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Community Building and User Generated Content Forum

    
Members with poor writing skills
What to do with them?
jmorgan




msg:4273675
 1:34 am on Feb 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

My site has been attracting a few members with some really poor writing skills lately. I've been driven up the wall regularly trying to edit their posts to correct their grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc.

How do I deal with them? I really don't like having contributions written with sub-standard English on my site.

 

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:4274594
 2:36 pm on Mar 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

That all depends on your website and its purpose?

vordmeister




msg:4274660
 4:19 pm on Mar 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

I've been known to message members saying I find their posts a bit difficult to understand due to the spelling, mention how fabulous spell checkers are, and send them a link to download them.

The response from members is generally very positive.

Samizdata




msg:4274667
 4:28 pm on Mar 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

I really don't like having contributions written with sub-standard English on my site

I'm afraid you will have to accept that as part and parcel of User Generated Content.

The only real solution is not to allow any.

I have been known to make spelling and grammatical errors on WebmasterWorld and I am always suitably embarrassed when I notice them, but the reality is that most people simply don't care.

...

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:4274715
 4:59 pm on Mar 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

Are we talking about a forum here?

martinibuster




msg:4274716
 4:59 pm on Mar 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

Their writing skills reflect the percentage of the total population that is likely to visit your site and is typing the same spelling mistakes into the Google search box. A solution may not be necessary. Misspellings are a kind of solution. Misspellings are part of the beauty of UGC, they are generally a positive aspect of a community, not a negative.

For example, for all the visitors you desire for the keyword phrase, Buck Naked, there are others out there typing in Butt Naked. UGC misspellings is the system working for you to naturally express all the possible ways people can find your community.

I see this in my log files every day. I'm fine with it because this is how those likely to visit my site spell in "there werld".

rogerd




msg:4277271
 10:21 pm on Mar 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

Excellent point, martinibuster. While Google is gradually reducing the number of incorrectly spelled keywords, at the moment users are creating many possible variations.

piatkow




msg:4283028
 3:26 pm on Mar 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

While Google is gradually reducing the number of incorrectly spelled keywords

alternative rather than incorrect. I recently gave up on one search on an unusual spelling of a name as G insisted on "correcting" me and swamping the serps with results for some z list so called celeb with the common spelling.

Asia_Expat




msg:4304187
 4:18 pm on Apr 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

It infuriates me too. It never ceases to amaze me how many people write huge posts without a single stop, comma, capital letter, or line break. It's far too time consuming to edit every post, so I just let it go, although recently, there was one member who's English was so bad, and he was so stubborn in his refusal to use a spell checker (all the regular members were complaining to him), I just banned him. His posts were just gibberish garbage.

Equally frustrating for me is pointless quotes (i.e. quoting in full, the immediately preceding post, only to respond with an emoticon). I always edit those.

lucy24




msg:4304498
 11:34 pm on Apr 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

there was one member who's English was so bad

Don't correct the errors. It gives others a hearty laugh.

"Pointless quotes" is a different issue. Some Forums members don't understand that you can edit the contents of a quote. In most Forums, "quote" is just another formatting shortcut; it doesn't create a connection to the original post. Everyone has seen threads in Other Forums where someone edited their own post, while a subsequent post "quoting" the original is unchanged. If the quotes are ridiculously long, it may be worth the trouble to edit it yourself (saves bandwidth for all your users) and/or have a talk with the quoter.

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