I really don’t see the harm in disabling the auto-emoji feature.
People that really like inserting emojis (like me ) will still be able to do it, and quite easily.
At the same time, people that like to type smileys (like me ;P) will be able to do it easily also.
The convenience of ones does not need to hamper the ability of others.
On top of that, the supposed convenience really just benefits the keyboard-centric type of users on a desktop or laptop, that try to avoid touching the mouse as much as possible.
Ironically, my unproven suspicion is that the majority of this users just prefer to craft their own smileys, and when faced with this automation they just shrugh and think “Oh well, another trendy thing I have to swallow”.
Meanwhile, the more mouse-centric users (like me ^-^¡) just don’t care having to click on an icon to insert an emoji.
On a mobile device the situation gets pretty equal for both, or even reverses, as sometimes is easier to insert a recently used emoji from the emoji menu than to type some smileys on those multi level on-screen keyboards.
As a side note, wouldn’t it be funny and irritating at the same time that the emoji set were extended with a series that represented as images a good chunk of this classic typed smileys?
Better not to give ideas…
Regarding the matter of a native application for the forum, it will be nice to have such an important part of the project having a first-class place of its own.
On the other hand, every time that I have used as independent apps things that were initially conceived to be used inside a browser, the experience feels a bit disjointed, can’t middle click to open a link or a thread in a new tab… things like that.
I guess it all depends in how good the integration between this app and WebPositive ends up being. In the end, it can be kind of like having the forum opened in its own browser window, but using less resources.
BTW, how will this app be called?
If the Discourse name can’t be used for whatever reason, I propose calling it Bikeshed, we already have the icon for it.
This icon will just need a slight change of the colours, don’t you think?
Hmmm… what colours can we paint the bikeshed?