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

Garth Wallace gwalla at
Mon Jul 6 17:35:43 CDT 2015

On Mon, Jul 6, 2015 at 2:31 PM, Doug Ewell <doug at> wrote:
> 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.

I suspect it's because WAVING WHITE FLAG is defined as having an emoji
representation and WHITE FLAG isn't.

> 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.

That's true, none of the existing flag characters are neutral.

> 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").

I think crosshatching would be neutral. I'm not aware of any flags
with a field of diagonal stripes; they usually only have one. Although
I suppose heraldry enthusiasts might interpret them as tinctures.

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