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Preview - Submit - Spell-check

By Pedro Picasso in Meta
Wed Apr 04, 2001 at 05:51:37 PM EST
Tags: Kuro5hin.org (all tags)

We could use a spell check button right next to [Preview] and [Submit]. Having such a thing would restore youth and promote world peace. It would also do wonders for textual quality and sexual stamina.

Hey, we're not idiots, but we don't have time to put everything we post on every site through a four cycle editing process. We do - on the other hand - get ticked off when we see misspellings.

The other day, I wrote a short letter to a friend of mine. I don't ever use spell-checkers, but I hit the button for it anyway. There were three errors. Three! In a short letter. I don't think I'm really a moron, but I'm starting to realize that when I'm not paying close attention, I tend to misspell things by accident just as much as the people I see on these forums who I had just assumed don't know any better.

So I'm going to be using the spell-checkers from now on, and I figure it would save me time and benefit many if that sort of functionality were wired into Scoop. Just a thought.

Spelling Nazi (v.) - the act of spelling out the word "nazi," usually out loud.


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Would you like an in-Scoop spell-check button?
o No, you evil nazi! 9%
o Maybe. ... you nazi. 14%
o That's a good idea. 24%
o That's a great idea! 32%
o Heck, I'll code one myself. 0%
o What's with calling people nazis all the time? 19%

Votes: 133
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Scoop
o Also by Pedro Picasso

Display: Sort:
Preview - Submit - Spell-check | 70 comments (47 topical, 23 editorial, 0 hidden)
Which colour of spelling? (4.90 / 10) (#2)
by ana on Fri Mar 30, 2001 at 10:07:28 AM EST

Shhh... There's Brits here and they have (ahem) challenged? ideas about what constitutes correct spelling. If they'd just pay attention to Noah Webster we wouldn't be in this mess...

Years go by; will I still be waiting
for somebody else to understand?
--Tori Amos

Queen's English, preferably (5.00 / 9) (#5)
by DoomHaven on Fri Mar 30, 2001 at 10:16:09 AM EST

Shhh... There's Yanks here and they have (ahem) challenged? ideas about what constituties correct spelling, being that for the most part, they were the illiterate masses (or their offspring) the Brits deported 300 years ago. If they'd just pay attention to Merriam, and learned to read, we wouldn't be in this mess...

On the flip side, if a spell checker was to part of the code, a good idea would be that the different flavours (yes, with the "u") of English could be used, to allow the majority of the people who post here the chance to type their variant of English correctly. Even the Americans.

My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
[ Parent ]
I'd like to return to the King James' English (4.50 / 10) (#6)
by Anonymous 242 on Fri Mar 30, 2001 at 10:29:18 AM EST

Oh, the glory of seventeenth century spelling. Spell a word anyway one desires so long as it phonetically comes out right. Proper verb conjugation. Meat and apple as generic terms (food and fruit respectively).

If we'd never had stopped speaking English the right way, the tech slang vocabulary would be so very much more interesting.

But no, modern bland standardized English is hath taken over the English speaking world. The few deviations between British, Australian, American and Canadian English offer but a pale shadow of the variety of the way English was meant to be spoken.

[ Parent ]

Queen's English (4.28 / 7) (#7)
by theboz on Fri Mar 30, 2001 at 10:34:17 AM EST

Since you requested it, I will try to comply since I am such a nice guy.

We....are the champions...my friend...
Thunderbolts and lighting! Very very frightening!
Another one bites the dust (oh yeah!) another one bites the dust!
Mama...didn't mean to make you cry, I sometimes wish I'd never been born at all...
We are immortal! We're the princes of the universe! I have no rival, no man can be my equal! Take me to the future of you all! (Ok, so I have watched Highlander recently.)

Hmmm...I don't think we could have any decent discussions conversing like that. (Yes, I do know what you mean by the Queen's English, but I wanted to have fun with it.)

[ Parent ]

Thanks... (none / 0) (#33)
by DoomHaven on Fri Mar 30, 2001 at 04:46:19 PM EST

I need a good laugh :) Nothing like a good jibe to make a Friday afternoon.

My bleeding edge comes from cutting myself on Occam's Razor.
[ Parent ]
brits and pronunciation (3.50 / 2) (#37)
by Seumas on Fri Mar 30, 2001 at 06:33:11 PM EST

In my experience, the majority of Brits can't pronounce words regardless of spelling. I've never seen people so freely skipping entire vowels and consonants -- or even replacing the vowels in the words with completely seperate vowels. For instance. It's a CAR not a CAH.

