Emoji in Metafilter posts February 9, 2015 10:00 AM   Subscribe

This isn't so much a complaint about emoji being present in a front page post or even in the title of a front page post. Mostly this is a comment about a micro-trend that's been surfacing where a front page post title consists only of emoji characters, or even just a single character with no context given in text.

For folks that have web browsers without native emoji support, this can cause the obvious readability issues. Just as importantly however, even if the emoji does display, I am sometimes looking at the title wondering what exactly is being conveyed in the title. I'm probably being a bit pedantic here, but I feel the title of a post should convey the content of the subject matter being presented in that post. One or a handful of emoji images doesn't do that (unless of course the post's subject matter is regarding that very specific character).

In summary, I feel that the title of posts should be textually descriptive. Again, I'm not calling for a outright ban on emoji, but rather for something more substantial than a 32x32 pixel image of a flower or a pile of poo in the title. :^)
posted by surazal to MetaFilter-Related at 10:00 AM (76 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

I flagged that post for display issues because I couldn't see the title in the first browser I tried. I also prefer they stay out of the title as the only thing.
posted by stoneweaver at 10:05 AM on February 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, we have been seeing more of this (and just had another Metatalk discussion of emoji overall).

About titles, a PSA: if you have just emoji as the title or as the complete above-the-fold text of your post, it causes problems for people whose devices can't display them. It's much better if folks can avoid doing that. We end up having to either change the title or manually make a different title for the RSS feed, etc. So, please include some text other than the emoji in your title and the above-the-fold text.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:06 AM on February 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


There's a previous MeTa still open with a bunch of discussion, but I will repeat what I said there: as a person with (fairly mild) visual issues, the fact that emoji are a) complex and b) display small makes them kind of a pain, especially on mobile devices. I get people love them, but I wish they would use them sparingly (see also: the small tag).
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:07 AM on February 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


We could put a technical fix in place pretty easily. We could say the title field has to be a minimum of 5 characters or so, so at least there is one or two descriptive words in a title, with a gentle warning if it's too short to please make up a brief descriptive title that is longer than what you currently have.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:07 AM on February 9, 2015 [9 favorites]


Just to add for those wondering: looking at the database, 99.5% of all posts to MeFi proper had a title with 5 characters or more.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:18 AM on February 9, 2015 [8 favorites]


I hadn't seen that previous MetaTalk post about emoji (I did search just in case I was about to post a duplicate). Thanks for pointing it out, LobsterMitten. :^)
posted by surazal at 10:23 AM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


but I feel the title of a post should convey the content of the subject matter being presented in that post.

Titles are user-optional, and for most of MetaFilter's existence, not displayed on the front page.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:42 AM on February 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


I would like to see the envelope graphic that represents memail turned into the emoji version. Thank you for considering my request.
posted by boo_radley at 11:01 AM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


I can see another problem with 4-letter post titles.
πŸ’©
(you should at last make it "bullπŸ’©")
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:04 AM on February 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'd be greatly amused if emoji in titles were automatically converted to their Unicode name in the URL:

πŸ™ˆ πŸ™‰ πŸ™ŠπŸ’©
see-no-evil monkey hear-no-evil monkey speak-no-evil monkey pile of poo
posted by zamboni at 11:17 AM on February 9, 2015 [26 favorites]


in titles
posted by ctmf at 11:30 AM on February 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'd be greatly amused if emoji in titles were automatically converted to their Unicode name in the URL

Oh my god please.
posted by en forme de poire at 11:49 AM on February 9, 2015 [13 favorites]


in titles

It's a shame there's no succinct emoji for get off my lawn.

πŸ˜ πŸ‘β›³οΈπŸ‘‰πŸš·πŸ‘¦πŸ‘§
posted by zamboni at 11:56 AM on February 9, 2015 [17 favorites]


Yes, emoji in moderation please: as an addition to a textual title, not as a replacement.

I feel that the title of posts should be textually descriptive.

