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Logon vs Login

I am building a little web application that lets a user administer their account, and hit a snag.

Which of the following is the prefered terminology:

a) Logon / Logoff
b) Log On / Log Off
c) Login /Logout
d) Log In / Log Out
e) none of the above
f) all of the above

Matthew Lock
Wednesday, November 13, 2002

I pick (c)


Wednesday, November 13, 2002

The test is broken! Needs to be this way:

e) all of the above
f) none of the above

or things will explode.

anonymous nitpicker
Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Consulting the experts at the Redneck Computer Dictionary ( http://winn.com/bs/redneckcomp.html ):

Log on: Makin the woodstove hotter.
Log off: Don't add no more wood.

So, I would go with (b).

Nick Hebb
Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Windows Messenger calls it Sign in and Sign out. If my audience is Windows users, I'd call it what Windows does for consistency and because somebody at Microsoft with a degree in English probably spent hours debating the same question and decided that Sign in and Sign out was the best thing to call it.

Big B
Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Winows XP goes with b, but I prefer c.

Ben
Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Just noticed that unix goes with login/logout whereas Windows (at least 2000) is log on/log off.

Matthew Lock
Thursday, November 14, 2002

From the MS Manual of Style, downloadable at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/release.asp?ReleaseID=44354 (or you can buy the paper copy from Amazon)

log on to, log off from, logon (adj)
Use log on to to refer to connecting to a network and log off from (or simply log off) to refer to disconnecting from a network. Do not use log in, login, log onto, log off of, logout, sign off, or sign on. An exception is when other terms are dictated by the interface.

Use logon only as an adjective, as in "logon password," not as a noun.

Correct
You are prompted for your password while logging on.
Reconnect when you log on to the network.
Some networks support this logon feature.
Remember to log off from the network.

Incorrect
You are prompted for your password during logon.
Log in before you start Windows.
Remember to log off of the network.

Troy King
Thursday, November 14, 2002

"An exception is when other terms are dictated by the interface."

?!? Is it only me that reads that as "when someone want to do it differently".

Novell uses "Login". Could be the only thing the got right.


Thursday, November 14, 2002

"Windows Messenger calls it Sign in and Sign out. If my audience is Windows users, I'd call it what Windows does for consistency and because somebody at Microsoft with a degree in English probably spent hours debating the same question and decided that Sign in and Sign out was the best thing to call it."

Yes, but: I think "Sign in" and "Sing out" are supposed to remind you of entering / leaving a room (Guesthouse).

Daren Thomas
Thursday, November 14, 2002

How about "Authenticate yourself to the system"? ;-)

John Topley
Thursday, November 14, 2002

-------------------------------------------------------------
Windows Messenger calls it Sign in and Sign out. If my audience is Windows users, I'd call it what Windows does for consistency and because somebody at Microsoft with a degree in English probably spent hours debating the same question and decided that Sign in and Sign out was the best thing to call it.
------------------------------------------------------- Big B


Sound reasoning.

The only problem is that Windows (NT and 2000 at least)calls it Log On Log Off.

Microsoft may have deliberately called it something else for messanger to clearly distinguish between sign off messanger and logging off the computer.

They may also be following the communication metaphor, since users of radio 'Sign Off'

Why do we call it Logging Off anyway?

I'd go with whatever the operating system

Ged Byrne
Thursday, November 14, 2002

It doesn't matter.  I think everyone will understand one or the other with equal ease if they've seen something similar before, or with equal pain if they haven't.

If you want to have a little (ver little), subtle bit of fun, set it to select randomly and see if some terms confuse people more than others.  : )

van pelt
Thursday, November 14, 2002

How about "Authenticate yourself to the system"? ;-)

John Topley
-------------------------------------

I was playing around with a shopping cart the other day that actually used "Authenticate yourself to the system"! :O

Gary Loescher
Thursday, November 14, 2002

Why do we use the verb "log"? Why not just "What is your username?"

Z M
Thursday, November 14, 2002

What about just two pictures, a smiley face and an unhappy frog. Great for internationally distributed software!

Alberto
Thursday, November 14, 2002

Most editors (human editors, that is, not text editors :-) would probably scream with dismay if you used "logon" and "logoff", or "login" and "logout", as verbs. Consider the parallel using a non-computing term: "Getin the car. You can getout now."

Of course, standard usage changes over time, and modern English is replete with single words that once were separate words that later fused. Still, I tend not to be a fan of the industry's disposition toward combining twowords into justone at every opportunity. (I won't even bring up StudlyCaps...)

I happen to prefer "sign in" and "sign out" because you're essentially performing the electronic equivalent of what you do at, say, the security desk in a real building -- signing your name in when you arrive and indicating your departure when you leave. That's one less bit of terminology for nontechnical people to learn -- though admittedly it sounds as if that may not be the audience for your app.

John C.
Thursday, November 14, 2002

John C., I think you might enjoy this book; I did: http://www.lapsingintoacomma.com/book.html . Check out the whole site. The writer is very funny. I was a copy editor for two years (before "software" was a household word) and we struggled with onewording (and verbing).

Troy King
Thursday, November 14, 2002

OK this is my (slightly clinical) take on it all.

Log on and off is the Microsoft standard
Log in and out is the rest of the world
There are of course variations and exceptions (sign in etc.) to this rule - but generally this seems consistant.

Login (one word) is a noun (and logon is the Microsoft equivalent). This is the process of logging in.

You can not have multiple log ons because there is no plural for on or in. Correct is logons - not unlike holdups.

So, you log in or log on to a network using a login or logon.
There is no such thing as a logoff or logout but you may have to confirm in order to log out or log off.

I reckon (and of course could be wrong) that Troy King is mostly correct but was biased because his info came from Microsoft and seemed unaware that they *gasp* made their own standard for something. Login and logon are simply nouns for the process of identifying oneself to a computer, usually by username (or user name?) and password (or pass word? - borrowed from a dictionary somewhere.

How many Microsoft techs does it take to change a lightbulb? None, they just make darkness an industry standard.

oh... when did this discussion take place?

Morris Struckermann
Friday, July 25, 2003

The AP Stylebook (copyright 2000), used by journalists and many corporate communicators as their primary style guide, offers "login, logon, logoff" but without distinguishing whether they are to be used as nouns only, or also as verbs and/or adjectives.

mp
Friday, April 02, 2004

OK, I've consulted the dictionary and here are the findings:

--------------------
Sign In:
  To record the arrival of another or oneself by signing a register.

Sign On:
  1. Informal To enlist oneself, especially as an employee: "Retired politicians often sign on with top-dollar law firms" (New York Times).
  2. To start transmission with an identification of the broadcasting station.

Sign Out:
To record the departure of another or oneself by signing a register.

Sign Off:
  1. To announce the end of a communication; conclude.
  2. To stop transmission after identifying the broadcasting station.
  3. Informal To express approval formally or conclusively: got the Congress to sign off on the tax proposal.

Log In or On:
  To enter into a computer the information required to begin a session.

Log Out or Off:
  To enter into a computer the command to end a session.
--------------------

Going by what the definitions are, then I believe Log In/On and Log Out/Off to be appropriate.  In/On & Out/Off is all up to your personal preference.

Robbie B. Moore
Saturday, August 21, 2004

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