Stationary vs. waving flags (was: Re: Adding RAINBOW FLAG to Unicode)

Doug Ewell doug at
Mon Jul 6 16:31:07 CDT 2015

I wrote:

> I hear Asmus's concern about using WAVING WHITE FLAG as the base
> character for emoji flags which might not be depicted as waving.

I suppose there's no particular reason why U+2690 can't be the base
character instead.

But then Garth Wallace <gwalla at gmail dot com> wrote:

> I'm concerned that the proposed base is a white flag, which usually
> means "surrender". It seems like there's some potential for
> miscommunication there.

If the intrinsic meaning of the base character in isolation is a problem
-- people using flag-tag-unaware systems will see a white flag and
assume it means "surrender" -- then there aren't any existing encoded
flag characters that are any better.

Black flags have historically had a wide variety of meanings as well --
mourning, anarchy, Italian fascism, race car driver disqualified, etc.
So substituting U+1F3F4 or U+2691 won't help. All of the other existing
flag symbol characters have even more specific meanings, usually
annotated in TUS.

Folks who consider this a problem are probably intrigued by item 2 under
"Discussion" in the background document: encode an all-new base
character. This would delay the rollout of the mechanism, and if the new
character has a glyph that looks at all like a flag, it will likely face
the same criticism (e.g. "looks too much like the Portuguese flag").

Doug Ewell | | Thornton, CO ����

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