Proper Internet Writing Style

With all the threads in CS there’s a plethora of references to various books, magazines, websites, song titles, book titles, movie titles, and a ton of other creative works. I recall back in the halcyon days of my youth I was taught (or more accurately attempted to be taught) that there’s a proper “style” which is to be used when refering to books, authors and other references. Since this was before the internet it usually consisted of underlining and quotes, later it included italics and bolds when computers were at least occasionally available.

Is there a modern version of “approved style” in the electronic world? Is there one specific to the internet? And the logical extension is what should be the “correct” practices on the good ole SDMB?

The link!

I was taught that titles are displayed in italic if possible but this is apart from using it as a reference where usually a footnote or endnote number should be included.

As far as I know, people continue to use whatever referencing styles they used pre-Internet. For college/academic writing, the MLA and APA styles can be used online as well as offline. They’ve been updated to include methods of referencing websites, and of course, as crowmanyclouds pointed out, hyperlinking URLs would help anyone viewing an electronic copy of your text.

But that’s just one tradition. Remember that the Internet, being what it is – an international, interconnected mess of rampant lawlessness – isn’t really subject to any sort of language authority. The only real rules online are convenience and convention, and the latter mutates all the time. I think “yo i saw a cool movie last night chk out the link;s=all !!1!” would be just as fitting as any pedantically “proper” style.

I realize that there’s no “correct” way to do anything as far as the internet is concerned, but it seems that there must be some prefered method amonst the more structured environments. Universities seem like they’d be especially apt to adopt a common rule of thumb for these types of issues.

I guess the point is that when reading the various “lets list a bunch of songs/movies/books” threads in CS just about everyone uses some varied combination of styles. Perhaps italisizing song titles and bolding the band name. The next poster would use quotes and no bold. I found it curious.

I find it hard to believe that no impetuous grammarian has fought to propogate a “proper” way of creating electronic documents. Whether it’s been accepted or adopted is besides the point.

Any idea what these are? Also, I’m not strictly discussing citations in the narrow sense of the word acedemics are familiar with. Have these style guides addressed using passing references to copywriten works in a story or writen conversation?

So far, the most definitive authority on academic writing, citations of online sources, etc. would be The Bedford Handbook.

As for writing on message boards, usenet and websites, it’s still an evolving convention. AFAIK, it doesn’t differ radically from offline writing standards.

I’m not sure what your question is. The standard style guides provide methods for citing online and offline information; you can use a form like,

Calibre, E.X. 2005. *Things I've Found In My Bellybutton*. London, Insant Rant Publications, Inc.

just as well online as on paper. That would be a citation for a book, but there are established standards for academic citation of websites as well. If you’re asking whether there’s any kind of formal standard for citing things like band names, no, there’s not (though of course “standard” is misleading, as there are several different styles of citations in academic use and different fields tend to have different preferences.) I’m pretty sure a song title should just be in double quotes, as in:

I was listening to The Beatles' "Helter Skelter" when I realized that my bellybutton lint was a message to slaughter all humankind.

The specifics vary depending on what citation style you’re using. But if you’re asking whether there’s a specific different set of rules for citing things online, no, you use the same methods you would use on paper. And for inline references, book titles are in Italics, article, essay, and short story titles are in “Double Quotes”, and so on. I would assume an album, as a complete work, would go in Italics as well. I don’t think band names should be specially marked at all, as there’s no special marking used for authors of written works or artists in other media.

And you don’t use underlining ever, for anything. Underlining can only be legitimately used as a substitute for italics when they are not available (specifically, on typewriters, since obviously folks didn’t have italics handy back in the bad ol’ days. And in handwritten material, although worrying about citing works when writing by hand seems silly.) Plus, on the web, underlining is confusing since it’s ordinarily used to identify hyperlinks; you add visual clutter and detract from their normal significance when you use them willy-nilly.

I think part of the confusion is in my poor choice of words. Inline references are a better description of what I’m thinking of, not citations.

The last time I learned anything about these references was before word processors were common and as a result italics were never used and instead it was underlines. Nowadays with how much easier and common it is to use italics and boldface I figured the double quote and underlines had fallen out of favor.

I guess if offline and online conventions have progressed hand-in-hand and mirror one another, I think my question has been answered.