Trivial edits. They really get on my gall.

I'm especially talking about switching the lowercase “i” to the uppercase in the word internet. This type of edit, which I often see on MSE (Meta), has nothing at all to do with improving readability. Nothing.

It is only a question of style, the term internet written in lowercase is widespread and has long overtaken its capitalized counterpart.

The BBC does not capitalize the word, the following article is dated 2012

The internet is a global network of computers…

Gizmodo, founded in 2016, is an American website, the following is an article dated 2018

We’re not even sure the internet was a good idea […] In this case, we set out to rank the websites […] that influenced the very nature of the internet, changed the world, stole ideas better than anyone, pioneered a genre, or were just really important to us.

Wikipedia, however, chooses to capitalize the term

The Internet carries a vast range of information resources and services,…

But in a separate article, where the use of the capital I is debated, it says

A significant number of publications do not capitalize internet. Among them are The Economist, the Financial Times, The Times of London, The Guardian, The Observer,[12] the BBC,[13] and The Sydney Morning Herald. As of 2011, most publications using "internet" appear to be located outside North America, but the gap is closing. Wired News, an American news source, adopted the lower-case spelling in 2004. Media companies like BuzzFeed and Vox Media avoid capitalizing the "internet" similarly. Around April 2010, CNN shifted its house style to adopt the lowercase spelling. The Associated Press announced that the 2016 AP Stylebook will no longer capitalize "internet". The New York Times announced their decision in May 2016 to decapitalize all instances of "internet" for reasons similar to AP's. As Internet connectivity has expanded, it has started to be seen as a service similar to television, radio, and telephone, and the word has come to be used in this way (e.g. "I have the internet at home" and "I found it on the internet").

Wikipedia: Capitalization of Internet

  • The spellings (or the missing capitalisation) of internet and Internet are both correct.

Can we please agree that whoever bumps a post because they believe, falsely, that the term internet must always be capitalized, should burn in… think twice before doing so. If a user wants to write Internet or internet that is their choice, there is absolutely no need to "fix" it.

  • 1
    If that's the only edit then I agree it's wrong and shouldn't be done. However, if part of a massive edit, it's fine. Do you have links to examples? – Shadow Wizard Dec 3 at 7:32
  • @ShadowWizard I'm not naming anyone. But I have seen for some time edits that consisted of only a single apostrophe, only a single space, or changing only a lowercase letter or changing BrEng spelling to AmEng. This post about I/internet is saying "Listen up, there is no error to fix" and I explained why. – Mari-Lou A Dec 3 at 9:31
up vote 14 down vote accepted

Let's just treat this the same way as we do with British vs. American (vs. Australian ...) English. User @devinb worded it this way, and I have little to add:

At the risk of starting torrents of angry comments, I'd say the correct one is whichever one the OP uses. It is acceptable to fix spelling and grammar errors in someone's response, but if you feel that their favourite spelling of 'behaviour' colours your judgment, then I'm afraid they should just get over it.

Can we please agree that whoever bumps a post because they believe, falsely, that the term internet must always be capitalized, should burn in… think twice before doing so. If a user wants to write Internet or internet that is their choice, there is absolutely no need to "fix" it.

No, we can't agree on that, because I honestly don't know all your languages pet-peeves you seem to have about style, spelling and grammar. And I can't and won't keep a list of all these trivialities when I personally see something that needs an edit. I rely on Chrome doing a decent spell-check and I apply the suggestions it offers. Where I'm aware that the Americans have "mangled" the English language I will double check with an on-line dictionary to prevent that I change valid English to American English but that is about it.

Can we please just assume good faith when editing and not threaten editors that they should burn in .... I try to keep on eye on posts I edited in case I missed something so I can learn from that. If you leave a comment in the revision explaining what went wrong I'm happy to try to remember and apply it next time.

  • 3
    I'm gonna edit the hyphen out of "on-line"... it's weird. ;) – Catija Dec 2 at 12:32
  • 6
    The pet peeves are the editors who fix this very superficial spelling. I'm saying there's no need, that writing internet or Internet are neither wrong but there is no need to fix them. Edits should help improve posts. Please explain how changing the lowercase is an improvement. – Mari-Lou A Dec 2 at 12:44
  • 1
    You seem to have taken this personally, I don't know why. – Mari-Lou A Dec 2 at 12:46
  • 3
    @Mari-LouA I don't have to explain if i or I is an improvement. If I edit a post and make that change, I do so in good faith. You're free to make a better edit, roll back or leave me a comment if you think that edit wasn't needed. I'm not going to refrain from making improvements because I'll end up in your pet-peeves editors collection. – rene Dec 2 at 12:49
  • 2
    @Mari-LouA it is personal because your post reads as criticism to editors and I happen to be an trivial editor. – rene Dec 2 at 12:52
  • I hope no American user, and there are plenty of them, will take offence to your stance: Where I'm aware that the Americans have mangled the English language I will double check – Mari-Lou A Dec 2 at 13:00
  • @Mari-LouA let's hope one does ... I'm happy to offend the Canadians as well, if the need arises .... – rene Dec 2 at 13:04
  • 5
    There is a whole history behind why some words are spelt (or spelled) differently in different dialects. How an entire nation chooses to spell certain words is not mangling the English language. I am very much in favour (or favor) of respecting these conventional orthographical differences. They should be left alone. And American English is "valid English". it is not a prerogative of British English. – Mari-Lou A Dec 2 at 13:09
  • So funnily enough, users are upvoting a post which is insulting American spelling and usage. I change valid English to American English The irony! – Mari-Lou A Dec 2 at 13:12
  • 3
    Yes, my answer offers the best option to anonymously vote against the dominance of the American language. Or voters don't think it is that insulting. Or they have my sense of humor. Or they like flowers, definitely that. – rene Dec 2 at 13:20
  • Both BrE and AmE are valid English. Just saying. Now, AuE on the other hand... – forest Dec 3 at 8:05

Can we please agree that whoever bumps a post because they believe, falsely, that the term internet must always be capitalized, should burn in… think twice before doing so. If a user wants to write Internet or internet that is their choice, there is absolutely no need to "fix" it.

You do have a case there, but practically no one's going to remember that (and its going to be a little odd to edit just that). This is one of those cases where I'd say "let the user decide" - though that also means if it bothers them, they can roll it back. Other than that, I don't see the need to fuss much about it.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .