Navy stops 'shouting,' ditches all-caps requirement

Hey, U.S. Navy, could you keep it down? You don't have to shout. The Navy gets with the times and drops its requirement to communicate in all-capital letters.

Navy message
This snippet is from a Navy message from 1944. Department of Defense. Department of the Navy. Bureau of Naval Personnel

Until just recently, the Navy had a lot in common with your obnoxious uncle who just now discovered the Internet and has been celebrating ever since by posting Facebook updates in all capital letters. Naval messages have been sent in all caps since the 1850s, but a fresh directive has abolished the practice.

Early teletype machines that didn't have the ability to generate lowercase letters are to blame for the long-standing requirement of all-caps communications. The problem is that modern readers interpret the capitalized letters as shouting, a practice that is frowned on as rude.

According to the Navy Times, the announcement of the change was distributed in an all-caps dispatch. Change takes time and not everyone is happy about it.

"You have a lot of folks that have been around for a long time and are used to uppercase and they just prefer that it stay there because of the standardized look of it. But the truth of it is, as we move forward, it's imminent," said James McCarty, naval messaging program manager at Fleet Cyber Command.

The Navy's new message-routing system is designed to be easy to operate while saving the Navy money. The old secure electronic communication system is going by the wayside in favor of a regular e-mail system. The allowance of lowercase letters should also make the missives easier to read, with a lot less unintentional yelling go on.

(Via The Verge)

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