Emojis on Metafilter? August 23, 2022 6:59 AM   Subscribe

I've noticed that people don't really use emojis that much here on Metafilter.

Is there a practical reason for this (like, does it mess with text to speech tech) or is it more a site culture thing?

I like using emojis as I feel it helps convey tone quickly and efficiently and reduces the chances of someone misunderstanding my intent.

And what about using text based emoticons? Like :) These days I have a sense that many people don't really understand what they mean, and they might also really mess with screen readers?
posted by Zumbador to Etiquette/Policy at 6:59 AM (154 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

I find myself using them constantly on slack, where it's really, really easy to pull them up and use them with the mouse, but here...I don't actually know how. I guess if I commented on my phone, I might see them as part of the keyboard? But phone-commenting would require much smaller fingers than I currently have, it's like trying to type something out with my elbows. It's a shame! (Also a shame--not being able to react to other people's comments with an emoji!)
posted by mittens at 7:39 AM on August 23 [2 favorites]


I was about to say something about accessing emoji on phones vs computers, too.

(On Windows, I believe you can pull up the emoji picker with the Windows-period key combo ๐Ÿ˜ƒ)
posted by sagc at 7:43 AM on August 23 [16 favorites]


Is there a practical reason for this (like, does it mess with text to speech tech) or is it more a site culture thing?

I think a bit of both - there were issues with browsers not supporting them (e.g. see the discussion in a Metatalk from 2015) and that caused it to become site culture not to, even when I would assume the vast majority of browsers wouldn't have an issue now.
posted by scorbet at 7:59 AM on August 23 [2 favorites]


๐Ÿ˜ก๐Ÿšซ
posted by TheophileEscargot at 8:08 AM on August 23 [9 favorites]


I personally never use emojis. I think they're juvenile, a crutch for those who are afraid they can't express their thoughts adequately in writing.

The kids use so many - how'm I supposed to know what they all mean? And get off my lawn!
posted by Rash at 8:10 AM on August 23 [15 favorites]


Like at work I was confused when younger opposite-sex co-workers replied with โค๏ธ but apparently that's just a neutral statement of approval now. But ๐Ÿ˜‰ is dangerous now because it means sexual innuendo. I'm just ๐Ÿ˜•.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 8:15 AM on August 23 [4 favorites]


Right, I forgot the other reason, which is that Metafilter is capital-O Old now and lowercase-C conservative about tech change.
posted by sagc at 8:16 AM on August 23 [48 favorites]


I like using emojis as I feel it helps convey tone quickly and efficiently and reduces the chances of someone misunderstanding my intent.

I use them a fair bit, and am definitely convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that they help with ambiguity. ๐Ÿ”
posted by zamboni at 8:18 AM on August 23 [14 favorites]


I don't use them on here just bc like on slack you know everyone is looking at the same slack client. It looks the same on mobile, desktop app & browser. On metafilter everyone's screen looks different so you don't know how the emojis are going to show up. It's just too much ambiguity when what I'm trying to do is make a point.
posted by bleep at 8:29 AM on August 23 [5 favorites]


(On Windows, I believe you can pull up the emoji picker with the Windows-period key combo ๐Ÿ˜ƒ)

It also does kaomoji!

o(*^๏ผ ^*)o

(โœฟโ—กโ€ฟโ—ก)

(โ•ฏยฐโ–กยฐ๏ผ‰โ•ฏ๏ธต โ”ปโ”โ”ป
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 8:40 AM on August 23 [8 favorites]


โ”ฌโ โ”€โ โ”ฌโ ใƒŽโ (โ เฒ โ _โ เฒ โ ใƒŽโ )
posted by sagc at 8:47 AM on August 23 [21 favorites]


I personally never use emojis. I think they're juvenile, a crutch for those who are afraid they can't express their thoughts adequately in writing.

๐Ÿ‘ด๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธโ˜๏ธ
posted by Atom Eyes at 8:51 AM on August 23 [57 favorites]


Metafilter is capital-O Old now and lowercase-C conservative

I beg to disagree, a preponderance of metafilter commentators are excellent expressing subtle and complex sentiment with full sentences and paragraphs that are mostly unambiguous about the intended sarcasm or humor.

Except when th'r not ;-)
posted by sammyo at 8:57 AM on August 23 [1 favorite]


๐Ÿค‘๐Ÿฅณ๐Ÿ˜ฟโ˜ป๏ธ๐Ÿ—๐Ÿ—๐Ÿ—๐Ÿฅ๐Ÿ’ฎ
posted by tiny frying pan at 8:57 AM on August 23


what about the users who are lowercase-o old but capital-c conservative, what do they use? โœจ
posted by mittens at 9:04 AM on August 23


Reddit skews younger than Metafilter (though mostly twenty- and thirty-something with few teens) and emojis aren't that common there either. So I don't think it's just that "young people don't know how to use words anymore". I think emojis are preferred for short message environments where brevity is a virtue, not when people are writing paragraphs.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 9:06 AM on August 23 [20 favorites]


On Windows, I believe you can pull up the emoji picker with the Windows-period key combo
It also does kaomoji!


Whoa.

How long has this been a thing I had no clue about??
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:07 AM on August 23 [11 favorites]


Replying to mittens, we use old skool unicode of course! ♥ ♥ ♥
posted by Lynsey at 9:07 AM on August 23 [3 favorites]


I don't use them because I don't know how to get at them from my keyboard and also I'm just not really an emoji kind of person. I have heard from people who use screen readers that emoji are better than emoticons or kaomoji in terms of accessibility, because a screen reader will "translate" an emoji as "smiley face" or "heart" or whatever, while an emoticon is read "colon hyphen right parenthesis".
posted by Daily Alice at 9:07 AM on August 23 [6 favorites]


what about the users who are lowercase-o old but capital-c conservative, what do they use? โœจ

I believe the standard is a photo of themselves holding a fish?
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 9:08 AM on August 23 [11 favorites]


๐Ÿฆ„๐ŸŒฎโ˜ฃ
posted by box at 9:13 AM on August 23


The funny thing with emojis is never the actual emojis. It's misunderstandings about what they mean. Like if someone posts eggplants and they literally mean eggplants.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:31 AM on August 23 [15 favorites]


And what about using text based emoticons? Like :) These days I have a sense that many people don't really understand what they mean, and they might also really mess with screen readers?

This is certainly the case with those (i.e., text-based emoticons, not unicode emojis):

When creating emoticons with text, consider the experience for screen reader users. In this example, this visual experience of โ€œshruggieโ€ ยฏ\_(ใƒ„)_/ยฏ will be read aloud by a screen reader as: โ€œMacron, backslash, underline, katakana, underline, slash, macron.โ€

To use one screenreader (Voiceover on iOS) on an example posted above, "o(*^๏ผ ^*)o" above reads as "o, star, caret, caret, star, o," because the parentheses and the @ symbol are deprecated.

So they just read as gibberish, and yes, they completely foul up the site UX for anyone using a screen reader.

Unicode emojis work differently. To use tiny frying pan's line of unicode emojis above (not picking on you, just a handy example!), it reads out as :

"face with money symbols on eyes and tongue, party face with a party horn hat and confetti, crying cat face, three boar head, standing chick, white flower with Asian ideograph meaning brilliant homework."

For some reason, the smiley face wasn't read out - it might not be a unicode standard emoji?

Anyway, used as punctuation, unicode emojis are not bad from an accessibility perspective, but if an entire comment is constructed from them exclusively, any intended meaning can get lost even with the alternative emoji description. Understandably, the person writing the comment is constructing a narrative that works visually, often because of punny interpretations of the visual symbol, but the alternative emoji content (which is what someone will hear via a screenreader) can lose that intended meaning or just be plain incomprehensible.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:32 AM on August 23 [14 favorites]




Thanks for the information on screen readers and emoticons. That's useful to know.

From what I've seen, people of all ages use emojis in efficient, creative and expressive ways especially when writing long forum posts. But that's on dog or aquarium forums which are a whole different sub culture.

Maybe I've spent too much of my life on dog and aquarium forums.
๐Ÿถ๐ŸŸ๐Ÿ•๐Ÿ™๐Ÿฆฎ๐Ÿก๐Ÿ•โ€๐Ÿฆบ๐ŸŒ๐Ÿฉ๐Ÿ ๐Ÿบ
posted by Zumbador at 9:51 AM on August 23 [4 favorites]


> The kids use so many - how'm I supposed to know what they all mean? And get off my lawn!

