Terrible Typos March 29, 2014 2:21 PM   Subscribe

I have seen people get really anxious about having typos in their comments. To the point that, if they miss the edit window, they'll follow up with a post pointing out their own mistakes. How harsh is the metafilter crowd really? Will people get judgey about a post / disregard the content if there are one or two mistakes in it?
posted by Omnomnom to Etiquette/Policy at 2:21 PM (123 comments total)

I see typos all the time, internally correct them in my head and move on without comment or judgment. I'm sure I make them all the time, horrible typist that I am. IMHO, There's really no need to fret about or retroactively make comments to correct them unless they detract from the meaning of your comment.
posted by double block and bleed at 2:27 PM on March 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


To add to that, I think everyone knows that typing anything on a phone is a pain in the ass.
posted by double block and bleed at 2:28 PM on March 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


People can get really derail-y over typos, it's a super weird thing. Like someone will make a typo, someone else will make a joke about it. Sometimes it's one of those kidding-not-kidding things so you're not sure if the person is trying to be friendly or being weirdly passive-aggressive. Sometimes the OP will respond in thread and then a bunch of people will flag all the comments to make sure we see them. While we don't edit posts for content, we'll definitely fix an obvious typo if we see it because for whatever reason in this community people get fixated on them and just can't move on.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:29 PM on March 29, 2014 [7 favorites]


I will admit that I've re-read both of my comments above several times praying that there aren't any typos.
posted by double block and bleed at 2:32 PM on March 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


"How harsh is the metafilter crowd really?"

I've not seen people commenting on typos in a long time, so I'm surprised at this question. But there's lots of the site that I don't read.

I've really thought that the community had internalized an ethos that pointing out people's typos was basically just being shitty. If some people haven't internalized this, they ought to have.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:32 PM on March 29, 2014 [11 favorites]


Yes. Pointing out typos is pure noise.
posted by double block and bleed at 2:34 PM on March 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


I haven't seen much pointing out, either, but have seen people get nervous about their own typos. So I wondered how worried I myself should be!
posted by Omnomnom at 2:34 PM on March 29, 2014


I wouldn't go so far as to call it shitty, but I'd certainly bring out "boorish" for it. But I also don't really see a downside to mods correcting obvious typos and can easily imagine situations where a thread gets weird about it.
posted by kavasa at 2:37 PM on March 29, 2014


I've only recently seen it where the typo is inadvertently funny and both parties seem to have a good sense of humor about it.
posted by lalex at 2:41 PM on March 29, 2014 [7 favorites]


I've seen people comment on someone's typo sometimes if it seems like a missing word has seriously changed the meaning of a sentence, but I haven't seen any meanness lately, I don't think, though it does happen.

I sometimes mention it (about my own) when I miss the edit window on a typo, but not generally because I'm afraid people will take me to task over it - mostly just out of frustration that I missed it.
posted by rtha at 2:43 PM on March 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


I don't mind typos at all. I actually was heartened in seeing mod typos years ago, because I knew they could change it if they wanted to, but left it because they aren't concerned about their egos and are more focused on being the good people they are.

Anyway, I feel like this is one of the best typos I've seen on here.
posted by cashman at 2:48 PM on March 29, 2014 [7 favorites]


> judgey

Judgy.
not really.

I tend to err towards being harsh on myself in posts and comments, and I still almost always flub something. Usually the grammar.

At the same time, I prefer to leave other people's errors alone. I'd rather see people spend more time crafting good discussions than in perfecting their transcription skills. It's rude and distracting to take anybody to task for writing posts that are not grammatically perfect when they're fully understandable.
posted by ardgedee at 2:49 PM on March 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


I don't think typos are as bad as people using @.
posted by winna at 3:00 PM on March 29, 2014 [24 favorites]


I can usually successfully suppress the desire to apologize for a typo, even though I'm actually really worried a potential employer will somehow discover it someday, through some uber-thorough Internet vetting process, and it will totally result in me not getting my dream position. But when I make a community mistake, like repeating something someone else mentioned because I didn't read the whole thread, or getting an obvious fact wrong, then I feel the need to say something.
posted by Toekneesan at 3:02 PM on March 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Honestly, I think people who go to the trouble to point out typos, which is usually a smug (and, honestly, cheap) way to look smart or whatever, reflects more poorly on the person pointing it out than the person who made the typo. I'm always like, come on man, don't be trite. When responding to a comment w/r/t to a typo or otherwise, ask yourself this question: do I know what this person is trying to say? If the answer is yes, than respond to the content, not the surface. The only person who thinks your grammar policing is cool is you. We all make typos. This is a community conversation, not the New Yorker, and I think most folks here don't really care if you use the wrong there or to or its.

That said, I actually don't see nearly as much of the typo harping as I feel like there used to be here, and I think that's a good thing.

Exceptions to pointing out typos, however, should be made when said typo results in something hilarious.
posted by Lutoslawski at 3:10 PM on March 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


I try my hardest not to make typos. However, if I miss the edit window, I've been trying to practice a discipline of "letting it go" and not worrying about what other people think. Having it stand without additional commentary is good for me.

For some reason, the Frozen song "Let It Go" started running through my head as I was typing that. I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact that we just got it on DVD and our girls have already watched it about five times.

Do you want to build a snwmna?

posted by SpacemanStix at 3:11 PM on March 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yes. Pointing out typos is pure noise.

Eh, I dunno. Sometimes they are funny enough for comment. Here is a "typo observation" that was directed at me, and I thought it was pretty funny and didn't derail the thread or anything.

