I myself am dyslexic and wondered about the fact that it is expected of users to have the spelling correct. I saw friends of mine (whose native language isn't English) make some really bad grammar mistakes, but it was still clear to everyone, and thus getting down votes. Although this might not be expected from users, this is a community driven page so what ever the majority thinks will probably be applied because of the auto ban.

So my question: what if you are dyslexic? Are you doomed to be banned after a "secret" number down-votes?

because of this I am also not encouraged to post answers.

P.s. My dyslexia isn't that bad (anymore) but still writing this took me some time ;-)


I think at its core, the question in hand is: how are we evaluating ourselves and those who are connected to us – by NoProblemBabe - This was exactly what i was trying to approach

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    In my experience, people arent voted down for bad English as much as for just a bad question. If the question does not make any sense or does not exist then they will receive downvotes. If it is just a simple issue of wording, the question will usually be edited pretty quickly. – Josh Mein Jun 6 '13 at 14:03
  • If this is how bad your posts get due to your dyslexia, you will be just fine. Posts with mistakes are also not very likely to be downvoted if they are otherwise clear. Unclear posts however might suffer. Just take your time to ask your question and do your best. I think you'll be just fine. – Bart Jun 6 '13 at 14:03
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    Off the top of my head, run everything through a spell checker before posting (as I see "dyslectic" misspelled right away). Also, possibly include a disclaimer at the beginning of your question, or at least a comment, that you're dyslexic but still trying very hard to write as clearly as possible. – LittleBobbyTables - Au Revoir Jun 6 '13 at 14:04
  • Very rarely do I see a question that has such a bad english that it's pretty much impossible for many people to actually tell what is being asked for. Those questions usually get downvoted. If all you do is write bad grammar, then it'll usually be edited and you won't get downvoted (at least not a lot). – Joachim Sauer Jun 6 '13 at 14:05
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    @AndrewBarber Dyslectic is also accepted spelling. ;) – Bart Jun 6 '13 at 14:05
  • @Bart Oh! I didn't know that! (Firefox disagrees, but that doesn't mean a lot!) – Andrew Barber Jun 6 '13 at 14:05
  • @LBT Dyslectic is the correct spelling. – JonW Jun 6 '13 at 14:05
  • @JonW I've fixed my erroneous edit, then! :) – Andrew Barber Jun 6 '13 at 14:06
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    @JonW - I wouldn't call it the "correct" spelling, since your link calls it a "variant spelling", but I didn't even know that was a valid spelling. You learn something new every day! I still stand that you should run everything through a spell checker just to be safe. – LittleBobbyTables - Au Revoir Jun 6 '13 at 14:07
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    I think at its core, the question in hand is: how are we evaluating ourselves and those who are connected to us. Random Programmer, I can only promise to be as understanding and helpful as I can. I actually never had to downvote for this, but I see your point. – marcelo-ferraz Jun 6 '13 at 14:08
  • You wrote this content. It's perfectly acceptable. So, in the end you produce perfectly acceptable content. What is the problem then? You can produce perfectly good answers. – Daniel Daranas Jun 6 '13 at 14:34
  • Just to further confuse everyone interested in the dyslectic vs dyslexic debate: Both spellings are acceptable in Greek. Dyslectic might be the more common, though. – yannis Jun 6 '13 at 15:22
  • Isn't it just a difference of deriving it from lex or lector? – ithisa Jun 7 '13 at 13:02

Good questions and answers trump spelling and grammar. If the essence of what you write is thoughtful and interesting, you're likely to get a lot more upvotes than downvotes even if you've got a number of spelling and grammatical errors.

There's some tolerance for errors. Dyslexia isn't the only reason that otherwise good questions might contain a number of errors. Many StackExchange users are not native English speakers, and their posts often reflect that. I think there's a widespread understanding here that you shouldn't penalize someone for spelling and grammar issues if the post is understandable.

Carelessness is often downvoted. SE users are often offended when an OP appears to ask others to spend more time deciphering and answering than they themselves spent posting a question in the first place. As the down-arrow tooltip says, downvotes indicate lack of research, lack of clarity, or lack of usefulness. So you can expect to pick up a lot of downvotes if it looks like you couldn't be bothered to spend time on your post. Unfortunately for you, spelling and grammatical errors are sometimes taken as an indication of sloppiness or laziness. Writing in an editor that will help you correct those errors is one way to combat the problem. Including a note along the lines of "writing is difficult for me -- please let me know if anything here is unclear" could help too.

