Encoding italic

James Kass via Unicode unicode at unicode.org
Thu Jan 31 08:21:40 CST 2019

David Starner wrote,

 > The choice of using single-byte character sets isn't always voluntary.
 > That's why we should use ISO-2022, not Unicode. Or we can expect
 > people to fix their systems. What systems are we talking about, that
 > support Unicode but compel you to use plain text? The use of Twitter
 > is surely voluntary.

This marketing-related web page,


...lists various reasons for using plain-text e-mail.  Here’s an excerpt.

“Some people simply prefer it. Plain and simple—some people prefer text 
emails. ... Some users may also see HTML emails as a security and 
privacy risk, and choose not to load any images and have visibility over 
all links that are included in an email. In addition, the increased 
bandwidth that image-heavy emails tend to consume is another driver of 
why users simply prefer plain-text emails.”

Besides marketing, there’s also newsletters and e-mail discussion 
groups.  Some of those discussion groups are probably scholarly. Anyone 
involved in that would likely embrace ‘super cool Unicode text magic’ 
and it’s surprising if none of them have stumbled across the math 
alphanumerics yet.

A web search for the string “plain text only” leads to all manner of 
applications for which searchers are trying to control their 
environments.  There’s all kinds of reasons why some people prefer to 
use plain-text, it’s often an informed choice and it isn’t limited to 

It’s true that people don’t have to use Twitter.  People don’t have to 
turn on their computers, either.

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