Accumulated Feedback on PRI #321

This page is a compilation of formal public feedback received so far. See Feedback for further information on this issue, how to discuss it, and how to provide feedback.

Date/Time: Mon Feb 29 19:36:14 CST 2016
Name: Leo Broukhis
Report Type: Public Review Issue
Opt Subject: Re: PRI #321: UTS #52, Unicode Emoji Mechanisms

3.6 Direction Attribute

Must provide bidi-independent tags as well. The proposed mechanism effectively
encodes the meanings "toward preceding text" and "toward following text"
rather than absolute directions, which is good for illustrating who stabbed
whom, but is not universal.

There should be a way to indicate absolute directions, e.g. "look right, then
left" with U+1F440 EYES as an illustration for crossing a road in the UK
should look the same regardless of the language.

Date/Time: Sat Mar 5 14:26:59 CST 2016
Name: Ania Sacks
Report Type: Other Question, Problem, or Feedback
Opt Subject: Emoji addition of women

I would like to propose that the sports/activities column in the emojis has
options to pick female characters of all different skin tones along with the
men of all different skin tones. Also that not all the women wear pink and are
painting nails or cutting their hair and doing more of the things that the boy
emojis are doing. Please take this into consideration because women can do all
of these things that only the boys are doing.

Thank you

Date/Time: Sat Mar 5 19:10:38 CST 2016
Name: KC Saff
Report Type: Public Review Issue
Opt Subject: Re: PRI #321: UTS #52, Unicode Emoji Mechanisms

The neutral gender should also be added for the existing binary gendered
emoji, providing, at the very least, gender-neutral versions of GIRL/BOY,
this could be done with the same mechanism, simply overriding the defined
gender of the symbol with the applied male, female, or neutral gender tag.
Otherwise we will be in the unfortunate situation of having 3 genders for
emoji where the gender was of secondary importance, but only 2 for those which
already demanded multiple genders.  (DANCER absolutely requires this treatment
due to its inconsistent treatment across platforms.)

The addition of a third gender for these symbols would serve much the same
purpose as the pronoun "singular they" in English: to be used when the gender
of the subject is unknown or ambiguous, used generically in place of "he or
she" as when writing directions, or for referring specifically to non-binary
trans individuals.

On the subject of trans people, allowing gender tags for PREGNANT WOMAN is
essential for transmasculine individuals who retain the ability to bear
children to express that experience.

More tangentially to the current PRI, it may be helpful at some point to allow
applying gender tags to clothing items, which currently exhibit an unfortunate
gender bias.  BIKINI + [male tag] for instance could be used to specify a male
bathing suit, while NECKTIE + [female tag] could recall women's business

Date/Time: Tue Mar 7 15:52:00 CST 2016
Name: KC Saff
Report Type: Public Review Issue
Opt Subject: Re: PRI #321: UTS #52, Unicode Emoji Mechanisms

Following are the gendered emoji pairs currently defined in Unicode or
accepted for release in version 9.0, ordered by earliest codepoint in the

1F385 # 6.0 (🎅) FATHER CHRISTMAS
1F936 # 9.0 (🤶) MOTHER CHRISTMAS

1F466 # 6.0 (👦) BOY
1F467 # 6.0 (👧) GIRL

1F468 # 6.0 (👨) MAN
1F469 # 6.0 (👩) WOMAN

1F474 # 6.0 (👴) OLDER MAN  
1F475 # 6.0 (👵) OLDER WOMAN

1F478 # 6.0 (👸) PRINCESS   
1F934 # 9.0 (🤴) PRINCE

1F483 # 6.0 (💃) DANCER
1F57A # 9.0 (🕺) MAN DANCING

The gender tag mechanism could override the assumed or defined gender of these
symbols, opening up the possibility of a gender-neutral version so each set
would have all three Unicode genders.

Note that 1F483 DANCER is already implemented as three genders on different
platforms: Apple’s is female, Google’s is gender-neutral, and Samsung’s is

The gender-neutral version of 1F466-1F467 could be represented an androgynous
child, 1F468-1F469 as an androgynous adult, and so on.

