On another meta question, the most popular (and accepted) answerer mentions that they “never change between multiple correct spellings such as British vs American spelling”. This is the norm on ELU. I ask this because, with the even greater variety of Spanish, there will be things that might sound odd to some, but are perfectly correct.

As the example (but I want to stress I think this is a good thing to discuss more generally), on a recent answer of mine, my text was edited from Doyte un ejemplo… to Te doy un ejemplo…. While fully understanding that the vast majority of Spanish speakers don't use enclitic pronouns outside of the imperative and exhortive subjunctive, it's still perfectly correct, and quite common in the region that I work with (Asturias, Spain).

Should regional usages be edited out? Other things like leísmo/loísmo/laísmo comes into play, or vocabulary of course. While on the one hand I understand the majority of our questions come from non-natives and it might behoove them to see the language as they're most likely taught it, in many cases (like leísmo de cortesía or for 3rd masc. sing.), the variation from the norm is still accepted as correct.

Basically, where should we draw the line? I see a few "levels" we could do.

  • Don't edit at all.
    (Me píro á kely a sobar)
  • Edit only spelling/punctuation, leaving non-standard but common regional variants like loísmo as is.
    (Me piro a queli a sobar)
  • Edit to anything considered correct and/or of uso culto, but not anything the RAE lists as of uso vulgar or desaconsejable.
    (Me voy a casa para sobar)
  • Edit to the most common standard that'd be viewed as normal and correct in the majority of countries.
    (Me marcho a mi casa para acostarme)
  • I wrote a long answer to this but this site's session handling seema to be fucked. Anyway, it all boiles down to: it depens on the type of question and I'd prefer if everyone's default level was level 2
    – clinch
    Dec 27, 2014 at 19:51

3 Answers 3


Not that long ago I accepted a suggested edit that added quite some information to an answer and I regretted it immediately.

The appropriate level should be

Edit only spelling/punctuation, leaving non-standard but common regional variants like loísmo as is.

I think that anything that goes beyond that might be considerably changing the original post.

What I wonder is if whoever "corrected" your doyte thought that wasn't actually a Spanish word. Remember that users with enough privileges have their edits approved automatically, and the only requirement to be able to do such edits is reputation, not fluency in English nor Spanish.

Sometimes I'm tempted to change things I see in answers that are blatantly wrong, but I have to remind myself that the site's mechanism to deal with that are comments and votes (or even flags). I'm also more prone now to leave a comment pointing a mistake in for example genders or verb tenses and do the editing just for typos and formatting. I think that if I just corrected the gender on a word the edit could go unnoticed (specially if you are heavily editing the post for formatting, etc.) and thus would be less helpful in order to teach the right usage to the OP and visitors.

So I don't think that edits should modify anything beyond mayor grammar mistakes and some formatting to improve readability.


The hardest part about this isn't deciding which "level" is correct--but even knowing which level applies.

If I had seen "doyte" I would have thought it was an error, because I've never seen it before, and would likely have edited it without realizing I was trampling on a regionalism.

Even as native speaker of American English with a fairly advanced knowledge of the English language, I often don't know if an oddity I see is an error, or "the British way." As a result, I have made many erroneous edits (on other sites, in English) thinking I was fixing an error, when in fact I was unintentionally imposing my American bias.

I think the bottom line must be:

Be gracious and forgiving to others, and don't assume malice where ignorance is a reasonable explanation.

If someone edits away your regional usage, feel free to roll back their edit, or simply edit your regional preference back in (and ideally explain why in the edit comment).

And when considering whether to correct another person's mistake, you might google for the spelling, construct, or phrase you're thinking of replacing to see if it might be accepted in another region. Or leave a comment asking if the OP truly meant what they said.


Adding to Diego's answer, it should most definitely depend on the type of question being asked. If someone is asking a question about chatspeak and whatnot, I'd really discourage any type of edit that deals with orthography or non-standard spelling conventions.

I think there's a place for each level, except for the last one (I can't even imagine what it could possibly represent. Even some of the most standard features in Spanish could sound off to some native speakers. I've even had this happen to me on this very site [I chose not to edit anything].)

If anything feels out of place about an answer e.g. the grammar seems off, pronunciation explanation doesn't match your way of saying it, it'd be best to handle that by adding a comment and possibly asking for OP's region.

I completely agree with Diego in that level 2 should be the default level and that people should stick to that unless the question makes it obvious that another level should be used. The level can't just be set in stone for the whole site.

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