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Earlier today I found myself on the Discussion Policy page and scrolled down to the comments section, where I spotted a curious rule that I believe should be altered. According the current policy, users with rights that allow them to edit others' comments may not edit a post that is "grammatically incorrect, or has errors in capitalization and/or punctuation." Personally, I do not agree with this rule. I am not suggesting that we need to be grammar Ozais and waste are time making sure every comment is following every single grammatical rule there is, including those that most people have never heard of. What I am suggesting is that we should allow editing comments to correct capitalization and punctuation errors. If I see a comment that reads "I loved how Sokka threw his Boomerang at the guards," I see no problem in removing the capital "B" and replacing it with a lowercase one so that the sentence is correct. If another comment is something along the lines of "Katara is the best Aang is the second best," then I don't think it hurts to insert the period between "best" and "Aang" that the commenter clearly forgot. By making these simple edits, we would be improving the quality of our fine wiki. I know I don't stand alone when I say that I don't want people from other wikis or potential users browsing our site to see an obvious grammatical error like those examples I provided.
I see no reason why we should prohibit well-meaning users from cleaning up comments and making sure that they do not contain obvious, embarrassing mistakes in capitalization and punctuation. Again, I'm not proposing that we strictly enforce the proper usage of commas in complex sentences and make sure that independent and dependent clauses are in the right places, but I do believe we could give rollbacks the authority to make the simple edits I've outlined. Omashu Rocks (Talk - Crossfire) 17:40, June 19, 2013 (UTC)
- I understand, and I agree that embarrassing mistakes can be annoying. But the rule wasn't put there randomly. :P So there are two main reasons why we have it. The first is that being completely sure that that is exactly what they wanted to convey is actually really hard. There are lots of reasons why a user may make specific "errors" – for example, often people deliberately emphasise a particular word or concept with capital letters. Rarer now but still happens. (More popular in the times of "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.") We prioritise the comment's original meaning above all else, so we don't want to risk those kinds of alterations slipping in. I don't want to keep going to histories to be absolutely sure when quoting them.
- The second reason is, frankly, the mess. Very few people have perfect grammar. There are practices that people think are "rules" but aren't. There are even certain aspects of grammar where there is no settled right answer. And then because of that, sometimes, to be honest, comments that were fine are edited and then become incorrect. Or comments that were incorrect stay incorrect. I think the harms from that are greater than some odd expressions (since original emphasis and meaning is lost), so let's just save ourselves the trouble. The 888th Avatar (talk) 10:40, June 20, 2013 (UTC)
888: While I'm sure what you said holds merit, I think if we saw a comment with two sentences but no punctuation make in between, it's safe to assume that the user simply forgot it. Is there a harm in allowing rollbacks to insert it? I think we can be trusted to use our best judgement and discern which comments have intentional grammar variations and which are simple mistakes. Omashu Rocks (Talk - Crossfire) 04:34, June 22, 2013 (UTC)
- The thing is that, even if I agreed that that specific change was entirely safe (I don't think it is) it's very difficult to delineate "acceptable" grammatical corrections and "unacceptable" corrections without literally going through individual rules and ticking or crossing them. The accompanying complexity would virtually ensure that there will be a lot of non-adherence to a hypothetical correction policy. Put together as a whole, I feel that this entire thing is not important enough to merit the complexities and the loss of faith that the comment you see is what the comment meant. The 888th Avatar (talk) 09:17, June 22, 2013 (UTC)