For years the “special characters” that are common to some European languages have been rendered as question marks by my WordPress. And many times commenters have suggested what seemed like obvious solutions. Like, enter the HTML code for the character directly in the post (which would always look perfect in draft, then upon publication would become a question mark.) Or use a plugin — written by a Filer! — to insert the special character in the post. Followed by my looking none-too-bright as I explained I hadn’t been able to get these technically reasonable ideas to work. I have routinely had to use either of my two workarounds, substituting a Latin character and apologizing in an endnote, or creating a graphic of the name or title to be wedged into place that never looked like it belonged.
Adam Szedlak, a couple of months ago, planted the idea that it was a database problem. The database is not part of the WordPress program I can see, it’s not something I have dashboard controls to modify. I would have to enlist the help of my ISP’s customer support. So I procrastinated.
Then the Ignyte Awards finalists came out last week. Camestros Felapton got the news posted on his WordPress blog ahead of me, and I noticed one of the nominated magazines had multiple special characters in its title. His WordPress rendered the name correctly, whereas in my post with the same list that title was riddled with question marks. Even though we all know Camestros is a genius, I suspected he hadn’t had to do anything extra to produce the right result, the explanation was that his WordPress was set up correctly and something was wrong with mine. I finally set aside time to work with customer support.
At first, the biggest problem was convincing them I had a problem. I use workarounds, I don’t put up posts and let the question marks fall where they may. I needed to create an example for them to diagnose, which I did.
Then, while my ISP was casting about for a solution, they twice changed something and caused most of the apostrophes, quote marks, and hyphens to appear as black diamonds with a question mark in the middle. Bruce Arthurs commented when he saw that the other night.
But as of this morning they have fixed the problem by making the right modifications to a WordPress table and charset.
So let’s celebrate! Here are examples of names and titles that I have had to work around this year which will now display correctly. Pour yourself your favorite beverage!
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bisera Alikadić, Author
Elmira Mekić, Author
Ranko Risojević, Author
Marta Ignerska “Świat Lema” (The world of Lem)