Re: Encoding of symbols, and a "lock"/"unlock" pre-proposal

From: Doug Ewell (
Date: Wed May 22 2002 - 11:29:12 EDT

Michael Everson <everson at evertype dot com> wrote:

>> I thought these cases were more like the stop sign than the
>> square root sign, but I guess I didn't understand the policy
>> correctly.
> I wouldn't overestimate the comprehensiveness of any such policy if
> I were you. Symbols don't fit neatly into categories.

I didn't make up the categories. I got them from the WG2 "Principles
and Procedures" document, N2352R (2001-09-04), section H.2:

    The 'symbol fallacy' is to confuse the fact that *symbols have
    semantic content*, with *in text, it is customary to use the
    symbol directly for communication*. These are two different
    concepts. An example is traffic signs and the communication of
    traffic engineers about traffic signs. In their (hand-) written
    communication the engineers are much more likely to use the words
    *stop sign* when referring to a stop sign, than to draw the image.
    On the other hand, mathematicians are more likely to draw an
    integral sign and its limits and integrands than to write an
    equation in words. (original emphasis)

I know this is not a black and white distinction. What I said was that,
to me, the recycling and media-control symbols seem more like the stop
sign than the integral sign; and I stand by that.

-Doug Ewell
 Fullerton, California

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