Encoding italic

Martin J. Dürst via Unicode unicode at unicode.org
Tue Jan 29 04:23:17 CST 2019

On 2019/01/28 05:03, James Kass via Unicode wrote:
> A new beta of BabelPad has been released which enables input, storing, 
> and display of italics, bold, strikethrough, and underline in plain-text 
> using the tag characters method described earlier in this thread.  This 
> enhancement is described in the release notes linked on this download page:
> http://www.babelstone.co.uk/Software/index.html

I didn't say anything at the time this idea first came up, because I 
hoped people would understand that it was a bad idea.

Here's a little dirty secret about these tag characters: They were 
placed in one of the astral planes explicitly to make sure they'd use 4 
bytes per tag character, and thus quite a few bytes for any actual 
complete tags. See https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc2482 for details. Note 
that RFC 2482 has been obsoleted by https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc6082, 
in parallel with a similar motion on the Unicode side.

These tag characters were born only to shoot down an even worse 
proposal, https://tools.ietf.org/html/draft-ietf-acap-mlsf-01. For some 
additional background, please see 

The overall tag proposal had the desired effect: The original proposal 
to hijack some unused bytes in UTF-8 was defeated, and the tags itself 
were not actually used and therefore could be depreciated.

Bad ideas turn up once every 10 or 20 years. It usually takes some time 
for some of the people to realize that they are bad ideas. But that 
doesn't make them any better when they turn up again.

Regards,   Martin.

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