Earlier I pulled up a suggested edit from a user where they edited "spelling errors". The spelling errors were actually (what I call) local color. What I mean by this is, in the UK, the spelling of "color" is colour. The spelling of "theater" is theatre. In my view, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this and should not be corrected. This is just how it's done and we, as editors or keepers of the SE site should not allow these types of edits to go through. I was in the process of trying to change these back, without completely rejecting the edit, due mainly because there were some other, very pertinent edits on the page. The SE system would not allow me to change them back because it said my edits were too minor. So, when I went back to reject the suggested edits, someone else had already either rejected/accepted the edits (don't know which) and it was no longer available to me.

The discussion questions here are, should we be allowing these type of edits through? Should it be easier for those with editorial powers to change these back without rejecting the entire proposed edit?

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    I too see absolutely no problem with British vs American English and this is one of the parts where it's really upto the author what he prefers. But I also have absolutely no idea if SE's general policy (if there is one) agrees with you and me. That being said, what you can do instead of reject or accept is improve, which let's you further edit the version that the editor proposed to rechange invididual things if needed.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Jan 28, 2014 at 13:33
  • That aside I didn't ever get such a message about "too minor edits" (and I'm the one idiot running around and adding whitespace and stuff to other people's posts). I think that's olny something rather new users get when trying to propose edits, but not a 3,000+ user as you.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Jan 28, 2014 at 13:37
  • @NapoleonWilson ... I haven't seen it before either. This was a special case under the "improve" button when trying to adjudicate someone else's edits. I do the same for the reasoning of trying to clean up unreadable posts, but usually leave spelling alone if it is a valid English spelling. Jan 28, 2014 at 15:23
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    Related meta.stackoverflow.com question.
    – Ankit Sharma Mod
    Jan 29, 2014 at 6:48
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    @AnkitSharma ... I believe that is a very pertinent post, especially the second answer which says, "It is not acceptable to change American to British spellings or British to American.". Personally I think this should be adopted here as well. Thanks for sharing it. Jan 29, 2014 at 11:54

1 Answer 1


There is no accepted precedence of one locale over another with respect to spelling - US, British or other English speaking countries. Intuitively it seemed pragmatic to me to accept the spelling the post originates in, and indeed this reflects the accepted policy on Meta Stackoverflow (thanks @Wrathchild for finding that).

The exception to this is the spelling in Tags, for which US English is preferred. (There is scope here for a local policy on tags however, since most of ours are movie names and titles - but that might be the subject of another meta should it become an issue)

That said I wouldn't personally lose any sleep if someone 'corrected' my spelling in either direction, and 'tolerance first' even of someone's ignorance in this respect would seem to be a good approach. I think that such edits are quite rare - I don't recall seeing one before.

Should we be letting these edits go through? Clearly since the edit goes against policy it should be rejected or improved it if it contained more pertinent edits too.

As for the reason why you could not improve it adequately - I'll look into this.

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    As a Brit living in the land of the free - my spelling and choice of words is somewhat mid-atlantic anyway.
    – iandotkelly Mod
    Jan 28, 2014 at 15:14
  • I guess, with my latter question, I'm asking why this behavior exists in the first place? Why would the system constrain (as Napoleon Wilson suggested) a 3000+ point user and not allow what the system considers minor edits. And I had made some moderate changes to improve the edit, such as hiding a URL through the brackets and parens, and some others trying to get it to allow me to do this. Was very weird behavior as to what I'm used to doing regular edits. It should allow me to "improve" no matter what the improvement might be, by my approximation. Jan 28, 2014 at 15:29
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    @Paulster2 - I do agree with you, I might have a poke around on meta.stackoverflow to see if there's anything about that behavior there.
    – iandotkelly Mod
    Jan 28, 2014 at 15:33
  • Thank you. I appreciate your time. Jan 28, 2014 at 15:49
  • There is actually a preference. Leave posts in the flavor of English used by the author, but tags should use American English (although British English synonyms are good). Let me see if I can find the post.
    – Wrathchild
    Jan 29, 2014 at 13:49
  • This seems to be the definitive "official" answer: What should the standard spelling be - British or US? although this other answer reinforces "don't edit to change flavo[u]r of English".
    – Wrathchild
    Jan 29, 2014 at 13:54
  • @Wrathchild - the issue of tags is an interesting point I didn't consider. I'll edit my post to include a link to that.
    – iandotkelly Mod
    Jan 29, 2014 at 14:28

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