🐱 July 6, 2015 8:58 AM   Subscribe

Are unicode image topic lines really such a good idea? Noticed a couple posts recently that would certainly be worth searching/reviewing at a later date with just an image for a post title. Well I just noticed that the later example was "fixed" but was that mod intervention?
posted by sammyo to Etiquette/Policy at 8:58 AM (108 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

They are not a great idea as a general rule, yeah, since it means no actual searchable title or url stub for the post. It's not a gigantic problem, partly because it seems to be at most an occasional whim rather than a big recurring theme, but words plus unicode is definitely a better plan than just some unicode as far as readability/searchability goes.

Well I just noticed that the later example was "fixed" but was that mod intervention?

It was indeed, and I just did the same to the one you link in "couple" in the post here, as well as to this metatalk post. We'll fix 'em when we see 'em, basically.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:02 AM on July 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


Also, some recent-ish discussion of similar things here.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:05 AM on July 6, 2015


If we have to have titles cluttering up the front page, then they might as well be fancy.
posted by zarq at 9:31 AM on July 6, 2015 [18 favorites]


I was annoyed by the recent spate of them. But then realized that I've done three of them, the first in 2009. So I guess I'm really a 'before they were cool' hipster on them.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 9:44 AM on July 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


They are not a great idea as a general rule, yeah, since it means no actual searchable title or url stub for the post.

Also, for the reasons Space Coyote flagged in this MeTa, they might be a terrible idea from a web accessibility perspective as well.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:56 AM on July 6, 2015 [11 favorites]


Yeah, strongly object to them.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:57 AM on July 6, 2015 [9 favorites]


"They are not a great idea as a general rule, yeah, since it means no actual searchable title or url stub for the post."

While unicode in URIs is still not official, it's largely supported by the web at this point. And it's unquestionable that this is the direction things are going. It's crazy and offensive to retain the very limited charset for URIs.

Incidentally, while you guys are doing whatever you do to the url stubs, searching for unicode strings, including these emojis, works just fine.

I can see why people don't like emoji unicode glyphs in things like this, but now that they're included in unicode, I think it makes no sense to prohibit them.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:11 AM on July 6, 2015


Could you explain how it is "offensive"?
posted by Chrysostom at 10:13 AM on July 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Could you explain how it is "offensive"?

....Who called them "offensive"?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:24 AM on July 6, 2015


Ivan called limited character sets for URLs offensive. I don't think they're offensive, just a little poorly socialized. A few dozen sessions with a good therapist should help.
posted by item at 10:25 AM on July 6, 2015 [3 favorites]




"Could you explain how it is 'offensive'?"

You're asking why it's offensive to expect the entire world to use only the English alphabet, digits, and a few other characters for all internet addresses?
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:26 AM on July 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


I did a post title in Hebrew once and a mod changed it because it was rendering oddly.
posted by zarq at 10:30 AM on July 6, 2015


http://www.metafilter.com/contribute/search.mefi?site=meta&q=🐱
posted by cjorgensen at 10:31 AM on July 6, 2015


Well, I don't think Unicode is the problem, just emoji. And who is being discriminated against by excluding emoji? It's basically the same thing as images, which aren't allowed here.
posted by smackfu at 10:32 AM on July 6, 2015


Since we've gotten titles, I've been really dismayed about how few people use them to actually tell you what's in the post, which would make it easier to search for those posts in the future.

Unicode images are just another step down that long road to an incomprehensible hell. Don't say I didn't warn you people!

*Sits back in rocking chair, digs into snuff box*
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:36 AM on July 6, 2015 [10 favorites]


Titles on the front page are leading to the decay of Metafilter civilization.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:43 AM on July 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


There are many people who can't see emoji for whatever reason. On the computer I'm using right now, the title of this page shows up as "01F431" in a box.
posted by grouse at 10:47 AM on July 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


The Decay of Metafilter Civilization Part 2: The Unicode Years
posted by item at 10:48 AM on July 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Didn't we already have a post about ⁠ this month? Looks like a double to me.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:51 AM on July 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Ivan Fyodorovich: "You're asking why it's offensive to expect the entire world to use only the English alphabet, digits, and a few other characters for all internet addresses?"

It wasn't clear, to me at least, that you were talking about the wider universe of non-English characters, rather than stuff like poop emoji.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:52 AM on July 6, 2015


It's basically the same thing as images, which aren't allowed here.

The thing is, it looks pretty set to become a standard part of written communication, if it's not already.

