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It's impossible to write a number directly after the symbol in any Stack Exchange site. Whenever I write and suffix it with numbers, the numbers are somehow inserted BEFORE the symbol while typing.

It's very easy to replicate - open a new question or answer, paste in this symbol and then start typing some numbers.

Example: ࠀ e 230490 - as soon as I remove the e from this example I get ࠀ230490

Why is this? Is it a bug?

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  • ࠀ000 it does it in the comments too I've just found out 🤔
    – AutoBaker
    Aug 12, 2020 at 14:26
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    Well that is a right-to-left character. Our site is not doing anything when you type it that way, it is your browser converting it to a right-to-left line of text. It literally happens inside the textarea as you type it, not anything with Markdown parsing.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Aug 12, 2020 at 14:27
  • @animuson - Interesting, it's a standard character in the unicode character set “ࠀ” (U+0800) and is used in websites by default to represent error characters that can't be rendered in the current font. Why would a right-to-left character be used for this?
    – AutoBaker
    Aug 12, 2020 at 14:33
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    @5Diraptor no, it's not standard. I see blank square. It's surely not meant to be part of a post, which is expected to be in English only. Aug 12, 2020 at 14:34
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    @5Diraptor I've no clue what you are talking about. Here is the definition of U+0800: fileformat.info/info/unicode/char/0800/index.htm
    – animuson StaffMod
    Aug 12, 2020 at 14:35
  • my bad, it's not U+0800 (hasty googling I'm afraid) I meant to refer to the .notdef glyph
    – AutoBaker
    Aug 12, 2020 at 14:41
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    Yes, some browsers display an empty square when the glyph is not in the font file. But they do not rewrite the entire character to a blank square and it is definitely not safe to just copy random characters that your font file doesn't support and use them for other purposes. They still retain their defined behavior even if not displayed correctly. Some devices actually display the code (e.g. 0800) on two lines inside the box to emphasize it is still a unique character. You are inserting an RTL character, even though it doesn't display correctly for you or me, and that has side-effects.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Aug 12, 2020 at 14:46
  • Ok so when my website produces this symbol in error and I want to ask for help from the SE community, how should I do that without copying it into an SE post?
    – AutoBaker
    Aug 12, 2020 at 15:23
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    Just in case you're not aware, on my phone, this is what your question looks like: i.stack.imgur.com/ru7Ex.jpg
    – Catija
    Aug 12, 2020 at 16:33
  • And this is what it looks like for me: i.stack.imgur.com/WUNUI.png
    – Tufkamt
    Aug 13, 2020 at 4:35
  • I see something still different on my computer: i.imgur.com/3LG1YyZ.png Aug 13, 2020 at 5:11
  • @Catija That's weird - for me it looks like this. i.stack.imgur.com/zL5Cv.png When I wrote it up I copied the .notdef glyph from my text editor, so not sure why it's done this. How can I edit the question so it shows the .notdef glyph rather than the other symbol?
    – AutoBaker
    Aug 20, 2020 at 6:34

2 Answers 2

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That character is U+0800, Samaritan letter alaf, and this is what it looks like on my system: picture of glyph

It's marked as right-to-left in Unicode (because that's how Samaritan is written), so anything adjacent to it that doesn't have an explicit directionality ends up also being interpreted as right-to-left. This is your browser working as designed, so that numbers appear the right way around in passages of Samaritan (or Hebrew or Arabic etc) text.

If you want to change this behavior, you'll want to use bidirectional control characters: specifically, the "marks" (non-printing characters that have a "strong" directionality). If you put a LRM (Left-to-Right Mark, U+200E) after the character, the numbers will be adjacent to a left-to-right character, so they'll print left-to-right: ࠀ‎12345.

(I embedded this character using Python, print('\u0800\u200e12345'), then copied from my terminal to here. But there are many other ways to accomplish the same thing.)

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There is a non printing character called a left to right mark that you can insert between them that breaks it up... I am not sure if I am using it correctly:

ࠀ‎334 (with left to right)

ࠀ23434 (without)

I would think the right to left mark would be what you would need, but that doesn't seem to work.

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