Guerilla spelling campaigns

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki
Historical This page is kept for historical interest. Any policies mentioned may be obsolete. If you want to revive the topic, you can use the talk page or start a discussion on the community forum.
This page is about English spelling. For a multilingual perspective, see Guerilla non-eEnglish spelling and grammar campaign

Guerilla UK spelling campaign[edit]

Due to some unfortunate political circumstances in the 19th century, the English language is stuck with two different ways to spell things: one US, and one for all other English speakers. Official Wikipedia policy is to tolerate each kind of writing, and not to systematically change spelling from one kind to the other. Wikipedia demographics reflect that of the Internet at large fairly closely — there are roughly as many non-US people as there are US people. Hence this policy would, all other things being equal, give a ratio of incidence of the two spellings roughly equal to the ratio as it is used in the real world. This outcome is the fair and proper outcome.

Sometimes a naive person (often an unregistered user) changes a non-US spelling to a US spelling, and similarly, sometimes someone changes a US spelling to a non-US spelling. Usually this is reverted, but a certain percentage slip through. And here is the critical point: Residents of the United States are more oblivious to the rest of the world than the rest of the world is to them.

Hence, the number of naive changes from non-US to US greatly outnumbers the changes from US to non-US. This leads to a drift in spelling ratio away from its true and proper value. If we do not take coordinated action, Wikipedia will drift into a bastion of Americanism.

The campaign[edit]

To address this drift, here is what we must do:

Randomly change US spellings to English spellings

  • Do it occasionally with your ordinary login, but hidden in with other edits
  • Do it with fake identities
  • Do it anonymously
  • Do it for your country!

What an absolutely excellent example of ExcessBaggage. I'd venture to guess that there are more constructive ways to figure this out than hostile confrontationalism. --Evan 03:28, 9 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Wow. I just checked the page history. Weird. --Evan 03:30, 9 Feb 2004 (UTC)
It's not serious. I'm just not in the habit of warning people when I make jokes. -- Tim Starling 03:34, 9 Feb 2004 (UTC)
I added a link here from the humor category on the Wikipedia page. Just so people know. :) (and I even avoided the tempatation to rename it humour). Angela 08:13, 9 Feb 2004 (UTC)
I didn't list it in the humour section originally because I thought that was too overt :) -- Tim Starling 08:48, 9 Feb 2004 (UTC)
IHBT. IHL. IWHAND. B-) --Evan 16:39, 9 Feb 2004 (UTC)
This is brilliant. I fully support this, even though I'm not a citizen of Britain. Actually, I'm a Malaysian, so it's all the same, since we're in the Commonwealth, right? -- 13:53, 25 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I am worried. I support the campaign wholeheartedly but: is guerilla the English spelling, or is it the American-English spelling of the Spanish word? — Concerned of Cheshire

Obviously it is a legitimate borrowing of a Spanish word into English. The American version would be something like "Counter-insurgency low-intensity Crusade war against Terror".
  • maybe "Counter-insurgency low-intensity Crusade war against Terrour" ? ;D Alvaro 17:02, 2005 May 12 (UTC)

See also[edit]

Coming soon

  • Guerilla UK punctuation campaign (to get rid of unnecessary commas and hyphens)
  • Guerilla UK grammar campaign (to eliminate the subjunctive mood)
  • Guerilla UK vocabulary campaign (an autumn campaign to teach Americans some modern English words)

Gorilla US spelling campaign[edit]

American English is the 800 pound gorilla of languages.

The United States of America is the 800lb (363.3 kg) gorilla of nation states. We must use our (imperial) weight in numbers to sit on and crush the nascent Guerilla UK spelling campaign.

Defend your first amendment right to free speech and free spelling (or speling, if you're an Apache author)!

Residents of the world are far more ignorant about the United States than they admit in public


The time has come to salvage our honour and realise our full potential! No more dialogue or manoeuvering! No longer shall we put up with words being spelt, but rather they shall be spelled as God and Noah Webster intended them! Take off your blinders and let their true colours show through! Stand in the center and blare it over the bullhorn! Raise a furor! Man the defences! Dismiss that busy signal in your brain that's turning it to cotton candy and show your true fibre--we are not mere eggplants in the skillet of etymology! Fling away those aubergines and courgettes; if they want to toss their biscuits, that's fine by me, but it makes me toss my cookies! Let them rattle their sabres--it's time to put that final X in the tic-tac-toe game of editing! No longer shall they pour the gasoline of skepticism on the flames of edit wars, fueling the fires of discontent! We shall tighten the vise on their mouldy conventions and primitive artefacts! They may have once colonised our shores, but we have long since done our math and know the score, and they no longer have license to practise their medieval rules in this encyclopedia! Forever shall the colours red, white, and blue fly!