Re: [Rats] [rfc-i] document conventions around Capitalization of Terminology

Paul Hoffman <> Tue, 13 April 2021 16:15 UTC

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From: "Paul Hoffman" <>
To: "Michael Richardson" <>
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Date: Tue, 13 Apr 2021 09:15:27 -0700
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Subject: Re: [Rats] [rfc-i] document conventions around Capitalization of Terminology
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On 13 Apr 2021, at 8:33, Michael Richardson wrote:

> In the RATS Architecture document we have spent some time (maybe too 
> much
> time), making sure that if we define some Term, that it is 
> consistently
> rendered like a Proper Noun. That is capitalized.
> There are some terms which have renderings in both capitalized (our
> definition), and uncapitalized (not exactly our definition).
> In a document of mine (BRSKI) which has now entered AUTH48, the RPC 
> has
> lower-cased all our in-document defined terminology.  I was very 
> surprised by this.
> I have asked to have that reversed, and I imagine that my wish will be 
> granted.
> But, I am wondering about convention, and I wonder if there is some 
> magic
> keyphrase that needs to go into a Terminology Section such to indicate 
> that
> to the editors and the readers that we are following that convention.
> Or if we should make up such a phrase.

The convention for techie writers is to assume that new things should be 
proper nouns. The convention for copy editors is to make them regular 
nouns because over-capitalizing makes documents hard to read.

As a guidepost, in the non-technical world, new nouns that are like the 
new nouns we make are basically never treated as proper nouns.

--Paul Hoffman