"Mom, Dad, where do emoji come from?" The Unicode Consortium, son.

The New York Times profiles the Unicode Consortium, the nonprofit that "serves as the midwife to new emojis."

People who aren't nerds never cared much about the Unicode Consortium until everyone started caring, a lot, about emoji.

So, how do they decide which emoji to add? And why is a rifle going to be added in time for the Olympics, when that sounds totally wrong?

The Times speaks with Mark Davis, 63, co-founder and the president of the Unicode Consortium:

In deciding which emojis to add, the Unicode Consortium considers factors including compatibility (if a pictorial symbol in broad use has not been translated into Unicode), and frequency of use (whether people will be interested in using a certain picture often enough to justify its existence).

Another factor is "completeness." For instance, at one point, the group added a mosque, a synagogue and a generic place of worship to complement the Christian church symbol that was already included.

Living people, deities and logos or symbols that are "legally encumbered," such as others' intellectual property, are not included.

The group of potential new emojis includes a large number of sports icons. That was to accommodate people texting during the next Olympics.

"Some people are bothered by the inclusion of the rifle as a candidate," Mr. Davis said. "But the reason that's included is because shooting is an Olympic sport."

After the vote in May, a final version including approved new emojis will come out in June.

How Emojis Find Their Way to Phones [NYT]