There is one gendered codepoint which the proposal neglected to define
alternate genders for:

1F930 # 9.0 (🤰) PREGNANT WOMAN

Male and gender-neutral alternates of this symbol should be available because
trans men can become pregnant. See, for example,


The last section of my comment mentioned that gender tags could conceivably be
applied to clothing items as well.  I have written up some thoughts on this,
but because that situation is actually quite complicated, I think I should
submit that to the discussion list for now, since I’m not sure if this could
be easily applied to the current PRI or if it properly belongs as a separate,
new proposal. Let me know what you think.

Below is what I've currently written up for your curiosity: I think it's
apparent that defining & implementing this could require a lot more thought.


Since clothing is highly culturally defined, it’s less clear if the gender tag
mechanism should be used for this, or if new codepoints should instead be
defined for the missing gender equivalents. Some items of clothing have no
clear unisex or opposite gender form, whereas others we think of as primarily
unisex, so exactly which gender variants should be allowed & what those
presentations should be may require some analysis -- especially so since
fashion changes so dramatically with time.

In addition to gender bias, the clothing emoji are biased towards western and
Japanese culture, so clothing items from other cultures might also need to be
considered for inclusion.  I think this is only the beginning of a discussion
to make clothing items more gender & culturally inclusive, or to decide to
what extent that is a goal.

The following clothing items are often presented as unisex but masculine,
unisex, and feminine versions could easily be defined for when a gender tag is

1F451 # 6.0 (👑) CROWN
1F453 # 6.0 (👓) EYEGLASSES
1F455 # 6.0 (👕) T-SHIRT
1F456 # 6.0 (👖) JEANS
1F458 # 6.0 (👘) KIMONO
1F45C # 6.0 (👜) HANDBAG
1F45F # 6.0 (👟) ATHLETIC SHOE
1F576 # 7.0 (🕶) DARK SUNGLASSES

The following clothing items are defined as gendered but it is simple to
imagine equivalent opposite-gendered versions:

1F45E # 6.0 (👞) MANS SHOE
1F461 # 6.0 (👡) WOMANS SANDALS
1F462 # 6.0 (👢) WOMANS BOOTS

There are some gendered items of clothing defined in Unicode for which
opposite gendered clothing of similar function exists, but takes a distinctly
different form.  I’ll list each item followed by a possible opposite-gendered

1F389 # 6.0 (🎩) TOP HAT

The female version of this could be a woman’s hat of similar function or
formality for a similar setting, e.g. women’s bridal headpiece.

1F452 # 6.0 (👒) WOMANS HAT

The male version of this could be a man’s hat of similar function or formality
for a similar setting, e.g. a man’s bowler or fedora.

1F454 # 6.0 (👔) NECKTIE

The female version of this could be a woman’s formal tie or scarf, or else a
business blouse (since this is often presented as both shirt & tie, suggesting
a business setting).

1F459 # 6.0 (👙) BIKINI

Male version could be a man’s bathing suit.

1F45A # 6.0 (👚) WOMANS CLOTHES

Since this is often presented as a woman’s blouse, the male version could be a
man’s dress shirt.

Finally, there are some clothing items where it’s unclear what alternate
gendered versions would look like, since there are no exact analogues in
modern western culture:

1F457 # 6.0 (👗) DRESS
1F45B # 6.0 (👛) PURSE
1F45D # 6.0 (👝) POUCH
1F460 # 6.0 (👠) HIGH-HEELED SHOE

Male alternates would probably include new symbols such as SUIT, WALLET, etc.
which would be a very awkward fit for gender tags.


Date/Time: Sun Mar 6 20:35:34 CST 2016
Name: Andrew Main
Report Type: Public Review Issue
Opt Subject: PRI #321: UTS #52, Unicode Emoji Mechanisms

The proposed mechanism for attaching tags to emoji characters is a massive
abuse of the existing tag characters (U+e0020 to U+e007f), completely
inconsistent with the existing tag mechanism that those characters support.
The tag characters should not be overloaded in this way: any mechanism like
the proposed one should have its own block of tag characters.