๐Ÿ‘Œ ๐Ÿ’ฅ /s
posted by genpfault at 9:55 AM on August 23 [6 favorites]


It's misunderstandings about what they mean.

Classic case in point.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:56 AM on August 23 [10 favorites]


I'm not a visual person, have never used them and honestly don't even really register them, let alone making sense of them.
posted by paduasoy at 9:58 AM on August 23


The kids use so many - how'm I supposed to know what they all mean?

Just a small insight from my workplace - emojis are actually now the language of the old. The kids don't use them as much, and see their inclusion in email as an indication of antiquity. Welcome to the speed of popular culture!

Filters on videos though, that's something else.
posted by warriorqueen at 9:59 AM on August 23 [4 favorites]


So they just read as gibberish, and yes, they completely foul up the site UX for anyone using a screen reader.


This is also a spot it varies by platform, as Android's screen-reader 'knows' to convert common kaomoji, but Apple's been slow to add this functionality. ARIA labels help with this, but that would be something that'd need to be added on a platform level, vs. expecting users to add that markup.
posted by CrystalDave at 9:59 AM on August 23 [2 favorites]


I think it's partially site culture and partially that I don't normally use them as part of messages but as responses. Emojis are mostly for responding to texts or reacting in discord, as far as I can tell, when you don't have much to say, but you want to let people know you were listening. And while that might be useful here, our site isn't set up that way.
posted by blueberry monster at 10:05 AM on August 23 [3 favorites]


I am in the adults don't use emojis to express themselves, they use their words camp.

When I see emojis, I just ignore them. I have no idea what they are supposed to be telling me.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:26 AM on August 23 [1 favorite]


I am simply not in the habit, however I believe that in a prior MetaTalk some users actively discouraged their use b/c they arenโ€™t (werenโ€™t, perhaps?) great for screen readers.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:41 AM on August 23


On Mac OS, I highly recommend Rocket for Slack-style easy emoji insertion.

I would suggest that "I use my words" is the juvenile statement but ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™‚๏ธ. In my experience, or at least my usage, emoji is the contemporary equivalent of gesturing while talking, adding inflection, etc.
posted by supercres at 10:53 AM on August 23 [16 favorites]


I believe that in a prior MetaTalk some users actively discouraged their use b/c they arenโ€™t (werenโ€™t, perhaps?) great for screen readers.

You may be thinking of the MeTa about Unicode abuse, Please don't use Unicode to make fancy fonts in posts, but there was also one specifically about Unicode/emoji in headings: ๐Ÿฑ.
posted by zamboni at 10:54 AM on August 23 [4 favorites]


Just a small insight from my workplace - emojis are actually now the language of the old. The kids don't use them as much, and see their inclusion in email as an indication of antiquity. Welcome to the speed of popular culture!

G-Dammit, emojis too? I was just getting used to gifs being "for the olds".
posted by mon_petit_ordinateur at 10:55 AM on August 23 [2 favorites]


๐Ÿน๐Ÿน๐Ÿน๐Ÿน๐Ÿน๐Ÿน๐Ÿน๐Ÿน๐Ÿน๐Ÿน๐Ÿน๐Ÿน๐Ÿน๐Ÿน๐Ÿน๐Ÿน๐Ÿน๐Ÿน
dee dah dee dah dee da doh doh
๐Ÿน๐Ÿน๐Ÿน๐Ÿน๐Ÿน๐Ÿน๐Ÿน๐Ÿน๐Ÿน๐Ÿน๐Ÿน๐Ÿน๐Ÿน๐Ÿน๐Ÿน๐Ÿน๐Ÿน๐Ÿน
dee dah dee dee doh!
posted by MollyRealized at 11:19 AM on August 23 [20 favorites]


Ever since the "me sweating between choosing eggplants and peaches at the farmer's market" incident of 2019, I have been wary of emojis.
posted by Literaryhero at 11:40 AM on August 23 [10 favorites]


๐Ÿ†๐Ÿ’ฆ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘


I don't know, it's perfectly clear to me.
posted by Literaryhero at 11:42 AM on August 23 [5 favorites]


emoji is the contemporary equivalent of gesturing while talking, adding inflection, etc.

That makes a ton of sense and I hadn't thought about it that way before. I'm really bad at reading emoji and in-person gestures and inflection. I don't us emoji except with my wife and kids because the few times I have tried ended up like the eggplant cheese thing linked above. I don't mind when they're used but I'm usually going to miss the point unless they mean what they description says they mean.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 11:49 AM on August 23 [1 favorite]


So far I've almost exclusively used MetaFilter on a computer (at work, because I'm a Responsible Adult) and emojis are just too much work on a real PC.
posted by kkar at 11:51 AM on August 23 [1 favorite]


I am in the 50-60 old bracket. I like them. I mostly only use the obvious ones, and have used many a :D around here.
Because I didn't know how to do that other thing, which I do now. ๐Ÿ˜Š

So that means some people think I'm juvenile. Because there aren't enough other ways to judge people, I guess.
posted by Glinn at 11:52 AM on August 23 [4 favorites]


Like if someone posts eggplants and they literally mean eggplants.

David Tennant agrees whole heartedly with you here.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:04 PM on August 23 [3 favorites]


๐Ÿš
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:04 PM on August 23 [1 favorite]


๐Ÿš€
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:05 PM on August 23 [1 favorite]


Previously I thought emojis caused problems with various browsers, so avoided them. But after installing Rocket on my Mac desktop, I'm down to try'em more often, see how it goes!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:07 PM on August 23 [2 favorites]


I mostly use emojis when I feel like my tone is off in a short message like a text or a Slack. It's much easier than painstakingly wordsmithing my comment. It's a lot easier to make cheesy jokes at work and have it be very clear that they're just cheesy jokes. ๐Ÿ˜œ Now I know how to call up the emoji picker in Windows, my metafilter comments are no longer safe from goofy icons.

And yeah, I'm about 40 and I use emojis more than my early-30s friends. I'm trying to cut back because it feels, uh, cringe? And also lazy.

When he started texting, my boomer dad asked if he could accidentally offend people with emojis, and I told him that yeah, he should probably skip them.
posted by momus_window at 12:09 PM on August 23 [1 favorite]


๐Ÿ†๐Ÿ’ฆ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

I don't know, it's perfectly clear to me.

"To eggplants, rain, and peaches, I say bah!"
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:11 PM on August 23 [13 favorites]


I mostly read MeFi on my phone, so all the face ones are too small for me to see what theyโ€™re supposed to be. Are you laughing? Crying? Blushing? Iโ€™m never going to zoom in and find out. However, an eggplant is always an eggplant.

And, using emoji to decorate paragraphs of text kind of gives off a โ€œfun bossโ€ vibe. Itโ€™s not as embarrassing as a reaction gif, but.
posted by betweenthebars at 12:24 PM on August 23 [1 favorite]


I adore emoji and have to actively restrict going into full Egyptian stele mode with them to comms with my closest friends and family.

As the outlying 40 year old working in a small tech team with late 20 / very early 30 somethings I retain a measure of dignity and gravitas on our Discord by using them less than others, but going for obscure ones when I do. And once in a while ROFLcopters.

All that aside, I've also just realised that, these days, part of what I still adore about Metafilter is their absence.

Thanks for bringing this up Zumbador, you've given me a really interesting dichotomy to think about :)
posted by protorp at 12:36 PM on August 23 [1 favorite]


Agree that I mostly use emojis as reactions rather than in-text (so, constantly on Slack/group texts, intermittently on social media, rarely here, both because of use case and also because of general community norms).

That said, as someone who is very much not a visual thinker, allow me to react to the rather prescriptivist idea that emojis are somehow innately less sophisticated or effective than any other form of online communication: ๐Ÿ™„
posted by eponym at 12:40 PM on August 23 [6 favorites]


I love emoji reactions. So many things someone expects me to respond in some way (see: neurotypes) and I'm like.. either it doesn't really merit one, or I don't want to/can't word right now, or whatever. I can acknowledge, yes, I saw this, and am responding in an semi-active way rather than using read receipts (which I hate and no one seems to be able to just accept them without being anxious about more).

My first online interactions were BBSes and the like in the 80s, and.. I don't think I can do it here, because it'll parse it as html, but (g) for grin and (bg) for big grin and so on but with angle brackets were very common pretty much from go. We've been doing this forever.

What I really wish is if we could adopt Mass Effect elcor-style framing. Earnestly: I think this would make my life so much easier, as I often find it difficult to intuit subtext.

I really appreciate this Meta! I'm trying to be better about formatting what I write so that screen readers don't trip over it, and have been wondering about this as well. Aesthetically I much prefer to use :) or =) to be a smile - because I know how those are generally going to look, rather than the somewhat questionable emoji choices that i.e. Microsoft makes (why are they all animated in Teams? also: why is Teams?) - but I can make the switch to make my thoughts more accessible.
posted by curious nu at 1:02 PM on August 23 [5 favorites]


๐Ÿ†๐Ÿ’ฆ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘ may not mean the same thing to everyone, especially if you're from Australia or New Zealand ...
posted by dg at 1:30 PM on August 23


For completeness sake, macOS has the character viewer. Command-control-spacebar displays it ready for your search. After you've used it a couple times your common ones show up in "Favorites."
posted by Jesse the K at 1:41 PM on August 23 [2 favorites]


One of the things I enjoy most about emojis in Slack is the very fact that I can use them to confuse people and obfuscate any meaning I may have intended (which, to be clear, may have been no meaning, just a string of unrelated emojis chosen at random).

I have enough self-awareness to realize that that's probably not the direction Metafilter wants to go in. To which I respond ๐Ÿ๐ŸŒง๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ€๐Ÿ•‰๐Ÿฅ“ IYKYK.
posted by kevinbelt at 1:56 PM on August 23 [1 favorite]


Just for what it's worth, copychar.cc.

๐Ÿ…ผ ๐Ÿ…ต โ†ท ๐Ÿค” ๐Ÿฝ ๐ŸŒฑ
posted by MollyRealized at 1:58 PM on August 23 [7 favorites]


Thanks MollyRealized, but lots of those show up as empty boxes (Chrome on MacOS), which I recall is the long-standing issue with emojis here.
posted by dg at 2:13 PM on August 23 [3 favorites]


dg: As a former Mac user I seem to remember that macOS had that problem a lot. It's been a while since I looked into it, but if I remember the cause, it was the issue of the built-in Windows emoji font (Segoe UI Emoji) versus the Apple emoji font (Apple Color Emoji). There's also a Google emoji font (Github page) you can install.
posted by MollyRealized at 2:21 PM on August 23


Now that there's Unicode support and IMO all browsers and operating systems should full support them, I think they're fine. I'm almost retirement age and I use capitals and punctuation in my text messages, so go figure.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:31 PM on August 23 [3 favorites]


Just for what it's worth, copychar.cc.

yo, fpp that.
posted by Going To Maine at 3:15 PM on August 23


FWIW:
๐Ÿ…ผ = M
๐Ÿ…ต = F
โ†ท = over
๐Ÿค” = think
๐Ÿฝ = plate
๐ŸŒฑ = bean
posted by MollyRealized at 3:26 PM on August 23 [9 favorites]


This thread finally prompted me to install an emoji picker! ๐Ÿ†’

Emote for Linux
posted by equalpants at 4:22 PM on August 23


My guesses:

1. MetaFilter's culture, including the way that we use text, took root long before emoji existed. Old habits die hard, and (consciously or not) people tend to go along with established norms.

2. Emoji is most useful for jokey exchanges โ€“ and that's where you're most likely to see emoji on MetaFilter โ€“ but many MeFi threads are about Very Serious topics. Emoji would feel irreverent in a thread about the war in Ukraine, or the Dobbs case, or many of the other topics that we discuss on the Blue.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 4:49 PM on August 23 [1 favorite]


Oh, and perhaps most importantly: I agree that it's largely because emoji are less accessible here. You can't just add an emoji with a click or two โ€“ you have to pull up another site, find the emoji you want, and copy-and-paste it. And I'd wager that many people don't even realize that you can do that.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 4:51 PM on August 23 [1 favorite]


I personally never use emojis. I think they're juvenile, a crutch for those who are afraid they can't express their thoughts adequately in writing.

Then I think you misunderstand the purpose of emoji. Sometimes it's useful to express a brief, impressionistic sentiment. Just as facial expressions, body language, and other kinds of non-verbal communication are sometimes useful.

(They're also useful because so much online communication these days is done on the go, from mobile devices โ€“ where time, attention, and the ability to type long passages of text are often limited.)

I mean, with one character, you can say:

๐Ÿ‘ "I agree to the proposal that you just offered, and we can conclude this exchange for now"

๐Ÿคฃ "your attempt to amuse me was successful; thank you for the laugh"

๐Ÿ’ฏ "you are speaking the Lord's honest truth"

๐Ÿ’ฅ "great job; high five"

๐ŸŽ‰ "that is cause for celebration!"

๐Ÿค” [mugging as if stymied and bewildered]

๐ŸŒฎ "hurry up; I'm hungry"

๐Ÿ‘Š "solidarity!"

๐Ÿˆ "KITTY"

Of course, as with facial expressions and body language, the meaning of emoji depends heavily on context โ€“ and they aren't meant as a replacement for verbal communication, but as a supplement to it.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 5:18 PM on August 23 [26 favorites]


Emoji on Mefi mobile are as easy as texting...makes me wonder how many people use desktops.

But....SO much is harder on Mefi with mobile and I think it's a huge issue moving forward with the site.
posted by tiny frying pan at 5:26 PM on August 23 [2 favorites]


I usually am on a desktop (Mac). Using emoji is easy. ๐Ÿ˜…
posted by kingless at 5:50 PM on August 23


We had some discussion about this in a MetaTalkTail post a couple of months ago. My comments in there still stand. I increasingly can't tell what emoji are, especially the ones that are less familiar/smaller/more detailed. There are differences in the way the same emoji appears on different platforms/devices which I think inhibit using emoji on a site which doesn't standardise their appearance. And for me personally, in a text-based medium like Metafilter, I revert back to my pre-WWW internet habits of ascii faces (even though I expect they break screen-readers too), which I actually prefer in many cases. Kind of like the simplest cartoon faces allow you to identify with them more, reducing a smile to :) and a laugh to :D make them more universal.

As for many of the other non-facial-expression emoji, I feel like they frequently have cultural connotations that I just don't get. It's like a string of inside jokes that make me feel excluded and stupid. I will use emoji with my friends because I have context, but with completely unknown people on the interwebs? They are just confusing.
posted by Athanassiel at 6:04 PM on August 23 [8 favorites]


I have tried to put a party popper emoji as a tag on more than one occasion, but tags don't support ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰
posted by aniola at 6:27 PM on August 23


Emoji would be less confusing if it weren't the product of a sanitised corporate environment. Like, eggplants could actually mean eggplant if it actually provided tools for talking about sex and bodies. But it doesn't, so instead there's all these weird and arbitrary rules for which innocuous symbols actually mean something utterly unrelated to most people, but with no way of really looking that up or discovering that such an alternative understanding even exists unless you already know.

All because some suit somewhere thought it was more important to have a symbol for fucking minidisc specifically, than to have language for basic, near-universal human experiences.
posted by Dysk at 7:05 PM on August 23 [1 favorite]


One problem is that theyโ€™re roughly the same size as the text theyโ€™re embedded with, so I have trouble picking out the fine detail.

Another is that, aside from a few text-based emojis, I have no idea what the intended meaning is, nor am I patient enough to puzzle it out. Apparently, one can form entire sentences with emojis, but itโ€™s faster for me if you just write what you mean.

Lastly, even though I use Apple products, which supposedly make choosing an emoji easy, fucked if I know how and Iโ€™m not enamored of them enough to learn.

Yeah, Iโ€™m older. Get off my damn lawn.

:-D
posted by JustSayNoDawg at 8:27 PM on August 23 [3 favorites]


So interesting how many people use MF on desktop computer! I did not expect that. I'm almost always here on my phone.

Now I'm wondering whether people who participate on Metatalk are more likely to desktop than the rest of Metafilter...

Then I think you misunderstand the purpose of emoji. Sometimes it's useful to express a brief, impressionistic sentiment. Just as facial expressions, body language, and other kinds of non-verbal communication are sometimes useful.

