Re: Missing geometric shapes

From: Asmus Freytag <>
Date: Sun, 11 Nov 2012 21:10:35 -0800

On 11/11/2012 8:47 PM, Philippe Verdy wrote:
> No, I was clear throughout, using the same arguments, that encoding
> things for the purpose of representing "empty", "full, "half filled"
> like if it was a nuemric gauge was a bad idea.

Trying to encode a "gauge" is indeed a losing proposition.

> When I spoke about the various represetnations of gauges (including
> with photos) it was just to demonstrate that this is a domain where
> designers and authors are extremely creative, and there's absolutely
> no standard way of doing things right as each representation is a pure
> local decision.

However, there's no argument that stars are used as symbols, including
half filled ones. Stars are part of our family of geometrical shapes,
and those shapes also have many members that are partially filled.

There's no reason to pass judgment on why people might be using stars.
> Just consider the case of the classification of hotels and campings:
> they are just given an integer number of stars, and whever these stars
> are white (hollow/transparent filling), black (completely filled),
> multicolor, or even half filled does not change the classification.

And this is where the discussion leaves the plane of encoding and veers
into the realm of orthography. Orthography, loosely understood in its
wider sense, is the realm of conventional use of written symbols.
Orthographies associate conventional meaning to symbols and sequences of
symbols (not just letters and words, but also punctuation marks etc.)

Unicode's role has to be strictly limited to providing building blocks.
> Now if you think about half-filled stars, there are also the case of
> half-cut stars too (left side or right side shown) to represent as
> well half units. Or stars with only 1 to 4 branches filled, with
> variation about the position where branches are cut : in the middle of
> a branch, creating a thiner triangle. Or between branches (that are
> kept as complete diamonds extending up to the center. Variations as
> well in the number of branches for the star itself.

Correct - there are many designs for stars and variations of those
designs. And also correct, there is at some point a limit where you
don't need a standardized encoding for all of these, because at some
point, things will get so specialized, that few users will be able to
benefit from this standardization.

However, the half-filled, five pointed stars are "garden-variety" type
symbols, and, as I keep pointing out, they absolutely fall within the
scope of geometrical symbols for which there is ample precedent
supporting both plain text usage as well as a standardized encoding.

The suggested characters (they haven't actually been formally proposed
yet) would in no way push the envelope.

(skipping over lots of text that I think is not very relevant)
> We should only encode characters that users would reliably draw
> manually using a plum or rollpen, independantly of color, or of the
> width of the tool used to draw strokes, or possibly to fill them :
> basic orientation of glyphs however will be a candidate if its
> variation in the same text orientation is significant (this includes
> mirrored, or upside down characters, or significant changes of size
> and position relative to the baseline. Some exceptions are given to
> maths symbols (including letter-like) which are encoded specifically
> with their maths semantics for use in maths, but not for general
> purpose text.
This is an entirely novel theory of encoding, and one, that I would like
to point out, is very much your personal view. It does not have a
foundation (or echo, or equivalent) in anything that really defines how
encoding is done for the Unicode standard.

Received on Sun Nov 11 2012 - 23:14:23 CST

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