Thoughts on working with the Emoji Subcommittee (was Re: Thoughts on Emoji Selection Process)

James Kass via Unicode unicode at
Sat Aug 18 03:07:17 CDT 2018

William Overington wrote,

> All proposals for new emoji seem to now require
> those blue and red charts from Google Trends.
> I have never understood why these are needed and
> what they are supposed to prove.

If an emoji being proposed represents a concept which is popular, its
potential popularity *as an emoji* can perhaps be estimated by seeing
how many people are making web searches for the concept.

The red and blue chart should compare the proposed emoji to a
"reference emoji", but I don't really understand why, either.  No
doubt there's some kind of reasoning behind this, but to me it's like
comparing apples to oranges.

> When it comes to a proposal for emoji for 'I'
> and for 'You', I cannot decide what Google Trends
> chart would be of any relevance to support an emoji
> proposal.

Well, *those* keywords don't look very promising.

> I decided that trying to design emoji for 'I' and
> for 'You' seemed interesting so I decided to have
> a go at designing some.
> However pictures of people with arrows seemed to
> be ambiguous in meaning ...
> So eventually I decided that abstract designs
> would be a good solution to the problem.

Hand gestures such as an overview of a finger pointing away (for
"YOU") and a thumbs-up with the thumb pointing inward at about a
hundred degree angle (for "I") might work.  But since body language
and hand gestures differ between cultures, those gestures might only
be recognizable to westerners.

For example, I've seen Japanese people refer to themselves with a hand
gesture which is their own pointing finger touching their own nose.
And the thumbs up gesture which means "everything is jake" or
"everything is hunky-dory" in my locale means something vastly
different south of the international border between the U.S. and

Even an emoji pair representing Narcissus gazing fondly upon
reflection (with the upper figure emphasized for "I" and the lower for
"YOU") might be western-centric.  Or too subtle or cerebral.

But an abstract design for those pronouns would remain abstract unless
people *like* it and use it.

> I am happy to spend that time producing a document
> but I am somewhat deterred by the possibility that
> the document might just be discarded and never get
> anywhere with no explanation.

Yet your initial submission was rejected with an explanation.

> It is not clear whether abstract emoji would be
> accepted. If I remember correctly at one stage
> ESC (Emoji Subcommittee) opined that abstract
> emoji were possible, ...

... but unlikely?  Perhaps if a corporate sponsor designed a set of
abstract emoji and got some agreement from some of the other corporate
sponsors, *those* abstract emoji would be pushed towards the character
encoding stage.  But such abstractions proposed by a John Doe or Job
Lowe strike me as unlikely candidates.

Quoting from:

"◦Simple words (“NEW”) or abstract symbols (“∰”)
would not qualify as emoji."

Also, in the section "Selection Factors for Exclusion", the part
headed "L. Exact Images" would seem to rule out any such abstractions.

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