I have a mild visual issue, and, while I check my comments before hitting "post," I often miss typos anyway (since my brain seems to display what I think is there rather than what I actually typed). But if the error is humorous, what is the harm?
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:11 PM on March 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


How harsh is the metafilter crowd really? Will people get judgey about a post / disregard the content if there are one or two mistakes in it?

I think a lot of it is an attempt to show a commitment to quality. So much of internet commenting is poorly thought out, if thought out at all. When people bother to attempt to correct their typos it shows a level of care and thoughtfulness. I agree that its largely noise, but I always read it that way instead of being a fear of being disregarded or whatever.
posted by milarepa at 3:16 PM on March 29, 2014 [7 favorites]


I don't think people on MetaFilter are judgmental about typos very often, and people usually get criticized for getting judgmental if they do.

I do correct my own mistakes after the fact if I the mistake changes the meaning of my comment and I don't notice it till after the edit window. (I'm really good at skipping words.) If it just makes me look dumb or illiterate, I just leave t.
posted by nangar at 3:17 PM on March 29, 2014


Solution: extend the edit window to 10 minutes.
posted by John Cohen at 3:19 PM on March 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


"judgey' is the best example of why I hate the whole "add a y" to words trend. Use the word "judgemental," OK? "Judgey," takes a pernicious and annoying character flaw and makes it sound cute.
posted by jonmc at 3:26 PM on March 29, 2014 [8 favorites]


"I haven't seen much pointing out, either, but have seen people get nervous about their own typos. So I wondered how worried I myself should be!"

Oh, well, that's a different kettle of fish.

I can't stand my own typos. It very well could be an artifact of aspirational insecurity or whatnot, or just a tendency toward obsessiveness and perfectionism. Whatever it is, I read the live preview and I usually use the "Preview" feature, especially with long comments, and proofread. Now that there's limited after-posting editing, I correct those, too.

However, when there's some I don't catch but notice when it's too late, I've learned to shrug it off.

I think that this is just a natural expression of the kind of self-selecting community that is MetaFilter. The kind of written English that is the norm here is surprisingly close to prestige standard English. "Surprising" in that almost the entire rest of the web's casual, discursive written English is very far from standard written English. (There's nothing wrong with that; but I like this aspect of MetaFilter.) So it's no surprise that this group of folk are a bit, um, neurotic about their own typos.

The really cool thing about MetaFilter, though, is that given all that, this is the kind of place where we don't pedantically and superciliously correct other people's typos. (Er, I just wrote "mistakes" instead of "typos" and realized that the result was a very untrue sentence. But, um, as far as writing is concerned, we're not that way.)

That combination says something good about the community, I think. At the very least, it implies that we don't valorize being pretentious pricks. It possibly implies that while we have values and standards, we're more inclined to model good behavior than to attack bad behavior. (That's open to debate, obviously.) It might imply that in terms of Bourdieuian cultural capital, we tend to have enough of it, to be near the top of the hierarchy, such that there's little benefit in mocking those below us. I dunno.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:27 PM on March 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


For some reason, the Frozen song "Let It Go" started running through my head as I was typing that. I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact that we just got it on DVD and our girls have already watched it about five times.

My kids asked me to download the Spanish and French-language versions of the soundtrack, which they now listen to incessantly along with the English cd in the car. Libre Soy.... Libre Soy....


As for typos, I use the edit window constantly.
posted by zarq at 3:29 PM on March 29, 2014


Use the word "judgemental," OK?

Aaaaah biting on hand.

posted by lalex at 3:30 PM on March 29, 2014 [16 favorites]


Solution: extend the edit window to 10 minutes.

Can't this same logic extend the edit window to 10 years?
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:32 PM on March 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


lalex, I get the irony. But whenever I hear 'judgey' I get an image of someone making finger dimples so they can seem cute instead of petty.

/realizes that his point may be missed
posted by jonmc at 3:34 PM on March 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


It's odd, I hate typos when I make them, because I believe it gives the impression I didn't take enough time to properly express whatever it was I was writing. On the other hand, I tend to just mentally correct and move on to the next word if its someone else's typo.

No, I can't not notice them; I wish I could.
posted by Mooski at 3:38 PM on March 29, 2014 [6 favorites]


Yeah, the only time I get judgemental about typos is when someone who is being snarky about someone else's typo makes a typo in doing so. Otherwise it's pretty much "oops oh well" and I keep reading.
posted by rtha at 3:51 PM on March 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


"But whenever I hear 'judgey' I get an image of someone making finger dimples so they can seem cute instead of petty."

I think you're missing the point a bit. It's sounds like you think it's being disingenuous. But I think a lot of this add-y thing is an attempt to use language that's deliberately "cute" in order to be less provocative.

It's very interesting to me how some people interpret this sort of thing very differently than it's intended. I had a girlfriend a long time ago whose mother didn't much like me and one thing I heard (second-hand, from the girlfriend, unwisely of her but she was kind of socially clueless) was that her mother absolutely hated how I qualified most of what I said with "it seems to me" and "I think/feel" and such because she felt it was entirely disingenuous. Which was both interesting and annoying to me because of course while I do believe the things I'm asserting, I am also very aware — intentionally and deliberately aware — that I could be wrong, that other people have conflicting, reasonable opinions, and that just baldly asserting things to be true which are contentious (or possibly contentious) is sort of rude. I wasn't being disingenuous, I was trying to be both intellectually honest and rigorous, and considerate.

It should be mentioned that this woman was blunt-spoken and, as far as I could, generally had a low opinion of most other people.

Anyway, sure, sometimes the people that use "cute" language are being annoyingly passive-aggressive. They're being insulting but in a way that allows them (they hope) to get away with it. But that's not always true and, in fact, I think it's rarely true. Usually, they're either just trying to avoid being unnecessarily provocative, or it's just part of their idiolect and doesn't really signify much at all.

