We Need an Easy Way to Correct Others' Spelling and Grammar Mistakes Online

by Chadwick Wood •  February 18th, 2010

Often when I'm reading blogs or news articles online, I notice small spelling mistakes. They're usually the ones that get through spell checkers... the ones where the writer accidentally spelled a different word (e.g. today I saw "cap" instead of "cape"). Every time I encounter a mistake like this, I want to tell the author about it (I'm just that way about spelling). But, I'm too lazy to find a way to contact the author, and describe the mistake. I wish I could just highlight the text, make the correction, and have it sent to the author. Now, in a lot of cases, I could leave the correction as a comment on the blog post. But that feels like I'm calling the author out in public about his mistake, which is not my intention.

Has anyone else ever felt this? Any solutions out there? Here's my idea, which has problems, but maybe someone can run with it:

Someone should write a browser extension that handles this problem. If we could establish some standard way (maybe a microformat) for a blog post to include a contact email or URL (for a POST request), then the browser extension could work like this: the reader highlights the text, then does some action (maybe a context menu) that triggers the extension. The highlighted text gets copied to the extension, maybe with some contextual info automatically about where in the post that text is. Then, the user makes the correction in a second copy of the text, and submits it. The author of the post gets an email about the correction.

This could even be implemented as a bookmarklet that talks to a web service.

I don't have the time to pursue this idea any further right now, but maybe someone else out there does!