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talljasperman's avatar

Would if be better if the Mod's can Fix the minor errors (like spelling) without pulling the whole question?

Asked by talljasperman (21822points) May 12th, 2010

When I get Modded I usualy get suggestions on how to improve the question… would not it be better if the mods could fix the questions instead of waiting for the question to be processed by the user…several hours later

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37 Answers

Allie's avatar

I’ve actually thought about this. On one hand, I think it would be, because then it wouldn’t take so long for the question to go back up. On the other hand, I wonder if people would bother to make sure their questions have proper spelling and are grammatically correct, or if they would just think, “Oh well, the mods will fix it.” I don’t want to have to be a grammar/spelling teacher for the majority of Fluther.
If someone doesn’t know the correct spelling one time, chances are they aren’t going to know it next time they ask a question. Maybe it’s better to send it back to them with the errors and tell them what they are so that they know for next time. Maybe it was just a quick typing mistake and I should just fix it for them. Who knows? All I know is that I don’t want to spend my time making sure spelling/grammar errors are corrected and let a stupid relationship question stay on the site for an hour.
Edit: This is more my personal mod opinion, not one of all mods. Or maybe it is, I don’t know, but I’ll let them speak for themselves.

Response moderated
Lightlyseared's avatar

No. People have to learn to check there spelling.
Yeah I know. Pot. Kettle.Black

Response moderated
Response moderated
EmpressPixie's avatar

[mod says:] off topic comments removed

Dog's avatar

In addition to what @Allie mentioned I brought this up in chat and found that some users were upset by the thought of another person altering their words- even a minor typo.
To them it was a breech of trust or censorship which I can totally see and now agree with.

Response moderated
Berserker's avatar

It may just be me, but a lot of people would probably be insulted at having their work corrected like as if they were in grade three. If the user doesn’t fix it and the question never reappears, well so be it.

And sometimes it’s a little more complicated maybe…I wrote a question with the word ’‘eerie’’ in it once, which means creepy, but I guess it’s not in the dictionary or I just spelled it wrong…but if it’s not a legit word, then the mods may not have known what I was trying to say and therefore couldn’t really fix it anyways, despite the nature of said exemplary question being obvious.

Anyways I see a lot of spelling mistakes in some questions which don’t get fixed, so I’m guessing maybe it gets pulled to avoid confusion with gnarled up words, rather than people caring about stuff like your and you’re.
Granted the issue of confusion still applies to your idea, but for the sake of convenience I guess I’ll just say that it might very well be not to piss people off, and to make sure they say what they wanna say, exactly.

chels's avatar

No. It’s your question, you fix it. The mods already have enough to do. Plus, what if they don’t know what you mean and reword your question wrong? No bueño.

RareDenver's avatar

Not a good idea to ask Mods to re-write questions, this is not George Orwell’s 1984.

Buttonstc's avatar

When a Q is pulled for several hours or disappears altogether, the original asker is NOT THE ONLY person inconvenienced.

Everyone who took the time to answer is also affected since they invested time and energy into it.

As long as the edit is clearly identified (parenthetically or otherwise) as being from a mod, I don’t see the problem.

Anyone who complains about their spelling or grammar being altered, can just buck up and take the time and effort to frame a Q properly to begin with.

As long as it’s properly identified as such, I think THAT is far far LESS disruptive to the flow and spontaneity of the site and the people interacting with that Q. Taking it totally out of commission is a pretty heavy handed way of dealing with a pretty minor problem, IMHO.

For those mods who are averse to this idea, I’ve previously mentioned an alternative.

This would necessitate some coding changes but it may well be worthwhile for situations exactly like this.

If the edit time were temporarily extended and a PM sent by a mod to the OP to correct the error, this would be far far less disruptive to everything and everybody. This way the Q could remain until the proper change was made and the person could correct their own post rather than the mod having to do it.

If the PM were ignored or a timely correction not made, THEN the Q could be pulled. But this would be done as a last resort NOT as the automatic yanking that is now so disruptive and annoying to a lot of people.

There has to be a better way to deal with minor errors like this.

I’m finding myself responding to new Q less and less as there really is no consistency in which ones get pulled and which ones stay. It’s all over the place and impossible to guess at. So I don’t bother trying anymore.

