|Poster:||billmoyer||Date:||Mar 22, 2006 1:39am|
|Forum:||netlabels||Subject:||Re: Reviews ? [odd character being displayed]|
My name is Bill Moyer, and I am an engineer at The Archive. Those odd characters are Latin-1 encodings of "smart quotes", as described here:
The baseline computer character set only has three kinds of quotation-like symbols:
single-quote ['] (which doubles as an apostrophe),
Over the years, the baseline set has been expanded in different (incompatible) ways by different standards organizations, so that symbols like "smart quotes" can be represented. For (lame) reasons I won't get into right now, The Archive decided to standardize its website code on the UTF8 character set, while most browsers and word processors generate web documents based on the Latin-1 character set.
What this means is that when a user views a review, our servers tell their browser "Expect UTF8 character encodings in this document", and when that document contains Latin-1 encoded characters, the browser doesn't know what to do, and does some weird implementation-dependent thing. For instance, my browser here at home shows me a slanted-A character followed by a dotted outline of a box. One of my browsers at work shows me two small boxes with numbers in them.
I am making an effort to get our website code to do the right thing, but in the meantime we only have workarounds.
I have software which I can run on our servers which sweeps through users' reviews and item descriptions, finds all Latin-1 encoded characters, and converts them to UTF8 encoded characters. That's one workaround.
You might be able to work around this in your browser. Some browsers have a configuration setting for generating UTF8 characters. This will not make that review look any different, but if you edited the review and replaced the funny characters with UTF8 quotation marks / apostrophes then all would be right with the world (until someone else posted a review using Latin-1).
The simple solution is to just use ["'`], but that's "so 1980's" to most people, and some browsers will automatically detect paired "'s and "helpfully" convert them to Smart Quotes for you.
Let me know (email@example.com) if you want me to run my de-latinizer software on your reviews (I will be running it on all of The Archive's reviews in a week or two, I hope). Otherwise I leave it up to you. Eventually I hope we will have a permanent solution in place, but I do not know how long that might take -- the engineers responsible for the website are in a different department from mine.
Sorry for the inconvenience,