I disagree with this somewhat: the body of the post should be textually descriptive, the title is more of a bonus seasoning. Good titles give flavor to the post.

(That said, reading back through my posts, I over-rely on "use a pithy pull-quote as the title" and should try to mix it up a bit.)

Related: It bugs me when posts simply repeat the title of the main link in both the post title and the post body: like an echo.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:57 AM on February 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


Also: titles are optional for readers (although default on, and how many non-hardcore users have them turned off really) but are non-optional for posters and SERIOUSLY GET OVER IT ALREADY TITLES ARE A THING NOW.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:00 PM on February 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


It's a shame there's no succinct emoji for β€œget off my lawn”.

Picture Bob Dylan.
posted by y2karl at 12:00 PM on February 9, 2015


We had a deal, Kyle: I disagree with this somewhat: the body of the post should be textually descriptive, the title is more of a bonus seasoning. Good titles give flavor to the post.

I'm certainly not suggesting post titles be formulaic in any way. I want want a bit more meat than a tiny picture of a animal's face as the title
posted by surazal at 12:02 PM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


how many non-hardcore users have them turned off really

β›„οΈπŸ’€πŸ‘
πŸ”
posted by zamboni at 12:04 PM on February 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yes, emoji in moderation please

Reason for Deletion: πŸ‘―πŸš½πŸ‘ˆ
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:11 PM on February 9, 2015 [18 favorites]


I would be uncontrollably gleeful if emojis just went away, period.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:23 PM on February 9, 2015 [17 favorites]


πŸ™πŸ™‡
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:27 PM on February 9, 2015


I would be uncontrollably gleeful if emojis just went away, period.

😒
posted by billiebee at 12:29 PM on February 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


πŸ” is a much better In-Joke than {/} or {hamburger} (MeFi InJokes) and should be an attachment to every sarcastic comment. In fact, there should be a button below the comment field for [Post Comment with πŸ”]. Or should I make a separate MeTa for this pony request?
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:31 PM on February 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


mathowie: "We could put a technical fix in place pretty easily. We could say the title field has to be a minimum of 5 characters or so, so at least there is one or two descriptive words in a title, with a gentle warning if it's too short to please make up a brief descriptive title that is longer than what you currently have."

Can we please not do this. I realise there has been a new emphasis on meaningful titles but it would be nice if we could at least allow for old time fanciful titles.
posted by Mitheral at 12:45 PM on February 9, 2015


Get off my lawn: πŸƒπŸŒ±πŸ‘ˆπŸ˜‘
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 1:18 PM on February 9, 2015 [6 favorites]


it is just so annoying that there's no plate of beans emoji, no GRARING-hour symbol, and no hurfdurf visualisation. So why use emojis at all around here?
posted by Namlit at 1:31 PM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


All I can see is rectangles with an x across 'em, and it's frustrating.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:42 PM on February 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yes, emoji in moderation please:

Agreed. All deletion reasons should be done in emoji.
posted by Lemurrhea at 1:49 PM on February 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


πŸ™Œ
posted by oceanjesse at 1:50 PM on February 9, 2015


πŸ‘€πŸ’¬πŸ’΅πŸŒ’πŸ”πŸ“₯
posted by clavdivs at 2:06 PM on February 9, 2015


Sort of amazed that Chrome still doesn't support them on Windows.
posted by octothorpe at 2:09 PM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


or Mac!
posted by halifix at 2:24 PM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Patience, friends. Chrome 41 should be out in a week or so.

One of the entertaining things about reading the Unicode emoji lists is how far off the mark some off them are in Western contexts.

😑: pouty face
😫: Tired face
😀: face with look of triumph
πŸ’’: Anger symbol
posted by zamboni at 2:38 PM on February 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


Oh that's interesting. I used the "tired" face today when I was texting that I got on the wrong bus (in my head it's saying "Aargh!") and I use the "triumph" one for being raging (I thought it was "so angry I am snorting like a bull"). o_O
posted by billiebee at 2:48 PM on February 9, 2015



zamboni: "One of the entertaining things about reading the Unicode emoji lists is how far off the mark some off them are in Western contexts."

