Tag characters and in-line graphics (from Tag characters)

Doug Ewell doug at ewellic.org
Fri Jun 5 10:36:27 CDT 2015

I wrote, crumpled up, and threw away about three different responses. I
thought about ISO 2022 and about accessing the web for every PUA
character, as Asmus mentioned, and about the size of the user base, as
Martin mentioned. I thought about character properties and about

I didn't think of the spoofing implications that Asmus described, which
would affect both the automatic PUA font download and the inline drawing
language. Either of these could be used to spell out, let's say,
"paypal.com" rather convincingly and with minimal effort.

I might have more experience with the PUA than many list members, having
transcribed the 27,000-word "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" into my
constructed alphabet two years ago, in a PUA encoding, so that Michael
Everson could publish it in book form. One of the many learning
experiences of this project was finding out which software tools play
nicely with the PUA and which don't. Some tools "just worked" while
others would not give acceptable results with any amount of effort.

At no point, however, did I suppose that a font with my alphabet, or any
of the jillions of others that have been invented "during a boring day
in class" (see Omniglot for tons of examples), should be silently
downloaded to a user's computer, consuming bandwidth and disk space,
without her knowledge. That's practically malware. Maybe I'm just not
enough of a Distinguished Visionary to understand how insanely great
this would be (unfortunately, celebrity name-dropping doesn't work with

Unicode has stated consistently for at least 23 years that it would not
ever standardize PUA usage, and over the years some UTC members have
used terms like "strongly discouraged" and "not interoperable" even in
the presence of an agreement. Given this, and given that no system I'm
aware of magically downloads fonts for *regularly encoded characters* (I
still have no font for Arabic math symbols), I personally would not
expect Unicode to perform a 180 on this.

Doug Ewell | http://ewellic.org | Thornton, CO ����

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