Internet, Web, and Other E-Issues

Q. Is there a proper format for creating an e-mail?

Q. Which is currently accepted: Web site, web site, website, or Website?

Q. I get so tired of reading about writers using their “spell-checkers” on their computers. Surely they mean “spelling-checkers” don’t they? I’ve always thought that only wizards use “spell-checkers”—what do you think? I love CMOS—read it all the time—I start browsing and I can’t stop! Thanks again for a great resource!

Q. I could not find the term “dot-com” addressed, and I need to know how to capitalize it and punctuate it. I have seen both, and dot-com. Which is correct? In capitalizing titles, is it or Dot.Com (in title headings, etc.)?

Q. We are debating in our office how to refer to our website when the URL appears at the beginning of the sentence. Would we capitalize the first letter (i.e., [address changed for this forum]) or not (i.e., Are there any conventions around dropping the “www” (i.e., If so, would we capitalize the first letter (i.e., What about all caps (i.e., ABCD.COM or WWW.ABCD.COM)?

Q. I work for a Québec government department and we are trying to make our English websites consistent. Capitalization is a real problem. We had thought we should treat choices on menus like side heads and capitalize only the first word, but browsing through the Net, we find a lot of sites that capitalize all the important words in the menu choices in their sidebars. Do you have any advice on this point? The University of Chicago Press does NOT capitalize its menu ( ). Is that my answer?

Q. We’re trying to find a definitive style for representing file names, commands, and computer buttons (e.g., click “exit”) in text. For file names, for example, I’ve found quotation marks, italics, all caps, boldface . . . you name it, including no differentiation at all. How would you suggest treating a file name in a sentence such as “Open the readme.rtf file before continuing with the installation”? What about commands in a sentence such as “Click on File and select Open”?

Q. My question is, is there any standard for the usage of emoticons? In particular, is there an accepted practice for the use of emoticons that include an opening or closing parenthesis as the final token within a set of parentheses? Should I (1) incorporate the emoticon into the closing of the parentheses (giving a dual purpose to the closing parenthesis, such as in this case. :-) (2) simply leave the emoticon up against the closing parenthesis, ignoring the bizarre visual effect of the doubled closing parenthesis (as I am doing here, producing a doubled-chin effect :-)) (3) put a space or two between the emoticon and the closing parenthesis (like this: :-) ) (4) or avoid the situation by using a different emoticon (Some emoticons are similar. :-D), placing the emoticon elsewhere, or doing without it (i.e., reword to avoid awkwardness)?

Q. According to CMOS 7.73, computer menu items are capitalized. The editors I work with insist that a menu item from a specific website (such as yours) should also be placed in quotation marks. Here’s an example: Click on “About the Manual” to learn about changes made to the recent edition. I think the quotation marks are unnecessary. What do you think?

Q. The CMOS standard is to paginate front matter with lowercase roman numerals, and then use arabic numerals in the text and back matter. This causes a problem when I publish an electronic book in PDF format. PDF numbers the book sequentially, ignoring the different numbering of the front matter. Reading between the lines in CMOS 16, I have come to believe that numbering the front matter separately is a historical artifact. When the text was written first, followed by the front and back matter, and all were done mechanically, one could not number everything sequentially from the title page. In these electronic times, though, sequential numbering takes seconds, literally. Why then use a separate numbering scheme for front matter?