Many people overlook the importance of spelling and grammar, especially when it comes to staff and administrators. While typing without capitalisation and regards to grammar is something mostly found in very young admins (specifically teens) it’s not a problem that is exclusive to them.
Spelling and grammar are very important not only to being understood, but also to being taken seriously. You don’t have to know how to spell 15 letter words and always put apostrophes in the right spots, but you do have to be able to make your posts able to be read and understood.
Take a look at our 5 reasons reasonable spelling and grammar are important for administrators who want to be taken seriously.
1. It makes you look older and wiser.
If you are a young admin, sometimes it’s hard to get people who are older than you to listen. If you’re 30 for example, a 50 year old might kick up a “you’re not the boss of me!” fuss completely related to your age.
If you’re actually 50 and talking to a 30 year old they will assume you’re a child and throw even more of a fuss. This is because when you’re writing without any regard to spelling and grammar everyone will assume you’re a teen because the problem is so prevalent in teens.
The benefit of simply adding capitalisation and punctuation in the right spots above all else, is that people take you seriously regardless of your age…and much of the time your age won’t even come into the equation. You can be 13 and people will assume you are much older just because you know how to put a sentence together (and I have seen numerous examples of this where 13-16 year olds are being mistaken for 40+ year olds simply because they write well and people take them seriously because of this).
When your age does come into the equation you’ll be surprised that people actually respect you regardless, simply because of your post style.
2. You appear educated, so you’re less likely to be disregarded.
It might seem silly that the way a post looks holds more weight than the content of the post, but unfortunately this is very common. Just like if you were handing in an assignment or report with no capitalisation, you’re going to get a lower grade and have your report thrown out as rubbish.
The reason is simple…at a glance it looks like rubbish! Your post goes on first impressions too, and without proper capitalisation and punctuation it looks like it’s difficult to read and will take effort to get through. It gives off a vibe that it will be a waste of time and people will ignore the post or skip over it. There’s not really any effort put into it so why would someone put effort into reading about it? You appear to not care about the content so why should someone else?
3. People will take you seriously.
When there’s no question about your age or intellect, people tend to take the post and its content seriously. They come to respect you and they are more likely to read your posts, which is the best you can ask for as an administrator or member of staff.
4. You look like you’re taking the forum seriously.
You might be surprised to learn that many members will actually leave a forum (or avoid joining) if the admin and staff do not have reasonable spelling and grammar. This is because the forum looks like it’s not worth investing time into; it doesn’t look like it is being taken seriously and therefore not going to stick around.
Forums are cropping up and vanishing all the time, and users want to feel like they will be spending more than a little time there (that it’s worth the effort of signing up). They want to feel like the forum has some longevity to it and that it’s not just a chat “hobby” site that they will grow to love only to be taken down because the admin grew bored of chatting.
5. You appear professional and respectful.
Bad spelling and grammar can actually come off as offensive and disrespectful (to the forum itself as well as its members) when it comes to forum news and announcements. People get very upset when time couldn’t be taken to make a “decent post” and sometimes will even tell you so. No one wants to be confronted with “t3x7 liek dis” after all. Everyone wants to feel like they’re worth the time and effort to be spoken to correctly.
HELP! I’m a really bad speller!!
If you’re one of those admins who just can’t seem to win when it comes to spelling and grammar, you’re not alone and you’re not without tricks you can use to help you. I didn’t start this journey until I was 19 and had a reason to: I joined the SMF Team and it would look AWFUL for everyone if I typed like I did as a teen. The three things that helped me are:
- What really helped me wrap my head around it was typing it out on Microsoft Word first. It would underline my mistakes and auto-correct things for me and over time I started doing it before the program would (and correcting it myself when not using it). That sort of real time feedback was invaluable, and I only needed to use it for a few weeks.
- SMF and most browsers have spell check built into them. This is very basic and doesn’t always check for grammar, but it can be very useful on the fly. As you type the browser will underline things, and you can activate the forums spell check by clicking the check spelling button.
- One thing you should always do is preview your post (especially for large replies and new topics), or at least re-read it. Many errors and things that you feel need to be fixed will be easily spotted when you’re proofreading it.
No one is perfect. The goal here is to achieve reasonable spelling and grammar. You don’t need to look like you’ve got a gold medal in spelling and grammar, but you shouldn’t look like you were kicked out of the competition when you could have used readily available tools to help you. The benefits of correct spelling and grammar on your forum and reputation are subtle, but they are extremely valuable and well worth the effort.
Did you find this article helpful? Do you avoid forums where the admins and staff have bad spelling and grammar? Do you think it’s disrespectful to have announcements without proper spelling and grammar? Did you have a hard time learning how to use correct spelling and grammar in forum posts? Let us know in the comments below!