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I just saw someone edit the title of this question to change the spelling from favourite (The British spelling) to favorite (The US-English spelling).

Does SOFU have an accepted standard on language and spelling? Which is it?

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Does SOFU have an accepted standard on language and spelling? Which is it?

For bodies, no. For tags, US-English.

Titles don't actually need to be consistent (tags absolutely do!), but if you think anyone might want to search for a question then you would do well to use the more common spelling - whichever that might happen to be...

Note that changing the spelling of language keywords or identifiers to match the spellings actually used by the relevant language or library is very much appropriate!

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  • 1
    I would suggest that it is equally important for titles because that's what people search for. Unless the search algorithm is clever enough to automatically handle multiple alternative spellings. Sep 29 '09 at 17:52
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    Google's search is. SO's search isn't.
    – Shog9
    Sep 29 '09 at 17:55
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    Google's search is smart enough to know that win2k is the same as "windows 2000" Sep 29 '09 at 18:28
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    @DisgruntledGoat: I dunno. That sounds pretty smart to me.
    – beska
    Dec 1 '09 at 18:18
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    I typed in "PHP" and Google knew I needed Stack Overflow.
    – Herbert
    Aug 31 '11 at 15:05
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    What if we use a tag from a British work (say [defence-against-the-dark-arts]) and set up a synonym in American English? This would solve the problem of having AE is autocomplete, and respect the original spelling. (See the relevant discussion here) Aug 9 '17 at 18:48
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    Naturally I wrote this before there were any sites where "language keywords" weren't a sufficiently obvious caveat, @Gallifreyan... But given there now are, I'd say you'd want to extend that concept to whatever you're working with; for a book, it's how the author spelled it (unless it's one of those fantasy books where all the character names have accent marks, since those aren't usually allowed in tags). For places, same deal with the caveat that lots of places have multiple "official" names and spellings. Use synonyms where multiple commonly-used terms mean the same thing.
    – Shog9
    Aug 9 '17 at 21:22
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At the risk of starting torrents of angry comments, I'd say the correct one is whichever one the OP uses. It is acceptable to fix spelling and grammar errors in someone's response, but if you feel that their favourite spelling of 'behaviour' colours your judgment, then I'm afraid they should just get over it.

It is not acceptable to change American to British spellings or British to American.

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    I quite like that suggestion. Although it risks causing problems in searches unless the search algorithm is clever enough to handle alternatives. Sep 29 '09 at 17:51
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    it's important to have a standard tags, but for the body of a post, doesn't matter so much. Sep 29 '09 at 18:57
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    "It is not acceptable to change American to British spellings or British to American"? Why not?
    – Gary S. Weaver
    Sep 29 '09 at 18:57
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    I agree about tags, also if you are using a Color from .NET it should always be Color but that's because it's a typename and not a preference. But I'm strictly talking about anyone who would change the spelling when it is simply sitting in the body of someone's post.
    – devinb
    Sep 29 '09 at 18:58
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    When spelling is changed in the body of the post, there is an implication that the original spelling is incorrect. When it's not a keyword, both British and American spellings are correct - there are plenty of dictionaries to support either spelling.
    – pavium
    Sep 29 '09 at 21:10
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    Now that we have tag synonyms, I'm on board with this. Have a completely unnecessary -- except that it gets you to the brink of [Populist] -- upvote.
    – Pops
    Aug 17 '10 at 14:51
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    It doesn't seem possible to correct between American and British spelling? I tried to change "someones" to "someone's" but was presented with "Edits must be at least 6 characters"! Meaning that the odd extra "u" or an "s" in place of "z" should be safe unless they appear more than half a dozen times. ;)
    – Michael
    Mar 11 '11 at 16:58
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    @Mikaveli if you have enough rep you can do those sorts of edits.
    – Pureferret
    Jan 5 '12 at 17:40
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    Is there an easy way to tell a contributor who edits many things for spelling and grammer[sic] to stop "fixing" British spellings?
    – Eris
    Aug 9 '15 at 23:57
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    @Eris like this guy..
    – geotheory
    Nov 23 '15 at 14:07
  • What about things like brackets (British) != brackets [US]...stackoverflow.com/a/5332421/106092 Jan 30 '17 at 11:11
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    @Martin Words that could be ambiguous should always be clarified. So the edit that changed "brackets" to "parentheses" is good, though "round brackets" would also work. If we were talking about square brackets, it'd be a bit more complicated since most programming languages use American terminology so just call them "brackets", but that could be confusing to Brits.
    – wjandrea
    Oct 12 at 4:01
  • From Bracket: "Specific forms of the mark include rounded brackets (also called parentheses), square brackets, curly brackets (also called braces), and angle brackets (also called chevrons) ... In most English-speaking countries, an unqualified 'bracket' refers to the round bracket; in the United States, the square bracket." Oct 17 at 11:34
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Whou cares? If it's nout spelled wroung by a standard, leave it aloune. If it's spelled "faveurt", then fix it tou whichever spelling you prefer.

If anyoune gets tied up intou a knout about the spelling of wourds like this, youu can tell me and I'll schououl them at TF2. If TF2 is unavailable I am quite capable of schououling in a wide variety of activities, such as using the louou, riding the lift tou my flat, our standing oun the kerb and inspecting a car's tyres.

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    Surely if you don't have an accepted standard you'll get into editing cycles where it gets changed back and forth between the two. I originally noticed that the question had been changed once already because I instinctively went to correct it to favourite. Sep 29 '09 at 17:51
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    I'm saying don't get into edit cycles. It's not worth it. Let the sillywhistles who would edit those things do what they want. Report them and let them get banned for it.
    – Welbog
    Sep 29 '09 at 17:52
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    FYI: I am Welboug nouw.
    – Welbog
    Sep 29 '09 at 17:55
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    You should go old english. I cast my vote for "Ye Olde Wellebouge". Sep 29 '09 at 23:48
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    I hate this answer and love it at the same time.
    – byxor
    Dec 9 '16 at 6:57
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Both spellings are correct, for some definition of "correct". So I say let it go. No need to get into edit wars over correctly spelled words.

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    Well both the -ise and -ize suffixes are accepted in British English. Sep 29 '09 at 22:54
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    @Disgruntled - this is demonstrably not true, however a British audience will tolerate US spelling where a US audience will not tolerate British spelling, essentially a factor of US cultural and in particular software exports over the last however many years.
    – bananakata
    Sep 30 '09 at 6:08
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    @bananakata: the OED approves -ize, even if the British public generally do not. Aug 31 '10 at 15:53
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    @bananakata: pernicious nonsense. In a US audience, 90% won't even know what the correct US spelling is. And the other 10% are also the ones who watch BBC shows, so they'll be cool with it. Mar 13 '11 at 3:01

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