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What should I do if there's bad grammar in comments, such as "it's" as a genitive (link is to the answer that has the comment). Does it qualify as "offensive, spam, or hate speech"? Or are comments too lightweight (as Jeff put it) to qualify for cleanup?

Update: Sorry, I should have phrased it a bit better. I don't think that comments with grammar problems should be deleted.

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Related question: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/459/… (A person with mild dyslexia wanting to be able to edit his own comments) –  Andrew Grimm Jul 13 '09 at 23:22
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I had to read through those comments three times before I even spotted the mistake. My advice: stop caring about minuscule typos. –  DisgruntledGoat Feb 22 '10 at 17:11

4 Answers 4

up vote 13 down vote accepted

Since comments can't be edited, only deleted and re-added and the end of the "conversation", then any comment cleanup is likely to be too much bother and cause more harm than good.

Grammatical errors should certainly not be marked as offensive (even though I'm one of those who cringes every time I see "it's" as a genitive).

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A spelling or grammar error hopefully does not count for hate speech or spam. As a non English speaking person I can tell you that I do not want to offend anybody with a superfluous apostrophe or a missing comma. I do believe that comments are too lightweight for cleanup, but encourage all to use their best English.

Commenting on bad English in comments would discourage non English speaking people from contributing, which would be worse than some spelling errors.

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Just to clarify, "Does it qualify as ..." was meant as a rhetorical question. I think it's great that people who didn't learn English as a native language communicate in English. –  Andrew Grimm Jul 13 '09 at 8:06
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Haha +1 for "I do not want to offend anybody with a superfluous apostrophe or a missing comma." –  Travis Jul 13 '09 at 15:33

Comments usually provide a relatively temporary conversation. If a series of comments provides a lot of value in itself, then it's a good idea to promote those comments as answers - either separately or as part of the original answer. At that point, they can be cleaned up.

Obviously the comments themselves aren't temporary, but I think their purpose is usually transient - things like suggesting changes to the answer. As such, so long as they get the point across, I don't think there's much need for cleanup. I certainly wouldn't start flagging comments which were simply ungrammatical. I'd view that as an abuse of the flagging system, personally.

While it's a good idea for all of us to do our best when it comes to communicating clearly, it's obvious that some people have natural disadvantages - dyslexia being one example, and not having English as a native language being another. Such users aren't being abusive, they just don't find it as easy to write in correct English.

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Just a quick not from a dyslexic - I hope not. I can't often understand the ' context - countless people have tried - it just doesn't stick. Not being hateful or offensive, and I am certainly not spam - (well, I hope not) =>.

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