19 February 2016

Unicode proposal

Proposed implementation UTI #2, Unicode Bristol Scale Encoding

Status: Open

Originator: http://meta.ATH0.com/

Date: 2016-02-18

Description of issue:

The Unicode Technical Standard has (since Unicode 6.0) listed the code point U+1F4A9 as “Pile of Poo”, and it has proven very popular. However, there are two issues with its current implementation in contemporary operating systems.

The first issue is that one vendor opted to place eyes and a smiling face on the poo. This stylistic change was not specified in the Unicode standards, but became popular enough that other vendors were compelled to make the same change. As a result, the poo emoji is no longer suitable for depicting actual poo.

The second issue is that the pile of poo emoji does not represent the full diversity of human feces, instead providing only a single generic human bowel movement.

Proposed solution:

Unicode Technical Report 51 introduced a series of modifier characters which could be added to an emoji to alter the skin tones of any face shown. In this way, a fuller range of skin tones was implemented without requiring too many new code points.

We propose a similar approach be used to implement the Bristol Stool Scale in Unicode, explicitly noting realistic depiction and hence solving both of the problems outlined above. The following modifiers are proposed for the Variation Selectors Supplement:

U+E01E0REALISTIC BRISTOL TYPE 1“Separate hard lumps, like nuts”
U+E01E1REALISTIC BRISTOL TYPE 2“Sausage-shaped but lumpy”
U+E01E2REALISTIC BRISTOL TYPE 3“Sausage-like but with cracks on surface”
U+E01E3REALISTIC BRISTOL TYPE 4“Like sausage or snake, smooth and soft”
U+E01E4REALISTIC BRISTOL TYPE 5“Soft blobs with clear-cut edges”
U+E01E5REALISTIC BRISTOL TYPE 6“Fluffy pieces with ragged edges, mushy”
U+E01E6REALISTIC BRISTOL TYPE 7“Watery, entirely liquid”

For example, the sequence U+1F4A9 U+E01E3 would represent a realistic poo, smooth and soft, shaped like a snake or sausage.

Benefits of solution:

Many individuals are required to record their stool types for medical reasons. This extension to Unicode would allow for more efficient logs. In addition, the standardization of the encoding would allow for Big Data analytics to be conducted, for example by parsing data streams from social media.

Additional discussion:

Further modifiers may be worth considering along with this proposal. A range of color modifiers, from yellow to black to green, would improve data modeling. Green could prove particularly popular with parents of newborns. A modifier for hemorrhoids would also be useful, though there could be problems with graphical representation given the limited space available on a character-sized emoji.

© mathew 2017