The existing tag mechanism is concerned with tagging blocks of text, not
individual characters, and their Unicode properties are defined accordingly:
they are treated as control characters.  That treatment is not suitable for
the proposed emoji tags.  These new tags have the nature of combining
characters, the only real difference from combining characters being that the
combining unit consists of a string of multiple characters rather than a
single character.  The characters used to make up these new tags should have
properties tailored to this use.

Looking at this use, the sequence of a base emoji character plus tags
constitutes a single grapheme.  It must be recognisable as such.  This implies
that the tag characters should probably be of general category
Nonspacing_Mark; they at least must have Grapheme_Extend=Yes.  They possibly
should also have a non-zero Canonical_Combining_Class, though the variation
selector characters (U+fe00 to U+fe0f and U+e0100 to U+e01ef), which have a
similar purpose, have zero there.

Incidentally, given the well-established structure of graphemes, the concern
that leads to the proposal for tags to have an explicit terminator (tag-term)
is ill-founded.  Graphemes are already not self-delimiting, so no additional
difficulty arises from having tag sequences not self-delimiting.  Indeed,
making them self-delimiting is stylistically inconsistent with existing
Unicode.  Also, among the bad overloading of the existing tag characters, the
proposed use of U+e007f "cancel tag" as tag-term is an especially egregious
abuse of the existing character.  It is syntactically totally inconsistent
with the established use of this character.

So, although it is sane to want to tag individual characters using an
embedding of ASCII, overloading the existing tag characters is not the way to
go about it.  To avoid conflict with the existing block-tagging mechanism,
there should be a separate set of tag characters for the grapheme-tagging
mechanism.  This implies a fresh block with 95 assigned codepoints, U+___20
"combining grapheme-tag space" to U+___7e "combining grapheme-tag tilde".
These characters should have general category Nonspacing_Mark.  The tag
mechanism of UTS #52 should use these characters for tag-keyChar and tag-
valChar.  tag-term should be eliminated, but if it is not eliminated then it
should use a new character U+___7f "combining grapheme-tag sequence

Date/Time: Sat Apr 2 21:48:36 CDT 2016
Name: Allison
Report Type: Public Review Issue
Opt Subject: Proposed Draft UTS #52: Unicode Emoji Mechanisms

I highly support the proposal for the creation of a female running emoji.
Running is a unique sport in that it does not discriminate, but encourages all
to participate. Runners are all too quick to push and congratulate each other
whether someone is just starting to join the sport or finishing their tenth
marathon. By having both a male and female running emoji you are sending the
message of equality that the running community embraces. In addition to
representing runners like Alison Felix, Molly Huddle, and Shalane Flanagan,
all of whom are defying norms and shattering records, a female running emoji
will represent all the women who go out and test and push their bodies to new
heights everyday.

In addition, I would also like to recommend redesigning the male running emoji
so that he is wearing running attire and not jeans. (Cause let's be real, its
insulting to runners everywhere to think that you can run ten miles in jeans)

Thanks for your time and I hope you'll strongly consider it! 

Date/Time: Mon Apr 4 10:12:38 CDT 2016
Name: Agustin Fonts
Report Type: Feedback on an Encoding Proposal
Opt Subject: Several concerns on TR52

**Gender fall back corrupts message in non-compatible devices**

In devices that do not support customized emojis the tag architecture sets the
fallback of a customized emoji as JUST the base character. That means that
female runner, will be displayed as male runner in older devices.

This is a major corruption of the intended message and bound to offend users
given that gender carries so much meaning.

Proposal: For characters that already have gendered specified (Man with
business suit levitating, Woman w/ bunny ears, etc) Encode a separate
character. This minimizes the chance for confusion. The non-gendered emojis
(swimmer, face massage etc) already have implementations that do not always
represent as man or woman (ie Samsung) where message corruption is already
happening so the fallback is not as problematic.