๐ŸŽฏ
posted by Zumbador at 8:57 PM on August 23 [1 favorite]


Iโ€™ve no problem using emoji on desktop or mobile and I think they can be really funny, but I also like that there are places emoji havenโ€™t taken over yet, and I donโ€™t want to be part of the problem/change in those places.
posted by michaelh at 8:58 PM on August 23 [1 favorite]


I think that if I were in an emoji-heavy environment I would use them more, but even at work it's more smiley face/frowny face/thumbs up than anything complex and so I feel like I'm not attuned to the subtleties and don't want to convey more than I mean.

When I look at my phone, for instance, there are literally 100 face emojis. There are about eight relatively plain smiley ones - I'm not counting the smiling-with-a-drop-of-sweat/smiling-while-blushing/smiling-while-crying ones. I assume that the eight are used to convey slightly different things, but I don't know what those things are. It's easy enough to google some of the fairly straightforward emojis to make sure that you aren't saying something cringeworthy or offensive by mistake, but it's not that easy to distinguish among the regular smileys, especially since emojis appear differently in different systems.

If I spent a lot of time in places where people used all the smile emojis I would presumably pick up on the subtle differences, realize which one/ones are offensive, etc, but since I don't, using emojis is just sort of fatiguing and anxiety-producing. Way more effort than words for me personally.
posted by Frowner at 9:01 PM on August 23 [8 favorites]


I guess I don't have anything against emoji. I also don't have anything strongly for emoji. The only real context I use them in is as reactions in work slack, where we have a lot of shared context to disambiguate what they're intended to mean vs. all the things they might mean, and sending another message probably interrupts someone with a notification, whereas slapping "this tbh" or "the 100, but it's like 100000 and animated" on a message indicates something without causing everyone else in the thread to be disrupted. I'm not sure I'd like all the extra ambiguity in already-charged-and-suffering-from-ambiguity-due-to-lack-of-context interactions here.
posted by Alterscape at 9:05 PM on August 23 [1 favorite]


escape from the potato planet: You can't just add an emoji with a click or two โ€“ you have to pull up another site, find the emoji you want, and copy-and-paste it. And I'd wager that many people don't even realize that you can do that.

I've installed an add-on in my browser that gives me an emoji picker. Mine is called Emoji Keyboard, but there are plenty of options. I bet even more people don't realise that you can do that. It does make it easier to add emojis if one so chooses. ๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ–Œ๐ŸŽจ
posted by Too-Ticky at 11:10 PM on August 23


I personally never use emojis. I think they're juvenile, a crutch for those who are afraid they can't express their thoughts adequately in writing.

This is why I never used emoticons, or even old internet acronyms like LOL. Now I'm 49, and I'm seeing that I was pretty stupid to avoid those things for so long. No one cares, and they're fun. I still probably won't use them because I'm not used to it, but there's not a real reason to avoid them.
posted by JHarris at 11:48 PM on August 23 [8 favorites]


I like the basic triune of smile/frown/wink, especially the text-based emoticon ones, and sometimes wish it were more acceptable to use them here. (I think it's insane that screen readers still don't parse even standard emoticons in the year 2022. It's not exactly complicated, and they've been in common use for decades. Not being able to parse them is like a screen reader just deciding to not recognize any new slang. Do they not recognize common abbreviations either?)

I like using emojis as I feel it helps convey tone quickly and efficiently and reduces the chances of someone misunderstanding my intent.

This, though, is the absolute opposite of my experience. It's not even the weird-object emoji that are confusing. What is the difference between ๐Ÿ˜€ and๐Ÿ˜ƒ, or ๐Ÿ˜„ and ๐Ÿ˜ and๐Ÿ˜†, or ๐Ÿ˜จ and๐Ÿ˜ง and๐Ÿ˜ฆ, or ๐Ÿ˜ฎ and ๐Ÿ˜ฏ and ๐Ÿ˜ฒ, or โ˜บ๏ธ and ๐Ÿ˜Š? (I know it's probably matters of degree, but how do I know what nuances the writer had in mind when they made their selection? Or if they just randomly chose something? Are they the type of person who intends a difference, what are the emoji conventions in their social groups, what am I supposed to understand??!) What about โค๏ธ vs ๐Ÿงก vs ๐Ÿ’› vs ๐Ÿ’š vs...? How should I interpret ๐Ÿ˜ญ or ๐Ÿ˜ข or๐Ÿ˜ฅ? As sadness or humor or sarcasm or sincerity or what? Is ๐Ÿ˜… "I'm so amused I'm sweating", or relief? Different browsers/OSs/apps use different emoji sets - do these look the same or have the same nuances on other people's systems as they do on mine?

The sheer number and complexity of emoji makes it really likely that they'll be read with different nuances, or totally different meanings, by different readers. Meanwhile communication only works when there's some common agreement about what our symbols and usages mean. So ๐Ÿ˜ถ.
posted by trig at 1:50 AM on August 24 [7 favorites]


๐Ÿ†๐Ÿ’ฆ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘ may not mean the same thing to everyone, especially if you're from Australia or New Zealand ...

Joanna, is that ewe?
posted by Thella at 2:06 AM on August 24


With the caveat that I have never used slack, and have by now associate them with yet another american cultural norm so I've developed a petty resistance of them: I'm very okay with emojis as a reader, but i never got into the habit of using them much when I'm doing long form writing which is most of my metafilter involvement. But i definitely only use them when I'm on my phone only - can't be bothered to get desktop browser add-ons.

I do try not to use them a lot though on websites only because i am aware it's still not fully interoperable across systems (i was about to share my current fave, a face saluting, but it turns out on this phone, it's available on WA and emails but not on this mobile browser), what more with the screen reader issue. But in their more optimized environments (discord, WA, certain email groups) I'm a rampant user and abuser.

But yeah, definitely on metafilter i don't use them much out of mindfulness, so that my comments would still be largely readable even when I do sprinkle them.
posted by cendawanita at 2:47 AM on August 24 [1 favorite]


Different browsers/OSs/apps use different emoji sets - do these look the same or have the same nuances on other people's systems as they do on mine?

Not in my experience - I use Discord on both iOS and Android (and occasionally on desktop) and I'm often surprised at how I react differently to the emojis I chose myself, depending on how the OS decides to show them.
posted by scorbet at 3:19 AM on August 24 [1 favorite]


I think they're juvenile, a crutch for those who are afraid they can't express their thoughts adequately in writing.

I was gonna write a big long thing about all the reasons that someone might have a hard time with words as a thing. But you know, instead Iโ€™m going to point out that needing assistive devices (like say, a crutch) isnโ€™t a moral failing. It doesnโ€™t make you less mature.

Sometimes words are too much work for my brain. Emojis help me communicate. That doesnโ€™t make me lacking in moral fiber, but it does make me someone who has to make decisions about how to manage a chronic illness.
posted by Gygesringtone at 6:37 AM on August 24 [22 favorites]


|๏ฟฃ๏ฟฃ๏ฟฃ๏ฟฃ๏ฟฃ๏ฟฃ๏ฟฃ|
| ASCII           |
| ART             |
| ONLY           |
|_๏ผฟ๏ผฟ๏ผฟ๏ผฟ๏ผฟ__|
(\__/) ||
(โ€ขใ……โ€ข) ||
/ ใ€€ ใฅ

โ”โ”“
โ”ƒโ”ƒโ•ฑโ•ฒ in
โ”ƒโ•ฑโ•ฑโ•ฒโ•ฒ this
โ•ฑโ•ฑโ•ญโ•ฎโ•ฒโ•ฒhouse
โ–”โ–โ”—โ”›โ–•โ–” we
โ•ฑโ–”โ–”โ–”โ–”โ–”โ–”โ–”โ–”โ–”โ–”โ•ฒ
PREFER ASCII ART TO EMOJIS
โ•ฑโ•ฑโ”โ”ณโ”“โ•ญโ•ฎโ”โ”ณโ”“ โ•ฒโ•ฒ
โ–”โ–โ”—โ”ปโ”›โ”ƒโ”ƒโ”—โ”ปโ”›โ–•โ–”

posted by Mayor West at 6:45 AM on August 24 [29 favorites]


The sheer number and complexity of emoji makes it really likely that they'll be read with different nuances, or totally different meanings, by different readers. Meanwhile communication only works when there's some common agreement about what our symbols and usages mean.

