While a lot of users have genuine trouble writing questions up in English, some seem to flaunt the basic rules of punctuation and grammar. It's almost like they haven't even spent a few seconds reviewing their own question - or don't care to at all. Of course, many diligent reviewers then swoop in and actually take the time to fix the question up so that it's nice and readable. But it makes me wonder if it doesn't perhaps encourage the original poster to kinda remain sloppy.

What can the community do (if anything) to perhaps curb this behavior?

P.S: I did look at this discussion but it's not quite down the same line.

  • 3
    We should always look at the question itself, and help the question asker. Assume good intentions, questions with bad intentions are booted out quickly enough here. Commented Dec 22, 2012 at 11:06
  • Thanks for your reply. It's not so much about the intentions as much as it is about just being plain sloppy. I'm not questioning their intent. I agree with you. Just wondering if there could be some way for them to maybe proof what they've just posted.
    – aLearner
    Commented Dec 22, 2012 at 11:12
  • I doubt it; not all world languages use capitalisation and punctuation, so not everyone knows about how to use those in English. You cannot force that knowledge upon anyone with technology. Commented Dec 22, 2012 at 11:14
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    We can't expect everyone to be good in English.. English isn't the first language for many.. So,we should aim at solving the OP's issues. Commented Dec 22, 2012 at 11:15
  • I think it depends on the individual. Some people don't like seeing someone else edit their post, so when it happens once or twice, it will actually encourage them to watch their grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Commented Dec 22, 2012 at 11:17
  • Thanks for contributing to the discussion. While I understand that there is a lot diversity here in terms of languages, I was just talking about those who are being sloppy. As I mentioned in my question, I completely understand that many people have trouble writing in English - and that's perfectly understandable.
    – aLearner
    Commented Dec 22, 2012 at 11:18
  • John Saunders often leaves this comment: "I have edited your title. Please see, "Should questions include “tags” in their titles?", where the consensus is "no, they should not"." and something along those lines usually gets a positive reaction and lasting improvement from noobies. Commented Dec 22, 2012 at 11:28
  • Cool. Interesting. Thanks for sharing.
    – aLearner
    Commented Dec 22, 2012 at 11:30

2 Answers 2


If the problems with the question are only grammar, spelling, punctuation or similar, but the actual question is good, then editing it into shape is absolutely the right thing to do.

Don't forget that some people don't use the same alphabet, might not use punctuation at all in their native language, and might not even have a concept for capitalization. It's not as easy as you make it sound when you're coming from a language that is simply radically different from English.

If the person made the effort to attempt to explain their problem in English even though it's hard for them, and managed to get the point through well enough that people actually understand it, good for them. They'll most likely benefit from your editing and learn some more English in the process.

Now if it's just the case of a lazy, low quality question and editing it will only make it easier to see that the OP didn't make the slightest effort at helping themselves before asking, then do the same thing as you'd do for poor quality, low effort, perfect English questions: downvote, vote to close, whatever you feel like.

  • Great! Thank you for your input. Yeah, I was kinda going for what you mentioned in your last paragraph. Makes sense.
    – aLearner
    Commented Dec 22, 2012 at 11:22

Well... The first problem here is to define sloppy... The super secret quality filter takes care of some instances, but as a community its just a matter of pointing out the problem and nudging the user in the correct direction.

Sometimes all it takes is a well placed downvote and a constructive comment and the OP will fix the problem. Other times someone else has to step in and make the edits for the OP so that they can see how a question should be written.

  • 1
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
    – aLearner
    Commented Dec 22, 2012 at 11:20

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