Even if you a) don't like this, or b) disagree with that reading, on the pure pragmatics of it, deciding which parts of the standard character set are allowed sounds like it would be a Real Bad Time for all involved.
posted by brennen at 10:54 AM on July 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Another vote for "please don't do this". While I'm finally seeing (most) emoticon type things in the latest version of Chrome, it still shows in the tab title as an empty rectangle. And, as pointed out above, Chrome won't render the images in URLs. Is it a sign of the apocalypse? No. But it's ugly, and it's annoying [to me]. YMMV.

I'm not saying we should have a blanket ban on all emoticons, but maybe a soft rule of "please use at least some text for titles".
posted by specialagentwebb at 10:57 AM on July 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


Would it be possible for the title to be translated into the name of the emoji? For example, this post would become http://metatalk.metafilter.com/23750/Cat_Face and we could just be talking about cats and it would be more fun.
posted by maryr at 10:58 AM on July 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


boo this trend

boo it I say.
posted by boo_radley at 11:00 AM on July 6, 2015 [16 favorites]


brennan: The thing is, it looks pretty set to become a standard part of written communication, if it's not already.

Most people would never use them in formal business communications. They'd look childish and unprofessional.

The business world hasn't even embraced emoticons.
posted by zarq at 11:03 AM on July 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


You're asking why it's offensive to expect the entire world to use only the English alphabet, digits, and a few other characters for all internet addresses?

Are you suggesting that Metafilter policy is that the whole world should never use extended characters for internet stuff? Because that's not our policy.

To the extent that we have feelings about what goes in, specifically, the titles of Metafilter posts, that feeling is that it's a good idea to include some English text because that's what our specific database/webserver setup handles well currently. Our goal is a functioning Metafilter, not an English-centric global internet hegemony.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:06 AM on July 6, 2015 [11 favorites]


Would it be possible for the title to be translated into the name of the emoji?

It seems like the current trend is to do the reverse. Like people would type :cat: and then it would get replaced by the emoji in places where that makes sense.
posted by smackfu at 11:07 AM on July 6, 2015


> Our goal is a functioning Metafilter, not an English-centric global internet hegemony.

Now you tell us. I created all these MeFi-loyal computer bots for nothing!
posted by gingerbeer at 11:13 AM on July 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Most people would never use them in formal business communications. They'd look childish and unprofessional.

a) Oh yeah? Watch me...

b) If formal business communications are the standard for writing on MetaFilter, I may just have wandered in from some alternative universe.

c) But yeah it seems kind of pointless to do the general argument about emoji. "Probably use some English words in titles" is a perfectly reasonable guideline for this specific case, though it doesn't exactly strike me as an epidemic.
posted by brennen at 11:13 AM on July 6, 2015


but what if I want to make my posts obscure and difficult to find?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:16 AM on July 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think it's horrible how little respect this site has for native Emoji speakers.
πŸ”
posted by neroli at 11:16 AM on July 6, 2015 [21 favorites]


"Well, I don't think Unicode is the problem, just emoji. And who is being discriminated against by excluding emoji?"

Yeah, I feel the same way about emojis and I'm not that happy about them being included in unicode. (But they're very important in Asia and so it does make sense for practical reasons to include them in unicode.) On the other hand, that ship sailed a long time ago about some other icons and so emojis are just the natural extension of this. But for a number of reasons, I think it's a bad idea to intentionally section off a part of unicode as being prohibited.

"Are you suggesting that Metafilter policy is that the whole world should never use extended characters for internet stuff?"

No, my statement was in the context of a discussion about internet standards such as RFC 1738, which I think should be superceded by one that allows most of unicode. That part of my comment wasn't directed at MetaFilter policy or design, but was more general with regard to the internationalization of the web.

"While I'm finally seeing (most) emoticon type things in the latest version of Chrome, it still shows in the tab title as an empty rectangle."

I have Chrome 43.0.2357.130 m and Windows 8.1 x64 and I see the emoji in the tab for this page. I don't really understand how Chrome is handling all this and this is likely a function of what typefaces one has installed.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:41 AM on July 6, 2015


The business world hasn't even embraced emoticons.

:O
posted by Xavier Xavier at 11:45 AM on July 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


Topic lines should only show the SHA sum of the topic so that people have to guess the title and can only check if they got it right or not.
posted by kiltedtaco at 11:53 AM on July 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


a) Oh yeah? Watch me...

