TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
This very worthwhile information is a re-post from about a month ago. I
think Christi's sources provide excellent rules of thumb for dealing with
all the new e-words.
<snip from Christi Carew>
First, Web site.
As Dick M. put it: " World Wide Web is a proper noun. So we write about our
Web-enabled application, Web-powered technology, etc., using Web as
shorthand for World Wide Web."
I am a recent convert to the hyphenated style. I used to be part of the
"email" camp. Here are some excerpts of the arguments that convinced me.
From Bill Walsh's at "The Curmudgeon's Style Book" at The Slot
<http://www.theslot.com/>: No initial-based term in the history of the
English language has ever evolved to form a solid word -- a few are split,
and the rest are hyphenated. Look at A-frame, B-movie, C-rations, D-Day, E-
(uh, skip that one), F layer, G-string, H-bomb, I-beam, J-school, K car,
L-shaped, N-word, O-ring, Q rating, S-connector, T-bill, U-joint, X-ray,
Y-chromosome, Z particle and dozens of other such compounds.
email is the French word for enamel (with some accent that I don't know off
the top of my head).
But this, for me, was the strongest reasoning:
If "email" is acceptable, then "ecommerce" and "etrade" and others are sure
to follow, which is certain to cause confusion every time a word appears
that starts with the letter "e." The reader might pause and wonder if it's
some new "e" coinage instead of the ordinary word. Do we want readers to
see "equip" and wonder, even for an instant, if it refers to an on-line
joke? There are many words where this could happen (elapse, emerge,
emotion, epaulette, epic, election, elude, etc.). Your imagination can
provide possible "e" meanings for these words.