I've got some bad news about words. They're also read with different nuances, or totally different meanings, by different readers. We have arguments on MeFi all the time about what people mean by a word or turn of phrase, and have even banned at least one word on that basis. Admittedly, emoji have the additional difficulty of the differing character sets causing additional confusion, but ๐Ÿคท. Emoji just make the whole process a little more explicit - I just take a deep breath, accept the ambiguity, and contemplate the fun of semiotics.
posted by zamboni at 7:31 AM on August 24 [9 favorites]


I am an Old from the dawn of internet culture where emoticons first and then emoji was regarded as a poor communication device. And while I've adapted to Slack culture when necessary, I still find it a huge hassle in cross-platform situations because half the time they look messed-up and on a phone are often incredibly difficult for me to see well enough to parse - I have to hover over them, if that even works, to see whether that's a person shrugging or wearing wings or facepalming or whatever else the little people do.

Among my peers, at least, we tend to use them as seasoning rather than content. If you text me asking me to bring you :taco emoji: because you're :bed: :sheep: I'm probably going to let you go hungry. If ask me to bring tacos and then add many :taco emoji: I am going to understand you are excited about tacos and are possibly even chanting "taco taco taco" and I get it, I also get excited about tacos. We may well text the taco emoji back and forth several times, even.

But I also won't text conversationally with people who do u and r. Predictive text generally makes it just as feasible to handle that in one click. In professional contexts especially, I just don't have much respect for that from anybody who's a native or fluent daily English speaker. And if you say lol to me about something serious, I will never speak to you again.

I don't really want to read AskMes in which I have to parse someone's cardiac condition, eggplant woes, or domestic violence repeatedly represented in oddly-sized and often distorted little pictures. But if that's what most people want, that's just a cultural poor fit on my part.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:51 AM on August 24 [6 favorites]


I've got some bad news about words.


Yeah, I'm aware. That was pretty condescending ๐Ÿ˜. But emoji don't have centuries or even decades of semantic history behind them, there's no social consensus about them; there are also no references or style guides or literary precedent to help me figure out what the hell a ๐Ÿ™ƒ is supposed to mean in some particular context. Like I said, I think there are a few basic symbols that are pretty broadly understood, and I'm a fan of using them. But outside of that small set - and outside of the use case where emoji are purely for fun and not actually intended to convey any specific message beyond humor, or the use case where you're communicating with someone you've established some kind of shared emoji language with - my personal experience has been that most emoji do the opposite of reducing misunderstandings, which is the point I was responding to. Words have issues; most emoji, in most cases, have more.
posted by trig at 7:58 AM on August 24 [4 favorites]


Isn't that like expecting to always know why someone chose the word "glad" over "happy" in a context, though? Ambiguity will always remain, and we basically just accept synonyms when it comes to words.

Also, Lyn Never, i hope u don't make ur frustration clear to all these people u disdain, given how many reasons there might be for their typing styles.
posted by sagc at 8:05 AM on August 24 [1 favorite]


I have never used an emoji. I was born in 1959
posted by philip-random at 8:17 AM on August 24


Of course I don't, but I'm not going to choose an ongoing text-based relationship with them. People I know with mobility issues usually adapt in other ways so it isn't an issue, offer a blanket warning, or they're not big texters in the first place.

I do correct my direct reports at work, though. It's not professional, it's not very clear, and it is offputting and difficult to understand for some of our customers. If they have difficulty typing I generally suggest they talk to IT about dictation software or an adaptive keyboard.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:24 AM on August 24 [2 favorites]


We could all go Lord Timothy Dexter and eschew punctuation as needlessly fussyโ€ฆ.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:34 AM on August 24


Words have issues; most emoji, in most cases, have more.

In practice, outside of stunt posts, no-one here is communicating exclusively in emoji. Emoji on Mefi exist in dialog with and in context to the other words in the comment. You don't see ๐Ÿ›‚๐Ÿ”›๐Ÿ•ด on a regular basis, but the broadly understood symbols that you mention. For me, per EftPP's excellent comment, unless someone's being intentionally perverse, emoji are a contextual supplement to written communication - they predominantly clarify, not confuse.

That was pretty condescending ๐Ÿ˜.

I appreciate you including the emoji!
posted by zamboni at 8:48 AM on August 24 [2 favorites]


Iโ€™m indifferent to emojis (the older members of my family abuse them and the younger members of my family use them to make jokes about older members of my family). I sometimes ๐Ÿ‘ work texts, but the truth is I only ever wanted to use the old โ€œdragon head with drumstcks for horns served up on a holiday platterโ€ emoji that my IPhone has since removed. So I guess iโ€™m never getting into the emoji game
posted by thivaia at 8:53 AM on August 24 [2 favorites]


We could all go Lord Timothy Dexter and eschew punctuation as needlessly fussyโ€ฆ.

๐Ÿ˜ญ ๐Ÿ˜‚ ๐Ÿฅบ ๐Ÿคฃ โค๏ธ โœจ๐Ÿ™ ๐Ÿ˜ ๐Ÿฅฐ ๐Ÿ˜Š ๐Ÿ’ฉ๐Ÿฆœ๐Ÿ•ด๐Ÿฆ›

You may ๐Ÿง‚ and ๐ŸŒถ as you please.
posted by zamboni at 8:53 AM on August 24 [1 favorite]


In practice, outside of stunt posts, no-one here is communicating exclusively in emoji.

Maybe we should try a MetaTalk thread that is only emojis, no words. See how many can follow it.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:55 AM on August 24 [1 favorite]


I really only ever use emoji in Slack and other chat apps that make them easy to use; if MetaFilter started giving me a dropdown of emoji to pick from when I typed : like those apps do, I would probably use them here; as long as it doesn't, I probably won't, unless I'm going out of my way for a gag. I guess my new Mac has a key specifically for them but the keyboard I have hooked up to it doesn't, so, meh.

I'm amused by folks calling it "unprofessional" - as a Midwestern Xennial, I almost never used emoji, until I started working remotely for a tech company based in California. Since then, it seems like all of my workplaces have been ALL EMOJI ALL THE TIME. I was also initially deeply embarrassed and confused when someone I hadn't met before gave me a โค๏ธ reaction on some work I did; thankfully I was able to decode the local lingo before I gave someone a completely unwarranted "you know I'm married, right?" talk. Anyway, regardless of how professional it may or may not be, it's a language I had to learn in order to adapt to a certain kind of workplace.
posted by jordemort at 9:06 AM on August 24 [1 favorite]


You may ๐Ÿง‚ and ๐ŸŒถ as you please.

Shuttlecock and umbrella?? That'd be a challenging game.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:13 AM on August 24 [5 favorites]


only emojis, no words. See how many can follow it.

I'm sure if we had a post that was exclusively punctuation, it would be similarly difficult to follow, and similarly confusing for people going "Wait, but that's not what punctuation is used to convey".

Or, to rephrase it (and borrow from Gretchen McCullough's excellent Because Internet), people keep going "If you use emoji as find & replace swaps for words, it makes no sense to me. Clearly this is an issue with emoji, and not that I'm inventing a use for them that respects none of the linguistic rules of the medium"

* "Emblems are symbolic gestures that have precise forms and stable meanings. Crucially, while their names can fit easily into a sentence, theyโ€™re also perfectly meaningful without speech at all. Because of this, they often cover different territories than languages do"
* "But what about the gestures we make in speech that donโ€™t have specific names or precise meanings? Every culture thatโ€™s been studied uses these kinds of gestures as well. We gesture along with our speech even when itโ€™s communicatively useless, like when weโ€™re talking on the phone. Linguists call the kinds of gestures we canโ€™t help doing โ€œco-speechโ€ or โ€œillustrative gesture,โ€ and these reflect more about the thinking of the speaker than the understanding of the listener."
* "Co-speech illustrative gestures are fluid, going smoothly from one into the other, with lots of possible shapes and variations for essentially the same meaning. If you describe the path of where youโ€™ve gone today, youโ€™ll use many gestures in a row and you could easily gesture it slightly differently when you tell me about it now and when you told someone else about it a few minutes ago, just as you can illustrate birthday wishes with a wide range of combined emojis. But emblems, on the other hand, are discrete, individual gestures: They can repeat, but they donโ€™t readily combine. Thatโ€™s why we tend not to see them in interesting emoji sequences. Sending someone all of the possible birthday party emoji is extra festive: great! But sending someone all of the possible phallic emoji (say, the eggplant and the cucumber and the corncob and the banana: ๐Ÿ†๐Ÿฅ’๐ŸŒฝ๐ŸŒ) is NOT extra sexxaayyโ€”thatโ€™s just a weird salad."
posted by CrystalDave at 9:15 AM on August 24 [5 favorites]


I like emoji, in many contexts. I use them in text messages and on Slack as a substitute for non-verbal communication - the stuff that would be conveyed in other circumstances by my tone of voice, gestures and/or facial expressions. I also use them for reactions, and on Slack as a status indicator. I seldom use them as a replacement for words in a textual context, or to reinforce a word ("octopus ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ™") and it throws me a bit when other people do either. My best guess is that I'm using emoji in exactly the way I used to (and still do) use emoticons, and other people either didn't go through the emoticon stage of the internet or have cheerfully wandered off in a different direction.

