Re: Missing geometric shapes

From: Asmus Freytag <>
Date: Fri, 09 Nov 2012 22:17:14 -0800

On 11/9/2012 5:53 PM, Philippe Verdy wrote:
> Why then stars ? Any symbol, even any Unicode letter could be repeated
> and half-filled.

There's nothing magical about limiting the half-filled geometrical
shapes to the current (haphazard) set. If half-filled stars can be
documented, they are legitimate targets for encoding. If someone later
documents half-filled pentagons, again, the case would be decided on the

I really hate the speculation on this list about notational conventions
-- the rule should be: if notational conventions exist, and can be
documented, the characters needed for them should be eligible to be

> Even logos (I've seen Apple logos used this way)

Logos are ineligible for other reasons, and that puts them out of
discussion here.

> or pictograms (I've seen ....

Most of these graphics are simply used in repetition. Only shapes that
lend themselves to being half-filled will show up in use.

Now, Unicode has recently introduced the innovation of formally encoding
variation sequences for "emoji-style" symbols - expressing a desire to
explicitly representing a unification of certain basic shapes with
precisely equivalent fancy renditions of the same.

In the current instance that could mean (by extension) that at some
point various "fancy" renditions of stars are officially unified with
the plain stars (by adding a similar variation sequence). Fancy star
symbols that I have seen include those that are colored instead of black
or have colored background (on a per symbol basis, not text background
like highlighting).

> Even today, using the existing Unicode for the WHITE STAR character
> allows performing styling on it to render an empty, full, or partially
> filled star.

There's clear precedent that Unicode views white/black/partially filled
as a distinction on the character level (this is definitely the case for
several types of geometrical symbols - witness circles and squares).
Using styles to achieve that effect is possible (lots of things are
possible), but it would be a violation of the character / glyph model to
achieve such distinction by style, when it is present on the character

The precedent here, clearly speaks in favor of recognizing half-filled
stars likewise as a distinction on the character level.

> If you start encoding a document using uncommon characters, automated
> Braille or aural readers won't know what to do with them...

I think this argument is a red herring.

> For me all the graphical substitutions of numeric figures are NOT
> plain text, they are presentational features for visual rendering, ...

The fact that you can think of a series of symbols as representing their
count, doesn't make a series of symbols merely a numeric representation
of that count.

But even if one were to take this view: Unicode painstakingly encodes
characters for the different representations of digits, instead of
relying merely on styles and glyphs to handle the representation of
numbers. So, you see, even here, the precedent goes the other way.

Received on Sat Nov 10 2012 - 00:22:33 CST

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