Mutant Standard and Guns

So, all of the major emoji vendors have now redesigned the gun emoji to look like a squirt gun, while Mutant Standard hasn’t made any gun emoji yet. I had been asked about my opinion on this and what I plan on doing and I talked about it on Discord. Here’s a blog post summarising those thoughts.

 

 

Clearly, I don’t have any issues with the corporations deciding to slant away from Unicode Specification – Mutant Standard does that liberally and I’ve talked about why I believe that is fine to great length. But I do have problems in other regards.

I feel that the rationale for these decisions is mostly a PR move – American companies don’t want to be associated with gun violence in the American political climate, and that’s understandable, but also what often missing in this discussion is that this decision is only for them.

This move is a disneyfication. It does not erase the horror or the reality of mass shootings or racially-biased police brutality in the US. Nor does it erase the many Americans who have pernicious ideas about gun violence, nor does it erase the lobbying that prevents scientific investigation and systemic changes that might be able to help this. (And there’s also the racist relationship between gun control legislation and black and brown people owning firearms which often goes ignored.)

These companies are some of the most powerful corporate entities in the world, and if they wanted, they could lobby and use their political money and power for change. They could even just have a meaningful dialogue about it instead of vaguely pointing to ‘company values’. But they aren’t interested in taking a stand or making a real contribution to any real issue in the cultural or political sphere, so they change a gun emoji to a squirt gun instead.

It’s like the pointed peach – if you change the emoji, you can make that particular form of communication appear nonexistent without having to engage with it at all. I wouldn’t necessarily mind the squirt gun if they had a dialogue about it and actually contributed something to the world, but they refuse to. And on these kinds of principles, (as opposed to just immature psuedo-free speech narratives) i think the squirt gun is a fucked up thing to do.

 

 

 

But is making a gun emoji okay, and is it okay now, in this current situation?

I think making a gun emoji is probably fine, and maybe Mutant Standard will eventually be one of the few emoji sets that will end up having a gun. I want people to be able to responsibly talk about and communicate about violence (beyond the childish mythos of the ‘good guy’ and the ‘bad guy’), keeping in mind it also exists beyond the aesthetics of physical violence. I also want people to have guns for RPG purposes (and more guns than just a pistol because that would be fun for RPGs).

That being said, I also don’t think it’s right to do it now in the current political climate in the US. I don’t want to be seen as the validator of certain certain culturally negative groups of people who are agitated by the situation in the wake of the Parkland shooting and actively seek validation (even though Mutant Standard’s open embrace and support of certain minorities should probably prevent that to some degree). Regardless of what I intend the gun to be, my decisions have cultural consequences beyond my intent.

So yeah, at least for the meantime, Mutant Standard just won’t have a gun. If it does, it probably won’t be a squirt gun.

Mutant Standard 0.2.0

Promo image of mutant standard - all of the new emoji are arranged in a scattered manner around the logo in front of a bright blue background.

This particular update has been a long-time coming, it’s a major step forward for Mutant Standard and it’s required a major overhaul to how Mutant Standard emoji are produced and presented.

Most of this you can thank kiilas for, who is an excellent programmer and so much of this project is indebted to.

The exporter that I’ve been using to get emoji out in all the colours, sizes and formats has been replaced with a brand-new and much more powerful exporter called Orxporter. This will eventually be open source so if you know how to use a command line, you can use this tool too!

Codepoint packages

You can now download packages with codepoint-based filenames. This has been a long time coming and I thank you all for the wait!

You can find them at mutant.tech/use/#other. There are going to be some differences between the selection of emoji in the codepoint packages versus the shortcode because of how encoding works. I’ve written a new FAQ answer regarding that.

You can find the current details on how codepoint encoding is at the moment and how it’s planned for the future in a new dedicated page.

Improved Shortcode packages

‘Shortcode’ is what I’m now using to refer to the releases you all are familiar with (human-readable filenames and an easy to understand folder structure).

All emoji now only use underscores and alphanumeric characters, no more annoying square brackets to fiddle around with!

New emoji

  • Battery level emoji
  • Privacy symbol emoji
  • Red umbrella emoji (symbol of sex workers’ rights)
  • Lots of Unicode Standard food and drink emoji
  • A few other things

Many web improvements

Many pages have been simplified or greatly improved.

There’s a brand new demo page! You can now choose what type of hand emoji and colours you would like to see and it will show you!

 

Many production/internal improvements

A lot of web stuff (like the demo page) generates itself automatically and everything is generally a lot easier to update.

I have a bunch more in-house automation tools to make producing emoji packages way way quicker than it used to be.

All of these things mean I can spend much more time just making emoji.

0.2.1

You can find the notes for 0.2.1 on Trello!

My current thinking is with this release to do even more in-demand unique emoji – so more animals, more fantasy things, more fun objects!

0.2.0, Orxporter, One-Time Donations, Trello

Hey! I’ve been back for a while and posted everywhere else about it but forgot the blog >∆∆<.

Here’s a roundup of the last few weeks:

 

Mutant Standard 0.2.0 + Orxporter

I have some pretty awesome news. Orxporter (the next generation of the script that I use to batch recolour, rename and export emoji) is finally finished enough that I can use it. So the next release of Mutant Standard will be 0.2.0 and will include things like:

– Codepoint releases!
– Better shortcode releases! (better quality releases of the versions you are already used to)
– I will start outlining Mutant Standard’s encoding plans in Unicode’s PUA!
– Some more new emoji!

Orxporter will eventually be available as open source so anyone who can use a CLI can produce emoji like I do~

Thanks very much to kiilas for developing this. Mutant Standard would not be where it is without it. 💚

 

One-Time Donations

You can finally make one-time donations via PayPal:

https://mutant.tech/donate#paypal

Trello

People often ask me what I plan on doing for emoji, so I realised it would probably be a good idea to set something up where my production notes and lists are open to the public so anyone can really get a sense for what I’m thinking about and where I plan on going with things.

I’ve just done that (well, working on it right now) – I’ve made a public Trello at https://trello.com/mutantstandard.

I’m currently in the process of offloading most/all of my notes onto the service (and getting used to how Trello works a bit) so it’s not all there right now. But once this is all set up, this will become my new notes system for the project full-time, so you will be able to get a totally up-to-date view of what’s going on with the project at any time!