LOL

b) If formal business communications are the standard for writing on MetaFilter, I may just have wandered in from some alternative universe.

Oh, of course. I'm just saying they're not likely to be embraced everywhere any time soon.

c) But yeah it seems kind of pointless to do the general argument about emoji. "Probably use some English words in titles" is a perfectly reasonable guideline for this specific case, though it doesn't exactly strike me as an epidemic.

We could do a MeFi Emoji Titles Week! :D
posted by zarq at 11:59 AM on July 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


I can see why people don't like emoji unicode glyphs in things like this, but now that they're included in unicode, I think it makes no sense to prohibit them.

In Chrome for me it renders in-window but not the tab. On my phone, nothing renders. On my tablet, it's hit or miss.

this is likely a function of what typefaces one has installed

That's kind of the point, for me. If we stick to the English alphabet, virtually everyone can see the text. Esoteric Unicode doesn't render for everyone, which causes issues with accessibility.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:08 PM on July 6, 2015


We could do a MeFi Emoji Titles Week! :D

No. πŸ™…
posted by maryr at 12:08 PM on July 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


Our goal is a functioning Metafilter, not an English-centric global internet hegemony.

Oh, sure.

It starts out with a title change.

Then a deleted comment or two.

Eventually, some post deletions.

A banning. Maybe three.

And then, pretty soon you're invading Liechtenstein.
posted by zarq at 12:10 PM on July 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


We have more registered users than Liechtenstein has citizens so maybe not a terrible idea
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:12 PM on July 6, 2015 [16 favorites]


Just remember that regardless of your feelings on emoji, the Apple logo glyph is even more terrible, since they used a private-use Unicode code point for it. So it doesn't work on non-Apple software, and even if people want to support it, it's not right.
posted by smackfu at 12:13 PM on July 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


On the computer I'm using right now, the title of this page shows up as "01F431" in a box.

That's not a bad title. Not particularly memorable, but then they probably said the same thing about Ralph 124C 41+.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:14 PM on July 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


We have more registered users than Liechtenstein has citizens so maybe not a terrible idea

An idea 8 years in the making....
posted by zarq at 12:17 PM on July 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


True story: as a young kid in the mid-eighties, I thought "the Lichtenstein" was the place on which you passed the Dutchie.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:46 PM on July 6, 2015 [15 favorites]


Unicode discussion aside, I think the larger problem is that people are using a single character for a post title.

If I had a post about statistical programming titled, simply, "r", people would lose their minds and rightly so. I don't want to have to dig through a bocortexillion posts titled 🐱 to figure out which cat falling off a sofa video I was thinking of.
posted by boo_radley at 1:46 PM on July 6, 2015 [11 favorites]


We have more registered users than Liechtenstein has citizens so maybe not a terrible idea

see the problem with this is that metafilter users are, on average, pretty okay, so we do okay distributed into the general population

i am still sad reddit island never happened
posted by NoraReed at 1:58 PM on July 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


I agree with boo_radley that the main problem is making posts where the title is so short. Now I think 4 characters (like the recent post Oxi!) might be a good minimum. For instance, (β•―Β°β–‘Β°οΌ‰β•―οΈ΅ ┻━┻ is not out of bounds as a post title, but 🐱 is.
posted by graymouser at 2:00 PM on July 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Unicode discussion aside, I think the larger problem is that people are using a single character for a post title.

If I had a post about statistical programming titled, simply, "r", people would lose their minds and rightly so. I don't want to have to dig through a bocortexillion posts titled 🐱 to figure out which cat falling off a sofa video I was thinking of.


I used "." as a post title today. This is at least the second time I've done that. When you search the site using keywords, you don't only receive results from titles alone, right? Search results also give post text, and we can search by tags. Do you only pay attention to titles and not the rest of the post text when you do searches?
posted by zarq at 2:05 PM on July 6, 2015


I just don't think it's a great way to title a post.
posted by boo_radley at 2:23 PM on July 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


Unicode is better supported and more directly translatable as visuals than emojis, and ASCII art is even easier, but they all raise extra issues for those using screen readers. As readable as tableflip is (and I [heart] tableflip), imagine hearing the individual characters recited by a screen reader. (OMG! I just turned on Orca to test this, and I closed it, but it is still robot-talking at me! I need to figure out how to turn this off. Anyway, it just ignored the tableflip ASCII art.)

