Would it be possible to make every post compulsively go through Spell Check first? October 14, 2001 4:35 PM   Subscribe

Would it be possible to make every post compulsively go through Spell Check first? It's very distracting but, worse of all, it diminishes the poster, who is unfairly judged on pedantic, orthographic criteria.
posted by MiguelCardoso to Feature Requests at 4:35 PM (47 comments total)

Instead of just read for what he or she says, for instance. It might also give people that essential extra minute to reconsider.

Please wait while we make your post more presentable OR ...do what your so-called teachers should have done years ago are NOT suggestions for the intervening message,
posted by MiguelCardoso at 4:39 PM on October 14, 2001


What a stupid idae.
posted by gleemax at 4:52 PM on October 14, 2001


*idea
posted by gleemax at 4:52 PM on October 14, 2001


Just in case you haven't seen it before: Spellchecker's Song
posted by NsJen at 4:55 PM on October 14, 2001


I should add that that wasn't meant as a poke at you, Miguel. The reason it came to mind is that I work for a major government contractor where the Outlook email spellcheck feature is routinely used by project scientists...with often amusing results.

Jen
posted by NsJen at 5:03 PM on October 14, 2001


It would be possible; it would be counterproductive. Imagine what it'd do with the proper nouns and the pseudonyms.
posted by holgate at 5:07 PM on October 14, 2001


Holgate: Wouldn't posters be able to tell proper nouns and pseudonyms apart from the other words? In that case, well...
As someone who has also been accused of being a pedant - a medal of honour, if you ask me - surely you appreciate that us curmudgeonly types tend to unconsciously underrate colleagues who can't spell?*

I honestly think it would be democratic. Spelling bees and fanatics are usually psychotically vulnerable to simple mistakes. Dyslexics are close cousins, I think.


And NsJen - pmronses, promi├žes: please email us a small selection!

posted by MiguelCardoso at 5:17 PM on October 14, 2001


Holgate: Wouldn't posters be easily able to tell proper nouns and pseudonyms apart from the other words, before they hit the final button? Well; in that case, alright then...

As someone who has also been accused of being a pedant - a medal of honour, if you ask me - surely you appreciate that us curmudgeonly types tend to unconsciously underrate colleagues who can't spell?

It bungs up things and I honestly think it would be democratic to help poor spellers get their points across.

Us spelling bees and fanatics are usually psychotically vulnerable to simple mistakes. Dyslexics are close cousins, I think. It's a communal problem, surely. Wot? Wot?


And NsJen - pmronses, promi├žes: please email us a small selection ASAP!



posted by MiguelCardoso at 5:22 PM on October 14, 2001


I've said it twice and, by God, I'll say it again!

Sorry, shouldn't have mentioned the words "final button". They're jinxed. I only pressed once, honest, Mistah...
posted by MiguelCardoso at 5:37 PM on October 14, 2001


The spell checker doesn't work in Opera. So forcing posts to get past it would block Opera users.

I'm much more annoyed by people who whine about other's spelling than I am by bad spelling itself.

In my opinion, people who get worked up over bad spelling *deserve* to be annoyed by bad spelling. Seeing the spelling elitists get all patronizing over a spelling error is great fun.

Just for you Miguel, I'll be sure to misspell more words.

posted by y6y6y6 at 8:20 PM on October 14, 2001


I like the bad spelling. Helps you know who the idiots are.
posted by ColdChef at 8:32 PM on October 14, 2001


I wrote many mean things and deleted them unposted. I'll just say: bad idea. Bad, patronizing, arrogant, annoying idea.
posted by rodii at 8:36 PM on October 14, 2001


What! You've never heard of Ton Clancy?

Well, gvdl zpv cveez!
posted by y2karl at 8:57 PM on October 14, 2001


rodii: I'll just say: bad idea. Bad, patronizing, arrogant, annoying idea.

How is the idea itself patronizing or arrogant? Is it patronizing or arrogant that MS Word has a built-in SpellCheck?

Granted, MetaFilter servers a greatly different function than a word processor does. I feel the casual misspelling of words, here, adds both personality, informality and the potential for unintentional wordplay. That's why a spellcheck is not a particularly good idea. Still, "patronizing"? "Arrogant"? Somebody's wearing their "I-Hate-Sesquipedalian-Portuguese" shirt.

Besides, when I really think about it, a button that could spellcheck your post would be a pretty handy feature, so long as it didn't affect server load. (But it would, so it's a moot point.)
posted by Marquis at 9:15 PM on October 14, 2001


"us curmudgeonly types tend to unconsciously underrate colleagues who can't spell... Us spelling bees and fanatics are usually psychotically vulnerable to simple mistakes."

What, like this one:

"Isn't it frightening to know, terrorists apart, that a lot of the supposedly erradicated diseases, like TB, smallpox, polio and cholera are back again?"

Get off your high horse, Miguel, you might hurt yourself in the faal.
posted by Neale at 9:24 PM on October 14, 2001


Besides, when I really think about it, a button that could spellcheck your post would be a pretty handy feature, so long as it didn't affect server load. (But it would, so it's a moot point.)

