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I like the spell checker feature while writing a post. Could you add spelling suggestions too? I guess there are a lot of developers on SO that are not native English speakers, and that it would be useful to suggest a list of alternatives in case of a spelling mistake.

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After the edit, I just had to check whether @Brad was fixing a spelling mistake ;-p –  Marc Gravell Oct 15 '09 at 23:01
    
Me too, veeery curious in the same regard :)) –  luvieere Oct 15 '09 at 23:02
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Wait a minute? Do you mean that who shall not be named is a REAL user? I thought all this time it was SO spelling corrector bot. Ouch!!!! –  OscarRyz Oct 15 '09 at 23:07
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4 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

It's been awhile since I used a web browser that did not provide an integrated spell-checker. So I would say, increasingly, that spell-checking has become a client-side issue rather than something that every website should have to provide.

It would simply be a waste of the development team's resources.

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Huh, I never realized it wasn't SO's spell-checker doing the suggestions. I was about to ask a question on why it was so out-of-date ("https" was suggested as "hipster"), but I guess it's Opera 10 that isn't very modern. :) –  John C Nov 16 '11 at 15:14
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Just as an aside, some browsers will do this for you - I use Chrome, and it offers a range of language spell checkers, with automatic underline etc. The options are under "font and languages".

I'm a native English speaker, and it still saves me a lot of embarrassment - especially on words like embarrassment ;-p

Edit:

Another problem with programmers is that we don't always speak English - at least, not as regular users would understand it... type-names, keywords, obscure protocols, etc - I can live with a browser-supplied checked because it is fast; but anything that checks over http is probably going to hit too many false-positives to be worth making a round-trip to the server. IMO.

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Well... a good opportunity to make a spell checker that incorporates such acronyms and shortcuts... btw... your browser-based spell-checker missed one: that "I can liev with..." :-" –  luvieere Oct 15 '09 at 23:17
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In the browser's defence - I posted in a hurry and ran away. No amount of bubble-wrap is defence against a determined lax user ;-p –  Marc Gravell Oct 16 '09 at 5:13
    
The advantage to having the site do it is that it can ignore code! –  Gabe Mar 18 '11 at 9:48
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I don't think this should be implemented as a feature.

Simply put, browsers like Chrome and Firefox already have this capability, and it would take more man hours for Jeff and Co. to implement this than it would for users to spend their time fixing spelling mistakes. One of the major features of Stack Overflow is for the ability for users to edit other users' posts; so this 'feature' can already be consider implemented via that capability.

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I don't use spell checkers, so I can't say how effective they are, but it's clear to me that an effective spell checker would be a giant can of worms, and difficult to implement.

Consider

  • overlap with grammar (then/than, their/there/they're or lose/loose)
  • British / American differences
  • apostrophe confusion (its v it's)
  • the preponderance of technical terms in SO questions
  • modern usage v 'traditional' (plz, ur, ...)

all of which make it difficult to choose the correct spelling.

The effort wouldn't be justified ... and what would be the point of an ineffective spell checker?

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I agree with all your considerations except the last one. Are you saying that "plz" and "ur" are acceptable? –  mmyers Oct 19 '09 at 18:52
    
I'm beginning to accept that modern usage, however irritating to old fogeys like me, will eventually be considered acceptable. –  pavium Oct 19 '09 at 22:05
    
@pavium May you be a false prophet. I hope. –  ErikE Jul 14 '11 at 17:52
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