This bunch of revisions:

shows that the original poster had consistently used the spelling lupin. Lupin appears to be one of the standard spellings (Wikipedia notes that lupine is used in North America then the article uses lupin elsewhere).

Spelling mistakes should be corrected of course. But we don't correct spelling preferences, surely?

Personally I don't want my courgettes zucchinified and my swedes rutabuggered. In my own posts, I mean.

  • 3
    "Two nations, divided by a common language." :)
    – bstpierre
    Commented Jul 9, 2011 at 3:25

2 Answers 2


I'm so far a fairly infrequent visitor to this site, just trying to keep my few plants alive, but thought I'd offer an outsiders perspective on this, from a ♦ over on SU.

This jumps to mind because it's something that we've had a fairly recent discussion about over on SU, but there's also a more general post on Meta.SO if you want some wider reading.

Unify your tags under one form and use synonyms where appropriate. SE sites seem to gravitate to the American English spellings or names where there is a difference, so it's probably best to stick with this.

Let people write their questions (body and title) in whatever variant of English they like - American, British, Canadian, Indian, etc - as long as they can manage the expected level of spelling and grammar, you shouldn't try to force any specific variant on a user.

It doesn't matter that SE is based in the US or that whatever proportion of visitors are from the US - especially when a site is so young - because changing posts between language variants unnecessarily will lead to edit wars, comment arguments, meta posts and will drive users away. It will ultimately be very bad for health of the site, because unhappy argumentative users are toxic.

However, where there are large cross-language differences (such as completely different names for things), then Eight Day's suggestion of inserting an in-line explanation of the term the perfect solution - you are then augmenting a user's post, making it better for everyone, and not unnecessarily mutating it.

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    I like this answer and I heartily approve. Since I was the one that made the changes that led to this discussion, I went ahead and rolled back the changes to the revision with the original spelling. Commented Jul 12, 2011 at 15:58
  • @yoda done with class Commented Jul 12, 2011 at 22:11

The easiest and most broad thing we can do for search and localisation help is to include the alternate spelling instead of whitewashing the entire post altogether to favour one region of English speakers.

Break in a compromise and include both. That way we can grab searches from people who know or spell it differently.

So if the original was like this:

My Macaque peaches are coming in scratchy with a bit more fuzz than a logan fruit...

Suggest an edit or edit to broaden its reach to something like this:

My Macaque peaches (also known as kiwi fruit) are coming in scratchy with a bit more fuzz than a logan fruit...

It's the best of both worlds really.

Tags should still be standard US English.

  • I never even knew there was a spelling of lupine. In fact I made a mistake correcting a post with this spelling the other day (it was a genuine oversight). So I'm uncomfortable with treating US English as the source of truth for tag names. Why not British English?
    – Lisa
    Commented Jul 13, 2011 at 0:14
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    The main user base of the software these sites run on are US, and so the majority ruled on that front. We're still allowed to keep our British spelling ways in the post body though @lisa Commented Jul 13, 2011 at 16:15

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