**Dual gender list has some hard to render emojis**

At emoji scale it will be very difficult to make different gender representations of:

- Swimmer
- Man with turban
- Guardsman
- Weightlifter

**Flag Emojis hard to design & store on device**

According TS-52 regional flags can now be included as emoji. According to ISO
3166-2 there are over 4000 regions/territories that could get flags. This is a
challenge on many levels Font size could grow significantly as flags
proliferate across device manufacturers and platforms.

Designing and keeping up designs for all flags would require significant

Much like flags associated with country codes, the correct flag designs are
not always clear and controversies often arise (see: many designs with different meanings and
associated political movements)

Many regional flags design have lots of detail and do not render well at emoji

Proposal: Restrict the proliferation of flags to what Unicode deems to reflect
user demand and follow the regular glyph request process (without the need for
encoding as a codepoint). For example, the first set could include the 51
state flags + 4 countries of the UK, which seem to have the highest demand.
Unicode could then open up the request process to include flags. Well
documented requests, region population, etc could be a gauge for user demand.

Side note: The Mississippi state flag has part of a confederate flag in it… it
could be misconstrued by users to represent a confederate flag.

Date/Time: Thu Apr 14 05:47:27 CDT 2016
Name: Frankie Roberto
Report Type: Public Review Issue
Opt Subject: UTS #52, Unicode Emoji Mechanisms


I'd just like to add general support for the proposed Emoji modifiers in UTS #52.

The Unicode blog asked for feedback on "which variants are the highest

I'd suggest that the highest priority is the regional-flags, particularly for
the regions of the UK (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland), and whilst
these aren't sovereign states, they're referred to as countries in common
language, and receive some representation alongside sovereign states in
competitions like the football World Cup.

Following this, I'd suggest that 'direction' be the next highest priority, as
this has the ability to affect semantics and resolve ambiguity. In addition to
the draft list of emoji supporting direction modifiers, I'd suggest adding 👎
(thumbs down - for consistency with thumbs up), and👂 (ear - to support
drawing 'faces').  The transport symbols (Automobile, Car, etc) could also be
supported (in the same way as the two bicyclist symbols), but these are less
of a priority.

My next priority would be the Gender modifiers. To the list in UTS #52 I would
add 👶 (Baby). I think the ability to specify gender for babies would be a
popular addition, for contexts such as announcing the birth of a new baby girl
or boy. Whilst it might not seem that gender could be easily discerned in
existing emoji presentations, this could be achieved in the same way as the
GIRL and BOY emojis when used within 'Family group' combined emojis – i.e. via
pink vs blue colour (perhaps of a bow or baby outfit).

Finally, I support the hair colour modifier. I have no suggested additions to
the draft list, but it does seem odd to support Mother Christmas but not
Father Christmas. I'd suggest that neither need to be included as they're both
typically depicted with white hair, and I can't see much of a need for

Many thanks,

Frankie Roberto

Date/Time: Tue Apr 19 23:16:43 CDT 2016
Name: Derek Giromini
Report Type: Public Review Issue
Opt Subject: UTS #52, Unicode Emoji Mechanisms

I support all of the modifiers suggested, in the following order of importance:

1. Direction: This would save on a few existing code points, which I hope
would means the redundant code points would be returned to unassigned in
another year. Even Unicode 9 proposed emoji have redundant left- and right-
facing fists. A simple "side view fist" with modifier rids us of an occupied
code point. I propose opening it up to as many objects, people, and body parts
are possible. My pet proposal is to add Fisted Hand Sign to the list of

2. Gender: This would also open up some code points, but I believe the
complimentary code points like male dancer and female dancer could be left
untouched. I leave that to the more capable hands of the Consortium.

3. Color: I propose also allowing color modifiers to some objects, like

4. Region flags: I share the concerns of a commenter about this space growing
out of hand. For example, I anticipate a number of emoji users would love to
see support for a City of Chicago flag, which is by far more impressionable
and graphically simpler than the State of Illinois flag. While I would enjoy
seeing that as an emoji, it opens a door that will be hard to close.

