Is it correct for people to "correct" British English spelling into American English?

I can't see anything in the FAQ about this, and while the site is American in origin, I don't think the British spelling should be treated as mistakes.

  • Do you have a specific example that prompted you to ask or would you like an abstract discussion?
    – juan
    Feb 15, 2012 at 14:19
  • @Juan: the revision gaming.stackexchange.com/revisions/51081/2 on my answer to the question "Does Spore Creature Creator offer the same editing functions as Spore?"
    – TZHX
    Feb 15, 2012 at 14:22
  • 7
    From MSO: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/23869/…
    – au revoir
    Feb 15, 2012 at 14:33
  • I would suspect that it was a case of someone thinking it was spelled incorrectly, not realizing that it was the British English spelling.
    – Sterno
    Feb 15, 2012 at 17:23
  • 5
    Well, it's obviously incorrect, since British English is correct. Always.
    – user821
    Feb 15, 2012 at 21:36

2 Answers 2


We require a consistency in things like tags. In that scenario, I believe our default is American English.

However, when it just comes to one person writing as they write naturally, it is fine to use your own spelling so long as it isn't, well, a misspelling. It's a bit impolite to revise someone's voice if it isn't causing the post to be misunderstood.

  • thanks for the response, this seems sensible to me.
    – TZHX
    Feb 15, 2012 at 14:39
  • I'd say it's not a bit but a lot impolite to edit a post just to correct cosmetic spelling or word choice.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Feb 16, 2012 at 18:21
  • 1
    Tags are about the only thing that would need a specific English variety. Then again, tag similes could easily take care of that in the limited number of cases where the tag isn't a title and can be spelled differently depending on the variety of English used.
    – MBraedley
    Feb 17, 2012 at 20:34

I don't think we have a set protocol for this yet.

I propose we follow Wikipedia's standard, which is that as long as a post is internally consistent (either all American or all British), that should be good enough.

Retaining the existing variety

In general, disputes over which English variety to use in an article are strongly discouraged. Such debates rarely accomplish anything apart from wasting time and engendering controversy.

When an English variety's consistent usage has been established in an [post], it is maintained in the absence of consensus to the contrary. With few exceptions (e.g. when a topic has strong national ties or a term/spelling carries less ambiguity), there is no valid reason for such a change.


An article should not be edited or renamed simply to switch from one valid use of English to another. [...]

MOS:RETAIN, Wikipedia

  • thanks for the response. I was kind of expecting the same behavior as wikipedia, which is why I was bit surprised when someone editted my answer "for spelling" and put z's everywhere. :)
    – TZHX
    Feb 15, 2012 at 14:40
  • @TZHX Coincidentally, I approved that edit, although not for the spelling. I approved it for everything else in it. I thought it made the text flow better. Feb 15, 2012 at 14:44
  • I can understand that. But I felt the need to adjust it a little again, because the Creature Creator wasn't actually a demo.
    – TZHX
    Feb 15, 2012 at 14:47
  • but was a "demo type thing".
    – TZHX
    Feb 15, 2012 at 14:47
  • @TZHX, feel free to change the body back to your writing style, but try to keep the improvements it has now (that are independent from the language)
    – juan
    Feb 15, 2012 at 14:49
  • Re: Your other comment, edit that too if you want (but try to clarify what you mean)
    – juan
    Feb 15, 2012 at 14:50

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