I don't use them on Metafilter partly because it just doesn't feel culturally appropriate to use them here (I don't use emoticons here either), and partly because I use Metafilter on a Windows laptop and didn't know (until now) how to access emoji in an application / on a website that doesn't natively support them.

Looking at the examples scattered through the thread, I have the same problem others do: I can't make out the fine detail (this is not a retina display I'm using, and it's at arm's length), and even if I zoom in I don't necessarily know what I'm looking at. Thinking about it, I rely pretty heavily on Slack's tooltips for identifying unfamiliar emoji. And because I'm used to emoji on Slack and on my iPhone, the Windows emoji I'm seeing here all look weird to me.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 9:20 AM on August 24 [1 favorite]


Something I've noticed about myself.

When someone here mentions that a certain communication style is more common among older people, I tend to read that as "older people, cringe, how out touch they are!"

I hope that's not an accurate reading because, I mean, I'm 50. I'm going to act and communicate in certain ways. Some of that might be because of my age. That's just how things are? I'm not out of touch, anymore than a young person is, if they don't know who Sophia Loren is.
posted by Zumbador at 10:04 AM on August 24 [5 favorites]


I use a limited few emojis at work and with family, like the thumbs up or basic smile, but I have a few issues with them. A major issue is really bad eyesight (all my life) even with corrective lenses that makes them hard to see. I use metafilter maybe 70% on my laptop and 30% on my phone and have issues with seeing them either place. It is particularly hard to tell the various forms of smiley faces apart.

Also, I interact with people age wise from their 70s to teens, and different cohorts use emojis different ways (and use different emojis), depending. It gets hard to "translate", particularly when you have different age groups on something like a group text chain (sigh).

My main issue is though that I have a learning disability of a type that can make processing visual symbols like emojis difficult to decipher. I will often have to google a particular emoji to see what is written about what it can mean in order to interpret stuff, which slows communication way down. I appreciate the relative scarcity of emojis on metafilter because I tend to skip comments that are emoji heavy because they take me so long to decode.

So this is the exact opposite of my experience ----> I like using emojis as I feel it helps convey tone quickly and efficiently and reduces the chances of someone misunderstanding my intent. I'm unlikely to get what you are trying to say quickly, and there is the potential for me to misunderstand what you are saying.

I realize I'm just one user and am in the minority with my issues, so feel free to use emojis as much as you want. Just be aware that there are some people like me who will be skipping your comments if they use emojis heavily.
posted by gudrun at 11:35 AM on August 24 [4 favorites]


I think they're juvenile, a crutch for those who are afraid they can't express their thoughts adequately in writing.

And I'm instantly reminded why I've pulled so far away from Metafilter in the past few years. Christ, what a thoughtful comment!
posted by heyho at 12:00 PM on August 24 [11 favorites]


different cohorts use emojis different ways (and use different emojis), depending

In my experience it's not necessarily age groups, but different social groups which might or might not correlate with age. The different Slacks I'm on, for instance, have pretty broad age ranges but distinct emoji habits along with various other in-group conventions.

I probably wouldn't lament the loss of emojis if they suddenly disappeared, but I guess the people who think they're a sign of poor communication skills have never felt the urge to insert a gratuitous suitcase or turkey or banjo into a conversation?
posted by tangerine at 3:17 PM on August 24 [3 favorites]


Iโ€™m another one whoโ€™s usually on her laptop if using MeFi, and thus not conveniently able to pull up an emoji. And theyโ€™re just not part of how my brain tends to work so the effort it would take to add them just doesnโ€™t add anything to my experience of sharing my thoughts.

I *do* love emojis as a reaction option on other sites. But my brain seems to do one or the other - either itโ€™s a simple response that doesnโ€™t need words so an emoji reaction is fine, or it needs words and an emoji wonโ€™t add anything,

No idea whether that has anything to do with the fact that my own flavor of neurodivergence involves having almost zero visualization skills. When I do see an emoji Iโ€™m basically doing an extra translation step of turning it back into a word in my head.

That said I would have zero problem if other people wanted to start using them more around here, as long as we can establish any norms we might need to keep the site usable for folks with screen readers.
posted by Stacey at 3:29 PM on August 24 [2 favorites]


@dg: the presence of both ๐Ÿ† and ๐Ÿ‘ in the same emoji-thought is a bit alarming, as ๐Ÿ† has a certain connotation. The ๐Ÿ’ฆ and the โ€ฆ ๐Ÿ‘ โ€ฆ are just making it worse.

That comment took waaay long to type since the iPad has thousands of emojis to access. Also, had to look up how to add the keyboard.

Now, I need an emoji dictionary that has comprehensive denotative and connotative meanings along with annotations. Should also handle multiple languages and cultures.

Aaaand thereโ€™s the problem.
posted by JustSayNoDawg at 3:54 PM on August 24 [4 favorites]


That comment took waaay long to type since the iPad has thousands of emojis to access. Also, had to look up how to add the keyboard.

If you open the emoji keyboard you can start typing in a word to find the emoji.
posted by curious nu at 4:10 PM on August 24 [3 favorites]


(not to sound dismissive! just handy tip. I was so happy when I found that)
posted by curious nu at 4:10 PM on August 24 [3 favorites]


Honestly I'm still slightly salty about the decision to include emoji in the Unicode standard. Personally I mostly find them confusing except when applied judiciously, and prefer that people try to express themselves clearly with words. But that's a personal preference, and the occasional emoji here and there doesn't bother me any more than the occasional joke or reference I don't get does: not everything on MetaFilter is for me. That said, if MetaFilter ever becomes the sort of place where heavy use of emoji is common, I probably won't want to stick around.
posted by biogeo at 5:25 PM on August 24 [1 favorite]


Thereโ€™s an eggplant post on Ask if anybodyโ€™s bout that life.
posted by kevinbelt at 6:03 PM on August 24


โชโฎ๏ธโฏ๏ธโน๏ธโญ๏ธโฉ
๐Ÿ‘‰ โ€ข
posted by clavdivs at 6:13 PM on August 24 [2 favorites]


I use emojis occasionally ๐Ÿ™‚ I'd use them more often if I posted from my phone, but I'm almost always posting from the computer and the only way I know to do emojis is to swipe them off Facebook ๐Ÿ’ƒ
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 6:40 PM on August 24


I think i only ever use three emojis: happy face, crying face and thumbs up. And those almost exclusively as reactions. When others appear on metafilter I often can't even figure out what they are supposed to be because of their small size (I've noticed a lot of people have their text settings way larger than I, which is probably part of it) and I find any even partially clever use confusing most of the time. Like can someone decipher what rainbow, rocket ship, cookie is supposed to mean. Or the aubergine, raindrops, deformed ball, sheep? I know aubergine is often an analogue for penis (and count me in as also objecting to the corporate prudishness that means we don't have penis, vulva, etc. emojis) but i can't figure out the rest. I know that makes me an old and desperately uncool but that's my reality.

TL;DR: I'm glad we mostly don't use these here.
posted by Mitheral at 8:10 PM on August 24 [1 favorite]


Much plate. So bean.
posted by aspersioncast at 8:11 PM on August 24 [1 favorite]


Or ๐Ÿซ˜ โž• ๐Ÿฝ ๐ŸŸฐ๐Ÿคบ
posted by aspersioncast at 8:12 PM on August 24


Half of this thread is like the ca. 1997 Newsradio episode where Bill discovers that rap has lyrics.
posted by aspersioncast at 8:16 PM on August 24 [5 favorites]


Mitheral, the deformed ball is actually a peach, but I believe the peach is standard code for buttocks. In context, I think the raindrops here are semen. I don't know if the sheep is code for anything, or just if in context it is meant to evoke bawdy stories about lonely shepherds getting too close to their flock. I suppose it would in toto translate as "I'm so horny I could fuck a sheep." Hope that helps!
posted by biogeo at 8:31 PM on August 24


My approach is that I get to decide what an emoji means, and I convey that meaning through the context of the words and other emojis that accompany them.

