Re: Flag tags

From: Asmus Freytag <>
Date: Thu, 31 May 2012 10:33:09 -0700

On 5/31/2012 9:30 AM, Michael Everson wrote:
> On 31 May 2012, at 17:19, Asmus Freytag wrote:
>> Some of them can be substituted and will be recognized by all as "jolly roger", others will not.
>> The former set "may" be glyph variants - that is, if there's no contrastive usage, the latter cannot be.
> They are logos for the actual dead pirate captains.

That's so. Do their heir's claim rights to them? That would exclude them
from encoding forever.

But wait, aren't national flags "logos" for their respective countries?


PS: This is the part I can't find funny:

> They are glyph variants of "pirate flag" otherwise. Some are just obscure glyph variants.
>> In this case, on top of that, many represent symbols identifying particular bands, captains or ships (or nowadays, movie cycles). As such they resemble the distinguishing function of national flags.
> Then, yes, but now we do have a notion of "pirate flag" which is basically black with a skull and crossbones on it.

"Pirate flag" is a generic concept. Encoding generic concept as such in
Unicode is a problematic notion - especially if from that the mistaken
conclusion is drawn that all concrete realizations of symbols that
somehow pertain to the same general concept are mere glyph variants.

What you would encode is not the concept of "pirate flag" but the
"archetypical representation of a (generic) pirate flag". That means
that minor variations in the skull and crossbones are indeed glyph
variants (representing different artists' attempt to depict the same
thing), but that other types of flags, used as pirate flags, do not
constitute mere variants, but represent their own symbols (of related,
but not identical semantics).

The distinction between these concepts has been sorely lacking in much
of the recent and not so recent discussion of encoding symbols, and
that's why I can't find it funny...
Received on Thu May 31 2012 - 12:35:07 CDT

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