Umm, like the one next to "Preview"? No real server load; it opens up a spellchecker.net window.
posted by snarkout at 9:31 PM on October 14, 2001


Holy crap, folks. Lighten up on the guy. It was just an idea.
posted by Optamystic at 9:31 PM on October 14, 2001


No! Faster, pussycats! Kill! Kill!
posted by y2karl at 9:36 PM on October 14, 2001


Marquis, this is not "having a spell check". This is "everybody must spellcheck in order to post."

"Arrogant": he wants me to change my behavior because he's "psychotically vulnerable" to spelling errors? Worse, he wants to make it "compulsive" (I assume that's "compulsory").

"Patronizing": his motives are only positive; he wants us to better realize our full potential in his eyes. Think what a tragedy it would be to be "unconsciously underrated" by the second most famous writer in Portugal!

"Annoying," I think, needs no defense.
posted by rodii at 9:38 PM on October 14, 2001


Whenever I hear complaints of spelling I always think of a certain ee cummings poem.

People should do their best to spell properly on MeFi, but sometimes (especially for those with slow connections, or an inability to get the spell checker to work) it's easier to not spell check a post.
posted by drezdn at 10:25 PM on October 14, 2001


Metafilter should highlight, in the first preview, the words not found in the spelling dictionary. Everyone has to preview at least once, so it wouldn't require anything extra of the writer. It would require more processing on Matt's end, though.
posted by pracowity at 10:56 PM on October 14, 2001


By the way, where the heck did the revivified clavdivs get to? I'd hate to see his spelling cleaned up - it's part of his ineffable charm!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:23 PM on October 14, 2001


OK, OK, I'm sorry I asked.
To the ones who helpfully pointed to spelling mistakes of mine: Q.E.D.

posted by MiguelCardoso at 2:53 AM on October 15, 2001


Well, I deliberately inject a mistake here and there - lest I seem off-puttingly transcendent.
posted by Opus Dark at 3:39 AM on October 15, 2001


Bad spelling isn't that annoying - it's usually just a typo rather than ignorance. And my own spelling isn't perfect. My problem is that I sometimes can't understand what people are saying because their sentence construction is so poor. Some people use the 'not un-' construction so much I don't know what they actually ARE saying. Double negatives are much, much worse than bad spelling. So, can we have a double negative stripper put in? Ta.
posted by Summer at 3:56 AM on October 15, 2001


Double negatives are not unhelpful, at times. I suspect it's a cultural thing. As is having American spelling shoved down your throat by an opinionated machine.
posted by andrew cooke at 4:37 AM on October 15, 2001


My opinion is not unlike Andrew's. I'm not unconcerned, and I'm not unsympathetic, but by the same token, I'm not unequivocally convinced that your solution might not unacceptably impact communicative nuance.
posted by Opus Dark at 5:22 AM on October 15, 2001


Not! Summer is unwrong - there ain't nothing like not avoiding negatives to not make oneself hopelessly misunderstood.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 5:29 AM on October 15, 2001


rodii: Marquis, this is not "having a spell check". This is "everybody must spellcheck in order to post."

Uh, yes, it is indeed a suggestion that everyone's posts be run through a spell-check. Not that everyone's post have its spelling fixed, or be forced to change spelling, merely that any potential errors be pointed out. Why is this a problem for you?

Umm, like the one next to "Preview"? No real server load; it opens up a spellchecker.net window.

Man, I'm a moron. Yeah, that one'll do. Woo-ha.
posted by Marquis at 6:32 AM on October 15, 2001


Why is this a problem for you?

No, why is people's spelling a problem for Miguel? Saying "man, I could use some help with my spelling" is one thing; saying "everyone else needs help with their spelling" is another.

People already have the option of checking their spelling. Why make it mandatory just to please some other poster's sensibilities?

I realize this is beating a dead horse. I just find the idea that one poster would tell all the others "your spelling bugs me--shape up!" astounding.
posted by rodii at 6:50 AM on October 15, 2001


Besides, spell-checking often creates more errors than it fixes.

When I hand out grammar and orthography review pages to my students after each paper, there is always a section entitled "The Spell-Checker Is Not Your Friend."
posted by thomas j wise at 7:45 AM on October 15, 2001


Is it patronizing or arrogant that MS Word has a built-in SpellCheck?

Umm, did I miss where someone pointed out that yes, it is?

The existing spell check option is fine, thanks.

Iff i wanna pesstr Migwell wif mi pour speling, I shudnt hafta be bothrd wifh a foarsd spelchik.
posted by daveadams at 7:48 AM on October 15, 2001


Not! Summer is unwrong - there ain't nothing like not avoiding negatives to not make oneself hopelessly misunderstood.

And then there are those of us whose teeth are set on edge by split infinitives...
posted by pudders at 12:09 PM on October 15, 2001


Now I want to intentionally split a few infinitives, pudders, just to get back at you for your use of (ick) the passive voice.

