Private Use areas

William_J_G Overington via Unicode unicode at
Mon Aug 27 15:44:39 CDT 2018

Here is the reply that I sent to Peter Constable and to the other people to whom he wrote.
Unlike for Mr Constable and for many other people, all of my posts have to be passed by the moderator, and I know why that is the situation. Though that situation was not imposed by a named official of Unicode Inc. acting in a stated official capacity.
So my opportunities to defend my ideas are conditional.
William Overington
Monday 27 August 2018
----Original message----
>From : wjgo_10009 at
Date : 2018/08/27 - 21:18 (GMTDT)
To : beckiergb at, verdy_p at, petercon at, wjgo_10009 at, mark at, kenwhistler at, richard.wordingham at, jameskasskrv at
Subject : Re: Private Use areas
Well, it is a pity that you did not send your reply to the Unicode mailing list.
> That sounds like a non-conformant use of characters in the U+24xx block.
Well, you are an expert on these things and I do not understand as to with what it would be non-conformant.
It seems to me that for many years some people have wanted a way to convey information about the meaning of Private Use Area characters used in a document in an unobtrusive way within the document. The format that I am suggesting could be the basis of a way to do that.
I really do not understand the problem.
Ken Whistler wrote:
>>> > 1. Define a *protocol* for reliable interchange of custom character property information about PUA code points.
Some people use XML for things where two characters are used in a different manner.
A quick downbeat quip comment about my ideas with no explanation is not helpful and might because of your standing cause some people not to consider the idea even-handedly for concern of offending you.
I am reminded of a British film of the 1955 called The Colditz Story. 
It used to be one of the regular films on the television years ago. 
I do not know whether it was ever shown in America, maybe, or maybe it is just a British thing. 
The reason why I am reminded of that film is that one of the British prisoners devises a plan for a group of British prisoners to escape from Colditz disguised as German officers and just walk out of the gate. This is ridiculed as impossible because it has been tried before at various prisoner of war camps and the people have always been detected as British prisoners. The man suggesting the scheme then points out that the detection is because there is clearly something questionable about the direction from which the disguised prisoners arrive, such as from a prisoners' hut, that is the problem, not the quality of the disguises or the basic soundness of the idea. The man then suggests that they walk out of the German Officers' mess building. Please bear in mind that walking out of the door of the mess building does not mean actually being in the mess, it is a matter of going down the flight of stairs from a storage area, (the stairs having been accessed from under the stage of the castle theatre) walking past the entrance to the dining room and then out of the door, supposedly on their way back, after dinner, to their billets in the village. This done while a concert put on by some others of the prisoners, and attended by the senior German officers, is going on in the castle theatre. 
So, it is the bit about an idea coming from the wrong direction that reminds me of the film.
 William Overington
Monday 27 August 2018
----Original message----
>From : petercon at
Date : 2018/08/27 - 20:33 (GMTDT)
To : wjgo_10009 at, jameskasskrv at, richard.wordingham at, mark at, beckiergb at, verdy_p at
Subject : RE: Private Use areas
That sounds like a non-conformant use of characters in the U+24xx block.
From: Unicode <unicode-bounces at> On Behalf Of
William_J_G Overington via Unicode
Sent: Monday, August 27, 2018 2:00 AM
To: jameskasskrv at; richard.wordingham at; mark at; beckiergb at; verdy_p at
Cc: unicode at
Subject: Re: Private Use areas
How about the following method.
In a text file that contains text that uses Private Use Area characters, start the file with a sequence of Enclosed Alphanumeric characters from regular Unicode, that sequence containing the metadata relating to those Private Use Area characters
 as used in their present context.
Use circled digits U+24EA, U+2460 .. U+2469, and Circled Latin letters U+24B6 .. U+24E9.
Use U+2473 as if it were a circled space. The use of 20 to mean a space often occurs in web addresses. I know that there it is hexadecimal and here it is decimal but it has the same look of being an encoded space and so that is why I am
 suggesting using it.
Start the sequence with PUAINFO encoded using seven circled Latin letters and any character other than a carriage return or a line feed shows that the sequence has ended. The use of PUAINFO encoded using seven circled Latin letters at the
 start of the sequence is so that text using enclosed alphanumeric characters for another purpose would not become disrupted.
Then a suitable software application can read the text file and then, either automatically or after the clicking of a button, extract metadata information from the sequence of enclosed alphanumeric characters and not display the sequence
 of enclosed alphanumeric characters.
Maybe other circled numbers in the range 10 through to 19 would have special meanings.
This method would keep everything within plane zero.
William Overington
Monday 27 August 2018
----Original message----
>From : unicode at
Date : 2018/08/21 - 23:23 (GMTDT)
To : doug at
Cc : unicode at
Subject : Re: Private Use areas
On Tue, Aug 21, 2018 at 3:02 PM Doug Ewell via Unicode <unicode at> wrote:
Ken Whistler wrote:
> The way forward for folks who want to do this kind thing is: 
> 1. Define a *protocol* for reliable interchange of custom character
> property information about PUA code points. 
I've often thought that would be a great idea. You can't get to steps 2
and 3 without step 1. I'd gladly participate in such a project. 
As would I.
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