If you find that many things that other people do annoy you, it may be that the trouble is with you and not them. In person you're a really easy-going, fun guy. Online you're kind of a grouch. Or should I say, you're grouchy?

"No, I can't not notice them; I wish I could."

Yeah. Me, too. I notice other people's typos and I wish I didn't. My desire to not care about other people's typos is as much aspirational as it is operational, and I mean that in very many different ways. Although I think that my core personality is to be generous about other people, I can still be judgmental about some things and it's sort of a long, slow process in my life to train myself to let go of these things. Stuff I don't like about other people's language usage is an active internal battleground — I'm an outspoken descriptivist because, deep inside, there yet lives within me a diehard prescriptivist.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:53 PM on March 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


I promise, if the edit window is extended to fifteen years, fifteen years and ten seconds will be the point where you see your mistake and throw up your hands and wail to the heavens wondering why the edit window can't be just a little longer.
posted by Jeanne at 3:55 PM on March 29, 2014 [15 favorites]


I think you're missing the point a bit. It's sounds like you think it's being disingenuous. But I think a lot of this add-y thing is an attempt to use language that's deliberately "cute" in order to be less provocative.

We'll just have to agree to disagree on that. Carry on. I'm out.
posted by jonmc at 3:55 PM on March 29, 2014


The most respected commenters on Metafilter clearly strive for proper English grammar with no technical flaws. I don't feel looked down on when I fail at that, but I am aware that I'm not living up to the best traditions of the place.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 3:58 PM on March 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Frankly, I was only trying to use site slang when I said "judgey". And deconstructing it further, I added it to my Mefi Slang file because I saw several people, including mods, use it to good effect.
Also "judgey" just seems less...judgey than "judgemental", and I am not convinced being it is always a bad thing.

But mostly, I wasn't thinking anything at all.
posted by Omnomnom at 4:04 PM on March 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


Nothing personal, Omnomnom. It's probably the lapsed Catholic ("judge not lest ye be judged") in me.
posted by jonmc at 4:09 PM on March 29, 2014


You're supposed to notice typos, you're wired that way. Not noticing them is typically considered a form of illiteracy. The goal is not to get hung up on them.
posted by Toekneesan at 4:12 PM on March 29, 2014


I mind my own typos a lot but I don't mind anyone else's at all. It seems to me that about 99% of the comments here are grammatically correct and spelled properly which must be some kind of interwebs record. I always assume that misspelled words are typos and not the result of the person not actually knowing how to spell the word, so I never judge anyone for them. But even more pleasing to me than the A grade for spelling around here is the proper use of punctuation. The main reason I've stayed around may well be due to the lack of rogue apostrophes. How I hate rogue apostrophe's!


*hits Preview about 14 times before posting*
posted by billiebee at 4:19 PM on March 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


I can't believe nobody has suggested therapy for their anxiety yet!
posted by oceanjesse at 4:30 PM on March 29, 2014


I can't believe nobody has suggested therapy for their anxiety yet!

IANYPsyD, but...
posted by SpacemanStix at 4:39 PM on March 29, 2014


I prefer the rouge's apostrophe to the greengrocer's.
posted by peeedro at 4:44 PM on March 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


I learned, from this AskMe that, in Finland, a pedant, is known as a pilkunnussija, which translates as, comma fucker.
posted by Toekneesan at 4:57 PM on March 29, 2014 [34 favorites]


I can't believe nobody has suggested therapy for their anxiety yet!

I'm pretty sure "anal retentive about small details" is a major part of about 50% of Mefites' day jobs. Therapy would destroy our careers.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 5:12 PM on March 29, 2014 [11 favorites]


Yeah, the only time I get judgemental about typos is when someone who is being snarky about someone else's typo makes a typo in doing so.

Known as "Muphry's Law": any comment correcting another user's grammar or spelling will itself have an error.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 5:18 PM on March 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


One time there were these city cones blocking parking on one side of my street for an entire week and I finally e-mailed my city councilman, who's very nice but very straitlaced and proper, to ask what was up with the cones.

"The city is selling crack in the road," he e-mailed back. I did a double take and then my e-mail binged again a second later.

"SEALING CRACKS, stupid iPhone."

Best. Autocorrect. Ever.

I don't really have a point, I just like to tell this story because I didn't get a screenshot. :(
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:59 PM on March 29, 2014 [41 favorites]


I don't like typos, though my own are much more annoying to me than anyone else's. Especially when I've been fiddling with my comment in the comment box and I can see the bits where I didn't splice it together cleanly.

There are also a number of errors that are clearly done because the commenter is using a phone or tablet, and I often wish that people using a portable device would double- and triple-check their comments because auto-correct can create nonsense out of your comment, or even worse, ambiguity. Most nonsense is parseable, but the ambiguity can really mess up your meaning, and even the thread.

Those errors can make a commenter using their phone as clear as if each of their contributions still had 'Sent from my iPhone' at the end. I don't think it should be that obvious.
posted by gadge emeritus at 6:22 PM on March 29, 2014


I came in to say that I credit MeFi/MeTa for helping me see that typos are not the big deal I used to think they were (because they really just don't matter), but oh god the number of Es I see in this thread that are not supposed to be there is making me super twitchy. Is this a test?
posted by heyho at 6:23 PM on March 29, 2014


> I will admit that I've re-read both of my comments above several times praying that there aren't any typos.

I write my posts in a separate text editor window, proofread as if it were the final draft of a dissertation I was about to hand to my committee, and then copy/paste into the comment window. Still there are typos.

