Why so much emoji nonsense?

Alastair Houghton via Unicode unicode at unicode.org
Wed Feb 14 11:45:27 CST 2018

On 14 Feb 2018, at 13:25, Shriramana Sharma via Unicode <unicode at unicode.org> wrote:
> From a mail which I had sent to two other Unicode contributors just a
> few days ago:
> Frankly I agree that this whole emoji thing is a Pandora box. It
> should have been restricted to emoticons to express facial or physical
> gestures which are insufficiently representable by words. When it
> starts representing objects like ���� then it becomes a problem as to
> where to draw the line.

A lot of the emoji were encoded because they were in use on Japanese mobile phones.  A fair proportion of those may very well not meet the selection factors (see <https://unicode.org/emoji/selection.html>) required for new emoji, but they were definitely within the scope of the Unicode project as encoding them provides interoperability.

As for newer emoji, whether they are encoded or not is up to the UTC, and as I say, they apply (or are supposed to apply) the criteria on the “Submitting Emoji Proposals” page.  There is certainly an argument that the encoding of new emoji should be discouraged in favour of functionality at higher layers (e.g. <img> tags in HTML), but, honestly, I think that ship has probably sailed.  Similarly there are, I think, good reasons to object to the skin tone and gender modifiers, but we’ve already opened that can of worms and so will now have to put up with demands for red hair (or quite probably, freckles, monobrows, different hats, hair, beard and moustache styles and so on).

Kind regards,



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