Encoding italic (was: A last missing link)
email@example.com via Unicode
unicode at unicode.org
Thu Jan 24 04:47:36 CST 2019
Mark E. Shoulson wrote:
> It doesn't just take someone saying "out of scope."
It depends who it is. The theory is that people post in the mailing list
as individuals, yet some people have very great influence.
> It also has to *be* out of scope!
Maybe, it depends who says what.
> If someone chants the incantation, but I can persuasively argue that
> no, it IS in scope, then the spell fails.
Well, that may work for you, it does not work for me. Decision is by an
unnamed gatekeeper and the Unicode Technical Committee does not get to
discuss it, and discussing whether it is in scope or not is not allowed
on the mailing list, because discussion of the topic is permanently
> Requesting the scope of Unicode be widened is not like other
> discussions being had here, so it makes sense that it should be
> treated differently, if treated at all.
Well, it does not make sense to me. If benefit could be produced by
widening the scope of Unicode in some way, then it seems that it should
be allowed to be discussed in the mailing list. And even if rejected at
some time then still be allowed to be discussed at some future time as
things may have changed.
> There were discussions and agreements made as to the scope of Unicode,
> long ago.
Yes. Yet surely decisions made long ago should not lock out all progress
as new ideas come along.
> And just like you can't petition to change a character name, no matter
> how wrong it is, asking the Unicode consortium to redefine itself on
> your say-so is -not going to be taken seriously either.
Well, to me it is not like that. Yes, "a character name, no matter how
wrong it is," is part of the stability guarantee and cannot be changed.
Adding U+FFF7 as a base character for a tag digit sequence to uniquely
and interoperably and stably define a code for a specific meaning for a
localizable sentence would not, as far as I am aware, break any
stability guarantees for Unicode. That might widen the scope of Unicode
or it might be within the present scope, yet either way if it would be
of benefit to end users then it would be reasonable to consider the idea
and not block its discussion: and it is not a matter of my say-so at
all, putting forward an idea for fair consideration is not at all the
same as dictating that something should be done on someone's say-so. Was
the scope of Unicode widened for emoji? First of all emoji were encoded
for compatibility, but the Unicorn Face changed all that and now it an
annual "could be useful" exercise of generating new characters based on
people's ideas. For the avoidance of doubt I am not against that at all,
it is fun and hopefully will continue.
I appreciate that the particular tag sequences to follow U+FFF7 might
not be encoded by Unicode Inc., they might be encoded by an ISO
committee, such as ISO/TC 37. Yet encoding U+FFF7 as the base character
would allow a link as interoperable plain text rather than needing to
use what amounts to a markup system.
Yet please remember that Unicode Inc. has defined and published base
character plus tag sequences for the some flags, including the Welsh
flag and the Scottish flag. Recently I was informed that they are not
part of The Unicode Standard nor part of ISO/IEC 10646.
It appears that a Unicode Technical Note is being prepared with
recommendations of how to express teletext control characters using
Unicode characters, possibly using Escape sequences.
So a Unicode Inc. publication listing numbers and meanings together with
a context guide for each to help translation of meanings for a
localization file of code numbers and sentences into a target language
seems not unreasonable.
As an example, the vertical line used as a separator, as a comma might
be used within the sentence itself, so not using a comma as a separator
812|Would you like to go to the day room?
Not all codes would be three digits, some would be longer. Codes where
the first three digits are all different from the other two digits are
three digits long. Codes where the first and third digit are the same
have a length of 3 plus the value of the third digit. So, for example,
codes starting 313 are six digits long and are a set of localizable
sentences intended primarily for seeking information through the
language barrier about relatives and friends after a disaster. The third
digit being zero allows for even longer code numbers.
> Discussing how to change the scope so that whatever-it-is IS in scope
> is a very large undertaking, …
Not necessarily. If the Unicode Technical Committee were to consider a
proposal and, after consideration and discussion were to agree to
proceed, it could all be done within a short discussion at a Unicode
Technical Committee meeting and then the recommendation sent to the ISO
I am not saying that it should be or that it will be, I am just trying
to say that it is not necessarily a very large undertaking. The Unicode
Technical Committee discusses many things.
> … and would need a tremendous groundswell of support from all the
> major stakeholders in Unicode, …
Quite possibly. And if there were discussion in the Unicode mailing list
and the topic came up at a Unicode Technical Committee meeting that
> …, so you should probably start there.
Well, they meet at the Unicode Technical Committee meetings, so that is
where I consider that the matter should be discussed. The problem is, it
is not possible for me at present to get such a suggestion before the
committee because it gets blocked and it cannot be discussed in the
Unicode mailing list because the topic is permanently banned.
> "But so many of the people I would want to talk to about this are
> right here on this list!" you say? Be that as it may, it doesn't mean
> the list has to grant you a platform.
That is very true. Unicode Inc. has no obligation whatsoever to allow me
to post my ideas in the Unicode mailing list and no obligation
whatsoever to consider my ideas for progress at the Unicode Technical
Committee. I find it quite ironic that if this idea were implemented
then demonstrations of what the system could do would be a marvellous
example of what is possible in displaying the languages of the world
> Change the world on your own dime.
Well, I had not met that expression before but I have had a search and I
think that I understand your meaning.
I am doing what I can. I am retired, at home, with a laptop computer
with some budget software (yet very good software with which I can make
fonts and publish PDF documents), an internet connection, and a small
personal webspace hosted by a United Kingdom Public Limited Company for
a small annual fee, so it is safe to access, it is not a server based on
my home computer, I upload over the internet (it is a legacy webspace
from a free-with-dial-up-internet-access webspace dating from 1997 after
a takeover then another takeover, after the dial-up facility was closed
yet I was allowed to keep the webspace with same original address.)
For example, as well as producing some scientific publications, I am
writing a novel, chapters 1 ..72, 75, 80, 81 all written, published on
the web for free reading and legal-deposited with the British Library.
If just browsing through, Chapters 34, 42 and 51 are good places to
> "Unicode isn't here to encode cool new ideas that would be cool and
> new. It's here for writing what people already do. "
That may have been true once, and maybe that is still the theory, but
the continual encoding of new emoji just does not fit that!
I did at one time, a few years ago, consider trying to formulate
localizable sentences as emoji, each with a square glyph, but I changed
from that when I realized that emoji do not have precise meanings yet a
very important aspect of localizable sentences is that each one has a
very precise meaning and is grammatical independent.
> It's as appropriate to demand that Unicode support these things …
One of the problems I get is the Aunt Sally suggestion, not only here
but in posts from others, that I am demanding anything.
I am a researcher and I would like to put my ideas forward for sensible
discussion. I am asking for consideration of my ideas please, I have
not, and am not, demanding anything at all.
When people start making out that I am making demands it is very
prejudicial and, I consider, very unfair.
By the way, I have been put on moderated post so please do not reply to
the list unless you get a copy of this as from me via Unicode. I write
this because I am not seeking to bypass the moderator's decision as if
Unicode Inc. does not want any discussion of localizable sentences in
its mailing list that is its right so to choose.
Thursday 24 January 2019
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