An alpha project of @georgebaily

Strasse - an un-stylebook

Strasse is a proposed, deliberately-over-simplifying English writers' guide, to overrule, work around, or obstinately ignore conventional stylebook / style-guide editorial rules.

Strasse can be applied to all of your typed English, especially informal messaging, but also published material aimed at Millennials and younger.

General principles

  • Everything should be easily typable on a "default" US-English or UK-English QWERTY keyboard and language settings
  • Anything that might require specially learning or looking up from conventional style-guides should be blatantly ignored in favour of a deliberately simplified alternative.
  • All choices should be made to favour clarity and avoid ambiguity, except where the ambiguity or confusion is merely based on habits of adhering to an older style.
  • Grammar checkers should be switched off at all times
  • The overall effect should be efficient and democratising. This more than compensates for offences against conventional text aesthetics.

All suggestions or complaints should be made over Twitter or Mastodon

Latest revision: 2020 12

1 - Only the simplest keyboard characters

Only use characters accessible without special keystrokes or unicode.

👍 The key exception to this is emoji

First, this rules out all accented characters

Examples

  • ✓ elitism; naivete / naivety; fiancee; raison d'etre
  • × élitism; naïveté; fiancée; raison d'être

Secondly, look for commonly accepted ways to work around lack of letters from non-English alphabets:

Examples

  • ✓ strasse; Muenchen
  • × Straße; München

This especially applies to words pointlessly accented in English:

Examples

  • ✓ coordination; cooperate
  • × coördination; coöperate

No special dashes or hyphens or ellipses:

Examples

No special quotation marks:

Examples

  • ✓ "shift-2 quotes are fine"; 'so are single quotes'
  • × No more “ or ” or ‛ or ’ - but you know what - if you want to use those, or your text input application adds that, that's also fine!

No superscript or subscript:

Examples

  • ✓ 1st, 2nd; H2O, CO2
  • × 1st; 2nd; H2O; CO2

2. Ignore all small details

Become deliberately blind to small details, even if you end up not being self-consistent!

Examples

  • ✓ ie / i.e. / ie.
  • ✓ e.g. / eg
  • ✓ am / a.m.
  • ✓ JD Salinger / J.D. Salinger

Stop caring about the difference between US and UK English spelling

Examples

  • ✓ personalise / personalize; productize / productise - all fine now!
  • ✓ colour / color - it totally doesn't matter everyone!

3. Use "strassdown"

Use a hacky substitute for formatting where you are not in a rich-text environment:

Example bulleted list

- just make lists
- with dashes
- because life is short

[ ] example
[x] fake checkbox
[ ] list

Example emphasis

Everyone knows what you mean if *something is emphasised like this* - or if you just put your KEY WORDS in capital letters. Because everyone knows what you mean, this is allowed.

Example sections

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Separating sections in text is fine like this
~~~~~~~~~~
or like this
--------------
or this
___________
or whatever

In strassdown, you don't have to convert-up to any "proper" formatting.

It is also OK draw attention to things with "quotation marks" or Potentially Sarcastic Capitalisation - "Or Both"!

4. Capitalisation

In Strasse you should capitalize names and brands in the way the owners or convention do it, even if it doesn't really matter in the case of brands:

Examples

  • ✓ Coca-Cola
  • ✓ PayPal; eBay

Other than that, in Strasse you should avoid gratuitous capitalisation of words.

You don't need to capitalise common typed abbreviations:

Examples

  • ✓ lol; afaik; aka; afk; ymmv; fmal
  • × LOL; AFAIK; AKA; AFK; YMMV; FMAL (but feel free to capitalise if you want to)

It doesn't matter what you do in titles:

Examples

  • ✓ Florida Man Fed Beer To Alligator In The Bath
  • ✓ Florida Man Fed Beer to Alligator in the Bath
  • ✓ Florida Man fed beer to alligator in the bath

5. Normalise technology vocabulary

Make the language of the modern world part of your normal typed vocabulary:

Examples

  • ✓ email (or just mail); esignature (or just signature); ecommerce (or just shopping / retail)
  • × e-mail; E-signature; e-commerce

More examples

  • × auto-correct; smartphone
  • ✓ autocorrect; phone

6. Singular and plural based on your meaning

If you are talking about something as a group of people then it's plural, if you are talking about the single entity then it's singular - simples.

Examples

  • ✓ Acme are proud to announce Widget 2.0
  • ✓ Acme announces new Widget

In Strasse this does not need to be in any way consistent and the only incorrect usage is being anal about it.

7. Semicolons

Use semicolons all over the place, as much as you like - in lists; at the end of bullet points; when it's not exactly the end of the sentence; go for it.

8. Misc rules

  1. Words like "misc" don't need to be spelled out or have a dot at the end
  2. Don't use "&" in a sentence when it's not exactly difficult to type "and"
  3. Spanish inquisitions are fine - if you start with "there are two main things" or "here's my two cents", it is perfectly fine to add more points
  4. Similarly, if you end up adding principles to an idea, but it started out as one main thing, you can still stick with a singular verb
  5. Nevertheless, the Strasse editing principle is that someone else Strasse-compliant should review your work if it's going to be published; in the absence of this, the writer has to sleep on it and give it a second pass
  6. It's OK to quote or process something non-Strasse and simplify it - if people are not OK with this then they are non-Strasse
  7. In Strasse, there is no correct or incorrect way to give a citation