Backslash No More

Dear CBC Radio,

I have some news for you – a role-reversal, I know.

It’s not a backslash. When you’re reading out a show’s URL on the air, that character after your domain name, you know the one I mean. It’s not a backslash.

Unless you’re a computer programmer, if you’re under 40 or started using computers later in your life, you likely don’t even recall the need to ever type a backslash. For most folks, the backslash’s usefulness was relegated to the dustbin of operating-system history when Windows supplanted the dreadful DOS as the PC’s OS du jour. The backslash’s glory days were over by the late eighties, early nineties at the latest.

Just in case you’re not clear about what I mean, see the \ character in the middle here:

c prompt

That is a backslash.

The Web has been a daily presence in many people’s lives for nearly twenty years. It’s common knowledge that the slash in a URL goes to the right – in other words, forward.

So, dear CBC radio announcers, could you please stop reading out URLs as “ backslash show name”? It makes you look antiquated and out of touch. It makes listeners cringe. And it’s just plain incorrect.

By the way, I’m only bringing this to your attention because I care so much about you. I’m not picking on you – it’s like telling a friend she has toilet paper stuck to her shoe: a brief moment of embarrassment followed by gratefulness and relief.



xkcd comic strip
xkcd perfectly encapsulates my feelings on the matter

7 replies on “Backslash No More”

I’m laughing because I have frequently thought the same thing. Every time “backlash” is said I grind my teeth and mutter the correction to my radio.

P.S. Best wishes for a fabulous New Year.

Heh – I made the same typo when writing this piece. Our subconscious must know we’re feeling a backlash against the poor beleaguered backslash. 😉 Glad to know I’m not alone with this pet peeve.

I wish you health and happiness in 2014!

Thanks. I`m tired of being the support forum queen of typos. I want my new glasses now! I`m grinding my teeth because the lab that provides the lenses for my 2 new pairs of eyeglasses are out East in a spot that still has no hydro. I`m so grateful that the power is not out here. We are prepared to go through a week without power and have done it but it was not a good time.

P.S. No need to respond. 🙂

I listen to CBC radio a lot and this has never bothered me. It’s just “one of those things” that’s not worth fighting about. I also don’t think the average CBC listener, let alone Canadian, could tell the difference between the two; I often get them confused myself too 🙂

Not fighting, just pointing out. Judging from the outpouring of comments I’ve gotten on Facebook, Twitter, and elsewhere, apparently I’m not the only one who’s annoyed by this particular thing.

We all have our own pet peeves – I’m sure there are things that bug you that I wouldn’t bat an eye at. 😉

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