This is probably one issue where only a fraction of WordPress users will really care, because it affects bloggers using 'foreign' characters in their posts. Even some English-speaking bloggers might care if they realize that on this very forum the characters went garbled when they migrated servers or whatever was that caused it.
You know the scenario, you migrate servers and the good looking blog you had on the old server is gone, replaced by this 'Bizarro' WordPress that displays horribly garbled characters.
Some might say, I don't really migrate servers that often. But increasingly, I am reading about WordPress character display going nuts even on the same server that was working a few hours ago. It happened to me, and it's been a nightmare.
No, patching the wp-db.php file forcing mySQL to use UTF-8 does not always fix the problem. In my case, I had the file patched, did not move servers, I hadn't even posted in a few days and yet one day I woke up to a horribly garbled blog.
I'm not a programmer, only a user, and I read everything I could, took notes, and still cannot understand what the myriad places where you can set the charset, on the htaccess file, by Apache config, on the WP options, on the html page itself, by mySQL, then you have the collation, etc. THOROUGHLY CONFUSING.
If WP uses UTF-8 as default, why are ALL databases using the Latin1 character set, which I read corresponds to the ISO-8859-1 and not to UTF-8?
Can we pool the knowledge on this subject so that we understand it better and perhaps eliminate this central problem? (yes folks, it's central, blogging is about the content, and if the content is garbled...).
Can someone give a definitive understanding of this? Which is the CORRECT setting to display 'foreign' characters, is it Latin1, UTF-8, 8859, which is it?