This is not a habit formed on metafilter, however. It dates from dialup BBSs (where typing a character online and wwaaaiiiiiting for the character to echo back was a major pain) and was continued through Fidonet and usenet.
posted by jfuller at 6:35 PM on March 29, 2014


In my own case it was eight years working in publishing and a hard won editorial position without an English lit. background. I notice others typos (and wish I didn't because it distracts me), but would never correct someone because then I would have to beat the shit out of myself for intolerable rudeness. When I notice my own typos or drifts into nonstandard punctuation I feel like something from the bottom of a shoe and before the edit window would correct them in another post if I could't restrain myself. Now I try to let it go, because it doesn't help the conversation. I try to just add it to my list of things to deal with when I get an NSA style black budget for therapy. Have I mentioned that the title of my autobiography is going to be An Index of Maladjustments?
posted by Divine_Wino at 6:40 PM on March 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Meh.

You can usually tell what people mean. Mox Nix.

That said I love a good ironic typo. I wrote something today about "making the kid take out the garbage", but I whiffed it and it said "make the id take out they garbage."

Spent the next hour reading up on Freud.
posted by timsteil at 7:20 PM on March 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


The most respected commenters on Metafilter clearly strive for proper English grammar with no technical flaws.

which explains why I don't get no respect
posted by philip-random at 7:40 PM on March 29, 2014


Typos don't bother me, but the day MeFi DTMFPunctuation will be the day I reconsider my membership.

I'll likely still hang around though, as where else would I go?
posted by arcticseal at 7:46 PM on March 29, 2014


i am reluctant to address this matter in pubic.
posted by bruce at 8:05 PM on March 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


This post was so much better before the mods corrected the amazing typo "Martian Luther King".
posted by Greg Nog at 8:13 PM on March 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


This post was so much better before the mods corrected the amazing typo "Martian Luther King".

Okay, but this was better.
posted by likeatoaster at 8:22 PM on March 29, 2014


HUFF MANNNNNN
posted by Greg Nog at 8:23 PM on March 29, 2014


I get pleasure from calling out typos, grammar mistakes, or the like when they are made by people who are themselves calling out such things. Especially when they're doing so in a particularly jerky manner (e.g. I'll call out someone who writes "I can't beleive you got past middle school without learning the difference between lose and loose"). This doesn't really seem to happen on Metafilter, but elsewhere it's a surprisingly common occurrence.

Other than that, jeez, who cares? So the person misspelled something, so what? Callouts on such things generally strike me as very juvenile.
posted by Flunkie at 8:32 PM on March 29, 2014


Typo derails, grammar pedantry, and typo/grammar self-consciousness suck. Language exists in the wild and its purpose is communication, and it is a rare thing indeed when a typo or grammar slip-up produces a communication breakdown on Metafilter.

I seriously hate this about us.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 8:35 PM on March 29, 2014


There is someone who makes typos so frequently that I've just had to tell myself s/he has a reading disability so it stops driving me crazy.
posted by desjardins at 8:56 PM on March 29, 2014


RIP the sadly-corrected boob-diggity.
posted by griphus at 9:15 PM on March 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


I force myself to leave a type at least once a day.
posted by RobotHero at 9:23 PM on March 29, 2014


I make mistakes all the time, and I"m using a regular keyboard. I tell myself that it's because I think faster than I can type. You can use the same excuse too.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:16 PM on March 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


I try to not typo because I'll intentionally introduce flaws into my writing for emotive effect and I'm hoping my usual flawlessness will mark those as effects, not errors. So long as I can understand what other people say, though, I'm fairly non-judgmental about typos. I enjoy complicated and/or unusual and/or cutesy language, as well.
posted by Deoridhe at 10:30 PM on March 29, 2014


Perfection is for the machines, to err is to be human.

-- George W. Bush
posted by oceanjesse at 10:36 PM on March 29, 2014


iama godd typoist~
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:44 PM on March 29, 2014


"SEALING CRACKS, stupid iPhone."

I am a champion for turning off autocorrect on your smartphones.

One must correct the autocorrects constantly -- why not turn it off, make your own typos, but be able to correct them with a quick gesture? Rather than be at the mercy of Apple's or Android's brain-spasmingly bad AI.

(Note: neither of these approaches are able to show you missing or duplicated words.)
posted by Celsius1414 at 10:55 PM on March 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


I am a champion for turning off autocorrect on your smartphones.

Oh, sure, it's sensible .. but then I wouldn't get to accidentally ask questions like "Do you want a bean or catbird taco?" or respond excitedly to good news with "Pooooooping!"

("Catbirds" was meant to be "carnitas", and "pooooping" was meant to be "oooooh!")
posted by dotgirl at 12:08 AM on March 30, 2014 [7 favorites]


I may have used the contact form to get the mods to fix the most minor of typos, not because I like to waste the mods' time but because I hate it when I sound like a moron when I'm just trying to be a smartarse.

Ever since the edit function came in I've been trying very hard not to comment on my own crappish grammar and typing skills in-thread and I think I've mostly succeeded.

I'm never as harsh about other people's typos as I am with my own.
posted by h00py at 1:27 AM on March 30, 2014


I try not to have typos, but sometimes I gotta write like I speak. I hate apostrophe errors, and I figure most of 'em on mefi are caused by lousy phone keyboards and dumb autocorrect.