Thank you for reading these comments!

Date/Time: Mon Apr 25 11:20:08 CDT 2016
Name: zelpa
Report Type: Public Review Issue
Opt Subject: PRI #321: UTS #52, Unicode Emoji Mechanisms

Hi, I'd like to add some feedback concerning the proposed modifiers.

1. Direction. This seems like the most useful modifier suggested in this list,
and it has interesting use cases such as weapons facing in certain directions.
Hopefully this could save confusion and free up some currently assigned code

2. Gender. The suggested gender modifier would be helpful, and it would
hopefully push vendors to use a gender neutral version as they should have in
the first place.

3. Flags. Combining a country identifier with a flag to create variations
would be an interesting thing to do, and it could also theoretically be used
by vendors for something like a sports uniform showing a specific team.
Wouldn't do any harm to add this kind of modifier.

4. Hair. This seems like a useless addition that would only help to make
Unicode more convoluted. Why stop at US passport hair colours when you could
also add blue, green, and purple? Seems like adding this modifier could get
out of hand, and isn't something that seems of value.

Date/Time: Fri Apr 29 15:05:49 CDT 2016
Name: CRUK's Race for Life
Report Type: Feedback on an Encoding Proposal
Opt Subject: Female Runner is a Priority

Dear Unicode Consortium,

We are Race for Life, a women-only running (and walking, and jogging) event
held in the United Kingdom.

For the past 21 years, more than seven million women have taken part in our
events, raising over £548 million to fund Cancer Research UK’s life-saving
work. Pretty cool, right?

We love emoji but were disappointed, then perplexed at the lack of female

How are we supposed to brag about our latest 5k? Our marathon preparation? Or
let the girls know we missed the bus? With a man in jeans?

You can imagine our delight when we discovered that a gender variation was up
for consideration as part of UTS #52, Unicode Emoji Mechanisms! And when we
also saw you wanted feedback from users of emoji, well, we had to speak up.

Now, we know there are complicated and multi-layered issues involved in
expanding the scope of emoji. And we know that it’s up to individual vendors
to roll out the gender variations once they are all implemented.

BUT you wanted to know which variants were the highest priority. Flag
subdivisions, gender, directional or hair colour? So we, and all the signees
on this petition will tell you: FEMALE. RUNNER. EMOJI.

At this stage we don’t care which way she faces, what colour hair she has. We
certainly don’t want to deny Scotland their chance of a flag (over tens of
thousands of Scottish lassies take part in Race for Life). But if there can be
only one, please Unicode, let it be her.

This is our formal response to this Public Review Issue.  We hope, when the
Unicode Technical Committee get together May 2nd, there won’t be a shadow of
doubt which variation is the most wanted. If you would like to see how
strongly female emoji users feel about this, please visit to to see all the comments on this issue.

Kind regards,
Race for Life & and signees

Date/Time: Mon May 2 00:51:19 CDT 2016
Name: Peter Edberg
Report Type: Public Review Issue
Opt Subject: PRI #321 feedback: Gender_Base list

Suggested changes in the list of Emoji_Gender_Base characters (those that can
be affected by a gender tag):

1. Add:
2. Consider adding:
	1F476 BABY
3. Remove the characters whose names specify a gender presentation, see rationale below:

Because the gender tags proposed by this mechanism are ignorable, using them
to change a gender presentation which is explicit in a character name can lead
to fallback problems, e.g.: a user sends a character which is intended to
appear as a woman in a tuxedo, but the recipient sees a man in tuxedo. The
mechanism probably works best if the fallback presentation (when gender tags
are ignored) has a neutral appearance.

To some extent, these problems already exist when vendors have drawn
characters with neutral names as having a particular gender (sometimes
different on different platforms). But those problems are not inherent in the
encoding itself; here we could be enshrining such problems in the encoding

By the same token, it is probably not a good idea to use the neutral tag to
produce generic ADULT or CHILD emojis without a particular gender presentation
(since the neutral tag could be ignored). A better approach for those would be
to encode separate characters.

