Encoding ConScripts

Mark E. Shoulson mark at kli.org
Sat Oct 9 20:56:21 CDT 2021

On 10/9/21 01:03, Anshuman Pandey via Unicode wrote:
> Oh, how timely!
> At IUC 45 next Thursday, Deborah Anderson and I will be presenting on “Negotiating Neographies: Approaches for Encoding Newly-Invented Scripts”.

With similar timeliness, I followed Rebecca's link about QID emoji to 
her excellent pages on her fonts, which are positively dripping with 
ConScripts from the (U)CSUR registry of which she has taken 
stewardship.  (Particularly amazed at the Seussian Extensions, which 
I've never been able to work out to "fit" even remotely with a normal 
font.  And some of those unofficial punctuation marks deserve some 
serious consideration; I bet the andorpersand could get popular enough 
to deserve encoding someday.)

> I’ll be discussing some metrics that may be used for evaluating neographies (nod to Ken W for that term), conscripts, or whatever you’d like to call them.
> Such metrics, as James pointed out, are necessary, especially considering the influx of proposals to encode newly-invented scripts, particularly those of Africa and South Asia.
Yes, some sort of way to quantify need to encode.  The bar for the CSUR 
is quite low; I think a lot of those scripts have never been used by 
anyone but their inventors (which is fine for PUA assignments as in the 
CSUR).  I find the distinction growing in my mind between neato 
inventions someone invented and wants to share with the world and 
scripts that have some historical or literary weight and at least _some_ 
community of usage (which generally has to pass the rather subjective 
criterion of being big enough that I've heard of it.)
> Sorry Mark, we won’t be covering Klingon…

Yeah, I was at the UTC when the report from the Script Ad-Hoc was 
presented, and probably to everyone's great relief I decided not to 
comment on the response to Klingon there.  I figured I'd said pretty 
much everything I was going to say and wouldn't really be adding 
anything by bringing it up again.

At this point, I have to assume that Klingon easily satisfies the 
"usage" requirement that was given as the ostensible reason for refusal 
back at the beginning.  I complained long about the chicken-and-egg 
problem we were faced with, but as I showed a few years ago, it is hard 
to dispute that we've overcome it and the script has seen a non-trivial 
amount of use.  (At least, I hope it's hard to dispute that!)  It seems 
there won't be any official movement, not even a smidgen, until we can 
resolve the potential IP issues.  I can only hope that when and if 
that's cleared up, there won't still remain the wholly undignified 
"dignity" argument.

(If anyone disagrees and is willing to discuss fitness for encoding 
apart from IP problems, I'd be happy to engage, but my understanding is 
that nobody wants to re-examine _any_ criteria until they can look at 
_all_ the criteria, including the big one.)

But yeah.  The bottom line is, Unicode *DOES NOT* encode things on the 
grounds that "this would be great if people used it," only on the 
grounds that people DO use it.  The exception is emoji, and they have 
their own rules.


> ❤️🍆 or whatever it was that y’all decided was the emoji for ‘thank you’.
> All my best,
> Anshu
>> On Oct 8, 2021, at 11:43 PM, James Kass via Unicode <unicode at corp.unicode.org> wrote:
>>> On 2021-10-08 6:08 PM, William_J_G Overington via Unicode wrote:
>>> Allowing abstract emoji could open up great possibilities. I have already designed some abstract emoji for personal pronouns, colourful, language-independent, clearly distinct each from the others yet within a related design framework.
>> Anyone approaching Unicode with proposed new characters needs to point to existing use.  (Excluding emoji and items such as new currency symbols or era names.)
>> Anyone designing new glyphs for personal pronouns is not creating “emoji”, but rather is inventing a ConScript.  Most of us know that there’s a registry for ConScripts using the PUA.  So it would be necessary to assign PUA code points, generate a font, make the font generally available, publicize it, and hope it catches on.
>> That seems to be the only clear path to Unicoding novel characters. If the PUA material usage reaches some kind of critical mass, someone would draft a proposal to Unicode.
>> That could be perceived as a “high bar”.  But it’s quite reasonable and realistic.  And it’s not insurmountable.  And once that critical mass has been achieved, such glyphs would be on-topic for this forum.

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