The error rates have skyrocketed over the years. Phones make lousy typed conversation devices.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:46 AM on March 30, 2014


Pooooooping!
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 5:03 AM on March 30, 2014 [3 favorites]


Uh...

never mind
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 5:03 AM on March 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


Points to kavasa for boorish, an apt word choice.
posted by theora55 at 6:17 AM on March 30, 2014


Flunkie: I get pleasure from calling out typos, grammar mistakes, or the like when they are made by people who are themselves calling out such things. Surely there is a German word for this?
posted by theora55 at 6:19 AM on March 30, 2014


I turned off autocorrect but I am also hella lazy so my wife gets texts that say "Salmon and sparaufsp" and "Prsered xhubese".
posted by griphus at 6:24 AM on March 30, 2014 [5 favorites]


If people want to correct their own typos, what's the problem?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:41 AM on March 30, 2014


I think typos stand out here on Metafilter because of the relative intelligence of the membership. I suspect a lot of us find frequenting other forums fairly painful due to the horrific lack of command of even simple spelling and grammar in evidence at said venues. It just keeps getting worse as the years roll by.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:45 AM on March 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


I don't have autocorrect on my phone but it still often auto-capitalizes the first letter of a sentence, which irritates me, since I often like mixing up lowercase and uppercase for the sake of FUN
posted by Greg Nog at 6:55 AM on March 30, 2014


Language exists in the wild and its purpose is communication ...

"While I stay in the car, Jim gets out and tries to make sense of the subordinate clause."
posted by octobersurprise at 7:57 AM on March 30, 2014 [25 favorites]


MetaFilter: #1 Humble Best Spellers.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:12 AM on March 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

"The city is selling crack in the road," he e-mailed back. I did a double take and then my e-mail binged again a second later.

"SEALING CRACKS, stupid iPhone."

Best. Autocorrect. Ever.
Please tell me your councilman was Rob/Doug Ford.
posted by mazola at 8:33 AM on March 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


> I think typos stand out here on Metafilter because of the relative intelligence of the membership. I suspect a lot of us find frequenting other forums fairly painful due to the horrific lack of command of even simple spelling and grammar in evidence at said venues.

Neither typos, spelling, nor grammar are indicators of intelligence.
posted by languagehat at 8:35 AM on March 30, 2014 [24 favorites]


Preach it, brother.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:08 AM on March 30, 2014


Fuckin' A!
posted by jonmc at 9:54 AM on March 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


I had the English teacher from hell in 7th grade (actually, he was a nice guy, just a MAJOR stickler), so I am extremely self-conscious about my own typos as a result.

Best typo I saw on here, though, was someone who described the attire of people at a Tea-Party rally as "NRA hats and Obama-Hitler Shits".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:56 AM on March 30, 2014


Neither typos, spelling, nor grammar are indicators of intelligence

Normally I go along with this sort of thing, but here I'm thinking you'd have to be using an unreasonably narrow definition of 'intelligence' to make it work.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 9:57 AM on March 30, 2014


Hi, first time caller, long-time if/of offender. I quit calling out my typos once we got the edit window, unless the meaning or intent of the comment is significantly mangled as to be mis-understood.

I figure one of the points of the edit window was to help reduce the noise of subsequent typo call-outs, and if I'm slow enough to not catch it in the five minutes after hitting the "reveal typo" button, oh well.

Trying to do my part to reduce the typo clutter, and am willing to forgive others their mis-keys as part of that effort.
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:38 AM on March 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


Perfection is for the machines, to err is to be human.

-- George W. Bush


"He was the most..."

*stiffens chin*

"Human... of all."
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:46 AM on March 30, 2014 [4 favorites]


My closest almost-auto correct embarrassment was when I sent an update to a woman who I work with regarding my daughter's sprained ankle at school. I typed in one word to send: crutches. I almost hit send when I realize that it auto-corrected to crotches. My wife found it way funnier than I did.
posted by SpacemanStix at 1:46 PM on March 30, 2014


If people want to correct their own typos, what's the problem

No problem. Just wondering if that means typos are a problem I should worry about.
posted by Omnomnom at 1:59 PM on March 30, 2014


I mean, I don't worry anymore now, just when I started the thread.
posted by Omnomnom at 2:00 PM on March 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


"He was the most..."

*stiffens chin*

"Human... of all."


*Ahem*

I believe that should be:

"Of all the souls I've encountered in my travels, his was the most...human."

I won't correct typos, but we must maintain some standards.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 3:41 PM on March 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


I think a lot of it is an attempt to show a commitment to quality. So much of internet commenting is poorly thought out, if thought out at all.

Interestingy, I think typo-callouts are more common elsewhere in the same way general common shittiness is more common elsewhere: YouTube, Facebook, Reddit, etc. More frequently in the first two, typo corrections are partisan barbs that somehow comprise an attack on the original commenter's intellectual capacity and the validty of their opinions.

It's very commonly trotted out as "yeah yeah blah blah I can't argue with you, but you used the wrong its." I especially see it on smaller blogs with smarmy commenters with nothing better to do. Sometimes they do it matter of factly and tactfully, but it's really just a lazy pseudo-intellectual shibboleth and something that most people grow out of. It's not quite in the same bracket as pedantic atheism-ing everyone on the internet (I was that guy) but a similar personality embraces the typo-callout turd comment and the weaponized your argument is invalid typo turd projectile.
posted by lordaych at 3:30 AM on March 31, 2014 [1 favorite]


The worst is when it's so obviously a typographical error and not merely the sort of transgression that you charitably assume to be a typo or a cultural thing or you don't give a shit at all because you're not here to discuss their ability to write. I haven't noticed the behavior on MetaFilter much at all over the years, maybe very early on, but it's rampant on Discus forums, Facebook, etc, and is just such a pathetic cheap shot that makes the attacker look incredibly unequipped to engage in a discussion, proportionate to how petty the error happens to be and how little the attacker engages with the actual meaning conveyed in the comment they're responding to. Ha, I just corrected a "too" to a "to" and wondered if I should be saying disproportionate or inversely proportionate but it's late or early and MetaTalk so fuckit, I'll just correct the "too."

