The FYI section has been running a Scary Story Contest, asking readers to send in their best submissions. But the instructions in todays paper caused one entrant to make a double-take.
By Derek Donovan
The Kansas City Star
She had what she thought was a pretty good yarn, so she submitted it according to the instructions that ran last week in The Stars print edition. They said to email the stories to email@example.com
But today, the solicitation listed the address as firstname.lastname@example.org And so she contacted me, worried shed sent her entry into the ether.
As it turns out, starfyi, all together as one word, is the right account. But the page layout software The Star uses automatically breaks words from one line to the next when there isnt room for everything to fit together. This can of course be overridden, but nobody working on the page noticed the confusion it might cause. And that isnt something you can teach a computer to account for easily.
Ive argued in the past that copy editors should openly flaut the rules of punctuation and typography when it comes to email and Web addresses. When they end a sentence, omit the final period. If they must break between lines, do so without the dash. After all, periods and dashes do figure into many valid addresses, and email addys and URLs are nothing but computer code.
Not everyone agrees with me, and thats fine. But better to print something utilitarian and wrong grammatically than to mislead readers, in my book.