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Date/Time: Mon Dec 3 09:32:52 CST 2018
Name: Christoph Päper
Report Type: Public Review Issue
Opt Subject: PRI392
A Short form for uniform skin tone ---------------------------------- I oppose the proposal to introduce and recommend a shortened form for group/family emoji sequences where all members have the same skin tone. Firstly, making it more convenient to have ethnically homogeneous families is just asking to be criticized for being racist. That is certainly not worth the bytes saved. Secondly, I understand that the main reason for proposing variant "Short Shared" (A2 in the PDF, where c) and d) have been mixed up) is that the fallback mechanism would be better. This is, however, not really the case. The "Status Quo" (A1) falls back to separate emoji people with skin tones applied, unless skin tones are unsupported where it falls back to individual people each followed by a replacement character. "Short Shared (A2) falls back to a family ligature emoji followed by a free- standing skin tone modifier, unless such ZWJ sequences are not supported where it all falls back to separate people, the last one either being followed by a replacement character or having a skin tone applied. The family ZWJ sequences have been introduced with Emoji 2.0 in late 2015. The skin tone modifiers, after having been encoded in Unicode 8.0, have been introduced with Emoji 1.0 in mid 2015. Since skin tones came earlier and color modifications are usually simpler to achieve than compositions of multiple glyphs, it is more likely that an imperfect implementation of UTS#51 would support skin tone modification but not composite families. Therefore, A1 will more often provide an acceptable fallback than A2. B Mixed skin tone for 3 multi-person emoji characters ----------------------------------------------------- The Status Quo (B1) is unfortunate. However, only very few existing emojis are affected. Some of them, i.e. 👪 U+1F46A FAMILY, 💏 U+1F48F KISS and 💑 U+1F491 COUPLE WITH HEART, can already be ZWJ-composed out of other emojis (predominantly 👨 U+1F468 MAN and 👩 U+1F469 WOMAN). Implementations differ in the number and gender of people shown, by the way. The three variants of two people holding hands, i.e. 👫 U+1F46B, 👬 U+1F46C and 👭 U+1F46D, have been proposed to get similar color-aware sequences, using 🤝 U+1F91D HANDSHAKE instead of a heart as a combiner. This seems a viable path forward. Accordingly and since using multiple skin tone modifiers with a single base is, apparently, not considered a possible option, ZWJ sequences (option B2 or B3) for the few other cases seem appropriate indeed. Ideally, this would lead to a situation where 👯 U+1F46F WOMAN WITH BUNNY EARS can default to show as a single person again, as in Android before 7.0, Windows 10 before the Anniversary Update and Facebook as well as some defunct sets still today. For 🤝 U+1F91D HANDSHAKE, I see another variant of "Decompose" B3, let "Recompose" B4: Introduce a ZWJ sequence using an existing hand emoji, e.g. 🤚 U+1F91A RAISED BACK OF HAND (🤚🤚) or ✋ U+270B RAISED HAND (✋+✋) or a combination thereof (🤚+✋ or ✋+🤚), alternatively 👍 U+1F44D THUMBS UP SIGN (👍+👍) and (non-emoji) 🖒 U+1F592 REVERSED THUMBS UP SIGN (🖒+👍 or 👍+🖒). That notwithstanding, I believe GIVING HAND / PALM FACING DOWN (as in Windows shared folder icons) and TAKING HAND / PALM FACING UP emojis would be good additions to the overall emoji set and would be the best candidates to use for a sequence here. However, option B2 works as well and has better backwards compatibility than B3, but not than some variants of B4. Fortunately, Handshake does not need to support gender modification. For 🤼 U+1F93C WRESTLERS, I think the only candidate for B4 would be 💪 U+1F4AA FLEXED BICEPS (i.e. recomposed 💪+💪 = 🤼), although it does not show a full person and therefore does not accept gender modifiers yet. As such a low-use emoji, I believe, the Doubled option B2 is perfectly fine. It is very similar to 👯 U+1F46F WOMAN WITH BUNNY EARS, except that WRESTLERS was always intended to show two people, and they should use the same approach (B2, B3 or B4). Another emoji that is showing two people, but is not listed on [Draft Candidates](http://unicode.org/emoji/future/emoji-candidates.html) currently, is 🤱 U+1F931 BREAST-FEEDING. The recommendation to hide all skin of the baby is a fowl compromise which makes the emoji less clear than it could be; many people mistake it for "woman *holding* baby" anyway (and complain that there is no male variant). It could be recomposed, B4, to a sequences of 👩 U+1F469 WOMAN (or 🧑 U+1F9D1 ADULT, and 👨 U+1F468 MAN if you must) and 👶 U+1F476 BABY as well as 🍼 U+1F37C BABY BOTTLE in between perhaps (👩+👶 or 👩+🍼+👶). There is no need for any new emoji (B3), but since unlike 🤼 U+1F93C and 👯 U+1F46F the two people are not the same height and posture, Doubled B2 appears inappropriate here; you also could not tell whether the first or the second one was the baby in a fallback situation. In conclusion, I prefer recomposing (B4) to existing emojis in general, decomposing (B3) to new emojis would not be needed at all, unless (for Handshake) better hand gestures that are useful for other purposes became available then. Doubling (B2) would be tolerable as well, and actually preferable for Bunny Dancers and, a little less so, for Wrestlers.
