[OT] Bytext (was Re: Encoding ConScripts)

Mark E. Shoulson mark at kli.org
Thu Oct 14 07:24:10 CDT 2021

On 10/14/21 00:00, James Kass via Unicode wrote:
> On 2021-10-14 1:44 AM, Mark E. Shoulson via Unicode wrote:
>> I've been wondering what the need is to tilt at windmills.  There 
>> *are* all kinds of ways to make your ConScript/emoji used.  There is 
>> the PUA, people use graphics "stickers", there is rich text, there 
>> are alternate encodings... if you won't make the effort to make 
>> things available to even see if there is interest out there apart 
>> from you, if you won't form a community asking for this, why should 
>> Unicode?
> To be fair, William Overington has produced a font with these glyphs 
> and made it available to the public.  It's called Mariposa font, which 
> is unfortunate because that font name is already registered by a 
> different developer.
That does count as "making things available," I'll grant.  But it's a 
very far cry from forming a community.  To get this happening, you have 
to convince people to agree with you.  Convincing Unicode is not 
happening; instead, turn those efforts into convincing other people to 
agree with you, and then you'll have a community of users ready-made to 
come to Unicode with, to assure them that there will be usage.  You'll 
even already have a corpus of communication using it, which is another 
thing that is desirable when deciding to encode a script.  I raised the 
chicken-and-egg problem when arguing for Klingon, but the fact is that 
even back in 1997, there _was_ a community that would almost certainly 
have started using the script if it had been available (actually, it was 
available in the PUA and indeed people were using it, just allegedly 
"not enough".)  And indeed they did start using it, Unicode or no.  Take 
your arguments someplace where they'll do some good and try to convince 
other people to USE your system, instead of trying to convince Unicode 
to change its basic principles. (Just don't do it here, as it's 
off-topic.  Yes, it is, even though it's sort of about writing and stuff.)
> The font is available here:
> http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~ngo/mariposa_novel.htm
> (And you don't have to read the novel to download it.)
> The font is fixed up to generate glyphs using OpenType substitution of 
> ASCII strings in the format of a percentage sign followed by ASCII 
> digits.  Since ASCII is covered in Unicode, this material can already 
> be interchanged with no action required from Unicode.  Such data is 
> already "regular Unicode".
Yes, there are all kinds of fun things one can do with OpenType (I once 
saw a font that would change ostensibly socially charged words into less 
charged ones, like "fat" into "overweight" or something.) And it can be 
a lot of fun to use such things, and indeed using ASCII gives a nice 
fallback when rendered in a different font, makking the system actually 
usable.  So get people using it!
> I speculate that little-to-no interest has been generated as yet, but 
> I do not have access to the download stats, if any, at William's 
> family web site.
> I'm mystified at the persistence (or obsession) directed to getting 
> these novel abstract symbols enshrined in Unicode when interchange is 
> already fully enabled. Alleging that Unicode's principles are somehow 
> unfairly preventing his work from being available to the world with 
> analogies to rice and pasta isn't compelling.

Well, there _is_ a difference between being able to do something and 
being able to do it "right."  The old code-switching ISO-8859-X (that 
the right number?) was capable of communicating in Cyrillic and Hebrew 
and whatever, and similar font tricks or search-and-replace can change 
romanized Klingon into pIqaD.  But as these methods can stumble along 
and manage, they indeed _must_ be used to do so in order to demonstrate 
demand in order to get encoded.  Unicode does not encode dreams, and 
isn't there to create orthographies, but to enable those already in 
use.  So get using!!


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