: Square box
😫: Square box
😀: Square box
πŸ’’: Square box
posted by double block and bleed at 2:55 PM on February 9, 2015 [12 favorites]


One way we could put a serious dent in this issue is if we stopped displaying titles on the front page.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:16 PM on February 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


All I can see is rectangles with an x across 'em, and it's frustrating.
Same here, particularly at work where I'm still on Chrome 36.0.1985.125. I can see them if I use IE but, you know ...
posted by dg at 3:28 PM on February 9, 2015


One way we could put a serious dent in this issue is if we stopped displaying titles on the front page.

oh dear

i'm all out of popcorn
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:34 PM on February 9, 2015 [7 favorites]


Here you go, FFFM: πŸ’’πŸŒ½

(OSX helpfully displays a little popup menu listing my most frequently used emojis and it cracks me up that πŸ™ and πŸ’© are #1 and #2, as it were).
posted by jamaro at 4:27 PM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Heh, jamaro thoughtfully memailed me (mememailed?) to mention what those emoji were.

All I can think now is, are we communicating in hieroglyphics again?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:43 PM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Evolution is circular!
posted by dg at 5:01 PM on February 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


One of the things I really like about emoji is how you can put them together for a little bit of extra meaning: such as using the 'anger' symbol, which looks like a little explosion, for 'pop' in popcorn. Popping corn is a violent thing to do to a kernel after all.

But yeah, maybe not in post titles if for no other reason than if a poster wants their post to be read, it behooves them to use the language that reaches the most readers but I wouldn't want a minimum size for titles nor ban emojis out of them as it seems like a self-limiting sort of thing.

(I have to hit command and the + key a lot or zoom way in to see emoji because their combination of size and detail are just below the threshold of things I can easily see on a non-Retina screen. Even with that, they still delight me so and I hope someday they can be used in a password field because then my paypal password can be something like πŸ˜‘πŸ’©πŸ˜‘πŸ’©πŸ˜‘πŸ’©πŸ˜‘, which accurately reflects my feelings about paypal).
posted by jamaro at 5:06 PM on February 9, 2015


This is the one and only post where emoji was appropriate. All others are readymade impostors.
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 5:09 PM on February 9, 2015


πŸ™‰β“πŸ™‹πŸ’…β¬†οΈ?
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 5:12 PM on February 9, 2015


I don't think emoji should be banned outright. I would like to point out to those people who love to use them that many if not most people can't see or understand them, either due to technology, poor eyes or cryptic emoji meanings. So your witty picture will probably be lost on a lot of people.

How hard would form validation be to reject emoji or emoji-only post titles? Does coldfusion have the capacity to check if a character is in that range of UTF codes? It seems like that would be better than enforcing a minimum length of five characters, especially when someone inevitably makes a post title of 5+ emoji characters.
posted by double block and bleed at 5:54 PM on February 9, 2015


All I see are boxes with 01FXXX in them (FF 35.0.1 here).

Please help me be able to turn my 2015 web experience into MSN Messenger circa 1999 thx.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 5:57 PM on February 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane: "All I see are boxes with 01FXXX in them (FF 35.0.1 here).

Please help me be able to turn my 2015 web experience into MSN Messenger circa 1999 thx.
"

A/S/L?
posted by double block and bleed at 5:59 PM on February 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


Lay off already, you chuckleheads.

I say that with love. Always love. And a touch of crankiness.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:26 PM on February 9, 2015


I'd be curious to know if there are other folks still going title-free these days.
posted by threeants at 9:06 PM on February 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


I can see them, but I ignore them.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 4:34 AM on February 10, 2015


but I feel the title of a post should convey the content of the subject matter being presented in that post.

Titles are user-optional, and for most of MetaFilter's existence, not displayed on the front page.


The Titles' thread.