Pictures are different from words, in that their meaning is a lot more fluid and adaptable. That's the power and fun of it all.

Why is skill with using words considered to be a sign of intelligence, and skill with images seen as lazy?

With words, I can fool myself that I can craft a precise argument and that the only reason you disagree with me is because you aren't clever enough to understand me.

With pictures, I have to acknowledge the wild and wooly reality that other people are different from me, and will definitely misunderstand me, and that's OK, because we might still both enjoy the absurdity of it all.
๐Ÿ™ƒ
posted by Zumbador at 8:31 PM on August 24 [3 favorites]


๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:33 PM on August 24 [1 favorite]


I like words, but when people use emoji, that's fine. Just don't make me watch videos that explain in 4 minutes what words could do in 1. Yep. Geezer.
posted by theora55 at 8:45 PM on August 24 [9 favorites]


๐Ÿ’ฏ๐Ÿ’ต๐Ÿšท๐Ÿคณ the revolver.
posted by clavdivs at 10:36 PM on August 24


๐ŸŽณ4๏ธโƒฃ๐Ÿ’ต
posted by clavdivs at 10:45 PM on August 24


Mitheral: Like can someone decipher what rainbow, rocket ship, cookie is supposed to mean.

It was meant to be rainbow, paintbrush, palette. As in, someone is painting bright colors. I wanted to convey the concept of 'adding color' to a conversation.
posted by Too-Ticky at 12:13 AM on August 25


I hate them, they're small enough on the laptop screen that half the time I can't even tell what they are supposed to be. I used to have a little hot-key script that would dump the Unicode codepoint names of selected text.... but I haven't bothered reinstalling it.

Hate them, not even going to try cranking up zoom to 500% just to see some cryptic little picture glyph that probably doesn't even look like the one you typed on your side of things.

Just Say No!
posted by zengargoyle at 6:06 AM on August 25 [3 favorites]


they're small enough on the laptop screen that half the time I can't even tell what they are supposed to be

This is my main issue with them and it makes me wonder why more (any?) browsers don't implement a function whereby if you hover over an emoji, it gets magnified and text-tagged (e.g. I hold my cursor over ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ and a little pop-up of the image appears at 400% magnification with the caption Shrug.)
posted by Atom Eyes at 8:53 AM on August 25 [9 favorites]


Clearly the compromise is to enable animated gifs.
posted by mittens at 9:25 AM on August 25 [8 favorites]


re: size and legibility, I usually cmd-+ plus a few times (Mac) and pray. For iOS I zoom with a pinch-and-spread gesture.

Selecting an emoji (e.g. the ๐ŸŽณ one) on a Mac and left-clicking offers an option to look it up.

"Amazing!" I think to myself. Apple is, like, transliterating emojis so you can figure out what they mean (or what they literally represent, anyhow). After a few experiments:

๐ŸŽณ = Looks up "bowling" on Wikipedia. Nice! So far so good!
๐Ÿ•= Defines what the โค๏ธ emoji represents Huh.
๐Ÿคก= Looks up "Uncanny X-Men" Getting colder.
๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ= Looks up an article about Horatio Sanz sex abuse. Well, okay then.
posted by mph at 9:42 AM on August 25 [5 favorites]


Peer pressure. If everyone used them I would probably join in. Since they're uncommon, I conform to that style instead.
posted by plonkee at 9:53 AM on August 25


But ๐Ÿ˜‰ is dangerous now because it means sexual innuendo. I'm just ๐Ÿ˜•.

Welp Memaw over here has been sexually harassing all her coworkers. I literally wink all the time in our text group because I thought it meant like "hey this is a lighthearted joke."

Oh well.

My favorite emoji sentence is ๐Ÿงช๐Ÿฆ™

The poison for Kuzco, the poison chosen especially to kill Kuzco, Kuzco's poison.
posted by joannemerriam at 10:09 AM on August 25 [7 favorites]


Selecting an emoji (e.g. the ๐ŸŽณ one) on a Mac and left-clicking offers an option to look it up.

MacOS Lookup can end up in someโ€ฆ surprising places, particularly if you throw yourself on the mercy of Siri Knowledge.

When you go into the context menu and choose Lookup, you're throwing the string into a MacOS system forโ€ฆ looking stuff up. By default, it'll look for it in configured system dictionaries, but may pull from a few other places, like Wikipedia or Siri Knowledge (the machine learning-ish subsystem Siri uses to answer questions - it in turn pulls from a bunch of places, including weird stuff like Wolfram Alpha and web searches) depending on what you give it.

You're getting weird results because something in the ML robot mind of Siri is associating those emoji with those articles - probably some horrifying social media stuff that we don't really need to know about.

If you'd like to get more sane results for this specific application, the easiest way is to install a custom system dictionary that looks up emoji. It needs to be updated for Emoji v13, but most stuff should show up.
posted by zamboni at 10:27 AM on August 25


Emoji v13

That should be v14, soon to be v15. Anyway, here's a direct link to the github page for the project.
posted by zamboni at 11:00 AM on August 25




If you'd like to get more sane results for this specific application, the easiest way is to install a custom system dictionary that looks up emoji. It needs to be updated for Emoji v13, but most stuff should show up.

That's pretty handy!

I promised myself I'd be less reportorial on MeTa, so I'm also going to say that I:
  • find a lot of emojis perplexing from a "yeah, but what does it mean" point of view
  • find it difficult to differentiate between some of them (e.g. the many smile variants).
  • think the culture war fretting around emoji skin tone is some of the most dizzying bean-plating ever (not the "should there be skin tones," idea, but all the questions that arise well after that)
  • sometimes hate seeing the a11y prompts because they tell you the literal assigned meaning. For instance, the bog-standard "smile" (i.e. ๐Ÿ™‚) many tools seem to transmogrify from an emoticon (i.e. :-)) is formally assigned "slightly smiling," which I neurotically translate to "not as funny as you thought you were being")
But also really enjoy them. Perhaps even especially when they're hard to parse, or there's a big delta between representation and meaning, or whatever. I'm getting up there, and I'm finding more and more things, not just emojis, to be hard to parse or difficult to discern meaning from. It's an interesting exercise to spend a little time poking around for context clues or decrypting something. It is a very small, very early exercise in living with a social, cognitive, and emotional set of processes that are only going to accelerate and become more intense.

I want to go out with a bemused smile -- having ultimately accepted as much as I can with as much grace as I can manage -- not with a pinched frown.
posted by mph at 12:09 PM on August 25 [1 favorite]


So, a few years ago, I invited my friend, who just happened to create Emojipedia on a lark 15 years ago, and then jokingly founded World Emoji Day, to join Metafilter, because the forum we used to populate has dried up. He joined and made a couple comments, but didnโ€™t stick around. Heโ€™s a really nice guy. Iโ€™m not sure what this means. Iโ€™m pretty ambivalent about the things, but heโ€™s really into them, so I try to be open-minded, I guess.
posted by Devils Rancher at 12:44 PM on August 25 [1 favorite]


I'm just pleased that this thread has taught me how to make the ยฏ\_(ใƒ„)_/ยฏ thing that I've felt so many times and never known how to reproduce.

๐ŸŒˆโญ
posted by nickmark at 2:02 PM on August 25 [4 favorites]


/\/\@;..;@/\/\

My favorite text-moji. Temoji?
posted by JustSayNoDawg at 2:23 PM on August 25 [1 favorite]


It was meant to be rainbow, paintbrush, palette

Oh, well that makes sense. But all you sheep fornicators can just back right off.

But ๐Ÿ˜‰ is dangerous now because it means sexual innuendo. I'm just ๐Ÿ˜•.

TIL: You can italize emoji.
posted by Mitheral at 3:24 PM on August 25 [8 favorites]


TIL: You can italize emoji.

Yes! Isn't that odd? Maybe it could be useful.
Maybe ๐Ÿ˜‰ is the sexual innuendo winking smiley, and ๐Ÿ˜‰ is the platonic winking smiley?
posted by Zumbador at 9:55 PM on August 25 [3 favorites]


๐Ÿ˜‰ is a wink. ๐Ÿ˜‰ is a wink when you're on the piss.

