I have a strange love for style guides, comparable to my love of office supplies or cookware. The Elements of Style, Sin and Syntax, these are essential texts for anyone who writes an article, a story, a letter, but not necessarily a blog post. So now the editors of Yahoo!, led by Chris Barr, have compiled a style guide specifically designed for the digital era.
The Yahoo! Style Guide is not just a writing and grammar book. In fact, only about half of it deals with the actual mechanics of language. The rest is a bizarre hybrid business marketing/computer programming how-to manual, written directly and easily enough that anyone who can read should be able to understand it. Some sections are very practical, such as "Identify Your Audience" or "Get Familiar With Basic Webpage Coding." Some are dull and obvious; a hundred pages are dedicated to consistent punctuation, capitalization, abbreviation, and numbering, all written with Hemingway-like austerity. Others are outlandish and abstract, like "Be Inclusive, Write For The World," which includes the suspect advice to eliminate bias (as if that will lead to success on the internet) and make your speech gender neutral, as if we're all writing from pods in our sexless, mechanized future.
Still, from a freelancer's standpoint, this is a very useful book. It combines elements of lots of more expensive and specific programming books into one well-indexed volume. And though it's not the first of its kind, it is very timely.
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