The management of the encoding process of emoji

Christoph Päper via Unicode unicode at
Mon Jun 19 07:14:05 CDT 2017

William_J_G Overington:
>> Two key issues are whether the characters are likely to be popular 
>> and whether they would be supported by major vendors.
> I am rather concerned at what I am calling majorvendorism. (...)
> only new ideas acceptable to at least one of a small number of major vendors can make progress.

I very much share this concern. 

> (...) a font produced other than by a major vendor could become widely used 
> even though it is not bundled with an operating system.
> So there seems to me to be no fair reason for Unicode Inc. to include majorvendorism in its decision-making process.
> If a major vendor chooses, for commercial reasons, not to support some emoji 
> then that is a matter for that major vendor and should not be a factor in the Unicode encoding process.

I'm about to propose emojis for several body parts and am afraid that, although there is huge demand and a lot of prior art for them, it's futile for reproductive organs, because American vendors in particular, who make up the vast majority of (voting members in) the consortium, have a history of self-censorship in this regard (cf. Egyptian hieroglyphics) which they likely will extend upon others because they *feel* obliged to support graphically explicit images in their own emoji sets. 

That's just speculation, of course, because I don't and can't know whether there already has been a similar proposal that the ESC just declined to publish and forward to the UTC. This lack of documentation is a major point of L2/17-147, which hopefully gets addressed soon in the very basic way mentioned in 3.c. of the response: 

>> The ESC has been working on a list of at least the submitted names for proposed emoji, 
>> and is planning to make that public in the near future.

It's also not unfounded speculation, as the case of the Rifle character shows, which made it into late beta stage of Unicode 9.0 as an emoji, but had its Emoji property withdrawn after a joint request by Apple and Google. Some vendors had already added support for it, but dropped it because they somehow felt obliged to not ship multi-color glyphs for "arbitrary" characters (whereas vendors such as Microsoft and Samsung, a non-member, rightfully don't seem to care much about that).

If emojis were treated as proper characters that can come from any font, there would hardly be a problem, at least on platforms where users can install or embed custom typefaces. The fact that some vendors are either not able or not willing to change how emojis work on their operating systems, should not impact the proposal and encoding process for Unicode characters.

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