Re: Proper Webs

Subject: Re: Proper Webs
From: Eric Haddock <eric -at- ENGAGENET -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 19 Sep 1996 09:04:16 -0500

>// How so? How does a web page, site, browser, or administrator
>// differ from a radio station, program, receiver, or broadcaster?

>// If you capitalize "web" then don't you have to capitalize "radio" =

>There is a big difference between a "radio" and a "web".

But there isn't--not as far as capitalization/proper/common noun status
is concerned. Actually aside from the medium, the only real difference
between them is that one is governed by the state.

>A radio is the little box on your desk that plays music. It is a =
>concrete object.

No, it's the name given to the totality of everything that is radio. It's
a unique culture, technology, and phenomenon. It's concrete and abstract at
the same time. It even has its own history unique to it. Yet, it's a common
When you listen to a radio, you're not listening to that specific
unique-to-you radio you're listening to--being a part of--the whole of radio.

>The Web is a short form of The World Wide Web, a collection of =
>electronic documents connected together with no defined boundaries using =
>hyperlinks and the HTTP protocol. It is the NAME given to this =

There are definite boundaries to the web--just like there are with radio.
"Radio" is a name given to everything that is radio--but it's still a
common noun.

>The web server is the same as a radio transmitter, and it serves the web =
>in it's local storage to end users. The web site is like a radio =
>station, allowing end users to receive the work of the people who work =
>for that location. In both cases I used lower case, because they are =
>specific to their local web.

It doesn't matter whether the web is local or world-wide--it's like
radio. It can either be specific to a municipality or even an individual
company or broadcast world-wide.

>However, The Web IS The World Wide Web.

There isn't a _the_ web just like there isn't a _the_ radio.

>First there was =
>The Internet, which was the name given to the "inter-network" of =
>computers known as DARPANET by some of the people who were using it. =
>But since most English speakers are basically lazy and English is an =
>evolutionary language, the term inter-network was gradually shortened to =
>inter-net and then internet, just like the name of that really big one =
>everyone seemed to be talking about.

That's part of my point--the web and internet are now common nouns.
They've reached the level of use that when one refers to the internet, the
understanding is made that one is talking about the world-wide network of
computers. At one time I'm sure radio was a proper noun (or some other term
used for it).
But today, the use of web and internet are common. They're no longer
proper. They're not specifically names of concrete things, they're whole
concepts and technologies and events with histories. They're familiar terms
to everyone.
Web satisfies the requirement for common noun status--just like radio does.

According to my reference manual:

common noun = The name of a class of persons, places, or things; for example
_child,_ _house_.

proper noun = The official name of a particular person, place, or thing; for
example, _Ellen,_ _San Diego,_ _Wednesday._ Proper nouns are capitalized.

These sound like good definitions to me. The web is a class of thing like
radio. There is no more _a_ Web than there is _a_ Radio.

>Sorry this message is so long, but I wanted to see if I could persuade =
>our fellow dissenting reader to agree with the other 99% of the people =
>who posted on this topic,

Mmm, 99% might be too big--I got more than a few support
letters--including converts. (So there!) <giggle!>

>English speakers are basically lazy

If you had to use English every day of your life you'd get worn out too.
It's a grossly inefficient language. ;)

-- Eric (^_^)

/`-_ Eric Haddock ------
{ }/ Technical writer
\ | Engage Networks, Inc. -----
\__*| Milwaukee, WI

"Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words."
-- Mark Twain

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