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View Full Version : About a stereotype that needs not exist



badducky
04-27-2009, 07:38 PM
I think I've become hypersensitive to this one because I've been trying out the on-line dating scene...

There's this notion common to the interweb that misspelling=stupid.

This is a very bad stereotype to promulgate.

Quite a lot of very intelligent people are plagued with dyslexia, and have had a very full life being made to feel stupid for their inability to spell. The automatic assumption of poor spelling = stupid is deeply ingrained in web culture.

All caps, my friends. That's the one to look out for. Poor spelling isn't it.

Misspellings don't mean you're stupid. And, I hope we all can let this unfair stereotype go away.

Your pal,

Badducky

NeuroFizz
04-27-2009, 07:44 PM
If it's any consolation, BadD, I don't have dyslexia and my spelling can be horrible. And my proofreading is worse sometimes. If what you say is true, I don't even know if my right hand would date me. Pretty sad because I'm way smarter than my right hand.


Very sad on a general level, too. But some people judge others by the kind of car they drive, the kind of clothes they hang on their bodies, and on various artificial things they have inserted, stained, or punched into their bodies. And this happens in person, not over the web.

Kitty Pryde
04-27-2009, 08:09 PM
OK, misspelling /= stupid. BUT any number of completely free computer programs check your spelling for you and catch most mistakes (though not homonym mistakes). So I tend to think that it's more like 'can't be asked to use spellcheck'=stupid. If I knew my spelling was wretched, I'd check it obsessively.

Clair Dickson
04-27-2009, 08:11 PM
I agree- especially since even if one knows how to spell the word, sometimes the quick format of the internet, combined with inadequate proofreading (esp. since our brains tend to read the right word!),mean that people make mistakes for things they do know how to spell.

I think the spelling thing is a way for certain people to feel superior-- likely they have nothing else they can feel 'good' about. I've made plenty of stupid spelling errors because my fingers write something wrong.

Though, I happen to think that the ideas expressed are more important than the way they are expressed. Now, I do think that people should try to learn spelling and grammar, but I do overlook occasional spelling and grammar errors. But I have no issues with needing to lord over people on the internet-- even those who act wholly foolish or boorish.

Sophia
04-27-2009, 08:27 PM
Hang in there, badducky!

I get annoyed when people say, "If you just read a lot, you'd know when your spelling was incorrect", and generally imply that anyone who has difficulty spelling isn't a reader and hence is somehow willfully ignorant regarding their language. I have a pal who reads both fiction and non-fiction constantly, who seems to remember everything he reads, would make the perfect "phone a friend" choice, who has a PhD in astrophysics and who seems to know everything about world history, philosophy and the military and actively seeks to learn new things every day on any subject. But his spelling is appalling. It's NOT through stupidity or lack of reading, and I wouldn't judge someone online on their spelling.

I would say that on an online dating site, I'd expect a profile or whatever there is to be spellchecked. It would be like smartening yourself up for a good first impression at a job interview. But if you and another person then went on to online chatting, for example, and there were mistakes, I'd give you the benefit of the doubt. Spelling mistakes could be typos, or the brain going blank out of sheer nervousness.

badducky
04-27-2009, 08:29 PM
Hey, my spelling is pretty good. There's lots of haters, though, who list in their profile that they avoid people with misspellings in profiles...

Crazy!

SPMiller
04-27-2009, 08:49 PM
Written English is far from consistent. Our culture embraces this inconsistency rather than trying to correct it. Consider, for example, that we have spelling bees. Why? Because the way we spell some words is completely ridiculous, but people resist change and don't like the idea of spelling reform.

maestrowork
04-27-2009, 08:53 PM
Hey, my spelling is pretty good. There's lots of haters, though, who list in their profile that they avoid people with misspellings in profiles...

Crazy!

You wouldn't be dating those people anyway. But I do think rejecting people based on misspelling is silly.

My spelling is usually okay but I do misuse or drop words (I'm guilty of dropping "not" -- which is bad because it completely changes the meaning of what I'm trying to say) especially when I'm tired, and I don't spell check every post.

It's not the misspelling that makes you stupid. It's the content of the posts, and trust me, there are a lot of stupid people online even if they have perfect spelling.

Medievalist
04-27-2009, 09:05 PM
Quite a lot of very intelligent people are plagued with dyslexia, and have had a very full life being made to feel stupid for their inability to spell. The automatic assumption of poor spelling = stupid is deeply ingrained in web culture.

