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I was having a look at posts related to fonts, and I came across this question on Mycenaean, and noticed that the SE font does not support rendering the Mycenaean.

Image of the quote in which the Mycenaean is not rendered.

Image chosen rather than a quote in order to preserve the original rendering.

We should have access to a font with proper support for ancient scripts. There already is a problem with rendering some Ancient Greek, such as a macron plus an accent, I doubt (but haven’t checked) that Coptic is well supported, and as the above demonstrates, Mycenaean is not supported at all. There already are several threads listing fonts that have good multi-lingual support. Surely, it should be possible to have the standard font for SE replaced by one better suited for its now current purpose (which for years has not been restricted to just Stack Overflow). How can this be accomplished?

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It's possible for the stylesheet to include various "fallback" fonts, which will only be used if the primary font doesn't have the right glyph. In theory, it should be easy for StackExchange to include something like Noto Sans as a fallback font, which attempts to cover every possible script.

The only issue I can see is speed, on slow or mobile data connections. Noto Sans Regular is about 500 kB. Is that considered a significant issue by StackExchange's standards? It's significantly smaller than most modern images, but images don't have to be loaded immediately.

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    My guess is that that would indeed count as too heavy. I agree that a fallback option to cover the missing characters of the desired main font would be a good idea and worth suggesting on the main meta site if it hasn't been already discussed.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta Mod
    Commented Dec 16, 2022 at 17:03
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I find such a support unlikely for the following reasons:

  1. The need for this isn't all that big. For rare exotic characters, images work better than a font change.

  2. This is not a broad need across the network. Even if this was meaningful for our site (which I don't think it is), it would be quite irrelevant on the scale of the whole Stack Exchange.

  3. It's not clear how far would be enough. Suppose we get this. What is the network supposed to do if more and more such requests arise?

  4. Fonts on different devices are different. I'm not convinced that even if we had Mycenaean support, it'd show correctly on all my devices.

    For example, all the Mycenaean on Wikipedia is just empty boxes for me, but apparently not for everyone.

That said, I wouldn't be opposed to such a change. It's just that I don't find it likely for SE to pick this up.

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  • I get Latin letters, but some unrecognizable sign before the letters. What is one "supposed" to see, I wonder.
    – cmw Mod
    Commented Dec 7, 2022 at 21:43
  • By the way, for me it is displayed correctly on mobile in Firefox and Kiwi Browser, on Android 10.
    – Cerberus Mod
    Commented Dec 8, 2022 at 1:23
  • It seems that I see the non-box symbols on mobile but not on computer.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta Mod
    Commented Dec 8, 2022 at 9:54
  • The thing is, there are fonts which are designed specifically to map all characters within their language, some even attempt to map every single character. Why not use one of those?
    – Canned Man
    Commented Dec 8, 2022 at 10:26
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    @CannedMan They seem to care a lot about their graphical appearance. The choice of fonts is depends more on that than supporting more of the characters. And we come back to my third point: New characters keep being added, so it's far from clear to me what "all characters" means. (I'm being a devil's (SE's?) advocate more than anything here. I wouldn't mind seeing the change you propose.)
    – Joonas Ilmavirta Mod
    Commented Dec 8, 2022 at 11:49

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