Never knowingly undersolved.


Posted by Gaufrid on June 19th, 2009


So that comments may at times be put more into context, and to perhaps brighten up the site a bit, I have activated graphic emoticons (smileys).

The following may be used. Just type the text shown (without the quotation marks) and the associated graphic will be displayed in your comment.

Make sure you have a space before and after the text otherwise the graphic will not be created and please use the preview facility before submitting a comment to ensure that you have the emoticon you want.

Emoticon Text Graphic
smile “:)” :)
grin “:D” 😀
wink “;)” 😉
sad “:(“ :(
puzzled “:?” 😕
eek “:o” 😮
shock “8O” 😯
cool “8)” 8)
mad “:x” 😡
neutral “:|” 😐

19 Responses to “Emoticons”

  1. Mr Beaver says:

    They’ll never catch on….
    How about clue rating symbols ?
    Could have one or two thumbs up for good, or excellent clues; conversely one or two steaming piles of manure for stinkers.
    You’d also have to come up with graphics for ‘far too obscure’,’hopelessly parochial’ and so on. We could do away with the need for words altogether 😉

  2. Gaufrid says:

    Mr Beaver
    That is your opinion. Why don’t you give them a chance? A :) against the answer to a clue in a blog could be an indication that the clue was particularly appreciated.

    Similarly a 😉 in a comment could be saying that it was said somewhat tongue in cheek.

  3. muck says:

    I am 😕 2 no Y we need emoticons.
    R they 8) ?

  4. Gaufrid says:


    I thought they might bring a bit more clarity to certain comments (if people use them).

    It is sometimes difficult to determine if someone is being serious or making a comment tongue in cheek. The addition of an appropriate emoticon may help to resolve the dilemma.

  5. nmsindy says:

    Whether people are being serious or tongue in cheek is a problem on the Internet, where ‘body language’ can’t be seen.

    Emoticons might be a way out of it, but (i) it could be indicated in other ways i.e. using words (ii) (a personal opinion) it’s not instinctively obvious from looking at them what the emoticons mean – you can make guesses, yes, but cannot be quite sure.

  6. Mr Beaver says:

    Gaufrid – you seemed to have proved your point by taking my light-hearted negative comments seriously !
    We should certainly thank you for going to the trouble of providing a facility that we can use or not as we wish.

  7. cholecyst says:

    I think this is daft. There are 10 emoticons in the list – how can I (as a reader) easily remember what they all mean? If we need to convey the tone of our blogs in a standardised way, it would be easier if we used the actual words in your list e.g grin, cool, wink etc. Or would this be too boring? (puzzled)

  8. Jake says:

    I really think they’re tacky. And will make the site quite childish.

    The site is perfect as it is.

    I’m not one to judge – each to there own. As long as they don’t have to used whilst submitting comments.

    Gaufrid, I sure a few will use them! Put ’em up anyway. Only time will tell if they’ll be handy.

  9. Anax says:

    Emoticons are a little like the ubiquitous LOL device. A statement can be as critical/offensive/hurtful as you wish but by tagging a smiley or LOL on the end it miraculously makes everything all right.

    I don’t object to them per se (live and let live, blah blah) but they can get used for the wrong reasons 😉 LOL.

  10. Al Streatfield says:

    I don’t see the point of emoticons. For a start, there are too many of them to keep in your head and understand what they mean.

    Secondly, they encourage loose thought. Someone can come up with a feeble or offensive joke, realise this and think: That’s OK, I will just stick a smiley after it and no-one will complain.

    The site’s fine as it is without emoticons.

  11. Simply Simon says:

    aN AFFront to anyone intelligent enough to do crosswords – there’s a clue there (concealed) as to how I personally feel about the idea.

  12. Colin Blackburn says:

    Interestingly I have just read the latest IQ blog and there emoticons have got in the way of the explanation a little.

  13. mhl says:

    I should say that I used to use emoticons on fifteensquared for exactly the purpose that Gaufrid suggests, but I’ve now stopped because the bitmapped versions are so much less subtle than plain text versions. (I think people can interpret the plain text equivalents quite well, and I find them much easier to read.)

    Is there some markup we can use to suppress the conversion to a bitmapped version? (e.g. <nosmiley>:)</nosmiley> or something similar…)

    Also, it’s a bit strange looking back at old comments I’ve made which now appear more garish than I intended them.

  14. Gaufrid says:

    Hi mhl
    I have done some research and it would appear that it is not possible to suppress emoticon conversion in individual comments. Conversion is either activated for the whole site or turned off.

    The conversion will not take place unless there is a space before the emoticon text, eg:-) but this can look a little odd at the end of a sentence.:-(

    An alternative might be to cheat. ¨;-)

    I used Alt+249 to give the two faint dots before the text emoticon.

  15. Gaufrid says:

    Post Script

    It seems that in WordPress a ” ` ” is nearly as faint as a ” ¨ ” so there would be no need to use an Alt character, just the keyboard. `:-)

  16. beermagnet says:

    Another alternative might be to go completely helicopter:


  17. mhl says:

    Actually, it seem that a non-breaking space works as well :)

    So I can just type &nbsp;:) instead.

    Thanks, Gaufrid.

  18. Gaufrid says:

    Hi mhl
    Thanks for the info, I will make a note of it for future reference. I wanted to try a n-b space earlier but was not familiar with the code and at the time was too busy to search for it.

  19. FumbleFingers says:

    I think I may have arrived at this site shortly after the emoticons were introduced, the above discussion having ended nearly a year ago.

    I don’t recall seeing a url to the syntax until Gaufrid publicly gave it to me in today’s Guardian blog, but prior to that my impression was they were only used by some of the more “senior” contributors.

    Having read & inwardly digested the views presented above, I’ll just say I’ve oftentimes thought that one of the reasons I like this site is because of how carefully [most] contributors choose their words. I know I’m some way short of par in that respect, but I will endeavour to say what I mean using plain words (even though I now know how to excuse myself! 😀 )

    (which – regardless of site definition – is an “embarrassed, cheesy, self-denigrating grin)

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