Spelling on SDMB

Based on the recent thread started in IMHO by CandyBoi, and several in the Pit, it’s pretty clear there’s a faction of Dopers who have strong feelings about bad spelling. I can really relate to this – I’ve started hanging out here, rather than Usenet, almost entirely because most of the people here seem smart and literate. (In marked contrast to some of the ignorant cretins roaming through Usenet.) I can completely understand the impulse to protect our little enclave of literacy.

But at the same time, I felt bad for CandyBoi, who seemed to be trying to participate as best he could. (Someone suggested a spell-checking program, which was nice, but not everyone can install software on the computer they browse from.) If his message is technically readable but filled with errors, should we politely overlook it, or relentlessly mock him?

I’m actually sort of undecided. I’m curious what other people think about this.

(I’d better triple-check this message for spelling errors, or this whole thread is going to die an embarrassing and unpleasant death…)

I only get on someone’s ass for spelling if two criteria are met… A: If they berate someone else for THEIR spelling, and B: If their mistake is painfully obvious.

Other than that, I really don’t care. I’ve become an expert at translating bad spelling… I talk to a friend over AIM who’s keyboard is broken, so every fourth or fifth letter is nonexistent.

I don’t really want to open a huge can of worms, but . . .

The problem isn’t a typo or two, it’s when every other word is mis-used or misspelled that gets irritating. I didn’t attack CandyBoi then, and I’m not now, but if there is something blatantly annoying about a post it will get attacked by someone.

Democritus hates posts the quote entire other posts.
ChiefScott hates smilies.
There was an entire thread, which I can’t find, listing posting styles which people find annoying, and mass typos/grammatical ignorance was all over the place.

But I am on your side, I don’t find grammar and spelling that important in contributing here (as you may or may not figure, judging by my own posting style).
But it is annoying.

CandyBoi, on a personal note (if you happen across this thread), if you have a word proccesor, cut and paste your post and run a spell check there. That’s what I do, and I just found (and fixed) three or four typos in this post.

I looked up “prejudice” in my Webster’s, which defines it as “1. a judgment or opinion formed before the facts are known; preconceived idea, favorable or, more usually, unfavorable.” (There are also more definitions, but I think this one fits quite nicely for my purpose here.)

While it eventually and/or usually may prove to be true that poor spellers/language users are lacking in intelligence or knowledge, it does not necessarily always follow.

If old members attack new members and drive them off the board for poor spelling, it might make everyone a little more nervous about their own mistakes, and it would certainly cut down on the variety of viewpoints and backgrounds represented at SDMB.

A friend I worked with at a local factory would have difficulty spelling and using the correct words. She and I began e-mailing shortly after we were both laid off, and I notice she has some trouble, and sometimes it takes time to figure out what she is saying. But although she doesn’t have a lot of formal education, she is warm, wise, and has a lot of common sense, and helped me through many a long day at work. I would be hesitant to give her a link to SDMB, because I would be afraid that people would rip her apart if she were ever to begin posting.

Subject was supposed to read: I’m for politely overlooking.

I recently had a fit over in the Pit about this. I got caught by the spelling Nazis twice in a week. I had a funny long story and some [bleeeeep] says “duh- it’s [correct spelling]”. I was like “Give me a freaking break!” I’m hardly illiterate, but I sometimes misspell a word. Not every post and not all the time. I don’t type like a Usenet idiot. I’m a person of normal intelligence who sometimes makes a mistake.

I think it’s petty and small to point out minor mistakes to people. Quite honestly, I thought I was a member in better standing then that. I’m certainly not above basic rules of grammar and spelling, but I thought I was respected a little more then what I got. I’m not a dummy and I don’t like being treated like one.

I don’t normally get too upset over stuff like that, but on the day it happened if they had been a co-worker I would have backhanded them one in the chops.

Goes to show you can be a newbie or an oldie. The spelling Nazis are gonna get ya!


Spider Woman: I looked up “prejudice” at dictionary.com, which defines it as “1. A fluid naturally contained in plant or animal tissue.” Then I realized I had typed in “juice” by mistake.

::rim shot::

Zette: I think it goes without saying that pointing out single minor mistakes is obnoxious and rude. I’m more curious about whether it’s polite to comment on the spelling of people who have multiple spelling errors in every sentence.

I personally don’t bother criticizing spelling and grammer, although I do notice it and sometimes find extreme cases irritating. But, since this particular message board is devoted to fighting ignorance, I didn’t know if people felt it should be held to a higher standard…

(My guess: a few people do, most everyone else doesn’t care.)

I do find spelling and typing errors extremely annoying. This is true in real life as well, however, in both cases, I generally choose to politely overlook it. (Unless it’s hacked so badly that I really can’t tell what somebody is trying to say.)

I do not see the point in pouncing on every little mistake. I hate the spelling Nazis, especially those that attack as part of a Pit response. The person’s spelling usually has NOTHING to do with the Pit discussion! It’s irrelevant. Just ignore it unless you can’t figure out what it says.

People make mistakes. I do, you do, everybody does. Yeah, it can be annoying but it’s not life-threatening. Ugh.