Not that I really care. But if you are going to pick on spelling, we may rightfully pick on presentation.
I just read K5 for the articles.
[ Parent ]

Oh dear (none / 0) (#44)
by Miniluv on Sun Apr 01, 2001 at 03:33:54 AM EST

There are so many more examples of wonderful Limey pronunciation than car.

Take, for example, Worcestire. Wooster? I mean, really. That's not at all how it's spelled.

How about Gloucester? Sheesh.

"Its like someone opened my mouth and stuck a fistful of herbs in it." - Tamio Kageyama, Iron Chef 'Battle Eggplant'
[ Parent ]

Ironic (none / 0) (#54)
by Mashx on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 04:01:13 AM EST

That it is in fact spelt Worcester. :)

You see, when you have place names that are perhaps over a thousand years old, contractions tend to occur. It happens in the States but not in the same way: most people know what you mean when you talk about going to el-ay to make a film.

The beauty of British English is that unless you know how something is pronounced, you can never be sure. Worcester, Gloucester, and then Cirencester.

But of course you miss out Edinburgh (Edinbru), Middlesborough (Middlesbru), Greenwich (Grenitch), and all those lovely little villages and towns ending in 'ham', which is of course a contraction of hamlet. Westerham: It's not West-er-ham, it's Westerum.

Just interested how you would pronounce Llanelli? (Clue: It's a Welsh town.)
[ Parent ]

I would rather not. (4.00 / 5) (#15)
by gauntlet on Fri Mar 30, 2001 at 11:56:28 AM EST

I spell English words with the correct spelling. But I think that because K5 is based (physically) in the US, it is reasonable to use a US dictionary for the purposes of spelling. If you don't like it, you have the option of not using it.

The reason I would do this is that I don't think that we really need the hassle of dealing with all the different types of English. My Word 2000 "Set Language" dialog box lists

  • Australia
  • Belize
  • Canada
  • Carribean
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • Phillipines
  • South Africa
  • Trinidad
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Zimbabwe
I wouldn't want to have to support that conglomeration of dictionaries. I'll be perfectly happy to use an incorrect US dictionary, and have the "misspelled" words gently highlighted to remind me that I have not (yet) been assimilated.

Into Canadian Politics?
[ Parent ]

why not? (none / 0) (#67)
by mikpos on Sun Apr 08, 2001 at 11:27:51 AM EST

Presumably there are dictionaries already available for these dialects. Going from one to two takes a bit of work: you have to make a little list and whatnot. Going from two to ten or twenty or forty is no trouble at all: you just need someone to mail you another dictionary file. aspell already ships with British, American and Canadian English I think, which I'm guessing would easily cover the majority.

[ Parent ]
Yeah! (4.66 / 12) (#8)
by ucblockhead on Fri Mar 30, 2001 at 10:41:04 AM EST

Yes, every sense I got my spell checker working, I no that I never mispell any thing. Know on thinks I'm a idiot because ever thing I right is spelled write!
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
Eye ewes a spiel chucker end it works reel good. (none / 0) (#27)
by marlowe on Fri Mar 30, 2001 at 03:08:26 PM EST

Aye thing Avery wan showed use won.

-- The Americans are the Jews of the 21st century. Only we won't go as quietly to the gas chambers. --
[ Parent ]
CPU Overhead (4.42 / 7) (#10)
by lucas on Fri Mar 30, 2001 at 10:58:29 AM EST

I'm curious to see how much more CPU overhead something like that would take. Considering most "community" programs are either running perl/php scripting and some sort of SQL derivative, how much more overhead would be taken up with an outside spell-checking program invoked?

depends on what's involved (none / 0) (#68)
by mikpos on Sun Apr 08, 2001 at 01:59:11 PM EST

If you just want to see if something's spelled right or wrong, then the CPU time is negligible (you're just grepping a list of words). If you want an actual spell-checker, then the CPU time definitely is great. aspell .33.5 on my K6-2 300 checking your post (43 words, 7 "misspelled": perl, php and SQL) took 0.4 seconds on fast mode and 1.9 seconds on normal mode of CPU time. To see how good fast mode is, check this pretty graph. Normal mode would be inbetween fast and bad-spellers for accuracy, I think.

