Problematic Hebrew signs

I have recently came across the following problem when looking for places to merge between Wikipedia and OSM.
The following place exists both in Wikipedia and in OSM:’%D7%93%D7%99%D7%99%D7%93%D7%94-%D7%9E%D7%9B%D7%A8
The name of the place in OSM is:
And in Wikipedia it is:
Looks identical, right? well, it’s not. the difference is the with the -'-.
As a community I think we should decide which one to use in general for Hebrew names (and other properties, but mainly names…).
The following post in our Facebook group describes some of the arguments as to why should one use it or not:

As to my personal opinion, as a Windows user (which most of the users are) and an Android user, I have yet to be able to make my keyboard generate this character so I’m not in favor of using them.
Nevertheless, I’d be happy to know what other people think.

Well, from “rightness” point of view, it’s nice, but next example from facebook totally convinced me that “right” is not necessary “useful”:

I’d vote for regular " and ’ characters (available in any keyboard).
P.S. Same applies to usage of decimal degrees coordinates format instead of untypable D° M’ S :slight_smile:

I was surprised to find out that the default for iOS (i.e. iPhone and iPad) is different from windows which makes editing from these devices create these characters…
I do believe most users are not using iOS but rather Windows or Android, but still worth mentioning…

What about search engines? Do they sensitive to these characters?
Surprisingly google returned 7,390,000 for רח׳ צה״ל
and only 1,020,000 for רח’ צה"ל

Mac actually uses the correct standard.

The problem is Microsoft which for many years ignored the standard and most of the users are now used to quotes.

Most of the users will not use the correct symbols because they are unaware of their existence or just don’t care but the current Windows Hebrew keyboard alongside Gboard by Google support Geresh and Gershayim.

The best possible approach is to have an auto conversion of these symbols when searching (Geresh will look for Quotes as well and vice versa).

Another possible issue would be that GTFS sometimes uses two quotes instead of Gershayim (״) or Quotes (") which may lead to a confusion, I’ve talked to the editors of the repository and from what I understood they fixed it yet I’ve ran into some similar cases after my appeal to them.

I believe that a national system should use the language standard and the algorithms should do all the rest including Bots suggesting to fix all the cases of single quote etc.

We cannot trust the average user with language standards, the fact that the users are unaware or unwilling to participate is not enough to call that a standard.

Geresh and Gershayim are better in many different cases, usually where the line ends with one of them (presumably Geresh) and there is no proper RTL handling them instead of displaying the quote at the beginning of the line it appears at the end as it should (Due to embedded RTL directionality while quote is affected by the surrounding environment).

It is possible to type the on Windows (8 and 10), Android, iPhone, and Mac devices.

On Windows 8 and 10 it’s Alt-'.

On Android it’s a long tap on the '. (On the Gboard keyboard.)

On Mac, iPhone, and iPad devices it’s impossible to type the ’ character, which is very bad. Both are needed in Hebrew.

My recommendation is to use the geresh in Hebrew names:

  • It is more correct linguistically and typographically.
  • It has no chance of being displayed incorrectly because of RTL problems. The geresh and gershayim characters are explicitly Hebrew, so they are explicitly right to left, and will be displayed correctly at the end of the word even if the software doesn’t set the correct direction explicitly.
  • It is the only character accessible to iPhone, iPad, and Mac users, at least until Apple finally fix the software for the default keyboard layout and start supporting Israeli standard 1452, which was already adopted by Microsoft and by all Linux distributions. Mac computers are much less common among Hebrew speakers than Windows computers, but they do exist. And iPhones, of course, are very common.
  • It is accessible on Windows, Android, and Linux devices.

I also recommend making it possible to search for all names using both ’ and ״ characters. If search works with both characters, then people with all devices and keyboard layouts will be able to find what they are looking for without working hard to type special characters.

Search engine is just one aspect of the problem but not the only one. Also saying everyone should change their search engine is just naive.
When a user edits OSM from the OSM site it will create a problem. We don’t have the authority to fix this. You can ask for favors from all kinds of people, but I don’t think it would do much.
The bottom line is that we’ll need to run a bot to fix it, but I would like to reduce the time the bot finds something and fix it since otherwise the bot will be signed on a lot of changes in a lot of features - therefore, as I said, I’m in favor of using what is most common, currently - window’s -'- and -"-.

Yes, you’ll have to run bots. If you run them in any case, you might as well run them in the correct direction.

Wikipedia uses ', but Wikipedia shouldn’t always be taken as an example of good practices :slight_smile:

I believe the “correct” direction is to run the bot to change everything to -'- and -"- since most users currently use this characters and so the affect of the bot will be minor.
When the default for Windows and Android will change we can change the bot as well, but I don’t see it happening soon…
Statistics from our site indicates that less than 10% of the users use iOS.

Hi Amir,

I really tried but wasn’t able to type geresh on my keyboard (Windows 10) without using alt+unicode directly. It seems a bit problematic to require something that’s so difficult to type. As an expert on the matter, what would you say is the future of typing special chars in Hebrew?

After clicking the entire keyboard when in Hebrew with right Alt+ I learned that on windows:
״ = right Alt + ’ (same as " but with out the shift - next to the enter).
׳ = right Alt + ` (same as ~ but without the shift - upper left corner below the esc)
Also found out some crazy Yedish leftovers such as:
ײ = right Alt + h (Double Yod).
װ = right Alt + y (Double Vav).
I’m guessing there are a handful of people who actually know this…

Doesn’t work for me on Windows 10.