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

James Kass via Unicode unicode at
Mon Aug 20 09:30:12 CDT 2018

There are enthusiasts who want to add many cool emoji to the set and
who may be frustrated by the process and new character limits.  There
are other enthusiasts who apparently want to add even more emoji with
the idea of producing some kind of universal pictographic system.
They'd likely need personal pronouns for something like that and are
probably even more frustrated.  Then there's the corporate interests
who also want to add more cool emoji, as long as they are cool enough,
and within limits.

There's some common ground there, but it's easy to understand that the
enthusiasts are stymied by the pace.  With a limit of sixty new emoji
per year, it would take quite a while before the regular enthusiasts
are satisfied and it would take decades to encode any kind of
universal pictographic system.

What the enthusiasts need is a large block of characters in which to
experiment.  A place where proposed and pending (or rejected) emoji
could be sorted, stored, mapped, documented, and published without any
lengthy delays.  A range from which such emoji could be transmitted to
other enthusiasts as computer plain text, and by prior agreement the
recipient could display the emoji as the sender intended.

Would two complete planes of Unicode be large enough for that?

Deseret and Phaistos, as two examples, were being used in a Unicode
environment way before they were added to The Unicode Standard.  There
were web pages published in Deseret before Deseret was accepted into
Unicode, and newer pages weren't using "ASCII-hack" fonts.

Enthusiasts could form their own ad-hoc committee and set up some form
of registry for pre-Unicode emoji using the Private Use Planes of

Vendor support wouldn't be likely, at least not right away, but vendor
support isn't happening any time soon for most proposed emoji anyway.
Since emoji enthusiasts come from all walks of life, there's surely
someone who can whip up an app or an add-on.  Plus, conventional fonts
can be made for the black and white fallback glyphs, and those would
get things going while awaiting apps/add-ons.

If usage of these new emoji snowballs as much as the enthusiasts
expect it to, then the search engine trending might be tuned to the
individual PUA character and give an *exact* reading of just how
popular any particular proposed emoji is.  And *those* figures would
tend to support the promotion of specific candidates into regular
Unicode if the figures were high enough.

And if these new emoji turn out to be just a passing fad, no harm done.

As The Universal Character Set, it should be able to support the needs
of all users.  And with the Private Use Areas, it does.

As a caveat, some Unicode cognoscenti express disdain for the PUA, so
there would be some people who would call a PUA solution either batty
or crazy.  But such PUA solutions have the advantage of getting things
up-and-running and allowing specialists and enthusiasts to exchange
exactly the kind of information they want to exchange, such as the
anarchy symbol, without needing anybody's approval or permission.
Which might explain the disdain.  ☺

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