Kayak8's avatar

@Lightlyseared OK, I laughed out loud at your response above . . .

Mods don’t make enough money to get saddled with being editors on top of their other responsibilities.

People do learn about spelling if they have to correct things themselves. I would always ask my mom how to spell a word and she would always say, “look it up” to which I would reply “How can I look it up if I can’t spell it” and she would help me start to sound it out. I am a decent speller as a result of her requirement that I learn how to look up the spelling of words if I am going to use them.

Dog's avatar

Like @Allie I am not interested in editing questions for others.
@Kayak8 Thanks! Our pay is not nearly high enough to take on editing. Wait? We get paid? ;)

chels's avatar

@Buttonstc hai dis iz not a minur eror k?? i dun wnt to reed shit lyk dis k? spelin is improtint. pepul juz need to lern to spel.

Buttonstc's avatar


So why has there been a question sitting in General for more than TWO HOURS asking about “Sims Life SORIES” (sic) and several days ago a perfectly well crafted and thoughtful Q by Wundayatta yanked in less than 15 mins simply because he didn’t include the number 12 in his question about advice on working the steps and typical conversations with a sponsor or mentor ?

THAT’S what I’m talking about when I reference total inconsistency.

If W’s question was the slightest bit confusing in and of itself, a simple reading of the details cleared it up immediately. All anyone had to do was click through to read it.

It was crystal clear he wasn’t referencing aerobic exercises yet that thoughtful Q was out of commission for over 3½ hours and was off the main page when it finally returned and never regained the traction it could have had if just left alone.

And yet “Sories” (sic) remains for over two hours on the front page just because it’s in General ?

If the contrast between those two situations makes any sense at all, please be sure to let me know :)

shilolo's avatar

@Buttonstc Mods are not internet robots. What you describe are essentially statistical variation in either response time to a flag, or self-identification time. Nonetheless, when we respond instantly, people complain, take too long, ditto (and all this in the last 2 days). So, what would you have us do? Is the sweet spot 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 1 hour ± 5 quips, ±10 quips, ±20 quips? Do you think we enjoy removing questions for editing and do it for sport? Look at the animosity we face as a consequence.

YARNLADY's avatar

Yes, I would like that. One of my questions need a couple of e’s and after it was returned to me for editing, it vanished.

Buttonstc's avatar

Of course I know that you don’t do it for sport.

And my primary complaint is not necessarily about the mods but rather the constraints imosed by the system in which you have to work.

There is no ability to treat different infractions with a different degree of severity. Everything gets the ax regardless of how egregious or minor the infraction.

It is tremendously disruptive when Qs get yanked and I think this needs a serious overhaul and soon.

I’ve also tried to come up with potential solutions (which I’ve detailed in other responses on this issue) rather than just complaining for it’s own sake.

Because I can’t figure out what criteria are used for when and why Qs get yanked, I’ve just given up on dealing with new Qs altogether until this gets sorted out in some way.

I am certainly not the only person frustrated with how many Qs get yanked for apparently inconsistent reasons.

Seaofclouds's avatar

The only way to stop questions from being yanked is for them to be posted correctly the first time. The only way to 100% ensure that questions are posted correctly the first time would be for questions to be approved before being posted. I really doubt anyone on fluther wants to have to wait for their question to be approved before it gets posted.

Jeruba's avatar

No. You can’t make substantive corrections or even a lot of minor ones without inferring intent. Mods should not be interpreting people’s posts.

Also there’s the matter of where to stop. I mean, we could make BoBo1946 sound like gailcalled, but should we?

And finally, speaking here from more than 30 years in the editing biz, I believe that the cardinal sin of the editor is to introduce error where there was none. Unless all our mods are certifiable experts in grammar, punctuation, spelling, syntax, style, etc., etc., including the forms appropriate to the culture of the poster, they shouldn’t risk saddling someone with an error of their own. I would not appreciate having my “different froms” changed to “different thans” by anyone.

I do agree that a question that has been pulled for editing ought to go back to the top of the stack when it’s released. It could be argued that it’s not the same question any more; the old one has, in effect, been deleted and a new one composed.

Buttonstc's avatar


This may not make sense to a whole lot of other people, but I can definitely concur with your reluctance to having your “different from” changed to “different than” since the first alternative is the correct one.


