[r-t] It's all Greek to some

Don Morrison dfm at ringing.org
Sat Jan 3 15:50:20 UTC 2015

I'm sorry, I appear to have caused more confusion than necessary. I
had, mistakenly, assumed that the world had reached a point where
including Unicode Greek letters in mail messages wouldn't cause too
much confusion. But it seems some subscribers to this list are seeing
question marks or boxes displayed where there should be Greek letters.
While I really don't understand even 10% of how Unicode stuff
interacts with mail, it was naive of me not to realize there would be

If you are not seeing Greek letters in some of the recent threads,
here are some possible solutions:

1) Perhaps your mail client has an option somewhere with a name
something like "Text Encoding". In the version of Apple Mail I just
checked it's in the Message menu. If you set the text encoding to
something like "Unicode (UTF-8)" it is possible things may go better (or
not; as I say I don't really understand this stuff myself).

2) If your mail client allows you to change the font that messages are
displayed in, try some other fonts. It may be that the problem is not
that your mail client is misinterpreting the bits, but rather that the
font the message is being displayed in has no glyphs for Greek letters
in it.

3) If you try pointing a web browser at the archives for this list,
reading the offending messages there may give more joy. Or not. But
it's worth a try. They do look fine to me in my broswer, but, then, I
have no trouble reading the mail, either. The archives for this list
can be found at


I'm sure there are folks on this list that understand this stuff better
than I do. They may have other suggestions to make.

If none of the above work for you, please forward to me the messages
you are trying to read that aren't coming through correctly and that
you'd like help deciphering. I'll substitute some textual description
for the Greek letters and send them back to you. E.g., instead of

"our baggage that has nothing to do with δ's and ρ's of Ω-ing"

I'll send back to you

"our baggage that has nothing to do with [small delta]'s and [small
rho]'s of [capital Omega]-ing"

It may not be attractive, but I hope it will be better than question

And, again, my apologies for having caused so much trouble.

Don Morrison <dfm at ringing.org>
"[In 1632] the modern mind was slowly climbing back to what the
Greeks had known two thousand years before."
       -- Will and Ariel Durant, _The Age of Reason Begins_

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