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    While a disclaimer might work (I'm not a friend of those...), that one (if used verbatim) is bad and might actually do more damage then good. – Time Traveling Bobby Jun 6 '13 at 14:35
  • @M.NightDemonbobby I disagree that it's bad, but I might change my mind or even edit if you could explain why you think it's bad. My goal was to acknowledge the likelihood of errors and try to focus on the content without having to explain your diagnosis. – Caleb Jun 6 '13 at 14:37
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    Because it sounds like "I can't properly speak...and I most likely left stuff out". At least it feels like that for me. While I agree (kind of) on the disclaimer (I don't see a problem with mentioning Dyslexia, that gives a reason, we coders love reasons!) I think the second part is just noise and has a more negative impact. If somebody is interested in the problem/question and wants something to know, you'll get a comment, there's absolutely no need to encourage or even request that. – Time Traveling Bobby Jun 6 '13 at 14:50
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    I've never found a disclaimer like that to be helpful. If there are problems with the language of the post then it's generally obvious; you don't need to see a disclaimer to know that, and I can't think of any way in which it would change what the reader should do. It's noise that adds nothing useful/helpful; it shouldn't be added to a post, and should be removed whenever editing a post. Saying, "please let me know if anything here is unclear" is equally unhelpful. People already know that they should comment when something is unclear; it's assumed for every single post in existence. – Servy Jun 6 '13 at 14:52
  • @M.NightDemonbobby There's not a problem with mentioning dyslexia if the author is comfortable doing that, but I don't think it's something that an author should be forced to share if they don't want to. And the specific reason really doesn't matter; the point is that the author (for whatever reason) does have trouble writing error free prose and may, in fact, have left something out. IMO saying so up front moves readers from "this is a crappy question" to "let me see if I can help despite the problems." – Caleb Jun 6 '13 at 15:50

As long as a question can be reasonably understood, there is nothing in the site guidelines that would cause a user to downvote for bad grammar or spelling, and I have never done that personally. In fact, many people are willing to edit a good question to correct such issues.

If you see downvotes, make sure that the question matches the criteria set in the "Asking" section of the Help Center.

  • I spend a great of time reading that part of the help center and i am pretty sure i can meet those criteria. So i think by all this positive feedback it will be fine, it just got me worried because apparently i saw one of the few who got some down votes (probably) due to grammar. I tried to re-find the question but sadly couldn't find it ( no i don't know his username ) – Random Programmer Jun 6 '13 at 14:13
  • @RandomProgrammer It may have been deleted, in which case you wouldn't be able to see it. There's generally a correlation between those who have bad spelling and grammar and those who ask bad questions. The poor spelling and grammar isn't what makes it bad, though. – Anthony Grist Jun 6 '13 at 14:35

Fair and valid point, but still we must remember we're talking about programming here and dyslexia does not affect programming skills whatsoever or the ability to research properly.

So such a person can start his/her post by "Sorry in advance for bad grammar as I am dyslectic" and it will be removed by those who fix the grammar. However, in case of a bad question even perfect grammar won't protect the question from downvotes and closing.

Bottom line: no big problem here, nothing to worry about in my opinion.

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    "dyslexia does not affect programming skills whatsoever" Really? I'm not dyslexic, but I'm not sure I agree with this statement. It won't affect logic, but it may affect reading or typing. – LittleBobbyTables - Au Revoir Jun 6 '13 at 14:15
  • @ LBT It doesn't but that is not the problem it is affecting the way people see you or at least some people. There for they take you as stupid or lesser even. This i know not from stackExchange but from real life practice – Random Programmer Jun 6 '13 at 14:19

This is why we are community that allows edits. I know it's rough and it can be very frustrating to deal with the disability but I'd like to think that we aren't a pessimistic community that has our mouse automatically hovering over the downvote arrow every time we open a question.

The best advice I can give is aim to get your questions and answers to be understandable and we will take care of spelling issues and grammatical weaknesses. I can't speak for your friend, but your question here was very well written.

Just remember to stick to the guidelines of valid questions and valid answers and you will have zero issues on this site.

Your concerns are valid and they should definitely be brought in front of the community.

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