[ Parent ]
GtkSpell (4.80 / 5) (#13)
by Eimi on Fri Mar 30, 2001 at 11:41:07 AM EST

I like the way GtkSpell works (at least I think that's what it's called--it's in GnomeICU and Gabber). As you type, it highlights in red any word it doesn't recognize. I guess what I'm thinking of is integrating the spell checking with the preview--when you go to preview, it automatically colours any words it doesn't recognize. Really simple, easy to use, easy to ignore, cool.

Here, Here. (none / 0) (#66)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Sat Apr 07, 2001 at 02:33:04 AM EST

The red highlight suggestion makes those who care happy, and it does not really effect, much less harm, those that do not care. The makings of a perfect compromise. (I, like others, use another browser and spellsites anyway, the red highlight would actually cut down network traffic.)
I also like the idea of no post button until one preview. However, the two issues are seperate ones. A spell check looks reasonably popular. We can discuss the other in another post or something.

[ Parent ]
My not-so-humble opinion (2.14 / 7) (#16)
by YesNoCancel on Fri Mar 30, 2001 at 11:58:01 AM EST

If someone cannot spell, he or she (or is that "he or her" now?) shouldn't post stories. And those who can spell (but make mistakes anyway - everyone does from time to time) should proof-read before posting.

he or her (2.50 / 4) (#17)
by wiredog on Fri Mar 30, 2001 at 12:05:48 PM EST

If someone cannot spell, he or she (or is that "he or her" now?)

I use "they" for "he or she".

The idea of a global village is wrong, it's more like a gazillion pub bars.
[ Parent ]

yuck (5.00 / 1) (#29)
by Anonymous 242 on Fri Mar 30, 2001 at 03:14:40 PM EST

Mixing singular and plural pronouns makes us want to spew my lunch.

[ Parent ]
ditto, but (1.00 / 1) (#39)
by ODiV on Sat Mar 31, 2001 at 04:09:42 AM EST

I don't like mixing either, but I'm unable to find anything that replaces putting both the male and female pronouns in (and that's just ugly). Usually in writing I just try to avoid the situation. When I'm talking I say "they" most of the time. What do you do?

[ odiv.net ]
[ Parent ]
M$... (none / 0) (#50)
by nstenz on Mon Apr 02, 2001 at 09:33:51 PM EST

Microsoft just uses 'she' in their (its?) security bulletins... It annoys me more than the 'he or she' thing... However, I use 'they', knowing I shouldn't. *shrug*

[ Parent ]
the accepted accademic practice (none / 0) (#52)
by Anonymous 242 on Mon Apr 02, 2001 at 10:55:03 PM EST

The current accepted accademic practice is to alternate use of masculine and feminine pronouns. If you use a she in one illustration, use he in the next.

Personally I just opt for using he or she and suffer the obtusely verbose grammatical consequences.

[ Parent ]

But... (2.00 / 1) (#56)
by pallex on Tue Apr 03, 2001 at 11:28:27 AM EST

..none of that `hir` crap that was vaguely popular a few years ago!

[ Parent ]
My not-so-serious response (3.50 / 2) (#19)
by DesiredUsername on Fri Mar 30, 2001 at 12:11:14 PM EST

If someone cannot decide between "he or she" or "he or her", he or she shouldn't post comments.

Play 囲碁
[ Parent ]
I don't think G. W. Bush would post here (2.00 / 1) (#23)
by YesNoCancel on Fri Mar 30, 2001 at 01:46:13 PM EST

And you, sir, seem to be unable to detect irony.

[ Parent ]
What? (4.60 / 5) (#24)
by communista on Fri Mar 30, 2001 at 01:47:40 PM EST

Ah, yes. The Darwinistic approach to story submission. You know, stupid people shouldn't own computers, and incompetent rednecks shouldn't reproduce, either. One of those "In a perfect world" scenarios, hmm? Until K5 bcomes the Utopia we wish it was, spell check might not be a bad idea. Might save the admins some mindless dirty work.
/me fucks shit up!!!!
[ Parent ]
Re: What? (none / 0) (#26)
by YesNoCancel on Fri Mar 30, 2001 at 02:38:28 PM EST

The Darwinistic approach to story submission.