I mean first of all, if you can understand what the person is saying, and you're not in a formal setting where the first priority is to communicate with precise syntax and accuracy, and near everyone is relying on little fuzzy-logic auto-correct systems to do half of the work a significant percentage of the time, why even bother going there? It's an instant "I am petty" signifier when it's employed nastily, and tone-deaf stone-cold unnecessary 99% of the time.
posted by lordaych at 3:35 AM on March 31, 2014


Though it's important to note that auto-correct errors are OK to interrogate, and I'm more referring to auto-correct as it applies to homonyms like to/too/two and punctuation and so forth. SwiftKey kind of wins that but annoys me sufficiently in other ways to make up for it.

But for auto-correct clarification, one doesn't "call it out" and say I THINK YOU MEANT X, IS THAT WHAT YOU MEANT, I COULDN'T TELL BECAUSE YOUR ARGUMENT IS INVALID WHATEVER IT IS but if auto-correct butchers or calls understanding into question, it's totally OK to say "I'm not sure I'm following, do you mean X?"
posted by lordaych at 3:39 AM on March 31, 2014


Known as "Muphry's Law": any comment correcting another user's grammar or spelling will itself have an error.

Ha, speaking of Murphy's Law, the worst possible thing that could happen in the world just happened -- you accidentally misspelled the word Murphy! Read these words and weep, for you will find no errors of any kind: Murphy's Law is for all intensive purposes a myth that infers that the speaker lives a life wrought with abject failure and it totally begs the question why "if anything can go wrong, it will" how could I be this amazing but for the greats of God?
posted by lordaych at 3:52 AM on March 31, 2014 [1 favorite]


Admission: 14 or so years ago I emailed the Filthy Critic to inform him that he shouldn't be adding an extra "s" after the apostrophe in possessive plurals, like he would regularly talk about "Candy Bottoms's dialogue is Butt Sluts II is better than blah blah blah" and I was like DUDE IT'S BOTTOMS' THAT'S THE ONLY MISTAKE I EVER SEE YOU MAKE BUT ANYWAY, TAKE IT EASY!

Nobody had ever told me that it was wrong to have an extra "s" after the apostrophe, I was simply never taught to do it, and this was my opportunity to reach out across the internet and help a writer in need who doesn't realize it yet become a better wordsmith. This journeyman surely will move towards mastery and will some day think back on how he could have possibly overlooked such a glaring offense to the language of someone's queen or some shit.

He came back very graciously and still tore me up pretty well, and said it was OK to do what he was doing because blah, and I didn't bother to fact check him and just assumed it was some style choice. I spent 2 seconds now trying to Google it without actually trying correctly and read a couple things and while scrolling through this my mind went "isn't it supposed to be "attorneys general?" What am I doing with my life, I should make some music nau
posted by lordaych at 4:07 AM on March 31, 2014


Now I think I remember the point, something like:

"Bottoms' is a name and not necessarily a meaningful plural word just because it sounds like the plural for the word 'bottom' any more than 'Jones' means 'multiple jone things' so piss off internet guy, but I'm not saying it would be wrong to write Bottoms', I think they're both OK and I just like this one instead, but thanks for writing and not being a total dick about it. You should research stuff first before taking the time to correct someone else next time."

It was a transforaminal expedience
posted by lordaych at 4:12 AM on March 31, 2014


I hate my own typos most of all. I love the edit window.

(I also have a severe problem with there/their, effect/affect and pallet/palate confusions. I mean, how in the world)
posted by Namlit at 4:18 AM on March 31, 2014


Insrt "othrs'"
posted by Namlit at 4:19 AM on March 31, 2014


I wonder if there has been a general increase in typos with greater usage of mobile devices for posting. I know that increases my typing errors dramatically.
posted by spaltavian at 5:47 AM on March 31, 2014 [1 favorite]


…oh yeah...AutoCorrect. If there ever was a function more crazy-making than that... I'm using it all the time, because it in fact greatly improves my typing speed, but boy do I have to proofread.
posted by Namlit at 6:41 AM on March 31, 2014


How my typo correction conversations go in real life....

- Hey I saw the poster for pub trivia, it looks great. Do you want to know if it has typos?
- Yeah, please. What's up?
- The word "prizes" doesn't need an apostrophe, you can just spell it out.
- Oh great thanks, I'll fix it for next week!

Neither typos, spelling, nor grammar are indicators of intelligence.

Ever since my sister started taking medicine for her epilepsy and suddenly began to be able to spell better, I have kept a similar maxim close to my heart. I'm still a believer in spell-checking your resume and get fussy when I see multiple typos in printed books, but I try to let the rest of it slide when I can.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:16 AM on March 31, 2014 [3 favorites]


I often wish that people using a portable device would double- and triple-check their comments because auto-correct can create nonsense out of your comment, or even worse....

Does it make you feel better that frequently some of us us just give up because the time it takes to preview, thumb back to the box and change or fix something on the right side of the first seven lines, and then preview again and thumb back to fix something in the ninth line, and etc etc including an overzealous effort thumb back
to the edit box that clicked all the way through to a page linked from the OP's main cite? Cuz that happens.

My worst typo, which I had corrected at least three times, was my phone insisting on teen instead of "tween." Significant difference and yet, from a reader standpoint, not an obvious motor skills error.

Bugs me when I see people post a note about a typo that did not affect my reading of their comment. But it also bugs me when a person clears their throat nervously and I don't think that's really my business.

Also, I have extra sympathy for some pendants who I know to be utterly without an ear or any sense of how language works
so that without rules they are helpless, like certain technically skilled dancers who cannot move at all without choreography.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 8:12 AM on March 31, 2014


The more interesting thing about pointing out typos is how the pointer-outer is often thwarted by Freudian mechanisms.
How Often. Have I not seen a "hey, look, there's a typo, have you seen, did you see it, a typo, looklooklook"-type of message marred by some truly terrible grammar blooper or misused word or logical flaw or whatever similar. I believe that's why I usually refrain from pointing out typos - I'm in fear of the Freudian trap (and I hate these pics of me with a foot I'm my mouth).

(now I'm hearing my quasi-quote here above as read out by the honey badger dude.
"Look, he's making typos. Can you believe it? There's typos all over the place. But the honey badger don't give a shit, he just goes on making typos. Gross!"
Thanks, me!)
posted by Namlit at 8:27 AM on March 31, 2014 [1 favorite]


lordaych: "Ha, speaking of Murphy's Law, the worst possible thing that could happen in the world just happened -- you accidentally misspelled the word Murphy!"

READ DA LINK.

FROM DA LINK: "Muphry's law is an adage that states that "If you write anything criticising editing or proofreading, there will be a fault of some kind in what you have written." The name is a deliberate misspelling of Murphy's law."
posted by zarq at 8:48 AM on March 31, 2014 [3 favorites]


zarq you may have missed, in lordaych's comment:
you will find no errors of any kind: ... all intensive purposes ... myth that infers ... totally begs the question ... but for the greats of God?

at first I was like... but then...
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:00 AM on March 31, 2014 [2 favorites]


Ha! Fair enough.

*bows to lordaych's subtlety*
posted by zarq at 9:04 AM on March 31, 2014 [1 favorite]


I only have a real problem with it if it's some kind of baroque autocorrect situation where I can't tell what they even meant.

Though I do love trying to think of what that word was really supposed to be. It's like a 21st century brain teaser. Dumb the moth ER ducker Alfred. What could that mean?
posted by Sara C. at 9:20 AM on March 31, 2014 [3 favorites]


I get called out for posting too much, or for being too harsh or whatever, but I KNOW my spelling is egregious, I rarely run it through spell-check, and as easy a target as I am for it, no one has called me on it.

Thank you Metafilter, the generation of people who learned to read phonetically thanks you!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:24 AM on March 31, 2014


Best typo I ever saw, ever in my life - someone I was in an old-school chat room with was trying to type "hung up on", and somehow it came out "ghung u porn". We ended up having a lot of fun coming up with the curriculum for the Pornography Department of Ghung University as a result.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:47 AM on March 31, 2014 [2 favorites]


I don't mind typos or punctuation errors most of the time, especially realizing people are writing on their phones and iPads or sometimes just doing several things at once while posting here. Personally most of my social media/online comment writing is more like casual speech, with "likes" and "I can't even" and stuff.

What bothers me more are eggcorns and other outright examples of people just using the wrong word, like when people say "finance" instead of "fiance." It doesn't make me think they're unintelligent, necessarily, but it does make me think that they don't try to use language precisely as a means of self expression.

I mean finance?
posted by sweetkid at 10:06 AM on March 31, 2014


Also, I have extra sympathy for some pendants who I know to be utterly without an ear...

/twitches
posted by Celsius1414 at 10:10 AM on March 31, 2014


/twitches

well, at least I didn't read "technically skillet"
posted by Namlit at 10:37 AM on March 31, 2014 [1 favorite]


I mean finance?
Could they be joking around? I often pronounce fiance as phi-ants on purpose (from Raising Arizona). I also do that with deb-riss for debris. I am trying to be funny, but I know someone is cringing inside.

I was once told that fiance should be spelled fiancee and I got do to the "your correction is actually wrong" thing, because I was referring to a male. I always spell it Chris' and not Chris's. Is that wrong or just not the only right way?
posted by soelo at 11:17 AM on March 31, 2014 [1 favorite]


As someone who sometimes posts to correct my own typos, I'd say I do it since I'm an editor and it's like I'm failing my professional self when I let them slide. Sometimes the typos are extra embarrassing--like when I posted about visiting Berkeley and misspelled it--so I want to correct the record to feel less stupid. I would not comment on others' typos though.

I sure do like the edit window for fixing typos (even though I'm sure I'll always miss some). I have gotten so used to it that now I sort of expect gmail to have one. Oops.
posted by mlle valentine at 11:39 AM on March 31, 2014


> I always spell it Chris' and not Chris's. Is that wrong or just not the only right way?

They're both OK according to different style manuals (and according to different editions of the same style manual, I wish the bastards would make up their minds... why no, I'm not bitter, why do you ask?); I myself tend to urge people to write the 's if they say it with an audible extra syllable (so if you say "Chrissez," write "Chris's"), because it's easy to remember that way, but you can't really go wrong except by being inconsistent.
posted by languagehat at 12:44 PM on March 31, 2014 [5 favorites]


My experience:

People really giving someone absolute hell over a typo (or grammar or similar) seem to (in most cases) be wrapped around the axle about something else and this is a convenient excuse to tear them a new one on grounds that other people might tolerate.

I know folks who genuinely have trouble understanding if there are typos/grammar errors/etc. They tend to ask for clarification, not use it as an excuse to light into someone.
posted by Michele in California at 3:10 PM on March 31, 2014 [1 favorite]


I saw a tweet the other day that said "Programming is like arguing with the world's stupidest pedant." I mean really, that's a case where you want to be like "OMG! You know what I mean! OK semicolon not curly brace, FINE I HATE YOU"
posted by sweetkid at 3:20 PM on March 31, 2014 [4 favorites]


I have gotten so used to it that now I sort of expect gmail to have one. Oops.

You've turned on undo send, I hope? (it won't give you a full five minutes, though.)

