homepage Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 54.211.213.10
register, free tools, login, search, pro membership, help, library, announcements, recent posts, open posts,
Become a Pro Member
Home / Forums Index / WebmasterWorld / Content, Writing and Copyright
Forum Library, Charter, Moderators: not2easy

Content, Writing and Copyright Forum

    
Correcting Spelling of User Submissions
robzilla




msg:3260213
 1:37 pm on Feb 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

Soon I will be introducing a new section to one of my websites (not a blog) where visitors can submit comments on the information displayed on a page. As these comments will add a lot of extra value to the page, I will be manually reviewing them to filter out all the spam and inappropriate comments.

As I would like the pages to uphold a certain level of quality and readability, I am a bit worried about spelling and grammar errors that will appear in the submitted comments. I know from experience that a lot of people simply can not (be bothered) to spell correctly. Spelling and grammar errors, strange punctuation, and don't even get me started on all-caps writing.

Correcting such errors would, in my opinion, keep the pages clean and professional, but on the other hand it might be insulting to the person who submitted the comment.

I would appreciate some feedback on this.

Would it be wrong to correct the writing of submitted comments in an effort to uphold quality/readability?

 

jimbeetle




msg:3260334
 2:58 pm on Feb 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

While a clean and professional look is great, you might actually wind up doing a disservice to your users. It's possible that in editing a comment you might change a nuanced meaning or expression. For readers, a poster's writing style goes a long way to ascribing credibility. Plus, it would just be a heck of a lot of work.

One of the most important things to consider is that user-generated content captures the same real-world flubs such as typos, word order, grammar, alternate terms, that wind up as search queries. This can be invaluable for driving traffic and giving you a very good insight as to how folks actually search.

I'd say just take care of the most egregious problems and let the others stand as is.

kneoteric_V




msg:3262390
 5:49 am on Feb 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

"I'd say just take care of the most egregious problems and let the others stand as is."

Perfect... My thoughts are inline with yours.

While professional looks are good to merchandise, they eventually lose their essence while editing. Choose an optimal strategy.

appi2




msg:3262452
 7:49 am on Feb 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

Tha should be alreet, wunt bova me but if tha wants t try. Av a go. Thas gonna have a lot t do tho.

However, I would be offended by those who assume that someone who doesn't have high standards of grammar and spelling, is not worth listening to.

By the way

... strange punctuation, and don't even ...

Cough comma :p
"BEWARE!
Always make sure you use and to separate the last two items in your list.
Make sure that you don't use a comma before the word and at the end of your list."

[bbc.co.uk...]

Annoying int it?

robzilla




msg:3262588
 12:03 pm on Feb 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

Good points, thank you. I think I may have been too occupied with the perfecting of my pages, so I had not yet considered the value of "real-world flubs" for search traffic, for example.

English is my second language, so I make mistakes too. Trying to correct every tiny detail of spelling or grammar, for which I have no desire, would probably just make me a hypocrite. I'll have to look at the submissions on a case-by-case basis and, as jimbeetle said, just take care of the more flagrant ones.

DamonHD




msg:3262600
 12:57 pm on Feb 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

Hi,

I used to edit a semi-glossy high-end tech journal/traderag (actually printed on paper and posted as this was >10 years ago), probably read by at least some of the most senior execs and techs in computing, and I was tempted to over-edit submissions, especially since some of my best factual info came from people who apparently managed to miss all their English lessons at school without being rumbled (or had English as a second language to be fair!).

My policy in the end was to fix definite horrible spelling errors and grammar that was too twisted to understand, try to talk to the author of the text about those and any more grey issues, and leave the rest as-is as far as possible.

But proper editing is still hard work (and can even leave you open to some extra legal problems such as having deemed acceptable/true what you *don't* change), and the same rules may well not be best on-line where mispelingz can attract unique traffic. (One of my highest-traffic pages is from just such a typo.)

Rgds

Damon

Beagle




msg:3263267
 3:46 pm on Feb 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

"BEWARE!
Always make sure you use and to separate the last two items in your list.
Make sure that you don't use a comma before the word and at the end of your list."

Well... seems to me that "and don't get me started on..." is really the final item in the list (with a little style added), so if the Oxford comma is in your stylebook (as it is at my day job) a comma after "punctuation" would be all right (but not alright ;) ). ETA after re-reading this paragraph: And you really want to avoid using too many parentheses (although when I write as I talk I have a hard time doing that ;) .)

I was going to add the legal caveat, but DamonHD beat me to it. If you start claiming the right to edit posts, you're more likely to be held accountable for what's in them.

[edited by: Beagle at 3:50 pm (utc) on Feb. 25, 2007]

robzilla




msg:3263280
 3:59 pm on Feb 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

If you start claiming the right to edit posts, you're more likely to be held accountable for what's in them.

What if we do not edit them, but we do (claim to) review them before publishing them?

appi2




msg:3263301
 4:39 pm on Feb 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

Another little thing to be aware of. Different people explain things in different ways. What one person types may be unclear to you but make perfect sense to the next person. As an example I have no idea what Beagle is saying but I'm sure it makes sense to someone else :P

Also...

Simple punctuation errors/confusion can be scary The case of the million-dollar comma [out-law.com]

What if you edit some ones post by adding/subtracting a comma and that changes the point of the comment. Will you be held responsible?

Beagle




msg:3263708
 2:03 am on Feb 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

What, appi2 - you mean you don't tend to interrupt yourself several times while making a simple statement? 8-D

Just sayin' - Some people do insert a comma before the final item in a list; in the office where I work, we do. For some reason that escapes me, this is called the "Oxford comma."

And, of course, alright is never all right. ;)

------On the question at hand, I have seen some newspapers and magazines run notices saying that they edit letters to the editor for spelling and grammar. Could a statement like that be used without taking on too much responsibility for what's said?

appi2




msg:3263849
 6:48 am on Feb 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

What, appi2 - you mean you don't tend to interrupt yourself several times while making a simple statement? 8-D

eh? what? probably dunno. Is she/he talking about about me. Brain hurty.

And, of course, alright is never all right. ;)

Yes understand the correct spelling is all right. Are you referring to 'alreet'? Which was my attempt at writing how 'one' speaks in this part of the land. If so then, erm.. well done!

Not trolling flaming or anything beagle. I didn't quite get what you meant. Your second post about 'oxford commas' makes things clearer (for me).

You will win in any grammar spelling punctuation battle against me. As I wasn't educated in the 'correct way' (Oxford get out clauses or otherwize).

Global Options:
 top home search open messages active posts  
 

Home / Forums Index / WebmasterWorld / Content, Writing and Copyright
rss feed

All trademarks and copyrights held by respective owners. Member comments are owned by the poster.
Home ¦ Free Tools ¦ Terms of Service ¦ Privacy Policy ¦ Report Problem ¦ About ¦ Library ¦ Newsletter
WebmasterWorld is a Developer Shed Community owned by Jim Boykin.
© Webmaster World 1996-2014 all rights reserved