correcting users' errors

User With No Name

Senior Member
English (U.S. - Texas)
How about some informal guidance about when to correct users' errors (especially when they are writing in a foreign language)?

I'm referring to errors in posts in general, not about errors in the specific word or phrase under discussion.

I've always appreciated comments made in the spirit of "Here is my answer to your question. Oh, and by the way, in another part of your post, you wrote ...., while we usually say....."

But lately, I have noticed a good number of replies that don't address the original question, but only criticize other aspects of the post. (And no, I'm not referring to any of my own posts.)

Comments like that rub me the wrong way, in addition to being off-topic. In any case, they should be communicated by private message. I think it might be helpful for moderators to take the opportunity to address the issue a little more frequently.

Thanks.
 
  • DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    One thing which I will say infuriates me is the habit some members are in of using strike-throughs within a quote to "correct" the way the OP has asked the question.

    I don't usually mind incidental 'tips' on, for instance, making something more idiomatic along the lines you've mentioned, but no post should consist solely of off-topic comments which don't answer the question, especially not criticisms of the way it was asked.

    You can if you want contact the member by conversation for the type of thing, but you do run the risk of them taking it the wrong way and interpreting it as interference rather than help, so I can understand that people might prefer not to do that. But please feel totally free to report anything where it looks as if we can usefully intervene. :)
     

    Peterdg

    Senior Member
    Dutch - Belgium
    One thing which I will say infuriates me is the habit some members are in of using strike-throughs within a quote to "correct" the way the OP has asked the question.
    Hmm.

    I'm usually active in the Spanish forums. What you are describing, does not usually happen when a non native speaker is asking a question or is answering and makes some mistake, but it does happen regularly when a native speaker blatantly violates rule 11.
    11 Use accepted written forms.
    This is a dictionary forum, where students come to learn: correct capitalization, grammar, spelling and punctuation are mandatory.
    Except as a topic of discussion, chatspeak and SMS style are not acceptable, nor is writing in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS.

    It is also a pretty common that a moderator makes the changes in the original post (which is something that a normal user cannot do).

    I only do this as a kind of counter measure (I have a bad character, I know:() when some native Spanish speaker basically tells me to shut up because I'm not a native speaker.
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    I'm usually active in the Spanish forums. What you are describing, does not usually happen when a non native speaker is asking a question or is answering and makes some mistake, but it does happen regularly when a native speaker blatantly violates rule 11.

    It is also a pretty common that a moderator makes the changes in the original post (which is something that a normal user cannot do).

    I only do this as a kind of counter measure (I have a bad character, I know:() when some native Spanish speaker basically tells me to shut up because I'm not a native speaker.
    I can't really comment on what goes on in the Spanish forums or how their moderators deal with it.

    But quite a bit of what I've seen in English Only (excessive nitpicking by other members over the phrasing of questions) comes close in my opinion to violating Rule 7:
    "If someone's Spanish, English, (or other language) isn't perfect, don't treat him/her badly."
     
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