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Should users edit other users' posts to correct grammar and spelling problems?

I love the ease of correcting misspellings, typos, and grammatical errors in SO. Certain errors catch my eye and annoy me - and the wikiness of SO is a great blessing; I don't have to live with the errors, I can simply fix them. But...

It can be useful to know how sloppy the OP is. A question that reads, "plz hlep me fix this" can be safely ignored - safely, in the sense that if it wasn't worth the OP's time to express him/herself, it may not be worth our time to help out with answers. It can also be useful, say, when it's clear the OP isn't a native English speaker - we can calibrate our answers to make them more readable.

And a healthy edit obscures all that useful information. So, where's the balance? Personally, I'm on the side of "Fix it!", but I can certainly see the case for leaving it alone.

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marked as duplicate by sth, Timothy Carter, alex, squillman, Shog9 May 13 '10 at 17:50

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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See: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/25 and meta.stackexchange.com/questions/16276 . Not accusing you of it, but make sure to be aware of things like meta.stackexchange.com/questions/23869 as well. –  Grace Note May 13 '10 at 16:30
    
Thanks, @ccornet; none of those showed up in the list of similar questions. I think I'm making a point that isn't made in any of those, though - that changing grammar, punctuation, etc. changes our perception of the poster. And I'm still curious what others think. –  Carl Manaster May 13 '10 at 16:45
    
    
Thanks, @rib.usa; good links. Again, though - none addressing my specific question. Edits alter our perception of the poster. –  Carl Manaster May 13 '10 at 17:36

3 Answers 3

Please fix the errors you see. Every little bit helps.

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It's perfectly acceptable to fix spelling and grammatical errors. Where else would such errors be allowed to persist? Yahoo Answers, maybe?

Editing tells the OP that there were grammatical errors (if they care -- they should). Everyone else can look at the edit history to determine what the edits were.

If the question is a "Plz Send Teh Codez" question, or the spelling and grammar is especially egregious, I leave it alone. Such questions generally get closed and deleted anyway.

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No. There isn't. Fixing things is good. Unfortunately, you don't get reputation for fixing things so there isn't much reason to do it; but, if you're the type that would rather waste time fixing questions that you don't have to when you could be power leveling then go for it.

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What is this "power leveling" you speak of? Can you share any tips? ;) –  Bill the Lizard May 13 '10 at 16:43
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Yeah, seems like "1" is your most powerful level. –  squillman May 13 '10 at 16:44
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Spoken like a true altruist. –  Robert Harvey May 13 '10 at 17:10
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This answer was better when it was 3 words long. –  Aarobot May 13 '10 at 17:25
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Man alive, for the first two sentences I was literally just about to click upvote. Then I read the rest about gaining rep, and just wept. Have decided not to vote because +1/-1 = 0. –  John Rudy May 13 '10 at 17:37
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I rather like not having rep attached; it makes me happy to see people constantly editing to fix mistakes, which sometimes involves rewriting the whole post, without any reward (except a couple one-time badges) –  Michael Mrozek May 13 '10 at 18:13
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@Zombie: Be glad you didn't read it when it said "exp" instead of "rep." –  Aarobot May 13 '10 at 19:24
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@Bill the Lizard: I released a strategy guide, you can probably find it being a diamond mod, but it was censored -- Jeffery didn't want the laymen knowing the secrets. –  Evan Carroll May 14 '10 at 14:50

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