How about we just have everyone's posts e-mailed to me first, so I can check them for spelling, grammar, punctuation, and clarity of thought before they're posted?
posted by webmutant at 1:03 PM on October 15, 2001


I am still unable to understand why having spelling errors pointed out (by an objective computer) is infuriatingly patronizing. Or why the concept makes people so angry. And people remark on growing hostility by MeFites...
posted by Marquis at 1:08 PM on October 15, 2001


As rodii has sayed, it's not the consept which is considered paitronizing -- rather, its the orognial poser's attittude: "It's very distracting but, worse [sic] of all, it diminishes the poster, who is unfairly judged on pedantic, orthographic criteria." Judged by Miggel, that is. But he's alreddy retrackted his staitment, so yeah, ded horse.
posted by Dean King at 2:04 PM on October 15, 2001


Okay, I really hate to be beating this comatose equine, but, Dean, my question wasn't with regard to those who took issue with the way Miguel phrased his suggestion, rather with comments such as this one of daveadams':

Is it patronizing or arrogant that MS Word has a built-in SpellCheck?

Umm, did I miss where someone pointed out that yes, it is?

posted by Marquis at 2:42 PM on October 15, 2001


Because I enjoy messing with language on occasion, and would rather opt into the "objective computer"'s rules of spelling, than to have to opt out.

(Spellcheck's version:
Because I enjoy messing with language on occasion, and would rather opt into the "objective computer"'S rules of spelling, than to have to opt out.)


posted by liam at 3:25 PM on October 15, 2001


Marquis, it's patronizing and arrogant on the part of Microsoft's marketeers and programmers to presume that I want their inaccurate and intrusive auto-spellcheck turned on by default. Likewise, it would be patronizing and arrogant to force spellcheck on all Mefi posts.

The computer is not patronizing and arrogant, the people who decide to implement such things are. That is my opinion on the matter.
posted by daveadams at 3:41 PM on October 15, 2001


it's patronizing and arrogant on the part of Microsoft's marketeers and programmers to presume that I want their inaccurate and intrusive auto-spellcheck turned on by default.

Oh, good Christ.
posted by kindall at 5:07 PM on October 15, 2001


it's patronizing and arrogant on the part of Microsoft's marketeers and programmers to presume that I want their inaccurate and intrusive auto-spellcheck turned on by default.

Yeah! mikrosoft jus wonts to subgicate us treu intelecshuals. it is becuz microsoft is all bad peopul who wants to taek over teh werld!!!!!!111
posted by fuq at 5:35 PM on October 15, 2001


I honestly think it would be democratic.

I hate the idea, though I sympathize with the impulse. But you don't want to smooth the sine wave too much, Miguel. Habitual bad spelling is important data in a post. Different people may judge it differently, but it IS data that can indicate something relevant. For myself, yes, I deem those who express themselves poorly (bad grammar, misspellings, faulty logic, etc.) negatively and give less weight to their posts--not rigidly so, but I've used the criteria for a long time and the correlation holds the vast majority of the time.

Also, the limited programming of any spellchecker/grammar-type program is inhibiting. Sometimes, one likes to introduce so-called "error" for a very purposeful intent, and any mechanism which would curtail this would be censorial.
posted by rushmc at 5:38 PM on October 15, 2001


All sew, peep hole can post poor lee butt they're may nut be an knee spell ling air oars. Ouch, that hurt to type. At least your idea would weed out the dreaded: kthxbi!
posted by katexmcfly at 11:14 PM on October 15, 2001


1337 liek JeffK.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:18 AM on October 16, 2001


The spell check here is pretty slow for people stuck using modem connections, and it converts Australian uses of English to Americanisms.

I usually use MS Word (pretty much all I use it for, actually) Except it well knows my weaknesses, and the spell check, of all things, is now officially on the blink since my last windows install (did I mention how much I hate paper clips?)

People should be able to use the spell checkers of their choice. Apart from these problems with implementing your idea Miguel, I agree that spelling mistakes can be pretty jarring, particularly on the front page.

*Disclosure - spelling bee dropout.
posted by lucien at 6:11 AM on October 16, 2001


Is it patronizing or arrogant that MS Word has a built-in SpellCheck?

English is an evolving language, and spellchecker dictionaries are inevitably behind the wavefront (case in point). Personally, I switch the annoying, squiggly red lines off, on my comp. Think I can't press the "ABC" button when I want to?

Then there are the differences in US/UK spelling ... my correct spelling of colour is someone elses mistaken spelling of color. Someone at MS has decided that my computer will resist all attempts to get Word to default to a UK dictionary. That is patronizing and arrogant IMO, although the inclusion of the spellchecker in the software isn't, per se.

Forcing me to spellcheck against a US dictionary for each MeFi post would be wrong, not to mention time-consuming. When I make a spelling error you can all feel free to point it out ;)


posted by walrus at 6:11 AM on October 16, 2001


Ha, it's funny how something so innocent gets overblown.

Fug and kindall and Marquis, you're overreacting. By a long long long shot.
posted by daveadams at 11:11 AM on October 16, 2001


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