The encoding of flags

James Kass jameskass at
Wed Oct 6 20:30:01 CDT 2021

On 2021-10-06 4:49 PM, William_J_G Overington via Unicode wrote:
> My concern is that it is one thing for large organizations to agree on 
> common standards that benefit consumers, but quite another for them to 
> be asked at a meeting of the Unicode Technical Committee to agree to 
> restrict future development. It is not what they are there to do. Are 
> they allowed to do that as there is no basis for that restriction 
> benefitting consumers?
> There could be a quite straightforward solution. Simply register with 
> index numbers expressed in a sequence of tag digit characters all 
> flags for which a glyph is supplied, as a white flag followed by a 
> sequence of tag digits followed by a cancel tag. That way people who 
> want flags encoded for unambiguous plain text use get what they want. 

Flag categories are explained here:

Closing flags in category "F4" means that future emoji flag proposals 
will not be considered.  (Although "F3" might be opened by a future 

"F4" includes identity flags such as those used to support a philosophy, 
worldview, or sexual identity.  Such flags are legion and many are in a 
constant state of flux with competing designs. Closing the door on "F4" 
makes sense.

Encouraging vendors to support in-line graphics is the best way to 
insure that the recipient sees exactly what the sender intended.

There's at least a couple of alternatives to in-line graphics.  One, 
Unicode could announce that it is now the world's standard for clip-art 
encoding.  Or two, a mechanism like QID Emoji.  Supporting in-line 
graphics seems simpler.  And it would even work on non-flag images.

By closing "F4", Unicode is encouraging future development -- either 
towards in-line graphics support or QID Emoji font creation.

[QID Emoji fonts are possible with existing technology and don't require 
any action/approval by Unicode.  A lack of QID Emoji fonts suggests that 
there is little demand for them.  Rebecca Bettencourt had included six 
QID emoji strings (kudos for Morgan Freeman!) in the Fairfax HD font for 
testing purposes.  A graphic showing those six designs is here: .]

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