A friendly conversation with Mark Davis

Jan 22nd, 2018
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  1. [4 August 2017]
  3. Mark Davis β˜• @mark_e_davis
  5. I want to give you a bit more background, using more text than available in Twitter. There is limited time in each UTC meeting for emoji topics, and the key was working through the new characters. The zwj sequences do not have the same time pressure, and can be released without waiting for June, or having such a long lead time.
  7. Mark Davis β˜• @mark_e_davis
  9. You provided a well-worked out proposal, but there was limited time to consider it all. For the dancer, person with crown, and "Mx Claus" there was not consensus on the best way to handle that: as zwj sequence or characters. That doesn't mean the topic is dropped, just that it needs more work.
  11. Mark Davis β˜• @mark_e_davis
  13. There are many people in Unicode that have been working towards neutral gender, and I think public statements like yours undercut their efforts, rather than help them.
  15. Mark Davis β˜• @mark_e_davis
  17. I'll be flying home to CH, and won't be able to respond until later.
  19. Charlotte Buff πŸ€»βƒ πŸ§‚πŸ΄σ ¦σ ­σ Ήσ ‘σ °σ Ώ @Random_Guy_32
  21. I'm genuinely sorry. I know I went a bit overboard, but it has been an entire year since I first told you why your gender model does not work. For the past five months I have been writing to the ESC again and again, begging them to fill the gaps, and every single time they didn't even see the need to forward my enquiries to the UTC proper. Every single time they made up flimsy excuses for why my emoji wouldn't be added, and when I debunked their arguments they simply stopped responding. I know I was getting increasingly rude, but that was sincerely the most polite I was still able to be at the time. Believe me, you do not want to read the initial drafts of some of the documents I sent. I can take only so much bullshit from the ESC before I snap.
  23. This time one of my documents finally made it to the UTC and not one single stinkin' emoji I proposed was put on the candidate list. Not one. Can you imagine how I feel?
  25. The fact that we're already making plans for Emoji 6.0/Unicode 11 and we're *still* discussing if and how the missing variants should be added shows that there is something deeply wrong within the UTC. If you truly cared about gender representation you would have released all gender variants without exceptions in Emoji 4.0, or at the very least in Emoji 5.0. The fact that fictional creatures and abstract gestures get the full gender treatment from the get-go while tens of millions of actual, living people have no way of adequately representing themselves shows that the UTC has their priorities massively backwards.
  27. I would love to be proven wrong because I obviously do not want the Unicode Consortium to be run by bigots, but everything you have done regarding gender in the past months just screams "fuck minorities" to an outsider – and even to me who has been getting responses and explanations straight from the source. This is exactly what I was telling you all the way back in April: Your actions are *indistinguishable* from malice, even if you do not consciously intend to discriminate.
  29. Charlotte Buff πŸ€»βƒ πŸ§‚πŸ΄σ ¦σ ­σ Ήσ ‘σ °σ Ώ @Random_Guy_32
  31. I want to believe you that improving gender representation is something the UTC intends to do eventually, I really do, but there hasn't been one single piece of evidence for that claim in the past twelve months. The fact that the ESC withheld my proposals until the last possible minute instead makes it seem like Unicode is actively trying to prevent gender equality. Again, I am not saying that this is your *intention*, but given all the information that is available to me it is a frighteningly plausible scenario.
  33. Charlotte Buff πŸ€»βƒ πŸ§‚πŸ΄σ ¦σ ­σ Ήσ ‘σ °σ Ώ @Random_Guy_32
  35. My first comments were discussed by the UTC last August. Since then you had three whole meetings to come up with the best possible way to represent neutral-gender emoji. My first document this year was submitted in March. If the ESC had properly informed the UTC about the issues I raised – and I have to assume they didn't – then you could have discussed the best possible solution for neutral dancer, royalty and Christmas in May. Instead the ESC had me send *four* additional documents over the course of three months, not even replying to some of them even after weeks of waiting, so that my proposals couldn't be discussed until August. Now the August meeting is over and you're telling me that there wasn't enough time to reach a consensus and that you aren't in any hurry to add them to the candidate list because they're just ZWJ sequences. Is this supposed to give me hope that the process is working correctly?
  37. There was enough time to approve 67 new emoji at UTC 152 but you couldn't even put one of the 35 I proposed on the candidate list? Not even Woman in Business Suit Levitating and Man with Headscarf, which were actually properly implemented by some vendors in the time since I last wrote to you?
  39. Charlotte Buff πŸ€»βƒ πŸ§‚πŸ΄σ ¦σ ­σ Ήσ ‘σ °σ Ώ @Random_Guy_32
  41. I'm sorry, but I don't want promises; I want results. The UTC has encoded *entire scripts* faster than the small selection of emoji I have been proposing over and over again.
  43. There are unfinished proposals for emoji I would actually enjoy using casually, and even proposals for non-emoji characters lying on my computer that I can never properly work on because every time I find enough free time to do Unicode work I have to spend that time on attempting to fix the things that the UTC screwed up or is about to screw up, be it gender or hair colour or whatever. My entire involvement with the Unicode Standard consists of nothing but damage control. Imagine this, with just the emoji that were accepted yesterday, I will already have to write to you about up to *three* separate things.
