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I see many questions and answers which have no regard for English basics, such as capitalization and simple punctuation.

I understand many users will not be native English speakers. I certainly want to welcome everybody to participate.

However, the errors I am worried about here are due to laziness, not due to a language barrier. Is there any way we can flag such posts? Is it appropriate to leave a comment asking to clean things up?

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I agree. I think attention to detail and clarity is important when you're asking the world to help you for free. Typos happen and I think we can look past errors due to language barriers, but I agree that I find apparently lazy writing distasteful.

If you feel particularly helpful, you can edit to fix the question. I think a constructive comment on particularly bad ones is helpful too, to point out that the question would get more response if it were better written.

If the meaning is severely compromised, vote to close as an unclear question in order to prompt the asker to improve the question. If it seems like there was no real effort to ask a good question I think a down-vote is appropriate.

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  • $\begingroup$ This seems very reasonable. I have been doing a decent amount of moderation; I think I have enough points to edit questions. I will give it a try. Thanks! $\endgroup$ – sheldonkreger Jan 6 '15 at 22:26
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As a member of the SE Community Team, I can tell you we consider basic grammar and punctuation to be extremely important. I encourage you to keep your standards high.

The SE network has some of the best information and most productive discourse anywhere on the web, and adherence to proper grammar and spelling are one of the ways we keep things orderly.

I think attention to detail and clarity is important when you're asking the world to help you for free. -- Sean Owen

This is exactly it. A post full of grammatical errors is harder to read, which in turn makes it harder for people to help you. It becomes a matter of courtesy and mutual respect, and like our moms all told us, you need give to respect to get it. If that equanimity breaks down its very hard for a community to remain productive and valuable.

Does that mean there should be zero tolerance for spelling errors, or that we shouldn't be welcoming to users who aren't native English speakers? No. If you're in that category, we want you here too! Instead, I'm recommending developing well ingrained habits toward editing those posts to improve them. Doing so gives those users a hand up.

The information on this site is intended to be around for a long time, so it's wise to ensure it reflects well on everyone involved.

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