Uncapitalizing The Internet

from the slow-news-week? dept

For a while now it actually has bothered me that the official spelling (at least according to various spell checkers) of “Internet” includes the capital “I”. I had thought I was the only person being so anal, so I pretty much ignored it and stuck with the preferred “internet” spelling. However, it seems I’m not the only one. A professor is working on changing the common practice so that internet is spelled with a lower case “i”. I think it looks silly with the capitalized I. He thinks that it suggests that the “Internet” is a brand owned by a company. A lower case internet suggests it’s just a thing owned by everyone. His reason is better than mine. It seems to be quite a battle shaping up between those who like to leave it lower case and those who feel it still officially requires the capital I.

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Uncapitalizing The Internet”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
DV Henkel-Wallace says:

It makes a big difference

The RFCs are clear: internet protocols are used for internets…and there is one big Internet that is the union of all the other nets.

They likely mangled what Bob Kahn said (I remember talking with him about this in the mid ’80s); what they printed isn’t inconsistent with the above.

DV Henkel-Wallace says:

Re: Re: Re: It makes a big difference

I think common usage has gotten rid of the idea that there are many internets and then “the Internet”. It may be important to you, but I don’t think it matters to most people.

Actually, given that the government is trying to make some special, “protected” internets, I think this distinction is increasingly important again.

To overanalogise: just because common usage equates “muslim” to “terrorist” doesn’t mean I’m willing to go along with it. And on this smaller issue too: a debasement of the language hurts us all.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 It makes a big difference

Interesting. It’s a good point, but I think you’re confusing semantics with beliefs. Choosing whether or not to capitalize something is really a semantics thing, and I don’t believe that has a big effect on how things are actually perceived or how they’re used.

As for the “debasement” of language, I’d argue that this isn’t a debasement, but a modification that is more in tune with popular usage.

Orion888 says:

Re: Re: Re:3 It makes a big difference

I, for one, do not think of the Internet in the common noun sense, but rather the proper noun sense. So do most people, I believe. There are many networks, just like there are many gas stations. But *the* Internet is this vast beastly network we all have in mind when the term is employed in a *non-qualified* way, i.e, with “the” in front of it, and that is the key. How do you know when an entity is worthy of propernoun-hood? When “the” is employed with it without any qualification whatsoever. When people hear “THE Internet” without any qualification, they think of one particular network. This qualifies it for propernoun-hood (i.e, capitalization) in my opinion. I will always capitalize the ‘Net, and it’s abbreviation. Anyway, it’s probably too late. Capitalization is here to stay. The professor who doesn’t like this has far too much time on his hands.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...