And I dunno if this is something that happens to other people, but I have a much harder time parsing visual glyphs than I do text. I can usually work it out, but it takes me a while, and I get kind of mad if I put that much work into figuring it out and it turns out to be really simple. If it's some big rebus-like string or just too much reliance on it, I usually just assume you're talking about a bunch of witch house shit or something.
posted by ernielundquist at 2:27 PM on July 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


It's dolphinpunk.
posted by octobersurprise at 2:41 PM on July 6, 2015


MetaFilter: You're talking about a bunch of witch house shit or something.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:50 PM on July 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


I just don't think it's a great way to title a post.

Ah! Ok.
posted by zarq at 2:54 PM on July 6, 2015


How does orca read out the emoji?
posted by boo_radley at 4:38 PM on July 6, 2015


Wait, are we invading Litchenstein or not? I've always wanted a duchy
posted by The Whelk at 5:26 PM on July 6, 2015 [8 favorites]


I think there is an inherent weakness to the use of symbolic images like these pictograms when compared to words. The weakness is about its ability to retain a shared meaning over time and be able to weather various forms of appropriation and association that entirely changes its meaning. Written words and sentences hold up well because the other words around it make a shared context that helps define its meaning and intent. Symbols by themselves essentially put all their eggs in one basket. Its intended meaning can still be understood by how its being used in relation to other words, but when it comes to search indexing, computers would have a hard time discerning meaning in this manner.

For example, look at how some racists/wp groups have appropriated the words "Canadians" or "Zombies" in public casual conversations as a way to have a semi-innocuous conversation. It would only take a few seconds of listening to understand what they were really talking about, and if you were presented a transcript of such a conversation, perhaps it would take a bit longer. A computer, however, would be unable to know the difference without much more information such as a combination of where its happening and if it is a place that is already noted for racist opinions, when, or who is speaking and do they have a known history of racist beliefs. If given the words alone, there would be no way for it to decipher the intended meaning of these words.

So let's take a hypothetical journey 5 years in the future. Some bunch of WP/racist idiots commit various crimes, and mark their acts with the calling card of a snowflake. The snowflake becomes their symbol, and its used online by unrelated idiots as an identifier, and ❄ (a unicode snowflake, if this does not show for you) becomes popular with online racism. Naturally, it gets picked up on by the rest of the web and later the media, and after a bit of popularity with ignorant kids and copy-cat crimes, it fades in use but the association remains in the public consciousness for years afterward.

So suppose one month before this happened, there was a really rough winter. The snow keeps coming down, and you tweet the unicode snowflake, or make a facebook post containing it, or even a post or comment here. A new friend or coworker browses your post/tweet history because, hey, you're pretty cool, funny, and talk about interesting things, and they're curious. Then they see the snowflakes, and perhaps assume the worst and don't do the calendar math, and they stop searching. They may never bring it up and you may never know so that you can easily defend/explain the meaning. What if it's someone with influence over your future, like a current or potential employer? What if a database has mistakenly flagged you and now get 'enhanced screening' whenever you go in or out of the country?

Granted, this is an extremely exaggerated hypothetical situation with numerous problems when examined closely. However, it shows how corruptible meaning is when it comes to symbols. Individual words too can be corrupted, but the process takes a much longer time to do so, and it is far less vulnerable to a total change in meaning. It's far easier for people to accept the multiple meanings of words than to apply the same amount of variance to a symbol.*

So to get back to the poster's original question, I suppose this puts me in the 'no' camp. I just can't rely on them to have the same meaning next week, to say nothing of years from now.

Long winded, rambling comments, filled with half-remembered theories and exaggerated examples though?
That I can trust at least to be vaguely close to what I actually meant 10 years from now.


(*please note that its been ages since I've tackled semiotics in any serious way and that this is directed at 'western' alphabetic languages, though IIRC, the separation of characters/words and symbols are still quite present, just handled a bit differently)
posted by chambers at 5:32 PM on July 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


I turned Orca back on, and it seems to be ignoring emojis for the most part, including the Unicode ones and the proprietary ones as well, but when it's a link, sometimes it's telling me something is an "image link" or reading the code to me.

So thus far, it's either been leaving information out or providing useless or even confusing information.

I'd keep messing around to try to tangle out how it deals with different types of image, but I'm not even used to screenreaders in the first place, so I'd be a poor judge of how weird and confusing it is for someone who uses them regularly.
posted by ernielundquist at 5:42 PM on July 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


The Whelk: "Wait, are we invading Litchenstein or not? I've always wanted a duchy"

That's "principality," you peon.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:29 PM on July 6, 2015 [9 favorites]


I find them delightful. πŸ’‹
posted by Hermione Granger at 6:48 PM on July 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


but what if I want to make my posts obscure and difficult to find?

