Readings — From the January 2018 issue

Character Studies

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From a memo sent in October by Unicode typographers to the organization’s technical committee, which oversees the creation and modification of emoji. The memo concerns emoji that are proposed for introduction in June.

request for durian character
There are cute durian images on the internet with the slogan “No hugs,” so I think that durian is a strong candidate to be encoded. Stronger than mango because mango is a very undistinctive shape.

clarify requirement for sliced bagel
This character has always disturbed me. If it cannot be easily distinguished from a doughnut, why are we encoding it? Cutting in half does not help because the black-and-white glyph just looks like two doughnuts.

microbe: request to change name
This character does not make sense. The correct term is “microorganism,” and that is a catchall for single-celled organisms (bacteria, archaea, protozoa, unicellular algae, and unicellular fungi). This is really too broad a field for ordinary use.

blue face with clenched teeth and icicles
This emoticon is ridiculous. Icicles do not typically form on people’s faces, though sometimes ice may form on facial hair because of condensation.

grinning face with letters “ok” as eyes
What is this for? Why is this useful? We have 1F44C for “okay.” We have 1F44D for “okay.” We have 1F592 for “okay.” We have 1F197 for “okay.” Why is this not sufficient?

frowning pile of poo
This character is damaging to the Unicode Standard. Organic waste isn’t cute. The idea that our committees would sanction further graphic characters based on this should embarrass absolutely everyone. I have to wonder what possible good could come of encoding such a character. I’m concerned that this character will open the floodgates for an open-ended set of pile of poo emoji, such as crying pile of poo, pile of poo with look of triumph, pile of poo screaming in fear, etc. Is there really any need to add a range of emotions to pile of poo?

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