Date/Time: Fri Jan 4 18:44:04 CST 2019
Name: Charlotte Buff
Report Type: Public Review Issue
Opt Subject: PRI #392: Feedback on Multi-Person Emoji
► A. Short form for uniform skin tone I prefer the Status Quo option, that is: requiring a separate Fitzpatrick modifier for each person in the sequence. Since their introduction, emoji modifiers have consistently been treated as only affecting the character immediately preceding them, not unlike variation selectors. Changing this so that these modifiers can also apply to an entire ZWJ sequence at once, but only under certain, rather uncommon circumstances, just to save a few bytes each in sequences that will see hardly any usage or support anyway, does not seem worth it. Every component in a ZWJ sequence should still be its own, independent entity. I also do believe there is value in allowing modified and unmodified emoji within the same sequence. In fact, Microsoft’s font support for ZWJ families already works that way. If modifiers only apply to the previous character, procedural systems like the one used in the Segoe UI Emoji font can be comparatively easy to implement because they simply need to consider each character or modifier sequence in isolation and add them one by one to the ligated glyph. The proposed “Short Shared” option would introduce all kinds of exceptions into this well‐established algorithm that would necessitate deliberately breaking many sequences that worked perfectly fine before, as well as making some combinations behave counterintuitively and inconsistently with the rest of the set. A list of all family sequences currently supported by the Segoe font can be created by simply iterating through every possible combination of family members in order. There really is no easier way of doing this. An alternative algorithm that only produces valid sequences recommended under the “Short Shared” option would be a right mess. Furthermore, the discussion of fallback display failed to include two crucial possibilities: Rendering if no special ligating behaviour is supported at all, and rendering if only Fitzpatrick modifiers are supported but no ZWJ mechanism. The former scenario should be the baseline for all emoji encoding decisions in my personal opinion. A hypothetical system that does not support any emoji sequences will see this under option 2: 👨👩👦👧🏾 Or, even worse, this: 👨👩👦👧⛝ Depending on how much the user in question knows about emoji mechanisms, this would either be read as four people and a glitch, or three people with indeterminate skin tone and one brown girl, but definitely not as an entire family all sharing the same skin tone. Option 1 would circumvent this issue since the modifier is explicit for every base character in the sequence: 👨🏾👩🏾👦🏾👧🏾 Or: 👨⛝👩⛝👦⛝👧⛝ Fitzpatrick modifiers are older than ZWJ sequences and have historically enjoined greater acknowledgement by the core standard. If modifier sequences are properly supported, but ZWJ sequences aren’t, the “Short Shared” option is once again inadequate: 👨👩👦👧🏾 This will never be read as a uniform family. There is also the question of how generalised this “Short Shared” option is intended to be. For example, what happens in cases where the Fitzpatrick modifier is not the last character in the sequence? If the “Short Shared” approach were to be implemented, how should the glyph for the following sequence look if vendors choose to support it? 👨[ZWJ]👩[ZWJ]👦[ZWJ]👧🏽[ZWJ]🦰 Would the skin tone still apply to the entire family or just the girl? Would the hair component also be affected by the same mechanism? What happens if we throw gender or professional modifiers into the mix? This whole endeavour seems far too complex for its own good. While there is no real possibility of these kinds of sequences ever becoming RGI considering the sheer quantity of combinations, they are still perfectly valid constructs according to UTS #51, so their precise behaviour must be formally defined. Lastly, it is not entirely clear whether this “Short Shared” option would only apply to families or to other kinds of sequences as well. For example, would the sequence 👨[ZWJ]🤝[ZWJ]👩🏼 produce a glyph that