You would make an excellent patent agent.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 6:55 PM on July 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


If you want to avoid emoji, just go to chat.metafilter via the web client. If you try to make a comment with an emoji in it, it logs you out. πŸ˜žπŸ˜’πŸ˜ πŸ˜‘πŸ˜’πŸ˜Ύ
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:05 PM on July 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


pb was working on the Chat problem earlier. He may have something worked out in the next couple days.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:29 PM on July 6, 2015


How does orca read out the emoji?

Like this, I imagine.
posted by maryr at 7:52 PM on July 6, 2015


I don't mind -- indeed, I fully support -- Unicode in titles in all their glory. I am a little put off by *only* a single emoji as a post title, as much as I would be put off by a single Roman letter as a post title.

I can also see times where this would be exactly the right post title -- but this would be exceedingly rare. But really, it's about the search. More wordy titles that are more relevant to the post are easier for a search to find. Sticking an emoji on the end of that? Not a problem for me, and heck, I'd wish I'd thought of that for the Women's World Cup posts I'd did, because there's a soccer ball emoji, the Adidas Telstar as a matter of fact, at least that's what the iOS emoji looks like, only the most iconic ball in the world.
posted by eriko at 7:56 PM on July 6, 2015


Ivan Fyodorovich: Yeah, I feel the same way about emojis and I'm not that happy about them being included in unicode. (But they're very important in Asia and so it does make sense for practical reasons to include them in unicode.)

Popular, yeah, but important? I'd be interested to hear how so. I don't mean that snarkily at all. I was recently thinking about how pictographic/ideographic written language works and how rich emoji-only could get if you started allowing composition and radicals (and everyone could agree on meanings of composed characters).

I mean, isn't that what hanzi and kanji are, highly simplified and stylized? It's interesting to think about.
posted by ctmf at 7:59 PM on July 6, 2015


MetaFilter: An English-centric global internet hegemony
posted by Going To Maine at 7:59 PM on July 6, 2015


So, running Voiceover on iOS right now, this MeTa (Voiceover pronounces it Mee-Tah while pronouncing Metafilter as Meh-Tah-Filter) has interesting characteristics.

Voiceover reads the title for the Mee-Tah post as "Heading level one. Cat face."

Now. If you are posting a title that says "Crazy cat videos. Aw. [cat face]" this makes sense.

However, if the post title is "Cat face," is that the title of the post? No, it suggests something about cats, but what, exactly? If you wanted to say "Cat face," that would be the title, no?

Replacing actual written language with random "Aw cute" images is a stupid way to communicate, best reserved for friends on social media. Look, if you want to go back to culturally specific pictograms on cave walls, feel free. I'll get off your lawn because you've regressed.

Look...say what you mean in the title. Why should someone read it? Respect and understand interoperability. Interoperability is why email has persisted in the workplace for so long *shudder*.

Provide useable data for search and user experience, not ephemeral geegaws.

Anyway...

I can't vouch for how JAWS handles this, nor the voice rendering capabilities in ZoomText. More testing in the morning.

You are all obligated to defer to Metafilter users who are screen reader users and actually blind. I don't speak for any of them.

According to what I've heard from my personal blind peeps: Regardless of what you may think about Apple, Voiceover is way better than the bolt-on garbage that's out there (JAWS I'm looking at you, you ugly memory-pig-piece-of-shit, you). Orca I can't comment on. Sighted users randomly toggling it on and off and then saying "OMG! I can't turn it off" does not constitute valid user testing.

That said, if iOS is pulling from a private Apple library, then that's a problem too, and doesn't represent a full test of how accessible unicode glyphs are.

Again, would defer to users of screen reading tech to comment regarding "Are unicode title lines really such a good idea?"
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:35 PM on July 6, 2015 [10 favorites]


I favor words because those stick in my memory. Actually long phrases are best for this. A couple years from now my addlepated brain is going to try to remember these posts. (Seriously, half my AskMes are asking for help digging things out of my memory.) If you title your post with a small, context-free icon or some punctuation then that post will slip through my memory's grasp.
posted by Monochrome at 8:53 PM on July 6, 2015


In my day, we used to make images through intricate emoticons or ascii art. It was work, and we loved it. I say if people want images, they should work hard for them like we did, not this simple copy-pasta kitty hamburger stuff.

