What causes these strange characters �� to appear in a post?

�� I hope they translate here so someone can translate the problem. 

Thanks in advance!

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canucksgirl5 years ago
Its a character encoding issue, that often appears when someone has a different language set on their computer (even if they type in English). I'm almost 100% certain its from a Russian language set since quotes and apostrophes often show up like your example.

Background - each character in a set has a unique binary address to what that symbol is. Fonts use that address to determine what letter or symbol to draw. Trouble is, different languages have more/less characters, and they're not always placed in the SAME place in the character set - so where one (my) set sees ascii code 21 as "§", a different language might use code 21 for another strange character - not intended to be used by the author - its just what their keyboard picked. When the server got that character as its character address (encoded in ascii, or unicode, etc) the server thought the character referred to the server's definition of that character.
bajablue (author)  frollard5 years ago
You people are freaking genius or I'm easily impressed.... nope... you ARE! ;-D

Thanks CG and frollard!
Drunkenstein5 months ago
NeelJ62 years ago

� is a ascii code and is what the computer uses to know whether to switch languages or not. The programmer usually puts the half ½ if to translate only half the text the ¿ means that the programmer has imputed when to stop the translate or not the ï means to add any accents and to start to translation.

NeelJ6, lovely troll answer. You should post on /r/ExplainLikeImCalvin.

The real answer may be found here: Mojibake - Wikipedia If that page seems a little confusing, look up Tom Scott's videos about Unicode.

AshishD351 year ago

It seems that this issue (message encoding related) happens when a mail copy is received from the Mac OS.

for that :

System Preferences -> Keyboard -> Text

Uncheck "Use Smart quotes and dashes"

That seems to have solved problem for my messages.

As the others have mentioned, the strange characters � show up when there is a failed conversion for symbols. Specifically the code is:


The most common failed character is é as in cliché, but I also find this for ñ as in piñatas, but there are plenty of other failed conversions that it could be indicating.