Encoding italic

Garth Wallace via Unicode unicode at unicode.org
Thu Jan 24 23:44:21 CST 2019

On Wed, Jan 23, 2019 at 1:27 AM James Kass via Unicode <unicode at unicode.org>

> Nobody has really addressed Andrew West's suggestion about using the tag
> characters.
> It seems conformant, unobtrusive, requiring no official sanction, and
> could be supported by third-partiers in the absence of corporate
> interest if deemed desirable.
> One argument against it might be:  Whoa, that's just HTML.  Why not just
> use HTML?  SMH
> One argument for it might be:  Whoa, that's just HTML!  Most everybody
> already knows about HTML, so a simple subset of HTML would be recognizable.
> After revisiting the concept, it does seem elegant and workable. It
> would provide support for elements of writing in plain-text for anyone
> desiring it, enabling essential (or frivolous) preservation of
> editorial/authorial intentions in plain-text.
> Am I missing something?  (Please be kind if replying.)

There is also RFC 1896 "enriched text", which is an attempt at a
lightweight HTML substitute for styling in email. But these, and the ANSI
escape code suggestion, seem like they're trying to solve the wrong problem

Here's how I understand the situation:
* Some people using forms of text or mostly-text communication that do not
provide styling features want to use styling, for emphasis or personal flair
* Some of these people caught on to the existence of the "styled"
mathematical alphanumerics and, not caring that this is "wrong", started
using them as a workaround
* The use of these symbols, which are not technically equivalent to basic
Latin, make posts inaccessible to screen readers, among other problems

These are suggestions for Unicode to provide a different, more "acceptable"
workaround for a lack of functionality in these social media systems (this
mostly seems to be an issue with Twitter; IME this shows up much less on
Facebook). But the root problem isn't the kludge, it's the lack of
functionality in these systems: if Twitter etc. simply implemented some
styling on their own, the whole thing would be a moot point. Essentially,
this is trying to add features to Twitter without waiting for their
development team.

Interoperability is not an issue, since in modern computers copying and
pasting styled text between apps works just fine.
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