*borrows brandon's snuff box*
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:29 PM on July 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


And then, pretty soon you're invading Liechtenstein.

So you're saying that we get to have another round of 'Cortex Travels' meetups, but this time an European tour?

I'm all for this plan, seeing as Lichtenstein is one country over, and I'd finally be able to attend a meetup in Europe.
posted by frimble at 10:44 PM on July 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


I mildly dislike them in titles, and reading the comments here about accessibility and screen readers just reinforces that.
posted by Dip Flash at 2:36 AM on July 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


My personal opinion would be for no mystery meat in titles for the sake of screen readers, keyboard-search navigation, people who browse through RSS aggregation, alternate fonts, and indexing tools. Whether your witty and descriptive title optionally includes emoji for emphasis isn't a big concern.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 4:27 AM on July 7, 2015


Also, it's 2015. Explicit description has been a standard for over 10 years for the best of reasons. If you can page through screens of emoji to find the ideal glyph, you can add a text description as well.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 4:36 AM on July 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Emoji don't even share the same "font"/tileset across browsers/devices, so you can post what you think is a big happy grin but other people see a version that's a pained grimace. Even the descriptions vary from "Grinning Face With Smiling Eyes" to "Frustrated Emoji". May cause some misunderstandings.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:47 AM on July 7, 2015 [9 favorites]


If you try to make a comment with an emoji in it, it logs you out.

Is this something we can replicate for the entire internets? I have faith that if anyone can do this it is pb.
posted by poffin boffin at 6:52 AM on July 7, 2015 [10 favorites]


If I remember right, speech-control software like Dragon (which I've had to use now and then due to injuries) makes it easier to click on links if you can speak the text of the link, which is another argument for descriptive links rather than mystery meat.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 8:10 AM on July 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I have faith that if anyone can do this it is pb.

I just fixed the Chat bug today so I'm making our corner of the internets safer for emoji. Sorry about that.
posted by pb (staff) at 12:47 PM on July 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I just fixed the Chat bug today so I'm making our corner of the internets safer for emoji.

Is there a post-mortem report? Because that sounds like a potentially entertaining bug.
posted by effbot at 12:56 PM on July 7, 2015


nah, nothing entertaining on my end. Someone else did the heavy lifting. I just applied a patch that I found in Openfire discussion forums: Emojis in MUC kill chat connection.
posted by pb (staff) at 12:59 PM on July 7, 2015


Java stack traces and hand-rolled XML/UTF parsers? Ouch. I shouldn't have asked :-)
posted by effbot at 1:28 PM on July 7, 2015


Hey, this probably belongs in MetaMetaTalk, but regardless:

Does anyone else load the front page of MetaTalk and then open all threads in new tabs? If so, upon switching to this tab, do you see a bunch of exposed code instead of the properly loaded page, like this?

This has never happened to me on any other Metafilter post on any subsite, but it's happening on this one pretty constantly. I wouldn't normally care too much, but this same issue happens on my company's website all the time, but only to me. Curious what it might be.
posted by SpiffyRob at 2:24 PM on July 7, 2015


That's a new one to me, SpiffyRob. I'm guessing it's one of your browser add-ons causing trouble. You might try disabling them one by one to see if one of those is the culprit.
posted by pb (staff) at 2:42 PM on July 7, 2015


And then, pretty soon you're invading Liechtenstein.

They've been asking for it for years, it's high time those smug bastards got what was coming to them.
posted by MikeMc at 5:15 PM on July 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


FWIW, almost all emoji display as square rectangles on Linux.

Even after installing some of the 3rd-party fonts, support is still generally very poor, and it's frustrating that lots of stuff on the front page (and elsewhere on the web) is effectively illegible.

So, yeah... Another vote against excessive emoji use. It's technically a part of Unicode, but the speed at which Apple and Google have been pushing the spec along means that many clients have not caught up.
posted by schmod at 5:36 PM on July 7, 2015


FWIW, almost all emoji display as square rectangles on Linux.

Your Linux is bad. Symbola from greekfonts.teilar.gr is the usual recommendation, iiuc (comes with the ttf-ancient-scripts package on Ubuntu).
posted by effbot at 5:54 PM on July 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


It was my understanding that only a subset of emojis were Unicode.