Yeah, I can't spell at all. I fell in love with computers at an early age because WordStar on the mainframe had spellcheck, and guaranteed all my letters faced the right way.


All caps, my friends. That's the one to look out for. Poor spelling isn't it.

I'd suggest being wary of bright pink, and of an excessive use of screamers, like this !!! !

Medievalist
04-27-2009, 09:08 PM
OK, misspelling /= stupid. BUT any number of completely free computer programs check your spelling for you and catch most mistakes (though not homonym mistakes). So I tend to think that it's more like 'can't be asked to use spellcheck'=stupid. If I knew my spelling was wretched, I'd check it obsessively.

Here's the thing though; if you're dyslexic, for a lot of people, spell check doesn't really help because:

1. The suggested words will be perceived differently than they are written; was may be read as saw.

2. If you are dysphonetic as well, you may not be able to distinguish three and there, and honestly, (see #1) three and there might both look the same.

Spellcheck does help some of us--me, for one, but not very many--I'm atypical in the extreme.

brokenfingers
04-27-2009, 09:16 PM
I think I've become hypersensitive to this one because I've been trying out the on-line dating scene...

There's this notion common to the interweb that misspelling=stupid.

This is a very bad stereotype to promulgate.

Quite a lot of very intelligent people are plagued with dyslexia, and have had a very full life being made to feel stupid for their inability to spell. The automatic assumption of poor spelling = stupid is deeply ingrained in web culture.

All caps, my friends. That's the one to look out for. Poor spelling isn't it.

Misspellings don't mean you're stupid. And, I hope we all can let this unfair stereotype go away.

Your pal,

BadduckyI think, in this context, that a lot of people use it as a gatekeeper. The problem isn’t often seen here due to the nature of the forum and its particpants, but elsewhere, you’ll see a lot of posts and messages that are barely comprehensible. A mixture of textspeak, laziness and lack of knowledge of the English language.

Often such shoddy communication can denote a person who’s either immature, lazy or, yes, downright stupid. And those are all qualities that a person wouldn’t want in a potential partner. And often the content of their messages will prove this assertion. The craziest rants from the looniest people are often filled with typos etc.

So often, to make things easier for themselves, people will set up the misspelling test as a sort of standard for admittance past the first gate. But in truth, they’ll usually make their decision based on the content of your message.

TrickyFiction
04-27-2009, 09:23 PM
Who here had the "Bad spellers UNTIE!" signature? That one always made me chuckle.


I'd suggest being wary of bright pink, and of an excessive use of screamers, like this !!! !

Those!!!!!! And these too?????? It doesn't mean people are stupid, but it sure makes 'em look that way!!!!!!!!! The majority of emails I get from my friends and family look like this!!!!! You know????????? It drives me crazy!!!!!!!!!!!!!11111

It also makes me think any message I send with normal punctuation will appear unfriendly and unenthusiastic to those who are used to seeing rows of EXCITING!!!!!!! punctuation in their messages. But I can't bear to abuse the poor lil' things. Plus, it makes me hoarse just thinking about the amount of screaming it would take to read something like that aloud. I'm convinced this is the result of people watching too many used car dealership commercials.

nevada
04-27-2009, 09:30 PM
U IS ALL HAITERZZZ !!!!!!!!!!

NeuroFizz
04-27-2009, 09:34 PM
I'd guess the greatest danger with web-based dating services would be people who are somewhat flexible with the truth. Too bad the posting programs don't have a BS checker.

Phaeal
04-27-2009, 09:39 PM
Misspelling hurts my eyes, but I don't assume a misspeller is stupid. My tolerance for misspelling varies according to the nature of the document in which it occurs. If it appears in a chat session or some other impromptu setting, I don't worry about it. If it appears in a profile meant to win a job or mate, then I wonder how serious that writer is about getting the job or mate.

So it's the degree of formality that determines my response, I guess. The more formal the document (like an MS for submission or query package, anyone?), the fewer errors I'd want to see. If you can't spell or handle grammar or standard formats yourself, get someone more adept to check that sucker over before you send it out or put it up on your website/public profile, etc.

badducky
04-27-2009, 09:53 PM
I'd guess the greatest danger with web-based dating services would be people who are somewhat flexible with the truth. Too bad the posting programs don't have a BS checker.

Oh, like that's not a problem in the non-online-dating world...

