Cooption thoughts

This is a backburner thought, but I’ve contemplated shaping Mutant Standard’s encoding standard over the long term to somehow prevent easy use (and thus cooption) by corporate entities.

Cooption has long been a problem for subcultures under capitalism, especially in recent decades where culture has become a resource to be mined like other types of resource. It’s not one that I think it’s completely escapable without constantly evolving to adapt much like capitalism does to handle existential threats and social upheavals, but it’s worth putting a little bit of energy to put aside to think about IMO.

I’m not saying that Mutant Standard will become big enough that this would become an issue, but cooption is a constant threat for any subculture, so setting up some extra barbs would probably be prudent and increase it’s long-term viability as a counter-point. Especially for this project, since one of its explicit aims is to help reverse cooption and wrest control of our social spaces and digital communication away from corporations.

I still want to try to be relatively barebones/conservative with the encoding standard. I just have to be aware that doing so risks cooption more because it would appear as more of a blank slate that doesn’t have existing particular political goals and motivations or doesn’t have those that would be deemed distasteful by corporations.



  • Bring some characters from the S series in (although they could easily pluck those out).
  • Bring in some characters that would be especially hostile to would-be coopters (once again, could easily be eliminated).
  • Be less conservative with encoding and symbols, bring in some disorientation.
  • Consider making it harder to bridge with the Unicode Standard by introducing more encoding complications. There are already some of these already, but nothing that really stops Mutant Standard’s PUA encodings from being add-ons.


Doing something systematic, especially between Mutant Standard and Unicode is probably the more resilient solution because Unicode Standard is big money and is incredibly established, so if I try to make Mutant Standard less of an add-on and more of an explicit choice, that makes it a much harder value proposition for would-be coopters.

I’m not doing anything immediate, but this is something that’s been going on in the back of mind for a while now and will continue to do so. Cooption may not ever be a real thing. This might remain a small niche project, but it’s also a constant threat to anything subcultural. There are always new markets to colonise for these goddamn people and we have to be on our guard and make sure that we resist being assimilated as much as we can.

Let me know what you think at the usual channels.