I remember an English teacher of mine in Jr. High correcting that on something of mine and actually take the time to thoroughly explain WHY it’s “different from” and even tho I can’t remember the explanation well enough to repeat it logically, “from” is indelibly stamped upon my brain forevermore.

I encounter it in writings and speech all the time. Funny.

Anyhow, I appreciate the point you make and it certainly isn’t an ideal solution for mods to do this.

But as an alternative to the current system, I think it would be far less disruptive.

But in an ideal world my vote would be for having a user make their own corrections and being more flexible with edit times (either individually or generally) to enable this to happen without the drastic removal of Qs for truly minor things.

Since I know next to nothing about computer coding I don’t know how to best accomplish this. But common sense tells me it probably isn’t that horrendously difficult.

But failing that, your other point about returning the Q to the top is quite valid.

But Trillian (and I imagine others as well) have suggested the same and received zero responsefrom the powers that be.

I’m not saying it has to be implemented immediately, but at least some acknowledgement or statement of why it can’t be done would certainly be appreciated by Trillian and others.

But as for me, I’ve put in my two cents worth and will just wait to see if anything gets done about it at some point in the future.

But I’m definitely not planning to waste any energy on new Qs. I’m just tired of the whole thing for now.

shilolo's avatar

@Buttonstc Perhaps the reasons the Qs are returned simply appear inconsistent to you, but in reality, they are pulled precisely because the mods are being consistent. If the rules aren’t applied consistently, then a slippery slope ensues, and then people complain “this one wasn’t pulled, that one was, what gives?” Oh, wait, that happens all the time anyway.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

In defense of the moderators (wow, there’s a first, I guess): No. They shouldn’t be in the position of making writers look better than they are. It’s an unpaid position, and I’m sure it’s enough of a pain in the ass as it is sometimes.

Maybe something that would make sense would be a software-driven grammar checker for Q, which would prevent posting of the final version posted by the questioner if it can’t pass a simple grammar check. (On the other hand, some of the worst Qs are the most fun to answer, too.)

Jeruba's avatar

@CyanoticWasp, oh, no, not that! Software grammar checkers are worthless. Automatic formatting overrides are bad enough. Blind application of arbitrarily interpreted rules without subtlety, nuance, or leeway for idiosyncratic expression? No way. A grammar checker would not allow me to say what I just said.

shilolo's avatar

@CyanoticWasp Most browsers now come with a spell-checker built into the software (Firefox and Safari both do). The problem lies with the users not paying much attention to spelling and grammar.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@Jeruba & @shilolo I agree that there should be (would have to be) an “override” feature. But so many people are so blithely unaware of even the simplest sentence construction that a checker (even if it had a “damn the grammar, full speed ahead” option) would be better than nothing, and better than asking mods to do it and better than what we have now.

Jeruba's avatar

As you may know, @CyanoticWasp, I am a dauntless crusader for good old-fashioned grammar in my professional life, and although I do try not to pick on people’s mistakes here, I feel something like physical pain over many of the posts I read. Even so, I would not want to see such a thing automated in this environment. Be they ever so humble, voice and expression are more important than schoolbook accuracy.

Of course, I think sense and intelligibility are more important than voice and expression. I would love to see a sense checker at work.

Tomfafa's avatar

OY!! You guys are starting to sound like upper west side elitists… which, I must confess, is better than the alternative. Still…

Trillian's avatar

It’s a shame that one would be thought of as an “elitist” simply because the greater percentage of people can’t be troubled to spell or punctuate properly.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@Tomfafa I can’t imagine that I’d ever be associated with the upper west side… I’m more of a Down East kinda guy.

Jeruba's avatar

And I just write the way I write, not trying to sound like anybody.

Tomfafa's avatar

What I mean is this… I am a poor speller, with lousy sentence structure, BUT, I am human! I wanna be loved!

Response moderated
YARNLADY's avatar

@Tomfafa spell check is your friend

Tomfafa's avatar

@YARNLADY Spell check is two or three more keystrokes… ARHH, I have already moved on to something else. Second and third sentences are already a challange to me!

talljasperman's avatar

@all but without errors to fix I can’t get more (Deleted by user) Awards

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