Most don't show up in Linux for me either, but I haven't tried to rectify it or anything. I've had people post emojis at me and had no idea what they were and didn't bother to ask.
posted by ernielundquist at 6:17 PM on July 7, 2015


FWIW, almost all emoji display as square rectangles on Linux.

I'm typing this in Chrome on Ubuntu right now and all the emoji display fine, both in the page, title bar, etc.

This is not a generic Unix problem, Linux can handle emoji/Unicode just fine. Sounds like you don't have something configured properly (but what you need to do would depend on your distro/version, browser, etc).
posted by thefoxgod at 9:04 PM on July 7, 2015


It's basically the same thing as images, which aren't allowed here.

The image ban came about because there was no feasible way to prevent cross-site scripting attacks while letting people post images. There's no risk of that with a character of text, even if that character happens to be an emoji.
posted by radwolf76 at 9:51 PM on July 7, 2015


True, but I think there's a reasonably strong consensus that the image ban ended up benefiting the quality of discussion on the site. An emoji ban (or more realistically, a cultural discouraging of emoji) might have knock on effects as well.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:10 PM on July 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Emoji are fine for screen-readers, much much better than old fashioned emoticons. So, while I appreciate the concern, you can go to town with emoji and screen readers will happily read them out. Also regular screen reader users get used to the names of emoji, like 'cat face', so it's pretty clear that's what it is.
posted by Space Coyote at 10:42 PM on July 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


With the combination of fonts I've got, the character that shows up as an apple on Apple devices appears as the insignia of the Klingon Empire. Which usually makes the surrounding comment more interesting.
posted by XMLicious at 12:32 AM on July 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've developed screenreaders.

There are two things: the screenreader program, which is pulling text off the screen, and the voice reading the text out when the screenreader sends the text to it (or the Braille display displaying it.)

So "can a screenreader read X?" is really asking "can the combination of screenreader and voice/display read X?"

For example, the screenreader could notice that the text it has gotten off the page has the Unicode cat, and replace it with the word "cat" (appropriately translated): I love my 😸 becomes I love my cat Then the screenreader sends "I love my cat" to the voice, which speaks it just fine.

Or the screenreader could send "I love my 😸" to the voice, and the voice must know that 😸 should be pronounced "cat" (or the Braille display must know to put up the Braille code for "cat"...). If the voice knows that, it'll work, but if the voice doesn't, it won't (probably you get silence).

So if you're testing, you need to consider what combination of voice (text-to-speech synthesizer) or display and screenreader you are testing. You may find that everything works fine for you with Screenreader X, but doesn't for someone else, and only then realise that you're using different voices.

Data point: Microsoft Hazel Desktop, the voice in British English Windows 8.1, says "grinning cat face with smiling eyes" for 😸. So (for example) I would expect screenreaders (Windows Narrator, JAWS, NVDA...) to handle the 😸 character if you have Microsoft Hazel as your selected voice (but would still need to test). Another voice on my system from a different manufacturer (which I can't name) simply speaks nothing. So if you have your screenreader set to use this different voice, it won't speak 😸 unless your screenreader knows to replace 😸 with "cat" before it sends it to the voice.

Commentary on usage/testing: for Western audiences you want to prioritise JAWS and NVDA on Windows, and VoiceOver on iOS, and ignore Braille displays unless you're German. But people get really involved in the technology they use themselves so it can get very political (think Mac versus PC versus Linux).

Disclaimer: I'm sighted, so I can't give you political cover for any issues concerning accessibility.
posted by alasdair at 12:51 AM on July 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


I've got ttf-ancient-scripts installed, but the character set is significantly more limited (and low-quality) than what you'd see on a commercial OS.
posted by schmod at 8:46 AM on July 9, 2015


Meanwhile...

I wonder how many people are clicking on MeFi and seeing that, rather than emojis.
posted by zarq at 9:04 AM on July 9, 2015 [6 favorites]


Titles should be in the Queen's English, as God intended.

Content however, should be written in Morse code.

.. ..-. / -.-- --- ..- / -.-. .- -. / .-. . .- -.. / - .... .. ... --..-- / -.-- --- ..- .----. .-. . / - .-. -.-- .. -. --. / - --- --- / .... .- .-. -.. .-.-.-
posted by blue_beetle at 10:27 AM on July 9, 2015


Mod comments should be in Dancing Men font.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:12 AM on July 9, 2015


Content however, should be written in Morse code.

