Reader Calls Out Chicago Manual of Style for Misspelled Error Message on Website

By Devon Glenn 

A concerned reader wrote to editors at The Chicago Manual of Style after spotting an error message on the company’s website that seemed to violate the style guide’s own spelling rules.

“When I entered an incorrect password for your website, I received this message: ‘Invalid Log In,’ the reader asked. “Shouldn’t ‘log in’ be ‘login’ in this case?”

It turns out that this was no ordinary typo. CMOS may set the standard for editorial style among book publishers, but the editors are not the only people writing copy on the site.

The editorial team’s response to the reader’s query was priceless:

In a world where CMOS editors could stand with whips and chains over all the IT teams who write code for error messages for all the software packagers who supply all the websites, everything would be written consistently in Chicago style. As it is, however, CMOS editors have no such power. And quite honestly? We’re fine with that.

The exchange made it all the way to the Q&A page of the CMOS website and was sent to subscribers in an email round-up of new questions and answers for January 2013.

Readers: Do you think publishers should share their style guides with their IT teams?

Image by Iamnee.