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TLDR

While editing questions, is there any problem if I change the spelling of words in American English to British English unknowingly (as suggested by my computer)?

The long version

I am an Indian and my system language is set to Indian English.

There are lots of differences in spelling between American English and Indian English (Indians use British English).

Well, some examples are here from Oxford Dictionary


  • centre <=> center
  • fibre <=> fiber
  • litre <=> liter
  • theatre <=> theater
  • colour <=> color
  • flavour <=> flavor
  • humour <=> humor
  • labour <=> labor
  • neighbour <=> neighbor
  • analyse <=> analyze
  • breathalyse <=> breathalyze
  • paralyse <=> paralyze

While editing questions, The American English words are highlighted by a red color indicating there is a typo.

Enter image description here

But actually it is not a typo and for some words, I know it is American English. But some words, I don't know whether it is a typo or an American English word.

If the highlight is inside a code block, I leave it as it is.

But in other places, sometimes I correct it by doing

Enter image description here

Is there a problem in doing so? If I doubt a word whether it is a typo or is a local version of English, what should I do? Correct it or leave as it is? What is the official statement of SE about this?

marked as duplicate by gnat, Glorfindel, Shadow The Princess Wizard support Jul 13 '17 at 13:16

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  • 3
    When in doubt, leave the OP's own words in his mouth. The risk of letting a few actual spelling errors go by is so low as to be negligible. The risk of putting words in someone's mouth when doesn't want there is high. – Dan Bron Jul 13 '17 at 12:18
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    see also this list to do the needful – gnat Jul 13 '17 at 12:44
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    Thanks @gnat for the list and the dupe is too old and that's why I can't find that on search I believe. – Optimus Prime Jul 13 '17 at 12:45
  • I found that question in a search last week. I used it in a question on a child meta. – Catija Jul 13 '17 at 13:17
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While editing questions, is there any problem if I change spelling of words in American English to British English unknowingly

Yes, there is a problem.

Don't do such things. Unless you have a compelling reason and can explain how the spelling you have chosen is the universally globally accepted correct one.

Which of course you can't. So don't.


Scenario:

You make those changes. Then I come in to edit, using my dictionary. Guess what? I now see a lot of spelling mistakes that you introduced. So I revert them.

Then you come in to edit...

  • So which is the official language of SE? US or UK or International english? – Optimus Prime Jul 13 '17 at 12:19
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    Why do we need an official dialect? What problem would that possibly solve? – Oded Jul 13 '17 at 12:20
  • That will be good so we don't have to trust out system auto correction anymore – Optimus Prime Jul 13 '17 at 12:21
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    That is your problem. Not an SE or language problem. Don't do autocorrections on other peoples posts. – Oded Jul 13 '17 at 12:22
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    We have a global audience. Which uses both British and American spellings of words - this is OK. – Oded Jul 13 '17 at 12:23
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    Ok. thanks for the info. I think I did a few. I mean very few. Will take care in future. – Optimus Prime Jul 13 '17 at 12:24

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