More titles.

this decade's favourites discussion
posted by infini at 4:37 AM on February 10, 2015


Or the ever popular and never obsolete generation gap?
posted by infini at 4:38 AM on February 10, 2015


Patience, friends. Chrome 41 should be out in a week or so.

And by a week or so, I meant the 1st week of March [or later].
posted by zamboni at 5:48 AM on February 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


And by a week or so, I meant the 1st week of March [or later].

That's hilarious. Somebody doesn't understand software development very well.
posted by octothorpe at 5:56 AM on February 10, 2015


Ban emojis.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 6:12 AM on February 10, 2015


I cannot express how weird it is to read this thread without emoji support. It's the ultimate "fear of missing out."
posted by Gor-ella at 10:20 AM on February 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


Square box Square box Square box Square box

Yeah reading this on Chrome makes it look like everyone's just really bad at Family Feud.
posted by traveler_ at 11:47 AM on February 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


Set your title font size to 2 and all of your problems will go away.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:45 PM on February 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


IE 9...
posted by Jahaza at 1:28 PM on February 10, 2015


I ain't fer 'em, I'm agin 'em!
posted by Chrysostom at 3:54 PM on February 10, 2015


Still on Safari old, can't upgrade due to my OS and can't see Flash, etc., many websites won't load, and still see all of it as boxes. Hopefully that will change soon. But for now, it's all blank boxes. I did get an A in geometry, tho'.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 6:18 PM on February 10, 2015


I can see the emojis and I'm sad to say I still don't understand most of what the kids are talking about....
posted by treehorn+bunny at 6:34 PM on February 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Dropped Symbola.tff into /.fonts and voila - now I can relive the glory days of Java-run chat rooms!
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 6:40 PM on February 10, 2015


or .ttf, you know, whatever works for your system.

πŸ’©
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 6:54 PM on February 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I can't see emoticons in Opera, but I have titles off anyway. Emoticons make this place feel less unique, less special to me--like any other message board or forum, a short hop away from Todd Lokken-style sig lines.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:57 PM on February 10, 2015


Little boxes on the website
Little boxes made of ticky tacky
Little boxes on the website
Little boxes all the same
posted by dg at 8:30 PM on February 10, 2015 [10 favorites]


firefox on ubuntu

I see about 1 in ten of these emojis. The rest are all boxes.
posted by bukvich at 2:30 PM on February 11, 2015


Chrome on Win8.1, all I see are square boxes.
posted by reptile at 3:50 PM on February 11, 2015


firefox on ubuntu

1) Make a folder in /home called /.fonts
2) Find Symbola.ttf at any number of locations
3) Drop it in /.fonts
4) ???
5) πŸ’©
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 6:09 PM on February 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


I think 4 should be "fc-cache -v"
posted by en forme de poire at 6:39 PM on February 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'd like longer post titles to be possible.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:37 PM on February 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


They used to be permitted to be longer but when we added titles to the front page they needed to be limited to prevent wrapping.

Does that actually work on phones or just desktop size screens?
posted by Mitheral at 7:56 AM on February 12, 2015


Yeah, at one time we had a longer limit than we have now. Around the time we added titles to the front page of MetaFilter a couple years ago we took a look at all past posts and came up with a new limit. Something like 90+% of past post titles fit within the new limit. The goal was to try to keep titles to about a single line on desktop and about a couple lines on small screens. We didn't want titles to be the dominant the text on the page. I know that having any sort of limit is frustrating, but we feel like this one has worked out ok.
posted by pb (staff) at 9:45 AM on February 12, 2015


Yeah, totally understand the official rationale and position, and I understand this is one of those deals where I am an edge case, but man do I hate the character limit.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:58 AM on February 12, 2015


Me too; it often seems about 10 characters too low to fit the totally-apposite pullquote I want to use as the title. But I suspect that'd still be the case if the limit were 10 characters higher; it's the annoyances that I remember, not all the other occasions where the title fit.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:26 AM on February 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane

That took a minute and a half. Thank you very much!
posted by bukvich at 3:46 PM on February 12, 2015


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