A last missing link for interoperable representation

Mark E. Shoulson via Unicode unicode at unicode.org
Sat Jan 12 20:15:35 CST 2019

Just to add some more fuel for this fire, I note also the highly popular 
(in some places) technique of using Unicode letters that may have 
nothing whatsoever to do with the symbol or letter you mean to 
represent, apart from coincidental resemblance and looking "cool" 
enough.  This happens a lot on Second Life, where you can set your 
"display name" distinct from your "user name", but the display name 
appears to be limited to Unicode *letters* and some punctuation, mostly, 
and certainly can't be outside the BMP.  So for a sampling from stuff 
I've heard of...

ΑbiΑИØ SŦээlSØul
ΛИƓĿƐĪƇ  Ɗє ℓα ℜudǝ ωђitmαη
ђÅℵℵƔ Fashionablez ℬãŋќş Ķhaгg
єσηα MιяєƖуηη
ℒυςノσυʂ ツ .
乙u 乙u
尺αмση ℓυιѕ αуαℓα
øקςøги вαℓℓѕ ßⱥţţïţuđє
Ąşђεгöη ĄĶЯĨ Ğrєץ
đ σ  ℜ ι ค ℵ :.
ϯcH ℭℛℯȡĩȵŧă
亗 Amy 亗
ßяуⒶℵ GяєуωσLƒ
тαקקαt Wuηđǝяレǝ
کhäşhι ℰղcαηϯäɖσƦ
ۣღۣۜ Jarah Sparksۣღۣۜ
ઇઉ fleur ઇઉ
໓яαкє ςнυяςн
ڰۣღ- Pandora Barbarosڰۣღ-
ஐ tenayah ஐ-x-
ღⒹムяк 丂σuℓ™ღ
ץlđє Ͼђץlɠє
Լסяє ℳססɗү
עΨ Gatatem ђαвίв Ψיע

I could do more searching... Some of these things are even more common 
than shown here.  Using ღ for a heart ♡ is extremely widespread, and 
decorations like 亗 and Ϯ abound.  Note some decorations involving ღ with 
some Arabic(!) combining characters. Note the use of Hebrew and Arabic 
and CJK and other characters to represent Latin letters to which they 
bear only a passing resemblance.  There are also a lot of names in all 
small-caps or all full-width (I didn't include any examples of just that 
because they seemed so ordinary), or "inverted"  ·uoı̣ɥsɐɟ ꞁɐnsn əɥʇ uı̣

I don't know what, precisely, this argues for or against.  Would people 
deny that this is an "abuse" of the character-set, even though people 
are doing it and it works for them?  The medium is pretty indisputably 
plain-text.  Should all this kind of thing be somehow made to "work" for 
these creative, if mystifying, people? These are clearly pretty far-out 
examples (though not extreme, compared to what's out there, nor 
uncommon, from what I have been told.)

This discussion has been very interesting, really.  I've heard what I 
thought were very good points and relevant arguments from both/all 
sides, and I confess to not being sure which I actually prefer.  Just 
giving you more to think about...


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