Faster Than 20/Style guide

From Faster Than 20

Usage, Punctuation, Conventions, and Definitions of Terms

Refer to this style guide first; if you can’t find what you’re looking for, check Merriam-Webster and Chicago. See also Hanna Thomas and Anna Hirsch's A Progressive's Style Guide.


&: See ampersand.


Agile software development

ampersand: Avoid using ampersands; use and instead.


bulleted lists: See vertical lists


checkin: Not using check-in anymore. Checkin when it's a noun. Checking in (or a variety of that) when it's a verb. Check-in would be the adjective, but we don't use it in that form.

commas: See serial comma. Also read @EditorHulk's wise commentary on commas.

co-founder: We've decided on the hyphenated version of this word. No more confounding cofounders.


dashes: Use em dashes (—) to indicate an interruption. Do not use two hyphens in a row.

dates: Do not use "st," "nd," or "th" in your dates. For example, do April 27, 2012, not April 27th, 2012.






headings: Use Title Case: Capitalize the first letter of first word and all following words, except articles, prepositions, and conjunctions shorter than four letters; e.g., "The First Letter Is Always Uppercase", "Lowercase a and the", "Capitalize With and Through"

Don't hyphenate. End punctuation for complete sentences is optional.




kickoff n., adj.

kick off v.


lists: See vertical lists



numbered lists: See vertical lists

numbers: Spell out numbers up to nine. Use numerals for 10 and higher, except at the start of a sentence.



Oxford comma: See serial comma.





serial comma: Against AP style, we use serials commas. The serial comma — also called the Oxford comma — is the comma before the coordinating conjunction preceding the final item in a list of three or more items. The serial comma prevents confusion, as illustrated humorously in the cartoon. Use semicolons to separate list items within lists: XYZ and ABC; and models, systems, and networks. You can read the sordid details of this convention on Wikipedia.


Also read @EditorHulk's commentary on Twitter.

spaces: Only one space after a period. The two spaces after a period convention dates back to typewriters and monospaced fonts and are completely irrelevant (and wrong) in the age of modern typefaces.


time: 1:00-2:00pm or 11:00am-12:00pm


urls: We display technically accurate URLs. If the URL must be broken for line length, try to break after slashes, underscores, or before "dots". Avoid breaking around hyphens, and never break by hyphenating. Include "http://" and include the trailing slash, e.g.,


vertical lists

  • Initial capitalize items.
  • Complete sentences should have periods.
  • The last item should have a period, even if not a complete sentence.
  • Numbered lists should be used when the order or the number of items is important.



website: Not "web site."




Bullet Points

  • Amy: I want to see what you guys decided about punctuation for lists, and why. I recall you said you had decided not to punctuate any of the items. My personal preference is to either punctuate with commas or semicolons (if items are complex) and end punctuation for final item (assuming the sentence ends there). My view is that grammar and punctuation should not depend on the line breaks; that line breaks are for readability and breath (this view comes from poetry and programming). In some cases, I might omit the break punctuation for items but I almost always want to see the end punctuation.
    • Eugene: Turns out we didn't document what we had decided for lists. Basically, we decided that bullets should not end with periods. This was largely driven by PowerPoint; we may want to have two guidelines for PowerPoint vs docs.
      • Amy: I think one style guide is fine; in cases where there should be different treatment for different cases, that should simply be noted as an exception.
        • Rebecca: We did decide on no periods at the end of lists. I like this system when we are not using complete or complex sentences in the list. It drives me nuts when we have multiple sentences on a bullet list and we don't use a period. Can we differentiate different types of lists?

"http" vs "www"

A URL officially consists of three parts: protocol + domain name + path. For example, the correct URL for Faster Than 20 is:

"http" is the protocol (HyperText Transfer Protocol). "" is the domain name. The path, in this case, is "/".

Putting "www" in front of the domain for web sites is a convention that emerged, but it is not required. Most Web 2.0 companies do away with the "www," because it's superfluous, and it makes the domain name unnecessarily long.

These days, most web browsers automatically add the protocol and the root path. Most people never have to type those things in or even see them these days, and so they may not even be aware of them.

When displaying the URL, if you have "www" in front, people can guess it's a web site. (In our case, "www" will redirect to "", which is the canonical URL. In other words, it will work, but it won't be the official URL.) However, if it's not the canonical URL, we shouldn't be advertising it.

We should display the technically correct URL -- -- which will also demonstrate a level of technical cluefulness to those in the know.


  • One reason I tend to like to include the http:// if possible is that there can be some confusion that your company name is "" So, for what it's worth, my preference is to include the http:// (or www) when it's standalone whereas if the complete logo appears somewhere else on the piece, I'll be more inclined to think it's okay. As for why I like http:// better than www... I find it more visually interesting as well as conveying a tech sensitivity. -Amy 03:18, 19 April 2011 (UTC)


There should only be one space after periods. Read this article for an explanation.


p for pages. Period or no?