The well-received and hot network question If a massive object like Jupiter flew past the Earth how close would it need to come to pull people off of the surface? includes the phrase

I understand this is a silly hypothetical but I'm asking for a 7 year old so please 🐻 with me.

Currently there is a pending edit replacing the emoticon with the word bear.

The emoji/emoticon shown is a representation of a bear, and bear (noun) is a homophone for bear (verb) which according to the Queen's English Society† can be understood as follows:

Bear with me definition: Bear with me is an expression that means hear me out or be patient. A convention speaker might say bear with me if his or her slideshow isn’t working, or a minister might use the phrase while turning to the correct scriptural passage.

Is it too early to have a discussion about the use of emoji to replace written English in situations where the written text would already be concise and clear?

note: This question is not about the use of an occasional humorous or decorative instance as a tiny aside to an otherwise clear passage written in English as demonstrated in the footnote below. It's only about replacing or substituting clear English by homophonic emoticons or similar.

†Queens, NY English Society; not what you thought! ;-)

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Take note that emoji will not always be rendered properly on some system (especially text-only browser). They will see "so please πŸ§‡ with me" ("so please square with me") instead. $\endgroup$
    – Andrew T.
    May 28, 2019 at 13:37
  • $\begingroup$ @AndrewT. So all those invitations to square with people over the years might have been something else all this time? (insert a smiling/winking emoji indicating the sentence is meant to be humorous) $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    May 28, 2019 at 13:42

1 Answer 1


I would not substitute emojis for actual speech, as that provides an additional obstacle for non-native English speakers and could potentially cause the question to be misunderstood in any case. If an emoji is used in this way, please edit out the emojis and replace with the appropriate words.

I would not recommend casual use of emojis, like smiles, etc. either because that invokes a chatty tone that we try to avoid here.

There is an acceptable use of emojis: when it is actually relevant to the question. This may not happen often here, but if an emoji got used in astronomical discourse (e.g. a Twitter post by a professional astronomer) in such a way that its use was actually relevant to astronomy then the emoji should be included in the post asking about that here.

E.g. Why is the symbol of Vernal Equinox β™ˆ?

You originally asked this on Space Exploration, though it seems you intended to ask it here after all, but that also brings to mind a situation where Elon Musk or someone like that might use an emoji in a rocketry post in a context having to do with the rocket--the emoji might be suited to a Space Exploration question in that case.

  • 6
    $\begingroup$ Let's just hope Musk doesn't get the bright idea to name his next piece of hardware Big πŸ† Energy. $\endgroup$
    – called2voyage Mod
    May 28, 2019 at 17:06

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