Lazy and inefficient- all that wasted bandwidth! Switching to Bentley's Commercial is really the way forward.

kuogy wueng
uvarn usdep
heezk
posted by zamboni at 11:52 AM on July 9, 2015


I think there is a fundamental difference between emoji and, say, Cyrillic or Hangul glyphs.

Cyrillic and Hangul are used to communicate relatively unambiguous, and often complex ideas, in natural, spoken human languages, with more-or-less standardized grammar, orthography, etc.

Emoji, on the other hand...isn't that. It's a novelty. Sure, it can be used to communicate (limited and impressionistic) ideasβ€”but it's obviously not in the same category as Cyrillic or Hangul.

Emoji-based titles don't contain any semantic content beyond "lol cute doodle of a kittycat". There's a semantic richness that's possible (and expected) in natural languages that just isn't possible with emoji.

More than any other part of an FPPβ€”the body, the comments, the tagsβ€”the purpose of a title is to concisely and convey something meaningful and unambiguous about the post.

I would not be sad to see emoji prohibited from post titles. I think there's a case to be made for allowing emoji in posts and comments, but emoji in a post title is just a stunt.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 12:55 PM on July 9, 2015 [7 favorites]


If so, upon switching to this tab, do you see a bunch of exposed code instead of the properly loaded page, like this?

That was happening to me in certain situations. For example, opening a thread with emoji in the title and hitting page down would turn the page to raw html, whereas scrolling with the scrollbar or mousewheel did not. Turning off the extension that I was using to make Chrome render emoji more or less correctly (called "Emoji Input") stopped the issue from happening. So, pretty much what pb suggested to you, but confirmation that it does happen.
posted by MUD at 2:31 PM on July 9, 2015


> Mod comments should be in Dancing Men font.

If there isn't already a Twelve Dancing Princesses font, somebody should get busy.Opportunities like that for font designers don't come along every day.
posted by jfuller at 3:07 PM on July 9, 2015


The fundamental problem of unicode is similar to the fundamental problem of replacing captions with icons on buttons and annunciators, although for a slightly different reason. It replaces the problem of only English speakers knowing what is meant with the problem of nobody knowing what is meant. With icons the problem is that "icon" is not natural but an artificial language which nobody is formally taught to understand. With unicode the problem is that it has become so bloated that nothing seems to implement it completely so something is always left out.
posted by Bringer Tom at 5:36 PM on July 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Our goal is a functioning Metafilter, not an English-centric global internet hegemony.
βŒβ€ΌοΈ
βŒšοΈπŸ”œ βš” πŸ˜›πŸ”ŸπŸΊ
posted by snuffleupagus at 10:04 PM on July 9, 2015


βœ…β˜ πŸ’·πŸš«πŸ‘Ά
posted by snuffleupagus at 10:21 PM on July 9, 2015


To clarify, this is about post titles that are only emoji, right, not about using emoji in post titles in general, or, god forbid, about the use of emoji on MeFi at all? Because titles that are a single emoji or a single character in general seem like a bad idea to me, but I don't think a little emoji or other stuff here and there is a problem.

And, honestly, for searching, tags will be a lot more important for future indexability than titles anyway.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 10:53 PM on July 9, 2015


β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘
β–‘                              β–‘
β–‘ ╔══════════════════════════╗ β–‘
β–‘ β•‘ I DON'T LIKE NEW THINGS! β•‘ β–‘
β–‘ β•‘      THEY SCARE ME!      β•‘ β–‘
β–‘ β•šβ•β•β•β•β•β•β•β•β•β•β•β•β•β•β•β•β•β•β•β•β•β•β•β•β•β•β• β–‘
β–‘                              β–‘
β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘

posted by Talez at 1:49 PM on July 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


I DON'T LIKE NEW THINGS
THEY SCARE ME! OFTEN DON'T WORK VERY WELL!


FTFY.
posted by Bringer Tom at 3:02 PM on July 10, 2015 [6 favorites]


LazyWeb: Who's writing a greasemonkey script to turn emoji into desciptive text? I too see mostly boxes with numbers and don't care enough to figure out how to display them properly.
posted by ctmf at 3:06 PM on July 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

DON'T LIKE NEW THINGS
THEY SCARE ME! OFTEN DON'T WORK VERY WELL!

FTFY.
Why are you using variable width fonts? They don't work on my IBM XT. Why do Metafilter users have to be so bleeding edge all the time? It's completely ruining my experience of the web.
posted by Talez at 5:50 PM on July 10, 2015


« Older Help Test Android Orientation Update   |   Character limit for titles on fpps Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments