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I just saw someone edit the title of this question to change the spelling from favourite (The British spelling) to favorite (The US-English spelling).

Does SOFU have an accepted standard on language and spelling? Which is it?

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4 Answers

up vote 46 down vote accepted

Does SOFU have an accepted standard on language and spelling? Which is it?

For bodies, no. For tags, US-English.

Titles don't actually need to be consistent (tags absolutely do!), but if you think anyone might want to search for a question then you would do well to use the more common spelling - whichever that might happen to be...

Note that changing the spelling of language keywords or identifiers to match the spellings actually used by the relevant language or library is very much appropriate!

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I would suggest that it is equally important for titles because that's what people search for. Unless the search algorithm is clever enough to automatically handle multiple alternative spellings. –  Simon P Stevens Sep 29 '09 at 17:52
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Google's search is. SO's search isn't. –  Shog9 Sep 29 '09 at 17:55
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Google's search is smart enough to know that win2k is the same as "windows 2000" –  Brad Gilbert Sep 29 '09 at 18:28
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Google's suggestions aren't "smart". AFAIK they're actually compiled from a user's subsequent searches/corrections. For example if a user typed "win2k" and got few results, they might type "windows 2000". After a few thousand or million people dong this, Google will offer suggestions and/or include the alternate phrase on future searches. This is easy for Google since they have an unbelievably huge dataset to work from. –  DisgruntledGoat Sep 29 '09 at 22:51
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@DisgruntledGoat: I dunno. That sounds pretty smart to me. –  beska Dec 1 '09 at 18:18
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I typed in "PHP" and Google knew I needed Stack Overflow. –  Herbert Aug 31 '11 at 15:05
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At the risk of starting torrents of angry comments, I'd say the correct one is whichever one the OP uses. It is acceptable to fix spelling and grammar errors in someone's response, but if you feel that their favourite spelling of 'behaviour' colours your judgment, then I'm afraid they should just get over it.

It is not acceptable to change American to British spellings or British to American.

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I quite like that suggestion. Although it risks causing problems in searches unless the search algorithm is clever enough to handle alternatives. –  Simon P Stevens Sep 29 '09 at 17:51
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it's important to have a standard tags, but for the body of a post, doesn't matter so much. –  Jeff Atwood Sep 29 '09 at 18:57
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"It is not acceptable to change American to British spellings or British to American"? Why not? –  Gary S. Weaver Sep 29 '09 at 18:57
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I agree about tags, also if you are using a Color from .NET it should always be Color but that's because it's a typename and not a preference. But I'm strictly talking about anyone who would change the spelling when it is simply sitting in the body of someone's post. –  devinb Sep 29 '09 at 18:58
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When spelling is changed in the body of the post, there is an implication that the original spelling is incorrect. When it's not a keyword, both British and American spellings are correct - there are plenty of dictionaries to support either spelling. –  pavium Sep 29 '09 at 21:10
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Now that we have tag synonyms, I'm on board with this. Have a completely unnecessary -- except that it gets you to the brink of [Populist] -- upvote. –  Pops Aug 17 '10 at 14:51
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It doesn't seem possible to correct between American and British spelling? I tried to change "someones" to "someone's" but was presented with "Edits must be at least 6 characters"! Meaning that the odd extra "u" or an "s" in place of "z" should be safe unless they appear more than half a dozen times. ;) –  Mikaveli Mar 11 '11 at 16:58
    
@Mikaveli if you have enough rep you can do those sorts of edits. –  Pureferret Jan 5 '12 at 17:40
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Whou cares? If it's nout spelled wroung by a standard, leave it aloune. If it's spelled "faveurt", then fix it tou whichever spelling you prefer.

If anyoune gets tied up intou a knout about the spelling of wourds like this, youu can tell me and I'll schououl them at TF2. If TF2 is unavailable I am quite capable of schououling in a wide variety of activities, such as using the louou, riding the lift tou my flat, our standing oun the kerb and inspecting a car's tyres.

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Surely if you don't have an accepted standard you'll get into editing cycles where it gets changed back and forth between the two. I originally noticed that the question had been changed once already because I instinctively went to correct it to favourite. –  Simon P Stevens Sep 29 '09 at 17:51
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I'm saying don't get into edit cycles. It's not worth it. Let the sillywhistles who would edit those things do what they want. Report them and let them get banned for it. –  XMLbog Sep 29 '09 at 17:52
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FYI: I am Welboug nouw. –  XMLbog Sep 29 '09 at 17:55
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You should go old english. I cast my vote for "Ye Olde Wellebouge". –  gnostradamus Sep 29 '09 at 23:48
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Both spellings are correct, for some definition of "correct". So I say let it go. No need to get into edit wars over correctly spelled words.

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Well both the -ise and -ize suffixes are accepted in British English. –  DisgruntledGoat Sep 29 '09 at 22:54
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@Disgruntled - this is demonstrably not true, however a British audience will tolerate US spelling where a US audience will not tolerate British spelling, essentially a factor of US cultural and in particular software exports over the last however many years. –  bananakata Sep 30 '09 at 6:08
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@bananakata: the OED approves -ize, even if the British public generally do not. –  Philip Potter Aug 31 '10 at 15:53
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@bananakata: pernicious nonsense. In a US audience, 90% won't even know what the correct US spelling is. And the other 10% are also the ones who watch BBC shows, so they'll be cool with it. –  Mike Baranczak Mar 13 '11 at 3:01
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