Date/Time: Mon May 2 01:17:19 CDT 2016
Name: Peter Edberg
Report Type: Public Review Issue
Opt Subject: PRI #321 feedback: unsupported sequence glyph

Draft UTR #52 suggests that for invalid or unsupported TAG sequences, a
process that is generally aware of the mechanism could show a modified glyph
to indicate that, such as the glyph for the base character overlaid with a
question mark.

That mechanism might work well for tag sequences that have a single base
character not shared with other tag sequences, such as the TAG sequences for
subregion flags. In that case the system can have a single glyph to show for
these cases.

However, this mechanism becomes problematic for TAG sequences types that have
many bases, especially when those bases are shared with other TAG sequence
types. If the font technology in use does not support dynamic compositing,
then many additional glyphs may be required to support. Furthermore, it is not
clear what to show when the system supports one type of TAG sequence for a
given base (such as gender) but not another (such as hair color). Should a
question mark be shown  over the glyph that represents the base plus the
supported tag sequence? That would require an extra glyph with flag for every
base + gender combination.

Date/Time: Mon May 2 02:09:05 CDT 2016
Name: Femke Snelting
Report Type: Feedback on an Encoding Proposal
Opt Subject: Issues with modifier mechanism, UTS #52

We are submitting these comments to the Proposed Draft UTS #52, Unicode Emoji
Mechanisms because we think there are serious issues with the general
implications of the modifier mechanism that was already introduced in Unicode
8 with Skin Tone Modifiers. We believe UTS #52 possibly contravenes both the
mission and bylaws of the Unicode Consortium. We wish to identify issues that
we hope will have an impact on decisions and future policies. We suggest a
reconsideration of the underlying logic of the modifier mechanism as applied
to emoji.

These comments were formulated by an international, multilingual group of
researchers working in the field of software and media. We investigate and
produce a wide-range of projects around the role of standards and the politics
embedded in infrastructures of communication, and are using emoji intensively
in our communication. We are thus deeply concerned about the directions that
emoji related standards have taken so far, and are being proposed to take in
the future.

The introduction of emojis into the Unicode standard shows a contradiction at
the heart of the Unicode project, specifically if we consider the ways in
which the precedent of Skin Tone Modifiers advance the reduction of types and
attributes in the name of increased particularity. This lapse in logic exposes
the inherent biases and considerable problematics that underwrites such a
proposal and move. We want to emphasize that emojis are functioning in the
realm of semantics rather than syntax. As a result they bring up radically
other issues than those related to the domain of written characters.

We question the fundamental assumptions that diversity should be expressed
through a "modifier" at all:

1. By positing a "normal" baseline against which difference is to be measured,
the mechanism sets up problematic relations between the categories that act as
modifiers and the pictographs that they modify. If we, for example, imagine
what the consequences would be of adding "disability" as a modifier to future
Unicode specifications, it is easy to understand this tension. Disability
should never be conceived of as a condition of modification to a base-line
standard. In practice however, it would have to be implemented exactly in this
way, not unlike the way the Skin Tone Modifiers are now implemented and more
importantly perceived as a "blackface" modifier to a "white" base.[1]

2. To express diversity as a "variant" is a reductive response to the
complexity of identities and their representational needs. If we consider the
implementation of gender variants (male, female, neutral) for example, we can
foresee issues with expressing more complex gendered formations such as
transgender or transsexuality. This issue would not be solved by augmenting
the resolution of the variants, as the mechanism of varying between binary
opposites itself is fundamentally flawed.[2]
3. The consortium should take into account how, once implemented, the
modifiers will function in todays media environment. Should Unicode-compliant
search engines differentiate results according to modifier categories? There
is a documented case of Instagram searches that return different results
depending on emoji with the Skin Tone Modifier applied.[3] We think that the
responsibility for instituting such potential for segregation lies not (only)
with the one who implements, but rather with the one who proposes and defines
a standard. Unicode can not neglect to consider such consequences. Aside from
impacting the equal access to information, the mechanism can be expected to be
used in reverse, as a method to identify authors of content on the basis of
their supposed race, gender etc.