(Sadly bold looks no different on my device.)
posted by Dysk at 12:22 AM on August 26


I just find that my understanding of what's being communicated drops off very rapidly in relation to how many emojis are being used. And even at 1 emoji, my level of understanding is, on average, not that high.
posted by biffa at 1:44 AM on August 26 [1 favorite]


The more you use them, the easier they are to understand. ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™‚๏ธ Just like all types of communication.

Windows + full stop key bringing up the emoji picker is a freaking game changer. ๐Ÿ™Œ
posted by Braeburn at 3:39 AM on August 26 [3 favorites]


Just out of interest, does anyone know why aspersioncast's emojis are the only ones not to render properly in this thread? Same on both my laptop and mobile browser.
posted by biffa at 3:54 AM on August 26


biffa, same for me - and I had assumed aspersioncast was making a joke about the non-rendering-of-emoji problem that I wasn't understanding. Maybe they will clarify.
posted by joannemerriam at 6:39 AM on August 26


No, I don't think so. I saw aspersioncast's emojis just fine the other day on one of my devices - don't remember offhand if it was my iOS tablet or my android phone. But I'm on my laptop now and two of the emojis are rendering incorrectly while the others are still fine; seems like some combo of OS + browser doing it.
posted by Stacey at 6:56 AM on August 26


Their emoji render fine for me, viewing on Chrome on ChromeOS. I see it as:

[picture of 3 beans] [colorful plus sign] [plate with knife and fork] [colorful equals sign] [very small person with a fencing foil in a fencing stance]
posted by biogeo at 6:57 AM on August 26


Perhaps even especially when they're hard to parse, or there's a big delta between representation and meaning, or whatever.

Oh man. This reminds me of a thing I've noticed on Discord. So the easiest way to summon an emoji is to type the name surrounded by :'s. So :two_hearts: will render as ๐Ÿ’•. The thing is, because people become so familiar with the actual names of the emojis, sometimes they'll just type the emoji name to convey the same information. So instead of ๐Ÿ‘€ you might say "eyes emoji" or just "eyes."

This is an odd linguistic quirk which is largely intelligible except for the fact that Discord allows for custom emojis for each server. Generally they can only be used in the server they are attached to--unless you have a Nitro subscription, at which point you can use them anywhere. I generally recognize/know the names of the custom emojis attached to the servers I'm in (:thelordswork: :srsbsns: :ben: :freerealestate: etc). But I can hardly memorize the emojis of my friends who have Nitro and are in a bunch of other servers, so they often use custom emojis unfamiliar to me. While I can hover over the picture to figure out what it's called it doesn't generally occur to me to do so.

Anyway, all of that to say a friend was using :sadwetrat: enough that people in the server regularly would reply to things with "sadwetrat." The thing is, I had never bothered to hover over that emoji so I had NO clue what they were referencing. I had a picture in my head that was... not entirely inaccurate, I guess, but yet still wildly off.

The unfortunate deeper layer of this is that people decided the emoji could also be used in a sort of "I am looking at these things with wide-eyed excitement" sort of way, as the emoji does also kind of convey that. So they would respond "sadwetrat" to things that made NO sense to me. Why are you a sad wet rat about this?? Isn't this a good thing???

It only clicked after someone found some art from a video game that looked like :sadwetrat: and added it as a custom emoji with the name :sadwet[video game creature]:, which gave me a visual for the text. Many conversations were recast in a different light then.

Human communication is buckwild. And why I largely shrug and try to roll with however people are trying to do it.
posted by brook horse at 8:45 AM on August 26 [4 favorites]


Re: biffa, I've wrestled with unicode characters before, and discovered, at least back in 2011, that web browsers would do weird things when confronted with characters not in the current font. Some would, at times, pick a different font and steal characters from them to display. Chrome, at that time, was reluctant to do that.

When I encounter a missing character on a website, what I do is open a command prompt window, start up the Python immediate mode interpreter (a very useful thing to have on-hand in general), enter
a = input()
and then I can perform an ord() on that variable and see what character it is. Once I get a hexadecimal number for it it's usually pretty to Google for.
posted by JHarris at 12:28 PM on August 26


When I installed Catrinity, a font that tries to supply a lot of characters, one of the missing glyphs in aspersioncast's comment appeared, the equal sign. Now on my screen only the Beans emoji is now showing up.
posted by JHarris at 12:31 PM on August 26


Is not showing up, argh.
posted by JHarris at 12:36 PM on August 26


I wonder about emoji use or lack thereof as a class marker or as an identity signal or maybe there's the analogy as an emoji is kanji rather than hiragana and katakana. Or maybe it's the style of application that has lots of features bundled in instead of a linuxy pipeline of tools which do single things.
|
posted by Obscure Reference at 8:06 AM on August 27 [1 favorite]


I don't mind them I just can't SEE them. Mac does not render many of them and I have low vision and can't see the detail that makes them intelligible. I just pretend that some of y'all are Klingons and secretly communicating among yourselves. I just move on to real text.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 9:56 PM on August 27 [5 favorites]


I wish you all could see how many blank spaces I see in this thread above, where I assume I should be seeing an emoji. I just have to say "ok, that's not for me" and scroll on. You'll never know that I didn't see your meaning.

But then, I read metafilter on an old, old Kindle. I have my reasons. (I would insert a kissy-face here to mean "love ya all" but it probably really means something unspeakably rude so ยฏ\_(ใƒ„)_/ยฏ )

So to answer the question: using emojis here is too hard and a bit risky. Just today I finally leaned about the eggplant and peach (love that David Tenant clip!) I use emoji sparingly in texting, mainly as a quick reaction, and every time I use one just hope I'm not being inappropriate.
posted by evilmomlady at 8:26 PM on August 29


When I first got an iPhone with Siri and learned that you could have Siri read your text messages, my friends and I delighted in having Siri read emojis to each other. I had forgotten about "white flower with Asian ideograph meaning brilliant homework" which made me giggle for some reason.
posted by radioamy at 10:41 AM on August 31 [1 favorite]


I see a lot of people here expressing fear that their emoji might be mistaken as flirty or even horny, particularly where multiple variations on the same face are concerned. So I felt like I'd do everyone a service and provide this helpful explainer about the various intents suggested by each individual emoji:

๐Ÿ˜€: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜ƒ: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜„: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜†: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿฅน: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜…: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜‚: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿคฃ: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿฅฒ: flirtatious; horny
โ˜บ๏ธ: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜Š: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜‡: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ™‚: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ™ƒ: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜‰: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜Œ: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿฅฐ: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜˜: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜—: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜™: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜š: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜‹: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜›: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜œ: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿคช: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿคจ: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿง: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿค“: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜Ž: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿฅธ: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿคฉ: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿฅณ: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜’: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜ž: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜”: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜Ÿ: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜•: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ™: flirtatious; horny
โ˜น๏ธ: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜ฃ: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜–: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜ซ: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜ฉ: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿฅบ: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜ข: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜ญ: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜ค: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜ : flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜ก: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿคฌ: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿคฏ: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜ณ: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿฅต: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿฅถ: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜ถโ€๐ŸŒซ๏ธ: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜ฑ: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜จ: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜ฐ: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜ฅ: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜“: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿค—: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿค”: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿซฃ: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿคญ: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿซข: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿซก: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿคซ: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿซ : flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿคฅ: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜ถ: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿซฅ: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿซค: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜‘: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜ฌ: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ™„: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜ฏ: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜ฆ: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜ง: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜ฎ: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜ฒ: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿฅฑ: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜ด: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿคค: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜ช: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜ฎโ€๐Ÿ’จ: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜ต: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜ตโ€๐Ÿ’ซ: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿค: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿฅด: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿคข: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿคฎ: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿคง: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜ท: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿค’: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿค•: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿค‘: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿค : flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ˜ˆ: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ‘ฟ: flirtatious; horny
๐Ÿ†: Go Ye In Christ's Name
posted by Tom Hanks Cannot Be Trusted at 7:08 AM on September 1 [4 favorites]


The kids use so many

I use a lot but apparently I use them in an old person way.
posted by Phanx at 4:32 AM on September 4


Right, I forgot the other reason, which is that Metafilter is capital-O Old now and lowercase-C conservative about tech change.

Outside of my weekly D&D group, Metafilter is the most Gen-X place I go.
posted by eckeric at 3:07 PM on September 7 [1 favorite]


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