[ Parent ]

I might believe this reasoning... (5.00 / 1) (#28)
by elenchos on Fri Mar 30, 2001 at 03:09:03 PM EST

...if the quality of the content of the perfectly proof-read submissions was actually better than those submissions with a few errors in them. I would argue that the best authors on K5 don't have the time to do that many revisions before posting, and that the correlation between the quality of ideas and the quality of the presentation is unproven, to say the least. And that K5 is much more harmed by boring and inane submissions than ones with spelling errors.

But if you want to vote with presentation as a criterion, go ahead. If that is what most people want, then they should have it.

[ Parent ]

My belief (3.00 / 1) (#30)
by Anonymous 7324 on Fri Mar 30, 2001 at 04:12:34 PM EST

those who cannot walk, should continue to crawl. Those who can run should run everywhere -- screw wheelchairs and cars, respectively.

[ Parent ]
mefi (4.00 / 1) (#34)
by fvw on Fri Mar 30, 2001 at 06:04:52 PM EST

For an example of this done right, see metafilter..

I disagree (2.66 / 3) (#35)
by GusherJizmac on Fri Mar 30, 2001 at 06:04:59 PM EST

If you want people to take the time to read your post, you should take the time to make sure you've spelled things correctly. It's not that hard. Plus, if you use a word processor for writing, you can grammar check and finally get the your/you're thing right.
<sig> G u s h e r J i z m a c </sig>
Too bad we have to use english (none / 0) (#62)
by physicsgod on Thu Apr 05, 2001 at 12:32:19 AM EST

Which is notorious for its abnomal spelling. For me, since I tend to write more equations than words I don't know how to spell many of the more esoteric words (like drawer and necessary) I just know when they're misspelled. My current solution is to try shotgunning (I know the word has a d, some vowels, and a couple of q's. let's put those together in all their combinations) followed by a quick run to dictionary.com when that doesn't work. maybe that's what we need, a link in the menu below the submission queue that opens a dictionary site in a new window.

The first person to correctly tell me how many words I misspelled in this post gets a cookie. :)

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
Yeah! (3.00 / 1) (#36)
by nurikochan on Fri Mar 30, 2001 at 06:06:52 PM EST

This would be great. I havve problims speling, so most of the time I have GDict open while I'm writing something, looking up words I'm not fully sure about.

But a lot of mistakes get through...

Could a wrapper around (i|a|p)spell server-side work? (Don't know if this is possible.)

Another site (3.00 / 3) (#42)
by pistols on Sat Mar 31, 2001 at 05:24:36 PM EST

Another site I use doesn't display the Post button until you click the Preview button. For me, this is very helpful for proof-reading and spelling.

Lazy. (3.50 / 2) (#46)
by DeadBaby on Sun Apr 01, 2001 at 11:51:29 AM EST

Why even write directly into a forum? Just use your favorite word processor, cut & paste. There are so many positive side effects for writing this way I can't even begin to list them.

Why force the server to spell check when you most likely have a perfectly working spell checker on your computer already?

"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us." - Carl Sagan
Because I don't have a word processor... (2.00 / 1) (#51)
by nstenz on Mon Apr 02, 2001 at 10:07:24 PM EST

And I don't need it sitting open taking up memory just to write a one-paragraph reply to a dumb comment anyhow... And I'm not going to shell out money for one either, and the free ones could use a bit o' work yet... Oh nevermind. I usually don't need a spell checker anyhow. I think a grammar checker would probably have a little fit about all of the ...'s I tend to use when I'm writing... What? I can pretend there's more writing coming after this...

[ Parent ]
Text editor? (4.00 / 1) (#61)
by rusty on Wed Apr 04, 2001 at 09:01:09 PM EST

Your text editor doesn't do spellcheck? Try Nedit. Small, resource-friendly, and spellcheck built-in.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Sure it does (none / 0) (#65)
by nstenz on Thu Apr 05, 2001 at 04:58:42 PM EST

Actually, I prefer to use TextPad for all of my lovely text-editing (read: HTML) needs. It has a spell-checker built-in too- I've just never used it. When posting on K5, the preview button and my brain generally do just fine for a spell-checker. If I can't remember how to spell a word, I'm generally too lazy to look it up; I just use a synonym. *grin*

[ Parent ]
Try it. (none / 0) (#59)
by Pedro Picasso on Wed Apr 04, 2001 at 07:14:12 PM EST

...I can't even begin to list them.

