Battle of the Slashes
First off, I’m no computer guy. I email. I surf the internet. I sometimes even create PowerPoint presentations and hope people don’t fall asleep. And so it must be acknowledged that I don’t understand much of the computer lingo out there. I can’t really tell you how what the memory does is different than what the processor does. Don’t they both make the computer go faster??? I’ve come to terms with the fact that my understanding of computer terms is limited. Well, for the most part because there are two terms that I refuse to simply accept my lack of understanding and do nothing about: backslash and forwardslash.
Quick reader poll: When a coworker says “forwardslash” to you, which slash are they referring to? It’s okay. I’m not sure either. I guess it depends on whether they are referring to the general direction of the slash or the starting location of the slash and even then I’m not sure. I have heard people much more knowledgeable than I refer to “/” and “\” as the absolute right answer to this question. Furthermore, I see no end in sight to this debate. And to be honest, if it wasn’t for the functional use of needing to know which slash to type into my computer when an IT guy says “Okay, now forwardslash,” I wouldn’t particularly care.
As I see it, there is only one solution. We the people – the non-computer people – must rename these symbols for functional purposes. I propose the following names. Slash and Awkward-slash. It is only logical that “/” would refer to “slash”. It is the most common one that we use every day when we go to the web and most people already refer to it as slash anyway. “\” would then be “awkward-slash,” because let’s admit it, it’s a little awkward. It’s awkward to write, no one is really sure where it is located on the keyboard, and it is rarely used in day-to-day typing. So, dear friends, it is in your hands now. While I have started using these terms among my staff, I am only one man. I need your help to spread slash clarity to the world, one step at a time. The next time you are asked to type “forwardslash,” just respond “I’m sorry. Did you mean slash or awkward-slash?”
Author: William Jankowski