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| | |-+  Why are some characters showing up as diamonds with question marks in them?
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Author Topic: Why are some characters showing up as diamonds with question marks in them?  (Read 374 times)
CWazyTom
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    « on: August 19, 2017, 04:47:47 PM »

    Problem:

    Some of you (myself included) may have noticed that a few of the characters in posts on these 4 forums show up as diamonds with question marks inside them.

    Characters with accents and sometimes characters from text pasted in from another site will show up that way.

    The characters will appear correctly when you're posting or editing them and even when you're previewing them.

    But when it comes time to view the post in a thread, some characters show up as diamonds with question marks.

    It doesn't happen on some of the other forums (Chlo's form and Mairead Nesbitt's forum, for example).

    So what's going on?


    Cause

    I'm still trying to sort out the cause, but it has to do with the way characters are encoded.

    You see there are lots of different ways characters can be stored by things like web sites and there are also lots of ways that browsers or other apps can be display those characters.

    The diamond with the question mark in it is called a "replacement character" and it's happening because:
    - The application / browser trying to display it doesn't know how, OR
    - Because the app / browser is trying to display it using a different format than the website is using to provide the character. The forum and browser basically aren't speaking the same language.

    In particular, the issue seems to happen when the browser tries to display the characters in the Unicode (UTF-8) format.

    Why is this happening for these 4 forums for the current ladies but not some of the other ones?

    I'm not entirely sure yet.


    What Can I Do About It?

    Some browsers allow you to choose the encoding for a web page.

    Internet Explorer 11:

    - Right click on an empty spot in the web page and click Encoding
    - Select something other than Unicode (UTF-8), such as:
    * Western European (ISO)
    * Western European (Windows)
    - Sometimes, choosing Auto-select does the trick

    Firefox:

    - Press the Alt key if the menu isn't visible yet
    - Go to View > Text Encoding
    - Select something other than Unicode (UTF-8), such as: Western
    - Sometimes, choosing Auto-Detect does the trick

    Chrome:

    - A while ago, Chrome developers intentionally removed the settings to control the type of encoding to use in your browser to display a web page
    - It can apparently still be controlled with a browser extension you can install, but I'm not going to get into that here

    Other browsers and mobile devices:

    - The option to change the encoding might be different depending on what browser you're using and what type of Operating System or mobile device your're using


    I find it annoying, but I can deal with it.

    If anyone wants me to look further into it, please post here and I'll see what I can figure out.

    Thanks.
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