Why/Wherefore? Because I'm seeing/reading and/or editing/rewriting more/additional documents in which slashes are being used/abused often/throughout and they're rarely/never necessary/important for clarity/style and, in fact, often/sometimes serve merely to baffle/perplex/mystify/creep out the reader since slashes likely/always obscure/abase your text.
Slashes, technically called virgules and defined as slanted strokes "used between two words to show that the appropriate one may be chosen to complete the sense of the text," are, as the definition itself implies, the lazy writer's out. They indicate to readers that writers are unsure of what they want to say - virgules leave it up to the reader to choose whether the slash means "or," "and," or "both," or is meant to indicate a hyphen, act as a list separator, or something altogether that the writer assumes the reader will implicitly know. Virgules tell readers that the words are related in some manner, but not how they're related, which leaves room for misunderstanding, misinterpretation, or worse.
Don't rely on your readers' patience or on their ability to decipher what you want them to know. Be clear. Choose the right words and choose them carefully. And next time you're tempted to use a virgule remember this conversation from Through the Looking Glass:
"There's glory for you!"
So say what you mean and mean what you say by avoiding virgules.
Note: While we're on the subject of virgules, "and/or" deserves special mention. For all of the reasons stated above, avoid using this construction. It's simply unnecessary and really makes your prose choppy, sloppy, and ploppy (like Humpty Dumpty, I assume you know what I mean by ploppy). "And/or" usually means either "and" or "or," so use one or the other.
- "Confidential information can only be given to patients and/or their close relatives" may mean that such information can be given to both patient and relative or only one or the other. But since we know "and/or" here means "and," why not just use it?
- "Consult your doctor if you become sick and/or disabled" obviously means consult your doctor if you become sick or disabled (even in our era of lowered health care expectations, waiting until you're both sick and disabled to consult your doctor seems like too much to ask).