SPMiller
04-27-2009, 10:11 PM
Oh, like that's not a problem in the non-online-dating world...Some people have built-in lie detectors.

Sadly, I don't :(

virtue_summer
04-27-2009, 10:38 PM
I'd guess the greatest danger with web-based dating services would be people who are somewhat flexible with the truth. Too bad the posting programs don't have a BS checker.

It's just as easy to lie about stuff offline (well, with the exception of lying about appearance).

Anyway, when it comes to the original topic I don't think misspellings=stupid. What I do think is that if it's a semi important document and you knew you were bad at spelling other than using spellchecker you could easily hand it off to a friend to read over. Here's the thing about internet dating profiles: there's not a lot to go on. This means that everything counts. A profile riddled in misspellings doesn't say stupid to me. It says lazy. It says the person is not taking it seriously. Compare this to a job application. If you know that you have a horrible time with spelling and yet you have to fill out a job application, do you rail against this because you're going to be judged partly on something that's not your strong suit? Or do you try to do what you can to present yourself in the best way possible?

maestrowork
04-28-2009, 01:07 AM
Oh, like that's not a problem in the non-online-dating world...

Just stay away from Craigslist, okay, Matt?

Manix
04-28-2009, 01:13 AM
Hey, my spelling is pretty good. There's lots of haters, though, who list in their profile that they avoid people with misspellings in profiles...

Crazy!
If they are really that anal, would you want to date them? That would be my question.

mister_lister
04-28-2009, 01:30 AM
hte lard tuld mi eye hav xcelnt speling.

badducky
04-28-2009, 01:42 AM
Seriously, it isn't just in on-line dating. I'm just noticing it more because I'm seeing it so often in profiles.

Look around the interweb, and you'll notice a common arrow to fling around when one wants to dismiss another's merit is the spell-check arrow.

SPMiller
04-28-2009, 01:44 AM
Did you misspell something on your dating profile, ducky? ;)






Juuuuuuuust kidding. Pointing out spelling errors is certainly ad hom, but that doesn't stop it from being a very popular tactic in online "debates".

ChaosTitan
04-28-2009, 01:44 AM
People accidentally misspell things all the time. I won't hang someone for it, or judge them out of hand.

Lack of caps and punctuation, though? That's another story. ;)

unicornjam
04-28-2009, 02:11 AM
I don't believe the occasional misspellings are the mark of a fool. But you do have to remember that the written word is the only way we communicate on many websites. I'm fairly relaxed (in the sense that I won't act as Teacher), but I'm not going to fault someone for being turned off by spelling errors; the correct answer is only a few clicks away.

Lauri B
04-28-2009, 02:13 AM
This conversation is verging on OP. Who thinks I should move it there?

jennontheisland
04-28-2009, 02:23 AM
My Ex is on an online dating site. With typos in his profile including the same word spelled two different ways. I admit I laughed.

Medievalist
04-28-2009, 03:23 AM
Seriously, it isn't just in on-line dating. I'm just noticing it more because I'm seeing it so often in profiles.

Look around the interweb, and you'll notice a common arrow to fling around when one wants to dismiss another's merit is the spell-check arrow.

Yeah.

And there's this thing about Internet spelling flames--or grammar flames--you'll make a worse error in your own post :D

Judg
04-28-2009, 03:39 AM
LOL Medievalist. Ain't it the truth?

The number and nature of the mistakes make a difference. And the context. I will be influenced by people making mistakes, I admit it, especially in a formal context. But I wouldn't go around announcing how it makes me feel, and I probably would not use that as a make-or-break issue.

My query letter (the successful version) had two mistakes in it. *sigh* Not spelling mistakes, but still... Good thing perfection was not a make-or-break deal for the agent.

Izz
04-28-2009, 04:18 AM
I often apostrophize plurals. I'm a bad, bad man...

SPMiller
04-28-2009, 04:40 AM
I often apostrophize plural's. I'm a bad, bad man...Fixed ;)

Medievalist
04-28-2009, 04:48 AM
I never, ever, used to confuse it's and its. Not ever.

Until I started teaching, and grading papers, and seeing them used incorrectly more often than I saw them used correctly . . .

Izz
04-28-2009, 04:51 AM
Fixed ;)i was wondering why my post didn't look right :D

Nivarion
04-28-2009, 11:22 PM
I understand how this is annoying. I have an IQ of 130 and only very mild dyslexia, and I spell like crap. It's worse that I type better than I can write by hand. I can only spell about half of my vocabulary too.

