I just saw a post where virtually every edit was changing the spelling of a single word from the uk spelling to the american spelling. I have had edits like this happen to my posts in the past.

Is there anything that can be done beyond hope a British person spots the edits and rejects them?

  • Somebody is going through your post and filling it with spelling mistakes. As somebody who's spelling and typing is bad it takes me a long time to get a correctly spelt message.
    – WendyG
    May 15, 2018 at 13:48
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    Related: interpersonal.meta.stackexchange.com/q/153/36 - this talks about preference on the network but not how to remedy the situation, so it's not a duplicate.
    – Catija
    May 15, 2018 at 14:53
  • Interestingly enough, it looks like the Community bot edits to American English spelling.
    – scohe001
    May 15, 2018 at 15:42
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    @scohe001 No. interpersonal.stackexchange.com/review/suggested-edits/10346 An anonymous user posted the edit suggestion and the OP overrode the rejected edit similarly to my second bullet point below.
    – Catija
    May 15, 2018 at 15:45
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    @Catija ahh I've always wondered about how Community bot could make edits. This explains a lot, thanks!
    – scohe001
    May 15, 2018 at 15:47
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    While there are many many global varieties of English, in the formal written language there are basically two: the USA and everyone else. (Canada is a bit of a special case, mostly falling in with the rest of the world, with some one-off exceptions where they follow the USA, such as tire instead of tyre).
    – TRiG
    May 16, 2018 at 19:06

1 Answer 1


Stack Exchange specifically has a policy that localized English spellings shouldn't be edited to American English standards. The only exception to this is in tagging, which follows American English spelling and terminology in the interest of tagging simplification.

It is worth noting that many of these edits may be due to an honest mistake. Many people are unaware of the differences in British English and American English spelling conventions, so assume that they're trying to be helpful rather than antagonistic.

So, what can you do if an edit is only changing your local English spelling? You have a few options.

  • If you're reviewing the edit, reject it using the "no improvement whatsoever" reason or a custom reason explaining that British English is acceptable here.
  • If you're the OP of the post, you can reject the edit suggestion even after it's been accepted by other users (with certain caveats, as explained here). Moderators also have this option.
  • If the edit has already gone through, roll it back.
  • If you're editing - just don't! Realize that we don't require American English in post titles or bodies here. Learn to love diversity in language!

Otherwise, be sure to consider any other edits that were made as, along with the localized spelling, there may have been valuable information added or clarifications made. In these cases, rolling back may remove content that belongs there, so consider editing the spelling back to what it was rather than rolling back and losing the new information.

  • Sure, this is not Wikipedia. But note that (French) Wikipedia is using principle of least astonishment for article titles: when multiple spellings/wordings are possible, it is preferred to use the most accepted one.
    – Cœur
    May 21, 2018 at 12:59
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    @Cœur I'm not sure where you're going with that. Could you explain? If you're saying we should edit, you're probably going to want to write your own answer... and probably on the linked MSE question. We're supporting network guidelines here, not making new ones.
    – Catija
    May 21, 2018 at 13:04
  • A note is not a new guideline. It's just a reference for comparison.
    – Cœur
    May 21, 2018 at 13:05
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    That's fine... I'm still not sure if you're saying that things should be edited or not, nor am I sure whether you consider American English or British English to meet this principle.
    – Catija
    May 21, 2018 at 13:07
  • What's the point of rolling back an unnecessary edit (or, even more so, an unnecessary part of an edit)? It doesn't notify the editor, nor does it have any repercussions for them (that I'm aware of), and it doesn't tell them what they actually did wrong. All it does is bump the post and possibly antagonise the editor (if they see the edit).
    – NotThatGuy
    May 22, 2018 at 15:20
  • @NotThatGuy If the edit is unnecessary it shouldn't have been made. Rolling it back is the most effective way to unmake an edit.
    – sphennings
    May 22, 2018 at 15:23
  • @NotThatGuy What's the point of forcing the OP of the post to live with a version of English that's not native to them? In the case of suggested edits, the person who suggested the edit will have it be "rejected" and they'll lose the 2 rep they would have gained if it had been approved (this includes if the OP or Mods reject the edit after it's approved)...
    – Catija
    May 22, 2018 at 15:24
  • @Catija AFAIK simply rolling-back an approved edit doesn't retroactively decline it. There's this not-yet-approved feature request asking for just that.
    – NotThatGuy
    May 22, 2018 at 15:34
  • @NotThatGuy Read the link in my answer "as explained here".
    – Catija
    May 22, 2018 at 15:34

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