicode Prep" existed, you could assign Upside-Down Fu to it
without much hesitation, and see who uses it in plaintext for a few
years. If accepted, it would have to be recoded, but that might be
the least of all evils.

On Mon, Jan 9, 2012 at 9:23 PM, Asmus Freytag <> wrote:
> On 1/9/2012 2:52 AM, wrote:
>> From: Asmus Freytag<>
>>> 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.
>> -Van
> Van,
> I wrote "I have no opinion..."
> Reading your reply may nudge me closer to having an opinion :)
> And, for the record, I think what you wrote is rather nuanced.
> If there's a smoking gun, I'm sure that would settle the encodability
> question, and given the history of the character, you make a good
> argument that searching for plain text in pre-digital technologies
> is feasible, and appropriate.
> Still, I'm interested in the general issue - what to do about a
> (hypothetical) character or a hypothetical new use
> for an otherwise existing character that doesn't have the
> benefit of first having been around for thousands of years
> in an age of hand-lettering or hot-metal print.
> If Unicode wants to be the only game in town, and if non-digital
> text is disappearing as a medium, how does one address
> innovation without leaving broken (non-supportable) digital data
> as a prerequisite.
> Currency symbols have been given an exemption from this chicken
> and egg conundrum, because everyone realizes that using temporary
> encodings for them until their use is "established" is unreasonable.
> So, my question remains, are there any other avenues besides
> hot-metal printed text and compatibility encodings to demonstrate
> that a character (not this example, but in general) is a viable candidate?
> A./
Received on Mon Jan 09 2012 - 14:59:12 CST

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