9

I recently made some extensive corrections to an answer (catpnosis's here), purely to improve the English and to make it easier to read and understand. The author was clearly not a native speaker, but the answer appeared important enough to be worth the effort. So I was doing it as a small "service" to the author and the group as a whole.

However, after doing it I realized I might be offending the author. I'd seen yuttadhammo doing similar edits, but his were always very minor. My changes, on the other hand, were extensive.

Given that the site language is English but, given the subject, we are likely to have lots of non-native-English speakers, the scope for such "gardening" is going to be extensive. Any thoughts on whether it is to be encouraged or not? If this were a public Wiki, like Wikipedia, clearly gardening is an important part of the culture. What about SE?

P.S. The OP did revert some of my changes (re-violating idiom again but maybe because I'd fudged the meaning) but left most of them. However, I don't want to assume that means it's OK to do this in general.

  • 5
    The general consensus at SE is that this is okay, and even encouraged (see, e.g. Meta Stack Exchange: meta.stackexchange.com/q/16276/224428). We want the information here to be useful to as many people as possible, and to that end, it makes sense to edit everything into some flavor of standard English. – senshin Jun 24 '14 at 2:15
  • Thanks senshin. – tkp Jun 24 '14 at 14:18
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    @senshin Can you post your 'answer' below? Thanks. – Robert Cartaino Jun 24 '14 at 16:37
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    @Tommy Big thanks for the edit. I changed one sentence back to emphasize some point. – catpnosis Jun 28 '14 at 18:54
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The general consensus at SE is that this is okay, and even encouraged (see, e.g. Meta.SE: Is it acceptable to edit broken English?). We want the information here to be useful to as many people as possible, and to that end, it makes sense to edit everything into some flavor of standard English.

3

I think it is a good idea to edit for spelling and grammar. Native English speakers make mistakes as well. But I do think it is important to account for the writer's style and cadence. I recently had one of my answers edited(What is the Pure Land?), and although I agreed with most of the changes, I reverted back some of the corrections.

For example, I changed "Pureland" back to "pureland" because in English speaking Mahayana, the convention that I am aware of that when referring to "turning this world into a pureland", "pureland" has a lowercase "p". Others had to do with my message's natural cadence. There could be conventions that an editor is not aware of, so the original writer's rebuttal should be taken into account as well.

3

From the perspective of someone who's post has been corrected with regard to spelling and grammar, I didn't mind. It feels a little bit like a reprimand, but a fair and necessary one. I'm not a native English speaker and therefore I need to be mindful of my spelling. When I slip up I would rather have my post be corrected than having a bad post.

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    I am a native speaker and still get my stuff corrected, so don't let it bother you too much :-) I'm just glad we're not using Pali as the group language. – tkp Jul 1 '14 at 17:34
1

Sometimes it is difficult for me to proof read my posts, so I appreciate feedback on such things as well.

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I think it is rude. It would be like correcting a persons speech in public. The person may have dyslexia. Asking people is the right thing to do.

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