But I'm always getting labeled as stupid and such because I have a hard time conveying meaning in writing.

veinglory
04-29-2009, 01:20 AM
If I didn't have the motivation of people calling me stupid my spelling would be even worse than it is. Stereotypes are bad, but it is also wise to try not to live down to them as much as humanly possible :)

MaLanie1971
04-29-2009, 02:21 AM
Here's the thing though; if you're dyslexic, for a lot of people, spell check doesn't really help because:

1. The suggested words will be perceived differently than they are written; was may be read as saw.

2. If you are dysphonetic as well, you may not be able to distinguish three and there, and honestly, (see #1) three and there might both look the same.

Spellcheck does help some of us--me, for one, but not very many--I'm atypical in the extreme.

Thank you for pointing this out. I was about to say something until I noticed your post. I am dyslexic, I mix up words, misspell words and often leave out words without realizing it. After discovering why I made so many mistakes I have become obsessive about proofreading to the point it takes FOREVER to write a paragraph.

I was made fun of and called dumb growing up and even quit school in the eleventh grade because I believed the labels. However, I loved to learn and was a sponge. I was a closet student, (if you will) I read on my own and could not let go of my thirst for an education. I went on to college but like a lot of dyslexics faked and flunked.

I did not know I was dyslexic until just a few years ago as the word wasn't even heard of when I was growing up until Theo on the Cosby Show was tested for Dyslexia and then all of a sudden it became a household word.

This is why I did not begin my writing career until just recently at the age of thirty-seven. I have always been intimidated to write as it showed my greatest weakness.

Maybe it is because I am approaching 40 in a few years, but this past year I realized it was time I take a risk and do what I love which is to write. It may not be perfect; I may never be a Hemingway, but I am going to give it my best shot, learn all I can and go for it.

You should see me when I write, I imagine its comical to watch. I have a dictionary, a grammar book, and about three writing books spread all over the desk as I meticulously look everything up and try to figure out how learn the craft. Since I have started working hard on my writing I have seen improvements!

I say don't be so quick to judge. If you look up Dyslexia you will learn that most Dyslexics have an above average intelligence.

Delhomeboy
04-29-2009, 04:57 AM
It only's a problem when it becomes this:

"dat was sooooooooo stale u ugly bitch nd if u didn't understand a word i just sayd den dere's ssomtin called skool u kan go 2 so u kan learn how 2 read lmao cus u so dum"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czR1yxKfhUc

Otherwise, you're fine

Wayne K
04-29-2009, 05:31 AM
What do any of you care what people think of you?

When you lose the weight it's your baldspot, and then when you fix that they want you to buy better clothes. When you get all that straight they need you to stop this and start that...people will never give you that seal of approval you want: it doesn't exist.

Now they look down on you because you can't spell?

We're doomed.

badducky
04-29-2009, 05:37 AM
Okay... I see this is OP territory, now. I didn't intent it to be.

Oh, well.

MaLanie1971
04-29-2009, 05:57 AM
LOL Dell

Badducky, I'm sorry what is OP territory? I am still learning chat lingo :-)

MattW
04-29-2009, 06:00 AM
Y duz kno wun want 2 dait teh duckzter?!?!?

jodiodi
04-29-2009, 06:02 AM
Perhaps some people are unable to distinguish between stupid and uneducated.

delhomeboy's example would say 'stupid' to me while the occasional misspelled word or overly simplistic phrasing might be more of a sign of poor education.

Uneducated people can be taught and their skills improved.

However, as some comedian says, "You can't fix stupid."

badducky
04-29-2009, 06:03 AM
Office Party.

MaLanie1971
04-29-2009, 06:04 AM
Yeah.

And there's this thing about Internet spelling flames--or grammar flames--you'll make a worse error in your own post :D

Its called Karma! What you judge will always come back to bite you in the arse! I know because I have done my fair share of judging and I've got scars all over my backside to proove it! It is much safer to learn thy lesson and keep thy mouth shut!;)

bonitakale
04-29-2009, 08:07 PM
I think spelling is genetic, and it's as stupid to judge people by that as by how tall, short, fat, thin, dark, light they are.

I can see in my family that some people can spell, and some can't. It has nothing to do with the quality of their prose or their intelligence. Some things you're just born with.

I can spell, but I can hardly find my way from my living room to my kitchen without signposts. My husband and son can't spell, but each has a great sense of direction.

Genetic.