You have probably heard this recent news, the recall of which may cause you to take a firm grip of yourself in your chair.
The Associated Press has updated their 2010 Stylebook with the game-changing grammar convention shift of Web site to website.
I don’t know about your company, but it has sparked conflagrative conversation here at my office.
Here are some inside quotes (complete with paraphrasing and citations masked to protect both the guilty and innocent):
“iloveit.ihatehavingtotypemorethanihaveto.” – Johnny Jumping-on-Board
“It’s a style preference. But if arm twisted, I am in the proper noun camp. ‘Web site’ is derived from the term ‘World Wide Web’ – and it follows suit with ‘Web 2.0,’ for instance.” – Cassie Casting-it-Aside
“Geeeeeeeez, everybody! Just lower cap it all – website, internet, all of it. A noun is a noun is a noun said Sigmund Freud.” – Donny Doing-It
What strikes me as funny is that the AP is getting dwarfed as the leading authority by our new Web of Public Opinion. Or maybe I shouldn’t be amused, as one could argue that the AP, at its base, is a cooperative of newspapers, radio, and TV – so their governance does not officially extend to the Web.
Regardless, here are just a handful of voices out there throwing down their range of editorial gauntlets:
Merriam-Webster – Recommends Web site and Web page (but also webcam and webcast). They do make a good case of the compound evolution, noting that as the English language has evolved, they usually go through iterations of open, hyphenated, and closed terms.
Oxford Dictionary – Follows AP suit of website as of 2004, with no immediate plans of changing it.
Wikipedia – Uses website primarily but Web site secondarily, referencing Merriam- Webster’s adoption.
Grammar Girl – Subscribes to the philosophy that Web and Internet should be capitalized, as they are specific places where people visit (and Web is shorthand for the Internet). She also believes that websites should appear as I just typed it, given it is a common noun that refers to many places on the Internet.
Garner’s Modern English Usage – Agrees with Grammar Girl by recommending website (and Web when it stands alone).
Encyclopedia Brittanica – Uses Web site as well.
I can go on and on with the insiders and outliers, but I am admittedly closer to the init-capping, segregated-term bandwagon. I like to refer to actual URL locations as such: the MSN Web site, as it looks much cleaner to me, but I am willing to fall off my high horse to refer to sites in terms of generics as websites. I also agree with Web and Internet conventions, as (come on) these are proper nouns due to their being locations.
However, as time and terms evolve, I may as well.
The question is: where have you set up your Webitorial (or webitorial) camp?