Spelling errors only bother me somewhat when every “sentence” contains 3-4 errors, and even then it isn’t much of a deal. But what really annoys me is when people misuse words, ex. were, where, your, you’re, then, than, etc. I even find it irritating sometimes (if i’m in a bad mood) if people misuse a and an, I don’t know why it annoys me so much but I usually just choose to overlook it. However, sometimes when I see someone repeatedly make these errors I will point it out, I figure its better for them and it will preserve my sanity in the long run :D.

dont nmakelka fun of mah spekling. okay ai’m tryaiahgt the besot i can so doont’ amke’t funo f mmmmeo ikya/? i haevop a metnal ediseaes soi catn paaay etnetiontnt. bleh.


Freaking crap. You don’t know how hard it was for me to type that badly. I had to not only look away from the screen, I also had to close my eyes and try my best to disregard any ‘felt’ spelling errors, and allow my fingers to be rigid and slop all over the keyboard.

I can’t spell that bad if I try, I don’t know HOW others do it naturally.


As a general rule, I’m against ridicule and mockery of good intentions. I don’t feel that Boi was ridiculed too badly, but correcting others on things like grammar and spelling is uneccesary and rude, unless that person is under the age of 18 and/or your child. I have posted on boards where the people would analyze everything you wrote for errors or something else they could make fun of. It created an “inner circle” of mockers, and every new person that came on those boards was ridiculed if they said anything that could be ridiculed. It was pathetic.

I like the intelligent tone of these boards, but there’s few things dumber than an intelligent person showing off how much smarter they are than someone else. Attack the opinion, if you must, but not the person.

Most of my spelling errors are due to bad typing, anyway.

One could argue that when you tell someone “Hey, learn to spell!” you are actually doing them a favour. Because many people will judge you on your spelling. Similarly to seeing someone show up for a meeting with a gob of guacamole on their face. I personally will mention it to them, whereas other people will have the attitude “I don’t want to embarass them.”

I don’t think I’ve ever berated someone for their spelling, but I do get irritated by people whose spelling errors rise above 25% of the words they use. I especially dislike the people who say “I know how to spell, but I don’t have time to make the effort.”

And if someone tries to correct my spelling of the word “favour” above, I will quash them like a bug. You have been warned.

Although some might argue, I think it’s fair to say that being born British shouldn’t count as poor spelling. :slight_smile:

::sound of Giraffe’s account being dragged out into the street and tossed into the dumpster::

My friend Dan’s graduate advisor is from England, and sometimes when they’re writing papers together will get all excited and fill the paper with colours, centres, and whilsts. Then, in later revisions, he’ll forget that he wrote them and admonish Dan that the American Physical Society won’t allow those spellings. Dan (who is from Minnesota) and I both find it pretty hilarious that his advisor assumes Dan is putting “whilst” everywhere.

Newbie question: what’s the etiquette on hijacking your own thread?

Why would you want to nullify me by judicial action? Ohhh… you mean squash!


I think if its readable its fine. I’ve cleaned up my spelling due to the fact I wasn’t enjoying being harassed and/or flamed for trivial errors. I think I’m known now on this board for being stupid/ignorant/ect. What’s sad about that is I’m almost afraid to open my own threads because it seams I ALWAYS get someone tweaking over a error like “your” Vs “you’re.” …stupid shit… I type and read very fast because I was not taught to read for mechanics, I was taught to read for CONTENT. It’s too bad some peeps just can’t see beyond the little letters on the screen and miss the entire message…

One more thing, I bet you ANYTHING some spelling nazi will come and quote my post and find some error in it out of habit…or just to mock me…can’t wait…

Candy, you got bitched at because you were in the Pit. Your spelling made a convenient target. You then whined and started 2 more Pit threads. By now, your screenname is inextricably meshed with poor spelling in many people’s minds.

And it’s your fault.

I haven’t seen anyone criticize your spelling outside of the Pit, but I wouldn’t be surprised. I do see that you keep bringing it up outside of the Pit.


Bad spelling is part of life. Ignore it when you see it and don’t answer complaints about your own.
People who complain about bad spelling are also part of life. Ignore them too.

I can’t spell for jack shit. never have been able too either. and mostly it’s because of the stupid English language. all sorts of rules, “i before e except after c”, that are broken with every other word etc. Yet when I took German in HS I could spell every word because it’s logical. I really don’t care that I can’t spell because I don’t hand write reports so the computer can tell me when I screw something up. Everyone has their (hey where the hell is the “c” in their?)problems and if you’ve got to flame someone for spelling then go right ahead be a dork.

I think it depends on the manner in which it is done. Jumping on a typo is just stupid, but there have been several times in instant messenger or in email where I have spelled a word wrong, been corrected, and [shudder] actually learned to spell it correctly because of the correction [/shudder]. As long as the person correcting me is doing it with helpful intentions and not a “Look how much smarter than you I am” manner, then I have no problems with it at all.

And, as has been already stated, I don’t mind a spelling mistake or two in a post, but the posts that have allmost evary word mispelled are anoying as hell to try to waid thrugh and, warented or not, I’ll asume that the poster is an idiat.