[Air-L] copyediting question: capitalize www?

Alex Halavais alex at halavais.net
Tue Nov 1 07:50:48 PDT 2011

Christian is right. There are more important things to discuss. But
that won't stop me here.

We should all know better. Language (least of all English
capitalization) does not adhere to some rational system. What shows up
in print is largely shaped by a combination of popular usage (which
certainly favors lower case on both) tempered by the conservative
force of editors and editorial guidelines.

AP only changes when there is an overwhelming balk from people (e.g.,
"Web site"), and will change to both "internet" and "web" eventually.
I think the "World Wide" is not only inaccurate, it's no longer
necessary since "web" is more frequently invoked to describe the
computing arrangement and not something built by a spider, for
instance. The shift to "internet" has been long-coming. E-mail fell
first, then internet, next web.

I wonder what the rise of participatory media has done to the
influence of editors and style guides on the evolution of such
conventions. I wonder whether E-mail would have remained E-mail if
there had not been E-mail.



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