4. The proposed modifiers for skin tone and haircolor are both based upon
questionable external standards. In the case of the Skin Tone Modifiers, the
Consortium has chosen to use the Fitzpatrick scale in an attempt to find a
"neutral" gauge for skin tone. The argument was made that it 'has the
advantage of being recognized as an external standard without negative
associations'.[4] In doing so, the Consortium has conflated and misunderstood
a medical standard for the way human skin responds to UV exposure, with a
scale that represents skin color.[5] Furthermore, the Fitzpatrick scale has a
lineage to colonialism via the Von Luschan's chromatic scale. To ignore this
lineage is emblematic of implementing a standard without careful examination
of its scientific, political, cultural and social context of production. In
TR52, when discussing the options for haircolor, the consortium insists on a
limited palette by referring to the "cartoon style" nature of emoji.[6] At the
same time the proposal refers to the US Online Passport application form as
the "standard" to follow when choosing this limited palette. The way the U.S.
State Department chooses to view and categorize people is a particular
expression of how the border control agency sees a person, it should not have
to make its way into daily communications. Rather than suggesting a less
"loaded" standard to follow, we argue that this is yet another example of the
unavoidable and unsolvable problems that the Unicode consortium runs into with
the logic of the modifier mechanism.

The origins of emojis demonstrate a certain inventiveness on the part of
users, but now 'novelty' has been subsumed into a template of standardised
add-ons or modifiers circumscribing, in effect, the creative capacities of
users. Language is a realm of invention and play in which the inherent
ambiguity of meaning allows for the richness of human expression. The arbitary
relations between signifier and signified is something that simply cannot be
standardised without severely limiting creative possibilities for
communication and expression across social and technical systems. We find that
the difficulties originate in the fact that the semantic layer that the emojis
belong to, needs to go beyond syntax which means it is not as directly
computable. Semantics cannot simply be reduced to standardised implementations
or understandings without being an ideological project at the same time.

To us, the Unicode project is important as a worthy attempt to develop
universal standards that are cross-compatible technically and inclusive of
cultural difference: 'to enable people around the world to use computers in
any language, by providing freely-available specifications and data to form
the foundation for software internationalization...'.[7] We support this basic
premise, yet we are deeply troubled by the tendency towards ideological
presumptions that have been the subject of fierce debates in civil society, as
for instance in the case of the civil rights movement in the US.
Implementation of universal standards on this basis carries a danger of
augmenting racist and sexist undertones.

We hope to have demonstrated sufficiently the problems that have arisen (and
will further arise) when dealing with the issue of diversity through the
modifier mechanism. We understand for reasons of backwards compatibility it is
not desirable to revert the decisions made for Unicode 8.0. To prevent further
irreversible contraventions to the mission and bylaws of the Unicode
Consortium, we strongly suggest to refrain from implementing any further
modification mechanisms for emoji.

Geoff Cox (Associate Professor, Aarhus University, Denmark)
Linda Hilfling Ritasdatter (PhD candidate, Malmö University)
David Gauthier (PhD candidate, University of Amsterdam)
Geraldine Juárez (MFA candidate, Valand Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden)
Marie Louise Juul Søndergaard (PhD candidate, Aarhus University, Denmark)
Helen Pritchard (Research Fellow, Goldsmiths, University of London)
Peggy Pierrot (Independent researcher, Brussels)
Roel Roscam Abbing (Independent researcher, Rotterdam)
Susan Schuppli (Senior Lecturer, Goldsmiths University of London)
Molly Schwartz (PhD candidate, Malmö University)
Femke Snelting (Constant, association for art and media, Brussels)
Eric Snodgrass (PhD candidate, Malmö University)
Winnie Soon (PhD candidate, Aarhus University Denmark)
Magdalena Tyzlik-Carver (Research Fellow, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK)