Formatting rules for exception messages

mark.reinhold at mark.reinhold at
Fri Sep 27 18:56:30 UTC 2019

2019/9/27 6:23:54 -0700, Florian Weimer <fw at>:
> * mark reinhold:
>> 2019/3/25 5:24:37 -0700, Florian Weimer <fw at>:
>>> Are there any guidelines for formatting exception messages?
>>> In particular, I'm interested in the case when the exception message
>>> is a (clipped) sentence.  Is it supposed to start with a capital
>>> letter?
>>> If the message refers to a parameter name, the spelling should reflect
>>> the name exactly, of course.  There seems to be a slight bias towards
>>> capitalization, based on a few greps.  ...
>> The first word of any exception message in code that I’ve written, or
>> reviewed, is always capitalized unless that word conveys case-sensitive
>> technical information (e.g., a parameter name, as you mentioned).  This
>> improves readability, especially in longer exception messages that
>> contain additional punctuation characters.
> Thank you for confirming my observation.  Would it make sense to have
> these rules documented somewhere?

Yes, it would.  Perhaps an informational JEP -- I’ll add it to my queue.

- Mark

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