(There's also spell-check, but who remembers to use that before sending?)
posted by effbot at 5:54 PM on March 31, 2014


When I wrote that Muphry's law comment I felt a certain exciting uneasiness building up...speaking of Freudian stuff, I left out the word "felt" there at first and wrote "I am a certain exciting uneasiness" because [Hypo-?] MANIAAAAAA!!!!1111onethousandonehundredeleven

I've been a commenter and pain in the ass on forums since 1991 but never truly pulled the disingenuous troll card. Here goes nothing, I'm breaking bad. And now, I'm out of the troll game, just like that. I've got nobody to support with troll money, so this should be the end of it.

I've been a jerk plenty of times, too sarcastic or uncharitable (I've started using "charitable" as a part of my parenting strategy toolkit thanks to jessamyn), I've been aggressive, and then falling over myself to apologize and demand recognition of my complex frailty only to lash out again, fallacious in my reasoning while calling out others, etc, but never deliberately disingenuous without some qualifier to warn the reader.

I just watched that whole meth show by the way in a month's time so it has taken over my life. It's not about getting from 96 to 99% damnit even if that's a metaphor for the difference between brilliant potential and pure genius, it's about getting from a 50% desirable racemic purity to 99%, like what Walt said right before the Victor unboxing:

If our reduction is not stereospecific, then how can our product be enantiomerically pure?

Anyway,

So then I threw in the idiom wordplay stuff that has nothing to do with typos except that people who call typos out the most often have some other glaring annoying thing they do all of the time that you can choose to recognize or just put in your spank bank. Wait, spank bank means something else, but allow me to contort it and re-contextualize it here even though I don't normally use words like "spank" or "burn" to indicate rhetorical prowess.

My [Heisenberg / Evil Cheetah side / id or whatever that old Frood guy said it was called] taunted me for that extra part, for adding any extra verbiage that might detract from the objective.
posted by lordaych at 8:38 PM on March 31, 2014


Also I feel really fuzzy that zarq complimented me for subtlety and languagehat talked about something I brought up and clarified it as a non-cut-and-dried style thing; not because there's a cult of personality, but because ya'll represent some of the most familiar faces that I look forward to reading and find harder to predict than many other familiar names where the first sentence betrays the byline.

It's not about cliques or anything, but those are two names I've always admired, and if anyone says "THAT'S WHY METAFILTER IS BAD" I promise I won't turn into Angry Unikitty.

I love you all, inhabitants of this realm that has helped refine my own ways of seeing the world and other perspectives over the past 13 freakin' years. I was a dick to someone in here awhile back and they're awesome too, so I'm sorry to anyone I've ever been a dick to, because I don't dislike a single person here.

Perhaps it's the stockpile of neurotransmitters my brain has decided to rain down at the cluuuub inside my cranium, but MetaFilter isn't pitchblende, this shit's pure uranium. In the good way. Which reminds me of some fantastic comment I read about the Oppenheimer project and the various challenges it imposed across various scientific disciplines...in much the way Walter White is suddenly a mechanical engineer robot terror master when he absolutely, positively must mow down every Nazi in the room with a can-do attitude and a knack for solving problems. Shit, I broke up my rhyme flow there, I guess I can't go there bringing up a show where my objective is to be all "I'm randomly rhyming maniacally so, there."
posted by lordaych at 8:58 PM on March 31, 2014


I saw a tweet the other day that said "Programming is like arguing with the world's stupidest pedant." I mean really, that's a case where you want to be like "OMG! You know what I mean! OK semicolon not curly brace, FINE I HATE YOU"

sweetkid is the person I was a jerk to, and also, this comment resonates with me back to the age of 14, where I was one of those "computers just do what you tell them to, and they never argue, and I love that, they just let me do my thing forever and ever and they never disappoint me yaaaay!" nerds. Then I started having random motherboard problems with my first 286 PC where it wouldn't boot up unless you left it sitting in a failed POST error mode for hours on end, where CTRL+ALT+DEL was safe but you should never turn it off because it might never come back. This was followed by another hand me down 386 that had totally different hardware and the same problem, and I became an atheist shortly after. No god would allow this travesty to befall me.

I was just talking to someone about that moment where you feel convinced that up until this point, computers do everything they are told, but this time, the computer is wrong! And not wrong in some complicated library full of bugs way...just fundamentally, I know you're a computer, and you're doing your best, and any bugs are emergent from human minds being frail, but YOU ARE WRONG THIS TIME COMPUTER, and then as soon as you stop being angry it jumps out at you, a fucking punctuation mark or something and you pat the computer on the side and feel embarrassed and glad that the computer won't judge you.

I haven't experienced that in many years and after just talking to someone about this, I was promptly put into a position unexpectedly where I had to write a rather straightforward but increasingly complex as you go interface between two crappy enterprise systems before a firm go-live date because the vendor pulled away support for their own integration, and then find the exact right no-longer-supported Crystal Reports runtime to handle a problem that was supposed to be caught by QA testers (damn those not-me peoples) weeks in advance but was suddenly an emergency the night before my first day off in nearly two weeks. So I basically reverted to 14 years old in 14 days.

Anyway, sorry for being a dick about stuff. Now, I should lurk and put my head on ice
posted by lordaych at 9:13 PM on March 31, 2014 [4 favorites]



sweetkid is the person I was a jerk to


Yea wondering if it was me you were referring to. Anyway thanks for apology! Good luck to ya.
posted by sweetkid at 9:25 AM on April 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


Nota bene: A new range of Penguin classic novels, grammatically updated for 2014
posted by Toekneesan at 3:43 PM on April 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


Wait....there's more than one Jone?
posted by mule98J at 12:28 PM on April 3, 2014


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