The following is a real email, sent last week in a moment of frustration and ire.  I promptly received an email back, and this is what it said: “Hello, Thanks for contacting us. …bing bong bing… Our Help Center provides answers to the most commonly asked questions, and offers information about Gmail and all of its features, etc., etc., etc. Sincerely, The Google Team.”  But no, I did not check to see if the following was listed as one of the most commonly asked questions because, I figured, common as we crazies are, what are the chances?

From: Sarah

To: Gmail

Bcc: The Apron Stage

Re: New gchat feature is bad news.

Sirs, I like the ability to *bold* and _italicize_ my words in gchat; however, what is apparently a new feature is driving me bonkers.

I’m pretty sure that according to the Chicago Manual of Style (the bible of grammar and mechanics for most of the English-speaking world), em dashes are the appropriate punctuation to interrupt a sentence–just like this–for emphatic or clarification purposes.  (Note, no spaces around the em dash.)  An em dash is the length of two hyphens, unlike an en dash, which is just longer than one hyphen and indicates a number range, and also unlike a hyphen, which is used in compound adjectives, etc., and is, appropriately, the length of only one hyphen (-).

So.  The new feature, apparently, turns -this- into a strikethrough.  THIS IS RIDICULOUS.  It’s ridiculous because every time I do an em dash (correctly! even!), it strikes out the very thing-the VERY THING-I was trying to emphasize.  For instance.

Can you see how this is sort of bizarre and ridiculous and counter to good punctuation/mechanics?

Please change this.  Even Microsoft Word recognizes the double hyphen as an em dash and automatically turns it into a single long dash, if that function is enabled.  So I am loathe to change my computer em dash habits.  But I wish, oh wish, that gchat did not in this way try to defeat me or change me!  Particularly where, as here, good mechanics is (are?) on my side.

PLEASE reconsider this function.

I am, as always, a gchat aficionado and faithful devotee.