I often see misspelled words in titles and bodies of questions, only to see them spelled properly in the tags. I have to imagine that tags are always spelled right because it's hard to type arbitrary text into the tag box. I also have to imagine that sometimes autocorrect and spellcheck provided by browsers tend to turn programming terms and package names into English words. For example, see https://stackoverflow.com/search?q=magneto

Would it be possible to have some sort of spellchecker that compares text of titles (and maybe bodies) to known tags and offers some sort of correction (maybe red squiggles or something) when there's some statistical probability of a misspelling?

Since this would be using a site's tags, "magneto" would get corrected to "magento" on SO, while "magento" would get corrected to "magneto" on aviation.stackexchange.com.

In theory this could reduce a lot of stupid typos and prevent trivial edits just to fix the spelling of key words.

Note that this is not solving a problem that a user's browser can already solve because browsers ship with English dictionaries, not dictionaries of programming terms. In fact, it's potentially correcting a problem created by the browser (which might have already autocorrected "magento" to "magneto").


I think this is not a goodidea. Tags are limited, and not everyone has even the 'rights' to add tags, so it is easy and understandable what happens there.

If you start doing this in text, I think it will get complicated. It will get an "MS Word" feel to it, the system starts doing stuff to your text you did not do.

Especially on the stackoverflow crowd this would be greeted with annoyance I think.

(Maybe if you would add some sort of Icon or character popup to the changes, like staple.. no, a paperclip!, then people would start to love the feature... :D)

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  • Can't it just be made turn-off-able so that people who are annoyed by it can never be bothered again? – Gabe Mar 18 '11 at 9:26
  • It could be, but (sorry for this) already in place browser checks, and the general feeling I have that this is not only unexpected for a site like this, but also unwanted by most, it would not be something people woudl intuitively do something about. So if it's default OFF, nobody would use it, if it's default ON it would not matter that you could turn it off, as no-one understands the situation. I'm not saying it wouldn't be better if spelling is improved, I just don't think this will be helpfull... – Nanne Mar 18 '11 at 9:28

It's not really worth it. If you look at some of the questions asked on the Stack Exchange sites, you'll see that a lot of people don't even use the damn spell checkers built into the browser. I doubt they'd use a context aware spell checker that would probably take quite a while to create and would piss of most users.

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  • Don't think of it as a spell checker, then. Think of it as autocomplete for titles. – Gabe Mar 18 '11 at 9:29
  • @Gabe the problem remains the same: You can't force it upon them (There may well be a product named "Magneto"), and if you keep it voluntary, what @alex says applies. – Pekka Mar 18 '11 at 11:44

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