Tag characters and in-line graphics (from Tag characters)

William_J_G Overington wjgo_10009 at btinternet.com
Sat Jun 6 09:37:28 CDT 2015

Doug Ewell wrote:

> Unicode has stated consistently for at least 23 years that it would not
ever standardize PUA usage, and over the years some UTC members have
used terms like "strongly discouraged" and "not interoperable" even in
the presence of an agreement.

I know that Doug and many other on this mailing list will well understand the following already, yet I feel that is helpful to empasise that Unicode does standardize PUA (Private Use Area) usage to the extent that Unicode standardizes which code points are designated as being in the three Private Use Areas and some default properies, such as being left to right.

So, whilst Unicode does not standardize which glyphs are used for each code point in any situation, Unicode does standardize the infrastructure so that the Private Use Area can be successfully used.

So if, say, a much larger code space were needed wherein end users could among themselves agree how assignments could be made, it would not be unreasonable for Unicode to define the underlying infrastructure.

There is a precedent in the way that the alt.* newsgroup hierarchy was incorporated into the Usenet email newsgroups in the time before the world wide web was invented. A person wishing to start a new alt.* newsgroup could post to alt.config and there was discussion for around a week, often with useful advice as to what name to have for the new newsgroup and the new newsgroup was then started. Regular Usenet newsgroups had a long process of votes to get a new newsgroup started, yet the alt.* newsgroups were different, allowing someone to start a new newsgroup on his or her own initiative.

That was a very useful facility. 

William Overington

6 June 2015

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