Amongst people who care deeply about typography and fonts -- which is, in our typographic age, probably a reasonable chunk of people online -- there's been a low-level war about spacing after a period. Specifically: When you finish a sentence, do you type one space, or two?
There are many heated views on this matter.
But recently, a couple of scholars decided to science this one out, and ... things did not turn out well for the one-spacers.
As the Washington Post reports:
So the researchers, Rebecca L. Johnson, Becky Bui and Lindsay L. Schmitt, rounded up 60 students and some eye tracking equipment, and set out to heal the divide.
First, they put the students in front of computers and dictated a short paragraph, to see how many spaces they naturally used. Turns out, 21 of the 60 were “two-spacers, ” and the rest typed with close-spaced sentences that would have horrified the Founding Fathers.
The researchers then clamped each student's head into place, and used an Eyelink 1000 to record where they looked as they silently read 20 paragraphs. The paragraphs were written in various styles: one-spaced, two-spaced, and strange combinations like two spaces after commas, but only one after periods. And vice versa, too.
And the verdict was: two spaces after the period is better. It makes reading slightly easier.
Mind you, the reading-speed improvement with double spaces was only 3%, so we're talking about a pretty tiny delta here.
Small enough, in fact, that this study has not so much resolved this debate as fanned its eternal, eldritch flames. Read the rest