shows both people with the same skin tone? ► B. Mixed skin tone for 3 multi‐person emoji characters I fear that there very well may not be any elegant solution to this problem. The status quo is the most obvious approach and also the least destructive, but it may also make for some negative publicity. I don’t know how big the demand for these mixed sequences is; I have seen some complaints concerning HANDSHAKE in the past and probably also one or two tongue‐in‐cheek discussions about the segregative nature of WRESTLERS. When it came to WOMAN WITH BUNNY EARS, the discourse had always been about allowing Fitzpatrick modifiers at all and never about mixed skin tones, at least in my experience. Furthermore, there are some emoji whose mixed variants are most likely never going to be RGI anyway (for example the family sequences), so monochrome 🤝, 👯, and 🤼 wouldn’t really feel that much out of place in the grand scheme of things either. The “Doubled” model strikes me as the worst possible compromise. Calling the fallback “slightly odd” is an understatement; it is incomprehensible. Four wrestlers are not two wrestlers. As I have mentioned above, emoji sequences should always be encoded based on the premise that nothing works as intended. ZWJ sequences should still be understandable even if all the joiners are removed; otherwise there is no reason for them to be sequences in the first place. There is no logic by which two pairs of shaking hands would be an appropriate substitute for one pair of shaking hands. This is nothing but a bodge. Nobody will understand what these sequences mean unless their emoji font supports the latest updates *and* there aren’t any problems with the rendering engine or image‐substituting algorithms. This is not good design for character sequences and no other part of Unicode really works that way. When ligatures for Devanagari or Tibetan break, the affected user will at the very least see their individual components and won’t be confronted with the glyph that was meant to be displayed in the first place, but reduplicated in a different colour for no reason. Encoding new characters seems to be the least bad solution. There is actually no need for a ‘Person with Bunny Ears’ since WOMAN WITH BUNNY EARS is already singular. A pair of dancing bunny people with differing skin tones can be trivially encoded as 👯🏻[ZWJ]👯🏿, under the condition that WOMAN WITH BUNNY EARS officially returns to being treated as if it actually represented the thing it was encoded to represent all along. While it is true that many current fonts idiosyncratically display 👯 as two people, it has already been firmly established in the past that emoji names and meanings can be changed at any time for any reason, so I see no issue with WOMAN WITH BUNNY EARS becoming a single‐person emoji once again. The semantics of the character in the context of how most people use it is largely unaffected by the number of persons depicted. It’s not that straightforward for the other two characters, though. I do think there could be some potential value in an ‘open hand pointing left/right’ emoji as its own entity, which could then additionally be used for producing ZWJ handshakes. Encoding another wrestler to complement 🤼 seems rather wasteful, however. If this approach were to be taken, I would recommend making this character an emoji component that isn’t meant to be directly present on keyboards by itself. I’m also not sure how recognisable a singular wrestler who isn’t enganged in a competition would be at standard font sizes. One possible solution that the UTC hasn’t considered yet is to allow multiple Fitzpatrick modifiers per base character. A split handshake would then be encoded as 🤝🏼🏾. This approach requires no new characters, has very legible fallback display, and is also quite space‐efficient since no bytes are wasted on Zero Width Joiners, but it also massively violates the established semantics of these modifiers. Another issue is defining the precise syntax of these sequences because 🤝🏽🏽 and 🤝🏽 for example should theoretically produce identical glyphs, so one or the other would need to be exceptionally prohibited.