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There's no such thing as
Forward Slash /

Don't say "FORWARD-SLASH" - it's a Microsoftism!


Well I didn't know about this sinister matter until Xarob pointed it out. I was just explaining about how it was best to sign up to the bargain-price ISP (9.99/month 24 hour availability) V21 unmetered access by means of the affiliate page www.zyra.org.uk/v21.htm , pronounced "W W W dot ZYRA dot ORG dot UK forward-slash V21 dot HTM" and I was informed that in fact FORWARD-SLASH is an affectation, all too common in the same way a lot of people say things like "PIN number" and "AC current" and Fine ToothComb and greengrocers are notorious for using an inadvertent possessive apostrophe in fruit-and-veg related plurals such as the classic mistake: "banana's". So, here's the correct version:

There is an ascii character known as SLASH and which looks like this: /

There is another ascii character which is an oddity known as the BACKSLASH and which looks like this: \

The SLASH is the symbol of DIVIDE in computer programming and is used for directories in proper operating systems such as UNIX (also see Linux). However, apparently when Microsoft bodged up one of their early operating systems (even before the travesty known as "Microsoft Windows") they ended up having to use BACKSLASH (\) for directories because they'd made the mistake of using SLASH (/) for the OPTIONS (a situation which had already been solved in early Unix by doing it properly). As a result, Microsoft has always had a vested interest in creating confusion about the nature of SLASH and its quirky mirror-image BACKSLASH! To try to cover the embarrassment they supposedly invented the term "FORWARD-SLASH" to give some kind of pretend credibility upon the idea that there was some kind of sense to slashes in directories being back-to-front somehow. There was even one point where there was a rumour that the terminology for these was the other way around and that the proper slash was "\" and that the other one was "backslash". This kind of misdirection all helped to cause more confusion, thus achieving various sinister disempowering aims upon the populace and possibly making more money for Microsoft by wasted technical-support resources.

In the end, people weren't quite as microsoftinthehead as they were thought to be and proved too clever to be fooled by the idea that left and right were the other way around, but the term FORWARD-SLASH got stuck and adopted, even by people who should know better, such as The BBC!

So, to get it right, when saying www. ... etc / something, it's "SLASH", and not "FORWARD-SLASH".

Better still, it would be nice if, instead, the whole "slash" business was dropped in favour of a brilliant idea suggested by the Grand Master DJ John Peel, who declared that "slash" was unnecessarily violent-sounding, and that instead we should say "STROKE". For example, www.bbc.co.uk/radio1 pronounced "W W W dot BBC dot CO dot UK STROKE Radio One". I think that's much better!

Matt adds: "If I may... Mr Peel was not the originator of the usage of 'Stroke' to describe the slash character when verbally quoting URLs. It was started by Mr Stephen Fry - and as such, it is an obvious 'Fry-ism' ".