This is something akin to "I'm not even going to go there" or "you just left yourself wide open." These are things people say when it's obvious that a joke can be made, but they're not witty enough to do it themselves. I suggest you try to list just a couple. Go on. Won't hurt. I suggest using the UL tag because:

  • It's my favorite.
  • There are no other reasons

-the Pedro Picasso

Cult of the Flaky Hardware
[ (sourceCode == freeSpeech) | kakkune.com ]
[ Parent ]
Usability Problem (3.00 / 3) (#49)
by recursive on Mon Apr 02, 2001 at 11:46:53 AM EST

Spell checking emails and HTTP forms is mostly a usability problem. Many email and HTTP clients do not support spell checking. Using cut and paste is not really an option.

The best way I have found to fill out HTTP forms on Linux is using Lynx. It allows to fire up an external editor for text areas. Thus, I escape into my editor of choice and spell check my text there.

-- My other car is a cdr.

Previewed version (none / 0) (#57)
by Scrymarch on Wed Apr 04, 2001 at 01:13:52 AM EST

Why can't the words in the previewed version just be printed in red and bolded?

[ Parent ]
Er, the misspelt words (none / 0) (#58)
by Scrymarch on Wed Apr 04, 2001 at 01:15:51 AM EST

All of the preview being in red and bold ... now that would be a usability problem. I should really make myself preview every time ...

[ Parent ]
This should be a client-side solution (4.50 / 2) (#60)
by Lionfire on Wed Apr 04, 2001 at 08:37:50 PM EST

Okay, I'll admit it. People can't spell; people can't type. Does that really mean that we want every single website that accepts text to implement a spell checker?

Warning: radical idea follows...
Why can't we just implement spell-checkers in our browsers?

If our browsers had spell checkers, we would not only save a great deal of implementing spell-checking interfaces, but also eliminate the time spent sending things back and forth over the network just to find out we mistyped "fr9og".

A browser implemented spell-checker could provide real time feedback to the user, provide a consistent interface and leverage any client-maintained dictionaries. This would include multiple lanaguages and personally added words. I doubt a server-side solution could do all this.

Spend the time implementing this for Konqueror, Mozilla or whatever your favourite browser happens to be.

[ blog | cute ]
Re: Fix the HTML (none / 0) (#64)
by PresJPolk on Thu Apr 05, 2001 at 06:23:12 AM EST

Didn't you know? Making the site look "pretty" is more important than standards complaince? Any "serious" web designer living in the "real world" knows this.

[ Parent ]
done and done (none / 0) (#69)
by mikpos on Sun Apr 08, 2001 at 02:01:32 PM EST

If you spawn external editors to fill in lengthy forms (which you should be doing with lynx and w3m) then spell-checking is a non-issue, because almost all of them can be set up to run ispell or aspell or one of the other clones to check your spelling for you.

I don't know the situation on getting Mozilla or IE to spawn external editors (I don't use them), but it seems like Microsoft really likes components, so it should be possible to embed one in IE.

[ Parent ]

View of the site (none / 0) (#63)
by PresJPolk on Thu Apr 05, 2001 at 06:14:00 AM EST

If you view kuro5hin.org as being very similar to slashdot, then a spellchecker would be appropriate.

However, if you think that kuro5hin is supposed to have good writing once in a while, then it's not appropriate at all.

The way I see it, any one who is actually composing a submission in the web browser (unless your browser lets you use an external text editor) is missing the point. These submissions should be read, re-read, edited, and improved before being put up here.

hand crafted look (none / 0) (#70)
by anonymous cowerd on Sun Apr 15, 2001 at 09:20:58 PM EST

I dunno. Those damn spell checkers take the hand crafted look out of a post. A perfectly spelt post somehow looks sterile. Plus it adds complexity and that's usually not good. That's just my humble opinion and yours may vary. Actually I think a "spell check" button would be cool, but I myself would usually prefer not to use it, probably.

Now if you really want to disgust me, add in a feature like that one in Microsoft Word that underlines words absent from the spell check list with a little wombly red line, immediately after you append whitespace. There's a difference between me voluntarily pressing a button to simplify my task of proofreading and having a digital nag hanging over my shoulder pointing things out and disrupting the free flow of composition. But I know the K5 programmers would never be that rude!

Yours WDK - WKiernan@concentric.net

"This calm way of flying will suit Japan well," said Zeppelin's granddaughter, Elisabeth Veil.

Preview - Submit - Spell-check | 70 comments (47 topical, 23 editorial, 0 hidden)
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