  45. [8 August 2017]
  47. Charlotte Buff πŸ€»βƒ πŸ§‚πŸ΄σ ¦σ ­σ Ήσ ‘σ °σ Ώ @Random_Guy_32
  49. I see that 33 of my 35 emoji are now planned for the next update. Thank you for that, although I am not at all happy about neutral royalty being added as a ZWJ sequence rather than a character. I'll still write to you about possible solutions for neutral dancer and neutral Christmas to be considered at the next meeting.
  51. Mark Davis β˜• @mark_e_davis
  53. Where did you see that 33 are planned?
  55. Mark Davis β˜• @mark_e_davis
  57. Because they are still under consideration.
  59. Charlotte Buff πŸ€»βƒ πŸ§‚πŸ΄σ ¦σ ­σ Ήσ ‘σ °σ Ώ @Random_Guy_32
  61. unicode.org/L2/L2017/17287…
  63. I know it's just an overview document by the ESC, but seeing how most of the ESC's recommendations are implemented in some form or another I assumed this would be the case here as well.
  65. Mark Davis β˜• @mark_e_davis
  67. Not necessarily. For new characters that mostly true. However, adding to RGI is based on vendor support. We only want to add items that will be widely supported. So the list is presented for vendor review.
  69. Mark Davis β˜• @mark_e_davis
  71. If you look at the document, it is clear at the top that these are not recommendations.
  73. Charlotte Buff πŸ€»βƒ πŸ§‚πŸ΄σ ¦σ ­σ Ήσ ‘σ °σ Ώ @Random_Guy_32
  75. I bloody hope the vendors aren't bigots then.
  77. Mark Davis β˜• @mark_e_davis
  79. You toss that word around pretty freely. Not everyone who disagrees with you is a bigot. And you win nobody to your position by calling them that.
  81. Mark Davis β˜• @mark_e_davis
  83. And nobody wants to tie up the resources and UI for emoji that people don't use. There are always sticker sets for people to use any image they wish.
  85. Mark Davis β˜• @mark_e_davis
  87. Anyway, I have a meeting now.
  89. Charlotte Buff πŸ€»βƒ πŸ§‚πŸ΄σ ¦σ ­σ Ήσ ‘σ °σ Ώ @Random_Guy_32
  91. I have a question for you, Mark. Where was the UTC's evidence that *any* of the additions in Emoji 4.0 would be popular with users? Who was begging you for Mother Christmas and Male Rowboat?
  93. Charlotte Buff πŸ€»βƒ πŸ§‚πŸ΄σ ¦σ ­σ Ήσ ‘σ °σ Ώ @Random_Guy_32
  95. If you want me to stop calling the people involved in the emoji process bigots then do what I've been asking the ESC to do for the past few months: Prove to me that they are not bigots. Tell me a logical reason for why 184 gendered emoji could be added willy-nillily but for the 35 missing options we have to have this massive clusterfuck where nothing of substance has happened in over a year.
  97. Charlotte Buff πŸ€»βƒ πŸ§‚πŸ΄σ ¦σ ­σ Ήσ ‘σ °σ Ώ @Random_Guy_32
  99. Here's the thing: You are discriminating against millions of people. It does not matter whether you *want* to do it. It does not matter whether you *admit* doing it. What matters it that you *are* doing it, and you refuse to stop doing it with all your power.
  101. The UTC fucked up gender and now they are refusing to fix it. This is what's happening right now. You've made a mistake and are trying to avoid correcting it.
  103. Charlotte Buff πŸ€»βƒ πŸ§‚πŸ΄σ ¦σ ­σ Ήσ ‘σ °σ Ώ @Random_Guy_32
  105. Unicode's actions are exactly the same as those of a bigot, period. If you're not bigots like you claim, you better have a damn good reason for the things you do.
  107. And no, "nobody wants to use these emoji" is not a valid argument. Nobody wanted the original gendered emoji either with a few exceptions, and they were fast-tracked into the standard without discussion anyways.
  109. The UTC alone created this problem, and seeing how you are the president of Unicode, you personally are also responsible for this problem. You, Mark Davis, were deeply involved in making the Unicode Standard gender-discriminatory. Now tell me what you intent to do to rectify this issue.
  111. Charlotte Buff πŸ€»βƒ πŸ§‚πŸ΄σ ¦σ ­σ Ήσ ‘σ °σ Ώ @Random_Guy_32
  113. It does not matter that Unicode plays a vital role in preserving endangered languages. This is exclusively about gender.
  115. Charlotte Buff πŸ€»βƒ πŸ§‚πŸ΄σ ¦σ ­σ Ήσ ‘σ °σ Ώ @Random_Guy_32
  117. Retyping an earlier message because it contained mistakes:
  119. If my position is that people need to be treated equally regardless of their gender, then everyone who disagrees with that is a bigot by definition. Last year we had over 800 new emoji, and like 600 of them were just for accomodating gender, so the small selection I proposed should not be burden in vendors, especially since they are just variants of emoji that already exist.
  121. Mark Davis β˜• @mark_e_davis
  123. This is no longer a productive discussion
  125. [I was unable to send any additional messages after this, which I initially assumed was because he simply closed his DMs. Months later I found out that I was forbidden from interacting with his account because I had been blocked.]
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